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Guest montecarloss

The Obama Presidency

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I agree that an unbalanced budget didn't cause the massive unemployment that we see today, any more than the balanced budgets of the late 90s caused the extremely high employment of that period.  Where we really disagree is on the point that "the primary characteristic of the current U.S. economy is a high unemployment rate."  The U.S. economy has many characteristics (and not all of them are bad, though most are less than stellar at the moment).  The federal deficit is one of them, and it has been growing in salience simply because it's been growing so much in size, and because we're seeing other countries suffer greatly because of unsustainable, deficit-financed spending when the spigot is finally cut off.

 

That's precisely my point.  The poster I quoted is ephemerally referring to a 'bad' economy, which I would say most people assume to be characterized by large unemployment, and links this to federal budgeting when they have nothing to do with one another.  If you think that an unbalanced federal budget is the definition of 'bad' that's fine, but large federal deficits certainly aren't unique to this moment.

 

People point out that America is not Greece because America controls its currency and therefore can inflate its way out of its debt.  True--but that prospect is extremely galling for people like myself who save aggressively, and inflation has proven ruinous even to those with no savings when it gets above a certain point.  The Carter years are fading from memory, but they shouldn't be.

 

I don't think Greece is a particularly interesting European example.  It is going through the same things that Argentina went through in 2001 and is about equally as relevant.  The interesting European case is Spain.  Here they are suffering from being trapped in the Eurozone.  If they had a separate currency it could depreciate vis-a-vis other currencies, thereby making their economy more attractive from exports and allowing commodity prices to readjust.  I suppose it would be unfortunate for people with large reserves of theoretical pesetas, but no more randomly unfortunate than the bubble itself.

 

The 'Carter Years' are really the 'Ford-Carter Years' and were characterized by inflated oil prices (and were really much more the result of Nixon's wage and price controls and support for Israel in the Yom Kippur War than any actions that can be ascribed to other Presidents).  I'm not sure if we really have to fear that in the near future (next five years).  I certainly consider the moral side of the equation to be on getting people back to work rather than worrying about currently non-existent inflation, but obviously that is simply my opinion.

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Employment didn't rise with inflation in the Carter years, or the Ford-Carter years, whatever you want to call them just to heap blame at least partially onto a Republican president.  This isn't a partisan issue for me.  However, it would not be "randomly unfortunate" for those with large reserves of dollars to have the value of those wiped out by deliberate government action to devalue the currency; it would be a deliberate misfortune imposed by the government.

 

Employment also did not rise with inflation in most Latin American countries where devaluation to lessen debt burdens was/is basically routine state policy.  For prosperity to actually last, people within and outside a country need to have confidence in its currency.

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Employment didn't rise with inflation in the Carter years, or the Ford-Carter years, whatever you want to call them just to heap blame at least partially onto a Republican president.  This isn't a partisan issue for me.

 

 

Well, it clearly is since you reacted the way you did when I amended your definition to be more historically accurate.  I specifically mentioned that it was Nixon's actions combined with those of the oil producing countries that caused the situation, not because Nixon was a Republican, but because that's what actually happened.  I'll reference stagflation for others, but I'll assume you are already familiar with the concept.

 

From the Wikipedia entry about stagflation:

Explaining the 1970s stagflation

Following Richard Nixon's imposition of wage and price controls on August 15, 1971, an initial wave of cost-push shocks in commodities was blamed for causing spiraling prices. Perhaps the most notorious factor cited at that time was the failure of the Peruvian anchovy fishery in 1972, a major source of livestock feed.[16] The second major shock was the 1973 oil crisis, when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) constrained the worldwide supply of oil.[17] Both events, combined with the overall energy shortage that characterized the 1970s, resulted in actual or relative scarcity of raw materials. The price controls resulted in shortages at the point of purchase, causing, for example, queues of consumers at fueling stations and increased production costs for industry.

 

I never said that employment rose with inflation during the Carter years, or Ford-Carter years.  I'm not sure why you brought this up.

 

The point of currency devaluation in the case of Spain is to make their exports more attractive to buyers, therefore increasing demand and employment.  This devaluation would obviously result in less relative purchasing power for the Spanish, but that would be a benefit, because you want increased savings + stable personal income/employment.

 

However, it would not be "randomly unfortunate" for those with large reserves of dollars to have the value of those wiped out by deliberate government action to devalue the currency; it would be a deliberate misfortune imposed by the government.

 

Well, it's just as random to the recipient of the screw-job as it is to be laid off because poor investments by bankers ground the financial system to a halt.  It's random in the sense that neither misfortunes were the result of actions by the recipient.  Whether a misfortune is worse if it intended to effect you specifically or not doesn't seem to me to make it any worse (I'm reminded when Yossarian tells Nately that he doesn't want to fly missions because the Germans shoot at him and Nately replies, "But they're shooting at everybody!", to which Yossarian responds, "What the hell difference does that make!") but maybe it does to others.

 

Nevertheless, from the perspective of the government, I suppose the choice can be to take actions that cause an increase in aggregate demand that increases employment or allow a large percentage of the population to be unemployed.  Whether the government chooses to act one way or not to act is a matter of policy, and different policies help and hurt different groups and different people.  Those who suffer a misfortune through action and those who suffer a misfortune through inaction are necessarily at odds, but either policy  represents a choice, and therefore a deliberately imposed misfortune.

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I agree that an unbalanced budget didn't cause the massive unemployment that we see today, any more than the balanced budgets of the late 90s caused the extremely high employment of that period. Where we really disagree is on the point that "the primary characteristic of the current U.S. economy is a high unemployment rate." The U.S. economy has many characteristics (and not all of them are bad, though most are less than stellar at the moment). The federal deficit is one of them, and it has been growing in salience simply because it's been growing so much in size, and because we're seeing other countries suffer greatly because of unsustainable, deficit-financed spending when the spigot is finally cut off.

 

That's precisely my point. The poster I quoted is ephemerally referring to a 'bad' economy, which I would say most people assume to be characterized by large unemployment, and links this to federal budgeting when they have nothing to do with one another. If you think that an unbalanced federal budget is the definition of 'bad' that's fine, but large federal deficits certainly aren't unique to this moment.

 

Federal budgeting and the poor economy have nothing to do with each other?  I was making high level statements to avoid some lengthy post that read like an economic lecture, but having debt is one thing and deficit spending is another.  Yet in reading more of your posts, it's pretty clear you subscribe to an economic theory that subscribes to a different cause and effect than I do, so I guess I'll just wait and see how it turns out rather than trying to argue with you about it.

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Employment didn't rise with inflation in the Carter years, or the Ford-Carter years, whatever you want to call them just to heap blame at least partially onto a Republican president. This isn't a partisan issue for me.

 

I never said that employment rose with inflation during the Carter years, or Ford-Carter years. I'm not sure why you brought this up.

 

Because you have been advocating a high-inflation policy on the grounds that it will increase employment.  I am asking for a rational basis for this belief based on the fact that our last period of significant inflation was not accompanied by high employment.

 

The point of currency devaluation in the case of Spain is to make their exports more attractive to buyers, therefore increasing demand and employment. This devaluation would obviously result in less relative purchasing power for the Spanish, but that would be a benefit, because you want increased savings + stable personal income/employment.

 

I'm aware of the theoretical argument.  I just don't see that it holds water, or Zimbabwe and Venezuela would be export powerhouses with full employment instead of economic basket cases.

 

Nevertheless, from the perspective of the government, I suppose the choice can be to take actions that cause an increase in aggregate demand that increases employment or allow a large percentage of the population to be unemployed. Whether the government chooses to act one way or not to act is a matter of policy, and different policies help and hurt different groups and different people. Those who suffer a misfortune through action and those who suffer a misfortune through inaction are necessarily at odds, but either policy represents a choice, and therefore a deliberately imposed misfortune.

 

Likewise, from the perspective of the government, the choice can be to take actions that punish those who have attempted to be responsible and save for hard times, or it can take actions that do not reward those who have gone out and spend like there was no tomorrow.  And of course, whether the government chooses to act one way or another is a matter of policy--but realistic policy choices can be constrained by circumstances, and moreso when a government has deliberately weakened itself by getting itself deeply in hoc to foreign and domestic creditors.  The government can choose to plow ahead and effectively stiff its creditors by repaying them with junk money, but the consequences of doing so over the long term have deeper ramifications than merely wiping out those of us trying to save up down payments and retirement nest eggs.

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Because you have been advocating a high-inflation policy on the grounds that it will increase employment.  I am asking for a rational basis for this belief based on the fact that our last period of significant inflation was not accompanied by high employment.

 

I'm aware of the theoretical argument [for currency devaluation].  I just don't see that it holds water, or Zimbabwe and Venezuela would be export powerhouses with full employment instead of economic basket cases.

 

I've not been advocating for a high inflation policy on the grounds that it will increase employment.  I've stated two things about currency devaluation, 1) that it would be useful for Spain at this time and 2) that devaluations in the U.S. currency is not as big a deal as is usually claimed by folks who have a tendency to view the strength of the dollar vis-a-vis other currencies as a quantifiable stand-in for national strength or standing (I believe this was the subject of our first argument).  Currency devaluation doesn't have to end in high inflation, and it can (and does) occur naturally as a result of the fact that they float.

 

Likewise, from the perspective of the government, the choice can be to take actions that punish those who have attempted to be responsible and save for hard times, or it can take actions that do not reward those who have gone out and spend like there was no tomorrow.  And of course, whether the government chooses to act one way or another is a matter of policy--but realistic policy choices can be constrained by circumstances, and moreso when a government has deliberately weakened itself by getting itself deeply in hoc to foreign and domestic creditors.  The government can choose to plow ahead and effectively stiff its creditors by repaying them with junk money, but the consequences of doing so over the long term have deeper ramifications than merely wiping out those of us trying to save up down payments and retirement nest eggs.

 

Who do you expect to purchase U.S. government debt other than 'foreign and domestic creditors'?

 

I'm going to lay aside the foreign examples and speak to this point solely in the context of the U.S.  Interest rates are at historic lows, yet unemployment remains at around 10%.  The Treasury continues to sell out bond sales at extremely low prices, so the markets are displaying great confidence in the future ability of the U.S. government to repay their debts.  There's no sign that inflation is occurring or about to occur (in fact, prices in many categories continue to fall).  A great deal of people are unemployed.  If one wishes to attempt to mitigate this situation, then now is a great time to use the governments credit to make large infrastructure investments with cheap loans to stimulate demand while at the same time improving our national infrastructure and competitiveness.  It seems like a pretty efficient, kill two birds with one stone solution, and you don't even have to devalue your currency to do it.

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I think the Democratic Party is largely divided on the immigration issue, too: globalists and immigrant-rights groups vs. protectionists and unions (who disapprove of the circumvention of federal labor protections and the undercutting of the labor market).

 

But I'm not arguing that the GOP is not a house divided on this issue. Both are. Which is perfectly fine with me.

 

Bingo.  It is in neither party's interest to "solve" illegal immigration.  There is only political downside to any "solution".

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^ Immigration is going to wreck the GOP.  The Democratic Party does not have that liability.

 

As for inflationary policy, we have to severely limit defense spending.  That is goods that are taken out of the economy and lost to the rest of the economy.  It results in no gain.  So the remaining money in the economy in the economy gets "inflated" to chase the fewer remaining goods.  Prices rise

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Bingo. It is in neither party's interest to "solve" illegal immigration. There is only political downside to any "solution".

 

It seems to me that if one believes in competent government being better than incompetent government, then it is in both parties interest to 'solve' illegal immigration.  What 'solve' means is where all the conflict lies.

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^ Immigration is going to wreck the GOP. The Democratic Party does not have that liability.

 

As for inflationary policy, we have to severely limit defense spending. That is goods that are taken out of the economy and lost to the rest of the economy. It results in no gain. So the remaining money in the economy in the economy gets "inflated" to chase the fewer remaining goods. Prices rise

 

What in the world are you talking about?

 

If you want to cut defense spending because you oppose our military policy, come out and say it.  Don't pretend like it's some kind of anti-inflationary measure; any cut in spending is anti-inflationary, and there is little practical difference between cutting welfare spending and cutting defense spending in terms of its inflationary influences.  At least, I'm not aware of any economic literature suggesting so and nothing in my economics courses--which included a course specifically on the economics of defense spending--suggested that there should be a significant difference.  Most defense spending, after all, *is* spent domestically.

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Cutting welfare spending is more anti-inflationary than reducing defense spending.  Reducing welfare reduces consumption and thus demand push inflation, and as former recipients go to work they increase production which lowers prices and pay more taxes which reduces deficits.  Reducing welfare is a two-fer when it comes to fighting inflation.  Maybe even a trifecta!

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Where do former recipients go to work when consumer spending has been yanked from the market?  Inflation is the least of our worries right now.  Nobody has any money, so nobody's spending it.

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^^If the market was worried about inflation, shouldn't yields be increasing?

 

Current yields on 10 year Treasuries:

http://money.cnn.com/2010/06/11/markets/bondcenter/treasurys/index.htm

 

Yields on 10 year Treasuries during last inflationary period:

http://www.mbaa.org/ResearchandForecasts/MarketEnvironment/TreasuryYields&BankRates,1980-83.htm

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^^If the market was worried about inflation, shouldn't yields be increasing?

 

Current yields on 10 year Treasuries:

http://money.cnn.com/2010/06/11/markets/bondcenter/treasurys/index.htm

 

Yields on 10 year Treasuries during last inflationary period:

http://www.mbaa.org/ResearchandForecasts/MarketEnvironment/TreasuryYields&BankRates,1980-83.htm

 

I don't think the market is, or needs to be, worried about short-term inflation, though the flip side of this is that the federal government has financed a tremendous amount of its borrowing with low-interest short-term notes that will have to be refinanced in large numbers fairly soon, and then soon again thereafter if we likewise go primarily short-term then.  That said, I think that's the pragmatic approach to take now, so I'm not knocking it.

 

My post was simply a response to Boreas' crazy post about defense spending and inflation.

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I listened to his Oval Office speech the other night.  This guy is Nixonian in his political cynicism!  He reminds me of Mao's wife and the Gang of Four running around Beijing threatening, "You will be held responsible!" etc. etc. 

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Where do former recipients go to work when consumer spending has been yanked from the market? Inflation is the least of our worries right now. Nobody has any money, so nobody's spending it.

 

There are aspects of the economy that are not driven by consumer spending. 

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Where do former recipients go to work when consumer spending has been yanked from the market? Inflation is the least of our worries right now. Nobody has any money, so nobody's spending it.

 

There are aspects of the economy that are not driven by consumer spending.

 

In addition, there are aspects of the economy that have previously been driven by consumers spending money they don't have--and not just money that they didn't have, but could never realistically have expected to have in the future.  We can't go back to that model without it being just as unsustainable in the future as it was in the past.  I'm not against all debt or an advocate of a cash economy, but the level of household debt in this country was reaching risible levels before the crash.

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The chart at the bottom really tells the story about our spending habits over the years.  Based on this it seems to me like it's going to be a slow, hard climb out of debt and a pretty painful correction back to sustainable spending/saving habits (most of which we've probably already felt).  Those that keep looking for consumer spending rates to go back to what they were in 2007 or so really need to look elsewhere.  American's are broke.  Hopefully this recession leads to a permanent change in the spending habits of Americans.

 

savings-rate.png

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Well now we have an economy that has no spending, whether from wages or savings or credit.  See where that gets us.  I think that early 80s credit burst was simply a way to mask the underlying losses of wages and benefits.  Had it not been for all that credit, the recent crash would have happened much sooner and may not have been so harsh.  And we would have had a more solid employment base from which to fight back.

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^^ Part of the problem with Americans not having enough savings is irresponsibility.  However, you can't ignore that cost control (which ultimately is the consumers' responsibility) has been severely lacking.  When I started driving, you could get a gallon of gas for around $1.  My parents bought our 3bdrm 1 1/2 bath house for $36,000 in the late 70's.  I remember my Dad telling me "HELL NO" to a pair of Nike shoes that cost $60 when I was around 10.  I won't even touch on health care costs. 

 

The bottom line is that salaries have not increased enough over the years to account for the exponential rise in costs of just about everything we buy.  Not to mention that the quality of the products we buy are declining as well.

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Bottom line people are living above their means. 

 

In this world of "instant" gratification people use credit to buy items they could never afford BUT don't manage payments.

 

If you do not have the money to buy it with cash you really don't need it.

 

I know so many people that own homes that they cannot afford and are "house poor" and on top that they don't have an emergency fund for the house.

 

Too many people are caught up trying to keep up with the Jones'!

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Well now we have an economy that has no spending, whether from wages or savings or credit.  See where that gets us.

 

I think this dramatically overstates things, however.  We still have a substantial amount of consumer spending in the economy, and we did even at the low point about a year ago.  We don't have the levels we had in 2007, but the marginal extra spending beyond a certain point was damaging in the long term more than it was beneficial in the short term, on balance, because it was fueled by unsustainable levels of debt.  (I reiterate that there *is* such a thing as a sustainable level of debt, but in both the public and private sector, we've gone past it.)  We basically advanced a lot of spending that might have happened in 2009-2010 (or 2011, or 2012) into 2005-2008.  Now, since we already did that, we're in the timeframe from which that spending was taken, and since we went beyond any rational definition of a sustainable level of debt, we can't advance further spending from 2014+ to keep the cycle moving.

 

^^ Part of the problem with Americans not having enough savings is irresponsibility.  However, you can't ignore that cost control (which ultimately is the consumers' responsibility) has been severely lacking.  When I started driving, you could get a gallon of gas for around $1.  My parents bought our 3bdrm 1 1/2 bath house for $36,000 in the late 70's.  I remember my Dad telling me "HELL NO" to a pair of Nike shoes that cost $60 when I was around 10.  I won't even touch on health care costs. 

 

The bottom line is that salaries have not increased enough over the years to account for the exponential rise in costs of just about everything we buy.  Not to mention that the quality of the products we buy are declining as well.

 

People keep saying this with respect to quality, but I don't see the evidence for it without cherry-picking.  Are today's Nikes really flimsier than those $60 Nikes of a generation ago?  The cost of health care has obviously gone up (and up, and up), but are you seriously arguing that the quality has declined?  Was that house built in the late 70s better built than a new build in the equivalent quality percentile of new builds today?  And, of course, compare your first computer (which you probably didn't even have in the 70s--most people certainly didn't) to the one you're typing on now.

 

That said, I agree with you about irresponsibility.  I think it flows from the recharacterization of luxuries as necessities, though, not from prices constantly rising and quality constantly falling.  Personally, I don't even have cable, nor a landline phone anymore.  It also flows from the treatment of home equity as a piggy bank for consumption.  I understand when small business owners want to leverage their house to get operating capital for a small business startup; when all people are doing is taking trips to Florida or buying big-screen HDTVs, that's much more careless.

 

^ There are a whole lot more big-ticket items which are considered "standard" now, too. Think kids in grade school with cell phone plans.

 

Too true.  We managed to survive without that somehow.  Though I guess if I were a parent, I might understand wanting a child to have a way to get in contact, but that ought to be doable with maybe a prepaid phone for emergencies or something comparably cheap.

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^My house was built by Ryan Homes in 1969 and the quality of construction beats the hell out of what that company is putting out nowadays.  Part of it is increased cost of materials, such as wood and brick.  And while the quality of the items such as shoes may or may not have declined (although I would suspect they have) the massive increase in price is way out of proportion to any improvement in quality.  Same thing goes for health care.  Would you seriously suggest that the quality of health care has doubled in the last 10 years?  All this is besides the point though.  I was just throwing it out there as a side note to my main point.

 

I have credit cards for emergencies only.  Same goes for my home equity line.  I use either cash or my debit card when I 'want' to buy something.  Still, I do probably have a lot of unnecessary luxuries that frustrate my efforts to have.... what are those things called again... oh yeah, a savings account.  I have my retirement account and an account for my son's education, but it would be real nice to have a large rainy day fund.  Just can't seem to wean myself from HDTV, unlimited texting, wireless internet and UO premium membership ;)

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Obama = 3rd term of GWB? Sure, I can see that. Especially now that the administration is pushing forward with an Internet filter and kill switch...

 

Opinion: Obama's Vision Deficit on Display

Nick Gillespie, Special to AOL News, June 15, 2010

 

(June 15) -- What can only be called President Barack Obama's vision deficit first came into undeniable, turn-your-head-and-cough, full-monty view fewer than 100 days into his presidency, when he started yammering on April 15, 2009, about making sure that the wealthy pay their "fair share" in taxes. Then there was his bold plan to free the nation's cities from traffic jams with a high-speed rail system that pulled not one smoke-belching car off clogged city streets anywhere on the planet.

 

When it came time to unveil his bold 21st-century stimulus package, it turned out all he was talking about was cash for clunkers, cash for caulkers, and cash for laying asphalt and paying state and local workers for another year or two.

 

Even his most ardent admirers had to admit that the guy wasn't exactly dazzling in his approach to the issues of the day. From his approach to foreign wars and civil liberties to his belief that massive government bailouts and housing subsidies will jump-start the economy, he's been more like the third term of George W. Bush than something new and different. Little wonder, then, that Obama's approval ratings have been positively Dubyaesque.

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I have credit cards for emergencies only. Same goes for my home equity line. I use either cash or my debit card when I 'want' to buy something. Still, I do probably have a lot of unnecessary luxuries that frustrate my efforts to have.... what are those things called again... oh yeah, a savings account. I have my retirement account and an account for my son's education, but it would be real nice to have a large rainy day fund. Just can't seem to wean myself from HDTV, unlimited texting, wireless internet and UO premium membership ;)

 

Hah.  Well, as I said, I have no cable, nor UO premium membership--but I do have the texting.  And RoadRunner Turbo.  And a PC that could almost go toe-to-toe with my workplace's strongest server.

 

Personally, I put *everything* on the credit card--my AmEx gives me 2% back on basically everything, even utilities.  Why not use it?  I pay it off every month.  I might even use some of their fee-charging services someday (foreign currency transactions if I travel?  Maybe?  I don't know).  It's good because I never need to worry about checking account overdrafts, losing cash or having it stolen; it basically means my statements are a good log of where my money's been going; and of course it does amount to a short-term interest-free loan if you're paying it off in the grace period.  I actually had three paychecks in between when I bought my new bike and when the credit card bill for that month was due (two in between the purchase and the statement, and then another in between the statement and its due date).

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I find Obama's idea on a path to citizenship interesting.  Not what I would have expected to hear from him.

 

Obama says politics to blame for immigration delay

 

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iAz1xnYABI7nnmHD_ntXdzZWudyAD9GMFUE84

 

WASHINGTON — Hoping to breathe new life into the stalled immigration effort, President Barack Obama on Thursday blamed the delay on recalcitrant Republicans whom he said had given in to the "pressures of partisanship and election-year politics."

 

Republicans responded that Obama's first step going forward must be to secure the border.

 

...

 

Obama dismissed the focus on a "border security first" approach, saying the system is too big to be fixed "only with fences and border patrols." He advocated a comprehensive approach that would call on the government, businesses and illegal immigrants themselves to live up to their responsibilities within the law.

 

Obama also wants to create a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S; critics call it amnesty. But Obama said the immigrants must first acknowledge that they broke the law, pay fines and back taxes, perform community service and learn English.

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Not a bad idea, IMO.  They should work it like a college scholarship, or like they do in the ROTC.  Immediate (legal) access to the country, you are just required to contribute X amount of community service/government work...assuming no criminal record.  After the designated commitment period is up, you can take the citizenship test (which is already only in English).  Pass and you're done.

 

 

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I find Obama's idea on a path to citizenship interesting.  Not what I would have expected to hear from him.

 

Obama says politics to blame for immigration delay

 

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iAz1xnYABI7nnmHD_ntXdzZWudyAD9GMFUE84

 

WASHINGTON — Hoping to breathe new life into the stalled immigration effort, President Barack Obama on Thursday blamed the delay on recalcitrant Republicans whom he said had given in to the "pressures of partisanship and election-year politics."

 

Republicans responded that Obama's first step going forward must be to secure the border.

 

...

 

Obama dismissed the focus on a "border security first" approach, saying the system is too big to be fixed "only with fences and border patrols." He advocated a comprehensive approach that would call on the government, businesses and illegal immigrants themselves to live up to their responsibilities within the law.

 

Obama also wants to create a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S; critics call it amnesty. But Obama said the immigrants must first acknowledge that they broke the law, pay fines and back taxes, perform community service and learn English.

 

Damn skippy they should do all this.  and those that continue to come to the States illegally should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

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Not a bad idea, IMO.  They should work it like a college scholarship, or like they do in the ROTC.  Immediate (legal) access to the country, you are just required to contribute X amount of community service/government work...assuming no criminal record.  After the designated commitment period is up, you can take the citizenship test (which is already only in English).  Pass and you're done.

 

 

 

I think anyone here illegally should be kicked out and come in via the proper channel.

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I had a question about the taxes. I understand that illegals that were being paid under the table are not paying taxes but what happens to the money for those that were working under stolen/fake SSN? Isn't the employer required to withhold taxes? It's not like you are going to file a return under a stolen SNN.

 

Can anybody shed some light on that?

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Not a bad idea, IMO.  They should work it like a college scholarship, or like they do in the ROTC.  Immediate (legal) access to the country, you are just required to contribute X amount of community service/government work...assuming no criminal record.  After the designated commitment period is up, you can take the citizenship test (which is already only in English).  Pass and you're done.

 

 

 

I think anyone here illegally should be kicked out and come in via the proper channel.

 

I would too...if it were possible to round up 11 million illegal immigrants and get them outta here.

 

Typical politics from Obama though.  When he has a Majority Congress and could just pass whatever comprehensive immigration reform he wanted, he doesn't do anything.  As soon as he loses the majority and his numbers dip in the polls with Latinos, he sues Arizona and makes speeches about passing immigration reform blaming Republicans for the delay. 

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I had a question about the taxes. I understand that illegals that were being paid under the table are not paying taxes but what happens to the money for those that were working under stolen/fake SSN? Isn't the employer required to withhold taxes? It's not like you are going to file a return under a stolen SNN.

 

Can anybody shed some light on that?

In most cases the people using fake/stolen SSNs are claiming married and a whole boatload of dependents, so there's little if anything withheld. The people then don't bother to file, because they aren't going to get anything back. The IRS and state/local taxing authorities can tell the difference and don't expect the person that actually has that SSN to pay taxes on those earnings. However, they cannot legally tell the person that actually has that SSN what's up. As far as I know they do however provide the information to law enforcement.

 

As for FICA, the employer is paying their portion and withholding the employee's portion, but of course the employee in this case will not get to take advantage of their contributions. 

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^ wait, are you complaining that Obama is NOT brutishly using his majority to pass legislation? :-o

 

No, I'm complaining he's turned into a political issue.  If republicans are in the way, then why didn't you do something when they weren't in the way?

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SHS I think the timing has more to do with the Arizonia law raising the profile of the issue again, immigration reform was always middle of the pack on this adminstration's to do list.

 

The D's are split on this issue too. It wasn't going to be a homerun even when they had control.

 

What isn't a political issue today? I don't even generally like to read this thread because ever since about 2004 I just have been tired of everything being seen through political stratergy lens...

 

 

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