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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 08:54 AM
Original message
They're Not Even Trying...
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/20...


THEY'RE NOT EVEN TRYING.... I argued yesterday that congressional Republicans are guilty of a "pre-recession mindset." Evidence to bolster the argument is hard to miss.

The top Republican in the House is seizing on the latest spike in unemployment to call for a freeze on government spending and to urge President Barack Obama to veto a $410 billion spending bill.

Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the jump in unemployment to 8.1 percent and the loss of 651,000 jobs in February is a sign of a worsening recession that demands better solutions from both parties.

Boehner criticized the spending bill as chocked full of wasteful, pork-barrel projects.... Boehner said he hoped Obama would veto the bill. He urged the president to work with House Republicans to impose a spending freeze until the end of this fiscal year.


This is, of course, completely insane. As Pat Garofalo recently explained: "The economic stimulus package's main purpose is to close the GDP gap and jumpstart the economy by spurring spending by households, government and the private sector. A spending freeze would act as an 'anti-stimulus,' cutting spending precisely when it's too low and the economy is moving too slowly."

But stepping back and considering the larger context, that the top House Republican is seriously and publicly advocating such an idea is genuinely scary. As Paul Krugman noted, "I'm shocked by the total intellectual collapse of the Republican Party in the face of this economic crisis.... I'd really like to see some genuine bipartisanship in America. But that can't happen until we start having at least somewhat sane partisans."

Josh Marshall added, "When the crisis is a rapid and catastrophic drop off in demand, you handcuff the one force that can create demand (i.e., the federal government) in the throes of the contraction. That's insane. Levels of stimulus are a decent question. Intensifying the contraction is just insane and frankly a joke. It's time to recognize that the only debate here is happening among Democrats and sundry non-affiliated sane people. The leaders of the GOP are simply not part of the conversation."

Well, at least they shouldn't be. Given the truly bizarre ideas coming from congressional Republicans, there's really no reason to engage them in good-faith discussion. A group of people are working diligently to put out a raging fire, and the failed minority party, which helped set the blaze, can't imagine why no one is taking their more-lighter-fluid agenda seriously.

I know President Obama likes bipartisanship. I know voters love the idea of well-intentioned patriots from across the spectrum getting together to work out meaningful solutions. It somehow seems unfair to block elected officials out of the governing process, just because they've created a crisis and are determined to make it worse.

But Republicans, at this point, just aren't trying anymore. They deserve a lot of things -- ridicule, scorn, derision -- but at a place at the policy negotiating table isn't one of them.

-Steve Benen
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 08:59 AM
Response to Original message
1. Republican philosophy must be exposed as irrational and stupid.
They need to be discredited, but we do it with facts and rationale, not by calling out Rush Limbaugh.
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galloglas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
32. And mendacious. n/t
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:00 AM
Response to Original message
2. I'm sorry
but taking on huge chunks of new debt is unsound economics. This is like Magic Fairy Land economics, saying that if only the government spends enough the economy will come roaring back. This is like some sort of sick joke out of South Park.... Step 1: spend the nation into bankruptcy... Step 2: ????.... Step 3: Economic recovery!

The government spending too little was not the problem that got us here and spending too much isn't a route to a solution.

The problem is too much debt and too little honesty. And until we get around to... oh, say, enforcing the goddamn laws against fraud and bribery which have been violated with impunity for decades by the financial industry, regulators, and legislators, there is nothing - nothing - the government can do to turn the situation around.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:02 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Have you ever heard of Herbert Hoover? Or maybe Rachel Maddow?
Should we all learn from history or ignore it? Jeebus.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. It'd be nice if there WERE laws (and regulations) that clearly outlawed the behavior we've seen ...
... in the equities and derivatives markets. The "problem" is that there aren't. The laws (and regulations) have been continuously gutted and defanged over the past 25 years, most obviously by Phil and Wendy Gramm. We've been "Enroninzed" to the point that behavior that's offensive to the conscience has become banal.

Spending is the ONLY option short of wholesale nationalization.
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:37 AM
Response to Reply #6
13. There are!
All this 'regulatory capital' business that AIG is sticking us with the bill for - what was that, if not an institution of fraud to evade banking regulations? And that's just one of many, many things that were going on in broad daylight!

Where were the regulators? When that whistleblower did the SEC's job for it and handed them an open-and-shut case against Madoff TEN YEARS AGO, what happened? Why are these derelict regulators not being prosecuted for aiding and abetting?

Why is no one going after all the 'financial wizards' who deliberately obscured extreme risk and represented it as near-riskless? How is it that they remain in possession of the millions they pocketed over the years while running their scams?

And I can go on and on. Loan originators who knew they were issuing loans to people who were lying to them about income, assets, and so on, but issued the loans anyway knowing they could sell them up the line to the investment banks. Credit rating agencies who were paid to misrepresent risk by those with a vested interest in perpetuating that misrepresentation. The Fed, which knowingly, willfully and deliberately pumped as much cash into this fraud machine as possible. High officials committing high treason (read: this list headed by but not even close to limited to Hank Paulson) - walking free!

I would lay serious money on mass fraud prosecutions being successful. What I won't put a dime into - and neither will people with serious money whether they be individuals or corporations or government pension funds or foreign investors - is a market that is rife with fraud and has demonstrated repeatedly that crime pays for the fraudsters.

The plain fact is that no one is even attempting to enforce the law against broad classes of people who profited from fraud. And if this situation continues, then we start getting into questions as to the very legitimacy of the government. If they are not working for the people, who are they working for? (You can check their donor lists if you are unsure on this point.)
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. Are Cuomo and Frank 'no one'?
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
Cuomo To Judge: Don't Let BOA Keep Bonus Info Secret

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
Barney Frank: Prosecute The Culprits in the Financial Crisis
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #15
23. Cuomo is great - but he's alone. Frank is part of the problem
Andrew Cuomo is a shining light in a pitch black night - but even he is not going after the really big fish. If only there were more of him, particularly on the federal level! He's totally alone, and limited to New York State.

On the federal level, the actions being taken are more along the lines of the treatment of the IndyMac regulator who conspired to cook their books. He was allowed to quietly resign - no prosecution appears to be forthcoming.

Barney Frank is a total hypocrite who is personally responsible for a good chunk of the problem. Loans made under Frank legislation programs defaulted at three times the rate of other loans. And then we have Geithner, another part of the problem, sitting in the Treasury. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out why no one will take a job working for him.

This country is full of people who would jump at the chance to make a difference in solving the problem. Obama has to get rid of Geithner immediately and replace him with someone credible like Paul Volker, get rid of the liar Bernanke at the Fed and replace him with any person who can both add and tell the truth.

It's like the country doesn't even care. They'd rather talk about Michael Jackson and Chandra Levy, those two particular subjects which bring up a 'something very bad is about to happen' chill up my spine.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. Please. Your opinion doesn't make it so.
I have no idea what strictures Frank was working under when the first part of the bailout happened...under Bush. Do you?

As for Geithner, everyone loved him when he was confirmed despite tax problems. If he doesn't pan out, I'm sure he'll be asked to leave. Six weeks? Remember that?
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #24
27. Oh yes I do know.
Frank was the Chairman of the House Banking Committee for the first bailout. It was his committee that passed the bailout first (had to, Constitutionally) and it was he personally who made it happen.
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HillbillyBob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #13
21. From personal experience a lot of us were 'steered' into sub prime
loans even when we DID qualify for prime loans.
I mean a lot, but if your skin was brown, or you spoke with an accent or wanted to live in a certain area you were almost coerced into the subprime loans.
With the brokers doing their best(think of the fast talking used car salesman with the car that has a transmission packed with sawdust to quiet the gears) to convince you that you could not qualify.
I fell into that trap years ago. That realtor and his broker should still be in jail as they pulled a number on the DA who with enough evidence got them convicted, they got 15-20 for fraud, and strong arm.
The brokers, realtors, phil gramm, and all the other sec, fdic and other regulatory folks that did not do their jobs should be charged under RICO, at the very least they should not still be employed in the capacity that they did the crimes. That is what it was crime of fraud.
We did not fall for it this time, we did get a prime loan at a good rate, and went for a house that the payments are 1/6 of our house hold income.
It took going to 5 different realtors and 5 mortgage brokers to get there too.

That is not to say that there were not fools and greedy fools that did try to game the system were not in the wrong, but the rpug bs meme that all of us tried to game is total bs, maybe some were but not all, there were a lot more that were steered than jumped.
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #21
25. There's a full spectrum of people
There's a ton of people who just didn't understand what they were getting into, there's no denying that. The level of financial literacy in this country is abysmal - and the loan originators, realtors, brokers, and so on knew it. The ones who knowingly and willfully steered people into products they couldn't afford and didn't understand are some of those who belong in the dock. Might as well also apply the same principle to the credit card industry, their 5-point font and their terms that may change at any time.

But on the other end of the spectrum, there was an open conspiracy of fraud known as the NINJA (no income, job or assets) loan. It was a don't-ask, don't tell loan. These banks, by creating this loan product, deliberately invited borrowers to lie wholesale to get ownership of property. The borrower staked his future on the market never going down, figured it didn't matter if he lied through his ass, he could sell it for a profit at any time he pleased. The media with their constant drumbeat of housing-as-investment made people feel entitled to get in on the action. Wink wink, between you and me it's all kosher, you get your $417,000, I sell this steaming pile of shit to an investment bank, I get my money and don't care if you default, was the originators' attitude. The investment banks bought piles of shit, made one big steaming pile, cut it up into pieces and sold them as a dozen roses to people who thought they could get something for nothing.

And these NINJA products were only one of the many loan products created that should never have been offered to a mass market.

This was going on industrywide. This is why housing prices went through the roof. It was all fraud, and it's long since past time this country took it seriously.

Nobody is going to invest in this country if the end result is that fraud pays off. That's why the market is tanking - fraud paid off under Bush, and Obama's policy is indistinguishable. How could I make an investment in a public company if they're allowed to rip me off and get away with it?

This has serious consequences. Everyone who draws a pension is screwed if their pension funds start eating their principal to make payments. Look at California - that state is already defaulting on promised payments to its own citizens, and forcing furlough on its employees. How long before they can no longer pay policemen and firemen and schoolteachers? And how many states are really all that much better off?

This could be one very long, hot, violent summer as the money runs out. It is time that these issues are taken with the life-and-death seriousness that they have.
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #2
18. Debt You Take On Vs. Downpayments For The Future
Here's a real problem. For the past 8 years, a large chunk of government spending went to contractors, outsourcers and other corporate welfare kings and queens who returned very little of that money to the economy. It went to hiring cheap foreign labor to maximize profits. It went into ratholes (look at the billions squandere in the wake of Katrina) that were never accounted for along with disastrous tax cuts and unfunded mandates that forced state and local goverments into big holes. We're now trying to turn a kleptocracy into a functioning government again...and it's starting from scratch.

Money spent on creating jobs is an investment as those jobs will help rejuvenate local and then federal tax bases. The more people employed, the more taxes collected...the better wages those workers make, the sooner those debts are repayed...we saw this play out in the 90's. To get this bottom up, rather than top down economy rolling again, it needs a redirection and then infusion of federal money. Just like the NRA and WPA helped in creating a middle class that fueled prosperity and the economy for the next 40 years, similar spending will provide many similar benefits.

I'd sure rather use the money where it works, not where it kills or enriches a fat cat.

Cheers...
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PA Democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:54 AM
Response to Reply #2
19. You need to take an introductory class in macroeconomics
and stop falling for the right-wingers attempts to rewrite not only history but basic principles of macroeconomics. In a deep recession such as the one we are currently in, increased government spending is really the ONLY viable option to stop the downward spiral.

As far as government regulation goes, there needs to be better enforcement of current regulations, but also NEW regulations of derivatives, which were basically deregulated by the Commodities Futures Modernization Act. It is the unregulated Wild Wild West of credit default swaps that have contributed exponentially to the current financial crisis. But new regulation and better enforcement will only address FUTURE crises and will not fix the current one. Increased government spending is the only solution. It's not perfect, but the pros FAR outweigh the cons.
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Fire1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #19
26. It sure beats the hell out of doing NOTHING which is pretty
close to what the republicans have proposed.
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PA Democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #26
33. It seems that Republicans are always looking for an excuse to do nothing when
there is a problem that affects mostly the poor and middle class...

Cut welfare completely because some "welfare queen" is surely going to abuse the system.

Let the economy spiral into a depression because the economic stimulus has some negative effects (which pale in comparison to the cost of doing nothing)

Forget about universal health care because if you let everyone have access to health care, few people may go to the doctor more than they should.


Etc., etc.


I wish more people would open their eyes to the pathetic tactics used by the right. They appeal to greed and fear that some poor joe may get something more than what they "should". They use that as an excuse to allow millions to suffer needlessly.



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independentpiney Donating Member (966 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:02 AM
Response to Original message
4. I couldn't agree more, they're simply not rational
It's impossible to have a discussion with people who just spew the latest talking points with nothing to back them up, and act offended if you challenge them with facts.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:03 AM
Response to Original message
5. Conservatism is a disease.
Really. And it has infected our entire country like a virus. The Republican leaders are out of touch with reality. So long as they can blame the problems on someone else, their lives are complete. Never mind that they created most of the problems with their policies and discredited ideology.
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HysteryDiagnosis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. Conservatism is a disease.
there. A seriously selfish mental disease. Perhaps we could call it, egoulosis.
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tonysam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #8
16. It's Less a Disease Than It is a Cult.
These people will NOT shred their Friedmanite/Randian cult despite all of the evidence abounding disproving their crackpot ideas. To jettison the cult would destroy their entire world view, which is that having a tiny aristocracy and massive numbers of poor is the natural order of things.
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #16
22. i agree that it is like a cult
but would argue that the cult-ordered mindset is a diseased state of mind.
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snappyturtle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:12 AM
Response to Original message
7. I've always thought that the underlying 'conservative' dogma of the repubs
is selfishness. These people will not share the wealth and have little to say other than those floundering in this horrid economy only need to pull themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps. They're hoarders.
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HysteryDiagnosis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:26 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. Sad thing is, the divorce rates amongst those who have so much
more than the average person struggling to get by is most likely higher, their blood pressure probably needs more attention, their sense of security is most likely not what it could be, so perhaps hoarding money and things for a perceived sense of security ain't what it's cracked up to be.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 07:23 AM
Response to Reply #9
38. Not true at all. People who have high levels of control over how they spend their time
--are by far the healthiest. Lover divorce rates too.
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L0oniX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
10. The bottom line is jobs. Stop the out sourcing of jobs!
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:32 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. K & R
to the greatest page!
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #10
17. Actually, not really. It's the lack of job creation. Our economy would be sounder
Edited on Sat Mar-07-09 09:47 AM by KittyWampus
if the outsourced jobs had been replaced with new jobs. Bush and Wall Street failed to invest in any new sectors. They just relied on a Housing Bubble to paper over the lack on any new growth.
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L0oniX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #17
20. So you think that out sourcing jobs has not hurt us? hmmm
Replacing jobs lost due to outsourcing is not a jobs growth situation.
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Fire1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #20
31. I think what KittyWamp is saying, and I may be wrong, is related
to the original purpose of NAFTA. How can you be included in a trade block and you have nothing to trade? You don't manufacture anything and as you said, this has little to do with outsourcing.
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blues90 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #17
34. what are you going to create as far as new jobs?
People seem to think that green jobs will be the future but this is s long slow process.

It also depends on what sort of new education and learning curve is involved. If you are near 60 what the hell is re-training for , it seems many will be left behind as far as new jobs are concerned.

Not only that who has the money to re-train even if there were some hope of a new job. No one wants to pay anything because it;s now a employers market for cheap labor as we compete in a global economy.

Many of the outsourced jobs are still viable today if they were still here. So now we are to re-invent what jobs are when we had actual jobs that people could do and still can if they were still here.

I've seen so many old long term small businessess evaporate just in the last 5 years. An example , a good sized hardware and paint store with older workers were suddenly faced standing there as everything was on sale for closing. Many worked there for 30 years or more and not one I spoke to had any idea what they were to do. I guess they were looking at some foresaken greeter job at wally world and these people were friends after so many years working together now they were tossed out like so much trash.

Create new jobs is such a load of complete crap! Everything people still need and buy is made somewhere else so this need still exists and should be made here and we would have skilled workers ready to go.

If the people in this country were not so very stupid and refused to buy into the idea of the big abomination called the box store then we would not be in this mess to begin with. Yet people still buy from them as if this helps anything. Some people actually pride themselves and say they love the box store , they are idiots and when their job evaporates good luck to them. It was the blue collar jobs that went first but the white collar fools didn't care until their's flew off into the sunset.

I was a carpenter but to stay in the trade you had to adapt and buy all sorts of new tolls required and where are these tools made , almost everywhere but here so how does this help , all the money goes to china or japan. So now with the building trade broken many carpenters had to sell their tools just to eat. I was also later on in the auto repair field at dealerships and it's the same thing there.

I guess everyne must go look for a new job in security so we can protect the wealthy and their possessions for min wage or work in a call center if one still exists. Or customer service that pays so well if you can find that.

New jobs is a fools game. It's not even defined let alone created.
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Fire1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. I agree with you for the most part. As for green jobs, ANY
worker can be re-trained and the money for that is coming to those states in the stimulus pack. Michigan has started already. As for workers near 60, you ask, what's the point? The point is, as it stands now, retirement is not an option for many and full retirement benefits don't kick in for another five years. Their best option is to get re-trained at something that has potential earnings and green jobs are about the only 'new' jobs out there.
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blues90 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. what I meant about people 60 or over
Is that with so many younger people out there with the skills what chance has someone 60 or over to even get hired. Yes I have read about some compaines looking for older workers because they are more to be flexable in the hours and more reliable but I haven't found this to be true personally as far as finding work.

Some even tell you to trim back on your experience in a resume,others say it's an asset. It all depends on where you live and many other issues.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:34 AM
Response to Original message
12. Intellectual collapse. LOL!
Oh, Paul. Don't mince words. Why don't you just call them crooked.
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conscious evolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:39 AM
Response to Original message
14. more-lighter-fluid agenda
I like that phrase.
It is a very good way to describe the pukes policys.
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
28. Until the filibuster rules are re-written we need to seat two of them
and that is the problem, plain and simple. I've suggested it before, and I'll suggest it again - everything above is absolutely correct and the solution is to invoke the nuclear option and end the filibuster.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. This might make your day...
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Democrats Weigh Filibuster-Proofing Obamas Agenda
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LiberalPersona Donating Member (679 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:56 AM
Response to Original message
30. Republicons made it perfecly clear they want him to fail
of course they want a spending freeze as that's how you'd make him fail.
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NoSheep Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 01:13 AM
Response to Original message
37. What did they ever TRY to do? Is it really so hard to be the lowest common denominator?
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