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Thread: Athens Burns

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    NickTheCage is offline Banned
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    Default Athens Burns


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    "imagination and memory are but one thing, which for diverse considerations hath diverse names" - Thomas Hobbes

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    What an amazing picture. WOW. There but for the grace of God....
    "If you're going to tell people the truth, you better make them laugh; otherwise they'll kill you."
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    I love this quote:

    Vandalism, violence and destruction have no place in a democratic country and won't be tolerated
    I'm not sure if I'd call the current Greek government, basically appointed by the EU, democratic. While I don't agree with a lot of what Nigel Farage has to say, he's spot on here:



    Is it any surprise that people who feel disenfranchised of their government react this way?
    Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine.

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    raider.adam is offline Senior Member
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    "We don't have money to run the government. Let's protest and burn more things down we have no money to rebuild."

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    BarryG is offline Senior Member
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    The logical end point of an entitlement society.

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    Colin P. Varga is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarryG View Post
    The logical end point of an entitlement society.
    When Stockholm and Berlin burn that might be true.
    Goodnight Rossana Arquette whereever you are.

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    BarryG is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin P. Varga View Post
    When Stockholm and Berlin burn that might be true.
    Nah, the Swedes pay taxes and the Germans work and export.

    The political tone in the US is actually not too far from Greek. The left is owned by the public sector and the right doesn't want to pay any taxes. If we don't start exporting and tackle Medicare and Social Security in the long term: big public sector, small tax base, crushing entitlement program obligations, big debt... that's Greece.

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    Politburo is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarryG View Post
    If we don't start exporting and tackle Medicare and Social Security in the long term: big public sector, small tax base, crushing entitlement program obligations, big debt... that's Greece.
    'work and export' were good enough to differentiate the Germans from the Greeks, but not the US? Odd.

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    Colin P. Varga is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob_Head View Post
    I love this quote:



    I'm not sure if I'd call the current Greek government, basically appointed by the EU, democratic. While I don't agree with a lot of what Nigel Farage has to say, he's spot on here:

    ...

    Is it any surprise that people who feel disenfranchised of their government react this way?
    Just one point of the speach. The two major powers in Europe since the 19th century have been Germany & Russia. (The UK and the USA were more of a reaction to Germany or the USSR.) Once the USSR fell Europe had to shift. Germany was the natural center of Europe since the UK was reluctant to take that roll. Basically without the USSR Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia reverted to pre-USSR states which was more inline with a German dominated Europe (I should say it probably has nothing to do with Nazi aims but that these was the normal reach of German business and the German economy that the Nazis recognized as well).

    Without Germany is seems Europe in general will need either the UK or Russia, or the Holy Roman Empire to stabilize it economically and militarily.
    Goodnight Rossana Arquette whereever you are.

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    BarryG is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politburo View Post
    'work and export' were good enough to differentiate the Germans from the Greeks, but not the US? Odd.
    I'm overstating the case for the US as Greece but, short term blips excluded, the US is exporting less and less. Of course Germany already exports more than the US, on a per capita basis they are kicking our ass. The German economy in general is robust and growing, they are willing to pay enough taxes to cover their entitlement programs, and there is a culture of corporate loyalty to country and employees. Big difference from Greece and the US.

    “Germany is by far the world’s biggest winner from globalization,” says Thomas Mayer, Deutsche Bank’s chief economist. “It has benefited from both increased division of labour on the production side and increased trade on the delivery side.”...

    Germany’s recent economic performance stands out among rich economies (see article). Last year its GDP grew by 3.6%, the fastest rate since the country was reunified in 1990. America managed 2.9%.

    Exports have been Germany’s main engine: they jumped by 21.7% in the year to November....

    Bosch tightened its belt in the downturn without mass lay-offs. Last year its sales were a record €47.3 billion ($62.6 billion), up by 24% from 2009, and it returned to profit.
    Link: German business: A machine running smoothly | The Economist

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    Colin P. Varga is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarryG View Post
    Nah, the Swedes pay taxes and the Germans work and export.

    The political tone in the US is actually not too far from Greek. The left is owned by the public sector and the right doesn't want to pay any taxes. If we don't start exporting and tackle Medicare and Social Security in the long term: big public sector, small tax base, crushing entitlement program obligations, big debt... that's Greece.
    Crushing obligations, debt, that's just foolishness. Entitlement program can work if managed correction which Sweden and Germany. They can work or be foolish just like US banks.

    "Tackle" Medicare and Soc. Sec. with taxes?

    As to exporting, well it seems that as soon as our standard of living falls more we can start making luxury cars for China. If we could rely on US companies to provide a good standard of living instead of trying to attain obscene profits then people in this country wouldn't be looking to the government to create balance.
    Goodnight Rossana Arquette whereever you are.

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    BarryG is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin P. Varga View Post
    Crushing obligations, debt, that's just foolishness. Entitlement program can work if managed correction which Sweden and Germany. They can work or be foolish just like US banks.
    That is my point. In Greece they were overgenerous, managed poorly and underfunded due to the small tax base. We need reforms, in the long term, here. And if we expect to keep borrowing money, we need to start the path towards those reforms now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin P. Varga View Post
    "Tackle" Medicare and Soc. Sec. with taxes?
    Tax rises but also raising the retirement age and somehow getting medical costs under control, and probably more strict rationing of healthcare.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin P. Varga View Post
    As to exporting, well it seems that as soon as our standard of living falls more we can start making luxury cars for China. If we could rely on US companies to provide a good standard of living instead of trying to attain obscene profits then people in this country wouldn't be looking to the government to create balance.
    Germany is already selling a lot of BMWs, Mercedes and Porches to China, it has nothing to do with the standard of living there. It's about industrial policy. I agree with you that corporate culture here is damaging to the economy.
    Last edited by BarryG; 02-13-2012 at 08:46 AM.

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    NickTheCage is offline Banned
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    Their problem is a fundamental one of demographic implosion, no work ethic, no skills, and a culture of dependency. And yes we are going to crash and burn badly at some point. Our demographics aren't as bad as Greece, but they're not good.

    Meanwhile, we're headed their way on the other points and already are approaching their level of debt. We are piling up debt faster than any nation in history, and for some reason pretending there aren't any consequences to doing so. Frightening if you ask me.

    After this all blows up then people may become more receptive to going back to local governance rather than ceding power to some centralized bureaucracy. I hope us in the USA catches on to this and shrink the federalies in favor of more state and local control. I do question how the hell is the ECB or IMF going to save Italy or Spain if they can't save Greece? It seems to me that this is going to implode sooner or very sooner.

    One more point: the Greek economy is shrinking and while cutting govt spending and reducing their minimum wage would be the very things needed to reverse that trend and get them healthier this is being railed against by the demographic defined as the dependency class.

    ///These idiots protesting shouldn‘t be protesting their leaders, they should take a train to Berlin as they are basically asking the Germans to pay for their sloth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BarryG View Post
    Nah, the Swedes pay taxes and the Germans work and export.

    The political tone in the US is actually not too far from Greek. The left is owned by the public sector and the right doesn't want to pay any taxes. If we don't start exporting and tackle Medicare and Social Security in the long term: big public sector, small tax base, crushing entitlement program obligations, big debt... that's Greece.
    Greece is also burdened by a huge underground economy, rivaled only by Spain and Italy. It's hard to generate tax revenue when a quarter of the economy is under the table.
    Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine.

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    raider.adam is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin P. Varga View Post
    Just one point of the speach. The two major powers in Europe since the 19th century have been Germany & Russia. (The UK and the USA were more of a reaction to Germany or the USSR.) Once the USSR fell Europe had to shift. Germany was the natural center of Europe since the UK was reluctant to take that roll. Basically without the USSR Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia reverted to pre-USSR states which was more inline with a German dominated Europe (I should say it probably has nothing to do with Nazi aims but that these was the normal reach of German business and the German economy that the Nazis recognized as well).

    Without Germany is seems Europe in general will need either the UK or Russia, or the Holy Roman Empire to stabilize it economically and militarily.
    Going back from the 19th Century, you used that as the case of Germany being a stabilizing force in Europe as well as discounting France as a major power at all in that time and forgetting the facts that in the first part of the 19th Century Germany wasn't even Germany and for several decades in the 20th century Germany was split in half? That's not a very accurate retelling of history.

    Germany could only be claimed as a stabilizing force in Europe post reunification and fall of USSR.

  17. #17
    markedixon is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickTheCage View Post
    After this all blows up then people may become more receptive to going back to local governance rather than ceding power to some centralized bureaucracy.
    I liken the federal-versus-local control argument to the ancient issue of whether the serfs are better off under the king or the local barons, earls, etc. Magna Carta carved out some royal authority for the barons ("states," if you like), but didn't do a thing for the serfs. Their primary oppressors remained those close at hand. Only over time did the rights of Magna Carta -- due process, for instance -- flow to average people, often by the royal authority of kings who wanted, for one reason or another, to reduce the power of the barons.

    In the United States, I think, only the federal government (the "king") is sufficiently detached from local interests to be able to act with something approaching true disinterest on behalf of regular people. Handing control from Washington politicians to more-easily-bought Harrisburg or Philadelphia politicians isn't necessarily progress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BarryG View Post
    The logical end point of an entitlement society.

    One can easily look at world history and see it is primarily the consequence of issues revolving around trade- wether it be wealth, war, culture, religion, etc. The bigger the player, the longer the period of time it takes to play out. The US rise and fall will be pretty brief in context of world history. Putting all our energy into Military might is mostly all that keeps us going (and we have to because we are so geographically separated from the wealth of the world- we need to protect our trade concerns to remain wealthy)

    Athens: Shipping. As such it was the major trade center (or node) by water. Took a while for that dominance to dwindle down.

    Middle East oil countries- boy, talk about "entitlement"... UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait... KUWAIT- you know, that country that hires others to do its work because nationals are paid a salary from oil for doing nothing (including hiring the US to take down Iraq).

    Its not the entitlements that drag a country down, its not realizing one no longer has the money to live the high-life. Greece got into its problems only because the government was not up-front about its inability to pay entitlements- they successively didn't want to be blamed for ending the High-life so they hid their books from the people till it was too late.

    Ending Entitlements is essentially realizing and admitting you are no longer a rich country.
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    NickTheCage is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob_Head View Post
    Greece is also burdened by a huge underground economy, rivaled only by Spain and Italy. It's hard to generate tax revenue when a quarter of the economy is under the table.
    Americas shadow economy is said to be $1T. The groups that did the report didn't even include the 'illegal' trade of sex & drugs ... throw those in and I can only fathom the dollar amount.

    Also ... in many ways we are worse off than Greece but their doom is closer ... our bust up will be much worse

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickTheCage View Post
    Americas shadow economy is said to be $1T. The groups that did the report didn't even include the 'illegal' trade of sex & drugs ... throw those in and I can only fathom the dollar amount.
    If that's accurate, given the most common estimates of the size of our economy, that's still only 6 to 8 percent of our economy. Greece's underground economy is commonly estimated at around 25%. That's huge.
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