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The Debt Ceiling And The Constitution

On the coming debt ceiling battle, the President says he won’t be held hostage by Congress.  But is there any constitutional way for him to avoid a standoff?

In this Dec. 5, 2012, photo, President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the "fiscal cliff" at the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers, in Washington. (AP)

In this Dec. 5, 2012, photo, President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the “fiscal cliff” at the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers, in Washington. (AP)

Like it or not, we’re about to have another donnybrook, another battle royal, over the fiscal life of this country. Call it the debt ceiling cliff, or whatever you like. Within weeks, the Treasury Department will be unable to borrow or spend to fulfill American obligations.

Congressional Republicans say that means the power is now theirs, to demand spending cuts. The president says he won’t negotiate or be held hostage. What does the constitution say?

This hour, On Point: before the storm, we’re looking at the law, the constitution and the American debt ceiling.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Michael Dorf, professor of law at Cornell University. Co-author, with Neil Buchanan, of the Columbia Law Review article “How to Choose the Least Unconstitutional Option: Lessons for the President (and Others) From the Debt Ceiling Standoff.”

Michael McConnell, professor of law and director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford University. Senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

From Tom’s Reading List

Columbia Law Review  “We argue that the president should choose the “least unconstitutional” course—here, ignoring the debt ceiling. We argue further, though more tentatively, that if the bond markets would render such debt inadequate to close the gap, the president should unilaterally increase taxes rather than cut spending. We then use the debt ceiling impasse to develop general criteria for political actors to choose among unconstitutional options.”

National Journal “As the country nears the fiscal cliff, it’s deja vu all over again. Republicans are now asserting that they will refuse to raise the debt ceiling if they don’t get their way in the negotiations. In response, some Democrats want President Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment and raise the debt ceiling unilaterally.”

NPR “White House spokesman Jay Carney put an end to intense speculation Thursday about whether President Obama would do an end run around Congress with one simple line: ‘This administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling — period.’”

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  • Mike_Card

    When the teabaggers start thumping their chests and stamping their feet, I hope the President just says, “Fine–you deal with it.”

    It’s an artificial number and an artificial limitation.   Just because morons know politics, but not math, is no reason to saddle taxpayers with higher borrowing costs.

    And don’t EVEN bring up that BS about sitting around the kitchen table, snipping up the credit card.

    • Shag_Wevera

      You mean a nation of 275 million people and there finances isn’t directly analagous to a plumber and his family trying to figure out how to pay for cable?!

      • Don_B1

        Exactly! When a family needs more income, it can have the worker work more hours or get a second job, or have another member of the family go to work. A family can also cut spending as long as there is enough to buy food to stay alive.

        But a country’s economy works differently: your income is my spending and my income is your spending. So if we both decide to cut spending, our incomes are going to go down! For one (some) of us to go to an extra (new) job, some of us have to spend more so there will be money to pay the additional wages for those additional working hours.

        That is why the government has to spend that additional money, which, when interest rates (the Federal Reserve discount rate) are at the zero lower bound, it is real inexpensive to do that to save the government money in the long term by putting those unemployed back to work.

        At least 40% of the deficit, and many think much more, is created by the continuing effects of the Great Recession, which has left the country in a Lesser Recession. Therefore, just by spending to repair and create needed infrastructure, as President Obama has proposed with the American Jobs Act (Sept 2011), a good start on creating a strong recovery can be put in place.

        But the Republicans have been against any program that has job creation as a goal. Why? Ask what a high unemployment rate does for the prospects of rising wages. Ask how business benefits from low wages (at least in the short term; in the long term there will be less money in the economy to buy the business’s goods and services).

        • Gregg Smith

          With all due respect, that is bizarre.

          • Don_B1

            Well, your inability to understand what posted above confirms one of the following:

            1) You really are not as smart as I have thought. I am willing to dismiss this possibility.

            2) You willfully refuse to think about what is going on in a closed economy (the imports and exports of the U.S. are less than 5% of the total economy, so they don’t make a big impact in creating aggregate demand within the country).

            3) Accepting this correct model of a country-wide economy, taught in just about every Econ-101 course, is tantamount to accepting that your policies will keep unemployment high and wages low, as the high-earner low-tax policies you advocate have NOT generated jobs and will not.

            4) Denying that this model is not accurate, while you actually know that it is, gives you the ability to try to lead others from understanding what you know. This enables you to carry the message of the wealthy rent-seekers to the electorate and keep Republicans in office in spite of the fact that what they want to enact will work to the detriment of not only the 98%, but ALL Americans.

            Item 4) is the reason many Climate Change deniers study the science and know it better than most non-climate scientists, even: so they can “effectively” cherry-pick parts of the  science that can be used to confuse the non-scientists.

    • Flytrap

       We would be happy to, but you wouldn’t like having to work for a change.

      • Shag_Wevera

        I don’t get this one at all.

        • Flytrap

           We would be happy to deal with the problem, just that many wouldn’t like the solutions.

        • Don_B1

          Flytrap has been caught in his own trap; he, like Romney and a lot of the 1%, thinks the unemployed do not want to work, but just exist on unemployment and TANF (welfare).

          He should try it sometime and then he might see that life is NOT the “panacea” he (and they) think it is.

          As for those who see disincentives to work, consider the way taxes go up for those at the bottom of the wage scale:

          http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/10/whose-incentives/

          This shows that the disincentives for increased work affects the poor much more than the wealthy.

          • Flytrap

             Well golly geez, if Krugman says it, it must be true.  You make the mistake of projecting your thoughts about what I think in place of what I think. 

          • Don_B1

            You were the one who first made assumptions about what and how other people think about these issues.

            I see no response to the issues from you, just snark.

            You can clarify your position anytime you want to put down what you really think. But beware that putting thoughts down might make you realize some of your misconceptions as you see them on the page.

            And Professor Krugman has been correct most of the time while I have yet to see any of your predictions come true. Of course, you are not specific enough to test most of what you say, unlike Professor Krugman.

      • Mike_Card

        You have no idea how I earn my living, nor I you.  Keep your personal snark to yourself.

        • Flytrap

           Eff off prick.  Your 3rd word is a disgusting pejorative used to impugn people on the Right that believe in lower taxes and limited govt and you want to make a comment about “snark.”  Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it. 

          • Don_B1

            Those on the “Right” really do not care that much about “small government;” what they really want is government support for their Rent-Seeking activities. In other words, what the battle is about is who will get the spoils of government. The 1% want to run fiefdoms like the nobility in the Middle Ages.

          • Flytrap

             As per usual amongst leftists, you choose to conflate wealthy, powerful conservatives with the great mass of conservatives that don’t have the means to go after “rent seeking” activities. 

          • Don_B1

            Those in the 1% were happy to “throw those earning $250,000 to $400,000 under the bus” with their proposed cuts of deductions, etc. to make both Romney’s cuts “revenue neutral” and Speaker Boehner’s tax plan “increase revenue without increasing marginal rates.”

            It is the really wealthy that are driving the really stupid drive to hold revenue down.

          • Mike_Card

            Well, you sure told me!  I’ll probably just curl up in a ball, start sucking my thumb, and cry myself to sleep.

            Your towering intellect has destroyed me–I hope you’re happy, now.

          • Flytrap

             My intellect barely towers over a dime, but that’s enough!!!

          • Mike_Card

            If I didn’t think my “3rd word” didn’t apply, I wouldn’t have written it.

          • Flytrap

            If I didn’t think being a snarky a$$hole back didn’t apply, I wouldn’t have written it. 

          • hennorama

            Quoting a recent Flytrap post again:
            “Flytrap replied to you.
            KMA, if you want me to write a report for you, I’ll send you my per hour
            rates.”

            http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/01/04/week-in-the-news-cliff-deal-sandy-relief-hillarys-health#comment-757022135

            A pot and a black kettle spring to mind.

          • Flytrap

             Unfortunately, neither a cast iron pot nor kettle is as dense and mendacious as you. 

          • hennorama

            Flytrap – congratulations on cracking open the thesaurus.

            Now, as you’ve impugned my reputation, please point out the deception and/or dishonesty in any of my posts. I will review your proof, and if it is valid, will publicly retract and apologize for said remarks.

            Good luck in your quest.

  • Michiganjf

    Conservatives just can’t win an argument on its merits, so they ALWAYS resort to skewing the facts and/or outright dishonesty.

    Lately, FAUX NEWS has been on a rampage about how President Obama just raised taxes on the middle class because SS and medicare taxes have gone back up to “pre-tax-holiday” levels… of course, what they FAIL to mention, is the original “tax holiday” idea was meant to be a very temporary stimulus measure, that was INTENDED to quickly expire because the “holiday” was also undercutting funding FOR BOTH of those middle-class and poor programs… it was the ONLY way Congress could get Republicans on board with ANY KIND of stimulus measure, at a time when stimulus was still much needed.

    Don’t expect conservatives to do ANYTHING but continue their LIES when it comes to talking about the debt ceiling.

    • Flytrap

       I agree with you about the lunacy of Republicans railing about FICA going back up.  To me and most other conservatives, it was the one tax break I opposed because SS isn’t a tax in the normal sense and shouldn’t have been cut. 

      Now that taxes have been raised on the 1/2?%, what should be cut?

      • sickofthechit

         First, taxes have not been “raised” on the 1/2%, they simply returned to the pre-Temporary Bush Tax cut levels.

        As for what should be cut next?  How about cutting the mortgage interest rate deduction in excess of $50,000 year?  How about cutting the “Carried Interest” waiver that allows hedge fund managers to get all their income tax free?  How about cutting (or at least liomiting) the wealthy’s ability to deduct their personal auto expenses simply because they are willing to drive around with a magnetic sign on their Hummer?  How about cutting the $5,000,000 estate exclusion to $2,500,000?

        • Flytrap

           How about eliminating the mortgage deduction altogether?  That’s what I would do.  That will make a difference.  The carried interest or auto expense mess you speak of shows your envy and lack of seriousness in one paragraph.  What would the elimination of those deductions bring to the treasury?  Seriously, what would it bring?  That’s like me saying we need to cut the POTUS’s vacation time because it costs a few $million.  Makes a few haters feel good, but accomplishes nothing.

          • Don_B1

            @michiganjf:disqus @Flytrap:disqus @sickofthechit:disqus 

            Just eliminating the mortgage deduction “cold-turkey” would be a strong depressant to housing prices (the tax deduction allows buyers to buy a bigger more expensive house) as the “subsidy” disappears. Loss of the subsidy would lower the number of buyers able to purchase existing houses at current prices, lowering the prices at which they will sell. It also would cut the ability of purchasers to buy bigger houses.

            A slow phaseout would work and result in a better housing stock, more in line with the reduced energy use that will be needed for the near future.

            But how does the desire to eliminate a huge tax loophole for the highest income earners show envy when the generation of that income largely does not help the overall economy but just generates thrashing of money between large entities with the hedge funds extracting exorbitant “fees” along the way?

            But beyond eliminating “carried interest,” a small transaction fee on stock sales would decrease the speculation that does not contribute to the greater benefit of all the citizens of this country.

          • Flytrap

             I see the mortgage deduction as unfair and don’t really care if it depresses prices etc.  I bought into GWB’s idea of the ownership society being a good thing, but after seeing the lengths we had to go to to achieve that goal(CRA, mortgage deduction, “affordable” housing) I have concluded it’s not a good idea after all.  

          • Don_B1

            All I said was that the mortgage deduction has some really bad effects on house size and cost that are market distortions.

            What is not to like, except that I said it?

          • hennorama

            Flytrap – congratulations on proposing an actual change, although once again you fail to detail the impacts of your proposal to eliminate the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID).  One would also note that this is NOT a Spending cut.

            Not to pick on you, but let’s use your own words, OK?

            “What would the elimination of those deductions bring to the treasury?  Seriously, what would it bring?”

            Also, you may wish to read up a bit on what Carried Interest is, and its tax treatment.  HINT: the tax treatment of Carried Interest is NOT a deduction.  This article might be useful:

            http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/key-elements/business/carried-interest.cfm

        • hennorama

          sickofthechit – the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) is effectively limited to about $50K already, based on current mortgage interest rates.

          The (MID) is limited to the interest on $1 million of acquisition debt on a taxpayer’s main or second home.  One can also deduct the interest on up to $100K of home equity debt, regardless of what the debt was used to pay for.

          Let’s assume the max mortgage and HE indebtedness of $1.1 million.  $50K of MID would be an interest rate of 4.55% on the $1.1 M, which is close to current jumbo mortgage and HE rates on that amount.  Of course, this could change in the future, but a $50K MID limit would not have much fiscal impact at present.

          As to the auto expense deduction – that is a favorite target of IRS auditors, and a magnetic sign alone would likely fail at audit.  The required documentation is significant, and can often be easily refuted.  For example, the IRS auditor can ask for independent records showing auto mileage, such as oil change and other repair/maintenance receipts recording the vehicle odometer readings.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    “Threaders“,

    I would like to add that an increase in the amount you have to pay for Soc. Sec. is not a true tax anyway ( assuming that you live to collect Soc. Sec.). That money comes back to you at retirement. A similar argument can be made for Medicare. When people talk about the “ debt” they need to distinguish money that has no chance of being recouped versus money that will be paid to the citizens in some form, be it by direct payment or enhanced services or better technology, etc.. If the National Health Institute is given a chunk of my tax payments ( increased or not ) and they discover a way for me to live healthfully to age 500, I hardly see how I could call that a “waste of my tax dollars, or even a “tax” in the traditional sense. If my taxes go up to give politicians a raise or go up to finance an unnecessary war, etc., then I have a reason to complain, loudly ! Instead of decreasing Soc. Sec. and similar progressive programs, we should be talking about developing NEW progressive programs that empower the citizenry with the powerful technologies that are emerging. I hope you will consider supporting dollars for “vouchers” that could only be used to purchase American made products that would allow us all to become richer, healthier, happier, and more productive.
    I would like to add that at this thread too many people “b*tch” and don’t provide alternatives. If like minded people start thinking differently, together we can turn the table on these bums and reset the agenda to one that will “raise all boats”, again.

  • Ed75

    43 or 47 cents of every dollar the government spends is borrowed. Can this be sustained?

    • Gregg Smith

      No.

    • Shag_Wevera

      I don’t know, but what is your reasonable alternative?

      • Ed75

        As you would expect, I would say that we have to backtrack on our headlong commitment to serious immoral practices. Otherwise we will not solve our problems. And this problem looks unsolvable.

        1 John 3:22 reads:
        “And whatsoever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments, and practise the things which are pleasing in his sight.”

        So I see it as a moral problem, otherwise we won’t find a solution. But I don’t see us going back from these practices, so I don’t see good things happening.

    • Don_B1

      The current figures for 2012 are $3.796 trillion Total Expenditures and $1.327 trillion deficit. That says that 34% of the total spending for 2012 was borrowed. But that borrowing is due to the DROP in GDP because of the refusal of Republicans to support spending to improve the job growth in the economy, and the increase in safety net spending, which is what has kept the economy from falling back into recession. The current GDP is about 5% below what a “full employment economy” would generate. So without the deficit the country would be closer to a Great Depression economy than the slowly growing one that exists today.

      At least 40%, and many think a lot more, of the deficit is NOT structural, it is a function of the Lesser Depression that Republican policies will keep the country in until capital equipement replacement finally builds job growth.

      But without good tax policies, that job growth will be offshore, just as the wealthy would prefer.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    The $16.4 trillion and climbing of debt is absolutely absurd.  We can’t continue to kick the can down the road on spending reform, although I believe that we have long passed the point of being able to fix or reverse this debacle.  I just hope that the rapture of Christians comes before or very shortly after the entire system collapses and commerce ceases as our currency becomes worthless and no one can buy or sell anything as there is no medium of exchange.  Going into debt as a nation is just one of many ways (abortion, gay marriage, divorce, cohabitation, adultery, greed, etc.etc.) that our nation has violated God’s moral code and is deserving of His judgment, and really the consequences of our national sin playing itself out.

    • Shag_Wevera

      No one can argue with or talk you out of your relgious faith.  Why would anyone try?

    • Gregg Smith

      Don’t count on it, I was really hoping the Mayan calendar would save us from the first fiscal cliff, but no.

    • jefe68

      No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

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

      Something untrustworthy about the use of context-free grand numbers.

      I’m off to buy a Rolls Royce, as my CPA says that (over my lifetime) I’m a multi-millionaire.

  • Shag_Wevera

    I would argue that if an individual or political party intentionally causes a downgade of our credit rating, and all of the associated harm that causes, has committed an act of treason.

    • Gregg Smith

      The S&P CEO said “Cut, Cap and Balance” would have prevented the first downgrade but Harry Reid refused to bring it to a vote in the Senate and Obama said he would nit sign it. Should Reid be charged with treason… or Obama?

      • Shag_Wevera

        Lotta hypotheticals there.

        • Gregg Smith

          It is not hypothetical at all, it’s what the downgrader himself said would have prevented the downgrade. You took the stand. 

          • Shag_Wevera

            What the CEO said is no promise, what effect CC&B would have had, what politicians would have done, what global effect it would have had…  Too many hypotheticals.

          • Flytrap

             Translation: Gregg gave you convincing evidence that goes against your beliefs so you refuse to acknowledge it. 

          • Shag_Wevera

            I guess it comes down to your interpretation of convincing.

  • Shag_Wevera

    I’m so tired of the desperate antics of the discredited and out of power republican party.

    • Flytrap

       As has been shown ad nauseum, 100% confiscation of the top 1%’s wealth won’t fix our debt problems, so, in a nutshell, what should we do?

      • Shag_Wevera

        The minority of the government controlled by republicans should do something more than complete obstructionists.

        • Flytrap

           I doubt if you said that when Bush and the R’s were in control.  Remember Miguel Estrada?  There wasn’t a single thing Bush did that wasn’t obstructed by the Dems.  How about Obama on raising the debt ceiling when he was a senator? 

          Too many issues that the dems fought Bush on have now become their policies and folks like you now agree with those policies and don’t see the hypocrisy of your positions. 

          • Shag_Wevera

            I’m afraid I can’t accept equivalency between Mr. Estrada and the debt ceiling.

          • Flytrap

             He is just the easiest illustrative point of the obstructionism of the Democrats when Bush was Pres.  No equivalency intended.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Lets imagine we ALL decided to solve Americas debt and revenue problem by ELIMINATING Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.   Starting tomorrow.  For EVERYONE.  It is obviously extreme, but would solve our money problems.  What would the lives of Americans look like?

    I bring up this absurd scenario to ask a question.  Who are the people who depend on the three above programs?  How many people are we talking about?  How will their lives be affected if these programs are cut a little or alot?

    If I work my entire life, yet don’t manage for whatever reason to fully self fund my old age, how should I react if I’m told I’m on my own?  How should I react when in old age I can’t afford the medicines needed to give me a reasonable quality of life? 

    If you deficate on the social contract, and treat people like animals, don’t be shocked when they begin to act like animals.  Why should I grease the tracks of your machinery if I can expect so little in return?  Obey your laws?  Respect your property?

    Tread lightly, folks.

    • Flytrap

       SS and Medicare aren’t the same as Medicaid.  You pay into the first 2 but medicaid is charity.  Personally, I think there is plenty of fat in the fed budget that can be trimmed.

      • hennorama

        Flytrap – Please name the “plenty of fat in the fed budget that can be trimmed” and what you “think” the impacts will be from the cuts.

        Demonstrate your knowledge, and rise above the rhetoric by proposing a thoughful solution.  Assuming you’ve actually “thought” about it, that is.

        • Flytrap

          Your belittling, disdainful tone speaks volumes about you.  Why don’t you tell us what will happen if we continue on the path we are on and what the impacts for that will be, assuming you have “thought” about it. 

           While I am not 100% in line with what Ron Paul says, I agree with most of it.  Check this out.  http://www.ronpaul.com/on-the-issues/

          • hennorama

            Flytrap – are you a comedian? I ask due to your recent remarks. Let me quote one of your posts:

            “Flytrap replied to you.

            KMA, if you want me to write a report for you, I’ll send you my per hour rates.”

            http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/01/04/week-in-the-news-cliff-deal-sandy-relief-hillarys-health#comment-757022135

          • Flytrap

             I give you a Cliff’s Notes answer and you want to dwell on what I said Sat instead of addressing my question. 

          • hennorama

            Flytrap – It appears that you ARE a comedian, as your responses consist of links to a Ron Paul fan club site, and to a site that has absolutely nothing to do with the US. Hilarious. Thank you for the comic relief.

          • Flytrap

            Glad I could add a bit of mirth to your day.  Doesn’t take much to entertain the simple minded!!

    • Prairie_W

       Solve our problems?  Heck no! The Republicans would shout “whoopee” and find another war to get us into or another Exxon and give ‘em a subsidy.

    • hennorama

      Shag_Wevera typed “If I work my entire life, yet don’t manage for whatever reason to fully self fund my old age, how should I react if I’m told I’m on my own?  How should I react when in old age I can’t afford the medicines needed to give me a reasonable quality of life?”

      I believe the NRA has two possible solutions for you.  1. Buy a gun, then get hired as armed security for a local school.  2.  Buy a gun, then use it to “self-deport” to the beyond.

      (Tongue firmly in cheek here).

  • Gregg Smith

    How much faith can we put in Jay Carney’s statement, “This administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling — period.”?

    President Obama said flat out that he did not have the power to eliminate the deportation of certain illegal aliens and then he did it with an executive order. 

    Why on Earth is he trying so hard to spend us into oblivion? He has zero compassion for the lives he is ruining with this debt. This is awful. 

    • jefe68

      The debt ceiling is money already spent. 
      We have to pay our bills. 
      You need to parse long term debt and how the federal government deals with it, from short term.

      There were 18 increases to the debt ceiling between February 1981 and September 1987 under President Ronald Reagan. And there were seven increases between January 2001 and January 2009 — during George W. Bush’s presidency. Under President Obama it’s been raised three times, on Feb. 17, 2009, Dec. 28, 2009 and Feb. 12, 2010.

      • Flytrap

         And Kennedy cut taxes, blah, blah blah.

        • Shag_Wevera

          Good retort.  You really got him with that one.

          • Flytrap

             Thanks!!!!

      • Gregg Smith

        Are you serious? I must be misunderstanding you, please clarify. Are you saying the size of the deficit, the ratio of spending to GDP or debt and the revenue coming in are irrelevant but the fact that the debt limit has been raised before is what matters? 

  • StilllHere

    What did Obama have to say about the debt ceiling when he was a senator?  

    Since becoming president, he’s pretty much been a putz.

  • Steve_in_Vermont

    The government is simply a reflection of the majority of our population, living
    beyond it’s means. Decades ago we were able to separate our needs from wants and
    credit was used only in a limited manner. Today both the government and governed
    appear unable to resist buying the next program/toy that catches their eye.
    Everything has become a “need”. Until we all realize this, and adjust our
    lifestyle accordingly, this problem will persist and the ending will not be
    pleasant.

  • Wahoo_wa

    Since it is unconstitutional to default on our debt, and if the administration and Congress do not come to an agreement on the budget causing a default in the national debt, would we, the public, have a way to impeach both the administration and Congress as a way of forcing negotiation and consensus?  Since both the administration and Congress are pretty much deplorable, it might be the only way to move Washington back to serving the best interests of the nation.

    • jefe68

      It’s the Congress and in particular the GOP who are using the debt ceiling as a hostage here. This kind of thing is all on them.

      • Wahoo_wa

        I agree.  The whole lot should be removed from office – administration and Congress.  It’s the Republicans THIS time but it’s been the Democrats in the past.  Time to abandon both parties and search for real leadership. 

      • Flytrap

         THe GOP voted to raise taxes, so when are we going to cut spending?

        • MrNutso

          Taking my line item veto pen to cut defense spending in half.

          • Flytrap

             Good start, what else?

        • jefe68

          The military is one place to start.
          But, that’s a hard nut to crack as defense contracts are lucrative and spread out over many states.

          We could cut a lot of subsides and loopholes for large corporations.

          Health care is a the biggy, that needs to be addressed and in my view we should be starting from scratch. The market based system we have has failed.

        • sickofthechit

           Taxes have not been “raised” on the 1/2%, they simply returned to the pre-Temporary Bush Tax cut levels.

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

          Letting a tax cut run out as the Congress promised they did in the legislation is not “raising”.

          I’ve got the GOP pinky-swearing about this on video. Look it up.

          • Flytrap

            Then why did O and the Dems rail about “raising taxes on the wealthy” beforehand?

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

            Because they may have wanted to put taxes on the higher income levels, or capital gains, or something else, to more historically normative levels, instead of just what the automatically expiring cut would be. Lots of precedent for higher than Bush II-era levels which didn’t ruin us.

            It’s called negotiating; happens all the time. Asking for more than one will settle for.

  • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

    No man is an island, but a nation that has its own currency is.  All ‘debt’ will be reduced through inflation.  This will hurt the paper wealth and retirees who depend on it.  We must look at the fact we face a demographic cliff instead of a debt crisis. We should open up immigration to young workers with a path to citizenship for all who live inside our boarders.  How do we get off the track of exploitation and build community?  Money is trading work over time, government is intended to make that trade hold so real value.  We are at risk of civic failure. What is your retirement plan? No matter how many guns you own, with social collapse you are facing wailing and gnashing of teeth. We can’t cut our way to civility, we can’t spend our way out of debt, we can invest in the next generation and have hope they will take care of our needs in old age.  Isn’t that what life is all about?

  • Shag_Wevera

    The new popups truly are annoying and unnecessary.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Honey Boo Boo makes $15,000 per episode, but we can’t afford Medicare or Social Security.  What the hell is wrong with us?

    • Flytrap

       Honey Boo Boo operates in the marketplace, those things do not.

      • Shag_Wevera

        What does this say about the marketplace?

        • Wahoo_wa

          For me it says the marketplace is driven by base human desires…much like politics.

          • Prairie_W

             Loud applause, Wahoo!

        • Flytrap

           That it is a more fair and efficient way to allocate resources.

          • Ray in VT

            So if the market pays professional athletes millions of dollars per year while leaving millions of people in poverty in their old age, then that is fair?

            The market creates many things, some good and some bad.  When it creates mass and severe inequalities, then it should be the duty of society as a whole to take steps to affect those abuses.  Without such steps one ends up with a Gilded Age or a Banana Republic.  Just because the market creates it doesn’t make it right.

          • Gregg Smith
          • Ray in VT

            Is that supposed to counter my statement in any way?

          • Gregg Smith

            Not really, I’m pointing out that  the exorbitant salaries in the NFL contribute greatly to charity. They also pay very high taxes, they provide millions of jobs from vendors to groundskeepers to janitors and on and on. They provide stimulus to retail outlets, restaurants and hotels which in turn means more jobs for maids, cooks, clerks and on and on. 

            None of which would happen without high paid athletes.

          • Ray in VT

            None of which would happen without the athletes, true, but were those athletes not being paid millions per season, then one would expect lower ticket prices, parking fees, concession costs, costs relating to satellite or cable subscriptions.  All of the jobs that you mention would, and did, exist a generation ago when in a different sport Kirby Puckett got a 3 year, $9 million contract that was considered to be overpaying, whereas now the average salary is almost $3.5 million.

            http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/salaries/avgsalaries

          • Gregg Smith

            Most games are sold out so the demand is there. No one is forced to go.

          • Steve__T

             Just remember that the person or persons that pay them, makes more than they do.

          • Gregg Smith

            So?

          • JGC

            Luckily one of the foci of their charitable structure is providing assistance to former NFL players in need. With 4000 lawsuits pending from NFL players exhibiting traumatic brain injury symptoms, they will need to be generous. 

          • Wahoo_wa

            I find the obsession with what is “fair” a nonstarter in discussions like this.  No matter how much government control there is in our lives, the government will never be able to control chance and circumstance.  I am reminded of when I was very, very young and used to constantly say “…BUT IT’S NOT FAIR!!!!!!” promptly followed by “Life isn’t fair…and the quicker you learn that lesson the happier you’ll be!” from my parents.

          • Ray in VT

            See my response above.  I don’t think that things can or should be totally evened out.  I think that that is a fool’s errand.  However, we can take steps to correct some of the worst conditions that the marketplace creates.  Life will never be fair.  Bad things will happen to good people and good things will happen to bad people.  But we can certainly ensure that random chance and bad luck doesn’t make life absolutely suck for some people, especially the elderly, the sick and the young.

          • Wahoo_wa

            That sounds very reasonable to me.

          • Flytrap

             The “market” doesn’t make old people poor, their decisions over their own life did that. 

            Inequalities are not going away.  The left is almost like Procrustes except you only use one bed, hope you fit!! 

            One size doesn’t fit all and trying to make everything conform isn’t right.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Decisions…and circumstance.  If one makes a poor decision when circumstance favors him, he should take responsibility for his choice(s).  On the other hand, if circumstance is rarely or never in one’s favor, he cannot reasonably achieve financial gain. 

          • Ray in VT

            Decisions play a part in it, but many people, both currently and historically, have worked hard, attempted to live within their means and have still ended up old, disabled and broke.  A market that vastly rewards a few and pays many only just what they can subsist on does create that.

            No one is trying to make one size fit all when it comes to outcomes.  That absolutely will not work, however, we can alleviate the worst abuses of the unregulated, unfettered market in order to to attempt to insure that people who are doing their bit in life to work hard and get by aren’t left destitute in their old age or disability.

          • Flytrap

             There goes that straw man again.  No one said anything about completely deregulating any market.  That is your assumption. 

          • Ray in VT

            That is my assumption based upon comments of some people on this site and the views of some running for or holding national elected office, so it’s not really much of a straw man.  If it is though, well you should probably throw out your straw man argument that the government is trying to run/regulate everything and that the “market” produces the best outcomes.  Considering that some are arguing against minimum wage and overtime rules, workplace safety rules and such in the name of “liberty” so that the market can better make those decisions, I’ll stand by my position.

        • Ray in VT

          That it is pretty screwed up. It’s probably also in part of a reflection of how many of our priorities as a society have become warped.

        • Gregg Smith

          That it’s a beautiful thing.

  • JGC

    Whenever I am faced with a difficult dilemma, I pause and ask myself:  What would Honey Boo Boo do?

  • Michiganjf

    This is idiotic, this moronic REPUBLICAN idea that you just get to choose NOT to pay your bills…

    LET REPUBLICANS TRY IT!!!

      They’ll take ALL the blame for the ensuing chaos after trying to hold america and the world hostage!

    Let them put the FINAL nail in their coffin!

    They need to be a little smarter about picking their fights!

    • Wahoo_wa

      What about when the Democrats did the same thing in 2006?

  • rationalactor

    Congress establishes a debt ceiling. Then they pass a budget that exceeds the ceiling. Doesn’t that just mean that they changed their minds? And that the debt ceiling no longer means anything?

  • Michiganjf

    I read about the PLATINUM COIN idea and LIKE IT!!!!

    Let the PREZ exchange this arcane loophole for an end to the “debt ceiling!”

    • Gregg Smith

      It would be a disaster… so don’t count it out.

  • Hopeglory

    This is exactly what the doctor ordered: “Take two platinum dollars and call me in the morning!”

  • sickofthechit

    Maybe what Carney is saying is that Obama believes the debt ceiling is automatically expanded since the Constitution says we must pay our bills.

  • Michiganjf

    DON’T FORGET WHY WE’RE NOW NOT “LIVING WITHIN OUR MEANS!!!!!”

    BUSH AND REPUBLICANS, 
    BUSH AND REPUBLICANS,
    BUSH AND REPUBLICANS!!!!

    REMEMBER DICK CHENEY’S WORDS:

    “DEFICITS DON’T MATTER!!!!!!”

    Obama has NOT raised the deficit one penny from where BUSH/Cheney left it, at 1.4 trillion/year!

    President Obama will leave the debt well reduced from the Bush/Cheney level by the time he leaves office!!!

    • Wahoo_wa

      Deep breath girlfriend….it’s going to be OK.

      • Michiganjf

        Whew!

         You got that right!

         It’s infuriating!

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Yeah. Also infuriating is their refusal to recognize that the Bush tax cuts, Bush wars and Bush medicare D with no negotiation allowed with big pharma were running up debt from the first second of BHOs presidency.

          The biggest cause of the deficit is the Bush crash. A “systemic banking crisis” like we haven’t seen since 1929 decreases revenue and increases demands on the safety net. The radical right screwed us very badly by cranking up the wall st mtg bubble, and the  bigger the crash, the longer it takes to recover.

          • Michiganjf

            EXACTLY!!!

             The magic under the Obama administration has been in keeping the deficit steady rather than increased, DESPITE massively reduced revenues due to the recession and stimulative tax cuts!

    • Wahoo_wa

      …your last bit is kinda not true.  Obama has increased the deficit in 4 years at the same level Bush did in 8 years.  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57400369-503544/national-debt-has-increased-more-under-obama-than-under-bush/

      • Michiganjf

        WRONG!!!

          The final Bush budget lasted THROUGH 2009, a FACT that Republicans conveniently like to flout!

        You think a President walks into office and the country is IMMEDIATELY under HIS spending plan, BY MAGIC??!!!

        READ THIS, among a ton of OTHER data easily found with a few simple searches:

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

        • Wahoo_wa
          • Wahoo_wa

            And it’s now 2013…that leaves 2010, 2011 and 2012 all in President Obama’s hands.  This includes the budgets Obama has sent to Congress that not a single member of his own party would vote for.  It’s time to stop blaming previous administrations…it’s time to show real leadership.

          • Michiganjf

            Gee, I thought we were talking about the yearly deficit, and who exactly is responsible for it reaching such a ridiculously high level.

            Nice attempt at a switch, though (not really).

          • Michiganjf

            Again,

               That article is attributing 2009 spending to Obama, which is patently FALSE!

            Look at the DATE of the article I link to… January of 2010!!!!

            How did the budget already reach 1.4 trillion at that point, if it wasn’t Bush’s fault??!! The first Obama budget hadn’t even kicked in yet!!

            Also, Obama did something Bush didn’t do, but should have done all along… place the wars ON THE BOOKS, instead of funding them OFF BUDGET, through supplementals!!

            Even the 2009 stimulus dollars were a result of stupidities racked up long before Obama was even a twinkle in the public eye!

            More Republican prevarication!!!

          • Gregg Smith

            Obama’s $814 billion “stimulus” bill was signed into law on Feb. 17, 2009. Maybe you forgot.

          • Gregg Smith

            Plus $350 Billion for TARP.

    • Gregg Smith

      Deficits don’t matter if they are fiscally responsible. 

      • TomK_in_Boston

        You mean, like responsibly spending on a war to remove non-existent WMD?

        • Gregg Smith

          Read Bush’s speech the the UN on Sept. 12, 2002 when he made the case to the world for war before the unanimous Security Council Vote and you will realize how silly your premise is.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            LOL, excuse me for the silliness of not getting caught up in war hysteria drummed up by Bush and the righty media.

          • Gregg Smith

            Yea Bush is irrelevant but some people keep bringing him (and Cheney) up out of the blue.

  • Matt Wade

    Mint the platinum coin and put Boehner’s face on it, since he got us into this mess.

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

    Is this just more political theater?

    We went through a huge, loud, ugly fight over the “fiscal cliff” – which ended with an almost unanimous vote in the Senate and an almost veto proof vote in the House.

    Are we going to listen to another huge “battle” followed by another largely bipartisan agreement of things both parties said they would never, ever agree to?

    We don’t need to vote ourselves circuses – we have Washington instead.

  • sickofthechit

    Spending is what the Congress has power to do.  Paying for it is what the President would be doing if he asks the Treasury to issue dollars.

  • Roy-in-Boise

    Isn’t every grammar school student taught that congress has the power of the purse? Here we are again in the midst of an Imperial Presidency. Since WW 2 our congress has allowed both war powers and budget management to be taken over by the White House … Why and what’s up with that?

    • TomK_in_Boston

      They do, and they spent the money. As sickof said, then, the executive has pay their bills. The 14th amendment to the Constitution says “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.”  So, they can’t spend and then say the debt can’t be high enough to pay it off. BHO should simply ignore the loons in congress.

  • Matt Wade

    GOP won’t stop until they’ve completely destroyed the nation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1197994636 Ger Gerrard

    Take money from the 6 largest banks that got federal help. Billions spent which most did NOT assist mortgages, only assisted banks to keep solvent.  The ‘black-knight’ (pun intended) has already shredded Our Constitution, so-o taking back billions from banks “to big to fail” shouldn’t be a problem.

  • Wahoo_wa

    Schoolhouse Rock always has the answer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9iZfxElc1A&playnext=1&list=PL-a80Z22qR0y4QqLP_V6J0s_PgfSAWKZx&feature=results_video

  • http://www.facebook.com/ckaars Charlie Kaars

    Tom,  The Republicans aren’t serious about reducing spending.  If they were serious they would have recommended cuts in the budget process.   The president’s position is correct.  We have run up bills with Congressional approval, they can’t now say we won’t allow the bills to be paid.  The place to talk about spending reductions is in the budget process, not the in raising the debt ceiling.  Raise the ceiling and have the fight in the right arena.

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

    Eliminate the debt by ending the 20 year war on the middle east.

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

    “bring the mountain of debt down”

    That’s not on the table – we talk about reducing the amount of new debt, but no one is talking about paying down anything already borrowed.

    • Gregg Smith

      Absolutely correct.

  • rievler

    I think most disturbing in the commentary is the continued belief that we have a spending problem. No, we have an unemployment/weak economy problem. Fix those with more spending on education and infrastructure and increased tax revenues from a revived economy will go a long way toward stabilizing debt/GDP ratios. Austerity is self-defeating.

    • Gregg Smith

      Spending on education won’t fix squat. The “stimulus” was supposed to go to shovel ready jobs (infrastructure), that was a lie. And it would not help anyway because that money has to be first taken out of the private sector. The last thing we need is more revenue for government to throw down a rat hole.

      • rievler

         So many fallacies, so little time.
        First, the “stimulus” was roughly divided into three roughly equal portions-1 tax cuts, 2 aid to state/local gov’ts and infrastructure spending.
        Second, spending on education is twice effective. Once when a teacher isn’t laid off and continues to spend most of their limited disposable income and again when a child gets a better education b/c teacher/student ratios don’t become unmanageable.
        Third, your “crowding out” argument implied from the “out of the private sector” comment holds no water. If government borrowing was crowding out private borrowing, then interest rates would go up.  They have gone down over the last 4 years to historic lows.
        Fourth, your “rat hole” is another’s life life to economic security.

        We don’t have a debt crisis, the sky is not falling, (and before you make the claim), we are not Greece.

        • Gregg Smith

          That’s funny, in reading a few of your comments I had the very same reaction.

          Government cannot spend a dime until it first confiscates it, borrows it or prints it. All of which takes it out of the economy one way or another. It’s like dipping water out of the deep end of the pool and dumping it into the shallow end and using a leaky bucket (government) to do so. You can’t create demand by passing around other people’s money.

          • rievler

            Of course you can.
            GDP=C + I + G + netX. If C and I are reduced, increasing G creates demand. If you really believed your argument, how then did government spending in 40-44 end the depression?
            This will have to be my last post. Arguing with trolls isn’t my pastime.

          • Gregg Smith

            Government spending prolonged the depression just like it is prolonging this pitiful recovery.

            Keynesian Economic fails every time. 

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

            Keep pumping that bullflop talking point.

          • jefe68

            Oh the inanity!

          • Flytrap

             From 40-44 people had a visibly lower standard of living with rations and the loss of over 500,000 men.  People gave up sugar, gas, aluminum and bought bonds to finance the war effort.  Couple that with an intact infrastructure after the war and the only game in town that could still make stuff and a world that needed stuff, it wasn’t too hard to come out of the Depression.

          • sickofthechit

             In the midst of two wars all bush asked us to do was to go out and spend. remember?

          • Flytrap

             What does that have to do with anything?

        • jefe68

          Gregg is the king of hyperbolic inanity.
          He think Rush Limbaugh is great and that Paul Krugman is a crackpot. 

          • Gregg Smith

            And i love Sarah Palin.

    • Flytrap

       Show me where spending on education has worked in the last 10 years.  If $ is the problem, why are DC, Boston, LA and Chicago ps’s doing so poorly?  Why do we have a weak economy?

      • rievler

        The specifics of large urban school districts is beyond my expertise. I guess you believe that cutting spending on education is a benefit? Districts laying off teachers will help children and the economy?

        We have a weak economy b/c we don’t have the political consensus to properly address our economic problems. Those problems are multiple and beyond this forum, but they include historic low revenue rates from low taxation, under-regulation of the FIRE sector that inflated the massive housing bubble and a major political party in existential crisis, and (over the long term) structural imbalance of health-care related entitlement spending worsened by predictable demographic growth. We could have solved this by now if our response to the ’08 depression had equaled our response to WWII.

        • Flytrap

           So urban school districts are beyond your expertise but you imply you have an answer to predictable demographic growth.  What do you mean?  Cutting education spending doesn’t necessarily mean firing teachers.  What about support staff, pension, special ed etc.?

          The CRA did more to blow up the housing sector than anything else. 

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

            Your dedication to that CRA meme is unfounded.

            Now excuse me while I loan your money to my shiftless third cousin.

          • Flytrap

            Your refusal to see the damage the CRA caused is unfathomable.

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

            That one little gold speck of the CRA isn’t as heavy or as pure as you like to pretend. No point explaining things to you.

          • Gregg Smith

            Can your cousin pass a credit check or does that matter?

          • jimino

            The CRA had nothing to do with all those underwater loans on suburban Vegas, Sacramento, Phoenix, etc.  Countrywide and most of the rest of the biggest subprime lenders weren’t even banks subject to the CRA.  If you want a thorough explanation you can read this:

            http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2011/201136/201136pap.pdf

            The reason for the housing sector bubble was that huge amounts of money were being made
            by making bad loans and securitizing those obligations under false
            pretenses that they were sound financial instruments.

          • Flytrap

             Here’s a good rundown on why the CRA is to blame.  Securitizing debt isn’t nearly as risky when you have fully vetted debtors.  http://articles.businessinsider.com/2009-06-27/wall_street/30009234_1_mortgage-standards-lending-standards-mortgage-rates

          • jimino

            What the opinion piece you cite really stands for is that a lack of oversight by regulators was at the heart of our economic troubles.  I agree with that.  The CRA did not mandate that dereliction of duty. 

          • Flytrap

            How you come to that conclusion is beyond me.  What it shows is that social engineering through disparate lending standards  based on race and not prudent judgement, can break a nation.

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

            IBD editorial. Nuff ced.

  • Wahoo_wa

    …or this one:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0efqnvYz4YI

  • Davesix6

    President Obama has been saying since 2008 that he would cut the national debt.
    Yet when it comes time to act he will not even negotiate any spending cuts?
    It’s seems very clear Obama has no intention of cutting the debt or even slowing it’s growth.
    At this rate our national debt will go over $20 Trillion dollars by 2016. This is insanity.

    • Fiscally_Responsible

      You hit the nail on the head.  The debt is largely due (not entirely) to out of control entitlements (social security, medicare, medicaid) which the stinking democrats put into place under Johnson, FDR when they controlled the presidency and the congress.  Now that the bill has come due, there is ABSOLUTELY NO LEADERSHIP on the part of the democrats other than doing what they do best:  raising taxes.  They are responsible for any default or negative consequences that occur.  Unfortunately, the American public is stupid and wants its cake and wants to eat it to…the Democrats tell the American public what they want to hear.  I think that we should hang all of them up by their thumbs until the stinking Democrats suggest specific programs to cut or eliminate and and forced to take the heat for it.  As we continue to raise the debt ceiling, the hole just gets deeper and deeper.

      • rievler

         Oh please! Social Security is not much of a debt driver. Medicare/Medicaid yes. 2 Wars, unfunded expansion of Medicare(part D) and anti-regulatory fervor pushed by free-market fundamentalist causing the housing bust are by far the biggest components of our outstanding debt. Who lead us into those? It wasn’t a Democrat.
        The hysteria over debt is misplaced. We’ve exceeded 100% debt/gdp ration before without serious consequence. Money is essentially free at the moment with record low interest rates. Even the market knows the problem is an under-performing economy, not too much debt.

        • Fiscally_Responsible

          I agree that the Republicans are almost as bad as the Democrats in terms of unfunded wars, Medicare Part D.  However, the Democrats added disability to social security when there were surplus funds. And the Democrats gave us medicare and medicaid.  $16 Trillion is a huge amount of money.  At some point, the balloon will burst.  And the truth of the matter is that Democrats are more comfortable with more and more debt than Republicans.

          • rievler

             “more comfortable”?
            I think it’s more an issue of what the debt is used for. If debt buys increased productivity through education, infrastructure and economic stability, it is a net positive. If it is used as a cudgel to attempt to reduce spending in a Norquistian “starve the beast” philosophy, then it corrodes our polity. Debt hysteria and the various and multiple “crises” we get every couple of months are merely hostage taking attempts to make the President do what the weakened (and imploding) Republican party cannot do legislatively or through public consensus. Americans in general would never countenance the gutting of our minimal social safety net. But that is precisely what Repubs  hope to accomplish.

          • Flytrap

             Republicans are not 75% of the polity yet that is the percentage that wants to cut the Fed budget across the board.  http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/battleground-poll-hike-taxes-on-the-rich-84824.html

          • rievler

             and a large percentage of them also think that foreign aid is a major component of the budget, or watch honey boo boo, or believe in heaven. The irrationality of the public is not much argument

          • Flytrap

             I show you where there is bipartisan political desire to cut spending and you just belittle everyone.  Tell me what it’s like from your elitist perch way up high.

          • sickofthechit

             Thank God, god, Allah, etc. that Rmoney lost the election.

          • sickofthechit

             Actually “Disability” was included in the original act.  Hence its name “The Old Age Survivors and Disability Income” act or OASDI in government abbreviation.

        • Gregg Smith

          The “2 Wars, unfunded expansion of Medicare(part D)” thing is just an Obama lie. They are not the problem. 

          • sickofthechit

             Oh, that’s right, the oil revenues from Iraq more than paid the cost of the war…..sure cheney, sure.

          • Gregg Smith

            I agree with Trump, we should have taken the oil. But the wars were paid for.

    • hennorama

      Davesix6 and Fiscally_Responsible – please back up your post with some facts, and cite your sources.  Here are some facts about recent changes in Federal Spending. 
      Net New Spending (NNS) in the 5 year period of FY 2008 thru FY 2012 was $3.7116 Trillion.  95% of the increase went to 5 broad Categories:
       
      1. DEFENSE added $888.5 Billion, 23.9% of all Net New Spending (NNS). 
      2.  WELFARE was up $854.0 Billion, 23.0% of NNS.
       
      3. HEALTH CARE added $751.8 Billion, 20.3% of NNS.  Medicare accounted for 49% of the increase.
       
      4. PENSIONS increased $593.6 Billion, 16.0% of NNS.  99% of this is from Social Security.  This is principally due to demographics, with Baby Boomers starting to retire en masse.
       
      5. OTHER SPENDING added $447.0 Billion, 12.0% of NNS.  This catchall Category includes several items that are “NEC” – Not Elsewhere Categorized.  A large part of this is Stimulus-related.
       
      So all told, for the past 5 years, Federal Spending for Social Security and Medicare increased by $585.1 B and $365.7 B, respectively.  That totals  $950.8 Billion, or 25.62% of the NNS.
       
      I haven’t separately analyzed Medicaid spending increases in the same, but I believe they are in the range of $350 to $375 B.  Using the midpoint of $362.5B, that would give us another 9.77% of the NNS, for a grand total of 35.39%.
       
      Please tell me how this is, ” largely due (not entirely) to out of control entitlements (social security, medicare, medicaid).”
       
      For a more complete discussion of recent changes to Federal Spending, including sources, see:
       
      http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/01/04/week-in-the-news-cliff-deal-sandy-relief-hillarys-health#comment-757928646

  • ewetopia

    I don’t think people should keep comparing the U.S. government’s budget to a household budget. The government operates differently than a household, and has different requirements and aims.

  • http://twitter.com/mj50613 EmmaJane Reed

    If congress is required by law to pass a budget, and they haven’t, they are breaking the law.  How about putting them all in jail!

    • sickofthechit

       Because they are all incorporated and you can’t jail a corporation.

      • hennorama

        sickofthechit – but “Corporations are people, my friend.” – Mitt Romney at the 2011 Iowa State Fair.
        http://youtu.be/KlPQkd_AA6c

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

    Michael McConnell says that its crazy to spend more than what is in your bank account. Isn’t that the nature of credit? what is so crazy about that? I mean the principle. Perhaps we are borrowing too much but the principle of borrowing isn’t that crazy

    • rievler

       The crazy part is that we’d listen to anyone working with the Hoover Institute. Free-market fundamentalists. Debt was never a problem when Repubs ran government. Only becomes a problem when a Dem is in office.
      He just said a president continuing to borrow in the face of a depressed economy would go down in history as a terrible president. I suppose in his world FDR was a terrible president.

      • Mike_Card

        Namesake Hoover was such an astonishing success.

        • jefe68

          Actually Herbert Hoover did some great things in his life and sadly is remembered for being the Great Depression president.

          He saved 6 million Russians from starvation and was a great organizer of disaster relief in this country and for Europe after WW1.

          • Mike_Card

            Yes, he did–but not as President.

  • Bruce Hooke

    Until the Republicans are willing to acknowledge that revenues are at historic lows and need to be raised in some serious way (i.e., most of us need to pay more taxes) as part of any real solution to bridging the gap between spending and revenue I will not take any “solution” the Republicans offer seriously.

    If we look back at the last 25 years of US history it is clear that it is the Republicans who are out of control on budget matters. They want to cut revenues without doing anything serious to cut spending. The Democrats on the other hand seem much more willing to close the gap, the Republicans just don’t like the Democrats solution of raising taxes so they try to pretend that it is not a perfectly reasonable solution and that the “only” solution is to cut spending.

    • rievler

       Agreed. The problem, Bruce, is that you’re using history and facts as guidance. The libertarian, Austrian economics outlook is based on belief and black and white moral thinking. Faith trumps facts in the Republican bubble.

      • Flytrap

         Since you seem to be an expert economist, tell us what country seems to be doing it right. 

        • JGC

          Norway seems to be doing things in a fair and balanced way at the moment.  The Economist published economic and financial indicators for 2012, and the column that caught my eye was “Budget Balance: % of GDP 2012″. Norway’s was an eye-popping +13.4%.  The U.S. was -7.0%, Canada was 
          -3.4%, Singapore +1.1%, Spain -7.4%, Germany -0.2% to provide some context. Norway’s unemployment rate was 3.0% vs. U.S. 7.7%.  Inflation in Norway was +0.5% and the U.S. was +2.1%.  Norway also has a good social safety net.  Maybe Norway’s example needs to be studied further to be mined for solutions that could work on this side of the Atlantic.

          • Gregg Smith

            Gas is $10.12/gal. in Norway and taxes are oppressive.

          • jefe68

            And yet they have 3% unemployment and are +13.4% in black. 

              

          • Flytrap

             Norway is a horrible example for leftists to use as a place that is a model.

          • JGC

            They are only dedicating 1.5% of their GDP to military expenditures, and the U.S. is committing 4.7% of GDP. It depends on what tax the citizens think are oppressive.

          • Flytrap

             Norway is self sustaining as far as energy goes and exports their excess which is the main reason for their budget surplus.  Couple that with relative cultural and ethnic homogeneity and Norway “works.” 

          • JGC

            But isn’t the U.S. also becoming more self sustaining in regard to energy, with newly exploited natural gas reserves, and burgeoning “green” energy solutions?  More manufacturing is making its home again in the U.S., and a lot of that is due to lower energy prices. Maybe we are on our way to our own Norwegian solution, but without the pickled herring and vodka.

    • Gregg Smith

      We haven’t spent like this side WWII. It’s at crazy stupid levels. There is no way to raise revenue through taxes enough to do squat. The only way is through economic growth which is why we have low revenue, there is none to speak of. 

      • jefe68

        Boy are you needing to read some history.
        The debt after WW2 was a lot larger in percentage to GDP than it is now.

        What a maroon.

        • Gregg Smith

          You are badly mistaken and I’m not purple.

          Even if you cherry pick debt to GDP of which spending is just one factor of many, you are wrong. Look at spending to GDP, or spending to debt, or spending in real dollars or adjusted dollars. Not since WWII.

        • Steve__T

           LOL

          • Gregg Smith

            Agreed.

    • hennorama

      The fiscal conundrum deal raises Federal Revenue to about 16.6% of GDP, which is still below historical averages.  The following uses historical data from the OMB, and is presented by decade, in order to eliminate political discussion due to changes in Presidential administrations.  All figures are percentages of GDP:

      PERIOD      Revenues  Spending Surplus or Deficit (-)

      1940-2012      17.33         20.61       -3.29
      1940-2008      17.44         20.40       -2.96

      One can see from the above that recent Revenue and Spending changes have been very significant.  The lower Revenue and higher Spending over the last 4 years have been so large that they changed the prior 68 year average Deficit by more than 11% (3.29/2.96 = 1.1115).  The Great Recession had a huge impact.

      PERIOD      Revenues  Spending Surplus or Deficit (-)

      1940-1949     14.40        24.07         -9.67
      1950-1959     17.19        17.59         -0.40
      1960-1969     17.86        18.64         -0.78
      1970-1979     17.91        20.08         -2.17
      1980-1989     18.28        22.21         -3.93
      1990-1999     18.02        22.23         -4.21
      2001-2009     17.67        20.04         -2.37
      2010-2012     15.43        24.17         -8.73

      • Gregg Smith

        Well, don’t bet on the deficit dropping a dime. Don’t bet on any more revenue from the brand new top rate being hiked. But do bet on Congress putting any revenue increases from the payroll contribution into the general fund and spending it.

        Dollars to donuts the 16.6% number you cite includes revenue from the payroll contribution. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000167780414 Jim Porter

    I think that utilizing the fourteenth amendment in this “crisis” is probably the thing to do.  Extend the debt ceiling and dare the republicans to do anything about it. Mitch McConnell will sputter and choke but he will not be able to do anything about it! 

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

    We may have to cut spending – but anyone who thinks it won’t be very painful is kidding themselves.

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

      The screwup isn’t that order: “Spending cuts are needed, they will be painful.”

      The screwup is how our Beltway Inbreds have latched onto that idea as onto a life preserver, and have transformed that concept into “The middle and working class need more pain, or else they won’t learn anything. Pain for the riffraff is, in and of itself, good.”

  • Bruce Hooke

    The time for compromise is when the Congress is passing a budget. Until the Congress is willing to step up and do their part I see no reason for the President to “compromise” (i.e., capitulate to the Republican’s attempt to turn what has until recently been a routine matter — raising the debt ceiling — into a political tool).

  • William

     There won’t be any real spending cuts.

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

      You righties had your shot, during a five-year expansion. Only to discover (after the fact) that after all those hosannas and CPAC standing ovations that Bush the younger was Not a True Conservative.

      Funny, that.

      • Gregg Smith

        He was a big spending conservative. That’s what lost him Congress and began the Tea Party. 

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

          Why is it all non-racist, non-bigoted, non-sexist Teabaggers are right in this very space? The rest of your movement are dogs you lie down with, and you can’t be seen in public scratching at your fleas.

          I await the tremendous power all of you wield the next time the GOP is in the White House. You don’t statistically exist, and that “Conservatism never fails, it’s only failed” is getting beyond hilarious.

          • Gregg Smith

            Gibberish. I have no idea what your point is but I’m not too smart.

          • Steve__T

             Agreed

          • Flytrap

            We’re part of the Koch bros rational outreach to put a smiley face on our hidden agenda of right wing jack booted thuggery.  

          • sickofthechit

             Finally, some honesty!

          • Gregg Smith

            And paid well I might add.

  • CindyC Barnard

    Please for goodness sake, Mr McConnell. Oh noooo President Obama hasn’t compromised… and oh the Rs have been so willing to bend.

    Who is this guy?

    Paying the debt takes time – how many people must utilize resources, finances, to find a job and start paying down the /their debt.

    • Gregg Smith

      There is no effort at all to pay down the debt. None. The ore time that goes by the more debt we will have.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        How horrible! I guess we better do something about financial predator parasites paying a 13% tax rate, huh?

  • Gregg Smith

    If we don’t raise the debt limit how will we pay for all those lap dances, porn and liquor that we fund through welfare?

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/poor_some_ugar_on_me_0Hq1d3iPnvj2RwpsEDS7MN

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Is that what they meant by ‘stimulating’ the economy?

    • jefe68

      What a load bloviating inanity.  

      • Gregg Smith

        Do you support paying for the porn, liquor and lap dances of welfare recipients?

        • jefe68

          Do you always have to post such inane crap?

          • Gregg Smith

            Seriously Jefe, the proclamations are getting old but do what you gotta do.

            I don’t know if you dispute the methods, don’t believe the data, don’t believe the NY Post or support using welfare to fund porn, liquor and lap dances. It’s a fair question. Maybe you don’t support it but aren’t against it. It’s a big deal and the larger dynamic is ruining our nation. These freeloading  perverted drunks vote. And they don’t vote Republican.

            Now go ahead and tell me that I just called everybody on welfare freeloading perverted drunks (I didn’t) and what it says about me. If you make it about me then you don’t have to confront the ugly truth. Or better yet say I just called all Democrats such. I feel sure that’s what you read.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

     Debt and deficit solutions?

    Obama’s first action was to give pay raises to congress and government workers.  Apparently Obama has no interest in balancing the budget or solving the federal fiscal crisis.

    Actually, Obama isn’t really interested in a budget at all.  He hasn’t signed one in the last 3 years.  And yes, if Obama wanted to sign a budget then Harry Reid would have given him one.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    The righty media constantly tell us that the voters demand budget cuts and, using the worst 1984-ish newspeak, “entitlement reform”. Huh? I haven’t seen any angry demonstrators demanding that medicare be voucherized or SS be cut. Have you? The fact is that the TeaOP is ready to fight to the death for extremely unpopular positions. Why not just let them?

    • Flytrap

      75% of Americans say cut spending.  http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/battleground-poll-hike-taxes-on-the-rich-84824.html  Does 75% for something now qualify as unpopular?

      • jefe68

        Yeah, and 50% of Americans believe in angels and ghosts.

        • Flytrap

          Non sequiter.

          • jefe68

            Much like most of what you posted before.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        LOL, everyone loves spending cuts, except one minor point, they don’t want any of the cuts advocated by the TeaOP.

        • Flytrap

          You’re evading my point.  Cutting govt spending is one of the major goals of the TEA Party and is supported by 75% of the public yet you said the TEA Party was for extremely unpopular positions.  It appears that your statement was in error.  

          • TomK_in_Boston

            You’re evading reality. Voters are in favor of vague and unspecified cuts but are strongly opposed to the specific cuts which the right wants to inflict upon the USA. Pretty standard human behavior. Deal with it.

          • Flytrap

             I am dealing with it.  Every cut will take money from someone.  So, I suppose the left is in agreement with no cuts, except to defense of course. 

  • Cathy Schwemm

    How about this: The Republicans (or the Democrats) decide how much we can spend, and then the Democrats (or Rs) decide how to spend it…

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

      That sounds too much like Texas, or any other state which is fascinated by getting “block grants” from the Federal gov’t to spend as it wishes.

      I’m a big fan of the whole “one cuts, the other chooses” when two kids want to split one piece of cake, but it doesn’t apply here.

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

    Where was this show’s topic when Bush II was getting a debt ceiling hike a dozen times, in fine print, on the proverbial page D15 of the paper?

    • Gregg Smith

      Senator Obama was pretty outspoken about it.

      • StilllHere

        Really? Was he giving the Bush administration a pass on it?

        • Gregg Smith

          Good one!

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

        Like I asked, why is the mainstream media so fascinated with the debt ceiling at this point in the business cycle?

        • Gregg Smith

          I’m not sure you are correct, I remember lots of belly aching front page news and I don’t see much outrage now. I do see lots of press saying we should do away with it. I seem to remember Krackpot Krugman having a hissy about it.

          But let’s accept your premise, one good reason would be we weren’t anywhere near this in debt by any measure, especially deficit to GDP. Put pick any indicator you want, real dollars, adjusted dollars, per capita, spending to GDP, etc.

          • jefe68

            That you would call Paul Krugman a crackpot says it all.

          • Gregg Smith

            That you wouldn’t says more.

          • jefe68

            How so?
            I don’t hang on his every word but the man is a intelligent economist. 
            You really do act like a petulant adolescent, are you aware of that?

          • Gregg Smith

            Yea yea I’m aware. I’ll add it to my list of things I’ve already stipulated many times along with my being brainwashed by Fox/Rush, being a racist, sexist, bigot and kitten torturer. Okay?

            He is a Krackpot for the reason at hand. He freaked about spending when Bush did it to a far less extent under far more favorable circumstances and now says Obama is not spending enough. He is way too ideological to be taken seriously.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Nonsense. He’s a mainstream Keynesian who has been right a lot more than the economists who support voodoo econ.

            He has consistently said that spending would not drive up interest rates in the current climate while the voodoo economists have been screaming about how all the gub’mint spending was gonna cause inflation and drive rates sky high.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             Krugman called for an alien invasion (from outer space) to solve our fiscal crisis.  ‘Nuff said.

      • jefe68

        So. He was a senator then and is president now.
        Two very different jobs with different agendas.
        Are you not to be able to parse these differences? 

        • Gregg Smith

          I don’t parse the differences because I don’t think what is good for the country is determined by ideology. 

          • jefe68

            That’s hilarious. You should go into comedy.

          • Gregg Smith

            Actually, if you disagree with what I wrote, it’s very sad.

          • jefe68

            No what’s sad is you think your comments are devoid of partisan politics. 

            President Obama, like all presidents have a difficult job that entails that they will change their minds on issues that pertain to governing a huge nation such as ours.
            It’s part of the job.

            Man you’re one obtuse ideologue.

          • Gregg Smith

            I don’t change positions like the wind. I don’t care a wit if the truth doesn’t fit my ideology, I’ll go with truth every time. I am grateful if someone shows me I am wrong about a long held partisan belief. I don’t want to be wrong.

          • Flytrap

             I am sure you cut GWB  the same slack for his hard job as you do Obama. 

          • jefe68

            On some things yes. On others no.
            You’re point is silly.

          • Flytrap

             My point is that you are a hypocrite, I don’t see that as silly at all.

          • Ray in VT

            But your ideology influences what you think is good for the country, just as it does with me and everyone else.

          • Gregg Smith

            I understand and could argue that it’s clear that this debt and enabling more without a plan to address it cannot possibly be good for the country and I could do it outside the sphere of politics or ideology. But that misses my point.

            Please note I am steering clear of saying raising the debt limit is good or bad as a practice in general. 

            Obama took polar opposite positions. Jefe said it was because his job was different as President and that’s true but that shouldn’t change his position. The only way I can interpret his comment is that he believes Obama’s “job” as Senator was to obstruct and as President is to spend. 

            Obama said Bush’s debt was “unpatriotic” and now his debt dwarfs Bush’s big time in half the time. What does he believe? It depends on what day it is.

            You and I (if I can presume based on your consistency) believe what we believe.

          • Ray in VT

            I didn’t intend my comment to be directed at the specific topic at hand, just more of a general observation regarding what shapes our views.

            I don’t think that policy position changes are necessarily bad, as circumstances, realities and known facts change.  Being wishy-washy can be a problem, as can sticking to a given position regardless of the evidence.

            Dick Cheney thought that it was a bad idea to knock Saddam out of power in the early 1990s, and he changed his mind on that one.  A number of his earlier predictions proved to be true.  I would fault him for his later position, as you seem to fault Obama for his change of position.

            I certainly could, and would, argue that deficits were harder to justify during the Bush years, at least up until things went south fast in 2008.  Things were supposed to be a lot better then, although perhaps not as good as the 1990s, but in some ways better than now, although some of that growth and prosperity was fairly perilously based.

            I certainly want to see us get our financial house in order, but I am not willing to see that done on the backs of those who are the least well off, and that is my view of much of the Republican approach.  I think that we all need to pony up in order to do this, so sacrifices will be needed all around.  That is one thing that I believe.

          • Gregg Smith

            I’ll refrain from chasing tangents and arguing details that I disagree with. 

            I do agree with you in principal but don’t agree at all that it’s the case now. The nub of my my disagreement with your comment as it relates to Obama is I don’t think for a minute he has changed his position or evolved in any way. When he criticized Bush’s debt it was purely ideology, he’s never cared a wit about debt and he sure doesn’t now… IMHO. 

        • Mike_Card

          That really encapsulates the mini-issue–one that I think describes the Romney problem.

          Yes.  Obama WAS a senator, but now is President–two different roles.  Just as lawyers are trained to argue either side of a dispute, that’s the discipline he brings to the executive branch from his role in the legislature.

          Romney had training in both business & law, but chose business, where the penalty for being untruthful means he didn’t win the sale; as a lawyer, lying–yes, lying–would have meant that he got his license revoked.

          There’s no reason to expect that Obama would always advocate for Illinois, now that he’s President.  The converse would have been true while he represented Illinois as a Senator.

        • PithHelmut

          Why do they nearly all change once in office? Why do we still have politicians anyway?  They don’t benefit anyone. We can have democracy on-line and vote on issues as they arise. Who needs a bunch of old fossils to decide things for us?  They hardly know much anyway. And they certainly don’t know how much pain and hardship they cause because they never have to see it let alone feel it. We’re the stooges…

    • jefe68

       Under GW Bush the debt ceiling was raised seven times.

      You have to remember that Congress, in this case the House of Representatives is in the drivers seat.

      • Gregg Smith

        Did any of those increases originate in Pelosi’s House? 

        • jefe68

          The point of your question is what?

          • Gregg Smith

            It was not a good question because it implies I accept your premise that the number of times times Bush raised it is relevant at all. 

            But the point is you said the House was in the driver’s seat. Any increase after 2006 happened while Pelosi was driving.

          • jefe68

            It’s relevant because this is the topic of the show.

            Funny how history is fine for you when it suits your agenda. There are some Scottish words that describe folks of your ilk: numpty wallaper.

          • Gregg Smith

            I addressed you on this earlier in the day. I’m not going to do it again. I have not heard the show yet but I see nothing on this page that refers to any thing but the upcoming ceiling.

          • jefe68

            I don’t know the topic of today’s show is, wait for it…The Debt Ceiling And The Constitution

        • Mike_Card

          Will someone please explain the–yes, TEABAGGER–obsession with Nancy Pelosi?  Does the right wing hear bunches about other Speakers?  Beyond the certifiable nutjob Gingrich?

          • Gregg Smith

            Why you gotta go do that? We were getting along so well for ideological opposites. Don’t think I’m above going all Flytrap on you.

            See my reply to Jefe below for the reason I brought up Pelosi. He teed it up.

            You can take your homo-erotic references and stick’m. I’m a card carrying Tea Partying, Newt loving, Pelosi despising, poop-shoveling, ‘pinionated piano player and you will address me as such.

            PS – Make that Mr. card carrying Tea Partying, Newt loving, Pelosi despising, poop-shoveling, ‘pinionated piano player.

          • Mike_Card

            I think you said earlier, “It’s just my nature.”  That’s me, too.

            I enjoy getting it on with you, because I think you’re an honest broker–even though I can’t agree with most of what you suggest.

            In an other world, I think you and I would have a great time, if we agreed to forget about politics.  These Flytrap and Stillhere screens are just silly.

          • PithHelmut

            Thank you for identifying yourself as being incapable of creative or logical thought. Now we can at least ignore anything else you have to say. If we want to know what you think, we can always get it from the forever-predictable right.

          • Gregg Smith

            You’re welcome.

            I just notice you’re mostly ignored and thought a reply might make you feel better.

  • Markus6

    I’m missing something. If you look at who was in charge (executive and legislative branches) and what their roles were, isn’t it obvious that both sides have driven up the debt. I’ve started to write my arguments a couple times, but each time I stop because whether it’s pork or defense spending, or welfare, or the farm bill or medicare, it’s just so well known that both sides pushed these, that I’m amazed we’re having these arguments. 

    But to stay on point, we shouldn’t drop the debt ceiling. There are a thousand reasons Congress and the President have for increasing spending. My rep gets great praise for saving a military base or fighter jet that even the military says they don’t need. However, have someone stand up and say we need to look at the farm bill to see if it’s worth the money, and he’s torn apart. There are so few mechanisms in place to curb spending, let’s not give up on one we have, as flawed as it is. 

    • jefe68

      Medicare costs are diven by the type of fee for service health care system we have. One should try to parse this fact. All the other stuff on your laundry list is about congress, more or less.

    • PithHelmut

      Don’t you just feel that nothing makes sense out of Congress anymore?  Funny though, we keep waiting for a good signal but we never get it.  Every month it’s a new debacle; last month it was the tax cuts, this month the deficit, next month the debt ceiling and who knows maybe the month after that they’ll be asking women to wear burkas. We keep working and paying their salaries.  We tend to forget who they are supposed to be working for and so do they.  We’re trying to be orderly and go by the laws but there won’t be anything left out of all our life’s work. Well not for us anyway.

    • Fredlinskip

      Something you may have missed is at least as far as CBO was concerned there was no debt problem 12 years ago.

      Another thing you might have missed: From 1960 through 2008, every Republican president has increased the debt/GDP ratio and every Democratic President has decreased it. 
      I don’t know if you feel this is relevant or not.
      Over

      That said I don’t think it should have surprised anyone in congress that Boomers might want to retire one day.

      • Markus6

        Could you really be this one sided in what you know? Did the Congress have nothing to do with the debt from 1960 to 2008. And should we not include the Obama presidency and its’ affect on the debt? 
        Do you really not know how spending by the government is determined, what the different branches do?

        Both sides are at fault. But I’m amazed I have to say this. 

        • Fredlinskip

          Hey Markus I replied up above because my response may be a bit long-winded.
          Thanks

  • Orlando Vidali

    The last few times Obama drew the line in the sand republicans were able to squeeze massive concessions from him. Not too optimistic the debt limit won’t become a permanent part of the republican toolkit and be used to force giveaways they’ve coveted for years – like the estate tax. What a handout. This president is just too prone to blinking.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Concessions?  If there were any then they weren’t very effective.  Obama was still able to run up $6T in new debt in his first term and that was without a budget.

      • hennorama

        WorriedfortheCountry – you wrote “Obama was still able to run up $6T in new debt in his first term and that was without a budget.”

        It’s absurd to attribute all Federal Spending, deficits and debt increases solely to the President.

        The President cannot spend money without Congressional approval.  The most recent Continuing Resolution passed in the Senate last September.  The vote was 62 to 30, so at least SOME Republicans voted for it.  The CR extended Federal funding through late March 2013, and was needed because Congress has not agreed on a Federal Budget.

        House Republicans reportedly agreed to the length of the deal because some thought a shorter length would give DEMOCRATS leverage to shut down the government after the 2012 elections.  Regardless of the reasoning, the House and Senate agreed on the CR, which the President signed.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Don’t lose the big picture in the details: the righty agenda is class warfare. Their only interest in the debt is as a scare tactic. “If you don’t agree to ‘entitlement reform’ (= cuts), the big bad debt will get you.” Their political pawns and media mouthpieces repeat it endlessly, the debt, the debt, the debt. 

    Funny thing is, the debt is just a number. It doesn’t actually enter someone’s life, like a SS check, the presence of a policeman, good roads, a great state university, etc. Economists are divided on whether it’s a big deal or not, but the media won’t shut up about it.

    Seems to me the media could drum up a scare about a completely imaginary threat, and if they repeated that “the thing” would get your kids unless you cut SS and voucherize medicare, after enough browbeating, a substantial % of the sheep would agree.

    • hennorama

      TomK_in_Boston – Agreed.

      Given that The Red Menace is history, and Middle Eastern Terrorists are largely kaput, we need a new boogeymen to distract the masses.  Ergo “We Have A Spending/Debt Problem.”    The amorphous and intangible nature of the Federal Deficit and Federal Debt make them perfect candidates.

      I’ve been approaching those who have expressed concerns over the Federal Deficit and Federal Debt from the perspective of “What Spending would YOU cut?” but have been largely unsuccessful.  So I reexamined my approach and have considered asking a different question – “How has the Federal Deficit and Federal Debt impacted YOU?”  or “Can you point out any actual negative impacts of recent Federal Deficits and increased Federal Debt?”

      I don’t expect any actual answers, but I’ve been wrong before.

      • JGC

        The Red Menace lives on! Except now, the Red Menace is the new tax haven for the overtaxed 1%, instead of being the Marxist lefty solution of yore. How times do change! Any takers to join Gérard Dépardieu and Brigitte Bardot in RedMenace2.0, as they do their darndest to avoid higher income taxes?  President Putin awaits… 

      • OnPointComments

        Is it your opinion that deficits and debt don’t matter, no matter how large they are?

        • pete18

           Only when democrats are president.

        • Gregg Smith

          My guess is her opinion is they don’t matter unless you can propose a solution on a stupid blog. That way the debate can shift to how crazy ANY proposal is and how futile any effort to address it is.

          Dramatization below

          My wife and I bought two new houses and five new cars and earn 40K. We bought everybody in the neighborhood a windmill. We spent our kids college fund. As she peruses the Tiffany catalog credit card in hand she tells me all will be peachy if I get 2 more jobs.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Sure they matter. The bigger the right makes them, the better they can be used to scare people into giving up everything that was gained since 1929.

        • hennorama

          OnPointComments – Federal deficits and debt do matter, but they are far from catastrophic at their current levels. A few relatively minor fiscal changes would stabilize the Debt/GDP ratio, and increased employment would go a long way in terms of reducing spending in the categories most directly impacted by the Great Recession. My view is that the only way they will be reduced in any meaningful way is higher employment and economic growth.

          See:http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3856

          As my continued commentary points out, cutting spending is not only very difficult to do, it’s also ineffective as a singular solution to US fiscal issues. A balanced approach of gradual revenue increases and cuts to spending is far more preferable. Given the global economic circumstances, the US economy has done relatively well. Slashing spending or widespread significant tax increases could easily upset the rather delicate balance that has allowed our economy to recover. Most importantly, slashing CURRENT Federal spending would completely reverse the slowly improving employment trends, which are key to the ongoing recovery.

          The three most important things that would help reduce our deficits and debt are jobs, jobs, and jobs. Unfortunately, rather than focusing on increasing employment, a few in Congress have been busy holding the US economy hostage over minor revenue increases and have been unable to agree on relatively minor spending cuts. This creates uncertainty and makes it quite difficult for businesses to make reasonable economic forecasts, retarding hiring. This uncertainty has also affected consumer spending behavior, as the lukewarm holiday shopping results have shown.

          We simply need more jobs, and the ENTIRE Federal government should be focused on ways to increase employment, not on this artificially created and only modestly worrisome fiscal conundrum. Reasonable and modest solutions are available, and cooler heads will eventually prevail.

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

          Individuals’ opinions here don’t affect how they matter to our press corps, and for some reason they matter much more in our mediascape when a Democrat is in the White House. No matter the business cycle.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Agree completely. Nobody can/will answer those key questions. The funny thing about Question #2 is that I think of Americans as very practical and it’s odd to see them deeply concerned over a number with no clear, identifiable impact on their daily lives.

        Re #1, someone has been endlessly quoting a poll indicating that Americans want to cut spending, in a vague, unspecified manner, with no concern that they strongly oppose the cuts actually being proposed.

        In particularly, cuts in SS and medicare, even when whitewashed as “entitlement reform”, are EXTREMELY unpopular. That’s why romney did his best to hide ryan, the medicare voucherizer, after he made the error of selecting him. If the right want to make this the battlefield to live or die on, it’s crazy not to let them.

    • Gregg Smith

      That way of thinking is why we are in this mess. The debt is a real problem and it has been for a while. Obama put the debt on steroids and convinced many that we could spend our way out of it. It failed, all we have to show for it is more debt. 

      And speaking of vouchers, I’ll repeat: Obama forced 2 million of the most vulnerable elderly out of Medicare hand into a voucher program. No one ever responds. The silence is deafening.

      • jefe68

        No the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression put a strain on our debt. Governments need revenue to work, if millions lose their jobs and revenue goes down, the debt and deficit will go up. 

        • Gregg Smith

          Congrats, you’re the latest one to ignore Obama’s voucher imposition on seniors.

          It would have been better if Obama hadn’t turned an admittedly tough situation into a disaster. Obama did not inherit a disaster. It was not a crisis until he made it one.

    • OnPointComments

      It’s easy to understand how the masses are misled about the big bad debt.  There are people telling us that the debt is Bush’s fault because of the Bush wars and Bush medicare D.  If the debt doesn’t matter, then who the president was when it escalated can’t matter either.  Some people say that it’s the Bush tax cuts, or Romney paying 13%, or low tax rates that are causing the national debt to balloon; but if the debt doesn’t matter, then Romney’s tax rate or anyone else’s tax rate is irrelevant.  And if Candidate Obama thought $10 trillion in debt and a $450 billion deficit was irresponsible and unpatriotic, then he was either being disingenuous, or naïve, or ignorant, because the debt is just a number, a scare tactic, and it doesn’t matter.  Or it may be that whether or not the debt matters is, for some people, dependent upon the political party of the person occupying the White House.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000544665802 Nate Mullikin

    There is no better way that the whole concept of pure fiat money and money creation by borrowing could end then with this 100 year old multiple multiple trillion dollar, probably un-fixable mess.

    Obama needs to mobilize the National Guard to prepare to start handing out MRE’s, water and propane heaters using whatever funds he has remaining for such things and then invoking war powers to requisition what else is needed. Military medical and dental units need to be set up in town squares. 
    Most of us are already in survival mode anyways.

    • Gregg Smith

      Reality check.

      • jefe68

        Dito that.

  • Fishermanidaho

    We have built a house of cards, and who wants to be the first to pull out the card.
     
    I think the party that starts the action of drawing down on the debit (equal from all Gov spending) will be respected a lot more in the next election.

  • PithHelmut

    It’s all such a farce. We all know the economy is totally arbitrary and doesn’t take giant factors into account when the jokers don’t deem it worthy.  And what is deemed worthy?  Anyone who is best at exploiting others or the planet. Great system boys!

  • joseki17

     All appropriations laws appropriate funds “not otherwise appropriated by law”. So, if there is no money in the Treasury to appropriate, the appropriations law fails. The solution to this, therefore, is that the President can’t spend money that isn’t there. Which means default.

  • joseki17

    Also, to the extent that an appropriations law doesn’t fail, the President is not obligated to spend all funds appropriated for a program unless the spending for the program is an entitlement, which most spending is not.

  • JGC

    What if…what if…2013 FICA Social Security contributions with Medicare are about 15%, (split between employee and employer,if there is an employer).  This goes directly to Social Security/Medicare obligations. What if there was an analogous  Federal Insurance Contributions Act “Military Security” side, but carved out from our current general federal income taxes, and it would be designated for paying for wars, military adventures, border control, and employees and retirees thereof,etc.  So there would be the Social Security/Medicare contribution (as usual)  which takes a significant portion of the U.S. GDP, but would also put the Military contribution on the same playing field, which also takes up a similarly proportional amount of the U.S. GDP (I think?) Then everyone could see exactly where there contributions/taxes were going, and there could be separate budgetary accounts. 

    If people saw that x dollars are going to the Social Security/Medicare and y dollars are going to the Military on their paychecks, it might give them insight as to how they want their money spent.  If workers pay something like 7.5% to Social Security and Medicare, they would also pay – what? 5%? or 6% or 7.5% to Military Security (matched by employers) and we would adjust the general  budget downward by a like amount.  Less wiggle room for the rest of the entities in the budget.  I guess what I am going for here is transparency; if we know exactly what we are working for and contributing to for Social Security AND for the Military budgets, we are all shareholders in a more transparent way, and maybe that will cause people to decide their priorities.

    Does this make any sense, or have I just had one beer too many?      

    • Fredlinskip

      Too tired to see if it makes sense.
      What are you saying- we should pay for our Wars???
      there should be a box on the checks that says OIL COMPANIES, since we directly subsidize them. And a big one that says WEALTHY because trickle up still plays such a strong part in our system- might as well skip the formalities and send it straight there.

      Seriously you need somebody less cynical like hennorama to chime in to help you out.

      • Gregg Smith

        The wars were paid for. The lie that they weren’t has been repeated so often it is believed by many. It’s still a lie.

        • jefe68

          What’s interesting is you keep going on and on about the deficit and the debt, of which a large portion if this is cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’ll add math to comprehension in the problems I see in your posts.

          According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report published in October 2007, the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost taxpayers a total of $2.4 trillion dollars by 2017 when counting the huge interest costs because combat is being financed with borrowed money. The CBO estimated that of the $2.4 trillion long-term price tag for the war, about $1.9 trillion of that would be spent on Iraq, or $6,300 per U.S. citizen.

          Not to mention the potential of nearly $1 trillion in extra spending to care for veterans returning from combat through 2050

          • Fredlinskip

            Estimates for Iraq War ALONE depends on who you ask I guess, but when you estimate all the costs associated with, over 3 trillion is a more accurate figure.

          • Gregg Smith

            In 2007 the Deficit was $162B and that’s after four years of raging wars.

            Bush’s withdrawal timeline was observed in Iraq and it’s Obama who escalated in Afghanistan. Why are you talking about Bush?

          • Fredlinskip

            Cost of the 2 Wars is eatimated between 4 and 6 trillion- when you consider all costs associated with. 
            This seems to be a general consensus, 
            I made no mention of W in above comment.

          • Gregg Smith

            You alluded to him or maybe I just inferred it. Sorry.

        • Fredlinskip

          War were borrowed for.

    • hennorama

      JGC – interesting idea.  One objection would be that wages and salary totals vary with economic cycles, which would make “Military Security” planning more difficult.  A second would be if you were making this the sole source of funding,  In other words, it would be objectionable to fund “Military Security” solely through deductions from wage earners and the self-employed.  But the idea of making the connection between taxes paid and how they are spent has merit.

      Here’s another way to do the same thing:
      http://www.whitehouse.gov/2011-taxreceipt

      Of course, it depends on what you put into the “Military Security” category, but here are recent TOTAL Federal Outlays for a few categories over the last 5 Federal fiscal years (2008 thru 2012* estimated) in Billions of US$:

      Military defense               3392.6
      Veterans                           533.4
      Foreign military aid              50.3
      Foreign economic aid         163.0

      DEFENSE TOTAL               4151.5* includes minor categories not listed above

      Social Security                 3516.1
      Medicare                         2242.7

      TOTAL SS & Medicare      5758.8

      Social Security is self-funding, with the exception of the last three years (primarily due to the payroll tax holiday).  Medicare get about 60% of its funding from Medicare taxes and beneficary premiums, but requires about 40% from general Federal revenues.  Some additional Medicare funding will be coming on line this year as more provisions of the ACA come into effect.

      For more on Medicare Spending and Financing, see:

      http://www.kff.org/medicare/upload/7731-03.pdf

  • Fredlinskip

    What you wanna cut and how?
    C’mon GOP 
    Sp.. Sp… Sp.. Sp…. Spi… Spi..,    
    Spi… Spi…, Spiiii… Spit- it out!!

    • Gregg Smith

      Whoa there partner, why isn’t Obama offering up cuts? Where are the Democrats offering up cuts?

      The GOP proposals don’t see the light of day.

      http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr408

      • Fredlinskip

        GOP wants to cut spending but claim Dems haven’t the guts to name what needs cut.
        Therin lies the rub.

        • Gregg Smith

          What about the $2T in cuts above did you miss?

          • Fredlinskip

            GOOD Point.
            Don’t think that’s going to work in real world- it cuts education funding and support for PPACA and on and on and is old news.
             But granted- perhaps  I need retract my comment above because as unrealistic a sit is, IT IS a proposal.
             I thought y’all contended we needed get into cutting “entitlements”?
             Flip- flopped on that have y’all (GOP)?
             

          • Gregg Smith

            There have been bookoos of spending cuts proposed and passed in the House over the last 4 years. IMO it’s “unrealistic” to believe otherwise and insane to believe not cutting spending drastically is a realistic option. But that’s me.

          • Fredlinskip

            And many were implemented.
            There’s going to have to be balance-additional revenue/cuts  unless you think holding the country hostage over debt ceiling is a good idea- in hope that Dems will cave to Greece-like cuts with likely Greece-like results to our economy.
            The SR Act of ’11  was DOA. So why waste precious time proposing it in first place?

          • Gregg Smith

            I disagree. Why not let the Senate have a vote? Many of the bills had support on both sides of the aisle. That would have forced an Obama veto so Reid ran cover for him. 

          • Fredlinskip

            Bill wouldn’t have passed the Senate- why waste the time?

  • Ed75

    Well, that’s the argument, which path to take – more debt to get the economy to grow, or decrease debt. Neither seems guaranteed to work.

  • uncertainsaxophone

    I think it’s disappointing to hear an intellectual of Professor McConnell’s stature comparing the national economy to a household and the national debt to a credit card.  These analogies, though popular among politicians and pundits, have very little currency among economists.

  • Outside_of_the_Box

    Here’s how I see it.
    The fiscal cliff was the result of both sides admitting the seriousness of the fiscal situation, and imposing a trigger to make sure they had to sit down and figure things out.
    In this insane partisan climate, I say trigger away!
    If that’s what it’s going to take to start addressing things.
    For the debt ceiling, it’s basically the same thing.
    Because it’s in the constitution, it’s forcing us to look at the problem and have a serious debate.
    Honestly, I don’t care what markets and pundits say.
    The US has to start addressing this stuff, and if it cause some instability, then so be it.
    I see comprehensive tax reform and spending cuts as essential components here.
    Forget red and blue bickering, we need both, and plenty of it.
    No one said doing the right thing was easy.

  • Carlton Johnson

    I loved this discussion  of the debt crisis and the fiscal cliff

  • StilllHere

    Given that the American Taxpayer Relief Act increased everybody’s taxes, I’m guessing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will also do the opposite of its name.

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

    The Constitution created a circus, and the clowns (Congress) are running it. LOL The Constitution needs to be amended as much as required to bring it up to the 21st Century. In its present form, it just doesn’t work. The politicians need to be limited to one elective term per lifetime. Big money needs to be removed from the elective process. The budget must have a cap which can only be raised by tax increases. All tax exemptions should be eliminated, and a flat tax should be instituted.

    Americans need to realize that ALL must make monetary contributions to support our country. Everybody must make sacrifices.

    Or we won’t have a country in the future.

    And the sacrifices need to start at the top.

  • hennorama

    StilllHere – Please demonstrate how “the American Taxpayer Relief Act increased everybody’s taxes.”
     
    And when you fail to do so, please admit that you were wrong.  Your past history of being bravely silent in the face of challenges to your posts precedes this one.  I fully expect the same.

    • pete18

       Here you go: http://www.businessinsider.com/tax-increase-fiscal-cliff-payroll-taxes-2013-1

      I think apologies are in order to to StillHere, don’t you?

      • hennorama

        pete18 – TY for your response. Unless you are also StilllHere, StilllHere’s continued brave silence is notable, and expected.

        The intent of my original post was twofold:

        1. To point out the danger of using terms like “everybody/everyone,” “no one”, “always”, “never”, etc. Many comments contain such absolute terms, and are generally easily refuted. Some of my comments are reductio ad absurdum, to demonstrate how many arguments fray at their absolute extremes.

        2. StilllHere rarely if ever responds to challenges.

        As neither of my points have been disproved, no apology is needed on my part.

        Now, as to your comment and the link provided:

        First, while the chart is interesting, it uses income averages and does not point out the range of results. In other words, some in each income range are completely unaffected by the changes. This is due to the type of “Cash Income” they have. Not all types of income in all Federal tax brackets were impacted by the changes. Plus, the chart uses many types of income that are not taxable. For a definition of the term “Cash Income” used in this chart, see:

        http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/numbers/displayatab.cfm?DocID=574

        Secondly, the chart uses the “Baseline: Patched 2012 Law (Payroll Cut Extended, No Health Taxes, AMT Fix).” Since the “Patched 2012 Law” expired prior to enactment of the American Taxpayer Relief Act, Federal individual income tax rates had already gone UP, and the payroll tax holiday had already expired. This makes the ATRA a Federal Individual Income Tax DECREASE not an increase.

        I understand that this is a technical point, but it is important to many, notably Republicans who signed the Norquist pledge. Here are two quotes from Mr. Norquist:

        “The Bush tax cuts lapsed at midnight last night. Every R voting for Senate bill is cutting taxes and keeping his/her pledge.

        — Grover Norquist (@GroverNorquist) January 2, 2013″

        “Norquist: It’s technically not a violation of the pledge but I understand why a lot of Republicans have said ‘Look, even though what’s happening is the tax cuts disappear, and we’re restoring them for most people so we’re not raising taxes. We’re actually cutting taxes.’”

        http://cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2013/01/02/ac-norquist-fiscal-cliff-bill.cnn.html

        Third, other estimates indicate that the ATRA of 2012 (strangely misnamed since it passed in 2013, but I digress) provisions affect about 77% of American households. This is far from “everyone.”

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-03/tax-rate-boost-sustains-longest-rally-in-five-years-muni-credit.html

        Finally, your use of this chart implies that you agree that payroll taxes are indeed TAXES, as they make up the bulk of the tax changes discussed. This is a point you and others have disputed directly and indirectly in the past.

        Thank you again for your response.

        • pete18

           I’ve never disputed that it was a tax, it is a tax with a very targeted purpose that isn’t supposed to be part of the general funds. Exactly because of this, I personally didn’t think it was wise to to lower the payroll tax as part of a cut to stimulate the economy. I do think you could lower the payroll tax if you reformed social security, but in its current state all cutting its rate does is make it even more insolvent over time.

          None the less, it is completely accurate to
          observe that a return to the previous rate,
          which is what happens in the American Taxpayer Relief Act,  raises everybody’s taxes. Just look at your next pay check if you don’t think this is so.

          • hennorama

            pete18 – TY for your response. I understand your perspective, and respect your views.

            My use of the the word “indirectly” was intended as a reference to our prior discussions. Please allow me to amend my original remarks to

            “You and I have previously discussed whether ‘payroll taxes’ should be included as part of the overall Federal ‘tax burden,’ and others have directly disputed whether Social Security and Medicare ‘deductions’ were ‘taxes,’ ‘contributions’ or ‘deductions.’ ”

            I noted the following on 12-09-2012, hoping to end the discussion (to little avail):

            “Re: Social Security & Medicare taxes – Republican standardbearer Mr. Romney included his self-employment taxes (“payroll” taxes for the self-employed) as part of the calculation of his “tax burden.” I think that should end the discussion of whether these taxes should be part of Total Taxes Paid”

            See:http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/12/07/week-in-the-news-224#comment-731360973

            But I digress. Indeed, payroll taxes have increased, relative to the law of the land at the end of 2012. But not “everybody” pays payroll taxes. This is illustrative of my overarching point – StilllHere was and is incorrect in stating “the American Taxpayer Relief Act increased everybody’s taxes.”

            This is untrue, regardless of whether one is comparing Federal taxes (of all types) as of the end of 2012, or the start of 2013. A simple example is the single retired taxpayer aged 65, whose only income is from SS benefits. Let’s say their monthly benefit in 2012 was $2,000. They would pay ZERO federal Income Tax (FIT) in 2012. They would also pay ZERO FIT in 2013, even with the 1.7% SS COLA for 2013.

            Lastly, I don’t receive paychecks. Sorry to burst yet another assumption about me. But take heart, as you are far from the only person who has made erroneous assumptions about me.

          • pete18

             I think you’re spending a lot of time arguing semantics.
            Using your exacting terms you could find an exception to the use of “everyone” in almost any situation. “Everybody” would include all most all tax payer’s in Still Here’s argument. Inclusive enough for the context of these policy arguments.

             Check your self employment tax rate when you file in April then. Same result.

          • hennorama

            pete18 – one person’s “semantics” is another’s “definition.” If the ATRA impacts an estimated 77% of households, that is nowhere near to “everybody” in my book. I would not argue with the word “most” in this context.

            While it is true that most households will pay more into Federal coffers in 2013 compared to 2012, not “everybody” will. That was my point – StilllHere was and is “Stilll” incorrect.

            And bravely unresponsive.

  • Fredlinskip

    Reply to Markus 6 below:
    I see your point. You spoke of executive AND legislative branches. So we can at least say conclusively that between ’60 and ‘08 as far as EXECUTIVE branch is concerned, that every Dem admin decreased debt while every GOP increased it. Okay.
    Yes- these folks didn’t occupy in vacuum and congress played a role, and Dems played their part driving up debt.
    Is one party MORE culpable? I think one is and it’s pretty obvious. One clue is that since Reagan there has been preponderance of supply-side economics, which has contributed directly to vast national debt and vast income inequality. Income inequality is also a driver of debt, because if people can’t spend there is no economy. 
    The wealthy are investing less and less in America- and more abroad. And why not? Labor’s cheaper over there. Some other markets are large- they need go where the $ can be made, That’s capitalism. 
    OR are there flaws in that thinking? 
    It’s easy for a politician to say, “hey if you don’t like taxes vote for me”. People like the sound of that. It takes LOTS more political courage to point out the need for revenue- but harder to get elected. One things for sure you don’t enter office pledging NEVER to raise revenue- if you do- you SURELY are not a leader.   
    If you don’t like government, you think Mega Corps should rule the world, and income inequality and declining American employment is a good thing- there’s a party out there for you.
    But listen. I’m just one person. I’ve got my opinion. You’ve a right to yours.
     As far as Obama and the debt- absolutely there should be some culpability-  but personally I cut him a lot of slack because there is no other presidency in the past century other than Roosevelt who faced anywhere near the depth of dire circumstance from day 1. I think a big reason Obama lost 1st debate?- because he was tired- and deserved to be. I’m glad he got a second wind- because I think Romney would have been unmitigated disaster. 
    Maybe it would have been better had we entered 2nd Great Depression- maybe than this idea that “feeding the rich” is smart economic policy may have finally died- (like it died after Great Depression). Long as half of congress still thinks it’s a good one, than we are likely to have a LONG drawn out recovery- at best.
    IM(humble)O

    • Markus6

      Good points and I apologize if I came across obnoxious.There are so many  simplistic one-sided arguments on this forum that I may have jumped to a conclusion about yours.

      We agree on many points. GOP has screwed up a lot. It takes courage to raise taxes. Obama was given a mess when he started.

      Disagree on many as well. Congress has a bigger role in this than I think you’re saying. If you’re raising taxes primarily on the other party’s base, it takes less courage. And Obama has made a mess a much much bigger mess. And the alternative to huge government is not mega corps. 

      But good comments. Thanks.

      • Fredlinskip

        Thanks.

    • Fredlinskip

      “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”

      Definition of Insaity- “..doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” 

      -Einstein

    • pete18

      “That’s capitalism. 
      OR are there flaws in that thinking?” 

       

      So many they’re hard to count. You
      don’t understand capitalism at all. The genius of capitalism and the reason
      it’s on whole more responsive and productive than top down government run bureaucracies
      is because it has the balancing factor of competition. When companies outsource
      there are actually many positive outcomes that happen because of it.  One is cheaper goods for products that we
      buy, the other is the jobs created by new companies that outsource to the US.
      It is a myth that manufacturing has decreased BECAUSE of outsourcing and it is
      untrue that outsourcing is a net loss in jobs.

       

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/danikenson/2012/07/11/outsourcing-for-dummies-including-the-willfully-ignorant/

       

       

      For a good take on why so many of us
      conservatives so enthusiastically defend capitalism and find it the best system
      for helping people, listen to  a little Milton
      Friedman.

       

      You will find all these videos engaging
      and entertaining even if you completely disagree with him.

       

      A quick taste of Milton Friedman talking about greed on Phil
      Donahue:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76frHHpoNFs

       

      The entire interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1lWk4TCe4U

       

      And if you have 45 minutes to invest: “Is Capitalism
      Humane?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHPI1emZFVg

      • Fredlinskip

        That’s a lot to digest.

        I understand concept of cheap goods.
        Understand I’m not saying capitalism is bad, I am SUGGESTING that our huge trade deficits may come hand-in-hand with huge negative consequences to American employment & wages.
        Admittedly I’m not as well-versed in this subject as others and need become more so. And will investigate your links when time permits.Thanks

        This is a different issue than debt discussion I was having with Mark or “uniform measurement” thing that caused me to direct you to this comment, but that’s okay.
        Later.

        • pete18

           Sorry about the heavy content load. You’ll at least find it thought provoking if you find the time.

          Can you point me to where I’d find your “uniform measurement” comments? I didn’t
          know where specifically to look.

          • Fredlinskip

            You were obsessively trying to “pin me down” to “uniform measurements” so you could compare one administrations performance to another. 
               In Obama’s case this is somewhat exercise in futility UNLESS you want to compare him perhaps to FDR. We might then have enough similar circumstance so as to draw some conclusion about their performance to date.

          • pete18

             Yes, those are convenient parameters that are clung to by the left so they can avoid any comparisons to modern presidents. That’s because all of those contrasts make Obama look feckless and expose the emptiness of the progressives’ rhetoric
            against conservative economic policy.

            But, if you wanted to only use the comparison with FDR
            Obama still looks inept because FDR actually lowered the unemployment rate significantly in his first four years.

      • Gregg Smith

        Milton Freedman was great, I love his unassuming relentless style. He was a genius. Thanks for posting. There’s a great video of him taking a question about the Pinto from a very young Michael Moore. I’ll dig it up.

  • gfelker

    Michael McConnell is renowned as a top-flight Constitutional law scholar.  This program reveals him to be nothing more than a sophist working as a shill for a partisan right-wing agenda:  “the only solution is to cut spending”????!!! “The President must compromise.” I see. Not Republicans… “When you hit your credit card limit, you immediately stop spending.”  I see.  You never increase your income?  Huh.  I guess Judge McConnell has, in his inestimably brilliant, purely neutral analysis (what’s the emoticon for sarcasm) determined that it would be unconstitutional to raise corporate income taxes off the historical floor to which they have fallen, or to raise taxation generally from its floor.  I’m glad that he has enlightened us all that the Constitution requires that we all bow down before the Republicans’ Social Darwinist re-write of the social contract.  This is madness, and complete rubbish.  It’s indeed a threat to our Constitutional system: if his extreme, slanted, ideologically-driven view prevails, he will be surprised to find that the American people will not warm to the drastic change in our political economy he seeks, simply because he and other “authorities” tell them that the Constitution mandates it.  If they buy his false doctrines, they are more likely to withdraw support for a Constitution that forbids humane social insurance.  I call upon him and all right-wingers to search their souls.  Quit trying to invoke our Constitution to undermine moderate, centrist policies and administrations like Obama’s, and instead have enough courage in your beautiful vision of America-as-Ayn-Randistan to pursue it through democratic procedure.  Run a campaign on cutting / voucherizing / privatizing Medicare and Social Security (note that in 2010 and 2012, Republicans did the opposite, attacking Obama for Medicare cuts), and win.  Until you do that, you are un-American to insist on a major rewrite of the social contract, in the form of drastic cuts to social insurance.  If you had honor, until you achieved such a legitimate democratic victory, you would replace the revenue you removed from the public fisc under false pretenses as part of your “Starve the Beast” strategy of the past three decades.  It’s simply frightening that an esteemed Constitutional law scholar uses the Constitution so cheaply to clothe an extreme, partisan agenda.  For shame.

    • ExcellentNews

       Totally agree, except for the dink to Ayn Rand. She was a fantasy writer, who, if alive today, will see the GOP corporate oligarchy for what it is, and put an Obama sticker on her car.

  • ExcellentNews

    Wow! When Obama is borrowing to invest in American infrastructure and to help the unemployed, the GOP shills are giving us moralizing tales about “when your father gives you $20, you cannot spend $25″. When their adulated (but now silent) mascot George W Bush the III spent the same amount on private-war-contractor-golf-buddies and tax cuts for job-exporting-country-club-pals, the same shills were telling us that George was channeling Jesus. With the oligarchy in real control of our country, no wonder we are careening down the same road as Egypt, Indonesia and other fundamentalist third-world countries.

ONPOINT
TODAY
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.

Sep 16, 2014
From "Rich Hill"

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

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Sep 15, 2014
This Monday, Sept. 27, 2010 file photo shows hikers on the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. (AP/Carson Walker)

Uproar over development plans for the Grand Canyon. We go to the Navajo Nation and the Canyon floor to see what’s at stake.

 
Sep 15, 2014
In this Thursday, Sep. 11, 2014 photo, Middle Eastern leaders stand together during a family photo with of the Gulf Cooperation Council and regional partners at King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Royal Terminal in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

President Obama says he will build a coalition of partners in the Middle East to combat ISIS. We’ll do a reality check on who’s really stepping up for what.

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.

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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.

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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.

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