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The Debates: Want to see a stark difference?
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Republican debate in Iowa. The question: "What sacrifices would you ask Americans to make to lower the country's debt?"

Giuliani:
"What we should be doing is restraining the amount of money that Washington spends, in a concerted way, with major reductions in civilian spending, using attrition, and returning — actually leaving more money in the pockets of the American people."
Paul:
"I think it's absolutely unnecessary to sacrifice. We want to give people more freedom, more chance to spend their own money. It's unnecessary."
Romney:
"We have in the federal government 342 different economic development programs, often administered by different departments. We don't need 342. We probably don't need 100 of those. We probably need a lot fewer than that.

We have 40 different programs for workforce training. There are probably five or six that are really working, and a lot that are not working terribly well. We can get rid of some of those.

We have 13 different programs to prevent teenage pregnancy. Well, they're obviously not working real well and we can probably cut it down to one or two that are making a difference.

[...]

And the sacrifice that we need from the American people, it's this: It's saying let the programs that don't work go."
Thompson:
"Our entitlement programs, by 2040 or so, we're going to eat up our entire budget.

But we'll go all day here, and nobody else will talk about that obvious problem that we've got and we've got to address.

The thing about is that we can do it now without hurting those programs, with actually strengthening those programs so that our kids and grandkids have them.

I don't think we, as American people, are so selfish that we're going to put this off the table, kick the can down the road and let everybody else solve that problem, you know, when our grandkids get to be working age."
Essential message? No sacrifice necessary. Instead, less government and less spending. If there is any sacrifice to be made, it should be made by our bloated government.

Democratic debate today in Iowa. The question: "Would it be a priority of your administration to balance the federal budget every year? If yes, how? If no, why not?"

Obama:
"So what I want to do is get the long-term fundamentals right. That means that we are investing in education, we're investing in infrastructure, we're getting our trade deals structured so that they're fair, and that we are also ending the war in Iraq where we're spending $10 billion to $12 billion a month. That is money that can be applied back here at home for critical issues."
Biden:
"I think it's pretty straightforward. And it's not a — you don't have to make a choice of balancing the budget and/or leading with the priorities that most of us feel strongly about, from health care, to education, to the environment.

And I'll just put it in real stark terms: It's about priorities ...

Just by eliminating the war, eliminating the $200 billion in tax cuts that aren't needed for — goes to the top one percent, if you add it all up, and by cutting somewhere in the order of $20 billion a year out of the military for special programs, from star wars, to a new atomic weapon, to the F-22, to the Nimitz-Class Destroyer, you can save $350 billion.

That would allow me to do everything I want to do — my priorities on education, health care and the environment — and still bring down the deficit by $150 billion."
Dodd:
"Health care costs have gone up 87 percent. Energy costs continue to rise. The cost of higher education — the cost right here at the University of Iowa has gone up 141 percent the last six or seven years.

So we need to have an economy here that's driving to growth, creating jobs, which is the best social program anyone ever created, with a sense of optimism here. And then, simultaneously, as you grow and deal with the underlying waste that's occurred, bring an end to the war in Iraq, which costs us $10 billion every month, that we can begin to put that discipline back into our process which all Americans are looking for."
Edwards:
"Well, first of all, what we have to do is get rid of the structural deficiencies in the American economy. And we have to create jobs, protect American jobs. We have to strengthen and grow the middle class, which is struggling mightily in this country today.

And one of the reasons that we've lost jobs, we're having trouble creating jobs, we're having trouble growing and strengthening the middle class is because corporate power and greed have literally taken over the government.

And we need a president who's will to take these powers on. It is the only way we're going to strengthen and grow the middle class, have universal health care, have a trade policy that actually works for American workers, have a tax policy that's not favoring big multinational corporations, but instead favors the middle class and working people."
Clinton:
"Well, fiscal responsibility is a very high priority for me. We don't have to go back very far in our history, in fact just to the 1990s, to see what happens when we do have a fiscally responsible budget that does use rules of discipline to make sure that we're not cutting taxes or spending more than we can afford.

I will institute those very same approaches.

You can't do it in a year. It'll take time. But the economy will grow again when we start acting fiscally responsible. And then we can save money in the government by cutting out private contractors, closing loopholes, getting the health care system to be more efficient."
Common theme? More government and more spending coupled with "greedy corporations" and tax loopholes. And don't miss the underlying "cut defense spending" to free up more money to spend on more government. And I loved Clinton's version of voodoo economics.

The follow on question was just as interesting. Question: "When are tax increases necessary and appropriate, then? And given the current deficit, which of your priorities would be worth asking Americans to pay more for?"

Richardson:
"But I think what is critically important is that when we talk about our most urgent national priority, the war, we've spent $500 billion in this war. And these are funds that could go to our domestic priorities — to health care, to kids, to education, to improving our schools, to rebounding, also, in terms of our national spirit."
Edwards:
"So what we ought to be doing instead is getting rid of these tax breaks for big — the wealthiest Americans — big tax breaks for companies that are actually taking American jobs overseas.

This is insanity, when we're losing American jobs at the rate we are today.

And then, on top of that, we need to help middle-class families. I have proposed specific ideas to help them save, to help them send their kids to college, and to make sure that thy can pay for child care.

All of these things are aimed at making sure that we have — that we strengthen the middle class, that we can pay for things like universal health care — I mean, you can't have universal health care, to be honest with people, unless you have a way to pay for it, and this is how we pay for it."
Clinton:
"Well, I think it's important that we recognize how people feel in Iowa and across America. They feel as though they're standing at on a trap door. They are one pink slip, one missed mortgage payment, one medical diagnosis away from falling through.

I want to restore the tax rates that we had in the '90s. That means raising taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals. I want to keep the middle class tax cuts. And I want to start making changes that will actually save us money — save us money in our Medicare budget, save us money for the average American."
I got a huge laugh out of the Clinton claim that she wanted to keep the middle class tax cuts. As I recall, the "tax rates we had in the '90s" didn't include one, as promised, because Bill Clinton said we couldn't afford it.

But the point again is only government can do what needs to be done. And the only thing which is stopping us from living in the utopia these people envision are corporations, the rich and the Republicans who "protect" them.

An amazing and stark difference drawn between the two sides, at least in this "debate".
 
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Comments
I am impressed by Mitt and Fred’s answers, having some details, rather then simple soundbites.

Biden wants to cut the military. Surprise surprise.

Edwards appears to want to be crowned King (Queen?): And we need a president who’s will to take these powers on.

I think the common theme is that all the Democrats want more and more control of peoples lives and money.
 
Written By: William Teach
URL: http://www.thepiratescove.us
Wasn’t somebody around here just telling us that no administration of any variety has ever managed to shrink the federal government? Hasn’t the current Republican president spent like a drunken sailor? Per CATO he has. On the entitlement side didn’t the current Republican president give us the biggest new entitlement since Johnson?

So "no sacrifice needed" makes a great sound-bite, but it’s pie in the sky. One of these, let’s charitably call them unlikely, solutions is especially egregious. If Romney thinks that he can ax non-performing abstinence-only programs, he’s delusional.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
So what I want to do is get the long-term fundamentals right. That means that we are investing in education,
Obama should be pleased with Bush then, on this account at least, since Bush has more than doubled education spending from the previous administration, from 35 billion to over 70 billion last I checked, (under Clinton there was an @ 18% increase, GHW Bush @ 40% increase, Reagan @ 25% and Carter @ 90%).
 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
Wasn’t somebody around here just telling us that no administration of any variety has ever managed to shrink the federal government?
That’s right. But do you understand the implications of a continuous increase above the rate of growth? Government will consume more and more of the economy, which itself will strangle growth and lead to stagnation. Various countries in Europe are giving us a nice preview of the results.

So there are two possibilities: (1) government growth drops at some point below growth in the overall economy (so that size of the government relative to the economy is reduced), or (2) government grows until it consumes virtually all of the economy. Number 2 means inevitable meltdown. That makes number 1 worth fighting for, no matter how long we’ve gone unable to do it.

Now, it might be politically impossible. But "might be" isn’t the same thing as "is", so some of us will continue to fight that battle. Unlike those who have given up and decided to eventually turn their lives over to government, which apparently includes you.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I note that you did not include Huckabee’s response with the Republicans. Is is perhaps that other than his stance on abortion, he really should be in the Democrat debates?
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
I liked all the GOP answers, but Romney’s was the best simply because that is the way you have to sell this to the American people. The media will decree any program cut and most people shake their head in disgust that the evil Republicans would stop teen pregnancy counseling, but when its presented as Romney did, that same Average Joe American will think the exact opposite.

But, who can really deliver on this? I’d have to say I’d trust Romney & Guiliani more because they have executive experience.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I note that you did not include Huckabee’s response with the Republicans.
That’s primarily because on that question, Huckabee’s answer didn’t really address it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I liked all the GOP answers, but Romney’s was the best simply because that is the way you have to sell this to the American people. The media will decree any program cut and most people shake their head in disgust that the evil Republicans would stop teen pregnancy counseling, but when its presented as Romney did, that same Average Joe American will think the exact opposite.

But, who can really deliver on this? I’d have to say I’d trust Romney & Guiliani more because they have executive experience
I think Romney has strong executive skills and if anyone can successfully cut wasteful programs from the office of President, I think he can.

But cutting government growth will require cutting more than what everyone agrees upon as waste. We’re talking deep cuts that will generate Evil Politician taking candy from babies stories by the Media. Unfortunately, none of the lot looks like they will do that.

Except Paul who wants to gut the military from what I can tell. But I also feel the depths of his analysis of the situation ends there too.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
"probably" too many training programs and "probably" too many development programs lol yeah Romney’s got his eye right on the ball sheeeesh.....
 
Written By: Blewyn
URL: http://
I could care less if a handful of two-bit programs are cut from the federal budget. While I’m opposed to them, their relative harm is trivial and getting rid of them would give too many people a false sense of accomplishment. Avoiding another massive increase in taxation and spending is my first priority. Reforming medicare, social security, and the income tax is my second priority. If we can accomplish any of these three things in the next 4 years it would be monumental. Everything else is gravy.
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Wasn’t somebody around here just telling us that no administration of any variety has ever managed to shrink the federal government? Hasn’t the current Republican president spent like a drunken sailor? Per CATO he has. On the entitlement side didn’t the current Republican president give us the biggest new entitlement since Johnson?
It is interesting that the Democrats caved to the Drunken Sailor, which means a $22 million smaller budget. So what should we call Democrat spending?

And as far as entitlements, Clinton tried to push through an entitilement that makes Bush’s drug plan look like a joke by comparison. It’s just that he/she failed.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Now, it might be politically impossible. But "might be" isn’t the same thing as "is", so some of us will continue to fight that battle. Unlike those who have given up and decided to eventually turn their lives over to government, which apparently includes you.
Keep on fightin’ the good fight there brother. But don’t pretend that your quixotic quest is a realistic answer to the concrete problem of the national debt.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://

 
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