Universal Credit: A Primer | Center for American Progress

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This is a program that UK is flirting with…..but it could work here in the US as well……if it is successful in the UK we can bet that the GOP will form some sort of bill that mirrors these actions……

Fore armed is fore warned…..check this out and see what the future could bring…..it will depend on the outcome of a couple of elections……something to think about, eh?

 

Universal Credit: A Primer | Center for American Progress.

America is not broke | The Great Debate

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The country is broke!  We have heard for years now that the country has a spending problem….it is true and it has the same problem since the very beginning of the country……

I enjoy a good debate….the problem is there are so few of them…..normally it boils down to one liners and innuendos….and even fantastic lies…….

A prettu good op-ed…makes some good points and leaves some questions unanswered……check it out and let me know what you think…..

 

America is not broke | The Great Debate.

Trim With A Clever

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I took a wait and see attitude to Mr. Ryan’s new plan……wanted to see what was said in defense or opposition…….

We have had the prez budget and now Mr. Ryan has yet another one for us to worry about…..his idea is to cur $5.1 trillion from the budget in ten years……and of course it will fall on the backs of the poor and middle class to do all the sacrifice while corporations get an almost free ride on everything…….

Paul Ryan unveiled a Republican budget plan today that would slash $5.1 trillion in federal spending over the coming decade and balance the government’s books with wide-ranging cuts in programs like food stamps and government-paid health care for the poor and working class. About 40% of Ryan’s projected savings would come from the repeal of ObamaCare, reports the Wall Street Journal. Ryan’s budget claims balance by 2024, but relies on $74 billion in savings in that year from the macroeconomic effects of cutting deficits, which CBO says would have a long-term positive effect because it would free up savings and investment capital. Democrats are sure to seize on the maneuver as phony math; without these projections, however, Ryan’s budget plan would fall almost $70 billion short of balance.

The New York Times writes that Ryan’s plan “will serve more as a 2014 Republican campaign manifesto than a legislative agenda.” And the Washington Post says it “amounts to personal manifesto on government austerity from a man who has emerged as the GOP’s leading light on fiscal policy.” The Post also notes that Ryan wants to replace the outgoing Dave Camp as the next chair of the Ways and Means panel while still keeping his options open for a 2016 run for the White House. His complete budget blueprint is here via the Hill.

In his 2014 budget proposal, Ryan backed cuts to Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) – the program colloquially known as food stamps – and called for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s benefits. According to the CBPP, these cuts, which accounted for 72 percent of the budget’s total program cuts, would have “resulted in large increases in poverty and deprived many millions of affordable health insurance.”

Read the proposal and tell me if you think it is more for political campaigns than reality……..yes, this will be a manifesto for elections in November and most likely will also be used for the 2016 ones also……..

Does it sound like Trickle Down 2.0?

You think it sucks now….just wait for the results in 2014 and see how quick they start trying to implement these cuts……the election results will dictate their actions……..

IST Op-Ed: A “New” Cold War?

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Opinion From Editor’s Desk

This week seems to be all about the international situation………and I for one love it!

Since Russia has moved into the Crimea there have been many that are calling this the start of a “New Cold War”….most of it coming from the hawks in Congress but that really does not matter who is calling a spade a spade……this is NOTHING but political role playing……by disingenuous people with an agenda…..

There is NO new Cold War…..the Cold War did not end with the fall of the Soviet Union…..the players just changed somewhat…..instead of the socialist republics it was China and North Korea and Iran (thanx to the Iraqi invasion)……all the aspects that made it the Cold War were still being employed….spies, tech theft, territory disputes and actions….placing missiles and such on borders……..all the same things……..not gone and not forgotten!

But today our beloved hawks are drumming up the M-IC into a frenzy…….

Russia’s annexation of Crimea shows the need to “build up missile defenses and modernize the US nuclear force,” James S. Robbins, a senior fellow for national security affairs for the American Foreign Policy Council, wrote last week in USA Today. “To live in the 21st century, the United States will need to relearn the lessons of the 20th.”

There is so much more from the Hawks…….

The Lexington Institute’s Thompson argues that Russia is now “on the march” and may invade other Baltic states. “If we have to take conventional military action in the Baltic or Black Sea, we could see an escalation to the nuclear level,” he told me, “and therefore we need to have weapons that are flexible and survivable”—that’s military-speak meaning we would have time to launch a counterattack before being obliterated. In practice, it would mean a new generation of submarine-based nukes, which can’t be taken out in a first-wave attack.

The M-IC is drooling at the thought of a revved up defense spending…….will not cease any hostilities but it will be good for the industry….only!  They can smell profits!

With the Pentagon due for some substantial cuts to its budget….all this is to keep that cash and maybe add to the total….but then the question needs to be asked…..”who will pay for the increased defense spending”?

Anybody want to venture a guess?

Who is going to win this debate?  Will we jump into making the “New Cold War” even hotter?  Will calmer heads prevail?

So many questions and so many vultures circling……….

The shocking numbers behind corporate welfare | Al Jazeera America

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The closer we get to an election the more loud the rhetoric on welfare gets…..we will hear all about the so-called ‘free rides’…..but individuals are NOT the only ones that get that ‘free ride’…..very little will be said about another form of welfare….that of corporate welfare….and believe me there is more money wasted there than on some poor person needing help……

Want to know more?  Read on McDuff!

The shocking numbers behind corporate welfare | Al Jazeera America.

Hey Big Spender!

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We all know what some people think about Obama and the Dems….they are all about spending cash….they are Big Spenders….Am I right?

We also know, why because we are beat about the head with it everyday, that the deficit is the highest it has been in centuries….am I right?

I know that the big spender tag and the so-called growing deficit are great campaign slogans and bumper stickers…….but the next time you hear such drivel ask one simple question……

If the prez is such a spender, how can we explain this turn of the screw?

The federal budget deficit for fiscal 2013 has plunged by more than $400 billion, the biggest drop since the end of World War II, the Treasury Department says. It comes in at $680 billion—not exactly pocket change, but a lot better than the trillion-plus deficits of the last five years. The deficit is now at its smallest level since 2008, and while growing tax revenues from the healthier economy account for most of the drops, budget cuts and tax rises also helped, the New York Times reports. Revenue jumped by $324 billion to $2.8 trillion, the Treasury says, while government spending edged up to $3.9 trillion from $3.8 trillion. “Thanks to the tenacity of the American people and the determination of the private sector we are moving in the right direction,” says Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. “The United States has recovered faster than any other advanced economy, and our deficit today is less than half of what it was when President Obama first took office.” The Senate Budget Committee says the outlook for future deficit reduction is good, with an estimated reduction of $3.3 trillion over the next decade because of the cuts and tax rises that came from the fiscal-cliff battles, the Washington Post finds.

I realize the truth hurts….but sometime in history one must let go of BS and return to reality…..but how long will it shrink if we keep giving away billions every time there is a situation that we get nervous about…….throw money at it and it will go away…..just like the surplus we had back in the day……our politicians will find a way to solve that problem…..

Is It Growing Or Dying?

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For many years we hear, reading and see all kinds of reports on the government….some say it is growing exponentially and others write that it is slowly withering away to a mere shell of its former self…..reports have been done for both sides of the argument….white papers are flying off the presses….and news anchors (depending on the ideology of the media) is trumpeting both sides of this issue….here is something to consider…..the government is indeed growing but , believe it or not, dying…all this at the same time….

As the American people age, a pernicious paradox has taken hold of the federal budget: “We are slowly dismantling the federal government, even as its spending is growing larger,” observes Robert Samuelson at the Washington Post. With every budget, lawmakers are slashing into discretionary spending, but with Social Security and various health entitlement costs rising, government spending is growing anyway. The result: “Governmental competence is being systematically degraded. … We are spending more and getting less.” By 2024, current projections show that all spending on non-entitlements will be just 7.4% of GDP—the lowest share since 1940. Cuts are hitting everything from the military (sort of) to medical research to the federal courts. Yet political debates never focus on this dynamic, in part because polls show the public isn’t concerned. “Both liberals and conservatives are complicit in this charade,” but ironically it’s liberals who most refuse to discuss entitlements. Hence another paradox: “The pro-government party in rhetoric has become an anti-government party in practice.” Click for Samuelson’s full column.

I recognize that I will change NO one’s mind or thinking on this matter……just wanted to throw this out there for a little debate……

Your turn……..

What’s That Sound?

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While I was otherwise distracted with gathering my wits for the legal battle I had yesterday……there was a story blowing in the wind…….

Sounds like a heavy sigh to me…….after many months of speculation on the approaching debt limit….there were all too many opinions on how it would play out……and Tuesday it played out in a way that few could have foreseen…….

House Republicans backed away from a battle over the government’s debt cap today and permitted Democrats to drive quick passage of a measure to increase the government’s borrowing cap without any concessions from the White House. The 221-201 vote came hours after Speaker John Boehner announced that his fractured party would relent and not seek to add other items to the must-pass legislation. Twenty-eight Republicans voted yes. The bill would permit Treasury to borrow normally for another 13 months; the Senate is expected to pass it tomorrow.

Here’s a look at how it’s being played:

  • New York Times: “It effectively ended a three-year, Tea Party-fueled era when a series of budget showdowns raised the threat of debt defaults and government shutdowns, rattled economic confidence and brought serious scrutiny from an international community questioning Washington’s ability to govern.”
  • Wall Street Journal: It’s “a tactical retreat by Republicans stymied by their internal divisions.”
  • The Hill: “Boehner’s decision drew heavy criticism from conservative groups, many of whom said Boehner needs to be replaced. Many noted that the so-called ‘Boehner rule’ now appears dead—that was the informal name for Boehner’s effort to extract spending cuts in exchange for debt ceiling hikes.”
  • Politico: “It’s also a clear sign of the House Republican Conference’s inability to move beyond fiscal fights and lays in plain view the leadership’s inability—or unwillingness—to corral votes for their priorities.”

Step back and think about what happened Tuesday……could this be a dawn of a new day in DC?  Or was this just a momentary lull…..time to decide on the next fight to pursue?

John Boehner ended the debt ceiling wars, but his fellow Republicans didn’t exactly throw him a parade. The Washington Post today has an excruciatingly awkward account of how Boehner broke the news to his caucus at a private breakfast yesterday morning. “Listen—we’re going to move forward,” he said, standing before a room of drowsy Republicans. “We’re going to get this done.” He said he wouldn’t even consider floating another proposal—he had made up his mind to go with a clean bill. The Republicans sat up, stunned, and silently stared at him. No one booed. No one cheered. Boehner stood waiting for any reaction at all, then finally shook his head and walked to his seat. “I’m getting this monkey off your back, and you’re not going to even clap?” he said as he went, after which one House veteran says there was “how do I say it, a polite golf clap.” Meanwhile, at a private lunch yesterday, Senate Republican leaders were urging their members to drop any filibuster attempts and let a vote take place today, Politico reports. One GOP senator said that most at the lunch were more concerned about “getting the hell out of town” before the coming snowstorm arrived. The response from the right has mostly been muted. The Wall Street Journal today ran an editorial urging Republicans to repeal the debt ceiling entirely and “finally end this periodic self-torture.”

Thoughts?

Have Vets Been Screwed Enough?

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Apparently the answer is a resounding NO!  I mean it is bad enough to take young men and send them off to war….and even worse sin is to bring the wounded home and then have to deal with a country that cares little for their care…..to the point that charities have to pop up to get the severely wounded the help they need…..the country is way too busy to think seriously about the vets….sorry…they are important enough to be trotted out during campaigns as some sort of prop and then lied to their faces….I hope this country is PROUD of the way it treats veterans.

Like I said they have NOT been screwed enough……Politico is reporting……

Congress and the Pentagon agree that it’s time to tighten the defense belt, including tackling spiraling personnel costs. The question is how and when to do it.

The recent small cuts in pension cost-of-living increases for working-age military retirees have laid bare the divisions on how to appropriately rein in the military’s personnel costs.

Pentagon officials, however, emphasized that reforming the military’s compensation system is unavoidable.

“Secretary [Chuck] Hagel, the Joint Chiefs and the service secretaries agree that we cannot afford to sustain the rate of growth in military compensation that we’ve experienced over the last decade,” said acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox.

And Vice Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Sandy Winnefeld told the committee the Pentagon “can and probably should gradually place compensation on a more sustainable trajectory.”

Under the recent two-year budget agreement, military retirees under the age of 62 would see their pensions increase at a slower pace, with their cost-of-living adjustments pegged to the rate of inflation minus 1 percentage point. Once they turned 62, they would go back to receiving adjustments pegged to the full rate of inflation.

The pension cuts, set to take effect Dec. 1, 2015, initially extended to all working-age military retirees. But the $1.1 trillion spending bill that cleared Congress earlier this month gave a pass to disabled veterans and surviving families, a move the Pentagon supports.

Pentagon officials, to her knowledge, were not consulted on the details of the budget agreement brokered by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Fox said. But the department “fully supported” the provision in the omnibus spending bill that restored the cuts for disabled veterans.

Another slap to the face of vets……if the Congress wants to cut anything let these self-righteous morons start with their pay and their benefits….at least the vets did what was asked of them….the Congress is ordered by money not the people…..

The treatment of vets is shameful and as a vet …..DISGUSTING!

Is The Ceiling Falling?

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Why don’t we talk economics and politics in the same breath?

What’s that sound?  Is that everyone’s butt slamming shut?

I know economics is about as exciting as watching paint dry…..but unfortunately it is everywhere…there is NO way to avoid it.

Next month there will be a huge deal in the media about the debt ceiling…..the questions will be asked if the GOP will play the usual game?  Will the economy be held hostage to ideology?  That will be the common thread in the media and we know what that means…….politico after politico will dash out to the nearest camera and have their say…a say that will have been scripted during the meetings being held the last week of January.

Will an act of sabotage be perpetrated?  Economic sabotage that is……..

But who will be the point people?  My guess is that Cruz and Paul will be the most vocal in the beginning…..and then a bunch from the House will chime in….people like Lee, Stockman and some of those retiring soon……the rhetoric will be that it is the prez that is at fault….of course it will…he is ALWAYS at fault……there will be a concerted effort along these lines as to put the idea into the heads of the people that it is somehow the Dems fault for the failure……and as I look at the building storm…it could be effective….remember there is an election this year and any help that can be gleamed out of the debt ceiling debate will be lagnappe…..(something extra for those that do not speak Cajun)……..

All in all, the debt ceiling will be messy and chaotic……can hardly wait!

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