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Thread: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Question Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    I know, I know, I'm a silly little prosimian for thinking that anyone's going to give a hoot about debt, but who knows? Maybe in the new two-party Washington, people might actually pay attention to our outrageous deficit?

    Good editorial
    today in a local paper:

    Walker is the nation's comptroller general - basically America's top accountant. And he speaks with all the fervor of an evangelist on his favorite topic: the coming train wreck that is federal finances.

    If our government simply keeps conducting business as usual, he argues, our national obligations will grow far larger than the output of the country, creating a gigantic fiscal hole that could cripple the economy.

    "In my view, the greatest threat to America's future isn't hiding in a cave in Pakistan or Afghanistan; it's right here at home," he told an audience in Minneapolis last month.

    [snip]

    Overall, the total U.S. fiscal burden - that's all of the federal government's liabilities - soared from about $20 trillion in 2000 to about $50 trillion today, according to the GAO. That's about $440,000 for each American household.

    What do the Orgahs think? Is there even a vague chance that the new Washington might reign in spending? Or will the big-government wing of the G.O.P. embrace the big-government wing of the Democrats and make sweet love all night long?
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Oh, not the hockey stick again! What people don't realize is that there is a natural surplus/deficit cycle.

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    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Well, the reason I'm a Republican in the first place is because I'm fiscally conservative, so I've been incredibly underwhelmed these past 6 years. There are some good defecit hawks among the Democrats, but none are being pointed to for leadership roles.

    As I understand it, the House leadership is going to be Rangle, Waxman, Dingle and Conyers (and of course Pelosi, and whomever wins the House majority election).

    Here's an article from the Washington Post on this:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    House Democrats Propose More Spending for Military and Education
    GOP Says Plan Would Imperil Efforts to Balance Budget

    By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Jonathan Weisman
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Wednesday, November 1, 2006; Page A07

    As part of their midterm election push, House Democrats are promoting a wide-ranging legislative agenda that would add tens of billions of dollars a year to the federal budget for the military, homeland security and education yet still impose a new budget restraint that would make it harder to widen the annual deficit.

    Republicans and budget experts doubt that Democrats could do both simultaneously. When price tags are attached to their six-pronged agenda -- named Six for '06 -- critics say the Democrats will be forced to choose between keeping their pledge of fiscal rectitude and their promises of federal largess.


    In short, the promised 'pay as you go' financial conservatism you and I are looking for???
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    And when exactly are we supposed to be in the surplus part of that cycle again? 'Cause it's been a while ...
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Washington Post
    House Democrats Propose More Spending for Military and Education
    GOP Says Plan Would Imperil Efforts to Balance Budget
    The first line is depressing. The second line is hilarious. If Don C is lost in a German art film, this headline makes me feel like I'm wandering through a piece of Dada experimental theater ....
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    I thought that in both relative and absolute terms the current deficit and indeed national debt are breaking records.

    On the news it was saying that when there is a bipartisan set-up, spending usually decreases (probably just as it ends being a logjam).

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    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    The Six in 06 and what they'll do to the defecit: Here's what the Democrats say they'll do

    To be fair, if the Democrats would repeal the 'no-negotiation' clause the Republicans put into Medicare Part D, they could reduce the burden on seniors for prescriptions AND reduce the congressional expenditure. I doubt they will have much success though.

    Raising the federal mininum wage won't cost Congress anything directly, but it will slow the economy and reduce revenues available to tax.

    Ending exploratory money for oil companies will definitely reduce the money Congress pays out each year, but it's going to raise the price of gas.

    All the rest are giveaways: more money in Pell grants, stem cell research money, no privitization of Social Security (translation, Congress is going to fund everybody's retirement directly, without trying to employ investment strategies).
    "A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."
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    Yesdachi swallowed by Jaguar! Member yesdachi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Read my lips, lots more taxes!

    Our “new” government is going to have to come thru on some of them promises they made to get elected and that is going to mean more spending. Maybe in a few years we will start to curb spending, after the “new” government solves the Iraq issue the next big issue for most people is $$$, it will become an issue but not until tomorrow.
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    I don't see why Pell grants are any different from tax cuts. I have one, and you can bet I'm spending more money than I would if I didn't. Surely they help the economy.

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    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    The scary thing about 'more money for education'? There's relatively little correlation between the amount of money spent per student and how well students do in school. If more money actually worked, I would actually support it. But Western states (Utah, Colorado, New Mexico) spend less per student than Southern states (North Carolina, Alabama) but they do markedly better. States in the Northeast have not kept up in growing the per-student spending, falling to the upper third from the top, but their test scores remain top of the list.

    The problem with education in America is the NEA. Plain and simple. They don't want to require teachers to do their jobs, and incompetent teachers get rewarded along with the good ones (and there's plenty of those). Add to that so much class time is taken up with enacting social policy these days, it's very hard for teachers to actually teach.

    Quit with the "social experiments" like the schools out in California making kids pretend to be Muslims for a month, and teach the 3Rs.

    I understand what Dems say about standardized tests, that in the end, kids learn how to take a standardized test, not a real education. But by any yardstick, we are failing our children miserably, and if vouchers aren't the answer, fine, propose one. But "let's just give the schools more money and hope the problem goes away" is a recipe for more failure. If schools really need more money, then lay it out and explain how it will improve student performance. But don't just handwave with 'more money for education'.
    "A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by yesdachi
    Read my lips, lots more taxes!

    Our “new” government is going to have to come thru on some of them promises they made to get elected and that is going to mean more spending.
    Oh give it a rest. If we froze all spending tomorrow, a tax hike would still probably be necessary. It took the Republicans exactly six years to take our unfunded liabilities (translation: money we owe that we don't have) from $20 billion to $50 billion. I am completely unimpressed with any G.O.P. whining about fiscal responsibility at this late date.

    With a divided government, at least we have a chance to rein in the beast. Let a lemur hope a little, okay?
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone
    The scary thing about 'more money for education'? There's relatively little correlation between the amount of money spent per student and how well students do in school. If more money actually worked, I would actually support it. But Western states (Utah, Colorado, New Mexico) spend less per student than Southern states (North Carolina, Alabama) but they do markedly better. States in the Northeast have not kept up in growing the per-student spending, falling to the upper third from the top, but their test scores remain top of the list.

    The problem with education in America is the NEA. Plain and simple. They don't want to require teachers to do their jobs, and incompetent teachers get rewarded along with the good ones (and there's plenty of those). Add to that so much class time is taken up with enacting social policy these days, it's very hard for teachers to actually teach.

    Quit with the "social experiments" like the schools out in California making kids pretend to be Muslims for a month, and teach the 3Rs.

    I understand what Dems say about standardized tests, that in the end, kids learn how to take a standardized test, not a real education. But by any yardstick, we are failing our children miserably, and if vouchers aren't the answer, fine, propose one. But "let's just give the schools more money and hope the problem goes away" is a recipe for more failure. If schools really need more money, then lay it out and explain how it will improve student performance. But don't just handwave with 'more money for education'.
    Yeah, but all that shows is that they are either spending money on the wrong things or that standardized tests are a lousy measure. Probably both.

    I would imagine that raising teacher salaries would eventually be effective in raising quality of education.

    Also, according to Crazed Rabbit, private schools are the best, and what are private schools if not public schools with more money?
    Last edited by Sasaki Kojiro; 11-08-2006 at 23:15.

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    Yesdachi swallowed by Jaguar! Member yesdachi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur
    Oh give it a rest. If we froze all spending tomorrow, a tax hike would still probably be necessary. It took the Republicans exactly six years to take our unfunded liabilities (translation: money we owe that we don't have) from $20 billion to $50 billion. I am completely unimpressed with any G.O.P. whining about fiscal responsibility at this late date.

    With a divided government, at least we have a chance to rein in the beast. Let a lemur hope a little, okay?
    i did say...
    Maybe in a few years we will start to curb spending
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    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro
    I don't see why Pell grants are any different from tax cuts. I have one, and you can bet I'm spending more money than I would if I didn't. Surely they help the economy.
    As a student, you're not creating wealth, you're absorbing it or transferring it. Tax cuts help grow the economy because people that create wealth spend it, thus multiplying it's affects. What's more, tax cuts have the additional benefit in that people are more willing to generate wealth for themselves and for the government (in the form of taxes) when they know that if they do, they won't be hit by a punitive tax cut in the process. You're not actually generating wealth, just taking what the government gives you, so the net increase in your contribution would be zero.

    I'm not trying to single out college students on Pell grants, because sure, they serve a role. But they will increase Congressional spending, with no correlating increase in revenues, because you don't contribute to the economy.
    "A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."
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    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Relax, Lemur. All Yesdachi was trying to say was that the first step in a political takeover is the Democrats have to blow a wad rewarding everybody that got them there. Maybe a year or two down the road they'll get fiscally conservative.

    It doesn't matter, really. Now that Democrats are in charge of Congress again, the media will stop talking about the defecit every day and you'll forget about it. Now it's going to be an endless litany of all the people getting shafted because Congress doesn't spend enough.
    "A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."
    Don Vito Corleone: The Godfather, Part 1.

    "Then wait for them and swear to God in heaven that if they spew that bull to you or your family again you will cave there heads in with a sledgehammer"
    Strike for the South

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    Yesdachi swallowed by Jaguar! Member yesdachi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro
    I would imagine that raising teacher salaries would eventually be effective in raising quality of education.
    As soon as teachers go on strike to better educate the students rather than to get more/better pay, benefits, retirement, etc. I will agree to increase their pay. Teachers (and administrators) have been given practically unlimited power to teach our kids and as a whole they have performed marginally at best, yet teachers are compensated far better than marginally.
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    Relax, Lemur. All Yesdachi was trying to say was that the first step in a political takeover is the Democrats have to blow a wad rewarding everybody that got them there. Maybe a year or two down the road they'll get fiscally conservative.
    Last edited by yesdachi; 11-08-2006 at 23:18.
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    Yesdachi swallowed by Jaguar! Member yesdachi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    oops
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Yesdachi, I'm sorry I misunderstood your post. Apologies. And Doc C, thank you for pointing out my error and showing me the way back to civility.

    I get too worked up on this issue.
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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone

    Raising the federal mininum wage won't cost Congress anything directly, but it will slow the economy and reduce revenues available to tax.
    It might reduce the total amount employed at the bottom end of the sector... but a lot of those jobs are heading overseas and/or by illegal immigrants who won't be effected by this law. Considering that unemployment rates are below 5%, this probably won't have any effect, as competition will favour employees and push up wages far faster then this effect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone
    Ending exploratory money for oil companies will definitely reduce the money Congress pays out each year, but it's going to raise the price of gas.
    Record prices for oil will push exploration along at a high clip. Only time that you need to push exploration is when the current mines/oil fields cost of production is too close to the spot price... that is when they cut exploration staff to the bone... just like when I graduated as a geophysicist many moons ago.
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    American since 2012 Senior Member AntiochusIII's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by yesdachi
    As soon as teachers go on strike to better educate the students rather than to get more/better pay, benefits, retirement, etc. I will agree to increase their pay. Teachers (and administrators) have been given practically unlimited power to teach our kids and as a whole they have performed marginally at best, yet teachers are compensated far better than marginally.
    I'd like you to blame administrators first and teachers second, if you don't mind.

    It's all about the system -- brilliant, great teachers often complain about the system on a regular basis, circumvent its many regulations when they could, and oftentimes produce students who are markedly more interested in their own education than most.

    Moreoever, incompetent teachers can be fired at a trigger if the system is better. This, though, can also be blamed on the teacher's union; I heard some horror stories coming from the way of New York about useless, redundant personnel...

    In fact, scratch the teachers to the third. Parents are up there competing for first spot with incompetent administration. You people (in general terms, of course, not you, yesdachi) are demanding stupid things and the ballot-interested politicians follow. Oh noes! The internet is eeevvviiil! Ban the useful sites from school computers! (Obscure porn passes through the filter mostly). Oh noes! The movie is offensive to my little Timmy! Everything above a G-rating by a censorship organization comes directly from hell; let's watch Clifford! Forget more controversial documentaries that actually have something to say! (Of course, teachers often take the risk and use their own initiative to show something useful...) Oh noes! The school is biased! Bring back Jesus and a crappy non-scientific theory! Oh noes! Teachers are giving my little Jenny too much homework! I'm gonna sue the school now!


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    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro
    Also, according to Crazed Rabbit, private schools are the best, and what are private schools if not public schools with more money?
    Never gone to a private school have you?

    I went to private (parochial) schools from K-12. Everything was underfunded, the facilities were old, IT was almost non-existant and the teachers were paid far less than equivalent public school teachers. Yet, I have no doubt at all that I recieved a better education than I would've in a public school.

    The trouble with public schools is the complete lack of accountability. My parents obviously thought private schools could do a better job and decided not to send me to public schools- but guess what? We still have to pay for a public education plus the additional burden of private tuition. Even if I don't want to go to the school, they still get my money.
    Last edited by Xiahou; 11-09-2006 at 07:52.
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiahou
    Never gone to a private school have you?
    Schools are different in different places apparently. Private highschools in cinci have heated floors for their locker room, and the public schools don't but offer just as good education. Depends on the school.
    Last edited by Sasaki Kojiro; 11-09-2006 at 07:49.

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    Oni Member Samurai Waki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    ...well darnit, guess I'm gonna have to dish out 0% taxes on my paychecks when the Democrats come to power, and pay absolutely nothing for college cause I've already paid for it... oh, and I'm gonna be making around 10,000 less per year on my account...I hate my life.

    Sorry guys, I'm not feeling to sorry for myself.

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    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro
    Schools are different in different places apparently. Private highschools in cinci have heated floors for their locker room, and the public schools don't but offer just as good education. Depends on the school.
    You've just made my argument. It depends on the school.

    So what happens if you're stuck in an area that has lousy public schools and you can't afford a private education? You are S-O-L. There's absolutely nothing you can do about it. What if the school district a couple miles over is much better- can you go there? Heck no, they make that illegal. The funds should follow the student wherever they choose to go for education. If a school can't make the "grade" then they should go under.
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Hmm I guess it would kinda suck if you were out in the country with severe lack of choice. But hey, just move to the city, there's free market for yah

    I'm not a huge fan of the "schools as competing businesses" thing. Maybe I went through the college selection process too recently. Also, you know, if you introduce competition, you'll just get higher prices at private schools. Look at college tuition these days.
    Last edited by Sasaki Kojiro; 11-09-2006 at 08:34.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Hmm I dont think I understand.

    If Clinton was running a surplus, how were we 20 trillion in the hole in 2000? Was he just not using that money to pay it back, or hadnt had enough time to pay it all off?

    Is China in massive debt? What about our European equivilents? How long can a country operate with trillions of dollars in debt? Also who do we owe this money too!?

    LoL ima little worked up. I can relate to the Lemur.
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    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Also who do we owe this money too!?
    Isn't it China that's been buying up all your debts???
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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    China has reserves of 1 trillion dollars, and has a massive trade surplus. The EU isn't a state in any sense of the word (except in that Somalia is a unified state). Different countries have widely differing debt levels.

    Clinton did benefit from an upsurge in the economy. Bush has managed to start two wars which aren't cheap, start up several new plans for defence against a Soviet Russia which again isn't cheap, and finally decided that the Rich and companies pay too much tax.

    the economy was due to contract, but Bush has managed to do little to help the country weather this, whist at the same time instigating measures to ignore and exacerbate the problem.

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    Yesdachi swallowed by Jaguar! Member yesdachi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiochusIII
    I'd like you to blame administrators first and teachers second, if you don't mind.

    It's all about the system -- brilliant, great teachers often complain about the system on a regular basis, circumvent its many regulations when they could, and oftentimes produce students who are markedly more interested in their own education than most.

    Moreoever, incompetent teachers can be fired at a trigger if the system is better. This, though, can also be blamed on the teacher's union; I heard some horror stories coming from the way of New York about useless, redundant personnel...

    In fact, scratch the teachers to the third. Parents are up there competing for first spot with incompetent administration.
    I’ll put administrators first if you like, they are usually previous, current or future teachers anyway, but not parents and I’ll tell you why. Parents have recognized that they are not qualified to be “teachers” and have decided to pay to have someone qualified teach their children. That doesn’t absolve them of any responsibility (clearly parents that are involved in their children’s education have better performing children) but it doesn’t allow them to hold the authority over the children that the school does, the school/teacher sets the lesson plan and chooses the books decides what to focus on and what homework to give, the parent has very little to do with this but if a teacher or administer doesn’t like what they have to teach with they could strike just like they do when they want a better contract. Additionally, once a child is school age they spend more time at school than they do around their parents, the school and what goes on there is the #1 biggest influence on our children for 19+ years (some exceptions apply).

    I think our school system is broken and some of the examples in NYC are extreme but are representative of the system. I don’t know how to fix it other than to stop using it until it goes away. It makes me sick to think I have a little one just starting out in the system, I soooo hope we get into the charter school we are on the list for, 40 openings and 80 applicants [fingers crossed].



    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur
    Yesdachi, I'm sorry I misunderstood your post. Apologies. And Doc C, thank you for pointing out my error and showing me the way back to civility.

    I get too worked up on this issue.
    No worries, it’s an issue worth getting worked up about.
    Peace in Europe will never stay, because I play Medieval II Total War every day. ~YesDachi

  30. #30
    Yesdachi swallowed by Jaguar! Member yesdachi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wishful Thinking 101: Can We Talk About the Deficit Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prince of the Poodles
    Also who do we owe this money too!?
    Back in the day Adrian gave a nice breakdown of who held the US’s $ markers, lots of Asian (China primarily) IIRC. Investing in a county shows several things thou and not just a desire to conquer them (insert evil laugh). It shows a confidence that they think the country is a good investment regardless of the current situation. Smart people invested in Exxon after the Valdese (SP) crash because they knew the company was strong and would bounce back (stock dropped to around $4/share and rebounded to $70/share in just a few years, nice ROI for investors who didn’t follow the popularity of the company).
    Peace in Europe will never stay, because I play Medieval II Total War every day. ~YesDachi

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