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3026  General Politics / Economics / Re: Chaos in the China stock market! on: July 08, 2015, 07:53:19 am
The thing is, though, that the market has risen 150% over the last year, in a time of slowing growth. Hence even after this plunge, the market is still up 80% from a year ago! It remains to be seen whether this is purely a market correction driven by overleveraged retail investors or part of a broader systemic correction- a panic or a proper crash.

It's not as if there aren't any reasons to be worried about the Chinese economy- as has been said already in this thread there are many reasons to be worried.
3027  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: The People's Party - Special Chairman Election on: July 08, 2015, 04:50:46 am
Obviously, I'm not joining the Labor Party.
3028  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Petition for a Constitutional Convention, that would reform Atlasia on: July 08, 2015, 04:43:48 am
x Simfan34
3029  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Greek Referendum on IMF/Troika deal on: July 06, 2015, 11:10:46 pm
I'm surprised that pensioners-- particularly public sector pensioners-- would have swung towards "yes", never mind that much more than the general population! They would seem to have been the ones worse affected by the Eurogroup agreement.

Perhaps the capital controls did it for them. At least, they were so adversely affected by the 60Ä cap that it had to be raised to 120Ä for them. One can imagine it has been least pleasant for those living off of savings.
3030  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Clinton campaign worried about Sanders, believe he's a real threat on: July 06, 2015, 11:03:08 pm
Sanders, on a fundamental level, cannot be taken seriously as a "real threat". He preaches the benefits of a Nordic-style welfare state and heavy taxes on the wealthy. This sounds great, but Nordic-style welfare states can't actually function on "soaking the rich" alone (not to mention that they also need small, homogenous societies) All Hillary has to do is say that Sanders' is either planning to "raise taxes on working families" to upwards of 40% or simply talking fantasy.

This repeated refrain that social democracies need "small societies" is quite infuriating. Infuriating because it makes no sense and because so few people point out the logical fallacy of the whole thing. Why do you need a small state? As long as the tax base increases with the size of the population (which, of course it will because they're the same thing), you will be fine. It's not as if anyone is proposing an American sized social democracy but only collecting taxes from the equivalent of the Swedish population.

It is one thing to merely collect the necessary funds. It is another entirely to spend them effectively. A comprehensive welfare state- the sort seen in Sweden and Denmark- requires a centralized administrative state able to implement programs on a nationwide basis in a uniform fashion. This is obviously easier in a smaller country than it is in a large one; it becomes more difficult to manage with increases in scale. It is, additionally--and this is an assertion supported by the quantitative literature on social welfare-- also easier in a unitary state than it is a federal one: federalism constrains the German "social state" even though the relevant powers mostly belong to the central government.

A large, federal state is thus particularly ill-suited to the welfare state model; we actually spend more on social welfare than Canada, Australia, or New Zealand, and barely more than Switzerland or the United Kingdom, all of which are not dissimilar countries-- many federal, even-- generally regarded as having social welfare systems far more comprehensive than our own. In other words, we already get less out of each dollar we spend on social welfare than that dollar would in other countries. The administrative apparatus needed to implement a "Nordic-style welfare state" would be absolutely gargantuan, and far more costly to keep at a similar level of effectiveness, to say nothing of efficiency.

Logistical constraints aside, there is also a social aspect to feasibility. People, generally speaking, tend to have greater faith in local governments than they do in a national government-- the belief that "the mountains are high and the emperor is far away" seen in capacity-challenged states aside. They also tend to have greater faith in a government that is seen as sharing their interests; both are easier, in a smaller, homogenous country than a large, heterogenous one.

This trend is not only attested to by the comparative political literature, but can been seen domestically between the states. Trust in government-- all else equal-- diminishes as the a state grows larger and the central government grows more distant; as trust diminishes, so does the center's capacity to keep institutions effective and efficient, its ability to ensure its rules are abided by, and its ability to introduce new policies. Small size was not only why Lee Kuan Yew was able to micromanage Singapore, but was also why people trusted him doing so.

All this works to make a potential welfare state a more difficult and more costly proposition in a large country like the United States than it would a small, Scandinavian-sized country. There is no reason for such a claim to be considered infuriating, at least because of fallaciousness.
3031  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Texas: Attorney General Paxton being investigated for securities fraud on: July 06, 2015, 09:39:57 pm
interestting, but let's wait and see. these tx "special prosecutions" have a bad history of being political and not sticking.

Tom DeLay and who else?

Didn't the AG go after Kay Baily Hutchinson?

Yep. And don't forget that half-assed indictment brought against Perry a year or two ago. The Travis County DA is a joke in this regard.

If I recall correctly, they tried to nail Hutchinson for having an aide "improperly purchase" lipstick. Perry, of course, is under indictment for "abuse of power" after trying to remove the Travis County DA after she was arrested for driving while heavily intoxicated and making a complete fool of herself on camera.

Apparently it's a completely different county's DA office that's investigating him, though, although the Travis County office was the one that referred the case to them in the first place; I don't know how much initiative that took on Travis County's part, so this may or may not be the "political hit squad" at work here. The fact that the Travis Country office was involved at all is alone almost enough to call the seriousness of the allegations into question.
3032  General Politics / Economics / Re: Chaos in the China stock market! on: July 06, 2015, 09:27:10 pm
Your thoughts?

If my professor from last semester is to be believed (and I tend to think he is- if a bit wishfully), this is only the start of a very, very long road down. Beyond the empty real estate people tend to focus on, China has generated an immense amount of excess industrial capacity, which has avoided collapse so far only because the government (both in Beijing and at the local level) has been propping them up, mostly by encouraging banks to roll over their loans in addition to direct subsidy (which, among other things, has left local governments deeply indebted).

Between that and the real estate issue, which has been largely driven by local governments seeking to generate revenue from industrial and commercial land leases- borrowing heavily to pay for the infrastructure needed to attract buyers- the result is that commercial banks and local governments alike have massive debt problems. Now the number of non-performing loans is rising, over 10% in the last quarter according to official numbers. All this while Xi's high-level "anti-corruption" campaign is increasingly paralysing the administrative organs of the state: perhaps the worst possible time for that to occur. Officials don't know what is going to happen to their superiors, or what now constitutes inappropriate activity, and are choosing to play it safe- by doing nothing. None of this means that there's going to be some horrific crash, but it's no surprise the markets are jittery.

The sole upside of this is that it may ease that subsidy-induced glut of Chinese industrial capacity, which has wreaked havoc on manufacturing sectors the world over. A steel industry that produces 60% of global output, and is now seeking to offload its excess capacity overseas, has more or less cannibalised that of every other country. Overcapacity in their shipbuilding industry has caused prices to more than halve (spotty construction, however, means many will have to be replaced in a few years- thankfully). Tires, cement, paper- it's clear that Chinese overcapacity is preventing manufacturing growth essentially anywhere else except at the very low end, to say nothing of the kind of heavy industry you really need for development. A correction that wipes out this overcapacity- if still decidedly a net negative for the global economy- will be one with a very significant silver lining.
3033  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Rick Perry talks straight about race and the federal government on: July 06, 2015, 08:41:24 pm
Perhaps Rick Perry, who is currently in pretrial status under indictment for a felony, has a new appreciation of the inequalities of rights that poor (and often minority) defendants experience when charged with a crime.  I tell you true:  Jail, even an afternoon in the slammer before posting bail, certainly has an awakening effect on some men.

I don't know. His felony charges are, of course, essentially a joke. I stand by my earlier characterisation of the Travis County DA's office as a "political hit squad masquerading as a legal authority."

I didn't really like Perry, but now my opinion of him has really improved. I might actually consider voting for him now.

Obviously, one should wait until the debates before they're sure...
3034  About this Site / The Atlas / Re: Petition for an active ModAdmin on: July 06, 2015, 08:34:42 pm
I am with NCY and those who have called for the addition of a ModAdmin rather than just replacing Nym- I don't see any reason why he shouldn't remain a ModAdmin but agree we'd benefit from adding a more active one.

For obvious reasons, however, I am very much opposed to that person being Joe Republic. Mr.  Morden sounds like a solid choice to me.
3035  About this Site / The Atlas / Re: So, Anti-Zionism is now 'hatefulness/discrimination'? on: July 06, 2015, 08:30:37 pm
Yeah, it actually is. It's a personal attack.

against a group of objectively bad people with no presence on this forum

Who are these people? Zionists?  Jews? "Objectively bad" or not aside, I think the group(s) concerned do have a presence on this forum.

However, TNF, this is ridiculous. The post would have been just as "hateful" had you said "gay scum", "white scum", "French scum", "Hindu scum", etc. Tarring a group of people with the epithet of "scum" is hardly a show of tolerance.
3036  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Clinton campaign worried about Sanders, believe he's a real threat on: July 06, 2015, 08:13:39 pm
Sanders, on a fundamental level, cannot be taken seriously as a "real threat". He preaches the benefits of a Nordic-style welfare state and heavy taxes on the wealthy. This sounds great, but Nordic-style welfare states can't actually function on "soaking the rich" alone (not to mention that they also need small, homogenous societies) All Hillary has to do is say that Sanders' is either planning to "raise taxes on working families" to upwards of 40% or simply talking fantasy.
3037  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Rick Perry talks straight about race and the federal government on: July 06, 2015, 07:09:09 pm
If Perry's really smarted up and this isn't just a fluke, he'd be my third choice for the nomination.

Yes, if Perry can get his act together and runs a campaign in line with the rhetoric he's been using, he could actually become someone I'd consider voting for. Some of the things he was saying in his campaign launch seem to have come from an entirely different- and far more reasonable- person:

Quote from: Rick Perry
To those forgotten Americans drowning in personal debt, working harder for wages that donít keep up with the rising cost of living, I come here today to say your voice is heard.

I know you face rising health care costs, rising child care costs, skyrocketing tuition costs, and mounting student loan debt. I hear you, and I am going to do something about it.

To the one in five children in families on food stamps, to the one in seven Americans living in poverty, to the one in ten workers who are unemployed, under-employed or given up hope of finding a job: I hear you, you are not forgotten.
I am running to be your president.

For small businesses on Main Street struggling to just get by, smothered by regulations, targeted by Dodd-Frank: I hear you, youíre not forgotten. Your time is coming.

The American People see a rigged game, where insiders get rich, and the middle class pays the tab.

There is something wrong when the Dow is near record highs, and businesses on Main Street canít even get a loan.

Since when did capitalism involve the elimination of risk for the biggest banks while regulations strangle our community banks?

Capitalism is not corporatism. It is not a guarantee of reward without risk. It is not about Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.

http://time.com/3909562/rick-perry-campaign-launch-transcript/
3038  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Lindsey Graham to Voter Suggesting Banning Islam: ĎI Donít Want Your Voteí on: July 06, 2015, 07:00:00 pm
Unlike Huntsman, I don't think Graham has any real intention of winning the nomination, much less becoming President.
3039  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Office of Governor Simfan34 on: July 06, 2015, 06:56:22 pm
Thank you, Bacon King. You may act as Speaker on an acting basis until formally elected--I would like to see the bills I proposed see the floor, once the other people I reached out to swear in.

My "Democratic Action Plan" remains a work in progress, and its introduction is admittedly not certain-- it seems events beyond the Pacific have run ahead of things. As fundamental questions about the future of Atlasia have been raised, and broader systemic issues affecting activity are unresolved, I feel that regional reform of this kind, implemented before the larger problems have been dealt with, runs the risk of being ineffective, if not superfluous. Uncertainty at the center tends to induce paralysis down the line, and I think it best if we focused our efforts on fixing fundamentals before tackling regional concerns.

Executive Order 07-16

Bacon King is hereby appointed to serve as Director of the Office of the Recovery, as provided for in the Patriation of the Pacific Recovery Act.
3040  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: The People's Party - Special Chairman Election on: July 06, 2015, 06:39:03 pm
It is hard to see the way forward when most of our leading lights have left, while those left cannot see the way themselves. That being said, I cannot bring myself to vote for our Party to end with a whimper.

ABSTAIN
3041  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Greek Referendum on IMF/Troika deal on: July 06, 2015, 06:04:47 pm
He resigned because game theory people.

That's what his statement seemed to imply. Of course it's nonsense, but it's certainly a nice change from the "spend more time with my family" your people are so fond of employing.

I don't actually see the point in firing him, personally. To me it appears painfully clear that it is all over now, and that everyone is playing along with some pointless charade where all sides apparently pretend (or have deluded themselves into thinking) that some kind of agreement is possible.

The Greeks ought to spend every available minute working towards the reintroduction of the drachma. The Europeans ought to spend their time preparing for Grexit. Apparently, however, they all seem to be seeing something I don't.

Varoufakis will, of course, be all right. He'll sell a lot more copies of his book, write another, probably try to challenge Piketty for the title of "Most talked-about leftwing economist", get a column in some paper- the Times, perhaps, go on the conference circuit, and end up with a cushy visiting professorship somewhere. None of which, of course, will pay in drachmae. Probably won't do too many paid talks, though- neither the left-wing nor the iconoclastic thing to do.
3042  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: UK MPs - 2015 Parliament on: July 06, 2015, 03:22:42 pm
Right, yeah. The other half being posh Irish. My God this discussion looks so much worse than it actually is.

Half Nigeria Half Ethiopian IIRC.

Not quite. Ghanaian. Although I could see how one might mix me up with Chukka Ummuna... what business does he have in Labour anyway?

It's a shame about Afriyie- he seemed to have been going places before he went all rebel. I suppose such tendencies were always there though, hence why he never made the jump from Shadow Cabinet to the real thing.

Well, at least we still have Kwasi Kwarteng. And the Ethiopians have...uhh... that guy who beat Mandelson to become the Chancellor of some university recently. Even if he's not a politician.

Edit: That would be Lemn Sissay, new Chancellor of the University of Manchester. I suspect if we had elections to analogous posts at American universities, they would be nowhere near as interesting.
3043  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Fundraising without committing on: July 06, 2015, 02:16:56 pm
Scott Walker and Jeb Bush have raised upwards of $30 million in their SuperPACs before formally declaring. But their intent was clear, and clearer to their donors. But how much could someone have raised, on their time table, if they were truly uncertain about their plans on whether or not to run?

Would it be possible for someone to sit on the sidelines and build up a similarly sized SuperPAC warchest- perhaps to wield it as influence in the nomination horserace- without ever running? Would this be possible if this was say, 2012-popularity Christie?
3044  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: The "Who is running?" tea leaves thread (Part 2) on: July 06, 2015, 01:53:17 pm
Sarah Palin isn't going to run, why can't people accept that? She's in a far more lucrative position now than she would be if she ran.

Exactly my thoughts.

Her current position can barely be termed lucrative at this point.
3045  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Clinton campaign worried about Sanders, believe he's a real threat on: July 06, 2015, 01:51:56 pm
My good old man Jon Huntsman was also feared as a threat by the Democratic establishment. Unfortunately that did not mean he actually materialized as one. I suspect it will be the same for Comrade Bernie.
3046  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary faces protests @ NH rally & keeps reporters behind a rope on: July 06, 2015, 01:48:36 pm
If the Berniebots latch on to Benghazi, I will laugh... well I'll just laugh a lot.
3047  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Rick Perry talks straight about race and the federal government on: July 06, 2015, 01:29:09 pm
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/07/06/wonkbook-rick-perrys-shockingly-honest-speech-about-texass-racist-past/?tid=sm_fb

Maybe we're actually getting a new Rick Perry after all. If so there's another serious contender to be had. Props to him.
3048  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: If Atlas Fantasy Elections and Fantasy Government folded.......... on: July 06, 2015, 12:37:10 pm
Fair enough, but it was after started that it really went into galloping senility.
3049  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Greek Referendum on IMF/Troika deal on: July 06, 2015, 12:34:51 pm
Even going from 4% to 3.5% would be an improvement.
3050  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Greek Referendum on IMF/Troika deal on: July 06, 2015, 12:15:01 pm
Fun fact for people arguing Greece should cut it's military spending because 2% of GDP is too high: that 2% is actually the minimum acceptable spending level per the terms of their NATO membership treaty

Yeah, but aside from the U.S. and UK, Greece is like the only country that takes that damn mandatory spending seriously. Seems a bit weird to tie itself in knots over the magic 2% when completely stable countries like Canada flaunt it as a matter of course.

The disturbing future that Tsipras doesn't want for Greece is to look like Serbia: insular, nationalistic and angry.

Of course, they are the ones in the right here. The US is forced to take spending seriously because the rest of them don't. And some people have the nerve to suggest we should bail the Greeks out!
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