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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 08:35 AM
Original message
What would change the psychology of Americans?
Americans are saving more than ever. At any other time, that would be great. But our present predicament needs people to spend money. Unfortunately, people are fearful of the future and are holding everything close to their vest.

What would change this attitude?? Americans need to have more fun. They need to feel more confident. Perhaps they need to travel more? They need to feel more optimistic. They need to feel that the government is on their side.

What could the government do for the people to make them feel better and change the present psychology? I am beginning to think that the last rebate stimulus staved off the present downturn better than all the plans presented since then. However, the geniuses in Washington decided that giving money directly to the people did not work. So, they decided to give it to the big banks instead. Since then, we have dropped like a rock.

If people knew that they could have healthcare if they were laid off, then that might help the psychology? The government is in a position to offer this to the people but politics as usual is stalling any healthcare reform that the people can feel confident with. It is time for the US Government to do something for the people of this country for once, rather than everyone else around the world. Do our people not deserve it?
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MedleyMisty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 08:40 AM
Response to Original message
1. National health care and education
Edited on Sat Mar-07-09 08:45 AM by MedleyMisty
Living wages, decent vacation time and other benefits, decent retirement for everyone - basically, treating people like humans rather than like disposable robotic slaves.

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area51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #1
38. Great post. (n/t)
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DireStrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 08:40 AM
Response to Original message
2. Prosecution would do it for me
As it is I'm convinced that the PTB are still running things. How could anyone feel safe in that situation?
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stray cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:01 AM
Response to Reply #2
10. I really think prosecuting some of the white collar crooks would help
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conscious evolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 08:42 AM
Response to Original message
3. Kill off TV
Any attempt to change the national phsyche is doomed unless television goes.It is a much more powerful opiate than religion could ever dream of being.
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alsame Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:29 AM
Response to Reply #3
16. 24/7 right wing propaganda that masquerades as 'news' has
to stop.
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 08:44 AM
Response to Original message
4. Universal healthcare. Prosectution of Bush and his administration. Firing the CEOs
who drove their companies into the ground, before those companies receive any financial help.

I think those three things would help Americans feel a lot safer, comfortable, and optimistic.
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 08:45 AM
Response to Original message
5. You know what would help people's mentality?
If they believed they would possibly be able to retire before they die.

Any decent retirement fund relies on the stock and bond market, aka Wall Street. Obama may not be focusing on gyrations in the market, but a lot of people are.

Personally, knowing I will or won't have healthcare if I get laid off wouldn't make me feel better. Getting laid off is the whammy.

People who are that worried about healthcare were probably already stressed and holding back (I can't imagine having health problems lends itself to a happy spending life). The people who have really pulled back are people who didn't used to be worried but are now.
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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 08:49 AM
Response to Original message
6. America does NOT need to have more fun -- they need to grow up and pay attention
That *fun* you want them to start having again was fueled by CREDIT. Advertising driven *fun* allowed people to stop worrying about reality because they would always have credit and (they thought) they would always have jobs. That notion drove this country into the ground.

What people need right now is JOBS. And not the sort of job that *rewards* your labor with a measly 2 percent raise each year, while the CEO of the company gets to take himself and the sales staff off to fully-paid junkets to Las Vegas or the Bahamas once a year. The same CEOs who are more concerned with their own golden parachutes and stock options, than with the health of the company or the worker's pension benefits.

JOBS, and Universal healthcare are a start. Breaking up the toxic banks that are bankrupting the FDIC is a start. Breaking up the companies that are *too big to fail* and re-instating REAL monopoly laws are a start. Regulating the living shit out of Wall Street is a start.

The twelve million people out of work right now aren't going to be helped by some pissy little rebate. Of course, if you are still working that check is gravy - but for those who are out of work and virtually invisible to those who are still working, it's the equivalent of the wealthy tossing a few coins at the poor on the street corner. Rebates have NO long-term effect on them. It just keeps the bills paid for a few short weeks. It offers NO long term solution for them.

And THEY are the ones who MUST be helped FIRST.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #6
18. "Fun" does not have to cost money.
??
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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #18
21. your OP was to get people to SPEND - yes?
And now fun doesn't have to cost *money*. uhh huh. :eyes:
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. No, the OP was what would change the psychology of America...
The government wants us to spend but is that really the solution?
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 08:53 AM
Response to Original message
7. Economic Stability Would Be A Start...
The shock of rising oil prices last year helped tank the consumer market...when you had to pay double or triple on oil, it's like a massive tax hike and rippled through an economy that was starting to fall apart under the banking fiasco. It made it impossible for anyone to budget luxuaries...especially anything that involved travel or a big investment. Prices were rising or fluid and it scared a lot of people into buying or doing things they wouldn't have thought twice about a year earlier. Food prices rose sharply (and continue to do so) as did other commodities and people hunkered down to weather, as best they could, an uncertain economy. Now add to this the destruction of the credit markets...the drastic rise on interest rates that hit many with a double-whammy. Whose going to spend when you think prices will continue to rise and your income will continue to fall. Yep, it's psychological...but it's also very, very real.

I wish I could say there's a quick fix to this mess. There isn't. We'll need to clean up a bunch of messes if the economy is to start moving again and people are able to recover. We'll also have to return to an era where cash and carry trumps charging...or as my parents, who were Depression kids, would say...to "live within your means" and if you can't afford it, you can't have it. It's gonna be a big adjustment, but one that will be needed by all if this country is to have a long-term, healthy recovery.

Lower healthcare costs are one facet of many that need to be addressed, but so are the obscene bankrupcy laws that give all the power to the banks and little redress to those stuck behind the credit 8-ball. A way to reduce personal debt will go a long way to restore confidence and hope for millions. Nationalizing banks and selling off the good assets to small community and regional banks will get money into communities faster and will be a start at turning things around.

Cheers...
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 08:55 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. I think you may be right...
It was the oil shock last summer and fall that put the final nail in the coffin of our economy. The big oil companies stuck it to us big time. How could we make them pay us back??
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:08 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. If I Were King...
...I would have slapped windfall profit taxes on the oil companies and then launched a full scale investigation into the oil speculation trading and futures hording that was going on. It was an attempt to replace the housing bubble with an energy one...using those windfalls to cover their failing assets in one last quick killing. That bubble didn't last...collapsed when the strains of those rising prices shut down the consumer market. The greedy bastards went one bridge too far...and now we're the ones to pay the prices.

Looking back, the failure of what remained of our "regulatory" system was a culprit here. As we're seeing with Madoff...there was a cozy relationship between the regulators and those being "regulated" that encouraged the ponzi schemes on Wall Street (and we know there are more to be uncovered) as the markets turned into a gambling casino. As long as people were making money, no one dared to rock the boat...even when it was obvious that boat was headed for the rocks.

Cheers...
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Yep.
Agreed.
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stray cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:00 AM
Response to Original message
9. The trouble is the psychology of Americans is currently based on reason
Optimism and spending when you don't have any money is pollyanna.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:14 AM
Response to Original message
13. Ooh! Ooh! I know!!!!!
I know what would get people spending again!


Another 9/11 and anthrax attack!

Spurred on by a Bush-clone directive to "get out there and shop", people would surely get up off their asses and spend money like it's going out of style!

Plastic sheeting! Duct tape! Face masks! Dried foods and supplies for Y2K "end of the world" type scenarios!

Damn...if only our good buddy, the terrorism-loving Dubya were still in command of things, we'd be so much better off!!!


:sarcasm:

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Juche Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:23 AM
Response to Original message
14. Fixing the things that scare people
But that will not be easy. Alot of boomers in their 50s have seen the dow get cut in half in a year while their homes lost 100k or more in value. Young people like myself who have been told their whole lives about how putting X into the stock market each year can help fund your retirement are watching the boomers writhe as their retirement plans fall apart en masse.

At the same time education and healthcare (and energy if you look at gas prices last year) are becoming unaffordable while wages stagnate and jobs disappear. And due to globalization alot of people no longer feel secure in their jobs.

So its a tall order. Fix the fact that there aren't enough jobs that are reliable and pay well and fix the fact that assets have lost much of their value while expenses have gone through the roof. It won't be easy.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:28 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. We refuse to accept the pain that is necessary for recovery...
We think we can return to the good old days with our 401K's and easy money. The bubble has busted. It is gone. Accept that fact and move forward. Things will never be the same. The 14,000 stock market was an illusion and a sham. The money never existed. Your savings were never real.
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Juche Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #15
22. I didn't have savings
I'm new to the job market, but you are missing the point. People have lost tons of assets, expenses are growing far faster than wages, jobs are no longer secure and don't pay well enough. You'd have to fix all that and its going to be difficult.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:54 AM
Response to Reply #22
26. Maybe a good start would be passage of the EFCA ?
Give employees a little more say in their lives and futures?
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Juche Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #26
36. I agree
EFCA, universal healthcare, progressive taxes, promoting higher standards of living overseas (to create new markets), tax credits for college students, matching funds for private retirement accounts.

All of it will help.
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saltpoint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:30 AM
Response to Original message
17. We watered down our souls when we moved to the suburbs.
It is an unsustainable construct.

It seems to me unhealthy and imbalanced to "opt out" of social interaction. No wonder Gov. Palin thought she could work the GOP convention crowd by poking fun at "community organizers."

I'd like to see a mass migration back into cities, a revitalization of urban communities and all the other boats that would be lifted in the process, not least the idea that great cities are made of very diverse folks. Plus we'd save a pretty penny on energy costs. It takes a lot of cash to fill up a Hummer to drive 20 miles to and from downtown 5 days a week.

Suburbs by design and intent are remote and anti-social. An urban Renaissance would be inclusive and interactional.


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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #17
28. Cities are nice, but
We can't force people to move to cities if they don't want to be there.

I myself live in a very rural location. I don't have a Hummer. Actually Mr P and I are retired, which means we don't need to travel anywhere each day. Believe it or not, there really is a sense of community out here in the savage wilderness. In fact, I would say that it's an even deeper sense of community by virtue of the fact that there are so few of us here.

I can go into the little town restaurant or grocery store and be recognized. I'm an actual person who gets a friendly "Hi, how are you?" as opposed to maybe a perfunctory grunt from a store clerk in the city.

When you're driving on the dirt roads out here, no matter who you are, you get a friendly wave from a driver going the other way.

When people need help, there's always someone there to help...not turn away because someone else will be along to do it eventually.

And there are always loads of social events going on out here...nearly everything that can be found in the cities, only on a smaller scale, and probably more fun, as well.


I guess what I'm saying is that people live in the woods or suburbs because they prefer to be there. If people wanted to live in the cities, they'd be there already...so any move to get people back to the cities would mean that many of them (us) would need to be forced to live in the city.

Except for the convenience of stores and medical resources, there's absolutely nothing in the city that appeals to me...

and probably many other people as well...

;)
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saltpoint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #28
34. Agree -- and I should have been
more clear in saying that no one should be forced to move back to the cities.

On the other hand, it does take a lot of gasoline each year to drive back and forth to those suburbs, so maybe significant incentives could be dangled in front of suburban residents to entice them back into town.

I do appreciate the lure of solitude and also the lure of the natural world. I admit that my anti-suburb bias is strong.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:35 AM
Response to Original message
19. That's the essential, and painful dillemna that faces this country
Our economy has gone from being a production/manufacturing based economy to a service/consumption based economy. This type of economy is essentially a weaker economy because it cannot survive or bounce back from economic fluctuations as well as a manufacturing based economy. In fact service/consumption based economies have a historical tendency to sink their country during economic hard times.

The only real way out of this is for the US to re-establish its manufacturing base. I think that Obama sees this, which is why he is pushing for the Made in the US component of his stimulus, and also pushing a green energy and green economy. The US can be at the forefront of a green economy, which would re-establish our manufacturing base.

But you aren't going to coax people to spend in hard times, especially hard times that look like they're going to get harder. In fact consumer spending is one of the last things to come back after an economy has tanked.
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saltpoint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:44 AM
Response to Original message
20. I'd be impressed with a Daily Living Summit. President Obama hosts.
The best minds from Japan, Bolivia, France, Honduras, Canada, the Pacific Island, several African and Baltic nations, and so forth all around the globe are invited and asked to bring their best recommendations.

President Obama assembles a top-drawer Panel from the U.S. to serve initially as respectful listeners and then as advisors-to-policy.

The take-away is that we have much to learn from other cultures and nations about how to live more efficiently and effectively in our daily lives.

The recommendations offered would be forged into proposals for meaningful policy change where it is most needed.

I would envision a panel that might include Government negotiators from Northern Island and Muyanmar and third grade teachers from Lima, Peru and Omaha, Nebraska. Teachers, energy reformers, COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS (deal with it, Gov. Palin), and so forth. I'd go whole-hog on this project. Put everyone up in a college dorm someplace in the summer when the students are mostly gone. Ratchet up security if need be.

If we want to do better than we're doing right now, we need to be more humble in seeking counsel.
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saltpoint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:53 AM
Response to Original message
24. Cash is always handy. I'd favor the legalization of prostitution
and marijuana, which would help clear the books of some idiotic and brutal laws, as well as generate a bit of revenue.

Tax the hell out of both endeavors and monitor for health concerns, etc. All the usually-mentioned considerations.

I believe it's more practical to acknowledge real-world use of both practices at a profit than to punish people who partake of either on "moral" grounds.


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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #24
32. Makes sense to me
I mean, people are gonna do those things anyway.

Why not legalize them and kill two birds with one stone...

1. Put people to work

2. Remove the criminal element from the equation


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saltpoint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #32
35. Yep. I'm sure the Far Right would squawk something fierce,
but then they are programmed to squawk anyway.


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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:53 AM
Response to Original message
25. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs...
If Americans could get GOOD jobs with benefits that paid well and which they believed were stable, they would feel more comfortable spending.

Americans need to be able to pay off all their consumer debt from the past and get caught up because they've been pushed into the corner of debt based spending over the last couple of decades as the only means available to maintain an American standard of living and see their kids off to college, etc.

The salaries of American workers need to go UP considerably and the top 1% needs to stop taking so much off the top for themselves before the economy will be able to right itself.

Doug D.
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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
27. What we deserve is a people who feel responsibility towards one another.
It has nothing to do with fun but the idea that you and your neighbor have each other's back and that to be an American it is not mandatory to be willing to lie, cheat, and steal for financial gain. The Jones' have been forclosed on. Keeping up needs to go out of fashion and stepping up rewarded.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #27
30. Perhaps "fun" was not the right word...
Maybe people need to enjoy life more?
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:58 AM
Response to Original message
29. Most people I know had their psychology change when they saw their first paycheck
And how much had been deducted in taxes.
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:58 AM
Response to Original message
31. "Be in Denial - Consume More" is not a solution.
Changing people's "psychology" so they stop using critical thinking and just act happy and spend more is a republican/neoliberal "solution" that further contributes to the problem.

The system itself isn't working and can't work because it's based on unlimited resources and a pyramid scheme of consumption and wealth accumulation. Your solution is: Let's not analyze why that is, but instead encourage even more blind devotion to that flawed system.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #31
33. Thanks.
For explaining what I was trying to say. Your interpretation was not the gist of my post. But, thanks anyway.
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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
37. refund, re inspire, bring up to date, mental health services


with particular attention paid to teens who are in desperate need of assurance.
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