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Sunday, December 02, 2012

OTP December 2012 - Pushing G.O.P. to Negotiate, Obama Ends Giving In

Mr. Obama, scarred by failed negotiations in his first term and emboldened by a clear if close election to a second, has emerged as a different kind of negotiator in the past week or two, sticking to the liberal line and frustrating Republicans on the other side of the bargaining table.

Bitter Mouse Posted: December 02, 2012 at 11:15 PM | 6172 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: politics

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   6101. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 02, 2013 at 10:38 AM (#4336757)
Bringing Medicare spending under control is difficult, but doable if mature adults on both sides are working to address a long term issue in a responsible way.


True and humorous at the same time. But yeah I agree with what you said.

Someone should put up a new thread, right? I have to do work most of the rest of the rest of the day, but I'll do it if no one has by tonight.
   6102. Mefisto Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:00 AM (#4336769)
the u.s. is over 100.

servicing debt takes away the govt's ability to do things that citizens really want. it creates all kinds of distractions and frustrations.

right now i have a simple goal. to get the debt to gdp percentage under 100 percent. i think if you reduce some of the debt you will also allow the economy to improve and hence greater gdp.


The reason the current debt/GDP ratio is so high is almost entirely due to the recession (the Bush tax cuts didn't help, nor did 2 unfunded wars). Get people back to work and the ratio will drop by a lot. Getting people back to work requires more stimulus in the short term, but will pay off in the long term.
   6103. McCoy Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:02 AM (#4336772)
New Diplomacy game is up and waiting for players at playdiplomacy titled BTF Diplomacy VI. Come on in and stab your fellow BTF poster.
   6104. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4336777)
mefisto

i already acknowledged that an improved economy helps that number move in the right direction.

there will be no stimulus spending save by the feds being clever. congress will 'not' pass a stimulus bill in any way shape or form

i understand that folks believe this is a legit option, but it's not politically viable and discussing it is a waste of time.

   6105. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:38 AM (#4336795)
Wait a minute — I thought worrying about budget deficits during stagnant economic times was something only idiot Republicans would do, but now it's a symbol of excellent liberal governance?
You only think that because you don't really know anything about liberals except that you hate them and blame everything bad on them.

Isn't the GOP mantra "Deficits don't matter?" No wonder you don't get it.
   6106. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:43 AM (#4336800)
Violent media posioning nation's soul

Not sure why the film reviewer decided to go on a soap box but he does make a point in regards to the ratings board being more lenient with movies featuring violence than sex. Then again you could make the argument that the US has more hangups about sex than it does about violence.
   6107. tshipman Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:45 AM (#4336804)
most economists think a country is in a danger zone once the debt to gdp gets over 110 percent and 120 or higher is a huge red flag.

the u.s. is over 100.
servicing debt takes away the govt's ability to do things that citizens really want. it creates all kinds of distractions and frustrations.


Nothing wrong up to here. Over 100% Debt/GDP is too much, interest payments are the biggest driver of the projected future deficit, etc.

right now i have a simple goal. to get the debt to gdp percentage under 100 percent. i think if you reduce some of the debt you will also allow the economy to improve and hence greater gdp.


Here's where you run into trouble. Ireland tried what you're talking about. So did Great Britain, Spain, others. What happened when you implement austerity into a fragile economy? Turns out, your debt servicing gets worse! Mark your beliefs to market, Harveys. There was a time when the facts on the ground backed up what your policy ideas are. That time was 1993 (and 1947). It doesn't today.

We both want businesses to invest more in the US. But public borrowing is not impacting their willingness to do so.
   6108. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:48 AM (#4336807)
tship

show me the single post where i have advocated for anything resembling austerity? one post

my proposed deal of a few pages back was my starting point and that wasn't close to austerity

give me a break

and this economy isn't fragile but that is another discussion

on a personal level i am getting royally hacked off at folks putting stuff to my name that doesn't exist and then criticizing a nonexistent stance

   6109. tshipman Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:58 AM (#4336815)
show me the single post where i have advocated for anything resembling austerity? one post


How do you reduce debt via legislation without austerity?


on a personal level i am getting royally hacked off at folks putting stuff to my name that doesn't exist and then criticizing a nonexistent stance


I am constructing the most logical version of your argument that I can. I'm not insulting you. I'm trying to engage in your argument. If you feel like I am mis-reading the argument, please try to restate it so that I can understand it better.
   6110. Mefisto Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4336816)
there will be no stimulus spending save by the feds being clever. congress will 'not' pass a stimulus bill in any way shape or form

i understand that folks believe this is a legit option, but it's not politically viable and discussing it is a waste of time.


Agreed, though funding for Sandy might pass and probably qualifies technically as "stimulus". But with that caveat, I think you're right.
   6111. spike Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:28 PM (#4336851)
Not only did funding for Sandy not get done before the recess, Peter King is royally pi##ed at Boehner about it. Christie has scheduled a press conference for today, which i doubt is to congratulate the GOP Congress for how it handled the matter.
   6112. zonk Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:29 PM (#4336852)
So...

As if Boehner doesn't have enough problems -

Peter King just went scorched earth on him, NOT over the cliff vote -- but over tabling Sandy relief.... just because I know it causes confusion - Peter King is the loud, blustery Long Island Republican, Steve King is the loud, blustery - perhaps a bit crazy - Iowa Republican.

EDIT: coke to spike
   6113. spike Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4336864)
Peter King does his share of crazy to be fair - like playing cops and robbers.
   6114. McCoy Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4336890)
As Tip used to say, "all politics is local".
   6115. BrianBrianson Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:57 PM (#4336896)

How do you reduce debt via legislation without austerity?


Increase the marginal tax rate on the rich. (Unless it's above ~60%, then there's no point).

Tax cash on hand for companies, to motivate them to spend it.
   6116. Tilden Katz Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4336898)
Didn't Peter King also support the IRA?
   6117. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4336902)
how do you folks define austerity?

are any spending reductions by definition austerity?
   6118. bobm Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4336907)
How do you reduce debt via legislation without austerity?

Increase the marginal tax rate on the rich. (Unless it's above ~60%, then there's no point).


How about a value added tax on consumption, and gas taxes that raise the price to $8 / gallon, just like in Europe?
   6119. Morty Causa Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:10 PM (#4336908)
   6120. Steve Treder Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4336910)
i understand that folks believe this is a legit option, but it's not politically viable and discussing it is a waste of time.

If a legit option is not politically viable, that is an issue worth discussing.
   6121. BrianBrianson Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4336921)
Wikipedia says "austerity refers to a policy of deficit-cutting by lowering spending via a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided.", which is about right. Spending cuts for the purpose of reducing deficits are austerity.

What kind of spending cuts are you thinking about, Harvey? I could imagine spending cuts that aren't austerity (because you used to buy something, but it's now unneeded - e.g., you get enough global warming, and it no longer makes sense to higher snowplow drivers.), but you still need to be cautious of the same negative effect (less spending leading to a worse economy).
   6122. Morty Causa Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4336922)
Republicans and conservatives (including libertarian conservatives) that complain on the deficit score are like whores condemning the modern girl for giving it away. It's entirely self-serving and thoroughly hypocritical.

EDITed stylistic felicity.
   6123. Mefisto Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:26 PM (#4336930)
are any spending reductions by definition austerity?


Basically, yes. At least that's true when the economy is slack. Might not be true if the economy is running on all cylinders.
   6124. zonk Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:27 PM (#4336931)
how do you folks define austerity?

are any spending reductions by definition austerity?


Well, it's a meaningless term, I guess... but my partisan definition of austerity would be one or both of two conditions:

1) Indiscriminate spending cuts - i.e., something like the sequestor

2) Spending cuts that are targeted to broad-based "individuals" (i.e., be they cuts to entitlements or non-entitlement safety net programs... TANF, for example)

   6125. zonk Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:32 PM (#4336939)
How about a value added tax on consumption, and gas taxes that raise the price to $8 / gallon, just like in Europe?


Consumption taxes are inherently regressive... I don't even like "flat taxes" - I think taxation, in whatever form it takes, should be progressive (small 'p') in nature... I certainly wouldn't sign onto something inherently regressive.

At the end of the day, I don't care about raw totals simply because it tosses away the conceptual difference between someone living hand-to-mouth on say, $40k annually and paying say... "only" $10k 'total' in taxes versus someone earning $400k annually and paying $100k annually.

Ultimately, I just believe that -- regardless of how you got there (be it entrepreneurial brillilance, inheritance, investment savy, etc) -- the system of total taxation should be laddered such that certain income levels pay a higher percentage of taxes than the bottom steps on the ladder.

I'm open to any system of taxation that includes this stepped approach... I've just never seen any reasonable way a consumption-based system would be able to accomplish that; indeed, they generally seem to have the opposite effect.
   6126. BrianBrianson Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4336942)
How about a value added tax on consumption, and gas taxes that raise the price to $8 / gallon, just like in Europe?


No, those are complete ####. You need to encourage consumption, not discourage it. Discourage people from hoarding money, encourage them to spend it. Take money from people who're hoarding it and give it to people who'll spend it. In practice, it does mean taking from the rich, and giving to the poor, because the poor are a lot better at spending.
   6127. zonk Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:46 PM (#4336955)
What kind of spending cuts are you thinking about, Harvey? I could imagine spending cuts that aren't austerity (because you used to buy something, but it's now unneeded - e.g., you get enough global warming, and it no longer makes sense to higher snowplow drivers.), but you still need to be cautious of the same negative effect (less spending leading to a worse economy).


Right...

Going back a few threads - I know we've had some dustups over PBS/NPR funding...

For me, that argument always runs ashore on the rocks of glibertarian purity -- i.e., it's not that I wouldn't be willing to consider cuts to public television/radio... it's that I inherently reject the underlying philosophical underpinning that government has no business spending money on such things.

It's impossible to have that discussion with the Rays, Nieporents, et al of the world because it becomes a battle of ideological wills - and the fact that such spending is probably like 0.000000001% of federal spending gets lost in the shuffle because we become unmoored from reality.

While I have no idea what HW's opinion on such spending would be - I think that he and I could probably reach detente on things like that because I wouldn't be worrying out Sisyphusing ideological boulders up and down a hill.

To wit -

I'd be willing to sacrifice temporarily public TV/radio funding in the context of near-term debt relief... so long as we were able to agree that once we got to a place where debt/GDP was say.... back in the 80-90% range, we could start layering some of these liberal goodies back into the mix.

I think there are plenty of quite reasonable Democrats who are perfectly willing to cut spending and concerned about US debt load, and understand that we can't just tax our way to clean balance sheet. I think there are also plenty of quite reasonable Republicans who are perfectly willing to increase taxes/revenue because they are also concerned about US debt load, and understand we can't just cut our way to a clean balance sheet.

The difference, I think, is that people in the former category have a LOT more Democrats in DC than do people like the latter... and that's where the problem comes in.
   6128. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4336965)
Government doesn't produce; it takes things that other people have produced and redistributes it.

Like corporations, then?


No, Sam. Wrong again. Keep trying; you'll get one.

Corporations produce their own things. In so doing they enter into voluntary agreements with workers whereby the workers help produce the corporation's things and then the workers get compensated for their efforts.

Corporations don't "redistribute" anything. What the hell are you talking about? They provide things to consumers that consumers want and that consumers freely decide to pay for - or not. Corporations also provide compensation to workers in exchange for labor.

Corporations don't take things from anyone.

So, other than your comment being 100% wrong, it was exactly correct.

   6129. Mefisto Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4336969)
gas taxes that raise the price to $8 / gallon


I'd actually be in favor of this, or a more general carbon tax, but ONLY if it were revenue neutral to the bottom 98%. That is, I'd like to see a tax cut for those making under $250 which would balance out the revenue gained by a carbon tax. This would make the carbon tax a net progressive tax.
   6130. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4336971)
holy schmoley. if any cut is austerity no wonder y'all have your britches in a bind all the time

i laid out pretty clearly a few pages back where i would start. and nobody cried 'austerity' then

and for the record i didn't touch medicare.

i touched social security and if i had my magic wand i wouldn't just be doing teh touching on benefits of folks in the future i would be touching benefits right 'now'. folks want to frame me as mr burns impervious to the needs of the poor but i don't think it's appropriate that everyone over the age of 65 get a free pass on what the country needs done especially since that demographic helped get us here

   6131. bobm Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4336978)
Consumption taxes are inherently regressive... I don't even like "flat taxes" - I think taxation, in whatever form it takes, should be progressive (small 'p') in nature... I certainly wouldn't sign onto something inherently regressive.

How can the US, in the long term, sensibly look at taxation in isolation from the social spending that makes up a huge share of government spending? Even with tiny defense spending compared to the US, other countries (esp in Western Europe) spend more on social welfare in part due to having more regressive (or less progressive, if that makes one feel better) taxation than the US, even before consumption taxes IIRC.

What country has as progressive a tax system as the US and spends significantly more on social welfare programs?
   6132. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4336979)
Corporations don't take things from anyone.

Sure they do. They seek and receive rents. One particularly apt example is publicly-subsidized sports stadiums. Baseball's antitrust exemption is another.
   6133. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4336984)
Sure they do. They seek and receive rents. One particularly apt example is publicly-subsidized sports stadiums.


That's government doing the taking, which was the initial point.
   6134. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4336986)
That's government doing the taking, which was the point.

On behalf of, and in concert with, corporations.

The model of voluntary and only voluntary exchanges between corporations and buyers doesn't hold in a world of rent-seeking and rent-granting. Their ability to seek and obtain rents gives corporations an unfair advantage as against people, rendering their interactions non-voluntary.
   6135. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4337007)
Corporations produce their own things. In so doing they enter into voluntary agreements with workers whereby the workers help produce the corporation's things and then the workers get compensated for their efforts.


Oh yes, I forgot how when it's your preferred method of aggregate, communal action it's perfect and good, but when it's your detested method of aggregate, communal action it's evil and vile.

My bad.
   6136. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4337013)
The model of voluntary and only voluntary exchanges between corporations and buyers doesn't hold in a world of rent-seeking and rent-granting. Their ability to seek and obtain rents gives corporations an unfair advantage as against people, rendering their interactions non-voluntary.


Clearly rent-seeking behaviors can and will never skew market theory, because if that were to happen then market theory wouldn't be perfect and pristine and infallible like Little Baby Jesus-Rand says it is, and that's impossible. Duh.
   6137. zonk Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:34 PM (#4337022)
How can the US, in the long term, sensibly look at taxation in isolation from the social spending that makes up a huge share of government spending? Even with tiny defense spending compared to the US, other countries (esp in Western Europe) spend more on social welfare in part due to having more regressive (or less progressive, if that makes one feel better) taxation than the US, even before consumption taxes IIRC.

What country has as progressive a tax system as the US and spends significantly more on social welfare programs?


I'm not trying to dodge the question - but we need to define some terms... "taxation", for example... we have a unique layer that I don't think exists in most of Europe -- i.e., "states"... The UK, for example - has federal and local taxes, but no "state" equivalent. We also need to carefully lay out what "social spending" and how it's funded. Most states - and many localities - already have what amounts to consumption taxes (unless we want to play semantic games regarding the issuing of reseller certificates, I tend to consider it silly to differentiate a sales tax from a true VAT) in the form of sales taxes. Again - just using the UK as a baseline - the only sales tax... excuse me, VAT... is applied federally.

For example - this is why I don't like lumping entitlements in with the larger discussion, as well as why I think our debt/GDP ratio has to be looked at from both the most often cited number and the number that excludes intergovermental borrowing...

I.e., Social Security benefits are surely "social spending".... However, social security funds itself via payroll taxes. So long as we all agree that "elective debt default" isn't on the table... Social Security benefits really ought not to be part of this discussion.

Medicare gets a little murkier (due to the different funding mechanisms between Part A and Part B) - and doesn't have the same strong balance sheet at SS, so let's set that one aside.

What's left is our discretionary budget -- the budget that actually and really goes directly to the debt.... and there - 50% of it goes towards defense.

I'm not gonna do the math - but I'd be willing to bet that if we isolated "social spending" wholly to what gets spent out of the discretionary budget, whacked DoD spending (which also comes from the discretionary budget) down to the size of say... UK + France -- we'd see a balance sheet that even the most optimistic deficit hawk wouldn't dream of.
   6138. Mefisto Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:35 PM (#4337024)
if any cut is austerity no wonder y'all have your britches in a bind all the time

i laid out pretty clearly a few pages back where i would start. and nobody cried 'austerity' then


Harveys, cuts are "austerity" in a narrow sense at any time. That's because GDP is defined to include government spending. By arithmetic, cutting government spending cuts GDP.

That said, as I noted above, when the economy is running at capacity cutting government spending can (not necessarily will, but can) lead to more opportunities for the private sector. But as I also said above, making cuts to government when the economy is slack won't have that effect because the economy is already failing to make use of all its resources.

I did note my opposition to many of your proposals, though I didn't use the word "austerity" in doing so. That would certainly be one ground for my opposition, but not the only one (in some cases I oppose them simply because, on the merits, I think them good policy).
   6139. zonk Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4337033)
holy schmoley. if any cut is austerity no wonder y'all have your britches in a bind all the time

i laid out pretty clearly a few pages back where i would start. and nobody cried 'austerity' then

and for the record i didn't touch medicare.

i touched social security and if i had my magic wand i wouldn't just be doing teh touching on benefits of folks in the future i would be touching benefits right 'now'. folks want to frame me as mr burns impervious to the needs of the poor but i don't think it's appropriate that everyone over the age of 65 get a free pass on what the country needs done especially since that demographic helped get us here


Well, for the record - I was willing to go along with your grand bargain.

My objections WERE rooted in the SS proposals...

However -- and this is exactly why I brought up the numbers regarding total debt excluding inter-governmental borrowing -- I just don't understand the PURE FISCAL impetus to touch social security.

Whack all the Social Security benefits you want -- that (so far as I know) doesn't touch the debt one bit... SS Trust Fund subsidization of the debt isn't indexed to benefits -- the cashing in of that debt is -- but just making up a number, if SS has loaned Treasury 5 trillion dollars.... Then the US still owes the SS Trust Fund 5 trillion dollars.... regardless of whether it needs to get that 5 trillion dollars back over the course of 30 years or 300 years.

Unless we're considering selective, elective defaults -- literally ripping up the IOUs to SSTF, and I have yet to hear anyone put that on the table -- changing SS eligibility, SS benefits, etc just. doesn't. matter.

   6140. zonk Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4337069)
Yikes...

Chris Christie just laid into Boehner and the House, too.

Forget secession and a dissolution of the US - it appears that the GOP is going to provide us a test case by doing a regional fracture of its own... Never mind King and Christie (not that I can ever recall sitting office holders rip into their party so ferociously) - but Tom Price is insisting that the GOP needs more "red state leadership" (i.e., Boehner from OH, Cantor from VA, and McCarthy from CA can't represent conservatives because of the states they hail from).
   6141. SteveF Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:20 PM (#4337071)
The social security problem is quite temporary (as the current demographic bulge/shift is temporary). There are minor tweaks to be made (bumping the age, for example, given everyone is living longer and generally in better health at age 65) that would solve the solvency issue.

Social security is not the problem.

The problem is Medicare. I was somewhat heartened to hear President Obama correctly identify Medicare as the single biggest driver of the deficit going forward. (I'm not so cynical as to think politicians don't realize this, but I am cynical enough to be surprised to hear one have the courage to admit it in such a public forum.) No proposal for fixing the deficit should be taken seriously if it doesn't include significant reforms to Medicare specifically and the health care system more generally.
   6142. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4337076)
steve

hey, i have ideas about medicare but decided to pick my poison

zonk

look at what the white house offers as a debt buildup. it's a bit dated but thought the bottom item might catch your eye:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/infographics/us-national-debt

   6143. zonk Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4337090)
zonk

look at what the white house offers as a debt buildup. it's a bit dated but thought the bottom item might catch your eye:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/infographics/us-national-debt


Sure - but that debt is not measured in benefits... it's measured in the Treasuries that the SSTF has purchased/intergovernmental borrowing... Beyond completely killing Social Security -- that number won't change no matter what you do with SS benefits. Change the COLA calculation to use the chained CPI rather than raw CPI -- it's still 3.6 trillion.

Raise the benefits eligibility age to 75, 85, or even 95 -- it's still 3.6 trillion.

Index benefits -- it's still 3.6 trillion.

Cut benefits to $1 a year for only those seniors with less than $20k in annual income -- it's still 3.6 trillion.

Turn social security into an annual national game where a helicopter dumps a billion dollar bills out of random locations across the US -- it's still 3.6 trillion.

Again - unless we're proposing to solve/deal with US debt by simply saying "Social Security Trust Fund -- your IOUs, we're just going to selectively write them down/rip them up/rip up some of them" it doesn't make a dime's bit of difference what we do with SS benefits.

   6144. Tripon Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4337092)
   6145. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 02, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4337102)
steve

according to the cbo this would save 50 billion annually

didn't touch age which is cost shifting according to many

i left the higher medicare payments to rural hospitals because it's tough for those folks to get healthcare but if folks want to accuse me of protecthing myself since i live in a rural area i am fine iwth hacking those payments too.

Increase the premiums for Medicare Part B, which covers costs like doctor’s visits, to 35% of spending per person, up from 25%

Change the structure of Medicare out-of-pocket costs and additional private insurance to reduce overall Medicare costs

Cut spending across-the-board in areas where Medicare spending per person is unusually high
   6146. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 02, 2013 at 04:06 PM (#4337109)
zonk

on my prior page that was intended as deficit reduction because that was the focus of the fiscal deal being discussed

my head is racing around so apologize for conflating the two

regarding teh white house graphic i just thought that was more interesting than anything else

and fundamentally, if it were up to me yes i would be ripping up some of those ious based on circumstances

i just do not accept that everyone 'needs' those funds to the level being disbursed

on a personal anecdotal level my skin crawls when i hear someone my age chortle about going to one of the green bay casinos with their social security check

but that is not the entire premise of my stance which was formulated a long while ago

but i would be remiss to not mention something that so clearly drives me crazy
   6147. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 02, 2013 at 04:23 PM (#4337133)
.

   6148. zonk Posted: January 02, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4337137)
zonk

on my prior page that was intended as deficit reduction because that was the focus of the fiscal deal being discussed

my head is racing around so apologize for conflating the two

regarding teh white house graphic i just thought that was more interesting than anything else

and fundamentally, if it were up to me yes i would be ripping up some of those ious based on circumstances

i just do not accept that everyone 'needs' those funds to the level being disbursed

on a personal anecdotal level my skin crawls when i hear someone my age chortle about going to one of the green bay casinos with their social security check

but that is not the entire premise of my stance which was formulated a long while ago

but i would be remiss to not mention something that so clearly drives me crazy


Understood...

I guess I just get really wary whenever SS comes up in relation to the debt.

I think many folks - on both sides of the aisle, but for radically different reasons - tend to either ignore or fail to understand the relationship of SSTF, the debt, and intergovernmental borrowing. I don't claim to be an expert -

But so far as I know, the payouts from SS would have zero bearing on the debt owned by SS -- only the speed at which those loans would need to be redeemed.

Despite Al Gore and his lockbox -- I don't really have a problem with intergovernmental borrowing... heck - might as well put those SSTF dollars to work rather than just letting sit an account somewhere, and supposedly - the full faith and credit of US debt is inviolable... so seems safe enough.

What's more - I think it's silly to ever think that we can project SS deficits or surpluses in perpetuity... To me - we ought to be looking to balance the SS ledger across continually updated 20 year horizons... If we've balanced the benefits/FICA equation such that we've got a 30 year horizon, then we ought to either throttle back payroll taxes/enhance benefits.... If we come out at 10 years, then we either need to throttle down benefits or enhance revenue.

   6149. villageidiom Posted: January 02, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4337143)
Corporations produce their own things. In so doing they enter into voluntary agreements with workers whereby the workers help produce the corporation's things and then the workers get compensated for their efforts.
People produce things. They have entered into voluntary agreements with corporations whereby the corporations take all of those goods and exchange them for money. The workers get compensated based on their ability to exert influence on the production and monetization, not necessarily based on the value of the products each individual has made. If a worker doesn't like the arrangement, or if the corporation redefines the arrangement in a way unsavory to the worker, he is free to leave the corporation's jurisdiction.

People earn money. They have entered into voluntary agreements with governments whereby the government takes a portion of that money and exchanges it for things meant to benefit people. The people get benefits based on their ability to exert influence on the allocation of benefit, not necessarily based on the value of the contribution each individual has made. If the person doesn't like the arrangement, or if the government redefines the arrangement in a way unsavory to the person, he is free to leave the government's jurisdiction.
   6150. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 02, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4337152)
People earn money. They have entered into voluntary agreements with governments whereby the government takes a portion of that money and exchanges it for things meant to benefit people.


Pardon?

One dead giveaway that you're talking out of your ass and trying too hard to justify a position that has no justification is the redundant term "voluntary agreements." Agreements by their very definition are voluntary. (Indeed, WTF would an "involuntary agreement" be? Either I agreed or I didn't. If I didn't agree, then I didn't "enter into" anything.)

If the person doesn't like the arrangement, or if the government redefines the arrangement in a way unsavory to the person, he is free to leave the government's jurisdiction.


Ah. So we're again back to Love It Or Leave It. Why didn't you just say that in the first place, instead of talking gibberish?

"If a black man and a white woman didn't like the voluntary agreement they entered into which prohibited them from marrying each other, they were free to leave the government's jurisdiction." That's acceptable to you?
   6151. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 02, 2013 at 04:52 PM (#4337174)
I guess I just feel the same way -- like it's also an accounting trick to lump entitlements in with discretionary spending... i.e., there's a difference between things we've actually 'bought' on the national credit card (be they wars, highways, or food stamps) and things that are promised benefits.
All spending is discretionary. The "trick" is pretending that simply because they wrote down a formula rather than picking a number every year, that "entitlements" are somehow untouchable.
   6152. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: January 02, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4337205)
"If a black man and a white woman didn't like the voluntary agreement they entered into which prohibited them from marrying each other, they were free to leave the government's jurisdiction." That's acceptable to you?
I'm sure the invisible hand will fix that, just like it fixed slavery.
   6153. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 02, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4337214)
New thread up, with no numbering/pagination issues. Flip for the month, please.
   6154. zonk Posted: January 02, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4337218)
All spending is discretionary. The "trick" is pretending that simply because they wrote down a formula rather than picking a number every year, that "entitlements" are somehow untouchable.


Well -- I suppose if you set aside that SS is wholly funded out by way of a highly specific tax that is independently allocated, but then loans out it receipts to the discretionary budget...

But yes, yes, David... precision and clarity only matter when they truly serve your ideologically rigid point - I get it.
   6155. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 02, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4337227)
   6156. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: January 02, 2013 at 06:42 PM (#4337314)
Christie and King don't care about the House's abandoning the victims of Sandy. They're pandering to their constituents, and making themselves look human. Once they succeed in getting Christie elected POTUS, they'll do a heel turn, all hug and kiss Boehner and McConnell and Grover Norquist, and laugh and sneer at the shocked masses.

   6157. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 02, 2013 at 06:58 PM (#4337331)
Christie and King don't care about the House's abandoning the victims of Sandy. They're pandering to their constituents, and making themselves look human. Once they succeed in getting Christie elected POTUS, they'll do a heel turn, all hug and kiss Boehner and McConnell and Grover Norquist, and laugh and sneer at the shocked masses.

Undoubtedly true, but while it lasts it's still a most enjoyable catfight.
   6158. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: January 02, 2013 at 07:09 PM (#4337341)
Christie and King don't care about the House's abandoning the victims of Sandy. They're pandering to their constituents, and making themselves look human.
Whoa there. They're "pandering to their constituents" only in that their constituents were devastated by the hurricane, and they most certainly do care about the House GOP's abandonment of the victims of Sandy because they care about their constituents. We shouldn't assume the worst about every motive of every pol.
   6159. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: January 02, 2013 at 07:13 PM (#4337344)
I was joking, so whoa yourself! I actually like Christie. He helped Obama get re-elected, IMO, by showing him respect when seemingly no other high profile member of the GOP would dare.
   6160. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 02, 2013 at 08:57 PM (#4337376)
BTW I'm not assuming the worst about Christie. I'm just assuming that no Republican with any sort of national ambitions can afford in the long run to buck the loonies and still be a force within the GOP. Look at what they did to the McCain of 2000 in 2008, and what they did to Massachusetts Mitt in 2012. There's no future in being a sane Republican when the dominant faction of your party's base belongs in a padded cell.
   6161. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 02, 2013 at 10:39 PM (#4337471)
Given the middle class tax hikes are now off the table, how many people who vote are really going to be all that outraged when the interests of the poorest and most vulnerable Americans aren't protected? (Or, at least, I imagine that's how someone on the left will put it.)


As opposed to the facts, which would be...?

Btw, there's a straightforward way of dealing with the health insurance/contraception issue that's consistent with how we've handled other issues of this type. We tend strongly to see these situations along the lines of 'your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose.' 'Your right to shout 'fire' ends in my crowded theater'. 'Your right to compel prayer ends in our shared classroom.'

Your right to deal with contraception as you see fit does not require me to forgo it, and there's an intermediate ground where both concerns can be satisfied.

There is a useful difference between the Catholic Church giving someone thirty dollars knowing they'll probably spend it on contraceptive health care, and the Church actually going into the pharmacy and buying a pack of birth control pills. I'd require the Church to simply make its insurance finances clear, and when insurance does not cover contraceptive health care, the Church compensates employees with an equivalent amount of cash or cash equivalents. I'm not aware of any tenet of the Church that would forbid this, well, dodge. It doesn't, for instance, monitor how its employees spend their paychecks in order to make sure they don't spend it on abortions.

And what Mefisto said in 5966, except for:

Because employee benefits = money, and because the only interest the employer has in the transaction is the cost, the employer has no interest in the terms of the policy. The coverage conditions are up to the insurer and the beneficiary (namely the employee). You're claiming that someone who is neither the insurer nor the beneficiary can insist on controlling the policy terms. That's absurd.


It IS absurd, but that's what happens when we inject employers between myself and my insurer (if I wasn't self-employed. Thank God. No idea how you can work for someone else.).

I imagine we'll get past the point where A's religious beliefs trump B's moral philosophy and C's health needs, but it's going to take a while.

Why does David keep rattling on about taxes, btw? If he was President of Libertaria, he'd force me to pay at least national defense tax.

As they say, isn't the rest just haggling about price?
   6162. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 02, 2013 at 10:39 PM (#4337472)
double post
   6163. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 02, 2013 at 10:52 PM (#4337489)
You're right to point to the incentive structure of the House members. The problem at this point is democracy. The House Republicans didn't exactly hide their beliefs the last 2 years. People who voted for them must have liked what they're getting. It's always tempting to blame individual bad actors, but sometimes the fault truly lies in the people themselves.


Isn't the problem really almost entirely gerrymandering and how it incentivizes craziness, along with a dash of the old two senators for Idaho, two for New York problem? Dems won a slight majority of those voting in House elections, and are down in Reps by 35.


re 6161, there's also the fact that a goodly percentage of those receiving the cash or cash equivalents will not avail themselves of contraceptive health care.
   6164. Chip Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:50 PM (#4337569)
The Economist magazine's economics blog debunks fearmongering about debt:

Government debt: How much is too much?
   6165. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 04, 2013 at 11:00 PM (#4339433)
test
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