October 5, 2010 at 8:37 pm #167562
Thanks for pointing the generalizations Rob. Believe it or not, there are some engineers that do have an eye for the aesthetic. I worked for a Civil who placed equal value in the appearance and feel of place as he did about making the site work.
And anyone who can see into the future is in the wrong line of work if you’re an LA.
But I will stick my neck out and say that the US has lot of work to do. We need to address decaying schools, transportation solutions, numerous environmental concerns, shrinking cities, outdated or crumbling infrastructure, affordable housing, on and on. As far as I’m concerned, all of this points to the possibility of a very promising future for Landscape Architects.
As I have stated in previous posts, LAs are just taking a beating like everyone else. Believe me I completely understand the despair that some people are feeling. I started my own practice in 2008 and it’s been extremely tough living hand to mouth. But I’ve convinced myself that this storm is not going to last forever and that I will be a better person when it finally does come to an end.
The best advice to anyone that’s having a hard time coping with these trying times is to limit the amount of news you watch on TV. I’ve found that I have my bluest days are when I’m checking the TV for some good economic news that just doesn’t come.
I can’t see into the future, but I will bet the US will bounce back from this funk just like we have in the past.October 5, 2010 at 9:39 pm #167561
Thomas J. JohnsonParticipant
I have to question the thinking of anyone who believes that our way out of this mess is through expanding the government and raising taxes. They’ve done such a great job with what they had, lets give them more!
For purposes of not just economic prosperity but for national security, we need to bring jobs home. The United States needs to be self-sufficient enough that if the rest of the world goes to hell, we can carry on with life as usual. Right now we are too dependent on other countries to produce our goods and that puts us in compromising position.
We have the highest corporate tax rate of any developed nation and then we wonder why all of our jobs have gone oversees. If we want to create jobs and be an independent nation, we need to encourage companies to do business within the United States. Designing, resources, manufacturing and distribution. Get it all back under one umbrella. It may seem counter intuitive, but we need to lower taxes for both individuals and corporations if we want to get cash flowing again. Yes, that means the government is going to have to cut the fat, just like the rest of us.October 5, 2010 at 10:01 pm #167560
Can you point me towards some actual data that would indicate lower taxes would actually help anything? I’m not being argumentative, it just seems to me that the reason jobs are overseas is because ‘consumers’ can consume products produced overseas for significantly less than products made in the USA due to labor costs.
Out of the whole cost of producing a product aren’t taxes are a small percentage compared to labor and materials?
Furthermore, say individual taxes were lower, that just gives people more money to spend on cheap imported crap.
It just doesn’t add up. The problem is that people are not willing to pay the true cost of the goods they feel they need. Though I couldn’t agree more that we need to maintain the possibility of becoming a self sufficient country…October 5, 2010 at 11:34 pm #167559
Wow! Baby boomers are equated with the ‘top one percent” ?? I don’t think so! Mark Zuckerberg is 26! I am 53, I was born in 1957, I am at the tail end of the baby boom, and there has been nothing easy at any step of the way, including the Reagan recession of 1987=1990, that basically killed the job market for us newly minted MLA’s in the late eighties..
Second, it has been Proven, over and over, that one dollar in tax cuts brings in 1.06 worth of economic benefit, whereas that same one dollar given to the government generate 1.86 of economc value..Yu can look it up – no-one argues that point – the latest projection for fiscal health from the CBO ranked tax cuts as LAST..
We have suffered tremendously from LACK of government, in the past twenty years, continous cost-cutting, staff-cutting, and giving the money to the rich, cutting their taxes..This resulted DIRECTLY in the Gulf Oil Spill debacle, not to mention the melt-down of wall street, due to lax oversight…Lax oversigh, lax government regulators, have cost the WORLD!!! I don’t know how or where you jump onto this timeframe and decide that we have TOO MUCH government – I just don’t see it at all…Glass Steagall needs to be re-imposed, the FDA needs to be funded to regulate food safety, the EPA to regulate enviormental health..All this has been defunded, led to the multilimbed octopus that is goldmand sachs sucking the life money out of society for the few..And continuous enviormental degradation..
How ANYONE can think we need less government, you must have been a baby when Obama was elected..It is just factually inaccurate..
We need less privatization of the military, so THAT money doesn’t go into private hands, less WAR in general, so we are not killing people, and MORE social contract, social responsiblity, for better schools, better libraries, better parks..
What sort of society do you want to reduce us to – Lord of the Flies? The NRA has enough control, the right-to lifers enough damage to womens rights..It’s enough!!!
The fascists are the private companies, like the Koch brothers oil companies, manipulating idiots like Christine Oconnell to support LESS regulation of their INDUSTRIES and more plundering of the public trust, for their own personal PROFIT!!!
whew!!!What ARE your reading, to think that we have suffered from TOO MUCH governance? It’s absurd..The spaniards are rioting over changing the retirement age to 62 – our is ALREADY at 67, because so many fools have been duped into thinking they will be Bill Gates, if just given enough freedom! Freedom!
I say lets give the check-out people, the taxi drivers, the small restaurant owners and employees, a national healh plan, so they feel like they are OK in their jobs – because we NEED them to be ok in their jobs!!!!!
But it is hardly worth arguing..Most people don’t deviate, and ‘facts have a noticeably liberal bias’ as Stephen Colbert says..
See you on Oct. 30 at the National Mall, if you want to get a grip on reality..October 6, 2010 at 1:27 am #167558
Nicely put Trace One. I graduated from school in 1989 and it was really tough to find a job because of Reaganomics.
I don’t necessarily agree with some liberal folks that want a complete redistribution of wealth. Eat the rich and all of that crazy stuff. But there is definitely something wrong when CEOs are running companies into the ground and leaving with ridiculously huge compensation packages. Meanwhile working stiffs and some shareholders are out on the street.
I feel that if a person works hard and takes a chance of losing their money in investments, they should reap the benefits when they are successful. It wouldn’t be a good idea to take away the incentive for people to invest their money. It’s just unfair for someone taking home 2 or 3 million dollars a year to get a tax break on their personal income. I’m not the smartest guy on the planet, but it makes since to me that if you make more money then you should pay more in taxes. I have no problem paying proportionally more taxes than someone who makes less money than I do.
I have always had an open mind and listened to candidates on both sides. But these Palin, Paladino and O’Donnell characters are scary, because they actually have an army of idiots behind them. Are some Americans so afraid of progress (or change) that they’ve lost their common sense? I have friends and in-laws from other countries and its embarrassing having to explain the nuttiness that’s going on.October 6, 2010 at 4:21 am #167557
Hey Trace One, try this: apply to one job a day on USA Jobs and buy a lottery ticket everyday. You’ll be cashing your mega millions check before you get a job with the EPA/Forest Service/National Parks/whatever gov organization is on USA jobs. Landscape architects simply do not have the technical background that these government agencies desire. If they did we wouldn’t have nearly as much trouble finding jobs. Not to mention the fact that it is IMPOSSIBLE to get a job off of USAJobs.
P.S. Can you please give me a job???October 6, 2010 at 4:24 am #167556
Thomas J. JohnsonParticipant
Trace One – Your rant is so disjointed I don’t even know where to begin.
Lets start with jobs. The government doesn’t CREATE jobs. They may employ people but that is just redistributing tax dollars. Private enterprise, entrepreneurs, creates jobs. The majority of Americans work for small businesses. Making it easier to start businesses and allowing people to keep more of their money, will support those businesses. Do you really rely on the CBO to tell you if we should cut taxes or not? Using that train of thought we should ask BP if we need more environmental protection regulations…
The financial meltdown was not due to a lack of oversight. It was due to a bunch of people who had worked at high levels within those institutions, providing the oversight. It’s called looking the other way. Then when things went bad, they gave their friends a bunch of money. The lenders made money giving out weak loans and then they made more money getting bailed out by their friends in office. I won’t name names but the oversight of Goldman Sachs was supposed to come from their previous chairman and CEO. “Ooops, sorry I didn’t realize that giving out loans to people who aren’t qualified and then jacking up their rates would lead to collapse. Here’s a bunch of money so you guys don’t fold…” Maybe we should ask the CBO if we need a tax cut…
The gulf oil spill was caused by an explosion not a lack of oversight. 11 people who were “overseeing” the well died. Yes, it should have been plugged faster. There should have been a method in place for stopping it immediately and there was, it failed. That is not the governments job to shut off private wells. It is the companies job. Do you think they wanted to loose 200 million+ barrels of oil? Is that good for the bottom line. No. Mistakes happen. Horrible mistakes happen. That’s the risk you take when you’re the number one consumer of oil in the world. We need oil. We might spill some. We’ll get better at preventing that from happening and we’ll get better at cleaning up when it does.
I agree we need less privatization of the military. The military should operate at cost, not profit. Corporations exist to grow, to provide returns for investors. When applied to the military, that means more war, not less. That’s a dangerous position to be in. We have the largest military spending budget in the world. As it stands, we are better equipped than anybody to fight. Theoretically, we could shrink the military budget significantly, short term, and still be safe. That huge sum could be diverted to get us out of this mess… that might also be like pissing money up a rope with the current or past administration.
What am I reading that makes me think we suffer from too much government? My receipts. According to the constitution there should be no double taxation, yet in addition to state and federal taxes, we also pay sales tax (10%), huge taxes on gas, cigarettes, booze, (I don’t smoke and drink rarely) toll roads, property taxes, estate taxes, environmental disposal taxes, sales tax on used vehicles (taxes have already been paid on them once)… tax, tax, tax and now they want more, 30% more in IL. When all is said and done, there is not much left over to spend, to put back into the free market. It’s all going to the government, where there is no oversight and much of it is being pocketed and passed out to friends. They are giving themselves 20% raises and redecorating their offices while people in the private sector have not seen a raise in years. They take on new job titles and 50% raises just before retirement where they receive 90% pensions for life! That is a system with failure built into it. No amount of taxation can support that math.
National health care…? Don’t even get me started. Make health care affordable? Yes. Make me pay for your health care? No. I buy my own health care. I have a deductible I’m comfortable with and my dues are affordable because I’m in good health. I don’t want to pay for the guy that doesn’t exercise, smokes and drinks. Sorry. We don’t need to nationalize health care, we need to fix the existing system. Protect doctors from frivolous lawsuits, open interstate competition amongst providers, allow co-op buying of policies, prevent insurers from raising rates/dropping you when you get sick, have health care plans that everyone can afford. As it stands now, you will not be turned away at a hospital if you are sick or injured. Who pays for your care? The tax payers. How is that different than a national policy? A national policy only succeeds in taking more of your money. I will not pay less for my care and I will not receive better care. Why would I be interested in paying more for less and having less personal freedom / more government involvement?
You condemn Reagan (an actor) whose policy I’m not a huge fan of but then you promote going to the National Mall to see Stephen Colbert and John Stewart. Oh, I can tell you’re firmly rooted in reality… Stephen Colbert and John Stewart will lead us out of this mess. Jesus… Somebody stick a pick up my nose and wiggle it around…
There is no difference between democrat and republican. They work together, in tandem, dividing the country perfectly in half so we can argue about a political system that doesn’t even exist. Obama wouldn’t have been able to pass his huge bailout if Bush hadn’t left office without paying his tab. Dems hated Bush, now the Repubs hate Obama. Both party lines are idiots that don’t realize they are getting played. Their common goal is to take our money. Our common goal should be to give as little of it to them as possible. Then again, who really cares? The dollar is going to be worthless at the rate the feds are printing it and handing it out. The value of the dollar is based in perception, not gold any more. If you treat it like it’s worth nothing, it will become worthless.
And in closing, “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” Good luck with that…October 6, 2010 at 5:44 am #167555
I DO!!!!!!!!October 6, 2010 at 5:57 am #167554
I understand a lot of the themes you suggest that companies make jobs not government. I would even have agreed with you when I was younger and thought libertarianism had all the answers, but its way to idealistic much like Marxism. I suggest not drinking so much of the Ron Paul punch. I believe there should be a strong safety net as well as less government regulation in employment. But you hark back to the Constitution, which is a beauty document but written for a time when the USA was largely agrarian and industrial revolution was still a generation away. It never foresaw industrialization, globalization, the internet, full voting rights for all people, vertical integration, Taylorism and tons of other economic changes. Capitalism was still being debated at that time. The Constitution is a living document, but of course the essence should be kept. But should corporations have the same rights as citizens? A corporation in my opinion should not have personhood. You cannot marry or murder a corporation. A corporation can live forever compared to a person. I am still in favor of capitalism, but we must not lie to ourselves and convince ourselves that businesses are made to create jobs. Its really not in any interest of a company to have a labor force. If I could build a company and only hire myself and need any workers, I would much rather do that than have labor force. Labor costs money such as health insurance, workers compensation, payroll tax, and other costs. My opinion, I agree small businesses are the backbone of this country. But we do not subsize small businesses like we do with large corporations. Walmart gets very favorably deals to build its stores in small towns like having to pay no property tax , land grants, infrastructure assistance and other favorably deals that are paid by the tax payer. The middle-class in the end is getting squeezed. Try as we may to tax the rich, they are usually pretty good at tax avoidance schemes. Corporate interests have just diverged from that of the country’s. If we have this unregulated capitalism that you propose, it will be a quick kiss good bye to what remains of the middle-class in this country. It will be a race to the bottom.
Government can be held accountable by well the vote, but corporate interests are to share-holders. I describing corporations and not small businesses. I have no qualms with them. I do agree that we need to end public-employee unions, because its in the interest of public-realm employees to vote for more taxes and government intervention. But a strong centralized government is not a bad thing, it allows for a healthy climate for companies to arise from. Governments help enforce copyright and intellectual property. Government enforces laws to allow for a peaceful internal security. Try going to places with lax government involvement like Brazil or India. The economic elite are in bed with the political elite allowing for a plutocracy to form. Where there is not much of a middle-class and huge income disparity between the rich and poor. Places of high income disparity allow also tend to have high crime rates and murder rates.
Healthcare is a failed market and does not follow the same economic rules as other markets. I mean shouldn’t advancing technology and medical treatment actually reduce costs? I think there should be some kind of nationalized preventative healthcare, so people will be more aware of their health and in the end should help lower costs. But most healthcare costs occur in the last 5 years of one’s life. We have people living longer and well draining Medicare. I doubt tort reform will reduce costs substantial. I do believe in a nationalized healthcare system that would I think lift the burden of providing healthcare away from the companies. But I do not think it will happen in the US of A. But we do need reform.
Also, returning to the gold standard would be terrible. There is a finite amount of gold in the world, which would restrict our money supply. Fiat currency is not a bad idea. It allows for more flexible at a national level. Unemployment rates were higher when we were on the Gold Standard compared to when we got off the gold standard. The problem is when fractional banking allows for banks to gamble away money. The financial crisis can be blamed on a variety of culprits from derivative trading, from keeping the interest rate artificially low for too long after 9/11, to China buying massive amounts of our debt, to our economy becoming more and more based on finance, deregulation (Glass-Steagall), housing bubble due to the generous loans by Fannie and Freddie and other causes. The Democrats and Republicans pretty much agree on economic issues. There is very little difference due to Clinton in the 90s using triangularization. But if you really want to go back to the 1890s than be my guest. But I not wish to go back to an age of little interference before the Food and Drug Act, before the Clayton Antitrust Act, before the Sherman Act, and a plethora of other consumer and worker rights. That was a savage of time of child labor, limited access to education opportunities and corporate exploitation. Yes libertarianism is great on paper or pure capitalism or communism. But we do not live in these perfect worlds.
And I believe the military is actually just a job creation government program. It provides housing, healthcare and income to people of predominantly blue-collar families the losers of a new globalized world. The use has hallowed out much of its manufacturing base and replaced it with this creative economy.October 6, 2010 at 10:50 am #167553
@thomas, Like I said, no common grounds, different universes, different mythologies.different facts..
..But do you realize how ‘party line’ you sound? Libertarians seem to think they are at the forefront of radicalism, when first off, their agenda serves big business perfectly..Secondly, it has all become codified, holy gospel, unquestioned..You can predict exactly what a libertarian will say, just like you can a republican..Unfortunately, Libertairians also freely partake of gov. programs they so disdain – Paladino is a good example – he’s a contractor, who made his money off government work..
Not worth arguing..I got quite a few Libertarians in my office, they all have the holy writ down pat..So, don’t take government money – go live in Somalia, I believe they have a lOT of freedom and almost NO government interference..October 6, 2010 at 1:46 pm #167552
Thanks for this response on the tax issue. And government in general. It might not do things right all the time, but its a hell of a lot better than leaving it all to corporations!
You are absolutely right about the $1.06 vs $1.86. When you cut taxes (especially personal income taxes) on the rich they just put it away because that money is pocketchange to them anyway. They don’t invest that in jobs. There is such a thing as good regulation and good government. We have just had so many years of free market politicians saying government is the problem, and then being completely incompetant in their governing that they prove their own point.
Also deregulating and privitizing everything merely redistributes tax dollars from the public to private corporations. This is especially true in your point about war contractors. We pay these companies billions of dollars to do the work of our military. Same goes for road construction crews and charter schools. The latter are not as destructive as the former, but to say government is incopetant is only valid when you have the kind of people in power that we had for the first decade of this century.October 6, 2010 at 2:13 pm #167551
“There is no difference between democrat and republican. They work together, in tandem, dividing the country perfectly in half so we can argue about a political system that doesn’t even exist.”
I don’t necessarily agree with much you’ve expressed, but I believe you were spot on about the democrats and republicans working together. I’ll take it to another level; I think the rich and powerful use the political system (along with the media) to stir us all up and to have us all fighting with one another. It just an illusion and it all revolves around money. When winning a campaign comes down to how much money an individual can raise, my friends we’re all screwed.
I don’t know how to fix the problem, but I know we need to stop yelling at each other and really pay attention to what our elected officials are doing. Democrat, republican, libertarian, independent, whatever, I only care that our leaders are truly committed to making the lives of Americans better.
Perhaps it’s our fault we’re in this situation. Maybe we need to stop sending wealthy silver tongued lawyers to Washington to represent us.October 6, 2010 at 3:03 pm #167550
I might argue that it’s not so much about our corporate tax policy as it is our trade policies and the fact that China has much more lax labor laws than the US, particularly with regard to the manufacturing industry.October 6, 2010 at 3:22 pm #167549
I just wanted to add that I think healthcare is actually an important component to economic sustainability and regrowth.
It’s a complicated topic that we probably dont want to delve into here, but afterrunning into some health complications over the past few weeks the issue has really hit home with me.
Quick Points/We need:
-Comprehensive national health plan
-Revise international trade policy
-Stop the revolving door/end the privatization of federal and local govt
-rebuild manufacturing and industrial/tech/corporate base
-rebuild schools, roads, transportation system
-boycott public humiliation as entertainment, faux news, and other trash being spoon fed to the masses.October 6, 2010 at 3:29 pm #167548
There’s a reason it’s been called ‘the labor burden’ for ages…
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