Letters to the Editor

Compromise

August 3, 2011

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To the editor:

Our Constitution was a document of compromise, a compromise made between 13 states, each with different ideals, different backgrounds and different hopes. They made a compromise, “The Constitution of the United States of America,” because the problems our country faced were greater than the differences between them, like today.

The tea party who spouts the mantra “no compromise” does a disservice to the ideals and hopes of our founding fathers and mothers. They would see our once-great country reduced to a second- or third-rate country in order to support childish ways. It is time for tea party supporters to understand that compromise is the American Way.

Comments

ksrush 3 years, 11 months ago

Never have been a big fan of compromise, it usually means you settle for the best worst option. It's nice to see at least part of America has some backbone.

It is time for tea party supporters to understand that compromise is the American Way.

Sounds like as long as it's your way. No thanks

Liberty275 3 years, 11 months ago

Actually, we are tired of you taking our ball and going home.

verity 3 years, 11 months ago

So---you're against the Constitution?

gudpoynt 3 years, 11 months ago

ksrush

I see. So when the Health Care law (which actually contains quite a bit of compromise) was passed, all we heard from you and the others in your echo chamber was...

.... wait for it......

"it was CRAMMED down our THROATS!"

Didn't much admire that bit of backbone shown by Democrats in Congress and the administration, did you? Sure wasn't nice to see that bit of resolve, was it?

And the Democrats made many, repeat MANY, concessions to Republicans. By no means did they take the stance of, "my way or the highway". Instead, they said let's compromise.

But after months of debate, and numerous compromises, the silly, small minded, grudge holding, bitter Republicans just couldn't get over the fact that they got their butts handed to them in the last election. Their determination to make Obama a one-term president and defeat anything he supported trumped their duty as elected representatives who were sent to Congress to....

.... wait for it.....

compromise. After all, that's what Congress was designed to do. That's what Congress has always done. That's why there are two houses. That's why there are committees. That's why there is reconciliation. Compromise on legislation is....

.... wait for it....

The Whole Freaking Point of even having a Congress.

But... the Republicans could not back down from their agenda to destroy Obama. After all, If Obama and the Democrats succeed, then that would validate the butt-whooping of the 2008 elections, and the GOP would lose some serious legitimacy as a political contender.

And so it came to pass, that after so much debate and compromise, when the Democrats were finally tired of Republican whining and demonization of a bill that Republicans had a large hand in creating, that Democrats finally said enough is enough, we have our majority, we're passing this sucker.

And so they did. And what was the message that Republican lawmakers insist on echoing from the pulpit of Fox "News" about legislation that contains numerous Republican provisions?....

... wait for it....

"it was CRAMMED down our THROATS!"

And now, you have the gall to admire the backbone being shown by the Tea Party? You admire them for doing nothing but obstructing the legislative process?

You admire the fact that they held out on the sole principal that 10 year tax breaks should not be eliminated for those making over a quater-million $ a year? And all in the face of huge deficits?

What a pathetically hypocritical thing to admire.

Tell you what. You can take your attitude and shove it up your tea party. Your gun-to-the-head, take-no-prisoners, make-no-compromise methods of attempting to hijack the legislative process of OUR nation will only further alienate your defensive political posture until it either disappears into oblivion, or results in some catastrophic act of political terrorism, like has most recently been threatened.

Either way, your poisonous attitude has to go.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

And exacxtly how many Republican votes were there to pass the legislation??

gudpoynt 3 years, 11 months ago

You're right, Aunt Pelosi dared to comment on the fact that people like you who echo crap like "death panels" will never bother reading a bill before it's passed. Even then, they likely will not read it. You can be my case in point. If you've read it, then I stand corrected. If you haven't, then you merely exemplify Pelosi's accurate, albeit ill-advised, comment.

You're right. All parties voted for that POS. Except for any Republican in either house.

You're right, the Dem's childish refusal to put forth a budget totally justifies the childish antics of Teapublicans in turning routine concerns about the deficit into a legitimate crisis, albeit artificial and totally unnecessary at this point in time.

You're right. The victories in 2010 are an indication that the Republican party is in no way suffering from a loss of legitimacy. In fact, they are such a cohesive force for the true voice of America that their approval rating is on par the the Dems at around 14%, and their leader in the lesser house of Congress cannot seem to get his own bills passed. In fact, the victories in 2010 have proven the GOP is so solid, that they have abandoned their effort to simply obstruct any and all progress attempted by the Obama administration regardless of content, as evidence by their continued efforts to repeal their own provisions withing the PPACA, and a total unwillingness to compromise on anything whatsoever that is supported by Democrats. Way to lead Republicans. Way to lead.

You're right. Teapublicans saying "keep the tax cuts for the rich, or else we'll refuse to raise the debt ceiling" is exactly the same thing as Obama saying "if you refuse to raise the debt ceiling, we can't guarantee that SS checks will get out on time." Exactly the same thing.

And finally, you're almost right. The goal of the Republican party is to minimize the damage to their political brand. Unfortunately for them, they are sucking at it even more than the Dems, and they are going to have a huge uphill battle if they ever hope to achieve what they have stated as their #1 priority, which is NOT to create jobs or improve the economy, NOT to reduce the deficit, NOT to succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and generally NOT to work to improve the quality of life for all Americans, but rather....

.... wait for it.....

to make sure Obama gets defeated in 2012! Yay! Now that's leadership baby.

gudpoynt 3 years, 11 months ago

Now, all they have to do is convince enough voters that Obama is evil incarnate for our country, and that his poisonous talk of "compromise" and "bipartisanship" is the only thing standing in the way of economic prosperity, a balanced budget, success in conflicts overseas, and better days ahead for all Americans.

Now... how should the Republicans go about doing this? 1) Locate extremely anti-liberal cable channel, owned by juggernaut tabloid media parent company, that uses tabloid media tactics to disguise blatantly right-wing political punditry as legitimate "News". Check. 2) Ensure said that juggernaut tabloid media parent company has keen interest in U.S. legislation that favors lower taxes for big business. Check. 3) Falsely suggest that Obama is not an American. Check. 4) Falsely suggest that Obama is a Muslim. Check. 5) Falsely suggest that Obama is a Socialist. Check 6) Blame Obama for increasing debt with bailouts to financial and auto industries. Check. 7) Blame Obama for stock markets falling an refuse to acknowledge that is has anything to do with Teapublican antics during the debt ceiling debate..... coming soon. Probably later today or tomorrow. Watch Fox and let me know what happens. I'm predicting a mantra of something like.... "but the Dow was going to fall by 5% in two days anyway! If we had refused to let the debt ceiling raise, this wouldn't be happening. Or, if we had drastically reduced gov't spending, then all investor confidence would have been restored, and this wouldn't be happening."

It should be good. Can't wait to hear what they'll have you repeat for them.

devobrun 3 years, 11 months ago

"Compromise is not a dirty word, but ideologues who have the revealed 'truths' in their heads are hard to deal with"

Tell it to:

Al Gore Jessie Jackson Stephen Hawking Richard Dawkins

There are plenty of idealogues to go around on every issue. One-note-Sambas that entertain and bemuse, and give the media things to write about. How much of the current budget debate is just a show?
Most of it. I think the entertainment aspect of politics has risen to such a high level that nobody is at all serious anymore. The dance between the media and politics, scientists, artists... has rendered all of it just a p.r. game.

Posturing. name-calling, golf games, press releases, sound bites, on and on and on and we get compromise by neglect. Not much gets done and we just create a lot of smoke and no fire.

Politics changed in 1960 when Nixon nedded a shave. Now politics is the controlling concept in everything we do, eat, hear, see. And it is all presented in a media format. The internet has changed the way we all communicate and it forces people to present themselves in a blog-proof way.

As a result, that which might lend itself to compromise isn't because of how compromise looks in the blogosphere. Remember how Bush 1 got into so much trouble regarding "no new taxes"? How can anybody compromise when everything they say is available on Youtube?

tbaker 3 years, 11 months ago

You miss the point by a mile Mr. Johanning, not to mention your clumsy use of intellectual fallacy to shore-up your lame implication. Would you refuse to compromise on the destruction of our country? Yes? Guess what - you're a Tea Partier. Out of control spending is ruining the US. There is no two ways about this - it is. Simple as that. There should be no bargain struck with the politicians who want to continue the spending and bring us closer to the cliff we are speeding towards. That is what the Tea Party means when they say "No Compromise" and you darn well know that - or did I have to tell you for you to be informed? Why would anyone want to see this madness continue? Disservice to the ideals and hopes of our founding fathers and mothers? You mean the people who designed a deliberately small federal government that we don't have now? Whats wrong with less government, lower spending and lower taxes, more liberty and personal freedom? Whats wrong with stopping deficit spending and not adding anymore to an already huge national debt? What do you think our country will be reduced to if we don't stop borrowing 40 cents on every dollar our government spends? Get a clue. Wise up.

Liberty275 3 years, 11 months ago

"Would you refuse to compromise on the destruction of our country? Yes? Guess what - you're a Tea Partier."

Does that mean the tea partiers are going to have to cross the Potomac? I'm no tea partier, but I'll help paddle. I'm not wearing a life jacket though. They chafe.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

Tea partiers are the ultimate narcissists. As are you, tbaker.

gudpoynt 3 years, 11 months ago

"Would you refuse to compromise on the destruction of our country?"

Here's the problem. A blatant case in point.

Why do Tea Partiers refuse to listen to the overwhelming opinions of non-partisan economic experts who are repeatedly saying that to NOT raise the debt ceiling would lead to catastrophic consequences to the U.S. and global economies much faster than raising it?

Let me ask you something tbaker, if out of control spending is destroying the U.S., then how is it that even with the $14.5 trillion of dollars of debt, and the $1.5 trillion in deficit, U.S. treasury securities were still considered the safest, repeat SAFEST, investment for anybody on the planet?

That is, until the Tea Party insisted on convincing the rest of the world that our legislative process is dysfunctional, and that even though we are perfectly capable of paying our debts, a handful of idealogues in Congress are actually trying to make that legally impossible.

What a brilliant freaking move to "save" our country. Foolish, headstrong lawmakers and the foolish, headstrong voters that support them need to go back to class before they foolishly make head strong decisions that do irreparable damage.

gudpoynt 3 years, 11 months ago

"You mean the people who designed a deliberately small federal government that we don't have now? "

You mean the small federal government that governed roughly 2.7 million people over 13 states in the 1770's, versus the federal government that currently governs over 300 million people over 50 states? You mean that original government doesn't look like the current government? Why do you suppose that is? Might it have something to do with the fact that our country is now over 100 times the size that it started out to be? Might it be that we went from a small, rebellious, poor country to the largest, most progressive nation on the planet with the highest standard of living?

Don't you think?

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

How many cabinet departments are there now compared to then?? Growth in government is appropriate but regulating light bulbs may just be a bit excessive.

gudpoynt 3 years, 11 months ago

No logic error.

I'm not saying that a large government is a necessary condition for a large population. Although an argument between population size and government size, particularly a representative democracy, could probably be made.

I'm saying that a population that increases by over 100-fold, in a nation that becomes the strongest economy, with the highest standard of living is sufficient for a larger governmental structure.

In other words, I'm saying that:

If the government has grown larger then the population has grown larger.

What I'm not saying is:

If the population has grown larger, then the government has grown larger.

But again, this latter implication is worthy of discussion, with the additional condition that the type of government we're talking about is a representative democracy. Certainly, there's more empirical evidence to support large gov't as a necessary condition to a large population than the contradictory implication of:

If the population has grown larger, then the government has not grown larger.

In any event, no logic error. Make a truth table and you'll see what I mean.

gudpoynt 3 years, 11 months ago

"Whats wrong with stopping deficit spending and not adding anymore to an already huge national debt?"

Nothing at all. That's not the issue. Democrats will happily engage in various ways to reduce the deficit, work toward a balanced budget and start working down the debt. In fact, they have shown that they are willing to do things they normally don't do, such as agree to large cuts in social programs.

Unfortunately, the Teapublicans have show that they refuse to do what they have always refused to do: increase revenues through taxes. They insist that even those who make over a quarter million $ per year, who can afford the expiration of 10-year-old tax breaks, shouldn't see their taxes increase because tax increases are job killers. However, they seem to stop short of ever elaborating on that. For instance, which jobs would be killed? How many jobs would be killed?

And don't you think there might be something misguided about inadvertently trashing the nation's creditworthiness and sparking an unnecessary economic crisis on the heels of a recession for the sole purpose of preserving these tax breaks?

Remember, the Democrats were willing to make some serious cuts to some key social programs in exchange for a restructure of the tax code. In other words, the Democrats showed a willingness to compromise. A few Republicans did too. Even Boehner.

But a few Republicans refused, forced the hand of the Republican leadership by being stubborn, which in turn forced the hand of the Senate to pull nearly all the teeth out of the bill, and we're left with a law that now sucks.

Good methodology there Tea Party people. Way to make it suck for everybody.

gudpoynt 3 years, 11 months ago

sorry but your pudding lacks proof. Our creditworthiness was stable right up on through this madness, and didn't falter until it got seriously down to the wire.

Is there a looming cliff if we continue to neglect the deficit? Sure there is. But the argument is more about where that cliff is? Given the economic strength and (prior to this snafu) the reputation of the U.S., the cliff was a manageable distance away, despite our debt and deficits.

However, the Teapublicans, going off of their supposed "mandate" to stop anything and everything supported by the Obama administration (and by proxy, Democrats in Congress), and sensing an opportunity with their new found majority in the lesser house of Congress, turned to the one tactic they could use that actually had some teeth: drum up enough doom and gloom rhetoric about the debt and deficit to artificially put it on par with the very real consequences of refusing to raise the debt ceiling, and then use it as justification for refusing to compromise while self righteously claiming that you are "saving" the nation by threatening to harm it. Tough love I guess.

Fortunately, not enough people bought into it to actually refuse to raise the debt ceiling. Unfortunately, enough people bought into it, along with the other hyped up nonsense that letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those making over $250K/year would somehow prevent job growth (which they phrased as "killing jobs") to the point that it would be worse for the economy than making significant cuts to SS and Medicare, which help provide essential pocket money to millions of Americans who make decidedly less than $250K/year. All of this resulted in a bill that raises the debt limit but does little to turn the deficit around, which was their original goal.

Sell off the oil reserves? Ok. Let's pretend that that wouldn't put us behind the 8-ball should any type of energy crisis ensue. Let's disregard the idea that giving up the oil reserves would be akin to tapping into your savings account. If the debt ceiling was not raised, how much would you be willing to bet that oil reserves would be sold off before huge cuts to SS and Medicare? Yeah, I wouldn't take that bet either.

Instead, I'd be willing to make the bet that were the debt ceiling not raised, and the tough spending cuts had to be made very quickly, that the nation would have gone into Titanic Panic mode, with those on the bottom shouting "Holy crap! We're screwed!" and the people already out in the lifeboats saying, "Yep, you sure are."

Similar to the bank bailouts, right :-)

gudpoynt 3 years, 11 months ago

excellent rebuttals. airtight. really.

Liberty275 3 years, 11 months ago

The original 13 weren't welfare states that annually confiscated excessive amounts of money from people because they were prosperous.

We compromised with England for a while as she took our money and gave us squat in return. When the king and his cronies got too greedy, we stopped compromising. You know what happened next. Or maybe you forgot.

Perhaps a refresher course is in order.

geekin_topekan 3 years, 11 months ago

"The original 13 weren't welfare states" ++++ We sure held our hand out to the French and asked them to fight our revolution for us. Did we ever pay them back for their service? Or did we write that debt off, like we do every other deficit we've ever had?

"that annually confiscated excessive amounts of money from people because they were prosperous." ++++ You mean pay taxes? Hey, freedom ain't free. AMericans have paid income taxes since the early 1800s. Prior to that the country relied on booze and negros for its tax base. Legalize pot and prostitution and live off of those revenues if you want to be a purest. To fund the civil war, Americans paid across the board 3%. Those who made more than 10,000/yr paid mo'.

This country was built into the greatest nation on industrialized Earth because the people who believed in it saw the need for taxes.

Liberty275 3 years, 11 months ago

"Did we ever pay them (the french) back for their service?"

Are you kidding? If I have to tell you when that debt was paid, I'm not going to tell you simply because you are disrespectful enough to not know.

"This country was built into the greatest nation on industrialized Earth because the people who believed in it saw the need for taxes."

This country was founded because of harsh taxation.

"Legalize pot and prostitution and live off of those revenues if you want to be a purest."

OK.

"3%"

Now, after all is said and done with fed and state income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes and various fees, it's more than 30% for the lower middle class.

tomatogrower 3 years, 11 months ago

"Are you kidding? If I have to tell you when that debt was paid, I'm not going to tell you simply because you are disrespectful enough to not know."

Yes, we saved the French from the Nazi's and we did it with tax dollars. It's a good thing that generation was willing to sacrafice for a cause, or we would all be going Heil Hitler. Is there anything you would be willing to sacrafice for a cause? I doubt it. I could just hear you whine like a baby if you had to deal with rationed food and gas. You'd be telling the government that they couldn't do that to you. How dare they employ such communist methods to fight a war. That's why we have a lot of people totally unaware that we are at war now. Unless they have friends or family in the military, they haven't had to directly sacrifice anything. They even got a tax cut. You can have your war and not pay for it.

Alfred_W 3 years, 11 months ago

"This country was founded because of harsh taxation."

You omitted the "without representation" part of that equation.

You have the right to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

Actually all the King wanted was for us to pay the costs of protecting us from the native Americans. We seem to always want to be protected and to not have to pay for it.

Abdu Omar 3 years, 11 months ago

The writer means that you don't always stand fast and not compromise and if not compromising is your mantra, you miss other things. Of course no American would want the destruction of our contry but all of us should pay a tax on our income, our properties and our spending. That is fair, no one should be privileged unless he is poor, disabled and unable to work. And we MUST take care of our seniors because if things go right, we all will be seniors at one point. The destruction of Social Security is not a good plan nor the dismantling of Medicare or Medicaid. We must find other solutions to our fiscal problems like not fighting three or four wars. We need to choose our enemies and friends in a better way. A country that wants to destroy us but can't is not an enemy. But a country who bombs our ships, steals our secrets and controls our government isn't our friend. We have to be smarter than we are and we need everyone's informed votes and contributions.

jafs 3 years, 11 months ago

Why aren't you opposed to all taxation then?

The question applies to all forms - there's no really good justification for any of them, if you think about it.

Fossick 3 years, 11 months ago

Sure there is; in fact, there are plenty of reasonable taxes. Two examples might suffice:

The government provides physical protection to property, i.e. it keeps the Canadians from invading and seizing it for their own. Therefore a tax can reasonably be assessed, in proportion to the value of the property so protected, in order to pay for that service.

The government's "post roads," its constitutional prerogative, are used by people driving cars. Therefore a gas tax is reasonably assessed that charges the maintenance of those roads to those who use them, or a toll is assessed on those who drive on specific roads.

The problem is not with taxes, the problem is when taxation is a means of plunder, i.e. when those paying the taxes are not those who benefit from the taxation, and those who do not pay taxes directly benefit, causing them to demand others pay more taxes. That turns government from a protective body into a protective racket.

jafs 3 years, 11 months ago

Tolls are significantly different from taxes - one is a user fee, which is reasonable, and the other is not.

Property taxes don't go to government protection of my property, so that fails as well. Our local school districts, etc. aren't stopping the Canadians from invading.

For property taxes to function as you suggest, they'd have to be federally assessed and collected, and spent on national defense.

And, they'd have to be spent specifically on preventing those pesky Canadians from invading and stealing my house.

Fossick 3 years, 11 months ago

"Tolls are significantly different from taxes - one is a user fee, which is reasonable, and the other is not."

Mostly agree - the closer taxes can be to user fees, the happier I am. But in the cases I mentioned, it's a distinction without a functional difference. For example, a gas tax (if used as promised) is a user fee in 99% of cases, as you cannot use the roads without gas* and you cannot buy gas without paying the tax. It is simply more efficient to charge the other 1% than to put tollbooths on every street.

I realize property taxes are not presently used as I suggested they could be - but the argument is that such a tax is reasonable, not that we currently do it. If you want to argue that our system of taxation is inefficient, ineffective, predatory, abused, abusive, malicious, and/or counterproductive, I'll not argue. It's all those things and more.

  • Yes, bikers can use roads, but they do not cause enough wear-and-tear to matter. And very little gasoline is used in lawn mowers and the like vis-a-vis cars.

jafs 3 years, 11 months ago

Sure.

But, somebody with a more fuel efficient car pays less in gas taxes, but doesn't necessarily use the roads less. And vice versa for gas guzzlers.

So, if the idea is to tax people proportionally to their use and affect on the roads, this tax doesn't do that.

Fossick 3 years, 11 months ago

"But, somebody with a more fuel efficient car pays less in gas taxes, but doesn't necessarily use the roads less. And vice versa for gas guzzlers."

Do fuel-efficient cars tend to be smaller? Do smaller cars tend to cause less wear-and-tear than larger ones?

If the answer to both of those is affirmative, then the tax acts in proportion to the costs it is collected to pay. At least it's closer than charging a smart car and an Expedition the same toll on the turnpike.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

I think we'd be much better off if the Canadians did invade. Therefore, I don't think I should have to pay any taxes to prevent it.

Liberty275 3 years, 11 months ago

Job Cuts Surge 60% to 16-Month High PLANNED JOB CUTS REACH 66,414 IN JULY IN FLURRY OF PRIVATE SECTOR LAYOFFS

CHICAGO, August 3, 2011 – A sudden and unexpected burst in private-sector downsizing pushed the number of announced job cuts to a 16-month high of 66,414 in July, according the latest report on downsizing activity released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

http://www.challengergray.com/press/PressRelease.aspx?PressUid=184

madameX 3 years, 11 months ago

Or you can thank the privately owned companies that decided to, you know, cut jobs.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

Why would they do that? Their job is to return profit to their investors. Unless downsizing helps that why would they do it?

Perhaps if the cost of those employees were not constantly increased by union and governmment mandate those jobs would still be there

geekin_topekan 3 years, 11 months ago

"Job Cuts Surge 60% to 16-Month High planned job cuts reach 66,414 in july in flurry of private sector layoffs " ++++ This is Ws gift to his super-rich cronies in action. W created millions of jobs and raised people from poverty. Irgnore the fact that those jobs and people are in China and its a win/win! Yep, exempting the richest AMericans from taxes is a job-creating extravaganza.

Well, maybe in 150 years (Am. Revolution-wwI) the Chinese'll save our but.

Kirk Larson 3 years, 11 months ago

More net jobs have been created under President Obama than under W.

Fossick 3 years, 11 months ago

God forbid I should defend Bush, but your graph includes barely 1/7 of his term. Selective data at its finest.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

Tea Partiers do offer a compromise-- do it our way, or we crash the whole thing. Sure, most folks don't see that as a compromise, but that's because you haven't listened to enough Glen Beck and watched him explain it on his chalkboard.

David Reynolds 3 years, 11 months ago

The argument is about what kind of country we are going to have. One based on Liberty, self-reliance, and personal freedom or "Big Government: dependency (social programs that propagate dependency on government versus help people through a difficult time and get them on their feet financially or the necessary help for longer term issues), heavy taxation (which reduces families' financial freedom. Taxes are the same as a large debt payment that never gets paid off, thus reducing families' financial freedom). Big Government by its nature is oppressive! The basic issue is the same as 1776. Do we have Small Government with individual freedom & liberty with the government dictating nothing, or do we have Big Government with dependency, subservience, with government dictating our financial futures, freedoms, moral values and thus the loss of our liberty. This is the "Great Current Debate", it will be contentious and compromise will be difficult. Who is willing to give up some benefit the government is providing? Who is willing to give up paying taxes? Answers to those questions provide insight into the great debate.

tomatogrower 3 years, 11 months ago

The problem is, many people want the benefits, without paying the price. If you want a war against Islam, or to protect oil, you have to pay for it. If you want to take care of the poor and elderly, you have to pay for it. If you want subsidies to oil companies and farmers, you have to pay for it. If you want good roads and bridges, police protection, punishment for criminals, fire fighters, health care, you have to pay for it.

That's why the Tea Party will fail. Many of their followers will say, hold on, I like that my mother gets Social Security. She would have to move in with us, if she didn't have it. Sure, she has a pension, but it's not enough. I don't want to support support universities with my tax dollars. My kid has to pay what for tuition? I hate that Obamacare bill. Thank goodness my daughter can still be on my insurance, and my wife could change jobs and insurance despite the fact she has high blood pressure. I don't want my kids going to public education. What, the private school won't let my kid return to school, because he isn't working up to his potential and likes to play practical jokes?

They vote against their own interest. They think if they could just stop paying taxes, everything would be rosy. They could open a business and become rich and famous. They could have it all, if they just didn't have to pay taxes, they would have maybe $10,000 more a year to spend. Well, that will pay the private school tuition, now how can I afford the bill from the private fire fighters firm. My house insurance sure is high, since we got rid of the police. Boy, hiring that private security company was expensive, and the neighbor's are going to sue, because I'm not keeping the street in front of my house repaired properly. I would fix it, except I have no health insurance to fix my broken leg, and it's turning really green. But at least I don't have to pay those pesky taxes anymore.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

Great post, tomatogrower.

But unless you can turn those facts into some soundbite ready platitudes, teapartiers will go on with their fairy-tale recitations.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

Yes, capitalism produces many things we all like.

But it also produces many things we don't like.

Not that you'll ever acknowledge such realties, because it contradicts your fantasies.

tomatogrower 3 years, 11 months ago

"How can poor people afford air conditioners, cell phones and automobiles, items that previously only the wealthy could afford"

They often can't afford these things. That's why I donate some money to places that help to provide these things for poor people. Quite frankly you can get a simple cell phone plan for less than you can pay for land line plans anymore, and you don't have to pay to have them moved, if you have to move around a lot. Most poor people I know can no longer afford cars either. I don't no if you hang out with very many poor people, but you should check out their reality sometime.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

Tomato

Good points. But..... IMHO the problem begins when the government starts providing all kinds of costly things to a few and it is aggravated when it asks only a few to pay for them.

Nice liberal trick. List a bunch of government functions that the majority agree with or that are specifically listed in the Constitution but forget that the government has chosen to to do sooooo much more. For example not to tax the rich, to provide tax breaks to corporations and individuals and to support non- productive people without helping them back to productivity. It is this latter set with which people take exception.

verity 3 years, 11 months ago

While I agree with the first paragraph of the letter, I think the problem with the Tea Party is much more than just a refusal to compromise. The problem is that they have a completely different view of reality---one that is not based on facts.

jafs 3 years, 11 months ago

Bad analogy.

A progressive would have to pay taxes willingly, and without complaining about them, as most progressives do.

somedude20 3 years, 11 months ago

The tea people's only mission is to get rid of Obama at any cost (what they say nice, huh). What they are doing is killing this country (one that I fought for) and it pisses me off!! Stop the bs and work together! We can't all be friends but at least work together for the love of god!

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

Love this space. Compromise means that the left must get more revenue. The collective has no right to the money it forcibly takes from the 50% of us that pay federal income taxes. But each year it demands more and then demands a compromise that still gets an increase. This is the first time in recent memory where decreases were on the table. The compromise was that they were not larger.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

Thank you for the endorsement. And I agree with your third point. What is each of us willing to give up? All 300M plus.

David Reynolds 3 years, 11 months ago

The question remains, "What is the roll of government"? The constitution lays out that the Federal Government is a "facilitator" not an active member in commerce. The problem with our government, at all levels, is they use the public purse to buy votes. They have Soc. Sec, Medicare, Obamacare, food stamps, unemployment, SRS programs (many programs which are needy, but did you know they pay for car repairs, and gasoline to help people get to work when those people could be using the "T", here in Lawrence. Locally the city helps fund arts and various charities, including about $40k to $50k per year to fund "Down Town lawrence, Inc." and they also fund neighborhood associations so they can lobby city hall for what the neighborhoods want. The county has $390k in the budget to fund the "Freedom Frontier National Heritage Area. It is a wonderful set up. Government extorts your tax dollars to support programs they can provide you so you will vote for them so they can stay in office. If you object to the high taxes they threaten to cutoff or reduce your "government provided entitlement" and you step back in line and stop demanding reduction in your tax bill. WOW, that is insane.

So will the Tea Party last, no one knows. But they represent hope for getting this madness under control. People in the US really do not appreciate the depth of the financial problems the US & world faces. Folks, there is simply not enough money to provide the "Social welfare" state some are demanding. We can soak the rich until they have no money and it will not even cover our current debt problems.

Does anyone realize the current debt bill, signed by Obama, does not even reduce current spending. It reduces "future planned" spending. We will still add $7 trillion dollars to our debt over the next 10 years. This is unsustainable! According to the IRS 2004 data the top wealth holders in the US had only $10.2 trillion in net worth.That means we could strip them all of their wealth and our current indebtedness will be $4 trillion dollar. Additionally we will create another $7 trillion over the next 10 years. Leaving us with $11 trillion in debt. Where do we get the money then? The rich will be broke like the rest of us.

We have to get off of this social welfare state train and put us on the path to personal self reliance like our grandparents and the generations before them.

I hope the Tea party makes a difference for us all. But real change starts with each of us.

Lawrence likes to talk about "Sustainability" in our environment. Well what about "Sustainability" in our economy?

jafs 3 years, 11 months ago

I agree this is not a sustainable path.

But about 1/2 of our federal budget is for the military - any serious attempt to balance our budget has to include cuts to that part of it.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

Nice partisian comment. Defense is not half and you can not reduce it to zero. If you include entitlements it runs about 20% and it includes about 20% as entitlements. It is already programed for a 10% cut.. Most of that will come from people programs. The Defense budget will not solve the problem any more than taxing the rich into oblivion. Goodies must be cut. The size of the war depends on perception as to the sharing of the pain.

jafs 3 years, 11 months ago

I'm not partisan, thanks.

I just point out that the post talks exclusively about the "social welfare" spending, and not at all about military spending.

I also didn't suggest reducing the military budget to zero.

The only sustainable way out is to both increase revenue, and to cut spending - but I want all spending to be looked at, not just programs that exist to help people.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

The reason defense was not talked about is that the President directed a 10% cut even befors the discussion. We cut social programs by about 2% depending on what actually gets cut.

Fossick 3 years, 11 months ago

Actually, the military is half (58%, actually) of what is called "discretionary" spending, but it is only $750 billion of the $3.8 trillion overall budget, or one-fifth m/l. It's about the same as Social Security and the same as Medicare and Medicaid put together. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_dbECP0yvozc/TC1z_7039zI/AAAAAAAAClc/wJxu16ynzrw/s1600/us_budget.png

Still, you are correct that defense needs to be cut, and far more than Republicans or the Tea Party will allow. It needs to be halved and then quite possibly halved again. Even then we would spend more on defense than any other country in the world. It's laughable that the defenders of defense are worried that China is building an aircraft carrier. We have 20 of them.

The big problem with the Tea Party is their unrealistic expectation that you can have limited government and still run the world. Sorry, Sarah, if you want your republic back, you have to give up your empire to get it.

David Reynolds 3 years, 11 months ago

The entire budget does need to be reviewed.

More importantly we need a change in the tax code. We need to rid ourselves of the current system which uses the code to dictate how we use and not use our money. People refer to the current tax code as containing tax breaks. I look at the tax code as government control of each of us by incentivizing certain activities and behaviors.

Drop the existing tax code and go to either a national sales tax or a flat tax. Tax revenues will increase.

Fossick 3 years, 11 months ago

Yep, my bad. We have 11 carriers, 1 in reserve, and 3 under construction. Not 20 as I stated.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

We need a new federal program to reemburse us for the higher interest rates. If you make less than 400% of the poverty level you would qualify.

usnsnp 3 years, 11 months ago

yes everything has to be looked at. But you have to be careful in how you cut. Example changing the way Social Security cost of living are raised, reducing them between .25% to .50% using the chained cpi may not affect you but what about the person that is only drawing the average Social Security payment of $1175 a month before deductions. Over a 20 year period that person would be getting a couple of hundred dollars less than if their payment was raised by the full cpi. In the military personnel costs are over 50% of the cost. Reduce pay, benifits and special pay and you will not get enough people to enlist. Mabey you do not remember what happined after the Draft was done away with, the military was having a very hard time recruting anyware near the peopled they needed. The American people wanted a all Volintary military. A volintary military cost money especially when the economie gets better because there is more competition from the civilian industry. Be careful what you wish for in cuts your ox may get gored.

tbaker 3 years, 11 months ago

CBO says DoD's budget is 20% of the federal budget. As bad as some would like to take a meat ax to the DoD for ideological reasons, you have to parse this budget. In broad terms, there is "defense" spending, and then there is "military" spending. The two are most definately different - the later being far more in line with the constitutional role. Then you have to parse out what DoD's role in a bunch of treaty obligations is and fund those. DoD spends alot buying arms for "friends" overseas, so you have to figure out which one of those doesn't get anymore. One really big thing to consider is how many "friends" we have are parasites and depend on US security so they don't have to spend $$ on defense for their own country. Oh yeah, almost forgot - the most well-funding lobby in DC. Cutting DoD is tough.

David Reynolds 3 years, 11 months ago

In the end I think the Tea Party has won the day. For the first time the national dialogue is focused on "cutting" expenditures in government versus just the continuous spending increases in government. Now the pressure and clear focus is on Obama.

The Tea Party did compromise on the debt limit deal. Their vote was split 32-28. Obama clearly owns our current deficit spending and most importantly the lack of improvement in the economy. Obama got everything he wanted: Unbridled spending, no reductions in real spending over the next 24 months.

The fundamental questions remain for Obama: Where are the JOBS? Where is the improvement in the ECONOMY? It was at once funny and embarrassing watching Obama's victory speech after the Senate vote. He said now we can focus on job creation. What? What was all the "stimulus spending", Obamacare, etc all about?

The Tea Party is focusing on "Real Change We Can Believe In", smaller government, reduced spending and lower taxes. Which leads us back to the basic principles of our Constitution: Limited Government, Personal Liberty & Freedom.

Fossick 3 years, 11 months ago

How does the Tea Party balance its desire for 'limited' government with its demand that the government run the economy?

Fossick 3 years, 11 months ago

Then how do you explain this: "The fundamental questions remain for Obama: Where are the JOBS? Where is the improvement in the economy?"

One cannot ask Obama for jobs and an improved economy while simultaneously denying that the government ought to be responsible for them.

chocolateplease 3 years, 11 months ago

They will say anything to try to get Obama out of office regardless of whether it is logically consistent with their other stated ideas. They will harp on the weak economy, the lack of enough jobs, and any other thing they can, even if they themselves were helpful in creating or prolonging the problems. The goal is to associate him with anything bad. It works when the other side is in office too. It's always the same.

Fossick 3 years, 11 months ago

Oh, I get the idea, but I can see that it's fundamentally self-contradictory.

The Tea Party wants a smaller government, but they don't want to cut defense. They demand a small government that will keep our troops in Korea, Germany, Japan, Iraq, Afghanistan, run 11 carrier groups, and provide army veterinarians to vaccinate chickens in Haiti. It's not possible.

The Tea Party wants a smaller government, but they also want to criticize the Administration for not doing enough to create jobs or improve the economy.

They want a small government, but don't want to cut SocSec or Medicare/Medicaid, which together with unemployment insurance make up half the budget. The positions are self-contradictory.

They must either choose a small government and then let the rest of the world and economy fend for itself, or they have to choose a large government.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

I don't think you accurately reflect the "Tea" party position.

Cutting Entitlements is a big part.

I am not sure the "tea party" has a party position on Defense. Some want cuts particularly where they feel our allies are not carrying their weight. (Germany, Japan, UK, others). Some approach isolationism

I don't think you will find "tea party" people pushing for army veterinarians to vaccinate chickens in Haiti

Fossick 3 years, 11 months ago

While I'm willing to be schooled on the Tea Party, I suspect that cutting entitlements where it matters, like SocSec, Medicare/Medicaid, and Unemployment insurance, is lower on the tea party list than is cutting negligibles like foreign aid and Pell Grants*.

As the WSJ noted. "Even tea party supporters, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, declared significant cuts to Social Security 'unacceptable.'" http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704728004576176741120691736.html?mod=djemalertNEWS

"Significant cuts" where the real money is are the absolutely barest minimum necessary if one wants to reduce the size of the budget.

  • Of course they ought to be eliminated as well, but if this Congress cannot even kill off PBS in a world of 500 channels, it is not likely to make any cuts of consequence.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

Well, I don't know who "tea party suporters" are but I do know that Mr. Ryan is a "tea Party" official and he introduced a budget that totally restructured Medicare and it passed the house with broad "tea party" support.

So what counts? We have an assertion by the WSJ and an actual vote in the House???

David Reynolds 3 years, 11 months ago

Simple, smaller less intrusive government.

Fossick 3 years, 11 months ago

Then why do you hold Obama responsible and demand that he provide jobs and improve the economy? If you are saying that "Obama clearly owns ... the lack of improvement in the economy" then it must follow that he is responsible for improving it, no? If not, there would be no criticism. No one is criticizing Joe Montana or Lady Gaga, after all.

And if you hold Obama, as head of the government, responsible for improving the economy, then it seems to me that you really don't want less intrusive government, you would just prefer a government that intrudes in a different way or more effectively.

chocolateplease 3 years, 11 months ago

People seem to mistake the word compromise for weak or unprincipled. Anyone in a successful marriage, friendship, or job knows that compromise is a valued requirement. Sticking to a position regardless of any possible consequence is morally irresponsible.

usnsnp 3 years, 11 months ago

Yes we have to get our debt under control. But China is not one our biggest creditors. I know that is what is said on some talkshowes and a political advertisement, but it is not true. Here is a rough breakdown: US INDIVIDUALS AND INSTITUTIONS; 42.2% SOCIAL SECURITY; 17.9% US CIVIL SERVICE RETIREMENT FUND; 6% US MILITARY RETIREMENT FUNED; 2.1% 68.2% CHINA 7.5% JAPAN 6.4% UNITED KINDOM 3.4% ALL OTHER 14.5%

As I see the numbers we own most of the debt to ourselves. Of course the government could be lying or mabey the people that are saying Chine is our biggest creditor are mistaken.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

A reply to Fossick(anonymous)

Perhaps if he did not start so many speeches with how he is going to improve the economy and create jobs he would not be attacked for not doing so - particularly when those speeches usually relate to some costly government action.

I believe that the middle and right believe that job creation is not a government thing. Private industry does it. The government sets the environment. We can have a conducive environment or we can have a disruptive environment. The latter means a lot of costly regulation and mandates. They not only cost money they discourage investment as the investor is uncertain as to whether they will see a positive return. The notion, frequently voiced here, that all money belongs to the government and it will decide your return just may not work too well

Fossick 3 years, 11 months ago

"I don't think you will find "tea party" people pushing for army veterinarians to vaccinate chickens in Haiti"

While I was only half serious about that, we actually are providing such services: http://rebeluniv.blogspot.com/2011/07/more-proof-us-army-is-too-big.html And if one is not willing to cut defense, then one is saying that such services are necessary to the defense of the nation.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

It is called pork. In this case directed by the administration. Plenty of it in the DOD budget. Buys little defense but a lot of jobs in the home district

whats_going_on 3 years, 11 months ago

I'm so tired of this "I'm more American than you"... "You don't like the constitution" mantra.

Shut up.

uncleandyt 3 years, 11 months ago

The Good Cop and the Bad Cop "compromised" and took turns punching me in the stomach. Obama's idea of compromise has him enacting the agendas of our corporate overlords. He is either fooled or in on the deals. So, all you knuckleheads that have been calling him a far-left Socialist commie, you can relax on that front. Our President is a Republican. congratulations, you won, again

Mixolydian 3 years, 11 months ago

We were sitting on the largest deficit in our nations history. We were being asked to approve the single largest increase in debt in our nations history to add to our deficit.

The fight over it was too tame in my opinion.

tbaker 3 years, 11 months ago

With the increase in the debt limit he signed, President Obama now gets the distinction of being a President who grew the national debt larger than the US GDP. The last time US debt was larger than the GDP was in 1947 just after World War II. By 1981 it had fallen to 32.5 percent. Now it's over 100% of GDP for the first time in 64 years.

Something's missing....the President is no dummy. I know he can see the campaign commercial that will be built around these facts. He is going to get hammered in the next election if he doesn't do some kind of historic spending cuts, but he just doesn't seem to care. Ideolgy doesn't fully explain it. Somthing else is motivates him.

jayhawxrok 3 years, 11 months ago

Obama was dealt a crap hand by a crap spendhappy President who lowered taxes in a time of two wars he couldn't be bothered to budget for.

Thanks, GOP, you wrecked the economy and now whine, whine, whine that Obama hasn't fixed your mess in a couple of years.

Yawn

tbaker 3 years, 11 months ago

Still Bush's fault, huh? Let me know how that works out for ya.

David Reynolds 3 years, 11 months ago

Judgement is rendered on how one handles the problems in front of them. Playing the blame game changes nothing. He asked to be President, now he must provide leadership by developing & implementing actionable plans. When one Blames someone else for the problems that exist it tells us the complainer does not know what to do to solve the problems.

Maybe he should have stayed home and worked on solutions to the economy versus going to his campaign/birthday bash. Didn't Obama just chastise Congress for going on vacation and not dealing with the FAA issue?

Looks & sounds like a case of "don't do what I do, Just do what I say".

jafs 3 years, 11 months ago

By that logic, Bush gets all of the judgment for 9/11, since it happened on his watch.

But, the right likes to blame Clinton for that one.

Hmm.

Centerville 3 years, 11 months ago

"the federal government that currently governs over 300 million people over 50 states" . This may be the cause of the confusion: the federal government doesn't 'govern' anything (thank God). We are supposed to be governing ourselves.

jafs 3 years, 11 months ago

There are certainly times when compromise would be a bad thing, and you mention some of them.

That doesn't mean that every issue should be staunchly ideologically pure and partisan bickering should be the norm - there are many times when compromise (or working together to find solutions) is the best way to handle things.

jafs 3 years, 11 months ago

Actually, during the only years of the last 35-40 that we didn't have deficits, we had Clinton, and tax rates were higher.

Taxing and spending is better than borrowing and spending, which is what the Republican party seems to like.

All reasonable people agree that raising revenue and cutting spending are the ways out of our situation - the problem comes when the details get discussed - how do we raise revenue, and what spending gets cut.

But, I'm glad to hear you agree with my basic point - maybe there's hope for our country yet.

usnsnp 3 years, 11 months ago

yes lets go back to when the amount of health care, the amount of education all depenede on how much money you had.Lets go back to when there were no environmental laws, air so bad you could die from breathing it, water unfit to drink, rivers catching on fire.Lets go back to child labor, no work place safety law. Lets go back to slavery, women could not vote, men could only vote if they held property. Lets go back to those great times when many jobs did not have retirement plans and you worked until you died.

David Reynolds 3 years, 11 months ago

USNSNP I do not know how experienced you are in the job market but companies started to eliminate their planned benefit retirement plans back in the 70's. Most people like myself had to save all of our lives to be able to retire...that was 57 years. So we are already back there. As to healthcare & education I will take them as metaphors for life and implied "social justice". That has always been up to the individual. America and life is all about "equal Opportunity" not "Equal Outcomes". The great thing about America is if you do not like your outcome you always have the opportunity to improve your situation if you apply yourself. If you rely on government you are in for disappointment. What government gives it can & does take away. My family always taught me you get out of life (any situation) what you put into it.

Good luck.

The rest we have worked through, and we will always work through our problems. The question is will we improve our society in a sustainable ways, specifically economically.

Europe (Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Eastern Europe in general, and all "social forms of government") have proven they are unsustainable. That is what is great about the USA experiment with a "Republic". It is based on self-reliance, freedom, and liberty. Those values will sustain us going forward.

Flap Doodle 3 years, 11 months ago

Iowahawk saw what could have happened. "This resulted in a bunch of 140-characters-or-less prophecies for the Twitter hashtag #ConsequencesofDefault, which I have edited and compiled for your edification. If my inner Nostradamus is any guide, the post-apocalyptic future of August 3, 2011 looks grim indeed:

Beltway policy experts begin living by own wits; after 45 minutes there are no survivors.

Roving bands of outlaws stalk our streets, selling incandescent bulbs to vulnerable children.

Unregulated mohair prices at the whim of unscrupulous mohair speculators.

NPR news segments no longer buffered by soothing zither interludes.

Breadlines teeming with jobless Outreach Coordinators, Diversity Liaisons, and Sustainability Facilitators.

Cowboy poetry utterly lacking in metre.

General Motors unfairly forced to build cars that people want, for a profit.

Chaos reigns at Goldman Sachs, who no longer knows who to bribe with political donations.

Mankind's dream of high speed government rail service between Chicago and Iowa City tragically dies...."

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2011/07/default-dear-brutus-is-not-in-our-stars-but-in-ourselves.html

rtwngr 3 years, 11 months ago

I question if the author has any idea how long it took to come up with the current constitution. It wasn't thirteen people in a room going, "Okay, I'll split the difference with you." These arguments were contentious beyond words. I suggest you read some of the writings that surround the signing of the Constitution. Compromise means that sometimes you get a deal you don't like.

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