Suggested Discussion Outline

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Suggested Discussion Outline

Post by johnkarls »

1. The Challenges We Face -- per Friedman and Mandelbaum

1.1 Globalization.
1.2 The Revolution in Information Technology.
1.3 The Nation's Chronic Deficits.
1.4 Our Pattern of Excessive Energy Consumption/Imports.

2. Other Challenges

2.1 International Piracy of Intellectual Property.
2.2 "The Best Government That Money (aka 'Campaign Contributions') Can Buy" -- as described for our February 2008 meeting in "Homo Politicus" by Washington Post Columnist Dana Milbank and in "The Squandering of America" by New Republic Senior Editor (and former long-time Business Week Editor) Robert Kuttner.

3. Solutions -- per Friedman and Mandelbaum

3.1 Education.
3.2 Immigration.
3.3 Infrastructure.
3.4 Rules for Incenting Capital Formation and Risk Taking, and for Preventing Recklessness.
3.5 Government-Funded Research.

4. Additional Policies

4.1 Fighting the policy of President Obama's Deficit-Reduction Commission to exempt (and President Obama's announced willingness to go along with exempting) from U.S. corporate income taxation the profits from exporting American jobs -- NB: WE ALREADY HAVE A SIX-DEGREES OF SEPARATION E-MAIL CAMPAIGN ON THIS ISSUE IN THE WAKE OF OUR 5/11/2011 MEETING.
4.2 Other.

5. Possible Additional Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaigns

5.1 Emulating the French education system (in which all educational institutions, including all university undergraduate and graduate programs, are completely free and open to all but solely on the basis of competitive examinations) -- NB: WE ALREADY HAVE IN EXISTENCE E-MAIL CAMPAIGNS COVERING INNER-CITY K-12 EDUCATION.
5.2 Re-enacting some form of Glass-Steagall which prevented commercial banks (which benefit from FDIC-insurance protection for their depositors) from engaging in investment-banking activities.
5.3 Funding Social Security and Medicare with a European-style motor-fuel tax (typical gasoline prices in Europe are the equivalent of $15-$18/gallon) for (1) reducing the international balance-of-payments deficits, (2) increasing national security by reducing the reliance of the U.S. and its allies on foreign oil-exporting states, (3) reducing pollution with more fuel-efficient vehicles, and (4) fully funding social security and universal health care. NB: WE HAD TWO DISSENTS FOR DOING THIS (MAXIMUM = 1 DISSENT) AT BOTH OUR 4/14/2010 AND 2/9/2011 MEETINGS AND IT IS BOTH TRAGIC AND IRONIC THAT ONE OF THE DISSENTERS ON 4/14/2010 WAS AN ARDENT SUPPORTER ON 4/14/2011.
5.4 Setting up a new U.S. government patent-exploitation office that will patent in the name of the federal government all inventions resulting from basic research financed by the federal government (National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, Department of Defense, etc.) and aggressively pursue the economic exploitation of those patents INCLUDING INSURING THAT SUCH TECHNOLOGY IS EMPLOYED IN MANUFACTURING OPERATONS IN THE UNITED STATES AND NOT USED, FOR EXAMPLE, BY U.S.- OR EUROPEAN-BASED MULTI-NATIONAL CORPORATIONS IN THEIR LOW-WAGE ASIAN MANUFACTURING OPERATIONS -- NB: WE HAD TWO DISSENTS FOR THIS AT OUR 6/11/2011 MEETING.

6. Other

7. Food for Thought

7.1 Friedman and Mandelbaum constantly use the rise of China as a reason for us to shape up.
7.2 When Yours Truly was an undergraduate economics major in the 1960's, the conventional wisdom was that the Soviet economy would soon overtake ours because it was growing at a much faster rate -- (A) the Soviet growth at that time was the result of taking advantage of Western technology (growth always slows when you reach the point that you have to invent new ideas yourself); and (B) the Chinese growth, though to some extent based on the piracy of intellectual property, is still almost wholly the result of U.S.-based and European-based multi-national companies using low-wage Chinese workers to manufacture the products of the MNC's under the supervision of the MNC's using the technology of the MNC's (in other words, Chinese growth is still almost wholly the result of Western companies exporting American jobs).
7.3 Why should we care whether China develops its economy, so long as the U.S. government patents all of the inventions of its research (please see 5.4 above), and China doesn't pirate our intellectual property and steal our customers/markets as a result of their IP theft? (For example, whenever we have discussed global warming, Yours Truly has always asked whether anyone is in favor of invading China to force them to stop building monster-size coal-fired electrical-generation plants AT THE RATE OF ONE/DAY and nobody has ever responded affirmatively.)

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