Debt limit food for thought - Politics and War Forum

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Debt limit food for thought
Thursday, July 07, 2011 7:53 AM on
It's been a while since I've really spent any time at all on the org, and even longer since I've posted in this forum, but with recent discussions I've had with numerous people regarding the current debt ceiling issue in Washington, I thought I'd throw a few thoughts out there:

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."- Barrack Obama, 2007

In 2007 and in 2008, when the Senate voted to increase the limit by $850 billion and $800 billion respectively, Obama did not even bother to vote (of course, it was campaign season, and he didn't want this to tarnish his anti-deficit rhetoric that made him look conservative). He did vote for TARP, which increased the debt limit by $700 billion.

In 2009, Obama asked, and got, the Congress to approve 2 debt limit increases. What happened to the man who made those statements on the Senate floor in 2007?

other facts to consider:

between January 20, 2000 and January 3, 2007, $2.6 trillion was added to the national debt, 5 million jobs were added, and tax revenues increased, and budget deficts that had grown were getting back to zero (the last deficit--FY 2006-2007--saw less than $200 billion added to the national debt). All this was under a GOP controlled Congress, and President Bush

between January 3, 2007 and now, $6 trillion has been added to the national debt, 8 million jobs have been lost, and tax revenues have declined. This has been under the Democratic controlled Congress, and a split between Bush and Obama presidencies.

Yet talk to any Democrat, or left-leaning independant, and it's "all the GOP's fault".

The current situation:

We currently borrow 42 cents for every dollar the Federal Government spends. At the rate we are adding to the debt, we're going to hit $20 trillion in the next 5 years. The more we borrow, the more revenue we require for interest payments alone, causing the budget to balloon beyond any expectation of survival.

Even the GOP is only talking about saving $2.4 trillion over 10 years. Obama has just come out saying that he wants $4 trillion in savings over the same 10 years. At best, we're still talking about adding over $6 trillion more to the debt. Anyone in their right mind can see how damaging this will be.

My personal thoughts:

Reduce and/or remove most of the tax breaks and subsidies. This includes changing the status of the lower income tax credits to prevent them from being subsidies. In other words, making zero the bottom line. You can not get a "refund" check for money that you have not paid. This will automatically free up some of the collected revenue to be put back into the useable budget. The combination of this and taking away subsidies for various industries, and tax loopholes, will increase the revenue without raising actual rates.

Now reform the entitlements, and make them scaled to prevent the sudden drop-off that causes people to fear the loss if they increase their income, and add job aptitude testing, placement assistance, and drug testing to the programs. We should not allow people te become stagnant on these things. They should be their to help when it is absolutely needed, but not be allowed to form a permanent class of non-producers.

Cut back all government pensions and life-long benefits, and add term limits. Political offices were not designed to be a career, and they are sucking the revenues as badly as the welfare class--putting permanent burdens on the back of the tax payers.

Pass a true balanced budget amendment, which not only shuts off the ability of the government to borrow money, but also includes a requirement that a minimum of 10% of all revenues to be used for principle payments on the national debt. At the end of the year, any extra must also be used for this purpose.

Let's here some thoughts, and if people can handle doing so, let's try keeping this on an adult level. Let's hear some other ideas for solutions, and why you might think they are the way to go.

Re: Debt limit food for thought
Friday, July 08, 2011 11:42 AM on
ive got to agree with welfare and tax reform. instead of just handing out money to people on welfare, make them earn it by working a job. i dont care how menial of a job it is, if youre getting welfare then you should work for it. pick up trash along side the highway. produce something...ANYthing. just give the govt some value for their money. this would encourage people to not sit around on their asses doing nothing.

people shouldnt get thousands of dollars for having too many kids, esp when they dont pay into the system. doing so only encourages the lazy to keep popping out kids and soaking up our money.

get rid of these billions of dollars in subsidies and credits that big oil and other huge corporations get. make them pay taxes equal to how much money they make

term limits would be great, but that, along with lowering their pay or benefits, simply wont happen

Re: Debt limit food for thought
Sunday, July 10, 2011 6:33 AM on
(tabs) wrote:term limits would be great, but that, along with lowering their pay or benefits, simply wont happen
Yeah, of course they won't vote this change for themselves. This would need to end up being a referrendum. The people need to take back some of the control, and this should be at the top of the list.

Re: Debt limit food for thought
Monday, July 11, 2011 3:50 PM on
While I agree with what you said if we dont riase the debt ceiling it will make the problems Greece is having seem like a cakewalk.

- 2004 Cavalier - 124k, owned since new

Re: Debt limit food for thought
Monday, July 11, 2011 6:21 PM on
Rob wrote:While I agree with what you said if we dont riase the debt ceiling it will make the problems Greece is having seem like a cakewalk.
Agreed. They do need to raise it, but only enough to get through the end of the year at the current spending levels. We can not go on spending the way we are. They have to balance the budget.

Although an immediate change would be socially disastrous right now, not fixing the problem is only postponing the inevitable. It needs to be dealt with.

Re: Debt limit food for thought
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 10:49 AM on
most americans can't spend within ther means why would we expect the goverment too. reality is, anyone hard nosed enough to cut spending and make a balanced budget won't likely make it into office because the opposing side will attack pointing out all the programs and what have you that he wants to cut. sad part is we need to cut more and do more then a balanced budget. a balanced budget is just spending what we make. we need to spend less then we make. the country is on a fast track to destroy itself because everyone is about having things given to them rather then cut back and living within there means. Jon Q public doesnt care about the budget as long as he gets his check from them.!/Square1Photography
Re: Debt limit food for thought
Thursday, July 14, 2011 3:38 AM on
Well about the debt limit - I think the argument is off course. The debt limit is about making good on current debt, and obligations we have already made via budget. Therefore I don't think that budget matters should have anything to do with talk of raising the debt limit. Defaulting on our debt means means our credit rating takes a hit. We ALREADY owe tons of debt and a good part of our budget just involves paying the INTEREST on that debt. Consider how much we pay in interest alone, and that is with us getting the best interest rates possible. That is part of what makes that AAA credit rating so damn important.

Loose that rating, and those interest rates will rise - and therefore they will eat alot more of our budget. All this talk about cutting the budget will only spite the budget for the long term if we default. It will effect the dollar in a large way too, and potentially the US Dollar's place as the world standard. Oil for example, trades in US Dollars - and this could change. China has been positioning since the recession began to replace the US Dollar with their own currency(Yuan). This may give them what they need to pull it off.

Credit agencies are already beginning to evaluate a possible negative change in our credit rating even before default - only because we actually are letting it get this far. It may already be to late to dodge the bullet, but actually defaulting will have a bigger negative effect than "almost" defaulting. You debate how much to spend at budget time. This is not that time.

What politicians are doing to get what they want is alot like this scene from Blazing Saddles
Only they might accidentally pull the trigger.

Regarding the budget though we do need solutions. These solutions I don't think should be found at the barrel of a gun we are pointing at our own heads. Yeah that might be a slight exaggeration but I think the point gets across. Well our politicians are so damn worried about fighting over every area they disagree about and demonizing every move the other side makes into something it is not, that they pay no attention towards doing at least the things that would not be controversial. Could we could just take care of that stuff first, then look at the points of disagreement? At least you could get SOMETHING done!

Lets take one of those entitlements - Food Stamps. Republicans would like to fund it less(if not eliminate it depending on who you talk too). Democrats would fund it more or at least maintain it. What if instead of worrying so damn much about how much money you fund it with(aka how much money you throw at it), you start thinking about how to spend the money it gets more wisely?

You could (and people always DO) spend food stamp benefits on stuff that really should not be covered. I don't mean alcohol/tobacco - because contrary to rumors you cannot buy those with food stamp benefits(although the same card may also access any cash benefits for those who have that as well - which could in theory). I speak of people buying Hershey Bars, Pepsi, Chips Ahoy, etc. Now I completely support social safety nets like food stamps - that stops people from going hungry who often need it (even if you also have some people who just take advantage of the system). But... I don't support taxpayer dollars paying for anything beyond what is nutritionally necessary and good. If the people who have food stamps want these LUXURY items as well, then let them pay for them with their own money.

America probably has the fattest poor people in the world. I think that speaks volumes in favor of reform. Allowing people to spend taxpayer dollars on their chocolate addictions is a colossal waste of money in more ways than one. Besides loads of money wasted on the products they don't need, this has another "huge effect" - pun intended. Restricting food stamp benefits to REAL FOOD will save lots of money directly on the budget, and in ways that don't show up so obviously in the budget yet still effect it. These people become very unhealthy on the taxpayer's dime, then the taxpayer gets to pay for the healthcare they now need - Obamacare or no this was already true. Make these people buy only real food(save what little junk food they can afford on their own dime), and you save tons on healthcare too. Perhaps beaches will be nicer to visit.

I'm talking only real food - stuff like
Canned soup
Crackers(not flavored cheese crackers etc)
Fresh/frozen/canned veggies
Fresh/canned fruit
Fresh/frozen meat
Sauces/spices(adds options to the noodles etc)
Fruit Juices(versus the Pepsi they buy now)
Bottled Water(not everyone has good enough tap water - myself included)
Sugar free water enhancers like tea bags and coffee. No Koolaid etc.

I'm on the fence about frozen pizza(more so for) and TV dinners(more so against). Partially I think that if a person is without a job or under-employed, then they probably have time to actually prepare and cook their own meal. If they want more than this, they can go work. If for some reason they cannot work, then at least they will not starve.

If you did this - you would not need to cut the budget for Food Stamps. Most likely, people would simply not spend a good portion of their benefits anymore. Therefore, you will spend less money on it no matter what the budget says, and people will not go hungry. Yes, this will hurt the economy in the short term. Companies making junk food/candy will take a hit as will any store that accepts food stamps. I think its worth the pain. Anytime spending decreases in almost any area - this will happen. Ideally, we do things that cut effective spending during good economic times. But people are demanding it now. So here we are.

There are probably solutions like this to most any Government program. Do stuff like this, and our budget will look much nicer long term. I have some other things to say, but this post is long enough already. I may do it later.

Re: Debt limit food for thought
Thursday, July 14, 2011 10:46 AM on
i could support that overhaul to food stamps for sure. it would be pretty damn hard to implement, especially on the store level, but worth it in the end

Re: Debt limit food for thought
Thursday, July 14, 2011 9:50 PM on
(tabs) wrote:i could support that overhaul to food stamps for sure. it would be pretty damn hard to implement, especially on the store level, but worth it in the end
Well actually you just change some things around in the computer - for a lot of SKUs sure, but that's it. You do this at the corporate level and send the update down to all the stores. Things are already flagged as eligible or not for various programs including food stamps, so you would just be flipping a bit on everything now ineligible. It might be initially more work for what few mom-and-pop stores remain. A generous deadline can solve that issue. Once its done though, its no extra work beyond what they already do.

Re: Debt limit food for thought
Friday, July 15, 2011 4:49 AM on
i like that your argument was based on someoens chocolate addiction lol. i dont rememrber the last time you i have agreed with you as much man. i think you could just nock the sku's out of the card so basically they get charged for it. almost rings up seperataely. the problem goverment has is both parties want it there way and refuse to meet in the middle. meeting in the middle is the really only sane option when you have two opposing sides. take welfare for example im more on the republican side. but do i want to get rid of it? no i feel there are allot of people out there that need it. the problem with welfare is the way its setup. its basically setup that if you have any type of job you get kicked off welfare. so my johnson on welfare makes her money by not working. as soon as she gets a job even making minium wage she is cut off. problem is mrs johnson can't live off of minum wage so its easier and better for her to just not get a job and stay on welfare. if you had a tiered welfare system that pushed mrs johnson getting a job and instead of cutting her off. u just cut back her benefirts. she can be in the workforce trying to better herself and working her way off the system. as her situation increases her welfrare decreases till shes off. build a system the works at getting people off welfare instead of a system that basically forces people to stay on it.

the debt ceiling is seperate from the budget but at the same time tied to it. if you were spending as much money trying to pay down that debt, that is less money in your budget your spending. the problem is we just plain overspend. everyone wants to create all these programs to help people but reality is we just dont have the money. it will come to a breaking point if its not looked at. and reality is we just have to cut our spending. that or just make people pay more and more and more. in my house if were not making the money, we go without. it may suck for a while but thast the way it is. you cut way back, get your budget back on track and then you add thigns back in as money allows. somehow the goverment began a policy of lets spend whatever we want regardless of how much money we have.!/Square1Photography
Re: Debt limit food for thought
Tuesday, July 19, 2011 12:22 PM on
the balanced budget amendment is the single most important piece of legislation in the last 75 years.

Re: Debt limit food for thought
Thursday, July 21, 2011 3:50 AM on
Re: Debt limit food for thought
Thursday, July 21, 2011 4:53 AM on
ewwwww yeah she might have helped herself to do a little research on him before that remark,!/Square1Photography
Re: Debt limit food for thought
Thursday, July 21, 2011 9:55 AM on
i would have turned that question back to her. "yes i do, highest honors. do you?"

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