Third Party & Independents Archives

February 28, 2009

The Miracle Of Democracy, Again.

It would seem to many students of American history that when America is faced with dire tragedy, the people choose the leaders needed to overcome. America came face to face with a pending economic calamity just prior to the elections, and the majority of the people clearly elected the best of the candidates to take on the challenge. Just as Lincoln was the right choice at the right time to keep the United States united for posterity, the election alone is insufficient to overcome the challenge, but supporting the right leader through their term of office could be.

Lincoln had to marshal the resources of the people in the right way and at the appropriate times. And the people had to be willing to be marshaled. Such appears to be the unfolding of events today as America attempts to prevent itself from taking that next inertial step into an economy abyss. The American voters do not hold Ph.D's in economics. Most would not be able to read an economic graph correctly. But, the American voters had an enormous number of politicians to choose from in the primaries and the general election, and they chose the one candidate who understood the economic problem and was able to demonstrate to the people that he did.

To be sure, Pres. Obama's plan for rescuing America from the bankrupt condition of its financial institutions, from the potential default of its current government debts, and from the downward spiral of lost jobs reducing business, in turn causing more lost jobs, is being debated by political interests. But, as the polls suggest, the majority of Americans believe they made the best choice in November of 2008, and that Pres. Obama gets it as the people get it.

Most Americans are concerned by the prospect of actually being forced by a failing economy into first hand experience with bankruptcy. The American people understand bankruptcy. Not the legal details, but, the general circumstances of it. And with that understanding, they understand Pres. Obama's approach.

This is what the wise majority of Americans understand about our economic condition.

Our economic condition is not a lot different from a person who has stepped too far into personal debt. They have a choice to make. They can go further into debt, and commit a larger amount of their future income to their debtors, and work to increase their income as time goes by. Or, they can go bankrupt now, stop paying their creditors for lack of funds, and rely upon the mercy of their creditors, and the court to relieve them of their mismanagement consequences and whatever assets they currently have. Of course this latter option carries a long term penalty with it, aside from giving up one's assets and starting over poor like a kid out of high school. Years and years of carrying a bad reputation when it comes to credit. And as we all know, the majority of opportunities in this land absolutely depend upon a good credit rating.

This understanding by the majority of wise American voters of bankruptcy is very analogous to Pres. Obama's understanding of the perilous choice our nation faces regarding its economic condition. Pres. Obama understands that if the many financial institutions, which are insolvent due to their holding of collateral mortgages and other papers of questionable value plus cash as assets against debts which exceed their cash and collateral assets, go into bankruptcy, our credit markets will seize up. Pres. Obama understands that if our credit markets seize up, nearly all construction in America will halt, an enormous number of small and medium size businesses will be forced to lay off workers for lack of payroll cash, and unemployment will rise even faster than it already is, and our economy will grind to a halt.

Pres. Obama understands that if our economy grinds to a halt, not only will domestic private sector businesses be forced into bankruptcy, but government revenues will diminish far greater than they already have, and our government itself could face bankruptcy and default upon its interest payments to its creditors like the Chinese and Saudi Arabians, which in turn would kill any future prospects for America borrowing money going forward. And that would result in America being at the mercy of its creditors and the International Monetary Fund for funds to keep a minimum of government operations active like police, military, and other emergency services.

Pres. Obama understands, as do the majority of Americans, that our government and private sector financial institutions face the same choice the person who has gone too far in debt, faces. We can borrow more and keep from defaulting on our debts, or give up and give in to that debt, and rely upon the mercy of creditors for permission to start over from scratch as a poor bankrupt nation.

Now the political insider debate is over whether the American government should be going deeper into debt, or not, in order to keep the financial institutions and other businesses in America from bankrupting, and keep American workers employed or, give up and allow the American private sector and government to default on their debts eventually. The government would eventually default due to the economy coming to a near complete halt and the government having very few persons and corporations to collect tax revenues from, in order to pay its creditors.

Most Republicans and some blue dog Democrats (fiscal conservatives) argue we should not go further into debt and let the collapse and bankruptcy occur. And out of the ashes, some international corporations and domestic businesses which provide staples to those who can afford them, will begin to rebuild the economy as if it were 1783 and the American Revolutionary War had just ended.

Now, one has to ask the question, do Republicans and blue dog Democrats really seek to bring the American economy to a grinding halt? Is that their goal? Or, is it that these persons are so intently focused on defeating their political opponent's agenda to save the country in order to win power in future elections, that they fail to even consider the consequences of a failing economy in their aspiration for more power?

Fortunately, the majority of Americans understand the basics of bankruptcy and that the price of a failed reputation for years or a decade or more, is not worth the sacrifice of borrowing a bit more, paying one's creditors, and working diligently going forward to increase one's income to insure that one will eventually be able to pay off their debts and become prosperous again. The majority of Americans understand that paying one's creditors is the responsible course of action, even if borrowing in order to pay them is the only means to keep one's credit worthiness intact. The American people understand that America's credit worthiness is vitally important to our nation, our national security, our domestic tranquility, and our future prospects.

The American people understand that more borrowing today will cause limit some of the opportunities to spend and buy in the future as borrowing today means paying creditors for more years into the future. But, as long as we are paying our creditors, our creditors can continue to keep us employed, and we can continue to earn an income, work to increase our revenues, and work toward the dream of being out from under our debt one day in the future, instead of allowing that debt to take all we currently have, and force us into starting over again as a poor and bankrupt nation.

President Obama gets it. The American people get it. They get it because they are not blinded by dreams of political power in the future to fashion in America according to their agenda. President Obama and the majority of Americans already have the power to keep our American dream alive and out of the clutches of our creditors who would foreclose upon us if we defaulted on our debts today.

To be sure, those who argue for default and not borrowing to pay our creditors today, will themselves spend and borrow to plaster misinformation, lies, and half truths to serve their political ends, and persuade the American people that they don't get it, that they made the wrong choice in Nov. of 2008, and that paying our creditors and working to increase our revenues going forward is the wrong path to follow. I for one, looking back at history, do not believe such efforts to persuade the American people they made the wrong choice will be successful.

Our great presidents elected by the wisdom of the American people, who led the nation out of peril and threat, to a person were less than perfect presidents. Each in their own way made mistakes, even grave ones such as violating our Constitution as in the cases of FDR, and Abraham Lincoln. Despite their errors however, they led this nation to overcome the threat and challenge of their day to America's future. And they are our greatest presidents.

In times of great peril and challenge to our future, the American people have demonstrated an inordinate capacity to elect a leader to assist them in overcoming such perils and challenges. This time of peril and challenge appears to be no different. And so far, Pres. Obama has shown promising signs of becoming one of America's newest great presidents in history, to the credit of the majority of American voters.

Posted by David R. Remer at February 28, 2009 08:23 PM
Comments
Comment #276458

David, wishful thinking, blind trust, and Obama’s sunny smile and honeyed words are more likely to lead to disaster than a bright and shining tomorrow under the leadership of a beloved leader.

No one has any idea what Obama “understands.” No one. All we know is what is he does. And what he does is commit to levels of spending which literally average in the BILLIONS for every day that he’s in office. If that’s leadership, a pickpocket with a stolen credit card could do just as well.

With as much validity as your comments demonstrate, I could say that Obama “understands” that our crops will fail unless we sacrifice a goat inside a pentagram at midnight during the spring solstice. Gross irresponsible spending is not a plan or a solution. It’s recklessness in action.

Any Americans who want to maintain the fantasy of Obama’s greatness are welcome to believe that running up record debts in order to hand out pork, prop up badly run companies, and gratify the fiscal and regulatory fantasies of left-wing special interests are welcome to do so. But the bill will eventually come due. There may be some who so intoxicated by Obama’s empty words and charismatic spell that they simply won’t care, but our descendants, who suddenly find themselves living in the third world, will be the ones who suffer.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 1, 2009 01:21 AM
Comment #276461

DR
Agreed. Some times the historical events raise the level of the indivdual provided the potential is there. In this case it is IMO.
One luxury that Lincoln had was the power to jail traitors and he did just that. Now we have Limbaugh and others that openly hope and work for BHO’s and America’s failure. They make Jane Fonda look loyal. A loyal opposition is one thing. A disloyal opposition is another.I hope that Americans are too smart to fall for their propaganda but I am sure we will see plenty of evidence to the contrary in this thread.

Posted by: bills at March 1, 2009 04:35 AM
Comment #276462

Loyal Opp. said: “David, wishful thinking, blind trust, and Obama’s sunny smile and honeyed words are more likely to lead to disaster than a bright and shining tomorrow under the leadership of a beloved leader.”

I understand your partisan need for Obama and this nation to fail. I do. Thank Buddha, your comment belongs with those of a shrinking minority.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 1, 2009 05:12 AM
Comment #276467

Bills said: “I hope that Americans are too smart to fall for their propaganda but I am sure we will see plenty of evidence to the contrary in this thread.”

There will be the propaganda, misinformation, and lies, the cartoons of acres of watermelons in front of the White House and the Chimp shot dead by two cops, but, those that support such things are no longer in power and have lost numbers of their supporters to Obama and change. I would be vigilant regarding these, but, not overly concerned that their methods and tactics will grow a majority again in the foreseeable future. The majority of Americans now know the consequences of following such as those. And have rejected them, and ejected them from power to control this nation’s future.

Let’s just do our very best to insure the foibles of the Democratic Party do not undermine the goals and plan that Pres. Obama has laid before them and Independent voters for their support.

Pres. Obama has lived up to the assurances of his campaign so far. The majority voted for him based on those assurances. The majority must continue to support him as long as he continues to work to keep those assurances. This is what his opposition fears most, that he will make good on his campaign, as president. We must do our part to insure that he does, and in so doing, help those who oppose this nation’s success out of bitterness for their party having failed, to embrace success from a different vantage point. One not born out of political sport of victor and loser, but, out of a love for our nation and dedication to responsibility for insuring our nation’s future success.

It will not come without a great price. But, then America is used to paying whatever price must be paid to overcome her weaknesses, her enemies, and the errors of her ways. That strength showed itself again with the election of Pres. Obama, not only the nation’s first African American president, but, the best choice of our democratic process to direct that strength in overcoming the crises we now face.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 1, 2009 05:32 AM
Comment #276479
President Obama and the majority of Americans already have the power to keep our American dream alive and out of the clutches of our creditors who would foreclose upon us if we defaulted on our debts today.

Oh yes. The way to deal with debt is to double, triple, or even quadruple it. And do it in such a way that you strangle the initiative of society’s productive members while emboldening society’s leaches and hangers-on. It’s a two-fer—a way to make America into a third world country twice as fast.

The only solace is that while we’re finally living in a third world slum, perhaps we can have giant pictures of Barack Obama towering over us on every street. Barack Obama gets it, after all. If you don’t believe him, he’ll tell you himself.

Critical thinking is so last year. All hail Barack Obama!

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 1, 2009 10:30 AM
Comment #276482

Loyal Opposition,
Critical Thinking is so ladt year? Than explain to this Simple Man how the Conservative squares the Idelogy that the Federal Government is the problem and that “We the People” should not build a Federal System for our Grandchildren that works?

No, President Obama wins because he knows that he does not hold All the Answers. However, unlike the Presidents of the Status Quo he is aleast willing to listen to the Loyal Oppositon on how to make America Self-Sufficient not that it cannot be done.

So why David and you can disagree that the Establishment of America is spending to much on any given program. As an Unlearned Unbridled Anti-Authoritarian Child of the 70’s by Freewill and Self-Nature I ask you both how much would it cost to give America an Extreme Makeover at the prices equal to that of our Ancestors Extreme Makeover of the Late 1800’s and Early 1900’s.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 1, 2009 11:46 AM
Comment #276486

Henry, the diction, syntax, and generally ungrammatical nature of your comments makes it very difficult to penetrate your meaning. I’m far from a stickler for such things, but I wish you’d take just a bit more time proofreading in order to get your point across.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 1, 2009 12:26 PM
Comment #276487

David R. Remer,

  • (a) There is more than one solution to this economic crisis (instead of more debt, borrowing, money-printing, and spending), and not all parts of the solution require more spending of the magnitude chosen. Especially with so much of it going to pork-barrel and waste. For example, what’s being done to stop these 10 abuses?, which would save Americans hundreds of billions per year and save lives too?

  • (b) Your article fails to address one very important possiblity: What if the current debt is already untenable?

  • (c) How can so much massive debt , borrowing , money-printing , and spending NOT cause inflation (and possibly hyperinflation). If hyperinflation occurs, a bad situation will become MUCH worse, by debauching the currency, and destroying all savings, retirements, entitlements, and wages?

In another thread, you wrote
David R. Remer wrote: So, why is [it that] the Democrats are loading this year’s all important budget with 10’s of thousands of Earmarks designed to meet the wishes of special interests in the home districts instead of the nation’s dire need for economic rescue at the lowest cost to future tax payers?
Why are House Democrats acting as if they learned nothing from their nearly 2 decades in the Congressional wilderness as the minority party?

Is is that sort of borrowing, debt, money-printing, and spending going to help?

Here are some questions that few (if any) want (or can) answer?

  • (01) What if the current debt is already untenable? Amortize the debt at only 3.0% or 4.0% interest, and see what it would require to repay only a fraction of the $10.9 Trillion National Debt or $67 Trillion nation-wide debt.

  • (02) Where will the money come from to merely pay the interest on such massive debt when 90%-to-95% of all U.S. Dollars in existence in the U.S. already exists as debt? The $10.9 Trillion National Debt is 62% higher per-capita than the previous record-high in year 1945 (after World War II), and that does not even include the $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security?

  • (03) The current $67 Trillion nation-wide debt has almost quintupled from 100% of GDP in year 1956 to 483% of GDP in 2008. Where will the money come from to merely service the debt, when 80% of all Americans only own 17% of all wealth, 40% have ZERO net worth (on average), and 20% have negative net worth (i.e. debt)?

  • (04) Since when did any nation so ridiculously deep in debt ($10.7 Trillion National Debt has never larger per-capita as it is today) ever borrow , money-print , and spend its way to prosperity? Obama’s Fiscal 2009 Budget contains a $1.7 Trillion deficit (71% of the esitmated $2.4 Trillion in federal revenues).

  • (05) How many centuries (at only 4.0% interest) would it take to pay down the $10.9 Trillion National Debt? How many centuries (at only 4.0% interest) would it take to pay down only 33% of the $67 Trillion nation-wide debt?

  • (06) Who seriously believed that this 111th Congress would be more responsible when it contains 86.9% of the 110th Congress? How will the Stimulus BILL and others that follow help if they are also full of pork-barrel, and do not provide a net benefit? That is, more than ever before, spending needs to be responsible, and produce net benefits. Do you think that is going to happen any time soon?

  • (07) How much longer can the previous IN-PARTY be blamed for everything by the new IN-PARTY. Do you think the majority of Americans are going to care when enough of the voters are bankrupt , jobless , homeless , and hungry?

  • (08) Do you really believe Congress “gets it”? If they do, their actions appear to prove that they are incompetent (to say the least).

  • (09) Why is the federal government still importing 1.5 Million foreign H-1B visa workers when 11.5-to-25 Million Americans are unemployed?

  • (10) What makes you so certain that this opportunity (possibly the last) to salvage a bad situation, to mitigate future pain and misery, will happen when it appears that more of the same fiscal and moral bankruptcy that got us here is not improving, and the irresponsible spending is possibly becoming worse?

What we needed now was an end to several abuses hammering most Americans, and smart spending.
However, this huge, porky Stimulus BILL, and what Congress and the administration are doing now appears to be far from it, and could possibly make a bad situation much worse by creating more debt , inflation , and possibly another economic terror:
    Hyperinlation

There are a couple of positive changes happening.
For example, such as leaving Iraq.
However, is an escalation in Afghanistan wise, when many of the terrorist are in Pakistan?

Posted by: d.a.n at March 1, 2009 01:00 PM
Comment #276490

David, the people had to choose from the candidates hosted by the ruling Klepto-Plutocracy. They had to vote for the ‘least evil’ as opposed to the best candidate. If you think the ACORN group represents the best Democracy has to offer, well! And, there was no recession when Obama was running for Pres. Things were going down hill but no recession
I wonder if Lincoln would turn his back on ‘Buy American’ if he were Pres. today. Would he be a free trader, pitting the US worker against the cheapest labor in the world? He might be more inclined to support the Union as opposed to destructing it.
Let me come in on the side of the unwise. No business is too big to fail. Why must we plod behind the Europeans toward Social Democracy like we have no mind of our own?

You wrote; “Our economic condition is not a lot different from a person who has stepped too far into personal debt.” I hope to remind you of that one in a couple of years.

You wrote: “This understanding by the majority of wise American voters of bankruptcy is very analogous to Pres. Obama’s understanding of the perilous choice our nation faces regarding its economic condition. Pres. Obama understands that if the many financial institutions, which are insolvent due to their holding of collateral mortgages and other papers of questionable value plus cash as assets against debts which exceed their cash and collateral assets, go into bankruptcy, our credit markets will seize up. Pres. Obama understands that if our credit markets seize up, nearly all construction in America will halt, an enormous number of small and medium size businesses will be forced to lay off workers for lack of payroll cash, and unemployment will rise even faster than it already is, and our economy will grind to a halt”.

“Pres. Obama understands that if our economy grinds to a halt, not only will domestic private sector businesses be forced into bankruptcy, but government revenues will diminish far greater than they already have, and our government itself could face bankruptcy and default upon its interest payments to its creditors like the Chinese and Saudi Arabians, which in turn would kill any future prospects for America borrowing money going forward. And that would result in America being at the mercy of its creditors and the International Monetary Fund for funds to keep a minimum of government operations active like police, military, and other emergency services. “


Pres. Obama also understands that through fear mongering, such as your post represents, he has socked the next several generations into debt that will prevent them from ever ‘catching the American dream’, whatever that is anymore.

President Obama gets it. The American people get it. They get it because they are not blinded by dreams of political power in the future to fashion in America according to their agenda. President Obama and the majority of Americans already have the power to keep our American dream alive and out of the clutches of our creditors who would foreclose upon us if we defaulted on our debts today.

Pres. Obama has set many budget items to come off in 2011. How quaint. That way he won’t have to face the music during his next bid for reelection.

I guess, if you set the bar low enough, Obama would qualify as a good President. By now, he has had time to close the border and enforce the immigration laws of this nation. He has used the recession to avoid other issues like renegotiating for a fair trade policy. He is making these major changes, yet can’t seem to work in border and immigration issues. He did manage to lock in the 12-40M illegals by providing them with taxpayer dollars for health insurance, mortgage assistance, free education, free hospitalization and the like. While he parrots his tax breaks for the middle class he resorts to other indiscrete taxes to take back more than he giveth. Overall, your taxes are going up. Somebody’s got to pay for this huge indebtedness.


Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 1, 2009 03:31 PM
Comment #276492

d.a.n, all good points.

You said: “For example, what’s being done to stop these 10 abuses?, which would save Americans hundreds of billions per year and save lives too?”

Is there time for a Constitutional Convention to reinvent the government so that Congressional pork spending and earmarks are not intrinsic to the structure of government, and still prevent a Depression or decade long recession marked by extremely high unemployment?

d.a.n. said: “# (b) Your article fails to address one very important possiblity: What if the current debt is already untenable?”

Hey, you know bankrupt is bankrupt. If we are already bankrupt, then no additional harm is done printing some more money to pursue an illusion of hope. But, here’s the thing, there is absolutely NO WAY of knowing at this moment if the current debt is unsustainable. What we do know is that there is a breaking point with national debt and we get closer to it with each trillion added to it.

If the FED’s assumptions prove to be valid and true, on our current course of fiscal and monetary initiatives, this Recession should abate the latter half of this year, with unemployment beginning to drop some 6 to 12 months after that. With that potential MORE likely than China calling in our debt over the next year or so, it seems prudent to continue on this course to me.

d.a.n asked: “How can so much massive debt , borrowing , money-printing , and spending NOT cause inflation (and possibly hyperinflation).”

Only the interest on borrowing is inflationary, in that it reduces available discretionary cash having the net effect of putting prices further out of reach. Printing money to be borrowed is inflationary. We are doing both. No question.

But, there is no current inflation to be dealt with. There is a recession and unemployment to be dealt with. Let’s deal with the recession and unemployment, and then, as the inflationary price of having done so begins to exert itself, deal with that inflation with a working population and economy capable of tightening its belt a bit while remaining employed and productive.

If we were not facing a dangerous recession, I would advocate for taking preventive measures to avoid inflation by reining in the money supply. But, that just isn’t the hand we have to play. And we have to play the cards we have dealt ourselves or quit playing altogether and capitulate to helplessness and losing.

In blackjack, if I am dealt 2 8’s and the dealer is dealt a King, it would be foolish to fold without splitting the 8’s and doubling down. Giving up before all the cards are dealt is not maximizing the potential for coming out ahead. Yes, there is a risk to doubling down and splitting a pair of 8’s. But, tossing in eliminates any chance of winning altogether.

There is sound strategy to game theory, and whether or not we choose to see it as such, life at the micro and macro levels is a sort of game with all the inherent components of games. Maximizing our potential for coming out ahead in the long run, taking rational favorable odds based risks, and the inevitable losses in stride as part and parcel of winning overall, is the game.

Let’s deal with the Recession while there is no significant inflation, and having put the Recession behind us, then deal with the inflation as an employed nation. There is an order to this which is pretty hard to miss.

Avoiding deficits now, and morphing this recession into a protracted depression is not a net solution aimed at optimizing quality of life for Americans.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 1, 2009 03:37 PM
Comment #276494

d.a.n, as for the Congressional Democrats, I want to wait and see what unfolds. If Cong. Dem’s insist on porking up debt for future generations with no other justification than they are the majority party, I expect Obama to hold true to his campaign assurance to fight those Cong. Dem.s on that issue with the power of his veto.

If on the other hand, Cong. Dem’s dramatically curtail their home constituent wish lists eliminating spending that will not meet the objectives of stimulating and maintaining economic activity, keeping and growing jobs, and investing in future economic shifts that will pay dividends beyond today’s cost going forward, then I say congratulations, they get it.

Doesn’t matter to me whether they do this under veto threat, reelection threat, or out of some new found enlightenment that mandates putting the nation’s interest first and foremost, so long as the appropriate outcome as best can be achieved, is realized.

Some pork and wasteful spending is the cost of compromise to achieve consensus which is built into our two party system and Congressional structural design. Reality is less than ideal.

Asking Congressional representatives to ignore their district’s constituents demands in favor of doing what is best for the nation as a hole, is akin to arguing that all nations should dispense with notions of sovereignty and join together as one human race and just live in harmony.

It is a wonderful ideal. But, neither political nor cultural evolution have progressed anywhere near that far yet. Many would argue it never will.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 1, 2009 03:52 PM
Comment #276495

Roy said: “David, the people had to choose from the candidates hosted by the ruling Klepto-Plutocracy.”

I heartily disagree. The ruling Klepto-Plutocracy choice from the Demcratic Party was Hillary Clinton. Obama was neither chosen as a candidate by his Party, nor did he rely entirely upon the Party’s financial support to reach for the nomination, choosing instead a campaign that from the beginning reached out to the American people as a whole from all parties, as well as the politically disinterested.

Were you on vacation during the campaign season? Did they not have newspapers or internet access at your vacationing resort? :-)

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 1, 2009 04:01 PM
Comment #276496

Roy said: “Pres. Obama also understands that through fear mongering, such as your post represents,”

Wow! If reality is fear mongering in your mind, so be it. Doesn’t change the reality, which is what must be worked with.


“he [Obama] has socked the next several generations into debt that will prevent them from ever ‘catching the American dream’, whatever that is anymore.”

No, Roy. The combination of the growth of national debt to the 5.65 trillion inherited by Pres. GW Bush, and Pres. Bush’s and his Congress’ addition of another 7 trillion to that in just 8 years, is responsible for socking the next many generations with debt.

Obama has two choices. Capitulate and let the nation’s economy fall into ruin, and future generations inherit a third world economy attempting to resurrect itself from the ashes, or, borrow from the future potential revenues to salvage the economy and put it on a sounder course of sustainability going forward for future generations.

Obama can let the economy fail for future generations to build from scratch. Or, he can borrow from the future in the attempt to pass on to future generations a viable sustainable economy which offers them employment, education, middle class living standards, and domestic peace as opportunities to be enjoyed.

You simply cannot make a rational argument that Obama is responsible for the crises our nation now faces. Your comment is simply unfactual and illogical.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 1, 2009 04:12 PM
Comment #276499
Roy Ellis wrote: David [R. Remer], the people had to choose from the candidates hosted by the ruling Klepto-Plutocracy
Roy, Good point!

Had John McCain been elected, he would have probably done as bad (or worse). For example, McCain (like Obama) wants another shamnesty. McCain voted for the 1st shamnesty in 1986, which more than quadrupled the problem. The two of them would simply do things in different ways to continue the abuses hammering most Americans, since the two of them gravitate to two different extremes which are equally effective at cheating and abusing most Americans:

  • Category [1] One extreme wants unfettered capitalism and freedom to explore and wallow in every manifestation of unchecked greed (which we have seen plenty of lately).

  • Category [2] The other extreme wants a nanny-state with citizens increasingly dependent on the government; with massive cradle-to-grave government programs (which are usually severely mismanaged) that nuture a sense of entitlement and dependency on government; wants to grow government ever larger (despite the already current nightmare proportions); rewards failure and laziness; and perpetuates the myth that we can somehow all live at the expense of everyone else.

The big dilema most people have with all of this spending is that no one knows if the size of the debt is already untenable.

  • Tax revenues are shrinking.

  • Unemployment is rising.

  • GDP is falling (and actually has been since year 2007).

  • The 2009 federal Fiscal budget is $1.7 Trillion over-budget.

  • The $10.9 Trillion federal National Debt is costing almost half a Trillion in interest alone.

  • The $10.9 Trillion federal National Debt is the largest per-capita debt ever ($35,721 per person; 64% higher 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.

  • The $67 Trillion nation-wide debt has never been larger in size or as a percentage of GDP (up from 100% of GDP in 1956 to 483% of GDP today).

  • These dozens of economic conditions have never been worse ever, and/or since the Great Depression.

Again, the big dilema most people have with all of this spending is that no one knows if the size of the debt is already untenable.

The numbers don’t look good.
At only 4.0% interest, and IF Congress had some fiscal discipline, it would take centuries to pay down the $10.9 Trillion national debt.
There is a point where the debt can become so large that it can never be serviced.
Already, the federal government has been borrowing and creating money out of thin air for many decades to pay the interest on the debt.
Another big questions is: When (if ever) will Congress and the administration have the discipline necessary to stop the debt from growing ever larger?
The federal government has already been deficit spending for 52 consecutive years.
And now the solution for our massive debt problem is more borrowing , debt , money-printing , and rampant spending of gargantuan proportions ? ! ?
Well, I don’t think so.
The math doesn’t make sense.
Especially not now with a Congress who just gave itself its 10th raise in 12 years, and another $93,000 per Congress person for petty cash and expense.
Yeah boy, the incumbent politicians in Congress really do “get it” , eh?
Yeah, they “get it” ?
They know that they can do just about an damn thing they want, and still be rewarded with re-election (for decades).
And even if they are ever convicted of a crime, they still get their cu$hy pensions, or even a pardon or commuted sentence. Cha-Ching!

As of 2008, of 100 Senators, 17 have been in office for 30 years or more.
22 more have been in the Senate for 18 to 30 years.
39% have been in the Senate 18 yrs or more.
4 have been in the Senate over 40 years.

As of 2008, of 435 Representatives, 35 incumbents have been in office for 26 years or more.
108 incumbents have been in the House for 14 to 24 years.
33% of the incumbents have been in the House for 14 yrs or more.
5 have been in the House for over 36 years.

Unopposed elections have doubled in the last 20 years.

But perhaps it is simply too optimistic to expect better?
Perhaps it is simply too pessimistic to think incumbent politicians in Congress really get it?
Perhaps it is simply too unrealistic to expect better from Congress?
Perhaps Congress really does deserve their 10th raise in 12 years and $93,000 for petty cash and expenses, as U.S. troops risk life and limb, go without armor, adequate medical care, promised benefits, and have to do 2, 3, 4+ tours in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Voters will eventually get fed-up with it, but unfortunately, that probably won’t happen soon enough to avoid many years of painful consequences of so many decades of fiscal and moral bankruptcy. Voters are culpable too, and they will reap what they sow. Sure, we will probably come through this, but not without a lot of pain and misery, which we only have ourselves to thank for.

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 1, 2009 04:34 PM
Comment #276500

250,000$ for a vactor truck
4000$ for a Wood chipper
10,000$ for a leaf vacuum
50,000$ for a backhoe
250,000$ for a 50’x100’ shop

This is what I want for my portion of the Stimulus Package. I could start my own business and hire at least one employee, maybe 2!

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 1, 2009 05:31 PM
Comment #276501
David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, as for the Congressional Democrats, I want to wait and see what unfolds. If Cong. Dem’s insist on porking up debt for future generations with no other justification than they are the majority party, I expect Obama to hold true to his campaign assurance to fight those Cong. Dem.s on that issue with the power of his veto.
“wait and see” ?

“IF” ?

Pork-barrel has been rampant, and still is now.

The Fiscal 2009 Appropriations is full of pork-barrel (see below).
And that list below is most likely only the tip of the iceberg, among tens of thousands of earmarks costing tens or hundreds of billions per year.

    At least 1 of the following 7 criteria are used to define the following below as pork-barrel:
    • (1) Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
    • (2) Not specifically authorized;
    • (3) Not competitively awarded;
    • (4) Not requested by the President;
    • (5) Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
    • (6) Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
    • (7) Serves only a local or special interest.

____ Fiscal Year 2009 Appropriations Earmarks (as of FEB-2009) ____

Agriculture:

  • Commerce, Justice, Science (www.cagw.org/site/DocServer/House_Comm__Justice__Sci.pdf?docID=3101)
    • 1,123 projects at a cost of $409.8 million. The top five porkers are CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) with $9.95 million; CJS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Alan Mollohan (D-WV) with $9.7 million; CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member C.A “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MD); with $8 million; CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) with $7.9 million and House appropriator Ralph Regula (R-OH) with $7.7 million. The following are among the most egregious examples of pork-barreling in this House version of the Fiscal 2009 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Act:
    • $1,350,000 for planetarium costs: $900,000 by House appropriator Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), and Reps. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and Danny Davis (D-IL) for planetarium equipment; $250,000 by House appropriator Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) for the Lakeview Museum Planetarium; and $200,000 by CJS Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) for the County College of Morris Planetarium.
    • $700,000 by House appropriator John Olver (D-Mass.) for a large millimeter telescope at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. According to its website : “The Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) Project is the joint effort of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica, y Electrónica in Mexico. The LMT is a 50m diameter millimeter-wave telescope designed for principal operation at wavelengths between 1mm and 4mm.” The
    • telescope is atop Sierra Negra, a volcanic peak in the state of Puebla, Mexico. The project has received $18.9 million in pork since 2000.
    • $400,000 by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) for horseshoe crab research at Virginia Tech. According to a March 28, 2008 Richmond Times Dispatch article, “The horseshoe crab’s blood is useful in intravenous medications and has cancer-fighting properties.” This is another case of corporate welfare. Corporations that need the research should pay for it themselves.
    • $200,000 by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) for research at the American Museum of Natural History to advance environmental literacy through public education in New York.
    The Senate version of the Fiscal 2009 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Act (www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11580)
      This BILL contained 287 projects for a total of $167.2 million. The top porkers in the bill are Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) with $27.4 million; Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) with $23.6 million; Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV) with $18.9 million; Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Robert Bennett (R-Utah) with $16 million; and Senate Appropriations Committee member Larry Craig (R-ID) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) squeezing out $10.6 million each. The following are examples of pork added to the bill:
    • $4,841,000 by 19 senators for wood utilization research in Alaska, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, and West Virginia. This research has cost taxpayers $95.6 million since 1985.
    • $1,117,000 by Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Robert Bennett (R-Utah) for Mormon crickets.
    • $300,000 by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) for shrimp aquaculture. Since 1985, $69 million has been appropriated for this research.
    • $270,000 by Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Jon Tester (D-MT) for the Montana Sheep Institute. This organization has received $3.1 million in pork since 2002.
    • $259,000 by Senate Appropriations Committee member Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) for floriculture. According to a September 13, 2007, Star Bulletin article Hawaii’s floriculture and nursery products grossed $100.7 million in 2006. Since 1995, $4.1 million (or more) in pork has gone for this research.
    • $237,000 by Senate Appropriations Committee member Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for the Wine Grape Foundation Block at Washington State University. Wine in the state is a $3 billion industry. Why can’t it fund its own research?
    • $184,000 by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) for Lowbush Wild Blueberry research. Since 1995, $3.2 million in pork has gone for this research.
  • Commerce, Justice, Science (www.cagw.org/site/DocServer/Senate_Commerce_09.pdf?docID=3161)
    • The Senate version of the Fiscal 2009 Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations Act contained 574 projects for a total of $436.5 million in this 2009’s Senate BILL. The top five porkers are Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AK) with $72.9 million; Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) with $52.4 million; Senate CJS Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) with $48.7 million; Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) with $41.2 million and Senate appropriator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) with $32.1 million. The following are examples that pork-loving members added to the bill:
    • $24.6 million for two projects by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Sens. Jim Cardin (D-Md.), Jim Webb (D-Va.), and John Warner (R-Va.), to aid watermen in the Chesapeake Bay with new work opportunities, and to restore oyster habitat and plant disease free oysters in scientifically selected sites throughout the Chesapeake Bay;
    • $4.9 million for nine projects for the Marshall Space and Flight Center in Huntsville, by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.);
    • $750,000 by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for the University of Louisville to research factors that hinder the wound healing process;
    • $450,000 by Senator David Vitter (R-La.) to eliminate public corruption and reduce white collar crime;
    • $400,000 by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for copper wire theft prevention in Las Vegas; and,
    • $100,000 for the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) to provide economic relief to Maine lobstermen.

Defense:

  • Energy & Water (www.cagw.org/site/DocServer/House_Energy.pdf?docID=3122)
    • 655 projects at a cost of $821 million. The top five porkers for Energy and Water are Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D-S.D.) with $32.3 million; Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) with $28.5 million; House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) with $27.62 million; House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member David Hobson (R-Ohio) with $27.6 million; and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) with $25 million. Like so many other appropriations bills, the Energy and Water Development Act is awash in wasteful spending. Here are some outrageous examples of pork in the BILL:
    • $5 million by House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee member Mike Simpson (R-ID) for construction in rural Idaho.
    • $1.35 million by House appropriator Ralph Regula (R-OH) for the Rolls Royce solid oxide fuel systems development. Rolls Royce’s automobiles sell at prices ranging from $250,000 to more than $400,000. Cha-Ching!
    • $600,000 by House Energy and Water Appropriation Subcommittee member John Olver (D-MA) for the Wisdom Way Solar Village. The village has already received $1.89 million in loans from the state of Massachusetts. The project will consist of 20 homes with 11 of the homes sold to people of low income; 7 homes will be sold to people of moderate income; and 2 are for individuals with disabilities. The combined state and federal subsidy comes out to $124,500 per home, which is not smart for the taxpayers.
    • $210,000 by House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee member Ed Pastor (D-AZ) for the Native American Affairs Program and the Sid Yates Scholarship Program, under the heading of “Water and Related Resources.”
  • Financial Services (www.cagw.org/site/DocServer/House_Financial_Services.pdf?docID=3103)
    • In the House version of the Fiscal 2009 Financial Services Appropriations Act, there were 197 projects for a total of $57 million in the bill. That represents an increase of 45% above the 136 projects and an 84% increase above the dollar amount of $31 million contained in the fiscal 2008 House version of the financial services BILL. The following are among the most egregious examples of pork-barreling in the BILL:
    • $17.5 million by Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for renovations at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library.
    • $1.3 million by House appropriator Harold “Hal” Rogers (R-KY) for the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws.
    • $300,000 by House Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee member Dennis Rehberg (R-Mont.) for the Montana World Trade Center (MWTC). The organization’s website says that it can “help your business realize international sales and expansion goals that would otherwise be unattainable.” One MWTC grantee, the Missoula Children’s Theatre, makes “overseas forays every year, visiting U.S. military bases and international schools, where they help students put together full-fledged theatrical productions.” Companies can join the MWTC for a measly $300 per year but taxpayers have to pony up $300,000.
    • $250,000 by House appropriator Marion Berry (D-AR) for the Arkansas Commercial Driver Training Institute at Arkansas State University.
    • $200,000 by Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) for the Beaver Street Enterprise Center (BSE). According to its website, BSE helps new businesses, home-based businesses, and “if your business is established and you want to expand; if you would benefit from an affordable, professional workplace; or if you are ready for mentoring from top community business leaders.” BSE supporters include Bank of America and Wachovia Bank.
    • $100,000 by House Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee member James Moran (D-Va.) for the Georgetown Metro Connection.
  • Homeland Security (www.cagw.org/site/DocServer/House_DHS.pdf?docID=3102)
    • The House version of the Fiscal 2009 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act contained 102 projects for a total of $120.1 million in this year’s House DHS BILL. The top 6 porkers are Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) with $15 million; Harold “Hal” Rogers (R-KY) with $13.4 million; and Robert Aderholt (R-AK), John Culberson (R-TX), Peter King (R-NY), and David Price (D-NC) with $6 million each. The following are some examples of pork that members of the House added to the Homeland Security BILL:
    • $24.9 million for 51 projects for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Predisaster Mitigation by 56 members, spread among 26 states.
    • $22.1 million for 33 projects for FEMA State and Local Programs by 35 members, spread among 19 states.
    • $11 million by House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) for the National Institute for Hometown Security (NIHS). According to the Institute’s website, “NIHS is a private, non-profit 501 (c)3 corporation. NIHS was organized in 2004 through the leadership of Kentucky 5th District Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers. Congressman Rogers suggested organizing the higher education institutions of Kentucky to more effectively compete for research funds and projects aimed at improving homeland security. The Kentucky Homeland Security University Consortium resulted from his efforts. NIHS is the administrative manager for the Consortium.”
    • $5 million by House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David Price (D-NC) for a study on the impact of climate on future disasters in the state of North Carolina.
    • $250,000 by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) for a perimeter security and noise abatement study at the James J. Rowley Training Center in Maryland.
  • Homeland Security (www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11562)
    • The Senate version of the Fiscal 2009 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act contains 17 projects for a total of $133 million. 92% of the total appropriated funds, or nearly $123 million, went to members of the Subcommittee. The following are some examples of pork that senators added to the Homeland Security BILL:
    • $39.7 million for the Advanced Training Center, which trains border agents, by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), although the Bush Administration has not requested funding to expand the center. Sen. Byrd requested and received the same amount for the project in fiscal year 2008.
    • $27 million by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee member Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) for the Southeast Region Research Initiative in Tennessee. The website for this program has no white papers or reports of their research available, only project descriptions.
    • $22.3 million by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) for the National Center for Critical Information Processing and Storage in Mississippi, which “seeks to consolidate and safely store information critical to the operations of the federal government.”
    • $4.5 million by Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) for the 2010 Olympics Coordination Center in Bellingham, Washington. According to Sen. Murray’s website, the Center “would allow federal, state, and local officials to meet, prepare and coordinate a response to any incident from one location.” Although the Olympics will be held in Vancouver, Canada, “the Center would only be twenty-three miles away from the Canadian border, as opposed to 110 miles to Seattle or 155 miles to the Washington State Military Department.”
  • Interior (www.cagw.org/site/DocServer/House_Interior.pdf?docID=3104)
    • The House version of the Fiscal 2009 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act contained 247 projects, costing taxpayers $134.9 million. Here are a few examples of wasteful spending that members of the House added into to the Interior and Environment Appropriations Act:
    • $4.2 million for seven projects by House Interior Subcommittee Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA), including: $500,000 for the city of University Place for sewer infrastructure; $270,000 for a Hood Canal Dissolved Oxygen Study; and $200,000 for Mason County Courthouse restoration.
    • $1 million by House Interior Subcommittee member Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) for the Inter-Tribal Bison Cooperative. According to the National Bison Association, there are an estimated 20,000 bison remaining on public lands in the U.S. and Canada.
    • $500,000 by House Interior Subcommittee member Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) for methamphetamine prevention in the Mark Twain National Forest.
    • $350,000 by Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), for the River Raisin Revolutionary War Battlefield. This battle took place in 1813, long after the Revolutionary War ended.
    • $150,000 by House appropriator Michael Simpson (R-Idaho) for the Rexburg Historic Westwood Theater. The theater’s website notes it was “Opened in 1917 as the Rex Theater and through the years had various owners and operators.” Additionally, “Although it is not on the National Register of Historic places, it is near the Madison County Courthouse which is on the Register.”
    • $150,000 by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) for the Historic Mishler Theatre in Altoona, where the Holy Smoke Blues will be playing on August 15. Their performance will be preceded by a group of taxpayers singing the blues over the proliferation of pork in Washington.
  • Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education (www.cagw.org/site/DocServer/House_LHHS.pdf?docID=3121)
    • The House version of the Fiscal 2009 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act contained 1,370 earmarks worth a staggering $618.8 million of taxpayer money. This represents a 5% increase in number of projects, but a huge 122% increase in dollar amounts over the FY 2008 version, which had 1,305 earmarks costing $277.9 million. The top 3 porkers are as follows: Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), $168.5 million; Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), $161.3 million; and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD), $148.5. The Labor/HHS bill is loaded with pork projects and wasteful spending from both Democrats and Republicans. A few examples are as follows.
    • $25 million by 30 House members (including the top three porkers in the bill) for the National Writing Project. The Department of Education (DoE) did not request the earmarked funds, since $3 billion already exists to improve the writing skills of professionally trained teachers. The program is described on the DoE website as a “sole source, noncompetitive award, by direction of Congress.”
    • $175,000 by House appropriator Adam Schiff (D-Ca.), Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), and Mary Bono (R-CA) for the Autry National Center for the American West, which “explores the experiences and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West,” according to its website.
    • $150,000 by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) for the American Ballet Theatre in New York for “educational activities.” According to its website, “As of May 2008, over 65 donors have contributed a total of $28 million during the campaign’s private drive.”
    • $100,000 by House appropriator Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) for the Toledo GROWS High School Garden Learning Initiative, a “community gardening outreach program.” According to their website, “Community gardens are safe, beautiful outdoor spaces on public or private lands, where neighbors meet to grow and care for vegetables, flowers and native plant species. The gardeners take initiative and responsibility for organizing, maintaining and managing the garden area.”

Legislative Branch:

  • Military Construction (www.cagw.org/site/DocServer/House_Mil_Con.pdf?docID=3105)
    • The House version of the Fiscal 2009 Military Construction Appropriations Act contains 102 projects for a total of $621.3 million. The enacted version of the fiscal 2008 Military Construction Appropriations Act included 191 projects worth $1.2 billion. The House bill is bursting at the seams with wasteful pet projects:
    • $18.4 million added by House Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Tex.), including $17.5 million for a chapel and education center at Fort Hood.
    • $11.58 million for a fitness center in Kingsville, Texas, added by Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-Tex.). There is a private gym four miles away that costs $30 per month, with a $35 initiation fee. This $11.58 million could pay for the gym memberships of 29,300 service men and women for one year.
    • $9.9 million added by Rep. John Spratt, Jr. (D-S.C.) for a physical fitness center at Shaw Air Force Base. There is a gym four miles away that charges $25 per month, with a $75 down payment. This $9.9 million could pay for the gym memberships of 26,400 service men and women for one year.
    • $6.8 million added by Rep. Terry Everett (R-Ala.) for a chapel center at Fort Rucker, Alabama, which already has two separate chapels on its campus.
    • $3.9 million added by Reps. Robert Scott (D-Va.) and Robert Wittman (R-Va.) for a vehicle paint facility at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Transportation/Housing and Urban Development:

  • The Senate version of the Fiscal 2009 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Act (www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11570).
    • There are 601 projects for a total of $906.2 million in this 2009 Senate BILL. The dollar amount of the most notorious depository of pork in THUD, the Economic Development Initiative program, decreased 16.2% from $123.5 million in the fiscal 2008 version of the Senate bill to $103.5 million for fiscal 2009. The top 5 porkers are Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) with $85.4 million; Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) with $83.9 million; Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) with $56.3 million; Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV) with $51.4 million; and Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) with $51.1 million. The following are examples of pork added to the BILL:
    • $1,000,000 by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) for the development of a pedestrian bridge in Poughkeepsie.
    • $700,000 by Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) for waterproofing activities in basement-level storage areas at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Considered to be one of the dozen greatest art museums in the country, the Wadsworth Atheneum reported a fund balance of $106 million at the end of 2006.
    • $500,000 by Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Robert Bennett (R-UT) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) for a parking facility in Provo.
    • $200,000 by Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and John Kerry (D-MA) for renovation of the Berkshire Theatre Festival’s facilities and grounds. In June, 2008 the theatre received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for its production of Waiting for Godot. How apt, when fiscal discipline in Congress has become as elusive as Godot.

And in the Feb-2009 Stimulus BILL was full of pork-barrel too:

  • $650 million for digital-TV coupons; $90 million to educate “vulnerable populations”;

  • $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts;

  • $150 million for the Smithsonian;

  • $34 million to renovate the Department of Commerce headquarters; is this the department that wants to end e-Verify?

  • $44 million for repairs to Department of Agriculture headquarters;;

  • $350 million for Agriculture Department computers;

  • $1 billion for the Census Bureau; will that include 12-to-20+ illegal aliens?

  • $850 million for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn’t turned a profit in 40 years;

  • $1.7 billion for the National Park System;

  • $55 million for Historic Preservation Fund;

  • $7.6 billion for “rural community advancement programs”;

  • $150 million for agricultural-commodity purchases;

  • $400 million for hybrid cars for state and local governments;

  • $8 billion for innovative-technology loan-guarantee program;

  • $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects;

  • $54 Billion for federal programs that the Office of Management and Budget or the Government Accountability Office have already criticized as “ineffective” or unable to pass basic financial audits (e.g. the Economic Development Administration, the Small Business Administration, the 10 federal job training programs, and many more).

  • $87 million for a polar icebreaking ship;

Again, that (above) is only the tip of the massive pork-barrel iceberg, among tens of thousands of earmarks costing tens or hundreds of billions per year.

David R. Remer wrote: If on the other hand, Cong. Dem’s dramatically curtail their home constituent wish lists eliminating spending that will not meet the objectives of stimulating and maintaining economic activity, keeping and growing jobs, and investing in future economic shifts that will pay dividends beyond today’s cost going forward, then I say congratulations, they get it.
David, do you seriously believe that is going to happen?
David R. Remer wrote:
  • Some pork and wasteful spending is the cost of compromise to achieve consensus which is built into our two party system and Congressional structural design. Reality is less than ideal.
  • Asking Congressional representatives to ignore their district’s constituents demands in favor of doing what is best for the nation as a hole, is akin to arguing that all nations should dispense with notions of sovereignty and join together as one human race and just live in harmony.
  • It is a wonderful ideal. But, neither political nor cultural evolution have progressed anywhere near that far yet. Many would argue it never will.
  • It’s already more than only “Some pork and wasteful spending”

    It’s so strange, after so many years of your articles demonstrating a disdain for pork-barrel and waste, now making excuses for it. While it may be impossible to get rid of it completely, the level of it now is excessive.

    David R. Remer wrote:
    • Roy said: “David, the people had to choose from the candidates hosted by the ruling Klepto-Plutocracy.”
    I heartily disagree. The ruling Klepto-Plutocracy choice from the Demcratic Party was Hillary Clinton. Obama was neither chosen as a candidate by his Party, nor did he rely entirely upon the Party’s financial support to reach for the nomination, choosing instead a campaign that from the beginning reached out to the American people as a whole from all parties, as well as the politically disinterested.
    Obama didn’t get the Democrat Party’s nomination? And he didn’t take money from lobbyists either, eh?

    Yes, Obama set records for raising campaign money.
    Obama had 14 registered lobbyists bundling money for his campaign (see below).
    Obama’s claims on Lobbyist money are flimsy at best:

    • blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/04/obamas-claims-o.html

    • www.cjr.org/campaign_desk/obamas_lobbyist_line.php

    • www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/04/22/681

    • www.whitehouseforsale.org/bundler.cfm?Bundler=25461

    The practice of using well-connected individuals to raise money from groups of people is known as “bundling.”
    On 6-APR-2008, Obama went to San Francisco, visiting the mansion of Ann and Gordon Getty on a street known as Billionaires’ row.
    A close look at his big money donors reveals little real CHANGE from old school politics.
    Many of Obama’s donors are like a billionaire donor of a Chicago based hedge fund, whose employees and family members contributed almost $200K each. At the same time, the hedge fund firm was paying lobbyists to secure a rich tax loop hole.
    Obama’s largest group of contributors are the employees and family of Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs.
    Obama has taken money from many special interest groups, and employees of lobbying firms, despite Obama saying: “I am in this race to tell corporate lobbyists that their day of setting the agenda in Washington are over.”.

    Obama had 14 registered lobbyists bundling money for his campaign (see below).
    79 “bundlers”, 5 of which were billionaires, tapped into their personal networks to raise at least $200K each, and helped the Obama campaign recruit over 27,000 donors to write checks for $2,300 (the maximum allowed by law).
    Donors of $200 or more are about 50% of Obama’s $240 Million raised by about Mid 2008 ($742 Million raised by DEC-2008).
    The Washington Post said bundlers and big money abounded in the Obama campaign.
    The New York Times reported that the largest group of bundlers were lawyers.
    Obama’s campaign was also supported by the year 2006 Lobbyist of the Year - Howard Gutman.
    Center for Repsonsive Politics reported that Obama took (as of May 2008) $85,000 directly from state and municipal lobbyists and many family members of federal lobbyists.

    When Obama says he hasn’t taken money from lobbyists, what he really means is that he hasn’t taken money directly from the bank accounts of registered lobbyists. However, Obama has most certainly taken lots of money from lobbyists who are out actively raising money from others on his behalf (i.e. bundlers). Is Obama any less beholden to these lobbyists working as bundlers? The entire system is less transparent than ever.

    But whether they are technically “lobbyists” is beside the point.
    Look at who was working as bundlers for Obama’s campaign:

    • Peter Bynoe has pledged to raise between $100,000 and $200,000 for the senator. Bynoe was an Illinois state lobbyist who is on the federal government’s list of people who helped raise money for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich through Chicago political rainmaker Tony Rezko. When he wasn’t helping Obama with his shady housing purchase, Rezko was busy arranging for kickbacks for Blagojevich’s wife and other senior officials in Blagojevich’s administration, which has also been the target of a number of unrelated Federal corruption investigations.

    • Mike Bauer has pledged to raise between $50,000 and $100,000 for Obama. Another Illinois state lobbyist, Bauer was suspended from practicing law for improperly taking $300,000 from a family trust fund. According to the Chicago Tribune, “During the same time he was taking money from the trust fund, his donations to national and local candidates totaled $300,000.” But Obama didn’t take issue with Bauer’s unethical conduct or distance him from the campaign. “Mike has been a leader in the community and a good supporter of our campaign and many others. He is working through this difficult, private challenge with his family, and we wish them well,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton told the Tribune.

      Other notable bundlers include former registered lobbyist and defense attorney Howard Gutman (2006 Lobbyist of the year):
    • Greg Craig has pledged to raise between $100,000 and $200,000 for Barack Obama, and is a foreign policy adviser to the campaign. He’s a partner in a Washington law firm and is currently defending Pedro Miguel González, a Noriega supporter and the president of Panama’s legislature. González is a fugitive under federal indictment for the murder of U.S. Army Sgt. Zak Hernández Laporte shortly before President George H.W. Bush’s visit to Panama in 1992. Craig was also the personal attorney of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan during the Oil-For-Food corruption scandal, and has also represented would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley.
    • Jodi Evans of the radical anti-war group CODEPINK has pledged to raise $50,000 to $100,000 for Obama. Even by the standards of the radical left, CODEPINK is known as being especially shrill and annoying. The feminist group is known for actively trying to drive military recruiters out of Berkeley, California, and regularly disrupting congressional hearings on the war. Evans is particularly objectionable – she claims that women in Iraq were better off under Saddam and calls the invasion of Iraq “global testosterone poisoning.”
    • Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias has pledged to raise $100,000 for Obama. An early Obama supporter, Giannoulias has hosted fundraisers for Obama and given $7,000 to Obama’s senate campaign since 2003. As a senior loan officer at his family’s Broadway bank in Chicago, it came to light that Giannoulias had loaned millions to Michael Giorango, a convicted bookmaker and prostitution ring promoter. Giannoulias said the loans were approved before he became a full-time bank employee – then the Chicago Tribune reported that Giannoulias personally oversaw $11.8 million in mortgage loans to Giorango in 2005. In his defense, Giannoulias said Broadway Bank “Never Financed Any Casinos. We Never Did Anything Like That.” You can guess where this is headed: “But newly obtained records show that $3.6 million of the recent loans were used by Giorango and another convicted felon to acquire a casino boat marina in Myrtle Beach, S.C.,” reported the Tribune.

    The above sampling of problematic Obama fundraisers alone provides an ample array of stories with which the media could have run with. But it didn’t. However, the honeymoon is over now, and the scrutiny will grow as the pain and misery of millions of Americans grows. And if this attempt to solve massive debt with more borrowing , debt , money-printing , and irresponsible spending fails, the scrutiny may cost Obama and many in Congress re-election. In my opinion, the current debt is near (if not already) untenable, and no nation in history that is so ridiculously deep into debt has ever borrowed , money-printed , or spent its way to prosperity. The are many things that could be done now, but far too few of those things are being done, and not all of those things require a lot more debt , money-printing , and spending.

    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n wrote: “For example, what’s being done to stop these 10 abuses, which would save Americans hundreds of billions per year and save lives too?”
    Is there time for a Constitutional Convention to reinvent the government so that Congressional pork spending and earmarks are not intrinsic to the structure of government, and still prevent a Depression or decade long recession marked by extremely high unemployment?
    No, not now, but there are several other things on that list that should be done now. Why focus that one thing (i.e. the violation of Article V)? Come on, you can do better than that can’t you?

    However, if Congress had not been allowed to violate Article V of the U.S. Constitution, and the most requested BALANCED BUDGET amendment from more than the 34 states required to trigger a Article V Convention, and a BALANCED BUDGET amendment had been ratified, we may not have the gargantuan and crushing debt-problem that we have today.

    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n. said: “# (b) Your article fails to address one very important possiblity: What if the current debt is already untenable?”
    Hey, you know bankrupt is bankrupt. If we are already bankrupt, then no additional harm is done printing some more money to pursue an illusion of hope.
    I actually laughed out loud when I read that response.

    You’re wrong about that. If you debauch the currency, it will make things MUCH worse, because it will destroy everyones’ savings, retirements, entitlements, and wages. It will result in total dysfunction. Surely you don’t disagree with that, do you?

    David R. Remer wrote: But, here’s the thing, there is absolutely NO WAY of knowing at this moment if the current debt is unsustainable. What we do know is that there is a breaking point with national debt and we get closer to it with each trillion added to it.
    David, I think that fact that no one knows means that the debt is already near (if not already) untenable.

    We’ve already been borrowing for 52 consecutive years.
    Also, Congress shows no signs of becoming more fiscally responsible. Congress, who just gave itself another raise (10th in 12 years) and another $93,000 for petty cash and expenses, obviously does not yet “get it”. Not while U.S. troops risk life and limb, go without armor, adequate medical care, promised benefits, and have to do 2, 3, 4+ tours in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.

    David R. Remer wrote: If the FED’s assumptions prove to be valid and true, on our current course of fiscal and monetary initiatives, …
    They obviously don’t know what they are doing. Bernanke didn’t see this coming, and if he did, he lied like hell all along the way. There were many other economists who did see this coming, and they were largely ignored, or called “Dr. Doom” and/or “Chicken Little”.
    David R. Remer wrote: If the FED’s assumptions prove to be valid and true, on our current course of fiscal and monetary initiatives, this Recession should abate the latter half of this year, with unemployment beginning to drop some 6 to 12 months after that.
    Many of Bernanke’s predictions have already failed to come true. So, faith in his predictions is probably misplaced.
    David R. Remer wrote: With that potential MORE likely than China calling in our debt over the next year or so, it seems prudent to continue on this course to me.
    The threat of China calling in existing debt is not a concern. Whether they will loan the U.S. more money is, if the government wants to borrow more money to continue their rampant spending spree (instead of stopping several costly abuses and cutting all wasteful federal spending to fund more responsible spending).
    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n asked: “How can so much massive debt , borrowing , money-printing , and spending NOT cause inflation (and possibly hyperinflation).”
    Only the interest on borrowing is inflationary, in that it reduces available discretionary cash having the net effect of putting prices further out of reach. Printing money to be borrowed is inflationary. We are doing both. No question.
    Not true. Borrowing can be inflationary too, when more and more borrowing is the mechanism in which the interest on the debt is serviced. The economy doesn’t know if a dollar is borrowed or printed out of thin air. The size of the money supply is not controlled merely by creating new money from thin air. The only reason inflation isn’t much worse is because most U.S. Dollars in the U.S. already exists as debt, keeping the spendable money supply low. Also, the federal government and the Federal Reserve are under-reporting inflation (and other economic statistics: www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data). We have not had year-to-year deflation in this nation for 52 consecutive years, and the claims of deflation are false. Inflation for year 2008 averaged 3.85%. But eventually, the tens of trillions in new money will eventually lead to more inflation, and when it does, it may be impossible to control. This situation is not without precedent. Many other nations ridiculously deep into debt have already tried to borrow , money-print , and spend their way to prosperity, and it didn’t work. So why should we now believe we are somehow immune to hyperinflation?
    David R. Remer wrote: But, there is no current inflation to be dealt with.
    Not true.

    One might say inflation has decreased, but until it is negative, we still have inflation (not deflation).
    We have had positive inflation for 52 consecutive years (including last year).
    The government’s inflation numbers (if you believe them) for DEC-2008 (.09%) and JAN-2009 (0.03%) were both still positive, and year-to-year inflation for several years has been increasing (see below). If inflation is really that low, that’s a good thing. Yet everyone seems to think it is terrible?

    Year-to-year inflation has been rising since year 2002 and reached 3.85% for last year, 2008:

    • ____INFLATION RATE_____

    • 4.00%|———————-

    • 3.75%|——————xxx 3.85% average for year 2008)

    • 3.50%|——————x— (2008 __ 3.85%)

    • 3.25%|————xxx-x— (2007 __ 2.85%)

    • 3.00%|————x-xxx— (2006 __ 3.24%)

    • 2.75%|——xxx-x——— (2005 __ 3.39%)

    • 2.50%|——x-xxx——— (2004 __ 2.68%)

    • 2.25%|—xxx————— (2003 __ 2.27%)

    • 2.00%|—x—————— (2002 __ 1.59%)

    • 1.70%|—x——————

    • 1.50%|xxx——————

    • 1.25%|__________________YEAR

    • _____ 2_2_2_2_2_2_2

    • _____ 0_0_0_0_0_0_0

    • _____ 0_0_0_0_0_0_0

    • _____ 2_3_4_5_6_7_8

    Also, the federal government’s and Federal Reserve’s inflation numbers are also not credible, because they’ve messed with the calculations of the tens of thousands of CPI items by lowering the CPI weightings for items increasing in price and raising the CPI weightings for items falling in price. They changed the calculations twice in year 1983 and 1998 such that it lowered the official inflation numbers. Therefore, based on pre-1983 and pre-1998 calculations, inflation is much higher than what is being reported.

    David R. Remer wrote: There is a recession and unemployment to be dealt with.
    Of course. But we need smarter spending and several abuses addressed. Not more irresponsible borrowing , money-printing , and spending.
    David R. Remer wrote: Let’s deal with the recession and unemployment, and then, as the inflationary price of having done so begins to exert itself, deal with that inflation with a working population and economy capable of tightening its belt a bit while remaining employed and productive.
    Yes, but how is the question.

    There are many things that can be done OTHER than more irresponsible borrowing , money-printing , and spending. No nation so deep into debt has ever successfully borrowed , money-printed , and spent its way to prosperity.

    David R. Remer wrote: If we were not facing a dangerous recession, I would advocate for taking preventive measures to avoid inflation by reining in the money supply.
    How?

    How, when the federal debt and nation-wide debt is so huge, and 90%-to-95% of all U.S. Dollars in existence in the U.S. already exists as debt?
    How, when so many Americans are already tapped out?
    How, when 80% of the population owns only 17% of all wealth, and the wealthiest 1% owns 40% of all wealth?
    There are many solutions, but few are being pursued.

    David R. Remer wrote: But, that just isn’t the hand we have to play. And we have to play the cards we have dealt ourselves or quit playing altogether and capitulate to helplessness and losing.
    No. There are many things that can be done. Disagreement on HOW does not equate to “quit playing altogether and capitulate to helplessness and losing”.

    The federal government could do MANY things to help the majority of Americans, but they aren’t doing those things. Congress is doing little (if anything) to:

    • (01) Stop these 10 abuses now.

    • (02) Stop the dishonest, usurious, predatory, lending practices of the banks, or Stop the Federal Reserve’s Ponzi-scheme which steeply leverages debt-to-reserves (i.e. 9-to-1 fractional lending). Banks are essentially loan-sharking, jacking up adjustable rate mortgages (foreclosures be damned) with ridiculously high interest rates (commonly up to 10%-to-20% and as high as 64%) and other predetory lending practices. Banks are also preying on the young, poor, minorities, financially naive, and people deep in debt due to outrageously expensive medical fees.

    • (03) Stop growing and eliminate all of the massive bloat and waste in the federal government now. We don’t need all of this bloat: www.akdart.com/gov1.html

    • (04) Stop the war in Iraq;

    • (05) Stop or reduce our involvment the war in Afghanistan too perhaps? Insist that other nations help or suffer the consequences of refusing to help in Afghanistan. The terrorists are now mostly in northern Pakistan. Is the presence in Afghanistan working? Will it turn into an other quagmire?

    • (06) Stop the U.S. military presence in 132 nations around the world. That costs a LOT! Is all of that necessary? No. Reduce that presence significantly (if not totally), without becoming excessively protectionist.

    • (07) Stop throwing money, subsidies, tax breaks, and welfare at failing banks, financial corporations, the wealthy, and Wall Street; stop rewarding failure;

    • (08) Stop rampant corruption by increasing and enforcing more transparency and accountability;

    • (09) Stop Constitutional violations; reduce lawlessness; enforce existing laws (e.g. Article V); stop illegal immigration and $70-to-$327 Billion in annual net losses due to illegal immigration;

    • (10) Stop plundering Social Security surpluses; $12.8 Trillion has been borrowed and spent, leaving Social Security pay-as-you-go, with 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching;

    • (11) Stop regressive taxation: One-Simple-Idea.com/DisparityTrend.htm#Taxes

    • (12) Stop killing 195,000 per year due to preventable medical mistakes. Between 1999 and 2004, over 1.5 million people were killed by preventable medical mistakes. That is more than all the American soldiers killed in the American Revolution (4,435), the War of 1812 (2,260), the Indian Wars (1,000), the Mexican War (1,733), the Civil War (462,000), the Spanish American War (385), WWI (53,402), WWII (291,557), Vietnam War (58,209), Korean War (36,574), the Iraq Gulf War (529), and the current Iraq war 19-Mar-2003-to-24-Jan-2009 (4,232), combined! Create a non-profit national health insurance system (get rid of the millions of unnecessary middlemen); build non-profit hospitals and clinics.

    • (13) Stop Congress from rewarding itself with a raise almost every year (Congress recently gave itself the 10th raise in 12 years; the raises are actually automitic and a BILL is required to stop the automatic raise; must be nice, eh?). Is that necessary? No. What arrogance! ? ! Especially when U.S. Troops go without armor, adequate medical care, promised benefits, and have to do 2, 3, or 4+ tours in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.

    • (14) Stop pandering politicians who are virtually are FOR-SALE. Allow only equal public financing of elections. Otherwise, politicians will continue to sell-out most Americans!

    • (15) Stop pork-barrel; pass a ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL amendment;

    • (16) Stop career politicians and judges; pass TERM LIMITS for all offices;

    • (17) Stop the unfair incumbent advantages: One-Simple-Idea.com/FAQ.htm#UnfairAdvantages

    • (18) Stop the deterioration of public education; eliminate the bloated, over-paid, and incompetent adminstrative staff; More education solutions: One-Simple-Idea.com/Education.htm

    • (19) Stop repeatedly rewarding irresponsible, FOR-SALE, incompetent, and/or corrupt incumbent politicians with 85%-to-90% re-election rates. Stop rewarding corruption, or suffer the painful consequences: One-Simple-Idea.com/NeverWorse.htm

    • (20) Stop all unnecessary and wasteful spending. Do as Obama recommended; go through the budget with a fine-tooth comb. Shift unnecessary spending to spending that doesn’t result in net losses. Work on making the U.S. more energy independent. Work in the most important infrastructure projects. Work on more efficient transportation. Develop a non-profit health insurance system amd possibly more non-profit hospitals, clinics, and healthcare centers.

    • (21) If the federal government is going to spend money to create jobs, how about focusing on one of the nation’s most severe vulnerabilities, and create jobs to research, develop, and implement better and more renewable energy resources and rebuild and improve the nation’s infrastructure (which will create long-term savings and benefits);

    • (22) More Solutions: One-Simple-Idea.com/Solutions1.htm

    David R. Remer wrote: In blackjack, if I am dealt 2 8’s and the dealer is dealt a King, it would be foolish to fold without splitting the 8’s and doubling down. Giving up before all the cards are dealt is not maximizing the potential for coming out ahead. Yes, there is a risk to doubling down and splitting a pair of 8’s. But, tossing in eliminates any chance of winning altogether.
    Again, that’s weak, because no one is saying that nothing should be done, or that we should “quit playing altogether and capitulate to helplessness and losing”.
    David R. Remer wrote: There is sound strategy to game theory, and whether or not we choose to see it as such, life at the micro and macro levels is a sort of game with all the inherent components of games. Maximizing our potential for coming out ahead in the long run, taking rational favorable odds based risks, and the inevitable losses in stride as part and parcel of winning overall, is the game.
    In my opinion, the federal government is not even coming close to what it should be doing now. There are MANY things that could be done, but aren’t. Not yet. Not until failing to do so finally becomes too painful. And many of those things don’t require a lot more borrowing , debt , money-printing , and spending.
    David R. Remer wrote: Let’s deal with the Recession while there is no significant inflation, and having put the Recession behind us, then deal with the inflation as an employed nation. There is an order to this which is pretty hard to miss.
    Yes, there is an order to solving this economic crisis, but not only is that not happening, it’s being made worse. That’s not hard to miss.
    David R. Remer wrote: Avoiding deficits now, and morphing this recession into a protracted depression is not a net solution aimed at optimizing quality of life for Americans.
    Not true. When debt is the problem, making it bigger is insane.

    We need more responsible spending now.
    Instead, the severely bloated and wasteful federal government and Congress seems to think it is Christmas (see pork-barrel above).
    Congress thought it was a good time to give itself its 10th raise in 12 years, and $93,000 per Congress person for petty cash and expenses.
    Also, what needs to be done soon requires more than simply spending.
    All waste needs to be eliminated to fund smarter spending.
    And we can’t all work for the government.
    We can’t all wash each others’ laundry.

    David R. Remer wrote: Obama has two choices.
    Not true. There’s another route, and is probably the best route.

    But I guess that route is too hard and we should simply give up on it, eh?

    David R. Remer wrote: Capitulate and let the nation’s economy fall into ruin, and future generations inherit a third world economy attempting to resurrect itself from the ashes, …
    Why do you insist on that being the ONLY other choice?
    David R. Remer wrote: … or, borrow from the future potential revenues to salvage the economy and put it on a sounder course of sustainability going forward for future generations.
    How, if the debt is already untenable?

    Why is more debt the only solution?
    How about smarter spending?
    How about cutting all wasteful spending?
    How about stopping the 10 major abuses hammering most Americans?
    How about stop importing 1.5 Million foreign H-1B visa workers per year?
    How about working harder on energy independence?
    How about enforcing existing laws to stop the net losses of $70-to-$327 Billion per year due to illegal immigration?
    Do we need all of this? www.akdart.com/gov1.html
    How about Congress giving back their &~@#!^g raises? That alone leads me to think Congress doesn’t “get it”.

    David R. Remer wrote: Obama can let the economy fail for future generations to build from scratch. Or, he can borrow from the future in the attempt to pass on to future generations a viable sustainable economy which offers them employment, education, middle class living standards, and domestic peace as opportunities to be enjoyed.
    Or, he could stop the federal government from growing ever larger, cut all waste, stop growing the debt larger (because debt is a job killer too), and stop 10 major abuses.

    Instead, what did we get? We got a 2009 budget that was $1.7 Trillion over the $2.4 Trillion estimated in revenues.

    We are being crushed by debt, yet (as any junkie does) want more of the same?

    David R. Remer wrote: You simply cannot make a rational argument that Obama is responsible for the crises our nation now faces.
    As a member of Congress, he was complicit, but certainly not solely responsible.

    But if the current plan (which appears to be to try to borrow , money-print , and spend our way to prosperity) fails, it will be largely his fault, along with Congress.

    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 1, 2009 06:47 PM
    Comment #276502

    But d.a.n, David, like Schumer, doesn’t mind a little pork!! Man, you made my eyes twitch on that last post.

    Otherwise - -

    Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 1, 2009 07:14 PM
    Comment #276504

    Roy, stating a fact of reality does not even imply that the stater favors that reality in any way. Might want to check the logic rules of language and debate before making such unfounded projections.

    I mind. I mind my daughter being raised in a depression era America a lot more. Which was a point I believe was amply made clear, even for your commentary.

    By your rules of inference, I would be safe in saying you hate this country and its Constitution which gave birth to the times you now live in. Very, very faulty logic, as I think I have adequately demonstrated here.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 1, 2009 08:01 PM
    Comment #276505

    d.a.n said: ““wait and see” ?

    Yes, Dan. Do I have any other choice? Do you? No, unless you are planning a one man overthrow of the government and inserting yourself as the new American dictator.

    We will wait and see whether Obama lives up to his campaign assurance on this topic. He has a very good record so far.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 1, 2009 08:06 PM
    Comment #276506

    d.a.n said: “Or, he could stop the federal government from growing ever larger, cut all waste, stop growing the debt larger (because debt is a job killer too), and stop 10 major abuses. “

    Which would send this nation plunging into a depression. Is your perspective so supportive of the Hoover doctrine that it will not permit acknowledging the consequence of holding the line on debt growth in this year’s budget?

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 1, 2009 08:10 PM
    Comment #276518
    David R. Remer wrote: Which would send this nation plunging into a depression. Is your perspective so supportive of the Hoover doctrine that it will not permit acknowledging the consequence of holding the line on debt growth in this year’s budget?
    Pure nonsense.

    You are so convinced that more borrowing, debt, money printing, and spending is the solution, nothing and no one can budge you from it, no matter how disturbing the math is in reality.

    We will see.

    You keep tellin’ us we’ll be eatin’ crow.

    Are you so sure of it?

    How much would you wager on it?

    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 1, 2009 09:55 PM
    Comment #276519

    D.A.N.

    Quality vs
    quantity.

    Until such a time as you trouble yourself to get a handle on New Keynesian economic responses to market failure and recession, your post are counter productive. Problem is it matters. The gratuitous ignorance affected by yourself and others weakens our vital response to the current crises.
    You should note that the proposed BHO budget cuts the deficit to one third in ten years. Its a much more transparent and responsible budget than anything GWB submitted and bodes well for the future. The next trick is to get it through congress.

    Posted by: bills at March 1, 2009 10:03 PM
    Comment #276521

    David, are you saying that we should just tolerate ‘a little’ pork in the bad times? What about all the good times? Seems the pork’ers don’t pay much attention to the times, good or bad.
    Bills, because some educated so-called genius or expert writes a book as to why we should bail out AIG, $.42/share, doesn’t mean we should fall all over ourselves laying out the palm froughs (sic). What manner of fool would we be if we followed the path recommended by every dude that managed to get a book published? What about Rubin, Summars and Greenspan who said ‘yep, we are going over the cliff’ but did nothing in their ivory towers to slow the tram. I didn’t see them dragging on Bush’s pants leg to stop the spending. I think history may teach those guy’s a thing or two. I doubt if another world war will come to pull us out of a depression this time around.
    Obama’s deficit reduction plan is based on assumptions, farcical IMO. But, it does sound good.

    Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

    Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 1, 2009 10:45 PM
    Comment #276525

    Roy said: “David, are you saying that we should just tolerate ‘a little’ pork in the bad times?”

    No, Roy, that is not what I said. To say that would mean we have a choice in the matter, and we don’t. The next elections aren’t until 2010.

    I did say that some pork will appear in ANY spending bill according to someone, because one person’s pork is another person’s necessity, and we have Congressional representatives representing the wishes/needs of the vocal section of more than 300 million people. Compromise to achieve consensus amongst those representatives will result in their crafting a budget, and in that budget, will be spending that someone or many in this country will declare is pork.

    I went to some length to point out to you this reality of the structural aspect of our Congressional budgeting process. Why does it appear to be beyond comment’s comprehension.

    Stating a fact of reality, in NO WAY implies tolerance for it, and tolerance implies that one has a productive choice to be intolerant. Well, in 2010, we will have a productive choice to reflect intolerance, but, until then, we do not. It is what it is. And there can never be a budget to come out of Congress that some will not say is laden with pork spending. As I said, one person’s pork is another person’s livlihood and necessity.

    Logically, one cannot, given the structure of our Congress, even envision a budget that some citizens will not declare is ridden with pork spending. Doesn’t at all mean you, or I, or the next person must be tolerant of pork spending. But, pork spending is in the eye of the beholder when 300 million plus people’s wishes for budget spending are either met or, unmet while other’s are met.

    You seem to be asserting your definition of what pork is, against a backdrop of a host of others with differing definitions. Hence, passing a budget without pork spending according to some tax payers is a logical impossibility. And because it is a logical impossibility, it renders the term ‘pork’ spending as a general reference absent of any specific meaning.

    Now, if one follows the prescription I referred to previously; does this or that spending comport with the x or y objectives supported by a plurality of the citizens, then, you have an operational definition of pork spending that has some meaning.

    But even an operational and empirically testable definition for pork spending doesn’t mean it is possible to pass a pork free budget, because some percentage of citizens will never agree with x or y objectives referred to above as justifiable and non-pork. But, the x or y measuring stick does provide a meaningful definition of pork spending and a relative way of measuring how laden a budget bill is with ‘pork’ spending.

    People speak of pork spending as if it has some simple universal definition. Obviously, it doesn’t have that attribute at all. Which is and will continue to be my point when folks bandy about the term. An operational definition defined by a plurality of citizens or Congress persons, at a particular point in time against a context of perceived needs and necessities as opposed to a minority’s opposing needs and defined necessities, is the only valid, and transitory, definition of pork spending that bears any logical and rational definition.

    In politics, such a logical and rational definition is not employed nearly as often as it should be, which could give such debates over pork spending some useful outcome and purpose. Otherwise, bashing this or that spending or persons for pork spending is nothing more than a political name calling exercise between rivals competing for the same budgetary spending dollar preferences.

    For many Republicans, anything in the budget that isn’t a tax cut or military spending is pork spending. This is hardly a rational or operationally useful definition at this particular junction in time and historical context, is it? And that shoe can be put on the other foot for Democrats for more useless political debate over so called pork spending.

    Obama defined a objectives for current spending. To the extent that a majority of the citizenry accept and support those objectives, and to the extent that budgetary items meet or fail to meet the promotion of those objectives, an logical and operationally useful definition of pork can be obtained. Does this or that spending, 1) mitigate the recession, 2) function to reverse the increases in unemployment, 3) invest in future economic stabilization and productivity, and 4) maintain the security needs of the nation?

    Whether or not one agrees with those objectives, they nonetheless offer up a useful definition of what is and isn’t pork spending, IF those objectives are accepted and supported by the majority that elected Obama, or some other majority of the citizenry.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 12:05 AM
    Comment #276526

    d.a.n, if you truly believe that frozen credit and rising unemployment would not result in deepening the recession, we will just have to agree to disagree.

    By your rationale, the spending by the government in WWII which employed men in the military and women in the factories, and stimulated economic activity for a large number of businesses, was not the reason the Great Depression ended. I am hard pressed to understand such a position. But, whatever floats your boat.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 12:13 AM
    Comment #276527

    d.a.n said: “But if the current plan (which appears to be to try to borrow , money-print , and spend our way to prosperity) fails, it will be largely his fault, along with Congress.”

    Absolutely a true and logical statement, whose reverse is also true and logical. If the current plan does succeed in ending the recession, and increasing government revenues while reestablishing a broad employed middle class, and a halt to deficit spending in turn becomes reachable and expected by the majority of the people, then Obama was right to deficit spend in his first term of office, and deficit spending can lead to greater prosperity than not deficit spending, in circumstances such as these.

    In the same way that a person with limited options due to debt load can borrow to stay off non-payment of creditors for a time, until their income increases to make their debt more manageable and subject to being paid down, all without having to file bankruptcy and defaulting on their obligation and responsibility to pay their debts.

    Many Americans have done just this. Our nation did precisely this during the 1930’s, 40’s and into the more prosperous and productive 1950’s.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 12:28 AM
    Comment #276534

    “Pork barrel is infrastructure,spelled backwards.”—Tip O’Neal

    Its congresses job to spend money. The alternative is for all the power of the purse to fall to the executive branch. That was not what the founders planned nor would it be the most effective method of doing so.

    Posted by: bills at March 2, 2009 07:02 AM
    Comment #276536

    Loyal Opposition,
    In the Debate of Critical Thinking being so last year I do believe you risk falling into the No-Nothing Party of the 21st Century.

    For why we could debate until the cows come home on why or why not Americas’ Elected Officials rejected the Regan Policies of Trickledown Economics which would have lead to the Top 20% of Society being broke and homeless (run the numbers if the average house falls below $100,000.00).

    Having grown up learning from the Know-Nothing Party of the Mid-1800’s I do believe that David and you would be better off debating how “We the People” can use the Power of the Federal Government to replace the railroad tracks with high speed rail, building a state of the art communication system, and basically replacing or updating every System of the 20th Century. For given the choice between selecting the ultimate outcome of Reganomics (Race to the Bottom) or investing in a Societal Model which will let your grandchildren invest in becoming Self-Sufficient. For where would America be today if the Federal Government and American Barons of the 19th and 20th Century never invested in “We the People?”

    Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 2, 2009 09:09 AM
    Comment #276538

    I don’t think Macroeconomics has much of anything to do with personal debt. It’s a bad analogy.

    I think it is a bit premature to say Obama is a great or terrible president.

    To be sure, he was better than the other choice, based simply on common sense.

    Posted by: gergle at March 2, 2009 09:26 AM
    Comment #276541
    David R. Remer wrote:
  • d.a.n said: “wait and see” ?
  • Yes, Dan. Do I have any other choice?

    That was in referrence to …

    David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, as for the Congressional Democrats, I want to wait and see what unfolds. If Cong. Dem’s insist on porking up debt for future generations with no other justification than they are the majority party, I expect Obama to hold true to his campaign assurance to fight those Cong. Dem.s on that issue with the power of his veto.

    In which I responded …

    “wait and see” ?

    “IF” ?

    Pork-barrel has already been rampant, and still is now.
    And the 2009 budget is full of it too.
    But you dodged that with the following …

    David R. Remer wrote:
    Do you? No, unless you are planning a one man overthrow of the government and inserting yourself as the new American dictator.

    HHHHHMMmmmmmm … yet another sure sign of a failing argument.

    David R. Remer wrote: We will wait and see whether Obama lives up to his campaign assurance on this topic. He has a very good record so far.
    Good record?

    With so much pork-barrel?
    With another amnesty BILL approaching?
    With a $1.7 Trillion deficit for 2009?
    And I dread to see what happens with illegal immigration.

    But Obama has done 2 good things.
    (1) One good thing (in my opinion) Obama did is plan to leave Iraq.
    However, he may undo that if Afghanistan becomes the next quagmire. That’s a problem made worse by the fact that many of the terrorists are in Pakistan.
    (2) The second good thing, if done correctly, is to cut-out the unnecessary middlemen (health insurance companies) and create a non-profit national health-insurance system. However, if 12-to-20+ Million illegal aliens are able to continue to game the system, it will most likely fail miserably.

    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n said: “Or, he could stop the federal government from growing ever larger, cut all waste, stop growing the debt larger (because debt is a job killer too), and stop 10 major abuses. “
    Which would send this nation plunging into a depression.
    You don’t know that.

    You don’t have a crystal ball do you?
    You chastised me repeatedly for such definite predictions.

    • (1) First of all, a depression may occur anyway.

    • (2) Second, the federal government already receives $2.4 Trillion per year in revenues and it needs to spend that money more carefully, instead of simply spending more.

    • (3) There is massive waste and bloat in the federal government, which provides NO net benefit, and that needs to stop. We don’t need all of bloat and waste.

    • (4) There are many other things that can be done that don’t require a lot more borrowing , debt , money-printing , and spending (such as stopping these abuses).

    • (5) You seem to think the debt can be grown larger. What if you are wrong, and it results in hyperinflation, which makes everything much worse? This has already been tried before by dozens of other nations, and it didn’t work then either (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation#Examples_of_hyperinflation). So what makes you think it will work now? It simply is not possible to create capital and wealth by creating so much new money out of thin air. Especially when so much of it is used to grow the severely bloated federal government ever larger.

    David R. Remer wrote: Is your perspective so supportive of the Hoover doctrine that it will not permit acknowledging the consequence of holding the line on debt growth in this year’s budget?
    I don’t subscribe to Hoover’s doctrine.

    However, I also do not subscibe to the doctrine that massive debt can be solved by more borrowing , debt , money-printing , and irresponsible spending.

    Also, today is MUCH different than the Great Depression or after World War II, because:

      (01) The total federal debt today is MUCH larger today per-capita and relative to GDP.
    • (02) There was no Social Security or Medicare to help older Americans. However, if hyperinflation now results, those entitlements, savings, retirements, and wages will be destroyed.

    • (03) Taxes were much smaller in the Great Depression. Today, people are taxed every which way: One-Simple-Idea.com/Taxes1.htm

    • (04) Unfair trade and illegal immigration are worse today. Illegal immigraiton is costing Americans an estimated $70-to-$327 Billion per year in net losses. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has already introduced an immigration bill (S. 9) to be used as his vehicle for a sweeping Illegal Alien Amnesty. The amnesty of 1986 quintupled the problem, and another amnesty will most likely make the problem worse too (again). Importing by the millions of the less educated, less skilled, more diseased, and more impoverished is not helping the nation (except for those wanting votes and cheap labor). The federal government appears determined to continue to despicably pit Americans and illegal aliens against each other for votes and profits disguised as compassion.

    • (05) We have two wars ongoing today.

    • (06) We have more regressive taxation today: One-Simple-Idea.com/Abuses.htm#Taxes

    • (07) We have more nation-wide debt today. The $67 Trillion nation-wide debt has increased from less than 100% of GDP to over 483% of GDP today. The total nation-wide debt per-capita ($220,000 per person) is MUCH larger today than in the Great Depression.

    • (08) 90%-to-95% of all U.S. Dollars in existence today in the the U.S. exist as debt.

    • (09) We have more global competition today.

    • (10) We have a deterioated manufacturing base today. Germany ($1.1 Trillion) and China ($1.3 Trillion) each (separately) have more exports than the U.S.

    • (11) There’s a $62 Trillion Credit-Default-Swap/Derivatives bubble looming.

    • (12) The $10.9 Trillion National Debt today is 64% higher per-capita than the previous record-high in year 1945 after World War II, and that does not even include the $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching. The total federal debt of $23.7 Trillion ($10.9 + $12.8 Trillion) is the largest federal debt ever in (a)size, (b)per-capita, and (c)as a percentage of GDP!

    • (13) When times are bad, a larger population (double that of the Great Depression) is not necessarily a good thing. Today (as of FEB 2009), unemployment is 7.6% with 11.5-to-25 Million unemployed, which is now equal or larger than the number of unemployed in the Great Depresssion.

    • (14) Many things are much worse today than in the Great Depression. Therefore, we can’t afford any more half-ass solutions, pork-barrel, waste, fraud, debt, rampant money-printing and irresponsible spending.

    • (15) We have had 52 consecutive years of incessant inflation, which helped grow the nation-wide debt bubble ever larger.

    • (16) The Federal Reserve is a dishonest, usurious, predatory, inflationary Ponzi-scheme, creating new money as debt at a steep leveraging ratio of 9-to-1 (i.e. banks are only required to have 10% in reserves, which obviously isn’t enough to weather a significant economic down-turn). It was a large contributing factor to the Great Depression and it is a large contributing cause of the current economic crisis and the massive $67 Trillion nation-wide debt-bubble. The problem with the Federal Reserve is similar to playing the game of Monopoly, in which one player can print all of the money they want. Before long, that one player owns everything, and all other players are broke or deep into debt.

    • (17) Over $11 Trillion U.S. Dollars are foreign owned. Inflation could motivate the spending and dumping of those U.S. Dollars (i.e. a run on the U.S. Dollar)

    • (18) The severely bloated federal government is MUCH larger today than in the Great Depression. Much of what it does is a net loss.

    • (19) GDP ($13.86 Trillion in year 2007 in 2007 U.S. Dollars), in inflation-adjusted 2005 and 1950 U.S. Dollars has been falling between year JAN-2007 and FEB-2009, and the decline has never been larger since year 1900 (if ever). During the period there has also been record level deficit spending by the federal government.

    • (20) The U.S. Dollar has already been falling significantly for years againast many major international currencies.

    • (21) The bail-out mania is only delaying the inevitable for many banks. The Federal Reserve will not disclose a full accounting of (www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-113008-fi-pricetag-g,0,5292528.graphic) 3.2-to-$8.5 Trillion in bail-outs and hand-outs for banks and Wall Street. Some of the money was used for parties, vacations, bonuses and exorbitant salaries to executive manamgent who were largerly responsible for wide-spread mismanagement that created this economic mess. Some of the money was used by some banks to buy other banks. It must be nice to be able to create new money out of thin air at a ratio of 9-to-1 of debt-to-reserves, and then receive interest by loaning it out. Cha-Ching!

    • (22) The economy today is 70% domestic consumer driven. Most Americans are tapped-out and in-debt. That’s a death nail for an economy that is 70% consumer driven. Money is created as debt (at a 9-to-1 ratio of debt-to-reserves) and 90%-to-95% of all U.S. Dollars in the U.S. exist as debt. How can the money-supply increase if most people can not borrow any more? It isn’t only a credit crisis. It’s a debt crisis. So how is growing the debt larger going to help? Recognizing that dilema, the federal government, the Federal Reserve, and Helicopter Ben Bernanke are now making plans to create and/or borrow money and then give it away. However, that will most likely create more inflation (which we’ve already had for 52 consecutive years), which will devalue all money that already exists, wages, pensions, savings, and entitlements.

    • (23) As in the Great Depression, the wealth disparity gap today has never been larger since the Great Depression. 80% of Americans own only 17% of all wealth, the wealthiest 1% owns 40% of all wealth, and 40% of Americans have essentially (on average) ZERO new worth.

    • (24) As a result of so much debt and a widening wealth disparity gap, a massive liquidation is already in progress. Foreign owned assets in the U.S. has quadrupled from about $6 Trillion in year 1997 to $22 Trillion in year 2007. Why? Because Americans are selling off assets to pay their massive debts, and also because our manufacturing base has deteriorated for decades.

    • (25) We have more massive trade imbalances today than in the Great Depression. Massive imports (versus exports) have created a steady flow of wealth out of the U.S., and millions of jobs have left the country. The federal government even gives tax breaks and subsidies to some corporations who move jobs out of the U.S. Unfair trade deals have created numerous abuses. Since Congress is FOR-SALE, it is unlikely this pattern will end any time soon. Greed and profits drive corporations to move operations out of the U.S. and when wages in those foreign nations rise too high, the corporations go somewhere else, ensuring a source of cheap labor should they return later. Also, since environmental and labor laws are weaker and/or non-existent in many nations, corporations can commit abuses, pollute, and avoid costs and laws prohibiting such abuses. It’s a race to the bottom. While it may be difficult to stop all of these manifestations of unchecked greed, the federal government should not be rewarding corporations for such abuses. But then, Congress also shouldn’t be rewarding itself for it either with 10 raises in 12 years. Since Congress is FOR-SALE, and voters repeatedly reward incumbent politicians in Congress with 85%-to-90% re-election rates, it is very unlikely Congress will stop this or a number of abuses.

    • (26) Re-election rates for Congress are higher today than in the Great Depression (One-Simple-Idea.com/CongressMakeUp_1855_2011.htm). Thus, the status quo persists. 86.9% of Congress was rewarded with re-election on 4-NOV-2008. And Congress just gave itself its 10th raise in 12 years and $93,000 for petty cash and expenses. Congress doesn’t “get it”.

    • (27) The debt today may be near (if not already) untenable. That fact that no one seems to know may be all the proof we need that it is untenable.

    So, the analogies are inadequate. Especially if the debt is untenable. If it is untenable, any more debt above the limit will fail, and risk more bankruptcies and economic instability, and possibly hyperinflation.

    bills wrote: D.A.N. Quality vs quantity. Until such a time as you trouble yourself to get a handle on New Keynesian economic responses to market failure and recession, your post are counter productive.
    It may only appear counter productive to ignorant imbeciles who think they understand New Keynesian Economics.

    So what is basis of the New Keynesian Economic system? Since when did any nation so ridiculously deep into debt ever borrow , money-print , and spend its way to prosperity? So you believe as Helicopter Ben Bernanke does, that we can simply create massive amounts of new money out of thin air and then give it away, if necessary? You seriously think that can work, without causing more inflation or hyperinflation?

    Those New Keynesian Economics are really workin’ out wonderfully now aren’t they?
    Perhaps you can explain how New Keynesian Economics will solve massive debt by more massive borrowing, debt , money-printing , and irresponsible spendind?
    Perhaps you can explain what dozens of other nations did wrong that caused hyperinflation?
    Perhaps you can explain how New Keynesian Economics will solve a massive debt bubble by making it larger ?
    Perhaps you can explain how New Keynesian Economics will grow the government ever larger?

    bills wrote: Problem is it matters. The gratuitous ignorance affected by yourself and others weakens our vital response to the current crises.
    What is ignorant is the belief that a massive debt-bubble can be solved by more massive borrowing , debt , creating money out of thin air , irresponsible spending, and growing the severely bloated and wasteful federal government ever larger.

    What is ignorant is ignoring the massive pork-barrel, waste, and growing the nanny-state ever larger, with citizens increasingly dependent on the government; with massive cradle-to-grave government programs (which are usually severely mismanaged) that nuture a sense of entitlement and dependency on government; rewards failure and laziness; and perpetuates the myth that we can somehow all live at the expense of everyone else.

    bills wrote: You should note that the proposed BHO budget cuts the deficit to one third in ten years.
    Ten years?

    It “cuts the deficit to one third”?

    I’ll believe it when I see it. Even if that happened, it’s nothing to brag about.
    The scheduled deficit for 2009 is $1.7 Trillion (above the estimated $2.4 Trillion in revenues).
    Assuming it doesn’t grow larger, cutting that by one third would mean that the deficit is reduced to $1.13 Trillion.
    And believing that cutting the $1.7 Trillion deficit for 2009 to $567 Billion by 2019 is isn’t a supreme example of ignorance?
    And where is that money going to come from, when it doesn’t already exist?
    So, believing that much money can be created out of thin air without creating more inflation, economic instability, and possibly hyperinflation, isn’t ignorance?

    bills wrote: Its a much more transparent and responsible budget than anything GWB submitted …
    GWB did an extremely bad job.

    You are making a very bad assumption if you think I’m defending GWB’s massive fiscal irresponsibility.
    What is truly the epitome of ignorance is now believing that Congress has turned over a new leaf, that the Stimulus BILL isn’t loaed up with pork-barrel, and that the 2009 Budget is fiscally responsible. It’s funny how pork-barrel and waste is now Stimulus when authored by the 111th Congress.

    bills wrote: Its a much more transparent and responsible budget than anything GWB submitted and bodes well for the future.
    Transparent? Yeah boy … Especially to Congress who votes on BILLs without even reading them.

    Bodes well for the future?
    Only in another universe where principles of finance, math, and the laws of the universe can turn more massive borrowing , debt , money-printing , and irresponsible spending into prosperity.

    bills wrote: “Pork barrel is infrastructure, spelled backwards.”—Tip O’Neal
    Funny how pork-barrel is OK when its from the 111th Congress.
    bills wrote: Its congresses [Congress’] job to spend money.
    False.

    It is both Congress’ and the Executive Branch’s job to spend money. Both effectively also have veto power too, and the ability to override a veto.

    bills wrote: The alternative is for all the power of the purse to fall to the executive branch.
    No. Such a Simpleton solution is not the only solution.

    Besides, what’s your point?
    That Congress isn’t spending irresponsibly?
    That pork-barrel is irresponsible spending?
    So, the solution to the nation’s massive debt problem is more pork-barrel?

    bills wrote: That was not what the founders planned nor would it be the most effective method of doing so.
    No one here ever said the executive branch alone should do the spending, and this line of reasoning is yet another obfuscation to justify pork-barrel spending. I’ve never seen so many people that used to criticize pork-barrel now embrace it when it is THEIR party doing most of it.
    David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, if you truly believe that frozen credit and rising unemployment would not result in deepening the recession, we will just have to agree to disagree.
    I don’t disagree with that at all.

    I disagree that the solution is to solve a massive debt problem is more massive borrowing , debt , money-printing , and irresponsible spending.

    The government needs to use the $2.4 Trillion it receives annually much better, and one of the most obvious goals it should work toward is more energy independence; a national health insurance system that cuts out the unnecessary (and costly) middlemen (i.e. insurance companies); enforce existing laws that are being ignored and costing Americans tens-to-hundreds of billions per year in net losses; stop rewarding corporations for selling out Americans; make the regressive tax system fair; and stop a number of other abuses that have been hammering most Amerians for decades.

    David R. Remer wrote: By your rationale, the spending by the government in WWII which employed men in the military and women in the factories, and stimulated economic activity for a large number of businesses, was not the reason the Great Depression ended. I am hard pressed to understand such a position. But, whatever floats your boat.
    Not true. That is a gross mischaracterization of my position of what type of spending that government should be doing.

    Also, that statement also fails to recognize that many things then and now are MUCH different.
    The Great Depression, which started about 1929 was winding down by about 1941.
    Also, the U.S. didn’t have the level of debt it has today.
    World War II created a huge debt.
    However, the $10.9 Trillion National Debt today per-capita is 64% larger than the debt in year 1945 after World War II, and that does not even include the $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching. The total federal debt of $23.7 Trillion ($10.9 + $12.8 Trillion) is the largest federal debt ever in (a)size, (b)per-capita, and (c)as a percentage of GDP!

    David R. Remer wrote: I am hard pressed to understand such a position. But, whatever floats your boat.
    Likewise.
    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n said: “But if the current plan (which appears to be to try to borrow , money-print , and spend our way to prosperity) fails, it will be largely his fault, along with Congress.”
    Absolutely a true and logical statement, whose reverse is also true and logical. If the current plan does succeed in ending the recession, and increasing government revenues while reestablishing a broad employed middle class, and a halt to deficit spending in turn becomes reachable and expected by the majority of the people, then Obama was right to deficit spend in his first term of office, …
    After 52 consecutive years of deficit spending, inflation, and nation-wide debt growing from 100% of GDP to 483% of GDP, it is very unlikely it can grow much larger.

    And even if it can grow larger, at what price?
    Again, since when did any nation so ridiculously deep into debt ever borrow , money-print , and spend its way to prosperity?
    Where’s the historical precedent to support the theory that more borrowing, debt, money-printing, and spending will work?
    The Great Depression example and the World War II example don’t come close to supporting that theory.

    David R. Remer wrote: … and deficit spending can lead to greater prosperity than not deficit spending, in circumstances such as these.
    Not if the debt is already untenable; something you already admit to not knowing.
    David R. Remer wrote: In the same way that a person with limited options due to debt load can borrow to stay off non-payment of creditors for a time, until their income increases to make their debt more manageable and subject to being paid down, all without having to file bankruptcy and defaulting on their obligation and responsibility to pay their debts.
    It’s not that simple.

    That won’t work if the debt is already untenable, and simply continues to grow ever larger.
    That’s what we have now.
    Not only the total $23.7 Trillion of federal debt, but the total current (not future) nation-wide debt of $67 Trillion, which does not even include the unregulated $62 Trillion Credit Default Swap/Derivatives bubble looming (which could be the last straw anyway, and could cause a chain-reaction of bank and corporate failures).

    David R. Remer wrote: Many Americans have done just this. Our nation did precisely this during the 1930’s, 40’s and into the more prosperous and productive 1950’s.
    Not true.

    Today is not the same as the Great Depression (i.e. 1930s and 1940s).
    MANY things (listed above) are different.
    The major difference is the level of both federal and nation-wide debt, which is MUCH worse today, and the federal government apparently thinks it can solve the massive debt bubble with more borrowing , debt , creating money out of thin air, and rampant spending. That simply doesn’t make any sense. I don’t think it makes any sense to most Americans. But the federal government appears to be determined to try it, and creating tens of trillions of new money out of thin air will most likely lead to hyperinflation, and many nations have already tried it and proved that it doesn’t work.

    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 2, 2009 09:29 AM
    Comment #276542
    gergle wrote: I don’t think Macroeconomics has much of anything to do with personal debt. It’s a bad analogy. : I think it is a bit premature to say Obama is a great or terrible president. : To be sure, he was better than the other choice, based simply on common sense.
    I agree.

    Obama, in my opinion, will be a great president if he can downsize the severely bloated federal government, stop the debt from growing ever larger and out-of-control. The interest alone on only the $10.9 Trillion National Debt is costing almost half-a-Trillion per year, and it has been borrowing for decades to merely pay the interest. That’s insane. That is part of what is strangling the nation. It already receives $2.4 Trillion (18% of GDP) in tax revenues. How much of that is spent responsibly?

    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 2, 2009 09:33 AM
    Comment #276556

    The Obama also understands that higher debt equals higher taxation.
    I know 70 or 80 percent taxation will be more than welcomed.

    Posted by: kctim at March 2, 2009 11:44 AM
    Comment #276559

    The federal government could probably raise a lot of taxes by merely making the regressive federal taxes fair.

    After all, if some people are making $60K per year and paying 30% in total federal taxes, then just think how much more taxes the federal government could get by getting the same 30% in total federal taxes from someone making $46 Million per year?

    However, as it currently exists, someone making $46 Million per year pays 17.7% in total federal taxes, while the person making $60K pays 30% in total federal taxes.

    So, how about a temporary flat income tax of 20% on all types of income above the poverty level (with no exemptions or tax loop-holes) in total federal taxes for everyone?
    That would lower taxes for most people, and collect more taxes from the wealthier tax who have been paying lower percentages for many years.
    It would also save everyone a lot of time any money currently used for accounting, legal, record keeping, storage, tax software, etc.

    Then, when the economic crisis eventually subsides, lower that income tax rate (to 17% and then to 15% and then lower if possible).

    But, that would make too much sense.

    And no matter what is done, it would also require that massive federal bloat and waste be eliminated. Otherwise, it will become like a cancer that finally kills its host.

    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 2, 2009 12:25 PM
    Comment #276560


    Obama violated another campaign promise today when he signed a spending bill laced with millions in pet pork projects.

    Posted by: jlw at March 2, 2009 12:30 PM
    Comment #276561
    Roy Ellis wrote: But d.a.n, David, like Schumer, doesn’t mind a little pork!!
    Senator Charles Schumer says about pork-barrel in FEB-2009 Stimulus BILL: “To all of the chattering class, that so much focuses on these little, tiny, yes porky amendments; the American people really don’t care”.
    David R. Remer wrote: If Cong. Dem’s insist on porking up debt for future generations …
    David R. Remer wrote: Some pork and wasteful spending is the cost of compromise to achieve consensus which is built into our two party system and Congressional structural design. Reality is less than ideal.
    David R. Remer wrote: Asking Congressional representatives to ignore their district’s constituents demands in favor of doing what is best for the nation as a hole, is akin to arguing that all nations should dispense with notions of sovereignty and join together as one human race and just live in harmony. It is a wonderful ideal. But, neither political nor cultural evolution have progressed anywhere near that far yet. Many would argue it never will.
    bills quotes Tip O’Neal:“Pork barrel is infrastructure, spelled backwards.” -— Tip O’Neal
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The Republicans are supplying about 40% of the earmarks.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n-I don’t see pork barrel there [in FEB-2009 Stimulus BILL], [only] little projects just meant to appeal to a base back home.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: If you want to discuss pork, discuss real pork, with real facts. Don’t just make the claim [of pork]. {What’s this? Chicken ala King? Didn’t Charles Schummer even call them porky “yes porky amendments”?}

    And you know somethin’ , to a large degree , he may be right … at least until the painful consequences of so much fiscal irresponsibility finally becomes too painful.

    It’s interesting how little (if any) of it is pork-barrel when it’s authored by the 111th Congress.
    As if anything really changed?
    Joel Hirschhorn has it right. It’s delusional.

    jlw wrote: Obama violated another campaign promise today when he signed a spending bill laced with millions in pet pork projects.
    No! No! No!

    It’s not considered pork-barrel any more.

    It’s as Stephen Daugherty wrote, only: “little projects just meant to appeal to a base back home.”

    And even if it was pork barrel, as Charles Schummer said: “the American people really don’t care”.

    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 2, 2009 01:06 PM
    Comment #276566

    David Remer,

    Now, one has to ask the question, do Republicans and blue dog Democrats really seek to bring the American economy to a grinding halt? Is that their goal? Or, is it that these persons are so intently focused on defeating their political opponent’s agenda to save the country in order to win power in future elections, that they fail to even consider the consequences of a failing economy in their aspiration for more power?
    You ask this question as if we want economic failure. That assumes nothing but political power could possibly be a goal, which is nonsense. The alternative to Democratic policies is not default and economic collapse. Conservatives sincerely believe they can’t create success and economic growth. The success of the policies may not lead directly to collapse, but they will not create growth.

    Thus they will play in to the oft-repeated strategy spoken of by Rahm Emmanuel, who says to “let no crisis go to waste”.

    It is a policy that works. F.D.R. stayed in power for twelve years by sustaining and milking a crisis for all it was worth. He transformed American governance. All Obama has to do is keep failure tolerable and look like he is trying something, and he can gain more power than any politician has ever had in the United States.

    Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 2, 2009 02:03 PM
    Comment #276575

    Remer writes; “Pres. Obama understands, as do the majority of Americans, that our government and private sector financial institutions face the same choice the person who has gone too far in debt, faces. We can borrow more and keep from defaulting on our debts, or give up and give in to that debt, and rely upon the mercy of creditors for permission to start over from scratch as a poor bankrupt nation.”

    Neither PO or Remer will admit that the obvious best choice has been purposely left-out as a solution. Let’s just see the logic presented here by Remer.

    I face personal bankruptcy because of my profligate spending and zero savings. To rescue myself I must spend even more or…be at the mercy of my creditors and live with a poor credit rating.

    How about a very realistic answer and rather than spend more, I spend less? Wow, what a concept. Reduce my spending and pay my current bills rather than increase my spending and incur even more bills I can’t pay.

    Even more, I might even encourage some of my lazy relatives living with me to go to work and help me pay the bills which, in part, they helped to incur. We might try eating rice, beans and hamburger rather than steak and lobster. We might just get by without that new car and clothing. We might just try living within our means.

    But no…the liberal answer is never to spend less, but spend more. Spend your way to prosperity is their slogan.

    Posted by: Jim M at March 2, 2009 02:59 PM
    Comment #276578

    Jim M, with no apparent experience in the matter, said: “I face personal bankruptcy because of my profligate spending and zero savings. To rescue myself I must spend even more or…be at the mercy of my creditors and live with a poor credit rating.”

    If you are deep in debt, your income is spread between creditors and bare necessities for middle class living, house, food, transportation, and school costs, insurance, taxes, and fees everywhere.

    Your notion that a person made poor by debt is out there spending as if they weren’t poor, lacks any appreciation for what most debt laden middle class folks are experiencing, and how it is they are managing to remain afloat without defaulting on their creditors and debts.

    The fact is Jim M, if folks laden with debt followed your distorted concept of what they are doing, they would already be bankrupt and defaulting on their creditors. The topic of my comments was those who ARE NOT filing bankruptcy and experiencing limited choices due to their debts. Your response does not address the topic I raised, and hence, is an illogical rebuttal to what I posited.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 03:24 PM
    Comment #276579

    Lee said: “You ask this question as if we want economic failure.”

    Absolutely FALSE. Read what I wrote, Lee, carefully. I said: “Or, is it that these persons are so intently focused on defeating their political opponent’s agenda to save the country in order to win power in future elections, that they fail to even consider the consequences of a failing economy in their aspiration for more power?”

    Clearly, I suggest such folks DO NOT INTEND economic failure, and that following their prescription would lead to economic failure inadvertently, as in unintended consequences for which the GOP is now famous in the last 8 years, in their pursuit of defeating their political opponents agenda for their own, hoped for, political gain.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 03:30 PM
    Comment #276580

    bills writes this instructional line that he apparently believes makes sense;

    “A loyal opposition is one thing. A disloyal opposition is another.”

    HUH???

    Posted by: Jim M at March 2, 2009 03:30 PM
    Comment #276581

    d.a.n, DEFINE pork-barrel spending as opposed to earmarks.

    Perhaps your arguments proceed to faulty assertions due to this failure to define your terms.

    You seem to deem a lot of spending as pork-barrel spending. Define for me please, the term pork vs. earmarks.

    It is factually true that the appropriations bills which failed to pass under GW Bush’s last budget are loaded with earmarks. Now, how do you define pork? What is your standard for defining that term?

    Then we can proceed with an intelligent discussion regarding whether or not the first Budget proposed under the Obama administration for 2009-2010 is the same as GW Bush’s last budget in regards to pork. And, having defined the term to mutual assent, we can proceed to determine how much of the new budget is pork as defined.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 03:39 PM
    Comment #276583

    jlw said: “Obama violated another campaign promise today when he signed a spending bill laced with millions in pet pork projects.”

    Technically correct on whether Obama signed it. He did. These were appropriation bills left over from the Bush administration and left hanging in limbo, as last year’s Congress never voted on them due to higher priorities of politicians like getting reelected or elected, or getting the hell out of Dodge City (D.C.)

    What will be interesting and telling is whether there will be any significant difference between Bush’s budget proposals and Obama’s for the 2009-2010 Fiscal Year, which is yet to come.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 03:46 PM
    Comment #276584

    kctim said: “The Obama also understands that higher debt equals higher taxation.”

    Correct. He does. Which is why he stated quite logically and responsibly, that upon bringing this economy back onto its feet, his priority will shift to doing everything possible to insure this generation pays for its debts, as opposed to passing them on to future generations like the Republican GW Bush did.

    Glad we agree on your statement.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 04:02 PM
    Comment #276585

    David R. Remer wrote: … and deficit spending can lead to greater prosperity than not deficit spending, in circumstances such as these.

    d.a.n wrote: “Not if the debt is already untenable; something you already admit to not knowing.”

    Nor you. In which case, there is a chance that deficit spending now can lead to greater prosperity, as opposed to letting the economy collapse under the trillions of leveraged private sector debt now on the balance sheets of corporations, and from whom credit to keep this economy functioning and Americans employed, depends.

    Hmmm. Let’s look at the options then. Capitulate now, let it collapse, and start over with all Americans poorer and a greater percentage of Americans unemployed than during the Great Depression,

    OR,

    Taking a chance that by borrowing from other nation’s and future tax payers, this economy can be rescued from collapse, keeping 85 to 90% of Americans employed, paying their debts, and in their homes, in order to insure their children have a shot at going to college, and getting jobs, and continuing to pay their taxes which can potentially pay down the borrowing to rescue this economy.

    Seems like a no brainer to me, d.a.n, economic collapse as a certainty, vs. a chance of avoiding it entirely. Sure, it is a gamble on borrowing more, but a gamble means one has a chance at winning or losing.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 04:11 PM
    Comment #276589

    Yep, we agree on that part of my statement, David. To bad we disagree on the ramifications the second part of my quote will bring upon our once great country.

    Posted by: kctim at March 2, 2009 04:46 PM
    Comment #276591

    Remer wrote; “Your notion that a person made poor by debt is out there spending as if they weren’t poor, lacks any appreciation for what most debt laden middle class folks are experiencing, and how it is they are managing to remain afloat without defaulting on their creditors and debts.

    The fact is Jim M, if folks laden with debt followed your distorted concept of what they are doing, they would already be bankrupt and defaulting on their creditors. The topic of my comments was those who ARE NOT filing bankruptcy and experiencing limited choices due to their debts. Your response does not address the topic I raised, and hence, is an illogical rebuttal to what I posited.”

    I understood perfectly well what you wrote comparing personal bankruptcy with government bankruptcy. And…as I stated, government can no more spend its way out of debt than can the individual. You offered only two remedies and suggested that PO must choose between them. Spending less was not even a consideration as of course, this would not meet the liberal congress or PO’s purpose.

    I spent many years in personal finance and know the difference between responsible spending and extravagant spending. As someone who lists an MBA with their credentials it is difficult to perceive you as someone who believes a business, individual or government can be rescued from bankruptcy by spending even more.

    Even a child understands that when they have spent their allowance they are done spending until the next allowance. As a child Mr. Remer, I am curious to know if you received an allowance and if you did, once it was gone did you continue to buy things and then present your parents with an IOU. If so, did they pay the IOU. Knowing this would help us understand your logic.

    When I was a child I earned my own spending money by mowing lawns, shoveling sidewalks and running a paper route. My parents saw to my basic needs and I worked for anything else I wanted. Wow, what a novel concept. Either pay for what you want by working for it or stop spending.

    Today’s liberals would have American’s believe that working for something and spending wisely is old fashioned. Government needs to go on an extreme diet and follow the example of its responsible citizens. We’ll take care of the basic needs of those in need while the country recovers.

    What the hell kind of example is it for government to tell us that we need more spending when it is that very excessive spending that got us into this mess? Lead by example or get out of the way. I believe this liberal congress will be moving home in 2010 and PO will have to deal with adult conservatives rather than spoiled children.

    Posted by: Jim M at March 2, 2009 05:03 PM
    Comment #276594

    Jim M, you talk about Obama without apparently even becoming informed of what he says and does. Why is that? Does the word prejudge apply?

    Obama has put forth a number of spending cuts to be included in HIS upcoming budget proposal. How is it your comment is so ignorant of this evidenced fact of reality?

    Spending has always been defined as wise or foolish depending on what one spends one’s resources on. There are many kinds of spending.

    One kind of spending is called Investment. One dishes out ones cash assets for others to spend, with the hope that that the cash will be returned with a premium added. Another kind of spending purchases immediate gratification on non-essential items for life and well being for the sheer fun of it.

    These two types of spending mark polar ends of the utility of spending. President Obama is proposing enormous investments in BOTH our future economic well being as well as salvaging our current economy, defined as healthy or unhealthy by the number and productivity of its citizens holding jobs.

    Most Americans, polls show, agree with President Obama’s wisdom in investment spending. You may not. But, your attempt to brand any and all spending by this President as unwarranted and uncalled for clearly resides in the area of a minority viewpoint, and ignores entirely the many types of spending from wise to foolish as a measure Obama’s proposals and actions.

    By the rationale of your general assertion regarding Obama’s intention to keep spending, you must believe we should immediately withdraw from Afghanistan for example, and conserve those resources. Is the Afghanistan nation more deserving of our tax dollars than the recently laid off workers in America?

    Should a million students planning on attending college this year on government backed student loans fore go their future investments in learning to accommodate your critique that Obama is deficit spending as investment in the brain trust and innovations that will be needed for a healthy economy in the future?

    All spending is not equal. I think your comment fails to make a distinction and utterly fails to acknowledge the investment nature of Obama’s proposed spending and in the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is an investment in millions of American workers keeping their jobs.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 05:26 PM
    Comment #276596

    kctim, then you propose we do not invest in putting this economy back on its feet, not only preserving the jobs of the currently employed but, creating new ones with infrastructure creation and maintenance, long, long overdue and out of date for our future competitive and cost effective advantage?

    I am confused by your last reply. Please clarify.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 05:39 PM
    Comment #276601

    David
    We do not know if the Obama’s plan will work or not and I believe the cons far outnumber the pros of his plan.
    If his plan works, we are stuck with astronomical taxes, an enormous govt, dependency and further irresponsibility.
    If his plan fails, we are stuck with astronomical taxes, an enormous govt, further irresponsibility and guaranteed dependency.

    Posted by: kctim at March 2, 2009 06:00 PM
    Comment #276602

    Ahh, kctim, you want a guarantee before justifying such borrowing and spending? OK. I guarantee an asteroid will not hit the earth next week. I guarantee a nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India will not erupt this fiscal year coming. I guarantee all your investments in the stock market will be handsomely rewarded.

    NOT! Doing nothing in the face of adversity for lack of a guarantee that doing something will be well rewarded, is not a prescription for good governance, kctim.

    Did Lincoln have a guarantee the Union would be preserved? Did FDR have a guarantee of victory over the Axis Powers? Did, the American tax payers have a guarantee that dead men would not be posited on the Moon never to return in the 1960’s?

    C’mon. America has not grown to superpower status waiting for a guarantee before acting in the face of adversity.

    And if Obama and we Americans in support of his plan are successful, America will retain a functional economy and government capable of paying off its creditors, as opposed to bankrupting and laying our future at the mercy of the IMF and our foreign creditors.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 06:07 PM
    Comment #276604
    David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, DEFINE pork-barrel spending as opposed to earmarks.
    I did define it above in Comment # 276501. That is the criteria used to define pork-barrel by Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW.org’s), which is shown again below.
      At least 1 of the following 7 criteria are used to define the following below as pork-barrel:
      • (1) Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
      • (2) Not specifically authorized;
      • (3) Not competitively awarded;
      • (4) Not requested by the President;
      • (5) Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
      • (6) Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
      • (7) Serves only a local or special interest.
    I would add at least one more thing to the list.
    • (8) Any BILL Congress didn’t even bother to read.

    That criteria above is much less critical than I would be, because I don’t think the federal government should be doing but a small fraction of all of this, of which much of it is bloat and waste.
    The federal government meddles far too much in far too many things, and then fails miserably to do the most basic of its duties to enforce existing laws and regulate against rampant greed (which we’ve see a lot of lately; the SEC is a joke; the Treasury, Federal Reserve, administration, and Congress failed to see this crisis caused by massived debt and government bloat, despite years of warnings).
    Part of this crisis is the severely bloated federal government sucking up 18% of GDP and wasting a huge portion of it.
    And the Fiscal 2009 Budget is $1.7 Trillion over-budget (above the $2.4 Trillion in the estimated federal revenues), for a total 2009 budget of $4.1 Trillion!
    That $4.1 Trillion is 30% of GDP for one year of federal spending ! ! !
    Where’s it going to stop?
    Yet, some now think the solution to our debt problem is to grow the debt bigger?
    How?
    Again, since when in history has any nation so ridiculously deep into debt ever borrowed , money-printed , and spent its way to prosperity?
    I’ve see several weak attempts to draw parallels with the Great Depression and the National Debt after World War II (in year 1945), but $10.9 Trillion National Debt per-capita is now 64% higher than the previous record-high per-capita National Debt 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. And the nation-wide debt has almost quintupled from 100% of GDP in 1956 to 483% of GDP today.

    David R. Remer wrote: Perhaps your arguments proceed to faulty assertions due to this failure to define your terms.
    I did define the criteria above in Comment # 276501 above and in Comment # 276480 (watchblog.com/republicans/archives/006449.html#276480).
    David R. Remer wrote: You seem to deem a lot of spending as pork-barrel spending. Define for me please, the term pork vs. earmarks.
    In my opinion, all unnecessary spending is pork-barrel. Especially in this debt crisis.

    First of all, Congress didn’t need to give themselves their recent 10th raise in 12 years, and an additional $93,000 per Congress persons for petty cash and expenses.
    There should be something in this long, long, long list and the list below that can be cut back or eliminated.
    For example, in year 2005:

    • Department of Agriculture, Budget: $19.1 billion, Employees: 109,832

    • Department of Commerce, Budget: $5.8 billion, Employees: 40,000

    • Department of Defense, Budget: $371 billion, Employees: 2,036,000

    • Department of Education, Budget: $57.3 billion, Employees: 4,487

    • Department of Energy, Budget: $24.3 billion (gross), Employees: 16,100 federal, 100,000 contract

    • Department of Health and Human Services, Budget: $66.8 billion, Employees: 67,000

    • Department of Homeland Security, Budget: $40 billion, Employees: 180,000

    • Department of Housing and Urban Development, Budget: $31.3 billion, Employees: 10,600

    • Department of the Interior, Budget: $10.8 billion, Employees: 71,436

    • Department of Justice, Budget: $22 billion, Employees: 109,000

    • Department of Labor, Budget: $11.9 billion, Employees: 17,347

    • Department of State, Budget: $10.3 billion, Employees: 30,266

    • Department of Transportation, Budget: $61.6 billion, Employees: 60,000

    • Department of the Treasury, Budget: $10.8 billion, Employees: 115,897

    • Department of Veterans Affairs, Budget: $51 billion, Employees: 219,000

    • Total of Budgets=$794 Billion; Total Employees/Contractors=3,186,965

    • … with redundancy upon redunancy:
    • 342 economic development programs;

    • 130 programs serving the disabled;

    • 130 programs serving at-risk youth;

    • 72 federal programs dedicated to assuring safe water;

    • 50 homeless assistance programs;

    • 45 federal agencies conducting federal criminal investigations.

    Then consider these top 10 examples of government waste: www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/bg1840.cfm

    Then there are tens-to-hundreds of billions of pork-barrel in Agriculture subsidies.

    Consider these top 10 subsidy programs for only one state (e.g. Texas) 1995-2006: farm.ewg.org/farm/progdetail.php?fips=00000&yr=2006&progcode=total&page=conc

    • Rank ____ Subsidy ___ Recipients _____ Total

    • 01 __ Cotton Subsidies _______ 96,628 ______ $6,126,931,257

    • 02 __ Disaster Payments _____ 144,923 ______ $2,410,774,724

    • 03 __ Conservation Reserve ___ 37,769 ______ $1,759,118,624

    • 04 __ Rice Subsidies _________ 5,619 ______ $1,325,261,031

    • 05 __ Wheat Subsidies _______ 95,337 ______ $1,291,098,137

    • 06 __ Corn Subsidies _________ 59,302 ______ $1,213,424,428

    • 07 __ Peanut Subsidies _______ 11,680 ______ $491,103,948

    • 08 __ Livestock Subsidies ______ 84,430 ______ $456,298,603

    • 09 __ Dairy Program Subsidies __ 2,586 ______ $92,836,865

    • 10 __ Env. Quality Incentive ____ 12,036 ______ $80,298,602

    For thousands of other examples of pork-barrel and waste, see the following:

    • Citizens Against Government Waste - 2009 Appropriations: www.cagw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=FY09Appropriations

    • Citizens Against Government Waste - 2009 Appropriations: www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11530

    • Citizens Against Government Waste - 2009 Appropriations: www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11532

    • Citizens Against Government Waste - 2009 Appropriations: www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11514

    • Citizens Against Government Waste - 2009 Appropriations: www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11504

    • Citizens Against Government Waste - 2009 Appropriations: www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11518

    • Citizens Against Government Waste - 2009 Appropriations: www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11528

    • Citizens Against Government Waste - 2009 Appropriations: www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11516

    • Citizens Against Government Waste - 2009 Appropriations: www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11580

    • Citizens Against Government Waste - 2009 Appropriations: www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11544

    • Citizens Against Government Waste - 2009 Appropriations: www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11562

    • Citizens Against Government Waste - 2009 Appropriations: www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11570

    • Citizens Against Government Waste - Pork Database: www.cagw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reports_porkbarrelreport

    • Common Cause: www.commoncause.org

    • Corporate Welfare Headquarters: www.progress.org/banneker/corporate.htm#cla

    • Corporate Welfare Shame Page - www.progress.org/banneker/cw.html

    • CorpWatch: www.corpwatch.org

    • Citizen.org: www.citizen.org/congress/welfare/index.cfm

    • Citizens Against Government Waste: CAGW.org

    • Corporate Welfare - Wikipedia.org: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_welfare

    • Corporate Welfare: CorporateWelfare.com

    • Corporate Welfare Search Database Engine: www.taxpolicy.com/cwsearch/

    • One-Simple-Idea.com/Links1.htm

    That’s just a sampling.

    And how about the $3.2-to-$8.5 Trillion funneled into the bad banks (www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-113008-fi-pricetag-g,0,5292528.graphic)?
    AIG, among other little piggies continue to come back to the feeding trough.
    AIG just received ANOTHER $30 Billion after losing $62 Billion in the one quarter.

    David R. Remer wrote: It is factually true that the appropriations bills which failed to pass under GW Bush’s last budget are loaded with earmarks.
    Who had the majority in Congress since year 2006? How long can G.W. Bush and the 110th Congress be blamed for everything when the 111th Congress consists of 86.9% of the 110th Congress?

    So you didn’t see any pork-barrel in the FEB-2008 Stimulus BILL?
    So you don’t see any pork-barrel in the Fiscal Year 2009 Appropriations?

    David R. Remer wrote: It is factually true that the appropriations bills which failed to pass under GW Bush’s last budget are loaded with earmarks. Now, how do you define pork? What is your standard for defining that term?
    See above.

    It’s not nearly as hard to identify pork-barrel and waste as some seem to want to do now that THEIR party is the IN-PARTY.
    It’s ridiculous how pork-barrel suddenly isn’t pork-barrel anymore.
    Hell, it didn’t even matter to many partisan loyalists that many in Congress didn’t even read the $787 Billion Stimulus BILL.

    David R. Remer wrote: Then we can proceed with an intelligent discussion regarding whether or not the first Budget proposed under the Obama administration for 2009-2010 is the same as GW Bush’s last budget in regards to pork. And, having defined the term to mutual assent, we can proceed to determine how much of the new budget is pork as defined.
    OK. Let’s start with the following in the 17-FEB-2008 Stimulus BILL signed by Obama:
    • [01] $54 Billion for federal programs that the Office of Management and Budget or the Government Accountability Office have already criticized as “ineffective” or unable to pass basic financial audits (e.g. the Economic Development Administration, the Small Business Administration, the 10 federal job training programs, and many more).
    • [02] $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, including money for a magnetic-levitation rail line between Disneyland and Las Vegas, a project favored by Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The 311-mph train could make the trip from Sin City to TomorrowLand in less than two hours, according to supporters.
    • [03] $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
    • [04] $650 million for the Digital TV converter boxes
    • [05] $1 billion for the “FutureGen” not-ready-for-primetime near zero emission plant in Illinois
    • [06] $53.6 billion for the “state stabilization” slush fund
    • [07] $150 million for the Smithsonian museum;
    • [08] $34 million to renovate the Department of Commerce headquarters; is this the department that wants to end e-Verify?
    • [09] $1.3 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn’t turned a profit in 40 years;
    • [10] $24 million for USDA buildings and rent
    • [11] $176 million for renovating Agricultural Research Service buildings
    • [12] $350 million for Agriculture Department computers;
    • [13] $44 million for repairs to Department of Agriculture headquarters;;
    • [14] $290 million for flood prevention activities
    • [15] $50 million for watershed rehabilitation
    • [16] $1.4 billion for wastewater disposal programs
    • [17] $295 million for administrative expenses associated with food stamp program
    • [18] $1 billion for the 2010 Census
    • [19] $1 billion for the Census Bureau; will that include 12-to-20+ illegal aliens?
    • [20] $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges and libraries
    • [21] $360 million for construction of NIST buildings
    • [22] $830 million for NOAA research and facilities
    • [23] $2 billion for Byrne JAG program
    • [24] $125 million for rural communities to combat drug crimes
    • [25] $1 billion for the COPS program
    • [26] $1 billion for NASA
    • [27] $300 million to purchase scientific instruments for colleges and museums
    • [28] $400 million for equipment and facilities at the NSF
    • [29] $3.7 billion to conduct “green” renovations on military bases
    • [30] $375 million for Mississippi River projects
    • [31] $10 million for urban canals
    • [32] $5 billion for weatherizing buildings
    • [33] $2 billion to develop advanced batteries for hybrid cars
    • [34] $3.4 billion for fossil energy research (possibly including an earmark for FutureGen)
    • [35] $5.1 billion for environmental cleanup around military bases
    • [36] $5.5 billion for “green” federal buildings
    • [37] $300 million for “green” cars for federal employees
    • [38] $20 million for IT upgrades at the Small Business Administration
    • [39] $200 million to design and furnish DHS headquarters
    • [40] $210 million for State and local fire stations
    • [41] $125 million to restore trails and abandoned mines
    • [42] $1.7 billion for the National Park System;
    • [43] $146 million for trail maintenance at National Park Service sites
    • [44] $140 million for volcano monitoring systems
    • [45] $600 million for the EPA Superfund environmental cleanup program
    • [46] $200 million to clean up leaking underground storage tanks
    • [47] $500 million for forest health and wildfire prevention
    • [48] $25 million for the Smithsonian Institution
    • [49] $1.2 billion for “youth activities” (for “youth” up to 24 years old)
    • [50] $55 million for Historic Preservation Fund;
    • [50] $7.6 billion for “rural community advancement programs”;
    • [51] $150 million for agricultural-commodity purchases;
    • [52] $400 million for hybrid cars for state and local governments;
    • [53] $8 billion for innovative-technology loan-guarantee program;
    • [54] $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects;
    • [55] $500 million earmark for NIH facilities in Bethesda, MD
    • [56] $1 billion for Head Start
    • [57] $32 million for home-delivered nutrition services
    • [58] $160 million for volunteer programs at the Corporation for National and Community Service
    • [59] $500 million earmark for the SSA National Computer Center in MD
    • [60] $220 million for the International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. and Mexico
    • [61] $1 billion earmark for the “FutureGen” near zero emission sci-fi plant in Matoon, Illinois that is a pet project of Senator Durbin and former governor Rod Blagojevich. The Washington Post has called the project “prohibitively expensive” and scientists at MIT oppose the project. See February 13, 2009 Washington Post story “Despite Pledges, Package Has Some Pork”
    • [62] Some money spent in the final bill allows funds to go to museums, stadiums, arts centers, theaters, parks, or highway beautification projects. This opens the back door to fund the notorious Mob Museum in Las Vegas, which would otherwise had not be able to receive stimulus money. (SEC. 1604)
    • [63] The final bill merely says contracts should be awarded with competitive procedures “to the maximum extent possible.” This will allow lawmakers to simply “phonemark” billions in spending to pet projects with zero transparency and accountability. (SEC. 1554-1555)
      Other questionable earmarks:
    • [64] $185,000 for coral reef research and preservation in Maui County, HI
    • [65] $55,000 in meteorological equipment for Pierce College in Woodland Hills, CA.
    • [66] $9.9 million for science enhancement at historically black colleges in South Carolina.
    • [67] $764,000 for the Lake George Watershed Protection Initiative in New York, requested by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-NY);
    • [68] $9.9 million for South Carolina’s historically black colleges and universities, requested by House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, (D-SC);
    • [69] $1.1 million requested by Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander and Sen. Bob Corker, (R-TN), for water treatment plant improvements in Tennessee’s Unicoi County, as well as $300,000 for a sewer extension project in another county.
    • [70] $713,625 Woody Biomass at SUNY-ESF. Walsh and Schumer sponsors
    • [71] $951,500 Sustainable Las Vegas. Berkeley and Reid sponsors.
    • [72] $24,000 A+ for Abstinence. Specter is sponsor.
    • [73] $300,000 Montana World Trade Center. Rehberg sponsor.
    • [74] $950,000 Myrtle Beach International Trade and Convention Center. Sponsored by Graham.
    • [75] $200,000 Oil Region Alliance. Peterson sponsor.
    • [76] $190,000 Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, WY for digitizing and editing the Cody collection. sponsored by Barbara Cubin
    • [77] $143,000 Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Las Vegas, NV, to expand natural history education programs. Sponsored by Harry Reid
    • [78] $238,000 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Honolulu, HI, for educational programs. Sponsored by Sen. Daniel Inouye.
    • [79] $381,000 for Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York, NY for music education programs. Sponsored by Jerrold Nadler.
    • [80] $3.8 million on a Needles, Calif., highway. Rep. Jerry Lewis of California, the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee.
    • [81] $950,000 nature education center in Moss Point, MS. Sponsored by Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, the top Republican on Senate Appropriations.
    That’s a sampling. I’ll let you know if I find more. Here’s a link to a copy of the BILL: One-Simple-Idea.com/AmericanRecoveryActStimulusBILL20090218.pdf

    There’s most likely a LOT more. And future BILLs will most likely contain a LOT more too.
    Is there any doubt in your mind that this is out-of-control?
    Now you may not think some of that above is pork-barrel, but unless you show that most of it isn’t pork-barrel (or irresponsible spending at a time like now), then its safe to say the BILL has a lot of pork-barrel.

    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n wrote: “Not if the debt is already untenable; something you already admit to not knowing.”
    Nor you.
    In my opinion, the debt is already untenable.

    The federal government has been deficit spending for 52 consecutive years.
    We’ve also had 52 consecutive years of inflation.
    Even if it isn’t, it is close.
    We have a debt problem.
    Not a mere credit crisis as some label it.
    Not only is credit hard to find, but so are people that want to, or are capable of carrying MORE debt.
    Americans are tapped out, and it will take time for that debt to unwind.
    Some of the bad debt will never be repaid.
    At any rate, trying to solve a massive debt problem with more borrowing , debt , money-printing , and irresponsible spending is insanity.
    You wouldn’t run your personal household and finances they way would you?
    The only difference is that the federal government and Federal Reserve can print new money out of thin air.
    And that is exactly what they are going to try to do.
    Well, that will most likely result in another economic terror which dozens of other nations have arlready discovered the hard and painful way: Hyperinflation

    David R. Remer wrote: In which case, there is a chance that deficit spending now can lead to greater prosperity, as opposed to letting the economy collapse under the trillions of leveraged private sector debt now on the balance sheets of corporations, and from whom credit to keep this economy functioning and Americans employed, depends.
    I really can’t believe what I’m hearing. Even if the debt wasn’t untenable, I do not subscribe to the notion that massive debt can be remedied with more of the same.

    What we need now is more responsible spending of the federal government’s current $2.4 Trillion in tax revenues, and end to these 10 major abuses (One-Simple-Idea.com/Abuses.htm), cuts in all unnecessary and wasteful federal spending, laser-beam focus on the nation’s most pressing problems, stop importing 1.5 Million foreign H-1B visa workers per year, stop illegal immigration which is costing U.S. tax payers an estimated $70-to-$327 Billion per year in net losses, reform the regressive tax system, down-size the severely bloated federal government, and stop repeatedly rewarding bad politicians with 85%-to-90% re-election rates.

    David R. Remer wrote: Hmmm. Let’s look at the options then.
    • Capitulate now, let it collapse, and start over with all Americans poorer and a greater percentage of Americans unemployed than during the Great Depression,
    • OR,
    • Taking a chance that by borrowing from other nation’s and future tax payers, this economy can be rescued from collapse, keeping 85 to 90% of Americans employed, paying their debts, and in their homes, in order to insure their children have a shot at going to college, and getting jobs, and continuing to pay their taxes which can potentially pay down the borrowing to rescue this economy.
    No, there’s another option:
    • What we need now is more responsible spending of the federal government’s current $2.4 Trillion in tax revenues, and end to these 10 major abuses (One-Simple-Idea.com/Abuses.htm), cuts in all unnecessary and wasteful federal spending, laser-beam focus on the nation’s most pressing problems, stop importing 1.5 Million foreign H-1B visa workers per year, stop illegal immigration which is costing U.S. tax payers an estimated $70-to-$327 Billion per year in net losses, reform the regressive tax system, down-size the severely bloated federal government, and stop repeatedly rewarding bad politicians with 85%-to-90% re-election rates.
    David R. Remer wrote: Seems like a no brainer to me, d.a.n, economic collapse as a certainty, vs. a chance of avoiding it entirely. Sure, it is a gamble on borrowing more, but a gamble means one has a chance at winning or losing.
    No. Why the refusal to see other options?

    I’m not saying we need debt reduction this year, but we don’t need to be growing it by several more trillion either. In my opinion, that’s very dangerous, and will most likely result in hyperinflation as many other nations have already painfully discovered (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation#Examples_of_hyperinflation).

    Unfortunately, you are not alone in your theory that we can somehow borrow , money-print , and spend our way to prosperity.
    Obama, Congress, the and Federal Reserve and many other people agree with you.
    But guess what?
    NONE of them saw this entire mess approaching.
    They all look pretty damn silly.
    Obama and McCain had to rethink their grandiose campaign promises.
    None of Bernanke’s predictions have come true yet.
    Too many people think the ONLY solution to this massive debt problem is more debt , borrowing , money-printing , and spending.
    The math simply doesn’t work.
    Even New Keynesian Economics fails to account for the possibility of so much debt that the debt is untenable.
    The tens of trillions being borrowed and created out of thin air will eventually lead to inflation (possibly hyperinflation).
    More debt is not going to make things better, and will simply make things worse by putting most people DEEPER into debt.
    The current nation-wide debt is $67 Trillion.
    That’s $220,000 per-capita.
    That’s quintuple what GDP was in year 1956.
    This massive debt problem didn’t happen overnight, and it won’t be solved overnight, and it won’t be solved by growing the debt even larger.
    Where is the economic model that proves massive debt ($220,000 per capita) can be solved with more borrowing , debt, money-printing , and rampant spending?
    Where is the historical precedent of any nation so ridiculously deep into debt ever borrowing , money-printing , and spending there way out of debt?
    People talk about growing GDP, and growing the economy, but the fail to recognize that crushing debt is standing in the way.
    GDP has actually been falling since year 2007, and it’s going to continue to fall.
    Many of the best things the federal government can do now don’t need a lot of more debt and spending. There are a number of abuses that are hammering most Americans that could be stopped. Until the federal government does those things, they are effectively proving that they still don’t “get it”. And enough voters don’t yet “get it”. But they will, when enough of them are finally bankrupt , jobless , homeless , and hungry. That’s already happening to millions and time is running out. Voters need to get involved soon and pressure their Congress persons, because many can’t wait until 2010 and/or 2012. Voters failed on 4-NOV-2008 to send a loud-and-clear message to Congress, and they will reap what they sow for repeatedly rewarding irresponsible, FOR-SALE, incompetent, and corrupt politicians with perpetual re-election. There’s a strong possibility that will happen anyway to a large degree. $67 Trillion of nation-wide debt isn’t going to simply be made to disappear with more debt , money-printing , and rampant spending.

    If that disturbs you, it should, because many of the brightest minds in the nation, economists, the Administration and Congress, many banks, and the Federal Reserve didn’t see this coming, despite many warnings. So why do you know want to follow them farther down the road to ruin? There are economists who correctly predicted this entire mess and they are now warning against hyperinflation. The only reason we don’t have hyperinflation now is because so many Americans are so deep in debt already and unwilling to take on more debt. It’s not merely a credit crisis. That’s a clever ruse to hide the fact that the nation is being crushed by a massive debt bubble.

    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 2, 2009 06:57 PM
    Comment #276610

    d.a.n, thanks for the criterion. Here’s how I see it.

    At least 1 of the following 7 criteria are used to define the following below as pork-barrel:

    * (1) Requested by only one chamber of Congress;

    The Constitution of the U.S. stipulates that all revenue and tax raising bills originate in the House of Representatives. However, spending bills may originate in either the House or Senate, and with the concurrence of the other house, be sent to the President for acceptance and signature.

    I fail to undestand this critieron CAGW proffers. Does CAGW seek an amendment to the Constitution and to judge all legislation by an Amendment provision which never took place?

    * (2) Not specifically authorized;

    Rather nebulous. What does this mean. If spending is included in a Bill which passes both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President, it is duly authorized. I don’t understand this criterion. Please explain.

    * (3) Not competitively awarded;

    Presumably, this addresses tax dollars awarded to private contractors. I agree entirely, if it is not competitively awarded, it is pork spending.

    * (4) Not requested by the President;

    This one is absurd. It would negate the need of Congress entirely in the appropriations process except to approve or veto the Presidents spending requests. That is NOT how Article 1 of the Constitution stipulates the appropriations process is to occur. The President may request spending, but the Congress may modify, add or subtract from the President’s requests, and return their appropriations bill to the President for their assent or veto.

    The people’s representatives closest in proximity and communication to the people are posited with the power of proposing taxes, and spending the people’s money. The idea of an authoritarian, one person, having exclusive control over what is proposed for spending and what is not, is a not in keeping with either the Constitution nor the philosophy of many of the founding fathers as regard to spending the people’s tax dollars.

    * (5) Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;

    Define Greatly. See reply to #4 above. The president is not Constitutionally posited with the power over the purse strings of the nation. Appears CAGW seeks to ignore the Constitution and by popular misrepresentation instill a new unwritten one of their own fashioning.

    * (6) Not the subject of congressional hearings; or

    Congressional hearings are good. Public Congressional hearings are even better prior to appropriations bill voting. However, as far as I can tell, this is not a Constitutional requirement. But, I will accept this one as usually valid criteria for defining pork spending.

    * (7) Serves only a local or special interest.

    This one too is pretty nebulous. All government spending serves local or special interests, and nearly all local and special interest appropriations can be argued to fulfill national purposes when aggregated. Example, building only a section of Interstate Highway across two states would directly benefit local and special interests only in those states, but, also can be argued to fulfill the national interest of national commerce, civil defense, and rapid deployment of emergency services in times of natural disaster.

    But, we have a couple criteria we agree on. But, are these couple sufficient to cover the imagination potential for spending, as a comprehensive definition of pork spending? It would appear not to be the case.

    So, again, I ask, what would stand as a nearly universally accepted definition of pork? This is not an idle question. The answer, if one can be found, has profound practical and political significance in shaping both public opinion and the appropriations process.

    The absence of such a definition renders the term pork to being little more than a political insult term to be hauled out against opponents of one’s own private or special, individual or group, interest objectives.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 08:27 PM
    Comment #276611

    d.a.n said: “I’m not saying we need debt reduction this year,”

    That’s good. Some others in the right wing conservative camp are saying that. They got theirs under Bush, and let the nation eat cake and starve in a depression now that their advocates are no longer in power.

    d.a.n said: “but we don’t need to be growing it by several more trillion either.”

    Well, that depends on whether rescuing the economy from collapse requires several more trillion or not, doesn’t it. No point in allocating 1000 dollars to bringing the Titanic to the surface, when it is obvious that 1000 dollars spent in that effort would be overwhelmingly insufficient, is there?

    The dead weight around our economic neck pulling us under is the many trillions of dollars of leveraged assets and obligations held on the private sector’s balance sheets, lacking anything close to real and tangible or fungible assets to collateralize them. We have a multi-trillion dollar black hole in the center of our economy.

    How do you propose we plug that multi-trillion dollar hole with amounts in the billions or less, and continue to keep the economy afloat and functioning?

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 08:36 PM
    Comment #276613

    OK. Forget it. It’s not pork-barrel.

    Posted by: d.a.n at March 2, 2009 08:51 PM
    Comment #276617

    This discussion pretty much demonstrates why we are probably screwed big time.

    In the beginning, what was the primary purpose of the taxes raised by the federal government of the United States?
    Now look where we are today?
    Now, pork-barrel isn’t even pork-barrel any more.
    Now we need a definition of pork-barrel, which by itself ought to be an obvious sign that we’re screwed.
    I would call this economic situation an economic emergency.
    Yet we now need a definition of pork-barrel.

    So we need a definition for pork-barrel.
    Perhaps we should create a Congressional Committee to look into that, and then 10 sub-committees to assist, and perhaps spend a few hundred Billion dollars to perform an independent research, and then reconvene after a few years, so that they can start all over again?

    Here’s a definition for pork-barrel:

    • pork barrel

    • 1. a legislative appropriation designed to ingratiate legislators with their constituents
    Hence, Congress is FOR-SALE, and voters are so pathetically easy to bribe with their own tax dollars.

    The end result is that the nation is swimming in debt of nightmare proportions, yet many think the solution for massive debt is more debt?
    That makes about as much sense as trying to put out a fire by throwing gasoline on it.
    Like Jim M said, did it ever occur to anyone in the severely bloated federal government to stop spending so much?
    I guess not, since Congress saw fit to give itself its 10th raise in 12 years and $93,000 per Congress person for petty cash and expenses.

    By the way, you forgot number (8) above (i.e. Congress should read the BILL before voting on it).
    So, you actually believe that list of 81 earmarks above is a good idea now, in this economic crisis?

    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 2, 2009 09:07 PM
    Comment #276619

    So you think Citizens Against Government Waste and these other organizations don’t have a clue?

    So, do you have a definition of pork-barrel?

    At any rate, the voters have the pork-barrel and 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 2, 2009 09:17 PM
    Comment #276620

    I’ve asked Citizens Against Government Waste to elaborate on their 7 criteria used to define the following below as pork-barrel:

    • (1) Requested by only one chamber of Congress;

    • (2) Not specifically authorized;

    • (3) Not competitively awarded;

    • (4) Not requested by the President;

    • (5) Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;

    • (6) Not the subject of congressional hearings; or

    • (7) Serves only a local or special interest.

    At any rate, here’s what I consider unnecessary spending (out of the list of 81 earmarks above) in this 17-FEB-2009 Stimulus BILL economic crisis:

    • [01] $54 Billion for federal programs that the Office of Management and Budget or the Government Accountability Office have already criticized as “ineffective” or unable to pass basic financial audits (e.g. the Economic Development Administration, the Small Business Administration, the 10 federal job training programs, and many more).

    • [02] $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, including money for a magnetic-levitation rail line between Disneyland and Las Vegas, a project favored by Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The 311-mph train could make the trip from Sin City to TomorrowLand in less than two hours, according to supporters.

    • [03] $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts

    • [04] $650 million for the Digital TV converter boxes

    • [07] $150 million for the Smithsonian museum;

    • [08] $34 million to renovate the Department of Commerce headquarters; is this the department that wants to end e-Verify?

    • [09] $1.3 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn’t turned a profit in 40 years;

    • [10] $24 million for USDA buildings and rent

    • [11] $176 million for renovating Agricultural Research Service buildings

    • [12] $350 million for Agriculture Department computers;

    • [13] $44 million for repairs to Department of Agriculture headquarters;;

    • [17] $295 million for administrative expenses associated with food stamp program

    • [18] $1 billion for the 2010 Census (with 12-to-20 Million illegal aliens, what’s the point?)

    • [20] $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges and libraries

    • [25] $1 billion for the COPS program

    • [27] $300 million to purchase scientific instruments for colleges and museums

    • [37] $300 million for “green” cars for federal employees

    • [38] $20 million for IT upgrades at the Small Business Administration

    • [39] $200 million to design and furnish DHS headquarters

    • [41] $125 million to restore trails and abandoned mines

    • [42] $1.7 billion for the National Park System;

    • [43] $146 million for trail maintenance at National Park Service sites

    • [48] $25 million for the Smithsonian Institution

    • [49] $1.2 billion for “youth activities” (for “youth” up to 24 years old)

    • [50] $55 million for Historic Preservation Fund;

    • [51] $150 million for agricultural-commodity purchases;

    • [52] $400 million for hybrid cars for state and local governments;

    • [55] $500 million earmark for National Institute of Health facilities in Bethesda, MD

    • [59] $500 million earmark for the SSA National Computer Center in MD

    • [60] $220 million for the International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. and Mexico

    • [61] $1 billion earmark for the “FutureGen” near zero emission sci-fi plant in Matoon, Illinois that is a pet project of Senator Durbin and former governor Rod Blagojevich. The Washington Post has called the project “prohibitively expensive” and scientists at MIT oppose the project. See February 13, 2009 Washington Post story “Despite Pledges, Package Has Some Pork”

    • [62] Some money spent in the final bill allows funds to go to museums, stadiums, arts centers, theaters, parks, or highway beautification projects. This opens the back door to fund the notorious Mob Museum in Las Vegas, which would otherwise had not be able to receive stimulus money. (SEC. 1604)

    • [63] The final bill merely says contracts should be awarded with competitive procedures “to the maximum extent possible.” This will allow lawmakers to simply “phonemark” billions in spending to pet projects with zero transparency and accountability. (SEC. 1554-1555)

      Other questionable earmarks:
    • [64] $185,000 for coral reef research and preservation in Maui County, HI
    • [65] $55,000 in meteorological equipment for Pierce College in Woodland Hills, CA.
    • [71] $951,500 Sustainable Las Vegas. Berkeley and Reid sponsors.
    • [72] $24,000 A+ for Abstinence. Specter is sponsor.
    • [73] $300,000 Montana World Trade Center. Rehberg sponsor.
    • [74] $950,000 Myrtle Beach International Trade and Convention Center. Sponsored by Graham.
    • [75] $200,000 Oil Region Alliance. Peterson sponsor.
    • [76] $190,000 Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, WY for digitizing and editing the Cody collection. sponsored by Barbara Cubin
    • [77] $143,000 Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Las Vegas, NV, to expand natural history education programs. Sponsored by Harry Reid
    • [78] $238,000 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Honolulu, HI, for educational programs. Sponsored by Sen. Daniel Inouye.
    • [79] $381,000 for Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York, NY for music education programs. Sponsored by Jerrold Nadler.
    • [80] $3.8 million on a Needles, Calif., highway. Rep. Jerry Lewis of California, the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee.
    • [81] $950,000 nature education center in Moss Point, MS. Sponsored by Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, the top Republican on Senate Appropriations.
    Link to a copy of the Stimulus BILL

    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 2, 2009 09:41 PM
    Comment #276623

    Now think about that sort of porky spending (above) while U.S. Troops risk life and limb, go without armor, adequate medical care, promised benefits, and have to do 2, 3, 4+ tours in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, while Congress gives itself its 10th raise in 12 years and $93,000 per Congress person for petty cash and expenses.

    Now think about sort of porky spending (above) and these current deteriorating economic conditions.

    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 2, 2009 10:11 PM
    Comment #276625

    d.a.n said: “OK. Forget it. It’s not pork-barrel.”

    What’s not? We need to be specific as to our definitions and in our references to items, if a consensus is to be achieved. Simply running around labeling anything from anyone pork because it is not our pork preference, does not solve any problems. It only confuses the prerequisite discussion to get to a solution.

    d.a.n asked: “In the beginning, what was the primary purpose of the taxes raised by the federal government of the United States?”

    In the beginning, we were oppressed by the British, lacked representation, and were largely a hunter-gatherer collective of colonies of misfits, religious zealots, native American nations in the midst, and folks seeking independence and or adventure.

    Oh, OK, fast forward to the drafting of the Constitution.

    An answer is: ‘To afford the government revenues with which to pay for its charged duties, obligations, and responsibilities, as outlined by the Constitution in existence at that time and the duly elected representatives called for therein’.

    d.a.n then said: “Now look where we are today?”

    Yes, answer is the same. We were in debt from the Revolutionary War and facing challenges to our existence then. Today we are in debt from multiple wars beginning with WWI through the invasion of Iraq for which we never entirely paid off, and are now facing challenges to our economic existence. Pretty much in the same place as far as I can see, but, with a bit more equality amongst the races, and a whole lot more people and bells and whistles from what we now call, productive creative energy.

    d.a.n said: “Now, pork-barrel isn’t even pork-barrel any more.”

    I am not sure about that. How was pork barrel defined then? How is it defined now? Are either of those definitions workable and sufficient to achieve consensus on how to avoid it?

    d.a.n then said: “Now we need a definition of pork-barrel, which by itself ought to be an obvious sign that we’re screwed.”

    How can any two people communicate, let alone cooperate, if they speak different languages? To cooperate on pork barrel spending, we need to have a mutually agreed upon definition for the term, do we not? Reminds of a biblical story about the tower of Babel.

    d.a.n then said: “I would call this economic situation an economic emergency.”

    At last, we have a common definition of something and we can now agree. I agree.

    d.a.n then reiterated: “Yet we now need a definition of pork-barrel.”

    Yes, for the same reason outlined above.

    d.a.n then offered the following as a potential definition for pork barrel spending: “a legislative appropriation designed to ingratiate legislators with their constituents”.

    By that definition, everything Congress spends tax dollars on is pork barrel spending, provided some portion of their constituents applaud, or are ingratiated by, the spending. Conversely, any spending which ingratiates no one in a representative’s constituents, is NOT pork barrel spending.

    Not a very useful definition, is it? Not logically anyway.

    d.a.n then said: “The end result is that the nation is swimming in debt of nightmare proportions, yet many think the solution for massive debt is more debt?”

    No, the end result is, we still do not have a functional definition of pork barrel spending.

    As for the debt, there are also many who think the solution to our debt and recession is to spend next to nothing, continue taxing and use the surplus revenue to pay down the debt. The only problem with that thinking is the trillions of dollars black hole residing in the center of our private sector threatening to throw unprecedented percentages of America’s work force out of work. Perhaps, their aim is to start our nation and economy anew from scratch in the midst of its ashes.

    I suspect a more popularly acceptable solution can be found somewhere in the middle of these two extreme ideological points of view.

    What do you think of this one as working model for discussion. We continue maintenance spending for national security issues, government operations, and continue paying our creditors. In addition, we raise taxes on those who can most afford to pay the increases without suffering significant losses to their accustomed lifestyle.

    In addition to that, we spend, and borrow if need be, amounts required to compensate for the enormous leveraged debt now carried on corporate balance sheets, which threatens their demise and with it a quarter to one half of the jobs now held by working Americans as a consequence. For if the financial institutions and their business community dependents, are permitted to shut down in domino fashion as a result of attempts to sell their valueless balance sheet leveraged assets on the open market where there are no buyers, we shall enter the greatest of all economic depressions, a global depression, not just American.

    That is the Obama plan. Until I hear a more cogent alternative to flushing our economy down the toilet as penance for past errors and handing that as a legacy to our children, I will back Obama’s plan.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 10:19 PM
    Comment #276628

    d.a.n asked: “So you think Citizens Against Government Waste and these other organizations don’t have a clue?”

    I provided you with detailed responses to their criteria. You have yet to respond to my critique. So you accept their criteria without question as gospel and without an agenda of their own? Whatever happened to questioning authority? They seem to have you convinced they are the authority on what is and is not pork, even though some of their criterion are neither workable or logical.

    d.a.n asked: “So, do you have a definition of pork-barrel?”

    As previously specified some ways back up in the comments, I have an operational definition, not a definitive one. Pork spending by Congress at this time of recession is any spending which either 1) is not needed to maintain the viability and sovereignty of the U.S., 2) which fails to maintain a functioning government and civil order and domestic peace, or, 3) which fails to address the hardships created by this recession on people who through no fault of their own have been harmed by it, fails to address the maintenance and decline in jobs for willing workers, fails to address the threat by the private sector of shutting down the economy as a result of their leveraged asset debts which exceeds the value of the assets in the trillions of dollars, and which fails to insure the prerequisites for a functioning economy after this recession is over.

    It is not a simple definition. But, then we are not facing a simple choice by any means, as to what to spend our tax dollars on and how much we need to borrow. Complex multivariate problems often require complex definitions and solutions.

    I have yet to find a more utilitarian definition, though we are awash in simpler definitions which fail to provide an adequate guide to meeting the challenges set upon us by the leaders of government and industry who brought our nation to this critical juncture.

    If we cannot unite behind a plan to rescue our economy from collapse, then collapse it will, most certainly. The American people united as a majority to elect Obama to devise a plan and carry it forward.

    There are no competing plans with as much united support behind them as Obama has for his, by virtue of his election. I say our chances backing his plan are better than any chances of divisively backing a host of alternatives without consensus.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2009 10:42 PM
    Comment #276633

    Your faith in Obama, misplaced it may be.

    Again, this discussion pretty much demonstrates why we are probably screwed big time.

    Perhaps we should create a Congressional Committee to research the meaning of pork-barrel, and then create 10 sub-committees to assist, and perhaps spend a few hundred Billion dollar$ to perform an independent research, and then reconvene after a few years, so then start all over again?

    By the time there’s any agreement on what pork barrel is, it won’t matter.

    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 2, 2009 11:15 PM
    Comment #276649

    David
    I don’t want a guarantee that his plan will work, I clearly stated that either way we are screwed.
    Crushing taxation, increased dependencey on govt, loss of rights and an enormous govt IS the guarantee with the Obama’s plan, no matter how things turn out.

    I agree we need to act, but “acting in the face of adversity” out of fear is not the way to go about it.

    “And if Obama and we Americans in support of his plan are successful, America will retain a functional economy and government capable of paying off its creditors, as opposed to bankrupting and laying our future at the mercy of the IMF and our foreign creditors.”

    David, you rightfully state that the Obama’s plan may not work, but it seems as if your fear has you believing that not following his plan means the end and I have to disagree with that opinion.
    There is no way to know if either route will succeed or fail, and for that reason I am looking at the possible end results of each and asking myself if what we must give up in order to achieve those results are worth it or not. The Obama’s plan is not.

    As a supporter of his plan and knowing it may or may not work, what are you willing to give up?

    Posted by: kctim at March 3, 2009 10:14 AM
    Comment #276670

    Some dude from England is coming over the show Obama how that, between them, they can bail out the world. Using out good offices with China for the bucks, of course. It’s probably a good idea as there ain’t many places left to stick money in the U.S. and those pesky middle class workers are still not on their backs in sufficient numbers.

    Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

    Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 3, 2009 03:43 PM
    Comment #276681

    kctim asked: “As a supporter of his plan and knowing it may or may not work, what are you willing to give up?”

    The fear appears to be all yours kctim. I am not afraid. I grow enough food to live on. I have a home I built that I will likely keep even if our income drops to zero. I can repair vehicles, build homes, and grow food.

    I want to my daughter to inherit a functioning economy that will support her dreams and aspirations for several careers during her lifetime. The last thing I want to saddle her with is a dysfunctional economy which kills dreams and aspirations.

    So, she pays an extra $20 to $40 per paycheck during her lifetime. She has herself said, she would pay that gladly to know she can pursue her dreams in nursing and music and know her parents will be alright through to their end.

    I can’t say I applaud you nightmares of Crushing taxation, increased dependencey on govt, loss of rights and an enormous govt, which cause you to oppose taking Obama’s gamble on saving the present economy and investing in the future economy.

    I think your comments suffer a case of: If Republicans couldn’t do it, why would anyone think Obama and Democrats can? Of course the answer is, they have children and grandchildren too, with dreams and aspirations of their own that depend on Obama and Democrats succeeding in their plan.

    Our is a very flawed government in some substantial ways. But Americans have faced tougher and meaner challenges that these in the past and overcome them. Obama’s plan rescues people today, invests in people tomorrow, seeks to lower spending and increase revenues, all in a new presidency of only 4 years. That is as much as I can expect from any new president, regardless of party or ideology. As for increasing the costs on my daughter’s and her’s generations, every generation since this country began has inherited more debt than the previous.

    It is a threat and a challenge. But, what generation in America hasn’t faced threat or challenge?

    It is illogical and rather dumb to expect Obama and the Democrats to solve all our nation’s future challenges in the next 4 years. It is equally illogical and rather dumb to give up and don’t even try to shore up this economy and get it standing on its own productive power again.

    As for the government. The Private Sector failed our nation and most of her people. Government is now the ONLY place to turn for alternative action. If you people who believe so mightily in the private sector were any good at taking care of it responsibly, government wouldn’t have to be underwriting the private sector with deficit spending, because the private sector leveraged every dollar cash into ten dollars paper assets which don’t exist.

    Most Americans logically and rather intelligently now support the government coming in and putting in place more stringent accounting, transparency, and responsible oversight practices, and demanding a lot from those corporations whose existence now depends upon the government they so detested and opposed previously.

    A few of those companies, asked for help, but, now seeing the strings attached, are choosing to not accept it if they can afford to (e.g. Ford Motor & BofA), which begs the question: Were they really going to soak the taxpayers if they could get away with it with no strings attached?

    It is outstanding that the government is there to assist, and even more outstanding that this government is exacting a toll of responsibility and oversight as part of the price for that assistance.

    We are indeed borrowing some of the prosperity of the future, but, at the same time, we are also working to insure those in the future can live in that more expensive future with aspirations and dreams intact and alive. Handing those in the future a failed economy, handouts from the IMF and conditions dictated by our foreign creditors in exchange for forgiveness of our debts, is not much of a future to hang one’s aspirations and hopes on.

    I hear so many capitalists cry “socialism is coming with the Democrats”. As if they did not know that their greed and hubris would not lead to greater government intervention, action, cost, and oversight. Capitalists have demonstrated a complete lack of responsibility whatsoever to their corporation’s long term viability, the cost of failure to this nation and her future, and to their shareholders.

    Capitalism is motivated by one human emotion alone, greed, and as Adam Smith laid out in great detail when this country was founded, unbridled greed is one of the most unenlightened short-sighted and eventually, destructive forces in human nature.

    Enlightened self-interest on the other hand, insures the future and the present are tended with equal care, and that personal acquisition balanced by good will action toward others is the most sustainable foundation for support and respect, essential to prosperity present and future.

    Since we do not educate MBA’s in Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments, nor enlightened self-interest, we are left with no choice but to invoke government as the enlightenment to capitalist’s greed, and command compliance from capitalists to regulations and oversight which, being a lesser substitute, nonetheless, helps insure greed and avarice do not become self and other consuming.

    Republicans made government untrustworthy as well as the financial industry and guts of our economy. Then Republicans, having done that, declare government cannot be trusted and should be feared when it attempts to right the wrongs permitted and encouraged under Republican governance of the financial industry and government.

    Well, the Republicans no longer govern. And the financial industry cannot rescue itself. That leaves only Democrats in charge of government and responsible for rescuing the financial industry. It is the height of hypocrisy for Republicans to now decry the efforts of Democrats to save the nation from the greed and hubris and ignorance of the Republicans.

    Democrats in Congress aren’t much different as politicians from Republicans, except in 3 ways. They hold to a different view that government SHOULD be capable of being trusted to act in the good interests of the people it represents, government therefore has an obligation and duty to oversee the actions of those whose can exploit the people for greed, and the nation can only be free to pursue its destiny and prosper if its people are free to pursue their destiny and prosper. All the people. Not just the captains of industry.

    This differences will not insure a perfect nation nor perfect resolutions to the crises we face. But, these differences do constitute a change from Republican rule, and that is what the majority of Americans chose as their course last November. The American people have made a decision. That decision is to be respected and observed. That is after all, how our Constitutionally based democratic republic has been designed to function.

    If that design fails, the nation fails. And then it will be up to the citizens of the future to bury the wreckage, and start over from scratch designing a better form of government based on what they learned from the failed one we and our predecessors gave them. Impoverished or not, life will go on and learning will take place.

    We live in perilous times, we live in interesting times. It would behoove us all to work to insure that our government leaders are successful in rescuing this economy and insuring the viability for our future economy. This is a very difficult challenge.

    But certain measures will go far in accomplishing those ends: closing the wealth gap so destructively created over the last 30 years, insuring basic requirements for pursuing a worthy life in America are available to all, education, health maintenance, freedom of expression and to pursue individual dreams with an ability to respond appropriately toward those who will be impacted by our individual pursuits.

    I see some of these measures are being sought by our government under the new administration. That is reason to hope and to hold this government accountable for our nation’s need for enlightened leadership out of these times of economic peril.

    And let me hasten to add, we don’t have a lot of time here to address or fight over domestic issues. This global recession is destabilizing many foreign political structures, creating new foreign based threats to international stability and peace. And I have yet to see a president and Congress in our history satisfactorily resolve both domestic and foreign crises at the same time.

    The current leadership in our government must ignore the naysayers and would be obstructionists, and forge ahead with plans to resolve this current domestic economic crisis while our international circumstances still permit. Otherwise, this economic crisis could pose serious national security risks and challenges to our ability to effectively deal with coming foreign crises fueled by the global recession creating great hardship and frustrated demands from 100’s of millions or a billion or more people in other nations.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 3, 2009 05:48 PM
    Comment #276682

    d.a.n said: “Your faith in Obama, misplaced it may be.”

    It is not faith. It is hope. And I would rather live with hope, than without it. Obama is the only president I have to represent the interests of my daughter’s future, and according to the majority of voters, the best of the lot who sought the position.

    I believe in the democratic process over all others, as the best hope for peaceful co-existing civilizations of human beings. In this democratic process, I have no choice but to posit my hope. Without hope, there is no action or will to survive and improve. I will live with hope, and encourage my leaders to not disappoint that hope. And I will act as responsibly as I can to insure my family has what it needs to survive and keep hope alive. I do not see any other alternative which makes as more sense.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 3, 2009 05:56 PM
    Comment #276683

    kctim said: “David, you rightfully state that the Obama’s plan may not work, but it seems as if your fear has you believing that not following his plan means the end and I have to disagree with that opinion.”

    Your comment is entirely illogical, kctim. If Obama’s plan, which involves taking the national debt to around $15 trillion dollars fails, our nation will fail as entitlement obligations build rapidly that national debt amount toward a breaking point.

    As for NOT following his plan? Are you kidding? Whose plan should we follow? The Republican plan? Get serious. Americans kicked Republicans and their plans out the window last November. Republicans have NO POWER to push an alternative plan, and justifiably so according to the majority of voters.

    There is no plan, save Obama’s with the support of the majority of the American people. There are no viable alternative plans. Obama is the president, and the majority of Americans support his presidency, and more support his plan than any other on the table, as poll after poll demonstrates. 44% approve of Obama’s economic plan, and about 30% are yet unsure. That leaves only 27% opposed. There are no other plans, kctim.

    I don’t have any fear. I have hope, that Obama’s plan will work. My hope has received some support from the business news and statistics over the last couple weeks to reinforce it. Leading economic indicators up two months in a row. Market consensus is building that we are at or very near market bottom, and an oversold condition. Billions upon billions of dollars injected by the government last year will be finally felt in the consumer markets this Spring and Summer and Fall. The rates of decline in property values is slowing significantly, inventories are beginning to decline, and consumer demand is being pent up.

    These are positive signs. Not a guarantee, but, positive signs, which were not evident just 8 to 12 weeks ago. I think you may be projecting your own fear. I am not afraid of the future. I am hopeful.

    Amazing how hope can bring such opposition in times of crisis, and fear prevents so many from experiencing and sharing in hope. Elections are an act of hope and confidence. Share in that hope, and revel with confidence in our constitutionally based democratic republic. We do, you know, have he best form of government on the planet with which to deal with adversity over time. That should be a source of hope and confidence, not fear.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 3, 2009 06:13 PM
    Comment #276725
    David R. Remer wrote: As for NOT following his [Obama’s] plan? Are you kidding? Whose plan should we follow?
    Follow?

    It’s really probably beyond the voters control until 2010 and/or 2012, unless you think writing your Congress person(s) is effective.
    “Whose plan? If I had a choice, it would not be any plan that tries to solve the massive debt-bubble with more debt, borrowing, money-printing, and rampant spending, which will lead to hyperinflation, as dozens of nations have already discovered the hard and painful way; making a bad situation worse by also destroying the currency, all savings, pensions, retirements, entitlements, wages, and jobs.

    And it doesn’t mean anyone who believes likewise must be a Republican, because theoretically not only Republicans believe a massive debt-bubble can be solved by more of the same. And for New Keynesian and other economic models, none of them know how to deal with debt that is already untenable.

    There are several obvious facts that may mean that the debt is already untenable:

    • (01) No one seems to know if it is untenable already. 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 federal and non-federal debt is crushing the nation, and has been for years.

    • (03) There is a limit to the debt (federal and non-federal), and if the debt which is 500% of GDP isn’t untenable already, it’s damn close, and growing it bigger doesn’t make sense.

    • (04) After 52 consecutive years of deficit spending and incessant inflation, 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.

    • (05) 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 size, and per-capita, and as a percentage of GDP too.

    • (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’s 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 decades of crushing debt that has now become untenable, and more debt will simply become more untenable. GDP has been decreasing since year 2007. The U.S. Dollar has declined against all major international currencies for a decade.

    • (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 (look closely at this chart). 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 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 we have deflation now, and inflation is not a concern at this time, and can be managed later. First of all, we have not had negative inflation (i.e. deflation) in the past 52 consecutive years. Secondly, 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. So why grow it bigger and make it completely untenable?

    • (19) If the debt isn’t untenable, then why is the federal government predicting/planning more deficit spending for another 10 years?

    • (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?

    So, how anyone can believe that more debt is the solution simply makes no sense.

    This administration and Congress has decided that is the path we’ll take, and I strongly believe it will make things much worse for a very long time.
    Even if hyperinflation is somehow avoided, the crushing DEBT will still be huge and oppressive for many years (or decades).
    Yet, this administration and Congress believe the solution is more borrowing , debt , money-printing , spending , and growing the government larger?

    Chops asked a good question (www.watchblog.com/republicans/archives/006449.html#comments).
    Is all of this massive spending going to produce a net benefit?
    What is the multiplier?
    Because, unless it is significantly more than 1.0, the debt will simply make things much worse.
    And from what I’ve seen, the Stimulus BILL and 2009 budget is full of pork-barrel.
    The problem is that the government isn’t good, and never has been good at creating jobs.
    We can’t all work in the government, but there are apparently a lot of people who don’t believe it.

    This nation has a crushing debt problem and many people believe it is time for the federal government to cut all unnecessary spending, pork-barrel, and waste.
    And the $2.4 Trillion the federal government already gets could be spent much better.

  • Do we need all of this bloat: www.akdart.com/gov1.html?

  • Do we need a U.S. Military presence in 132 nations?

  • Do we need to keep importing 1.5 Million foreign H-1B workers per year with 11.5-to-25 Million unemployed Americans?

  • Do we need to keep losing an estimated $70-to-$327 Billion per year in net losses due to illegal immigration?

  • Do we need to perpetuate a regressive, and ridiculously complex and unfair tax system?

  • Do we need to continue killing 195,000 people per year (One-Simple-Idea.com/Abuses.htm#HealthCare) due to preventable medical mistakes? Between 1999 and 2004, over 1.5 million people were killed by preventable medical mistakes. That is more than all the American soldiers killed in all American wars (e.g. the American Revolution (4,435), the War of 1812 (2,260), the Indian Wars (1,000), the Mexican War (1,733), the Civil War (462,000), the Spanish American War (385), WWI (53,402), WWII (291,557), Vietnam War (58,209), Korean War (36,574), the Iraq Gulf War (529), and the current Iraq war 19-Mar-2003-to-24-Jan-2009 (4,232), combined!).

  • Do we need greedy banks receiving money created out of thin air (at low to ZERO interest rates) who then charge people 20%-to-35% interest rates?
  • There are lots of things that could be done by the federal government.
    But the federal government is doing few (if any) of those things.
    Instead, estimates say that the already-severely-bloated federal government will probably grow by another 600,000-to-800,000 jobs.
    Instead, the majority of the solution appears to be to try to solve massive (most likely untenable) debt with more massive debt?
    And the fiscal year 2009’s federal budget is estimated to have a $1.7 Trillion deficit (over the estimated $2.4 Trillion in revenues; probably less due to sharply falling GDP and tax revenues), for a total of $4.1 Trillion in spending planned for fiscal year 2009.
    Not everyone thinks that makes any sense.
    Not everyone believes the Stimulus BILL and 2009 budget are spending responsibly.
    Especially since no one seems to know if the current debt is untenable.
    Especially since Congress doesn’t “get it”, as evidenced by Congress giving itself its 10th raise in 12 years and another $93,000 for petty cash and expenses.
    Funny how many are silent about that.
    And others are silent about the pork-barrel.
    And others don’t believe there is any pork-barrel …

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n - I don’t see pork barrel there, [only] little projects just meant to appeal to a base back home.

    Others don’t beleive there is any pork-barrel in the Stimulus BILL or 2009 federal budget, despite previously writing
    David R. Remer wrote: So, why is [it that] the Democrats are loading this year’s all important budget with 10’s of thousands of Earmarks designed to meet the wishes of special interests in the home districts instead of the nation’s dire need for economic rescue at the lowest cost to future tax payers?
    Why are House Democrats acting as if they learned nothing from their nearly 2 decades in the Congressional wilderness as the minority party?

    Now the definition of pork-barrel has been obscured so that no one can know what it is. Clever, eh?
    Funny how it isn’t pork-barrel anymore when it is authored by one party, instead of the other party, eh?
    Anyway, for anyone who thinks trying to solve massive debt with more debt (instead of cutting spending) does not make any sense, then they must be an evil Republican, eh?
    Why is anyone who wants spending cuts and a halt to growing the current (most likely, untenable) debt, and growing government ever larger have to be a Republican?
    Funny how the roles and definitions change when the IN-PARTY and the OUT-PARTY trade places, isn’t it?

    I’d like to get an answer about what is and isn’t considered pork-barrel.
    One good approach is to hold up some examples.
    After listing hundreds of examples of pork-barrel, we see this

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n - I don’t see pork barrel there, little projects just meant to appeal to a base back home.

    David R. Remer wrote: Now, how do you define pork?

    As kctim, Roy Ellis, I, and others have been saying, how about cutting wasteful and unnecessary spending?
    But come to think of it, that perhaps is a sort of ridiculous expectation, since Congress has been deficit spending for 52 consecutive years?

    David R. Remer wrote: The Republican plan? Get serious. Americans kicked Republicans and their plans out the window last November.
    Get serious?

    Americans kicked Republicans … out?

    Such gloating may not be justified with such a tiny majority (see graph: One-Simple-Idea.com/CongressMakeUp_1855_2011.htm).

    • Start __ End __ Congress _ Re-Election ___ Party Seat-Retention

    • Year ___ Year ___ # _____ Rate ________ Rate

    • 1927 ___ 1929 ___ 070st ___ 83.6% ________ 96.4% (87 incumbents ousted: 22(D), 64(R), 1(FL) )

    • 1929 ___ 1931 ___ 071st ___ 79.7% ________ 92.5% (108 incumbents ousted)

    • 1931 ___ 1933 ___ 072nd ___ 76.8% ________ 88.5% (123 incumbents ousted)

    • 1933 ___ 1935 ___ 073rd ___ 61.2% ________ 78.7% (206 of 531 incumbents ousted; 59 Dems, 147 Repubs)

    • … … … … … … … …

    • 1989 ___ 1991 ___ 101st ___ 90.1% ________ 99.6%

    • 1991 ___ 1993 ___ 102nd ___ 87.7% ________ 98.3%

    • 1993 ___ 1995 ___ 103rd ___ 73.5% ________ 98.1% (142 of 535 incumbents ousted)

    • … … … … … … … …

    • 1999 ___ 2001 ___ 106th ___ 89.2% ________ 99.3%

    • 2001 ___ 2003 ___ 107th ___ 89.2% ________ 98.7%

    • 2003 ___ 2005 ___ 108th ___ 87.9% ________ 98.1% (65 of 535 voted out)

    • 2005 ___ 2007 ___ 109th ___ 88.6% ________ 98.7% (61 of 535 voted out)

    • 2007 ___ 2009 ___ 110th ___ 84.9% ________ 93.1% (81 of 535 incumbents voted out (68=16(D)+51(R)+1(I) in the House) + (13=3(D)+9(R)+1(I) in the Senate)

    • 2009 ___ 2011 ___ 111th ___ 86.9% ________ 94.0% (70 of 535 voted out (57=13(D)+44(R) in the House) + (13=3(D)+10(R) in the Senate); a few seats left To Be Determined (TBD))

    • ___________________ Senate ______________________ House________________________________
    • Congress__Years_____Total__Dems_Reps_Other_Vacant_Total_Dems_Rep___Other_Vacant
    • 97th ___ 1981–1983 __ 100 __ 46 __ 53 __ 1 ____ 0 ___ 435 _ 242 _ 192 __ 1 ____ 0 (54% D; 46% R)
    • 98th ___ 1983–1985 __ 100 __ 46 __ 54 __ 0 ____ 0 ___ 435 _ 269 _ 166 __ 0 ____ 0 (59% D; 41% R)
    • 99th ___ 1985–1987 __ 100 __ 47 __ 53 __ 0 ____ 0 ___ 435 _ 253 _ 182 __ 0 ____ 0 (56% D; 44% R)
    • 100th __ 1987–1989 __ 100 __ 55 __ 45 __ 0 ____ 0 ___ 435 _ 258 _ 177 __ 0 ____ 0 (59% D; 41% R)
    • 101st __ 1989–1991 __ 100 __ 55 __ 45 __ 0 ____ 0 ___ 435 _ 260 _ 175 __ 0 ____ 0 (59% D; 41% R)
    • 102nd __ 1991–1993 __ 100 __ 56 __ 44 __ 0 ____ 0 ___ 435 _ 267 _ 167 __ 1 ____ 0 (61% D; 39% R)
    • 103rd __ 1993–1995 __ 100 __ 57 __ 43 __ 0 ____ 0 ___ 435 _ 258 _ 176 __ 1 ____ 0 (59% D; 41% R)
    • 104th __ 1995–1997 __ 100 __ 48 __ 52 __ 0 ____ 0 ___ 435 _ 204 _ 230 __ 1 ____ 0 (47% D; 53% R)
    • 105th __ 1997–1999 __ 100 __ 45 __ 55 __ 0 ____ 0 ___ 435 _ 207 _ 226 __ 2 ____ 0 (47% D; 53% R)
    • 106th __ 1999–2001 __ 100 __ 45 __ 55 __ 0 ____ 0 ___ 435 _ 211 _ 223 __ 1 ____ 0 (49% D; 51% R)
    • 107th __ 2001–2003 __ 100 __ 50 __ 50 __ 0 ____ 0 ___ 435 _ 212 _ 221 __ 2 ____ 0 (49% D; 51% R)
    • 108th __ 2003–2005 __ 100 __ 48 __ 51 __ 1 ____ 0 ___ 435 _ 205 _ 229 __ 1 ____ 0 (48% D; 52% R)
    • 109th __ 2005-2007 __ 100 __ 44 __ 55 __ 1 ____ 0 ___ 435 _ 202 _ 231 __ 1 ____ 1 (47% D; 53% R)
    • 110th __ 2007-2008 __ 100 __ 49 __ 49 __ 2 ____ 0 ___ 435 _ 233 _ 202 __ 0 ____ 0 (53% D; 47% R)
    • 111th __ 2009-2011 __ 100 __ 56 __ 42 __ 1 ____ 0 ___ 435 _ 257 _ 177 __ 2 ____ 0 (59% D; 41% R)
    Seems to me, too many voters failed to “kick” a LOT of other bad politicians out of office from BOTH parties.
    David R. Remer wrote: The Republican plan? Get serious. Americans kicked Republicans and their plans out the window last November.
    That does not mean most Americans are now in agreement with the new path either.

    Some Polling Report polls (2/20-22/09) shows the following (source: www.pollingreport.com/budget.htm)

      Regardless of whether you favor or oppose the economic stimulus bill that Congress passed, do you think it would have been better for the government to spend more money to stimulate the economy, better for the government to spend less money, or is the amount of spending in the bill about right?”
    • Better to Spend More: 14%
    • Better to Spend Less: 41%
    • About Right: 40%
    • Unsure: 1%
      In thinking about the trade-offs between spending government money to improve the economy versus adding considerable amounts of money to the federal debt, which do you think is the greater risk: spending too little to improve the economy or adding too much to the federal debt?”
    • Spending too little: 37%
    • Adding too much to debt: 59%
    • About Right: 4%
      “Regardless of whether you favor or oppose the steps the government has taken in recent months to address economic problems, how worried are you about each of the following: very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not worried at all? How about [see below]?”

      |

        “The amount of money being added to the federal debt”
      • Very worried: 54%
      • Somewhat worried: 28%
      • Not too worried: 11%
      • Not at all worried: 5%
      • Unsure: 1%
      |
        “The possibility these steps might not work and the economy will get worse”
      • Very worried: 46%
      • Somewhat worried: 37%
      • Not too worried: 11%
      • Not at all worried: 6%
      • Unsure: 1%
      |
        “The possibility that increased government borrowing could produce inflation”
      • Very worried: 43%
      • Somewhat worried: 35%
      • Not too worried: 14%
      • Not at all worried: 6%
      • Unsure: 2%
      |
        “The increasing role of the government in the U.S. economy”
      • Very worried: 34%
      • Somewhat worried: 35%
      • Not too worried: 19%
      • Not at all worried: 10%
      • Unsure: 2%

    So, based on those polls, Obama’s plan had better work, because most people polled seem to be against growing the debt larger.

    However, the voters’ want their cake and eat it too:

      “As you may know, the federal government has taken many steps to deal with problems in the economy in recent months. Please tell me whether, in general, you favor or oppose the government doing each of the following. How about [see below]?”

      |


        “Funding new government programs to help create jobs”
      • Favor: 83%

      • Oppose: 17%

      • Unsure: 1%

      |
        “Giving aid to state governments in serious financial trouble”
      • Favor: 67%

      • Oppose: 30%

      • Unsure: 3%

      |
        “Giving aid to homeowners who are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure”
      • Favor: 64%

      • Oppose: 33%

      • Unsure: 3%

    Voters (by 2010 and 2012) most likely will not be happy with Republicans or Democrats after this massive (most likely untenable) debt-bubble is pushed to collapse, via rampant spending and hyperinflation.

    Do you know how much new money it would take to put a dent in the problem, when there is currenty $67 Trillion of nation-wide debt, and 90%-to-95% of all U.S. Dollars in existence in the U.S. exists as debt?
    Do you seriously think Congress will stop spending until necessary?
    Not likely after Congress’ 52 years of consecutive spending and deficits, and now these huge, pork-laden BILLs and budgets.

    David R. Remer wrote: The Republican plan? Get serious. Americans kicked Republicans and their plans out the window last November. Republicans have NO POWER to push an alternative plan, and justifiably so according to the majority of voters.
    “Republicans have NO POWER” to push an alternative plan?

    Republicans certainly did screw the pooch.
    And now that they are rejecting irresponsible spending, they have no credibility.
    However, the Democrats are now doing as you stated

    David R. Remer wrote: So, why is [it that] the Democrats are loading this year’s all important budget with 10’s of thousands of Earmarks designed to meet the wishes of special interests in the home districts instead of the nation’s dire need for economic rescue at the lowest cost to future tax payers?
    Why are House Democrats acting as if they learned nothing from their nearly 2 decades in the Congressional wilderness as the minority party?

    2 decades?

    Republicans only had a small majority in Congress from 1994 to 2006 (about 12 years).
    Democrats have had a majority in Congress all but those 12 of the last 55 years (since 1954).

    Any way, all of this partisan warfare is part of the reason that this nation is in trouble.
    Too many people love THEIR party, more than their country, and prefer to fuel and wallow in the partisan warfare.
    There’s too much focus on getting POWER for the party, demonizing the OTHER party, and fueling and wallowing in the petty, circular, divisive, distracting partisan warfare.

    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n said: “Your faith in Obama, misplaced it may be.”
    It is not faith. It is hope. And I would rather live with hope, than without it.
    Hope is OK. But it can be harmful if it is unrealistic.

    However, reality is better.
    It helps to plan things better.
    Some called it pessimism.
    I’d have the last laugh if it weren’t for the fact I’d prefer to be wrong and have a more healthy economy.
    However, a person who realistically believes things are going to get worse does mean that person wants things to get worse.

    David R. Remer wrote: Obama is the only president I have to represent the interests of my daughter’s future, …
    He’s just one person, but Congress is following his lead so far, and and in my opinion, growing the massive debt and already-severely-bloated government even bigger will lead to inflation, and most likely hyperinflation eventually.
    David R. Remer wrote: … and according to the majority of voters, the best of the lot who sought the position.
    Yes, yes. You keep saying that … as if to rub it in. Just because Obama won the election does not mean the majority of voters now agree with his policies. I didn’t care which of the two (Obama or McCain) were elected, since I think both of them represent two extremes that are both bad for the nation:
    • Extreme #1: One extreme wants regressive taxation, unfettered capitalism and freedom to explore and wallow in every manifestation of unchecked greed (which we have seen plenty of lately).
    • Extreme #2: The other extreme wants a nanny-state with citizens increasingly dependent on the government; with massive cradle-to-grave government programs (which are usually severely mismanaged) that nuture a sense of entitlement and dependency on government; wants to grow government ever larger (despite the already current nightmare proportions); rewards failure and laziness; and perpetuates the myth that we can somehow all live at the expense of everyone else.
    Obama’s now turning out to be more extreme than I thought he would be. His 10 year budget plans 10 more years of deficit spending. Already, interest on only the $10.9 Trillion national debt is almost half-a-Trillion per year (20% of $2.4 Trillion federal revenues in 2007).
    David R. Remer wrote: I believe in the democratic process over all others, as the best hope for peaceful co-existing civilizations of human beings. In this democratic process, I have no choice but to posit my hope. Without hope, there is no action or will to survive and improve.
    Hope is OK. But it can be harmful if it is unrealistic. I have hope too, but I’m not going to delude myself into believing that a ridiculously massive debt problem can be solved by more debt, money-printing, rampant pork-barrel spending, and growing the already severely-bloated federal government ever larger and larger, until it finally collapses from decades of fiscal and moral bankruptcy. Congress did not turn over a new leaf. Obama is just one person, and just when it didn’t seem the severely bloated federal government could not grow any more bloated and wasteful, it does.
    David R. Remer wrote: I will live with hope, and encourage my leaders to not disappoint that hope. And I will act as responsibly as I can to insure my family has what it needs to survive and keep hope alive. I do not see any other alternative which makes as more sense.
    Nothin’ wrong with that, as long as it is rooted in reality.

    You believe more massive debt and spending is needed.
    I don’t, and neither to most Americans polled (see above).
    Just because Obama won the election does not mean the majority of voters now agree with his policies.
    I think Obama is a smart guy and means well, but Obama doesn’t seem to understand economics (evidenced by his surprise when the banks started failing, and had to reconsider some drastic changes to his campaign promises), and Obama seems to be getting bad advice on how best to unwind the debt-bubble (instead of growing it bigger).
    And if more debt, money-printing, and spending leads to hyperinflation, and makes things worse by debauching the currency, destroying all savings, pensions, 401Ks, entitlements, and wages, he will be a very unpopular president. He won’t be able to blame hyperinflation on Bush.

    So we’ll have to agree to disagree.
    We will see.
    The funny thing is, I hope I’m wrong and you’re right, while you hope I’m wrong and hope you’re right.
    I want you, Obama, and other people to be right, who think all of that spending and growing the debt larger will work.
    But I’ll bet $100 bucks that all of this spending won’t work, and will lead to more debt, more high inflation (for those 20 reasosns listed above. If it goes very badly, and there’s a high probability of that, we’ll probably be facing hyperinflation as the federal government and Federal Reserve create tens of trillions of more money out of thin air to merely pay the interest alone on massive debt that is already at unprecedented, nightmare proportions.

    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 01:50 AM
    Comment #276748

    David, do you really believe paying an extra 20-40 dollars a month in taxes is all that will come from this? I’m sorry, but that is the most ‘illogical’ statement said by either of us.
    We are going to lose that and probably a whole lot more no matter if the Obama’s plan succeeds or fails.
    Yes, it is a nightmare, but it is a very realistic nightmare and I must say that I am a little bit surprised that you are so eager to embrace it without question.

    “Your comment is entirely illogical”

    Depends on what one considers failure, doesn’t it? I don’t believe an economic failure automatically means our country will fail. There are more important things than money and throwing those things away in overcoming this hardship is not something many of us are willing to do.
    You can call that fear for no good reason if you want, but giving such things up based only on a hope, is being much more fearful to me.

    “As for NOT following his plan? Are you kidding? Whose plan should we follow? The Republican plan? Get serious”

    Come on David, you know darn well I am worried about crushing debt and loss of rights. I have not been advocating the Republican plan, whatever that may be.

    “Amazing how hope can bring such opposition in times of crisis, and fear prevents so many from experiencing and sharing in hope”

    We hope for the same thing but differ on whats worth giving up in order to see that hope come to be. I do not wish to experience nor share in the hope for a govt run utopia that can never be.
    Not out of fear, but out of sorrow.

    Posted by: kctim at March 4, 2009 10:18 AM
    Comment #276749

    Close Shave David and d.a.n. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090304/ap_on_re_us/asteroid_close_call

    Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 4, 2009 10:20 AM
    Comment #276759
    Rodney Brown wrote: Close Shave David and d.a.n.: news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090304/ap_on_re_us/asteroid_close_call
    • PASADENA, CA. – An asteroid about the size of one that blasted Siberia a century ago just buzzed by Earth.
    • NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported that the asteroid zoomed past Monday morning.
    • The asteroid named 2009 DD45 was about 48,800 miles from Earth. That is just twice the height of some telecommunications satellites and about a fifth of the distance to the Moon.
    • The space ball measured between 69 feet and 154 feet in diameter. The Planetary Society said that made it the same size as an asteroid that exploded over Siberia in 1908 and leveled more than 800 square miles of forest.
    • Most people probably didn’t notice the cosmic close call. The asteroid was only spotted 2 days ago and at its closest point passed over the Pacific Ocean near Tahiti.
    Rodney, Thanks for the link. I heard about that, but hadn’t seen how big it was (e.g. about 69-to-154 feet in diameter).

    While that asteroid isn’t big enough to cause a significant global catastrophe, it could be very bad if it hit a highly populated city.
    I wonder if an asteroid of that size (69-to-154 feet in diameter) would cause a huge tsunami if the asteroid had hit in/or above the Ocean?

    David R. Remer: Amazing how hope can bring such opposition in times of crisis, and fear prevents so many from experiencing and sharing in hope.
    What is more amazing is how unrealistic hope and expectations can be in times of crisis, and how it prevents so many from experiencing and sharing in better solutions to mitigate and/or avoid unnecessary pain and misrey.
    David R. Remer: Elections are an act of hope and confidence.
    Right. That’s why 40%-to-50% don’t bother to vote at all. For those that do vote, many are more in love with THEIR party, than their country, as evidenced by 85%-to-90% re-elecion rates, despite dismally low 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress.
    David R. Remer: Share in that hope, and revel with confidence in our constitutionally based democratic republic.
    The U.S. constitution is being violated in several ways.

    Do you know what real hope and optimism is.
    It is the hope that drives people to learn and work toward better than what we have today.
    We can do better.
    Excuses and rationalizations for mediocrity (or worse) aren’t good enough. Especially if they are paving the way for an economic collapse, and that ain’t at all far fetched.

    David R. Remer: We do, you know, have he best form of government on the planet with which to deal with adversity over time.
    I’m not so certain of that today. Not with so many abuses and Constitutional violations.

    It it OK if some people expect better, and refuse to resign to the futility of achieving better, that believe we can do better, and don’t worship Obama or the IN-PARTY’s and/or OUT-PARTY’s policies, pork-barrel, waste, and growing the federal government and massive debt beyond already unprecedented nightmare proportions?

    David R. Remer: That should be a source of hope and confidence, not fear.
    Some fear may be warranted.

    Some concern is most certainly justified.
    In fact, anyone who isn’t concerned is either somehow insulated from the economic crisis (i.e. wealthy perhaps), or delusional.

    As you can see above, most Americans polled are justifiably concerned about the massive crushing debt.
    9,000-to-10,000 foreclosures per day, 12-to-25 Million unemployed, $220,000 per-capita nation-wide debt, and an incompetent, FOR-SALE, irresponsible, corrupt, and out-of-control Congress are very good reasons for concern.

    Hope is OK, unless it is unrealistic.
    The belief that such a massive debt-bubble can be solved by more debt, money-printing, and rampant spending is most likely delusional, is not supported by any credible economic model or theory, is not supported by the math (which is truly dismal), and is not supported by any historical precedent, since no nation in history so ridiculously deep into debt, has ever resolved its massive debt-bubble with more debt, more rampant money-printing, and more rampant spending (not to mention those 20 other reasons listed above).

    Hope is OK, but it is not enough.
    Serious and honest analysis is required too.
    And if a plan appears ineffective, hope should not blind people to refuse to consider better solutions.
    Hope alone doesn’t explain away those 20 reasons listed above why massive debt can’t be solved with more debt.
    You’ve already stated countless times that it will be difficult to grow GDP in this new global and competitive economy.
    Why now do you believe that no longer applies and we can somehow rely on GDP growth to overcome this massive debt-bubble.
    Do you realize how big the GDP would have to expand to even put a dent in so much debt?

    Hope is OK if it doesn’t ignore reality, doesn’t ignore better solutions, and doesn’t make things worse.
    The faith many have that massive debt can be solved by more masive debt, money-printing, and spending is not supported by any credible math, economic theory, or historical precedent, and that is sufficient cause for concern.

    So, it is OK if some of us don’t share in that brand of hope?
    It is OK if some of us see those 20 reasons (above), the math, economic theories, and history, and history of hyperinflation, and Congress’ dismal track-record, and question the plan to try to solve massive debt with more debt, money-printing, and rampant spending?

    Perhaps we can get somewhere when some of those 20 reasons (above) are addressed, and we have some admission that there is significant irresponsible spending in the 17-NOV-2009 Stimulus BILL, and the tentative 2009 fiscal budget?

    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 11:51 AM
    Comment #276765

    A tiny object with D=4 meters packs the explosive power of the Hiroshima bomb (20,000 tons).

    If D=200 meters, a common size of asteroid, energy = 2 billion tons of TNT! This was about 30 - 40 meters or 98.4ft- 131.2 ft A good size “H” bomb!

    Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 4, 2009 12:34 PM
    Comment #276768

    Yes. A good size “H” bomb.
    An 800 square mile area is an area about 28.3 x 28.3 miles.
    Enough to flatten most larges cities.

    Posted by: d.a.n at March 4, 2009 12:57 PM
    Comment #276786

    d.a.n said: “The U.S. constitution is being violated in several ways.”

    Our Constitution has always been violated throughout history in many ways. Hasn’t stopped the rise of America to prominence. Violations of our Constitution tend to be dealt with sooner or later by the very self-correcting mechanisms installed into the Constitution via equal branches of government and the checks and balances each provide the others.

    It ain’t perfect, but, America became a great nation on the foundation of that Constitution, despite the many affronts and violations of it by people of good and ill intents. Our Constitution still provides a source of hope and confidence that we will overcome our challenges as ALL our previous generations have.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 4, 2009 03:03 PM
    Comment #276789

    kctim said: “David, do you really believe paying an extra 20-40 dollars a month in taxes is all that will come from this? I’m sorry, but that is the most ‘illogical’ statement said by either of us.”

    You don’t get it, because you have not pulled out your calculator and run the numbers for yourself, as I have. It is not a matter of belief, kctim. It is a mathematical problem with a clean clear answer. Run the numbers.

    3 trillion dollars added debt divided by 145 million wage earners [$20,689] with an average wage of $36,764, divided by an average work life of 60 years of equal tax collection per annum ($345 per year) until the $20,689 is paid. Which equals $345/year, divided by 26 bi-weekly paychecks, equals $13.26 per paycheck additional taxes per wage earner.

    Now, add in the interest cost to be paid per wage earner per annum throughout their working lifetime, and you get to the $20 per paycheck low end estimate I quoted in my comment previously to which you replied in a vain attempt to discredit my numbers. Interest rates over a lifetime on national debt will vary greatly as such debt is constantly being refinanced, but, assuming a low and high range estimate, an additional $7 to approximately $27 per paycheck over a lifetime of earnings at the low and high end ranges. Or, between $20 and $40 per paycheck in total principle and interest. (In the end, it is not the principal that hurts as much as the ongoing opportunity cost of the interest).

    You, kctim, can throw out whatever intuitions you wish to argue against my numbers, but, intuitions can never win a debate against actual numbers with stated assumptions and real world sources for them. Run the numbers, and quit guessing about things you haven’t researched yourself.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 4, 2009 03:38 PM
    Comment #276790

    d.a.n said: “If I had a choice, it would not be any plan that tries to solve the massive debt-bubble with more debt, borrowing, money-printing, and rampant spending,…”

    There you go. You are now subscribing to the Republican position, doing nothing in the absence of a plan they can agree with. Thank you for your candor.

    There is a plan on the table. As an American citizen you are free to support Obama’s plan or no plan at all, as there are no other plans in place to follow in the budgeting process by THIS president and Congress. That is the reality of the current situation. Reality can be a bitch.

    But, in the end, reality shapes the future. Not wishful would have’s, should have’s, which are tantamount to leaving one’s fate to others to determine. If one doesn’t believe communicating with Obama and Congress will do any good, then one’s only option to shape the reality of the economy going forward is non-existent. A rather hopeless position, in my opinion.

    I prefer hope, hence I communicate and will support a plan, even an imperfect one, over no plan or action at all, which leaves the private sector to collapse inward upon itself and its years of leveraging without any sanity or sense of responsibility or plan applied at all, save getting the profits while the getting is good, and leaving everyone else to fill in the black debt hole.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 4, 2009 03:57 PM
    Comment #276797

    David, it is you who “does not get it.” I am not arguing against your numbers, nor am I debating them. And, as they are not the point, I am not guessing at my own numbers, or care to.

    You see David, for millions of us, it does not matter if it is $100, $40, $20 or even $10 if the end results are nationalized banks, nationalized healthcare, gross overtaxation, added dependency and loss of rights, we don’t favor our country drastically changing course and going in that direction.

    That is the reality of this situation. That is the reality this bill helps shape for the future. That is the reality that is a bitch and it will take alot more than fear based hope to change the minds of the millions who do not believe in giving up everything for the economy.

    Posted by: kctim at March 4, 2009 04:30 PM
    Comment #276798
    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n said: “The U.S. constitution is being violated in several ways.”
    Our Constitution has always been violated throughout history in many ways.
    But it’s OK now?
    David R. Remer wrote: Hasn’t stopped the rise of America to prominence.
    It’s safe to say, it has slowed (if not stopped) progress considerably in the last few decades.
    • Such as becoming the most promient debtor nation on the planet?
    • And having the largest debt in size, and per-capita, and as a percentage of GDP of any nation on the planet?
    • And having foreign owned assets in the U.S. almost quadrupling from $6 Trillion in 1997 to $22 Trillion in 2007?
    • And having nation-wide debt grow from 100% of GDP in 1956 to almost 500% of GDP in 2008?
    • And despicably pitting American citizens and illegal aliens against each other for votes and profits?
    • And having one of the most FOR-SALE Congress and administrations of any developed nation?
    • And killing 195,000 per year from preventable medical mistakes (more than many other developed nations)?
    • And some of the most regressive taxation of any developed nation?
    • And 52 consecutive years of deficit spending an incessant inflation?
    • And spending $12.8 Trillion from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching.?
    • And 90%-to-95% of all U.S. Dollars in existence in the U.S. already exists as debt.?
    • And a massive debt problem causing 9,000-to-10,000 foreclosures per day.?
    • And banks who get low-to-ZERO interest money and then charge Americans usurious 20%-to-35% interest rates?
    • And a massive debt problem that is near (if not already untenable), which may have been avoided had Congress not violated Article V and a BALANCED BUDGET amendment has been ratified?
    It’s strange.

    Not long ago you railed against debt, and wrote articles about it, and were getting your passports ready and planning to leave the U.S., but now you seem to believe things are getting solved?
    What justifies so much rationalization, defense of more massive debt, and so much optimism?
    We’ve been promised CHANGE, but I don’t see much change yet, and some developments of late are very disturbing.

    David R. Remer wrote: Violations of our Constitution tend to be dealt with sooner or later by the very self-correcting mechanisms installed into the Constitution via equal branches of government and the checks and balances each provide the others.
    Right. Article V has been violated for almost 100 years.

    And just think, if Article V hadn’t been violated, despite 109 BALANCED BUDGET amendment applications from 37+ states, we many not have the massive debt bubble and this economic crisis today.

    You’ve written articles about consititional violations, debt, pork-barrel, and other malfeasance in the government. It’s fascinating how all of it is so easily rationalized and the 17-FEB-2009 Stimulus BILL is so casually dismissed as a mere last, last, “last fix” of pork-barrel for Congress.

    David R. Remer wrote: It ain’t perfect, but, America became a great nation on the foundation of that Constitution, despite the many affronts and violations of it by people of good and ill intents… .
    Yes, and no one expects perfection.
    David R. Remer wrote: Our Constitution still provides a source of hope and confidence that we will overcome our challenges as ALL our previous generations have.
    Not for long, if so many violations of the Constitution, and these other abuses are tolerated, trivialized, rationalized, and ignored much longer.

    In case anyone hasn’t noticed, economic conditions and other pressing problems have been deteriorating for decades.
    And it doesn’t appear likely to get better any time soon.
    Plans to try to solve the nation’s massive debt-problem with more debt, money-printing, and spending is not encouraging, Iinstead, it’s alarming.

    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 04:55 PM
    Comment #276809

    David R. Remer wrote: Violations of our Constitution tend to be dealt with sooner or later by the very self-correcting mechanisms installed into the Constitution via equal branches of government and the checks and balances each provide the others.

    Elephants have long memories but I prefer action. Some rational: if Congress can pass an 11k page bill without reading it, or whizz away $T’s over a couple of days, why then, should I patiently wait for the Fed to enforce immigration law or close the S. border. Mex. now has troops patrolling Juarez. Regan promised to solve the immigration problem after offering amnesty in the 80’s. Hell, I can’t live forever. Kind of like your team is winning and opt to call for infinite time outs. Intellectual dishonesy and bad sportsmanship.

    Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.


    Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 4, 2009 06:44 PM
    Comment #276814

    Roy said: “if Congress can pass an 11k page bill without reading it, or whizz away $T’s over a couple of days, why then, should I patiently wait for the Fed to enforce immigration law or close the S. border.”

    Well, I guess you have an alternative to waiting. You could always emigrate. Otherwise, you have to wait like the rest of us, and bend your representative’s ears some more if you think it would help. Change in federal policies under a new administration simply cannot be achieved in one month regardless of how super that administration may be populated.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 4, 2009 08:03 PM
    Comment #276815

    d.a.n, guess it depends upon your measuring stick.

    We still have the highest standard of living of any nation with a comparable sized population in the world, at all class levels in our society. That’s the measuring stick I pull out when folks try to convince me America is on its last leg gasping its last breath. History says otherwise.

    Reminds me of Republican complaints about raising the wealthiest’s tax rate from 30 to 35%. Historically that group has paid between 50 and 90% tax rate. Yet, they act as if this 5% increase will be the end of the world. It just isn’t so, despite how it may feel to them and their bellyaching.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 4, 2009 08:08 PM
    Comment #276816

    kctim said: “You see David, for millions of us, it does not matter if it is $100, $40, $20 or even $10 if the end results are nationalized banks, nationalized healthcare, gross overtaxation, added dependency and loss of rights, we don’t favor our country drastically changing course and going in that direction.”

    Ahh, now I get it. Thank you. You don’t want me to confuse the issue with facts and data and reality. You just want to rail against the reality that Republicans are no longer running things. Yes, I get it.

    Thank you for your candor. The majority of the people, despite the millions you claim to be in your camp, voted for change, and change is now occurring.

    And change aimed at remedying a lot of the crises we are confronted with, is what you are railing against. Good for you for exercising your 1st Amendment right to critique the powers that be. Too bad your folks didn’t do an effective job of that when Republicans were in control. They had an opportunity to change things too, and blew it to hell, big time.

    In a two party system, that results in the other party getting to make changes which the previous party should have. It’s not much of a consolation, but, it is the reality most voters prefer.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 4, 2009 08:14 PM
    Comment #276821

    That’s the House version.
    Do you think it will contain pork barrel?
    Do you think it will be vetoed?

    Posted by: d.a.n at March 4, 2009 09:08 PM
    Comment #276846

    d.a.n asked: “Do you think it will contain pork barrel?”

    Are there Democrats and Republicans in the House? Then of course.

    “Do you think it will be vetoed?”

    Depends on a number of variables, as I outlined in response to this inquiry in the comment thread of another article in the Red column I believe.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 5, 2009 09:29 AM
    Comment #276851

    “Ahh, now I get it”

    No, you don’t. Not one bit. You are too busy defending your Obama and the agenda the two of you agree upon.

    It has nothing to do with Republicans and Democrats and your attempt to make that issue is nothing but a way to avoid the reality that your fear makes you more than willing to give up rights so that you will “feel” more safe and secure economically.

    And good for you for exercising your 1st Amendment right to let the powers that be, know that you are willing to do so.

    The ability to vote away your rights, and the rights of others, is the true “Miracle of Democracy.”

    Posted by: kctim at March 5, 2009 10:22 AM
    Comment #276861
    David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, guess it depends upon your measuring stick. We still have the highest standard of living of any nation with a comparable sized population in the world, at all class levels in our society.
    Another rationalization and case for mediocrity?

    For how long?
    It’s fascinating how roles change when the IN-PARTY / OUT-PARTY change places.
    I could have sworn I was having similar debates with people from the previous IN-PARTY.
    They tried over and over to tell us how rosy things are.

    And I guess Tax Payers For CommonSense (TaxPayer.net), Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW.Org), the OMB, EnvironmentalWorking Group (EWG.Org), Project On Political Oversight (Pogo.org), the SunlightFoundation (SunlightFoundation.com), and dozens of other organizations and watchdog groups making claims of pork-barrel are all wrong (and/or Republican shills)?

    David R. Remer wrote: That’s the measuring stick I pull out when folks try to convince me America is on its last leg gasping its last breath. History says otherwise.
    HHHHMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmm … who was it that recently believed things were so bad in the U.S. that they commented that they had renewed their own passport (and their family members’ passports)?
    David R. Remer wrote: Reminds me of Republican complaints about raising the wealthiest’s tax rate from 30 to 35%.
    The tax system is regressive, so you’re preachin’ to the choir.
    David R. Remer wrote: Historically that group has paid between 50% and 90% tax rate.
    They have not. Warren Buffet paid 17.7% in total federal taxes on $46 Million in year 2006, while his secretary paid 30% in total federal taxes on $60K for year 2006. This is because:
    • numerous tax loop-holes and ridiculous complexity which makes it ripe for abuse (mostly, tax loop-holes for the wealthy);
    • capital gains and some dividends are taxed at 5% to 15% (which also mostly benefits the wealthy);
    • capital gains are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes, but not labor income (which also mostly benefits the wealthy);
    • income above the cap ($94,200 in year 2006, $97,500 for year 2007) are exempt from Social Security taxes.
    David R. Remer wrote: Yet, they act as if this 5% increase will be the end of the world. It just isn’t so, despite how it may feel to them and their bellyaching.
    Again, I don’t know why you bring this tax issue up, since I’m not a Republican, and I have long asserted that the current tax system is regressive. Republicans this, Republicans that. It’s sad to see the incessant fueling of partisan warfare. Even if the tax-curve increased Warren Buffet’s total federal taxes by 5% , he would still be paying less (22.7% on $46 Million) than his secretary’s 30% in total federal taxes on $60K.
    David R. Remer wrote to kctim: Ahh, now I get it. Thank you. You don’t want me to confuse the issue with facts and data and reality. You just want to rail against the reality that Republicans are no longer running things. Yes, I get it. : Thank you for your candor. The majority of the people, despite the millions you claim to be in your camp, voted for change, and change is now occurring.
    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?
    The fact is, there are too many in BOTH parties in Congress that adhere and advocate extremes that are bad for America, as evidenced by a trend of declining economic conditions and this current economic crisis:

    • Extreme #1: One extreme wants regressive taxation, unfettered capitalism and freedom to explore and wallow in every manifestation of unchecked greed (which we have seen plenty of lately).

    • Extreme #2: The other extreme wants a nanny-state with citizens increasingly dependent on the government; with massive cradle-to-grave government programs (which are usually severely mismanaged) that nuture a sense of entitlement and dependency on government; wants to grow government ever larger (despite the already current nightmare proportions); rewards failure and laziness; and perpetuates the myth that we can somehow all live at the expense of everyone else.

    David R. Remer wrote to kctim: Thank you for your candor. The majority of the people, despite the millions you claim to be in your camp, voted for change, and change is now occurring.
    Despite this repeated line of logic, how voters voted in the 4-NOV-2008 election does not mean that the majority of voters support the spending, pork-barrel, borrowing, money-printing, and policies (especially if it significantly fails and simply increases the already massive (and probably untenable) debt). However wins any election does not mean whatever they subsequently do has the support of the majority of voters.

    It’s likely got only get more and more difficult to continue tryin’ to defend, obfuscate, evade, and rationalize indefensible pork-barrel, defending Obama’s and failure to veto the pork-laden 17-FEB-2009 Stimulus BILL (Recovery and Investment Act of 2009) despite promises to disallow it when he become president, and then trying to rationalize that the 17-FEB-2009 Stimulus BILL was somehow not the domain of the 111th Congress. During his last address before Congress when he said he signed a BILL that had “no earmarks”, there was an uproar of laughter, and it’s doubtful that those laughing were all Republicans. At OpenCongress.org, a poll shows 84 Ayes versus 433 Nays. Voters are fickle, but polls don’t appear to show that the majority of voters support the spending, pork-barrel, borrowing, money-printing, and policies (especially if it significantly fails and simply increases the already massive (and probably untenable) debt).

    You wrote in another article that Obama should veto the 17-FEB-2009 BILL.

    David R. Remer wrote in Comment #273676: You are right about our having to choose our spending priorities very prudently and cautiously, and that goes for local, state, county, and federal government, for many, many years to come. It is one helluva challenge, so let’s get on with it. Let’s demand that Obama exercise that veto pen against the Congress’ wasteful and inefficient and pork laden spending, and let’s cut back on spending on non-essentials like NASA, foreign elective military engagements, private school subsidies, abstinence only education programs, monuments, and oil industry subsidies to name just a few.

    Yes, just to name a few.

    Now you defend the failure to do so, while also writing …

    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n asked: “Do you think it will contain pork barrel?”

    Are there Democrats and Republicans in the House? Then of course.

    So the answer is yes?

    So that answer appears it’s safe to assume there was pork-barrel in the 17-NOV-2009 Stimulus BILL too?

    Here’s an updated list of over 9,200 earmarks in the 17-FEB-2009 Stimulus BILL (updated 4-MAR-2009 at Tax Payers For Common-Sense.

    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 11:48 AM
    Comment #276866

    CORRECTION: So that answer appears it’s safe to assume there was pork-barrel in the 17-NOVFEB-2009 Stimulus BILL too?

    Posted by: d.a.n at March 5, 2009 12:06 PM
    Comment #276912

    Yesterday the Senate approved a $10M in funding for clients of a now disbanded lobbying firm that is now under investigation for alleged fraud in political contributions to members of Congress. McCain and Coburn had tried to remove the earmark for 13 clients of the PMA Group, a lobbying firm with close ties to the Democrats. PMA closed it Crystal City, Va. Office after a raid by the FBI. According Inouye, no one at the firm has been convicted of any crime. 37 Rep’s and 6 Dem’s opposed the funding while 48 Dem’s, 2 I’s and 2 Rep’s supported the funding.


    The Chairman, UBS is stepping down two weeks after UBS admitted helping US clients evade taxes. British PM Brown urged a global ban on ‘shadow banking systems’ and called for the G20 to take up the issue at their April 20 meeting. UBS clients have withdrawn a large volume of deposits. In 07 UBS failed to withhold $220M in taxes on about $20B of assets. UBS has been told they were violating US law as far back as 99 but, those were the better days of ‘greed is fashionable’ with such characters and Bush and Phil Gramm. A client requesting ‘2.5 orange nuts’ was seeking 625,000 euros, according to a court filing. To avoid detection Swiss bankers were trained to change hotels frequently. A 24 hour hot line was set up to handle any unforeseen situation. In case of interrogation by authorities, employees were told to ‘protect the banking secrecy’ as noted in a 2006 training document.

    Immigration law, section 287(g) is working for Frederick Co, Md. The program has garnered more than $114M in funds since its launch four years ago and has trained 951 officers in 67 state and local agencies. Frederick Co, Md. Sheriff claims it an ’overwhelming success.’ Last year he was able to identify 337 illegal immigrants, 309 of whom were put into removal proceedings by immigration authorities. He encouraged other states to participate adding that doing so was essential to combating the “enormous increase in crime throughout the U.S. which can be tied directly to the unchecked flow of illegal immigrants through our S. border with Mexico.”

    Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 5, 2009 09:00 PM
    Comment #276919

    E-Verify will expire tomorrow (6-MAR-2009) unless the Senate takes action to bring H.R. 6633 to a Vote Immediately.

    If this Congress lets this expire, I think they will never hear the end of it.

    As of the 1st half of year 2007, E-Verify has been proven to be 99.5% accurate.

    11 states require use of E-Verify in certain circumstances (Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Utah), one encourages use (Tennessee), and one limits use (Illinois).
    E-verify is coming close to solving the 20-year-old problem of finding an easy, sustainable way for businesses to verify worker eligibility. We cannot forfeit this progress!

    Representative Luis Gutierrez (Democrat-Illinois) doesn’t like E-Verify.
    Rep. Luis Gutierrez gets one of the lowest grades possible (F-) from NumbersUSA.com.
    Rep. Luis Gutierrez obviously wants to despicably pit American citizens and illegal aliens against each other for votes and profits disguised as compassion, and/or has a severely misplaced compassion (i.e. more compassion for illegal aliens than U.S. citizens).

    And the federal government is still importing 1.5 Million foriegn H-1B visa workers while there are 11.5-to-27 Million unemployed Americans (source: www.AmericanWorker.org).

    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 10:21 PM
    Comment #276921

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat-NV) blocked the E-Verify amendment (March 5), that would extend the E-Verify program for 5 more years.

    Harry Reid also obviously wants to despicably pit American citizens and illegal aliens against each other for votes and profits disguised as compassion, and/or has a severely misplaced compassion (i.e. more compassion for illegal aliens than U.S. citizens).

    Posted by: d.a.n at March 5, 2009 10:32 PM
    Comment #276923

    “Traitors” is far too mild to describe such actions.

    Posted by: d.a.n at March 5, 2009 10:42 PM
    Comment #276932

    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, David Walker would.

    Yet, Congress seems to think it’s Christmas, and time for rampant pork-barrel.

    The definition of pork-barrel doesn’t have to be so complicated.
    The claims of complexity are obfuscations to excuse pork-barrel and waste.
    People hate it when THEIR politicians make them look foolish.
    Hence, the sudden need for a new definition of pork-barrel.

    Well, the definition isn’t nearly as complicated as some want to make it out to be.
    What is needed is for Congress to learn how to prioritize.
    Amazing isn’t it?
    You’d think after several hundreds years, Congress would have a way to prioritize spending.

    Pork-barrel is (at the very least) any spending for anything that should have a lower priority, and wastes resources and money that needs to be used to help solve problems of higher priorities.

    Much of that can be done with a little common-sense, integrity and honesty.
    Unfortunately, those are 3 things that are nearly (if not completely) missing in Congress.
    Congress doesn’t have any such system of prioritization, because it is mostly (if not completely) incompetent, fiscally bankrupt, and morally bankrupt.

    After all, this Congress just gave itself its 10th raise in 12 years, and $93,000 per Congress person for petty cash and expenses, while U.S. troops risk life and limb, go without armor, get electicuted in their barracks, go without adequate medical care, go without promised benefits, and have to do 2, 3, 4+ tours in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.
    “Traitorous” is also far too kind to describe the behavior of most (if not all) incumbent politicians in Congress.

    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 11:43 PM
    Comment #276966

    d.a.n quoted Walker: “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.).”

    Yes, d.a.n, Walker is absolutely right. Just as saying cutting open a live person’s chest is a dangerous action to take. Yet, we cut open live people’s chest regularly in this country because NOT cutting open their chest will result in certain death, whereas open heart surgery only poses a risk of death by infection or error in the surgical procedure.

    We should NEVER have entered this recession with a national debt over 6.56 trillion. But, there is no undoing the Republican Bush deficit additions to the national debt. Walker is right about that. It is a horrible idea to leave entitlements intact with their debt trajectory with a starting point of more than 12 trillion in national debt to begin with. Walker is absolutely right.

    But, what one has to keep in mind is that Walker is not offering an answer to the challenges currently faced, he is only summarizing the deplorable crises we face.

    Implicit in his comments is a recommendation for reforming the entitlement programs so they do not triple national debt going forward which of course, would result in a bankrupt nation long before a tripling of the national debt was reached. That is in fact what the Obama administration intends to do.

    Implicit in his comments is the necessity to get this economy back on its feet and people back to work, so that government revenues can grow and be used to halt deficit spending and deal with the debt at some point going forward. This is also on the Obama agenda.

    Implicit in his comments, is the necessity to end non-essential federal spending until such time as the national debt is no longer a threat to future Americans. Obama has committed to using the power of his office and budgeting proposals to address that issue. And I will hasten to add, Obama was shrewd and competent in not wasting political capital interjecting himself into the Omnibus appropriations bill left undone under the Bush administration, as the Blue Dog Dem’s and Republicans were successful in arresting that bill’s passage with its 7.7 billion in earmarks, and wasteful federal spending that fails to address our current economic crises.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 6, 2009 12:56 PM
    Comment #276971

    If the debt is near (or already untenable), growing it larger doesn’t make sense, and the math simply doesn’t work. But more importantly, , 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 about not growing the debt any larger, because he knows Congress is out-of-control, and can not police its own ranks, and can not priortize and spend responsibly (as evidenced by the massive pork-barrel and waste and tens of thousands of earmarks lately).

    As for offering solutions, it isn’t that complicated. The problem again is that nothing is likely to improve as long as Congress has little (if any) common-sense, integrity, and honesty, and the ability to prioritize. But Congress can not even police its own ranks. Hence, more waste, deficits, pork-barrel, money-printing. They are simply moving farther down the wrong path. David Walker said that the current debt is too big to continue deficit spending. The federal government receives about $2.4 Trillion (as of year 2007) in total federal revenues, but it spends it very inefficiently. Instead of cutting waste and pork-barrel, it instead chooses to borrow more, create more money out of thin air, and spend more. The biggest danger is the out-of-control Congress.

    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 02:09 PM
    Comment #276991

    d.a.n, you are avoiding the obvious in your reply. If Obama held the line to ZERO deficit spending from day 1, our economy and government would DEFAULT on its debts, and the global economy would implode, causing massive death and starvation to a billion or more people in the world within 6 months, causing enormous political instability throughout the world as civil wars, revolutions, and international conflicts reared up over scarce resources which such nations no longer afford to import due to the global financial implosion. Some of those nations have nuclear weapons.

    I do not see David Walker saying we should allow those consequences occur. And if he is saying those consequences would be preferable to deficit spending now to shore up the constricting economy, then David Walker is a myopic fool, who cannot see beyond his description of what ails us.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 6, 2009 10:06 PM
    Comment #277017

    As I’ve posted before, this so-called recession is nothing more than a controlled burn. A continuation of a globalized economy policy. There is a world full of highly educated, well placed leaders who believe that the market place has all the answers, just have to let it run it’s course. And, when the world is reset to zero (wage parity among nations) then we can all live happily ever after. Banks will start lending when the klepto-plutocracy tells them to start lending.
    Consider this. A Sen. lady suggested a year or so back that to clean up the bank problem we should rely on the lessons of history. Recall when John McCain and the Keaton five (or seven?) trashed the S&L’s? A resolution trust bank was set up to buy all the bad loans thus freeing up the S&L’s to go on their merry way.
    I ask you, is it necessary to pump $B’s into these failed banks or should we set up a resolution trust, buy all the toxic loans and have the trust deal with them. Thus, freeing up the banks to start lending again?
    And, it’s clear that the Fed could have purchased the defaulting mortgages back inthe Oct/Nov time frame for $2B and headed off the recession.
    They didn’t do that either. So, like I said, a controlled burn. Buying time. Similar to Rumsfeld buying time during the Iraq war for the oil co’s to go in and survey, map, conduct geological test and work out contracts with an Iraqi government under duress.

    Otherwise, we have the best government money can buy.

    Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 7, 2009 09:44 AM
    Comment #277042
    David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, you are avoiding the obvious in your reply.
    Not true. I’m not in the habit of doing that.

    People ask questions, I answer them if I can, or say “I don’t know”, but I don’t dodge them.

    David R. Remer wrote: If Obama held the line to ZERO deficit spending from day 1, our economy and government would DEFAULT on its debts, …
    Not true.

    The government received $2.4 Trillion in total tax revenues in year 2007.
    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-t-$327 Billion per year 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

  • $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])

    It’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: … and the global economy would implode, causing massive death and starvation to a billion or more people in the world within 6 months, causing enormous political instability throughout the world as civil wars, revolutions, and international conflicts reared up over scarce resources which such nations no longer afford to import due to the global financial implosion. Some of those nations have nuclear weapons.
    Not true.

    The federal government was servicing its debt up to now, but it was borrowing to do so, and has been for many decades (proving the seriousness of the debt problem).
    It can continue to service the debt now by cutting all wasteful and unnecessary spending (see spending cuts above to stay within the budget).
    In fact, things might get better, and confidence might improve, if the federal government finally showed some common-sense, stopped growing the debt bubble bigger, and started behaving more responsibly. As it is now, most people (according to polls) don’t believe that the federal government knows what they are doing, and they are correct.

    What the federal government is doing now is going to make things worse, because of those twenty (20) reasons above.

    David R. Remer wrote: I do not see David Walker saying we should allow those consequences occur.

    David Walker said we need to stop deficit spending, and has been for a long time.

    I agree with him.
    And just because David Walker doesn’t think growing the deficit bigger, and 10 more years of deficit spending is necessary, does not mean David Walker wants bad things to happen. On the contrary. He’s warning us that if we continue deficit spending, it will be much worse. What do you think will happen if the U.S. currency is debauched. What the federal government and Federal Reserve are doing now is going to do just that.

    David R. Remer wrote: And if he is saying those consequences would be preferable to deficit spending now to shore up the constricting economy, then David Walker is a myopic fool, who cannot see beyond his description of what ails us.
    Funny.

    You used to respect David Walker.
    Now he’s a “myopic fool” ?

    What is myopic and foolish:

    • is thinking that untenable debt can be solved by making it more untenable.

    • is thinking that tens of trillions of new money, borrowing, debt, and spending won’t create hyperinflation.

    • is thinking that hyperinflation can be controlled with interest rates, or reducing money supply once hyperinflation is detected.

    • is ignoring the lessons of the past (i.e. dozens of nations who also failed to control hyperinflation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation#Examples_of_hyperinflation).

    • is thinking a massive debt bubble can be solved with more debt, money-printing, and rampant spending, when there is no historical precedent of that ever being successful.

    • is saying the debt is smaller than after World War II, when the $10.9 Trillion National Debt does not include the $12.8 Trillion borrowed from Social Security and Medicare, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 78 Million baby boomer bubble approaching.

    • is ignoring those twenty (20) reasons above why the debt is untenable now, and growing it bigger makes no sense, and will make things worse by debauching the currency, and thereby destroying all savings, retirement savings, pensions, 401Ks, entitlements, and wages.

    • is thinking New Keynesian Economics or any economics model claims the solution to an untenable debt-bubble is to grow it bigger.

    • is trying to draw parallels with spending in the Great Depression when the debt at that time was much less severe.

    • is trying to draw parallels with the level of debt (116% of GDP) after World War II in year 1945, when the total $23.7 Trillion federal debt today ($23.7T=$10.9T+$12.8T borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 78 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching) is 171% of GDP (GDP=$13.86T in year 2007).

    • is ignoring the massive liquidation that has been underway (foreign owned assets in the U.S. has almost quadrupled from $6 Trillion in 1997 to $22 Trillion in 2007), and the deterioration of manufacturing in the U.S. has not helped.

    • is ignoring the fact that the U.S. is the biggest debtor nation on the planet, and wanting to grow the debt bigger with the hopes that GDP will grow enough to outpace the debt and interest on that debt.

    • is ignoring the question: How can borrowing and creating tens of trillions of of dollars of new money out of thin air not cause hyperinflation?

    • is overlooking the depth of the nation-wide debt-bubble of $67 Trillion ($220,000 per capita).

    • is ignoring the fact that the $67 Trillion nation-wide debt is so large that it would take a large percentage of that amount in new money to merely put a dent in the problem. So why grow the debt bigger?

    • is ignoring the fact that 90%-to-95% of all U.S. dollars in existence in the U.S. exists as debt already. At only 4.0% interest, the interest on that debt per year is $2.7 Trillion per year (and growing fast). So why grow the debt bigger?

    Simply saying we have to spend more now isn’t a reason.

    Simply saying we must spend now to save the economy isn’t a reason.

    Until I see some historical precedent of any nation so deep into debt spending their 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.

    Roy Ellis wrote: As I’ve posted before, this so-called recession is nothing more than a controlled burn.
    Yes, for now … at the rate we are going now, with the doomed debt-pyramid growing closer and closer to collapse, 90%-to-95% of all U.S. dollars in the U.S. exists as debt, and tens of trillions in more borrowing, money-printing, and spending. But, when hyperinflation sets in, it will happen fast, and make a bad situation worse.

    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.

    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 04:10 PM
    Comment #277106

    d.a.n said: “Funny.

    You used to respect David Walker.
    Now he’s a “myopic fool” ? “

    I still respect him. And no, I don’t think he is a myopic fool. That was your jumping to conclusions, by avoiding important words that get in the way of your conclusion.

    I said: “if he is saying those consequences would be preferable to deficit spending now to shore up the constricting economy, then David Walker is a myopic fool, who cannot see beyond his description of what ails us.”

    You see, I don’t hear him saying we should avoid deficit spending today and let this recession bring our economy down permanently causing a certain default today in lieu of a potential default in the future.

    I have listened to his context for several years now. His context has always included the entitlement trajectory going forward, and the opportunity cost of debt today. Walker has always warned against debt using the assumption that nothing changes going forward regarding entitlements and fiscal discipline.

    But, efforts and plans are underway now to reform that entitlement trajectory, and to invoke a substantially higher degree of fiscal discipline going forward. In other words, some important and key people in our government are finally heeding his warnings.

    Walker has never declared our future dead, which is what your comment seems to glean from what he has said, out of context and without the assumptions which Walker clearly defines over and over again.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 8, 2009 05:34 PM
    Comment #277108

    Roy said: “As I’ve posted before, this so-called recession is nothing more than a controlled burn. A continuation of a globalized economy policy.”

    You can post it as many times as you wish Roy, but a major part of what you are saying will continue to be faulty reasoning.

    The globalized economy was not the primary source of this recession. In fact, with only several exceptions like Ireland and England, the rest of the world’s recession is a consequence of the way Americans did business from the late 1990’s through Bush’s terms in office. (Tony Blair followed Bush’s lead, and Ireland followed Tony Blair toward mimicking America’s leveraging strategies without government interference or regulation).

    It was America’s mortgage lending practices, America’s revocation of the Glass Steagal Act, America’s leading the revolution in hedge funds, credit default swaps, and leveraging beyond all logic and common sense in the pursuit of corporate greed, that other nations invested in, and a consequences of investing in America and American assets, got seriously burned themselves.

    Now, when you say: “There is a world full of highly educated, well placed leaders who believe that the market place has all the answers, just have to let it run it’s course.”

    I would only quibble with “the world is full of such folks”, which clearly it is not. But, you are right that those who governed under the laissez faire principle were major sources of the financial system’s crisis. Germany, China, India, and most of the Middle Eastern nations have not been governed as America has been and their financial systems contribution was limited to naively investing in instruments backed by American bundled collateral assets. Which also explains why their economies are not nearly as shaken by the financial crisis and valuation dilemma in America.

    China’s economy is still growing, for example. Some Middle Eastern nations are hurting from collapsed oil prices and having budgeted and spent as if those oil prices of 140/barrel would not abate. S. East Asian economies are showing considerable resilience as trading partners with China.

    It is a mistake to view the world and the world economy through the prism of the American economy. Globalization means all economies are affected by major disruptions in other major economies, to be sure. But, the degree to which they are affected will vary widely from nation to nation, Greenland and China as opposite ends of that spectrum for example.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 8, 2009 05:53 PM
    Comment #277112

    Great post d.a.n, ex-GAO Walker is a hero to me. I would vote for him time and again if he ever gets on a ticket.
    David, disagree with you that the globalized economy is not at fault. Greenspan admitted he did not understand some financial investment schemes and to have developing countries trying to play in the game was just nonsense.
    Statement for the week: DOW = Decimation of Wealth!
    Springtime has come to Virginny – 78 here today. Makes one almost forget our political plight.
    Howsumever, great post Dan. $T’s whizzed down a rathole and there will never be an accounting for the money, the effect it had on the recession, etc. Just the Status Quo out mowing grass!
    Boy, the Wash. Post is trying to work me way beyond retirement. But, ere tis!
    I’ve seen several writings in the Post recently alluding to the fact that many immigrants are choosing
    to return to their native country for various reasons. Now, most of the writers are lamenting that this is not a good thing, detrimental to our economy and so on. Well, to me it music to my ears. Rather than our country being exploited for economical reasons, I like the idea of our good universities training folks from lesser developed nations and then returning to their country of origin to start businesses and otherwise help developed their country. In this way we are not brain draining developing countries. And, in time, as these countries develop they will become a more balanced trading partner, thus reducing our trade deficit. That is good, that is admirable, that is what a democracy should do. This BS of exploiting other countries by brain draining and calling for our economy to fail if we don’t have these educated and cheap workers to help us maintain our 5-8% yearly growth factor, is just that. BS! Our immigration laws are still valid IMO. Where people are life threatened overseas from dictators and political abuse we should offer them a safe haven. They can then choose, over time. if they want to stay or go. But this economical BS , we just need to put a lid on it. The idea that in this state, and I’m sure others, where young people with 4.0 GPA’s can’t gain acceptance in their major state universities is inexcusable. Moreso, when considering that the reason they aren’t accepted is because of an ever burgeoning quote for foreign students. The Republic Sentry Party calls for a 10% increase in student positions for all math/science fields and a comparable 10% reduction for foreign student positions. Let’s get our priorities right, and KEEP IT THAT WAY.

    Defense now accounts for 46% of the governments total discretionary spending. When Defense wanted to stop production on the F-22 raptor because it was not accessed as a 21st century fighter, 44 senators implored the pentagon to keep building. The Navy wanted to end production of their newest destroyer class as 15 intelligence reports suggested it was vulnerable to a range of foreign missiles, 7 Dem’s amd 4 Rep’s threatened to withhold all funding for surface mount ships in 09. The Dem’s stuffed $524M earmarks into defense and the Rep’s countered with about $325M. General Murtha is leading the pack for defense industry donations, $743,275. He added more than $100M in earmarks to the 08 defense bill. PMA, a lobbying outfit run by one of Murtha’s aides, is under investigation by the FBI. Murtha, along with other Dem’s joined in adding billions of dollars for C17 aircraft the Pentagon had no use for. 0I it’s done just to keep folks employed why not spend the money on $&D and prototyping for future warfare technology? China and Russia are at least a generation behind in weapons development and the Taliban just ain’t hackin it. At this rate every Talibanian we nok off must be costing about a 100 billion dollars.

    The health care sector spent nearly $1B on lobbying in the past two years. Since 05 the top 10 recipients received $2.2M from health insurers and #.3M from drug makers. Obama’s campaign received more than $2M. W.J ‘Billie’ Tauzin, former Rep house member from La., who runs the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of American said contributions simply reflect participation in American democracy.

    Folks, the duopoly is at it’s weakest point in history I do believe. They will not be a better chance for reform through a 3rd party. Let’s stop the foolishness. Let’s get serious about reforming this government. Independents now make up the majority of the electorate. Reform just takes your support and participation. Let’s leave a legacy for our grandchildren, something they will read about in their history books. Something that will make them reflect on their own destiny, freedom and liberty.
    Let’s do something before it’s too late.

    Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

    Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 8, 2009 06:52 PM
    Comment #277122
    Roy Ellis wrote: Great post d.a.n, ex-GAO [David] Walker is a hero to me.
    Same here. I think he is one of the few people in the U.S. that truly has a handle on the math.
    Roy Ellis wrote: David [R. Remer], disagree with you that the globalized economy is not at fault. Greenspan admitted he did not understand some financial investment schemes and to have developing countries trying to play in the game was just nonsense.
    Roy, You’re right about globalization. You recognize that it is truly just one more manifestation of unchecked greed.
    Roy Ellis wrote: Springtime has come to Virginny – 78 here today. Makes one almost forget our political plight.
    Roy, that’s a great milestone. Kuddos!
    Roy Ellis wrote: Defense now accounts for 46% of the governments total discretionary spending.
    Defense can be cut back. We do not need a military presence in 132 nations.
    Roy Ellis wrote: Folks, the duopoly is at it’s weakest point in history I do believe.
    Maybe. As pain levels rise, so does the voters’ education.
    Roy Ellis wrote: Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.
    That’s right!
    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n said: “Funny.
    You used to respect David Walker. Now he’s a “myopic fool” ?
    David R. Remer wrote: I still respect him. And no, I don’t think he is a myopic fool. That was your jumping to conclusions, by avoiding important words that get in the way of your conclusion.
    Jumping to conclusions?

    Not at all.
    Did you not notice the question mark (?) at the end of the question?
    It was only a question, yet you pre-judged it as a conclusion.

    David R. Remer wrote: I said: “if he is saying those consequences would be preferable to deficit spending now to shore up the constricting economy, then David Walker is a myopic fool, who cannot see beyond his description of what ails us.”
    OK. Like I said, it was only a question.
    David R. Remer wrote: You see, I don’t hear him saying we should avoid deficit spending today and let this recession bring our economy down permanently causing a certain default today in lieu of a potential default in the future.
    Come on. Who wants to bring down the economy?

    Again, just because some people don’t believe a massive debt-bubble can be solved with more debt doesn’t mean they want the U.S. to fail.

    David R. Remer wrote: But, efforts and plans are underway now to reform that entitlement trajectory, and to invoke a substantially higher degree of fiscal discipline going forward. In other words, some important and key people in our government are finally heeding his warnings.
    Think so? I don’t see the evidence of that.
    David R. Remer wrote: Walker has never declared our future dead, which is what your comment seems to glean from what he has said, out of context and without the assumptions which Walker clearly defines over and over again.
    Walker declared our future is dead? Nothting of the sort, unless we continue to be fiscally irresponsible.
    David R. Remer wrote: You can post it as many times as you wish Roy, but a major part of what you are saying will continue to be faulty reasoning.
    Are you so certain of that?
    David R. Remer wrote: The globalized economy was not the primary source of this recession.
    Not true. It was a factor indeed. For example, a by-product of it in the U.S. is 1.5 Million H-1B visa workers being imported into the U.S. every year, despite 12-to-28 Milllion unemployed American citizens. That’s just one example; there are many more.
    David R. Remer wrote: It was America’s mortgage lending practices, America’s revocation of the Glass Steagal Act, America’s leading the revolution in hedge funds, credit default swaps, and leveraging beyond all logic and common sense in the pursuit of corporate greed, that other nations invested in, and a consequences of investing in America and American assets, got seriously burned themselves.
    Yes, there was a lot of fraud, cookin’ the books, rating toxic debt as AAA securities, etc.

    But globalization (i.e. the race to the bottom) is most certainly a factor. You yourself have even written about the “Race to the Bottom”.

    David R. Remer wrote: China’s economy is still growing, for example.
    Hmmmm … maybe. But not like it was. Many reports are saying China is in a recession too (along with many other nations).

    China and other foreign investors in the U.S. National Debt are crazy (in my opinion).
    But they are between a rock and a hard place.
    It’s hard to stop lending and/or cash-in without causing the U.S. Dollar to fall more.

    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 8, 2009 09:01 PM
    Comment #277214

    d.a.n said: “Again, just because some people don’t believe a massive debt-bubble can be solved with more debt doesn’t mean they want the U.S. to fail.”

    But, if they enact their belief as policy at this time, the U.S. economy will fail. It is the inevitable consequence of holding to a zero deficit in the coming year’s budget. In other words, there is a logical disconnect between there NOT wanting the U.S. economy to fail, and their prescription to halt all deficit spending immediately, which economists agree, conservative and liberal, would tank this economy.

    d.a.n said: “Think so? I don’t see the evidence of that. ”

    With the nomination of Sebelius to Health and Human Services, came statements of intent to reform health care to include Medicare which constitutes the greatest threat in the form of national debt. While still being somewhat vague, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Rangel has stipulated that entitlement spending and revenue shortfalls pose the greatest threat to the long term economic viability of America. A theme reiterated many times by Ben Bernanke to Congress and no doubt, to Pres. Obama this morning, I think is when they are meeting.

    It is however, very disconcerting to look at the calendar of the House committee’s with responsibilities in the areas of entitlements and economic future, to find no specific hearings yet set to actually deal with reform proposals. But, I hope that won’t be the case for very long, as Obama has pledged to make entitlement reform a key economic future agenda item.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 9, 2009 06:21 PM
    Comment #277216

    d.a.n said: “But globalization (i.e. the race to the bottom) is most certainly a factor. You yourself have even written about the “Race to the Bottom”.”

    How, d.a.n, was the export of higher wage blue collar industrial jobs oversees, the net effect of globalization on the U.S. economy, a factor in this financial crisis centered on mortgages and intra financial institution leveraging? I just don’t see the connection or any data or research to support that statement.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 9, 2009 06:28 PM
    Comment #277217

    d.a.n said: “China and other foreign investors in the U.S. National Debt are crazy (in my opinion).”

    That is arguable and possibly the case. Nonetheless, those investors presumably know what they are doing by investing in U.S. Treasuries instead of some other nation’s government backed treasuries. They continue to view U.S. treasuries as the safest on the market in these global recession. Their experience and expertise is vastly beyond mine when it comes to government backed securities.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 9, 2009 06:33 PM
    Comment #277222
    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n said: “Again, just because some people don’t believe a massive debt-bubble can be solved with more debt doesn’t mean they want the U.S. to fail.”
    But, if they enact their belief as policy at this time, the U.S. economy will fail. It is the inevitable consequence of holding to a zero deficit in the coming year’s budget.
    Not likely.

    In my opinion, and many others’ opinions too, it is more likely that trying to solve massive, untenable debt with more debt will cause the U.S. economy to fail.

    David R. Remer wrote: In other words, there is a logical disconnect between there NOT wanting the U.S. economy to fail, and their prescription to halt all deficit spending immediately, which economists agree, conservative and liberal, would tank this economy.
    False.

    Not all economists believe that stopping deficit spending would cause the economy to tank, if all wasteful and unnecessary spending is cut.
    With the federal government’s current $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 budget is doable.
    Cut all unnecessary and wasteful spending.
    That makes a hell of a lot more sense!
    Where’s the proof that continued deficit spending is necessary?
    The federal government should be able to do just fine with $2.4 Trillion per year.

    David R. Remer wrote: With the nomination of Sebelius to Health and Human Services, came statements of intent to reform health care to include Medicare which constitutes the greatest threat in the form of national debt. While still being somewhat vague, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Rangel has stipulated that entitlement spending and revenue shortfalls pose the greatest threat to the long term economic viability of America. A theme reiterated many times by Ben Bernanke to Congress and no doubt, to Pres. Obama this morning, I think is when they are meeting.
    See budget above. Cuts are a must.
    David R. Remer wrote: It is however, very disconcerting to look at the calendar of the House committee’s with responsibilities in the areas of entitlements and economic future, to find no specific hearings yet set to actually deal with reform proposals. But, I hope that won’t be the case for very long, as Obama has pledged to make entitlement reform a key economic future agenda item.
    There’s a lot that is very disconcerting to look at.
    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n said: “But globalization (i.e. the race to the bottom) is most certainly a factor. You yourself have even written about the “Race to the Bottom”.”
    How, d.a.n, was the export of higher wage blue collar industrial jobs oversees, the net effect of globalization on the U.S. economy, a factor in this financial crisis centered on mortgages and intra financial institution leveraging? I just don’t see the connection or any data or research to support that statement.
    It contributes to unemployment, falling median household incomes, sends money off-shore, etc. Duh! There are many causes to this crisis, which are all one of the many manifestations of unchecked greed, which permeates every facet of the government and society.
    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n said: “China and other foreign investors in the U.S. National Debt are crazy (in my opinion).”
    That is arguable and possibly the case.
    You have already admitted that the debt is close to being untenable.

    I think the total federal and total non-federal debt is already untenable, as evidenced by these 20 supporting reasons. If the debt is addressed by more debt, money-printing, and spending, it will result in inflation, and possibly hyperinflation, and those foreign investors investment in the U.S. National Debt will become worthless.

    David R. Remer wrote: Nonetheless, those investors presumably know what they are doing by investing in U.S. Treasuries instead of some other nation’s government backed treasuries. They continue to view U.S. treasuries as the safest on the market in these global recession. Their experience and expertise is vastly beyond mine when it comes to government backed securities.
    Right. The same way they viewed toxic Mortgage Backed Securities, rated as AAA securities, which are now near (if not completely) worthless. That worked out real well, eh?

    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 9, 2009 07:17 PM
    Comment #277619

    d.a.n,

    David R. Remer wrote: In other words, there is a logical disconnect between there NOT wanting the U.S. economy to fail, and their prescription to halt all deficit spending immediately, which economists agree, conservative and liberal, would tank this economy.

    d.a.n said: False. Not all economists believe that stopping deficit spending would cause the economy to tank…,

    d.a.n, why the straw man? I never said ALL economists, now did I? I was obviously referring to a consensus. And no, it is not false, at all.

    There is a consensus and it is reported and referred to constantly by the think tanks and economics journals which aren’t linked directly to and underwritten by partisan donors.

    If you are unwilling to verify this for yourself, then what can I say, but those are effective blinders your comment is wearing.

    But the remarkable thing is that economists aren’t even needed to reach the conclusion that our economy will fall into deep and protracted depression without government spending intervention if one has a command of economic fundamental relationships, Econ 101 stuff.

    The economic losses and deficit to our economy in the form of toxic assets in the real world and on corporate balance sheets is in the trillions and growing as the commercial real estate marketplace is now undergoing a similar bubble bursting as the housing market did. That is a verifiable datum reported by the economists charged with reporting such statistics. The Federal Reserve for example.

    Should these remain, credit markets freeze as financial institutions holding these assets become insolvent and bankrupt by virtue of their net annual revenues utterly failing to address the losses sitting on their balance sheets and pushing smaller institutions to the brink.

    As a result, small and medium size businesses immediately would be deprived of payroll and short term operations loans to stay in business, forcing massive unemployment, doubling or more the current numbers. The hit this would create on commercial and consumer activity would clearly grind our economy to a near halt, save for life essential goods and services, and those at rapidly inflating prices as demand quickly outstrips supply.

    Which in turn would result vast increases in home and commercial real estate foreclosures, and the cycle spirals downward even further, making a hundred million Americans homeless and penniless in less than 18 months.

    Common sense and basic Econ 101 fundamentals are all that are required to see the out come of non-government intervention with massive amounts of money to shore up this crippled financial system. But, if common sense and Econ 101 weren’t enough, there remains the consensus amongst economists, right and left oriented, that inaction by our government would result this recession becoming unrecognizably worse and for a very long time.

    Add the feeback loop effects of the global effect of our allowing our economy and financial markets to freeze up, and the scenario is only compoundingly worse yet, as exports and imports, upon which we are dependent, shrink enormously.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 13, 2009 11:53 PM
    Comment #277620

    d.a.n, unnecessary and wasteful spending?

    Wasteful spending this year will amount to something in the range of 15 to 20 billion by the federal government. I have heard 7.7 billion as the wasteful figure contained in the Omnibus bill from last year’s appropriations. Assuming another 12 billion in the next fiscal year budget proposed by Obama, and it comes to 20 billion.

    Unnecessary is a very difficult term to define. What is unnecessary to you, is vital to someone else whose job or children or education depend on it.

    But, let’s take some we might be able to agree upon: 1) suspend NASA operations except for maintenance issues to preserve capital investments already in space, 2) cut agricultural subsidies which would NOT cause famine and international border wars over resources in other nations, 3) consolidate international military outposts and redeploy excess personnel to Afghanistan, and cut foreign aid to non-volatile nations.

    Those cuts might reach the level of perhaps as much as 250 billion. The hole in the economy requiring shoring up by the government is several trillions, the value of toxic assets on corporate financial balance sheets threatening economic freeze, plus assistance to the states in the form of extended unemployment benefits, extended COBRA subsidies, etc, and job maintenance/creation with shovel ready projects over the next 18 months.

    Other investments in our educational quality and accessibility, energy independence, and infrastructure maintenance and improvements are necessary if there is to be a healthy economy going forward.

    I simply don’t see several trillion dollars in wasteful and unnecessary spending in this coming year’s budget to be cut. On the generous side, I see only perhaps a half trillion. And the Congress would not agree on nearly that much as you and I and Obama all three know.

    Still, the parameters Obama announced this last week for cutting wasteful and unnecessary spending from his first budget proposal are a huge step in the direction you advocate. The absence of a din of objection from Congressional Democrats indicates perhaps that a quiet deal was reached for Congressional Democrats to accept Obama’s parameters in whole or substantial part, at least through 2010 mid-term elections.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 14, 2009 12:13 AM
    Comment #277677
    David R. Remer wrote: In other words, there is a logical disconnect between there NOT wanting the U.S. economy to fail, and their prescription to halt all deficit spending immediately, which economists agree, conservative and liberal, would tank this economy.
    • d.a.n said: False. Not all economists believe that stopping deficit spending would cause the economy to tank…,
    d.a.n, why the straw man? I never said ALL economists, now did I? I was obviously referring to a consensus. And no, it is not false, at all.
    No straw man.

    You are implying a majority are in consensus, but where is the proof of this majority in consensus?
    Among those in 111th Congress, and/or the administration, and/or the Treasury, and or economists?
    See the poll below.
    Most Americans polled disagree with the spending.
    You also do not know that a halt to deficit spending would cause the economy to tank (especially if there was smarter spending and cuts to eliminate waste and unnecessary spending).
    And when the Stimulus fails, what’s next?
    Do what Helicopter Ben Bernanke recommended, and give money away, by air-dropping massive amounts of money from the air?

    There are many economists that correctly predicted this crisis (a massive debt-bubble) that do not recommend more deficit spending.
    David Walker also recommends against growing the deficits much larger.
    While it may be difficult to stop deficit spending immediately, it should be a goal.
    It is doable.
    For example, simply cut spending:

      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])

    What’s wrong with that?

    Fiscal responsibility is still a worthy goal, even in a recession or depression.
    Especially since the debt is untenable (as evidenced by these 20 things).
    Besides, even if most economists (which I have not seen any proof of) do think the solution to our massive debt bubble is more debt, borrowing, money-printing, and spending, that doesn’t mean they are right.

    David R. Remer wrote: There is a consensus and it is reported and referred to constantly by the think tanks and economics journals which aren’t linked directly to and underwritten by partisan donors.
    Maybe, maybe not. If those economists you speak of are so smart, why didn’t they see this economic crisis approaching? David Walker, Peter Schiff, and many other people saw it coming and they were called “Dr. Doom”, “Chicken Little”, and other names. Besides, even if most economists (which I have not seen any proof of) do think the solution to our massive debt bubble is more debt, borrowing, money-printing, and spending, that doesn’t mean they are right.
    David R. Remer wrote: If you are unwilling to verify this for yourself, then what can I say, but those are effective blinders your comment is wearing.
    Even if there is a consensus and a majority of economists (many of which who didn’t see the economic crisis approaching) think the solution to our massive debt-bubble is more debt, borrowing, money-printing, and spending, that doesn’t mean they’re right, does it? We’re not lemmings. We don’t have to jump off the cliff, do we?

    Any way, look at these poll results …

    Some Polling Report polls (2/20-22/09) shows the following (source: www.pollingreport.com/budget.htm)

        Regardless of whether you favor or oppose the economic stimulus bill that Congress passed, do you think it would have been better for the government to spend more money to stimulate the economy, better for the government to spend less money, or is the amount of spending in the bill about right?”
      • Better to Spend More: 14%
      • Better to Spend Less: 41%
      • About Right: 40%
      • Unsure: 1%
      |
        In thinking about the trade-offs between spending government money to improve the economy versus adding considerable amounts of money to the federal debt, which do you think is the greater risk: spending too little to improve the economy or adding too much to the federal debt?”
      • Spending too little: 37%
      • Adding too much to debt: 59%
      • About Right: 4%
      |
        “Regardless of whether you favor or oppose the steps the government has taken in recent months to address economic problems, how worried are you about each of the following: very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not worried at all? How about [see below]?”

        |

          “The amount of money being added to the federal debt”
        • Very worried: 54%
        • Somewhat worried: 28%
        • Not too worried: 11%
        • Not at all worried: 5%
        • Unsure: 1%
        |
          “The possibility these steps might not work and the economy will get worse”
        • Very worried: 46%
        • Somewhat worried: 37%
        • Not too worried: 11%
        • Not at all worried: 6%
        • Unsure: 1%
        |
          “The possibility that increased government borrowing could produce inflation”
        • Very worried: 43%
        • Somewhat worried: 35%
        • Not too worried: 14%
        • Not at all worried: 6%
        • Unsure: 2%
        |
          “The increasing role of the government in the U.S. economy”
        • Very worried: 34%
        • Somewhat worried: 35%
        • Not too worried: 19%
        • Not at all worried: 10%
        • Unsure: 2%

    So, most people polled seem to be against growing the debt larger.
    And if what most people think isn’t good enough, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that our massive debt-bubble isn’t likely to get better by growing it bigger.
    Are you are relying on GDP growth to outpace the debt?
    You have already written many articles about the flaw in that logic too.

    David R. Remer wrote: But the remarkable thing is that economists aren’t even needed to reach the conclusion that our economy will fall into deep and protracted depression without government spending intervention if one has a command of economic fundamental relationships, Econ 101 stuff.
    First of all, none of this is taught in Economics 101.

    Second, there is nothing in any economic model that states how to solve an economic crisis caused by a massive debt-bubble.

    Third, there are no economics courses that teach the solution to this economic crisis caused by a massive debt-bubble (of both massive federal and non-federal debt).

    Fourth, there is no historical precedent of any nation so ridiculously deep into debt ever sovling its massive debt-bubble with more debt, borrowing, money-printing, and spending.

    And it doesn’t require a bunch of economists (most of which didn’t see the economic crisis approaching) to see that trying to solve massive and untenable debt-bubble with more debt, borrowing, money-printing, and spending will simply make the debt-bubble bigger.

    • If the debt is tenable, why do we have 9,000-to-10,000 foreclosures per day?
    • If the debt is tenable, why is unemployment at a 25 year high (8.1%; 12-to-28 Million unemployed)?
    • If the debt is tenable, why are there record bankruptcies?
    • If the debt is tenable, why are the banks scared $#!+l@ss about the $62 Trillion Credit Default Swap/Derivatives bubble?
    • If the debt is tenable, why has the federal government been deficit spending for 52 consecutive years?
    • If the debt is tenable, why has the federal government borrowed and spent $12.8 Trillion from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 78 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching?
    • If the debt is tenable, why is the U.S. swimming in $67 Trillion ($220,000 per-capita) of nation-wide debt?
    • If the debt is tenable, why is the U.S. dollar much lower today against most major currencies than it was 7 years ago (source: One-Simple-Idea.com/USD_Falling.htm)?
    • If the debt is tenable, why does 90%-to-95% of all U.S. dollars in existence in the U.S. exist as debt?
    • If the debt is tenable, why is inflation a concern?
    • If the debt is tenable, why is year-to-year inflation still rising (2002=1.59%, 2003=2.27%, 2004=2.68%, 2005=3.39%, 2006=3.24%, 2007=2.85%, 2008=3.85%, 2009=??.??)?
    • If the debt is tenable, why is the $60 Trillion of unfunded liabilities for Social Security and Medicare a concern?
    • If the debt is tenable, why have we had 52 consecutive years of incessant inflaton?
    • If the debt is tenable, why is a 1950 Dollar now worth only 10 cents ?
    • If the debt is tenable, why aren’t people spending? Maybe it’s largely because they are tapped out and already deep into debt, eh?
    • If the debt is tenable, why is the current $11 Trillion National Debt the largest National Debt ever in size, and per-capita?
    • If the debt is tenable, where will the money come from to merely pay the interest ($2.7 Trillion per year at only 4.0% on $67 Trillion) on so much debt, when that money does not exist?
    • If the debt is tenable, and inflation is not a concern, why not create more money out of thin air?
    • If the debt is tenable, why can’t anyone provide a explanation for excerpt from some economic model that justifies trying to solve massive debt with more debt, money-printing, and spending?
    • If the debt is tenable, why are 10 more years of deficit spending being predicted?
    • If the debt is tenable, why did the Federal Reserve have to pump $3.2-to-$8.5 Trillon into the banks and corporations?
    • If the debt is tenable, why was it necessary to save GM, Ford, and Chysler?
    • If the debt is tenable, why was it necessary to save AIG over and over ?
    • If the debt is tenable, why did Ben Bennake and Henry Paulson appear before Congress to beg for emergency funds?
    • If the debt is tenable, why was a $750 Billion Rescue BILL necessary in late 2008?
    • If the debt is tenable, why was a $787 Billion Stimulus Bill necessary in Feb-2009?
    • If the debt is tenable, why are Americans liquidating, evidenced by foreign-owned assets which have almost quadrupled from $6 Trillion in year 1997 to $22 Trillion in year 2007?
    • If the debt is tenable, how do you explain all of the above?
    So, until someone can answer some of those questions, it doesn’t matter what a bunch of economists (who didn’t see this economic crisis approaching) say.
    David R. Remer wrote: The economic losses and deficit to our economy in the form of toxic assets in the real world and on corporate balance sheets is in the trillions and growing as the commercial real estate marketplace is now undergoing a similar bubble bursting as the housing market did. That is a verifiable datum reported by the economists charged with reporting such statistics. The Federal Reserve for example.
    Yes, the debt problem is bad. No argument there. Alos, the federal government and Federal Reserve don’t report statistics accurately (see: www.ShadowStats.com).
    David R. Remer wrote: Should these remain, credit markets freeze as financial institutions holding these assets become insolvent and bankrupt by virtue of their net annual revenues utterly failing to address the losses sitting on their balance sheets and pushing smaller institutions to the brink.
    How do you turn something insolvent into something solvent? With more borrowing and creating more money out of thin air?

    What you fear so much is probably going to be made many times worse by trying to avoid it.

    David R. Remer wrote: As a result, small and medium size businesses immediately would be deprived of payroll and short term operations loans to stay in business, forcing massive unemployment, doubling or more the current numbers. The hit this would create on commercial and consumer activity would clearly grind our economy to a near halt, save for life essential goods and services, and those at rapidly inflating prices as demand quickly outstrips supply.
    And how is borrowing and creating more money out of thin air going to fix that? After all, that is basically the solution you and the so-called consensus are recommending. I’m not buyin’ it, because it makes no sense, and will most likely make things worse. There are lots of things that can be done and doing nothing is not the solution. However, those many things that should be happening aren’t. In my opinion, they are going to be made much worse with more debt, inflation, and economic instability that always results from debt and inflation. What’s illogiccal about that?
    David R. Remer wrote: Which in turn would result vast increases in home and commercial real estate foreclosures, and the cycle spirals downward even further, making a hundred million Americans homeless and penniless in less than 18 months.
    There are many things that can be done to help that problem, but few (if any) of those things are being done. Usury (among other abuses) shouldn’t be legal, but it is.
    David R. Remer wrote: Common sense and basic Econ 101 fundamentals are all that are required to see the out come of non-government intervention with massive amounts of money to shore up this crippled financial system. But, if common sense and Econ 101 weren’t enough, there remains the consensus amongst economists, right and left oriented, that inaction by our government would result this recession becoming unrecognizably worse and for a very long time.
    Again, little (if any of today’s problems) are taught in Economics 101.

    As for common-sense and logic, what is common-sense and logical about trying to solve a massive, untenable debt-bubble with more debt, borrowing, money-printing, and spending?

    Again, inaction is not the solution either.
    Again, there are lots of things the federal government could do, but very few (if any) of those things are being done.
    Again, just because a so-called majority of economists (most of which who also didn’t see this economic crisis approaching) say more debt, borrowing, money-printing, and spending is the solution isn’t very convincing, and there is nothing in any ecomomic model that states that the solution to a massive debt bubble is more debt, borrowing, money-printing, and spending.

    David R. Remer wrote: Add the feeback loop effects of the global effect of our allowing our economy and financial markets to freeze up, and the scenario is only compoundingly worse yet, as exports and imports, upon which we are dependent, shrink enormously.
    So we should make it 10 times worse by trying to solve the massive debt-bubble (both federal and non-federal) with more debt, borrowing, money-printing, and spending?
    David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, unnecessary and wasteful spending? Wasteful spending this year will amount to something in the range of 15 to 20 billion by the federal government. I have heard 7.7 billion as the wasteful figure contained in the Omnibus bill from last year’s appropriations. Assuming another 12 billion in the next fiscal year budget proposed by Obama, and it comes to 20 billion.
    It’s a lot more than $20 Billion.
    • $54 Billion for federal programs that the Office of Management and Budget or the Government Accountability Office have already criticized as “ineffective” or unable to pass basic financial audits.
    • $53.6 billion for the “state stabilization” slush fund
    • $8 billion for high-speed railway (including earmark for Los angeles to Las Vegas MagLev)
    • $2 billion for Byrne JAG program
    • $1.3 billion for Amtrak…
    • $1.2 billion for “youth activities” (for “youth” up to 24 years old)
    • $1 billion for the 2010 Census {What’s the point with 12-to-20 Million illegal aliens?}
    • $1 billion earmark for the “FutureGen” near zero emission sci-fi plt in Matoon, Illinois that is a pet project of Senator Durbin and former governor Rod Blagojevich. The Washington Post has called the project “prohibitively expensive” and scientists at MIT oppose the project. See February 13, 2009 Washington Post story “Despite Pledges, Package Has Some Pork”
    • $830 million for NOAA research and facilities
    • $650 million for the Digital TV converter boxes
    • $500 million earmark for National Institute of Health facilities in Bethesda, MD
    • $500 million earmark for the SSA National Computer Center in Maryld
    • $375 million for Mississippi River projects
    • $360 million for construction of NIST buildings
    • $300 million for “green” cars for federal employees
    • $295 million for administrative expenses associated with food stamp program
    • $220 million for the International Boundary and Water Commission, part of it going to Mexico
    • $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges and libraries
    • $200 million to design and furnish DHS headquarters
    • $176 million for renovating Agricultural Research Service buildings
    • $146 million for trail maintence at National Park Service sites
    • $125 million to restore trails and abdoned mines
    • $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
    • $25 million for the Smithsoni museum
    • $24 million for USDA buildings and rent.
    • $20 million for IT upgrades at the Small Business Administration
    • $10 million for urban canals
    • $9.9 million for science enhcement at historically black colleges in South Carolina.
    • $9.9 million for South Carolina’s historically black colleges and universities, requested by House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, (D-SC);
    • $3.8 million on a Needles, Calif., highway. Rep. Jerry Lewis of California, the top Republic on the House Appropriations Committee.
    • $951,500 Sustainable initiatives for Las Vegas. Berkeley and Reid sponsors.
    • $950,000 nature education center in Moss Point, MS. Sponsored by Sen. Thad Cochr of Mississippi, the top Republic on Senate Appropriations.
    • $300,000 Monta World Trade Center. Rehberg sponsor.
    • $950,000 Myrtle Beach International Trade and Convention Center. Sponsored by Graham.
    • $381,000 for Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York, NY for music education programs. Sponsored by Jerrold Nadler.
    • $238,000 for the Polynesi Voyaging Society, Honolulu, HI, for educational programs. Sponsored by Sen. Diel Inouye.
    • $200,000 Oil Region Allice. Peterson sponsor. {Why don’t oil compies with record profits fund this themselves?}
    • $190,000 Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, WY for digitizing and editing the Cody collection. Sponsored by Barbara Cubin
    • $185,000 for coral reef research and preservation in Maui County, HI
    • $143,000 Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Las Vegas, NV, to expd natural history education programs. Sponsored by Harry Reid
    • $55,000 in meteorological equipment for Pierce College in Woodld Hills, CA.
    • $24,000 A+ for Abstinence, sponsored by Specter.
    That’s just a sampling. Tens to hundreds of billions, year after year after year all adds up, and all during 52 consecutive years of deficit spending. Saying it is insane is an understatement.
    David R. Remer wrote: Unnecessary is a very difficult term to define. What is unnecessary to you, is vital to someone else whose job or children or education depend on it.
    Right. It is all so very confusing. Perhaps we need to create a Congressional Committee to look into searching for the real meaning of pork-barrel, then create 10 sub-committees to assist, then give all involved another raise and $93,000 for petty cash and expenses, and then perhaps spend a few hundred Billion dollars to perform independent research, and then perhaps provide some tax breaks to the corporations performing the research, and then reconvene after a few years, to determine if they should start the process all over again?

    All of that spending (see list above) is for people in Extreme Group # 1 below:

    • Extreme #1: One extreme wants regressive taxation, unfettered capitalism and freedom to explore and wallow in every manifestation of unchecked greed (which we have seen plenty of lately).

    • Extreme #2: The other extreme wants a nanny-state with citizens increasingly dependent on the government; with massive cradle-to-grave government programs (which are usually severely mismanaged) that nurture a sense of entitlement and dependency on government; wants to grow government ever larger (despite the already current nightmare proportions); rewards failure and laziness; and perpetuates the myth that we can somehow all live at the expense of everyone else.

    The problem is so out-of-control, few can see the forest for the trees.
    Since when was the ridiculously and severely bloated (www.akdart.com/gov1.html) federal government supposed to do all of those things?
    Before long, you can add the following to the list:

    • $3.05 Billion to wipe each and every persons’ ass.

    David R. Remer wrote: But, let’s take some we might be able to agree upon: 1) suspend NASA operations except for maintenance issues to preserve capital investments already in space, 2) cut agricultural subsidies which would NOT cause famine and international border wars over resources in other nations, 3) consolidate international military outposts and redeploy excess personnel to Afghanistan, and cut foreign aid to non-volatile nations.
    That’s a start, but I’m not big on ramping up in Afhghanistan, since many of the terrorists are now in Pakistan.

    Also, as for NASA, I’d shift their complete focus to the Near Earth Object Program (neo.jpl.nasa.gov/images/meteorcrater.html) to develop methods to detect and deflect asteroids and comets from striking earth or the moon.
    It’s not a matter of IF, but only a matter of WHEN before another asteroid or comet strikes the planet or moon.
    Spending for that could possibly save the planet, so that sort of spending can be justified.

    In fact, a few days ago (4-MAR-2009), an asteroid (DD45) about the size (about 69-to-154 feet across) of the one that blasted Siberia a century ago just buzzed by Earth (within 48,800 miles from Earth; less than one-fifth the distance to the moon). If it had hit earth, it would have flattened an area of about 28.3 x 28.3 miles. And who knows what sort of tsunami it could have caused if it hit an ocean? That asteroid (DD45) was only discovered a few days in advance. Better detection methods are needed too. Have you seen Meteor Crater in Arizona. That was made by an asteroid of only 80 feet across.

    David R. Remer wrote: Those cuts might reach the level of perhaps as much as 250 billion. The hole in the economy requiring shoring up by the government is several trillions, the value of toxic assets on corporate financial balance sheets threatening economic freeze, plus assistance to the states in the form of extended unemployment benefits, extended COBRA subsidies, etc, and job maintenance/creation with shovel ready projects over the next 18 months.
    But continuing spending on things that produce no net benefit only makes things worse later.
    David R. Remer wrote: Other investments in our educational quality and accessibility, energy independence, and infrastructure maintenance and improvements are necessary if there is to be a healthy economy going forward.
    Yes, no argument about that.
    David R. Remer wrote: I simply don’t see several trillion dollars in wasteful and unnecessary spending in this coming year’s budget to be cut. On the generous side, I see only perhaps a half trillion. And the Congress would not agree on nearly that much as you and I and Obama all three know.
    It’s not only wasteful spending.

    It’s spending on thousands of things the federal government should not be involved in at all (e.g. www.akdart.com/gov1.html).
    $2.4 Trillion in federal tax revenues should be enough.
    Yet, there was $1.0 Trillion in spending over that in 2008, a proposed $1.7+ Trillion above revenues in 2009, and deficits projected for many years to come.

    David R. Remer wrote: Still, the parameters Obama announced this last week for cutting wasteful and unnecessary spending from his first budget proposal are a huge step in the direction you advocate. The absence of a din of objection from Congressional Democrats indicates perhaps that a quiet deal was reached for Congressional Democrats to accept Obama’s parameters in whole or substantial part, at least through 2010 mid-term elections.
    I’ll believe it when I see it.

    An opportunity to veto pork-barrel was already missed, and considered a broken promise by many.
    The spendimg and fiscal irresponsibility these days, and for many decades now, is far from what is necessary.
    By the way, almost $500 Billion per year of the federal government’s $2.4 Trillion in revenues is to pay the interest on the $11 Trillion National Debt.
    With GDP and tax revenues falling, the percentage interest-to-GDP ratio is growing.

    I still don’t believe that our massive debt problems can be solved with more debt, borrowing, money-printing, and spending.
    Even though the federal government and Federal Reserve can create all the money they want out of thin air, that is a playing chicken with hyperinflation, and no nation in history so ridiculously deep into debt has ever successfully solved their massive debt problem with more debt, borrowing, money-printing, and spending. Trying to do so will make things much worse, and the history and math support that, regardless of a consensus of economists who mostly didn’t even see this economic crisis approaching.

    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 14, 2009 04:56 PM
    Comment #277788

    d.a.n said: “An opportunity to veto pork-barrel was already missed,”

    Or, perhaps an opportunity to secure Congress’ cooperation in eliminating pork spending over the next several budgets, was taken advantage of.

    I am reminded of the old addage, it takes money to make money, from money. Investments in the future require an upfront giving up of money today. The price for cutting 40 to 50 billion dollars in pork over the next 4 years, may well have been the 7.7 billion in pork in the Omnibus bill.

    But, as you said, rightly. Belief will come with the actuality, not the speculation. Spoken like a good Missourian, saying “Show Me”.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2009 04:48 PM
    Comment #277789

    d.a.n says: “It’s spending on thousands of things the federal government should not be involved in at all (e.g. www.akdart.com/gov1.html).
    $2.4 Trillion in federal tax revenues should be enough.”

    Oh, now you want to lay the responsibility for overhauling Congress and the Constitution at Obama’s feet in his first 55 days, as well? C’mon, man!

    Rome was not built in a day, and the earth was not created in 6. Priorities and capacity have to be taken into account when making changes, not to mention the willingness of the plurality of the people in a democratic republic.

    It is ever so easy to find infinite fault with the human condition and blame every or any human for contributing to it. But, such fault finding rarely actually improves the human condition, and never in 55 days.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2009 04:53 PM
    Comment #277808
    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n said: “An opportunity to veto pork-barrel was already missed,”
    Or, perhaps an opportunity to secure Congress’ cooperation in eliminating pork spending over the next several budgets, was taken advantage of.
    Right. After Congress’ last, last, “last fix” of pork barrel.

    BOTH of the $787 Billion Stimulus and $410 Billion budget BILLs had tens of thousands of earmarks and various pork-barrel in them.

    David R. Remer wrote: I am reminded of the old addage, it takes money to make money, from money.
    Or simply create money out of thin air. HHMMMMmmmm … how did the M3 Money Supply grow by a factor of 75 from $135 Billion in 1950 to $10.15 Trillion in year 2005?
    David R. Remer wrote: Investments in the future require an upfront giving up of money today.
    Right. It’s not pork-barrel anymore. It’s “investments in the future”.

    As for “giving up money today”, it’s more like robbing several future generations today, tomorrow, next year, next decade, and up until the massive debt bubble finally can’t grow any larger and finally explodes, completely destroying the economy, the currency, all savings, pensions, 401Ks, entitlements, and wages.

    David R. Remer wrote: The price for cutting 40 to 50 billion dollars in pork over the next 4 years, may well have been the 7.7 billion in pork in the Omnibus bill.
    That’s quite a stretch, and all of these numerous rationalizations are not convincing.
    David R. Remer wrote: But, as you said, rightly. Belief will come with the actuality, not the speculation. Spoken like a good Missourian, saying “Show Me”.
    That moment has already passed. Opportunities to veto pork-barrel have already passed.
    David R. Remer wrote:
      d.a.n says: “It’s spending on thousands of things the federal government should not be involved in at all (e.g. www.akdart.com/gov1.html). $2.4 Trillion in federal tax revenues should be enough.”
    Oh, now you want to lay the responsibility for overhauling Congress and the Constitution at Obama’s feet in his first 55 days, as well? C’mon, man!
    Nope.

    I will not join in rationalizations and making excuses for broken promises, another last, last, “last fix” of pork-barrel, and continued fiscal insanity.
    The budget can be balanced.
    For example, simply cut spending:

      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])

    What’s wrong with that?

    Instead, the federal government has been going on massive spending sprees for many years now.

    David R. Remer wrote: Rome was not built in a day,
    We’re not building Rome. But how many Romes could be built with the equivalent of the $24 Trillion total federal debt and the $67 Trillion nation-wide debt?
    David R. Remer wrote: … and the earth was not created in 6 [days].
    And we’re not creating the Earth.
    David R. Remer wrote: Priorities and capacity have to be taken into account when making changes, …
    True.

    That’s why growing the severely bloated government larger doesn’t make sense.
    That’s why growing the debt without cutting waste, bloat, and pork-barrel doesn’t make sense.
    Abuses won’t stop if no one tries to stop those abuses, and continues to allow another last, last, “last fix” of pork-barrel.

    David R. Remer wrote: … , not to mention the willingness of the plurality of the people in a democratic republic.
    That’s a big part of the problem, made worse by broken promises and another last, last, “last fix” of pork-barrel.
    David R. Remer wrote: It is ever so easy to find infinite fault with the human condition and blame every or any human for contributing to it.
    Yet another vague rationalization.

    We’re not talking about a mere nit-picking of every human fault.
    The issue is decades of fiscal irresponsibility and broken promises to stop pork-barrel and waste.
    The level of debt, waste, and corruption is not something that can be trivialized or rationalized away with accusations of finding “infinite fault with the human condition”.
    Disdain for the irresponsibility, selfishness, incompetence, and greed of a Congress (that just gave itself its 10th raise in 12 years and $93,000 per Congress person for petty cash and expenses), is not merely finding “infinite fault with the human condition”.
    We are not talking about blaming “every or any human for contributing to it”.
    Finding fault or identifying broken promises, abuses, and corruption does not equate to blaming “every or any human for contributing to it”.
    Such extrapolations and rationalizations for these abuses, broken promises, pork-barrel, waste, and more of the status quo are lame (to say the least), because if these abuses are serious and if they are ignored and/or perpetuated much longer, such rationalizations and excuses will become even more ridiculous than they are now, when decades of massive fiscal irresponsibility and hyperinflation have destroyed the currency, all savings, pensions, 401Ks, entitlements, and wages. Yet, you would characterize a disdain for that and those responsible for it as merely wanting to “blame every or any human for contributing to it” ?

    David R. Remer wrote: But, such fault finding rarely actually improves the human condition, and never in 55 days.
    It’s not only about finding fault, but it’s impossible to improve something without identifying the root cause. Unfortunately, that often involves identifying the culpable parties.

    Also, there are many solutions, but few (if any) of the solutions are being pursued.
    As for blame, it is important that it is accurately acertained.
    Many people only want to blame the president or their administration.
    Many people only want to blame Congress.
    Many people only want to blame government.
    Unfortuately, what too few voters are willing to admit or understand is that they are culpable too, and they will reap what they sow.
    How will that ever change if too many voters continue to love THEIR party more than their country, and too few voters are willing to recognize that they have the government that they elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect, … , at least until that finally becomes too painful)?

    David R. Remer wrote: …, and never in 55 days.
    It doesn’t require 55 days to identify and veto pork-barrel and wasteful spending. Unfortunately, there was no attempt at all. Not for the $787 Billion Stimulus BILL or the $410 Billion budget BILL. And I’d wage a sizeable sum that future BILLs will be quite porky too. Of course, this wager is settle now that the definition of pork-barrel is now practically any spending.

    So, how will anything improve if few (if any) are willing to focus on the voters culpability too?
    What is the alternative?
    Simply let them learn the hard way?
    Well, that is looking more likely than ever.
    But let’s not speak harshly of the voters, politicians, or resort to “Finding fault” or blaming “every or any human for contributing to it”.
    No sir.
    Instead, exonerate everyone, and rationalize, trivialize, and argue not only for the acceptance of mediocrity, but make excuses for corruption and broken promises, and hope that everything will somehow painlessly work itself out.
    How well has that been workin’ out?
    What will be the excuse when the next pork-laden BILL is passed too?
    What will be the excuse when hyperinflation results from many trillions of dollars of borrowing, money-printing, and rampant haphazard spending?
    What will be the excuse when the $67 Trillion nation-wide debt is increase by another $10 Trillion ?
    What will be the excuse when the $11 Trillion National Debt is $12, $13, $14+ or Trillion by 2010?
    Where will the money come from when the money to merely pay the interest alone does not yet exist, and 90%-t-95% of all U.S. Dollars in existence in the U.S. already exists as debt?
    These are perfectly valid and reasonable questions that can’t be ignored forever.

    Posted by: d.a.n at March 16, 2009 09:56 PM
    Post a comment