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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 02/22/2011

Shape of things to come

By Tom Toles

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By Tom Toles  | February 22, 2011; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Economy and jobs  
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~~~ So, we're a nation born from war, almost constantly at war, with a bloated military that squanders the lives of our...
Posted by: ptgrunner | February 22, 2011 9:54 PM ~~~

We are indeed a "Nation born from war".
However, Your comment;
" We could save much of our "defense" and "intelligence" spending, or use that money to improve the quality of life for ourselves and others."

Is bogus. We cannot SAVE money we don't actually have can we? What we can do is not SPEND money we don't have thereby cutting back on our National Debt!!!

Then again, if we are no longer engaged in the "war machine"....think of all THOSE jobs that will be lost!!! The one stronghold made in America actually has!

Oh I know you aren't talking at me ptgrunner, but I'll keep talkin' back at you LOL!!

Posted by: bertzel | February 23, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

@jonroesler | February 22, 2011 3:47 PM

We weren't discussing modern elections (you probably understand that), strictly the lead-up to the RW. Your figures sound about right for percentages that opposed, were "fence-sitters", or were for the war with Great Britain. It does sound as if about 1/3 of the people "dragged" us into the RW with Great Britain. My bigger point is that a war should not be fought unless there is a considerable and well-informed majority in favor of it. My other point is that it seems likely, but not certain, that we would have soon achieved independence from Great Britain anyway. Canada and Australia managed to gain independence, though I admit having little knowledge of how it was achieved (and I'm too lazy to research it now). So, we're a nation born from war, almost constantly at war, with a bloated military that squanders the lives of our children and national treasure. We could save much of our "defense" and "intelligence" spending, or use that money to improve the quality of life for ourselves and others.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 22, 2011 9:54 PM | Report abuse

~~~~I suspect that the fairly recent rise in gas/fuel prices have increased both production costs and transport costs for all products including food. The unrest in the Middle East is probably going to cost us, in the short term at least.
ptgrunner~~~

You suspect the rise in gas/fuel prices have to do with the 'unrest' in the Middle East????
Good we agree on something....lol

Posted by: bertzel | February 22, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

@pararanger22 | February 22, 2011

That's one of the most bilious rants I've ever read or heard. Take some deep breaths. Have a couple drinks. You'll be OK.

I've encountered you as well. Oliver North, Dick Cheney, Richard Nixon. Joseph McCarthy--to name a few. Dangerous people...they all meant well.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 22, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

~~~ In my tiny area of the world, ethanol corn has been grown near my house, but only previously unused fields are used. That doesn't tell us much though.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 22, 2011 3:32 PM~~~

lol...then what is your point!

by the way soybean is used a lot for different products....I for one drink soymilk instead of cow's milk. Also endamame beans are very healthy as well as tasty if prepared right. Not to mention Tofu.. I am sure there are certain countries which use the aforementioned products more than others.

and I am sure you very well know that crops must be rotated to protect the soil.
Posted by: bertzel | February 22, 2011 3:47 PM
------------------------------------------------
Here's my point. Ethanol corn is not being grown IN PLACE OF FOOD CORN OR SOYBEANS OR WHEAT, so does not displace food corn or soybeans or wheat, which in turn might limit supplies of food corn, etc. which in turn might increase food prices. As I said, I have limited data, but that appears to be the case throughout my area--Ethanol corn is not the same as food corn or soybeans or wheat. Farmers make the decision to primarily grow food; it's probably more profitable unless the markets are saturated. On what was unused fields, they can profit from ethanol corn. Geeeez! Is there anything else I can spell out for you?

But to the reason for food price increases, again, you guys should do some RESEARCH. You guys believe what you want to believe, and disregard information from reliable sources. And you do this with more than just AGW.

From the WSJ:

"Costs are being driven by growing demand for meat in China, India and other emerging markets. That's driven up grain prices, which in turn boost the cost of chicken, steak, bread and pasta."

I suspect that the fairly recent rise in gas/fuel prices have increased both production costs and transport costs for all products including food. The unrest in the Middle East is probably going to cost us, in the short term at least. No doubt the Republicans will be calling for war...against somebody....anybody; and tax cuts...got to have tax cuts--deficits are not large enough to keep our fabricated debt crisis going.

Don't forget to pay your taxes.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 22, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

In my tiny area of the world, ethanol corn has been grown near my house, but only previously unused fields are used. That doesn't tell us much though.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 22, 2011

By this post it is clear you know absolutely nothing about corn. Or ag production in general.

And you missed or ignored the more important part.

US crop production numbers for corn wheat and soybeans are all in the top 5% for the last 3 years if not the top production number according to USDA.

Corn consumption for ethanol has gone from less than 5% in 2001, less than 10% in 2004, to 26% in 2009 the last year this stat is available.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/datablog/2010/jan/22/us-corn-production-biofuel-ethanol#data

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 22, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey...for what it's worth, thanks for the laugh! j.

Posted by: bertzel | February 22, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Electoral College...is why most don't vote. course you know that don't you jonroesler.

Do you know why the Toles blog is amiss this week as well? Perhaps you could explain That One.

Posted by: bertzel | February 22, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

ptgrunner, the "being ruled by a minority" idea isn't that simple. Yes, it is true that only a little more than a third of colonists supported the revolution. It is also true that only a little less than a third supported continued submission to English rule. The remaining third cared little enough either way, knowing that their lives would be basically the same regardless; but the point is that a majority of those who DID care one way or another supported the revolution.

It works the same way in modern elections. Voter turnout as a percentage of eligible voters hasn't been above 63% even in a presidential election year in the U.S. since 1960, and we know from the last two that Bush was involved in, how close those races can be.

With 51.3% and 55.3% actually voting in those elections and less than 57% in the most recent one where Obama was elected, yes, it can honestly be said that the President of the United States of America has been chosen by a MINORITY of eligible voters, usually less than 30%, for at least the last 50 years (and likely always; I haven't looked at all the statistics). This seems generally to be the consistent way of doing things in our little democracy.

All those people who didn't bother to vote? Who knows, really, what they think? I've heard all sorts of excuses, and some of them may even be legitimate but what it comes down to is that, the decisions get made by those who show up.

Obama was elected by a larger percentage of the voting population than Bush was either time, for what that's worth, and the Republican "landslide" of 2010 was just under 54% of a less than 42% turnout... in other words, less than 23% of eligible voters.

The majority (this time) 58% of those eligible have implicitly voted to allow a majority of the remaining 42% to choose their representatives for them, and live with the results. The majority DID decide something, at least: the majority decided, once again, to let somebody else decide.

Posted by: jonroesler | February 22, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

~~~Regarding the rise in food prices, the recent rise is likely due to the severe weather we've had in the U.S. This too, is something you can actually research on your own.
Posted by: ptgrunner | February 21, 2011 10:06 PM~~~


Ptgrunnner; actually you could say that food and clothing prices also have to do with ‘global climate changes’... ironic, isn’t it?


~~~Jonroesler; educate me. Please!~~~

Thanks for the reply and more sarcasm : )


Dave, I was referring to manmade ‘artificial intelligence’….you know the kind that is to look and act human. Only far more superior. A humanoid. Perhaps our ‘future evolution of man’.
As per your “Physical reality is the natural subject matter of science.
Spiritual reality is the natural subject of religion.”

I disagree.

Posted by: bertzel | February 22, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

A recent NY Times article (Jan. 2011) about whether stocks were overpriced (apparently, they are not) mentioned that overall corporate profits were at record highs and overall sales were within a few percent of the record high. It's puzzling that companies don't see fit to hire more U.S. workers. I suppose Tom has it about right: companies have learned to get by with a bare bones staff that they underpay. Workers have few options, so they tolerate this.

Worse, corporations, Republicans, conservatives in general want to tear anyone don that they *perceive* as having it reasonably good. As Gore Vidal said "It's not enough to succeed. Others must fail." That's the modern American dream.

Where is the Republican plan for new jobs? This is a fair question.

Don't forget to pay your taxes. You might send in an additional $5,000 to cover the amount each person in the U.S. will add to the debt this year.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 22, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

@pararanger22 | February 22, 2011 1:49 AM

* "The United States of America (also referred to as the United States, the U.S., the USA, or America) is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district. The country is situated mostly in central North America, where its forty-eight contiguous states and Washington, D.C., the capital district, lie between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south."

Apparently territories, such as Hawaii and Alaska in the 1940s were not considered part of the U.S. So WWII was not fought in the U.S. Sorry.

Regarding the Revolutionary War, either you believe in majority rule or you believe in the tyranny of the minority. If you believe in the former, then it would stand that you believe that we should not have fought the RW. You can rant on about RW heroes, but that's not the point of our discussion...try to focus. It doesn't matter what came after the RW, although there are certainly problems with the U.S. over the years and even now. Unthinking patriotism is never a good thing...that is what gets us into wars such as the Vietnam War, not to mention the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's really hard to see much, if any good coming from these wars. Clearly, no one except the arms industry benefited from the VW.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 22, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

The U.S. economy was at its strongest, its booming best when

Trade unions were at their peak
Taxpayers supported a huge welfare state
The banking industry was highly regulated
The wealthy paid much higher taxes
Returning veterans got free education through the GI Bill.
Postsecondary tuitions were heavily subsidized by state governments

Etc. DF rant.
_________________________

You can't be any more wrong. Yes, all those things went on while the economy was booming, but it was because the economy was booming that those things happened. What cause the economy to boom? European and Japanese reconstruction. We left Europe and Japan in shambles, after WWII. What factories did they have left to supply their reconstruction efforts? Very few, and since their own factories could not supply the amount of material needed for reconstruction, the majority of it came from US factories. That boom, combined with our own, allowed profits to soar so that companies did not mind paying extravagant wages and benefits to union members.

Look back, in the '60's (NOT considered a particularly CONSERVATIVE time) the US economy was already being rocked by bad recessions (didn't JFK reduce taxes) and the US economy kept slipping even after LBJ created the welfare state. Why? Because Europe and Japan had pretty much completed their reconstruction by the 1960's and the reconstruction left could be handled by the new factories that were built with our materials and many based on our designs.

Trying to go back to conditions like the 1950's would only result in disaster, without a partner like Europe or Japan requiring such large amounts of material for something like a reconstruction effort.

Posted by: ATrueChristian | February 22, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy the shadows you live in - the place you belong.
Yeah, I've met you. I hope we don't meet again.
Posted by: pararanger22

My read of your arrogant mindset...
I have met you too.
You are the greedy employer that does not care if his employees and their family starve to death on their meager pay.
You are the supervisor that expects his staff to do the impossible without the necessary tools and expects them to risk their lives to save you money.
You are the bean counter that forces engineers to substitute faulty parts in automobiles for more expensive reliable parts even though the substitute will cause fatal crashes.
You are the insurance broker who cancels people's insurance policy when you determine they might be a liability.
Shall I go on?
You are a good example of a bad person.
Dave

Posted by: OckamsRazor | February 22, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Pararanger, well said! I'm becoming a fan.

Posted by: Timanddori | February 22, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

HumanistPatriot you forgot one.
When the population was much smaller.

Posted by: JONAHandtheFISH | February 22, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Tom ~~~ Pertaining to your comments on your last blog; We don't have to build the robots, we are the robots. We oome fully equipped with a Super Computer within our skull. EMF connect Watson to it and there you go. It is a sad but true reality. When it comes to the unemployed and the no longer required ones in society what type of final outcome will that bring? The rumors pertaining to that can be rather scary.

Posted by: JONAHandtheFISH | February 22, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Cries of "socialism" are merely smoke and mirrors to distract us from noticing that the Conservative agenda is leading us back to Feudalism.

Posted by: Capn0ok1 | February 22, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

The U.S. economy was at its strongest, its booming best when

Trade unions were at their peak
Taxpayers supported a huge welfare state
The banking industry was highly regulated
The wealthy paid much higher taxes
Returning veterans got free education through the GI Bill.
Postsecondary tuitions were heavily subsidized by state governments

But ever since the U.S.A. took its hard turn to the right, and the finance capitalists squeezed out the industrial capitalists, we've endured bubble-burst-bailout cycles that have produced an enormous reverse-Marxist redistribution of wealth, from the middle and lower classes to the top one percent -- the parasitic elite.

The wealthy don't create wealth. They extract it -- as economist Michael Hudson keeps reminding us.

The Founders, having suffered the oppressions of monarchy (private capital), saw private corporations as temporary institutions, with government-granted charters that expire. Today, thanks to the propaganda mills, we think that private corporations, with all the benefits that incorporation bestows, have more legitimacy than the government that bestows those benefits.

Posted by: HumanistPatriot | February 22, 2011 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Those big corporations sitting on big profits are looking for civil engineers to mop their floors.

I've got to laugh at folk who think all people are cut out to start their own business and in this economy too. What a hoot.

Posted by: gottabeabetterway | February 22, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Folks (especially Tea Party tupes) just don't get it. Corporations have plenty of cash. What they don't want is plenty of workers. Why? They take away from profits. After stripping workers of benefits, retirement, and any other thing they can take away, corporations still don't feel they have enough money. Answer: send more jobs to places where you can pay the worker $1.00 a day. Corporations are no longer restrained by locality. It can all be done in China and for less. Forget about the days of full employment; ain't happening. Dems or Republicans (especially Republicans, who favor the corporate state) can't make it happen. It's CAPITALISM folks.

Posted by: JuniusPublicus | February 22, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Works better?

Are you nutso?

The last time we had near full employment we were paying down the National Debit.

We could do it again.

Employment is a Lagging Indicator. It takes time.

No need to turn opponents into enemies.

Just fuss with them.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | February 22, 2011 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Where are all those green jobs President Obama said he was going to create.

Posted by: jornolibist | February 22, 2011 6:36 AM | Report abuse

(I could envisage a cartoon with someone being fleeced -- like Wild West train robbers taking watches, gold etc from the passengers...
Posted by: askalib-CA

Wild West robber barons perhaps?

Posted by: Rudesan | February 22, 2011 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Corporations have no soul. "It's the [BANKERS], stupid."

~eric.

Posted by: 2ericc | February 22, 2011 5:53 AM | Report abuse

what happened in egypt happened because of high unemployment...
how much must we take before we rise up against the obama administration...

Posted by: DwightCollins | February 22, 2011 5:18 AM | Report abuse

Maybe the unemployed could start a competitive business, but of course that is not the communist or union way.
Posted by: jornolibist

You must be kidding?????
Unemployed people not only cannot get a job because of the worker surplus, they cannot get a loan to start a business.
When working people make less than the cost of living, they cannot save money to start a business.
It takes a lot of money to start a business and survive the first year of business.
Despite what you think; money does not grow on trees.
You are so naive it is pathetic.
Dave

Posted by: OckamsRazor | February 22, 2011 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Aftershocks Mr Toles of a smart grid smart railroad smart steel smart transport smart banking smart construction smart net etc

Good question though.

But what do you want Mr Toles, - jobs; or a new way of doing everything that uses stored carbon energy; - to provide services. The transition to a new way will be painful. It is hard to tell where you are at philosophically viewing yesterdays Toon and todays Toon. I think you are already exhibiting characteristics of the schizophrenic computer smart machine that draws a different right\left view of the thing at hand while you rest. (A bad joke please)

Looking at your picture, I see meter readers and staff standing outside the power plant.

Is your message, to be careful of what you wish for?

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 22, 2011 1:56 AM | Report abuse

You either believe in majority rule or you don't. If you think the colonists were right to fight the RW, in spite of the fact that fewer than 1/3 supported the war, just say: "I believe that the minority should rule the majority."

Posted by: ptgrunner

--------------------

Our Revolutionary War heroes fought and died so you would have a Constitution, a Bill of Rights, and the Freedom to express your vile thoughts. Every post you write, there are Soldiers rolling over in their graves in Arlington Cemetery. Having spent time walking past the Garden of Stones many times when my Dad commanded out there, I honestly believe the troops don't mind what you say. But I do. You have the freedom to be belligerent and live in a world of make believe where the Taliban weren't complicit in 9/11 by their tender of safe harbor for OBL. You can live in that imaginary world where you place extremists above Americans. But I wish you didn't. I wish you lived in another country - Venezeula comes to mind - so we wouldn't have to put up with your ill will, your lies, your malcontent.

I stay on argument - you just change the direction to whatever fits your defected mind. I tolerate private unions as a necessary evil; I am critical of them - but would defend their right to exist. I don't have the same thoughts about public unions and I made both points very clear to you.

I know exactly why Germans succeed in the US and in Asia because I've many friends in the German auto industry. You know NOTHING about the value of hard work of the Germans or US workers. I value hard work and hard workers but don't equate THAT to non-support of unions. That grotesque, patronizing argument is one of the many, many reasons that folks despise unions and their leaders.

I've met you. In many commands and many positions as a supervisor, I met you. You were always the member of the platoon or the company staff that didn't belong, couldn't follow orders, lived and worked to just make enough money to live and complain. The country didn't matter; the leadership didn't matter; the company didn't matter - just your upside-down view of it. Bitter, bile-driven logic, driven to offend at any cost. You fail and lash out at others for your ineptitude. The fault always belongs to someone else. You were the employee that was fired; the Soldier that was chaptered out for cause. No values, no code, just a non-stop BS machine.

Stay in your God forsaken little world.

Enjoy the shadows you live in - the place you belong.

Yeah, I've met you. I hope we don't meet again.

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 22, 2011 1:49 AM | Report abuse

Why are so many Americans out of work, yet corporate profits are soaring? Look at the tag on the clothes you're wearing. Where were they made? How about the computer you're using? The TV that's on in the background? The pressed wood entertainment center the TV is sitting on? How about the toys your kids are playing with while you type? Anything have "USA" on it? Didn't think so.

Mega-super-colossal-gigantic-multi-national-diversified corporations must continually cut costs and expand. It's how they survive, and how they keep their stock price up. So, they buy up other companies to get bigger, and they ship their labor to other countries where workers have few rights and will work endless hours for very little pay. All this so you and I can have good returns on our financial investments or retirement plans.

Thus, ordinary working folks in the US have no decent jobs, if they have jobs at all. Yet corporations' profits are up. Go figure. Indeed...we are no longer needed. Oh, except for one purpose...we need to be making JUST enough at our 2 or 3 part time jobs to be able to afford the cheap TV stand on sale at WalMart.

All hail the free market.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | February 22, 2011 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Yep, that's it.
The Economy -- nice way to depict/ personify it -- doesn't need (much) of the work of the unemployed here: there are unemployed elsewhere who they would have us believe will work for less.... but if any of those people (here or elsewhere) have some assets they've been saving for a rainy day, The Economy will gladly take them off their hands: got any savings? home equity? prospects of earnings? pension expectations? insurance policies? -- that The Economy can still absorb... (I could envisage a cartoon with someone being fleeced -- like Wild West train robbers taking watches, gold etc from the passengers...

Posted by: askalib-CA | February 21, 2011 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the unemployed could start a competitive business, but of course that is not the communist or union way.

Posted by: jornolibist | February 21, 2011 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Yes Toles...there it is in a nutshell.

Posted by: bertzel | February 21, 2011 7:17 PM | Report abuse

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