Will America ever be great again?

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Will America ever be great again?

Post by doodle » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:25 am

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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by dualstow » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:32 am

doodle wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:25 am
What happened to us?

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/victor- ... ons-giants
I’m not a monarchist, but sometimes I do envy how the Chinese get big projects done. Those maglev trains, for instance.
RIP Dusty Hill and be well, Bob Odenkirk
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by doodle » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:40 am

dualstow wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:32 am
doodle wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:25 am
What happened to us?

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/victor- ... ons-giants
I’m not a monarchist, but sometimes I do envy how the Chinese get big projects done. Those maglev trains, for instance.
Yeah, the train tech out of Japan is amazing. I'm always kind of confused when people refer to the moribund stagnant low growth economy of Japan. The image that conjures up doesn't seem to fit with everything I watch or read about the country. We on the other hand somehow keep growing but our roads and bridges crumble and my city is currently injecting sewage waste into aquifer underground because of a lack of basic infrastructure.
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by dualstow » Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:24 pm

Kern County?
RIP Dusty Hill and be well, Bob Odenkirk
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by Kriegsspiel » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:35 pm

doodle wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:40 am
Yeah, the train tech out of Japan is amazing. I'm always kind of confused when people refer to the moribund stagnant low growth economy of Japan. The image that conjures up doesn't seem to fit with everything I watch or read about the country. We on the other hand somehow keep growing but our roads and bridges crumble and my city is currently injecting sewage waste into aquifer underground because of a lack of basic infrastructure.
That's right, I think. Andy Serwar made the same point a bit ago [EDIT: half a year ago, but I guess it stuck in my mind] in an article I read:
All the places economists say are terrible seem pretty great to me, and all the places the economists say are wonderful, well, let’s just say they have issues. . .

As for Japan, I just traveled there for the first time and because of how economists had predisposed me, I was expecting a country almost in collapse. Yes GDP growth has been anemic for the past 30 years, and yes the population of 127 million makes for crowded conditions, but my take was the world’s third largest economy and exporting juggernaut (autos!) was hardly moribund. And though people work long hours in Japan, the quality of life there is appealing. The bullet train and subways are still amazingly clean and orderly. The food’s remarkable and the culture is rich. That counts for a lot in my book.

Meanwhile life in NYC and Silicon Valley is stressful as hell, replete with soaring costs, 18-hour work days and endless traffic, which is literally killing.
Answering the OP question... I don't know man. It's really tough to say at this point.
"You haven't, I suppose, ever mixed with politicians at close quarters. They're awful. I think some of these must have been the dregs anyhow, but I've discovered, what previously I didn't believe possible, that politicians behave in private life and say exactly the same things as they do in public. Their stupidity is inhuman.
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by pugchief » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:18 pm

doodle wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:25 am
What happened to us?

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/victor- ... ons-giants
You don't seem to be the type to be reading Fox News.

But VDH already answered your question in the piece: Ridiculous layers of government and their respective regulations, special interest groups and their opposition, and lawyers lawyers and more lawyers suing everybody and everything. It's sad, for sure.
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by sophie » Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:47 am

Doodle, thanks for posting this. It is a thought provoking, take-a-step-back-and-think read.

Partial answer to your question in the article:
Californians tried to build a high-speed rail line. But after more than a decade of government incompetence, lawsuits, cost overruns and constant bureaucratic squabbling, they have all but given up. The result is a half-built overpass over the skyline of Fresno — and not yet a foot of track laid.
I can fill in a few of the blanks:

- UNIONS. These became super-powerful at about the same time that these large projects stopped being possible (in the 1960s/70s).

- Social justice warriors arguing over minutia...there is no such thing as a large public works project that doesn't mess up something related to the environment. Birds might get killed by windmill blades etc.

And I remember reading many years ago that the state of Ohio had more lawyers than the entire nation of Japan. Pretty sure things have only gotten worse.

It's not because there aren't capable young people around. One of the things that keeps me going with my job is that I get to work with brilliant, enthusiastic and incredibly hard-working medical and graduate students. They are the antidote to the rapidly increasing administrative b-s. My job amounts to protecting my lab members from administrative roadblocks so that they can get on with science. It's draining and agonizing, and never ending. Every day I go in to find a new form to fill out and sign, new administrative requirement for something, etc etc. Just the new bureaucratic b-s takes at least 1-2 hours out of every day, and that doesn't count keeping up with the pre-existing bureaucratic b-s.
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by Kriegsspiel » Sat Dec 14, 2019 7:42 am

Just got around to reading this article on the relationship between sexual morality and cultural decline. Thoughts?
"You haven't, I suppose, ever mixed with politicians at close quarters. They're awful. I think some of these must have been the dregs anyhow, but I've discovered, what previously I didn't believe possible, that politicians behave in private life and say exactly the same things as they do in public. Their stupidity is inhuman.
- John Maynard Keynes
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by pugchief » Sat Dec 14, 2019 8:38 am

Kriegs, to your article:
Men require sex to be happy; it is biologically wired. Monogamous marriages are a societal programming. There is no question that a two parent household is better for any children, but is it better for men? Laws are written so that if the woman wants out for any reason, the man is screwed (not in the good way, pun intended). The government makes things worse by offering welfare to single mothers, making them think they don't need a man to take care of them or have a father figure for their kids.

There is probably some truth to the findings, but cultures evolve. Should we not use rational thinking? Rational men might not want to get married knowing the laws and their biology. Culture is not the same as it was in 1800 or 1900 because of knowledge and technology that were not available then. Families didn't disperse across the country. Culture adapts.
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by sophie » Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:00 am

So how do you reconcile that with studies showing women tend to become more miserable after getting married than men, who generally get happier?

I can't remember sources, sorry - but I've read multiple reports like this.
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by pugchief » Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:46 am

sophie wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:00 am
So how do you reconcile that with studies showing women tend to become more miserable after getting married than men, who generally get happier?

I can't remember sources, sorry - but I've read multiple reports like this.
The men are mostly miserable, too. They just don't complain as much. O0

Why do you think 50% of marriages end in divorce? Of the remaining 50% that stay married, how many are couples where both (or either) partner is happy? And then what degree of happiness? I know lots of people who are not happy, but (as they describe it) not miserable. So they stay because:

-it's easier and they are lazy
-for the kids
-divorce is expensive (especially for men, but women, too)
-fear that the unknown will be worse than the known
-fear they will be alone forever (is that worse than being unhappy?)
-religious convictions
-fear of societal shaming
-etc, etc
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by Xan » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:23 am

Don't forget the publicly made a solemn vow to each other and to God to stay married until one of them dies. Not a vow to stay together until they thought they might be happier doing something else.
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by pugchief » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:39 am

Xan wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:23 am
Don't forget the publicly made a solemn vow to each other and to God to stay married until one of them dies. Not a vow to stay together until they thought they might be happier doing something else.
That falls under my 'religious convictions' umbrella.

On another related note, what I think is ironic is that 100% of people think their marriage will be forever and over half of them are wrong. When you bet against statistical reality, you usually lose.
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by D1984 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:54 am

sophie wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:47 am
Doodle, thanks for posting this. It is a thought provoking, take-a-step-back-and-think read.

Partial answer to your question in the article:
Californians tried to build a high-speed rail line. But after more than a decade of government incompetence, lawsuits, cost overruns and constant bureaucratic squabbling, they have all but given up. The result is a half-built overpass over the skyline of Fresno — and not yet a foot of track laid.
I can fill in a few of the blanks:

- UNIONS. These became super-powerful at about the same time that these large projects stopped being possible (in the 1960s/70s).

Is the union thing really true, though? We in the US have had a declining percentage of our workforce being unionized since the early 1950s; it's barely above 10% now. Almost everywhere else in the first world (France, Germany, Italy, the Benelux countries, Scandinavia, Japan, etc) that still does the big infrastructure projects that we can't seem to even start has a higher unionization rate than us...and the union members are more militant (look at what happens when they strike in France and Italy...demonstrating, raising hell, rioting, burning things, locking the boss in the office, etc; or in Finland where just a few days ago an involuntary transfer of a few hundred postal workers to a private subcontrator at a lower wage than they had been paid ended up with sympathy and support strikes by over ten thousand postal workers and over 70,000 other transport and industrial workers that temporarily virtually shut down whole sectors of the transportation industry and forced the prime minster out). When was the last time anything like that happened in the United States?
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by moda0306 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:33 pm

D1984 wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:54 am
sophie wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:47 am
Doodle, thanks for posting this. It is a thought provoking, take-a-step-back-and-think read.

Partial answer to your question in the article:
Californians tried to build a high-speed rail line. But after more than a decade of government incompetence, lawsuits, cost overruns and constant bureaucratic squabbling, they have all but given up. The result is a half-built overpass over the skyline of Fresno — and not yet a foot of track laid.
I can fill in a few of the blanks:

- UNIONS. These became super-powerful at about the same time that these large projects stopped being possible (in the 1960s/70s).

Is the union thing really true, though? We in the US have had a declining percentage of our workforce being unionized since the early 1950s; it's barely above 10% now. Almost everywhere else in the first world (France, Germany, Italy, the Benelux countries, Scandinavia, Japan, etc) that still does the big infrastructure projects that we can't seem to even start has a higher unionization rate than us...and the union members are more militant (look at what happens when they strike in France and Italy...demonstrating, raising hell, rioting, burning things, locking the boss in the office, etc; or in Finland where just a few days ago an involuntary transfer of a few hundred postal workers to a private subcontrator at a lower wage than they had been paid ended up with sympathy and support strikes by over ten thousand postal workers and over 70,000 other transport and industrial workers that temporarily virtually shut down whole sectors of the transportation industry and forced the prime minster out). When was the last time anything like that happened in the United States?
Yes... I'm wondering sophie what you're using as a measuring stick for "became super-powerful." Real wages began to stagnate right around the time you're mentioning, and union power has all-but vanished since then.
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by Maddy » Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:56 pm

In the vast majority of cases, couples who divorce don't simply acknowledge their mistake and agree to move on. They stew in a world of perpetual blame and recrimination, often for decades. Would these people have been happier unmarried? I tend to think not. The victim/oppressor mindset so prevalent in modern culture would simply find expression elsewhere.

America is not likely to ever become "great" again until people go back to taking responsibility for their circumstances, or for at least making the best of them.
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by Kriegsspiel » Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:42 pm

sophie wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:00 am
So how do you reconcile that with studies showing women tend to become more miserable after getting married than men, who generally get happier?

I can't remember sources, sorry - but I've read multiple reports like this.
Are you referring to this one?
According to behavioral scientist Paul Dolan, promoting his recently released book Happy Every After, [women will] be much happier if they steer clear of marriage and children entirely.

“Married people are happier than other population subgroups, but only when their spouse is in the room when they’re asked how happy they are. When the spouse is not present: f***ing miserable,” Dolan said, citing the American Time Use Survey, a national survey available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and used for academic research on how Americans live their lives.

The problem? That finding is the result of a grievous misunderstanding on Dolan’s part of how the American Time Use Survey works. The people conducting the survey didn’t ask married people how happy they were, shoo their spouses out of the room, and then ask again. Dolan had misinterpreted one of the categories in the survey, “spouse absent,” which refers to married people whose partner is no longer living in their household, as meaning the spouse stepped out of the room.

Oops.

The error was caught by Gray Kimbrough, an economist at American University’s School of Public Affairs, who uses the survey data — and realized that Dolan must have gotten it wrong. “I’ve done a lot with time-use data,” Kimbrough told me. “It’s a phone survey.” The survey didn’t even ask if a respondent’s spouse was in the room.
I've also seen these graphs, which don't really show females as "miserable" after getting married. Note sure of their validity though.

Image
Last edited by Kriegsspiel on Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"You haven't, I suppose, ever mixed with politicians at close quarters. They're awful. I think some of these must have been the dregs anyhow, but I've discovered, what previously I didn't believe possible, that politicians behave in private life and say exactly the same things as they do in public. Their stupidity is inhuman.
- John Maynard Keynes
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by Kriegsspiel » Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:56 pm

That aside, regarding pugchief's comment, I think what the author would say is that when marriage breaks down the society breaks down. And societies that tend toward certain sexual mores tend towards becoming a successful civilization. But I'm still going through the 26 page summary in the footnotes.
"You haven't, I suppose, ever mixed with politicians at close quarters. They're awful. I think some of these must have been the dregs anyhow, but I've discovered, what previously I didn't believe possible, that politicians behave in private life and say exactly the same things as they do in public. Their stupidity is inhuman.
- John Maynard Keynes
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by sophie » Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:02 pm

No, not that one :-) interesting demonstration of how inaccurate surveys can be, not to mention conclusions drawn from observational studies.

regarding unions: the problem is that they expanded their focus way beyond decent treatment, good pay & working conditions etc, to forcing regulations that put major barriers on construction projects. Maybe that doesn't happen as much in Europe, but I sure see it all the time here. It's the major reason why construction projects in NYC take forever and cost so much. Think of the Second Avenue subway, the Freedom Tower, and the Wolman ice rink that the city never did manage to finish until it got help from a certain person whose initials are Donald Trump - primarily because he didn't have to deal with unions.

And some of those regulations are batsh*t crazy. For example: students at my university medical center can't get summer and part time jobs in research labs, because the associated hospital's union forced that on us. Apparently they believed the students could represent competition for union jobs. Even though the hospital is private and is financially unrelated to the university. Students working part time has been a foundation of lab work not to mention student income for a LONG time, and it still is everywhere else. But now, thanks to the union, we can only "hire" them if they're willing to work for free or for course credit, or if they come under an NIH sponsored program.
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by pugchief » Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:08 pm

sophie wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:02 pm
regarding unions: the problem is that they expanded their focus way beyond decent treatment, good pay & working conditions etc, to forcing regulations that put major barriers on construction projects.
Another example: the recent Chicago Teacher's Union strike that they admitted was as much about (unaffordable and inefficient) social justice concessions as it was about raping the already overburdened taxpayers with unrealistic pay increases, pension sweetners and paid time off.
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by vnatale » Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:16 pm

pugchief wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:46 am
sophie wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:00 am
So how do you reconcile that with studies showing women tend to become more miserable after getting married than men, who generally get happier?

I can't remember sources, sorry - but I've read multiple reports like this.
The men are mostly miserable, too. They just don't complain as much. O0

Why do you think 50% of marriages end in divorce? Of the remaining 50% that stay married, how many are couples where both (or either) partner is happy? And then what degree of happiness? I know lots of people who are not happy, but (as they describe it) not miserable. So they stay because:

-it's easier and they are lazy
-for the kids
-divorce is expensive (especially for men, but women, too)
-fear that the unknown will be worse than the known
-fear they will be alone forever (is that worse than being unhappy?)
-religious convictions
-fear of societal shaming
-etc, etc
Regarding what I highlighted from above...there are a certain number of people of each sex (obviously) who are divorced from their first marriage then go on to remarry and then divorce again. Perhaps multiple times.

A first reading of what I highlighted above could imply that only 50% of first time marriages do not end up in divorce. Does anyone know at what rate first time marriages do NOT end up in divorce.

Vinny
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by vnatale » Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:17 pm

Maddy wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:56 pm
In the vast majority of cases, couples who divorce don't simply acknowledge their mistake and agree to move on. They stew in a world of perpetual blame and recrimination, often for decades. Would these people have been happier unmarried? I tend to think not. The victim/oppressor mindset so prevalent in modern culture would simply find expression elsewhere.

America is not likely to ever become "great" again until people go back to taking responsibility for their circumstances, or for at least making the best of them.
Part of the reason why I could never align myself with the Democratic party but have to remain an Independent. In addition to the above I cannot believe that ALL addictions are diseases of which the affected have zero control over their actions.

Vinny
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats."
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by pugchief » Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:27 pm

vnatale wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:16 pm
there are a certain number of people of each sex (obviously) who are divorced from their first marriage then go on to remarry and then divorce again. Perhaps multiple times.
Albert Einstein wrote:Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by dualstow » Sat Dec 14, 2019 3:03 pm

My anniversary is next week. O0
RIP Dusty Hill and be well, Bob Odenkirk
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Re: Will America ever be great again?

Post by moda0306 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 3:17 pm

sophie wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:02 pm
No, not that one :-) interesting demonstration of how inaccurate surveys can be, not to mention conclusions drawn from observational studies.

regarding unions: the problem is that they expanded their focus way beyond decent treatment, good pay & working conditions etc, to forcing regulations that put major barriers on construction projects. Maybe that doesn't happen as much in Europe, but I sure see it all the time here. It's the major reason why construction projects in NYC take forever and cost so much. Think of the Second Avenue subway, the Freedom Tower, and the Wolman ice rink that the city never did manage to finish until it got help from a certain person whose initials are Donald Trump - primarily because he didn't have to deal with unions.

And some of those regulations are batsh*t crazy. For example: students at my university medical center can't get summer and part time jobs in research labs, because the associated hospital's union forced that on us. Apparently they believed the students could represent competition for union jobs. Even though the hospital is private and is financially unrelated to the university. Students working part time has been a foundation of lab work not to mention student income for a LONG time, and it still is everywhere else. But now, thanks to the union, we can only "hire" them if they're willing to work for free or for course credit, or if they come under an NIH sponsored program.
Both of your examples are anecdotal and not really structural analysis of the power of unions, which leaves me asking a few questions. If we can temporarily separate (though of course they're related) the Cost of a project vs the Time it takes, and just look at cost... it seems to me that this would mostly be driven by labor costs, which, as previously mentioned, are relatively stagnant compared to past decades, so it's hard for me to believe that this is the source of the problem without some more information about the cost of labor in these contracts vs those during strong labor days like the 1940's and 1950's.

Now maybe some of the "time" element is due to some union-induced regulatory constraint, but to me this ultimately boils down to cost. Any time delays can usually be addressed by simply spending more money, and if labor isn't truly demanding that much more than, say, 1955, then I find it difficult to blame the time delays on "strong unions," though I'm open to deeper analysis.

To your last example, Unions have always been very active against "hiring scabs" to do union work. Obviously, there's probably some interpretation as to whether these part-time students are doing "Union Work," but I highly doubt that similar hiring would have been allowed by a trucker or miner's union back in the 1950's.

Just some thoughts... while I am fascinated by the history of the "labor movement" for lack of a better term, I feel like I walk away with little actual knowledge of how union political power works.
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