How cutting government spending can increase the deficit – The Week

I spend an inordinate amount of time reading news from…well just about everywhere.

I read this one and thought I would pass it on…..amazing info but I am still a bit skeptical…..a pretty good piece nonetheless….

How cutting government spending can increase the deficit – The Week.


Shut This Mother Down!

Now that Syria is put on a back burner and into a slow boil…..all eyes return to the petty arguments of the past……

I know we have been spared all the crap about the budget….that is about to change……will it get messy?  Or possibly moronic?

Well the morons are the loudest……crap holes like Paul, Hill, et al…..that are willing to f*ck the country because they cannot understand that Obamacare is LAW!  These twats are threatening to shut the entire government down if they cannot get a vote on de-funding health care…….is it a brilliant movw?  Or possibly a moronic one!

Several Congress clowns have weighed in on the possibility of shutting the government down…..

House Speak John Boehner is seriously entertaining this stratagem, having recently received a letter from 60 House Republicans urging it on him.

All of which brings us back to a perennial question: What’s the deal with House Republicans? Despite every indication that they’ve simply lost their marbles, the question isn’t so easy to answer. In fact, I see three distinct possibilities: That they’re genuinely crazy; that they’re rational, but with perverse incentives; or that they’re just a little slow.

“Crazy” is pretty much self-explanatory. Whether they do what they do because they believe they’re the second coming of James Madison, or because space aliens told them to, is neither here nor there. “Rational,” by contrast, is a little more complicated. It means they’re acting in their self-interest; it just happens to be in their self-interest to appear crazy. For example, as multiple commentators have pointed out, many House Republicans represent ultra-conservative districts, in which the biggest threat to their survival is a Republican primary challenger, not a general-election opponent. Under these circumstances, it’s perfectly rational to come off as relentlessly conservative as possible.

But not all the whack-a-doodles feel confident with this decision……

Several prominent Republicans aren’t fans of the conservative push to shut down the federal government unless Obamacare is defunded. In fact, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) thinks it’s “the dumbest idea” he’s ever heard.

Andrew Taylor, a reporter for the Associated Press, asked Burr if he was on board with Tea Party favorite Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) effort to get Senate Republicans to vote against a continuing resolution funding the government if it also funds the implementation of Obamacare. Burr didn’t pull his punches, joining a growing group of Republicans who think the strategy is counterproductive and futile:

BURR: No, I think it’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of… Listen, so long as Barack Obama’s president, the Affordable Care is gonna be law… I think some of these guys need to understand that, you shut down the government, you better have a specific reason to do it that’s achievable. Defunding the Affordable Care Act is not achievable by shutting down the federal government. At some point, you’re gonna open the federal government back up, and Barack Obama’s gonna be president, and he won’t have signed the dissolution of the Affordable Care Act.

Asked if that turn of events would amount to “walking into a baseball bat and hitting your face,” Burr replied, “If there’s something bigger than a baseball bat, then I think that’s about where they’re going.”

Personally, I think it is idiotic…….I do believe that this could come back and bite them in the ass in the next election…….of course they will be stupid enough to point to what they did in the 1990’s…….all I have to say…..that was then, this is now!

I hope like Hell they crap in the chili……..I would enjoy that very much.  I can hear Eastwood saying, “go ahead punks….make my day”!

How about you?

So You Want To Save The Nation’s Money?

By now even a deaf homeless guy in Peoria knows the debate on the deficit and all the worthless plans to save some cash…..most of the savings will come on the backs of the poor and middle class……now there is a good idea if you truly want a two class system…….but I got to looking around for some savings that would not add to the woes of the working people in this country…..the very people that the government says they are protecting, at least the next generation……and if you believe that…..I have a bridge in Brooklyn that is for sale….any takers?

My short search on-line came up with two possible savings programs…..

(Newser) – The Abrams tank sounded pretty remarkable in reports chronicling its arrival in Afghanistan more than two years ago: The 68-ton machine is propelled by jet engines and has a main gun that can destroy a house from more than a mile away. But since its debut, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have been pushing to upgrade the tank, devoting $436 million to the cause. Except as the AP explains, senior Army officials keep telling Congress they’re not interested. “If we had our choice, we would use that money in a different way,” says the Army’s chief of staff.

The Army says it doesn’t need to buy more tanks until 2017; Congress wants the Army to buy earlier models that have been upgraded with things like better microprocessors and color flat panel displays, at a cost of about $7.5 million each. “The Army is on record saying we do not require any additional M1A2s,” said the deputy director of the Army budget office this month. And while tank-proponents Rep. Jim Jordan and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio insist our safety is at the root of it all—”we are supposed to spend taxpayer money in defense of the country,” says Jordan—the AP notes the country’s only tank plant happens to be located in Lima, Ohio. Such a pet project is nothing new, but the Abrams example is notable due to the certainty of the Army’s position. “When an institution as risk-averse as the Defense Department says they have enough tanks, we can probably believe them,” says a director with Citizens Against Government Waste.

And the next possible savings is in the international realm……..

Source: All Gov.

U.S. officials have long complained about corruption in Afghanistan’s government—and now it’s come out that one of the biggest contributors to said corruption was the United States itself.

In one of the most disturbing tales yet of payoffs, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) spent more than a decade delivering tens of millions of dollars in cash to the office of President Hamid Karzai, according to an investigation led by Matthew Rosenberg of The New York Times.

The newspaper learned that American dollars—what one former Afghan official called “ghost money”—were put into suitcases, backpacks and even plastic shopping bags and dropped off in secret in the hopes it would buy influence with Karzai and warlords.

Instead, the payments undermined U.S. efforts to help Afghanistan develop a legitimate, democratic government.

“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,” one American official told the Times, “was the United States.”

Mohammed Zia Salehi, the administrative chief of the Afghan National Security Office in charge of distributing the CIA cash, was arrested in July 2010, accused, among other transgressions, of smuggling cash out of the country. He made a call to Hamid Karzai and was instantly released.

According to Matthew Rosenberg, Salehi, referring to the contradiction of the U.S. government trying to fight corruption in Afghanistan, while at the same time forking over millions of dollars of cash, said, called himself, “an enemy of the FBI and a hero to the CIA.”

In a follow-up story, Karzai acknowledged the CIA payments, claiming the money was used for “various purposes.” Those close to Karzai said the cash went to pay off warlords, lawmakers and others whom the president courted for support. Karzai shrugged off the controversy, noting that his Office of National Security still receives monthly cash payments from the CIA. Later, his office issued a statement that some of the money was used to treat wounded soldiers, but others suggested that it wasn’t wounded soldiers who were receiving “treats.”

Granted these two programs will not solve our deficit problem, but any savings will help and these two we can live without….now ask yourself why these types of expenditures are seldom mentioned when looking for solutions……

Here’s a flash for you deficit hawks…….food stamps is NOT wasteful spending……buying tanks nobody wants IS!

How about my readers….any ideas on how to lessen the deficit?

Is There A Plan To Fix The Deficit?

Sure there is regardless what you see, read or hear…..the plan that all want to ignore is the Simpson-Bowles……Repubs do not like it because they will have to go against Nordquist…..Dems do not like it because they would have to change a few of the entitlement positions….I do not like it because I think it does not go far enough in areas……but you decide…….read it here…..

The 6 Tenets of “The Plan”

1.      Discretionary Spending Cuts

  • Eliminate all Congressional earmarks
  • Reduce Congressional and White House budgets by 15% (including travel budget)
  • Freeze Congressional pay until 2014
  • Freeze federal workers’ wages through 2014
    • Also, eliminate 200,000 federal jobs by 2020 (10%)
    • Also, eliminate 250,000 federal non-defense contractor jobs by 2015
  • Hold discretionary spending in 2012 to 2011 levels; by 2013, reduce descretionary spending levels to those of 2008. After 2013, increase the spending by half the rate of inflation.
  • Both  security and non-security funding cut in equal percentages
  • Increase transportational revenues until the transportaion trust fund is fulled-funded (includes a gas tax-hike starting at $0.15)
  • Create a committee to cut $11 billion of unnecessary programs by 2015
  • Cut $1 billion of “low-priority” Army Corps of Engineers programs by 2015
  • Cut oversea’s budget by 10%, cut contributions to the U.N. by 10%, and cut foreign aid budget by 10% by 2015
  • Cut almost $1 billion in fossil fuel research funds
  • In order to spend above the caps: (1) Affirmative vote from House of Reps (2) 60-vote point of order in the Senate
  • President proposes annual limits to war spending
  • Establish a disaster fund based on the average amount spent in the past decade (rolls-over annually)
  • Create a committee to cut duplicative, unnecessary, or non-priority programs from spending

2.      Tax Reform

  • “The Zero Plan”
  • There will only be 3 personal tax brackets
    • There will only be 1 corporate rate
    • All deductions, loopholes, and credits will be eliminated
      • This includes EITC and mortgage interest deductions
    • The 3 tax rates will be 8%, 14%, and 23%
  • The 2nd Plan
    • Personal deductions would increase to $15,000
    • The 3 tax rates will be 15%, 25%, and 35%
    • Repeal or extensively limit tax deductions
      • This includes state, local, and mortgage interest deductions
  • The 3rd Plan
    • Force Congress to reform taxes by raising taxes each year that they fail to act
  • Implications of Their Suggested Changes
    • The above 3 plans allow Congress to only collect taxes on income made in the US
    • It redudes or eliminates taxes on revenues companies earn abroad and US expatriates
  • The report also suggests raising the gas tax by $0.15/gallon

3.      Healthcare Cost Reduction & Reform

  • More lower-income citizens would be put into Medicaid-managed care
  • Freeze Medicare payments through 2013, cut them in 2014, and create a better physician payment formula
  • Medicaid co-pay amount would increase
  • Reform or repeal the Community Living Assistancer Services and Supports program – it is unsustainable
  • Begin previously-planned cuts to Medicare Advantage and home health care programs
  • Use pilot programs more often
  • Create savings by reducing administrative costs, excess payments, and fraud, reforming cost sharing, medical malpractice, and Medigap coverage, and eliminating state gaming on the program
  • Create a spending cap for Medicaid/Medicare growth
  • If the health care system overspends in 5 years, Congress and the President may be forced to increase premiums or co-pays
  • If the health care system overspends in 5 years, Congress and the President may be forced to raise the Medicare eligibility age
  • Create a long-term budget for total health care spending, limit growth to GDP growth plus 1%

4.      Mandatory Spending Cuts

  • Government expenditures and revenue stop at 21% of GDP
  • Reduce argicultural subsidies
  • Eliminate federally subsidized student loans in which the government makes interest payments while the student is in school
  • Reform military and civil service health and retirement savings programs
  • Charge market rates for federal electricity-generation
  • Require the TVA to charge rates to cover its costs
  • Give Postal Service more rule over their restructuring
  • Increase user fees with inflation

5.      Social Security Reform

  • Retirement age will increase based on longevity statistics
    • In 2075, estimated retirement age will be 69
  • Raise the Contribution ceiling:
    • Currently, people only pay Social Security taxes on the first $100,000 that they make – This accounts for only about 85% of taxable wages
    • Let’s take the ceiling up to 90% by 2050
  • Ensure the minimum benefit is 25% higher than the poverty line
  • Use “chained CPI” instead of standard CPI to measure Social Security cost of living adjustments
  • Increase benefits to individuals older than 85
  • Achieve a net-reduction in benefit payments by (1) increasing benefits for low-income beneficiaries and (2) decrease benefits for higher-income people

6.      Process Reform

  • Enforce deficit reduction targets
  • Adopt triggers for extended unemployment benefits based on the unemployment threshold
  • Only allow spending cap adjustments for review of IRS enforcement, anti-fraud efforts in health and labor programs, and disability claims

Read the bill here.  If you think there is more that could be done, then read the whole thing and draw an informed conclusion…..

A Good Idea No Matter From Where It Comes

News Flash!  In case you missed it…Santorum suspended his campaign yesterday….so now there are three….but only one that will now focus on sniping at the president…….pretty much hands Mitt the nomination on a silver platter…….well played Mr. Romney!

I have said that I would support an idea no matter where it comes from as long as it passes my test…that being in the best interests of the people of the US……and now it is about time for the deficit circus to begin again……..but it will be the same partisan game they have been played since the election of Obama….none of these worthless individuals are concerned with the country and that sucks!

The Repubs have their plan…..Dems have their plan……The White House has their plan… NO one talks about it…..all they can accomplish is a sprint to a microphone and sling out lame ass talking points…..this accomplishes absolutely NOTHING!

Personally I like the Simpson-Bowles solution from a couple of years ago……it was a perfect place to start the conversation….but NO the players had to go back and be told what to believe and it did not fit into the scheme of their political BS……in case you missed it back when it was published let me refresh your memory…….

Social Security cuts:

  • Index the retirement age to longevity — i.e., increase the retirement age to qualify for Social Security — to age 69 by 2075.
  • Index Social Security yearly increases to a lower inflation rate, which will generally mean lower cost of living increases and less money per average recipient.
  • “Increase progressivity of benefit formula” — i.e., reduce benefits by 2050 for middle, and, especially, higher earners, relative to current benefits.
  • Increase the Social Security contribution ceiling: while people only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,800 of their wages today, that’s only about 86% of the total potentially taxable wages. The co-chairs suggest raising the ceiling to capture 90% of wages.

Tax reform:

  • The co-chairs suggest capping both government expenditures and revenue at 21% of GDP eventually.
  • In their first plan, called “The Zero Plan,” they suggest reducing the tax brackets to three personal brackets and one corporate rate while eliminated all credits and deductions. Without any credits or deductions (including the EITC and mortgage interest deductions), the 3 tax rates would be 8, 14 and 23 percent.
  • In their second plan, they would increase the personal deduction to $15,000, create 3 tax brackets (15, 25 and 35%); repeal or significantly curtail a number of popular tax deductions (including the state and local deduction and the mortgage interest deduction); and eliminate other tax expenditures.
  • The third plan would force Congress to undertake comprehensive tax reform by 2012 by raising taxes for each year Congress fails to act.
  • All their proposals limit Congress to collecting taxes on income made within the United States, reducing or eliminating taxes on American expats and revenues companies earn abroad.
  • They also suggest raising the federal gas tax by 15 cents per gallon.

Medicaid/Medicare cuts

  • Force more low-income individuals into Medicaid managed care.
  • Increase Medicaid co-pays.
  • Accelerate already-planned cuts to Medicare Advantage and home health care programs.
  • Create a cap for Medicaid/Medicare growth that would force Congress and the President to increase premiums or co-pays or raise the Medicare eligibility age (among other options) if the system encounters cost overruns over the course of 5 years.

Discretionary spending cuts

  • Eliminate all earmarks.
  • Eliminate the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.
  • Freeze federal worker wage increases through 2014; eliminate 200,000 federal jobs by 2020; and eliminate 250,000 federal non-defense contractor jobs by 2015.
  • Eliminate subsidized student loans, in which the government makes interest payments while the student is in school.
  • Establish co-pays in the VA medical system and change the co-pays and deductibles for military retirees that remain in that system.
  • Eliminate NASA funding for commercial space flight.
  • Require the Smithsonian museums to start charging entrance fees and raise fees at the national parks.
  • Eliminate funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — which many conservatives suggested in the wake of the firing of former NPR contributor Juan Williams.
  • Reduce farm subsidies by $3 billion per year.
  • Create a Committee to eliminate unnecessary programs to the tune of $11 billion by 2015.
  • Merge the Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration and cut its budget by 10 percent.
  • End “low-priority” Army Corps of Engineers programs to the tune of $1 billion by 2015.
  • Cut the State Department’s overseas budget by 10 percent by 2015; reduce the proposed foreign aid budget by 10 percent in 2015; and cut voluntary contributions to the United Nations by 10 percent in 2015.
  • Eliminate the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, which provides subsidized financing and political risk insurance for U.S. companies’ investments abroad.
  • Cut $900 million in fossil fuel research funds.
  • Force airlines to increase their contributions to airline security costs and allow them to increase per-ticket security fees.

Defense spending cuts:

  • Double the number of defense contractor positions scheduled for elimination from 10 percent of current staff augmentees to 20 percent.
  • Reduce procurement by 15 percent, or $20 billion.
  • Eliminate the V-22 Osprey program.
  • Cancel the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program.
  • Halve the number of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in favor of F-16s and F/A-18Es.
  • Cancel the Marine Corps F-35 program.
  • Cancel the Navy’s Future Maritime Prepositioning Force.
  • Cancel the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), the Ground Combat Vehicle, and the Joint Tactical Radio.
  • Reduce military forces in Europe and Asia by one-third.
  • Send all military children based in the U.S. to local schools.

I know it is a lot to digest but if you do not know what is being offered then it is possible that the MSM will make all your political decisions for you………this would be a great place to start negotiations…provided that was ever the intention……

It’s A Bird…It’s A Plane…..It’s Super Committee!

It is the day after Labor Day and the Congress should be making their way back to work….or at least to Washington……and when they return it will be the super committee that will get most of the media attention……..and very little will be said about those donors that will be pulling strings……..

Each party named 6 people to work on the Super Committee that will be working on the spending cuts thingy that consumed Washington for 6 weeks prior to their abandoning their posts and going home to sleep with their donors…..but the big question is…..will this committee be successful at finding a partisan answer to all the crap about spending?  My guess is…….NO!

Let me explain my reasoning…….from an article in Raw Story…..

The bipartisan “super committee” created by the debt ceiling deal is comprised of lawmakers who have received big bucks from special interest groups, according to a report by MapLight.The committee is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts over ten years.

In total, the twelve members appointed to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction got nearly $64.5 million from special interests groups over the past decade, with legal firms donating about $31.5 million and Wall Street firms donating about $11.2 million.

Of that $11.2 million, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase donated approximately $2 million combined.

The members appointed to the committee are Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Rob Portman (R-OH), Patty Murray (D-WA), John Kerry (D-MA), and Max Baucus (D-MT) and Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Fred Upton (R-MI), Dave Camp (R-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), and Jim Clyburn (D-SC).

Read Full Article Here…

Remember that irritating term, “kicking the can down the road”?  Well, sports fans, this committee is that can on that road……This is always the answer in Washington….A Committee!  Nothing will be done because they can drag their feet and the trigger with no compromise will do what the conservs want done….so there is NO incentive for this attempt to succeed.  Just another Washington waste of time and resources!

The Next Media Circus

Just when you thought it was safe to follow the news again…..BLAM!  Here we go again with a ginned up story to capture our hearts and minds……well you know what they say about hearts and minds, right?  NO?  “when you have them by the balls they follow willingly”……and that my friends sums it up very nicely……

But all seriousness aside……..the next “big” story for the media to drive will be the “super committee” to solve all our debt problems with one group of people….(pause here for side splitting laughter)……..remember that can that everyone was so concerned about go down the road?  This committee is just that sort of can…..need we say any more?

While it’s a relief to many in Congress that the debt ceiling bill is on its way to becoming law, Jill Lawrence reminds us of the next phase — “the one with the holiday deadlines — in which a 12-member bipartisan committee of senators and House members is supposed to come up with $1.5 trillion in further deficit reduction.”

“A word to future supercommittee members as you ponder how to proceed: You’re starting out in a deep hole. The public has been focused to an unusual degree on Congress for the last several weeks. The result is rock-bottom approval ratings and an image nobody wants

But who these saviors be?  I can tell you who they will not be……any of the Gang of Six, while I did not agree with them on much, at least they had a plan….and then there are those Dems and Repubs that were on the Simpson-Bowles committee, they will not be on there either for there was a plan that came out of those meetings….so who will it be that will be tapped to lead away from the road to ruin?

Senate GOP sources tell the Weekly Standard that senators who vote against the debt ceiling legislation today will be ineligible to serve on the so-called “supercommittee” for deficit reduction that the legislation creates.

“Excluding those who vote against the debt deal will ensure that some of the most fiscally conservative members of the Senate Republican caucus, including most of its freshmen, will be reading about the committee’s activities in the newspaper rather than guiding its decisions.”

(Sorry…I had to pause for more raucous laughter…..sorry)….like I said….it will be a joke and at worse a media circus…..

There will be the extremes of all three sides of the political triangle…..Dem/Repub/Tea Party….and for that reason there is NO one serious on solving the problems……and then in the end will go the way of Simpson-Bowles and the Gang of Six….dismissed and all this crap will start over again……NO one in Washington is serious about finding solutions…..and in the end….we Americans will have a good laugh at those that we elect…..but will we learn anything?  Doubtful, very doubtful!  And in the end we will still be on that road that we hope to avoid trying to catch up with the can we kept kicking……

Governance as usual!

P.S.  If you do not like this, then wait….the Repubs will use the unemployed to finish the screwing of the American people  (post to come)………