A Pox on Both Their Houses

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I don’t usually wander too far off of the climate reservation, but this excellent cartoon by Michael Ramirez deserves wider publication, as it addresses a critical problem. It shows the US Budget for 2011, along with the cuts proposed by the Democrats (liberal) and the Republicans (GOP, conservative).

The US Government is about to shut down because the two sides can’t agree on a budget.

Can the rest of us agree that despite all the posturing, neither side is actually serious about the problem?

w.

PS – Anyone who thinks that CO2 is more important to the US than the above pie chart is fooling themselves badly …

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208 thoughts on “A Pox on Both Their Houses

  1. The pie looks familiar, I think the Dem’s chunk of it roughly corresponds to mankind’s contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere, or am I giving the Dems too much credit? Either way your point is well stated

    Jer

  2. Other than Ron Paul and maybe one or two others, they’re all worthless incompetents. No surprise though – ‘society of sheep begetting a government of wolves’ and all that.

  3. Republicans were stupid not to start with a spending cut proposal of $3.82 Trillion.
    Whereas, Democrats were clever enough to start with a spending budget padded with $100 Billion, over there desired $3.72 Trillion in spending.
    Democrats just stole away with an extra $61.5 Billion in spending to add to our National debt.

  4. Willis I agree with you. This is just till October as Demos haven’t had a budget 2 years. Watch what the cuts for next years budget proposed by Repubs.

  5. They’ve stopped the shutdown…for now.
    The way I feel about it, all government workers are civil servants.
    If they want to sit at home when the government is shut down, go right ahead and make yourself comfy. A lot of folks are standing in line ready to take that job.
    So when they shut down thier data websites, or the National Park gates the jobs are open.
    Who wants to take over the EPA or NASA GISS?
    How about the chair at NOAA?
    Who wants to be a gatekeeper at Yellowstone?

  6. Willis you are so on target it’s not funny, both parties are way out of line. The “ruling elite” of both “parties” play their debate games for the public while not taking their duty to be responsible seriously. They seem to only know how to spend, spend, spend. China could well be the masters of the world soon without firing a shot.

    Never did like “party” politics, this is another reason why not to.

  7. Willis, re: your comment about neither party being serious about the budget, I think there are individuals within the Republican party who are seriously concerned, such as Paul Ryan (R-WI) and his “$6.2 trillion-cuts-over-ten-years” plan. It’s only a plan at this point, but there is at least one who is trying to right ship; the key for success is going to be support from the rest of the Republicans, which is by no means guaranteed.

    On the other side of the aisle, absolutely no Democrats are serious about changing course. If there is even one Dem, he or she is certainly not speaking up.

  8. $50/lb tomatoes anyone?

    Anybody want to be a Zimbabwe-style millionaire (costs a million for a loaf of bread)?

    If those consequences do not appeal to you, then we need to get this reality across to “liberals.”

    I am considering doing a lot of precinct work in my democrat area to make new republicans on an anti-war platform as Ron Paul is the only candidate who’d really get us out. I will find some dems who are mad enough at Obama about that. But this cartoon will be useful in getting across the tremendous costs of climate lies and other things as well.

  9. Its either two plausible cases here. FYI they made a late “Deal” that makes 38 billion in “cuts” (cuts in govt speak is less growth than they wanted btw, the US govt NEVER shrinks, even when “Cuts” happen)

    A) Its all political gamesmanship during a build up to an important election year. AKA typical DC showmanship towards their base voters by acting “firm”, “taking a stand” or “hope and change” B.S

    or

    B) There are so many govt workers now and people on the govt dole, that even taking such a small crumb away from the spending pie, actually DOES cause this much political strife. Remember now, there are more govt workers than farmers, factory workers, miners, etc.

    Either case this country is screwed. Buy gold, stock gas and food, get a gun, and be prepared for chaos. We arnt like Japan, more than 40%+ of people in the US rely on the govt for basic survival. If economic chaos hits and the govt cant support these people anymore, they wont just give up their easy life, they will try to take it from their neighbors. In those times, you better know how to protect yourself.

    PS. During total US Govt collapse, and living in many southwestern and southern states, be prepared for your territory to be reabsorbed into Mexico or become part of a newly formed nation of Aztlan. With some southern states having Hispanic populations growing by more than 80%+ over a decade, it is safe to say that they are being “recolonized” by populations not loyal to the native country land.

  10. Is this one of those “The King has no clothes on” moments?

    I have often wondered what the money in my pocket is really worth, since it is only a few pieces of paper and a few base metal coins. The only thing backing it up seems to be a great confidence trick and a lot of other peoples debt.

  11. Yeah but at least Paul Ryan proposed a solution.

    Better than no response from the other side of the aisle and the less than no response from the president.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  12. fhsiv says…… “The Democrats need to see a lobotomist”.
    How can you operate on something that is non-existent?

  13. Campaign rhetoric aside, all are helpless against the inexorable working of Parkinson’s Laws.

    Especially:

    The growth of administration is independent of the state of that which is administered.

    Expenditures rise regardless of income.

    And, Work expands to fill the time allotted.

  14. Re: “Can the rest of us agree that despite all the posturing, neither side is actually serious about the problem?”

    Actually no. Here we must part ways. True, what is going on currently in Washington is just so much posturing over crumbs and it is really quite annoying. We need real solutions.

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan has an excellent plan. It may not be perfect, but it seems to be good start. It is the first I have seen that really addresses the severe economic challenges we face. Of course, it is being ripped to shreds by Democrats and Progressives. In my book that recommends it even more.

    Re: “Anyone who thinks that CO2 is more important to the US than the above pie chart is fooling themselves badly …”

    Oh yeah. Spot on Mr. Eschenbach.

  15. I lean right, but I think it’s ridiculous that these paltry cuts the Republicans are proposing are almost all political. There is no real meat to them and they don’t really address the underlying problems that have caused spending to explode in the past 10 years.

    You need no further proof of this then their continual talking point that they want to roll back spending to 2008 levels. How about the 2000 level?! Now we’re talking real change. But they won’t do that, because that means erasing all the spending they did while in control.

    Isn’t it all sad that they are grandstanding about these measly cuts, yet the War Machine churns through 800 billion a year? Our country is being hallowed out and we are busy throwing billions of dollars around the world in myopic hellholes of no political consequence.

  16. It is hilarious. Am I the only non-ideologue? Looks that way. Well, at least I can agree with you guys on one thing, the subject of this blog. Likely more, too, but I am going out on a limb here. If I told you guys what I thought of Sarah Palin, you would be mad.

  17. I see the Warmists won again. Boehner was a total sellout. A pandering ignorant ass This country means less to him than his tanning salon.

  18. Only one clarification. And that it needs to be clarified is because of the lack of leadership in the Republican party.
    There is no budget. There has been no budget since last year’s ran out in October.
    There is no budget because the democrats last year chose not to pass one.
    Republicans should have been pointing this out in every speech, every press release and on every Sunday morning show every time a Republican was able to breathe air and speak.
    The democrats bet Republicans would fold and they did.

  19. For too long the Europeans have been given a free ride when it comes to their security. While many marvel at their ability to provide social services for their citizens the Europeans haven’t contributed a dime to their security. It’s time to pull our troops out of Europe to lessen our debt.

  20. Mr. Walton, what do you mean “Democrats” and “progressives”? Last time I looked they were both Marx’ kids- and I don’t mean Groucho’s.

  21. Bye bye the American pie …
    They drove your pressie to the levee,
    But the levee was dry.
    And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye

    When the East realised that it couldn’t defeat the US economy head on, it decided to undermine it with debt and like all creditors … they are all smiles and handshakes when they are giving out the loans, but when it comes to paying them back, in come the Rottweilers.

    How could the US have been so stupid to have thrown away its economy like this?

  22. Thanks Willis. Another great post.

    Keynes is quoted as saying, “Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency.”

    We don’t see much written about the consequences of excessive debt. I believe two things are inevitable. First, interest rates must rise as the Treasury runs out of nations and people willing to loan money at cheap rates; and all other rates go up in competition with the Treasury. Second, the Fed creates more money to buy Treasury debt which “debauches” the currency and fuels inflation. Expectation of inflation
    fuels even higher interest rates.

    Would a real Economist out there care to comment?

  23. Repugnants don’t have the faintest idea on how to negotiate properly. A pox on both houses.

  24. Whenever there is a war, the US leaves the gold standard behind.
    Because then the government needs to print money.
    You never went back to the gold standard since last time.
    Look how convenient it is for the politicians to just keep on printing money.

  25. L says: April 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Mr. Walton, what do you mean “Democrats” and “progressives”? Last time I looked they were both Marx’ kids- and I don’t mean Groucho’s.

    Somehow, I always thought “left” in the US meant a little bit to the right of “right” in Europe and “right” was so far stuck up its own ….. that … words fails me.

    It really has shocked me (if the figures are true) that the US has such a massive budget … OK, that in itself is horrific enough but the US has always lived in a hollywood world of make believe and perhaps there is virtual economics, and who really cares outside the US, when the US falls, the rest of us will pick up the economic pieces.

    No, what has really shocked me is that all this fuss all this massive argument over the budget is over so so so little! You lot swat at a gnat not seeing the elephant charging. We see Greece, Portugal and other Mickey mouse economies run by “darn commies” falling over, and then we see the real Mickey Mouse economy is not Greece or Portugal, but the US … run by darn commies in the Republican party.

    What is that they say about democracy … it can never succeed, because sooner or later the people will find a way to vote themselves a lifestyle of luxury which simply cannot be sustained in the real world.

  26. David Falkner says:
    April 8, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    I certainly can agree Willis. Let’s end military spending now.

    =//=//=//=//=

    Or social programs; either move would reduce expenditures by about a trillion, when all Defense spending is gathered up. (No, I can’t back that up. Call it an opinion.)

    I assume you’re an anarchist? Or an extremely strict constructionist with respect to the Constitution (wanting to return to what’s in the document and no more)?

    Even the Founders who firmly believed that America should have a weak military so that it wasn’t used against the people discovered that they needed soldiers, sailors, and marines after all. Adams against the French in the Quasi-War, Jefferson and Madison against predation by the Barbary States, and Monroe against the British. Again. In 1812, only 28 years after the final paperwork ending the Revolution.

    Can we stop using U.S. military as world police? Yes, I’m for that. But I’d re-route quite a bit of that money into improving the pay, training, and equipping of the people at the sharp end of the spear.

  27. We have the same problem in the UK, though our numbers are a little smaller. We do have a ‘get out’ card which you in the States do not.

    If we get out of the EU, £40M per DAY saved, and stop spending on the stupid wind turbines and other useless ‘green’ rubbish, saving £100B per year, we would have no problems and not have to have any cuts at all.

  28. Cheers.

    Who were we to think congress would shut the gov down during tax season.

    I plan on eating pie tomorrow. Next week…

  29. I do sometimes wonder where this will all lead. Some European nations have the same problem, but the USA takes the biscuit.

    You have twin deficits of epic proportions, and no plans to reduce consumption or spending.
    Your major creditor is China, your major industrial competitor. Each American owes each Chinese $thousands.
    But America has no way of paying those debts. America used to pay them with high-tech products, like computers, electronics and aircraft. But nowadays, the high end technology is comming from – you guesses it – China.
    What are you going to pay the debts with – maize? (Sorry, I forgot, you no longer export maize, and power gas guzzlers with it instead.)

    So what to do?

    There are only two options:
    a. Go for German hyper inflation, where the dollar becomes worthless and you need a wheelbarrow to take your wages home. A loaf of bread will cost about $350,000,000 and imports will be impossible – but at least your twin debts will evaporate.

    b. Continue to defy economic gravity. But at some point, other nations will ditch the dollar as a reserve currency, because it is too risky. Those trillions and trillions of dollars will all flood back to the US, making the dollar absolutely worthless, much as in point a above. But this will all happen very suddenly.

    The only difference is that point a. is somewhat controllable.. Point b. really will be a 1930s German crisis, where the US economy implodes overnight.

  30. I’d support Paul Ryan (even though I’m British & living on my side of the pond at that :P ), but sadly I’d be very surprised if his proposal (or a counter-proposal as good as it) gets anywhere.

    As for talk about defence cuts… no thanks:

    1. Who can replace America as the world’s policeman and is committed to the same sort of ideals as America? Not China or Russia, that’s for sure. The EU as a whole is a military joke, and in it, the only two countries that aren’t – Britain & France – don’t spend enough to really do it on the scale of the USA. If Germany wasn’t so hung up about WW2 then it might be a credible third nation, but instead its in thrall to pacifists and eco-loons.

    2. If you cut things like DARPA then you make it easier for the Chinese et al to play catch-up. They may not achieve parity, but as we’re talking warmaking capabilities here, you don’t want parity – you want to be able to curbstomp the other side with your little finger, because that ability will tend to reduce the likelihood of war breaking out in the first place: people don’t go to war expecting to lose, after all.

    3. Anyone who thinks a world without America (or a similar power) as world policeman would be better than the current situation is deluding themselves. Consider the two main alternatives: a world where a country far less democratically inclined than the US is the policeman, or a world in which there isn’t one at all, and troublemakers the world over can get away with things they can’t at present.

  31. Quote, Ellis, “the Democrats (liberal) and the Republicans (GOP, conservative).”

    In Europe the Democrats and the Republicans are both seen as being right wing.

    A more apt description would have been “the Democrats (conservative) and the Republicans (GOP, ultra-conservative).”

    I doubt they are any genuine liberals in Congress or the White House.

  32. “The US Government is about to shut domn.”

    So where is the problem? People can survive without a corrupt Government. Let them go to hell those vampires.

    We the People. They work for us. We are not there slaves. We are in power.

    or

    1984

    It’s your choice.

  33. As Micawber from David Copperfield says:

    “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

  34. If money printing is the relief valve for government debt then this merely means that each dollar in your wallet is really just fifty cents unless you spend it now on something durable.

    The economy, if looked at physically is a machine that requires energy input to drive it’s engines, is being ruined. That energy is food that animates people and highly condensed energy such as oil, coal and high voltage electricity that powers tools. That quite literally is what makes us get out of bed and then brews our coffee. If the money for either energy input does not recirculate back into the economy of the nation then the engine runs out of juice eventually. The scuttling of The Atomic Age is the reason for all of this mess when combined with carbon taxes that suck wealth out of the system in order to pay it out on interest to China and to guttersnipes who don’t add wealth back into the system via creative invention or at least competent raising of the young in safe communities.

    The solution is obviously libertarianism in the form of the Tea Party, meaning an end to the anti-science bent that plaques the Republican Party. Stem cell research ban (by academics who rely on federal funding grants)? Ugh! Creationism taught in schools (the Earth is 6000 years old?!). The Drug War that keeps producing the likes of crack cocaine and heroin analogues that are ridiculously addictive and fully available to children?

    Environmentalism is a policy issue, meaning it is politics.Politics depends not on shouting loudly at known scoundrels but on voting for people who are not scoundrels in the first place. The scientific debate is OVER. Runaway greenhouse theory has been REFUTED in the scientific sense. They don’t even hold debates any more and now they are turning to libel law to silence even bloggers like Tim Ball. Running round in round in more circles, debating statistics all day will only allow pontificating louses to create smoke screen media barrages that create a cocoon around those on the left who are moderates to ever understand that Global Warming Skepticism is *not* a Republican Party phenomena.

  35. Excellent post Willis, thanks for pointing this out. For those UK people criticising the US don’t you realise we have exactly the same problem here. In our case though the proposed ‘cuts’ that the BBC are so critical about are not actually cuts per se – it’s simply a reduction of the rate of increase in spending!!!

    Meanwhile the salaries of senior bureaucrats are massively increasing, last year for example when many were losing their jobs or on freezes the leader of the LGA was being given a £70k increase to a salary of over £300k. (The LGA are simply a local govt. lobbying group created by Tony Blair in 1997). The LGA also spend massive amounts on ‘consultancy’. It would be interesting to know just how much executive salaries have increased in the last 14 years.

    http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/bettergovernment/2010/11/pay-of-lga-chief-executive-revealed-.html

    Huge payments are being paid to council officials who leave and then walk into ‘consultancy’ roles.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8334915/The-council-fat-cat-earning-570000.html

    Unfortunately all three of our main party leaders are pursuing rabidly pro UN/EU policies such there is no real choice in who we vote for and the BBC have used their broadcasting monopoly to discredit the anti-Marxist smaller parties. Meanwhile they continue their relentless campaign on CAGW.

    http://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/2011/04/held-to-account.html

    Our only hope is if something like the US Tea Parties develop here.

  36. This is starting to sound like the Fall of the Roman Empire and just maybe there are parallels in that every civilisation has a limited lifetime as it’s youthful vigor slowly evaporates and is replaced by a far more slothful population expectant of having all it’s desires and wishes fulfilled out of the public purse but which same population does not intend to make any contribution itself if it can possibly avoid it.
    And there is always an increasing concentration of wealth into fewer and fewer hands in a declining civilization and that wealth is used for less and less genuine wealth generating activities ultimately leading up to the ultimate collapse of past very well endowed and established civilizations.

    America can rejuvenate itself but I suspect that it might take as Thomas Jefferson said;

    “God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
    The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is
    wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts
    they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions,
    it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. …
    And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not
    warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
    resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
    to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost
    in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
    time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
    It is its natural manure.”

    Or as Mao Tse Tung also said, roughly; “Every now and then you need a revolution!”
    By which he meant that there comes a time when the accumulated dross, detritus, corruption and sloth of governments and those who run them must be cleaned out.

    Not that I agree with Mao’s methods but?

    And if America goes so goes the rest of the world even the over rated newly rising stars of the East.
    As a 73 year old I saw how those of my parent’s generation were forever scarred by the Great Depression and I saw what it did to them and I dread the day but it is most surely coming again.

  37. Jessie says:
    April 9, 2011 at 3:30 am

    Thanks for the link to Daniel Hannan’s speech. Interesting to see how our representative in the EU was being totally ignored and talked over.

    Similar to when Vaclav Klaus the Czech president made a speech there appealing for a real debate over the meaning of Europe and the European Union –
    ““The most important task is to make sure that debate over problems is not silenced as an attack on the very idea of European integration. We have always believed that being allowed to discuss such serious issues, being heard, defending everyone’s right to present a different that “the only correct opinion – no matter how much may disagree with it – is at the very core of democracy,” he said.

    Many MEPs booed or walked out – so much for our European ‘democracy’!!!

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brunowaterfield/8623966/MEPs_boo_call_for_free_speech_and_EU_debate/

  38. I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.
    Thomas Jefferson,
    3rd president of US (1743 – 1826)

    Shut it Down!

  39. This has been a silly discussion.. lots of talk about deficits and debts, but no discussion about revenues.

    The USA needs to go back to the high marginal tax rates of the past when we were in trouble or had to pay off a war:

    http://politics.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474977623449

    WWI 70%
    1920s 23%
    New Deal 63% to 79%
    Eisenhower 91%
    Nixon 70%
    Reagan 50%
    Bush II 35%

    If people on this BB do not understand from these numbers what is happening, then you may as well be clueless warmists imo!

  40. So the democrats refuse to pass a budget when they control both houses and the presidency….can’t let anyone see what it really costs

    …and they refuse to pass a budget when they don’t

    And Obama starts out his campaign lecturing and talking down to all of us about our irresponsible spending and running up our credit cards.

    The bigger question is: did this interrupt his vacation?

  41. My Democrat friends are not happy about the situation (they’ve gone very silent about everything in the last year or so). I told them that the Republicans have the Tea Party to keep our politicians in line w/respect to debt and spending, I suggested that the Democrats need a Tea Party of their own.

    The revolt by the Republican base against the Republican establishment, since our guys were all becoming such big spenders, and is something the Democrats could also use.

    Nothing will wake up the heirs to Tammany Hall faster than having “your guy” lose a primary, and thus your party loses a seat, and then finding that your base doesn’t care because they don’t see you or your party or “your guy” as being representative of their interests anymore. You’ve lost your all-important base. Which is what the Tea Party is putting the Republicans through.

    The Dems need this treatment also. You would think that with all the activist groups associated with the left, one of them somewhere would take up the “debt” cause. But I think they will need a genuine grassroots movement for that, and the left (shockingly) doesn’t seem to have any.

  42. Please don’t lump us “Conservatives” in with the GOP.

    There’s nothing “conservative” about spending $1,500,000,000,000 more than you collect.

  43. They’ve accomplished nothing. The reduction is about 0.7% of the total government yearly expenditure. In terms of a household that spends $40,000 per year it’s like reducing the spending by $24. Big effing deal. Much ado about nothing.

  44. Willis,

    Is it a wonder that billons of dollars is buying out gold?
    At least gold has a value when currency does not.

  45. Actually, I’ll take it one step further:

    Please don’t lump us “Conservatives” in with the GOP or the Republican Party. From our view, the Democrats and Republicans are just different shades of the same color.

    The D’s are leading this country into financial and social ruin at a speed equivalent to a jet.
    The R’s are leading this country into financial and social ruin at a speed equivalent to a train.

    Us C’s would like to stop, turn around, and walk the opposite direction from financial and social ruin.

  46. Willis

    In all fairness, Congressman Ryan has proposed $5.8tn of reductions starting next year. I gather he hasn’t had the time to do all the necessary pitches to his constituents and the GOP. Also, the latest polls out of the US suggest that you americans want cuts but not for each other, just for everyone else. Now that is absolutely normal, of course.

  47. We are not at the end of the crisis, not even the beginning of the end – only the end of the beginning. Look at the price of commodities, from precious metals, to oil, base metals and agriculture. Could there be a more stark reminder of the destruction that is now taking place to fiat currencies? The ECB is taking on more and more toxic debt and will eventually implode.

    But let it be said this is not a failure of capitalism. It is a failure of government intervention and the mixed economy. It is the inevitable result of what happens when governments attempt to stave of bankruptcies with bail outs and subsidies. But businesses – indeed whole industries – go bankrupt only because they can no longer provide the goods and services that consumers desire at a price they are willing to pay. The process of bankruptcy allows the resources to be freed up by new enterprises to be used to generate new jobs and new wealth.

    Other examples of government interference include regulations to try and redistribute wealth, or put right some perceived injustice. The Bush era regulations requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to give mortgages to people who lacked the ability to pay, was just such an attempt to make houses ‘affordable’ for everyone. All it ended up doing was driving up prices still further, and we all know how that ended.

    The EU is weighed down with social policies for ‘protecting’ workers jobs, providing entitlements that can’t be afforded and racking up ever increasing debts in the process. The workers jobs have been protected off to China and other countries, yet still the process goes on, with another round of legislation due this year to ‘protect’ temporary workers jobs. You can bet this will lead to less of them being hired in the first place.

    As in the US, the UK’s much lauded austerity plan to cut the deficit, is really no such thing. Spending in nominal pounds will be higher in 2015 than it is today. Yet you have the opposition going round whipping up hysteria about ‘savage cuts’.

    The worse things get, the more they seem to stay the same.

  48. The moron’s won’t stop spending.

    Thanks Willis, like the ocean heat content, seeing the magnitude of the overspending by this insane government is absolutely frightening.

    I don’t think it will end well.

  49. Follow the money people. Just examine the amounts being extracted from our pockets to fund the solar energy programs in New Jersey. And 5 seconds before the subsidies run out, the hogs will have left the trough and there will not be one scrap remaining. We are allowing ourselves to be scammed on such a massive scale it is frightening. To quote Walt Kelly: “We have met the enemy and he is us!” Unless we are willing to make these clowns in Washington (and our State Houses) accountable for what they are doing, we will continue to speed on to the inevitable train wreck we all know that is coming. We know what the light we see in the tunnel really is. It just makes me angry.

  50. Allanj says:
    April 9, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Debase the currency is a better word, I think. Debauche means to make it unemployed, redundant or temporarily out of work (til the morrow).

  51. What about it…. look at the DATA..

    The USA had high marginal tax rates under REPUBLICANs of the past when we were in trouble or had to pay off a war:

    http://politics.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474977623449

    WWI 70%
    1920s 23%
    New Deal 63% to 79%
    Eisenhower 91%
    Nixon 70%
    Reagan 50%
    Bush II 35%

    Is there any doubt that we the electorate are being played? It is all about making the rich richer, and wiping out the middle class. GWB started two wars and gave tax breaks. Then he shut down government oversight of the SEC. We had a 1920s boom. We had the ‘wild west’ inder GWB. Guess what, we had a 1929s crash and now a 1930s situation.

    The top marginal tax rates will go up, big time.

    Anyone who thinks otherwise is saying the USA will self destruct. Past history says NO, it will not.

  52. You are right, Steven Richards. I was using the word “debauch” as quoted from Keynes by Liaquat Ahamed in his book, “Lords of Finance: The Bankers who Broke the World”.
    It is a very interesting book in the context of current events.

  53. Meanwhile,
    over here in the UK, those of us on the libertarian leaning right have organised a ‘rally against debt’. The supposed “savage” cuts here – at best – have only slowed the rate of increase in government spending and put off a credit downgrade.

    The left, after having smashed up numerous shops and banks, are having kittens over it and attendees have been compared variously with nazis, paedophiles, evil rich toffs etc etc and there have been many threats of violence.

  54. What about the EPA and their plan to control CO2 emissions by administrative fiat?
    Was that defeated by withholding finance in that area?
    Or are they free to attempt to damage the economy?

    Surely that is known or does nobody care about the economy anymore?

  55. Two years ago I would have laughed at the thought of Donald Trump running for, or being, president. I’m starting to warm to the idea. Perhaps we need a president who is ruthless, rich, and with a good head for business. A president who needs a prosperous America to stay rich. A president who understands that cheap plentiful energy, from any source, is a good thing. Someone who loves America, and speaks their mind (without having someone else’s words spoon-fed through a teleprompter). However, we also need Representatives and Senators who are the same way. Maybe we need to vote for the people who somewhat offend us, by telling us the truth (and who understand the truth), rather than who speaks the prettiest.

  56. I tend to avoid posts such as this here, largely because my views are never taken well. Hopefully you folks have a good bit of salt. It reminds me strongly of Lil Abner’s musical’s song, “The country’s in the very best of hands’.

    I concur. A pox on both of their houses.

    Frankly, the largest issue appears to be the promulgation of laws and regulations that directly attack one group, in order to profit another. By categorization and regulation, they separate groups for their own interests. The guarantee of the constitution, however, was one of general laws, not targeted laws. The Federalist 57 goes so far as to say that the congress can make no law which does not have its full operation upon itself, its friends, and the whole of society. U.S. v Brown 334 F.2d 488 (1965) spoke of this nature of general law.. and the Federalist Papers spoke of the same power in the federalist 44, regarding Attainder. Madison spoke of the full power of that clause (article 1, section 9 and 10) as being impossible so long as slavery existed, as it would forever be a separation under the law.

    Both parties are outside the constitutional mandate, and so far outside of representing the people and states that it is.. frankly terrifying.

    The modern view as attainder being only punitive is quite different from the origin, as attainder was any law, for or against an individual, in which property was affected. It might be conditional upon expurgation by oath or action, it might be real property or the rights that support life, or the right to have rights itself (as spoken of in Trop v. Dulles 239 F.2d 527 (1955) as part of citizenship), or annulling (according to Blackstone) court cases decided by those in conflict of interest by act of legislature rather than by judiciary. In short… these parties in power have eroded all of the safeguards, by ‘deferred maintenance’, then chosen to pull the control rods all the way out when they can’t find enough power to satisfy them.

    Habeas corpus (the bulwark of rights) itself was considered the most vital of the powers of the individual… but we no longer have that right, if we are judged to be ‘terrorists’. Nor do we have any right to police protection, even at the same moment they remove our rights and capability of self-protection. It is a curious thing…

    But then, I admit to ever and truly being an idiot… but I know right and wrong. It is wrong to enrich yourself whilst enforcing by law the poverty of others… it is wrong to eliminate competition by placing laws with which you can afford to comply, but your competition cannot. And it is wrong to support monopoly by law.

  57. The problem is that most Americans have been brainwashed into thinking we need a big spending government. CNN had a real time clock showing the countdown to closure. They dragged every left wing nut they could find to tell us how horrible it would be if the government shut down. What garbage.
    The reason no shutdown occurred was because the folks in DC knew that once the government shutdown, people would realize it didn’t effect them one iota. That would be game over.

    As a side note – Nancy Pelosi, the current minority leader in the house, was up in Boston yesterday making a speech. She totally ignored her responsibilities, just as she did when she was speaker of the house. Time to start that revolution.

  58. From what I understand almost half of the US population depends on government handouts to survive. The percentage is increasing. This is where the Dem’s get their votes. It can’t go on much longer.
    Nothing being done about energy prices-time is running out to act. Drill.Quit fussing with windmills. Electric cars may work in the future but not now. Natural gas works.
    If the Saudi government family falls we are all doomed. What a shame we depend on them so much. Our Mideast policies are failures. Alas.
    We need a LEADER now.

  59. “No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.”

    Mark Twain – 1866

  60. We……(the United States) are in deep, deep trouble. This spending will never be brought under control.

    No one……….not government, not you, not me, not Boehner, not Obama, not Reid can continue to spend more than they make.

    Eventually, you’ll run out of other people’s money.

  61. Total credit market debt stands at about 350% of GDP. This is both public and private debt. Public debt stands at about 95% of GDP. We have spent tomorrow’s income on yesterday’s consumption and it is not just the the government that must cut spending.

    These debt loads can revert to the mean by depression like asset deflation where the debt is eliminated via default, hyper-inflation where it is inflated away, or the slow sensible production of more than we consume. I am aware of no society that has successfully completed the third option.

  62. America is increasingly becoming like a frat party at which only liberals are welcome or comfortable, but which conservatives are expected to pay for. For example, schools all the way up through the universities are increasingly just propaganda machines of PC liberalism. And virtually every other area of society that the federal government funds is equally odious to us conservatives.

    Frankly, I honestly would support a 2 trillion dollar per year cut in the budget. It would take something like that to get our financial house in order. But more than that, I would love to see all the non-Constitutionally mandated federal agencies disappear.

  63. They didn’t take a dime from the EPA. Ergo, CapNTrade by bureaucratic fiat is just fine with the Rs too.

  64. Hard decisions have to be made. If we don’t make them soon, they will be made for us. Let’s not talk hyper inflation as in Germany, not going to happen here because not nearly enough money is being printed, but we could easily end up with an inflation rate near , with little or no growth which is just as destructive, and with increasing fuel prices that will endanger the recovery, it will become even more difficult to act.

  65. What astounds me Willis, is when people look at me funny when I tell them I’ll never vote republican or democrat. They look at me like I’m nuts and tell me I’m throwing my vote away.

    It’s times like these I know for certain that they’re the ones who threw their vote away.

  66. Lets be honest now, the military industrial complex is the major contributor to this problem. A country cannot spend more than the rest of the world combined on military programs which are overpriced and ineffective like the Joint Strike Fighter program and expect to not drown in debt. We’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars for an aircraft that gets blown away by its cheaper european counterparts. It is time that military spending is rained in. The truly fiscally conservative have to acknowledge the military needs drastic cuts. Plus no more trillion dollar wars like Iraq.

  67. The problem isn’t actually that the government is running a deficit right now when times are bad and the economy is in trouble. In economic hard times such as these government should be run at a deficit. To cut spending in the teeth of a recession simply makes the economy much worse and recovery a lot more difficult. Any economist will tell you that.

    But the deficit you run in hard times is supposed to involve spending down the reserves you saved up when times were good. A responsible government should run a surplus when the economy is in good shape precisely in order that it is able to sustain deficits when times are bad. And most economists will tell you that too.

    But when times were good, instead of running government at a responsible surplus, the republicans cut taxes. They actually ran the government at a deficit during good times. That was the true crime. But most people back then were only too happy to take the tax cuts and not think about the future. So maybe it isn’t the politicians who are totally to blame.

    Now the bad times are here and we find that the cupboard is bare. Nothing was set aside in good times to cover for this, leaving no good choices. The size of the deficit is truly frightening. But cutting spending in the midst of a recession like this one will quite likely trigger a full blown 1930’s style depression and economic collapse. Rather than risk that the economists who manage things behind the scenes have decided to try to hold to a steady course and ride out the storm. They are hoping that the economy will pick up in time to prevent the debt from blowing out and becoming completely unsustainable. Are they right? I really hope so! It certainly is scary right now. But that decision has been made and there is no turning aside from it now. Cross your fingers everyone. We are committed.

    In the meantime politics goes on, hence the staged circus about the budget. What the politicians are doing, as revealed in this graphic, is posturing about trivial amounts in order to position themselves and get their stories right for the next election. A pox on both their houses.

  68. It is a struggle between those who think they can do anything they want and those who believe in representative government and political correctness has got both by the family jewels.

    The republicans need new leadership and if the democrats were in the Garden of Eden they would be selling apples.

  69. David Falkner says:
    April 8, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    I certainly can agree Willis. Let’s end military spending now.

    “One’s sovereignty is directly proportional to one’s ability and willingness to defend it.”

    –Me

  70. We disagree, robert. The military and national defense is about the only thing that benefits all citizens equally.

    And it should be pointed out that if the enormous increases in spending since Obama was elected were rescinded, we really wouldn’t be in bad shape compared with the rest of the world. You have to ask yourself: are we better off with all that profligate spending? Or would we be better off without it?

  71. Brute says:
    April 9, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Eventually, you’ll run out of other people’s money.

    Unfortunately, your “Eventually” is NOW, Brute. For a very telling example, take the price of silver. My boss tracks it daily and he’d say the current spot price is $40.66 per ounce. I counter that really the dollar is down to $40.66 per ounce of silver. My reasoning is that a troy ounce of silver hasn’t changed one iota–it is and will continue to be the same troy ounce forever at 31.1 grams. On the 15th of January, 2009, silver was $10.50 per ounce. Economic fears (because our economy isn’t demanding more silver in traditional end uses) has caused a 387% increase in just two and a half years.

    So yes, a pox on both of the main political parties here in the US–and part of the reason I no longer identify with either of them. (Anybody for a nice cup of TEA?)

  72. Great visual
    Spending
    $3.8 trillion/yr budget, $1.7 Trillion/yr deficit
    2007 budget $2.8 trillion
    2003 budget $2.3 trillion
    1999 budget $1.7 trillion

    Revenue
    Total USA GDP $14.6 trillion/yr (CIA World Fact Book)
    Total USA household incomes =$7.8 trillion/yr (US Census)
    Total household incomes for households> $250,000/yr = $1.4 Trillion
    Total of “Bush” tax cuts = $0.30 Trillion/yr
    Total of “Bush” tax cuts for those earning >$250,000/yr = $0.07 Trillion/yr

  73. When we fall everyone will fall. We are the world’s best customer-economies around the world are based on our appetite, when we are reduced to rice and beans they will too.

  74. Vince Causey
    It was not Bush regulations that caused the housing crisis.His government actually tried to do something about it.

  75. I hope this is something that liberals, conservatives & moderates can all agree on & that all politicians here the message loud & clear – vote them all out of office as soon as possible

  76. RockyRoad,

    Of course, you’re correct.

    I happen to buy gold and follow the spot price daily. When I first got started, I thought that it had peaked and I suspected I’d lose money. I was wrong…..it continues to climb. An ounce is an ounce……what changes is the value of the $…… which is (today) worth 74 cents.

    http://www.quote.com/us/stocks/chart.action?s=DX+A0&chartUi.period=M&chartUi.bardensity=LOW&chartUi.bartype=LINE&chartUi.size=575×300&chartUi.minutes=

  77. AusieDan says:
    April 9, 2011 at 6:10 am

    What about the EPA and their plan to control CO2 emissions by administrative fiat?
    Was that defeated by withholding finance in that area?
    Or are they free to attempt to damage the economy?

    Surely that is known or does nobody care about the economy anymore?
    =================================================

    This is all part of it. Its a test of will. I don’t think the conservatives are up for it, I hope I’m wrong, but we’ll see. Without passing a law that overturns the ruling giving the EPA the authority to manage our CO2, (which will never happen with Obama and the current senate) the only way to thwart it, is to defund the EPA’s ability to administer their CO2 policies. This can pass the House, (where spending bills originate) but getting the senate to pass it and president to sign it, is a different matter.

  78. robert says:
    April 9, 2011 at 6:51 am

    Lets be honest now, the military industrial complex is the major contributor to this problem.

    This argument is tossed out a lot, and for a while I bought it myself. It is an easy target to point at. They have secretly funded programs that we the public know nothing of, they use this money to both fund research and perform missions we’ll never hear about.

    There’s a major problem with pointing the finger at military spending though. The military (and NASA), both have to sit in front of Congress and justify their spending each year. They have to sit there and explain why program X is overdue and over-budget. They have to stand in front of the representatives of the citizens of the united states and justify continued funding of their projects. Military spending (depending a bit on who you ask) takes up a large percentage of the *discretionary* spending of this country. When I say discretionary, I’m speaking directly to that amount of money each year that can change what it is spent on. See this graph:

    But the question you should be asking is, what percentage of the U.S. Budget is non-discretionary? Yes, when people say we spend too much on military, they like to point to graphs like that and say, “see, we spend too much on military.” But that is only one slice of the larger pie.
    Here’s another pie:

    Military — 22% of spending

    and another pie:

    Military – same spending as just social security

    And still another pie:

    Harder to read, but you can see that Social Security is spending more than the military

    Now, when you bash military spending, you are bashing the people who get in a hot seat each year and tell your representatives they need to spend X amount to keep the U.S. safe.

    Have you ever bashed social security? or medicare? or unemployment? or medicaid? Probably not, everyone just assumes that these organizations are there for the greater good. The problem is those programs *NEVER HAVE TO JUSTIFY THEIR EXISTENCE*. They never explain to the public with raw data and researched papers how they have helped society out. They never show their work and say, “please keep funding us.” So they themselves can lobby congress to increase their spending in one area, and that’s it, they’re done, they never have to justify that money expenditure again. What’s worse is when you consider that these non-discretionary spending blocks take up a much much much larger percentage of the federal budget. Non-discretionary entitlement programs are the biggest leech on your tax dollar, by far. They are much harder to attack politically which is why the military is always used as a whipping boy whenever everything else is overspending.

    Yes, the U.S. spends a lot on defense compared to other nations, but a lot of that is simply a result of how wealthy this nation is. At the very least, military spending is justified to congress each year in some fashion. You cannot say the same about any social programs in this country, they get their money regardless.

    When you consider also that military spending is often on new technologies that always eventually end up in the public’s hands, you can see there are major benefits to military spending. Ever hear of the GPS system? Maybe you’ve heard of this thing called the internet? Both of those are results of U.S. government spending on military. Has social security helped society as much as either of those two systems combined? One could make the argument it hasn’t and will not ever, and social security never stands before congress with justification for its very existence.

    It is fine to dislike the military. If you don’t want America to be armed, fine, take that political position, that’s valid. But please don’t spread the nonsense of America’s military spending being “out of control”. Military spending has ALWAYS been under control in this country, because it has always had to justify itself before your representatives. Social entitlement programs just take your tax money and leave you with no say in the matter. Social entitlement programs are the tax on you without representation, not the military.

    /end rant

  79. Yes, RockyRoad, I’ve had the kettle on for about 5 years now. Where you been?

    Anthony, today you have messed with my favorite line from Shakespeare. For some reason, people always say, “a pox on both your houses.” The line is, “A plague o’ both your houses!”

    But it’s certainly a good choice. Mercutio is me, you, the taxpayer. He is sick of Romeo’s childishness – he’s a practical man, and he tries to tell Romeo not to get involved with Juliet. And then he gets made into worm’s meat! Just like the taxpayers!

    There’s always room for Shakespeare. But today I’m watching this great Elvis movie – Follow That Dream! Remember – it’s about the gub’mint kicking the public off “public land”. It seems appropo given the news of late. Enjoy. There’s always time for an Elvis movie.

  80. If anyone thinks that 4 Trillion over 10 years is a big deal, that is only 400 Billion per year – with deficit of 2+ Trillion per year, how is that any progress at all?

    In less than 10 years (assuming our interest rates don’t rise – a BIG assumption) our interest on the debt will take almost the entire budget. If we have to raise interest rates, well the short term borrowing our Treasury is currently doing won’t look so smart.

    Only massive cuts in our Government infrastructure will solve the problem. I don’t think anyone in either major party, other than perhaps Ron and Rand Paul are actually talking about this.

    We need to stop letting them talk about one year’s budget in trillions, and “savings” of trillions over 10 years, i.e. billions per year. That’s the recipe for disaster.

  81. I don’t know what Willis expects the repubs to do. Threaten to cut NPR and you can expect to see pictures of starving children on the tele before sundown. Stockman learned that during the Reagan administration. All he could do was marginally slow the growth of gov’t, and that was with a mandate. Even Reagan thought he went too far. I really believe that the tea party’s heart is in the right place. Unfortunately, there are enough rinos and dems to stop them, a media chomping at the bit to portray them as heartless philistines and a public only too willing to believe the media. The US started as a republic. That has now morphed into a democracy. Too few people pay federal taxes and too many people feel the gov’t owes them something. Unfortunately, that demographic doesn’t elect statesmen. You might as well put a fork in us. We’re hosed.

  82. The movie Atlas Shrugged opens next week…do we think it will have any influence on the course of world events? Here’s an interesting point to consider. For all of you productive members of society with a market value…do you care what currency is used for your paycheck? Would you take Yen, Yuan, Rubles, Euros, gold coins or silver bars? I would. Now, think of the folks who do not have this choice, i.e., those employed and supported by a corrupt government. They have no choice–their payments will be made with local government paper.
    Perhaps it’s time to go into the wheelbarrow business, if you catch my drift.
    The government likes to think it is a monopoly and we’ll never have any choice in how we organize ourselves, trade and interact…but everything comes and goes. While the parasites try to get one more drop of blood from a corpse, we’ll be tending to our literal and figurative gardens.

  83. Oh what a nice cartoon. The old-line Republicans are not really serious about deficit reduction.

    For poster Ed_B: You’re proposing terrific tax increases. Wonderful. Even Christina Romer, the former Presidential economic advisor to Obama, says that’s a bad idea. She co-authored a paper stating that for every 1% of GDP increase in taxes, the long-term effect on the economy is to drop the rate of growth of the GDP by 1.9%. See the link:

    http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~cromer/RomerDraft307.pdf

    Do the math. We have a $1.6T deficit, a $14.1T GDP, currently growing at 3.1%. Jack up the taxes the way YOU want to fix the deficit, that amounts to new taxes of
    11. 34% of current GDP. THAT translates, per Romer’s paper, to a reduction in GDP growth of -21.5%. So, the course you propose will end up giving us a GDP shrinking at a rate of -18.4%. Oh, and that’s long term, too. Genius, sheer genius.

    Your examples, Ed_B, show that you don’t comprehend just how far out of control the spending in D.C. has gotten. Your examples also show you don’t realize that every tax increase for many years has always resulted in more spending. I do not recall where I saw this, but someone complied a figure that showed for every dollar of tax increase from World War II to now, Federal government spending has increased by $1.17.

    Congress can’t be trusted.

    The problem is that Obama increased spending by more than 17%, and it wasn’t a temporary “stimulus” expansion, but became permanent. In fact, the Democrats had more than a year to put out a budget for this fiscal year, but they were too scared to show their full plans during an election year. I guess they figured they would lose even MORE seats in the 2010 elections if they showed that their intention was to permanently increase Federal government spending.

  84. Those interested in the grim details of the fiscal mess can read Mary Meeker’s ‘non-partisan’ analysis of the USA considered as a business –

    http://www.kpcb.com/usainc/

    By now, the evidence supports a hard-line interpretation, somewhat like Monckton’s view of the AGW leadership. At a high level in the Obamanation, the long term goal is the destruction of American independence. It seems to be working pretty well. Writers here see the power of the mass media in excluding any rational critique of AGW propaganda, and real fiscal reform will continue to be marginalized. If you are rational, you must be a kook!

    From time to time I repeat the link to the Green Agenda website, where you can read the quotes by extreme-green and AGW leaders —

    http://www.green-agenda.com/

    It is important to distinguish the rank-and-file left from the leaders.

    In social science, the term ‘capture’ is used to describe continuous efforts by interest groups to control official agencies. Thus, ‘regulatory capture’, a conventional phrase in political science, is well-shown by the current EPA designation of carbon dioxide as a pollutant. And, the Madoff scandal is a good example of regulatory capture at the SEC. The FDA represents big pharma interests, etc.

    The ‘long march through the institutions’ is well-known concept on the extreme left. The support for AGW in the universities and even scientific societies is part of a more profound capture by anti-Western leaders.

    There are two positive developments. The alternative media, such as this blog, allows a counter to the controlled press. And, there is now some hope for radical energy technology developed through the work of individuals such as Eric Lerner, Andrea Rossi, John Rohner, and others. Any radical energy source without the obvious defects of conventional alternative energy (ethanol, wind, solar…) would be a terrific victory for independent science, and a defeat for the AGW attack on the West.

  85. Ian H says: “But when times were good, instead of running government at a responsible surplus, the republicans cut taxes.”

    Actually, taxes were cut right after 9/11 and after the nasdaq bubble popped and 1/2 of everyone’s 401k disappeared overnight. Taxes weren’t cut because things were rosy. The NASDAQ POP was repeated 8 years later for pretty much the same reasons with the only difference being that the banks were left holding all the worthless real estate. Whoops! Banks don’t like that.

    Remember those “surpluses” during the 90s created by Greenspan bubble number one? No one was talking about using that money to pay down the debt. Everyone was chomping at the bit to get their hands on it. That’s the problem. That’s why you don’t raise taxes. They just spend it. Raise my taxes and guarantee me that every additional cent collected will be used to pay down the debt and I’m on board…. except I know that the guarantee ain’t worth the paper it’s printed on and my money will be spent on some stupid turtle crossing somewhere.

  86. This site is now inhabited by the brain dead! Look at the DATA:

    The USA had high marginal tax rates under REPUBLICANs of the past when we were in trouble or had to pay off a war:

    http://politics.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474977623449

    WWI 70%
    1920s 23%
    New Deal 63% to 79%
    Eisenhower 91%
    Nixon 70%
    Reagan 50%
    Bush II 35%

    Is there any doubt that we the electorate are being played? It is all about making the rich richer, and wiping out the middle class. GWB started two wars and gave tax breaks. Then he shut down government oversight of the SEC. We had a 1920s boom. We had the ‘wild west’ inder GWB. Guess what, we had a 1929s crash and now a 1930s situation.

    The top marginal tax rates will go up, big time.

    Anyone who thinks otherwise is saying the USA will self destruct. Past history says NO, it will not. Face it, TAXES MUST GO UP!

  87. I should also mention… Military spending is one of the major reasons that America has any intellectual property edge at all anymore.

    Here’s a choice before you. Do you spend money on social programs that gives kids things to do after school, or do you spend it on military research?

    What about the choice between unemployment benefits and military research?

    If you throw money at some federal outlay for the social program, you will keep people living as they are for a while, but no future wealth will be generated.

    If you fund military research, you create highly skilled labor jobs for young people to aspire to get.

    To me the choice is obvious. Social programs generate no new technology for our society to leverage in the marketplace 10-20 years down the line. Military spending does. What’s more, military research spending sets the bar high on the skilled labor scale, which over time will INCREASE the skilled labor base a nation has. Unemployment, by contrast says, “lost your job at walmart? oh well, here’s your check.” Unemployment offers no incentive for the middle-class to make themselves more valuable in the world labor market. Military spending does.

  88. Right on! We desperately need LEADERS in the USA, instead of half-dead, myopic politicians. Of course a “leader” on the left side of the isle just wants to spend and tax MORE!

  89. Leif Svalgaard
    A people have the government they deserve…

    Well, the majority do. Trouble is, the rest of us get stuck with it, too.

  90. anon says:
    April 9, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Trying to solve the debt by raising taxes is like trying to cure a gambling addict by increasing thier credit limit.
    We have way too many politicians and bureaucrats who are incurably addicted to blowing money.

  91. Couldn’t agree more with you Wills…excellent post. As a proud Independent American (realizing that both parties are pretty corrupt), and having spent a bit of time in Washington, I have come to the conclusion that several major things must happen in order for us to really get serious about our deficit:

    1) Campaign finance reform – we need to take the big money out of the political process. So long as big money is pouring in to the election process, then candidates to one degree or another become beholden to support various groups (unions, trade associations, large corporate interests) that don’t necessarily care about the financial strength of our nation, but put their own financial interest first. I have seen many a promising candidate corrupted by the reality of big money politics. We need to complete revamp the political process so that the men and women with the best ideas become our leaders and not those with the deepest pockets and wealthiest supporters.

    2) A Constitutional Amendment requiring a balanced Federal Budget. There should be no equivocating about this.

    3) A limit of two terms for Senators & Representatives. The same logic that holds for the term limit for the President applies to the House and Senate. Power gets too concentrated the longer a person stays in office, and this combined with the need to raise big money to get elected each term, creates the corrupt system. Thomas Jefferson’s idea of citizen public servants that come and serve for a limited time at a very modest salary is right on target. Combine this with campaign finance reform, and serving in Washington will truly be SERVING, and not seen as pathway to get rich.

    But here is the sad thing. Though the average American voter may agree at some level with the 3 points above, getting any of them to pass into law is almost impossible. Why? Because the very people they would affect are the one’s who hold the power to make these into law. If real changes are going to occur (balanced budgets, campaign finance reform, term limits) , then it will take a true grass-roots peoples revolution to make it happen…marches on D.C., etc.

  92. Just tried to post this on Facebook and was blocked. Apparently they have not fixed the problem yet.

  93. reminds the folks here that Dubya started running budget deficits, refusing to take the example of Clinton who ran very prudent budgets! Don’t blame liberals for everything. It is mostly the Republicans in the US who start to run deficits…eg Hoover et al

  94. stephen richards says:
    April 9, 2011 at 5:16 am

    Willis

    In all fairness, Congressman Ryan has proposed $5.8tn of reductions starting next year.

    I’m kinda tired of reductions that will be “starting next year”, don’cha know …

    w.

  95. A great many conservatives are at the heart of the deficit problem in the US, and I will give you a first hand example. My mother is in a nursing home. We had the foresight to take out a long-term care insurance policy(my wife and I have them as well) on her to make sure she could afford this kind of care.

    She has been in the facility for 2 years, and I have been fortunate to get to know everyone who is a resident. The concept is private rooms with a common eating and gathering area. Now, I’ve talked to just about everyone there, and my mother is the only one not on public assistance. The average Medicaid payment for each resident is $2800.00 per month. Now, just about every family here is more than able to take care of their mothers(there are no dads here), they identify as mostly conservative, yet they have no problem having the taxpayer pick up the tab for long-term care.

    As a matter of fact, some of the discussion over the years has centered around how to keep from picking up the tab for granny, how to hide property and income(such as transfering property and income 3 years before nursing home care begins), and how to get more benefits. And this is from mainly conservatives, or they self-identify themselves as conservatives.

    The problem we have is that a large number of people(perhaps a majority) are on the government dole here in the US, and they don’t want to give it up. If one tried to cut spending for granny at the nursing home, you could well be assured that many of these same conservatives would be out front howling with the liberal mob. The reason–most don’t want to be inconvienced(either financially or personally), and I hate to say it, but it’s true.

    I guarantee you that there is no way the people of the United States, or the Congress, much less the President, would support the draconian cuts that would be necessary to balance the budget. However, none of us will have a choice, as the treasury bond market will soon take care of the problem. At some point very soon, likely this year or next, no one will be willing to buy US debt, and the budget crisis will come to a head. The problem will resolve itself one way or the other(both ways will be bad). I can guarantee you one thing, funding of climate-change silliness will not enter the discussion.

    One would be wise to take the proper precautions, based on what is sure to come. Consider yourself warned.

  96. anon says:
    April 9, 2011 at 7:31 am

    I don’t know what Willis expects the repubs to do.

    I don’t expect either Republicans or Democrats to do much at all, given their historical actions. I’m just pointing out the size of the problem and pointing out that neither side is helping, not taking sides myself.

    w.

  97. R. Gates says: “But here is the sad thing. Though the average American voter may agree at some level with the 3 points above, getting any of them to pass into law is almost impossible. Why? Because the very people they would affect are the one’s who hold the power to make these into law. If real changes are going to occur (balanced budgets, campaign finance reform, term limits) , then it will take a true grass-roots peoples revolution to make it happen…marches on D.C., etc.”

    R. Gates, what you say is true. And that is exactly how women got the vote, less than a hundred years ago. Marches, writing letters, newspaper articles. They were trying to get men to allow women to vote, which was rather a tough sell. But if women back then could get that to happen, then I think it is possible to make real change happen now. Maybe barely possible, but possible. Let’s just keep making TEA, and vote out anyone who won’t create change. Having conservatives (NOT republicans) take over both the DNC and RNC wouldn’t hurt. And there are some good solid conservative Democrats, as well as good solid conservative Republicans. It wouldn’t hurt to have a president who doesn’t have his head up his @$$ for the warmth.

  98. Reason I am upset at Republicans – Under Bush they allowed unchecked Government Spending, in particular they increased Military Spending FAR too quickly ( I would have rathered special funding rather than simply increasing the funding )
    Democrats – want to create/expand entitlement programs. I disagree with entitlement programs, I understand ‘why’ they want to do so, they believe that business is evil and only intent on keeping people impoverished. I have never met any Business Man who has keeping people in poverty as their goal. While a great many businesses offer lower wages people still line up to work for them! Heck I do a door to door business that pays $15.00 an hour and can’t find anyone to do it. Think about that I offer pay over 150% of Walmart but they still line up to work for WalMart because the job is ‘easier’. That is the free market working, people choose to work for a lower wage, they are not stuck there. They are CONTENT there otherwise they would find BETTER Jobs or at least higher paying jobs… I have attempted to get a job everyday this week ( just to see how hard it is ) Are they the best paying? No but I was hired at every single one of them with next to no effort on my part. No either I am exceptional ( which I do not believe ) or people simply do not want to work them ( none of them were easy desk jobs, almost all of them were sales jobs ) Perhaps that is the problem with society, we expect things handed to us, or something…

    Sorry I am sick and tired of entitlements. I am tired of trying to pull those that have down rather than looking to pull ourselves up. Heck I am so sick of it I wrote a childrens book about it ( you can snip it if you want ) called “The Fisherman’s Catch : A Conservative Bedtime Story” P.S. notice it says Conservative, this means it is not Republican or Democrat, it is grounded in principles I think the either one could agree with. Such as wealth is not created through redistribution, rather that it is created when people produce something of value to each other.

    Sorry for this rant I am so angry/sad/upset at the mentality people have. Who cares if 45% or whatever it is of the wealth is concentrated in 2% of the population, worry about how you can produce more wealth for yourself not what others have managed to do. Government Stop spending like it is going out of style, stop promising things that cannot be delivered. Stop blaming the other side for your cave-ins, or your inability to see things like the housing bubble coming.

  99. Call me crazy, Willis…. but let’s give Paul Ryan a chance. His spending cut proposals are deep and real. The man has a spine and this is the right fight to have over the next 1.5 years, leading up to the presidential and congressional elections of 2012.

    The battle will be won….. or lost, not by just posting our thought here on WUWT, but by being involved in the grassroots organizations that are defeating and unseating politicians that do not support real, conservative fiscal discipline. I was not a ‘political person’, until about 2006, when I became so concerned for the economic survival of my country that I started speaking out about my concerns, seeking out similar minded people, and participating in the thankless but essential tasks of grassroots political organizing. We didn’t unseat Let’s Play PattyCakes With The Unions – Patty Murray, but Sen. Maria Cantwell is vulnerable in the coming election. We must work at the local levels to install fiscal discipline minded representatives, while contributing to those in the east part of the state working to take free spending Cantwell out.

    I take heart in the fact that Wisconsin, historically one of the most liberal states in the Union, found the courage, wisdom, and backbone to retire many of the progressive democrats that had supported the nearly bankrupting deficit spending and progressively accelerating state debt. If they can do this in ‘blue’ Wisconsin, we can get it done in Washington, Oregon, and even California.

    Take heart. Look our opposition straight in the eye and speak to the unshakeable financial facts that our deficit spending and huge state and federal debts are going to bankrupt us without deep spending cuts sufficient to create surpluses needed to pay down debt. Seek out like minded folks in your own neighborhoods, get organized, recruit more like minded folks to support fiscal discipline candidates in the coming elections.

    Let’s get this foundering ship bailed out, turned hard starboard away from the financial reefs, sailing at hull speed again, and on course for a sustainable future. There is no viable alternative.

  100. Willis I agree completely, but at this point it’s too late. It’s like asking how do you stop a runaway bus, when the bus is already going over a cliff. The US has become addicted to deficit spending. Consider what it would take to fix the problem:
    The current budget calls for $3.8 trillion in spending. Current revenues are $2.2 trillion. That leaves a shortfall of $1.6 trillion. To solve the problem through spending cuts you need to cut spending 42% across the board. That would apply to the military, Medicare, Social Security, and every single thing government spends money on. How will seniors react when you tell them their SS payments will be cut 42 percent? They will grab their pitchforks, shovels etc ( not to mention guns) and come looking for the politicians who voted for it. So that ain’t gonna happen.

    On the other hand if you increase taxes, you need to raise them by 73% across the board to eliminate the deficit. That would apply to income taxes, corporate taxes, social security taxes, gasoline taxes and everything else. Someone paying $10,000 in income taxes would owe $17,300 instead. And someone who pays $3500 in social security taxes would owe $6000 instead. Do you think they’d be mad about that? This ain’t gonna happen either. And a combination of higher taxes and lower spending won’t work either.

    The only outcome I can see happening is that the government will continue to spend by borrowing and printing money until the dollar collapses. We the people need to prepare for that outcome as best we can.

  101. Ed_B wrote: “Anyone who thinks otherwise is saying the USA will self destruct. Past history says NO, it will not. Face it, TAXES MUST GO UP!”

    Well you certainly got my attention the first time but such reduction of a complex system of feedbacks to a single tunnel vision variable is akin to claiming that climate depends only on water vapor feedback controlled solely by CO2. Raising taxes would be great, eventually, but it would be jumping the gun prior to freeing the economy from being shackled by statism. The government in this era needs to be starved, not fattened up. The more the current system is fed money the more it is merely used for personal and corporate welfare rather than the promotion of new wealth creation.

  102. Don’t worry about the US being left without a government – Belgium hasn’t had one for nearly a year now, and seems to be doing just fine. I suspect that bureaucrats the world over are developing the steaming squitters in case we notice and ask what use they are.

  103. Ed_B wrote: “Anyone who thinks otherwise is saying the USA will self destruct. Past history says NO, it will not. Face it, TAXES MUST GO UP!”

    Without needed reform first, what your request translates to is: “WE NEED MORE WINDMILLS!!!”

  104. No amount of confiscation from the rich is going to fulfill the expectations of the millions of people who have become hooked on entitlements.
    –Dr. Tibor Machan

  105. Ed_B says:
    April 9, 2011 at 8:03 am

    “This site is now inhabited by the brain dead! ”

    Please….. You really haven’t spent much time at WUWT, have you? You would know better, if you had.

    Raising taxes to service debt is like having intercourse to service virginity. Neither one achieves the desired result and both can get you into more trouble, real fast!

    Or as R.Bateman observed above “Trying to solve the debt by raising taxes is like trying to cure a gambling addict by increasing thier (sic) credit limit.”

    Our country is economically grid locked by unnecessary regulations, excessive tax rates, the adverse effects of noncompetition created by unions, huge and unsustainable debt, enormous amounts of tax revenue squandered on subsidies to inefficient companies and inefficient ‘alternate energy’ scams, and political malfeasance. These problems were created by politicians and a willing electorate. We can’t solve them without defeating the political mind set that created these problems and defeating the politicians that support these problems.

    When we defeat these problems, the dynamic economy of the US will regain it’s momentum and revenues will rise. The rising revenues must be committed to pay down debt, not increasing spending. It really is that straight forward… but certainly not simple. Yet, all other argumentation is chimera. That is the problem… and those are the solutions.

    Have a rainbow day! };>)

  106. NikFromNYC says:
    April 9, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Ed_B wrote: “Anyone who thinks otherwise is saying the USA will self destruct. Past history says NO, it will not. Face it, TAXES MUST GO UP!”

    Well you certainly got my attention the first time but such reduction of a complex system of feedbacks to a single tunnel vision variable is akin to claiming that climate depends only on water vapor feedback controlled solely by CO2. Raising taxes would be great, eventually, but it would be jumping the gun prior to freeing the economy from being shackled by statism. The government in this era needs to be starved, not fattened up. The more the current system is fed money the more it is merely used for personal and corporate welfare rather than the promotion of new wealth creation.

    Ans:
    That is the answer you have been spood fed by the lame stream media. The fact is, taxes were cut when GWB started two wars. Were you hollering to starve THAT deficit spending?

    No, the USA is in deep do do. Cutting everywhere is surely needed, especially health care and windmills, BUT, it is delusional to think someone else is going to pay off the debt. Those with the money, will pay, with higher taxes.

    I will bet you that 99% of posters on this BB do not know how much taxes were paid by their grandparents. The current political climate is one of whine, whine, whine, but no FACTS, no DATA, no perspective.

    The facts say one thing.. YOU will PAY… along with your neighbors.. or your country is going the way of 3rd world status, quickly.

  107. Ed_B wrote: “Face it, TAXES MUST GO UP!”

    Instead of raising taxes, hold a lottery. Pass a law that every penny of profit from the lottery MUST be used to pay down the debt. Make sure the payout can get big enough so that big players will get interested. It’ll be just like the nasdaq bubble only this time the debt will actually get paid down. We’ll probably still wind up with a couple playboy billionaire basketball franchise owners, but that’s the price one has to pay to fix this thing.

  108. I know Rep. Paul Ryan is the hero to many Tea Party folks, but I find his actions and “Path for Prosperity” to be a nice hand-out to the rich. In this proposal, he want to dramatically reduce the taxes for corporations, because they are so burdened with taxes. Hmm…, I would gently guide the reader to this excellent NY Times article about how much taxes one of the riches companies in the world, GE did NOT pay (in fact, they got money back from we (the taxpayers):

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/economy/25tax.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

    And the Honorable Mr. Ryan wants to give companies like GE even more of a tax break? Huh?

    While it will take a major shift in thinking, SIMILAR to Rep. Ryan’s approach, his “rob from the poor to give to the rich” mentality is not the right formula, and is simply the result of his participation with the very system we need to get rid of…i.e. we need to have true campaign finance reform, a true balanced budget Constitutional Amendment, and term limits. Rep. Ryan seems the champion of “poor” companies like GE, who, despite their tax REFUND, are so “oppressed” by the burden of taxation.

    To see some of the industries and companies that Rep. Ryan received campaign money from, please see:

    http://maplight.org/us-congress/legislator/445-paul-ryan

    http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cycle=2010&cid=N00004357&type=C

    http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00004357&cycle=Career

    One final note: There can be NO SACRED COWS in balancing the budget. The bloated Defense Department needs to be included in any dramatic cuts. So long as we can choose to participate in campaign like the bombing of targets in Libya without seriously asking ourselves if we can financially afford such adventures (that do not make Americans any more secure), then the military budget is too big. We spent hundreds of millions of dollars in just this little military adventure alone. If we have this kind of fat to spend, then its a good indication that there is lots more fat to be trimmed. Again, if we honestly want to get our fiscal house in order in this country, there can be no sacred cows. and ALL Americans, rich, poor, middle-class, military families, non-military, will need to equally feel the real pain and sacrifice to get us back on the right track. Respectfully, I don’t feel Rep. Ryan’s proposal spreads the pain around enough to everyone, especially corporations and the military.

  109. And a follow-up to my previous post…to see how much the poor old tax-burdened GE paid to lobby your elected officials, to make sure laws were in place to allow them to get their tax-refund for 2010, see:

    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000125

    And Rep. Ryan wants to reduce their tax “burden” even more? Sorry, but corporate welfare is as addictive as any other kind.

  110. Tax revenues need to go up, but marginal tax rates probably need to go down (while closing assorted private and corporate loopholes – broaden the tax base). The only way we’ll get out of this mess is to couple solid growth with far less spending. Paul Ryan’s tax plan is a decent, serious document, but it needs a lot of details – and a lot of education of the U.S. population on just how badly we need to start clawing our way out of this hole before everyone stops buying our debt (or requires 10%+ interest in order to be enticed to do so).

    The $38.5B in cuts here aren’t big enough, but they aren’t tiny either. They’re going to be applied to 6 month’s worth of 15% of the federal budget. Scale that up across the board, and it would amount to about $500B on an annual basis: not tiny. The key of course is to get the mandatory (entitlement) reforms done so we really can cut the growth of these programs going forward. Without that, it’s hopeless.

  111. Ed_B wrote: “I will bet you that 99% of posters on this BB do not know how much taxes were paid by their grandparents. The current political climate is one of whine, whine, whine, but no FACTS, no DATA, no perspective.”

    I had no idea, myself either, though I’m sure I once ran across it back when I was reading the likes of ‘The Way The World Works”, a complex argument book that claims tax burdens are nasty, long term. One model of tax rate effects is compare nations and to compare US states. My original point here reflects what North Dakota and Texas are up to with a policy of “drill, drill, drill!” and of lesser tax and regulation compared to California. You are making a very good point but your presentation is so blunt that it seems to scream that I should support Obama’s re-election or else I’m an idiot. I’m glad you don’t like windmills though.

  112. A small price to pay for having the best president of all times.
    And he will solve the problem during the 2nd and 3rd term.

  113. Scottish Sceptic says: April 9, 2011 at 1:23 am

    “What is that they say about democracy … it can never succeed, because sooner or later the people will find a way to vote themselves a lifestyle of luxury which simply cannot be sustained in the real world.”

    Which is exactly why the Founders created a Republic instead of a democracy, and established Constitutional Limitations on our governments. Democracy is mob rule, and it makes no difference if the mob is Union, Corporation, Theocratic, or Anarchist – the result is the same, increasing oppression to tyranny. Having lived under both religious and mercantile oppression supported by European ruler militaries, the Founders did put solid restrictions on those permissions the government was allowed to wield.

    Nowhere in the US Constitution is there anything to allow spending on social programs; indeed even the Army was constrained to a two year allowance requiring reaffirmation of on-going expenses. But then the lawyers and judges, acting much like termites, undermined those foundational precepts to where today fully 70% of the budget is for non-constitutional expenditures. To my mind, Ryan’s proscriptions don’t go far enough – but it is a good start.

  114. We have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. We also have a ridiculously complicated tax code for both corporations and individuals. GE is simply following the regulations as they are written. I do not begrudge them the right to pay the minimum allowed under the existing tax laws anymore than I begrudge an individual the same right.

    The problem is the tax laws themselves. Who would invest capitol here in the US to produce goods for export when they could produce those same goods in a country with much lower tax rates. China, India, and Mexico’s labor rates are convenient political excuses. They are perhaps a reason that some simple manufacturing will not be done in the USA but they do not explain Germany or Japan’s success in exports.

  115. >>Joe Lalonde says: April 9, 2011 at 5:12 am
    >>At least gold has a value when currency does not.

    Correction – gold does not have a ‘value’ except perhaps as an ornament. You cannot eat it, you cannot heat yourself with it, you cannot travel on it, nor can you shelter from the rain with it. In fact, it is pretty useless.

    The only reason gold has ‘value’, is because politicians and bankers cannot keep ‘inventing’ more of it, as they do with fiat currencies like the dollar (printing currency). Therefore, it has scarecity value, which is the basis of any sound currency.

    However, if you went back to the gold standard, the ability to reflate your economy and invest in the future would be dictated by the volume of gold in reserve, and therefore by the gold produced by gold producing nations. So the entire macro economic policy of the USA would be dictated by Russia and South Africa.

    Not a sound policy, I feel.

    .

  116. R. Gates says:
    April 9, 2011 at 11:11 am

    And a follow-up to my previous post…to see how much the poor old tax-burdened GE paid to lobby your elected officials, ……yaddayadda”

    Please cease trying to tie Paul Ryan to GE. GE is the fair haired BFF of Barack Obama and the current adminstration. Your assertions are baseless but we understand your political motivations. The man (Paul Ryan) has made serious proposals for cutting spending. NO ONE ELSE HAS. He did not create the tax structure that gave GE the tax breaks you find so offensive. Please, stop trying to imply that he did.

    What is irrational is your savaging his deep cut proposals with false correlations (and implied causality) before they have been given the barest of examination by the citizens. As such, you are part of the problem, not potential solutions.

    There is plenty of time to honestly evaluate his proposals and offer thoughtful changes. What is needed at this critical point in time is for the majority of US citizens to unite by firmly and publicly supporting those very few politicians actually working to achieve some semblance of fiscal discipline. Standing on the outside and throwing rocks at the only serious proposals going is self defeating. The ‘tax and deficit spend’ incumbent politicians applaud your efforts, however.

  117. Ralph said: “Correction – gold does not have a ‘value’ except perhaps as an ornament. You cannot eat it, you cannot heat yourself with it, you cannot travel on it, nor can you shelter from the rain with it. In fact, it is pretty useless.”

    That’s like saying water or kittens have no intrinsic value. Unlike diamonds there is no DeBeers monopoly (despite Russian influence) that created artificial scarcity. But there’s a reason connectors are gold plated and it’s not just to create Monster Cable branding. It’s the most amazing metal! Twice as dense as lead. It shimmers lime jewels in heaven. There’s no way to suddenly increase supply, very much unlike aluminum and titanium both of which don’t “rust” much but which occur as ore instead if pure metal veins. Titanium is white house paint. Aluminum is the stuff of rocks. Gold is ideal for sputter coating, ideal for ductile hammering of ornamentation, and ideal as a status symbol. Please don’t try to devalue the age old value of bling. It is valuable especially due to it’s nobility (as in “noble gas”) which allows it’s utterly unique properties to be taken advantage of even in near molecule thin (gold leaf) thickness. It’s even edible, as decorative flourish atop haute cuisine appetizers. Gold reminds us that not all pure things are dull and boring, and sometimes rarity really means something, unlike how misprinted old stamps or coins are “worth” a million bucks.

  118. Ed_B [April 9, 2011 at 5:03 am] says:

    “This has been a silly discussion.. lots of talk about deficits and debts, but no discussion about revenues. … The USA needs to go back to the high marginal tax rates of the past when we were in trouble or had to pay off a war:”

    So says the socialist. As if they haven’t had their way for nearly a century now. Clearly you are either a foreigner that has no horse in this race, or an American welfare baby living off their parents or living off of me. Care to disclose your Federal Income Tax, FICA, State, County, Town/City, School, and Property tax bills? Can you say TEA Party? Taxed Enough Already. Which one of those words do you not understand?

    Now about your cut’n’paste talking points (Corrections in BOLD …):

    WWI 70%
    1920s 23%
    New Deal 63% to 79%
    Eisenhower 91%
    Kennedy :: 91% cut to 77%
    Nixon 70%
    Reagan :: 50% cut to 39%
    Bush 43 :: 39% cut to 35%

    Of course your clueless propaganda website treats tax rates as a presidential policy, not as an act of Congress. The dates there are pretty much irrelevant since the Congress has been mostly under democratic socialist control since before WWII (really since progressive socialism reared it’s ugly head) with two short exceptions. Any statement that begins with: ‘under president xxx the tax rates …’ is utterly ignorant of constitutional government. There were a few exceptions when a president actively pressed for income tax rate cuts (JFK, Reagan) and to which it is accurate to say they are largely responsible for them, but nothing gets done without Congress. And the Congress has been all or in part controlled by socialists and luke-red spineless RINOs for a very long time. Look for a graph that plots spending/deficits versus Congress control. Here are some recent ones … Graph-1 :: Graph-2 :: Graph-3 :: Graph-4.

    Furthermore, only non-taxpayer like yourself cannot distinguish between an ‘income tax’ and a tax on wealth (not that either of them is good). Income tax and/or its evil spawn the ‘capital gains tax’ will include the sale of a home (or car or boat or stocks or lotto winnings or anything), consequently your poor grandmother on SS and Medicare could be considered wealthy the year when she sells her house. Such is the ‘income tax’ given us by those oh so enlightened progressives. It is nothing more than a gigantic sales tax, as are the so-called ‘corporate’ or ‘business’ taxes which are also a sales tax on consumers. A true wealth tax has never been implemented (nor should it be) because (1) their isn’t enough ‘wealth’ to erase liberal spending and (2) it would be as far from constitutional as any liberal idea ever was.

    Finally, people like you clearly believe that ‘wealth’ and ‘income’ are state controlled assets, the people being allowed to keep their money if the government approves. This is why the Founders were adamant about explaining that the power comes from God (not government) and rests in the people, who grant some of it to their State and Federal representatives. At some point in your young life you have managed to invert this relationship.

    “If people on this BB do not understand from these numbers what is happening, then you may as well be clueless warmists imo!”

    LOL, now that is funny (with or without a /SARC tag. But, your logic is reversed, the leftists, progressive democratic socialists (neo-Comms really) populate the warmie cult almost without exception. But like the saying goes, ‘someone is a liberal until they are mugged’, and once the mugging is done by their wonderful socialist government, forcing the sale of their home or farm to pay the taxman they will likely wake up. Either that or they will move their assets offshore or bury them in a pile of paperwork.

    Ed_B [April 9, 2011 at 5:47 am] says:

    “Is there any doubt that we the electorate are being played? It is all about making the rich richer, and wiping out the middle class. GWB started two wars and gave tax breaks. Then he shut down government oversight of the SEC. We had a 1920s boom. We had the ‘wild west’ inder GWB. Guess what, we had a 1929s crash and now a 1930s situation.”

    I’m not sure what psychobabble sounds nuttier, your comment here: “It is all about making the rich richer, and wiping out the middle class” or ‘heavy snow is from global warming’ or ‘republicans want to kill women’, (but it reinforces the fact that liberals/progressives/socialists are natural global warmers). But I absolutely encourage you to keep it up. Please keep it up. The only way the socialists have survived this long is through masquerade, if you continue to speak your mind freely we can finally finish you off. After a century of welfare spending the USA is close to collapse and people are waking up. So keep talking and keep clearly identifying yourselves.

    Ed_B [April 9, 2011 at 8:03 am] says:

    This site is now inhabited by the brain dead! Look at the DATA: … “

    You’re classy too. Well the feeling is mutual, I believe all socialists are brain-dead. They are little more than slaves (voluntary slaves no less). Too many people died to end slavery here so I’ll be damned if I will be made a slave again just because the socialist religion is so popular among liberal democrats. Truth is truly stranger than Orwellian fiction.

    “The USA had high marginal tax rates under REPUBLICANs …”

    Once again, this is plain stupid. It is like saying the 2007 low sea ice extent was because of the Pelosi becoming Speaker of the House! As explained before, using presidents as historical placemarkers usually fails when applied to fiscal matters because the Congress drives the train. Exceptions being FDR pushing the New Deal, LBJ pushing the Great Society, Reagan and JFK pushing for tax cuts, and the three stooges Barry/Pelosi/Reid ramming through dramatic spending increases and socialized medicine. See the graphs I linked to above. More thorough graphs that clearly delineate control of Congress versus spending/deficits will show this: the idealogical makeup of Congress represented by it’s control will spend more money the more liberal/progressive/socialist it is.

    “Is there any doubt that we the electorate are being played? It is all about making the rich richer, and wiping out the middle class. GWB started two wars … [blah blah blah] …… Face it, TAXES MUST GO UP!

    You left out 9/11 being an inside job and Bush 41 flying an SR-71 to Iran to free the hostages :-)

    Seriously, the fact that high tax brackets of 90+% ever even existed in the USA, a nation founded on a tax revolt revolution, is a testament to the fact that a nation of sheep can in fact be led by progressive/socialist/communist sheep herders. It is a clear example of mob/majority rule where the ignorant masses punish the so-called wealthy. In a different era you simply replace ‘Wealthy’ with ‘Negro’ or ‘Jew’ to achieve similar scapegoat methodology.

    There is some hope though. It appears that we are near critical mass with regards to spending and taxing now. The Internet has seemed to have helped get the facts out. Will it be too little too late? It’s a close call to be sure. Maybe we should hope for natural-born slaves like Ed_B to get their way yet again and have another round of tax increases and perhaps finally break the camel’s back. Like a drug/alcohol intervention the patient here, the USA taxpaying citizen, just might need to bottom out completely before straightening out. I’m 50/50 on this at the moment. The current budget argument as represented by the illustration from the great Ramirez is no different than many others I have witnessed. The spending cuts are mere crumbs. The timebombs left by FDR (Social Security) and LBJ (Medicare) are still present and on auto-pilot. Either one, like the Blob, will consume the entire budget eventually. Barry Hussein rammed through the final timebomb (Obamacare) knowing full well that the previous two alone will destroy America. Drastic action need be taken or this whole thing goes down in flames.

  119. Ed_B says:
    April 9, 2011 at 8:03 am
    This site is now inhabited by the brain dead!

    =//=//=//=//=

    I’ve been insulted twice online today, once as an individual and once as a member of a group. But Cee Lo Green makes it feel *all* *right*! :-) Ain’t that some $#|+.

    http://www(dot)youtube.com/watch?v=L4-2QoPkzj0

    (No, the link won’t work as is. If you wanna hear cussin’, change (dot) to a period.)

  120. The Federal government’s budgeting process is a nightmare as a result of the off Baseline budgeting.
    To put it bluntly the budget keeps getting bigger because it has to. Close to 50% of the government spending is in the category of entitlements and nearly all of them have statutory language that makes increasing their budget mandatory year after year. In order to prevent the mandatory increase you almost have to change the orginal law. The big three entitlements are Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the disabled, and some Other mandatory programs include some farm subsidies, some welfare programs, and unemployment insurance. Any time a politician even proposes a reduction into the mandatory increase their opponents start demagoguery about cuts. Can you imagine how quickly you or your business would go bankrupt if half your expenses went up 5% per year automatically? Baseline budgeting is also used in Military and discretionary spending but most programs to not require by law to increase spending. Until the practice of baseline budgeting ends and the government takes a hard look at spending with common sense accounting principles the budget process will always be a food fight.

  121. NikFromNYC says:
    April 9, 2011 at 11:14 am

    “You are making a very good point but your presentation is so blunt that it seems to scream that I should support Obama’s re-election or else I’m an idiot”

    Defintely not!(sorry about being so blunt, btw).

    Obama has failed big time IMO to do his ‘science’, and thus has failed at his energy policy, and thus job creation, and the balance of payments. That looks to be rectified by the Republicans. I would not vote for him again. He failed to deliver on his promise of being ‘sciencee based’.

    My beef is that posters on this BB do not do any research and spend their time only discussing the need to cut spending.. OK, I agree, especially the EPA, but there is the reality that only revenue increases will pay off the debt. Yes, you can try to stop making it worse, by cutting spending, but to pay the DEBT off, well, the poor can’t do that. Hoover tried it, remember?(Hoovervilles)

    If this generation (baby boomers) cannot step up and share the sacrifice with higher marginal rates, like their grandparents, then the USA is toast imo. What ever happened to patriotism?

    Finally, what happened to the hard thinking science approach of this BB?

  122. Mac the Knife says:
    April 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    “Please cease trying to tie Paul Ryan to GE.”

    ___
    Paul Ryan wants to cut corporate taxes and yet one of the largest most profitable companies in the world paid no taxes to the U.S. in 2010 and got back in excess of $3 Billion. I think he and his proposal are quite relevant to GE. In spreading around the pain of balancing the U.S. budget issue, where does GE have to feel some pain? Not it Paul Ryan’s proposal…

  123. To Ed_B,

    You state: “This site is now inhabited by the brain dead! Look at the DATA: ” and
    “My beef is that posters on this BB do not do any research…”.

    Really? It’s you have been throwing out the same set of numbers over and over without any appreciation of the context in which those marginal tax rates occurred.
    During those times, for example, the total amount of the debt was much less–and thus debt service payments were far less. In addition, you fail to point out that when income tax rates were lower, in the 1920s, the nation had not created an enormous welfare/Social Security/Medicare/Obamacare entitlement state.

    Then you throw in the classic Obama-supporter diversion about “George W. Bush cut taxes for the rich, blah, blah blah.”

    Well, to throw your own phrase back at you, “look at the DATA”. Yes, the Bush administration incurred persistent deficits–but the SCALE of those deficits was nothing like what Obama and the Democrats have thrown at us.

    Bush deficits:

    2002 -157.758B
    2003 -377.585B
    2004 -412.727B
    2005 -318.346B
    2006 -248.181B
    2007 -160.701B
    2008 -458.553B

    Now Obama:

    2009 -1412.688B
    2010 -1293.489B
    2011 (est.) -1645.119B

    Try this:

    http://blog.heritage.org/2010/02/05/past-deficits-vs-obamas-deficits-in-pictures/

    Oh, look at that. Obama and the Democrats in 1 year–this-year–are going to rack up more total debt than Bush did in his first five. In 2009 and 2010, they racked up more total debt than Bush did in his entire 2 terms.

    The problem is not taxes. The problem is out-of-control deficit spending. And if you claim that “Obama HAD to run a deficit”, you are out of your mind. I have no idea why Keynesian economic theory climbed out of its grave, but it was discredited in the 1930s, and it has been shown to be a failure again by the tiny response of the U.S. GDP to the so-called “stimulus”. What really burns me is that Christina Romer KNEW this–or at least she did in 1994. That year, she published a paper, still available on the NBER Website, that examined the Great Depression of the 1930s.

    Keynesian economic theory depends on a “multiplier”. The claim is that any government policy change will have an impact on GDP. If the multiplier were greater than 1, then the Keynesian stimulus of increased government spending would work–the GDP would grow by a factor greater than 1.0. Well, in Romer’s 1994 paper, she stated that the Keynesian multiplier for government fiscal policy and government monetary policy were both MUCH LESS THAN ONE. Thus, these government interventions were worse than doing nothing at all!

    But once Obama was paying her salary, surprise, surprise! The so-called stimulus bill was supposed to prevent unemployment from going over 8%, remember? Well, that model included assumptions about a whole bunch of multipliers–and THIS time, every single one of those multipliers was greater than 1.0.

    The stimulus was a bill of goods.

    And Ed_, you are unnecessarily repetitive, and unnecessarily insulting.

  124. R. Gates says: “Paul Ryan wants to cut corporate taxes and yet one of the largest most profitable companies in the world [GE] paid no taxes to the U.S. in 2010 and got back in excess of $3 Billion.”

    What does GE do with their profits? They pay stockholders’ dividends. Those dividends are taxed. Unless you include the taxes paid by the stockholders into your equation, you are not using complete information. And more profit means more dividends, a lot of which are going to retired or disabled people, and which flows out into the economy to purchase goods and services. This is better than the government collecting the money, and spending it on Cowboy Poems and other essentials.

    In addition, GE pays workers money, which is taxed, but that is part of overhead and not profit. And when GE purchases any expendable goods, those are taxed, again part of overhead. Just because the company doesn’t seem to directly pay taxes, doesn’t mean they aren’t paying any at all.

  125. You should come to the UK where the government is cutting with such gusto it is plunging the country back in to recession. As Churchill said “We are now entering a period of consequences”

  126. Janice says:
    April 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm
    R. Gates says: “Paul Ryan wants to cut corporate taxes and yet one of the largest most profitable companies in the world [GE] paid no taxes to the U.S. in 2010 and got back in excess of $3 Billion.”

    What does GE do with their profits? They pay stockholders’ dividends. Those dividends are taxed. Unless you include the taxes paid by the stockholders into your equation, you are not using complete information. And more profit means more dividends, a lot of which are going to retired or disabled people, and which flows out into the economy to purchase goods and services. This is better than the government collecting the money, and spending it on Cowboy Poems and other essentials.

    In addition, GE pays workers money, which is taxed, but that is part of overhead and not profit. And when GE purchases any expendable goods, those are taxed, again part of overhead. Just because the company doesn’t seem to directly pay taxes, doesn’t mean they aren’t paying any at all.
    _____
    Sorry, but making excuses for one of the largest companies in the world not paying any taxes and actually getting a tax refund from the American People is very sad. And yes, what it seems like IS what it is…GE doesn’t pay U.S. taxes. Taxes that shareholders pay for their personal cut of the GE profit pie is completely irrelevent. Again, making excuses for mult-national companies who have no allegiance to the U.S. (and who could, quite frankly, care less whether the U.S. goes broke or not) is very sad. Rep. Ryan’s proposed tax cut for big companies like GE who already get huge refunds is completely anti-American.

  127. Chris R. says:
    April 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Really? It’s you have been throwing out the same set of numbers over and over without any appreciation of the context in which those marginal tax rates occurred.
    During those times, for example, the total amount of the debt was much less–and thus debt service payments were far less”

    Hmm something funny about your math, and research. The USA has still less in debt per GNP than when it came out of WWII, so debt payments were more then.

  128. The US government deficit has many parts to it. When Bush was elected the Federal Government had a cash surplus. Social security was taking in more money than it paid out because of provision for the baby boomer retirement bulge.

    The Bush administration proposed 2 rounds of tax cuts, and started 2 wars, and boosted the Penatagon’s budget. This accounted for about a $500B chronic budget deficit during the Bush administration prior to the recession. The proponents of tax reduction for the wealthy claimed it would result in higher government revenues because of increased economic growth, because of the so called Laffer curve. Economic growth was tepid, and revenues did not increase to make up for the tax reductions that were enacted. In addition, much of the money collected by the wealthy was used to create jobs abroad. Median personal income went down, and poverty went up.

    As a result of the economic crash, brought on by unsustainable private debt, marketed by fraudulent securitization of sub prime bonds, mostly by the private banking sector, federal (and state) tax receipts decreased, unemployment, welfare, food stamp and medicaid payments went up. More people slipped into poverty and the need for government support went up. This boosted the deficit from about 500B to 1.5Trillion. The wealthy are relatively unscathed in this time. Narrowly defined unemployment, which is normally 5% in good times is still 8.8%. Broad unemployment is now about 16%.

    Most economists say it would damage the economy severely if the budget were balanced before unemployment went down to tolerable levels and the economy shows some real recovery.

    When the recession related deficit starts to decline, and poverty related spending goes back to normal levels, we are still left with the deficits caused by the Bush tax reductions and wars. In addition, escalating health care costs will cause the deficit to expand.

    There are provisions in the Health Care Reform Act that will start to tackle the rise in health care expenses, which are about twice what the rest of the developed world has on a per capita basis. It is noteworthy that these countries, which have good health care outcomes all have heavy government involvement and many have single payer health care systems. The Ryan plan, which relies on private insurance will not fix this problem, based on the experience we have to date, and is severely misguided.

  129. Janice says:
    And more profit means more dividends, a lot of which are going to retired or disabled people…

    Excellent point. Our local paper recently complained that California shouldn’t be laying off teachers when Exxon-Mobile is not paying any tax. But STRS (the state teachers’ retirement fund) holds $1,017,688,608 worth of EM stock. (As of 30 June 2010) If the company gets taxed, there are only two sources for the revenue. Either the tax is passed on to the motorists at the pump (Overhead does get added into product cost, you know) or the dividends to the shareholders get reduced. Stick it to the motorists, or stick it to the teachers. Take your pick.

    Of course in California, if the STRS investments do not produce enough revenue to reach a specific level of support, current law requires the difference to be made up out of the state’s general budget. So, great, sock it to Exxon-Mobile. If you’re lucky, you can get the motorists, the teachers, and the California taxpayers while you’re at it.

  130. On the topic of military spending in response to Jeremy and Smokey,
    The military is spending and national defence budget does not benefit all citizens equally. Let’s be honest here, the military needs to see massive overhauls in the way it does its work. The fact that the United States Military spends more than every other country in the world combined is a very dangerous thing. I’ll give as an example the F-35 JSF. This program is the largest spending program in the military in terms of an individual aircraft/weapon system and it is extremely inefficient. Robert Gates even fired the head of the program (while Obama was in office) because of how inefficient it was being run. Lets be honest now, the JSF is a joke. Its costs have quadroopled and the end quality of the product is not superior to the cheaper European counterparts. In fact the JSF loses out in nearly every category to the Chinese, Russian counterparts and particularly to the Eurofighter, Rafale Dassault and comes close with the JAS-Gripen. In private business this program would have been axed long ago and there needs to be accountability on these issues. We can’t just give a carte blanche to the military to spend whatever they like on whatever they like. Lets think of another example, the F-23 was the superior aircraft to the F-22 in speed, manuverability and stealth capabilities yet the F-22 was chosen. Was this a “doing what’s best for the military type decision?” I don’t think so…

    I just personally hate the hypocrisy of people saying we need to cut the government but being unwilling to make big cuts where they are needed the most. Eisenhower warned of the Military Industrial Complex and now we in fact have occurrences where aircraft have parts built in every state so that if the program is cancelled then every senator will get an earful instead of having it built the most efficient way.

    Jeremy,
    I don’t hate military. I have many friends who are pilots and ones who have been ground soldiers in Afghanistan. I grew up on a military base. But there are no excuses for the wasteful spending programs in the military. There is no reason the United States needs to spend 10 times what the UK spends on military. In fact their Eurofighters will kick our JSF’s ass and yet we’re still paying more for them why?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

    Finally,
    Yes I acknowledge that the military designed the GPS and so on. But remember also the military was one of the first organizations to conduct research on climate change and the JASONs came out in support of climate change consensus way back in the 1970s…

  131. R. Gates says:
    April 9, 2011 at 3:19 pm
    “GE doesn’t pay U.S. taxes.”

    GE didn’t pay taxes for ONE year, due to the massive losses in their financial division.

  132. I’m astonished at all the amazing things people say raising taxes to cure a deficit is like.

    trying to cure a gambling addict by increasing their credit limit.
    having intercourse to service virginity.

    I thought it was like taking on another part time job to help pay the bills. No sex and gambling, just a lot of hard work.

  133. Bush Jr. is no more a conservative than his father (remember voodoo economics?). The neocons that egged them into these adventure are just libs in sheep’s clothing.

    Don’t forget Barney Frank and friends for what they did to the housing market though their Freddie/Frannie debacle.

    How about an income based budget? Start with what you’ve got coming in and add programs till you run out of money. Either stop at that point, cut something before you add something in or find a way to pay for anything extra. Not rocket science.

  134. “Democracy will last until the public realizes that it can vote itself largesse from the public trough”.

    As true today as ever. Can we get past the Robin-Hood mentality of unfunded public obligations, or are we doomed to bankrupt ourselves and our government in an idiotic quest for ‘economic justice’? I am honestly not sure.

  135. I note some debate above about gold and money. Milton Friedman wrote a fairly short book called “Money Mischief” that is both entertaining and informative. It explains a lot about the role of various forms of money and the problems of a gold standard, a gold/silver standard, and fiat money. It even explains in simple terms just what “money” is.

    I strongly recommend it to those who would like a deeper understanding of the subject.

  136. I think some of the people who visit WUWT like time series data. Here it is, US Gov revenue, spending, deficit history for 100 + yrs. You will launch on Debt as % of GDP as a time series table and then you can navigate from there to any data you want.

    http://www.usgovernmentdebt.us/downchart_gs.php?year=1900_2016&view=1&expand=&units=p&fy=fy12&chart=G0-fed_G0-total&bar=0&stack=1&size=m&title=&state=US&color=c&local=s

    Very good for some historical context …. hint – the last 3 years are anomalous

  137. oops – posted without proof reading – link opens on Deficit as a % of GDP – big difference ….

  138. robert says:

    “The military is spending and national defence budget does not benefit all citizens equally.” That’s nonsense. Of course it does. The military defends the country, including all its citizens. Without it we would be speaking another language.

    Arguing about one particular defense system like the F-35 is fair game. It is expensive and the bugs haven’t all been worked out. All new weapons systems go through this process. But one thing you failed to mention about the F-35 is its vertical takeoff and landing capability. This immensely improves logistics. If a war should break out, airfields will be primary targets. If/when airfields are destroyed or otherwise made inoperable, having a top-line supersonic stealth fighter able to take off and land like a helicopter is a huge logistical advantage. Control of the skies will not be ceded to the enemy because of the destruction or capture of airfields.

    But discussing one weapons system is simply a tactic to argue for a smaller military. A strong military is a tremendous benefit for the U.S. – and the military has already been decimated: President Clinton scrapped 233 warships, including several nuclear attack subs that were just launched, more than 800 war planes, almost the entire logistal air command, and he scrapped 40% of the Army and the Marines.

    This country cannot keep slashing the military and remain safe in a very unsafe world. The only reason the corrupt, anti-American UN has not already taken over is because it lacks a strong military. Further reducing our military is completely irresponsible, and gives aid, comfort, and internal support to our many enemies.

    You’ve already been told that the military must justify its appropriations to Congress – unlike the more expensive social programs – which, unlike our military, only benefit certain subsets of the population. The military budget has already been drastically cut by Clinton when he spent the “peace dividend” following the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s past time for the unaccountable, out-of-control social programs to face the budget knife.

  139. In Alabama, we have this wonderful thing for preventing deficit spending. It’s called pro-ration. Everything is cut across the board as necessary to balance the budget. This would work marvelously at the national level. Sure, some government workers, soldiers, and hangers on would have to share in the economic pain with the rest of us. But, it’s about time.

  140. For those of you who believe that higher tax rates – either on the ‘rich’ or on the ‘middle class’ or on ‘everybody’ – do look at the revenue collected data expressed as a percentage of GDP. For as long as the Federal government has been keeping the numbers, that number has not climbed above 21% nor below 17%, no matter what the tax rates were. When the marginal rate is high, high earners move to tax-free securities or to overseas deposits or other non-taxable uses. When the marginal rate is low, the increased economic activity generates a higher overall level of taxable income, which produces as much or more as the higher tax rates. Ideology has nothing to do with it. At the present time, rounded off to the nearest percentage as I’m lazy and growing tired of the increasing degree of economic ignorance in our nation, our federal revenues are at 20% and our federal spending is at 24%. Where does the rest come from? China, which is to say, overseas borrowers who buy U.S. Treasury bills, as the domestic market is saturated and has been for nearly four years. Printing money? Please. Nothing so crass. The Federal Reserve ‘buys’ U.S. Treasury bills or lends money to its member banks – which is to say all of them – with the not so subtle hint that they invest in T-bills. Or the Fed ‘sells’ T-bills to its member banks. One contracts the money supply, one expands it. The theory of fractional banking is that a wonderful and ‘mysterious multiplier’ will appear and that x dollars will become 10x dollars. Of course, since it’s all tax money to begin with, a corresponding 10x dollar contraction has already occurred and, for reason related to the second law of thermodynamics as applied to human interaction, the actual ‘magic multiplier’ is more like 6x, we’ve already lost that battle before the Fed does anything. But, I digress.

    Raising the tax rates will not significantly increase revenues and there is some evidence in the literature which suggest that higher rates actually produce lower revenues. Lowering the rates may or may not increase revenues as that depends upon other factors which fortunately are out of reach of the policy makers in Washington. Lowering the rates will have the effect of increasing amount of money generally speaking in the hands of those who produce goods and services and hire other people to work for them. Increasing the rates will decrease that available money for investment and hiring and other productive effort. Whether any of you are aware of it or not and whether any of you like it or not, the government produces nothing. Let me say that again: The Government Produces Nothing. A consequence of that is that the government does not improve our economic situation by its spending. Why? It takes 100x dollars out of the pockets of folks who do produce, wastes around 15 of those dollars in ‘government expenses’, allocates around 30 of those dollars to the family, colleagues, rent-seekers and political supporters of the politicians and bureaucrats, actually misplaces – if it is not actually stolen – nearly another 15 dollars. Then, the remaining 40x dollars is handed out in subsidies, grants, project funding … in short, to other nominal producers for whom the money is too little and too late. Oh, except for the nominal producers who are actually parasites on the government, such as …. well, you might call me names if I named names, but look at the budget and you’ll find them as they have NGO names, not government department names. That is why tax rate increases do not increase revenues and why taxes and government programs, in general, fail to do anything ‘good’ for the economy. Need more details? Read Mises critique of Socialism, in a good English translation of his book by that name (I rather prefer the 1956 London edition myself as it retains the older German technical economics lingo), try more modern Laffer types, Austrian-School economists for the most part. Economics – you may not remember – was once considered a descriptive science rather like astronomy, not a prescriptive science and it’s predictive and analytical utility declined sharply when it became prescriptive, for the same identical reasons that ‘climate science’ has ceased being science when it became prescriptive.

  141. @Steve Fitzpatrick

    Don’t worry. If they win, those who support “economic justice” will get justice. The laws of economics (nature) will not be mocked.

  142. The rest of the world watches the USA with distain as you do what Greece, Portugal and Ireland have done. These ECC countries did stupid with socialist extremism and the USA is doing stupid with Capitalist extremism, the result is the same !! Your military/social expenditures are more than your revenue you will eventually go under, grow up, taxes are necessary to balance your budget.

  143. Blade says:
    April 9, 2011 at 1:06

    Thank You, Blade! I can’t camp on the web all day, to respond to every veiled socialist or rock thrower. After mowing the lawn and splitting a half cord of wood, I logged back in and found your comments at 1:06pm. Spot ON!

  144. Ike says:
    April 9, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Thank You, Ike! I’m heartened to see and hear basic economics being repeatedly injected into discussions like this. We must get this country refocused on financial reforms based on fundamental economics, not wishful thinking. Please continue your education efforts on this topic. They are much appreciated and much needed!

  145. “The timebombs left by FDR (Social Security) and LBJ (Medicare) are still present and on auto-pilot. Either one, like the Blob, will consume the entire budget eventually.”

    For 50 years I have been forced by the gov (weekly) to donate to the SS Fund.

    The SURPLUS (paid by the boomers) has been placed in a lock box for their retirement. Now we are told that the lock box has been borrowed and spent.

    Since there is no longer a surplus for them to borrow, SS is now considered a drain on the budget because those that borrowed will have to start paying some back?

  146. And I’d like to add that, if there are no plans to start paying back the borrowed surplus,
    and yet again change the rules, then the lock box had not been borrowed, but stolen.

  147. Ike says:
    April 9, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    For those of you who believe that higher tax rates – either on the ‘rich’ or on the ‘middle class’ or on ‘everybody’ – do look at the revenue collected data expressed as a percentage of GDP. For as long as the Federal government has been keeping the numbers, that number has not climbed above 21% nor below 17%, no matter what the tax rates were. When the marginal rate is high, high earners move to tax-free securities or to overseas deposits or other non-taxable uses. When the marginal rate is low, the increased economic activity generates a higher overall level of taxable income, which produces as much or more as the higher tax rates.

    This is a myth. In fact, higher tax rates have been associated with higher economic growth between recessions and peaks of the business cycle. These have resulted in higher federal tax collections.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/17/reagan-and-revenue/

    For the econowonks out there: business cycles are an issue here — revenue growth from trough to peak will look better than the reverse. Unfortunately, business cycles don’t correspond to administrations. But looking at revenue changes peak to peak is still revealing. So here’s the annual rate of growth of real revenue per capita over some cycles:

    1973-1979: 2.7%
    1979-1990: 1.8%
    1990-2000: 3.2%
    2000-2007 (probable peak): approximately zero

    Do you see the revenue booms from the Reagan and Bush tax cuts? Me neither.

  148. IKE: you say:

    “Raising the tax rates will not significantly increase revenues and there is some evidence in the literature which suggest that higher rates actually produce lower revenues. Lowering the rates may or may not increase revenues as that depends upon other factors which fortunately are out of reach of the policy makers in Washington. Lowering the rates will have the effect of increasing amount of money generally speaking in the hands of those who produce goods and services and hire other people to work for them.”

    I agree. That is why Obama extended the tax breaks last Christmas. The million dollar question is how do we expand the economy. The answer seems obvious, namely move to NG as a transportation fuel and build more Nukes and burn less NG for electrical generation.

    Assuming this gets passed in the House this summer, and assuming the tax incentives are there to cause capital to flow into investments, the GNP will expand. It is amazing that Obama and his staff have wasted 2 years.(but then they are CAGW believers, hate CO2 and are mezmorized by greenie delusions of wind and solar).

    I am curious about your numbers by the way, and would appreciate you posting something to back up your 17%, 21%, etc. Does it include corporate taxes? Do you have data for the 20s through to current?

  149. Tom in Texas says:
    April 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    R. Gates says:
    April 9, 2011 at 3:19 pm
    “GE doesn’t pay U.S. taxes.”

    GE didn’t pay taxes for ONE year, due to the massive losses in their financial division.
    _____
    Someone else making excuses for a “poor” multi-national company the needs to be given money from the U.S. taxpayer. And those who claim that the shareholders pay GE’s taxes are completely off base. Many of the largest shareholders are not even U.S. citizens or U.S. companies. Foreign ownership of a multinational company like GE is huge. And even though they $14.2 Billion last year in profits, we the American taxpayer had to bail them out by giving them another $3 Billion tax refund, and Rep. Ryan now want to cut their tax rate further. Rob from the poor and give to the rich…

    Some of you really really need to read this article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/economy/25tax.html

  150. BarryW says:
    April 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Bush Jr. is no more a conservative than his father (remember voodoo economics?). The neocons that egged them into these adventure are just libs in sheep’s clothing.
    Rumsfeld and Cheney are liberals? What planet are you from?

    Don’t forget Barney Frank and friends for what they did to the housing market though their Freddie/Frannie debacle.
    Freddie and Fanny were not into the subprime market and liars loans, which was the main contributor to unsound mortgage backed securities. Their participation was in Alt A lending which was the top end of sub prime, and they reduced their participation because of their concern with soundness. The private banking system which floated, securitized and sold their loans was the main culprit in creating the financial bust. Fanny and Freddy suffered when the housing market collapsed.

    How about an income based budget? Start with what you’ve got coming in and add programs till you run out of money. Either stop at that point, cut something before you add something in or find a way to pay for anything extra. Not rocket science.
    Government income is not fixed. It can be altered by raising taxes if the public believes it is necessary.

    The right thing to do is balance the budget over the course of a business cycle. When economic times are hard, and people become unemployed and unable to buy food and medical care. If we don’t want people to go hungry and become very sick or die because they lack medical , we have to increase the amounts we spend on this. It has been shown that putting money in the hands of the poor, who spend it right away is the best way to stimulate an economy during a recession.

    It is hard to raise tax rates in economic hard times without making the recession worse. When the economy improves is the time to do that. Raising taxes on the wealthy is the least harmful for the economy, because most of what they earn is saved. In times like these where the wealthy are getting wealthier, increasing their savings are a drag on the economy, especially when they are invested abroad. The share of wealth and income going to the top percentage of the wealthy have been improving, while the middle class and poor who spend a larger portion of their income, are losing ground.

  151. According to Fox news the Republicans got a great deal.
    Over the next decade the cuts are expected to save hundreds of billions of dollars.
    The next battle with consequences begins in a matter of two short weeks when the accumulated U.S. debt will be nearing it’s $14 trillion legal limit. So Congress will have to vote to raise the ceiling so Uncle Sam can borrow still more money.

    The administration has said it will need to be raised between April 15 and May 31 or the U.S. could default and create a new fiscal crisis of unknowable magnitude. Fiscal hawks plan to demand strict, enforceable spending caps, triggers for across the board cuts, and austerity measures in exchange for raising the debt limit.

    This short-term agreement was just a beginning.

    Read more: http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/04/09/who-won-shutdown-showdown-it-wasnt-even-close#ixzz1J5Tf6OAy

    A simple pie chart is a bit misleading is it not?I did note that you are a democratic voter Willis.Maybe cannot admit that your party is mainly responsible for where America is at?

  152. Willis,
    Did not see this until today, but you are exactly right. We need to cut $1.7 trillion from the budget this year. We need a $300 billion surplus for the next 50 years to the national debt to a reasonable state.

  153. R Gates
    Some of us have read the article. Are you suggesting that GE should pay US taxes on the whole 14.2b from all operations or just 5.2b from US ops? Tom in Texas is just pointing out the realties, GE’s US credit operation GE Capital took a big hit in 2009.

    If you read the article you also know that GE employs over 975 people in their tax department whose “mission statement” consisted of 19 rules and urged employees to divide their time evenly between ensuring compliance with the law and “looking to exploit opportunities to reduce tax.”
    The Times article talks about GE’s lobbying efforts for these opportunities but fails to identify which ones were the largest dollar amounts for GE. I don’t know for sure but there has been a lot of TAX opportunities created over the last 10 years that I am sure GE has taken a great interest in. Yeah I am talking about alternative energy, some of these projects let you front load 30 % of all your expected capital expenditures for a project that has just broke ground.
    AS they say in the HOOD “Don’t blame the player blame the game.”

  154. Hu McCulloch says:
    April 9, 2011 at 10:05 am

    I’ll have to use that in my class at OSU, Willis! Let’s see — a $1.65 T deficit, spread over about 100M taxpaying households puts each one about $16K deeper in debt than last year!

    Ramirez’s 4/8 cartoon on US Energy policy at http://townhall.com/political-cartoons/michaelramirez would be worth a WUWT post as well!

    Thanks, Hu. Ramirez has done some killer cartoons about energy policy. My problem with say his 4/8 cartoon you mention is … after he’s said what he’s said in the cartoon, there’s not a whole lot to say.

    All the best,

    w.

  155. Ed_B says:
    April 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Ikes #’s are basically correct. For a look at Revenue as a % of GDP (since 1792) see:

    http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/downloadsrs_gr.php?codes=FTR&units=p&group=&fy=fy11

    Here is a split between Personal, Corporate, and Social Insurance taxes for 2011

    http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/united_states_total_revenue_pie_chart#usgs30210

    The site linked provides a lot of fact based info (within measurement uncertainties) to work with.

  156. Jeff Norris says:
    April 9, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    R Gates
    Some of us have read the article. Are you suggesting that GE should pay US taxes on the whole 14.2b from all operations or just 5.2b from US ops? Tom in Texas is just pointing out the realties, GE’s US credit operation GE Capital took a big hit in 2009.

    If you read the article you also know that GE employs over 975 people in their tax department whose “mission statement” consisted of 19 rules and urged employees to divide their time evenly between ensuring compliance with the law and “looking to exploit opportunities to reduce tax.”
    The Times article talks about GE’s lobbying efforts for these opportunities but fails to identify which ones were the largest dollar amounts for GE. I don’t know for sure but there has been a lot of TAX opportunities created over the last 10 years that I am sure GE has taken a great interest in. Yeah I am talking about alternative energy, some of these projects let you front load 30 % of all your expected capital expenditures for a project that has just broke ground.
    AS they say in the HOOD “Don’t blame the player blame the game.”
    ____
    Of course a multinational corporation like GE should not pay U.S. taxes on all operations, but only that derived from U.S. operations. My point really is about the “poor” corporations that Rep. Ryan wants to give increased tax cuts too. They are hardly poor and they should pay their share and feel the pain in balancing the U.S. budget. Of course, they could just pull a Halliburton and move their whole operations overseas, even though they get a large percentage of their revenue from U.S. taxpayers.

    It is simply flat out false and wrong to suggest that corporations need to have their taxes reduced. They are seeing some of their largest profits ever, and have hardly been damaged by excessive taxation. Read this article for the True Story:

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/42511085

    And here is a little taste:

    “The disparity is especially stark as companies are swimming in cash. In the fourth quarter, profits at American businesses were up an astounding 29.2 percent, the fastest growth in more than 60 years. Collectively, American corporations logged profits at an annual rate of $1.678 trillion.”

    All this under the Obama watch…so those who would call him a socialist, as he’s been President while profits at American businesses saw their fastest growth in 60 years…are just playing loose with the truth. And Rep. Ryan is wrong to want to cut taxes for corporations…as they are obviously doing quite well, thank you.

  157. Doug Badgero says:
    April 9, 2011 at 11:38 am

    … We also have a ridiculously complicated tax code for both corporations and individuals.

    Our tax code is a joke..

    In one of my other incarnations I was a tax accountant. The US Tax Code used to be a string of books that took up about six feet on a shelf. Then the US passed a Tax Simplification Act, and after that, the total length of the Tax Code shrunk to only ten feet …

    w.

  158. Noelene says:
    April 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    “A simple pie chart is a bit misleading is it not?I did note that you are a democratic voter Willis.Maybe cannot admit that your party is mainly responsible for where America is at?”

    ____
    The deficit is hardly the fault of either party, but is part of the Washington Culture. The Republicans prefer corporate welfare and the Dems give it to actual people. Either one is an addiction and needs to be stopped.

  159. Gates,

    Wrong as usual. You’re consumed with jealousy and class envy. Why don’t you just go out and buy shares of GE? Then you could share in the tax-free profits.

    American corporate taxes are already among the highest in the world. And corporations don’t really pay taxes, they collect taxes for the feds. Since you’re so fixated on taxes, why not just pay double your own tax liability? There’s an IRS form for that – and you can even get a deduction…

    …or, be a hypocrite, I don’t care which. I just resent greedy governments always with their hands out. They are never satisfied, and they always want more, more, more. Government greed makes Bernie Madoff look like a piker.

    To hell with them and their apologists. It’s time to start cutting $Trillions out of the bloated federal budget. If the Obama spending spree was simply rescinded, our economy would be in fairly good shape today. Rolling back the Obama/Pelosi reckless spending should be the first order of business for the new Congress.

  160. Smokey says:
    April 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    “To hell with them and their apologists. It’s time to start cutting $Trillions out of the bloated federal budget. If the Obama spending spree was simply rescinded, our economy would be in fairly good shape today. Rolling back the Obama/Pelosi reckless spending should be the first order of business for the new Congress.”

    =============================

    Bravo!

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  161. R Gates
    Rep Ryan is lowering corporate tax rates and closing tax loopholes . A fair early analysis can be found here
    Baltimore Sun

    I am not sure which loopholes are being closed and for what the details are not out yet. All I am suggesting is that we all give it a honest look. You are being disingenuous with regards to the CNBC article. The articles focus was how CEO’s are still making the big bucks nothing about TAXs. Also from the article is this quote.
    “Many if not most of the corporations run by these executives are doing better than they were in the downturn. Many businesses were hit so hard by the recession that even small improvements in sales and profits look good by comparison.”
    I agree CEO pay is outrageous ( see HOOD Quote )are you suggesting that the government set wages for CEO’s. Can they do that for Professional, Athletes as well? How about hear surgeons?
    Regarding tax credits or subsidies should we give companies a tax credit if they invest in green energy or any other cause of the month or not. Maybe just give it to the “little guy companies”. You know pick winners and losers.

  162. R Gates
    I just saw this

    The deficit is hardly the fault of either party, but is part of the Washington Culture. The Republicans prefer corporate welfare and the Dems give it to actual people. Either one is an addiction and needs to be stopped.

    We agree but you have to keep an open mind. The devil is always in the details.

  163. R. Gates says:
    April 9, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    The deficit is hardly the fault of either party, but is part of the Washington Culture. The Republicans prefer corporate welfare and the Dems give it to actual people. Either one is an addiction and needs to be stopped.

    =========================

    As usual, your spin on actual reason and logic…now attempts to treat both with some sort of equal weight.

    They are not equal.

    Corporate welfare AND individual welfare are both RIFE in the Democratic Party alone!

    So WHO IS the better candidate at this point??

    I know that you will not be able to see this observation with clarity like some of the rest of us will…due to the Ron Paul pacifist-isolationists…[to which you are drawn like a wispy moth to a candle]…but this all needs to be said anyway.

    And your faulty logic needs to be exposed for what it is….seen over hundreds of posts.

    You need to read and digest the novel Atlas Shrugged….and check back later.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  164. The Total Idiot: Great post. I agree completely and would give you post of the day if I had the importance to do so. Sadly for both of us, I am just a minion with no importance at all.

  165. Noelene says:
    April 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    … A simple pie chart is a bit misleading is it not?

    Well … no. It depicts the situation this year quite exactly. It gives an exact idea of the proportions involved, and the relative size of the cuts.

    Is it a deep, far-reaching analysis of the possible future effects of the cuts? No. It’s a cartoon … but that doesn’t make it misleading.

    You seem to be impressed by the following, from the article you cited:

    Over the next decade the cuts are expected to save hundreds of billions of dollars.

    You still don’t get it. Yes, the cuts will save “hundreds of billions of dollars” over the next decade. If you save $40 billion a year for ten years you get hundreds of billions in savings.

    But if the existing budget deficit continues over the next decade, it will add, not hundreds of billions, but tens of thousands of billions to the debt.

    It’s just crumbs on the pie, Noelene, whether you look at one year or ten years. The problem is the huge overspending.

    Since WWII, no matter what the tax rates have done, corporate taxes going up and down, individual taxes going up and down, capital gains rates going up and down, the Federal Government has collected about the same amount of money – about 15%-20% of the GDP.

    This would tend to indicate that in the long run, we damn well better learn to live within our means, which is to say learn spend less than 20% of GDP. And we need to remember and provision for the fact that in bad times, like the bursting of the dot-com and housing bubbles, there’s less revenue collected because there’s less business activity. Here’s a graph of the data since 1900:

    I leave you to decide what that means, it’s worth a good look. There’s no way we can sustain what we’re doing.

    I did note that you are a democratic voter Willis. Maybe cannot admit that your party is mainly responsible for where America is at?

    I never said I was a Democrat, Noelene. What I said was that I’d voted against the Republican in every Presidential election. But that’s mostly because the other guy seemed like the lesser of two weevils, not because I’m a Democrat. In the event, I’ve regretted some of those votes but not others. I thought Nixon was a crook ever since he hung out with Joe McCarthy, and I was right. In any case, I’m registered as an Independent, as befits my nature, and I vote the man or woman, not the party …

    So I don’t have a party. Which points to the ultimate idiocy of trying to attack my motives or my politics. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not about me. Can you please focus on the issues, and not burden us with your fantasies of what I “cannot admit” about my non-existant party …

    Thanks,

    w.

  166. savethesharks says:
    April 9, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Corporate welfare AND individual welfare are both RIFE in the Democratic Party alone!

    Realistically, the concept of corporate welfare is as mythical as corporate taxes.

    Mark

  167. I’m surprised you even bother to register as an Independent, Willis. You seem like the type that wouldn’t mark anything down… or does that count as registering as an independent? I don’t remember anymore… I still liked to belong when I was 18 and first registered. Somewhere along the line my cynicism grew to the point that belonging was a bad thing.

    Mark

  168. Willis …

    That graph of % GDP since 1900 ? source ? since the GDP hasn’t been officially calculated with the same standard and I’ve never seen data from the early 1900’s I’m curious how calculated the % of GDP ?

  169. robert says:
    April 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    On the topic of military spending in response to Jeremy and Smokey,
    The military is spending and national defence budget does not benefit all citizens equally. Let’s be honest here, the military needs to see massive overhauls in the way it does its work. The fact that the United States Military spends more than every other country in the world combined is a very dangerous thing. …

    I’m convinced you didn’t read my post.

  170. Noelene says:
    April 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    According to Fox news the Republicans got a great deal.
    Since Fox News is the media arm of the Republican Party, this sentence is totally unconvincing.

    Over the next decade the cuts are expected to save hundreds of billions of dollars.
    The next battle with consequences begins in a matter of two short weeks when the accumulated U.S. debt will be nearing it’s $14 trillion legal limit. So Congress will have to vote to raise the ceiling so Uncle Sam can borrow still more money.

    The cuts that are expected to pass only cover the second half of 2011. The next decade is not covered in what was passed.
    It probably is unconstitutional for the US government not to pay its creditors. If the debt ceiling is not passed, under the constitution, the government is still required to pay its debt. This has never been tested.

    The administration has said it will need to be raised between April 15 and May 31 or the U.S. could default and create a new fiscal crisis of unknowable magnitude. Fiscal hawks plan to demand strict, enforceable spending caps, triggers for across the board cuts, and austerity measures in exchange for raising the debt limit.
    This is not a smart way to cut spending. We need to raise taxes on the rich back to levels that were achieved under the Clinton administration, when the government was put on a sound fiscal basis. We also need to cut the bloated military budget. The US spends as much as the next 10 biggest military spenders. In addition, we need to restructure the incentives in the health care system. Instead of rewarding a high volume of procedures, of which about 30% are unnecessary, we need to reward achievements of good health.


    This short-term agreement was just a beginning.

    Read more: http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/04/09/who-won-shutdown-showdown-it-wasnt-even-close#ixzz1J5Tf6OAy

    A simple pie chart is a bit misleading is it not?I did note that you are a democratic voter Willis.Maybe cannot admit that your party is mainly responsible for where America is at?
    It is the Republican tax cuts, the Iraq War and Afghanistan Wars, the increase in weapons programs, and the recession triggered by a crash partly due to lack of banking regulation, which reduced tax receipts, and increased safety net spending that cumulatively that are responsible for the recession we have today. All of this was done under a Republican president, and Congress.

    If you keep watching FOX, you will never get your facts straight.

  171. dkkraft says:
    April 9, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Ed_B says:
    April 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Ikes #’s are basically correct. For a look at Revenue as a % of GDP (since 1792) see:

    My chart that I produced shows 15% down to 11% or so currently, since the end of WWII. Thanks for the source, but I can’t reconcile Ikes numbers. Willis posted a chart, which looks the same shape, except his shows 25% down to 15% (wtf??) This is for the personal income taxes. If Willis’ chart were to include corporate taxes,we would get a full picture.

    The only observation I can make is that corporation taxes fluctuate far far more than personal income taxes. When the economy is strong, such as the 1990s, corporate revenues are strong. That means that the Obama administrations failure to have an home grown energy policy which grows the GNP is devastating. The green agenda is 100% wrong!

  172. savethesharks says:
    April 9, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    R. Gates says:
    April 9, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    The deficit is hardly the fault of either party, but is part of the Washington Culture. The Republicans prefer corporate welfare and the Dems give it to actual people. Either one is an addiction and needs to be stopped.

    =========================

    You need to read and digest the novel Atlas Shrugged….and check back later.

    _____

    Thanks, I’ve read it and it is one of my favorite. The myth that I’ve come to realize is a myth is that either party represents the Conservative ideal. Both feed at the corporate trough, selling their souls for power and money, and corrupting the Constitutional Ideal of a minimal government. We need:

    1) Term limits
    2) Campaign finance reform
    3) A balanced budget amendment to the Constitution

    These will never happen until the 2-party system is overturned by the people.

  173. Jeff says:
    April 10, 2011 at 5:31 am
    Willis …

    That graph of % GDP since 1900 ? source ? since the GDP hasn’t been officially calculated with the same standard and I’ve never seen data from the early 1900′s I’m curious how calculated the % of GDP ?

    Jeff – I think you already know this, but for anyone else who might still be reading and interested. The pre-1930s stuff is more like Paleo data :-). Of course the post 1930 to present data is ticklish too. Fortunately there is a lot documentation on this topic. See:

    http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/sourcegdp.php

    From there use the Bureau of Economic Analysis links.

    For a look at the history of the process try this:

    http://www.bea.gov/national/pdf/nipaguid.pdf

    There are limits to the precision of which we can calculate GDP. So % of GDP ought to be used with some caution. However when the deficit as a % of GDP (with all measurement caveats noted) goes from a 60 yr range of -4% > x < 5% to 3 straight yrs in the 8.5% < x < 11% range, well…… it's time to address it.

    BTW – the Measuring Worth website has a neat little answer to the significant figures question i.e. "How can the answers be so precise?" To quote:

    "They cannot. The calculators report answers to the last cent or pence, but in truth, it would make more sense if we reported that results with only two-digit accuracy. So if the answer is $427.32, it would be better to say $430.

    Most historical data must be measured by making certain assumptions about the relationship between the variable that is being reported and an observation that is available. For example, a price index is based on representative items. The price of potatoes might be assumed to be 3% of the cost of food and yet it could be 2.6 or 3.4% instead. So when the price of potatoes goes up, the true cost of the increase in food may be under or over estimated.

    So why do we report the results the way we do? Partly it is easier and partly it is because we think (you) the users prefer it this way."

    http://www.measuringworth.com/glossary/index.php

  174. Hi Ed_B

    Yes, lots and lots and lots….. (and lots) of key figures to choose from. I think the chart Willis provided includes Total Revenues which would be a function of all taxes incl corp and personal and, importantly, social insurance + other revenues.

    We could reconcile it – but there are plenty of other folks who have already looked at this. Here is one example that will help answer your question:

    http://www.deptofnumbers.com/blog/2010/08/tax-revenue-as-a-fraction-of-gdp/

  175. I don’t really want to get in a debate over corporate taxes, but GE paying 25% of their profits under Ryan’s plan would be more than paying zero under the present plan. I’m of the opinion that 25% is a good corportate tax rate, just so long as no deductions or credits are allowed. None. The “evil” oil companies are paying some of the higher rates this year, some as high as 42%. Is that enough for you liberals? I doubt anything short of a complete takeover or shutdown would satisfy the liberal-lefty/global warming/climate change crowd.

    And the boilerplate nonsense about the military/industrial complex makes me want to puke. Good God, even the idiot-in-chief has identified the Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid programs as the major budget busters. He should have mentioned the money being wasted on education and servicing the debt, and he would have got them all on the social side. Oh, and defense needs to be cut as well, starting with the troops coming home from Afghanistan, Iraq and most of Europe. And yes, I have an interest in the troops as my youngest son is now serving in Afghanistan, in a combat unit near Kandahar. This has been the longest year of my and my wife’s life, suffice it to say. That aside, we had better get our house in order, but I know it won’t happen.

    History shows us that any society with the fractionalization now apparent in the US will not find enough cooperation to deal with any major problems, including those large enough to destroy us. It reminds me very much of the breakup of the Byzantine Empire due to stupid religious differences, which were very minor. If I remember my military history properly, I believe elements of the Bysantine society gave away information to the enemy at the Battle of Manzikurt, thus dooming the Empire.

  176. Jeff says:
    April 10, 2011 at 5:31 am

    Willis …

    That graph of % GDP since 1900 ? source ? since the GDP hasn’t been officially calculated with the same standard and I’ve never seen data from the early 1900′s I’m curious how calculated the % of GDP ?

    Sorry. It’s from the cite provided by dkkraft upthread.

  177. How is it that Hong Kong was able to reduce their 17% flat tax to a 15% flat tax a few years ago? Their citizens enjoy enormous prosperity, wages have continually risen, they have social safety nets, subsidized housing and a bright future.

    Oh, and the banks issue the currency! When you look at a Hong Kong dollar it says right on it which bank printed it.

    What I think we really need here is:

    1% per year cut in real dollar terms to each and every area of government until it hits around 20%.

    Serious cuts in defense and entitlement spending.

    Proscribe the power of pressure groups like the AARP to warp our government and laws to its singular purposes, against the benefit of the rest of us.

    A reanalysis of each and every department of government and ask ourselves if we truly need this at a federal level or if it ought to be state run, or just eliminated.

    The END of government unions. Why exactly does a government need a union? They were already overpaid and over compensated.

    Retrenchment of the military. Bring our warriors home! Lets put them to work truly defending America against the worst possible calamity – depression and economic collapse. The entire world has benefitted from our military spending and its driven us broke. Put our military to work rebuilding infrastructure in America. They get to train for a job when they get out and we get the benefit of free labor (or at least labor where the costs are already sunk).

    If memory serves me, all of our federal expenditures were met with one tax and only one tax until the presidency of Andrew Jackson. That was a US Customs tariff. Even the war against the barbary pirates (our first war after independence) was fought on a shoe string.

    The only chance is the Tea Party. The only problem is the left has so demonized the Tea Party as racists that it will be very hard for them to make headway. If you lie often enough, long enough, people start to believe it.

    I had hopes for Libertarians. But they don’t seem to ever make any electoral gains. I’m not sure why, as its the only party that actually has common sense.

  178. Willis replies to Nolene:

    “You still don’t get it. Yes, the cuts will save “hundreds of billions of dollars” over the next decade. If you save $40 billion a year for ten years you get hundreds of billions in savings.

    “But if the existing budget deficit continues over the next decade, it will add, not hundreds of billions, but tens of thousands of billions to the debt.

    “It’s just crumbs on the pie, Noelene, whether you look at one year or ten years. The problem is the huge overspending.”

    All the hoopla over the paltry $38 billion cut from the bloated Obama budget was about a mere drop in the bucket. We need to cut $trillions, not $billions.

    Obama/Pelosi/Reid have tripled the budget deficit. By simply rescinding that spending increase, the country would be in pretty good shape compared to the rest of the world. The ramrodding through of such enormous spending, without allowing Representatives to read and debate the thousands of pages of the bill was nothing short of gangsterism.

  179. How about we cut everything not explicitly authorized by the Constitution?

    The Constitution – remember? That document some guys wrote ages ago to lay out the powers and obligations of the Federal Government?

    We’ve gotten so far off I don’t think anybody has any idea what Constitutional Government actually looks like anymore.

    And btw, ‘blame bush’ was old years ago, and it’s quite pathetic at this point. The problems go back farther than him.

  180. L
    April 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Mr. Walton, what do you mean “Democrats” and “progressives”? Last time I looked they were both Marx’ kids- and I don’t mean Groucho’s.
    ###

    A Marxist by any other name will still smell just as vile.

    And the demoncratic party is not the only one with progressives. The GOP has its share.

    Imperialist == Fascist == Marxist == Gaiast == socialist != Freedom

  181. #
    Kozlowski says:
    April 11, 2011 at 12:26 am

    If memory serves me, all of our federal expenditures were met with one tax and only one tax until the presidency of Andrew Jackson. That was a US Customs tariff. Even the war against the barbary pirates (our first war after independence) was fought on a shoe string.
    ###

    Do you know why the Democratic part was created?

  182. Re: #Smokey says:
    April 11, 2011 at 5:19 am

    “The ramrodding through of such enormous spending, without allowing Representatives to read and debate the thousands of pages of the bill was nothing short of gangsterism”.

    And these are exactly the sort of tactics deployed in the EU particularly where the Lisbon Treaty was concerned. Bureaucrats pulling the political strings.

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