A Bath in the Envy Pool

We finally have a federal government founded solely in the pooling of envy. Their plan is to make the “rich” pay their “fair share”, whatever that is. It seems a good time to let our readers hear what employers and producers think of the new regime of “progressive” envy politics.

From letters to the Wall Street Journal we hear these comments-

President Barack Obama’s plan to increase taxes on the wealthy ignores the law of unintended consequences. In aggregate, people respond to higher taxes by earning, hiring, and giving less. Whether one believes high earners should give more to society or that they already pay more than a fair share is academic; basic human behavior dictates that, beyond a certain point, confiscation of wealth decreases the general health of the economy. PETE HETHERINGTON
Houston
The tax plan proposed by President Obama punishes initiative, imagination, the entrepreneurial spirit and risk-taking, all of which are necessary to save our economy. ALAN J. WINTERS.
Bellaire, Texas
For the many baby boomers now retiring and living off investments, we will see huge reductions in income from our working years including 2006. The top 2% of taxpayers are not going to make anything like the income they did in 2006. They will not be paying anywhere near the same taxes. Bob STEPHANY
Pleasanton, Calif
With taxes on the rise, deductions disappearing, our doctors moving toward concierge medicine to avoid health-care reform, schools increasing in class size, etc., it occurs to us that it would be nice to just quit and move to the mountains with our children. Better to earn less but keep more, spend more time with our children, and stop feeling so responsible for the well-being of our employees.
There goes the $130,000 of taxes paid, the gardeners and day-care providers we employ to balance our schedules, the clothes and dinners we occasionally buy, the productive use of our skills which keeps others employed, and so on. Grim for the U.S. but at least I will be fit, have a tan, and spend time with my children. CHARLES WUISCHPARD
Danville, Calif
We also have comments coming in the form of forwarded e-mails.
Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House.
One is from Chicago, another is from Tennessee, and the third is from Minnesota. All three go with a White House official to examine the fence. The Minnesota contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. "Well," he says, "I figure the job will run about $900: $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me."
The Tennessee contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, "I can do this job for $700: $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me."
The Chicago contractor doesn't measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, "$2,700."
The official, incredulous, says, "You didn't even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?"
The Chicago contractor whispers back, "$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence."
"Done!" replies the government official.
And that, my friends, is how the stimulus will work.

The Obama Administration's vitriol against the travel industry has also begun to pose a threat to jobs. From a Reuters article about the response of a business leader in Las Vegas we see the following-
Adelson is one of several industry leaders who have complained about the backlash against corporate expenses. Airlines say it is worsening a travel slump and could cost jobs.
The essential logic (well expressed here by someone who doesn't know he's not what he thinks he is philosophically) of "progressive" envy politics is the worst sort of hogwash. It makes two basic assumptions, that the big paying jobs are there whether they are highly taxed or not, and that greed is the essential motivator in economics. "Progressive" envy politics has no plan for what happens if these assumptions are false.

So, what happens if the sentiments of the letter writers above reflect a reality among productive employers? What if attacks on the jobs in the travel and leisure industries actually reduce the utilization of those industries? What if productive people really believe government's motivation is to get the most money for itself and its corrupt friends? What if the demonization of jobs held by ordinary people in other industries ranging from auto production, to oil and gas production, to luxury goods like boat and planes, and the afore-mentioned gardeners and child-care givers of "the rich" causes a reduction in employment for those hard-working ordinary employees?

Welcome to a bath in the envy pool, where the water is bitter cold all the time.

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at March 4, 2009 9:47 AM
Comments
Comment #276757

Deal with realities first, perceptions second. It’s easier to deal with perceptions with your feet on the ground than with your head in the clouds.

The Republicans are dealing mainly in perceptions, not hard mechanics or policy. They may joke about corruption, but what do they actually do?

I’ve got a long memory. I remember what Republicans were saying in the eighties and nineties. The same thing. Clinton, though, raised taxes, and despite the Republican’s claims of economic armageddon, things went just fine.

The envy the Republicans have is for power they no longer control. That’s why they’ll say anything and do anything to get it back.

But we’ve seen this happen once before. Americans know what the promises are. We’re not going to wait around guessing whether we’ll encounter the same outcomes.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 4, 2009 11:43 AM
Comment #276758

Lee,
In a world were every citizen made enough to pay their Fair Share of Taxes ($4 trillion/300 million) the Top 1-3% of Society may have a leg to stand on; however, that not being the case and unlikely to happen over the next four years I do believe that a 3% increase in Federal Taxes for any and all income that cannot be wrote off above $249,000.00 is not a burden seeing the increase in opportunities by solving problems.

No, I take a different view at those who cry that a couple of thousand in taxes will bankrupt them.

1) Nobody is forcing you to keep the job that pays you so much money. In fact, I am sure that for everyone making over $250,000.00/yr. at the end of 2011 who sees the increase of taxes as a burden. The Corporation can find a 100 Citizens that can do the job for less money and a willingness to be more productive.

2) Why tax the Rich and not the Poor as was the past Status Quo? Well, lead by Logic and Reason a person who is willing to fight through the System to reach such wealth is in a better condition than the poor to make more money.

3) Why some call the increase of taxes by President Obama unfair, they should be reminded that President Regan placed the burden of taxes on Corporations that made over $250,000.00 in profit. So why the Individual making over $250,000.00 in profit (wages) may seem to be taking advantage by a 3% increase, seeing that they can start a business, invest back into a business, and/or donate their way to the lower tax bracket or pay no 3% increase I wonder if they would care to trade places with the Bottom 1-3% of Society and what they are forced to survive on every year. Than they can complain about the water being cold all the time.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 4, 2009 11:49 AM
Comment #276763

The current tax system is regressive and unfair, not to mention being ridiculously complex, time-consuming, costly, and frustrating. And a few measely credits at the bottom of the tax curve don’t fix that.

In this debt-crisis, a common-sense solution would seem to be something that greatly simplifies the tax system, and makes it more fair. For example.

Most Americans polled hate the current tax system, and prefer a simplified flat income tax system that taxes all types of income an equal percentage. Of course, some people paying a much smaller percentage of their total income to federal taxes may not like that plan at all. Some people think an equal percentage is unfair.

But, I guess a simpler and fairer tax system makes too much sense, because Congress is where good ideas and common-sense solutions go to die.

Especially when voters still reward Congress with 85%-to-90% re-election rates.

So, we still have a ridiculously convoluted, regressive, unfair tax system … suckers!

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 4, 2009 12:19 PM
Comment #276766

“What if attacks on the jobs…

What if productive people really believe…

What if the demonization of jobs held by…”

What if this is just ideological scare tactics used to manipulate public opinion?

What if these letter writers have to “sacrifice” for once for the economic and social good of the country that has been the foundation for their success?

Lee I am listening to Mr. Brown of England as he states it is not a “free market” it is a “values free market” that we have endured this past 3 decades. Those without values has prospered while the debt of this Country built up. It is time for those that have benefited from this values free market to pay their fare share IMHO.

To Mr. Hetherington I say isn’t it a little to late to invoke the law of unintended consequences when we consider the meltdown of the global financial institutions? Where were you when the wealth confiscation perpetrated by those hedge funds, institutions and leaders that caused the meltdown took place? If you will recall the 3% increase just puts the tax rate back to the level it was just prior to the deficit run up of the last 8 years of repub rule.

To Mr. Winters I say if all the initiative, imagination and spirit you have will fall apart due to a 3% tax on the income over $250,000 then perhaps it is time to look at your values.

To Mr. Stephany I say it is time for those that are retired to share in the brave new world that was created upon your watch. To saddle the younger generations with debt and extremely lower wages for the 98% of the working people is not a legacy that should be left behind.

To Mr. Wuischpard I say go to the mountains. Let a younger family fill in the void you create. Take your skills and get a tan if 3% on income over $250,000 is the deciding factor.

To Mr. Adelson I say comp the rooms for those receiving bail out money if you want them in Vegas.

Lee these productive risk taking entrepreneurs that make over $250,000 in income do so as an incorporated business for the most part. All they need to do is put more money back into their business by paying their employees better or expanding their business. Pay themselves only $249,900 to avoid the additional 3% on the income above $250,000. Seems this tax increase is actually an incentive to grow the economy in these trying times.

Lee envy pool or greed pool, are either an accurate reflection of the facts or just irrational name calling? While envy is one of the 7 deadlies lets not forget greed, gluttony, wrath and pride are also included in the same sins. Your letter writers seem to have displayed many of these characteristics.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 4, 2009 12:39 PM
Comment #276770

“All they need to do is put more money back into their business by paying their employees better or expanding their business.”

The easiest way is to get rid of employees, and guess what? That is exactly what is being done. Cutting spending is also easier: Goodbye contracted cleaning crews. Goodbye office supplies, the people who make them and goodbye salesmen who sell them. Goodbye company cellphones and the salespeople.

“Pay themselves only $249,900 to avoid the additional 3% on the income above $250,000.”

That’s what I would do. Well, that and use every loophole I could to get out of being punished for my success.

“Seems this tax increase is actually an incentive to grow the economy in these trying times”

Only time will see, I guess. As for me, I am saving every single penny and spending as little as possible in order to help me get through the gigantic tax increases that are coming to us all in the next few years.

Posted by: kctim at March 4, 2009 1:02 PM
Comment #276771

j2t2 and Stephen,

Perception, in politics, IS reality. When people think, perceive, that their successful efforts at organizing people to accomplish productive tasks will be rewarded with ostracism, burdensome paper busy work, and accusations of, if not persecutions for, frenzied greed some portion of them will not pursue the path of organizing productivity. When they know their charitable contributions will not give them the deductions they sought they will reduce their contributions (especially if they are liberals).

Blather all you want about things were just fine in the days when Enron and Tyco and WorldCom were doing the same nonsense we now point out for Bernie Madoff (and the Clinton Administration took no notice) and how the economy was just great when anyone with the memory of a tree stump knows if the dot.com collapse hadn’t happened Al Gore would have won the presidency (and maybe even the state he came from)…

The effort needed to succeed is considerable. It is a cost. Every successful person I know is fully aware of that cost. Narrow the possible return on that large investment and many people will not pay the price.

Which means we all pay the price.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 4, 2009 1:05 PM
Comment #276775

Daugherty writes; “The envy the Republicans have is for power they no longer control. That’s why they’ll say anything and do anything to get it back.”

If my analysis of this statement is correct, Daugherty is telling us that by doing and saying what he ascribes to Republicans, that message is so popular that they are doing it to regain power.

But, Daugherty tells us that it is PO and the liberal congress position that is popular. So, I am confused. If Republicans object to the popular position, why are they espousing the unpopular position if they are doing so to regain power?

Please explain this to us Mr. Daugherty.

Posted by: Jim M at March 4, 2009 1:27 PM
Comment #276783

Do they want to live in a country that has an economy?

Posted by: Max at March 4, 2009 2:44 PM
Comment #276794

“When people think, perceive, that their successful efforts at organizing people to accomplish productive tasks will be rewarded with ostracism, burdensome paper busy work, and accusations of, if not persecutions for, frenzied greed some portion of them will not pursue the path of organizing productivity.”

Will they also belly up and die in the street should they choose to give up due to a 3% increase in taxes on earnings over $250,000? Will this extreme case of self defeating behavior spread until they and all those around them earn minimum wage? Will no one answer the call to earn more than $250k per annum? Will things get so bad for these people that there will be no one left to envy, or will these people do as their forefathers did in the ‘90’s and find their inner strength, pick themselves up from this spirit crushing blow to their sense of self worth and continue to use their skills to benefit themselves? Stay tuned…

“When they know their charitable contributions will not give them the deductions they sought they will reduce their contributions (especially if they are liberals).”

Lee you hold these people in such low esteem, whether they be liberal, conservative or independent minded. Certainly they will not stop going to charity functions because they cannot write off the costs of the charity event? If this is what happens to the people of the aristocracy I can only thank my lucky stars that I run with a different crowd. The middle and lower middle class types I know have been under this same assault on our finances since the onslaught of the conservative movement. We have grown from this adversity and have still managed to get up every morning, go out and earn a little less of a living each year. Perhaps a little adversity will help the +$250k crowd out.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 4, 2009 4:17 PM
Comment #276795

Jim M-
I never said the Republicans had an accurate guage on their popularity. You guys explain these low numbers by saying that you folks haven’t been conservative enough to deserve good numbers, that if you go out there and do what you’re supposed to (like oppose higher taxes, spending and Obama stimulus packages) America will forgive you and welcome you back.

Am I wrong? Is that not the rhetoric you folks have been using?

kctim-
What’s with this right wing pessimism about taxes? They won’t pay any more taxes than they did under the Clinton Administration.

On what basis do you claim that there will be this wave of unemployment and economic destruction in the wake of the tax increase? Strong fundamentals elsewhere can counterbalance things. The economy isn’t a spreadsheet or a pie. It’s a system of feedbacks. If, for example, the money coming from the 95% of Americans with the tax cuts improves profits, you might be able to adjust for the tax cuts.

Wait. You know, If I were a businessman or woman, I might want to tell everybody else to pay their workers more. Then my folks would see more money coming from them. Profit!

Of course, I might have to do something like treat my customers more nicely, innovate, things like that. But you know something? The people getting the tax cuts will spend, and they’ll spend towards the rich folks.

But let’s whine about punishing success, especially after years of punishing good work with massive layoffs, benefit cuts and whatnot… They had their success on their backs.

Lee Jamison-
The effort to be successful is not universally high. Some people have to work at it. Some people schmooze. Some people are genuinely talented.

But regardless, we’re not about punishing success. That’s just hardline right-wing rhetoric, designed to scare people. If you ask the average liberal whether they want those things, they’ll tell you no.

But nobody said there weren’t more efficient, cost saving ways to get these things done, to govern. Unfortunately, the Republican argument simply assumes there aren’t. Making government more efficient is anathema, because it might make people less apt to get rid of it, which according to the GOP is Evil.

The GOP has developed a conflict of interest when it comes to governing well. Why we should want them back is beyond me. Their actions in this crisis prove that their priorities rest with manipulating perceptions, rather than with actually dealing with the realities that most actively shape them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 4, 2009 4:20 PM
Comment #276796

Daugherty writes; “I never said the Republicans had an accurate guage on their popularity.”

No you didn’t. You did say they were advocating their policies out of greed for power and would do and say anything to achieve it. If you believe their policies are not popular, why bother to object. Wouldn’t it make more sense for you to encourage them further?

Posted by: Jim M at March 4, 2009 4:28 PM
Comment #276799

Stephen,

But nobody said there weren’t more efficient, cost saving ways to get these things done, to govern. Unfortunately, the Republican argument simply assumes there aren’t.
Wow! Efficiency, by this definition, is a truly mystical process! ONE POINT FIVE TRILLION DOLLARS spent to create or save (whatever the hell that stupid piece of B.S. means) three and one half million jobs? What sort of jobs are we “saving”? Given that a fifth of that number lost their jobs last month in anticipation of Obama’s salvation of the economic world, how’s it going so far?

Plus, we have another TWO TRILLION DOLLARS of said efficiency coming down the pike.

By the way, if you taxed the top two percent of earners in the United States of every penny they made, period, you could not pay for what Democrats are promising us.

That’s efficiency for you.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 4, 2009 5:05 PM
Comment #276800
Wouldn’t it make more sense for you to encourage them further?

You may have not noticed, but the Democratic Party is absolutely giddy about the current Republican’s Party situation. One good example of this is the Democratic Party’s feigned indignation of Rush Limbaugh. This is forcing the Republican Party to publicly support him, which will only further alienate the moderate and independent voters they sorely need.

Of course I could have saved writing all the above and just noted:

President Obama’s approval rating: 67%
Democrat’s in Congress approval rating: 43%
Republican’s in Congress approval rating: 19%

Posted by: Cube at March 4, 2009 5:08 PM
Comment #276802

Stephen
Its not “right” just because its not any more than we paid under clinton. If a company raises its prices by a thousand and then lowers it by five hundred, you still are not paying what is fair.

I didn’t claim there will be a wave of unemployment and economic destruction, I merely gave other options employers have. Options I am seeing done first-hand.

It is a fact that progressive taxation punishes success, but if you wish to call people whiners because they don’t want your hands in their pockets, have at it. Personally, I think those saying gimme gimme gimme and then complain when asked why, are the whiners. At least thats what I tell my children.

Posted by: kctim at March 4, 2009 5:13 PM
Comment #276803

Lee Jamison-
Save jobs, B.S.? Actually, no. We gave the states funds to make up for shortfalls, which means they didn’t have to lay off people. We also save jobs if we halt economic conditions that would lead to business failures and/or layoffs.

The trick is, Obama’s policies haven’t had time to work. We’re only six weeks into Obama’s adminstration. Geithner doesn’t even have deputy secretaries in place yet.

But of course, we can trust the right to correctly diagnose Obama as the cause of all the tumult in the economy, because after all, the consequences of eight years of economically destructive policy just slammed on the brakes when it saw Obama crossing the street.

The Republican Parade of Pessimism is well underway. This follows the hugely successful Orgy of Optimism that the Republicans held, right up until that point that a Democrat inherited the office.

You know, the trick is, Obama’s actually putting people into his administration who oversee the money they’re spending, especially the TARP. He’s putting in the government control that was supposed to accompany the plan, instead of just handing out money without strings attached. But hey, that’s results! We’re not looking for results are we, just slogans for 2010, 2012.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 4, 2009 5:31 PM
Comment #276804

I’m glad a lot of incumbent Republican politicians got booted from office.
I’m sad that more incubment Democrat politicians were not booted from office.

Any way, the 111th Congress consists of 86.9% of the 110th Congress.
Only 70 (13% of 535) incumbent politicians were replaced.
So what has really changed?
Congress just gave itself its 10th raise in 12 years, and $93,000 per Congress person for petty cash and expenses. Cha Ching!
More debt, money-printing, and spending?

Perhaps enough voters will stop repeatedly rewarding irrepsonsible, incompetent, FOR-SALE, corrupt incumbent politicians with 85%-to-90% re-election rates, when enough of the voters are finally bankrupt, jobless, homeless, and hungry?

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect, and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful.

Suckers!

Posted by: d.a.n at March 4, 2009 5:34 PM
Comment #276805

Let me include a quote from blog, which you linked to but conveniently left out:

The argument that this tax plan will somehow reduce aspirations and goals is a fallacy. Those who want to make that much money will make it and more, no matter what tax plan is thrown their way. They aren’t going to throw away the lavish lifestyle they have become accustomed to just to avoid taxes. And those who don’t earn it aren’t going to try and earn less, either. Nor will they be any more uninspired to earn more than they already are.

Under Reagan the wealthiest were being taxed at a rate similar to, or perhaps even higher than Obama is proposing. Did they stop aspiring to become millionaires? Did they all up and quit their high paying, high powered jobs for lower wages in order to evade being taxed? Were their lives ruined?

No.

Furthermore, there is no evidence - no evidence whatsoever that reducing taxes will “create jobs”. Reducing taxes does not, and has never, encouraged a company or CEO to raise wages or hire more people. They take the money, and apply it to their profits. There is no logical reason whatsoever to use the money saved in taxes to hire more people, and net nothing. (Hiring more people only marginally increases profits, if at all because the profits are balanced our by the wages, benefits, and taxes paid per each new employee).

And…that’s why giving corporations tax breaks “to create jobs” makes no sense.

I’m not entirely sure who you’re trying to convince here - us, (the readers) or yourself - but “envy” has nothing to do with progressive taxation. Economics is what drives it, not to mention the fact that we have always had a progressive tax system. This is nothing new.

Envy also has nothing to do with outright disgust towards those who hoard gross amounts of money while people are starving in their own country.

Perhaps you ought to do more research on things like economics, class castes, statistics, and sociology (and history) and rely less on mutually agreeable and reciprocal opinions from letters to the editor the next time you make your case.

Oh, and yes - the wealthy class will always be there as long as capitalism exists. Every caste created by capitalism will always be present as long as capitalism exists. If there were no castes, it wouldn’t be capitalism. It would be socialism.

Posted by: Anok at March 4, 2009 5:45 PM
Comment #276806

kctim-
I was pointing out to him that it didn’t do the harm he predicted under Clinton, as it was predicted to do back then, while the Bush tax cuts weren’t the panacea the claims about taxes would have predicted.

If we’re trying to figure out what’s right, it helps if we test our statements against the facts.

Progressive taxation doesn’t punish success. The richer you get, the less you feel the economic pinches of the increase. By keeping taxes low for those who would feel it most, the progressive tax code helps keep the tax system out of the way of most people’s success, putting the share of taxation more on those who can miss the money and still enjoy their success.

From those who have much, much has ALWAYS been asked by civilized society. It’s the price for concentrating your wealth. Read your bible, see how ancients thought about folks who horded wealth but didn’t help others.

Many of the worst Robber Barons of the late 19th and early 20th century are remembered well because of the foundations and the institutions that bear their names. Philantropy was once seen as an obligation, and not just for tax purposes. It was part of what one did.

Unfortunately, nowadays, the attitude is, you’re either left to be a law to yourself, to enjoy all your wealth and power without restraint or backtalk, or you’re having your success punished.

Sorry, the rest of us have to live with certain obligations. Why the Rich should be spared appropriate obligations to their economic strength is beyond me.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 4, 2009 5:51 PM
Comment #276824

Lee
So today BHO announces a crackdown on no bid contracts and sets out to revamp military procurment and getting rid of the cronyism of the Bush years. The savings estimate is 40 billion a year. Spin that.

A famious Republican president,Teddy Rosevelt once said,” The wealthy should pay more in taxes. If it were not for the constant minstrations of the constabulary they would not be able to sleep in their own beds at night.”

Posted by: bills at March 4, 2009 9:25 PM
Comment #276828

“Its not “right” just because its not any more than we paid under clinton. If a company raises its prices by a thousand and then lowers it by five hundred, you still are not paying what is fair.”

I can see your point kctim but when one factors in inflation the cost of government has actually went down, hasn’t it? Now under the conservative repub rule the past 8 years so has our income unless you are in the higher tax bracket such as the $250k and above range and the disparity of incomes has steadily increased so to begrudge the 3% increase in taxes seems rather narrow minded when you consider the deficit was doubled in part due to tax cuts to the same income bracket during these past 8 years. I don’t believe many in the lower income brackets shared the wealth of the past 8 years why should they be further burdened with the paying of the deficit created by the huge increase in the spending and size of the government during the same time frame? Myself I prefer Donald Trumps proposed one time wealth tax as a solution to the national debt.

From Wikipedia-
“In 1999, Donald Trump proposed a once off 14.25% wealth tax on the net worth of individuals and trusts worth $10 million or more. Trump claimed that this would generate $5.7 trillion in new taxes, which could be used to eliminate the national debt.[4]”

Posted by: j2t2 at March 4, 2009 10:57 PM
Comment #276837

Anok
A couple of corrections. We have not always had a progressive income tax. In fact the country did not have an income tax for much of our history but relied mostly on tariffs to finance the federal government.
Also a society without caste,as you call them and others might call classes is not socialism. What you are speaking of is some sort of utopian fantasy land but not socialism. Socialism is simply collective(public) ownership of those institutions we all must use; the highway system, fire departments,municiple utilities etc.Like all modern indusrial countries we are a mix of socialism and private ownership. The debate is about where to draw the line.

Posted by: bills at March 5, 2009 7:24 AM
Comment #276842

Lee, marginal tax rates on the wealthy are at historical lows and will continue to be even after the Obama tax hike on them. Try between 50 and 70% during the greatest economic boom in the 20th century, the post WWII period. Pretty shoots GOP’s argument about taxing the wealthy hurting the economy all to hell. Current rate is 30% and to rise to 35% if I recall correctly on the rise.

By employers and producers, do you mean those same employers and producers responsible for tanking the nation’s economy, and requiring tax payer bailouts to remain afloat? And we should give any credence to what they have to say on the matter? Get real.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 5, 2009 8:57 AM
Comment #276844

d.a.n said: “I’m glad a lot of incumbent Republican politicians got booted from office.
I’m sad that more incubment Democrat politicians were not booted from office. “

Absolutely doggone right! Perhaps in 2010. I know a number of folks who are ready and waiting. Especially in the House of Representatives where they don’t yet appreciate the fact that unnecessary deficit spending is no longer just wasteful, it is crime against future tax payers. Albeit, one without punishment except perhaps, hopefully, on election day.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 5, 2009 9:12 AM
Comment #276845

kctim, it is right to raise rescind their tax cuts because we are running deficits, and increasing revenues from those who can remain in the upper middle and upper classes after having their taxes increased are not substantially harmed by the increase.

There is a story out this morning where Switzerland is hiding the names from the U.S. Government of a large amount of American depositors whom have hidden untaxed assets away there. These hundreds of wealthy Americans may not represent the population of wealthy people in America, but, they are sure giving the wealthy people a huge black eye in the public view.

One would think responsible wealthy people would exercise a little positive PR on their own behalf and embrace rescinding the Bush tax cuts, instead of bellyaching and trying to get the less well off to pick up that share of the tax revenues or defer more debt to future tax payers.

Warren Buffet has become one of those wealthy people the middle class actually likes. Smart guy for publicly saying it is not fair that his tax rate is lower than his office secretarial personnel. Americans would appreciate a lot more wealthy people like Warren Buffet.

But he is just one, and there are hundreds hiding their wealth in foreign accounts while the wage earners have no choice in the paying their taxes. If not thousands.

I wrote an article quite some time ago outlining how it is that the wealthiest access vastly greater government services and receive greater government protections than working class persons. Yet, Republicans insist they pay a lower rate of tax? Finally, it no longer computes with the majority of Americans. Thank Buddha.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 5, 2009 9:26 AM
Comment #276848

Stephen
I understood what you were pointing out, I just think its a mistake to say “no big deal, they were fine before,” when the best answer lies with understanding why people do not want the same taxation as under clinton.

The more you make, the more they take. That is progressive taxation and it is punitive. I don’t understand how you think it is up to you, me or govt to decide who feels what pinch when, or how they will or will not miss the money they have earned.

I do not have a bible, sorry, but I am guessing what you refer to speaks of charity or helping ones neighbor?

“Unfortunately, nowadays, the attitude is, you’re either left to be a law to yourself, to enjoy all your wealth and power without restraint or backtalk, or you’re having your success punished”

Sorry, but that is not the case at all. If you took an honest look at this issue, you would see that the problem behind it all is outrageous govt spending. The more govt takes on, the more it must spend and the only way it can spend is to raise taxes. Without that govt intrusion, the less it must spend and the less it must tax.
Blaming it on greed and selfishness is a cop out Stephen, and I think you know that.

“Sorry, the rest of us have to live with certain obligations. Why the Rich should be spared appropriate obligations to their economic strength is beyond me”

If we truly were living with obligations, wouldn’t the first obligation be to ourselves? Wouldn’t such obligation decrease the need for hand-outs and therefore the need for higher taxes?

You know, I don’t think there would be such a divide if we were talking about the rich and the obligations they have for their economic strength. No, the problem comes when we talk about the obligations we think they should have for the economic strength of others.

Look, I understand we have the tax system that we have and that the people must accept it or they would vote for reps to get rid of it. No biggie. But we will always have this divide as long as we keep ignoring why people want to keep want they earn.

Posted by: kctim at March 5, 2009 9:53 AM
Comment #276849

J2
Its not a repub or demo rule for me. I am against all forms of unfair taxes and overtaxation.

I mainly “begrudge” all tax increases because of the tons of wasteful spending. If it was a justified increase, I doubt if I would say a word about it.

I always love the Buffet and Trump claims. Its kind of funny they don’t lead by example.

David
I wonder how many of those people would still put their money in Swiss accounts IF we had a reasonable tax system?

Buffet complains about his secretary’s tax rate but he does nothing to support his complaint. Why does he not volunteer to pay what she pays? Or maybe advocate for us to pay the same rate he does? Now that would be a good PR move on his part.

“Finally, it no longer computes with the majority of Americans”

Absolutely. I agree 100% with you. And, as DAN says, the people have the govt they deserve. As over controlling and unfair as it has become.

Posted by: kctim at March 5, 2009 10:11 AM
Comment #276850

Tax cuts when times are good, bad, improving, or worsening. You name it. An unsustainable dogma from the party of unsustainability.

Posted by: Schwamp at March 5, 2009 10:11 AM
Comment #276857

kctim-
People want to keep what they earn because they have their own self interests at heart. It’s not real fricking complicated. The question is, whether indulging everybody’s self interest is sustainable.

Government, by it’s nature, is about curtailing and limiting individual behavior for the greater good. You can’t delude yourself about that. Now we could have a system where just a few made that decision. We instead have a system where many, or the representatives of many make those decisions. The interface and the results are not always perfect, but it’s the closest we get on this side of grave to the best government.

Liberalism wasn’t force on people, it was embraced by people, then and now. People were tired of seeing pollution plague their environment, of wilderness despoiled with the speed that only industrial means lent the capability to go at. Hence the conservation and then environmental movement. People were tired of working extreme hours, with no breaks, for miserable pay, with no way to bargain up the price of their labor as they could do in times when labor was an individual contract, not a commodity where every operate was replaceable. Hence the labor movement. People were tired of seeing the economy crater as a result of economic chicanery on Wall Street. Hence regulations there.

What you have to realize about the resurgence of liberalism is that Republicans, in their failures, in their corruption, in the catastrophic failure of their policies, made an even better case for liberalism to return than even the liberals made. Worse for them, they have made it on a visceral level. Liberalism is what most people want. Your best bet is to moderate it. You no longer have the option to prevent it from happening.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 5, 2009 11:33 AM
Comment #276871
David R. Remer wrote: Absolutely doggone right! Perhaps in 2010.
Perhaps.

Better late then never.
Later equates to more painful.
Too bad pain is neccesary to provide the motivation and revelation.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 5, 2009 12:44 PM
Comment #276873

Stephen
People wish to keep what they earn because they are the ones who earned it, and in doing so, they are entitled to use it for whatever interests they have “at heart.” Not the interests you want them to have or have placed in their heart.
You are right, its not that frickin complicated at all.

Nobody is calling for one to rule all, that is nothing but another weak excuse used to try and justify a majority rules govt where there is no limitations in place to protect the minority.

Some liberal policy was embraced by some people, Stephen, but you guys take that to mean liberalism as a whole was embraced by a vast majority and should be placed onto all. Rather than just accepting that some liberal policy is beneficial, you guys act as if liberalism is the only way. You take it to extremes and you deflect questions and responsibility in your quest.

What you have to realize is that my thoughts have nothing to do with Republicans. They are nothing but a party. But, seeing how they are a party not as bad and one that fights liberalism, they are better for the country.

If you really believe liberalism is what most Americans want, then by all means give it to them and watch them all embrace it. I will no longer be a part of that fight soon enough.

PS:
How do you expect to get an adult perspective when talking about taxes when your only answers are to call those with differing views selfish and then always bring up how bad you think Republicans are and how everything is their fault?

Posted by: kctim at March 5, 2009 12:59 PM
Comment #276879
David R. Remer wrote: Warren Buffet has become one of those wealthy people the middle class actually likes. Smart guy for publicly saying it is not fair that his tax rate is lower than his office secretarial personnel. Americans would appreciate a lot more wealthy people like Warren Buffet.
That’s right. Because Warren Buffet tells the truth about the current tax curve.

What ever tax system we get (if ever), people had better look very closely at the tax curve based on ALL federal taxes on ALL types of income.

  • Don’t merely look at tax rates on earned income only.

  • Don’t forget about caps on certain types of income.

  • Don’t forget about some types of income that are exempt from taxation, or taxed much lower than hard-earned income.

  • Don’t forget that complexity paves the way for abuses, evastion, and regressive taxation.

  • Don’t forget that some taxes are not even subject to certain taxes (e.g. Social Security, Medicare, etc.).

  • Don’t forget that some capital gains and dividends are taxed at much lower rates than hard-earned income, and are not subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes.

  • Don’t fall for the lies of the wealthy paying unfair portion of all taxes, because while the wealthy may pay more in taxes, many pay a smaller percentage than many middle-class working Americans, as evidenced by Warren Buffet, who paid 17.7% in total federal taxes while his secretary paid 30% in total federal taxes on $60K. Warren Buffet polled many people in his own office and many paid a much larger percentage of their gross income to federal taxes. Warren Buffet also testified that the tax system is regressive and unfair.

  • And don’t fall for any sales tax system, because ALL sales taxes are regressive, unless everyone spends the same percentage of their income.
The current tax curve has very cleverely been shaped to make it effectively regressive overall, despite the income tax table rates that appear to be progressive.

Wise up voters, or be suckers!

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 5, 2009 2:00 PM
Comment #276880

It’s amazing that the true nature and regressiveness of the current tax system

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 5, 2009 2:06 PM
Comment #276881

CORRECTION: It’s amazing that the true nature and regressiveness of the current tax system is not covered by the media.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 5, 2009 2:07 PM
Comment #276884

A couple of corrections. We have not always had a progressive income tax. In fact the country did not have an income tax for much of our history but relied mostly on tariffs to finance the federal government.

I was talking about how our tax system has always been set up. What we did prior to having a tax system is irrelevant in so much as it was not a tax system. The system we have now has been set up this way since it’s implementation - there was never a “fair tax” or “flat tax” system that was then replaced by a progressive tax system. I didn’t think that point needed to be made clear. :P

Posted by: Anok at March 5, 2009 3:05 PM
Comment #276894

Bills,

So today BHO announces a crackdown on no bid contracts and sets out to revamp military procurment and getting rid of the cronyism of the Bush years. The savings estimate is 40 billion a year. Spin that.
I’m not sure what you mean by “no-bid” contracts. I’ll give you and example of when bidding a contract is just damn stupid. Lets say there is one engineering firm in the world that has the capabilities of doing a particular job any place on Earth, for example. Red Adair ran such a firm in the 1960s for extinguishing wellhead fires. Others could have bid on the same projects at the time and failed to accomplish the task, meaning that millions of dollars were wasted by fools who didn’t know their business.

I’ve done no bid jobs myself because at any given time there are almost no muralists (Most are little more than accomplished sign painters.) who have a depth of scientific and historical knowledge sufficient to do museum work.

If Obama starts bidding projects requiring such specialized expertise in sensitive areas his bow to political sensitivity will cost us billions.

In military procurement the cronyism runs far deeper than simple politics. It was not eliminated, or even dented, by a change in administrations. Watch what happens when Obama takes on the F-22, with contractors spread over well over 100 congressional districts and in nearly every state.

Remember, Bills, what I said in a preveious article. The real most powerful branch of the government is the congress. We’ll see how wonderful your man, who has already trashed promises about lobbyists in government, transparency in the passing of legislation, and the elimination of earmarks is when he faces congresspersons protecting their military turf.

He has, after all, been so very strong in facing up to congress so far…

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 5, 2009 5:15 PM
Comment #276900

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. —Karl Marx (and Daugherty, Remer, Dude, Siegel, etc)

Marx = Marxist = Refined Socialism.

PO Policy = Demonize Conservatism and scare the masses into letting Socialist policy rule (very effective).

PO Policy = Machiavelli

Obama = Machiavelli + Marx

America = Screwed.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at March 5, 2009 6:37 PM
Comment #276914

Lee
Because you do not believe BHO can reform the rapaceous military procurment procedures does not mean; A.he can’t, B.he won’t, C.he should get no credit for trying.
The F-22 is a good one to watch. The MIC is very good at “political engineering”, but still one fighter plane that cost more than the national budget of many countries to fight an enemy that lives in caves is out of line IMO.


Yukon

If you insist on red baiting I must insist on being included on your delusional list.

Posted by: bills at March 5, 2009 9:04 PM
Comment #276928

“If Obama starts bidding projects requiring such specialized expertise in sensitive areas his bow to political sensitivity will cost us billions.”

Lee no bid contracts have already costs the US taxpayers billions. To think the government should not fix this problem by insisting upon competitive bidding for work done at taxpayers expense runs counter to our capitalist economic system. How do you expect to keep costs down and efficiency up when their is no incentive to do so?

To think that there is only one person or company that can do the work only plays into the hands of the cronyism you say is prevalent in the military procurement system. Most if not all projects the government entities need can be bid to contractors that have been pre-qualified to do the work based upon prior projects.

In my experience working on government funded projects only a very few systems were ever sole sourced and those were always the highest cost systems on the project. Without competition the contractor will invariably charge more as will the equipment suppliers and the government will pay more. While there may be exceptions to this the previous administrations no bid contracts to companies they previously worked for reeks of the worst kind of cronyism and to see this administration working to prevent these abuses of the procurement system is welcomed. As will the cost savings be welcomed.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 5, 2009 11:26 PM
Comment #276936

kctim-
What entitles them to the use of the money, as opposed to somebody else who comes along and happens upon them? What prevents people from just taking what they want?

The law. But the law doesn’t enforce itself. Where was your concern for people keeping the money they earned when the Pension funds were abandoned by the companies, when the stock market gutted so many people’s 401K’s? People earned retirement. Now they’re sucking air wondering how long they can work before old age takes their strength.

We tried this before, tried it again and again in my lifetime, and results are the same: a market without sufficient regulation provides motivation for some, then the many that imitate them, to cheat their company or venture into looking successful. Why? Because cheating without getting caught is the most profitable, lowest risk of running a company.

As that becomes a norm in the industry, it becomes something these guys defend doing.

The trick is, these are desperate times, and the Republicans are trotting out discredited theories and bad evidence just in order to get in the way.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 6, 2009 12:42 AM
Comment #276942

Dow 1/20/1993 = 3,300 (aprox)

Dow 1/22/2001 = 10,659

Elect Bill Clinton = Good for America

Dow 1/20/2009= 8,077 and falling fast (Approaching 6000 a month later).

Elect GW Bush = America’s Katrina.

I’m not exactly sure why, but Katrina and the Wailer’s song “Walking on Sunshine” takes a whole new perspective for me when I make this association.

Stupidity+Arrogance = failure in mathematics

Mission Accomplished.

Thank goodness most Americans can do the rather simple math required here. Some, however don’t understand the problem and never get the right answer.

Posted by: gergle at March 6, 2009 3:18 AM
Comment #276946

kctim-
The rise of liberalism isn’t some illusion. I’m not trying to say it’s total; that was the mistake the Republicans made, believing Americans would be totally behind them no matter what they did. That said, the shift is real and measurable.

The trouble is, the Republicans are rejecting any suggestion that this is a long term shift, and they’re closing ranks trying to resist this, perhaps hoping to wait the Democrats out or push the politics back in their favor by sheer force of will.

They’ve picked a lousy time to pull this s***. Nobody cares about continuing the culture war. In fact, if you really asked them (and people have), they think the Republicans are putting party ahead of country.

The Republicans had their chance to make their system work. It didn’t. But worse yet, you could never get them to admit it. Why? Because it would make the party and the politicians look bad. But the average Republican was instead fed lines of bull as to how everything was justified. Because Republicans did not exercise critical judgment enough, let this spin persuade them, nobody really had the political guts to put a stop to policy that didn’t work, or which put the country in difficult positions. There was ALWAYS a reason things had to be done a certain way.

So when Republicans are stubborn now, even as they cite principle and all that, what do you think people are thinking, outside the party? “They’re at it again. When are they going to learn?”

So two points: 1) They have to be more cooperative. Debate instead of stonewall. Accept common ground, rather than fight an ideological war. 2) Come up with genuinely new and genuinely good ideas.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 6, 2009 8:32 AM
Comment #276947

The art of politic:

Compromise
Trade-off
Pick battles wisely
Principles remain relaxed and flexable (what
is not attained today can be worked on
tomorrow)

Republican artless politic:

Stonewall
Obstruct
Fight everything
Use principles as a bludgeon (there is NO
tomorrow)

Posted by: Marysdude at March 6, 2009 9:23 AM
Comment #276948

Republicans/Democrats this.
Democrats/Republicans that.

Nothin’ like fuelin’ and wallowin’ in the petty, circular, divisive, blame-game, distracting partisan warfare, eh?

You know, incumbent politicians love this.

When are enough voters gonna realize it and understand most (if not all) incumbent politicians in Congress are FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, fiscally bankrupt, and morally bankrupt?

After all, this 111th Congress (which consists of 86.9% of the 110th Congress) just gave itself its 10th raise in 12 years, and 93,000 per Congress person for petty cash and expenses. Cha-Ching!

When are enough voters gonna realize that they are part of the problem by continually rewarding irresponsible, incompetent, FOR-SALE, and corrupt incumbent politicians with 85%-to-90% re-election rates, despite giving Congress disamlly low 9%-to-18% approval ratings?

Former GAO/U.S. Comptroller General, David Walker, said today (5-MAR-2009) that more deficit spending was a bad idea when there are already tens of trillions of existing federal debt (e.g. $10.9 Trillion National Debt) and several tens of trillions of unfunded liabilities (i.e. $12.8 Trillion borrowed from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching, and Medicare liabilities that may eventually dwarf Social Security short-falls, etc., etc., etc.).

And that doesn’t even address the $67 Trillion of nation-wide debt ($220,000 per capita), or the looming $62 Trillion Credit Default Swap/Derivatives bubble.

If anyone would know, former U.S. Comptroller General, David Walker would. After all, David Walker has been warning us for years about this ever growing debt-bubble. And he wasn’t alone. Yet, most (if not all) in Congress seemed surprised and incredulous when Helicopter Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson appeared before Congress begging for permission to create $3.2 of $8.5 Trillion of new money out of thin air to prop-up bad banks and corporations, many of which were grossly irresponsible (if not fraudulent and cookin’ the books).

Yet, Congress seems to think it’s Christmas, and time for rampant pork-barrel, graft and waste, instead of addressing these 10 abuses (e.g. regressive taxation; illegal immigration; E-Verify expires today; lawlessnes; rampant debt; rampant pork-barrel spending; 52 consecutive years of deficit spending and incessant inflation; killing 195,000 people per year due to preventable medical mistakes; government FOR-SALE; unfair trade practices; importing 1.5 Million foreign H-1B visa workers per year with 12-to-28 Million unemployed American citizens; usury, inflation, and excessive money-printing; etc., etc., etc.) that have been hammering most Americans for decades.

Perhaps enough voters will be less blindly partisan, apathetic, complacent, and disaffected when enough of the voters are deep in debt , jobless , homeless , and hungry ?

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 6, 2009 10:02 AM
Comment #276950

Yukon maybe it is time to step away from the kool aid. Since your rant was such a distortion of the facts I decided to try one of my own.

Limbaugh = Conservative = Fascism

Limbaugh policy = demonize liberals, claim demonization is liberal tactic.

Repub policy = failed already, lost decade

Limbaugh = Social Darwinism + fascism

America= in hospital recovering from conservative assault of last 8 years.

Speaking of envy Lee I was just watching the news and noticed the repubs are complaining that the Limbaugh coverage is keeping the public eye on the repubs and away from Obama and his administration. Couldn’t help but laugh as the repub leaders continue to kiss Limbaugh’s ring, expanding his audience in the process, while denying he is their de facto leader and by doing so keeping the public focused on the Limbaugh. Do you think Steele has his foot in the envy pool?

Posted by: j2t2 at March 6, 2009 10:31 AM
Comment #276953

This is fun. More math

  • Responsibility = Power + Virtue + Education + Transparency + Accountability
  • Corruption = Power - Virtue - Education - Transparency - Accountability

Where …

  • Virtue = the source of moral and ethical judgment; a sense of right and wrong; a sense of caring. A good conscience and Virtue is not merely knowing what is right or wrong, but caring enough to do what is right, and provides the motivation to seek the balance of Education, Transparency, Accountability, and Power required for any successful society, government, or organization;

  • Education = an understanding of the importance of: Education, Transparency, Accountability, Power, Responsibility, Corruption, and the fundamental human desire to seek security and prosperity with the least effort and pain, and that some will resort to dishonest, unethical, or illegal methods to obtain it;

  • Transparency = visibility and simplification of cleverly over-complicated processes to reveal and identify abusers, create outrage, reduce opportunities for abuse, and discourage abuse and dishonesty;

  • Accountability = consequences needed to encourage law enforcement, encourage ethical behavior, and discourage abuse and dishonesty;

  • Power = force required to enforce the laws, discontinue abuse, ensure consequences, punish abusers, and discourage abuse and dishonesty; but unchecked Power without sufficient Education, Transparency, and Accountability breeds Corruption.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 6, 2009 10:43 AM
Comment #276965

d.a.n,

While I agree that David Walker is against irresponsible deficit spending and for reduction of long term obligations, I think it is inaccurate to claim he is against deficit spending for a stimulus effect in a period of contraction.

Other than that, I completely concur.

Posted by: gergle at March 6, 2009 12:55 PM
Comment #276967

gergle, If the debt is near (or already untenable), growing it larger doesn’t make sense. The math simply doesn’t work. Also, I think David Walker is considering Congress’ track-record and deficit spending and incessant inflation for the past 52 consecutive years. So David Walker is most likely 100% right, because he knows Congress is out-of-control, and can not police its own ranks, and can’t priortize and spend responsibly (as evidenced by the massive pork-barrel and waste and tens of thousands of earmarks lately).

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 6, 2009 1:07 PM
Comment #276969

gergle, I watched David Walker on CNN, and he was against more deficit spending.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 6, 2009 1:22 PM
Comment #276973

j2t2,

I’ve really paid almost no attention to the Limbaugh/Republican diddly poo. What I have seen shows it was cooked up out of polling information. A lot of people don’t like Rush.

Wow.

I’ve had numerous complaints about the man myself. It comes down to this. When he waves the philosophical flag of conservatism I’m happy to cheer. When he takes up liberal bashing and calling the Democratic Party evil I have other things to do.

The conservative movement is a philosophical approach to making the most productive use of how people really are, imperfections, foibles, greed, and all. That makes things it does easy to snipe at. It does not make it a bad way to govern.

Liberalism in its current manifestation uses the pretense that it will be run by the best people for the sake, some day off in the distance, of the many to gain political power, which it then uses to better the positions of its friends.

Speaking of liberalism and the reference above to taxation and Teddy Roosevelt, I, too believe in progressive taxation, but with minimal, though strong, government. I believe in taxing people on what they spend, not on what they earn, and I do not believe in hiding taxes really paid most onerously by the poor behind a facade of taxing “wealthy corporations”.

That pretense truly is evil.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 6, 2009 2:28 PM
Comment #276974

Many on the left are anxiously awaiting the national discussion on NHC and the free (for some) and better medical care they believe will result from the liberal leanings of PO and congress.

I can’t begin to count the number of times I have heard the lefties tell us of the wonderful programs available in Canada and Europe. I present the following for inquiring and open minds from one of my favorite conservative professors…Mr. Walter E. Williams citing sources that may be believable.

” Government health care advocates used to sing the praises of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). That’s until its poor delivery of health care services became known. A recent study by David Green and Laura Casper, “Delay, Denial and Dilution,” written for the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs, concludes that the NHS health care services are just about the worst in the developed world. The head of the World Health Organization calculated that Britain has as many as 25,000 unnecessary cancer deaths a year because of under-provision of care. Twelve percent of specialists surveyed admitted refusing kidney dialysis to patients suffering from kidney failure because of limits on cash. Waiting lists for medical treatment have become so long that there are now “waiting lists” for the waiting list.

Government health care advocates sing the praises of Canada’s single-payer system. Canada’s government system isn’t that different from Britain’s. For example, after a Canadian has been referred to a specialist, the waiting list for gynecological surgery is four to 12 weeks, cataract removal 12 to 18 weeks (note, I just had cataract surgery on both eyes. My wait from time of phoning the doctor to the first eye surgery was one week, with two days being required for testing prior to surgery), tonsillectomy three to 36 weeks and neurosurgery five to 30 weeks. Toronto-area hospitals, concerned about lawsuits, ask patients to sign a legal release accepting that while delays in treatment may jeopardize their health, they nevertheless hold the hospital blameless. Canadians have an option Britainers don’t: close proximity of American hospitals. In fact, the Canadian government spends over $1 billion each year for Canadians to receive medical treatment in our country. I wonder how much money the U.S. government spends for Americans to be treated in Canada.

“OK, Williams,” you say, “Sweden is the world’s socialist wonder.” Sven R. Larson tells about some of Sweden’s problems in “Lesson from Sweden’s Universal Health System: Tales from the Health-care Crypt,” published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (Spring 2008). Mr. D., a Gothenburg multiple sclerosis patient, was prescribed a new drug. His doctor’s request was denied because the drug was 33 percent more expensive than the older medicine. Mr. D. offered to pay for the medicine himself but was prevented from doing so. The bureaucrats said it would set a bad precedent and lead to unequal access to medicine.

Malmo, with its 280,000 residents, is Sweden’s third-largest city. To see a physician, a patient must go to one of two local clinics before they can see a specialist. The clinics have security guards to keep patients from getting unruly as they wait hours to see a doctor. The guards also prevent new patients from entering the clinic when the waiting room is considered full. Uppsala, a city with 200,000 people, has only one specialist in mammography. Sweden’s National Cancer Foundation reports that in a few years most Swedish women will not have access to mammography.

Dr. Olle Stendahl, a professor of medicine at Linkoping University, pointed out a side effect of government-run medicine: its impact on innovation. He said, “In our budget-government health care there is no room for curious, young physicians and other professionals to challenge established views. New knowledge is not attractive but typically considered a problem (that brings) increased costs and disturbances in today’s slimmed-down health care.”

These are just a few of the problems of Sweden’s single-payer government-run health care system. I wonder how many Americans would like a system that would, as in the case of Mr. D. of Gothenburg, prohibit private purchase of your own medicine if the government refused paying. We have problems in our health care system but most of them are a result of too much government. Over 50 percent of health care expenditures in our country are made by government. Government health care advocates might say that they will avoid the horrors of other government-run systems. Don’t believe them.

The American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, who published Sven Larson’s paper, is a group of liberty-oriented doctors and health care practitioners who haven’t sold their members down the socialist river as have other medical associations. They deserve our thanks for being a major player in the ’90s defeat of “Hillary care.”

Posted by: Jim M at March 6, 2009 2:54 PM
Comment #276980

The American Association of Physicians and Surgeons also published articles from quacks that deny that HIV causes AIDS.

I have yet to see a concrete example of emergency care being withheld from a patient because of insufficient funds in a universal health care system. I have one uncle that lives in the UK and another who lived in France for 9 years, yet neither of them ever had any problems with wait times for any medical procedures.

Many of these procedures with moderate wait times are surgeries that do not have an imminent consequence if they are not done right away. Therefore, the doctor operates on people with life threatening conditions first and on the elective patients later. We virtual have a wait list here in the US, only this is a system whereby people pay doctors so that they may cut to the front of the line.

The way I see it, universal health care is not a right no matter how many times the left may insist it is. Instead, it is a service that we the taxpayers may choose to provide if that is what we wish to spend our money on. In that sense it is like universal public education or any of the other services we choose to be provided (or not provided) by the government.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 6, 2009 5:25 PM
Comment #276993

Lee said: “The conservative movement is a philosophical approach to making the most productive use of how people really are, imperfections, foibles, greed, and all.”

That must explain why so very many Republicans who subscribe to that philosophy end up being revealed as crooks with no regard for the law, in this nation reputed to be built upon the rule of law. They, according to your comment above, take into account human foibles and justify their own as being no impediment to government office or government service.

The Democratic Party has a few like Wm. Jefferson and Gov. Blogojevich who subscribe to the same philosophy, masking it under the guise of being a Democrat. When politicians fail to indict and punish law breakers in their own midst, it makes criminals of all politicians. Which is pretty much the conclusion most Americans have come to, according to polls and Congressional approval ratings.

Which begs the question, why do voters continue to reelect these criminals? Answer, they subscribe to the same Conservative philosophy you tout above Lee, we are all imperfect, therefore, there is no justification for removing criminals from government nor blocking criminals from ascending to the public office.

That’s really some philosophy you have there Lee. Thankfully, not everyone in this country actually subscribes to it, but, obviously, too many do. Perhaps we can change that, and we can view the 2006 and 2008 election results as a down payment in that effort.

RNC Chair Steele appears to be one such crook now holding the position of protector of the conservative philosophy you speak of. Makes him the ideal RNC Chair as far as I can see, by your philosophy’s standard.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 6, 2009 10:17 PM
Comment #276998

d.a.n said: “gergle, I watched David Walker on CNN, and he was against more deficit spending.”

Yes, the same way people are opposed to opening up the chest of live people, UNLESS, open heart surgery may improve their potential for living longer.

I have watched David Walker too, on C-Span, and he is NOT advocating for the implosion of the national and international economic systems under the weight of the unregulated leveraging that took place during the Bush II years, either!

David Walker admits he does not have a solution to the dual problems of debt vs. economic collapse. He says pursuing either course leads to collapse, one sooner than the other, is all. Perhaps this is why he did not run for President and why he would not have been elected if he had.

Pres. Obama may not be successful in constructing another solution, but, it won’t be for lack of vision, hope, and effort to craft a path between these dire consequences of status quo vs. giving up and cashing in on the human race and civilization in the 21st century. A majority of Americans chose him and his vision and hope as preferable to economic collapse by halting deficit spending now, and economic collapse by pursuing the debt loading of the last 8 years.

Obama intends to address the entitlement threat to the economic future beginning THIS YEAR. You may declare the patient a goner before the surgery even takes place, but, I think the patient is happy you are not the surgeon making the call.

This is a democratic republic, the people have elected their leadership for good or ill, as a citizen choosing to remain in this country as I am, we are along for the ride that our democratic elections have chosen. One can approach that ride with anticipation of and demand for success, or one can bemoan one’s choice to remain for the ride.

I choose hoping and working to insure the ride takes us all to where we want to go, a sustainable and viable future. I am witnessing unprecedented actions toward success and take hope from these, such as Recovery.Org, WhiteHouse.Gov/OMB/, and WhiteHouse.gov/StrongMiddleClass/

Not only are these approaches to providing citizens with unprecedented oversight of federal programs and spending, budgeting information, inviting Ameicans to hold the Obama administration accountable, but, American citizen input is actually provided for on the WhiteHouse’s web site.

If this administration had ulterior motives and secret agendas to be hidden away in the appropriations process, these web sites would not be available to me and you in this fashion.

Below is one of my recommendations submitted to the White House’s Middle Class Task Force:

“Dear Task Force,

First, thank you for accepting citizen ideas in this open fashion.

Second, I commend the Obama administration’s seeking a path between the apparent destinations of economic collapse and government default on its debts

1) sooner by holding to a zero deficit policy in 2010, or

2) later by pursuing a path of deficit spending to maintain the entitlement program’s debt trajectory.

Frankly, I am unable to see a path that the White House can take to successfully navigate between these two sure paths to ruin for my daughter’s future in America. However, my inability to see such a path to a sustainable and viable economic future for my daughter, does not mean such a path does not exist. I would be a foolish father indeed to give up hope that one can be found. For my daughter’s sake, I have to choose hope that America and her leaders can find a way out of these crises. I voted for Pres. Obama and VP Biden as a demonstration of that hope.

OK. Nuts and bolts priorities. There can be no future path to success for our economy and middle class without disciplined adherence to a priority set which tackles and surmounts challenges in proper order.

Curtailing the depth and length of this recession must be a first priority, since, failure only results in greater lost government revenues, higher deficits and debt, and protracting unemployment; all threats to our future.

However, rescuing America from this recession must be accompanied by a strictest adherence to minimizing and eliminating deficit spending which does not:

1) Maintain our national security
2) abate this Recession and
3) invest in a path toward full employment and a robust economy for middle class workers after this recession is over.

I believe one of the great pitfalls facing the Obama administration is Congressional demands for federal deficit dollars to shore up local economies and government deficits. In the same way that good intentions to save every business from its own failure to prepare to withstand an economic downturn would be a sure path toward crippling federal deficits and growing national debt, saving every rural, urban, county and state from their failures to manage their resources to include rainy day funds and contingency plans, is a prescription for a failed America buried under unsustainable federal debt.

I applaud the Obama administration in taking to heart the dire warnings issued in past years by David Walker, Orzag and Bernanke regarding the unsustainable path of the unfunded mandated entitlement programs. Reforming these programs to reduce their debt loading trajectory is mandatory.

I recognize that the American economy rests upon local and state economies and viable local and state governments. But, taking an approach which fails to acknowledge limits and carrying capacity of federal debt, with a no limit aid package to local and state governments whose appetite for federal dollars will surely be boundless, is also a prescription for federal debt disaster, sooner than later.

My point is simply put this way. I do not see coming forth from this Administration an analysis of federal debt capacity which circumscribes limits on federal debt, beyond which government default on its debt obligations becomes unavoidable.

Good intentions without limits is no plan for rescuing my daughter’s future and economic prospects in America . At some point, suffering in the present by those whose lives will not be threatened by reordering their priorities, and wants vs. needs, has to be part of the solution. Otherwise, everyone’s wants will be included in today’s deficit additions creating a debt so large as cause federal default.

I am thankful that the Omnibus appropriations bill failed by one vote due to the 7.7 billion dollars in earmarks, much of which fails to address today’s economic requirements for austerity in the face of wants and wishes. I would encourage this task force to have confidence in the middle class to make warranted sacrifices as a measure to prevent unsustainable federal debt. Be clear, be open, and be honest with us in the Middle Class about our role and obligation in saving our children’s future in America, and we will shoulder such privations with pride, willingness, and support for our children’s economic future.

Tell us what is possible, and what is not. Ask us to shoulder the possible, and reject what is not. We want America to succeed, and we will sacrifice a great deal today to insure success for our children’s tomorrows. “

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 6, 2009 11:53 PM
Comment #277006

d.a.n.
He was on c-span before the inaugural and stated he was not opposed to stimulus.

I think the difference may be him talking about budgeting, rather than talking simply about spending.

I’m curious what his solution to the economic mess is, if he thinks contracting M1 will help.

Jim Cramer has ranted about Obama not addressing budget concerns or healthcare until the economy recovers, and then flip flops and says he agrees with Obama’s plan, just not the timing. The sad part is there is no immediate action on taxes or healthcare that has been proposed.

A lot of supposedly smart people seem confused.

Posted by: gergle at March 7, 2009 1:59 AM
Comment #277007

oops, I missed DR’s post, thanks DR.

Posted by: gergle at March 7, 2009 2:01 AM
Comment #277026

Warped Reality,

The way I see it, universal health care is not a right no matter how many times the left may insist it is. Instead, it is a service that we the taxpayers may choose to provide if that is what we wish to spend our money on. In that sense it is like universal public education or any of the other services we choose to be provided (or not provided) by the government.
The problem with your assessment is that in the systems noted in Jim’s post above, unlike that in American education, it is ILLEGAL for an individual to augment what the government offers. If the government refuses to offer mammography adequate to the needs of the community the women in your life will not receive it. It is no longer a service provided to the community. It becomes a constraint on the situations a human being in the collective is permitted to survive.

Does your child suffer from a peculiar form of Multiple Sclerosis requiring an unusual drug? The collective that would tell us the “exposure” of old (leaving inconvenient young children outside the city gates) is barbaric, simply practices a different form of the same thing in which the city gates are replaced by the limits of our willingness to pay and the limits of our collective’s support for explorations into needful curiosity.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 7, 2009 11:51 AM
Comment #277027

David,
From this post, above:

That’s really some philosophy you have there Lee. Thankfully, not everyone in this country actually subscribes to it, but, obviously, too many do. Perhaps we can change that, and we can view the 2006 and 2008 election results as a down payment in that effort.
What is stranger, David, a philosophy that accepts people are greedy, self-serving, and competitive, and seeks the best possible ways to leverage those things to the greater good, or one that pretends some people rise above that and those people can be picked out of a line-up in a political election and placed in positions of nearly unlimited power?

Socialists keep telling us real socialism has never been tried. In fact it has, many times. It just keeps running afoul of the little problem of being run by REAL HUMAN BEINGS. When conservatism fails it does so precisely because its practicioners think exactly what socialists assume, that they are good enough not to follow the rules everyone else should follow. They, like the ill-fated George W. think they can play socialist and get away with it. They can skirt the rules, or rewrite laws in the courts because it is inconvenient to conform the laws to necessity.

Thus the whole system becomes opaque to the citizen who is supposed to hold the office of citizen in high esteem and make the formal office holder a servant when he egotistically thinks he should be a king. (a Jim Wright, a Dan Rostenkowski, a Huey Long, a William Jefferson, etc., etc., etc…)

Human beings are not inherently evil, but they are inherently unable to recognize when their efforts to steer an expedient course between good and evil has taken them past evil’s event horizon. Socialism will always choose to eliminate competition when it has the power to do so, and socialism unchecked by capitalist forces will always devolve to tyrrany.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 7, 2009 12:21 PM
Comment #277028

Lee, maybe I don’t understand your comment, but I would not wish to prohibit people from supplementing the government funded care with privately funded care. If that is the case elsewhere, that does not mean our Universal Health care system needs to be a carbon copy of theirs. I don’t see why we cannot model a universal health care system off of our universal education system. Of course we’ll have to make modifications to take into account the differences between educating people and providing health care, but I don’t think the differences will be to great.

I’ll take your example regarding mammograms. The government currently recommends that women should undergo a mammography once every 1-2 years after reaching the age of 40. Let’s say the government in a universal health care system provides payment for mammography procedures only for Women over the age of 40 and only once every 2 years. Women with a special case such as a family history would have to file a waiver of some sort. If a 35 year old woman without a family history felt that she should have a mammogram anyway, she should be free to do so at her own expense at a private practice beyond the government system.

In education, an analogous situation may be the parent of a child in a school district that offers education in a foreign language, offering French or Spanish as the two options. The parent and the student both feel the student would be better served by learning Chinese, maybe because the family business does a lot of business with Chinese clients. This hypothetical family has the option to hire a private tutor to teach the child Chinese after school or on weekends. After a sufficient amount of work is done with the tutor, the student may take the SAT test or the AP test in Chinese and the family can submit the grade to the school so that the child can receive credit and be exempted from taking Spanish or French. This is just like how a hypothetical woman paranoid with breast cancer may choose to undergo mammography more often than prescribed by the government.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 7, 2009 12:37 PM
Comment #277032

the republican party never had any power. even when they were in power they were too spineless to use it. always trying to please the liberal leftwing Hollywood media. like a frightened little child looking to the “popular” kids on the playground. doing what they can to get everyone else to like them; right or wrong. sheep following the heard off a cliff. not wanting to upset anyone by taking the lead and steering clear of danger. at the very least, breaking free an saving themselves.
Reagan, and yes I dare say “W” were leaders. they saw the dangers that lie ahead & chose the best path available. no concern over what the media might say. they were looking at saving a country…lives, not popular opinion.
it’s funny, W was reamed for not being able to deliver a good speech. the media so pushed the point that the sheople of America elected a man strictly on the basis of his ability to give a speech. litteraly no other qualifications were given then that. of course, if it wasn’t scripted he seemed to make many of the same mistakes as W. of all things, the media down-played it! there liberal bias reached unprecedented levels. they weren’t even hiding it as the previous 50 years. I actually saw reporters….REPORTERS, crying when that other guy was elected(forgive me, I just can’t bring myself to say his name, let alone type it.).
the very same people who told me I was wrong about media bias over the past 50 years turned around and dismissed it now.
I have sat there and debated(at times 4 to 1) family and friends & I had held my own. debating not to be “right,” but to try and open some eyes. the democratic party is NOT for the common man. you don’t elect the leader of the greatest & most powerful country in recorded history on THAT basis. your source of political information should NEVER share their opinion on there broadcasts.
I’ve learned one thing from this election cycle…kobiashi maroo. people are dumb enough to accept spoon fed information from anyone as long as they don’t have to make an effort. that being said, the liberal media runs this country. every mistake that that other guy makes will be downplayed or dismissed by the media/public opinion.
i can’t really blame the media for doing what they do. no, that’s too easy. I’m afraid that this one falls on us; the American public. Ignorance is NOT bliss.

Posted by: xyz at March 7, 2009 2:06 PM
Comment #277033

the republican party never had any power. even when they were in power they were too spineless to use it. always trying to please the liberal leftwing Hollywood media. like a frightened little child looking to the “popular” kids on the playground. doing what they can to get everyone else to like them; right or wrong. sheep following the heard off a cliff. not wanting to upset anyone by taking the lead and steering clear of danger. at the very least, breaking free an saving themselves.
Reagan, and yes I dare say “W” were leaders. they saw the dangers that lie ahead & chose the best path available. no concern over what the media might say. they were looking at saving a country…lives, not popular opinion.
it’s funny, W was reamed for not being able to deliver a good speech. the media so pushed the point that the sheople of America elected a man strictly on the basis of his ability to give a speech. litteraly no other qualifications were given then that. of course, if it wasn’t scripted he seemed to make many of the same mistakes as W. of all things, the media down-played it! there liberal bias reached unprecedented levels. they weren’t even hiding it as the previous 50 years. I actually saw reporters….REPORTERS, crying when that other guy was elected(forgive me, I just can’t bring myself to say his name, let alone type it.).
the very same people who told me I was wrong about media bias over the past 50 years turned around and dismissed it now.
I have sat there and debated(at times 4 to 1) family and friends & I had held my own. debating not to be “right,” but to try and open some eyes. the democratic party is NOT for the common man. you don’t elect the leader of the greatest & most powerful country in recorded history on THAT basis. your source of political information should NEVER share their opinion on there broadcasts.
I’ve learned one thing from this election cycle…kobiashi maroo. people are dumb enough to accept spoon fed information from anyone as long as they don’t have to make an effort. that being said, the liberal media runs this country. every mistake that that other guy makes will be downplayed or dismissed by the media/public opinion.
i can’t really blame the media for doing what they do. no, that’s too easy. I’m afraid that this one falls on us; the American public. Ignorance is NOT bliss.

Posted by: xyz at March 7, 2009 2:06 PM
Comment #277040

Warped Reality,

I’m on record as not actually opposing a centralized healthcare payer system per se, and I’ve pointed to the system in France as one that provides significant freedom to both doctors and patients. That is not, however, the system politicians in the U.S. like to point to. Their favorites appear to be Canada and the U.K., which have significant restrictions on supplementing medical care.

To that extent I’m not disputing your position. Generally, though, Americans seem less than careful about what they allow their politicans to do to them in the process of living up to promises.

xyz,

your source of political information should NEVER share their opinion on there broadcasts.
I firmly disagree. News sources will do exactly that, no matter how hard they try to be fair, or evenhanded, or whatever they pretend to themselves they are doing. They do it through story selection, through insinuation, through selection of sources, and dozens of other processes, without admitting their IMBALANCE to themselves.

It is far better simply to admit what one’s biases are, to the extent one can be honest with one’s self about thoses things. I would rather get news from Stephen Daugherty or Bill Moyers than from NBC News because I know where the admitted liberals are coming from, and can accommodate their slant with continued research.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 7, 2009 3:54 PM
Comment #277043

Lee,

huh?

So, you “know” NBC’s “bias”, but that’s not right because everyone is biased? I’m not quite sure I get your point. Is it NBC’s singular duty to announce their bias while everyone else skates?

Somehow when they commit bias it’s evil, but Fox, Steve and Bill Moyers are OK?

Frankly, this biased news angle of the right wing is more than a little tired. The right dominates a substantial portion of the media. Get over it. When did Republicans become a bunch of whiners? Oh Yeah, Nov. 2.

Posted by: gergle at March 7, 2009 4:14 PM
Comment #277048
David R. Remer wrote: I have watched David Walker too, on C-Span, and he is NOT advocating for the implosion of the national and international economic systems under the weight of the unregulated leveraging that took place during the Bush II years, either!
True. David Walker doesn’t want to make things worse, and believes the debt is near (if not already) untenable, and growing it any larger will only make it more untenable.

David Walker (as many do) believes trying to solve massive, untenable debt-bubble with more debt will only make things worse.

David R. Remer wrote: Pres. Obama may not be successful in constructing another solution, but, it won’t be for lack of vision, hope, and effort to craft a path between these dire consequences of status quo vs. giving up and cashing in on the human race and civilization in the 21st century. A majority of Americans chose him and his vision and hope as preferable to economic collapse by halting deficit spending now, and economic collapse by pursuing the debt loading of the last 8 years.
Just because people voted for Obama doesn’t mean they agree with everything he does thereafter.
David R. Remer wrote: Obama intends to address the entitlement threat to the economic future beginning THIS YEAR. You may declare the patient a goner before the surgery even takes place, but, I think the patient is happy you are not the surgeon making the call.
We’ll see.

How happy people be if the situation is made worse by hyperinflation, which will destroy the currency, all savings, pensions, retirements, 401Ks, entitlements, and wages?

There is a solution, but Congress, the administration, and banks have Americans fooled into thinking the federal government doesn’t have enough money.
The federal government receives $2.4 Trillion per year in federal tax revenues.
The government is severely bloated and wasteful.
Over a Trillion in current unnecessary spending could be eliminated.
Also, going forward, the government should not have to pay the damn Federal Reserve and banks interest on new loans.
Also, if the government fixed the regressive tax system, it would probably raise more tax revenues too.
Also, the federal government could save Americans $70-t0-$327 Billion per year (One-Simple-Idea.com/Costs1.htm) by stopping illegal immigration, and enforcing E-Verify.
Also, the federal government could stop these other abuses which would save hundreds of billions (perhaps trillions) dollars and many lives per year.

With the federal government’s $2.4 Trillion, change the spending as follows:

  • $700 [$600] Billion for Health and Human Services (including $432 Billion for Medicare)

  • $660 [$522] Billion for Social Security

  • $640 [$448] Billion for Department of Defense
  • (leave Iraq; reduce military presence in 132 nations).
  • $100 [$30] Billion for Department of Education

  • $100 [$40] Billion for Department of Agriculture

  • $85 [$100] Billion for Veteran Affairs

  • $75 [$52] Billion for Homeland Security

  • $56 [$10] Billion for Department of Transporation

  • $50 [$10] Billion for Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

  • $60 [$32] Billion for Office of Personnel Management

  • $550 [$550] Billion for Treasury Department (including $430 [$500] Billion for Interest on the National Debt).

  • ____________________________________________________________________
    $3.074 [$2.4] Trillion ($574 [$0] Billion over total revenues of $2.4 [$2.4] Trillion in 2008 [2009])

    That’s doable.
    Cut spending.
    That makes a hell of a lot more sense!
    OH ,… and rescind Congress 10th raise received recently, and their increases of $93,000 for petty cash and expenses.
    Unfortunately, Congress has most Americans thinking it doesn’t pay enough in taxes for all of that above, and needs more, and more and more and more money.

    David R. Remer wrote: This is a democratic republic, the people have elected their leadership for good or ill, as a citizen choosing to remain in this country as I am, we are along for the ride that our democratic elections have chosen. One can approach that ride with anticipation of and demand for success, or one can bemoan one’s choice to remain for the ride.
    How someone voted has nothing to do with this issue of debt. You repeatedly restate that this is a democratic republic and that the people voted for Obama, as if everyone now must never question any issues.
    David R. Remer wrote: This is a democratic republic, the people have elected their leadership for good or ill, as a citizen choosing to remain in this country as I am, …
    But only a few months ago you said you had renewed yours and your family members passports.

    And no one is challenging whose in office now.
    The issue is not that Obama was elected to office by the voters.
    Why even go there?
    Is it now somehow unpatriotic to disagree with his economic plans?
    Is it not somehow unpatriotic to question authority?
    Are we now going to see that same old tired and unfair questioning people’s patriotism if they disagree on an issue?

    David R. Remer wrote: … I choose hoping and working to insure the ride takes us all to where we want to go, a sustainable and viable future. I am witnessing unprecedented actions toward success and take hope from these …
    Well that’s good, if it’s justified.

    That still doesn’t explain away the likelihood of hyperinflation, and these 20 reasons why the debt is already untenable, and making the debt bigger only makes it more untenable:

    • (01) No one seems to really know if it is untenable already. Could some know it is probably untenable, but don’t know what else to do? Other nations have followed that same path with disastrous results. There’s no one here or elsewhere that can even say with any credibility whether the massive debt (both federal and non-federal) is now tenable. The interest alone on only the $10.9 National Debt is 18% of all federal tax revenues (that is, before federal revenues and GDP started falling in year 2007).

    • (02) The total federal debt is actually larger than the $10.9 Trillion National Debt, due to the $12.8 Trillion borrowed from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching. Still, even the $10.9 Trillion National Debt per-capita is 62% higher than the previous record-high in year 1945, after World War II. The total federal debt of $23.7 Trillion is the largest federal debt ever in (a)size, (b)per-capita, and as a (c)percentage of GDP too.

    • (03) The total federal debt ($23.7 Trillion = $10.9 Trillion + $12.8 Trillion) and total non-federal debt ($67 Trillion) is crushing the nation, and has been for years. And that doesn’t even include the looming $62 Trillion Credit Default Swap/Derivatives bubble, or the $60+ Trillion in unfunded liabilities for Social Security and Medicare.

    • (04) There is a limit to the debt (federal and non-federal), and if the total $67 Trillion nation-wide debt, which is 500% of GDP, is not untenable already, it’s damn close, and growing it bigger doesn’t make sense; especially not with more borrowing and more new money created out of thin air.

    • (05) After 52 consecutive years of deficit spending and incessant inflation (One-Simple-Idea.com/DebtAndMoney.htm), there’s a real danger that Congress is a debt junkie which is unable to stop deficit spending. Congress doesn’t get it. Congress just gave itself its 10th raise in 12 years, plus $93,000 per Congress person for petty cash and expenses. Even if the federal government had the discipline to stop deficit spending, it would still take almost $492 Billion per year in interest alone (over $41 Billion per month) at only 4.5% interest, to simply stop the $10.93 Trillion federal debt from growing ever larger. It would take 180 YEARS of that to pay off the current $10.93 Trillion debt (as of 3-MAR-2009). Yet, there’s now an estimated $1.7 Trillion deficit for fiscal year 2009.

    • (06) The $67 Trillion nation-wide debt has steadily grown for over 50 years, and has almost quintupled from 100% of GDP in year 1956 to almost 500% of GDP today. It would take 433 YEARS to pay of that much debt if Americans were able to pay back $2.68 Trillion per year (or 19.33% of GDP) at only 4.0% interest, which is the minimum payment required to stop the debt from growing ever larger.

    • (07) Where will the money going to come from for the tens of trillions being spent and borrowed, when that money does not already exist?

    • (08) Americans have been liquidating for the past decade to service debt. Foreign owned assets in the U.S. have almost quadrupled from $6 Trillion in year 1997 to $22 Trillion in year 2007.

    • (09) 90%-to-95% of all U.S. Dollars in existence in the U.S. already exists as debt. Why? Because new money is created as debt at a 9-to-1 ratio of debt-to-reserves. And today, a LOT of new money is being created without any any reserves (to prop up bad banks). Eventually, percentage of money that exists as debt will become near 100%, at which time the Federal Reserve and federal government start giving away money. At the moment, they are giving many trillions to banks and corporations. But eventually, they’ll realize that they have to give money to consumers. Especially with a 70% domestic consumer driven economy. However, that is what will trigger hyperinflation, because the amount of new money required to service so much nation-wide debt, and keep a 70% domestic consumer driven economy from collapsing will result in hyperinflation, and you’ll need a wheel barrow full of U.S. currency to merely buy a loaf of bread. It’s happened in dozens of other nations and it appears it will happen again in the next few years.

    • (10) This is not a mere recession. It is the result of several decades (since about 1976) of crushing debt that has now become untenable, and more debt will simply become more untenable. GDP has been decreasing since year 2007 (most likely early 2007 or late 2006: One-Simple-Idea.com/Recession2008.htm). The U.S. Dollar (One-Simple-Idea.com/USD_Falling.htm) has declined against all major international currencies for about a decade. Also, is GDP reported correctly. Not according to some calculations: www.StadowStats.org/alternate_data

    • (11) Some people like to claim New Keynesian and other economic models promote deficit spending for our current economic crisis. However, none of those models state the solution to a massive debt-bubble is more massive debt, borrowing, money-printing, and spending. Also, no nation so ridiculously deep into debt has ever borrowed, money-printed, and spent its way to prosperity. Some people claim that World War II and massive government spending ended the Great Depression, and try to use that as an excuse for more deficit spending in this current debt crisis. What they fail to understand is that the $10.9 Trillion National Debt per-capita is 64% higher today than after World War II, and that does not even include the $12.8 Trillion borrowed from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching. Including the Social Security debt, total $23.7 Trillion of federal debt has never been larger in size, per-capita, and as a percentage (171%) of GDP (GDP=$13.86 Trillion in year 2007).

    • (12) The federal government is the largest employer in the nation. More people are employed by the government than all people working in manufacturing (nation-wide). How long can that last? The federal government is sucking up 18% of GDP for about $2.4 Trillion in federal tax revenues, but that is never enough. The projected 2009 deficit is $1.7 Trillion, and deficits are expected/planned for 10 years. I don’t think so. The massive debt pyramid will most likely collapse in less than 10 years. To make matters worse, U.S. trade imbalances are sending trillions of dollars per year out of the U.S. U.S. exports are smaller than Germany ($1.1 Trillion) or China ($1.3 Trillion), and they U.S. is the biggest debtor nation on the planet. Yet, some people still beleive the solution to the problem is more credit and borrowing?

    • (13) With more global competition, decades of a deteriorating manufacturing base, how can the currently falling GDP be grown enough to support a U.S. population of 305 Million which is growing by 5 Million per year (source: One-Simple-Idea.com/PopulationUS.gif)?

    • (14) In late 2006-to-early 2007, GDP measured in any previous year’s inflation adjusted dollars, dipped drastically by an amount larger than any previous amount in the past 100+ years (see chart: One-Simple-Idea.com/Recession2008.htm). Also, the federal government was ridiculously reluctant to report declining GDP. It wasn’t until early 2009 that GDP was finally reported to be declining since year 2007.

    • (15) The Federal Reserve has already spent $3.2 of $8.5 Trillion (www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-113008-fi-pricetag-g,0,5292528.graphic) allocated to bail-out bad banks. That much money did not already exist. Most of that money was created out of thin air. Yet we supposedly don’t have a debt problem so severe that we can borrow and create tens of trillions of more new money out of thin air? How will this NOT create inflation? Also, why should the Federal Reserve and member banks be getting low-to-ZERO interest loans to then charge usurious 20%-to-35% interest rates? Hell of a deal, eh? The end result is what we have today, which is similar to what would happen if you played the game of Monopoly in which one person (the banker) could print all the money they wanted. Before long, the bank owns everything, and everyone else is broke or deep in-debt to the bank. Cha-Ching! Also, there are about $11 Trillion foreign-owned U.S. Dollars outside of the U.S. With a deteriorated manufacturing base and growing global competition, and the liquidation that is already occurring, how can that not help cause more inflation? The only reason inflation isn’t much higher now is because there isn’t only a credit problem. There’s a debt-problem in which Americans can’t service more debt. Most Americans are tapped out. The nation-wide debt is $67 Trillion. That’s $220,000 per person (on average).

    • (16) One obvious indication of a massive debt problem is 9,000-to-10,000 foreclosures per day. Another root cause was rampant greed in the banks, corporations and federal government, combined with the extraordinary incompetence of Congress, SEC, and the administration, which has resulted in over 3 Million foreclosures in 2008, 2.0 Million in 2007, 1.2 Million in 2006, and 846,000 in 2005. 3+ Million more foreclosures are expected in 2009, and 9 Million more are predicted.

    • (17) Some people say inflation is low, or that we currently have deflation now (as of FEB-2009), that inflation is not a concern at this time, and inflation can be managed later. They don’t know that, and there is no historical precedent for it either. The Federal Reserve will not be able to contol hyperinflation, because raising interest rates won’t be enough, and the money supply will be difficult to reduce when 90% of new money is created as debt, and 90%-to-95% of all U.S. dollars in existence already exists as debt. And if the massive debt-bubble is merely grown larger, more people will simply be deeper in debt. We also have not had deflation (i.e. negative inflation) in the past 52 consecutive years. Also, the government’s economic statistics are not credible, because The CPI calculations were modified in year 1983 and 1998 to decrease the weighting on items increasing in price and increase the weighting on items falling in price. Therefore, based on pre-1983 and pre-1998 calcuations, inflation is really much higher (www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data).

    • (18) Even many of those that believe more spending and debt is the cure for our massive debt-problem, admit that the debt is near untenable already. So why grow it bigger and make it completely untenable? What economic model or historical precedent supports that course of action, which is completely contrary to most peoples’ idea of common-sense. Since when did the priciples of math and the universe suddenly become invalid?

    • (19) If the debt actually is tenable, then why is the federal government predicting/planning more deficit spending for another 10 years? Does that sound as if it is tenable? No. It sounds like it is out of control. Who really thinks 10 years of more deficit spending is possible? Where’s the proof?

    • (20) Since when did any nation so deep into debt (400%-to-500% or more of GDP) ever solve their debt-problem with more borrowing, debt, money-printing and spending?
    • How much debt is too much debt? Total federal debt ($23.7T=$10.9T+12.8T) is 171% of GDP (never large in (a)size, (b)per-capita, and (c) as a percentage of GDP (GDP=$13.86T in year 2007; probably less now).

    David R. Remer wrote: Not only are these approaches to providing citizens with unprecedented oversight of federal programs and spending, budgeting information, inviting Ameicans to hold the Obama administration accountable, but, American citizen input is actually provided for on the WhiteHouse’s web site. If this administration had ulterior motives and secret agendas to be hidden away in the appropriations process, these web sites would not be available to me and you in this fashion.
    That still does not explain away the likelihood of hyperinflation, and those 20 reasons above why the debt is already untenable, and making the debt bigger only makes it more untenable
    David R. Remer wrote: Below is one of my recommendations submitted to the White House’s Middle Class Task Force:
      “Dear Task Force, First, thank you for accepting citizen ideas in this open fashion. Second, I commend the Obama administration’s seeking a path between the apparent destinations of economic collapse and government default on its debts 1) sooner by holding to a zero deficit policy in 2010, or …
    If they stop deficit spending by 2010, that will be a good thing. I doubt it will happen, but I always hold out hope for a miracle. However, I heard and/or read that Obama’s budget was forecasting deficit spending for the next 10 years?
    David R. Remer wrote: Frankly, I am unable to see a path that the White House can take to successfully navigate between these two sure paths to ruin for my daughter’s future in America. However, my inability to see such a path to a sustainable and viable economic future for my daughter, does not mean such a path does not exist.
    There is a path, but it requires fiscal responsibility, and that may not exist now or any time soon. Obama not vetoing pork-laden BILLs is not encouraging.
    David R. Remer wrote: I would be a foolish father indeed to give up hope that one can be found.
    And you shouldn’t, and I don’t think anyone is suggesting that.

    When others suggest a different solution, it does not equate to giving up, giving in, or resigning to failure.
    I’m just saying that there is no need for deficit spending.
    There are many things that can be done to make things better for most Americans.
    My criticism is that few (if any) of those things are occurring.
    We were promised an end to earmarks, yet about 20,000 have passed lately in more than one BILL.

    David R. Remer wrote: For my daughter’s sake, I have to choose hope that America and her leaders can find a way out of these crises. I voted for Pres. Obama and VP Biden as a demonstration of that hope.
    Hope is fine if it isn’t too unrealistic.
    David R. Remer wrote: OK. Nuts and bolts priorities. There can be no future path to success for our economy and middle class without disciplined adherence to a priority set which tackles and surmounts challenges in proper order.
    I agree. Congress needs a system of priortization.

    Something it should have had a long, long time ago.
    Also, One-Purpose-Per-BILL would help too.
    However, voters are culpable too, and corruption will continue to grow as long as voters fail to hold their politicians accountable.

    David R. Remer wrote: Curtailing the depth and length of this recession must be a first priority, since, failure only results in greater lost government revenues, higher deficits and debt, and protracting unemployment; all threats to our future.
    I agree, but not with more deficit spending.
    David R. Remer wrote: However, rescuing America from this recession must be accompanied by a strictest adherence to minimizing and eliminating deficit spending which does not:
    • 1) Maintain our national security
    • 2) abate this Recession and
    • 3) invest in a path toward full employment and a robust economy for middle class workers after this recession is over.
    I agree. And I believe the solution is to cut all waste and bloat in the federal government and cut federal spending (see above).
    David R. Remer wrote: I believe one of the great pitfalls facing the Obama administration is Congressional demands for federal deficit dollars to shore up local economies and government deficits. In the same way that good intentions to save every business from its own failure to prepare to withstand an economic downturn would be a sure path toward crippling federal deficits and growing national debt, saving every rural, urban, county and state from their failures to manage their resources to include rainy day funds and contingency plans, is a prescription for a failed America buried under unsustainable federal debt.
    The 17-FEB-2009 Stimulus BILL is full of that sort of irresponsible spending.

    Bad banks need to be taken over.
    Speculative Credit Default Swaps/Derivatives need to be regulated and/or eliminated.
    Some failing corporations need to be allowed to fail, because it rewards failure and it is unfair to their competition.
    More rampant pork-barrel spending is not the solution, and probably is causing more deterioration of confidence.

    David R. Remer wrote: My point is simply put this way. I do not see coming forth from this Administration an analysis of federal debt capacity which circumscribes limits on federal debt, beyond which government default on its debt obligations becomes unavoidable. Good intentions without limits is no plan for rescuing my daughter’s future and economic prospects in America .
    Me neither, and that is one of my main points too.

    If the debt isn’t untenable now, it’s damn close, and if it’s damn close, growing it bigger will lead to pressure to more borrowing, debt, money-printing, and spending, which will lead to hyperinflation, and the problem will become many times worse.

    David R. Remer wrote: I am thankful that the Omnibus appropriations bill failed by one vote due to the 7.7 billion dollars in earmarks, much of which fails to address today’s economic requirements for austerity in the face of wants and wishes. I would encourage this task force to have confidence in the middle class to make warranted sacrifices as a measure to prevent unsustainable federal debt. Be clear, be open, and be honest with us in the Middle Class about our role and obligation in saving our children’s future in America, and we will shoulder such privations with pride, willingness, and support for our children’s economic future.
    David R. Remer wrote: Tell us what is possible, and what is not. Ask us to shoulder the possible, and reject what is not. We want America to succeed, and we will sacrifice a great deal today to insure success for our children’s tomorrows. “
    That would be wonderful, wouldn’t?

    We should demand it, and if the FOR-SALE Congress and administration still fail to do so, voters had better stop rewarding those politicians with perpetual re-election, or it will be too late the majority of voters who will be bankrupt, jobless, homeless, and hungry.

    gergle wrote: d.a.n. He was on c-span before the inaugural and stated he was not opposed to stimulus.
    David Walker said it depended on what the spending was for, and whether it produced significant savings and benefits (i.e. a multiplier significantly more that 1.0).
    gergle wrote: Jim Cramer has ranted about Obama not addressing budget concerns or healthcare until the economy recovers, and then flip flops and says he agrees with Obama’s plan, just not the timing. The sad part is there is no immediate action on taxes or healthcare that has been proposed.
    I try not to listen to Cramer.
    gergle wrote: A lot of supposedly smart people seem confused.
    There are no easy and painless solutions, but I think it is being made worse by avoiding what must be done.

    Ironically, by trying to avoid the painful consequences of decades of fiscal irresponsibility, by trying to borrow more, create more money out of thin air, and rampant spending, we are going to make the problem MUCH worse by also destroying they currency, all savings, pensions, 401Ks, entitlements, and wages.

    I’m curious what his [David Walker] solution to the economic mess is, if he thinks contracting M1 will help.
    I think David Walker believes cuts in spending are needed (such as the doable spending cuts I outlined above).

    As for the money supply, inflation and deflation create economic instability.
    Both are bad, and more economic instability is the last thing we need now.
    What we need is less federal waste, bloat, and spending.
    The money supply needs to be maintained to target ZERO inflation and deflation for increased economic stability.
    Some reforms are needed to stop the excessive creation of new money out of thin air, 52 consecutive years of inflation, and the dishonest reporting of inflation, GDP, debt, unemployment, and other economic statistics.

    Any way, until I see some historical precedent of any nation already so ridiculously deep into debt as the U.S. is somehow spending its way to prosperity, or something that makes the U.S. immune to hyperinflation, or something in the New Keynesian Economics model or other economics models that explain how to solve massive and untenable debt with more debt and money-printing, or something that makes sense, or something that explains away those twenty (20) reasons above, then there is no way I’m going to agree that our massive, untenable debt-bubble can be solved with more debt, borrowing, money-printing, and rampant spending. Especially the porky type of spending coming out Congress now.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at March 7, 2009 5:16 PM
    Comment #277049

    Jim M-
    Walter E. Williams. Hmmm. Check out his beautiful essay on organ transplantation, which argues that organ trafficking should be legal. He states that if people can’t sell their organs, they don’t really own them.

    Oh yeah, and he says that secession from the union is alright.

    As for Sweden? Well, we’re a long way away from Sweden at this point in our policy, and we don’t necessarily have to repeat their mistakes.

    Additionally, not being like Sweden doesn’t mean that the current health care system is the best. Far from it. Our results in this country are decidedly poor. So the real question is not whether we keep on doing things the way we do now, or follow in Sweden’s footsteps. The question is what we do in order to deal with our healthcare situation. Juggling around a bunch of moronic labels is no substitute for genuine, substantial thinking about what’s making our healthcare system so dysfunctional and excessively expensive for its results, nor is it a substitute for careful consideration of other people’s mistakes in trying to acheive universal healthcare.

    And, no, you can’t have my liver. It’s not for sale. I don’t think I have to have a price on my organs to consider them mine. It was my thinking that in this country the constitution guarantees our persons without the human body needing to be defined as a piece of property. Do people need to given a price tag to have rights? I would think that even you would consider that capitalism taken too far.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 7, 2009 5:24 PM
    Comment #277054

    Judging from the troubles the President’s nominees are having, it seems like rich Democrats don’t mind high taxes because they don’t pay them.

    For those of us who do pay, it makes a difference how much the government takes and how much of your money you get to keep. Nobody wants to eliminate taxes. It depends on how much the government wants and for what. I think I can figure out how to use my money better than the government can when it comes to a lot of those social programs. We can be generous with only with our money. People who want to spend more of other people’s money on their favorite social causes are not generous.

    It is especially egregious when some people call for higher taxes that they will not pay in order to provide benefits that they will get and still try to call that an act of generosity. It seems to me that too many people assuage their own guilt for their lack of generosity, by advocating higher taxes on others.

    Remember that a person who gives away somebody else’s money is not generous. You may advocate higher taxes for policy reasons, but unless you expect to pay a lot more yourself and get less in return, please don’t feel virtuous because you don’t deserve it. BTW - if you want to pay more in taxes, the government will take your money.

    Posted by: Christine at March 7, 2009 7:49 PM
    Comment #277066

    Gergle,

    So, you “know” NBC’s “bias”, but that’s not right because everyone is biased? I’m not quite sure I get your point. Is it NBC’s singular duty to announce their bias while everyone else skates?

    If I use NBC as an example of an organization that pretends not to show bias that does not mean I have to name every other organization or individual who may also so pretend. What I said was no one can claim not to be biased, therefore those who claim to inform while claiming to have cleansed their coverage of bias LIE. They easily may not know they are being false.

    It is, after all, a part of media culture to make this pretense fully believing it to be possible, just as Southern whites could say all manner of evil against other people and fully believe it to be true just because those folks came into the world in a different colored wrapper.

    No one can eschew bias. It is innate with the way we process information. It is far more honest to examine one’s self for the biases one holds and seek to understand them so one can explain them to others.

    Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 7, 2009 11:16 PM
    Comment #277209

    Lee Jamison-
    And funnily enough, I’d rather get my news from good MSM media sources than rely on blogs and pundits. I am more interested in getting the facts clear than trying to jump through subjective hoops of bias theory.

    When I was in college, I was required to take some journalism classes as part of my degree plan, and I found myself very much endeared with the factchecking and double-checking that was part of what was being taught. It seemed to me to be the most important part of the equation. The point, in my mind, is not to satisfy some ideological balance, because such balances can be both artificial and present an inaccurate, misleading picture of reality.

    Also, the party that becomes dependent on journalistic flattery positions itself to become ill-informed and poorly motivated to reform itself. If you’re perpetually seeking and perpetually being reassured by your media, they’re probably not telling you the bad news necessary to make your picture of the world realistic.

    One of the major reasons I don’t like conservative media is the overabundance of punditry, and an underabundance of good information. It’s aimed too much at promoting causes and not enough at looking at policy and politics with a critical eye. I knew at some point this was going to be a problem for them. It was only a matter of when. The reassurance that the GOP has been given since the Limbaughs of the world became more active has been replaced by the lamentations of a party that’s wondering how it got to this point, from such commanding heights.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 9, 2009 5:05 PM
    Comment #277314

    Stephen,

    One of the major reasons I don’t like conservative media is the overabundance of punditry, and an underabundance of good information.
    That is a good point, but the point I’m making is that fact checking is irrelevant when biased editorial decisions guide what stories are exposed to fact checking. Have you heard, on the MSM, about Warren Buffett’s complaints about the Administration’s attacks on things like private planes? Probably not.

    Why not? It’s not about fact checking. It’s bias in the choosing of which stories get an airing. The conservative media will talk about things we would never hear about were it not for their existence.

    With all due respect to your education (and I do respect the traditions of journalism) I have seen my own words badly misshapen in serious newspapers like the Austin American Statesman and the Houston Chronicle. There is a pressure to write a story in a certain time period, and a human tendency to err. That tendency falls more often to the side of a writer’s preconceptions than it does to that of their perceived opposition.

    Do conservative writers err? Yes. But they at least err discussing things liberal media won’t even mention.

    Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 10, 2009 4:07 PM
    Comment #277374

    xyz…

    forgive me, I happen to subscribe to the belief that the news should be reported & the individual should decide. I guess that because every news reporting agency pushes their own agenda it’s ok? I read these blogs & see comments about people being tired of this “right-wing” propaganda! just like chopping down a tree; decades of biassed liberal (vi)news “reprogramming” & here we are…..TIMBER!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by: xyz at March 11, 2009 7:54 AM
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