Category Archives: Deficit Spending

OMG, We’re falling behind – let’s nuke Iran!

We Americans don’t even account for half of the world’s military spending. Ike was a fool to warn us against our Military Industrial Complex: We need more guns and less butter!

Data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s military expenditure database show that the United States spent $728 billion on its military in 2010, or about 45 percent of the world’s $1.6 trillion total, more than the next 14 largest military spenders combined and nearly six times more than the next biggest spender, China. Most of the other countries at the top of the list are American allies. With or without the automatic cuts to defense from the Budget Control Act of 2011, the United States will remain the biggest global military power for at least a generation.

If the GOP can’t impeach a President for lying about having sex with his intern.

They’ll just impeach him because they don’t like his fiscal policy. Or so says Grover Norquist:

Obama can sit there and let all the [Bush] tax [cuts] lapse, and then the Republicans will have enough votes in the Senate in 2014 to impeach.

Then they can impeach folks like me who refused to sign Norquist’s no new taxes pledge when I ran for Congress in 2006. Disagreeing with a Republican is an impeachable offense. With thinking like that its no wonder the GOP debates are so hot tempered and irrational.

The government payroll [BIGOT ALERT]

I’m kicking myself for letting an old habit lapse. I used to clip or hang onto old DNT’s that had info I was interested in. Much of it was Duluth School related and I’m getting tired of beating that dead old horse. One reason I’m a little less concerned about keeping up with this has to do with my linking blog posts to so many DNT online stories. As long as I keep paying for the Domain name to my blog and for its space on a server I can theoretically find all these stories again by date. That might mean going to the Duluth library and reading them on microfilm but its better than losing things in a complete void.

I can’t find the recent editorial I meant to comment on a week or more ago. It had, if I’m remembering correctly, two things of interest to me. For one thing it made a fleeting jab at folks like me by saying something to the effect that in Duluth no happy story can avoid some dark cloud. Those weren’t the words but there’s no doubt the Trib’s editors always think I’m about to rain.

The other more interesting thing was another bit of statistics which may have been in the same editorial. The Trib’s editors pointed out that a few decades ago Duluth’s working population was composed of something like 21% government employees but now that rate is down by a lot – perhaps half that rate.

Wish I could find this because it truly is good news in terms of productivity and leaving us a healthy economy. I’d especially like to point out that this drop in an unhealthy level of government excess was accomplished long before the Tea Party rose up to help Grover Norquist shrink government down to the size of something he could strangle in the bathtub. Reasonable people got this done not slogan-spouting, No Nothings.

Damn, Looks like I’ll have to put another [BIGOT ALERT] on this blog post to placate my buddy.

And they gave her applause!

Bachmann is a joke – or not – if you are paranoid enough.

Here’s a sussinct appraisal!

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Michele Bachmann’s first answer, Mark Halperin, was “I wish the federal government had defaulted.” Had defaulted, a week after Americans had lost–some of them perhaps lost half of their pensions. Lost half of their 401(k)s, when trillions of dollars went down the drain [pounds the table] with Americans suffering, she said that and got applause, and if anybody thinks that guys like my dad are going to be voting that way when this rolls out of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina, in the early stages, and really gets going, they are out of their mind and they are too stupid not only to prognosticate, they are too stupid to run Slurpee machines in Des Moines. I’ll let you go now. I got it off my chest.

Michele Bachmann is a joke. She is a joke. And now I will pass it on to you. Her answer is a joke, her candidacy is a joke, and anybody that sits here and says she has any chance of winning anything is out of their mind. Take your straw poll, take your caucus, but Iowa, if you let her win, you prove your irrelevance once again.

Tim Pawlenty fell on his sword to kill her off in the last Iowa debate. He finaly did something useful. Both are now plummeting in the GOP polls. Well Tim isn’t. He never had very far to fall.

Is the GOP out on a limb …

…with a big saw? That could be the case in their debt ceiling battle with the President because of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Here’s what it says:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

I really only remembered its first section which gave the newly freed slaves equal constitutional status. I didn’t recall Section 4 which ties the threat of insurrection into the nations’ public debt. It might just have a much wider application which if applied by President Obama would cut the GOP off at the knees: Here’s Jonathon Rauch’s explanation.:

Obama’s taxing promise

President Obama should not get a pass or a pat on the back for promising to jack up taxes only on the super rich. If the US is going to pull itself out of the quagmire brought on by George Bush’s tax cuts every taxpayer will have to lend a hand.

This graph shows the total taxable income (tax year 2008) for taxpayers in different brackets and the upper middle class – those whose adjusted gross income falls between $100 and 200 thousand dollars earn most of the taxable dollars available to solve the deficit.

This group of taxpayer’s total income dwarfs that of the super rich. More such charts can be found at Hoosierpundit.

An Anti-Tea Party?

I’ve heard pundits argue whether the public is going to be sympathetic to Wisconsin’s public employee union protests or unsympathetic. Both sides make plausible arguments. I will only say that my initial reaction was that this was likely to be a new Tea Party of the left which could undo much of what Fox News…..sorry, I mean the Tea Party, did in the 2010 elections.

Added to stories like this one about the Republican Congress the GOP Congress might look like a group photo of 300 Dan Quayles standing in the glare of headlights come 2012.

Upping the ante in the budget faceoff, the Obama administration warned that workers who distribute Social Security benefits might be furloughed if congressional Republicans force cuts in government spending.

The CBO on the ARRA

To the best of my knowledge the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) is still considered one of the most non partisan analysts of the American Economy.

Among other things here’s what they conclude the result of Obama’s ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) has been:

CBO estimates that in the first quarter of calendar year 2010, ARRA’s policies:
Raised the level of real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.7 percent and 4.2 percent,
Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.5 percentage points,
Increased the number of people employed by between 1.2 million and 2.8 million, and
Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 1.8 million to 4.1 million compared with what those amounts would have been otherwise. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers.)
The effects of ARRA on output and employment are expected to increase further during calendar year 2010 but then diminish in 2011 and fade away by the end of 2012.

YUP. Its left a legacy of debt that will have to be retired by Americans but that should be easier with a functioning world wide economy than a ten year world wide depression.

$Obamacare vs. $Bushcare

The GOP Congressmen who are frothing at the mouth over the cost of Obamacare fell all over themselves to vote for Bushcare: a comparison:

However, Medicare Part D, like much of Medicare, is likely to grow much faster than the new health care entitlement that went into law. Therefore, if the new health care entitlement grows at a rate of say 6-7 percent per year, whereas the prescription drug benefit grows at rate of say 9-10 percent per year, it will turn out that around 2040, the Republican entitlement will be costing more than “ObamaCare.”

Health Reform – taking on all comers

I’m glad Obamacare has passed. Its hideous, of course, but it reminds me of Churchill’s comment about democracy: That its the worst possible form of government except for all the others. Ultimately I support it because, as one analyst noted, health care is a much smaller percent of the national spending in all the European free market economies where it has been imposed as part of their socialistic welfare systems.

Many of its best features have been incorporated into the final bill in an effort to address some of the Republican Party’s most virulent criticism. Many of its worst flaws were incorporated into the final bill in an effort to blunt some of the Republican Party’s most virulent criticism. Otherwise the Republican Party stood on the sidelines while the bill was passed in the House of Representatives last night. It remains to be seen whether their efforts in the Senate will be of any more consequence. Continue reading

The Mother of all bailouts

I think I agree withRobert Reich on the latest proposed bailout.

As a Republican I’m very supportive of free enterprise and the “invisible hand.” But as a student of history and human greed I took to heart early the lessons of the unregulated Stock Market Crash of 1929. Glass Steagall gave us good protection. It was killed by Senator Phil Gramm in 1999. He’s the McCain advisor who just called American’s whiners.

If American taxpayers are going to have to pay off the bad debts of the rich then let’s make sure its taxes on the rich which pays off this most unwelcome financial burden. Barack Obama will tax them not John McCain.

This will mean that a President Obama will have a lot less money to play with but that’s the price we all have to pay for granting the wishes of the regulation-hating GOP

corn syrup

My family just spent the weekend in Iowa. We have roots there and we reap a small windfall from all the corn we saw growing in the fields. Its heavily subsidized to the tune of $50 billion. Its also making Americans fatter and we will pay a heavy price for these subsidies as we also pay to treat more people for medical ailments related to obesity. It would be ironic if the best way to keep corn syrup from adding to our girth would be to pay to have Americans stomachs stapled.

For a little more detailed explanation of the problem look at this short post.