My assessment of the sequester

Discussion in 'Discussion Club' started by Charles Kozierok, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Charles Kozierok

    Charles Kozierok Elite Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Messages:
    6,762
    Likes Received:
    0
    The real root of the problem is the American people, who deal with the federal budget deficit the same way they deal with their waistlines:

    1. Live a sedentary lifestyle.
    2. Behave like gluttons.
    3. When they get fat, refused to change either #1 or #2 because that requires work, and instead look for magic pills, too-good-to-be-true diets, and people to blame.

    We spend too much -- on everything. We don't take in enough tax dollars. But nobody wants their spending cut or their taxes raised.

    As the old joke goes: "Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree".

    In a couple of generations, we've gone from people who accepted rationing of even basics like sugar and butter, to a bunch of whiny brats who scream that the world is going to end because their bloated military and/or non-military programs are being trimmed by what, 3%?

    Americans get the government they deserve. And they have.
     
    #126 Charles Kozierok, Feb 24, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  2. fskimospy

    fskimospy Elite Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Messages:
    43,623
    Likes Received:
    35
    Although a point of note is that in the present economic climate, trimming spending even 3% is a really bad idea.
     
  3. Charles Kozierok

    Charles Kozierok Elite Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Messages:
    6,762
    Likes Received:
    0
    I used to agree, but no longer.

    I think a quick, sharp slap to the side of the head is exactly what this country needs right now.

    Yes, the economy will suffer. I've been suffering from it for years. But something needs to change, and nothing will until the people of this country wake up, even a little bit.
     
  4. fskimospy

    fskimospy Elite Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Messages:
    43,623
    Likes Received:
    35
    On what economic basis are you making this judgment? Are you saying that the country needs to feel righteous pain in order to change our behavior? If so, on what basis do you think this will be effective and what policy changes do you expect to see from it?

    These sorts of ideas feel good emotionally, but are exceptionally foolish economically.
     
  5. Brainonska511

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Messages:
    17,679
    Likes Received:
    15
    Anecdotes about what to do to a recalcitrant individual are poor examples to live by when running a country.

    Taking an axe to the federal budget is a poor way to fix any spending problem.
     
  6. fskimospy

    fskimospy Elite Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Messages:
    43,623
    Likes Received:
    35
    Yes, attempting to punish an economy the way you punish a bad kid is some of the same thinking that has screwed Europe over so heartily.

    There's no excuse for letting your emotions cloud good public policy.
     
  7. Charles Kozierok

    Charles Kozierok Elite Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Messages:
    6,762
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, my position is to a large degree based on emotion.

    Yes, it's a poor way to fix it.

    But they can't come up with a smart way. So this is what we get.
     
  8. fskimospy

    fskimospy Elite Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Messages:
    43,623
    Likes Received:
    35
    What exactly necessitates this slap anyways? With fairly modest additional (backloaded) deficit reduction the US debt\gdp ratio stabilizes pretty easily. The long term drivers of debt are medical cost inflation and changing demographics. (lots more old people!). Neither of those issues appears to be some sort of moral failure to me, and more importantly for the terms of this discussion I see absolutely zero way in which this situation would be improved through forcing a recession now.
     
  9. Brainonska511

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Messages:
    17,679
    Likes Received:
    15
    They can't or they won't? I believe that they could, but you have mindless constituents electing intractable representatives that don't understand that running a government in such a diverse country is about building compromises and that compromise doesn't mean "I get all I want and you get none of what you want."

    I am sure that there are places in which we can be saving money. Such as not buying the second engine for the JSF (which includes development costs for a new engine, having to have spare parts for it, increased training requirements for mechanics, etc...), not buying 300 more tanks that will sit in the Nevada desert with 3000 others, fixing problems within Medicare and Medicaid, etc.... But the way they are going about it now is just wrong and will just hurt people overall.

    On a partially related note, it's interesting how leaders in the US are always pushing for STEM leadership from grade school through professionals, but now, they are going to be cutting 8% of the federal research budget, a big driver of basic and applied research in all areas of science. I guess being a leader in these areas isn't that high of a priority.
     
  10. cwjerome

    cwjerome Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2004
    Messages:
    4,294
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's all I've really been trying to say. We can scream at Congress and blame one party or another but that's just really dealing with the symptom, but the symptoms will never go away (or at least be significantly reduced) unless you deal with the root illness.

    The electoral problems is one area I've said here that needs fixing. Another would be big money/interests. Some of the problems are a little more amorphous and have to deal with social values, but these are the things that need focus for real, better change to happen.
     
  11. Craig234

    Craig234 Lifer

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Messages:
    34,669
    Likes Received:
    1
    I have some bad news for you, but not a bad as you think.

    Our system is highly pressured to continue as a two-party system. Note that even the so-called 'Tea Party', even with its sponsorship using it by billionres like the Kochs, doesn't really run as a 'third party' but as a faction of the Republican Party (remember how they tried to say they're non-partisan equally Republican or Democrat?)

    It is next to impossible for a third party to make any headway.

    The better news for you is that the two parties can be influenced - see what the Tea Party is doing to Republicans, though I disagree with that.

    The Democrats are not the party of FDR - unfortunately - and Republicans are unrecognizable since Reagan much less Nixon much less Teddy Roosevelt.

    Go watch FDR's fourth state of the union with his second bill of rights - really, watch it, link below - the Democratic can be that, or this corporate-friendly one we have now.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:S...anuary_6,_1941)_Franklin_Delano_Roosevelt.ogg

    That's what makes sense - changing the parties. Trying to make third ones will waste resources and split the vote of the side doing it handing elections to the other side.
     
  12. Craig234

    Craig234 Lifer

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Messages:
    34,669
    Likes Received:
    1
    That's just a pointless, misguided plan and metaphor.

    If the greatest economic crash since the Great Depression didn't provide the 'slap' you wrongly think will help, what makes you think further impovershing citizens - at the same time records are being set by the wealthy increasing their wealth, corporatie profits and the hoarding of wealth - will do something useful? It won't.

    Rather you sound like someone with no idea what to do just lashing out your frustration.

    It's really simple. Those with the most have the resources and dedication to fight for their interests and have gamed the system for themselves. In the meantime, the citizens put very little effort into the issue, over 98% never give a cent to help the people who would represent their interests win, and they are led around by propaganda easily by the agents of those wealthy interests who trick them with lies about things like 'job creators'.

    The results are predictable, those with the most getting more and everyone else getting less wealth and power and growing cynical about government weakening it even more.

    Which then further allows those with the most to convince people further that the government - not the wealthy - is their enemy and take even more.

    We in the US take a strong middle class for granted, but in fact it's a historical anomoly from human history that is filled with the masses having very, very little.

    We're racing in that direction again because you can fool most of the people some of the time.

    To repeat a quote, "'We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both", said Louis Brandeis.
     
  13. cwjerome

    cwjerome Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2004
    Messages:
    4,294
    Likes Received:
    0
    I pretty much agree with you and I would not expect there to be another party on par with the Reps and Dems. But I do believe a sizable independent voting block will influence the Reps and Dems in a way that cuts down on the polarization and gridlock. It will force them to compromise, moderate and work to get these "independents," which will overall have a great effect. It's not so much having a massive party to compete with the Rems and Dems, it's about influencing them and making them behave better. I believe this is one of the very few reasonable and workable ways to change the parties.

    Getting there will mean some election/electoral reform at the state and national level. But I think it can be done. Independents as a group has been growing steadily and should continue. The Tea Party (which initially drew in a good amount of independents) and even OSW indicates that there is enough dissatisfaction and that is evidence that the time is ripe. The barriers to raising money and getting the message out, the two essential things you need to do, are not as difficult as they used to be with modern tech/social changes. I am not saying this is a guarantee, but it's the best way forward, to broaden the access and choices and tap into the growing number of people who can think critically outside of party doctrine and just want basic solutions, not partisanship.

    Not only do I think this is a good solution, I see it as a larger, natural correction. As the two parties continue to polarize and the functioning of government continues to wallow, and the big issues we face cannot be addressed, more people will abandon the sides and demand better. They will do this by doing what I have explained. Many less partisan Reps and Dems will surely stay Reps and Dems but will merge with independents to create this "centrist" force that will bring the parties closer together and things can actually function on an intelligent level.

    This is why when I see the sheer hate thrown on each side from the other I just tune out. The "Reps are evil" and "Dems are evil" chorus is not productive and only drives the sides further apart. I repeat, nothing good can come of that. The only way to bring them closer together, to help fix them, is to have a viable "3rd way" to influence them.
     
  14. fskimospy

    fskimospy Elite Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Messages:
    43,623
    Likes Received:
    35
    While the number of registered independents has risen in recent years, studies have shown the significant majority of independents not to actually be independent at all, but partisans seeking to avoid a label. Their voting patterns are in many cases indistinguishable from partisans. In the same vein, crossover voting has precipitously declined in the last thirty years (that being people who vote for candidates of both parties.) So not only are there not as many independents as people think, but those persuadable few in the middle have actually shrunk.

    Additionally, a viable third party is very unlikely to exist in the US due to something called Duverger's Law. It's not as ironclad as it sounds, but basically it describes the collective action problems that third parties face in a winner take all system such as ours that make them unlikely to arise.

    So my argument would be that not only are the people you're talking about not actually becoming more common, but the fundamental structure of US democracy makes a center party the type of which you are describing extremely unlikely. With this in mind, what electoral reforms do you want to undertake that changes this fact and how would you go about getting them implemented?
     
  15. shadow9d9

    shadow9d9 Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Messages:
    8,133
    Likes Received:
    1
    Do you even know what I was responding to? It was the charge that the democrats did the "same" thing during the bush years... and the amount of fillibusters tells a different story... along with the republicans refusing to pass obvious bills like healthcare to first responders or violence against women.. or this debt ceiling nonsense.
     
    #140 shadow9d9, Feb 24, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  16. shadow9d9

    shadow9d9 Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Messages:
    8,133
    Likes Received:
    1
    You want verification of the record number of fillibusters? Of republicans fillibustering their own bill? That the Republicans vote against renewal for the 3rd time of a violence against women bill or voting against healthcare to first responders? Seriously?
     
  17. EagleKeeper

    EagleKeeper Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    42,600
    Likes Received:
    0


    Afar as I can tell by your post you were complaining about the amount of fillibusters and the types of bills that were fillibustered against.


    Any my comments seems to be that when bills are corrupted by riders; those bills need to be carefully reviewed to see if the riders are valid or they are unable to stand on their own.

    Is it possible that you lost track of your arguments or tried to lump multiple arguments together :confused:
     
  18. DixyCrat

    DixyCrat Lifer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    Messages:
    10,822
    Likes Received:
    5

    Maybe if you provided evidence as requested EK wouldn't have totally decimated your argument :-\ but instead you could point out why he is wrong...

    I wasn't asking for evidence because I disagree with you, S99, I was asking for evidence because I agree with you.
     
    #143 DixyCrat, Feb 24, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  19. shadow9d9

    shadow9d9 Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Messages:
    8,133
    Likes Received:
    1
    My original post was responding to part of what you quoted.

    "ell me something...don't you think Democratic leaders met to discuss political strategies for winning the 2004 election with their "primary focus" to make Bush a one term president as well? Don't you think they talked about ways to circumvent various aspects of his politcal agenda as well?"

    My point is that they aren't even close to what the Republicans have done and then I included my reasoning.
     
  20. shadow9d9

    shadow9d9 Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Messages:
    8,133
    Likes Received:
    1
    I just don't generally think I need to cite something that is available all over the place.

    22 Republicans voted against the Violence Against Women Act in the Senate. The House Republicans are trying to weaken it:

    The House GOP bill entirely leaves out provisions aimed at helping LGBT victims of domestic violence. Specifically, the bill removes "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" from the list of underserved populations who face barriers to accessing victim services, thereby disqualifying LGBT victims from a related grant program. The bill also eliminates a requirement in the Senate bill that programs that receive funding under VAWA provide services regardless of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Finally, the bill excludes the LGBT community from the STOP program, the largest VAWA grant program, which gives funds to care providers who work with law enforcement officials to address domestic violence.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/22/vawa-2013_n_2742096.html

    Keep in mind this bill passed with flying colors 5 and 10 years ago.
     
  21. Craig234

    Craig234 Lifer

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Messages:
    34,669
    Likes Received:
    1
    I hate to raise a factual issue on something I'm not sure I remember right, but I will - I think I heard the provisions in question, for same-sex households and a couple others such as Natice Americans - a huge issue with rape, see a great documentary in the Vanguard series on Current TV - are new provisions, not ones that passed before. But I completely agree with adding them and object to the narrow-minded, immoral pandering to bigots by Republicans who oppose them - but just a factual correction, if I'm correct.
     
  22. shadow9d9

    shadow9d9 Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Messages:
    8,133
    Likes Received:
    1
    According to wiki- "VAWA was reauthorized by Congress in 2000, and again in December 2005.[5] The Act's 2012 renewal was opposed by conservative Republicans, who objected to extending the Act's protections to same-sex couples and to provisions allowing battered undocumented immigrants to claim temporary visas.[6] In April 2012, the Senate voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and the House subsequently passed its own measure (omitting provisions of the Senate bill that would protect gay men, lesbians, American Indians living in reservations, and undocumented people who were victims of domestic violence)."

    Still pretty sick and disgusting... but that is what the Republicans have been doing on almost a daily basis anyhow and mostly get away with it. No healthcare for first responders of 9/11, voting against a bill that would require companies hired by the federal government to allow workers to sue if raped(many have people sign clauses disallowing the ability to sue) on the job, vaginal probes galore, supporting rape throughout the party, trying to remove birth control from insurer coverage(http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/02/22/1627441/oklahoma-birth-control-poison/?mobile=nc)...
     
  23. fskimospy

    fskimospy Elite Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Messages:
    43,623
    Likes Received:
    35
    What is particularly sad about this business is that it appears that the austerity policies enacted this year will shave about 1.25% off of annual growth and particularly in the case of the sequester, may be self defeating in terms of government debt ratios.

    When growth slows to a crawl or the US re-enters recession later this year I'm sure that people will once again argue that somehow this situation shows the failure of stimulative fiscal policy, not the failure of austerity. That will be a really depressing conversation to have.
     
  24. Craig234

    Craig234 Lifer

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Messages:
    34,669
    Likes Received:
    1
    I heard the reduction for the economy will be about 1.5% when you include things like the end of the payroll tax suspension, which has taken $100 billion from the economy this year.

    Here's how I've heard Republicans discuss the issue, justifying the destruction of the economy:

    "When there's a big economic downturn, you never hear a Congressional leader's name put on the downturn - only the president's". It's the usual 'terrorism', elect them or else.

    Of course when they are elected it's far worse, as they skyrocket the deficit (which has gone down hundreds of billions and every year under Obama, which only 6% of Americans are aware has gone down when polled), and give us things like the great crash of 2008, and so on.

    But they know their best chance is to screw things up. A country thriving under Democrats will elect Democrats, so...

    They have to become the enemies of the American people for that reason also (in addition to the core pro-wealthy agenda).
     
  25. EagleKeeper

    EagleKeeper Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    42,600
    Likes Received:
    0
    Of course; the fact that is allows bypassing other Federal requirements for illegals is not a concern.

    As I previously stated; items are added to bills that should not be there because such will not stand on there own.

    What I bolded was one example and only based on what was published in the reference.

    I am sure that there are other items within the bill; the reference was targeting on only the primary bill intentions.

    Post up the acual text of these bills and we can discuss/debate the riders.