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Thread: The NEVERENDING Political Discussion Thread

  1. #26
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    To add some levity...or maybe not...

    http://wonkette.com/413753/black-man...s-feet-on-desk
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  2. #27
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    There's a series of articles on the National Review's website today about whether or not our country is ungovernable due to government structural problems (http://article.nationalreview.com/42...thammer?page=1, http://article.nationalreview.com/42...oldberg?page=1, and http://article.nationalreview.com/42...tem/rich-lowry). I think they were written to respond to recent columns by Paul Krugman in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/08/op...08krugman.html), Jonathan Chait in The New Republic (http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-cha...a-ungovernable), and Michael Cohen in Newsweek (http://www.newsweek.com/id/232451). This whole topic plays in well with the majority consensus of the posts in this thread and others by left-leaning Cyburbians about "Republican obstructionism".

  3. #28
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Here is another story about "broken government" form the Atlantic Monthly. Its long, but rather good. The initial question is whether American society is on the brink of collapse and the author's conclusion is that, not only is this a question/feeling people have always had, but that we are really ok. There is a problem afoot though, he says, and its government dysfunction. I'm not sure the conclusion absolves the Republicans from their current role in it all, but it implicated the Democrats as well.

    From the conclusion:

    I started out this process uncertain; I ended up convinced. America the society is in fine shape! America the polity most certainly is not. Over the past half century, both parties have helped cause this predicament—Democrats by unintentionally giving governmental efforts a bad name in the 1960s and ’70s, Republicans by deliberately doing so from the Reagan era onward. At the moment, Republicans are objectively the more nihilistic, equating public anger with the sentiment that “their” America has been taken away and defining both political and substantive success as stopping the administration’s plans. As a partisan tactic, this could make sense; for the country, it’s one more sign of dysfunction, and of the near-impossibility of addressing problems that require truly public efforts to solve.
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  4. #29
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Local politics suck big time!
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  5. #30
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Here is a good read (IMO) about the extreme hypocrisy of the right as of late. It examines the 2003 medicare part D entitlement expansion and statement/actions of current republican leaders then and now.
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  6. #31
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    John Mellencamp is being touted as a candidate for what will be an open Senate seat from the state of Indiana. Interesting. Small town guy. Loves farmers. Popular entertainer. Might be a tough opponent for any "Tea Party" candidate.

    Think about the number of celebrity-types that have been elected to office. Here are a few.....

    Ronald Ray-Gunz
    Jesse Ventura
    That dude from Love Boat
    Sonny Bono
    Al Franken

    As always, complimentary vid.....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOfkpu6749w

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  7. #32
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I think it is funny that drudgereport and other conservative blogs are going crazy that Scott Brown voted for the Jobs Bill. If you think for a minute, he is voting for his constituency and not for his party. Why would you get mad at him for that? Isn't that his job? Those who felt that his election was a win for the R's are the one's who are trying to widen the crater between parties. He was elected because he was the better candidate. I am glad to see that he isn't bending like other newly elected officials.

    I think I could like this guy. Good for you Scott Brown.
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  8. #33
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    If you think for a minute, he is voting for his constituency and not for his party. Why would you get mad at him for that?
    A legislator can either vote in accord with his conscience, his party, or his constituency. All of these are a correct basis....and an incorrect basis. A Democratic politician in Berkeley, CA or a Republican politician in Bismark, ND have it easy as all three are probably synonymous. Folks holding public office in less politically homogenous places have a tougher job.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  9. #34
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    "...Think about the number of celebrity-types that have been elected to office. Here are a few....."

    Don't forget St. Ronald of Reagan.

  10. #35
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by fringe View post
    "...Think about the number of celebrity-types that have been elected to office. Here are a few....."

    Don't forget St. Ronald of Reagan.
    We (conservatives) prefer the title "Ronaldus Magnus"...

  11. #36
    For all the state's rights people......

    Gov. Mitch Daniels: States must tighten their belts even more
    Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who ran the US government’s budget office for George W. Bush, says all 50 states will need to permanently tighten their belts – and, thus, do less for citizens.

    Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels expects that the 50 states will need to permanently tighten their belts.


    By Dave Cook Staff writer / February 23, 2010

    Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who ran the US government’s budget office for George W. Bush, expects that the 50 states will need to permanently tighten their belts and do less for their citizens.

    Because of the economic contraction, the Republican governor foresees “a long-term contraction in the scope of what states are doing,” he said at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters on Tuesday.

    New report on state revenues
    The recession without doubt has left states in financial trouble, as tax collections have fallen. (The Monitor writes about states facing the severest problems here.) State tax revenues declined 4.1 percent nationwide during the final three months of 2009, according to a new report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

    Five straight quarters of year-over-year decline set a record, the Institute said, with both income-tax and sales-tax revenue falling during the entire five-quarter period.

    When a recovery comes, Governor Daniels says, “states cannot expect the sort of rapid snap back in revenues that had been the case in the past.” The reason, he argues, is that in the past Americans “spent more than they took in. They borrowed on their credit card, against the paper value of their house – things they won’t be able to do or won’t do going forward.” As a result, he says, “consumption is going to be at permanently lower levels.”

    States to feel consumers' caution
    Greater consumer caution on spending will mean less tax revenue for states. “States get most of their most of their money, the largest piece I should say, from sales taxes,” Daniels says.

    As a result, the expected economic recovery will not solve states’ budgetary woes. “Yes, revenues will start to rise again, let's hope, but they will not get back on the trend line as they had in previous recessions,” he says.

    “For states," Daniels wrote in a recent op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, “the real world is about to arrive.”


    The Feds get involved because of this sort of thing.
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  12. #37
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    The Feds get involved because of this sort of thing.

    I foresee this being the entry point to discussion about our tax code. If they are not bringing in enough taxes from people and we have actually changed the way we operate with money, the fed is going to have to reevaluate how we are taxed.

    I am all for lower taxes, etc., etc. but in the end the government will get their taxes. Live in Florida and pay NO INCOME taxes... but get taxed out the a$$ for property taxes... the same can be said for many places. If the government isn't getting the taxes they need, they will find a way to get it done.

    I think in this time of people hating government, raising taxes is going to be a tough pill to swallow for a lot of people. Maybe it will be a starting point to relook at how we tax, what we tax, and the system that facilitates this. Fair Tax anyone?
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  13. #38
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    I foresee this being the entry point to discussion about our tax code. If they are not bringing in enough taxes from people and we have actually changed the way we operate with money, the fed is going to have to reevaluate how we are taxed.

    I am all for lower taxes, etc., etc. but in the end the government will get their taxes. Live in Florida and pay NO INCOME taxes... but get taxed out the a$$ for property taxes... the same can be said for many places. If the government isn't getting the taxes they need, they will find a way to get it done.

    I think in this time of people hating government, raising taxes is going to be a tough pill to swallow for a lot of people. Maybe it will be a starting point to relook at how we tax, what we tax, and the system that facilitates this. Fair Tax anyone?
    A fair tax would be horribly regressive. The problem is not so much with our tax system- but primarily with the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Here is a nice pretty graph that clearly shows where the problem really started.

    http://www.heritage.org/research/fea...l-revenue.aspx
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  14. #39
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    A fair tax would be horribly regressive. The problem is not so much with our tax system- but primarily with the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Here is a nice pretty graph that clearly shows where the problem really started.

    http://www.heritage.org/research/fea...l-revenue.aspx
    I *HATE* the terms 'progressive' and 'regressive' in regards to taxation - they do nothing but play into the class-envy line of politics. (BTW, for you religious types, 'envy' is one of the cardinal sins of the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's ox nor (donkey) nor any other thing".)

    One of the biggest problems with highly 'progressive' tax schemes (besides their very real disincentives for people to succeed) is that they are unreliable sources of revenue to the extreme - if the 'filthy rich' are not earning anything (or are - gasp - losing money), they are *NOT* paying any high-rate income taxes - and this current recession has been HAMMERING the upper classes. If you will note, most states and the feds are now seeing fairly steep drops in tax revenues with the steepest percentage drops being in the jurisdictions with the most 'progressive' rate charts.

    I also *HATE* the complexity and intrusiveness of the Internal Revenue Code - I can't make heads or tails out of most of it, to the point that my eyes simply start to glass over whenever I start pondering it and when I start getting ready to fill out the forms.

    BTW, as I have read it, the 'Fairtax' proposal totally ignores income and does not tax spending up to the poverty level (flat rate on spending above the poverty level) - so it *does* have a level of that 'progressivity' that many desire. And the BIG reason why many pols don't like it is because the income tax gives them near total control over average peoples' lives by rewarding and punishing their pet causes, while the Fairtax would eliminate all of that.

    Mike

  15. #40
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    I foresee this being the entry point to discussion about our tax code. If they are not bringing in enough taxes from people and we have actually changed the way we operate with money, the fed is going to have to reevaluate how we are taxed.

    I am all for lower taxes, etc., etc. but in the end the government will get their taxes. Live in Florida and pay NO INCOME taxes... but get taxed out the a$$ for property taxes... the same can be said for many places. If the government isn't getting the taxes they need, they will find a way to get it done.

    I think in this time of people hating government, raising taxes is going to be a tough pill to swallow for a lot of people. Maybe it will be a starting point to relook at how we tax, what we tax, and the system that facilitates this. Fair Tax anyone?
    Agree that governments will get what they needs in terms of taxes, and then some. The problem is that they'll never stop taxing because of the need to support all the inefficient/wasteful programs and services that are politically impossible to cut. Look at NY and CA, pretty much two states that are on the brink of failure because of the inability to cut spending, largely due to a lack of political will but also due to structural problems like labor agreements and in CA's case the stupid referendum system.

  16. #41
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    One of the biggest problems with highly 'progressive' tax schemes (besides their very real disincentives for people to succeed) is that they are unreliable sources of revenue to the extreme - if the 'filthy rich' are not earning anything (or are - gasp - losing money), they are *NOT* paying any high-rate income taxes
    Mike, I completely agree. California, the wackiest of tax states, is getting hammered to the bone because a) our property tax system is broken b) local munis have to rely on sales tax for revenue, and with little consumer spending, especially on big ticket items, means less revenue and c) our state budget relies heavily on the progressive income tax system and capital gains that this state goes through massive booms and busts.

    Should we review our tax system at the federal level: absolutely. While i like the idea of the flat tax or even a federal sales tax or additional taxes on "sin" items for targeted expenditures (i.e. increase in fuel/cigs to pay for roads or help pay for healthcare), something still needs to get done to revamp our tax system to make it less complicated.

    I do foresee an income tax increase within the next two to three years (besides the expiration of GW's tax cuts) to help close the deficit. Spending alone will not close our existing gap and I wish more americans would actually take a look at entitlement spending and realize we are in load of trouble soon without an increase in revenue.
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  17. #42
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    One of the biggest problems with highly 'progressive' tax schemes (besides their very real disincentives for people to succeed) is that they are unreliable sources of revenue to the extreme - if the 'filthy rich' are not earning anything (or are - gasp - losing money), they are *NOT* paying any high-rate income taxes - and this current recession has been HAMMERING the upper classes. If you will note, most states and the feds are now seeing fairly steep drops in tax revenues with the steepest percentage drops being in the jurisdictions with the most 'progressive' rate charts.

    Here is a good little article about the difference in how the upper and lower classes have been hit by the recession (see the linked study in the article for more data). I'm not so sure that the data supports your contention that the recession is hammering the upper classes.


    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf
    Mike, I completely agree. California, the wackiest of tax states, is getting hammered to the bone because a) our property tax system is broken b) local munis have to rely on sales tax for revenue, and with little consumer spending, especially on big ticket items, means less revenue and c) our state budget relies heavily on the progressive income tax system and capital gains that this state goes through massive booms and busts.

    Should we review our tax system at the federal level: absolutely. While i like the idea of the flat tax or even a federal sales tax or additional taxes on "sin" items for targeted expenditures (i.e. increase in fuel/cigs to pay for roads or help pay for healthcare), something still needs to get done to revamp our tax system to make it less complicated.
    .
    Interesting take on California- has the income revenue gone dramatically down in Cali or is it more of a spending problem (hasn't Cali seriously outspent their revenues for years and its final;ly come home to roost?). You mention the property tax system being broken- but isn't the primary reason for the broken prop tax the fact that many wealthy property owners pay extremely low property tax due to prop (19 is it?). So in a sense the property tax system in California is extremely regressive?
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  18. #43
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    Interesting take on California- has the income revenue gone dramatically down in Cali or is it more of a spending problem (hasn't Cali seriously outspent their revenues for years and its final;ly come home to roost?). You mention the property tax system being broken- but isn't the primary reason for the broken prop tax the fact that many wealthy property owners pay extremely low property tax due to prop (19 is it?). So in a sense the property tax system in California is extremely regressive?
    It's a combination of everything imo.

    Off-topic:
    sorry to discuss one state here, but it's like we are a mini science experiment over here


    Since the beginning of the recession, state income tax revenues are in the toilet and are dramatically down.

    State spending is up, however that is due in large part to ridiculous voter referendums such as requiring 40% of General Revenue Fund dedicated to schools, Three strike laws incarcerating millions of prisoners now and the $$ to house, feed, etc, bond spending on everything from parks, schools, infrastructure. So yes, it is up, but only thanks to the people of this state, a point many republicans, demos, and tea baggers seems to miss. Our state ranks at the bottom of per pupil spending (when you spend more on prisons than schools something is amiss imo), and medicare and other federal sponsored programs where states contribute to the costs are now at the minimum that any further cuts in the next budget will jeopardize federal funding to many programs.

    Property taxes are another thorny issue. Prop 13 kept property taxes in check, however when you can no longer increase them without a 2/3 majority vote of residents, nothing ever happens at the local level (where property taxes previously funded such things as parks, schools, infrastructure, etc.). I say it is broken because it mainly benefits the elderly or those the remain the same address with little to no increases each year (max 2% per year). Property taxes only increase upon sale of a home. Property taxes can decrease yearly (as they have the last 2 years) when each county assessor must asses property values and pass the rate decrease to homeowners. Case in point:

    My parents have lived in their house since 1985. Their property taxes are a little under $600 a year. His next door neighbor has the same exact house, uses all services by the county (wsg/local schools) and is taxed about $2000 a year due to him buying the house in 2001. When my parents pass on, the house goes into a trust between my brother and I. Since it is willed to us, our tax liability remains the same at $600 a year. So this proposition doesn't benefit neither rich nor poor, just those that stick around a long time. Does this make any sense?

    Cities/Counties then to make up the shortfall relied on sales tax. So, our sales tax is heavy (as much as 9.5% in cities like San Francisco). When people don't buy stuff, then local municipalities suffer and so does the state because they take a percentage as well (hence the muni layoffs/hiring freezes)

    Then we have the whole state worker union thing to which is in the news, but to me doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot of beans simply because the real issue is pension pay and benefits which many states face anyways and how to deal with rising costs of worker retirements.

    All in all (like the federal government) we can't just cut the state budget to close a deficit nor can we tax everybody. It has to be a combination of everything to get this state back on track and good ol' fashioned constitutional convention to dump the referendum process.. ...


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  19. #44
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    There is always the VAT system that would be comparable to Europes on a 1:1 level. Then we could REALLY get at their subsidies in the world court.

    All taxes suck, get over it.

    Even more importantly, we could really cut our military spending in half. 59% of the total US budget in 2008? (not including the actual cost of 2 wars simultaneously). That is 10 times any other singular expenditure in our budget. That is where our cost savings needs to come from.

    Our military budget was 2.5 times the spending as the EU in 2008 or 48% of the worlds military spending (not including the actual cost of 2 wars simultaneously). 6 times that of China. REALLY?

    Want to blame our spending issues on domestic spending? Stupid and idiotic for starters. Yeah, you know who you are.
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  20. #45
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    There is always the VAT system that would be comparable to Europes on a 1:1 level. Then we could REALLY get at their subsidies in the world court.

    All taxes suck, get over it.

    Even more importantly, we could really cut our military spending in half. 59% of the total US budget in 2008? (not including the actual cost of 2 wars simultaneously). That is 10 times any other singular expenditure in our budget. That is where our cost savings needs to come from.

    Our military budget was 2.5 times the spending as the EU in 2008 or 48% of the worlds military spending (not including the actual cost of 2 wars simultaneously). 6 times that of China. REALLY?

    Want to blame our spending issues on domestic spending? Stupid and idiotic for starters. Yeah, you know who you are.
    Clinton balanced the budget by doing exactly that. Do I agree that it is the best method, no. But I don't think that it should be off the table as many have stated. Entitlements and military spending are the real reason for our debt, not the many smaller programs that they are looking at cutting.

    I am hoping that they will focus on how taxes are generated instead of just cutting everything. A flat tax doesn't make sense, but the Fair Tax or some similar progressive use tax to me is the best way to deal with this. Simplify the process, keep money in peoples pockets, and make it more of a balanced deal for everyone.

    I think the Military spending and Entitlement spending, which are now scared lambs, will be put on the table soon enough. Either we have the money to start wars, support millions of baby boomers retirements and healthcare, or we don't. At some point we have to deal with the real problems and it will probably make a lot of people mad. But I can't imagine it would make them anymore mad than they are about issues that don't even exist (Obama's birth certificate? Taxation without Representation? Huh?).
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  21. #46
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    TEven more importantly, we could really cut our military spending in half. 59% of the total US budget in 2008? (not including the actual cost of 2 wars simultaneously). That is 10 times any other singular expenditure in our budget. That is where our cost savings needs to come from.

    Our military budget was 2.5 times the spending as the EU in 2008 or 48% of the worlds military spending (not including the actual cost of 2 wars simultaneously). 6 times that of China. REALLY?
    Hey, if it's possible to cut military spending while maintaining the same level of service, I'm sure people would be all for it. If you ask them to cut military expenses by cutting defensive capabilities, then good luck on that one. Even without the defense industry lobby, I doubt you'd be able to sell that one.

  22. #47
    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    Hey, if it's possible to cut military spending while maintaining the same level of service, I'm sure people would be all for it. If you ask them to cut military expenses by cutting defensive capabilities, then good luck on that one. Even without the defense industry lobby, I doubt you'd be able to sell that one.
    Ending budget-busting defense spending such as the F-22 Raptor is one example of getting the defense budget back in line without hurting defense capabilities. I'm sure other examples exist.

    Off-topic:
    The Raptor was at last year's Thunder Over Louisville airshow. It is the most incredible aircraft! Relic of the Cold War, true enough, but oh man, what a jet!

  23. #48
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    Hey, if it's possible to cut military spending while maintaining the same level of service, I'm sure people would be all for it. If you ask them to cut military expenses by cutting defensive capabilities, then good luck on that one. Even without the defense industry lobby, I doubt you'd be able to sell that one.
    Define "Level of Service" Does that include starting wars of choice?

    It would seem that China does fine protecting its trade routes with 1/8 of the budget (much less actually, as most of their force is a land force.) Which is what the primary requirement of our military is.

    When constitutionalists start to suggest that the government should do what normal people do, ask yourselves. Do you really expect the average person in the country really understands they are supposed to be spending 58% of their income on guns and bullets? Really?

    We spend enough on the military to beat up on everyone else combined. That's not enough? We had to gut NASA (Easily the next generation of weapons will need to militarize space to make the shiny toys worth something). Constantly under invest in our education system (the military complains all the time it is short of competently educated troops). All you can say is "Good luck with that".

    Conservatives need to start asking yourselves weather you want a competent defense now that the bills are coming do, or you won't be able to defend yourselves at all. Notice that our national bond rating is about to get cut in status. The military is the ONLY place short of raising taxes where the biggest dent can be made. We do a little now or a lot later.
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  24. #49
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    As if we needed any more evidence of the fact congressional republicans would rather score cheap political points regardless of what it does to the country.


    Quote Originally posted by The News
    A $15 billion jobs bill was overwhelmingly approved in the U.S. Senate today, thanks to the votes of 13 Republicans. But as Mike Memoli notes, just five of those senators supported a cloture motion earlier this week which allowed the bill to come to the floor for a final up-or-down vote.

    The senators who voted to filibuster but then supported the bill: Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Thad Cochran (R-MS), James Inhofe (R-OK), George LeMieux (R-FL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

    Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) hadn't voted at all on the cloture motion but supported it today
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  25. #50
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    Interesting take on California- has the income revenue gone dramatically down in Cali or is it more of a spending problem (hasn't Cali seriously outspent their revenues for years and its final;ly come home to roost?). You mention the property tax system being broken- but isn't the primary reason for the broken prop tax the fact that many wealthy property owners pay extremely low property tax due to prop (19 is it?). So in a sense the property tax system in California is extremely regressive?
    There are a lot of different issues at play (horrible labor agreements, ridiculous gerrymandering, etc), but the by FAR the largest issue with everything that is wrong with California today is the poor incentive structure put into place by prop 13 and subsequent related props (like prop 58 that CPSURaf alluded to).

    In spite of it originally coming from a supposed "conservative" group, it's had the effect of concentrating more and more power at the state-level and away from cities/counties, it discourages any and all residential construction except in complete greenfield areas (and even then, there's not much incentive), it encourages commercial construction EVERYWHERE, at the expense of everything else (which is why you see Bay Area and LA area cities scrambling over each other to zone more and more commercial land without ever approving a single additional residential unit), and it discourages properties from being used for their highest use.

    The other problems are all minor (with most having their root cause in prop 13 in some way - usually as a way to game the system after prop 13 was put into place, or as a way to try and minimize the problems inherent in prop 13) in comparison.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

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