"Gentlemen, we have run out of money. It is time to start thinking."

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Ocean County 1005238

There is no debate that America needs to get it's financial house in order. The debate starts on what parts of the budget should  we cut and on whom we should raise taxes, if it all. Should we cut Medicare? Medicaid? Education? Social Security? Infrastructure? Defense? Should we raise taxes on the super-wealthy? The middle class? The poor?

"Gentlemen, we have run out of money. It is time to start thinking." is a quote from Sir Ernest Rutherford, winner of the Nobel Prize in Nuclear Physics; nothing could be more true and is the essence of this new book on an America in decline and how to fix it.

Edward Luce. editor of The Financial Times, makes a case for a return to American pragmatism and for strengthening the American middle class in his book, Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent. 

So what's at the heart of this (an America that's falling behind)?

EDWARD LUCE, author: I think that the heart of this is the health, the condition of the middle class, because I think the middle class, the greatness of the American middle class explains the greatest generation of the 20th century, its rise to being the first -- the world's first mass middle class in the mid-20th century was key to America's success.

I also think a strong middle class is key to a democracy, not just to an economy. And that is breaking down and has been breaking down, which gives such cause for concern over a long period of time, if you look at the pay rates, if you look at the security of the middle class, and if you look at their ability to move up to different income levels.

So that core American value of income mobility is now something where we're doing worse than other countries.

 
From Amazon: "Time to Start Thinking is a book destined to spark debate among liberals and conservatives alike. Drawing on his decades of exceptional journalism and his connections within Washington and around the world, Luce advances a carefully constructed and controversial argument, backed up by interviews with many of the key players in politics and business, that America is losing its pragmatism - and that the consequences of this may soon leave the country high and dry.

Luce turns his attention to a number of different key issues that are set to affect America's position in the world order: the changing structure of the US economy, the continued polarization of American politics; the debilitating effect of the "permanent election campaign"; the challenges involved in the overhaul of the country's public education system; and the health-or sickliness-of American innovation in technology and business. His conclusion, "An Exceptional Challenge" looks at America's dwindling options in a world where the pace is increasingly being set elsewhere. While many Americans believe that their country can and should retain its status as a global superpower, Luce sees this as an increasingly unlikely scenario, unless Americans themselves can stand up against the country's increasingly plutocratic character. America has bounced back successfully from the shocks of The Great Depression and the Soviet launch of Sputnik, but Luce wonders if the next crisis in American confidence may knock it off the top-dog position for good."

As distressing as it is important, Time to Start Thinking presents an America in economic, social, and political crisis, in danger of losing its most defining and vital characteristic: its pragmatism.
 

 

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Ambassador
2,372,419
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Too late.  Corruption on Capitol Hill is now institutionalized and irreversible. 

As long as the economy was vibrant and productive for most Americans, it was overlooked.  Now that the government is institutionalizing a government run economy, there's no way out.

We're doomed.

The government had a choice back in 2007 to save the American home owners or the financial system.  They made the choice to save the Wall Street Gangs and the American home owner was sacrificed. 

The American home owner couldn't compete with the Wall Street PACs.

May 04, 2012 05:31 AM #1
Rainmaker
385,893
Karl Hess
Keller Williams Ocean County - Toms River, NJ
on The Jersey Shore

Lenn, I fear you may be right. I hope that you are not, but I fear that you are.

May 04, 2012 05:51 AM #2
Rainer
83,125
Michael Maynard
New Neighbors Realty - Milford, CT

I agree with you both here, they had a chance to not bail out the big guys and they did. Been trying to find a way to convince us otherwise ever since.

May 04, 2012 06:22 AM #3
Rainer
83,125
Michael Maynard
New Neighbors Realty - Milford, CT

I agree with you both here, they had a chance to not bail out the big guys and they did. Been trying to find a way to convince us otherwise ever since.

May 04, 2012 06:23 AM #4
Ambassador
628,568
Doug Rogers
Bayou Properties Realty - Pineville, LA
Your Pineville Louisiana Agent

Fund social security for everyone 50 and above. The rest of us can either 1) work until the day we die or 2) fund our own retirement.

Healthcare is a tough one. Provide immunizations and ramp up money for preventative care. Then a two tier system...1) for those with wealth the sky is the limit 2) for the other 85% a hospital bed can only be viewed in a museum.

Military--fund research and development along with training. Give up our role as world policeman. Close expensive bases overseas and keep the troops (and their money) at stateside bases.

That's all the nation's problems I can solve today. Time to go sell a house or two!

 

May 04, 2012 06:27 AM #5
Rainmaker
684,022
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

I'm thinking we are beyond the point of no return.  Washington is broken, corrupt, and bankrupt.  There is no way to clean them up because both parties are to blame and the so-called silent majority is a much smaller group than the welfare/entitlement class.  The number of Americans getting some sort of government check is over 50% now - social security, medicare, medicaid, welfare, disability, retired military, government pension, government paycheck. 

America will eventually turn into a European semi-socialist nation except we have more guns and more polarization so there will be a lot of bloodshed.

May 04, 2012 08:18 AM #6
Rainmaker
385,893
Karl Hess
Keller Williams Ocean County - Toms River, NJ
on The Jersey Shore

I think some of you may have missed the point.  Luce's premise is that the degradation of the American middle-class and the lack of investment in our infrastructure will be what ultimately does us in...but thank you all for the comments.

May 04, 2012 04:58 PM #7
Rainmaker
353,982
Dale Terry
Yadkinville, NC

Karl, I will check this out, thanks for the tip.  Let's debate soon!

May 05, 2012 08:47 PM #8
Rainmaker
1,233,120
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

It's a bummer when the gubment runs out of other people's money.  And just things were going so well.

What's that?  Oh, I thought I just heard Maggie Thatcher.  Yes, I'm sure I did.  She just stuck her head in the office door.

One of millions quoting her right here...

Nothing you haven't already heard.

It would be a terrific lesson to see this:  confiscate everything, that is everything, from the super rich.  What is super rich?  Let's say $100 million or more in total assets (which would wipe out a bunch of pro athletes and movie "stars").  That confiscation would run the gubment for a good 17 minutes.

A year later what would be the result.  I bet most of them would be rich again, and in 10 years super rich again.

And the statists would be saying the same old same old.  With whiny voices.

What I find most interesting here is that I know you agree with me...  I love you man!    ;>)

May 06, 2012 03:39 AM #9
Rainmaker
385,893
Karl Hess
Keller Williams Ocean County - Toms River, NJ
on The Jersey Shore

Thanks for the comment Dale.

May 06, 2012 04:27 AM #10
Rainmaker
385,893
Karl Hess
Keller Williams Ocean County - Toms River, NJ
on The Jersey Shore

Great job Jay. Take a reasonable position; 'pro-middle class' then misrepresent that position as being 'anti-rich,' distort that misrepresentation to ridiculous levels (take all the rich people's money) and finally show the futility of that grossly distorted misrepresentation (that money would run the government for 17 minutes)...Roger Ailes would be proud!

Again, the middle class have seen little, if any, real income growth in the last 30 years while the richest among us has seen thier wealth grow by at least 250%.  There's something wrong with our system...and what most of us should understand is that 'the fix is in.'

May 06, 2012 04:37 AM #11
Rainmaker
1,233,120
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

It was hyperbole!  Well, except for the confiscation and then re-building of one's wealth comment!

The Buffet tax, which had/has NO chance of passing, as you know, and was used as a political football (truly making Ailes proud) was shown mathematically to run the gubment for 6 hours.  So, the confiscation thing might actually be about 17 days!  My hyperbole works though in showing, with dramatic effect, that it really doesn't make a dent.  Politics are one thing.  Outcome and benefit are another.

Simply because of numbers of people, the middle class pays all the taxes, has from the start, and Marx knew that!  (I have read everything Mr. Marx ever wrote, unlike most statists.  Have you?)  Who do you think provides all the benefit for the two legs on the Animal Farm!?

But remember, Karl, the wealthy and poor change places all the time!  I have been broke twice.  Not broke now.  Why not?  Really, why not?  Why am I not in a tent somewhere pining for my "benefits?"  And if the "benefits" are so good, why aren't you pining for them?  You aren't because you realize they aren't benefits at all, but "benefits," as written.

And again, I know you agree with me!  You are a transparent tabla rasa buddy!  I see right through you, even though you can be a pain.  Or pane.  Whichever...      An agape xxoo from a friend sent your way.

May 06, 2012 12:54 PM #12
Rainmaker
385,893
Karl Hess
Keller Williams Ocean County - Toms River, NJ
on The Jersey Shore

I don't have a problem with the middle-class paying their fair share of taxes.  My problem is that the middle class is being squeezed out of existence.  And by the growing inability for the middle class to move into the 'upper' class.  The latest statistics show that America ranks 6th or 7th in upward mobility; behind countries like Denmark, Germany and France.  That needs to change.

May 07, 2012 04:42 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,233,120
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

The very purpose of Marxism (and call it what you want in a more modern context) is to squeeze the middle class out of existence!  Ain't you read Marx and Engles*?  THAT was the very purpose of Orwell's book, Animal Farm - there were two classes - the two legs, which ran things and the four legs which supported the two legs.  Orwell was writing about what the Soviet Union had done to his precious socialism.  Which means what Karl?  He didn't understand socialism.

The middle class is so numerous, so populated, that its fair share of taxes IS the bulk of taxes!  Do you know what the definition of "is" is?

Isn't that cool how I brought another cartoon into the picture?

Smooch buddy.  When I have time, I love our talks!  We should talk by phone.  It would save time.

 

* How did Marx propose to do that?  Ready?  Public education, non existent in his day, and dumbing the four legs down so they "learned" only the "right" things.  Essentially so they could support the two legs better.  You need to bone up on your Marx!  In 1991 I did my dissertation in education on the concept that pedagogy (defined as teach and learn) was being dissolved in favor of teaching only certain things.  As a result, I maintained, education was failing.  My example was that SOL tests would get more and more important, even to where a large portion of the year would be devoted to preparing for them.  And that SOL tests would be used to "rank" teachers, so all teachers would be "good" teachers.  I was poo-pooed mercilessly but stuck to my position and said watch and wait.  I could say that, Karl, because I understand how bureaucracies work.  And don't work!

How many of those people on that review committee have contacted me to say it appears I was more prescient than they then understood?  Right.  None, but I have contacted them!  You know what happens when a little light is shined on a roach?

Do I think SOL tests are conceptually Marxian?  You tell me...

 

P.s.  How many new bureaucracies were created with this new "health" care plan?  116, each with its own smoke and mirrors and misinformation.  Each of those will grow, spawn more, and become dramatically, that is dramatically, less efficient.  Watch and wait.

And don't read what some Google search interprets what Marx says.  Read Marx!  He is hard to understand and tedious, but you will get it.  And he was NO economist.  He was a social engineer and a political engineer, but no economist.

May 07, 2012 05:04 AM #14
Rainmaker
385,893
Karl Hess
Keller Williams Ocean County - Toms River, NJ
on The Jersey Shore

Jay, thank you for the self-aggrandizing lesson on Marx and condescending referrals to Orwell.  IMHO, Marxism in America is not the problem, it's the not-so-well hidden oligarchy that we all, seemingly, want to ignore.

May 08, 2012 05:34 AM #15
Rainmaker
160,681
Satar Naghshineh
Satar - Amiri Property and Financial Services Corp. - Irvine, CA

"My problem is that the middle class is being squeezed out of existence."

I think it has to do with the corporatism that multi-national corporations are in bed with government to bring down wages. Anytime the American worker has to compete with a foreign worker, the quality of life for the American worker becomes less. In a true free market society, wages will be determined by supply and demand of labor forces.

"And by the growing inability for the middle class to move into the 'upper' class."

I don't see this as an issue yet. If you have an idea for a product or service that others want to use, you still can make a fortune. However, anytime a small business wants to compete against a bigger business, I find that the bigger business' relationship with government has produced regulations and hoops, disguised as protecting the public, to prevent the smaller company to effectively compete.

 

"Marxism in America is not the problem, it's the not-so-well hidden oligarchy that we all, seemingly, want to ignore."

Exactly!

 

May 08, 2012 12:41 PM #16
Rainmaker
1,233,120
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

No self anything Karl!  I read Marx because I wanted to see what all the hub bub was about.  The guy was a dope.  And Engels was doper (and hypocrite).  They would have made a good movie together...   Dope and Doper.

And condescending to Orwell?  I LOVED Animal Farm!  That is one of the best-written economics lessons in history!  It's the two legs wannabees that get upset when I use the verbiage to good effect!

But still - watch and wait!  I am prescient again!

And if small business can't compete and succeed in America, how in the world did Microsoft and Apple make it?  Did you miss my Free Enterprise quotes on a better mouse trap?

Here's the second - click and enjoy.  It's about a little company that started in a garage and was ground to dust by the oligarchic big business hoops and regs.  Never to be heard from again.

You guys are a riot!

May 08, 2012 01:28 PM #17
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Rainmaker
385,893

Karl Hess

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