My last day of non-existent Zen…no deal out of Washington……and the beat goes on…..tick….TOCK!
The third and last part of the wonder that is ‘cut, cap and balance’……..the Balance part of the equation and here is where this whole thing falls apart, in my opinion…….FleetAdmiralJ of Blue Wave News has done a fine job at describing the act and if you want to read the whole thing go to Parts 1&2….or go to blogroll and click on Blue Wave News and if that is too slow for your liking then this should help……http://bit.ly/mRYhLS
Title III: Balance
This section extends the debt limit to $16.7 trillion (an increase of $2.3 trillion), but only unless and until a balanced budget amendment as introduced in H. J. Res. 1, S. J. Res. 10, or H. J. Res. 56 (or any comparable amendment) is passed by 2/3 of both houses of Congress and sent to the states.
And then 2/3 of the states must vote to put this in the Constitution……NOT gonna happening, sports fans…..why? Think about the ERA or as us old farts called it the Equal Rights Amendment….which would truly have made everyone equal……if the states could NOT pass an equal rights amendment, which by the way is something that the Constitution already says we have….what chance would a balanced budget amendment have?
Let’s be honest….if you have read parts 1,2 & 3 you have seen what they want to do to the budget and to the country………but if this were to actually pass…..what would it do? Let us be clear!
- Make it near impossible to implement stimulus spending in a recession. In fact, it would almost certainly require severe budget cuts in the very programs that help people the most during a recession.
- It would create a disincentive to implement possible stimulative tax cuts as it would take a 2/3 vote to repeal them (assuming one couldn’t just sunset them)
- It would make it difficult for the government to provide disaster relief in the case of a major hurricane, earthquake, flood, drought, or other natural disaster as it would require a 2/3 vote to do so
- It would make some common sense fixes to Social Security difficult, by making any vote to raise or eliminate the payroll tax cap subject to a 2/3 vote, putting the sustainability of Social Security into even further question
- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would almost certainly have to be repealed. This would actually make it harder to balance the budget, as the PPACA has the net effect of lowering the deficit, but it would violate the 18% of GDP provision.
- It would almost certainly require that any steps to be taken to lower the national debt would have to be taken by spending cuts only.
- If the GOP cut taxes with the argument that it would increase revenue – and were wrong – it would be nearly impossible to reverse as it would take a 2/3 vote to do so.
- However, it would make it (relatively) easy for a party who controls Washington to do something such as Invading Iraq again, as it would only take a 3/5 vote of both Houses to declare doing so a “imminent and serious military threat to national security.” – but would make it difficult to pay for such action by raising taxes as 2 of the 3 amendments wouldn’t waive the 2/3 vote to raise taxes provision, even in a time of war.
- It would make the US much like California in that it would take a 2/3 vote to do any sort of real budget reforms. This situation was a large reason why California faced one of the biggest budget deficits in the nation
- It would encourage Congress to balance the budget using budgeting tricks, similar to what is happening in many states with balanced budget amendments right now, making the nation’s financial situation less stable, not more stable…….
Many have that it was a pretty good plan…..but once again it would fall on the shoulders of the middle class to solve ALL the country’s economic woes…….personally, I am weary of all the these programs that have me and people like me having to shallow the austerity pill……It is about time that we ALL…..and that means just what I said…..ALL…….to be part of the solution…..if they cannot do that then…..LET IT RIP!
Usually I take the weekend for some Zen….but the debt thing is keeping me from clearing my mind of the numbing effect of American politics…….
With the “CUT” section behind us….I will turn to the “CAP” portion of the evening……once again I will let FleetAdmiralJ of Blue Wave News explain this section…..in case you have the patience of a oversexed rabbit you can go to blogroll and get the whole thing at one time…..and if that is too difficult then try this……http://bit.ly/mRYhLS
Title II: “Cap”
Section 201(a), as far as I can tell, removes section (c)(4) from this piece of the US Code, which eliminates certain discretionary budget categories, including “highway category,” “mass transit category,” “conservation spending category,” “Federal and State Land and Water Conservation Fund sub-category,” among others. I don’t think this prohibits funds from being spent for these things, but it appears to eliminate them as distinct budget categories. It then adds to the US Code, this:
“The term ‘GDP’, for any fiscal year, means the gross domestic product during such fiscal year consistent with Department of Commerce definitions.”
Section 201(b) then limits total outlays (both on and off budget) to:
- 21.7% of GDP in 2013
- 20.8% of GDP in 2014
- 20.2% of GDP in 2015
- 20.1% of GDP in 2016
- 19.9% of GDP in 2017
- 19.7% of GDP in 2018
- 19.9% of GDP in 2019, 2020, and 2021
Just as comparison, federal outlays for the past 40 years have averaged at about 20.6% of GDP, though FY 2009 and FY 2010 averaged at 24.4% of GDP.
Finally 201(b) says that if outlays are over, sequestration measures should be taken, though Medicare, Social Security, military pay, military retirement, veterans benefits, and national debt interest are exempt.
Read the last paragraph! And then tell me what is left to cap? Oh, let me guess….such non-essentials as education? There are only so many programs left and the ones that are will do little to balance anything……
This may have been defeated….but you WILL see it again…trust me.
A lot of media has been dancing around the newest budget two step……called the Cut, Cap and Balance Act of 2011….I know if you are at least mildly interested in what is happening in Washington, you have heard the term used and most likely, used often……..but what is it? (I know that is on your mind because the media is very cloudy on the issue)…….
First of all the different parts of the act……..
- Cut – Substantial cuts in spending that will reduce the deficit next year and thereafter.
- Cap – Enforceable spending caps that will put federal spending on a path to a balanced budget.
- Balance – Congressional passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — but only if it includes both a spending limitation and a super-majority for raising taxes, in addition to balancing revenues and expenses.
I will set about to explain each part of this issue as best as I can…..but wait! I seems that someone has beat me to it….a great site, Blue Wave News (go to blogroll and visit)……….one of their writers a FleetAdmiralJ, a Dem no doubt has done an excellent job of explaining each part of the Act…….I will breakdown his post in 3 or 4 parts or if you are in a hurry go to my blogroll and click on the site……..http://bit.ly/mRYhLS
Title I: “Cut”
Title I is, appropriately named, “Cut.” It’s meant to cut the 2012 federal budget. Sec. 101 would cap discretionary spending budget authority for FY 2012 at $1 trillion, 19.4 billion and would cap FY 2012 discretionary outlays at 1.225 trillion.
Just for comparison, FY2010 (which is the last year we had a real budget), the total discretionary budget was $1.378 trillion, so that would be a cut of $349 billion for budget authority and $153 billion in outlays. And that’s not taking into account any increase in defense spending between FY 2010 and FY 2011. Based on FY2010 numbers, a $349 billion cut in appropriations would result in a essentially a 50% cut in non-defense discretionary funding, if no defense funding were cut from FY2010 levels. Even if one went with the $153 billion in outlays, that’s a 21% cut.
Just for some scope, to make up $349 billion, we would have to eliminate, entirely, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Transportation, the State Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Agriculture (give or take a billion).
(To make up $153 billion, if you want to use that number, you would merely only have to cut Health and Human Services and Transportation, plus another 2 or 3 billion).
If one were to carry that cut over 10 years, one would be looking at $3.5 trillion in cuts from the discretionary budget alone based on budget authority, or $1.53 trillion using the outlays number, assuming budget growth is equal to inflation.
Title I also caps the money that can be spent on the “Global War on Terrorism” (their term in the bill) at $126.5 billion. I’m not entirely sure if that is in addition to the discretionary spending or not.
Title I then also caps direct, or mandatory spending, at $680.7 billion, exempting Social Security, Medicare, Veterans Benefits and Services, and national debt interest (note: Medicaid is NOT on the exempted list). This may or may not result in any mandatory cuts in 2012. Based on FY 2010 numbers (PDF), that would be a cut of $60.3 billion (taking out gains from TARP), though would be pretty much even with expected expenses based on FY 2012 projections made in January 2011.
My final analysis of the entire act will be in the last part of this series……please keep reading and let me know what you think of each part or the whole thing….your choice…..
They are all bums…..they are all liars………they are all crooks……and they are all corrupt…….you have heard this all before….no matter which party you lean to…..the other is all a bunch of crooks and liars……Personally, I have been saying it for at least 30 years….maybe more……but now……there is some validity to the accusations……….
Voters are more convinced than ever that most congressmen are crooks.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% of Likely U.S. Voters now view most members of Congress as corrupt. That’s up seven points from June and the highest finding yet recorded. Just 29% think most members are not corrupt, and another 25% are not sure…
Similarly, a whopping 85% of voters think most members of Congress are more interested in helping their own careers than in helping other people. That’s a record high for surveys stretching back to early November 2006. Only seven percent (7%) believe most of the legislators are more interested in helping other…….
Could it be that the voter is just pissed at Washington….well, yes and no……I will tell you why I say yes…..
I recently wrote a piece about the insider trading being committed by members of Congress……..
Four university researchers examined 16,000 common stock transactions made by approximately 300 House representatives from 1985 to 2001, and found what they call “significant positive abnormal returns,” with portfolios based on congressional trades beating the market by about 6 percent annually.
What’s their secret? The report speculates, but does not conclude, it could have something to do with the ability members of Congress have to trade on non-public information or to vote their own pocketbooks — or both.
The researchers, Alan J. Ziobrowski of Georgia State University, James W. Boyd of Lindenwood University, Ping Cheng of Florida Atlantic University and Brigitte J. Ziobrowski of Augusta State University, noted that the circumstances are ripe for abuse.
“In the course of performing their normal duties, members of Congress have access to non-public information that could have a substantial impact on certain businesses, industries or the economy as a whole. If used as the basis for common stock transactions, such information could yield significant personal trading profits,” they wrote.
So members are getting rich trading on information that the rest of us do not…….that is illegal…it is called insider trading…..the SAME thing that Martha Stewart was convicted of doing…..so why has the media NOT made a bigger deal out of this…..I mean Wiener’s wiener was NOT illegal…insider trading is…..why is the justice dept not investigating?
And then there is the investments of the House majority leader, Eric Cantor….while what he is doing is NOT illegal….it is a conflict of interests with his duties as the majority leader…..
Debt ceiling negotiations were shut down by House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) last week. This raised renewed fears that the U.S. is on the verge of total credit default, and it raised a question as to whether Cantor – the GOP’s key operative in debt ceiling talks – has a “glaring” conflict of interest. According to Salon, Cantor may be fighting against government credit default in Congress, but he’s personally invested in a mutual fund that will “skyrocket” should default occur.
SO one of the so-called “geniuses” of the GOP is betting against the country as he negotiates the economy situation……is that about it? And the media has not jumped on this story either….they had rather let Nancy Grace’s head explode or report on a runaway Chihuahua…than focus on the real problems with this country…..it is ruled by criminals and liars…..you would think the justice dept would be all over a report like this….you would think!
All this is sickening! These people are corrupt and crooks and especially liars…..the sooner we find a way to replace these criminals the better….at this point I am open to anything for a real change…..
I was sent this in an email…I am not sure from who….but if this steps on toes I am sorry…..let me know and I will give credit……
A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”
The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.
“She rolled her eyes and said, “You must be an Obama Democrat.”
“I am,” replied the man. “How did you know?”
“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help to me.”
The man smiled and responded, “You must be a Republican.”
“I am,” replied the balloonist. “How did you know?”
“Well,” said the man, “you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You’ve risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You’re in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it’s my fault.”
Oh, there is so much more to be said….but I will let this stand on its own……Good One!
The partisanship…..the extremism……lack of respect…….the out right lies…….the misinformation (and yes, it is different from lies)…….and it all comes down to the American voter….YOU voted for morons and now you are paying the price for that vote…..I know, what could be so bad we might get lower taxes and balanced budget and spending controls….what could be so bad?
Glad you asked! While you were bobbing and weaving through the political shit slinging….the middle class suffers…….while you were thumping your chest about “Obamacare” or Planned Parenthood or NPR…..while you were being lead down a alternative road, which by the way, has NO place to go…it is a DEAD END!……the working class is being attacked and systematically being wipe out…..Where’s my proof of what I say?
Sorry to say, next year it may all get worse……(but that is another post….coming soon)…….
BLN.com writer Micheal Synder has a really good look at this situation……..
#1 Only 58 percent of Americans have a job right now.
#2 Only 56 percent of Americans are currently covered by employer-provided health insurance.
#3 The median yearly wage in the United States is $26,261.
#4 The average American household is carrying $75,600 in debt.
#5Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
#6 At this point, American families are approximately 7.7 trillion dollars poorer than they were back in early 2007.
#7 The poorest 50% of all Americans now own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.
#8 According to one study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010.
#10According to Newsweek, close to 20 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 54 do not have a job at the moment.
Not one of those points shows that the Middle Class will ever recovery….this whole situation is making a two class system….”haves and have nots” (sorry, but it is a good term)……..
In closing, something to think about…….under Pelosi the House introduced 200+ bills..,..under the leadership of Boehner it has issued 12….even if they work the asses off the Reps….the best it could do is about 50….remind me again what we pay these guys and gals to do!
I recently read a piece written by Dr. William A. Cook……..first, it talks about the new laws enacted by Israel’s Knesset…..
The flood of anti-democratic laws that were proposed, and partially implemented, by the current Knesset, elected in February 2009, constitute one of the darkest chapters in Israeli history. The opening salvo was provided by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party with its Nakba law, that forbids the public commemoration of the expulsion of approximately 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 war.
Since then, a growing number of attempts were made to curtail freedom of expression and to make life for human rights groups more difficult. The latest instance is the boycott law that (is) was passed (this) last Monday by the Knesset, even though its legal advisor believes it to be a problematic infringement on freedom of speech.
What stands behind this frenzy of attempts to shut down criticism? The answer, I believe, is fear, stupidity, confusion – and now also a power-trip.
The result of Netanyahu’s and Lieberman’s systematic fanning of Israelis’ existential fears is tangible: polls show that Israelis are deeply pessimistic about peace; they largely do not trust Palestinians, and in the younger generation belief in democratic values is being eroded.
But this pessimism and siege-mentality is not only to be found in ordinary Israeli voters, but also in the political class … They have profound misconceptions about the Free World’s attitude towards Israel, and very little real understanding of the paradigm shift towards human rights as the core language of international discourse. They buy into Netanyahu’s adage that Israel’s existence is being delegitimised, rather than realising that Israel’s settlement policy is unacceptable politically and morally to the whole world.
And then he went on to compare, if you will, Israel and the US….and he offers a dire warning……
What both Israelis and Americans must realise, as these anti-democratic actions by both nations attest, is that democracy in both nations has been subverted in favour of those who command our representatives to actions that betray the essence of democracy and the will of the people. Democracy has been turned over to those who undermine the moral foundations on which it was built: equality for all, justice for all, dignity and respect for all; with government serving the people, not a corporate board. When the representatives of the state determine what people must accept, what they can and cannot do or say; when the power of two nations subverts the will and actions of all other nations, then democracy is dead.
He is not saying that bloggers like myself have been saying for years now…….the Congress is dysfunctional…..rights are being locked in a closet……and the people cannot get past the 2 party system…..sorry to say….but all those are indicators that democracy is in trouble and unless reversed could spell the end…….. (cue Doors song here)…….
Austerity….protests…..violence…..IMF loans….more austerity…..more cuts….more privatization…..more protests…. and the beat goes on…….but sports fans, will all this austerity and cuts and protests and…….will Greece be saved?
Not only will they NOT be saved but will still probably default……all that BS and they still cannot be saved…..
“The announced EU programme… implies that the probability of a distressed exchange, and hence a default, on Greek government bonds is virtually 100%,” the agency said.
[...]“The support package for Greece also benefits all euro area sovereigns by containing the severe near-term contagion risk that would likely have followed a disorderly payment default or large haircut on existing Greek debt,”
Now my question is……with all the cuts and austerity….who will benefit the most if default is coming? I can tell you the big losers…..the Greek people….that is who!
You realize that this is FAR from over, right?
Ever wonder just what happens to all that money that the government throws at the Pentagon?
Ok, we have heard from the GOP with the Ryan plan…..we heard from the gang of 6……we have heard from damn near every politician that can sprint to a mic after a negotiation session….here a plan and there a plan….plans are everywhere…..and with all that planning…there is NOT a damn solution in the bunch…..SNAFU….or maybe a better description would be….FUBAR!
But wait there is time for one more deficit plan…..yes….one more….this one comes from the Senate and it comes from the majority leader, Harry Reid……his is very simple……
$2.7 trillion package, including $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending cuts, $100 billion in mandatory savings, $1 trillion savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, $400 billion in interest savings, while establishing ‘Joint Congressional Committee to Find Future Savings’.
Can anyone say……”VAGUE”?
But it does include one of my favorite things about Washington……..establish a “Commission”…….now that is what is needed…for sure…….look how well the Simpson-Bowles Commission worked (all that is sarcasm, in case you missed it)…..you know how every politician, yes those same politicians, that sprint to a mic to get the first talking point in, likes to use the analogy of….”kick the can down the road”…..a term that is almost as popular as “boots on the ground” or “24/7″……..well sports fans…..a commission is nothing more than kicking that damn can down the road…….a commission is something used to make it appear that progress is being made…….but all we get is that can rolling into traffic…..
Oh goody…the Prez has signed on…..and what would you think the GOP response will be? You got it! To the Repubs it is a non-starter….go figure!
Sorry people….but this plan is no damn better than nay of the others….the middle class is still pulling everybody’s weight in the deficit debate…….now that is fair….we would not want all those jobs that the corporations are creating to be effected b y an increase in taxes…….(yep! Sarcasm again!)
The cowards in Washington have 7 days………
And just when you thought it was safe from another plan…..you were WRONG! It seems that House Speaker, John Boehner has a two step plan….oh goody….more fun……
In the first phase, there would be $1.1 trillion in non-defense cuts with an increase in the nation’s debt ceiling by $1 trillion which should last until April.
In the second phase, there would be a vote on a balanced budget amendment, which is designed to secure the votes of 59 House Republicans who have already pledged not to vote to raise the debt ceiling under any circumstances. And he also wants a commission….cool, huh?
I see Boehner has the same vision as everyone in Washington…..F*ck the Middle Class and collect your dividends from the special interests………business as usual…….not much new! All this is just so damn silly that it begs to be ridiculed!
There is an election in 2012….maybe we as voters should look elsewhere for representatives….the ones we keep electing are cowards and as worthless as tits on a boar…….period!
7 days and counting……tick….tick!