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Old 01-18-2010, 12:08 PM   #21
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Eh, they reflect the will of the people (their constituents). Everyone has their pet projects and everyone likes a "free" buck from the feds.
The clinical term is Cognitive Dissonance - the act of holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously.

As in "Federal deficits are a problem but I neither want to raise taxes nor cut spending."

It's pervasive throughout the electorate and evident sporadically on this forum.
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Old 01-18-2010, 12:13 PM   #22
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The clinical term is Cognitive Dissonance - the act of holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously.

As in "Federal deficits are a problem but I neither want to raise taxes nor cut spending."

It's pervasive throughout the electorate and evident sporadically on this forum.
I think you're making a logical leap here. It's not that *individuals* don't want spending cut, it's that we can't collectively reach a consensus on WHAT to cut. As a result nothing gets cut.

But I'll bet almost all of us have ideas about where we would personally like to see spending cut, so I think saying people have "cognitive dissonance" in this respect is largely bogus.
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Old 01-18-2010, 01:24 PM   #23
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Precisely why we need (a) a balanced budget amendment, and (b) term limits...

This is directly related to retirement, in that I'm practicing for my curmudgeon certificate...
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Old 01-18-2010, 02:29 PM   #24
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I think you're making a logical leap here. It's not that *individuals* don't want spending cut, it's that we can't collectively reach a consensus on WHAT to cut.
Not entirely. I think the public is confused. They want spending cut generally, but they don't want spending cut specifically.

Here is the 2008 breakdown of where federal spending went . . .

Defense 21%
Social Security 21%
Medicare 20%
Safety-net programs 11% (foodstamps, earned income tax credits, etc)
Interest on debt 8%
Veterans & Federal retiree benefits 6%
Scientific Research 3%
Transportation & infrastructure 3%
Education 2%
Other 5%

So when asked specifically . . . do you want taxes raised "No"; Do you want to cut defense spending "No"; do you want to cut Social Security "No"; do you want to cut Medicare "No"; Do you want to cut foodstamps and the like "No".

Do you consider the federal deficit a significant problem "Yes"


Cognitive dissonance.
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Old 01-18-2010, 02:37 PM   #25
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So when asked specifically . . . do you want taxes raised "No"; Do you want to cut defense spending "No"; do you want to cut Social Security "No"; do you want to cut Medicare "No"; Do you want to cut foodstamps and the like "No".

Do you consider the federal deficit a significant problem "Yes"

Cognitive dissonance.
You really believe that there aren't a lot of *individuals* who want some of these broad areas cut? Or that there are plenty of people who want some taxes raised?

No, despite your claims there are plenty of people who want spending cut and plenty of people who want taxes raised. As I said -- the problem is that people wants everyone else's programs cut and everyone else's taxes raised while resisting cuts and tax hikes that hit them personally. So there's a stalemate and the deficit grows. But that's nowhere near the same thing as your specious claims about "cognitive dissonance". I personally don't know *any* serious deficit hawk who doesn't think we should ultimately raise taxes and/or cut spending.
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:02 PM   #26
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You really believe that there aren't a lot of *individuals* who want some of these broad areas cut?
That is what the polls consistently show.

It may be true that individually "Johnny Red-State" favors more defense spending, lower taxes, and reduced transfer payments and that Sarah Blue-State favors reduced defense spending and increased social programs. But collectively we favor lower taxes and more spending. Which is precisely what we get.
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:13 PM   #27
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It may be true that individually "Johnny Red-State" favors more defense spending, lower taxes, and reduced transfer payments and that Sarah Blue-State favors reduced defense spending and increased social programs. But collectively we favor lower taxes and more spending. Which is precisely what we get.
This, of course, should be obvious from the way most people use their credit cards. Living like you're making $75,000 is great, especially if you're only making $50,000.
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:23 PM   #28
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It may be true that individually "Johnny Red-State" favors more defense spending, lower taxes, and reduced transfer payments and that Sarah Blue-State favors reduced defense spending and increased social programs. But collectively we favor lower taxes and more spending. Which is precisely what we get.
I'm not arguing the collective results at all. We have no consensus on where to cut, so nothing gets cut. That much is painfully obvious.

I'm simply saying it's not a given that *individuals* don't have ideas about what they'd like to see cut. We may have "cognitive dissonance" collectively as a society in terms of refusing to make the hard but necessary choices, but not necessarily at the individual level. So perhaps we're more in agreement than it originally appeared.
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:26 PM   #29
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I'm not arguing the collective results at all. We have no consensus on where to cut, so nothing gets cut. That much is painfully obvious.

I'm simply saying it's not a given that *individuals* don't have ideas about what they'd like to see cut. We may have "cognitive dissonance" collectively as a society in terms of refusing to make the hard but necessary choices, but not necessarily at the individual level. So perhaps we're more in agreement than it originally appeared.
I believe this is also true about term limits. Limit the other guy's term, but I like having a senator/congresscritter with lots of seniority, who heads a committee or two. Good for the state, you know!
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:37 PM   #30
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And the issue is further complicated by the fact that most government spending translates directly into someone's paycheck. There are probably hundreds of thousands of people who have a vested interest in increased defense spending not because it is objectively necessary for our nation's defense but because it puts food on their families' tables. Similarly, there are a vast number of people who work in the "social services industry". Of course they view their own program as providing essential services, because their paycheck is contingent on the government continuing to fund that program. And the people who depend on government spending for their livelihood typically have a stronger incentive to push for a spending increase than any particular taxpayer has to push for a decrease.
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Old 01-18-2010, 07:05 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by . . . Yrs to Go View Post
So when asked specifically . . . do you want taxes raised "No";
No

Quote:
Do you want to cut defense spending "No";
Yes

Quote:
do you want to cut Social Security "No";
Yes

Quote:
do you want to cut Medicare "No";
Yes

Quote:
Do you want to cut foodstamps and the like "No".
Yes

Quote:
Do you consider the federal deficit a significant problem "Yes"
Yes


Quote:
Cognitive dissonance.
? I guess I'm mising your point.

"The public" is not an individual. "The public" can not suffer from cognitive dissonance. Just individuals, and they're all, like, individuals.
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:10 AM   #32
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So perhaps we're more in agreement than it originally appeared.
You're probably just more charitable in your assumptions about the intellectual consistency of your fellow citizens than I am.
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Old 01-23-2010, 06:11 PM   #33
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I think there's a lot to be said for this. However:

2) As we have discussed, there may come a time when assets, rather than just income, becomes the measure of who shall be shorn. Decreasing income can be done by increasing assets (e.g. decrease investment income by using investments to pay off the mortgage), but decreasing (detectable) assets while maintaining a satisfactory standard of living is more problematic. It probably involves lawyers (trusts, etc), or plunging into the grey areas of the economy (tangible, undocumented investments, etc). Most of these measures have relatively high costs of investing (actual or opportunity costs by way of reduced potential for growth). I guess we could think of this as another form of diversification to address another type of risk.
I remember the old joke about the future simple 1040 form.

1. How did you make?

2. Send it in.

I dreading when the joke is changed to .

1. How much are you worth?

2. Hand it over.
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