90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Economy In 2013

The US economy in 2013. We’ll look at the bright spots, red flags and big trends for the year ahead.

Traders wear "2013" glasses as they work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York. (AP)

Traders wear “2013″ glasses as they work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York. (AP)

Americans have been waiting a long time now for better economic times to really hit.  Could 2013 be the year?

We’re in it.  We’ve got a fiscal cliff deal – sort of, by the skin of our teeth.  American business is sitting on a huge pile of money it could invest.  Housing seems to be firming up.  Interest rates and inflation remain low.  Maybe this is economic take-off time.

On the other hand, we’ve got no deal on spending yet.  We’ve got more cliffs ahead.  We’ve got an aging workforce.  We’ve got issues.

This hour, On Point:  Happy New Year!  We’re looking at jobs, your money, and the US economy, 2013.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Rob Arnott, founder and chairman of Research Affiliates.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Financial Times “Global markets weathered some huge uncertainties in 2012, of which the biggest were the intensification of the eurozone sovereign debt crisis, doubts over the outlook for the Chinese economy, and worries about the US fiscal cliff. What might 2013 bring?”

National Journal “Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi cites three reasons to be bullish about the U.S. economy: a housing revival, the end of deleveraging, and a healthy corporate sector that will be ready to invest in 2013. CFR’s A. Michael Spence also thinks that 2013 augurs better for the world economy but cautions that lagging employment and income inequality will hamper a robust recovery.”

Bloomberg Businessweek “It’s that time of year again: Experts of all kinds are coming out of the woodwork to offer up forecasts and predictions for the year ahead. It can be amusing, but this is not the most productive way to think about the future.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Ed75

    As I’ve argued, we elected a man who supports abortion, restriction of religious freedom, embryonic stem cell research, same sex marriage, and euthanasia (forthcoming). And the result will be disaster – so far we’ve seen a strange super storm in Sandy, a school shooting, and the fiscal cliff (which isn’t solved at all). And looking abroad larger disasters loom.

    Here’s a new year’s puzzle to support this. Legal abortion passed in 1973, or ’73, so 37 would mean ‘reverse Roe v. Wade’:

          846
          903
          959
      + 1029
         ____
         3737

    Reverse Roe v. Wade, or stop abortion, twice. Since we’ve done this, I don’t hold out much hope for the economy. We say in ‘Lincoln’ what suffering the country had to go through to stop the evil of slavery.

    • 1Brett1

      …And, speaking of not holding out much hope, in reading comments such as this one you post every week (or in Gregg’s same broken-record approach to his opinions), the relentless, self-righteous, comment-drums beaten over and over, as if you (and Gregg) are on some crusade that is (in your opinions) necessary to save somebody or something from a great catastrophe, I, too, am not holding out much hope…for this forum, that is. 

      It’s a shame; it used to be a place of intelligent exchanges of ideas. But people like you who feel compelled to brow beat others into hearing your opinions through persistence and sheer repetition have ruined this forum. It’s not that you hold such opinions, mind you (and, for that matter, it’s not Gregg’s opinions that are bothersome), it’s the incessant need to present those same opinions over and over. You (both) know people have read them and either agree or disagree, but that’s not enough for you blokes. 

      Well, I’ll give you some credit Ed: at least you refrained from posting on Christmas. Gregg, on the other hand, used his “if all else fails and no one is there to read or debate me, I’ll just post something tendentious to rope someone, anyone into a debate.” Talk about a junkie…

      • Gregg Smith

        You’re a hoot! I made 1 comment on Christmas and it was about the healing aspects of Gospel Music. I even posted a great song by my Grammy nominated friend. It was in the spirit of giving. I am surprised to learn it was a tendentious rope or even that there was anything to debate in it.

        To evoke my name out of the blue, in an off-topic manner, gratuitously nasty and telling us what we think so you can criticize your projection is proof positive I am in your head. Why? Let it go man, otherwise I’m going to laugh myself silly. 

        • Shag_Wevera

          You are known here as a right wing hack.  Sorry.

          • Gregg Smith

            Not on Christmas.

        • 1Brett1

          This is also one of your pat responses. So, if I say something about you you don’t like,   you’re “all in my head.” 

          No, also, you’re lying about Christmas day. You posted something about gospel music on the forum about gospel music from that day, but you posted a lot of crap about how evil Obama is on the forum (from the previous day) on Christmas day…so, again, these are tactics: appearing innocent when you know you spent all Christmas day posting crap on the forum (from the day before). 

          It’s not that big a deal; it’s just that you are not as how you present yourself. You’re not going away, unfortunately, anytime soon…so there you go…

          • Gregg Smith

            No, I like it, I like it. My claim of being in your head is made when you bring me up just to bring me up. It’s quite flattering.

        • StilllHere

          He’s bordering on stalking.  You would do well to put him on permanent ignore.

      • Flytrap

         People like Gregg that have principles and stick to them are on an incessant crusade says you.  What  does that make you?  What have you recently changed your mind on?  You talk of “intelligent discussion” as if you are capable of it.  Here is your “intelligent discussion.”

            “I believe “x” and so do all the other smart people.  You don’t agree?  Maybe you’re not too smart.  Or maybe just stubborn.  Eventually you will see that my subjective truth is truth or your hopelessly irredeemable.” 

        • 1Brett1

          Why don’t you actually quote me doing what you say I do instead of making up some straw man/ fake quote? 

          I actually think most people on this forum are smart…except you and StillHere, but even Stillhere displays some expertise regarding finance…you, on the other hand, ostensibly show no particular knowledge in any area.

          • Gregg Smith

            You just provided the quote that you asked Flytrap for. Nice.

          • 1Brett1

            Your replies are predictable: my response to “Flytrap” was intentional and purely for yours, and his, benefit…you’re a little slow but with a little prompting, you do eventually catch on… 

            As to “Flytrap’s” intelligence, most people do dislike his stupidity/his ability to prattle on about such topics about which he knows little or nothing (for example, mental health services for the mentally ill as they may or may not impact gun violence) and one can’t provide logical, intelligent reply to such nonsense. 

            As to your comments, there are times when I respond thoughtfully to some of them, the rest of yours are just retread diatribes; your opinions are repeated over and over (e.g., Susan Rice lied, Obama is evil incarnate, systematically dismantling the US for the purposes of reinventing it as a socialist/communist state, etc.). One can only provide thoughtful reply to such nonsense once, the other replies either have to be planned ignoring or the kinds of my comments you find so despicable.

            I only offer this particular reply as you seem to not understand the nature of the different types of replies I post. Ostensibly, you wouldn’t understand my ignoring replies as they are not posted (get that one?), so I wouldn’t necessarily fault you for not understanding that kind of reply (non-reply). Consider, though, that seeing a non-reply to your many inane comments is actually a reply…of sorts, by not only me but by any other commenters who may find those types of comments on your part to be nonsense and ignore them. 

            And, hey, if it helps you to reason your existence for being on this forum by thinking you’re all in my head all the time [whatever helps you feel fulfilled], then I’m glad it serves a function for you. Perhaps in some small way it provides you with a complete life [no thanks needed]; you certainly spend enough time on here (and all throughout Christmas day, no less!) When I got back on here last Thursday and saw that you had tried so hard to keep the “debate” going all day on Christmas day, I truly felt sorry for you, and I’m not without compassion for you. 

          • Gregg Smith
          • Gregg Smith

            I just now read the rest of your comment. Dude, I don’t care what you think about me. If you bring me up, I’ll usually respond. That’s all.

            I fed horses 3 1/2 hours Christmas morning, ditto the evening and I wired our new meeting room for the inspector in between. I don’t remember commenting at all but I won’t swear to it. I looked at the day before to check your claim but I couldn’t find any that said “8 days ago”. Maybe it’s there.

            But I gotta know, why do you care?

          • Flytrap

             “Consider, though, that seeing a non-reply to your many inane comments is
            actually a reply…of sorts, by not only me but by any other commenters
            who may find those types of comments on your part to be nonsense and
            ignore them.”  Silly me, I thought your non-replys meant you couldn’t defend either the hypocrisy or obvious fatuity of your comments.  Personally, I’m glad to know it’s just that we’re not as “enlightened” as your ilk and just don’t  get it.  Ignorance is bliss!!!!

        • StilllHere

          It’s better to ignore the Bretts of this board.  They are not smart enough to benefit from seeing facts that counter their baseless opinions.

      • jefe68

        We could ignore them. I know I’m guilty of engaging in a kind of theater of the absurd dialogue with these folks, but that’s the nature of a forum like this The other fun chap is Stillhere. 

        None of this matters. Letting them get to you to the point of taking them seriously is not good in my view. They rant, a lot. This guy is always posting these obnoxious anti-abortion diatribes.
        Gregg posted a humdinger of a diatribe against PResident Obama that even seemed to have spittle on it. One can imagine his white face all red with indignation. It’s a joke, he’s a joke. 

        As to the economy, well it’s going to fester and sputter. This deal with the GOP was a joke and PResident Obama has proven yet again that he’s incapable of playing hardball politics. His own party is scratching their collective heads over this thing. Now its back to GOP hostage taking on the debt ceiling.  

        • Flytrap

           When you don’t like the message and can’t counter it with logic, it’s always best to impugn the messenger. 

          • 1Brett1

            Good advice; maybe you should take it yourself?

          • Gregg Smith

            It’s funny, in an effort to move discourse I have stipulated many times that I’m an idiot, racist, sexist  who only cares about the rich. I have said I’m brainwashed by Rush and Fox and even admitted to torturing kittens for fun. I still can’t get anything of substance out of them except on rare occasions.

        • Gregg Smith

          I am fine with honest, heated debate but it would not hurt my feelings a bit if you or Brett (NJ too) ignored me. But you can’t, especially Brett. I don’t get it. Hats off to commenter Hennorama who has been doing just that although he/she likes to address me through the back door of other commenters. Sort of like you and Brett on occasion. Or me now. It’s really great, I don’t feel compelled to answer or even read much of it but I’ll respond from time to time and my replies go unanswered, beautiful. I’m happy to let them stand. Try it, ignore away.

        • 1Brett1

          Yeah, ignoring them is probably best, but Ed and Gregg are just alike in that they reduce the discussion to partisan hackery. I can forgive Ed more, as he doesn’t post that much, but Gregg feels compelled to reply to any viewpoint not his own…it gets old is all I’m saying.

          The economy has sort of been covered ad nauseam. There isn’t much new to add at this point. The only interesting point is purely political theatre and how that plays out, e.g., will Boehner hold things up until after there’s a vote to continue him as Speaker? (Which would be a good indication he wants to deal but doesn’t want to anger fellow Republicans until after he’s securely ensconced as Speaker.)
          Will he and his cronies amend (going back to cuts for the wealthy and entitlement cuts) and send bill back to Senate? Etc….

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Ignoring trolls is fine practice every other place on the internet. But not here.

            A public radio message board doesn’t resemble a network, newspaper, magazine, cable news or e-news site. Many of those are just ignored. Public radio worries too much about what their ill-informed detractors say, and is always trying to adjust its narrative to be even-handed. That’d be fine, except they’re given to being so open their brains fall out, when “the middle” of the received rhetoric is the exact center point of the left, and the wildest crap from the right.

            Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find Vince Foster’s body. Donald Trump has offered a $10m reward for Hillary’s DNA on it.

          • Gregg Smith

            You may be the only person in the world who thinks Hillary killed foster. However, his suicide was surely related to the mountain of unethical practices he lawyered her up for. It was too much to bear. Poor Vince. BTW, she didn’t directly kill Chris Stevens either.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Me, and the right-wing shitstormers that the mainstream press couldn’t stop huffing.

          • Gregg Smith

            Alrighty then.

        • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

          “We could ignore them.”
          My New Year’s resolution.Thank you Jefe.

      • Ed75

        I don’t quite see how I’m ruining a forum by posting, but I’m trying to get at the cause of the disasters we are seeing and to put them in a theological context. The discussion, of necessity, is about the details. I welcome other explanations.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Strange, whenever I try to do that on my calculator I keep ending up with one answer:

      8008

    • J__o__h__n

      I’m blaming Obama for the annoying pop-ups on this site.  Ed, please do the math to back that up.

  • StilllHere

    End of deleveraging … only discredited Zandi could suggest such tripe.

  • Fredlinskip

       Obama & Dems seem to give up way too much to McConnell and the “country be damned- no compromise” members of the House. To simply pay for Nation’s recent military ventures, much more revenue is required. 
      With political capital of recent election and fact that “going over cliff” actually improves bargaining position, Dems should walk away with much better deal.
        Playing role of the “adults in the room” doesn’t justify compromising away America’s fiscal future or ignoring recent voice of the electorate. 

    • Gregg Smith

      $1 in cuts for every $41 in taxes. No one elected Obama for that.

      • Fredlinskip

        Obama ran on discontinuing the “temporary” Bush tax cuts on incomes over 250g.
             Apparently you and Fox “news” still believe you represent the majority opinion?

        • Gregg Smith

          Oooo the Fox monster.

          He ran on cutting the deficit in half by his first term. He extended all the tax cuts when he had both chambers. 

          • Fredlinskip

            Don’t agree with everything Obama/Dems do.

             Bush tax cuts were extended as part of a deal AFTER the 2010 election that saw addition of a bunch of goofball GOPers in the House- largely due to extensive gerrymandering in red states.

          • Gregg Smith

            After the election but before the swearing in. He could have killed it at anytime in the first 2 years, on day one if he wanted to.

          • Fredlinskip

            I would have to revisit that period, but it seems to me that Obama had great deal “on his plate”- including averting a possible 2nd Great Depression. He got quite a bit done in that period, but unfortunately, IMO, squandered too much political capital on Health Care debate. 
               But this discussion digresses from current “cliff” debates.
            That was then, this is now
            Focus Gregg.

          • Gregg Smith

            Actually it was you who looked back to 2008. I just corrected you. If tax cuts were the problem then why didn’t he end them pronto as part of his “fix”? Because they weren’t the problem.

          • Flytrap

            Please stop being rational and pointing out their logical flaws and hypocrisy.  Just remember that 2+2=5 and everything will be ok. 
             

          • 1Brett1

            Nice, logical counter, there [sarcasm]

          • Flytrap

             “Revisit that period. . .”  Please!!  You sound like a battered wife defending her husband.  Is there nothing you can’t excuse?  IF the cuts were the crux of the problem, why didn’t he rescind them when the wind was at his back? 

            The difference between TEA Partiers and leftists like you is that we have principles we state and criticize those that stray from them while you want to be a member of a group and will excuse otherwise execrable behavior to continue being a member.  Effing loser.  

      • Shag_Wevera

        I don’t think you are qualified to render that judgement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pauline.dyson1 Pauline Dyson

    While the prediction is that the next two months will be filled with “debt ceiling cliff” news ad nauseum, some pundits say that it is better to give up the whole notion of debt ceilings and to rate the debt to GNP.  What say the economists on this?  Would our national debt look less formidable than the present 20 trillion (l6 existing + 4 new) if it is calculated in relation to our gross national production?  How do other countries figure their national debts?

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Nothing has been solved as a result of the last minute deal other than kicking the can down the road yet again.  And with all due respect to President Obama, when he says that “congress needs to pay for the programs that it has authorized”, the main long term fiscal problems that we face are due to unfunded entitlement programs (social security, medicare, medicaid, disability coming out of medicare) that were rammed through via greatly understated cost assumptions under Democratic presidents and controlled congress.  So the Democrats need to show leadership in proposing changes to the programs to make them viable over the long term.  But of course, the Democrats’ solution to this is never to reduce spending, but to simply raise taxes.  And on and on it goes.

    • 65noname

      Huh?

      By the way what “respect is due to …. Obama”?

  • Stephen_Mangion

    The rich did just fine with the bill just passed. 
    Especially the estate tax exemption.  No closure of loopholes that benefit the rich.
    Will we see the mortgage interest deduction capped – capped not eliminated?
    How about charity?  A cap?  Or will we see the rich continuing to benefit hen they support their pet organizations.  (My current favorite example is the 25 dollar admission to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts – an organization that is a non-profit but staffed by very well-paid individuals!

    Now expect to hear about “reform” of Social Security.  The “reform” will be a change that will keep blue-collar people working later in life and at reduced benefits while the rich enjoy the fruits of other peoples’ labor.

    • Flytrap

      I would have more respect for commemorators of your ilk if you were as upset at union excesses as you are at “the rich.”  In our current information age, it makes little sense for a union to have significant assets or employees. 
       
      When you start railing about rich union stewards and bureaucratic excesses that waste workers’ dues, then at least we will know you are consistent.

      http://www.publicintegrity.org/2011/03/03/2097/scores-union-leaders-earn-six-figure-salaries

      • Stephen_Mangion

         I did not mean to rail, but your point is (well) taken.  The people at the top of ALL of the food-pyramids seems to feather their nests . . . at the expense of worker bees.
        Unions may be no exception.

      • 65noname

        what “rich union stewards”?

        • Flytrap

           See bottom of posted link.  Keep in mind, rich is >$250K. 

    • jefe68

      You post a meme about the MFA in Boston?
      I’m a member as it’s worth the $75 per year to me.
      That’s three visits and I get a lot of joy out of going there. It’s called culture and I think society needs it.
      Personally they should do what the Metropolitan does in NYC, have a suggested entry fee and you can give what you want. I do that all the time when I’m down in the city, I give them $5. 
         By the way the staff is not well paid, I know as I’ve known people who have worked there as guards. 

      • Stephen_Mangion

         I used the MFA as an example.  As for salaries, I was thinking about the “higher ups” within the structure of the MFA.  Sort of like the corporate captains vs the worker bees at the lowest levels of business.
        Also see my reply to Flytrap below.

        • jefe68

          I see your point about the higher ups.
          Malcolm Rogers makes $600,000 a year plus $167,000 in benefits. 

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      Stephen, I too don’t see SS as a gift basket to be used for other purposes, that’s OUR money we put in there for our retirement. It never should be part of any “fiscal deal”.

      Then again, its inclusion is synonymous to corporate pension funds being used for “other” purposes than for what they’re needed, acts perfectly legal, though they shouldn’t be, so there ya go.

      • sickofthechit

         Such as part of the “calculation” when Romney via Bane did his analysis of a company.  Targeting companies with over-funded pension plans was his “stock” in trade.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sage.radachowsky Sage Radachowsky

    A carbon tax would be very useful. Tax pollution, not work… a path to good clean jobs and ecological sanity, but not a political winner because it’s against the interests of the big money.

    • Flytrap

       Your so right!!!  It’s only big $ that keeps people from bicycling 10 miles to and from work in Boston right now.  It’s big $ that keeps people in homes and workplaces >65 degrees because we all know people would rather bundle up and ride!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    Unfortunately, it is the over $400,000 that is more adept at sheltering their wealth from taxation.   This bill is ineffective and spineless.

    Even the $200 to $400K plus crowd in districts such as Barney Franks are rejoicing at the eventual expense of the working lower middle-class.

    • Markus6

      I think this is largely a myth, unless you get up into the stratosphere of people making millions each year. And I’m just guessing with these fat cats. Looking at friends who are in the 200 to 500K range, they just don’t have shelters. Offshore accounts, tax write-offs and all the others are just a Hollywood story or involve losing money to take advantage of. However, if you know specific shelters, tell us. 

      I put the “tax shelter” term in the same class as “fair share” – a convenient and simplistic term that can be used to demonize the other side. 

      Note, I’m not including gazillionaires. 

  • Shag_Wevera

    Here is the view from my tiny corner of the world.

    I am non-union, at will labor in the health care industry.  My wage will increase about 2% (I am a highly regarded employee).  My pension plan has officially been eliminated.  Educational assistance has beeen indefinately postponed.  My responsibilities in the coming year will increase by an order of magnitude.

    I am told to be happy I am employed.  I say I am, but am not.  I hate capitalism and the American economic system.  Burn baby burn!

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

       Capitalism is fine, Shag, the problem is the lack of regulation.

      I’m rather extreme in my judgment of corporations et al, for example, I think there should be capitalization limits, the problem with that is it would put our companies at a global disadvantage. As long as they and banks hold the economy hostage, things will deteriorate further, despite Dow Jones gains.

    • harverdphd

       When ya leavin”?

  • Gregg Smith

    Sure, but the CBO is.

  • StilllHere

    Ask Rob about structural issues presented by demographics and whether deleveraging shows any sign of ending.

    • StilllHere

      Thank you Rob, scary huge numbers!

      Save whatever you can, pay down debt, conserve!

  • J__o__h__n

    ON POINT, END THE POP-UPS

    • TomK_in_Boston

      I hate the stupid thing that slides out from the right of the browser. There are fads in web design, and the annoying feature du jour seems to be that thing. Hey On Point, get a web designer who doesn’t feel compelled to follow the crowd.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        For Firefox*, NoScript. Allow WBUR and Disqus, Chartbeat and Soundcloud.

        Block Cloudflare.

        (I don’t know if blocking Cloudflare lets the archive streaming or podcasting show up; I listen live on another station than WBUR, or listen to actual over-the-air radio.)

        *I’m using Iceweasel, much the same thing as Ffx, comes with Knoppix.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Aha, I see it in the source, thanks.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Much obliged. I refuse to get into any wars about the one big operating system I can buy v. the fruit-based other OS. But I avoide IE whenever possible, and the “fear factor” of installing Firefox and trusted add-ons has pretty much disappeared.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Well, I’m fruit-based, largely because it’s got a UNIX kernel. Anyway, I block sites I don’t like with a “hosts” file and following your lead I put “cdnjs.cloudflare.com” on the list and, so far, no more slide-outs.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            A “hosts” file? You’re speaking my language.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Haha, thought maybe so.

    • Gregg Smith

      C’mon J_O_H_N. I hear ya’, as do many but you usually add something to the debate that’s worthwhile. There was a mini thread about you and your absence just the other day. It’s just a pop up.

      • J__o__h__n

        I’m tired of having that stupid box appear every time I refresh the screen.  Its content is of no value.  Some marketing jackass thinks that it will increase hits to the website and I’m not adding to the count (assuming they will measure that instead of just congratulating themselves on a great improvement to the user experience).  I’ve stopped looking at the wbur website and only check in here to see if it has been removed.  Email info@wbur.org to complain.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          Like I said from the get-go, my money is on the pop-ups being a prelude to annoying ass advertisements. Sure we could block or hide them but we shouldn’t have to.
          This used to be On Point.

        • Gregg Smith

          Okay, I’ll send them a message.

    • sickofthechit

       Maybe they would if you would contribute without being asked to, or do you think Tom Ashbrook works for free?  The free ride is over suckers.

  • TheDailyBuzzherd

    We had a deal that trimmed 4b back in the summer of ’11.

    It’s clear Congress can’t even change a tire. Wish it was possible to trim the fat without this useless bunch to approve it, just as was done with the auto bailout.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YMV2HJ2TBKMCN2QRAVI3I2OOGM Jim Jim

    The fiscal cliff was completely manufactured emergency.

    This deal makes long term wealth inequality worse, doesn’t do anything for education, and you can forget clean energy for the next ten years. Also didn’t dent the deficit. 

    Every time Obama has leverage he basically says “never mind, you’re kinda right”
    Hes a moderate Republican.

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      That’s actually true, and is very annoying, but considering the alternative …

  • donniethebrasco

    Good thing kids under 18 don’t vote.  Lets keep taking their money!

    Wahoo!!! (Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove)

  • Potter

    Why don’t these economists get it that “promoting the general welfare” including “entitlements” helps the economy?

    • donniethebrasco

       Typical Keynesian Communist theory.

      • nj_v2

        ^ Typical right-wing inanity

      • jefe68

        There it is, the smell of mendacity with a dose of inanity. And all before lunch.

      • sickofthechit

         “promote the General Welfare” has been in our Constitution since the start.  It is not “Keynesian Communist Theory”.  Try reading it, it shows up early on the first page.

    • StilllHere

      Truly scary sentiment.

      • Potter

        what’s scary to me is having a population of people without food, homes, health care– any dignity in old age. Do you step over them on your way?

        • StilllHere

          No, apparently 48% of what I earn goes to support them.

        • StilllHere

          No, apparently 48% of what I earn goes to support them.

        • jefe68

          This chaps mo is all about social Darwinism and then some. Somehow he thinks he’s above anything bad happening to him.
           

          • Potter

            You mean Flytrap? Yes. Quite unbelievable. People with those attitudes which ultimately go against the individual (because we are not islands, we live in society and are not so independent )- those attitudes will hopefully get selected out…

        • Flytrap

           If you have accumulated any wealth yourself, you can buy a house, furnish it and provide for the poor family of your choice.  I am sure you won’t mind if they don’t take care of it like you would and don’t ooze with gratitude when they see you. 

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Sounds like someone already has their armored limosine.

            Welcome to Somalia, North America, bub.

          • Flytrap

             Are you high?  Because your comment makes no sense.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Go read your history. Look up the mobs who chanted “Hang Hoover”. See what “productivity” and the kind of regulations and taxes you dream about gets you: Brazil, or Somalia. A place where rich people are separated and guarded with basically private armies because otherwise the rest of the population would tear them limb from limb. And a place with no middle class to speak of, statistically.

            That’s the Randian future of this country.

          • Flytrap

             You have no idea what I “dream about” so don’t presume to know.  I live in a very “progressive” town full of leftists like yourself that could move to the next town over to the “diversity” but choose to live in a homogenous community of people that think like they do, mostly free of poverty and minorities, and where very few check the checkbox to pay the voluntary extra tax the state offers the convenient checkbox for on the state return.

            It’s similar to the Brazil you speak of, except it’s full of hypocritical, wealthy leftists that refuse to practice what they preach.  Armed guards are only a matter of time.  This is what you will get, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KI3eGU_wmHg&feature=g-upl

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Go Galt already. We apparently need you more than you need us. Teach us a lesson, I beg you.

    • Flytrap

       Maybe because they have studied economics and know that not to be true.  Perhaps you should study economics yourself so that you might be inoculated against making provably false statements.

      • sickofthechit

         What don’t you understand about the simple “formula” that;
         we live on a limited resource in the middle of nowhere with an increasing population.

        • Flytrap

           I understand that Malthus was wrong.

    • Prairie_W

       Because we’ve swallowed the fiction that the best of all possible worlds is a society in which business is king and in which “maximizing” profits (or share value) yearly outweighs all other considerations. 

      It’s entirely possible to have a stable, healthy economy and fund key social institutions at the same time.  Other countries do it.

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/06/26/1103368/-The-One-Comic-That-Explains-Just-How-Screwed-America-Is

      Ergo, what we have here is a gigantic delusion that too many of us have swallowed without questioning, egged on by both businesses and politicians that count on selling us something.  Right down the river…

  • TomK_in_Boston

    We’re now at the point where recovery from the Bush “systemic banking crisis” should be gaining steam, and maybe it is.

    The major threat to the economy is austerity and inequality, which will keep a large % of the citizens from participating. We need robust gvt spending and more people need to wake up and see that the big bad deficit is just a scare tactic designed to make you willing to give up what you deserve.

    • Flytrap

       So we need to spend more tax $ and make things equal?  Why did that turn out so disastrously for the USSR, China, Cambodia, North Korea, Cuba etc.?  And what are you going to do differently so we don’t have millions of dead from the hands of the govt?  

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Because the capitalist American economy of high taxes and strong corporate regulation that once worked amazingly well for everyone is not “USSR, China, Cambodia, North Korea, Cuba etc.”

        If you think that when we were struggling with the USSR communists in the cold war, we were the real communists because of our high taxes, I suggest a reality check.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Communism served as a useful threat to the uberlords of the West. I mean, it was never going to destroy capitalism (capitalism being the only system capable of ruining capitalism).

          But funny how so many people forget and wish to rewrite history wherein everything regular folk wrested from the uberlords back then now is something they gave up cheerfully.

          It’s the first step in forgetting the how we got to a middle class today.

        • Flytrap

           You said we need less inequality and more regulation, but we have historically high levels of regulation now and nearly all time high levels of inequality.  When was this time when things were going like you think was right?

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Hahaha. If we hadn’t deregulated the financial sector, we wouldn’t have had the Bush crash. We repealed Glass Stegall, mandated that derivatives can’t be regulated, and the Bush SEC increased the allowable leverage usable for investment banks. Geez, when the financial sector was regulated and working well mortgages were handled by BANKS, not Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations like Countrywide. And, you don’t even need a law to deregulate if you simply appoint agency heads who don’t believe in the agency’s mission, like the Bush SEC.

            That’s very funny, “historically high  levels of regulation”. Do you know any history? The FAA used to fix airline routes and set fares. TV stations used to require “equal time” for opposing views. The FCC used to limit how many stations a corp could own. AT&T had a telephone monopoly. The list is endless.

            One thing is “historic”, though – the tax rates paid by the rich are historically low.

          • Flytrap

             Legislating outcomes for who gets mortgages is what killed the economy, the CRA.  Dodd-Frank and Obamacare  are regulation in case you didn’t know.  http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/03/red-tape-rising-obama-era-regulation-at-the-three-year-mark

            I figured you would list the most egregious failures of regulation as an example of how their are fewer now when there are thousands of pages of recent regs concerning every aspect of your life. 

            And equal time for opposing viewpoints didn’t work so well for us concerning the Tet offensive.  We won, but were told we lost and there was no counter to that. 

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Excellent Tet tangent.

            By all means, list little regulations as a counterexample to the big deregulations that gave us the Bush crash, and parrot the correct talking point on what caused the Bush crash. Do you want to tell me that wall st was regulated into creating “financial weapons of mass destruction” and the ratings agencies were regulated into putting AAA on c**p? Go ahead, it makes as much sense as the rest.

          • Flytrap

             Obamacare and Dodd-Frank aren’t “little” regulations.  If you actually want to learn something, check this:  http://www.city-journal.org/2008/eon1030hh.html

            I’m not “parroting” anything, I tell what I believe to be true.  If you can prove otherwise, do so, I will change my mind.  What I don’t have is a grudge against those that disagree or are more successful than me.  People like you are ready to goose step, rifle in hand, to the wealthy neighborhoods and carry out “justice” from those you think have aggrieved you. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QMDZ3LH5U2B4GAT7J2HS4TCP6E Jim

    looking at the market, it is crazy for short minded investors to celebrate this event. 

    there are many, many things that were not resolved, especially the spending limit or the debt ceiling. Many of the spending cuts were absolutely not resolved. these issues were kicked again for later. 

    i know most americans would avoid paying higher taxes, but it is at the expense of the US DOLLAR!!!

  • skeptic150

    The Outstanding Public Debt as of 02 Jan 2013 at 03:11:32 PM GMT is: 16.3 trillion dollars.
    The estimated population of the United States is 314,164,134, so each citizen’s share of this debt is $52,057.13.
    It’s time to face the reality that all Americans need to pay more in taxes in addition to addressing federal spending.
    Last Congressional approval rating I am aware of (Nov 2012) – 18% (and I am in the 82% that do not approve of the work of our current Congress). This latest “compromise” does nothing to improve my “disapproval” of Congress.

    • JAIBEEZ

      Nonsense. I didn’t approve of the preemptive wars of the last 12 years, nor did I benefit from the policies that created the “public” debt.
      Privatize the profits…publicize the debt….nice!

      • skeptic150

        I don’t necessarily like where my tax money has gone (and where it is going) either – so I write my reps and I vote.  But as a US taxpayer, I understand I may not like how tax money is spent and that we are taxed, in theory, to support a “government” for “we the people” (which, unfortunately, functionally includes businesses).
        With that said, the reality is we, as a nation, have a huge debt that needs to be addressed.  So, unless you move outside the US (and I am considering Australia and a few other countries), you probably should vote, write to your reps, and do whatever you can, within the law and Constitution, to improve the system and/or contribute to paying off the debt.
        As someone once said, “most people can’t afford to live like Americans, but neither can Americans.” The underlying truth here will catch up with this country – we consume too much (food and otherwise), we measure our “economy” with moronic indicators like new home construction, and we do not pay nearly enough in taxes to support the things we are used to and to live the lifestyle we live – the longer I live, the more I seem to see that many people want more than they are willing to work and/or pay for.

  • adks12020

    I love how Republicans keep saying the President didn’t present plan with spending cuts when the plan he was pressing for, the one they refused, included more than a trillion dollars in cuts, double what the Republicans proposed. He even agreed to changes in entitlements which his party was not at all pleased with.  I don’t get it. 

    • Markus6

      I didn’t see them, but might have missed it in all the food-fighting of congress.

      What are they? Thanks.

  • TheDailyBuzzherd

     Jim, more than ever, the “market” is no indicator of economic robustness.

  • nj_v2

    Yet another program on “the economy” that will apparently ignore the underlying, overwhelming structural shifts which include peak oil, dwindling resources, taxed or broken ecosystems, and ever-expanding population.

    Nearly all popular discussion about “the economy” makes the assumption of continuous and unrestrained growth as a necessary, desirable, and essential goal. This is simply not possible with the constraints noted above.

    There are alternative models and schools of thought that explore alternatives to growth-based capitalism, such as

    http://steadystate.org/

    http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/david-korten/beyond-the-bubble-economy

    http://www.upne.com/1584654953.html

    yet programs such as OnPoint refuse to even mention them, let along explore them in a serious way.

    Given the deplorable, disfunctional, disgraceful, embarrassing, asinine way the so-called national political leadership has dealt with economic issues, and the lack of serious discussion in the popular media about alternatives to the current, capitalist-crime-syndicate model of economic exploitation, it’s hard to be hopeful about the future.

    I think i’ll go snow-shoeing this morning…

    • hennorama

      Bear paw, beaver tail or …. ?

      • nj_v2

        21st Century composite.

        These (in black): 
        http://www.rei.com/product/690363/msr-denali-classic-snowshoes

        Didn’t actually go. Decided that there wasn’t quite enough snow on the ground. We got about eight inches over the weekend, but it was the first real snow of the season. The nearest trails are kind of rocky; didn’t want to scrape up the shoes any more than they already are.

        • hennorama

          Very nice. I call these “snowboardshoes.” And yeah, 8 inches of snow is hardly enough to justify snowshoes, except in the drift areas. Still, any walk in the snow and crispy air sounds pleasant enough.

  • Annie Tye

    Why don’t we discuss changing tax rates for corporations?

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Because corporate media follows the lie that taxes are bad for the economy.

      • Flytrap

         Show us where they are good.  You spout off these left wing platitudes as if you are correct, but never have any substantiation of your beliefs. 

        • StilllHere

          It’s pointless to argue with this post bot, you would do better to ignore.

    • StilllHere

      Both sides have discussed lowering them, but it will have to be part of a bigger package.

  • TheDailyBuzzherd

    Class war it is. “Redistributing the wealth,” anyone? That’s been going on for ages … to the 99%!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      (Do you mean class warfare has been waged “on” the 99%, or “by” the same group? Maybe I’m still a bit overcelebrated from the New Years’, but I’m having trouble figuring out your wording.)

    • StilllHere

      Those who earn should save and not consume.  More redistribution is coming.  Boomers have been focused on pointless consumption and the bill is coming.

      • Fredlinskip

        “Boomers have been focused on pointless consumption and the bill is coming”???
        ‘You are referring to credit card debt, underwater mortgages, etc.??

      • jefe68

        Lets generalize about an entire generation.
        What about boomers who are sandwiched in between taking care of their elderly parent(s) and the cost of their kids college education.

        You really are one nasty little man.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          I guess boomers got too used to the good life, like their parents not being in dire poverty and wheezing to death in a back room.

          There’s a segment of the right who’ve never forgiven FDR (Democrats, the Left) for the political and financial success that is Social Security. And they want us to forget how it was beforehand. The more generations die who were alive before then the easier the meme gets to sell, unless we take exception.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      That must be why the share of wealth and income of the 1% is highest since 1929, right?

      • Flytrap

         Yes, let’s look at one statistic removed from everything, and say that’s the problem.  All that stat does is justify your hatemongering of those more successful than yourself. 

  • OnpointListener

    Until we have true campaign finance reform, our leaders will be chosen and supported by special interests, with the most monied interests holding the most sway.

    That is why we are not discussing:

    our medical-industrial and military industrial complex;

    a tax code that rewards offshoring and creates loopholes for corporations that allows many large corporations to pay zero taxes;

    I could go on…

  • 65noname

    you go government radio!!!!  “objective, unbiased” analysis from  right of center and right of right of center economic spin masters who are from the class of poeple who have brought us the recession and who profit from financial shinanigans. 
    “We can’t afford” social security or unemployment? Or adequate medical care for working people?  Why doesn’t the announcer challenge those ideoligical statements that are disguised as facts? Why doesn’t he require the spin meisters

    to prove their assertions?  Why doesn’t he ask them to respond to opposite points of view from, amoungst others, people such as Dean Baker, no radical but someone who refutes the claim that the american economy needs to throw the elderly and unemployed to the wolves?

    You go government radio!!!!  Don’t forget to demand that we send you money because you are “unbiased”.

    • StilllHere

      What’s so challenging about simple math?  Don’t get emotional, get real.

      • 65noname

        Huh?

        • StilllHere

          Debt, deficit, unfunded liabilities, off balance items … they are all quantifiable, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be ignored by anachronistic rejects like the one below.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Yet all this spaces TruePrincipledConservatives, in their hundreds of millions, couldn’t move the needle when Shrub was running around the last decade. All that excessive spending our mainstream press cares about now, wasn’t on the radar then, so now that a black Democrat is in the White House, you’re just riding the “groundswell” (of fluffed opinion from our right-wing shitstormers).

            Yes, I know, you are not a Republican, are not to blame, you’re still hoarse now from screaming then about too much spending, blahblahblah. The point is, you don’t statistically exist. None of the TPCs on this board statistically exist, and I tar none of them as being Republicans. Just so you know that I know.

          • StilllHere

            Discus error.

          • Flytrap

             You mean like now how all the leftists that opposed Iraq were silent when we were overthrowing everyone in Northern Africa?  Silent about the drone strikes killing innocents in Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan?  Silent when we sent special forces into Africa last year.  Silent about the lobbyists infesting O’s administration and his refusal to be open and transparent like he promised?  Save it you hypocritical fool.

          • nj_v2

            ^ Thus demonstrating that Flytrap doesn’t either know what a “leftist” is, isn’t paying attention, or is just generally clueless.

            Anything resembling a real left is so marginalized, but it still doesn’t take that much effort to find critique from what’s left of the left for the actions mentioned.

            But even that amount of effort is beyond the capability of lazy, narrow-minded trolls like Flytrap.

          • Flytrap

             Please tell us what a “real” leftist believes.  Conservatives can distill their beliefs into a fairly simple phrase, smaller government, less taxes.  Can you?

          • nj_v2

            Anything that can be put in a nutshell belongs there.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            You want to call everyone “leftists” you disagree with. And some fantasy you have about Romney or other righties not doing all this crap. Not using drones? Hilarious.

          • 65noname

            Actually, all the left wing people that I know opposed ALL of those things.  try getting your talking points from somewhere other than then
             mainstream media
            .

          • Flytrap

            Fine, your friends opposed all those things, but they were protested when Bush did it.  Conservatives killed immigration reform under Bush, but there has been nary a peep from leftists on anything Obama has done. 

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Dam right, WBUR is typical righty corporate media. Follow the Party Line on the need for “entitlement reform”, using the 1984-ish newspeak instead of honest “CUTS in essential programs”.

      No mention of a financial transactions tax. No mention of letting medicare negotiate drug prices. No mention of national health care. No mention of fixing other tax absurdities that favor the plutocrats. No mention of our absurd level of military spending. Nope, the whole problem is the most fiscally sound program on the planet, SS, and the most efficient component of our health care system, medicare. Pure class warfare.

    • Fredlinskip

      Pile on me if you all like:
      IT’S JUST ONE SHOW FOLKS- get over it.I know emotions are high, nerves are strained coming off “fiscal cliff” debacle; but IN GENERAL, On Point programming provides us all a VERY good service.
      And a good comments page.
      IM(humble)O

      • 65noname

        Actually, it is all too typical of the range of opinion presented on this show. The problem is that its got you convinced that the range of opinion is the right of center to right of right of center that they present.

  • OnpointListener

    Great post….

    I am afraid that, until we have campaign finance reform, nothing will change…..

  • Scott B

    The time for means testing is now, when the majority of Americans voted for a President that said he was going to raise taxes on the top 2%, as Americans get economic fairness. Darrell Issa (R-CA), on Bill Maher’s “Real Time”, said that he should be put off the roles from receiving entitlements because he’s able to support himself.  This is in contrast to many, like Ayn Rand, who was wealthy in her senior years, yet thought since she paid in she was going to get her fair share; never mind that people [like her] get back many times what they ever put into it and withing a few short years, and they don’t need it.

    • StilllHere

      Great, let’s call it welfare and skip the false image of entitlement.

      • nj_v2

        ^ Troll

        • Flytrap

           ^Small penis AND erectile dysfunction.  His boyfriend is sooo unhappy. 

      • jefe68

        Hyperbolic.  

      • Scott B

         People forget why we have social safety nets. That we had people, most of them having worked hard all their lives, and children, starving, ill and dying because they couldn’t afford basics like food and even basic healthcare or disease prevention.

          But why are people that don’t need the money receiving it? 
          I don’t mind being my brother’s keeper, and as the saying goes, “there, but for the grace of God, go I.”  But I don’t want the money taken from my paycheck going to people that clearly don’t need it  to keep food on the table, clothes on their backs, and a roof over their heads.

        • StilllHere

          Ok, so scrap SS (get rid of its bureaucracy) and just fund welfare (whose bureaucracy already exists.)

          • Scott B

            That statement violates so many rules of logic…

          • StilllHere

            How so?

            SS is a tax on earned income that is paid back to us and then we’re going to tax it again. Doesn’t that seem like a pointless circle designed to create a pointless bureaucracy.

  • gregorclark

    What’s wrong with 1% growth?

    Everything, when health care costs continue to escalate at double digit percentages every year.

    Gregor Clark
    Middlebury, VT

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QMDZ3LH5U2B4GAT7J2HS4TCP6E Jim

    labour cost… that is the key. i believe we will see labour cost going up fairly soon. with labour cost not moving in sync with inflation recently, consumer confidence and consumer spending are getting hurt.

    however, once labour cost goes up… watch out… inflation cost will go up… forget about the skewed inflation number we get from the consumer price index which stripped out two very important inflation indicators already, namely energy and food.. we will see very very high inflation due to cheap borrowing and cheap currency.

    i just don’t see high growth… i just don’t… it is like pulling a rabbit out of a hat…

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      Higher labor cost create incentive for business to automate and invent, taking civilization to new heights of prosperity, in the collective sense. We DON’T need less labor rules and cost we need MORE perks for labor.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Things are never going to be as good as before the crash – not unless we create another bubble as big as that one.

    While everyone is willing to admit infinite growth is unsustainable, no one is ever willing to consider we may have hit that point. And given the artificial growth caused by a bubble and unsustainable tax cuts last decade, we may have actually hit the end of the road a decade ago.

  • Steve_in_Vermont

    “Means Testing” is an idea that needs to be explored. This will not be a problem
    for the poor since they will receive the benefits without much cost. It also
    shouldn’t be a major problem for the very wealthy because they have ways of
    deferring income and have the resources to pay more. The sticking point will be
    the “middle class”, people who work hard and have saved for their retirement but
    don’t want to see what they have (saved) go to pay the bills of others. The argument
    will be “I worked hard and saved, to give others a free ride?”. Call it what you
    will, but millions of “middle income” people will see this as a redistribution
    of their money to others who have not “earned their way”. Some people will call
    this “Socialist”. Whatever it’s called it will need to be addressed before it’s
    accepted by the majority of the public.

    • donniethebrasco

       Does Robert Dinero cash his Social Security checks?

  • Scott B

    Much of Europe is under austerity and they’re doing worse. The UK went the austerity road and things got worse financially for everyone, as well as social unrest, and yet those in power want to go for more. This “trickle down economics” has had almost 40 years to prove itself and the only thing it’s proven is that it doesn’t work.

    • Gregg Smith

      Do you really believe we will have anything approaching austerity?

      • StilllHere

        We can’t even discuss slowing growth of spending here.  It’s pathetic.

      • Scott B

         The call is usually austerity for those it would hurt the most – Poor, old, ailing, unemployed.  But there seems to be plenty of corporate welfare to prop up industry that doesn’t need it, like Big Oil, who boasts record profits while decrying that any reduction in the comparative pittance they receive for “exploration” will somehow bankrupt them; and keep in mind that some of these same big companies (like GE)  also say they, somehow, didn’t make any profit and get BILLIONS in tax refunds.  How the hell does that math work? Record profits = zero = billions in tax refunds.  We’d all be in jail if we tried to run that scam.

    • Markus6

      Not as simple as that. Greece, Spain and Italy spent lavishly and beyond their means and got themselves into the situation they’re in. There were other factors as well.  We’re in the same boat, but don’t have the Germans trying to keep a lid on spending. Also, attributing the problems of today to one factor is, well, it’s probably obvious how flawed it is. 

      But I agree that if you slashed too much, you’d cause more problems than you solve.

      So, the question is not whether austerity is correct or not – that’s for a bumper sticker. It’s how much to spend, how much to cut, where to cut, when, etc. 

      • Scott B

         The social unrest isn’t just because austerity pushed the people further into poverty (which is has), but also because these people feel entitled to the things that got them in the situation. Greece is a prime example; such as a pride in evading taxes; and that it would literally be cheaper by half, or more, for the Greek gov’t to pay the cab fare of every working person in Greece to get back and forth to work than what it costs to subsidize the rail and public transportation.  It’s not that workers shouldn’t be paid a good wage for good work, or that they should be deprived of a pension, but the pay and benefits are truly out of whack.

    • StilllHere

      Austerity in Europe is a myth.  Bond investors aren’t buying it and interest rates are still high.

      • sickofthechit

         While ours are at near record lows which is why we should be borrowing, building and investing in ourselves.  As they say in the card game “guts”, never cheaper!

  • OnpointListener

    I see unfunded pensions on the federal, state, and local level as more of a problem (and drag on the economy) as MORE of a problem than Social Security.

    • 65noname

      they are only unfunded because the employer, public or private, did not fund them as should have been done. Should workers who bargained in good faith for those pensions and gave up other things in order to get those
      pensions now lose them and get stuck with no way to survive in their old age?

    • StilllHere

      Perhaps changes to the bankruptcy code would allow Federal, state and local entities to purge themselves of these insane exposures.

  • Roy-in-Boise

    Negative income tax seems to encourage sub-standard wages by the larger multinational employers. Why pay a living wage when you know that by keeping your own labor costs low your work force will be subsidized by programs like the earned income-tax credit? This is not a level playing field for any stake-holder.

    • donniethebrasco

       Exactly.  Why take the $50,000 a year manager job when you get free housing, health care, and food stamps when you make $30,000 a year.

      • jefe68

        Hyperbolic nonsense. 

        • OnPointComments

          From a report by Gary D. Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
           
          “The single mom is better off earning gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income and benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.”
           
          http://www.scribd.com/doc/114628958/welfare-failure

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            I stopped reading when I saw “AEI”.

            Is this another one of those studies in which imputed insurance benefits are counted as income? Have you got a non-AEI source for this claim?

          • OnPointComments

            Read the report.  Mr. Alexander is the Secretary of Public Welfare for Pennsylvania and is not affiliated with AEI.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            I won’t trust that source. I know too much about the hacks in the PA lege and gov’s mansion to trust them. If it’s truthful someone else will have come to the same conclusion without AEI’s stamp on it.

          • JGC

            Too right!

          • StilllHere

            Not worth your effort, he’s a closed-mind, if a mind at all.

          • Gregg Smith

            Wait a minute, Jefe proclaimed it nonsense. Doesn’t that make it so?

      • StilllHere

        We’ve perverted incentives and created multi-generational dependence.  It’s probably too late to change.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Let’s start with Ben Quayle, GWB’s children, or maybe the little grifters in the Palin brood, or Tagg, Slagg and Krag Romney.

          None of them are getting anything out of their last names.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    The private sector is exceptionally efficient at trickling wealth up. That’s a huge lesson from the recent and distant past that conservatives refuse to acknowledge. Look out for a third world America.

    • sickofthechit

       They only refuse to acknowledge it publicly.

  • donniethebrasco

    Since government prints money, they can take yours whenever they feel like it.

    The real solution is in local ideas like Berkshares (Berkshire Bucks); create your own currency that can’t be taxed and start all over.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    “Productiviity-inducing” to “raise the ultimate growth rate” would benefit us all, says Swonk.

    I don’t know about her, but is that what the rest of us are worried about?

    Ask the typical American who is one of the tens of millions of more-productive working and middle-class American workers haven’t had a raise since the start of the Bush II “recovery”. “The economy” is doing much better than that.

    I guess so many of that subset simply haven’t “chosen” the “opportunity” for wealth. Maybe they can hit up their parents for a loan to start a business, like that rich fellow suggested.

  • Scott B

    Throwing money at the private sector is not an answer in and of itself.  It’s Randian and only works on paper. There’s a reason why private industry (read “big business”) has rules and regulation, and that’s because every time Big Biz has been unfettered to “create” they proved untrustworthy in a myriad of ways, from killing and injuring people, to keeping people in poverty while the rich got richer, stifling competition, to outright wrecking the economy( such as repealing Glass-Stegall). 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Is it my imagination, or is the mainstream media covering the end of the payroll tax cut with about a thousand times more prominence than its actual existence?

    All I hear at the top of every hour is how my paycheck will go down. I’ve been hearing it for two months now.

    • Gregg Smith

      I pay taxes quarterly. If I get a refund (never have) that means I paid in too much. I wish everyone had to do as I do then they might have a better idea of how it works. They might even realize anything the employer matches ultimately comes out of their paycheck.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        When you want to address the bulk of Americans who get paychecks on a bi-weekly basis, for salary or hourly work, feel free to do so. Your anec is not data.

        The “feeling” of being less well-off is something one gets when one is told one’s taxes are going up. Funny how the mainstream press didn’t say much about the tax cut showing up, but can’t stop beating the drum about it going away now.

        • Gregg Smith

          I’ve actually heard a lot about it going away. I hate tax hikes but the payroll tax cut just defunds social security. It’s not a tax on income it’s paying into a program that pays you back.

          • StilllHere

            .. or not.

      • jefe68

        You pay taxes this way because you are self employed. I have to ask, are you really this obtuse or is it just think that everyone should do and be like you? 

        Their paycheck? Without the person on the shop floor nothing is manufactured. Even in a robotic factory you need some techs. The level of inanity in your posts are quite astonishing.It’s as if you live in this weird libertarian alternate universe.

        • Gregg Smith

          I think many people have no idea what they pay in taxes because the don’t write a check, that’s all.

          Without the employers there would be no employees so I think you have it backwards.

          I really don’t get your point nor the contentiousness. That’s the best answer I can give you.

          • jefe68

            Well the reality is most people have paychecks. A lot of folks have direct deposit. 

            No I don’t have it backwards, it’s symbiotic, they need each other.

            Your argument is waited towards the idea that the employer is always right. They are not. Recent events in some of our coal mines are a good example of that. Walmart comes to mind.

            I do my taxes every year with an accountant, my girl friend does her own with Turbotax and both of us are very aware of what we are paying in federal, state and FICA taxes. 

            You’re making some sweeping generalizations about hundreds of millions of working folk, that’s my objection. 

          • Gregg Smith

            I don’t think it is a chicken or egg thing. It’s a horse or cart thing. Businesses are not started to create jobs. Jobs are created when businesses are started.

          • jefe68

            Again, I used the word symbiotic, which means having an interdependent relationship. If a business is started it needs costumers which will lead to growth. If the grow enough they might hire people. You still need a good viable economy to make it work. That means people with decent wages and jobs which gets back to my point. It’s a symbiotic relationship. 

            Jobs are created by garbage needing to be picked up and fire departments, police departments. 

            The largest payroll for our federal government is the military.

          • Gregg Smith

            I understand what a symbiotic relationship is, of course it is that. The fact remains businesses are not started to create jobs, jobs are created when businesses are started.

      • William

         Any predictions for the 2013? I say Obama passes a massive amnesty program for illegals, some sort of carbon tax and Biden is forced out/retires.

        • Gregg Smith

          All that and Gun control.

      • Ellen Dibble

        People whose pay goes direct to the bank do eventually get a stub that says how much was put in the bank, and how much was sent to the government for FICA, and how much was withheld that paycheck, and so forth and so on.  I don’t think an employer will ever get away with not revealing that information, whether on the part of the check that you tear off and keep, or whether it’s direct deposited.  I do think that self-employeds are much more conscious of the FICA (payroll) tax because the employer isn’t paying half.  I think that’s the way it is.  So if you’re earning $200 a week, some of that will be taken out for health insurance, some for federal tax, some for state tax, some for FICA, but nothing earth-shattering.  If you’re doing quarterly taxes for your own business, you’re looking at 15.3%, and if you’re earning $100,000 that’s about $15,300 dollars.  If you’re earning $25,000, that’s about $3,825 dollars, and that’s very noticeable, and when that amount is reduced, as it has been for a few years, one wonders how Social Security and Medicare will hold together — will it be there for me? — given the babyboomers are hitting that retirement point.  And one particularly regrets this “tax holiday” in Social Security contributions when Obama and his advisors came up with that cut in COLA benefits to retirees, essentially cutting benefits right after four years of cutting what we paid in.  If Social Security is a trust, we should be extremely cautious about allowing the government to collect less.  If you want that safety net, the part you pay for is probably what you could expect if you should actually need it.  

        • Gregg Smith

          That’s exactly right, I just think many don’t add it up. There is almost always more withheld than owed so anyone with a W-2 will likely get a refund. That is the number they remember but even then many don’t call it a refund. They call it a check. But yes, anyone has the power to run the math and it is not kept secret. 

          When an employer pays half it is just part of the cost to hire. It’s money that could go straight to the employee who would then be able to afford the entire liability. To the employer the money is the same. I suppose you could argue greedy scrooge like bosses would just pocket the money but I still believe the marketplace has a say in determining pay. 

          I can also deduct half of the tax on the 1040 but it’s adjusted and not straight off the top… which would be nice.

          • Ellen Dibble

            I think if you owed no tax because of having a lot of children, for instance, it wouldn’t matter if you were deducting half of that FICA amount.  You would be subtracting from zero.
                By the way, when I used to get paychecks, personnel asked us yearly to specify how much we wanted withheld, sent to the government.  So we could elect to overpay the government and claim more of a refund, but if you’ve done your taxes one year, you can see what the arithmetic will be, and figure that out.  (I used to earn a lot freelancing evenings and weekends, so I always owed more than the personnel office estimated.)

  • jimino

    I didn’t catch the whole show.  Did the self-described “libertarian” ever switch from avuncular talking-point pablum to facts and identify precisely what government spending he would eliminate (besides the already-paid-for SS obligations)?

    • Mary McIntosh

      I didn’t hear him do so.  Nor did he address the issue of why so much money is being held by the private sector and not being invested.  He basically said they want it all.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UZI7IL5QEPZS6SYURGT6F5ZFJE David Senecal

    Growth of the type that we have seen in this country historically is unsustainable…think of the ideal….that would be Zero growth in population, values, costs, taxes….why do we think that our houses going up in value is a good thing??? Incomes should be enhanced, ideally, by more savings and investments,.. I see many fewer jobs in the future…huge area warehouses,and technology for online retail will eventually eliminate huge sections of jobs….one super computer taking orders from buyers and a few warehouse and delivery workers is what I see coming…online banking, real estate, cars,insurance… virtually anything purchased can be taken care of in the future, without the type of buildings, and structures that we have in place now….the working man is in deep doodoo…and as we sell off our houses to pay our bills, if we can…we will, as a population be shuffled into trailer parks in the woods, eventually owned by a very small segment of the wealthy…I can see it happening now in my small town…one family buys up 20 or more houses in the local tax sale…the average family struggles to pay them rent….the trend is obvious…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NSK4HWE6PURBXOEJIMSE6R2WHI IA_Farm2

    Won’t be any satisfactory  answers until both we as Citizens and those we elect ( at all levels ) to represent us decide which we are :
    A “country” where people come from all over the world to “make money” without regard for the generational welfare of the “citizens” of the “country” — OR
    A “NATION” where all citizens look out for the long-term generational welfare of ALL other CITIZENS before they look out for the financial well-being of those who are merely “residents” who are transiting thru for as long as their financial opportunities are greater than in any other “country”.

    Though this violates the dogma of those who are “Globalists” both Liberal and Conservative, it is essential to resolving the questions raised by having the “debt” so high when accounted for by “generally Accepted Accounting Principles” ( and not by political mumbo-jumbo like “off budget” wars and “entitlement growth ).
     If the answer is “country” then we’re doomed to eternal “Balkanized” social warfare.
    If the answer is “NATION” then the only “social warfare” we have to fear is that like the Europeans experienced prior to WWI when the “elites” decided that the only way to calm things down in their own “countries” was to reduce the “excess manual labor force” by stirring up war-fever and having the excess labor ( un-cooperative young men ) slaughter each other / cull-the-herd in the name of the “Country’s honor / destiny”. (When it was really just to protect the ‘Property and Position” of the elites – be they Capitalists or “Communists”. )

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NSK4HWE6PURBXOEJIMSE6R2WHI IA_Farm2

     It’s a Wonderful Life, if you are Mr. Potter ( no, not Harry Potter ).

  • Ellen Kaufmann

    CARBON TAX TO REDUCE CLIMATE CHANGE & INCREASE  FEDERAL COFFERS.    REDUCE OUR MILITARY PRESENCE AROUND THE WORLD.  REDUCE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX AND DIVERT ECONOMIC GROWTH TO SOLAR, WIND, GEOTHERMAL.  

    • harverdphd

       NOT GONNA HAPPEN

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sam-Osborne/1115006842 Sam Osborne

    Do we the people, as on July 4, 1776, still “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed?”  If so then good economics means that government affords all of its citizens in union to feed, clothe, shelter and enjoy a bit of leisure and that this is the basis ensuring in ever changing times and circumstance that this is so. 

    In this regard we will need to understand that the means of keeping body and soul happily together has repeatedly and progressively changed down trough time.  This from early food gathering and hunting; to camping, tilling and domestication; to growth of trade in market centers, to expanding this reach by caravans that prompted colonial mercantilism, that in the New World broke with lingering feudalism via independence accompanying craft and agrarian production; and this augmented and much replaced industrial capitalism and corporate ownership that is 70% dependent upon mass consumption that is being bled to death by moneychanger profiteering of buy-low-sell-high and ad the bottom line with box store good made in low standard of living countries to be sold on credit card for disposable income could not cover the cancerous growth even if the playing field were lever.  And this as we rapidly go deeper into an era of automation and robotization in which the measure of good is efficiency that more righty squeeze all in favor of a bottom line that will make the planet much more efficient by doing away with consuming mankind—no need to go to lifeless Mars when it is coming here.

    Short of this and anew, any economic system to be developed that is going to serve and not do away with mankind will need to afford all of us Created-equal people to share in and profit from the declining amount of work that manually needs to get done in our land.  With automation and robotization we increasingly do not have a shortage of workers, we have an increasing shortage of manual labor jobs that need to get done.  Thus we should cut the work week to 30 hrs and raise the minimum wage so that this great nation can continue to do as and be as it was founded and has been preserved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sam-Osborne/1115006842 Sam Osborne

    Do we the people, as on July 4, 1776, still “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed?”  If so then good economics means that government affords all of its citizens in union to feed, clothe, shelter and enjoy a bit of leisure and that this is the basis ensuring in ever changing times and circumstance that this is so. 

    In this regard we will need to understand that the means of keeping body and soul happily together has repeatedly and progressively changed down trough time.  This from early food gathering and hunting; to camping, tilling and domestication; to growth of trade in market centers, to expanding this reach by caravans that prompted colonial mercantilism, that in the New World broke with lingering feudalism via independence accompanying craft and agrarian production; and this augmented and much replaced industrial capitalism and corporate ownership that is 70% dependent upon mass consumption that is being bled to death by moneychanger profiteering of buy-low-sell-high and ad the bottom line with box store good made in low standard of living countries to be sold on credit card for disposable income could not cover the cancerous growth even if the playing field were lever.  And this as we rapidly go deeper into an era of automation and robotization in which the measure of good is efficiency that more righty squeeze all in favor of a bottom line that will make the planet much more efficient by doing away with consuming mankind—no need to go to lifeless Mars when it is coming here.

    Short of this and anew, any economic system to be developed that is going to serve and not do away with mankind will need to afford all of us Created-equal people to share in and profit from the declining amount of work that manually needs to get done in our land.  With automation and robotization we increasingly do not have a shortage of workers, we have an increasing shortage of manual labor jobs that need to get done.  Thus we should cut the work week to 30 hrs and raise the minimum wage so that this great nation can continue to do as and be as it was founded and has been preserved.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I heard the last 25 minutes, and obviously missed some good stuff.  I think I’ll listen to the podcast later.  I did hear one thing that I always bristle at, when Rob Arnott was saying the poor will always be with us, quoting the Bible, and then continuing to say, “We’ll let them keep 70 cents of every additional dollar they make, and they’ll be steadily climbing,” pretty close to those exact words.  
        A couple of points.  If they’re paying 30 cents on a dollar to the government, they’d better have a super lobby on K Street to make sure that 30 percent is the best rate those at the very bottom of the ladder can get.  Those at the very top have wrangled with the House,  the Senate, and the Executive for the last two years to maneuver against another percent, somewhere between 34 and 39 percent, but not that much above that 30 percent that Arnott proposes.  And they’re saying they’re not willing to work as hard as they do, up in the top 1 percent, without those couple percent tax reductions.  And for what they pay, they want to be sure they have the whole legislature under their thumb, “or else” this or that legislator will be “primaried,” and make sure that is possible by gerrymandering, little by little, over the decades to guarantee that option.
        So back to our “poor,” who should be “allowed to keep 70 cents of each additional dollar they earn,” which should be plenty motivation to keep on the up-and-up.
        For one thing, there enough of these 30 percent payers to feel like Atlas carrying the government on their shoulders, so don’t say the 47 percent don’t count because they are moochers.  And you know who I’m talking about.  These are the people who the better they do the more the government peels off their hide, without giving them any credit, apparently, for this.
        Well, I do understand Arnott is talking about little by little removing the benefits the government might deploy safety-net-wise.  The devil is in this detail.  If someone is building a business, one wants to live in a garret and enjoy the very minimum in benefits in order to get fast footing on the ladder, and it’s crucial to make those first steps a LOT easier than the top 1 percent of earners puts out to the national treasury.  And it’s also crucial to recognize the 30 percent that the very bottom is contributing.  Oh, that 30 percent reduction in benefits?  Let’s have some language or some tax code that actually lets those people see their part as contribution rather than mooching.  Let that be a reality as much as possible.  Why?  They vote, sillies.  Or they would vote, if they thought their taxes were part of the social fabric.

    • 1Brett1

      This is a great point…well put.

      Many neocons will chastise folks for wrongfully maligning the wealthy/who criticize the top 1% (those wealthy who “threaten” not to work as hard/will take their ball and go home, so to speak, if their tax rates go up a few percentage points) and in the same breath these same neocons will chastise the “poor” for not working hard enough (even though many of their tax rates are higher than many of the 1%). 

      Even those not earning enough income to pay end-of-year taxes, as it were (aside from those working poor who do) pay into the system with payroll taxes…Most of the so-called 47 percenters pay into the system and contribute, yet they are simply characterized as “moochers” who are just a drain on the economy, while those wealthy who pay as low as 9% are valuable contributers to society. 

      To add to such insult is the very reality that many of the “job” creatorers [intentional misspelling] get tax incentives for their corporations and private business practices, not to mention, as you allude to, they have the benefit of a powerful lobby, so to speak, on their side.

      The whole framing/branding by the neocon movement on this issue has been a PR nightmare…and the poor will lose in that particular court of public opinion.

      • Ellen Dibble

        To me, those with the least to lose, the end-of-the-roaders, I believe the Republicans used to call them, need to have “a leg to stand on” in the voting booth, which to me means they need to have a stake not “just” in safety-net benefits, but in paying into the system they benefit from.  Someone earning $11,000 a year, paying $500 to the government (not counting Social Security, but above that), will have a HUGE concept of playing their cards in the great national game.  That’s a month’s rent.  It’s food for several months.  Those would be VERY hard-headed voters, wanting the government to pay ONLY for what is essential.  None of your NASA moon shots for them.  None of your payments for empty farmland, things like that.  Or, maybe they’ll have keen appreciation for the hope that research will cure their grandmother with Parkinson’s, tying down their aunt and uncle, or for the cheaper food costs.  But they have to conceive of themselves as valuable to the economy.  And then maybe they can persuade the 1% to appreciate them as well.

  • Ellen Dibble

    If the theme was individual prosperity, that’s one thing.  But what I heard is that the issue is American leadership (and maybe the dollar as the default currency, whatever that means). 

         Will American democracy and our political system be worth emulating?  Or will it look ridiculously dysfunctional?      Will our capitalist democracy be something that looks more like plutocracy foisted on an ill-educated herd of dependents?, either herded into shanty-towns or into jails and prisons?  With the legislative process in the hands of boughten legislators?      Will our economy be worth emulating?  Or will the actuality of it make us look like a banana republic (sorry, Honduras) with profit being the god, and gross national productivity accruing to the benefit of the rich, and if necessary accruing to the government which will have the job of distribution to the extent to avoid a revolution of the masses.  Placate the majority, and let the smallest possible minority of the very rich run the show.
        Is that worth emulating?

    • Gregg Smith

      I realize I’m setting myself up but be assured I am not generalizing. There is a demographic that swayed this election and it’s not sex, race or heritage. It is the “ill-educated herd of dependents” wanting more. The election was reduced to  people being convinced Republicans were going to take away their contraception, clean air, food stamps, Social Security and Medicare. Again, I’m not saying Democrats are deadbeats; I’m saying a whole lot of deadbeats voted for Obama. Enough to sway the election. The exit polls bear this out but it’s still just my opinion.

      You ask great questions but I’m not sure what eventualities you are assuming in your futuristic queries. That’s the charm of it. I don’t think where we are headed will be worth emulating. 

      I guess it all comes down how much stock one puts into the notion others with more are holding them down. I try to never use that excuse even though it’s tempting sometimes. 

      • nj_v2

        Better watch out, Greggg. It’s just a matter of time before the hoards of welfare bloodsucking low-lifes come marching up your driveway to steal your big-screen teevee and tomatoes from your garden. Better build your bunker a little deeper and stock up on some more guns before the Kenyan socialist makes them illegal.
         

        • Gregg Smith

          That wasn’t really my point but thanks.

          • StilllHere

            It’s not about your point, it’s about his insanity.

      • Markus6

        I’m surprised you haven’t gotten more responses from those telling you about their grandmother who worked all her life and now you want to take away her SS check. 

        I think you’re right but I’ll refine what you said a bit. I think that significantly more people who are dependent in some form on a government check voted for Obama. Many are fine people and many are deadbeats. 

        If you’re a politician, it’s really easy to give away other people’s money. And if you do it long enough, they’ll name a bridge, airport or university after you, although at the very least you get to stay in office. Don’t know of any politicians who get credit for fiscal restraint. 

        • Gregg Smith

          That’s a more palatable description than mine. There is certainly a distinction but it’s lost most of the time.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shirley-Ugest/100000219060416 Shirley Ugest

          Other people’s money! That’s what makes the highest standards of living in the world. the US is now A THIRD WORLD NATION in terms of INCOME INEQUALITY. The highest standards of living on earth are in the social democracies with the highest taxation rates. What does it matter if OTHER PEOPLE”S MONEY is taken if the end result is an equitable, JUST , decent society where want is relegated to an archaic abstraction???

      • jefe68

        You sound a lot like Bill O’Reily, who has used a simular diatribes to deal with his right wing angst. It’s amazing, really is how one can make such sweeping generalizations about so many millions of people. I’ll make one about you and your lot, libertarian social Darwinist of the worst order. This comment you just posted is inane and puerile.

        • Gregg Smith

          I tried very hard to say and reiterate I did not make the sweeping generalization, but there was enough to sway the election in my view.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shirley-Ugest/100000219060416 Shirley Ugest

            God bless the deadbeats. They have been beaten down by unbridled greed of the idle rich.

      • anamaria23

        Could you define “deadbeat”?  The few that I would define so, that I know, do not even bother to vote.

        • Gregg Smith

          It’s admittedly a loaded word. I’d say people capable of working on disability, people who waited until their unemployment ran out before attempting to get a job, the generational food stamp recipients who accept their lot in life, those who not only accept it but expect others to keep them up and feel no shame at all about it and the Obamaphone lady…. to name a few. 

          But again, not all who need and get help are deadbeats.

          • anamaria23

            There are no “Obamaphones”.  FCC mandated phone service to qualified  welfare recipients (probably so as not to  have an excuse not to seek employment) in 1996.  It continued through the Bush years and was converted to cell phones in 2008.
            It is paid for through a sum on our phone bills.  You may not like it, but it  not start with this President.
            Neither did disability or unemployment comp, or food stamps.    Yes, there are cheaters and always have been, yet this  President is held accountable for issues that have been going on for generations.  Food Stamp demand increased starting with the unemployment that commenced at the end of the Bush administration. 
            Yes there is fraud (3%) in the program, but it being addressed with a decrease in fraud  resulting recently.   Google it. 
             
             
             

          • Gregg Smith

            That may be but there sure is an Obamaphone lady and she’s a deadbeat.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpAOwJvTOio

            I never said it started with Obama, I’m saying it’s a dynamic now large enough to sway elections.

          • anamaria23

            If that deeply troubled person somehow got to the voting booth, it would be  quite a feat.

          • Gregg Smith

            Millions just like her did. I’m not saying all Obama voters are like her. I’m saying all people like her who voted, voted for Obama. 

          • anamaria23

            If there are millions like her, then we really need to make a hugely greater investment in our mental health services.

          • Gregg Smith

            I don’t know if she is mentally ill but she is a creation of the welfare society.

          • Fredlinskip

            I think the Obamaphone lady swung the election

          • Gregg Smith

            Yes, her and her ilk. Have you studied the exit polls?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shirley-Ugest/100000219060416 Shirley Ugest

            Those who voted Obama were duped because he just succeeded in making most of the Bush Tax Cuts permanent and his next class act of selling out will be to make “entitlement reform” a reality for the benefit of the 1 percent. In a nation where more than 60 percent of the publicly traded stock is held by less than 2 percent of houselholds, where the richest 400 now own more than the botrtom 180 MILLION, you can’t help b ut end up with deadbeats, they’ve been beaten to death economically and spiritually.

          • Fredlinskip

            Gregg doesn’t believe it’s an “inequity” problem; it’s a “spending on deadbeat” problem.
            More $ to those who already have more than they know what to do with is the answer- you know- the job creators.Too bad we spent so many trillions on recent Wars- we could sure use that $ to spend on social security, and medical expenditures for all those “deadbeats”

          • Gregg Smith

            i sincerely believe Ms. Dibble got my point though she may disagree. It went right over your head.

          • Fredlinskip

            “But again, not all who need and get help are deadbeats.”-Mighty big of you, Gregg

          • Gregg Smith

            Just being accurate. 

      • Ellen Dibble

        I agree that a lot of campaigning had to do with Republicans wanting to shrink the parts of government that more and more, especially urban voters, find essential.  A mobile population, less grounded in life-secure jobs, with stable communities/families within reach, creates a social reality that didn’t exist previously.  The economy is changing, just as technology is changing our lives. So a lot depends on how well people can comprehend these changing and differing realities. That way we can better determine what the appropriate role for government, at different levels, might be.
           As for the “notion others with more are holding them down,” there is a lot of PR that distorts how this actually happens.  I think Exhibit A might be the former Libya, with lots of money for their oil reserves, and opportunity/fairness of rewards just so appalling that even limiting freedoms of expression couldn’t, in the end, hide the realities.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shirley-Ugest/100000219060416 Shirley Ugest

        Deadbeats made deadbeats by a regressive right wing nation described by Chris Hedges as “an image based totalitarian nation awash in lies” and mreo recently by film maker Oliver Stone as simply “Orwellian”.  The industrialists have sent our once middle class wage jobs to slave wage shops in Asia where honest to Pete, many of the citizens still rely on dog meat for sustenance. But I undersatand your type prefer the “deadbeats” eat catfood.

        • Fredlinskip

          Those are some big words for one of those “ill-educated dependants wanting more” who voted for that Muslim black terrorist guy.

          • Gregg Smith

            Obama is not a Muslim. He is a “terrible” President not a 
            “terrorist”president. He’s only half black. It’s his white half that I don’t like.  

      • Fredlinskip

        I don’t know Gregg.
        It seems there are a lot of ill-educated folks out there that believe paying down debt doesn’t require revenue, for example- their mostly in GOP camp.
        What about the deadbeat ill-educated folks that  during the birther debate didn’t realize that Hawaii was an American state. Fair to say that they didn’t vote for Obama.
        It seems easy to convince uneducated folks that heir taxes are too high- it takes political courage to push for higher taxes.
        It may be that your (perhaps subconscious) opinion  that anyone who has a different opinion than you must be uneducated.
          What about all those folks that perpetually argue that man-influenced global warming does not exist, even though 97% of scientists whose business it is to study this stuff disagree. Are these folks really smarter than those scientists?
            You want to see some idiots? Turn on Fox “news” for a while. 

        • Gregg Smith

          Hey did you see Kathy Griffin kiss Anderson Cooper’s Crotch on CNN?

  • DrewInGeorgia

    All Of Nation’s Resources Dumped Into 50 Children Who Are Actually The Future

    Missed the show this morning, waiting for the audio to become available. Somehow I get the feeling I didn’t miss much.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I slept through the first half.  The second half was very interesting.  The comments to me seem to reflect a lot of others sleeping through too, or something.  It’s a surprise that Tom was hosting.  But I’m luxuriating in oversleeping so.

  • FirstDemocritus

    (I deleted the text because I accidentally sent the same thing through twice.)

    • StilllHere

      Hard times, this is the Obama economic miracle we’re living in.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shirley-Ugest/100000219060416 Shirley Ugest

        You mean the Third Bush Presidency

  • FirstDemocritus

    Holy
    Cow! I have often loved the moderate reasonableness of this show but I think I am now listening to (almost) to “Rush Limbaugh Lite”! Tom is merely parroting the sky-is-falling right-wing line about “spending obviously without debate must be cut now” when in fact there are lots of reasonable people who do not buy that narrative.

    Deficits cannot be forgotten but it is just plain foolish to cut spending in hard times. I cannot believe that in addition to only two right-wing voices, two voices that are concerned only about big money are being interviewed. Tom is so thrilled and impressed by their billions, it sounds silly. i am sorry for my sarcasm but I am dismayed, truly dismayed. Where is the moderate/center or even mild center left point of view. These are two Big Money voices! What about the average person? What about the sociologists? The historians? The non-multimillionaire (important: thus non-self-serving) economists?

    THEY also (we) have a valid point of view. Why on earth on you interviewing as representative a Wall Street Journal endorsee and a Libertarian financial analyst? Good grief, I am so shocked and saddened by this rightward, unquestioning point of view.

    It is NOT the centrist American view. Spending for one thing does not and should NOT be cut right now. This is merely a subversion of the narrative by Republicans and other financial operatives, even if Pres Obama has endorsed some of it for political reasons.

    Please find a balance. If this slightly weird right-ward strong bias continues I cannot listen to it. I am not a political ideologue but I really think Tom has been swallowed up. Although I hear many journalists, who feel they only have to accurately repeat what others are saying (by canny spinners) they are merely moving cattle-like in the same play-by-play non-reflectiveness; to hear this shallow echo on NPR is profoundly disappointing.

    Middle American (midwest)2 hours ago · Like · 1

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Darn right. All we hear is “of course everyone agrees the big bad deficit is the #1 problem and “entitlement reform” (newspeak for cuts) is the solution”. Nonsense! Unemployment and inequality are the %1 problems. If we can get the economy going again, with broad prosperity, the big bad deficit will melt away, like tears in the rain.

      Tom, PLEASE: There are other perspectives! Why not take a walk on the wild side and get a guest who thinks the deficit is no big deal and that there is no pressing need for “entitlement reform”. Even better, will you please make the guests say “CUTS in SS and medicare” instead of the righty newspeak “entitlement reform”?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shirley-Ugest/100000219060416 Shirley Ugest

      NPR National Propaganda Radio
      NPR National Pentagon Radio

    • Fredlinskip

      Pile on me if you all like:

      IT’S JUST ONE SHOW FOLKS- get over it.
      I know emotions are high, nerves are strained coming off “fiscal cliff” debacle; but IN GENERAL, On Point programming provides us all a VERY good service.

      And a good comments page.

      IM(humble)O

    • StilllHere

      I don’t think you listened very carefully.  Arnott stated the same warnings you did about cutting spending significantly now.  It’s more about the future and CBO and OMB estimates given demographic facts.  You can hope that economic growth will take care of everything, but if it doesn’t come, there’s going to be massive cuts.  That’s a fact.

  • EET1965

    I imagine taking a lean approach to managing the gov’t expenses would yield enormous favorability. For example, re-visting every contract to ensure the terms are fair and market competitive is how coorporations operate and often over a few years reduce or contian cost by as much as 10%.
    Rather than simply mandating spending cuts which often result in “Burning The Furniture”!!!!
    Just spend smarter employ a lean principled process driven aproach to managing cost. I thought I heard the annual spending was near 6 trillion, every 1% would yield $60 billion. This is before any discussion about reducing human captol.
    Then, a well crafted reform of tax codes could be dove tailed could be passed in an effirt to impact deficits.

    Gene
    Atlanta

    • StilllHere

      The entrenched interests in the bureaucracy will never let this happen, especially when deficits are easy.  But the opportunities are there, look to the state and local level where property and sales tax receipts have put significant pressure on governments and forced service cuts, with no complaints from taxpayers.

  • nj_v2

    ^ Right-wing inanaity, example 184: The answer to poor regulation is no regulation.

    Edit: Disqus fail. This was supposed to be in response to a particular post somewhere.

  • hennorama

    To anyone concerned about Federal Spending – what would YOU cut?  Please be as specific as possible, and include who would be impacted, and your reasoning.

    Here is a handy site that shows Federal Spending.  It’s done the hard work of compiling the info.  You can “drill down” in each category, and compare various time periods:

    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/federal_budget_detail_2011bs12011n#usgs302

    For a bit of perspective on the recent changes in Federal Revenues and Spending, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) notes the following:

    “2009-2011 Budget Outcomes Skewed by the Recession

    Due to one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression – and the policies enacted to combat it – 2009-2011 tax and spending levels diverged from recent patterns. Federal revenues plunged to 15 percent of GDP in 2009 and remained at 15 percent through 2011, the lowest levels in decades. The efforts to prevent collapse of the financial system and to deal with the failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the automatic expansion of programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps (which always grow during economic downturns to meet rising need), and spending from the February 2009 stimulus package together pushed federal outlays to 25 percent of GDP in 2009 and 24 percent of GDP in 2010 and 2011. As a result, deficits reached record levels.

    It will take the economy several years to fully recover, and during that time federal revenues and expenditures will continue to differ from historical experience. However, the composition of the budget in 2011 largely resembles recent federal spending patterns.”

    Source:http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258

    This chart (from the site above) shows the composition of the 2011 Federal Budget, with data sourced from the OMB.

    • jimino

      I too would love to hear where the self-described conservatives and libertarians would cut spending in any appreciable way.  I expect their first target will be Social Security, ignoring or denying the fact that its benefits have truly been paid for in advance.

      If cutting spending was really their goal, then why the outcry for the spending cuts called for and voted for in the 2011 Budget Control Act.

      What say you “fix-the-debt” folks?

      • pete18

         Still boxing with the straw men?

        • jimino

          I usually see your mentality among abused spouses who end up defending their abuser.  Bully’s just love the phenomenon.

          • pete18

             I guess so, only now it’s straw men who abuse their spouses and fiddle while the debt grows and social security tanks.

          • jefe68

            Hyperbolic and wrong.
            You need to read up on SS and how it has nothing to do with the debt at this point.

            It will, in about 20 to 30 years from now, but right now, no. Funny how the very definition of the straw man argument is how the right define SS, which is kind of ironic in your case.

          • pete18

            http://www.usnews.com/opinion/…”The greatest fiscal challenge to the U.S. government is not just its 
            annual deficit but its total liabilities. Our federal balance sheet does
            not include the unfunded social insurance obligations of Medicare, 
            Social Security, and the future retirement benefits of federal 
            employees. Only in the small print of the financial statements do you 
            get some idea of the enormous size of the unfunded commitments. Today 
            the estimated unfunded total is more than $87 trillion, or 550 percent 
            of our GDP. And the debt per household is more than 10 times the median 
            family income.The public doesn’t know about these awesome liabilities because the totals appear only in actuarial estimates. As Chris Cox, former chairmanof the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Bill Archer, former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, recently noted in the Wall Street Journal, thereal annual accrued expense of Medicare and Social Security alone is $7trillion. The government’s balance sheet does not include any of these unfunded obligations but focuses on the current year deficits and the accumulated national debt. Cox and Archer reported that the annual budget deficit is only about one fifth of the more accurate figure.”

      • hennorama

        jimino – TY for your reply. I appreciate your views.

    • OnPointComments

      Implement the recommendations that the GAO made in its report “Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue.”  Potential savings:  $100 billion dollars annually
       
      Eliminate the wasteful spending identified by Senator Coburn in his “Wastebook 2012″ report.  Potential savings:  $20 billion annually
       
      Senator Coburn’s Wastebook identifies only the 100 most egregious examples of waste.  As you read the report, you realize that the government doesn’t hesitate for a moment to spend on totally silly things.  I’d cut the budget of every department and agency in the report by 5%, and warn that any further frivolous spending will result in more cuts.  I’d fire the people who authorized the spending.  Potential savings:  ?, let’s say $100 billion
       
      The Department of Energy was created by Jimmy Carter in 1977 to makes us energy independent in 20 years.  It has failed.  Eliminate the department.  Potential savings:   $26 billion annually
       
      Eliminate corporate welfare identified by the Cato Institute in its report “Corporate Welfare in the Federal Budget.”  Potential savings:  $100 billion annually.
       
      Eliminate the Department of Homeland Security, and have transportation companies provide their own security.  Potential savings:  $50 billion annually
       
      Eliminate Department of Agriculture crop subsidies.  Potential savings:  $30 billion annually
       
      I spent 15 minutes and came up with $426 billion in annual savings.  Imagine if someone spent some real time and got rid of all the waste and started requiring efficiency in government.

      • OnPointComments

        Another suggestion from the Cato Institute is at 
         
        http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/education/spending-cuts 
         
        $300 billion in suggested spending cuts, and that’s the net after I added back Cato’s proposed reduction in food subsidies for needy families. 
         
        Let’s say the total is $200 billion to eliminate duplication from my previous post.  Now were up to $626 billion in annual savings.

        • Gregg Smith

          That’s a start. 

      • hennorama

        OPC thank you for your thoughts. I appreciate you taking a crack at it, and I look forward to the reports you cited.

        Quick comments:

        Closing the Dept. Of Education might save a bit, but mostly it would shift the costs to the states, and make it more difficult for low and middle income students and parents fund college.

        Dept. Of Energy has made some significant contributions, notably funding research into hydraulic fracturing and related technologies, which are largely responsible for the current oil & gas boom in the US. What we really need is a multi-decade US energy policy.

        Dept. of Homeland Security – it makes sense to consolidate the agencies that have international and domestic security functions into a single agency. But I do agree that most TSA functions should be privately funded and implemented.

        Thanks again for the effort.

        • OnPointComments

          Earlier today, before your post, I saw a woman in NJ on TV saying that all she got from FEMA was $100k to replace her house, and complaining because it would cost more than $300k to replace it.  Then I saw Gov. Christie complaining because the House hadn’t passed the bill.  I tried to find out what the bill would cover, but couldn’t find it anywhere.  When these tragedies strike, I’m okay with providing temporary assistance in the form of food, lodging, transportation, etc., but I don’t think it’s the role of the government to make people whole; that’s what insurance is for.  I started to suggest eliminating FEMA and its $6 billion budget, but for the moment I’ll assume that the government isn’t paying for people’s houses that were destroyed.

          • hennorama

            OPC there certainly can be anecdotes illustrating practically any position. But I understand your concern/outrage.

            FYI – FEMA’s in the DHS, so you already proposed eliminating it in your earlier post. See http://www.dhs.gov/

          • jefe68

            Have you no shame?

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            I don’t know if he has shame. I will bet you a beer that he doesn’t have a New Jersey license plate.

            Just another TruePrincipledConservative who is ready to cutcutcut when something incredible happens to someone else.

            And we all remember the disaster which was FEMA under every Republican in memory. Let’s talk about how the right just can’t do governance any longer.

      • Fredlinskip

        How ’bout eliminating Cayman Island tax shelters.
        Could that help?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002360588492 Dev Devta

       The attached chart while accurate gives a wrong picture. The Social Security and Medicare should be shown at NET value (after all we explicitly seek contributions from wage earners for these programs).  The political class has successfully used the gross numbers when it suits them (IE see how big these numbers are) and then go about ‘taxing’ people through ‘payroll tax’, which should more rightfully be called SS and medicare contributions!

      • hennorama

        Dev Devta – TY for your response. I respect and understand your views, and you make an interesting point. But my post was focused only on Federal Spending, to solicit ideas from those expressing concern about it. History of this forum has shown many complaining about Fed. Spending, but few proposing ideas on what exactly should be reduced. Ergo my post.

        • Gregg Smith

          It seems to me a futile endeavor to propose spending cuts on a blog. It is also, IMHO, nearly insane to delegitimize the notion we are spending too much (an historic anomaly of precedence by any measure) if not accompanied by details of where to cut. One can be completely clueless about what to cut and at the same time be completely righteous in saying cuts need to be made. 

          All we can do is elect politicians and the ones we elected are going to spend us into oblivion.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shirley-Ugest/100000219060416 Shirley Ugest

            And the fact that more than 90 percent of all the income gains in the “recovery” went to the richest 2 percent of households? Where does INCOME and WEALTH GAP come into your worldview?

          • jefe68

            It doesn’t, this guy thinks taxes are a from of theft. 

          • Gregg Smith

            No I don’t. Please don’t tell me what I think. 

          • StilllHere

            He knows what all of us are thinking, he knows if you’ve been bad or good.

          • Gregg Smith

            Income is earned not distributed. I don’t care a wit about how much income anyone has nor do I believe my life will be improved one iota if they have less. The gap doesn’t bother me a bit.

            BTW, I love your moniker.

          • Fredlinskip

            From 1960 through 2008, every Republican president has increased the debt/GDP ratio and every Democratic President has decreased it. 
            As far as fiscal conservatism is concerned I believe I’ll put my $ on Dems.
              
               Now Eisenhower- there was a fiscal Conservative and oddly enough a Republican! He understood the necessity of paying down debt and knew that if you tax the wealthy at a high rate- these folks will still be rich and happy.

          • Gregg Smith

            On average revenue as a percentage of GDP was lower under Eisenhower’s rates than under GWB’s rate. I question your numbers but they may be correct. Obama tripled the debt as a percentage of GDP so the point is really moot. I see why you stopped at 2008.

          • Fredlinskip

            I guess we can conclude that the reason why Eisenhower was fiscal Conservative  while W very near increased national debt  more than all previous administrations combined was largely tied to spending habits.Eisenhower was fiscally responsible, W not so much.

          • Gregg Smith

            Obama?

  • StilllHere

    When you don’t have a printing press or related ability to borrow in unlimited quantities, then even stranger perversions of justice take place.  You’ve been warned.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443931404577552980765823456.html

    • Fredlinskip

      COuldn’t read the article cause I’m not yet subscribed to WSJ. But if Rupert and his buddies support the article- it’s got to be true.

      Then again I have a lot of respect for Stockman’s opinions. Surely a lot more than his ex-boss Ronnie.
      I’ll make an attempt to read it.

      • StilllHere

        It’s about Stockton’s, CA, bankruptcy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

    Too many people with too few jobs and too little money does not equal an economic recovery. I have no plans to trade my 14 year old car. My home is paid for. I will endeavor to cover the requirements; there’s nothing left for the extras.

    • Fredlinskip

      How bout borrowing $ for a 2nd house, then use the equity to buy some swimming pools and flat screens- that was all the rage in the W years. 
      And that ‘s what was encouraged by geniuses like Greenspan in the W years.Come on -get with the program.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

    You know, if we can cut the government enough, we can go back to living as our ancestors did. They didn’t have to worry about health care; there wasn’t any. They didn’t worry about high food costs; they grew their own. They didn’t have to worry about education for their children; it was only available to the children of the wealthy. They didn’t have to worry about the high cost of housing; they built their own. They didn’t have to worry about the high cost of utilities; the water supply was a spring behind the house, and there weren’t any bathrooms. You didn’t have to worry about paved roads; you didn’t have a car anyway. And so it goes.

    What I’m driving at is that our modern lifestyles cost LOTS of money. If you don’t want to pay for it, you just won’t have it.

    • onpoint27289

      Totally agree. But don’t charge me for someone else’s lifestyle that they cannot afford.

      • http://twitter.com/grassfedorganic Rocky Mtn Org Meats

         Key point it’s not there not enough money but there is not enough natural resources.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shirley-Ugest/100000219060416 Shirley Ugest

        We are all in this together or we are all at each others throats. Your greed and selfishness is the root cause of our problems.

      • Fredlinskip

        SO your opinion is that the only folks culpable in the ’08 financial crisis were homeowners?
        Or am I misinterpreting your post?

      • StilllHere

        The purpose of your taxes is primarily to support the unaffordable lifestyles of those who would otherwise have to be productive.

  • onpoint27289

    If I’m paying into social security and my company is as well AND I’m not going to get it back, don’t CLAIM this is going into my account or a Lock Box as Al Gore says. Just call it a poor tax, (like in the game Monopoly) for folks that can’t pay their bills after they can’t work anymore. I don’t understand why we can’t call it what it is.

  • Mike_Card

    I’m not sure what the radio equivalent of “empty suit” is, but whatever it is, these two are them.

    An economist who has no disclosable sources, and a libertarian.  Right.  It is so comfortable to be libertarian:  you’ll never gain political traction with your wacky ideas, so you’re covered for never needing to be responsible for anything done by the proles.  And you can be an “economist,” because you can hide behind the numbers and never take responsibility for any result. 

    In the words of another esteemed contributor to this discussion board, “There’s an hour I’ll never get back.”

    Tom, either take another week off, or else never take time off again.  You’re losing it.

    • StilllHere

      You are pathetic.  Name one fact they got wrong.

      • Mike_Card

        In the words of the Speaker, “Go f*ck yourself.”

        • StilllHere

          Thanks for confirming you are a complete waste.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shirley-Ugest/100000219060416 Shirley Ugest

        Wealth inequality is all these “guests” (shills for Wall Street) stand for, more returns for the “investor class”. Period. That’s their sum total modus operandi.

        • StilllHere

          They were talking about the economy, not the market.  I’m not sure their take on the economy is all that rosy for the markets.  

    • Fredlinskip

      Throw out baby with bath water?
      Some shows are going to be better than others.It’s a shame on such an important day of American history we have less than stellar guests- that’s true.
      But in long run, where are you going to go for better live shows.
      Cut ‘em some slack.
      (IMO)
      DR Show was pretty good today

  • Gregg Smith

    Now that the circus is over for the moment, maybe we can talk about actually addressing our problems. The debate was centered around spending cuts and taxes neither of which are viable as a solution. Not even close. Where were the pro growth policy proposals? What about jobs? Certainly spending needs to be slashed to at least 2006 levels otherwise more revenue is money down a rat hole. It’s like crack to politicians. In that sense we do have a revenue problem. So even the solution is not a solution.

    • Gregg Smith

      Never mind. Obama won, it’ll never happen. We’re toast.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shirley-Ugest/100000219060416 Shirley Ugest

        Actually according to Business Insider’s article “Don’t Be Fooled, The Republicans Won” Obama succeeded only in making most of the Bush tax cuts permanent.

        • Gregg Smith

          Obama extended them all, they are the Obama tax cuts. But I see no way to create jobs as long as we have the Obamacare noose around businesses’ neck and regulations out the wazoo.

    • Fredlinskip

      Had we simply Yahooed over the cliff- would that not have slashed spending enough?
      What about jobs? What’s your solution? Move to China?
      Oh wait I know- Lower taxes on those earning more than 400G

      • Gregg Smith

        No it wouldn’t have slashed spending enough and it would be in the wrong place. I never advocated lowering anyone’s income taxes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/archangel0628 John Herritt

    Who do your guests work for? The Koch Brothers?  Mr. Arnott sounds like a tool of the 1%? With his insistence on cutting “entitlements” (I prefer to consider them as earned benefits) Mr. Arnott doesn’t seem to understand that Social Security DOESN’T contribute ONE dime to the deficit (its at $2 trillion surplus) and changes that the Administration made to medicare by cutting payments to providers that the programs has been extended for about 20 years. Oh yes, does either of your guests seem to realize that government spending is at its lowest point for over 40 years. If you really are serious about the deficit then you can cut defense spending (we outspend our nearest rival (China) by about 5 to 1. Or you could enact a 1% securities transaction fee like they have in Great Britain. Or you could the tax loophole for all assets held in overseas banks which the wealthy like Mitt Romney have been abusing for years. We have a jobs problem, not a spending problem! Both your guests seem to be elitist and seem to be repeating the same old supply side crap that has never worked!

    • StilllHere

      Your simplistic belief that we’re only being paid back what we paid in flies in the face of all reality.  Cutting defense sounds great, what would you do with all those laid off defense company employees and soldiers.  How much is a 1% transaction tax raising in the UK?  How many transactions have moved to exchanges outside of the UK?  When has government spending been a higher percentage of GDP?  What about Federal unfunded liabilities and off balance sheet items?  What loophole exists for assets held outside the US?  US taxpayers face prosecution for hiding income, no matter where it is generated.   

      We have a jobs problem and a spending problem.  We should work to address both.

  • http://www.facebook.com/archangel0628 John Herritt

    Oh yes, a good many “entitlements” ARE ALREADY means tested! What planet are your guests living on? Certainly not this one!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1273328048 Tomasina Covell

    Just another episode of On Point stacked replete with Neocons and Libertarians hammering the fascist agenda for the wealthy, this show needs to be burned down along with Fox and the rest and will complain to WUOM!

    • Fredlinskip

      Tell ‘em what you really think.
      Agreed this was not On Points best effort.
      Maybe they couldn’t get anyone not clueless on short notice, because of New Year’s hangovers.

      Diane Rehm show today was halfway informative- check it out.

    • StilllHere

      What facts did they get wrong?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shirley-Ugest/100000219060416 Shirley Ugest

    Wow. Tom’s guests ranged all the way from slash and burn “entitlements” hawks to laissez faire capitalists. Another balanced right wing regressive group of shills for billionaires.

  • Ken Schulz

    Just going to focus on one piece of foolishness, out of many – it’s a particular bugaboo of mine.
    Mr. Arnott, like a lot of economists and others who know beans about how real production systems work, makes the common mistake of equating ‘productivity’ with ‘working hard’. In fact, technological changes absolutely swamp any effect of individual motivation or even skill. Who is going to clear land faster, a ’40-year-old at his peak of productivity’ with an axe, or an OF with this bad boy: harvester.  Who will be working harder?
    As far as sources of future productivity growth, my money is on materials science, nanotechnology and perhaps self-assembling systems. If future productivity growth fails to keep up with historical trends, it will be because businesses are increasingly being run by financial types who underinvest in technology due to their willful ignorance of it (The German expression is Fachidiot).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shirley-Ugest/100000219060416 Shirley Ugest

    SOCIAL SECURITY HAS NOT ADDED TO THE DEBT. The SINGLE GREATEST driver of the federal debt is the Bush tax Cuts which Obama just made most of permanent. NPR stands for National Propaganda Radio. Propaganda for the rich.

    • Fredlinskip

      Some estimate cost of Iraq War at about 3 trillion or more.
      Perhaps the cost of both Wars of past 12 years?
       5 trillion a conservative estimate?

      I sometimes wish that our Prez would make a speech to America:
      Hey folks we just had 2 largely unfunded Wars. Do we pay for them or ask our children and Grandchildren?
       Everyone is going to have to kick in- May have to give up some benefits- may have to lower your standard of living a bit- but hey it’s the patriotic, responsible thing to do.

      • StilllHere

        Those are significant one time costs, but they will pale in comparison to the long-term costs of the Medicare drug benefit and PPACA.

        • jimino

          The war cost estimates are obviously far greater than even the highest current ones. You need to include lifelong care and disability costs for the close to half of Iraq and Afghan war vets who claim some sort of disability, as well as the drag on the economy and society stemming from that damage.  Since very few of them will have jobs with health insurance and a pension, thank God for the ACA and Social Security.

          • StilllHere

            Thousands of troops versus tens of millions of boomers, not even close.  Look at SS disability claims and the bulge of the boomers has even come close yet.

          • jimino

            More like hundreds of thousands of troops.  And unless I missed it we didn’t require them to pay 15.3% of their gross income to pay for the expected cost of their care.  Those obligations are totally unfunded.

            I think a lot of the increase in SS disability claims stems from older workers with manual-labor work history, who have sufficient work quarters in to qualify for traditional SS benefits, losing their jobs and the lower standard they face (compared to younger workers)  in meeting disability requirements.  They will transition to traditional retirement benefits when they reach 62.

            I agree that health care costs, regardless of how they’re paid, will be a huge burden as long as we pay twice what every other developed nation pays for this aspect of our economy.

    • pete18

      I hate to repeat myself, but…

      “”These Bush tax cuts did not explode the deficit, as Obama and his  echo chamber have alleged.  By 2007, the deficit was down to $160 billion, less than 15% of Obama’s deficits today.  Total
      federal revenues soared from $793.7 billion in 2003, when the last of the Bush tax cuts were enacted, to $1.16 trillion in 2007, a 47% increase. Capital gains revenues had doubled by 2005, despite the 25% capital gains rate cut adopted in 2003.  Federal revenues rose to 18.5% of GDP by 2007, above the long term, postwar, historical average over the prior 60 years.  CBO was projecting surpluses to return indefinitely in 2012 through the end of its projection period in 2018.Bush did increase federal spending as a percent of GDP by one-seventh, erasing the federal spending cuts enacted by the Republican Congressional majorities in the 1990s.  But even with that, deficits  during the Bush years averaged just 2% of GDP, one-third less than the average over the prior 50 years.  President Obama’s deficits have averaged 5 times as much, at 9.1% of GDP.”http://www.forbes.com/sites/pe…

      • Gregg Smith

        The tax cut lie is one that has been repeated until believed. It’s amazingly untrue and astonishingly unquestioned.

        • Ray in VT

          I find the argument that the tax cuts were not a major driver of the debt and deficits to be an amazingly untrue and astonishingly unquestioned lie pushed by the right.

          • Gregg Smith

            Maybe, but revenue growing over a half trillion over 4 years after the tax cuts is what it is. 

          • Ray in VT

            True, but it is also true that under higher rates during the Clinton years revenue grew by 500 billion over 4 years, and that 2003 number was the low point after 3 straight years of revenue declines, despite the fact that GDP never stopped growing.

            I also take issue with some of the numbers and how they are presented in the source that pete18 cites.  “Total
            federal revenues soared from $793.7 billion in 2003″ is not true, and citing the 18.5% of GDP in 2007 number and saying that that is above the previous 50 year average is true but misleading.  While it was the Bush high water mark, it was still below the number from FY 1996-2000, and the average revenue under Bush was well below that of any of the previous 3 presidents.

          • pete18

             None of your corrections, even if true, change the fact that the Bush tax cuts did not create the deficits.

          • Ray in VT

            My corrections are true, but feel free to check the historic budget tables here if you wish to verify the numbers:

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

            That Forbes would allow such shoddy numbers to be published under its name leads me to question if someone is asleep at the switch over there.

            The fact remains that under Bush tax policies the share of GDP that the Federal government collected declined for 4 straight years, and even at its peak failed to match the lowest year of Clinton’s second term.  If we had continued to collect at a rate similar to the Clinton years, then significantly more revenue would have been collected.

            Now, a good part of the debts and deficits from those years also came from unfunded wars and the costs associated with changing demographics, which we should have paid for/accounted for, but we blew it.  So that needs to be a part of the discussion as well.

          • Gregg Smith

            I hate these debates because they are not valid. I always end up here. Looking at tax rates in a bubble and discerning meaning is futile. My point is simply they did not cost us money or revenue would have gone down. I don’t know how to make that point without implying revenue went up because of the cuts although it may be true. 

            Revenue grew in the 90′s but we had welfare reform and balanced budgets and a massive Tech bubble. We cut Cap Gains taxes. That clinton raised the to rate did not hurt us because the economy was strong. Deficits don’t matter if they are fiscally prudent. Yes, revenue went down after the tech bubble burst on 3/10/2000. We were in recession when Bush took office. And then 9/11. The rates  (except for the poor) were not lowered until 2003.

            I’ll let Pete defend his numbers and have no doubt he can. I’ll just say there has never been in the history of the universe more revenue than in 2007.

            BTW, how’s the weather up there?

          • Ray in VT

            I disagree with many of your points.  One could also argue, though, that the 18.5% is also not a valid number because it existed in the context of the stock market and housing bubble that then existed.  So perhaps the 16.2 in 2003 and 16.1 number in 2004 would be better representation of those tax choices.

            The Tech bubble burst in March of 2000, and the economy continued to grow.  There were two quarters in 2001 where GDP went negative, but the economy grew in 2002, and revenues still went down.  My point would be that tax policy under Bush was designed to bring in less revenue, unless one believes that tax cuts create growth, and I think that that argument is flawed.

            Now, lower revenue as a percentage of GDP wouldn’t be a problem if we had continued to control spending, but that was not done.  We spent as a government, and we spent as a people.  One of the bright spots of the recession is that people have paid off some of that personal debt that they ran up over the years.

            Spending is certainly a part of it, and I will not argue against that, but I do not agree that the Bush deficits were fiscally responsible.  I don’t think that the current ones are either, but I think that they were especially more justifiable during the recession.  Now, times aren’t great, but I think that the fact remains that even with controlled spending current tax policies will not produce the sort of percentages that would be needed to cover spending and pay down the debt.

            As for the weather, it is cold.  Very cold.  It was somewhere in the range of -15 at my house last night, but it’s going to break and be more seasonable.  The first part of December was much warmer than normal, so it lulled a lot of people into a false sense of security on that front.  How’s it down there?

          • Gregg Smith

            I don’t want to argue but tax policy under Bush was designed to spur economic growth and it did. Unemployment went down and revenue went up for years after the rates were lowered in 2003. We can debate it until the cows come home (in honor of your brother) but the numbers say the cuts did not cost us revenue.

            It’s cloudy and 40ish here. It’s getting into the mid 20′s at night. I don’t know how you live up there but I know you love it.

          • Ray in VT

            I hate those small boxes below, so I’ll respond here instead.

            There was growth after the rate cuts, but there was also growth before them.  There were a couple of big spikes in quarterly growth, but there was quite a bit of growth that is now described as pathetic by conservatives (some sub 2% and .1 in what is I think 4th quarter of 2006).

            The fact is that the share of national revenue collected went severely down, and the growth in absolute numbers failed to keep up with massive increases in expenditures for military adventures, domestic security and the aging population.  No matter how you slice it, the share went down, and growth wasn’t that great, especially if you want to talk about it being in a era of a bubble.

            I certainly agree, that we can, and some will, argue about this until the cows come home or until we, or others, are blue in the face, but people will believe what they choose regardless of what data shows.

            I do like the cold, and it’s easily bearable when it’s above zero.  It gives my wife an extra reason to want to cuddle up, and I’m hoping that we have a good ski season to bring in the tourists.  I’m also hoping to break out the old toboggan next week and take my oldest son sledding (if he’s well enough behaved between now and then to justify it).  I can’t stand the heat, and I think that anything above 70 is too hot.  You’re kind of out towards the Appalachians right?  So how hot does it get there?  Do you get the 100 degree weather and/or humidity?  My friends and I went to Fredericksburg a few years ago to walk the battlefields, and the nighttime low was about 88 with high humidity.  I don’t know how people deal with that.

          • Gregg Smith

            I was born and raised in Florida so the heat doesn’t bother me as much as the cold.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001048219334 Vic Volpe

            It took Bush five years to get the revenues up to where they were during the Clinton years.  http://vicpsu.blogspot.com/2012/12/economics-without-bs-clinton-bush-years.html

          • Gregg Smith

            Tech bubble, 9/11.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001048219334 Vic Volpe

            Tech bubble??? 9-1??  Hardly anything that should have set the economy back by 5 years.  These were considered mild recessiions — look at the data.

          • Gregg Smith

            up.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        If the deficit was down it was due to the mortgage bubble, brought about by voodoo deregulation. Then the economy crashed, which is the #1 cause of the current deficit. What is so hard to understand: deficits rise in crashes, they rise even more in “systemic banking crashes”.

        I hate to repeat myself, but….from day 1 of BHO’s presidency, the Bush wars, Bush tax cuts, Bush medicare D that can’t negotiate price, and, above all, the wreckage of the Bush crash, have been running up the deficit. If you want to blame BHO, blame him for not instituting progressive policies and reversing the horrible Bush legacy fast enough…but you won’t do that.

        ps the deficit is no big deal. It’s mainly used as a scare tactic to convince the middle class to give up what they’ve won since 1929. Here’s a nice quote from R Borosage:

        “At the end of World War II, our debt burden was about 125% of GDP – far higher than it is now.  Yet our leaders were focused on how to put the GIs back to work and avoid a return to the Depression.  So they enacted the GI bill to educate a generation.  They subsidized housing and built the suburbs.  They converted wartime industries to peacetime development.  They launched the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe and create markets.  They built the interstate highway system to pave way for a national market.  They fought over deficits and budgets, but they did what needed to be done. And they built the first broad middle class in the world’s history that made America exceptional.
        They fixed the economy.  They generally ran deficits and added to the nominal debt.  But the economy grew far faster and by 1980, the debt was down to below 40% of GDP and not a concern.  They are remembered as the great generation.  We might learn a thing or two from them.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001048219334 Vic Volpe

        Forbes?  Try this link for a sum up of the Bush 43 and Clinton years…
        http://vicpsu.blogspot.com/2012/12/economics-without-bs-clinton-bush-years.html
        Hardly a record of real GDP growth after massive tax cuts.

        Where did the Bush tax cuts come from…
        http://vicpsu.blogspot.com/2012/12/economics-without-bs-bush-tax-cuts.html

        A few more facts about the Bush 43 — and Clinton years….
        http://vicpsu.blogspot.com/2012/12/economics-without-bs.html

        How soon we forget our history.

        • Gregg Smith

          Hopefully you’ll find this up here. I disagree, the tech bubble was huge and the WTC was the center of the financial universe. How many jobs were lost that day? My view is the Bush tax cuts made the recession shallow. I also think Obamacare, new regulations and the “stimulus” made the Bush recession much much worse and prolonged the pain. The only ones who got a break in 2001 were the poor and that did cost revenue but it was needed relief. However the confidence inspired by a 10 year deal was a significant help. In 2003 the rest of the rates were lowered and the unemployment rate went down for 52 months. Revenue increased by over a half trillion dollars by 2007.

          But look at the inverse. Do you really dispute the tech bubble was a major contributor to Clinton’s revenue? How about the Cap gains cuts? How about six million people being kicked off of welfare and entering the workforce to pay taxes? How about the spending levels of the Clinton years? Do you give any credit to Newt, the Contract with America and a President who payed attention to the will of the people?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001048219334 Vic Volpe

            Throughout Bush’s whole eight years we never got anywhere near full employment, good economic growth (never got to 4% — regardless of your comment on 2007 — look at historical data going back to 1930), or good utilitzation of the investment dollar domestically (from our firms) — although we continued to attract overseas investment — this is a period where we are considered under invested.  Another reason why we are doing so poorly now.
            The tech bubble helped the Clinton years; but, the info tech helped to bring efficiencies into the workplace.  We had over 20 million jobs created (not the best jobs but at least as good as Bush) under Clinton — 8 million during Bush. The tax cuts under Clinton rolled over into the Bush Admin — but what a dismal performance. 
             Newt gets no credit. Look at my post for where did the surplus come from — Social Security Trust Fund Surplus, not from the operational budget, Congress continued to spend under Republicans. 
            I could go on and on — and I suppose you could also.  We have two different visions of America.

          • Gregg Smith

            What I wrote as true. By May of 2007 it was 4.4%. It corresponded almost exactly with the cuts. Within a month the rate began to go down. I never said we reached 4%. Are you considering 4% full employment? Many do, I do. 4.4% is pretty good. I’ve used this analogy regarding the number of jobs: What is more impressive, finding a needle in a haystack or finding 100 in a needle factory?

            The Unemployment rate was 7.3% when Clinton took office. Please tell me what policies Clinton enacted that lowered it. But don’t use the 6 million out of welfare into work unless you give Newt a little love, otherwise it’s not credible.

            I don’t know how you can dismiss welfare reform and balanced budgets. Clinton’s own budget in 1993 had 
            $200 billion deficits as far as the eye could see but 1994 changed that. It took 5 attempts before they settled on a budget. Clinton vetoed welfare reform over and over but they worked it out.The cap gains cut brought in huge revenue and the data bears that out.

            But you’re right, I could go all day. The thing is by any measure things are worse now under Obama. It’s 4 years in, he needs to stop blaming Bush.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001048219334 Vic Volpe

            The growth rates under Bush never got to 4% and unemployment never under 5%
            http://vicpsu.blogspot.com/2012/12/economics-without-bs.html

            The recessions back in 1973/74 with the oil embargo and the Reagan recession in his first couple of years were more serious than anything Bush faced, and we had good recoveries (even factoring out inflation) back then.
            http://vicpsu.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-bs-economic-historical-data-1974-to.html

            Bush got the economy into a rut and Obama doesn’t know how to get us out of the rut.

          • Gregg Smith

            You seem knowledgeable so you must have erred. I’ll give you a chance to correct.

            Unemployment certainly did get below 5% under Bush. I am guessing you are talking about annual GDP but you did say “never”.  Not true, it was above 5% and way over 6% for at least a couple of quarters. I made no claims about GDP.

            Sorry Bush is irrelevant, so is Clinton. I don’t want to chase the debate back any further. 

            Obama has never had an Unemployment rate under 7.8%! He’s never had GDP over 4.1% but that was an anomaly. The second quarter of 2011 was 0.1%! It was higher a year earlier, that’s on him.

            I no longer know what your point is. Mine is simply that the tax cuts did not do us harm and are certainly not affecting us now.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001048219334 Vic Volpe

            You are right on unemployment…
            http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsa2011.pdf

            It averaged over 5% for the 8 years — he had three years just under 5%.  No clear definition of full employment, but as I remember during Clinton’s years — it got to 3.8% I believe during the year listed at 4% and Greenspan testified before Congress that we were approaching full employment, 3.25 to 3.5.
            GDP growth is important.  With vigorous growth we can get out of many of our problems — but that is futile with this Admin and any Republicans that are around.

          • Gregg Smith

            Your Republican dig aside, I agree. It’s about growth not tax rates.

      • Fredlinskip

        “Bush tax cuts did not explode the deficit…  By 2007, the deficit was down to $160 billion…”Yes we were in a huge BUBBLE (as in economy with  no foundation) until 2007.
        Then reality set in…
         and we teetered on the edge of a 2nd Great Depression-
        Which apparently you approve of. 

        Forbes and their ilk who had many believing that sending jobs overseas and justifying salaries many hundreds of times as employees producing the goods, was good for American economy is in large part the reason our economy is where it is today.

      • Fredlinskip

        Bush left a deficit for 2008 of $454.8 billion and a broken economy and a tarp program guaranteed to cause it to increase further. 

  • JGC

    Are all Libertarians pessimistic, or are all pessimists Libertarian?  After an hour of listening to the soothing, dejected musings of Robert Arnott, I was ready to shuffle back to my LaZBoy, hide in my Snuggie and suck my thumb.  

  • http://twitter.com/grassfedorganic Rocky Mtn Org Meats

    Energy cost will always be a drag on growth. Your economy needs to be based on transparency and parity. Trading paper for energy is not transparent nor has parity. A calorie based economy would create more transparency and parity and begin to bring life on earth back into balance.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    This could be the future, oh I mean 2013 ! This short film shows a light “beam” being used to rotate and move a piece of graphite ! Imagine being able to store solar energy in a flywheel by this method or even turning screws ! Very interesting and short film.

    http://www.kurzweilai.net/optical-motion-control-of-maglev-graphite

  • http://twitter.com/grassfedorganic Rocky Mtn Org Meats

    Rob Arnott believe that where you be is where you be. He lives in his own simple world and has no reality. The system is so broken that the main game is going to be just keeping the faith, faith in paper. Productivity does not create energy. Productivity does not create resources. Productivity does not create more time. So to say productivity is the answer is saying entropy is reversible.
       

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    This jerk, says if you have “means” you should not qualify for Soc. Sec, or Medicare. So, in other words, I should work hard to be a low life deadbeat and not try or work towards saving and investing, so that I will be able to qualify to receive the aid necessary to allow me to retire and face my last days in the healthiest manner possible. Sorry, folks, this man is not thinking correctly, at a basic level.

    • StilllHere

      Exactly right, we’re going to pervert incentives yet again, creating moral hazards all the while.  Those who do the right thing will get shafted.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      You got it.

      Means testing is the first step to making the word “SocSec” ring with the distasteful echo of “yknowforpoorpeopleyou’renotpoorareyou?”, on the way to the goal of dismantling SocSec.

      Given how many rich people were able to get non-rich suckers to buy their crap about so much in the last three years, I can see it coming from here. Rich people not receiving their SocSec is the foot in the door of low-information voters wanting to stop SocSec. So, no means testing of it, please.

      (For comparison, see the use of the words “welfare” starting in the 70s and “entitlements” starting about the 90s.)

  • JGC

    OK, job seekers, here is a possible employment opportunity for you in the new year:  The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is accepting job applications at USAJOBS.  It is a facility located in Lewisville, TX, and is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.  After almost $500,000,000 in (undisclosed) donations, the Library plans its opening in Spring 2013.  It will be second in size only to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Will there be a test? I don’t suppose that if I hate modern art I would get a job as a docent at MOMA or MassMOCA. Do I need to hate math and science to get a job at the GWB Library?

    • Fredlinskip

      They should open a National “How Reagan and W exploded the National Debt” museum. 
      By combining the data from both administrations in ONE museum, taxpayers could save some $.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001048219334 Vic Volpe

    We do not need Government to shrink.  We have sooo… much to do – not for a Welfare Society, for a productive society.  1% growth???  An expectations gap???  A productive society involved in real space exploration, research in medicine, biology, our infrastructure for productive enterprises – transportation, energy, utilities, research, and education.  See my blog, ‘Breaking Bread: The Staff Of Life —  Economics Without the B.S.’ http://vicpsu.blogspot.com/2013/01/economics-without-bs-manufacturing-part.html
    You say 1, 2% growth???  We need at least 4% growth.  Labor shortages in the future???  Yeh! If you have your way.  I say “What labor shortages!”  With an improved immigration policy and taping into the labor glut in the global economy, not to mention full employment here at home for all those folks who dropped out of the labor market or are working in jobs not utilizing their skills – a labor shortage, are you kidding me?
    Where will this money come from for reinvestment in our infrastructure?  It can come from our Government – see some of my other posts on the blog.  It can come from Corporate America, right now sitting on over $2 trillion in cash.  We have our Federal Reserve system (that the Libertarians want to do away with) with over $1.4 trillion available for investment (source: Richard Fisher of the Federal Reserve at Dallas).  Hardly a dearth of resources to get the economy primed for full growth.
    Is this what future the Libertarians have in store for us?  Let’s stop listening to accountants.  We need leaders in our Society that will unlock our productive resources and turn our visionaries loose.

    • Gregg Smith

      The best way to unlock our productive resources and turn our visionaries loose is for government to get out of the way.

      • Fredlinskip

        Why did founding fathers want a government anyway?
        Bunch of Comi deadbeats, I reckon.

        • Gregg Smith

          Less government does not mean no government. The founders limited the powers of government to a few enumerated items. They gave the power to the people. They did not say what government must do, they mainly said what it cannot do.

  • Prairie_W

    After reading 65noname and subsequent protests (with which I completely agree!) against On Point’s choice of panelists/guests, maybe we should go back to the real issue.  Our votes are being diluted in elections by gerrymandering and other devices.  But we still have other “votes,” the most powerful of which, in a money-driven society, is our spending. 

    It may sound cruel, but don’t send your money to BUR — divert it to other public radio stations that you believe are doing a better job.  About maybe six years ago I stopped being a “member” of my local TX public radio station, which was doing a lousy job, and divided my  membership money among other public radio stations online (including BUR until Tom had interrupted a guest one time too many) and on satellite radio.  There’s a lot of first-rate programming out there!  Rethinking membership money is a tiny attempt at avoiding being “guilted” into a contribution by second raters when there are so many first-rate choices. It’s a way of saying a genuine “thank you” to public radio broadcasters and producers who, for the most part, do a stellar job. And a heads-up for the station that finds itself with less support.

    And the same with other corporations.  Whether we’re talking about the right’s ALEC* corporate supporters or corporate environmental villains, use dollars as votes whenever possible, not stopping because you don’t see immediate results.

    WBUR doesn’t seem to put its financial statement on line, though I may have missed a link.  However, they do list their board, their “executive council” members.  Contact them.

    Also, it’s not unlikely that every other possible guest was unavailable due to New Year’s eve’s toll on the body politic and that On Point had to fall back on Arnott and Swonk.  Who knows.

    *American Legislative Exchange Council

    • StilllHere

      Excellent solution.  Avoid opinions you don’t agree with and ignore facts not to your liking.  Find a comfortable echo chamber.

      • Prairie_W

         No.  Choose openness and intellectual integrity over lazy programming.

      • Prairie_W

         Oh, and Current has just been bought out by Al Jazeera, I believe.  Al Jazeera, by the way, has really good news reports on TV.  Things are often quite different from expectations!

        • StilllHere

          By really good, I’m guessing you mean you agree with the editorial content or lazy programming presented.

          • Prairie_W

             Trying verifying, not assuming.

    • Gregg Smith

      How about we just stop funding them with tax payer money?

      • Prairie_W

         Okay.  But it’s a very small part of the total (11%, I believe, at most) when we could have a lot more influence with our contributions.

        • 65noname

          we have absolutely no influence with “with our contributions” except to stop those contributions. And that time has more than come.  NPR has made it absolutely clear that it only responses to congress and institutions of power not the average listener and/or listener.  For instance, try getting an adequate response from the omsbudperson: when the critique seems to come from the left of center, it is ignored.  when it comes from the center or right it is pandered to.

          • Prairie_W

             Yup.  The ombudsperson is useless in my experience, too!  That’s what I think withholding money (and/or investing it in other stations or producers that are better) is important.  Like anything, it works better when we all do it. So do it.  But isn’t it preferable to leave the left/right stuff out and talk about quality of programming?  I don’t have any problem when someone whose politics I don’t agree with makes a good point or contributes light where there’s been mostly heat.  But a discussion takes a real hit when the guests are badly chosen, like Arnott/Swonk.

            Callers who challenge the guests are important, too. The Diane Rehm show this morning  (1/3) was unusually good in part because one guests, a blowhard, was successfully challenged by one or two callers and actually went on to contribute more to the program than he had.

            http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2013-01-03/coming-battle-over-spending-cuts-and-national-debt

          • 65noname

            But the problem is NOT the quality of their guests; its the singular point of view of their guests.  Yesterday’s spin meisters were perfectly fine presenters of a certain point of view, that the problem with the world is that governemnts spend too much money on socvial needs.

            The problem is that governemnt radio refuses to present the opposite point view.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            NPR was great once but now is a member in good standing of the righty corporate media. For example, they’re just as hysterical about the big bad deficit and as the washington post, and they agree with all the other parrots about the need for “entitlement reform”.

        • Gregg Smith

          True, why don’t we subsidize Rush Limbaugh just a smidgeon? What difference would it make?

          I think the pledge drives are tedious but I support the effort and tactic. I agree we have more influence with our dollars of choice than with the ones we have no say in.

          • Ray in VT

            Because the CPB is a worthwhile venture that seeks to promote arts, culture and news in a noncommercial format, and the other is poorly packaged “entertainment” that has little to no social function or value.

          • Gregg Smith

            I could not disagree more but I was just making a point. I don’t advocate any pubic funding of any media.

          • Ray in VT

            I believe in the positive power of institutions, and I feel that public-private partnerships like the CPB can, and in this case do, serve a very useful societal function.

          • Gregg Smith

            And I think it’s tax funded propaganda. It’s totally outmoded. There are a gazillion networks on TV and Radio surviving in the marketplace.

    • Fredlinskip

      It’s just one (New Year’s hangover) show!
      If we all had held congress fiscally accountable during boom years…,
      as you wish BUR is accountable for putting out a GREAT show every time,..
       there may have been no need for a “fiscal cliff” show.

  • Gregg Smith
    • Fredlinskip

      If GOP House wackos attempt to use debt ceiling as bargaining chip, I believe you may be right.

      • Gregg Smith

        The article blamed the meaningless cliff deal.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Nobody cares what the RICO ratings agencies say. Did you note the effect the last downgrade had on US borrowing costs? You can be excused if you didn’t, as it was zero, or actually negative. The world is telling us to take their money.

      Since you like anecdotes so much, I’ll tell you that my euro and asian friends want no part of the US health care system. They consider it a horrible joke.

      • Gregg Smith

        Nobody cares what I say either but I predicted it… if it happens.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Now now, everyone cares about what you say, Gregg.

          Prediction noted.

          As Fred said, if the TeaOP holds the USA hostage, it wouldn’t surprise me. Even tho IMO BHO caved on the cliff deal, they appear to be on the warpath for more cuts, so in that sense it would be because of the deal, and the insanity.

          I really wish BHO would go the 14′th amendment route “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” Just ignore the ceiling. No chance with such a center-right wimp however.

          • Gregg Smith

            I think we should hit the ceiling and deal with it now that this self-imposed cliff debacle is over. That would give a shot of confidence to the world. But that’s just me.

          • Ray in VT

            Would that mean only paying out what comes in, and if so, then how would you decide what to cut and how would you deal with the shock to the system that such a massive, rapid reduction to government spending would create?  I think that such an outcome would be quite bad for the country and the economy, but that’s just me.

          • Gregg Smith

            That’s my opinion, we have 2 months to brace for it.

          • jimino

            Should we stop paying the bills due in Tea Party districts first?  I would go along with that.  It would put to the test their contention that government spending doesn’t do any good.   Most of them run a tax-payment  v. tax-receipt deficit anyway so this would help equal things out.  Failing that, who gets to decide which obligations, all of which have already been approved by Congress, do not get paid?

          • TomK_in_Boston

            I vividly remember the pictures of angry TeaOP geezers on SS and medicare demanding gub’mint get off their backs.

          • Gregg Smith

            Your point?

          • Gregg Smith

            If there was no way to raise it then it would be dealt with. It’s possible but unfortunately it takes pressure like that to get anything done. This deal did nothing to help us.

  • hennorama

    Comparing two countries:

    .                                   Country A             Country B
    GDP real growth 2011       3.1%                     1.8%

    Inflation (CPI)                    2.5%                      1.6%

    Unemployment:                 6.9%                      7.8%

    Per capita GDP                $38,100                $48,300

    Annual work hours             1,436                     1,804

    Paid Vacation days                35                         13

    Total tax burden         37 percent of GDP    32 percent(all levels)

    Govt spending            48 percent of GDP    42 percent(all levels)

    National deficit           1.7 percent of GDP    9 percent(2011)

    Public debt                 81 percent of GDP 100 percent of GDP

    Health care coverage        Universal                 84%

    Life expectancy               80.19 years            78.49

    Literacy                           99%                       99%

    Which one might you prefer?  Country A is Germany; Country B is the U.S.

    Sources:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_revenue_as_percentage_of_GDP#cite_note-1

    http://www.heritage.org/index/Ranking.aspx

    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart

    http://www.salon.com/2010/08/25/german_usa_working_life_ext2010/

    http://www.vpcalendar.net/average-vacation-days-by-country.html

    http://www.ifitweremyhome.com/compare/US/DE

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gm.html

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html

    • Gregg Smith

      My dear friends from Germany just became American citizens a few months ago. They want no part of Germany although it’s looking better all the time compared to Obama’s America. When Obama tried to get Merkel to follow his lead economically she told him to pound sand. That was smart.

      • jefe68

        What do two people you know from Germany have to do with the rest of that nations population in regards to the comparison posted above?

        Then you contradict yourself by praising Merkel and criticizing Obama all the while you are praising the US through the act of your German friends.

         

        • Ray in VT

          I think that it is a bit like Allen West saying that there aren’t any problems with long lines at the polls because he didn’t have to wait when he went.

          Also, let us rejoice, for he was been liberated from the public payroll and returned to the private sector on this day.

          • Gregg Smith

            He was targeted and gerrymandered out. It’s a shame. He’s a good man.

          • Ray in VT

            Now, according to an article that I found here:

            http://miami.cbslocal.com/2011/11/28/florida-senate-draws-congressional-lines/

            the new Florida Congressional districts were drawn by the Senate, which was 28-12 Republican last term, so are you alleging that the Florida GOP gerrymandered out one of their own?

            I found his post election conduct to be borderline disgraceful.  Did he ever call his opponent to concede, or has he walked back his comments regarding how his opponent beat him by cheating, as quoted here:

            http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/12/10/1308921/allen-west-cheating/

            I’m glad to see him go, along with Walsh, and I would have also been quite happy if the voters of Iowa and Minnesota had returned King and Bachmann, but one can’t have it all.

          • Gregg Smith

            Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Remember it was the establishment Florida GOP who backed Crist over Rubio. Crist is now a Democrat. That tells you all you need to know. As you know I’m not a Republican but I endorse the takeover of the Republican party by the Tea Party. They are pushing back.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, do you have any evidence to back up your allegation?  One thing that Crist’s defection tells me, along with the fact that West’s primary opponent, a 30 year Republican, turned and backed Murphy due to West’s conduct in the primary and actions towards him, tells me a lot more about Allen West, the Tea Party and the direction that they are taking the GOP.  Let them run as hard to the right as they want.  I’ll be more than happy to let them drive the moderates to the Democrats.

          • Gregg Smith

            Sure, I’ll take the results of 2010 over the squishy 2008 and 2012 candidates any day. 

            I can google you a link but it’s old news. It’s out there and not a secret, look it up. West was targeted.It may be more accurate to say he wasn’t protected. Either way.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m sure that you would take the 2010 candidates over the 2008 and 2012 ones, but, let’s face it, a number of those 2010 candidates went down in 2012 when more people turned out, as well as being given a couple of years to make a series of outrageous statements.

            I know that West was targeted by the Democrats, and he certainly gave them plenty of fodder, but he also had a large war chest, spending $18.1 million and lost.  Maybe the electorate just decided that they guy is an inflammatory jerk.  Take a look at the 2010 election return maps.  Other GOP candidates also did poorly in 2012.  It was a bad year for them, and having an extreme ideologue didn’t help their cause in that particular race.

          • Gregg Smith

            It was impossible for him to win in that district.

          • MordecaiCarroll

            Allen West “was forced out of the Army for beating a man in Iraq.
            After West grew suspicious that an Iraqi policeman was helping
            terrorists, he ordered his men to abuse the soldier before personally
            firing his pistol past his head to, well, fearmonger and intimidate the
            suspect into giving up information. The man was never linked to any
            attacks and West didn’t just own up to his actions, he campaigned on them.”

            http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/07/rep-west-discharged-from-army-for-abusing-an-iraqi-tells-obama-intimidation-is-wrong.php

            http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/27/politics/27WEST.html?pagewanted=all

            He’s an irrational hothead.  A “good man” he is not. 

          • Gregg Smith

            That’s why I like him, he’s a hero. He saved lives, the guy talked after the bullet wizzed by. Would you have let your soldiers die?

          • MordecaiCarroll

            I guess you missed the section of the quote that states that the man West fired his gun at “was never linked to any attacks”. 

            Also, the Army didn’t seem to think much of West’s behavior:

            “The Army decided against court-martialing him, but he was fined $5,000,
            submitted his resignation and retired with full benefits, The New York
            Times reported.”Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/81916.html#ixzz2GxAeX3UI

          • Gregg Smith

            I did not read your links because I am very familiar with the story. Thanks for saving me the trouble of telling you he got his pension and was not court martialled.

        • Gregg Smith

          My friends know quite bit after living there all their lives. They are the first generation to come here in their family. All their people are still there and they spend much time there.

          My point about Merkel is Germany is doing better than most of Europe, that doesn’t mean Germany is a bowl of cherries. The fact that she did not take Obama’s advise is a reason why they are doing better than those countries who did.

          Hennorama chose data to meet his agenda and he/she also used Obama’s America to compare to Merkel’s non-Obama Germany.

          Germany is moving away from Nucular power and that’s huge mistake. Energy cost have soared and will continue to do so. Hennorama didn’t use criteria like that. 

          I haven’t spent a lot of time in Germany but what I notice is an orderly compliant society but there is no magic in their eyes. There is no outlet for innovation and passion. They dutifully punch the clock and government keeps them placated. That’s not freedom to me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001048219334 Vic Volpe

      Good comparison.  And Germany is a country that has always pushed manufacturing.  I was stationed in Germany for almost three years while I was in the Army during the 60′s.

      • hennorama

        Vic Volpe – TY for your reply. I thought it was interesting to make the comparisons.

        There are tradeoffs, obviously. Germans pay more in taxes as a share of GDP, for example. But they get more, too. Free education through the university level, universal health coverage (not all govt. paid), greater worker rights and benefits, job training and retraining, etc. Not all of this is paid by the government, but it’s interesting.

        Germans work about 80% of the hours Americans do, and their per capita GDP tracks this, at about 80% of the US level. They live longer, and get more paid time off.

        Germany is a far less diverse country compared to the US, however. And it’s a much smaller country in both population and land area, which makes these outcomes easier to produce. The absorption of East Germany has been disruptive but also invigorating.

        But overall, the standard of living is comparable, with more free time and longer lives..

        • OnPointComments

          You beat me to the punch before I could post this reply:
           
          Are we going to change the US to get the other German demographics and statistics too?  First, we’ll split the US into 28 different countries that each is about the same size as Germany.  I’m sure some goals will be easier to achieve when the land area is smaller.  Other goals may be more achievable if the US population is as racially homogeneous as Germany is, so we’ll deport 15 million minorities.  Religious demographics is a tougher problem, but we know we need to start by deporting the 6 million Jews, and getting rid of a lot of Christians.  Maybe we’ll finish with religion later.  When we get race and religion more like Germany’s, we’ll want to dramatically decrease immigration so that the demographics don’t get screwed up again.
           
          On second thought, maybe there are some tradeoffs that come with size and diversity that are worth it.

          • hennorama

            OPC – TY for your thoughts. Indeed, differences abound, most especially the diversity differences. I’m not arguing for or against either Germany or the US, just presenting some comparisons. The uniqueness of each country is clear.

            Before I forget – another difference – Germany uses about 1/2 as much energy per capita compared to the US – 174.3 million BTU vs. 330.4 million (2008 annual usage).

            Clearly, Germany’s much greater population density (600 vs. 80/sq. mi.) and superior mass transit have much to do with this. However they also have significant enrgy use from the heavy manufacturing and chemical industries, and lie in northern latitudes (about 47 to 54 degrees north).

            Source:http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s1383.pdf

          • Gregg Smith

            It’s mainly a result of very high energy cost. They wear coats indoors. They ride bikes to work in the rain. 

          • Ray in VT

            They actually go out in the rain!  Egads!  Whoever would want to get exercise while getting to work, or, worse yet, take public transportation!

          • Gregg Smith

            It’s beautiful until you have no choice. 

          • Ray in VT

            So Germans can’t drive their cars to work?

          • Gregg Smith

            Not if theycan’tafford $7.74/gal.

          • Mike_Card

            And don’t forget:  Germany would be in Canada, if it were in North America.  The weather there sucks for a really long time.

          • hennorama

            Mike – Yep (as noted above).  Colder climate in Germany vs. US, yet they use half the energy.  (Canada uses about 28% more than the US).

            Don’t Canadians  call their climate “6 months of hockey and 6 months of bad ice?”

          • Gregg Smith

            ..

          • Fredlinskip

            Legitimate points, 

            …but let’s not become so blinded by our views of “American Exceptionalism” that we can’t learn positive lessons from other societies/nations.

          • hennorama

            Fredlinskip – one lesson the US might learn from Germany is in the way German companies and government work together to maintain their competitiveness through worker training.

            This is part of a post from August 2012:

            “After the German equivalant of high school, students apply to a private company for a two or three year training contract. If accepted, the government supplements the trainee’s on-the-job learning with more broad-based education in his or her field of choice at a publicly funded vocational school. Usually, trainees spend three to four days at work and one to two in the classroom. At the end, the theory goes, they come out with both practical and technical skills to compete in a global market, along with a good overall perspective on the nature of their profession. They also receive a state certificate for passing company exams, a credential that allows them to transfer to similar businesses if the training company doesn’t keep them beyond the initial contract.

            Keep in mind that the students are being paid during this time by the training company.  Also, this prevents students from entering school without job prospects, since they aren’t admitted unless an employer has offered a training contract.”

            http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/08/06/retraining-programs#comment-611613160

        • Gregg Smith

          Do you think making employers pay people  for not working (“more paid time off”) helps create jobs?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001048219334 Vic Volpe

            Gregg — the employers take off along with their employees.  Go over to Germany and enjoy.  If you are young enough, enlist in the military — they need good people.

          • Gregg Smith

            Maybe I’m inferring too much but it seems to me the argument is Germans have it better that Americans. I don’t agree but we won’t settle that.

            If the topic is the economy, ours is struggling. The last thing America needs right now is more vacation time, to force businesses to pay people not to work and for employers to shut down willy nilly. 

          • Mike_Card

            It would seem to work that way in northern Europe.  The converse would suggest that no time off is better for job creation–I don’t think you’d buy off on that notion, either.

            My experience is the same as Mr. Volpe’s, above.  The culture IS different, and has not converged with the US in the past 40 years.

            If it weren’t for the ever-so-effective fear lobby in the US, we could jettison NATO and let Europe pay it’s way.  Our defense industry refuses to de-couple from Uncle Sugar.

          • Gregg Smith

            How about not proposing more or less time off? How about letting businesses run their own business? 

            I agree, we are not Germany. I don’t want to be. It’s apples and oranges.

  • http://twitter.com/milo9 milo9

    Cut the BS Rob, if Germany can maintain a dignified life for it’s seniors, why can’t we? Dammit man, we’re Americans we should have the best. Rob’s problem is that he doesn’t remember the lessons of history. Step on the working class hard enough and there will be a backlash. Few will get rich in the midst of social upheaval.

  • MordecaiCarroll

    Couldn’t we have gotten some other perspectives for this conversation to participate alongside Arnott and Swonk?  Both guests strike me as being “Free Market – Rah Rah Rah!” types. 

    I think it’s fine to provide the pro-Free Market perspective, but the conversation would be greatly enriched by including other guests offering other points of view.

    • Fredlinskip

      Judging by numerous other posts , most would be inclined to agree; although many don’t put it quite so politely

    • Orlando Vidali

      I agree – no mention (unless I completely missed if) of our ability right now to invest in our infrastructure to improve productivity / spur growth … for christ’s sake we borrow at next to NOTHING – it’s the perfect time to invest in the country.

      • Gregg Smith

        We did that already, didn’t we? How many times did Obama say “shovel ready jobs” when touting his “stimulus”? It was a lie and he even joked about it later. It’s not a joke.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJrdoGxCTzM

  • Fredlinskip

    In response to Pete 18 below, who wrote:
    “I hate to repeat myself, but… ‘These Bush tax cuts did not explode the deficit, as Obama and his  echo chamber have alleged.  By 2007, the deficit was down to $160 billion, less than 15% of Obama’s deficits today.’”

    Bush left a deficit for 2008 of $454.8 billion- and a broken economy and TARP program guaranteed to cause it to increase further.He also left 10 trillion national debt- more than all previous admins combined.

    And very poor job growth

    That’s part of the legacy of the W tax cuts.

    • Gregg Smith

      Half of TARP is on Obama, It came in two installments. Senator Obama voted for it. Bush did tee it up so Obama could have access on day one and Obama implemented half. the money was paid back but Obama did not pay return the money as agreed. He threw it down the rat hole of the “stimulus”.

      Obama spent added more to the debt in 3 1/2 years than Bush did in 8.

      Your outrage is misplaced.

      • Mike_Card

        But what would you have him do differently in January of 2009?  Like it or hate it, the best evidence available was the Keynsian model from the 30′s.

        Accounting tricks work in biz, but this is real taxpayer money.

        Bush got overrun by neocon ideology and didn’t have the intellect (or courage) to bring in opposing voices.  He was at the helm when the ship foundered.

        • Gregg Smith

          I don’t fault him for TARP but I’m not smart enough to know for sure. My opinion is it worked, as badly as it was handled. That seems to be the consensus. I believe it was a genuine crisis.

          The “Stimulus”was a debacle as was his putting jobs on the back burner to ram through the job killing Obamacare. 

          No, I don’t think the Keynesian Model had any evidence of success. It certainly failed this time.

          When did Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell ever agree? How about Condi and Cheney? Did Bush pardon Scooter? No, I don’t agree, Bush surrounded himself with a diversity of opinion and made the calls. Who is the dissenting voice in the Obama administration?

          • Fredlinskip

            Most economists agree that the stimulus had positive effects. 
            Country was hemoraging jobs, end of W years; the trend reversed almost immediately under Obama.

            What’s your suggestion as far as more job creation?

          • Gregg Smith

            No they don’t. 

            Repealing Obamacare and and his gazilion new regulations  would create bookoos of jobs but it won’t happen. An energy policy including ANWR and the pipeline would be huge. Fracking is our salvation but no. Even avoiding demonizing business at every turn would help. A lower corporate tax rate is another. There are many many things that would help create jobs. He’s not even trying.

          • Fredlinskip

            lowering corporate tax rates to rate we had before Depresssion.. is something he’s been threatening to do- give him some time.
            Not sure fracking is our salvation- not sure all the facts are in yet. But are’t we doing lots of it.
            Demonizing business? I don’t think he “demonizes” small business- which are the true job creators.
            MegaCorps have had free reign for a long time- most are doing just fine.
            Affordable Care Act?
            Something had to change- system wasn’t working- It’s a step in right direction, 
            IMO

          • Fredlinskip

            Come on Greg-
            W surrounded himself with mostly Neocons. Colin was the exception, but it was hard for W to get rid of him with his popularity at the time. W managed it though during the time his admin deliberately falsified information during buildup to Iraq War.
              Ask former Secretary of Treasury Paul O’Niel about dissenting voices. He was shown the door shortly after **voicing his opinion that the administration’s plan to give tax cuts to the wealthy might cause the federal deficit to balloon out of control.            Silly him

            I’m not a big Reagan fan, but he did actually allow some dissenting voices in his administration.

          • Gregg Smith

            I notice you didn’t answer any of my questions. That’s fine but I wish you could name one dissenting voice in the Obama administration. There are none.

          • Fredlinskip

            Geithner count?- He supposedly ignored Obama’s request to “wind down” Citi-bank. But maybe you’re right- maybe we need a few Neocons in there. Maybe He can get Cheney- he’d be a help.

          • Gregg Smith
          • Mike_Card

            There are more who think the problem with the Stim was that it was too small, and I doubt there will ever be agreement on how the US got out of the Great Depression of the 30′s.

            My point is that the Keynesian approach was a change from Hoover’s disaster and seemed to be the best of a bunch of weak choices.

            As far as the “team of rivals,” I’m either not privy to cabinet intrigue or there isn’t much.

      • Fredlinskip

        My main point is that Pete18, like many other GOP’ers try to sell a distorted picture of W BUBBLE years by conveniently not including the stats that occurred under his watch after the crash.
        Like Powell’s quote concerning going into Iraq, “You break it, you own it”. 
        Economy “broke” under W; he needs “own” the stats that occurred under his watch.

    • Fredlinskip

      To be factually accurate W did not increase debt by more than all other admins combined- Apparently he fell about 700 bil short of that mark. Then again,  there is still some confusion about how much war expenses W kept “off books” that Obama immediately put on his admins “books”.

    • pete18

       

       

      The crash of 2008 had nothing to do with Bush’s tax cuts, nor any of his other policies for that matter. The crash came about because of an over leveraged housing market fed by a dysfunctional and unaccountable government housing policy (Fannie and Freddy). Both parties can be blamed for that fiasco but the democrats were the ones blindly defending it–Barney Frank, Maxine Waters, and Senator Chris Dodd in particular–when it was clearly in trouble and in need of reform. The Bush administration did more than anyone else in trying to prevent this by attempting to add more regulations to Fannie and Freddie in 2004. They got a bill through the Senate
      Banking and Finance Committee, only to have it filibustered by Dodd.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/11/business/new-agency-proposed-to-oversee-freddie-mac-and-fannie-mae.html

      If you believe deregulation was also a culprit, then you
      need to hold the right president accountable. It was Bill Clinton who signed into law the Wall Street deregulations that most democrats attribute to
      escalating the effects of the crash.

      http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/05/to-save-obama-clinton-ignores-his-own-deregulation-moves/

       The point of my post was not to defend all of Bush’s
      economic policies–he spent way too much –and that is why he and the Republican congress lost a lot of conservative support at the end of his term—but to demonstrate that the leftist mantra, which drones on about his tax cut policies ballooning the deficit is false. 

      Ray:   You are right about the Forbes article numbers on revenue between 2003 and 2007, they are way
      off. It’s amazing that no editor caught that. However, the general point of that section and the article itself is still true. Revenues went up significantly (by my calculations 44% not 47%) between 2003 and 2007–from 1782.3 trillion in 2003 to 2568 trillion in 2007–and overtime the deficit dropped considerably (despite Bush’s overspending).

      http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200

      Based on the tax collections since 2003, the CBO 2007 report was predicting a surplus budget by 2012 and through 2016. http://www.cbo.gov/publication/17601

      Whether there more revenues were collected under Clinton is not relevant to my argument, that is a different discussion, although I think there is ample historical evidence of tax cutting being a more effective job growth and revenue policy than raising taxes or Keynesian spending sprees, particularly during a downturn.  After the Bush tax cuts, unemployment went down, revenues increased dramatically and the deficit gap closed and was on track to being balanced by 2012. There’s no disputing any of those realities.

      • Fredlinskip

        Thanks for your reply.
        Love to have time to debate your points- but if  I don’t take care of personal affairs, them and me may fall off a fiscal cliff.
        Will address your points- MAY have to be in another thread.
        Good day.

        • pete18

          Go to it, real life is always more important than political threads.

      • TimD

          pete18,
        In 20003 – 2007 GW Bush rang up 1.5 trillion in debt.
        http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals
        I don’t know how anyone could project a balanced budget with those types of deficits.

        I would love to see any evidence of tax cuts actually creating enough growth to overcome the increased deficit. After all even with GW’s tax cuts the US went into a recession that is still lingering.

        There is ample evidence that the US economy had stronger growth with high taxes – just look at the historical records for the 1950 to 70.

        • pete18

           You may not know how but it’s right there in the numbers: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200

          Look at the how the deficit dropped between 2004 and 2007 (after Bush’s tax cuts were fully implemented). At that rate the budget would have been easily balanced by 2012.

          Read the CBO report to see how they scored it:http://www.cbo.gov/publication/17601

          As you know, debt and deficit are two different things. The deficit represents your operational funds or budget (salary vs living expenses) and the debt is your borrowed money (mortgage, auto loan, etc.). Bush definitely ran up the debt, but of course Obama’s run it up even more in 1/2 the  time.

          • TimD

             Pete,
            Yes the deficit dropped, was it due to taxes, war spending or an bubble-inspired economic spurt from housing? It is pretty easy to see how wrong the CBO was when under Bush’s tax policy the economy ran up 2 trillion more in debt before he passed the bills on to Obama. It is pretty clear how well the extension of Bush’s tax cuts worked for Obama – a 4.6 trillion increase in debt.

            The US has been cutting taxes for over 30 years and the total debt has increased to over 16 trillion dollars; according to Tom’s guest the actual debt (using GAAP) is 6 times that amount. Projected future growth, with most of the Bush tax cuts in place is looking like 1% a year.

            Cutting taxes to spur growth works well in theory but it doesn’t play out that well in real life. Reagan, under Lafler’s advice, managed to double the national debt. We should learn from past mistakes.

            I don’t think the US can afford to cut taxes any more. How are you going to pay your debts?

            Best regards,

            Tim

          • pete18

            It’s pretty to figure out Tim,
            the CBO was wrong because they made their calculations before before the recession of 2008. They can only make their projections based on known trends. It’s clear, looking at their figures, that under the Bush tax cuts the budget would have been balanced by 2012 if there had been no recession.

             As I’ve pointed out in other posts, the recession was not brought on by Bush tax cuts but by an over leveraged housing market, which was stroked by the well intentioned but the inanely run, government lending program, Fannie and Freddy Mac.

            The debt that Reagan ran up was due to spending, not tax cuts (he can be rightly criticized for that) and the same goes for Obama (although Obama has also implemented policies that have retarded growth and business activity).

            What the US can’t afford
            anymore is the insane spending spree that it has been on for the last 13 years.

          • TimD

            I Agree Pete, and that was a big IF for the CBO, 4 years is not much of a sample.

            All that government spending in the face of tax cuts has been a huge factor in the US debt explosion. Another factor has been economic deceleration. Examine real annual GDP growth by decade starting with the 1950′s.

            Tim

    • ExcellentNews

      Well, it seems that you got the scripted response of the corporate shills… From all the authoritative verbiage and links that pete18 provided, it is clear that Bush policies of encouraging job exporters (18,000,000 high-wage jobs leaving the US for Asia in 2000-2008) and rewarding predatory lenders and speculators (10% special tax rate for “carried interest”) – it is clear that those had nothing to do with the crash.

      Thanks to Pox News, now I also know the crisis was causes by a handful of low-income folks getting adjustable mortgages, and not by the nearly 15 trillion dollars in fraudulent derivatives traded by top banks.

  • ExcellentNews

    But of course! We must DUMP the sacred trust of working Americans because the wealthiest country on Earth cannot afford healthcare and food for them. At the same time, we must FULFILL the whims of a handful of billionaire job-exporting CEOs and predatory lenders who wrecked the economy, just so that they can indulge a golden bidet on the 120ft yacht… Happy New Year, middle class – see ya, from the 0.01%…

  • Regular_Listener

    Another excellent show.  I must say I was taken aback by Arnott’s predictions/speculations, yet they all sounded quite reasonable.  Of course it is important to point out that projections are always based on current trends, and that things could come up that effect those trends for better or for worse.

    I do disagree with the people writing in who would like to blame all this on the corporations or right-wing zealots.  I am not an economist and have not studied the numbers closely, but from everything I hear, it does seem like our debt problems are real, and that steps need to be taken to shore up faults in the system!

ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 17, 2014
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson watches from the sidelines against the Oakland Raiders during the second half of a preseason NFL football game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. (AP/Ann Heisenfelt)

The NFL’s Adrian Peterson and the emotional debate underway about how far is too far to go when it comes to disciplining children.

Sep 17, 2014
Bob Dylan and Victor Maymudes at "The Castle" in LA before the 1965 world tour. Lisa Law/The Archive Agency)

A new take on the life and music of Bob Dylan, from way inside the Dylan story. “Another Side of Bob Dylan.”

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 16, 2014
From "Rich Hill"

“Rich Hill,” a new documentary on growing up poor, now, in rural America. The dreams and the desperation.

 
Sep 16, 2014
Jasmin Torres helps classmate Brianna Rameles with a worksheet at the Diloreto Magnet School in New Britain, Conn., Wednesday Feb. 22, 2012. (AP/Charles Krupa)

More parents are “red-shirting” their children in kindergarten—holding them back for a year, hoping they’ll have an edge. Does it work? We look.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

More »
Comment
 
Beverly Gooden on #WhyIStayed
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

Beverly Gooden — who originated the #WhyIStayed hashtag that has taken off across Twitter — joined us today for our discussion on domestic violence.

More »
1 Comment
 
Tierney Sutton Plays LIVE For On Point
Friday, Sep 5, 2014

We break out Tierney Sutton’s three beautiful live tracks from our broadcast today for your listening pleasure.

More »
2 Comments