Democrats & Liberals Archives

Running Down The Clock

There are certain symbolic events that just cut right to the heart of things, and I think this is one of them:
The Deficit Clock in New York is about to run out of digits It is a sad commentary on our times, given that Democrats and Republicans once worked together to give this clock it’s first mechanical problem. In the 90s, this clock found itself unable to run properly because it wasn’t designed to run backwards. I tell you at this moment I wish we could run back the clock. Let’s tell our President, the Senators, and the Members of the House that the time has come to get our debt under control.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at March 30, 2006 10:58 AM
Comments
Comment #136828

I have been telling them that, and writing my fellow citizens about that for years. But, they won’t listen to my lonely voice. Add your voices to mine, and we can make a voice so loud they cannot ignore it any longer.

It is simple. Google your representatives name and the word “contact”. This will take you to a page with contact information for your representative including phone numbers. Pick up the phone, call them, and speak your mind. That’s it. It’s simple, its easy, takes only a couple minutes, and you feel good about yourself.

BUT, Don’t forget to hold them accountable in November for having listened to you, or not. If the legislation and enforcement have not been implemented to solve the problem in November, VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE. The vote is what motivates them, giving your vote to a challenger puts a bonfire under their ass. Do it, and we WILL see positive changes in America. DON’T do it, and you will just get more of the same.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 30, 2006 11:19 AM
Comment #136830

Stephen,

Let’s tell our President, the Senators, and the Members of the House that the time has come to get our debt under control.

Finally something we can agree on.

Posted by: TheTraveler at March 30, 2006 11:20 AM
Comment #136831

Stephen
I look at it as a divisive “timebomb” that will signal the end of our country as we know it.

Posted by: kctim at March 30, 2006 11:21 AM
Comment #136832

kctim, don’t sit around waiting for it go off. Call your representatives and demand solutions. If solutions are evident in November, vote your representatives out of office by voting for their challenger. Only in this way, will politicians new and old, get the message that the public is serious and incumbency is no longer assured, but, dependent upon RESULTS, not idle or empty promises.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 30, 2006 11:24 AM
Comment #136835

As long as politicians can promise to fund local and special interest projects with general funds, we got troubles. It will be very hard for any politicans to make the cuts we need.

A good first step is to restore the line item veto, so that a president can get at some of the earnmarks or special interest legislation, or late night additions without sending the whole things back.

No matter what, cuts are going to be hard to do. Last time we balanced the budget, it was largely the result of drastic cuts in defense spending made possible by the end of the cold war and big increase in revenues due to the dot.com bubble. We are unlikely to have such conditions again, so we have to make real cuts. What?

Posted by: Jack at March 30, 2006 11:34 AM
Comment #136837

People will vote for tax cuts/spending programs over deficit reduction 12 ways to Sunday. Isn’t this the ‘ME’ Generation? The politicians understand that and that’s why, politically, Cheney was right: “Deficits Dont Matter”.

So if there is a ‘timebomb’, she’s gonna blow.

Posted by: Schwamp at March 30, 2006 11:36 AM
Comment #136838

I’m sure the commenters here will try to spin this as a partisan issue, but remember that neither party is willing to stop introducing spending legislation.

Also, remember that neither party is willing to propose cuts big enough to eliminate the deficit, let alone the debt.

To my knowledge, no candidate currently running for congress is proposing these things either.

We need to make this a bigger issue, but the usual partisan blame game won’t help, because they are all guilty.

We must do more at the local level to find people in our districts who support this and encourage them to run for Congress with real fiscal responsibility as one of their main issues.

Posted by: TheTraveler at March 30, 2006 11:37 AM
Comment #136841

I agree Travler, it will be spun as a partisan issue. Seems fair to say that only one party has been all about tax cuts during a time of war. Isn’t that fair?

Posted by: Schwamp at March 30, 2006 11:42 AM
Comment #136844

Hey, i have an idea:

How about no more illegal wars? No more lockheed martin bombs? no more corporate welfare? no more bridges to nowhere? no more republican presidents?

the ONLY way that deficit will be reduced is by taxing. its the truth, we all know it. and when we are taxed, don’t spend it on pork and bombs.

i don’t mind paying taxes if they are for the greater good, like ss.

Posted by: tree hugger at March 30, 2006 11:45 AM
Comment #136848

You are absolutely right that this will become a partisan issue— with all the blame (unfortunately) going onto the Democrats!! Even though I am a liberal Democrat, I live in the panhandle of Texas— which is VERY right wing. I wrote a letter to my congressman, Mac Thornberry (I like to think of him as the dim bulb in the marquis we call Congress!) telling him to stop spending and get the deficit under control. His answer was classic Republican spin. He said that even though he tries not to spend much, “the Democrats insist on even more spending.”

What a crock!! The R’s control the every branch of the government. It sounds to me that either one of two things is going on: 1) He’s lying. or 2) If he is telling the truth, then someone (=the Republicans) can’t do their job correctly.

Posted by: Lee Shuwarger at March 30, 2006 12:05 PM
Comment #136849

You guys Cheney says deficits don’t matter! Reagan proved that you guys!!!

AAAAARGH!

Posted by: Max at March 30, 2006 12:08 PM
Comment #136851

Jack,

“A good first step is to restore the line item veto”

But the line-item veto is clearly unconstitutional, so implementing it would require an amendment. Given the difficulty of that, what’s plan B?

Posted by: Arr-squared at March 30, 2006 12:16 PM
Comment #136855
A good first step is to restore the line item veto, so that a president can get at some of the earnmarks or special interest legislation, or late night additions without sending the whole things back.

There is a much better method, that would greatly increase Transparency and Accountability:


the ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL would be much better.

However, NO reforms (debated here daily, year after year) will ever be possible until voters do the one simple, common-sense, no-brainer, non-partisan, inexpensive, safe, peaceful and responsible thing that voters were supposed to be doing all along:


Vote out all irresponsible incumbents, always, every election, until no more irresponsible incumbents exist, and government finally agrees to pass the many badly-needed, common-sense, responsible reforms that incumbents have refused to pass for so many decades.

If voters don’t make it happen, all of our pressing problems, growing in number and severity, will solve themselves, the hard, painful way.

Recessions in the U.S. for the last 46 years have been occurring every 2 to 11 years.

The way things are going, it is going to make recovery from the next recession more difficult.

It’s not hard at all to see how one of the next recessions could turn into the next great depression. Then, you will see, by the millions, everyone asking “How did this happen”? And, when everyone starts looking at what led up to it, they’re going to be saying: DUH !


Posted by: d.a.n at March 30, 2006 12:35 PM
Comment #136856

hey tree hugger how about no more freedom

Posted by: john counts at March 30, 2006 12:35 PM
Comment #136857

WE THE PEOPLE vote like cattle. We run in whatever direction the guys in control tell us to - even if it’s oncoming traffic. They use fear, lies, spin - whatever keeps us from getting control of ourselves and our direction.

I have a hard time blaming politicians - they are working within a known system, and making the most of it. Sure, their actions are contrary to our benefit - and they get loads of personal gain, but I would expect nothing different from them.

What is it? 95% of all incumbents get re-elected. How can we blame either party or aany elected official if we’re not willing to hold them, and ourselves, responsible?

Posted by: tony at March 30, 2006 12:36 PM
Comment #136858

I’ve never understood why the country has to borrow money. We own the printing presses.

Posted by: Schwamp at March 30, 2006 12:37 PM
Comment #136859

tony,
That’s true.
Here is why.

No matter what the detractor is, the invisible Cheaters’ Dialectic aims to create a circular pattern to control both the conflict, resolution of differences, and then lead everyone involved into a new cycle of conflicts (often the same detractor, or perhaps a different one).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 30, 2006 12:39 PM
Comment #136862

Jack,

“A good first step is to restore the line item veto, so that a president can get at some of the earnmarks or special interest legislation, or late night additions without sending the whole things back.”

We have a president that clearly doesn’t know the meaning of the word veto.

Restoring the line item veto would only be a viable option if there was a remote possibility that it might actually be used.

Posted by: Rocky at March 30, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #136863
I’ve never understood why the country has to borrow money. We own the printing presses.
Which is why inflation and interest rates are climbing. It is a vicious circle. There is no real value behind the dollar. It’s value is falling. That and many other factors, growing worse now, have the potential to make the next recession turn into the next great depression.

But, voters continue to slumber and pay no mind.
That’s all just doom’s day rhetoric.
The sky is falling.
The sky is falling.

Wait until the $#!+ hits the fan, and they start bitchin’ to their elected officials,
“How could you let this happen?”
“You must have seen it comin’ ?”

Posted by: d.a.n at March 30, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #136864

There is only one effective way to stop spending the people’s money on programs and projects that are clearly “pork”. Do not give Congress money to spend and don’t allow an increase in the national debt limitations. Tax increases only fuel the frenzy for spending on more pork.
The difficult part is for us (voters) to tighten our belts and stop insisting that our representatives bring home more money. We will all have to give up our cherished “un-needed” government subsidy and only support what is really necessary. Tough to do? Yes! And I personally don’t believe it will happen.

Posted by: Jim Martin at March 30, 2006 12:45 PM
Comment #136865

Jim Martin,
But, how do you force Congress to stop spending, or pass any reforms?
Yes, it probably will never happen in our lifetime.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 30, 2006 12:47 PM
Comment #136866

I can’t believe that I agree with Stephen! My reps will be hearing from me soon. Both parties are at fault when it comes to spending, but my party is most to blame at present because they are the governing party. They talk a good game when it comes to spending, but when you give them the reins of power, they spend as freely as ever. The Democrats, however, are not a viable alternative by any means. Their only solution is to raise taxes. I would accept a tax increase, but you HAVE TO cut spending, and any time spending cuts…no, cutting the rate of spending INCREASE are mentioned, the Democrats all go into cardiac arrest. How could they be trusted to fix the spending problem when they want to take the money only from the taxpayers and none from the government. If a third party rose to prominence and promised REAL SOLUTIONS, not just rhetoric and demagoguery, I would renounce my Republican affiliation immediately. Unfortunately, the two party system has a chokehold on our political process, and my guess is that we’ll be arguing over who is the leeser of two evils for a long, long time.

Posted by: Duano at March 30, 2006 12:47 PM
Comment #136867

There is a very simple solution, but nobody thinks the most simple solution, the one simple thing we were supposed to be doing all along will work.

So, we are screwed, until voters remember to start doing their part. Irresponsible incumbent politicians don’t care either way. They all got golden parachutes.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 30, 2006 12:51 PM
Comment #136869
I⦣x20AC;™ve never understood why the country has to borrow money. We own the printing presses.

Which is why inflation and interest rates are climbing. It is a vicious circle

d.a.n.,
Interest rates climb because we are borrowing money and it takes higher rates to attract capital. If we didn’t borrow and just printed, are we saying inflation would explode? The mechanics of that are not clear.

I have posed a stupid question that everyone knows is a stupid question but no-one knows the answer. They only know its a stupid idea. BTW, the North Koreans are counterfeiting our money like there is no tomorrow.

Posted by: Schwamp at March 30, 2006 12:58 PM
Comment #136871

Stephen Daugherty is absolutely 100% correct.
We have many pressing problems, but the following five things have the potential to create the perfect storm:
_______________
[1] FISCAL and MORAL BANKRUPTCY: $8.3 National Debt and $40.2 total nation-wide debt, decreasing options, lost opportunities, falling dollar (not backed up by real value), potential inflation, trade deficits, and the failure stop the debt from growing ever larger. Also, the PBGC and pensions are $450 billion in the hole.
[2] GENERATIONAL STORM: 77 million aging baby boomers (that all vote), making less, spending less, pay less tax, expecting to draw from already troubled Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, & welfare.
[3] ENTITLEMENT SHORTFALLS: The looming Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, & welfare deficits and short falls, and decreasing number of tax-payers per entitlement recipient.
[4] LIMITED GROWTH & INCREASING FOREIGN COMPETITION: The limited capacity for growth due to declining quality of education, a generally less educated population failing to develop new technologies, coupled with a steady increase of foreign competition.
[5] ENERGY VULNERABILITY: Of all the responsible, insightful things government could have done, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians failed miserably to research and foster alternate energy sources, more energy efficient homes, automobiles, etc.
_______________

And, I feel partially responsible, because I voted for some of the jerks in Congress now. Never again though.

From now on, their voting records and behavior will be closely scrutinized (non-partisanly). And anyone who voted on pork-barrel, graft, and corporate welfare while some of our troops went without body armor, armor for the humvees, or adequate medical care, should be voted out (or recalled). Ted Stevens is one of the worst. He’s the king of pork-barrel. But, 99% of them are to varying degrees.

Check out the porker-award winners for 2005:
____________________________
Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Robert Bennett (R-Utah) , Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-Mo.), Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), Henry Bonilla (R-TX), Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss., Senate) , Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Robert Cramer (R-Ala.), John Culberson (R-TX), Randy Cunningham (R-CA.), Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA.), Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), John Doolittle (R-CA.), Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), Chet Edwards (D-TX) , Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), Rep. Mark Green (R-Wis.), Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Bill Frist’s (R-Tenn.), David Hobson (R-Ohio) , Mark Kirk (Rill.), Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) , Tom Latham (R-Iowa), Rep. Ileana Ros- Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), John McCain (R-AZ) ($1 million for the brown tree snake), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), George Nethercutt, Jr. (R-Wash.) , Anne Northup (R-Ky.), John Peterson (R-Pa.) , Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), Dennis Rehberg (R-Mont) (parking garage that voters petitioned to have the pork-barrel money returned), Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala., Don Sherwood (R-Pa.) , Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska, Senate) (he is the worst), John Sweeney (R-N.Y.), David Vitter (R-La.), James Walsh (R-N.Y.) , Zack Wamp (R-Tenn.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Chairman Bill Young (R-FL)

Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Marion Berry (D-Ark.), Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), Robert “Bud” Cramer (D-Ala.), James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Ernest “Fritz” Hollings (D-S.C.), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) , Mary Landrieu (D-La.) , Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) , Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) , John Murtha (D-Pa.), David Obey (D-Wis.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.)

And, they don’t want any one overseeing their greed either. Here is a list of politicians that voted against the creation of the Office of Public Integrity:
Senator Akaka (D-HI)
Senator Bennett (R-UT)
Senator Chafee (R-RI)
Senator Coburn (R-OK)
Senator Coleman (R-MN)
Senator Dayton (D-MN)
Senator Domenici (R-NM)
Senator Pryor (D-AR)
Senator Stevens (R-AK)
Senator Voinovich (R-OH)
Senator Warner (R-VA)
_____________________________
Irresponsible incumbents are 51% of the problem.
Voters that allow it are 49% of the problem.

Also see: cagw.org and
see voting records at: issues2000.org

Historically, voters never act until it is too late. Neither does the government. So, are we doomed to always learn the hard way.

Or perhaps we are all too impatient.

Some day, maybe in another 100,000 years, humans (if they’re still around) will have finally figured out what voting is all about?

Posted by: d.a.n at March 30, 2006 1:04 PM
Comment #136872

Schwamp,

Each paper dollar is SUPPOSED to represent a certain amount of gold. Printing more money without more gold in the Federal Reserve will result in hauling truckloads of $100 bills to the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk. See: Germany, 1920’s

Posted by: Duano at March 30, 2006 1:05 PM
Comment #136873

Schwamp,
Printing too much money is very bad.
Remember Argentina?
Print too much money, and you’ll need a wheel barrow of it to just buy a loaf of bread.
Borrowing too much is bad, because of the cost of the debt (interest).
And, if the government is unable to pay the interest (i.e. default), it would cause disaster, as everyone starts dumping the U.S. dollar. China, Japan, and other countries are already starting to reduce their exposure to the vulnerable U.S. dollar.
High Interest rates and high inflation are destabilizing. They are the result of fiscal irresponsibility.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 30, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #136878

I was watching CSpan last night, the budget committee.

The bill was given to democrats late the night before. It was moved that they should reconvene at a later date to give everyone time to look it over. Republicans voted it down.

I watched Democrats propose ammendments to cut spending in many area (although all proposals were not cuts) and were voted down by Republicans every time.

The whole process was a serious joke. The Republicans in their introductory remarks were arrogant and accusatory.

There were a few, rare, bipartisan moments, but overall it was an us against them process.

I was disgusted.

Posted by: womanmarine at March 30, 2006 1:25 PM
Comment #136882

womanmarine,

Welcome to politics. You actually heard Democrats propose spending cuts? Let me guess, military cuts, right? If I heard a Democrat propose just one entitlement cut and the Republicans voted it down, I would vote a straight Democratic ticket in November. But we know that’s not going to happen.

Posted by: Duano at March 30, 2006 1:44 PM
Comment #136884

David
“Call your representatives and demand solutions”

Alittle over 2 years ago, a wise man gave me that same advice and I took it to heart. I am very active in letting them know how I feel.
Thanks for the advice then.
Thanks for the advice now.

Posted by: kctim at March 30, 2006 1:49 PM
Comment #136885

Duano:

Actually, no spending cuts, with the exception of suspending the BRAC commission base closures only until the end of the current conflict.

Two of the cuts proposed that stuck in my mind were to stop the “incentive” to the insurance companies involved in the medicare drug program, and to allow for negotiation of drug prices for the medicare drug program.

Democrats also tried to point out that the congress uses an accounting system that businesses are not allowed by law to use. They advocated making the congress accounting more transparent by adopting that accounting system.

I’m beginning to spend a lot of time watching CSpan, it’s mind boggling.

From what I could see, and as much as I understand this stuff, the only cuts the republicans wanted to make were programs for the poorest, disabled, seniors, education, etc. I was shaking my head.

I wish …

Well, nevermind.

Posted by: womanmarine at March 30, 2006 1:52 PM
Comment #136888

Duano:

My first sentence should read: no military spending cuts.

In fact, republicans continued to cut veterans benefits.

They also still refuse to include the honest cost of the “war” in the budget at a realistic level.

Posted by: womanmarine at March 30, 2006 1:55 PM
Comment #136892

Dan-
Voters aren’t half the problem. They’re the entire problem. Not one of those people could reach office and keep it without the aid of the voters. And that means potential voters as well as actual ones. In a Democracy, the proper expression of voter disgust is to choose somebody other than the incumbent. If that turns out to be a bad choice, kick that guy out, too. While I don’t take your view that we should out incumbents arbitrarily (got to have the carrot to go with the stick), I do believe that we got to be the natural selection that keeps this kind of irresponsibility from gaining a comfortable niche.

We may be at a point where nice and even necessary programs may become casualties of the excesses brought on so far. I will be willing to entertain spending cuts, but we must all realize that we will get nowhere with each other if our cuts don’t come from consensus, rather than one side imposing unfair restrictions on the other. This will be, as all democratic processes go, a negotiation between interests.

We must recognize that in cutting spending, what we do has ripple effects. So we should cut, but cut wisely. This will not be easy, but neither will the consequences of creating so much debt.

The easy choice was not accepting the tax cuts. The easy choice was putting pressure on all members of our government to keep costs down, to acknowledge the gravity of our situation, and to patriotically do away with waste, graft, and corruption in their decisions, in the interests of making our defense of this country easier.

We didn’t make the easy choices, so now we must make the difficult choices, and make them together. Because of the way we chose to do things here, we’re all losers in this battle. The difference here is that we have the chance to be mature in our failure and repent, rather than be unrepentant fools who dig themselves deeper

Jack-
What you fail to consider is that a Line Item Veto, aside from being unconstitutional, is also a double edged sword. It can strike items that increase budgets, but it can also strike those reducing them. Besides, If a president had the will, he could make those small things sticking points, make the general presence of porkbarrel earmarks grounds for veto.

If Bush wanted to make it a point to do so, he could. Get a bunch of your friends together and tell him that if he doesn’t get his act together, you and your friends are going to vote for the Libertarian, Independent, or even Democratic candidates for Senate and House. Hell, tell him you’ll vote for Yogic Flyers in the next election if he doesn’t start working for a balanced budget, and doing it in such a way that everybody can agree with it.

If he feels he can get your vote and continue this pattern of behavior at the same time, he will continue this fiscal irresponsibility.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 30, 2006 2:05 PM
Comment #136894

“the only cuts the republicans wanted to make were programs for the poorest, disabled, seniors, education, etc.”

Those are still cuts to curb spending ma’am.
And spending cuts are what we need.

Posted by: kctim at March 30, 2006 2:06 PM
Comment #136897

“I’ve never understood why the country has to borrow money. We own the printing presses”

…we get all of our ink from China.

Posted by: tony at March 30, 2006 2:17 PM
Comment #136905

“…we get all of our ink from China”

Good one Tony.
I was thinking along the lines that we had to pay the country who would run the presses that we outsourced the jobs to.
I grinned at my thought and laughed out loud at yours.
Hats off to you sir.

Posted by: kctim at March 30, 2006 2:42 PM
Comment #136908

thanks…

Posted by: tony at March 30, 2006 2:57 PM
Comment #136914

Our problems began when we started dipping into programs that were suppose to be self-funded (like social security) and stuffing those coffers full of IOU’s. The problem has been compounded by PORC, OMNIBUS spending bills, Iraq, some entitlement programs that need to be reformed, and simple irresponsibility of our congress persons.

What can we do? VOTE. I will cross party lines faster than anyone to vote for a fiscal conservative…if only….if only….I could find one to vote for.

If you have one running in your district and you don’t cast your vote for that person then, my friend, you are equally responsible for this budget mess. Maybe you don’t see eye to eye with that candidate on other issues, but unless we get our spending under control the other issues really aren’t going to matter so much….especially if you are having to learn a complicated language like Chinese while standing in a bread line.

Regards,

Posted by: Tom L at March 30, 2006 3:18 PM
Comment #136918

Kctim:

I agree that these programs need revision, but they should be the LAST spending cuts, after pork, etc.

Can we at least agree on that?

Posted by: womanmarine at March 30, 2006 3:39 PM
Comment #136921

Problem with the line item veto idea is that, most likely, it wont’ be weilded fairly.
You really think bush would cut dem and rep pork evenly? Or, more likely, it would turn into another partisan advantage for the majority party that owns all the branches.
Just a thought.

Posted by: Norby at March 30, 2006 3:48 PM
Comment #136924
d.a.n - Voters aren’t half the problem. They’re the entire problem.
Well, I was trying to be fair. After all, incumbents have create many unfair advantages to ensure their incumbency. And, voters are disadvantaged somewhat. Laziness:
  • works for irresponsible incumbents,
  • works against voters.

Politicians have Power by virtue of their office. Power coupled with laziness yields Corruption, because Cheaters can simply create more opportunities for self-gain by simply do nothing, or breeding chaos. Cheaters also get paid hand$omely while doing it on the job, giving themselves more unfair advantages, and making their incumbency more secure and cu$hy. Also, the politicians are a much smaller group, and able to easily organize to their own benefit.

But, the voters’ laziness works against them, because their lack of motivation to observe and monitor politicians, and go vote out irresponsible incumbents (always) takes time and effort for the voters, and voters don’t get paid for their time or effort. Voter are also a much larger group, and organizing for a common cause is very difficult. Also, it requires time and effort for the voters to maintain sufficient levels of Education, Transparency, and Accountability.

Therefore, corrupt incumbent politicians have many unfair advantages.

But, if voters want it enough, voters can restore a balance of power between government and the people, by simply doing the one simple thing voters were supposed to be doing all along: vote out (or recall) all irresponsible incumbents, always, repeatedly, every election, until simple, common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms are passed to peacefully force government to be Transparent, Accountable, and Responsible too!

Posted by: d.a.n at March 30, 2006 3:57 PM
Comment #136926

Duano, we left the gold standard ages ago. There is nothing even remotely close to the amount of gold in Ft. Knox to back the dollars afloat in the world. The only thing that holds the value of the dollar up is the faith and trust in the American system. Given events in recent years, that faith and trust have been eroding, and THAT is one of the reasons that the dollar value is going to continue to decrease against currencies like the Yuan, and Yen.

It is also the chief reason that foreign and American investors are looking to foreign stock markets whose returns are kicking ours square in the ass. I have been maintianing foreign investments at equal or slightly more than what is invested in small caps, diversified and S&P indexes. My overall return this last year in foreign markets has put my American investments to shame, at periods doubling the return of American markets. Money chases the greatest return, and the greatest return on stocks AIN’T in America anymore, and the risk factors which used to hold back investments in foreign exchanges have been greatly reduced.

But, it is the treasuries we use to borrow for our national debt, and so far, they have remained competitive. But with the size of our debt, should another 2 or 3 .25 Tril, half Tril, or 1 Trillion calamities hit America in the form of war, natural disaster, or terrorist attack, treasury investors will indeed look elsewhere for treasury returns since foreign treasury risks will suddenly appear smaller than the U.S.’s.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 30, 2006 4:11 PM
Comment #136937

According to Citizens Against Government Waste, Pork spending in 2005 was $27.3 Billion. I read that our Budget was 2.5 Trillion. If we cut all pork we would still be increasing the debt. Our govt has totally mismanaged entitlements. We will never reduce the debt without raising revenues.

BTW Ronald Reagan signed into law tax increases of $132.7 billion per year by 1988—equal to 2.6 percent of gross domestic product. That’s really how he reduced the deficit.

Posted by: Loren at March 30, 2006 5:21 PM
Comment #136938

Running Down The Clock
///
the end of our country as we know it.Posted by: kctim at March 30, 2006 11:21 AM
That is the purpose of the deficit. Our right wing revolutionaries have had the same program since Reagan, who was their tool. It can actually be traced back to Harry Flood Byrd, Strom Thurmond, and the states rights movements reaction to Truman. They would rather eliminate the federal government than have it push any kind of social agenda.

The Gold hucksters are out again today, they were on the financial news this morning.
///

Posted by: Ohrealy at March 30, 2006 5:22 PM
Comment #136944

“Can we at least agree on that?”

Ma’am, I believe we agree on MANY things, but this is probably not one of them.
I believe all of the things you mentioned are nothing but pork also.

Posted by: kctim at March 30, 2006 5:47 PM
Comment #136947

Yeah kctim

why don’t we let the free market take care of the homeless, orphaned, disabled, etc? I mean, they all live in the richest country in history, let them eat brioche.

Posted by: Loren at March 30, 2006 6:09 PM
Comment #136959
Our govt has totally mismanaged entitlements.
Yes. Totally.

Recessions have been occurring between 2 to 11 years for the last 46 years.

What is the potential that the next recession turns into a depression? It’s not far fecthed.
[] %Debt to GDP has never been higher since WWII.
[] The Debt has never been higher (true, there has been growth in GDP too). Debt now is quadruple what it was after WWII (adjusted for inflation);
[] The size of the bloated government has never been higher.
[] The trade deficits have never been worse.
[] The amount of wealth belonging to 1% of the population has never been higher since the Great Depression of 1929.
[] And, foreign competition has never been higher (and increasingly better educated). Global Corporatism has never been higher.
[] The troubled entitlement systems and dependency on government has never been worse.
[] Not, to mention all of the rest of these pressing problems growing in number and severity, and increasingly corrupt incumbent politicians enjoy re-election by stupid voters, over and over, justifying the arrogant politicians’ disdain of lazy voters.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 30, 2006 6:47 PM
Comment #136960

Loren,
You have to understand that a certain people are of the mindset that ANYONE poor or disabled deserves to be that way, chooses to be that way, and is not on the same level of value as they are.
Barbara bush’s comments on the Katrina victims, BEFORE they muzzled her, display that mindset perfectly.
Therefore, it would bother them not one bit to throw those people out on the street with no plan or warning. (actually, they bitch about them being on the street too, so I don’t know where they’d throw them)

Posted by: Norby at March 30, 2006 6:47 PM
Comment #136962

FYI, Nixon officially took the U.S. off the gold standard in 1971, though the system had been in decline for several years before that. When you hear people talk about what a dollar is worth, they’re speaking in terms of inflation, not the amount of gold behind it. For example, it would take $8.11 in today’s dollars to buy what one dollar would purchase in 1950.

Posted by: slowthinker at March 30, 2006 6:50 PM
Comment #136963

Norby,
those people are happiest when they live in gated communities with pit bulls in their yards. Let other people deal with real problems. kctim, armed guards are the solution to everything, right?

Posted by: Loren at March 30, 2006 6:52 PM
Comment #136978

I don’t want to get into this to much, but someone wrote earlier that no one puts forward a balanced budget.
First off the president is the person responsible for the budget. He puts together the budget (cost and all) and then sends it to congress for approval. Of course congress gets their hands and it and the cost goes up. I now times are differnt now but this current president has not submitted one balanced budget yet. They have all had increased spending (average of 5% per year). The only president in my life time to submit a balanced budget was Clinton, 4 of his 8 budgets were balanced on submission. Not Johnson, Nixion, Ford, Carter, Reagan (the republicans second coming of christ), Bush Sr. nor Bush Jr. have been able to do what Clinton did.
We need it to start at the top. We need a president to submitt a balanced budget from the get go and then hold congress to the fire with a veto if it’s not.

Posted by: Rusty at March 30, 2006 7:25 PM
Comment #136981

Amen Rusty

Posted by: Loren at March 30, 2006 7:30 PM
Comment #136989

Rusty, actually Lyndon Johnson balanced it with a 10 per cent income tax surcharge in his last budget, which Nixon got repealed as soon as he came in.

Carter, in his last budget, balanced it with a windfall profits tax on oil companies, which Reagan stopped when he came in. Taxes Bad. Debts good. F*ck the future, it will all work itself out. That is the Rpblcn policy.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 30, 2006 7:54 PM
Comment #136996

Loren,
Nice example here in Reno yesterday.
Elderly couple killed in their home. Apparent robbery.
Frontpage worthy? Of course. This was a gated golf club resort type community with 3 million dollar houses.
The police stated on the news “we have EVERY detective working on this case”.
EVERY detective? Wonder how many would be working it if they were found slain in their Doublewide Trailer??
Some people matter in America, some matter LESS.

Posted by: Norby at March 30, 2006 8:05 PM
Comment #137030

debt = the opposite of freedom.

Posted by: tree hugger at March 31, 2006 12:37 AM
Comment #137056
why don’t we let the free market take care of the homeless, orphaned, disabled, etc?

Unfortunately I believe your post was meant to be sarcastic when in reality it was the best idea you have said yet. If by free market you mean charity organizations, churches, private donations from individuals and companies, and local community donations then we agree completely. Only in recent history have so many Americans decided among themselves that it is up to the federal government to fund and take care of everything for those who can not do it themselves.

You have to understand that a certain people are of the mindset that ANYONE poor or disabled deserves to be that way, chooses to be that way, and is not on the same level of value as they are.

While I know that there are some folks out there that are just plain mean and do feel that those less fortunate are “below” them. I don’t think that this is a large majority (And I also don’t believe that they exist only in one party as you see to be insinuating). Most want to help the less fortunate. It’s just that many (like me) feel that the federal government is not the right entity to carry out this task. In fact they SUCK at it and have shown that. Private charity groups, churches, etc are far and away better at it. They can keep their costs down better, spend money more wisely and better govern how their charity gets handed out(there by helping to eliminate those that are just doing it for the “free ride”)…

If the government raised your taxes 10% how much of that money do you think would go directly to those “less fortunate” people you speak of? Now how about if you gave that same 10% to a respectable charity help organization such as the Red Cross instead. Which transaction has done more good for the less fortunate? Which one do you feel better about personally? If you answered “the government” for either of these 2 questions then you are beyond help IMO. :-)

Posted by: BradM at March 31, 2006 7:39 AM
Comment #137058

BTW… Great article Stephen and I agree 100%. It is up to us to make the politicians understand that their current spending ways are unacceptable. And the ONLY way to do that is send a wake up call to them by removing those who are perpetuating the problem from office.

Posted by: BradM at March 31, 2006 7:52 AM
Comment #137069

Norby and Loren
Should I not be free to believe and live as I wish?
I thought forcing ones beliefs onto others was wrong?

Our debt is a direct result of govt doing more than it should, more than it was meant too and more than it needs too.

Posted by: kctim at March 31, 2006 9:12 AM
Comment #137112

Duano,

Check out the Libertarian Party, or other legitimate third parties. If you and more people like you who are tired and disgusted by the abuses of our two current power parties would investigate the other options, and then act, we might be able to make a dent into the chokehold that they have.

Posted by: LB at March 31, 2006 12:24 PM
Comment #137142

This is the intermediate culmination of an idea that has been bouncing around inside my skull for some time now. It will probably intrigue a few people, and irritate many more, but from my view, it takes on the task of actually killing two birds with one stone… actually more than two birds. However, this idea would have to be taken completely in concert. Piecemealing it would invalidate the entire thing.

First, since it seems the main thing that continues to keep the U.S. embroiled in international political struggles is our dependence on foreign oil, we must do something to reduce that dependence.

And second, I’ve seen enough to convince me that we, as a people, need to begin taking immediate steps to counter the dangers of global warming.

So here’s my proposal:

Within 5 years, no more straight gasoline-powered cars will be sold in the U.S. If you want to sell cars in the U.S., they will be hybrid or electric. If it’s not, you can’t sell it here… I don’t care if you’re a U.S. automaker or foreign.

Within 5 years after that, all straight gasoline-powered cars off the roads. It’s illegal to drive one. Period. We can cut tax breaks to people who have to buy them if we need to, but since most car loans and leases are no more than 60 months anyway, I really don’t see even that being a necessity. But I can allow it to make this happen.

So that’s a 10-year period for automakers and auto-drivers to develop or adapt to existing technology to get hybrids and electrics on the roadways, and thus reduce our dependence as a country on foreign oil. It also drastically reduces the artificial greenhouse gas emissions that we produce as an entire country.

Now, with that plan being in place, we pull our troops — ALL OF THEM — that are stationed overseas back home. Pull out of Iraq, pull out of Europe, out of India, out of everything. I’m sick of the anti-American sentiment that permeates the world right now, so let’s leave the world to it’s own devices. The rest of the world only welcomes us when they want our money for whatever various reasons. They don’t want us or our presence, just our money. So let’s see how well they do without either. The don’t like the idea of American conscience as the international police of the Earth, and let’s face it, it’s not possible for us to fill this role adequately without broad international support. I’ve seen plenty of people here who believe that if we leave the other countries alone, then they’ll leave us alone. We can test that theory. And since we won’t need foreign oil anymore, we certainly won’t need them. We are the only country in the world right now that is potentially self-sufficient… except that we need oil from foreign sources.

Now, since we’ll be bringing our boys home, we’ll need places for them to be stationed. Which means we can re-open quite a number of military bases which were closed in the 90’s. Which means the creation of a large job market for the support of these re-established bases. It also means we will have ALL of our troops available to the defense of our country — and it’s borders. Which means I can see a use in containing illegal entry and immigration into this country. It also means that since we won’t have ANY troops ANYwhere in the world interfering in the politics of other countries, they can leave us alone. And if they don’t, then we have the right then at that point to take whatever steps necessary to protect ourselves and deter future interference in OUR home front.

So, to sum up: 1) Put hybrids and electrics on the roads; 2) reduce dependence on foreign oil; 3) clean up the atmosphere; 4) bring our troops home; 5)create jobs at home; 6) eliminate involvement in murky international politics, and; 7) close our borders and let the rest of the world go down in flames if chooses to.

As I said in the opening, this is an intermediate idea and I welcome any comments, since I’m sure everyone will have a problem with it somewhere. But, taken as a whole, it makes a lot of sense to me, mostly because I don’t need to rest of the world if it has decided it doesn’t need me.

Oh, and one final comment, once we have decided to take these steps, foreign businesses only do business inside our country on OUR terms, with domestic job production and domestic tax production. And frankly, ditto for American companies, too. No outsourcing or off-shoring. Basically, create a regulated, domestic free market (I know, I know… oxymoron, right? By regulated, I mean the creation of an equal playing field for all). If you want access to the American consumer, you contribute something to the benefit of the American citizen.

Posted by: LB at March 31, 2006 2:19 PM
Comment #137145

To completely get away from foreign oil dependance involves more than just cars. What about all the military vehicles we have, how long to upgrade and replace all of those planes, tanks, etc? Also, what would we do about platics?

Posted by: SirisC at March 31, 2006 2:26 PM
Comment #137170

BradM

A hodge-podge network of charitable organizations will leave many of the neediest falling through the cracks. And based on what evidence do you assert that Red Cross does it better? Like they did in Katrina? The govt has done a lousy job, but that doesn’t mean it can ONLY do a lousy job, or that large NFP do it any better.

kctim
it is YOU who is forcing your beliefs on everyone, not the other way around. Our country is only as strong as its weakest members. If you are going to isolate yourself, don’t tell us how to take care of the rest of the people you are hiding from

Posted by: Loren at March 31, 2006 5:55 PM
Comment #137171

Rusty and others,

Actually, the President has no authority, Constitutional or statutory, to submit a budget. Constitutionally, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives” (Art. I, Sec. 7).

The President submitting a budget is a recent (post-WWII) innovation.

Posted by: Arr-squared at March 31, 2006 5:56 PM
Comment #137192

So what. That’s a red herring.

Posted by: Loren at March 31, 2006 9:56 PM
Comment #137256

Loren
“it is YOU who is forcing your beliefs on everyone, not the other way around.”

How so? I don’t care, nor would I want to stop others from using their money however they wanted.

“Our country is only as strong as its weakest members.”

Yeah, thanks for your opinion on that. Others have differing opinions and have a right to have those opinions.

“If you are going to isolate yourself, don’t tell us how to take care of the rest of the people you are hiding from”

I’m doing no such thing. Please help them all you want in order to make yourself feel better. I really don’t care what you do.

I’m confused though. You don’t want me telling you how to take care of people, but yet, you want to force me to support what YOU think is right and take care of them.

And I also wouldn’t really say that I’m “hiding” from anybody. I just believe there is a better way of handling the situation. A way which is fair to all and a way that would slow that damn clock down.

Posted by: kctim at April 1, 2006 10:30 AM
Comment #137414

It isn’t fair to all, just convenient for YOU. Go live some place where you have to interact with people who are different from you for a while(definitely not kc), and then tell me how fair your ideas are to everyone.

Posted by: Loren at April 2, 2006 10:04 AM
Comment #137568
A hodge-podge network of charitable organizations will leave many of the neediest falling through the cracks.

A) And what proof do you have that the government does this better?

B) It should not be the governments job to “take care” of everyone. Even if they are the “neediest”.

And based on what evidence do you assert that Red Cross does it better?

Red Cross
ORGANIZATIONAL EFFICIENCY
Program Expenses 91.1%
Administration Expenses 5.4%
Fundraising Expenses 3.5%

Stats provided by www.charitynavigator.org

Feel free to show me similar stats that show that the National government can aid people in the way that the Red Cross does and do it in a more efficient manner. In fact… feel free to show me ANY stats on what % of our tax dollars go to helping people?

Like they did in Katrina?

Yes, exactly… The Red Cross (and others like them) did a much better job of actually helping people during Katrina than the government did with the exception of the air rescues and the enforcement of martial law due to people shooting at the rescuers. In fact they probably would have done an even better job if the government had not gotten in their way. And it would have probably run more smoothly if private companies had been in charge of getting goods down there to help instead of the government. Wal-Mart had all but one of it’s stores in the region back up and running within a week or so. The government on all levels failed. Mainly because they were trying to do things that they do not and can not do best. Do air rescues… Yes. Restore order… Of course. Provide food and shelter. Nope. That is just not what the Feds were designed to do.

The govt has done a lousy job, but that doesn’t mean it can ONLY do a lousy job, or that large NFP do it any better.

The point is that this should not be the governments job. They don’t do it well, they don’t do it efficiently, The don’t do it quickly. Why? Because it is not and should not be their job. Period.

Posted by: BradM at April 3, 2006 8:29 AM
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