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  #1    
Old February 5th, 2014, 10:29 PM
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What do you think on the current status on America? How are we doing socially, economically, politically? I recently rad an article on Huffington Post which was heartbreaking.

Mr. President, This Is My America: Life in an RV Park With a Master's Degree

Quote:
Dear Mr. President,

I write to you today because I have nowhere else to turn. I lost my full time job in September 2012. I have only been able to find part-time employment -- 16 hours each week at $12 per hour -- but I don't work that every week. For the month of December, my net pay was $365. My husband and I now live in an RV at a campground because of my job loss. Our monthly rent is $455 and that doesn't include utilities. We were given this 27-ft. 1983 RV when I lost my job.

This is America today. We have no running water; we use a hose to fill jugs. We have no shower but the campground does. We have a toilet but it only works when the sewer line doesn't freeze -- if it freezes, we use the campground's restrooms. At night, in my bed, when it's cold out, my blanket can freeze to the wall of the RV. We don't have a stove or an oven, just a microwave, so regular-food cooking is out. Recently we found a small toaster oven on sale so we can bake a little now because eating only microwaved food just wasn't working for us. We don't have a refrigerator, just an icebox (a block of ice cost about $1.89). It keeps things relatively cold. If it's freezing outside, we just put things on the picnic table.

Unfortunately, we can't buy things in bulk because they will go bad before we can use them. We can't buy dry goods in bulk either, because there is no room to store them anywhere in the RV.

We are very lucky that the campground has showers, but it costs 25 cents for two minutes. There have been times when we couldn't afford a shower and had to resort to bathing in the campground restroom sink. There was a shower in the RV but the plumbing has deteriorated so now we use it a a closet.

The walls of the RV are not well insulated, so many times the inside gets wet from condensation. That means all of the blankets that we have stored above the bed may end up moldy if we don't remove them an dry them periodically. There is mold under the carpet on the floor and there is mold along the walls behind our seats. But we keep it clean the best we can. The heating system in the RV no longer functions, so we have a small radiator-type floor heater and we move it around to dry the floor to keep it from molding.

My husband is bipolar and was considered disabled and was receiving SSI. Prior to my job loss, he was seen for 12 minutes by a disability physician, never asked about his bi-polar condition and was kicked off disability. He had received $1,000 per month, but it is gone.

After I lost my job at a college, we moved from Kern County in California, where the unemployment rate is over 10 percent, to the Pacific Northwest where the unemployment rate is lower to be near my son and grandson but without gas money, we still can't visit them.

So now we sit. I apply for so many jobs daily. I have a Master's degree and have been in the workforce for over 30 years. Why can't I find a job? I have marketable skills. My credit is gone (credit score of 570) and so I am no longer being considered for jobs in the "real" world. I am only ever considered for government jobs and even then, they usually know who they plan to hire but they have to go through the process. So here we sit.

I had been receiving unemployment benefits from California but now that the unemployment rate for the state is lower, there are no more funds coming in.

My husband can't find a job. No one wants to hire me. Luckily, the State of Washington has decided to provide us with $300 in food stamps each month but it still isn't enough to survive on. All of our savings is gone. I no longer have any retirement savings. Nothing. By the end of this month, we will be without anywhere to turn.

Your devoted constituent,

Paula Bray
Source

This is the status of thousands of people in America today. Many are trying to get out of the economic hole, but it is too hard. Food stamps aren't the answer! The government needs to find people jobs like FDR did in the 1930s and 1940s. How are we going to help the other countries of the world, when we can't even help the poor in our own country? Are we truly out of the recession? I think we are far away form where we need to go. I believe that the Government will shut down again, we are unorganized and things do not seem to be going as they should.

What do you guys on here think of Obamacare? Is it really necessary? Yes, for people that can't afford it it's a good, but many Americans don't even want it and our Government is forcing them into it. That's communism at its finest right there if you ask me! Also, it's hurting the average middle class family because the poor can't afford it. My mom has diabetes, her medicine bills have skyrocketed since the beginning of Obamacare? And why should it be labeled Obamacare? I respect our president, Obama, but naming it after himself seems egotistical to me. What are your guys' thoughts on the current state of America? I think it would be interesting to see viewpoints of those who live in the country, and those out of the country. How do you guys that live in other countries view us?
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  #2    
Old February 6th, 2014, 05:09 AM
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Quote:
And why should it be labeled Obamacare? I respect our president, Obama, but naming it after himself seems egotistical to me.
Do you mean the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act (Affordable Care Act, ACA for short)? The one all right-wing media (starting with -guess who- some Romney dude-) labeled "Obamacare" because Obama is terribad and and communist and black so therefore people would hate the law if it was linked to his name? It's pretty funny that now people are claiming that it was Obama himself who nicknamed the law that way out of egocentrism- it wasn't. It's just a popular (and originally negative) nickname that stuck, the same way the 2002 Campaign Reform Act is the "McCain–Feingold" Act.

Quote:
Yes, for people that can't afford it it's a good, but many Americans don't even want it and our Government is forcing them into it. That's communism at its finest right there if you ask me!
ahahahahahahahahahahahaha
ahahahahahahahahahahahaha
ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

So if being forced to get health treatment off private companies in a free market (with subsidies and other goodies that make it cheaper for most people to buy it) is communism, then what the hell is the State-run, single-payer system everybody gets by default (and loves since it means you'll always have guaranteed healthcare, regardless of your income) in most of Europe? Superhypercommunism? We call it "welfare".

Apparently, instead of saying "I don't think this law is conservative enough", right-wing politicians have decided to go with the much nicer-sounding "this law is pure Stalin communism". So everything left of centre is communism. Okay. The Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate isn't equal to communism but rather equal to any regular tax. You are free to not have any health insurance if you really want to die or be thrown into bankrupcy in case you have an accident, sure, but then you'll have to contribute to the emergency room treatment you have right to in those cases, hence the "penalty". But this has been discussed a million times already.

Quote:
Are we truly out of the recession?
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Current Numbers:

4th quarter 2013: +3.2 percent
3rd quarter 2013: +4.1 percent

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/unit...tes/gdp-growth

Two consecutive positive trimesters? Yeah, that's what economists consider enough to say you aren't in a recession. In fact, you are much better than all of Europe together (+0.2% in 3re trimester 2013).

Meanwhile, the US deficit for Fiscal Year 2014 will be $280 billion, compared to the all-time record of $1.4 trillion in 2009, including the last Bush months. On top of that, unemployment has fallen from a 10% peak in the first months of Obama's presidency (October 2009) to 6.7 % in December 2013. So yes, the country is clearly improving.

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000

About that poor woman, well, the plural of anecdote is not data. It's very sad, which is why it's so puzzling how the Republicans are filibustering an extension of unemployment beneifts and are so vehemently against increasing the basic salary to $10.10 an hour- to the point of calling Obama "a dictator" for using his Congress-granted powers to unilaterally set salary requirements for Federal Government contractors.
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Last edited by Went; February 6th, 2014 at 04:00 PM.
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  #3    
Old February 6th, 2014, 09:16 AM
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It seems to me like the general public never quite understood just how bad of a situation we were in in 2007-2010. The largest financial disaster in nearly 80 years, and people expect it to just magically fix itself overnight. I think part of that has to do with the fact that people either don't know of, or simply aren't educated in economics enough to understand we've had a plethora of financial issues since then, upsets in the markets in the 70's, 80's and 90's. We have improved greatly since Obama took office, adding back 4.5 million + jobs, positive GDP growth as Went mentioned, the utter salvaging of the American auto industry, etc. (Which, had that not happened, we'd be staring into the abyss, financially.) Then there's also great tidbits about healthcare spending overall is down, thanks in part to the ACA, and the deficit has shrunk to the lowest it's been in 5+ years. Certainly, there's a lot of work to be done and there's a lot that still needs to be fixed, but to have done what he's done, with the GOP sideshow and all the other crap that's happened, (hurricanes, shootings, Ted Cruz, etc) speaks volumes about just how much the current administration has done to help right the ship, so to speak.
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Old February 6th, 2014, 10:52 AM
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I'm pretty sure I'll be in the minority here, but what the heck

All things considered, it's been a pretty epic fail on the part of this administration. I recognize the president inherited a pretty bad recession, but it stopped being Bush's recession in January of 2009--it's president Obama's recession now and has been for 5 years. The most significant move he's made in the way of attempting a recovery was the 787 billion dollar stimulus, but that didn't get us out of the recession. The argument was that if he hadn't passed the stimulus, things would have been even worse and even more people would have lost their jobs, but when you stop and think about it what does that mean? If it took almost a trillion dollars and majority support in congress just to keep the recession the same, how much is he going to need to actually get us out of it?

Add that to the fact that of most of the things he's proposed/done (stimulus, bailouts, raising taxes, expanding unemployment benefits), none of them has any historical basis, to my knowledge. Where in history has anyone been able to spend their way out of a recession? I think history shows that a recovery doesn't involve the government at all--other than the government staying out of the way and letting the private sector do what it does best: make money.

That's not to say the president's totally responsible. Heck, he can't be. The guy can only do so much. It's just the entire government seems to overestimate the importance of the government in everyone's daily life, which is why I think they've made so many bad decisions during this recession. There's this joke (maybe? I'm not sure what you'd call it.) that me and a bunch of my friends came up with that basically describes this phenomenon:

Government: "We need to raise your taxes. Can you give us more money please?"
Citizen: "No way."
Government: "But come on, we're in a recession!"
Citizen: "Then that means I'll need every penny, won't I?"
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Old February 6th, 2014, 01:02 PM
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A recession, as Live mentioned, is measured by GDP growth. If the GDP is the sum of economic activity, then growing the GDP is just a matter of stimulating economic activity - get people to buy and sell again. The recession occurred because the private sector /wasn't/ doing what they did best. Demand fell and economic activity halted because why would one produce things that won't be bought? Why should the government stay out of the way and let the private sector continue to /not/ do what it's /supposed/ to do?

Government spending creates demand. When demand for production is falling, the government steps in to fill the gap. Now there's a lot to be said about where the spending should take place and the potential of crowding out private investments and corruption, but fundamentally it's a reasonable idea - if the private sector isn't spending, spend.
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Old February 6th, 2014, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zomgitscathy View Post
All things considered, it's been a pretty epic fail on the part of this administration. I recognize the president inherited a pretty bad recession, but it stopped being Bush's recession in January of 2009--it's president Obama's recession now and has been for 5 years.
Well, obviously the economic policy is a giant rolling snowball, you can't just change everything the very day you are sworn in- or a couple months later, for that matter. The depression peaked in October and it has been getting better, centimetre by centimetre, since then.

And let's use the correct terminology- it hasn't been a recession for a very long time, since a recession requires two consecutive quarters of GDP contraction, or a 1.5% rise in unemployment in a year- which haven't happened since 2009. It stopped being a recession altogether in 2009.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zomgitscathy View Post
The most significant move he's made in the way of attempting a recovery was the 787 billion dollar stimulus, but that didn't get us out of the recession. The argument was that if he hadn't passed the stimulus, things would have been even worse and even more people would have lost their jobs, but when you stop and think about it what does that mean? If it took almost a trillion dollars and majority support in congress just to keep the recession the same, how much is he going to need to actually get us out of it?
Except things don't necessarily work that way. By putting up a patch in the worst moments, you can save a lot of time getting out of it, by starting the recovery at a higher point that it could have been if you had let it go unchecked.

Just look at us in Europe and how well we are thanks to the no-spending policy decided by our leaders. We went through an actual second recession two years ago, and look at how we are now: +0.2% in 3rd quarter 2013 VS +4.1% in the US. Wow, the US are so bad in comparison. They should have cut some good trillions in spending as we did.

Quote:
Add that to the fact that of most of the things he's proposed/done (stimulus, bailouts, raising taxes, expanding unemployment benefits), none of them has any historical basis, to my knowledge. Where in history has anyone been able to spend their way out of a recession?
FDR, biggest depression ever recorded? New Deal? Does that ring any bells?

Quote:
The "First New Deal" (1933–34) dealt with diverse groups, from banking and railroads to industry and farming, all of which demanded help for economic survival. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration, for instance, provided $500 million (8bn adjusted for inflation) for relief operations by states and cities, while the short-lived CWA (Civil Works Administration) gave localities money to operate make-work projects in 1933-34.[3]

The "Second New Deal" in 1935–38 included the Wagner Act to promote labor unions, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) relief program (which made the federal government by far the largest single employer in the nation),[4] the Social Security Act, and new programs to aid tenant farmers and migrant workers. The final major items of New Deal legislation were the creation of the United States Housing Authority and Farm Security Administration, both in 1937, and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which set maximum hours and minimum wages for most categories of workers.[5]
Unemployment rate 1933-1941:

24.9% 21.7% 20.1% 16.9% 14.3% 19.0% 17.2% 14.6% 9.9%



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal

Quote:
Originally Posted by zomgitscathy View Post
Government: "We need to raise your taxes. Can you give us more money please?"
Citizen: "No way."
Government: "But come on, we're in a recession!"
Citizen: "Then that means I'll need every penny, won't I?"
"Well, some people like that woman in that letter currently have 0 pennies. Maybe you can forfeit some of yours so she can eat something, or better, so the Government can give her a job to keep her employable until the depression is over. Specially when some of you still make a few dozen million pennies a year".
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  #7    
Old February 6th, 2014, 05:25 PM
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Forcing people to give up something they don't want to give up doesn't make you in the right. Just saying.
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Old February 6th, 2014, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarcharOdin View Post
Forcing people to give up something they don't want to give up doesn't make you in the right. Just saying.
In a hypothetical world where I had ownership of everything, would it be wrong for you to force me to give up what I had? After all, I wouldn't want to give it up.
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Old February 6th, 2014, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by BlahISuck View Post
In a hypothetical world where I had ownership of everything, would it be wrong for you to force me to give up what I had? After all, I wouldn't want to give it up.
Yes, because you own it. If I were to take it from you or force you at gunpoint to give it up, that would be stealing.
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Old February 6th, 2014, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarcharOdin View Post
Forcing people to give up something they don't want to give up doesn't make you in the right. Just saying.
Then you are free to vote in a Government that doesn't take any taxes. As long as a majority of people keep voting in politicians that make laws forcing you to pay taxes, it's an implicit consent that people are okay with the idea. After all, by giving up on money, you get roads, healthc- okay, this is the US, uh, well, uneployment benefits, security and other things that are worth paying for.
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Old February 6th, 2014, 05:41 PM
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Not saying some taxes aren't necessary. I learned that the hard way in Democracy 3. I'm just saying threatening to lock someone in a cage for not paying what they don't voluntarily give up shouldn't make you a saint. I, for one, certainly felt like an ******* whenever I had to raise taxes.

Also, even though some consider it stealing, getting services from taxes is considered in some circles to be at least getting something in return for what was taken from you.
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  #12    
Old February 6th, 2014, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarcharOdin View Post
Also, even though some consider it stealing, getting services from taxes is considered in some circles to be at least getting something in return for what was taken from you.
"Consider" it stealing? Taxes are part of the rules of the game. You can't pick and choose parts of the system you don't like. That would be like refusing to pay rent for your business because you consider the landlord "stealing" from you. After all, they didn't put any work in your business, did they?
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