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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:16 pm 
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Social Security for one. The age of retirement needs to be elevated. People are living longer. I have no idea how much, but enough to level off the upcoming defecit.

Any red cent that goes to illegal aliens. I find it frustrating that we reward people whos first act in this country is illegal. There are many ways of legally entering the country and we should strictly enforce this.

Most programs do not to be totally cut out, but need to be run more efficiently and maybe streamlined. Why does my govenor need to drive around in a Caddy? Why do we have to spend millions on inaugural balls?
Why does Rt 495 have to be repaved every two years?

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:24 pm 
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from Holby

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Social Security for one. The age of retirement needs to be elevated. People are living longer. I have no idea how much, but enough to level off the upcoming defecit.


There seems to be a building of opinion that some tweaking of the SS program needs to be done. The real questions then come in the details. What do you do with somebody who has paid in for 40+ years and all the time did their part and was promised certain benefits in return?

The devil is in the details.



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Any red cent that goes to illegal aliens. I find it frustrating that we reward people whos first act in this country is illegal. There are many ways of legally entering the country and we should strictly enforce this.


I would agree with you on this. But that is easy for both you and I since we do not benefit from those programs. The hard question is the one I asked you......... what programs that you benefit from should be cut? That is where all of us should start. As long as its the other guys oxe that is being gored, then we all get ready for the oxe roast with smiles on our faces. But until we examine our own benefits, then its just a hollow exercise of finger pointing and somebody will always have a finger pointed back at us.


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Most programs do not to be totally cut out, but need to be run more efficiently and maybe streamlined. Why does my govenor need to drive around in a Caddy? Why do we have to spend millions on inaugural balls?
Why does Rt 495 have to be repaved every two years?


Again, I would agree with this. I do not know about your governors caddy - but I know that Michigan has private donors pay for the governors inaugural celebration other than the routine and official swearing in ceremony. Those fancy balls do not come out of the taxpayers dollars.

Sorry about Route 495. I have never driven it. ;)

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:29 pm 
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The point is we don't operate as efficiently as we could. Obama had alluded to that very thing. There is a lot of waste, lies, criminal activity that needs to be addressed. Tossing more taxpayer money at problems doesn't ensure they go away.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:59 pm 
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I certainly agree with that.

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There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:32 pm 
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Well, Holby, two of the most sacred cows in American tax policy are the mortgage interest deduction (most economists think it should be done away with; it provides too big of an incentive to own a home) and the health care benefit exemption from taxation.

Ready to give those up? You middle age Welfare Queen, you? ;)


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:52 pm 
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Holbytla - word on Big Dig and other road-related excesses in Mass.
The problem with Boston/Mass is that the whole transportation sector has been the domain of Italian-Boston mafia for decades. Big Dig was just the absolute best feeding trough for them, and even Romney couldn't wrench it from them.

But government projects do not have to be failures. Many European countries now have excellent infrastructure - highways and high-speed trains are in great shape, and there wasn't an accident with those high-speed trains in many years, if ever.
While in US travel by train is the most dangerous and accident-prone way to travel, if you take a ratio of people travelling vs. accidents. It's totally bungled up here - there are fatal accidents every year.
And the roads are not in such a great shape compared to German autobahns - and even to the new highways in and around Moscow.

Why is it so, why it doesn't work as good here? I don't know, but I think it is possible to make the government function better - because we have examples it can be done, in US as well.

For example, wouldn't it be great, with oil prices high and airlines becoming unpleasant to travel on, to have a high-speed train on the East Coast going, say, from Boston to Miami in under 15 hrs? I think such project would've benefitted the public and businesses immensely, but it is impossible to do without the Government backing, and without bright, responsible, best-in-the-field people working for the government.

Maybe that's the problem - that in US the government employment doesn't attract the best people, is not concidered the best field to apply talents?

For myself, I don't see a qualitative difference between a big government and a big corporation - both have large beaurocracy sitting on top of people who really do stuff, and both do not manage it in the best way. But it seems that in the modern world both are unavoidable.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:57 pm 
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Well Alexis I don't pay for health care so I don't give a damn what they do to that. :P

And I highly doubt there will be even one legislator with enough gumption to propose eliminating interest duductions in lieu of bailing out Wall St.

Welfare Queen? It is a good thing you aren't in arm's reach of me right now. I may just go chop down a tree and mail you the sawdust. :wooper:

edit:
Cross posted with Mrs.Underhill.

I refuse to believe we can't do better with our projects and money spending. And it was Dukakis, Weld, Paul Cellucci and probably Jane Swift who had their hands in the Big Dig cookie jar too.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:09 pm 
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Holby, I hesitated to bring it up before, but my husband specifically left Boston because he felt that if you weren't Joey from the Malducci family who went way back with Danny from the Ferraro family you just couldn't get anywyere. He said it was just layers and layers of stuff like that. He moved to Denver in the 70s and said it was blessedly free from that kind of feel. Of course that crap operates here too, but it wasn't quite so thick and so deep.

Mortgage interest deduction isn't going away because you can bet that would be yet another nail in the coffin for the housing industry.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:17 pm 
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How do I respond to that? Are you suggesting these types of issues are more prevalent here than in other parts of the country? And are you basing that on one person's experience?

There are boondoggles spread throughout the country, up to and including Alaska, and it is a nationwide problem not a local one.

Or are you denying the existance of poor government projects, pork etc.?

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:48 pm 
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Without stepping in a big pile of it.... I would like to point out that society uses tax and other laws to announce its approval of certain behaviors and lifestyles that they want to encourage because we believe they are essential to society. Thus we get the deduction for homeowners on interest on mortgages.

The same rationale applies to another topic but I will not venture there in this thread.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:41 pm 
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How do I respond to that? Are you suggesting these types of issues are more prevalent here than in other parts of the country? And are you basing that on one person's experience?


Yes. Boston has a reputation for it, more so than other areas of the country. Are you not aware of that?

When we were leaving last summer, my husband had packed our suitcases wrong and one of them was over 50 lbs. Guy at the curb checkout caught it, and said to my husband, it's heavy, I'm gonna tag it, it'll cost you $50, but hey, not gonna charge ya (wink). Hubby, a former denizen, "got it", and gave him $20. As we walked away, he said, "place hasn't changed one bit." :)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:00 pm 
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Holbytla wrote:
The age of retirement needs to be elevated. People are living longer. I have no idea how much, but enough to level off the upcoming defecit.


The healthcare mess will probably fix that. Here is an example of how systems correct themselves. :blackeye:


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:20 pm 
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Ellienor wrote:
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How do I respond to that? Are you suggesting these types of issues are more prevalent here than in other parts of the country? And are you basing that on one person's experience?


Yes. Boston has a reputation for it, more so than other areas of the country. Are you not aware of that?

When we were leaving last summer, my husband had packed our suitcases wrong and one of them was over 50 lbs. Guy at the curb checkout caught it, and said to my husband, it's heavy, I'm gonna tag it, it'll cost you $50, but hey, not gonna charge ya (wink). Hubby, a former denizen, "got it", and gave him $20. As we walked away, he said, "place hasn't changed one bit." :)


I guess I didn't make assumptions because I have only experienced this part of the country and don't have a lot to compare it to.
Funny you would think after 47 years here, I would have seen some personal outward signs of it, other than of course the Big Dig project of course.
Maybe I am too sheltered.
I dunno, maybe people here just like to eat tourists or something.

Other than highway projects and shady sky caps, can you enlighten me of any other boondoggles and graft we are notorious for?

Actually it doesn't matter because if you are happy with ther way the government works, my whole point is lost. Personally I think there is a lot of room for improvement nationwide.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:48 pm 
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Holbytla wrote:
I dunno, maybe people here just like to eat tourists or something.


Only at Durgin Park. ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:49 pm 
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You guys are also terrifying drivers.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:52 pm 
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Here's some information on how Massachusetts has a higher proportion of "politicians for life" than other states:

http://www.massnews.com/2003_Editions/4 ... ions.shtml

I'm not happy with the way the government works, anywhere. But I see examples of people doing their jobs and government being effective. I think not caring and thinking it's no-good just makes the problem worse. If government is useless, what's wrong with appointing a pal from high school who is a real estate agent to manage the agricultural agency because "she likes cows"? (Sarah Palin) Or if you take governments' role seriously, you look for the most highly qualified person with experience in agricultural policy and/or industry and appoint that person. How different do you think the results are from that person's tenancy in each case? I mean, maybe the real estate agent who loves cows will be great. But in general, you would expect better results with the more qualified appointee, in most cases.

I don't mean to insult Massachusetts specifically--but it's not necessarily representative of the entirety of the United States.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:57 pm 
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Durgin Park I agree, but the food makes it worth the torture.

Primula Baggins wrote:
You guys are also terrifying drivers.


This one I will take exception with. I have driven all over the country and compared to a lot of places, we collectively are far superior drivers. By far the people in Florida are much much worse. States that drive 50mph in the left hand lane and 75mph in the right hand lane are much more terrifying. And don't give me they are all from Massachusetts stuff either.

We have a driving motto that the rest of the country should follow.
Just go !!!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:01 pm 
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After having driven in India, I consider all you American drivers wussies.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:04 pm 
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I once rode with a driver who deliberately drove up onto the sidewalk and along it for a hundred feet or so, to get around an obstruction in the street. This was in downtown Los Angeles, in the middle of the work day. She was from Boston.

An anecdote, but so scary it should count for ten.

Edit: Mahima, you mean like this?

I think I agree.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:15 pm 
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Primula Baggins wrote:
Edit: Mahima, you mean like this?

I think I agree.


Yes, exactly. Although this video wasn't definitely the worst. This video had no car reversing along the road for a turning it just missed. Neither did it have anyone driving in the opposite direction, to avoid going ahead for a turning. It did not have any guys pushing/pulling a cart. Very few pedestrians crossing the road (though the strolling and then running of a guy captured my current behavior quite well). No dogs or cows. The bus drivers actually seemed to be driving fairly okay.

The first time I drove in India after going back from US, I was actually scared. Shows how one year can turn me into a wussy. ;)

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