Load of BS from the Center for American Progress about the economy.

28 posts / 0 new
Last post
sjmvideo's picture
sjmvideo
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 2 2010
Posts: 34
Load of BS from the Center for American Progress about the economy.

I just found this article by the "Center for American Progress" in my Facebook news stream. I'm not sure what to make of it, but it's extremely upsetting because it completely ignores the economic realities of the world. It continues the partisan Left vs. Right, Liberal vs. Conservative divide, completely distracts people from the real monetary issues, and supports growth as usual mentality. The claim by their "economist" is that "We are not broke."

If I had the knowledge and time I would address all the fallacies presented in the article. Since I didn't see anything here yet, I'm letting folks at CM.com know so hopefully some of you will start to use the sharing of this story as a way to wake more people up.

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1323
Unfortunately,you can only help those that will help themselves.

It's really sad this type of faulty reporting is what is considered news these days.  Very simple math proves most of this stuff wrong.  This article seems to completely ignore the fact that simply printing money is a tax.

On a related note, I've decided to try a new tactic.  So often when I talk to people about the issues their response is "we'll just come to your house if things fall apart".  I used to simply let it pass, but I now immediately come back with "No, you wont.  I won't be able to help you at that time, that's why I'm trying to help you help yourself now".  Don't know if it will make them think about it anymore, but it certainly gets more of a reaction than simply letting their comments pass.

I find it really distressing that about 1/2 of my friends are taking no action.  Several have refused to even watch the Crash Course.  I've resigned myself to feeling really bad for them when/if TSHTF, but you can only help those who will help themselves.  I think all the people who listen to stuff like this coming from the "Center for American Progress" will ony wake up to the reality when they are starving. Frown

 

ewilkerson's picture
ewilkerson
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 18 2010
Posts: 390
Actually, theoretically it

Actually, theoretically it is true, but look at political realities.  It has become a religion with Republicans to keep cutting taxes.  They forced Obama to leave all the tax cuts for the wealthy in the budget, and yet they criticize him for the deficits.  Ever since Reagan we have cut and cut until we HAVE to borrow to pay our bills.  I am not someone who believes in really high taxes, but it is stupid to cut them so much we have to borrow to pay our bills.  Now, though, we are in a precarious situation where the economy is so fragile it is hard to raise taxes.  But we are going to have to slowly do it.  Just keep in mind, the top 1% of this country controls more and more of the wealth.  We are loosing the middle class because of the last 30 years of tax policies, our schools are below standard, and our infrastructure is crumbling.  As an aside, Reagan's budget chief has said the Republican Party has gone too far cutting taxes.

We are, also, at the point of Peak Oil where things are going to get bad most probably.  This will make it almost impossible to touch the debt.  We are already in the process of defaulting on it with inflation.

Useyerloaf's picture
Useyerloaf
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 8 2011
Posts: 22
Actually, theoretically it

The result of tax cuts? As a Canadian visiting the USA I couldn't believe in the amount of decay since I last visited. I drove straight down to the gulf of Mexico, through town after town with street lights turned off, and roads full of potholes. One place on the interstate had  a couple of signs for fast food places still lit that had been closed for over a year, which I found out after getting off the interstate looking for a place to eat. The locals claimed the signs were left on to draw people off the interstate into town.

At some point you have to ask how is it that the upper tax range has been cut in half since the 1960's has been any good if a town has to regress to 1933 tactics? Can you justify more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy when you can't even keep the streetlights on installed in 1954?

ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
question
Useyerloaf wrote:

The result of tax cuts? As a Canadian visiting the USA I couldn't believe in the amount of decay since I last visited. I drove straight down to the gulf of Mexico, through town after town with street lights turned off, and roads full of potholes. One place on the interstate had  a couple of signs for fast food places still lit that had been closed for over a year, which I found out after getting off the interstate looking for a place to eat. The locals claimed the signs were left on to draw people off the interstate into town.

At some point you have to ask how is it that the upper tax range has been cut in half since the 1960's has been any good if a town has to regress to 1933 tactics? Can you justify more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy when you can't even keep the streetlights on installed in 1954?

Useyerloaf,

Interesting perspective.  Thanks for sharing that.  How are things in Canada in comparison?  I haven't been up there for many years to see for myself.

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3125
The Canada I see with some frequency
ao wrote:
Useyerloaf wrote:

The result of tax cuts? As a Canadian visiting the USA I couldn't believe in the amount of decay since I last visited. I drove straight down to the gulf of Mexico, through town after town with street lights turned off, and roads full of potholes. One place on the interstate had  a couple of signs for fast food places still lit that had been closed for over a year, which I found out after getting off the interstate looking for a place to eat. The locals claimed the signs were left on to draw people off the interstate into town.

At some point you have to ask how is it that the upper tax range has been cut in half since the 1960's has been any good if a town has to regress to 1933 tactics? Can you justify more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy when you can't even keep the streetlights on installed in 1954?

Useyerloaf,

Interesting perspective.  Thanks for sharing that.  How are things in Canada in comparison?  I haven't been up there for many years to see for myself.

I've spent some time in Toronto and Niagara Falls, ON and places in between over the last several years.  Toronto is a model city.  Beautiful with all the amenities.  It's a cultural center; has parks all over the place that are used by everyone; people are out on the streets recreating and going about their businesses with little anxiety about street crime; mass transit is efficient and fast; and I haven't noticed any neighborhoods that would compare to the low income neighborhoods in Buffalo, NY, its nearby neighbor to the south.  If you get a chance, compare Niagara Falls, ON to Niagara Falls, NY right across the river.  It's a sad commentary on how the US makes use of one of the world's premier natural attractions.  The Falls gets tourists from all over the world, but most stay and do their touristy stuff on the Canadian side.  The NY side is a portrait of blight.

My son has played travel baseball a little and had frequent games and tournaments in Ontario.  The parks and baseball diamonds in Canada are always well kept up and there doesn't seem to be any shortage of available diamonds like there is on the NY side.  A few years ago his team's home field didn't even have benches for the teams to sit on and the field itself was an embarassment, separated from the local mega-mall by a fallen down fence.

But those are just my observations. Embarassed

Not to be too one-sided, I admit that I much prefer the state park on the NY side of Niagara Falls to the Canadian side, which is way over-commercialized.

Doug

soulsurfersteph's picture
soulsurfersteph
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 16 2010
Posts: 204
Canada

I'm not a hawk nor do I want the US military getting its nose into all the far corners of the globe. But it's easy for Canada to have more money to spend on things like infrastructure when their big, friendly neighbor to the south takes care of defense for them. Never mind that immigrant Americans aren't swarming up to Canada in droves putting a huge stress on local economies. Canada has a much smaller population in general whereas America is a massive, behemoth of a country where economies of scale may not work as easily as they do for countries with a much smaller number of people to take care of.

Additionally, I've been to parts of Vancouver that looked like bombs hit it. Despite the fact that most of Vancouver is extremely nice and modern, it's not all that way.

http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/landscape-cityscape/192995-gigapixel-vancouver-olympic-slums-gross.html

http://safe-growth.blogspot.com/2009/02/pain-and-wasting-in-vancouver-slum.html

Highest HIV rates in North America - in a slum in Canada.

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1323
Continuously increasing spending
ewilkerson wrote:

Just keep in mind, the top 1% of this country controls more and more of the wealth.

So what?  If we massively tax the top 1%, still means nothing. The problem is too big.

ewilkerson wrote:

We are loosing the middle class because of the last 30 years of tax policies, our schools are below standard, and our infrastructure is crumbling.

Well it's certainly not from not spending money.

Education - spending continuously going up over the last 20 years. Second only in expenditures per student to Norway and Switzerland.

Transportation (including roads) has continuously increased as well.

And until 2008 fiscal crisis, revenue has grown every year as well.  So, hmm, I don't believe we have cut and cut, since that would mean revenue would fall.  Instead you should say we have continously grown government and spent and spent so we have to borrow to pay our bills.

 

MarkM's picture
MarkM
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 22 2008
Posts: 837
It's a spending problem
rhare wrote:
ewilkerson wrote:

Just keep in mind, the top 1% of this country controls more and more of the wealth.

So what?  If we massively tax the top 1%, still means nothing. The problem is too big.

ewilkerson wrote:

We are loosing the middle class because of the last 30 years of tax policies, our schools are below standard, and our infrastructure is crumbling.

Well it's certainly not from not spending money.

Education - spending continuously going up over the last 20 years. Second only in expenditures per student to Norway and Switzerland.

Transportation (including roads) has continuously increased as well.

And until 2008 fiscal crisis, revenue has grown every year as well.  So, hmm, I don't believe we have cut and cut, since that would mean revenue would fall.  Instead you should say we have continously grown government and spent and spent so we have to borrow to pay our bills.

 

Absolutely, rhare.

Reagan's problem in increasing the debt was not necessarily the tax cuts, but the lack of political will/strength to implement the associated spending cuts.

 

Useyerloaf's picture
Useyerloaf
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 8 2011
Posts: 22
Continuously increasing spending
rhare wrote:
ewilkerson wrote:

Just keep in mind, the top 1% of this country controls more and more of the wealth.

So what?  If we massively tax the top 1%, still means nothing. The problem is too big.

ewilkerson wrote:

We are loosing the middle class because of the last 30 years of tax policies, our schools are below standard, and our infrastructure is crumbling.

Well it's certainly not from not spending money.

Education - spending continuously going up over the last 20 years. Second only in expenditures per student to Norway and Switzerland.

Transportation (including roads) has continuously increased as well.

And until 2008 fiscal crisis, revenue has grown every year as well.  So, hmm, I don't believe we have cut and cut, since that would mean revenue would fall.  Instead you should say we have continously grown government and spent and spent so we have to borrow to pay our bills.

 

 

What's not often mentioned in these discussions is the fact population has increased, so of course the size of government on all levels will increase as well. Another is inflation, on can't compare costs from 20 years ago with the current situation due to inflation and the devaluation of the dollar.

Useyerloaf's picture
Useyerloaf
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 8 2011
Posts: 22
Canada
soulsurfersteph wrote:

I'm not a hawk nor do I want the US military getting its nose into all the far corners of the globe. But it's easy for Canada to have more money to spend on things like infrastructure when their big, friendly neighbor to the south takes care of defense for them. Never mind that immigrant Americans aren't swarming up to Canada in droves putting a huge stress on local economies. Canada has a much smaller population in general whereas America is a massive, behemoth of a country where economies of scale may not work as easily as they do for countries with a much smaller number of people to take care of.

Additionally, I've been to parts of Vancouver that looked like bombs hit it. Despite the fact that most of Vancouver is extremely nice and modern, it's not all that way.

http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/landscape-cityscape/192995-gigapixel-vancouver-olympic-slums-gross.html

http://safe-growth.blogspot.com/2009/02/pain-and-wasting-in-vancouver-slum.html

Highest HIV rates in North America - in a slum in Canada.

 

With all due respect,  the economies of scale, low minimum wage laws, lack of unions means things should be cheaper to run in the USA.  As for military spending Canada, with a population of only about 34 million, ranks 13th in the world. Canada also has one of the most cosmopolitan populations in the world due to immigration, which runs at about 250,000 a year. What we do have is higher taxation, social programs, healthcare and a "Locked box" old age pension system.

Canada went through a similar situation back in the early 1990's that USA currently finds itself. The country was on the verge of default, spending was cut, BUT taxes were raised. By 1996/97 the budget was in balance and produced a surplus every year until the Conservatives got in.  Against all advice they cut a sales tax by 2%, increased spending and brought on yearly budget deficits.

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1323
It's a spending problem!
Useyerloaf wrote:

Another is inflation, on can't compare costs from 20 years ago with the current situation due to inflation and the devaluation of the dollar.

Ahh, but the education figures were per student!  So they are increasing.

Inflation is a different issue.  Let's see, if we didn't have the Fed printing money to prop up the ever growing government, then we wouldn't have inflation.  It's because the money supplied is screwed with that we get the inflation - which is a substantial tax on the consumer.  I would much prefer direct taxation, of course politicians like inflation since it's not directly obvious the cause.  That way they can spend much more and make promises that could never be met and would not be tolerated if they actually had to tax people to cover the costs.

Anyway, on your population growth:

1990 - 249.4 million     Outlays: 1.253T   Revenue:  1.031T

2011 - 308.0 million     Outlays: 3.82T     Revenue:  2.17T

  • Population:  +  23.5%
  • Outlays:        + 204.9%
  • Revenue:     + 110.5%

So aren't things supposed to get cheaper the larger you get, you know economies of scale, or does it work opposite for government?  Sure you want to continue saying it's because of that population increase?  Off the cuff, that looks like about 7% inflation for the last 20 years (70/20) shown in the spending portion. and 3.5% inflation in the revenue portion.

Source(s):

 

Useyerloaf's picture
Useyerloaf
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 8 2011
Posts: 22
question
ao wrote:
Useyerloaf wrote:

The result of tax cuts? As a Canadian visiting the USA I couldn't believe in the amount of decay since I last visited. I drove straight down to the gulf of Mexico, through town after town with street lights turned off, and roads full of potholes. One place on the interstate had  a couple of signs for fast food places still lit that had been closed for over a year, which I found out after getting off the interstate looking for a place to eat. The locals claimed the signs were left on to draw people off the interstate into town.

At some point you have to ask how is it that the upper tax range has been cut in half since the 1960's has been any good if a town has to regress to 1933 tactics? Can you justify more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy when you can't even keep the streetlights on installed in 1954?

Useyerloaf,

Interesting perspective.  Thanks for sharing that.  How are things in Canada in comparison?  I haven't been up there for many years to see for myself.

 

We weathered the housing problem/financial meltdown fairly well, our banking system is more restrictive and most mortgages are traditional 20-30 year affairs. The banks did try get regulations eased up during the market run up, but were smacked down. We also had budget surplus's leading up to 2008, so we had more wiggle room.  The city where I live has a budget surplus, the streets are clean and infrastructure projects are ongoing.

Useyerloaf's picture
Useyerloaf
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 8 2011
Posts: 22
It's a spending problem
MarkM wrote:
rhare wrote:
ewilkerson wrote:

Just keep in mind, the top 1% of this country controls more and more of the wealth.

So what?  If we massively tax the top 1%, still means nothing. The problem is too big.

ewilkerson wrote:

We are loosing the middle class because of the last 30 years of tax policies, our schools are below standard, and our infrastructure is crumbling.

Well it's certainly not from not spending money.

Education - spending continuously going up over the last 20 years. Second only in expenditures per student to Norway and Switzerland.

Transportation (including roads) has continuously increased as well.

And until 2008 fiscal crisis, revenue has grown every year as well.  So, hmm, I don't believe we have cut and cut, since that would mean revenue would fall.  Instead you should say we have continously grown government and spent and spent so we have to borrow to pay our bills.

 

Absolutely, rhare.

Reagan's problem in increasing the debt was not necessarily the tax cuts, but the lack of political will/strength to implement the associated spending cuts.

 

 

Oh good old St. Ronnie. Even David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan's director of the Office of Management and Budget says it was misguided

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1323
Facts please!
Useyerloaf wrote:

Oh good old St. Ronnie. Even David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan's director of the Office of Management and Budget says it was misguided

A bit less  political rhetoric and a bit more facts would be nice. SmileAlso, if your going to quote someone, like David Stockman, then at least get it right.  Here is the original NY Times oped piece to which progressives refer.  No where does he say the tax cuts were misguided, rather we have quotes like this:

[quote=David Stockman - New York Times op-ed]

In 1981, traditional Republicans supported tax cuts, matched by spending cuts, to offset the way inflation was pushing many taxpayers into higher brackets and to spur investment. The Reagan administration’s hastily prepared fiscal blueprint, however, was no match for the primordial forces — the welfare state and the warfare state — that drive the federal spending machine.

Soon, the neocons were pushing the military budget skyward. And the Republicans on Capitol Hill who were supposed to cut spending exempted from the knife most of the domestic budget — entitlements, farm subsidies, education, water projects. But in the end it was a new cadre of ideological tax-cutters who killed the Republicans’ fiscal religion.

He goes on in many ways to talk about the massive spending problems and loss of fiscal responsibility from the Republicans - my take is he assumes that the Democrats were already not fiscally responsible and what was lost was a balancing force.  Although, it was clear fiscal responsiblity was lost as soon as the Federal Reserve was created, and the final nail in the coffin was the 1971 break of the dollar from gold.

soulsurfersteph's picture
soulsurfersteph
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 16 2010
Posts: 204
apples and oranges
Useyerloaf wrote:

With all due respect,  the economies of scale, low minimum wage laws, lack of unions means things should be cheaper to run in the USA.  As for military spending Canada, with a population of only about 34 million, ranks 13th in the world. Canada also has one of the most cosmopolitan populations in the world due to immigration, which runs at about 250,000 a year. What we do have is higher taxation, social programs, healthcare and a "Locked box" old age pension system.

Canada went through a similar situation back in the early 1990's that USA currently finds itself. The country was on the verge of default, spending was cut, BUT taxes were raised. By 1996/97 the budget was in balance and produced a surplus every year until the Conservatives got in.  Against all advice they cut a sales tax by 2%, increased spending and brought on yearly budget deficits.

With all due respect, the America you describe (streetlights turned off, shabby parks, fast food signs luring people to ghost towns) is not the America I live in. I recently drove halfway across the country and experienced nothing of the sort. I also live in an area (Austin) where there are ample bike lanes, lovely parks, and new freeways being built - the only problem with this is the planners can't keep up with all the new traffic from the new people moving here.

Back in Los Angeles, we had beautiful beaches, lots of parks, including one of the largest urban parks, lots of places to hike, and all street lights working. OK, there are bad areas but as I've said, there are bad areas in Vancouver too. Los Angeles also built an entire subway system while I was living there. It could still be expanded but it is a very nice system and each station has unique art decorating it.

And I'll bet your mere 250,000 immigrants per year are screened and therefore more likely to be educated when they get to Canada...versus the 750,000+ *illegal* immigrants we have coming to America (for a total of 11 million), not to mention an additional 1 million + legal immigrants...

The total population of Canada is what...35 million? The total population of California alone exceeds that at 37 million.

I don't have anything against Canada, but comparing a large country, whose population is less than California, to America is to me comparing apples and oranges. It's kind of a pet peeve of mine, like when people compare European countries that are the size of small American states to the United States and then blast the US for not having the same benefits. Well, we're a lot bigger, it's not as easy to do. Not to mention, we don't have centuries of infastructure and cute old buildings to make us look "quaint" and pretty like Europe does.

And those European states wouldn't be half as cozy if the big U.S. wasn't shielding them with our military and providing worldwide economic stability. Once our military inevitably weakens (because it costs too much) and the European socialist policies become untenable (already happening in France, Greece, UK, Portugal) don't be surprised to see more civil unrest and possibly outright war in Europe.

There are certain things I don't like about America - strip malls, for example - but to make it out like it's falling apart is a bit much. It does depend on the area - of course some small towns may not be as vibrant as other areas, but I suspect Canada has some places like that too.

 

 

earthwise's picture
earthwise
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2009
Posts: 846
Great response!
rhare wrote:

On a related note, I've decided to try a new tactic.  So often when I talk to people about the issues their response is "we'll just come to your house if things fall apart".  I used to simply let it pass, but I now immediately come back with "No, you wont.  I won't be able to help you at that time, that's why I'm trying to help you help yourself now".  Don't know if it will make them think about it anymore, but it certainly gets more of a reaction than simply letting their comments pass.

 

Brilliant!  I always hear that remark when people understand what I'm doing and why, but I've always been at a loss as to how to respond, after all they're usually friends or relatives. I'm gonna try this response; it probably will be soon if history is any guide.

Useyerloaf's picture
Useyerloaf
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 8 2011
Posts: 22
Facts please!
rhare wrote:
Useyerloaf wrote:

Oh good old St. Ronnie. Even David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan's director of the Office of Management and Budget says it was misguided

A bit less  political rhetoric and a bit more facts would be nice. SmileAlso, if your going to quote someone, like David Stockman, then at least get it right.  Here is the original NY Times oped piece to which progressives refer.  No where does he say the tax cuts were misguided, rather we have quotes like this:

[quote=David Stockman - New York Times op-ed]

In 1981, traditional Republicans supported tax cuts, matched by spending cuts, to offset the way inflation was pushing many taxpayers into higher brackets and to spur investment. The Reagan administration’s hastily prepared fiscal blueprint, however, was no match for the primordial forces — the welfare state and the warfare state — that drive the federal spending machine.

Soon, the neocons were pushing the military budget skyward. And the Republicans on Capitol Hill who were supposed to cut spending exempted from the knife most of the domestic budget — entitlements, farm subsidies, education, water projects. But in the end it was a new cadre of ideological tax-cutters who killed the Republicans’ fiscal religion.

He goes on in many ways to talk about the massive spending problems and loss of fiscal responsibility from the Republicans - my take is he assumes that the Democrats were already not fiscally responsible and what was lost was a balancing force.  Although, it was clear fiscal responsiblity was lost as soon as the Federal Reserve was created, and the final nail in the coffin was the 1971 break of the dollar from gold.

Perhaps I didn't word it as well as I could have.  The point I was trying to illustrate is that Reagan's ghost is often called up to defend tax cuts, but reagans own advisor does not agree with the current GOP tax cutting policies. When the top rate for many of the wealthest who control the bulk of all wealth is only 15%, how can further cuts be expected to accomplish growth?

Useyerloaf's picture
Useyerloaf
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 8 2011
Posts: 22
It's a spending problem!
rhare wrote:
Useyerloaf wrote:

Another is inflation, on can't compare costs from 20 years ago with the current situation due to inflation and the devaluation of the dollar.

Ahh, but the education figures were per student!  So they are increasing.

Inflation is a different issue.  Let's see, if we didn't have the Fed printing money to prop up the ever growing government, then we wouldn't have inflation.  It's because the money supplied is screwed with that we get the inflation - which is a substantial tax on the consumer.  I would much prefer direct taxation, of course politicians like inflation since it's not directly obvious the cause.  That way they can spend much more and make promises that could never be met and would not be tolerated if they actually had to tax people to cover the costs.

Anyway, on your population growth:

1990 - 249.4 million     Outlays: 1.253T   Revenue:  1.031T

2011 - 308.0 million     Outlays: 3.82T     Revenue:  2.17T

  • Population:  +  23.5%
  • Outlays:        + 204.9%
  • Revenue:     + 110.5%

So aren't things supposed to get cheaper the larger you get, you know economies of scale, or does it work opposite for government?  Sure you want to continue saying it's because of that population increase?  Off the cuff, that looks like about 7% inflation for the last 20 years (70/20) shown in the spending portion. and 3.5% inflation in the revenue portion.

Source(s):

 

How much of the deficit outlays for 2010/11 are related to 2- 1/2 wars and the continued bailing out the financial markets? 

Not all inflation is related to monetary policy, a great many food commodities have increased in price because of the increased energy input costs. Cost per student also increases because of inflation, as an example,  if it cost $6500.00 per student in 1990 dollars would take $11,006.10 in 2011 dollars to pay for the same student.

http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1891
Agreed. So Let's Support The "War Is Making You Poor Act"

 

May I suggest we all get behind the "War Is Making You Poor Act":
http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/war-making-you-poor-act/53935

Removes the $154 Billion in 2011 supplemental funding for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (keeping in place the regular war budget of over half a Trillion dollars), using the savings to:
1. Cut all Federal income taxes for the first $35,000 earned for all taxpayers, AND
2. Reduce the deficit by $15 billion

Poet

Useyerloaf's picture
Useyerloaf
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 8 2011
Posts: 22
apples and oranges
soulsurfersteph wrote:
Useyerloaf wrote:

With all due respect,  the economies of scale, low minimum wage laws, lack of unions means things should be cheaper to run in the USA.  As for military spending Canada, with a population of only about 34 million, ranks 13th in the world. Canada also has one of the most cosmopolitan populations in the world due to immigration, which runs at about 250,000 a year. What we do have is higher taxation, social programs, healthcare and a "Locked box" old age pension system.

Canada went through a similar situation back in the early 1990's that USA currently finds itself. The country was on the verge of default, spending was cut, BUT taxes were raised. By 1996/97 the budget was in balance and produced a surplus every year until the Conservatives got in.  Against all advice they cut a sales tax by 2%, increased spending and brought on yearly budget deficits.

With all due respect, the America you describe (streetlights turned off, shabby parks, fast food signs luring people to ghost towns) is not the America I live in. I recently drove halfway across the country and experienced nothing of the sort. I also live in an area (Austin) where there are ample bike lanes, lovely parks, and new freeways being built - the only problem with this is the planners can't keep up with all the new traffic from the new people moving here.

Back in Los Angeles, we had beautiful beaches, lots of parks, including one of the largest urban parks, lots of places to hike, and all street lights working. OK, there are bad areas but as I've said, there are bad areas in Vancouver too. Los Angeles also built an entire subway system while I was living there. It could still be expanded but it is a very nice system and each station has unique art decorating it.

And I'll bet your mere 250,000 immigrants per year are screened and therefore more likely to be educated when they get to Canada...versus the 750,000+ *illegal* immigrants we have coming to America (for a total of 11 million), not to mention an additional 1 million + legal immigrants...

The total population of Canada is what...35 million? The total population of California alone exceeds that at 37 million.

I don't have anything against Canada, but comparing a large country, whose population is less than California, to America is to me comparing apples and oranges. It's kind of a pet peeve of mine, like when people compare European countries that are the size of small American states to the United States and then blast the US for not having the same benefits. Well, we're a lot bigger, it's not as easy to do. Not to mention, we don't have centuries of infastructure and cute old buildings to make us look "quaint" and pretty like Europe does.

And those European states wouldn't be half as cozy if the big U.S. wasn't shielding them with our military and providing worldwide economic stability. Once our military inevitably weakens (because it costs too much) and the European socialist policies become untenable (already happening in France, Greece, UK, Portugal) don't be surprised to see more civil unrest and possibly outright war in Europe.

There are certain things I don't like about America - strip malls, for example - but to make it out like it's falling apart is a bit much. It does depend on the area - of course some small towns may not be as vibrant as other areas, but I suspect Canada has some places like that too.

 

 

 

If you didn't get out of the country you wouldn't notice it as much as someone who had been away for 10 years and returned, just ask any expat back for a visit and they'll tell your the same " what the hell has happened to this country".  I can only report what I saw driving in the 1500 miles from USA from upper New York  to Panama city Florida, which is a good swipe of the country from north to south.

 

 

 

goes211's picture
goes211
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 1114
David Stockman in his own words.

If you are going to talk about David Stockman, lets hear what he actually says in his own words.

For a transcript you can check out the article.

http://reason.com/archives/2011/03/21/the-triumph-of-politics-over-e

ps.  What is with the comment subjects?  They changed again.  Now instead of requiring one, it takes the first few words from your post?  I wish it would just stick with one behavior.

ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
same impressions
Doug wrote:
ao wrote:
Useyerloaf wrote:

The result of tax cuts? As a Canadian visiting the USA I couldn't believe in the amount of decay since I last visited. I drove straight down to the gulf of Mexico, through town after town with street lights turned off, and roads full of potholes. One place on the interstate had  a couple of signs for fast food places still lit that had been closed for over a year, which I found out after getting off the interstate looking for a place to eat. The locals claimed the signs were left on to draw people off the interstate into town.

At some point you have to ask how is it that the upper tax range has been cut in half since the 1960's has been any good if a town has to regress to 1933 tactics? Can you justify more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy when you can't even keep the streetlights on installed in 1954?

Useyerloaf,

Interesting perspective.  Thanks for sharing that.  How are things in Canada in comparison?  I haven't been up there for many years to see for myself.

I've spent some time in Toronto and Niagara Falls, ON and places in between over the last several years.  Toronto is a model city.  Beautiful with all the amenities.  It's a cultural center; has parks all over the place that are used by everyone; people are out on the streets recreating and going about their businesses with little anxiety about street crime; mass transit is efficient and fast; and I haven't noticed any neighborhoods that would compare to the low income neighborhoods in Buffalo, NY, its nearby neighbor to the south.  If you get a chance, compare Niagara Falls, ON to Niagara Falls, NY right across the river.  It's a sad commentary on how the US makes use of one of the world's premier natural attractions.  The Falls gets tourists from all over the world, but most stay and do their touristy stuff on the Canadian side.  The NY side is a portrait of blight.

My son has played travel baseball a little and had frequent games and tournaments in Ontario.  The parks and baseball diamonds in Canada are always well kept up and there doesn't seem to be any shortage of available diamonds like there is on the NY side.  A few years ago his team's home field didn't even have benches for the teams to sit on and the field itself was an embarassment, separated from the local mega-mall by a fallen down fence.

But those are just my observations. Embarassed

Not to be too one-sided, I admit that I much prefer the state park on the NY side of Niagara Falls to the Canadian side, which is way over-commercialized.

Doug

Doug,

Thanks for sharing that perspective.  I had the same impression of Toronto versus Buffalo 35 years ago.  That was the last time I was in Toronto.  I was last in Buffalo 15 years ago and it was significantly worse than I remembered ... old, tired, and worn out looking with a big drop in population.  I hate to think what it looks like now.  When I saw Niagara Falls, quite frankly, I thought both sides looked rather trashy.    Same impression with St. Sault Marie.  In general though, I've always liked Ontario, have found it to be clean and well kept, the people friendly and polite, and I also found Ottawa to be a much nicer capital city than Washington. 

On the other hand, I think about the town I live in.  It's is good financial shape with many new upgrades and developments.  It looks significantly better than 15 years ago and is a great place to live. 

ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
benefits of US military umbrella
soulsurfersteph wrote:

And those European states wouldn't be half as cozy if the big U.S. wasn't shielding them with our military and providing worldwide economic stability. Once our military inevitably weakens (because it costs too much) and the European socialist policies become untenable (already happening in France, Greece, UK, Portugal) don't be surprised to see more civil unrest and possibly outright war in Europe.

I absolutely agree with you.  Despite its military spending, Canada has greatly benefitted from US military protection, especially during the Cold War.  Ditto for Europe.  The small size of the standing German army, for example, has allowed Germany to pour far more resources percentagewise into social programs than the US has.     

ewilkerson's picture
ewilkerson
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 18 2010
Posts: 390
I'm not saying the money in

I'm not saying the money in schools is the only problem.  There are others, as well, but with reducing tax  revenues as a percent of GDP and not keeping up our infrastructure we are looking more like a third world nation.  We could have had slightly higher taxes, spent more on roads and bridges, and not had as much debt.  Instead we buy the latest big screen tv, I-phone, and other junk instead of being responsible citizens.  I guess it really does no good to argue at this point.  We have too much debt to get out of without the bad times we are about to go through.  The markets have a funny way of telling you are wrong and straightening things out.  It's all about balance.

summersolstice's picture
summersolstice
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 18 2011
Posts: 11
markets versus taxes
ewilkerson wrote:

I'm not saying the money in schools is the only problem.  There are others, as well, but with reducing tax  revenues as a percent of GDP and not keeping up our infrastructure we are looking more like a third world nation.  We could have had slightly higher taxes, spent more on roads and bridges, and not had as much debt.  Instead we buy the latest big screen tv, I-phone, and other junk instead of being responsible citizens.  I guess it really does no good to argue at this point.  We have too much debt to get out of without the bad times we are about to go through.  The markets have a funny way of telling you are wrong and straightening things out.  It's all about balance.

I agree. But I also believe that the markets create the problem in the first place by evoking a desire to be upwardly mobile and - more importantly - to be able to display it. As you said, it has to be the lates big screen tv, Iphone and so on. That is the message that is delivered to potential consumers. It would not take much of an effort to instill a more socially or ecologically responsible behavior by using this fact in an appropriate manner. Markets have a much greater power to use people's habits and change them for the better than does the government. If taxes are raised, everyone will whine. If a car manufacturer built the fanciest high-end car with all the extra gadgets, equipped it with a hybrid engine, and created an effective PR campaign, people would do good and still feel upwardly mobile.
Unfortunately, it is a problem of stigma, greed, and short-sightedness, and it will backfire very soon.

soulsurfersteph's picture
soulsurfersteph
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 16 2010
Posts: 204
third world?
ewilkerson wrote:

I'm not saying the money in schools is the only problem.  There are others, as well, but with reducing tax  revenues as a percent of GDP and not keeping up our infrastructure we are looking more like a third world nation.  We could have had slightly higher taxes, spent more on roads and bridges, and not had as much debt.  Instead we buy the latest big screen tv, I-phone, and other junk instead of being responsible citizens.  I guess it really does no good to argue at this point.  We have too much debt to get out of without the bad times we are about to go through.  The markets have a funny way of telling you are wrong and straightening things out.  It's all about balance.

Have you been to Mexico lately? I mean, real Mexico, not the resorts. That's a third world country. America looks nothing like that.

I have also noticed that things in America have generally improved since the 1970s. Pollution has been reduced, cities are cleaner, and many run down areas in major cities have been "gentrified" and revitalized.

There are still places that are pretty beat up - Baltimore, for example, has lots of burnt out rowhomes. But that's not very different from the 70s or 80s...I remember going to a very bad area of Philly as a child and it was extremely scary and run down.

There's a reason a lot of sitcoms in the 1970s were made to look "gritty" - they were trying to show reality at the time. Welcome Back Kotter, Barney Miller, Sanford and Son, Good Times etc. were all showing the "real" America.

This idea that somehow America has fallen into disrepair in the last 10 years is just not what I see...even during my time in Los Angeles (which I left back in September), things improved dramatically since the early 90s, gang warfare was lessened (you get to know about this stuff when you have police helicopters flying over your home), many areas were revitalized, old malls were turned into newer, nicer malls. It's only been since the recession that businesses have shut down but that's not the same thing as streets and bridges falling apart.

And if some bridges are getting old, maybe it's just because they were built around the same time and they are coming up to their due date - not because America is somehow dropping the ball on maintaining them. The 520 bridge in Seattle is getting due and they do have plans to fix it. And everywhere I go (east/west coast) it seems there is always road construction. It was never-ending in Los Angeles, and I've noticed it here too in Austin as well as other places I've visited on the East Coast. I just don't see this "we're just letting everything fall apart" thing that some people are claiming (for political reasons).

Besides, some of that controversial "stimulus" money is being used around America to build new things and fix some stuff - here in Austin a new state building is being built "thanks to your recovery dollars." And I know people here who remember in recent memory when Austin's sky-high freeways were just regular roads - a tremendous amount of new growth and building has gone on.

But it's a big country - maybe not all areas are growing. But you can't judge the entire country just because you stopped in some crappy podunk town that has seen flight to the cities because there aren't jobs there anymore.

Useyerloaf's picture
Useyerloaf
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 8 2011
Posts: 22
third world?

 

 

First off I've got no political reason to make a statement regarding the decline of cities in the USA, I don't even live there. Second, 1500 miles from the northern border of the USA to the gulf of Mexico is not one "Podunk town", it's good swath through the bulk of the eastern USA. When one gets off the interstates you see more of this decline, secondary roads, roads that were pavement are now gravel. This decline is even more apparent. As a resident you would not notice a gradual decline near as much as some one who has not been in the country in 10 years. You might find that upsetting, but then the truth often is...

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments