About AC drips or Congressional constipation? For the latter I'd recommend
an end to the super majority requirement, an end to earmarks of any kind and
an end to secret single senator holds on nominations. I'd limit campaign
contributions, make Congress work hours that look more like most workers,
give Congress the same health care choices that everyone else has and most
importantly figure out some way to reintroduce compromise solutions instead
of the current "my way or the highway" slash and burn tactics we've seen for
the last twenty years at least.
A responsible Congress would admit the deficit is at a record high because
we now have to pay off two nearly 10 year-long wars, expenses like creating
Homeland Security and compensate for a falling off of tax receipts from a
super hot economy that nearly shut down. This is an unusual condition but
it doesn't merit slash and burn panic. A responsible Congress would not
turn the record deficit into some idiotic piece of political theater that's
just making the US's role as the "leader of the free economy" seem a little
shaky. If they're stupid enough to put us in default, it will injure us
badly in the short term and even worse in the long run. Does the budget
need trimming? Sure it does. Is there a budget anywhere that doesn't?
But across the board cuts are double-edged swords. Reduce the number of
agents investigating Medicare fraud and it could have a negative net effect.
The better approach would be to remember this "crisis" as a teaching
moment - wars don't come for free and eventually the bills come due. I had
hoped we learned that lesson in Vietnam, but apparently not. AfRaq makes
Vietnam look like a righteous war even though the Domino Theory was
completely disproved. Once the economy recovers, and the war bills are
paid, tax revenues will increase and the deficit will shrink as it has many
times in the past. That's when this mostly manufactured crisis will fade
People need to start thinking of the cost of wars *before* they approve
fighting them. Most people don't realize that the Federal Income tax was
started to offset the cost of the Civil War and has been funding wars ever
"Early in our nation's history, the income tax was used only in times of war
or national crisis to generate needed revenue."
Ask people what they would rather have tomorrow. The bill for ten years of
fighting in AfRaq or an income tax refund of from $2K to $50K dollars (the
various estimates of what the war will cost each taxpayer)? What about no
income tax at all? We might pull it off if we learn to keep our military
out of wars of choice.
Good catch. I didn't look for analogs. Kudos.
Yep. Sniff. Under Bush we had a 12,000 Dow, low inflation, unemployment in
the 4-5% range, and more. This in spite of, as you said, two wars, Katrina,
and 9-11. It was a swell six years. Then the Democrats took over Congress
and things went to hell.
As for Homeland Security, it is, in the main, a consolidation of many
agencies and departments. I suspect this merging results in greater
efficiency and a diminishing of duplication of efforts. I'll bet the
activities of the current Homeland Security department actually costs less
than the entities it merged.
No, every penny of the current debt has been personally spent by Obama. From
the "stimulus," to the "bailouts," to "cash for clunkers," and so on. In
eight years, the Bush administration piled up $800 billion in deficit
spending. The Obama administration topped that in its very first MONTH.
Your dates are WAY off. Clinton was impeached in December 1998. The 9-11
terrorists arrived in the U.S. in June of 2000.
Could be. My view is the 40+% of wage earners in this country who pay NO
taxes are the ones not paying their "fair share."
Bushwa. You're relying on a technicality that doesn't represent reality.
"Studies show that the peak years for government health care and disability
compensation costs for veterans from past wars came 30 to 40 years after
those wars ended. For Vietnam, that peak has not been reached."
We haven't finished paying for the folly of Vietnam. The spending time lag
is up to 40 YEARS. To assume that the current budget isn't loaded with past
promises from past presidents and congresses is beyond belief. But not
beyond HeyBub. One trillion of our *future* dollars will likely be used to
care for the horribly blown-apart veterans of our current wars. Wars that
were pretty much the discretionary actions of George Bush. Is Obama
responsible, now, for every wounded veteran who fought under Bush?
Technically, yes but morally, no. Even had he ended those wars the second
he came into office, the costs would still be coming in like credit card
charges from a soon to be ex-wife. Non-stop. For up to forty years.
The huge deficit we are facing came from a decade of drunken spending on
wars, pro-industry drug benefit plans, the TSA, the build-up of the CIA, NSA
and FBI, the creation of Homeland security and more. How successful (or
fair) would it be if Obama said "I won't pay for anything previous
administrations have committed to?"
Obama was also stuck cleaning up the mess caused by an under-regulated Wall
St. and a deliberately starved and muzzled SEC. There was no one able to
stop Wall St. from starting to sell insurance without a license or without
the proper reserves regulators demand of insurers.
Which leads me to ask: Why are insurers supposed to be regulated? Because
freemarket insurers have had such an unsavory history of taking premiums and
declaring bankruptcy when faced with more than a trivial payout. After an
unconscionable number of such defaults, the government HAD to step in. The
largest CDO insurer, AIG, followed in the tracks of all those past insurer
"bust outs." They didn't maintain the reserves regulators would have
demanded of them - that would have "crimped" their profits. So what
happened? We ALL got to pay for it by bailouts from both Bush AND Obama.
Federal law is basically a record of all of transgressions and failures of
freemarket capitalism. It's why the Federal government is so large -
there's no end to corporate villainy nor has there ever been:
"The American Civil War (1861-1865) was marked by fraud on all levels . . .
unscrupulous contractors sold the Union Army decrepit horses and mules in
ill health, faulty rifles and ammunition, and rancid rations and provisions,
among other unscrupulous actions. In response, Congress passed the False
Claims Act on March 2, 1863, 12 Stat. 696"
It is any wonder why Big Business is out to pare down the government? So
they can get back to the freemarket ideas that lead to such abuses. And
incredible profits. FDA? Got its start when pharmaceutical companies began
selling poison potions to Americans nationwide.
"By the 1930s, muckraking journalists, consumer protection organizations,
and federal regulators began mounting a campaign for stronger regulatory
authority by publicizing a list of injurious products which had been ruled
permissible under the 1906 law, including radioactive beverages, cosmetics
which caused blindness, and worthless "cures" for diabetes and tuberculosis.
The resulting proposed law was unable to get through the Congress of the
United States for five years, but was rapidly enacted into law following the
public outcry over the 1937 Elixir Sulfanilamide tragedy, in which over 100
people died after using a drug formulated with a toxic, untested solvent."
I can give you examples from every corner of the business world. The people
screaming to "starve the beast" really wouldn't want to live in a world
without government oversight. They just don't know enough about the issue
to hold anything but soundbite opinions that usually aren't even theirs to
begin with. Federal law *is* the history of business operating without a
conscience. In those cases, businesses operated in such a way that they had
to have a conscience surgically attached by Federal law. Even after the
recent freemarket debacle, it's amazing how many people believe Big Business
can operate fairly without oversight and regulation. It's never happened in
modern times and it never will.
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