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Thread: The NEVERENDING Political Discussion Thread

  1. #2576
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    But it was the rise of the female legislator — 20 in the Senate and 81 in the House — that had the Capitol thrumming with excited potential on Thursday.
    thrumming?

    thrumming present participle of thrum (Verb)

    1. Make a continuous rhythmic humming sound.
    2. Cover or adorn (cloth or clothing) with ends of thread.

    Or alternatively

    A thrum is a little wisp of unspun fleece or roving that is knit into your project every so often. Thrumming makes the insides soft and fuzzy, and freakishly warm.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  2. #2577
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    It is a forced program where I give my money to the federal government. Next you will be telling me that Obama Care is not a tax. If anything, it is a ponsi scheme and a tax.
    Ok, yes, it is a tax. But it does differ considerably from other tax revenue in that it goes into a trust fund and not the general coffers. Maybe you should go to talk to some widows or other seniors who need this money (their money) to survive. I think you might get a very different opinion and perspective on the value of Social Security. Or are they freeloading, too?! Should they just get jobs? Or maybe they should have saved when they were younger and its their fault if they are old and poor? Yes, it is a tax taken out of your paycheck. But unlike other taxes in which the government decides how best to spend it, it will be there for you (again, ostensibly) when you retire at which point you can spend it how you wish. I personally do not have a problem with paying FICA as I recognize the benefit for me and others. That’s just my opinion.

    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    There is quite a bit of stuff that does not need to be in the federal government control. Education and Health Care the the two big ones that come to mind. For centuries healthcare was operated by private groups and churches. Education is something that should be at most a state thing. Bush was a huge violator of this with the 'no child left behind act'.
    I personally feel a state by state educational standards scenario would be a huge detriment to the national economy. We are a big country and when a company needs to hire talent, it has the advantage of drawing from the entire population. This is in part because we enjoy a great deal of mobility (its not so easy to move from one region to another in many countries) and because there is a base educational standard we all share. If done state by state, you could, over time, begin to see some great disparity between basic skills and knowledge. Think of the states where those with Evangelical viewpoints are working to eliminate the teaching of evolution and replacing it with Creationism. What about sex education? As it is, federal standards in education are part of what keeps these places from slipping into backwaters of ignorance. Its also what ensures that a top student in Michigan can compete in the national job market with one from California.

    I won’t even touch healthcare, suffice to say that my position is that we are in the situation we are with respect to affordable coverage precisely because it has been private up to now.

    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    The government is not going to help you save money, loose weight, get a job, learn what you need to learn in school, stop drinking, quit drugs, eat better, or live longer.
    Is an inordinate amount of tax money really being used to help people lose money or weight, eat better or live longer?! Personally I think assistance programs to link employers with workers is a good thing and I also take a more compassionate viewpoint in relation to drug addiction. Remember that one of the government’s roles is to “promote the general welfare.” I would think promoting healthy living (and I agree that the school lunch situation needs to be revamped – but scrap it altogether? No) falls in that category when you have so many diet related problems. Promotion (or propaganda if you prefer) is a tried and true strategy of most any government to shape public opinion on subjects that require national coordination. Loose Lips Sink Ships! Grow a Victory Garden! And so on. Its also important to consider that every company operating in this country is releasing their own propaganda (called advertising). In my mind, PSAs and government programs to promote healthy lifestyles is simply an effort to counter skewed information (that good looking person is eating Church’s Chicken – maybe I should too!) with real data about decisions that impact peoples’ lives and well-being.

    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Without question, we are dealing with the worst economic situation of our generation and people are hurting, but in many cases, we are giving the drunk a drink or giving the addict a hit.
    I have a very hard time equating something like WIC assistance to giving an addict a hit or an alcoholic a drink. Unless you consider food an addiction (not that there aren’t food addictions…). As I said before, sure there are abuses of the system with respect to government assistance, but cutting people loose at a time when there aren’t jobs just seems cruel and heartless. Your anecdotal examples of situations where people can’t pass drug tests to get jobs or are too reticent because they would make less than the assistance they receive (in which case I would question either the minimum wage or the pay scale of that job – government assistance is not a lot of money…) are unconvincing to me on a national scale. I would need to see compelling evidence about the extent of such abuses or problems to come to the conclusion that these programs need to be scrapped.

    Again, I generally tend toward the position of assessment and modification of existing programs over throwing the baby out with the bathwater (or upsetting the applecart, if you prefer) That’s like being an inventor and quitting on your prototype before you have troubleshot it. Or giving your child away the first time they misbehave. Society and life in general is a work in progress and while there are times when starting fresh or scrapping an approach is merited, in general, careful, thoughtful changes over time seems to me the more responsible and sensible approach. Otherwise, you may create more problems than you solve.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  3. #2578
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I know of 6 places in my city that are hiring and one of them said that he his having a problem filling a basic manufacturing assembly line (non-union) job because none of the applicants have been able to pass the required drug test. However, every one of them that failed indicated that they were currently unemployed and receiving government assistance.

    I think cutting them loose will result in a very bad situation. However there needs to be more transition into people learning to help them selves.
    You do know, of course, that FL tried mandatory drug testing for th' welfare as a condition, and their positive rates were very low? So low in fact that the test cost more than the savings?

    That said, I suspect smoking a little pot while unemployed isn't such a bad thing. Much better than alcohol, but I bet they don't do a search and seizure for that.

    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Ok, yes, it is a tax. But it does differ considerably from other tax revenue in that it goes into a trust fund and not the general coffers. Maybe you should go to talk to some widows or other seniors who need this money (their money) to survive. I.
    Remember: it likely will be a lower tax than the free market for health care tax. Our increased competitiveness in the global marketplace will be a revenue-generator, further lowering our taxes,

    None of the ObummerKKKare opponents ever want to talk about the runaway health care costs and the savings (even with all the gigantic profits earned by the insurance elites) from the implementation. Or the advance into the 20th century we'll enjoy.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  4. #2579
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Ok, yes, it is a tax. But it does differ considerably from other tax revenue in that it goes into a trust fund and not the general coffers. Maybe you should go to talk to some widows or other seniors who need this money (their money) to survive. I think you might get a very different opinion and perspective on the value of Social Security. Or are they freeloading, too?! Should they just get jobs? Or maybe they should have saved when they were younger and its their fault if they are old and poor? Yes, it is a tax taken out of your paycheck. But unlike other taxes in which the government decides how best to spend it, it will be there for you (again, ostensibly) when you retire at which point you can spend it how you wish. I personally do not have a problem with paying FICA as I recognize the benefit for me and others. That’s just my opinion.
    Can you in all honestly tell me the system is not broken? And yes, it is still a tax. I know people who need SSI to survive and they resent the government for leading them to believe that it would be sufficient. But then again, the first person who got SSI after retirement put in something like $24 and received over $22,000 since she lived to be 100. There are better ways of dealing with retirement than SSI. Where did all that additional money come from? It is not a sustainable program. I have zero faith that it will be there when I retire so I am making sure that I have other investments in hand for when that day comes around.

    If it is so great, why doesn't Congress participate?

    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    I personally feel a state by state educational standards scenario would be a huge detriment to the national economy. We are a big country and when a company needs to hire talent, it has the advantage of drawing from the entire population. This is in part because we enjoy a great deal of mobility (its not so easy to move from one region to another in many countries) and because there is a base educational standard we all share. If done state by state, you could, over time, begin to see some great disparity between basic skills and knowledge. Think of the states where those with Evangelical viewpoints are working to eliminate the teaching of evolution and replacing it with Creationism. What about sex education? As it is, federal standards in education are part of what keeps these places from slipping into backwaters of ignorance. Its also what ensures that a top student in Michigan can compete in the national job market with one from California.

    I won’t even touch healthcare, suffice to say that my position is that we are in the situation we are with respect to affordable coverage precisely because it has been private up to now.
    You can feel anyway you want, but there is no question that the government run public school system is slipping further and further behind. Competition is a good thing for schools and it will give people particular options when they want their kids to have a particular type of education. We decided to home school because we see the curriculum in schools today and think it is a pathetic joke. We know the teachers can teach to higher standards but the government holds them back.

    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Is an inordinate amount of tax money really being used to help people lose money or weight, eat better or live longer?! Personally I think assistance programs to link employers with workers is a good thing and I also take a more compassionate viewpoint in relation to drug addiction. Remember that one of the government’s roles is to “promote the general welfare.” I would think promoting healthy living (and I agree that the school lunch situation needs to be revamped – but scrap it altogether? No) falls in that category when you have so many diet related problems. Promotion (or propaganda if you prefer) is a tried and true strategy of most any government to shape public opinion on subjects that require national coordination. Loose Lips Sink Ships! Grow a Victory Garden! And so on. Its also important to consider that every company operating in this country is releasing their own propaganda (called advertising). In my mind, PSAs and government programs to promote healthy lifestyles is simply an effort to counter skewed information (that good looking person is eating Church’s Chicken – maybe I should too!) with real data about decisions that impact peoples’ lives and well-being.
    The concept of "Promote General Welfare" was warped after the Butler v. United States v. case in 1936. The case actually redefined it. Before that, was a check and balance on what congress could spend money on. There was 20 things that congress could spend money on and they had to be benefit the whole nation equally. After that, it was only what they felt was 'good' for the country, regardless of equity.

    As for PSAs, that is a joke right? Some of what you think of PSAs are government, but many others are paid for by the national associations of what ever. For example, the Got Milk campaign was paid for by the National Dairy Association, which has ties into the FDA and the Dept of Ag. They also now put sugar into the milk that that is served with school lunches and has the same amount of sugar as an average can of soda. National advertisers shape media perception based on the needs of corporations which control lobbiest groups that control elected officials, this dictating public policy and establishing laws that work against small businesses. For example, the Dept of Ag has repeatedly harrased and shut down small farm operations, often without justification, because they were too damaging to larger corporate producers in the the area. That is the result of the current definition of general welfare.

    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    I have a very hard time equating something like WIC assistance to giving an addict a hit or an alcoholic a drink. Unless you consider food an addiction (not that there aren’t food addictions…). As I said before, sure there are abuses of the system with respect to government assistance, but cutting people loose at a time when there aren’t jobs just seems cruel and heartless. Your anecdotal examples of situations where people can’t pass drug tests to get jobs or are too reticent because they would make less than the assistance they receive (in which case I would question either the minimum wage or the pay scale of that job – government assistance is not a lot of money…) are unconvincing to me on a national scale. I would need to see compelling evidence about the extent of such abuses or problems to come to the conclusion that these programs need to be scrapped.
    WIC in itself is a good thing. But I find it amazing the amount of crap you can buy with WIC. Have you seen the list? Most of it is hyper processed sugar laden crap like frosted mini-wheats... but they claim that you can have stuff with added sugar. I have personally seen someone buy all sorts of liquor with cash, and a bunch of food with a WIC card.

    Then there are all the people who are not on WIC like most of the homeless people that frequent a liquor store by my house. I had not been in there in quite some time and we needed a few little things (paper plates, napkins and such) so I went in there. I was the only person not buying large cans of beer. It was 9:30 am on a Saturday. There is a homeless camp set up not too far from the City and almost every one of these people is on some sort of government assistance, and almost every one of them has some type of substance abuse. But the government refuses to require drug screening.

    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Again, I generally tend toward the position of assessment and modification of existing programs over throwing the baby out with the bathwater (or upsetting the applecart, if you prefer) That’s like being an inventor and quitting on your prototype before you have troubleshot it. Or giving your child away the first time they misbehave. Society and life in general is a work in progress and while there are times when starting fresh or scrapping an approach is merited, in general, careful, thoughtful changes over time seems to me the more responsible and sensible approach. Otherwise, you may create more problems than you solve.
    If this were a perfect world and people acted like inventions, then yes, you could tweek it to find perfection. But people are not inventions and they act differently. But when a failed system continues to fail over and over again, you need to transition out of it and into something better. And you are right, sometimes getting rid of one thing in place of another does create more problems than it solves. Most of the time when the federal government gets rid of private sector and free market, it creates more problems that it solves.

    Once again, if the programs are so wonderful, why are those in Washington not part of the SSI or health care plans?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  5. #2580
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Can you in all honestly tell me the system is not broken? And yes, it is still a tax. I know people who need SSI to survive and they resent the government for leading them to believe that it would be sufficient. But then again, the first person who got SSI after retirement put in something like $24 and received over $22,000 since she lived to be 100. There are better ways of dealing with retirement than SSI. Where did all that additional money come from? It is not a sustainable program. I have zero faith that it will be there when I retire so I am making sure that I have other investments in hand for when that day comes around.

    If it is so great, why doesn't Congress participate?


    Congress does pay into SS Mskis. As usual, most of your talking points are inaccurate. And so we see the problem with home schooling. People who know nothing but think they know everything feed their misinformation to their kids, and society becomes dumber as a result.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  6. #2581
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    Congress does pay into SS Mskis. As usual, most of your talking points are inaccurate. And so we see the problem with home schooling. People who know nothing but think they know everything feed their misinformation to their kids, and society becomes dumber as a result.
    Ahhh, no. It is a "social security program", but it is not the same program that the rest of us have. They do pay 8% of their income into the program, but the math is different on what they get back and it is 2 to 3 times more than a similarly paid member of the private sector. A member can retire and through their "SSI" program, they get 80% of their annual salary back every year after retirement. When combined with their federal pensions, they can actually make more per year, than when they were serving in congress.

    As it is before 1983, they did not pay anything into any SSI program, but was added in as part of their 'pension' program.

    I have no problem with people correcting me, if they know what they are taking about which apparently you don't.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  7. #2582
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Ahhh, no. It is a "social security program", but it is not the same program that the rest of us have. They do pay 8% of their income into the program, but the math is different on what they get back and it is 2 to 3 times more than a similarly paid member of the private sector. A member can retire and through their "SSI" program, they get 80% of their annual salary back every year after retirement. When combined with their federal pensions, they can actually make more per year, than when they were serving in congress.

    As it is before 1983, they did not pay anything into any SSI program, but was added in as part of their 'pension' program.

    I have no problem with people correcting me, if they know what they are taking about which apparently you don't.
    First off mskis, you insinuated that they do not particpate in social security, which is untrue. Secondly, you are still mininformed. SSI does not pay 80% of a congresspersons salary. Not even close. You are confusing the federal pensions system and social security. Members of congress pay 8% towards their pension. They pay 6.2% of their salary to social security, just like the rest of us.

    http://www.senate.gov/CRSReports/crs...22%40%20%20%0A
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  8. #2583
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    First off mskis, you insinuated that they do not particpate in social security, which is untrue. Secondly, you are still mininformed. SSI does not pay 80% of a congresspersons salary. Not even close. You are confusing the federal pensions system and social security. Members of congress pay 8% towards their pension. They pay 6.2% of their salary to social security, just like the rest of us.

    http://www.senate.gov/CRSReports/crs...22%40%20%20%0A
    You are correct, I was wrong about the numbers. Thank you for posting the link to that as the information that I received does appear to be incorrect.

    It appears that it is an amazing pension program that costs the tax payers quite a bit.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  9. #2584
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    It appears that it is an amazing pension program that costs the tax payers quite a bit.
    Aren't all government pensions amazing in some way shape or form? I mean come on, have you seen a military pension? That costs the tax payer quite a bit too
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  10. #2585
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Raf View post
    Aren't all government pensions amazing in some way shape or form? I mean come on, have you seen a military pension? That costs the tax payer quite a bit too
    No, but those who risk their lives for our freedoms still don't make enough. On the other hand there is also a lot of wasteful pending as part of the defense budget which is tragic.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  11. #2586
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    No, but those who risk their lives for our freedoms still don't make enough.
    I am sorry, but since it is all volunteer military and considering the benefits our service members receive, i have a difference of opinion because we cannot equate pay alone. But again, what do I know, I simply grew up as a military brat tucked away in a military base for some 10 years of my life, yanno, free housing, free medical and dental, non-taxed shopping, and one hell of a travel service. All my dad did was engineer roadways and infrastructure. From a desk (granted he did go on "tour" to some great war spots such as Alaska at the end of "Nam") and served during the height of the cold war era. It's volunteer, not mandatory.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  12. #2587
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Can you in all honestly tell me the system is not broken? And yes, it is still a tax. I know people who need SSI to survive and they resent the government for leading them to believe that it would be sufficient. But then again, the first person who got SSI after retirement put in something like $24 and received over $22,000 since she lived to be 100. There are better ways of dealing with retirement than SSI. Where did all that additional money come from? It is not a sustainable program. I have zero faith that it will be there when I retire so I am making sure that I have other investments in hand for when that day comes around.
    Really? You must know some really dumb people then if they're under 85 and think that Social Security "would be sufficient" because the government has been telling people just the opposite since at least the 1980s, which is more than 30 years ago. I'm NOT sure when IRAs were added to the tax code, but it was definitely before 1984 since one of my aunts died in that year, and she had at least two or three IRAs as part of her estate. I know this because I was her executrix.

    The last generation of people who might have seriously believed that SS would fund their retirements without additional monies would probably have been the people who are currently in their late 70s and early 80s. Even then, that's iffy. My father and stepmother didn't expect SS to be enough, which is why they saved money even though they both had pensions from their jobs, too. My Dad was born in 1917, my stepmother in 1925.

    I'm 62, and I've known all of my working life that SS wouldn't be nearly enough to fund my retirement. Consequently, I made decisions about jobs and relocation and savings, etc that will enable me to live comfortably when I retire at age 66 -- and that's been planned because retiring later puts significantly more $$$ into my retirement budget than if I retired this year.

    Many people my age who are NOT in sound financial shape for going into retirement have had circumstances that limited their ability to do better planning for retirement, from low pay to divorce to illness to bad investments, but they -- and you -- can NOT put the blame on the government NOT warning them that they would need more than SS to live comfortably.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  13. #2588
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    No, but those who risk their lives for our freedoms still don't make enough. On the other hand there is also a lot of wasteful pending as part of the defense budget which is tragic.
    Quote Originally posted by Raf View post
    I am sorry, but since it is all volunteer military and considering the benefits our service members receive, i have a difference of opinion because we cannot equate pay alone. But again, what do I know, I simply grew up as a military brat .
    I served. It is not enough.

    I appreciated the little courtesies to make life easier and I pay it forward as often as I can. If I'm away from a base (e.g. in the airport) and I see someone in uniform, I'll pick up some or all of their meal, as they don't get paid enough; try it sometime and see how the room changes. That's right: its not enough pay. I know because I served and was the one who had to make a go of it.

    I saw something on PBS last night about the history of Vail, Colo. They had a bit on how they support recent vets with the (all-to-common) missing limb who want to ski. The wife and I are looking at how we can help. Because active duty and disabled and retired generally isn't enough.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  14. #2589
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    I served. It is not enough.

    I appreciated the little courtesies to make life easier and I pay it forward as often as I can. If I'm away from a base (e.g. in the airport) and I see someone in uniform, I'll pick up some or all of their meal, as they don't get paid enough; try it sometime and see how the room changes. That's right: its not enough pay. I know because I served and was the one who had to make a go of it.

    I saw something on PBS last night about the history of Vail, Colo. They had a bit on how they support recent vets with the (all-to-common) missing limb who want to ski. The wife and I are looking at how we can help. Because active duty and disabled and retired generally isn't enough.
    But you could make the argument for any profession - teachers aren't paid enough (and boy do they serve), etc. I think Raf's point, and although a difficult position in the world of rah-rah, is a true one. We have to look at EVERYTHING. We cannot pretend like there are areas of the government budget that are untouchable. Veteran benefits are the best in the world. Congressional pensions are the best in the world. Is that a good thing? Yep. Can we afford it? That is the real question. I do not believe that we should be ignoring the largest expense we have because we don't want to have a frank conversation about the ability to pay. I am part of a military family as well (two were drafted, one chose to go). Although I am not in the military, I understand how the system works. I am not going to argue whether it is enough or not. What I am arguing is that we have to talk about the benefits that are provided for everyone on the government dollar.

    I would argue that if you want to serve our country you have a greater right to the money we send there (i.e. Veteran benefits over say welfare), but that doesn't mean there isn't justification for other programs too.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  15. #2590
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    But you could make the argument for any profession - teachers aren't paid enough (and boy do they serve), etc. I think Raf's point, and although a difficult position in the world of rah-rah, is a true one. We have to look at EVERYTHING. We cannot pretend like there are areas of the government budget that are untouchable. Veteran benefits are the best in the world. Congressional pensions are the best in the world. Is that a good thing? Yep. Can we afford it? That is the real question. I do not believe that we should be ignoring the largest expense we have because we don't want to have a frank conversation about the ability to pay. I am part of a military family as well (two were drafted, one chose to go). Although I am not in the military, I understand how the system works. I am not going to argue whether it is enough or not. What I am arguing is that we have to talk about the benefits that are provided for everyone on the government dollar.

    I would argue that if you want to serve our country you have a greater right to the money we send there (i.e. Veteran benefits over say welfare), but that doesn't mean there isn't justification for other programs too.
    Stupid pork weapons programs like the F-35 and B-1 and B-2 and (maybe) the Osprey and and and on and on and on (yet we sent troops to battle without body armor) are stupid and can be eliminated. When we have VA scandals about stocking and cleanliness and wait times lack of service, I think you can easily and without effort tell where the money is being wasted. It is not being wasted on troops. Conflating Congressional benefits to men and women losing a leg or their isn't working either. We were just at a bar today, listening to a story about a recent incident with someone's buddy who had lost some hearing and been concussed several times in the sand, and how they had to apologize later for something. An entire generation screwed up for nothing. But I sat looking at the back of a 130 with feathering props ready to go, and I got a chance to think about my own mortality, so maybe I see things a little differently than civilians.

    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  16. #2591
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Stupid pork weapons programs like the F-35 and B-1 and B-2 and (maybe) the Osprey and and and on and on and on (yet we sent troops to battle without body armor) are stupid and can be eliminated. When we have VA scandals about stocking and cleanliness and wait times lack of service, I think you can easily and without effort tell where the money is being wasted. It is not being wasted on troops. Conflating Congressional benefits to men and women losing a leg or their isn't working either. We were just at a bar today, listening to a story about a recent incident with someone's buddy who had lost some hearing and been concussed several times in the sand, and how they had to apologize later for something. An entire generation screwed up for nothing. But I sat looking at the back of a 130 with feathering props ready to go, and I got a chance to think about my own mortality, so maybe I see things a little differently than civilians.

    I never said money specifically going one place or the other was being wasted. What I said was that we need to have a conversation that includes all components. If you are going to argue about Congressional / Federal pensions, benefits, or anything else, you have to talk about Veteran's as well. It is not unreasonable to have a rational discussion about the costs. This isn't an emotional plea, or an irrational platitude. It is just the fact of the matter. Unfortunately, if we don't have money to pay for SS or other programs, the defense budget needs to be part of that. Unfortunately, it could mean that the retirement of military or disability is reduced as well. It is not the ideal situation, but without additional revenue, we need to have a fair and balanced discussion.

    I support the military completely. Don't get me wrong. I support our police and fire. These people put their lives on the line everyday. At some level though, we have to look at all costs. I would like to see that it doesn't come out of emergency services or veteran's benefits, but nothing should be untouchable. When you make something untouchable, you reduce the discussion to partisan talking points and nothing can get accomplished. Until we are willing to make the tough choices, we are going to continue on the path of overspending and under performing.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  17. #2592
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I would like to understand why anyone wouldn't support a better system for gun management in the United States. Is it a matter of not wanting to be on the radar? I mean if you have a car you are registered. Why shouldn't there be a national database of gun owners?

    White House considers broader U.S. gun control: report
    http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-mu...--finance.html
    A working group led by Vice President Joseph Biden is seriously considering measures that would require universal background checks for gun buyers and track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, the newspaper said.
    I'm not sure why people would be against this. It isn't meant to restrict guns, it is meant to understand where guns are and who are buying them. Having the right to bear arms, and having the right to bear arms secretly are two different things.

    My guess is that it is the crazy "government is coming" people who don't want the feds to know that they have guns because when the internal war begins, they will know who to go after first? Otherwise, why do you care if you legally bought a weapon, that you are on a database of gun ownership? It should be part of the deal... you want a gun? Then you are going to be in the system.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  18. #2593
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Regarding whether or not active duty military gets paid enough - this veterans thinks that generally the basic pay, plus all of the extra allowances is generally adequate for service service members after they reach roughly E-5 or so. For ranks lower than that, basic pay is embarrassingly low for how much training (both physical and classroom) the troops go through and the hours most work. Yes, the force is all volunteer, but hey, maybe if we offered better pay at the lower ranks we would have better volunteers...? I think the low pay for the low ranks also contributes greatly to the very high rate of turnover and the inability of the services to get as many folks to do a second (and subsequent) enlistment as they want, which really hurts institutional knowledge in the long term.

    But really, beyond the low pay for folks on their first enlistment, the real problem is the lack of financial training that most of the enlistees receive. In all honesty, a single Marine, soldier, sailor, or airman who has just enlisted and is about 18 or 19 years old should be able to save quite a bit of money up in their first enlistment (even if they are averaging only about $20k a year) but the services traditionally offer very little in the way of basic budgeting classes or teaching the virtues (and dangers) of compound interest. However, if you are a 22-year-old and you have a wife (who likely doesn't work outside of the house) and a child or two and you are just now joining up into the military in order to provide for your family, you are going to be in for a very rough ride for a few years.

    Regarding veterans benefits... I think a lot of people over estimate how many benefits most service members actually qualify for. If you do less than 20+ years and do not have a service connected disability, you basically qualify for nothing except the education benefits, and up until just a couple of years ago those didn't really cover all that much either (the new version of the "Post 9-11 GI Bill" is really quite phenomenal as far as education benefits go). When my enlistment ended, I had earned an honorable discharge, had achieved the rank of E-6 (Staff Sergeant), had a handful of medals and ribbons (including a couple Navy Achievement Medals, a Navy Commendation, a Combat Action Ribbon...) and qualified for a few hundred dollars a month for school for a couple of years (as long as I was a full-time student), $200 for burial benefits if I happen to die, and the ability be buried in a national cemetery. If I were to get sick, I was on my own. Yes, I could have gone to a VA Hospital but I would have still been sent a bill just as if I had gone to a local hospital.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  19. #2594
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    I never said money specifically going one place or the other was being wasted. What I said was that we need to have a conversation that includes all components. If you are going to argue about Congressional / Federal pensions, benefits, or anything else, you have to talk about Veteran's as well. It is not unreasonable to have a rational discussion about the costs.
    Ah. The .... Can we afford it? That is the real question. I do not believe that we should be ignoring the largest expense we have because we don't want to have a frank conversation about the ability to pay. sounds an awful lot like tiptoeing all around the issue of budget items that can be cut.

    Some of our servicemembers and families on food stamps is a f'n joke while we have the F-22 that's never flown combat yet still receives full entitlements....erm...funding. F-35, world's largest boondoggle, yet full funding. Eliminating 5 planes takes care of the people who kept civilians safe and buying trinkets at Wal-Mart while walking around with a supersize coke.

    But sadly, there will always be politicians sending boys off to war, and lying to them about being taken care of. That will never change. That's why the rest of us try and look out for them. Those of us will always respond to cutting pay and benefits with 'not on my watch'.

    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    But really, beyond the low pay for folks on their first enlistment, the real problem is the lack of financial training that most of the enlistees receive. In all honesty, a single Marine, soldier, sailor, or airman who has just enlisted and is about 18 or 19 years old should be able to save quite a bit of money up in their first enlistment (even if they are averaging only about $20k a year) but the services traditionally offer very little in the way of basic budgeting classes or teaching the virtues (and dangers) of compound interest. However, if you are a 22-year-old and you have a wife (who likely doesn't work outside of the house) and a child or two and you are just now joining up into the military in order to provide for your family, you are going to be in for a very rough ride for a few years.

    Regarding veterans benefits... I think a lot of people over estimate how many benefits most service members actually qualify for. If you do less than 20+ years and do not have a service connected disability, you basically qualify for nothing except the education benefits, and up until just a couple of years ago those didn't really cover all that much either (the new version of the "Post 9-11 GI Bill" is really quite phenomenal as far as education benefits go). When my enlistment ended, I had earned an honorable discharge, had achieved the rank of E-6 (Staff Sergeant), had a handful of medals and ribbons (including a couple Navy Achievement Medals, a Navy Commendation, a Combat Action Ribbon...) and qualified for a few hundred dollars a month for school for a couple of years (as long as I was a full-time student), $200 for burial benefits if I happen to die, and the ability be buried in a national cemetery. If I were to get sick, I was on my own. Yes, I could have gone to a VA Hospital but I would have still been sent a bill just as if I had gone to a local hospital.
    Don't forget that all their cries of how employable you'll be hit a wall once you are a civilian if you are enlisted. If you were an officer, all set. Enlisted, YOYO.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  20. #2595
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Ah. The .... Can we afford it? That is the real question. I do not believe that we should be ignoring the largest expense we have because we don't want to have a frank conversation about the ability to pay. sounds an awful lot like tiptoeing all around the issue of budget items that can be cut.

    Some of our servicemembers and families on food stamps is a f'n joke while we have the F-22 that's never flown combat yet still receives full entitlements....erm...funding. F-35, world's largest boondoggle, yet full funding. Eliminating 5 planes takes care of the people who kept civilians safe and buying trinkets at Wal-Mart while walking around with a supersize coke.

    But sadly, there will always be politicians sending boys off to war, and lying to them about being taken care of. That will never change. That's why the rest of us try and look out for them. Those of us will always respond to cutting pay and benefits with 'not on my watch'.
    No disagreement there. I understand what you are saying.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  21. #2596
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    I didn't mean any disrespect by my comments. I firmly believe that those that have been injured in combat should be thoroughly taken care of for the honor and service to our country. It just chaps me when people use the military "fights for our freedom" when the last time i checked, WWII was the last true "fight for our freedom" war that we waged (yes I know the whole 9-11 thing, but it wasn't a nation, but more so an organization that we crippled at first yet went about 10 years without finding the one man responsible for it), but in that time we fought a very pointless war in Iraq and an ever changing mission in Afghanistan.

    I digress, simply because the way our recruiters get kids that imo seem to think there is no other "viable" option that to just join the military. Hell anybody else remember those great recruiter phone calls and "visits" during your senior year in HS to join the Army/Navy/Marines? The Army pestered me for a good 3 months until finally i said "Sir, I do have an option, it's called college. And if I ever joined the service, I will take my dad's advice and follow in his footsteps and join the AF, 'last to go in, first to go out'."
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  22. #2597
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Raf View post
    I will take my dad's advice and follow in his footsteps and join the AF, 'last to go in, first to go out'."
    Clearly the way we treat our service members is a hot button issue for me, apologies folks.

    Nevertheless, I took my dad's advice too, however I ended up in combat weather support, and I was ready to be loaded up to go on a beach to do windage for navy guns after we were done bombing Gadhafi, so that advice doesn't always work out. ;o)
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  23. #2598
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Map Of The Day: Counties that flipped in 2012 election


    Bill Bishop, who provides the above map, compares county-level voting from 2008 to 2012 and finds that "[o]nly 208 counties changed allegiance in 2012 out of more than 3,100 counties that cast votes." He provides some perspective:

    Statistician Robert Cushing checked all the presidential elections in the last 100 years and found that, on average, 24 percent of all counties switch parties from one election to the next. The 208 counties that changed from 2008 to 2012 amounted to less than seven percent of all counties. That is the fewest flippers of any election in the last century.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  24. #2599
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    I'm not sure why people would be against this. It isn't meant to restrict guns, it is meant to understand where guns are and who are buying them. Having the right to bear arms, and having the right to bear arms secretly are two different things.
    Look what happened in New York state where that paper published a map of that kind of public information... Actually saw some former police officer on the news say he feared for his life after his name appeared on that map. Makes you wonder why he allowed his name to appear on an interview that was broadcast nationally

  25. #2600
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    What should we pay our people in the military? In 2012 the salary and housing budget for DoD was $145billion. There were approximately 1.4m people in uniform and about the same in the reserves. By my estimates ( i counted a reservist as 1/10 a person for salary costs) we spend $90K salary and housing per uniformed person in the military. I am not suggesting that is high or low but I wanted to add some number to the discussion.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

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