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Michael Lewis on Greece


OracleofCarolina
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The main problem here is not taxes going down, its indiscriminate spending and corruption going up!!  A bailout will not prevent this behavior again in the future. Human beings seem to respond much better to pain and blood in the streets. The lessons learned in the Great Depression were not soon forgotten, until 2004-2007 that is.

 

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Very interesting read. This is probably our future.

 

http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2010/10/greeks-bearing-bonds-201010?currentPage=all

 

The future of Starve the Beast, this is what happens when spending goes up and taxes go down indefinitely.

 

haha I sure hope not. This situation seems almost entirely predicated on mass mutual deception, uniform corruption across pretty much every level of culture, and a general acceptance of these things by the Greek public / government. While the US has some significant problems to deal with, I don't think that these are among them (excepting local Chicago politics!). Lewis' article talks about 100% of the Greek senate fudging their tax numbers, wide-scale tax evasion as the norm, and only about 20% of actual government spending ever having made it on to the books. It is really a very sad commentary on the demise of a civilization that is responsible for so much of the way that the rest of the world lives today.

 

 

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The main problem here is not taxes going down, its indiscriminate spending and corruption going up!!  A bailout will not prevent this behavior again in the future. Human beings seem to respond much better to pain and blood in the streets. The lessons learned in the Great Depression were not soon forgotten, until 2004-2007 that is.

 

Humm, Greece has been something of a serial defaulter.  Perhaps the Greeks have learned a different lesson.  That is, fleece the bond market / government for all it's worth.  >:(

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i can't see this ever happening to the US. The cultures are starkly different. Most people on the US like the idea of saving and reducing the deficit. The US culture encourages hard work, not early retirement. That's considered lazy and non american. You'll still see it quite frequently that people are working past 100. Look at Kahn at 103!

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This may be true for private industry but not for the public employee unions. They seem intent on retiring as early as possible while padding their pension payments with excessive overtime in the last few years of their work life. The mantra is fleece the taxpayers until someone finally restructures the system.

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i can't see this ever happening to the US. The cultures are starkly different. Most people on the US like the idea of saving and reducing the deficit. The US culture encourages hard work, not early retirement. That's considered lazy and non american. You'll still see it quite frequently that people are working past 100. Look at Kahn at 103!

 

I thought I saw a recent article that put his age at 104?

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i can't see this ever happening to the US. The cultures are starkly different. Most people on the US like the idea of saving and reducing the deficit. The US culture encourages hard work, not early retirement. That's considered lazy and non american. You'll still see it quite frequently that people are working past 100. Look at Kahn at 103!

 

I see it happening now. The US just looks different, feels different, and smells different (it also has more honest accounting). In my opinion though its the same s[it, dispute the different smell.

 

Basically its not paying for the Government and services you have (or want), and as the poster a few posts above said - screwing the tax payers (yourself). You want lower taxes, fine do it by demanding lower services, but no one does that. Everyone feels they are overtaxed but under-served. The liberals are well liberals (at least they want to pay for things), and the Conservative party platform is starve the beast (basically pushing us into a Greece like situation where we have to cut).

 

People complain about the deficits but then want to extend 10 year old tax cuts for those who need it the least. One cant be a true fiscal hawk, yet want there tax cuts, no can they. It seems that ideology trumps sanity.

 

 

This is one of my favorites. From Alexander Tyler. No, he wasn't writing  about the United States. This quote is well over one hundred years old.  Tyler was writing about the fall of the Athenian Republic.

 

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only  exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the  public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the  candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the  result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed  by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has  been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following  sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great  courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance  to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy,  from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage."

 

 

I would say we are towards the end of that list of things. Greece to her credit has probably made it round trip  2-3 times and is working its way around 3rd base again.

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i can't see this ever happening to the US. The cultures are starkly different. Most people on the US like the idea of saving and reducing the deficit. The US culture encourages hard work, not early retirement. That's considered lazy and non american. You'll still see it quite frequently that people are working past 100. Look at Kahn at 103!

 

I thought I saw a recent article that put his age at 104?

 

ahhh, yes, you are right! :)

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i can't see this ever happening to the US. The cultures are starkly different. Most people on the US like the idea of saving and reducing the deficit. The US culture encourages hard work, not early retirement. That's considered lazy and non american. You'll still see it quite frequently that people are working past 100. Look at Kahn at 103!

 

I see it happening now. The US just looks different, feels different, and smells different (it also has more honest accounting). In my opinion though its the same s[it, dispute the different smell.

 

Basically its not paying for the Government and services you have (or want), and as the poster a few posts above said - screwing the tax payers (yourself). You want lower taxes, fine do it by demanding lower services, but no one does that. Everyone feels they are overtaxed but under-served. The liberals are well liberals (at least they want to pay for things), and the Conservative party platform is starve the beast (basically pushing us into a Greece like situation where we have to cut).

 

People complain about the deficits but then want to extend 10 year old tax cuts for those who need it the least. One cant be a true fiscal hawk, yet want there tax cuts, no can they. It seems that ideology trumps sanity.

 

 

This is one of my favorites. From Alexander Tyler. No, he wasn't writing  about the United States. This quote is well over one hundred years old.  Tyler was writing about the fall of the Athenian Republic.

 

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only  exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the  public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the  candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the  result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed  by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has  been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following  sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great  courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance  to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy,  from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage."

 

 

I would say we are towards the end of that list of things. Greece to her credit has probably made it round trip  2-3 times and is working its way around 3rd base again.

 

 

myth, you might be right, but I'll have to respectfully disagree. America is still the land of opportunity. We have a tremendous entrepreneurial culture. Things are a little out of wack currently, but we've gone through a lot worse. According to the article, greece's culture has been this way for decades. The American Spirit has transformed this country from a country weaker than Greece to the world's only current Superpower. I don't think that has left us. I think the system is a bit gooed up, but I still think 10,15,20+ years from now we will have a higher standard of living than we currently have. I think we'll still be the most powerful country.

 

 

Could this be the end of America and could we become the next Greece? We'll, anything is possible. However, if I look back at history, would I change places with those before me? No, I wouldn't.

 

In the 30s we had a depression, in the 40s we had WW2, from the 50s-80s we had the cold war (among quite a few other problems). Before all of this we had the American Revolution and the Civil War. I could be wrong, but I think we can survive some debt and tax problems. The world will continue to become a better and better place...unless we have nuclear attack and no one is around anymore. If that's the case, I suppose it doesn't really matter much then!

 

 

 

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I dont think the end is near (I keep food on a just in time bases, dont own a gun, and have no gold) and I would never bet against America - but I am not optimistic.

 

What you said is true but America has been coasting on its past accomplishments for quite sometime. We were and might still be the Greatest nation (in terms of opportunity, and accomplishments), my question is will be still looking out 50 years? I think we will muddle through, but I am not seeing sanity out of Washington nor the electorate.

 

Winston Churchill had it right - “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.”

 

We are working through some options, and will eventually get it right. We will muddle through, but I dont think it will be pretty.

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OMG,

 

This looks like India..

1) Self employed people doesn't pay TAX. (They have 2 books..one to show it to goverment another one to show it to mother in law)

2) The easiest way to cheat on one’s taxes was to insist on being paid in cash, and fail to provide a receipt for services.

3) The easiest way to launder cash was to buy real estate.

4) India has no working national land registry.

5) Except few , every other real estate company insist on being paid in cash (No reciept)

6) Biggest company in India (Reliance Industries) was operating an entire plant with the machines that were actually imported as spare parts,paying lower Customs Duty,and doubling its production)

Checkout this link for further info on reliance http://www.india-seminar.com/2003/521/521%20paranjoy%20guha%20thakurta.htm

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