Yeah, giffy, that's exactly what I think is wrong with the country--and laws schools--today. To you it's "don't sweat the small stuff" to me it's an inaccurate system that keeps us indentured servants to our debt for the rest of our lives. Yeah - that's a glass of water falling. I don't want the juris doctor program easier, I want it more accurate. But you'll take your licks and go about your way, which is normal today....
We don't fix problems. We don't fix levees. Our chemical plants--including a chrlorine gas (the first biological weapon) storage yard south of New York--are completely unguarded. Our borders are open wide. Our ports are barely checked. Only two localities in the United States (Norfolk and some small town in Florida) are prepared for Tsunamis. New Orleans is unfixed and choking. The next hurricane season is around the bend. Meanwhile, the murder rate in Houston soared 70% since the evacuees--jobless, nothing left to lose--have made it their home.
Student loans were cut by 15 billion. Were in the middle of two wars yet we cut taxes on the wealthy but cut student loans and medicare. We advocate torture, secret jails, and we have kept prisoners on Guantanamo for four years holding them without charges and without access to family, friends or courts and tribunals.
Avian flu is mutating, having outbreaks in humans in increasing numbers, and it's now mutated beyond the use of two drugs previously thought effective. Let's hope an earthquake doesn't strike, aye Cali?
Yeah, giffy, go on your way and belittle the real problems we face. Who is to fix all this? Is it to be lawyers, educated on these very topics? Doubtful, at least not to the degree needed. We go through an emotionally brutal three year program that does not accurately measure ability or worth, where we are looked down upon (not always) by the self-importance that is the hallmark of all academia (mixed with an attorney's healthy ego). Then we get shovelled into firms that expect us to bill 2200/2300 hours a year (I include time you can't bill to the client, but is considered "firm time" - you won't always be billing).
Our families suffer, our anxiety increases, we find we can't enjoy the money we make. And we can't engage in our communities working so many hours, so many weekends.
Then who is left out there to start figuing out how we are going to climb out of the urgent problems our economy faces (see article from The Economist below - hope there's jobs). How are we going to deal with the extraordinary consumer debt everyone owes? Both parents must
work. The United States last year now spends more than it saves - we spend more than we make, in other words. And Asia owns our debt. Great, if you don't mind ceding such power to others.
Yeah, Giffy, we shouldn't try and fix the problems the legal community faces. Who cares, right? http://accuracyblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/law-school-story.html
------------------------------------------------------------- America's economy
Danger time for America
Jan 12th 2006
From The Economist print edition
The economy that Alan Greenspan is about to hand over is in a much less healthy state than is popularly assumed
DESPITE his rather appealing personal humility, the tributes lavished upon Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, become more exuberant by the day. Ahead of his retirement on January 31st, he has been widely and extravagantly acclaimed by economic commentators, politicians and investors. After all, during much of his 18˝ years in office America enjoyed rapid growth with low inflation, and he successfully steered the economy around a series of financial hazards. In his final days of glory, it may therefore seem churlish to question his record. However, Mr Greenspan's departure could well mark a high point for America's economy, with a period of sluggish growth ahead. This is not so much because he is leaving, but because of what he is leaving behind: the biggest economic imbalances in American history.
So far as the American economy is concerned, however, the Fed's policies of the past decade look like having painful long-term costs. It is true that the economy has shown amazing resilience in the face of the bursting in 2000-01 of the biggest stockmarket bubble in history, of terrorist attacks and of a tripling of oil prices. Mr Greenspan's admirers attribute this to the Fed's enhanced credibility under his charge. Others point to flexible wages and prices, rapid immigration, a sounder banking system and globalisation as factors that have made the economy more resilient to shocks.
The economy's greater flexibility may indeed provide a shock-absorber. A spurt in productivity has also boosted growth. But the main reason why America's growth has remained strong in recent years has been a massive monetary stimulus. The Fed held real interest rates negative for several years, and even today real rates remain low. Thanks to globalisation, new technology and that vaunted flexibility, which have all helped to reduce the prices of many goods, cheap money has not spilled into traditional inflation, but into rising asset prices instead—first equities and now housing. The Economist has long criticised Mr Greenspan for not trying to restrain the stockmarket bubble in the late 1990s, and then, after it burst, for inflating a housing bubble by holding interest rates low for so long (see article). The problem is not the rising asset prices themselves but rather their effect on the economy. By borrowing against capital gains on their homes, households have been able to consume more than they earn. Robust consumer spending has boosted GDP growth, but at the cost of a negative personal saving rate, a growing burden of household debt and a huge current-account deficit.
Burning the furniture
Ben Bernanke, Mr Greenspan's successor, likes to explain America's current-account deficit as the inevitable consequence of a saving glut in the rest of the world. Yet a large part of the blame lies with the Fed's own policies, which have allowed growth in domestic demand to outstrip supply for no less than ten years on the trot. Part of America's current prosperity is based not on genuine gains in income, nor on high productivity growth, but on borrowing from the future. The words of Ludwig von Mises, an Austrian economist of the early 20th century, nicely sum up the illusion: “It may sometimes be expedient for a man to heat the stove with his furniture. But he should not delude himself by believing that he has discovered a wonderful new method of heating his premises.”
As a result of weaker job creation than usual and sluggish real wage growth, American incomes have increased much more slowly than in previous recoveries. According to Morgan Stanley, over the past four years total private-sector labour compensation has risen by only 12% in real terms, compared with an average gain of 20% over the comparable period of the previous five expansions. Without strong gains in incomes, the growth in consumer spending has to a large extent been based on increases in house prices and credit. In recent months Mr Greenspan himself has given warnings that house prices may fall, and that this in turn could cause consumer spending to slow. In addition, he suggests that foreigners will eventually become less eager to finance the current-account deficit. Central banks in Asia and oil-producing countries have so far been happy to buy dollar assets in order to hold down their own currencies. However, there is a limit to their willingness to keep accumulating dollar reserves. Chinese officials last week offered hints that they are looking eventually to diversify China's foreign-exchange reserves. Over the next couple of years the dollar is likely to fall and bond yields rise as investors demand higher compensation for risk.
When house-price rises flatten off, and therefore the room for further equity withdrawal dries up, consumer spending will stumble. Given that consumer spending and residential construction have accounted for 90% of GDP growth in recent years, it is hard to see how this can occur without a sharp slowdown in the economy.
Handovers to a new Fed chairman are always tricky moments. They have often been followed by some sort of financial turmoil, such as the 1987 stockmarket crash, only two months after Mr Greenspan took over. This handover takes place with the economy in an unusually vulnerable state, thanks to its imbalances. The interest rates that Mr Bernanke will inherit will be close to neutral, neither restraining nor stimulating the economy. But America's domestic demand needs to grow more slowly in order to bring the saving rate and the current-account deficit back to sustainable levels. If demand fails to slow, he will need to push rates higher. This will be risky, given households' heavy debts. After 13 increases in interest rates, the tide of easy money is now flowing out, and many American households are going to be shockingly exposed. In the words of Warren Buffett, “It's only when the tide goes out that you can see who's swimming naked.”