Why can't the federal government attract the best and the brightest?

I know that this post is politically incorrect, perhaps even naïve. The general public is often blind to the world of giant corporations and the "play" money which are the earnings of thousands of corporate middle and upper management executives. But, I've always enjoyed tilting at windmills. Until and unless we, as a general public, decide that paying more nearly competitive salaries to top government officials will yield better run government, we will continue to get the government we are willing to pay for.
I will link to two articles which underscore why it is so difficult for the federal government to attract the best and the brightest to the highest levels of government service.
The first refers to how much money Lawrence Summers made after he was turned down for the position of Federal Reserve Chair in favor of Janet Yellen.
http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2014-12-18/lawrence-summers-2...
The second article delineates the salary current FED Chair Yellen earns, and that many of the subordinates on her staff earn higher salaries than does she.
http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/news-features/federal-reserve...

And, for the record, I get just as much flak from my left-wing friends about my position on government salaries as I do from my right-wing critics. My position on this issue has little support from anyone. I get that, when compared to the earnings of average Americans, the salaries paid with our tax dollars seem outrageously high. However, I find it most difficult to understand why most people seek the best service repair people, the best doctors, the best accountants, the best attorneys, with little regard for the costs of the services they provide, while concurrently expecting superior service from government without being willing to pay salaries which are even close to those in comparable private sector professions.
Yes, there is a "power" component. Being a government official often places one in a position of great power. And, often, working for a while in a high government position, gives people the opportunity to get a great job after finishing their government service. But most of our best and our brightest choose to make their money in relative anonymity in the private sector, rather than expose themselves to criticism -- even derision -- from the general public by being a government official and earning so much less than they can earn in the private sector. And just for those who like to emphasize the great retirement benefits available to government employees, the difference between Yelln's $200,000 salary and the nearly $28,000,000 Summers earned from just one part of his remuneration, can buy a TON of financial security for one's retirement.

No votes yet

Yet you are against privatization. So you argue we should turn more over to dullards in charge of government and out of the hands of the industries where the "best and brightest" reside.

MikeyA

The difference is, that you and I have some control over government. We have almost no control at all over private sector companies. In the election of 2014, the Americans who bothered to vote cast out dozens of veteran federal legislators and replaced them with others who have a very different way of viewing the role of government in our society. When was the last time you or I had a say in how WalMart is run? Or Ford? Or Halliburton? Or Exxon-Mobil? I could on virtually forever with these examples.

Let me give you a real life example. My parents are both deceased. When they were in their 80s and both struggling with physical infirmities, I helped them fill out the necessary paperwork to receive transportation services through TARPS. The TARPS program is now run by TARTA. At that time, however, the program was run by a private company which had a contract with the federal government to do the work. After being approved for the services, my parents moved from their private residence to an assisted living facility, still within the TARTA (and TARPS) service area. Because of the change of domicile, the private company demanded that my parents reapply for the service, a time-consuming process, even though nothing had changed except their address. My mother was on kidney dialysis. She needed the service immediately. Because there was a federal contract involved, I went to Marcy Kaptur's local office and filled out a form, and talked to a staff member. The next day I received a call from the private company stating that my parents would continue to get TARPS services without interruption at their new address.

My point is that we do have some influence with elected officials. They need our votes. Private sector companies and their bureaucracies can be every bit as enigmatic as are government bureaucracies. With a few notable exceptions, [like COSTCO], the bigger they are, the less most giant corporations care about us as individuals.

Your example shows why.

Why is TARTA.... a local transportation authority being run on a federal contract?

You say "you and I have some control over government". If that is true why is the region not contracting TARTA?

MikeyA

understand the point you are trying to make.
The simple truth is: you fear big government more than you fear big business; while I fear big business more than I fear big government.

don't trust big businesses. And, although other big businesses are cited here, they don't come much bigger than WalMart. I guess it's best to buy the cheap, packaged brands of underwear, than it is to buy the fancy, individual stuff.
Here's the link:
http://www.esquire.com/blogs/news/victorias-secret-wal-mart-caught-selli...

He even calls Obama, "...a very smart, nice guy!"
Here's the link to the article about retiring Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma:
http://www.newsmax.com/Politics/Tom-Coburn-60-Minutes-Barack-Obama-presi...

" Until and unless we, as a general public, decide that paying more nearly competitive salaries to top government officials will yield better run government, we will continue to get the government we are willing to pay for." Good point, considering half the Country is out of work, why not give government workers huge raises? All sane and decent people agree all we'll get is more of the same. I follow the premise that we get the kind of government we VOTE for. Or at least some of us vote for. Just ask Prof. Gruber.

around for the cheapest doctor?
If you or someone you love ever had a problem that required legal services, did you shop around for the cheapest attorney?
If you have your taxes done by someone other than yourself or your spouse, do you shop around for the cheapest accountant?
If you need your car serviced, do you shop around for the cheapest mechanic?

If increasing the remuneration for people does not translate into getting better people to do a job, isn't that antithetical to a competitive, marketplace-based capitalistic economy? Indeed, isn't that un-American?

unrelated to the topic. The article is about the NFL rookie salary cap having the unintended consequence of INCREASING the number of early entrants into the NFL draft, rather than decreasing that number, as the NFL leadership, and NFL owners, desired. But, buried within it, is this statement by the writers with which I agree wholeheartedly. The statement reinforces my position about the importance of remuneration as a determining factor in the decisions made by individuals about their future employment opportunities. They say, "Still, money remains the most powerful behavioral influence in American society. You'd think the NFL -- of all entities -- would understand that." And, you'd think that ideological conservatives -- of all groups of people -- would understand that as well..
Read it for yourself. Here's the link:
http://sports.yahoo.com/news/rookie-salary-cap-has-created-bigger-proble...

It's hardly surprising to see a Liberal propose that the main problem with the most expensive federal government ever created, is that it doesn't spend enough money.

It never EVER occurs to these sorts of Liberals that you fix the problem not by increasing spending, but by decreasing government authority, particularly since so much of that authority is over-reaching, over-bearing, and the antithesis of what this nation was founded on. And when you decrease authority, you naturally shrink that government. So you don't have legions (hundreds of thousands) of people sitting around in government offices just collecting paychecks... much like Dale Pertcheck did during his so-called career, when he wasn't busy numbing young minds with Liberal bullshit.

And then the most stark illumination about the core of the Liberal problem is that when you patiently explain all of this to the Liberals in question, they start screeching like injured owls, and they end up calling you every name in the book other than "White male". The users of propaganda hate it when you dissect their schemes in the public eye.

Liberals are really like domestic insurgents, except they use financial and social weapons in order to destroy our nation.

You cite no statistical evidence. You just belittle anyone with whom you disagree. And you need to emphasize your bitterness by using profanity. How sad for you!

Despite all of this, Mr. Empty Glass, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a new year filled with good health and happiness for you and everyone about whom you care!

"You cite no statistical evidence."

Like what? Like the clear numbers given out each year that show a federal government that 'must' borrow anywhere from 1/6th to 1/3rd of its budget?

Liberals are ideologically aligned with a huge government and CANNOT admit that the government is too large. The statistics PROVE that our government is far too huge and is in the process of collapsing our society. As for how huge the federal government is, here are some more numbers for you, which you're too ideologically blocked to even acknowledge, much less understand:

Federal budget in 1940: $9 billion
Federal budget by 2007: $3700 billion
Wage inflation over those 67 years: About 2.5%
Population growth over those 67 years: About x 2.3

So using wage inflation and population growth, the federal budget should have ONLY grown to about $350 billion. Taken together, they produce a natural inflation rate of about 3.5% yearly. But the federal government grew at a rate of 8.5% over that time.

Therefore our federal government is destroying us.

IT'S MATH, NOT OPINION. But Liberals turn into retards when the math goes against their ideology. And that's part of why nearly every rational businessman knows Liberals are the domestic enemy.

You chose an interesting set of numbers. Your choices remind me of the quote attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, "There are three different kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." Assuming for the sake of argument that your statistics are accurate, IMHO, your comparison is one of the proverbial "apples to oranges."
Relatively speaking, the U.S. Federal budget has grown commensurate with the growth of the overall economy. As I pointed out in another post, the total U.S. debt as a percentage of GDP is relatively high, but not at its peak. In 1946, the debt was 121.7% of GDP. In 2012, the debt was 100.8% of GDP. Now, this is rather high, but not, as you strongly imply, historically and uniquely unsustainably high.
AND, how did America do for the 35 years after the debt/GDP ratio reached its peak in 1946? By 1981, the ratio had declined to 32.5%! That followed 4 years of Democrat Jimmy Carter's presidency, with a very large Democratic majority in both houses of Congress! So naturally, America dumped Carter in favor of Ronald Reagan, and our deficits, along with the national debt, and the debt/GDP ratio soared!
I would also remind you, since you keep bringing up the "liberal" issue, that under Bill Clinton, there was a federal budget SURPLUS, not just once, but FOUR TIMES! In addition, the projections based upon the laws in place at that time, had us PAYING OFF THE ENTIRE NATIONAL DEBT within a generation.
But, instead of continuing along this path, we elected "W". The fiscal changes enacted under his leadership, and W's insistence upon fighting two wars, one of which was more costly and never justified by facts, redirected the federal government back down the road of having huge budget deficits, and leading to the worst economic collapse we and the world experienced since the Great Depression of the 1930s. In short, it was the policies enacted by the self-labeled "conservatives" that put us on the road to economic chaos and a growing national debt. That's also MATH!
Most so-called "conservatives" LOVE big government. They just want different priorities of spending! Under "conservative" Ronald Reagan, the national debt TRIPLED! Between him and G.H.W. Bush, in only 12 years in office together, the national debt QUADRUPLED!!

I can't wait for these rants to stop, like about on Jan. 2, 2015.

to him during the 1948 presidential campaign, "Give 'em hell, Harry!" "I don't give 'em hell. I tell the truth and they think it's hell."
You call them "rants." I use facts. I tell the truth and you call them rants. The truth will still be the truth on Jan. 2, 2015, and on Jan.3, and Jan. 4, etc.

"Relatively speaking, the U.S. Federal budget has grown commensurate with the growth of the overall economy."

No, I just proved that it doesn't. The economy as dictated by POPULATION (i.e. their wages and their numbers) grew by about 3.5% total yearly over that 67-yr period. Yet the federal budget grew by 8.5% similarly. That's why borrowing just grew and grew, and that's why the tax load on the middle class (i.e. the people least able to avoid taxes) just grew and grew.

The same sort of truth applied to housing prices, and we know how THAT turned out. Housing prices just grew and grew, far faster than wages (the only source that could satisfy those prices over the long term, which is the ONLY possible term for housing purchase), and then the overheated fucking thing crashed and burned, taking much of the economy and government down with it. That was itself a disaster that was slowly growing through the last half of the 20th Century, when your ruinous dickhead class (the Baby Boomers) was asserting economic control. Throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, more and more housing was being purchased purely from financing (i.e. BORROWING), and more and more of the purchase price was being covered by financing. So as the century grew old, housing simply became more and more unaffordable for workers and citizens.

These are the same disasters. The difference is, the federal government is using force of arms to avoid bankruptcy. Home-'owners' can't make use of the same sort of thing, so they crapped out first. But eventually even nations must collapse from such financial mismanagement. You can't keep living on borrowed money. Eventually your creditors have to face the reality that you can't pay them back. Likely, that will result in a sudden change in economic policy, which is a nice way of saying that it will almost certainly result in an economic crash.

economic activity. More important is improving productivity as new inventions allow less people to produce more goods and provide more and better services in less time. This is what separates the modern world from the past.
Using your standards of analysis would work well in the world of Thomas Jefferson, 200 years ago or so. He, of course, was analyzing the world of his times. I guess that your analyses, much like your primary grammatic reference material, is archaic.
In Jefferson's day, the vast majority of Americans were involved in farming, because farming in those days of very limited technology was, therefore, very labor intensive. Today, farm and ranch families make up about 2% of our population. It's called modern technology and improved productivity. Learn about it G-MAN.
BTW -- Those who predict an economic collapse are always right, because they keep predicting a collapse until it happens. Then they say, "See! I told you so!" These "nattering nabobs of negativity" were predicting an economic collapse back in 2012, and in 2013, and throughout 2014. How's that working out so far?

No, that's crap. If there was this massive (8.5%/yr) increase in productivity then it would have been represented in wages.

The sad truth is exactly as I've outlined it: Our government fed upon us like a parasite until even increasing taxes were insufficient. Then the borrowing went into overdrive. Now there's nowhere to go for continuing to feed the government monster. That's why we're seeing cracks appear in the facade of government employee benefits and pensions. And it terrifies you, since you're one of the sub-parasites who benefited from this monster all along.

As for the economic collapse, we've already experienced it. It's happened in steps for decades. Now families are broken apart and couples trying to keep up with this ruinous consumption inflation are finding that there's nothing left of home life when both work 1.5 jobs each. Destroying the 'nuclear family' alone was enough of an economic calamity. The difference now is that we've just gotten used to it. But it's a living hell.

of your vacuous opinions!
In the area of food production alone, with only 2% of Americans involved, not only do we produce enough food to feed our entire population, but we also export, literally, tons of food every year! There was a time back in the 1960s when there was real concern that the exploding populations around the world, but particularly in China and India, would create conditions where people there would be rioting for food by the 1990s. But the use of scientific research has produced more productive and disease-resistant crops. Along with the use of modern farm equipment, this has brought us the modern agricultural revolution. Even with a growing population, the world produces more than enough calories of food for every man. woman, and child in the world. World politics and poverty combine to create artificial situations of mass starvation in too many places in the world today. Now, that's profoundly sad!
However, never underestimate the power of technology to increase productivity, Mr. Empty Glass. And never underestimate the power of education to improve your personal employment opportunities.

"never underestimate the power of technology to increase productivity"

Two things wrong with that:

1. Wages should still have risen in line with this alleged productivity. They didn't.

2. Like most of your Western brethren you constantly confuse technology with energy. Productivity advanced with mechanization, and mechanization advanced with only with massive increases in energy inputs. Well, that's all over. All the cheap oil was pumped out and burned. Since nothing can replace that oil, then the same industrial actions can't take place, or can't take place at the same costs; often those are the same.

Your Western industrial monster really is over, forever. There simply aren't any dirt-cheap energy sources to fuel it anymore. And it only ran on that sort of cheapness. Nothing can replace cheap oil. Not even the runners up, natural gas and coal. And most certainly, not fission energy sources. That leaves nothing, really. You're not going to put in a hydrological energy exploiter everywhere. You can't afford to scatter solar panels and wind turbines everywhere. You certainly can't afford to put in silly things like wave-action generators. We're stuck. And it's not opinion... it's physics, it's geology, and economics, all rolled into one mind... not your mind. You're either too uneducated, or you're stuck on your ideology; oftentimes they are one and the same problem.

lower, same old, same old from Mr. Empty Glass. You don't even want to get into a discussion of coal. If natural gas prices actually did start to rise significantly, coal gassification would become economically feasible, and the United States has a HUGE known supply of coal! BTW -- Ohio has a significant amount of coal, by itself!
As more and more fossil fuels are discovered and developed, you'll just keep on singing the same tired old tune of pessimism! It is the same, "We're running out of fossil fuels" tune I heard while growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. We were supposed to be out of fossil fuel energy by the 1990s. But they keep finding more! And new technology, which you pooh-pooh, allows us to extract energy in places we could not get that energy 50 years ago. I know that there is a finite amount of fossil fuels. But it seems to be a whole lot more than people thought 50 years ago! And it seems to be a whole lot more than you think there is right now, GZ aka Mr. Empty Glass, even in the face of actual increased sources, increased production, and falling prices. I know that I'll be long gone whenever we actually DO run out of fossil fuels, and you may be long gone, too, GZ aka Mr. Empty Glass!
Inspired by G-MAN, a quote from Churchill seems appropriate for you: "A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty."
You, GZ aka Mr. Empty Glass, are the one who is stuck. It seems that you desire chaos.

Really...does anyone still wonder why I label GZ aka Mr. Empty Glass?

"coal gassification would become economically feasible"

Uh, logic error there, dude. You're just ignoring that the price of energy would have risen. People would be paying more for the same BTUs.

Putting a Plutonium-based RTG in your home to provide heat and electricity is also feasible, according to your so-called logic. The fault there being that such a device costs something like US$100K to US$250K.

The cheap energy days are over, forever. We pumped and shipped and burned all the cheap stuff. That's what the drillers and pumpers did: Find the stuff that was easiest to get to, and was easiest to process. That's all gone.

Oil discoveries still happen, of course. But they peaked in the 1960s. Discoveries have only dwindled since then, but that shouldn't be surprising... it's not the Earth is made of oil. In fact, from a deposit standpoint, oil's fairly limited stuff. Its deposits largely correspond with ancient seas and lakes, hence are made of stratum of ancient algae which became compressed and cooked into oil through geological action. I'm sure ancient wetlands contributed. But again: There were only so many of those. They got pumped through the "oil window" (1.5 to 3.0 miles deep) for the requisite amount of time, and by "time" I mean millions of years. So reproducing those is pretty much cost and time prohibitive.

You might 'think' that "OK smart guy what about drilling deeper for oil, ha ha there's plenty", but deposits that went deep and stayed deep were subject to evaporation. The heat and pressure cooked the petroleum into natural gas, which escaped. So the oil window wasn't given a name just for giggles. It's a critical factor in oil formation.

Anyway, I'm sure all these facts and some figures are making your head hurt. Boomers like you grew up in the prime of the Unholy American Empire. You got the best of everything; the best home and investment returns; the best health insurance and care; the best job and career security. And you grew up and matured during an age that can't be repeated: The Petroleum Age. You matured in an environment that was swimming in cheap energy. The easily availability of untapped petroleum deposits, combined with a mature industrial base, gave you vast inputs of energy. All the cultural documentation shows that; there was this pervasive feeling that there were no limits.

... which is why you're sticking to your (empty) guns and you're blathering on with stupid pseudo-war slogans from long dead despots. Slogans are all your generation has. And I must admit, those slogans will still suit your purposes. After all, it's rare to find a guy in my generation (Gen-X) who understands petro-geology and physics and economics, all rolled up into one basic understanding. My generation is about as bad as yours is, Dale; the only question is, how much of the self-delusion is intentional?

description of technology merely being a sideshow compared to cheap energy is fallacious on its face. As just one example...I can now hold in my hand, or wear on my wrist, a device which can do more millions of applications in a few seconds than the largest, room-sized IBM computers of the 1950s could do in hours. And these little devices can do all of these things using a tiny fraction of the energy those giant computers of old used. The rooms these old dinosaurs of technology were in had to be air-conditioned, (a big use of energy right there), because the giant computers emitted so much heat from the energy they were using. Even the computer systems in all modern transportation vehicles allow these vehicles to operate using less energy than did similar vehicles only a few years ago.
It's truly unfathomable to me that you don't perceive how technology makes the world a more efficient, better place, and increases worker productivity. I guess it's just the difference between being a pessimist and being an optimist.
As Churchill said, "I'm an optimist. It does not seem to be of much use being anything else."

Good old Dale, erecting his straw men.

I didn't say technology was a sideshow. I said that like most of your Western brethren you constantly confuse technology with energy. You came to believe they were one and the same; that increasing technology would just produce more energy.

But they aren't the same. Technology allows better exploitation of existing energy sources, but it can't actually CREATE energy. There's only so much energy out there that can be exploited, and exploited at a certain price. And technology for energy exploitation hasn't been a game of efficiency more than it's been the usual for industry: Economies of scale. That's why we still get fuels and electrons from centralized distributors via their pipe networks and cable networks.

Like most Boomers and Gen-X who have spent most of their time in office-like environments, you really have no idea how industry functions. It's all just some buildings and pipework and cabling that you see off in the distance. You have just no idea how it all works. As far as you're concerned, you pay your utility bill and electrons keep thrusting out of your wiring, or natural gas keeps puffing out of your pipes, or whatnot. It really just gets there by magic, as far as most of you are concerned. And that's clearly a dangerous disconnect.

I leave you now with an ironic observation: Today's data centers are massive producers of heat and often require industrial-strength cooling systems. Feel dumb yet? Well, you should.

You assume that I somehow lived this sheltered life of academia and white collar jobs. Before you comment on others, you should know a little about them.
Among other jobs, I worked in factories, and I worked for the post office doing letter carrying, collecting mail and delivering the mail to the main post office, and "mail handling," which means I unloaded trucks with sacks of mail, reporting to work at 5:40 A.M.
Among the "glamorous" factory duties I had was cleaning and buffing the floors of the executives, and emptying their butt-filled ashtrays. I also worked in Shipping and Receiving in an un-air-conditioned factory in the summer. Inside temperature topped 100 degrees. Yah...I'm part of the "golden class' all right. I just had everything handed to me. I never had to do an honest day's work for an honest day's pay in my life. Keep that fantasy in your head, if it makes you happy!

None of what you post negates ANY of the facts I stated. Same old, same old, Mr. Empty Glass. Just more emptiness!

"You assume that I somehow lived this sheltered life of academia and white collar jobs."

No Dale, I'm pretty much saying of you what Upton Sinclair said of industrialized men in general several generations ago:

'It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.'

Your factory work and letter carrying only took you so far. You're a Boomer and that means all you really know about the economy is that you would always have a job, gasoline was always plentiful, your stock portfolio would always perform, and Social Security would always be there for you. You're really the last pensioned generation this nation will have for a long time. And it's rotted your cognitive faculties.

So what eventually happened to you is the Office Effect, where you slid into a career that was devoid of any significant manual labor, and so you totally forgot the calories, BTUs or Joules that it took to get anything done. It's exactly as I said before: Industry is just some distant set of pipes, cables and buildings; it's far away from you (now even further once you White Flighted to a fucking rural Whiteville) and really is an invisible infrastructure. But the invisibility of physics and chemistry and geology and economics doesn't lessen their impact when the facts and logic of the matter dictate that an impact is coming.

You will likely die in moderate wealth. Your children are less likely to look forward to that for themselves, and your grandkids even less so. You're counting on time to erase my words. Well, time will... but time will bring the events I've talked about regardless. There's only so much oil that can be obtained at certain economic levels of exploitation; and physics, chemistry, geology and economics all dictate that there's nothing that can replace oil.

Now go back to your fucking Whiteville and die and leave the rest of us to deal with the terrible future that your greed and stupidity built for us.

Keep yelling, "The sky is falling," Chicken Little. And keep ignoring the fact that I came from humble roots, that I live in an integrated, lower middle class neighborhood, and that I became well educated while working my way through school. While working those factory jobs, I also worked in retail sales in the evenings! I washed and changed in the back room of my father's store to look presentable in a retail establishment. You know, GZ aka Mr. Empty Glass, here is a quote most often attributed to Thomas Edison, "The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work."
BTW -- Both my son and my daughter also have baccalaureate degrees and jobs as professionals. They both worked while going to college, too. They both have private sector jobs, and they both have stock investments. My children are doing just fine, thanks. And I expect that my grandchildren will do fine as well. I repeat here what Churchill stated so well so many years ago, "I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else." You, GZ aka Mr. Empty Glass prefer being "anything else."

A growing population, with less workers producing more goods, is good news for who? The American work force? The evil rich CEOs? Where I worked, technology helped reduce the number of workers from 4K, to around 900 people. All these so called advances, haven't lowered prices of durable goods, either. US goods, not the cheap Chicom imports, to be specific.
Who are you trying to impress with this:" primary grammatic reference material,"? You do not impress me.

more Americans with higher education, and/or technical education. The best jobs for today and tomorrow need people who are qualified to do the jobs. Even in the depths of The Great Recession, there were firms advertising skilled and/or technical positions for which they could not find qualified candidates.
In case you haven't noticed, G-MAN, the unemployment rate has been on a slow, sometimes painfully slow, steady decline since the peak in October, 2009, from 10.0% down to 5.8% currently. But, as ZC stated well, Obama gets no credit for this.

This is totally unrelated to anything else here. It is also insignificant to me. But, you were the one, G-MAN, who first made reference to a nearly 100 year old grammar text in order to belittle me. I can't remember ever commenting about anyone's use of grammar on this cite. I don't really care about it!

You used to pull that crap to trash DTOM, every chance you had. That is, when you weren't correcting his spelling. Nobody is trying to belittle you. I just prefer reading stylish English as opposed to overly pedantic English, like all reasonable and decent people do. Calling people names, telling them they ignore "facts", and using "questionable" statistics all the time, is no way to go through life--IMHO. Unless you want to bore us to death.

the opinions of others, G-MAN. I am also sorry that these facts upset you so. In addition, I am sorry that you find my using facts in my posts make my posts, in your opinion, "pedantic." I guess they appear to be that way because I use as many facts as I can, rather than merely ramble on with opinions only.
On the other hand, questioning your statistics is a reasonable debating technique. Are you not used to having anyone question your opinions,especially when you throw out statistics which are often specious, or argumentative at best?
Sorry, but I will continue to use facts to support my opinions. If you like "stylish" writing in your non-fiction reading material, I would recommend Churchill's 6 volume series on World War II. His writing style was positively mesmerizing to me! Of course, he does cite a LOT of facts!

I have the Churchill series, but there are only two volumes in a nice case, and a bakelite 33 1/3 rpm record comes with it, containing some of his more well known speeches.

IMHO -- Churchill was an unparalleled master of the English language.
And, many can analyze world events, but few can predict them. Churchill correctly foresaw the rise of Russian power under Stalin following World War II. He tried to convince FDR not to trust Stalin, but FDR had too much faith in his ability to handle the man he labeled Uncle Joe.
For example, Churchill felt that the main invasive thrust in Europe should come through what he termed "the soft underbelly" of Europe, through Greece and the Balkan Peninsula. No small concern on Churchill's part, was to cut off the Russian army invading from the East, so that the Russians could not enslave Eastern Europe. But FDR insisted on the cross-channel invasion.
IMHO -- Churchill was right; FDR was wrong. And the world, especially the people of Eastern Europe, paid an enormously heavy price for what may have appeared at the time to be a rather minor difference of opinion.
Churchill stated so many highly quotable things. When questioned in the House of Commons about his willingness to partner with Stalin after the Nazi invasion of Russian-controlled Poland, and, subsequently, Russia itself, Churchill stated, "I would make a pact with the devil himself to defeat Adolph Hitler."
Don't get me started on Churchill. I have a hard time stopping, G-MAN.

I saw a program on the History Channel, that mentioned Roosevelt had a documentary made in 1942, showing how great life was under Stalin.

made to make FDR's decision to ally with Stalin look good to the American public. In reality, Stalin was a mass murderer on the scale of Hitler and the Nazis. Russians have never been known for keeping good records, (unlike the Germans), but Stalin may actually have had more people killed by his orders than Hitler did by his. It's truly frightening that these two maniacs were in charge of two of the most powerful nations of that era at the same time!
BTW -- Churchill had the best, short description of Hitler I have ever read. He called Hitler, "A maniac of ferocious genius."

Here's a question to ponder. Suppose WW2 started in the middle of the 1940's, instead of 1939. The Germans AND the Russians would have nearly unlimited funds to develop nuclear weapons with. Would they have used them against each other, or the Allies?

see below (getting too skinny here)

I "trashed" his grammar. I believe I stuck to "trashing" his opinions. Other posters may have attacked his grammar. But, of course, to you, all of us liberals are interchangeable.

I know how much you both HATE facts. They get in the way of your opinions, after all.

I am linking to an article about Great Britain's refinancing some of its bonds. These include some bonds that were issued in 1720! You read that right. 1720! Almost 300 years ago! SSOOO, GZ aka Mr. Empty Glass -- A nation can prosper greatly even with a long term debt. The most prosperous times for the British Empire were for over 200 years following the bailout of a private company, the South Sea Company, in 1720. Whether you or I like it or not, when a great nation incurs a large (for those times) debt because it bails out private investors, the result often is economic stabilization and prosperity.
Here's the link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/28/world/that-debt-from-1720-britains-pay...

Nobody on this forum talks down to people the way you do, and I mean NOBODY.

If that is "talking down," I guess that's what I do. I know that facts often stand in the way of firmly held opinions.

We often disagree, but we do have areas of agreement, G-MAN. Whatever, I still wish you a Merry Christmas and wish for you and all you hold dear a healthy, Happy New Year.

I paid $1.55 per gallon.

of Communism and the Russian hordes to frighten the German people. Keep in mind, Hitler's political party was the clear winner in the 1933 German elections. Just because they were both evil dictators does not mean that Hitler and Stalin trusted each other enough to not use any weapon in their arsenal against each other.
From what I've read, Stalin trusted almost nobody. That's why he purged the military after he fully established power. Stalin lived under the constant fear that he would be overthrown by military officers. So, he had nearly every experienced senior officer from World War I killed or exiled to the Gulag. Ironically, the army purges caused the Russians to suffer from a significant lack of experienced military leaders when war with Germany broke out. This was a major factor in the early advances of the German armies against the Russians.
As for Hitler, he viewed all Slavic people as racially inferior to the Aryan race he claimed to lead, even though he failed to have stereotypical Aryan features himself. Hitler held the lives of Slavs in such low regard, that it is difficult to imagine Hitler having any reason to not use any weapon he had in his arsenal against the Russians. Hitler actually liked the British people. He felt that they were mostly Anglo-Saxon, and thereby were similar in race to the Aryan Germans. That's racism to the extreme.
Look. Stalin wanted the allies to invade Europe and move toward Germany in 1943 at the latest. He knew that an invasion on the West Coast of Europe would force the Germans to move many thousands of troops away from the Eastern Front, fighting the Russians. Stalin felt that a major factor as to why the allies kept delaying the invasion from the West, was because the U.S. and the U.K. were more than happy to have the Germans and the Russians killing each other by the hundreds of thousands. Stalin was also aware that the Russians had had over 5 million people killed fighting the Germans and their allies in World War I. I can't believe that Stalin would hold back using nuclear weapons against the Germans he both hated and feared so much.
Please keep in mind, that even if we both believe that nuclear weapons would have been used by the Germans against any and all of our allies; and even if we both believe that Stalin would have had no problem using nuclear weapons against the U.S. and any or all of our allies; the bottom line is that the only nation to ever use nuclear weapons against another country in war, against both military and civilian targets, is the United States!

Well, the US was also the ONLY country that had nukes. If Stalin and Hitler had them, WW2 would have started with nukes, instead of ending with them.

Almost certainly!

My assessment shows that the best and the brightest are born in India.

Try South East Asia for the brightest, followed by Europe as the best. You need to get out more.

A little advice, because I enjoy verbally sparring with you...look on a world map BEFORE you post.

I took from his post the brightest people are coming out of SE Asia. Not that India was in SE Asia.

MikeyA

Right! India is part of Asia. India isn't in SE Asia. And I'll bet mr. apparatchik stayed as far away from SE Asia as he possibly could, if you know what I mean(hahahaha).

Your original post stated "South Asia."

BTW -- Some of the most intelligent people I know personally are from India, or are the progeny of those from India. The son of a couple who are among our closest friends graduated with honors from Harvard, got one Masters degree from the London School of Economics, and a second masters from a prestigious French university. Yes, all of those graduate classes were in French. He's fluent. His father was an engineer who traveled the world overseeing projects...not exactly chopped liver, himself. More importantly to me, they and the mother of the family are among the nicest people I have ever met. But, hey. Never allow facts to get in the way of your opinions. Keep those stereotypes. They comfort you, I know.

statement about how bright people in "Southeast" Asia, [as you have now edited it], are, would be correct, explain why, with all of its problems over the years including the second largest population in the world, India's per capita GDP is higher than that of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia -- all "Southeast" Asian nations?
Here's a link to the list. Once again, I apologize for introducing actual factual material into a debate that so many prefer we argue on ideology and/or gut feelings.
http://www.indexmundi.com/map/?v=67&r=as&l=en

I do not need a list, to know JAPAN is part of SE Asia. Ever hear of the "SE Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere"? A group of countries(including one you mentioned) headed by the Japanese Empire at one time. And of course Japan is today a leading economic power, even though a democrat orderd TWO A-bombs dropped on it. Just ask your liberal friends(family members) who drive road oilers built either in Japan, of under license here. The next idiotic claim of yours will be Japanese students and graduates are imbeciles compared to Hindi ones. You little fact-avoider, you! And another thing, I edit myself all the time after I check out my "Strunk and White".

off of the NORTHEAST coast of Asia. Now, Japan or any other nation, may be a member of any organization which will accept them. The United States was a member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) from 1955-1977. Is the United States considered to be a Southeast Asian nation? By your standards we are, G-MAN!

I know that you, "do not need a list," because you have your skewed opinions to rely upon! I truly am sorry that you do not like the facts I present. I humbly apologize for using these facts, G-MAN.

BTW -- Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. It has often been the highest rate in the world, and is still in the top ten. Here's a link to yet more facts. Again, I apologize for using factual material to reinforce my statements, instead of just ideology and/or gut feelings.
http://en.rocketnews24.com/2015/01/17/2014-suicide-rates-in-japan-down-m...

what you do, is post a bunch of irrelevant and asinine crap. Japan(a small group of islands) didn't join the SE Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, IT CREATED IT! Only someone on your level, would TRY to make a point that because the US belongs to an Asian specific organization, that I would think that meant the US was a part of Asia? What do suicide rates have to do with anything? What you should "humbly" apologize for, is your inability to write anything resembling a coherent post. I hope "last call" gets here ASAFP!

and others. It was an effort to prevent Communist expansion into more of Asia. But that's not even the point. As usual, you missed the point.
Japan's creation of a Southeast Asian organization does NOT place Japan in Southeast Asia any more than creating a Southeast Asian organization places the United States in Southeast Asia. Is that clear enough, or should I try to explain it on a 4th grade level for you?!
For heaven's sake, look at a map, G-MAN!

And, do you even know the definition of schlemiel? According to Merriam Webster, it means, "An unlucky bumbler. Chump." That does seem to fit one who ignores facts better than one who uses facts to support his arguments. But, I'll let readers here decide who is more likely the "schlemiel" in this exchange.

Japanese in general, and Japanese men in particular, are under so much pressure to succeed in life that they often commit suicide rather than look like a failure to their family and/or community. That pressure pushes many Japanese to succeed, but can also be a burden too great for many to bear.
I choose our society over theirs. You are free to choose their life style, G-MAN.

Suicide in Japan is and has been culturally accepted and approved way of dying for centuries.

This is common a common trait of "honor" cultures. Such was true of most of Europe during the Enlightenment. If one was in debt and unable to pay it was considered honorable to kill oneself to save the family the dishonor of being unable to pay. If I recall correctly it was a major theme of The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas.

Japanese suicide is not linked to financial or societal failure but rather the concept of dishonor and it's honor culture.

MikeyA

Suicide as a reaction to failure goes back thousands of years in Japan, and they had special daggers for the process. But, I'm not going to tell you the word the Japanese call this--I'll let you look it up. Actually, there are two names for the process. Now, get to work.

And where again is Japan located?

Not until you tell me something about Japan, and its connection with suicide. I am tired of your "bait and switch" antics.

So Japan is located where?

"Not until you tell me something about Japan, and its connection with suicide. I am tired of your "bait and switch" antics.".

know that suicide is deeply ingrained in Japan. It is not, however, something the Japanese political leadership flaunts. Below is a link to an article which shows how the Japanese government is trying to slash the rate of suicide in Japan. According to the article, both Japan and South Korea are struggling with the "cultural resistance" to addressing this as a mental health issue.
Here's the link to this article: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/04/japan-vows-suicide-rate-cut...

So, you two may believe that suicide in Japan is somehow acceptable. Apparently, the government of Japan and that of South Korea both disagree. One point the article makes is that a small percentage of the suicides fit within the ancient tradition of "honor." But, go ahead, you two, embrace it!

And, G-MAN, if the Japanese are so naturally intelligent, what explains the decades long stagnation of the Japanese economy after many were predicting back in the 1990s, that Japan's economy would surpass that of the U.S.? Here's another link. This one deals with Japan's slow economic growth since 1980! http://www.tradingeconomics.com/japan/gdp-growth

Once again, I deeply and sincerely apologize for introducing factual information into this discussion. I know that many of you would much rather argue based upon ideology, gut feelings, and stereotypes. I try, as best I can, to base my opinions upon actual facts.

It's been culturally accepted for centuries but all of a sudden you think it's due to mental health? Seriously? Show me a point in modern time where Japan DIDN'T lead the world in suicide and Will concede your point. Unless. If you think Japanese have higher rates of mental health issues, which is an entirely different subject.

MikeyA

Your argument is not with me. It's with the Japanese government.

And, now, I will include a link, [of course, I can't guarantee that you will actually read it], to an article and the listing which shows that Japan, while still in the top ten, does NOT CURRENTLY lead the world in the rate of suicide. It is dated 9-25-14. According to this list, Japan is only(?) #7. The nation which has the dubious honor of leading the world in the rate of suicide is Lithuania. Isn't that in Europe? Interesting that other countries in the top ten include Belarus, Slovenia, Hungary, and Latvia. Aren't these also countries in Europe? Oh, and the article states that mental illness and drug abuse are "well established" as leading causes of suicide.
Here's the link: http://www.therichest.com/rich-list/the-biggest/10-countries-with-the-hi...

From your source: "Many factors play into the reasons why, like economic hardship, societal pressure and depression accounting for the top three reasons. Furthermore, Japan has a very long tradition of committing honourable suicide, and as such, societal attitudes towards taking one's own life are less frowned upon than those of many other nations. In fact, when one's honour is shattered, suicide is actually deemed a “morally responsible” option, making stopping the problem, especially when economic failure and mounting societal pressures are involved, a difficult task."

Maybe you'd be better seeing it in picture form.
Suicides

As you can see, yes other countries have experienced times where they've been ahead of Japan but Japan is always at the top even as it's population has significantly declined. 7 out of 175 nations (a low-ball of countries) puts it in the top 5% and it does not have the abject poverty of many of those other countries.

TL/DR: Japan is not a blip on the radar, it's consistently at the top of suicides.

MikeyA

time! TL/DR? Guess you read it now!
And your quotation underlines my point! As you quoted it, "...economic hardship, societal pressure, and depression accounting for the top three." So, "honourable suicide," is NOT among the top three reasons for suicide in Japan. Thanks!
My LATEST information, showing Japan ranking 7th in the world, was from 9/25/ 2014! In the chart you reproduce here, there are many years when Japan was NOT the leading nation in suicide per 100,000 population. And you stated in your previous post, "Show me a point in modern time where Japan DIDN'T lead the world in suicide and WILL concede your point." Your chart, and my latest information show several such "point(s) in modern time..." Awaiting your concession on this issue.

Finally, I NEVER stated that Japan was a "blip on the radar" in the area of suicide rate. As you do so often, you seem to skim over what I write. I stated clearly that suicide has long been a serious problem in Japan. In fact, THAT EXACT POINT was made by my original post on this topic: "Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. It has often been the highest rate in the world, and is still in the top ten." My admonition was and is: is this a part of Japanese culture that G-MAN wants to emulate, since he seems to admire Japan so much? You, Mikey, injected yourself into the discussion, and you seem to have taken up his banner.

With all of our faults, I prefer American culture and traditions to those of Japan. But, you and G-MAN are free to prefer their ways. That's, after all, part of our tradition of pluralism, one of the pillars upon which the American society is built!

Finally, I'm wondering why you refer to the growth, or lack thereof, of Japan's population in this matter. Do you ever read what you write yourself before you click on "Save?" The numbers, in fact, reflect RATES PER 100,000 population; therefore the mere size of population would have no effect upon the RATE PER 100,000. Remember, as of this past September, the highest suicide rate is in Lithuania. Lithuania's population is about 3.3 million, while that of Japan is over 127 million!

As you can see from the chart Japan is always at the top of suicide rates... so they are always leading the world. I didn't say they were the world leader meaning #1 but they are always at the top. From your source South Korea is also at the top for the same reason.

"economic hardship, societal pressure, and depression accounting for the top three" Depression is always the root cause of suicide. Always. People who are not depressed do not consider it. But you'll note of all the countries in your source all but Japan and South Korea experience rampant devastating poverty. Yet those two do not and are consistently at the top. (South Korea less so than Japan).

What sets those two apart is the honor culture that runs through their society.

I refer to Japan's population because generally as populations decline you see significant changes in many human geography aspects... suicide being one. But with Japan, as the chart I cited shows, the suicide rate has remained relatively stable with no significant peaks or valleys. Lithuania's spike came amidst the fall of the Soviet Union which caused their rate to spike so there we have a significant human geography change that has had an affect on the suicide rate. Japan's rate remains relatively stable in boom/bust, political change, etc.

MikeyA

words. I did quote you exactly and precisely, however: "...lead the world..." Those are your words, not mine. To me, leading is not 7th place nor even 2nd place; it's 1st place. But, that's my point of view. If the powers that be take your interpretation of "leading the world" at the next Olympics, I guess they should give out many more gold medals!

With all due respect, your argument seems to be, not with me, but with the government of Japan. They are trying to slash the rate of suicide. And they have been somewhat successful in doing so, by emphasizing treating those with mental health issues, whatever they state their reasons for contemplating suicide are. So, Mikey, keep arguing with the Japanese government about this!

So, in your view, Lithuania's spike in the suicide rate, "...came amidst the fall of the Soviet Union." I have one BIG problem with that statement, Mikey. The statistics placing Lithuania at the top of the suicide rate listing, "leading the world," if you will, were published in September of 2014. The Soviet Union fell MORE THAN 20 YEARS BEFORE THIS!! That's one LLOONNGG "peak," Mikey! And, of those European nations listed in the top ten in suicide rates to which I referred specifically, Lithuania, Slovenia, Belarus, Latvia, and Hungary, none are victims of, what you call: "...rampant, devastating poverty." Once again, you seem to only skim my post. looking for debate fodder rather than looking for the whole truth.

As I stated, "...our tradition of pluralism," is one of the "...pillars upon which American society is built." I believe in studying ALL world cultures and, like you, I believe that there are, "...things we can learn from it..." To me, more than any other single factor, America's pluralism sets America apart and above the other cultures in the world. We have a significant number of Asians living in America, including those of Japanese backgrounds. Their being here, enriches American society. Most of those who come to America from other lands, come here to take part in our more open society, and respect our diversity.

Almost all of those who live permanently in Japan are Asian, overwhelmingly Japanese, for example. That would seem to be G-MAN's ideal. He has professed that he believes in the less mixing of different peoples the better. If I'm not misinterpreting you here, Mikey, you and I share the belief in America having and encouraging cultural diversity, and getting to know other peoples and their cultures.

And, as ISIS continues to migrate here, I hope you are among the first to be "enriched" by their presence.

If you recall....Lithuania's spike in suicides occurred in 1995. This occurred after resulting unemployment spiked when removed from the Soviet Union's planned economy. The number has remained high ever since and has seen other spikes following other economic problems like the Russian economic collapse of 1998 and the 2009 world economic recession.

http://www.ilovelithuania.com/profiles/blogs/why-lithuanian-suicide-rates

"‘The only new thing independence brought to rural Lithuania was unemployment. Everything else is the same: poor infrastructure, a lack of social services, alcoholism…’ A third of Lithuanians live in rural communities, where poverty levels are three times higher than in urban areas. Half of the population do not have a shower or indoors toilet, and only 25% have running water. The mortality rate is 75%400, 000 young people have left the countryside since 1990, according to a study by the European commission on poverty and social exclusion in rural Lithuania."

MikeyA

list, Lithuania ranks #49. This places them ahead of 142 other countries! These "others" include Russia. While that hardly makes Lithuania an economic success story, it also does not meet your description of having, "rampant, devastating poverty." The article to which you link, is on a blog, ilovelithuania. That does show a certain bias in the way in which that information is presented. FYI -- One of my grandfathers was born and raised in pre-WWI Lithuania, when Lithuania was a province within the Russian Empire. He lived in Vilnius before emigrating some time shortly before WWI.
Back in the 1990s, while my wife and I were on vacation on Cape Cod, we ran into a couple who were from the former Soviet Union. They were bemoaning the fact that they and others from there, had gained "...too much freedom!" They spoke of how easy it is to live in an absolute dictatorship, because there are so many fewer decisions to make. This mindset helps to explain those who join cults and radical movements to me. They like having others make decision for them, sometimes even life and death decisions!

Thank you, Mikey for actually doing some research and quoting actual factual information. Unlike some others who post here, you do not pooh-pooh facts. You deal with them. It is up to those who read here to decide whose interpretation of the facts presented by us both, are more nearly representative of reality.

Mikey -- Ever see the play or movie Rashomon? It is a great piece of fiction based upon a story of Japanese origin, about three eye-witnesses to a heinous crime. It is fascinating to observe the differences in each of their points of view, and what the writer puts forth as the "real story." I know that you would appreciate it, Mikey, if you haven't seen it or read it already.

"If I'm not misinterpreting you here, Mikey, you and I share the belief in America having and encouraging cultural diversity, and getting to know other peoples and their cultures." You are correct in this representation of my views.

MikeyA

Thanks.

For your other point I do not prefer Asian ways or honor culture over American culture. I recognize there are things we can learn from it and ways that ours is superior. I respect the difference but I jumped on the suicide line because I've heard in several circles people jump on the heightened suicide rate as a way to discredit Japanese and other Asian ways of thought. Western society was at one time deeply rooted in honor culture even during the enlightenment. To discredit any ideals or thoughts from Japan or elsewhere because of suicidal ideations are a way to be willfully ignorant (I'm not accusing you of that though Dale, just others who have used the statistic).

MikeyA

" I know that suicide is deeply ingrained in Japan." That is all you had to say. What's with the two and a half paragraph "tap dance" that you followed up with? Besides trying to appear more intelligent than 99% of the Earths' population, that is. BTW, if nobody moved it, Japan is in the Pacific Ocean.

still facts! I am NOT trying to "appear (sic) intelligent." I am using facts. Your criticism reminds me of when Harry Truman was campaigning for POTUS in 1948 and someone yelled to him, "Give 'em hell. Harry!" Truman replied, "I just tell the truth and they think it's hell."

So now you being along Harry Truman, as a tap dance partner?

set you free!"

Well, it seems to have made a prisoner of you.

ideology and/or gut feelings, as you seem to be.

As Jefferson stated so well, "The man who fears no truths has nothing to fear from lies."

How many slaves did THIS liberal own?

Nice debate technique, G-MAN!

Let's try the bible this time, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." While there are several different but similar versions, each is attributed to Jesus. Have any criticisms of HIM?

Only that HE is long overdue to return. This den of iniquity we call The Earth needs a thorough house cleaning. I suspect most human beings, including myself, might not be happy with the result.

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