No More Donuts for the Fat Guy

Deficits matter. President Bush & the Congress have to answer for creating our current debt. But let’s be angry for the right reason and that reason is spending, not tax cuts. Let’s be clear about the solution: spend less. We could raise taxes, but tax revenues are already booming. The Feds are analogous to a fat man who remains hungry (stomach deficit) after his super sized meal. Do we chip in for a dozen donuts to fill him up or do we tell him that he has already eaten too much?

Tax Revenues UP w/o a Tax Rate Increase

Corporate tax receipts have nearly tripled since 2003 and there was a big increase in individual taxes on stock market profits and executive bonuses. The targeted tax cuts of 2003 seem to have hit the bull's eye, BTW. Tax revenues climbed by $206 billion, or nearly 13% in the first nine months of fiscal 2006. This was not the highest rate of growth in the last quarter century. For that you have to go to all of fiscal 2005, when revenues rose by $274 billion, or 15%. The government is taking in a lot more money. Was there a tax hike that nobody told us about?

Federal Revenues this year represent 18.3% of our very large and growing GDP. This is a little HIGHER than the modern historical average of 18.2%. The reason we have a deficit is that we spend a slightly greater share of GDP than we tax, about 2.3% more this year. Although it is politically difficult, but solution is simple: spend less or tax more.

Democrats want to raise taxes. That is possible. I suppose it would be possible to raise taxes to 100% in theory. My question is, how big should the Federal Government become? Should it take in 25% of the GDP? 50%? It is tempting to feed the fat guy donuts. He is happy and we can claim to soak the rich to give him the calories he craves. That is a possible solution, but is it a solution we want?

Entitlement Spending Growth Kills PAYGO

Remember also that our current deficit is a gentle shower compared to the hurricane coming in entitlements. Eventually entitlements will take up the entire budget. Entitlement spending is also the Achilles heel of PAYGO (where you have to match revenues to spending) since they rise automatically and ratchet up the size of government no matter what anybody does.

Giving the Federal government control of 1/5 of our economy’s revenues (remember that we also support state and local governments with our taxes) should be enough. Rather than just looking for more ways to tax people, maybe we should require our lawmakers to live within their means.

Live Free or Die

Senator Judd Gregg has proposed a Stop Over Spending bill that would require our elected leaders to make choices among programs rather than seek more money for everything. Gregg comes from New Hampshire, the only state that manages to get by w/o either an income tax or a sales tax, so he has some experience with living within his means.

His proposal would give Congress $873 billion for discretionary spending (not much of a diet) in fiscal year 2007 and then cap it at 2.6% annual growth in 2008 and 2009. It would also limit "emergency" spending, which is often misused. Here is a summary of some of the other provisions.

The deficit that was supposed to be $423 billion this year is now down to $296 billion and could go lower. The large and unexpected jump in revenues is certainly a good thing. But Dems are right to be concerned for the future. The problem is that none of their proposals address the real problems of entitlements and spending. They are looking to raise taxes. Returning to the fat guy analogy, theirs is nothing better than a Democrat dozen-donut plan. Gregg's plan may require some modification, but it makes sense and addresses the correct problem.

No more donuts for the fat guy.

Posted by Jack at July 12, 2006 9:42 PM
Comments
Comment #166938

Amen!

Posted by: Bankerz at July 12, 2006 10:03 PM
Comment #166942

Corporate welfare needs to be the first item on the chopping block.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at July 12, 2006 10:14 PM
Comment #166943

The second item that needs to be on the chopping block is pork barrel spending.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at July 12, 2006 10:16 PM
Comment #166947

Since in my opinion you are 4 for 5 with your remaining posts, I’ve risen past the teeth grinding that immediatly followed the first comment, and will echo it in a secular manner.

“I second!”

I would suggest that in addition to close scrutiny of spending that accountability play a large factor. When an amount such as the 25 billion unreconciled in 2003 is encountered, it should be common practice to withhold the same until accountability is shown.

Ultimately, it is “Our” money.

Posted by: DOC at July 12, 2006 10:33 PM
Comment #166948

Jack,

I never thought I’d say this, but I agree (for the most part). However, the tax burden rests heavily on the working stiff. Tax cuts ARE a problem (though not THE problem) because people like me got a couple hundred bucks, while the fat cats got a couple hundred thousand.
These tax cuts demolished the $123 billion surplus that Clinton left us with. Our current deficit has reached over $296 billion! And the hole gets deeper…
Certain of these fat cats won’t rest until the corporations are recognized as sovereign countries and the rest of us are stuck in third-world economies.

Posted by: ChristianLeft at July 12, 2006 10:35 PM
Comment #166954

How about a pay as you go style plan for the corporations that are dropping pension funds into the lap of the taxpayer. Certainly all the corporations can band together to take that responsibility over and help out this great country in its quest for fiscal sanity.

Posted by: j2t2 at July 12, 2006 11:08 PM
Comment #166970

Jack, I don’t know a solution to this. No one wants to talk about the reality of the kill off of our seniors by lack of medical care that is coming.

No one wants to talk about the use by the wealthy of the underclass to support a lavish lifestyle.

No one wants to talk about the decline of the middleclass. We want to continue to stimulate spending through a fictitious lifstyle sold on TV, that doesn’t exist for most Amaericans.

Until these realities are addressed, Congress will continue to promise and lie about spending and it’s consequence. One lie begats another.

Posted by: gergle at July 13, 2006 12:16 AM
Comment #166973

Jack:

Nice article. All I would add, is that the current tax revenue percentage is almost the same as the expenditure percentage a few years ago. Tha seals you point. Federal Spending is what has increased.

In terms of medical expenses in the future. I have read some studies that show that inflation is not nearly as high as we think it is in the medical field. That sounds odd when we look at our insurance premiums. Actually, what this study showed is that we are choosing to use the medical profession in more ways. We are consuming more of the “product”. We use doctors and nurses for things that we would not of considered 10 or 20 years ago.

In the investment world they say “price cures price”. What that means is that when things get too expensive, consumers stop buying.

I think it rational that during war time spending would go up 2% of gdp as you suggest. I would also think fraud and fiscal discipline would not be as good. After all, that is what happened in previous wars. I say this because I believe we are probably heading into a time of fiscal conservativism. Usually these things swing back and forth. I remember the “spendy” days of the old democratic congress, and then the “fiscal conservative” Bill Clinton.

I fully expect the federal governments spending to start to revert back to the mean.

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 13, 2006 12:29 AM
Comment #166979

gergle - Pessimism? Please, that’s just not your style. Everyone here talks. I’m ready!

Posted by: DOC at July 13, 2006 1:26 AM
Comment #166981

This argument is a classic and it is right on. The stats, as shown by Craig, state that spending is what has increased and worsened the deficit.

Pork spending is what needs to go. The annual Highway Bill is unacceptable.

Also, ideally it is society that should be taking care of the disadvantaged instead of the government. Maybe if society started bringing it upon themselves to help the poor, then the government would not have to do it. This would not only be more effective in fighting poverty, it would also be more cost-effective because it would take the wastefulness of government bureaucracies out of play.

Posted by: A Member of the Faithful Lads at July 13, 2006 1:40 AM
Comment #166982

Bravo Jack. Very nice article. I do agree that corporations are shirking much of their “promised” responsibility as it relates to pensions. I think that is wrong.

But back to the main point which is, this administration has had to deal with a lot on its plate, but in terms of overall spending…

Most money in history on education, farm packages, medicare…etc.

Where does it end. Thank god the economy is chugging along. If tax receipts werent up, we would be eyeballs deep in a big stinking pile. As it is, we are about up to our neck. GIve us a bit more breathing room will ya! Cut out the spending on needless pork. Lets work towards some true fiscal responsibility. We dont need more tax cuts, but we need to get off the crack. The spending is going to kill us…

Posted by: b0mbay at July 13, 2006 1:47 AM
Comment #166986

Jack,

Great article yet again. The voracious spending of the Federal government is a problem we need to address. While a small defecit may actually not be that bad, defecits that are to the level of $439 billion are unacceptable, espeically when the government pulls in over $2 trillion annually. I think that Senator Judd’s stop overspending bill is a step in the right direction. I would also propose putting a freeze on lawmaker’s raises, to include the annual cost of living increase they get, until the budget is balanced.

Another possible solution is the line item veto. Since the President is the only nationally elected official, the overall fiscal health of the nation is his responsibility. The biggest fear I would have with this comes out of our current situation. With one party in control of the executive and legislative branches of government, I could very easily see a president using this power to eliminate the spending bills of congressmen and Senators from the opposing party, especially in competitive races, in the interests of political expediency rather than eliminating pork. Of course, that same president could also use this to enforce party discipline, again putting politics ahead of the common good.

In the end, what truly needs to be done is to address the third rail of Social Security. I believe that a gradual phaseout of this program is needed. It was never intended to be permanent, merely a helping hand for people too old to work during the Great Depression. Back then, there were 10 people working for every person on Social Security. The increasing longevity of our Seniors coupled with our demographics is going to create a huge problem. I believe that we need to establish a series of dates that say if you were born after this date, you will only recieve 90% of the benefits of Social Security and roll the dates forward and the percentage of Social Security recieved downward until after a certain date, you are responsible for your own retirement.

Beyond this, I think we should move Social Security revenues out of the general funds and leave them alone. Any corporate executives that raided their pension funds like this would spend a long time as a guest of the State in a Federal Corrections Institution. We should hold Congress to the same standard.

In addition to this, we should have a comprehensive assessment of Federal spending in the form of an audit. Programs that do not produce should be cut and the money saved rolled back into reducing the national debt.

Jack is right. While rising tax revenues now are a good thing as they lower the defecit, only reduced spending will truly solve the problem. Government needs to be accountable, and we as citizens need to start demanding it.

Posted by: 1LT B at July 13, 2006 2:23 AM
Comment #166987

Well, DOC, It all started when my mother wouldn’t breast feed me. I think just because I was 17 at the time is irrelevant…..

I think I am talking….just about the problem we have with truth about this issue.

Posted by: gergle at July 13, 2006 2:35 AM
Comment #166990

gergle - OOOOH..OK…SORRY Continue to breast feed and talk about issues. I thought you were better.

Posted by: DOC at July 13, 2006 2:51 AM
Comment #167006

CAN SOMEONE(S) HELP ME W/ A VERY SERIOUS QUESTIONS I HAVE (which I think is the crux of the issue)?

What is the legal difference of ‘Entitlements’ vs. discretionary spending … and how can these be changed??

Posted by: Brian at July 13, 2006 6:33 AM
Comment #167007

Unbelievable how myopic nearly all the comments above and of the author of this article are. Why do Americans insist on burying their heads in the sand when it comes to their government making good on its contractual obligations of Soc. Sec. and Medicare? Why do commenters above refuse to acknowledge the dire social and political consequences of 35 to 50 million baby boomers experiencing grave medical and financial hardship should SS and Medicare fail? Not to mention the political consequences of 100 million of their children watching the suffering of their parents who paid into the government their entire worklives keeping their end of the contract?

How myopic to fail to recognize that increasing taxes modestly today could ameliorate the suffering and hardship coming tomorrow? How myopic to fail to see that the problem is you, the voters not holding your incumbents responsible for addressing and resolving these problems BEFORE they become crises.

It is incredible. Truly incredible that so many educated folks would choose to deny the that aspects of the 1930’s depression are looming on our horizon, to deny that history can and will repeat itself if lessons of the past are ignored.

The bottom line value system I see in the comments above is this: I got mine, let my children and everyone else get theirs - not my problem. When did Americans and especially Republicans become so selfish and neurotically dismissive of the suffering and human degradation that is to come with the baby boom retirement which government is currently abdicating responsibility and contract toward, by enacting tax cuts, 51% of which benefit the top 1 % of the wealthiest in America?

It would make sense if all of you were in that top 1% group and acting selfishly. But, you are not, yet you support this action. Unbelievably myopic and irresponsible toward your children’s future is what your commens above reflect. Because if you think an impoverished 35 to 50 million senior Americans isn’t going to affect your kids politically, socially, and economically, then the Ostrich syndrome really is contagious around here.

This country moved to socialistic remedies, as all populations do in dire economic times, after the depression of the 1930’s. We are witnessing it in S. America, and have seen it in Europe and S.E. Asia and China. Do you really believe turning your backs on the responsibility to prevent suffering and human degradation of the baby boom retirement years by abdicating modest tax increases today to prevent it, and cutting spending and waste in other areas, is going to result in this country becoming less socialistic? History proves otherwise, both American and World History of the last century.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 13, 2006 6:38 AM
Comment #167009

David Remer,

I’m 25 years old, so how am I trying to hoard my Social Security. I’ll tell you what the myopic travesty is and it is this. The current demographics of our country will not support Social Security no matter how much you complain about it. When Social Security began, there were 10 people of employment age for every one person on Social Security. Right now, its less than 3 working per person on Social Security. Why is it fair that I should pay Social Security all of my life to subsidize older people’s stupidity? I first invested in a mutual fund when I was 16 years old from money I’d saved from a paper route. Every single check I’ve recieved since the day I got commissioned has had a portion go into a savings account and another into a mutual fund. Beyond this, at least a quarter of what I earn here in Iraq will go to a mutual fund as well. I’m not stupid, but I’m not a member of mensa either. If I can figure this out, why is it so hard for everyone else?

As far as your whining about the tax cuts Bush made benefiting only the wealthy while we bury our heads in the sand, talk about a case of the pot calling the kettle black! Corporate revenues and captial gains revenues are by far the majority of the revenue increases we’ve seen. The rich are now paying a larger share of the revenues generated by the government than before the tax cuts.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am sick and tired seeing my hard earned money going to subsidize people’s stupidity. Why should I save any money, enough people won’t that by the time it comes my time to retire, the money that I spent my life saving will qualify me as one of the rich who wealth redistributing commies want to steal from. Its the same thing as this idiotic notion of rebuilding New Orleans or providing cheap Federal flood insurance. This should be handled by the private sector except for demonstrable economic interests. If you fish for shrimp for a living in the Gulf of Mexico, you should be able to get flood insurance. If you just want to build a vacation house you shouldn’t. If you own a farm on the Mississippi River floodplain, you should be eligable for federal insurance. If you just want a house with a view of the river, you shouldn’t be eligible.

But 1LT B, won’t that keep alot of people from being able to afford insurance in areas that are at high risk from natural disasters? YES, THAT’S THE DAMNED POINT!!! If you can’t afford your own home insurance, than either you live somewhere else or you take your chances. If you lose it all, its your own damned fault for choosing to live in a high risk area. Freedom to move around should not be coming at my expense.

Posted by: 1LT B at July 13, 2006 7:04 AM
Comment #167011

1LT B said: “I’m 25 years old, so how am I trying to hoard my Social Security.”

Do you support the tax cuts, 51% of which went to the top 1% of the wealthiest in America? That is how you undermine the Soc. Sec. system and the contract the politicians made with the baby boom retirees.

“I’ll tell you what the myopic travesty is and it is this. The current demographics of our country will not support Social Security no matter how much you complain about it.”

That is pure bullshit propaganda. Do you not realize that the immigration issue is part and parcel of our future support system for maintaining Soc. Sec..

Population growth in America is not going to halt, just because birth rates dropped, though Republicans would like you to believe that at the same time Bush seeks amnesty for another 11 million instantaneous population explosion all paying into the Soc. Sec.

The demographic argument is completely bogus, designed to insure an end to entitlement spending. The reality is, and you can verify this on any conservative think tank site, that America will continue to grow its GDP through immigration growth compensating for the falling birth rate and increased longevity.

But, here’s the deal. Increased longevity can only continue if we save Soc. Sec. and modify Medicare and overhaul our health care systems and reign in health care inflation.

Don’t buy into that propaganda designed by the capitalist idealogues as a means of scaring votes away from keeping the contractual obligation our government has to the workers who paid into and kept up their end of the contract.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 13, 2006 7:17 AM
Comment #167014

The problem with SS, is that the government has tapped into to help out the budget problems and has done so for a number of years. It needs to go back to where SS funds went to SS payments, and can not be touch for anything else.
Also all the Congress People and President that do not pay into, should. That way they will think once, twice maybe three times before making changes.
As far as taxes go, why not go with a straight tax (10%) across the board, no matter what you make or who you are. Same for businesses, and do away with all the loopholes.
I’m retired military and my retirement is taxed by the feds, since it comes from tax money to begin with and not income perse, is this double taxation, and can I say I am self employeed since I pay taxes on my taxes.

As for profits, I am still waiting for a beliveable answer on how a oil company can make 30+ billion dollar profit, and our gas is still going up and up, but then again when you have 1 oil and 1 want-to-be oil tycoon running the country you got to look out for your friends.

Posted by: KT at July 13, 2006 7:37 AM
Comment #167017

1LTB:

Good thinking, sir. Damned good thinking!

You’ve hit the nail right on the head, and many will be angry with you. Why should we expect people to be as responsible with their money as you are?

Last I checked, going into the military was not considered a means to wealth. Going to Wall Street, or into medicine etc—-those are the way to get rich. So you have taken a path that pays well, but not outlandishly. And more importantly, you have decided to take responsibility for your future.

Now, I know it would be oh so much more fun for you to take vacations, buy boats or snowmobiles, have a plasma tv, buy cable or satellite tv, eat out all the time, hit the bar several times weekly etc. Many people do that and then complain that they don’t have enough to save adequately.

My favorite example is a young divorced lady I once knew—no kids— who made the same income I made. I had a wife, a bigger house than she had and two young children at the time. She informed me that she could not afford health insurance because (and there was the hint of a tear in her eyes) it was too expensive. She couldn’t make ends meet, though she did make enough to have a speed boat, to hit the bar a couple times a week etc. Needless to say, I had little pity for her, considering that I was supporting more people on the same income, and I WAS able to afford health insurance.

We do still need safety nets like Social Security etc. Not everyone can do what you have done. There are those in society who, through no fault of their own, fall through the cracks (divorce, illness, etc).

But we need to encourage and perhaps even force people to take responsibility for their futures, as you have done. There are far too many with the ability to help themselves who don’t bother, because they know someone will bail them out.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 13, 2006 8:09 AM
Comment #167018

joebagodonuts, you hit it on the head when you said to force people to take responsibility for their future. I am retired military, but I hold down a full time job with a local pd, you would not believe the number of calls we get where people wants us to do things they could do for themselves, and a simple example, power outage. Instead of calling the electric company themselves and advise them, they want us to do it. Here when you call for service it knows your phone number/address when it picks up the phone, then all you have to do is tell them the problem, but no, they want the pd to do it.
People want the government to do everything for them, I am surprised they don’t call and ask if they can go to the bathroom, but wait, I will probably get a call about that today.

Posted by: KT at July 13, 2006 8:20 AM
Comment #167023

LT’s point is personal responsibility.

If I took all of the $ that has been sent to the feds in my name for SS & FICA and put it into an interest generating account, I’d have more money in my nestegg than if I left it with the feds.

In addition, if I happen to die the day after I retire, who gets all of the money I paid in? If it were in a “private account”, my family would get every dime (less the amount the Dems would grab in “death taxes”). If the feds have it, they keep all of that money. Talk about a “death tax”….

The Dems like to proclaim they are the guardians of the poor & middle class. Explain to me how this can be if the average SS recipient collects LESS that their total contribution over their lifetime. With “private accounts”, the value of the account goes UP over one’s lifetime time….with government accounts, the value of the account goes DOWN.

Face it, you guys are just plain WRONG on this issue. FDR’s plan solved an immediate problem in the post-depression era, but it should’ve been gradually phased out in favor of investment-type and interest generating accounts. In fact, I believe FDR’s plan was just that…I believe I saw somewhere that he said it should be a temproary program lasting no more than 30 or so years.

Instead, the big government proponents grabbed the “excess revenue” that was generated and spent it instead of holding it in trust.

Think of all of the wealth that could’ve been passed thru the family from generation to generation if the money was in “private accounts”. Instead, that money was “bequest” to the feds.

What a pity…

Posted by: Rich at July 13, 2006 8:39 AM
Comment #167024

“Democrats want to raise taxes.”

Sorry - can you point to a single tax increase the DEMs have requested? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say we want to spend money of different things than you? REPs have increased spending on military and government contracts, but you don’t consider these tax increases.

I agree that we need to spend within our means. Does anyone here have more than their annual salary on credit card debt? Then why do we allow our nation to exist that way?

I have an idea… let’s stop shipping our money to the middle east. I’m not talking about the war (although I def. am in favor of cutting that huge expense. Cutting out $150B a year in Iraq would do a huge amount towards balancing the budget.) What I’m talking about is our energy dollars going to the people who hate us. If the executives a Coca Cola officially hated Americans and funded people who tried to kill us, would we still allow Coke to be sold in our stores?

Also, let’s start looking at 5-10 year solutions… rather than next election faux solutions. Right now we have a leak in the shower, and our government continually wants to cover it up with a new coat of paint. We all need to realize that we might need to break things in order to set them right. The way we run our country needs to be changed. We can still go back to old blue print we’ve used time and time again… it’s a good plan, but we need to let go of a few things we really like in order to make our country as a whole function properly.

Posted by: tony at July 13, 2006 8:43 AM
Comment #167025

I personally believe we sould return to the enslavement of children and the poor. Let’s just be honest about it. They are hard headed, so they can’t really be educated.

Deadbeats should be charged for all the “free” services they recieve and be assessed interest and a service contract that can be sold to other creditors. That way we could retire some of this bad debt and reduce credit card rates for us good folk.

Debtors prison might motivate a few of those slovenly rats to make good on their debts. We could use this as a federal workforce to get some labor cheap for the Gov’t.

Self reliance. That’s what I believe in. Screw those that can’t pay hospital bills or usurious credit card debts. They probably would just buy lottery tickets if they ever had any money.

“Better they should hurry up a die and reduce the excess population”

Posted by: gergle at July 13, 2006 8:51 AM
Comment #167026

Rich, and who would manage these private accounts? What would happen if the accounts went into funds like Enron? Where is the money from that, and those that get anything, it will no where be close to what they thing or should get.
I have a private account setup and in the last 2 months I have lost almost $4000, and know some who have lost more. Savings accounts are now giving you a .5%, so that is no good. IRA’s might be a good way, but then again which one, that would be for you to decide.
As far as SS goes, it was never ment to be something someone was to live on when they retired, but to supplement and keep people out of poverty, and it was money collected was not suppose to be used to supplement budget problems the feds were/are having.
FYI did you know that the government tried to do income taxes during the civil war, and the supreme court found them unconstituional, how did the government survive before that.
One way we can save money, is pull out of Iraq, and spend the billions to help out the Americans here (and not the illegals)

Posted by: KT at July 13, 2006 8:52 AM
Comment #167027

Speaking of the cost of insurance, I ran across this article in the Houston Chronicle this morning.

Nice to see how honest and competitive the insurance industry is. Nothing like a little clarity and openess to encourage competition, well, maybe.

I’m so glad that Berkshire Hathaway has made it’s money through such an upstanding industry, so their captain can appear to be so wonderfully generous.

Posted by: gergle at July 13, 2006 9:00 AM
Comment #167029

KT:

I would not advocate putting the entirety of SS into private accounts, but I sure do support the ability to put some of it into private accounts.
Its called diversifying your investments.

The people who put ALL of their investment into Enron were foolish to have done so. It left them with all their eggs in one basket, and a thief came along and stole the basket. Had they been diversified, they would have lost some, but not all the eggs. I’m not blaming them for having been robbed, but I am saying that they invested in a dangerous manner.

The privatized part of SS could be safeguarded to a degree as well by watching over the riskiness of the investment options. I tend to invest more in mutual funds as opposed to specific stocks because funds are less volatile. An individual stock that tanks within a mutual fund does not destroy the mutual fund. Its true that I dont often hit a “home run” in my investing, but neither do I strike out. I’m happy being a single hitter.

I’ve received Social Security money, so even if I get no more, I’ve gotten a piece of my money back. I’m not reliant on it for my retirement, because I’ve been saving. Because of my efforts, I live well, but most people think I make much more than I do. I am able to live in an upscale community because I don’t have some of the accoutrements that others have. Don’t drive a Beemer, don’t have a plasma tv, don’t have cable, don’t eat out all that often, don’t spend $20 or $50 at the bar on a weekend night etc.

I don’t rely on the government to save me. I’m too busy saving myself. Many more people can do that. There will be those who cannot—they are the ones who need the help. The problem is that the line has gotten infiltrated by those who dont NEED the help, but WANT the help anyway. They are the ones who are truly hurting the ones who need the help.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 13, 2006 9:05 AM
Comment #167030

David,

Are you alright? While I often disagree with you, I always come away from reading your posts with a healthy respect for your intellect and point of view. Your last post worries me.

Number 1, the demographics issue is not a political ploy. Its a fact. Even with the immigration you speak of, we barely have enough children to replace our existing population. Furthermore, if you believe that these illegal immigrants are paying into Social Security from the cash they get paid under the table, than I have a bridge in Brooklyn I might be tempted to sell you.

Furthermore, you prove yourself wrong by referring to the increased longevity we have here. The longer one lives after retirement, the longer they are drawing off of the system. I was not joking before I quit smoking when I said that smoking should be a civic duty as it adds to the government coffers while shortening your life.

As far as the tax cuts go, did you somehow fail to read the part about how the rich are now paying more in taxes than ever before? Hell, tax revenues are up by something like 13% after Bush’s tax cuts so far this fiscal year alone!! The huge bulk of this is coming from the wealthy!

joebagodonuts,

Thanks for the support. Your acquaintance sounds familiar. I just love these tear jerkers from people whose main problem is that they can’t prioritize thier spending. I wouldn’t mind having a boat someday, but I’ll be damned if I try to buy one by scrimping on my obligations. Of course, obligations or responsibilities are almost as taboo as the name of Jesus in Hollywood nowadays, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

As far as Social Security goes, I would love to see Bush’s original plan go into place. This would mean that the government couldn’t touch my money and defraud me of what I’ve paid in. As it stands right now, I won’t see a dime of the money that’s being stolen from me right now. Social Security is not an entitlement, its a tax and one I’m sick of paying.

Posted by: 1LT B at July 13, 2006 9:08 AM
Comment #167032

Jack,

There’s hope for you yet. Not too long ago you were extolling the economic virtues of deficit spending. Now we have to improve on your understanding of the critical contributions of the increasingly compressed middle class, the parasitic effects of the ubberwealthy beneficiaries of your tax cuts, the phallacies being disemenated re: Social Security, et. al. by BushCo, etc…

Posted by: Dave1 at July 13, 2006 9:16 AM
Comment #167036

1LT B, you need to put your glasses on. I was talking about Bush and Democrats giving amnesty to them to make them legal. They will pay into Soc. Sec. just like all legal immigrants and naturalized citizens do. Read what is written.

“The longer one lives after retirement, the longer they are drawing off of the system.”

So would recommend some extermination camps for everyone over 67? Because something very similar will happen if we don’t deal with and solve the Soc. Sec. and Medicare problems TODAY! Long life will be for the wealthy, and everyone else can go bankrupt and die in poverty after the medical moguls have taken their many pounds of flesh.

“As far as the tax cuts go, did you somehow fail to read the part about how the rich are now paying more in taxes than ever before?”

Do your homeword 1LT B, we are taking in billions of new revenues, but the cuts cost 2.4 Trillion. Yes the cuts raised revenues, partly because 51% of the wealthiest got the tax cuts in the first place, increasing their wealth, and increasing the revenues they pay on that new wealth. But, the amount they are paying on their new wealth does NOT equal the total revenue lost from the 2.4 Trillion in tax cuts over 10 years.

Please, you are a very bright person. Research it yourself, instead of relying on the propagandists to spoon feed your opinions to you.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 13, 2006 9:33 AM
Comment #167042

Here are the percentages of people in income brackets who will receive a tax cut under Bush & his Republican “never say no to the boss, never say yes to the real people” Congress:

Less than $10K …0.1%
$10K - $20K …2.3%
$20K - $30K … 6.1%
$30K - $40K … 9.9%
$40K - $50K … 17.6%
$50K - $75K … 29.2%
$75K - $100K … 53.5%
$100K -$200K … 81.8%
$200K - $500K … 94.8%
$500K - $1mil …83.5%
$1 mil plus … 88.4%

Posted by: Lynne at July 13, 2006 10:05 AM
Comment #167044

David,

A few things. Just because these illegal immigrants may get their citizenship doesn’t mean that they will instantly get jobs that aren’t paid on a cash basis. Furthermore, if we’re talking about people who have been here 5 years or longer for eligibility, thats five years less they have to work before they retire and at least 5 years less that they’ve contributed to the system.

My statement about longevity was in no way a suggestion for death camps. It was a simple statement of fact. People live longer now than they did when SS was first created. As a result, people are drawing more and more money off of SS than they did beforehand.

Your point about the taxes is a bit lost on me. We are bringing in more revenue now than before the tax cuts were made, I don’t think that’s disputed. Now the projections on costs were made based on the revenues generated from the taxes in place before the tax cuts right? Now, since we have more revenue now than we did before the tax cuts, does that not mean that in fact every dollar we get in revenue beyond what was projected by the old tax rates is indeed a “profit” of sorts for the government? That question is sincere, I don’t see how I’m wrong about this, but I don’t claim to be a financial expert either.

As far as this bashing of the wealthy goes, I don’t get it. Its not like they’re taking this new money and hiding it under their mattresses. Its being invested, creating job growth and an increasing economy. The capital gains tax reduction allowed people who invest to realize a greater profit by investing, so they did. When more people invest at a lower rate of taxation, it yields more revenue than less people investing at a higher tax rate. Also, when’s the last time a poor man gave you a job?

Posted by: 1LT B at July 13, 2006 10:15 AM
Comment #167045

DON’T RAISE TAXES. The government should take only 10% out of our paychecks. We’ll have more money to spend. It will all cycle back to the government eventually. Americans can enjoy less debt and more luxury. This way everyone wins.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at July 13, 2006 10:17 AM
Comment #167046

Cost of the Iraq War

There’s the deficit…and it’s not even part of the budget!!

Posted by: Lynne at July 13, 2006 10:17 AM
Comment #167049

I almost forgot. With 10 percent to spend before the rest of the money gets cycled back, the goverment may not have enough to spend at one time. To solve this problem, we just eliminate welfare because using the wealthy’s hard-earned money to pay for lazy people is communism. Congress shouldn’t be allowed to give themselves a raise on their salariy whenever they vote on it. That is just allowing the government to suck out more of our lifeblood. Prison should get less funding. Criminals don’t deserve the weights, college education, TVs, computers, and libraries.

The Boston Teaparty for a lot of reasons. One of the primary reasons was high taxes. Now we are doing the same.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at July 13, 2006 10:33 AM
Comment #167050

1LTB:

I think you are incorrect about Bush’s SS plan. The privatization was only a portion of the plan—it was never intended, I dont think, to have the plan be fully privatized. Don’t remember the percentage, but I think only a small portion was ever considered.

A lot of Dems look at taxes like this:

Lets say three of us build a house together. Bob puts in $60 K, Dave puts in $30 K and Steve puts in $10 K. The builder gives a Not to Exceed $100K price, but (and this part is pure fantasy) manages to build it for $90 K and offers to return the $10K.

Dems would suggest that the money be split evenly, or perhaps that Steve, since he is the poorest of the three, should get the largest share. After all, Bob is rolling in money and doesn’t need the refund.

Of course, if Dems found themselves in that situation….and were in the place of Bob, they’d want the money split as it should be: $6 K to Bob, $3 K to Dave, and 1 K to Steve.

Note to any Dem: If you still want the money doled out equally, I have a house I want to build with you…… :)

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 13, 2006 10:33 AM
Comment #167051

1LT B said “We are bringing in more revenue now than before the tax cuts were made”

First, please provide a resource to back that up. Second, of course we will bring more revenue in during a rebounding economy than in a recessionary economy as was the case in 2001-2003 when the tax cuts were made. So, your point is?

If you point is that cutting taxes raises revenues, you could not be more wrong. The White House’s own OMB proves that on their site. You cut $10 worth of taxes, and the economy is stimulated and the stimulated economy returns $7.50 in increased revenues. The deficit and national debt go up by $2.50.

Cutting taxes is important for stimulating an economy which is in or coming out of recession. But, historical evidence on the government’s own web sites prove that tax cuts never generate so much economic activity as to recover the 100% of the revenues lost by the tax cuts.

This misleading of the public by politicians saying tax cuts increase revenues is effective. But, effective only in misleading them, not effective in reducing deficits and debt for the reason I just outlined above.

1LT B, I am not bashing the wealthy as a class. A poll showed most wealthy would relinquish the tax cuts if it would help reduce the deficits and debt. I am bashing Republicans for misusing this whole issue to further their aim to end entitlement spending by bankrupting the federal government forcing it to reneg on its contractual agreements with the American workers.

But, let’s be very clear. You are only partially correct about the wealthy investing back into America’s economy. Sizeable portions of wealthy portfolios are NOT benefitting the American economy, they are benefitting other nation’s economies as ever greater American dollars are invested in emerging and competitive foreign markets. So, what this amounts to is taking tax dollars from the next generation burdened by today’s deficits and debts, and allowing large sums of it to be invested in foreign economies, where the long term return reward is far greater than here in the U.S.

This is of course, in addition to the interest tax payers pay each year on our national debt, 45% of which goes directly to foreign fat cat investors, who loaned our government the money to float this huge national debt. Republicans are as I type, now seeking to lift the debt ceiling to 9.6 Trillion dollars.

All these factors are converging to brutally punish the next generation of tax payers who will have to burden the load of not only our current deficits, and the sending of tax dollars overseas in copious quantities, but, forcing them to shoulder the burden of aging parents whose Soc. Sec. and Medicare won’t be there if Republicans continue down this path.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 13, 2006 10:39 AM
Comment #167071

I love that there are STILL people who believe in the trickle down economics theory. Even Bush Sr used the term “voodoo economics” in his 1980 election camaign. Smartest thing he ever did was make Bush VP to shut him up…which worked like a charm and even got Bush to completely change his view on the matter overnight.

This administration has raised the debt ceiling EVERY SINGLE YEAR that idiot has been in the white house. Every time they say they will balence the budget with tax cuts. And every year they show you exactly how they plan to do it…by raising the debt cieling???

This one is right up there with his plan to help education by cutting funding and allowing schools to take time out of their normal curriculum to teach students how to pass a minimum proficiency test. Thats right, stop teaching algebra so we can teach basic addition for a few weeks.

This one is almost as good as this administration’s plan to secure our homeland by opening the borders even more (and patrol them with reservists who can’t detain people, and cut back even more on those who can detain). Oh but we know have a huge “homeland security” department that allows a sherrif from Idaho to help decide how to spend its money…gee, I wonder if he’ll recommend spending it in Idaho? Meanwhile New Yorkers get shafted again. According to Homeland Security, Indiana has more protected sites than NY by almost double. I just don’t remember seeing any Al Qaida where they even mentioned blowing up a cornhusking festival. It must have been on Fox News.

The federal government is out of control and now takes it upon itself to get involved with every aspect of life. Without limits, we’ll be France in no time at all. Is this really what Bush lovers want? If not, WAKE UP!!!

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 13, 2006 12:08 PM
Comment #167072

Stubborn Conservative, fyi the Boston Tea Party was due to the tax on tea only that the East India Company was selling in the colonies, where the colonies had to pay taxes on it, those in Britian didn’t(see Tea Act of 1773). It revived the taxation without representation issue and the rest is history.
So it was not because of high taxes, just a tax on one item, but wait the rich got the tax break from Bush, who picks up what they aren’t paying, it is the middle class who is slowly going down into poverty.

Posted by: KT at July 13, 2006 12:11 PM
Comment #167076

Stubborn-

Typical conservative is more like it. The Boston Tea Party was over taxation WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. Second, nice labelling everyone eho is on welfare as lazy. I would say that that statement is the basic difference between conservatives and progressives: progressives believe that everyone deserves basic necessities of life, while conservatives can’t see past their own pockets.

1 LT B-

At 25, and in the military, you totally lack real world experience. You’ve never fought for a job, never been laid off, never worried about the next rent payment. You saved money from your paper route? What about the kids who need to contribute the paper route money to the family so the lights can stay on?

As for your comments on Flood Insurance, I’ve never heard anything so idiotic. It shows a basic failure to grasp the dynamics of regional economics. There is no more surefire way to ensure a region will remain poor than to discourage the middle class from moving there. As far as privatizing the rebuilding, most of the jobs will be done by private contractors, but it obviously needs to be coordinated by the state and local governments. Are you suggesting that the Feds shouldn’t pay to rebuild?

Every rant on here about taxes is without foundation in reality. 10% flat tax? Inflation thorugh the roof. Raise taxes to pay down the debt? The Porkies will just spend more. Regardless of what the tax code says, what is lacking in this sytem is accountability. Accountability for the people who receve government money (welfare, corporate welfare, huge government contracts, etc.). Accountability for the people who decide where the money is spent. And accountability for the rest of the country who ignore the BS spending that benefits their city, town, state or industry and harp and cry all day about the spending that helps anybody else.

Posted by: David S at July 13, 2006 12:19 PM
Comment #167082

David S,

You blow my mind. So, should I feel guilty now because the Army has provided me with housing and a paycheck? Or because my Dad applied himself and worked his ass of to give me the opportunities I’ve had in life? Please!

Let me tell you a few things about responsibility, high speed. My first job in the Army was as a platoon leader for 6/37 Field Artillery battalion where I was responsible for 14 Soldiers ranging in age from my platoon sergeant who had been in the Army almost as long as I’ve been alive to a new private fresh out of AIT. I was also in charge of 3 MLRS launchers, an armored personell carrier, and 2 HMMWVs totaling over $20 million in worth. When I say responsible, I mean that it was my job to lead them in combat if war broke out. If they got in trouble for being drunk in the Ville over the weekend, I answered for it. If they slept on duty, I answered for it. Everything they did or failed to do every minute of every day while I was their platoon leader was my responsibility.

My next job was with the same battalion working as a liaison officer to the Korean Army. I was one of a few representitives who helped to develop and train the ROK army’s counterbattery defense plan for Seoul, a city of 10 million people under the range of 1000s of artillery pieces capable of delivering incredible destructive firepower.

Currently, I am the a Signal officer in charge of managing the frequency use for all of Iraq. I’ve written orders that have changed the radio procedures for every single unit in Iraq. So I’ll thank you not to lecture me about responsibility. I had a greater responsibility in my first day of service than you will ever know or have in your whole life.

As far as the flood insurance goes, I simply say this. If I choose to buy a car that I cannot afford the insurance on, is the government going to buy me a new one if it gets washed away in a flood? NO! A house is no different. If I choose to buy a house that I cannot or do not insure for floods, then the government shouldn’t pay for it. The Federal government should not be in the business of bailing out every moron who chooses to build a house in areas prone to natural disaster if they can’t afford private insurance. Period. All the government is doing by offering low cost insurance in an area like New Orleans or the Mississippi river valley is encouraging more people to live under the threat of disaster and increasing the scale and cost of the disaster when it inevitably happens.

Posted by: 1LT B at July 13, 2006 12:51 PM
Comment #167084

David S said: “Regardless of what the tax code says, what is lacking in this sytem is accountability.”

Bingo! In order to get Congress to be responsible and accountable the voters have to hold them accountable and responsible at the polls, by voting incumbents out, until their replacements get the message and begin acting responsibly with voter’s taxes.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 13, 2006 12:53 PM
Comment #167085

The rich are paying more taxes than ever before? Really? Prior to the JFK tax cuts they were paying over 40% and it may have been close to 50% (I’ll try to look the data up and post it here)…

Anyway, What is wrong with SS is that our elected officials took the money from the fund for other things (as others have stated). That’s why we are where we are. Folks that have paid in should be entitled to get that money back….wouldn’t most agree with that?

Regarding privitizing SS: I don’t have a huge problem with the idea behind it. However, it would create a very big cash flow problem for a system that is already in big trouble. Before one sells the idea to me I would like to know how the cash flow problem would be solved.

Entitlements: I don’t have a huge problem with many of the entitlement programs. There are some folks that collect entitlements that shouldn’t be and that problem should be dealt with rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water. I don’t think welfare should be a lifetime benefit (except in some very special circumstances). I’m not against wellfare but it needs to be reformed. I also think anyone benefiting from a federal entitlement should have to undergoe drug testing. That’s just my opinion.

I agree that the poor and underclass should be taken care of by the local community….but it isn’t happening and likely won’t happen so that idea can almost certainly be dismissed. We Americans seem to be all about ourselves. Hell, it takes everything I earn to live off of with a modest savings for my own retirement.

Posted by: Tom L at July 13, 2006 12:55 PM
Comment #167088

Tom:

I agree that the poor and underclass should be taken care of by the local community….but it isn’t happening and likely won’t happen so that idea can almost certainly be dismissed.

I have a problem with this kind of thinking. Let’s apply this logic to a different scenario.

Murder should be stopped, but it isn’t happening and likely won’t happen, so lets not bother with it.

Welfare fraud should be eliminated, but it isn’t happening and likely won’t happen, so let’s dismiss that idea too. Etc Etc.

The only way to change something is to change it. Pretty simple. There will always be issues and problems during the change, and certainly some people will fall through the cracks. Fact is, some people will fall through the cracks during the unchanged system too.

But if you take a long term view, then the system needs to be changed. Welfare should be a short term safety net, not a long term handout. Not everyone on welfare is lazy, but a good many make choices that don’t help them escape welfare. Some spend the money on fast food, because they don’t know how to cook. Others spend it on cable tv rather than on education. And on and on.

Welfare should provide an opportunity for people to escape it. And it often does. But people need to be responsible enough to take the hand UP, and not just the hand OUT.

ILTB:

I’ve said it before, but it can never be said enough: Thank you.

With a son who will become a Navy officer, I am gaining a better understanding of the caliber of person it takes to do what you are doing. I’m not sure I am of that caliber—I know that I wasn’t at your age. Dave S is correct that you’ve never had to fight for a job….you’ve only had to fight for your country, your platoon, and your life.

Thank you.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 13, 2006 1:06 PM
Comment #167123

Tax cuts for companies is a good thing. For small companies it helps them survive. For big companies it helps them drop prices which in turn mean you have more money in the pockets of the populace. Remember Wal-Mart is the #1 private employeer of people in the US.

Posted by: Anthony at July 13, 2006 2:17 PM
Comment #167125

Joe,

You misunderstood….I didn’t say let’s not change welfare and other entitlements. In fact, we are in total agreement on the subject and I agree 100% with what you said about welfare being short-term. Sure, let’s reform the entitlement programs.

What I meant to allude to was that they shouldn’t be dropped with the expectation that the private cummunitiy will step in and handle it all. In fact, if the private community were doing a good job of this now there could be much less of a problem. I think it is unrealistic to expect that the private community will handle it. Sure, to some degree we will, but if there isn’t money to be made it probably won’t happen. I know many churches do as much as they can but even that couldn’t handle it all.

Posted by: Tom L at July 13, 2006 2:21 PM
Comment #167126

Anthony,

yes wal-mart is the number one employer. Try raising a couple of kids on what they pay the vast majority of their hourly employees.

Posted by: Tom L at July 13, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #167129

According to the IRS. Tax cuts should still hold. This is what the top earners where paying in 2003:
The top 1% pay over a third, 34.27% of all income taxes. The top 5% pay 54.36% of all income taxes. The top 10% pay 65.84%. The top 25% pay 83.88%. The top 50% pay 96.54%. The top 1% is paying nearly ten times the federal income taxes than the bottom 50%

Posted by: Anthony at July 13, 2006 2:25 PM
Comment #167134

joebagodonuts,

Thank you for the kind words and congratulations to your son. Tell him that his job will be the most challenging and rewarding that he will ever know. And good luck to him.

Anthony,

Could you tell me where you got that statistic? I’ve heard similiar numbers, but I havent’ been able to find it in writing anywhere and I have a few other blogs I could use that information on. Thanks in advance.

Posted by: 1LT B at July 13, 2006 2:40 PM
Comment #167141

Tom:

Thanks for the clarification. I do think that we can help the local community be better able to support people. This can be done both privately and publicly at a local level.

You can’t make people help, but you can help people help. An example is how the tax system gives deductions for charitable giving. While this doesn’t make people give to charity, it certainly helps them want to do it.

Currently there are subsidies for “green” buildings” that are more environmentally friendly. The subsidies don’t make people build this way, but they help them want to.

I’d like to think we can do the same thing with regard to welfare. But on the major point, we are agreed that people need to learn to help themselves.\

1LTB:

By the way, my son says that he is in the best, smartest and toughest branch of the military. All the other branches are the equivalent of the minor leagues. You agree, dont you? :)

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 13, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #167145

1LT:

Rush Limbaugh’s home site has the data and the source.

Everyone should pay the same percentage. No favoritism

Posted by: stubborn conservative at July 13, 2006 3:08 PM
Comment #167158

Rush, I’m sure, would never dream of giving you a false impression. And I’m sure the viagra had nothing to do with giving a false impression either.

Anthony, when the richest 2-3% hold over 50% of the assets, they SHOULD be paying more in taxes. The fact that poor people don’t account for any significant percentage of the taxes collected should be of no surprise to anyone. This does not mean they contribute nothing…they work, shop, and pay for services like everyone else.

When so many people struggle to try to keep up with inflation, and CEO’s are making $50M a year (increasing well beyond the inflationary rate each and every year), nobody should spout off and say that the struggling worker needs to carry more tax burden on behalf of the poor rich people who already own everything.

Think about this before quoting Rush as if he were an unbiased party. He’s more full of crap than just about anyone. Every intelligent person I know, conservatives especially, think he’s just a punk errand boy whose only appeal is to scare old people into straight ticket voting.

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 13, 2006 3:31 PM
Comment #167174

Kevin 23
yep…Rush is conservative. Most conservatives are more than willing to admit they’re conservative. The problem is that liberals aren’t always willing to admit who they are. Brokaw, Rather, the New York Times. So you have to be careful about where you get your information that you try to pass off as fact. I personally trust Rush a lot more than the New York Times…I know where he’s coming from.

Posted by: Brian B at July 13, 2006 4:01 PM
Comment #167188

Kevin:

You believe that Rush Limbaugh supporters and conservatives are “especially” differing groups of people.

Its clear that you either know no intelligent people or have painstakingly avoided their influence. I’m sure you will be fighting the urge to tell me that I’m avoiding the issues or being sarcastically non-responsive as you are often prone to do… Of course we must set aside the pertinance of your viagra reference, not to mention a significant portion of what you usually have to say in order for such positions to carry any weight. That said, the unintelligible statements of a socialist lawyer that spends his days bashing conservatives on message boards are probably going to fail to carry weight regardless.


1LT B:

You Rock!


Posted by: william at July 13, 2006 4:25 PM
Comment #167189

From your own article, Jack:

One reason the run-up in taxes looks good is because the past five years looked so bad. Revenues are up, but they have lagged well behind economic growth.

The surge could also evaporate as quickly as it appeared. Over the past decade, tax revenues have become much more volatile, alternately soaring and plunging in the wake of swings in the stock market and repeatedly defying government projections.

Also:

But budget analysts, supporters and critics of Mr. Bush alike, cautioned that this year’s windfall would do little to improve the government’s long-term budget woes.

Government spending under Mr. Bush continued to climb rapidly this year, more than twice as fast as the economy. Spending on the war in Iraq has accelerated, to about $120 billion this year.

Far more ominously, the nation’s oldest baby boomers will be eligible for Social Security benefits in just two years. Conservatives and liberals alike predict a huge escalation in costs of Social Security and Medicare over the next several decades.

“The long-term outlook is such a deep well of sorrow that I can’t get much happiness out of this year,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office and a former White House economist under President Bush.

Despite almost five years of economic growth, individual income taxes — the biggest component of federal tax revenues — have yet to reach the levels of 2000. Even with surging payments for investment profits and business income, individual tax payments in 2005 were only $972 billion — below the $1 trillion reached in 2000, even without adjusting for inflation.

Over all, individual and corporate taxes have lagged well behind the economy’s growth over the past five years. Government spending, by contrast, mushroomed far faster than the economy.

And federal debt has ballooned to $8.3 trillion, up from $5.6 trillion when Mr. Bush took office. Republicans are trying to raise the authorized debt ceiling to $9.6 trillion.

War costs for Iraq and Afghanistan have totaled more than $300 billion since 2003, and the Bush administration has not included any war costs in its budget estimates beyond next year.

Domestic discretionary programs, like education and space exploration, have slowed their growth after climbing rapidly in Mr. Bush’s first term. But entitlement programs, particularly Medicaid and Medicare, are climbing rapidly as a result of rising medical prices and Mr. Bush’s prescription drug program.

Outlays for Medicare have climbed 15 percent this year and are expected to hit $300 billion. About half of that increase results from the new prescription drug program, which is expected to cost nearly $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

Bush is repeating LBJ’s mistake of not covering the costs of his new entitlements, nor the cost of his ongoing war. The Seventies Economy, in all its glory, was what came of that.

Does President George W. Bush have any consistent fiscal policy? I don’t think so. I don’t think he has any consistent policy. Is this what you support as a Republican?

Forget I asked. This is the policy you’ve been supporting, as a Republican. Question now, is do you wish to continue supporting it?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 13, 2006 4:25 PM
Comment #167191

Sorry, the quotation reads as follows:

But budget analysts, supporters and critics of Mr. Bush alike, cautioned that this year’s windfall would do little to improve the government’s long-term budget woes.

Government spending under Mr. Bush continued to climb rapidly this year, more than twice as fast as the economy. Spending on the war in Iraq has accelerated, to about $120 billion this year.
Far more ominously, the nation’s oldest baby boomers will be eligible for Social Security benefits in just two years. Conservatives and liberals alike predict a huge escalation in costs of Social Security and Medicare over the next several decades.
“The long-term outlook is such a deep well of sorrow that I can’t get much happiness out of this year,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office and a former White House economist under President Bush.
Despite almost five years of economic growth, individual income taxes — the biggest component of federal tax revenues — have yet to reach the levels of 2000. Even with surging payments for investment profits and business income, individual tax payments in 2005 were only $972 billion — below the $1 trillion reached in 2000, even without adjusting for inflation.
Over all, individual and corporate taxes have lagged well behind the economy’s growth over the past five years. Government spending, by contrast, mushroomed far faster than the economy.
And federal debt has ballooned to $8.3 trillion, up from $5.6 trillion when Mr. Bush took office. Republicans are trying to raise the authorized debt ceiling to $9.6 trillion.
War costs for Iraq and Afghanistan have totaled more than $300 billion since 2003, and the Bush administration has not included any war costs in its budget estimates beyond next year.
Domestic discretionary programs, like education and space exploration, have slowed their growth after climbing rapidly in Mr. Bush’s first term. But entitlement programs, particularly Medicaid and Medicare, are climbing rapidly as a result of rising medical prices and Mr. Bush’s prescription drug program.
Outlays for Medicare have climbed 15 percent this year and are expected to hit $300 billion. About half of that increase results from the new prescription drug program, which is expected to cost nearly $1 trillion over the next 10 years.
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 13, 2006 4:29 PM
Comment #167210

William-

More of the same from you. At least you now fully admit that you have nothing substantive to say. Par for the course.

But just once I want you to try and say something that means something more to me than name-calling and strawman emotional rants do.

I won’t hold my breath. And Rush WAS cought with viagra. Viagra does give a false impression. So I never stretched the truth one bit. Now you try.

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 13, 2006 4:53 PM
Comment #167229

And if Bush and his mob of imperialist executive power mongering federal government expanders are “conservative” then I’ll take the “socialist” label any time because I know it would mean I wanted LESS government.

Now that you’ve turned the world on its head…back to the point.

I actually agree with Jack on this one. And the idea pushed forth that Rush is a more credible source than the NY Times is just silly. Come on now! You trust one admittedly over-partisan source over a group of the most highly qualified and highly motivated reporters in the country? That’s pretty telling in and of itself.

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 13, 2006 5:38 PM
Comment #167287

Brian

The words explain it. Discretionary is the spending the government authorizes. It includes most of the things we think of as government services, but it is shrinking as a % of the budget. Entitlements are transfer payments. The recipients are entitled to them and they go up automatically.

David

The question is how big should the Federal government become? We can raise taxes, but to maintain entitlements along their current growth rate, we will have to raise them an awful lot. We have to address the problem. People may have to work longer or have their benefits means tested. I will be among those affected (as will most of all of us writing). We should be willing to spare our kids a back breaking burden. Those already receiving benefits will be unaffected. So should WE be selfish and insist on the sweet deal the country cannot really afford, or should we work to fix the problem. I don’t want the Federal take to rise above about 20% just to pay for me and people like me. We can work and adapt.

I actually don’t mind paying the extra tax myself, but it is a matter of principle. I could afford to give the fat guy more donuts, but I prefer he goes on a diet.

It just makes no sense to grow the government.


Tony

The Dems killed SS reform and bragged about it. That means a tax hike down the road. If Dems will join in the cuts, I will be content. Do you like Gregg’s plan?

Lynn

All Americans who pay taxes got a cut. People making less than $10,000 probably pay NO Federal Tax. Most of the lower income earners pay very little. Naturally, you cannot cut the taxes on someone who doesn’t pay any. The rich will pay more of any tax increase and benefit more from any tax cut. That is just the way it has to be. Does that mean you should just raise taxes?

I suspect you are more interested in punishing the rich than raising revenue. But you should recall that the richest 20% of Americans already pay almost all the Federal taxes.

Posted by: Jack at July 13, 2006 7:31 PM
Comment #167311

Jack said: “I actually don’t mind paying the extra tax myself, but it is a matter of principle. I could afford to give the fat guy more donuts, but I prefer he goes on a diet.

It just makes no sense to grow the government.”

Then, you prefer our seniors either die early and in poverty as a result of the broken contract by government toward millions who held up their end of the contract, or, — Well, there is no or, is there?

And what of the social and political consequences of our government allowing millions to die early, die indignant poverty stricken deaths, all so you and your party could keep to the ideology which violated the contract with millions of working Americans who kept their end of the contract? Man, your party will pay the hugest of prices if you pursue this course. Unfortunately, so many Americans will have to suffer along with your party.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 13, 2006 8:47 PM
Comment #167317

David

We are not talking about our seniors. Nobody currently collecting benefits is affected by any of the proposals made. We are talking about ourselves and our generation. We have 10-20+ years to prepare and adapt. We should have been saving and investing all along. Some were foolish or unlucky and will need government help. Others can take care of ourselves and should work to do so.

Yes I prefer this to growing the government. We are just asking people who can to do their part. We (you me and our generation) has been generous to our seniors. We cannot or should not mandate that our children be more generous with us. That should be their decision.

Posted by: Jack at July 13, 2006 8:56 PM
Comment #167318

William -

I don’t think you have the slightest clue what a “conservative” is. You’ve been spending too much time listening to a fat ass idiot who can’t stop abusing his doctors for illegal prescriptions that you have no bearing of what it means to be conservative. Hint: Republican does not mean the same thing as conservative. In fact, they are pretty damn far removed at the moment. Prove me wrong! No, you’ll just lash out with name-calling and be happy with that.

If you knew anything about its meaning, you’d know that someone like me who believes in small government and staying the hell out of regulating behavoir IS CONSERVATIVE BY DEFINITION. You are merely a servant of political discourse for not seeing that immediately.

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 13, 2006 9:00 PM
Comment #167320

A person’s estate should be responsable for ALL medical costs accrued in the last year of life. If they cannot pay, so be it, we’ll just assume they didn’t die on purpose. If they can, make them pay. The numbers are astronomically high in keeping a person alive for just a little longer. Disproportionate to the benefits. So let people make the decision to milk the medical system for a few more breaths at their own risk! Again, personal accountability at some point is completely necessary to solve a problem.

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 13, 2006 9:04 PM
Comment #167325

“This would not only be more effective in fighting poverty, it would also be more cost-effective because it would take the wastefulness of government bureaucracies out of play.” -MotFL

I don’t think you can get more efficient that medicare or social security unless your idea of cost-effective is giving a HUGE sum to brokers and HMOs. Government is best able to look after the poor as the private sector looks best after CEOs.

Posted by: Chris2x at July 13, 2006 9:23 PM
Comment #167334
I personally trust Rush a lot more than the New York Times…I know where he’s coming

…..

…all over the face of a prostitute in the Dominican Republic?

Posted by: Taylor at July 13, 2006 9:41 PM
Comment #167339

Taylor-

That was gross, uncalled for, and immature. I laughed my balls off. Thank you!

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 13, 2006 9:49 PM
Comment #167344

Jack said: “Yes I prefer this to growing the government. We are just asking people who can to do their part.”

Then you would not object to asking the wealthy to relinquish being paid SS benefits when they retire?

Time to stand up to your words with action, or leave the words empty and hollow.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 13, 2006 9:58 PM
Comment #167345

I agree with your article Jack, and with some of the comments that have come in the thread afterwards. We absolutely need to get spending under control. Taxation is completely out of control, regardless of your financial status.

1LT B:

As far as Social Security goes, I would love to see Bush’s original plan go into place. This would mean that the government couldn’t touch my money and defraud me of what I’ve paid in. As it stands right now, I won’t see a dime of the money that’s being stolen from me right now. Social Security is not an entitlement, its a tax and one I’m sick of paying.

I’ve read a whole bunch of other comments about how “responsible” you are, and I’ve inferred from a few others about how smart you feel you are, and all I have to say about your message here is: If you are indeed responsible, and indeed that smart, you’ll do just fine contributing to social security AND putting away for your own retirement. Above and beyond that, you are, as the conservative handbook mandates, expressing a message of selfishness and greed.

the Boston Tea Party was due to the tax on tea only that the East India Company was selling in the colonies, where the colonies had to pay taxes on it, those in Britian didn’t(see Tea Act of 1773). It revived the taxation without representation issue and the rest is history.

It’s interesting that this matter comes up in this thread, because I feel it pertinent to a discussion about the fiscal state of our union, and so many issues in our nation are intertwined. Right now, the theocratic majority in our country are denying state sponsored rights and protections, provided by marriage, under the guise of a variety of excuses, but ultimately to satisfy their need to pick on someone, and to induldge their own personal and religious discomfort.

Now that a large number of states have adopted bans on gay marriage, and proposals to attempt this on the federal level are insured to continue, what happens when, a substancial number of tax paying, dual income, no dependant homosexual couples, which estimates put at about a million households right now, decide that “taxation without representation” or being treated as a second class citizen is enough provocation to follow in the precedent established by our forefathers and refuse to continue paying taxes?

It may seem like a far-fetched idea, as the risk may outweigh the benefit of such civil disobedience at this time. But provided that matters get worse and people are denied further rights to insure the well-being of thier families, I wouldn’t be surprised to see such a scenario arise. Ordinarily, in a nation our size, the revenue of a half million or million households wouldn’t carry much weight, but under the extreme deficit we operate under today, I ask the gay marriage opponents, is it worth it?

Never underestimate the extent to which a person will go to safe guard the ones they love, whether your handbook of myths agrees with that love or not.

Posted by: Taylor at July 13, 2006 10:01 PM
Comment #167347
That was gross, uncalled for, and immature. I laughed my balls off. Thank you!

It’s been a long day, and making at least one person laugh makes it worthwhile. You’re welcome.

Posted by: Taylor at July 13, 2006 10:03 PM
Comment #167350

David

President Bush proposed exactly that. His plan would have made the benefits more progressive. It makes no sense for rich guys to collect SS.

I have no trouble with means testing. But I also think we need to increase retirement ages and create some private savings accounts.

This is our old arguement. I think we should make available to all Americans a system similar to what Congressmen and Federal employees get. You can see it at www.tsp.gov.

The general rule is that those who can take care of themselves should. This also means that people who make bad decisions will not be as well off as those who do. For them, I want a safety net, but I am unenthusiastic about trying to create equality of outcomes.

Posted by: Jack at July 13, 2006 10:08 PM
Comment #167353


What a pity indeed. Conservatives who rail against social security miss the entire point.

I too marvel at what people spend their money on while I always pay myself first, including with tax-advantaged 401ks and employer matches or IRAs. Hey, free money, compounding interest, I love it! I too see people driving brand new gas guzzling SUVs that cost $35,000 plus while sipping 3 1/2 dollar coffee who say they can’t save money. That is bullshit. American’s personal saving rate is below zero? Whoa! But Hey! if it is good enough for the federal government…

But Social Security was and is an intergenerational promise to our elders (which even 25 year olds will one day be) that keeps millions from falling into abject poverty. The cost of phasing out that promise in favor of Mr. Bush’s privatization plan is like cutting off your head because of a headache. What’s more, after inflation and the cut the financial sector takes you are not guaranteed to have more than social security would otherwise provide. In fact, you are not guaranteed ANYTHING.

As for the borrowing by congress its called U.S. Treasuries, the most secure investment in the world. That little file cabinet full of “just paper” stunt Bush pulled, U.S. Treasuries. The “secure” option with the full faith and backing of the U.S. governmentt Bush later detailed in his privatization plan, U.S. Treasuries. What is China currently holding shitloads of? You guessed it.

It would only take a little tweaking to “save” social security. Even if nothing was done basically you would see cuts in benefits of about 17% but that’s after 40 years of cost of living increases.

And as the middle-class wage, benefits, and tax squeeze continues (you need to count ALL taxes as a percentage of income) you would do well to protect social security. It wouldn’t hurt to ask the American people, especially the wealthy, to actually wage war within their means as well but hey, let the children pay for it.

Posted by: Chris2x at July 13, 2006 10:15 PM
Comment #167354

Smaller government is always better than big government. That being said a government that has everyone paying into SS for decades must now honor that agreement. There has not been an attempt to reform SS that was positive in years. W and his cronies wanted nothing more than to tear the “entitlement program” down. If they were interested in true reform they would quit taking money out of SS to pay other general fund expenses. Anything else is a scam.

Posted by: j2t2 at July 13, 2006 10:15 PM
Comment #167361

Jack said: “We cannot or should not mandate that our children be more generous with us. That should be their decision.”

Ahh, so, do you believe that our government has no obligation to the contracts it makes with its people, should a next generation decide to break those contracts? Does this not undermine the trust between the people and its government in contracting to solve long term problems and solutions?

Isn’t trust between a government and its people essential. Can a future generation just decide to violate a contract after the previous generation has paid their entire working lives to keep up their end of the contract?

As for the mechanics, any attempt to privatize Soc. Sec. will leave decades of workers coming up short on their benefits due on the FICA taxes they paid in. The Republicans in Congress are, as I type, moving to raise the debt ceiling to 9.6 Trillion Dollars. Isn’t this bankrupting of the nation at a time when Soc. Sec. is producing surpluses at the rate of 200 billion per year, a guarantee millions of Americans will never see their Soc. Sec. or Medicare deductions contract honored by the Government? Of course, it does.

And you appear to support this government breaching its contract with its citizens who sacrificed consumption in their workings lives to pay the government their premiums for a dignified old age and death in America, via the Soc. Sec. and Medicare systems.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 13, 2006 10:31 PM
Comment #167369

Jack said: “President Bush proposed exactly that. His plan would have made the benefits more progressive. It makes no sense for rich guys to collect SS.”

But, as you well know, Jack, Bush’s proposal which the people and many in his own party rejected, included so very much more. It included bankrupting the system for millions and millions of Americans for whom wages and salaries will not permit saving for a dignified old age or death in America whose cost of living and dying continues to escalate decade after decade.

You said: “But I also think we need to increase retirement ages and create some private savings accounts.”

I agree and have proposed this long ago in my writings. But, creating private savings should be concurrent with meeting the contractual obligation of the SS system, not a replacement for it, which would leave 10’s of millions of seniors destitute from medical care costs alone.

And what of Medicare? If Bush was so concerned over private savings, why did he reach deep into future taxpayer’s pockets by proposing a 1.2 trillion dollar Medicare Rx program which prevents competitive bidding on taxpayer’s behalf. What’s the point of saving when Bush is going to take your savings in the form of unnecessary taxation and hand those revenues to the Pharmaceutical Industries who already are reaping the greatest profits in their history? He said it would cost under 400 billion. His lack of competitive bidding condition helped its actual cost baloon to 1.2 trillion, 3 times what he and the OMB assured the taxpayers it would cost. He was warned too, prior to its adoption that this would be the case by the think tanks conservative and liberal, and CBO.

But, he said they were wrong. But, now we see they were right. And the net effect is to further impoverish taxpayers for decades to come until our entire health care and retirement systems are unaffordable and unattainable for as many as 75 million Americans. 42 million can’t afford health care already.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 13, 2006 10:43 PM
Comment #167371

Well where else can we cut the size of the federal government. Their performance as a whole has been dismal this past few years. The state governments seem to have been more inventive and responsibile to their citizens.
The military would be a good place to look to save money.
I think most people would favor more taxes on oil and oil based products.
Corporate welfare cut be cut significantly without any pain .
Do we really need the Feds involved in Education?
The states could probably handle the job of education better without silly rules from the feds.
Do we really need the federal highways in this day and age?

Posted by: j2t2 at July 13, 2006 10:43 PM
Comment #167372
And you appear to support this government breaching its contract with its citizens who sacrificed consumption in their workings lives to pay the government their premiums for a dignified old age and death in America, via the Soc. Sec. and Medicare systems.

Amen David. We absolutely have a contract to the retiring generation of Americans. Above and beyond the fact that a breach of that contract is unethical, it is also unwise. Under Thatcher, the British made an attempt to privatize their system as BushCo supports, and they are now paying the price of that mistake and working to reverse such a poor decision. Can’t we at least PRETEND we pay some attention to the world around us and maybe learn from other’s mistakes?

The reality of millions of people living retirement in proverty are far greater than someone, who cannot get beyond their own greed and selfishness to look at the bigger picture, can perceive.

Posted by: Taylor at July 13, 2006 10:44 PM
Comment #167373

David

We are paying it forward, paying now for the seniors of today. They are doing well based on what they paid in.

Our generation can probably expect to receive THE SAME level of benefits they get, but we cannot expect the growth they got.

I believe in contractual obligations, but each agreement is made with certain conditions in mind. If I get you to agree to pay me $100 a week with a 10% cola, but you lose your job, I really cannot expect you to starve your kids to pay me. Especially if I can work to support myself, but just would prefer not to.

In the case of SS, WE (our generation) is the one being asked to be reasonable to the one after ours. True, we have paid for a comfortable retirement for our parents and grandparents. They are playing gulf in Sun City instead of working at Wal-Mart. Great. We are virtuous. But it will be harder for our children to do the same for us. IF we prepare now, they will have a smaller burden.

You asked if I were willing to pay more tax. Personally, I am, but in principle I am against it. I also don’t mind paying a defacto tax to support myself better in my old age.

Posted by: Jack at July 13, 2006 10:44 PM
Comment #167375

j2t2 said: “Smaller government is always better than big government. “

Smaller military is always better than bigger military then. Smaller IRS collection services are better than bigger, then. Smaller NASA program is better than a bigger one. Smaller State Department is better than a bigger one.

And if this is true, smaller is better, let us make them all extremely small or do away with them altogether.

Your comments from the conservative ideology are pure nonsense with its gloabal and universal slogans and pitches when examined for what they mean.

Try again to make a cogent argument that actually has some truth and merit, to it.

This statement is as rediculous as saying bigger government is always better. It is on its face, not true or valid. The size of govermnent must be determined by the needs of the nation to meet challenges and resolve problems which threaten the nation’s future. That is the only intelligent statement that can be made regarding the size of government. Everything else is pure political partisan BS.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 13, 2006 10:47 PM
Comment #167390

Im all for abolishing the IRS and switching to a Fair tax. I know one state uses it for its state tax all ready. Cutting out the IRS will put a ton of money to better use and the fair tax will increase revenue while placeing less burden on lowerclass familys. not going to go into all the details here but you can find out more here

http://www.fairtax.org/

Jeff

Posted by: Jeff at July 13, 2006 11:23 PM
Comment #167394

Jack, your comment contains some grandiose half truths and they don’t do your argument credit. You say: “They are playing gulf in Sun City instead of working at Wal-Mart.”

You and I both know threre are wealthy retirees receiving benefits. But your statement does NOT reflect the fact that the majority of beneficiaries are not playing golf in Sun City. They are struggling with creditors, medical bills, and to keep mortgage payments up to date during a time whent the cost of basics like energy, transportation, medical care and housing are escalating well beyond COLA adjustments.

You said: “If I get you to agree to pay me $100 a week with a 10% cola, but you lose your job, I really cannot expect you to starve your kids to pay me.”

Sure you can expect that, and you did, when you supported the Republican bankruptcy reform law which closed the bankruptcy escape clause for millions of impoverished Americans today and to come.

Jack, at least we agree on the following statement you made: “You asked if I were willing to pay more tax. Personally, I am, but in principle I am against it. I also don’t mind paying a defacto tax to support myself better in my old age.”

But, I agree with you from a slightly different vantage point. I love America. Hence, I want to insure that the America my 15 year old daughter lives through is not mired in millions of suffering senior citizens, not mired in social and political upheaval and revolution between haves and have nots, not mired in economic decline due to huge losses in consumption brought on by an declining wages in a never ending 3-4% inflation year after year after decade. Nor do I want her to have to experience her own plunge into poverty and lifelong indentured servitude to creditors because of a catastrophic illness or theft of her savings or pension plan or bank accounts by unscrupulous persons for whom no insurance is available, Enron employees for example.

I too am willing and am setting aside more private savings because I can afford to while still giving my daugther the benefits of a middle class opportunity in technology, educational software, extra-curricular activities and tutoring. I am far more fortunate than many of my fellow citizens. Therefore, like you, I am willing to be taxed more to insure that my daughter’s future has a safety net like the one I enjoy, and which permits me to sleep relatively worry free at night.

My baby sister is fighting for her life in a continuous battle with lymphoma. She is in her 30’s. She was a health care administrative assistant for a doctor’s office making about $7.50 an hour in Detroit. At her age and salary, she was unable to put large contingency funds away. Her first bout with tumors put her deep into debt. Her second bout finds here destitute, and dependent upon family and a good hearted man friend to even maintain a domicile. I am so thankful to America for the Medicare assistance she has received. For without it, she would no longer be alive to share love and kindnesses from her family and friends.

Let’s make the modifications we need to make to solve the deficit and debt threat of our grossly mismanaged entitlement programs and the private industries which soak them for Shylock profits. Government should no more shore up luxurious life styles of beneficiaries of its safety net programs than shoring up corporate profiteering at the expense of future citizen’s misery and destitution due to gouging and porking at the taxpayer’s trough.

There is plenty of opportunity and common ground for Republicans and Democrats to solve these problems, but, they don’t and won’t. Their is far too much political election gain and incentive to disagree and point blaming fingers in the short term rather than solve these big problems for the long term. Which is why I founded Vote Out Incumbents Democracy.

End the benefits to those who don’t need them. End the non-competitive bidding for government contracts which cost present and future taxpayers trillions unnecessarily as with the Medicare Rx drug program. End no fault insurance foundations which breed contempt for responsibilty and caution and conservative decisions. Make fault pay, in goverment, in the corporate private sector, and in the population at large.

You all talk a great game about personal responsibility but, take not one step or utter one word against the insurance industry which breeds a national psychology of “no fault”, no problem, reckless living, lifestyles, and workplace / ballotbox decisions.

We owe responsiblility for ourselves, and too, at the same time, we have a responsibility for and to each other in this society and nation. It is long passed time that our politicians were forced out of office when they fail to heed this philosophy in their policy decisions.

We need to save the safety nets. But, to do so, we must deny those who would gorge themselves on the public’s money for personal gain. It can be done. Voters simply need to make getting it done a prerequisite for giving their vote to any incumbent seeking reelection. Vote them out, and keep voting them out, until they realize reelection depends upon policies and programs which are cost efficient, lean, sustainable and efficient.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 13, 2006 11:34 PM
Comment #167398

I dont know that it is stupid David, I think its just simple. Politicians for years now have said they would go to Washington and make our federal government smaller and more efficient. However as we all know they have done just the opposite. The government has grown and continus to grow and grow, unfortunatly it hasnt seemed to help.The current administration has proven that the current size of the government is not manageble. The dems operating at the national level dont appear to be able to manage the government at its current size.
Therefore by default smaller must be better.

Smaller is also better based upon my observation that state and local governments seem more able to serve the needs of the people more efficiently than big federal government has shown it can do. They have pay as you go laws, they innovate when the feds short change them on funds as they have done in the past.
Now dont get me wrong, Im not saying throw out all the watch dogs and let then foxes at the chickens, nor am I saying quit on previous commitments and responsibilities. Im saying that we as a country can no longer agree at the national level what is is we are about and what we stand for. We cant send our elected representatives to speak for us without lobbyist influencing the outcome of the votes. We as a country cannot decide what is the right size and what the obligations for the federal government are.
Again based upon my observation’s we as a country seem to think we are so big we can afford to police the world, start wars based upon wrong reasons, spend as if there was no tommorrow, and dictate to other countries what to do and when to do it.
So sir, if that’s what happens with big government then I still stick with my opinion that smaller has to be better.

Posted by: j2t2 at July 13, 2006 11:43 PM
Comment #167406

j2t2 said: “The current administration has proven that the current size of the government is not manageble. The dems operating at the national level dont appear to be able to manage the government at its current size.
Therefore by default smaller must be better.”

Thank you for this well thought out reply. The logic of your argument above is commendable. Logically, it is a sound argument. But, in reality, the conclusion is one I can’t agree with. Here is the reason.

One of the assumptions of your argument is that because nothing has been done to make government more responsible, efficient, and economically sustainable, nothing can be done.

I reject that premise, because I can see how it can be done. Voting out incumbents and voting for challengers for as many election cycles as it takes to force politicians to recognize that reelection now depends upon meeting the objectives we agree on, is a path which can be successful.

It is why I founded Vote Out Incumbents Democracy, which is growing in support amongst disappointed Democrats, Republicans, third party supporters and independents. I immensely encouraged to witness citizens from all party persuasions join the vote out incumbents movement to force politicians meet common ground objectives, like ending the corruption of special interests through illegal and legal bribery in the form of campaign donations and support. Like saving the safety net for Americans by making the safety net affordable for tax payers and future generations. Like securing our borders against our enemies and a flood of uninvited immigrants who undermine our wage and salary economic foundation. Like extending voting across a weekend and mandating employees working weekends time off to vote, and standardizing voting quality controls so that tallies are transparent and accountable. Like holding white collar crime committed against broad swaths of the American public to higher sentencing and foreitures equal or exceeding penalties for stealing clothes for one’s children, or educational software for their tutoring.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 14, 2006 12:05 AM
Comment #167414

David,
I use to beleive that some day someone would get elected and actually improve the efficency and direction of the federal governmant. That of course hasnt happened and I dont hold out much hope that it will.
Of course, if during this election cycle the incumbents in both houses get throwed out en masse, I would be happy to change my opinion. Because I think you have the right idea, its not something that 1 person can do.
Good Luck in your efforts.

Posted by: j2t2 at July 14, 2006 12:40 AM
Comment #167416

I think we got to start talking about policy in terms of what it actually is, instead of daydreaming about what it’s intended to do. It’s useless to keep talking about spending cuts when you’re spending more with each passing year. It’s useless to talk about how great tax cuts are doing for revenue when you’re still in the hole.

When the GOP starts recognizing the need for practical results again, there’ll be some meaning to the words fiscal conservative again in the party.

As for those who insist on the size of government as the measure of it’s ideal construction, let me say this: An undermanned agency is no less wasteful than a bureaucratically bloated one, in that it does not serve the purpose it was intended to serve in the first place. We cannot forget that there is more than government than the population of its agencies, or the cost of the services.

The time has come to leave behind definitions of government efficiency that owe their validity more to their arithmetic than to the real world effects of goods and services.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 14, 2006 12:50 AM
Comment #167422

Taylor,

If believing that I can spend my money better than some desk jockey buraeucrat in DC and not believing in the government subsidizing stupid behavoir makes me greedy, than I stand guilty as charged. You say that as a responsible person, I should be able to save for my own retirement along with contributing to Social Security. I believe I already stated that I do so. That being the case, why is it that you refuse to hold everyone else to the same standard? I’ve been investing for years now. The elderly have had their entire lives to do so. If they were to irresponsible to invest, I fail to see how that’s my fault.

I am sick and tired of watching my hard earned money going into stupid programs that do nothing productive. Social Security is not going to be there for me, neither as a supplement, as it was intended, nor as my complete retirement as some idiots seem to believe it should be.

Oh, one more thing I really love. That’s having my intelligence questioned by someone who makes cum jokes. Very mature, Taylor, you’re a pillar on the Ivory Tower of the liberal intelligencia establishment.

David Remer,

It would seem that that illness I was worried about you having is gone. Let me know where to sign up for your Vote Out Incumbents Democracy program, its like a breath of fresh air in the cesspool that is DC. Hopefully it catches on.

William,

Thanks.

joebagodonuts,

Tell your son that a young mudbelly advises him to make sure to learn to swim and avoid the nuclear sub fleet. They tend to have pasty complextions more suitable for cavedwellers, but they never need a nightlight as thier teeth glow in the dark.

Posted by: 1LT B at July 14, 2006 1:06 AM
Comment #167429

j2t2 said: “Of course, if during this election cycle the incumbents in both houses get throwed out en masse, I would be happy to change my opinion.”

What a convenient and lazy cop out that was. The opportunity exists to change things around with a lot of grassroots work and financial support, and a few election cycles of growth in the movement, and your response is, if I click my heels twice and in November by magic this whole ship of state is turned around, you will support the success of it.

NO! If you want it to happen, you have to contribute to help make it happen. Waiting around for others to do the work for you is not how change will take place. Your comment says to me, you either don’t care enough about your country to work or support making it better, or you are expect others to make this change for you. Either way, your response was a complete and total cop out. So, be it. There are many in this country who wait for others to bring about the changes they themselves desire, which is why we are in this mess in the first place.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 14, 2006 2:07 AM
Comment #167431

1LT B, the web site is Vote Out Incumbents Democracy and the place to sign up for membership is here. I hope you will join the movement. It really is our best and last hope for good politics and good government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 14, 2006 2:11 AM
Comment #167460

David:

I’m not sure what you mean by “End the benefits to those who don’t need them.” Here’s the problem I see:

I live a reasonable life, and I save money. I do not spend money freely or wastefully most of the time. I have a brother who makes considerably more than I do, yet I have more savings than he does. I do not have the fancy cars, the boat, the endless expensive vacations etc that he has. He is entitled to these—they are his choices.

When we retire, I expect I’ll be able to continue my lifestyle—he most likely won’t be able to. Despite him being my brother, if he has shirked his duties to plan for his retirement, I won’t feel the need to help him should his finances become problematic. I don’t expect that his freespending habits now should put him into a “needy” class of person later in life.

A prime example is Leon Spinks, former heavyweight champ of the world, who now is a janitor. He blew all his money and now receives public assistance to help him out. I’d love to have had his millions and his lavish lifestyle from the late 70’s. It was his responsibility to control his money better. It is not society’s responsibility to allow him to blow his money and then be forced to pick up the tab.

If I invest money for college costs, and my neighbor spends his “college” money instead, do you know what happens? His kids get more financial aid! So he gets rewarded for not doing the right thing. Would you agree that he should?

That’s the problem I have with the idea you stated, as I understand its meaning.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 14, 2006 8:30 AM
Comment #167465

1LT B-
Consider that conservative complaint: Do I believe that a bureaucrat can spend the money better than I can?

I think we do no better and no worse. Money can get wasted in the private sector just as it gets wasted in the public sector.

In the context of this article though, the meaning of that question changes. The argument is associated with tax cuts, which means right now it’s associated with deficit spending. The answer then is: Your government is still spending your money, whether or not you get a tax cut. In this case, though, it will spend more money for it, thanks to the interest rates we pay on it. The debt generated will land on you and your children, and will have them paying more money for the same amount of government. Our debt load will have negative effects on the economy, encouraging inflation and raising interest rates. So not only do you pay more, you can’t do as much with the money left over.

So can you spend that money better than the government can at this point? Unless there’s some radical change in the budget for next year, the answer is no. If you want that answer to be yes, then accept both tax hikes and spending cuts together, return to pay as you go, and lets get to surplus.

Any other approach is a political cop-out to our fiscal problems, which reassures us at the cost of our future prosperity.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 14, 2006 8:54 AM
Comment #167470

Stephen,

A very valid point. I’ll be joining David Remer’s group once I finish writing this. Out of control spending is the biggest problem we face in our government right now, which is why I made my comments about phasing out Social Security and various other government spending I see as wasteful. Much of my argument relates to a trend I see as being very dangerous to our nation; the continued belief that government is our rich uncle whose purpose is to bail us out every time we screw up. joebagodonuts example of Spinks is a prime example of the foolish behavior I refer to. In his case, he earned more in a few years than I will likely earn in my entire life yet he now needs government help to make ends meet. What nonsense! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, with a government that overspends, I’m sick to death of money being dumped on people who are chronic screwups. I’m reminded of a bumper sticker I saw once that said “Keep working, millions on welfare are depending on you.”

In my original post, I called for the phasing out of Social Security on a gradual basis. I also support the FairTax initiative. We as citizens of a democratic republic need to let our elected officials know that they need to get off of the gravy train. I believe the Federal government should go back to doing the job it was given by the Constitution, providing for the national defense, issuing currency, and as little else as possible. Government is not a charitable institution. I don’t mind giving to charity, but its quite something else to have my money taken under the threat of jailtime if I don’t pay up.

We as citizens need to get ourselves in order. If everyone saved and lived within thier means and planned for thier futures, we wouldn’t need Social Security, or it would be reduced to a true safety net there for people who get into financial troubles in their old age through no fault of thier own. We need to be responsible for ourselves and responsible for getting the thieves in DC out and making sure that those who replace them remember they are working for us, not the other way around.

Posted by: 1LT B at July 14, 2006 9:42 AM
Comment #167484

David,
I’ll give you lazy and I would even add impatient. However it has been my expierence that when it comes to electing a representative to send to DC, it’s usually not a choice of better and best, but rather one of “the lesser of two evils”.

I’m not a party regular at the dems or repubs, gave up on the reform party years ago and dont have the wherewithal to start my own. I like to stay informed on the issues so when the time comes I can place my vote accordingly.

I view myself as a concerned citizen and patriotic, although I dont have a flag decal on my bumper, maybe your right and I do need to get more active, I guess I need to find the right cause. Your constructive criticism is being pondered.

Posted by: j2t2 at July 14, 2006 10:45 AM
Comment #167492

J2t2,

Nice to see someone take criticism as constructive. I think David meant it as just that. I, too will be joining his site immediately after this post.

Posted by: Tom L at July 14, 2006 11:18 AM
Comment #167499

1LTB said,

“I am sick and tired of watching my hard earned money going into stupid programs that do nothing productive. Social Security is not going to be there for me, neither as a supplement, as it was intended, nor as my complete retirement as some idiots seem to believe it should be.”

Health and energy are right around the corner! Unless Bush privatizes Soc Security it is definitely going to be there for you so you are quite mistaken. Of course, it may not be as generous as it should be but probably will still be a healthy supplement for you and me that will help keep millions of seniors from abject poverty as well. I suspect you’re belief Soc Security won’t be around is not based on the current facts. If you did you would see how productive and successful Soc Security has been.

Posted by: Chris2x at July 14, 2006 11:43 AM
Comment #167503

Chris2x-

I was in the securities industry as a trader and planner for several years and I have no idea what you are saying. It has been industry standard practice for years now to advise people that Social Security will not be there for them. Everyone knows it is heading for total collapse. Whereas there used to be 15 people paying for every person collecting, it is now about 3:1 and will be 1:1 by 2025 under the current circumstances.

So tell me how this doomed system is going to miraculously begin making 2000% returns on its investments to pull itself out of a very real tailspin?

Also, it was never meant to be a retirement plan in and of itself. It is a social safety net which was necessary for a generation of people who went through the great depression and feared the worst. Great concept for the time, bad long term planning. Typical American policy-making.

The biggest universal political problem we have today is people who are completely fearful of eliminating government programs. Once they are on the books, it is close to impossible to cut them. You’ll have pension collecting government workers yelling about not being able to feed their kids without the job (they don’t exactly sound like highly qualified people at this point), and people like Chris2x saying we are taking away some great social entitlement. I say BS. We’re fixing a bad system with something that can work. Even if that means nothing, it’s better than a net minus.

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 14, 2006 11:57 AM
Comment #167512

Kevin:

I could care less about Rush Limbaugh but I’ve got to admit that I find You absolutely fascinating.

For example,

1) You use the term “fat ass idiot” in one sentence and complain about name calling in the next.

2) You dread the mere possibility of my “lashing out” while in the midst of your own tirade about some idealogue’s doctor shopping and illegal pain pills.

This kind of thing is not unique with you. You almost never fail to defeat your own arguments by doing the very things that you complain about.

That said, I personally think you are on to something when pointing out the distinction between republicans and conservatives. However, in backing up your position John McCain, Dennis Miller, Olympia Snow, et. al. would be good examples of Republicans that are not necessarily Conservatives. Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Ronald Regan, et al. would be good examples of Conservatives that are not necessarily Republican. Citing Rush in the wrong category here is just plain lazy research.

Of course, you don’t have the discipline to put forth cogent arguments (i.e. see 1) above) so its not surprising that you don’t have the dedication to study the subject matter that might support your position before heatedly announcing it on a message board.

btw - someone who believes in “government staying the hell out of regulating behavoir” is a Libertarian moreso than a Conservative. I know you won’t take the time to look it up, so to keep from looking silly in your next debate try references to Marrou, Napalitano, Ayn Rand (whether she likes it or not), etc.


Posted by: william at July 14, 2006 12:31 PM
Comment #167514

Kevin23-
Could there be another reason people in the Securities industry tell folks not to rely on Social Security?

As for fixing things with programs that can work, if Medicare part D is indicative about how they deal with Social Security, then I don’t trust this current administration to fix things well.

Additionally, the pessimistic forecasts were handpicked by the administration as the worst case scenario; even if they are true, another factors comes into play: the unpredictability of the economy that many years down the line.

Posted by: Stephen at July 14, 2006 12:35 PM
Comment #167518

Kevin,

Who is Everyone and how does he know social security is headed for total collapse?

Of course the financial sector has been saying to people social security will not be there for them. Can you guess why? It is legitimate to tell people it won’t provide all of their income for retirement but as financial planners know it is a big part of everyone’s retirement picture. For those of us who make the median salary in this country to expect social security ALONE to maintain our lifestyle is a bogeyman. Besides the fact is IT IS NOT MEANT to provide for nearly all of your retirement or mine, it is a social safety net that keeps seniors from abject poverty, a minimum a civilized and wealthy country can and should do.

Please show me honest numbers that demonstrate Social Security is going to “collapse” as you say and when. I for one look forward to social security not only providing for some of my parents retirement but mine as well.

Who is doing the scareing here?

Posted by: Chris2x at July 14, 2006 12:43 PM
Comment #167565

Has anyone ever stopped to figure out just where SS would be today had the original plan not been changed? If I recall correctly in the early 70’s the excess monies were drained off each year. If those monies were still there would we be whistling a different tune as to the forthcoming collapse of SS?

Has there ever been a scandal within he SS system whereby some one has been convicted of any of the crimes we hear about from time to time on wall street and amongst private financial companies?

Has the SS system ever gone broke from mismanagement and relaxing of industry regulations such as that of the savings and loan industry?

Posted by: j2t2 at July 14, 2006 3:16 PM
Comment #167566

The number of corporations that fail to meet their responsibilities to the workers, that were given a pension plan in lieu of higher wages, seem to be escalating in the past few years. These private accounts seem to be less trustworthy than the SS system. It seems that those that worked for and earned these pensions are at the mercy of the corporations and now are suffering the consequences of trusting their companies to accept the responsibilities they obligated themselves to. Why would we want to trust something so important to private firms?

Posted by: j2t2 at July 14, 2006 3:32 PM
Comment #167585

Chris2x-

www.socialsecurity.org

It took 2 seconds to find this. My numbers were a little off, but not far.

“Social Security is inefficient for at least two reasons. First, it relies on payroll taxes to finance benefits. Under such a structure, benefits can increase from year-to-year by no more than payroll increases year-to-year, holding the tax rate constant. Over the last half-century or so, payroll has increased annually by about 11/2 percent after inflation. This is the rough equivalent of saving and investing for retirement and earning a 11/2 percent rate of return. In comparison, over the last 80 years a conservative portfolio of 60/40 percent stocks and bonds, respectively, earned just a little less than 7 percent annually. A payroll-tax based system gives up the difference between the return on capital and the increase in real wages, in this example about 51/2 percent yearly. With compounding, that adds up to a lot of money left on the table.

The second reason is that for any particular beneficiary it matters how many people work and how many receive benefits. With life expectancy rising and birthrates falling, the relative number of workers declines. In 1950, there were 16 workers per beneficiary, today there are 3.3 and in 2030 there will be just 2.2. It is axiomatic that if we remain within the payroll-based structure, taxes will rise or benefits will fall. And both responses miss the bigger picture; they are adjustments to an inefficient structure that make the structure even more inefficient.”

Now it is your turn to show ANY proof that it will still be in good order when you retire. And you also repeated what I already said (maybe you just didn’t read my post) about it being a safety net, not a retirement plan. Of course planners are advising people to save elsewhere, but not just for selfish reasons. Because financial professionals know it is doomed. Every seminar, every book, and every training in the idustry are unanimous. Social Security is not going to survive much longer. Just because we are still sitting on a pile of cash doesn’t mean it won’t dry up under the buckling weight of aging baby-boomers. Don’t believe me? Go pick up any credible journal, read it, THEN respond to me that I’m lying. Until then, don’t pretend you know more than me…unless you hold a series 7 license…then you’d have some credibility and maybe even a source or two.

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 14, 2006 4:51 PM
Comment #167593

William-

Goodness man, you ARE consistent, I’ll give you that. Like a midget at a urinal, you are on your toes. What do you do for a living anyway that makes you so damn superior so as to judge me personally? I think you want to secretly love me, how else do you explain the random hostility?

“1) You use the term “fat ass idiot” in one sentence and complain about name calling in the next.”

I never called YOU anything, you DID call me all kinds of stuff. Rush, however, is a public figure, and he can handle a little public critisism based on facts. Want me to go back through old posts and quote your words? Its pretty amazing really how many direct insults you leveled, some even contradictory. And I challenge you to do the same. I only insult your words, and you’ll show nothing more than that. Although, I’m not confident you know how to distinguish.

Next you go on and on in agony over my insulting Rush. Then you defend his “conservatism” and pretend to give me a lesson on it. I’ve read his books, and I can quote him. He’s not a true conservative, but merely a whipping boy for whatever the present republican administration hapens to be at the time. He contradicts himself all the time, much like you do, just to look like he’s “winning” some kind of debate with an imaginary “liberal”.

Here’s a direct question: Do you think Rush is a good human being? A model conservative? If you do, enough said.

And I know you are incapable of telling the difference, as evidenced by your repeated attacks, between insulting me, and insulting my words. You have NEVER been able to have a back and forth with me without insulting me personally (any way you can, which is hilarious to watch you try so hard to pigon hole me). And if you’ve ever bothered to read a post of mine without being blinded by hate and feeling an immediate need to type without researching, you’d know I call myself a “conservative libertarian” … so once again you’ve made a meaningless “attack” for no reason at all. Do you really feel these are legitimate attacks? I laugh more often than not at the inherent ignorance. Oh sorry, I forgot, you hate my using big words too (how does education offend you anyway? Did you get molested by a book as a kid or something?).

What I notice is this: you feel an intense need to respond to my every post, and you can only make childish insults, good only for a chuckle, in passing, on a playground. I am making one last final appeal for a real debate with you. One on One, on the merits. Tell me exactly how my message is wrong and why. Can you? I have serious doubts. If you can’t, then do what you always do and lash out…but I called it…and you hate my being right, so prove me wrong.

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 14, 2006 5:25 PM
Comment #167613

Kevin23 said, “Don’t believe me? Go pick up any credible journal, read it, THEN respond to me that I’m lying.”

Oh Boy, here we go. How about something impartial and credible instead of the CATO institute like, I don’t know, the CBO:

A new Congressional Budget Office analysis released today (June 14, 2004), which has been several years in the making, projects that the long-term shortfall in Social Security financing is 47 percent smaller than the Social Security Trustees have projected.

The Trustees project that the Social Security shortfall over the next 75 years equals 1.89 percent of taxable payroll over the 75-year period. CBO projects the shortfall to be 1.0 percent of taxable payroll, or 47 percent less than the Trustees project.

Measured as a share of the economy, the Trustees project that the shortfall equals 0.7 percent of GDP over the next 75 years. The CBO figures reflect a shortfall of about 0.4 percent of GDP.
Similarly, the Trustees project that the trust fund will be unable to pay full benefits starting in 2042. CBO’s estimate is 2052; after that time about 80 percent of benefits could be paid.

And…

If the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are made permanent as the Administration has proposed, their cost over the next 75 years will be more than five times the Social Security shortfall over this period, as projected by CBO. In fact, the cost over the next 75 years of the tax cuts just for the one percent of households with the highest incomes — a group with average incomes of about $1 million per year — exceeds the entire 75-year Social Security shortfall that CBO projects.

Doesn’t sound like a collapse to me.

So your response that social security is about to “collapse” or “Social Security is not going to survive much longer” are lies or you just don’t know better.

And I never said Social Security was fine and dandy and didn’t need some adjustments. But minor tweaking will help a great system. Consider this from Countdown to Reform: The Great Social Security Debate by Henry Aaron and Robert Reischauer

Our conclusion is simple. Social Security has worked extremely well and can continue to provide assured and adequate income support to the retired, the disabled, and families of deceased workers in the future. It equitably spreads across all of society the risks that people are ill-equipped to handle individually—such as the possibility that asset prices will collapse, that inflation will accelerate, or that a retiree will be blessed with an unusually long life. While Social Security faces genuine financial problems, these problems can be solved without changing the fundamental structure of the system. We believe that elected officials and opinion leaders should fix Social Security, not trade it in.

Here’s the link to the rest of the intro to thei r book explaining the pros and cons of private versus public social insurance by the way:

http://www.tcf.org/Publications/RetirementSecurity/countdownreform-introduction.pdf

Next time you might tone down the hot-head rhetoric. I never called you a liar or implied as much previously by the way, you did.

Posted by: Chris2x at July 14, 2006 6:27 PM
Comment #167636

Chris2X-

You forgot that they have revised those figures in 2005? The new projections have revenues being exceeded by outlays by 2019 (12 years away) and total exhaustion of the trust fund by 2046 (right around when I’d be retiring). Like I said before, this is under current circumstances, and does not assume vast reductions. It also assumes a straight line computation method that does not exist in reality. I doubt they have run good cadalac calculations (using thousands of random models circumstances and taking the median), if they have I haven’t seen them. Truth is still there: Social Security is in real trouble.

Here is a link to the CBO’s new revised report:

http://www.freedomworks.org/informed/issues_template.php?issue_id=2616

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 14, 2006 7:31 PM
Comment #167637

I called you a “liar”? Really? I can’t find it anywhere. Did you imagine it, or are you confusing it with me rightfully questioning your facts?

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 14, 2006 7:34 PM
Comment #167644

Kevin23,

You said,

Go pick up any credible journal, read it, THEN respond to me that I’m lying. Until then, don’t pretend you know more than me…

I said,

Next time you might tone down the hot-head rhetoric. I never called you a liar or implied as much previously by the way, you did.

The point is I didn’t know what I had said previously that made me sound like I was calling you a liar. However, I see my post could have been read to claim you called me a liar when that is not what I meant. Sorry about that.

Posted by: Chris2x at July 14, 2006 7:50 PM
Comment #167660

Kevin23 said,

Truth is still there: Social Security is in real trouble.

Social Security does have troubles but there is no collapse or going away even if nothing is done. Social Security will be out of its trust fund and outlays will exceed payroll taxes if nothing is done but benefits as a percentage of pre-retirement income would still be 80% of the level provided today.

It also assumes some very conservative economic growth. Real earnings grow by only 1.16% annually for example.

Posted by: Chris2x at July 14, 2006 8:12 PM
Comment #167663

No big deal…I can take it. But I can get a bit snappy, so I’m sorry too. The thing is: Social Security is not a good system today. I’m not advocating abandoning it completely, but rather we use it wisely to do only what it must do for the complete benefit of society. Today it is a monster out of control. Only two solutions exist by definition: Cut costs or increase revenue. I say gut it and lower my monthly screw job.

I’ll gladly pay a tax to make sure we don’t have people literally starving in the streets, but I don’t like the system the way it is. And I’m just not sure about the efficiency of such a large fund. Maybe if it were more locally administered it would be able to adjust for cost of living and a multitude of factors. I hate to watch a great idea like maintaining minimum standards of living for our older folks get twisted into this federal entitlement program. They should definately stop allowing spend down provisions (people don’t need to get free medical procedures and still get to keep their savings unless it meats certain requirements like those required by private insurers) and stop letting doctors decide the bill. In other words, the government needs to be able to make hard cost saving decisions like: we won’t pay for excessive numbers of procedures when the goal is a short prolonging of life, and we won’t pay for a liver transplant for an alcoholic.

I know it’s a cold subject, but a few smart lines drawn in the sand in absolutely necessary to maintain the integrity of the Social Security system in general. I seriously question the ability of our federal government to intelligently draw these lines in the sand.

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 14, 2006 8:17 PM
Comment #167665

I understand those numbers. It will be sustainable, as is, until 2042, but there is nowhere to go but down at that point. They assume an average wage growth that is true in today’s economy, as is. It does not even consider a near future bust scenario where the trust will be set back 5-10 years in a fixed rate analysis.

So where should we start to cut if we can’t be absolutely certain of huger growth?

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 14, 2006 8:24 PM
Comment #167667

Sorry, I do know that “huger” is not a word. It was “huge” and the “r” was a slipping finger.

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 14, 2006 8:26 PM
Comment #167744

Kevin:

Goodness,that’s a lot to respond to. First off, I do love you. I respond to so many of your posts because I find you absolutely fascinating, but I think I already admitted that as well.

btw - we prefer to be called “little people”.

My profession - we are kindered spirits. Let’s leave it at that.

I am in no way superior to you and wouldn’t pretend to judge you. i’m sorry if you get that impression.

I have no idea if Rush Limbaugh is a good human being or not. I don’t feel compelled to judge him either. Why do you?

is rush limbaugh a good conservative? good question. all i can really say is that he displays more conservativism than republicanism. this was the crux of my earlier post which would be redundant to revisit here.

Kevin, we obviously just have different views of life. i don’t see anything wrong with that and there’s no agony here. I feel that my retorts are on point and not Random. I’m sorry if you fail to see it that way. let me also say that I have no hostility towards you. None!

I’m also sorry if you feel “attacked”. My efforts on this silly board are not put forth with the objective of insulting you or “lashing out”. in fact, i don’t feel that your messages are all “wrong”. I often agree with the thrust of your comments and then you defeat them in the very same posting. But again, we’ve gone through this before.


Posted by: william at July 15, 2006 1:55 AM
Comment #167843

Well William,

I’m not looking to run for public office, and so I could care less about not putting my words in the shiniest and least offensive packaging. I just say it, because this medium of communication allows me to do just that. But at least I’m saying something other than “you suck” when I write my thoughts on these threads. If you agree with the thrusts, then why don’t you point out where and why you disagree so that we can actually have a back and forth about it? I’m dying for this chance. But you seem much too happy with simply throwing verbal stones and running away…just like those cowards in Lebenon.

I can handle being called a hypocrite. No one can truthfully say they’ve never straddled the fence on an issue. Well, maybe some can, but I don’t read those posts as they make you stupid. So lets have at it when you take offense, but step up to the plate when you take issue and explain why. I’ll do the same. Thowing stones certainly hasn’t
gotten the Palestinians very far. If you like, you can start with all the things I’ve said on this thread.

And lets not pretend like it is not an american past-time to critisize our public figures. The mere fact that I insult a radio personality whose whole role in society is to inspire strong feelings should not be hypocritical to ANY conservative here. After all, this is the very reason we are blogging to begin with.

And there is nothing wrong with the word midget, as some of my best friends are midgets. Ok that is a lie.

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 15, 2006 3:02 PM
Comment #167912

Kevin23,

We very well may not need huge growth to overcome the social security trustees scenario. Using their intermediate scenario (which nearly everyone does from Bush to the media) assumes economic growth of only 1.8 %. The only time we’ve had that rate of growth or lower for a length of time was the great depression.

What’s more there are as many fixes as one can imagine to social security, many with little pain. I personally like the Al Franken donut hole (inspiration Republican medicare drug benefit) where we raise the amount of wages taxed for social security from $90,000 to $120,000 and then there are no soc sec taxes from $120,000 to $500,000 of income whereby income above that amount would again be taxed.

By the way, implementing Bush’s privatization plan would IMMEDIATELY reduce revenue below that of outlays to the soc. sec. trust fund and you wouldn’t have to wait till 2018.

Also, if you elimnated social security today the amount of seniors living below the poverty line jumps for something like 8% to 47%. I think that is one definition of a rather effective program.

Posted by: Chris2x at July 15, 2006 9:37 PM
Comment #168143

It’s not that I don’t believe you Chris, but where are your sources? I just don’t have time to go searching to verify this poverty wage argument of yours. I’m familiar with the donut hole idea and it may very well help, but again, the crutch of my argument is that wages are not growing by as much as they did after WWII, and they probably won’t. Further, the way numbers are recorded have changed. We also have a lot of outliers at the top. I’m not convinced we are not in serious trouble with the stock market in the near future. A lot of factors point to a non-straight line analysis. I don’t see the bright side without gutting the program to re-focus its impact. There ARE good ideas out there, but no political incentive on either side, and glaring holes in even the beloved Bush plan.

Posted by: Kevin23 at July 17, 2006 1:34 AM
Comment #168818

I agree that higher taxes is not the solution, because:

  • the government already receives $2 trillion (20% of GDP)
  • ,
  • the government has no discipline and would simply be even more fiscally irresponsible,

  • the tax system is unfair; too many loop holes for the wealthy;

Americans had better pull their head out and start thinking about the potential for an economic melt-down.

It is not far fetched.

Things take a long time.
Progress is 2 steps forward, and 1.999 steps backward.
The consequences of fiscal policies several decades ago may be about to wreak havoc in the decades to follow.

With $22 trillion of government debt ($8.4T National debt, $12.8 Social Security debt, $450 billion PBGC, etc.), who can jump for joy about the economy?
How long can it last with what is in the pipeline?
There are thousands of 77 million baby boomers retiring daily, and they will make less, earn less, spend less, pay less taxes, and expect to draw from troubled Social Security and Medicare systems.

We been crappin’ in our own nest for so long, the sagging branch it rests on is about to snap.

That is, we’re in deep [explicative].

I suppose we could just print some more money.
Sure, why not.
That’s what they have been doing anyway.
That’s why inflation is climbing.
And, we’ve been brainwashed to think some inflation is OK.

Before 1950, inflation was almost non-existent.
Now look at it …

There is something drastically wrong with this picture. Inflation is destabilizing.

In the 1980’s, government chose to print more money and the resulting double digit inflation, rather than run up debt.

Now, government is running up huge debt, rather than double-digit inflation.

However, there is just one big problem with the approach. While it is simple to quit printing money, it is not so easy to get rid of massve debt. Especially not $22 trillion. Not when annual tax revenues are already 20% ($2 trillion) of GDP ($11 trillion).

It seems unavoidable that we are destined for both massive debt, and double-digit inflation, because there will be no other way to keep up with the $1 billion per day of interest (alone) on $8.4 trillion of debt.
And that does not even include the $12.8 trillion of debt in the Social Security system, which baby boomers will be soon demanding. Who will make good on the worthless I.O.U.s in the Social Security lock box? Print more money? The Federal Reserve is a ponzi-scheme, because they keep printing and loaning more money. It’s like charging your monthing VISA bill to the same VISA card. That can’t last. There will be consequences.

It will start to become much clearer in the next 10 to 15 years. Too many baby boomers are not ready for retirement, and to make it worse, entitlements will have to be drastically slashed. This will create resentments (a generational storm). The younger generation is not going to like their taxes being hiked to pay for the massive debt. Massive cuts will be required in lots of areas. This will cause pain and misery. All the while, half (or more) of every tax dollar will be to pay the interest on the debt (to those that have invested in the national debt). Government will start to do what many irresponsible governments have done. It will start to print more money. Then the deterioration will accelerate.

If it is not unavoidable, I’d certainly like someone to explain how it is all going to work itself out and be OK. So far, there are no credible takers.

What does that tell you?

Posted by: d.a.n at July 19, 2006 12:05 PM
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