America: The Debt-Ridden Land of Pointy Partisan Fingers

finger-pointing-796415_1.jpg

Senator Evan Bayh (D-Indiana), writing in CNN, says he plans to oppose raising the debt ceiling what the issue comes up for a vote next month. He’s unwilling to raise this ceiling, he writes, unless “Congress adopts a credible process to balance our books and eliminate the red ink” — and he wants to form a “debt commission” to start the process.

A debt commission will force members of Congress to take — or reject — a single gulp of politically difficult medicine to treat the fiscal problems that are ailing our country. Those who choose not to take that medicine would be forced to explain to their constituents why a $12 trillion national debt doesn’t make them queasy.

Unfortunately, members of Congress won’t have to explain anything to their constituents. Partisans and liberals are already taking virtual pens to paper to attack him:

There are, however, some issues to consider. For example, it was none other than Evan Bayh who recently voted to “reform” the estate tax, cutting taxes for the extraordinarily rich, at a cost of $750 billion over the next decade. To pay for it, he recommended … nothing. The costs would simply all be added to the deficit. Given this, I hope he’ll forgive my skepticism about his credibility on the subject of fiscal responsibility.

And just like that, Bayh’s entire suggestion is chucked out the window. Steve Benen goes on with the usual spiel about how its really more the Republicans fault anyway — an increasingly tired excuse, from my perspective, for the lack of fiscal discipline by The Powers That Be.

Now, I’m just an average non-economist, but here’s how I see this: It does not matter who did what in the past.

Long-term deficits drive up interest rates for consumers, raise prices of goods and services, and weaken our country’s financial competitiveness and security.

The bigger our deficits, the fewer resources we have to make critical investments in energy, education, health care and tax relief for small businesses and middle-class families.

The bigger our deficits, the more we must borrow from foreign creditors like China, allowing governments with competing interests to influence our economic and trade policies in ways that run counter to our national interest.

Elementary school tactics like finger-pointing do nothing to forestall these problems, and partisan sniping merely increases the unproductive polarization. Yet people are indulging themselves at every opportunity — no doubt because it makes great red meat to feed the ongoing frenzy.

And, of course, it’s much easier to point and blame than fix problems.

Listen: I don’t care anymore that George W. Bush cooked the Iraq War funding books. I don’t care anymore which party enabled the Fannie Mae cluster and pushed funding for mortgages people couldn’t afford. I don’t care anymore whether there was a “D” or an “R” trailing behind anybody’s name… whether it was last month, or last year, or during my grandfathers’ days.

We’re in the midst of a massive national belt-tightening — a process both necessary and long-overdue. From the citizen who borrowed against tomorrow because s/he “had to have” that wide-screen television, to the lawmaker who “had to bring home the bacon”, we’ve been the very epitome of excess borrowing and consumerism. It’s brought us right to our knees, and we’re going to stay there until our leaders find some fortitude.

Folks are going to have to suck it up and do without a pet project or cause for while — no matter how worthy or near-and-dear it may be.

I’m sorry about that, but this utter failure to control our spending is eventually going to crash all those projects anyway — and if the people currently in charge are unable to get past their own ideological childishness, then I want them out of there, donkey or elephant.

Period.

Auf Stumbleupon zeigen
Auf tumblr zeigen

Author: POLIMOM

  • Don Quijote

    Now, I’m just an average non-economist, but here’s how I see this: It does not matter who did what in the past.

    YES, it does matter…

    If you don't understand how we got to where we are today, then nothing will get us out of the financial hole that we are in…

    In 1980, Reagan got elected, he cut taxes on the wealthy and started a process of transferring the tax burden upon the middle and working classes, in the 90's Clinton almost managed to get our finances under control, the second the Selected pResident got into the White House, he trashed all of Clinton's hard work by giving huge tax cuts to his financial supporters which once more totally wrecked the budget.

    So now you want Obama to fix Shrub's budget disasters, he can only do this in one of two ways cut expenses and raise taxes. Short of ending two pointless wars and killing some corporate subsidies, there are no easy way of reducing spending… He could always raise taxes, but if he does that the right wing will have conniptions…

    But assuming that somehow Obama manages to get the budget under control, what guarantees are there that the next republican in the White House will not use the prospect of a balanced budget to give the top 5% more huge tax cuts and destroying all of Obama's hard work…

  • http://polimom.com Polimom

    DQ, you could hardly have made my point more strongly.

  • DaGoat

    Excellent post, Polimom. The whole topic has deteriorated into finger-pointing while neither party really addresses the issue. Wasteful spending by the GOP does not justify wasteful spending by Democrats and vice versa. Bush being a joke of a president doesn't justify holding Obama to a low standard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=754198437 facebook-754198437

    I'm just waiting for the latest plan to finance our government: a special deal from Ca$h America! (Only 5000% APR, payable by our great-great-GREAT grandchildren!)

    ~EdT.

  • JeffersonDavis

    I could be wrong….

    But I don't think that Polimom wants “Obama to fix Shrub's budget disasters.”

    I would like to think that she wants CONGRESS to fix the PRESENT budget disaster that was caused by a Republican President and Democratic Congress.

    Just like we do in the military when a dire problem comes along.
    We could either stand around pointing fingers and endanger lives,
    OR
    We find solutions, roll up our sleaves, and collectively attack the problem.

    I think that is what Polimom meant. That's what I got from the article.

  • jchem

    Folks are going to have to suck it up and do without a pet project or cause for while — no matter how worthy or near-and-dear it may be.

    Unless of course votes are needed to pass a bill. $100 million for one vote; quite a bargain, eh?

  • jchem

    and talking more about belt-tightening; anyone notice how the California regents intend to do it?

    How about a 32% tuition increase?**

    A University of California governing-board committee today approved a proposal that would increase undergraduate tuition by 32 percent over the next year, an unusually large jump that was met by student protests at campuses in Berkeley and Los Angeles.

    Sometimes tightening the belt isn't very popular.

    **note – from the Chronicle of Higher Education; subscription may be required for full article

  • VeratheGun

    I agree, Polimom. Where are the grownups in Congress, willing to reach across the aisle, from either side, and tackle these issues? What in the world were they elected to do, other than solve the problems of the land?

    Enough, enough, enough partisan bickering! Find solutions, compromise. Put the interests of the nation above your own reelection!

    And the American people need some tough talk as well. The free ride is over. We have to actually PAY for the benefits we all receive. Taxes are going to go up, at least for the short term. We have got to be willing to work hard to get the national debt down, and FAST!

    We'll see if anyone has the courage to make these changes. So far, it doesn't look good.

  • vey9

    US lawmakers: New tax should pay for Afghan war
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/AL

    WASHINGTON — Influential US lawmakers on Thursday called for levying a new income tax to pay for the war in Afghanistan, warning its costs pose a mortal threat to efforts like a sweeping health care overhaul.

    “Regardless of whether one favors the war or not, if it is to be fought, it ought to be paid for,” the lawmakers, all prominent Democratic allies of President Barack Obama, said in a joint statement.

    The proposed “Share The Sacrifice Act of 2010″ came with Obama set to announce within weeks his decision on whether to send more US troops to fight the war, now in its ninth year.

    The group included House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey; Representative John Murtha, who chair that panel's defense subcommittee; and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank.

    The proposal, a heavily symbolic measure seen as having next to no chance of becoming law, would impose a war surtax on income beginning in 2011 — though it would allow the president to delay implementation by one year upon deciding the US economy is too weak to sustain such a tax shift.
    -more-

  • http://www.thepajamapundit.com/ The Pajama Pundit

    I completely agree that solutions and compromise to fix our problems are what is needed right now. I would absolutely love it if all of the partisan hackery were to completely disappear from our political discourse.

    BUT, all of the folks in Congress (okay, MOST folks in Congress) start their day by looking out for themselves, no? To do that, compromising and 'reaching across the aisle' are toxic actions. As soon as a Republican does that, some folks wearing three-pointed-hats show up with signs calling said Republican a 'RINO' or a 'socialist-commie-pinko'. Democrats who attempt to work with Republicans find themselves the targets of the über-liberal wing of their party.

    Call me a pessimist (or a realist), but compromise and solutions do not seem to get you re-elected. I wish they did.

  • pacatrue

    Well, I understand polimom's sentiment. I've done a couple posts here on the deficit and the main reaction was silence, but the second was that it's the other party's fault.

    But, going to Bayh's proposal, refusing to raise the debt ceiling immediately is a very poor way of doing it. There's no good way to cut spending or raise taxes quickly enough and this would result in a destruction of our credit rating. Moreover, we are purposefully running a debt now as a stimulus to the economy. We can't simultaneously borrow to pump up the economy until it recovers and make it impossible to borrow. One or the other.

    I would be interested to know more about the Debt Commission idea. It's very unclear to me how it would work, but I'd like to hear more.

  • http://polimom.com Polimom

    “Moreover, we are purposefully running a debt now as a stimulus to the economy. “

    Paca — I'd be far more sanguine about this if it had come along with a plan to reduce that debt. To date, though, the “plan” has boiled down to, “we'll take care of it down the line”.

    We, as a nation, have embarked on quite a number of expensive journeys with this type of thinking. Somewhere, somehow, somebody's got to stand up and say, “enough!”.

  • DLS

    “Senator Evan Bayh (D-Indiana), writing in CNN, says he plans to oppose raising the debt ceiling what the issue comes up for a vote next mont”

    1. Third way — “safe and sane Democrat,” reassuring us they aren't Too Far Left (appropriate this year)

    2. They'll just go around any restrictions, as they have before with debt limits and pay-as-you-go laws.

    3. Is this simply a hollow stunt to distract a still-increasinly-rejectionist mainstream US public?

  • DLS

    Obama's disasters so far have dwarftd little-bitty Shrubby's comparative missteps, Reagan's, et cetera…

    Get real, Donnie Q., and start being truthful — beginning possibly with yourself. Nobody can blame Bush.

  • DLS

    “we are purposefully running a debt now as a stimulus to the economy”

    Now all we need are deficits and debts and “stimulus spending” measuresthat actually are stimulative.

    You're missing the crucial element!

    http://www.freep.com/article/20091115/NEWS15/31

  • DLS

    “We find solutions, roll up our sleaves, and collectively attack the problem”

    So far, ObamaCo and the Congre-Dems have failed to do this.

    They've effectively admitted as such, by inviting the private sector and other parties in addition to themselves to participate in an “economic forum” next month, don''t forget. (Y'all know about that, right?)

    Who knows — maybe thistime (after next month's meeting), they'll try doing something for real, for a Change [tm] and give people that long-Hope[tm]d-for reprieve.

  • pacatrue

    Oh, this isn't to say that I agree with everything in the stimulus bill either. The Democrats would be in a lot better position if they had actually tried to target the stimulus spending instead of simply deciding that all spending was good because it was stimulus.

    And I do agree wholeheartedly that a plan to reduce both the deficit and the debt should be produced. My guest post here is some ideas I through out on deficit management.

    http://themoderatevoice.com/45724/the-long-term

    I'd like to work on a debt one, but I haven't gotten around to it. The problem is the debt is so big, it's a 20-30 year project to reduce. That's how long it took the U.S. to work out of its WWII financial situation.

    I've had an idea in the back of my head to organize a “Progressives Against the Debt” group, but I'll never get around to it.

  • DLS

    “a 'Progressives Against the Debt' group”

    No doubt there is such sentiment.

    Earmarking spending (and sometimes, taxes) is often mentioned — each citizen can divide the “pie” in accordance with his or her wishes, in other words. (Usually it's reformists on the Right who advance it to the level of an actual challenge; lefties rarely have expressed such a thought, as with secession, unless someone like Bush apparently wins the Presidency.)

    Why not earmark defaulting on the debt, someday? Militarism versus entitlements…

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    “Obama's disasters so far have dwarftd little-bitty Shrubby's comparative missteps, Reagan's, et cetera…”
    And here is where you climb so far out on a ledge that you the ledge and the entire tree goes down with you. By now Reagan had pulled troops from Lebanon after the bombing and that was after trading arms for hostages to Iran who we are still dealing with. He also cut taxes while ballooning spending which is a childish and short sighted strategy at the very least I would consider it a dangerous and villainous one but that is only because the trend continued for 30 yrs. Not sure when but we will eventually have to accept that a good economy in republican years is because we are paying people with their grand kids money while we tack more money onto the debt. I am not saying this is one sided but we blame the Dems and act like Bush was an aberration when in reality he just took Reaganisim as practiced by Reagan to the next level. The reason I bring this up is we have an entire party crying about spending and the debt that think Reaganisim is the best economic theory ever and it is what got us here. Until we fix that insanity nothing will fix the debt as it will just keep coming back when we have to pay for the riches tax cuts and the new wars and invasions.

    Baby Bush, well honestly this guy was a utter disaster in every way possible except Africa, now if the US were on the continent of Africa that may have been a bit wiser. He also tacked absolutely everything onto the national debt without even blushing.

    Obama has yet to even pass the legislation he ran and won the biggest victory in many election cycles with. Instead the right tells us to wait, see we cant afford it while they whine if we cut a fighter plane budget since we fuel those with dirt apparently. At this point only half of me wants the Dems to fix this, the non-partisan side. The partisan side knows that their is zero political benefit from cleaning up the mess. Clinton did it and after 8 years what of his wished for programs did he get for being Greenspan's little buddy? Oh yea we gutted banking regs and then tacked a gigantic tax cut onto the debt even though we were projected to be paying it down. What benefit would the Dems get for paying more than lip service to this? If the Repubs do not care if the nation goes down in financial flames why should they? In reality I believe they will try to fix it and we will shrink spending when we should have been helping people dig out and in 4-8 years we will fund another giant tax cut to the wealthy paid for by the middle and lower classes but for doing so they are being suckers. Patriotic suckers that actually give a flyin flip about their nation but suckers none the less. Its like going out to eat with a friend that always thinks its fun to act like he is going to the bathroom and running out on the check. You can keep paying so you do not go to jail and because you do not support his theft but in doing so you are now stealing from yourself and instead of getting better he will only get worse.

    Our reminder of fiscal discipline in years in which a Dem is in the White House is both annoying and hypocritical because we always seem to act like this is the first time the problem came up. The real problem though is fix it all you want until we get one party to let go of spend and cutting taxes Reaganisim the problem will continue to come back and get worse. Reaganisim is about living well today off of your grandkids money tomorrow, please find another economic message.

  • Dr J

    Glad to see everyone's getting into the no-finger-pointing spirit so well.

  • http://polimom.com Polimom

    Indeed. I don't think people even realize how far down this road they've gone. Sad state of affairs, though.

  • CStanley

    Some of the commenters who can't stop finger pointing seem to be rationalizing it as 'learning from the past'. I doubt that Polimom or anyone who agrees with her post feels that we shouldn't look back at all in terms of determining which past policies led to the economic disaster. The problem with those people who commented here though is that their view of the history is completely filtered through partisan lenses.

  • casualobserver

    “The national debt equates to $30,400 per person U.S. population, or $60,100 per head of the U.S. working population, as of February 2008.”

    Instead of jawboning, let's actually resolve the matter. I'm in for either number as long as everyone does the same.

  • jchem

    CO: Instead of jawboning, let's actually resolve the matter. I'm in for either number as long as everyone does the same.

    The problem is that no one appears to be remotely serious about solving anything. I posted a link above to show what California is trying to do by raising their tuition so high. What happened? Protests, of course. If anyone in government even mentions taxes, people go ballistic. If someone's pet program gets cut (i.e. the $100M for LA), people go ballistic. At this rate, nothing will get fixed. Votes are bought and paid for and we will continue spending money we don't have.

  • Don Quijote

    The problem with those people who commented here though is that their view of the history is completely filtered through partisan lenses.

    The numbers speak for themselves, put a republican in the White House and the National Debt will go through the roof.
    NATIONAL DEBT BY YEAR

    After Carter – 09/30/1980 907,701,000,000.00
    After Reagan 1 – 09/30/1984 1,572,266,000,000.00
    After Reagan 2 – 09/30/1988 2,602,337,712,041.16
    After Bush Sr. – 09/30/1992 4,064,620,655,521.66
    After Clinton 1 – 09/30/1996 5,224,810,939,135.73
    After Clinton 2 – 09/30/2000 5,674,178,209,886.86
    After Shrub 1 – 09/30/2004 7,379,052,696,330.32
    After Shrub 2 – 09/30/2008 10,024,724,896,912.49

    12 years of Republican rule the National Debt quadruples, 8 years of Clinton the National Debt goes up 50%, 8 years of Shrub the National Debt doubles.

    Now my question for all the people who are so deeply concerned about the National Debt, why didn't we hear a peep out of you during the 8 years Shrub was in office?

    Or is it that the Debt is only an issue when a Democrat is in the White House and the Debt can now be used to stymie his agenda?

  • CStanley

    The numbers look a lot different when you overlay the WH occupant with the parties who controlled Congress (which has the power of the purse), and even less conclusive when you look at basic economic cycles and the effect on revenues. I do concede though that at least in recent times, the best combination has been Dem president with GOP Congress.

    As for complaining about the debt prior to Obama…I for one did, as did many others.

    Beyond that, I'm not going to get baited into a contest of finger pointing with you- just had to rebut your non-factual statements.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    I just dont think it will help. The Dems pre-Reagan were the big spenders do you think blasting away at Reagan in his first year about the Dems historical spending problem but blaming it on the Repubs would have gotten anything but an eye roll? Or better yet how about Nixon while we were still in Nam like we are still in 2 freakin wars now. I agree that it needs to be fixed but not in the Clinton way, meaning enabling the next election to wipe away the gains. We need to fix it but also we need to fix the root of the current crises which comes from cutting taxes while ballooning spending, multiple times. After we deal with that elephant in the room and find a way to bring down the debt lets start blasting away about entitlement program costs but until I hear admissions as to what really got us here I have no faith that it will be resolved in anyway. Instead it is just a way to pump up the GOP base as it has been used for in the past so excuse me while I do not bother to jump on board a train I know ends in a multiple of the current debt load of the nation if I judge this by what they have done in the past. It needs to be a truly bi-partisan effort and it has to hold both sides feet to the fire and of course that is a really tall order.

    From my point of view the best places to look are old weapons systems, further reform of welfare possible into a straight work/re-training program, cutting foreign aid and investments and possibly thinking long and hard about how many military bases around the world we need. Many other good options exist I am sure but these are good areas but not if all this will be done for further tax cuts attached to yet more debt or more defense spending to defend against well…ourselves at this point. A brilliant way to start it would be a law that you cant cut taxes without cutting spending and you cant create new programs without finding full funding for them. I also think we should have laws about full funding as I have grown tired of short funding programs and then pointing out how they dont work, if I dont put gas in my car guess what it doesnt work either.

  • Don Quijote

    just had to rebut your non-factual statements.

    Non-Factual???

    Lets see your factual statements…

    Reagan never presented a balanced budget while he was in office.

    As for complaining about the debt prior to Obama…I for one did, as did many others.

    Let's see the links…

  • DLS

    “I'm not going to get baited into a contest of finger pointing with you”

    Actually, C. Stanley, the practice lately by lefties on this is site is not a contest; they simply demand you post something (and after that, often more), while they wrongly point fingers.

    (There's other misbehavior they commit, but that's what has been at the forefront recently. To what extent it reflects frustration with the “progress” of health care “reform” or other setbacks remains an open question.)

  • Leonidas

    Bayh is that political oddity, a politician I have a high regard of, even more rare as he is a democrat.

  • Leonidas

    After Obama's limited time over 12 trillion.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    So now that we now all of the total numbers for each presidency what are we gonna do? If your answer is only cut entitlements or only cut the military then yea your kinda how we got here. One side says cut this and the other side says cut that and by the polls those entitlements are going nowhere and to cut the military in anyway we need to stop invading random places and stop exporting democracy if we ever hope to start importing anything but red ink. One thing that 1929 and 2008 have in common is a large reliance on “public private partnerships” for programs, maybe those are part of the problem and we should start making gov and business actually separate instead of blend?

  • http://polimom.com Polimom

    So now that we now all of the total numbers for each presidency what are we gonna do?

    What we're gonna do, I'm disheartened to say, is nothing. We have no will in this country to make any kind of sacrifices anywhere. “I want my cake, and I wanna eat it too”

    What we need to do, though, is cut programs AND raise taxes — and get our ship righted. And we have absolutely GOT to get past this knee-jerk whining about “those guys”.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    We did that it was called the 90's, for some reason we find ourselves here all over again so what can we do this time we did not do last time? Maybe that is a better question. The reason I am hopping up and down is because we have gone through this once already and if we are truly to fix the problem we need to address the roots not just things to fix it right now because all signs point to a replay if we just do the same things. If things are going well what will stop another long discussion of the best way to use a budget surplus cut taxes or save/invest? Last time unsurprisingly people showed up to vote for a tax cut because they wanted their money back. Then eight years later when shifting the burden from the fed to the states did not help enough they wanted a new entitlement program and voted for it, again not suprisingly since it was in their economic best interest like the tax cut. In fact this is classic game theory playing out in a democratic arena and both parties are playing their parts with full gusto. I think the best analogy I can think of for the last 30 years or so is that it was an era when you voted against funding your local schools until your children were going to them and then when they were out you again vote to cut school funding. Extreme self interest mixed with no foresight. Don't take this wrong I am not jumping at you, you wrote a good article and asked some good questions but if we are going to really address this again we need to do so very differently than last time because things got twice as bad as the time before which tells me a 24Trillion dollar debt in 2020 or 2024.

    The only way to fix entitlement programs is to fully fund them and always balance the budget mixed with broad and balanced(progressive but nothing too extreme) taxes which would make people unlikely to vote for more programs unless they were truly needed and then incentivize them to do those programs in the most frugal manner possible. The only way to fix the military industrial complex is to realize that we learned the lesson that war is good business a little too well and sometimes we do go to war for purely economic means and for our humanity and our fiscal sanity we must stop that and merely defend ourselves. Those two things alone have big money to pull us out of the hole and that is without addressing our prison system which costs way too much and houses to many people and a whole host of other things that could save us money.

    Problem is no one votes for the grown up. Carter was a grown up, so was Bush Sr. and Bob Dole and Gore. These were men that would have and sometimes did tell Americans “tough” the others all the way back to Nixon have given us nothing but grand visions and mythos which has been entertaining but unsurprisingly empty.

    I like Obama but I do not personally know of a politician living or dead that could accomplish the heroic feat of playing that grown up role and even if he tried he would be explained away by the oppisition as just a commie anyway which is a large part of our current problem. Since no one has tried forging bipartisan compromise from the right to the left since the election we have no idea how Obama would react. We know how Bush did. I really think if Republicans were ready to make some deals they could really get somethings in return from Obama because he is a great deal more conservative than he has yet had a chance to show. Of course if he gets a chance to show that side before the next election though it could neuter their momentum and cost them seats they may have otherwise won back, and that is the political calculation that is also torpedoing things along with being primaried.

    I really think a good deal of the politicians want to make deals and compromise but their voters are calling and freaking out on them too much for them to not fear for their jobs. Which gives us hyper-partisanship and not much else.

  • ProfElwood

    You know, I don't think you could find two people who are as ideologically opposite as Father_Time and me, but we have found things that we agree on that could cut the budget. I'm going to suggest a few (some may not fall in line with FTs thinking). Let's see if we can come to some agreement by looking forward instead of backward.

    1. End all corporate welfare.
    2. No more bailouts. End the current ones. If a bank is too big to fail, break it into “failable” units.
    3. If a GSE needs more money to survive, start writing the eulogy.
    4. Take back the Fed. That alone would a portion of our debt, and allow the government to receive the money that's going to the current owners at this time. It would also force normal transparency laws into its operations.
    5. End the current war, then cut back on the military.
    6. Get some of those corporate “butchers” to reorganize all current bureaus.

    Feel free to add to the list.

  • Leonidas

    We did that it was called the 90's

    did we? Or did we just have higher revenues with the tech bubble?

    http://perotcharts.com/images/challenges/challe

  • Don Quijote

    Now my question for all the people who are so deeply concerned about the National Debt, why didn't we hear a peep out of you during the 8 years Shrub was in office?

    Or is it that the Debt is only an issue when a Democrat is in the White House and the Debt can now be used to stymie his agenda?

    Conservatives on this site keep telling me that they either wrote or read articles on the Debt and the Deficit writen by conservatives prior to Obama winning the election, so my challenge to these conservatives (DLS, CStanley, Leonodas, casualobserver, etc.. ) on this site is simple and straightforward:

    Find articles written by conservatives that are about the deficit or the debt written between 2000 and 2007 and post links to them…

    Shouldn't be to much of a challenge since according to you guys it was a concern amongst Conservatives…

  • Don Quijote

    ProfElwood,
    it's end the current wars not war…

    0. Public funding of all Federal Elections.

    7. Create a new income tax bracket 70% for all income above 10 million.
    8. Raise taxes on gasoline ( at least $2 per gallon)
    9. Legalize drugs, tax them. (That will end a couple of nasty little wars and insurgencies)
    10. Tax Labor and Capital income to the same rate.
    11. Come up with a single payer health-care system, paid out of income taxes that guarantees a predefined level of health-care, Regulate health insurance companies( No Cherry Picking, Statewide community rates ), make them into non-profits, force them to standardize their policies so that customers can understand what they are buying. then get rid of Medicaid, Medicare and the VA.
    12. Force all hospitals to be Not for Profit organizations.
    13. Let municipalities create their own broadband networks.

  • DLS

    “Take back the Fed.”

    Not to spend too much time on something related other than the debt, but in addition to the angry griping on the Thom Hartmann show wanting a “people's bank” created by the federal government, to address the current and future concerns of the public, Ed Schultz discussed something rare, looking instead to the states (constitutional federalism being viewed so contemptuously these days) and having states run their own state banks, at low interest rates, and address some financial concerns of the public even if doesn't include increasingly devalued currency (with a much worse inflation-devaluation threat on the far horizon).

  • ProfElwood

    Thanks for contributing.

    Obviously, you favor higher taxes and more control, where I favor spending cuts. The only part that I can agree with is the legalization of drugs, at least enough to kill the black market.

  • Don Quijote

    Obviously, you favor higher taxes and more control, where I favor spending cuts. The only part that I can agree with is the legalization of drugs, at least enough to kill the black market.

    Higher taxes, yes… Not that I am crazy about them, it's just that don't see where half a trillion dollars worth of spending cuts can be found that won't screw the poor, the working class and the middle class.

    Here is a chart of the 2007 Federal Budget Pie Chart 2007

    8% Debt + 21% Social Security + 23% Medicaid/Medicare = 52% of the Budget that is untouchable.
    You're left with Defense and Discretionary to cut.

    Not control, equity…
    I don't see why some rich F**K can invest a few million at the beginning of the year, cash out at the end of the year make 100k in capital gains and pay a 15% tax rate while I go to work make 100k and then pay 30% income tax…

  • DLS

    “8% Debt + 21% Social Security + 23% Medicaid/Medicare = 52% of the Budget that is untouchable.
    You're left with Defense and Discretionary to cut. “

    Certainly in the case of the Obama administration, especially after they said they understood the (long overdue) need for entitlement reform (Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable), and vowed to do something about it. So far, they have neglected to reform and rescue it at all, which gives them a record identical to the Dems during the Bush years who actively insisted on doing nothing to save these two programs.

    Eventually something will give, or yield, with Social Security and Medicare (even if the current politicians manage to delay it just a little longer, until they have retired securely), and it will be a combination of tax increases and benefit and cost growth controls and even some actual or effective reductions, someday.

  • DLS

    With the debt, it's already anticipated that someday the politicians will monetize the debt (that which they don't default on, in some way) and otherwise inflate the currency anyway, to treat it as the opiate of the masses (and keep buying and preserving votes).

  • ProfElwood

    That was 2007, the last year that we were merely overspending. A lot was added on, and a lot more is coming. There must be some money at the top and a way to structure the taxes to get it fairly, but unfortunately, that's the same people who are running the government, so I don't see it happening without a complete changeover. I know there's been some talk about calling capital gains count as income, after adjusting for inflation, and different ways to tax the computer-generated trading on Wall Street, but again, that will hurt those in power right now, so it's also a pipe dream. No, the middle class will get the brunt of all new taxes, as they always have.

  • Don Quijote

    That was 2007, the last year that we were merely overspending.

    I could not find anything more recent without spending more time looking, my google-fu isn't that powerful. None the less, the 2007 Budget does reflect our structural issues, we are now in the middle of the worse recession since WWII, after it ends (if it ends) we should be back to a 2007 Budget like situation.

    and different ways to tax the computer-generated trading on Wall Street,

    A nice Pigouvian tax would resolve that issue.

    No, the middle class will get the brunt of all new taxes, as they always have.

    No they won't, the Middle Class is broke, it has been thoroughly decimated by the last 30 years of Republican policies.

    There must be some money at the top and a way to structure the taxes to get it fairly, but unfortunately, that's the same people who are running the government, so I don't see it happening without a complete changeover.

    Time to start electing Naderites, people like Kucinich, Spitzer, Dean and time to stop electing Republicans which are the people who got us in this mess.

  • Don Quijote

    Certainly in the case of the Obama administration, especially after they said they understood the (long overdue) need for entitlement reform (Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable),

    In 1983 Alan Greenspan and company restructure the funding mechanism of Social Security so that between my employer and I would put 15% of my gross income into the trust fund, this trust fund now has over $2.5 trillion dollars in it. Republicans have used that money to give tax breaks to their rich buddies and make believe that the budget deficit was not as big as it really was. I have been working since 1978, and have paid social security tax every year, as have millions of other people most of whom have no other retirement funds. If you want a full blown revolution, go touch my Social Security.

    PS. if the rest of the government finances were in as good of a shape as Social Security, we would not be in this pickle.

  • Don Quijote

    My challenge still stands

    Where are those links to posts written by conservatives about the budget deficit and the debt written between 2000 and 2007?

    Still waiting…

  • ProfElwood

    I'm not a conservative, but your challenge was easy enough to answer with a quick search on “Bush spending record”. If you didn't hear or read about conservatives complaining, it's because you don't read conservative opinions.

    Bush the Budget Buster
    http://reason.com/archives/2005/10/19/bush-the-

    Bush Beats Johnson: Comparing the Presidents
    http://www.cato.org/pubs/tbb/tbb-0510-26.pdf

    (I found the Reagan part funny, but it was still a criticism)
    Bush spending up to 5 times more than Clinton
    Reagan Revolution architect calls it 'era of obese government'
    http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=

    Conservatives Criticize Bush on Spending
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A40090

  • Don Quijote

    If you didn't hear or read about conservatives complaining, it's because you don't read conservative opinions.

    is that all you could find for a seven year period? Two Libertarians pieces, a World Nut Daily piece and an article in Pravda on the Potomac?

    I could probably find more complaints about Obama's Deficit and Budget in the last month's posts on TMV.

  • ProfElwood

    “is that all you could find for a seven year period?”

    No, don't be silly: that that was from the first page of the search on Google, which is why I gave the search criteria. There were 1,270,000 hits altogether, but I'm not going to waste a lot of time going through them. You asked for some; I gave you some — and a quick and easy way to find more. Obviously, you've made up your mind and dutifully trying to shield yourself from reality in order to maintain your position.

    The point is pointless. I will say it again, one group's insanity does not justify another. The really sick thing about this side trek is that I was originally trying to find areas of agreement, and we end up right where the thread (“pointy fingers”) said we would.

  • Don Quijote

    ProfElwood,

    I put Bush Spending Record as a search criteria in Google and I ended up with 9,850,000 hits.
    I put Obama Spending Record as a search criteria in Google and I ended up with 9,050,000 hits.

    Obama hasn't been in office a full year yet.

  • ProfElwood

    So, people are talking more about deficits when they're three times the previous size. Big surprise.
    Next shock: there's been more talk about health care lately.

  • Don Quijote

    So, people are talking more about deficits when they're three times the previous

    How Trillion-Dollar Deficits Were Created

    As you can see in the above chart that most of the Deficit was created by Bush and the Recession…

    And when this deficit was being created, Conservatives/Republicans with a handful of honorable exception didn't say anything, but now that a Democrat is in the White House dealing with their fuckups, they are all screaming bloody murder, attempting to blame the Democrat for their fuckups.

    In conclusion for most Republicans/Conservative the Debt is only an issue when a Democrat is in the White House and said Debt created by Republicans/Conservative is to be used to stymie his agenda.

  • ProfElwood

    I've been reading blogs and looking at internet news for a long time now. Because I read both liberal and conservative rags, I can conclusively say that people were upset with Bush. Why do you think that the Republican party took such a hit during his last term? The conspiracy theories jumped up a notch or two also, but I bet you didn't hear about that! I read this rhetoric time and time again, but it says more about the writer than the times: they were complaining in places you aren't reading.