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The Flaw in the Ointment


© Chan Lowe

The GOP scheme to cynically appeal to their older base by preserving Medicare for anyone over the age of 55 — while simultaneously screwing anyone younger than that — seems to have backfired.

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11 Comments

  1. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Anyone read about the S&P downgrading our rating to negative for the first time since Pearl Harbor? That puts us on par with places like Greece, Portugal, etc. Get ready for a real depression if we can’t fix this. How many of you remember 16% interest on home loans? I had one back then at 11% (an FHA loan) and thought I was lucky. See what those types of rates do for business growth.

    We simply cannot afford 1.6 trillion dollar deficits. Neither Obama’s 4.3 trillion over 12 years (a measely 358 bill per year) or Ryans 6.2 trillion over 10 years (620 bill year) gets us below a 1 trillion deficit. Even if we combine the 2 and use everything both have we’ll only get back to Bush’s highest yearly deficit. Taxing the wealthy, though a start, will only reduce the deficit by 70 bill year, which leaves us with a 1.53 trill annual debt.
    Lets:
    1. get rid of the TSA, let airports pay for their own security
    2. end all 3 wars
    3. trim defense by 200 bill.
    4. trim HHS by 500 bill
    5. trim discretionary spending by 100 bill
    6. eliminate ALL Bush tax cuts, not just the wealthy
    7. eiminate all corporate subsidies, including oil & ethanol
    8. Stop investing in other countries oil programs (10 bill to Brazil, 3 bill to Colombia, etc)
    9. Demand OPEC give us a preferred price on oil or we’ll cease protection services.
    10. Give Iraq a bill for our services, payable in oil or cash.
    11. Drill on land and sea and reduce our dependence on OPEC oil.
    12. reduce every depts budget not included above by 10%.

    Monday, April 18, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink
  2. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    1. End the wars/cut defense spending
    2. Rescind Bush tax cuts for the wealthy
    3. ????
    4. Deficit crisis evaporates

    Your oil ‘policies’ don’t make any sense. Any oil drilled here must necessarily hit the global market. Additionally, there isn’t enough oil to tap here to support ourselves in the slightest sense.

    Make demands to OPEC? How exactly would that demand go? “You better do such and such as long as you don’t cut off our oil!” Pretty sure we are at the shortest end of that stick.

    Give Iraq a bill for what, precisely? Destroying the country? Seriously, we went in guns blazing with not only no exit strategy but no plan for reconstruction. That was the huge failure in Iraq. And now you want to charge them for it? That would be like calling the police because a burglar is at my house, they come and destroy it with grenades and then charge me for the ‘service’. Leave such nonsense to The Donald where it belongs.

    Iraq is a huge cost to us, and it should remain EXACTLY that. We should learn from our arrogance and bravado.

    Monday, April 18, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Permalink
  3. PatriotSGT wrote:

    1032 – ending the wars and taxing the rich is just not enough. According to Obama, Gates has already identified and cut 400+ billion current and future spending from defense. If we end the wars and tax the rich we still won’t get close to a trillion dollar deficit. We need more. Your suggestions are like saying to a shop a holic, “just cut up 2 of the 15 credit cards you have”. Just not a good enough plan.

    The supply of oil hasn’t gone down in the last 2 months, nor has the demand gone up to warrant a 30% price hike. It’s speculation, like when the stock market goes down on “fears”. The companies didn’t change, it’s just emotional selling or buying. Same with oil. And we do have enough untapped oil and gas to make a difference. It is estimated that in the Rockies alone there is 3 times the total reserves held by Saudi’s. Right here.
    http://www.newsweek.com/2008/07/13/america-s-untapped-oil.html
    If we’re going to pay people, we may as well pay Americans. Lets tell OPEC either lower the price, or we’ll drill our own oil. See what they say when their biggest customer decides to shop somewhere else.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 5:57 am | Permalink
  4. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Just to clarify, you think that ending the wars, cutting defense spending, and rescinding the Bush tax cuts on the rich represents 2/15ths of possible/necessary spending cuts? If so, the only response I can muster is: wow.

    Re: oil. Did you read the link you posted? From your article:

    “They point to a 2005 RAND Corporation study that suggests a commercially viable means of extracting oil from shale may be at least 12 years off, if ever. Shell, a leader in the research effort for the past 25 years, has not sold a single barrel of fuel from shale. In fact, no one has ever commercialized oil shale in the United States. The extraction process carries with it significant environmental risks as well-a political stumbling block in a region of the country where water is an extremely precious commodity.”

    Another article, this one very recent:
    http://www.americanindependent.com/178876/despite-spiking-gas-prices-colorado-oil-shale-years-from-production-%e2%80%a6-if-ever

    So, again, if the threat is to tell OPEC to lower the price or else we will fail to produce enough oil to support ourselves, you might want to take that one back to the drawing board.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 6:59 am | Permalink
  5. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Stop being so literal 1032. I get it on the shale, but why are we not trying, not to mention the reserves in Alaska, off shore, and other places. I’m not a geologist, but it seems like we are not even trying. I think we’re closer to getting oil from the shale then a commercially viable solar/wind solution.
    On the budget, here’s my point, which you don’t seem to want to acknowledge. Using the widely thrown around 2 bill per week cost of the Afghanistan war. Lets also say that Iraq is still costing us 2 bill week and to make sure we don’t low ball the numbers estimate Libya as costing 2 bill week. Thats 312 bill a year, yes? Taxing the rich by the estimates thrown out last year during the tax debates was 700 bill over 10 years, which is 70 bill per year. The non war cost budget for defense was 660 bill last year, well down from 800 (which is still less then the HHS budget last year). Lets say we cut another 15% out of the defense budget (hard to do when congress won’t let them give up the engine project even when Gates doesn’t want it) or around 100 bill more. Those 3 total 482 bill, which still leaves us with a 1.1 trillion dollar deficit. That is too much. You can try to deflect the conversation away from the real point, but the point still remains.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 7:17 am | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    You two don’t need to argue about how we will replace the energy we get from oil. There are plenty of alternatives. The solution is to simply stop subsidizing oil — and I mean all subsidies, including paying for all the externalities that the oil industry costs us (yes, that includes the stupid wars we fight to keep the oil flowing). I promise you that alternative energy sources will suddenly be found, whether it is Thorium nuclear reactors, sun, wind, or whatever.

    If you believe in free markets (and I do), then let them work.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink
  7. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Got it IK and I do think 1032 and I are in the same book, maybe not quite the same page —yet.
    I agree with your free market analysis and that demand produces innovation and results. My concern is rising energy prices will adversely affect our most vulnerable citizens, the poor and lower middle class. As prices rise on gas and all the consumer goods including food it will impact that group more then upper middle groups and above. IMO we need to create the sense of urgency, but without penalizing our most at risk groups. How do we do that, I’m not sure.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 9:24 am | Permalink
  8. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Not sure when quoting you and copying a paragraph out of the article you posted became “being too literal”, but OK. My point is that there isn’t enough oil for us to continue on our own, so thinking that we can issue some ultimatum to OPEC is ludicrous. Your “we aren’t even trying!” nonsense is a Republican talking point. DRILL BABY DRILL! DRILL ALASKA! Alaska doesn’t have enough. Google the ANWR report.

    Regarding your other numbers, from politifact:

    “The left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities agrees with Krugman. The center’s 2009 report on the Bush tax cuts states:

    “The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts added about $1.7 trillion to deficits between 2001 and 2008. Because they (were) financed by borrowing — which increases the national debt — this figure includes the extra interest costs resulting from that additional debt. This figure also includes the cost of ‘patching’ the Alternative Minimum Tax to keep the tax from hitting millions of upper-middle-class households, a problem the tax cuts helped cause. Over the next decade (2009-2018), making the tax cuts permanent would cost $4.4 trillion, assuming that the tax cuts remain deficit-financed.” ”

    Not quite 700 billion over 10 years, I reckon.

    On defense: China is spending ~100b/year while we spend ~600b. That gives us 500b to cut before we would be knocked out of our #1 defense spending spot.

    End the wars, close tax loopholes for corporations. If it doesn’t get us all the way there, it gets us damn close.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink
  9. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Since I happened to see it and it seemed to be quite appropriate:

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201104190010

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink
  10. PatriotSGT wrote:

    1032 – the literal remark was limited to your comment concerning 2/15ths.
    My 700 bill figure only represents the tax breaks to the wealthy, not the entire package which was for everyone. I said “taxing the rich” only earns 70 bill/ yr. The 1.7 trillion over 8 years was for everybody. Stop mixing and twisting my words, I have enough trouble as it is without your help. :)

    Good point you made about Corps that I didn’t include in my original post but remembered later. We absolutely need to close those copr loopholes, but thats not likely to happen as politicians on both sides profit to well from their contributions.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 11:29 am | Permalink
  11. ebdoug wrote:

    One good thing Bush did while he was in office, just one: He made the deduction for a married couple equal to two singles living together. He did away with the marriage penalty. Since I started doing tax returns in 1983, I thought that was so unfair. I have always been single or head of household, but I still thought that very unfair.

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 6:19 am | Permalink