2013 Was a REALLY Good Year.

In many ways, this past year was wonderful.

While we all wish the economy was better, it made good progress during the year.  The stock market made spectucular gains.  Those poor and/or unemployed had set backs, but there is reason to believe improvements will be made.

On the human rights front, several states approved gay marriage.  This unimaginable achievement seemed only a pipe dream a few years ago.

We did not commit large numbers of troops to any new country this past year.  In fact, thousands of troops have been withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Affordable Health Care Act was implimented and is on its way.  Its future and the future of health care for more people is good.

There is a new Pope and the world seems pleased with him.  He rides around in the same model/make of car I do (Ford Focus) and I like that.

Because  domestic oil production went up and consumption leveled off, we are importing less oil.  One would think this will give more options for dealing with the Middle East than we havc had for some decades.

Secularism in our society seemed to grow at least a bit.  The more it grows the better will be our politics and government.

Thank you to everyone who stopped at this blog in 2013.  I enjoyed writing blogs and exchanging views with so many of you.  The month just ending, December, 2013, the site was opened over  15,000 times, a record.

A Happy New Year to you all.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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58 Responses to 2013 Was a REALLY Good Year.

  1. Henry says:

    Jon:“The Affordable Health Care Act was implimented and is on its way. Its future and the future of health care for more people is good.”

    My company’s policy got dropped. And the equivalent replacement policy, as determined by the health insurance provider (it may not actually be), is 25% more expensive. Obamba did not save me money, nor did he stabilize my or the other employee’s insurance. But I can now get coverage on butchering any unborn, or someone can get coverage on changing their sex.

    • Avatar of realist realist says:

      Too bad about your policy, but it was probably one that didn’t offer adequate coverage. The 25% increase is the doing of your insurance company. You can always shop around for another. The best thing, however, is that now a woman can get her contraceptives covered and my beloved relative can get medical insurance for the very first time. If Obama didn’t save you money, too bad. He did something better; he has saved lives. If you would be honest with yourself, you would admit that making abortion illegal does not stop abortion. The ACA has done a better thing; it has equipped women with contraception so that they are less likely to need one. That’s a life saver. I’d say we have had a very good year; a pro-life year, if you like, Henry.

      • Henry says:

        unreal:“Too bad about your policy, but it was probably one that didn’t offer adequate coverage. The 25% increase is the doing of your insurance company.”

        Quite the opposite of your assumption. Our policy was a $0 deductible; 80/20 coinsurance; $2000 max individual/$4000 family. We bought quality insurance for our employees. Obamba has penalized us for that and interfered with our relationship. That is what community organizers do.

        The 25% is NOT the doing of my insurance company. The increases are to cover the various taxes that have been added to insurance companies from Obambacare. One of the taxes is a poll tax of $64 per insured per year. Compared to the previous premium increases, we were 0% the past year and about 7-10% the previous years.

        • Avatar of realist realist says:

          2ooo. maximum insurance for an individual is terrible insurance. That doesn’t even cover having a mole removed. Admit it: you had bad insurance.

          • Henry says:

            You don’t even know what you are talking about. Clueless. And these are the voices that brought us to this point.

          • Avatar of realist realist says:

            Actually, Henry, you’re right. I don’t know much about insurance except that people need it and I flubbed your information about copays. Sorry. I won’t take responsibility for whatever else you see as this country’s shortcomings, or whatever “this point” is.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Henry 1:29 “25% more expensive.”

      A couple people I know have had higher quotes as well. From what I understand, companies are making calculations based on assumptions and data from the past, that is the data they have and they have to do that. It will take a while to add enough of the right mix of people and start to reign in the way the system works. The rates of increase in charges has already started to slow, many believe they will fall in a year or so.

      • Henry says:

        The Medicare reimbursement rate will eventually be DECREASED. This will indeed push costs down. However, when costs are artificially pushed down, supply is pushed down as well.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Henry 3:13 I don’t claim to understand exactly what is happening, but I do know this. Costs increases are slowing because doctors/hospitals have been given different incentives. Instead of being paid more because they bill more, they are sharing in the savings from cost cutting. Thus, administrators are telling doctors to stop adding tests and procedures that aren’t helpful to the patient but are helpful to the clinic/doctor. From what I have read, it is changing a lot of things.

          On you blanket statement that new taxes on insurance companies is the reason your rates have increased 25%, it could be insurance companies are saying something like this. I’d believe it if they would say exactly what those “taxes” are. I could see them being required to cover people they had turned down before because of preexisting conditions, making a probabitlity projection of costs for that population, or, some similar new coverage issue. Saying there are new “taxes” I doubt.

          • Henry says:

            Jon:“Saying there are new “taxes” I doubt.”

            Jon, you have to first understand the basis for which SCOTUS was able to allow Obambacare: it was considered a tax contrary to Obamba lecturing us with his community organizing skills that it was not a tax. Here are a few, but not all the taxes directly impacting insurance premiums:

            $22.2 Billion: Tax on Innovator Drug Companies (Took effect in 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,971-1,980

            $20 Billion: Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers (Takes effect Jan. 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax. Exempts items retailing for <$100. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,980-1,986

            $60.1 Billion: Tax on Health Insurers (Takes effect Jan. 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. Phases in gradually until 2018. Fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,986-1,993

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 4:18 Ah, yes, thank you. I’d forgotten the Supreme Court’s use of the term of art, “taxes”. These “taxes” then are revenues used to fund the widespread this movement of people into the health care system.

            Even though a more rational system would have been a single payer one, politics has dictated we have this convoluted process we are going through. I remain confident it will be better than before when everything is shaken out. It was not rational to keep one of the most expensive and least effective health care systems in the world.

    • Grandma says:

      Henry — until I hit the age for retirement, before Affordable Care, I was paying about $900 a month for my health insurance. If your insurance, for just you, will cost that much you had better shop around. And, by the way, the “unborn” you think will get “butchered” is about the size of a strawberry and is in no way a child.

      • Henry says:

        g:“And, by the way, the “unborn” you think will get “butchered” is about the size of a strawberry and is in no way a child.”

        Ahahh…the grandma rule of proportionality. A live surviving human child, as little as 1 pound. A cell mass the size of a strawberry can top out at 1/20 pound. So using grandma’s rule of proportionality of about 1/20, and applying it to a robust man’s weight of about 280 pounds, that man could consider anybody less than 17 pounds in weight as non-human. I don’t think grandma’s rule of proportionality is a good one. It doesn’t wash.

  2. Michael Ross says:

    “Secularism in our society seemed to grow at least a bit ”

    The federal debt did also, by $800 billion. Great Year!

    You’ll be happy to know 2014 will start out great also, with a gay “wedding” on a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

    • Avatar of realist realist says:

      The deficit has plummeted under President Obama at the fastest rate in 60 years. That’s a fact. The historic high was in 2008 when he took over from Bush and it’s been falling ever since. You are only looking at one side of the ledger.

      • Henry says:

        Obamba reducing the deficit? Is that why he has accumulated $17 trillion in debt?

        • noblindersonme says:

          ‘Obama accumalated 17 trillion in debt”????
          The debt stood at about 12 trillion when he took office , Henry! yeah he continued the trend since TRUMAN that Presidents accumalated that debt, which saw the debt triple under Reagan and mostly the same under Bush /Cheney.
          Obama INHERITED the war on terror economy from the previous GOP administartion . GOP doom sayers promised us in 2008, planes would resume flying into buildings and Obama would ‘PAL AROUND with terrorists” How’d that fearmongering work out for ya!
          The stock market is roaring at the 16000+ level , almost TRIPLE the volume which it was when Bush left the economy in ruins. How is YOUR portfolio these days Henry???
          The last econmic report had very positive news , Housing UP! unemployment continuing it’s SLOW but STEADY downward trend!
          I could continue to recite the positives of our glass is half FULL future , but appparently you are more comfortable with the glass half empty vision of the GOP!!!!
          btw and you have the chutzpah to trash talk Jon that he doesn’t have a clue, “doesn’t know what he is talking about”!
          Obama did not accumalate the massive debt he inherited ! Was he/we/ all politicians supposed to pay it all back during his years? I thought Cheney said “DEBT IS NO BIG DEAL , it don’t matter”
          Happy New Year Henry !
          on this site you consider anti Christain ,I am telling you to count your blessings , they vastly out number the shortcomings you seem to cling to.

          • Henry says:

            nbs:“Obama would ‘PAL AROUND with terrorists”
            No problem.
            http://www.infowars.com/breitbarts-footage-shows-obama-palling-around-with-terrorists/

            “The stock market is roaring at the 16000+ level , almost TRIPLE the volume which it was when Bush left the economy in ruins.”

            The growth is monetized with quantitative easing. We have a nice high number to stare at that makes liberals chirp, but the real growth when inflation is considered is not there.

            “unemployment continuing it’s SLOW but STEADY downward trend!”

            They take the unemployed off the rolls after a period of time to boost the numbers.

            Wow, based on nbs’s report, the shelters should be emptied out.

        • Avatar of realist realist says:

          Henry, Henry, Henry. All presidents have accumulated debt, but Obama is reducing the accumulation at the fastest rate in recent history. He’s a miser in comparison with Bush. Debt is going down in relation to the growth of GNP. That’s a big deal, one that GOP presidents of late have not been able to do.

          • Henry says:

            The US debt is increasing at about the same rate as the GNP. Your data is flawed.

            http://www.usdebtclock.org/

          • Michael Ross says:

            Interesting chart:

            http://www.supportingevidence.com/Government/fed_debt_per_resident_over_time.html

            Note the per capita debt is about $60,000 and has doubled since Obamination became prez in ’09. I don’t blame him. If McCain were elected or if Bush were still in there it would be the same. There is nothing that can be done at this point except total default which will mean the end of the US$.

          • Avatar of realist realist says:

            Please both of you go to the Politifact website and have a look. This question about the size and growth of the debt is the 4th more frequently requested question for verification. And yes, it is true, that under Obama the debt has fallen faster than at anytime in the last 60 years so please check your own data. You’ve been listening to charlatans. They really want you to believe that Obama is a big spender like Bush but it just isn’t true. See for yourselves.

          • noblindersonme says:

            notice how Henry totally avoided his crazy claim that the 17 trilion debt was Obama’s!
            Hey guy, your dodging your lies aint gonna make them disappear , or for heaven’s sakes credible.
            Your nonsense about the stock market just being nice numbers for liberals to chirp at is about as dumb a dodge I ever heard! First, had those same numbers been reached under Romney/ Palin /whatever you fools would be crowing like roosters. You are a liar if you refute that. Secondly ‘real growth is quantatitive easing’ is garbled lingo for “those positive #’s put me in a corner so I will bullsh*t my way out of it”.
            C’mon -it is like Jack Nicholson’s Jessup . “you can’t handle the truth!’
            Your defense is built on a house of cards , Inflation was higher under Reagan . so according to your smart a** logic , his positive econmic #’s would be suspect too . A LOT of GOP #’s would be very suspect too but you as republican probably wouldn’t apply that logic to them!
            Lastly your last snippet about ‘the shelters ‘ being emptied out ..if these economic #’s
            were so good,’ would also apply to Reagan and Bush etc. Did they empty out the shelters ?
            I seem to remember the streets teeming with the unemployed and mentally ill (Reagan tossed them out on the street ),then too.
            “Obama accumalated 17 trillion in debt -YOUR WORDS!”

          • Henry says:

            unreal:“And yes, it is true, that under Obama the debt has fallen faster than at anytime in the last 60 years so please check your own data.”

            Uhmmm…..the debt numbers are increasing, not decreasing.
            http://www.usdebtclock.org/index.html

          • Henry says:

            nbs:““Obama accumalated 17 trillion in debt -YOUR WORDS!””

            I was wrong. The unfunded liabilities under Obamba has increased $127 trillion. We are in worse shape than I originally thought. Sorry, my little tweety bird.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 2:16 “..unfunded liabilities..”

            I believe the other posters are speaking of debt and the annual deficite.

          • Henry says:

            Sounds good, Jon.

            “Unfunded Liabilities -Potential or actual debts for which no current funding is available.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 3:23 I agree unfunded liabilities have to be dealt with. It just they are not the same as bills incurred where there is no choice but to pay them. Social Security is an unfunded liability. One way some of it is being dealt with is by increasing the age of retirement. There is a belief among many the unfunded Medicare can be dealt with by more careful spending on medical care of the elderly.

          • Henry says:

            Jon:“One way some of it is being dealt with is by increasing the age of retirement.”

            Yes, thank you millenials. We will make you pay it forward. We’ll screw you out of your money on the front end, and pull the rug out from under you on the back end. Meanwhile, you are the generation that will physically care for us while we are in the nursing home. Screw you (not my idea, but this is what we collectively decided. We are the deciders, Obamba, McKain, Bushy, Boner, and Dirty Harry Reed).

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 4:11 Probably the social security outcome will not leave lots of unhappy people. Neither will cutting back the military to pre 911 levels. There is the huge farm program I benefit from. Mostly, it should be canned. There is aid to airports I benefit from. Can it. There is highway aid, parking ramps built with tax money that have no link to governing the country–give them up.

            Unfunded “obligations” include lots of unfunded waste.

      • Michael Ross says:

        Who said anything about Obamination? But since you brought him up he did vote for the TARP funds $700 billion and stood mute as the Fed created $12 trillion to bailout the biggest banks and Wall street brokerages.

        • Avatar of realist realist says:

          You know that’s what is so difficult about having a conversation about anything related to President Obama. When you use the term “Obamination” it’s hard to take you seriously. What happened to respect for our democratically elected president ? I didn’t really like Bush, but I certainly didn’t disrespect him.

          • Michael Ross says:

            “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”(Matthew 6:21)

            If you don’t reverence and worship God you will look for something or someone to take His place. In your case it is Obamination. Anything that takes God’s place is an idol and idols detroy those who worship them:

            “They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval. With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction.” (Hosea 8:4)

          • Avatar of realist realist says:

            Well, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Anyone who knows me realizes that I never worship anything, especially not politicians. Your reality is way out there. But thanks anyway.

  3. noblindersonme says:

    2013 was a very good year, the optimist sees so much of a very bright future. The pessimist , which seems to be the principle attitude of the party in opposition of the current administration , sees far too many dead and dying trees in a forest of plenty!
    My goodness ,the biggest riots and societal turmoil in this country occurred on ‘black’ shopping days’ when American citizens stampeded and fought each other to ‘shop, consume , spend , and add more stuff to their mounds of stuff at home”!!! Think about that!
    George Carlin , the profane but astute comedian , said all life and our homes are ‘a place to keep our stuff!” 2013 never saw us pile up more and shinier stuff than ever!
    (Yeah yeah there are still pockets of needy , always have been, always will be, but the needy seem to be more scorned by the you-know -who -party than ever before).
    2013 saw Americans get fatter , fill up their garages with more stuff ( toys boats , ATV’s ) add more guns to their dens , take more cruises , replace all their old cell phones and TVs with flat screens and smartie phones …… sigh .. life in 2013 was just a bitch!!!!

    • H.P.Drifter says:

      If the riots were at Neimam Marcus., I would say we have a problem. The riot was in a non affluent neighborhood, it was conducted by desperate people. About all the toys, I phones, computers, HDTV none of this stuff is being bought with money from the people who buy the high ticket items. Its being bought by young people who are not buying cars, For the first time in history, those young people that dreamed of getting a car are passing up the sale, Detroit is worried. Don’t disregarded the poor people so easily, they are becoming the majority. 7.25 an hour is a bad joke. Cutting the food stamp program is a bad idea as well. Just wait until some kid who eats Spaghetti- O’s for thirty days in a row, starts stabbing other kids for their brown bag lunch. Walk around in downtown Chicago or LA or any number of large cities, watch and see how long you will last. Wear you best it will less time. The funeral companies need business too. By a prepaid plan before you venture out.

      • Henry says:

        HP:“Don’t disregarded the poor people so easily, they are becoming the majority.”

        That is the Obambulatory plan.

      • noblindersonme says:

        I hope you were not implying that I was being frivolous with my idea about things not being that bad if the riots in the country came in shopping malls and not in streets of despair.
        I did quote Carlin, did I not!
        Sometimes we need that facetitious slap in the face to put things in perspective.
        are things REALLY that bad in this country???
        The right is constantly setting the stage of this country ‘going down the tubes ,down the tiolet, we need to bring this country BACK !! Yeah yeah yeah.
        I saw the riots in the 60′s , the national guard called up to let black children attend school! Viet Nam war cleaving America in pieces. The countryside of America turned into garbage dumps and factory dumpsters. So yeah the sight of Americans clambering over one another to shell out their bucks to shop- shop- shop does put stuff into perspective for me.
        I notice those who take issue with me always seem to be of that ‘glass is half full ,’ it’s gonna get bad folks’, mentality. ‘
        Gee , why is it the right wingers are the ones today who are ‘down on America?’
        Jon’s original post was ,’2013- a good year’?
        Yes it was ! After 64 years I factually can say I have never seen a year that was perfect or one that EVERYONE was pleased!
        Cleaner air and water, safer streets , high tech stuff we only dreamed of in our hands, living longer if we can push ourselves away from all the abundance!, 12 years since the last foreign attack on our land, etc etc
        Gosh 2013 really sucked didn’t it!

  4. H.P.Drifter says:

    Was 2013 a good year?

    Not really, more economic uncertainty, you bet!
    Small to medium size companies are going to be on shaky ground.
    The middle market mainly (companies with sales up to one hundred and fifty million) That means you Henry (liked the heating unit, think I will get one next time around)
    Unless you have deep pockets, you could be in trouble (time to sell out for some more funny money) and get your capital out of the country into Swiss francs. (one of many options, this advice is free)
    Yes we have made progress on the human rights agenda. My only comment on this is (just personal from observation) it is hard to legislate morality, this takes time, civil rights legislation did help a lot of people, in the 1960′s, still more need to be done to help more people.
    I agree with realist more needs to be done on the bottom end, the gap between the rich and poor is not acceptable. Likely to be or as just as important as the problems on the upper end shortly.
    Keeping the government from examining your fanny from day to day, this is fruitless task and cost a lot of money.
    Legalization of drugs is a priority and treating addiction to hard drugs is a medical problem, we need to take the profit out of the illegal drug market. Its money funds worse things, human trafficking, wars, just to name a couple of things.
    All the agencies people except the FBI needs to be disbanded and drafted into the army at army wages, there is plenty of work for everybody, just need to to leave your own people alone. Stop manufacturing criminals.
    The political arena needs to change or we are doomed, not prosecuting the people who made billions of the last economic down turn really is bad business.
    Do something about the educational system, so these kids don’t drown in debt and graduate with no relevant skills.
    At the very least bring back the personal freedoms we had in the 1960′s
    Last but not least I think every body in Congress should kiss my ass and be thankful I am not 50 years younger with access to heavy weapons.

    Happy New Year all Freethinkers, the rest of you can bugger off.

    • Henry says:

      HP:“The political arena needs to change or we are doomed, not prosecuting the people who made billions of the last economic down turn really is bad business.”

      That would include liberals Soreos and Buffeted. The economic fall created a buying opportunity for Buffeted in the railroad. He paid for his purchase within two years after the Bakken took off. That is a great ROI. Does anyone want to take up a collection to help the liberal out? One of his vehicles recently hit the ditch out by Casselton and is still smoking.

      • Henry says:

        P.S. Liberal Buffet was also recently responsible for abandoning a rail line that serviced an elevator that regularly wanted 52 car unit trains. A shortline wanted to buy up the abandoned branchline from Buffett. The branchline wanted to completely update the railbed with new rail and ties. Buffett said to go eat grass. The Republican ND PSC sat on their hands rather than ensuring the community was serviced by the entity with monopolistic privileges. Now the state highway to the nearest grain terminal is being pounded all to hell with truck traffic. Winners: Liberal Buffett and other community Buffett continues to service. Losers: Small community, Short Line Railroad, Small Community Elevator, ND taxpayer

      • noblindersonme says:

        Henry -you are acting like frothing ambulance chaser who jumps at the chance of disaster to capitalize on your needful spite.
        I was a party last night and everyone who spoke of the train disaster talked about how lucky they were , with no deaths , how terrible it was for the FIRE FIGHTERS to deal with it, and most of them VOLUNTEERS ( I am on a Vol Fire Dept) , a consistent refrain of concern and compassion for the folks of Casseleton.
        Guys like you can’t wait to point fingers , smear blame everywhere, condemn those with snickers like ” Buffeted’,
        … interesting how those most critical of Jon ( on a freethinking atheistic site?) are behaving the most unChrist -like!
        Belated Christmas greetings to you too.

        • Henry says:

          NBS, please step up and start the fundraiser for Buffet right now!

          • noblindersonme says:

            idiot! How many times can you try to coax a mule into a stall!
            I was stepping up to tell you about the need to appreciate how lucky and fortunate we are, how the ‘glass is empty’ crowd cannot stomach that view of life , and how ( READ MY WORDS HENRY) we should be oh so grateful for the FIREFIGHTERS , paid and volunteer , who sacrificed so much so HENRY could bitch in his cozy armchair.
            all you can do Henry is rock back in your safe little haven and act smug about your dodge and weave debating act.
            You can focus all you want on Mr Buffet , I will focus on my buddies who stood out in bone chilling cold to keep cynics like you safe.
            I wash my hands of you.

    • noblindersonme says:

      See what I mean!
      You complain that all the other side does is whine and complain and how empty their glass is and someone like HPD just has to stoop to that level .

      • Henry says:

        NBS:“and someone like HPD just has to stoop to that level.”
        I must be a bad influence causing HP to follow along in my footsteps. Sorry, HP, don’t allow me to corrupt you.

  5. H.P.Drifter says:

    If the shoe fits where it, bust them all, that profited democrat or republican

  6. H.P.Drifter says:

    Henry

    I am on neither side of the tracks, I am standing right in middle with the train coming right in my direction at high speed. You can not equate non believers with people who do not have ethics and morals I have both. As far as I am concerned the whole system is crooked as it gets. If they steal or buy up the scraps that are left, they are both guilty as far as I am concerned. You run a fair deal or you don’t play, I have no sympathy or empathy for the right or the left period we are in this mess because of both sides and and all their double dealing and pork barrel politics.

    • Henry says:

      I’ll agree with that. I try to act as a counterbalance to the lack of media vilification of big liberal business. I’ll point out Republican malfeasance as I see it just like I did for the Republican ND PSC. Here is the trail of dishonor specific to what I was talking about:
      http://www.psc.nd.gov/database/docket_view_list.php?s_dept=RR&s_year_case=10&s_seq_num=645&s_company_name=BNSF+Railway+Company

    • Henry says:

      HP:“You can not equate non believers with people who do not have ethics and morals I have both.”

      HP, I believe you. Hang around for awhile. You will begin to understand my positions:
      http://redriverfreethinkers.areavoices.com/2013/10/06/who-are-the-christians/#comment-272221

      • H.P.Drifter says:

        Henry

        I read through the links you provided. I get drift on the problem in Bisbee. and I suppose you have to buy your own ex large size of vaseline as well when you work. I always look at problems like this as opportunity in work clothes ( as young fellow, I did) turn adversity to advantage, the only way out. For me I always found being the predator worked best for me. When I got a chance to screw them they stay screwed. Due diligence to start with find the weak point (could be the damage to the road, environment) really can’t say or give you an intelligent answer because I have not done any research. My tactic would be to become the thorn in their side (call sixty minutes tell them Warren is stepping on the little guy whatever it takes, ten times a day) bad publicity and monetary loss are always the best weapons. New York Times, Washington Post are always interested in stories about this guy that are well written and well thought out.

        H.P.D.

  7. Wolfy32 says:

    Jon, I do agree with you that things have improved. It’s an uneasy improvement, yet, any improvement is good. However, I’m surprised that as an economist you attribute much of the impact to a president…. Every economy class I’ve had, college or high school even, the main key point emphasized (and maybe it was more personal opinion, but, it seems to have reason and logic) is that presidents have miniscule control over the economy. In fact, Federal government has a just a small, tiny impact on government. The biggest things they can do is manipulate tax dollars in terms of how much comes in, where the tax dollars come from and where they go.

    I don’t really believe Obama accomplished anything with the economy, nor do I believe any of the Bush’s accomplished anything with the economy. Maybe they had an impact on the budgets, and some had more or little success with curbing congress’s pork legislation, but, overall, the economy is driven by “us” everyone but the federal government and in today’s world it’s also driven by the global status.

    I don’t believe I should have to lecture you on this mistake so many people make. If the Federal government has little to do with the economy (especially the president) then who does? The federal reserve in determining interest rates has a bigger impact than congress or the president. What happens in China has a larger impact than our congress or president.

    We happened to have a good business year, and we were in the natural evolution of economies… We had a period of downturn, now we’re in a correction and things looking better than they were… I suspect things will continue to improve or level off for another 3-5 years (despite who’s president), and things will then decline for another 2-3 years, then another smaller correction that causes things to level off for a couple more years. So, I predict things will be fairly stable the next 7-10 years. Again not caring who’s president or what policies are in effect because their impact is negligable.

    Yes, policy affects us profoundly.. I’m not trying to minimize the impacts obamacare has on us… I think there’s good parts to it, I also think it’s attacking the wrong target… Kinda like our Iraqui invasion… However, despite those policies, the economy is a monster that stands on its own…. A president would be only so lucky to bow to the economy and beg and plead with it in the hopes it would just listen a little bit. I don’t blame Bush or Reagan or Clinton for economy up or down turns.

    My limited understanding is the economy is what it is and listens and answers to no one.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Wolfy32 1:57 “..I’m surprised that as an economist you attribute much of the impact to a president..”

      If I left that impression, I apologize. I think commenters have attributed that view to me, referring to me as a “Keynesian”, etc. I don’t believe I have ever written a statement that a President “manages” the economy. It does appear that when the government ramped up domestic spending during the depts of the 1930′s depression it helped some. World War II also helped, it was government spending. But these exact conditions have never been duplicated since so the impact have never been as large, but increases in government spending seems to have helped some, even the recent efforts during the Bush/Obama periods. There is a belief they have not been large enough. It’s imprecise because the are so many things changing at any moment the cause/effect relationship is not always clear.

      I’m not at all sure you are correct that the Federal Reserve is more effective than Federal Government expenditures. Low interest rates and increases in available loanable money have not done much in recent years.

      • Wolfy32 says:

        I think the low interest rates, kept the housing bust from busting more than it did. Allowing people to get new and preexisting homes for a lot less, or to stay in their home when they were on the verge of foreclosure by having lower payments. It’s impact is probably minimized simply because of the bust. Yet, how much worse had it been if the interest rates remained between 5 and 8 % despite the bust? I think it goes to say it would be lasting longer than it has and it would be a much deeper bust.

        As to the government expenditures.. I believe most of those went to executives… Very little actually made it into the hands of people as “income”… It maybe allowed some businesses to stay open that would have cut people’s incomes significantly. At the same time, I don’t think it directly went into anyone’s pockets.

        The Bush’s are bashed for their deficit spending, yet, you say the government expenditures probably helped the economy. The theory would go then that Obama is riding on the recovery generated by Bush’s spending policies. The deficit rose, yes, but it helped the economy, in theory. Obama was able to cut back some because the economy started recovering as a result of the spending and there was additional funds coming in to the government to be able to cut back on the spending and make a difference in the deficit.

        I believe that minor changes the government makes takes years, if not up to a decade to be a large enough wave to impact the economy. Kinda like a bunch of little tremors causing ripples in the economy, affecting some things, but, in a small way, but those small things then have impacts that cause additional ripples and slowly over years those ripples turn to waves, then the waves slow down and turn back into ripples.

        The housing bust was all the ripples forming into a perfect storm resulting fromer invalid lending practices. Which caused the rest of the economy to start to collapse… Now, policies before obama came to office, caused a big enough ripple to allow him a positive presidency.

        I had one economic professor tell me: The president is rarely responsible for anything in the economy, however, gets all the credit. If it’s a good economy, they get credit for it, if it’s a bad economy people blame the president.

        I don’t believe we’ll know or feel the full impact of Obama’s regime until about 5-6 years into the next presidency.. I’m curious, that’s around 2019 – 2020. Let’s see what happens around that timeframe.. I suspect we’ll be starting a downtrend at that point.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wolfy32 7:03 re Presidents held responsible for the economy, good or bad.

          Apparently, this was not always the case. When the country was sliding into depression in the early 30′s, Hoover asked high officials and the FR and Treasury to look for something the federal government could do to help. The answer came back there was nothing. People, from the highest level to the backwoods, thought of their economic circumstances as the product of their local county/ward politicans.

          Roosevelt was the first President to say, “I will help you.” Not to much later, one man in the F. R. began to see it could make more loans available by buying government bonds and thereby increasing the ability of banks to make loans. Now, the persistant myth continues that the President and/or the F.R. Chairman determine whether I have a job and how much it pays.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            Yes, I would agree with that.. Summary. I also agree the government is getting bigger, influencing people’s lives more.. I don’t like it though. It determines which parts of the country are employed by which companies it gives contracts to…. Fargo benefits from one of the largest Medicare Contracts.. It’s estimated at over a billion dollars over 5 years.. That’s a contract just to pay Medicare claims (and process them for: California, Nevada, Hawaii, and territories, as well as medicare claims for ND, SD, MT, AZ, UT, and WY. )

            The california, nevada, and Hawaii contract is around a billion dollars just to handle the claims for those states. The other six states is a separate contract above the billion dollars.

            The influence is huge. In those contracts, the government dictates how many people of each position, and rough salaries summarizations to be spread to those positions. It’s slowly becoming more socialist than capitalist. The government decides what one is worth.

            So, I would agree, the government has more influence than it had in the past, just not so much the president, at the same time, the government spends a fraction of the money that is in the economy.

          • Henry says:

            Jon:“Roosevelt was the first President to say, “I will help you.”

            Hence, in lieu of a 2 year-long standard panic/depression, the great depression lasted twelve years. Well done, Frank. Thanks for the “help”.

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