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David Wessel On The National Debt

With Wade Goodwyn in for Tom Ashbrook.

The Wall Street Journal’s David Wessel on how to tackle America’s ballooning federal debt crisis.

The shadow of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is seen on a representation of the National Debt Clock as he speaks at a town hall meeting in Kalamazoo, Mich., Friday, Feb. 24, 2012. (AP)

The shadow of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is seen on a representation of the National Debt Clock as he speaks at a town hall meeting in Kalamazoo, Mich., Friday, Feb. 24, 2012. (AP)

The debate over the national debt seems to rear its ugly head periodically and then go back into its cave. Just how much of a threat to the American economy is the debt?

Are we truly headed off a financial cliff or should we concentrate on fixing the economy first? Should we cut taxes and cut spending, how about raise taxes and cut spending?

This hour, On Point: the debate over debt. Can we get anything done in our partisan riven Congress?

-Wade Goodwyn

Guests

Ed O’Keefe, congressional reporter at the Washington Post.

David Wessel, economics editor for the Wall Street Journal and writes the Capital column, a weekly look at the economy. His latest book is Red Ink: Inside the High Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research. He’s the author of The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive.

Mo Brooks, congressman from Alabama’s 5th District. He’s a member of the Republican Study Committee, which works to advance a conservative social and economic agenda in the U.S. House.

From The Reading List

Chicago Tribune “Congress should stop fretting over the mechanics of implementing a huge, indiscriminate budget cut early next year and instead try to figure out how to avoid it by passing a more reasonable deal to reduce deficits, administration officials told lawmakers on Wednesday.”

Reuters “The White House said on Tuesday it was starting to get ready for potentially painful year-end spending cuts, and was committed to shielding U.S. military pay from any government budget crunch.”

 

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  • Bob

    With all respect to NPR I’m not looking forward to being lectured by someone from wall street. Wall street pushed millions of people/families into painful existence by breaking the economy – nice track record. They buy our so-called Democratic government, and praise companies who off-shore jobs to increase stock value. Then they see stock prices go down when there is no hiring in the U.S. because jobs are off-shored. 

    Now this guy wants to tell us how to fix National debt. It will cuts for everyone except wall street.

    • LinP

       Right on!

    • Don_B1

      From my experience listening to reporting from David Wessel, he is not an ideologue. It is only since Rupert Murdoch bought the WSJ that its news/business articles have, slowly, been “infected” with the gross fantasies that exist on its Editorial/Opinion pages.

      I have not seen that in any of Mr. Wessel’s reporting, at least some of which are not available to non-subscribers.

      I would appreciate it if anyone could convince me differently.

      Mr Wessel also appears regularly on PBS’s weekly Friday night program Washington Week, with Gwen Ifil. I have not seen him embrace ideology there either.

      But like all mortals Mr. Wessel cannot be perfect and I look forward to this discussion with another well-informed economist, Dean Baker.

      I deeply regret that my expectations from Mr. Brooks are not high as I expect mostly talking points that bear little foundation in real facts of the nation’s economy from him. The points to be noted, if my expectations hold true, is to picture what his prescriptions for policy will mean to the average American versus how they will preserve the wealth of the 0.1%.

      Reading from Mr. Wessel at the WSJ on the budget is available to all at:

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444330904577538910083734248.html

      This article seems appropriate for this program and I am surprised it was not in his biography above.

      • Don_B1

        Well, I just did find Mr. Wessel misrepresenting the positions of Southern European countries: Spain was in budget SURPLUS before the 2008 financial crisis and it was Spain’s PRIVATE banks and developers which borrowed from German an French banks to create inflation and an over-leveraged economy that caused revenues to fall and safety net expenditures to rise. Italy’s high deficits were on a downward track and it was in Primary surplus (that means revenues covered all but a part of its debt costs).

    • Brandstad

      We Americans are equally at fault for electing idiots to public office who don’t act in our best interest.

      Congress’ approval ratings have sunk to their lowest since CBS and the New York Times started keeping track in 1977: Just 9% of Americans now approve of the job Congress is doing, down from 11% last month. Only a tenth of Americans trust the government to make generally sound decisions, compared to 23% last year. And the anger is spread across party lines.

      http://www.newser.com/story/131874/congress-approval-rating-9-president-obama-at-46-in-cbsnyt-poll.html

      • margbi

         I have to say along with Thomas Frank, “What’s the matter with Kansas?” Many there vote against their interests. For what?

        • AF_Whigs

          The GOP for many years (and Tea Party follows the same strategy) has been very good at towing a party line.  Certain topics and subjects are “discussed” and the party line is parrotted over and over. 

          The key, though, is that the party line is generally something that is the exact opposite of what it seems.  Actually expect the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes? (which, incidentally, would affect those in Congress).  No!  “Raising taxes” is bad!   The American public hates Obamacare!  Well, that may be partially true on some level – it DOES NOT mean that the American public does not think that healthcare is an important issue. 

          Unfortunately too many of the types who watch Fox News believe all of that nonsense, and are willing to buy into whatever is being said.   If Republicans propose a bill in Congress and call it the “Clean Air & Water Act” and it absolves corporate polluters of all responsiblity, well, how could you possibly be against clean air & water?  What, are you a communist?

          And, to be clear, I don’t think most Democrats are much better.

      • Don_B1

        It is the Tea/Republican members of Congress that are making 90% of the problems that the public sees as “idiocy.”

        • John in Amherst

           In their moralistic and uncompromising tone, they truly sound like capitalist jihadis

  • Gregg

    A budget would be a good place to start.

    • Denis

      Talk to your buddies in congress… the responsibility of passing the budget falls on the congress not the executive branch. [And you are one of those guys that like to refer to the constitution.]

      • Gregg

        The House has passed a budget every year. The Senate has not. Obama has proposed budgets that went down in flames. It’s on Obama.

        • Denis

          Because you [and your 24/7 Fox misinformation buddies] say so? Congress’ job is to work together, compromise and get results. If the President had vetoed their work you could find some room for blaming him; however, the ridged right will not compromise and has consistently, happily passed budgets that they knew would never get to the executive to sign or veto. But of course it is the executive’s fault. Gregg with many G’s you can do better than this series of posts.
             

          • Gregg

            I really don’t understand the Fox thing. I am constantly amazed at how often you have not heard about the most basic of issues. I would suggest better news sources. The House budgets got bipartisan support and Obama’s budget got zip, zero, nada. Not a single Democrat voted for either. Not one. How does that reality jive with your comment about working together?

          • J__o__h__n

            It didn’t get bipartisan support.  It got a handful of Democrats to vote for it. 

          • Gregg

            Which one? Bipartisan means both parties. A handful counts but I’ll rephrase: Opposition to Obama’s blueprint  was completely bipartisan. Does all of both parties satisfy your definition?

          • Denis

            And I in turn am constantly amazed at how often you are totally uninformed about the most basic issues.

          • Don_B1

            Unfortunately, Gregg’s mission here seems to be not presenting facts in context, but totally mischaracterizing what few real facts he finds useful to bring up and making up others.

            Gregg and Mr. Mo Brooks are likely to be some (tag?) team.

          • Gregg

            What have I misrepresented? 

          • Don_B1

            It is hard to find even ONE statement where you haven’t misrepresented something. And you are smart enough to know that (and apparently proud of it).

          • Gregg

            Then it should be easy, smarty pants. You have misrepresented my impeccable ethics. Apologize.

        • AF_Whigs

          No, it’s on a Republican House that is willing to run the country into the ground in an attempt to make Obama look bad.

    • TFRX

      Getting a media to call out the bullshit of John “I got 98% of what I want, I’m happy” Boehner and his happy hacks now whining “Sequestration is all Obama’s fault” would be a better place to start.

      I smell a feces flinging coming on in the media. In two weeks I think we can’t get a prominent right-winger in the media to even pronounce the word “sequestration” properly.

  • Lhammond

    Cutting “government spending” for help to states and cities to hire teachers, police, and firefighters is fine. It’s the private sector that creates jobs, not the government, right? Except for government defense contracts. THOSE cuts hurt jobs. Why not let market demand determine those jobs too?

    • Hypocracy1

      Yeah those ‘job creators’, I mean the private sector has just been kicking out those jobss…

  • Che’ Riviera

    I don’t think most of us know whether the debt is bad or not.  Why wasn’t it a disaster at a quarter of half the current size?  Why now?  They say “follow the money”, maybe we need to follow the debt.  What are debt alarmist’s goals?   Why are they always excited to trim the safety net, but never the military?

    I don’t think we’ll get answers today from a Wall Street guy and a congressman from the great state of Alabama…

  • Brandstad

    Obama will be the 1st US presadent to never pass a budget.  This could explain why his administration has no idea were money goes or how big the debt is.

    • J__o__h__n

      Would that be unpresadented?

    • diadromy

      Only Congress can pass a budget, not the President.

      • J__o__h__n

        Why are you letting the Constitution get in the way of right wing talking points?

        • Gregg

          What can Congress do when they do pass budgets and Obama won’t sign them? What does it say when Obama’s budgets get voted down 97-0 in the Senate and 414-0 in the House? His “my way or the highway” stance shows a complete lack of leadership. It’s on him.

          • J__o__h__n

            The House has not passed a budget that has any chance of going anywhere in the Senate.  The president’s budgets are just a blueprint.  All spending bills must originate in the House. 

          • Gregg

            Then why won’t Harry Reid bring them to a vote? What’s the harm in proving they won’t pass with a vote? I suspect they would pass.

            Is it too much to expect an Obama blueprint to garner a single vote?

          • Don_B1

            The “Budget” that the Democrats voted against was not the budget as Obama had submitted it; it had been amended past all recognition by REPUBLICANS.

            But I expect that the Republican Trolls here will repeat this calumny without amendment into the indefinite future: it is their way.

          • TFRX

            “Obama’s budget”? Hahahaha. Can I rearrange your words out of all recognition and call them yours?

  • Brandstad

    Jobless Claims Increase
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443687504577564761715307088.html

    The easiest way to fix the federal budget is to start passing a budget, then we must put people back to work by reducing regulation and government red tape.

    • AC

      which regulation are you referring too?

      • Denis

        and which red tape?

        • Mike Card

          Troll Brandstad doesn’t answer questions; he only cuts & pastes stuff he thinks is provacative.

      • diadromy

        AC – good question! Too many listen to the garbage on cable news and believe it. If they only understood how they benefit from hundreds of regulations every minute, they would be more careful about what they say. Regulations have allowed to thrive as a nation and trusting individuals to police themselves will put us into ruin. Oh wait, that’s what happened to the economy!

      • margbi

         Maybe the regulations about food inspection or medical research or air pollution? Not good.

      • Gregg

        46 billion a year has been imposed on small business through new regulations. I’ve posted a link 3 times. Each time it appeared for a minute then was gone. Other replies have remained. It’s weird. As I wrote before, if they all show up later, my apologies. I’m leaving off the link this time. Just google “$46 billion regulations”.

        • AC

          too be honest, i only trust .gov websites for info like that.
          while there are some regulations that are too dear for municipalities to pay for, it’s the old ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’ – pay now or pay 1000x more later after you’ve ruined it. which is too easy to fall for – i have yet to see a 10year budget.
          i believe in regulations, anyone who has seen some of the world will agree….
          not to say there shouldn’t be comprimise in finding ways to pay for it…

          • AC

            also, why IS so much cost being pushed onto the municipality? we’ll have ghettos next to mansions in no time that way. Let’s be a united country again….

          • Gregg

            Regulations can be awesome or awful depending on what they do. Without getting into specifics it’s hard to say what is needed. I do believe small businesses don’t need more burdens in this economy.

        • Don_B1

          It is probably a non-existant link.

          • Gregg

            Lodger was right, it was Heritage. I’m avoiding the “black helicopter” claim but I don’t know why 3 times the link disappeared. I understand completely the “shoot the messenger” thing but AC has always shown a eagerness to consider things before forming an opinion. It’s a well documented study worth the read. Oh well.

        • lodger

          Heritage Foundation did that analysis; they are hardly objective.  They blame Obamacare and Dodd-Frank for a big chunk of it.

          The question is whether the results of these regulations benefit all citizens more than their absence.  But Heritage would never attempt to analyze that because it might make Obama look good.

          • Don_B1

            Remember, the Heritage Foundation had to assume a 2.8% unemployment rate by 2020 to get Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R, WI) “budget” to get to balance by 2040.

          • Gregg

            And Obama used a 4% gdp to say Obamacare would pay for itself. What’s your point?

      • Brandstad

        Acording to Senator Hatch, who cited Obamacare as the perfect example of “regulatory impact” on the economy with its more than 10,000-plus pages of new regulations.

        The average annual cost to businesses of Obama new regulations is higher than under his predecessors, the Bloomberg News review shows. The increase is estimated to total as much as $4.1 billion per year.

        To be exact, no single person has read the tens of thousands of pages of new regulations, so I can’t say which, but I can say most.

        • AC

          personally, when trying to do something new that will go down in history, i think it’s a good thing that they were so careful and considered the multiple issues which may arise or abuse of the system that may occur by setting up good ground rules. I’m sure there will still be adjustments that will be made as it takes off…..

  • hvermont

    The “National Debt” is a phony crises.  The U.S. will pay it’s debts by printing dollars, as we have been doing since we started printing dollars.  This is why you can’t buy lunch for ten cents anymore.  Yes it causes inflation, and we’ve been living with inflation since lunch cost ten cents, there’s nothing wrong with a reasonable amount of inflation.  It encourages purchases now rather than later, investment instead of stashing currency in your mattress.  It does dilute the wealth of the wealthy (if they’re not wisely invested), and the wages of the working (if they aren’t getting regular wage increases) but it’s been working fine for us since WW II.

    • Don_B1

      And you would NOT like to live in an economy in deflation, where all commerce would come to a halt. Economists have long agreed that a target of 2% inflation is a necessary price for a reasonably stable economy.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Simple. Time for the wealthy to make some sacrifices and share the burden of this economic downturn in which everyone except them have suffered. Now didn’t Bush II raided the social security trust fund using surpluses that we all paid in to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy. Then there’s how to recover, let’s take it back. Keep the tax rate the same but raise the amount of income that it applies to. That happened under Reagan several times if I remember. But now the un-elected Grover Norquist (a man who should have gone to jail with Jack Abramoff) runs shotgun over the Republican party and we have this nonsensical impasse. Finally some Republicans are standing up to him, but sadly a wee bit late to the party. So many not-so-evil government employees have been laid off, and suffering from unemployment, including IRS agents who investigate tax fraud by millionaires and billionaires which would include senators, congressmen, their supporters and their lobbyist friends. Doh!

    • TomK in Boston

      When the right ask the elderly to accept a Groupon instead of medicare, we hear that “shared sacrifice” and “tough choices” are required.

      When it’s suggested that the wealthy, who have the lowest taxes and greatest share of the wealth and income since 1929, might have to pay higher – BUT HISTORICALLY STILL VERY LOW – taxes, we hear that you can’t tax the “job creators”. The discussion ends with this talking point.

      Where are the “shared sacrifice” and “tough choices” for the wealthy? Why does the magic phrase “job creators” make them vanish?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MKYVSA5DN6XM57MZV52JCM6B54 Alsand Pine

    interesting that we do not hear too much about the fact that our richest citizens bypass paying much of their income tax by off-shoring their money in foreign banks. we keep talking about spending problems as we should because we need to streamline our spending but the other issue is the revenue and as long as the rich can buy shelters for their money legally, we are not going to have enough revenue to run the nation. much is made about the low rate for the rich and rightly so but much more revenue is lost by the shelters out there. this is why simplifying the tax code is not going to happen. if we simplify, we will have to get rid of all the loopholes and the rich & powerful will have to pay their share of taxes… God forbid!

    • Don_B1

      The Reagan tax reform of 1986 did remove many loopholes while lowering the marginal tax rates (the top marginal rate was lowered from about 70% to 28%). A major loophole was removed by making taxation of capital gains the same as “earned income.”

      But within 10 years or so most of those loopholes and a lot of others were back, corrupting the tax code. That is certain to happen again unless the equivalent of “paygo” in string legislation is implemented.

      Also, better transparency on ALL legislation that affects revenue is implemented, so little provisions that generate a big tax cut for a few campaign contributors cannot be “slipped in.” Read the book by Jack Abramoff.

  • TomK in Boston

    This show gets off to a bad start by endorsing the idea that there is a “federal debt crisis”. What nonsense! We have the world’s biggest economy, we control the world’s reserve currency, and the world is begging us to take their money at all-time record low interest rates. They are actually negative real interest rates, in the vicinity of 1.5% on the 10 yr bond.

    A good show would explore the real reasons why the corporate media keep screaming about a “federal debt crisis”, in the absence of any evidence. The answer is crystal clear to me. Bemoaning the “federal debt crisis” has become the right’s #1 class warfare tactic. Because of the dreaded “federal debt crisis”, we must turn medicare into a Ryan Groupon, privatize and cut SS, and cut everything else that helps the poor and middle classes.

    The right doesn’t care about the debt, as they prove over and over by proposing to cut taxes at the top from already record-low levels. They’re just acting out “starve the beast”. They turned Clinton’s surplus onto a deficit with their wars and tax cuts and deregulation that caused the economic crash, and now they’re trying to benefit by redistributing even more wealth to the top.

    The way to fix the minor problem of the debt is to reverse what caused it. Raise taxes at the top, cut military spending, regulate wall st, and get the economy going by gvt spending. There was never a better time to borrow, with the world begging us to take their money for free.

    • Don_B1

      While large debts are not desirable, this country controls its own currency and, like Great Britain, which had a national debt well over 100% of GDP for about half the 20th Century, exceeding 250% of GDP for almost 10 years, this country is in no immediate or mid-length time period danger from our debt level. In fact, we are unlikely to exceed 110% of GDP unless we persist with austerity policies.

      • TomK in Boston

        The WW2 debt vanished like tears in the rain when the economy got going. That’s what we should be looking at now, anything to fire up the economy. With record low borrowing costs and our infrastructure approaching 3′rd world quality, some things seem really obvious.

    • TFRX

      You’re correct.

      But the fact that we have two real economists on the air, and the prologue mentions the concept “Should we fix the economy now to create a better deficit situation later” makes this about the best big-media show on the subject since before “Barack Obama was born in Kenya”.

      That’s a scary realization.

  • Wm. James from Missouri

    People of all types purchase US Treasury Notes and Bonded Debt because they want a “safe” place to store excess money and because they want an understandable and fixed rate of return on their money. Investors know that the IRS enforces collection of taxes with the force of a gun if necessary and thereby insures a flow of money to the government. This process creates an addictive type “loop” of need and fulfillment. I can assure you that the rich and institutions ,in general, want debt. Where else can they force a stream of revenue ? This is one reason that I have suggested in past post that we need laws that force profitable companies to pay dividends ! As it stands now companies, all too often, keep their entire earnings as retained earnings, (often non performing retained earnings). Of course they argue that this is how you grow your business, I.e., via capital gains ( paper gains, reflected in higher stock prices ). While there is some merit to this argument it falls short in the sense that it looses sight of the fact that the purpose of a business is to serve it’s stockholders and the public at large. Accumulating large reserves of capital by ever decreasing amounts of people does not serve the interest of society at large and does not serve the long term interest of the business community and the Nation. By forcing dividends out, the market place, via the pricing mechanism will mark to market more accurately the actual value of the stock of the company and provide investors a much need revenue stream for their personal use. Would-be bond holders would now have viable alternatives to government debt instruments. You might rebut by saying that, ‘ we already have , so called income funds’ available for purchase. __ I can assure that there are not enough and that many of those funds produce their income by churning capital gains anyway ! Forcing dividends would also provide a much need taxable source of income for the US Treasury and provide a means for the average American to participate in our capitalist system. Americans would over time finally get it through their thick skulls that they can “get” if they would just “put in” .

  • J__o__h__n

    I thought Bill Clinton solved this.  What happened to the surplus? 

    • Gregg

      The bubble burst then 9/11.

      • J__o__h__n

        You forgot Iraq, tax cuts and lax regulation.

        • Gregg

          A half a trillion in increased revenue from 2003 (when the rates were lowered) to 2007 came in. There has never been more revenue than 2007 in the history of the universe. Please explain how that caused debt. 

          • Don_B1

            Capital gains rates were lowered, which encouraged long-held stocks to be sold, realizing a ONE-TIME gain in revenue at the cost of larger future income when those stocks would have been sold.

          • Gregg

            Clinton and Newt cut the Cap gains.

        • TomK in Boston

          They’re not allowed to think about those. They can only parrot Official Talking Points.

    • TomK in Boston

      Dubyah happened.

  • Don_B1

    For a “short time” large deficits are not only NOT bad, they are NECESSARY when the economy is in a prolonged depression and interest rates are near zero.

    There are two ways that an economy can recover from a recession or depression: If interest rates are high enough, the Federal Reserve Bank can lower rates, making borrowing cheaper which stimulates individuals to buy homes, etc. and businesses to expand; and the federal government can spend more than its revenue to put unemployed workers building infrastructure or providing necessary services.

    In ordinary times, monetary policy (the setting of the discount rate, etc.) does provide all the needed control of the economy, as the Reagan inflation with Paul Volker as Chairman demonstrates: Volker drove interest rates up (over 12%) to drive down then current expectations of inflation, and when that was achieved, lowered the discount rate to normal and the economy recovered in around a year or so.

    But the current situation was NOT created by the Fed raising interest rates; it was created by the private economy using a housing bubble to let investment banks resell dubious mortgages as AAA securities to pension funds, etc. at great profit to the banks and leaving the mortgage holders in overwhelming debt.

    When the discount rate is already near zero, the Fed can no longer lower it to stimulate a recovery. It takes the slow pay-down of that debt before businesses see the prospect of buyers for their goods and services.

    The country is in the position of a group of people whose income is the spending of others and whose spending is the income of others, all trying to reduce their spending and increase their income ONLY entity capable of increasing spending, and it can do so cheaply when ALL Treasury bonds, inflation protected, with maturities of 10 years or less, yield NEGATIVE interest rates (-0.6% on 10 year treasuries).

    It is a shame that this blog does not have a picture of the graph showing that the private sector is recovering at a rate about the same as GWB’s private sector did after the 2001 Recession but the government (fed, state and local) spending has decreased by about as much as it INCREASED during the GWB recovery.

    The sad continuing depression is almost completely the failure of the Government (across all levels) to provide adequate stimulus.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    $5T+ in new debt with no budget in 4 years. This is criminal negligence  and abdication of leadership.

    • Gregg

      Good morning Worried. Evidently from what I’m reading, the President’s leadership has no role in the budget and the debt is Bush’s fault. Go figure.

      Oh yea, Fox too.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         This is the same crowd who blamed Bush for theft from our children and grandchildren for a  $250B deficit.  Obama decried the deficit back then too.

        Now that Obama is the President and the deficit is 4X larger than Bush’s highest year they don’t see any problem.  They are just playing party politics.

        I was calling out Bush’s spending problems when he was President.   Now that Obama is so much worse he should be called out too.

        Obama promised to go through the budget, line by line, and cut out everything that was unnecessary.  He did NO such thing and should be held to account.

        • Gregg

          Candidate Obama called Bush “unpatriotic” for his debt. I, like you and most conservatives, was horrified at Bush’s spending. I think it was the reason the Tea Party came into being. Now things are completely out of control.

        • TFRX

          It matters not that you were calling out Bush’s spending. You don’t statistically exist.

          When the GOP are in power they spend us broke and the media gives them a pass as Fiscally Responsible (TM) no matter their action. Like a birthmark, nothing they do–like not submitting one balanced budget during a 5-year expansion–rubs it off.

          The right don’t care about your opinion once they get their hands on the reins.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         Oh and good morning to you too, Gregg.

        It is called Fox Derangement Syndrome.  Many of the critics have never even watched.

    • TFRX

      Wow. Anyone want to introduce him to the term “business cycle”?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Stop talking nonsense to get votes, and start being reasonable–do we need any more commentary on what’s wrong with our politics?

    • TFRX

      Yes, we do.

      Our tastemaker media fret about “hyperpartisanship” with the tone of a six year old saying “Mommy and Daddy are fighting!”.

      That means exactly one thing: A Democrat somewhere is considering taking their own side in the argument.

      As an armchair media critic, I don’t want my Beltway Inbreds to be such kowtowing idiots, and I don’t trust my fellow voters (present company expected) to know the difference.

  • Ping1

    It’s comforting knowing that the gov’t will NEVER be too big to fail

  • ToyYoda

    Why can’t we have participatory budgeting?  Every X number of years, divvy up the tax revenue evenly among the citizens and ask them to allocate their portion to defined categories like military, healthcare, etc.

    That’s the basic idea, we can tweak it.  Perhaps we apportion not exact dollars but percentage.  And perhaps you can borrow against your portion of funds, but you will have to pay that back in later budgeting sessions.  So you can overspend your portion, but the cost is, you won’t be able to apportion as much in the future.

    The point is, we don’t need to rely on Congress and everyone gets what they want.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Because that won’t work as national policy:

      1.  We all get what we want?  We all want all the goodies for none of the cost.

      2.  Acting as a nation requires at least a majority to agree to what the whole society will do.  There will always be someone who want to throw sand in the gears, but as long as even their rights are respected, the nation as a whole has to make a decision.

      • ToyYoda

        Why should the majority decide what the whole society should do?  That’s not what a democracy is.  Why not democratize the budgeting process by given its citizens the power to do so?

        And yes, citizens will get exactly the budget that reflects what the society as a whole wants if they actually can decide that budget.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Democracy is precisely having the majority of voters make the decision.  The problem with direct democracy and with your proposal both is that we’ll end up in hours of yammering and no conclusion.

          • Mike Card

            Except for the part about decisions by a majority of voters (we all understand about rule by lobbies), that sounds like what we have now.

          • ToyYoda

            I disagree about the hours of yammering. That’s what happens now and nothing really gets decided. I think you’d have much less yammering if every partakes in direct budgetting. Sure there will be politicians and your neighbors trying to persuade you to spend your dollars in a certain way, but in the end the individual decides. And since everyone seems to have a clear idea how they want their money spent, I can’t see how you’d have more yammering than what you have now.

        • Don_B1

          Because if the majority wants to remain the majority, it will take minority desires and needs into account when it makes its decisions.

          But that is exactly what has gone wrong with the Republican Party, which now only SAYS that it works for everyone while its policies improve the lives of ONLY the wealthy without accounting in any way for the needs of the less wealthy.

          • ToyYoda

            What you are describing is a minority body having a disproportionate influence over the Republican party.  You wouldn’t have this problem with participatory budgeting.  First the Tea Party wouldn’t be holding the Republicans and the nation hostage because budgeting won’t be in the hands of politicians.  And secondly, a portioning the budget will be weighted toward the majority by the mathematics of it; it will just be shifted some in proportion to the size of minority views which again is in the mathematics of it and it will even contain every nuance view of the majority stake holders too.  In fact a participatory budget will contain every nuance view the country has.  You can’t get any better a compromise.  

            You won’t get politicians “yammering”, and you won’t get a government coming to a grinding halt because politicians are afraid to make a decision that will cost them a seat.  The beauty is they don’t have to make that decision.

            I wish I could claim I was the first with this idea, but after doing my research,  it turns out participatory budgeting has already been done  in city of Porto Alegre in Brazil and duplicated in several places all over the world.  Here’s is some of the benefits as reported by the World Bank:

            1. Better public works.
            2. Better schools.
            3. Increased civic participation.
            4. Better conditions for the poor.
            5. Noticeable improvement in public welfare amenities.

            There are also drawbacks to participatory budgeting, but they are no different than the ones we have with the current system.  Yet, we get all these benefits.

            My variation to it is that I’d want to a more direct version of PB and that it be done at the national level.  Preferably on the entire budget.

            Everyone talks about compromise and how Washington has become paralized in bipartisan politics.  Yet we haven’t really done anything to prevent the gridlock from happening again.  By definition, we are insane.    Well here I propose a method that is mechanical, apolitical and will get you a compromise that reflects exactly everyones view on how the government money should be spent.  Just think about it before you summarily dismiss it.

    • J__o__h__n

      People don’t have a clue what the actual budget is now.  They think we spend a huge amount of it on foreign aid.

      • Davesix6

        People may not have a clue what the budget is JOHN because the dems haven’t allowed a budget to be passed during the entire Obama term.

        • J__o__h__n

          Keep repeating that nonsense.

        • Don_B1

          The people’s knowledge of budget details has been horribly deficient for decades, maybe even longer.

          The REPUBLICANS have not wanted or allowed a straightforward vote on a budget (Senate) for Obama’s whole term.

  • AC

    Why o why does no one factor in technology???!!! I know i sound like a broken record, but this is easy math at this point & no one wants to face it??
    The post office is losing $25M/day – and that is because in about a decade’s time, it has become obsolete – No other time in history has this happend & it will get faster.
    those were good jobs – what are you going to do with all those mail service employees? Blame Bush or Obama for the mess??
    WHy? Why not deal with reality??

    • Don_B1

      Unfortunately, there are parts of the country where people will be more than just inconvenienced if the Post Office goes away.

      But the Post Office cannot set the prices of sending mail. It has to go to Congress for rate approval. And it does still have to make deliveries every day to EVERY address.

      But we can all be grateful that the Republicans in the House thought it was more important to do some “messaging” than work on the pressing needs of the American people.

      • AC

        yes. if people paid what it really cost…..that being said, it is an infrastructure syst em that is amazing! now what can we do with it? i suggested on another show that mailmen have the responsibility of checking in with the inhabitants of their routes, make sure to report or the elderly or sick need help….i don’t know, something…

  • PaulCJr

    I’m tired of my countrymen wanting tons of services and not wanting to pay for them. So lets bite the bullet and start charging people the real cost. Some kind of adjusted fee to fill the gap to fund a particular infrastructure or social program. Americans need to be hit with these fees to understand just how much it cost to run a nation. I personally want all the social services and infrastructure the government provides and I’m willing to pay the taxes to do. I’m tired of this topic!

    • Greg

      You will never get them spending the trillion dollars a year or more on the military every year.

  • Kathy

    There are two things America needs to deal with in order to address the budget. First, we put significant military cuts on the table. Not token cuts, but cuts in the range of 25-50%. Second, we need deal with our medical costs in a significant structural way (ie, single payer). Notions of cutting medicare or medicaid funding are senseless if they only result in cutting off people from having medical care rather than dealing with medical costs.

  • Greg

    How’s this for reasanable: the rich pay back the debt they benefited from?

    WE WON’T PAY THEIR DEBT!

  • Mattwade25

    to paraphrase Charles Pierce, “Ignore the Deficit, People got no Jobs and People got no Money.” Dick Cheney said “deficits don’t matter” and that is actually true right now.

  • AC

    the public. the public that drives 75mph on the hwy 2ft from eachother’s bumpers?? O god.

  • PaulCJr

    Talk about taking the country to a fee based system to be able to use the nations infrastructure and social services Wade. Let’s  hear the guest talk about this issue.  

  • Greg

    TAX THE RICH before you tell us that Social Security and Medicare need to be cut TEAPARTY TOOLS.

  • MarkVII88

    I am 31 years old and to be perfectly honest I am, and have been for a while, expecting to be bent over a barrel in terms of entitlement programs by the time I’m theoretically eligible.  This is due only in part to government politics but an equal part has to be national demographics.  Fewer people are paying into programs that more and more people are drawing from and plan to draw from in the next 5-10 years.  Whatever happens with sequestration in the next 5-6 months, I just don’t see it helping me and those in my generation by the time we’re 65 years old.  My opinion is a function of how little faith I have in the will of our elected representatives to actually accomplish something beyond the next campaign.

  • Mattwade25

    Mo Brooks is a liar. Get him off the air.

    • Mike Card

      And an ignorant jerk.  If I wanted to this insulting crap, I’d tune in to AM radio.

      • TFRX

        At least on AM one would have the blessed relief of static near high-voltage lines and under bridges.

  • AC

    the disconnect is your inability to realize it is a world market – things cost more!

  • Bubba

    Boy am I confused; The government-village,city, county and state take massive amounts of money from the federal government (borrowed) and pay for THEIR perks and beneifits and turn around and BORROW to run their individual entities and TAX the locals who have NO job or service-part time jobs.
    Case in point: in my area at least Five “profitable” business ( sitting on THEIR own money) went to the IDA and borrowed from the county ( taxpayers) to FUND their PROFITABLE business. Placing the burden on the locals. Sound familiar ( Wall Street/TARP).

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

    The Bush administration kept the two wars off the budget — what was the *real* deficit of the Bush years?

    Neil

    • Gregg

      The wars were not off budget.

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

         They were off the budget — they were paid for by “emergency” supplemental funding bills.  The deficit grew enormously under Bush.  Bush’s policies killed the most jobs of any administration since the Great Depression.  Bush inherited a surplus and quickly turned it into huge deficits.

        Neil

        • Greg

          See, I told you. They don’t believe reality.

          They try to create their own delusional reality.

          They are idiots. Let them join together and we will join together and we’ll be much better off.

          • Gregg

            Maybe if you had another G…

        • Gregg

          Supplemental spending IS on the books. It was also attached to other spending bills, all on budget. Now nothing in on budget because there is none.

    • Greg

      The idiots on the Right can’t seem to grasp that simple fact.

      Yeah, I called them idiots because they are.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     Tax cuts are good for an economic bubble.  They can also be good as part of a broader policy, but when we’re sinking in debt, tax cuts don’t make so much sense.

    • TomK in Boston

      And they don’t make any sense when taxes on the elite are already at record lows!

      Context matters! We go to extremes! If taxes are at record highs, they probably need to be cut. If taxes are at record lows, they probably need to be raised. Doing the reverse is pouring gasoline on a fire.

      The dead giveaway of a class warrior is anyone who says he’s deeply, deeply concerned about the big bad debt and wants to cut (ps in righty newspeak “reform” = cut) taxes.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    How about we just get rid of taxes for those making > $250K.

    Obviously that would create a HUGE number of jobs because they are ALL job creators. They just don’t have enough millions stashed away to create any jobs AT ALL now.

    • Kathy

      I believe Republicans believe if you cut taxes to zero revenue becomes infinite!

    • Hypocracy1

      The jobs will come back when middle class Americans are broken to the point that they are willing to work for less than a Chinese child laborer or and a border crossing Mexican. 

  • Guest

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind if tax rates increased provided the money was used to reduce the debt, but what is the likelihood of that happening?  Nil.  As long as the Congress is wasting money on teapot museums, studies of Chinese prostitution, million dollar galas for the GSA in Las Vegas, $25 billion in government funds that simply disappeared, and on and on, the government shouldn’t get one more penny of tax revenue.  It would be like increasing the allowance of a spendthrift child.
     

    Whether it’s the debates on C-Span about raising tax rates or the savings that will come from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, you have a sure bet that one of our representatives will say “And here’s how we’ll spend that savings…”

  • MarkVII88

    I keep thinking about that scene in TOP GUN when the captain calls out Maverick for his cavalier attitude.  Where is the captain yelling at lawmakers???  “Your Government is writing checks that your populace can’t cash!!!”  Who can put the butts of these lawmakers on a “cargo plane to Hong Kong”?

  • TFRX

    “Interesting to see how newly elected (right wing) members might serious about the budget next year” (esp. if Romney were in the White House). (I didn’t catch the speaker’s name.)

    Here’s a prediction The right wing and their subservient media will be as interested in doing this then as the were under Bush II.  

    And how about a moratorium of “Social Security” and “deficit” in the same sentence? That’s “hold onto your wallet” talk. The less Beltway types (right wing pols, conserva-Dems, media, lobbyists) pay attention to it, the better off it, and I, are.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    What happened to Simpson-Bowles?

    • Greg

      The rich are gearing up to ram it down our throats now that you ask.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    What a NOVEL idea! Have the plans to fix things DETAILED and PUBLISHED. The “I’ll fix it and the other candidate won’t” doesn’t mean a dang thing.
     

  • J__o__h__n

    Obama won overwhelmingly last time and the Republicans were obstructionist.  Why does he think they won’t be this time?

  • Greg

    GOOD, TAKE IT ALL. TAX THE CRIMINAL RICH!!!!!

  • Kathy

    Why isn’t the teabagger being brought back onto the topic of what he would do instead of rattling off his inane attacks on the President?

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       Look in the mirror if you want to see inane attacks.

      Pro growth policies is the only way to get out of this mess.

      • J__o__h__n

        I thought you oppose government stimulous and favor austerity.

      • John in Amherst

         Pro growth?  I Assume this equals repealing those pesky environmental and health and safety regs, making sure unions are hobbled and the estate tax stays dead, and stimulating the economy through trickle-down voodoo tax cuts that have failed to produce sustained growth, eliminated an increase in middle-class spending power and drastically reduced the real dollar value of the minimum wage now as compared to 1970.  Can you (or anyone in the GOP offer any specifics of a plan to “unlock the potential of our hoard entrepreneurs and small business owners”?

    • Greg

      Teabaggers are evil and delusional. That’s why.

  • Greg

    Cut the military budget down to 200 billion a year and this economy would fly!!!!!

  • Aranphor

    Tell that moron to stop throwing around the much misused term “Socialist”. I am sick of morons like that.

  • Kathy

    Why in the name of God is this lunatic being given a platform to rant about socialism. Your listeners deserve an apology for giving this lunatic a platform to spew his lies and bile.

    • JGC

      Maybe it performs a wake-up call that there are apparently enough like-minded people out there (at least in the Alabama 5th) to vote in a congressman like Mo Brooks.  That is even scarier than Brooks himself.  

      I hope everyone here knows their own voting status and is registered to vote. Vote early, if possible in your state.

  • J__o__h__n

    The Republican started out sounding reasonable and then began crying socialist. 

  • Mattwade25

    Mo Brooks’ ignorance and pandering is on display this morning. Sit back and enjoy!

  • Aranphor

    Tell Tea Bagger to move to a country where Freedom isn’t an option.

  • James Dwyer Jr

    I sure noticed that you had a republican politician on to spew forth his ideals. I hope I hear a democrat on shortly. I do not have to contribute every month to you guys to listen to tea party crap.

    • Greg

      Who was that? Do you know?

  • Mattwade25

    Mo Brooks, remove the tea bags from your eyes and ears and maybe you’ll learn something.

  • kaybee63

    I can’t believe how reasonable Wessel sounds and how rabid Brooks sounds in comparison!

  • Guest

    this is not a great discussion – hold this Mo Brooks accountable for what he is saying!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Only two economic models?  Barter system.  Feudal economy.  Merchantilism.  Socialism.  Communism.  Laissez-faire capitalism.  Monopolies.  Small business Smithian economy.  And on and on and on.

    • J__o__h__n

      He can barely handle two.  Don’t make his head spin.

  • Shumba

    Wade, a hyperbolic Congressman interrupting your other guest does not make for a ‘great conversation.’
    It’s pathetic. 

  • Sean

    Listen to this conservative idiot talk about spending having gone up 40% in the last 6-7 years…
     
    First, Yes!… thanks to Republicans, Cheney (“deficits don’t matter”), and Bush…two unfunded wars, the Republican Big Pharma giveaway, and the most bloated military in history.
     
    You want to fix the budget?
    Get rid of Republicans AND the military industry’s stranglehold on the stupid and crooked in our country!

  • Potter

    Mo Brooks should also remove the ear plugs….. and blinders.

    Incredible. This guy is representative of our problem. The situation is solvable otherwise.

  • Davesix6

    Mo Brooks is absolutely correct!
    Obama and the dems know it would take a massive tax increase on every “tax paying” American just to meet the current deficit.
     
    And that wouldn’t even begin to touch the national debt.

  • Endof4th

    The representative from Alabama is an example of what is wrong with politics today.  Though he may make some good points on spending, he goes to such an extreme I want to shut off the radio.  Blind belief in “free market” and labeling people socialists makes no sense.  

  • Chris in Pennsylvania

    Congressman Brooks began with a coherant and consciencious discussion of his positions, then the “S” word hyperbole started.  Please don’t allow this show to become just two more talking heads.

  • Thomaslongjr

    Rep. Brooks’s rants are characteristic of Republicon teabaggers. “Socialists”? Congressman, spend some time in Europe, where you will meet real socialists. Hyperbole, dualistic thinking, and name-calling will not advance our economy or society.

    • J__o__h__n

      No, but it will help him win his Republican primary.

  • Dave

    The CBO shows that spending is actually lower during the Obama administration than in other admins. back to the 1980′s.  But I hear the Congressman blaming the President for the national debt.  Isn’t it true that it was Bush’s last year in office when it skyrocketed?  That is, fiscal year ’09?

  • Kmdlugos

    Really, Socialism? Why is it then that fingers keep pointing to “GOV” responsible for unemployment? 
    I would like to hear David Wessel address the issue of CLASS in economics, and who will bear the burden of cuts. What about the distinction between ceo vs politicians – who is a “public servant” who tends to shareholders. 

  • Patricia Dashbach

    I applaud Congressman Brooks for suggesting that it is necessary to reduce the cost of military and peace-keeping missions.

    Does he think our Presidents should be required to declare war (through Congress) before big things like Iraq & Afgan.?

    American citizens are willing to do their part but please don’t put it all on our backs! 

  • Budget wimp

    Could you please curb the interruptions when Wessel speaks?

  • Jeffreyrlivingston

    the republican “interjections” is very rude and typically unfair. Talking over another is stealing the balance of time. shameful in any dialog

  • Sue Lewandowski

    Wade, Please tell the tea potty doofus to “GET OVER IT” The gov’t isn’t running GM. HELLO! GM has repaid most, if not all, that was LOANED to them. He should move to Russia or somewhere where Socialism is the real thing.  No way will I vote for someone as extreme as this jerk. I think David Wessel is right – there has to be cuts and tax increases TOGETHER.

  • Lzankowski

    Again the Tea Party and what was the Republican Party choose to ignore the “Free Market” approach the ended in TARP and thank Goodness – we kept their hands off  Social Security . Where we be if paid for the war efforts with taxes as is the job Congress is supposed to ..

  • Rievler

    David Wessel, you just got beat up by the congressman Brooks. Weak.
    So depressing to listen to one zombie canard after another floated out while Wessel comments on how he agrees with the guy on how that one does indeed have pretty feathers. Man, that was pitiful.
    Oh, thank God Baker will get out the gun to shoot these ducks.

  • wrenhunter

    Kudos to Mr. Wessel for a balanced and ACCURATE description of the US economy and government’s role in it.

    As for Rep. Brooks, classic pouty right-wing sophistry. First, call Obama a socialist. Then when it’s pointed out that Bush is the one who “took over” General Motors, start name calling Pelosi, et al. Same tactic as blaming the entire Great Recession on Barney Frank.

  • Lzankowski

     Where (would ) we be if paid for the war efforts with taxes as is the job Congress is supposed to ..

  • http://twitter.com/PoigniantPolit PoigniantlyPolitical

    There is nothing more painful than listening to a politician from the poorest state in the union talk economics.

  • guest

    Wade, you are doing a very good job subbing for Tom. Please don’t allow the Congressman to continually pontificate and rudely interrupt your other guest!

  • Sadie_bess

    Is someone going to call the Congressman on taking the president’s words out of context? 

  • Greg

    People, stop worrying about the debt.

    In fact, we should default on it and start over.

    The rich hold it and they are too rich anyhow.

    Let’s even the scorecard a little.

    Start demanding default instead of austerity.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      And you think that starting over would be so easy if we defaulted?

      • Greg

        Don’t buy the propaganda crap that are trying to sell you to make you a debt slave the rest of your life.

        Make the rich pay.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          If we defaulted, our economy would be in ruins, and no one would see America as a good investment.

          • Jeffe68

            Are you really as misinformed as you seem?

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

             On what point?

          • Gregg

            Jeffe just slings mud.

  • ockitaris

    A little history is in order,    A long time ago we decided to industrialize agriculture.      This drove most of the people off the land also eliminating much knowledge of how to transform land into a living not related to commerce by those who lived on the land.    The culmination was during the first great depression, 1930s,   The depression was eased by WW2.   Then the powers that be saw how much profits flowed from war and they chose permanent war.    And this solved, temporarily at first the unemployment problem.     Now 6% of the population live on the land the extended family has been eliminated causing the need for social spending.  The military has now become the employer of last resort and the military industrial complex attempts to make up for the loss of agriculture which it can or will never do.   And all of this is brought on by the irrational belief that we should create rich individuals.    So now we have extremely rich individuals who have trillions in savings that are not earning interest and not circulating in the economy.     And because money is power they now control the power of our nation not the people and so we are loosing both any hope of democracy and our environment due to the loss of agriculture.     Unless we learn to share our world not fight over it we have no hope.  

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Before industrial agriculture, the majority of Americans were farmers.  Now, we have a much more diverse economy.  I’m glad for that.

      • TFRX

        Yeah, we’re a century-plus removed from the majority of Americans working in agriculture or directly supporting it.

        I’m sorta used to it; it’s nowhere near perfect (see other shows in this space), but back then a “food crisis” meant the threat of mass starvation.

        Now we’re in a tizzy, as consumers, when corn goes up 5%. (I don’t mean to trivialize the drought’s effects on farmers.) My late great-grandmother could tell me stories about a real food crisis.

  • Erin in Iowa

    Cut this guy off.  He needs to expand his vocabulary beyond the “S” word.

  • Mike Card

    Wade, pull the plug on this Brooks jerk!  He’s adding nothing to any conversation.

  • Endof4th

    Also, the representative claims he has 12 pages of tax increases that will come into effect in the near future. Will he put them on a public site so we can see what they are? 

  • John

    The congressman [sorry, didn't catch his name] has made some intelligent points about spending cuts and reducing the military’s mission scope, but every time he starts his inane political name calling with “socialist”, he undercuts everything he’s just said. It helps him score points on the right, but independent voters regard that as nonsense. He completely refuses to acknowledge Republican party co-responsibility with Democrats for increase of government spending and increase of deficit from 2000 to 2008. This is NOT a recipe for solving the deficit problem; it’s a formula for continued partisan lack of compromise and political stalemate. It’s the exact opposite of leadership.

  • Brian

    Mo Brooks’ incendiary use of terms like “socialist” only hurts the chance of addressing an already very difficult problem.  If he wants to spark anger in those who might disagree with him, he has succeeded.  If he’d like to work with them to craft a solution, he’s only creating roadblocks.

  • Vicki Isman

    Congressman Brooks took the president’s comment about small business owners not building the country’s INFRASTRUCTURE out of context. How can you not correct that????? 

    • TomK in Boston

      Yes! TOM, tell Brooks to stop lying! You guys are responsible for maintaining some standards.

  • Witterquick

    Mo Brooks is quoting from the Conservative bible.  Read “The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule” by Thomas Frank.  Mr. Frank provides a clear perspective on the conservative approach to tear down government to promote unbridled capitalism. In their world the rich get richer and the rest of us just “suck it up”.They are promoting moving more cash to the “job creators” (that is a joke) when they already flush with cash and are waiting for a sign of financial stability.  The conservatives in turn try to create as much financial turmoil and angst as they can to move their position forward.  They also talk about not spending but are willing to take on two wars that were unfunded, and then blame that debt on someone else. Americans need to get educated on what is going on and not rely on a knee jerk response to the anger and fear that the conservative promote.

    • TomK in Boston

      Exactly right. They explained “starve the beast”, we shouldn’t be surprised that they’re doing it. We should be surprised that so many people are fooled by their stupid propaganda.

  • Alan S.

    How can you let the congressman spout those purely political comments, that are not substantiated in fact, without challenge. (For example the lie that Pres Obama said that business owners did not build there businesses.)

  • Sean

    Want to know what Republicans thought about the debt and deficit 5 FIVE short years ago???
    Cheney: “Deficits don’t matter…” AND CHENEY SAID IT WITHOUT ANY FALLOUT FROM REPUBLICANS!!!!!!!

    NOW THEY FIND RELIGION??????!!!!!!!

    HA!!!!!!!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      The party in opposition worries about debt.  The party in power doesn’t see it as a problem.

      • J__o__h__n

        Not true.  Clinton solved it. 

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          He was a rare exception.  What made him a success was his political skill.  Perhaps we should elect more Slicks.

      • miro

        This is true. Despite all the hysteria on the right about the debt, Romney is preparing us for military-industrial Keynesianism should he and his party attain control of the Federal government. They will attempt to pull us out of this recession-depression by funneling more money into military armaments. Then they will bemoan the deficit and try to cut down social programs as much as possible. That’s their playbook.

        Republicans know that deficit spending boosts the economy, and they are ready and willing to do it, even when we don’t need it, if they think they can hide what they doing rhetorically (and usually our media lets them get away with it). 

        The Democrats are less dishonest about the rhetoric, but they sign on to things like foreign wars and unfunded Medicare drug benefits that burden the government for long stretches of time. For the $50 billion that the drug benefit costs us every year, we could have covered every American who currently lacks health care insurance. Even that would cost half of what it does had the Republicans allowed Medicare to negotiate drug prices. For the $100 billion per year that unnecessary and unproductive Republican initiated wars in the Middle East cost us, we could stabilize the housing market and create a million jobs. 

  • AC

    of course, no one mentioning the singularity…again. why? why not address this?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Singularity?  Black holes?

      • AC

        technology

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          How will technology save us?  It will just provide new things to spend money on.

          • AC

            that is not what i’m talking aboout

          • AC

            i posted this earlier:

            on David Wessel On The National Debt 48 minutes ago Why o why does no one factor in technology???!!! I know i sound like a broken record, but this is easy math at this point & no one wants to face it??The post office is losing $25M/day – and that is because in about a decade’s time, it has become obsolete – No other time in history has this happend & it will get faster.those were good jobs – what are you going to do with all those mail service employees? Blame Bush or Obama for the mess??WHy? Why not deal with reality??

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            That’s a good point, but we will have to find something for all the workers to do, once technology replaces them.

          • AC

            YES – that was my point! but people just want to blame obama and bush…? so weird. so pointless!

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            To be sure–we have major systemic problems that the particular person in the White House can do little about.

          • miro

            the singularity — we would download our minds into computers and then we won’t need to eat, sleep, pay rent, or get access to healthcare. All we need is a computer and a little electricity, which could be provided by sustainable solar arrays. If everyone did this, then the deficit problem would be solved…. forever! The idea is only marginally less connected to reality than trickle down economics.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            Resistance is not futile.

  • Sadie_bess

    The Congressman says that Democrats don’t trust Americans to be intelligent enough to make their own decisions, but then he banks on them not being intelligent enough to understand the context of the President’s speech regarding businesses relying on American infrastructure. Hypocrisy, plain and simple.

  • Mattwade25

    Finally, Dean Baker arrives to speak truth to these TeaBaggers and TrickleDowners.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Truth?  We are in a debt crisis, and he’s dedicated to hiding that.

      • Mattwade25

        We are in a recession, not a debt crisis. This is a result of having a growth-based economy that provides revenue to the government. When growth stalls, so does revenue. Debt will be paid off when the economy starts growing again.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          The same way that it’s been paid off before?  Right.

          • Mike Card

            The “solution” to debt is to pay it off?  Where is that bit of finance taught?  Other than the Laffer school of teabaggery.

            Approaching 100% of academic research supports a managed financial structure that includes debt.

            Governments, especially sovereigns with revenue-raising authority, are far different from the family sitting around the kitchen table, snipping the credit cards.

  • Leslie

    To boost the economy raise salaries for the 95%. For the past 30 years most of the raises have gone to the top 5%. If income for the 99% went up the 99% would buy products, including houses. That would boost the economy immediately. It’s a vicious circle: The top 5% take all the raises leaving 95%  earning barely enough to pay bills. If 95% can not buy products or houses businesses can’t increase sales or profits and therefore won’t hire or give raises keeping the economy in recession. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001969680540 Benjamin Franklin

    Mo Brooks’ and many of his colleague’s attitudes and mug slinging comments is the very reason why this country is divided.  They want to futher divide this nation and not actively solve the problems at hand.  Their solution is their way or the highway and try to shove like-minded politicians into congress by falsely promising no tax increases..  They have no interest in compromising to get to a solution.   The American public want results with fairness taken into consideration.  We do not want the heaviest burden to fall on the middle class, but rather a shared burden.  Days of trickle down economics does not work. 

  • AF_Whigs

    Congressman Mo Brooks is such the typical GOP windbag.  He parrots the party line that spending “in the last 4-5 years” has created the deficit, as though Bush/Cheney never happened.

    Too many in Congress ON BOTH SIDES are more worried…SOLELY worried, I’d offer…about catering to their corporate sugar daddies and the wealthy, and willfully trampling the wants and needs of average Americans. 

    Politics in the US has become so hateful and ugly.  Congress are a bunch of spoiled brats ruining things for everyone else if they can’t get their way.  Republicans have done nothing but put up roadblocks to anything Obama has tried to accomplish then whined about him not getting anything done.  They are perfectly willing to collect fat paychecks and let our country go to rot, all in the name of getting someone from their own party in office.   And Democrats are only slightly better in my mind, but that’s partly because they’re not nearly as well organized as the GOP.

    All of the self-righteous, sanctimonious talk about family values, average Americans and the good of the country is just words out of their mouths.  And most of it is lies.  Just mocking, cynical lies that expose the contempt and disregard they hold for the American people.

    Money runs the country.  Money and the interests of those who have most of it, who are continually scrabbling, scraping and fighting with all of their being to wring every last cent out of those who live paycheck to paycheck and are struggling every week, every day, to provide for their familes.

    It’s shameful.

  • GettingMyNailsDone

    Please invite republicans who aren’t haters. Also, go David – bravo.

  • Erin in Iowa

    Nice – he’s interrupting constituents. 

    • J__o__h__n

      No he wasn’t.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    How much money does Mo Brooks have? His characterization of how people who think the rick should pay more is WAY off what I understand people think about the current income disparity.

    Those of us not in the $250K+ a year crowd are not greedy, we work for our money. We aren’t envious, we see the disparity between MOST of those with a ton of money and the rest of us as being created by the tax advantages the rich get that the rest can not. Romney got rich being way overpaid (as are most CEO’s and top execs) when a project Bain Capital took on did well and when they failed. He risked ZERO of HIS money. It didn’t matter that the “common man” lost his job. He gets richer by the minute doing NOT ONE LICK OF WORK with $20M income from blind trusts taxed at the lowest possible level.

    We are not greedy nor envious but we would like a FAIR shake. Unearned income should NOT be the cheapest income around. Put a “floor” on unearned income to protect the retired living on investments. Tax it at 15%. Tax anything over the “floor” at 40%. They are still keeping 60% of everything they make with NO WORK.

    OK, now bring on the “job creators argument”. There are ZERO jobs created when I sell stock to someone and then buy a different stock from another person with the profits. The ONLY time a job MIGHT be created is if I buy stock from a company that is selling it to raise capital. How many jobs did Romney create this year with the $20M he made last year? I’ll bet it is as close to ZERO as one can get.

    • Guest

      Would a fair shake include everyone paying some amount of federal income taxes?  Why not put a floor on total income, say 1.25 times the poverty level, and make sure everyone pays income tax above that level.  No one who isn’t living in poverty would get a free ride.  The CBO report (“The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, 2008 and 2009″) covering the years 1979-2009 states the share of taxes paid by the top 20% has gone up over the last 30 years, while the share of taxes paid by everyone else has gone down. The CBO report includes payroll as well as income taxes paid.

      • BHA_in_Vermont

        The share of Income for the top 20% has gone way up over the last 30 years. It has fallen or stayed basically flat in “current dollars” for the rest. That is why the top 20% is paying more of the actual tax dollars despite lower tax rates.

        If the rich are being severely overpaid for their “production” they can pay a higher tax rate.

        If they make a ton of money on “investments” that
        - require no work from them
        - create no jobs because they are just paper profits

        they can pay a higher rate.

        Brooks is wrong (and in my mind, an idiot). I would classify myself as being both of his “there are only 2 economic systems”. I believe that the means to create goods and services should primarily be in the hands of private citizens. Therefore I am a Capitalist. I also believe that those at the bottom, almost always not of their own doing, should not be left to rot. Therefore I am a Socialist.

      • Mike Card

        Yup, hard to argue with numbers.  Of course, it’s important to remember that the share of income of the top 20% has increased by MORE than the share of taxes during the same period.

        Do you have a point?  Or are you just obfuscating?

        • Guest

          You are incorrect.  According to the CBO report, in 1979 the top 20% earned 44.9% of reported income, and in 2009 the top 20% earned 50.8% of reported income, an increase of 13%.  This same report states that in 1979 the top 20% paid 55.3% of federal taxes, and in 2009 the top 20% paid 67.9% of federal taxes, an increase of 23%.

  • Jschmidt

    Please ask the Congressman how much Federal support his district has received since the mid 40′s Hunstville was a Cotton area now it is a high tech area Due to the Federal dollars poured into the area

    • John in Amherst

       It is peculiar that the loudest squawking about the federal government often comes from pols in states that get a disproportionate share of federal money.   A clear demonstration that those states need to spend more on education. 
      And today we had to suffer through a fine example rail on about how “those intellectuals in government now think they have a right to tell us how to live… ”
      The really disconcerting part of this is that there is a congressional district full of folks who elected this guy.  

  • Chris

    To mr.brooks – Do you realize how well businesses do in America? Big businesses around the U.S are making record profits and holding large stock piles of money. If it was that expensive to do business here this wouldn’t be the case. They make plenty of money, they just don’t reinvest it in America.

    • Bubba

      Is this what they mean ” corporate welfare” ? And they want to take food away from hungry elderly people who worked ALL their lives to support the government

  • R.D. Eno

    Who is Mo Brooks and what rock did you find him under?

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Listening to Mo Brooks makes me as ill as listening to John Boehner. Same old lame BS.

    • Vandermeer

       It’s all talking points… no truth telling.

  • Ben Rosenthal

    Mo Brooks is a name caller. His defensiveness is from Bush handing us 2 “wars” and tax cuts. Freeing banks to prey on the common populace is crazy. We need more regulation. It’s not socialism.

  • http://twitter.com/PoigniantPolit PoigniantlyPolitical

    I am certain deep blue could develop a nuisanced system to manage US finances far better than all the Politian’s put together

  • Robert

    wow! I love that caller who just put the lunatic senator in his place. 

  • Tim C

    Get that idiot Brooks off the show – he’s a dishonest intellectual who quotes fake statistics and takes comments from his opponents completely out of context.

  • Dee

    Wade Goodwyn,

    I am just sick looking at your line of guests from the Wall Street Journal and Mo Brooke from the Republican Study Committee and I am not sure about Dean Baker and his 
    policies either… 

    The bottom line for all of your guests –where were their 
    voices when the markets were spinning out of control lead-
    ing up to the financial meltdown when companies’ CEOs 
    and traders were speculating  with share holders monies 
    and bankers were building up peoples’ hopes on a soon to
    be a crashing economy….

    They have left the people of this country down and they 
    are the last people you should have on to talk about the
    deficits today. 

    Why not have someone like Robert Kutter or Paul Krugman 
    or Robert Reich who are known for their public advocacy on 
    the Middle Class. Or some people from Labor…why settle 
    for those losers who have only advocated for the crowd 
    who have caused this problem?  I don’t think I can even 
    listen to the show today..They are not getting my money 
    or my ear again…..Dee 

    P.S. Actually, you should have the Noble Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz on his new book-The Price of Inequality. (see URL) Not those free market profiteers 
    who kept quiet when trouble was brewing and now so 
    many peole feel short changed as a result…. 

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/

  • Tom Qualley

    If Republicans are so concerned about reducing the national deficit, then why do they provide subsidies to immensely profitable oil companies and allow companies such as General Electric to pay no corproate incomes taxes?  

    • Vandermeer

       because we have a corporatocracy not a democracy!

  • Aranphor

    Moron was a strong word I first thought but after hearing more of that MORON I feel it fits.

    Find a hole to drop yourself in.

  • Potter

    The caller is correct— Mo Brooks resorts to name-calling to make his case. This is an economist?

  • Budget wimp

    When does Tom return?

  • Shumba

    from Merrium Webster, your congressman guest blatantly lied will the host call him out? Doubt it.
    1:
    any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or
    governmental ownership and administration of the means of production
    and distribution of goods
    2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
     

  • GreenStBurlington

    Mo Brooks is crazy

  • Shumba

    yes, give this ignorant fool a final comment. New host please!

    • Vandermeer

       We need media hosts to keep guests HONEST.. PUSH BACK!

  • Tim C

    Please challenge the Congressman when he says the deficit ballooned when Pres. Obama took office.  It’s not due to the President’s spending, it’s because we started to account for two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) on the books instead of continuing the off-balance sheet accounting of the wars.

  • Ellen Dibble

    A couple of issues.  Free enterprise versus socialism.  Free enterprise works so well because it is motivated by greed, not necessarily by public interest.  Greed will poison the water and try to cover that up.  Greed will forget about boiling the planet in 50 years, looking instead at quarterly profits for the next 10.

    • Guest

      Irrational idealistic environmental zealotry will turn corn into ethanol while millions starve.

  • http://twitter.com/planetirving Irving Steinberg

    I have a hard time taking anyone seriously that bandies about the word “Socialist” like it is the dirtiest word in the dictionary, let alone misuses it. 

  • TribalGuitars

    The Congressman , like so many other Republican and Tea Party members, simply doesn’t understand the term “socialist”, other than it make a good epithet and sound bite for conservatives.
    The US has always been a hybrid of socialism and free market. Public schools – socialism. Armed services – socialism.   Highways – socialism.    He seems to pick and choose what is “socialist” and what is not by what’s popular, what’s always been done, vs what he and his party set as their agenda.  “Free market”  is used by the Right to justify lowering taxes on the rich to further failed “trickle-down” economics (hasn’t worked in the 30+ years since Reagan tried it, failed, and admitted defeat), tax breaks for companies to leave the US and outsource jobs, and eliminating rights of workers to organize, be paid living wages, and reduce the health and safety of both workers and the public.

    The US has 6 tax brackets, the top one being anything over $180K@yr. So the person making $5B a year as a hedge fund manager can’t afford to pay more than the family of 4 in Chicago that’s making $181@yr?  That’s fair? 
     

  • Chris

    The Congressman doesn’t have an original idea in his head.  Bring on someone who isn’t just quoting from today’s GOP talking points.

  • Benjamin

    I found myself nodding in agreement with a fair bit of what Brooks had been saying, but I lost the ability to take him seriously when he called Obama a socialist. It just shows that his understanding of economics is all rhetoric, and no real understanding. “There are only two economic models: socialism and free enterprise.” Ridiculous!

  • Robert

    Mo Brooks is making me sick to my stomach. No wonder his district is in the dumps. He is such a lunatic! 

    • John in Amherst

       He is making me sick, and so is Wade Goodwin, who is allowing falsehoods and lies to go unchallenged. 

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Brooks is right. History IS the best teacher.

    The poor and middle class suffer and the rich get richer every time a Republican is in the White House.

    • Gregg

      6 million of the poorest saw their tax liability disappear under Bush. 6 million people saw their welfare checks disappear under Clinton.

      • GeorgeG64

         Clinton and Regan raised taxes when it was needed.  Bush lowered taxes when it wasn’t, then spent like a drunken sailor.  Tell me Gregg…..where did the money come from for Iraq?  Where did the surplus he inherited go?

    • TomK in Boston

      Exactly. History teaches us that extreme tax cutting does nothing but redistribute income to the top.

  • jbourque

    Wade- did you pick Rep Brooks and the Texan yesterday who addressed medicaid expansion or were they foisted onto to you?They both represent states that have failed their citizens in education and healthcare among other things. Mr. Brooks is especially offensive. I’m glad some listeners are standing up to him even if Mr. Wessel and yourself are not.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      If you don’t want to hear voices on the other side, why do you listen to this program?  Brooks represents the position of many people in this country.  Living in an echo chamber won’t save you.

      • BHA_in_Vermont

         I suspect there are more rational people that represent “the other side”.

        • jbourque

           My point, exactly

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          The problem is that people like jbourque say the same thing no matter who is here to represent the right.

        • TFRX

          This show keeps auditioning for that kind of guest and rarely, if ever, finding them.

        • miro

          One would hope so — On Point needs to do a better job of finding them.

          Or…..have an ideological fight fest — get a Mo Brooks from the right and a progressive politician from the left and have them slug it out rhetorically. That would work better than today’s lineup.

          It’s trying to balance serious, rational, fact-oriented guests with a foaming at the mouth ideologue that causes the problems.

      • Jeffe68

        And the echo chamber Brooks represented is one I hear and read every day. I’m sick and tired of listening to this kind of mindless rhetoric. 

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Do you realize that the language that you apply to the right is applied by the right to your ideas?

          If the right were in the tiny minority, dismissing that point of view would be one thing, but the fact that about half the country holds it means that you’d better listen and find a way to communicate.

          • TFRX

            The Dunning-Kruger effect suggests that right-wingers can’t be communicated to sensibly.

            Fact just make them hold onto their fallacies harder.

            And that’s not the left’s fault. It’s the media’s, even the media which doesn’t consider itself part of the right wing propagandists.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

             The same effect applies to the left and to any other group or individual.

          • Mike Card

            That simply isn’t true.  Not even half of the registered Republicans cleve to the rabid right wingers who identify as teabaggers.  Republicans comprise approximately 31% of registered voters; that computes to 15%, max.  Not half, not nearly half.

      • miro

        But you know that many people in this country, maybe even most, believe in creationism and all sorts of other crazy things. They are in the habit of taking things on faith depending on how the belief affects them in their gut, and are easily bamboozled by Fox and Clear Channel.

        The political-cultural-informational schism that we have developed in America is the single most dangerous threat to our future since the Civil War. It prevents us from acting together to solve our economic and social problems.

        When half the population and their representatives are actively trying to dismantle the programs of the other half, that civilization is in deep trouble. We need to recognize this schism and deal with it, but frankly, I don’t see a solution in sight.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Where is ole Cal Coolidge when you need him?

  • TFRX

    In an uncharacteristically strong statement, the Fed said it will “closely monitor” the economy and “will provide additional accommodation as needed to promote a stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions.”

    Translation: The Fed will move if growth and employment don’t pick up soon on their own.

    The Fed sounds like a fire department I once saw in the north country. One of their number said “We’re really good at putting out foundations”.

  • miro

    What a total disaster this segment has been! In what cave did they find Mo Brooks, who claims to be an economist?
    Brooks illustrates the depth of the problem — with people like him controlling the House, no solution is politically possible. Who needs foreign enemies trying to destroy the US, when we have Mo Brooks at the legislative helm?

    • Kathy

      The sad part is it was actually quite reasonable until that neanderthal arrived. 

      • Jeffe68

        Don’t insult the Neanderthal’s, they lived in collective tribes and had more humanity than that poor excuse for a politician from Alabama.

  • Tamara in Cambridge

    I felt slapped in the face when 
    Rep. Brooks said “the American people elected gridlock”. What?! I think the American people elected supposedly responsible adults to represent them in the government. If our members of congress did what they were elected to do instead of worrying about getting re-elected, we would be in much better shape as a nation.

    • J__o__h__n

      His constituents elected gridlock.

      • Gregg

        Thank God for gridlock.

    • jimino

      Budget cuts should explicitly be focused on large federal installations and contractors in congressional districts of those Congressional members, like Mr. Brooks, who are so vehemently calling for such cuts in the abstract.  This would allow their constituents to appreciate, first hand, the practical implications of the policy positions being taken by their representative.

      To paraphrase your sponsor’s tag line goes, “responsibility (for your representative’s position), that’s our policy”.

    • John in Amherst

      Politics is surely no longer the art of compromise.  The more obstreperous it becomes, the more corrosive to our social fabric.  The co-evolution of the media and the aging of the Me Generation has us on a bad trajectory…

  • Craig from Omaha

    Let us add to moderator Goodman’s comment that other advanced democracies have a higher level of national government involvement in their economies than the United States.  How about the Federal Republic of Germany, for instance.  Will Congressman Brooks admit that a major German corporation, Mercedes-Benz has invested heavily in Alabama, albeit not in his congressional district.  By his narrow, screwy definition, even Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party would be “socialist.”  She, and all the adult citizens of her country know what socialism is – it was the former, Soviet-supported Communist dictatorship of Eastern Germany that in 1990 joined the Federal Republic of Germany. 

  • Lauren K, Pittsburgh

    It makes me sad that Mo Brooks takes to name calling and talking over people to “win” a position.  I was listening to his point of view and agreeing with many points until he chose to unnecessarily reduce the discussion to typical talking points.  I’m so disappointed with elected officials, just so very disappointed. 

    • miro

      When a speaker (like Mo Brooks) keeps repeating outright lies (Democrats are Socialists) and gross distortions (like his taking of Obama’s words out of context), one immediately gets a readout of that person’s commitment to truth (or lack of it). In the case of Mo Brooks that commitment is almost nonexistent.

      It means that you can’t trust anything they say because it’s clear that they either aren’t sincere (they know they are distorting) or they are simply repeating rhetoric that they’ve heard (which means that they either can’t or won’t think for themselves). It’s not clear which is worse, cynical ideologues or naive ones, but in both cases the truth suffers and misinformation is propagated.

      One of the worst aspects of this show was how many lies and distortions were promulgated without any real challenge from the host or the other guests.

  • Michael

    The Congressman exemplifies why we can’t make any progress on the decifit …. the Obama administration “socialist”? He does not have even 100-level Western civ understanding of the term, but that’s not the point: it’s all about whipping up the most fear among his base in the Deep South. And to take economic advice from one of the most destitute states in the union? Really? On point can do better.

  • jim

    It all started with Ronald Reagan… “deficit does not matter”

    yes, Reagan… the godfather of republican conservatism.

  • TribalGuitars

    Brooks, like the rest of the Republicans in office, can’t do math, as they keep denying that the debt racked up by W. and it only shows up starting in the month Obama took office, as if the $250B+ we had when Clinton left office didn’t disappear in the 8 years of W’s presidency. 

    One more prime example of Republicans denying fact, history, and experience.

  • Sean

    On Point,

    When enlisting guests, PLEASE do better than infantile conservative idiots who don’t know history, OR EVEN the difference between Socialism and Capitalism.

    Leave the birther morons and McCarthy-ites to FAUX NEWS!… there they can confuse Marxism, Communism, Socialism and Capitalism all they want, and no one of consequence will give a damn!!

    • Witterquick

      Sean, you are on point.  Great response!

      • baowens

        Absolutely!

    • John in Amherst

       I had trouble listening at all after I heard the charge that “Obama said small business owners didn’t build that”, and this statement, patently false, went unchallenged.  The conservatives (with a lot of help from FOX, and in this show, On Point) repeat distorted edits and outright lies because so often people are letting them get away with it.  Romney and his surrogates should be scrupulously fact-checked and energetically encouraged to defend and support what they are saying in any and all public venues, NOT allowed to dodge the truth.

  • mikes

    Thanks Wade for bringing this group of panelists together. More of this extended dialog is needed to get beyond labels like “socialist” in contrast to “good” things like “capitalism” and “free markets / free enterprise system”. Making money and being free are good, but it is the cult of “free enterprise” that brought us the bank collapse, polluted our environment and leaves >30 million Americans w/o health care, raising the financial and social cost for all of us.

    • baowens

      How can they call it “Free market” when corporations are getting financial help from tax payers in the form of tax incentives, credits, gov loans, etc?  Let the businesses stand ALONE (win or lose), then you can call them free markets.  And also quit using tax-payer money to build professional sports’ stadiums and arenas.  Let the owners who are raking in millions pay for their own.

  • Leohart8

    please, in the future if you are going to have a highly partisan spokesman present “facts” as viewed through his blinders have  capable spokesman with a better grip on the “facts”   I was aware of many counter “facts” to the presentation by the congressman.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       Dean Baker shouldn’t be censored just because he has a partisan view.

      • Jeffe68

        The comment was about Brooks not Dean Baker.
        Brooks was an idiot.

        • baowens

          Agreed! My daughter has a better understanding of socialism from her Western Civ class in high school than this BOZO Brooks from Alabama.

          • TFRX

            “Bobo and Bozo, the Babbling Brookses”, has a nice ring to it.

            I’m worried I’ve said too much, and they’ve already been booked on Meet the Press and All Things Considered together, as the “polite conservative liberals like” and the “genuine conservative economist”.

  • Dan03755

    Oh my gosh – Mo Brooks is hilarious! Every time he spoke I thought of Mr. Anderson from Beavis & Butthead.

    On the economic side of things…What I find so so SO fascinating is how people treat debts and deficits as if (a) we are still on a gold standard, and (b) as if public and private debt are the same thing.

    The problem is NOT deficit-spending: the problem is that we have a monetary system owned and operated by and for a few super-wealthy individuals and corporations. In the end, THIS will be our downfall – not the fact that we owe a few trillion bucks to creditors around the planet.

  • Dee

    Addendum: 

    Dean Baker at least made one realistic aseessment stating 
    many in the middle class feel their lives are in ruins and 
    wouldn’t you know it–your other guests are talking about 
    building “confidence” in the Markets and once again to hell w
    ith those in the middle Class who are already hurting..

    I think Robert Reich, the former Labor Secretary & economist
    had the right idea when he proposed in one of his columns to 
    Obama on his re-election bid—that he (obama ) refuses to make cuts in social programs until the un-emplyment rate 
    falls below 5% percent. This makes ultimate sense to me 
    and i know many others….

    • TFRX

      Since WWII, unemployment insurance was extended way beyond the norm when the unemployment was above 7%. It was a bi-partisan policy enacted no matter who was in the White House. It was not an OhMyGodSocialisms!!1!one! crisis to the GOP.

      Nobody on the right threw tantrums about it or called people (whites, at least) getting extended UI during recessions “lazy”.

      Where are the reasonable Republican pols who admit to remembering that?

      • baowens

        I agree!  Reasonable Republican pols??? a dying breed… being replaced with Tea Party bullies

  • JayDeeZ

    I agree with Sean.  I feel violated for having heard such partisan nonsense without challenge.  REALLY, WE ARE EITHER SOCIALIST OR CAPITALIST?  PLEASE!!!
    Its no wonder our government is so disfunctional with maniacs like this. 

    • mikes

      I agree, it’s painful to have such simplistic labels and skewed facts thrown out as truth by an adult, even more so knowing he’s an elected representative. With enough discussion (on the radio and w/ people we meet) these fallacies can be seen for what they are; garbage. W/o dialog (even w/ fools) we are stuck with 30 second soundbites of party propaganda…from both sides of the aisle. Problem is it is soooo painful to hear, and even harder to have such discussions in person.

  • NewHavenJude

    I have to say that whenever I hear anyone talk about it being necessary to make cuts in the budget so everyone “shares the pain”, I want to scream!  The middle & lower classes have been carrying the burden of pain for a VERY long time.  I think we have had enough pain!  There have already been enough cuts in programs that help people survive.  Now it’s time for the millionaires & billionaires to “share” the pain! 

    • TFRX

      If this keeps up I think the US’ chief growth industry will be armoring limosines so the rich can leave their gated compounds without fear of being kidnapped.

    • TomK in Boston

      Don’t you know you can’t tax the “job creators”? :)

      Now Etchasketch is proposing more tax cuts for his fellow oligarchs. When it was pointed out that his plan will make the big bad debt even bigger, they replied that the “biased” analysis ignored the ginormous stimulation of the economy that would be created by all the additional redistribution of income to the top.

      I’m really sick of listening to people who spew voodoo econ after 32 years of evidence that it does nothing but make the rich richer.

      • Mike Card

        I think I understand your point and would like to add that I have yet to hear of, or see, a “job creator” who has actually created a job.

    • Guest

      I have to say that whenever I hear anyone talk about it being necessary to raise taxes so that everyone pays their “fair share,” I want to scream!  You have to appreciate the irony of Nancy Pelosi talking on C-Span yesterday about people paying their “fair share.” When asked by 60 Minutes if it was fair that she profited $100,000 from a special deal to buy Visa stock when her committee was making banking rules, her reply was “I don’t know what your point is.”

      • Mike Card

        What does your first sentence have to do with the following two sentences?

        • Guest

          The point is that someone who doesn’t understand the ethical conflict of a company making her a party to a deal that nets her $100,000 in profit while she’s regulating that company isn’t the person who should be the arbiter of what’s fair.

          • Mike Card

            Until the enactment of the STOCK act 6 months ago, every member of Congress had engaged in insider trading for personal profit; that includes members in all parties.

  • JayDeeZ

    The segment on the national debt was so offensive I had to turn off the volume.  Thanks OnPoint. 

  • Jengliu

    To make Bush’s tax cut for the wealthy stand (permanent) is like to agree to the gravity pull won’t apply to them.  Unless they sit on their piece of oversized pie idly, they should be subjected to the same set of rules like everyone else.  The moment you let go of the traffic rule for the big rigs, the highway will be plagued with wrecks.  Everyone suffers regardless of your size.   

  • Ellen Dibble

    The statistics of Mo Brooks about the explosion of jobs once the tax rates went down under Bush, and about the blaming of the deficit under Bush on Pelosi’s Democratic Congress rather than the war in Iraq, for instance.  And I’m thinking the Bush tax cuts actually enabled the kind of bubble prosperity that meant our economy was more in the financial services industry — i.e., churning house properties on the theory those values would eternally skyrocket — rather than real growth.  So taxes might rise showing that balloon, but not anything to rely on, say ten years down the road.  I’d like to know what jobs those were?  Probably construction of all those homes which we are ever so slowly absorbing into the population as young people grow up, get jobs, and settle down — assuming those attractive communities remain attractive, after the business failures, after the lay-offs, after the foreclosures, etc.

  • lifobryan

    Mo Brooks is an interesting guest. He actually brings up a few valid points … but then overwhelms those points with panicky lunacy. I appreciate NPR giving “both sides” a seat at the table, but why does NPR never challenge people like him? Why not call crazy talk “crazy talk”???

    • jimmy

      yes, yes, yes…some more vociferous challenges of Mo was badly needed. He is out to lunch, I can’t believe he is an elected official spouting off like that, about socialism and AIG and Detroit WOW. He should’ve been told to speak the truth and stop the sound-bytes.

  • NewHavenJude

    I would like there to be a program discussing the real meaning of socialism & the difference between the basic ideals of socialism & communism as we’ve known it, i.e. dictatorship.  People seem to see the 2 as one & the same.  Socialism has become a “bad” word used to scare people &, yet, I have rarely heard a discussion of the true meaning ~ only defensive statements.  Often the people who rail against it the most are right wing Christians ~ although it is not limited to them.  They ought to check out the early history of Christianity.  It was a socialist society where “all things were shared in common”.

    • Gregg

      Good Point. Obama sure had to do a lot of explaining about his “You didn’t build that” comment. That’s odd for the greatest orator in history.

      BTW, have you heard of Obama’s membership with the “New Party” and his endorsement of their candidate?

      • jimino

        Who would have thought that 21st century Americans who clamor for English being the “official language” wouldn’t understand a muilti-sentence comment in that language?  Hell, most of them would have no idea what “four score and seven years” means either, which would have Honest Abe’s aides having to explain things to them too.

        • Gregg

          Any way you slice it, he was taking credit away from small business and giving it to those who did nothing different than anyone else. His hostility toward the working class is not helpful.

          • baowens

            Did you even listen to his entire speech?  or just the sound bite that FOX wants you to hear? NO Business is built in a vacuum.  Without the social fabric and common infrastructure, there would be no employees & no customers.
            Ironic how the business people in the Rep. commercials criticizing Obama on this were beneficiaries of tax incentives, tax cuts, and government loans (all derived from government programs and tax payer funds).  If they truly think they did it all by themselves, then why did they rely on government for these resources?

          • Gregg

            Yes, I listened to the whole speech. He stole it from Elizabeth Warren. Commenters here have been making the same point for a year. No one said anyone did anything in a vacuum.

            I had to go hungry, live in a phone booth, work my ass off and sacrifice greatly for everything I have. The government didn’t do that for me. It gave me the same opportunities everyone has. I thank God I live in America but I’ll be damned if I am going to let Obama belittle my efforts.

          • baowens

            If you listened to the whole speech, then you know the quote was lifted out of context and blown up into a fake controversy.

            Sorry you had such a rough life!  So, you were born in a phone booth? learned to read from the tattered phone book?  You had to have some resources to … eat, buy clothes, pay for transportation.  Did you ever use a library?  Did you go to any school, have any teachers?  Did you use the internet?  Did you travel on any paved roads? Was your food safe to eat?  Is the air you breathe filled with coal dust?

            Too bad you didn’t follow your Republican buddies example and try to milk the government of tax-payer’s money for tax incentives or small business loans.

            Nothing happens without a plan.  Americans who came before us prepared for our future by laying the groundwork and building infrastructure to assist in our success.  If we do not maintain the infrastructure, what kind of future will our children have?

          • Gregg

            Do you think he wasn’t disparaging business while making the lazy feel better about themselves?

          • Alloren

            so when you lived in the phone booth, did you pay rent or were you just a freeloading slug? You sacrificed what, a kidney or maybe a couple years of your life as a conscript in your country’s defense or did you do something for pay? Congrats on the everything you have.

          • Gregg

            In truth, I just spent a few snowy nights in the booth. 

      • Gregg

        It was a glimpse into his character. He had to make an ad to explain himself. He’s been explaining ever since. 

        “If you’re explaining, you’re losing.”

        • TFRX

          A Democrat is fighting back rather than pretending the mainstream (and right-wing) media aren’t going to distort things or make up stuff about Dems.

          Full. Stop.

          Like any good lefty, I recognize that when you whine about a  Democrat’s “tone” or “soul”, that means they’re doing the smart thing.

          And the thing is, you’re not even origianl. I can get that all over the rightwing propaganda media. No need to read you on it.

          • Gregg

            So if you’re explaining you’re winning? Make up your mind.

          • Gregg

            Fox? You’re funny.

      • Gregg

        Rush just came on. Give me a minute to get my marching orders and I’ll get back.

    • baowens

      Amen!

    • margarita assael

      As a Christian, I don’t believe in hand out—as Paul says “he who does not work, does not eat”–and proverbs speaks alot to saving and working hard and saving—-I donate to World Vision who gives seed money to people to start their business–they pay back at a low interest–and then are self sufficient—this is what I do–as a Christian–

      • Mike Card

        Paul didn’t speak English, and nobody was there to write down what he DID say.  We’re discussing economics today, not theology.

      • Alloren

        “If thou will be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me” (Matt. 19:21). The part about giving to the poor; doesn’t that say Jesus was okay with handouts? How is it a donation if the recipients pay it back with low interest?

      • NewHavenJude

        Margarita, I think it’s great that you donate to World Vision.  Unfortunately, you appear to be making an assumption that helping those in need is a “hand out” & that those people are not working don’t want to work.  While I’m sure there are some people who choose not to work, I truly believe they are the minority.  Having worked in the Barrios in NYC, I’ve seen first hand how hard people work to support their families ~ 2 & 3 jobs & still cannot make ends meet.  There are countless people out people who have been trying to find work & there are no jobs, except minimum wage jobs or part time jobs.  Perhaps you ought to re-read the Beatitudes.

  • Gregg

    What is the problem with making the tax cuts permanent to give some confidence to the economy? If Democrats want to raise the top rate then get the votes and do it. They have never had the votes because it’s a horrible idea in this economy. Bill Clinton and Nancy Pelosi agree. This game of chicken the Dems are playing is killing us. Every American will get a huge tax increase on Jan 1. The poor gained the most from the Bush tax cuts and will be hit the hardest when they expire.

    I guess it’s nice to live in a world where you can actually believe our troubles are all from the wars and tax cuts and the solution is to soak the rich. It’s the craziest notion ever.  

    • lifobryan

      “The poor gained the most from the Bush tax cuts”…? Oh yeah … I forgot about those $300 rebate checks. 

      • Gregg

        No, everyone got those. It wasn’t a tax cut it was a tax credit, AKA redistribution of wealth. 

        The bottom rate was lowered 5% and the top 4.6%. The EIC enhancements resulted in 6 million of the poorest paying nothing when they did pay 15%. The rich took on the burden with the top earners paying 2% more of the bill than before the cuts. I stand by the comment. 

        • JayDeeZ

          If you define tax credits as “redistribution of wealth” you must also think that Warren Buffett’s secretary (sorry not PC) paying a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett is also a redistribution of wealth? 
          Nice.

          • Gregg

            Tax credits actually send money taken from tax payers to the recipient. Tax cuts allow people to keep more of what is already theirs. there’s a huge difference.

            Buffets secretary does not pay a higher rate. One has to torture language and context to say such. It’s a lie. A well proven lie.

          • JayDeeZ

            Yeah, I believe you over Warren Buffett.  HA

            I hope you can someday break out of that delusional bubble you’re in.  Best wishes.

          • Gregg
          • JayDeeZ

            I could help myself and read the linked page.  They acknowledged the FACTS.  Buffett = 15% and Secretary = 35%.  Or are you too stupid to know which is higher.  Capital gains are INCOME.  Or do you think it is just an illussion that Buffett is wealthy.  Please go back to your FOX News and play with people in your bubble.

          • TFRX

            I don’t know that reading something from “valuesvoters” will help anyone understand anything.

          • Gregg

            It wasn’t a fox link. Feel free to believe what you want, I’ll stick with the truth.

        • jimino

          A 5% tax cut is of no value whatsoever if you lost your source of income.  You heard about this unemployment thing going around, haven’t you?

          • Gregg

            I long for the days of 5% unemployment under Bush. 

          • jimino

            All based on fraud and debt.  The annihilation of over $8 trillion in personal middle class assets does affect employment, doesn’t it?

          • Gregg

            Alrighty then.

    • Hypocracy1

      I guess it’s nice to live in a world where your lifestyle is recession proof.

      • Gregg

        It’s not bad.

  • Gregg

    Why do the same people who give no blame to Obama for not having a budget give him all the credit for killing Bin Laden?

    • JayDeeZ

      Gregg,

      What do you mean “Obama for not having a budget”?  By the way, The House of Representitives is responsible for presenting a budget for the federal government.  Also, as Commander in Chief, Obama gave the go ahead for the operation to kill Bin Laden.
       
      Just thought you should know.

      • Gregg

        Obama deserves credit for making the decision but I believe any President would have done so. A great deal of credit should go to Rumsfeld for reorganizing the military with a much greater emphasis (and funding) on special ops. The Bush/Cheney enhanced interrogation techniques were essential as well. The soldiers deserve the most credit.

        The House has passed numerous budgets and the Senate refuses to bring them to a vote. It did it’s job and that’s all it can do. The President’s suggestions have been unanimously rejected by both parties. The result is we have not had a budget since Obama has been President. 

        • J__o__h__n

          The same Rumsfeld who invaded Iraq with an army lacking adequately armored vehicles? 

          • Gregg

            It wasn’t Rumsfeld who ordered the invasion. He dramatically shifted the emphasis to special ops, do you deny that? Or do you think it irrelevant?

    • lodger

      Obama budget info at link. What do you mean he doesn’t have a budget?

      http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         It wasn’t a serious budget.

        Obama CAN bring both sides together.  He isn’t divisive like people claim.  His budget went down 97-0 in the Senate.

        If only he could address the nations problems instead of campaigning full time for the last year.

    • Alloren

      okay so President Obama didn’t personally kill Bin Laden, but he does have a budget.

      • Gregg

        No he doesn’t.

        • Alloren

          yes he does

          • Gregg

            There has not been a budget since Obama has been in office.

    • GMG
      • Gregg

        As I’ve said the House (Congress) has passed budgets and Obama’s blueprint’s have not gained a single vote from either party. That’s when they even got a vote. You seem to be saying since Obama made a proposal then we have a budget. We don’t. It’s an incredible lack of leadership we have not seen.

        • GMG

          No, you said Obama here and below that Obama had no budget.  You were wrong.  That was my only point.  

          • Gregg

            Semantics, I think you got my point. But fine, you’re right.

  • Alloren

    When money is paid by the gov’t(us) to service the debt the money doesn’t vanish. It goes to the lenders who now need another place to stick it which probably means letting it out at interest again. Probably, since they are very secure, it will go back into US gov’t bonds. And, since the bonds are secure, they are low interest paying. Dip it out, pour it back. If the gov’t (we) want to stop the cycle, say to avoid the interest, we can repay the loans with new money. The new money should devalue  the previously existing money, but that would mean you”d have to be able to count it and you can’t stop it long enough to do so, so it”s pretty much a wild ass guess and changes from instant to instant. So pick a number that pleases you. Like banks do with LIBOR. It seems to me that with all this attention and concern about randomly generated numbers we might just be worshipping false gods.

  • margarita assael

    I agree that this administration has an agenda to dismantle our freedoms and liberties and will do this “as a house divided cannot stand”–via class warfare—-we need more jobs—free enterprise—less gov.—-and “we–the taxpayer–PAID FOR THOSE ROADS–with money made from our businesses that we struggled and sacrificed to make”—-

    • Hypocracy1

      Your freedoms and liberties will be dismantled because of free enterprise isn’t going to pay you a living wage…

  • http://profiles.google.com/evoldeth On Dre

    Mo Brooks only arguments are from ad hominum attacks.  In a delibrative body like the House it is necessary to have some level of repect with your opponet to get things done.  They (tea party Repubs) have none.  This McCarthy like insistance that the other side be run over because they do not share the same political views is extreamly dangerous.  This is the reason why we have grid lock.  It is NOT bi-partisan.  It comes from the right.  you can not negotiate with some one who will not show you a decent level of respect.  The tea party has no repesct and it needs to be called out.

  • Hennorama

    Everyone who balances their own household budget knows that there are only 3 ways to do so:
    1. Get more income 2. Spend less 3. Do both

    The Federal government is NOT like households, however, since during economic downturns, deficit spending is nearly always needed.  As more people are out of work, fewer income, Soc. Sec. & Medicare (and state and local) taxes are paid in.  Also, spending for UI, SNAP, housing and other cash assistance go up, as unemployed people need more help to survive.  In addition, businesses are impacted, so SE and corporate taxes also tend to decline.

    It seems obvious that during this severe, continued economic downturn, the U.S. govt. cannot simply cut spending OR simply increase taxes.  It has to do some of both.  There is NO way the debt can be eliminated without increased revenues (taxes) AND reduced spending.

    Unfortunately, our current hyper-partisan politics won’t allow even the most reasonable and moderate Republicans to vote for anything that could be called a tax increase.  Grover Norquist has extracted extortionist promises from virtually every Republican in Congress, threatening to run them out of office if they ever vote for increased taxes.

    it’s unlikely that any Congressional action will happen until this changes.  But there may be a tricky way out of this by letting the tax cuts expire on January 1, 2013, then passing a middle class tax cut on January 2, 2013.  This would allow Republicans to adhere to the letter of their Norquist promise to not VOTE to increase taxes. 

    The current economy is very fragile.  Severely cutting Federal spending will likely push us back into recession.  Increasing taxes on all taxpayers is likely to have a similar result.  We need to pick and choose strategically among both spending cuts AND tax increases.

    However, long-term, the only thing that will get us out of this mess is economic growth.  We should look at all government actions in this light, encouraging growth as much as possible.

  • Meanmrkite

    HOw come nobody brings up the fact that a large percentage of the supposedly increased deficit spending under Obama is simply because Obama has put the enormous costs of the two wars started under Bush ON THE BUDGET?  Before, all costs of these insane wars were kept off the books;  it is disingenuous at best to blame Obama for deficit spending which results merely from honest book-keeping.  

  • Sean Mclinden

    Why does the media, including NPR, continue to refer to the current and future state of our economy as a “debt crisis”. Most serious economists (not ideologues) do not believe that the crisis is NOT one of debt but of a failure to grown the economy! 

    As long as we continue to think of this as a “debt” crisis, we will be unable to see a way out of this. With interest rates at record lows, and an almost stellar credit rating (threatened only by the idiots in the Congress who would fail to increase the debt ceiling) the government can, essentially, borrow money at negative interest.

    Economic growth has to more than double in order for us to solve our problems. Without ANY historical evidence to back him up and much to contradict him, Romney proposes that decreasing taxes for the wealthiest and eliminating government regulation (look what that did for the financial sector) is the path to economic growth. What we know, for sure, is that it will actually INCREASE our debt (which belies any GOP claim that they are interested in the debt).

    Obama, on the other hand, is ignoring the historical evidence that government stimulus is needed because he is too timid to suggest an alternative to the narrative nonsense spewed by the GOP.

    If ever a country needed a real leader, it is now.

    But the press is complicit in this in that it allows the GOP to frame the discussion using misleading and inflammatory terms such as “debt crisis” instead of “economic crisis”. Shame on NPR, OnPoint and Wade Goodwyn for falling for this nonsense.

    Where are the real journalists?

    • Sean McLinden

      Ignore the double negatives in the first sentence.

  • baowens

    Most mornings, I gain at least a little knowledge while listening to OnPoint.  Not Today!  So disappointed in NPR for giving a platform to an uninformed ideologue who happened to be elected from one of the poorest states in the union. If Mo Brooks is typical of the Republican House members, it is no wonder Congress can’t get anything accomplished; our country is in BIG Trouble if we hand over any more power to these types. Talk about the Lowest Common Denominator – a rush to the bottom!

    • JayDeeZ

      A Rush Limbaugh to the bottom.

  • Ed Ungar

    The show introduced Mo Brooks ‘as an “economist”. Having looked up his official bio I believe the word should be put in quotes. It’s true he did receive a bachelors from Duke with a co major in economics. He says he received “highest honors” in his co under grad major. Nowhere in his bio is there any evidence that he earned a single dollar working as a professional economist or that he has a post graduate degree in the field, much less a PhD. Nor does it mention  a single piece of original economics research. 
    I believe a more accurate introduction to Mr. Berg is that he is the Congressman from the 5th congressional district of Alabama who as an undergraduate at Duke had an economics co-major.s bio 

    • Mike Card

      It might be more accurate (Mr Brooks?), but hardly factual.  He is an insufferable loudmouth who ought to be a profound embarrassment to his constituents.  Jesse Jackson looks like a world-class politician, compared to this no-class jerk.

  • Paterson1089

    As a resident of the Congressional district adjoining Congressman Brooks, I find his comments about free enterprise hypocritical for two reasons. 1. Much of the “free enterprise” in his home town that he extols is funded by contracts with DoD or NASA. 2. Alabama receives $1.65-1.75 for each $1.00 it sends to the Federal government. Much of the infrastructure in his district has been paid for with those federal funds dating from the 1930s(electrical power generated by TVA).  

    • jimino

      This is why cuts should be focused like a laser on districts such as his, so his constituents can see first hand how his “ideas” translate into reality.  If they’re happy with those results, they can vote him in again.  But they need to take very personal responsibility for sending him to Congress as their representative.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dhrosier Dreighton Rosier

    The “low interest rates” on National Debt are the result of the Fed action buying the debt with freshly printed money.  The moment we see a wisp of inflation, rates will rise high enough to cap inflation, and the debt will be refinanced at those higher rates.

    The comment that a little inflation is good for the economy is incredible.  That is a shibboleth.  What it does is siphon value away from those people who bought the bonds that finance our debt. The debt owned by the Fed is a different story, that value is eroded too but they have a partial offset of receiving the cash flow from the higher interest rates.

    Better to take the money honestly by taxation than to extort it sub rosa through inflation.  Investor confidence is critical, fixed income investors most of all.

  • http://twitter.com/RyderAndrewJ Andrew Ryder

    This was an incredibly disappointing hour from On Point.  Brooks is an ideologue through and through and was completely boorish in his constant interruptions and claims about socialism.  I think Wade Goodwyn has done a nice job as fill-in until this morning.  He seemed to allow the Tea Party crazy to run the show, which isn’t up to the usual balanced way of doing things on On Point or NPR.

  • TomK in Boston

    To summarize: the most important things to know about the “federal debt crisis” are 1. There is no crisis and 2. The oligarchs are using the phony crisis as a scare tactic to convince the voters to go along with more redistribution of wealth and income to the top.

  • SLB

    I cannot fathom why Mr. Brooks is a member of Congress. This is a serious topic, and his contribution did nothing but pander to an already paranoid and fringe element. We all have heard about President Obama’s comments on building businesses, and I am hopeful that we are all aware that these comments were taken extremely out of context. Mr. Brooks is misrepresenting the point behind President Obama’s comments; the point being that even successful business people benefited from someone else giving them assistance at some time of their life.

    Please do not invite him back. He had nothing constructive to contribute to this important dialogue.

  • GeorgeG64

    I doubt this congressman from Alabama has never even been to a Socialist country (such as our allies Israel and Britain) where “socialist” ideas like kibbutzim and the National Health Service are treasured success stories.  Instead of seeing a commie under every bed, maybe he should get out of the House (of Representatives) more.

    • TomK in Boston

      Shoulda let ‘em go in 1860. They could have their agri-theo-oligarchy, maybe provide us with a source of raw materials and cheap labor, and let us move on with a rational democracy.

  • Miamimart

    I am embarrassed by the way Mr. Goodwyn allowed to Brooks to get away with the out and out lies he spouted.  He is an abomination to any thinking person.

  • Gregg

    After seeing all the belly-aching about Mr. Brooks I can’t wait to hear the show a 7. He must have been good. Kudos to On Point.

  • Jeff

    That Tea Bagger Representative is wrong in his contention that tax breaks increase employment. If he were correct, then we’d not have experienced any increase in unemployment since the Bush tax cuts were enacted, which is not the case. Also, his contention is refuted by Paul Krugman, see:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/28/why-doesnt-bush-get-economic-credit/

    The Tea Bagger is also wrong about “socialism” as the intention was NOT to vest control in the government but to save industry. Come on, Mr. Goodwyn, confront these know-nothing ideologues.

    • Gregg

      After the tax cuts the unemployment rate went down for 53 straight months.

      • Jeff

        You didn’t read Krugman’s piece.

        • TomK in Boston

          They aren’t allowed to read Krugman.  It’s sorta like the way it’s a TeaOP thoughtcrime to think W’s wars and tax cuts had anything to do with the debt they love to scream about. If it doesn’t fit one of their Official Talking Points, it doesn’t exist.

          • Gregg

            In 2007 after years of tax cuts and wars the deficit was $151 billion. Just sayin’…

          • Mike Card

            The cost of the ongoing wars was deferred to the Omnibus apportionments in the following years and didn’t get accounted for as Def Dept. spending.  Consequently, it got accrued and rolled forward each year until the Obama said, No more, and folded it into the current year’s allocation.

          • Gregg

            War spending was attached to other bills and in the form of emergency supplementals. That it wasn’t counted as defense spending may be true but it’s irrelevant. The spending was counted and the debt was added. The $151 billion deficit includes war costs.

        • Gregg

          Yea I did but I should know better. The unemployment rate went down for over 4 years after the tax rates were lowered in 2003. Krugman gave no evidence to suggest otherwise because it’s true.

          http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=z1ebjpgk2654c1_&met_y=unemployment_rate&idim=country:US&fdim_y=seasonality:S&dl=en&hl=en&q=unemployment+rate

          Krugman uses a deceptive technique which is quite common on this issue. He says Bush didn’t add as many jobs as other presidents. That’s a completely different charge. Most people were already working, 
           how many jobs could we expect to add. Krugman is a weaselly man, very dishonest and way too partisan to be taken seriously.

          What’s more impressive finding a needle in a haystack or finding 100 in a needle factory? Krugman is essentially saying Bush didn’t find as many needles in the haystack as others did in needle factories.

      • Mike Card

        Which 53 did you have in mind?  Junes or Decembers?

        • Gregg

          June 2003 through May 2007, give or take.

      • Sean McLinden

        Laughably simplistic. You want to list the SPECIFIC 53 months to which you refer and then we can debate whether tax cuts were SOLELY or even PRINCIPALLY to blame.

        • Gregg

          My comment was a reply to Jeff’s charge which was clearly false. What is laughably simplistic is Krugman’s implication that because there weren’t dramatic increases in the number of jobs added it means Bush’s record was bad. Read my reply to Jeff below. I didn’t specifically say the tax cuts caused it… but okay, they did. And revenue increased by a over a half trillion during the same time period. These things happened. If you want to call it a coincidence, okay. Even if that’s all it was (it’s not) it still outs the lie that the tax cuts cost jobs and revenue. 

          I posted the stats below. The numbers don’t lie.

          • Sean McLinden

            Numbers don’t lie, but coincidence is not correlation (although it is hard for many people to accept that).

            For you to be correct based only on what you have posted, you would have to argue that there were no other events, monetary, fiscal, social, military, etc., which occurred in the same time frame which could have any ANY effect on employment.

            That is pure nonsense.In fact, there were MANY other things occurring at the same time (including massive expenditures on two war fronts), which boosted employment.

            Furthermore, in focusing solely on revenue increases (and not on deficit increases as well), you suggest that things were looking up when, in fact, they were going to he-double L in a handbasket.

          • Gregg

            Alright Sean, we’re getting nowhere and talking past each other. I agree with what you say about other events. THAT’S ALWAYS BEEN MY POINT!! Maybe I’m unfairly holding you responsible for what commenters have been claiming around here for years. They say Clinton raised taxes and had a surplus while ignoring the tech bubble, Newt and the ’94  takeover of Congress. Or the Cap gains cut. We have Obama on this very day trying to sell the that very notion. They say we did fine when the top rate was 90% ignoring the loopholes available, the state of the economy and the fact that revenue as a percentage of GDP was lower that after the Bush cuts. The same say Bush cut taxes and left a deficit while ignoring the bursting of that bubble and 9/11. Or they assume geopolitics would have been peachy and nothing bad would have happened if Sadaam was still in power. The 1994 Congress gets no credit and the 2006 Congress gets no blame. Why? 

            Once again, on this point I agree with you but that’s my point to begin with. Call it a correlation, causation or coincidence. Whatever it is the rates were lowered across the board in 2003 and the unemployment rate went down and revenue went up for years. Where is the evidence that the cuts caused deficits and cost jobs. You don’t even have a coincidence to point to.

          • Sean McLinden

            The evidence is not that tax cuts cost jobs. Nor is there evidence that they created jobs.

            The evidence is that post-9/11 spending increased for things like Homeland Security, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, hurricane Katrina (and Ivan), flooding in the Midwest, and the extension of loose credit to people without means led to deficit spending, an increase in our national debt and, eventually, the decline in revenues with the crash in the economy.

            You can’t ignore the fact than in 2000 Bush inherited a surplus and by 2002, we were back deficit spending and giving tax breaks at the same time.

          • Gregg

            I thought we were talking about tax cuts. you replied to my comment and disputed my claim.

            I have no problem with you second paragraph  which does not blame the tax cuts. 

            I’m not ignoring anything at all, I’m giving it context just as you suggested.  Why are you now (with your last sentence) reducing the entire issue to a sound byte? I’m outta here, I have a gig.

    • TomK in Boston

      Right. The fact is that, overall, we have been cutting taxes since 1980 and all that has happened is a sinking middle class and an ever-richer oligarch class. What more do you need to know?

      It’s disgusting that the romney types can get away with a 15% tax rate while they beat us over the head about the debt. It’s disgusting that they call the policies we had while the middle class was getting more prosperous every year and we were confronting the communists in the cold war “socialism”.

      • Brandstad

        So let me get this right, you are saying Clinton only cut taxes.  If this is so why is Obama calling for us to go back to the Clinton tax rates?

        LOL, you are so funny

        • Sean McLinden

          During his two terms in office Clinton did cut some taxes and raised others (including increasing taxes on the top 1.25%). Part of this was outside his control as he lost both the House and Senate to Republicans during his term in office.

          More importantly, however, his tax cuts came at a time when the government was running budget surpluses. (Much like Reagan raised taxes in his second term due, in part, to Congress).

          Dubya, in contrast, cut taxes while financing two wars and a health care bill using borrowed money.

          If you want to laugh out loud instead of read, well, then you belong in the GOP.

      • Jeff

         Actually, middle and lower class earnings have essentially stagnated since the mid-1970s, first due to the poor economy of the 1970s and then the trickle-down economic policies of the Reagan era and then the free trade policies of the Clinton era. The wealthy who do no work (from lower tax rates enacted to benefit the investor class) have benefited above all who do work.

  • Gregg

    Today we learned the unemployment rate went up in July. Also Manufacturing orders fell .5% and shipments 1.1%. And we found out Obama was warned by OMB to cut his losses with Solyndra but he had a show to do so he doubled down. 

    There is no recovery. November can’t get here quick enough.

    • Sean McLinden

      As a percentage of the total funding that DoE put out for alternative energy investments the total losses were actually far less than what the Congress had anticipated. While not defending the Solyndra investment (the application was first approved by the Bush administration), the fact is that this program (and others, such as NISTs ATP and many DARPA projects) were designed to be high-risk, high-return speculations based, in part, upon what were believed to be valid economic and sociopolitical assumptions. $500 million was a lot and the total losses under this program were about $2.7, however, this is far less than what was lost by JP Morgan (private sector) or the financial sector during the downturn (which wiped out the holdings of many retirement and pension plans). 

      So those who argue that the private sector can do better are simply blowing smoke.

      Also, such rates such as jobless claims, consumer confidence, manufacturing orders and shipments were NEVER intended to guide policy decisions based upon month to month trends. In fact, using them in this manner is as dangerous as speculation on stock prices based upon day to day changes. These numbers only make sense when one considers the long term and if we start from the point where the economy was at its lowest (which was caused by events which started with the Clinton and Bush administrations), things have actually improved, albeit not as quickly as one would have hoped.

      Furthermore, the slow economic recovery is occurring during a period where tax rates are historically low. So much for the argument that tax breaks benefit job creators.

      The reality is that part of the sluggish recovery is due to the loss of public sector jobs, mostly at the state level, due to the loss of stimulus funding. While profits at some of the nation’s largest companies are near record levels, there has been little impact on private sector employment (or, more to the point, not enough to make a significant difference). What DIDN’T happen during this period was that the Federal government was prevented, by Congress, from intervening with additional and greater stimulus and Obama was simply not up to the task in a way that, say, FDR was.

      I am the first person to admit that Obama is not the leader that anyone expected. In fact, his arrogance is that he felt that it was enough that he be right and that his job was not to sell his ideas to the public. Further, he wasted a majority in both houses hoping to find consensus when it was clear that there was none to find.

      But the GOP is not interested in facts and actually ignores them. Simplistic thoughts make good bumper stickers but bad policy.

      • Gregg

        Bush denied the loan to Solyndra, he did not approve it. They were not the only example, there were others. The Volt is a failure and cost taxpayers bookoos. The entire green jobs initiative was money down a rat hole. The government should not use our money for high risk ventures. Please let me know if you can point to a success.

        You are right about the month by month numbers but the long term numbers look even worse. We’ve now had 41 months of unemployment over 8%. That’s the longest since the Great Depression. GDP is historically anemic and has been. This ” “recovery” is taking longer than any since the great depression as well. It’s awful.

        More spending is the last thing we needed in my view. The “stimulus” failed. We have nothing to show for it but the outrageous debt. BTW, FDR made things worse not better. 

        • Sean McLinden

          You are either misinformed or worse.

          In January 2009 BEFORE the inauguration, the Bush administration tried to take the Solyndra application to expedited review so that it could claim to have done something for renewable energy. The DoE review team (NOT the Bush administration), remanded it for being incomplete. 

          Further, the loan program was started under the Bush administration (2007).

          As for the government not using our money for high risk adventures, you wouldn’t have the ability to contribute to this blog if the government had not done that. One role of government is to do the things that the private sector won’t do, including funding research which has the potential for high yields but incurs high risk.

          I note that you said nothing about the trillions of dollars in personal wealth that was lost by the “private sector” during the slump. Tell me, again, why that proves that the private sector knows better how to create wealth?

          Finally, the stimulus did not “fail”. It was insufficient and poorly executed. The problem with the economy was a precipitous drop in demand for goods and services coupled with a liquidity trap (businesses and individuals with excess revenues decided to pay down debt rather than invest in growth).  In addition, the banks decided to grow their reserves or speculate in risky derivatives rather than loan money. The total contraction in the economy was more than 3 times the actual stimulus. To make up for that, the government would have had to triple the amount of stimulus but it lacked the will to do that, in part because it was too concerned about debt and not enough about     revenues.

          What kept things from getting worse, initially (and what made them worse during the latter part of the Obama administration) was a one time payment to the states which allowed states to maintain programs and payrolls. But because the “recovery” was not fast enough and people were impatient, they replaced Congress with a bunch of ignorami who thought that the problem was spending.

          • Gregg

            I am well aware that Bush started the program. It’s a good idea and Bush is a proponent of alternative energy as are most people. The problem arises when money is wasted for political purposes. The notion that alternatives can replace fossil fuels at this time is sophistry. That was Obama’s mistake. The loan was denied by the Bush administration and revived against the advice of OMB under Obama. That is not disputable. I don’t know where you get your information.

            Also do some research, it was the public sector that brought the internet to market. The Government created the idea but did nothing with it. It’s irrelevant any way because the internet actually works.

            The money lost by the private sector was a travesty. No one condones that. It is impossible for the public sector to create wealth. They can redistribute it, confiscate it, print it or borrow it.

            I am in the Milton Friedman camp yoo are advocating Keynesian theory. We won’t agree. I’m not going to try to convince you. all I’ll say is supply comes first, the government cannot create demand by passing out other people’s money. Keynesian economics does not work.

            Yes, spending is the problem. I don’t know how that can be denied. Trillion dollar deficits are the new norm and GDP is anemic. It’s not sustainable.  

          • Sean McLinden

            This is my last reply to you, Gregg, because you seem to CHOOSE to be uninformed.

            As for the Internet. I was around when it was started. In fact, my laboratory was one of the earliest non-defense users of the ARPANET (as it was known, then). 

            The initial funding for the “Internet” came from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) with the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health providing funding for agencies such as ours which were doing research in artificial intelligence in medicine. All Internet hosts used the Top Level Domain of .ARPA.

            Eventually, when the use of the network expanded from defense related interests, operation was shifted to the  National Science Foundation and the network was known as NSFNet. NSF had the MANDATE to commercialize the continued development of the Internet however, the major telecommunications companies were not interested in packet communications so new companies such as PSI were started which purchased lines from the telcos (using Federal dollars) and then ran packet networks over them.

            The “private sector” took more than a decade to realize the potential of this technology (voice communications are, essentially, much different from data communications and require different technologies and concerns).

            Simply put, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars were used to create the demand for the Internet than the private sector eventually took over. (And I won’t even go into rural electrification or the granting of ATT a monopoly or the railroads rights of way, which led to commercial development, AFTER, the taxpayers had jump started the process).

            There are still RFCs with my name on them and with the initial IP address block assignments.

            And, once again, the Bush administration did NOT deny Solyndra. The DoE review committee remanded the application for further development. That is a matter of public record, if you would bother to read.

          • Gregg

            So, because I don’t buy into your logic then I’m choosing to be uninformed. That’s rich.

            I say the internet’s potential would have remained unrealized without the private sector. You seem to have experience, fine. I still say the government ought to be prudent with our money. My point stands. If you want to claim the internet would not exist without the government then fine. Who knows, maybe so. That does not contradict my position.

            What you are saying about Solyndra is a distinction without a difference. Bush did not approve (denied) the loan. Obama did, and he did so against the advice of nearly everyone. End of story.

            My advise (not that you will heed it) is open your eyes. The economy is in shambles. Debt is out of control. Regulations are through the roof. The Labor Force Participation Rate is through the floor. No one knows what their tax liability will be next year. We are more divided than ever. Businesses are being vilified. Religious freedoms are being stripped. There is no budget. It’s awful and it’s all because of Obama’s policies not in spite of them.

            If you want to cling to the notion that we didn’t spend enough or that it would have been worse then have at it. We will not agree, I just pray your side looses so we can put this sorry chapter behind us.

          • Sean McLinden

            Oh, two other things. Milton Friedman said “The existence of a free market does not, of course, eliminate the need for government… On the contrary, government is essential both as a forum for determining the ‘rules of the game; and as an umpire to interpret and enforce the rules decided on. 

            Modern conservatives seem to ignore this part of his philosophy. 

            And while Friedman may not have believed that Keynes was right (many conservatives also don’t appreciate that Keynes argued that the government should build reserves when the economy was strong to hedge against bad times), the fact is that while Fed policy probably exacerbated the Great Depression, it was the build up to WWII (classic Keynesian stimulus), that restarted the economy. 

          • Gregg

            No one says there is no need for government, certainly not I. The hallmark of liberals is to tell us what we think then criticize us for thinking it. You’re no different.

          • Sean McLinden

            First, the Internet existed in many places before the private sector invested a dime in it. I spent many years in the development of the Internet and know, well, the history.

            In fact, there were many academic purists who were not happy when NSF decided to contract out the infrastructure thereby CREATING the first Internet businesses. 

            Second, you are way off base (and don’t have any understanding of modern monetary theory) if you claim that the government can’t create wealth. It does it all the time.

            If not for the government creating a common (and sovereign) currency, establishing and defending the borders, entering into treaties, and creating and supporting infrastructure, we’d still be living in a predominantly agrarian economy and bartering for our needs.

            It is interesting to see people delude themselves with ideology.

    • Mike Card

      Solyndra again?  What about Monica Lewinski or Joe Don Baker?  Wasn’t Harry Truman responsible for Korea? 

      • Gregg

        The tragedy is the money was wasted. Oil fuels America’s economy. We cannot replace it at this time with solar, wind or anything else with the possible exception of nuclear. Alternatives are fine, I endorse their use but throwing taxpayer money down a rathole while enacting a moratorium on drilling, crippling the coal industry and rejecting the pipeline is foolish. 

    • Hennorama

      Sorry, but this is absolutely inaccurate.  The July 2012 unemployment rate won’t be announced until tomorrow, Friday Aug. 3, 2012.  You are likely refering to July unemployment CLAIMS, not the rate.

      Encouragingly, the four-week average, a MUCH less volatile measure, fell for the sixth straight week to 365,500, the lowest since March 31.

      There is a recovery, but it is a weak one.  The US economy is still growing, albeit slowly.  This is MUCH better that what Pres. Bush handed off to Pres. Obama.

      Terms are important.  Unemployment claims are not the same as the unemployment rate, by a long shot.

    • photoglyph

      Gregg, pray tell, what was the energy company that Darrel Issa was steering money to?

  • Grottman

    Noam Chomsky called it IMHO. We have one party in this country called the ” Big Business Party” and it has two factions: Republicans and Democrats

  • Leni

    The more corruption we have, the larger the gov’t will grow!! Plain and simple! If we don’t want bigger gov’t, stop the corruption!!

    • Hennorama

      Yes, please waive a magic wand to “stop the corruption!”  This nonsense sounds like the lame trope politicians use – “Elect me and I’ll stop waste and abuse!”

      • Leni

        Yea! I forgot! We can’t do that! Why too many folks are just plain paid off!! Or wait! We’re human! It’s in our nature to destroy each other! Yea! We can’t stop the bullshit corruption!!

  • heaviest Cat

    I’m glad, Dean Baker appeared today but why does the title above mention only David Wessel of the WSJ?

  • GMG

    Wow.  What a stinking pile of idiocy is Mo Brooks.  How on earth did he get elected to anything? 

    • GMG

      I apologize for being overly strident myself, I should have referred to his ideas, not him as a person.  Nonetheless, I find both his tone and his thinking to be appallingly partisan and inappropriate for an otherwise intelligent discussion.

  • TomK in Boston

    Class Warfare 101:

    Redistribute all the income to the top. Then 

    1. Scream about all the taxes the wealthy pay, ignoring the fact that if you have all the $ you’re supposed to pay more tax, and ignoring the fact that the top tax RATE is at a historic low. Argue that taxes should be cut at the top, for even more redistribution.

    2. Scream about how little taxes the poor pay, ignoring the fact that if you don’t have any $ you’re not supposed to pay much tax. Argue that taxes should be raised at the bottom, for even more redistribution.

    Nice scheme, huh? Too bad for the USA that so many non-oligarchs swallow it, even some on this forum.

    • Gregg

      I haven’t heard anybody scream any such thing. The screaming is being done by those calling for raising top rate. They also scream that the poor are getting the shaft. I hear it every day and it’s all over this blog. The rebuttal is the top 1% pay 39% of the bill (which is up 2% since the tax cuts) and the bottom half pays zip. No one is complaining but you scream “more, more”. 

      No wealth has been redistributed up. You have not and cannot make that case. No way, no how.

      • Guest

        http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43373    
        Changes over 30 years    
        According to the CBO report, in 1979 the top 1% earned 22.7% of reported income, and in 2009 the top 1% earned 21.0% of reported income, a decrease of 7%.  This same report states that in 1979 the top 1% paid 14.2% of federal taxes, and in 2009 the top 1% paid 22.3% of federal taxes, an increase of 23%.  The average income tax rate for the top 1% in 1979 was 22.7%, and in 2009 the average income tax rate for the top 1% was 21%, a decrease of 7%.  The income tax rate for the bottom 60% of income earners went from 11.4% in 1979 to -10.6% in 2009.
         
        It’s the liberal point of view that if the government doesn’t confiscate the income of the rich, then that income has been redistributed to the people who earned it.

        • Sean McLinden

          These numbers are meaningless out of context. For example, why didn’t you point out that the share of before tax income for the top 1% rose from 8.9% to 13.6% (spiking at 19.0% the last year before the economy tanked). In EVERY other quintile/group, share of before tax income DROPPED during the same period. 

          Wanna talk about the transfer of wealth?

          The same CBO showed that the rise in real after-tax household income of the top 1% rose 275% during that same period while the rise was only 18% for the bottom 20%.

          I could go on but it would be pointless. The issue is not who pays more in taxes but who has done better in the past 30 years and there is NO doubt that the top 1% have outpaced every other group by a wide margin.

          And why is this possible. Well, besides hard work, that to 1% has access to a number of vehicles with which to protect income and assets which result, in part, from a preferential treatment under the law (so much for laissez faire capitalism).

          More importantly, there are many well informed individuals, on both sides of the political spectrum, who have come to realize that ultimately, concentrating wealth in the top 1% (actually 0.5%) is actually a threat to our economy and society in the long term.

          The simple facts are that (1) concentrating wealth in the top 0.5% has NOT increased private sector employment, appreciably and (2) the periods during which our economy grew the greatest were also periods where the wealth which accumulated by the middle class increased.

          All other numbers are meaningless, by themselves, though they make great talking points for people who want to confuse ideology with reality.

      • Mike Card

        The screaming happens on this very discussion board every day.  That’s true.

      • Aufbaulabs

         Gregg – 47% of  the country pays zero.  Great – the Mean Effective Tax Rate of the richest 10% is 18.9%.  Why is this?  Because the bulk of their disposable income comes from capital gains.  You’re insane if you think wealth/income distribution is ANYTHING but grossly inequitable.  See these data: http://modeledbehavior.com/2010/07/22/income-inequality-a-deeper-look/

        • Guest

          It’s typical that articles like the one you referenced never delve into the primary causes of income inequality:  level of education, a marriage with two incomes, no out of wedlock children, vocation choice, and amount of time spent working, to name a few.  Advanced college degrees make a huge difference, as does being married with two earners working full-time, year-round jobs.  In the bottom 20% of earners, only 15% have two wage earners, full-time year-round work is the exception, and more than 40% reported having no wage earners; nearly 43% have a head of household with less than a high school education.  Wealth and income distribution isn’t equal, but there are reasons why.

        • Gregg

          Wealth is not distributed.

  • Logan

    What is the point of having dictionaries if politicians just keep trying to rewrite them from the pulpit??  Obama a socialist?  Mo Brooks’ ideal version of down-sizing governement regulation must look something like Mad Max’s Thunderdome.   Two men enter, one man leaves.

  • Tom

     Why don’t reporters call Republicans out, when they say the deficit jumped. IT JUMPED BECAUSE OBAMA PUT THE WAR DEBT ONTO THE BUDGET !  THE BUSH ADMIN HAD BEEN HIDING THAT  DEBT FROM THE PUBLIC. This sudden addition, due to Obama admin’s honesty, also increased the interest in the debt.

    • Gregg

      That’s not true.

      • Mike Card

        It’s true.

        • Gregg

          Nope, every dime was tallied and reflected in the deficits and debt.

          • Mike Card

            Didn’t realize you were there–your real name’s Dick Cheney, isn’t it?

          • Mark

            Every penny spent is reflected in National Debt, but not the annual deficit. The Bush administration kept hundreds of billions off budget every year, and therefore not calculated in the deficit. In FY2006, the year Congressman Brooks cited, the National Debt increased from $8.588 trillion to $9.007 trillion, or $419 billion, even though the deficit was less than $200 billion. That a fact and shows the Congressman is either disingenuous or does not know what he is talking about..

          • Gregg

            Okay, I’m listening. First, if it was reflected in the debt then it was on the books. I’ve posted the link that “Guest” posted above many times. Please refer to table 1.3. It list the 2006 deficit as $239B. It’s more than $200B not less but it isn’t $419 B either. However, 2007 (maybe that’s what Mo Brooks meant) the table list the deficit (in constant 2005 dollars) as $151B. But only about $117 was added to the debt. I got the debt numbers from here:

            http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt_histo5.htm

            I do not know the accuracy of that site but the 2006 numbers match yours.

            I remain unconvinced but more skeptical. The meme that the wars were off the books stems mainly from the fact that there were not defense spending bills for the wars. I think a big reason was because Bush felt the need to continue the effort and was willing to accept the extravagant spending (by both sides) of the bills it was attached to. This muddied the water but the numbers were there and IMO the meme is false.

      • photoglyph

        wrong, Gregg…

    • Guest

      The attached chart is from the White House website http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/historicals

  • Josey

    Forget saving the economy. Concentrate on God. Do you work. Spend time with your family and friends. Give generously. Have hobbies. Go swimming. Ride your bike.

    • Laura

      I do all those things, but I also know that many people less fortunate than I am are suffering greatly under our current regressive ways.  And so I must also pay attention to the economy.

  • Info

    Good lord, I know we want to have “all sides” represented in a discussion, but Mo Brooks is obviously just a party shill.

    When the facts are selected and spun in a partisan way, it’s just not very useful in terms of educating listeners, and the regurgitation of rehearsed talking points (“I’ve got twelve pages of tax increases right here!”) is quite tiresome and insults our intelligence (“I know the American people will see through this!”).

    Why not ask some economists to explain things (preferably ones who aren’t on the payroll of some Think Tank).

  • BEC49

    I’m disappointed that Mo Brooks was identified as an “economist.” According to the bio on his website, he graduated from Duke in 1975 with a double major in political science and economics. That’s it. All of the years since then have been spent as a prosecutor or politician. He has never worked as an economist anywhere. 

    Too bad David Wessel wasn’t given the full hour. 

  • Xebecer

    The congressman could not be more rude.

    He is the problem.

  • Byronbulb

    Mo Brooks has no business being on your air. I turned off the radio in disgust when he started The name calling. Surely there are some more intelligent and well-spoken conservatives you could use for ‘equal time’

  • LetsGetReal

    Does Mr. Mo Brooks  also hold a lifetime membership to the creation museum in KY?  Perhaps he’s an honorary member. He wishes us “a blessed day” after all.

  • Jgmenes

    Your guest gave me a headache.  He really didn’t act like a guest nor was he professional.  Part of being political is knowing how to be polite. Talking OVER radio listeners who call in is extremely rude!  Everyone has opinions, and free speech is a wonderful American right.  While I disagree with what he had to say, it was his behavior that was disgusting. I don’t think stepping on people gets your point across better nor should it get you elected.  My response to him is that he should take a lesson in etiquette.

    • photoglyph

      “Talking OVER radio listeners who call in is extremely rude!” It is also what someone does when he knows he’s wrong…    hoping his volume makes up for his lack of facts or knowledge.

  • tweakxc03

    How can you possibly say that the “markets are saying borrow as much as you want at 1.5% interest rates” when the entire yield curve is being manipulated by the Fed?!  If the FOMC was not conducting ongoing POMO and ZIRP’s, I would wager that rates would be far higher.  THAT is the problem.  The Fed has to keep rates low in order to make our debt service possible.  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TPVGHR7OPH47B7OHA5OOQJQ5PM HB

      Realistically, the Fed doesn’t have a lot to do with investors from around the world scrambling to buy U.S. Treasuries.

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.michael.gilbreath J. Michael Gilbreath

    What a distressing and disappointing show. To listen to the likes of Rep. Brooks mislead and distort the President’s position. In his little diatribe about Socialism, he completely revealed his ignorance of history and reality. But in the end, he is entitled to his opinions. But what I am entitled to is leadership from the show host and there was none of it. It’s not just that it doesn’t help the debate to call the President Socialist as one guest pointed. This isn’t a question or matter of opinion, it is a matter of FACT. Yet the host and guest failed to call Rep. Brooks out on the facts. Where was the come back on his mis-representation of the President’s proposed tax plans?  Nothing of what Brooks said was true about the President’s proposals, NOTHING. But the host and other guests failed entirely to point this out. These aren’t questions of opinion where one has to be “fair and balanced”, these are questions of FACTS that are either true or not. Guess I will continue to be at best only an occasional listener.  Which is sad, because for the first 5 years or so I listened every day.

  • Gregg

    Mo Brooks was awesome. Nice job.

  • Speedwagon

    Sorry, but after listening to 10 minutes of this one-sided affair, I walked out of the room and logged on to my laptop. It’s shows such as this that help to perpetuate the inaccurate perceptions  people have about our politicians. Next time David, grow a spine and call people on the carpet when they make inane comments.

    • Hennorama

      Pretty sure that Rep. Brooks’ comments were plainly partisan, zany, and extreme enough to obviate any comment.

  • Aufbaulabs

    My gawd is Congressman Brooks an imbecile.  On Jan 20, 2001, the deficit was -$0.228b.  On Jan 20, 2009, the deficit was $10.628t. All 3 branches of gov’t were controlled by the Republicans for 14 years.  He has absolutely no clue what socialism is and doesn’t understand that we are BY FAR the most free-market nation on the planet.  Bush instigated a two-front war and crushed the elderly by saddling them with the great doughnut hole of Medicare, Part D.  Some systems simply can’t tolerate free-market economics, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Oh, and his idiocy of these facts is demonstrated by the fact that he is NOT an economist.  It was part of his double major UNDERgrad at college.  I’m a huge fan of free-market economics and I’m an entrepreneur/inventor, but first and foremost, as a scientist, I do what works.  You’re screwed if you are wedded to a particular ideology in the sciences and the same holds true for politics – NEITHER the republicans, NOR the democrats are correct.  The answer lies somewhere in the ideologic middle.

  • Edward Estabrook

    I couldn’t believe the congressman actually said “there are only two economic systems, socialism and freedom fries”.  Then I remembered he was from Alabama. 

    To the South, please secede; we were wrong to prevent that the last time, sorry about that.  -Real America

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OHX276A4HJ325ROHLQPAMZSZ64 KittyCr

      Hey…wait a minute now; not everyone in Alabama is a right wingnut, and I can’t afford to relocate! ☺

  • Nmhornr

    Listening to the Representative was painful. Partisan, and not productive. Where are you supposed to start when someone misrepresents the presidents words? Obama did not say that business owners did not build their business, he said that they didn’t build the roads and infrastructure that allows their business to run! The final straw however was when he essentially blamed democrats for unemployment for going up. For the past 20 years unemployment by president has gone down when democrats have been in office.

    http://www.prosebeforehos.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/unemployment-rate-president-party-graph.png

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TPVGHR7OPH47B7OHA5OOQJQ5PM HB

    As a libertarian that is not a reactionary or a militarist at all, I found the Congressman especially disgusting.   The label “socialism” is now being used just for government having an affect (such as via regulation) on the economy.  As in….the rule of law.  The Congressman was truly disgusting.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TPVGHR7OPH47B7OHA5OOQJQ5PM HB

    You got the key point: On Point can do better!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TPVGHR7OPH47B7OHA5OOQJQ5PM HB

    hmmmm….maybe Wade Goodwyn has done us a service — showing us how crazy the nation can get if people disappointed with Obama decide to just sit out the election.

    Face it, Obama is very centrist, and that’s the best you can get at the moment.

  • Tbuck2011

    Holy Moly – Mo Brooks calling the President and folks like me, “socialist” because that is how he interprets the word. Well then, with his loose interpretation, he may as well call most Republicans and himself, “fascist”.

  • Deborah Pfliegel

    Oh my goodness.  No wonder we can’t solve problems in Washington.  If all Mo Brooks can do is call people names, interrupt your guests and callers, and spout extreme rhetoric, we’ll never get there.  I feel very concerned about our future.  David Wessell is calm, logical, yet realistic.  And I’m not a WSJ reader–anymore.

  • photoglyph

    Wow, Mo Brooks is an uninformed ass! I’m a former Republican of
    twenty-year years and a veteran of the Gulf war as an amy aviator…

    Poor deluded voters in Alabama.

  • xsoho

    Mo got on the wrong call. Think he was supposed to be on Fox. Must have dialed the wrong number.

  • spense

    As several people have noted, Brooks is not an economist.  Like Brooks, I have a Bachelor’s degree in economics.  I would never dream of telling people I’m an economist, or allowing myself to be introduced as an economist.  The idea that Brooks gets away with this kind of misrepresention in our media makes me want to vomit.

  • Carl Todd

    Medicare Deficiet Cure: Pefore you’re on Medicare you ca’t deduct the first 3.5% of you income for medical expense. Cure: If you’re on Medicare you must spend the first 3.5% of your income before Medicare starts to pay after you’ve spent the 3.5% Medicare should pay 100% of all medical & drug expense. Medicare drug suppliers shoild bid to be the supplier as they do for the VA and other Federal agencies. They certainly not bidding to loose money.

  • Carl Todd

    Social Security Cure: Eliminate the tax cutoff for income over $110,000 and tax all income. This will enable a slight reduction in the tax rate at the same time insure adiquate funding for our aging population

  • Richard Cox

    Congressman Brooks was a singularly poor choice of guests for your show, not because of his party affiliation, but because of his buffoonery and his evident contempt for the On Point discussion format. I realize that talking over and past people is de rigueur at his day job, but On Point listeners tune in because they expect something better.

    To be clear, my problem isn’t with Mr. Brooks’ politics, though his grasp of them (binary economic models?) seemed tenuous at times. What I found startling was his general disinterest in civil discussion.

    A show of On Point’s caliber ought to be able find guests who are able to articulate the views of all sides in ways that are both calm and compelling. The Congressman was neither, and did himself and his fellow free-marketeers a disservice by appearing on your show.

  • Craigtuss

    I find it very embarrassing to have an elected official get on any media outlet and pander to their constituents by calling other folks (elected or not) names, interrupting and being an arrogant, pompous person.

    I am finding it harder to even listen to folks that use hyperbole and intimidation as their “platform”.  

    Our members of congress should get rid of the cameras and the 20 second sound bite environment and do their work.  It appears all they want to do is say critical things about everyone else, but yet they do not provide any kind of input to a solution, other than saying anyone that does not agree with them is a socialist.

    As an American, I find that the art of compromise is a rare commodity, one that we need more of in our time of need.

    We do not need folks getting air time to place blame.

    NPR, you folks do a great job, I realize you try to provide us with all perspectives.  Kudos to you for doing a great job and for being able to not laugh at what some of your “guests” say.

    The old saying about listening being a tool to build understanding and “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason” seems to be lost to this current crop of “experts?”

    As a republican, I truly wish we had members of congress and candidates that spoke with respect of others, acted like they were truly speaking to all Americans and did not berate others possessing a different point of view than their own.
     

    • Hennorama

      Unfortunately, being a hyper-partisan bloviator seems to be the way to get elected in Mr. Brooks’ district.  This is what is wrong with our politics today, in addition to the corrosive and corrupting influence of money in our system.

      One only need pose the following question to understand the power of money in US politics: “Who is more likely to have personally spoken to or met with a member of Congress – someone who contributed the maximum allowed to the Congressional member, or a resident of the Congressional District who hasn’t made any contributions?”

  • Carl Todd

    Pension interest debt cure: Have an accuary determine the remaing statistical age of the pensioner, multiply that by the annual pension payment, multiply that by 10, issue each pensioner in your system a 10 year, non-interest bond, amortization defered one year ( to give the agencey a short term relief to get on its feet). This cuts the bonding interest cost on the pension abligations and guarentees the pensioner and his family they will not have to take a hair cut on their pension income. If the pensioner dies before the 1o year amortization the remainder goes to his benificiary he named in the bond.

  • spense

    OK.  Now I think I get it.  Mo Brooks isn’t really a congressman.  It’s Mel Brooks!  He’s impersonating a congressman from Alabama!  Cool!  Next appearance:  Colbert.  

  • Tom

    Isn’t it true that the Bush Administration and his Budget Director,  Mitch Daniels – who is the current Governor of Indiana, excluded the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from their budgets? Isn’t it also true that President Obama included those costs in his budget?  I think that the people that you had on your program know the answer to that.

    If it is true, which I’m pretty sure that it is, I find it very discouraging that nobody points that out when discussing the issue of how the deficit has grown under President Obama. And why does nobody point out how the Bush tax cuts and his Medicare give away blew up our deficits?

    I understand that we need to figure out a way to move forward from here, but we need to have an honest discussion. Pretending to be ‘fair and balanced’ by letting propagandists like Mr. Brooks spew misinformation
    and rhetoric into these discussions as if they are honest brokers is a disservice to
    your listeners unless they are corrected for their misrepresentations. Our economy has been deliberately sabotaged by the Republican Movement Conservatives (like Congressman Brooks) and they need to be called out.  These conspirators are given way too much deference and the kid gloves need to come off.  They use authoritarian rhetorical tactics by speaking over people, intimidation and skewing facts.  The media needs to stop playing nice and tell the American public the truth.   As Mr Brooks himself said, we are doomed to repeat the past if we don’t understand it.  Your role should be to provide the truth – not to facilitate propaganda in the name of balanced coverage.  Black is black and white is white.  There are no two ways about it.
     

  • Carlos

    The debt is due to the strategy of “Starve the Beast.” If you keep cutting taxes you can force smaller government at the expense of viable government services.

  • Rpg1326

    Mo Brooks is so FOS. He should have been called on the phony figures he cited. Bush and the Republicans got handed a balanced budget and then blew up the deficit. (The same thing basically happened when Reagan took over.) He stated to the effect that everything was fine because of flawed policy. Nobody called him on the fact that it was was like a car that seemed to be running well but was headed off a cliff. 

    What a nitwit. These are they guys that want to destroy this country for some crazy dogmatic reason. Then we will have to look back, once again, and say “well, I guess that didn’t work.”

  • nj_v2

    Greggg  continues on as the most partisan hack on the forum.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/senate-budget-jeff-sessions_n_1522643.html

    This vote, on a Potemkin “Obama Budget,” is not intended to be taken seriously. It’s a stunt designed to get a slag into the newscycle, and they tend to work. What happens is a Republican legislator presents a “budget proposal” that’s designed to be a satirical presentation of an “Obama budget.” Democrats don’t vote for it, because they recognize that it bears no resemblance to their budgetary preferences. Back in March, it was Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) who got the Harlequin role in this bit of legislative commedia dell’arte. “

    • Gregg

      Thanks for the honor but only a true partisan hack would  so dramatically spin the fact that we have not had a budget since Obama came into office and hold the commander in chief totally blameless.

      • Alloren

        What is it that happens exactly when there is as you say no budget?

        • Gregg

          The Constitution is ignored and fiscal irresponsibility ensues.

          • Sean McLinden

            Point out to me SPECIFICALLY where the Constitution makes ANY reference to the need to pass a Federal budget. In fact, show me a specific line in the Constitution where the word “budget” is used.

            People who love to wrap themselves in the Constitution, it appears, never actually read it.

          • Gregg

            I did not say the word “budget” was in the Constitution. Gee wiz. It is a matter of law. Several acts (over 5 if I recall) have codified it and they did so with powers duly granted by the Constitution. 

            For instance, the filibuster is not in the Constitution yet the Constitution gives the Senate the power to make it’s rules. If the filibuster were to be disallowed it would be ignoring the Constitution. Conversely, the Constitution requires but 51 votes to approve Federal judges, the Senate rules are trumped by that. Filibustering a Supreme Court nominee (requiring 60 votes) would be ignoring the Constitution as well. All of this without the word ever being mentions in the document.

            Do you condone the fact that we have no operating budget? If not, what’s your point?

          • Sean McLinden

            You said that not to pass a Federal budget was to “ignore the Constitution.” So tell me what part of the Constitution is ignored? Nowhere is Congress required to pass a budget. It has the power to levy taxes and to appropriate funds but it is not required to pass a budget.

            My point is that you throw up (literally) the Constitution but that is a canard.

            And, again, it is not a matter of law. In fact, in our history, there have been many times when Congress never considered a formal budget and, instead, passed continuing resolutions and omnibus spending packages.

            I fully agree with the notion that Congress should vote on formal budgets because it forces Congress to set out and agree on an explicit course of action.

            But there is no requirement that they do this and the Obama administration is not the first to operate without a formally approved budget (Bush II did it for eight years).

          • Gregg

            I explained myself as well as I can. I stand by my statement for the reasons I already stated.

            Bush signed budgets every year, I have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe you are relying on the word “formal”. I don’t get it.

            Yes, a budget is a matter of law. Several. Forgive me if this seems like a copout as I’m short on time, this is a tangent  and it’s been a while since I’ve looked at this. So, I’m going to give a link that I have not fully read but appears to confirm what I say is true. I really don’t want to get into the weeds here. All I’m saying is a budget is the first step and Obama can’t even get that done.

            http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081013080851AAAC5Iz

            I would really like to know why you are condoning this lack of leadership.

          • Sean McLinden

            Every administration is required to propose a budget. Obama has done this every year in office. But Congressmust take that proposal and turn it into a formal budget which is passed by both Houses and signed by the president.

            The LAST time that this happenedwas when Clinton was Presidentand Gingrich was speaker.

            Since then Presidents (including Obama) have proposed budgets and sent them to Congressbut none of these have been passed by both Houses and signed by the President.

            http://prospect.org/article/does-congress-even-need-pass-budget

          • Alloren

            So nothing happens and the problem is pretty much yours. I’m okay with that.

      • Sean McLinden

        Wrong (again). The last time a formal Federal budget passed Congress was 1997. That was the Clinton administration.

        And Obama has proposed a budget every year that he was in office. Congress has refused to consider them. 

        There is no requirement that Congress pass a budget. There are other ways to continue to fund government operations (e.g., continuing resolutions). In addition, some programs are on autopilot.

        By and large the “budget” is actually a document outlining the guidelines for government spending and revenues, etc. As such, it is a political document rather than a financial document. The first Ryan budget, for example, was little more than an exercise in politicking. Not even Ryan believed that it would be taken seriously, as is.

        This is not to say that the budget does not have value. A budget sets down on paper what it is that Congress intends to do and it forces various objectives to be prioritized. But there is little value to proposing a budget if one does not believe that it will be given serious consideration.

        And while the Tea Party wing is perfectly willing to propose a budget devoid of any serious propositions to address our nation’s needs, the Democrats have chosen (in true Mitt Romney style) not to go out on a limb before the election.

        And so, instead of having a comprehensive plan to which both parties are agreed, we have a series of continuing resolutions to keep things functioning.

        But it is ridiculous to blame any one individual or party, especially Obama. Obama proposed a budget (more of an outline) which had no chance of passing the House and the House proposed a couple of budgets which had no chance of passing the Senate.

        Both parties are fault for failing to compromise.

        • Gregg

          Are you seriously claiming we have not had budgets passed by Congress and signed by the President since Clinton? You’ll have to clarify that whopper. I must be misunderstanding you.

          As for Obama, you’re not making sense. If what you say is true then why hasn’t the Senate even bothered to hold a vote on numerous budgets passed in the House? It’s ridiculous to say they had no chance if they didn’t even come to a vote. I would say the opposite. If they were so sure to go down in flames Reid would have been all over it and Obama could be held less responsible. The fear was he would have to use the veto. This was especially true just before the midterms. 

          Obama proposed budgets neither party could support. It was his way or nothing. It’s he that refuses to compromise.

          • Sean McLinden

            What I said is that Congress has not passed a “formal budget” since Clinton. By a “formal budget” I mean a single document that describes all revenues and expenses for a given fiscal year.

            Congress HAS passed spending bills, but these are not budgets. And BOTH parties have refused to bring formal budgets to the floor in the past, including Dubya.

            This is a matter of fact which can be easily researched.

            But it makes a great talking point for one party when they are trying to suggest that the other party is acting irresponsibly.

            Neither is blameless.

  • Carlos

    I usually listen to On Point because of its content and level of discourse.  Listening to Rep Mo Brooks prompted me to add my views to the discussion.  Perhaps more guest like Brooks should be added to the lineup (at the expense of Limbaugh’s audience, to be sure).  I just finished “Atlas Shrugged” (part of the conservative canon) in my quest to more perfectly understand the basis of conservative ideology but I have much more reading to do.

    • http://www.findingourdream.blogspot.com Hal Horvath

      The basis of “ideology” is actually “mythology”.

  • Emitr

    I’m so glad I used to be a Republican–’used to be’ being the germane point.  To think that up until the last decade I thought exactly like Mo Brooks.  At least I grew up.  Too bad I’m not enough of a blowhard to want to be a politician.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.stephen.burgess Dan Burgess

    I followed the advice of Rep. Mo Brooks to look up the definition of “socialism” in Webster’s Dictionary, which he suggested several times during the show. I conclude that it most certainly does not accurately represent the policies or ideology of the President or virtually all Democrats.

    I suggest that Rep. Brooks look up the definition of the following words in Webster’s:

    * demagogue
    * prevaricator
    * calumniation

  • Larry_T

    I listened to about a half hour of this program last nigh and thought I was listening to Fox so-called “news.”  Social Security has never added a penny to the deficit and currently has over 2.6 TRILLION dollars in U.S. Treasury securities in its account.  To make Social Security solvent for the next 75 years, all you have to do is remove the cap. To make is solvent and powerful FOREVER, just make ALL income subject to social security taxes.

    Letting the lies of the right wing go unchallenged is not journalism, it’s fraud.  Get rid of Wayne Goodwyn.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      I second the motion.

  • Sean McLinden

    Since we are running out of space and some misstatements have been made about the Federal budget process I thought that I would post “corrections” to various misstatements posted, here.

    First, the White House has been required to submit budgets to Congress since the enactment of the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921. As with prior Presidents, Obama has submitted a budget for every fiscal year that he has been in office.

    Second, the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 requires Congress to review the President’s budget, make changes and/or amendments, and pass a budget resolution by April 15. The budgets are considered, concurrently, by the House and Senate and, if differences exist following a majority vote, a conference committee is created to resolve the differences.

    The “budget resolution” is NOT signed by the President and cannot be vetoed by the President. Bush NEVER signed a budget resolution.

    The “budget resolution” is NOT the Federal budget. 

    Instead, it is a document intended to guide the Congress in developing various appropriation and revenue proposals to be enacted as laws and provides a procedural mechanism by which these guides must be followed.

    The “budget resolution” is not detailed but, instead, proposes targets for spending in 19 key areas as well as a plan to collect sufficient revenue to fund the spending. The “budget resolution” is required to be a minimum of a 5 year plan. If a budget resolution cannot be agreed to in conference committee and is not passed, the prior passed resolution remains in effect.

    While it is not required that the budget resolution considered by the House and Senate be derived from the President’s proposed budget, it has been generally accepted that it is the Administration’s job to propose a budget and the Congress’ responsibility to consider that proposal, not propose an altogether different budget (as the House did in this session). The President’s budget contains the priorities of the sitting Administration and, as such, should be the basis for the resolutions which emanate from the House and Senate.

    Once the President submits his/her budget to Congress he/she has limited powers to do anything other than broker deals.

    So where do we stand?

    Obama has followed the law and submitted a budget every year that he has been in office. Democrats have refused to propose budget resolutions in the Senate and in the House when they controlled it for various reasons too complicated to go into in this forum.

    The House in this session has, essentially, insulted the President by throwing out his budget and proposing a budget entirely of their design.

    Who is to blame I will leave to each reader but it should be obvious that neither Obama, nor any other President since 1974, can be considered responsible if the Congress fails to enact a budget resolution.

    • Pjtread

      Thanks for the reminder about the actual law and process around budgeting and appropriation law – we so often lose these facts in the discussion.

    • Gregg

      That sure was a lot of verbiage to excuse Obama’s total failure of leadership. Use all the words you want but this has not happened in recent history.

      • Alloren

        Would Obama be a successful leader if he were able to compel his opponents to do his will? 

        • Gregg

          Thank you very much Alloren. I could not have put Obama’s rigid, strident and arrogant opinion of his own superiority in better perspective than you just did by expressing what he thinks he can do. 

          • Alloren

            My pleasure. How is it that you know so much about Obama’s thoughts or how he regards himself? You must be very close. So if he did what you say he believes he can do,would he then be a successful leader and would you think that a good thing?

          • Gregg

            Fair point, my bad. The above comment is my very informed opinion.

          • Sean McLinden

            “Very informed” !?! Tee hee!

          • Gregg

            Dude, you’ve lost the debate, let it go.

      • Sean McLinden

        My point, which you have yet to refute, is that Obama did nothing different than Bush WRT budget nor did he fail to meet his obligations under the law WRT the budget.

        You have provided no evidence to the contrary.

        • Gregg

          “And, again, it is not a matter of law.”

          Well, at least you changed your tune on that.

          So there we were, a ship without a rudder, and Obama appoints a bi-partisan debt commission. AKA punting. Does he listen? No. Paul Ryan comes up with a plan similar that addresses entitlements and is depicted as throwing granny over a cliff. Obama piles on the juvenile demagoguery. As the debt approached the ceiling the financial industry watched to see how our President would lead us through peril towards fiscal sanity. He punted. As a result a stupid (still rudderless) deal was reached that kicked the can down the road about a block. Another trillion dollar deficit ensues. The entire Congress handed their sovereignty to a chosen few. They punted. It was decided if they could not reach a deal then automatic tax hikes and military cuts would occur. They punted. It happens Jan.1. It’s arbitrary, devastating and Obama says “The buck stops with YOU”. Meanwhile “Cut, Cap and Balance” passes the House but does not get a vote in the Senate  or make it to the Presidents desk. The S&P claims it’s implementation would have shown the fiscal sanity to prevent the down grade. Instead we punt, show fiscal insanity and get downgraded. Obama demonizes the rich. You claim the House passed budgets that had no chance in the Senate (not true) or had no chance of the President signing. Even if true the question is, what kind of a leader would refuse to sign a bill that would have prevented the downgrade? That’s not leadership. Obama demonizes small business and people have no idea what their tax liability will be next year. The unemployment rate rises. This is the significance of no budget. This is why we need leadership.
          When was the last time a President did not sign a budget while in office? Bush proposed budgets, compromised, brought both parties together by giving away the farm to keep his military spending and reduced the deficit all while liberating 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Don’t tell me he did nothing different than Obama. Is Obama the first president to have a divided congress? Your excuses are IMHO shameful. Saying Obama complied with the law (that it was not a matter of) is only a rebuttal to the argument that he broke the law. No one is making that argument. It’s saying the very least required by law is all we can expect from the leader of the free world in perilous times. Saying he did his part assumes the President has no influence over the debate. That’s nuts. He’s not getting it done. 

          • Sean Mclinden

            If you seriously believe that Paul Ryan’s plan was similar to the Bowles-Simpson Commission plan it is clear that you have failed to read one or both and there is no basis for discussion of the particulars.

            As for Bush… he used scare tactics about terrorism and the threat of WMDs to justify costly interventions in wars which have drained trillions from the US economy.

            I like these debates with you. Helps me practice for dealing with my 5 year old.

          • Gregg

            It was similar in that it closed loopholes and lowered rates across the board. Where am I wrong, smarty pants?

            That’s rich about Bush. Do you have nothing to say about Obama? Can you refute what I said? It’s hilarious you have nothing to say about my comment other than your shallow response. I’ll tell you what, I’ll pretend Bill Clinton didn’t make regime change in Iraq U.S. policy. I’ll ignore all these quotes by Democrats and the fact Hussein gassed his own people with WMD he evidently did not have. We’ll pretend 500 metric tons of yellow cake was not removed from Iraq. No one was liberated. I’ll liberalize my last point: Bush proposed budgets, compromised, brought both parties together by giving away the farm to keep his military spending and reduced the deficit all while wasting blood and treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan.

            How’s that? Does it change my point? Does it make you feel better about Obama?

          • Sean McLinden

            Gregg:

            I don’t have to refute your assertions any more than I have to convince a schizophrenic in Central Park that he isn’t the savior, however….

            Bush did NOT “reduce the deficit” (though it is clear that you don’t understand deficits, which are annual, with debt, which is cumulative).

            The ONLY annual surplus during the Bush administration was year 1 (inherited from Clinton). EVERY subsequent year, following, he ran a deficit, albeit SOME years the deficit was lower than in others.

            In EACH year, the national DEBT increased under the Bush administration. 

            So your point is that Bush was a good fiscal steward?

            I don’t believe that Obama has been a particularly good leader, but that doesn’t mean that I’m willing to be so blinded by my impression that I distort the facts.

            As to why the Senate did not forward a budget resolution, I am not a mind reader.  But I suspect that this was a strategy to force the debate on priorities by shifting it to the appropriation process. 

            I don’t think that this is   governing, but neither is what Ryan proposed in his first budget (and we know what established conservative Gingrich said about that.

            Frankly, I’m not interested in correcting  your misrepresentations, mistruths and misunderstandings. As the saying goes “It is better to light a candle than to curse the daylight”, though with straw for brains I’d be a bit concerned about that if I were you.

          • Gregg

            Are you kidding? I understand debt and deficit, thank you very much for the lesson. No one has reduced debt not even Clinton. Bush reduced the deficit as you wrote. “…he ran a deficit, albeit SOME years the deficit was lower than in others.” that is When the deficit goes from $428B to $318B to $239G to $151B the size of the deficit has decreased. You are the one confusing it with debt. I did not say Bush reduced the debt. You are making no sense smarty pants.
             

          • Sean McLinden

            First, you ignored the LAST year of his presidency, where the deficit was $415  billion, or the last year that he budgeted, which was over a trillion! Truly you are delusional (but to be a right wing conservative you’d have to be, by definition).

            Second, he started with a surplus. So what does that say about his fiscal stewardship?

            Finally, the debt (and deficit) increasednot only absolutely but as a percentage of GDP. 

            Would you happen to be a board member of the Flat Earth Society?

          • Gregg

            You have yet tell me why the Senate has refused to hold a vote on so many spending bills, especially if they were doomed to fail as is your claim. I’ll up the ante on my charge. President Obama has Harry Reid on a string. The Senate’s inaction is a result of orders from the top. You say the President is powerless in affecting the process and I say he is dictating the process… or lack thereof. It’s on him, all of it.

  • Coastlinechris

    I hope On Point will find better guests in the future.  I thought Congressman Brooks was very rude.

    • Sean McLinden

      The difficulty of NPR is that they have to navigate treacherous waters, namely, a House dominated by Tea Party delusionistas who would like nothing better that to find a way to defund them. Hence, they have to give air time to what are otherwise airless politicians.

      We have long since lost the nation where health debate was respected and compromise was  felt to be a virtue.

      Today, compromise is a sign of weakness and true debate to be avoided as it may allow the other side to expose the fact that the emperor risks catching a cold.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    I hope everyone (excluding the Obvious Obstinate Exceptions) gave this Hour of On Point a Thumb Down up top. Maybe someone will get the point, I doubt it but it never hurts to try.

  • mac

    Hello

  • mac

    Ask not what your country can do for you
    Ask what you can do for your country -JFK

    Tell not what you cannot do for your country
    Tell what your country cannot do for you -mac

  • obstacletrainingpark

    You would think that a program on NPR at least would not be overrun by conservative zealots who don’t know how to shut their trap when someone else is speaking. You would think that Mr. Brooks had no other purpose than to make it clear that President Obama is a socialist. Although the other guests were generally eloquent in what they had to say, someone needed to question Brooks directly on why solving the deficit takes priority over helping people who are losing their homes and out of work for years now. It would be nice if someone anyone somewhere somehow would question Mr. Brooks and all the rest of the guys like him and their assumptions about so-called small government, taxes, etc.
    It would be nice if someone took the big juicy tomato of truth and hit this guy squarely in the face with it.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/IF3M33PZ7JFBXLMGEVXGXSCZN4 Da

      Funny how the people who talk about hurting their fellow Americans usually are well off and monied.

  • Providence, RI

    When Congressman Brooks said he supported a reduction in the military budget by reducing scope, I thought he was a reasonable man.  However all he had to do was keep talking to change my mind.  After listening to the entire show I am convinced that the Congressman is deliberately ignorant.  President Obama is NOT a socialist.  I do know the definition.  Maybe Nixon was a socialist too.  After all Nixon did create the EPA, which was a government takeover of the environment.  

    Brooks is also very narrow minded.  The deficit and growing debt is the direct result of a bad economy.  Less income and growth means less tax revenue.  The deficit is the symptom.  The stagnant economy is the disease.  Make the economy fire on cylinders like in the 90s and the deficit will shrink.  Prosperity is the best way to a balanced budget.  Brooks and his tea party are apparently not interested in prosperity.  He is apparently only interested in pushing this country back into recession by cuts, cuts, and cuts, in an attempt to reduce the deficit.  He likes to compare us to Italy, Greece, and Ireland. Well Greece, Ireland, and Great Britain have slashed their budgets and their situation is only getting worse.  Clearly that is not the solution.  

    I’m glad Brooks is not my representative because he is a complete embarrassment.  However in some ways I wouldn’t mind it.  I would enjoy voting him and his tea party ideology out of office.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=16924553 Caleb Keller

    I was deeply disappointed in the selection of Representative Brooks to represent the conservative perspective on the national debt.  Mr. Brooks began by accusing democrats of being socialists, and asserted that the American people “voted for gridlock,” and it only got worse from there.  I actually had to stop listening part way through the program and finish it in podcast form, so exasperated was I with Mr. Brooks’ shenanigans.  It’s one thing to bring in the conservative view on things; I’m all for that.  But Mr. Brooks functioned as a mouthpiece for the extreme right wing of the Republican party.  In that capacity he was a superb demagogue; nevertheless I can’t help but feel that the program–and its listeners–deserved better.

  • Madison Meredith

    President Obama and Mitt Romney both have tax plans (as well as other plans to fix the U.S.) that will contribute to the corruption of America. I think that the U.S. government is on a speeding bullet train headed for the falling from a financial cliff, and that we cannot stop the fall in time with any plan. Maybe it will turn out for the best, “once we hit rock bottom the only direction we can go is upwards”. However it is unlikely that we will recover for a while from crash-landing. I suggest to all to read Red Ink by David Wessel, also to read this article on the website Budget and Policy Priorities (http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258) and to read informative articles regarding the budget, the spending, the debt and deficit written by government officials and PhD’s who are experts and experienced in these fields.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

American companies bailing out on America. They call it inversion. Is it desertion?

Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and our uneasy peace right now.

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The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘The [Russian] Reset Worked’
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took time out of her global book tour to talk to us about Russia, the press and the global crises shaking the administration she left two years ago.

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