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frugalboy

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About frugalboy

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  1. The answer then is to never let it get to the stage where the 1% (more like 0.01%) control everything, because like you say, human nature takes over - there has to be a way to get to a middle ground between communism and the kleptocracy that we have today. When the super rich hoard everything and would rather gold-plate the swimming pool on their mega yacht than pay more (any?) taxes to help the masses, what do you think the masses are going to do? The problem is that they'll end up attacking the wrong people because it's easier to seize the wealth of people who are simply "well off" than go after the real leeches.
  2. We're not letting the 1% off the hook - the banksters are evil and deserve to lose everything (and more) but the behavior of the banks/govts isn't responsible for the inevitable gradual decline of the West - they're just speeding it up!
  3. I agree with the overall theme but it's hard to tell if the banking/mortgage crisis in particular was caused by this. The West has had 500 or so years of global domination based primarily on two things: (1) plundering other countries' resources and (2) being the source of most of humanity's scientific innovation and thus wealth creation. Humans have now evolved to the point that colonialism is no longer acceptable so there goes (1). And communications/technology has made it very difficult to safeguard intellectual property so that even if the West keeps on inventing all the great stuff that the rest of the world wants, it doesn't take much for China (or whoever) to steal the blueprint, so there goes (2). Unless you believe that Europeans (and their descendants in the US etc.) are somehow inherently superior to every other race, I don't see how you can deny that this "global rebalancing" has to occur. There's no reason why a highschool dropout in America or some useless chav in a housing estate in the UK should have a higher standard of living than a highly educated person in the 3rd world. The only reason it's possible is that the dropout/chav is being funded by borrowed money, in effect living off the wealth created by their ancestors (where in this context "wealth" means the ability of Western governments to borrow indefinitely) while they themselves are only a net drain on the system. Much like a wealthy family where each successive generation consumes their share of the inheritance until eventually it runs out.
  4. You probably shouldn't be lumping in Trinidad & Tobago with the other islands when discussing the effect of dwindling tourism on their economies. Trinidad has lots of oil (and subsidises Tobago's full-of-potential-yet-woefully-underdeveloped tourism industry) and has never had to "**** kiss" tourists to make a living. It has,I agree, been run by a few "mini-Mugabe's" (very sad how it has squandered its oil wealth), has a dreadful police force and is indeed run by drug barons, but I just thought I should point out that its future is not really affected by whether or not wealthy Brits decide to stop travelling to the Caribbean. The other islands have far far more to lose.
  5. Over here in the US, apart from celebrity drivel, the 24 hr cable news channels are obsessed with the day-to-day point scoring between the two main parties. I'm a news junkie and I would have gone mad by now without the internet. You only get international news when something massive hapens (eg Egypt). Jon Stewart routinely mocks CNN for only devoting a few mintues at a time, maybe once an hour, to actual important news, often cutting away saying "thanks for that report, that's all the time we have". You have 24 hours!! And correspondents all around the globe! I think this is only in the US though (CNN International does a much better job) - just shows how much of the US public is not interested in anything important or difficult to understand and how much these channels depend on ratings. That's why there has to be a place for publicly funded news organisations. Say what you will about the BBC, but BBC America is miles ahead of anything else here. Maybe that says more about the competition than it does about the BBC though.
  6. The fact that we've had (still have?) a credit crunch and now have a bankrupt gov't should mean that the days of easy credit and a comfortable safety net are over, so the ability to play the system should have been a one off and is now off the table. I said "should".....With these twilight zone economists and politicians we have running things who knows how much longer the games will continue.
  7. Well said....To be a bit fairer to Denninger though, he has been on a few MSM news shows (if only for a few minutes at a time which is hardly enough for him to really explain the issues) and is quoted on some of the more popular blogs. He can be a bit too libertarian for my tastes though - he's obsessed with any attempts to control gun use and he actually supports doing away with drivers licences (except for commercial transport). Imagine the Wild West world we'd be living in if people like him had their way. Back to your point about nobody else really caring, I was at a dinner a few months ago when the Wikileaks thing was big in the news. The people around me were all buying the US media line that Assange was a creepy traitor who should be stopped at all costs. One guy in particular, an educated psychiatrist, was aware that the gov't is corrupt, the banks are all thieves, and the whole system is rotten, but his view was that you have to tolerate a certain level of corruption and that it's not realistic to eliminate it. He was born and raised in the 3rd world where they really know how to be corrupt so he sees what's going on in the US as not nearly as bad. He's quite happy for Wall St. to get away with robbing us all as long as he still has a good job and his credit cards still work when the bill comes to pay for dinner - he wasn't willing to risk blowing up the financial system in the hopes of rebuilding something healthier, because as he saw it his life was just fine and why should he stress about about some crooked billionaires? There's a certain logic to his thinking, but I came away a bit disheartened because I'd have preferred if he took this position out of ignorance rather than convenience. There's no hope if everybody is content to ignore the truth of what's out there as long as their little lives go on uninterrupted. So it's going to take a mighty "interruption" to wake them up. I only hope that it happens soon enough so that the people won't have forgotten who's really to blame.
  8. So you think we should all just not bother saving then? This absolutist doom and gloom argument always annoys me (and I'm as pessimistic as they come!) However bleak the future, life is always relative - people with something will have a better life than people with nothing, even if that life is a lot worse than they were expecting. If having saved means I get to eat 3 times a day and the person with no savings only gets to eat twice a day, then those savings will have been worth it. A world where having saved for the future yields absolutely nothing is not very realistic and the downside risk of spending everything today is just too high.
  9. There has to be a better way....at least aim for a limo carrying a bankster....
  10. A defined contribution (money purchase) scheme can't, by definition, be insolvent so how would the gov't go about confiscating it other than outright theft? (I can see how they'd confiscate defined benefit schemes - "It relies on the PPF in the end anyway, so we're just going to put it into the PPF now and let us figure out how to divide it up"). Maybe they'd use some windfall tax to take the DC money - I suppose they could say it was free of tax on the way in so now we want the tax back and btw, things are so bad that tax is now going to be 90% (they wouldn't dare take everything would they?). That really would be the last straw though - I've sacrificed a lot for the pittance I have in my DC scheme (<100k), and I wouldn't think twice about getting violent if they tried to take the little I have left in order to pay for people who chose not to save anything.
  11. Shocking yes, but not quite as bad (on a per capita or % of GDP basis) as the US if these numbers are to be believed http://www.usdebtclock.org/ Which makes me wonder why the pundits sometimes give the UK even less of a hope than the US. What am I missing (apart from the small island/no natural resources thing)? Non-gov't debt?
  12. That is some clusterf*ck! The way these things work though, I'm sure that Britain, France and Germany also owe those 5 countries several bn so you'd need to know the net exposure before declaring victory.
  13. OK, brain fart from me - didn't really register the emphasis on staff shortages in your excerpt (despite the fact that you highlighted it!). Still, if budget caps force authorities to prioritise duties away from drug sniffing and towards enforcement of immigration laws then I'm not too worked up.
  14. But if these are frothy non-jobs in the first place then there'll be no need to rehire in the future? Also, surely any future hires will be on lower pay/benefits so there must be some level of long term savings. I'd still prefer to see some legal way of undoing these ridiculously generous redundancy packages and forcing the non-jobs off the rolls now. It's cheaper to pay someone benefits than to keep them in a job that serves no real purpose.
  15. And this is relevant to the economy/house prices how? Anyway, to me it's not a big deal....the drug war cannot be won and fighting it is a huge waste of time and money.
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