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Simon Johnson on Debt and Deficit

We’re looking at American debt and deficit and how to really, responsibly, bring it down, with economist Simon Johnson.

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., holds up a copy of his budget plan entitled "The Path to Prosperity," Tuesday, March 20, 2012, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., holds up a copy of his budget plan entitled "The Path to Prosperity," Tuesday, March 20, 2012, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

In the War of 1812, two hundred years ago this year, the young United States went out into the world without its finances in order – and got its White House burned down.

Flash forward two centuries.  The US debt and deficit are huge.  President Obama is talking up the Buffet rule this week, to get the rich to pitch in more.  Republican Paul Ryan wants to take an axe to the federal budget, and tax rates.

Former chief economist to the IMF Simon Johnson says both fall short.  It is high time for the US to get real, he says.

This hour, On Point:  how to really, responsibly, bring down the US debt.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Simon Johnson, professor of entrepreneurship and economics at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management.  Co-author with James Kwak of “White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why it Matters To You.” He blogs at The Baseline Scenario.

 From Tom’s Reading List

USA Today Ever since George Washington became the first president of the United States, politicians, economists, bankers, philosophers and citizens without titles have been arguing about the deficit and the national debt. The issue has been whether the nation should avoid deficit spending, engage in deficit spending and, if engaging, how much national debt is too much.

Economix Blog  There are two competing narratives about the federal government budget in the political mainstream today. The first is that we are, or soon will be, in crisis, because of runaway government spending. To avoid this crisis, we should cut spending by a great deal and as soon as possible.

The Huffington Post I have enormous respect for Simon Johnson. I first recall seeing him one late evening on a Bill Moyers segment in the middle of the financial crisis. I couldn’t quite believe that the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund was complaining about the oligarchs in the financial industry using their control of the U.S. government to bail out their bankrupt banks.

Excerpt: “White House Burning”

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  • Michiganjf

    Tom,

     Here’s a line-up of the last 5 presidents:
    Carter (D) – started debt/GDP 35.8% ended debt/GDP 32.5%
    Reagan (R) – started debt/GDP 32.5% ended debt/GDP 53.1%
    Bush I (R) – started debt/GDP 51.1% ended debt/GDP 66.1%
    Clinton (D) – started debt/GDP 66.1% ended debt/GDP 56.4%
    Bush II (R) – started debt/GDP 56.4% ended debt/GDP 83.4% !!!!
    Check for yourself:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms
    Look at the wiki page carefully… Republican presidents have been TERRIBLE for our country’s debt!!!!!
    I know WIKI data can be faked, but it is correct and reliable over long term periods as it is revised and scrutinized by many, that is what makes WIKI work.

    This data has held up under more than three years of scrutiny.

    Obama has already brought down SIGNIFICANTLY the 1.4 trillion/year deficit left to him by Bush!!

    The very worst spate of debt was under Bush WITH a Republican House AND Senate, with massive tax cuts AND massive spending!!!Don’t let Republicans claim that much of the debt accrued under Bush had anything to do with Dem policies, as evry significant source of debt under Bush had NOTHING to do with Democratic policies, but rather was almost ENTIRELY due to Republican policies (tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, MASSIVE Big Pharma giveaways, wars off the books, etc…).The very worst spate of debt was under Bush WITH a Republican House AND Senate, with massive tax cuts AND massive spending!!!Don’t let Republicans claim that much of the debt accrued under Bush had anything to do with Dem policies, as evry significant source of debt under Bush had NOTHING to do with Democratic policies, but rather was almost ENTIRELY due to Republican policies (tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, MASSIVE Big Pharma giveaways, wars off the books, etc…).Here’s the truth about the BUSH DEBT: http://www.seeingtheforest.com/archives/2010/01/cato_dont_blame_1.htmWe can all read it and weep.

    • Michiganjf

      Here’s that last link again… the first didn’t seem to take.

      http://www.seeingtheforest.com/archives/2010/01/cato_dont_blame_1.htm

      • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

        Excellent, keep ‘em coming.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      What’s the data on Obama?

      Bush was terrible on the debt.   That is ancient history.

      Obama is worse.

      Obama’s Buffet scheme may make you feel good but it only raises $4B.  Big whoop.  That only covers one day of Obama’s deficit.  Where’s the revenue for the other 354 days?

      Even if ALL the Bush tax cuts were restored (including the 75% that went to the middle class) it would only raise $400B/year and we would still have a $800B Obama deficit in 2012.

      Houston, we have a spending problem.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        btw – we need economic growth to provide the revenue increases that will balance the budget. 

        Economic growth saves on both ends.  It reduces the need for safety net spending AND it brings in more revenues.

        • Anonymous

          But not making the 0.1% pay is what got the country to this point.

          Tax cuts for the rich are the WORST way to “grow the economy” and right now the best way to generate economic growth is to put the unemployed to work so THEIR increased spending will generate demand.

          Passing an infrastructure rebuilding bill will put a big chunk of the unemployed construction workers to work and their income will be spent, generating demand in other sectors, putting those workers back to work.

          Currently, the automobile revival, driven by the pent up demand (current average age of vehicles on the road is over 11 years) and those workers’ spending WILL help create other demand. But the number of auto workers is less than in previous times because of automation. That automation is a cause of increased productivity, but note that the economic gain from that productivity is NOT being shared with the workers: the new wage scales actually take back previous gains won by the auto workers.

      • Michiganjf

        The data on Obama is that he brought the 1.4 TRILLION/year deficit that Bush left him DOWN to 1.1 trillion/year DURING AN ECONOMIC CRISIS, meaning Obama brought down the deficit DESPITE reduced revenues and despite fiscal measures to bolster the economy!!!!

        Way to go President Obama!!!

        Our debt situation would be in far worse shape if a Democrat had not stepped in to clean up another Republican mess!!!!

        Four more years and President Obama can make even MORE progress on the debt fiasco dumped on America by Republicans!!

        … or vote for Romney, give away more of America to the wealthiest one percent, and watch the deficit explode yet again under another clueless, irresponsible, Republican!!!!

        • Anonymous

          Note: ALL, all four, budgets put forward by Republican presidential candidates would INCREASE the budget deficit by MORE than Obama’s budget. And even if one of their budgets supposedly reduced the budget by more, they ALL ignore recognized economic factors that would make that supposed reduction not happen.

          But that is why the Republicans are working hard to reduce/kill the social safety net, the (automatic) cause of most of the increased spending during Obama’s term.

      • BHA in Vermont

         Right, $400B is nothing, I’d definitely walk right by that if it were lying on the sidewalk. Not worth my trouble to bend over and pick it up.

        Solving ONE THIRD of the ‘problem’ certainly isn’t worth doing. We have to have ONE silver bullet that will fix it all. And NO WAY the people who can most afford it should be asked to chip in. That wouldn’t be fair.

      • Michiganjf

        It ain’t ancient if when we’re still severely feeling the pain.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Keep posting this stuff, make it a national meme.

      The problem is many Americans react to the TV commercial in front of them right now, they have no sense of history.

    • William

      So if you numbers are correct we need massive spending cuts right?

      • Anonymous

        We need to put the unemployed to work so they can pay income taxes and provide increased REVENUE. With the drop in spending by thus reducing the safety net spending and some significant cuts in military spending, the deficits would be reduced to a function of how well health care costs are controlled. Obama’s approach is to tackle the problem in how those costs are created, not just throw the 99% to the wolves and let everybody get care only if they can pay for it.

        • William

          But with the current tax rates 48 percent of working Americans don’t pay federal income taxes so little if any additional revenue would come into the government. Once again, massive spending cuts need to take place. Obama has done nothing to control the costs and only increased the size, scope and spending levels. There has to be massive spending cuts.

      • denis

        We need some curbs on spending – we need greater revenue increases

        • William

          That does not match the “charts” presented. Massive spending has created this mess so we need massive spending cuts. It is the only solution.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Massive Tax cuts, AND massive war spending, that was supposed to be paid with oil money from Iraq, created this mess.

          • Anonymous

            Which “charts” and in what respect?

            Massive spending did NOT in ANY way create this problem. Alan Greenspan’s refusal to use power given by a Democratic Congress to regulate the mortgage industry, and the passage of Sen. Phil Gramm’s Commodities Futures Act, preventing regulation of derivatives, along with a overwhelmed and lax SEC under GWB’s appointee, Christopher Cox.

            You give yourself away when you say that “massive spending cuts are the ONLY solution.” Nothing is the ONLY solution, though there are best solutions and yours is not that. It is the WORST solution as it will only make matters worse for the 99%.

    • Gregg

       Is there a reason you didn’t mention Obama is over 100% GDP/Debt?

      • Michiganjf

        Obama didn’t bring the debt to over 100% of GDP… rather, Obama stopped the rate of increase in the debt left by Bush… Bush took a surplus and turned it into a deficit.

        Tha Bush deficit is what brought the debt to over 100% of GDP, and Obama has staunched the bleeding!

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          Hillarious!!!!

          Any sane person can look at Obama’s budget and the Ryan budget.  Ryan moves us to a balanced budget (with static scoring) and Obama brings us to $20T+ debt.

          Ryan’s will do better with dynamic scoring.  Obama’s will do worse if interest rates tick up beyond the unrealistic projections.

          • Michiganjf

            Ryan’s budget will take us all back to the stone age, or  close to it.

            Yep, let’s be Mexico and it’s everyone for themselves with NO investment in anything that made America the greatest country in the world!!

            Great plan!

            … or we can go back to the kind of sensible Democratic spending and tax structure that brought America into world prominence for the fifity years that Dems controlled BOTH houses of Congress, from the end of WW2 up to the “Republican Devolution.”

          • Anonymous

            Actually, while not widely known, Mexico is making big economic strides due to better education, etc. Of course, Republicans are against progress in public education so they don’t acknowledge this.

            Mexico still has a long way to go, but the progress is there.

          • denis

            Here you are again claiming to be worried for the country while you spout non supported theories/ propaganda that are in fact the cause of your worry.

      • Michiganjf

        Gregg, William, and Worried….

        It’s astounding that conservatives like you, who purport to care about America’s debt and deficit, can look at facts like this and not change your party affiliation TODAY!

        You are locked in a paradigm you’ve invested so much of yourselves in that you simply can’t give it up!

        You really need to accept the truth, give up the lies you’ve invested so much in, and face the fact that Republican policies since the “Republican Revolution” are EXACTLY to balme for screwing our country’s economy AND for screwing American politics with the lies you find so easy to swallow.

        • William

          Liberalism is leading the nation and the world to a “better place?” Really? How is that Dept of Education working out for you? Country’s education is better or worse since you guys brought that agency online? Dept. of Energy? They got that light bulb law passed, wow…after 31 years…got a new light bulb. Great Society? We have higher poverty rates, more people on food stamps than every before despite 50 years of wealth transfer payments. Do you have any solutions or “just more of the same?”. You have your dream President, major Liberal, and how’s that economy working out? Bringing everyone together? Isn’t he the one that has a web page that people can snitch on anyone that speaks out against him? Trillion dollars debts and what has it accomplished? Admit you are wrong, embrace conservativism before it is too late for the nation and yourself.

          • Michiganjf

            Blame Republicans for ripping into education funding and meddling at every level of government, beginning with the “Republican Devolution.”

          • William

             Yes, I have to admit, we have not funded education enough. If we only would spend even more everyone is going to Harvard. Darn those Republicans..how can they say no to more failed education programs?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Conservative?  Of WHAT?  Catholic priests’ ability to Molest and Abuse Children?
              Conservative of the money and power of the GREEDY rich to get GREEDIER rich?
               How many minutes of health care can you buy with your Paul Ryan Groupon?

      • Anonymous

        The CURRENT  debt/GDP is NOT over 100%; it will not be for two or more years and NOT one of the Republican budget proposals would do better (Ron Paul’s does it ONLY by proposing spending cuts that he could NEVER get Congress to pass.

      • denis

        Once again, Greg, you state as fact fox talking points that in fact are false

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Mr. Obama was on the campaign trail yesterday promoting the Buffet rule.  The Buffet rule is a scheme to double the capital gains tax.

    Unfortunately, the historical evidence is when the capital tax is raised, then revenues go down and when it is cut, revenues go UP.

    If the President wants to maximize economic growth and thus revenue, he should not raise the capital gains tax.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203918304577241513296604128.html

    • Anonymous

      No Obvious Relationship between Capital Gains Tax Rates and Economic Growth

      If you read the editorial page of financial newspapers, you might conclude that no aspect of tax policy is more important for economic growth than the way we tax capital gains.  You’d be wrong.The chart displayed above shows top tax rates on long-term capital gains and economic growth (measured as the percentage change in real GDP) from 1950 to 2011. If low capital gains tax rates catalyzed economic growth, you’d expect to see a negative relationship–high gains rates, low growth, and vice versa–but there is no apparent relationship between the two time series.  The correlation is 0.12, the wrong sign and not statistically different from zero.  I’ve tried lags up to five years and also looking at moving averages of the tax rates and growth.  There is never a statistically significant relationship.Low capital gains tax rates do accomplish one thing: they create lots of work for lawyers, accountants, and financial geniuses because there is a huge reward to making ordinary income (taxed at rates up to 35%) look like capital gains (top rate of 15%).  The tax shelters that these geniuses invent are economically inefficient, and the geniuses themselves might do productive work were the tax shelter racket not so profitable.  And the revenue lost to the capital gains tax loophole adds to the deficit, which also hurts the economy. http://taxvox.taxpolicycenter.org/2012/03/19/no-obvious-relationship-between-capital-gains-tax-rates-and-economic-growth/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+taxpolicycenter%2Fblogfeed+%28TaxVox%3A+the+Tax+Policy+Center+blog%29&utm_content=Netvibes 

      • William

        Prior to the election in 08 Obama said that raising CG taxes would lower revenues into the government, but it was more fair to have higher taxes than increased revenue.

        • Anonymous

          As usual, you took a half truth and turned it into a whole lie. Obama never said that raising CG taxes would lower revenues. Quite the opposite.

          This is the entire answer Obama gave on April 16, 2008 in response to Charlie Gibson:

          OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.We saw an article today which showed that the top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year — $29 billion for 50 individuals.  And part of what has happened is that those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries.  That’s not fair.And what I want is not oppressive taxation.  I want businesses to thrive, and I want people to be rewarded for their success.  But what I also want to make sure is that our tax system is fair and that we are able to finance health care for Americans who currently don’t have it and that we’re able to invest in our infrastructure and invest in our schools.And you can’t do that for free.

          http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/DemocraticDebate/story?id=4670271&page=3#.T4WCfquLuaU 

          Yes, fairness was part of it. But he also said he wanted to raise the capital gains rate to raise revenue in order to finance health care, and invest in infrastructure and schools, because “you can’t do that for free”.

          • BHA in Vermont

             Thanks Newton – SOMEONE has to call out the half truths, spun to advantage by way of LYING BY OMISSION.

          • William

            Charlie Gibson challenged him “A lower CG tax brings in more revenue” Obama said that did not matter because it was not fair”.

          • Anonymous

            Just where in the interview did Obama use the words, “… that did not matter because it was not fair.”

            It seems you paraphrase with a twist that invalidates the quote. How is that different from a lie?

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Ryan’s budget is only a 4% cut on the $1.2T portion of the discretionary budget.

    This is hardly radical.  Perhaps the cuts should be deeper so we can balance the budget more quickly.

    • Anonymous

      But that is for the discretionary budget in TOTAL! That includes defense which he does NOT cut at that rate. The non-defense discretionary spending looks like it could easily be cut by 90% unless he provides more details. And every time he has glossed over details in the past, when they surface they are in the 90% direction, not some nice acceptable 4% direction.

  • margbi

    What nobody seems willing to state is that taxes are going to go up for everybody and we’re all going to have a lower standard of living. This means everybody, not just millionaires. If we don’t do this now it will be forced on us later by circumstances. Look at Greece or Spain! 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Millionaires got the biggest tax cuts, get the biggest tax breaks, and pay the least percentage of discressionary monies above the necessities of living.  YET, they WHINE, and buy off politicians, so they pay LESS.  Moral???

    • Lin

      “EVERYBODY” is going to have “a lower standard of living?”  You’re kidding me right? Millionaires and billionaires will feel sacrifice because of a higher rate of taxes? The Koch Brothers on the right, and George Soros on the left will feel a pinch?

      “…we’re all going to have a lower standard of living” is the most ridiculous of statements to make. Whose kool-aid are you drinking? YOU will feel the pinch, I will feel the pinch, but “everybody” most certainly will not. Wake up and put the onus and the moral responsibility where it needs to fall.

      • margbi

         Okay, I should have said been more careful in my statement. Of course millionaires will complain that they have a “lower standard of living” even though it would pretty luxurious to most of the 99%.   I should have made this clearer. And I don’t like kool-aid so thanks, but I’m not drinking any.

    • Anonymous

      If you earn more, even a slightly higher tax rate will STILL leave you with MORE disposable income. But if you are going to earn more, you need to live in a healthy economy (unless you are in the 0.1% with income from foreign investments).

      Right now, the Treasury can borrow for 10 years at near zero interest rates, so borrowing to build and fix our decrepit infrastructure is truly a no-brainer. That new and improved infrastructure will enable businesses to grow in the future instead of incurring higher costs of getting product to market, connecting to customers (think how the Internet has improved marketing and sales), etc.

  • Anonymous

    Causes of Debt Crisis? Bush Tax Policies, Bush Wars and Bush Drug Plan

    Some critics continue to assert that President George W. Bush’s policies bear little responsibility for the deficits the nation faces over the coming decade — that, instead, the new policies of President Barack Obama and the 111th Congress are to blame. Most recently, a Heritage Foundation paper downplayed the role of Bush-era policies (for more on that paper, see p. 4). Nevertheless, the fact remains: Together with the economic downturn, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years (see Figure 1).

    The deficit for fiscal year 2009 was $1.4 trillion and, at nearly 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was the largest deficit relative to the size of the economy since the end of World War II. If current policies are continued without changes, deficits will likely approach those figures in 2010 and remain near $1 trillion a year for the next decade.

    The events and policies that have pushed deficits to these high levels in the near term, however, were largely outside the new Administration’s control. If not for the tax cuts enacted during the presidency of George W. Bush that Congress did not pay for, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were initiated during that period, and the effects of the worst economic slump since the Great Depression (including the cost of steps necessary to combat it), we would not be facing these huge deficits in the near term. 

    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3036

    • William

      But the “Bush” Wars were approved by both parties and the Iraq War was the continuation of the Clinton Doctrine, specifically, the Clinton Iraq Liberation Act. The war in Afghanistan, Obama himself called it “The Good War” so we can toss that out. The “Bush Drug Plan” has been a continuation of “War on Drugs” going back to the Nixon years and endorsed and expanded by various Presidents and Congress over the years. So toss that out. Obama has had not budget in 3 years so certainly you must have some graph or chart showing his failure to have a budget impacts the national debt in a negative way.

      • Gregg

        Not to mention the wars were not off-budget as is the mantra. Everything Obama has done is off budget because he never had one.

        • Modavations

          97 to 0 in the Senate.414 against in the House.The Pres.budget was found hysterical by both parties

          • Anonymous

            That was AFTER various amendments made it unrecognizable.

        • Anonymous

          While not a law labelled “Budget” there WAS a “Budget Outline” under which spending was authorized and appropriated.

          This was the best that could be accomplished due to Republican intransigence and the Republicans’ desire for a “Talking Point.”

          This does accomplish the necessary fact of how badly Congress has broken down, but it does NOT clearly establish the real cause: Republican power grabbing intransigence.

      • Anonymous

        If the Bush administration had just concentrated on Afghanistan, without “pivoting” to Iran, the work of building an improved economy for Afghanistan could have been accomplished while there was a lot more acceptance by the Afghans, not the current level of distrust which has developed from the decade of our presence without that much improvement in their lives. Thus Obama’s efforts face a much deeper opposition driven by lack of benefits and the human nature resistance to “others controlling but not improving one’s life.”

        The NATO forces might well be greatly reduced if not gone from Afghanistan by this time without the “Bush pivot.”

        • William

          Actually, Bush had the better idea in
          Afghanistan. Let the locals fight it out with limited support. The “big push” by Obama has not won the war in Afghanistan and we are leaving. The lesson from Vietnam was not to send in massive numbers of troops. Use the spec ops people, build up the local forces, let them do the fighting.

    • Gregg

      Those numbers do not hold up. The CBO projections are laughably irrelevant. The world is not static. They were made before 9/11 and the Clinton recession. Remember they projected $200 billion deficits as far as the eye could see for Clinton. They projected Obamacare was deficit neutral. Neither turned out that way. The party line is incoherent and silly. Obama owns this mess and continuing to blame Bush is astonishingly shallow.

    • Anonymous

      For a graphic display of the basics of what NewtonWhale is saying, see:

      http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/05/the-chart-that-should-accompany-every-discussion-of-deficits/238786/

      Note that the longest-lived contributors to the continuing deficits are the Economic Downturn and the Bush Era Tax Cuts.

  • AC

    can the guest speak about this off-shore tax shelters for corps I’ve heard about? I would like to know how that works and how/which federal & local taxes they are accountable for?

    • AC

      also, if there is some measurement or percentage of companies/individuals doing it?

    • Modavations

      It’s chump change,don’t worry about it

      • Terry Tree Tree

        $TRILLIONS is chump-change?  Your self-admitted ‘chemicals’ tell you this?

  • Wm. James from Missouri

    Don’t fool yourselves. The rich love debt. It is easy money for them. The IRS will enforce collection of the debt service on the American people by the force of a gun if necessary. We should be asking: Who owns the debt ? What is that debt being used for ? Is that debt helping to create new technologies and new industries and increasing total and distributed equity ? Romney shot Newt down when he said he would build a base on the moon to mine minerals and the like. He said he would fire him, remember ? And yet if done correctly the development of space, if done correctly could yield many 100 of trillions of dollars in “free” resources ( equity ) that would not have to be taken from anyone ! This is just one observation about how we DON’T use money ! I could give you many. But then again, the ideas I would push would make us all rich. There are a lot of rich folks that just won’t allow this to happen.

    When these politicians cut taxes while they add to the debt they force paper dollars into circulation, thereby allowing companies to raise prices on their goods. Example: more paper dollars means higher gas prices at the pump. You never, really get richer (but you do get fooled again) . Have you noticed that once prices go up they tend not to come down ! Another trick of the rich, stickiness !

    As a final thought, I add that Warren Buffet looks for return on equity, when he invest his money. Could this be why he has billions and you don’t ?

  • Anonymous

    Ronald Reagan: Present at the Creation…of the explosion in our debt

    The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 (OBRA 1981 or Gramm-Latta II) and the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (ERTA 1981 or the Kemp-Roth Tax Cut) comprised the first budget of the administration of Ronald Reagan (for FY82).  

    Although the Reagan administration predicted that the combination of spending and tax cuts would reduce the federal deficit, the deficit exploded under Reagan. 

    This was partially a result of slow economic growth, which was in turn precipitated by the Federal Reserve’s moves to reduce the money supply so as to curb inflation. On the whole, however, the ballooning federal deficit was caused by declines in tax revenue. As a result of the tax cuts, revenues for the federal government dropped $200 billion by 1986 and contributed to consecutive budget deficits and a massive increase in the national debt during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidencies. 

    http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/ROHO/projects/debt/1981reconciliationact.html 

    Take a look at the first graph.

    We racked up a sizeable debt fighting and winning WWII. It topped out at around $2.5 Trillion. Post war growth brought that below  2 Trillion where it stayed through the end of Carter’s administration.

    Then came Reaganomics.

    Over the next 12 years the debt exploded until Clinton brought it under control and gave us surpluses “as far as the eye can see”. 

    Then came 8 years of George W. Bush, who gave those surpluses away to his cronies, started two wars and an unfunded drug program, and drove the economy off the cliff.

    Obama has been reducing the deficit and started reducing the long term debt with NO HELP from Republicans.

    Take a look at the second graph.

    Since Eisenhower, the 4 administrations that most increased the % of debt were all Republican: Nixon, Ford, GHW Bush, GW Bush, and Reagan.

    And the undisputed champ, the single worst administration for increasing the debt, with no one else even remotely close…was Reagan.

    Take a look at the third graph.

    That’s right. Democratic presidents have been fiscally conservative. Republican presidents have exploded the debt.

    • William

      So Reagan’s Democratic Congress gets no credit for high spending? And Clinton’s Republican Congress gets not credit for a balanced budget and reduced spending?

      • Anonymous

        Not a single Republican voted for Clinton’s 1993 budget bill that led to the budget surpluses.

        http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/20/news/la-pn-bill-clinton-gingrich-opposed-bill-that-led-to-balanced-budgets-20111220 

        And Reagan’s own director of the Office of Management and Budget blames his old boss and Reaganomics:

        The second unhappy change in the American economy has been the extraordinary growth of our public debt. In 1970 it was just 40 percent of gross domestic product, or about $425 billion. When it reaches $18 trillion, it will be 40 times greater than in 1970. This debt explosion has resulted not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party’s embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don’t matter if they result from tax cuts.

        In 1981, traditional Republicans supported tax cuts, matched by spending cuts, to offset the way inflation was pushing many taxpayers into higher brackets and to spur investment. The Reagan administration’s hastily prepared fiscal blueprint, however, was no match for the primordial forces — the welfare state and the warfare state — that drive the federal spending machine.

        Soon, the neocons were pushing the military budget skyward. And the Republicans on Capitol Hill who were supposed to cut spending exempted from the knife most of the domestic budget — entitlements, farm subsidies, education, water projects. But in the end it was a new cadre of ideological tax-cutters who killed the Republicans’ fiscal religion.

        Through the 1984 election, the old guard earnestly tried to control the deficit, rolling back about 40 percent of the original Reagan tax cuts. But when, in the following years, the Federal Reserve chairman, Paul Volcker, finally crushed inflation, enabling a solid economic rebound, the new tax-cutters not only claimed victory for their supply-side strategy but hooked Republicans for good on the delusion that the economy will outgrow the deficit if plied with enough tax cuts.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/opinion/01stockman.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

        • Victor Vito

          Oh, snap William!

        • Gregg

          Please explain why you cite CBO projections to say tax cuts are costing us money on one hand but on the other  you dismiss the CBO projections after the 1993 budget that showed $200 billion dollar deficits.

          Where’s the love for Newt?

          • Anonymous

            I didn’t.

            Every chart I posted shows historical performance, not projections.

          • Gregg

            The one about the tax cuts projects what would have been in a static world, without a bursting tech bubble or 9/11, if revenue continued to come in dollar for dollar.

          • Anonymous

            I posted 3 graphs above. Two ended in January 2009. The other ended in July 2011. No projections.

            You must be thinking of something else.

          • Gregg

            I was referring to your original comment and comparing it with this last thread that posited the Clinton tax hikes caused the surplus. The CBO projected deficits, my point is CBO Projections are worthless. But your first graph relied on them to say tax cuts contributed substantially to the debt.

            http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3036

        • Modavations

          Pres.Clinton earned 30,000.00ish per annum before being elected Pres..A threat on Wall St,he was not.During his 1st 2 years ,the talk was deficits of 200Bill.as far as the eye can see(now it’s 1 trill a yr.,as far as the eye can see).The Stock Market moved from 3200 to 4000ish.Newt and the buys got elected,dropped the cap gains and viola!!!!The stock market went from 4000 to 10,000ish.

        • William

          But Reagan, over the objections of the “smart people” pushed spending on defense and defeated the Soviet Union which resulted in trillions of dollars not being spent fighting the cold war. So could you say his spending on defense was an excellent investment?

          • Anonymous

            The Cold War ended despite President Reagan’s arms buildup,
            not because of it

            The Soviet Union’s defense spending did not rise or fall in
            response to American military expenditures. Revised estimates by the Central Intelligence Agency indicate that Soviet expenditures on defense remained more or less constant throughout the 1980s. Neither the military buildup under Jimmy Carter and Reagan nor SDI had any real impact on gross spending levels in the USSR. 

            By the time Gorbachev became General Secretary, in March of
            1985, he was deeply committed to domestic reform and fundamental changes in Soviet foreign policy.  

            Reagan’s commitment to SDI made it more difficult for Gorbachev to persuade his officials that arms control was in the Soviet interest. Conservatives, some of the military leadership, and spokesmen for defense-related industries insisted that SDI was proof of America’s hostile intentions. In a contentious politburo meeting called to discuss arms control,
            Soviet armed forces chief of staff Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev angrily warned that the Soviet people would not tolerate any weakening of Soviet defenses, according to Oleg Grinevsky, now Russia’s ambassador to Sweden. Yakovlev
            insists that “Star Wars was exploited by hardliners to complicate Gorbachev’s attempt to end the Cold War.” 

            President Reagan continued to regard the Soviet Union as an
            “evil empire” and remained committed to his quest for a near-perfect ballistic-missile defense. To break the impasse, Gorbachev tried at the two leaders’ summit meeting in Reykjavik to convince Reagan of his genuine interest
            in ending the arms race and restructuring their relationship on a collaborative basis. For the first time, the two men talked seriously about eliminating all their countries’ ballistic missiles within ten years and significantly reducing their arsenals of nuclear weapons. Although the summit produced no agreement,
            Reagan became “human” and “likable” to Gorbachev and his
            advisers, and the President, convinced of Gorbachev’s sincerity, began to modify his assessment of the Soviet Union and gradually became the leading dove of his Administration. The Reykjavik summit, as Gorbachev had hoped, began a process of mutual reassurance and accommodation. That process continued after an initially hesitant George Bush became a full-fledged partner.

            The Carter-Reagan military buildup did not defeat the Soviet Union. On the contrary, it prolonged the Cold War. Gorbachev’s determination to reform an economy crippled in part by defense spending urged by special
            interests, but far more by structural rigidities, fueled his persistent search for an accommodation with the West. That persistence, not SDI, ended the Cold War.  

            http://www.theatlantic.com/past/politics/foreign/reagrus.htm

          • William

            Certainly the MSM wants you to think Reagan did not end the cold war. You know he did it because the MSM has worked so hard to say otherwise. Gorbachev was defeated and tossed in the towel. He learned that at the Iceland summit with Reagan who tossed him out.

          • Modavations

            Reagan was promised 3 dollars in cuts for every dollar of taxes raised.Of,course he got Niente.He calls this his greatest disappointment.Poppa Bush fell for the same thing and he was one term.

          • Anonymous

            If “Poppa” Bush had gotten his “spending cuts” at that time, the modest economic recovery that did occur in the summer of 1992 would NOT have happened as the drop in demand would have weakened the recovery if it did not push it back into recession.

          • Anonymous

            Right wingers like to create fantasies to support their Reagan wet dreams.

            The implosion of the Soviet Union was due to internal problems far, far more than from anything Mr. Raygun did.

            But keep thinking it did, Bill, if it helps you sleep better at night.

          • William

             Yeah…sure…the USSR decided Reagan was a push over and there were afraid a real hawk like Jimmy Carter might become the next President. Keep drinking the kool-aid.

          • Worried for the country(MA)

            Remember the laughed at Reagan’s vision of “star wars” defense.  Now Reagan is  having the last laugh.

          • BHA in Vermont

             And where is this “Star Wars Defense” sited?

          • Guest

            that increase in defense spending started under carter. please get your  facts straight.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Money making money is taxed FAR LESS than money made by risking life and health, by workers going to work?  How is that Moral?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      To me, that is about as moral as religious leaders raping and abusing children!

      • Modavations

        The Man From NAMBLA bleeds on us again

    • Modavations

      There is a risk involved,young lady.Many investors lose.The corporate tax rate in Canada is 15%.As of Apr.1 the U.S. has the highest rate in the world.Pres.Obama’s plan entails a Cap.Gains tax of 30%.These guys are setting up a putsch

      Remember it’s Lobbyist,not lobbyiest

      • Dab200

        Can you please name 3 American companies that paid this so called highest corporate tax rate in the world?

  • Victor Vito

    In the photo above, Paul Ryan is holding a pamphlet that reads “The Path to Prosperity”.  Prosperity for whom?  Does he mean the old people facing cuts to their old age pensions or their medicines?

    I’d respect it much more if it read “The road to Austerity:  Learning to Live With Much Less if you aren’t Wealthy”.

    I hope that when people begin to retire and realize that nothing is there for them, and all the promises have been broken, the poor masses set this country ablaze.  The American experiment may finally have failed and it could be time to pull it down.

    • Modavations

      Pres.Kennedy,the first of the Trickle Down Presidents,”a rising oceans lifts all boats”.When the economy is sound tax receipts flow

      • BHA in Vermont

         First:
        The quote is “a rising tide lifts all the boats”

        Second:
        Kennedy never said it in reference to tax rates, income tax or personal wealth. He used in support of his idea that the 50 states are ONE country and when one does well, it helps the others.

        Kennedy was NOT the “first of the Trickle Down Presidents”, Reagan was. And all but the rich suffer from it decades later and decades after it has proven only to move money toward the rich.

        http://hnn.us/articles/73227.html

        • Terry Tree Tree

          We’ve learned to not expect much accuracy from Moda, who has claimed to enhance his mind with ‘chemicals’, MANY times?

  • Modavations

    The problem is not revenue,it’s the spending stupid(Mr.Carville).The Ryan plan is a fraud.Good god,it kicks in in 30 years.The sequestration is our only salvation

    • Victor Vito

      What should we cut, and which revenue sources should we increase?

      • Modavations

        5% across the board,but the sequestration is my best hope

  • AC

    also, can the guest discuss how the debt is distributed? i.e – where/who do we owe the most to?

    • Modavations

      Social Security.We owe the fund 2.5 trillion.When you open the “lock box” moths fly out

      • lodger

        Which is why the box should have been locked in the first place.  Social Security isn’t the problem, raiding the trust fund to pay other obligations was the problem. 

        • Anonymous

          The “Trust Fund” was created by the 1983 Greenspan Commission so that the Baby Boom population “hump” would not strain the system.

          The “excess revenue” (above what would have been require for the “pay-as-you-go” system then in effect) was used to buy a special issue of Treasury Bills, which pay interest and thus provide growth over inflation. Investing in the Stock Market was ruled out because of the threat of “control of the market issues.”

          The fact that the money invested in Treasury Bills was used to hold the deficit down just makes it more incumbent on the wealthy to step up and pay more in taxes as they were the ones most benefitting from the lower deficits.

        • Modavations

          agreed,agreed,agreed

  • Modavations

    We will pay 457billion in interest on the debt,this year alone.The post office went broke over 6 billion,NASA over 15 billion.I suggest we let the Bush taxes expire and put  every cent into reducing the debt.This will be psychic pump priming.

  • Modavations

    This recession is not even close to what happened in the Great Depression.

    • Gregg

      Give Obama another 4 years.

      • Modavations

        General G,commander of the Liberated Middle States,this is the make it or break it year.Right here,right now.

    • Brandstad

      It is in some ways.  Have you seen the chart showing employment?  It will take another 5 years at our current rate to have as many people working as we did when Bush left office!  That doesn’t even account for our population growth!

      • Anonymous

        That is why the ARRA (stimulus) should have been  at least 50% larger to put more people back to work sooner. That extra money then would have cut the future safety net spending for the continuing unemployed and thus paid for itself many times over. Not to mention the pain and suffering of those (particularly long-term) unemployed through no fault of their own.

  • Modavations

    Yesterday,Gov.Christie lamented that America had lost it’s Mojo.The govt.has turned us into a nation of Dependents.A nation of “Give Me,Give me”.
          Gov.Christie,the real men are about to stand up and punch back!!!

    • Patrik

      Only problem is they’re shadow boxing in the corner…

    • Anonymous

      The Republicans are slowing/preventing the search and development of necessary alternate, sustainable low carbon energy sources and the more efficient ways to use it. That is the cause of any loss of Mojo.

      Syphoning off the economic gains by the rich to gamble in derivatives has taken away the money needed to develop the future economy.

      • Modavations

        Bull.Let the markets work their wonder.The Prius is a success because it;s a good product,bought by free men.The Govt car,GM version is a failure

  • Marion

    Hi, What does the guests think about the pledge the republicans signed to not vote any tax increase. I am personally chocked by that. I call that GANG Politics. I don’t think this is democratic behaviour. I am really surprised that the Americans did not denounce that.

    • Patrik

      It’s that them or us mentality.  Works great when dealing with zombie apocalypses, not so much with each other.  It’s that sort of thinking that benefits those who seek to have more than they need and suppresses those who strive to live on a reasonable wage.  This Ryan budget just perpetuates it.  

      I say wait it out, Norquist and his backwards viewing gaggle will go extinct soon.  Selecting Centralist Romney as the Rep. nominee is the canary in this coal mine… 

    • Anonymous

      We don’t have a tax problem, we have a spending problem!  Do you actually know how much more money Obama is spending than Bush did?  How much of your paycheck do you really want to involuntarily give to the government?

    • Anonymous

      I am surprised American’s don’t laugh at the Dems that call the Ryan Budget extreme!  The Ryan budget is so middle of the road it increases Government spending above the obscene levels that Obama has brought us to already!

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for putting the flag icon back. It makes it easier to skip over your posts.

      • Anonymous

        That is true ONLY IF you want an “hour-glass” economy: a few rich plutocrats in the top bowl and millions of poor in the bottom bowl; i.e., NO middle class.

  • Modavations

    Todays outrage in Boston goes something like this.One of the guys used his EBT Card(welfare)to draw cash(can you believe you can use a Welfare Card to draw cash)to make his bail

    • Victor Vito

      And because of this one, questionable anecdote, we should impune all the poor.  Off with their heads!  Don’t forget to mention the welfare queen driving the Cadillac who has more and more children to increase the size of her huge welfare checks.

      • Modavations

        Teach them to fish,keep your welfare.

  • Gregg

    America’s debt exceeds now all of the Eurozone and the UK combined.

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/04/americas-debt-bomb-worse-than-europes.php

  • Anonymous

    The Cold War ended despite President Reagan’s arms buildup, not because of it

    The Soviet Union’s defense spending did not rise or fall in response to American military expenditures. Revised estimates by the Central Intelligence Agency indicate that Soviet expenditures on defense remained more or less constant throughout the 1980s. Neither the military buildup under Jimmy Carter and Reagan nor SDI had any real impact on gross spending levels in the USSR. 

    By the time Gorbachev became General Secretary, in March of 1985, he was deeply committed to domestic reform and fundamental changes in Soviet foreign policy.  

    Reagan’s commitment to SDI made it more difficult for Gorbachev to persuade his officials that arms control was in the Soviet interest. Conservatives, some of the military leadership, and spokesmen for defense-related industries insisted that SDI was proof of America’s hostile intentions. In a contentious politburo meeting called to discuss arms control, Soviet armed forces chief of staff Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev angrily warned that the Soviet people would not tolerate any weakening of Soviet defenses, according to Oleg Grinevsky, now Russia’s ambassador to Sweden. Yakovlev insists that “Star Wars was exploited by hardliners to complicate Gorbachev’s attempt to end the Cold War.” 

    President Reagan continued to regard the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” and remained committed to his quest for a near-perfect ballistic-missile defense. To break the impasse, Gorbachev tried at the two leaders’ summit meeting in Reykjavik to convince Reagan of his genuine interest in ending the arms race and restructuring their relationship on a collaborative basis. For the first time, the two men talked seriously about eliminating all their countries’ ballistic missiles within ten years and significantly reducing their arsenals of nuclear weapons. Although the summit produced no agreement, Reagan became “human” and “likable” to Gorbachev and his advisers, and the President, convinced of Gorbachev’s sincerity, began to modify his assessment of the Soviet Union and gradually became the leading dove of his Administration. The Reykjavik summit, as Gorbachev had hoped, began a process of mutual reassurance and accommodation. That process continued after an initially hesitant George Bush became a full-fledged partner.

    The Carter-Reagan military buildup did not defeat the Soviet Union. On the contrary, it prolonged the Cold War. Gorbachev’s determination to reform an economy crippled in part by defense spending urged by special interests, but far more by structural rigidities, fueled his persistent search for an accommodation with the West. That persistence, not SDI, ended the Cold War.  

    http://www.theatlantic.com/past/politics/foreign/reagrus.htm

    • Brandstad

      What about the likely chance that rates will go up in the next 3-5 years?!  Have you seen what happens if rates return to their statistical average?  

      • Anonymous

        If spent NOW, the deficit will be much lower in that 3-5-year-off time, so the country STILL comes out AHEAD!

  • Patrik

    Thank you so much Tom for inviting Mr. Johnson, can’t wait to listen. 

  • Brandstad

    Can you talk some today about the short article in the Weekly Standard that talks about our Federal debt exceeding Greece, Spain, Italy and the remainder of the Euro Zone plus the UK!

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/americas-debt-greater-entire-eurozones-and-uks-combined-debt_636847.html 

  • Anonymous

    Why doesn’t anyone understand that the terminally wealthy will fall into deep depression if they don’t get more tax cuts.  It’s tough work, gut wrenching in fact, placing high stakes bets on oil futures and engineering financial vehicles to avoid paying taxes. It’s almost to much for a normal human being to bare.

    Without an upbeat wealthy class, who will buy all those cars, appliances, food and gas, the consumption of which drives our economy?

    Don’t they sacrifice enough investing overseas? I think they should pay no taxes! No!!! We should be paying them just to stay here and bless us with their presence which inspires us all to aspire to their exemplary lives of service to all.

    • Gregg

      I understand some are calling for a total revamp of the tax code, that’s one thing. But who is advocating tax cuts? Or do you consider being opposed to tax hikes as being for tax cuts?

      • Anonymous

        Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan is full of tax cuts to the wealthy. The top 1% get about $230K in cuts.
        He then has the nerve to say his plan will close loopholes which where he thinks the revenue will come from to pay for the tax cuts. All is well until one sees he has no plan for closing the loopholes.
        It’s all a ruse.

        • Gregg

          It’s a complete overhaul of the tax code.

          • Anonymous

            Like the Reagan overhaul which restructured the Alternative Minimum Tax so that it did not hit the real wealthy but because it was not indexed, threatens to hit the $250,000 to $1 million and always gets put off by Congress?

            Like the Reagan overhaul which removed tax expenditures which were subsequently restored over the next 15 to 20 years, particularly by Republican Congresses?

      • Anonymous

        It must be kind of fun living in Greggg’s world where one can invent any form of reality one wants.

        I’ll have some of what Greggg is having.

        http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/01/10/401893/ctj-analyze-gop-270/

        “In fact, according to an analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice, the average tax cuts received by the richest 1 percent of Americans under the Republican plans would be 270 times as large as the cut received by the middle class:The share of tax cuts going to the richest one percent of Americans under these plans would range from over a third to almost half. The average tax cuts received by the richest one percent would be up to 270 times as large as the average tax cut received by middle-income Americans.

        “http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/03/16/151008/gop-state-corporate-tax-cuts/

        REPORT: In 12 States, GOP Plans To Slash Corporate Taxes While Increasing Burden on Working Families

        • Gregg

          “Tax cuts received”

          I was talking about tax cuts on the table. Where are they? Choose any world that counts.

          • Anonymous

            So, you were asking “who is advocating tax cuts” that are “on the table”?

            Once again, Greggg gets called on his heaping bull dung, and responds with smarmy weaseling.

      • Anonymous

         Hmmm let me see… Mitt, Paul, Grover…

    • Golda Emman

      They are, after all, better than us—they show God’s Favour (and that of the Most Holy Market) by being richer, freer, and happier than the rest of us.  We’re a lost cause, how really can we enjoy life when under the thumb of a boss or a supervisor or our customers—they should enjoy life for us, and we should help them enjoy it moreso.

      Improved healthcare?  Why would we want to live _longer_?

      • Anonymous

        They also have thin skins as demonstrated by the way they all started reviling Obama after a single comment by him that some in the financial services industry had created the financial crisis.

  • Victor Vito

    If globalization is destroying your present and future, please raise your hand.

  • Anonymous

    Hmmm.  Zeroing out military spend results in $7 trillion in savings over 10 years (based on 2012 budget).  Seems like the way to go to me.

    • Victor Vito

      YESYESYESYES!

    • Nedward Stark

      Our founders considered a standing army one of the greatest possible threats to liberty.  Though our soldiers fight bravely, and mis-handle their deadly power probably less than I would, it still cannot be denied that the values necessary to military life:  obedience to authority, exercise of authority, acceptance of absurdity and a life largely in the control of others, and the permissibility of breaking down another person’s personality to rebuild it as you will…are not the values proper to a free citizenry.

  • Chris

    Everyone here who has a Republican congressman (they ALL voted for the Paul Ryan budget except 5 in total) call them and ask how they are going to pay off a 15.5 TRILLION DOLLAR DEBT by cutting taxes on the rich by 4.2 TRILLION DOLLARS.

    • Anonymous

      Tax cuts increase revenue.  Eliminate taxes so revenue will go to infinity.

      • Victor Vito

        Your premise is at best, speculative.

        • Anonymous

          It’s actually ludicrous.

          • Anonymous

            Finely crafted sarcasm is lost on many.

  • Chris

    The corrupt Washington elite ran up the 15.5 TRILLION dollar debt.

    It didn’t benefit the people.

    That money went to Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Halliburton, Blackwater who got no bid cost+ contracts.

    That money went to the criminal banks who crashed our economy and stole TRILLIONS of our tax dollars.

    That money went to subsidize the oil companies who are the most profitable in the history of the world while destroying our Gulf.

    Hey Washington, don’t you dare try to tell us to suck it up. Don’t you dare try to tell us there is no money for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Education and infrastructure spending.

    You want to threaten about the debt. 

    Make your criminal elite buddies pay it off because WE REFUSE TO.

    Criminals.

  • Victor Vito

    Why will neither political party talk about cutting the military the way they talk about cutting medicare, medicaid, and social security?

    Maybe we should sell the Ninitz class carriers (11-12) to China and let them handle hegemony while we straighten things out at home? 

    • Anonymous

      Both the Republocrats and Democrocans need to continually use fear (Red Scare, Grenada, “terrorists,”…) to maintain a “strong military” which will protect us from these bogey men, which is merely a pretense to maintain their corporate donor base. 

      “Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people con’t want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. 

      But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship….Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.”

      —Hermann Goering, at the Nuremberg Trials before he was sentenced to death

      “We need a common enemy to unite us.”

      —Condoleeza Rice, March 2000

      “Scare the hell out of the American people.”

      —Senator Arthur Vandenbur, telling President Truman what he needed to do in order to tax the American people to pay for the weapons and covert activities of the U.S. National Security State that was being planned, to destroy the Russian Communist State

      “Our government has kept us in a perputual state of fear—kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor—with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it…”

      —General Douglas Mac Arthur, 1957

      “The aim of practical politics is to keep the populace in a constant state of alarm, and hence clamoring to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary…”

      —H.L. Mencken

    • peter

      Nobody other country has people that stupid. 

  • Chris

    The military budget is 1.2 TRILLION dollars a year when you include retirement, healthcare for life and the two useless wars.

    If we cut that to ZERO tomorrow it would still take over 15 years to pay off the national debt the corrupt Washington elite ran up.

    So you see people, when Paul Ryan and his fellow corrupt Washington elite tell you that we need to cut spending to pay off the debt, what they mean is YOU GET NOTHING FOR YOUR TAX MONEY because we aren’t going to cut a penny from the military budget, it’s ALL COMING FROM ANYTHING THAT BENEFITS THE PEOPLE.

    • Peter

      Imagine how much the prison industrial complex costs.
      In NY the entire prison budget is 2 -3 Billion for all costs minus healthcare. The inmate health care costs are hidden but believed to be around 5 times that amount.
      Military spending and healthcare costs are killing us.

      • Anonymous

        Even Texas is changing its attitude toward prisoner treatment with new policies to help release prisoners sooner with support which lowers recidivism.
        See the PBS program, “Need to Know” of a few weeks ago.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve heard numerous interviews with Mr Johnson, who is clearly a very astute and accomplished fellow. But in every case, his comments seem to assume the ongoing existence of a “growth economy” as a necessary factor in his ideas of what needs to be done to correct our collective economic problems.

    Yet, growth depends on inputs of limited, dwindling, and, ultimately, finite resources, most notably so, fossil fuels, which are responsible for the very fabric of our societal structure, and the consumption of which still underly nearly everything we do and consume.

    Please ask him how he reconciles a finite resource base (which also includes the ability of the environment to absorb the abuses of our existence) with the presumption of the perpetual existence of a “growth economy.” 

    • Anonymous

      Fossil fuels are not only limited (which makes their continuing price rise inexorable) but also their use in a way that does not mitigate release of CO2 will bring the world economy to an end. Unrestrained “business as usual” will lead to the end of civilization as we know it.

  • Chris

    Every time Paul Ryan opens his mouth he says his budget will increase revenues by lowering taxes, cutting loopholes and broadening the base.

    So, how many loopholes did Paul Ryan propose to cut in his 98 page manifesto?

    ZERO.

    ZERO.

    ZERO.

    Paul Ryan wants to make sure that the rich have their taxes lower then they already are. Which is a much lower percentage then the average middle class person pays.

    • Anonymous

      Ryan doesn’t go to dinner with hedge-fund owners and drink over-$300 wines for nothing! He has to do something for that!

  • PESSIMIST

    Unfortunately, it is far too late to stop this sinking ship.  Any solution (and we need all of them…raising taxes, cutting spending, reforming entitlement probrams) is arl too painful (like the icy Atlantic waters) to bear or to get partisan politicians of both parties to seriously deal with.   Like the Titanic filling up with water, let’s just shut the water tight hatch door, put earplugs in our ears so that we don’t hear the sound of rushing water, and make believe that all is well until the ship sinks, which it inevitably is in the process of doing.

    • Patrik

      Too late for the many poor and few middle class in the bowels of that ship maybe.  Dont worry, the super wealthy at the top had their life rafts bought and paid for.  Capteen Ryan is assisting them off as we speak…

    • Chris

      Fine. If it sinks we are going to take the criminal rich down with us this time.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        They will ‘Golden Parachute’ to another country, showing the ‘patriotism’, they so loudly proclaim?

        • Anonymous

          Climate Change will get them wherever they go, and the places to go to will not be plentiful.

  • Chris

    Stop with your shared burden meme.

    The criminal rich benefited from this debt. The people didn’t.

    THe criminal rich can pay it off. BECAUSE WE, THE PEOPLE REFUSE TO.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    Shared sacrifice should be the name of the game. The Bush tax cuts should be allowed to lapse and we should restructure our tax code towards a more progressive system that draws less on the poor, more on the rich, but also does away with the innumberable exemptions that allow many to avoid their true tax burdens. Spending will need to be brought under control of course but not entirely at the expense of programs that underpin the success of our economy such as the NIS, Pell grants, and the social safety net. We will all have to face facts eventually that the way we have funded our government over the past decade or so is unsustainable. Doing more of the same and perpetuating what is essentially trickle down economics will only lead to further inequality and eventualy insolvency for the United States.

    • William

      But the poor are not paying now and actually receive an EIC check. How much more “progressive” can it get?

      • Anonymous

        The poor pay when there is not a reasonable minimum wage for which the EIC (Milton Friedman’s proposal to Ronald Reagan; imagine!) is compensation.

        • William

          EIC or “negative income tax” might have worked if taken to the level that Friedman suggested. You have EIC and eliminate all the other welfare programs, government agencies that administer them.

  • Yar

    The majority of national debts has historically been paid through inflation.  Isn’t that how it will continue to work today?  What percentage of the national debt does Simon Johnson expect to be written off through inflation?  And what does that mean for people looking to retire in the next 20 years?

    • Anonymous

      It means that stocks will do better than bonds (or CDs). Invest in a stock index fund, slowing switching into bond categories as retirement looms.

  • Scott B, NY

    Reagan found out quickly doesn’t work, because he had to hike taxes on the rich, GHW Bush called it “Voodoo Economics” and said it doesn’t work, and their economics advisers like Stockman and Bartlett say it doesn’t work and that the rich need to be taxed more.  Yet the Republicans are still battering away at trickle-down economics 30 years later, against all fact. “Don’t say it’s raining while you’re pissing down my back.” – Riot Act, Skid Row

    The Republicans and Right keep trotting out that over 50% of Americans don’t pay any Federal income tax. That’s true, but the 99% of us not in the upper tax bracket pay local taxes, state taxes, sales taxes, and often in a higher proportion to income that the 1%. 

    How is another 4% going to break someone making a million dollars a year? 4% to someone making minimum wage is big when they have to budget to the penny. To someone like Buffet  or Romney it’s not even a blip.  Does anyone think Mitt and his wife stopped for a nanosecond and wondered, “Can I afford this second Cadillac (or vacation home, or designer suit, or trip, of the car elevator…)?” 

    • Anonymous

      Reagan fell for the usual Democrat promises that if he would raise taxes now, they would cut spending later.  Guess what? They Lied like the Dems have so many times since and they always want more money now and promise to spend less later, but for some reason later never comes! 

      • Michiganjf

        Snap out of your fantasy that Republicans have ever decreased overall spending… they have regularly increased spending, and on far more useless boondoggles, than Dems ever have!

      • denis

        and where is the crediable referances for that statement?

        you guys like to talk about tax and spend Dems when the larger problem has been spend and borrow Repubs

        • Scott B, NY

          Republicans deserve a “Best Actor” award for portraying fiscal conservatives while being the ones that time and time again increased the debt and deficit by multiples. Reagan did it in the name freedom, trying to  outspend the USSR. Dubya did it by literally giving away a +$250 Billion surplus, getting us into 2 wars that weren’t financed for the first time in US history by a war tax, and gave huge tax breaks for the richest 1%.  Does that sound fiscally conservative and responsible? 

        • Modavations

          You’re right but it’s 50-50….Term Limits fixes this problem toute de suite

      • Guest

        didn’t reagan promise his tax cuts would bring in so much revenue he could balance the budget and pay off debt? now it’s the democrats fault?

        • Modavations

          Revenues doubled and as usual the hacks spent it all and demanded more

      • Scott B, NY

         No, Reagan believed his, and his advisors, own BS about trickle-down economics. When the numbers showed that math always works the same way, they had to grasp onto reality, because “deficit spending”, where they mentally erased the minus sign in front of the amount of money the government had, couldn’t be ignored. 

        SNL had it right when they showed Reagan’s plan as saying  “This half is going to be spent here, and this half is going to be spent here, and this half is spent over here.” That’s three halves, do the math. 

    • William

      If some 48 percent of Americans don’t pay their “fair share” then why should everyone else keep paying? After all, Obama said our economic system should be “fair” and it’s not “fair” for 48 percent of Americans not to pay “their fair share”.

  • Tony, Washington, DC

    According to Obama and his allies, Americans will be guaranteed a minimum standard of living by BIG GOVERNMENT.  Obama and his allies’ BIG GOVERNMENT welfare state will cover Americans from all vagaries of modern 21st century life.  Below are Obama and his allies’ 7 point master plan for the U.S.:
    1.       If you are born sick, the welfare state will pay;
    2.       If you can’t afford a college education, the welfare state will pay;
    3.       If you can’t find work, the welfare state will pay;
    4.       If you become too ill, the welfare state will pay;
    5.       If and when you retire, the welfare state will pay;
    6.       When you finally die, the welfare state will pay your funeral; and
    7.       Then after you die, the welfare state will pay to take care of your dependents.
    As you can conclude from Obama and his allies’ 7 point master plan, his collectivist vision will build on the collectivist vision handed to him from his collectivist ancestors, and it will provide you cradle to grave security by eliminating your individual risk taking.
    However, the omniscience, omnipotent Obama didn’t account for the fact that paying for these welfare state handouts will require confiscatory state taxation which disastrously skews economic incentives.
    Of course, all socialist liberals and so called progressives will disagree because they have abdicated all ability of independent thought.

    • Chris

      The biggest welfare queens of all are the corporations and the military contractors.

      • Chris

        Forgot to add, the criminal banks.

    • John in Vermont

      Sorry but this is dogmatic claptrap and beside the point. We’re talking about reducing the US debt. If you want to get real and simply say that Americans can’t have everything they want and expect from the government, get low taxes and not carry debt – then perhaps some of us will listen.

    • Patrik

      I understand and agree that people should work hard for a living (Food, Shelter) but these programs help those who may not be able to make it or need to at least have a chance to get back on their feet do so.  The last time I checked not everyone is perfect or is super-educated with great skills to earn $100,000.00+/yr.  I hope those people crying welfare state never fall on hard times or lose everything and watch their friends sneer at them as they accept the benefits from the very programs they railed against.

      • Anonymous

        When a wealthy (particularly politician) person loses a job/election, a “friend” always finds a sinecure for him. After is 2006 Pennsylvania loss, the Koch Brothers found a nice job for him studying “threats to the U.S.” Check his tax returns that he released.

    • Anonymous

      None of what you write here is true and you are not fooling me with your gross distortion of how government programs work. But you are not interested in the truth or in any reasonable debate about this issue. That’s clear.

      • Modavations

        He’s a vile little man,.just vile

    • lodger

      Perpetual war that enriches a few requires confiscatory state taxation.  Only it’s done invisibly, ie we are trained to ignore the realities of war, except for the few who sign up to get educational benefits.  And it’s paid for by future generations. Obama finally put the bills on the public spreadsheet. Bush hid them.  

    • AC

      i think you’re wrong – it’s much worse than ‘welfare state’ – clearly it’s a meglomaniac at work: ”
      “Heal the sick, cleansethe lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. -Bible (NewTestament)St Matthew10:8.”

    • MrLongleg

      Here is the GOP version of it:

      1. If you are born sick, your parent go bankrupt, but you  will die anyway, because your parents can’t pay the doctor anymore, after they are bankrupt. (Medical issues are still bankruptcy reason number one in this country)

      2. Most kids won’t be able to go to college anymore, because the tuition is unaffordable. State and community colleges can’t handle the demand, because their budgets are cut. So America becomes even more stupid and we import more software developers from India were university is affordable for everybody, while American kids can’t find jobs anymore, because they don’t have the right skills.

      3. More homeless people starving on the street and of course an increase in crime rates and/or prison population. If you don’t have a job, just shoot yourself to save us the trouble of your existence.

      4. If you become sick and don’t have money, too bad. You will loose your job, the health insurance will stop coverage and you join the people under point 3.

      5. If you retire, you have better saved a million or two (making sure not to invest it with Wall Street, otherwise it would probably be gone). The government can’t afford old people and offers free suicide drugs to the ones that ran out of money. Of course as a righteous Christian you’d probably have 12 kids, so they can take care of you.

      6. We should better let them all rot in the streets if they did not save up for their funeral.

      7. The kids of parents who die early will join the group under point 3. Alternatively they could be used as cheap slave labour force for rich Republicans.

      Since the people opposing any kind of a social net are mostly Christians too (isn’t that ironic) we can assume that Jesus would love such an America where you let your brother or sister die in the street so that you can buy your third car and your second house without paying taxes.

      Tony, your heart must have been removed surgically a long time ago – the only thing you care about is your self. This nation became strong because people considered their country and society as a greater good where everybody contributed to his/her ability. This “everybody for himself” mentality will bring it down to its knees. 

      And for the record – I am not proposing an all out welfare state (and neither does Obama), but a certain level of a social net is affordable by the richest country in the world, especially if everybody contributes their fair share. Maybe we should exchange one aircraft carrier towards better education and health care.

  • Charlie Mc

    Two questions for Rep. Ryan: 1. What do you think of the repeal of the GLASS-STEAGALL ACT, and what do you think about Brooksley Born’s opposition to deregulation long before the roof caved in?

  • BHA in Vermont

    Paul Ryan is a fool if he thinks private insurance is cheaper that a “one big pool” insurance plan. Just look at the amount charged and the amount agreed for various medical services you have had. Then compare those numbers from 1,000 different people. The ACTUAL cost of providing the service is not the amount charged BECAUSE the “big players” wrest a big discount to get the “amount agreed”. The little guy has to pay MORE for the service to recover the costs NOT paid by the big guys.  

    We can only HOPE that the people who make decisions LISTEN to Mr. Johnson. They won’t, of course. It is ALL about politics and NOT AT ALL about what is factual.

  • Still Here

    Shrink the government, then the burden will be lower for everyone.  Not that the 50% who don’t pay federal income tax will notice, but they’re not invested anyway.    Please also read, the word is shrink, not dissolve, no creating false strawmen by those who aspire to work for the government some day. 

    No tax policy based on envy would be a good start also.

    • Chris

      I don’t envy the criminal rich.

      I want justice.

      • Still Here

        What’s the alleged crime?  Who’s the alleged perpetrator? 
         

        • Chris

          Corruption. Start reading financial websites. Start really digging into what is going on. The rich are completely and utterly corrupt.

          They are buying our government to benefit only themselves.

          • Still Here

            Just as I suspected, nothing. 

          • Chris

            You are very uninformed.

            That’s how the criminal elite like it.

            Carry on carrying their water for them.

            or

            READ SOME GODDAMNED FINANCIAL WEBSITES FOR GOD’S SAKE. THEY READ LIKE CRIME NOVELS. BECAUSE IT IS NOTHING BUT CRIME COMMITTED EVERYDAY FROM MORNING TO NIGHT BY THESE PEOPLE.

          • Still Here

            Still nothing, pathetic. 

          • Modavations

            Penis Envy,go read Freud

          • Modavations

            Show me a guy who envies the rich and I’ll show you a failure

        • Pasqualecap

           The ultimate tribunals for the wall street crooks, political clowns and war profiteers should last for years.

    • BHA in Vermont

      Envy has nothing to do with fairness. Nor does it have anything to do with the Buffett rule.

      I do not envy Romney’s $21M 2011 income nor do I envy Buffett’s tens of billions in worth. I just figure a guy who makes $21M without even needing to breathe (blind trust) should pay a higher tax rate than people who work 40+ hours a week at jobs that PRODUCE goods and services. How do the people who built his Mustang and truck and his wife’s 2 Cadillacs feel about paying a higher tax rate than the Romneys? 

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      And just who has been taking taxpayers off the income tax rolls? Gee, wasn’t it Bush who bragged that 5 million people would no longer have to pay taxes?

      As could be expected, the Right then uses their own irresponsible policies as an excuse to be MORE irresponsible. Now the Right is complaining their tax cuts for the rich were UNFAIR TO THE RICH… and THEY deserve more tax cuts.

      • William

        Was it “irresponsible” to “allow” people to keep their money? And it is “responsible” to take people’s money and transfer it to someone else, usually less deserving, via a failed government that “takes a little taste?”.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      So by your “logic” Reagan’s 1981 ERTA top rax rate on the rich of 50% was based on “envy”? What about his call in 1986 that it was unfair to tax capital gains LESS than regular income? Was that based on “envy”?

      The Right can come up with no end of reasons the rich should not get a tax hike back to even the levels of the 90′s… but even deserve a tax cut. But you need to ask yourself what’s REALLY behind these seemingly logical policies? Once we strip away the nice words, we find an ugly policy to dismantle government so it no longer works for the little guy.  

  • Anonymous

    BUR, your online streaming app is not working.

  • Ideasanyone?

    How about this?  Fifty cents of every dollar spent on TV advertising for any election will be collected and put to pay down the National Debt.  Doesn’t take away any “fee speech” and might give some use to those awful TV ads that we will be subjected to incessantly in the next few months.

    • Chris

      WHY are the TV stations making any money at all to air political ads?

      We OWN THE AIR WAVES. THE ADS SHOULD BE RUN FREE.

  • PaulCJr

    I willing to pay more in taxes to bring down the national debt. Trust I don’t like paying more in taxes, but I like having a fiscally sounds nation. I also like social and government services like street lights, roads, public transport, social security, public universities, the courts. I don’t understand this slash taxes and still spend mentality. People want all the services government can give them, but not pay. I would also like free rent, but if I didn’t pay my landlord he would be showing me a nice piece of concrete to call home. I’m coming down to the conclusion that the next president should go along with this mentality of cutting taxes, but also decimating all sort of government services. When Americans see how much government matters to their daily lives, maybe they’ll rap their head around the need to pay takes. Running a nation isn’t free.

    • Chris

      Americans know they need to pay taxes. And they don’t mind as long as they get something back in reture.

      The problem is the government has been so captured by the criminal elite it is now structured to benefit only them.

      • PaulCJr

        I’m just tired of hearing the rhetoric Chris. I even here it at the gym and cafe. We pay too much in taxes! Yet historically we’re paying less in taxes today than our grandparents did in their time. I’m sorry to say, but most don’t have a clue to where our spending is happening or history of taxes and spending in our nation, and this I feel will undo out nation. This lack of knowledge is going to kill us. 

        • Chris

          I’m not entirely sure what you are referring to. 

          The problem today is the corruption of our system.

          Not just how high or low are taxes are.

          How is it possible that a billionaire like Mitt Romney pays a lower percentage (13.9%) then the average middle class American?

          It’s because of the corruption in Washington. The rich have bought our government to benefit only them.

  • Guest

    Why can’t we have participatory budgeting?  Every 4-8 years, divvy up -on paper- the national revenue evenly among the citizens and have them spend it on what they think is important.  If you care about debt and military, put your money into that.  If you care about health and education, put more of your money into that.  If you want to spend more than your divvied share, you can, but you need to pay back the money you owe, over the next budgeting meeting.

    that way, politicians don’t have to make this decision, because they can’t.  And everyone gets their fair input on how the country should spend it’s money.

  • CD

    In Simon’s description of previous debt crises, he called them all ‘wars’.  In this one, it is only called ‘the present’.  Like the others, this crisis was caused by a huge war.  But it is an unfunded war accompanied by a huge and unprecedented tax cut.  In addition, we have not, over the last two decades, invested in any major infrastructure.  We have made it easier and easier for large corporations to take their money offshore and protect it.  A graph of corporate profits over the last decade shows quite a steep rise in corporate profits while wages relative to cost of living remain flat.  In terms of health care, government has not used it’s leverage  to lower costs of both care and medicine.  For example, the republican congress under Bush voted to make it illegal for unions or pension funds to get medicine cheaper from other countries… How can we NOT have a financial crisis ?  

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

     
    The evidence of why the US has  undergone such fiscal insanity is right before us, yet half the nation denies it and the other half refuses to come to grips with the insanity.

    The far Right realized that the only way to undermine the New Deal and Great Society programs they’ve always loathed was NOT to run against these program and debate their merits, for they’d surely lose elections. But if they created a fiscal disaster they those deficits and debts would create their own logic to cut or eliminate these programs. But a deliberate policy of fiscal irresponsibility would also be impossible to sell. So a propaganda industry would be needed to “redefine” such fiscal insanity as the opposite: responsible and desirable. We were told tax cuts for the rich benefited us all, or that tax cuts paid for themselves. They were a free lunch! To disguise their effects, the Orwellian Right created phony revenue booms out of dishonest statistics, and made it sound as if these tax cuts “soaked” the rich… and how it might be unfair to them, and MORE tax cuts were needed for these “job creators”. Suddenly budgets have only one variable… spending, even though everyone knows revenue is just as important.

     
    The far Right had taken common sense off the table and created a religion that worships fiscal irresponsibility. This madness has now metastasized into a party full of Tea Party loonies who are going in for the kill. As Grover Norquist said, he wants to shrink government down to a mere 8% of GDP. THIS is the moment they’ve dreamed up the past 30 years and to give in on tax hikes is to give up on their dream of dismantling the Democratic safety net and turning back the reforms of 20th Century from worker rights and safety to environmental reforms.  

    • miro

      Decades ago, they used to say that they wanted to shrink government to the point that it could then be drowned in a bathtub.

      What has changed is the propaganda lock that the right wing media (Fox News and others) on the American heartland (the South and rural sections of the Midwest and West). The right controls the memes that dominate the thinking of most Americans.

      Before, the managerial classes were focused on extracting profits here at home, but now they are looking to export whatever industries they can to low wage places in Asia. This shift, really a form of economic treason, might explain why more conservatives now want to disinvest in American social infrastructure — they see that their fortunes are elsewhere.

    • William

      So when the “far right” warned FDR that the “New Deal” would not work and would eventually bankrupt the nation they were wrong? And the “far right” warnings about “The Great Society Programs” that they would accomplish little if anything but transfer wealth from productive people to unproductive people they were wrong again? And the far left prediction that Medicare would only cost a few billion dollars by the year 2000 they were right? Who is was telling the truth?

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        The way the Right tries to make it’s predictions correct is to sabotage the programs they never liked, then claim they were omniscient.
         
        Social Security needs just a small adjustment to keep it solvent. Reagan approved of such an adjustment back in 83 but the Right today never would. Medicare is facing difficulties because WE LACK AN EFFICIENT SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE SYSTEM… something the Right opposes.

        • William

          Social Security was never an insurance program. It was a tax. So it was a lie from the get go. Medicare was promised to be a very low cost program. That was a lie. A single payer system is unaffordable due to a lack of spending cuts in other areas.

  • KateWo

    Taxation without representation.  When will Americans/WS Occupiers realize that unless we have a referendum vote this issue between libetarians and liberals will never be settled by the politicians.

  • John in Vermont

    Everyone KNOWS the responsible road to take to deficit reduction.  The Tea Part KNOWS the path that needs to be taken they just DON’T WANT TO.

    We have become a nation of petulant children who would rather stand off to the side, arm folded and keep hollering “NO, I don’t WANNA!” instead of engaging in real conversations about taking real action that inflicts the least harm in cutting the deficit.

    I will point out, again, that Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich had fashioned a deficit reduction program that was working. We were on the road to responsible budgeting until the GOP-led Congress agreed to fight two wars without paying for them.  Even true conservatives, like Pat Buchanan, lamented this path – it was and remains an irresponsible path.  But suggest that we reverse course and the Tea Party reverts to that petulant child.

  • Rievler

     Simon-I’m reading your book and have been a fan of the Baseline Scenario, however I can’t believe you just said that there is no role for stimulus at this point. What about federal aid to state and local government? Blue line is Reagan’s G after the recession. Green line is Obama’s G.  2.5 years post trough, Saint Reagan has a 10+% growth. Obama’s is down 2% or so. And the latter is praised by the Austerity crowd, while the latter is vilified?

    • Chris

      The stimulus was ineffective because the money by and large went to the top as usual.

      U.S. corporations are sitting on 2 TRILLION dollars.

      Many U.S. corporations have written off the middle class in this country as they are being decimated.

      They have no intention of spending that money in this country. It’s on to Asia for them.

  • Lgreer111

    Given the disfunction in Washington, I think that our best chance of addressing the debt problem may be through that disfunction.  If Congress can’t pass any legislation acceptable to Democrats and Republicans, the automatic austerity measures and elimination of the Bush tax cuts go into effect at the end of the year.  While those effects might pose a risky shock to a still fragile economy, they would be a big step, though not a cure, to addressing the debt problem. – Leslie 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Congress will put ‘exclusions’ of their pet (EXPENSIVE) programs in action!

  • BHA in Vermont

    I don’t think anyone believes that raising taxes on the rich will balance the budget, but it can provide PART of the money needed to HELP balance the budget.

    I still advocate ZERO deductions for ANYTHING. Drastically drop the tax rates but leave them graduated by income. We’ll save a ton of government expense by reducing IRS costs substantially – a job killing thought to be sure.

    • John in Vermont

       Whether it is a flat tax or tax simplification there is a huge lobby against it.  It includes, accountants, charities, lawyers and other large groups that make their money from tax code complications and deductions.  Even a whiff of tax code change brings a tidal wave of lobbyists down on Congress to the point that now they hide from those two options.
       

      • TomK in Boston

        Flat tax is a very bad idea. The USA system that once worked so well is progressive taxation. The rate should increase as the income increases.

        Tax simplification is a diversion. Yes, yes, simplification would be nice but what we really need is HIGHER RATES at the top. Simplification is invoked as a debate tactic to dodge the need for higher rates. The TeaOP will not discuss raising revenue as they defend their oligarch masters, so they try to change the subject to simplification.

        The other laffer is “revenue neutral tax simplification”. Pretty funny to hear the self-appointed “deficit hawks” insisting on not getting more revenue to reduce the deficit. Actually their scams, like Ryan’s, are never even neutral as they propose real cuts plus vague “loophole closings” that have no chance of offsetting the cuts.

    • TomK in Boston

      Exactly. Nobody has ever claimed that raising taxes at the top alone would balance the budget. So what? Every significant contribution counts. The right never rejects their class warfare budget cuts because they won’t balance the budget all by themselves. Why the selective focus on solving the entire problem?

      You can’t talk about taxes in a vacuum. After 32 yrs of tax cutting we are in an ultra low tax environment. Furthermore, all the benefits we were supposed to get from tax cuts have not materialized. The middle class has shrunk along with the tax rates! With taxes already low, with the claims that low rates are so wonderful disproved, with soaring inequality, and with a big deficit, isn’t it obvious that taxes should go up, primarily at the top?

      “Deficit hawks” like the TeaOP proposing tax cuts from our ultra low tax starting point are ridiculous hypocrites.

      It’s disturbing that President Obama is so timid on taxes. The Buffett rule and expiration of the Bush tax cuts still leave top rates near all time lows. That’s crazy! Make them 60%, 70%, 80% like they were in the golden age of the middle class. Revive the estate tax. Get corporations contributing again. 

      Every time the GoP squeezes the middle class they talk about “hard choices” and “shared sacrifice”. I have never once heard them suggest a hard choice or a sacrifice for the 1%. Why? Obviously it makes no econ sense, but it makes great class warfare sense. 

      The GoP is agenda IS class warfare. Those who don’t know better wake up or we are screwed.

      Tom, great job having Simon Johnson on. It’s unfortunately rare to hear plain common sense on econ.

      • William

        So the 48 percent or so that don’t pay any federal income tax should be brought down to what? 5 percent or so? And that 1 percent that pays the majority of the federal income taxes should be expanded to what? 45 percent?

    • miro

      IRS costs of collecting taxes are insignificant. Focus on what is real.

      • BHA in Vermont

         Hey, every little bit helps :) Don’t need all the paper printed, mailed, stored. Don’t need all the people to answer questions (wrong about as often as right), don’t need as many auditors.

  • Ralph McNall

    Should the purpose of taxes be to fund government or control (limit) inflation?

    Assuming that the purpose of taxes is not to fund government, but rather to control (limit) inflation, then should meeting a government’s funding needs be meet by borrowing or coining (printing)?

    The prevailing belief is that you want to borrow in order to avoid/minimize inflation.  To the contrary, coining/printing is theoretically less inflationary than borrowing if you have adequate policies (taxes, fees, fines, incentives, …) to control (limit) inflation.

    Borrowing primarily benefits those that make money off money, not society as a whole.  And as such our government should never borrow.

  • Anonymous

    Your economy lacks investment because there are fewer customers because we have killed off the customers by raising interest on their debt, lowering their wages and hours, or cutting their jobs.

  • Chris

    Paul Ryan’s budget is SHOCK Doctrine:

    ram through what people don’t want because we are in a crisis.

    • William

      You mean “Don’t let a crises go to waste?”

  • Tina

    ??? What percentage of the debt is due to profits made by ARMAMENTS DEALERS when they sell to our Armed Forces????  Thank you.

    • Pasqualecap

       If you think that was bad,  think of the school children during WWII scrounging for metal around their homes to be sent to scrap yards that made millions selling to war industries who made even more.

    • Modavations

      Call Kerry in Ma….Ma.is the 4th largest military armament state.47th place in real business,but # 4 for military hardware.Barney Frank can probably tell you

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Paul Ryan is NOT pushing lower taxes.  His proposal is revenue neutral.  He is pushing tax reform that he claims is “pro-growth”.

    Tom why do you and your guest making these blatantly false claims?

    There aren’t enough details in his plan to determine if the rich benefit or not but that is a different question.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      HOW MANY minutes, or seconds, of health care EQUAL to what Paul Ryan has, can YOU buy on the voucher he proposed?

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        We should have a debate about his program instead of demonizing it.

        He did modify his proposal with a bi-partisan (Sen. Ron Wyden) to allow people to choose between the current system or the premium support system.
         

        • Chris

          I would take Medicare any day over voucher “non care”

          • Worried for the country(MA)

             I guess you are pro-choice so you should be for Ryan’s new plan.

          • Chris

            Ryan’s plan is take from the middle class and poor and give to the rich.

            Not for it.

          • Worried for the country(MA)

             So you aren’t pro-choice?

          • Ehdoss

            What has “Pro Choice” got to do with anything here?  Are you just pushing a narrow minded Republican agenda that drags abortion into everthing?  Healthcare is more than that.  And yes I’m “Pro Choice” What of it?  I pay my taxes just that same as you.

          • TomK in Boston

            ie, its class warfare, the true GoP agenda.

          • TomK in Boston

            Geez, Worried. Choice is not a plus when you have a great system now and you get to choose between 2 bad alternatives in the future! Going on your own to our predatory insurers with a Groupon that doesn’t cover the cost of a full policy is a choice that I can do without! I know he’s trying to blow some smoke now about how you can “choose” to keep traditional medicare, but he will simply cut cut cut till that’s no good either.

    • Anonymous

      Sorry, it’s not. Ryan’s idea of revenue neutral is based on smoke and mirrors. There is nothing in that budget that promotes growth one bit. Your comment on Simon Johnson making false claims, well that’s an interesting comment being that he’s been pretty open about these issues.

    • TomK in Boston

      Yes he is pushing lower taxes. C’mon, Worried, can’t you recognize a con? His budget has REAL cuts and airy-fairy “loophole closings” that have no chance to offset the cuts. He won’t even name a single one. It’s a sure bet that, if we ever got Ryan, we’d get the cuts right away but somehow those revenues would never materialize.

      Lower taxes are not pro-growth. That’s just voodoo ideology. We’ve been cutting taxes since 1980 and the middle class has been getting cut, too. Pro-growth policy now would be large tax hikes at the top.

  • John in Vermont

    Whether you are a Tea Partier or an Occupier I hope you are really listening to Simon Johnson.  He is giving you an objective review of how we got to this point and giving directions for how to get out of the situation. 

    Put your talking points aside and try to be one of the new ‘adults in the room’ who will forge a coalition willing to take real steps to cut the deficit and strengthen America.  

  • Anonymous

    The economic system is broken; broken by the Right’s push for deregulation and tax policies encouraging speculation, outsourcing, over leveraging and belief that all businessmen have good judgement and in lazy fairy economic mythology. 

    The government is broken, broken by the Right’s stated agenda to eviscerate it, broken by Citizen’s United, broken by ALEC.

    So let’s have more of the same. :^(

    • William

      Carter deregulated the airline industry. Clinton dereglated the banking industry.

  • Markus

    I would agree to paying more in taxes if there was any evidence at all that these jerks who run our country wouldn’t do what they’ve done since Clinton – throw it away, pay off their pals or use it for a massive military. Bush was a fool and Obama’s incompetent, but they’re not the problem (not all of it anyway). Our congress which as a group is loathed, but individually will get re-elected, is the primary cause. So, how many of you high minded, people are not going to vote for the incumbent if they’re in the same party as you …. I thought so.
     
    Face it. Your gang has so convinced you that the other gang is evil itself, that you’ll vote for them no matter what.

  • Ehdoss

    I don’t have a problem doing my part to reduce the deficit and balance the budget.

    But the last time we did this it took less than three years for Republicans to blow it all away with tax cuts for the rich.

    Why should we repeat this again?  What keeps Republicans from promising the moon again in four years and getting more tax cuts for the rich?  WHy didn’t the bond markets act correctly and put the quash on big US debt in 2003? 

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Fact check.  It was tax cuts for everyone.  75% of the Bush tax cuts when to the middle class.

      • Ehdoss

        Fact check.  Surpus to big deficits, no matter who got the money.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        With $6 TRILLION in debt back in 2001…. WE COULD NOT AFFORD ANY TAX CUTS! Bush should have paid down debt AS HE PROMISED TO.

        Gee, does it EVER make you wonder why the GOP was so determined to get rid of the Surplus? Even Newt was trying to kill it with a massive tax cut proposal in 99… one that Clinton wisely vetoed.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        75% of the MONEY?  The GREEDY rich wouldn’t quibble over a paltry 25%!

  • Guest

    Why do we NOT address the cost of two wars in this equation?  Clearly, this has been a major driver in the debt crisis.  Is it possible the GOP got us into these wars in order to create a financial crisis and drive the change that they desire in government?  I think taxing the rich and ending the wars would take us a long way to recovery.  It seems we would rather fight wars for oil than fund public education, healthcare, or medicare.  Let’s put the cost (financial) of war on the table.

  • Chris

    Johnson can’t bring himself to say the era of growth is over.

    It is. Why? Finite resources. Debt de-leveraging.

    • Chris

      It’s not only about finite resources. But COLLAPSING ECOSYSTEMS, i.e. fish in the ocean.

      • Anonymous

        Those are not unrelated.

    • Anonymous

      You do not seem to be listening to him.
      We do not know what will happen in the next 50 years.
      We do know how we have done things up to now.
      What he is saying is that we have a good history of dealing with this problem, however we do need to come to terms with how to move forward. 

    • Anonymous

      Tom asked him my question about how finite resources square with the presumption of an ongoing growth economy (thanks, Tom!), and Mr Johnson called it a “good question,” but he rather dodged it, i think. 

      Bringing in more immigrants and taxing carbon are solutions to finite resource inputs?!? Huh?!

      I’m all for taxing carbon, but “renewable” energy sources are still based on limited resource inputs (rare earth elements for solar panels, for example), and energy is but one factor (among food production, resources required to adapt to climate change, etc.) that is in play.

  • alaninvermont

    We need a one time comprehensive deficit reduction package. Every time we incrementally deal with the problem, and the problem remains unresolved, the polar forces that oppose the remedy to the grievance increase. We saw this in the 1980′s when Senate Republicans pushed balanced deficit reduction until   supplysiders and moderates decided to oppose the 1993 OBRA

  • TkGerson

    How does current debt and deficit in US compare to that of Canada? Universal health care works well in Canada (at least Ontario), why are Americans insistent that the individual is on his/own and government intrusion?

  • Bill Lottero

    I agree that costs are going to rise– the solution is raise taxes AND cut military & pursue a single payor health care system– the US per capita cost for health care is nearly 8000. where as in single payor systems that is slightly below 4000.

    Docotors do desearve good pay, but specialist average pay is 450,000!  There we see the top 2 %!

    Bill
    Roxbury

  • Chris

    OMG.

    “There’s a agreement to bringing down military spending?”

    50 Billion reduction over 10 YEARS when we spend 1.2 TRILLION A YEAR is an absolute joke.

  • Pasqualecap

    WWII was the biggest ponzi scheme ever.   And the scam keeps on giving with more and more wars.

    Create money from nothing to build huge a war machine to capture the worlds resources.  Absolutely brilliant.

    • Ehdoss

      Except for that funny guy, Hitler.  He was a small problem for Europe.  Given a few more years and an atomic bomb we might all be speaking German today.

      But I forgot, I wouldn’t be speaking German, I wouldn’t be here.  My ancestors wouldn’t have met the genetic purity standards so cleansing for us.  Maybe we could have been kept around as slave labor.

      • Pasqualecap

         Hitler could have been avoided altogether, if not for some certain agendas that found him very useful.

  • JMc

    what would be the impact on deficiet reduction if for a period of 5 years no one received a return? How much does the fed pay out each year on tax refunds? If we all had to sacrafice it would take away the arguement that the upper income pay the majority of the taxes, no?

  • miro

    Medicare is not in trouble unless you extrapolate out many decades — this is a ridiculous exercise that is engaged by conservatives who want to eliminate all social safety networks. We need to revamp our medical system to use more nurses and midlevel practitioners for routine procedures, to freely import meds, to limit expensive, heroic procedures in the last year of life, to reduce the cost of medical education, and to produce more general practitioners. If we control health care costs, Medicare will be fine.

    The current debt crisis is mostly due to the fall in revenues from the recession coupled with the Bush tax cuts. The upper bracket needs to be at least 50%, capital gains need to be taxed at the same rate as other income, and there needs to be a 5% wealth tax for individuals with net worths over $1 billion dollars (the Koch Brothers are worth about $100 billion, and it all came from inherited wealth — nobody should be able to wield that kind of power — democracy cannot survive when the economy is dominated by oligarchs).

    • William

      The current debt crisis has nothing to do with spending levels?

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Sure in part. But since like it or not, a deficit is ALSO made up of revenues… what would they be like if the Bush tax cuts were never passed? It’s not as if we ever could afford them back in 01 when we were $6 TRILLION in debt.  

        • William

          The mistake was never tax cuts, but over spending.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Back to your “on variable” approach to budgets? Why couldn’t we pay down debt at the Clinton tax rates WITH continued spending reductions? With your approach, we’d lose ground trying to cut spending twice as fast to keep up with revenue loss from tax cuts WE COULD NOT AFFORD!

          • William

             Sure, go back to the Clinton spending levels too.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        2 EXPENSIVE, ‘off the books’ wars, $12 TRILLION in loans to Mega-banks, BEFORE TARP, a goofy Prescription Plan that made BIG PHARMA filthy RICHER?  THOSE spending levels?

        • William

          All that sounds like spending…so just cut spending….

  • Chris

    SIngle payer is the only way out.

    Take the blood sucking health insurance companies out of the picture. 

    They offer nothing.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Here we go…. death panels.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Yes, those insurance company EXECUTEives make decisions based on whether they want another yatch?

  • MarkVII88

    As a reasonable person, I can understand the reasons why taxpayers have to fund programs like Medicare and Medicaid, the myriad of special education programs, etc…etc…and it’s because of the INDIRECT benefits to the population as a whole.  But when the benefits to the taxpayer are indirect, it’s hard for them to feel like it’s worth it to fork over their money time and time again for something they don’t directly see.  And I freely admit that I don’t like doing it.  It takes a lot of faith and altruism to be happy about paying your taxes, that I and millions of others just don’t have.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    Considering the economy without including climate change is a waste of time.  We have a very short time until we hit a tipping point when we have very little ability to reverse or even slow the warming — like five or maybe eight years, folks.

    One big drought and we have famine in many parts of the world, and the best laid plans go *poof*…

    Neil

    • Gregg

      They’ve been saying that since Noah.

      • Anonymous

        Science-illiterate Greggg thinks he’s being clever by equating ancient myth with modern science.

        • Gregg

          Gore said sea levels will rise 20 feet.

          • Anonymous

            Al Gore is not a scientist.
            So I for one take what he says with a grain of salt in this regard.
            You think you’re clever, however this kind of retort exhumes the ignorance within.

          • Anonymous

            Yes, the now-generally-agreed-upon (by actual scientists, not by anyone that Greggg gets his information from, if, indeed he actually relies on any source) seven feet is nothing to worry about.

            Please seek treatment for you’re GDS.* It may not be too late.

            (*Gore Derangement Syndrome)

    • Anonymous

      It’s already too late. If we stopped all atmospheric carbon releases tomorrow, the effects of what we’ve already done won’t subside for decades, and will cost us billions.

      At this point, it’s a matter of adapting, and the resources required will further strain a broken system.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Right, but what we *really* need to avoid is a “runaway” warming because of too many amplifying feedback effects.  That would be bad…

        Neil

  • Chris

    Nothing can or will be done in this country.

    We are living in an age of insanity in this country.

    It will destroy us.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Death Panels have been Insurance Company EXECUTEives, for over a hundred years?

    • Gregg

      I choose my insurance, I prefer to choose my own death panel.

      • Anonymous

        Actually they will choose for you. You have nothing to say in the matter. Blinded by ideology.
        Even Charles Krauthammer admitted that the US will most likely end up with a single payer system not unlike Canada.

        During an interview with Susan Martin of the St. Petersburg Times, Charles Krauthammer was asked about health care reform:
        Susan Martin: Besides being a commentator, you are a medical doctor who criticized health care reform as a “2,000-page bill that will generate tens of thousands of pages of regulations.” Isn’t that a great argument for the
        simplicity of Canadian-style universal health care?

        Charles Krauthammer: It is. But it seems to me there are two choices. We have the best medical care in world but it is the most expensive and we waste a lot. What you need to do is reduce the complexity and inefficiency. If we can’t get it right, we’re eventually going to a single-payer system. At least it doesn’t have this incredible, absurd complexity of ObamaCare. It’s the worst of the worst. It has the complexity of our (present) system and doesn’t give the universal coverage of single payer.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          Never thought I’d agree with Krauthammer. But then ObamaCare is what the powerful health insurance parasites wanted it to be: government using its power of taxation to fill the coffers of the private sector. 

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Please choose quicky Gregggg… LOL

    • Anonymous

      Sorry, we have not had health insurance for over a 100 years. Also the system we have now is only about 40 years old at most. Before that people had HMO’s or they had plans through their jobs that were more inclusive.
      Health care costs were also lower in the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s. A hundred years ago, which would be 1912, people did not have health insurance. 

  • Anonymous

    The “Elephant in the room” discussion which could be discussed with today’s topic is PEAK OIL. ALL media won’t touch this all-encompassing theory with someone else’s oil rig. Global peak oil was reached in 2009. Now, all governments around the world are reeling due to the prospect that NO MORE GROWTH is POSSIBLE without cheap energy. PLEASE, somebody mention this MOTHER of all theories.

    • Chris

      THey won’t. Even though governments all around the world are preparing and our own military is preparing for it.

      They will let the people in America fall off a cliff as gas becomes no longer affordable for most Americans. 

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

     
    The far Right claims they can take revenue off the table and pay down debt by cutting spending alone. But say we amuse ourselves with this irrational one-variable thinking… and we cut government spending down to the point that we get a balanced budget. Then what?
     

    DEBT CAN ONLY BE PAID DOWN WITH EXCESS REVENUE.  But as we know from 2000, the far Right then had their chance to prove they’d start to pay down debt as Bush promised… and despite the then $6 TRILLION in debt, they pushed through round after round of irresponsible tax cuts claiming a surplus “proved” we were overtaxed.
     

    The Right simply can NOT be trusted to with fiscal policy because they have a hidden agenda to sabotage government itself. Even now, with ALL the original justifications for that 2001 Bush tax cut gone… they insist they remain … and even MORE tax cuts be made.
     

    Can anyone explain why the GOP has not gone utterly insane?

    • Gregg

      You lost me at the first sentence so I didn’t read the rest of it. No one said that it’s just: 1) the false equivalence between “revenue” and “tax hikes”, 2) a reckless disregard for growth as a generator of revenue, 3) a foolish belief in failed Keynesian theory even after our debt surpasses GDP, and 4) the left’s tired tactic of telling us what we think so they can disagree. 

      You do realize Obama was offered everything he asked for (including tax hikes) during the debt ceiling debate and refused… don’t you?

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        If you’re not going to read my post yet you feel you can respond, why should I bother to read yours?

        • Gregg

          So you can see the false premise you build your arguments on. After a premise so flawed the rest of the comment is useless. It’s like: “Smoking is good for you so let’s have a discussion on how we can make people smoke”. So, if I gave you a few paragraphs of details about more vending machines, would it be worth reading? Not so much.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            No false premise here Greggggg… Ryan had originally proposed a revenue neutral budget and I assume it’s the same now. YOUR false premise is that we might just simply grow our way out of this mess. But as we’ve discussed in the past, the Laffer Curve shows IF TAX RATES ARE TOO LOW, THEY WON’T CAPTURE OPTIMUM REVENUE. All we have to do is look back at your precious Bush years. Tax rates were so low that in constant dollars revenues have now FAILED to exceed Clinton’s last year for 9 of the past 11 years. Real revenue growth just between FY99 and FY00 was GREATER in that one year than ALL of the past 11 years.  But in the warped minds of the Orwellian Right, that’s not a revenue problem. Your other faulty premise is to believe cutting spending when we’re $15 trillion in the hole can be done just as easily as if we were $6 trillion. Even if we ran a $500 billion a year surplus… something that’s NEVER been done even in the best Clinton year, it would take over 30 YEARS to pay down the current debt. And the Public would simply not put up with paying $500 billion more in taxes than for what they received. Hell, the GOP went nuts demanding tax cuts when the Clinton on-budget surplus was merely 86 billion in FY00.     

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            I await your explanation of how debt can be paid down WITHOUT excess revenue over spending.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Pushing another GOP Corporate false philosophy?  “Smoking is good for you!” ?

      • BHA in Vermont

         “You lost me at the first sentence so I didn’t read the rest of it.”

        Then don’t reply.

        And the Republicans have NEVER agreed to a tax hike in any form. Not in rates, not in removing tax breaks and loopholes.

        • Gregg

           http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/22/nation/la-na-obama-boehner-20110723

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            ROTF: Thanks for another of your disingenuous Orwellian Right arguments.

            Your article said “The Republicans made an offer: between $3 trillion and $3.5 trillion in spending reductions, and nearly $800 billion in revenue increases over 10 years through overhauling the tax code. Geithner and Daley took it back to the White House.”  We’re 15 TRILLION in the hole and the Boehner “gave up” 80 billion a year? And how did this fly with the Tax Cut Psychos in the GOP? What you DIDN’T say was Boehner was trying to head off the automatic repeal of those irresponsible Bush tax cuts that would bring in 3.7 TRILLION over 10 years. So TRANSLATION from Orwellian… Boehner was trying to KEEP $2.9 TRILLION in tax cuts.  Everyone but people like you KNOW the GOP’s position is insane… we heard all those GOP candidates for president in a debate say they’d turn down a deal with 10:1 spending cuts vs revenue.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Can anyone prove that they aren’t?

  • JMc

    i disagree that single payer is unpopular, the campaign against the program is pushed by a minority with the very loud microphone.

    • BHA in Vermont

       I have no idea if I am in a majority or minority, but start the census count with:
      I SUPPORT SINGLE PAYER

      It would be REALLY NICE if the people in DC would take a REAL census of all voting age citizens with regard to support of a single payer system. 
      - We are the ONLY first world country without Single Payer.
      - We pay FAR more than any other first world country for health care.
      - Our health is NOT better than than in other first world countries.  We spend 50% more than the next “most expensive” country (Switzerland) yet our expected lifespan is 4 years less.

      The only countries with lower life expectancies in the linked article are Cuba, Cyprus, Ireland and Portugal. The difference is less than 1/2 year. We spend well more than twice what they spend on health care.

      http://ucatlas.ucsc.edu/spend.php

      • JMc

        I agree BHA, i am afraid they would not like the census results. It may come down to voters saying that if you do not make it a campaign promise you will not get my vote.

    • lodger

      Despite the corporate media blatherings about ‘socialism’ and ‘government takeover’, single-payer insurance has majority popular support in every poll.

      It’s insurance companies and drug companies that don’t want it. They are the ones who fund congressional campaigns, they are the reason it was ‘off the table’ during the hearings that led to the AHA. 

      Obama promised a ‘public option’ which the insurance companies quickly squelched because they know all of their customers (including me) would likely defect.

      Read “Hijacked” by Dr. John Geyman (a republican BTW).

      • JMc

        dont forget the effort by Rahm to kill it, still confused on his motivation.

  • AlanThinks

    As I understand it, the deficit problem is primarily about the long
    term funding of Medicare, and the problem in Medicare is end-of-life costs;
    about 25% of Medicare spending occurs in the last 12 months of a person’s life.
     In other words, Medicare is insuring
    against an inevitable event – death.  Spending
    for hospice has been increasing, but so has spending for intensive care, and
    yet polls show the majority of people do not want to die in a hospital.  When the health care reform legislation was
    debated a simple provision to pay physicians to provide end-of-life counseling
    was labeled ‘death panels’  The Democrats
    don’t address this problem while the Ryan Republican plan shifts costs back
    onto Medicare beneficiaries and probably puts Medicare into a death spiral, but
    neither tackle the problem of end of life costs.  How do we get the issue of end-of-life care
    back into the public debate in an open and honest way?  Ultimately, how do we shift public spending back
    from the elderly to our children?

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Actually, both plans do address the issue but in dramatically different ways.  Obamacare has a 15 panel appointed board that is responsible for rationing care to contain costs.  It has been vilified as a ‘death panel’ but it is really a rationing board.

      The Ryan plan limits the government subsidy over the long term.  This puts the rationing into the hands of the consumer.  He is hoping that market forces will lower actual costs.

      You are correct about the long term driver of debt.  Medicare is a $80T unfunded liability right now.

      However, in the short term we have massive deficit spending.  We will have borrowed a stunning $6T in just the past 4 years.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Here’s your $10.00 Health Care Voucher.   Buy ALL the health care that you can!!

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          It’s amusing to believe the free market will jump at the chance to insure a senior with multiple pre-existing conditions for the price of a small voucher. Ryan’s plan cuts costs by making health care unaffordable for many… so they deny themselves the care. As someone once said the GOP’s health care plan is to die quickly.

  • Still Here

    Democrats seem to take as a given that government must always and forever grow more quickly than anything else.  Could it be a result of the fact their beholden to public employee unions?  Smells like a duck.

    • Anonymous

      Whereas your posts just smell.

      Still Here joins Greggg and others of the Fox So-called News-watching persuasion in inventing bogus scenarios that support their fantasy views of how they think the world works.See Newton Whale’s earlier posts which clearly document that spending and deficits in the last few decades grew significantly more under Republican presidents than under Democrats (not that i’m really defending Democrats).

  • Chris

    Why should the middle class want their taxes to go up when the  federal budget largely benefits the rich?

  • Ehdoss

    We should be able to dedicate how our taxes are spent, just like we can with certain charities.  Check the general box and your taxes can go anywhere.  Otherwise check the box for debt reduction, military, social security, medicare, roads, etc., as you see fit.

    • Chris

      They would never do that because the military spending would be cut in at least half overnight. And suffer a slow decline from there.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Take it up with the Constitution which gives Congress the power to tax and spend. A constitutional amendment should make your wish come true.

    • Modavations

      Agree

  • Chris

    Fine. Let the elite destroy Social Security and we will eat them.

    • PaulCJr

      I’m trying to reduce my fat intake thank you.

      • Chris

        Ha ha. Too fat. Too thin. Too rich.

    • Anonymous

      Too tough and stringy.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      As filled with their massive rancid egos, rotted values, festering self-pity, and putrid selfish mindset, as they are?  YUCK!!

  • Anonymous

    No rational person can look at revenue and spending graphs for the last decade and conclude that insufficient revenue is the problem; it is spending that is out of control.  No politician ever proposes a decrease in spending; they only propose a smaller increase in the explosive rate of spending.

    • BHA in Vermont

       And what would YOU cut?

      • Anonymous

        I’d start with a baseline of 2008 spending levels.  Then I would ask myself this question for every dollar spent:  is this expenditure so critical to the primary function of the US government that we should borrow 40% of the money, with no plan how to repay the debt?  If spending was prioritized, and the least critical expenditures curtailed, I wonder if the spending would even be missed.  For all the reports that come out about wasteful spending, I can’t recall ever seeing where a budget was cut in a succeeding year because taxpayer funds had been wasted in the previous expenditures.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Start at the Super-Inflated spending of 2008?  IF you include the wars that were ‘off the books’, the $12 TRILLION pre-TARP ‘assistance’ to the MEGA-BANKS, that created fraudulent ‘financial instruments’, and the unpaid-for Medicaid Prescription Plan, that FILLED the pockets of BIG PHARMA?
             Why not go back to the Budget of 2000?  The Budget had a Surplus, according to George ‘W’ Bush!

          • Anonymous

            I’d gladly go back to spending levels under President Clinton.  When you think about the spending that’s been added since then, is there anything that is critical and can’t be cut?  When you hear either party speak about the end of the spending for the wars, invariably the next words out of their mouths is “and here’s what we’ll spend the money on instead.”  The politicians are addicted to spending, and nothing short of sequestration or a balanced budget amendment will stop them.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Sadly, you’re wrong. In constant dollars revenues have only exceeded Clinton’s last year… FY2000, in two of the past 11 years and then it totalled only about 140 billion. Between 1999 and 2000 even in constant dollars revenue increased by 174 BILLION in just ONE year.

      If that’s not a “revenue problem”, pray tell, what is?   

      source table 1.3THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012, HISTORICAL TABLES

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      I await your chart showing soaring revenues in constant dollars the past 11 years. I won’t hold my breath.

  • miro

    The number one cause of personal bankruptcy in America is medical debt. If Medicare is gutted by devices like the Ryan Plan, it will become even more common.

    Our problems are not primarily fiscal; they are political. We have a loony radical right, fueled by infusions of cash from the plutocracy, that is obstructing any remotely rational solution to our problems. 

    We don’t need a $700 billion+/year military machine — we need to have the national conversation about our proper role in the world. 

    Ike also warned about the military-industrial complex, but where is the discussion about the distorting effects of war spending on our national economy (Seymour Melman, where are you when we need you)?

    • BHA in Vermont

       Careful, you will be branded UN-AMERICAN! for suggesting that we shouldn’t be the world police.

      • miro

        Yes, it’s crazy. All of the global empires that have ever seriously attempted it end up destroying themselves internally in the process (Rome is the poster child).

        “Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it.” and also
        “Those who know history are condemned to repeat it.”

        • Modavations

          Any “brokerage house” will tell you past performance is no guarantee.Love your paintings

    • Modavations

      If he were here today he’d say beware the Social Service Industrial Complex

  • Michiganjf

    The majority of Americans DON”T die in hospitals, so dying DOES NOT necessarily incur any end-of-life expense to health care spending.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      ONE person, dying in a hospital, at a cost of $1.5 MILLION , equals HOW MANY dying at home under a bridge?
         DEATH PANEL Insurance Executives, ($Millionaires and $Billionaires), ‘deny claims’, depending on whether they want a bigger yatch?

      • Modavations

        What’s a yatch?

  • Worried for the country(MA)

     Here is the problem.

    People would be for higher taxes IF they thought the money wasn’t going down  the sewer hole.

    The guest should ask his audience if they think they get good value from government spending.  There is way too much bloat in DC.  Inertia of government growth is killing us.  How can we survive with a 72,000 page tax code?

    The responsible thing is to cut government spending in a dramatic way and AFTER the economy recovers you can then raise revenues to pay down the debt.

    • Anonymous

      Why do you suppose that Warren Buffet and Bill Gates donated their fortunes to a foundation instead of simply giving it to the federal government to spend?  They know that the government is a black hole of inefficiency and ineffectiveness.  As long as the politicians can spend to buy the votes of their constituencies, spending will never get under control.

      • Chris

        Silly, it’s because they want to engineer society in their own way.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      But high debt CREATES the biggest sewer hole there is. During Bush’s 8 years We The People pissed away $2.9 TRILLION just in interest. And in this example we see some of the lack of fiscal realism in the GOP. Sure, we should cut spending, get rid of fraud, waste, and abuse. We should not let anyone milk the system. But that ALSO includes the rich. We’ve pissed away some $14 TRILLION on ourselves the past 30 years THAT WE REFUSE TO TAX OURSELVES FOR. It’s too late to believe we can cut the deficit or pay down debt with spending cuts alone. … worst by even MORE irresponsible tax cuts. We have to take responsibility and pay for the Free Lunch we created for ourselves by using ALL the tools in our fiscal toolbox.. spending cuts AND tax hikes.  

      • William

        High debt is created by high spending. Higher taxes won’t stop high spending. The solution has been and will always be reduced spending.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          Thanks for an example of simple-minded one-variable “thinking”.

          Common sense tells us budgets are TWO variable problems… yet the Right has taken common sense off the table.

          In constant dollars revenues have only exceeded FY2000 levels in 2 of the past ELEVEN  years. Do revenues have to be lower or flat for 20 years before you begin to suspect there’s also a REVENUE PROBLEM????

          • William

            The simple solutions are always the best solutions. Once you fall into the “beltway thinking” of course you reject the idea of any spending cuts. Why turn off the gravy train? Blame someone else, keep the spending levels up.

          • Guest

            big difference between simple and simple-minded.

          • William

            I would call Obama simple-minded. A blind faith to Liberalism despite it’s history of failure.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Compared to blind faith in ‘compassionate’, ‘Christian’, ‘conservative’ charity?

          • William

             How did your blind faith in Liberalism do for you?

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Can you stick to the topic at hand? YOU are the one suggesting we take a two-variable problem and we can solve it using only one variable.  

          • William

            You always fly off the handle when you lose the debate.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            How can I be losing the debate when the 1990s PROVED a balanced approach worked?

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Please show me where I EVER rejected the idea of budget cuts. And when you find the opposite I expect a retraction.

          • William

            Your single mindset is always raise taxes. Tax cuts caused all our problems.  

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            I’m sorry you can’t comprehend my simple posts. I’m for a BALANCED approach… cut spending AND raise taxes. I spend so much time talking about revenue because people like you are oblivious to it and buy the Orwellian Right’s lie that we don’t have a revenue problem when the hard numbers show WE DO!

          • Modavations

            Poopsie,Orwell is the right

          • William

             You just rant and rave about tax cuts. That is it. You never call for spending cuts.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Show me where I EVER said I was against spending cuts.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Enough evasion William… I gave you the numbers and asked you a DIRECT question: In constant dollars revenues have only exceeded FY2000 levels in 2 of the past ELEVEN years. Do revenues have to be lower or flat for 20 years before you begin to suspect there’s also a REVENUE PROBLEM????

          • William

             You have never presented any figures on what failed government agencies, programs you would cut. You are willing to continue to toss more money down a rat hole, government rat hole, rather than consider the mere thought of eliminating anything. Just raise taxes and that will encourage big government to reduce spending or spend more wisely.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            If you’re just going to evade questions on YOUR claims there’s no revenue problem… then just ADMIT you can’t support your claim and save us all the time. After all, I already KNOW you don’t know what you’re babbling about.

        • Anonymous

          It’s a revenue problem.  Taxes on income have never been lower.

          Revenue has been decimated by the economic crash precipitated by the implementation of the very ideas of those now claiming the “Ryan budget” as the solution to our problems.  And incredibly, there are a number of fools who would still trust them!

          It’s similar to losing your job.  Sure you can cut expenses, but you still have to eat, pay for shelter and other true necessities.

          If Paul Ryan had his way, the USA would be the equivalent of homeless and begging for food.

          • William

            So what is the best way to increase revenue? Higher taxes? Well…if you take more money out of the private sector and give it to “government” will that increase economic growth? Not likely….or will we see more GSA parties in Vegas?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      The Problem is We Got No Jobs.

      120,000 created jobs last month is so pathetic

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Raise revenues in 200 years, AFTER the economy recovers?  That’s going to help us?
          Without raising revenues, HOW will the economy recover?

  • FAX68

    I don’t like Paul Ryan. everytime the President makes a State of the Union address. Mr. Ryan comes out and bombard the President Obama for almost 3 1/2 years now.

    • Modavations

      The guys a dreamer.His plan comes into effect in 30 years.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    TIME FOR A BUDGET SURPLUS AMENDMENT?

    Forget the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA). It’s a cynical political ploy by the GOP. It leaves them free to pass all the irresponsible cut taxes they want while handcuffing the Democrats from restoring taxes to responsible levels or even raising them if needed.
    The BBA is part of the GOP’s larger strategy to sabotage the finances of government to create massive deficits/debt hoping an eventual fiscal crisis will undermine signature Democratic safety net programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it leaves the matter of the debt unresolved… setting in cement the theft by our generation of some $14 trillion from future tax payers… and by that I mean our kids and grandkids. The interest alone last FY was over $450 billion and $2.9 TRILLION was pissed away on interest during the Bush years alone.
    We need to stop playing these budget games. Both Democrats and the GOP use the unified budget to conceal internal borrowing from the trust funds to make the real deficit look smaller. It’s the on-budget deficit that gives us the true picture.
    What is needed is a no games On-Budget SURPLUS Amendment to restrain both reckless spending AND reckless tax cuts by all sides and force them to finally pay down our enormous debt which now is about $15 trillion dollars.
    The task ahead is daunting. Even if we ran an annual $500 billion surplus, something that didn’t even happen in the best Clinton years, it would take us now some 30 years to pay down the debt. That neither political party sees the moral outrage in this situation is a damning indictment against our morally bankrupt and intellectually braindead political system.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      if these imaginary idea of yours works how come no one is using it?

      • Modavations

        Why do you bother with this guy.He’s psycho

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          I’m trying to clean up my act here. If you continue to act like an ass, I DO intend to flag every one of your posts. Hopefully they’ll be nuked as so many of yours were in the gas forum.

          • Modavations

            Oh no Pooopsie,oh no

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        You haven’t heard about this idea because as far as I know, NO ONE’S PROPOSED IT. Certainly the GOP won’t… they NEED crushing debt to dismantle those programs they loathe like Social Security and Medicare. The Dems SHOULD propose this idea since it works in their favor. But they have to be forwarned it will also restrict spending… not that the GOP doesn’t want to spend.

  • Still Here

    If we cut spending enough, we can erase the deficit and eat away at the debt.  Sounds good to me!

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Sure… if we had the 1980 national debt of less than a trillion… before Reagan slashed revenues. The hole is simply too big for simple-minded solutions. Also we’re not dealing with an honest GOP. They not likely to cut spending on THEIR priorities.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      TRY that, with a $20,000 credit card bill!  Just cut spending, and the credit card bill will disappear?  PROVE IT?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    NO TAX. I am tired of paying taxes while my hourly rate is still the same. I am not the only one but probably majority of middle class and Low wage Americans that hate taxes. everyhing we buy are taxed to the bone.
     
    Can I buy something that is not taxed? The most tax people in the world are Americans.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      We The People have had a $14 TRILLION free lunch the past 30 years and we STILL think we’re overtaxed?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        We the People did not want wars, We the people never spend our tax money, We the people never created the deficit or debt that the Federal government created. We the people never use Medicare and Medicaid funds to fleece the American retirees. We the people did not want America to be broke.

        We the people are sick and tired of the government over spending.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

          We the People never had free lunch!!!!!!

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            We The People pissed away $14 TRILLION on ourselves the past 30 years THAT WE REFUSED TO TAX OURSELVES FOR. If that’s not a “free lunch” what is?

            It’s too late to debate whether that money was spent wisely or not. IT’S GONE… and the only question is should WE start to pay the bill or dump it on our kids.  

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            The American People did not spend $14 trillion can you please put that in your head.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Just because we did’n’t personally spend it, we put people in power that created this mess. Problem is, with your thinking, you’ll put them back in.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    There is only solution to these deficit and debt!!!!

    it is to create JOBS!!!!!

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Job’s alone won’t help if the tax rate is too low to capture enough revenue. The Laffer Curve “proves” this. But the Right only uses the Laffer Curve to justify tax cuts.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        So why give an idea then your against your own idea.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        Jobs ALONE can create economic growth and Jobs alone is the main reason why other industrial countries like China are heading towards prosperity while we whine about Jobs.

        No Jobs doesn’t do anything but we complaint about not having jobs in America.

        Laffer Curve who ever created that formula can shove his own idea in his behind.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          I REPEAT… and forget Laffer… it’s common sense. If the tax rate is too LOW, it will FAIL to capture revenue NO MATTER HOW GOOD THE ECONOMY IS.
          Greggg loves to claim Bush revenues grew at a high rate… but in constant dollars Bush revenues only exceeded Clinton’s last year in 2 of Bush’s 8 years… and then only about 140 billion total . In between FY99 and FY00 Clinton’s revenue grew about 160 billion in ONE year… again, in constant dollars. YES THERE’S A REVENUE PROBLEM!  

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            I will repeat of the American people’s Salary and wages remains the same. We cannot afford another tax increase $20.00 a week increase on my payroll tax is one big increase for the rest of my life.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            If you dislike stagnant wages THEN BLAME THE RIGHT WING… and by that I mean also those Dems like Clinton who foolishly bought into these nutty ideas like free trade.

  • Anonymous

    By far, the two most inefficient, wasteful, and costly drains on our country’s and government’s financial functioning are the military  (It ain’t no coincidence that FUBAR and SNAFU originated in military parlance) and the health care system, in which there are two people involved in coding, billing and collecting for every one person actually providing health care.

    Not to mention the fact that both institutions do a very poor job of accomplishing what they are intended to accomplish.

    • lodger

      The ‘health care system’ is neither a system, nor is the inefficiency government’s fault.   The health care systems that are government-run are much more efficient than the private sector. This is an indisputed fact.

      A taxpayer funded trust to provide medical care for citizens (aka single-payer financing) would improve the second problem you mention.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        Medicare and Medicaid pays a lot more compared to HMO and Commercial insurances. That is the fact. Thank you lodger for mentioning this.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          Medicare was paying about 14% MORE to private Medicare Advantage plans than standard Medicare.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      jimino. Doctors and Nurses or any healthcare workers DO WORK HARD TO GET THE MONEY FROM HMOs. The Healthcare Finance and Patient Accounts Departments are the sole responsibility is to get the money so You won’t pay your own medical bills and if not necessarily to avoid filing for medical bankruptcy

    • William

      I think the depts of education and energy are bigger failures.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Letting Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Gas, and the nuclear industry control our energy policies to their benefit, was a mistake?   Who would have thought?

        • William

          If we had let “big oil, big gas and big nuke” control our energy sector we would have the cheapest, more reliable energy system in the world.

  • Logan

    I think the capitalist have lost sight of what free markets actually look like.  The problem is that our “free market” has led to winners who rig the game so that they keep winning.   This is the inherent weakness of capitalism: winners corrupting the system.  And as long as the system is corrupt, there will never be a fair, healthy, and sustainable budget.  And free market “winners” will continue to treat the federal budget as a slot machine by manipulating politicians any way can: Super PACs, Citizens United, K Street, etc…

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Capitalism is define to create a business in order to destroy another business.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        Walmart is a great example.

        • Modavations

          I compete against Walmart.Find a nitch,there’s plenty for everyone.You’re a bright kid,why haven’t you opened your own business?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            can’t answer that question. probably I need some Modavations

          • Modavations

            Always here to help my mates. 

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Wal Mart does peddle pretty rocks.

          • Modavations

            Plenty.Half are blood diamonds to boot.I saw they have a kiddie porn section at Walmart now.Careful!!!!

          • Guest

            see what i mean about freudian slips!

          • Brett

            That’s just about the best comment I’ve heard today. Places like Walmart won’t ever be able to compete with a niche/boutique business. The strongest local economies are the ones with lots of small, diverse, independent businesses. AND, if you have a great product/service that is unique, people WILL pay for it! 

          • Modavations

            righteous

      • Modavations

        That’s called competition.It’s not malicious,it’s the natural scheme of things.Have you read the “Wealth of Nations”?.I just started rereading it

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          Moda started reading it but got bored once he realized it was longer than a paragraph.

          • Modavations

            Is that a comment Poopsie

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            very funny ulTRAX

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Moda said, in one paragraph, that he has ADD.  Probably one of his more accurate statements?

    • William

      So what is a better system that has worked as well, lifted more people out of poverty in the history of mankind? We have seen the failure of Liberalism and their dream economic system, Marxism, there is nothing else that works as well as capitalism.

      • Logan

        If we lose our free markets because of capitalism, then capitalism loses whatever historical value it had. If we truly value free markets as a force for innovation and prosperity, then we should protect the market itself rather than conflating democracy with the rights of businesses to hurl themselves and the economy off a cliff. The answer has to be some way that keeps business from growing so big that pose a threat to the stability, competition, and market prices. Keeping business from drafting legislation isn’t anti-capitalism, it’s anti corruption.

        • William

           It was government interference with the economy that caused the latest disaster.  Don’t we need more to protect us from government corruption?  In this entire mess nobody at any of the federal home loan agencies were brought up on charges of corruption.

          • Guest

            who was holding the gun to the heads of the perps who worked at countrywide to force them into making bad loans. oh, they didn’t care because it wasn’t their money and they were getting bonuses.

            blaming fannie is the republican way of giving wall street a free pass.

      • Anonymous

        If we don’t control it a little, Capitalism will also fail, it’s in its death throes now. It just lasted a little longer than the others. But (a little like the Israeli and the Palestinian problem), there’s got to be an equal balance of both – Capitalism and Socialism. It can’t be just one or the other or it will continually lead to collapse. But America goes into a spin at the word Socialism. And that’s probably because of all the people here who come from Communist countries. I hope they don’t continue to push us into the other corner and down we go too because we couldn’t figure out a balance.

  • Modavations

    These guys aren’t going to cut sh-t.Let the sequesters begin.By the way Pres.Obama is now comparing himself to Reagan every chance he can.Why????When Reagan died millions poured into ther streets.When Ted Kennedy died,seven people showed up.

  • Michael from Alaska

    I dont understand why we cant redo the tax code except for the fact that it is Big money as far as tax lawyers,accountants ,IRS etc,If there was a flat tax accross the board we would all pay the same rate- No write offs etc Its been talked about my whole life ( I’m 55 ) But we never seem to get it off the ground-I would think the corp tax would go down and promote growth with a flat tax , I have never heard a good reason NOT to have a flat or fair tax

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Tax Code is very complicated. you call the IRS they won’t even know. to tell you frankly

      • Modavations

        I have to pay my accountant 550.00 per annum and I do all the work.I hand him 3 sheets of figures.What a racket

        • bellavida

          Someone as clever as yourself should surely be able to do his own taxes?  I’m surprised you don’t!  But I agree with you…what a flipping racket.  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      TOO MANY getting GREEDY rich off the Tax Codes, while making others pay for the GREEDY rich?
         Isn’t that the ‘compassionate, Christian, conservative’ way?

      • Modavations

        The Greedy,Greeeeedies did it.No wait ,Bush did it.No wait, the Greeedy Bush Priests did it

        • Brett

          See, now, Mo-D, I think I can help you here, on this. I’m going to do a rapid session of cognitive behavior therapy, if you’ll allow. First, remember the A-Team with Mr. T.? Just think of Terry as some kind of modern day action figure who rides around in a van, righting wrongs and avenging injustices; a mohawked hero, if you will, who’s out and about putting out fires and saving the children from molesting priests. Call him Mr. Tree! …”I pity the fool who wears a collar while playing pocket pool with the new acolyte! …Fool!” 

          • Modavations

            I don’t get it Bro.B..

          • Modavations

            I get it,I get it.Righteous one Bro. B

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Moda’s getting more accurate!!

          • Modavations

            Big Child Porn bust in Boston yesterday.32 people got lugged.Were any of these guys your pals

          • Terry Tree Tree

            YOU claim a Boston connection, and asked for kiddie porn sites on here!

          • Modavations

            Incorrect as usual.I asked you to give me one of your favorite Pedophile websites,as you’re the forums expert

          • Terry Tree Tree

            You just admitted to asking.  I have NEVER had any interest in one!

          • Guest

            we know you’re a perv fred because as freud would say someone can’t hide their inner self for long.

  • Modavations

    The problem is not revenue.To quote Jimmy Carville,”it’s the spending stupid”.Bush tax cuts went 33%to the poor,6% to the rich and the middle class got the rest.Even after 9/11 I made tons.My best years were friom 2000-2006.Bush tax cuts created 8 million jobs and 4.5% unemployement.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      ROTF… and weren’t you once bragging… in error of course, that Reagan “created” 20 million jobs? Now you’re bragging Bush created a mere 8 million?

      Are there any intelligent Right wingers out there that can help Moda out. If he ever utters a true fact, it’s an accident.

      • Modavations

        Hey Freak Show.Dr, Berman was on NPR,he said Medicare malfeasance is as much as 130Billion a year.Didn’t you have hysterics for a month over this issue.I didn’t prove the # them and won’t now.Believe me or not,couldn’t care less.Reagan created 17-22 million jobs.Why is Pres.Obama invoking Reagans name every chance he can.Answer that one Poopsie,einstein,stupid…..No answer,,,Didn’t think so

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          I await you dealing with the question I asked: how was Bush’s job creation rate so great?

          • Modavations

            Keep waiting

          • Terry Tree Tree

            We’d have to wait FOREVER for that answer?

          • Modavations

            Listen Terry,you wanted war now live with it

  • Modavations

    Why did JFK,the first of the “Trickle Down Presidents”,cut taxes???Why did Pres.Obama extend the Bush tax cuts???

  • Modavations

    Ronalus Magnus said Govt.is the problem,not the solution.Steve Jobs,  is quoted as saying the minute the Dept.of Education was created,SAT’s started to drop.The more power the Teachers Unions got,the lower the SAT’s.The reason for the disparity in wealth is your level of education.The Public Schools  kids are incapable of working at Taco Bell.Why do you think we have to import high skilled labor.

  • Modavations

    Some guys on this forum say we should have tax rates at 90%.Laffer curve says people start dodging taxes when the rates get to 40%.Tax cuts stimulate the economy and tax receipts gush.Remember Bill Clinton and the Cap.Gains reductions.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Have a credible source? OF COURSE NOT! Clinton revenues were surging BEFORE that small 1997 tax cut and the CBO estimated it was CUT revenues so it SLOWED getting to a surplus. 

      • Modavations

        No poopsie,no einstein,no stupid…..Didn’t think so.

    • Anonymous

      Anybody remember Glass-Steagall Act?

      • Modavations

        Bring em back!!!!

  • Modavations

    Check Gov.Christie(?) from yesterday,.We’re becoming a “Give me” culture.Citizens sitting on their couches,waiting for the govt. check.Welaare is vote buying.You want a check,then vote Democrat

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Moda’s ‘chemicals have really gone wild?  So MANY silly, repetitive posts?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    After the $700 billion bailout, the trillion-dollar stimulus, and the massive budget bill with over 9,000 earmarks, many of you implored Washington to please stop spending money we don’t have. But, instead of cutting, we saw an unprecedented explosion of government spending and debt, unlike anything we have seen in the history of our country.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      And when the enconomy’s in a death spiril, is government supposed to CUT spending? BTW, the 09 Stimulus was not a trillion. Please try to get your facts straight. It was 787 billion.  

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        what kind of a question is that? in death spiril is government supposed to CUT spending?

        Why do you think America is broke?  in order to generate revenue is to save on spending.

        If your business is getting broke will you still buy lavish material stuff?

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          You’re utterly clueless Fax. When the economy is in a death spiral no one spends because they fear for their job. This leads to lower demand and more layoffs and more people fearing for their job and spending even less. Toss in a collapsed banking sector that’s afraid to loan fearing they won’t get paid back.

          When that happens only government spending can short circuit the downward spiral by pumping money into the economy.  

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            Clueless please I studied in Political Economy one of my fav subject in college. Spending has nothing to do with losing my job or your job. What leads to a lower demand? that’s why the new release iPhone was selling like hot cakes!!!! the Bank loan department has been busy in loaning people with car loans, why do you think GM got a profit of 1 billion dollars last year.

            Tell that to Federal government not to the American consumers not spend more. it is the American consumer money hell they can spend it anytime they want as long the government don’t increase sales tax or commodity tax so the American consumer spend more.

            I know what talking about. if you increase tax the less the Americans will spend because our money is going to pay the tax instead of spending it to buy our iphones.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            You’re making a dishonest argument… comparing what happened when Obama took office to what’s happening after the recovery began.

            As for debt, you didn’t learn very much in college. If we have a mortgage or car payment, we can’t say that all our paycheck is “our” money… some of it’s spoken for: IT’S OUR CREDITOR’S MONEY. Same with the national debt… only we can sleaze out of paying it using your “logic”.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            rest my case.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Looks like you’ve rested before you even made a case. Who cares what you took up in college or where. Your argument doesn’t hold up and your letting your resentment about what the Right has done to you be misdirected into supporting Right wings ideas that will hurt you more.  

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            what I learned in college under the mango tree in the Philippines that you cannot over spend if you make less than the product that you will purchase

          • Anonymous

            Unless you are the source of where all of a sovereign nation’s currency originates from. 

            Because the U.S. gov’t is a monopoly of our currency and they regulate our free markets, they alone control our U.S. economy 100%  They don’t borrow to fund their non-convertible fiat currency. Unless of course they borrow the ink and paper.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            FAX68, Please re-read your above post.  You contradict yourself?

          • Modavations

            I understood him perfectly Mam

        • Modavations

          Why do you get involved Fax???The kid’s posting from Bellvue

      • Modavations

        That wouldn’t be Death Spiral would it Poopsie.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    We the American People did not over spend for the past 10 years or more. Why do we have to pay the government’s irresponsibility in handling the nations budget and to Tax the American people more.

    • Modavations

      You could give the hacks every cent in the Cosmos,but they’d squander it and come back  demanding more.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Sorry Moda, you’re wrong as usual. That did NOT happen in the 90′s. But it DID happen when the GOP was in total control under Bush.

        • Modavations

          Poopsie I hope you don’t think me impolite,but I’m not playing today.Butr Moda,but Moda I can prove it.Start in year 1990 divide by 7 flip the equation over and one again I’m proven right.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            What ‘chemical’ you taking to generate THIS?

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            May I suggest a different tact with Moda… when he makes personal insults… flag his posts. The Mod certainly deleted alot of his crap in the gas forum.

          • Modavations

            Oh No Mr.Bill,oh noooooooooooooo

    • Modavations

      In Ireland ,the whole country is refusing to pay their taxes.Long live the Irish revolution

  • Quincaju

    Clinton surplus. Bush, “We’ll give it back to the people.” Then borrowing for war, no increase on taxes. Then, to Obama, “If you win you won’t be able to fix the mess we’ve made. Better for you not to win. We will be back after 4 years if you do win.” 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Why do you think the Greek people are up in arms?
    Because their government over spent and now they want the Greek people to pay for their stupidity.

    • Modavations

      In Ireland ,the whole country is refusing to pay their taxes.Long live the Irish revolution

  • Modavations

    Mr Ultrax tell the class why JFK dropped the rates.Tell the class why Pres.Obama extended the Bush tax cuts.You remind me of one of those dogs that bite car tires.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      And pray tell Moda, what do the so-called JFK tax cuts have to do with anything? If he thought they’d bring in more revenue HE WAS WRONG. I’m not AGAIN going to  go through the numbers to show how the Right has lied about revenues. The include revenues from THREE tax hikes between 64 and 69. It’s the same as the Right did to claim a phoney revenue boom after the Reagan tax cuts.

      GEE…. is THAT the way tax cuts are supposed to work?

      • Modavations

        I’m not here Poopsie,forget it poopsie.Didn’t think so Poopsie

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      I wonder why you, ulTRAX, and FAX68 seem to regard this site as your personal email system?  Totally boring and inappropriate. Nobody cares to read your silly arguments.

    • lodger

      JFK cut the tax rate .. to almost TWICE what Obama is proposing raising it to.

      There goes that theory. 

      Obama extended the Bush tax cuts in the hopes that maybe the Republican party would then cooperate on *something* for the good of the country as a whole.  But no.

      • Modavations

        Wrong,wrong,wrong……It’s the loop holes ,son.

        • lodger

          JFK wanted to lower the top rate from 91 to 65%. Obama wants to return it to the pre-Bush-cut levels of 35%.

          JFK did not inherit a wartime deficit.

          Stop trying to make JFK sound like a supply sider. It’s a fallacious and tired distraction.

          • Modavations

            Close all the loop holes and drop the rate to 18%.The Buffet Rule

          • Anonymous

            Don’t waste your time with this chap.
            He’s, an egomaniac who likes to see his comments on this forum. It’s all about this mans ego.

          • Modavations

            You’re frothing

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      If you so love the so-called JFK tax cuts… fine BRING THEM BACK!!!! Your argument has always been that because there was a tax cut in the top rate down from 90 to 70%, that JFK would have kept cutting taxes forever. THEY STOPPED AT 70% and measures to make up for lost revenue began the next year. LOOK AT THE DAMN REVENUE CHARTS. THERE WAS NO REVENUE BOOM THAT CAN’T BE EXPLAINED BY THE THREE TAX HIKES that were passed soon after: 

      Tax Adjustment Act of 1966 Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968Tax Reform Act of 1969   

  • TomK in Boston

    I worry about my fellow On Point posters. Many seem too naive to survive. They must be victims to every con artist who comes along, every scam on late night TV. I mean, someone tells them cutting taxes will balance the budget, and they believe it. Ryan, a hard-core class warrior, tells them he’ll cut taxes but be “revenue neutral” by closing unspecified loopholes, and they believe him. Ryan tells them that taking a medicare Groupon to WellPoint will be as good as comprehensive medicare and they say Yes Sir, that’s right Mr Ryan. The teaOP says they’re showing concern for  “the kids” by denying them the SS and medicare we have and they think it makes sense.

    They make the girlfriend who believes the guy when he says he’s going to leave his wife for her any day now look like a tough minded cynic.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      You are exactly, on point. The American electorate is as under informed as any on the planet. The only reason anyone with a brain believes Republican propaganda and lies is because they are simple minded, and have absolutely no knowledge as to how the government really works, the Constitution, or Econ 101.

  • Modavations

    Speaker Dileo(?) ,commenting on Boston’s Welfare Scandal du jour, says this has got to stop.Evidently you can use you EBT Card(Welfare),to get cash,tatoos,gamble at casinos,nails polished,buy lottery tickets,etc..Come the first of the month the parking lot of the Market Basket in Lowell,looks like the Souk in Marrakesh.Todays outrage entailed a convicted herion dealer who got popped again.He called his pal on his Welfare phone and had him use the EBT card to get $758.00 cash, to make his bail.The pity is that there are people truly in need.As for Dileo’s consternation,dream on.The Welfare recipient,led by the politiboro overlord,is todays Democrat Party.A question,if your on Welfare for 10 years, do you get a Platinum EBT card?This is why we’re going broke

    • Anonymous

      ……………………….
       

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Some people don’t know what “on topic” means because they’re too bored to read the title of the show at the top of the page.

  • Bruce

    A great show today.  Simon Johnson and the callers were spot on.  Once again, a strong argument is made for a balanced approach to debt reduction based on empirical evidence.
     
    I’m afraid that the ahistorical, anti-empirical conservative ideologues who have hijacked the GOP aren’t listening.  The Tea-Party and its advocacy of a laissez-faire approach aren’t interested in what works for the 99% and a thriving middle-class.  They would rather indulge an older economic and social order that is reminiscent of the Gilded Age or the Roaring Twenties with an ever increasing concentration of individual wealth and corporate power as well as an unsustainable, conspicuous consumption that celebrates greed and envy.
     
    Simon’s comments reminded me of the thesis of David Stockman, Ronald Reagan’s Budget Director no less, when he described the “Bipartisan March of Fiscal Madness” last year in the NY Times.  In his op-ed piece, he correctly states the case against the Ryan budget as a cruel and unnecessary burden on the poor, elderly, disabled and disadvantaged.  If adopted, the Ryan plan would take us down a Path to America’s Ruin, dismantling social insurance and safety-net programs that have lifted generations of Americans from poverty, supported a record expansion of the middle-class, and provided economic security and social cohesion following two momentous wars and several recessions.
     
    The Stockman solution is captured in the acronym: RED.  Raise REVENUES; reform ENTITLEMENTS; and cut DEFENSE.   Even Reagan’s right-hand man advocates a balanced approach that would allow the Bush tax cuts to expire and that rejects the supply-side tax-cutting delusion feeding the Far-Right’s appetite for a free lunch (i.e. a cost free, painless path to prosperity).   
     
    As to the characterization of Obama’s proposals as small potatoes, at least it would not worsen the structural deficit as the Ryan plan would.  And Obama has evidenced a willingness to compromise by cutting spending.  Indeed, last year Obama advocated a 2 or 3 to 1 spending cut to tax increase ratio to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over twelve years.  His approach combines discretionary spending cuts, defense budget cuts, and health care cost-cutting measures together with tax increases primarily on the wealthy.
     
    I think the GOP Presidential Debates gave us a glimpse into the contours of the laissez-faire, libertarian Nirvana envisioned by Ryan et al.  Judging from the biggest applause lines we heard during the debates, that libertarian paradise would consist of a society where people without insurance are permitted to die if they cannot pay for their care out of pocket, a military that would reject the service of capable men and women if they are gay, a state that incarcerates and executes an ever-increasing criminal population rather than invests in the education and welfare of its people; and a government bent on coddling the super-rich by balancing the budget on the backs of the poor and undermining the middle-class (note that all of the GOP contenders raised their hands indicating that NO ratio of spending cuts to tax increases would be acceptable, that is,  NO revenue increases would be tolerated).
     
    The “Gipper” is probably turning over in his grave at the obstructionism, pandering and political brinkmanship of the GOP—the major factors in our inability to put our fiscal house in order.

  • Modavations

    Miss Tree Tree,what in the world is a yatch?Is this some sort of Pedophile secret code

    • Terry Tree Tree

      YOU’RE the one that was asking for pedophile sites on here!!  Are YOU a pedophile priest?  Is THAT why you dislike my comments against them? 
         YOU have made MANY statements on here, that would indicate that you are a Child-Molester, or Child-Abuser?
         You talk a lot about Boston, one of the centers of MUCH of the Catholic Child-Molesting?
         I have consistently raised objections to the institutionalized Child-Molesting and Child-Abuse, to keep it in the public eye!
         Keep your self-proclaimed ‘limp-wristed’, and pedophile comments to yourself, please.

      • Modavations

        What is a Yatch?Is this a Pedophile pass word?

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Bush ran on preserving the Clinton Surplus and paying down debt first… with tax cuts second.

    http://romcache.tripod.com/bush2000.pdf

    I’m still waiting for one our Right wing friends to explain how we could afford tax cuts in 2001 when we finally got to a real surplus and We The People were already $6 trillion in debt and debt paydown barely got started. Someone’s going to say 911… but Bush was running on a tax cut even in May 2000. Recession? Hardly, again Bush was proposing a tax cut before there were any signs of a slowdown. And Newt was proposing a 800 billion tax cut in 1999 when we had not even gotten to a real on-budget surplus.

    No one is asking the OBVIOUS question why the GOP put tax cuts above all else when we should have been paying down debt.

    And why is the GOP so determined now to keep the Bush tax cuts where they were clearly a mistake…. and we’re now 9 TRILLION more in debt?

    In constant dollars revenues in the past 11 years have been BELOW Clinton’s last year. Yet they deny there’s a revenue problem. Why is the GOP so desperate to deprive the government of revenue and pretend the entire problem is spending?

    • Gregg

      Clinton is no longer President, neither is Bush. The tax cuts happened (thankfully) and not even a Democrat controlled Congress would let them expire. Get over it.

      And what’s this nonsense about paying down the debt? We can’t even balance a budget, heck we don’t even have one as we spend 100+% of GDP. Hell, let’s just get the deficit under a trillion without Democrats having a conniption fit.

      • Guest

        Get an education, Gregg, for you are wrong. Clinton did balance the budget, something none of your guys have managed to do. Your guys want to destroy everything and keep all the money. Just watch the Mormons.

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          Bigot alert.

        • Modavations

          Harry Reid is a Mormon,Bigot!!!!

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Paying down the debt in 01 was nonsense? BUSH RAN ON PAYING DOWN DEBT. Your attitude that tax cuts WE COULD NOT AFFORD were desirable proves you’re fiscally irresponsible… but as most right wingers, you want that free lunch… to have your irresponsible tax cuts, then refuse to take responsibility for them.

        • Modavations

          Go to bed Poopsie.

    • Modavations

      Go to bed Poopsie,go to bed

    • Anonymous

      My answer to that is they don’t give a *^0*. They do however seem desperately hungry for money. What a sick way to live. Our taxes go on the military and law enforcement – while the 1% want lower taxes – oh and less laws.  Sometimes I wonder why we are talking about this. It is a hoist, a transfer of wealth. Plain and simple. How long will it take us to realize – seems like people are under a kind of spell. 

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Why are you still running against Bush?

      We thought Bush was responsible for reckless spending like Medicare part D.

      Obama is making things much, much worse.

      • Still Here

        Set the wayback machine Sherman; I’m sure we can still win the 04 election.

        • Modavations

          I loved Sherman and Peabody.I actually learned history!!!!……Fan Mail From Some Flounder

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Lame evasion Worried. The debt Obama has is $5 trillion worst because of Bush. Unless paid off, debt remains… even if some of it’s Reagan’s.

        The Tax Cut Psychosis of the GOP’s been building since 01… and there’s NOTHING wrong with investigating it since those Bush tax cuts are still here and the GOP today insists they remain even if all the original reasons evaporated back in 01… and we’re now $9 TRILLION more in debt.

        • Modavations

          Go to bed Poopsie,we don’t need another,on screen Nervous Breakdown

  • Modavations

    To all you doubters.Google some of JFK’s economic speeches.He is a supply sider,the first of the trickle downs.Quit with the excuses just google them.There are many

  • Anonymous

    Easy stomach. Paul Ryan concerned about the debt that will accumulate by the end of this century?  

    • Modavations

      Easy stomach,Pres.Obama is now proclaiming he’s the new Ronald Reagan.What a sad figure Pres.Obama has become.

      • Gregg

        I understand and agree with your sincerity. It truly is sad. America deserves better.

  • Modavations

    What exactly is the “left’s”social justice ,you ask?.It’s big govt.shaking down the middle classes to buy the Welfare Classes vote.

  • aj

    MSNBC just showed poor Georgie walking into the county. Do all you yuppies know what’s next?… STRIP SEARCH!!! LOL

    • Modavations

      Why am I not surprised that you get your news from MSNBC.Remember MSNBC and Daily Kos and Move On are propaganda outlets for Bolsheviks.

      • Anonymous

        Bullsh–

        • Gregg

          I don’t think so.

  • M. S. Platt

    Listened to your show this A.M. with Simon Johnson. All the answers to the issues raised can be found in my book “HOLY ECONOMICS: RESOLVING THE DEBT CRISIS”. Read the book!

    • Modavations

      Economics is a fake science.You give Fortune Tellers a bad name

      • M. S. Platt

        To Modavations: Dear Friend, Holy Economics is not an economics text. It is a respectful response to the Ryan and Simpson-Bowles reports and offers viable alternatives. Perhaps you could look at the book and reply to this audience in an informed manner.

        • Modavations

          Nope,but send me a condensed copy and I’ll do my best.If it’s a liberal screed send it to Ultrax

          • M. S. Platt

            To Modavations: If you are a responsible Conservative, you will get the book from Amazon. com. If you are a “Strawman” just trying to test the audience, you should start responding in a proper and responsible manner.  I shall pray for you. M. S. Platt

          • Modavations

            yawn

  • aj

    Hold your head HIGH when you grab those ankles Georgie.

    • Modavations

      Now this is the way it should be done.In a trail,not at the end of a lynchman’s noose.Kids,reread your “To Kill A Mockingbirds” please”.Aj.I’ve asked you a number of times to recommend  some current reggae and you’ve stiffed me.I suffer from acute Reggaematosis.

      • aj

        My bad. current reggae? Ahh…let’s see..forget that. I know what to prescribe. Round trip tix on a Air Jamaica flight 1st class.

        Once your over the Caribbean, tell the stewardess to bring you the ganja. Your E.T.A. in Kingston will be 4:20 sharp. Be cool when going thru customs.Your driver will meet you in front of the concourse, he’ll be holding a sign ‘Mo Green’.

        Tell him to take you to the rawest livest illest stankest funk joint in all of Trench Town. That oughta cure your jones or your Reggaematosis.

        Hope that helps.

        P.S. On your drive to the airport, put the top down, and EPMD’s ‘Strictly Business’ in the deck.Fade it to the front woofers,bump the bass.That’s old school, Boogie Down style.LOL

        ‘I shot the sheriff,
        But I didn’t shoot no deputy,
        I shot the sheriff,
        But I swear it was in self-defense’

        • Gregg

          Okay, that was cool. I love that song. I’m there.

          • aj

            Right?!

        • Modavations

          I’m a surfer.We used to hang in Grandihole Jct…Still have a good bro Rollie down there.What Up Rollie.Trench town are you nuts.They’d eat me alive

        • Modavations

          Aj….I gots to dance.Whats EPMD and will it fill the bill.While your politics suck,if you like Mr.Gong there’s still hope.Mind Control and Jaimaca are the two best C.Ds in the last 5 years.Don’t doubt me kids.I know two things,Diamonds and good music

          • aj

            LOL. I’m out ya’ll. 1

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Diamonds and music perhaps. In every other area you’re out to lunch.

          • Modavations

            Yawn

      • Anonymous

        You might want to reread it.  Despite Tom Robinson’s innocence the jury convicts him.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Consider how Moda messes up the title, and you see his attention to accuracy.
            The book is longer than a paragraph.  Moda’s self-proclaimed lead and mercury ingestion in childhood, and later, evidently continuing ‘chemical’ ingestion, prevents his ability to read more than a paragraph?

  • Modavations

    Terry,Terry,Terry.What in the world is a Yatch.Please,please,please,don’t tell me you were trying to say Yacht.

  • aj

    No bond for you Georgie. Get comfy in there. Clink.

    • Modavations

      Eric Holder has turned the Dept.of Justice into the Dept.of Social Justice.He say he stands with his people.Mr Holder we’re all you’re people.

  • Cblank

    Another solution is a jubilee on war debt.
    The losers in this scenario would be those who invested in globalization instead of taking a risk on small local businesses.
    Unfortunately,the IMF facilitates foreign direct investment so they won’t advocate this method of solving the debt crisis.
    C

  • Modavations

    If Pres.Obama had cut each “working stiff”a check with all the Stimulus monies,we’d each get a check for 13,000.00. Instead we got Solyndra and 457billion per year in interest payments

    • Anonymous

      Rubbish.

      • Gregg

         I don’t think so.

        • Anonymous

          Well I do. In fact most of what that guy posts is rubbish. You join in because you have a herd mentality.Do you have the ability to think critically?

          Not one of you right wingers listened to a word of Simon Johnson was saying. You all post the same rhetoric no matter what the subject of any show is. It’s really very trite, immature and predictable.

          • Gregg

            Please read your own post including all your silly monikers. What you lack in substance you make up with vitriol. Moda can make you do tricks at will.

             

          • modatroll

            So Moda is nothing but a troll posting crap looking for reactions?

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Sounds about right. He’s certainly not here because he has anything intelligent to add.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      If ‘W’ had cut a check to each working citizen, instead of TARP, and the 12 Trillion dollars they gave to the banks that were ‘too big to fail’, we could have ALL had our own community bank!
         There would have been no need for the Stimulus!
          Instead, banksters gave banksters BONE-USes, for BAD business practices!

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      So now you’re suggesting that we have a 787 BILLION dollar income redistribution program?

      Gee Moda, since when did you become a Communist?

      • Gregg

         It’s $814 billion. Get your facts straight.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          And do you have a source? Sure you do… outdated ones from 2010. Looks like we’re both wrong. I was correct about the original estimate but carelessly missed that the latest estimates have it at 831 billion. Since I have no use for bad data, I can gladly admit I was wrong. Try it sometime Gregggg 

          http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/obama-stimulus-price-tag-831-billion/374591

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          Now have any comments about Moda’s communistic $831 BILLION redistribution of wealth scheme? Of course not. You have Moda’s back even if he’s a complete….

      • Modavations

        Yawn

  • http://banicki.biz steve banicki

    “Authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, proposal combines cuts to safety net programs with sharply lower tax rates in a manifesto painting clear differences with President Obama.” GOP budget plan cuts deeply into domestic programs, reshapes Medicare, Medicaid, , Washington Post, March 20, 2012 

    Paul Ryan is naive or he thinks the American people are naive. Either way, his proposal shows everyone how disharmonious the Republican Party is with the citizens of this country. The Republicans drank too much tea. Read More:  http://goo.gl/KchrB

    • Gregg

      Leaving aside the fact our safety net is unsustainable and headed for certain doom if ignored, is there a serious alternative? Obama’s future was voted down 414-0 in the House, the Senate refuses to even have a vote after the last Obama budget went down 97-0. He is clearly not serious about this crisis. Ryan is, and his proposal is merely a start.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Is the safety net really “unsustainable” or is it that the GOP just stands in the way of sensible reforms like Single Payer to deal with Medicare, Medicaid, and even Obamacare?  

      • Mark

        Nobody’s voted on the Ryan plan yet.  How are you going to save us all by giving the huge bulge (Boomers) a pass while at the same time telling anyone under 55 that you will pay more now for the benefit of others, have less to save for retirement AND by the time you retire, your health benefits will have an ever-decreasing value. 

        People are earning less now adjusted for inflation than they did in the 70′s, have massive student loans, pensions are a thing of the past and now you want to destroy Medicare and SS?  Think about it…that’s just kicking the can down the road every bit as every other plan I have seen.  Fast forward 30 years and you will see its all a mirage.  The spending will shift from Medicare/SS to Medicaid/welfare/food stamps.

  • Kat

    Simon, how do you answer arguments posed by Richard Duncan and others who claim that ongoing balances in our current and fiscal accounts have created huge increases in monetary reserves, and will ultimately result in the collapse of the dollar?

    many thanks for your attention.  p.s. Simon, I love your work, and follow it.

  • Modavations

    Mr Holder there are people advocating violence and  the lynching of Mr.Zimmerman.There are people putting bounties on his head.MSNBC and the Racist Rev.Al PLAYED THE TAPE fUC-ING COON,OVER AND OVER AGAIN.Once an expert analysized the tape it become f-cking cold.Mr.Holder are you the head of the Dept.of Justice or is Melanin thicker then water.The Left is setting up a PUTSCH 

  • Fredderfunkel

    Simon, a comment and a question:

    comment: the per capita share of the debt is approximately 15 trillion dollars/300 million citizens = $50,000 for every man, woman and child.  This will obviously be paid by citizens who have saved (probably through inflating their savings).

    question: what do you think of Simpson Bowles?  The numbers look reasonable.  They got a super majority of balanced committee.

    Rick in Florida

  • Modavations

    The entire Irish population has refused to pay their taxes.Why you ask?.They’re tired of being ripped off by hacks.Vive the Irish

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      And your post is on-topic… how?

      And should anyone care to get the FACTS on Ireland instead of your “interpretation”… do you have a credible source to back up your claims?

      I won’t hold my breath hoping you even know what a credible source is.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charley-Wooley/741206578 Charley Wooley

        everytime I check the comments this modavations guy is just trolling the hell out of everyone
        pay him no mind.

        • Gregg

          You are replying to the ultimate hacking troll.

      • Modavations

        Yawn

  • Modavations

    Guess who blew the whistle on the GSA?GSA employees who care about the country,that’s who.Guess what the GSA is supposed to do?.Vive the Irish

  • Gregg

    Obama’s white House pays women less than men. Talk about your war on women.

    http://freebeacon.com/hostile-workplace/

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Yawn… while it may or may not be true, your article proves nothing since it doesn’t compare actual jobs only median salaries. But feel free to run with it.

      “According to the 2011 annual report on White House staff, female employees earned a median annual salary of $60,000, which was about 18 percent less than the median salary for male employees ($71,000).Calculating the median salary for each gender required some assumptions to be made based on the employee names. When unclear, every effort was taken to determine the appropriate gender.”

      • Modavations

        Yawn

    • Anonymous

      Well that is a problem across the board in this country.
      Do you really think the GOP does it different?
      You then use your typical right wing reverse rhetoric, like a 5th grade kid making an argument, which has nothing to do with the real subject of how the GOP is really engaged in destroying the rights of women. Women make up 50% of the work force. You want to see the economy take a noise dive into oblivion do away with contraception and a woman’s right to control her body. I’m not even talking about the other health issues or child care. The GOP is beyond the pale in how misogynistic it is. And that zealot Santorum, that man wanted women to go back to the some fantasy of the 1950′s.

      The White House should be ashamed if a man and a woman who do the same job are not getting the same pay. That’s beyond the pale.

      • Gregg

        “Do away with conception”!? That’s a hoot but it’s just part of the fantasy hysteria you bought into with this phoney war on women. You’re such a sucker.

  • imnotmotivated

    It’s hard to believe any one can be motivated enough to sit around and post messages to this board (any probably others) all day. 

    I guess though there is a lot of money floating around out there after Citizens United.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charley-Wooley/741206578 Charley Wooley

      That guy wishes he was getting paid… probably just doesn’t get out of the house enough

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Did you know some people actually get PAID to do so? Obviously this is not a place for giving testimonials about commercial products, but the political Right is well funded and pays to have people post right wing propaganda in political forums like this. While this may apply to regular folks, clues to look for… they’re here all the time, they always tout the party line and they always are polite. They are instructed not to alienate others. Obviously we can scratch off that list the more idiotic and rabid right wingers. That doesn’t leave many to suspect.

      • Modavations

        Poopsie,go to bed.

      • Still Here

        Nobody posts more crap than you.  If there’s a paid shill here it is certainly you, though I’m sure you don’t get paid much though more than you’re worth.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          ROTF… I hardly post in 3 months up until the gas price show and you’re accusing me of being a constant poster… while you IGNORE those like Moda and Gregggg who are here 24/7?

          And it I post “crap” then it should be easy to rebut. But thinking through an intelligent rebuttal seems beyond your grasp, so you take cheap shot.

          Color us all impressed!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charley-Wooley/741206578 Charley Wooley

    The Rebublicans want to gut medicare and use the funds to give tax breaks to the rich
    The Democrats want to tax the rich to fund medicare
    Trillions of dollars in debt…
    why not cut medicare whilst making the rich pay their fair share?
    Close tax loopholes and make the wealthy pay a higher tax
    Put a bandage on the festering wound that is medicare
    All the while keep investing in infrastructure, education, and technology.
    That might put us back on track

    PS. We could also stop funding the failed war on drugs, stop the oil subsidies and make big oil compete on a fair playing field with wind/solar 

    Instead I fear that congress may just “compromise” by keeping the status quo of unsustainable healthcare entitlements and tax loopholes for the wealthy

    • Gregg

      It’s Obamacare that guts Medicare $500 billion. It’s Republicans being accused of throwing grandma over a cliff when they attempt to address the issue.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        HOW MANY Republicans have EXPOSED the Medicare frauds of their supporters?  Fraud is okay, if Republicans benefit from it?

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        More of your Orwellian Spin? I know you have to regurgitate it since you never stray from the party line. So did Newt “gut” Medicare in 95 when he pushed for savings? Not that you care but here’s a truth squading of the GOP claim from

        http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/jun/16/mitt-romney/500-billion-medicare-obamacare-romney-says/

        The bill doesn’t take money out of the current Medicare budget but, rather, attempts to slow the program’s future growth, curtailing just over $500 billion in anticipated spending increases over the next 10 years. Medicare spending will still increase, however. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects Medicare spending will reach $929 billion in 2020, up from $499 billion in actual spending in 2009. So while the health care law reduces the amount of future spending growth in Medicare, the law doesn’t cut Medicare.Still, where does the $500 billion in future savings come from?Nearly $220 billion comes from reducing annual increases in payments that health care providers would otherwise receive from Medicare. Other savings include $36 billion from increases in premiums for higher-income beneficiaries and $12 billion from administrative changes. A new national board will be tasked to identify $15.5 billion in savings, but the board — the Independent Payment Advisory Board — is prohibited from proposing anything that would ration care or reduce or modify benefits. Then there’s another $136 billion in projected savings that would come from changes to the Medicare Advantage program. About 25 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

        • Modavations

          yawn

        • Gregg

          And they counted it twice, shameless.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

             So I have to assume you’re conceeding that Obama did NOT “gut” Medicare… and you just can’t admit it… so you’re evading that issue by moving the goal post to some new complaint. Isn’t this the way all our discussions turn out?  

          • Gregg

            He cut $500 billion and counted it twice.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            So I have to assume you HAVE  conceeded that Obama did NOT “gut” Medicare… and you just can’t admit it… which is what we expect. So you’re evading that issue by moving the goal post to some new complaint.

            Yup… this the way all our discussions turn out!

          • Gregg

            We don’t have discussions. You have delusions.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            The only delusion I have is thinking that someday you’ll respect facts over your Orwellian Right opinions. But I may have to face the reality that you do NOT give a crap about facts. You’re happy living in right wing La La Land.

        • Bruce

          As you correctly point out, Obama proposes to achieve cost-savings not by reducing benefits to needy recipients, but by eliminating administrative practices that don’t make people healthier.
          Subsidies to insurance companies under Medicare Advantage (MA) are probably the best example of an inefficient, wasteful practice that Obama has correctly targeted for extinction.  Actuarial data support the elimination of this item because the studies show no significant difference in morbidity or mortality rates in those who use MA and those who don’t (i.e. regular Medicare recipients).
          The estimated cost-savings I’ve seen are a bit higher than what you quote—more in the neighborhood of $180 billion.   With all the railing against Obama because of his perceived caving to the insurance companies, you’d think these critics would applaud the jettisoning of Medicare Advantage and re-application of those funds to strengthen the overall system as well as cover more people.
          Another significant cost-cutting change that Obamacare would bring is the denial of full reimbursement of hospitals when tests and procedures are repeated or patients re-admitted due to preventable medical errors.  This reform combined with mandated coverage for wellness care and preventive services will go a long way to re-incentivizing health care providers to pay more attention to health maintenance rather than depending on a revenue stream tethered to service volume exclusively (value vs. volume of services).
          The expansion of electronic records leading to greater information sharing, and the promotion of  evidenced-based medicine under Obamacare, are just a few more examples of how the Affordable Care Act will help lower the trajectory of health care costs including Medicare.    

  • Modavations

    I confess,I confess.The reason I can spend time on NPR is because I work for the State .When we’re not on a GSA junket to Hawaii,or sailing on our Yatch’s,we do nothing all day.

    That’s “J” Terry.You did mean Yacht,didn’t you?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Yes, Moda, I meant yacht.  You correct one mistake of mine, for tens of your own, that you continue? 
         Superiority complex from life-long ingestion of heavy metals and ‘chemicals’?

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        It’s amusing to see someone care so much about the spelling of a word, yet not care in the least whether any of his beliefs are based in reality.  

        • Terry Tree Tree

          OR care how bad his own spelling is consistently, plus grammar, plus punctuation, claiming to have gotten past third grade?

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            The persin in question has bragged in the past about going to a good collegewith the impliction that he’s intelligent and credible. I could never believe if he did, that he finished. And I found out that he didn’t. He’s a dropout.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            But you NEED a college education to say “See the pretty rock?  Give me money for the pretty rock.”??

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    It comes as no surprise that some of the less intelligent Right wingers come here and make the same false claims over and over. They can be shown to be false using official government numbers and in a month or two they’ll be back spouting the same lies. Moda is at it AGAIN in this forum claiming revenues doubled under Reagan “and as usual the hacks spent it all and demanded more”. It’s the lie Limbaugh tells almost word for word.

    When we look into this claim we find the Orwellian Right used ELEVEN YEARS of revenue data when Reagan was, as any 4th grader does, was in for 8 years. The second Orwellian Math ploy Moda cited was to include revenue from the Reagan tax HIKES.

    For the record… AGAIN… from the US Budget Historical Tables

    REAGAN REVENUES IN CURRENT DOLLARS: Table 1.1—SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS, AND SURPLUSES OR DEFICITS IN BILLIONS
    FY81 599,272
    FY88 909,238 = 65.6% increase over 8 years.
     REAGAN REVENUES IN 2005 CONSTANT DOLLARS (inflation corrected) : Table 1.3—SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS, AND SURPLUSES OR DEFICITS IN CURRENT DOLLARS, CONSTANT (FY 2005) DOLLARS
    FY81 1,251.4
    FY88 1,421.1 = 13.56% increase over 8 years.

    A 13.56% increase is a FAR cry from a 100% increase.
     

    One MIGHT think that any REASONABLE person would get pissed when political forces try to mislead them… hoping they’ll make decisions they never would if they knew the truth. But then the Orwellian Right knows many people like Moda just don’t care about the truth.

    • Modavations

      go to bed poopsie.The last think we need is another on air,nervous breakdown

      • Modavations

        thing

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        THANKS Moda for proving my point that you’re not in the least concerned that your views have no connection to reality. Which then raises the obvious next question… why would someone spend so much time posting in a public forum when they are clearly making a fool of themselves?  Sadly, any discussion of the pathology involved is off topic.

        In the end, POLITICS IS NOT RELIGION. Citizens have a DUTY to be informed. When people willingly sabotage their own intellects and allow themselves to not just be dupes, but evangelists for lies, then we must all fear for our nation.   
          

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Moda’s level of intelligent reparte?

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      So how do we look for any “revenue feedback” from the Reagan tax cuts when the signal is muddied with massive tax hikes in 82 and 83? Surely revenue from those tax hikes has to be deducted from the total revenue… that is if one is trying to be intellectually honest…

       Here’s a list of those tax hikes from http://www.ustreas.gov/ota/ota81.pdf They show in constant 1992 dollars the tax bills that RAISED revenue… and what they brought in in Billions of dollars during their first four years. Names have been abbreviated.

      Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982    17.3   38.3   42.2   52.1 = 149.9 billion Highway Revenue Act of 1982           1.7    3.8    3.9    3.9 =  13.3 Social Security Amendments of 1983    6.2    8.8    9.3   11.4 =  34.9 Deficit Reduction Act of 1984         9.3   15.9   21.6   24.6 =  71.4 Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985     0.9    2.7    3.0    3.0 =   9.6 Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987     9.1   14.3   16.2   15.6 =  55.2

      The above might not display correctly. Bottom line is Reagan tax hikes for the first four years of each bill = 334.3 BILLION. That’s just a start since these bills did not expire in four years.
      I should do this over in current dollars since these numbers are linked to 1992 and can’t be compared to the numbers in the above charts.    

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        I just found some longer CBO projections of some of these Reagan tax hikes… and they bring the tentative total to $427 billion up until 1988. If we just look at this added revenue just for FY88 it’s 120.4 BILLION. So if total Reagan revenue for FY88 was $909.238 billion minus the 120.4 billion estimate… revenue without those tax hikes might be in the $788.838 range. If that’s the case, and my math is correct… the increase in Reagan revenues in current dollars might only have been about 31.6% higher after 8 years instead of 65.6%. We can see why the Orwellian Right needs to ignore the revenue from the Reagan tax HIKES, and include eleven years in their calculations to claim Reagan “doubled” revenues.  

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Here’s another Orwellian Right lie that never dies… at least not with those who sabotage their intellects and believe lies… that Newt was responsible for the Clinton Surplus. The Right must make this claim because it has to discredit any positive effects of tax hikes, and exaggerate or invent benefits for tax cuts… not matter how irresponsible they are. First let’s be clear… the GOP in the 90′s did nothing to increase revenue. So they can’t take any credit there. The GOP only cut spending. The BBA mentioned below is the Balanced Budget Act of 1995 passed in Dec 95 and first effective in FY 96 which had already started.

          ANNUAL       BBA     WITHOUT              DEFICIT      CUTS      BBA   
          FY94 -203.186
    FY95 -163.952
    FY96 -107.431    -22     -129.431
    FY97 -21.884      -24     -45.884
    FY98 +69.270     -58     +11.27
    FY99 +125.610   -100    +25.61       

    FY00 +236.241   -133    +103.241    

    Source CBO’s: PROJECTING FEDERAL TAXREVENUES AND THE EFFECT OF CHANGES IN TAX LAW December 1998… the numbers above include the CBO’s estimated spending cuts from the BBA. Numbers are in billions and I adjusted the final numbers as if this tax cut never happened… which decreases the deficit for those 3 years.So would the Clinton Surplus have occurred without Newt’s spending cuts? The answer is YES. Would Newt’s spending cuts have created a surplus without the revenues from the 1993 tax hike… not by a long shot. The backup lie the Right uses is that a small 1997 tax cut “unleashed” the economy… as if the internet tech boom would not have happened otherwise.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Let’s see if I can get those numbers to display better:

                          DEFICIT          BBA     WITHOUT BBA 
              FY94 -203.186
      FY95 -163.952
      FY96 -107.431      -22        -129.431
      FY97 -21.884       -24        -45.884
      FY98 +69.270       -58        +11.27
      FY99 +125.610     -100       +25.61   
           FY00 +236.241     -133       +103.241    

      • Gregg

         No one cares. Shut up. Please.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

           
          More of your infamous hypocrisy? YOU care when YOU want to claim Newt was responsible for the Clinton Surplus. Get a  goddamn clue Greggggg… discussions on tax policy, spending, and revenue ARE THE TOPIC FOR THIS FORUM… and since the Orwellian Right still spews its lies about the 90′s, that affects how people like YOU see the solution to our current debt problem.
           
          So if you’re so concerned about what posts people are interested in… then please convey to your buddy the resident Village Idiot that the bulk of his posts are not just off topic, senseless, and annoying… but idiotic.   

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          I should also note that these numbers drive a stake into your oft repeated that Newt and the GOP were responsible for the Clinton Surplus. I asked you MANY times in the past if you could prove the GOP spending cuts were sufficient to reduce the deficit and you were NEVER able to do so. So I can see why you so object to seeing numbers that DO disprove your claim. In the end you’re no more interested in the truth than Moda is… and I fully expect you to repeat your lies and distortions in the future.

          • Gregg

            You just project on to me whatever suits your fancy if it puffs up your ego. You never have been able to refute what I say just what you say I mean. 

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            AS usual Gregggg…. you’re twisting reality to suit your delusions. It was YOU who was never able to prove Newt made enough spending cuts to create the Clinton Surplus. Or are you going to deny you didn’t repeatedly make that claim? Now that the numbers are in, you’re trying to make me the issue instead of the numbers. Thanks again for an example of what passes for intellectual integrity on the Orwellian Right.
             

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Are you denying you ever made those claims? Here’s one of your posts from last Aug:

            Gregg 08/08/2011 11:52 AM
            in reply to ulTRAX
            0 Like

            Clinton fought the balanced budget tooth and nail. He had to submit 5 budgets before Newt was satisfied. There was no way on God’s green earth he would have balanced the budget, reformed welfare and claimed “the era of big government is over” without the Republican takeover in 1994. No way. He was smart enough to listen to the will of the people however and deserves far more credit than Obama on that front.

            EVERY ONE of your claims has been proven false. Clinton RAN in 1992 on welfare reform and Clinton’s 1993 spending cuts and tax hike  alone got us to a surplus. The CBO estimates of Newt’s spending cuts helped, but were NOT critical. Time to deal with reality Greggg. Instead all you do is show you have zero intellectual integrity.  0 Like

        • Terry Tree Tree

          I CARE!  4 other likes,  indicates that THEY care!
            ‘Conservatives’ don’t care, because it exposes that they are NOT conservative!  NEITHER financially NOR morally!

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    There are numerous prerequisites for self-government to work and one is that the People are rational enough to make rational decisions. It’s a sad comment on the political state of affairs in the US that IRrationality is so prevalent. Yes, I’ve debated enough Dems to know they are not immune, but it’s really the irrationality on the Right that is the most prevalent and the most virulent. But why?

    The Right has a minority agenda of protecting wealth and power. It’s NOT something they can run openly on… and unless they can attract a coalition, they’ll be in minority status forever. But if the Right can’t admit their true agenda, how do they attract a coalition?

    In the US, they play the emotional cards… God, gays, guns, family, race, apple pie, and the flag. They are the experts in scapegoating and creating decisive wedge politics to exploit. They secretly undermine something that works, then claim the “fix” is to further undermine it. They push free trade then blame US workers for being overpaid. They undermine the working class then blame accuse public sector workers of having it too good.

    The Right has formulated a narrative that justifies heaping even more wealth on the rich and why we can’t afford a civilized nation that takes care of its own people. It’s NOT a policy that will convince many of their own coalition, so they developed a secondary strategy to destroy the fiscal health of the federal government with irresponsible tax cuts and reckless spending, then use the debt they are largely responsible for as a pretense for weakening or abolishing all those New Deal and Great Society programs they’ve always opposed.

    To make fiscal irresponsibility seem the opposite, the Orwellian Right propaganda industry concocted numerous myths about the benefits of tax cuts for the rich… that these tax cuts created massive revenue booms and they paid for themselves. To further sabotage the collective IQ of the right wing faithful, the Orwellian Right concocted plausible but idiotic notions about finance that only spending matters. Since no movement can take root unless it’s portrayed as being highly principled and trying to accomplish something positive, the Right pretends to be saving the programs they hope to destroy… or they are helping the “job creators”.

    The Right has spent 3 decades trying to create this budget crisis and they know to allow tax rates to go back even to the Clinton era, would wreck their strategy of fiscal devastation. This explains why they are so adament against new revenue.

    The above is a nonsensical but coherent narrative and mindless sycophants on the right have eaten it all up… and we see them here day after day. They range from the ones that at least make an effort to back up their claims. But there is a greater number who operate on a primitive level of irrationality where they can do nothing more than throw out vaguely plausible, but not verifiable, accusations and defenses. They spout nonsense and yet believe they are making devastating rebuttals… even as they deny hard facts presented to them. This level of irrationality IS a threat to the nation.

    Someone once said the first one to bring up the Nazis loses the argument. It’s nonsense. We really DO need to understand the mindset of a good percentage of the population to understand how Nazism could take root. And if there’s one truth… it operated on a similar level of irrationally and scapegoatism the Right encourages here in the US.

    • Bruce

      You’ve encapsulated a disturbing truth in a great post.  Well said with substance and conviction!

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Thanks Burce!

  • Skoz

    I frequently enjoy listening to OnPoint. Tom Ashbrook is a great interviewer. What baffles me, however, is that Mr Ashbrook very seldom interviews the people that are commonly analyzed or critiqued. Why not invite these people to participate on the show, allowing both sides of an issue to be heard. Case in point, Simon Johnson is challanging Paul Ryan’s “Path way to Prosperity” plan. The Madison-Jefferson approach calls for all facts to be presented. Is there a reason why Mr Ryan hasn’t been invited on the show to discuss his plan and to answer listener questions?   

  • tnamygdala

    one factual error:  there was a 7th occasion that the debt grew more quickly than NGDP:  from 1981-1992 due to the 1981-82 recession, Regan’s early tax cuts coupled with his increased military spending, and the 1990-91 recession

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. It’s time we stopped it.”

    Mystery Class Warfare President….

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    OF COURSE THERE’S A REVENUE PROBLEM!

    The Orwellian Right tries to convince their faithful, and ever gullible, base that there’s NO revenue problem. All our budget problems are due to spending. Certainly spending to keep the economy afloat after the GOP imploded the economy is expensive. And in a recession and a weak economy… revenues are down. But just how much did the irresponsible Bush tax cuts cost the US?

    The first number below is the fiscal year. The second number is revenue in CONSTANT DOLLARS… ie inflation adjusted to 2005. The third number is a simple projection of the revenue LOSS for each year BELOW Clinton’s last year. Even this simplest analysis… projecting FLAT revenue growth into the Bush years, the Bush tax cuts were SO draconian that even this simple exercise shows there was about $1.205 TRILLION loss in revenue over Bush’s 8 years. In reality, because revenue should have been GROWING from population/economic growth, the REAL revenue loss is perhaps closer to $2.5 trillion. Numbers below are in the billions.

    2000 = 2,310.0 CLINTON’S LAST FULL YEAR IN OFFICE

    2001 = 2,215.3 = -94.7  first Bush tax cuts

    2002 = 2,028.6 = -281.4

    2003 = 1,901.1 = -408.9

    2004 = 1,949.5 = -360.5

    2005 = 2,153.6 = -156.4

    2006 = 2,324.1 = +14.1

    2007 = 2,414.0 = +104

    2008 = 2,288.5 = -21.5

    2009 = 1,898.3 = -411.7

    2010 = 1,919.0 = -391.

    We can leave to another time the questions of the utter CONTEMPT the Orwellian Right has for those it hopes to deceive… as well of the gullibility of those on the Right that eat up even the most blatant lies without question.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Sorry… source for numbers above was Table 1.3—SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS, AND SURPLUSES OR DEFICITS ( ) IN CURRENT DOLLARS, CONSTANT (FY 2005) DOLLARS

      THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012, HISTORICAL TABLES

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    THE MORAL BASIS FOR PROGRESSIVE TAXATION 
    What’s a killer idea for a product or service worth in an impoverished 3ed or 4th world nation without the infrastructure to exploit it? Probably nothing.

    The Right fails, or pretends not to understand that good ideas, free choice, and markets alone do NOT make people wealthy. In reality for an inventor to exploit an idea requires the infrastructure built up by previous generations.

    Getting rich requires a stable currency, a legal infrastructure of contract and patent law, a functional court system to enforce those laws. It requires an educational infrastructure that can produce an educated workforce with the skills needed in the inventor’s area. To exploit an idea there has to be a public health infrastructure for clean water, air, a vaccinated public to prevent pandemics. It requires a scientific and technological base of research that can be built upon. Often someone gets rich for only providing one last piece in a puzzle worked on by others for years. It requires a nation secure behind its defense infrastructure, and domestic tranquility provided by law enforcement infrastructure. It requires physical investments be safe behind a fire fighting infrastructure. It requires an infrastructure of highways, sea ports, and airports for transportation of raw goods and parts to a factory and to bring finished goods to market.

    A killer idea in an impoverished 3ed world nation won’t make someone rich, but it will here in the US because previous generations have paid taxes and built up this nation’s infrastructure. When working well, the public and private sectors bootstrap each other to greater levels of prosperity. Yet Libertarians and the far Right seem to believe no one should feel there is much of a debt to society for that opportunity even if it’s the rich who arguably most exploit those public resources and investments. We’re supposed to believe we owe everything to the rich who must be coddled lest they not throw their blessings our way.

    If there is a MORAL BASIS for progressive taxation it’s the above. That’s one reason I’ve long believed the income tax should be renamed the Opportunity Tax… maybe THEN the Right will finally understand the purpose of a strongly progressive tax system.

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