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Opinion

Opinion

Obama must get serious about cutting debt

July 9, 2011

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— Here we go again. An approaching crisis. A looming deadline. Nervous markets. And then, from the miasma of gridlock, rises our president, calling upon those unruly congressional children to quit squabbling, stop kicking the can down the road and get serious about debt.

This from the man who:

• Ignored the debt problem for two years by kicking the can to a commission.

• Promptly ignored the commission’s December 2010 report.

• Delivered a State of the Union address in January that didn’t even mention the word “debt” until 35 minutes in.

• Delivered in February a budget so embarrassing — it actually increased the deficit — that the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected it 97-0.

• Took a budget mulligan with his April 13 debt-plan speech. Asked in Congress how this new “budget framework” would affect the actual federal budget, Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf replied with a devastating “We don’t estimate speeches.” You can’t assign numbers to air.

President Obama assailed the lesser mortals who inhabit Congress for not having seriously dealt with a problem he had not dealt with at all, then scolded Congress for being even less responsible than his own children. They apparently get their homework done on time.

My compliments. But the Republican House did do its homework. It’s called a budget. It passed the House on April 15. The Democratic Senate has produced no budget. Not just this year, but for two years running. As for the schoolmaster-in-chief, he produced two 2012 budget facsimiles: The first (February) was a farce and the second (April) was empty, dismissed by the CBO as nothing but words untethered to real numbers.

Obama has run disastrous annual deficits of around $1.5 trillion while insisting for months on a “clean” debt-ceiling increase, i.e., with no budget cuts at all. Yet suddenly he now rises to champion major long-term debt reduction, scorning any suggestions of a short-term debt-limit deal as can-kicking.

The flip-flop is transparently political. A short-term deal means another debt-ceiling fight before Election Day, a debate that would put Obama on the defensive and distract from the Mediscare campaign to which the Democrats are clinging to save them in 2012.

A clever strategy it is: Do nothing (see above); invite the Republicans to propose real debt reduction first; and when they do — voting for the Ryan budget and its now infamous and courageous Medicare reform — demagogue them to death.

And then up the ante by demanding Republican agreement to tax increases. So: First you get the GOP to seize the left’s third rail by daring to lay a finger on entitlements. Then you demand the GOP seize the right’s third rail by violating its no-tax pledge. A full-spectrum electrocution. Brilliant.

And what have been Obama’s own debt-reduction ideas? In last week’s news conference, he railed against the tax break for corporate jet owners — six times.

I did the math. If you collect that tax for the next 5,000 years — that is not a typo — it would equal the new debt Obama racked up last year alone. To put it another way, if we had levied this tax at the time of John the Baptist and collected it every year since — first in shekels, then in dollars — we would have 500 years to go before we could offset half of the debt added by Obama last year alone.

Obama’s other favorite debt-reduction refrain is canceling an oil-company tax break. Well, if you collect that oil tax and the corporate jet tax for the next 50 years — you will not yet have offset Obama’s deficit spending for February 2011.

After his Thursday meeting with bipartisan congressional leadership, Obama adopted yet another persona: Cynic-in-chief became compromiser-in-chief. Highly placed leaks are portraying him as heroically prepared to offer Social Security and Medicare cuts.

We shall see. It’s no mystery what is needed. First, entitlement reform that changes the inflation measure, introduces means testing, then syncs the (lower) Medicare eligibility age with Social Security’s and indexes them both to longevity. And second, real tax reform, both corporate and individual, that eliminates myriad loopholes in return for lower tax rates for everyone.

That’s real debt reduction. Yet even now, we don’t know where the president stands on any of this. Until we do, I’ll follow the Elmendorf Rule: We don’t estimate leaks. Let’s see if Obama can suspend his 2012 electioneering long enough to keep the economy from going over the debt cliff.

Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.

Comments

Ron Holzwarth 3 years ago

"Obama has run disastrous annual deficits of around $1.5 trillion"

"A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money." - Often attributed to Everett Dirksen, however he claimed he never said exactly that. He once said: "Oh, I never said that. A newspaper fella misquoted me once, and I thought it sounded so good that I never bothered to deny it."

And now, a few decades later, it's trillions! $1.5 trillion = $1,500,000,000,000.

Oh, don't worry about it, because that's only $5,000 for each American citizen.

So, if everyone sends a $5,000 check to: Barack Obama 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20500 every year, everything will be just fine.

Well, there is that interest on the deficits from previous years, but we'll just put that on the National Credit Card.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years ago

Republicans couldn't care less about the deficit. It's merely fodder for their demagoguery.

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jafs 3 years ago

If Republicans, in general and over time, really do care about deficits, why is it that they continue to create them when they're in power, both in the presidency and in Congress?

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jafs 3 years ago

Of course we should do what's in the best interest of our nation as a whole.

That's not easy to figure out, and people have different ideas about it.

I was just pointing out that those who believe the Republican party is the party of fiscal conservatism, balanced budgets, etc. have been seduced by the rhetoric and have failed to notice the reality.

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jhawkinsf 3 years ago

You who choose to lead must follow, But if you fall, you fall alone. If you should stand, then who's to follow? If I knew the way, I would take you home. -Ripple-

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jhawkinsf 3 years ago

The words of the prophets are written on the bathroom stalls.

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Ronda Miller 3 years ago

That would be Simon and Garfunkel.

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Liberty275 3 years ago

Simon and Garfunkel, corrupt.

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Jimo 3 years ago

Here we go again. Worrying about "debt" while ignoring the #1 issue for Americans: the economy and jobs.

You know what? Lowering unemployment also lowers the budget deficit! So why are Republicans so damned opposed to getting people back to work that they're now in the third year of scorched-earth opposition to every proposal to accomplish that?

I don't care if government has to bribe employers to rehire or even hire directly itself. Every American ready, willing, and able deserves a job. God knows there's no shortage of work. Put Republicans in charge of dredging sand in the desert and soon all work will come to a halt while we stand around and debate why the wealthy are only getting 90% of the sand.

No one outside DC or the Tea Party is worried about spending--oops, "debt"--as the priority right now. Get the cart behind the horse.

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Mike Ford 3 years ago

read the book "The Wrecking Crew" by the same writer who wrote "What's the Matter with Kansas". One spells out how the gop and tp clowns set up this apocolyptical budget mess during bush so that they could wreck the whole thing....Social Security, Medicaid, all of it. They've been hating since FDR. This also ties into to the whole rapture bit of the churchlicans to make all of the gop dummies happy. The other talks about how kansas politicians get dumb people here to vote against their own interests. Fix the mess you ask??? take away loopholes for corporations and the wealthy so they pay the same taxes as a person making less than $20K does. GE should be paying at least as much taxes as I do. Get out of Afghanistan and Iraq quicker, save money there. Do away with oil subsidies to companies that have been financially killing me since 2005 and do away with farm subsidies for people like tea party dummy Vicky Hartzler from Missouri. There you go.

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beatrice 3 years ago

I would imagine for the same reason your account hasn't been banned. Non-stop partisan attacks from either side don't get a person banned, just ridiculed.

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beatrice 3 years ago

You obviously don't read my posts closely enough to recognize the difference between personal opinions as someone who holds overall liberal views and attacks against groups of people. Being critical is one thing, but attacks where you use a broad brush to condemn a large group -- like your "party of atheists" line of late -- is something completely different. I guarantee you won't find anything I've written in the past six months that comes close to the wholesale condemnation of a party as you display with regularity.

I've just given you an example of where you clearly make a partisan attack. I dare you to find something similar from me from the past six months. You won't find it. In the process of looking, do note that I have not had a single post removed over that same six month period either. Can you say the same?

I am a registered Democrat and vote more often for Dems than Republicans, in part because of social issues. However, I have and do vote for qualified and quality Republicans. My being a Democrat doesn't mean I think that Democrats are guilt-free on issues, especially when it comes to the debt. I'm more than willing to state that both sides are to blame. Pretending that half the country's politicians are good and the other half are evil (or that half the country is good or evil) just won't get us anywhere.

I'd much rather have civil discussions, even if we agree to disagree. Try me.

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beatrice 3 years ago

No, I've never called Republicans the party of Christians. If people bring religion into a topic, I have no problem in saying I don't believe in sky gods, be it Zeus or Jesus. That has nothing to do with party affiliation. Calling a diety that is located somewhere "up there" a sky god is simply accurate. It isn't my fault if people are insulted by my accurate description. American Indians are insulted by the Washington Redskins football team -- so what do you call that team? They are still the Redskins. Sorry, sometimes people get insulted when you speak the truth. "Sky god" is the truth. If they believed in an earth-based god, I'd say an earth god. It isn't partisan.

I simply ask you, is the Christian god not a sky god?

Bush hand picked his Czars.

I would love to know which of Obama's Czars are actual Socialists and Communists. I suspect you can't actually support that claim, but give it a try.

Soros is one rich person and doesn't speak for the entire party. I am not responsible for the writings of other liberals. I can only address what I write.

The head of the Democratic Party is President Obama. He is a Christian. So I would say you are the one playing games, not me.

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beatrice 3 years ago

Here is a website for Atheist Conservatives: http://friendlyatheist.com/2007/07/31/the-atheist-conservative/

Or try reading Christopher Hitchens's book. Or here is a NYTimes article on conservative atheists: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/19/us/19beliefs.html

There are plenty of conservative atheists. I've never thought it a partisan thing to ask people about their beliefs in a non-earth bound supernatural diety.

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beatrice 3 years ago

Party of Atheists doesn't bother me at all and I actually wish it were true. However, it isn't accurate, that is all. Thought you would want to know since you are talking about civility. Yes, conservative atheists are rare, but they do exist. That was my point. You claimed they didn't. Also, I would imagine that the majority of Democrats actually would identify as Christian, just based on the numbers of Christians and atheists in this country.

So you can keep calling any group anything you want, but do know you are name-calling in the process. Calling people and groups names is not a civil way to discuss anything. I just have to ask, are your arguments so weak that you have to resort to calling names, or making things up like saying Obama assigned Communists as Czars? Really? That is just sad. Good thing not all conservatives converse this way.

Must be the atheists in the group.

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beatrice 3 years ago

Plenty, as in, they can be found.

Of course I am not in any way saying it is bad to be an atheist. I am one. What I am saying is that the vast majority of American voters, including Democrats, are Christian. You are describing the party based on a minority within that party. They are a minority in the Republican party as well, even if they are a smaller minority.

I would surmise that the majority of racists that bother to vote are Republicans, particularly given who is in the White House now. Would it be appropriate to use your logic and use this group as a description of the entire party? However, it is bad to be a racist, so lets go with gay. There is certainly the group known as the Log Cabin Republicans. Would it be fitting to call Republicans the party of gay people? Didn't think so.

However, I have a feeling you won't take these words to heart. You are into the whole name-calling thing, so knock yourself out. Just know that because of it, you won't be taken seriously. Too bad. I'd rather have discussions with people capable of behaving in a civil manner.

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jonas_opines 3 years ago

"The Dems are the Party of Choice for most (if not all) Atheists, so it is not wrong to call them the Party of Atheists."

Yes, it is. That wording suggests that All of the party, not just one minority subset, belong to the descriptive group you have tagged. If you wanted to convey that the party was open to Atheists, then you would use party For Atheists.

Not that it's probably true. Most of the Atheists that I know are unaffiliated or some brand of Libertarian, and it certainly makes more sense for them to belong to those groups, given the likely tendency to reject large political-social organizations by people who reject the biggest social organization of them all in organized religion, than to just blithely suggest that since they aren't all conservatives, then they must just be democrats.

But I imagine I'm wasting my time, aren't I? After all, (whoever this old face behind the new mask is) one who has little interest, it seems, beyond their black/white worldview (or, perhaps, red/blue?), is unlikely to show much interest in the nuances of either language or social leanings.

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Liberty275 3 years ago

No, tuschkahouma is the single most hate-filled and racist person that routinely posts in the LJW comment section. I'm not saying he should be banned, but you should look really hard at what he posts before defending him.

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beatrice 3 years ago

Who defended anyone? Seriously. Look again. Did you just defend BAA? No.

I'm just curious about this whole Party of Atheists thing coming from BAA while at the same time he is asking for civility. That is just funny because it is name-calling that doesn't actually fit. Ufortunately (in my opinion) most Democrats are indeed Christian. We are still in America after all.

Democrats might just be the party FOR atheists, but it sure isn't the party OF atheists. As I already stated, Republicas might be the party FOR racists, but it sure isn't the party OF racists.

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beatrice 3 years ago

However, you have failed to point out any actual hypocrisy.

However, it is my mistake. I thought you wanted to have honest discussions and be treated like an adult. Don't worry, it won't happen again.

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Resident10 3 years ago

Yea, companies are just flocking to Kansas.

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Ralph Reed 3 years ago

@BAA.

p>@BAA.>

Good personal attack on Tusch. However, from reading above, that pretty much summarizes your argument style on this thread.

Now counter what he said. In addition, expand on your comment from 1117, "Do we continue to make the same mistakes jafs? Or do we finally do what's in the best interest of our nation as a whole?" Especially, what changes, in your opinion, are in the best interests of our nation as a whole, and why? Put your cards on the table.

@Tusch. The two books you mention are on my list. I just finished "The Family," which in itself is frightening.

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Ralph Reed 3 years ago

@BAA

Thanks for the non-response. I gather you can't counter what Tusch said, so you now take the opportunity to attack both of us, even though my question was not related to any of Tusch's comments (other than to congratulate you on a good personal attack). Make sure you don't spread your vitriol too thinly, it tends to lose the bite you enjoy.

I ask you again to: "Expand on your comment from 1117, "Do we continue to make the same mistakes jafs? Or do we finally do what's in the best interest of our nation as a whole?" Especially, what changes, in your opinion, are in the best interests of our nation as a whole, and why? Put your cards on the table."

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Liberty275 3 years ago

"Now counter what he said."

Most of his post (July 10, 2011 at 11:42 a.m) were logical fallacies. The balance was merely opinion. Do you need more?

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Mike Ford 3 years ago

bornagainamerican your inability to recognize how you bait others into arguements and then assail them for replying to your nonsense is classic Fox and Bill o Reilly tactics. Own your tactics and realize they don't work. I'm a Democrat that jabs back. get used to it. Unopposed, undocumentable, and nonsensible bs wil be questioned. get used to it.

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Flap Doodle 3 years ago

The only thing the Campaigner in Chief is serious about is getting another 4 year golfing vacation at our expense.

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beatrice 3 years ago

Gee, if only he had some brush to clear instead.

Sometimes, golf is tied in with work: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/golf-summit-president-obama-boehner-tee-off/story?id=13874970

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notanota 3 years ago

You're right. He should get a ranch and take more vacations than any other president in history. That's how a true decider does things.

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notanota 3 years ago

"You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don't matter," he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: "We won the midterms (congressional elections). This is our due."

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Mike Ford 3 years ago

you people are delusional....bush fled during Katrina, Bush was a figurehead ran by darth cheney and the neocon empire. bush was the king of golf...that's why cindy sheehan protested him in crawford texas because the clown spent more time there than doing his job. hey snap, would you call dealing with LA oil spills, Japanese earthquakes, debt negotiations, being held politically hostage by gop and toilet paper clowns, and ordering osama bin laden gone a vacation...please check yourself...your guy couldn't pronounce nuclear correctly let alone complete a sentence...do you publically want ot be reminded of how dumb the gop and tpers are????

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jafs 3 years ago

I see nothing in his post that claims Obama is a saint.

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slshogrin 3 years ago

"ordering osama bin laden gone"? He merely "okayed" the military taking out Bin Laden, and that was more of a political puppet thing than him having actual control over what happened. I guess you forget that the Bush administration declared "war on terrorism" and had been hunting Bin Laden since before 9/11. I could care less about the whole democrat/republican thing...the Obama administration has done absolutely nothing about creating jobs or reducing the deficit, each of which he "promised" in his campaign.

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Richard Heckler 3 years ago

Social Security privatization would raise the size of the government’s deficit by another $300 billion per year for the next 20 years. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

This does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

  • Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

  • Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

  • Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents.

How would the rest of the U.S. economy be affected if the private accounts replaced the current system?

Put simply, moving to a system of private accounts would not only put retirement income at risk—it would likely put the entire economy at risk. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

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Carol Bowen 3 years ago

Of course it wouldn't bother the Republicans. Privatizing Social Security would be stimulus money for the stock market.

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Richard Heckler 3 years ago

Hey the debt limit will be increased. There is no reason not to raise the debt limit. It repubs were in the white house it would be done in a flash.

IF the debt limit were not increased there would be a lot of very smart and very rich people plus many countries which have invested in the USA that would be pissed off..... simple as that.

Not only that many many other important financial aspects would feel the impact:

  • Wall Street investments up in smoke
  • Wall Street Banks bye bye
  • FDIC Goes Broke
  • retirement plans gone
  • millions upon millions upon millions of jobs lost
  • medical insurance up in smoke
  • homes by the millions would be lost
  • soldiers could not be paid
  • military industrial complex down the tubes
  • millions of financial institutions up in smoke
  • what's left of USA industry gone
  • elected officials would not get paid
  • in essence the USA economy is history

Who in the hell would loan the USA money for recovery?

China and Japan would own the USA pure and simple.

Repubs love to create debt aka supply side economics aka Reaganomics. Tell them to stop messing with all of us and raise the debt limit NOW!

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Flap Doodle 3 years ago

How many times have you posted this same drivel in the last 7 days, merrill? Do you even bother to keep track?

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Crazy_Larry 3 years ago

I'm more sick of your same-old-same-old BS posted up after everyone of Merrill's tid-bits of truth. You don't like the truth, do you? If you have nothing constructive to contribute then just shut the eff up already. GEEEEZUS!

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beatrice 3 years ago

I was trying to figure out why you wanted the elf to shut up. Then I re-read the post. +1

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Richard Heckler 3 years ago

The “Peoples Budget” does everything this country needs:

* Creates good-paying jobs
* Fully maintains our social safety net
* Invests in education
* Ends our costly wars
* Closes the tax loopholes that have made offshoring jobs profitable
* Ends oil and gas subsidies that pollute our country at taxpayer expense
* Creates a national infrastructure investment bank to help us make intelligent investments for the future

The “People's Budget” represents not just common sense; it represents the will of the American people.

What the “Peoples Budget” does very specifically:

http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=70&sectiontree=5,70

http://www.npr.org/2011/04/15/135435883/the-nation-obama-should-fight-for-peoples-budget

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/4/14/while_obama_touts_compromise_with_gop

http://www.thenation.com/blog/159939/fighting-peoples-budget

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Flap Doodle 3 years ago

Forget the "people's budget" and read the People's Cube! "Every day President Obama is freeing toiling masses from the bonds of wage slavery. An ever growing number of former oil rig, construction, and retail workers, who once toiled under the yoke of capitalist oppression, have now heroically joined with liberated multitudes whose daily wants and needs are provided by the government. In just three years Obama has emancipated 12 million former wage earners, adding them to the glorious Food Stamp program - that is a victorious 38% increase for a total of 44 million. No longer exploited for their labor, these men and women are free to live a sparse life without the stress of unnecessary choices, or the burden of supporting the decadent consumer society. Those who once were mere cogs in the monstrous capitalist planet-raping machine, now can enjoy a guilt-free life of government dependency. As impressive as Obama's success has been, there still remain those who are bitterly clinging to self-reliance - a debilitation condition caused by false consciousness, the dark legacy of capitalist propaganda. To those still shackled to a job: do not give up hope! Our progress is unstoppable! Obama has plans for many more regulations and taxes - a tried and true way to beat back the vicious creation of jobs and prosperity in the reactionary private sector...." http://thepeoplescube.com/current-truth/the-food-stamp-president-t7488.html

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scott3460 3 years ago

Actually, Snap, you can tie the current jobs stall to the point when the republicons were elected and began beating the drum about the debt seiling "crisis" in order to freeze business hiring.

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Crazy_Larry 3 years ago

It wasn't all Obama's fault. You think it is, but it isn't. The economy crashed because of Wall Street bankers and Croney Capitalism. The economy crashed because of G. W. Bush and Company lies in order to start a war with no end. There are lots of reasonss the economy has crashed and you can't just blame it all on one man, but I know you will continue to do so. It's foolish, but that's the road you choose. One big weapon of mass distraction and nonsense.

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scott3460 3 years ago

Why should Obama get serious about cutting the debt?

Let's say the republicons do seriously follow through on the debt "crisis" brinksmanship (although Der Boner seems to be walking back very quickly from President Obama's latest Social Security gambit.)

Where does that leave us? The debt limit does not get raised and the Executive Branch has to start deciding which bills to pay & which ones not to pay. I suggest there will be a lot of pain in a lot of red states should that be the way this goes down. Blue States, not so much.

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jafs 3 years ago

What's the "fair share" of somebody who's making just enough to get by?

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jafs 3 years ago

Well, first, comparing roommates who have chosen to rent an apt with a defined cost is not a great comparison with taxes.

Next, if you are trying to find a job (according to your post, trying your hardest) and can't, where will the money come from for your share?

What if you can find a job, but it doesn't pay enough to cover your expenses?

What if businesses are laying people off, offering part-time jobs without benefits instead of full-time jobs with them, outsourcing labor to other countries, etc.

Oh wait, that's exactly what they're doing.

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jafs 3 years ago

Choosing to rent an apartment with a defined monthly cost is a choice.

Citizenship of the country in which one is born is not - it is automatic.

"So. What if. Live under a bridge" pretty much says it all - I choose not to vote for elected officials with that attitude.

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jafs 3 years ago

Nice change of subject.

Republicans in the past had no problem raising the debt ceiling, and now don't want to do it.

Politicians are politicians.

We don't have a choice of perfect politicians - we have the choice between a variety of imperfect ones. I vote for the one I find the best option among that field.

But, I would never vote for one with your attitude, because I don't want our country to have that attitude.

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jafs 3 years ago

Protection from what?

And, if you're an "every man for himself" thinker, why would you ask for my help?

"So. What if. Live under the bridge"

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jafs 3 years ago

Incidentally, did you notice the part about companies needing to hire more people to prevent a catastrophe?

Sounds like what I'm saying - people can only get decent jobs if they're available.

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7texdude 3 years ago

How about we cut military spending? How much money, per month, are we spending in Iraq and Afghanistan? That might be a good place to start. Getting our troops home would also make a lot of American families happy, too.

Wow, save money and be happy......what a concept. Or is it a Bob Marley song?

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Crazy_Larry 3 years ago

This, and end the 40 years of failure called the War on Drugs. But we're making too much sense now. Hush!

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Flap Doodle 3 years ago

Once I've posted that same link 100 times, then I'll take over merrill's role. Until then, not so much.

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Flap Doodle 3 years ago

This post pre-removed for using a vulgar sexual term to describe a disappointed progressive.

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beatrice 3 years ago

I believe that is the 100th time you have made this statement. Congratulations, you win nothing.

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Carol Bowen 3 years ago

And borrow from Social Security trust funds.

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Chris Golledge 3 years ago

Misinformation abounds. Here is a study full of interesting things; so much so that you probably won't want to read it all. Couple of things that stood out for me:

a) It isn't roses for anyone. b) Regular Fox viewers are the most misinformed.

Meh, also:

"Since 2003, the Wall Street Journal has maintained a panel of 55-60 economists which it questions regularly, in an effort to move beyond anecdotal reporting of expert opinion. The panel was frequently asked questions about the financial crisis as it unfolded. In March 2010 the panel was asked more broadly about the effect of the ARRA on growth. Seventy-five percent said it was a net positive."

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/dec10/Misinformation_Dec10_rpt.pdf

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yourworstnightmare 3 years ago

Wrong. It is the GOP who must get serious.

The GOP are abandoning serious debt reduction. They want to settle for a smaller package that includes only spending cuts (2 trillion), and not the package put forth by Obama that includes spending cuts and tax increases targeted to the wealthy (4 trillion).

The GOP have painted themselves in a corner with their childish "no taxes" pledge. However, serious debt reduction will require new revenue. We cannot cut our way out of debt, no matter how draconian the cuts.

It is like getting into debt by buying BMWs, and the only solution is to stop buying BMWs. Ridiculous.

So, it is time for the GOP to become serious. Those in the GOP who truly care about debt reduction must work with Obama on the serious package he has proposed that includes both cuts and new revenues in the form of higher taxes on the wealthy.

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scott3460 3 years ago

Gee, it's almost as if the republicons wanted the economy to tank in order to enhance their election odds.

Traitors.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years ago

Yes, it is sad commentary that many in the GOP seem to be working for a sour economy to better their chances of election.

At best, they are hoping for a bad economy. At worst, they are trying to damage the economy.

It is too bad that the GOP are putting party and ideology over what's best for America.

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Crazy_Larry 3 years ago

You seem to think that politicians actually care about what happens to the country and it's people--they do not.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years ago

This attitude is a cop out.

Yes, politicans are flawed, the system is flawed, but I think many on both sides of the aisle do in fact care.

It is too easy to just brush them off as all corrupt. There is no perfection, so we must use our powers of discrimination and reason to chart the best course through imperfect waters.

Or, we could childishly dismiss them all, giving license to those politicians who really do not care.

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jafs 3 years ago

Actually that's exactly what Obama is proposing to do, if the Republicans will also consider various ways to increase tax revenue that don't fall on the lower and middle class.

The Republicans are refusing to consider them.

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Chris Golledge 3 years ago

Incidentally, "The bank bailout legislation (TARP) was passed and signed into law under Pres. Obama" is a piece of _mis_information, in case you were confused. It's pretty easy to verify that independently.

Also, here is what it looks like from outside of our partisan politics:

"The proposals included reining in spending on entitlement programmes such as Social Security and Medicare, which Democrats hold dear.

But it also involved tax hikes and closing tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans, something opposed by many Republicans."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14098593

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Chris Golledge 3 years ago

OK, but what is your point? Is that a counter or an agreement?

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slshogrin 3 years ago

Why hasn't anyone pointed out the fact that our government gave themselves raises this year instead of taking pay cuts? How about Michelle Obama not taking AirForce 2 where ever she wants for vacation, every time she takes AF2 it costs tax payers millions of dollars. This administration has cut taxes and given more tax breaks to the upper class, which most of the upper government is in. They've taken funds away from the lower class, education, health care, etc., and have given away money to outside the US and other corporations. Instead of looking at these problems as Republican or Democrat, how about if everybody grows up and actually fix this huge mess.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years ago

Agreed. Solving the debt will include severe spending cuts as well as increased revenue. It is time for increased taxes on the wealthy and the elimination of sweetheart tax breaks and shelters designed for the wealthy.

The Obama plan includes both cuts and increased taxes on the wealthy. The GOP childishly refuse to consider raising taxes.

Time for the GOP to get serious about solving the debt problem.

(BTW, I think Michelle Obama must take AF2 for security reasons, just as all former first ladies have).

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slshogrin 3 years ago

I understand the security issues, but she doesn't need to go to Dubai for vacation at tax payer's expense. I'd have no problem with it if they actually helped pay for their vacations and tried to offset these costs. She doesn't have to go to the places she's gone...I don't care if her vacations become "PR" with other nations, it's a huge waste of tax payer money.

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jafs 3 years ago

Agreed.

There are many obvious ways to reduce spending, including much spending of politicians at all levels.

Interestingly, when Jimmy Carter tried to do that, he was criticized for it - go figure.

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Jonathan Kealing 3 years ago

If you see something, flag it. With Whitney's departure, and until we've hired a replacement, I'm doing two jobs, and on some days three. So, inevitably, I don't have much time to spend just looking at comments on national wire stories. But please, help us keep the conversations civil by hitting suggest removal on any hateful post you see. Thanks.

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slshogrin 3 years ago

He also said he'd create more jobs in the first year...you should never believe a politician, even when they admit to lying.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years ago

Obama: a combination of spending cuts and tax increases on the wealthy to reduce the debt.

The GOP: no tax increases under any circumstances. No new revenue generation. Spending cuts only.

The GOP think that the debt will magically go away if we just stop spending.

It is akin to going into debt by buying BMWs, and thinking that the debt will go away if you simply stop buying BMWs. It doesn't work that way. There is no magic, unfortunately.

Grow up and get serious, GOP. Your country depends on it.

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cummingshawk 3 years ago

Republicans proudly trying, since 1980, to prove that voodoo economics will save the country.

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HomeSlice 3 years ago

How much should the 'rich' pay?

The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 40.42 percent of total federal income taxes in 2007, according to the recent data from the Internal Revenue Service, but until you confiscate the last dime, they will always have the "ability" to pay more.

So the goal ceases to become raising revenue for the legitimate purposes of government, but rather using the tax code to redistribute wealth until the playing field is appropriately equal in the eyes of those who see economic success as a crime against humanity.

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slshogrin 3 years ago

Does the IRS also list percentages of gross earnings for that top 1 percent? It'd be interesting to see how much that top 1 percent makes in comparison to the rest of the tax payers (by percentage). The fact remains that while petroleum companies keep recording record profits, they keep wanting tax breaks and subsidies. We give big business tax breaks for sending jobs overseas, sending manufacturing overseas, then give them import tax breaks or wave the import tax altogether on these products. Big business (and even small businesses) should not be rewarded for taking jobs overseas, and they shouldn't get a tax break for doing that.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years ago

How about 35%, a rate similar to that during the economic boom of the 90s.

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Richard Heckler 3 years ago

The big time debt producers: 20 years of this plan proves that repubs are NOT the answer

  1. TABOR is Coming by Grover Norquist and Koch Bros. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

  2. The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist(Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion) http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  3. Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers under Bush/Cheney http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

  4. Bush and Henry Paulson blew the $700 billion of bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

Tax cuts do nothing to make an economy strong or produce jobs.

  1. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html
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Richard Heckler 3 years ago

SS privatization = large debt

Social Security privatization would raise the size of the government’s deficit by another $300 billion per year for the next 20 years. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

This does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

  • Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

  • Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

  • Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html ========================= How would the rest of the U.S. economy be affected if the private accounts replaced the current system?

Put simply, moving to a system of private accounts would not only put retirement income at risk—it would likely put the entire economy at risk. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

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yourworstnightmare 3 years ago

The GOP seem to think that the debt will magically disappear if we just stop spending a little bit.

They fail to acknowledge that we have already purchased the product, and now we have to pay for it.

Under GOP economics, one could go deep into debt by buying mansions, and then pay off those purchases by simply not buying any more mansions.

Alternatively, they really don't care about the debt and want to use the economic crisis and the debt to further their political agenda and continue to favor the wealthy and corporations.

Which is it, GOP? Are you stupid or are you evil?

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yourworstnightmare 3 years ago

Oh, and before I am asked again, I think the tax rate for the top income bracket should be 35%, similar to what is was during the economic boom of the 90s.

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Richard Heckler 3 years ago

My thinking goes like this. This is information that has been researched by investigative journalists and economists way beyond anything any of us do or can do.

Yes I repeat these sources because they are sensible. People need reminders .... maybe not everyone. I for one believe little coming from so many members of congress. I am not so sure than most members of congress are all that well informed.

Congress does have a smart choice yet both sides of the aisle and the media are rejecting because it does put special interests on the low end of the totem pole.

What is that choice?

The “Peoples Budget” does everything this country needs:

* Creates good-paying jobs
* Fully maintains our social safety net
* Invests in education
* Ends our costly wars
* Closes the tax loopholes that have made offshoring jobs profitable
* Ends oil and gas subsidies that pollute our country at taxpayer expense
* Creates a national infrastructure investment bank to help us make intelligent investments for the future

The “People's Budget” represents not just common sense; it represents the will of the American people.

What the “Peoples Budget” does very specifically:

http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=70&sectiontree=5,70

http://www.npr.org/2011/04/15/135435883/the-nation-obama-should-fight-for-peoples-budget

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/4/14/while_obama_touts_compromise_with_gop

http://www.thenation.com/blog/159939/fighting-peoples-budget

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jafs 3 years ago

"So. What if. Live under the bridge"

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yourworstnightmare 3 years ago

US income distribution is an asymptotic line with a very deep flexure.

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