Travis Higgins Rick: There is nothing rude about your comment. And there is nothing wrong with cheap natural gas. That also doesn't mean we shouldn't invest in renewable sources with low carbon footprints. Just because we have compact discs, doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to create .mp3's.
Travis Higgins Joseph, thanks for the reply. My point is that Khamenei's survival instinct and a new Presidential administration may breath new life into Iran's negotiations. I expect Khamenei to be equally as committed to nuclear energy but possibly more flexible on the terms. As far as the Knesset goes, I think a strong domestic agenda will dampen aggressive "red line" talk and the likelihood of a preemptive strike.
Travis Higgins There's a ton of money to be had and more importantly there is a ton of value to be had. The industry is here to stay, players may rise&fall and the monetization tactics will undoubtedly morph. Investors only need to realize HOW to invest and better understand the space. Twitter seems to be building slowly and keeping expectations dampened.
Travis Higgins Christine, thanks for your relaying for your very personal experience. I grew up in a Republican household before I had any real cognition of politics. All I can remember is generally positive things being said about Reagan. Those times are easily forgotten when you listen to the current "voice of the party".
Travis Higgins We have spent greater than 25% (federal, state, local) every year since then. If you are referring only to federal spending - then there definitely is a pattern of around 20%. If you compare the following two charts (1) total: http://bit.ly/S3RzQZ) and (2) fed only: http://bit.ly/QUtk6P - you'll see that the real sustained increase in spending since the 1950's has been at the state/local level. Unfortunately, this doesn't neatly fit with the Reckless Federal Spending narrative. As of now,our exceptionalism is a thing of the past. We can either choose to make investments or we can continue to fall behind. We can choose to continue the bad trends in wealth inequality and upward mobility - or we can do something to stop it.
Travis Higgins You state our historical inability to "survive and thrive" on 25% GDP spending has a reality, but there is no evidence to prove it. We have had a surplus in the last several decades. Our economy became the strongest in the world during decades when we spend 25%+. Our debt/unemployment crisis is the RESULT of a financial crisis - and not the cause of anything we face now. The problem over the past several decades has not been HOW MUCH we are spending but WHAT we are spending it on.
Travis Higgins Obama's ability to "use" the populous to shame Boehner and the Republicans is limited. He has had to toe the line between exposing the Republican's obstruction tactics and being a leader "above the fray". By his own admission he is surprised as to the LACK of public outcry over GOP behavior. I blame this on the ignorance, short attention span, and limited civic involvement of our voting public. In regards to the budget negotiations, I only know what I've read on the matter. Have you seen a more thorough account than Matt Bai's (http://nyti.ms/PArt3K)? It is hard for me to take your feedback on Obama's budget seriously. Why, in your opinion was it so flawed? Also, the stimulus signed under Obama is included in the numbers I stated.
Travis Higgins Proof is an elusive term. What we know are the results-to-date (for this crisis) and I've stated them as best I can. What we also know are the patterns/results from previous crises. In regards to your "what-if", I can only answer in this way. I believe growth is the fastest, least damaging method to resolve our current crisis. An analogy I could use is that there are two roads to get from A --> B. Growth is the more direct route (shorter distance) on a paved road. Austerity is the longer route on a gravel road that will damage our "car" along the way. In addition, the fact that our recovery has been shaky (albeit real) is proof to me that our actions have been insufficient (not damaging). In the U.S., we need to improve our competitiveness.
Travis Higgins Max, Marriage is more than just a "religion'd up" form of a legal contract. It is a cultural institution/norm. To be able to call your significant other your spouse or to be able to say you're married represents something culturally that a domestic partner does not. Your same argument could've been made in support of a "negro" water fountain. The fact that gay marriage has been routinely voted down is exactly THE REASON that this decision belongs in the government/legal realm. Minority rights usually does not come from popular vote, especially if the majority (Christians) see it as damaging to their way of life.
Travis Higgins Long overdue reforms would include financial regulation and adding the "stroke" behind the common currency (ease of making EU-wide decisions monetary and otherwise). For your timeline argument, results are results. Especially when the source can be so easily linked to a set of controlled factors/policy decisions. Safety nets are needed exactly for contractions such as the one world faced in 2008 (the depth of which I don't accept as inevitable). The immediate questions is where to bear the burden - those with less or those with the most. The systemic reforms that may be needed to prevent future crisis are worth debating - only if we can agree to not eat our young to get through the winter (while people hoard food all around us).
Travis Higgins Tee-ball, thanks Gary. Do you know why those people "hop in their car"? Because we pay 63% less for gas than world average (2010 data including oil-rich, heavily subsidized countries). Even more telling is that we pay less than 87% of the countries where the data was available. Of course, a gas tax is a "regressive" tax. My idea wouldn't be to dramatically increase the tax on day 1 but instead to create incentives for companies while phasing in consumer taxes so that - in the end - gas prices are higher AND alternatives are available. Those people who choose or can pay the premium for the individualism of the open road will do so. God bless America.
Travis Higgins Max, The bubble was caused by Greenspan's Put and many independent actors (corporations, gov't entities, and individuals). A lack of oversight did play a role, particularly in the areas of bonus structure (encouraging risk-taking) and the collusion of rating agencies with the people and securities they were supposed to be rating (not to mention the regulatory arbitrage achieved by the shadow banking sector). That being said, the greatest impact has been the size of the "crater" left behind from the bubble bursting. This has a direct link to deregulation and the resulting pervasiveness of toxic assets.
Travis Higgins John, Your "austerity isn't fun" comment is eerily reminiscent of crack-pot doctors that prescribed lobotomies, leeches, or shock therapy in our not so distant past. It represents the thinking that the correction (the medicine) is a necessary evil and that we most atone for our spending sins. This is emotionally compelling but scientifically and logically void. There should be a Hippocratic oath for economics/finance - first, do no harm to the masses (oath doesn't apply to special interests).
Travis Higgins How about losers such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Electric, General Motors and their myriad list of suppliers? How about Apple, Microsoft, etc.? Should I continue? Education: We led the world in education but we've fallen behind. It is not as if we have prospered as long as we have through sheer ignorance. Infrastructure: High-Speed Rail
Travis Higgins Everything else he said about deregulation was drivel as well. Let's remind ourselves: A financial crises triggered a debt and unemployment crisis. The unemployment crisis has been slow to be solved because we have lost our international competitiveness (hollowed out, outsourced economy) and our domestic consumption is not enough to sap the excess capacity. The financial crisis was caused primarily by deregulation and bubble-forming monetary policy (http://www.amazon.com/GREENSPANS-BUBBLES-IGNORANCE-FEDERAL-RESERVE/dp/0071591583).
Travis Higgins Nonsense, do you really think this is an excellent video? What a way to start it off, "spending money on things that don't need to be done" is not a way to improve standards of living....no...you're kidding? What about rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure? And building new infrastructure (i.e. broadband connectivity). What about investing in R&D, educating more engineers and scientists, and taking other steps to remain competitive in the world economy? Investments with diffuse profit opportunities (or a long ROI) are not the kind we should expect from the private market.