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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hurricane Sandy fortunately did not cause major damage in my immediate vicinity, but many others were not so lucky. There have been several 100 year flood and storm events in the past couple of years, and they are increasing in intensity and frequency. There have been opinions that this is the "new normal", and there seems to be no question that this is a consequence of global warming. It is, indeed, an "inconvenient truth", as stated by Al Gore more than ten years ago. Even if there is no consensus about it being caused by human energy consumption and pollution, the measures that are promoted to reduce our negative impact on our environment are prudent and necessary in any case.

New Jersey was especially hard hit. I have a friend in Atlantic City who survived the onslaught, but he woke up to find a boat and a piece of the shattered boadwalk in his front yard. I respect Governor Christie in his resolve to devote full attention to providing assistance to those in need and planning for future rebuilding, and to hell with election day political hubris. He rightly praised Obama for his swift action and promise to streamline government assistance. There have been some republican candidates who have continued their judgmental political ad campaigns. Romney made an effort to show his concern by using a political rally to gather canned goods and other donations for the Red Cross to send to New Jersey, but that is not the sort of assistance they really need:
http://www.nationalmemo.com/romney-republicans-struggle-to-play-politics-after-sandy/

If you would ask some of the more extreme right-wingers about the cause of these natural disasters, they would likely say they are messages and judgments from God to punish gays or women who choose to exercise their reproductive rights. Thus the political lines are being drawn along the contrast between science and belief in supernatural or divine intervention. Obama is not a scientific genius, but he trumped Romney in a recent questionnaire about science by the Scientific American:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=gop-presidential-candidates-science-quotes-quiz
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com...9/obama-romney-science-debate-why-it-matters/
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=obama-romney-science-debate

Disasters such as Sandy are likely to cost many billions of dollars, much of which will be in the form of government spending, yet it is predicted to have not much negative effect on the economy. In fact, it may actually provide many jobs and the effect will actually be a net improvement. That shows that the government can create jobs and stimulate the economy without slashing spending on education, research, and public assistance.
 

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We have several friends and acquaintances up in that area. One friend lives in upper Manhattan and has been giving news. We know a lady that is in New Jersey that we correspond with regularly and have not heard from yet. Though I do not know you personally I am glad to hear you made it through alright.
 

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As one of the few right wingers I would guess are on this board I would have to say that being a conservative goes hand in hand with renewables. I personally continue to do all I can to conserve: fuel, food, raw materials, water, etc. I have 6kw solar array, 10kw wind turbine, LED lighting throughout our home. More than proper insulation, heat with wood, and grow much of own food. I now am looking at buidling an electric commuter.

The major difference I see with many of my left wing friends is that they would mandate the items I have listed above if they could, imposing their beliefs, lifestyle, on their fellow man, removing his liberty. For the good of the (enter some casue here) I would never do that.

As for these hurricane's the historical record shows that in the 200+ years of modern recorded history that we have had many destructive storms. Yet only where we have 6 million people located in a small area does a storm like this have extreme impact. Cities around the globe continue to build near the coasts for obvious reasons so having storms like this hit them will continue as they expand. Global warming / cooling will continue to create these storms as a function of solar output. Increased solar output in the form of flares and other erruptions is the most likely explanation for climate change. Its a simple function of water vapor the major greenhouse contributor. More water vapor more active atmosphere. IMO Humans don't have the capacity to effect the planet, large volcanic erruptions spewing millions of tons of dust / minerals into the atmosphere have very limited ranging effects, within a few years time their effect is corrected.

On the political side it great the President Obama wants to help these people. I was on St. Thomas for Hurricane Georges in 1998, class three pushing four and that was an experience. It's plainly obvious that he understands he has no chace of winning the election without these voters voting. Secondly, his campaign was stalled and loosing ground, he needed something to make him look presidential. Other major weather events / storms / fires have come and gone and he did little to help, the flooding along the mississippi, the hurricane in texas, disasters in deep red states hardly get any attention. Its also extremely interesting / gratifying that once all the rules and regulations get moved out of the way what we as a people can accomplish. I also think this federal response is benefitting from lessons learned from Katrina. The state, county, and city governemnts are doing incredible work right now. Yet I do see some parallels, one of the big issues was the time it took some responders to get on site. Using the air force to bring in line crews from the west coast for example, great move. President Bush was absolutlely vilified for the "slow reponse" yet national guard and local governemnts response was much poorer in Katrina, they were unprepared, and waited days to ask for federal help.
 

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Hi Kiska
I suspect you are a rare breed - a real conservative - not like your political leaders

You may find this site fun
http://davidbrin.blogspot.co.nz/

President Bush was absolutlely vilified for the "slow reponse"

No he was vilified for appointing incompetents to the disaster agency - just like his dad

Clinton and Obama appointed processional disaster people - not political hacks
 

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President Bush was absolutlely vilified for the "slow reponse"

No he was vilified for appointing incompetents to the disaster agency - just like his dad
Bush was vilified for being unable to help retards that don't understand how help works. They tried to shoot down the aide choppers. The national guard had to be deployed, not to help, but just to provide corner guards as was done in Iraq, and protection for food distribution like was necessary in Somalia.
 

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I can't comment if Bush's FEMA guy was really incompetent or media pressure just forced him to make a change. What I will say is that the media is always much harder on the GOP, if they make mistakes small or large someone is there publishing a leaked memo or with off the record testimony to control the narrative.
President Obama has had a very easy time with only a few "right wing" media outlets driving him on issues. Lets take Libya for example, where is the NYT calling for investigations, our ambassador and three security operators died and after a month we still know very little. Fast and furious is still an unknown. Likely the biggest scandal you haven't heard of "was the the terminating of the pensions of 20,000 salaried retirees at Delphi." This cash was then used to pay union pensions. Or the paying of union pensions above 401k and private stock holders, all of which should have been protected by the 14th amendment's equal protection requirements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Please provide references for any assertions you make. A huge problem with Romney is that he constantly flip-flops and dodges questions about important points, so the only thing you can be sure of is that he will say and do anything in order to defame Obama and try to secure the election. And that has been the stated goal of the GOP in the House and Senate. Romney has been identified as a bully in High School, and such traits run deep and he has proven that with his actions at Bain, and he will continue to pursue a similar course if he is elected.

Here is what I found about the Delphi pensions:
http://waysandmeans.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=310415
http://www.pbgc.gov/wr/large/delphi/delphifaq.html

The first document is authored by Chairman Dave Camp, who is (duh) a Republican. Because of the many well documented lies and denial of scientific or logical fact expressed by the right wing, I have little confidence in the accuracy of the allegations. The other references I found all seem to be from right wing sources, so I doubt their veracity. ;)

Both parties and their candidates have been shown to be less than truthful at times, but from what I have seen from the fact checkers, Obama seems more trustworthy than Romney, and he actually remains consistent in his intentions. The nature of politics unfortunately involves some fast and loose play with the facts, but my gut feeling is approval for Obama and distrust of Romney. :(

I was never a fan of G "Dubya" Bush, but I think much of his poor performance was a result of his own ditziness and reliance on advice from politically motivated advisors. With all his faults, he remains a rather likeable guy, while Romney appears cold and menacing, like an evil sociopathic genius. And GWB is now conspicuous by his absense during the campaign. :rolleyes:

Here is an analysis of the psychological profiles of the candidates, and it pegs Romney as a more self-centered, "king of the hill" guy who would rather use intimidation and force to get his way and be #1, while Obama is more prone to discussion and negotiation. In foreign policy, at least, we need someone who can communicate with the leaders of other superpowers, such as China, and maintain good relations with our allies, such as Great Britain. We don't need someone who makes stupid statements and shows disrespect, as Romney has done. :mad:
 

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Very disappointed by Brinn's site. Read and enjoyed much of his science fiction years ago, but his books were all about extolling more or less Libertarian government, not big socialist lefty government - yet he seems to confuse "Conservative" (e.g. those who wish to conserve the principles of the Constitution) with its near-polar opposite, Fascist Totalitarianism - when it is in fact the rise of Progressiveness which usurped power for the Government from We the People that makes such a concept even possible.

As for equating Bush "the Potato Head" Jr. with Conservatives - that's just damned foolish, using one bad Progressive as a rationalization to promote even more progressiveness.

As for "talking about science" - Obama may mention it in every speech he makes, yet he wouldn't know it if it hit him in the backside. Too, the claim that 95% of Scientists are "liberals" is ridiculous. They are more likely 50% Libertarian (pro small government, the antithesis of Liberalism). If they reject the GOP, it is more because they are afraid of the vocal evangelicals who make up only a small portion of Republican voters.

Well, that's why he writes Science Fiction...

Here's the $16 trillion dollar question for all of you lefties:

You say that "the rich" are all evil, etc., yet I never hear any single argument which explains how it is that these same types of humans, once in Government (which can force you to give them their money without option to simply leave the store, force you to use their products, etc.) are going to be all benevolent? Because, there is no difference between people who seek power through business and those who seek power through government, save that those who seek the latter are authorized the use of police to compel obedience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You can join the Amish and eliminate Social Security taxes on your income.
http://amishamerica.com/do-amish-pay-taxes/

And if you live in a close-knit self-sustaining community you may be able to live a comfortable life on income that is below the poverty level so you might not have to pay Federal or State taxes. If you grow your own food and use organic farming techniques you can avoid taxable purchases for commercial fertilizer and pesticides, and also help the environment.

But if you choose to buy into the "American Dream" that was possible only when resources and energy were plentiful and cheap, you will soon need to downsize your expectations. Unless you have already built up your own stockpiles of wealth, you will find that you cannot squeeze any more blood out of the middle class turnip, and you will have a hard time setting up businesses without financially secure customers.

Like it or not, we are all in this together. If Romney is elected, he will NOT be able to return the economy to the unrealistic growth that he claims, and that will create more polarization and a severely discouraged and angry 99%. There is no way that trickle-down economics will work. But maybe we need a self-interested bully in the White House to show his true colors and fail miserably to meet his publicly stated objectives. That may dissuade his less fortunate believers and supporters as the economic situation deteriorates for the bulk of middle class Americans, and the rich grow richer and more powerful.

However, I choose to have hope and I want to stay the course as the economy slowly but surely recovers, by voting for the incumbent and allowing him to proceed with what has been working. And I also think that those who are wealthy, often from questionable activities which have impoverished so many, should return some of those gains to those from whom it was swindled.

And that also includes the wealth they have amassed by raping the environment and our natural resources, which belong to ALL of us, although actually the right of ownership may more truly belong to the Native Americans who originally lived here, and the abundant wildlife that they respected and lived with in peace.

Perhaps the climate changes have been due to natural factors more than mankind's unkind and greedy exploitation and destruction, but science overwhelmingly supports the AGW theory. Unless you choose to believe the "studies" and "junk science" of Big Energy, or the rantings of fundamentalist religious extremists. We need to take the same actions in either case, to reduce our consumption and population growth, and avoid poisoning our water and air, and living in a sustainable manner. Choosing "business as usual" and allowing corporate greed to make short-term decisions without environmental safeguards, is short-sighted and suicidal.
 

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Please provide references for any assertions you make. A huge problem with Romney is that he constantly flip-flops and dodges questions about important points, so the only thing you can be sure of is that he will say and do anything in order to defame Obama and try to secure the election.
Yep, unlike Obama, about whom we can discover nothing of his past and who has never clearly articulated a plan that could thus be critiqued. Fascinating that the so-called "watchdogs of the press" can find out everything about every affair Tiger Woods had within hours, but cannot seem to find Obama's transcripts; any people who knew him in high school or college; Michelle's thesis, etc. yet they swear up and down that he is a great American.

And that has been the stated goal of the GOP in the House and Senate. Romney has been identified as a bully in High School, and such traits run deep and he has proven that with his actions at Bain, and he will continue to pursue a similar course if he is elected.
No matter how often you repeat a lie, it is still a lie. The family of the alleged victim has come forth and stated publicly that the accusation of the single incident in his entire life that MIGHT have been interpreted that way was absolutely false. Why do you feel it necessary to continue to spread falsehoods to smear a person who has created jobs and spent nearly 20 years of his life doing charity work, as contrasted with Obama who clearly demonstrated his bullying by holding closed-door Democrat only negotiations and then telling Republicans, "You lost the election" <implying- shut up and suck it up>??? And why is it that you have a problem with the fact that Romney has been successful working across the aisle, while Obama's only claim to generating "bi-partisan cooperation" is the 100% vote against his proposed budget?

Here is what I found about the Delphi pensions:
http://waysandmeans.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=310415
http://www.pbgc.gov/wr/large/delphi/delphifaq.html

The first document is authored by Chairman Dave Camp, who is (duh) a Republican. Because of the many well documented lies and denial of scientific or logical fact expressed by the right wing, I have little confidence in the accuracy of the allegations. The other references I found all seem to be from right wing sources, so I doubt their veracity. ;)
Articles about opinions are irrelevant - what matters is that Obama, through illegal executive fiat (more bullying) circumvented the legal requirements of a Bankruptcy proceeding - and the result is that it "just happened" to negate the legal preferred interests of lenders in favor of lavish pensions which are unsustainable.

Both parties and their candidates have been shown to be less than truthful at times, but from what I have seen from the fact checkers, Obama seems more trustworthy than Romney, and he actually remains consistent in his intentions.
Not surprising since you seem to use The Daily Beast as your only fact checker that you would undoubtedly come to that false conclusion. It's true that Obama hardly ever actually makes a statement that can be fact-checked, speaking from his teleprompter or making vague generalizations. His actions, however, show his complete willingness to disregard the law (executive order stipulating that the Justice Department cease enforcing particular laws - an illegal order; circumventing bankruptcy court for political backers; etc.).

The nature of politics unfortunately involves some fast and loose play with the facts, but my gut feeling is approval for Obama and distrust of Romney. :(
Your gut is right - Romney will steer us back towards fiscal responsibility, which will undoubtedly hurt the non-productive of our society in their taxpayer-funded lifestyle. Never mind that the alternative is to go the way of Greece under Obama...

I was never a fan of G "Dubya" Bush, but I think much of his poor performance was a result of his own ditziness and reliance on advice from politically motivated advisors. With all his faults, he remains a rather likeable guy, while Romney appears cold and menacing, like an evil sociopathic genius. And GWB is now conspicuous by his absense during the campaign. :rolleyes:
Gotta agree with you about G.W. Romney only appears "evil" to you because you want us to become like Europe, abandoning our Constitution and the liberty your betters bequeathed you.

Here is an analysis of the psychological profiles of the candidates, and it pegs Romney as a more self-centered, "king of the hill" guy who would rather use intimidation and force to get his way and be #1, while Obama is more prone to discussion and negotiation.
And you are skeptical when anyone posts anything from Fox - you DO realize that "The Daily Beast" is Left of Marx???

In foreign policy, at least, we need someone who can communicate with the leaders of other superpowers, such as China, and maintain good relations with our allies, such as Great Britain. We don't need someone who makes stupid statements and shows disrespect, as Romney has done. :mad:
Let's see how effective Obama has been in his "communications" - oh, that's right, first Ambassador murdered in 30 years; claiming to have withdrawn us from war while tripling the number of attacks and assasinations-by-drone on foreign soil using drones as compared to Bush; waiting until the last minute to assist in the overthrow of the Egyptian tyrant, then jumping in without any plan to support groups who would ally with us thus leaving the power vacuum into which the Muslim Brotherhood has quickly moved. From personal experience, I know that the Ambassador in Iceland (a friendly Scandinavian country where the greatest danger to the Ambassador was falling on the ice when too drunk) had 24 Marines housed with him. This Ambassador had 2 on 9/11. Hmmm.....

Yes, we need a President who communicates clearly - that if they attack Americans or if they manipulate their currency and try to cheat us with protectionist policies and tariffs there will be severe consequences. This President has done neither, and has made it plain that his policies moving forward will be more of the same.
 

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You can join the Amish and eliminate Social Security taxes on your income.
http://amishamerica.com/do-amish-pay-taxes/

And if you live in a close-knit self-sustaining community you may be able to live a comfortable life on income that is below the poverty level so you might not have to pay Federal or State taxes. If you grow your own food and use organic farming techniques you can avoid taxable purchases for commercial fertilizer and pesticides, and also help the environment.

But if you choose to buy into the "American Dream" that was possible only when resources and energy were plentiful and cheap, you will soon need to downsize your expectations. Unless you have already built up your own stockpiles of wealth, you will find that you cannot squeeze any more blood out of the middle class turnip, and you will have a hard time setting up businesses without financially secure customers.
You are misinformed. Energy is cheaper today than it was in 1960 in this country, as are most other "durable goods" (which in most cases are superior to their equivalents at that time, and many of them were simply unavailable). If you are willing to live outside of the megacities, housing is both superior and cheaper, too.

The only reason that some things seem more expensive is that ridiculous laws, taxes, and regulations have pushed up their prices, and that more services are available than ever before in history. People on welfare have big screen tvs, cell phones, and cable television. There is no possible comparison between the "average lifestyle" in 1960 and today (50 years ago), yet here you are whining that things are "overpriced" and that the "American dream is dead."

The only things dead are our ambition, our willingness to live within our means, our willingness to live without a handout from the government, and our acceptance of the reality that some people are born with more talent and drive than we are and that they deserve to earn the fruits of their talent and ambition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Energy may be cheaper in relation to average household income only because much of it is subsidized by such benefits as depletion allowances and the lack of real cost which includes environmental damage and the wars to maintain the flow of oil from the Persian gulf. There is so much blood in gasoline that it's a wonder ICE cars can run. And "clean" coal, fracking, and nuclear have their own costs which are not properly reflected in consumer prices. I would welcome a $2/gallon sucharge on gasoline and fuel oil, to force consumers to reduce wasteful consumption, and instead fund research to improve efficiency and alternate, sustainable, energy sources. I am not whining about higher costs. That seems to be coming from the new breed of Conservatives who don't believe in conservation!

Here is the reality of Mitt Romney's job creation and economic stimulus "plan":


I decided to dig deeper, and of course the Romney campaign, Fox news, etc are calling it an unwarranted attack.
http://www.mittromney.com/blogs/mitts-view/2012/06/obamas-false-attacks
http://www.massaflcio.org/strike-bound-factory-tied-romney-during-us-senate-race-set-close
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/201...d-blasts-romney-over-shuttered-indiana-plant/
http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/2012/07/mitt-romney-and-ampad-affair-bain.html

But I also found this, which shows that the roots of the economic troubles go back to 2004, on guess who's watch:
http://www.jobbankusa.com/News/Layoffs/layoffs31704a.html

I am not a fan of unions and they deserve some of the blame for Ampad's dissolution as well as many other manufacturing companies in the US. My father was a member of the National Right To Work Committee http://www.nrtwc.org/, while his brother worked a union job at Bethlehem Steel and he was constantly bragging about his high pay and new cars - except when they were on strike and then he whined. The reality is that everyone will need to tighten their belts and accept less pay, or the companies they work for will either lose business and perhaps fold from foreign competition, or will need to outsource their operations or hire immigrant workers who will often work harder for much less.

There is no magic that Romney can conjure up that will return our economy to the glory days of the 1950s to 1970s, and the brief bursts of growth from the PC phenomenon of 1982, the dot com bubble of 1996, and the housing bubble of 2006, which were the death throes of a doomed way of life that will never rise again. The prophesies of doom are becoming today's reality, and our only hope is to change our expectations and adjust to a more cooperative lifestyle. If that is socialism, so be it. The American flavor of capitalism has lost its sweetness, and is dissolving under the thumbs of bitter and selfish old men who have nothing to live for but their own brief aggrandizement before they die with all their toys.
 

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PStechPaul, Did you know that the federal register is pushing 81,000 pages of laws and regulations. 106 new major regulations since BHO came into office. What does that cost? Heritage estimates 46 billion per year.

BTW If you were living in you happy little utopia where everyone is self sustaining how do you make enough cash to pay your property taxes and keep utopia?

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/03/red-tape-rising-obama-era-regulation-at-the-three-year-mark

I am sure you will see heritage as partisan, but IMO when you pro liberty you can't be all bad.

What about baseline budgeting? surely instead of increasing budgets 8% a year we would cut them across the board 8% per year, net change 16%. That net change is about 210 billion. You can raise taxes on the wealthy but at best your going to generate 20-40 billion and kill economic expansion. Our only hope is to cut the size of government.
 

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I would welcome a $2/gallon sucharge on gasoline and fuel oil, to force consumers to reduce wasteful consumption, and instead fund research to improve efficiency and alternate, sustainable, energy sources.
So you'd save the environment by obliterating the economy? Did you not notice what happened when gas hit $4? At $6 no one would have a house, few would have jobs, and we'd have to move to the hills and resort to slash and burn agriculture.

Oh yeah, but we've been doing so awesome the last 4 years, what's another depression? That can be the new norm.
 

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Energy may be cheaper in relation to average household income only because much of it is subsidized by such benefits as depletion allowances and the lack of real cost which includes environmental damage and the wars to maintain the flow of oil from the Persian gulf.

I am not a fan of unions and they deserve some of the blame for Ampad's dissolution as well as many other manufacturing companies in the US.

There is no magic that Romney can conjure up that will return our economy to the glory days of the 1950s to 1970s, and the brief bursts of growth from the PC phenomenon of 1982, the dot com bubble of 1996, and the housing bubble of 2006, which were the death throes of a doomed way of life that will never rise again. The prophesies of doom are becoming today's reality, and our only hope is to change our expectations and adjust to a more cooperative lifestyle.
What a confused position. Our country has had a worse economy than today - and it was turned around in just 2 years by cutting government (the end of the Great Depression).

Our government is far bigger today than back then, and has a LOT we could discard. Guess what? Put the profit back in business, and our economy will soar. Remove the Marxist Income tax and replace it with something like the FairTax, and even the Lefty economists predict a boom.

We are more productive per person today than at any time in history - the only reason we AREN'T prosperous is big government. When you make foolish statements that we can never have that standard of living again, it defies the facts - that there is absolutely no reason that within two years we could not have the most robust economy in history.
 

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We are more productive per person today than at any time in history - the only reason we AREN'T prosperous is big government. When you make foolish statements that we can never have that standard of living again, it defies the facts - that there is absolutely no reason that within two years we could not have the most robust economy in history.
Bloody hell I agree with Phantom!
We are more productive per person today than at any time in history

I disagree with the next bit though
the only reason we AREN'T prosperous is big government.
The reason we aren't prosperous is that all of the profits from OUR increases in productivity have been siphoned off by the "Elite" - the CEO classes, the 1% - and most of the 1% have been well sorted by the 0.1%



When you make foolish statements that we can never have that standard of living again, it defies the facts - that there is absolutely no reason that within two years we could not have the most robust economy in history

Right on the mark!
We only differ :D on how to get there
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Gotta disagree with you disillusioned optimists. Of course we have the highest productivity per person today, because automation, robotics, and on-line purchasing allow one or two people to do the work that would have required ten times as many just 20 years ago. When businesses are built based on the bottom line, which is the only thing Romney knows about business, workers earning high wages are laid off and replaced with others who will work for far less, or with highly automated manufacturing plants. Unless we implement strong "protectionist" measures, jobs will be filled by foreign workers and often the manufacturing itself will be done overseas. When you gauge productivity by employee-dollars, foreign workers with better education and work ethics than their American counterparts are far and away more productive.

Sorry, the "glory days" are over. If Mitt Romney were a technological genius, perhaps he could figure out how to design new products that will be desired by people all over the world, and we could lead the way. But Mitt knows only the financial aspects of a company, and nothing of the technology that enabled the now struggling giants such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, and Intel, to innovate and prosper. Even mundane companies like the paper products manufacturer Ampad can be invigorated and made competitive if you know the product and have the scientific and engineering chops to innovate and improve the existing product, or come up with exciting new products that are not (yet) mass produced by the Chinese or Koreans.

That's how we achieved such greatness through the end of the last century, with a final "hoorah" of the dot com phenomenon. If we cut back on research and education as Romney wants to do, and turn back the principles of science and replace them with outdated fundamentalist religious beliefs, we shoot ourselves in the OTHER foot and we will be reduced from merely stumbling to just crawling our way around the global economy.

Maybe we need a new way of measuring our greatness, a new paradigm that releases us from the mad struggle to buy our way to happiness with expensive new toys, while working harder and longer for evanescent material gain, and instead seek a lifestyle of leisure and interpersonal relationships and a new respect and admiration for our natural world. We can "engineer" our lifestyles to drastically reduce our individual consumption and spending, and instead have perhaps a 5 day weekend and a two day work week. That would provide at least twice as many jobs, and each of us would only need to reduce our expenditures by 50%. The traditional family did that to a large degree, since in many ways, "two can live as cheaply as one", but instead we have many broken families and single parent households, or families who live so far beyond their means that both parents work and still their debt mounts.

This can be done, but people will need to revise their image of success and happiness to something more realistic and healthier. We have become slaves to our possessions and material wealth and technology, largely created by the persuasion of corporate advertising and the increasing gullibility and lack of deep understanding of the ultimate futility of personal aggrandizement through conspicuous consumption and frivolous possessions. We have lost much of our ability to live and work in close physical contact with others, and instead resort to impersonal communication by email, text messaging, and social media. People, especially youngsters, have grown up essentially tethered to their cell phones, TVs, and entertainment devices. And the lack of true happiness drives many to alcohol and drug abuse, crime, and suicide. We are living in an incredibly dysfunctional society, and we need to address that much more than our artificial estimation of our economic plight. We have much more than we need, and yet our greed drives us to seek even more, with little regard to other people.

If nothing else, Obama has the positive attitude and leadership skills that promote excitement and optimism for the future, and I think he is capable of inspiring the lower and middle class to accept a "new normal". We need a paradigm that is not measured by personal wealth, possessions, and power, but rather by people's ability to enjoy more free time and simple pleasures like hiking and playing with a dog, reading and learning new things about our amazing world, and simply relaxing and meditating and being a proper part of the universe.
 

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The government is not responsible to funding our desire to hike or play with the dog by redistribution of wealth. Giving people the means to survive without effort doesn't cause an explosion in the quest for knowledge and peace, it breeds apathy and jealousy. Don't ask the government to try to legislate greatness, ask them to get the hell out of it's way.
 
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