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Lowering the Overhead

© Nick Anderson

As Forbes points out, 94% of the US debt problem comes directly from policies set during the Bush administration. At the end of the Clinton administration, the CBO was projecting a budget surplus of $12.7 trillion, but today it the debt is at $14.3 trillion. How did that happen? About 50% of that is due to the Bush tax cuts, and 12% due to Bush’s increased spending for two wars and the unfunded Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Federal tax collections as a percentage of GDP are the lowest they have been in over 60 years. But the Republicans refuse to raise taxes. In fact, they want to cut taxes on the rich even more, which is what got us into this mess in the first place. If cutting taxes for the rich creates jobs, then we should be awash in them right now. Bush cut taxes dramatically, but had the worst job creation in 60 years.

For Republicans to claim that they care about deficits is the height of hypocrisy. What they are trying to do will more likely destroy our country.



  1. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Republicans love deficits because they use them to cut programs they don’t like.

    Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink
  2. Mad Hatter wrote:

    It is simply true that they want to fundamentally change our country. They want to undo everything our fathers, grandfathers and greatgrandfathers have done to improve this country for the common man over the last 100 years and return us to what the country was like in the 1700s and 1800s…when the rich pretty much controlled everything.

    It is not about the debt or deficit…never was.

    Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink
  3. Jason Ray wrote:

    And we’re letting them get away with it. I don’t think the Democrats have a great plan either, frankly. I think 1032 and Mad Hatter are correct – the real plan is to undue all the federal programs they don’t like, stop helping all the people they don’t like, and give free reign to their friends to keep it that way.

    It’s much easier to scream “debt crisis” and then try to dismantle Medicare and Social Security – if there wasn’t a crisis, you couldn’t even begin the conversation. So, as they have been doing for decades now, they have manufactured a crisis to force the citizens to accept the radical changes they want to make, and they block any efforts to defuse the crisis until they get their changes implemented. And they are betting the Democrats will roll over rather than stop them – and they have decades of experience watching that happen, too.

    I am not a Democrat, and I do believe that the best governance comes from bi-partisan, pragmatic Congress critters that put the good of the country ahead of their personal partisan agenda. I have been supporting the No Labels group because I believe that. Unfortunately I don’t see that it will work in time to stop the catastrophe that our current political environment is about to deliver. I would gladly support a real third party if there was one, but unfortunately I don’t see it arising either and the last thing we can afford to do is to undermine the anti-Republican forces the way the Tea Party Is undermining the Republicans.

    Our only real hope is to throw the Republicans back out of power and hire Democrats that are more pragmatic and less radical left and then put them under enough pressure that they do what we need. It’s not a good plan, but it is beginning to look like the only plan we’ve got – the plane is crashing and while I don’t trust this untested parachute, staying in the current plane has only an unavoidable, fatal outcome.

    Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Permalink
  4. David Freeman wrote:

    If the Republican Party leadership were truly honest brokers, then I would agree with Jason’s desire for bipartisan governance being best. Certainly it worked fairly well with Democratic president Clinton and a Republican Congress with just enough reasonable Republicans to get compromises done.

    The part of Jason’s post that I don’t understand is hiring “Democrats that are more pragmatic and less radical left.” There are very few elected Democrats that are even remotely radical. The vast majority resemble moderate Republicans of the past. Republicans may call “ObamaCare” radical but it resembles the Republican proposals raised in opposition to Hillary Clinton’s healthcare proposal more than it resembles Hillary’s proposal. I just don’t see “radical” Democrats as being even a small part of the problem since they are being ignored by the President, Congressional leadership of both parties and by mainstream media.

    Democrats, on the whole, are fairly pragmatic. Most want to go back to the economic policies of the Clinton administration.

    Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink
  5. Jason Ray wrote:

    I agree that many Democrats are pragmatic. So are a number of Republicans. The challenge is the leadership of each party and how they control the process – Nancy Pelosi had better not be an example of pragmatic moderation.

    And, let’s also face facts – Obama and the Democratic leadership were visibly unconcerned about the deficit and the debt until the Republicans whacked them in the mid terms. Now that they realize the voters really care, they are taking reasonable steps, but I sincerely doubt they would be doing anything if they had held the House.

    We have a binary party system in a fuzzy world and both parties have major problems. I just think the Democrats have a head start on getting to the right place and it will be easier to influence them than the Republicans. And I would rather err on the side that at least tries to care more about the country as a whole, than the side that only cares about the top 10%.

    Friday, June 3, 2011 at 12:04 am | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    Jason, I disagree with the assertion that there was no concern about the deficit before the midterms. Obama’s health care reform bill was designed to be deficit neutral (as opposed to Medicare Part D, which was completely financed with debt by the Republicans). And I would assert that the main reason voters seem to care about the deficit is because they are being whacked over the head with it by Fox News and other corporate media, who don’t actually care about the deficit at all but instead just use it as a weapon to attack programs, policies, and politicians (like Obama) they don’t like.

    But other than that, I pretty much agree with you.

    Friday, June 3, 2011 at 12:56 am | Permalink
  7. Jason Ray wrote:

    Perhaps I should have said no concern about making significant cuts in the deficit or the debt. You are right, IK, the Democrats were (mostly) trying to keep new legislation deficit-neutral, which they had as a stated policy from the opening of the 2009 Congress. Deficit neutral is nowhere near trillion+ cuts they are talking about now, of course.

    I am not sure I agree that the only reason voters care about the debt and deficit is because the Republicans have made it the major talking point, but we are in violent agreement on the core issue – the Republicans dont really care about it either, and they have created the vast majority of the problem themselves as a lever to destroy things they don’t like.

    Friday, June 3, 2011 at 3:36 am | Permalink