Monday, January 30, 2006

Fiscal Responsibility

MARKOS MOULITSAS ZUNIGA, DAILY KOS - In 2004, we had $895 billion in discretionary spending, including $454 billion in defense spending. That means that we had $441 billion in non-defense discretionary spending.

Our budget deficit in 2004 was $412 billion. So without raising revenues, our nation would literally have to eliminate the entire defense department (which ain't gonna happen) or its entire non-defense discretionary spending to simply balance the budget. That's not including the $4.3 TRILLION in debt we current hold and should really be trying to pay off.

While the deficits are a clear result of Bush's tax cuts, the [conservative think-tank] Heritage Foundation would rather see a different solution -- drastic spending cuts. But given the size of these budget deficits, cuts from the discrectionary budget won't do the trick.

Heritage knows this because its solution is much harsher -- cut social security, medicare, and medicaid entitlements. We are seeing Grover Norquist's "drown the government" strategy in action. But remember, we weren't in this mess before Bush irresponsibly cut taxes and engaged us in unecessary foreign entanglements.

Concise version: Bush and a Republican Congress pass and extend huge tax cuts primarily for the wealthy, embroil us in a costly war based on "flawed intelligence" - thus increasing the country's debt dramatically - and want to solve the problem by eliminating or significantly scaling back Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Why do people vote for Republicans again?


At 8:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush sucks for spending. Tax cuts for "wealthy" (read, middle class Joes and higher, as defined by Democrats and other guilt-ridden affluent white people) are primarily because lower middle-class and poor people don't pay significant taxes at all (duh).

Did I mention that Bush sucks for spending?

Did I miss any unnecessary foreign entanglements? Was that Kosovo, Somalia, or what? (Wait, that was Clinton - Peace Be Upon Him)

It's not the tax cuts, it's the spending. Most taxpayers already pay around 44% of every dollar to the layers of government. How much more are normal working people supposed to give up so Republicans and Democrats can keep spending it on their pet projects?

War is war, though, and being safe is worth the cost. The enemy we fight has been at war with us for over 20 years, and they were getting bolder. Do you think we could have prevented another attack just by begging for mercy? ignoring it? Prosecuting the enemy in an American court of law? Nah... the was was absolutely necessary, and no 5-second sound byte will ever prove otherwise.

I have yet to meet an anti-war person that ultimately isn't just an anti-Bushite. Where were you when Clinton was bombing the Chinese embassy? You paid for that, too, by the way.

At 10:08 PM, Blogger Luke said...

Fiscal Responsibility:

Here's my question for you, anonymous poster: do you value fiscal responsibility in your government?

You obviously hate paying taxes, but the way I look at it, Uncle Sam is running up a huge credit card bill (the amount we pay each year in interest alone is staggering). We can try to pay our debt off today or continue to let it grow, passing it off to our children and grandchildren.

If you'll remember, Bush proposed huge tax cuts because we were running surpluses by the end of Clinton's presidency. Our trillions of dollars worth of debt still existed then and has only grown by leaps and bounds the further on into Bush II we go (just see the graph above).

Now, I don't know anything about YOU, anonymous commentator, but personally - if I'm the head of a household and my financial affairs are in as much of a mess as this country's, I'm not going to piss away my source of revenue; I'm going to try to maximize its benefit.

You seem to be most concerned about some vague notion of "spending." I don't know what that means - I assume you oppose school lunch programs, cancer research by the NIH, paying teachers, road and bridge repair, etc. This seems short-sighted, greedy, and stupid to me all at once.

The sad thing is, had you bothered to actually READ the post above, you would have seen that ALL discretionary spending (combined!) actually adds up to approximately the same amount of debt we're racking up each year right now. We would literally have to cut it all in order to just break even, forgetting entirely about paying back the trillions we already owe.

Since you think invading and occupying a secular dictatorship that posed an incredibly miniscule threat to us halfway around the globe was absolutely vital to our nation's security, it seems clear that you think the amount of money and lives lost there is worthwhile. So... the question then becomes - how do you, dear anonymous commentator, propose to solve the country's growing fiscal debt without returning to the fairer and more sensible system of taxation that existed under President Clinton's watch?

Guess you're okay with the poor and elderly starving or going without life-saving medicines, huh? How very.. um.. brotherly of you.

Foreign Policy:

For the record, I'm not anti-war by any stretch - but I am anti-stupid-wars. Embroiling this country - its resources and its fine young men and women - in chickenhawk escapades that serve no purpose other than to line the pockets of war profiteers is NOT sound foreign policy, pure and simple.

Our costly trek into Iraq, from my perspective, has made our country MUCH LESS SAFE (and it's cost us a pretty penny too). Aside from the fact that we went in on the basis of outright lies and fabricated evidence, ignoring the principles of sovereignty and international law entirely, we're left now with what? We inflamed the Middle East and the rest of the world for a generation, diverted precious resources away from the fight against al-Qaeda, created a breeding ground for new terrorists to take potshots at Americans, and destabilized the region - pushing Iraq from a secular dictatorship to a theocratic ally of Iran.


Also, contrary to what you claim, we actually supported Iraq during Reagan's term - certainly you've seen the Rumsfeld-Saddam handshake pictures? We haven't been at "war" with them for 20 years, as you say.. or wait - do you mean brown people? Hmmm...


I welcome your input, dear anonymous commentator, but please... give me real answers, not just "talking points."

Want to know what I stand for?

1.) Rolling back "breaks for billionaires" - irresponsible tax-cuts

2.) Maintaining support for federal programs that assist the American people (the poor, elderly, and children included)

3.) Paying off this country's debt

4.) SMART foreign policy - based on facts, common sense, and more than flight-suit false bravado



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