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Old 04-05-2011, 03:41 PM   #61
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After watching all the recent political rhetoric flying across the airwaves, I'm starting to think that I might get my best entertainment bang for the buck if the Republican party takes the Senate and Presidency in 2012. Just the thought of them all being in a position to be able to deliver on all the campaign promises brings a grin to my face.

I think we would see the most remarkable feat of political backpedaling in decades, after realizing that they are in a position to carry out campaign promises guaranteed to tick off almost every major campaign contributor, supporting PAC backer, and backroom boss. That would be hilarious.

Remember, these folks have been screaming about the urgent need to balance budgets, shrink government, cut this and that for years. Look at Senator Shelby (R-Alabama) for example. He gives wonderful talks about runaway government spending, and introduces his balanced budget amendment every year like clockwork. Yet mysteriously, even as NASA and the government budget have abandoned the Constellation project, the 70 word Shelby provision keeps showing up in the budget extensions, to keep funding parts of the Ares I rocket (part of the dead Constellation project) to the tune of 1.4 million/day. NASA wants it halted, but the Shelby provision has poured some $280,000,000 into this, mostly to Alliant Techsystems, to develop parts for a dead project. Sure, just chump change, but not bad for a $10,000 campaign contribution.

There are hundreds more of these deals just like this. What do you think the odds are that Koch Industries or Archer Daniels Midland will see their ethanol subsidies go away? Think the Corn Refiners Association will let their corn subsidies and sugar quotas go away? Think the oil industry subsidies will vanish after the companies slid $14,258,340 to their Distinguished Congresscritters?

Don't hold out hope that some political party will come along and make the budget all better. That is just pretty campaign rhetoric, not to be taken seriously.

First... I agree that all congresscritters have their pet projects to waste money... they do need to bring some home to keep the votes coming in... and I don't have any problems if they did cut the corn/sugar/oil/farm/military/etc tax breaks and direct subsidies... but as you say, they pay good money for their tax breaks...

HOWEVER... I think anybody in congress should work on a balanced budget... and using your example... and I will assume it is true... Shelby is not the problem... if there is a balanced budget amendment... then the size of the pie is fixed.... and THEN they get to slice it and dice it any way they want... then his pet project will not have any support and it will be crowded out... as it works today... he can do it because there is nothing there to stop it... or all the other pet projects every congresscritter wants to waste money on....
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:55 PM   #62
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This is what taking responsibility looks like: Addressing the problem (cost growth) and not just throwing more money at the problem and bankrupting the country.

...

They could create a national health care program... single payer. I would be ok with it.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:00 PM   #63
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I don't understand why you have a problem with people wanting to keep the money they earned in the family... heck, I want to do that as much as I can.... and I will use all legal means that I can to do so..

Are you saying you will not


I pay my taxes... and it is a significant portion of my wealth!

They owe the back taxes for the last 30 years of GOP tax breaks that heavily favored the extremely wealthy... yet (both sides of the isle) kept spending using our SS $.


They can pay it back now. And they will when the extended GWB tax break expires. The GOP would not increase it higher... but IMO it should be increased above the pre-GWB level... Roll it back to the 50's!
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:13 PM   #64
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After watching all the recent political rhetoric flying across the airwaves, I'm starting to think that I might get my best entertainment bang for the buck if the Republican party takes the Senate and Presidency in 2012.
I doubt it would be much fun. They'll just start a war or two, then we'll all rally round and balancing the budget will become irrelevant.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:04 PM   #65
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Wow....no wonder nothing gets done. These posts are probably very similar to the senate and congressional debates. No one wants to give an inch or a handout/entitlement and meanwhile the country goes further and further in debt. "If nothing changes - nothing changes."
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:03 PM   #66
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Supposedly, the claimed savings from the Ryan plan is based on some rosy assumptions, such as a 2.8% unemployment rate in 2020.
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:08 PM   #67
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Of all the issues which could be addressed by a Constitutional amendment, balanced budget should be way down on the list.

Have we not learned the lessons from Hoover's mistakes? Or the more recent past, what would have happened if the banks went under because the requirement to balance the budget means no rescue.

Widespread bank runs and panic would have been a good thing but the federal budget would have been balanced, right?
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:41 PM   #68
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Supposedly, the claimed savings from the Ryan plan is based on some rosy assumptions, such as a 2.8% unemployment rate in 2020.
That's the fly in the ointment. Rep. Ryan is to be commended for coming up with a budget plan (PDF), and further commended for having one that makes an effort at serious deficit reduction. That said, however, there are some questionable figures in the preliminary economic projection (PDF: Heritage Foundation Report) being used to promote The Plan.

The Plan has unemployment at 2.8% in 2021. That figure does look purely wonderful, doesn't it? All nice and shiny, and ever so low. So low, in fact, that it puts some upward pressure on wages. OK, a lot of upward pressure on wages. Now, folks, anyone know what happens when wages move up on high demand for scarce labor? Yes, ma'am, the cost of produced goods goes up. So, it's a good thing those workers were able to get raises, so they could cover the higher cost of living. What's that? They want more than a cost of living increase? And if we fire them, they'll just go to work down the street for 5% more? Damn. Looks like we got us a price/wage spiral brought on by very full employment.

Even better, he has unemployment at 6.4% in 2012, and 4% in 2015. That's over a million new jobs created in 2012 with a 0.2% improvement in GDP, also from his figures. Well, improving GDP does create new jobs. From the real world historical figures, though, one of those numbers is off by a factor of 5...

There are some other fairly difficult to believe numbers in the analysis.

Again, I think it's a reasonable start, and a fairly solid basic plan, but the sales brochures (PDF) are a bit overdone.
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:50 PM   #69
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If unemployment goes down to 6.4% next year, Obama probably gets re-elected and he could veto the plan.

Unless the Republicans convince the public that their control of the House is the reason for the economic improvement and they get veto-proof majorities in both the House and the Senate.

Lot of big ifs there.
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:00 AM   #70
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If unemployment goes down to 6.4% next year, Obama probably gets re-elected and he could veto the plan.

Unless the Republicans convince the public that their control of the House is the reason for the economic improvement and they get veto-proof majorities in both the House and the Senate.

Lot of big ifs there.
Well, yeah. Our old county chairperson was complaining about the last unemployment figures, which showed a drop. The complaint was that they had 'gone off-script.'

The hope was that the numbers would stay above 9% nationwide, and 12% locally until the elections. Maybe with a nice double-dip recession...

(And people wonder why I re-registered 'Decline to state.' They were becoming embarrassing...)
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Old 04-06-2011, 05:03 AM   #71
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This will be a very polarizing debate.

It is funny our economy just went through a near death experience (for the middle class mainly). Caused by the the elite (taking advantage of a lax system). Now GOP wants to kill the middle class programs that were paid for with dedicated funding.

I think they are securing Obama's reelection.

Forgive me... but here is my rant!

It just shows how disconnected they are from average people. That tea party rhetoric will end when many of those same people understand how they will be impacted.

Bottom line: The middle class will continue to pay high taxes. There will be no reduction... not matter what happens... The Middle Class funds most of it.


The GOP has a number of followers that are not their primary constituents. Those people are swayed by emotional issues such as Abortion, Guns, or divisiveness about certain social programs for the poor (e.g., I have to work... why don't they). The shame of it is that those people don't know they are being manipulated like pawns.

I am an independent. IMO certain social programs should be cut and certain spending. But I draw the line at our pension and our retirement health care (that we paid for)! I find it particularly insulting that they try to recast it as welfare (like we did not pay for it)! It is a level of arrogance, self-serving and serves such a few (their contributors)... the only word that come to mind is "Outrageous"!

It is funny how the GOP always wants cut things that are intend to protect or are for the well being of our general population.

The GOP approach to whipping up the faithful is going to be largely neutralized when many people realize that the real plan is: We will not make good on the retirement programs you have funded all of your life!
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:56 AM   #72
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This assertion that "the market" and "300M buying private health care" will control costs is the thing that I don't agree with. We have ample history in the US that the combination of hospitals, insurance companies and poorly informed consumers of a vital (literally) service is a recipe for uncontrolled costs. The only element of cost control is the subsidies the Government would give to people to buy private health care, they could be controlled leaving the retiree to pay increasingly large costs. It's a money grab by the health care industry......talk about a death tax, this will reduce your net worth at end of life far more.
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:30 AM   #73
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It just shows how disconnected they are from average people. That tea party rhetoric will end when many of those same people understand how they will be impacted.
Regardless the merits or demerits of Ryan's Medicare prescription I just can't erase the image of Tea Party activists screaming "don't let them touch my Medicare" at health care town halls. They turned right around and elected people dedicated to doing just that.
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:55 AM   #74
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Again, I think it's a reasonable start, and a fairly solid basic plan, but the sales brochures (PDF) are a bit overdone.
What plan should we compare it against? We all await a plan from the other side of the aisle. Still. It is supposed to be coming soon ("You go first!" "No, you go first!") Maybe it will come when Speaker Pelosi finishes the 2011 budget.

And let's not hold Ryan accountable for the "sales brochures", as they aren't his. The CBO should be producing an assessment soon. Of course, just as with the Health Care Overhaul, they'll be forced to accept all the provided assumptions in the proposed legislation, so it may not be very useful in shedding light. But, we'll have heat!
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:56 AM   #75
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I am an independent. IMO certain social programs should be cut and certain spending. But I draw the line at our pension and our retirement health care (that we paid for)! I find it particularly insulting that they try to recast it as welfare (like we did not pay for it)! It is a level of arrogance, self-serving and serves such a few (their contributors)... the only word that come to mind is "Outrageous"!
You didn't pay for it, the next generation is paying for it. Seems like a lot of people don't realize that. SS and Medicare for you are paid for by the generation after you, not funded by your own money. The kids are always paying for the parents.

SS is NOT a pension, which is exactly what's wrong with the thinking in this country. Do you think it's ok for your generation to reap the rewards of SS/Medicare if it means the next generation has to increase their taxes to pay for it, and the next generation's kids have to increase their taxes even more to pay for that generation, and so on? How's that fair to those being born today?
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:03 AM   #76
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You didn't pay for it, the next generation is paying for it. Seems like a lot of people don't realize that. SS and Medicare for you are paid for by the generation after you, not funded by your own money. The kids are always paying for the parents.
+1...

I continue to be amazed that most folks don't recognize this simple fact.

"On January 31, 1940, the first monthly retirement check was issued to Ida May Fuller of Ludlow, Vermont, in the amount of $22.54. Miss Fuller, a Legal Secretary, retired in November 1939. She started collecting benefits in January 1940 at age 65 and lived to be 100 years old, dying in 1975."

She certainly did not contribute to her own benefit. Another generation (or two) did over her retirement years, and that continues to this day.

Heck, DW/me went through several "revisions" of these programs, both in increase of taxes, amount of income taxed, along with the increase in full retirement benefit age and the reduction in age 62 SS benefits.

Sure, "the kids" will have to contribute more over time. That's the way it's always been. They are younger, will probably make more than us over time, and will live longer (along with a longer period of contributions).

We "kids" had to make adjustments over time, during our wo*king years. Ours will have to do the same. Nothing new under the sun...
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:08 AM   #77
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We have ample history in the US that the combination of hospitals, insurance companies and poorly informed consumers of a vital (literally) service is a recipe for uncontrolled costs.
We don't have any history of this. The plan is to help educate consumers (make it possible to get solid information), reduce barriers to competition, and let market forces work while also accomplishing social goals (insuring the sick and poor). We don't have anything like an efficient market today.

We know that Medicare as now structured is unsustainable--that the available services will need to be cut and that the number of health care providers willing to see Medicare patients will continue to decline. I'm at a loss to explain how this is uncritically accepted as the "compassionate" approach to helping the poor. Well-off people will be able to buy private insurance or pay out of pocket, but the poor and the sick will be left aboard the sinking ship. Ryan's plan isn't perfect, but it has the potential to reduce prices and enhance quality in ways that aren't possible with cost caps--as we've now seen for 45 years with Medicare. There is ample history of that.
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:49 AM   #78
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Why are we worried about Medicare when potentially the largest entitlement program of all time (Obamacare) will in short order destroy any beenfit we would get restructuring Medicare/Medicaid and SS. I guess that was the real reason to delay implementation until 2014..............
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:01 AM   #79
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What plan should we compare it against? We all await a plan from the other side of the aisle. Still. It is supposed to be coming soon ("You go first!" "No, you go first!") Maybe it will come when Speaker Pelosi finishes the 2011 budget.
I agree that somebody has to go first and Ryan is taking a risk in stepping forward. But remember, Dick Durban supported the deficit panel's report and is willing to talk to serious people on the other side of the aisle so it isn't one sided. From my viewpoint there is no good answer to the Medicare problem under discussion. I would prefer a single payer system top to bottom so we could all plan our futures without the specter of health cost ruin. But that is not going to happen. So, if we stick to a private insurance model we have to look at how best to deal with Medicare - maybe integration with the rest of us is an answer. But, as long as the GOP is refusing to back any sort of universal health insurance I think they are leading us down the wrong path. Privatize Medicare in conjunction with eviscerating health care reform? -- disaster.

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You didn't pay for it, the next generation is paying for it. Seems like a lot of people don't realize that. SS and Medicare for you are paid for by the generation after you, not funded by your own money. The kids are always paying for the parents.
I seem to remember a huge SS surplus that fills the gap through 2037 (a lot of us will be dead by then). Seems we did pay a substantial portion ahead of time. Viewing the trust fund as spent money is a reprehensible way to impose a massive retroactive income tax on the $100K and less crowd. Lets make it more fun by dropping the marginal rates on the $250K+ crowd once again. Great plan
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:12 AM   #80
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I paid and am paying for something. A lot of deductions for social security and medicare taxes.

Just try and change the rules of the game after I played by the rules for decades.
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