Is U.S. ‘a mirror image of Rome as it tipped into chaos’?

Mark Fisher, writing this week for BusinessWeek and Bloomberg News, warns that “the U.S. today is a mirror image of the Roman Empire as it tipped into chaos. Whether we blame our bloated government, a greedy elite or a lethargic population, the similarities between the two foreshadow a gruesome future.”

It’s a familiar and often popular defeatist trope. Ever since 18th century historian Edward Gibbon wrote his famous “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” every succeeding empire — and by many definitions the United States is exactly that — has looked nervously to the Roman example. The narrative arc of Gibbon’s story — Rome fell as its people grew soft and weak — lends itself to those who want to see a similar arc in their own time and place.

Fisher, for example, claims that just as the Romans allowed themselves to be distracted by bread and circuses, “Americans have become less productive while relying more on social safety net programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — and now, expanded health care insurance. Worse, like the ancient Romans, a sense of entitlement has replaced the drive we once championed. With easy access to government handouts, it’s no wonder so many people have stopped looking for work.”

Like many of those who employ the Roman example, Fisher’s grasp of both history and economics is weak. His suggestion that our current unemployment crisis is driven by a lack of people seeking jobs, rather than a lack of jobs in the first place, is only one example of misplaced morality substituting for actual thought and analysis.

For another example, consider Fisher’s prescription to cure what ails us:

“Unless the government creates a massive jobs program, cuts spending and taxes, and gains control of the national budget and the balance of payments crises, we should fear for our future. Unless our fellow Americans relearn the value of hard work, no government plan stands a chance.”

To many, that might sound right and feel right, until you begin to think about the content. The government must create a massive jobs program AND it must cut spending? It must cut taxes AND gain control of our national budget? Those basic contradictions betray an intellectual laziness of the first order — to see it followed by a lecture about the value of hard work only adds to its entertainment value.

There are many ways for a nation to decline. The Soviet Union did not disappear because it became soft and weak; it vanished because it clung too rigidly too long to an unworkable ideology. Japan, the rising power once trumpeted as a challenger to the United States for economic supremacy, lost both its confidence and its capacity to innovate, and as a result has suffered a two-decade decline that shows no sign of abating. In effect, both the Soviets and the Japanese declined because they became paralyzed with fear at the thought of doing something different.

Many who would buy into Fisher’s half-baked thesis would probably include health-insurance reform among the signs of our nation’s growing weakness, as did he. I would argue just the opposite. As the chart below documents, no other industrialized nation spends anything close to 16 percent of its GDP on health care, even though many provide health care that matches or exceeds that available here.

45110

Seen in that light, the health-insurance reform bill is a necessary response to a major economic challenge. By any international comparison, our approach to health care is grossly inefficient and consumes resources that could be spent elsewhere to greater benefit. Obamacare is an act of innovation, and like any innovation it is far from perfect. But the alternative of doing little or nothing to address the problem, even as health-care spending is projected to increase to 18 or 20 percent of our economy, would be the true act of a nation and culture in decline.

In hard times, claims of impending collapse such as those advanced by Fisher resonate in many ears, for understandable reasons. We do have serious problems. If recessions teach lessons, then Great Recessions teach great lessons. Among other things, this one has taught us that as a nation and as individuals, we had become too consumption-oriented, too willing to indulge ourselves today in exchange for a debt to be repaid next week, next year, next generation. We have been living beyond our means in ways too numerous to count.

At an individual level, for most of us, that lesson has been driven home hard. At the national level it has not. Fundamental changes are still forthcoming, and some will be wrenching. We cannot, for example, afford to sustain a global military establishment with footprints in roughly 140 nations at last count — the economic dominance that financed our role as planetary policeman was temporary, and the role itself must be temporary as well.

The generosity of entitlement programs beyond the basics will likewise have to be curtailed, even though that will mean lower standards of living for some. Taxes will also have to be increased, even though that may mean lower standards of living for a different set of Americans. Higher taxes and curtailed entitlements are two halves of a necessary political bargain, and convincing the American people of the necessity of that change represents the single biggest challenge to our political leadership over the next decade.

However, those changes should not be interpreted as signs — or causes — of our decline. If implemented, they will be evidence of a people that is still willing to adjust and innovate and share in sacrifice for a better future, just as our forefathers did.

On the other hand, if we prove unwilling to take such steps, maybe Fisher will be proved right after all.

352 comments Add your comment

USinUK

March 31st, 2010
10:08 am

huzzah! jay, we thought we lost you …

Bosch

March 31st, 2010
10:09 am

We’ve allowed health insurance companies to expand to the point that they have us by the balls, so to speak and we can’t get rid of them.

Bosch

March 31st, 2010
10:09 am

Bosch

March 31st, 2010
10:12 am

Health insurance companies keep free market principles from working in the health care industry.

USinUK

March 31st, 2010
10:15 am

actually, it’s kind of interesting that this is the topic today – we were discussing something similar the other day here at work and one of my colleagues made an interesting observation: generally speaking, larger economic patterns seem to follow generational patterns where you have 1 generation that is a major driver / innovator / builder of success … the following generation doesn’t quite keep the pace, but they do okay … it’s the third generation that is fat / lazy / feels entitled and inbreeding with other third generation fat / lazy / entitled idiots.

he made the argument that the baby boomers are this third generation — I think that they are the 2nd. Either way, we’re near the end of a cycle, about to start a new one …

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:16 am

“Whether we blame our bloated government, a greedy elite or a lethargic population, the similarities between the two foreshadow a gruesome future.”

You can also add the failing family unit, welfare entitlement programs, lack of morals, Hollywood sleaze, lack of innovation, lazy schools, lazy parents, lazy kids etc……….

thomas

March 31st, 2010
10:16 am

Bosch, @ 10:12

Then is it a good idea for us in the form of taxpayers to prop them (insurance companies) up with another 32 million customers (if that number is to be believed, which would only strengthen their grip on our nutz?

jt

March 31st, 2010
10:17 am

Right,

the rise and fall of western civilization depends upon Obamacare,

and has nothing to do about centralized planning.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:18 am

History buffs have said for decades that America would fall from within much the way Rome did. It’s not a democrat/republican issue.

Lord Help Us

March 31st, 2010
10:19 am

‘misplaced morality substituting for actual thought and analysis.’

If only we could tattoo that line on the forehead of the Dittoheads, Tea Party folk, militia members and anyone else that ever claims Obama is a socialist or employs the ‘teleprompter’ schtick…

thomas

March 31st, 2010
10:19 am

USinUK

March 31st, 2010
10:15 am

As a coach, and one who deals with our youth and their motivational level I would not expect a great revival to be made from the following generation.

I am not old by any means, but these kids feel much more of a sense of entitlement. From my experience and the experience of other coaches young and old, the willingness to work for something and postpone instant gratification is not a skill or dsire that many in this current 18-22 yr. old generation.

Doggone/GA

March 31st, 2010
10:20 am

“larger economic patterns seem to follow generational patterns”

USinUK – I believe it’s the Brits that have a saying: “shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves is 3 generations”

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:21 am

Jay, we don’t make anything anymore. We are a nation of consultants and our government has sold our sovereignty to China which produces everything. We talk, they make.

China graduates 600,000 engineers per year whereas the US graduates around 50-65,000 engineers per year. China, much like the US in the 1940s, is bringing in scientists from all over the world to help develop new weaponry.

Bosch

March 31st, 2010
10:22 am

thomas,

No, I don’t think it is. That’s why I don’t really care for this health care bill so much – cause it’s not a health care bill, it’s an insurance bill. I like some components of it, but in my perfect world, health insurance companies would go the way of 8-track tapes and health care providers would set the costs of their own services.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:24 am

“As a coach, and one who deals with our youth and their motivational level I would not expect a great revival to be made from the following generation.”

You can blame political correctness for that. Look at teachers who promote “fairness” for all. Games that have no winners and losers. I laugh every time I hear some overprotective parent talk about how they have to have the biggest SUV for little Timmy so he won’t get hurt in a car wreck. When I was a kid, I rode in the back of my dad’s pick up truck with no seat belt. Not to say that it wasn’t dangerous but I turned out fine.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:24 am

On a good note, Obama is allowing off-shore drilling! That’s great news considering democrats hate that idea.

jewcowboy

March 31st, 2010
10:24 am

” “Americans have become less productive while relying more on social safety net programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security”

Yes…that is the problem…U.S. workers are not productive enough:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20572828/

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125742744080829139.html

The author seems not have done even the rudimentary of research.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:26 am

The UK is the ultimate Nanny State.

Pet shop owner fined £1,000 and told to wear an electronic tag… for selling a GOLDFISH to a boy aged 14

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1262250/Great-grandmother-tagged-selling-goldfish.html#ixzz0jlS7XEHE

TaxPayer

March 31st, 2010
10:26 am

Let them eat their cake and have it too.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:27 am

This is a great point from Neal Boortz.

There will come a point when the producers, the people who earn wealth and create jobs, will simply give up. The outrageous growth of “government mentality” is only adding to that frustration and speeding up the inevitable shrug. Here is yet another example of the government dependence mentality … as if that last story from New York wasn’t enough for you.

From 1998 to 2008, compensation for government employees grew by 28.6%. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the private sector. The increase there was 19.3%. The Wall Street Journal points out those government workers earn $1.45 for every dollar you earn doing the same exact job in a private business – a business that is forced to pay taxes and compete for customers.

The Boston Herald points to a local example of this mentality. In Salem, Massachusetts 45 city government employees earn over $100,000. That is up from 34 people who earned that amount just two years ago. Keep in mind that the median household income in Salem is less than $60,000. But those government workers “could pass out drunk in front of a supervisor and still be on the payroll.”

But shhhhhhh. Don’t say anything. If you do you could be identified as a dangerous, racist, violence-prone right winger!

TaxPayer

March 31st, 2010
10:28 am

Neal put the boor in Boortz.

Southern Comfort

March 31st, 2010
10:28 am

Who dat?

You can blame law makers for that too. There’s been laws passed that criminalizes practices that were condoned in the past. I think it’s illegal to ride in the back of pick-ups here in GA now.

This is a generational thing. When you have successive generations of parents that don’t want to raise their children the way they were raised has something to do with it. Giving children the latest anything instead of making them earn it has something to do with it. Don’t blame the children, they’re a product of the parenting that produced them.

Lord Help Us

March 31st, 2010
10:29 am

thomas, I respectfully disagree with your analysis of ‘this generation of 18-22 year olds.’

For the last 20 plus years I have employed young people in this demographic and coached (albeit rec league) kids much younger. I feel that this has given me some relevant insight into the issue.

These young people today are no worse, and in some cases, better than their predecessors. I give and receive respect exactly the way I was given and provided respect at that same age.

Every generation raises the same ‘kids today…’ canard.

The 18-22 year olds today will do the same when they are old farts…

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:29 am

The racists are coming the racists are coming!

America’s Quiet Anger

There is a quiet anger boiling in America.

It is the anger of millions of hard-working citizens who pay their bills, send in their income taxes, maintain their homes and repay their mortgage loans — and see their government reward those who do not.

It is the anger of small town and Middle American folks who have never been to Manhattan, who put their savings in a community bank and borrow from a local credit union, who watch Washington lawmakers and presidents of both parties hand billions in taxpayer bailouts to the reckless Wall Street titans who brought down the economy in 2008.

It is the fury of the voiceless, the powerless, the ordinary nobodies of Flyover Country who are ridiculed, preached to, satirized and insulted by the Celebrity Loudmouths of the two Left Coasts, the Jon Stewarts and Keith Olbermanns, the Paul Krugmans and their ilk.

It is the salted wound of the millions who see that ruling Democrats in Congress are not listening to them but are willfully ignoring public opinion and the verdict of recent elections in passing a huge new health care entitlement when the existing entitlements of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are already going broke.

http://spectator.org/archives/2010/03/30/americas-quiet-anger

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:32 am

“You can blame law makers for that too. There’s been laws passed that criminalizes practices that were condoned in the past. I think it’s illegal to ride in the back of pick-ups here in GA now.”

Not so, I just saw about 20 illegal aliens, I mean undocumented homosapiens riding in the back of a truck!!!!!

“Giving children the latest anything instead of making them earn it has something to do with it.”

AMEN! Like I said, overprotective parents!!!!! Again, it’s not a democrat/republican issue.

Dave R.

March 31st, 2010
10:32 am

Congress doesn’t have to spend money to create jobs (since they’ve already proven THAT doesn’t work). They have to get out of the way of businesses who want to produce by removing any and all regulations that stifle productivity, creativity and profit. State and local governments need to do the same.

A great line attributed to John Adams: “In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.”

And yes, Jay, we are very much like Rome in many ways. And this administration and Congress are fiddling while it burns.

thomas

March 31st, 2010
10:32 am

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:24 am

Actually,

I don’t blame PC at all. I blame parents, and relatives. Many of the problems that we as college coaches see are lessons that should have been learned at home.

But the community its self does deserve some of the blame. For any of us to sit by and watch a child “fall through the cracks” and for any of us to know that the child is not being preparred for the world to sit by and do nothing we are to blame as well. We should be smart enough to understand that the future criminals, and deviants are those falling throguh the cracks today.

NOW I Do Not think ANYONE has the right to force ANY of US to help mentor or raise any one elses children. It should be a personal choice, one I consider a selfish choice.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:34 am

A side by side view of how W and O treat soldiers. One shakes the soldiers fingers, the other grabs a guy by the head for a hug.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/03/barack-obama-george-w-bush-us-troops.html

USinUK

March 31st, 2010
10:34 am

who dat – hate to be the one to break it to you, but there’s more to that story than just the goldfish – from reports of them “caring” for a bird with a broken leg and eye problems (that later had to be put down) to other issues of animal abuse, these people weren’t exactly poster children for the RSPCA

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:36 am

“I don’t blame PC at all. I blame parents, and relatives. Many of the problems that we as college coaches see are lessons that should have been learned at home.”

But like HDB pointed out yesterday, people like the ones you’re talking about don’t learn lessons at home. They have a “it takes a village mentality.” So it becomes your job!

“NOW I Do Not think ANYONE has the right to force ANY of US to help mentor or raise any one elses children.”

Then don’t ever ever ever vote democrat.

Bosch

March 31st, 2010
10:37 am

“Look at teachers who promote “fairness” for all.”

Teachers? I guess the A-F grading system is lost to some.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:37 am

USinUK

Huh? So he sold abused goldfish to kids? But like you pointed out, you’re Einstein and I am Gomer Pyle.

Paul

March 31st, 2010
10:37 am

Jay

Nice.

[[It’s a familiar and often popular defeatist trope.]]

I was a high school freshman when a classmate, during a lunchtime discussion, observed we were going to fall as Rome did because we no longer produced gold coins. That was a 14-year-old’s analysis, right in line with Mr. Fisher’s.

The entitlement thing? People have always wanted something to benefit themselves. Nothing new there. But as a friend of mine put it, “I don’t really need it, there’s no justification for this program but if they’re going to send me the money, I’ll take it.”

Your third and fourth from the end paragraphs are spot on. I’m not sure it’ll put you in good stead, when the general turns to specific, with the liberal community, though. Or with the conservative community when they realize just how many ‘gimmes’ they get, too.

I’ll offer the major cost driver of the current bill is provision of subsidies to middle and upper-middle class households. That’s the type of thing that needs to change. (and yes, anticipating the ‘yeah, buts” – right along with welfare for Defense and the contractors and the suppliers; agribusiness; upper-tier households and the lot).

Bosch

Post for you downstairs.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:37 am

“Teachers? I guess the A-F grading system is lost to some.”

You mean, red ink vs. blue ink, smiley faces vs. frowny faces. Yeah, we can’t hurt there little feelings can we?

FinnMcCool

March 31st, 2010
10:38 am

Rome lasted 500+ years.
How many do we have under our belt? 235?

Bosch

March 31st, 2010
10:38 am

SoCo,

“I think it’s illegal to ride in the back of pick-ups here in GA now.”

It’s illegal for children under the age of 18 to ride in the back of a truck – as I well found out the hard way.

Lord Help Us

March 31st, 2010
10:38 am

Who Dat? I will give you one guess at the political affiliation of the parents of the young people that are the most difficult to employ…

(Hint: it ain’t the typical Dem voters…)

USinUK

March 31st, 2010
10:39 am

thomas – 10:32 – I agree with you – I think parents are a lot less involved in kids lives these days – they’re happier to give them STUFF rather than time

(or, perversely, they think that carting them to 101 different sporting / social activities is “being involved”)

however, the last half of your post sounds a lot like “it takes a village … ” – I believe they dock you 50 points off your conservative membership card for that …

FinnMcCool

March 31st, 2010
10:39 am

How about those nuns!

In the run-up to passage of the health care bill, representatives of the nearly 60,000 U.S. nuns signed a letter in support of the health care bill, contra the bishops, because, they wrote, supporting better health care is “the real pro-life stance.” From there, the dominoes toppled fast—Bart Stupak, the Catholic pro-life Democrat who’d refused to vote in favor of the bill because of the abortion question, initially dismissed the nuns’ letter but then backed down and settled for an executive order on abortion of questionable import and scope. And the bill passed.

http://www.slate.com/id/2249147/

jewcowboy

March 31st, 2010
10:39 am

“They have to get out of the way of businesses who want to produce by removing any and all regulations that stifle productivity, creativity and profit”

Like those pesky OSHA regulations? 9 years olds take orders quite well, perhaps we just get rid of those child welfare regualtions?

Welcome back 1883 London…where have you been?

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:39 am

CNN poll

Do you agree with President Obama’s plan to expand oil and gas drilling in U.S. coastal areas?

Yes 67%

No 20%

Bout time O did something that actually HELPS America.

USinUK

March 31st, 2010
10:41 am

who dat – “Huh? So he sold abused goldfish to kids? But like you pointed out, you’re Einstein and I am Gomer Pyle.”

well, first of all, there’s a law against selling animals to minors without parents present …

secondly, my point was that this was not their first or only offense – they have a history of animal abuse / neglect, which is why the law came down on them so hard.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:41 am

“I will give you one guess at the political affiliation of the parents of the young people that are the most difficult to employ…”

The most difficult kids to employ are the ones who come out of college thinking they are owed the world because they earned their degree.

kitty

March 31st, 2010
10:42 am

Dave R., it isn’t just this adminstration and Congress fiddling while “Rome” burns. It has been that way for YEARS…even under the precious Ronnie who grew the debt as well and GWB who wasn’t exactly shy in growing government and its interference.

Thogwummpy

March 31st, 2010
10:42 am

Jay does have a point, that we’re not like the Romans, but Fisher has a point that we are. Rome did become soft, and actually over diversified as ethnicity fiefdom interests trumped unity. Moreover, Rome’s strategic policy became that of appeasement (something Democrats love to do for our adversaries); weakness…foolishly thinking security rests in “being liked”. It doesn’t, NEVER HAS. Jay completely ignores that we’re in crisis because the government created (by regulatory force) a subprime housing industry that allowed the poor to game the system…to control financial assets beyond their means—-highly risky. Likewise, ANY society that punishes their most industrious members so they can shift all the emphasis and resources as hand outs (entitlements) to the un-productive members…is doomed. For encouraging the lethargic, while demoralizing the enterprising; is a recipe for disaster. But is this also not the foundation of every Left wing policy?

Bosch

March 31st, 2010
10:42 am

Who dat?

I don’t know about your school, but where my kids went and continue to go to school, they get A-Fs on their report cards (but I’m happy to report, on their cards, it’s As and Bs – a C ever now and then).

FinnMcCool

March 31st, 2010
10:42 am

Oil drilling: Bout time O did something that actually HELPS America.

LOL. Kool-aid for the independents. Drink up!

mwuahahahahaha

thomas

March 31st, 2010
10:42 am

Lord Help Us

March 31st, 2010
10:29 am

You so not see kids today wanting more instant gratification?

I did not speak to the respect issue. I was speaking more to the work ethic, and commitment levels. There is not as many who display a real willingness and committment to working to achieve something otherwise unattainable.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:42 am

“well, first of all, there’s a law against selling animals to minors without parents present … ”

Reminds me of the “cheesing” South Park episode where kids were getting high off of cat urine.

“they have a history of animal abuse / neglect, which is why the law came down on them so hard.”

Who is “they?”

USinUK

March 31st, 2010
10:43 am

finn – 10:39 – I had an image of a line-up of nuns with their rulers at the ready, taking on all the congress critters stupid enough to “dismiss” them in favor of the bishops …

Paul

March 31st, 2010
10:43 am

Who dat 10:34

[[A side by side view of how W and O treat soldiers. One shakes the soldiers fingers, the other grabs a guy by the head for a hug.]]

Did you even look at the picture in your link? How many people were on the risers between Pres Obama and the soldier?

Some of these comparisons go past being absurd.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:43 am

“I don’t know about your school, but where my kids went and continue to go to school, they get A-Fs on their report cards (but I’m happy to report, on their cards, it’s As and Bs – a C ever now and then).”

(Sigh) You totally missed my point, Bosch.

USinUK

March 31st, 2010
10:44 am

who – 10:42 – Who is “they?” – the same “they” that we’ve been discussing since your dailymail post – the pet shop owners in question.

kitty

March 31st, 2010
10:44 am

from “Who dat?” – The most difficult kids to employ are the ones who come out of college thinking they are owed the world because they earned their degree.

A friend’s daughter and boyfriend graduated from college a couple of years ago with “management” degrees. They actually thought someone would hire them right off the bat as managers and they wouldn’t start at the bottom. As my friend pointed out to them…what in the world do you know how to manage? They ended up at the bottom of the ladder and I think have learned a few lessons. Gotta love kids out of college. lol

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:45 am

“Did you even look at the picture in your link? How many people were on the risers between Pres Obama and the soldier? ”

Yep I did. There were risers in the Obama pic, none in the Bush pic. More soldiers were surrounding Bush than were O.

FinnMcCool

March 31st, 2010
10:45 am

Jay completely ignores that we’re in crisis because the government created (by regulatory force) a subprime housing industry that allowed the poor to game the system

oh my, here we go again. Those darned poor people have figured it all out, grouped together, and brought a mighty nation to its knees! Oh, those poor people have skillz!

Lord Help Us

March 31st, 2010
10:45 am

Who Dat? ‘The most difficult kids to employ are the ones who come out of college thinking they are owed the world because they earned their degree.’

Wrong. And I was not referring to college grads (not many college grads are between 18-22). A few, yes, but, I was referring to kids in high school, dropouts, kids that are trying to earn money so they can go to college, etc.

I have a feeling there is a wide world out there with which you are not very familiar…

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:45 am

“the pet shop owners in question.”

Any relation to The Pet Shop Boys?

Bosch

March 31st, 2010
10:45 am

Who dat?

Make a point first, then we’ll talk.

USinUK

March 31st, 2010
10:45 am

Dave R – thanks for the Groucho quote – that was the first thing I saw at Bookman Central this morning – nice to start the day needing screen cleaner

:-)

thomas

March 31st, 2010
10:47 am

Lord Help Us

March 31st, 2010
10:38 am

“Who Dat? I will give you one guess at the political affiliation of the parents of the young people that are the most difficult to employ…

(Hint: it ain’t the typical Dem voters…)”

Do you ask that on the application or how do you KNOW the parents political affiliation.

Me thinks you are trying to make a political issue of one that you have no attainable proof to show.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:48 am

kitty
GREAT! You know, I started working when I was 15, legal age in GA with some time restrictions, but I NEVER thought I’d start out doing anything but bottom tier work. I was glad to just get a pay check to buy my own clothes etc… I had friends who would brag because their dad owned a company and had delusions of grandeur about having an office AT THE AGE OF SIXTEEN!!!!!

USinUK

March 31st, 2010
10:48 am

Who – “Any relation to The Pet Shop Boys?”

saw a pic of them in the morning paper … I believe it’s safe to say NO to that one … let’s just say “a face only a mother could love” sprung to mind

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:49 am

“I have a feeling there is a wide world out there with which you are not very familiar…”

Yeah, I’m sure I do. I tend to stay far away from lazy people. Cramps my style.

Fred

March 31st, 2010
10:50 am

“In effect, both the Soviets and the Japanese declined because they became paralyzed with fear at the thought of doing something different.”

What?

Economic central planning doomed the USSR and huge philosophically misguided stimulus spending has zombified Japan. Jeez, and you giving this guy a hard time. You’re no different.

Let’s hope the market closes up today to bode well for our future. Right?

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:50 am

“Make a point first, then we’ll talk.”

I did, it just went over your head I guess.

On a lighter note, V was boring except for when that hot chick ate her “mate.” Lost was great. Again.

Chris D.

March 31st, 2010
10:51 am

To Who Dat..Not really sure your statistic on engineers graduating in China is all that meaningful? As China has a population 10 timies that of the U.S., seems to me that we are proportunately graduating the same rate….

Lord Help Us

March 31st, 2010
10:52 am

thomas, ‘There is not as many who display a real willingness and committment to working to achieve something otherwise unattainable’

I believe the work ethic is there, but it looks different than it did when I was that age (many seasons have since changed…). Like I said before, I see it day-in and day-out over the last 20 years.

Some things are easier for them, but I feel badly for those 18-22 year olds (and recent college grads) trying to get a foothold on their lives in this economy.

BTW: I think you will agree that economic conditions for kids in this age group are more challenging than 20+ years ago.

Can’t put that one on them…

Time have changed, kids in every age have changed.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:53 am

“Not really sure your statistic on engineers graduating in China is all that meaningful?”

600,000 to 50-60,000 is not meaningful? Ok.

“seems to me that we are proportunately graduating the same rate…”

You’re not too good with math are you.

Lord Help Us

March 31st, 2010
10:53 am

thomas, ‘Do you ask that on the application or how do you KNOW the parents political affiliation’

The McCain/Palin stickers on their cars are a dead giveaway…

Red

March 31st, 2010
10:54 am

I agree with a number here that productivity continues to grow and can be seen in the numbers. I’m just hoping that the relaxation of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ heralds a move to military conscription. Only by flying the stars and stripes over Mecca will the jihadists know they’ve lost once and for all.

Bosch

March 31st, 2010
10:54 am

Who dat?

You wrote earlier that teachers promote fairness to all, which is an absurd comment considering that we have a grading system in place that does the exact opposite. Even your red ink, blue ink, frowny faces comment completely contradicts your point, as that too enforces good vs. bad behaviors and marks on papers – the exact opposite of the promotion of fairness for all.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:54 am

“Time have changed, kids in every age have changed.”

Time have changed, kids in every age have changed into Dora the Explora.

Jess

March 31st, 2010
10:55 am

Work harder, get fewer rewards, pay more taxes, more regulation. Is this what people coming to America expect? This is at least Jay’s second column on “lowered expectations”. Well welcome to change we can believe in.

Who dat. Darn right it’s about time. Thousands of high paying jobs created without spending one tax payer dollar. There are strings attached to Obama’s change of heart however.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:55 am

“The McCain/Palin stickers on their cars are a dead giveaway…”

So every stupid kid has a parent with a McCain/Palin sticker?

USinUK

March 31st, 2010
10:56 am

Lord Help Us – “The McCain/Palin stickers on their cars are a dead giveaway”

they could have been plants! yeah!! that’s it – just like at the tea parties!!!

;-)

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:57 am

“the exact opposite of the promotion of fairness for all.”

Think about that the next time your kid comes home from school with a frowny face on his/her paper and when you ask the teacher what that means, they reply “oh, I didn’t want to hurt Billy’s feelings.”

Dave R.

March 31st, 2010
10:57 am

Kitty, it doesn’t matter who did what in the past. Get over it. And before you cry about some of us not complaining about who was doing their worst in the past, I have been one of consistency in complaining about ALL sides of overspending and increasing the scope of government for my entire life.

What matters is what you do when you get elected to office after complaining. Do you make it worse or make it better? Guess what? This administration and Congress is making it worse. Sure, you see marginal movement in the economy, but there is nothing sustaining about their programs – once the money runs out, we’re right back where we started – except with massive increases in debt to show for it.

What happens to all those state and local governments who bellied up to the Federal trough in order to pay for teachers or fire fighters or cops with stimulus funds? You think those same funds will be around next fiscal year to prop them up? Nope.

All this increase is temporary at the expense of long-term debt that this government has no intention or plan in which to pay it off. It doesn’t matter who caused it. It matters what, if anything, you do to fix it, and this bunch is failing miserably at it.

Lord Help Us

March 31st, 2010
10:57 am

Who Dat?, ‘Yeah, I’m sure I do. I tend to stay far away from lazy people. Cramps my style’

Then, perhaps you should refrain from galvanizing such rigid (and erroneous) conclusions on topics upon which you are admittedly not informed…

godless heathen

March 31st, 2010
10:57 am

And Bookman still thinks Obamacare is going to do anything about the COST of Health Care in this country.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:58 am

“There are strings attached to Obama’s change of heart however.”

Yeah, probably to regulate the crap out of EXXON and take MORE of their profits, as Hillary so famously said.

Southern Comfort

March 31st, 2010
10:58 am

Bosch

I knew it was illegal in some form. Thanks.

Paul

Quit thinking and being practical. You know this blog is for extreme views and beliefs only!!!

thomas

March 31st, 2010
10:58 am

USinUK

March 31st, 2010
10:39 am

Do you honestly believe I would put 60-90 hour work weeks in helping kids if i was as cruel and hateful towards children and minorities as some liberals paint us conservatives as being? :)

I am not at all saying it takes a village, because when done correctly by the parents it doesn’t.

But i do think if you do not help the man who is starving then do not be shocked when you are a victim of theft. It doesn’t excuse the theft, but it is usually what happens. So if i can help the hungry help themselves and i choose not to, then I own some responsibility as well. But the ultimate responsibility lies with the individual.

And as I said I do not think it is ever anyone eleses place to force any other person to get a hand up. Especially when done through taxation. That is the point you and I tend to disagree upon.

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
10:58 am

“Then, perhaps you should refrain from galvanizing such rigid (and erroneous) conclusions on topics upon which you are admittedly not informed…”

I call em like I see em.

USinUK

March 31st, 2010
10:59 am

“Think about that the next time your kid comes home from school with a frowny face on his/her paper and when you ask the teacher what that means, they reply “oh, I didn’t want to hurt Billy’s feelings.””

:lol:

welcome to another edition of Masterpiece Melodrama Theater …

oy

Mr. Snarky

March 31st, 2010
10:59 am

Sounds like Mr. Fisher takes the Fox News approach to analysis: take the news and modify it to fit the desired narrative.

Dave R.

March 31st, 2010
10:59 am

USinUK, you’re welcome.

I think every day needs to begin with a Groucho Marx quote, and that one is one of his best.

a_mom

March 31st, 2010
10:59 am

“as a nation and as individuals, we had become too consumption-oriented, too willing to indulge ourselves today in exchange for a debt to be repaid next week, next year, next generation.”

You hit the nail on the head!!! We, as individuals and as a nation, must be willing to do as our grandparents did during the depression – make do or do without – until we work down our enormous debt. Otherwise, we will end up a 3rd world country and China will be telling us what to do.

joe matarotz

March 31st, 2010
11:00 am

In answer to your question, Jay, it ain’t lookin’ good for the home team.

FinnMcCool

March 31st, 2010
11:00 am

China has 4X as many people as the US, not 10X.
1.3 billion vs 303.5 million

thomas

March 31st, 2010
11:00 am

Lord Help Us

March 31st, 2010
10:53 am

So they ALL drive one owner cars? no used car purchases?

Do you judge all people by the political affiliation of their bumper stickers? What about people like me who think Bumper stickers are stupid, do I have no political affiliation?

stands for decibels

March 31st, 2010
11:00 am

What’s that, Jay? You say we should adapt to changing economic circumstances and work together to overcome them?

Crazy talk.

Drain The Swamp (NIF)

March 31st, 2010
11:01 am

Mr. Snarkey

**Sounds like Mr. Fisher takes the Fox News approach to analysis: take the news and modify it to fit the desired narrative.*

Are you sure that you aren’t talking about ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, PBS, and Comedy Central?

Why are you worried about FOX when the entire Mainstream is wearing kneepads for this administration?

Who dat?

March 31st, 2010
11:02 am

stands for decibels

March 31st, 2010
11:03 am

The government must create a massive jobs program AND it must cut spending? It must cut taxes AND gain control of our national budget?

We must douse this pathetic Business Week guest-tool with a two-liter bottle’s worth of Coke AND stake him next to an active yellow jacket hive?

Drain The Swamp (NIF)

March 31st, 2010
11:03 am

db

You guys need to learn that compromise doesn’t mean that the dims say let’s do it our way and if you don’t like it, there’s the door.

FinnMcCool

March 31st, 2010
11:04 am

You see a lot of us liberals were seeing the end to the US but then we threw out the Republicans in Congress and the Reign of Incompetence of W, Dick and Karl ended and now we’re on the right track.

So, better times ahead!

Lord Help Us

March 31st, 2010
11:04 am

thomas, ‘Do you judge all people by the political affiliation of their bumper stickers? What about people like me who think Bumper stickers are stupid, do I have no political affiliation.’

Don’t read too much in to that and no, it is not an absolute. I was responding to one of Who Dat’s? rants about Democrat voters.

I will say that the most ‘entitled’ employees (in the 18-22 year old age range) are not those that typically vote Dem.

Drain The Swamp (NIF)

March 31st, 2010
11:05 am

Finnnotcool

**So, better times ahead!**

RIGHT ON. We are all looking forward to November!!!

USinUK

March 31st, 2010
11:05 am

thomas – 10:58 – contrary to what you may think, neither I nor any of the liberals I know think that caring for kids is a characteristic of ONLY the left or the right … I’ve been lucky enough to have teachers, coaches and other mentors on both sides of the political aisle when I was growing up :-)

however, I disagree with you on the idea that you only need a village if the parents are less than involved. my parents were very involved with all of us kids growing up – they knew our friends, our friends’ parents, our coaches, etc – the difference is that, when I was growing up, parents and other adults weren’t afraid of being ADULTS rather than their kids best friends – they weren’t afraid to tell us when we were misbehaving (and follow that up with a call to our parents if we were REALLY being little brats).

these days, parents seem more interested in being friends with their kids’ and their kids’ friends (don’t call me Mrs. so-and-so, call me by my first name, and so forth) … you can’t do that AND be an authority figure (imho)