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Thread: The NEVERENDING Political Discussion Thread

  1. #2551
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    Because the people we elect are dumb. Next question please.
    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    A Public Finance 101 class will help you understand. A government isn't like a family.
    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    Dusting off my old public finance knowledge from Public Admin classes-Colio is correct. Governments aren't families and they aren't businesses. Governments provide services. What services get provided and to what extent is determined by the political process-you, me a couple million/billion other people..
    I understand that we elect idiots, and that government isn't a family (I have also taken many finance classes )... but having a blueprint for how the money is used is still essential. I am not someone who generally thinks that the government is awful and can't use money efficiently... but I do think there needs to be more accountability and transparency in where money is going.

    SS and Medicare are going to have to be modified. We are going to have to deal with the spending side of the equation. Printing money and providing services is the roll of government. Printing money to pay for debt payments and services we can't afford is not. At some level even the most liberal person has to see that spending is a problem. We cannot continue to spend like we are now without "growing" tremendously out of this recession.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  2. #2552
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Also, what does everyone think about politicizing the disaster relief? I respect Christie for saying what he thinks... it is annoying sometimes, but it is refreshing...

    Chris Christie drops bomb on GOP leaders
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/02/opinio...html?hpt=hp_c2

    Christie prosecuted the case by pointing out that hurricane relief had been provided more quickly to others: For victims of Katrina after 10 days and victims of Hurricane Andrew in Florida after 30 days. But residents of the New Jersey and New York coast have been waiting 65 days to date for some relief.
    Christie also accurately pointed out that Northeast states such as New Jersey and New York send more to the federal government in taxes than they get back in federal aid, unlike many of the red states represented by conservatives in Congress. The "makers versus takers" narratives fall apart fast when confronted with reality.
    Conservative activist groups such as Americans for Prosperity, the Club for Growth and Heritage Action all pressured congressional Republicans to vote against Hurricane Sandy relief, and while they helped block a bill from coming to a vote on New Year's Eve, the swift and unsubtle backlash brought a wise reassessment.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  3. #2553
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    I understand that we elect idiots, and that government isn't a family (I have also taken many finance classes )... but having a blueprint for how the money is used is still essential. I am not someone who generally thinks that the government is awful and can't use money efficiently... but I do think there needs to be more accountability and transparency in where money is going.

    SS and Medicare are going to have to be modified. We are going to have to deal with the spending side of the equation. Printing money and providing services is the roll of government. Printing money to pay for debt payments and services we can't afford is not. At some level even the most liberal person has to see that spending is a problem. We cannot continue to spend like we are now without "growing" tremendously out of this recession.
    I think I get what you are really focusing on: families & businesses are able to adopt a budget, but the Federal govt hasn't been able to for I think 3 years now.

    I'm not the most liberal, but I'm pretty solid left. My view on it tend to focus on the Bush tax cuts: our budget was balanced before those. When we go to war, there needs to be a requisite revenue increase (i.e. taxes) to fund it. If a new domestic/social program is created, there needs to be a simultaneous revenue increase (i.e. taxes) to cover it. We really started down this road in earnest in 2001 when Bush did his tax cuts without any corresponding offset in expense reduction. He then entered into a war (more expenses) without addressing the revenue necessary to cover it. He then entered into ANOTHER war (more expenses) without any corresponding offselt in expense reduction. TARP, while a stupid policy, did not really have that much lasting deficit impact. Likewise, the recovery measures (ARRA, etc.) haven't had that much lasting impact on the annual deficit. Both TARP and the recovery measures were more or less 1-time expenditures, though I feel like even those should have had a corresponding revenue increase automatically triggered when GDP & unemployment reached a certain point (indicating a recovery).

    TEA partiers can say what they will, but much of the structural deficit (cuts in revenue without addressing cuts in spending) was created under a short-sighted GOP President, House & Senate.

    However, I'll also be the first to say that the Federal government is horribly inefficient. One thing Mitt Romney, while an ignorant dolt, said that speaks to this problem is that there are 49 Federal job training programs reporting to 8 agencies. My brother is a defense contractor--he'll be the first to tell you that Eisenhower had it right when he said "in the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." Far too many on both sides of the aisle buy into the notion that defense does not waste. They are wrong, wrong, wrong.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  4. #2554
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    I think I get what you are really focusing on: families & businesses are able to adopt a budget, but the Federal govt hasn't been able to for I think 3 years now.

    I'm not the most liberal, but I'm pretty solid left. My view on it tend to focus on the Bush tax cuts: our budget was balanced before those. When we go to war, there needs to be a requisite revenue increase (i.e. taxes) to fund it. If a new domestic/social program is created, there needs to be a simultaneous revenue increase (i.e. taxes) to cover it. We really started down this road in earnest in 2001 when Bush did his tax cuts without any corresponding offset in expense reduction. He then entered into a war (more expenses) without addressing the revenue necessary to cover it. He then entered into ANOTHER war (more expenses) without any corresponding offselt in expense reduction. TARP, while a stupid policy, did not really have that much lasting deficit impact. Likewise, the recovery measures (ARRA, etc.) haven't had that much lasting impact on the annual deficit. Both TARP and the recovery measures were more or less 1-time expenditures, though I feel like even those should have had a corresponding revenue increase automatically triggered when GDP & unemployment reached a certain point (indicating a recovery).

    TEA partiers can say what they will, but much of the structural deficit (cuts in revenue without addressing cuts in spending) was created under a short-sighted GOP President, House & Senate.

    However, I'll also be the first to say that the Federal government is horribly inefficient. One thing Mitt Romney, while an ignorant dolt, said that speaks to this problem is that there are 49 Federal job training programs reporting to 8 agencies. My brother is a defense contractor--he'll be the first to tell you that Eisenhower had it right when he said "in the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." Far too many on both sides of the aisle buy into the notion that defense does not waste. They are wrong, wrong, wrong.
    I don't disagree that the unfunded wars started the debt problem, and the Bush tax cuts exacerbated it, but now that tax rates are in stone, don't we have to look at what we are spending? I think defense is a huge part of the discussion, but SS and medicare have to be in there somewhere. Our entitlements have grown into something that is untenable. We cannot continue to support them at the level we are now unless we cut other programs. I understand that additional taxes, or reduction in loopholes could solve this problem as well, but it seems (at least for now) that our tax rates are set. What other options do we have but to look at our spending and see if there are other ways to accomplish the goals of a strong safety net?

    Maybe it is acceptable to have a certain percentage of debt to GDP, I know many people make that argument, but no economist believes that we aren't going to continue to balloon from this point forward. SS isn't going to cost less ever. Medicare isn't going to cost less ever. I don't believe that we can "grow" to get out of this. I think we need to look at alternate or additive solutions.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  5. #2555
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Totally with you, Hink. In fact, I would have preferred we go over the fiscal cliff--that at least would have corrected a number of misguided tax cuts and started the road of spending cuts. Yes, it would have been painful and resulted in negative economic effects, but those effects would have been temporary and this country would have been better long-term for it. Since it is now clear that the Bush tax cuts are essentially permanent, you are correct that we now have to get deadly-serious about spending cuts. Defense must play a big role as the largest discretionary budget item.

    The SS solvency issues are relatively simple to fix. In my opinion, the SS cap should be removed (currently capped at your first $110K).

    Medicare is a bit more complicated and I don't have as clear an answer on that. Cutting medicare reimbursements to doctors/hospitals is problematic. The answers to this are likely not palatable, as I feel probably the only way to get medical costs under control is to move to a true socialized single-payer program applied to everyone. The problem with medicare is that it deals exclusively with the most expensive years of medical care for any individual--the end of life. Medicare is complicated & messy though.

    As far as realistic Medicare options, I would suggest raising medicare premiums on moderate/higher income seniors. Also, while I'm not a fan of this, we might have to look at increasing the Medicare age of eligibility. Cutting costs is very difficult under our current approach to medical care in this country. First off, we need to move away from traditional fee-for-service and start rewarding doctors for monitoring patients' health and preventing hospitalizations (the really expensive stuff). Also, even though it is morbid, doctors under medicare need more flexibility to develop end of life care plans working collaboratively with the patient to make sure their wishes are met. We could negotiate prescription costs, but I'm not sure how much we'd really save on that... maybe only $30B to $40B. The big difficulty is cutting medicare waste without causing major unintended consequences.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  6. #2556
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    SS and Medicare are going to have to be modified. We are going to have to deal with the spending side of the equation. Printing money and providing services is the roll of government. Printing money to pay for debt payments and services we can't afford is not. At some level even the most liberal person has to see that spending is a problem. We cannot continue to spend like we are now without "growing" tremendously out of this recession.
    We are an aging society, maybe near the end of growth. There simply are not enough resources to support this growth, especially as the cheap energy we used to replace thoughtful expansion is going away. One of the key challenges of societies is going to be how to transition down out of consuming useless cr@p, denigration of labor/automation, capital flight, and people getting by with less. Growth isn't over, but you can see where the end of the road will be just over the horizon. You also can't cut loose people whose retirement was stolen from them by the takers (rich bankers, Enron, etc) and expect them to get by without backlash (social, political). That is: the old thought patterns aren't going to get us out of this mess, we need a way through for a soft landing.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  7. #2557
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    The SS solvency issues are relatively simple to fix. In my opinion, the SS cap should be removed (currently capped at your first $110K).
    Does that mean that wealthy taxpayers will get more out of the system as well? I think the cap should live somewhere near where the "wealthy" line lives, but I do think there should be a cap. I think SS should up the age limit and consider defined benefit plans to supplement what is existing now. Means testing is not a bad idea. I am not sure why so many people are against defined benefit plans and means testing?

    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    Medicare is a bit more complicated and I don't have as clear an answer on that. Cutting medicare reimbursements to doctors/hospitals is problematic. The answers to this are likely not palatable, as I feel probably the only way to get medical costs under control is to move to a true socialized single-payer program applied to everyone. The problem with medicare is that it deals exclusively with the most expensive years of medical care for any individual--the end of life. Medicare is complicated & messy though.

    As far as realistic Medicare options, I would suggest raising medicare premiums on moderate/higher income seniors. Also, while I'm not a fan of this, we might have to look at increasing the Medicare age of eligibility. Cutting costs is very difficult under our current approach to medical care in this country. First off, we need to move away from traditional fee-for-service and start rewarding doctors for monitoring patients' health and preventing hospitalizations (the really expensive stuff). Also, even though it is morbid, doctors under medicare need more flexibility to develop end of life care plans working collaboratively with the patient to make sure their wishes are met. We could negotiate prescription costs, but I'm not sure how much we'd really save on that... maybe only $30B to $40B. The big difficulty is cutting medicare waste without causing major unintended consequences.
    I think the problem with medicare is that it is trying to do too much. The Doc Fix should be made permanent if we ever want medicare to be taken at primary care facilities again. The problem isn't the doctors, it is insurance on both sides of the equation. Single payer is an interesting option, but most people want to be able to pay for services. Single payer does not effectively do this. Unless it was a modified single payer where the more you pay the more you get (which many people would be against - the rich get what they want!) it wouldn't work. You would have to ration care. Most people will not allow this to happen. Just look at the death panel discussions

    Medicare eligibility needs to be raised. Medicare's biggest issue though is the cost of the healthcare system. That lives in the costs associated with practicing medicine. Tort reform and clearer system of fee for service (i.e. You want a heart bypass? It costs $12k. You want to go to the Emergency Room for something that isn't emergent? $10. You need stitches? $250.) The system now "provides" for those without insurance by making prices astronomical for everyone else. The system now allows doctors to get sued for anything which causes malpractice to go up and in turn makes prices astronomical for everyone else.

    ----
    Social security was put in place as a security blanket - not a sole income stream for seniors. Medicare was put in place as a security blanket - not a sole insurance provider for seniors. At some point we have to create individual accountability for our retirement and healthcare costs. Yep that might mean rationing. Yep that might mean saving more now, so you can retire at 70. I support the security blanket. I support the safety net. But they should not be provided to people as a sole solution for their needs. These items - like welfare and unemployment benefits - are in existence to get people from Z to A. To get them through the tough patch. To raise up the lowest tier in America. They are not in existence to provide retirement, healthcare, food, or money for an extended period of time. We can't afford that. The goal should be to get people moving up - not staying still. We need to find a way - through financial incentives, or disincentives - to get people out of Z and moving up to A.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  8. #2558
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    Social security was put in place as a security blanket - not a sole income stream for seniors. Medicare was put in place as a security blanket - not a sole insurance provider for seniors. At some point we have to create individual accountability for our retirement and healthcare costs. Yep that might mean rationing. Yep that might mean saving more now, so you can retire at 70. I support the security blanket. I support the safety net. But they should not be provided to people as a sole solution for their needs. These items - like welfare and unemployment benefits - are in existence to get people from Z to A. To get them through the tough patch. To raise up the lowest tier in America. They are not in existence to provide retirement, healthcare, food, or money for an extended period of time. We can't afford that. The goal should be to get people moving up - not staying still. We need to find a way - through financial incentives, or disincentives - to get people out of Z and moving up to A.
    The issue I see here is that wages are not high enough for a significant segment of the population to reasonably expect them to be accountable for their retirement and health care costs. I don't disagree with what you're saying but the poorest will end up taking the brunt of changes like this. Means testing entitlements is one idea to cut costs but that's not really fair to the people who contributed most to those programs. However I'm not really sure what the solution should be. The whole situation seems like a catch-22 to me, especially since we don't have a universal health care system.

  9. #2559
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I have no faith in 99% of the people elected to federal office. Things are going to get worse before they get any better unless we start holding the federal government accountable for their spending. It is not a Republican or Democrat problem, it is an American problem. Unfortunately, I doubt I will see it get fixed in my lifetime.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  10. #2560
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I have no faith in 99% of the people elected to federal office. Things are going to get worse before they get any better unless we start holding the federal government accountable for their spending. It is not a Republican or Democrat problem, it is an American problem. Unfortunately, I doubt I will see it get fixed in my lifetime.
    But it gets back to what we are spending money on. Different people have different priorites as to where the money should go. And please don't say "We should only spend on it what the Constition says we should spend it on" We've beat that horse to mush already.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  11. #2561
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I was reading recently that over 60% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck because they do not make a high enough wage to afford saving, and that the average total savings of people within 2 years of retirement is less than $30,000 and getting less and less every year. We are going to have a huge problem here in a decade or so.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  12. #2562
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I have no faith in 99% of the people elected to federal office. Things are going to get worse before they get any better unless we start holding the federal government accountable for their spending. It is not a Republican or Democrat problem, it is an American problem. Unfortunately, I doubt I will see it get fixed in my lifetime.
    I'm not convinced it's a spending problem. However I will say that politicians haven't been entirely forthcoming when it comes to how dependent people are on government money for employment. Government may not create wealth but it certainly creates a tremendous number of jobs. For example, Republicans complaining about defense cuts aren't really concerned about national security, they're concerned about the very real job losses that the cuts would cause.

  13. #2563
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I have no faith in 99% of the people elected to federal office. Things are going to get worse before they get any better unless we start holding the federal government accountable for their spending. It is not a Republican or Democrat problem, it is an American problem. Unfortunately, I doubt I will see it get fixed in my lifetime.
    Its not just the spending though mskis. When you buy into the propaganda of one party, you are the problem as well. Take the fiscal cliff. We just extended the Bush tax cuts permanently for most, at a cost of 4 trillion dollars over the next ten years. 4 trillion in revenue we just lost - and nobody is even talking about anything specific for spending cuts. If you think we only have a spending problem you are part of the problem. If you think we only have a revenue problem you are part of the problem.

    So the fiscal cliff was an issue because it would have sent us back into a recession- specifically because keynes was right. Spending cuts and tax increases in a depressed economy is the worst thing you can do. We have a long term debt problem and a short term depressed economy problem. The fix to one would hurt the other. So what do we fix first mskis? The short term problem or the long term problem? Unfortunately the bickering between the dummies are making both problems worse.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  14. #2564
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    Its not just the spending though mskis. When you buy into the propaganda of one party, you are the problem as well. Take the fiscal cliff. We just extended the Bush tax cuts permanently for most, at a cost of 4 trillion dollars over the next ten years. 4 trillion in revenue we just lost - and nobody is even talking about anything specific for spending cuts. If you think we only have a spending problem you are part of the problem. If you think we only have a revenue problem you are part of the problem.

    So the fiscal cliff was an issue because it would have sent us back into a recession- specifically because keynes was right. Spending cuts and tax increases in a depressed economy is the worst thing you can do. We have a long term debt problem and a short term depressed economy problem. The fix to one would hurt the other. So what do we fix first mskis? The short term problem or the long term problem? Unfortunately the bickering between the dummies are making both problems worse.
    I typed out this big long response, but I realized it would be a waste of effort. Instead I am going to say that the tax structure needs to be changed so it is fair, but something needs to be done so we as a society are not so dependent on the federal government for everything. That is why they spend the money that they do.

    I will answer, we need to transition into a long term fix with the realization that it is going to hurt like hell in the short term. But if we only raise taxes, it will not help short term or long term. It does not help anyone but those who want to spend more money. Do you actually believe that the republicans or democrats will balance the budget?

    When you add up all the taxes we pay (income, gas, property, SSI…) it is about half of what we make. How much do you think we should pay in taxes? 75%? 90%?

    The problems is people have become too dependent on the federal government to fix their problems.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  15. #2565
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    Does that mean that wealthy taxpayers will get more out of the system as well? I think the cap should live somewhere near where the "wealthy" line lives, but I do think there should be a cap. I think SS should up the age limit and consider defined benefit plans to supplement what is existing now. Means testing is not a bad idea. I am not sure why so many people are against defined benefit plans and means testing?

    I think the problem with medicare is that it is trying to do too much. The Doc Fix should be made permanent if we ever want medicare to be taken at primary care facilities again. The problem isn't the doctors, it is insurance on both sides of the equation. Single payer is an interesting option, but most people want to be able to pay for services. Single payer does not effectively do this. Unless it was a modified single payer where the more you pay the more you get (which many people would be against - the rich get what they want!) it wouldn't work. You would have to ration care. Most people will not allow this to happen. Just look at the death panel discussions

    Medicare eligibility needs to be raised. Medicare's biggest issue though is the cost of the healthcare system. That lives in the costs associated with practicing medicine. Tort reform and clearer system of fee for service (i.e. You want a heart bypass? It costs $12k. You want to go to the Emergency Room for something that isn't emergent? $10. You need stitches? $250.) The system now "provides" for those without insurance by making prices astronomical for everyone else. The system now allows doctors to get sued for anything which causes malpractice to go up and in turn makes prices astronomical for everyone else.

    ----
    Social security was put in place as a security blanket - not a sole income stream for seniors. Medicare was put in place as a security blanket - not a sole insurance provider for seniors. At some point we have to create individual accountability for our retirement and healthcare costs. Yep that might mean rationing. Yep that might mean saving more now, so you can retire at 70. I support the security blanket. I support the safety net. But they should not be provided to people as a sole solution for their needs. These items - like welfare and unemployment benefits - are in existence to get people from Z to A. To get them through the tough patch. To raise up the lowest tier in America. They are not in existence to provide retirement, healthcare, food, or money for an extended period of time. We can't afford that. The goal should be to get people moving up - not staying still. We need to find a way - through financial incentives, or disincentives - to get people out of Z and moving up to A.
    I generally agree with you. I'm a big fan of adding means/ability to pay standards to SS & Medicare. I'm also an advocate of tort/malpractice reform, though I'm the first to say that tort/malpractice reform is hardly the panacea those on the right make it out to be. However, I think there needs to be something in place on torts because the courts have clearly lost sight of the purpose for such lawsuits--it is no longer "making it right" with many of these lawsuits taking it to "better than right." Mistakes happen--doctors are human. I love the idea of a clearer system of fee for service (how you implement that on a national basis without some type of single-payer method would be interesting).

    SS & Medicare were intended as safety nets, but have evolved over time to become de facto retirement programs & benefits rather than supplements. SS was designed to create an artificial bottom to quality of life for seniors--that they would be no poorer than this. People don't save for retirement, and I think to some extent that is a function of our consumer driven economy (current bank rates certainly discourage saving) coupled with most people really not understanding how things like 401k's work. They are truly baffled by them. If their employer doesn't offer it, they don't really know where to find it. The extent of their investment knowledge is a savings account at the local bank. There are lots of great retirement tools built into tax codes, but most do not understand them. A typical blue collar guy working a line somehwere doesn't know the difference between an IRA & a Roth IRA. They are presented a list of different funds to invest their 401k in, but don't have the first clue about it. Switch jobs? Rolling over is even more baffling for them. And all of this goes back to our overly complex tax code.

    Further exacerbating the issue of saving is this failed experiment of trickle-down economics. Wages stagnated/failed to keep up with inflation for nearly everyone while the top salaries continued to climb, creating a virtual aristocracy in this country.

    M'skis and I come from far different political philosophies, but one thing we both seem to see as a critical need in the U.S. is a simpler tax code with just a few simple deductions/credits available (education credits, child credits, medical/dental expenses beyond $xxx, taxes paid to state/local government, something fairly simple to encourage retirement saving whether individually or through employers, and maybe the mortgage interest deduction). I'm talking like if the tax code is more than 50 pages, then it is too long & probably has too many loopholes. It might not put H & R Block out of business, but it should come close. I firmly believe a tax return should take no more than 1 double-sided sheet of paper and should be easily completed by someone with a basic high school level of education.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  16. #2566
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    I firmly believe a tax return should take no more than 1 double-sided sheet of paper and should be easily completed by someone with a basic high school level of education.
    That would be awesome but I doubt it will ever happen. Too many greedy idiots in Washington and lining the pockets of those in Washington.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  17. #2567
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    When you buy into the propaganda of one party, you are the problem as well. Take the fiscal cliff. ...
    So the fiscal cliff was an issue....
    Speaking of propaganda. The Gentle Fiscal Decline was turned into cliffery. Shock Doctrine framing?

    And speaking of politicians being the problem, this is it right here:



    Does it need to be said that Carlin is NSFW language?
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  18. #2568
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I typed out this big long response, but I realized it would be a waste of effort. Instead I am going to say that the tax structure needs to be changed so it is fair, but something needs to be done so we as a society are not so dependent on the federal government for everything. That is why they spend the money that they do.

    I will answer, we need to transition into a long term fix with the realization that it is going to hurt like hell in the short term. But if we only raise taxes, it will not help short term or long term. It does not help anyone but those who want to spend more money. Do you actually believe that the republicans or democrats will balance the budget?

    When you add up all the taxes we pay (income, gas, property, SSI…) it is about half of what we make. How much do you think we should pay in taxes? 75%? 90%?

    The problems is people have become too dependent on the federal government to fix their problems.
    A couple of questions here. First, how do you objectively define fair? Fair is a terribly subjective term. Second, how do you define dependant on the federal government. Are you suggesting just people who get welfare? Or do you mean people who depend of the federal government to make sure their air and water are clean? How about the people who depend on the federal government to make sure their drugs and food are safe? How about the people who depend on the FBI? You cast a terribly board net there. Further, how about the people who are blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, unable to work because of an accident that was not their fault?
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  19. #2569
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    That would be awesome but I doubt it will ever happen. Too many greedy idiots in Washington and lining the pockets of those in Washington.
    People are up in arms over things like unemployment insurance and food stamps, but as much or more is spent every year in handouts to hugely profitable corporations. The fiscal cliff deal just passed included over 100 billion in handouts to corporations like Disney and Goldman Sachs, among others. They are done through the tax code, even when they are tax credits which are actually counted as spending for budgetary purposes. So basically, our corporate masters and politicians have a specific interest in keeping the tax code as complex as possible. It's how they enrich themselves off of our debt. It's basically the Bain Capital model applied to our government. They are specifically taking deficit financed money and putting it in their pockets.

    Making the tax code simpler is just not going to happen. So it's fun to talk about, but it's also a worthless excercise.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  20. #2570
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    When you add up all the taxes we pay (income, gas, property, SSI…) it is about half of what we make. How much do you think we should pay in taxes? 75%? 90%?

    The problems is people have become too dependent on the federal government to fix their problems.
    I'm not trying to slam you here or suggest you are not entitled to your opinion, but a few comments/questions to this since it is an oft-expressed opinion:

    1) SSI is not a tax, its money you will (ostensibly) get back later. More like a required savings account. Yes, some will say it won't be there when we are set to collect, but do we really know that? Is that different from a retirement fund, which is also at the whim of the market?

    2) There are a lot of things the government can accomplish with collective money that we as individuals could not do with our own little amounts. I'm thinking of roads, schools, parks, public transit, regulation and review of things like planning, zoning, and environmental laws, etc. If we were not paying taxes and using this collective sum to accomplish these things, we probably wouldn't have any of them. Or, if we did, we would be paying out of pocket to a private interest. Would it be cheaper if all roads were toll roads? What would be the incentive for a private company to build a road to a rural area if there wasn't enough money to be made from it? What about all schools requiring tuition? What would be the impact on those who could not afford to pay for access to those resources? Is that really what America is about?

    3) I would be curious which problems, exactly, you think people look to the government to solve that could be solved on their own. Personally, I can't think of very many. Sometimes I feel these sentiments - that too many people are just freeloading off the government - sound good at face value, but upon closer examination don't hold water. Are there abuses of the system? Absolutely. Is there inefficiency in government delivery of services? Sure. But recognizing these dysfunctions, in my mind, does not invalidate the system. The system is a living entity that changes over time. The important thing, to me, is having adequate oversight and checks in place to constantly re-evaluate programs to ensure delivery is effective and efficient. But that is not the same as saying it should be done away with.

    Lastly, I just want to say that if people think that record numbers of people are receiving government assistance, perhaps its not a sign of people being too lazy and looking to government, but rather the fact that we are in the midst of a terrible recession and that people have real needs. The Republican position through this election season seems to be that too many people are dependent on government and we need to turn them loose to get to work instead of sucking at the teat while at the same time saying that the economy is in the tank, people can't find jobs, they are hurting and its the President's fault. Which is it?
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  21. #2571
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    2) There are a lot of things the government can accomplish with collective money that we as individuals could not do with our own little amounts. I'm thinking of roads, schools, parks, public transit, regulation and review of things like planning, zoning, and environmental laws, etc. If we were not paying taxes and using this collective sum to accomplish these things, we probably wouldn't have any of them. Or, if we did, we would be paying out of pocket to a private interest. Would it be cheaper if all roads were toll roads? What would be the incentive for a private company to build a road to a rural area if there wasn't enough money to be made from it? What about all schools requiring tuition? What would be the impact on those who could not afford to pay for access to those resources? Is that really what America is about?
    Actually, these have already been tried -- and were rejected nearly two centuries ago.

    In the colonial era, all "public" education required tuition although some "charity" students were allowed. The passage of the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 not only organized the NW Territory (ie, all the land north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi) but it set aside monies from land sales to support public schools in these territories. In the 1820s, the idea of free public education spread all across the northern US. Public schools supported by tax dollars did not become common in the southern states until after the Civil War. In 1862, the Morrill Act established public land-grant colleges and universities where if tuition wasn't free (and in some cases and places it was), it was very low.

    From the 1780s to the War of 1812, virtually all improved roads built in the fledgling US were toll roads. Sometimes they were called turnpikes. Sometimes they were made of thick planks laid side-by-side (called "plank roads"). The first federal "highway" was the National Road through the Appalachians between Maryland and West Virginia, I think, which was built in the 1780s.

    The death blow to the private toll roads came with the success of the Erie Canal, which was a state financed/state built canal stretching the length of NYS from the Mohawk Valley to Buffalo. The Erie Canal not only ushered in the canal era around the country, it demonstrated the efficacy of government built internal improvements in promoting economic and population growth as prosperous towns grew up along its shores from Rome west. Buffalo grew from a village of about 2500 people in 1825 to a city of 25,000+ by 1832.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  22. #2572
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    So it seems the 113th House is just a lost as the 112th...

    Repeal Obamacare Bill Is First To Be Introduced In New Congress

    http://www.inquisitr.com/467647/repe...-new-congress/

    This is what you get when Michelle Bachmann is elected. Seriously Minnesota. The Vikings made the playoffs... why would you vote this lady in office?

    Hmm maybe the first bill should be something... I don't know... less partisan? No, let's start with a bill that has no shot to get passed! Let the House continue to make themselves look like fools, and all of us fools for electing them.

    For those who are concerned with wasted time and money in congress, from the article:
    If continued, the repeal Obamacare bills could also create a drain on Congressional resources, CBS News notes. In July, the news service found that the then-33 tries to repeal Obamacare took up a total of 80 hours in Congress, or two full work weeks. The total cost of the repeal Obamacare attempts — $48 million.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  23. #2573
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    I'm not trying to slam you here or suggest you are not entitled to your opinion, but a few comments/questions to this since it is an oft-expressed opinion:

    1) SSI is not a tax, its money you will (ostensibly) get back later. More like a required savings account. Yes, some will say it won't be there when we are set to collect, but do we really know that? Is that different from a retirement fund, which is also at the whim of the market?
    It is a forced program where I give my money to the federal government. Next you will be telling me that Obama Care is not a tax. If anything, it is a ponsi scheme and a tax.

    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    2) There are a lot of things the government can accomplish with collective money that we as individuals could not do with our own little amounts. I'm thinking of roads, schools, parks, public transit, regulation and review of things like planning, zoning, and environmental laws, etc. If we were not paying taxes and using this collective sum to accomplish these things, we probably wouldn't have any of them. Or, if we did, we would be paying out of pocket to a private interest. Would it be cheaper if all roads were toll roads? What would be the incentive for a private company to build a road to a rural area if there wasn't enough money to be made from it? What about all schools requiring tuition? What would be the impact on those who could not afford to pay for access to those resources? Is that really what America is about?
    There is quite a bit of stuff that does not need to be in the federal government control. Education and Health Care the the two big ones that come to mind. For centuries healthcare was operated by private groups and churches. Education is something that should be at most a state thing. Bush was a huge violator of this with the 'no child left behind act'.

    Roads are one thing that I think that the government should stay involved in. But I think that there needs to be more attention placed on mass public transportation such as rail and less on roads.

    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    3) I would be curious which problems, exactly, you think people look to the government to solve that could be solved on their own. Personally, I can't think of very many. Sometimes I feel these sentiments - that too many people are just freeloading off the government - sound good at face value, but upon closer examination don't hold water. Are there abuses of the system? Absolutely. Is there inefficiency in government delivery of services? Sure. But recognizing these dysfunctions, in my mind, does not invalidate the system. The system is a living entity that changes over time. The important thing, to me, is having adequate oversight and checks in place to constantly re-evaluate programs to ensure delivery is effective and efficient. But that is not the same as saying it should be done away with.
    The government is not going to help you save money, loose weight, get a job, learn what you need to learn in school, stop drinking, quit drugs, eat better, or live longer. Yes, there is a war on this and a war on that... but in the end people will still do what society lets them do. The public school system is a joke. Not because we don't have great teachers but because they are forced to teach junk that does not actually matter. According to the CDC, of the top ten leading causes of death in the US, six are diet related. The government keeps putting on new regulations in a pathetic attempt to get people to live healthier lifestyles, but misses the boat completely. Just look at what they give our kids to eat in school lunches.

    I know of 6 places in my city that are hiring and one of them said that he his having a problem filling a basic manufacturing assembly line (non-union) job because none of the applicants have been able to pass the required drug test. However, every one of them that failed indicated that they were currently unemployed and receiving government assistance.

    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Lastly, I just want to say that if people think that record numbers of people are receiving government assistance, perhaps its not a sign of people being too lazy and looking to government, but rather the fact that we are in the midst of a terrible recession and that people have real needs. The Republican position through this election season seems to be that too many people are dependent on government and we need to turn them loose to get to work instead of sucking at the teat while at the same time saying that the economy is in the tank, people can't find jobs, they are hurting and its the President's fault. Which is it?
    I think cutting them loose will result in a very bad situation. However there needs to be more transition into people learning to help them selves. Without question, we are dealing with the worst economic situation of our generation and people are hurting, but in many cases, we are giving the drunk a drink or giving the addict a hit. I see it all the time in my City which I am guessing has a far less problem than many other places.

    It is not just the Presidents fault. Almost everyone in Washington is just as much to blame.

    A few years back, I was having lunch with a guy I grew up with. He had been laid off from his job because of the economy and had been unemployed for some time. He bluntly told me that he makes more from unemployment than he would for most of the jobs he was able to apply for. Places were hiring, but the was almost no incentive for him to go out and look for a job. Another guy that I know in my current city had commented about his frustration in finding someone to fill a basic assembly line job. First most of the applicants that he went to hire where not able to pass the drug test, yet they were receiving government assistance, secondly of those who did pass the drug test did not want to commit to working a 40 hour work week.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  24. #2574
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    It is a forced program where I give my money to the federal government. Next you will be telling me that Obama Care is not a tax. If anything, it is a ponsi scheme and a tax.
    Oh it is a tax. Just ask the Supreme Court.

    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    There is quite a bit of stuff that does not need to be in the federal government control. Education and Health Care the the two big ones that come to mind.
    Home schooling is one of the worst things we could do for this country. Instead of having people be forced outside of their closed view of the world, we would allow insular activity to continue. You know how easy it is to get a kid to stop being racist when his parents are the only people who teach him about this stuff? Sure you can say that schools "indoctrinate" kids, but really what they are doing is opening kids minds up to views that might not follow what you believe. If you teach your kid well enough at home, they will take with them the stuff that is valuable. Religion is a big part of this. Forcing religion on kids doesn't work. Why? Because kids go to school and see kids who have gay parents, and how they turn out pretty well. You can't convince people, once their mind is opened to reality, to have that closed world view again. It just doesn't work. Home schooling is great for many reasons. But public schools provide a service WELL beyond math and science.

    I won't argue with you about healthcare.


    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Roads are one thing that I think that the government should stay involved in. But I think that there needs to be more attention placed on mass public transportation such as rail and less on roads.
    We will never value other transportation systems as much as we do roads until we tax the hell out of driving a car. It just won't happen. Ever.

    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    The government is not going to help you save money, loose weight, get a job, learn what you need to learn in school, stop drinking, quit drugs, eat better, or live longer. Yes, there is a war on this and a war on that... but in the end people will still do what society lets them do. The public school system is a joke. Not because we don't have great teachers but because they are forced to teach junk that does not actually matter. According to the CDC, of the top ten leading causes of death in the US, six are diet related. The government keeps putting on new regulations in a pathetic attempt to get people to live healthier lifestyles, but misses the boat completely. Just look at what they give our kids to eat in school lunches.
    See this is where the libertarian argument becomes pretty weak. Sure the government needs to do basic things and they shouldn't be putting their foot in places that people don't want it... but you do realize the reason for our healthcare systems failure is the fact that people cannot do things that are "best" for themselves? Obesity isn't just an issue for the person who is overweight. It is an issue for our healthcare system due to the costs associated with that person. You know how many times a guy who is in shape, eats right, and exercises sees the doctor in a year? Once. How about the guy that weighs 600 lbs? Government has an obligation to force activity that might not be in the interest of the few, but is in the interest of the many. I have no issue with sin taxes. I think that we should have to pay for the true costs our of decision making. You want to get fat? Go for it. But you are going to get taxed to hell (like cigarettes) to do it. We then can use that money to fund programs to help get people moving away from their bad decisions and towards a better way of life.

    The government has an obligation to be involved in our lives insomuch as they have to deal with the ramifications of our poor decisions.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  25. #2575
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    "Day of Records and Firsts as 113th Congress Opens"

    Nice article from the NYTimes

    As the 113th Congress opens, the Senate and the House are starting to look a little bit more like the people they represent.

    The new Congress includes a record number of women (101 across both chambers, counting three nonvoting members), as well as various firsts for the numbers of Latinos and Asians as well as Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. But it was the rise of the female legislator — 20 in the Senate and 81 in the House — that had the Capitol thrumming with excited potential on Thursday.


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