Have (Anything But) A Positive Attitude!

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Man at Occupy Wall Street

Frowning: The New Smiling?

To proclaim, “Have a positive attitude,” is to tell people to embrace delusions.  I am not advocating for pessimism, instead I am advocating for pragmatism.  It should never matter whether the cup is half empty or half full.  The real question should be, “Waiter, where is the rest of my drink?”

Everyone has problems.  However, there is a nationwide dilemma concerning how people answer their predicaments.  America’s collective  ideology has been stagnated by “positive thinking” [article].  Many believe that if we think our problems are easy to overcome then the problem will be easier to vanquish.  Our capabilities will rise to meet our phantom projections and whatever we imagine will be realized.

This belief seems childish to me; “positive thinking” seems to be something lifted straight out of a kids movie.  When our PG protagonist believe he can emerge victorious, he shall indeed emerge victorious.  When you and I truly believe something we are in fact not granted superpower.  Otherwise, I swear I would be a millionaire by now. (I certainly believe I can be one, so why is it not so?)

This is the difference between ‘The Little Engine That Could’ and Icarus.

We can measure the negative results of positive thinking.  You have to look no further than our latest recession.  Lehman Brothers, Countrywide, and AIG all were swallowed by the willful ignorance of positive thinking.  They believed only good things would happen and bad trends would be absent due to positive thinking..  According to journalist and author Barbara Ehrenreich, in her speech Smile or Die, people in these firms who raised issue with the overly idealized projections were censured and fired.  Those who said the real estate bubble could not indefinitely rise up were told to shut up.

In a world of positive thinking, nobody wants to listen to pragmatic realism.  It is not as profitable as the illusions of positive thinking.  The recession happened because recklessness prevailed over reality until a tidal wave of truth swamped the economy.

Even President George Bush Jr. fell victim to positive thinking.  Members of his staff never voiced their doubts about the Iraq invasion because the president hated to be around “pessimists.”  Those that did, such as one general who insisted that we needed to double the troops in Iraq successfully stabilize the country, was removed from duty.  Today, Iraq has largely fallen under Iranian influence just as the final Americans troops are leaving, [article].  I believe being  realism and pessimism are separate and it is wrong to label anyone as a pessimist simply because they believe the majority opinion is wrong.

Positive thinking has allowed whole communities of Americans to choose walk the easiest path, where life is idealized and inherently flawed, as opposed to best way, where doubts are accounted for.  Journalist Adam Davidson just wrote an excellent article concerning how many of the correct economic predictions over the last decade came from fringe economists.  I believe this miscarriage of math is based the pitfalls of positive thinking and greed.

Mainstream economists, indeed thinkers of every science, favor telling people what they want to hear rather than what the reality may actually be.  This is how they make money.  If they disagree with clients their positive-thinking clients go elsewhere to find a more agreeable, but not necessarily more corrected, opinion.

One example of this positive thinking is the infamous Laffer Curve.  The economics model catered to Reaganomics.  It made men rich; therefore, it became mainstream and widely adopted.    Later, its popularity waned upon the public discovering it was overly idealized and actually hurt the economy.  Many economists had spoken out against the Laffer Curve.  They were ignored because their views conflicted with the positive thinking ideology of where the projections of the Laffer Curve would make reality conform to itself.  The long-term economy suffered because these men too were unfairly labeled pessimists and were ignored.

Fringe economists are willing to disagree with what is most profitable when it conflicts to what is actually feasible.  They become fringe economists simply because of this disagreement; fewer people listen to them because they are willing to disagree with overly idealized projections of positive thinking.  The most reliable projections for the market come from the fringe because they are the realists who are willing to put their foot down instead of caving to what is most profitable.  We need to start listening to men who go against the grain to see the world as it actually is.  Positive thinking is blocking us seeing reality.  It should be censured, just it silenced all those who conflicted with it.

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Democrats and Republicans Playing Chicken With the American Economy: How Polarized Bipartisanship In Congress Will Decimate Critical Concerns (Like Issuing Social Security Checks and Staving Off A Double Dip Recession)

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FDR on Social Security

Social Security: The Primary Financial Safety Net For Retirees

American seniors will be the first casualties of the debt limit; followed sequentially by Wall Street, the domestic economy, and finally the international economy.  President Obama and Senator Henry Reid’s ultimatum to the stubborn Republicans is that unless the public debt ceiling is raised the country will be forced to halt transfer of social security checks.  Both sides have agreed to reduce the increasing debt, however the specific amount is debated, fluctuating in the trillions.  The time for procrastination is running out.  If the August 2, 2011 deadline is not met the American dollar will become worthless as credit rating agencies, like Moody’s, will no longer support the Federal Reserve.  Not to fear monger, but this a potentially catastrophic financial disaster that stems from several men being unable to agree on a set of numbers.

What is the Democrats Positions?

The Democrats have united around Obama and the Democrats Congress Leaders.  Their unified polices have forwarded relatively generous offers to the Republicans.  Talks have been breaking down at this point, as they are repeatedly snubbed.  Their offers have been denied, there fair deals do not meet the requisites of the Republicans.  They are collectively determined to stay strong and stay the course; their economics work and will sustain the country and they know that their generous deals that they have submitted are feasible.  They just have to get the Republicans to agree.

What is the Republicans Position?

Despite the necessity for tax hikes Republicans uniformly oppose any new taxes.  This is where coordination break down, various factions of the GOP are each concocting their increasing implausible schemes to propose on the Senate floor.  They cannot create a coalition policy that might be taken seriously.

The crisis has become a ammo for the campaigns of the Republican candidates.  Romney pleads for cutting and capping of federal spending. Bachmann has accused Obama of holding the government hostage to continue the government’s spending spree.  Just like the senators, there specifics disagree while their cause does not.

This will result in their demands being painfully denied.

What is the Probable Resolution?

The Republicans  will cave at the last second, giving away a deal that is much less favorable towards them than what they originally rejected.  Their “non new revenue” rhetoric has shown negatively in the public’s eye.  Polls heavily favor the Democrats, because they have appear reasonable and open to debate while the republicans have been demanding ridiculous cuts that will do more harm than good.  Without public backing or good economics their situation is unsustainable and they will have to cave.

In the, unthinkable, event that Republican leaders carry out this game of chicken till it finality,  the result will be their own self-destruction.  There will be a the initiation of the second dip in a double dip recession on August 2, 2011.  The investors on Wall Street will panic as their traditional stable government mishandled the largest debt in the world and endangers national security.  Social Security checks will stop coming, granny will start starving.  Millions of Section 8 tenants will be tossed out in the streets until the government checks come.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with their millions of mortgages, shut down.   Protests will be held, riots will form.  We will all remember the event with a few days of anarchy until the Republican leadership can recover what little sense they have left.  Unless, of course, their million dollar mansions are burned down with them in it.

What is Public Debt and How Has it Accumulated?

Whenever a spending deficit in the government occurs, such as when finances for federal programs exceeds tax revenue, Congress covers the excess with bonds; these bonds are the source of public debt.  It is not in the best interests of governments to issue bonds unless pressed because every bond, even with inflation, pays off more money than it takes to buy one.  The government loses money on every bond.

Why Would the Government Have Any Public Debt?

Historically, only when clear and present threats to national security emerge are bonds issued.  These finance the war effort and allow the nation to persist.  This is fine and encouraged.  Issues arise first when public debt is unnecessarily accumulated and the danger of the national debt ceiling.  The debt ceiling is the amount set by Congress that can be withdrawn; defaulting or going over the national debt is unthinkable.  The consequences would freeze international investing, because nobody will be able to rely on the Federal Reserve.

Why is the Debt Hitting the Debt Ceiling?

Unnecessarily accumulation by fiscally inept leaders.  Our last president, George Bush exuberantly quarterbacked  two of the most long and expensive wars of our time while engaging in risky self promoting publicity stunts, such as the Bush Tax Cuts.  These terrible money hoarding policies dealt stole trillions of dollars from the majority of the American tax payers, funneling it to the richest Americans.  Collectively, these policies led us down the wrong path, creation short-term economic gains at great expense for those who suffer in the 2008 recession.  Financially, this is major defeat, comparable to Battle of Waterloo or the baseball curse that halts the Cubs from ever winning a World Series.  Politically, it bought him his second term.

Hidden Motives of US Invasion of Afghanistan

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There are two possible ulterior motives that the United States had for invading Afghanistan; valuable metals and geopolitics.  These hidden interests were critical in Bush choosing to invade Afghanistan, rather than other nations housing Al Qaeda and continues to play a critical role in the future development America’s foreign policy in Asia; whether they are facing the nuclear warheads of Iran or the aggressive Chinese military.

What Valuable Metals are in Afghanistan?

While investigating old Soviet mineral studies of the country American geologists discovered that there were a trillion dollars worth of metal in Afghanistan.  This mineral deposit is perhaps the largest in the world, containing valuable metals like gold and silver, along with rare metals such as platinum and rhodium.  Should Afghanistan stabilize these minerals will be mined, I personally suspect the Afghani people will be exporting these minerals to their American liberators.  This will be lucrative for both parties.

If this is in fact an ulterior motive American troops invaded Afghanistan so corporations and lawmakers could turn a profit and help the international economy.  These influential executives did know about the minerals before hand, they did posses the Soviet geological surveys that dated much earlier.  There greed helped liberate a suppressed nation, but all killed several thousand American soldiers.

What is Geopolitics?

Geopolitics is the foreign policy based on a study, evaluation, and utilization of strategic locations around the world, both for economic and security reasons.  This is Afghanistan:

Afghanistan and Surrounding Nations

Why is Geopolitics Important to American Foreign Policy?

America is a global superpower; it maintains its military dominance by brining countries all around the world under its influence to combat enemies.  Israel is an American foothold in the Western Middle East, South Korea has 25,000 armed American troops, and there are 116,400 American soldiers scattered throughout Europe.  Without friendly nations American troops cannot safely deploy, either they would have to risk parachuting in or illegally stationing troops in disgruntled neutral counties.  Both of these options are unfavorable.  Afghanistan is in a perfect place for future American foreign geopolitical policy.

Afghanistan borders two possibly threatening nations: Iran and China.

Why is Iran Dangerous?

Iran actively pursues an anti-American agenda, building nuclear weapons while denouncing American policy.  There may come a day when American troops need to be deployed quickly into Iran, to seize and dismantle weapons of mass destruction or damage the nation to the point that Iran collapses.  National security is perhaps the most important concern of any nation; if America did not protect itself it would quickly be seized or invaded by less virtuous nations.

To defend itself American needs a friendly outpost near Iran; Afghanistan is the ideal country.  They share a long mountainous border, which is virtually impossible for defending Iranian troops to fully monitor.  Troops deployed into Iran may be able to avoid fighting Iran head on, seizing victory and the weapons of mass destruction without significant, if any casualties.

Why is China Dangerous?

China is the second most powerful superpower in the world and is set to surpass the gross domestic product of American by 2020, at that time it will become the dominant superpower of the world.  It has the world’s largest populationlargest energy usage, and the largest military in the world.  It is a potentially lethal rival to America; should the two nation war it is unknown who would come out on top, if anyone.

In addition to this China has had an aggressive foreign policy, occupying defenseless nations and backing dictators.  Tibet was invaded by Chinese troops in 1950, has killed tens of thousands of the natives in the process of annexing the country.  North Korea is supported by China; with this relationship it is almost certain North Korea totalitarian communist regime would have crumbled.  Sudan committed large-scale genocide in Darfur under Chinese protection, who received large amounts of gold and oil while arming the Sudanese with modern weapons.  China is dangerous, perhaps the single most threatening country in the world.

Should China threaten America troops need to be able to deploy to the region to defend America; it would be preferable to fight World War Three in the Chinese Heartland instead of the American coastline.  Already American has geopolitical outposts in Taiwan and South Korea, Afghanistan gives them a third root of attack should it be necessary. Ideally troops will never have to be mobilized; the threat of violence should stave off the Chinese.  Hopefully.

Was The American Invasion of Afghanistan Unjustly Wrong?

These ulterior motives are not the core reason America went to war in Afghanistan.

America had clear, morally correct justification for liberating Afghanistan; it was a gallant counterstrike against the Al Qaeda to extract vengeance for the tragedy of September 11, 2001.  This conflict freed a suppressed people from an extreme Islam government and crippled the largest terrorism organization in the world.

Secondary ulterior motives were not what caused the invasion, but they played a crucial role in where the invasion took place.

President Bush choose to invade Afghanistan, rather than other nations that housed Al Qaeda such as SomaliaEritrea, and Yemen .  Afghanistan was important in the present; it broke up the high command of Al Qaeda and decimated the terrorist organization.  In the future it may prove to be economically crucial and key to America’s security.  It may not should history evolve in unexpected ways.

The true value of the Afghanistan and the noble troops who died liberating it, still has yet to be seen as the world progresses into the early twenty-first century.

 

The US Deficit: Expensive (In Painful Ways) Spending

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Obama is pushing legislation through that will repeal some excessive Bush tax cuts.  These taxes only applied to the richest Americans and saved the citizens 70 billion a year.  It turns out that this was not such a good idea for the American economy, the deficit widened and dollar weakened.  That costs you more taxes, yip-ee.

No. I'd say go back to Texas, but I'd feel bad for the Texans.

They tax cuts will give the American government those extra 70 billion dollars to work with.  This is good for almost everyone, and those that are hurt by this tax repeal have enough money to cope with the situation.  They will have to cut back on the money bathes.

Except her, she can have all the tax cuts she wants.

However, critics of this policy highlights that all politicians are still increasing the deficit with other tax cuts.  These cuts remain unopposed.  The politicians logic is that if these tax cuts were repealed it would knock the American, and the world, economy back into a recession.  Nobody wants that, excpet perhaps my Aunt Sally.  Bitch owns Walmart (well some stock in it).

No. You may not help me or anyone else. I'm going to therapy, be back in twenty years.

Therefore, they are extending them for the next couple of years.  The trade off is that the deficit increased and the American government loses 3 trillion dollars every year.  This is unacceptable.

The American government is an irresponsible teenager who just received his first credit card.  Now they have a new car, some very slick technology, and everything they could ever want.  That is when the bill turns up, for 13.4 trillion dollars. But, just like a teenager, the American government pays the bare minimum interest and returns to having fun.  Short term, this is a perfect cheap solution.  Long term, this becomes costly mistake.

The American deficit is money that we borrowed from other countries and private entities, that is being slowly paid back over several years in bonds.  Bonds should only be used in times of extreme need, in times of war or crises.  Using them to fund a government at any other point is simply irresponsible.  It is irresponsible because there is interest on the bonds, just like the credit cards.  The government loses money on every bond they sell.  Big no-no.

SANTA JACKED MY ATV!!! (it's okay, I got his sled)

The solution to this dilemma, stop increasing the deficit.  Across the board there must be cuts, with exceptional exceptions, to make America be able to fund the American budget.  The military spending should be cut back, it is unnecessary to maintain such a large army for a country in peace time.

The exceptions should be spending that will yield beneficial taxes in the long term.  Spend money to make money.  An expansion of NASA and the space program will increase science growth in every field, so there will be more things to tax long term.  Environmental protection programs should also be expanded; they always bring additional employment opportunities.  Parks need rangers, animals need vets, and endangered forests need scientists.  This program will increase the employment rates in America, therefore it will also be profitable or at least this program will pay for itself.  Americans need to wake up and take care of the national deficit, before it takes care of them.

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