There is Not A Spending Problem

There is a line that gets bandied around by Republicans when talking about the debt: “It’s a spending problem” they yell, “spending needs to be reigned in. It isn’t taxes, it’s spending!”

Where is the truth in that? When asked repeatedly, Romney could offer no specifics of spending cuts. Democrats gleefully assumed it was because any proposed cuts would hurt the middle class and thus lose him votes. When Obama asked for spending cuts again from Republicans, they too refused to come up with anything. You would think that if government was just “wasting” money, you could point to those places.

Let me suggest why there are no spending cut specifics…there is no extra spending to cut. Admittedly, you can fidget with some numbers, find a few million here and there. In the end  though, there is no minor cut that can make a dent in the deficit.  Most of what the Simpson Bowles suggestions for discretionary cuts have already been put in place. Which leaves cutting some big chunks, out of the costliest parts of our budget, as seen here:

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Where is the spending problem in this graph? If you’re a conservative, you may point at Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. Yet really, are these a “spending problem”? These programs have mostly been paid for. Unlike defense spending, most and nearly all of Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid is already covered in our budget. Because we pay for them from our payroll checks. For the most part, they add zero dollars to the deficit.

I will admit, each of these programs have long term issues that could eventually lead to big problems, but the issue is not “government largess” it is about systematic issues. The reason Social Security is unsustainable, is not because of mismanagement, it isn’t because of spending. It’s just the birth rate. No one anticipated that there would be a baby boom followed by unprecedented low birth rates. Medicare is a similar story, medicare is a great program that’s helped millions…but the price of health care is just getting too high. It’s increasing at a level much higher than inflation. No one anticipated that kind of health care cost.

So, when conservatives talk about a spending problem, it’s a problem based on unforeseen circumstances, with entitlement programs which generally don’t add much to the deficit. You could say there is a cost problem, but there is not a spending problem.

What’s left that we can really point to to prove that there’s a spending problem? Is it really the measly amount we give to the arts or NPR? Is it really small inefficiencies? Instead, I would say that it is about unavoidable recession conditions, defense costs which are pure spending in the budget, along with the lowest tax rate in 30 years.

If Guns Were Cars

I always hear the now trite argument comparing cars to guns, “Cars kill more people than guns, but we don’t ban people from driving!” This is of course a silly thing to say, first on the premise that we will never actually get rid of guns, second that cars are for drivin’, guns are for killin’.

Yet, I was intrigued…

Let’s follow the analogy. Cars are dangerous. We don’t apply gun laws to cars. So let’s apply car laws to guns. Let’s look at, “how to legally drive a car”, and apply those things to “how to legally shoot a gun”.  Some of these are in place, but not all of them.

Before we get to even think about driving, car companies cannot make whatever car they want. They have to fit very specific regulations, as designed by the federal government.  http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/fmvss/index.html

So any car that is deemed unsafe for the driver or general public would not be allowed to be manufactured and sold in the United States.  This would be your “assault” weapons ban and mandatory safety features.

Now, I can’t just go out and start driving legally. Instead, I have to go through classes that take probably more than a month. Additionally, I have to go through hours of driving practice. Then, once I get that certificate, I can take it into a state office. There, I have to prove my identity with birth certificate and social security. I may have to pass another driving test, another written test, and go through physical tests like eye exams.  Again, if I ever want to “legally fire a gun”, then I would need to do all these things for guns.

Next step to “legally drive”, I would need a car.  Now I can get my hands on that federally regulated car! First, every car is registered. Every car has a VIN number. If I ever buy a car, I must get the title. Then, I must then register it with the state and continue re-registering. I also have to take it to a state approved garage to have it checked. So…same with guns, each gun must be registered and checked every other year or so. If it is deemed unsafe, then it is taken out of commission.  You can’t sell a gun, if you don’t have the official title. If your gun is unregistered or reported stolen, then you go to jail for years…just like a stolen car. These procedures would need to be followed no matter where you bought the item. Gun show, online, or a new dealer.

There are all sorts of laws of where you can go and what you can do with your legal car. Then there are the rules of the road. You have different rules in a school zone than a regular road. You can’t drive something like a big truck on certain roads. Different rules based on where you are and restrict whether you can drive there.  Just like the “gun free” zones.

Then, I’m required by state I am required to pay for auto insurance to help protect others and myself. It’s hard to subsidize the emotional damage done by guns to people, but maybe the insurance would cover hospital bills?

Yes cars are dangerous, and we have a bunch of laws at every level to minimize that danger. So yes, let’s make these the laws if you ever plan to legally buy a firearm and plan to ever use it for any circumstance. Just like, you would have to follow these rules for a car, if you ever wanted to drive it for either a one-time errand or a long road trip.

Tax Hikes Won’t Hurt ‘Em

“This analysis finds no conclusive evidence….to substantiate a clear relationship between the 65-year reduction in the top statutory tax rates and economic growth.

The Non Partisan Congressional Research Center…again.

So Republicans complained about a study, which said tax hikes on the rich wouldn’t really hurt the economy, they complained until they took down the report…then the Congressional Research Center updated their findings…with the same conclusion.

I read these types of things and go…MUST

I read these types of things and go…MUST WRITE REBUTTAL. So here it goes. Image

  1. Well…you still can’t marry whoever you want. But I wish people could but the whole Labrador thing remains illegal and irrelevant.
  2. Oil companies are subsidized by that same government, have record profits so…they’re getting more than that 5%.
  3. I think government is better at spending where companies and individuals can’t or won’t or when the primary concern is the public welfare. As opposed the primary concern being a profit.
  4. This is a crock. How many conservatives get mad about slandering religion, or bad words on tv? It isn’t a Dem/Repub thing.
  5. You’re right, I want nothing to do with a gun. You are statistically more likely to die by a gun if you own a gun. Which…makes me feel more responsible that I can live my life without needing a weapon.
  6. Understanding what is and what has happened with weather (or anything), is a lot easier than predicting the future. Scientists are looking at the past and present to determine alarming changes over time and their effects.
  7. I don’t like when people equate two separate issues. The same laws, philosophies, and moral questions do not govern prison and hospitals.
  8. For 3 decades illegal aliens have received free hospital care through the emergency room. Stopping emergencies before they happened could lower costs on tax payers. The alternative is letting people die in the streets, let me know if you’re promoting the euthanizing of illegal aliens.
  9. We built this country that anyone can make it. That’s why we built the public school system to give everyone a chance. I feel like history is riddled with what happens when you let the rich become too rich. You have robber barons, political corruption, serfs and lords…permanent underclass under an oligarchy. Which isn’t what America was founded on. Smart tax policies are a way to prevent that.
  10. This is ridiculous especially with the supreme court being the way it is. They’re in there trying to overturn decades of law. Look at Citizen’s United, very unpopular, questionably constitutional, passed by a fringe group who wouldn’t be able to get it past the voters. Judging has become too partisan.
  11. America is already the 3rd top producer of oil. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chart-of-Oil-Trading-Nation.gif We’re doing plenty. Our problem is consumption not production. Demcorat’s believe in long term solutions that won’t hurt ourselves or our country.
  12. This is dumb and representative of the whole piece. It’s generalized and sophomoric name calling.

Jobs Jobs

I simply do not understand the conservative idea for economic policy.

We’ve been gaining private jobs. The private sector is literally sitting on trillions of dollars….just waiting for demand to go up.

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On a small scale, let’s say you give a bakery $100 tax cut. They could hire someone, they could buy a new and better oven, but if demand is low, they’d be stupid to do any of that. We need to increase demand by helping the middle class.

We’ve been losing public jobs. We could get people working again, have them buy again, if we let Obama pass new legislation to hire teachers, fire fighters, construction workers, police, and others. Which could  also allow state governments make up the huge loss of workers they’ve had.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/06/gover…

This is an argument that Krugman makes as well, that restoring public job levels would add millions to employment.

Tax cuts are not magic. It’s been shown over and over again. We had higher taxes during Clinton, and prosperity. We had lower taxes under Bush (sustained and further cut by”socialist” Obama), and we have a recession. That doesn’t mean that tax cuts lower productivity. Just that there are more factors in the economy than taxes. But the Republican answer to everything, is just one thing, tax cuts.

I prefer Democrat’s multi-layer approach, it’s specific tax cuts, it’s incentives, it’s putting money into education to create the next innovator, putting money into new technology, putting money into our utilities and systems, to make businesses and people more efficient, it’s  supporting workers to build and create working on new projects. I find this approach to be much better than the simplistic faith base economic proposal of tax cuts that Republicans prefer.

I am always open to hearing more from people who disagree with me, so let me know! Just give me some numbers and stats and well reasoned arguments!

Doublespeak in the GOP Platform

So much of the GOP’s Platform is self contradicting. It’s Orwellian in the way the title directly contradicts the text.

Reforming Government to Serve People: By “downsizing government” and moving operations to the “private sector”.
AKA: Having government not serve people.

Strengthening Medicaid: By switching to credits and kicking off “non-disabled adults” and children.
AKA: Weakening Medicaid

Protecting Internet Freedom: Removing “government intervention”…leaving everything up to the “private sector”.
AKA: Removing and avoiding laws for internet freedom and privacy.

Preserving The District of Columbia: Specifically allowing Republican Congressmen to do what they want in District of Columbia
AKA: Meddling in local politics, denying voter representation. Wait, I guess the status quo is preserving. I take this one back.

And I can see a conservative defending these, but you have to go through verbal jujitsu to make any of it make sense.

Democrat Support of Obama

I get this argument frequently from libertarians, who claim that Obama is the same as Bush, and decry as Obama as indefensible. This is my response.

It’s relatively easy to defend Obama, especially for Democrats. We are concerned about minorities and the poor (especially during recessions). We support higher taxes on the rich. We want the government to reform student loans and support higher education. We want women’s rights protected and appreciate Roe V. Wade, we like things like the Civil Rights Act and the American Disabilities Act, we want health care reform, we want Wall Street reforms, and banking restrictions, we want to fight Citizen’s United, we want policy to combat pollution, and alternative energy supported, we think gay rights should be federally protected (not left up to the states).

Now these are things that Democrats support, that most libertarians probably do not. That’s fine, we disagree. But with that in mind, why would Dems think he’s worse than Bush or consider libertarians when they’re both against most of these things? Yes, there are things Obama has done that I disagree with…like amping up unmanned drones and cracking down on whistle blowers, but in general I agree with 85% of the direction Obama has gone on issues. As opposed to agreeing with 15% of what Ron Paul would do.

Again, I’m not arguing every specific argument individually. Just that Democrats don’t agree with Republican nor Libertarian philosophies, so why should you pretend Democrats should be angry at Obama? Democrats like Obama because he agrees with them on policies, they disagree with Bush and libertarians because they disagree with their policies as retrograde and damaging. You can think they’re wrong, but don’t pretend that we should somehow agree with libertarians. We don’t. They represent some existence that was abandoned with the Articles of Confederation and the horrible conditions that existed when the country first existed.