Sen. Mark Udall: Back to jobs

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U.S. Sen. Mark Udall

Last week, the Senate reached a compromise to narrowly avoid the nation’s first-ever default.

Although the deal we got is less than I had hoped for, I voted for it because one goal overrode all others: preventing a default on our debt obligations, which could have pushed our fragile economy into a double-dip recession.

With this deal, we can take the important step of reducing our annual deficits, albeit not by the $4 trillion economists have estimated we need.

I, for one, had hoped and fought for a more balanced, comprehensive agreement that would have strengthened Social Security and Medicare and reformed the tax code — a proposal along the lines of the recommendations of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson Commission on Reducing the Debt.

Among other things, a balanced plan would ensure the wealthiest among us help shoulder the burden of balancing our books and would put an end to the wasteful tax breaks for multibillion-dollar corporations that ship our jobs overseas. The bill creates a commission to reduce our structural deficits and long-term debt by the end of this year, and I’ll keep fighting for these reforms to be included in the plan my Senate colleagues hammer out.

As we continue to rebuild our ailing economy, we must now turn our focus toward aggressively creating jobs and restoring certainty in the global markets. Unfortunately, while we may agree on a jobs maxim, we still have a ways to go before we agree on how to achieve that economic shot in the arm.

I was extremely discouraged that Congress decided to adjourn this week without reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, which had put on hold tens of thousands of jobs and multiple construction projects. I am relieved that Senate leaders eventually heard our calls to overcome this nonsensical impasse and reached a deal to put these Americans back to work — but Congress can’t keep doing business this way.

If we have policy or political differences, we need to sit down and work out a compromise together, not strong-arm one-sided provisions into law by holding hostage the jobs of Americans.

We need to keep exploring ways to reduce our debt and keep our country’s financial health in top shape. And that includes a dose of the Colorado trifecta: collaboration, compromise and common sense.

Our citizens are our state’s most important resource, and I’ll continue working with you to craft policies that protect middle-class families and give local businesses the certainty they need to expand.

With the unemployment rate hovering around 9 percent, many Americans cannot find a job.

That’s why I’ve put together information for unemployed workers on job search, workforce training and other educational resources in your regions, to help Coloradans return to the job market or gain new skills.

I encourage you to check out these resources and contact the dedicated and professional staff at my nine regional offices throughout the state if you need further help.

Finally, I want to sincerely thank those of you who raised your voices for bipartisan solutions in the final weeks and days of the negotiations. Your support was instrumental in convincing my colleagues that compromise — especially in the face of disaster — is critical.

Mark Udall is a Democrat in the U.S. Senate.

Comments

Fred Duckels 3 years, 1 month ago

Both Udahl and Bennett talk a good game but their votes never seem to measure up. We must compete for the large corporations and taxing them heavily is futile. It has been apparent for a long time that when we must compete with low wages from abroad things are not going to be rosy. The unions want to maintain their gravy train but competiton will dictate that only public service workers are immune, hence the effort to maintain the unsustainable.

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rhys jones 3 years, 1 month ago

Well Fred we finally agree on something. The Fair Labor Standards Act largely usurped the unions, and they've been milking this country ever since. Don't work so hard, you're making the rest of us look bad. Save some work for tomorrow. He who works and does his best, goes down the road, just like the rest. I saw union workers do NOTHING, all day. This is not true of all unions, some work hard, although all are overpaid. Maybe the work will come back, when some people are ready to absorb a big pay cut, and dump their pet unions.

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Brian Kotowski 3 years, 1 month ago

Unions were undoubtedly a good idea 50, 60, 70 years ago… then they became inordinately powerful, and you know what they say about the corruptive influence of power. My own experience with unionized labor is that it enshrines mediocrity, more often than not.

In 1995, GM & the UAW built their multi-billion Saturn plant in TN, just a stone’s throw from Nissan’s non-union facility in the same state. One of the stated objectives was to demonstrate that unionized Americans would prevail in side-by-side competition with the non-union Japanese. The Saturn/UAW partnership never turned a profit, and Saturn has gone the way of the Edsel. Nissan is as healthy as the proverbial equine.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is trying to put the brakes on Boeing’s new billion-dollar Dreamliner plant in SC, because it is philosophically opposed to right-to-work laws. I am willing to grant that the administration’s heart may be in the right place, but the reality is that it is making private sector job creation unnecessarily difficult.

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Jason Krueger 3 years, 1 month ago

Great. 3 more posts blaming the middle class for the failure of companies. By all means, cut everyone's wages. It's all the unions fault Saturn went extinct and Japan still runs strong. It has nothing to do with Senior mgmt designing vehicles nobody wanted to buy and GM going into every business OTHER than designing quality products. "I saw union workers doing NOTHING all day". Rhys, based on your previous posts, it's my understanding you're a computer consultant. How much do you get paid and do your really think what you do is worth that much???? I have yet to meet a "consultant" truly worth their fee. Keep buying your stuff from WalMart, keep supporting corporations that pay their CEO's in excess of 100 times their employees salaries and keep slamming the middle class. Keep demanding less "government regulation" to prevent corporate corruption yet in the exact same breath demand the government prohibit the middle class from organizing to support one another. I have yet to see a single union worker sit in front of Congress (and America) after stealing billions of dollars from taxpayers in giant pyramid schemes (Citigroup, AIG, Wells Fargo, etc.) and then insist the same people who caused the problem are the only ones capable of fixing it. For all of the problems that exist with unions (and I agree there are problems), I place more faith in them than wallstreet investors who have no interest in the actual long-term viability of a company but are interested only in profits.

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JLM 3 years, 1 month ago

Another clueless politician spouting platitudes and nonsense. Take your pick --- a liar or an idiot or incompetent?

First, let's make sure we know that the purported spending cuts were, in fact, not cuts at all but rather reductions in the projected rate of growth.

To put it in perspective, the US gov't spends about $3.6T annually. The "cuts" were $900B over 10 years with most of them delayed until 2014 and beyond.

Most charitably, that is an annual "cut" of approximately $90B if you think they will ultimately materialize. I do not.

$90B/$3.6T = 2.5%

If the projected rate of growth in gov't spending is estimated to be 8% annually and you only cut 2.5%, then all you have done is to trim the rate of growth of gov't expenditures from 8.5% to 6% (8.5% - 2.5% = 6%).

There are no real cuts.

A "cut" would mean that next year's expenditures would be LESS than this year's expenditures and that is NOT what happened, folks.

So what will it be folks?

Liar, idiot or incompetent?

More importantly, why do we keep sending such folks to Washington?

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JLM 3 years, 1 month ago

Remember how scary the threat of "default" was?

First there is a huge difference between being unable to pay your bills --- "bankruptcy" --- and default --- not complying with the indentures of a Treasury security as to redemption or the payment of interest.

There was never going to be a default. It was all just nonsense.

Witness what is happening even as we speak.

The S & P rating agency (guys who sit around contemplating their navels pontificating about the likelihood of an issuer of debt being unable or unwilling to make the requisite redemptions or interest payments) downgraded the rating of US Treasuries from AAA to AA+.

What does this really mean?

Well it means that France has a AAA and the US has a AA+. So France which had Germany come across its borders twice in the last century making the French Army wear lederhosen is a better bet than the US. Really? More about that in just a second.

What was the big scare again? That the S & P would downgrade the US Treasuries ratings.

Well, they did as noted above from AAA to AA+. Despite the assurance that they would not if ONLY we would give the President a higher credit card limit.

That has precipitated a "flight to quality" as the international markets are tanking right now. It started in the Middle East --- Israel, in particular, upon whose exchange many American Nasdaq companies have a dual listing thereby ensuring if the Israeli stock market gets a head cold, the US markets will get pneumonia --- and is headed this way.

It will be ugly in the morning.

So where in the whole world as these markets crater are the wise men putting their money in this "flight to quality", you ask.

US Treasuries!

So again, liars, idiots or incompetent?

This is all a shell game and you are the pea. So when the President says to the Congress --- "eat your peas" --- well you get it, don't you?

The world is not ending but what is happening is that idiots like Sen Udall are running out of platitudes to assuage your sensibilities with.

The Congress is a bunch of spending crackheads and what you witnessed was an INTERVENTION. And we need more of them.

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JLM 3 years, 1 month ago

And, oh yeah, France is not a better credit risk than the US of A. Not ever.

And the administration had no clue what would happen to the rate of unemployment when they spent a $T on the Stimulus --- you will recall the President looking right into the teleprompter and telling you "if you just give me a trillion $$$ then unemployment will never, never get above 8% ---nor did they actually expect that "default" would either happen or pose a real risk to anything.

France is not a better credit risk than the USA. Nobody in DC knows what they are doing when it comes to money or jobs.

Comforting, eh?

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JLM 3 years, 1 month ago

Unions? Did you realize that the unions who were responsible for wrecking GM with their unending compensation and benefit demands over the last 50 years received 46% of the ownership of the "new" GM as part of the Obama prepackaged bankruptcy?

These stooges were the big winners.

Did you realize that Wisconsin and Michigan teachers were making, on average, approximately $130,000 --- for 9 months work.

And were not paying a penny into their own employer provided health insurance (in some instances including family policies picked up entirely by their employers) or retirement programs?

The governors wanted these clowns to pick up 8-9% of their own costs. Nuts!

So, unions, in my book are totally unnecessary.

BTW, did you notice how the unions ultimately wanted to solve things and settle up?

New teachers would get a very reduced compensation while the existing teachers would keep their high wages and benefits. Balancing it on the backs of the young.

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sledneck 3 years, 1 month ago

Mr Krueger, Franlky, I DO blame the middle class. They are the largest part of an electorate who can't find it's ass with a guide-dog. And when the big CEO's appear before Congress, please tell me, which group are the "crooks"?... seriously! And what, pray tell, is the diff between CEO's who only want "mean old proffits" VS. the "middle-class" who want to foist todays debt onto their (and my) grand children? Hmm? Criminals should go to jail and I will stand with you in saying so. "Proffits", on the other hand are not wrong. They are desireable as they are the only way to create wealth; wealth which is the ONLY cure for poverty.

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rhys jones 3 years, 1 month ago

Mr. Krueger -- Not that I owe you any explanations about anything at all, let me just clear the air a bit. First of all, forget how much I make -- I don't even know myself. Middle class would be a stretch.

I call myself a "consultant" because it sounds good, whereas in actuality I am an applications programmer, have been since the '70's starting with COBOL and forced by the Marines. I am now attempting to market the automated (computerized) version of my Dad's successful manual construction estimating system, which I wrote from scratch, every line. I have been working on this project for 18+ years now, and the current incarnation, it's fifth, is the first to be operational on the Internet. There virtually was no Internet back then. I have no sponsors, never did, so I washed a lot of dishes, checked in guests, did books, loaded newbies on chairlifts, roasted coffee, chased cows, baled hay, and ran a lot of shovels, among other things, over the years, to support my un-development. Now it's soup, and I'm trying to unseat the incumbent estimating software, ironically which my Dad also initially developed. The few customers I have use my software to procure contracts, their competition using my competition. And they're racking up the jobs. Is that good enough for you, Mr. Krueger? Nobody guarantees me squat, and I work without a net.

The union malfeasance I saw occurred on one of Dad's jobs, a refinery in Minnesota just south of Minneapolis. My task of job-completion monitoring and change-noting kept me in confined areas at a time -- a refinery is a maze of pipes, I kept banging my hard hat -- where I had occasion to observe the individual I refer to, doing nothing, ever, even on successive days. I saw others floating from smoke pit to smoke pit, never turning a wrench or doing anything productive.

Unions have HAD to demand increases in wages and benefits, for nearly a hundred years now, if for no other reason than to justify their lowly existence and dues. They created inflation, right along with the Federal Reserve and their endless wars.

JLM seems to have a much better grasp of reality, sorry Jason. I don't care what you think of me or my pursuits. You try it.

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Jason Krueger 3 years, 1 month ago

It is pointless to debate with individuals who are so sure in their convictions that they hide behind anonymity.

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rhys jones 3 years, 1 month ago

Jason -- Now that I re-read your previous post (3:14) I'm getting just a little incensed. I never recall referring to myself as a "consultant," if so remind me of the post. I always refer to myself as a programmer or developer. Yet you want to lump me in a category you can then throw rocks at.

I lied slightly, moments ago. I said I wrote every line, which is not entirely true -- I borrowed some open-source JavaScript, a nifty little routine to populate a drop-down menu out of values in my database, not pre-defined things, the usual. This represented one of the darker points in the development, as I had no one to advise me, no guidance at all except what I could Google. This happened several times, over the years, where I had a technical hurdle to cross and no help. I guess I was a consultant then, but only because I had to be. Nobody else would.

Go back to your cushy little W2 job, and leave this developer alone.

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sledneck 3 years, 1 month ago

Isn't that always the way of the leftists, No argument, debate or scientific examination is ever necessary when you can simply decree your opposition "un-worthy" of a response, cock back your head and walk away secure in the belief that your position is iron-clad! And, after all, you declare my "un-worthiness" of response on grounds so firm... anonymity! Boy, that sure makes me reconsider my position...

If I gave you a name, Rumplestiltskin perhaps, would you then be able to answer the questions I posed to you?

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rhys jones 3 years, 1 month ago

sled -- well it appears a response is not immediately forthcoming, so please allow me to venture a side comment or two. First, I generally like your rap; we could get along.

I am so far left on some issues, so far right on others, that it would be hard to classify, but it works for me -- nobody's right!! And everybody is. I see things through progressive lenses.

Last aside; I lied again. Twice during my software development, I got so flustered, I bailed to strangers, online forums for this or that software. Both times a guru took me under his or her wing, usually within hours, and walked me through to solution of the problem, even if it took 4 days, between our other tasks, like it did once. Open Source, friends. Linux. My helpers did it for free, just for the love of it, and they were all over the globe; somebody in a Slovakia helped once.

If I used WIndows, my problems would still be in Bill's inbox. Ciao!!

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sledneck 3 years, 1 month ago

When I ask legitimate questions from those who are "dug-in" on the right or left I get the same thing every time... name-called, labled, dismissed with a label, BS double-speak, etc.

I rarely get thought-out answers; real substantive answers to any of my questions:

Why is pot illegal, Why do the people of this nation think they have a right to tell me what to smoke, drink, grow, eat, etc? Why do people support socialism when it has been shown to fail 100% of the time, Why do people look to government for protection from "big CEO crooks" when congress is the biggest crook of all? Why does the "middle-class" deserve defference (respect)when they voted us into this calamity and continue to vote us straight to hell? Why do I care what the temperature is if you can't tell me what the ideal temperature SHOULD be? How do you get cheap energy by cutting energy production?

Ad infinitum. To answer a question HONESTLY one must actually WANT the TRUTH. Ahhh, there's the rub...

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MrTaiChi 3 years, 1 month ago

I have belonged to two unions in order to work at a creamery and on the railroad, I appreciated the safety requirements created by the union on the railroad, (International Brotherhood of Laborers and Oilers). There was an obvious downside. The unions had negotiated a half hour for their members to get into work clothes before starting the eight hour shift and a half hour at the end of the shift to get out of them and to shower, probably going back to steam engines, when the old timers told me, one could pare off grease and dirt with a pocket knife. In my time, the men just sat around for the half hour before leaving the lunch room to start to work and waited there the half hour before punching out and leaving the work. In a 24 hour day, therefore, with three shifts, three complete paid hours were wasted with no work done at all.

I was in the big shop at the end of my shift once and climbed up into the cab of a locomotive to sit in a padded seat with a back, rather than on the benches of the lunchroom to wait out my half hour. I passed some gas. Almost immediately an elderly railroad lifer climbed into the cab and sat down. After en embarrasing minute passed, he said looking forward out the window, "Do you think it will ever go away?"

The foremost labor leader of his time, Samuel Gompers was asked by a reporter what his union would ask for next if they gained their immediate objectives. He answered, "More." When asked what then, he replied, "More and more."

JLM, good to see you back.

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pitpoodle 3 years, 1 month ago

Mr. Udall, you failed. Voting for wild spending and more wild spending has finally caught up with you. And he is "disappointed" that still more spending can't happen? Maybe it is time to say goodbye.

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Troutguy 3 years, 1 month ago

Where exactly did Mr. Udall say he is disappointed that more spending can't happen? I read the piece a couple of times and don't see it. He is calling for a balanced approach with revenue increases and spending cuts. Unfortunately, the GOteaParty has no such ambitions. Instead, we get recycled talking points left over from the Bush years. Tax cuts for the wealthy job creators will cure all. The fact that they are sitting on the most cash ever ($2.5 trillion and counting) means nothing. They need more of the nations wealth, then we may get some jobs? Hasn't worked in the last 10 years, but hey, let's keep doing the same things over and over and expect different results.

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pitpoodle 3 years, 1 month ago

Udalls balanced approach is to raise taxes on everyone so more spending can occur. Balanced approach is code for more spending. Spending cut do not enter the picture. Did you read this? "I was extremely discouraged that Congress decided to adjourn this week without reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration" Is this not more spending? Get over it Trout, your guy's failed stimulus policies have failed miserably. You really just don't get it.

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Troutguy 3 years, 1 month ago

Oh. Didn't know that you could decipher "code" from politicians. What kind of code was Dick Cheney talking when he said "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter"? When has Mr. Udall ever called for raising taxes on everyone? He hasn't. But facts don't matter. If you say it's true often enough, well, then, it must be. Right? As for the FAA, do you even know what that was about? Is it really just more spending to you? Just like Police, Fire, public schools, etc are spending? Do we not need the FAA? Do you even know what is does?
How do you feel about all the spending in Iraq, Aghanistan, and Libya? Don't remember any posts from you calling for cuts in military spending. But the FAA. Now there's a waste of money. Who needs safe air travel?

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pitpoodle 3 years, 1 month ago

We are talking about Udall not Cheney. Do not try to change the conversation. Cut the FAA and cut the military budget too. I understand the what the FAA does. Do you?

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sledneck 3 years, 1 month ago

What is a persons "fair share" of tax burden?

Let's say you go to the grocery store and find yourself in line behind someone who, coincidentally, is purchasing the EXACT same groceries as you. Their bill comes to $98.50. So you send your stuff down the conveyor and confidentally pull out that crisp, new, one hundred dollar bill. The clerk takes it and stares at you with her hand still outstretched. Your hand is outstretched too, waiting on your $1.50 change. You say "the other guy had the EXACT same items as me and I saw you charge him $98.50; what do you mean mine comes to $147.62????!!!!"
The clerk then informs you that your groceries cost more because of the new "Fairness in Groceries" policy implemented last week by that store.

The next words out of EVERY leftists mouth (every single one of them aliveon this planet) would be: THATS NOT FAIR The very next thing they would do is shop at the OTHER grocery store from that point on. That action is akin to the jobs going overseas...

And boy you leftists will really be pissed when you find out 51% of the people who get groceries today didn't pay one thin dime!

THATS OUR TAX CODE, FOLKS

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sledneck 3 years, 1 month ago

Oh, and if you are not ticked off you might be one of the 51% that gets their groceries free. Who do you think will continue to shop at that store?

They have already moved their factories to Mexico, folks. Do you honestly think they won't get on a plane and slip down there with their "grocery money" instead of giving it to ...

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 1 month ago

I wouldn't say this is a conservative's magazine. More accurate to say the Economist advocates for economic graphs that go up, with a global view. Anyway this article is a worthwhile read:

http://www.economist.com/node/21524874

Turning Japanese.

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Troutguy 3 years, 1 month ago

Sled, do you know why 51% of people don't "pay for groceries?" What if you were standing in line buying $98.50 worth of stuff. You're behind, say, Conoco Phillips, who is buying the same stuff as you. Conoco Phillips pulls out that crisp $100 bill and pays the clerk. The clerk gives Conoco Phillips $1.50, then hands over another $30 and says "even though you can afford to pay for this, the store wants to subsidize your groceries and help pay for them. When you step up to pay, all you get back is $1.50. That's our tax code. As long as we keep shoveling more money to the top, all is well in America.

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pitpoodle 3 years, 1 month ago

Trout, why do you think it is OK for 51% (actual fact) of the population to avoid paying taxes? Never mind that you espouse the class warfare that Obama has promoted since he took office. Never mind that you believe it is OK to take from the rich to redistribute wealth and make everyone mediocre. The last I heard Conoco Phillips actually creates jobs. But forget that, just explain why the rest of us should be expected to pony up for everyone else? Please try to give a coherent answer and try to leave Bush out of your answer.

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sledneck 3 years, 1 month ago

Trout, 51% pay no taxes because our tax code allows them to avoid paying.

Give me a serious, thought-out answer to the following question/ questions: Do you really believe Conoco Phillips pays taxes... or do they merely COLLECT taxes from end-users of their products? Do you think that if the government raised taxes on Conoco Phillips by 25 cents per gallon they would not immediately raise gas prices by 25 cents per gallon?

Now if you know for sure that Conoco would NOT do the tit-for-tat but rather they would bear the tax alone and continue to sell us gas at the same price then I have WONDERFUL news... You, my friend, have just found the answer to ALL our nations financial problems. We can just raise taxes on EVERY business to whatever level we need to so we can pay off the government debt in 6 months!!!! Hurray, You did it, Trout!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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JLM 3 years, 1 month ago

Most of you could not fill a thimble with what you know about the IRC.

The issue with oil is the depletion allowance which is generally identified as 15% of net royalty income but is really much more complex. In any event, it is limited to the value of the original investment only.

As a gross simplification ---

If you bought an oil property for $2MM, you can reduce AGI by 15% per year until you have recovered your entire original investment. That is what the President is bellyaching about when he decries the benefits to Big Oil --- nothing more.

This is no different than, say --- real estate depreciation in which you can also recover your entire investment (less the cost attributable to the land which does not depreciate).

You buy a building and use it in a business and you can depreciate it over its useful life.

Why?

Because in both instances, the value of the assets are consumed by the business engine. In the case of the oil depletion allowance, it is a tad more accelerated in order to spur more discovery and exploration.

Do we need some exploration today? Ask yourself the next time you fill up your car.

Big Oil is finding oil all over the US because the price of oil is $100/bbl. That is a good thing. If they did not, oil would be $1000/bbl.

BTW, did you note that the BP "disaster" has all but disappeared. That is because the Gulf is simply a big bathtub flushed out by the Mississippi River and other rivers dumping into the Gulf.

Big Oil, keep on exploring, babe!

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JLM 3 years, 1 month ago

Mr Tai Chi --- wow, what cool learning experience type jobs. I envy you. Well done.

I was never really gone, just tired.

Can you believe what is happening out there?

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JLM 3 years, 1 month ago

"With the unemployment rate hovering around 9 percent, many Americans cannot find a job."

I guess you have to be a Senator to make such brilliant utterances?

Take a look at U-6 from the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) which includes folks who have not found a job in 18 months, graduated high school students, graduated college students, returning vets and the underemployed.

U-6 is at almost 20%. One of 5 of our countrymen are suffering. The lack of a job but more importantly the dignity and definition that comes from work, hard work.

Think about it --- when someone asks you what do you do --- you answer with your job or your profession.

Man needs the dignity and definition of work to make his way in the world and the current administration simply cannot deliver.

And their answer? Let's tax the crap out of the only segment of our society who really knows how to create a job.

Amateur hour.

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sledneck 3 years, 1 month ago

With 99 weeks of paid unemployment to muddle through I would say many Americans can't find a job for about the same reason as a bank-robber can't find a cop.

Voltaire said that "Work spares us from 3 great evils: boredom, vice and need."

I personally consider work a priviledge and am saddened by how hard many people work at getting out of work.

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MrTaiChi 3 years, 1 month ago

@ JLM

I remember your expression of hope for Obama after the election. I felt the same way, still do, as he is my President, and his failures are America's failures. In the coming months, it seems that we will be awash in psychological profiles of him. I don't understand economics like some of these posters apparently do, but I recognize floundering when I see it.

I had the admittedly simplistic attitude that it was dangerous to elect a man who was not inculcated with American values as a youth. That's why he could stand and do nothing when they played the National Anthem, while H. Clinton and Gov. Richardson put their hands over their hearts behind him. Well, he's a quick study of how people react to such insights, so we've seen Old Glory in its magnificence flying on his lapel since then. If I'm entitled to my feelings, my feelings are that this guy is just out of his depth, that in not coming up through our flawed training of legislators, (not just in offices gained, but in years of experience), he doesn't really understand average Americans or how to make the system function.

One of the posters a year or so ago responded to such remarks in substance, "That's it? You're going to run on him not being American enough?" Well, I think that's the root of his problems, but it's only an opinion. My fraternity motto: "The cause is hidden, the result well known."

I apologize for the canard about the old railroader. I thought it would cause some smiles about the humanity of the situation. On reflection, it was just vulgar.

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JLM 3 years, 1 month ago

I came from a military family and grew up on Army posts. I went to a military academy and then went into the Army. It was the family business.

I knew how to act and think and be quiet appropriately because I had been around the military my whole life.

It was a huge advantage and yet I constantly felt out of my depth, uncomfortable and maybe even a little anxious to boot. But I was wise enough to ask senior non-coms for advice before deciding anything of importance.

I feel quite sorry for the President because he really does have that lost and alone look about him and he must rue his own naivete from when he was just going to make the world like us because he was just so likeable personally.

In some ways I hate to see that sweet naivete beaten out of him. I like the idea that maybe, just maybe, we can return to some level of comity and make things work again.

I am scared for our nation as we are getting to a tipping point and we may not be able to right the gyro.

The idea that a man seeks a leadership office, the Presidency, by "destroying" another man, in this case a very decent man in Mitt Romney, just makes me want to puke.

Who are these morally bankrupt people?

Unfortunately, they are the President's men.

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MrTaiChi 3 years, 1 month ago

My slant is that we have forsaken conventional religious morality for a secular creed, 'advocacy.' It was always the case in politics and labor relations that the most aggressive position usually gained the most results. This ran counter to the predominant religious culture of America that taught values of modesty and humility. Sometime ago, we passed the tipping point where now we are all advocates of our positions, without regard for the consequences. Our rationale is to let the other side advocate and come up with more logical or appealing arguments to win the day in whatever forum we find ourselves. In life, as we see in the law, it is rare for two equally matched advocates battle it out in the marketplace of ideas. These electronic sites allow us to increase the height and influence of our soap box for good or ill. We can scream, to the legitimate annoyance of those who hate annonymous posting, without having to account for our advocacy. The web allows politicians little place to hide their misdemeanors, so what may have passed with a wink and a nod, like Kennedy being a serial adulterer while in office, now is exposed. Maybe nothing has changed because nothing is hidden any more. There is no shame in disingenuously blaming Bush for the economic collapse that started under Clinton and had the bottom fall out because of the consequences of 9/11. There is no shame in disingenuously blaming Obama for economic collapse that he is largely powerless to stop, no shame in an attitude, "I'll advocate using facts and data that I know are slanted, you prove me wrong." We've replaced turning the other cheek with a creed from four thousand years ago, 'an eye for an eye', only in the modern context it's more like, "I get to kick you in the groin, kick back if you can."

I think that the country is on the verge of accepting that the left has held sway since the Johnson administration and has failed because we still have poverty, disease, intractable problems. I don't like the Tea Party's apparent position that social efforts have failed because we truly couldn't afford to accomplish them, that we should abandon even the Bush safety net by not funding them.

We're not going to dig ourselves out of this hole until responsible adults in Washington accept what President Reagan's budget advisor, David Stockman, said in the past year, that there aren't enough rich people to tax to balance the budget even with the cuts proposed, that the middle class will have to be taxed with the rich to once more put the country in the black. We can't continue with polar fantasies, one, that we can finance our programs by borrowing, the other that America is willing to be a Dickensonian culture, welfare Cadillac or John D. Rockefeller throwing dimes to the scrambling crows from his touring car.

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