Social Question

jrpowell's avatar

So you want a smaller government. What do you cut?

Asked by jrpowell (40454points) October 19th, 2010

Keep in mind that you need to get reelected. You will be screwed if you fuck with SS or Medicare.

What do you cut?

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86 Answers

ETpro's avatar

~Cut taxes for the rich, regulations of any kind on big corporations, and all social services of any kind. ~

josie's avatar

And thus is the problem.
The power and priviledge lusting political class has figured out a way to make democracy it’s own worst enemy.
They have done this by giving perks to enough people, that those people are now a permanently entrenched constituency.
So the answer is, you probably do not. You continue to do what they have done in the US since Reconstruction-delay, obfuscate, borrow money, raise taxes, print money and hope they are gone when the piper has to be paid.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

You cut the outrageously bloated defense budget. We spend more on defense than most of the rest of the world combined.

jrpowell's avatar

I am also open to actual cuts Republicans/Tea Party members have openly advocated. I just haven’t heard any.

Qingu's avatar

1. I would take an axe to military spending, but I wouldn’t just cut it entirely. I’m actually in favor of, theoretically, using force to control atrocities in other places of the world, provided there is a UN sanction. I think we should have used force to stop genocides in Rwanda and Darfur. I was also in favor of invading Afghanistan because the Taliban harbored al-Qaeda.

However: our military technology is still based on World War II’s concept of wars of attrition. We spend billions of dollars on jets that can deliver massive explosives that often massacre civilians. This is not how we should be fighting asymmetrical wars against non-uniformed enemies civilian areas. I would keep maybe ⅔ of our budget in the military, but heavily invest it in less-lethal technology that brings our military closer in its ROE to a police force.

2. Raise taxes on the rich. By a lot. This would have a progressive curve. I’d keep tax rates for millionaires about at where they were under Clinton. Then I’d raise them progressively for every additional million. During World War 2 and the “golden years” of the 50’s, tax rates for the rich were like 90%—and our economy was still incredibly strong.

My philosophy is that it is silly to say that billionaires “deserve” their money in some objective sense, as if the market conditions are this Godlike entity that fairly doles out fortunes. Most billionaires are simply lucky. They stumble onto a windfall. Some rich people are actually malicious, contributing nothing to consumers or society or actively defrauding them (this applies to most of the financial industry). Tax policies should reward hard work—and people who work more hours or in difficult jobs should certainly get more money. Tax policies should not reward windfalls. It should not reward people who work no harder than others, but make several orders of magnitude more money.

iamthemob's avatar

Eliminate the DEA. Allow state enforcement, prosecute distribution only.

jrpowell's avatar

@iamthemob :: that is chump change. I’m talking big painful cuts.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Afghanistan and Iraq

wundayatta's avatar

There’s only one place with significant money, and that’s the military. But the military is the right wing’s ox, just as ss and medicare and medicaid and health care are the left wing oxes.

In fact, I think it would be reasonable to raise the retirement age, and that would make a significant difference over time. Medicare could be helped if we went single payer. That would solve a lot of financial problems. If we reduce the size of the armed services, get out of wars we are in overseas, and hold off on replacing a whole bunch of equipment, I’ll be we could make a pretty big dent in the deficit.

But you know what? The deficit doesn’t scare me. It’s really quite small in terms of portion of the economy. But I still don’t think the military deserves all that money, and, even though it affects me, I wouldn’t mind having the retirement age raised.

tedd's avatar

I don’t want a smaller government. I want a smarter government.

Ronald Reagan implanted this idea on the right that government is bad in any shape/form/size. This simply isn’t true, and that it was so well received as a truth has hampered our country for the past 30 years. Ironically the man that preached fiscal responsibility…. is responsible for about HALF of our current national debt (more than Obama and Bush 2 combined) and bloated our military budget beyond all belief.

LuckyGuy's avatar

If I were king…
I’d reduce medical costs by having everyone pay something for services rendered when demanded.. A copayment that is proportional to wages would be manageable If you earn very little you might only have to pay $5 but you will have to pay something- excellent heath care or no health care.

I’d take the military budget used for protection of oil barges and oil rigs and pay for it instead by adding to the price of gasoline.

I’d cut legislator salaries.

I’d reduce the number of people in prison and probation for certain crimes and put them to work.

.

YoBob's avatar

Well… I’d start with the IRS and move to a consumption rather than an income tax. This would save an enormous chunk by not having to fund the army of bean counters that the IRS currently employs, not to mention would make things much simpler on the mom and pop shop, who are currently being taxed and regulated right out of business.

I’d then begin looking at pretty much each agency and bureau and ask myself it it contributes either to national defense or the regulation of interstate commerce. If the answer is no, then they would be high on my list.

iamthemob's avatar

$2,266,472,000, although small, is the amount specifically for the DEA for 2010. That doesn’t seem like chump change. However, eliminating the enforcement branch is envisioned as a method for reducing the 18 billion spent annually on federal drug policy enforcement generally. This also would have a direct reduction on the spending necessary for the Department of Justice budget (31 billion estimated for 2011). With a deficit exceeding one trillion dollars, and outlays extending into dozens of departments and hundreds of sub departments…I don’t really know if any choice for cutting can amount to the “big painful cuts” you seem to be asking for. There isn’t a fix…and every drop in the bucket counts.

YoBob's avatar

@iamthemob (et al) You are also forgetting the additional revenue that could be generated by turning all of the current drug lords into legitimate tax paying businessmen. Look at prohibition of the 1930s as an example. Once prohibition was lifted the gangsters quickly found that they could make much more and easier profit by playing by the rules than by raising an army to fight the system. The gangs evaporated virtually overnight and alcohol tax has accounted for a significant chunk of revenue ever since.

iamthemob's avatar

@YoBob – not forgetting so much as focusing on cuts in the budget – the OP addressed only the cuts to be made, not ways to generate new revenues.

I totally agree with you otherwise. ;-)

Qingu's avatar

@iamthemob, it is chump change compared to the total budget and total deficit.

It is not a serious answer as to how you’d get to a smaller government.

wundayatta's avatar

@worriedguy Last I knew there were studies by the Rand Institute that suggest the copays don’t have an effect on consumption. Why? Because most of us don’t make the choice about services. It’s our physicians who tell us what to do and then we do it because the physician said so and that’s what we hired them to tell us. Copays also place an administrative burden on doctors that is so high, a lot of them don’t even bother to collect them (which is against their contracts with the insurers).

iamthemob's avatar

@Qingu – but you haven’t provided a concrete method of cutting DoD spending – you’d axe it but not eliminate it? What precise programs are you cutting, and how much would that and the ancillary departments cut the budget?

The problem is that the question asks simply what do you cut for a smaller government. It doesn’t ask for a way to balance the budget, and it certainly doesn’t ask for methods of raising revenue.

Also, if the question is asking us to make the big cuts, it’s dishonest to answer by cutting things and then saying we have to worry about reelection. We can’t just cut things out of the budget without considering how to reduce fallout. Military spending can’t be cut without an eye on concern for the safety of our troops overseas, and how we withdraw safely without causing economic collapse in foreign nations that will negatively impact our economy. Massive department cuts will also create a surge in unemployment, and if we’re going to cut social services, we’re going to have to consider how we increase spending on local enforcement to mitigate the near certain massive increase in property crime resulting from out-of-work people trying to feed themselves and their family.

As @tedd pointed out, it’s about smart government. If we want to reduce government programs, we have to consider what’s in place to handle the harm that sudden vacuum will create. “Cutting defense”, without specifics, is an easy answer.

judochop's avatar

I cut out National Government starting with the White House and everything else in a 20 mile radius. I’d allow state government to govern democratically with abilities to tax imports and exports on a state border basis.
I’ve heard, it’s not the size of your government that counts. It’s how you use it.

thekoukoureport's avatar

I would start with foriegn bases. Military bases overseas in todays society are obsolete. That would save us plenty, unless of course that government would like to pay us to stay. Air bases should stay, but Army and Naval bases bye bye.

Second have an Energy Independence Home Act. Where homeowners will receive tax credits and low interest loans to make their homes energy independent. Through wind, solar and geothermal a program like this would put literally thousands of dollars annually back into the taxpayers hands and allow for the economy to grow rapidly, Through manufacturing of the various products and construction works necessary to accomplish the goals, our economy would begin pumping vast amounts of dollars into America and not foriegn oil interests, environmentally unfriendly coal, or natural gas.

Third have states Consolidate their boards of education, freeholders, executives etc. It’s the various states that have mismanaged their budgets and government growth. It’s the federal government thats bailing them out. By consolidating services it lessons costs and allows for equal for all.

Fourth raise the contributions for social security to no ceiling.

Fifth Have state and Federal buildings converted to energy iIndepenence. Convert government fleets to electric and biodeisel.

Sixth Invest in made in America. Ways to get manufacturing back to the US.

Seventh; stick a microscope up the department of homland securities ass and see how to consolidate one of the lagest govenment growth spurts in our countries history!

Eight eliminate earmarks

Nine clean up the corporate tax structure. Return to Clinton era tax structure for the wealthiest 1% ( although over 500k is a better spot)

Ten Secure our boarder and grant law abiding American dreamers a path to citizenship. While those who have broken the law should continue to be deported as the Obama administration has done in record numbers. (bet you didn’t know that?) We sould give those dreamers a chance to earn a living wage and gain respect in our great country.

Eleven pay as you go work for Clinton should work for Obama.

Twelve eliminate Private Contractors for our wars and have the soldiers from the closed bases take over those roles, that alone is a HUGE savings.

Qingu's avatar

@iamthemob, I would eliminate almost all missile and air force programs (keeping drones for surveillance purposes, as intelligence helps avoid civilian massacres). For example, we don’t need fighter planes or bombers anymore. We are never going to fight another war where we vie for air supremacy. We also don’t need dozens of nuclear-powered, nuclear armed submarines.

Nor do we need the thousands of soldiers who live on those submarines or fly (and are trained to fly) those airplanes. Paying for such soldiers is a huge drain on the budget, as much as producing and maintaining the actual tech.

Like, look at Afghanistan. We barely use the air force anymore because jets and airstrikes kill too many civilians. The Navy has barely done anything. In fact, most of the really intense (and effective) fighting in the past few months was not even done by regular Army troops, but rather by small teams of special forces who have captured and killed several thousand Taliban fighters.

The other stuff in our military seems largely a relic of WW2 and later cold war paranoia about deterrance and gaps. Terrorists and insurgents don’t give a shit about our nuclear powered subs.

@judochop, welcome to the United States of the Balkans, I guess. Your idea certainly worked well there. Oh wait it didn’t.

iamthemob's avatar

@Qingu – I can see the argument behind the cuts discussed. However, what about the thousands of people who need employment? If we’re going to honorably discharge them, how do we ensure that they transition to productive society?

I don’t ask to demand you solve all the problems. ;-) Merely, showing that cutting things may end up shifting costs to other departments, and in fact increase overall spending in the end.

Qingu's avatar

@iamthemob, assuming the private sector cannot absorb the obselete soldiers (it certainly cannot now) I would support government spending to invest in more jobs until the private sector’s capacity expands. But you are of course right, the transition to any sort of smaller government will need to account for absorbing people on the government’s payroll into the private sector.

That said, I’m pretty sure paying for a soldier is much more expensive than paying for a civil servant. Civil servants don’t need tons of training with expensive, high-tech equipment, and they don’t need to themselves be equipped with several tens of thousands of dollars of weapons and armor. Health care coverage would also be cheaper when the person in question is not at major risk of having his legs blown off.

judochop's avatar

@Qingu
The United States is hardly at all the Balkins. The comparison is absurd.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@wundayatta I was sitting in the emergency room with my son a year ago (cut and bleeding hand) and noticed a lot of ( I will call them most likely welfare cases but have no data)people sitting around and talking and not in particularly serious conditions from what I could see. Granted I was not doing invisible chest X-rays or taking blood tests. Just visual. Someone walked in to emergency because she had a cold and wanted cold medicine. They took her. You know she did not have to pay a cent for the service. I (my son) on the other hand with health care coverage had to pay $50 – well worth it for 12 stitches.

I feel there should always be a fee for a service. That way the customer has to think about it before spending tax payer money.

Here’s another example. Say we buy on average 1000 gallons of gasoline per year. $3.00 per gallon that is $3000 annually. What if the price of gasoline was bumped up to $10 per gallon and you received a refund check for $7000 at the end of the year? If you do not change your habits, monetarily the end result is the same. However, I’m willing to bet you would reduce your gasoline consumption by half and consider alternatives. I would like to see medical spending handled the same way. Someone who takes care of themselves, exercises, eats right and does not spend tax dollars, gets rewarded by not spending so much. Someone who is constantly stuffing the pie hole and then complaining about their “Sugarbetes” will have to pay. Sorry. You play, you pay.
One way or the other we taxpayers pay for these services. We need to make the individual more responsible for the spending.

Qingu's avatar

@worriedguy, how do you know she didn’t have to pay a cent for the service?

Was she on Medicaid? If so, it sounds like you’re against welfare in general. Have you considered the real-world alternative to a welfare state?

iamthemob's avatar

@worriedguy

My only issue with your solutions are that they’re regressive. I’ll admit that I think there are two things you shouldn’t pay for (1) education and (2) health care. I won’t advocate that right now, as I’m not going to pretend I have a solution to make it happen and efficiently so. But that’s why I am skipping the health issue.

For the gas increase, this will have a severe impact on low-income people who need to drive to work in a couple of ways. First, for those living paycheck to paycheck, a refund won’t matter if their salary is suddenly eaten up by the cost to get to work. This is especially profound in urban areas. Second, transportation costs for retail sales of food and other sundries would increase, and the most likely offset would be to pass that on to the consumer. Again, this would have a much more adverse impact on people with low income who are trying to by food at a new premium cost.

For the medical spending, this also has a regressive effect as the cheapest foods, and the one most available in poorer areas, are generally the ones that are bad for you. Unless we can get healthy food at affordable costs, we can’t totally fault low-income people for increased health issues due to the choices they make – as they aren’t really choices (when it’s cheaper to buy soda instead of water or juice, what can you do?).

palerider's avatar

you cut everything that can not be gained by an individual within our economic system, leaving only military, postal service, and road construction. the american people were a lot more self-reliant and a whole helluva lot happier before they had to take their hat in their hand and wait at the backdoor of the government aid buillding for a handout.

as for social security and medicare, it would take several years, maybe a generation, to wean ourselves from these programs, but it could and should be done.

Qingu's avatar

@palerider, when was this golden period of self-reliance that you speak of, exactly?

And what were the statistics for things like, you know, infant mortality, accident rates, financial losses through fraud, etc.?

LuckyGuy's avatar

@iamthemob About the price of gasoline – the price did not go up. They just made you pay more for it at the pump and returned the money a different way. Maybe low income people get a larger payment. The goal is to have no net effect. The purpose is to make the end user think about it more and be rewarded for conserving. Maybe that was a poor example.
How about a bottle bill that is $1.00 per bottle instead of only 5 cents? You get the money back, but the large bill encourages you to return the empties. There is no extra money coming out of your pocket – if you return the empties. That would encourage people to recycle. It rewards good behavior.

I want to hold the individual responsible for their actions. You can eat cheap junk food. Just limit your calories to maintain your weight. Want to eat a bag of cheap Oreos? Fine. But you should pay a little bit for your insulin too. We will still pay 90% of it but you must be responsible for your decisions.
In America our poor people are fat. Few countries can say that. That is only an example of the problem.
Any cuts will short someone. The question above is what would you cut?
That was my list – what’s yours? .

palerider's avatar

@Qinqu
infant mortality rates and accidental deaths were reduced in major part due to the development of new methods, practices, and helpful inventions. financial losses due to fraud still happen today (bernie madoff, et al).
but the boom of the industrial revolution could never have advanced like it did if they had had all the rules, regulations, and stipulations businesses have to abide by these days, not to mention the heavy tax burden they are saddled with today, taxes which we all pay as customers.

palerider's avatar

If we could only get the Fair Tax Act passed a lot of our taxpaying problems would disappear.
That would be my first proposal if elected to either house of congress.
http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer

Qingu's avatar

@palerider, the industrial revolution also could not have happened as it did without massive child labor, factory deaths, and other exploitative practices.

The computer revolution in America, on the other hand, seemed to happen quite well (and with much, much less suffering) in spite of the regulations you’re complaining about.

iamthemob's avatar

@worriedguy – If the system isn’t going to be seriously problematic, then you have to provide the refund up front rather than returning after payments have been made on the first round. I agree with the intent, but the problem is that you pay for it at the pump, and if you get a refund at the end of the year and meanwhile you’ve lost your apartment because the increase to get to work meant you couldn’t pay rent on time…that refund doesn’t matter. Increasing the costs a small amount for things we all use means that lower income payers are fronting a much higher percentage of their income to fund the program.

I like the pill bottle program better…and I also get the food increase. The problem with the obesity for lower income people and comparing that to other nations is that I don’t know what other nations you’re talking about, and what other systems they may have in place. The poor of many countries are not obese because they can’t really afford any food at all, and not because they budget their food so they only eat the worst because it’s what they can afford in terms of time and money.

I already put out my list of programs that I would cut…but in relation to “small government.” Again, not about budget balancing issues.

palerider's avatar

don’t kid yourself, there was still a lot of massive child labor and other exploitative practices involved in the computer revolution. just because it didn’t happen on our soil doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. india, china, etc. isn’t that what the left is always complaining about? all the jobs got sent overseas? you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

palerider's avatar

many of the entitlement programs run by the government were once handled (more efficiently) by the many churches and synagogues throughout the country. helping the poor, indigent, and disabled. these programs were paid for by charitable donations not taxes forcibly taken from the taxpayer and redistributed to whom the government says more rightly deserves it. the charitable organizations within the religious communities still exist, but their donations have dwindled, there again, because of many, many regulatioins and the already overly tax-burdened contributors.

Qingu's avatar

Oh, sure. I’m against exploitative practices in any country. Fortunately labor laws in China seem to be improving (and really, Foxconn, as bad as it is, was nowhere near the evil of industrial-revolution-era factories).

But, this has nothing to do with your point. You said that technological revolution would be impossible today with government regulation. Um, this is directly contradicted by everything that has happened in America since World War 2. In fact the pace of technological development in America has accelerated.

Like many conservatives, you are yearning for some sort of golden era that never existed.

Qingu's avatar

@palerider, please support your assertion that churches and synagogues handled food stamps, Medicaid, public schools, school lunch programs, or relevant equivalents “more efficiently” than the government.

You might also want to show that such religious-themed programs were, like the government, not dependent on membership to a certain religion.

Again, you are yearning after a fictional past.

palerider's avatar

@Qingu industry has dwindled in major part due to all the over-regulating and over-taxation of many of our top industries (please visit Detroit for proof).

palerider's avatar

@Qingu nothing the government has ever done, including the military, is ever as efficient as the private sector because the government feels it is not beholden to anyone to produce results. whereas with any private venture a program either produces results or fall by the wayside because there are overseers and they are held accountable.

Qingu's avatar

That is an abysmal example.

Detroit boomed in the postwar era of powerful labor unions and like 90% progressive taxes.

Then Reagan cut those taxes and made war against the unions. Enter the era of Japanese dominance.

The auto industry’s decline in America has numerous causes; I am not saying it’s solely or even largely because of conservative economic policies. But tying it to high taxes and regulation is simply absurd.

Qingu's avatar

The government is accountable. To the people who elect it.

This only works well if those people are at least somewhat well informed.

Accountability in private corporations is tied into their profit margins, not their efficiency or utility. Don’t confuse the two.

thekoukoureport's avatar

The government is responsible for some of the greatest medical advances, the internet, clean running water, electricity, roads, and many more @palerider.

palerider's avatar

so here is where we all learn that making a profit is wrong i guess.

Qingu's avatar

@palerider, you’re not even interacting with the things I’m saying. You appear to be saying random things at this point.

No, profit is not wrong. Profit is a good thing if profit comes from making quality products.

Profit is a bad thing if it comes from exploitative practices, monopolies, or from deceiving consumers.

The purpose of government regulation is to ensure that profits occur in the first kind of conditions, and not the second. Do you agree?

palerider's avatar

@Qinqu yes, but when you say exploitative tactics, that is a slippery slope. they usually lead to more and more and finally you are handcuffed and you business fails because a profit can’t be made if you comply with all regulations.

thekoukoureport's avatar

If the government hadn’t stepped in we may have been renamed standard oil.
If the government hadn’t stepped in our children may still be mining coal.
If the government hadn’t stepped in we may still be treating our brothers as slaves.
If the government hadn’t stepped in their would be 20 billion to clean up the gulf. (thank you mr president)
If the government hadn’t stepped in we would still be staring at the moon with wonder.
If the government hadn’t stepped in we may have all died from the swine flu.
If the government hadn’t stepped in most business’s would be gone today. (insuring money market funds…look it up)
If the goverment hadn’t stepped in you may be on a street corner saying “brother can you spare a dime?”

palerider's avatar

some regulations are always needed but they should be locally considered and locally implemented. since usually only local interests are involved.

Qingu's avatar

@palerider, handcuffed for what?

And how on earth did you arrive at the conclusion that “only local interests are involved”? Many corporations today are multinational, for example.

I’m going to ask you an honest question. Are you making this stuff up as you go?

Michael's avatar

@palerider Here’s a very simple, good faith, question for you: what tasks should the federal government undertake? Put another way, are there some things you agree the federal government can and should do to make all Americans better off?

Jaxk's avatar

It’s really not as tough as it seems. First go back the 2008 budget. The budget at that time was $2.9 trillion. The budget today is $3.8 trillion. That’s a $900 billion savings. We’ve already handed out all the TAR,Stimulus, cash for clunkers, and so forth so cut it back. Even if you assume that we added a $100 billion in SS and Medicare, you cut the deficit in half. And for those of you that loved the Clinton tax rates, I’d suggest we also go back to the Clinton budget, that was $1.8 Trillion (problem solved).

Then you start going after redundant agencies like the Department of Education. That is already managed in the states and the fed merely adds cost (like no child left behind) and then funds some of the extra costs it mandates. Get rid of it. That’s another $50 billion. The federal government is fraught with these kind of redundant agencies, The office of land management may be another.

Lastly fraud and abuse is rampant throughout the Social Security system. Disability is one of the most abused areas. A good focus on reducing the fraud in Social Security could easily return another $50 billion.

And of course there is the defense budget. The war in Iraq is ending that should cut defense by about $50 billion. I would caution those that want to focus future defense on the terrorists only since that is also fighting the last war rather than the next. With Iran and N.Korea gaining Nuclear weapons, some deterrent against them may be in order.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, um. You realize that Bush didn’t include war spending in his budget, right?

Qingu's avatar

You also realize that recessions increase the amount of mandatory spending, like unemployment and medicaid?

In 2008, mandatory spending was 1.788 trillion. In 2011 it’s 2.16 trillion.

wundayatta's avatar

@worriedguy I know what you think in terms of copays, but in health care economics, things don’t work the way they do in the rest of the world. $5 means an enormous amount to someone who is living in poverty. You and I probably can’t imagine how much it means because we (or I, anyway) don’t think twice about spending that much on a cup of coffee.

But if you make 20K per year or less, and you have several kids, $5 means… well I don’t even have any idea how far you can make it go, but I know it is quite significant.

The other problem with copays (besides the fact they don’t change utilization) is that they discourage just as much appropriate care as what you might call wasteful care. So what you think is a money saver will actually turn out to be a huge money pit. Because that person who doesn’t come because she doesn’t want to spend $5 ends up having a heart attack, and comes in for some serious surgery and icu and emergency care, and we’re talking perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars that potentially could have been saved if she would have come in earlier.

Really. The best and cheapest way to provide health care for all, is to have everyone insured with the same plan with no copays. I know you think people are wasting your money, but believe me when I tell you you want them to be wasting your money that way. You are saving money by doing that.

And another thing. If you cover everyone, then the poor people don’t have to get care in an emergency room. They’ll be able to find a stable primary care giver. You won’t see them in the ER again, unless they really need to be there. You really have to look at your longer term interest here, not just short term stuff.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

I thought the recession was over. Wasn’t this the summer of recovery? Normal unemployment is a state fund and we’ve already extended it up to 99 weeks. Are you suggesting that we continue to extend it indefinitely into the future? As for the war spending it should be getting cut in half already. When it was off budget it was easy to see and and easy to cut. Putting it in the budget was a terrible move and makes it difficult to tell whether we are cutting or expanding.

Regardless of your point the Obama budget projections anticipated the recession ending before now. the massive budget he proposed was expansion of everything he could think of. And unfortunately he continues to think of more.

When Clinton reformed welfare and began kicking people off, or at least made them start working for it, the poverty levels went down not up. It’s time to slow the welfare state and start moving towards a productive society again. I have even gotten into the regulatory reform that would boost our economy to twice what it is.

Qingu's avatar

The recession is over as defined by economic theory. Clearly, the vernacular “recession” is not over because unemployment is sky high. Unemployment is really bad. It justifies government spending to create jobs, even if it creates a deficit, because the alternative is worse (and the alternative—high unemployment— also means a huge deficit because there are no revenues).

Obama’s budget was not “an expansion of everything he could think of,” you are simply bearing false witness at this point.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/02/01/us/budget.html

Look at the red squares.

By the way, I’m not against welfare reform. I certainly admit that liberals have a tendency to ignore perverse incentive structures in the systems they favor. I just think you need to be more specific about what you want to do here, and why you think it will be effective or more fair. Simply shouting “the welfare state needs to be reformed over and over again” is not helpful or intellectually honest.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

You need to go back and look at your graph/chart. It shows increases from the 2010 budget which was already expanded by $900 billion. If you want to counter my argument you would need to compare it to the 2008 budget.

As for welfare reform, I though Clinton did a fairly good job with it. Moving back in that direction seems like a good move to me. I’ve hardly been shouting “welfare reform welfare reform” and I think I’ve already been pretty clear on my stand on unemployment. I’m not sure where you think I’ve been intellectually dishonest or even what your real point is.

Blondesjon's avatar

I would cut the congressional payroll to reflect that of the average mean wage earned by everyday folks.

I’ll guarantee you military spending takes a huge cut before that ever fucking happens.

Jaxk's avatar

@Blondesjon

I doubt it would happen even then. In their defense they only gave themselves a cost of living increase (a few percentage points). What, you didn’t get yours?

The unemployment rate in Washington D.C. in January of 2008 was 6.2%. Now the unemployment rate in Washington is 5.7%. that’s why they think the recession is over. Hell, unemployment has gone down where they live. And the average salary for federal workers is about $75,000 (about 10% increase since the start of the recession), surely you can live on that. What, you didn’t get yours?

These donkeys have no clue what’s happening in the real world.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Jaxk . . . i said the congressional payroll, and no, i didn’t get mine

What’s wrong with the leaders of this country making what the rest of this country makes?

Jaxk's avatar

@Blondesjon

Frankly, if it was pay for performance they’d be making a lot less than the average American. Minimum wage in fact, not because they deserve it but because that’s the legal minimum :)

The truth is, we want the best and the brightest. But with the dog fights we have in political campaigns, the best and brightest won’t do it. A system of pay for performance might work if it was properly engineered. Think about it, if the country was growing and prosperous, would you even have a problem with what they get paid. It’s the lack of performance compared to massive salaries, benefits, expense accounts, and retirement that begins to grate on us.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Jaxk . . . That’s my point. If we paid them based on the average American wage, then the better the economy did, the higher their pay would be. I kinda see it as a win/win we could use as a stepping stone to even bigger and better things.

ETpro's avatar

@josie I don’t think you can fairly lay this all on politicians. As this question indicates I think the electorate should get the lion’s share of the blame.

@YoBob Consumption tax is the most regressive tax possible. It rapidly transfers all of a nation’s wealth to the richest 1/10th of 1%. Can you provide an example from anywhere in the world where a national sales tax alone has produced a stable, workable economy with a strong middle class?

The fact is you could eliminate the entire 16% of government that is discretionary—just shut down everything the government does except Defense and Entitlements, and we’d still be running a deficit. You either have to raise taxes or cut one of the two sacred cows.

It is great political fodder to claim that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and such are Democratic programs, but any politician who cuts them will be out of office eternally, and any party that that politician was associated with would suffer the same fate. Perhaps since their party seems to be descending into complete lunacy, if Republicans want to go out like a shooting star, then can wrest control of both houses of Congress and the White House in 2012 and actually privatize all entitlements.

After the enormous depression that would provoke, we can come up with some alternative party if anything remains to govern or we aren’t overrun by some opportunistic feeder like China.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk I knew the day would come when you and I agree. Your cuts and revenue proposal would actually work.

Nullo's avatar

Cut government salaries, kill entitlement programs, pare back on the federal agencies, and stop offering federal funding. And seriously consider ending Social Security’s troubles; the output either has or will soon exceed the input.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo At a time when the top 1% of Americans now own over ⅓rd of all the nation’s wealth, you want to balance the entire Federal Deficit on the backs of the poor and the elderly. You truly have chosen your new avatar well.

tedd's avatar

@Nullo And watch as the United States falls to pieces, and quickly loses the title of the best country in teh world.

Nullo's avatar

@ETpro @tedd
Honestly, gentlemen, I think that the whole system needs a reboot. I don’t think that we’re going to get one, though.

tedd's avatar

@Nullo There are definitely things that need to be fixed. But pulling out the very social nets that help make our country great… the biggest achievements of the past 100 years… Thats just willful ignorance to what would happen if we removed things we don’t think are running efficiently.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo We will either fix the system or it will get a reboot when the wealthy multinationals we are transferring all its wealth to move on to new pastures and the currency goes into hyperinflation as Germany’s did in the pre War days. It got to the point a wheelbarrow full of German marks wouldn’t buy a loaf of bread. And we all know what fun that brought about.

wundayatta's avatar

@Nullo If you kill the entitlement programs, I think you’d pretty much take care of Social Security’s troubles. Social Security is an entitlement program.

I’d love to see what your parents and grandparents have to say when you get rid of Medicare and Social Security. I expect you’d have to go into the witness protection program if you valued your hide.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, I’ve already detailed why “increase of 900 billion” is fallacious (Bush’s budget did not count the cost of wars, and mandatory spending has skyrocketed during Obama’s reign).

But I posted that chart to counter your assertion that Obama’s budget is “the expansion of everything he could think of.” This is simply not true.

Some discretionary programs have been expanded. Others have been cut.

palerider's avatar

Article 1 Section 8 defines and clarifies all obligations and limitations to the congress. Anything above and beyond these measures should be repealed unless an amendment is passed to grant the stated entitlement.

ETpro's avatar

@palerider Those powers are broad. Anything that anyone feels abridges them may be brought into federal court for judicial review, but the notion that since the Founding Fathers failed to mention Nuclear Energy in specific, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is unconstitutional is silly on its surface and would be an utter waste of money to litigate.

tedd's avatar

@palerider You’d be repealing a few hundred years of legislation, and reinstating some things like the Federal Bank.

Did you know that the founding fathers actually made the Federal Bank, which was during its existence the largest bank in the US, COMPLETELY controlled by the federal government?

Such criminals as Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison made it… and a liberal crazy president by the name of George Washington signed it into law.

iamthemob's avatar

@palerider

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has determined that certain acts taken under these various powers are a constitutional use of that power. Therefore, you can’t take a literal approach as all these acts are constitutional even though they aren’t specifically enumerated under the Articles but theoretically interpreted as empowered under them, and therefore would require (1) a subsequent ruling of the Supreme Court overruling it or (2) a constitutional amendment.

palerider's avatar

yes, a literal interpretation is what is called for not a liberal one. if more clarification should be needed there are the federalists papers to be considered, and U.S. supreme court justices should have been more diligent in their study to determine constitutionality. In short they were wrong, and in most cases you cite, they knew they were wrong (during FDR’s reign he threatened to pack the court to get his way but befor ethat could happen, the pressure the justices at the time felt was enough for them to buckle.)

ETpro's avatar

@palerider Not all legislation from the bench is liberal. In fact, the recent trend has been quite the opposite. The 5 conservative justices in Citizens United ended hundreds of years of case law and established a new “right” that drastically undermines the foundations of liberty in our political system. The courts have refused to hear challenges to a whoe slew of constitutional abuses by both the Bush and Obama executive branch—all on ultra conservative principles that flew directly in the face of the Constitution.

palerider's avatar

@ETpro what overturning and right are you speaking of? And I never said only liberals or democrats were to blame for the bastardization of the interpretation and implementation of the U.S. Constitution.

palerider's avatar

campaign finance?

palerider's avatar

Hillary Clinton- Norman Zhu, George Sorose
Barack Hussein Obama- George Sorose, Bill Gates

ETpro's avatar

@palerider Well, past Citizens United (campaign finance), the Supreme Court has refused to allow cases to proceed where the government denied the right of Habeas Corpus to a citizen, allowed the US President without court overview to declare a citizen a terrorist and then have them assassinated without due process, permitted torture, illegal wiretapping, extraordinary rendition. That’s just to name a few off the top of my head.

My mention of liberals not being the only ones to legislate from the bench came from this, “yes, a literal interpretation is what is called for not a liberal one.” I can see you may have bneen using the word in its apolitical sense, and if so, apologize for misinterpreting you.

tedd's avatar

@palerider The citizens united ruling overturned a few centuries of the Supreme court ruling that a corporation couldn’t support candidates like an individual. The obvious reason behind this being that the corporation will put its financial backing behind a candidate who will help its profits, regardless of whether that candidate will help the country or the people. Not to mention they have about half of congress on their payroll already.

The small candidates, the people with good ideas but not much money, will NEVER be able to compete with billions upon billions of dollars from large corporations. Citizens United is pretty much handing our country over to the rich, and in my opinion turning us into a quasi theocracy, were the all-mighty dollar is the new god, and corporate presidents are the kings.

The Republicans got over 4x as much funding in the past 2 months, the vast majority of it coming from anonymous “charity” groups with conservative backing from multi-national/multi-billion dollar companies. I’m sure those companies have nothing but the best interests of our country in mind when they spend millions and millions of dollars on elections too. (note sarcasm)

ETpro's avatar

@tedd Not only that. Individuals can contribute a rather limited amount—$2,400 to an individual candidate of $15,000 to a party. And the individual cannot do this anonymously. But the Supreme Court made corporations super-citizens. They are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money. There is no disclosure. Who is funding a campaign and why is all secret. Therefore, even foreign governments and criminal enterprises can now influence the political process. It’s still against the law for them to do so, but now cops are allowed on the block where they operate. This is a mortal blow to democracy and liberty. ALl the “judicial activism” right-wingers piss and moan about is chump change beside this decision.

thekoukoureport's avatar

It’s the conspiricy of the corporations to not hire and put out the messages of “uncertainty”. So that they can continue this massive cash grab on the backs of the unemployed, while convincing the unemployed that it’s Obama’s fault. When in fact by demonizing this administration they will get to keep their tax cuts that we can’t pay for.

It’s really criminal to think that the companies that made their vast fortunes off of the American worker, no longer need the American worker. American corporations are increasing their dividend payouts, Stock buybacks, mergers and acqusitions, and amassed two TRILLION dollars in CASH RESERVES. An increase of 600 Billion last year alone. Which if you figure the average salary at 60K that figure directly correlates to unemployment. i.e. unemployment would be at 4.5% which is healthy. If they used CASH RESERVES to keep the workers employed there would be no recession.

Americans are being duped, this is a watershed moment that I believe could shape the future for decades to come. By giving power back to through Citizens united We have finally realized Hamiltons dream and Jeffersons worst nightmare. But lets not let history ruin a perfectly good Tea party.

ETpro's avatar

@thekoukoureport GA! How true. Reality can be such a downer.

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