Tag Archives: budget deficit

Deficits and Politics

23 Feb


Yes, Karl Rove once said, “Deficits don’t matter” in an interview with Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic.  Of course, he readily leaves that historical point out of the deficit hawk ramblings he pens each week for The Wall Street Journal.  The intellectual dishonesty and political games of the right are so mind numbingly tedious and obvious that it is beyond the pale that anyone buys any of the bullshit these guys are selling nowadays.  It seems as if the the sum total of the Republican platform is to make demonstrably untrue statements in public and then call everyone a partisan for pointing out that the original statement was untrue, call it “Palin Politics”.  Let’s try and get back to some actual facts, shall we?

Take a look at a recently released report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities based upon data from the Congressional Budget Office.

Just two policies dating from the Bush Administration — tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — accounted for over $500 billion of the deficit in 2009 and will account for almost $7 trillion in deficits in 2009 through 2019, including the associated debt-service costs. [6] (The prescription drug benefit enacted in 2003 accounts for further substantial increases in deficits and debt, which we are unable to quantify due to data limitations.) These impacts easily dwarf the stimulus and financial rescues. Furthermore, unlike those temporary costs, these inherited policies (especially the tax cuts and the drug benefit) do not fade away as the economy recovers.

Yeah, damn that commie pinko big spending liberal Obama for loading up the deficit!  Things were much more constrained and responsible under Republican stewardship!

The reality is that chart matters politically and should be shown as often as possible by Democrats leading up to the mid-term elections.  However, there is a bigger picture here.  We need to start having some realistic and honest discussions about Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security and our national priorities if we are to really control our long term spending.  Shame is, not many elected officials aside from the President and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin seem interested in having that intellectually honest discussion.

Hell, we can barely get Democrats and Republicans in the same room to discuss healthcare without everyone thinking a “trap” is being set.

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One last resource to take a look at is this report, which I have been skimming over the past week.  It’s fascinating if you’re interested in the blocking and tackling of deficits, government spending and general policy wonkiness.  I found it sourced on The Atlantic and the interview and summary are absolutely worth a read, especially if you don’t have the stamina for the full report.

President Obama secured the support of Republican leaders for his bipartisan commission to look at ways to reduce our long term debt, but the GOP insists that any solutions with tax increases will be dead on arrival. So what would a sensible budget reform plan look like if we refused to raise taxes? Or, for that matter, if we refused to cut spending, and only raised taxes?

Rudolph Penner, former director of the Congressional Budget Office under President Reagan, has answers. With a team of academics, business people and public administrators, he answered those two questions in a monster report from the National Academies Committee on the Fiscal Future of the United States.

A key takeaway?

“The thought of actually cutting the tax burden is really quite implausible.”

Three Point Two Billion Dollar Deficit [UPDATED]

24 Nov

That’s what our alleged legislature in Albany is arguing about.  How to cut $3.2 billion from a bloated budget using an out-of-control, petulant adolescent of a legislature.  They all hate each other, says Fred Dicker in the New York Post.  Who needs Republican opposition when the Democrats run the state, and they hate each others’ guts?

I saw someone write a blog post somewhere about receiving a piece of literature from Assemblyman Mike Jim Hayes, a Williamsville Republican, and in it he patted himself on the back for fighting the Democrats and their free-spending, high-taxing ways.  That’s all well and good, and to be expected from an Albany politician, because Albany is all about facile, lowest-common-denominator politics.

Consider the fact that Washington is resembling Albany more and more each day.  Fucking douche chills, right?

The blog post I can’t find and therefore can’t link to (I thought it was Burton’s Briefs, but I don’t see it there), went on to become an open letter to Assemblyman Hayes, and therefore by extension all Albany politicians.  Don’t send us lit telling us how you’re fighting Shelly Silver tooth and nail.  Don’t tell us you’re halting the Democrats in their socialist tracks.  The state budget crisis is very palpable and real, and now is the time for Albany politicians to start acting like fucking grownups.

Sorry, let me rephrase that.

It’s time for Albany politicians to snap out of it and stop acting like Albany politicians, and start acting instead like intelligent adults (to the extent possible) and reach across the aisle, and find some common ground to reduce the size, cost, and scope of state government.  $3.2 billion is just 2009’s problem.  It’s believed that next year’s problem will be three times that amount.  We obviously can’t, for instance, force a rapprochement between the state Senate’s African-American caucus and its Latino caucus (the rift, incidentally, that brought about the absolutely imbecilic “coup” attempt”.  We can’t force politicians to stop facilitating casual corruption.  Not now, anyway.

Stuff like this almost-there-authority-reform shows that they know exactly what the problems are, but they don’t have the political will to do everything that’s needed to fix them.

Albany is such a pile of fail that its politicians who have recently made attempts to run for political office in competitive races have failed pretty miserably.  Jim Tedisco and Dede Scozzafava remain in the Assembly, and they were supposed to be sure bets for congressional seats, both.  It’s not just the fact that Albany is no record to run on, but that gerrymandering ensures their easy re-election to their Albany seats over and over again.

So, it’s time to pay attention and start evicting the troublemakers and the cretins.

New Yorkers are like battered spouses.  Albany keeps giving us a shiner, but we always tell the ER that we fell down the stairs, and then take our abuser back. WTF.

UPDATE:  A commenter wonders whether this is “bipartisan” “ire”.  Last I checked, Albany featured failed leadership from both parties, and I’ve never shied away from making the point that everyone is to blame for the pond of tar and shit that Albany has figuratively become.  The reason I used Jim Hayes as an example is that I saw a blog post somewhere that I can’t find that specifically mentioned him by name.  Maybe it was on Speakup.  I have no idea, but that was the genesis of this post.   The use of my Maziarz photo has to do with the fact that (1) Maziarz gets away with the same crap everyone else in Albany gets away with, yet he also gets away with fronting like he’s a reformer; and (2) there’s like three levels of Fail shown in that photo.  I consider it to be a masterpiece.