Thursday, October 29, 2015

It's still the Democrats fault

Well, in other news yesterday, Denny Hastert pleaded guilty to a single money shuffling charge in order to avoid having to say where the money went, which has been pretty well speculated on elsewhere. In a probably unrelated story, Boehner passed a budget bill with a majority of the majority....of Democrats. Republicans control the house and the senate, and yet, to actually pass a bill, the final breakdown was as follows Democrats 187 for, Republicans 79 for, Republicans 167 against. I think that's pathetic. As the party in power, Republicans control the committees and hence, could offer up tons of cuts. Instead, they dump it on the Democrats to pass a bill that allows them to keep their pork. And from what I read, this deal was worked out between Boehner, Pelosi, McConnell and Reid.

When Obama vetoed the last bill a couple of weeks ago, I received a histrionic email from my congressman, Joe Heck, that was wailing about using the military as hostages. The reason he was making the claim was this, in essence, the Republicans wanted to increase military spending and couldn't do it because of the sequester. So, they wanted to add some multiple billions to the military through off budget accounting, which is kind of a scam. In this case, I actually have some sympathy for the tea bags who are complaining about this bill that just passed, it increases spending and circumvents the sequester. Yet, as I read the post article, in order to get more Republicans to vote for, there has already been promises made to fix what will initially be a cut of like 3 billion dollars in crop insurance programs in future spending bills.

So, here is my gripe to start the daily flame war. It continues to astonish me that Republicans are seen as the party of fiscal responsibility. The charge perpetually leveled at Democrats is that they are the party of tax and spend. And while I think that is not an honest representation, I have to say that raising taxes in order to spend more money is far more honest than what the Republicans have offered. They want spending for their agenda just as surely as the Democrats do, however, they don't want to pay for it by either raising taxes, or by equally cutting programs they support along with cutting programs they don't support. Undoubtedly, this raise in the debt will be blamed on Obama despite the fact that Republicans truly do hold the purse strings and can't get their heads out of their ass to pass a real budget.

The sequester was meant to do what legislators don't want to do, which is arbitrarily make cuts in everything. However, just like Reagan's famous closing of tax loop holes, the legislators have gone back and basically exempted everything important in order to avoid the cuts. In essence, they want to wail about the debt and run on it as a campaign issue, but they don't ever want to put in a consequence in place, like raising taxes. Collectively, it is clear we want the spending we have, seniors want their benefits, farmers want their benefits, poor people want to drive cadillacs and eat fillet every night without working for it while additionally wanting pocket money to help them get to the polls to vote for more free shit that only Democrats hand out. We want the spending, but don't want to pay for it. Again, while I find the social outlook of tea baggers to be batshit crazy, I can't deny they have an honesty here in their position. That said, what they don't acknowledge is that the rest of America, who doesn't support the teas enough to give them full control, collective wants the spending where it is. To me, the only honest thing to do is to look back at America and say that if you want all of these programs that benefit both left and right, then it's time to raise taxes to pay for them.


  1. seniors want their benefits

    People pay into SS and medicare all their working lives and in return the government has promised to return a small amount of the money they paid in monthly and healthcare with an additional seniors contribution.

    free shit that only Democrats hand out

    Medicare part D was a plot hatched and implemented by Democrats? The GOP asleep at the wheel yet again.

    collective wants the spending where it is.

    Time to raise taxes? Who should that be directed at?

    The wealthy again?
    The middle class?
    The non tax payers?

    A majority of Americans pay local taxes for local services.
    A majority of Americans pay state income taxes for state services.
    Is it time for a larger share of Americans pay for Federal Services as all benefit from Federal government?

    The local government doesn't care they want their taxes. The state government doesn't care, they want their taxes. Why should the Federal Government be so different??

    Wouldn't a truer statement be Seniors want what they paid for?

  2. Federal tax revenue is at an all time high. Let's raise taxes and cut down our growth rate even further. I told you last week max that you've won, you should be happy, debt will now push 20T, the progressives and Statist pubs have won the day.

    Didn't Obama just end two wars? Didn't he just high tail it out of the middle east? Why does the military need more money?

    Thank you John Boehmer. Now get fu---ing lost.


    1. William,
      The 2 largest items in the budget are:
      1. Social Security/Pensions.
      2. Healthcare/medicaid/medicare.

      The 2 items account for half of all government spending.

      The military is no longer the elephant in the room.

    2. Actually, I'm not happy about the debt climb, and that is my entire point. Lou mentioned the military is no longer the elephant in the room, but Health care is 28%, Pensions are 26% and the military is 22%, and we just increased spending on that. No longer the elephant in the room? That's 3 items to the tune of 75% of our budget.

      What I am pissed about William is that children like you can still show up and hurl a stupid epithet that it's all statist spending. That's fucking ridiculous. If Obama has hightailed it out of the Middle East, why INDEED are we asking for more money for the military? We started a sequester, in part I believe, because of a Tea Party mentality that we could just take 10% away from everything and not notice a difference. That turned out to be false, and we immediately started to find ways to work around it. I didn't like the sequester, but I thought it might actually start to cause genuine debate over what to spend money on and what to cut. However, now that legislators have allowed the sting to be taken out of the sequester, we once again, have no consequence.

      You keep throwing these tax charges at me in part because you are kind of a cock, but mostly because you are a blind ideologue. Your Teas solved nothing. Not because they were backstabbed, but because they offered nothing. Their position it seems is this, "We don't need to offer nuthin because there is too much fucking spending and we need to tell people to just fuck off rather than reform shit we don't like anyway"

      Taxes, to me, are the only way to force consequences to spending. However, under current Republican thinking, we will never have consequences to spending and they will keep doing shit like this, which is to say they will get their pork and blame Democrats for giving it to them.

    3. Social Security, unemployment, labor:
      1.28 trillion 33.26%
      1.05 trillion 27.42%
      6.9.3 billion 15.88%

      People rant about the dems this and the gop that when it's clearly both parties. The party will end some day and everyone will stand around scratching their heads and say what happened.

    4. Between the 3, its still 75% of the budget. 690 billion dollars for the military is a staggering amount of money. Besides. That's just the starting point, they can still allocate more money for the military later.

      Honest question, if it's all special interest, do you think special interest would still control it all if taxes went up every year until the budget gap is closed and we started paying debt?

  3. 1.05 trillion for medicaid/medicare is also a staggering amount and there is no way to cut the number unless you eliminate people from the program.

    Who do you raise taxes on Max? Everyone in the US? A minority of people? The people paying today? The thing you don't say is there is no way to cut spending that will impact the debt long term. What should they do, cut healthcare? SS/Pensions? Entitlements? We have worked our way into a no win situation.

    As to your question. Perhaps it would affect the conversation. Conversely, if they raised taxes on every worker in the US 5% paying taxes or not, then 1% every following year do think spending would be addressed? Would that finally push the conversation to the front, what should we fund and what should be dropped from spending?

    1. Well, I think there is a starting point that everyone needs to agree on, there is no mathematical way to pay down debt unless we bring in more than we spend. Whether we cut spending until we create a budget surplus, or raise taxes until we create a surplus, we have to bring in more than we spend AND we have to sustain that surplus while we pay down debt. I have not heard a single, literally not one single legislator admit this reality.

      We agree on the role the Fed has played in enriching those with money to invest. Where you and I really don't seem to agree is that those in the working class have already been paying higher taxes via inflation and stagnant wages. We can blame bad trade deals, we can blame the same middle class for buying cheap shit from China. It doesn't negate the fact that the dollar has been devalued for sake of keeping assets inflated, and that is a direct tax on everyone, but hits those without many assets harder than those with them. A flat tax, like some are proposing, will make matters even worse because once deductions are taken away, those in the middle class will pay more money, and even Carson admitted as much to Chuck Todd after the debate. We can raise taxes on those in the middle class, but it will be like cutting food stamps, it will do very little to change things.

      If the middle class got tagged every year, maybe it would make them get proactive and might actually get some politicians from both parties to start advocating for people who don't have a lot of money.

    2. The debt is huge. But what Lou doesn't mention ( he likes to blame it all on Obama) is that only two presidents have been able to cut the deficit which adds to the debt. President Clinton actually gave us a surplus, President Obama for all his economic difficulties has in fact cut the deficit each year during his second term. How because it was under these two presidents that we were able to create jobs, yes jobs. full time part time high paying lower paying it doesn't matter jobs produce revenue and revenue cures many evils.
      Social security? hell yeah I want what is mine. I have paid into this system for 1000 years and as my time comes to leave the workforce here in a few years I need my money. I have invested over the years and saved but I will still need to depend on the social security I was promised, yes promised if I supported others before me, as part of my retirement plan.
      despite good intentions the tea party has done more harm to our country then good.

    3. Where you and I really don't seem to agree is that those in the working class have already been paying higher taxes via inflation

      Inflation affects everyone. Today it's inflation in housing. In Denver housing has climbed over 10% with the flood of people moving to Colorado.

      A question, why is it everyone is so focused on Federal Income Taxes? No one talks about the taxes from the local governments that pay for local services. No one talks about state taxes which pay for state services. The focus is on Federal Income taxes where some say they some people pay enough and should not have to pay for the Federal Government and the services it provides. Why is that???

      One thing is for certain it will take both to balance the budget, higher taxes, cuts in spending.

      In the corporate business world when the economy begins to falter and business slides business addresses the shortfall by scorched earth first when nothing is purchased, travel slowed, then the departments are reviewed for excess workers, departments reviewed for productivity, downsized or eliminated. Government rarely is downsized at anytime regardless of the economy.

      An interesting thing is happening here. Our school board is conservative and has ended the requirement for union membership and no longer collects union dues for the union. In addition they have ended automatic pay raises and instituted pay for performance. Some of the staff has left, people are lined up for the teaching positions. Union membership has dropped to 30%. With the growth there is a need for funding for a few new schools, maintenance etc. The liberal group running for the board want a bond election to fund the needs. The existing board have looked at current revenue and the increase of home values, doubled in 7 years and decided with their finance people that a new bond isn't needed and all needs can be covered with the higher property taxes. Their statement we can always call for a bond election in 2016 or out further but it's not needed today. This election will tell what the area thinks of the new approach to managing our schools. Under the liberal school board we had principals for elementary schools, assistant principals, counselors for each elementary schools. Today it's just a principal for 300-400 students. If you give government money they will spend it.

      The budget will never be balanced with the current 55% paying taxes and governments demand to spend more year after year.

      As to Ricks comments, Spending is a product of both parties, period. The Dems. want spending, the Repub's want spending both claim it's excessive, neither are willing to sacrifice their favorite programs.

      As to your comment balancing the budget, eliminate the SS surplus and the budget was not balanced. Kind of kills the good times story. Was the Clinton economy a set up left by Reagan? The economy doesn't run from one president to the next. Policy sometimes takes years, decades to effect the economy another bubble burst before your very eyes.

      As to SS, it's an entitlement so says the Supreme Court. It can be changed by Congress at any time as it has been over the years. Adding wives, children never funded as incoming taxes exceeded outgoing taxes. That's about to change. You may want SS benefits but one day that may just go away or reduced as the pay as you go system begins to turn negative.
      The choices are easy:
      1. Raise taxes.
      2. Cut benefits.
      Medicare is the same.

    4. Inflation does not affect everyone equally, that is my point. Those who don't pay taxes because they don't earn enough to pay income taxes are far more affected by inflation. Technically, they pay no federal taxes. In real life, they pay plenty. Local taxes are not irrelevant, but we are talking about the national debt.

      I feel like a promise was made that if we just arbitrarily started cutting shit federally, it would not even be noticed. Then it was noticed and work arounds were created, just as tax loop holes were all re added after they were taken away by Reagan and tax revenue increased. The bottom line to me is that A) few people are willing to pay for what they consume, B) we are unable to collectively acknowledge we do want the services we are paying for.

      Could better efficiency be had, yep, but no one is really offering that solution at the Federal level anyway.

    5. A question, why is it everyone is so focused on Federal Income Taxes? No one talks about the taxes from the local governments that pay for local services. No one talks about state taxes which pay for state services. The focus is on Federal Income taxes where some say they some people pay enough and should not have to pay for the Federal Government and the services it provides. Why is that???

      Fewer are exempt from a sales tax, a local tax or a state tax and yet nothing is said.

      Why is it so many feel it's fine to exempt almost half of Americans from paying for the largess of the Federal Government. If everyone paid, wouldn't there be a bit more concern over spending? Raising taxes on everyone?

    6. I have one childish question for max. Do you or don't you think a twenty trillion dollar national debt is sustainable?

      A second childish question. Would you or wouldn't you give up five years of Social Security payouts to help to substantially reduce the debt?

    7. William.

      No one will willingly give up anything.

      People will not give up SNAP benefits unless thrown off benefits.

      Seniors will not give up medicare.

      Rick made it clear, he and the rest of the country want what's there's, they want their SS so they can retire comfortably.

      People are quite willing to have others taxed as long as they are not taxed. People are willing for other people to give up benefits as long as there benefits are secure.

      Get it yet? This is the all about me country and not the country that was.

      "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country"
      Just a speech from history and a better America.

    8. I am 65. I have not elected to begin early SS (why the hell do we offer early SS at age 62 anyway?) My effective date is 66 to begin claiming regular benefits.

      I am willing to suspend my benefits until age 70 to help get our deficits and debt under control.

      Will any of our progressive, democrat, or republican friends join me for the sake of our country?

      Stand up and be counted.

    9. William, you ask fair questions, so I will answer with a serious response. The 20 trillion figure is simply mind boggling to me. Not distracting here, but when I worked in the bond market and watched the debt grow, and grow and grow while we issued debt at ridiculously low rates, I could not believe we could continue to get away with it. But they did. Emotionally, I can't believe we can sustain this. But if I'm trying to figure out the tipping point where even the market gives up and just starts to sell off our debt, here is what comes to mind.

      I've mentioned how our military helps keep the dollar as the reserve currency. That's one piece. Another piece is that people keep buying our debt. If something threatens our ability to pay the debt, that, to me, is what will end the whole game. Again, that figure is just staggering and should not have been allowed to get that high and it's a fair point to say it's not sustainable. But as long as we continue to pay the interest, I'm not sure there is a specific figure, IE 25 trillion, 30 trillion where the market decides to no longer buy our debt. No country, BUT the United States could get away with what we have done.

      As to the benefits age, I would be willing to suspend them, but it's easy to say that when I am about 17 years away from that point. I'm trying to do all I can to save and prepare for it. All I can do at this point is say I'm willing to pay higher taxes in the name of getting our finances under control.

      Lou, I get the point about state taxes now. I feel to some degree that creating a subset of so many people who don't pay federal taxes was one of many deals made with the devil. It allowed top rates to keep coming down without people making a huge deal about it and now that they are down here, the pain when all rates go up will be felt more acutely by those who don't make much money. Predictably, the middle class will now feel very cheated just as they feel cheated over losing production jobs though they enjoyed the hell out of the mid 90's when the dollar was strong and they were buying a lot of shit they previously could not afford. The wealthy know what is coming, and indeed, I believe they knew from the start and have hoarded as much cash and assets as possible. Those who live paycheck to paycheck always are on the edge, but it's going to get worse for them.

      The only way I see out of this is that perhaps as boomers age and leave the workforce, there will finally be some room for upward movement. creating millions of service jobs doesn't seem like a solid plan to me.

    10. One might tend to believe the debt has been allowed to grow more in the last 2 decades as interest rates have remained low. Imagine the deficit from 2008-2015 if treasuries were issued at their historic rates.

      In 2007 we paid 429 billion in interest on 9 trillion in debt. 2014, 430 billion in 17.5 trillion in debt.

      The Federal Reserve has enabled the government to borrow endlessly with little consequence to the deficit. To add fuel to the fire much is interest paid to government (the Fed, SS) and returned to the treasury lowering the deficit. A nifty game until investors demand an interest premium fo new treasuries.

      As to SS, when the incoming dollars were huge, they added spousal coverage, benefiots of deceased parents, etc. as the impact was small. They also saw no need to change the retirment age. At the inception of ss, the retirment age was 65. Today life expectancy hgas increased greatly and you can retire early at 62.5. What's wrong with this picture.

      Could the push for illegal citizenship a realization that more income for SS is required to sustain the system and it's an easy way out as they are here and amnesty would increase SS contributions from people and employers.

      There appears no happy ending in this game. We now haave increased government spending in the Healthcare area with some new income. Problem is that it will overwhelm the deficit as SS has and the deficit will soon begin to climb as the entitlement system grows.

      I understand people that have paid in all there lives want what was promised. I have maxed out SS all but 5 years of my working life which equates to a tidy sum x2 with employer contributions and will likely see a fraction of what I contributed or nothing at all. So I continue to save and invest to ensure I don't need the SS to survive. What a delima we have worked ourselves into.

      No one wants a cut in benefits and no one wants to pay more.

    11. That's a good post and it kind of highlights something that I think is important. There is an objective way to assess the situation, and there is a political way to assess it. When you mention the illegal piece, that's a reasonable assessment, IE, more workers now means more contributions which would help the system. Were they smart enough to figure that out? I doubt it. But the illegals solve a couple of problems, it provides a stream of cheap labor for business, and it fills the low end service sector that does help keep things moving and helps keep consumption cheap. On the political side, Republicans may not get the bulk of votes from naturalized illegals, but, it's not like those who lean Republican have not had a benefit. If there was no benefit, I don't think we would see so many Republicans who are willing to do what Reagan did. At least, I think that's true.

      There is no "happy" ending, per se. But I do think we can come up with some rational solutions. That said, the rational solutions are going to be almost impossible to square with political leanings.

    12. But the illegals solve a couple of problems, it provides a stream of cheap labor for business

      And the other side of the coin? American tees sit idle while illegals work.
      The more illegals that cross the border the less pressure to force wages higher, stagnant wages. The more illegals the more required from SS in the future. A catch 22.

      I see no happy ending. Just more debt.

    13. Max, you say that you are willing more taxes to reduce the debt, and also that you are trying to save for retirement. Given the.poor track record of the government vesting our retirement program, SS, wouldn't you think that individual investing of those same tax dollars would lead to greater benefits down the road for a majority of people?

      SS was designed to be a supplemental not a primary program for retirement. Of couse once any program is in place it is manipulated as a matter of course.

      This is the age old argument. Who can do a better job with your money? The DC establishment or individual hay seeds.