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But why is that? We already have socialism -- it's just that we're afraid to call it what it is, and embrace it for the good it does.

 

The key is finding the right balance between capitalism and socialism. One cannot exist for prolonged periods without the other... but this throw back to mccarthyism every time a social program is discussed is ridiculous, and something our country needs to get over. Should we privatize your local police force? Certainly a good amount of government waste going on there, and capitalism will only make the police compete and be better, right? Also, why should my neighbor have access to the police when they can't afford to pay for it? This socialist service should be stopped!

I absolutely agree. There are many MANY examples. I just don't see why we must follow the socialized model for education and healthcare. They aren't always the shining stars they claim to be when it comes to innovation and service. There are other alternatives that have yet to be explored that would fit our American model better.... we don't all have to try to do it the same way.

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I absolutely agree. There are many MANY examples. I just don't see why we must follow the socialized model for education and healthcare. They aren't always the shining stars they claim to be when it comes to innovation and service. There are other alternatives that have yet to be explored that would fit our American model better.... we don't all have to try to do it the same way.

 

 

What other "model" would you suggest? How is that model not socialistic? What is our "American model"? Why is socialism so un-American?

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Make no mistake, socialism as a raw concept is not about spreading wealth more or less evenly and reasonably regulating the market but about static totalitarian control, disrespecting and denying any natural dynamics and making everybody equally poor (apart from a handful exceptions). I thought we were long over this - at least since the Berlin wall fell... The fact that the scare might still exist is beyond me.

 

Anyway, which of the two makes more sense, purely economically speaking ?

* 1 individual enabled by deregulation, inherited relations and good luck to raise a fortune of 100,000,000 and 999 individuals raising a fortune of 1,000 each

" 1 individual raising a fortune of 1,000,000 and 999 individuals raising a fortune of 100,000 each

(the figures are approximate but I suppose you get the gist)

 

Without making much effort in reflecting this, the first alternative can in fact be defined as basically 'third world'. Name the second one what you like but it's definitely not socialism.

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Without making much effort in reflecting this, the first alternative can in fact be defined as basically 'third world'. Name the second one what you like but it's definitely not socialism.

 

The ideals of socialism existed long before the botched experiment of the USSR.

 

Neither pure socialism nor capitalism can maintain a "healthy" society for prolonged periods of time. However, a mixture of both certainly can.

 

Of course it depends on what your definition of "healthy" is. If "healthy" to you is a society that allows its weakest to fall and perish, then 100% capitalism is where you want to be. Problem here is that some of the brightest minds can come from the lowliest of places -- so in discarding the "weakest" out of hand, you can actually be throwing away a most valuable asset for the future of humanity.

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Brainbone, we fundamentally agree. :(

 

I was basically just venting as I find it disheartening sometimes in discussing with conservative Americans that they are way too quick to play the 'socialism' card, use it basically as a cuss word and dismiss any discussion about fairly well functioning systems elsewhere in the world. I keep hearing this 'yeah, you guys over there with your socialist ideas... this is not American'... End of discussion. I just think people need to finally grow out of this weird polarisation that seems to be an irrational defense mechanism, almost out of some McCarthy-ist fear that hammer and sickle might rise again like Phoenix from the ashes.

 

Perhaps it's just playing with words but it has a strong psychological effect. I just don't get why social-democrat is no option in the head of many Americans - and probably certain other nations too. It seems like the connotation social is ok to use in social drinking, social gathering etc but when it comes to politics, everybody screams 'SOCIALIST' and I see the red flags, martial uniforms, tanks, the wall, cold war paranoia and bad food passing in front of my eyes again. It's 'black or white', 'friend or enemy', 'good or evil' that seems to be the only thing certain people are able to get their head around. That's why trying to sell a mixture of what many see as 'good and evil' aka 'capitalism and socialism' in the same system is probably not the smartest way to win certain people over for a fairer system. IMHO US politics need to quit those populist polarisations, objectively analyse and get inspired by some of the successfully implemented social institutions in other countries.

 

As we were talking about health care, by healthy I meant the physical and mental health of individuals, not of the system itself.

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Brainbone, we fundamentally agree. :D

 

...

 

Perhaps it's just playing with words but it has a strong psychological effect.

 

From my point of view, allowing the words socialism, liberal, welfare, etc. to be used as a negative is the problem. These words should be embraced, not rejected. Rejecting them allows the ideals behind them to be rejected as well.

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I couldn't agree more. I have always been of the opinion that drug companies are some of the worst criminals you can find. Why? Because nobody can convince me that in 2008 they can't find a cure for cancer or AIDS. There was a medical professor in Italy who had a cure to replace chemotherapy.

He was ridiculed and isolated by his colleagues and the Government, but adored by his patients.

 

Besides, nobody has ever seriously explained where the HIV virus came from. From the apes? Don't make me laugh.

Jon the Savage, is that you?

 

So your ideal world is one where a handful of people are filthy-rich and most are poor.

The vast majority of needy are not beggars, they are needy through no fault of their own. I believed the latest economic crisis had taught you that.

And the world you portray (the rich who graciously give small change away and the poor who have to beg), I believed it was long gone, that it belonged to two centuries ago.

That's quite a jump from "The poor are taking by force that which they did not earn" to "Descalo's ideal world only contains the richest and the poorest."

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Jon the Savage, is that you?

 

No, it is me, Alessandro17, and what I said is perfectly consistent with what I have written in the past.

 

That's quite a jump from "The poor are taking by force that which they did not earn" to "Descalo's ideal world only contains the richest and the poorest."

 

I don't thinks so. Your world is one where the needy must beg and the wealthy give graciously only if they want.

And BTW, how comes that spending billions of tax payers' money on criminal wars or bailing out a rotten financial system is OK, while spending it on social services is not? That is the difference between you Americans and us Europeans, I am afraid.

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I don't thinks so. Your world is one where the needy must beg and the wealthy give graciously only if they want.

And BTW, how comes that spending billions of tax payers' money on criminal wars or bailing out a rotten financial system is OK, while spending it on social services is not? That is the difference between you Americans and us Europeans, I am afraid.

I don't think you're being quite fair to Descalzo.

 

Why should we entrust our social well being to a government that, as you have cleverly pointed out, blows TRILLIONS on criminal wars and botched bailouts? And for someone advocating social justice, I'm a bit shocked by your elitist comments regarding the difference between Americans and Europeans. So, yes, I'm sorry too.

 

The theory behind socialism is a beautiful thing but I, for one, haven't been all that impressed with its real world application. That said, I am very encouraged by the work being done on that front. Of course, as an implied barbarian, what the hell do I know?

 

The United States is FAR from perfect. We have made many mistakes. The last 8 years have been particularly shocking. The current difficulties regarding the economy, education and healthcare have been building for decades. Our government has done a spectacular job ignoring their urgency. From a social justice standpoint, our current predicament is absolutely untenable. Equally untenable is the notion that there is only one way to solve the problem.

 

To say affordable, accessible, and competent healthcare for ALL can only be offered by the state is a rather small and limited idea... and before you spout off about "look at your current mess," need I remind you of previous experimentations in socialism? Socialism is not the narrow gate by which all must enter if seeking equality and justice. The American social model was based on the concept that the needs of the one are NOT incompatible with the needs of the many. Market economies have proven strengths beyond the mere creation of wealth. There are many who would argue our situation was brought about by the very thing some seem to think will save us: expansion of powers by the government.

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There are many who would argue our situation was brought about by the very thing some seem to think will save us: expansion of powers by the government.

 

Are you talking about the same economic trouble that we're in now?? To boil it down to it's most simplistic form, it started with the thinking that lenders would always do what is best for their long-term interest, and didn't need strict government oversight and/or transparency. This is by no means from any expansion of government... now can you imagine if social security had been privatized?

 

How did government let things go this way? People lost control of their government -- eagerly handing control of it over to the influence of corporations. We stopped reading newspapers, and started being spoonfed "news" from the TV. Worse, when we do read, we read blogs and opinion articles instead of forming our own opinions based on the facts of any given situation. It's been years in the making... I'm honestly amazed we made it this far.

 

Socialism is not the narrow gate by which all must enter if seeking equality and justice.

 

In some form or another yes, actually, it is.

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The theory behind socialism is a beautiful thing but I, for one, haven't been all that impressed with its real world application...

 

need I remind you of previous experimentations in socialism?

 

Why do you keep insisting that the only form of Socialism was that in the former USSR? That was in reality nothing but a dictatorship.

I, together with others, have been underlining the social democratic elements in most Western European democracies, and those seem to work perfectly well. Right now we are leaning towards right wing policies, but that is another matter.

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Are you talking about the same economic trouble that we're in now?? To boil it down to it's most simplistic form, it started with the thinking that lenders would always do what is best for their long-term interest, and didn't need strict government oversight and/or transparency. This is by no means from any expansion of government... now can you imagine if social security had been privatized?

I spend 8 hours a day looking at consumer mortgages for the ONLY remaining US bank with a AAA credit rating. I live and breath this :censored2: all day long. I'm not some economics super guru but I can honestly say with 100% certainty, that it was indeed government intervention that set us on this collision course with disaster. In the industry, we ALL know it. Please google the relationship between the Clinton Administration, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the growth of the sub-prime mortgage market. While I wasn't with the company for most of this period, they take great pride in the fact that their mortgage business only grew a modest 5% during that time while their competitors grew 50%-100%. Our consumer mortgage portfolio still only contains a fraction of 1% of anything remotely resembling the crapola these other lenders generated. Maybe that is why banks like CitiGroup are reporting losses in the billions and we actually grew our business in the billions. I don't have to look for some ethereal reason to place blame out of some sense of collective guilt.

 

Since the early 70's, the federal government has played a dominant role in the secondary mortgage market. In the 1990s, The Clinton Administration pushed through reforms that forced Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to relax tried and true lending practices in order to realize the Administrations goal of extending the American dream of homeownership to lower income Americans. A whole cottage industry developed around this new "sub-prime" market. To spread the risk around, clever bankers thought up securitizing these loans and selling them off to investors like Bear Stearns and the like... of course there were some limitations to the amount of collateral securitizations banks could be involved with but there too the Government encouraged adoption of this scheme by relaxing regulation. Soon lenders realized they could make mountains of money up front and not be held accountable long term for poor investments... they'd often have a buyer for the note before the sell was even finalized! All thanks to our extremely cooperative and oh so encouraging government... the same government who has done wonders with medicare, medicaid, and social security... which when you factor in those unfunded entitlements brings our national debt from the staggering $10 trillion plus to an incomprehensible $60 trillion plus.

 

So while I do agree greed caused this mess.... it was our governement who started it... it was our government who encouraged it... it was our government who, DESPITE warnings from financial analysts, economists, and the few banks trying to compete with those greedy :censored2: lenders, perpetuated it... The same government who only a short while ago basically said "oops, our bad. Give us $700 billion and we'll buy back the worst of these crappy loans" in order to give the interbank system the ability to gauge credit worthiness among its borrowers thus allowing the credit to start following again... only to turn right around after we the people signed the check and say... "actually, we have another plan... it's more of the same thing that hasn't worked yet but this time it will be different. We promise!"

 

Um no... in my ideal world, we would be making a controlled exit from this era of gargantuan government that picks and chooses arbitrarily when it meddles. With sensible regulation using accepted and proven principles, free market solutions are our best hope. Socialism from a constitutional standpoint really is un-American... to answer a question posed earlier. Let Europe develop that option while we return to our roots and develop alternatives based on choice and competition.

 

Why do you keep insisting that the only form of Socialism was that in the former USSR? That was in reality nothing but a dictatorship.

I, together with other, have been underlying the social democratic elements in most Western European democracies, and those seem to work perfectly well. Right now we are leaning towards right wing policies, but that is another matter.

I don't keep insisting anything. This is the first I mentioned "previous experimentations" with an "s" as in plural. That can entail entire countries or individual programs. But, yes, the USSR is a failed experiment in socialism too.

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I'm not some economics super guru but I can honestly say with 100% certainty, that it was indeed government intervention that set us on this collision course with disaster.

 

HUD did not force lenders to over sell loans on stated income -- they did that all on their own. The over use of stated income is the primary catalyst of this mess that we're in now -- but I will concede that now that things have collapsed because of the mess caused from stated income loans, the abundance of non stated income sub-prime loans cased by HUD only contribute to the problem, along with HUD, and congress, turning a blind eye (or worse, increasing the percentage of sub-prime loans to be handed out) when they were made aware of the problem.

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HUD did not force lenders to over sell loans on stated income -- they did that all on their own.

*laugh*

 

I guess you're right, they didn't hold a gun to their head. Instead, they played off their greed by encouraging them to adopt lax standards, proactively eliminating regulation that slowed down the growth of the sub-prime sector, throwing money at the "sub-prime" performers with exceptional rates based on NOTHING, and congratulating them on a job well done at every opportunity. Yeah... whatever. The government stacked the cards in the favor of these lending predators, egged them on, ignored the fall out as long as possible.

 

Yep, my government, who can't seem to ever be able to balance their checkbook, would be the perfect bunch to realize a social democracy because everything they touch turns to freaking gold... Social Security must be most well managed benefits fund on the planet. Medicare and Medicaid are renowned for their efficiency and exceptional service. Amtrak is the envy of rail lines everywhere. Out of the 35 years the USPS has been recognized, it has managed not to loose money 3 times, OUTSTANDING! And lets not forget the superb work by FNMA and FHLMC! I am sure we could just go on forever. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ROCKS! Let's just give them ALL of our paycheck and then they can tell us how to best spend it because they are SO FREAKING SMART there would no more poverty for sure! OMG... I'm getting tingly all over... maybe there is something to Bush's legacy of peace after all! GROUP HUG EVERYONE!!!

 

OK... I'm a smart ass. I shouldn't make fun of your ideals because they really are praiseworthy. Understand my cynicism is mostly directed at that worthless mass of resource squanderers collectively known as Uncle Sam. As noble as socialism wishes to be... please don't make them do it. They are sure to :) it up so badly, INS will have to close up shop for want of work!

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*laugh*

 

I guess you're right, they didn't hold a gun to their head. Instead, they played off their greed by encouraging them to adopt lax standards, proactively eliminating regulation that slowed down the growth of the sub-prime sector

 

Increase of the sub-prime market wasn't the problem. Allowing it to grow out of control was.

 

Again, a monster created not by too much government, but instead a government that thought less regulation was better.

 

Put yet another way, government intervention created a great opportunity. Not enough regulation and oversight of that opportunity ended in disaster.

 

The very firms that went crazy selling stated income loans are the same ones that lobbied against any regulation time and time again.

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I don't know if any of you guys on here got a loan for whatever it is - house, car... or perhaps a humongous fridge/freezer combo or 7.1 + 50 inch wide screen system you definitely don't need for living comfortably... It's also none of my business but, if positive, just ask yourself 'can I really afford it and why did I have myself being talked into this by the bank/marketing/sales staff etc?' and then if you realise you can't really afford it ask yourself 'WHY NOT??'

 

However, that's the whole issue in this world economic/credit crunch. The conservatives always run into their very own trap, that is, the dichotomy of encouraging relentless consumerism on one hand and profit maximisation on the other. So they think. The problem is that entire industries in conservative systems are also enabled and even encouraged (also due to deregulation) to underpay their employees or to make them consume more than they can afford and thus make them 'credit slaves' to their system. That is, in order to keep short term profits as high as possible and shift the risk to the banks or whoever will pay for those people who consume more than they can afford. (I call it hit-and-run schemes, others may call it 'free' economy).

 

Anyway, it's safe to assume that it doesn't take a massive amount of intelligence and/or economic knowledge to figure out that this sort of scheme cannot hold water for long. Either you let these credit schemes slip through but pay your people accordingly OR you assess the risks properly by prohibiting people to live beyond their means by law. Or better, establish a healthy balance by obligating creditors (banks, leasing contractors etc) to properly inform people about all the risks, especially if - and that's the whole point - wages and the employment market are not stable.

 

It absolutely cannot be that a few heads lucky enough to be in the right position go gambling with other people's hard earned savings and when they win they put 99% in their own pocket but when they lose they deperately cry for help from the state and the taxpayer. Any more hypocrite you die.

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I don't know if any of you guys on here got a loan for whatever it is - house, car... or perhaps a humongous fridge/freezer combo or 7.1 + 50 inch wide screen system you definitely don't need for living comfortably... It's also none of my business but, if positive, just ask yourself 'can I really afford it and why did I have myself being talked into this by the bank/marketing/sales staff etc?' and then if you realise you can't really afford it ask yourself 'WHY NOT??'

 

However, that's the whole issue in this world economic/credit crunch. The conservatives always run into their very own trap, that is, the dichotomy of encouraging relentless consumerism on one hand and profit maximisation on the other. So they think. The problem is that entire industries in conservative systems are also enabled and even encouraged (also due to deregulation) to underpay their employees or to make them consume more than they can afford and thus make them 'credit slaves' to their system. That is, in order to keep short term profits as high as possible and shift the risk to the banks or whoever will pay for those people who consume more than they can afford. (I call it hit-and-run schemes, others may call it 'free' economy).

 

Anyway, it's safe to assume that it doesn't take a massive amount of intelligence and/or economic knowledge to figure out that this sort of scheme cannot hold water for long. Either you let these credit schemes slip through but pay your people accordingly OR you assess the risks properly by prohibiting people to live beyond their means by law. Or better, establish a healthy balance by obligating creditors (banks, leasing contractors etc) to properly inform people about all the risks, especially if - and that's the whole point - wages and the employment market are not stable.

 

It absolutely cannot be that a few heads lucky enough to be in the right position go gambling with other people's hard earned savings and when they win they put 99% in their own pocket but when they lose they deperately cry for help from the state and the taxpayer. Any more hypocrite you die.

If you're trying to say the bailouts were wrong, I agree.

 

 

I don't know if any of you guys on here got a loan for whatever it is - house, car... or perhaps a humongous fridge/freezer combo or 7.1 + 50 inch wide screen system you definitely don't need for living comfortably... It's also none of my business but, if positive, just ask yourself 'can I really afford it and why did I have myself being talked into this by the bank/marketing/sales staff etc?' and then if you realise you can't really afford it ask yourself 'WHY NOT??'

 

However, that's the whole issue in this world economic/credit crunch. The conservatives always run into their very own trap, that is, the dichotomy of encouraging relentless consumerism on one hand and profit maximisation on the other. So they think. The problem is that entire industries in conservative systems are also enabled and even encouraged (also due to deregulation) to underpay their employees or to make them consume more than they can afford and thus make them 'credit slaves' to their system. That is, in order to keep short term profits as high as possible and shift the risk to the banks or whoever will pay for those people who consume more than they can afford. (I call it hit-and-run schemes, others may call it 'free' economy).

 

Anyway, it's safe to assume that it doesn't take a massive amount of intelligence and/or economic knowledge to figure out that this sort of scheme cannot hold water for long. Either you let these credit schemes slip through but pay your people accordingly OR you assess the risks properly by prohibiting people to live beyond their means by law. Or better, establish a healthy balance by obligating creditors (banks, leasing contractors etc) to properly inform people about all the risks, especially if - and that's the whole point - wages and the employment market are not stable.

 

It absolutely cannot be that a few heads lucky enough to be in the right position go gambling with other people's hard earned savings and when they win they put 99% in their own pocket but when they lose they deperately cry for help from the state and the taxpayer. Any more hypocrite you die.

If you're trying to say the bailouts were wrong, I agree.

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It's funny how America messed up, and now countries like Iceland are seriously suffering from it :hysterical:

 

America - the world loves you! :D

 

Instead of blaming an entire country, why not blame the small criminal cartel that started the problem, like the IMF world bank, Ben Bernake, Alan Greenspan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, etc.. and the political puppets they bought out?

 

Both of the presidential candidates voted FOR the bailout. Why not blame them? Why vote for them still? Why vote for something you are against? That doesn't make any sense.

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Instead of blaming an entire country, why not blame the small criminal cartel that started the problem, like the IMF world bank, Ben Bernake, Alan Greenspan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, etc.. and the political puppets they bought out?

 

Both of the presidential candidates voted FOR the bailout. Why not blame them? Why vote for them still? Why vote for something you are against? That doesn't make any sense.

Wells Fargo? While I wouldn't say they never generated a garbage loan, the practice wasn't institutionalized like at New Century, Countrywide, IndyMac and many many others. Their portfolio still garners a AAA rating. Also, Wells Fargo actually just saved the taxpayers $12 billion by snagging Wachovia from CitiGroup. So no, Wells Fargo had little to do with this fiasco.

 

I do agree with your thoughts on Bernanke and especially Greenspan.... did you hear him today? OMG! I'd say you made a mistake, Alan! What exactly IS "hands off regulation?" Oh yeah.. NO REGULATION! *laugh* I'd also throw rocks at Sec. Paulson... just because he's a lap dog. Man, wouldn't it be nice if we all could earn as much as these yahoos yet be allowed such levels of incompetence?

 

As far as voting for the bailout... I certainly did. The initial proposal had promise. Sure, it would have let some scum bags off the hook... but it also had clear benefits to everyday Americans many felt outweighed the bad. But, I was very wrong. Like many of you had the foresight to understand, the government takes a promising idea then mismanages, rethinks, and amends it into oblivion. Hold onto your hats, gents. You might want off but this ride ain't done! :(

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It's funny how America messed up, and now countries like Iceland are seriously suffering from it :angel:

 

America - the world loves you! :angel:

 

Actually, it's the banking cartel (which is based in the US) messed up.

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Instead of blaming an entire country, why not blame the small criminal cartel that started the problem, like the IMF world bank, Ben Bernake, Alan Greenspan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, etc.. and the political puppets they bought out?

 

Both of the presidential candidates voted FOR the bailout. Why not blame them? Why vote for them still? Why vote for something you are against? That doesn't make any sense.

 

 

 

There are some 3rd party candidates that had some pretty good ideas ... but the people are brainwashed into believing only democrate or republican is the possible choses

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