Entitlement Reform? (The GOP 2019 Song)

Some things never change……with the news of  an ever expanding deficit and the spineless GOP has the lame same idea as in the past….entitlement reform.  Pathetic pack of losers and even more so now with the King Don in the Oval Office.

With all the drama that leaks from the White House…..nothing is being said about the deficit.  Nothing is being said that the worthless tax cuts are expanding the deficit….that is until today when GOPer Sasse of Nebraska told Morning Joe that he wants to work on entitlement reform to help the deficit.

I love this crap!  The GOP will focus on deficit control after blowing it up with their massive tax cuts for rich bastards….this is a continuing story…once they, the GOP, are in the minority the deficit and entitlement reform is primary on their minds but when in majority it means little and is seldom mentioned…..these toads are all too predictable.

Finally a true GOPer…..blame the deficit on entitlements and not on their stupidity with the budget for the Pentagon or those  worthless tax cuts of 2018.

But what are these reforms that the GOP will embrace?

Paul Ryan made the TV rounds giddily hawking his plan, saying, “Do we want to get entitlement reform? Of course we do.

His intentions could hardly be clearer, but there are still people out there worried about stating this fact too openly. Earlier this month, Maya MacGuineas, president of the non-profit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

“Gutting,” of course, is exactly what Republicans mean when they talk about “reforming” “entitlement” programs. But MacGuineas was correct to point out the many politically loaded words partisans throw around when talking about programs that benefit poor Americans (with “reform” being high up on that list.)

https://splinternews.com/what-we-really-mean-when-we-talk-about-entitlement-refo-1821222884

Let’s look at the most recent news about the deficit…….

The federal budget deficit has surged to $779 billion in fiscal 2018, its highest level in six years as President Trump’s tax cuts caused the government to borrow more heavily in order to cover its spending. The Treasury Department said Monday that the deficit climbed $113 billion from fiscal 2017, the AP reports. Debt will likely worsen in the coming years with the Trump administration expecting the deficit to top $1 trillion in 2019, nearly matching the $1.1 trillion imbalance from 2012. The deficit worsened because tax revenues are not keeping pace with government spending. The government’s fiscal year runs from October to September, unlike calendar years that begin in January. Tax revenues were essentially flat in fiscal 2018, while spending increased 3.2% as Congress gave more funds for military and domestic programs.

Revenues generally tumbled after December when Trump signed into law $1.5 trillion of tax cuts over the next decade. The tax cuts have caused economic growth to accelerate this year with Federal Reserve officials anticipating gains of 3.1%. But the Trump administration initially promised that the tax cuts would pay for themselves through stronger growth—and there is no sign so far of that happening. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested in a statement that the underlying source of the widening deficit was growth in government spending, rather than the tax cuts. “Going forward the President’s economic policies that have stimulated strong economic growth, combined with proposals to cut wasteful spending, will lead America toward a sustainable financial path,” Mnuchin said. But William Gale, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, noted that the tax cuts are unlikely to generate a long-term bump in economic growth

The deficit is Ryan’s biggest nightmare….which in itself is a self inflicted wound…..because of the GOPs policies the deficit expands…..

Rep. Paul Ryan said one of the biggest disappointments from his term as House speaker was his inability to address the growing mountain of federal debt.

“On healthcare itself and debt and deficits, it’s the one that got away,” Ryan said at a Washington Post event.

As speaker, Ryan helped oversee a rise in spending that is already adding to the deficit. Under his tenure, the amount of outstanding federal debt grew by just over $2 trillion, and the federal deficit expanded from $438 billion in the 2015 fiscal year to $779 billion in the 2018 fiscal year.

https://www.businessinsider.com/paul-ryan-federal-debt-deficit-gop-tax-law-2018-11

2019 will bring the GOP chest thumping about the deficit…..any person that watches our system at work can see just how hypocritical the GOP is…always…..

It gets humorous at the attacks on the people of the US as the cause of the deficit soaring……the truth (no GOPer wants to hear that)….is their massive budget increases for the Pentagon and then those worthless tax cuts of 2018 have done more than any entitlement program.

Of course the GOP will say that Dems hate the Pentagon and the military and that they do not want Americans to have more money……THEY ARE LIES!

The honest approach would be to have all income including bonuses pay into the system….and that taxes be paid according to income…..those are simple fixes that will go NO where.

For those that want to debate entitlement reform……this is a collection of cards that can be printed and used as a reference….

https://www.vox.com/cards/entitlement-reform/what-is-entitlement-reform

Further Reading:

https://mic.com/articles/61613/what-the-debate-over-entitlement-reform-is-really-about#.dUIM5n33I

Advertisements

Where Oh Where Did The Economy Go?

If you are a junkie for this president then you will know about the extremely good economy that he is presiding over, right?

Then explain the yo-yo effect in the last week.  Something has investors nervous.  Wassup wit dat?

We hear that hundreds of thousands of jobs are being created…..or the factories that are re-opening….on and on…..but just how good is this economy for those that do not have legacy money or lots of zeros in a bank account?

The U.S. mobility rate dropped again to a new low in 2017, with just 10.1% of Americans moving homes, according to new data from the Census Bureau.

Why it matters: Economic opportunity isn’t enough to get people moving anymore. And less mobility could mean the wealthy areas of the U.S. continue to accumulate wealth, while the poorer areas will remain poor because people are less likely to move for better jobs and companies are less likely to move for cheaper labor.

https://www.axios.com/americans-not-moving-economy-booming-mobility-acea1512-0f7d-45e2-a8b1-dd8ea02ea1bb.html

With all the great news about the economy then why is there still abject poverty?  Why is that?

What does it mean to be poor? Currently there are two basic ways to define poverty. To get a better measure of who needs help — and a better sense of how to provide it — society needs a third definition.

The first definition is absolute poverty — essentially, material destitution. Human beings need food, water and shelter, and if we can’t afford these things, life is pretty miserable. In the U.S., the federal government has poverty guidelines that are based on food consumption: If you make less than about three times the minimum amount people need to spend on food each year, you’re poor.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-11-26/poverty-in-america-greater-than-statistics-indicate

THe American Dream is dead….dead….dead…..and who can we say killed it?

Donald Trump, during a recent stop on his “Anarchy in the UK” tour, argued that the mass influx of immigrants into Europe is causing Great Britain and other nations to “lose their culture.” The fear of cultural dilution and transformation as a consequence of shifting demographics is widespread, and it resonates in the United States, too, especially among those who support the current president.

Stephen Bannon, Tucker Carlson, and other popular right-wing figures have warned of threats to national identity in an American context, contending that Mexicans will not assimilate and that Islam is incompatible with liberal democracy and secular governance. Liberals and libertarians often respond by recalling the long tradition of assimilation in American history, along with the outrage that often accompanies new arrivals. Nearly every ethnic group, from the Italians to the Chinese, has been the target of political and social hostility. It is an old story, but one worth telling, and it is an old debate, but one worth having. Border sovereignty, even to someone like me who probably favors more liberal immigration laws than most TAC readers, is a legitimate issue and not to be easily dismissed.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/corporate-capitalists-killed-american-identity/

But if things are as bad as all this then why is Trump trumpeting(no pun intended) his support for the Middle Class and all Americans?

President Trump’s iron clad campaign promise that auto layoffs would cease has evaporated into hot air. At his rustbelt rallies Trump insisted that if he won the election the auto industry would so fear him that they would not only end layoffs of American workers, but bring back the factories they had built overseas.

Late last month, General Motors announced it would slash its salaried workers by 15 percent and terminate one in four of its executives. The “reset” will be felt well beyond the company’s Oshawa plant in Ontario, Lordstown, Ohio, Detroit and Warren, Michigan and White Marsh, Maryland GM targeted for layoffs.

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/12/trumps-concern-working-class-just-convenient-campaign-slogan/

If you have money then you are smiling….if you have no savings then you are worried about the coming year……pretty much America as usual.

By The Way….remember those tax cuts that were gonna makes us all wealthier?

Most Americans expect to pay less in federal taxes this year, after President Trump and Republicans in Congress passed a last-minute tax bill last December.

But thanks to a rule change that the Internal Revenue Service made Thursday, a lot of Americans will reportedly be paying a bit more in taxes in 2019 than they thought they would–and even more in later years. Eventually, maybe a lot more.

It all comes down to a simple math equation, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal–or more accurately a series of simple math equations. Because the tax law uses particular dollar amounts to establish thresholds for different things–tax brackets, the amounts of deductions, etc.–the IRS has to adjust many of these numbers for inflation each year.

Screw The Vets!

Closing Thought–30Nov18

This country is failing the people at every turn…..the most blatant crap is the promise the veterans get with every election and with every election they continue to be crapped on by the very country they have signed on to protect.

This administration is NO different…it has been lying to the vets from day one……and veterans still support this goddamn poser in the White House why?

The latest debacle against the veterans is from the Trump people…..

A major snafu has hit benefit payments to student veterans under the GI Bill—and congressional aides tells NBC that they have been told the veterans are never going to be paid back. The aides say they were told by the Department of Veterans Affairs that the VA will not be making retroactive payments to veterans who were underpaid for their housing allowance because it would mean reviewing around 2 millions claims, further delaying implementation of a new system, which has already been pushed back to Dec. 2019. Under the Forever GI Bill signed into law by President Trump last year, students are supposed to be paid housing allowance based on where they take the most classes, not on where the school’s main campus is located.

Tanya Ang, vice president of Veterans Education Success, tells the Military Times that the VA’s excuse of retroactive payments creating too much work isn’t good enough. “That could be hundreds of dollars for some students—per month,” she says. “If this was a disability benefit, this would never fly.” The issue, which is the result of new legislation being introduced before the VA’s outdated computer system could handle it, has contributed to a backlog of claims that has forced some veterans facing final hardship to abandon their studies, the Tennessean reports. The agency is still working to process more than 58,000 claims, reports the Star Tribune. The paper’s editorial board calls the delays a “national disgrace.” “Those courageous enough to go into battle should face zero delays in getting the education benefits they’ve earned,” they write. (Read more GI Bill stories.)

It was not amusing to hear Speaker Ryan to stand before the military at the Pentagon and lie his ass off about what the veterans mean to this country…..they mean absolutely NOTHING from the White House down.

We hear about the obligation the people have to the country they love….sadly the country has NO such obligation toward its people.  This is the republic you keep voting for….boy are you guys morons!

Our veterans and service people deserve so much better than this country is giving them……and the country does not deserve the vets loyalty any longer.

How About That Farmer’s Bailout?

In one statement…..It is Crap!

The Dear Supreme Leader has decided, in the past, that what the US needs is a good trade war to make everything okay for the future…..his trade wars and tariffs have hit our farmers the worst but not to worry the president has a plan to stop the bleeding of our farmers….a bailout!

SO now that it is in place how is it doing?  Are our framers making out okay?

American farmers are struggling to find storage for crops that would usually be sold overseas, with some being forced to leave produce rotting in fields as a last resort, as the trade conflict between the US and China continues.

Farmers in some US states are being forced into plowing their crops under — effectively burying them under soil in fields — as there is not enough room to store them in storage facilities, and they are unable to sell their products thanks to Chinese tariffs, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

https://www.businessinsider.com/us-china-trade-war-soybeans-left-rotting-thanks-to-lack-of-storage-2018-11

And the bailout?

Well $6 billion has been promised to our farmers to ease their pain and so far $838 million have been doled out….so things are better right?

Well let’s be honest……the plight of the American farmer still sucks!

President Donald Trump’s $12 billion bailout of farmers who had been hurt by his trade wars has been a massive bust politically — and a New York Times report has found that very little of it has gone to the struggling farmers who need it most.

According to the Times, the bailout program “has done little to cushion the blow” of the president’s trade wars, “with red tape and long waiting periods resulting in few payouts so far.”

In fact, the Times estimates, just $838 million of the $6 billion worth of bailout funds that have been authorized so far has been paid out.

https://www.alternet.org/trumps-12-billion-bailout-farmers-hurt-his-trade-wars-has-been-massive-bust-nyt

Will the pain continue for the American farmer or will these tariff thingys do what they were promised to do?

My guess is the promises will not be met…..something that is a reoccurring trait of Trumpism.

Battle Of The Economic Stars

The economy is doing well under Trump….well with the exception of wages and markets and housing, etc etc……but the sector is being the focus of a game being played by both sides…..

GM will close plants and lay off over 1000 workers…..

It’s a bleak day for workers at General Motors: The automaker said Monday it’s cutting about 15% of its salaried workers in the US and Canada and closing five plants. The Wall Street Journal reports that the moves could translate into the loss of about 8,000 jobs. The company plans to close three assembly plants next year—in Hamtramck, Mich.; Lordstown, Ohio; and Oshawa, Ontario—as well as two transmission plants, in Baltimore and Warren, Mich., reports the New York Times.

“We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra in a statement. One big part of the shift is to put more focus on electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as SUVs and pickups, while sedans get lower priority. US auto sales set records in 2016 but have since slowed, reports the Detroit Free Press, which adds that automakers also were facing pressure over rising tariffs on steel and aluminum

After all his promises on the campaign trail trup fires back at GM…….

President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to express his displeasure with GM’s planned 14,000 layoffs and five plant shutterings; National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow did the same thing from the White House. In afternoon tweets, Trump issued a sort of threat, writing, “Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Nothing being closed in Mexico & China. The US saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get! We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including … for electric cars. General Motors made a big China bet years ago when they built plants there (and in Mexico) – don’t think that bet is going to pay off. I am here to protect America’s Workers!”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports those tweets came “moments” after Kudlow departed the White House Briefing Room, where he had said much the same thing: “We’re going to be looking at certain subsidies regarding electric cars and others.” GM Kudlow characterized the administration’s reaction as “a tremendous amount of disappointment maybe even spilling over into anger,” reports the AP. Kudlow met with Barra Monday, and on Tuesday told reporters, “The president is very cross with her and of course I transmitted that.” He added the sense was that GM “kind of turned” its back on the president in making its move. (There’s a surprise among GM’s six discontinued cars.)

Keep in mind that a 1000 auto jobs lost could cost as much as 10,000 along the supply line…..so auto jobs are not the only ones on the chopping block…..

GM record- Got $514 million from the Trump tax scam – Made $6 billion in profits – Poured $100 million into stock buybacks – Paid its CEO $22 million – Received over $600 million in gov’t contracts.

I am still waiting for all those jobs to come home….as promised in 2016.

Wonder Where The Money Went?

I like to know where my tax dollars are being spent….how about you?

War seem to be the big drain on our national budget…..that is right the waging of war is flipping expensive…..right, how damn expensive could it be?

Glad you asked and I have the answer for you……

A new report from Brown University is aiming to provide a close estimate of the cost of the overall cost to the US government of its myriad post-9/11 wars and assorted global wars on terror. The estimate is that $5.933 trillion has been spent through fiscal year 2019.

This is, of course, vastly higher than official figures, owing to the Pentagon trying to oversimplify the costs into simply overseas contingency operations. It is only when one considers the cost of medical and disability care for soldiers, and future such costs, along with things like the interest on the extra money borrowed for the wars, that the true cost becomes clear.

That sort of vast expenditure is only the costs and obligations of the wars so far, and with little sign of them ending, they are only going to grow. In particular, a generation of wars is going to further add to the medical costs for veterans’ being consistently deployed abroad.

Starting in late 2001, the US has engaged in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere around the world. Many of those wars have become more or less permanent operations, with no consideration of ending them under any circumstances.

Those wishing to read the report can find it here.

Those are just words…….try this on for size……$5,900,000,000,000

That is right…..more damn “zeroes” than most of us can imagine……

The Pentagon has lied to us for years, grossly underestimating the cost of its military operations against enemies largely manufactured by intelligence agencies.

“That sort of vast expenditure is only the costs and obligations of the wars so far, and with little sign of them ending, they are only going to grow. In particular, a generation of wars is going to further add to the medical costs for veterans’ being consistently deployed abroad,” writes Jason Ditz.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/heres-youll-pay-neocon-wars-5900000000000/5660051

Something else for taxpayers to watch……the Pentagon FAILED a recent audit……that’s right FAILED!

After years of empty promises and demands from frustrated members of Congress, the Pentagon finally conducted its first-ever comprehensive audit—and unsurprisingly failed it, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan revealed Thursday.

“We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it,” Shanahan told reporters at a press briefing. While expressing irritation with the poor money management, he added, “it was an audit on a $2.7 trillion dollar organization, so the fact that we did the audit is substantial.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/11/16/insult-american-people-outrage-after-pentagon-fails-first-ever-audit

Just some of the sh*t in DC the waste of American taxpayer funds and NO ONE cares….why is that?

Are Americans ignorant, lazy, stupid or just plain moronic…..or could it be all of the above?

Space: The New Frontier?

Note:  This is a long read with many references but if you are interested in this situation they are well worth the attention to read….

Our Dear Supreme Leader has stated that he wants to make yet another branch of military service……a Space Force…..not an original idea…..actually it was proposed by the Obama administration…..in 2009 I wrote about the proposal…..https://lobotero.com/2009/01/06/militarization-of-space/

Space might be the final frontier, but it is also now on the verge of becoming a well-worn bureaucratic path. Military and civilian leaders are currently working through the details of proposals to create an independent service dedicated to space within the next two years. This would be the first new military branch since the Air Force spun off from the Army in 1947. Pentagon planners estimate it would cost upwards of $13 billion over the next five years to establish the Space Force as a separate service branch, although history suggests the real cost will be many times that.

https://www.pogo.org/analysis/2018/10/space-force-a-historical-perspective/

There is a necessity for Space Power, right?

The mystery of space has always been the subject of intrigue and wonder for mankind. Today is no different, and new technological capabilities raise the question, “How can space be utilized most effectively on a global scale?” As countries scramble to develop and maintain space assets, as well as compete with each other for advantage and prestige, a lack of order and regulation remains within the space domain. Currently, no unified or coherent space theory exists directing how the domain should be controlled and utilized. This problem is one of the many with which the United States must wrestle as it seeks to create an independent space service. Toward that end, this article reviews current theory and, it is to be hoped, provides the next space theorist an adequate starting point which might assist in creating a lasting and universally accepted unified theory of spacepower.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/11/13/in_search_of_space_power_theory_113952.html

Since very few people are taking this seriously…I thought IST should keep an eye on this situation…….

One of the issues that will face the new Congress is the creation of a new military service: the U.S. Space Force.

Recently, Vice President Mike Pence chaired the fourth meeting of the National Space Council. The council is comprised of key elements of the U.S. government that are involved with space, and includes not only the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretaries of state and defense, but also the secretaries of commerce, transportation, and homeland security, as well as the director of national intelligence, the director of the Office of Budget and Management, the head of NASA, and the national security and homeland security advisers.

The venue was significant — Roosevelt Hall at the National War College. Established in 1946, the National War College seeks to train the next generation of senior officers and national security civilians in the ways of grand strategy, including how to balance resources available against requirements. Thus, the announcement that the National Space Council would unanimously endorse the creation of the new Space Force was intended to send a strategic signal.

https://www.westernjournal.com/space-force-coming-us-needs/

Is there truly a Space Force on the Launching Pad?

Vice President Mike Pence addressed the fourth meeting of the National Space Council, a White House advisory group charged with making recommendations about America’s activities in space. This summer, President Trump called for the establishment of a new branch of the military, a US Space Force, to protect American interests there. Thus far, only a few pollsters have explored the public’s awareness of the plan and support for it.

To understand current attitudes, it helps to look at how Americans have viewed space exploration over time. In 1955, when Gallup asked Americans whether “men in rockets will be able to reach the moon” in the next 50 years, 38% said they would, but 51% said they would not. A few years later in 1961, 65% approved of the country’s attempt to send a man into space, while 20% disapproved.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bowmanmarsico/2018/10/30/a-space-force-on-the-launch-pad/#3bea060239c1

The problem when space is involved is the line between military and civilian……the lines are getting more and more blurred…..

Vice President Mike Pence recently was asked by Washington Post reporter Robert Costa: “What will the Space Force do?”

In his response, Pence did not run down a list of duties that might be assigned to the new military branch. But he did comment extensively on why he and the president feel strongly that a Space Force should be established.

It all started on the campaign trail in 2016, Pence recalled. “The president and I had a conversation about his interests in really reviving American leadership in space, and particularly when it came to human space exploration. … And we both shared a concern that while America continues to be dominant in space, in terms of technology, in terms of our accomplishments, that we were losing momentum in recent years; that America had essentially been consigned to low-Earth orbit, and we actually off-lined our own platforms when we grounded the shuttle program,” said Pence. “The president saw all of that as intolerable.”

https://spacenews.com/space-force-discussions-increasingly-blur-the-line-between-military-and-civilian-space/

AS I waited to see if there is more on the new branch of the military I came upon this article…..it seems that the Pentagon may be deadly serious about a new branch and starting in 2019 it will be forefront….

The Pentagon is moving at a good clip to establish a U.S. Space Command and a Space Development Agency in early 2019, said Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.

During a meeting with reporters on Thursday at the Pentagon, Shanahan spoke with a sense of urgency about the DoD space reorganization.

“I’d love to make it this year,” he said of standing up a Space Development Agency to take over the procurement of next-generation technologies. While creating a Space Force as a separate military service requires new legislation, the Space Command and the Space Development Agency can be set up using existing executive authorities.

There is likely to be congressional resistance to forming a new military branch, but Shanahan said he expects no push-back on Space Command or on the Space Development Agency.

https://spacenews.com/major-moves-in-dod-space-reorganization-to-start-in-early-2019/

IST will try to keep its readers informed on this topic…..too many are laughing it off….we are not.

All the news no one can use!