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J. KARL MILLER: U.S. national debt is a spending problem

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

A week ago Sunday while reading the publication former managing editor George Kennedy dubbed "the more expensive newspaper," I found on the opinion page two differing assessments of U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's budget plan for 2012 and beyond. One was by celebrity economist and Nobel Prize recipient Paul Krugman and the other by Bob Roper, a local retired banking and investment executive.

Mr. Krugman, whose current economic philosophy calls for more stimulus funding to spend our way out of debt, dismissed Ryan's effort as unrealistic and mean-spirited. His criticism did not offer an alternative. Simply put, if Americans were to opt for Krugman's ideology during hard and uncertain times rather than adopt austere budget measures, they would max out their credit cards attempting to get out of debt.

Conversely, Mr. Roper praised Rep. Ryan for having the courage not only to lay out a bold plan but also to hold up the "Go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200" card to point out that our current path is unsustainable. Admittedly, Ryan's budget is a drastic departure from the administration's status quo of "kicking the can down the road," but more out-of-control spending and borrowing is not the answer.

Having served in Congressional Liaison on Capitol Hill for five years, I am familiar with the snail-paced budget and authorizations and appropriations processes. The art of energizing Congress to deal expeditiously with crises and emergencies differs little from driving mules: You must first get their attention. While Ryan's bill might be characterized as drastic or even Draconian, it has everyone's undivided attention.

His proposed spending cuts have revived the tired knee-jerk demagoguing from the Democrats who named it cruel. Claims such as "Mean-spirited Republicans are out to starve grandma and grandpa, balance the budget on the backs of the poor, throw the sick and the children into the streets and kill the arts" typify the outworn rhetoric. The politics of fear and class envy are a staple for this crowd.

We have just experienced a battle over the 2011 budget, one in which the Republican-controlled House was pitted against the Democratic Senate. The GOP goal was to cut $61 billion; the Democrats wanted no cuts at all. All the while, cries of cruel, mean and unfeeling Republicanism were hurled from the left. Finally, there was accord for $38 billion in cuts, about 0.02 percent of 2011's deficit.

But, in the words of Al Smith, former governor of New York and 1928 presidential candidate, "Let's take a look at the record." In this instance, the record is unflattering to the Democratic leadership from top to bottom. The budget just completed for fiscal year 2011 should have been in place by Oct. 1.

The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 requires the president to submit a budget request between the first Monday in January and the first Monday in February of each year. Congress is then required to complete the budget by the beginning of the fiscal year. Despite holding majorities in the House and Senate along with enjoying the presidency, the Democrats failed to submit a budget.

Accordingly, instead of taking the stumbling and near-failing economy seriously and behaving responsibly, those in power turned the overdue budget over to the "elderly-, children- and art-hating" Republicans. One does have to admire their chutzpah though — it is reminiscent of Tom Sawyer's conning his friends into painting the fence and blaming them for not having it done six months before.

Mr. Ryan has thrown down the gauntlet, boldly placing both his reputation and future on the line with a budget calling for $6.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years. No one really expects this plan to pass the Senate or to survive a presidential veto. However, it is the first serious attempt to call for debate on our financial and fiscal future.

The plan also incorporates many of the ideas and reforms of the president's appointed Bowles/Simpson Deficit Commission, which thus far have been summarily ignored. As a matter of fact, the only alternatives to the Ryan plan have been — you guessed it — soak the rich and spend the proceeds.

With a U.S. national and public debt of more than $14 trillion, we have a spending problem rather than a revenue deficit. The notion of raising taxes to provide more revenue for already out-of-control spending is hardly a grown-up response. Mr. Ryan has merely tasked the government with placing its financial house in order in the same manner expected of its citizens.

J. Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps. He is a Columbia resident and can be reached via e-mail at JKarlUSMC@aol.com.


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Comments

Ellis Smith April 20, 2011 | 5:44 a.m.

Agreed. To really appreciate this we need to go back to 1933 and the Great Depression. Some (perhaps all) of the New Deal programs were based on the premise that we could spend our way out of our troubles. Some of them, for example the Agricultural Adjustment Act, showed a fair degree of success. Radical means in agriculture were justified, because unlike the rest of America the agricultural depression lasted for TWENTY YEARS (1919-1939).

What about the over all record? Having spent what was then a lot of money on various programs, and having been re-elected in 1936 by a landslide, FDR and his advisers found themselves in 1937 with some economic indicators in the same shape - or even worse - than in 1933! FDR was very depressed. It would certainly have been depressing. That situation has been well documented, most recently by Amity Shlaes in her best seller "The Forgotten Man" (Harper Collins). Only World War II finally ended the Great Depression.

Clearly we cannot correct all problems by spending alone, and our dear friend Keynes can go take a hike! If we're making mistakes in the United States, let's make our own; we don't need some Brit making them for us.

Some folks seem to be incredibly slow learners.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 20, 2011 | 1:03 p.m.

SPEND them to IRAQ!!!

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 20, 2011 | 1:11 p.m.

Herp Derp

(Report Comment)
Brian Wallstin April 20, 2011 | 1:34 p.m.

Hmmm.... Bob Roper or Paul Krugman? Who to believe ....

How about Bruce Bartlett, senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House; and deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department during the George H.W. Bush administration.

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/20...

"Distributionally, the Ryan plan is a monstrosity. The rich would receive huge tax cuts while the social safety net would be shredded to pay for them. Even as an opening bid to begin budget negotiations with the Democrats, the Ryan plan cannot be taken seriously. It is less of a wish list than a fairy tale utterly disconnected from the real world, backed up by make-believe numbers and unreasonable assumptions. Ryan’s plan isn’t even an act of courage; it’s just pandering to the Tea Party. A real act of courage would have been for him to admit, as all serious budget analysts know, that revenues will have to rise well above 19 percent of GDP to stabilize the debt."

(Report Comment)
Chip Leaver April 20, 2011 | 1:39 p.m.

Amazing how a corporate lackey like Ryan is viewed by some as a brave lad. One only need to read about ALEC, the right wing group that is behind all of this legislation that is nothing more than a transfer of wealth from the ordinary citizens, to the already wealthy. http://www.alternet.org/story/150463/

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield April 20, 2011 | 2:03 p.m.

The solution is to broaden the tax base. That doesn't mean forcing people who already pay taxes to pay more. Instead, it means forcing the 45 percent of U.S. households that pay no federal income tax to start shouldering the load. (Yes, we know they pay sales taxes, FICA, etc. No, that's not enough to cover the cost of the government services provided to them.)

For example, eliminate the $1,000 per-child tax credit. That's $54 billion per year. Eliminate the EITC to raise another $55 billion. There are plenty of other examples. Slash military spending -- but zip your mouth if some despot goes berserk and sends oil over $200/barrel, or state revenue plummets because Boeing, et al scale way back -- and you'll save tens of billions more annually.

(Report Comment)
Chip Leaver April 20, 2011 | 2:17 p.m.

So you want the people that are poor enough to need government services, to pay for the goverment services provided to them?

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 20, 2011 | 2:30 p.m.

@ Chip

Critical thinking and logic are not a big part of the regressive mindset.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield April 20, 2011 | 2:41 p.m.

"So you want the people that are poor enough to need government services, to pay for the goverment services provided to them?"

Just those who choose to be poor. Examples include those who choose to get hooked on drugs, or choose to drop out of school, or choose to have kids when they can't even support themselves, or choose to become so obese that they can't work because diabetes has taken their limbs.

Almost half of all infants and about one-quarter of all children 1-4 years of age are on WIC. Good grief! Is it too much to expect adults to put off having children until they can support them?

You and Jack can always put your money where your mouth is by taking these oppressed folks into your homes.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 20, 2011 | 2:42 p.m.

Jack, what about doing away with the federal deduction for mortgage interest and student loans? I like getting them, I'm not sure people should have that deduction though (of course, spending has to go down in conjunction).

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 20, 2011 | 2:53 p.m.

Oops, that should have been directed at Jimmy, not Jack.

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Jimmy Bearfield April 20, 2011 | 3:11 p.m.

I never had student loans, but I would not mind giving up the mortgage interest deduction and other deductions that I'm eligible for. But all of that would have to be on the condition that spending be slashed across the board, including on the military.

(Report Comment)
Chip Leaver April 20, 2011 | 3:11 p.m.

So any low income fat people, people with diseases such as diabetes, people with children are all on your list? You left out the low income people who dared to be disabled in other ways or to get old, but that's alright because Ryan and every other agent of the Koch brothers has them in their crosshairs.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 20, 2011 | 3:14 p.m.

@ John

Personally I think both of those ideas would be devastating to the US economy. If you get rid of the student loan deduction that would almost be game over for the under 30 population. A lot of members of the older generations do not realize how much University cost has gone up over the past 30 years. To put in perspective, total student debt surpassed total unsecured personal debt (credit cards etc) for the first time very recently. Almost everyone has unsecured debt while only a segment of the population has student debt. Moreover, these are the same people we expect to enter the housing market over the next ten years and hope that their buying power helps to stabilize the market. Most seniors’ retirement is tied up in their home. If the next generation does not have the purchasing power to keep home prices somewhat constant it will mean disaster for millions of seniors.

I feel the same way about the mortgage deduction. Homes are the primary wealth builder for middle class Americans. They have already taken a hard enough hit in the housing market and credit crunch, let’s not make things worse.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 20, 2011 | 3:15 p.m.

@ John continued

My solution;

First, eliminate corporate income tax. It does not make sense in theory let alone in our practical implementation of it.

Next, we must raise the velocity of money in this country or we are doomed. The pooling of wealth in our economy is ridiculous and beyond harmful. Most people do not know about this concept but is pivotal to capitalistic economies. When you get pooled wealth velocity slows down and the whole economy goes with it. Currently, most of this country’s wealth is pooled into a few hands and is sitting there. If you figure out a way to get it circulating again besides taxes (or the threat of taxes) I'm all ears.

Third, a constitutional amendment to permanently overturn Citizens United. This next part is important, at the same time you must strip unions of the ability to donate to political organizations/parties/campaigns. Either go the public financing route for elections or clearly state that only US citizens (and I mean citizen as a individual human being) can donate to a political organization. There are maybe 5 people in Washington from all three parties (Libertarian not Tea!) that are actually looking out for the American people. This must end.

Fourth, no discussion of fiscal responsibility can happen without a serious talk about defense spending. We need it cut in half by ten years from now. I say this as a US Army combat veteran who never wants to see our country even remotely unprepared and would never dream of putting any of our boys in harm’s way without the highest level of training and gear. However, our defense budget is bloated with so much BS and waste it is an absolute disgrace to the American people.

I have a conference call; I’ll be back later with the rest; I’m full of ideas!

(Report Comment)
Chip Leaver April 20, 2011 | 3:19 p.m.

So poor people need to pay for the governmental services that they get, according to some of you.

Still only a few see the obsurdity of this wish. I'll spell it out. If they are poor enough to be the recipient of governmental services, then how do you suppose they are going to pay for those services? What you must be saying is that you do not want them to have any services that they cannot pay for.
Oddly enough, Ryan doesn't want the folks who have paid into Social Security for several decades or so to get any of these governmental services either.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield April 20, 2011 | 3:38 p.m.

"So any low income fat people, people with diseases such as diabetes, people with children are all on your list? You left out the low income people who dared to be disabled in other ways or to get old, but that's alright because Ryan and every other agent of the Koch brothers has them in their crosshairs."

Face facts: You are a grown man. I am not your father. If you choose not to save for retirement, or make any of the other poor choices I listed, you have only yourself to blame.

"What you must be saying is that you do not want them to have any services that they cannot pay for."

Exactly. It's fiscally and ethically unsustainable to have a system where so many people get a free ride. And if you're that worried about destitute people wandering the streets, you can always take them into your home and provide for them. The rest can walk the earth as cautionary tales for those would prefer to be lazy or irresponsible.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 20, 2011 | 4:05 p.m.

Jack, how many students finance their entire education or a sizable portion with student loans? The last number I heard was something like 20%, but I don't have a source at the moment. Scholarships, savings, working (and/or delaying college), and the military are some options that don't require loans. I was able to graduate without any student loans, granted it was 20 years ago, but I did it with scholarships and living at home, plus a part-time warehouse job. My ex-wife's great-aunt left our two sons enough money to hopefully attend college or at least a very good start. She wasn't a wealthy woman to my knowledge, but saved what she could and passed some along. I hope to do the same for my descendants.

As for the mortgage deduction, I think it's benefit is overhyped by Realtors trying to sell people into more house than they can afford. Yes, I would have owed a bit of money last year if I had to take the standard deduction instead of itemizing, but I would take that small hit if the country got its spending under control. It would be interesting to see numbers showing who ("rich" vs. middle class) gets more benefit from certain deductions and credits.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 20, 2011 | 4:08 p.m.

One more thought on student loans. The easy availability of them allows colleges to increase costs without any pushback from students. If students could only pay a portion of their college education via loans, I think you would see a lot more people looking more closely at state or community colleges, or maybe actually deciding if a master's degree in Borneo basket weaving is a wise investment of their money and time.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 20, 2011 | 4:11 p.m.

Jack Hamm says, "Currently, most of this country’s wealth is pooled into a few hands and is sitting there."
_____________________________

So where do you think the money in wealthy folks' hands....is?

Physically.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 20, 2011 | 4:43 p.m.

Spend it to IRAQ!!!

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Derrick Fogle April 21, 2011 | 1:06 a.m.

Mike asks, "Where's the money, physically?" Funny question, because the money doesn't really exist. It's just numbers stored in a database. The amount of physical money (bills and coins) in existence is only about 1% of the total amount of wealth n the US.

So, where do those database numbers go?

1. Derivatives. They are almost completely unregulated, so nobody really knows, but the most common estimate I've seen as to the monetary value of outstanding derivatives contracts is at least $600 Trillion. Yes, that's 40 times bigger than the US economy, and 10 times bigger than the entire world's economy. That's truly funny money. The only estimate I've found (and this is shaky) is that the amount of actual money tied up in derivatives is about 1% of the aggregate contract values. That's $6T. Of course the catch is, that if the economy really tanked again, the derivatives issuers would end up owing more money than there is on the planet. That's probably a bad thing.

2. Commodity, mostly oil futures contracts. Sorry, I can't find enough consistency in aggregate value of outstanding oil futures contracts. The data is very closely guarded on "dark" exchanges. But with consumption at 86 million bbl/day, and prices at $100/bbl, that works out to $8.6T outstanding value if all oil were traded in futures contracts. But, it isn't; only about 60% of oil trading is done in futures contracts. The rest is spot market or OTC. Still, that's about $6T.

3. Gold. There are currently about 30,000 tonnes of gold being held as investment. At $1,500 per ounce, that works out to another $1.6T.

4. Farmland. That's right, over 50 new investment funds have been started in recent years to buy farmland. Prices have gone up 15-20% per year for the past couple of years. It's doubled in the last 10 years (58% increase when adjusted for inflation). Just 3 of the bigger ones have invested over $4T in farmland - as an investment they expect to profit from, not necessarily to grow food.

5. Derivatives' older and more mundane cousin, hedge funds. There's about $2T there. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424...

That's about $20T, and if the rich control 40% of the wealth, about $8T of that is where the rich people's money goes.

I consider most of these investment vehicles to be extremely poor job creators, and extremely poor real new wealth creators. It mostly represents a glut of investment money (those few huge pools of money from growing inequity) that's looking to turn a false (not real wealth) profit. If you can explain how these do create lots of domestic US jobs and create real new wealth, please share.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 21, 2011 | 1:22 a.m.

While I was being a good little tax-and-spend liberal, looking at the Mother Jones article "Only Little People Pay Taxes" article ( http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/04/... ) and clucking furiously over the unfairness of them getting to keep their money instead of share it, the "Sources of Federal Tax Revenue" graph caught my eye:

https://motherjones.com/files/images/cor...

There it is, plain as day: A truly job-killing change in the tax structure. Individual income taxes have not changed that much, but the ratio or corporate taxes vs. payroll taxes has completely inverted.

Payroll taxes are almost a phantom tax. They often get left out of discussions about individual taxes vs. corporate taxes. Workers never see this tax, but the employer sure does, and the employer doesn't get credits (like the child credit) to offset the cost. Between providing healthcare and payroll taxes, an employee costs a typical business TWICE what they pay the person in direct salary. A significant porton of that is payroll taxes.

A new hire looks at an offer and is all like, "Dang, only $40K?" while the employer looks at his costs and is all like "Dang, this guy is gonna cost me $80K!" It's a huge disincentive to hire workers, a huge incentive to offshore jobs, and it screws the domestic small business owners big time.

We should reverse the trend in that graph, in fact, completely eliminate payroll taxes. Yes, corporate profit taxes will be higher, but at least the business owner doesn't have to pay any taxes on the worker until the worker turns a profit.

What think the peanut gallery?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 21, 2011 | 7:15 a.m.

The costs, federally mandated, of adding and maintaining an employee fall disproportionally upon private businesses that have relatively few employees. Read "small business." Large firms have entire departments to deal with such matters, or can afford to outsource them.

Which private enterprises provide the largest number of jobs in our society, large corporations or small businesses? It's the latter. Some of those jobs may not pay all that well or have many or even any supplemental benefits, but small businesses provide the overwhelming number of jobs.

Every one KNOWS that, right? What the hell are they teaching students in colleges and universities these days?

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 21, 2011 | 7:39 a.m.

Mike,

Foggle pretty much nailed it on the head on where the money is. I assume you believed the money was being invested and contributing to economic and job creation but the fact is that is not true. Tax cuts for the upper brackets have been around for over ten years now. Where are the jobs? Where is the economic growth? I have still yet to hear or read an economist say that supply side economics is not a complete fallacy unless they were being paid to say otherwise.

John,

You proved my point of older generations not truly understanding the increase in cost. You automatically equate things to your experience which is very natural. However, your experience is very different from what students have been going through the past decade...

http://www.edweek.org/media/2006/12/12/1...

@ Ellis,

"but small businesses provide the overwhelming number of jobs."

This depends on how you look at it. The way the US (Dept of Commerce) measures small businesses leaves us with a total of 99.7% of ALL firms being classified as small businesses. So, of course they will have a higher aggregate of job creation than the .03% that makes up MNCs. Large corporations employ approximately 48% of domestic labor even though they only make up .03% of the total firms. In reality large businesses provided the overwhelming number of jobs in the US over the past few decades; a trend we need to reverse.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 21, 2011 | 7:46 a.m.

Karl,

The budget problem is NOT a spending problem and it is NOT a taxing problem; it IS an aggregate demand problem. We have suffocated the middle class to the point that they no longer have the purchasing power to drive demand in our economy. A Capitalist economy can not survive without a thriving middle class. Firms are not going to invest and hire until there are consumers demanding their products. Why make more of something if there is no one to buy it? Doing this would drive you out of business rather quickly.

Stop parroting what ever Fox News drives into your brain and start thinking about things (I am seriously getting sick of you just rewriting Fox News talking points. Come up with some original thought or let another local conservative take your column).

If you owned a business would a tax cut drive you to expand production when you know there are not consumers out there to buy your goods? We need to reestablish the middle class and Ryan's plan does the exact opposite.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller April 21, 2011 | 8:06 a.m.

Mr Hamm,
Perhaps you can clue me in as to just what "FOX News talking points" I am parroting inasmuch as you appear far more familiar with FOX and its talking points than I? If reading my column makes you "seriously sick", I would recommend that, for your health, you might consider ceasing to read it.

Reasonable people can agree to disagree without being disagreeable.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 21, 2011 | 8:10 a.m.

Hamm - Has spent evenings with his nose stuck in his monitor again, picking up erroneous information from internet. Is now spewing it to we poor readers as though he knows what he is talking about. I think I'll walk back over to the Tribune.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 21, 2011 | 8:38 a.m.

Good responses all, but I do have a few points:

Derrick: Let's take two of your examples, gold and farmland.

If I or anyone else buy your gold or your farmland, then I give you "money" (or the promise of money....debt) and you give me the product. For gold, instead of ME having the money, you do. So, the question still remains.....where did YOU put the money?

For farmland, do you really think the land will not be used for making food? Do you really think ANY purchaser is going to let it go to cockleburs and other assorted weeds while they are waiting to take their future profits?

No. 10 years of inactivity on a farm makes it no longer suitable for farming. You can see this on the downriver side of the Missouri River bottoms at the Rocheport bridge. There will be no increase in profits if such a thing is done.

And what of the money received by the farmer for his/her land? Where'd it go???????? Where IS it????????

When Jack says, "...most of this country’s wealth is pooled into a few hands and is sitting there", he has to define "sitting there".

Because I can assure you, it isn't just "sitting there". It isn't in a mattress and it isn't in a bank vault stacked and wrapped neatly just waiting for you to come and get it, which is the visceral response most folks will feel in reading Jack's statement. I call that gut response the "Uncle Scrooge" syndrome....visions of an ol' coot sitting and rolling on all that money and gold. It's a false vision.

Derrick also says, "The amount of physical money (bills and coins) in existence is only about 1% of the total amount of wealth in the US."

So what is it you want to tax? The 1% or the total amount of "wealth"? Is it actually possible to reach a point where taxes from funny-money wealth can exceed the total number of bills and coins?????
____________________________

The problem is that the "wealth" y'all are wanting to see invested in jobs IS being invested in jobs. The problem is that the jobs ain't where you want them to be.

There are reasons for that.

(PS: Virtually ALL problems we face right now have, at their root, a causation based upon "perception of risk". You have it, I have it, Jane rich person and John small business owner have it. So does Billy the billionaire. Make the perception of adverse risk go down, you'll get what you want. Until then.....no.)

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 21, 2011 | 9:04 a.m.

Karl,

I read every one of your columns and everyone that is not a local issue is a mirror of Fox News talking heads from the previous days. There is zero original or constrictive thought in your political columns. Personally I would rather read a column by guys like Schultz or Mike Williams than you. You are no different from Frank Christian’s comments; you just repeat what you have been told. There are other conservative voices out there that actually put thought and critical thinking into their political approach. In a newspaper column I find that refreshing and informative and I feel like the Missourian does a disservice not only to its conservative readers but also its liberal readers by having you represent the conservative point of view in their editorials.

“If reading my column makes you "seriously sick", I would recommend that, for your health, you might consider ceasing to read it.”

I going to go out on a limb here and assume that the Missourian would not appreciate you telling its customers to not read their product.

“Reasonable people can agree to disagree without being disagreeable.”

Yes, but you cannot reason a person out of a position that they did not reason themselves into. I prefer to debate with the thinking conservatives/libertarians like Schultz and Williams. I prefer not to do so with people like you and Frank (although Frank is good for a chuckle); I will not enter a battle of wits with an unarmed man.

I would like to see a real reasoned and thought out conservative view point in a weekly column in the Missourian and you are wasting that spot.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 21, 2011 | 9:11 a.m.

Mike,

The money is sitting in derivatives markets, overseas investments and all the other places that Derrick described. Why are we giving tax breaks to the wealthiest segments if they are investing that money overseas? What is the point of that and how is it going to drive economic growth in the US?

If that money is being invested in our economy where are the jobs and where is the growth? The Bush tax cuts have been going for a decade, how long is their impact going to take?

You can very easily get data on the derivatives market. Go look up the VAST sums of money that are being pooled there. What jobs do the derivatives market create? NONE. It is just a giant casino. The derivatives market has grown to over a half QUADRILLION dollars; that is absurd! We are giving tax breaks to billionaires so that they can continue to put the entire world economy into grave risk betting against each other in a market of worthless financial "assets".

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 21, 2011 | 9:15 a.m.

Jack, I'm not old enough that I didn't experience some of the rising portion of the college tuition increase in the graph you posted (1989-1993, along with Engineering College lab fees). People do still go to college without loans by either avoiding private schools (degrees instead of pedigrees), working for it, and scholarships. Another option is to pursue only degrees that you have a chance of making money with - I've heard way too many anecdotal stories about people with master's degrees in who-knows-what and $100K in student loan debt.

As someone who has two future college students, I've been squirelling a bit of money away since shortly after they were born to help them attend. How many parents aren't thinking about that until it's enrollment time? I know mine weren't, or couldn't, but they offered support in other way.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 21, 2011 | 9:19 a.m.

Jack: To side with Mr Miller for a moment....

Just because a person agrees with Fox News, CNN, Senator Pelosi, President Obama, a Missourian editorial, you, me, or Frank Christian does NOT mean he/she takes their talking points from them.

It simply means there is agreement.

Your knee-jerk reaction that Mr. Miller takes his talking points from FOX News does YOU a great disservice. It detracts from otherwise well-reasoned (if often erroneous) thinking. It's playground stuff.

PS: After all, have YOU ever used the words "gravitas" or "extreme" or "teabagger"? Did YOU think these words up all by yourself? Or did you hear them from somewhere else, agree with the concept, and adopt the notion as your own? In such a case, should I accuse YOU of taking your marching orders (talking points) from wherever you heard them first?

If you have ever done this kind of thing, you have no credibility to blame Mr. Miller for doing the same.

Somehow I think Mr Miller thunk up most of what he writes....all by himself.

Do you?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 21, 2011 | 9:29 a.m.

Jack,

Many of those investments described by Derrick are simply "pass through" of money. An investor buying gold may indeed sit on that gold, but the money is working elsewhere. It isn't in a bank vault.

As for the Bush tax cuts......how often must folks be reminded of 9-11???? How often must folks be reminded that the luxurious Clinton tech and housing years were simply a bubble? Is it ANY wonder that the tax cuts did not work?????

THE PERCEPTION OF RISK WENT SKY-HIGH!

As I originally stated....make it worthwhile for an investor to put his/her money where his/her mouth is in the US...by making the risk low and the return reasonably high...you'll get your wish.

Keep doing what you are doing right now...or proposing...and you get jobs and investments overseas. Hell, where do you think some of MY money is?

There's damn good reasons for that.

Darn, I'd like to stick around since this topic is so interesting........much later.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 21, 2011 | 9:31 a.m.

Mike,

I think many conservatives fall in to what you are describing, you being among them. I do not feel the same way about Mr Miller. Go back through his political columns, they are all exactly what Fox News spouts out. It is not occasional agreement; it is non stop parroting and there is a large difference between those two. Do the liberal commentators on the Missourian agree sometimes with MSNBC or NPR? Sure they do but they are not parroting whatever the daily talking point is. I think the Missourian could find a much better local conservative to write editorials for them. As a customer of the Missourian I am dissatisfied with these columns and I know I am not the only one.

Mr Miller's political columns portray the cave man thinking style that is stagnating our political discussion "republican good, democrat bad" (of course the liberal counterpart of this is just as detrimental). If our media and leaders continue to treat political parties like they are football teams, rooting for them regardless of outcome, how can we expect citizens to rise above that?

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 21, 2011 | 9:37 a.m.

Mike,

I am so tired of these excuses,

"how often must folks be reminded of 9-11???? How often must folks be reminded that the luxurious Clinton tech and housing years were simply a bubble? Is it ANY wonder that the tax cuts did not work?????"

Every decade has bubbles, recessions, wars, and foreign policy issues. It is a lame excuse.

The tax cuts do not work because they were not only never intended to work but they are incapable of doing what they said would happen. Go find one economist in the world that defends supply side economics who is not being paid to defend it. They do not exist. Businesses do not expand production and invest in human capital unless there is an increase in demand for their products. Why make something if there is not someone who wants to buy it? This is a business 101 concept that I'm sure you will not disagree with. Get the middle class back on track, they will increase their demand and businesses will start expanding to meet that demand. Without demand there is no production, no jobs, and no profits.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 21, 2011 | 9:51 a.m.

Jack Hamm wrote:

"We are giving tax breaks to billionaires so that they can continue to put the entire world economy into grave risk betting against each other in a market of worthless financial "assets"."

But that's not a problem of a few people with a whole lot of money. That's a problem of these markets having no regulation, and the sheer amount of money loaned into existence out of thin air. When a person (or more typically an institution) can make millions buying some collateralized debt instrument at 3.01% predicted return and reselling it at 3.02% predicted return, that's a problem of simply too much money with too little real backing.

It's not who owns the money. It's how the money is used, and especially how these markets are regulated. Another huge problem is the lack of government control over the money supply (so-called "seignorage").

Not that I think we'll solve our debt crisis without hefty tax increases on the rich (and probably everyone else). But I've never been convinced that income inequality in itself is bad for the economy.

DK

(Report Comment)
Andrew Sommer April 21, 2011 | 9:54 a.m.

"I would like to see a real reasoned and thought out conservative view point in a weekly column in the Missourian and you are wasting that spot."

I agree with this. I also like the idea of John Schultz (or someone like him) writing the conservative editorial. I find his point of view very interesting and well thought out.

A wide range of viewpoints leads one to being well rounded and I think that would be even more beneficial in a town like Columbia where we have so many young people. Maybe we can help the next generation avoid the tunnel vision that effects our generations so severely.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 21, 2011 | 10:03 a.m.

"But I've never been convinced that income inequality in itself is bad for the economy."

It is not inherit-ably bad. It becomes bad when it slows the velocity of circulation which is what is happening now (and over the past few years). There will always be income inequality in a capitalist economy just like there will always be unemployment, inflation etc. The issue arises when that factor becomes so concentrated that it has negative effects across the board. In the same way that 15% inflation would be bad, pooled wealth to the extend that we have is bad. We need to get things back to efficient levels.

"Not that I think we'll solve our debt crisis without hefty tax increases on the rich (and probably everyone else)."

We are solving the debt crisis through inflation and devaluation of our currency; its called a Default by Stealth. The real budget debate is not about paying off existing debt, it is about the creation of future debt and the future of our economic structure.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller April 21, 2011 | 10:39 a.m.

Inasmuch as I am unaware of "FOX News Talking Points," I am a bit uncertain how I could be "spouting and nonstop parroting" of same? Perhaps FOX is gleaning its talking points from my columns?

May I also assume from your "I would like to see a real reasoned and thought out conservative view point in a weekly column in the Missourian and you are wasting that spot" that you prefer one that agrees with your views?

Mr Hamm--if you and I agreed with one another, one of us would be unnecessary.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 21, 2011 | 10:52 a.m.

Karl

No one is looking for a yes man; which is why I specifically used the term conservative commentator. In fact, what I would be looking for is someone who completely disagrees with me. There are already plenty of liberal views in the paper and others; I want to hear the competing views.

As a customer I have certain expectations of a product. Why would anyone bother with your columns when they get the exact same thing by listening to Fox News talking heads; you offer nothing new. There are plenty of conservative views out there that actually involve critical thinking and original thought, things that your columns significantly lack. Why should customers like me continue to buy a product that I get can many other places and at better quality?

"Inasmuch as I am unaware of "FOX News Talking Points,"

You're not fooling anyone. Give that a rest.

Drop the caveman attitude "republican good, liberal bad", it's not doing anyone any good.

It is obvious that you have not taken the time to read any of these proposals and thought about them yourself. The only thing your columns do is repackage other people's opinions into your column. Why should anyone bother with your "opinions" when they can get them from the original person?

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 21, 2011 | 11:01 a.m.

Jack Hamm - "everyone that is not a local issue is a mirror of Fox News talking heads from the previous days." Is it not possible, in your little world, that everyone is repeating "it" is because "it" is true? You scream FOX every time because you can't recognize truth, or can't accept it when it finds you.

You apparently prefer Chip Leaver's brand of "talking points". Spreading the Governments version of our "poor" as those too destitute to be required any responsibility for themselves or their actions. Posting as if ALEC, a conservative group "behind" all the Republican proposals to save our economy are an evil, secret, bunch. His source? That mainstream bastion of truth, alternet.org, which used ALEC, only to recite, again their distaste for the legislation.

"Go find one economist in the world that defends supply side economics who is not being paid to defend it". This is one of your funnier declarations. Funny, but, meaningless. Try this truth for size. Tax cuts have worked for their purpose, create jobs and more wealth for the Gov't, every time tried. Any changes in the size of the "middle class", since R. Reagan have due to folks moving UP out of it. The trillions waiting on the side to be invested are there because of constantly increasing regulation in this country and uncertainty of what this Administration will do next, to deter growth. A prediction - The election of a Republican President will bring this money into play in our economy like the Niagra River over the Falls.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 21, 2011 | 11:05 a.m.

Andrew, thanks for the compliment, but I would be writing a more libertarian rather than conservative viewpoint, assuming I had time to write such a column. Since I don't see that happening anytime soon, I wouldn't mind the Missourian adding a syndicated writer like John Stossel (the Tribune already has Walter Williams).

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 21, 2011 | 11:20 a.m.

Frank,

Reality and all empirical economic data disagrees with you. If you want to live in fantasy land go for it.

"Tax cuts have worked for their purpose, create jobs and more wealth for the Gov't, every time tried."

It did not work with the Bush tax cuts. You can claim Reagan's tax cuts did but you would again be wrong. Reagan cut taxes in 1981 and the flowing 1982 fiscal year was a horrible recession. After that Reagan raised taxes 11 times. He also increased our national debt at unprecedented rates.

Go read about David Stockman and what he has to say about Reagan, taxes, and budgets. Or what Alan Simpson has to say about it. As usual the FACTS do not agree with you Frank.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 21, 2011 | 11:20 a.m.

John S. - I didn't know Stossel wrote. I'd read him as well. Were you aware that J Stossel spent several years of his childhood in Columbia? His father was supervisor or superintendent for the air conditioning on the VA hospital when it was built. You figure how long ago that was, I don't want to.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 21, 2011 | 12:01 p.m.

Jack Hamm - Another of your "sage" postings that says nothing. You pick up on all the Alan Simpson stories, all you've got, in which he, "dis-spells the myth" that Reagan never raised taxes. Says nothing about whether the across the board cuts created 19M jobs or doubled the tax revenues for the Gov't. You know this, but have to recite it for you again: Reagan signed the Democrat bill to close loop holes in tax code in exchange for $4 in spending cuts for every $1 of additional revenue. He got the extra revenue, but, "never got a nickles worth of spending cuts". He signed the bill to save SS by increasing payroll taxes. When liberals are not crucifying Reagan for "raising taxes", They proudly refer to Reagan and Tip O'Neal as getting together in the "Rose Garden and fixing SS.

"He also increased our national debt at unprecedented rates." Still stuck on leaving our Congress, Democrat then, out of the equation when it is convenient? You and your posts are "remarkable" to put it mildly.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 21, 2011 | 12:20 p.m.

Thank you, Karl, for presenting another interesting topic. If you hadn't chosen to matriculate at the wrong University of Missouri campus you'd be pretty nearly perfect. It may not be too late! We can get you an appointment with our chancellor. :)

Re-reading what others have written here I am reminded of my time spent practicing engineering outside the United States. We go around telling everyone else what they should or shouldn't do, but we don't seem to be able to get our own act together.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 21, 2011 | 12:34 p.m.

I don't crucify Regan for raising taxes; I applaud him. It was what needed to be done just as it needs to be done right now. I don't just chastise Reagan for the debt, but I don't ignore his contributions to it like you do. I don't pretend that he was some republican god that did no wrong like you do. I choose to live in reality. Republicans and democrats are both guilty of letting our debt get out of control. You are the one who plays the "republican good, democrat bad" card all the time.

Government receipts did nearly double under Reagan, just as they had during every other 8 year span. If you think what Reagan did was good you must have loved what Eisenhower, Carter and LBJ did also. Tax receipts increased by 75% under Reagan's terms. Under Carter they went up 73% (in only 4 years, Reagan's first 4 years they only went up 28.9%). In fact, Clinton reigned over the largest increase at 85.6%. However, under Reagan's watch our country's debt almost tripled from $909 billion to over $2.6 trillion; the same cannot be said for the other Presidents.

Then we have the Bush tax cuts. Government receipts were just over $2 trillion the year before the cuts. After the cuts receipts were DOWN to $1.9 trillion, the next year they went DOWN again to $1.85 trillion, this trend continued for the next few years while our national debt continued to spiral out of control (Bush started with $5.6 trillion in debt and left office with just over $10 trillion in debt).

Frank, stop saying that the tax cuts work and start backing it up with the numbers. It is meaningless to say that Reagan nearly doubled tax receipts when not only does almost every president do that but many of them did it at a greater rate than him. Do you praise him for keeping the sky blue also? Are you praising him because when he tried supply side economics it did not harm our economy as much as when Bush tried it?

When Bush I called Reagan's economic plans "voodoo economics" he was right and the voters should have listened.

Frank, if a liberal magically fixed all of our problems I bet you would still chastise him to your death and if a Republican magically destroyed our country you would praise him all day. You don't care about what is actually best for this country and its citizens; you care about your team winning, it's all a giant football game to you. You are so out of touch with reality that it is both incredibly sad and eye opening. I'm still waiting to see if you have the intellect to ever get past your caveman approach to policy Frank. So far it does not look good.

@ John,

When you see Strossel does it not always make you think of Keith Hernandez like me?

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote April 21, 2011 | 12:59 p.m.

@Mr. Miller,

I fail to see how Ryan's plan is serious if it increases our deficit relative to current law 10 years out (See table 1 pg. 3):
http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/121xx/doc1212...

You were opposed to the ACA legislation, going so far as to assert that the CBO's analysis of the cost savings/spending cuts to pay for it were highly implausible:
"That 30 million people could be added to the health care rolls, children could stay on parental insurance until age 26 and medicare reduced by 500 billion dollars with an overall savings of money defies simple arithmetic."
Yet, those very same cost saving measures are included in Ryan's plan. Have you had a change of heart vis a vis the cost saving mechanisms in the ACA, or do you disagree with the amount of savings Ryan claims his plan will generate?
I would also add that when Ryan had the CBO score his plan he told them to assume that he would come up with $300 billion over 10 years for the doc fix. Two years ago, this was quite an issue with conservatives, because it was not included in the ACA legislation. In fact you opined on this very topic:
"...This inattention to detail makes it easier to ignore errors in accounting, omit embarrassing issues or place offline a programmed 21 percent reduction in Medicare payments ($250 billion “Doc Fix”), a hidden card trick to keep the total cost at or below the level promised."
It would appear as though your view of whether a policy initiative is serious or not has more to do with who is presenting it, rather than with what is actually in the proposal.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 21, 2011 | 1:01 p.m.

I wouldn't even say the current level of inequality is inherently BAD, but I will state that it is DIFFERENT. It's a fundamental change in our economy. We are currently experiencing the effects of that difference (among others).

Do you think the economy we are experiencing right now is bad? The change in inequality is an undeniable, and I think significant, factor in the current state of the economy.

High levels of inequality explain why fiscal stimulus appears so ineffective. It's a lot like radiation half-life. When the wealthiest 1% captured 10% of income, each dollar injected into the economy as stimulus turned over (ended up being someone's income) 7.5 times before half of it was captured by the wealthy. Now that the 1% captures 25% of income, that same stimulus dollar only changes hands 2.5 times before half of it is captured by the wealthy.

This is why Reagan era stimulus (tax cuts, dramatic increases in defense spending) appeared to really work, whereas the Bush II tax cuts and Obama era stimulus results were extremely weak. It's the law of diminishing returns. What worked in the Reagan era is, at most, 1/3rd as effective today.

The growth of inequality, and stagnant income of the bottom half, proves that the money doesn't come back. If it did, it would show up as income outside the 1%, thus driving down the GINI. How anyone can believe this phenomenon of wealth transfer actually creates jobs or helps the economy is beyond me.

Here's a chart of real income gains, 1920-2008: http://www.fogles.net/mostuff/real_incom...

Here's a chart of rolling 10-year employment gains, 1950-2010: http://www.fogles.net/mostuff/10-year-em...

(graphs courtesy LBO http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com )

I wish I had the time to properly combine the two graphs, but it's rather clear there is a strong correlation between the rise in inequality, and the weakening of employment markets.

BTW Jack, did you ever do a BORG time trial? I'm thinking about doing another one this evening.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 21, 2011 | 1:08 p.m.

@ Derrick

Not yet; work is keeping me so busy that I have barley left my office in 4 days. If the rain comes like they say it will this weekend I will have to ride down there for some indoor cycling! That's the best part of parking garages for me; its the nearest we will get to having a velodrome in Columbia.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 21, 2011 | 1:40 p.m.

Frank, thanks for the info on Stossel living in Columbia. I had no idea he lived here.

For those wanting to check out some of his writing, you can find him on townhall.com (yes, yes, I know) along with Walter Williams. I'm on their daily email list of commentary and news and the two of them are about the only items I click through. Usually they are both published on the same day.

Jack, thanks for the Keith Hernandez observation. I never thought of that before, but it will probably stick in my head now!

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 21, 2011 | 2:31 p.m.

Jack Hamm - You can't find in your liberal sources of information that Reagan fought tooth and nail with Tip O'Neal over Congressional spending, so you give us,"I don't just chastise Reagan for the debt, but I don't ignore his contributions to it like you do." The memorable report was that tho they fought daily they were able to put differences aside with a drink at 6 o'clock. Tax receipts from 1977 d' Congress & Carter 356B$ to 1980, 517B$. Where I come from this ain't a73% increase. $517 Reagan to $990 in 1989 ain't 75% either. #'s from OMB. I said I would post W. Bush's cap gain tax cuts again and again. Gov't was collecting average 500B$ annually until Bush's cuts. CBO guessed those cuts "might" increase the take to 60B$. They actually doubled revenues to the gov't from that source to 100B$. The entire package can be attributed to the creation of 1M jobs.

No I don't like what LBJ did. He was first into our SS funds to pay for Vietnam and Great Society programs which brought no one but Democrat recipients out of "poverty".

You and Fogle, as far as I am concerned, prove the old axiom true. "There are lies,damned lies and there statistics"

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 21, 2011 | 2:41 p.m.

Frank,

I used 1976-1980 for Carter. That gives us the year before he took office, the base line and his final budget. I used 1980-1988 for Reagan; doing the same thing. As you can tell these both use the previous fiscal year's budget as the base line and their last budget as the end point. That is a fair way to do it.

You turn around and use 1989 as the stop year for Reagan giving him an extra year but use 1977 as Carter's start year, giving him less one year. Was this purposefully done to sway the numbers or are your math skills on the same level as your reading and writing skills?

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 21, 2011 | 2:47 p.m.

J. Hamm - "You are the one who plays the "republican good, democrat bad" card all the time." Another silly, false, accusation. You can't accept that in every "Democrat bad" instance, I, 99% of the time, describe to the 'nth degree what they have done and how it has effected us as a people. Just another chink out of what you believe to be your perfect view of our political scene.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 21, 2011 | 2:59 p.m.

Frank,

No you don't. You spout out a bunch of nonsense in rambling and incoherent sentences that never amount to anything and that read like they were written by a 4th grader who speaks English as a second language. You rarely use facts or statistics to back up your arguments and the rare times that you do you either deliberately distort them like you just did with the Carter and Reagan numbers or just flat make them up. Most importantly, you never use critical thinking skills or logic; I assume this is due to the fact that you lack those skills. All of your posts are covered in feelings and emotions about Tip O'Neil, Harry Reid, Reagan, Obama etc. There are no facts or logic to anything you say. Keep living in your childish dream world Frank. Meanwhile the adults will be debating the issues using logic, fact and reason. If you decide to grow up and join the conversation please do so. Until then, as I stated earlier, I will not enter a battle of wits with an unarmed man.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 21, 2011 | 3:15 p.m.

JH - I should not have used 1989, should have stopped at 1988 and 909B$, for Reagan. I don't,however recall, any action by HWB, or the D' Congress that might have created additional 81B$. He didn't raise taxes, which cost him his 2nd term, until much later. Does this make Carter a better President? Reagan, worse?

Sorry, I don't play with statistics, as you obviously do.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 21, 2011 | 3:19 p.m.

Jack Hamm - "No you don't. You spout out a bunch of nonsense in rambling and incoherent sentences that never amount to anything and that read like they were written by a 4th grader who speaks English as a second language."

REMARKABLE!

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 21, 2011 | 5:11 p.m.

w00t! An nod from Frank in the statistics department!

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 21, 2011 | 6:16 p.m.

D. Fogle - "w00t! An nod from Frank in the statistics department!" Be careful,Master Ham might attack you for bad grammar and poor sentence structure. Content is lacking as well. (mine)

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 21, 2011 | 6:33 p.m.

Go back to the Trib boards, Frank. Please.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 21, 2011 | 7:57 p.m.

I believe that the trib board is as empty as the employment classifieds from the same paper.

What name did Frank used to use in the earlier stone age?

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 21, 2011 | 8:46 p.m.

Derrick - I have shrugged off insults foisted by the elitist, J. Hamm, but your latest "request" has finally hit home. I have been floating between Trib and Missourian since Trib started charging. Only a few liberals seem apparent there now, so like Geo. Soros,(minus, of course, the money) "I can live anywhere, but I stay here, because this is where the fight is."

I never intended to mention this, except to my closest ones,but Hamm's ignorant insults bring out my pride, part of which is the knowledge that I have been personally solicited, twice, to continue my comments at Tribune. No mention of my thinking skills or logic. Knowing that the liberal mind will jump on any shred, I must add that these occasions occurred before I or any of us, I'm sure, had any idea that Trib intended to limit participation.

I'm just a simple guy that knows the difference between "right and wrong" and "true and false". Look into it, you might find it rewarding.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 21, 2011 | 8:54 p.m.

P all air - "What name did Frank used to use in the earlier stone age?"

The same I was using when you, on Tribune were calling yourself unohu. The same name I used when I told you, you were a fool. As far as I can tell now, "only the names have changed"

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 21, 2011 | 11:00 p.m.

Frank, I and several of the Trib and Missourian reporters follow each other on Twitter. I talk to them at social-media centric get togethers. I support some of the Missourian's equipment and maintain professional relationships with some of the staff. I know the score.

h4x354x0r: 42
Frank Christian: OVER NINE THOUSAND!

(and yes, that's a repeat, it just seems so fitting in this situation)

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 21, 2011 | 11:24 p.m.

For the record, I don't really want Frank to go away. I sincerely admire his dedication and feistiness. I love him. But he's still not getting any of MY numbers!

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 22, 2011 | 12:03 a.m.

Sigh. What name did Frank use when they called (I can't remember) either "news forum" or "trib board"? I'm talking about when you could write your own heading and start a thread.
It was relatively recently that I used "unohu". I assure you that was no attempt to hide. I wrote unohu because I assumed that you knew who I was. About a year later I was amazed to observe that some of my most vigorous opponents still did not. Oh well.
And I do remember when Frank came on here. With that name I assumed that he had just made it up. Sort of reminds me of a GLS...

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 22, 2011 | 1:52 a.m.

Ya know, there could be a problem with this and some other threads that's neither journalistic nor political but is apparently chemical.

The gram molecular weight of bull****, while substantially lower than the gram atomic of lead, is still of concern. Given so much bull****, an unsustainable condition has now been reached, whether the venue is Columbia, Missouri, Jefferson City, Missouri or Iraq (as in "send them or it to Iraq"), or for that matter Washout, D.C..

An investigation is clearly in order, and what good is journalism if not for conducting investigations? Until the investigation has been completed, citizens are strongly urged NOT to turn on any fans. OSHA considers bull**** hitting a fan to be an unsafe condition.

MS&T chancellor Carney has promised to make that campus' chemical and chemical engineering laboratories available if needed to aid in the investigation. After 140 years of residence in this "university system" MS&T is used to having to process large quantities of bull****.

Have a nice Easter. I intend to.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 22, 2011 | 6:50 a.m.

Frank,

"by the elitist, J. Hamm,"

Seriously? Being intelligent and educated does not make you elitist. Get a grip on reality Frank.

Besides, how many "elitist" people do you know that joined the army at 18 years old and served in two wars to be able to go to college? Reality Frank, go check it out.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 22, 2011 | 7:24 a.m.

Jack H. - Doing great and good things above and beyond the things done by others would put one in the group "elite".

The arrogant, selfish person who believes, erroneously, that their actions have been so great that they now have a posture that allows them to look down from above on all they survey and when not able to compete in the arena of ideas,content themselves with demeaning comments about the opponent's person,can be called an "elitist".

Thus,"by the elitist, J. Hamm,".

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 22, 2011 | 7:41 a.m.

Tell yourself whatever you have to to make yourself feel better Frank.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 22, 2011 | 8:17 a.m.

Thanks, I feel better, already.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 22, 2011 | 5:37 p.m.

We could make education a lot more affordable at universities by cutting the salaries of administrators and professors, cut out the money they spend for golf games and going to seminars (more golf games) and staying at 5 star hotels and eating alot of food while poor people starve.
Of course liberals are always of the mindset, do what I say, not what I do. And it's amazing how generous liberals are....with OTHER poeple's money. Every time there is a legitimate study of charitable giving and volunteerism, conservatives come way ahead of liberals in percentage of donation, as well as per capita money and time spent doing volunteer work. Liberals will claim that's because greedy Republicans can afford it, and then turn around and say how much smarter and better educated liberals are.

Go figure.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 22, 2011 | 5:37 p.m.

Stand by Fleebaggers. Redistricting is coming. Make your reservations now for your out of state hotels.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 22, 2011 | 5:39 p.m.

Jack, you could have avoided the draft like me and enlisted at 17.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 22, 2011 | 6:28 p.m.

Don, you should probably consider having the homes you have lived in over the past thirty years or so checked for lead paint.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 23, 2011 | 9:55 p.m.

Jack says, "Every decade has bubbles, recessions, wars, and foreign policy issues. It is a lame excuse."
________________________

No, it's decidedly NOT a lame excuse. Economics is a "history". There are causes and effects. One thing happens and something else subsequently happens that would not have happened if the first thing hadn't happened. Congratulations to me...I used "happen" 4 times in a sentence.

Ignoring or downgrading a cause/effect relationship does not negate that cause/effect relationship. You simply cannot sit there and tell me that 9/11 and the subsequent slaughter of the markets (bubbles bursting) had NO long-term adverse effects upon sentiment in the US/world.

NONE of you folks pay the amount of attention to "sentiment" that you should.

But, it's easy to do so. Simply ask yourself, "Am I spending my money...today...the same way I was in 1998?

Me neither.

So why would you expect others, including business folks, to be any different?

There's a real logic disconnect going on here. You expect your behavior to be different from other folks'. Why?
___________________________

Go ahead and force US businesses to stay in the US. I double-dog dare you. Heck, I triple-dog dare you. I want you to see what happens. I want you to get your wish. I'm tired of arguing about it. Let it happen. Go isolationist. I won't be affected much, so have at it.
__________________

Y'all never addressed my comments about "wealth" versus "real money", and what is it that you want to tax? If wealth is "funny money" with no value, why do you bitch so much at those holding "funny money"?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 23, 2011 | 10:01 p.m.

Further, those of you griping "Where are the jobs?" are ignoring history. That's short for "Quit being impatient!"

When business goes south because of reduced inventory sales (because of fear), folks get laid-off. There is a subsequent period of adjustment and "waiting" for sentiment to start to change, then companies (with little-to-no increased sales) start to make money again with the reduced labor overhead. This can persist for months or years. Eventually, with time, sentiment among the buying public changes, inventories are reduced at a faster rate, and jobs are created to refill those inventories.

We ain't there yet.

Jobs are lagging indicators. Always have been, always will be.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 23, 2011 | 10:04 p.m.

PS: Officiating the KU Relays was great! The quality of high school runners is going up rapidly.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 23, 2011 | 10:26 p.m.

MW - Boy! You caught up in a hurry!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 23, 2011 | 10:48 p.m.

frank: Yeah, things bubble over after standing onna track watchin' runners and arguin' with coaches and meet managers for 3 dayz.

Lots of fun.

I actually saw the 3rd fastest women's 100M hurdles in the world today....12.75 seconds.

hooooeeeeeee.....that gal wuz smokin'!!!!!!!!!!!
____________________________

I just don't understand how folks think they can influence entrepreneurship in any way they wish, like a conductor of an orchestra. Everything they need to know about entrepreneurs is as follows (everything stems from these simple statements):

You can make me work. But, you can't make me work efficiently, and you can't force my ideas from my head into the real world unless I decide.

Remember that, and every other ivory-tower, idealistic thing you come up with inside your head doesn't mean crap.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 24, 2011 | 10:03 a.m.

MW - "hooooeeeeeee.....that gal wuz smokin'!!!!!!!!!!!"

I bet she could run too, huh?

(Report Comment)
jessie crowder April 24, 2011 | 9:53 p.m.

how bout the flooding on mississippi. worst since 1937!

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 27, 2011 | 7:31 p.m.

Paul Allaire's April 22, 2011 at 6:28 p.m. comment is a classic indicator or his inability to gather his thoughts in a cogent manner and form an intelligent response. Likely he has and always will drink from lead cups.

(Report Comment)

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