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Thursday, April 03, 2014

OTP April 2014: BurstNET Sued for Not Making Equipment Lease Payments

Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 03, 2014 at 01:59 PM | 4718 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: 7 million aca signees and counting, i-95 south, nc, politics

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   101. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 06, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4680273)
David was apparently trapped in a server room at Burstnet's old PA location.
   102. JE (Jason) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4680275)
Hello? Can anyone hear me? Is this thing on?

Never mind whether you plan to run for public office in this cycle or the next, David, are you even a registered Republican?

EDIT:
David was apparently trapped in a server room at Burstnet's old PA location.

Based on his extended absence from BBTF, one might conclude that he was trapped there long before Burstnet hit the skids.
   103. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 06, 2014 at 12:18 PM (#4680280)
I can't imagine why anyone would hate Obamacare. I switched from a private plan to Obamacare myself. Because of its ban on exclusions for most pre-existing conditions, I was able to buy a plan for $15,000 a year that should cover almost 100% of my families annual $60,000 in medical expenses.

It looks like a huge win for me and my family.

It also looks like a financial disaster for insurers who should be substantially increasing premiums and dropping coverage over the next few years. Hopefully I'll get a couple good years before the whole thing falls apart.
   104. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 06, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4680284)
I can't imagine why anyone would hate Obamacare. I switched from a private plan to Obamacare myself.


No one who is not insurable who wasn't previously insurable hates the ACA. Opposition comes almost exclusively from people who already have quality coverage, and that cohort skews to people with coverage who are politically opposed to anything Democrats do.
   105. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 06, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4680290)
The test is whether folks like ObamaCare better than what they had.


Considering they had nothing before I suspect this will be a pretty easy test.


Considering they had unlimited free healthcare at their local emergency room, convincing anyone to pay a monthly premium us a big impediment to liking it more.

No one who is not insurable who wasn't previously insurable hates the ACA. Opposition comes almost exclusively from people who already have quality coverage, and that cohort skews to people with coverage who are politically opposed to anything Democrats do.


Everyone loves a free lunch when someone else pays for it, which is why I love Obamacare.

When your cheapest option is $700 a month for a family of 4 and that increases by 20% a year because the ban on excluding pre-existing conditions attracts a flood of high cost self employed like me, soon no one is going to like it, and few will use it.
   106. zenbitz Posted: April 06, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4680291)
ACA may be a ###########, but at least it tried to solve a problem. And helped some folks like KT out despite wholesale attempts by 47% of the country to sabotage it because they are Bloods and it's a Crip plan.

   107. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 06, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4680293)
Considering they had unlimited free healthcare at their local emergency room, convincing anyone to pay a monthly premium us a big impediment to liking it more.


I suspect very few people making the "emergency room services were free healthcare" argument ever lived without health insurance for very long. And the idea that 'if you're so sick you need the emergency room it's right there" is comparable to annual checkups and actual preventative health maintenance is... It requires a special sort of stupid.
   108. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4680294)
Never mind whether you plan to run for public office in this cycle or the next, David, are you even a registered Republican?
Registered Democrat, actually. But I didn't read your comment as so narrow as to apply only to elected Republican officeholders.
   109. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4680295)
No one who is not insurable who wasn't previously insurable hates the ACA. Opposition comes almost exclusively from people who already have quality coverage, and that cohort skews to people with coverage who are politically opposed to anything Democrats do.
"Welfare recipients like welfare."
   110. zenbitz Posted: April 06, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4680297)
Not to mention you've got the pharmaceutical companies who sponge off government research while spending twice as much money on marketing as they do on their independent R&D


This is a false dichotomy Andy. Marketing is net profitable; they spend billions to make more billions. And the primary cost of drug development isn't basic research it's clinical trials. (With the caveat that most developmental drugs just flat out don't work -- no matter who does the original research)
   111. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 06, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4680306)
"Welfare recipients like welfare."


Societies support their citizens. I know it's hard for you, the idea of the common good.
   112. Tripon Posted: April 06, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4680307)
"Welfare recipients like welfare."


The Elderly: "FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. LEAVE OUR MEDICARE ALONE."
   113. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4680311)
Societies support their citizens. I know it's hard for you, the idea of the common good.

"Society" doesn't have any money. You're taking money from one citizen and giving it to another.

The average Obamacare enrollee and/or taxpayer is likely quite a bit poorer than KT. Why should they be subsidizing him when he could pay his own way, as he was doing before?
   114. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4680313)
"Society" doesn't have any money. You're taking money from one citizen and giving it to another.


Find me that magical taxless government where society doesn't do that for the common good and we can talk. Otherwise, you're just whinging because you don't like being part of a society (when it doesn't benefit you.)
   115. Mefisto Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4680317)
"Society" doesn't have any money. You're taking money from one citizen and giving it to another.


Citizens don't have money. In the absence of government, citizens can only barter. Only the government has money, because "money" is only that which the government will accept and enforce. The government supplies its citizens with that money via loans and purchases and salaries.
   116. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4680318)
Not that all taxes are rational or good, of course. Reihan Salam's rather stupid idea that people who understand how to operate birth control should pay for the breeders' inability to do so is clearly wrong.
   117. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4680319)
If you've got quotes from Rand Paul or Ted Cruz advocating cuts in federal monies for medical research, please feel free to share. I have yet to see them.

Paul has advocated major across the board cuts to the CDC, the NIH, and the NSF. I'm sure that none of these cuts could possibly affect medical R&D, and if you've got any statements by Paul that he'd exempt research from any of his proposed cuts, I'm sure you'll be happy to provide them.

-----------------------------------------------

"Welfare recipients like welfare."

Glad to see that Mr. "Taxes Are Stealing My Life" Nieporent hasn't been replaced by a pod person in his absence. Welcome back to whatever percentage of you the government hasn't killed.
   118. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4680327)
How to end abortion in America. (The policy is detailed in the first comment, not the blog itself.)
   119. JE (Jason) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4680334)
Paul has advocated major across the board cuts to the CDC, the NIH, and the NSF. I'm sure that none of these cuts could possibly affect medical R&D, and if you've got any statements by Paul that he'd exempt research from any of his proposed cuts, I'm sure you'll be happy to provide them.

No, Andy, I have been pretty specific regarding medical research. Let's see a quote.

EDIT: I found a 2010 quote from Paul when he was a candidate calling for a mixture of federal and local spending for breast cancer research.
   120. tshipman Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4680335)
No, Andy, I have been pretty specific regarding medical research. Let's see a quote.


Jason, that's kinda bullshit. Paul Ryan wants to cut discretionary funding by two thirds. He never says what he's going to cut, so you can't say that he wants to cut cancer research or that he wants to cut food stamps, or that he wants to cut anything popular. It's always magically the unpopular stuff he's somehow going to cut.

No one in public office is going to say out loud that they want to cut cancer research (David excepted). It is just going to work out that we can't afford cancer research--not after those tax cuts and with the national debt and all.
   121. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4680337)
Interesting article on Warren Buffett

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/business/the-oracle-of-omaha-lately-looking-a-bit-ordinary.html

Mr. Buffett’s talents are widely known. But despite his celebrated past performance, his returns since the beginning of 2009 have been disappointing.

In four of the last five calendar years, he has underperformed his own benchmark, the S.&P. 500 with dividends, often by significant margins. (In 2011, his return of 4.6 percent beat the benchmark by 2.6 percentage points.) In addition, data provided by Morningstar shows that he underperformed the average stock mutual fund investor in four of the five years.)

By contrast, in the previous decades, he had underperformed the S.&P. only six times. Mr. Mehta said his calculations showed that given such a long period of outperformance, there is only a 3 percent chance that the recent stretch of underperformance was a matter of bad luck.


Every 5 years or so, the world decides that Buffett has lost it. There is a huge sea of people for whom his success is painful, even damaging, and they perpetually are waiting in the wings for any opportunity to tear him down. The list includes stockbrokers, who profit from clients trading the market and churning accounts, and a behavior Buffett regularly preaches against and demonstrates how high returns can be achieved without trading. "Investing" news outlets like CNBC, who desperately want you to think today's events and prices are so important and tradable that you must watch them. And academics in love with pure efficient market theory that Buffett's existence alone disproves.

In the case of this "academic", he clearly doesn't understand how to measure Buffett's actual performance, and cherry picked his endpoints. If Buffett was running any real investment fund, his portfolio would be marked to market, ie he'd be measured on the performance of what he bought and sold and held. But Warren runs a holding company, so same measure would be book value, which is reported every quarter. Instead Mehta used BRK stock price, which isn't Buffett's actual performance, it's the markets opinion of his performance. Now, in the very long run both should be similar, but as we shall see, this study wasn't done over the very long run. The fact he didn't use book value means all his fancy financial modeling (he used beta, LOL) was applied to the wrong thing.

Next, his choice of 5.5 years is a red flag alone. Why not just a standard 5 years? Because he wanted to cherry pick the worst possible time frame. His website post is dated February 12. Over the two weeks before that Berkshire Hathaway stock ranged from about $165,000 and $172,000, it's lowest price of the last year. And BRK was outperformed by the S&P by about 10% since last August. So using 5.5 years instead of 5 years from his pre crash start point, which was likely needed by Mehta to come up with his spurious premise. He is essentially saying Buffett was pretty good for five years but subpar over 5.5 years, based again on the wrong measures of course.

The reality is Buffet himself has tried for 60 years to educate people to focus on things like book value and true free cash flow (owner earnings) for very good reason. Price is what you pay, value is what you get. Around the same time Mehta was running his analysis I noticed that Berkshire Hathaway was near a one year low, and much more important, it's price to book value had dropped below 1.3, which was a very good price based on historical measures. So I put about 15% of my portfolio into the B shares and around $108. I was very busy working and to my regret decided to wait for a better price before buying more, and since then the BRK has moved up 15%. So if Mehta redid his analysis today, he may now have to conclude Buffett is again pretty good over 5 years, 7 months.

For myself I wish I had just simply put my entire portfolio into Berkshire Hathaway so I can get back to work and not think about my portfolio at all anymore. The truth is Warren Buffett has too much money to invest to be able to invest in the highest return investments anymore, Berkshire Hathaway's simply too large to ever again have the returns that had 20, 30 and 40 years ago, and when Warren Buffet retires or dies in a few years the stock will likely take a terrifying short-term plunge. But I would still sleep well knowing he will do better than index funds over time, and that Berkshire is worth more than I paid so even when he's gone its very independent subsidiaries will go in churning out owner earnings, that will find their way into my pocket, be it by dividend, or buy back, or simply price agreeing with value over time.
   122. Lassus Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4680338)
Considering they had unlimited free healthcare at their local emergency room

Is this, like, a joke of some sort?
   123. JE (Jason) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4680343)
Jason, that's kinda ########. Paul Ryan wants to cut discretionary funding by two thirds. He never says what he's going to cut, so you can't say that he wants to cut cancer research or that he wants to cut food stamps, or that he wants to cut anything popular. It's always magically the unpopular stuff he's somehow going to cut.

No one in public office is going to say out loud that they want to cut cancer research (David excepted). It is just going to work out that we can't afford cancer research--not after those tax cuts and with the national debt and all.

Right. Paul Ryan's budget is deliberately vague because there's no chance of it becoming law.
   124. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4680346)
ACA may be a ###########, but at least it tried to solve a problem. And helped some folks like KT out despite wholesale attempts by 47% of the country to sabotage it because they are Bloods and it's a Crip plan.



Except that I have a 6 figure income and enough personal savings to pay my families medical bills out of pocket for decades. People like me will drive prices sky high, driving out healthy families who could benefit from this plan.

People on message boards can't sabotage squat. The lack of pre-existing conditions alone will kill this plan.

There is a reason single payer systems work, they can't be gamed in the way I get to game Obamacare. There is no need for pre-existing conditions when everyone is covered from birth, all you need is strict limits on choice, care, and more payroll taxes. I'm doubting a single payer system would work for my daughter, daily in home therapists is simply too expensive. In France they historically would shuffle my daughter off to an asylum, and have their Freudian quacks tell my wife it was her fault because despite all outward appearances, she clearly didn't love my daughter enough.
   125. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4680349)
Find me that magical taxless government where society doesn't do that for the common good and we can talk. Otherwise, you're just whinging because you don't like being part of a society (when it doesn't benefit you.)

That's irrelevant.

Of course every society raises some taxes for some purposes. My only point was that the limited amount of tax dollars shouldn't be used to subsidize health care for people who can afford their own.

Citizens don't have money. In the absence of government, citizens can only barter. Only the government has money, because "money" is only that which the government will accept and enforce. The government supplies its citizens with that money via loans and purchases and salaries.

Fundamentally incorrect. For the vast majority of history, Gov't issued money only had value because it contained precious metal. No one cared if a coin was French, English, or Venetian as long as it contained gold or silver. Society determined the means of exchange independent of Gov't. Fiat money is a very modern invention.
   126. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4680351)
Considering they had unlimited free healthcare at their local emergency room

Is this, like, a joke of some sort?


It's illegal for them to refuse medically necessary care. Every 20 something I know knows this, why pay for insurance when you can just go to ER, they have to treat you. Insurance is only for asset protection, who needs it when you don't have assets?

Doctors also take an oath, which used to mean care for everyone who needs it regardless of ability to pay, but now apparently means lobby congress so they don't have to.
   127. tshipman Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4680354)
It's illegal for them to refuse medically necessary care. Doctors also take an oath, which used to mean care for everyone who needs it regardless of ability to pay, but now apparently means lobby congress so they don't have to.


Do you really think there are a lot of people who use the emergency room twice a year and declare bankruptcy? How often can you even declare bankruptcy?

And that will do a lot of good for someone who has a kid that needs dialysis. The right to emergency room care pretty much covers someone who breaks a leg but doesn't have insurance. It's a one time thing (hopefully) that doesn't need extensive follow-up.

Right. Paul Ryan's budget is deliberately vague because there's no chance of it becoming law.


I don't understand, Jason, you're making my points. Paul Ryan is in favor of cutting the category of spending that cancer research fits into. He would probably claim he is not in favor of cutting cancer research, but his claims are not credible, since he is unwilling to state what it is that he would cut.
   128. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4680358)
Societies support their citizens. I know it's hard for you, the idea of the common good.
There's no such thing as society.
   129. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4680363)
Citizens don't have money. In the absence of government, citizens can only barter. Only the government has money, because "money" is only that which the government will accept and enforce. The government supplies its citizens with that money via loans and purchases and salaries.


Bitcoin and a hundred crypto-currencies alone disprove this today. Historically there have been many non governmental currencies, but they were not as successful or useful when gold backed governmental currencies existed.

You can argue that Bitcoin is just another form of barter because it's not "backed", but neither is the USD. Our ability to maintain the value of the USD will crack just like Soros broke the pound, every currency will reach the level of its intrinsic value. Another 6-8 years and another $10 trillion in debt brings us to the brink of a real default, that will destroy faith in the USD. Whether it's cancer research or military spending, spending needs to be cut severely, we simply can't continue to spend nearly 30% of GDP on governmental programs, there aren't enough taxes possible to close that gap.
   130. JE (Jason) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:16 PM (#4680365)
I don't understand, Jason, you're making my points. Paul Ryan is in favor of cutting the category of spending that cancer research fits into. He would probably claim he is not in favor of cutting cancer research, but his claims are not credible, since he is unwilling to state what it is that he would cut.

Sorry, Shipman, but "Paul Ryan is in favor of cutting the category of spending that cancer research fits into" is not the same as "Paul Ryan supports cutting cancer research." Wake me when Ryan weighs in on the FY18 budget.

EDIT: IMHO, a real-life Ryan budget is more likely to push more modest reductions in spending rather than unpopular cuts to cancer research.
   131. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4680366)
For the vast majority of history, Gov't issued money only had value because it contained precious metal. No one cared if a coin was French, English, or Venetian as long as it contained gold or silver. Society determined the means of exchange independent of Gov't. Fiat money is a very modern invention.


Seigniorage dates back at least to the Romans.
   132. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4680372)
Seigniorage dates back at least to the Romans.

Sure, Governments tried to cheat the system by debasing the currency. But, when the people figured out it was happening, the value of the currency plummeted, and Gov'ts had massive financial difficulties.

There's a reason that "debase" has such a negative connotation.
   133. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4680391)
There's a reason that "debase" has such a negative connotation


It's why Debaser is an awesome song, until you listen to the lyrics.
   134. tshipman Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4680394)
You can argue that Bitcoin is just another form of barter because it's not "backed", but neither is the USD. Our ability to maintain the value of the USD will crack just like Soros broke the pound, every currency will reach the level of its intrinsic value. Another 6-8 years and another $10 trillion in debt brings us to the brink of a real default, that will destroy faith in the USD. Whether it's cancer research or military spending, spending needs to be cut severely, we simply can't continue to spend nearly 30% of GDP on governmental programs, there aren't enough taxes possible to close that gap.


At least we'll have a ton of heads up, given that every other country in the world who spends/taxes more as a percentage of GDP will go tits up before we do. So when France, the UK, Germany, China, etc etc etc all descend into lawless anarchy, we'll look at your proposals.

Until then, just go on being a nutter.

Sorry, Shipman, but "Paul Ryan is in favor of cutting the category of spending that cancer research fits into" is not the same as "Paul Ryan supports cutting cancer research." Wake me when Ryan weighs in on the FY18 budget.


So your point is that until someone says "I am in favor of cutting cancer research" you don't believe Republicans want to cut it? I mean, I'm sure we'll hear that soundbite right after, "I hate puppies and babies," and "Gosh, people who attend church regularly sure are suckers--Hail Satan!"
   135. Lassus Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4680395)
KT: Dialysis, there's a good one. Seriously, I can go to the emergency room for Type I-diabetes-induced kidney failure weekly dialysis treatments? Or does that not fall under medically necessary care?

Jason: Are you actually ready bet money that Paul Ryan will propose no budgetary cuts that will reduce federal money for cancer research? None? Because I'm about to go on vacation, and that cash would really help out.

   136. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4680404)
I suspect very few people making the "emergency room services were free healthcare" argument ever lived without health insurance for very long. And the idea that 'if you're so sick you need the emergency room it's right there" is comparable to annual checkups and actual preventative health maintenance is... It requires a special sort of stupid.


Well, then my 48 year old brother is the dumbest former state chess champion ever I guess.

He supports himself by as a delivery guy, and spends his free time skiing (water, jet, snow, snowboarding, you name it). He's legitimately poor, rents a room from a nice couple. Every few years he has a major medical emergency (last year fell off a ski lift, a few years back surgery, appendix I believe). He's obviously in decent shape, doesn't seem to worry about annual checkups or anything, but can scrape up enough dough to visit the doc if he's not feeling well.

Both of his major medical emergencies cost thousands of dollars, $8,000 for the appendix IIRC. He actually had a few thousand in savings he was thinking of offering as a downpayment, but I gently guided him to the realization that if he asked for a payment plan and disclosed his income he might get a better deal. The $8k bill was written off for a single $1,200 payment when he did. I'm sure partly it was the doctor/hospital doing their Hippocratic obligations, and partly the idea that they mark up their services an extraordinary amount knowing that insurance companies will knock them down just as extraordinarily, and that individuals are frequently be non, or partial payers, so trying to get all parties payments to average out to what they really want.
   137. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4680405)
Paul has advocated major across the board cuts to the CDC, the NIH, and the NSF. I'm sure that none of these cuts could possibly affect medical R&D, and if you've got any statements by Paul that he'd exempt research from any of his proposed cuts, I'm sure you'll be happy to provide them.

No, Andy, I have been pretty specific regarding medical research. Let's see a quote.


So we have to assume that all across the board cuts to agencies like the CDC/NIH/NSF will magically exempt research? Is that really what you're trying to get at?

EDIT: I found a 2010 quote from Paul when he was a candidate calling for a mixture of federal and local spending for breast cancer research.

Here how Paul put it in that debate:

"It's a continuum between state and federal....But will there still be some federal money? Yes."

Beyond that, no specifics, and no guarantees that any such "state" funding will ever be made.
   138. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4680407)
KT: Dialysis, there's a good one. Seriously, I can go to the emergency room for Type I-diabetes-induced kidney failure weekly dialysis treatments? Or does that not fall under medically necessary care?


I don't know, but I will snap bet you can. More likely is that you could find a doctor willing to treat your diabetes on an ability to pay basis, they still do have obligations.

I'm not trying to tell you what is right, i'm trying to explain to you why a significant part of the uninsured doesn't see a need for insurance.
   139. steagles Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4680409)
Sorry, Shipman, but "Paul Ryan is in favor of cutting the category of spending that cancer research fits into" is not the same as "Paul Ryan supports cutting cancer research." Wake me when Ryan weighs in on the FY18 budget.

just because you don't want it to mean what it means, that does not mean that it does not explicitly mean what it means.
   140. JE (Jason) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4680410)
So your point is that until someone says "I am in favor of cutting cancer research" you don't believe Republicans want to cut it?

Pretty much. It's easy to push for cuts in discretionary spending until specifics are needed. Similarly, it's easy to push for increases in discretionary spending until you have to explain how you're going to pay for it.
   141. OCF Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4680412)
Point of fact: dialysis, for a patient of any age, is covered by Medicare. That special provision was put in place a long time ago.
   142. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4680413)

Sure, Governments tried to cheat the system by debasing the currency. But, when the people figured out it was happening, the value of the currency plummeted, and Gov'ts had massive financial difficulties.

There's a reason that "debase" has such a negative connotation.


Seigniorage is very different from debasement. You can have seigniorage even if your coins are 100% pure. And it's not 'cheating the system' -- essentially every government since then has used seigniorage.

Nor did the value of the currency 'plummet' -- Inflation during the early Empire was very modest and prices were generally stable. Serious price instability didn't happen until the reforms of Aurelian (which actually _increased_ the purity of the antoninianus, but sparked large-scale inflation). The currency reforms Constantine restored stability, but hardly eliminated seigniorage, which continued as before.
   143. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4680414)
At least we'll have a ton of heads up, given that every other country in the world who spends/taxes more as a percentage of GDP will go tits up before we do. So when France, the UK, Germany, China, etc etc etc all descend into lawless anarchy, we'll look at your proposals.


Yes, the U.S. is just like those countries, which is why the democrats and Obama have proposed the necessary tax increases to pay for their spending. I'll give you a clue, raise income taxes on the top 1% to 100%, and you won't even get close. Any proposal to go back to 40% rates is a joke compared to the huge gulf they have to cross.
   144. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4680415)
Every few years he has a major medical emergency (last year fell off a ski lift, a few years back surgery, appendix I believe). He's obviously in decent shape, doesn't seem to worry about annual checkups or anything, but can scrape up enough dough to visit the doc if he's not feeling well.


So he's blessed with no chronic conditions that require constant treatment and/or medication.
   145. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 06, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4680420)

Do you really think there are a lot of people who use the emergency room twice a year and declare bankruptcy? How often can you even declare bankruptcy?


BTW: you don't need to declare bankruptcy as my brothers story illustrates. Do you really think it's profitable or even feasible to chase around a low income person for $10,000 they don't have and may never have? Its much simpler and easier to write it off as part of their medical obligations to provide healthcare to the poor at free or reduced rates, and then lobby congress for Obamacare so they don't have to write off as much and get pay themselves more.
   146. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 06, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4680425)
Paul has advocated major across the board cuts to the CDC, the NIH, and the NSF. I'm sure that none of these cuts could possibly affect medical R&D, and if you've got any statements by Paul that he'd exempt research from any of his proposed cuts, I'm sure you'll be happy to provide them.


The problem with this argument is that it's based on the idea that all research is equally valuable, and even worse that all government research is valuable.

If you simply say X% of GDP is good, and Y% is so low to be evil, then I'd bet the argument can be made that some of Bill Clinton's budgets were made by a monster.

The reality is there has to be limits to spending, and we have to make choices, just as the CDC, NIH and NSF have to. And slashing spending by 20% shouldn't reduce the value of what they produce by 20%, it should be significantly less, they should focus on the highest possible returns on any spending they do.
   147. tshipman Posted: April 06, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4680439)
BTW: you don't need to declare bankruptcy as my brothers story illustrates. Do you really think it's profitable or even feasible to chase around a low income person for $10,000 they don't have and may never have? Its much simpler and easier to write it off as part of their medical obligations to provide healthcare to the poor at free or reduced rates, and then lobby congress for Obamacare so they don't have to write off as much and get pay themselves more.


My appendectomy cost $20,000. It was an emergency appendectomy, when I was 17, and my parents didn't have insurance. That was the bargained down rate. Did I die? No.

Similarly, it's easy to push for increases in discretionary spending until you have to explain how you're going to pay for it.


Yes, I agree that the Bush administration was very irresponsible in how it failed to propose pay-fors for its legislation. However, since Democratic presidents have proposed pay-fors for every major piece of legislation since Carter, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.
   148. Mefisto Posted: April 06, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4680445)
Wow, it's no wonder conservatives are so wrong on the economy. They don't even understand the most basic facts about money.

Every dollar you own came from the government. It printed that money and handed it out. You take that money in exchange for your labor or capital because (a) you can pay taxes with it; and (b) other people will accept it (because they can pay taxes with it). It makes no difference whether the money is "backed" by anything, and it makes no difference if it's made of gold, silver, or cheese. Even the gold coins so lauded by the nutters worked solely because they were issued by the government and, yes, you could use them to pay taxes. Money is inherently a government monopoly. Otherwise it's barter.
   149. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 06, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4680457)
I wasn't referring to the private sector part. I'm talking about the mentality that uses a few isolated cases like Solyndra as a sledgehammer against funding nearly every type of research. I'm talking about the mentality that refuses to recognize that the vast majority of pharmaceutical advances have sprung from research that was kickstarted by government funding. I'm talking about the mentality that mocks Al Gore for allegedly having claimed to have invented the internet, while themselves imagining that the internet was a product of a few geeks hanging out in their garage.


To view Solyndra as an isolated case is the height of naivete, esp. most of the renewable power/low emissions loans were misspent in one way or another, the auto loans that came out of it were a disaster. This is true of any handout to a profit making entity, whether it's a military or civilian contract, there is a huge economic incentive by bidders to influence the government managers choosing the beneficiaries, and administering the contract, let alone the congress members who can influence it by attaching custom riders to bills, or brow beating said managers privately or publicly.

I'm not convinced that in aggregate government research contracts are good for society, because if this research had realizable economic benefits no one would wait for a handout to pursue it, lest they be beat to the payoff. Capitalists greedy, remember?

But there is a middle way to solve their problems without banning them completely. I would propose that all of these research contracts be 100% loans requiring full payment with interest, and that the beneficiary (corporation, profit or non profit, or individual) be required to pay 50% of their profits from anything developed from the research to the government. 50% tax on any business profits, shareholder payments/dividends, and 50% of any employee's pay above $250k per year (no gaming accounting by paying you and your co-founders $10M a year each as "salary). And these payments will continue for a reasonable time past when the loan is repaid, to prevent the "repay loans and immediately sell new technology for $5B to avoid paying taxes" scam.

If it's truly a pure research endeavor, just put all developed technology has to be put into the public domain or given to the government as full repayment for the loans.

Do it this way, and only those who purely want to advance science will apply. Those who are looking to misuse these subsidies (as Solyndra did) to reduce the risks of their own venture capital bets on new technologies while keeping all of the upside profits won't even apply, they'll go back to investing their own money because (capitalists greedy, remember) those upside profits are so valuable. And certainly the worst projects with the highest risks and lowest payoffs will be killed before they can even get off the ground.

The solutions to our budget problems aren't that hard. What makes it hard is people like you who think there are no limits or trade-offs to what can be done or spent, and people like the VCs behind Solyndra, who knew they had access to get massive benefits for their riskiest investment.

Do two things and our budget will balance quickly.

1) Apply the 50% share rule to any subsidized private businesses, from direct loans/grants, to tariff beneficiaries, patent owners, etc. Even non-profits, if public universities want to pay administrators $1M a year and coaches $3M+ fine, but half of their pay above the quarter million mark should be treated as profits from the very profitable businesses they control and mislabel as "non-profit" so they can skim off the excess cash flow.

This rule alone probably reduces federal budget outlays by $200B a year the first year alone, and in time near a trillion annually. There would be stampede to congress by businesses wanting out, for example I'm pretty sure the sugar billionaires in Miami will be first to demand their tariffs be removed to avoid sharing their massive sugar profits. And it makes our tax system more progressive in the right way, those who are wealthy but whose profits are substantially increased by massive subsidies (sports team owners/players) should pay an even higher rate than some wealthy entrepreneur paying all their own business costs out of their revenues.

2) Means-test every single government outlay to private citizens, including social security/medicaid, etc. Any family that makes more than the median US income for their family size should not be eligible for any payments/discounts, they can stay in the programs like medicare but need to pay full premiums that match their likely costs. And incorporate a reasonable imputed income for net worth/savings, so that families with $1M in retirement accounts or million dollar homes with 90% equity don't get to jump on the gravy train just by quitting/retiring from their jobs.

This should easily save over a trillion a year. Combined these two rules free up so much government spending that we could increase benefits for the truly poor (such as minimum social security payments) while still keeping taxes low. In fact I'd propose exempting the first $20K in income from payroll taxes to further reduce burdens on the poor (no one who earns less than $20k should be paying any taxes, that's so counterproductive), and spreading payroll taxes across all private income, including capital gains, and dividends so that we can lower the total rate to something like 6% (3% employer/3% employee) and significantly reduce unemployment by simultaneously lowering the cost of employees for businesses and increasing the net pay workers get for working by roughly 10% combined.

You may agree or disagree with what I've written here. But I'd like to point out one thing about it that's different from what nearly every other person on this thread has posted, what I wrote goes directly against my best interests (at least in the short run, obviously a healthier, happier US is good for me and my family).

Means testing means I won't be getting a $40,000 healthcare subsidy, at least until I finally deplete my savings. Removing the upper limits on taxable income/adding capital gains/dividends would dramatically increase the amount of payroll taxes I will pay over time because the last decade I've earned almost all of my income as capital gains/dividends, and enjoyed not paying payroll taxes at all.

But these are the kind of changes that are necessary, and right. Our problem isn't too much of any kind of spending, it's that the levers of government have been commandeered by freeloaders, diverting a torrent of spending and leaving those genuinely in need with scraps.
   150. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 06, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4680463)
Wow, it's no wonder conservatives are so wrong on the economy. They don't even understand the most basic facts about money.

Every dollar you own came from the government. It printed that money and handed it out. You take that money in exchange for your labor or capital because (a) you can pay taxes with it; and (b) other people will accept it (because they can pay taxes with it). It makes no difference whether the money is "backed" by anything, and it makes no difference if it's made of gold, silver, or cheese. Even the gold coins so lauded by the nutters worked solely because they were issued by the government and, yes, you could use them to pay taxes. Money is inherently a government monopoly. Otherwise it's barter.


You can keep repeating your gibberish, but that doesn't make it true, its already been factually rebutted. Private money has always existed, even gold backed, and with crypto currencies today there are more private currencies than ever before.

Burn every dollar in existence, have every governmental currency repudiated by their backers, and LiteCoin, BitCoin, and a hundred other substitutes, some physical, some crypto, would take over in a heart-beat. People would still work, they'd still trade work for some private currency, and use that private currency to buy goods and services, the world would go on. It would be quickly easier to swap private currencies than it is to swap governmental ones today (that would be the first business I'd set up actually), and whether a dominant private currency appeared or not wouldn't matter.

Your problem is you don't understand all money is theoretical, even backed currencies didn't really have a fixed value since the amount of gold could fluctuate substantially. It's merely a translation medium for actual goods and services produced by actual work. The day people stop going to work is the day we become poor, because the supply of goods and services evaporates. The supply of any type of money is immaterial in comparison.
   151. Mefisto Posted: April 06, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4680465)
Our problem isn't too much of any kind of spending, it's that the levers of government have been commandeered by freeloaders, diverting a torrent of spending and leaving those genuinely in need with scraps.


The weird thing is, I completely agree with this. Of course, we'd disagree on the identity of the freeloaders....
   152. Mefisto Posted: April 06, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4680466)
You can keep repeating your gibberish, but that doesn't make it true, its already been factually rebutted.


Right back at'cha.
   153. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4680487)
Seigniorage is very different from debasement. You can have seigniorage even if your coins are 100% pure. And it's not 'cheating the system' -- essentially every government since then has used seigniorage.

Nor did the value of the currency 'plummet' -- Inflation during the early Empire was very modest and prices were generally stable. Serious price instability didn't happen until the reforms of Aurelian (which actually _increased_ the purity of the antoninianus, but sparked large-scale inflation). The currency reforms Constantine restored stability, but hardly eliminated seigniorage, which continued as before.


To have seignorage without debasement means you need to find more gold and silver to make into currency. If more gold and silver are discovered, in a specie based currency, inflation is going to happen, with or without gov't action.

The 1890's saw a lot of inflation, and finally snapped the world out of the debt-deflation crises of the 1870's and 1880's, because lots of gold was discovered in Alaska, South Africa and Australia. Had nothing to do with Gov't action, and the Gov'ts couldn't have stopped the inflation if they wanted to.
   154. zenbitz Posted: April 06, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4680489)
What like 99% of all scientific research is done in universities and has almost zero short term economic value. This is just a completely different division of government than corporate subsidies like Solydra or whatever
   155. spike Posted: April 06, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4680498)
Your problem is you don't understand all money is theoretical, even backed currencies didn't really have a fixed value since the amount of gold could fluctuate substantially.

And your problem is failing to grasp that not all theoretical money is created equal.
   156. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 06, 2014 at 05:23 PM (#4680506)
Paul has advocated major across the board cuts to the CDC, the NIH, and the NSF. I'm sure that none of these cuts could possibly affect medical R&D, and if you've got any statements by Paul that he'd exempt research from any of his proposed cuts, I'm sure you'll be happy to provide them.

The problem with this argument is that it's based on the idea that all research is equally valuable, and even worse that all government research is valuable.


So let's just cut funding for the bad research and keep it for the good research. Just don't forget to fund a few thousand crystal balls so we can make these distinctions in advance.

I wasn't referring to the private sector part. I'm talking about the mentality that uses a few isolated cases like Solyndra as a sledgehammer against funding nearly every type of research. I'm talking about the mentality that refuses to recognize that the vast majority of pharmaceutical advances have sprung from research that was kickstarted by government funding. I'm talking about the mentality that mocks Al Gore for allegedly having claimed to have invented the internet, while themselves imagining that the internet was a product of a few geeks hanging out in their garage.


To view Solyndra as an isolated case is the height of naivete, esp. most of the renewable power/low emissions loans were misspent in one way or another, the auto loans that came out of it were a disaster.


Counting Solyndra, about 2% of the business ventures partly funded by the government have gone bankrupt.

I'm not convinced that in aggregate government research contracts are good for society, because if this research had realizable economic benefits no one would wait for a handout to pursue it, lest they be beat to the payoff. Capitalists greedy, remember?

But there is a middle way to solve their problems without banning them completely. I would propose that all of these research contracts be 100% loans requiring full payment with interest, and that the beneficiary (corporation, profit or non profit, or individual) be required to pay 50% of their profits from anything developed from the research to the government. 50% tax on any business profits, shareholder payments/dividends, and 50% of any employee's pay above $250k per year (no gaming accounting by paying you and your co-founders $10M a year each as "salary). And these payments will continue for a reasonable time past when the loan is repaid, to prevent the "repay loans and immediately sell new technology for $5B to avoid paying taxes" scam.

If it's truly a pure research endeavor, just put all developed technology has to be put into the public domain or given to the government as full repayment for the loans.

Do it this way, and only those who purely want to advance science will apply. Those who are looking to misuse these subsidies (as Solyndra did) to reduce the risks of their own venture capital bets on new technologies while keeping all of the upside profits won't even apply, they'll go back to investing their own money because (capitalists greedy, remember) those upside profits are so valuable. And certainly the worst projects with the highest risks and lowest payoffs will be killed before they can even get off the ground.


Don't faint, but I think that this is an eminently reasonable starting point for a discussion, and I think that many other liberals would agree.
   157. JE (Jason) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 05:39 PM (#4680513)
However, since Democratic presidents have proposed pay-fors for every major piece of legislation since Carter, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.

One day, you'll have to explain how the oft-repeated exercise of Obama railing against Hill Republicans for not blindly passing so-called "emergency" unemployment benefits fits into your interpretation.
   158. tshipman Posted: April 06, 2014 at 05:50 PM (#4680518)
One day, you'll have to explain how the oft-repeated exercise of Obama railing against Hill Republicans for not blindly passing so-called "emergency" unemployment benefits fits into your interpretation.


Obama has always included payfors in the Democratic versions of those bills. The House is the legislative body that passed it on a voice vote and did not include a payfor. Who controls the House?
   159. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4680521)
Did I die? No.
Spoilers!
   160. JE (Jason) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 06:04 PM (#4680525)
Obama has always included payfors in the Democratic versions of those bills. The House is the legislative body that passed it on a voice vote and did not include a payfor. Who controls the House?

I must be missing something:
Republicans are, however, willing to discuss extending unemployment benefits if they don’t burden federal coffers. Even Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said Sunday that he is open to extending unemployment insurance as long as it is paid for. House Speaker John Boehner told the White House a month ago that he would go along with an unemployment extension if it was offset. Boehner also wants an unemployment bill to include other provisions to create jobs (and, he notes, the House has passed a bundle of them).

The Republicans’ demands are complicating the unemployment issue for Democrats, who argue that extended unemployment benefits have been in existence since the late 1950s and have generally not been offset since 1972. The exceptions to that rule were in 2009, 2011, and 2012, when the extensions were part of larger legislative packages that included tax offsets. For example, the 2009 unemployment extension was part of the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act.

For Democrats, setting a precedent that federal long-term unemployment benefits must be paid for opens up a can of trouble. It means that the benefits are no longer driven by economic and employment conditions but by the condition of the federal budget. Generally, tight-employment economies translate to tight budgets, which means it becomes infinitely harder for lawmakers to approve additional benefits.

“Quite frankly, I thought it was a mistake when we offset it before. It should not be offset,” said Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., who oversaw the unemployment-compensation program when he was in the House.

Cardin also argues, correctly, that extended unemployment benefits give a short-term boost to the economy of about 0.2 percent of GDP—not enough to offset the cost, but it is something.

Democrats have not completely closed the door on offsets, which confuses the matter. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., ranking member on the Budget Committee, offered late last year to offset a short-term unemployment extension using revenues raised from the farm bill, but there is no sign that their proposal will come up again this year.

House Democrats now are preparing to pressure—or perhaps shame—Republicans into thinking they have to support an extension without an accompanying spending cut, aides say. Ways and Means Democrats are working on an unemployment “counter” that will show a running tally of the number of jobless people who have exhausted their benefits. (It’s running at about 7 per second.)

Does that sound like an embrace of offsets by Democrats?
   161. tshipman Posted: April 06, 2014 at 06:14 PM (#4680529)
Does that sound like an embrace of offsets by Democrats?


Are Sander Levin or Chris Van Hollen in the Senate?

No. Harry Reid's bill, filibustered by 41 republicans, had payfors.

Here's the article, to save you the trouble: From the NYT

The cost would be paid for in part by extending certain fees levied by United States Customs and Border Protection as well as by temporarily changing the way private corporations fund their pensions.
   162. JE (Jason) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 06:25 PM (#4680531)
Never mind.

EDIT: Were it not for the offsets, Shipman, the Democrats wouldn't have had a filibuster-proof majority.
   163. tshipman Posted: April 06, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4680532)
Weren't the offsets subsequently offered because it was the only way to secure a filibuster-proof majority?


Uh ... R's still filibustered, even when there were offsets.

Fifty-nine senators, including four Republicans, voted to advance the legislation, falling one vote short of the 60 needed to break a Republican filibuster effort.

Republicans and Democrats, many from the nation’s most economically depressed states, had been trying to reach a solution that would allow people who have exhausted their unemployment insurance to continue receiving benefits as long as the government offset the $6 billion cost.

Ultimately, how to pay for the program proved too big a hurdle for senators to overcome.

“We’ve given them everything they wanted. Paid for,” said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, flashing his irritation at Republicans who blocked the bill.

   164. JE (Jason) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 06:36 PM (#4680536)
Uh ... R's still filibustered, even when there were offsets.

They wanted to add job-creating provisions but Reid didn't allow a single amendment to get offered.

Meanwhile, back in 2010:
However, many Republicans and some Democrats worry about adding to the growing national debt.

"No one's disputing the value of these very important programs," said Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass. "But we also have to have tough choices and we also need to live within our means."

Brown and other Republicans want to pay for the unemployment benefits with unspent money from last year's massive economic recovery package.

The Democrats' unemployment bill would provide up to 99 weekly unemployment checks averaging about $300 to people whose 26 weeks of state-paid benefits have run out. The benefits would be available through the end of November, at a cost of $33 billion. There are no offsets in the bill, so the cost would add to the deficit.

As I wrote above, the Dems only added the offsets this time around to secure the votes of Heller and five other Republicans.

   165. tshipman Posted: April 06, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4680537)
EDIT: Were it not for the offsets, Shipman, the Democrats wouldn't have had a filibuster-proof majority.


Yes ... and the point was that only one party offers payfors.

Edit: I'd also like to add that unemployment insurance extensions are not major pieces of legislation.
   166. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 06:43 PM (#4680540)
I wasn't referring to the private sector part. I'm talking about the mentality that uses a few isolated cases like Solyndra as a sledgehammer against funding nearly every type of research.
The Solyndra issue is not about research; it's about subsidies for businesses. Two different arguments.
   167. greenback calls it soccer Posted: April 06, 2014 at 07:10 PM (#4680562)
The day people stop going to work is the day we become poor, because the supply of goods and services evaporates. The supply of any type of money is immaterial in comparison.

This has an interesting consequence though. In real terms we are generally poorer when the unemployment rate is high, and yet the primary concern for getting these people back to work is the not-so-real constraint of money.

Then there's the wider issue that not so long ago much of our labor force was devoted to agricultural tasks. Then those jobs dried up and much of the labor force shifted to manufacturing. With the increase in automation, manufacturing employment has dried up in the US, and the economy has shifted to service-related activities. The fact that fewer people work on farms and in factories obviously has not made us poorer. And at some point automation will render obsolete most service jobs. Well, maybe robots won't be able to do the work of prostitutes, but pretty much any job held by a BTF poster will be performed by a machine in 100 years.

We won't be poorer if virtually everyone stops working, yet there will be a crisis because there will be no jobs. There shouldn't be, but there will be. What is the solution here?
   168. Tripon Posted: April 06, 2014 at 07:17 PM (#4680569)
The fact that fewer people work on farms and in factories obviously has not made us poorer. And at some point automation will render obsolete most service jobs. Well, maybe robots won't be able to do the work of prostitutes, but pretty much any job held by a BTF poster will be performed by a machine in 100 years.


http://www.tomshardware.com/news/oculus-rift-sex-simulator,25082.html

"the simulator was rigged up by a developer at an Oculus Rift Game Jam, an event organized by Facebook group VR Japan. It uses a Novint Falcon controller to operate a Tenga masturbation aid. With the machine set up and, er, everything in place, the user just has to don the Oculus Rift headset for a fully immersive virtual experience."

There's a youtube video in the link if you er, want to see the results yourself.
   169. Jim Wisinski Posted: April 06, 2014 at 07:19 PM (#4680572)
Here's an interesting thing: Tennessee close to approving free community college for all high school grads

Tennessee Gov. William Haslam has proposed that his state use lottery funds to provide high-school graduates with two free years of education at community or technical colleges.

First announced in February, the proposal now appears to be on track for approval having won support from several of Haslem’s Republican colleagues in the state general assembly.

Called “Tennessee Promise,” Haslam’s plan would allow high-school graduates to attend an in state technical or community college without having to pay any tuition or associated fees. The funds would come from newly created endowment using money from the lottery’s reserves.

It’s estimated that the plan would cost about $34 million each year.


Sounds pretty good to me.

Some Democrats in the state oppose the proposal, saying it would take away funds from other currently existing scholarship models.


I don't really get this argument against it. I would much rather see funds used for all-inclusive access to higher education than scholarships which only benefit certain individuals who meet the qualifications. Yeah, some people that don't need the free ride will be getting it but the overall benefit seems well worth it.
   170. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 07:24 PM (#4680573)
The Solyndra issue is not about research; it's about subsidies for businesses. Two different arguments.

By "business", you mean political cronies?
   171. steagles Posted: April 06, 2014 at 09:24 PM (#4680637)
By "business", you mean political cronies?
it's shameful that you likely see no irony in that question at all.

   172. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 06, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4680648)
SO I just got back and um some of the stuff about ACA above is nuts. My favorite is arguing that the not allowing preexisting conditions is what will kill ACA, but then also suggesting "hey because of existing laws the uninsured even before just used emergency rooms, because no one cold be banned from those.


Anyway whine all you want, ACA is here to say and millions now have coverage that did not before. Booyah!
   173. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 06, 2014 at 10:12 PM (#4680654)
I don't really get this argument against it. I would much rather see funds used for all-inclusive access to higher education than scholarships which only benefit certain individuals who meet the qualifications. Yeah, some people that don't need the free ride will be getting it but the overall benefit seems well worth it.

I like the idea of giving people more access to technical schools, since people gain actual job skills, but what's the ROI on, e.g., a two-year liberal arts degree from a community college? The U.S. already has too many kids going to college. These sorts of plans will only exacerbate that problem.
   174. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 10:15 PM (#4680656)
I like the idea of giving people more access to technical schools, since people gain actual job skills, but what's the ROI on, e.g., a two-year liberal arts degree from a community college?


So close to zero as to be effectively zero. Hell, that's getting true of a four-year liberal arts degree.

A lot of the kids going to college for no better reason than "it's what I'm supposed to do after high school" should be learning a trade, joining the military or just getting three part-time jobs and saving some money while they work out what they want to do with their lives for a few years.
   175. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 10:30 PM (#4680658)
pretty much any job held by a BTF poster will be performed by a machine in 100 years
Posting snarky OT comments on a baseball website?
   176. Morty Causa Posted: April 06, 2014 at 10:40 PM (#4680661)
I use to think that it was impossible for there to be too many kids to go to college. You couldn't learn too much education. But now I've come to think that many people are being educated and informed beyond their capacity to encompass it and assimilate into crtical thinking. They can't handle it. Or rather they handle it inappropriately. They simply use education and informationas as a way of bolstering the primitive in them, not to overcome it. They still their instincts and state of the art sensibilities are sacred. Thinking slow for them serves at the behest of thinking fast. They still never get beyond confirmation of their prejudices and biases. It just allows these Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer types to reformulate their tribalism so as to engage in high tech lynchings rather than the old-fashion kind. I suppose, though, that is an improvement in one way, even if it is a great complication in other ways.
   177. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 10:44 PM (#4680662)
That education is, for most "students", only a secondary purpose of college doesn't help. For most its primary purpose is merely delaying the responsibilities of adulthood. And in large swaths of our culture this is celebrated.
   178. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 06, 2014 at 10:46 PM (#4680664)
A lot of the kids going to college for no better reason than "it's what I'm supposed to do after high school" should be learning a trade, joining the military or just getting three part-time jobs and saving some money while they work out what they want to do with their lives for a few years.


Have you looked at the ROI of college education versus no college? Seriously college is still (in aggregate) a good investment.
   179. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 06, 2014 at 10:47 PM (#4680665)
But now I've come to think that many people are being educated and informed beyond their capacity to encompass it and assimilate into crtical thinking. They can't handle it. Or rather they handle it inappropriately.


And hey, while they are at it they should get off your lawn. Sigh.
   180. Morty Causa Posted: April 06, 2014 at 10:54 PM (#4680668)
That's no way to talk to your grandpa.
   181. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 06, 2014 at 10:55 PM (#4680669)
Have you looked at the ROI of college education versus no college? Seriously college is still (in aggregate) a good investment.

The "in aggregate" is doing the heavy lifting, as the engineering majors are lumped in with the Womyn's Studies majors.
   182. bobm Posted: April 06, 2014 at 11:00 PM (#4680670)
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/health/even-small-medical-advances-can-mean-big-jumps-in-bills.html

Complication rates from diabetes in the United States are generally higher than in other developed countries. That is true even though the United States spends more per patient and per capita treating diabetes than elsewhere, said Ping Zhang, an economist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The high costs are taking their toll on public coffers, since 62 percent of that treatment money comes from government insurers. The cumulative outlays for treating Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes reached nearly $200 billion in 2012, or about 7 percent of America’s health care bill.

Expenditures could well double by 2030, according to estimates by the C.D.C., in large part because the number of Americans found to have diabetes has been increasing more than 50 percent every 10 years. Most of the increase is attributable to Type 2 diabetes patients, whom manufacturers are encouraging to try insulin treatment and glucose monitoring, even though that is rarely medically required. Also, the Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to cover people with chronic disease, meaning they will have better access to treatments.

“This is not just a health care crisis,” said Mr. Kliff, the newsletter editor, who has Type 1 diabetes. “It’s an economic crisis as well.”
   183. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 06, 2014 at 11:07 PM (#4680673)
The "in aggregate" is doing the heavy lifting, as the engineering majors are lumped in with the Womyn's Studies majors.


As opposed to the total specificity of ...
A lot of the kids going to college for no better reason than

and
The U.S. already has too many kids going to college. These sorts of plans will only exacerbate that problem.

and
That education is, for most "students", only a secondary purpose of college doesn't help. For most its primary purpose is merely delaying the responsibilities of adulthood. And in large swaths of our culture this is celebrated.


If only I could be as exact as those statements. No aggregating there, no sir.
   184. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 06, 2014 at 11:09 PM (#4680674)
I use to think that it was impossible for there to be too many kids to go to college. You couldn't learn too much education. But now I've come to think that many people are being educated and informed beyond their capacity to encompass it and assimilate into crtical thinking.

Well, watered-down curriculums and grade inflation outpaced only by increased tuition isn't a great deal for those just following the path of least effort. However, many college options make economic sense for a lot of people - just not everyone. If done right, the community college option noted in #169 could work well, although low tuition, rather than free, might be better, since people tend to value what they pay for, and would also be more likely to insist on quality.
   185. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 06, 2014 at 11:18 PM (#4680679)
If only I could be as exact as those statements. No aggregating there, no sir.

Five-year-olds might need everything spelled out for them, but adults shouldn't. When people say things like "too many kids are going to college," it's clear that the speaker means too many kids are going to college and pursuing degrees with poor (or no) ROI. (And this actually was spelled out for you in the first two sentences of #174, which you omitted from the quoted text.)
   186. Jim Wisinski Posted: April 06, 2014 at 11:31 PM (#4680685)
I don't disagree that as a country we're way too college-obsessed and plenty of people out there would really be better off not going. The problem is that it's a trend unlikely to turn around any time soon and too often the simple act of going to college is considered "important" by employers even if the time there didn't actually do anything other than show that the person was capable of doing the coursework necessary to graduate college. So given the circumstances being what they are now I think it's better to make college more accessible to everyone.

   187. Lassus Posted: April 06, 2014 at 11:43 PM (#4680687)
The cumulative outlays for treating Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes reached nearly $200 billion in 2012, or about 7 percent of America’s health care bill.

As a Type I diabetic, I still grow annoyed being lumped in with people who gave themselves diabetes rather than getting it from their genes.
   188. The District Attorney Posted: April 06, 2014 at 11:48 PM (#4680690)
   189. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 06, 2014 at 11:49 PM (#4680691)
The problem is that it's a trend unlikely to turn around any time soon and too often the simple act of going to college is considered "important" by employers even if the time there didn't actually do anything other than show that the person was capable of doing the coursework necessary to graduate college.

I know this has been true in the past, but how true is this in 2014? From what I've seen, employers are increasingly looking for specific skills. Given the struggles of recent college grads to find work generally and what we know to be the specific ROI for various degrees, it seems like a huge waste to just throw open the doors to college. It seems a lot smarter to make high-ROI technical colleges free and pay for it by doubling the cost of low-ROI liberal arts colleges (or by extending far fewer and smaller college scholarships and loans to students at such schools) than to just say "Go to college" and not pay attention to what's being studied with the money loaned or allocated.

***
As a Type I diabetic, I still grow annoyed being lumped in with people who gave themselves diabetes rather than getting it from their genes.

As well you should.

The "Don't judge" movement is at least partly to blame for the growing Type II diabetes epidemic.
   190. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 11:49 PM (#4680692)
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World cast is dropping like flies (again) this year.
   191. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 06, 2014 at 11:58 PM (#4680695)
The Tennessee Governor mentioned in #169, is facing a primary challenge:
Say what you will about the rest of it—his campy countryness, the rampant media attention, the decision to enter politics—but Mark “Coonrippy” Brown adored his pet varmint. Her name was Rebekah. He’d raised her from a baby. Fed her bottles. Cooked her scrambled eggs, her favorite. He trained her and gave her the run of his home in Gallatin, Tenn. . . But last summer, state wildlife agents, tipped off by the viral scene, seized Rebekah.
. . .
Brown begged the governor to intervene. He hired an attorney and went to court. A petition with 6,000 signatures called for the raccoon’s release. Nothing happened. Brown says he still doesn’t know exactly what became of Rebekah. And so, earlier this year, he decided to go from appealing for help from the state’s highest office to seeking it himself.

Sounds like a Varmint Caucus candidate.
   192. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 12:07 AM (#4680701)
I think that leaves, Marvin Kaplan, Barrie Chase, Stan Freberg and Louise Glenn as the only cast members alive from that flick.
   193. GregD Posted: April 07, 2014 at 12:10 AM (#4680703)
I know this has been true in the past, but how true is this in 2014? From what I've seen, employers are increasingly looking for specific skills. Given the struggles of recent college grads to find work generally and what we know to be the specific ROI for various degrees, it seems like a huge waste to just throw open the doors to college. It seems a lot smarter to make high-ROI technical colleges free and pay for it by doubling the cost of low-ROI liberal arts colleges (or by extending far fewer and smaller college scholarships and loans to students at such schools) than to just say "Go to college" and not pay attention to what's being studied with the money loaned or allocated.

It's a good question, and I don't have a definitive answer. Not sure anyone does.

I am interested by the dominance of Enterprise Rent-a-Car in hiring new college graduates--largest employer of new college grads each year for the last 5 years or so. There's nothing at all about working at Enterprise that depends upon a college education. A certain degree of maturity and reliability, sure. A certain number of reasons why you wouldn't hire recent high school graduates, no doubt. But no obvious reason why you would favor 22-year-old college grads over 22 year olds with good work records but no college.

In our current situation, I think people still do use college as a shorthand for a certain amount of responsibility and reliability (ha!) As long as that holds true--as long as you need a college degree to get jobs that don't actually require a college degree--people will keep going en masse.

Given our current labor market, this is not the best time to be moving more 18-22 year olds to the work force anyway.
   194. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 12:19 AM (#4680708)

Unless Enterprise has been in the midst of a massive expansion, it seems they could only lead that list for 5 years because of high turnover.

I agree with this in a general sense:

Given our current labor market, this is not the best time to be moving more 18-22 year olds to the work force anyway.

... but if a job at Enterprise is the payoff for four years of college, I'd say there's no time like the present to start deflating the higher-ed bubble and revamping our high school curriculums.
   195. Morty Causa Posted: April 07, 2014 at 12:33 AM (#4680712)
188:

Wow! Spanning two decades.

And for something a little different:

Drummer Boy.

According to Ava Gardner, Lana Turner referred to him as Andy Hardon.
   196. GregD Posted: April 07, 2014 at 12:40 AM (#4680714)
... but if a job at Enterprise is the payoff for four years of college, I'd say there's no time like the present to start deflating the higher-ed bubble and revamping our high school curriculums.
I agree with this in principle. I have a hard time seeing how to make it happen right now without creating even bigger problems.
   197. tshipman Posted: April 07, 2014 at 01:34 AM (#4680720)
... but if a job at Enterprise is the payoff for four years of college, I'd say there's no time like the present to start deflating the higher-ed bubble and revamping our high school curriculums.


God, that is ####### depressing. Like the man said, 20 years of schooling and they put you on the day shift.

I will give Enterprise this: they have better customer service at the counter than pretty much any other car rental company.
   198. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:42 AM (#4680740)
I don't disagree that as a country we're way too college-obsessed and plenty of people out there would really be better off not going. The problem is that it's a trend unlikely to turn around any time soon and too often the simple act of going to college is considered "important" by employers even if the time there didn't actually do anything other than show that the person was capable of doing the coursework necessary to graduate college. So given the circumstances being what they are now I think it's better to make college more accessible to everyone.


We are already beginning to approach the point where a four-year degree is viewed the way a high school diploma was 20 years ago: as a minimum requirement for any job beyond foodservice/retail/unskilled labor. Many white collar jobs even in low-to-middle management are beginning to require Master's degrees.

But Joe's onto something too--there may be emerging a market inefficiency (that small companies are better poised to exploit than large companies whose HR departments impose absolute qualification restrictions in order to reduce their own workload) in discounting applicants' education in favor of looking for skills, work ethic and trainability. I agree that an undergrad degree is being used a shorthand for work ethic and trainability, but the effect is weakening as undergrad degrees become as routine as high school diplomas.
   199. Lassus Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:55 AM (#4680743)
I think that leaves, Marvin Kaplan, Barrie Chase, Stan Freberg and Louise Glenn as the only cast members alive from that flick.

Seems they're still going to outlast active Expos.
   200. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:58 AM (#4680744)
I think that leaves, Marvin Kaplan, Barrie Chase, Stan Freberg and Louise Glenn as the only cast members alive from that flick.


Jerry Lewis had a cameo in it.
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