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Author Topic: An open letter from an American  (Read 3001 times)

J Arcane

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An open letter from an American
« Reply #90 on: October 20, 2006, 03:16:52 pm »
"Patriotism is proud of a country's virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country's virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, "the greatest," but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is."  -- Sydney J. Harris
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mattormeg

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An open letter from an American
« Reply #91 on: October 20, 2006, 06:52:23 pm »
Quote from: J Arcane
"Patriotism is proud of a country's virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country's virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, "the greatest," but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is."  -- Sydney J. Harris


Nice quote.

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An open letter from an American
« Reply #92 on: October 20, 2006, 10:54:03 pm »
Quote from: James J Skach
..it's never good to assume that you can tell someone "Fuck You" and have them not be mad at you.

Mate, three points,
  • I'm Australian
  • I used to be in the Army
  • Now I'm a chef

"Fuck you" is just water off a duck's back for me. I'm not tough - it's just that this horse has been broken.

That's the thing some websites don't get. A "personal attack" has to be personal. You have to know a person to really insult them properly. Aside from that, you might accidentally hit some tender spots - but in general, not.

If someone constantly streams abuse at me for my views and ideas, I'm not going to hate them, I'm just going to stop reading them when they're addressing me. But that's not the abuse itself, just the repetition. It's like old Gleichman. He comes onto every site around saying how fucked up the site is, and how gamers are all freaks, and then says he's leaving roleplaying and that site and will never come back. A couple of weeks later... so, even though he's never insulted me, I'm not going to read what he says, because it's just repetitive. We could make a bit of software that could do the same thing. It ain't a conversation.

I worry about things which affect me. A bit of abuse from some random stranger on the internet doesn't affect me. But if my girlfriend tells me I'm looking a bit pudgy, I might cry. :( Know what I mean? It ain't a "personal attack" unless it's personal.

I mean, we're men, aren't we? We can toss around a bit of profanity, a bit of "don't be a dumb cunt!" and "hey, haven't seen you in ages, how are you, you motherfucker?" and no-one's going to burst in tears, yeah? 'Cos it ain't personal. It's just talking shit.
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J Arcane

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An open letter from an American
« Reply #93 on: October 20, 2006, 11:27:52 pm »
Quote from: James J Skach
No, for looking at someone else's job that he's happy to have as not good enough. That makes you a snob.


Yes, holier than thou because you know better than the people who own thos businesses what to do with their businesses. If you don't like what they are doing, use your own business for your social engineering.  

Hey...Fuck You!  I've got perspective.  I've been out of work.  I've been happy to take those "shitty" jobs you look down on. So, yeah...Fuck You.

If I'm an American, and I think it's the best economic system in the world, that makes me a nationalist. If you're an American, and you think it's a shitty economic system, that makes you...what? Anti-American? See the flaw in that logic?
This has to be the most incoherent and nonsensical reply I have ever recieved on a message board.

I have read, and re-read, this post over a dozen times today, and I still have absolutely no fucking idea what the gorram hell you're talking about.  Nor do I understand what the hell it has to do with, well, anything at all.  

The best I can piece out at this juncture is that you somehow take personal offense to someone daring to criticize the state of the job market in the United States.

This is, at least, a conclusion that makes some level of sense, given the level of whacked out jingoist nationalism you've displayed here these past few days.

But to be honest, I'm really just grasping at straws here.
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An open letter from an American
« Reply #94 on: October 21, 2006, 12:45:21 am »
Its tempting to create a Gleichbot, programmed to come in every two weeks, shit on the place, and then claim he's leaving forever. He could be programmed in BASIC.

Maybe then the real deal wouldn't feel the need to bother.

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An open letter from an American
« Reply #95 on: October 21, 2006, 08:16:23 am »
Quote from: JimBobOz

I mean, we're men, aren't we?


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James J Skach

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An open letter from an American
« Reply #96 on: October 22, 2006, 10:35:51 pm »
Quote from: J Arcane
This has to be the most incoherent and nonsensical reply I have ever recieved on a message board.

I'm #1; I'm #1.  See, I'm an American nationalist, and we're so stupid, we don't care in what we're #1- we just like to scream it out.

Quote from: J Arcane
I have read, and re-read, this post over a dozen times today, and I still have absolutely no fucking idea what the gorram hell you're talking about.  Nor do I understand what the hell it has to do with, well, anything at all.

The best I can piece out at this juncture is that you somehow take personal offense to someone daring to criticize the state of the job market in the United States.

Well, let’s see if I can recap.
  • Someone claims the American economy is crap because even if we have growth, it’s all a sham.
  • I claim that’s funny, because new jobs were created an unemployment is low.
  • You claim that’s not good enough because they aren’t the right kind of job.
  • I claim you’re a snob because you believe that a job that pays $7.00/hour isn’t good enough.
  • You say get perspective.
  • I claim I have perspective due to my employment history.
Does that help?
I didn’t take it personal until you made the “get a perspective” remark. See, me calling you a snob is not me taking it personally.  It’s me having the ideological belief that people who claim new jobs and low unemployment aren’t good because “they aren’t the right kind of jobs,” are snobs. This is based on the concept of “who the fuck are you to say whether someone else’s job is good enough?”  See, if someone was offered one of those new, not-good-enough-for-you jobs, and they felt as you, then they wouldn’t take the job. If six million jobs are added and unemployment goes down, that’s a pretty good signal that people are taking those jobs. And if the unemployment rate is so low, that puts the worker in a much more enviable position.  Don’t meet his demands, and he’ll go somewhere else.  Hell, there are 5,999,999 other new jobs to look at.

So I’m not taking it personal until you make it so. I’m pointing out I have perspective on whether or not those jobs are worthy to take. I’m not so sure you do, but I’m not making that assumption.

Quote from: J Arcane
This is, at least, a conclusion that makes some level of sense, given the level of whacked out jingoist nationalism you've displayed here these past few days.

But to be honest, I'm really just grasping at straws here.

Yes, I've noticed. See, when someone responds to your assertion, it appears you have two answers.
  • You’re a whacked-out-jingoistic nationalist.
  • You don’t know what you’re talking about.

See, we might agree that the economy isn’t all it could be. However, I’ll give credit where credit is due.  It appears you will not. So let’s flip your quote around. Your quotation implies that to be a patriot you must be proud of your country’s virtues, but be willing to acknowledge its deficiencies

I’m asking, what are you if you trumpet only your country’s deficiencies, and deny its virtues?

In reality, we probably just see what is a virtue and what is a deficiency as completely different things.  For example, I’ll acknowledge a deficiency: the economy is not capitalist enough; it’s far too regulated. I’m willing to bet you think differently. If that’s the case, we’ll just argue past each other without much crossover.
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Kyle Aaron

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An open letter from an American
« Reply #97 on: December 22, 2006, 09:26:07 am »
Quote from: James J Skach
That's not to say we don't have too much debt; but it's not only reason for growth, and probably not a significant one (my assertion based on these productivity numbers, I don't have a specific number of the % of GDP based on what you term "financial-jiggery").
Never let it be said that I'm unwilling to return to discussions with actual figures and facts.

US public debt figures in dollars and cents, from 1950 to 2005. - From the US Dept of the Treasury.
US GDP figures, in billions of dollars, from 1947 to 2006.

Now, what do we get from those? Let's just look at the past ten years, mainly because I had to reformat the data for this forum, and it was a tedious job, and going back to the 1980s gave even more depressing figures. Sorry for the formatting, but the forum doesn't do tables, as far as I know.

1995 GDP 7522.5 billion, Debt 4974 billion
1996 GDP 8000.4 billion, Debt 5224.8 billion
1997 GDP 8471.2 billion Debt 5413.1 billion
1998 GDP 8953.8 billion, Debt 5526.2 billion
1999 GDP 9519.5 billion, Debt 5656.3 billion
2000 GDP 9953.6 billion, Debt 5674.2 billion
2001 GDP 10226.3 billion, Debt 5807.5 billion
2002 GDP 10591.1 billion Debt 6228.2 billion
2003 GDP 11219.5 billion, Debt 6783.2 billion
2004 GDP 11970.3 billion Debt 7379.1 billion
2005 GDP 12573.5 billion, Debt 7932.7 billion

In the ten years, the GDP has increased by US$5,051 billion. Public debt has at the same time increased by US$2,959 billion. The debt, then, is 59% the GDP increase in absolute terms.

I would say that 59% is "significant." If a private individual were to increase their income from $7,522 annually to $12,574 annually, we'd congratulate them on their $5,051 increase. We'd be less impressed that their debt went from $4,974 to $7,933, a $2,959 increase. Would you call that "significant"?

Annual GDP growth from 1995 to 2005 averaged 5.3%. Debt grew at 4.8%. These figures are significant because obviously, if your debt is growing faster than your income, then eventually your debt payments will exceed your income. If a private citizen or company's debt payments exceed their income, we declare them bankrupt, and their future prospects are grim. Well, debt's only increasing at 91% the rate of GDP, so you're not bankrupt yet. However, if you have a few bad years in a row, you could be in trouble.

Of course, you may argue that the accumulating debt is not in fact fuelling GDP growth, so it's "not significant." You could argue that, but then the debt looks even worse. If it's not helping your economy grow, and the public's not receiving any more services than before, then where the fuck's it all going?

I note that you mentioned a productivity increase of 3.8%. By comparison, US debt increased by 7.50% from 2004-5, and the GDP by 5%. So productivity growth alone cannot explain the GDP growth.

Quote from: James J Skach
Someone claims the American economy is crap because even if we have growth, it’s all a sham
A paid job is a paid job, and is not a sham. However, looking longer-term, you have to ask yourselves if it's sustainable. The debt can't go on forever. At some point, it's either paid off or written off. It does not seem reasonable to conclude that it could be paid off within the next generation. Writing it off would be an option, the USA built its nineteenth-century prosperity on written-off railway loans, and torn-up treaties with Amerindians, after all. But given that much of USA debt is foreign, and the USA depends so much on imports, the USA cannot really afford to lose creditworthiness. If, for example, the USA were to tear up all the Chinese-owned Treasury bonds, ridding themselves of about US$900 million of their debt, it seems reasonable to suppose that China might cut back on imports of US goods, and exports to them. Likewise, the 12 million barrels of oil a day the USA buys from outside its borders, countries might start asking for hard currency, rather than Treasury bonds. In the present time and world economic and diplomatic climate, debt writing-off would do the USA more harm than good. Of course, things may change in future. Some war might give the USA the excuse... Not that they'd start one with China, but if it did start, riiiip go the bonds. So much US money being in the hands of foreign countries cannot be entirely a good thing for the USA. It gives them rather a lot of influence over US policy. Were China to sell all its US Treasury bonds tomorrow - and they're all controlled by the government in Beijing, not by private citizens, so it can be done - US mortgage rates would rise a few percentage points, putting many people out of their homes. This must be of concern to the USA in the longer term, as well.

A job is like a home. Any one is better than none, but it's better if it rests on solid foundations, and won't disappear tomorrow.

Quote from: Spike
The GDP is not based on financial jiggery or debt. It is P for Product for a reason, people. The GDP has no ties to the governments budget.
Unfortunately that is not so. "Product" is not all tangible products, nor even private services. GDP is simply the sum of all the money spent in the country. Whether it's $1 million from Exxon to Alaska to clean up an oil spill, $1 million for Bill Gates to rent out a Hawaiin island to get married out, $1 million of roleplaying books, or $1 million in food stamps, is irrelevant. It's all spending, and all adds to GDP. Federal government spending in the USA in 2007 will come from $1,890 billion in revenue, and $423 billion in debt, as noted by the Whitehouse.  

I do not think you can rationally argue that spending of US$2,316 billion, which is about 16% of US GDP, will have no effect on the GDP.

Quote from: Spike
If you don't like how much of the world's product is going to the US, get your governement to stop exports to the US. Simple.
I'm more concerned about Australia's products going to Asia and the EU, where we sell underpriced nonrenewable resources. Exporting primary goods, from nonrenewable resources (iron, coal, and the way we grow is unrenewable, so grain, too), is a very colonial way to live, leads to a Third World economy. No thanks.

Certainly we could usefully disengage from the USA in many other areas, such as keeping them company on whatever war they've decided to lose this decade. Unfortunately, it's difficult to persuade our Prime Minister to remove his tongue from between the US President's buttocks. This situation appears regardless of who is PM, or President. It's simply the unimaginative course they've chosen, sadly.
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Werekoala

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An open letter from an American
« Reply #98 on: December 22, 2006, 08:29:12 pm »
Quote from: JimBobOz
Typical, another American whinging about how the world is oppressing him!

I wonder if the Romans every did. "Oh dear, why is it the Gauls hate us so? I do wish they'd stop. We're really rather nice people. Of course Caesar slaughtered and enslaved thousands of the Gauls, but is that any reason to hate us?"

I don't think the Romans whined quite so much.

Just suck it up and take it. You have 4% the world's population, and consume 25% of its resources. The price you pay for that is that the world hates you. Just harden up, grow a pair and take it.

:flameon2:



Here, let me handle this one.

I, too, am an American - and I don't give a flying fuck what the rest of the world thinks of us. I get pissed off every time we BACK DOWN from you - You hate US? That's fine - then why the FUCK do we CARE what you think, and let it hold us back? As far as I'm concerned, the only reason why the world as we know it, with all its wonders and riches and standard of living and lifespans and such even EXISTS is because of us. We're the world's BEST GODDAMN HOPE for anything resembling a decent futute, so you better get used to the idea! We made it, built it, earned it, and protected it, so fuck YEAH we'll use it as we please. All the hatred and protesting is just sour grapes from a bunch of coddled solicistic morons who couldn't defend their country from a brigade of retarded MS patients if you spotted them a battalion of French tanks. Learn2Empire you whiny freaks. You'd be in such a hole WITHOUT us that you'd BEG us to invade your pathetic little countries. :kickback:

There. I said it. :mad:
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An open letter from an American
« Reply #99 on: December 22, 2006, 08:43:13 pm »
Quote from: JimBobOz

They key thing, though, it that the USA tends to throw its weight around, invading other countries, etc. Amazingly, that pisses people off ;)


Well, we tried that isolationist thing for awhile, we tried REAL HARD in the 30's.

But then Hitler assed up and Churchill begged for 3 years for our help, so we shook off the winter hibernation and came and helped.

Personally, I think it's hilarious that people are so upset at the way we throw our weight around. Maybe if we save the world again in THIS century we'll get another hall pass.

Or not. It beats being Canada.

Chuck

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An open letter from an American
« Reply #100 on: December 22, 2006, 08:48:03 pm »
That's cute. I think Nox saved you a seat on his couch.
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An open letter from an American
« Reply #101 on: December 22, 2006, 08:51:08 pm »
Quote from: Thanatos02
That's cute. I think Nox saved you a seat on his couch.


How dare you insult Nox like that. :)
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Akrasia

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An open letter from an American
« Reply #102 on: December 22, 2006, 10:33:51 pm »
Good grief, what an insane thread.

I'm not going to touch the foreign policy issues, since I can't afford the 'time suck'.

I will say, though, that I lived in the U.S. for about 10 years (1994-2005; I lived outside the U.S. for 1999-2000), in different parts (Ithaca New York, Ann Arbor Michigan, San Francisco California).  

For the most part, I found Americans to be decent, friendly people.  Most were socially liberal -- not surprising, of course, given the places in which I lived.  Even those who were relatively 'socially conservative' seemed reasonable.  The economic views of the Americans I knew (and still know, as I still have many very good friends there) ranged from socialist to libertarian (although 'centrist' was most common).

Aside from some notable exceptions, the Americans that I knew and became friends with were not 'U.S.A.-uber-alles' types.  They seemed to have balanced perspectives -- they were critical of some (or many) aspects of U.S. politics and culture, while proud of other aspects.

Of course my perspective would have been radically different had I spent my time in the 'Bible Belt', as opposed to the more liberal parts of the U.S. (San Francisco is by far the most left-wing place I've ever lived in).  But hey, that just illustrates Mattomeg's main point, viz. it is ridiculous to make generalisations about a huge, diverse country of 300 million people.

If there was one negative generalisation that I would make about Americans based on my 10 years in the States, though, it is that they generally seem far less informed (and even curious) about the rest of the world than people in other countries.  Even reasonably well educated Americans were often surprisingly ignorant of other nations and cultures.  There were some definite exceptions, but it was rather depressing how inward looking even erudite Americans were.  Oh well, no people is perfect.

As a place to live, the U.S. was fine.  I've lived in four countries in my life, and I would rank the U.S. in the middle.  But again, a lot would depend on the city/region.  I would rather roll naked over broken glass than live anywhere in the southern U.S. (the 'Bible Belt'), whereas I really like New York, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco.  Similarly, while I prefer Ireland and Canada as places to live over the U.S. overall, there are parts of Ireland and Canada that really suck.  (Well, not Ireland!  Except for Limerick ... that place blows.)

Okay, I've wasted enough time here.  Suffice to say, Americans are a varied lot -- moreso than most countries.  It is thus foolish to make sweeping generalisations about them as people.  The Berkeley Maoists publish a newspaper that is more anti-American than anythiing you'd find in France.
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An open letter from an American
« Reply #103 on: December 24, 2006, 01:40:05 am »
Quote from: Werekoala
How dare you insult Nox like that. :)


Nox? Well, pretty easily, I can assure you. :rimshot:
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James J Skach

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An open letter from an American
« Reply #104 on: December 24, 2006, 10:47:50 am »
My lord, talk about necromancy!

Thanks for the figures. I’ve been fuck-all busy with a car accident, kidney stone, and Christmas. So thanks for doing the research.

And now, on to the show.

Quote from: JimBobOz
Annual GDP growth from 1995 to 2005 averaged 5.3%. Debt grew at 4.8%. These figures are significant because obviously, if your debt is growing faster than your income, then eventually your debt payments will exceed your income. If a private citizen or company's debt payments exceed their income, we declare them bankrupt, and their future prospects are grim. Well, debt's only increasing at 91% the rate of GDP, so you're not bankrupt yet. However, if you have a few bad years in a row, you could be in trouble.

Of course, you may argue that the accumulating debt is not in fact fuelling GDP growth, so it's "not significant." You could argue that, but then the debt looks even worse. If it's not helping your economy grow, and the public's not receiving any more services than before, then where the fuck's it all going?

According to my Excel spreadsheet crunching numbers from the source you provide, the average growth in debt, year-to-year, for the years 1950 – 2005 is 6.4%. The average over period 1995 – 2005 is 4.9%.  The average growth in GDP from 1950 – 2005 is 7%, while the average growth in GDP between 1995  - 2005 is 5.3%. So, historically, the debt has grown at a lesser rate while the GDP has done so as well. This seems to support your theory that there is some correlation between debt and GDP – all the way back to at least 1950. It also seems to indicate that the current situation is relatively typical for the last 55 years.

During that time, the US economy has undergone tremendous ups and downs. It looks as if the major changes took place about 1970.  At that point it seems as if the debt started rising, YTY, about 9%. The GDP seems to rise about 7.3%.

It is certainly true that if the US consistently has several years where the ratio of Debt to GDP is unfavorable, it could be bad.  Right now, the debt is 63% of the GDP.  In 1951, it was 74% - what with the war to pay off and all. In 1960, it was 55%. In 1970, 35%. In 1980, 30%.  In 1990, 55%. So we have fluctuated from 74% down to 30% and back up to 62%.  I would never argue that carrying this much debt is a good thing.  It creates a certain amount of drag on the economy.  However, it is also not the end of the world.  It’s not as if the current rate of 63% is out of bounds or unsustainable.

But these are arguments we can never end. You might say anything over 30% is horrible.  I might say anything under 80% is sustainable. We might both be right. We might both be wrong. Time will tell. I would argue with the assertion “the public’s not receiving any more services than before.”  As you note, the federal government spends more than it ever has. This alone is certainly not proof, but then again your statement is almost impossible to prove or disprove – so it’s an opinion at best. But we can agree completely on one thing: “where the fuck’s it all going?”

However, all of this was never really my point in countering your fundamental assertion.

Quote from: JimBobOz
I note that you mentioned a productivity increase of 3.8%. By comparison, US debt increased by 7.50% from 2004-5, and the GDP by 5%. So productivity growth alone cannot explain the GDP growth.

Well, let’s be clear.  I had to go back and look at the previous posts from months ago.  I do not believe (I can find no evidence) that I claimed productivity growth alone explained the GDP growth.  Instead, I was refuting your assertion that it was financial jiggery alone that explained GDP growth.  Now you did not use those exact terms, but you said “This growth of the USA is based not on actual productivity, but on financial jiggery-pokery, and unsustainable debt.”

Now, is it possible that we can agree that the GDP growth has, as its sources, a number of factors including, but not limited to, debt and productivity growth? We might argue the significance of the various factors, but to assert that any one is the source of GDP growth is incorrect, yes?

We can argue 19th Century growth and Chinese interests later, it’s Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

EDIT: Just noticed in another thread that JimBob said he could give a fuck about the birth of Jesus (as he's Jewish) - so Happy Chanukah And Happy New Year!
The rules are my slave, not my master. - Old Geezer

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