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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Romney’s Etch-A-Sketch — And Other Moments Of Clarity

Romney’s Etch-A-Sketch — And Other Moments Of Clarity

WASHINGTON — Clarifying moments are rare in politics. They are the times when previously muddled issues are suddenly cast into sharp relief and citizens are given a look behind the curtains of spin and obfuscation.

Over the last week, Americans were blessed with three separate clarifying moments.

Representative Paul Ryan made absolutely clear that he is not now and never was interested in deficit reduction. After a couple of years of being lauded by deficit hawks as the man prepared to make hard choices, he proposed a budget that would not end deficits until 2040, but would cut taxes by $4.6 trillion over a decade while also extending all of the Bush tax cuts, adding another $5.4 trillion to the deficit. Ryan would increase military expenditures, and then eviscerate the rest of the federal government.

Oh yes, Ryan claims he’d make up for the losses from his new tax cuts with “tax reform,” but offered not a single detail. A “plan” with a hole this big is not a plan at all. Ryan’s main interest is in cutting the top income tax rate to 25 percent from the current 35 percent. His message: solving the deficit problem isnít nearly as important as (1) continuing and expanding benefits for the wealthy, and (2) disabling the federal government.

Robert Greenstein, president of the progressive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, is tough on deficits, careful in his use of numbers, and measured in his choice of words. These traits make his analysis of Ryan’s proposal all the more instructive.

It would likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times (and possibly in the nationís history), Greenstein said. ìSpecifically, the Ryan budget would impose extraordinary cuts in programs that serve as a lifeline for our nationís poorest and most vulnerable citizens, and over time would cause tens of millions of Americans to lose their health insurance or become underinsured

Thanks to Ryan, we now know that this election is not about deficits at all. It is about whether we will respond to growing inequalities of wealth and income by creating even larger inequalities of wealth and income.

Last week also saw the nation focus seriously on the “Stand Your Ground” laws that the National Rifle Association has pushed through in state after state. These statutes came to wide attention because of the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager.

George Zimmerman, the man who pulled the trigger, was not even under investigation until there was a national outcry because under Florida’s version of the stand your ground law, a citizen has a right to use ìforce, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

These laws perfectly reflect the NRA’s utopia. No longer will we count on law enforcement to preserve the peace. Instead, we will build a society where all citizens are armed and encouraged to take the law into their own hands. If you feel threatened, just shoot.

Since when did conservatives start believing that laws should be based on ëfeelingsî and subjective judgments? What kind of civilization does this create? Surely this moment should inspire the peaceable majority to challenge the entire gun lobby worldview — and that most certainly includes the legions of timid Democrats who have been cowed by the NRA.

There was, finally, that toy metaphor from Eric Fehrnstrom, a top aide to Mitt Romney. Asked on CNN if the primary campaign had forced Romney “to tack so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election,” Fehrnstrom replied that “everything changes” after the primaries. ìItís almost like an Etch a Sketch, he added, ìyou can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again.

The context matters because Romney later said Fehrnstrom was only talking about post-primary changes that would be made ìorganizationally,î a claim that is plainly untrue. Ironically, the semi-denial only reinforced the lesson Fehrnstrom taught: To win, Romney is willing to change not only his own positions but also reality itself.

Conservatives will need an exceptionally powerful Etch a Sketch to wipe the nation’s memory clean of the education it received during the 2012 campaign’s most enlightening week so far.

E.J. Dionne’s email address is ejdionne(at)washpost.com.

(c) 2012, Washington Post Writers Group

  • ObozoMustGo

    EJ… you know you are deliberately mischaracterizing the Ryan Plan. The only thing more clear than the Ryan Plan is the LACK OF ANY PLAN FROM OBOZO AND THE DEMS OTHER THAN KEEP SPENDING. They held control of the entire kit and kaboodle for 2 years and what did they accomplish toward getting EVEN A SINGLE BUDGET PASSED?????? NOTHING!!! NADA!!!! ZILCH!!!!! All they did was run up deficit spending by $3 TRILLION in 2 years (it will be nearly $6T by the time The Incompetent leaves in 1/2013) without having even the slightest bit of guts to put out a plan like the Constitution requires them to do. Talk about clarity! No kidding. The dumbocRATS are clearly the party of radical ideologues and socialists who dont give a damn about Constitutional responsibility or fiscal sanity. You know it’s true!

    • Rigel54

      If anything you said had any root in truth or reality I would be able to answer you, but it’s a nonsensical ramble, punctuated by fabrications. If you want fiscal insanity, visit the $3 trillion wasted in Iraq. Even if your claims were correct, which they are not, at least that money stayed in the US. The Iraq funds bled out over the Middle East, or went into the pockets of Bush buddies. Obama submitted all budgets required by his office. The budgets, given the circumstances, were entirely appropriate. To the extent that they were enacted, they mitigated the Great 2nd Bush Recesssion. It is by the offices of President Obama that we are slowly and bloodily crawling out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, which began solidly in the 8 year reign of George W. Bush.

      • ObozoMustGo

        You conveniently forget that obozo ontrolled the whole show for 2 years and did not get a single budget through. You also forget that the budget your messiah presented last year didn’t even get a single vote from his own socialists in the dumbocRATic party. No one but the most committed leftist likes your loser in chief. Face the facts. He is a radical leftist, anti-colonialist and anti American bum and he needs to be tried for treason. Obozo must go. Have a nice day!

        • Rigel54

          “Getting a budget through” is a vague and peculiar term, but I assure you, the U.S. does have a budget. Your comments on the budget not getting “a single vote from his own . . .” is bizarre delusion. Obama is currently polling to handily defeat any of the current Republican candidates.

          Anti-colonialist????? What alternate universe have you been bunking in? The colonial era ended within 5 years of the end of WWII, around 1950 (really 1946, with changes in India).

          The treason charges, if necessary, should be levied against those who cheat the nation for their own gain, and those who hope to overthrow the constitution to set up a theocracy.

          • ObozoMustGo

            You must be dumb as rock. Not a single budget has been approved by Congress as is constitutionally required since your leftist radical messiah obozo has occupied the White House like a bunch of bums occupied Wall Street.

            Anti-colonialist? Have you read the loser in chiefs book “dreams from my father”? Clearly his father was a socialist anti-colonialist. And obozo has taken on his dreams. It’s why he sent the Churchill bust back to England 1st day in office. The loser in chief hates America. Face it. Have a nice day!

          • Rigel54

            You are exactly and entirely wrong. All required budgets have been passed in the appropriate time frame. I have no idea what fantasy literature you may be reading, but it must be written by Fox News dropouts who dropped out of middle school (most Fox personalities waited to high school and even college to drop out).

            Please lay out your understanding of the current state of the world’s colonial empires. I’m confident that it will be a short essay. Obama’s father may have had reason to hate colonialism, as a citizen of a subjugated colonial nation. That’s reasonable. The time of colonial empires passed in 1946. I would also like you to explain what your affections might be for Nigeria if they crushed and occupied the United States, controlling and stealing our resources for a century or two. Love? Admiration? Loyalty?

          • ObozoMustGo

            Ahhhh! The old boogie man Fox News. If only the entire media was in the tank for the leftist socialists, the world would be perfect wouldn’t it? No one to criticize your messiah obozo would be perfect wouldn’t it? Ther was actually a useful idiot on this site that said I should be arrested for criticizing the loser in chief. And I don’t need to write an essay regarding Obozo’s anti colonialism. Dinesh Desouza has done that already. All anyone reading your crap needs to know they can figure out from your question about Nigeria stealing Americas resources. Your implication is that America has somehow gotten ahead because we have exploited others. Only in leftist nut job wold does that loser thinking dominate. If you hate America so much, LEAVE! You stupid leftist nutjob!

          • Rigel54

            I really think that you do need a little reading, not writing. It’s quite plain the latter is beyond you. America was never a true colonial power, though we did stumble into the Philippines somehow. The idea that America did NOT exploit others is silly beyond measure, few nations can claim that, and certainly not the U.S. Not evil, just history. “Only in leftist nut job wold does that loser thinking dominate?” Wow. Perhaps you ARE Nigerian (apologies to actual Nigerians, he writes like an alien).

            Dinesh Desouza is a right wing religious nut job, not taken seriously by scholars either political, historical, or religious (and certainly not scientists!). He is a proponent of “intelligent design,” an absurd anti-science camp occupied by flat worlders who believe that the Earth was created 6000 years ago and humans coexisted with dinosaurs. He is an embarrassment to his native land, India.

          • ObozoMustGo

            It’s about time. It usually doesnt take a leftist nutjob like you this long in the discussion to criticize religion.

          • Rigel54

            Well, with all due respect to people of faith, believing in an imaginary man in the sky who is going to solve all our problems, but issues his instructions through a variety of emissaries on earth who all disagree with each other, often violently and revoltingly. For people of “faith” (belief without evidence) who need the assurance and security such belief gives them, it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t have any place at all in public policy, science, or even ethics.

          • ObozoMustGo

            I suppose that if there is “no place in public policy, science, or even ethics” you’re going to have to rewrite the Dec of Ind and the Const, aren’t you? After all, if there is no God, then even the very concept of morality or ethics is just a mere matter of perception and human interpretation of what happens to be convenient to the time. Thou shalt not murder is just a convenient moray of the time but of course is circumstantial, right? If there is no God, how was the universe formed and where did life come from?

          • Rigel54

            Actually, you are wrong, no Constitutional rewrites are required. Proper ethics don’t arrive through a notice by an all powerful being that he will incinerate us painfully for eternity if we don’t do what he wants. In thinking creatures (which may not include some Republicans) they descend from reasoned concepts of fairness and cooperation. Religious tracts, which are often just vehicles for stating obvious and ubiquitous human values say in various forms truths like “judge not, lest ye be judged,” and the rest of the basics.

            Proscription of murder is a universal in all human civilizations that are known. Written proscriptions go back 6-8 thousand years, as far as writing itself. Religion is a vehicle for expressing these values, not the source of the values themselves. Those come from the human mind. We make the rules, then we make the gods that enforce them on the simple people. Our current gods are a curious mix, two of them are struggling towards a brouhaha. Oddly, these gods, their intentions, and our destiny vary with the individual person and their culture, almost as though they were dependent upon them, rather than ruling them.

            Religion is protected under the Constitution, as all forms of thought and philosophy should be. One should not be persecuted for one’s thoughts, until and unless they lead to actions that injure others. It is then that good sense and HUMAN values must rule.

          • ObozoMustGo

            I suppose that “endowed by their creator” stuff is just nothing at all? I suppose that concept that we get our rights from that creator is just made up for shits and giggles huh? You still did answer my question about how the universe was formed and where did life come from?

          • Rigel54

            The more prominent founders ranged from deists (believed a a vague universal spirit) to agnostics and atheists. The “creator” and “divine providence” were literary devices to summarize basic human rights granted them as members of the human race. Their “creator” could be their mom, or in a broader sense, the genetic “Eve,” that selected mitochondrial genome which we all share. They were not blessed with all the wonderful knowledge that we now have, but were centuries ahead of their time (and you) nonetheless.

            I didn’t detect your genesis questions. Life is easy, evidence is substantial and growing that it is the almost inevitable result of certain conditions that must occur millions to billions of times in this galaxy, and there are billions of galaxies. Bacterial life is certainly common, what is not clear is how often rapid generation of diversity occurs. On our world, sex is the glorious source of this variation (gods (of the deistic sort bless it!). How often this occurs is at present mere speculation, but the aforementioned statistics make it certain that is is not rare.

            Current physics has traced the formation of our universe back to seconds (or less) before it was born, and understands much of its structure (though there is much to learn). Not bad for a bunch of clever apes! It is also teasing out structures we cannot see, something on the order of 13 dimensions, and the founding principles, which suggest there could be millions of universes (not necessarily remotely like our own!). It is a heartless, glorious, beautiful, deadly place, and it is up to us to prosper in it. Hard to do when some monkeys are still worshipping sky gods and monsters.

          • ObozoMustGo

            A great deal of diatribe from a moron that struggles to sound smart without actually saying anything and not answering the central question of how was the universe formed and where does life come from?

          • Rigel54

            Wow, you want the actual physics? Much too complicated, too many symbols, definitions, and math for this venue. In essence, the multiverse and its many dimensions are awash in (necessarily) multidimensional field/objects (called branes in some references), jostling and fluxing. On contact and separation they cause probabilistic disturbances, and these localized disturbances (universes) spring into being between branes. Internal rules in these systems may vary, how they are defined is not clear (mathmatically). Let me know if you want the history after the first second or so, that’s much easier and well understood.

            I thought I was pretty clear on life. It began on earth (as documented by fossil records) about 3.5 billion years ago, but remained unicellular for about 3 billion of those years. It is a general conclusion that this level of life emerges pretty much anywhere conditions permit. About 540 million years ago all hell broke loose. The pace of evolution skyrocketed, and multicellular life emerged. There followed a “punctuated equilibrium” style of evolution, with a disturbing number of the punctuations being mass extinctions. Some of these are believed to be understood, others not. At one point the evolution of oxygen producing organisms poisoned the entire planet with that deadly gas (to the species of the time). Oxygen tolerant (and dependent) species dominate to this day. An asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. Oh, and much worse!

            The universe is not a friendly place, and we need to get above the god making monkey phase and deal.

            What is your educational level and area of expertise? Not science, or history. Something else.

          • ObozoMustGo

            I think I’ve read the same exact garbage from Richard Dawkins whom I think you have just plaguerized without credit. And whom by the way is totally discredited because his political Interests influence his science.

          • Rigel54

            I’ve read Dawkins, an impressive man, with many irrefutable arguments. I don’t know what political interests you’re talking about (please tell us which ones), but political interests are not capable of affecting scientific arguments or truth. That you believe that they can says a lot about your subjective reality. Political beliefs may affect the direction of research, but if the arguments and evidence stand, so be it.

            I haven’t read Dawkins in 2-3 years. Most of what I discussed he did not in the books I read. It is just an off the cuff discussion of learnings in a wide variety of physical sources.

          • Thanks for trying in a very eloquent and well said manner. It continues to amaze me how impossibly ignorant these people are. THey have gone even futher south with their defence of Zimmerman. Americans will deserve whatever Gov. they get. By way of religion,just read an Ethan Allen bio and found out I am a Deist. I thought I was the only person who thought this way,only to find out,this creed is 220 years old at least

      • ObozoMustGo

        By the way… I suppose it’s Bushs fault that Obozo’s own budget projections show national debt at 20 trillion by the time he would thankfully leave office if Americans were dumb enough to elect the idiot one more time. You are a most useful of useful idiots! Have a nice day!

        • Rigel54

          Yes, you are correct, it is Bush’s fault. Little else could be done to reverse the Bush recession and save the economy but to feed it until it can feed itself. That said, the CBO numbers are $18 trillion in 2021, and that only if the insane Bush tax cuts are continued. Reverse taxes to 1999 levels, boost the taxes on the 1% a bit, and everything gets a lot better. Even the 1% make more money, thanks to economic improvements. They really are short sighted.

          Check out Time’s graphic this week. Every Republican administration starts a recession (two for Bush). Every Democratic one reverses it and returns it to normal levels. Hard to make anything else out of that!

          • ObozoMustGo

            Of course it’s Bush’s fault. He’s writing Obozo’s budgets. Keep telling yourself that useful idiot. The kool aide is strong within you! Only in leftist nut job world can taking the earnings of a person be good for them.

          • Reddog77

            Typical of right wingers. Obozo can just offer phrases like “useful idiot” and “leftist nut job” instead of any logic.
            It’s easy to call some one names when you don’t possess the knowledge to offer intelligent arguments.

    • jnabandit

      because you say so it’s true, come on get your head out of the sand

      • ObozoMustGo

        Are you stupid? Who controlled the entire congress from Jan 09 to Jan 11? Is that an “if I say so” thing? You must be one of those paid useful idiots to work the blogs. 2 years complete controll and nothing but socialized medicine that 60% + Americans were strongly against. Other than that what else can you blame Bush for?

    • howa4x

      Obozo why do you want to wipe the butt of the super rich? Haven’t they got enough making 256% more than we do? Ryans plan will slash taxes for the upper 1% at the cost of taking the gurantee of medicare away from either you or your parent if living. They will give a stipend to all the elderly and when they go through it which will take about 3 months then the cost of their care would be the responsibility of the famiily. Is that what everyone worked all their life for? So that the rich could have more. Other sucessful programs like head start and the Pell grants that help lower income people go to college will be cut out also. Republicans have become mean spirited and would hurt the most vulnerable for the most wealthy. Is that what Jesus really said? I don’t think so. For all you evengelicals that aren’t really followers of him, but really worship money and those who possess a lot of it, spend more time in te pews.

  • jwtm

    “These laws perfectly reflect the NRA’s utopia. No longer will we count on law enforcement to preserve the peace. Instead, we will build a society where all citizens are armed and encouraged to take the law into their own hands. If you feel threatened, just shoot.”

    Seems good to me. Applied equally, that means that Trayvon would have been armed that night. When an unidentifiable man jumped out of an unmarked car and started chasing him, Trayvon would simply have shot him, quite legally under Florida’s laws.

  • Michael Welch

    Too bad the Republicans, like ObozoMustGo, only know how to blab out a long stream of personal attacks and offenses. But what else do they have? They belong to a White Supremist party that is waging political war on everybody else using lies and deceptions. The Truth is not on their side. The real bozos are the rank and file Republicans who vote Republican because they are racists, religious fanatics, would be cowboys who want everybody to carry a gun and have shootouts in the street like the old west, and the ultra wealthy. By the way, I’m a progressive Republican like Senator Olivia Snow. She was the last one of us in the Senate. Our party has been co-opted by nut cases on the right.

  • don’t know about the rest of you folks, but i’m tired of this bullshit artist calling itself obozomustgo. i think anyone who can spout any good about all things republican is f-ing braindead. just my opinion of corse. ALL politicans are amoral crooks and liars, its a job requirement.

  • as far as saving this country, good luck folks. or as porky pig says……”th..th..thats all folks” not much hope since bush got away with killing jfk.

  • Drew_a

    I wiah this article had a Ryan quote or sonething to back it up. Because this article was obvious from when Paul Ryan first allowed himself to be none. The sad truth truth about a lot of this though is that bozo is actually right on most of his points. Rigel sorry but a 3 trillion war can constitute debt but not deficit. The deficit is most basically annual net income, meaning we are sppending more then we’re making. Of course Bozo is a villian through ommission. For example it would be wrong for him too ignore that when Obama had the house before passing anything he wanted to make sure everything was hunky dory with the GOP. Which was kind of smart this proved he could work with them, if he knew everything would fall apart through irrationality on the GOP he’d probably change his mind. But the bigger ommision is that there are 2 solutions to a net loss reduce costs (spending cuts) or increased revenues (tax increases(unless you also utilize some commie ideals)) Bush tax cuts are responsible for the decrease in revenues Bozo knows that. Further decreases to the riches tax revenues (Ryan’s plan) will exaserbate the deficit and Ryan has always been either vague or absurd on how to cut spending also. Giving away your revenues has never been a way in any government or any business throughout history has ever been a way to fiscally govern. Also the truth is we could balance the budget right now with one cut to the defense budget and still have the 2nd largest defense budget in the world. ~1.7-1.3=~400bil and china=~600bil. With 3 times the budget as china with less 1/3 their population the average person is spending over 9 times the amount for US’s military than in china. What say you nay sayers?

    • ObozoMustGo

      Drew. So, we meet again! And we agree… somewhat. There are 2 sides to every budget – revenues and spending. Truthfully, our problem in America has NOT been revenues. It’s THE SPENDING STUPID! We can debate tax rates all we want. Those of us on the sensible right know for certain that no matter how much politicians tax, those on the left will ALWAYS spend more than they take in. It’s like giving an alcoholic more drinks thinking that eventually he cant drink any more and will become responsible. Why feed the addiction? Anyone who thinks that if all we do is tax rich people more, then magically politicians will become fiscally responsible is a complete moron and an idiot who cannot see reality or learn from history. Now I can admit that we can and should have substantive debate over what things we spend the public treasure on, but the one thing we cannot debate is that funds are NOT UNLIMIITED, and therefore there must be decisions made about what will be funded and what will not. I would like a good debate about what the proper role of the Federal Government is in America, but I can never find a lefty that will join the discussion with any serious interest without saying the the preamble to The Constitution says government should take care of everyone, which is clearly does NOT. The hard cold truth, for those on the left who believe in the power of government to take care of people, is that our National Debt now EXCEEDS OUR GDP for the first time in modern history. Interest payments on the debt now exceeds $400B per year. When the buyers of bonds start to question our ability to pay with uninflated dollars, the market will force us to pay a higher interest rate. When interest rates go up, so does our interest payments. And with debt that exceeds GDP, repayment becomes more and more difficult and rates go higher and higher. You dont have to be an economic historian to know how this turns out. Look at Greece and all the other countries where this occurs. It never turns out good. This is why, whether you agree with Ryan’s plan or not, at least he has the balls to put a plan together and publicize it. EJ Dionne has deliberately mischaracterized Ryan’s plan because he must. The left has NO plan and he’s one of their useful idiots that tries to influence people so they will support more leftist socialists and not a sensible plan for fiscal sanity. The only criticism I have of Ryan’s plan is that it does not balance the budget THIS YEAR. Have a nice day!

    • ObozoMustGo

      Drew. So, we meet again! And we agree… somewhat. There are 2 sides to every budget – revenues and spending. Truthfully, our problem in America has NOT been revenues. It’s THE SPENDING STUPID! We can debate tax rates all we want. Those of us on the sensible right know for certain that no matter how much politicians tax, those on the left will ALWAYS spend more than they take in. It’s like giving an alcoholic more drinks thinking that eventually he cant drink any more and will become responsible. Why feed the addiction? Anyone who thinks that if all we do is tax rich people more, then magically politicians will become fiscally responsible is a complete moron and an idiot who cannot see reality or learn from history. Now I can admit that we can and should have substantive debate over what things we spend the public treasure on, but the one thing we cannot debate is that funds are NOT UNLIMIITED, and therefore there must be decisions made about what will be funded and what will not. I would like a good debate about what the proper role of the Federal Government is in America, but I can never find a lefty that will join the discussion with any serious interest without saying the the preamble to The Constitution says government should take care of everyone, which is clearly does NOT. The hard cold truth, for those on the left who believe in the power of government to take care of people, is that our National Debt now EXCEEDS OUR GDP for the first time in modern history. Interest payments on the debt now exceeds $400B per year. When the buyers of bonds start to question our ability to pay with uninflated dollars, the market will force us to pay a higher interest rate. When interest rates go up, so does our interest payments. And with debt that exceeds GDP, repayment becomes more and more difficult and rates go higher and higher. You dont have to be an economic historian to know how this turns out. Look at Greece and all the other countries where this occurs. It never turns out good. This is why, whether you agree with Ryan’s plan or not, at least he has the balls to put a plan together and publicize it. EJ Dionne has deliberately mischaracterized Ryan’s plan because he must. The left has NO plan and he’s one of their useful idiots that tries to influence people so they will support more leftist socialists and not a sensible plan for fiscal sanity. The only criticism I have of Ryan’s plan is that it does not balance the budget THIS YEAR. Have a nice day!

      • Drew_a

        Well I have expressed interest in a serious intelligible debate over the governments role but with a new email with new articles almost everyday it makes it difficult to return back to threads just to check to see if you answered my questions. I gave a solid response to that question and rustacus had a solid response that used part of my argument as a base. <- Referring to the governments role in society. But on this article the most important piece that you are neglecting is that how much of an impact the bush tax cuts made on our revenues. It really shouldn't be considered be raising taxes if it is bringing them back to reasonable levels, and Ryan wants another 10% cut on the rich. So how much of our public works will have to be cut to pay that 1.6 trillion dollar deficit plus an additional tax cut? What will be left? It makes the hard decisions easy, cut everything. That solution is unacceptable. I mean REALLY no sense, 2011 income tax revenues were 1.27 trillion but our defense budget is 1.7 Trillion. I guess thats not fair because total direct revenues were 2.5 Trillion. But the truth is there in black and white with those numbers no more wars at least a 60% cut in the military budget and then maybe just maybe taxes can stay where they are. But I really wouldn't be satisfied until Capital gains is gone myself. So bozo how do you refute my claim that reducing our defense budget and/or raising taxes is the only way we can balance our budget?

        • ObozoMustGo

          Drew, I would not refute your claim that reducing the defense budget and/or raising taxes is A WAY to balance the budget for purpose of discussion, but I would refute your claim that it is “THE ONLY” way to accomplish the mission. The reason we need to have a serious discussion in America about the role of the Federal Gov’t is precisely because we must figure out what the Fed should be spending our tax dollars on, and what it is NOT authorized constitutionally to spend our tax dollars on. Now, many of us may agree at some point that our Fed should be spending money on, let’s say for discussions sake, free ice cream for all. If that is the case, there is currently no constitutional authority for such a policy. But there is a constitutional process that we must follow in order to make free ice cream for all a legitimate constituional requirement. Until then, there is no authority under the Constitution for such nonsense. And if you guys on the left can parse a reading of the Constitution to include such a requirement, well, you have gone off the deep end and there is NOTHING that government cannot do if they can do this. Our problems today are that we have gotten so far from what IS actually authorized for the Fed Gov’t that it’s nearly impossible to get around the millions who are now sold on the concept of Federal goodies being provided them at the expense of their neighbor. It’s the cultural entitlement mentality that is killing our budgets, and even worse, the corruption mentality in government, private industry, and within a large % of our population that rewards the entitlement mentalilty that is the real problem behind the symptoms of fiscal insanity. I’m not sure they can be corrected in the short run and without a smack in the face of reality that comes with a collapsing economy like they have in Greece right now. No one wants to give us their sacred cow in the budget and because of this, politicians run scared of those sacred cows, and thus no sacred cows are ever actually cut. Only through the will of the voters to recognize the seriousness of the situation will politicians then get enough backbone to do anything. Whether you like a program or not is really immaterial in light of a debt that exceeds our GDP and annual spending that includes $0.42 of every dollar spent is new debt. Like it or not, that is reality. And it cannot continue for ever. Dump the “its Bush’s fault” crap. Obama is no better and he’s actually 5 times worse. Forget the R vs. D thing. That’s old and over. Make it an America thing and what is best for our nation’s survival. Even if we disagree on many things, we CAN find a reasonable way out of this. But it will NOT be easy. Have a nice day.

          • Drew_a

            I really like this response, it is a response with depth mostly sound information and appears to have respect. “Forget the D vs. R thing”. Very admirable not sure how long that will last. But onto the meat of all of this. The 2009 (easiest to find) education budget was 32billion dollars. Hardly an entitlement doesn’t seem to have much room for slashing, and yet teachers unions and education as a whole is contionously villianized. but 40billion for vet benefits. 48billion environment and energy miniscule if we view our progress as a nation with a long term orientatation. Housing and Community also 48 billion (the first entitlement program), 16billion for income security and Labor (the second), and about 8billion for food (yet another fund). Then there is health for 40 billion. I’ve already stated the military budget a few times this begs the question how do you balance the budget and not touch defense or raise revenues. 48+26+8+40=122billion+48(energy)+32(education)+32billion(int affairs)+48(gov)+40(vets)+24(transportation)=346 billion COMPLETELY Defunding all of these things will NOT balance our budget! of course there is always a chance I had biased figures on this but not on the original education budget I simply didn’t want to infer to the budget of every public work and dealt with %’s as they compared to the education budget. So I will allow some leniancy with these figures BUT these figures have to still represent some level of confidenence compared to the reality of real government spending. Military expenditures is significantly higher than all of these combined. Obozo really it is not possible leaving the military budget in tact and also not raise taxes. You know that these growing interest rates are so incredibly devastating. So why can’t the rich bite the bullet for a few years to attack our debt, it will be better for them in te long run anyways, it would give them substainability in their currency, prevent hyperinflation, and ensure that corporations maintain a fragment of the consumer class in America. It is irresponsible as all hell for us not to balance this budget. But privitized former public works is far too dangerous to society. Privitized education born from education cuts will inspire special interest education. Privitized transportation will increase transportation costs on the commuter. The same can be said about any of these works because in order for a private company to exist (outside non-profits) there has to profits. The government running things are what allows society to function with less corruption. Now personally I could care less what is in the constitution I believe in the things I think is better for society and society doesn’t benefit from disgruntled workers but as for emphasis on services that innovate our society or improve the skills of our labor such as energy, transportation, or education far exceeds the end position of allowing those with money to keep it because of tax loopholes or cuts. We are in agreement that their needs to be cuts but politicians and citizens are too ignorant to make those decisions. We need auditors to follow up and decide what is required by our society. And I’m going to stick with my stance that it is simply impossible to balance the budget without cuts to military or increased revenues.

          • ObozoMustGo

            Drew… so many things…. so little time. Know this, I dont seek to persuade you so much as I seek to understand. I prefer clarity over agreement. Re: D vs. R –> I am equally critical of both parties and actually like the 2 party system. What I am most critical of is “Progressives” which really means radical leftist idealogue which means Socialist. It is clear from the experiments of the 20th century and early 21st that socialism, be it through the tyranny of one (dictatorship) or many (democracy), is a bankrupt philosophy that goes against the nature of mankind and bankrupts nations. Too many people these days buy off on the seductive promise of “equality” for all without thinking to a logical conclusion what that means. Talk to people that escaped socialism/communism to come to America. I will guarantee you that 95%+ will tell you that where they came from sucked and that freedom and liberty in America is the best way to live. Socialism destroys individual incentive and therefore destroys a society. Progressives/Socialists are predominantly found in the Dem party and that’s why I bust on them. On to the budget topic –> To suggest that entitlements can hardly be slashed is to suggest that the patient is dying from cancer but we cant treat him with anything more than aspirin. I trust your numbers are close so I’m not going to go to the CBO website and verify them right now. Suffice it to say that arguing nickles, dimes, and quarters in a budget over $3T is an exercise in futility. But in truth, the problem is so large that we must discuss the validity of what the spending does in the first place. This is why I proposed the discussion of what is the proper role of the fed government in America. Certainly, reducing our military presence around the world and bringing the troops home would help cut the military budget, and to the degree that we are spending billions on foreign bases that arent needed, you and I agree. We must look to reducing our costs of defense but we cannot reduce our defense. In an increasingly dangerous world, this would be suicide in the long run. But, national defense IS the primary purpose of the Fed Gov’t. Of that, there is no debate. So there is no way to “do away with it” as would be the leftist panacea and only a very small minority of Americans would support such a notion. So the only real way to solve this problem is to go back and first define what the role of the Fed should be. Spend taxpayer money on those things and nothing else. I dont believe the Fed has any role in Ag, Energy, Education, or income redistribution of any sort. You complain about Vet Benefits, but those guys worked for their pay and served you and me preserving our freedoms. Why do we need 100,000+ people in Ag to tell farmers how to grow corn? Why was the department of Energy set up to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil and why does it still survive after such collosal failure? Why do we even have a Dep. of Education when every state and every school district has it’s own equivalent of a Dep of Ed? Talk about bloated bureacracy. Sheesh! I dont have time for much more detail, but it really isnt needed. 2 things you said give me all the information I need to know: 1) “Now personally I could care less what is in the constitution” is exactly what I was thinking you might say. It seems to be a common thread amongst the leftists in America. There is lots of footage of Dem politicians saying they dont care about the Constitution or famously Nancy Piglosi responding to questions of the Constitutionality of Obozocare saying indignantly “Are you kidding?”. Further, your follow up that it’s OK to ignore the Constitution for what you “believe in things I think is better for society” is exactly what drives conservatives bonkers. In short, you’re saying “I dont care what the Const. says, I know better and you people will fall in line with what we tell you to do because it’s for the good of all”. You may believe it’s for the better, but others do not. There is an arrogance to this thinking on the left that is disturbing, and it explains why the left is so full of hatred for conservatives. You know I’m right on this. 2) “Why cant the rich bite the bullet for a few years to attack our debt?” indicates to me that your feelings of jealousy and envy are stronger than your grasp of math. Truth is that we could confiscate 100% of the wealth of the entire Forbes 400 and that would run the government for less than 6 months! Once you take it all, who are you going to get it from for the next 6 months? The stone cold truth is that the top 1% pay 36.73% of all income taxes. The top 10% pay 70.47% of all income taxes. The bottom 50% pay only 2.25% of all income taxes. These numbers are from 2009 and come from the IRS. Now, looking at facts objectively, how is it that people who pay 70% of ALL taxes are NOT “paying their fair share” when fully 50% of the rest of us pay nearly NOTHING? I’m not defending rich people, but only being objective and fair in posing the questions that the data indicate should be asked. Only the most hardcore leftist could see this any other way. Finally, it’s a false belief that privatizing education or anything else is dangerous to society. The historical evidence simply does not suppor such a foolish claim. Which kids score better in testing: private school, or public school? You know the answer, and its not even close. Did the government discover and make automobiles widely available? NO. Did the government make iPhones and iPads and PC’s and word processing software? NO. Private individuals with a profit motive and a requirement to serve other’s interests in order to server their own in a free market is ALWAYS a better approach than government centric and corrupt bureacrats doling out favors on the basis of personal beliefs is inherently wrong. Nothing else can be said about that. Looking forward to your reply, Drew. Sorry for the length.

      • Rigel54

        No, it’s the revenue. We were in a surplus until the Bush tax cuts. Are you nouveau riche or just a simpleton?

        • ObozoMustGo

          So you leftist radical nutjob, is it a spending problem or revenue problem ? Answer the question you radical socialist

          • Rigel54

            I did, for anyone with 4th grade reading skills. It is primarily a revenue problem, exacerbated by huge public debts caused by a moronic war and private debt by wild unregulated real estate and stock markets. I know you like simple answers you can fit in your one trick mind, but it is those things and more. Certainly, in terms of government debt, the slashing of revenue and damaged of deregulation are key.

            More bad news. I’m not radical, or nuts. I think a jury of economists would hang you, not me.

          • ObozoMustGo

            So aside from your childish insults, is it a spending problem or a revenue problem?

          • Drew_a

            There is a difference in cause and effect, wars don’t influence budget allocation. When a war begins there is a very fine line of what expenditures have to be approved. That’s why I said the wars aren’t deficit related but debt related. We spend money we don’t have on wars it increases our debt, but isn’t on a proposed balance sheet until the period is over if you want to think of it through an accounting principle it would mostly resemble an allowance. And as for the housing crisis. It was a GOOD thing it happened but it was handled the wrong way. If we refused to bail out AIG and issue TARP funds then ownership would become law, people would have houses, the banks would pay for their unethical practices of selling intangibles for short term gain and see problems with overleveraging. And the houing market would go through their much needed deflation period and with proces rising everywhere else it would be nice to see prices falling elsewhere. Who cares what your house is worth if you’re going to use it. If we let the banks fall everything would be great on that front honestly. I bought 3 houses because of the housing market failure and I rent them out to people with bad credit for cheap rates so that it is a win win situation. And I don’t mean for this to be an attack or anything just with my MBA and CPA it’s hard not to chime in sometimes. Despite the fact I only registered for comments when Obozo started posting.

    • Rigel54

      Wait? Spending money we don’t have on a war is not a budget deficit? So war is not part of the budget? Not a very coherent system, eh? You are right that the Bush tax cuts are responsible for much of our problem. The crazy run-up and subsequent collapse of real estate (a classic boom-bust) claims much of the rest. Both of these have deep roots in catering to the non-productive financial elites (non-productive in the literal sense) and their financial manipulations.

      I have pro-defense inclinations (for a liberal), but everyone takes a hit here. Education is a national security issue. So is the environment, just ask the CIA.

  • Drew_a

    I was hoping that “personally” indicated that I didn’t want to impose that idea on anyone else, and I’m not stupid I KNOW without rules (constitutuion) things will get blown out of proportion by the right and left. Didn’t explain it cuz I too realize mine was quite long. Anywho yeah you’re right this conversation very well can’t continue without understanding what the governments role should be. We can read it if oldschool documents but then there are analytic differences between readers. So it is easy the government should cater to the common will of the common people. Societies first existed because if one person can farm and the other could hunt both people had to work less because of it. Any government that doesn’t have this in mind isn’t fair, and America is supposed to convey dreams that you can become anything. So we have police and courts to enforce things that government finds neccessary. We have schools and energy concerns to build up future generations and propel ourselves in technology. [u]because[/u]! it is in the majority of our people’s best interest. Our congressman and executive branch should understand the casuality of every decision that put forth or vote on too understand if it’s in the majorities best interest, or at least fair to everyone. Not necessarily on the issues at hand but the effect the issues bring. They need to mantain liberty through defense and policies not too impede on the values set before them unless those values are no longer held by the people, on exampl of this prohibition was to increase efficiency maybe at the cost of liberty and would in turn benefit people in many other ways, when corruption hit the people decided they did not hold that value and gave into that desire and the government took that role and got rid of it. If 90% of the public doesn’t want people to have guns (hypothetical) the government [b]should[/b] take away guns. This simple rule is what the government of America should follow if they do there is no wrong decisions. Eliminating income tax for example wiill allow everyone to have more money and if the people got to vote as a majority it can theoretically pass but our congressman and executive branch needs to understand the effects of that policy change and discern that it is NOT in the best interest of the country. The people have decided that public education should be mandated and controlled by the gov in k-10 and so it is. Plus private education tends to have a conservative bias and the majority of them are religious. The people have decided that ommisions of popular theories (such as evolution) and the seperation of church and state should NOT be imposed on them. They also see a problem that without a governmental mandate no private education system can turn a profit in inner cities or other poor locations, and in regards to the state some of them have worse financial troubles then fed. Privitized companies don’t and probably shouldn’t play by these rules, and they neeed to be greedy self serving pigs in order to operate properly, however it is in the people’s best interest for the government to intervene and make it as fair as possible to as many individuals as possible. Government should have the power to intervene in anything they feel is for the betterment of American citizens. But corporations have so much power they destroy each other which forces the government to intervene even further. Without the FDA people will die, corporations will save money, without government energy concerns oil companies will continue to bully the alternatives to oil. The government NEEDS to be stronger to act moreso in the best interest of the people that elected them, but we can’t afford it too. So what do we do? That is the question right now, for everyone. Cut spending and abandon our future to corporate thugs or overtax those who are floating too much of the bill. I tried to keep that nuetral but… I can make it more obvious what the right answer is. Well the right answer is neither honestly, the answer is allow public jobs to be involved in revenue creating enterprise. Like say screw you nike we will employ Americans and not give shareholders or CEO’s 9figures and i don’t pay off our debt. =) if your a commie =D. Have a good day I enjoy the respect

  • What BOZO and others don’t seem to grasp is that the amount of spending in the Obama administration is much less than that of the Bush administration. To suggest otherwise is simply a product of ideological zealotry and gross ignorance of the facts.