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Are Republicans really serious about reducing the deficit


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#21 Chris Reynolds   Members   -  Reputation: 110

Posted 21 February 2011 - 06:02 PM

"These programs make up something like 16 percent of the overall budget"


You lost me right there. Here's your CBO breakdown for last year:

Posted Image


Anyway, I don't think the cuts are enough. We should cut deeper into entitlement programs, foreign aid, and defense.

"US debt doesn't matter because the US issues the currency the debt is in". Laughable argument. Elementary stuff here - The higher the debt gets, the more we owe. If we can't afford the debt, but can print money, why not just print enough to pay it back, since it is "our money"? Because the more US currency in circulation, the less it is worth - hence inflation. Not to mention that confidence in the currency falls, which has any number of negative effects on the economy. And let's not bring Zimbabwe into this, a small country with 95% unemployment and hilariously high inflation - the only thing relevant there is the negative effect of mass printing money to pay off debt.


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#22 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4688

Posted 21 February 2011 - 07:34 PM

I said 16%. The chart says 19%. Were you really that lost?

In any case, I think SS, Medicare and Medicaid should be reformed as opposed to cut. Defense Spending should find the cuts where possible then have its increases frozen for the next 2 to 5 years. There should budget increases should be frozen across the board. While we're doing that, tax loopholes should just be closed.
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#23 Chris Reynolds   Members   -  Reputation: 110

Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:52 PM

You should be referring to all targeted programs - not just those in this bill (which were intentionally aimed at discretionary spending, and assumed to be just "the beginning")

"They don't want to touch defense spending but want to get their hands on social security, medicare, and medicaid."




(Reuters) - House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday his fellow Republicans would follow efforts to cut $61.5 billion from this year's budget with an attack on waste in Medicare and other so-called mandatory U.S. spending programs.


http://www.reuters.c...E71G69T20110217

The bad news is that even recent spending cuts at state levels are receiving serious protest.


#24 LessBread   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1411

Posted 21 February 2011 - 10:43 PM

If Republicans were serious about reducing the deficit they would have allowed the Bush tax breaks for billionaires to expire. What they're serious about is cutting government to the bone to eliminate any obstacles that might stand in the way of the rule of their corporate puppet masters. They simply lack the courage to admit that's what they're about, so they create a bogus budget crisis in order to ram their desires down every one's throats (Wisconsin!). Rush Limbaugh says as much every time he prattles on about taking it in the ass and getting it shoved down his throat and all that homo-psycho-sexual talk he likes to employ to stir the loins of his most rabid fans. There are still 15 million unemployed workers in the United States. The austerity programs the Republicans are championing will swell that number. Boehner knows it and doesn't care ("So be it!"). Look at what happened in the UK. The Tory's pushed austerity and their economy shrank. Double dip recession! Yeah! The Republicans probably think that increased unemployment will make Obama's reelection difficult and stopping that from happening is all they really care about. They want power and they'll do and say anything they have to in order to get it. They don't have a clear idea of what they want to do with that power - at least not one they're willing to share with the public. Whatever their plan it probably involves destroying labor unions and the Democratic Party, privatizing social security, banning abortion, militarizing the border with Mexico and a host of other unsavory actions that they know the public would never honestly accept.

Corporations to Government: Give Us More, Tax Us Less
http://www.truth-out.org/corporations-government-give-us-more-tax-us-less67942

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http://www.truth-out.org/what-conservatives-really-want67907

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#25 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 30384

Posted 21 February 2011 - 10:56 PM

This whole argument kinda hinges on the assumption that there's two parties in government, right?

#26 ddn3   Members   -  Reputation: 1286

Posted 22 February 2011 - 12:08 AM

America is actually sitting on a powder keg, look at Egypt no one expected it and suddenly it exploded.. Real unemployment at 20% it doesn't take much of a spark to light that fire.. Combine with higher fuel and food costs and a hard winter and all u need is a food shortage and that is how governments fall.. Through out history those have been the warning signs, ie lots of out of work hungry miserable people facing a tough winter.. they go crazy...

-ddn

#27 Prefect   Members   -  Reputation: 373

Posted 22 February 2011 - 07:14 AM

"US debt doesn't matter because the US issues the currency the debt is in". Laughable argument. Elementary stuff here - The higher the debt gets, the more we owe. If we can't afford the debt, but can print money, why not just print enough to pay it back, since it is "our money"?

First of all, do you understand what you mean when you say "we owe"? And do you care to explain? Second, who is saying that the US government can't "afford" the debt?

As for paying back the debt, that's a reasonable long term strategy, but doing it abruptly is not a good idea, simply because it would cause chaos. Keep in mind that most holders of government bonds do so to store wealth: When the bonds reach maturity, they simply buy new bonds, and a large part of the economy relies on getting interest on these bonds. If this source of income were to suddenly disappear, it would obviously be disruptive, partly because insurance companies, banks, pension funds, etc. suddenly lose an income stream that they rely on, partly because some of the money would probably go into the stock market or commodities in the irrational hope that comparable interest can be won there. However, the government could certainly implement a long-term strategy of pushing bond yield down to 0% over let's say 15 years buy buying bonds back gradually. It would be wise to complement such a strategy with a restructuring of how the pension system works.

Please explain how that could cause a horror scenario, according to your view.

America is actually sitting on a powder keg, look at Egypt no one expected it and suddenly it exploded.. Real unemployment at 20% it doesn't take much of a spark to light that fire.. Combine with higher fuel and food costs and a hard winter and all u need is a food shortage and that is how governments fall.. Through out history those have been the warning signs, ie lots of out of work hungry miserable people facing a tough winter.. they go crazy...

One significant difference between the US and Egypt is that the typical fraction of income that is spent on food is much lower in the US than in Egypt, so there is a bigger buffer against hunger in case of rising food prices. Of course the poorest in the US are still going to suffer, and it is absolutely irresponsible of politicians to allow that to happen. But it will be quite some time before there's really a potential for revolution like in Egypt.
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#28 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 22 February 2011 - 07:23 AM

One significant difference between the US and Egypt is that the typical fraction of income that is spent on food is much lower in the US than in Egypt, so there is a bigger buffer against hunger in case of rising food prices. Of course the poorest in the US are still going to suffer, and it is absolutely irresponsible of politicians to allow that to happen. But it will be quite some time before there's really a potential for revolution like in Egypt.


the poorest in any country always suffer compared to the norm. It is not irresponsible of politicians to allow it to happen, because it is impossible for it not to happen in a capitalist country.

#29 Prefect   Members   -  Reputation: 373

Posted 22 February 2011 - 09:02 AM

Nonsense. Every sovereign government has both the responsibility and the capability to care for the poorest in its country. At a very minimum, every government has the responsibility and capability to ensure full employment, such that lack of jobs cannot be a source of poverty.

The only exception to this is if the country is devastated in terms of real resources; if the real amount of food you can produce just isn't enough to feed everybody, then you're in deep shit. But the developed world is very far away from that extreme, so there really is no excuse for letting millions of human beings suffer.

Note: Watch your wording. It is a given that the income and wealth distributions in a county are never perfectly equal. However, you can have moderately unequal distributions without human tragedy at the poor end of the scale. "Suffering" doesn't just mean having smaller nominal income than your neighbour, it includes an absolute component as well.
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#30 SeraphLance   Members   -  Reputation: 1393

Posted 22 February 2011 - 09:31 AM

Nonsense. Every sovereign government has both the responsibility and the capability to care for the poorest in its country. At a very minimum, every government has the responsibility and capability to ensure full employment, such that lack of jobs cannot be a source of poverty.


I'm pretty sure "Full Employment" has never existed outside the arms of totalitarian governments holding surveys with conveniently-placed ink smudges. Not sure you consider that "capability at a very minimum". Do we all get visits from the Job Fairy?

#31 Prefect   Members   -  Reputation: 373

Posted 22 February 2011 - 10:52 AM


Nonsense. Every sovereign government has both the responsibility and the capability to care for the poorest in its country. At a very minimum, every government has the responsibility and capability to ensure full employment, such that lack of jobs cannot be a source of poverty.


I'm pretty sure "Full Employment" has never existed outside the arms of totalitarian governments holding surveys with conveniently-placed ink smudges. Not sure you consider that "capability at a very minimum". Do we all get visits from the Job Fairy?


Let's assume that everybody in the labour force keeps their job for an average of 10 years (happens to be roughly the actual average in Germany, I don't know about other countries), and they are unemployed for only 1 month between jobs. This yields a minimum reasonable level of unemployment of just under 1%. Turns out that Germany had a period of about 15 years where unemployment was around or below 0.5% for most of the time between around 1960 and 1975. When a recession kicked the unemployment rate up to something like 2% in the second half of the 1960s, it was immediately reduced back to below 1% within two years, using fiscal policy. Similar (though perhaps not quite so extreme) pictures emerge in other Western democracies, e.g. Australia, France, and the UK. In all those countries, there were long periods where the unemployment rate was close to or below 2%, roughly from 1940 to 1975. Keep in mind that this was without the kind of statistical tricks that are commonly used today.

I realize that these facts are not very widely known these days, which is of course highly convenient for the conservative (or should I say: anti-worker/employees) agenda, but a little history lesson can be quite eye-opening. The difference between what can be done and the current sorry state of affairs is shocking. If you want to read more about the historical and political context from somebody who has written a PhD thesis on the topic, I can recommend this blog entry. In any case, if you believe that a situation that can reasonably be called full employment is unachievable - for concreteness let's define it as below 2% unemployment, and zero underemployment - then it's time for you to remove the wool that has been pulled over your eyes.
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#32 ddn3   Members   -  Reputation: 1286

Posted 22 February 2011 - 05:15 PM

I'm pretty sure if a revolution comes it won't be because the well off starts it, it will be poor hungry desperate people out of work and totally fed up with the current social structure.. They only need to inflame the idea that revolution can happen for the fence sitters in the middle class to jump on board.. Most people will just wait and see what others do, but once u reach a critical mass there is a phase change in social mood and it all falls apart pretty quickly, in those times the social hierarchy becomes very fluid and other subordinate elements usually see that as their chance to gain power..

It's true the average middle American has a large buffer against rising food prices and that lends stability but they won't be the initiator of the revolution it will be the dirt poor kids living a life of desperation, they will be the ones..Add in a general social sentiment of discontent with the current social order and you'll get something like the 1970's riots except much larger and more violent.. But then again unlike the 1970's people these days have a general apathy and malaise which speaks for the general decline in American social/moral standards..

-ddn

#33 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 30384

Posted 22 February 2011 - 06:17 PM


One significant difference between the US and Egypt is that the typical fraction of income that is spent on food is much lower in the US than in Egypt, so there is a bigger buffer against hunger in case of rising food prices. Of course the poorest in the US are still going to suffer, and it is absolutely irresponsible of politicians to allow that to happen. But it will be quite some time before there's really a potential for revolution like in Egypt.

the poorest in any country always suffer compared to the norm. It is not irresponsible of politicians to allow it to happen, because it is impossible for it not to happen in a capitalist country.

If that's true (which it is), then isn't it irresponsible to simply be capitalist?

#34 Silvermyst   Members   -  Reputation: 113

Posted 22 February 2011 - 08:41 PM

I realize that these facts are not very widely known these days, which is of course highly convenient for the conservative (or should I say: anti-worker/employees) agenda, but a little history lesson can be quite eye-opening. The difference between what can be done and the current sorry state of affairs is shocking. If you want to read more about the historical and political context from somebody who has written a PhD thesis on the topic, I can recommend this blog entry. In any case, if you believe that a situation that can reasonably be called full employment is unachievable - for concreteness let's define it as below 2% unemployment, and zero underemployment - then it's time for you to remove the wool that has been pulled over your eyes.

Interesting read. I agree that if there are no fiscal restraints, the government could just put people to work.

And I'm all for it, since it would also effectively be the end of taxation:

According to their ‘Modern Monetary Theory’ (MMT) – governments which have sovereignty over their currencies and floating exchange rates have no fiscal constraint, i.e., no shortage of money, nothing to prevent them from mobilising their nation’s unutilised productive resources, such as unemployed people, and giving them socially beneficial work to perform.



And, no, Republicans aren't serious about reducing the budget. They're just trying to get rid of stuff they don't like. To be serious about reducing the budget, you need to also get rid of stuff you do like. At least, that's how it works when I have to cut back my own personal budget. I don't just stop buying cleaning supplies. I also stop buying computer games.
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#35 Prefect   Members   -  Reputation: 373

Posted 23 February 2011 - 05:59 AM

And I'm all for it, since it would also effectively be the end of taxation:

That part isn't true. You will still need taxation in general, unless the demand gap left by the private sector becomes bigger than the total size of government. I'm not certain what would happen in the latter case, but I would be worried about the lack of stabilizing and balancing effect of taxation (though how much of that is left is questionable anyway).

But it is true that taxation could probably be reduced significantly in most countries right now. The major question is what effect this will have on wealth distribution. Personally, I'm a big proponent of having a stable wealth distribution, and that requires a progressive system of taxation.
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#36 gasto   Members   -  Reputation: 261

Posted 23 February 2011 - 07:48 AM

I got just 3 words for you: [heading]Resource Based Economy[/heading].
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#37 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 23 February 2011 - 08:24 AM

I can recommend this blog entry. In any case, if you believe that a situation that can reasonably be called full employment is unachievable - for concreteness let's define it as below 2% unemployment, and zero underemployment - then it's time for you to remove the wool that has been pulled over your eyes.


I actually agree with this. It's somewhat more surprising when you look at the US and you see a history of very successful projects like the ones described (the new deals most notably... Between this and the "best president" thread I feel like I'm on an FDR kick or something).

I am all for the government paying its citizens to get stuff done, what I do not like is government entitlement programs for perfectly healthy individuals who could be giving the government something in return (work). Obviously there are outliers with people who are unfit to work, but I think the idea is sound.

#38 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4688

Posted 23 February 2011 - 02:13 PM

This Gov. of Wisconsin has really put his foot in it now. From what I've read, and admittedly it's not definitive, it seems he is waging a political war against the unions. The whole collective bargaining complaint seemingly has no relevance to the budget crisis or bill that's trying to be passed. So now basically, Republicans are openly siding with big business to pass measures conducive to their bottom line and not necessarily for the good of the American people. Hurrah ....
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#39 Chris Reynolds   Members   -  Reputation: 110

Posted 23 February 2011 - 02:14 PM

I agree as well - I think for able bodied unemployed and poor, compensated work should be provided rather than just a check.

Resource Based Economy? If you're talking about the same resource based economy of Jacque Fresco, then absolutely not. That guy is completely out of touch with reality. The entire Venus Project and Zeitgeist "movement" is an epic fail, and I liken it to a modern day hippie movement. No more or less realistic.

This Gov. of Wisconsin has really put his foot in it now. From what I've read, and admittedly it's not definitive, it seems he is waging a political war against the unions. The whole collective bargaining complaint seemingly has no relevance to the budget crisis or bill that's trying to be passed. So now basically, Republicans are openly siding with big business to pass measures conducive to their bottom line and not necessarily for the good of the American people. Hurrah ....




Big business? The problem is clearly state unions. There is an argument now that "well the unions are now saying they will take pay decreases, health insurance options, pension cuts etc. etc." - but this is obviously just empty rhetoric to stop this bill. Why is it obvious? Because these unions have been fighting these issues tooth and nail for years, with no regard for state budgets, and now magically they are willing to negotiate? Please.

State jobs have enough benefits as it is. Unions simply don't belong in the public sector. They belong in the private sector, and even then many take it too far.

PS - to all the teachers taking weeks off: Fudge you. You apparently serve a greater cause, educating children, yet at the drop of a hat are willing to push the kids off to the side for your own benefit. Go teach the children, protest after 3pm.


#40 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 23 February 2011 - 02:28 PM

This Gov. of Wisconsin has really put his foot in it now. From what I've read, and admittedly it's not definitive, it seems he is waging a political war against the unions. The whole collective bargaining complaint seemingly has no relevance to the budget crisis or bill that's trying to be passed. So now basically, Republicans are openly siding with big business to pass measures conducive to their bottom line and not necessarily for the good of the American people. Hurrah ....


Why do you say big business? The bill only applies to public workers.

Honestly people are totally over-reacting in my home state. I'm not saying it's not bad, but schools were shut down for something like a week to protest across the most populated counties in the state. Even so, unless there is an abusive monopsony unions aren't really needed.

http://dailycaller.com/2011/02/21/wisconsins-teachers-make-a-little-more-money-than-theyre-letting-on/

Here's an interesting article on the other side of the coin.




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