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Defining Conservatism Downward
Posted by: Jon Henke on Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Republican President, circa 1974...
I urge you to join me ... by voting to set a target spending limit—let me emphasize it-a target spending limit of $300 billion for the Federal fiscal budget of 1975.
Republican President, circa 2006...
Today's report from OMB tells us that this year's deficit will actually come in at about $296 billion. (Applause.)
President Bush announced a nearly $300 billion deficit and got applause.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Well Jon, at least convert the numbers into 2006 Dollars....otherwise you’re just comparing apples to oranges and behaving like Paul "Say Whatever It Takes To Hurt Bush" Krugman.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"In the black" versus "In the red" doesn’t require adjustment in 2006 dollars.
 
Written By: Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble)
URL: http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com
Robb, IIRC the US ran a deficit or carried a debt in 1972...mind you Nixon isn’t saying anythng about Deficit or Surplus spending is he? and IF $USD 300 BILLION is 1.8 TRILLION Dollars in 2006 dollars it makes a difference and if $USD 300 Billion is only 4% of US GDP circa 1972 then that makes a difference, too. I believe that as a percent of GDP the current deficit is not out of line with Nixon’s.

So yeah, Robb conversion to percentage GDP or 2006 dollars IS vital, otherwise you too just fall into the "We’re Spending Like Drunken Sailors and It’s BAAAD" or the Paul Krugman category. Neither one is a particularly intellectually honest position.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I stand corrected. Point conceeded.

(someone make sure there’s a cached copy of this comment. Might be the first time someone admimtted to being wrong in a comment!!!!)

Can someone get those numbers and make the comparison? In 1972, the only deficit I worried about was in clean diapers.
 
Written By: Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble)
URL: http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com
Joe,
You can find the historical debt tables here:
http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/opd/opdhisto4.htm
 
Written By: ABC
URL: http://
In my book being no worse than Nixon is not exactly a stirring defense, but your point is well taken Joe.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
http://traxel.com/deficit/

This is a nice page.... being economically/statistically challenged there may be problems but they aren’t glaringly obvious. Any way deficit was smaller in 1996 dollar terms and % of GDP in 1972 than they are currently. But at least it gives a point of reference for comparison, rather than just talking about "$300 Billion Dollars" as budget or deficit.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I might also point out that in 1972 the US Federal Outlays as a % of GDP were HIGHER than they are today....

Which does NOT address the issue of SS and Medicare and their future costs, which are substantial and unarguable. But it puts into perspective the complaints about TODAY, Bush is spending less than Nixon did, as a % of GDP. Now for L/libertarians of many stripes that may mean little, but for those complaining of "run away" spending it begins to put a little reality intot he rhetoric.

But, looking at things in that light makes the complaints about Bush less compelling, now if you’re the DNC that’s acceptable, if you’re a supposedly disinterested ’Blog it makes it a bit more problematic.

Jon reminds me of one of the local sports csters who was Impartial" so impartial that he could seldom if EVER make an unqualified positive statement about the local sports team(s). He could say unqualified good things about Coach Krzyzewski, but he simply could not bring himself to do the same about the teams locally.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe,

I am afraid the chart does have a couple of problems. It includes an estimate for 2004 which turned out to be too high. So you can throw that out. It also doesn’t show what 2005 was or 2006 would be. At 300 billion that will likely be around 2.3% of GDP. That would be comparable to that era. None of which means I am in any way satisfied, but it does give one some perspective.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
I stand corrected. Point conceeded.

(someone make sure there’s a cached copy of this comment. Might be the first time someone admimtted to being wrong in a comment!!!!)
Certainly not something you see every day.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Lance, all I can do is "google" and cross my fingers. Because Dr. Huang could tell you, "Joe couldn’t solve the SIMPLEST problem of heteroskedasticity without me holding his hand." I try to avoid sites that proclaim their undying hatred to all things Republican or any site dedicated to "’Uncle George’ the best Uncle a Texas boy could have."
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Sorry to go off topic.

Republican view on the Lieberman issue (for Mona):
http://www.redstate.com/story/2006/7/11/14543/5306
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Joe,

Actually I thought it was a good site, it just needed a bit of updating. I already knew (from a partisan site trying to slam Bush) what this years figure was, so finding the comparable 1972 figure was what I was lacking, so I thought it was a good find.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
ah statistics, where you can prove just about anything you want.

I think we can all agree that, today, spending is to large, and ought to be reduced. And that both parties have had their hands in the cookie jar for far to long.

I think most can also agree that, despite his self described label as a "compassionate conservative" President Bush is not a Conservatives conservative.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Joe,

Your arguement that this the deficit should be looked at as a percentage of GNP reminds of of the General Motors view of the world. We’ll lose a little bit on every car but we’ll make up for it on volume.

Unless we start to generate a surplus, the debt will continue to grow. Due to our demographics, we KNOW we are going to have some large expenditures coming up. Its not like the baby boomers are going to vote themselves fewer benefits than the greatest generation.

Its the debt that is the problem. If we add to it by "only" 300 billion in a year its still a BIG problem. If we never pay it off we will be forced to either keep cranking up interest rates or print more money. Either will be a big drag on our future. Rome fell when it couldn’t pay its bills.

 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
Ah, the soft bigotry of low expectations... aim low enough (in this case, with a high estimate for the deficit) and get lots of oohs and aahs when it’s not so bad. an added benefit: everybody gets so excited about doing better than ’expected’, they never take issue with why, in absolute terms, we need to be spending so much money that we end up with a $300 billion deficit.
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://
Steve, again IF USD 300 Billion is 50% of your GNP you’ve got a whole lot different problem than if USD 300 Billion is .5% of GDP, and nations are NOT households, they CAN run and sustain deficits.

I am not a great fan of the Federal budget these days and agree with Henke that the Prescription Drug Benefit, and Medicare and Social Security are going to be HUGE problems, but for the moment, Bush’s budget deficit numbers are not that bad. If you have some suggestions for a USD 300 Billion reduction fire away, bearing in mind that Foreign Aid is a small part of the budget, that Defense spending is 3% of GNP, lowest in decades, and that even at 300-plus billion USD the Iraq War is a TINY portion of the money spent by the US, in toto.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I am appalled at the level of spending, not happy about the deficit and have a myriad of other issues with our fiscal policy but this kind of stuff really blows my mind:
We’ll lose a little bit on every car but we’ll make up for it on volume.

Unless we start to generate a surplus, the debt will continue to grow.

If we never pay it off we will be forced to either keep cranking up interest rates or print more money.
Talk about throwing out cute but silly stuff. Our economy is in no way comparable to GM. Our economy is not losing anything. It is growing larger every day. There are all kinds of criticisms to make about our economy but analogies such as this are ridiculous.

Cindyb,

Of course the debt will grow. I am sure most multi millionaires owe more than I do, but they can afford to do so. If the economy is growing faster than the debt, or more importantly, the ability to service that debt then we will not necessarily suffer excessive inflation or interest rates. Could the debt lead to such outcomes? Maybe. Will they? You have to make the argument first and not only do you obviously not have the knowledge necessary to make such an argument, but the variables are way too uncertain and numerous to easily calculate. I will say this though. If the deficits continue to be less than 3% of GDP we’ll be fine. Optimal, no, but fine. What we do not have to do is pay off the debt. We can, but we don’t have to.

 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
This is a red letter day. Someone admits to being wrong and cindyb makes a completely intelligent comment.
Yes, I know, ...and I am complimentary about cindyb. What next? MK makes a comment that is inconsistent with the Liberal Narrative?
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Rome fell when it couldn’t pay its bills.
The barbarians at the gate beg to differ.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
THE place to go for data is the OMB...

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2007/

You’ll find the historical tables in every which way you want it. % of GDP, gross dollars, inflation adjusted dollars. Including reciepts, and spending.

If we are to make comparisons of one budget to another, it should be apples to apples. You can do this by either the % of GDP (meaning how much the Federal gov is draining the economy and taxpayers), or in inflation adjusted dollars.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Joe: I don’t care if the deficit is a relatively small part of GDP, it’s the principle of spending more than comes in. and since I believe it would be far more harmful to balance the budget by raising taxes than by cutting spending, and since you asked, here’s my list (I don’t have the numbers for each item but would guess there’s more than enough here to take out a $300 billion deficit)...

eliminate federal disaster relief spending, with the exception of emergency services. eliminate all agricultural payments. eliminate all spending and privatize museums and public tv. charge user fees high enough to eliminate the net costs of running the national park system (is this already the case?). eliminate all social security and medicare payments to people making more than a specified income level or having net worth in excess of a given amount (social security and mediare are welfare programs, so let’s admit that and limit payments to those who ’need’ the money). eliminate federal support for state welfare programs. eliminate all federal spending on education, including student loans and the department of education itself. freeze the dollars spent on salaries (both individual salaries and salaries in the aggegrate) and other administrative costs for non-military federal employees (including Congress, the executive branch and the judiciary). Eliminate all federal spending on highways, bridges and mass transit (ought to give up the federal gas tax to be fair, so this may be a net cost). eliminate spendng on air traffic control system (privatize it). eliminate all federal research subsidies for everything but health and defense issues. eliminate the SEC, CFTC, FEC and FTC. eliminate the EITC.

And I don’t want a surplus the federal government to run a surplus. any such surplus ought to result in tax rebates.

Let me know if it’s not enough... I’ll have more.
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://
Since 2001, federal spending has leaped 45 percent. Defense and homeland security account for less than one-third of this increase. Education has increased 137 percent, international spending by 111 percent, and health research and regulation by 78 percent. Anti-poverty spending now tops three percent of GDP for the first time ever. Even after a freeze in FY 2007, non-defense discretionary spending will be up 42 percent since 2001 — double the increase enacted in President Clinton’s first six years in office.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Mk,

Good data! I already knew it which is why I am no fan of this administration and congress. Of course my issue with you showing it is that all those big increases outside of defense are areas where the Democrats have criticized this administration for not spending enough! You are mixing your talking points with mine. I am pissed at the spending, you are pissed about the tax cuts. Good, I am sure we won’t let that little mix up happen again. We can now retire to our respective corners and try again.

Robert,

I think this qualifies for mk, I disagree with your assessment of cindyb’s statement, which I have to because we have already had one person admit they were wrong today. I’ll work on it for tomorrow.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Of course my issue with you showing it is that all those big increases outside of defense are areas where the Democrats have criticized this administration for not spending enough!


Oh, for example, you must mean the bill the GOP passed that says the government cannot bargain with pharamceutical companies for lower prices on Medicare drugs. After all, the GOP believes that it is the duty of the Amercian government to subsidize the cost of drugs for European governments that are allowed to so bargain.

Or how about that Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska. Cut that out of the budget and the Dems would go crazy.

Give me a break. Did you read what I wrote? Spending has increased at a faster rate under Bush than under Clinton. And yet you write that the Dems want to spend more than Bush.

Right.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
From the LA Times:
Research shows tax cuts produce more government spending. Why won’t right-wingers respond?
Jonathan Chait

June 11, 2006

A FEW WEEKS ago, I wrote a column about a paper that decimated the conservative worldview. The study, by William Niskanen of the Cato Institute, found that the conservative "starve the beast" strategy does not work. Indeed, since 1981, he found that tax cuts tend to produce more spending, while tax hikes produce less.

I wrote that it would be interesting to see how conservatives reacted to having the factual basis for their entire domestic strategy exposed as a fraud. And it is interesting because "starve the beast" is so central to the GOP approach to governing and because the reaction is a case study in how the conservative movement reacts when its views are disproved.

Well, the right has had sufficient time to formulate its response. The results aren’t very impressive.

Out of the reams of conservative commentary published over the last month, I have found exactly two items reacting to Niskanen’s research. Given his paper’s devastating implications, the response is quantitatively — and qualitatively — pathetic.

The first is an Op-Ed column by Nick Schulz in National Review Online. Schulz found Niskanen’s finding a big puzzle. "Why would tax cuts prompt more spending?" he asks. "The only explanation so far comes from Niskanen himself," who hypothesizes that tax cuts make government cheaper, so voters want more of it.

The only explanation? My column, which Schulz cites but apparently has not read, offered a different and (if I do say so myself) convincing explanation. I argued that Democrats are willing to inflict pain on constituents in the form of spending cuts in order to balance the budget but not in order to give tax cuts to the rich. So, when Republicans agree to raise taxes, large numbers of Democrats will join them to cut spending. This happened in 1982, ’83 and ’90. Democrats did it themselves in ’93.
But when Republicans cut taxes, Democrats refuse to give them cover to make politically unpopular spending cuts. Republicans feel obliged to prove to voters that tax cuts aren’t hurting their cherished programs. The latest case in point: the Bush tax cuts resulted in a Bush spending boom.

It’s a clear explanation, amply supported by recent history. Schulz pretends it doesn’t exist and instead argues that Niskanen’s research shows that Americans don’t want higher tax rates, so that will pose a problem for liberals as the cost of entitlement programs rise. I’m not sure what this has to do with the point at hand. It certainly doesn’t explain why conservatives should persist in a demonstrably failed strategy.
Here is the Cato article.

Taxes go down, spending goes up. Taxes go up, spending goes down. So tell me again why the GOP is the party of fiscal discipline?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Yes mk, I read what you wrote. Your examples are all wonderful (well I am not sure about the relevance of the bargaining bit) and reminder of why I am not a Republican or a supporter of the fiscal policy we see now. I also agree that spending has risen faster under Bush than Clinton. However I stand by the claim that Democrats wanted and still want to spend more.

They want to spend more on education, more on poverty reduction (do you read any liberals and Democrats or do you only show up here and make this stuff up as you go along, I mean "this administration doesn’t care at all for the poor as their niggardly spending shows" is the theme) and they want more spent on health research and regulation. I will admit to not remembering on foreign aid, but I bet it is true there. I could fill this page with links to Pelosi and Kerry alone on those various topics.

Not that it in any way matters to today, but under Clinton the Democrats constantly harangued Republicans for not spending enough as well. So while Rubin and Clinton get a modicum of credit for the slower spending growth the Democratic party as a whole gets none from me. However mad I am at the Republicans I have seen no Democratic politician put together a campaign or coherent program based on lowering spending. If you find one send me his program with the list of spending cuts and I’ll spread it around. I doubt he would get any support from the Democratic party but maybe we independents, moderate Democrats and disaffected Republicans could get him into a higher office.

I am serious mk, send me the link.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
(well I am not sure about the relevance of the bargaining bit)
If the government can bargain for lower prices on drugs, it can spend less. Republicans are against bargaining. Therefore, they want to spend more.
However mad I am at the Republicans I have seen no Democratic politician put together a campaign or coherent program based on lowering spending.
We are spending $3 Billion a week in Iraq. That’s $12 Billion a month. $144 Billion a year. Russ Feingold, for instance, was against the war in Iraq and wants us to get out now. If Feingold were in charge, we would be spending at least $120 Billion less a year than we are now. $120 Billion. Russ is also for bargaining for Medicare drugs, which would save billions a year as well. So right there is a politican who, on just two issues, is for spending at least $150 Billion a year than we are spending now.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
As for your last post, who said the Republicans were the party of fiscal restraint? We just claim the Democrats aren’t either. I think Chait hits the nail on the head as to how the dynamic has worked, and if so I suggest you re-read it, because it says nothing about who wants to control spending more, it only shows that the political dynamic the starve the beast tactic relies on doesn’t work. I agree. It doesn’t work according to Chait because Democrats won’t allow spending to be cut and ramp up the pressure on Republicans to spend more. Republicans do because they are worried that voters will blame the tax cuts and blame them for the cuts when Democrats are calling for more spending. When Democrats join in and call for restraint spending falls. The wild card there is the behavior of the Democrats, at least if we buy the argument Chait puts forth.

It seems there are various ways out of such a jam besides what Chait says works. How about when Republicans cut taxes Democrats could join in on spending cuts. Chait says they haven’t in the past which is why the strategy hasn’t worked, but if your theory that Democrats really want to cut spending is true then that could change. Or, Republicans could cut taxes and cut spending anyway no matter what the Democrats say about them. Chaits theory that Republicans are unwilling to do this in the face of Democratic criticism of attempts to cut spending or even slow its growth seems right, but I would still like them to do it. So our real problem with getting spending to slow while cutting taxes is that Democrats refuse to and will actually one up the Republicans on any increases and that Republicans don’t have the guts or desire to do it anyway. That is Chait’s argument if you boil it down. I agree.

So unless one of those two things change, we won’t get reduced spending and low taxes. I have a plan. You work on the democrats not calling Republicans selfish greedheads and opposing spending cuts and I’ll work on getting Republicans some balls, because if I am to believe your argument we are in this together.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
I am curious to know whether any one of you followed the link. It wasn’t Nixon. Sigh. Inflation and debt aside, it’s an interesting juxtaposition.

Cripes, is MKUltra the one making the most libertarian points in this thread? Yes, it would appear that way...
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Wulf,

You are right, it wasn’t Nixon. Damn! I wasn’t supposed to admit to being wrong until tomorrow. I was really only interested in the number. As for mk spouting libertarian talking points, I agree. Of course he doesn’t believe them which bringing up Feingold as a cost cutter proves.
We are spending $3 Billion a week in Iraq. That’s $12 Billion a month. $144 Billion a year. Russ Feingold, for instance, was against the war in Iraq and wants us to get out now. If Feingold were in charge, we would be spending at least $120 Billion less a year than we are now. $120 Billion. Russ is also for bargaining for Medicare drugs, which would save billions a year as well. So right there is a politician who, on just two issues, is for spending at least $150 Billion a year than we are spending now.
See mk, you are not following our argument. If you go back I point out that my issue was non-defense spending. Besides, even without the Iraq war much of that extra defense spending would still exist so your figure still doesn’t work. Russ Feingold by the way would also expand that drug program dramatically which would cause it to be far more expensive whatever your beliefs about having the government cartelize the pharmaceutical industry. If you actually look at Feingold’s positions he calls for dramatically more spending in all kinds of areas and has criticized the Republicans and the administration for their penury over and over. You need to actually give me a link to someone who proposes to reduce spending on domestic programs overall, not just some particular one, in order to close the deal. I promise that if you can find one the right wing non-social conservative blogosphere will jump all over the opportunity. Of course politicians like that are usually considered libertarians, but I am ready to be proven wrong!

 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
I thought I was the only one who noticed it wasn’t Nixon. Guess I’m a bit older than you guys :) 1974 would have been Gerald Ford.

Interesting comments, BTW.
 
Written By: Vivian J. Paige
URL: http://vivianpaige.wordpress.com
As for your last post, who said the Republicans were the party of fiscal restraint? We just claim the Democrats aren’t either
Again, under Clinton, deficits turned into surpluses and spending increased at a slower rate than under Bush and the GOP Congress. If you believe that this means both parties are equally irresponsible, fiscally speaking, I don’t think a debate is possible.
I think Chait hits the nail on the head as to how the dynamic has worked, and if so I suggest you re-read it, because it says nothing about who wants to control spending more, it only shows that the political dynamic the starve the beast tactic relies on doesn’t work. I agree.
The GOP strategy is starve the beast. The Dem strategy is not starve the beast, but raise taxes to reduce both the debt and spending. As Chait notes, that’s what the Dems have done several times in the past.

You are making this much more complicated than necessary.
How about when Republicans cut taxes Democrats could join in on spending cuts
As I noted, there were many Dems who wanted to pull out of Iraq at the same time Republicans were cutting taxes. Pulling out of Iraq means spending cuts. Many Dems were also lobbying for the ability to bargain with pharmaceutical companies, which would also reduce spending.

Dems are trying to follow your prescription, so to speak. But the GOP does not want to stop spending.
Republicans don’t have the guts or desire to do it anyway
Exactly. Which is why the GOP should never be in charge of both the White House and the Congress.
See mk, you are not following our argument. If you go back I point out that my issue was non-defense spending.
Spending is spending is spending. I am against the Iraq war. $144 Billion a year in unnecessary spending. Money that could be spent paying down debt.
Besides, even without the Iraq war much of that extra defense spending would still exist so your figure still doesn’t work
Wrong. The figure refers to what we are spending beyond which it would cost to maintain simple readiness. Indeed, that is why Bush has had to ask for emergency appropriations.

And you haven’t even begun to factor in the hundreds of billions we are going to have to spend on care for veterans from the Iraq war, costs that we wouldn’t have to spend if we didn’t have thousands of troops physically and mentally wounded. And, of course, that doesn’t begin to cover other costs to society caused by returning vets with problems resulting from the war.
Russ Feingold by the way would also expand that drug program dramatically which would cause it to be far more expensive whatever your beliefs about having the government cartelize the pharmaceutical industry
So negotiating, i.e., participarting in the market, is cartelizing big pharma? Pull the other one.

Feingold is for the power to negotiate and for reimportation, policies that would lower costs for the government. That is, he against subsidizing the rest of the world’s drug costs. What kills me about the GOP is that they are so fiscally reckless that they are actually willing to spend money on Italians and Danes. At least the Dems want to spend money on Americans.

Moreover, even if he were calling for more spending, the savings we would gain by not wasting hundreds of billions in Iraq would easily cover it. With hundreds of billions left over.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
mkultra,

If there wasn’t an Iraq war, and Republicans weren’t on a spending spree, what if any spending cuts would you favor?

Also, are there any Democrat pols who would be arguing for spending and tax cuts if the above were true?

I realize the scenario is hypothetical, but it’s an easy hypothetical to work with.
 
Written By: Scout
URL: http://
I don’t want to debate all you are posting there. I think everybody can see where you are evading my questions to put up stuff that is irrelevant or doesn’t follow or I am not arguing. You can talk Iraq all you want, but it wasn’t a fiscal choice for most who supported it, whether it is a good idea or not.

What I asked for is one major, heck, lets try for a minor up and comer who is really planning on driving down domestic spending. If all you are trying to say is the Iraq war is expensive then hooray, you win. How about helping us out with a Democrat who wants to reduce spending overall. Feingold doesn’t fit for the reasons I elaborated upon earlier. Ignoring what I am trying to discuss is not constructive. That is debating. I want a discussion. If there is no such Democrat, okay, I figured that and you can debate this stuff with someone else. I see no point, just as you say. If there is somebody in the Democratic Party who has such an agenda it would actually be nice to know. I am glad and looking forward to being proved wrong on this. As it stands I don’t have anyone I want to vote for in my state, and no Presidential candidate I can support. That may change but here is your chance to pick up a vote for the Democrats.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Re-posting from comments on a previous article:
http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/opd/opdpenny.htm
09/28/2001 $5,807,463,412,200.06
09/29/2000 $5,674,178,209,886.86
09/30/1999 $5,656,270,901,615.43
09/30/1998 $5,526,193,008,897.62
09/30/1997 $5,413,146,011,397.34
09/30/1996 $5,224,810,939,135.73

The debt went up each year. Moonbats can say there was a surplus, but when the debt increases, there is no surplus, unless moonbats use Enron style accounting.
The last time there was a decrease in debt was 1960, thus that is the last time there was a surplus.
 
Written By: ABC
URL: http://
ABC - I have to disagree with your definition of surplus. (And yes, I am a CPA.) Surplus is the excess of revenues over expenditures. Think of it like the profit of a business. And so, yes - there can be a surplus while carrying debt.
 
Written By: Vivian J. Paige
URL: http://vivianpaige.wordpress.com
The point is that the debt increased. If there was an actual surplus, then the debt would have decreased. The claim that there was a surplus is based on fuzzy accounting only looking at one portion of the picture.
http://mwhodges.home.att.net/deficit-trusts.htm
 
Written By: ABC
URL: http://
"You can talk Iraq all you want, but it wasn’t a fiscal choice for most who supported it, whether it is a good idea or not. "

The choice to go or not to go wasn’t a fiscal choice. However, once the choice to go was made, how to pay for it became a fiscal chioce. Because the invasion was chosen, at the very least taxes should NOT have been cut, to help cover the cost.
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
Tito,

A valid argument, but I was asking about spending, not tax cuts, domestic spending specifically. Maybe you can help mk out and find what we all seek, a Democrat who wants to cut spending in general on the domestic side. If you can find one who supports the war and one who doesn’t then we’ll have the choice we fiscal reductionists need.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
If there wasn’t an Iraq war, and Republicans weren’t on a spending spree, what if any spending cuts would you favor?
Oh, I don’t know. How about the plans for the Mission to Mars. It seems to me a boondoggle.

You miss the point. The GOP’s biggest sin is not that it spends money. It is that it does not collect the money in the first place. The GOP’s biggest sin is giving unfair tax breaks/subsidies to those who least need it. My god, how many GOP hacks must be convicted before you get this?

Stated another way, the GOP’s biggest problem is not spending. The biggest problem that the GOP creates is not fairly collecting the revenue in the first place.

Good question though.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
You can talk Iraq all you want, but it wasn’t a fiscal choice for most who supported it, whether it is a good idea or not.
What? Are you serious? It wasn’t a fiscal choice?

This is the conservative mentality. If the wingers say it is a must, d*mm the cost. Pay Halliiburton whatever it takes. Massive government spending. After all, Saddam has test fired missles capable of hitting the United States with nukes.

Look, it was and is a fiscal matter. Wake up and join us taxpayers.

The ironic part is that this is a libertarian site. Or it once was. Or it never was. Or it hopes to be.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
The GOP’s biggest sin is not that it spends money. It is that it does not collect the money in the first place.
Good Mk, you are now back on your talking points. Unfortunately you are still ignoring what I am asking. I assume that is becasue you can’t find this mythical low spending Democrat?
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
There is nothing particularly libertarian, conservative or liberal about the question whether any particular defense expenditure is necessary or wasteful. Libertarians generally believe national defense is a core government responsibility. Last time I checked, so do (most) liberals and (most) conservatives. That being the case, as the old joke goes, we’re only quibbling over the price.

The libertarian position, the price of national defense aside, is simply that too much money is spent on too many programs many of which the government shouldn’t be doing in the first place. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is still theft whether Paul is rich or poor. By all means let’s end subsidies and promote a tax system that is transparent and distributively fair (though I mean something very different by that then mkultra apparently means), but none of that has to do with whether or how much should be spent or how it should be spent for national defense.
 
Written By: D.A. Ridgely
URL: http://
the price of national defense aside, is simply that too much money is spent on too many programs many of which the government shouldn’t be doing in the first place
That would be a true Conservatives position as well...

Let the states deal with education, the arts, and a whole host of other issues. Pare down the bearacracy, and the Federal government then needs less money.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
mkultra: Oh, I don’t know. How about the plans for the Mission to Mars. It seems to me a boondoggle.
I’ll agree with that, cut it.
mkultra: You miss the point. The GOP’s biggest sin is not that it spends money. It is that it does not collect the money in the first place. The GOP’s biggest sin is giving unfair tax breaks/subsidies to those who least need it. My god, how many GOP hacks must be convicted before you get this?
Let’s convict every "GOP hack" that breaks the law then. I don’t have a problem with that.

However, you are missing the point. It doesn’t matter if it is deficit spending or surplus spending, the sin on both sides is all the spending. If they spent less money, then less would need to be collected. Taxation is now a political shell game that keeps the people debating who should be taxed and how the taxes should be collected. The people’s debate should be about how much is being spent, not how it is collected.

My issue with your spending concerns is that you seem to only be for cutting spending favored by the right, particularly for the Iraq war, and that you only bring it up to dissuade voters from voting for the deficit-spending GOP hacks. Once that is accomplished and Democrats are in charge, you’ll want taxes raised so spending can continue where it "rightly" belongs: on various social programs favored by the left.
 
Written By: Scout
URL: http://
The GOP’s biggest sin is not that it spends money. It is that it does not collect the money in the first place.

What’s this I’m hearing about a huge quarter trillion jump in tax receipts this year - coming mostly from corporations and wealthy individuals?

MK is just flat out wrong.
 
Written By: equitus
URL: http://
Lance,

Lets look at what people do rather than what they say.

We can assume that republicans in national office on the whole, don’t REALLY want spending cuts because spending cuts did not happen in six years of their total majority. The Dems don’t put togeather a budget, so we really have no clue what they would do other than our own substantial biases. To find dems with a budget position we must find a dem who budgetary authority, ie ... state governments.

Here is a dem who cut spending. Grandholm in Michigan. Her budget had $500 million in spending cuts this year.



 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
cindyb,

How about you read what I have posted. I am not defending the Republicans. Chait made the argument above and it was posted by mk. I just think it is a reasonable take on things.

It is not true we can’t say what dems will spend if they could. They tell us all the time the Republicans are not spending enough, except on Iraq. Well, except when they accuse the administration of not spending enough there. They also produce all kinds of position papers saying they will spend more on any number of issues. I have yet to see any papers which suggest that they would cut spending in total, or even slow down the growth.

As for Grandholm, if that is correct it is encouraging. I suggest if she puts together a candidacy for higher office on a platform of significantly lower spending the dems won’t support her, but I would. Is that in the cards?
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Well, considering most state governments MUST (by law) run a balanced budget, you can find plenty of Republican governors who cut spending as well...

My Man Mitch comes to mind...
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://

 
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