Brandon
Brandon

May 6th, 2010, 5:11 am #21

Good right-wing propaganda, Brandon.

The fact is American wages have been stagnate and declining. Good paying factory jobs with good benefits have been replaced by low paying low-benefits service industry jobs. A country can't be great when it depends on other countries to supply it's needs.

What's more it puts us in a very vulnerable position- the reason we won World War II was because we had the best factories in the world and were able to supply everything we needed both at home and for the war. If such a international conflict broke out today imports would be the first thing cut off and our stores would be filled with empty shelves.
Instead of just dismissing the article I linked as "right wing propaganda," why don't you point out where the writer is in error?
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 6th, 2010, 7:06 am #22

Outsourcing high-paying good-benefit factory jobs and getting low-paying service industry jobs in return is hardly a gain.

Just consider these simple facts Brandon:

During the last 30 years the amount of job outsourcing has increased steadily.

And....

The inflation adjusted average wage has decreased.

The amount of personal savings has dropped greatly.

The amount of personal debt has increased greatly.

The number of wives who have to work to support the family has increased significantly.

The difference in wage between high earners and low earners has increased dramatically.

The concentration of national wealth in the hands of the top 5% has never been greater.

None of this is good for the country.
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Joined: May 9th, 2005, 12:05 pm

May 6th, 2010, 11:54 am #23

Wow, what a lively discussion this week! Alright!

Here is my take: Multiple factors combined to bring about the decline in U.S. we see today. I think you need look no further than to compare the conditions that spawned "The Greatest Generation" with those that produced each succeeding and less-accomplished generation.

My parents grew up during the Great Depression. They weren't out of their teens when the U.S. entered WWII. They grew up with very little, saw Americans banding together to help each other, and they appreciated anything they did receive. Then, still youth, they fought and won the noblest war, returning as conquering heroes before they were 30. They were tested early and they passed with flying colors. And, they believed in their govt and in each other.

Zoom forward just a few years and we Baby Boomers come along. Our well-meaning parents tried to give us every material possession and opportunity they were denied as children. We grew up thinking we were it . . the all-important me. And while thinking so unrealistically high of ourselves, we also developed a critical eye toward our elders. In our minds, they bumbled into whatever success they had. We, the Boomers, could easily do better than that . . or so we thought.

In education, along came this idea of "Critical Thinking". The new theory was that prior generations were too naive, too easily deceived by . . their govt, corporations, the military-industrial complex, you name it. Our elders were not only the bumbling blind (with luck on their side), they were deceived into thinking things that the Boomers and their teachers were wise to and would not fall for. Yes, as time went on, we could see the fallacies our parents and grandparents lived by, and how they were not quite so successful at duping us into believing the same. Boy, were we Boomers something!

But, looking back: Our parents typically raised us in intact families . . while our own families typically ended in divorce. As children, we had parents, and grandparents, and aunts and uncles, and neighbors and even a stranger could tell us not to do something or "go home and tell your mother/father what you did, or I will!" And we did, and we got our behinds swatted and learned to not do such things again. We would never think to say, "Whatever" or "No, you do it" to our elders -- we got swift punishment that made us regret ever thinking of saying such things. And if we complained to teachers or any authority figure about what our parents had done, we were told, "Well, I hoped you learned never to do that again." No one said, "Your parents should be ashamed to mistreat a nice boy like you". No, they defended our parents, maybe even said we got off easy!

But, our own children didn't have such parental/adult supervision. All the adults were working. Their grandparents, aunts, uncles . . they all lived too far away or were too busy to tend to someone else's kids. As parents, we Boomers didn't want to be the ogres our parents were, so we didn't insist on things that our parents demanded: Eat wholesome meals, do chores around the house, speak politely to adults (or maybe not speak at all while adults were talking), go to bed at a decent hour, say your prayers. No, TV and movies raised our kids . . while we were busy working or recreating away from the family (our "me time"). Our kids didn't have to work, as Mom and Dad would buy everything. And, after all, we Boomers were entitled, so you know our kids are entitled-on-steroids. And they disrespect us parents, and we don't really punish them in the way that our parents did that made US never want to say or do such things again. We "ground" our kids, then back down when the kids defy us. Maybe we are a single parent and don't have anyone to back us up vs. our kids . . so they wear us down and out instead of the reverse. And, of course, we know now that corporal punishment has fallen heavily into disfavor and can get us investigated by Children's Services, or even charged. So we try to persuade our kids to behave, which they quickly see as weakness and then hold us in even lower regard as time passes.

And few today believe anyone. This is "Critical Thinking" run amok. Politicians are all greedy liars. Corporations are all greedy liars. Union people are all lazy, greeding liars. Today, we even see religious leaders as greedy, perverted liars. No one is really believable, and we cannot trust our fellow citizens. The faith in thy fellow man, and the internalized controls on behavior that were installed in previous generations, do not exist in us. Everyone is out for number one -- f___ them! We would not know how to stick together as Americans if our lives depended on it . . and they might!

To me, this is how Americans declined into this mess we find ourselves in. The decline occurred first in us as people, and then our institutions and societal conditions declined from there.

Sorry -- too long-winded again. But I haven't felt like writing like this for a while, and it feels good! Nite!
Excellent posting but I think you're a little guilty of selecting your facts to fit what you're trying to say, the same as I'm about to do.

My father, who was I guess a member of the greatest generation, was drafted (as were most of them) at age 28 and was 31 when he got out of the army in 1945. But that was a little older than average. He was one of 12 children but the only one that served. He was the youngest and the rest were all too old. I, on the other hand, was 22 when I got out.

I had enlisted but most of those of the Vietnam generation were drafted, too, and although there was none of the current flag waving "support the troops" you hear all the time now, they went anyway. I'm always a little bothered when I see those "support the troops" bumper stickers because it is free pseudo-patriotism. It costs nothing. My son also served in the army and went to Iraq for the last 15 months of his time.

I know I often dispute what people here post but I'm about to do it again. Contrary to what you may believe, baby boomers did not all enjoy every material possession. In fact, I'd go so far to say that they had opportunities for work that teenagers no longer seem to have. When did you last see a teenager working in a McDonald's or gas station. I'm not so sure that's a good thing or a bad thing.

While we may or may not have thought a lot of ourselves, the critical eye we supposedly had was something that we were taught. Eventually we saw lots of things that our parents ignored, pretended didn't exist, didn't know about, or simply believed was the way things ought to be. I live in a state where a few counties actually shut down their school systems to avoid integration. Something like that tends to sour your high ideals of the American Way.

Say it ain't so, Joe.

I also think we have had administrations that have seemed to believe that we should have policies that enrich the rich. Remember the trickle down theory? How much made it down to you?

There's more but I'm not up to a long academic exercise on just two cups of coffee.

Have a nice day.
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Marseil
Marseil

May 7th, 2010, 9:38 pm #24

Some BIG New stories this past weekend.

1. The oil spill in the Gulf
2. 17 inches of rain in Tennessee
3. Car bomb found is Times Square

WOW, may we all live in interesting times

On number 1... I wonder how the drill baby drill crowd will feel once this oil hits the Redneck Riveria.

2. Let's all have good wishes for the people of Tennessee and the midwest that the damage is not too bad. I heard they actually had an evacuation plan for the Kentucky Derby just in case a tornado struck.

3. A bomb in Times Square on an 80 degree Saturday night could have been a tragedy. Let's all hope they catch this clown soon. Times Square has over 80 cameras so the law will catch him.

On a side note, one of our PBS stations runs cameras all over the city on the digital 2 frequency...On Saturday as the Nissan was being investigated, the cameras were shut off. I guess the police were already checking the tapes.

Thousands of tourists were kept from their hotels until the wee hours of the morning. One family I saw on MSNBC had a 9 year old child with them. I understand someone in the area saw the broadcast and offered them lodging.

WOW what a weekend!!
Poor tourists were kept out of their hotels, and had to go to another cafe for breakfast.....

At the same time, the earthquake in Sichuan made 2,000 victims, and 100,000 homeless, and you don't even bat an eye about them?

Marseil.
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Marseil
Marseil

May 7th, 2010, 9:41 pm #25

None of those things match what we are dealing with today- the unemployment peak was short-lived while many experts think our unemployment today will remain high indefinitely because we have lost so many jobs to overseas. We hardly make anything in this country anymore. The S&L "crisis" back then effected few people compared to millions who have lost their homes now. 3 trillion national debt?- hell- it's almost 13-trillion now- and rising! It was falling during Clinton's administration! And even before the latest stock market crash NASDAQ never reached the levels it was when Clinton was president. And you compare 241 servicemen in Lebanon with THOUSANDS killed in Iraq and Afghanistan?- not to mention many more thousands on 9/11- there is no comparison!
Again, you're forgetting the 100,000 innocent iraqi victims of the US war.
http://www.iraqbodycount.org/

Marseil.
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Marseil
Marseil

May 7th, 2010, 9:44 pm #26

Perhaps if we started electing candidates to Congress and to the Presidency that were brave enough to tackle these problems and understood how economics work than we could avoid this declining standard of living.

This quote has been going around the internet and no one seems to know who actually wrote it, but it says exactly why America is in decline:

"The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of
entrusting a man like him with the presidency. It will be easier to
limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the
necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate
willing to have such a man for their president.

The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is
a mere symptom of what ails us. Blaming the prince of the fools should
not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their
prince.

The republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a
fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those
who made him their president."
Brandon,

I'm utterly shocked with the level of the political debate in the US. I think nowhere in Europe we practice such insult / abuse in the political debate. I never believe abuse serves an efficient positive democratic debate.

Marseil.
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Marseil
Marseil

May 7th, 2010, 9:54 pm #27

"So you're saying that we are our own greatest danger?"

Yes, as we get further away from the concepts and ideas that made this country great. The entitlement mentality that more and more people have is what is changing this country and not for the better.

"Do you mean that all American voters (except yourself) are their own worst enemies? "

Obama got 53% of the vote, so I don't blame the 47% who made the right choice in 2008.

"Are you implying by that that we shouldn't be allowed to vote for whoever pleases us because that's too risky?"

No, I prefer to live in a representative democracy even though you run the risk as we did in 2008 of the majority of voters choosing foolishly.
"I prefer to live in a representative democracy even though you run the risk as we did in 2008 of the majority of voters choosing foolishly."

It is interesting to notice an enlightened dictatorship is often more efficient in the long term that a democracy where politicians in place have to set up policies with cosmetically positive short term effects and disastrous long term effects in order to win the next election. This is opening the way for all kind of populisms. ANd politicians do play on the nationalist issues. Some dictatorships have been more efficient than democracies: Chile in the 1970s was richer than all other Latin American countries. And, nowadays, CHina has got much better long term infrastructure development policies than the US or Europe. Their monetary policy is Laos much more beneficial to them than the European one to the Europeans or the US one to the USans. Also Singapore is very efficient in terms of economic development and raising the standard of living of Singaporean citizens;

This does not mean that I'd be happy to live in a dictatorship. I'm happy to live in a messy disorderly democracy!


Also, Brandon, do you still you still prefer the fool that had been appointed in 2000 and elected in 2004? And who is responsible for the economic financial and economic crisis, and who led the world into wars?


Marseil.
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Marseil
Marseil

May 7th, 2010, 10:01 pm #28

Well the decline began far before Obama so it pointless to blame him. It's as simple as the fact that we can't compete with countries like China who can make things much cheaper because that have a cheaper labor force.

Now we can look back at mistakes we made here in America that help bring this about. China and other far-eastern countries use to be no competition to us because they were backward agrarian countries with no manufacturing base. Ironically- it was our own companies seeking lower labor costs that gave them that base- and now it's all backfired on us with them not just supplementing our industry but replacing it. How can we compete with that without lower our wages and standard of living to theirs so we can make things as cheaply? And how many American would want to live on a Chinese wage?
The Chinese are very efficient at taking advantage of our sense of competition. In Western economies, everyone knows it is dangerous to transfer technology to CHina, but, at the same time, every company thinks "eh, if I don't do it, my competitor will do it, and get the short term benefits of this technology transfer. So I will work with the CHinese now! "

Even if CHina is a competition to us, I believe Chinese now live a lot better than in the 1970s during the Cultural revolution, and I'm happy for it for my CHinese fronds. The current (since Deng came into office) Chinese government is to be despised for many reasons, but it is to be commended for the fastest creation of a large middle class, and a steep increase of the standards of living of a very large part of the population.


Marseil.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 7th, 2010, 10:08 pm #29

Again, you're forgetting the 100,000 innocent iraqi victims of the US war.
http://www.iraqbodycount.org/

Marseil.
Yep- it's the egocentricity I mentioned in another post. I'm guilty of this myself. I don't mean to suggest that the death of people in other countries don't matter- it's just our natural tendency to focus on what happens to our own people.

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Marseil
Marseil

May 7th, 2010, 10:14 pm #30

Wow, what a lively discussion this week! Alright!

Here is my take: Multiple factors combined to bring about the decline in U.S. we see today. I think you need look no further than to compare the conditions that spawned "The Greatest Generation" with those that produced each succeeding and less-accomplished generation.

My parents grew up during the Great Depression. They weren't out of their teens when the U.S. entered WWII. They grew up with very little, saw Americans banding together to help each other, and they appreciated anything they did receive. Then, still youth, they fought and won the noblest war, returning as conquering heroes before they were 30. They were tested early and they passed with flying colors. And, they believed in their govt and in each other.

Zoom forward just a few years and we Baby Boomers come along. Our well-meaning parents tried to give us every material possession and opportunity they were denied as children. We grew up thinking we were it . . the all-important me. And while thinking so unrealistically high of ourselves, we also developed a critical eye toward our elders. In our minds, they bumbled into whatever success they had. We, the Boomers, could easily do better than that . . or so we thought.

In education, along came this idea of "Critical Thinking". The new theory was that prior generations were too naive, too easily deceived by . . their govt, corporations, the military-industrial complex, you name it. Our elders were not only the bumbling blind (with luck on their side), they were deceived into thinking things that the Boomers and their teachers were wise to and would not fall for. Yes, as time went on, we could see the fallacies our parents and grandparents lived by, and how they were not quite so successful at duping us into believing the same. Boy, were we Boomers something!

But, looking back: Our parents typically raised us in intact families . . while our own families typically ended in divorce. As children, we had parents, and grandparents, and aunts and uncles, and neighbors and even a stranger could tell us not to do something or "go home and tell your mother/father what you did, or I will!" And we did, and we got our behinds swatted and learned to not do such things again. We would never think to say, "Whatever" or "No, you do it" to our elders -- we got swift punishment that made us regret ever thinking of saying such things. And if we complained to teachers or any authority figure about what our parents had done, we were told, "Well, I hoped you learned never to do that again." No one said, "Your parents should be ashamed to mistreat a nice boy like you". No, they defended our parents, maybe even said we got off easy!

But, our own children didn't have such parental/adult supervision. All the adults were working. Their grandparents, aunts, uncles . . they all lived too far away or were too busy to tend to someone else's kids. As parents, we Boomers didn't want to be the ogres our parents were, so we didn't insist on things that our parents demanded: Eat wholesome meals, do chores around the house, speak politely to adults (or maybe not speak at all while adults were talking), go to bed at a decent hour, say your prayers. No, TV and movies raised our kids . . while we were busy working or recreating away from the family (our "me time"). Our kids didn't have to work, as Mom and Dad would buy everything. And, after all, we Boomers were entitled, so you know our kids are entitled-on-steroids. And they disrespect us parents, and we don't really punish them in the way that our parents did that made US never want to say or do such things again. We "ground" our kids, then back down when the kids defy us. Maybe we are a single parent and don't have anyone to back us up vs. our kids . . so they wear us down and out instead of the reverse. And, of course, we know now that corporal punishment has fallen heavily into disfavor and can get us investigated by Children's Services, or even charged. So we try to persuade our kids to behave, which they quickly see as weakness and then hold us in even lower regard as time passes.

And few today believe anyone. This is "Critical Thinking" run amok. Politicians are all greedy liars. Corporations are all greedy liars. Union people are all lazy, greeding liars. Today, we even see religious leaders as greedy, perverted liars. No one is really believable, and we cannot trust our fellow citizens. The faith in thy fellow man, and the internalized controls on behavior that were installed in previous generations, do not exist in us. Everyone is out for number one -- f___ them! We would not know how to stick together as Americans if our lives depended on it . . and they might!

To me, this is how Americans declined into this mess we find ourselves in. The decline occurred first in us as people, and then our institutions and societal conditions declined from there.

Sorry -- too long-winded again. But I haven't felt like writing like this for a while, and it feels good! Nite!
Bob,

Yes, long post, but very moving, and very true to a certain extent.

I believe what makes the East win upon the West is the sense of cohesion of Asian people. In Asia, when a decision is made everyone supports the decision, and acts to support and implement it. Also, Asians have a lot more respect for people and consideration for society cohesion than us.

Remember the difference in behavior of Asians after the 2004 tsunami and Americans after Katherina in New Orleans.

Marseil
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