Our Common Good

Paul Krugman:

First, there are a set of tax cuts for higher income brackets and corporations. The Tax Policy Center (pdf) estimates the cost of these tax cuts, relative to current policy, at $4.3 trillion.

Second, there are spending cuts. Of these, approximately $800 billion comes from converting Medicaid into a block grant that grows only with population and overall inflation – a big cut compared with projections that take into account rising health-care costs and an aging population (since the elderly and disabled account for most Medicaid expenses). Another $130 billion comes from doing something similar to food stamps. Then there are odds and ends – Pell grants, job training. Be generous and call all of this $1 trillion in specified cuts.

On top of this we should add the $700 billion in Medicare cuts that Ryan denounces in Obamacare but nonetheless incorporates into his own plan.

So if we look at the actual policy proposals, they look like this:

Spending cuts: $1.7 trillion
Tax cuts: $4.3 trillion

This is, then, a plan that would increase the deficit by around $2.6 trillion.

How, then, does Ryan get to call himself a fiscal hawk? By asserting that he will keep his tax cuts revenue-neutral by broadening the base in ways he refuses to specify, and that he will make further large cuts in spending, in ways he refuses to specify.


GOP candidates promise to reduce the deficit but their economic plans expose their lies (by Current)

Salary of retired US Presidents ………….$180,000 FOR LIFE
Salary of House/Senate ……………….. $174,000 FOR LIFE
Salary of Speaker of the House …………$223,500 FOR LIFE
Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders …… $193,400 FOR LIFE
Average Salary of a teacher ………. …… $40,065
Average Salary of Soldier DEPLOYED IN AFGHANISTAN $38,000
I think we found where the cuts should be made! If you agree… RE-POST

If you agree… RE-BLOG (via thisismeellen)

I haven’t checked on these numbers, but even if they aren’t exactly right, it’s very, VERY clear that they (politicians) are paid way too much for what they do.

(via onemoondance)

This amount of inequality is obscene. Teachers should be paid what congressmen are paid, and standards should be consistently high so that we attract only the best. Troops should be paid double with ‘time-and-a-half’ paid when on active duty, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should be ended, troop numbers should be dramatically cut (somewhere between 1/3 - 1/2), again with high standards for acceptance to breed a leaner, meaner, more efficient military. Congress on the other hand should be made up of civilian legislators who work part-time while maintaing a career - putting them more in tune with the wishes and needs of the population.

As an added bonus campaign funds should be capped ($20,000 seems fair to me) and lobbyists should be served a restraining order so no corporate money comes near Washington.

(via waxpolitical)

If these numbers are correct, how the hell does the President get less than the Speaker of the Houseand the Majority/minority leaders?

Frankly, I can see paying the President a good part of his/her salary for life.  They have lost all privacy for life and it is not a job that allows you to go back to any kind of normal life once over.  But I don’t think that House or Senate leaders should get anything more than any other working joe/jane would get.  Especially if they lose the position because voters fire them.


Hunter at DailyKos:

Just a reminder on why we’re even in this mess tonight: it’s self-inflicted. Entirely. It’s entirely political, entirely partisan, entirely hard-right ideological, and it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the “debt ceiling,” or even the deficit, except as proxy for the one and only thing that does matter to Republicans: cutting social programs. Fixing the tax structure? Forget it. Deficits? Hell, Republicans have voted for deficits for a fine long time now. Didn’t bother them. They even said it “didn’t matter”—remember that one?
The Pentagon is not just incompetent. It is corrupt. In November 2009 the Pentagon’s Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), the federal watchdog responsible for auditing oversight of military contractors, raised the question of criminal wrongdoing when it found that the audits that did occur were riddled with serious breaches of auditor independence. One Pentagon auditor admitted he did not perform detailed tests because, “The contractor would not appreciate it.” Why would the Pentagon allow its contractors to get away with fraud? To answer that question we need to understand the incestuous relationship between the Pentagon and its contractors that has been going on for years, and is getting worse. From 2004 to 2008, 80 percent of retiring three and four star officers went to work as consultants or defense industry executives. Thirty-four out of 39 three- and four-star generals and admirals who retired in 2007 are now working in defense industry roles — nearly 90 percent. Generals are recruited for private sector jobs well before they retire. Once employed by the military contractor the general maintains a Pentagon advisory role.

Why is the Most Wasteful Government Agency Not Part of the Deficit Discussion? (via azspot)

Citizens with the least disposable income are continually asked to sacrifice with those with the most toys get bonuses (which we could live off of for years!) and never have their purchases questioned.   We get forced to charge our utilities on a credit card with the prayer of getting a job or finding a better paying one, while they seldom think twice about having a second house or an extra BMW sitting in the garage.  And they wonder why more citizens are talking about income inequality and class warfare. ~SarahLee


In the Bush era, Republicans believed in passing tax cuts without paying for them, expanding government without paying for it, and going to war without paying for it. When asked, these “fiscally conservative” Republicans admit that they saw the entire eight years as a period in which it was “standard practice not to pay for things.”

In the Obama era, as Adam Serwer explained this morning, Republicans are even further from the “fiscally conservative” label they (and too many reporters) claim the GOP deserves.

The GOP of today isn’t so much committed to not running a deficit as it is to cutting the social safety net, which is why the debt ceiling talks are stalling over tax increases. It’s a miracle of messaging that Republicans have managed to persuade reporters to continue referring to them as “fiscal conservatives,” since the label implies a level of responsibility that the GOP simply hasn’t shown. Republicans refuse to raise taxes at all despite the fact that rates are at historically low levels. […]

Now, I’m not one to find the label “fiscal conservative” particularly impressive since I think there are times the government needs to run a deficit. But to the extent there’s someone operating with a “fiscal conservative” viewpoint in these negotiations, it’s the president. That’s much to the chagrin of liberals, who argue correctly that the last thing the country’s anemic recovery needs is more cuts to government spending. But if we are going to continue to use terms like “fiscal conservative,” we should be clearer about what they actually mean.

Quite right. For good or ill, President Obama is taking fiscal conservatism very seriously right now. After the short-term Recovery Act, the White House has insisted every new initiative be fully paid for, and as of last week, it’s the president and his team who’ve even offered Republicans a massive debt-reduction plan.

Which, of course, the GOP has no interest in pursuing.

The sooner reporters stop pretending Republicans are the “fiscally conservative” ones, the better.

~Steve Benen

So Republicans DO want shared sacrifice.  They just want it to be shared by more working Americans, not by CEOs.  And to make it simple for us to sacrifice some more, they want it to be easy for us to have our employers take a little more out of our paychecks to pay down our national debt. 

Now I already give my nation a short term loan by having more taxes taken out of my paycheck than I need to.  I help my government a teeny tiny bit and it helps me by not letting me see the money until it has accumulated into an amount I can do something with.  (I’ve been a horrible saver in the past).

Given the option to give another $5.00 or $10.00 a pay period to help our country, I would do it IF - and that is a big IF - the government kept improving Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security - not cutting benefits in any of them AND asked those making more than $5 million a year to pay substantially more in taxes.

That would seem fair to me.

One of the most influential investors in the world of finance has a message for lawmakers — particularly conservative lawmakers — on Capitol Hill: rejoin the real world.

In a prospectus for clients, Bill Gross, a co-founder of investment management giant PIMCO, says members’ of Congress incessant focus on deficit — and in particular, the manner in which they obsess about deficits — is foolhardy, and a recipe for disaster. What the country needs, Gross said, is real stimulus now, and a measured return toward fiscal balance in the years ahead.