National Savings: U.S. vs. Norway

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by chemgator, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. G8trGr8t
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    G8trGr8t Premium Member

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    and how much does Norway spend on national defense?
  2. dangolegators
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    dangolegators Well-Known Member

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    You probably mean 'homogenous', not 'hetrogenous'. Also, there is no requirement in Norway that its citizens pay as much into the system as they receive. Believe it or not, they have wealth redistribution there, just like we do, and just like every developed nation does. Norway is far more socialistic than the US is.
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  3. RealGatorFan
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    RealGatorFan Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind Norway is extremely small. Notice the happiest countries are small countries. Not one large country makes the Top 20 in any list. You can't Canada because again, Canada has a huge landsize yet the population is tiny. Here's the population numbers of the Top 10 Happiest:

    1. Norway - 5 million
    2. Denmark - 5.6 Million
    3. Sweden - 9.6 Million
    4. Australia - 23.3 Million
    5. New Zealand - 4.5 Million
    6. Canada - 35.1 Million (2nd largest land size)
    7. Finland - 5.4 Million
    8. Netherlands - 16.8 Million
    9. Switzerland - 8 Million
    10. Ireland - 6.4 Million

    Common thread is the population of these countries are tiny; far easier to manage than say the USA. California alone is larger than all of these Top 10. Considering many of these countries have a ton of land and resources per capita, it's no wonder they are wealthy.
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  4. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    Tiny, well-heeled and uncrippled by a slavish devotion to federalism. They've got it made in the shade.
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  5. chemgator
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    chemgator Well-Known Member

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    Social Security Administration knows exactly what needs to be done. They can tell you, for each solution (raise the retirement age, raise taxes, and cut benefits), how much needs to be done to balance their finances. They might say something like:

    1) Raising the retirement age will require everyone to retire 4 years later to balance the SS budget.

    2) Increasing taxes will require everyone to pay in an additional 2% of their income to balance the SS budget.

    3) Cutting benefits will require all recipients to lose 8% of their SS income.

    Everyone votes. Let's say that 50% vote to delay retirement, 30% to cut benefits, and 20% to raise taxes. That means we delay retirement 2 years, cut benefits 2.4%, and raise the SS tax by 0.4% of income. Problem solved. Repeat every 20 years. If there is excess money projected in the system, people can vote to reduce retirement age, reduce taxes, or increase benefits.

    The reason that we have a representative democratic republic instead of a democracy is only partially because the unwashed masses were so much less intelligent than the politicians (which is no longer true--the average literacy rate is much higher among the average citizen than it used to be). There was also an impracticality of having all of the citizens vote on things. Tallying up the vote is hard enough today--it would be extremely difficult in the 1700's and early 1800's, when it would take weeks for word of the vote to arrive and you had to trust the word of the person delivering the vote. It was much easier to let states vote for people, and send those people to New York or D.C. and let them discuss things and vote on them. We have the internet now.

    Gridlock is designed to prevent radical solutions to problems. As a system of governance, it does not do so well at arriving at solutions that involve discomfort for the unwashed masses. My system is much better. The unwashed masses have no one to blame but themselves for the way the vote turned out, and Congressmen just have to follow the will of the people.

    I cannot imagine any "deep technical implications" with resolving Social Security's financial problems. But there are deep technical and non-technical implications of not resolving the SS mess.
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  6. tegator80
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    tegator80 Well-Known Member

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    Completely sound argument, IF politicians didn't care whether they got re-elected or not...or if they get shot. For a variety of reasons the great unwashed are not prepared to hear "no" or "cuts." Can you imagine a politician stepping out and proposing what you are listing?

    So we just keep on playing the same game until it ends badly.
  7. chemgator
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    chemgator Well-Known Member

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    I think there would be just enough novelty to hold the interest of the unwashed masses. There would be suspense, excitement, and a chance to roll the dice and see what happens. They would feel that they were in control of the situation, instead of having some old fogies in D.C. making all the decisions. It would be like buying a lottery ticket, except with no payout. Or going to Vegas and picking the correct lever to pull (again, no payout). After the first vote got counted, they would realize that all solutions they were presented with have unappealing consequences. So you would want to wait a couple years before the next referendum to let them forget that.
  8. surfn1080
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    surfn1080 Well-Known Member

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    Is this a serious post? Do you have children?

    Also when is ANY debt beneficial to continued recovery?
  9. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    Totally serious. And given that I plan (financially) on being alive for another 40 years at least, me having children or not is completly irrelevant to my short or long term thinking on the matter, because I'm probably closer to the age of the "children" than the people who pretend to be concerned about them in debt discussions.
  10. chemgator
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    chemgator Well-Known Member

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    Debt isn't in and of itself beneficial to the economy. It is possible that investment in specific areas of the economy (that incur debt in the short-term) could induce the economy towards a a faster recovery. For example, if money spent on infrastructure allows an increase in traffic (vehicle, freight, or internet) to an area, then the economy of that area could benefit by getting raw materials in or products out cheaper and faster. The democrats' take on this is to throw money at every possible project in case they get lucky and win the lottery. They reason that even money poorly spent will be introduced into the economy and will help consumer spending. This, of course, is foolish.

    You really need to look at return on investment and see with clear eyes and not be fooled by "experts" who have a vested interest in seeing a project approved. HSR in Florida was a perfect example. I don't think any estimate of ridership on any light rail or HSR project in the U.S. has been anywhere near the actual ridership. Jacksonville and Miami are still waiting to recover the money they invested in light rail systems. The "experts" in the Florida HSR case claimed that Tampa - Orlando would have as many riders as the current New York to D.C. Acela medium-speed rail system that has been in place for years. That's laughable. Especially after Orlando rejected a $0.01 sales tax hike to pay for light rail within the city.
  11. surfn1080
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    surfn1080 Well-Known Member

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    I did not refer my post to you, but to wgbgator.
  12. asuragator
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    asuragator Well-Known Member

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    Your solution might be better for you, but again doesn't get you around the fact that you'd have folks voting directly on matters in which shouldn't be put up to a referendum. Your system might work for a neighborhood of 30 people, not for a society of 300 million.
  13. surfn1080
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    surfn1080 Well-Known Member

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    You and I think differently. My future financial plans not only include my next 40 years to one day retire comfortably, but that I can provide for my family and my kids future as well.

    I may only be 29 but I am very much growing into my career and am very worried about the continued spending and debt this country incurs. Why do you assume people do not care about our future outlook? I still believe we live in a great country and I would like to raise my children in a better one if able.

    You never answered my question in how "short" term debt is good for us financially?
  14. chemgator
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    chemgator Well-Known Member

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    The current "solution" is to ignore the problem until it bankrupts us. That makes sense to you? No one in Congress is even talking about Social Security, much less doing anything about it. They are afraid to. An imperfect solution is better than a serious problem, especially when that problem could lead to an economic collapse. Of course it would work. Not everyone would like the solution that results from it, but no one would die from it. No one would have to sell their kidney to stay out of poverty. We aren't talking about drastic changes. (If we were terrified of drastic changes that might kill people, we shouldn't have passed Obamacare.)
  15. asuragator
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    asuragator Well-Known Member

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    No, I don't believe we should ignore problems, though at the same time, I don't believe SS is of quite the immediate and dire concern right yet.
  16. chemgator
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    chemgator Well-Known Member

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    All of the entitlement programs are a serious concern. Social Security happens to be one of the largest, as well as one of the easiest to fix. If we can fix this one, then we can have hope to fix the others.

    Our representatives in government should be mature enough and far-sighted enough to work on problems long before they destroy the economy. Especially when a program is rapidly increasing our national debt. Any fool (GWB, BHO, for example) can rack up federal debt. Very few people have the fortitude to reduce the federal debt.

    SS is a simple forced savings plan. It has nowhere near the complexities and emotional distress associated with Medicare or Medicaid.

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