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Irontruth's page

4,375 posts (4,377 including aliases). No reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 2 aliases.


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Oh, Accretive Health (a health care debt collection agency that operates in Minnesota, Michigan and Utah) paid the state of Minnesota a fine of $2.5 million for their harassment of patients INSIDE emergency rooms back in 2012, though they didn't have to admit wrong doing in that settlement.


houstonderek wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
houstonderek wrote:
meatrace wrote:
Mike Franke wrote:
Unfortunately, despite what some people believe nothing is actually free. In the U.S. healthcare is 100% free for people who don't have money.

It's only free in the sense that you can refuse to pay for it. They still send you the bill, and they'll still go through collections to get their money, and they'll still garnish your wages if you continue to refuse to pay. Not being able to turn someone away is not the same as giving it away for free.

Heck, by this logic food is free. Just go to a restaurant and skip out on the bill!

Um, not so much. I still owe Memorial Herman $1000 for an emergency room visit five years ago (for a muscle relaxer and that's it, not tests, no doctor, just a PA that never touched me), and have had zero phone calls, no bill collectors, and no wage garnishment. Furthermore, medical stuff doesn't go on your credit record. What happens is the costs are passed on to the insurance companies in the form of extremely inflated charges for meds and procedures.

Must be a Wisconsin thing you're talking about. Never seen it in NY, NJ, Florida, or Texas.

Wife has been chased for a doctor's bill before. It happens.
From an emergency room? Every story I see of harassment is from either private practice or pre-natal stuff.

Here's a news story with some relevant information.


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For the bedtime stories.


I'm not a big fan of other people's kids, with the exclusion of my brother's youngest. He designed and wrote an RPG for a class project.

I don't have any of my own that I'm aware of, but I was a sailor.


Pan wrote:
September is an excellent B-day month!

Science agrees with you.


I don't give bonuses to Diplomacy for "good roleplay". I see roleplay as the minimum entry requirement to engage with the game. I find that most players I play with want to roleplay well, some of them just feel uncomfortable, unsure or just not quite in the right mindset.

Since I like the people I game with (even the strangers), I don't withhold my approval of their actions just because they don't meet some arbitrary standard that I've set.


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I still remember when math teachers used to say "you might not always have a calculator with you".


He's no Rush Limbaugh though (neither in political influence or morals).


I find the conclusion of that article slightly misrepresenting of the situation as well. Despite being cut off from supplies of drugs and new equipment and being in an economy that has basically floundered for 50 years, they're still ranked 39th compared to the US which is 37th.

They might not be better than us (and what is shown in the movie obviously exaggerates and shows the absolute best), but that they're barely worse despite circumstances is telling.


Spent 5 hours at the ER of a VA Hospital yesterday, being treated for an infection in my arm. Due to my income level, I didn't have to pull out any form of payment for anything.

Since I've basically been in one military system or another all my adult life, it's hard for me to imagine the stress that it adds when you're sitting on a hospital bed imagining how this will cost you money too. The pain of having a needle shoved in my arm and purposely scrapping the bone was enough to deal with.


Lord Snow wrote:


Again, I see your point, but I think in this specific case the added fun to the game FAR outweighs the problem of using a mechanic that's not beneficial to anyone. Simply put, while you are not really advancing the game by denying a creep, the ability to do so...

It's one of those things that's personal preference for me. I will never find stalemate mechanics fun. You can tout their strategic/tactical importance to me for hours and hours, but the final result is that I will still find them fundamentally boring.

It's like trying to convince someone who doesn't like the color orange that they should wear orange shirts.

You're going to have strategic/tactical decisions happening whether this mechanic exists or not. There is no denial mechanic in LoL, even though I play support role for the carry quite often, I still find myself constantly busy. I don't just stand there doing nothing, I'm putting down wards for vision, watching for enemy movements on the map, using my positioning to try and zone the enemy carry/support (either out of position to prevent them from last hitting/harassing my carry or so that we can jump them and score a kill).

Just because a mechanic isn't present doesn't mean that the game suddenly becomes empty, other things are taking place and things still happen.


Lord Snow wrote:


2) About the deny mechanic - I find it hard to understand why you dislike it so much. It's just another way to prevent your opponents from getting stronger, and such ways are to be found both in LoL and in DotA. How is denying creeps all that different from, say, harassing a champion out of lane? these are both legitimate ways to stump your opponent's development.

This is a very fundamental dislike.

Removed from the context of this game, and put into all types of games (board games, video games, RPG's, etc), I dislike mechanics that encourage a resolution of zero-gain for either side.

Denial is such a mechanic. The creep is low, I kill it first and neither of us gets anything. It's literally a result of zero change. I dislike that. I like mechanics in the game to push forward.

Harass does push forward. If I harass you, I'm "denying" you the ability to farm creeps, but I'm doing so by pushing you out of the lane, giving myself the opportunity to farm up. It results in a change happening, instead of maintaining the situation.

I'll give an example from an RPG (it's close, but not quite). In Fate you can spend a Fate Point to get a bonus. The GM can spend a Fate Point to cancel it out. If the mechanic stopped there, I would consider it to be a boring mechanic (and thus bad IMO), but both sides are allowed to up the ante and keep bidding until one side folds. Plus, even if the GM does cancel your Fate Point spending, you GET the points he spent to do it. It's been forever since I've played Fate, so I'm sure I got specifics wrong (please don't correct me on specifics, they aren't the point of the analogy).

Game mechanics that have a net result of 0 are boring to me.

There hasn't been a lot of statistical analysis, but the little bit I've seen shows about a 50% correlation between leading at the end of the first quarter and winning the game in the NBA. Leading at the end of the 3rd quarter has about a 60% correlation.

I also don't think that LoL has fixed the problem of an early determined winner any better than DotA2 has. Both games are basically decided prior to the 15 minute mark (or at least 80% of games). I'd be super interested if a developer comes along and solves that to make mid and late game more meaningful, than just the early winners looking for their opportunity to strike and finish.


GeraintElberion wrote:
Leamington Spa is exactly the kind of place where people would test their festival pyrotechnics.

You can do it with cheap fireworks too.

It can also happen when a transformer on a power line blows.

My main point being it doesn't require strange alien tech to produce something like this. You could do it for under $100 if you had a little practice.


I do like the rune (and mastery) mechanic though. Runes and masteries affect low level play mostly, I set things up different for the same champion depending on what I'm planning to do. Plus I like the added layer of theorycrafting: are these runes better than those runes and for which champ, etc.

After a couple levels though, runes become largely irrelevant to the outcome of fights, they're just too minor in stats. For example, I can have all my seals be bonus health (9 seals, +8 hp per) for 72 bonus HP. If I'm a squishy carry, late game without those seals I'll have 1800-2000 hp. Those 72 HP aren't nothing, but they're pretty small. If I'm playing a tank I'll likely have around 3500-4000 HP.

Also, you can't buy runes directly with money. You have to play. You can buy a boost, so that you earn points faster to buy runes, but you still have to play to get the runes.

It is a valid complaint though and it takes a bit of grind to get everything you might want.


Andrew R wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Usagi Yojimbo wrote:


Also, dude- not cool. There is one, count 'em, one Holocaust apologist in this thread.

I count three. And, no, i'm not going to name names, as that would probably violate the terms of service agreement.

Okay. Three. Does that include me? Please, think carefully before you answer. Because your post certainly implies it.
You and me both is my bet since we dare stand up for ALL peoples rights even if they are dumb. Not surprising though is that he is not calling for an end to the ACLU that ACTIVELY sues to make certain that nazi, klansmen and the like get to say whay they want where they want. Not the liberal group that goes much farther, just those evil libertarian types he hates...

I've said it multiple times, but you've probably glossed over it, because it doesn't fit your narrative of me...

I don't think we should have a similar law here in the US. I'm willing to protect holocaust denial here in the states, as repugnant as I find it.

In the context of German history though, you have to admit that Nazi propaganda has had an extremely negative effect. You may have heard of it, it's commonly called World War 2. The German people have a right to declare that that was harmful and they want to prevent it.


KaiserDM wrote:

Something I've been noticing in this thread that I believe is a misconception, is the idea that Libertarians support unfettered free speech.

This is only correct to a certain degree. Typically, it is argued that while you have the right to say controversial things, you do not have the right to de-fraud people. Namely, because libertarianism holds to three basic fundamental human rights: the right to one's life, property and liberty.

And since de-frauding someone is a form of theft of property, I don't see the Libertarian position as defending a doctor who sells his patients "sugar pills" and claim they're the cure for cancer as someone used as an example of above.

Yet it's being used to defend those who wish to white-wash the actions of people who committed genocide.

Please feel free to enlighten me why defrauding a patient is worse than concealing a genocide. Seriously, that's what the argument boils down to. You aren't allowed to steal, but if you want to lie and cover up the murder of Jews, that's okay.


If only we had some sort of smoke ring technology.


Can a doctor lie to his patients? For example, selling sugar pulls to "cure" cancer, which he knows are ineffective. Not allowing him to do so is a restriction on his free speech.

Would it be okay to yell fire/bomb/anthrax in a crowded sports arena, with the intent to cause panic? You're potentially putting multiple people's lives at risk. Restricting that is a limit on free speech.

How about imploring others to kill people? Not just using violent imagery, but out and out calls for violence. Calls for violence with the intent to spark actual violence. Restricting that is a limit on free speech.

Here's another one, should we protect speech where a political party attempts to whip a nation in an ethnic fervor killing 6 million people of a minority? This one isn't hypothetical. It actually happened and it's been referenced this entire thread.

Nazism and apologetics for Nazism are dangerous. I consider them harmful to the well-being of many people and therefore do not think they should be protected. Just like committing fraud with intent to harm, denying the Holocaust with intent to harm shouldn't be protected.

Now that's an important piece of the puzzle though. It isn't just repeating the concept that is dangerous. It's doing so in a way that promotes doing harm to others that is dangerous. There ARE people who are trying to revive the Nazi party, specifically with the intent of killing millions of ethnic minorities. That should not be protected speech.


Unless it's important to my character concept, I just put Neutral, regardless of how I actually play the character. I don't like alignment, so this is my way of removing it as a factor from my perspective.


Sissyl wrote:
Orfamay: I said it was difficult at times. I did not say I wouldn't. See, the price of such laws is that other opinions do not get voiced. Say that a new batch of documentation was found about the Holocaust. Something that seriously put in question the official narrative in a big way. How would you deal with that, if you were the one to find it, given that criticism of the official narrative is illegal? If you DID publish it, what would the state do? If you do publish it, what do you say to people the next time an Irving or a Williamson starts bleating? It is a dangerous game to play. We can't ever be sure that everything we claim IS true, and the price of it being false is very high.

You're talking about a hypothetical.

The law is dealing with actual events that have transpired.

Should I put more weight behind your hypothetical? Or should I put more weight that this kind of speech has directly contributed to the slaying of millions of people in cold blood?

In other words, why is your hypothetical more important than the actual Holocaust?


Andrew R wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
Ok so nazis deserve no freedom of speech because they might be dangerous. So where does that end?
If I make sausage filled with rat poison and toxic waste, can I market it as "fresh, wholesome, 100% organically-grown pork sausage with no fillers"? After all, you have no right to take away my freedom of speech. I'm a huge proponent of freedom of speech, but even I stop when it becomes outright lying.
And thats the beauty of it, will you sit silently when someone says your views are lies? Who decides the truth of belief and opinion and who gets the right to silence the other? What you advocate is nothing less than giving tyrants what they NEED for the next Hitler or Stalin to rise and silence those that dare question. THAT is how millions die, not in disagreement over opinion but in silence as people dare NOT question.

The German law doesn't silence dissent and questioning. It silences propaganda intended to cover up massive crimes.

Why are you in favor of propaganda covering up massive crimes?

If you think it isn't propaganda, please feel free to show the value in Holocaust denial.

There is none. just as there is none in many made up religions, many foolish philosophies. Just like there is no value in many idiot politically correct attempts to control our lives. But who are we to stop them from saying it? After all if we stop them why not stop every value less, foolish and maybe dangerous opinion? Again i ask, where do you stop? I say stop at the government EVER having the power to silence. YOU know they are nuts, most of us know they are nuts. Teach those that do not know the difference but do not give the government the power to decide and silence. NOTHING good will come of that in the end

This kind of speech has directly contributed to a massive world war, where millions and millions of people died.

Are you denying that fact?


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Andrew R wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
Ok so nazis deserve no freedom of speech because they might be dangerous. So where does that end?
If I make sausage filled with rat poison and toxic waste, can I market it as "fresh, wholesome, 100% organically-grown pork sausage with no fillers"? After all, you have no right to take away my freedom of speech. I'm a huge proponent of freedom of speech, but even I stop when it becomes outright lying.
And thats the beauty of it, will you sit silently when someone says your views are lies? Who decides the truth of belief and opinion and who gets the right to silence the other? What you advocate is nothing less than giving tyrants what they NEED for the next Hitler or Stalin to rise and silence those that dare question. THAT is how millions die, not in disagreement over opinion but in silence as people dare NOT question.

The German law doesn't silence dissent and questioning. It silences propaganda intended to cover up massive crimes.

Why are you in favor of propaganda covering up massive crimes?

If you think it isn't propaganda, please feel free to show the value in Holocaust denial.


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Kryzbyn wrote:
Doug's Workshop wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:

One of those jobs can be taken right out of high school (or with a GED). The other usualy involves an entire career invested towards becomming an CEO/CFO to even be possible.

To try to equate them in any way is ridiculous.

Richard Branson seems to be doing okay, and he dropped out of school at 16.

Larry Ellison founded Oracle.
Kenneth Hendricks founded ABC supply.
Andrew Carnegie.

Do you want more? Or do just want to admit you were wrong?

You missed my point.

People have the missconception that a CEO doesn't earn his or her pay, which they do. They've usually had schooling, started on the bottom of a company (possibly as an unpaid intern) and through a career spanning at least 20 years may be in a place where he or she might be voted in as a CEO/CFO.

That is hard work. Long hours.
Just because it's not physically intensive like someone who builds roads doesn't cheapen the value of the work done, or the person doing it.

Your comments would appear more valid if it wasn't involving absurd ratios of pay.

In the US CEO pay is over 350 times that of the average worker. In Germany, a fairly successful country in terms of economics, it's 147.

US: $12,000,000
German: $5,900,000

Cutting CEO pay in half sounds harsh, until you look at the actual numbers, that the highest paid will still be paid in 8-digits. You will never get me to be concerned for someone making 8-digits of income.


As for the "it'll spread anyways, so no point in outlawing" argument, murder is illegal in most countries, yet it still happens. Is that a reason to abolish laws about murder?

Laws are ways for society to determine what is and is not acceptable. In Germany, it is not acceptable to deny the Holocaust.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
houstonderek wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Stuff

So, everyone who sees the world differently is a "lunatic"? You have 100% of the answers, no one else can be right?

Nah, they're not crazy, you're just "right".

At some point, yes.

I still don't like giving the government to shut up the crazytalk though.

It has to be considered in the context of German society though. I agree, we should have no such law here in the US, but Germany was responsible for some pretty horrifying things and declaring that support of such things within Germany unlawful seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Here in the US, Nazi's are just crazy's who very few people pay attention to.

In Germany, they're a group responsible for killing several million people.

Nazi's aren't gone from Germany either. They're much fewer in number and in hiding, but they still exist. Within the context of German history, I don't think they should be given any mercy or protection for their beliefs.


I play LoL. Mind you, I haven't played DotA2 much, maybe 4-5 hours worth, the learning curve of most MOBA games is too much to invest in more than one IMO. I'm not a very good LoL player either, so I still have a lot of curve to cover in general.

Things I like about LoL

1) I like the art style better, the contrast of colors is much more obvious to me. I don't have color-blindness issues, but I like the more vibrant differentiation in LoL.

2) Slightly faster. It's not uncommon for matches to be 30-40 minutes. I've had a match go 60+ minutes once in a while, but it's rare. It also feels like the pace of the game is faster.

3) I like the less punishing aspect. Or at least feeling like I'm less punished. I think statistics bear out that both games are pretty similar in regards to gold leads at the 12 minute mark resulting in an 80% win rate. Riot has tried to address this some, haven't seen any season 4 statistics to see if it's worked though.

I don't think this makes one game more based on luck over the other, but rather the final 50% of the games more or less interesting. If a game is 48 minutes long, but what happens before the 12 minute mark determines the winner 80% of the time... that's not that interesting.

I've had lots of comebacks (and been the victim of them) to feel that snowballing, while an issue, doesn't completely dominate the amateur scene.

4) I also personally dislike the concept of the denial mechanic. I think it's dumb and counter productive. I prefer game mechanics that push forward instead of maintaining a stalemate. From a game design standpoint (across mediums, video, board and RP) I dislike mechanics that produce no result, like a tie that just cancels out the interaction.


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Nothing good will come of this thread.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Interesting fact, the highest paid public employees in most states are college/university football coaches.


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Doug's Workshop wrote:
Dennis Harry wrote:
meatrace wrote:

How the crap do you figure 70% of federal spending goes to the poor or middle class? Social Security and medicare "goes" to people who are eligible to collect, including the rich, who pay proportionally less into the SS fund than do people of lower income. Since SS, Medicare and Defense add up to about 60% of the budget, that's already a BS figure.

Even if you did somehow did the twist semantically, that 70% of federal money goes back to 90% of the population still seems like a raw deal.

In reality about 13% of the federal budget goes to social safety net programs like unemployment and foodstamps.

More than 50% is spent on the military alone. Not counting intelligence agencies....

18% is spend on the Dept. of Defense. Now, I'm no path PhD, but I'm pretty sure 18% < 50%.

Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security alone are about 50% of the budget.

I'm not talking about "social safety net programs." I'm talking about the whole of federal spending. 70% is sent to the poor and middle class. That includes things like military salaries, for those who can't quite grasp how this figure is arrived at.

Tell me, what other minorities should have their rights restricted in arbitrary ways?

The problem is that stating the statistic as you did, it sounds as if you're claiming that 70% of the budget is being spent on social welfare benefits. Paying someone a salary to do a job is not a social welfare benefit, particularly if that job is providing some sort of service that is of value to the country and not simply a "make-work" job.

So yes, you're correct in saying that the majority of money spent on federal employee's pay is "money going to the middle-class", but the government (and by extension the citizens) are receiving value for that money spent, so it's a disingenuous thing to state the way you stated it.


Dennis Harry wrote:

Except that a scenario very similar to what I outlined just took place and I have first hand knowledge about it...

Disagree if you want but it does happen and it just did happen, no I am not going to get into the who, what, when , where and why of it just trust me that it happened.

On occasion, you are correct, a vocal population gets its way over big money interest but usually the vocal poor and middle class are on the losing side.

Similar, except I think your not relying salient facts that I pointed out. Was the Wealthy Developer literally the only person backing the project? Or were other business leaders, construction company owners, construction unions and other relevant groups behind the project as well? That's part of my point. These groups were vocal as well, plus money, were probably better organized and have dealt with these issues multiple times. The people who lost their homes have only dealt with it this one time.

The issue is much more complex than just a matter of money. Money was an influence, but it wasn't the only factor that decided the outcome.

-Mayors love building things, it's a lasting reminder that they were in control of the city.
-Development usually increases the potential tax base of the area.
-Not all citizens were opposed to the development.


Dennis Harry wrote:

The Mayor of a prestigious city has come to the end of his term based on term limits he cannot run again. The two candidates with a realistic chance of winning are the Democrat and Republican candidates, a Douche and a Turd. Douche and Turd have been around politics in the city since at least the latest council cycle and are relatively young to the political scene.

A few months prior to the election, a Wealthy Real Estate...

The issue with this scenario is that voting does still matter.

While I am opposed to additional money in politics, the flaw in this scenario is that politicians rarely go against a vocal group, unless there are equally vocal groups on the other side.

If the Wealthy Developer had the backing of local business groups, unions, etc, then he's going to get his way. But those groups represent blocks of voters as well, not just money.

In the US, a politicians number 1 fear is not winning re-election. On the presidential or even senatorial scale for some states, vocal groups with no money have little to no sway. In even house districts though, vocal groups can get their way just by being vocal. If a district feels strongly about an issue (not just a majority, but it's an important issue to that majority) a politician will never go against them for fear of losing the next election.

This is why democrats vote with the NRA. Not because the NRA pumps money into their campaign, but because NRA members are vocal. In those districts, they're more vocal than those who favor gun legislation. A gun safety lobby might pressure a politician and out donate the NRA, but if they don't get local voters to voice their opinion it won't sway the representative.

Second, that's how a system of public donations has to work. The hedging of bets and giving to both sides is just single-issue pragmatism if you don't care about any other issue. In a race where there is a difference between two candidates, would you give money to the person you oppose? Of course not. And if the person you give money to and vote for doesn't live up to their promises of the campaign, do you give more money and still vote for them? No.

Your example doesn't actually define that line of when you are directly getting something for your donation and when you are backing the candidate that shares your views. The Supreme Court's opinion highlights some of the difficulties in proving that as well. While I think their ideology shows through in how narrowly they define it, they're right in that the times when it is black and white are actually kind of narrow.


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Doug's Workshop wrote:
Irontruth wrote:


So, you think the free market should control our politics too?

Why not just assign each person a number of votes based on their net worth?

I was illustrating a point, that you apparently missed. I'll leave it to you to decide how you should handle that situation.

I'm just continuing your beer analogy of a free market. Because smaller beers often get bought out by larger beers, it even happened to Killian's which is owned by Coors.

Please tell me how this applies to politics and ensures our freedom.


Ashiel wrote:
Oh, and depending on the enemy we sometimes wear them.

I had a barbarian pirate captain who took trophies off most things he killed. We fought a monster called the Voice of Dagon, I killed it. So I skinned it's face and sewed it into the sail of our ship, so I could scare people with the the Face of the Voice of Dagon.

I had another guy who had acquired an original githyanki silver sword (not just a silver sword, but the silver sword). The githyanki were of course quite anxious to retrieve it and kept sending commando teams after me. The DM described them as cutting holes through reality with the swords and stepping in for his description of their planar travel. As one team was starting to flee from me, I decided, heck, I'll chase them and end this. So I cut my way through reality as well, but I wasn't as good at it, so I ended up on Tarterus (a prison plane). I wasn't prepared for a long journey, it was kind of spur of the moment while staying in a city, and there aren't exactly a lot of mortals doing farming on Tarterus. So I killed and ate demons to survive. I eventually began to radiate evil and act possessed, so we had to exorcise the demons from my body, which involved regurgitating them and having to kill them again. Fun times.


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Doug's Workshop wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
I think what they are trying to ask, Mr. Workshop, is: does free speech give you the right to drown out someone else's free speech? If you are trying to exercise your right to free speech, do I have the right to stand next to you and yell so loud that no one else can hear what you are saying? And if so, do you still have free speech then?

Thank you for the question, Durngrun.

First, I would disagree with the notion that allowing someone else to speak somehow drowns out other speakers.

If you want to buy air time on a television station supporting your candidate, you are not being "shouted down" if someone else purchases air time on a regional or nation-wide station. Nor are you being drowned out if I purchase two advertisements to your one.

Does anyone complain that Budweiser "drowns out" competition during the Super Bowl? Because I still see lots of successful beers in the adult beverage aisle that aren't Budweiser, but I don't remember Killian's Red advertising during the largest sports event in the US.

So, you think the free market should control our politics too?

Why not just assign each person a number of votes based on their net worth?


I don't meditate, but I've started using some of the mindfulness techniques throughout the day though and I find it EXTREMELY helpful. I tried it for the first time last Monday and the difference over just one week has been massive.


There used to be The Forge, but that forum is now defunct.

You can peruse the archives here, but they've been turned off for a few years now.


Werthead wrote:
Quote:
As far as government tax revenue goes, the money has disappeared off the face of the earth

In individual circumstances of waste or corruption, yes. In theory, it shouldn't. It should go on spending for the military, public services, the cost of governance, police, schools etc, all of which provides a tangible return for everyone in society.

The response to a government wasting money shouldn't be the abolition of taxes (which is basically a call for the abolution of the nation-state, a curious desire), but for the government to become more efficient and less wasteful. How you do that when the tendency of any large government is to become less efficient with the more people it has to deal with is altogether less clear. The USA and the EU certainly seem to indicate that there are severe limitations to how efficient a government can be when dealing with 250 million+ people. OTOH, the experiences in Scotland and Wales in the UK, where government spending has been much more succesful and transparent, seems to suggest devolution and putting those spending decisions in the hands of smaller authorities may be an answer.

Davick is correct. I wasn't evaluating government spending, I was referring to the amount of revenue generated for governments who have citizens hiding money "on" Cook Island. This isn't a problem specifically for the US either, it hurts the EU, China, Japan, Russia, most of Africa and Asia as well. Plus probably a few of the more developed countries in the Asia-Pacific and South America.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Oh, I know that these are the kinds of things that they always say. Greedy plutocrats have always been greedy plutocrats.

But, per Blankfein, there's plenty of money and plenty of investment opportunities, but they're not going to do it until they get a better deal. Or, as Krauthammer put it, we are having a capital strike.

So how are you going to break the strike?

Yeah, I don't think capital is on strike. If one rich guy stops investing, his neighbor who keeps investing will make more money (even if it's less than before), meaning he is accumulating wealth faster and be able to use it to buy more influence and power than the guy who stopped investing.

They don't stop investing, they just change where they invest it.

Yeah it's more structural than that. Currently the best place to invest, in terms of short term financial returns, is the casino, not in anything that actually builds the larger economy.

The strike talk is just to keep everyone thinking that if we're just a little nicer to them they'll give us jobs again. It's PR. Or blackmail if you will.

So, walk me through this, because I don't read Forbes unless I have to:

The plutocrats dump trillions into offshore accounts because, allegedly, the tax rates are too high. There's nowhere to invest the money that's going to give them rates of return that they're going to like, except the high muckety-muck world of financial gambling. They're not on "strike" per se, because the capitalist class doesn't go in for the whole class solidarity thing unless they're all in danger, but all that money is just sitting there doing nothing. Someone else should be coming along and investing to take advantage of this, but, to my knowledge, no one has.

Miraculously, this year, the Democrats retake the House, keep the Senate, and every new Congressperson is to the left of Elizabeth Warren and they pass a higher capital gains tax rate. Where's all those...

It's not doing nothing. If they weren't doing anything with the money they wouldn't have to hide it. The create holding companies and trust funds in places with high secrecy laws so that it's impossible to tell who owns what and what they're doing with it, that way when the tax man shows up, he can't prove how much you owe in taxes.

As far as government tax revenue goes, the money has disappeared off the face of the earth. The wealthy are still using it to acquire more wealth though, which means more money "disappears" every day.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Oh, I know that these are the kinds of things that they always say. Greedy plutocrats have always been greedy plutocrats.

But, per Blankfein, there's plenty of money and plenty of investment opportunities, but they're not going to do it until they get a better deal. Or, as Krauthammer put it, we are having a capital strike.

So how are you going to break the strike?

Yeah, I don't think capital is on strike. If one rich guy stops investing, his neighbor who keeps investing will make more money (even if it's less than before), meaning he is accumulating wealth faster and be able to use it to buy more influence and power than the guy who stopped investing.

They don't stop investing, they just change where they invest it.


Spanky the Leprechaun wrote:
pres man wrote:
Spanky the Leprechaun wrote:
What, do they keep it under their mattress, or in a big vault like Uncle Scrooge Mc Duck? They don't have it invested or nothing?
Investing and having it spent in the economy are not the same thing.

here will be found a brief explanation of the effects of expansionary monetary policy.

briefly,....

Monetary policy is referred to as either being expansionary or contractionary. Expansionary policy seeks to accelerate economic growth, while contractionary policy seeks to restrict it. Expansionary policy is traditionally used to try to combat unemployment in a recession by lowering interest rates in the hope that easy credit will entice businesses into expanding. This is done by increasing the money supply available in the economy.

Expansionary policy attempts to promote aggregate demand growth. As you may remember, aggregate demand is the sum of private consumption, investment, government spending and imports. Monetary policy focuses on the first two elements. By increasing the amount of money in the economy, the central bank encourages private consumption. Increasing the money supply also decreases the interest rate, which encourages lending and investment. The increase in consumption and investment leads to a higher aggregate demand.

So, no they're not the same thing exactly, but invested money is not just "sitting idly in the hands of the wealthy." See, that's what companies offer stocks for: it's a way for them to.....raise money. Then they......spend the money. They don't leave this money sitting in big vaults like Scrooge McDuck. Neither do rich people for that matter. Except the crazy ones might.

So, you're absolutely wrong: "investing money and having it spent in the economy is the exact same thing." That's what businesses do with the money.

But investments aren't all in things that improve the economy that the wealthy are taking money out of.

If a businessman makes money from businesses in the US, then buys art from Europe, the money is leaving the US and going to Europe. The art might appreciate in value (making it an investment), but even if it's sold within the US, it's money that is now tied up in that piece of art and no longer circulating in the economy.

Same with investments overseas, off-shore accounts to avoid taxes, etc. Wealth inequality leads to a weak economy. The two highest periods of recorded wealth inequality in the US are the 1920's and now. The current trend started around 1980, dropped briefly in 2009 and started to increase again.

No, they don't put it in vaults like Scrooge McDuck. They do have a negative effect on the economy though.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Lloyd Blankfein--"There is more than a trillion dollars of cash that is sitting on the balance sheets of U.S. nonfinancial companies. With certainty about tax rates, companies will increase their capital expenditures (currently at anemic levels), contributing to a virtuous cycle of jobs and growth."

Charles Krauthammer--"So, in every area, there's going to be an increase in uncertainty, you know the increase in regulation. And when you don't know what's going to happen, you don't invest. We are having a capital strike."

Steve Wynn--"Everybody complains about how much money is on the side in America. You bet....And I'm telling you that the business community in this company is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the president of the United States. And until he's gone, everybody's going to be sitting on their thumbs."

Of course, the idea that Obama is anything but the handmaiden of the plutocracy is absurd, and they are kinda old quotes, maybe the capitalists have changed their minds. I don't follow the business press as closely as I should.

And, for fun, a bunch of revisionist Marxist-Keynsians on the turn towards finance to get out of the stagflation of the seventies that I'm not even going to pretend to understand:

Monopoly-Finance Capital and the Paradox of Accumulation

Maybe they don't fit together exactly as I thought they did in my earlier question to Comrade Pravda, but I still think I'm on to something. Or maybe I'm just high. [Shrugs]

Make the bosses take the losses!
For workers revolution!
Vive le Galt!

Those are the kinds of things they're always going to say. Financial crash? Too much regulation. Financial stagnation? Too much regulation. Boom times? Could have been boomier with less regulation.

The increasing focus and power of the financial system does help to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of the few. I just picked up Michael Lewis' new book and will give it a read, it's about how the high frequency trading has legitimized their ability to do insider trading, because instead of doing it through human interaction, it's now about who can pay more for faster connections and thus beat investors to the punch and insert themselves as middle-men.

You should give Inequality for All a watch, it's on Netflix streaming for the time being. He does talk about how the financial system and debt were used to sustain the economic growth of the past 30 years without a corresponding increase in worker's wages.

Which does feed into the home loan crisis, more and more loans were created and then sold to investors and pension systems, funneling that money away from smaller investors and into the pockets of those already fairly wealthy.

There are a lot of parallels between the crash of '29 and '08. Once you get out of the Great Depression, you have one of the more stable periods (though far from completely stable) and it coincides with overall good worker's rights and wages, even with the Taft-Hartley act. The problem is in both era's the financial sector became the dominant industry that was leading growth for the economy.

The financial sector is useful when it fuels industry and distributing capital in an efficient manner for the economy as a whole. It means that someone with a good idea can get the money they need to start their business and make goods/services for others, which is useful.

It becomes our downfall when it is an ends unto itself, where money is moved purely because moving money makes money.


Correct.


Igazság doesn't mean Hungarian, it's a Hungarian word. I was trying to be cute by answering the question in a way that wouldn't answer the question.


meatrace wrote:
Pravda?

It's Russian for igazság (Hungarian).


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

So, going back a few pages and ignoring most of the bullshiznit between the liberals and the laissez-faire right:

Comrade Pravda, you asserted that a higher capital gains rate WOULDN'T cause the rich to stop investing because they wouldn't get rich as quickly.

I thought that was what was already happening with low capital gains rates? And that that is why the plutocrats are sitting on trillions of dollars in off-shore accounts?

I thought that the failure of the American capitalists to realize the high rate of profits that they need for their system to "be healthy" was why they turned en masse to the field of derivatives and whatnot in the first place?

Just curious. I still haven't taught myself economics.

The money being off-shore and investing it are not mutually exclusive.

Derivatives, credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations and the like were usually developed initially as methods of spreading risk in an attempt to avoid it. Instead it linked risk together and because of the bubble, put the entire financial system in jeopardy.

When mortgage backed securities (MBS) first started to show up the supply of AAA rated mortgages was fairly low. Fannie and Freddie were the largest purveyors and pretty much anything that passed through them was highly desirable. They were considered guaranteed loans, but loans can have a decent rate of return, much better than government or corporate bonds. Since Wall Street could basically sell as many AAA MBS as they could get their hands on, to increase their profits they needed to increase the number of MBS.

In 1996 Long Beach Mortgage Company settled with the Department of Justice in a case of predatory lending within California. Shortly afterwards the company essentially split into three entities, a mortgage retailer, a mortgage wholesaler and an external transaction warehouse. The mortgage retailer was Ameriquest Mortgage. By 2007, Ameriquest was involved in lawsuits with 30 different states and their attorney generals.

They were engage in predatory lending, selling mortgages to people who already owned homes with loans that were unpayable. That didn't matter, since they could just sell them another mortgage to pay off that one, for a fee, which they would then turn around and sell through their mortgage wholesaler on Wall Street.

The Wall Street firms needed AAA MBS though, not AA or even A. Everything had to be AAA. The first step was to change them into something else, they weren't just packages of loans, but rather CDOs, a complex piece of financial engineering. There are ways to simplify the explanation, but that belies the fact that they were exceptionally complicated. That complexity made it easier to rate them AAA, though the fees that financial services companies paid to the ratings agencies didn't hurt either.

AAA investments are useful for banks. Banks are required to keep certain amounts of money on hand, but that amount varies depending on how they invest the rest of their money. If they invest it in high risk ventures, such as a company with a B rating, they have to keep more money on hand. If they invest it in something with a AAA rating, they don't have to keep as much on hand, allowing them to hold more investments.

CDO's were useful in demonstrating a lack of risk to the individual bank. First off the debt is collateralized, meaning that there is intrinsic value backing the debt, like a house. Second it was being partitioned off and sold to various entities meaning that no one individual (or company) held all of the risk. Third, it created debt which could then be referenced for a credit default swap (CDS).

A CDS can most easily be understood as insurance. I sell you a CDS, you give me payments over a period of time, if the credit goes bad, I pay you. Where it starts to go wrong from insurance is that there are no rules. A seller of a CDS isn't obligated to tell you anything. They aren't allowed to lie by commission, passing on fraudulent data, but they are allowed to lie by omission, leaving out anything they choose. Also, as in the case of AIG, there are no financial rules about maintaining assets to cover the cost of CDSs which fail. An insurance company must maintain certain assets.

The creation of the CDS was "ingenious" for Wall Street. Prior to their creation firms were restricted in how many mortgages they could sell, they had to buy mortgages from originators first. Now with the CDS, their only needed to be one mortgage in existence and you could sell an unlimited number of CDS's that referenced it. A firm that deals in CDS could be both buyer and seller. When you sell, you're going "long", when you buy you are going "short". A CDS that doesn't actually involve any ownership of the debt is called a naked CDS. Approximately 80% of the CDS market deals in naked CDS.

An analogy of naked CDS is like buying fire insurance on your neighbors home. Neither you nor the insurance company have a financial claim to the house, you're just making bets on what will happen to it.

If you want to dive into a specific aspect of this feel free to highlight and ask questions. I'm sure I'll think of more later too.


Here's one solution.

It's more for mini's, but I don't see why it couldn't work for pawns/tokens, etc. Not the cheapest solution, but you could use it for inspiration and make your own.


Davick wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

Involving a high marginal tax rate there's a great example of how it could disincentivize someone, it happened to Ronald Reagan. When he was still a working actor, the marginal tax rate on income was really high, 93% if you made enough. As a working actor, he sometimes reached that level, but he made his money by actively doing something. Once he hit that amount, if he worked on a movie he only took home 7% of what he made, so it didn't make a lot of sense for him to spend time on making the movie.

You mean he only took home 7% of the income in that tax bracket, right?

You did notice the words "marginal tax rate" correct?


Usagi Yojimbo wrote:
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Paul Ryan, Barack Obama and Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Please stop linking to articles that challenge my inner narrative. Not cool, man.

Some of that I see as the political narrative that is required at the top. You don't get to be president by talking about how bad our country is. We require political leaders to be cheerleaders talking about how great our country is and reinforcing positive stereotypes about America, regardless of how untrue they are. It happens regardless of party.


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Involving a high marginal tax rate there's a great example of how it could disincentivize someone, it happened to Ronald Reagan. When he was still a working actor, the marginal tax rate on income was really high, 93% if you made enough. As a working actor, he sometimes reached that level, but he made his money by actively doing something. Once he hit that amount, if he worked on a movie he only took home 7% of what he made, so it didn't make a lot of sense for him to spend time on making the movie.

The reason this example fails with a lot of wealthy people is that investing takes little to no effort. It's a process that can just keep going on in the background while they take a vacation. Even though the rate at which new money arrives in their account, it continues to do so and requires little to no additional effort. That's why the Reagan example and concept that the rich would stop investing is false.

A capital gains tax is also progressive. Poor families make virtually no income from capital gains. Middle income families might make some, but it's not even close to a significant portion of their yearly income. Even people just inside the top 5% of earners make most of their money from their jobs. It's not until you get to the top couple percent that you see people who's primary source of income is investment.

Some stats from the 2003 capital gains tax cut:

On average middle income families received about a $20 tax break.
Families that earned over $1,000,000 on average received a $32,000 tax break.

As for the economic effect of capital gains and the economy, you'll be hard pressed to find a link. Seriously, people have studied it and tried to find a causal link and there just isn't one, at least not on a large or lasting scale. Variations of the capital gains tax account for 0.12% of economic change. By that, it means that if the economy changed by 2%, capital gains might account for a 0.0024% change in the economy... at most. Even then, we can't be sure which way it influenced the economy, because it's such a small effect.


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Killer_GM wrote:
meatrace wrote:


As for the last bit, we are absolutely living in economically prosperous times...for the 1%.

As for capital gains tax being a double tax, my solution is to not tax the original income that an individual invests, but tax the capital gains at a progressive rate identical to that of regular income. Capital gains tax rates are at the lowest point since WWII if not earlier. It only seems to serve to make the rich gratuitously richer.

Come on Meat. In order to invest, you're putting in money you already have, and have already paid taxes on once. How would you 'not tax' that original income. It's already been taxed before you invest it. As you point out, capital gains are at low rates. I can live with 15%. It is the corporate rate that needs to come down. The president wants to raise Capital Gains to 30%. And what do you think the result will be on business if he succeeds? Less business.

So many flaws.

As someone else pointed out, a capital gains tax isn't a tax on capital, it's a tax on the difference between what you started with and what you end with (assuming the end total is higher).

If you start with X and earn 1, you end with X+1. You aren't taxed on X+1, you're only taxed on the 1. You're not paying taxes on the money you've already earned, you're paying taxes on the new money you earn.

Second, you're telling me that wealthy people will stop investing their money if the tax rates are slightly higher? That's just silly, because you're saying that rich people will completely avoid the opportunity to become richer, just because it'll happen slightly slower.

Rich people don't create jobs. Our economy is primarily driven by consumers. The businesses that are the largest and most influential are those that deal with the highest volume of consumers. They provide goods and services to massive numbers of people. It's the desires and needs of those large groups that create jobs.

Amazon doesn't exist because some rich guy decided it would exist. Amazon exists because there was an opportunity to make money from the things people needed/wanted. If customers didn't need/want Amazon's offerings, it would have folded, regardless of how much a rich person really wanted it to succeed.

Wealthy people put more of their money into savings, as much as 50% or more at the wealthiest. Poor and middle class people often save 10% or less of their income. If you have an interest in increasing jobs, is it better to give the money to people who will save half of it, or the people who will spend almost all of it?

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