Jump to content

Completely Irresponsible

Recommended Posts

You got to be kidding me! We now import most of our steel. Textiles have left. The chemical industry has left. In fact, this country is incapable of building a large nuclear reactor without importing large components!


Nah, I wouldn't kid you. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703652104576122353274221570.html U.S. manufacturing output, aside from occasional drops from economic downturns, has doubled over the last 40 years, and continues to rise. Yep, you're right, we're not makin' cheap stuff like T-shirts or rolled steel anymore. U.S. manufacturing has shifted to high-end stuff that pays better margins and needs a sophisticated work force. But durin' the same period, manufacturing jobs have dropped by almost a third. That's a gain in efficiency, not a loss of manufacturing.


From World War II through the 1980's, the science journals were dominated by USA researchers. That is far from true now.


Yah, that's because our schools aren't doin' the job, and because our culture values sports heros, lawyers, and loud-mouthed media and political "personalities" more than it values scientists. So why would a young boy or girl choose to do the much harder work of becomin' a scientist when the pay ain't great and the candidates for president tell everybody that scientists are nothing but cheats and villains?


Also, the brain drain has slowed or ceased because we are no longer a haven of democracy - we are becoming a socialist disaster like the rest of the world and the resulting decline in the standard of living coupled with improvements in their home countries mean that they no longer stay.


Yah, hmmm... Well, da number of foreign students at U.S. universities is at an all-time high, eh? Often times their governments are willing to pay 100% of the tuition and travel costs to get their young people a high-end U.S. education. If I remember correctly, you're the fellow who wanted to cut 100% of the Department of Education, so that we'd give our promising young people zero.


And then yeh look at a study like this one and yeh discover that the actual evidence is that foreign students are staying at essentially the same or higher rates than before. http://orise.orau.gov/files/sep/stay-rates-foreign-doctorate-recipients-2007.pdf


I know, I know. Why actually look at real evidence when we can cringe in fear, point fingers in angst, and babble about pseudo-science? ;)



If I get a chance, I will try to find references for the medicare/medicaid beginning and end of life costs.


I look forward to it. Mine BTW are:


Emanuel, E.J. (1996) Cost savings at the end of life. What do the data show? JAMA 275(24):1907-14

Hogan C, Lynn J, Gable J, Lunney J, O'Mara A, Wilkinson A. Medicare Beneficiaries' Costs and Use of Care in the Last Year of Life: Final Report to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, Washington, DC: Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, 2000.


or if yeh want some easier reads, try





Also, I originally proposed a fair tax.


I don't mind a fair tax, but below a certain income level yeh just can't get blood from a stone, eh?


Also, with freeing up the jobs taken by illegal migrants and providing incentives for people to get off of welfare, we can decrease - not increase the welfare rolls.


Find me an unemployed auto worker who is willin' and able to move his family from his house in Detroit to a migrant camp in California so he can pick oranges. Then tell me what the enforcement costs are goin' to be, and how much those enforcement costs will add to the deficit and create "bigger", more intrusive government. Everyone has to have a national ID card? Surgically installed citizenship chips? What?


We only get to socialism or fascism when folks are so dense as not to actually consider the implications of what they are proposin'. It's like the balanced budget amendment, eh? It sounds good in a sound bite, until yeh realize that all it does is give the power of the purse to the courts.




Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 161
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I'll add to the response to this one, "From World War II through the 1980's, the science journals were dominated by USA researchers. That is far from true now."


This is one of those comments that asks for several responses. First, that 40-or-so years was a time during which the US published many of those journals, many of which expanded or even began during that time. With the economic successes of globalization, such journals have grown in many developing countries which previously had little such activity. As a world society, this is a good thing. Countries like India and China and Brazil recognize the relationship between research and economic success. My congratulations to those success stories and condolences to the dolts who don't understand it.

Second, if you go back BEFORE World War II, and examine older scientific literature (actually fairly easy to do now online), that same literature was often dominated by other countries back then. The relationship between science, innovation, intellectual activity and socio-political-economic factors is a strong relationship.


In response to the comment, however, I ask: Do you think the cuts to education, research funding, etc. are going to IMPROVE the status of the US in the world scientific community?


These things seem to cycle. If you had looked to the literature going back, say, to Copernicus, you'd see dominance by different nationalities at different times. Heck, for that matter go back thousands of years and see the dominance by the Arabs and the Greeks. The history is still being discovered but the Chinese, too, had some innovations independent of what we think of as 'Western' discovery.

More recently, Russia, for example, had some of the best mathematics and genetics research in the world. But their political and social situation allowed for the decline of math and explicitly destroyed genetics as part of an overt pogrom, driven by political ideology. Any of this sound familiar?


Germany had a brain drain before and after World War II because of the social, economic, and political situation for minorities who represented an important segment of their scientific community.

The United States hit its stride around the time of Sputnik (I'm one of the beneficiaries) and now with people like those in the Tea Party demanding devastating cuts to education, we're on the downside of the cycle, probably not to change direction. What do you expect to be the outcome in an anti-intellectual social and political atmosphere? To expect anything else but decline is disingenuous.


So yes, as Beavah notes, the US is still a popular destination for international students. That trend is slowing some as well because in some fields, India and China and Brazil, for example, offer opportunities that are as good and cost less. For that matter, I have advisees who, to save money, go overseas for at least a semester or two.

Over the last few decades, what I see in many institutions is that we've cut them to the point that most of the resilience is gone. I think we're edging toward the failure and elimination of some, perhaps many, of these institutions in the next decade or so. Oh well....


All this is a predictable outcome of policies that the Tea Party seems to promote. And I'm wondering why anyone from the Tea Party would engage in hand-wringing over it....seems like a success story like this would be cause for celebration and joy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Also, with freeing up the jobs taken by illegal migrants"


Another sound bite that sounds good on the surface but has no grounding in the reality based world.


We're seeing an actual example taking place in Georgia after the Governor there pushed through a bill that had the result of decimating the workforce needed by the farmers in Georgia. Though targeted at "illegal migrants", it also scared off the legal migrants from south of the US border who did the planting and harvesting on the farms. The Governor said that with so much unemployment there would be plenty of "Americans" around to take those jobs. So far, there have been about 5 unemployed "Americans" willing to step in and take those jobs - and 5 people aren't going to be able to replace the hundreds of migrant workers that won't come to Georgia anymore. When the mostly rural and conservative farmers are telling the conservative governor of their state to stop being so darn stupid, you know that the rhetoric is about to get paved under by the reality.






Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, Calico, you are correct. This is what paying 99 weeks of unemployment payments gets you. We have plenty of jobs available, but Americans have become too soft. Given the choice between a hard, sweaty job in the heat and a stroll to the mailbox to pick up a check, Americans are going to choose the latter. All paid for with money borrowed from the Chinese, as we go deeper and deeper into debt. Let's keep doing what we are doing, right? Bring in more illegal immigrants to do the jobs Americans are too soft to do, and keep paying more and more unemployment. It sure seems to be working so well!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, there's some truth to that, BA. Da reasons the Detroit auto worker or the unemployed Georgian aren't willing to pull up stakes and go join the migrant worker community are quite a few, eh? For one, they're used to havin' a house, so they're tryin' to hold on to it. Take away mortgage subsidies like da mortgage interest deduction and other financial manipulation, and you'd have less of that. Homeless citizens would be more available for migrant work.


Trick is that to get there yeh do a lot of collateral damage, eh? Homeless citizens also don't tend to be big contributors to the economy, yeh see. So you'd have another huge round of Super Recession, falling demand and falling stock prices and falling home prices and puttin' more pension plans further under water. Probably another round of bailouts too, eh? Legislators love their banking pals.


I agree that there should be a phase-out of unemployment benefits, and that 2 years is gettin' to be too long. But there has to be hiring demand, and there isn't right now for da blue-collar side of the economy.


Again, if someone is willin' to loan you money at 1% interest for 30 years, that's a good deal. Yeh should take it and invest it. Pay for job retraining instead of unemployment or somethin'!




Link to post
Share on other sites



You are correct in the history of science in the 20th century. The case is even worse than you made it seem because had not the fascist countries (primarily Germany) exiled some of their best scientists who came to America and became giants in their fields. Also, as China pulls out of its' Maoist version of communism it is to be expected that the best of 1 billion people will be competitive in the sciences.


The issue is that we are selling science and technology and little else. If we fall behind, then we have nothing to sell. Beavah does not perceive the problem in manufacturing. Not being able to have heavy industry is a liability and will be fatal if our fall in scientific pre-emenince continues. That fall will not be quickly remedied from what I see in a science job.


Pack, Calico, and Beavah, the more heavily that the federal government has become involved in education, the more expensive it has become and the worse the performance. Turning it over to the states does not mean that the educational opportunities or that education itself will get worse. It will likely improve as people once again have input into their children's educations.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Beavah does not perceive the problem in manufacturing.


Nor, apparently, does the Wall Street Journal. But I'm willing to listen, eh? How exactly does steady or increasing manufacturing output in the U.S. constitute a problem?


What we've lost (textiles, steel) were low-skill, low-profit manufacturing. We're no longer making T-shirts. That's been completely offset by the fact we're making a lot more John Deere tractors and slant-drilling oil rigs.


What's the problem?


Pack, Calico, and Beavah, the more heavily that the federal government has become involved in education, the more expensive it has become and the worse the performance.


Even now, da federal government isn't that involved in education, eh? They provide college scholarships, monetary help for impoverished urban and rural schools, free lunches for poor kids, privacy and civil rights protections, and special education funding and mandates. That's about it, along with da No Child Left Behind mandates, but even there the curriculum and the tests are still up to the states.


Nah, the problems in public schools are with da state and local governments, not the feds. The feds can't fix it top-down, but then that's no surprise, eh?


If yeh want to fix the schools, get government out of the monopoly business. Provide vouchers for every kid, and let 'em go to the government school or the parochial school or the private school or the university charter school or whatever. Just like colleges, eh? Provide scholarships to let the kids and the families choose what's best for them.


That, and treat teachers like honored professionals.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Vol_scouter, this is an aside but sort of on topic (it connects to the education aspect)...anyway I thought you'd get a kick out of it. One of the scouts from this unit (he earned Eagle) graduated a couple of years ago blah, blah, blah, and is pursuing his Ph.D. in physics. I just learned that he is pursuing his research for this degree at the LHC in CERN. So here's the punchline: if the earth gets gobbled up by a man-made black hole, an Eagle just might be responsible.

That is just WAY cool!(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, those physicists are dangerous, eh? In theory, any micro black holes should "evaporate" before they interact or grow. Why are they doin' the experiment? Well, because they're not sure if their theories will hold up or not in real life.


Makes yeh wonder. ;)


Perhaps da reason we haven't found any intelligent life in da galaxy is that eventually each civilization gets to the point where some tom-fool government-supported Eagle Scout physicist builds a collider that drops their planet into an artificially created black hole.




Link to post
Share on other sites



You need not worry about the black hole stuff from the LHC. Besides, as an Eagle Scout he is trustworthy so quit worrying. The bigger problems created by physicists is the new trading methods on Wall Street (e.g. derivatives). These were physicists that could not find jobs in their field in the 1980's. Scary to have my fellow physicists on Wall Street!


Congratulations on the Eagle Scout at CERN! Obviously, he is a fine young man and quite intelligent. Physics is a small field with >50,000 worldwide (some say

Link to post
Share on other sites

Man made Black Hole.

Good sub topic to work into a discussion about the National Debt.


(Wikipedia) "A black hole is a region ...from which nothing, not even light, can escape."


... just sucks everything in, and lets nothing out...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...