Democrats & Liberals Archives

Getting a Running Start

Some folks don’t have their thinking real organized. It’s a good thing we averted a government shutdown. Some, though, are intending to oppose, or at the very least delay with difficult negotiations the raising of the spending limit. However courageous some think these folks are, the fact remains, that Cantor and others just reached a deal to legally obligate us to spend a whole bunch of money, and are now saying they don’t want to approve the only sane way we’re going to pay for it.

Yesterday, I repeated a comment I had made on Daily Kos (oh horrors, contaminated by the Great Orange Satan) Which said this:

The reason why we authorize debt ceilings is that doing so replaced the old law where every additional taking on of debt would require a separate bill. If the current budget deal goes through, the Republicans and Democrats together have essentially pledged us to spend that much money, which will, after everything is said and done, mean that they have pledged us to take on additional debt. So what would failing to raise the debt ceiling represent? A deliberate refusal to take on the debt required in order to fulfill the budgeted spending they've just obligated us to!

If failing to raise the debt ceiling is like knocking your head against a brick wall, doing so after you just okayed a spending bill for the rest of the year is like getting a running start first.

It's a national version, essentially, of enjoying a big meal, then trying to skip out on the check.

This weakened economy won't take much austerity. That's the main reason much of the Bush tax cuts remain in place. But if we can't borrow the money, we're either going to have to undo trillions of spending, or we'll be forced to impose trillions of dollars in taxes.

But even before then, the markets are going to get nervous. It's not everyday that the world's largest economy and largest debtor flirts with default or the ruinous prospect of extreme austerity measures.

It's also not everyday that a political party dares to try and take everybody else's priority's hostage to get their way on other matters. I think I can safely say that this is a matter of national priority and general interest. Though it might poll well to avoid raising the debt ceiling, I don't think people quite grasp what the debt ceilings really about.

It's pretty simple, actually. Only unfamiliarity with fiscal processes leads to its unpopularity.

Really, the debt ceiling has little to do with actual budgeting. It's really not mean to be a hard and fast barrier to new spending, either. What it really was meant to do, was simplify the handling of the debt.

The Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917 established a statutory limit on federal debt.[112] Congress had previously approved each debt issuance separately. The debt limit provided the U.S. Treasury with more leeway in the administration of debt, allowing for modern management techniques in government finance. The U.S. Treasury Department now conducts more than 200 sales of debt by auction every year. The Treasury has been granted authority by Congress to issue such debt as was needed to fund government operations as long as the total debt (excepting some small special classes) does not exceed a stated ceiling.

What we're talking about here is authorizing the Treasury to sell the debt necessary to fund the spending we're just about to obligate ourselves to.

To say no to raising the debt ceiling is the worst kind of mixed message, in both fiscal and political terms. Spending bills require the treasury to make outlays. The Debt Ceiling gives the treasury the room it needs to fund that spending. Republicans can talk about the treasury spending more money it doesn't have, but in truth, the market in US Treasury bonds ensures that it really isn't doing so, that real dollars are there to fund the programs, fund the entitlements, fund all the portions of the budgets that the treasury's been told to pay for.

Republicans and Democrats, when they finally agree on a spending bill, will be telling the Treasury what to pay, to whom, and in what amount. The raising of the debt ceiling is nothing more than the statement that tells the treasury that it has the authority to raise that money, when the costs exceed the revenues.

If you don't want to have to authorize the second, you must reduce the first to the point that it's not necessary. But in a weak economy, hell, in just about any economy, you don't just drop that much spending or raise that much taxes all at once. Whether some Conservatives like it or not, part of our GDP rests in the economic activity of our government. The economy must have the time, and the private sector the ability to adjust, to take up the lost economic activity.

One year for one trillion dollars, or more? Nah, that's not happening, and the folks on Wall Street know it.

Only monsters or morons would inflict the kind of damage that the failure to raise the debt limit would inflict. It's not a solution, it's the refusal to continue two hundred plus years of America's full faith and credit, over two centuries of time during which you could say, "If I lend the Federal Government my money, I will be paid back in full."

Rather than setting our fiscal house in order, the failure to increase the debt limit would make a mockery of those words. When the debt limit becomes a hostage to politics, people rightly wonder whether America's going to pay its bills, or whether it's going to promise to pay, and fail to gather up the money.

If the Republicans are going to tell our treasury to pay for the government, they had damn well better give it the authority to raise the money to foot the bill. The Republicans have helped turned our nation into the world's biggest debtor during the last thirty years. Must they now turn us into the world's biggest deadbeats?

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at April 13, 2011 8:49 AM
Comments
Comment #321628

SD writes; “What we’re talking about here is authorizing the Treasury to sell the debt necessary to fund the spending we’re just about to obligate ourselves to.

Republicans and Democrats, when they finally agree on a spending bill, will be telling the Treasury what to pay, to whom, and in what amount. The raising of the debt ceiling is nothing more than the statement that tells the treasury that it has the authority to raise that money, when the costs exceed the revenues.

If you don’t want to have to authorize the second, you must reduce the first to the point that it’s not necessary.”

Yup…that’s how it works. If we spend more than we receive we must borrow and hope that some day in the future we can pay it back. That’s how we got to over $14 trillion in debt.

To reach numbers of such staggering proportions…$14,000 billion ($1,400,000 million), took an awful lot of spending beyond our revenue. I don’t care to lay the blame on any particular party, person, or congress as there were many hands and snouts in the pig trough.

It is a fact…the citizens of the United States, each one of us individually and collectively, owe this money to someone. And, if we fail to pay our debts the consequences will be catastrophic.

How do we begin to pay back $14 trillion in debts? That’s the real question. Well, if we listen to the left, they tell us to worry about it a little, but not so much that we stop going even further into debt.

The left tells us that we must spend our way back to prosperity with more borrowed dollars. To do that, we must increase the debt limit. To reach a debt of $14 trillion and rising, it must have taken quite a few debt limit increases as I am quite certain we didn’t start with a debt limit anywhere near this gigantic.

And, I am quite certain, without doing any research, that in each and every case that congress authorized an increase in the debt limit we were told it was for some necessary and hugely important national good.

And, I am equally certain, again without doing the research, that each time an increase in the debt limit was authorized there was much talk about reducing future spending to get the debt under control.

Once again, true to form, the politicians tell us we need to increase the debt limit for the national good and that the next budget will reflect reductions in spending.

Well, I for one…ain’t buying this crap. “Fool me twice…shame on me”. Fool the nation an untold number of times…”We are simply irredeemable fools”.

What some in congress, brave enough to do what is right (and difficult), desire to accomplish this time around is to put the horse in front of the buggy for a change. They maintain we should deal with cutting the spending and then we can determine how much, if any, increase in the debt ceiling is required. A sufficient cut in spending might not require an increase in debt authorization.

Holding a reduction in spending as a sword over the neck of our debt is a strategy we should try this time. If not now…when?


Posted by: Royal Flush at April 14, 2011 8:08 PM
Comment #321640

Royal Flush-
Even if America never defaults, even if it successfully keeps everything under that debt limit, which is unlikely, coming close to the prospect of a Sovereign Default will create true economic uncertainty.

Remember 2006-2008. The problem there, as it was, was that millions of homeowners had been given loans they couldn’t afford, and those mortgages got bundled into a whole bunch of mortgage securities, which became the feedstock of trillions of dollars in derivatives, which became a huge part themselves of the Bank’s portfolio. The mere possibility that many of these mortgage securities were worthless, or seriously overvalued sent the markets into a panic from which we still haven’t recovered.

Look at Greece. That’s what sovereign default looks like. Look at other countries that are in trouble over their debt, like Spain, Portugal, and Ireland. That’s what the threat of Sovereign default looks like. You folks scaremonger about the possibility of America going in that direction. That’s what you’re so bravely and boldly flirting with, just to extract policy concessions from the Democrats.

See, what you’re messing with is essentially people’s faith that they will get paid back. We aren’t truly bankrupt until we can’t pay people back. Right now, we’re paying them back just fine, although the amount we owe is rightly of concern. To fail to pass a debt limit increase would be, like one person put it, playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun. You’d still have the debt to worry about, and you would render your economy unable to pay for it, and your creditors unwilling to lend you anything further at the low rates we are lent money at today.

You would bring about the very result you warn us would come of maintaining current policy, only this wouldn’t be two or three decades down the line; no, you would inflict that fate on us now.

You know, you were warned that your tax cuts could negatively affect this country’s fiscal situation, that your unpaid-for spending items would aggravate the problem further.

You were warned, and didn’t listen. Now you’re trying to muddy the waters on responsibility for that mistake by pointing fingers at us. How charming. Quoting from a site that deals with logic:

Tu Quoque is a very common fallacy in which one attempts to defend oneself or another from criticism by turning the critique back against the accuser. This is a classic Red Herring since whether the accuser is guilty of the same, or a similar, wrong is irrelevant to the truth of the original charge. However, as a diversionary tactic, Tu Quoque can be very effective, since the accuser is put on the defensive, and frequently feels compelled to defend against the accusation.

Whether or not Democrats helped Reagan triple the national debt, or tripled their own all by themselves under Carter, Bush’s policies remain mistakes in and of themselves.

I think, in particular, the Republicans don’t want to have to admit that unpaid for military spending or tax cuts were mistakes. But if they preserve those blind spots, they’re going to get nowhere on debt reduction. They force America to borrow more, and Republicans won’t cut military spending, nor disrupt current spending on entitlements enough to pay for those tax cuts.

And, no, they don’t pay for themselves in increased revenues. Every big tax cut, 1981, 1986, 2001, and 2003 has been accompanied by an increase in debt and deficit. The calculus of its economic effect doesn’t overcome the arithmetic of its direct fiscal effect.

It’s this kind of this unwillingness to take the warning of effects that don’t fit your political theories that makes me such a staunch opponent of Republican policies. In younger times, I would have been willing to make deals and reach compromises with Republicans, but I will not square the ideological difference to support delusional policy. America needs to get its fiscal policy back on track through long-term planning and discipline, not by committing fiscal and financial suicide.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 15, 2011 9:33 AM
Comment #321642

I fail to see any resemblance between what I posted and what SD responded to.

I proclaimed that many snouts of all political stripes were at the pig trough, he doesn’t agree.

I proclaimed that bankruptcy for our country is not an option. He apparently believes I think it is.

I proclaimed that we should work on cutting the budget before increasing the credit limit. He disagrees, but doesn’t say why.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 15, 2011 11:39 AM
Comment #321645

“We’re either going to have to undo trillions of spending,”
What a novel idea!!
“I don’t think people quite grasp what the debt ceilings really about.”
Of course a select few have a grasp? Why do I exist in such high thinking circles? The people I run with all have a grasp about the debt ceiling. Give me some names of some people who do not have a grasp so I can contact them and in a few seconds help them understand.
“Really, the debt ceiling has little to do with actual budgeting. It’s really not mean to be a hard and fast barrier to new spending, either. What it really was meant to do was simplify the handling of the debt.”
That does not even make sense. Do peaches have anything to do with peach cobbler? To some I suppose they would say no.
“Only monsters or morons would inflict the kind of damage that the failure to raise the debt limit would inflict.”
I am neither a monster nor a moron, which despide the rules of WB, is part of the new approach on here and look already it is being violated.
“If the Republicans are going to tell our treasury to pay for the government, they had damn well better give it the authority to raise the money to foot the bill. The Republicans have helped turned our nation into the world’s biggest debtor during the last thirty years. Must they now turn us into the world’s biggest deadbeats?”
What do you call the democrats contribution to this mess? Sound fiscal doctrine?
The reason for this problem is so clear and simple. The government has continually spent and spent and spent and spent to the point that we are bankrupt. Those Treasury notes are just paper with nothing of value to back them up. If they were all called in today, this government would collapse absolutely and totally and you would not have the broadband to offer a fix. If you think the good name of the US Treasury is backing those notes, you are grossly in error. Nothing of value backs them.
Does anybody on this site operate their personal finances like the federal government operates the money we send them to run the system? If you say yes, you have not done it for very long and in the very near future you will be broke, bankrupt, busted, no money, no securities, no savings, not anything including the house you live in. The math is straight forward and easy to apply.

Posted by: tom humes at April 15, 2011 12:29 PM
Comment #321646

CHICAGO — Failure by Congress to raise the U.S. debt limit “could plunge the world economy back into recession,” President Barack Obama declared Friday, and he acknowledged that he must compromise on spending with Republicans who control the House to avoid such a crisis.

“I think it’s absolutely right that it’s not going to happen without some spending cuts,” the president told The Associated Press in an interview in his hometown, agreeing with House Speaker John Boehner’s assessment.

He warned of dire consequences if the debt ceiling is not raised before it hits its limit of $14.3 trillion in mid-May. But he said some questions about where the government trims its operations will have to be left until after the 2012 presidential election.

http://www.aolnews.com/2011/04/15/obama-raise-debt-ceiling-or-risk-global-recession/

Hmmm…the president agrees we need spending cuts. But first, we must increase our spending limits. How familiar, how predictable, how asinine.

We just had an election in November that changed dramatically the makeup of congress. Since the prez doesn’t like those results, he declares that we must have another election before we can tackle the difficult issues in spending cuts. WHY IS THAT?

Well, a sensible explanation is that he is hoping that the 2012 election will not only reelect him, but bring back control of both houses of congress.

OK, I get it. We have serious debt and budget problems but now is not the time to address them as the prez doesn’t have complete control anymore.

I have a news flash for the prez. The electorate is in no mood to play his waiting and wishing game. They want action now and expressed those desires in November.

The prez won’t lead, he won’t follow, will he please get the hell out of the way!

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 15, 2011 1:31 PM
Comment #321647

The nation of Greece has a socialist government and socialist government supported programs. The state debt in Greece is expected to soon become over 160% of its GDP.

The IMF recently threw Greece a $146 billion financial lifeline in exchange for sweeping budget cuts. Having heavily relied upon ever-increasing public spending for decades their economy fell into a deep recession with a jobless rate climbing to a record 15.1%.

Those on the left might say…see, when public spending is reduced it causes recession and higher unemployment.

Well of course it does when a country lives on debt for decades. And, of course, it is only when catastrophe looms and necessity dictates no other course, that socialist policies lose their luster for the masses.

Many on the left, ignoring the lessons of Greece, and other sick European nations, would like the US to merrily skip down the same path to fiscal insolvency. Keep riding that dead horse until it drops is their motto. They hope, of course, that the horse doesn’t drop dead on their watch.

Conservatives and moderates would rather make the horse healthy again. Get our house in fiscal order with some pain for everyone now, rather than wait for the day when the pain would be unbearable.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 15, 2011 1:50 PM
Comment #321648

Everyone on Watchblog declares their concern for hunger in the world.

“The surge in global food prices has already driven 44 million people below the “extreme poverty line,” which the World Bank defines as living on just $1.25 a day.

An additional 10% increase in food prices would cause another 10 million people to fall below the poverty line, while a 30% spike would lead to 34 million more poor, according to the World Bank.

“The numbers tell a grim story of persistent, grinding pressure on the world’s poor,” said World Bank president Robert Zoellick at a press conference.

More recently, food prices have been pushed higher by rising energy costs, as oil prices spiked above $100 a barrel. That has made producing and transporting agricultural goods more expensive.

In addition, higher oil prices have encouraged many farmers to increase production of crops used for biofuels, such as corn. Global maize prices were up 74% in March versus last year.”

Despite the concern over hunger in the world, I continue to read posts on Watchblog that urge our government to employ policies that will result in much greater energy costs. A simple extrapolation will lead one to conclude that such an energy policy will have a directly proportional concomitant rise in food cost.


Posted by: Royal Flush at April 15, 2011 2:04 PM
Comment #321649

R.F. I agree with everthing you have written. For the way liberals think, I can never figure why the whole lot of them are not in bankruptcy. Maybe it’s the fact they like to spend other peoples money and save their own.

Posted by: KAP at April 15, 2011 2:19 PM
Comment #321650

EAT THE RICH

“Federal tax collections have been between 15 and 20 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product every year since 1960. However, between 1960 and today, the top marginal tax rate has varied between 91 percent and 35 percent. That means whether taxes are high or low, people make adjustments in their economic behavior so as to keep the government tax take at 15 to 20 percent of the GDP. Differences in tax rates have a far greater impact on economic growth than federal revenues.

http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/articles/11/EatTheRich

Walter Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University and and one of my favorite political writers.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 15, 2011 2:31 PM
Comment #321651

Let me try this and see what gets distorted.

The government spends $6.85 million per minute.
CBO says the latest numbers cut $352 in spending.
That means over the next 6 months the government will cut 51 minutes of spending. Is that what we really want? Are those in charge really that stupid and irresponsible? My conclusion is that they know full well what they are doing and that the bottom line is a new form of government which they will be the power brokers of. I got news for them. If there is a new form of government, they will be the first to be dispersed of, sumarily and totally.

Posted by: tom humes at April 15, 2011 2:47 PM
Comment #321652

At 14.8% of gdp, today’s revenues are the lowest since the Truman Administration. Ideally, we should have tax revenues at 20% of gdp, which could be accomplished by raising marginal rates and/or a carbon tax.

Historical Revenue-GDP ratio data.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 15, 2011 3:12 PM
Comment #321653

Thanks for the post Tom. 51 minutes out of the year is really quite puny isn’t it. Yet, we hear of draconian and catastrophic consequences of such cuts in spending from the left. Why is that?

Well, it could be that the left received, and is dependent upon, its power through federal spending for interest group liberals.

Who and what are “interest group liberals” one might ask. They can be defined as those who take the “welfare” clause in our constitution at face value. For many of them, this clause has a simple meaning. Half of the country works to provide the other half of the country with a living.

No longer content to provide food, clothing and shelter for our nation’s poor (I support this), these interest group liberals believe that the poor should have a standard of living that approaches those who work for a living.

The justification for such largess is usually found in their preamble to nearly every argument about poverty. It goes like this…In such a rich country as the United States, it is unworthy of our national ideals to have people who don’t have….(fill in the blank).

As the poor are always lacking something that those who work have, the injustice continues and more and more benefits must be added for the poor to achieve the parity that the liberals demand.

Using Tom’s figures, it seems that the left believes that cutting 51 minutes of spending out of the entire year will cause the poor to go hungry, naked, and without shelter.

Let’s ask the left to show us how 51 minutes of spending is currently supporting the poor. Is that all it takes? We declared a war on poverty nearly 50 years ago. With such a paltry sum being necessary to win, why haven’t we won yet?

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 15, 2011 3:30 PM
Comment #321655

Warped Reality appears to be calling for a carbon tax. Considering the linkage of oil prices and hunger around the world that the World Bank quote above by me indicates, is WR advocating more world hunger?

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 15, 2011 3:37 PM
Comment #321658


Royal, did that World Bank quote say drill baby drill?

All we have to do is drill baby drill and the price of oil will be so low that the gauge on the gas pump will barely move when you fill up and food will be so cheap that farmers will have to give it away.

Posted by: jlw at April 15, 2011 4:36 PM
Comment #321659

What’s your point jlw?

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 15, 2011 4:39 PM
Comment #321660
onsidering the linkage of oil prices and hunger around the world that the World Bank quote above by me indicates, is WR advocating more world hunger?

It’s not the US government’s job to relieve hunger overseas.

In any case, how does a carbon tax in the US increase fuel costs overseas? Foreigners don’t pay US taxes. In fact, a carbon tax will likely lower fuel costs overseas if it reduces American demand for fuel.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 15, 2011 5:22 PM
Comment #321661

W.R. What about the people here in the U.S. that are affected by the price of fuel? Don’t you think that the price of oil here has an impact on the price at the grocery store? Have you been to the grocery store lately? I have and it cost me more to buy the same things that I bought a few months ago. You liberals or progressives are always crying about the poor here but don’t you think that higher fuel or carbon taxes are not going to affect them?

Posted by: KAP at April 15, 2011 5:38 PM
Comment #321663

Thanks KAP…you beat me to the punch but you ask good questions.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 15, 2011 5:50 PM
Comment #321664

KAP,

Change your behavior to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and you won’t feel pinched when the government stops subsidizing it.

Regarding the poor, yes they will be effected, which is a good thing. People need to make better decisions in order to live responsible lives.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 15, 2011 6:03 PM
Comment #321665

W.R. So you are in favor of screwing the poor? I have changed my behavior because of the rise in gas prices, I don’t drive as much, but that dosen’t mean that the trucking company that supplies the grocery store is going to change his habits or reliance on fossil fue. Tell me W.R. when are the alternative fuels going to be ready in sufficent quantities to get the U.S. off of fossil fuels? I’ll answer for you, NOT IN YOUR LIFE TIME.

Posted by: KAP at April 15, 2011 6:19 PM
Comment #321666

WOW…what a cold fish comment WR. How does starving to death lead to better decisions?

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 15, 2011 6:20 PM
Comment #321667

KAP…I wonder if WR uses electricity?

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 15, 2011 6:23 PM
Comment #321668

R.F. If he does then, that blows his comments down the tube.

Posted by: KAP at April 15, 2011 6:29 PM
Comment #321669
that dosen’t mean that the trucking company that supplies the grocery store is going to change his habits or reliance on fossil fue
Then stop patronizing a grocery store that charges exorbitant prices to import food from faraway. There are many local food alternatives that require much less money to be spent on fuel. Another option is to eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables.

It’s called the free market. Or do you need to whine until the nanny state provides with oil to suckle?


Comment #321667

KAP…I wonder if WR uses electricity? Posted by: Royal Flush at April 15, 2011 06:23 PM Comment #321668

R.F. If he does then, that blows his comments down the tube.
Posted by: KAP at April 15, 2011 06:29 PM

Is this an attempt at a Tu Quoque argument?
Obviously, I use a computer powered with electricity to comment here. Where I live, most of my electrcity comes from nuclear fission and natural gas; after the Cape Wind project is built, I’ll likely be getting a good portion of my energy from there as well.
Posted by: Warped Reality at April 15, 2011 7:01 PM
Comment #321670

Hey KAP…don’t think I’ll duel with WR any more. His comments are full of effect but no substance.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 15, 2011 7:04 PM
Comment #321671

I’m sorry if my comment about suckling the oil was over the line, but it isn’t the government’s job to provide you with cheap food. I thought you were a believer in capitalism and the free market, but I guess not.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 15, 2011 7:11 PM
Comment #321676

WR
Do you use cotton only clothes? Do you use paper instead of plastic at the grocery store? And are you going shopping to replace all those components that require petroleum in you computer? Are you going to trade in your TV for a wood case that uses only components not requiring petroleum? Are your drinking glasses plastic or glass? It that belt you are wearing to keep your britches up leather or synthetic? Is your car interior baren of products requiring petroleum in their manufacture? What do you write with; wood pencils only? Is the floor in your house solid wood without petroleum based product to protect it. Does your food come to you without wraping? This is only a very small sample of why we need petroleum.

Posted by: tom humes at April 15, 2011 8:26 PM
Comment #321677

R.F. your right.

Posted by: KAP at April 15, 2011 8:27 PM
Comment #321678

To whom it may concern

Do you use cotton only clothes? Do you use paper instead of plastic at the grocery store? And are you going shopping to replace all those components that require petroleum in your computer? Are you going to trade in your TV for a wood case that uses only components not requiring petroleum? Are your drinking glasses plastic or glass? It that belt you are wearing to keep your britches up leather or synthetic? Is your car interior baren of products requiring petroleum in their manufacture? What do you write with; wood pencils only? Is the floor in your house solid wood without petroleum based product to protect it. Does your food come to you without wrapping? This is only a very small sample of why we need petroleum.

Posted by: tom humes at April 15, 2011 8:29 PM
Comment #321679

R.F. Your right!!!

Posted by: KAP at April 15, 2011 8:29 PM
Comment #321680

W.R. How can you stop using a store that has higher prices when they ALL have raised the prices. I take it from your comments you necer go grocery shopping.

Posted by: KAP at April 15, 2011 8:33 PM
Comment #321688

W.R. Even the cheap grocery stores have raised the prices, so you must not know what it’s like to shop for groceries.

Posted by: KAP at April 15, 2011 9:30 PM
Comment #321693

For some items, people may be willing to pay a premium for petroleum. For others, alternatives will be found if suppliers wish to keep their customers happy. I was at the grocery store yesterday, buying food for the trip a few friends and I will be taking to WV for Spring Break. We bought food for 96 meals for $121.24, which I believe is comparable to what I was paying for two or three years ago (84 meals for about $105). I guess that amounts to a 1% increase. I don’t know what the inflation rate for food has been historically, but I doubt that 1% is anything out line. However, I concede that the prices of conventionally grown food will probably rise after a carbon tax is put into place. Those foods had their prices artificially lowered by the government, so I don’t feel too bad about letting the market return them to their proper place. Eventually, suppliers and consumers will find a new food system that limits the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.

In any case, there are other options out there; for vegetables you can buy a CSA share. I worked for a vegetable farm near my parent’s house when I was a teenager, this year my former employer is selling shares for $700 that provide food to feed two people on vegetarian diets from June to the end of October (21 weeks). That comes out to less than $35/week to feed two people. If you have a family of four, buy two shares and you’ll be paying less than $70/week. Obviously, food will be more expensive outside the growing season, but that’s just the market at work.

TH,
I try not to use petroleum products when I can; I know they only appear cheap because they are subsidized by the government and I don’t want to participate in such a farce. I use cotton bags when I go shopping, so I don’t use paper or plastic. I don’t own a TV. Except for the laboratory research I do, I exclusively use pencils. Nonetheless, there are probably products I use and consume that require petroleum. For some of them, I may be willing to pay a premium to keep using them, for others I may simply stop using them. I am sure every consumer will make similar choices after a carbon tax is put into place.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 15, 2011 10:15 PM
Comment #321702


The conservative outpouring of sympathy for the poor is touching and hypocritical as well.

Royal, my point was that drilling for more oil will have little effect on the price.

Posted by: jlw at April 16, 2011 12:02 AM
Comment #321705

WR
That lab is just loaded to the hilt with products made with petroleum. All labs would be the same no matter what the lab layout is. Nobody can go a day without a substantial encounter with products made with the help of petroleum, whether in the equipment to do the manufacture or the actual product.

Posted by: tom humes at April 16, 2011 12:37 AM
Comment #321707

I posted this in the red column, but I think it applies here too. Perhaps someone on the liberal side can answer this:

Now don’t panic because I mention Rush Limbaugh. This is not about him; it is about some things he said that got me to thinking.

I was listening to Rush Limbaugh today and heard a couple of things that I found very interesting. I have copied and pasted two paragraphs from his post entitled “If We Don’t Raise the Debt Ceiling, Will the Apocalypse Really Occur?” The rest can be read at the link, if anyone is interested. The interesting thing is that whichever party is in the minority is against raising the debt ceiling. We have Harry Reid and obama saying they were wrong to vote against raising the debt ceiling in 2006, when they were in the minority. So, we have a problem with members of both parties who are oblivious to the US financial problems. Something else that is interesting is that supposedly Boehner reportedly met with Wall Street Execs, who advised him not to raise the debt ceiling. Now, the left hates the Wall Street Execs; my question to the left is, should we do what the Wall Street Execs tell us to do, and raise the debt. And if so, why are the democrats, who also spend their time attacking the Wall Street Execs, supporting what the Execs want? Does anyone on the left ever feel like they are being played like a Stradivarius? I certainly do.

“So what we’ve learned here is that the party out of power is always opposed to raising the debt limit, and they use the same arguments that the previous time that the previous time when another party was out of power used. It’s just mind-boggling here. It’s all about who’s running the show — and if you’re not in charge, if you’re not in control barbecue you’re not the majority, you’re gonna oppose raising the debt ceiling except we’re gonna kick the can down the road. This is why Terence Jeffrey has written the piece. If you’re just joining us, the Republicans are sending a signal out that they’re not gonna fight the debt ceiling increase; that the Ryan budget deal, that really should be our area of focus. That’s what they’re saying.

From The Politico today: “Republicans are growing increasingly concerned about the impact a bruising fight over raising the nation’s $14.29 trillion debt ceiling could have on U.S. financial markets. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has had conversations with top Wall Street executives, asking how close Congress could push to the debt limit deadline without sending interests rates soaring and causing stock prices to go lower, people familiar with the matter said. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said Tuesday night that he was not aware of any such conversations.” But the media is reporting that Wall Street execs are warning Boehner, “You better not fight this fight.” So that’s where we are.”

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_041311/content/01125111.guest.html

Posted by: Conservativethinker at April 16, 2011 1:11 AM
Comment #321708

“All we have to do is drill baby drill and the price of oil will be so low that the gauge on the gas pump will barely move when you fill up and food will be so cheap that farmers will have to give it away.”

Posted by: jlw at April 15, 2011 04:36 PM

“Royal, my point was that drilling for more oil will have little effect on the price.”

Posted by: jlw at April 16, 2011 12:02 AM

Actually jlw, we don’t even have to drill. All we would need is for Obama to announce the opening of drilling and the speculators would take care of the rest. The price would drop. Of course, if Obama did that, he would have to face the rath of his oil hating supporters. So it will never happen.

Posted by: 1776 at April 16, 2011 1:19 AM
Comment #321712

Royal Flush-
I would think that patriotism would lead people to shrink from doing harm to their country, but all too often these days, some who claim themselves Patriots seem willing to inflict terrible consequences on this country to prove themselves right or install the policies they seek.

Anybody who minimizes the consequences of a sovereign default our size fails to grasp the problem. If Greece, with its relatively small economy, is such a hazard for the European Union, what do you think happens if America defaults, or even comes close to it?

The Republicans have taken a position so extreme here, they can’t help but lose, one way or another. Either they relent and prove themselves wimps, or they push for it, and prove themselves a threat to our nation’s economic future.

As for your continued screeds against interest group liberalism? It’s always curious to me how you spend so much time defining liberals, and so little time actually examining the issues that you so confidently opine about.

The Republican’s politics as of late seems to consist of accusing Democrats of something, so they can turn around and do the same. Ryan’s plan, for example, rather than completely destroying Medicare, as may be ideal, turns it into corporate welfare for the already very profitable insurance companies who have already demonstrated a marked inability to contain costs.

So what do Republicans do these days on their interest groups? When the Club For Growth says no new taxes, your people say yes to that. When the NRA says no gun control whatsoever, your people say yes. When the Chamber of Commerce says, keep this tax break for those who ship jobs overseas, its yes sir. I don’t remember any Democrats, even the ones in the Oil Company’s pockets, apologizing to BP for the fact that they were being made to pay for the economic effect of their spill.

They’re absolute slaves to them. Hence the claim that Democrats are absolute slaves to their interests, so it is seen as a common flaw rather than a party weakness.

Republicans will cause great fiscal gaps to open up. They then blame the Democrats when they get back into power for the deficits that result from the difficult to stop policies they put in motion, and which in many cases they filibuster to keep in motion. If Republicans weren’t so filibuster happy, do you really think the billion dollar boondoggle of continuing the starkly ineffective tax cuts for the rich would have continued? That Medicare wouldn’t have been further reformed to cut down on costs?

The Republicans gave into the right wing extremists of their party, took up rhetoric that was harsher in its partisanship and prejudice than any of recent times. So what do they do when they’re called on the dogwhistles and conspiracy theories? They allege that the NAACP supports racists, that there really is a conspiracy among liberals to do harmful things, and that they are the ones who are making things so bitterly partisan.

The Republicans need to stop forming their ideas and ideologies by being the mirror image of the Democrats in all things. It needs to seem more than conservative and liberal, it needs to see the real world beyond the labels, and the real consequences of its behavior.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 16, 2011 9:32 AM
Comment #321714

“The Republicans have taken a position so extreme here”… The Republicans gave into the right wing extremists of their party”

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 16, 2011 09:32 AM


“March 30, 2011
Schumer overheard: “I always use the word extreme… That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.”

SD said:

“The Republican’s politics as of late seems to consist of accusing Democrats of something, so they can turn around and do the same. Ryan’s plan, for example, rather than completely destroying Medicare, as may be ideal, turns it into corporate welfare for the already very profitable insurance companies who have already demonstrated a marked inability to contain costs.”

This is a weird statement; it implies that the Ryan budget is in bed with insurance companies and making them rich. Perhaps Mr. Daugherty could explain why the insurance companies were in support of Obamacare long before it became law? So who did you say was in bed with the Ins companies?

“The fact that the health insurance industry supported Obamacare from the very beginning was entirely missed by the mainstream press. This is perhaps understandable, since a) the mainstream press does not understand the dynamics of the healthcare system, and b) during the Obamacare drama, the health insurance companies had been assigned, and had graciously accepted, their vital role as the Forces of Evil. To the famously credulous members of the mainstream press, it was easy to imagine that the insurers were actually among the opposition.
But the insurance industry supported Obamacare from the start – and even before the start. During the Presidential race of 2008, for instance, managed care companies donated far more money to both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton than to any Republican candidate, even though both of these Democratic candidates publicly castigated the insurance companies for producing most of the problems in American healthcare, and promised to institute reforms that would drastically cramp their style and reduce their profits.”

http://covertrationingblog.com/weird-fact-about-insurance-companies/why-the-health-insurance-industry-supported-obamacare

CT brought up a good point about who is in bed with Wall Street, I notice it was ignored by Stephen, so he could continue with the liberal talking points of Republicans somehow supporting corporations.

Posted by: 1776 at April 16, 2011 9:58 AM
Comment #321715

I wonder where Obama is getting that Billion dollars that is reported that he will have in his re election campaign? I know it sure isn’t all comming from the little donations from people like S.D. and others.

Posted by: KAP at April 16, 2011 10:31 AM
Comment #321719

Of course when PP wants me to continue to fund the killing of babies, the democrats are yelling “Amen Brother”. What started out as genocide is now a tax supported occurance. And my tax money is supporting it. Damn those killers.

Posted by: tom humes at April 16, 2011 6:03 PM
Comment #321722

SD writes; “The Republicans have taken a position so extreme here, they can’t help but lose, one way or another.”

Such a comment is so asinine that it hardly deserves a response. It is unfathomable that anyone could consider it extreme to attempt to reign in our spending or debt.

As Tom noted in his post…the budget cuts approved accounted for 51 minutes of spending out of the entire year’s spending and is really quite puny. Yet, we hear of draconian and catastrophic consequences of such cuts in spending from SD.

As for patriotism my friend (ooops, I forgot, SD has informed me previously how much he objects to that term) I proudly wore the uniform of my country in military service. How about you? I have paid taxes for the past 52 years, never been arrested, and contributed countless thousands of dollars to charitable causes to feed, clothe, and shelter those in need. Our country’s flag has flown in my yard daily for more years than SD has lived.

Don’t ever…ever…ever…question my patriotism.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 16, 2011 7:23 PM
Comment #321723

RF
There are enough to concur with you to swamp any legislation in congress.

Posted by: tom humes at April 16, 2011 7:47 PM
Comment #321724

Tom, I am really confused by some of the liberal nonsense that I read about the 2012 elections. It’s as though the 2010 election, and what it meant, never occurred.

That pin-headed social worker obama and his buddies somehow believe that the country wants more, not less spending. That the country wants higher energy and food prices. That the country wants American military involvement in middle east conflicts when a bunch of rowdy children decide they want something called freedom. Fine, let them fight, die and pay for it.

When someone calls those who wish to save their country from socialism; unpatriotic, I begin to think of all the sacrifice it took to build, defend, and grow this wonderful country by men and women who truly were patriotic. And when some little piss-ant weasel comes along and smears their good name…well, by God, it makes me want to smash their squealing little mouths.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 16, 2011 8:07 PM
Comment #321726

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that the Repugnican leaders are trying to box the Democratic leaders into a political corner with their antics.

Look at the most recent budget extension battle. The Democrats met and exceeded the first demand of the Repugnicans for cutting spending. Then the Repugnicans tacked on the riders for Planned Parenthood and EPA. The strategy? Threaten them with either cutting more spending or they were going to cut PP and EPA. If they cut PP and EPA, they would lose their base, and if they cut more spending, they would lose their base. The Democrats finally figured out their game and called their bluff. Democrats ultimately did not want to be the ones to cut these social programs, especially after the Paul Ryan budget proposal.

I think Paul Ryan really put a wrench in the works for the Repugnicans and their strategy. Ryan, hoping to be a Presidential candidate, came up with a budget plan that even some in his own party wouldn’t support, but it made Ryan look like a tough guy for the voters he is trying to reach. It just made him look like a heartless idiot.

And the Donald…what can I say. He is digging his grave deeper and deeper with the stupid birther stuff.

I think the Democrats have finally figured out the game plan and now, with this issue of the Debt Ceiling, the Repupugnicans have too much to lose. There will probably be a game of chicken, but my guess is, it will pass and the issue will become quiet.

Posted by: CC at April 16, 2011 9:01 PM
Comment #321727

Well I see CC has already forgotten our deal to be more civil. Now she is besmirching the name of our party. Thanks CC, I will have to put you in the same category as jane doe. So much for civility.

Royal, I too, proudly wore the uniform of the United States. I too have been paying taxes for over 50 years and have given hundreds of thousands to charity in my lifetime. I believe you and I understand sacrifice, but when we deal with many liberals, we find they have done nothing except gripe and complain. We have a social worker and community organizer in the WH, who has never had a real job, never served his country, and who has had no problem traveling the globe, at the taxpayers’ expense, and apologizing to the world for the faults of America. He actually had the nerve to compare himself to Reagan. Reagan loved and was proud of America and obama is ashamed of America. I like to compare liberals to drones; there are worker bees in the hive and there is a queen, and then you have the drones. The worker bees maintain the hive and supply the honey. The queen has a job to do, but the drones do nothing except screw the queen and eat the honey. That is what liberals do; they screw the people and eat the honey. Other than that, they are useless.

Posted by: 1776 at April 16, 2011 10:19 PM
Comment #321730

1776, I agreed to be more civil on a personal level. Referring to elected officials that are the leadership is fair game. As I recall, I did not say anything to any of you on a personal level, unless you singularly represent every member of the GOP.

By the way, in case you haven’t figured it out, Repugnicans have been calling Democratic citizens Democrat citizens (sans the ic) in order to piss them off. How does it feel now?

Posted by: CC at April 17, 2011 12:27 AM
Comment #321731

1776, Royal Flush-
Well, just look at the situation with the Debt Ceiling, with the Government Shutdown. For some, forcing concessions over those, or forcing those outcomes period is a demonstration of strength, and anything less than that is not going to please that party of your Right Wing Base.

For most people, though, the prospect of a Government Shutdown or a sovereign default from America is a hair-raising demonstration of those leader’s extremism. Of course, Republicans have suffered in the past for that image. Folks have to recall that there was a reason why Bush called himself a compassionate conservative, and why Republicans never again attempted another Government Shutdown. Republicans react so quickly here to claims that they are extremists not because they object themselves to extreme policies, but because they know they are vulnerable.

Simple fact here is, as the Republicans get further out on the policy, they risk losing the center. No amount of happy thoughts will let them fly over and disregard that as a problem. But, if they don’t please that base that they’ve come to depend upon, they have to answer to the folks who really do believe in Death Panels and government takeovers that do not exist, and who consider themselves overtaxed at one of the lowest real, effective rates that people hve been taxed at in the last half century.

It’s a rather unmerciful fate to be caught in, and Republicans saw it right there as the budget deal need Democrats to pass. The Republicans divide against themselves, and could get nothing passed without pleasing or making deals with Democrats.

The real problem for Republicans these days is that they want everything they’re asking for in a Democracy, but they don’t want to have to condescend to fulfill the requirement of Democracy, which is compromise on what people can agree is the general interest.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 17, 2011 3:17 AM
Comment #321734

S.D. If Democrats would have done their job and passed a budget when they were supoposed to back in Oct. All your crying and blaming would have been averted. Dermocrats blew this one.

Posted by: KAP at April 17, 2011 9:09 AM
Comment #321735

Cmon’ Libs

You are raising a stink over your own smell. The paltry amount both parties agreed to is less than 1 hour of spending and the rest is same ole same ole.

Democrats like “pro-life” Harry are so screwed up in their thinking. Being “pro-life” and for killing babies. How much more screwed up can you get?

Then you get the definition of rules that to use a negative phrase against one person is a nono but to use it against a bunch of people is ok. What?

And more of the same from another post. Deju vu all over again.

Our Muslim in Chief says in a speech recently, “We have to live within our means”. Then proposes to spend in a manner that insults a drunken sailor.

As for his claims about the rich paying taxes, he again is far off base. The top 1% pay 40% of the taxes. The top 10% pay 70%. Obamas is about as serious as lowering the deficit as he is about our Titanic ship of state.

According to the AP the $40 billion deal included $12 billion in cuts from previous CR’s, bringing the total to just $28 billion. Another $6.2 billion was unspent census money. More than 50 federal programs were cut for another paltry $1 billion. Four of Obama’s czars were cut, but they had already been cut or re-assigned to other jobs.

The WAPO reported that left $352 million which was spent in less time than it took to report it.

Rep Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) that if we did not increase spending “children would be running around with no shoes, no clothes, eating off the ground and drinking water that is not safe”. That is irresponsible talk from a typical liberal.

Obama continued this line of line ot thinking. In responding to the Ryan Plan and people’s health coverage, he said, “Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s Syndrome. Some are kids with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we would be telling to fend for themselves.”

It is so pathetic that the president says those lies and really expects people to beieve him. The only part that is correct is there are people who believe him. That is so sad.

I will end this with a quote from Thomas Jefferson.—

“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”

Posted by: tom humes at April 17, 2011 10:00 AM
Comment #321744


Nearly everything that Thomas Jefferson possessed was the product of other mens labor. It took his slaves three years of back breaking labor to level off the mountain top so Tom could have a two acre kitchen garden.

It looks as if U.S. taxpayers, not U.S. private charity, will be picking up part of the tab for reconstruction of infrastructure in Japan.

Posted by: jlw at April 17, 2011 2:09 PM
Comment #321750

KAP-
Positively Brilliant. Republicans pull support and filibuster the Omnibus bill that the Democrats were trying to push through, and we get blamed for this.

Has it occured to you that some of your friends have an unhealthy affection for dysfunction in the cause of Conservatism?

Democrats like “pro-life” Harry are so screwed up in their thinking. Being “pro-life” and for killing babies. How much more screwed up can you get?

I don’t know. Do you support executions?

The danger with playing with such irate rhetoric, is that you remind many people that while your compassion for the safely unborn knows no bounds, your willingness to pay for the education, healthcare, and nutrition of those children is somewhat curtailed. That, to me, is screwed up A living, breathing child should at least rate as much compassion, and their neglect as much ire, as the end of an often underdeveloped embryo or fetus, who has, at that point, no such capacity to suffer, and know that they are suffering.

Our Muslim in Chief says in a speech recently, “We have to live within our means”. Then proposes to spend in a manner that insults a drunken sailor.

Muslim? You should be ashamed of yourself for using faith in one of the great world religions as an insult. We are taught by our savior to do unto others as we would have done unto ourselves. Would you so favorably look upon people using Christian as an insult? I don’t think so.

Then you should be ashamed of yourself for attempting to use the term to bear false witness against Barack Obama. He is, by all accounts, a Christian. A person should not have their beliefs both misconstrued, and distorted with such prejudice and venom behind the words interpretation.

And really, was that relevant, sir, to your point about spending?

Getting back to that, Obama’s spending wasn’t anywhere near as irresponsible as Bush’s. Many of his big plans, including healthcare, were organized in such a way as to offset the costs, even working against, rather than blowing up the deficit. Most of his unpaid for spending represents a deliberate attempt either to stave off financial disaster, or to move an economy which should not be left in the position it is, if we want to resolve the problem of the Deficit. Slow Economies and tepid growh, long-term chronic unemployment are not a recipe for balancing the budget. A business needs both income and spending in the right places to keep afloat, and this country is not unlike a business in that need.

As for Ryan’s plan, it only shifts costs, it doesn’t bring them down, and it will make the elderly and their health problems a burden for younger generations that don’t need anything further holding them back. More to the point, your people would push it even as your folks offer the Rich, who hardly need more money, more tax breaks they won’t use to create jobs. There is no real sense to a syste built around the benefit of the elite, and the neglect of everybody’s interests.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 17, 2011 7:26 PM
Comment #321751

S.D. Democrats had the house and the senate and the presidency until Jan. 2011. This BS about filibuster is just a smoke screen. Your party could have and should have passed a budget 6-7 months ago but they didn’t. They were to worried about elections to do their jobs and you see what it got them. AND BY THE WAY YOU STUCK MY NAME ON ANOTHERS COMMENTS THAT I DON’T APPRECIATE.

Posted by: KAP at April 17, 2011 7:36 PM
Comment #321752

“…the end of an often underdeveloped embryo or fetus, who has, at that point, no such capacity to suffer, and know that they are suffering.”

That is certainly no medical fact. So it means nothing factual.

“He is, by all accounts, a Christian.”

That is a false statement.

SD same ole same ole. When are you going to give a true key message?

Posted by: tom humes at April 17, 2011 8:22 PM
Comment #321760

KAP-
The operative question here is whether Democrats could have passed a budget without the threatened filibuster. If they could have, then the Democrats did what was necessary, and the Republicans can only blame themselves for the difficulties in passing that budget.

We are not a dictatorship, nor even a parliamentary democracy. If we were, the spending bill we just passed wouldn’t have. The Republicans took advantage of our Senate’s procedures in an abusive way, that short of sixty-seven votes, Democrats could not undo.

Republicans exercised the filibuster not as an occasional procedural protest of the policies of the majority, but as a constant barrier to liberal legislation. Rationalize that as you will, but the Republicans used their power successfully to stymie their opposition.

We could have gotten that budget done, a public option through, and a myriad of other things. We tried. Republicans used the filibuster to cancel out the policies of the left, when sixty votes were not available one way or another.

I think the Republicans knew that if they didn’t stop it then, they would have to wait a whole nother year almost to take the country hostage.

America is not built around the rigid notions of a Government and a Shadow Government. Those in a Shadow Government can only present alternatives to legislation, not defeat the Government (and by that we mean the governing coalition of sitting MPs.

Your people aren’t pure of the political mess, not in the least.

Tom Humes-
Try feeling without a brain or spinal cord. Medical fact is what informs many people’s opinions. On the question of his Christianity…

False how? You got God’s ear, and you didn’t tell us about it?

Why do you feel the need to revile people? I don’t think much of some people’s religion, but at least I am willing to understand that my disbelief in their principles has nothing to do with with the depths of their sincerity or faith. Sure, some can be hypocrites, self-righteous, seeking after worldly approval, rather than doing what gains God’s secret but lasting approval, but that’s their business.

Until you come up with something better than rumor or innuendo to present to people as evidence, maybe we should take Obama at his word.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 18, 2011 12:25 AM
Comment #321761

S.D. Your party had a majority and didn’t get it done. Make all the excuses you want but the fact is your party blew it. Maybe if Pelosi and Reid wouldn’t have been so arrogant things may have gone easier. You guys had both houses of congress and the Presidency and thought you were invinsible with all the power, but look what it got you. So go on and blame the other guy all you want, but a majority of the people aren’t buying the BS any more.

Posted by: KAP at April 18, 2011 12:39 AM
Comment #321762

Here’s my approach to the budget, economy, unemployment, et al: I’ve written a proposal that uses entrepreneurship on a massive scale to tackle the ongoing high unemployment problem, which has left millions and millions of Americans grasping at the last vestiges of the American Dream. Long-term unemployment is at record levels and the pace of the tepid “recovery” from the Great Recession will require years to return the country to full employment. In the mean time, government coffers are depleted while straining to address the extreme hardship, and tax revenues are greatly diminished because so many jobless folks cannot pay taxes.

My proposal describes an entrepreneurial mechanism through which we can fund a massive number of new business ventures (to create a massive number of new jobs) by tapping the financial power of Wall Street. It is a private-sector proactive approach to remedy the high unemployment problem. Titled “A Modest Proposal to Save the American Economy: Entrepreneurial Blitzkrieg as Job Creation Vehicle,” the proposal has been published online at Salem-News.com (and various other places):

http://salem-news.com/articles/march232011/solving-unemployment-jpb.php

The “Modest Proposal” is perhaps a bit cynical, proposing to hand a new form of financial nitroglycerin to the same folks who crashed the economy in 2008, or perhaps a bit Robin Hood, with its ideal of empowering the American proletariat via new business creation. Nonetheless, the approach described in the proposal uses existing financial industry architecture to transfer enormous sums of funding from those who have it (Wall Street) to those who need it (Main Street) – without requiring government tax incentives or subsidies. This is an entrepreneurial mechanism that perhaps even Ayn Rand (gasp!) would embrace.

Posted by: Joseph Patrick Bulko, MBA at April 18, 2011 6:26 AM
Comment #321763

KAP-
Look, if my people otherwise have the votes to pass something, and your people defeat that through a procedural blockade that requires you all to unanimously support it to work, who should be blamed? The folks who tried their best and would have been successful, left to themselves, or the the folks who made it impossible to proceed by imposing a arbitrary, extraconstitutional sixty vote threshold on nearly every bit of their legislation.

Republicans took deliberate action to scuttle that Omnibus bill, and the attempts at a budget before it. Why are you unwilling to hold them responsible for their partisan misbehavior? Why are you so unwilling to step beyond the partisan blame-game to acknowledge those facts, despite your claim that you are an independent? If you are truly independent, you should be able to recognize that the Republicans forced the withdrawal of the Omnibus Budget bill, by threat of filibuster, which otherwise would have passed the Senate.

You should not be hiding behind what is the naive, generalized view of how our government works. You should recognize, and then decide upon your level of agreement with the Republican’s practice of filibustering nearly every bill the Democratic majority brought forward, including the Omnibus Budget bill, which would have funded the government and avoided the shutdown altogether.

The Right wing in this country does not get to set up a procedural blockade to prevent the passage of otherwise sufficiently supported legislation, and then blame the left and the Democrats for the failure to pass those bill.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 18, 2011 8:35 AM
Comment #321764

Joseph,

Thanks for the contribution. Your summation of the problem was excellent. I am not certain that your proposed Venture Backed Security (VBS) would be feasible or successful in achieving the goal of flowing Wall Street investment capital into productive, job producing enterprises benefiting main street. However, it at least addresses the problem of getting the financial markets back in the game of servicing the capital needs of our main street economy. Something needs to be done about getting the trillions of dollars in the financial markets re-directed toward productive investments.

Posted by: Rich at April 18, 2011 9:22 AM
Comment #321765

S.D. Because you are unwilling to put some of the blame on your own party. I at least blame both side for the mess we are in but you NOOOO it’s just the evil Republicans fault, BS. When you can come up with an honest arguement why your party is perfect then and only then will I listen. But I don’t think you can. You say I’m hiding behind what is naive maybe you should take a good look in a mirror then you will see what naive is.

Posted by: KAP at April 18, 2011 10:23 AM
Comment #321767

KAP-
To me, blame requires contingency. To know who deserves blame, one has to look at who got in the way. Liberals didn’t get in their own way. They had the votes to pass it, if they got an up and down vote.

Republicans denied that vote. Since the Republicans refused to allow the Omnibus bill to be voted on, they get the blame from me for the fact that we had to go through all of this rigamarole.

The motive is obvious- it put what should have been a Democratic Congress’s budget under their control, allowed them to threaten a shutdown. America, though, should not have to see it’s government malfunction to this degree, just so some partisans can power grab and preen in front of the voters on fiscal matters.

I would be naive to accept my party being blamed when they did their best to prevent the current situation and were thwarted by the other side.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 18, 2011 11:19 AM
Comment #321769

S.D. Your still not being honest, the bill had thousands of earmarks in it. I just fininished googleing it. Could that be why republicans opposed it or at least some of them because of that reason?

Posted by: KAP at April 18, 2011 11:34 AM
Comment #321772

SD writes; “You should not be hiding behind what is the naive, generalized view of how our government works.”

I read this today in an email from a friend quoted from “The S&A Digest”.

“While the government can demand obedience (and taxes), it can’t mandate dedication, creativity, or innovation. The fact is, the government itself is nothing more (or less) than the organized ambitions of the people. Promising something to the people that they don’t already have is a logical absurdity. And therein lies the timeless flaw of all collectivist theory: Governments cannot deliver benefits to the people that the people cannot deliver to themselves.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 18, 2011 12:18 PM
Comment #321773

S.D. Reading more of what I googled I found that there were 6,753 earmarks in that Omnibus bill you so staunchly defended. Here is an example of two of them 3.5 million to research subterranean termites in New Orleans and 1 million for peanut reaserch in Ga. There are 6,751 more reason this bill didn’t go through.

Posted by: KAP at April 18, 2011 12:26 PM
Comment #321776

KAP-
All an Earmark does is say “You will spend this money here, for this project.” The quality of the earmark determines its level of corruption, and there are certain disclosure rules and sunshine laws that can help minimize the possibility of corruption.

Laws the Republicans did not enact.

More to the point, you focus on this issue of appropriations, this solveable issue at that, and focus on that to the exception of huge, multibillion dollar subsidies that your party will not touch, and tax breaks and regulation changes that end up costing American billions every year.

Earmarking should be reformed, but a budget should not be held up on that count by Republicans who do far worse in the subsidies and Tax breaks they do for their friends.

And now that it comes to mind, do you notice that you just shifted from disclaiming the conservative’s responsibility on account of Democrats being in power, to rationalizing the actions they took to hold up the budget?

Republicans are trying to look like they reformed, and are reformers, but ask them to make a big change, like take away unnecessary energy subsidies for profitable oil and gas, and such a waste of government money goes unstopped.

It’s a matter of priorities and consistent thoughts. I believe that corrupt earmarks are a problem, and that solutions need to be applied. I also believe ther’s no point in subsidizing corporations with record profits, in fact, the greatest profits in all of business.

But I believe that this country has to function, too, while we’re reforming it, and that it’s pretty self-indulgent and counterproductive to force rushed-through, ill-thought out compromises in the name of opposing earmarks.

If you keep basing your views on the GOP’s rhetoric, you’re going to get caught up in their budget kabuki. You need to see things from a standpoint less driven by the emotions of competing with and opposing Democrats, and more based on looking at the numbers and the effects of policy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 18, 2011 1:27 PM
Comment #321777

S.D. So your in favor of wasting tax payer money on frivilous projects just to get a bill passed? IMO 3.5 million to reserch termites and 1 million to research peanuts should never be in a budget bill along with 6,751 other pork projects. Be it Democrat or Republican controled congress Budget bills should be FREE from pork projects and should ONLY be for the NECESSARY funds to keep government operating. Pork is not necessary for the efficent operation of government.

Posted by: KAP at April 18, 2011 1:55 PM
Comment #321808

KAP-
I joined this blog not because I was anti-war, but because I was anti-stupidity and dysfunction. I am less concerned with having a perfect, sparkling government which reality will never let me have, and more concerned with keeping this country running, stable, prosperous, and improving as much as possible.

I will weigh the good against the bad, not carry out litmus tests of political perfection. Sometimes you need to make deals to keep things running right.

I think the earmarks issue is a red herring, a distraction created by corrupt Senators and Representatives who want you looking at one thing over here, while they do all kinds of corrupt things over there. It represents a means by which token credit for being a fighter of government waste can be had, even if their other actions create an even worse situation overall.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 19, 2011 7:53 AM
Comment #321826

The point is, Stephen, Earmarks have to be addressed because they are some of the biggest wasteful spending items we have to deal with. Take the Omnibus Bill you mentioned, pork totaled 11 Billion. You castigate Republicans for their misdeeds but when Democrats try to push a bill through with extra BS items attached it’s OK. With the economy the way it is you would think congress would be a little more careful with the tax payers money. Wastefull spending has to be addressed and pork is first thing we need to address. Making deals is one thing but making deals just for the sake of a vote is another thing. You said you will weigh the good against the bad and not carry out a litmus test of political perfection. By all your comments I’ve ever read I take that to be for Democrats only. Because you sure use a lot of litmus paper on Republicans.

Posted by: KAP at April 19, 2011 11:38 AM
Comment #321841

KAP-
You understand, don’t you, that earmarks don’t actually add anything, they just direct appropriations? So the question is not about saving money, because you could kill every earmark and not save a dime.

Instead, it’s a question of the direction the money is taken to, and the direction it’s taken from.

As for this bad attitude you seem to have about me, would you please drop it? I don’t see a waste of money as being a positive thing. But if I have to waste a little bit to make sure that a lot gets put to its proper use in a timely fashion, that’s better.

If we’re talking about judgment in terms of applications, reaching a compromise on what earmarks remain and which ones go is certainly a better and more efficient way to do things, than to rush things so that Congress’s judgment has to judge proposals and savings as the budget items go rushing right by.

It’s also certainly better than a government shutdown.

I can understand your motivation, but it seems to me that you let that motivation compel you towards these stunts and short-term fixes that only make things worse, and take all due consideration out of it.

I mean, you talk about wasteful spending, but while your people operated, your folks let extreme wastes go by. You actually forbade the Medicare folks from bargaining on prescription drugs, costing taxpayers billions, and expanding the deficit by that much. You gave billions in money to insurers who took on Medicare Advantage programs, that never went to paying benefits to Seniors or the Disabled. It was just a subsidy, free of any strings.

I can’t tell you how much profiteering went on over Iraq. I could count the number of times Republicans had oversight hearings on that spending on both hands- if you cut both of them off, that is.

Republicans are wasteful also because they underfund organizations. This makes sure that agencies like the SEC can’t do their jobs properly, jobs they are told to do by law. If we’re going to pay for these things, what’s the point of not having them be functional. Are they just there to deflect the criticism that might come from an attempt to destroy them outright?

Don’t lecture me about wasteful spending, as if my people didn’t do a better job of containing it, reducing costs. Improvements are needed, but not to the extent they are needed on your side.

My Litmus test is function. I will not sacrifice function so some idiots can profit, but I will not sacrifice it either to make a political point against them. We have to change things for the better while they’re in motion, because operations like this don’t start up once again without causing a hell of a lot of trouble.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 19, 2011 2:26 PM
Comment #321844

Stephen, I agree republicans have done a piss poor job but so have democrats. So don’t give me that MY PEOPLE crap. Wasn’t it Obama that said he would veto bills that have pork tied to them or was that just another lie he told? Tell me Stephen which idiots in D.C. are not profiting? I’ll tell you, NONE, 435 congressmen, 100 Senators, and 1 President are in someones pocket making a profit and NONE give a rats behind about you or me.

Posted by: KAP at April 19, 2011 2:41 PM
Comment #321865

KAP-
The sad situation is, to appeal to voters who don’t know better, some people are going along with the lies out there. I don’t think much of the fact that Obama went with that earmark BS. He should have said “If an earmark comes in this budget that I can’t find any Earthly justification for, I will veto that budget.”, or something like that.

As for this “so have” argument?

If all things were equal, that would be one thing, but they’re not. There is a comparative advantage with the Democrats, in terms of combatting corruption. Even if it is not much, I believe that if we Americans pursue those comparative advantages on a constant basis, we encourage change in a positive direction.

Conversely, if we let that change convince us to sit out elections, or seek perfectionism that disregards comparative advantage, we will only end up encouraging a situation where the negative consequences pile up.

It is absolutely useless in my mind to sit around and complaint that the sides are equally bad. We must always seek the better alternative, even if it means selecting the lesser of two evils.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 19, 2011 3:51 PM
Comment #321878

Yep Stephen that’s usually what I do in an election choose the lesser of the 2 evils, saddly that is what most election have come down to lately.

Posted by: KAP at April 19, 2011 4:40 PM
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