Is the GOP Getting Serious About Spending Cuts?

After a year or so of warning that the defense spending reductions scheduled to occur as a result of the sequestration process the followed from 2011 debt ceiling deal were just too dangerous to our nation’s safety and economic security, Republican legislators in Congress have come around to a new perspective.

Sure, they say, the combination of defense and discretionary spending reductions in the sequester aren’t ideal, but they’re better than nothing. We’ll take what we can get.

That's a real change in the party line. Last summer, GOP House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan could be found telling rally-goers on the campaign trail that Republicans were going to have to “protect jobs in Virginia and America” by dealing with the “devastating defense cuts president Obama is promising.” Now Ryan is saying that Republicans are ready to let the full $1.2 trillion sequester, which is divided roughly evenly between defense and discretionary cuts, go through. “We think these sequesters will happen because the Democrats have opposed our efforts to replace those cuts with others and they’ve offered no alternatives,” Rep. Ryan said on Meet the Press.

He’s not the only Republican singing this tune. Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake told National Journal last week that "the only thing worse than the sequester is no sequester. We have got to hit those budget targets....If we can do it another way, fine, but if not, we’ve got to have that hammer.” In the FT Republican Sen. Pat Toomey said that allowing sequestration to occur “is a much better outcome than suspending or eliminating the sequestration, so if that’s what has to happen, so be it.”

So is this a sign that the GOP is finally getting serious about spending cuts? I'd say it’s a start—and encouraging mostly for what it says about the GOP’s longstanding insistence that defense spending can never, ever be reduced.

But it’s only a start. And as much as anything, it’s a sign of how warped Washington’s conversation about spending cuts has become.

You can learn plenty about the depressing politics of federal spending just from looking at the way that coverage of the sequester describes the cuts.

National Journal’s piece describes that sequester reductions as “once unthinkable, draconian cuts.” A Washington Post report on how the sequester might affect federal agencies describes the $85 billion in reductions scheduled to hit next year as “drastic.”

Just so we’re clear, here’s an idea of what those drastic “cuts” could look like through the beginning of the next decade:

The $1.2 trillion sequester wouldn’t actually cut spending over the next several years. It would simply let spending grow less rapidly than previously planned. Despite being subject to the biggest reduction, defense spending—which, it should be noted, has already seen mammoth growth since 2001—would also continue to rise through the end of the decade.

(Both charts via Reason columnist and Mercatus Center Senior Fellow Veronique de Rugy.)

The Republican party’s defense hawks had driven much of the opposition to the sequester, so the party’s newfound acceptance of the spending reductions can perhaps be understood as a message to its military Keynesians that they’re not always going to get everything they want. There’s long been tension in the party between the budget cutters and the defense hawks, and those who favor spending restraint that doesn’t exclude the Pentagon budget have typically lost. If the GOP makes a stand on sequestration, that won’t be the case this time.

But whether or not this is a real turning point in the GOP’s attitude the defense budget remains to be seen. You can imagine this as a possible turning point, in which much of the party begins to accept that defense spending restraint has to be part of any effort to reduce federal spending. But you can also envision it as a one-time deal that the party backs away from in coming years.

Because the bigger worry with the sequester cuts isn’t that they’re too large or too harsh. It’s that Congress might not stick to them. A similar sequestration effort in the late 1980s failed when, after just a few years, Congress began to alter and then ignore the spending targets. Indeed, pretty much every major budget deal in the modern era has failed to be implemented as planned thanks to Congress deciding to go a different direction. If Republicans are really serious about cutting federal spending, or even reducing its growth, they'll have to do more than support the sequester now. They'll have to figure out how to stick to it in the long run.

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  • Jeff||

    No.

  • Voros McCracken||

    Pretty sure this first comment sums it up.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Yeah, that's where I was gonna go.

  • califernian||

    You mean "never", I believe.

  • Mo||

    Beacause everything needs a name, Betteridge's law of headlines.

  • ||

    Is the GOP Getting Serious About Spending Cuts?

    No. Next?

  • Sevo||

    "Is the GOP Getting Serious About Spending Cuts?"

    No. Next question, please.

  • Sevo||

    Ooops. Great minds and all that...

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    I finally actually bothered to RTFA. Serious about the sequester != serious about spending cuts, even if they really are serious about the sequester.

    Which I doubt.

  • A Serious Man||

    No.

  • ||

    Fried chicken. Wait...chicken fried steak.

  • Randian||

    ***rockets off of bridge***

  • sarcasmic||

    Are you serious? Are you serious?

  • A Serious Man||

    Yes.

  • ||

    +1 romantic evening with Nancy P.

  • ||

    *barf*

    Wait...are there exploding remoras involved?

  • Libertymike||

    You'll have to go on the date to find out what will transpire on it.

  • NihilistZerO||

    Only a fool would bother to ask the question. The GOP is the clogged 2-lane highway on the road to serfdom while the Dems represent the high speed 6 lane highway. They both get you to the same place :-)

  • Jordan||

    Nah, the Dems are the high speed rail to serfdom.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Nicely played. Yes, the progressives are boldly moving us forward with 19th century transportation and teach the next generations in 19th century schoolhouses.

    Keep on winnin' that future, dildos.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Every mode of transportation we have, except hovercraft and helicopter, was developed before 1905. So I'm not sure what the moniker "19th century transportation" has to do with anything.

  • Libertymike||

    Ah, perhaps BP was trying to express the fact that everything about progressivism is retrogade.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    No shit. None of the commonly recognized forms of transportation have much resemblance to what they were in the nineteenth century. Not even walking, which by mile was probably the most common form of everyday transportation, and was done without synthetic materials, air shocks, and in-soles.

  • ||

    Last summer, GOP House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan could be found telling rally-goers on the campaign trail that Republicans were going to have to “protect jobs in Virginia and America” by dealing with the “devastating defense cuts president Obama is promising.” Now Ryan is saying that Republicans are ready to let the full $1.2 trillion sequester, which is divided roughly evenly between defense and discretionary cuts, go through.

    He ran as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate, lost that race, and was still re-elected to the House of Representatives? I feel like that is a major conflict of interest.

  • Randian||

    Why?

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    What I find wierd about it is as Vice Presidental candidate he lost Wisconsin, but was re-elected to congress from there.

  • robc||

    District vs State.

  • robc||

    Im unable to find 2012 election results by district for Wisconsin. It depends how much of Waukesha Co is in his district vs Milwaukee Co.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    Yeah I know, the first district in Wisconsin is probably Republican leaning portion of the state.

    It just seems weird to me that politicians are allowed to run for multiple positions in the same election year.

  • robc||

    I think the first I remember doing it was Lloyd Bentsen back in 1988.

    His running for senate and veep was, as I remember it, a commentary on Dukakis's chances of winning.

  • R C Dean||

    Now Ryan is saying that Republicans are ready to let the full $1.2 trillion sequester, which is divided roughly evenly between defense and discretionary cuts, go through.

    Then why the fuck did they let the damn tax increase go through a few weeks ago? Supposedly, that was the price Obama extracted for the deal on extending the sequester.

    Now, it looks like they gave Obama tax increase for nothing.

    Fecking idiots.

  • John||

    Because the tax increases were only a fraction of what the cliff would have mandated. If they somehow get all of the cuts of sequester with only some of the tax increases of the Cliff, that is not a bad deal at all.

  • Randian||

    Because "going over the Cliff" was going to be the fault of the Republicans, full stop.

    They also made most of the tax brackets permanent. That's also a win.

    if they can make the brackets permanent and cut spending, they'll be heroes.

  • Libertymike||

    Permament? Please.

  • Randian||

    Psychologically, it is now going to be harder to raise taxes because you can't call them the "Bush Tax Cuts" anymore.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Didn't Obama already extend them once?

  • 34lbs||

    Didn't bush like cut spending across the board and reduce taxes to nill, wasn't he famously quoted as saying "I'm preserving the free market principles to preserve the free market principles", he also was the biggest non interventionist in US history right?

  • John||

    That is what all of my liberal friends tell me. It was like Somalia in this country before Bid Daddy got elected in 2008.

  • db||

    Bid Daddy? That's archaic. Government business gets done in backroom deals witg a handshake and a campaign contribution. Bids are for chumps.

  • Brandon||

    Yep. He turned the country into a Libertarian wasteland, second only to Somalia. And even the Mighty Obama wasn't able to fix it in 4 years. Except when he was, and everything is great. But anything that is still wrong is just a Bush hangover.

  • John||

    It is funny. People on the right will admit when leftist Presidents did things they liked. No one I know pretends that Carter didn't deregulate the airline industry or Clinton didn't sign welfare reform. But liberals just put things down the memory hole. That whole thing where George Bush worked with Ted Kennedy to write NCLB or sign SARBOX to regulate the evil corporations and banks, didn't happen. George Bush was a Libertarian Nihilist who got rid of all government regulation and spending except for the evil war!!, which no Democrat ever supported.

  • 34lbs||

    Didn't liberals love them some No Child Left Behind and Dream Act?

  • John||

    Of course they did. If Al Gore had won in 2000 and done the exact same things that Bush did, liberals would be calling him one of the great Presidents in history, the liberator of nations, the reformer of American schools, the man who stopped the evils of Wall Street. It is just fucking bizarre.

  • 34lbs||

    There was that recent book by Jesse Ventura on this strange.. strange.. phenomena. If Jesse Ventura doesn't make you nauseous...

  • Enough About Palin||

    As stated last week -- spins of omission.

  • Randian||

    No Child Left Behind is a leftist bugaboo because it actually holds teachers accountable and enforces standards. They really think that it was nothing more than a top-down unfunded "mandate" that made teachers servants to the FedGov.

  • John||

    Since when do liberals not like to down federal mandates? Ted Kennedy wrote most of the bill.

  • Randian||

    Yes, well, if it makes teachers do anything other than receive hosannas abd blowjobs for doing the Lord's work in America's toughest neighborhoods, the Democratic Party and its NEA handlers are agin' it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Unfortunately, the eminently predictable response to NCLB's standards enforcement is that teachers spend time drilling on test taking strategy instead of actually teaching the subject, and absolutely never waste time talking about something that might spark the students' interest in the subject if it won't be on the tests.

    Liberal policies aren't the only ones with unintended consequences.

  • Randian||

    I hear this a lot from the teacher's unions, but it's a canard.

    First of all, if they spend time "drilling" what is going to be on the test, we call that "learning". And there's an element of test-taking strategies in all tested fields - from the bar exam to medical boards to college entrance exams and everywhere in between. What's the difference?

  • John||

    First of all, if they spend time "drilling" what is going to be on the test, we call that "learning".

    THAT

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    First of all, if they spend time "drilling" what is going to be on the test, we call that "learning".

    Those of us whose job it is to teach certainly don't call it learning. Drilling is only useful for memorization.

    Memorization is important for foundational skills like spelling and multiplication, but once you get into wider fields of knowledge it's an awful approach with extremely low retention compared to other methods.

    And there's an element of test-taking strategies in all tested fields - from the bar exam to medical boards to college entrance exams and everywhere in between.

    And people take classes outside of their normal course load to prep for those exams. I certainly don't remember my real analysis class taking a few weeks off to drill on math subject GRE strategy.

  • Randian||

    Those of us whose job it is to teach certainly don't call it learning. Drilling is only useful for memorization.

    Do those of you whose job it is to teach do pop quizzes, tests, and final exams? Why or why not?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I certainly don't do pop quizzes, and de-emphasize tests and exams. Doing homework is where people actually learn in practice.

  • Brett L||

    That's such shit. In the mid '90s when I was in HS, every 10th grader in Texas who wasn't in special ed had to take the TAAS test, and, technically they had to pass before being eligible to graduate high school. I don't remember the union bitching about having to spend the entirety of 10th grade "teaching to the test". The tests are supposed to be a minimum standard of education. If teachers are teaching to the test, its because their colleagues who had the little fuckers in the previous grades failed to do their jobs.

  • Randian||

    Right, prior to NCLB we had to do this in Ohio as well. You had to pass it before you graduated.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    And your passing or failing that test didn't affect the school's funding one bit, did it? Hence the school didn't arrange their entire curriculum around it.

    Or are you reversing your position and claiming that the schools really do care primarily about what's best for the students?

  • Randian||

    Please state your point more clearly.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    When you're confronted with a word you can't spell at a bee, ALWAYS ask them to use it in a sentence.

  • Brett L||

    So teachers were lazy and didn't teach as much before their raises were aligned with student performance? I'm unsure of your point if that isn't it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Teachers who were lazy before are still going to be lazy. The teachers who NCLB stomps on are the good ones who really did want to teach the subject rather than teach the test.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    It's pretty easy to prevent "teaching to the test". Don't tell teachers the test questions, and make the areas tested broad enough that it encompasses all the stuff they should be teaching anyway.

  • Brett L||

    No Child Left Behind is a leftist bugaboo because it actually holds teachers "accountable" and "enforces" standards.

    Since they've been basically willing to waive failing states through without requiring a plan. It did give strategic cover to state legislatures that were willing to fight the teachers unions.

  • 34lbs||

    And social security was like, totally privatized wasn't it.

  • John||

    Most people didn't even know what social security was until Obama showed them.

  • robc||

    Bush's "privatization" plan was about the worst one imaginable.

    Im glad it died, I think it would have made things worse if it had passed. A real privatization plan, even a good compromise one, would have been worth fighting for.

  • Randian||

    Maybe yes and maybe no. There would have been a lot of pressure from interest groups to get on the pre-approval list, and eventually the slope would have gotten very slippery.

  • ||

    The NYT ventures into the heart of darkness to study preppers.

    WARNING: CONTAINS COMMENTS

    Douglas R. SkoppPlattsburgh, New YorkNYT Pick
    Escape to what? Survival for its own sake is absurd. Do these people really want to live in a world that's been destroyed? Would it not be better if they invested all this energy and expense into seeing the problems we have and then acting responsibly to help solve them? That's my choice. If it means my doom doing so, then I surely would prefer that--and knowing I tried to make a difference--than getting ready to jump off a cliff toward a bottomless pit...
    Jan. 27, 2013 at 11:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED250
  • ||

    Survival for its own sake is absurd.

    (points gun at Douglas' head, asks him if he wants to survive for its own sake)

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Epi, now tomorrow will be the best day of Douglas's life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Presumably he isn't living in Mad Max world if you don't pull the trigger, so that's not a valid analogy.

  • Zeb||

    "Do these people really want to live in a world that's been destroyed?"

    What?

  • John||

    If you can't live with the hive, what is the point?

  • From the Tundra||

    Seriously, though, how fun would it be to watch Douglas try his hand at hunting/gathering after his valiant, responsible efforts failed to make a difference?

  • John||

    These off the grid survivalist types kill me. Unless you have a group of several hundred people and a defensive self sufficient compound to go with it, you are pissing in the wind. If the apocalypse does come, you can save all the shit you like and then watch it walk after the door when someone stronger and more organized comes and takes it.

  • From the Tundra||

    Of course, but you have to admit that some survival skills are just common sense. The ability to live off the land, even for a short period of time, appears to be a dying art.

  • John||

    For sure and not a bad skill at all. But what these nitwits don't get is that civilization would come back pretty quickly. The Road is a fantasy novel not a how to guide.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    This. I still can't get over the people buying $300k wasteland plots to survive the apocalypse.

  • From the Tundra||

    While the former owners of said scrubland are gonna get their Mad Max on in Aruba. Capitalism ftw!

  • Libertymike||

    Couldn't there be more than one apocalypse?

    Might some be different than others?

  • Virginian||

    Doomsday preppers of New York?

    Shit...in any doomsday scenario I can come up with, New York is like one of the worst possible places to be.

  • A Serious Man||

    The city yes, but don't drag upstate New York in with them. I'd love to hideout in the Adirondacks while waiting doomsday out.

  • ||

    That's where I'll be, maybe a nice house on Lake George whose owner died in NYC when the whatever struck.

  • Randian||

    I didn't know that anybody actually lived in upstate New York. Yeah, I've seen Buffalo, but I am pretty sure that was a kind of Potemkin village.

  • ||

    Fortunately for me, not that many people up here north of Albany. We have guns, deer, farmland, drinkable water minus the Hudson...barring nuke winds heading our way, we'll be fine.

  • Ted S.||

    Yeah, but you're in Adirondack Park which has the wonderful land-use controls put in by the NYC politicians.

    (I live in the Catskill Park Preserve. And in the watershed for NYC's reservoirs. NYC are terrible neighbors.)

  • R C Dean||

    Wouldn't take long for the millions in NYC to flood the countryside.

  • JW||

    Wouldn't take long for the millions in NYC to flood the countryside.

    Not if you take out the bridges first. Oh, and flood the tunnels for good measure.

  • Rasilio||

    Yeah, it would.

    Most of em would never get there.

    A city like New York has about 3 days worth of food on hand, it will take longer than that for the overwhelming majority of the 8 million+ in the Metro area to realize that help ain't coming and their only hope is to get out of dodge.

    However since we are postulating a disaster scenario supplies of gas will be hard if not impossible to come by and inevitably a handful of accidents amongst the mass of cars on the roads will make them impassable.

    Any realistic projection of an end of civilization scenario has better than 3/4ths of New York's population dying within 75 miles of the city and within a week of the event.

  • John||

    How would they die? It takes more than a week to starve to death. And there is a big river right there. So they wouldn't die of thirst. That is a bullshit statistic. There is more food there than you think. And people are amazingly inventive when they need to be.

  • ||

    Hipster is stringy and gamey, but it will do in a pinch.

  • Virginian||

    Exposure, disease, untreated unjuries, uncontested fires, other people.

    If there was a serious collapse, things would get real ugly real quick.

  • John||

    No they wouldn't Virginian. That is nothing but billious bullshit put out by the media. When the US invaded Iraq, the entire civil structure of society collapsed. There were not cops, no government, nothing. Just a bunch of Americans running around with guns and no idea how bad it was.

    But there was never a humanitarian disaster. This despite Iraq being a country full of people who had scores to settle and were dying to kill each other.

    Things just don't fall apart that quickly. And people adapt and are a lot tenacious then you think they are.

  • Randian||

    I mean, some people are simply going to "devolve" into local/community control and some variation of warlordism and/or ad hoc councils for the neighborhood.

  • SugarFree||

    I mean, some people are simply going to "devolve"

    I applaud your proper use of "devolve."

  • ||

    I applaud your proper use of "devolve."

    ARE WE NOT MEN?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    We are DEVA!

  • ||

    Transfats, salt, and giant sodas would have kept them alive. Guess they're fucked.

  • Virginian||

    Iraq? First of all, replacing the Iraqi Army with the US Army does not mean a power vacuum. The US Army maintained order following the collapse of the Iraqi government.

    I'm talking no electrical power, cops and firefighters and EMS overwhelmed, panic and fear spreading.

    Most importantly, if there was a no shit national disaster, as opposed to a localized one, that's the real killer. If NYC got flooded by a massive wave, the rest of the country would ship supplies in. If NYC was just one of the dozens of places in a serious disaster situation, then no help would come. That's the real thing you're overlooking. In TEOTWAWKI there is no FEMA, no Red Cross, no WalMart.

  • John||

    The US Army maintained order following the collapse of the Iraqi government.

    No they didn't. They didn't maintain anything. There was no law enforcement or any civil order beyond, don't try and kill the US soldiers.

  • Virginian||

    The power was still on, hospitals were still open, food was still being shipped in, the water was still on.

    It's apples and oranges.

  • John||

    The power was still on, hospitals were still open, food was still being shipped in, the water was still on.

    No it wasn't. And most of the hospitals were looted and destroyed. There were almost no functioning hospitals in Iraq in the spring of 2003. Every government building was burned to the ground in the immediate aftermath of the invasion.

    And yes, the food was being shipped even though there was no government or civil society. That is the point. People adapt and don't just break down into anarchy.

    Jesus Christ, are people on a Libertarian board actually arguing that there will be a mass die off within three days of the government ceasing to exist? Really?

  • Rasilio||

    Hospitals are irrelevant and "government buildings" even less so.

    Three things and only 3 things matter, is there a bare minimum of food available, is there water available, is there sufficient protection from the elements available.

    Regardless of how bad things got in Iraq the answer to all 3 questions remained yes throughout.

    It also has nothing to do with government ceasing to exist and everything to do with the breakdown in transportation and communication systems

  • Randian||

    What natural disaster of what scale is going to end commerce? End trade?

    Shit, you can grow fucking apple trees in New York. There are probably a ton of them there already. Are those all going to die off too? Carrots and green beans grow in rocks, for goodness sake.

  • Rasilio||

    8 million people cannot be fed on the available land in NYC.

    Without defining a diet and technologies used to produce the food it is difficult to produce an accurate measurement but a good rule of thumb is that it takes approximately 1 acre to feed 1 person for 1 year, so producing enough food in 1 year to feed New York would require 8 million acres, roughly the land area of Maryland, and this completely ignores the 14 million people living just outside of the City.

    There are farming technologies and diets less rich in meats that could cut that number significantly, probably by a factor of 4, but even then you'd need to plow over the entire state of Connecticut and convert it into farms and I'm not really sure what you're gonna do with the 3.5 million people living there however.

  • Rasilio||

    Starving people in a disaster situation are known for doing some pretty stupid and dangerous things.

    Primarily they will kill each other fighting over whatever food scraps they can find.

    Others will poison themselves eating bad food or drinking bad water.

    Others are going to be killed on the road, attacked by coyotees, falls off cliffs, etc.

    Some will succumb to a combination of starvation and exhaustion (not many people can walk 50 miles on an empty belly without something killing them)

    But mostly, they will die fighting each other for food.

  • Randian||

    75% is an absurd number. Simply ridiculous. Yes, some people are going to fight over food, but a lot of people are going to stay put for the first few days simply waiting on government salvation.

  • Rasilio||

    The situation postulated is not something that just impacts NYC.

    Remember we are talking about an end of civilization level event here. Nuclear war, near extinction level plague, etc.

    Basically all commerce is shut down, all services are gone, probably the nearest analogy is that show Revolution where everything electric just stopped working.

    There will be no Red Cross trucks coming in to provide food and relief, no national guard establishing order, nothing.

    New Orleans is not a valid comparison because it is not what the Doomsday preppers are preparing for, in that scenario there is a regional disaster but the rest of the countries resources are left intact. What about when the disaster hits EVERYWHERE equally?

  • John||

    There will be no Red Cross trucks coming in to provide food and relief, no national guard establishing order, nothing.

    And people could never adapt and band together and think of their own solutions to survive?

    Are you sure you are a libertarian Rasilio?

  • Rasilio||

    Yes they could, just as the people on the Titanic banded together and thought of their own solutions to survive, it even worked for a few of them but in the end hypothermia didn't really give a damn about their plans, government or not.

    Same here, government is not the issue either way, it is a pure math problem, there is no way to feed the people of the New York Metro area without trucking Thousands of tons of food into the city every day, if you stop that influx for whatever reason then you have also effectively stopped the ability for mass outward movement (if people could easily leave the city en masse you could use the same capability to bring in the food) and within 7 days massive food riots will have broken out as starving people attempt to secure what stockpiles of food remain for themselves.

  • R C Dean||

    Remember we are talking about an end of civilization level event here. Nuclear war, near extinction level plague, etc.

    I think your nuclear war or plague will take care of NYC long before the collapse of civilization does.

    Basically, you have to posit an overnight civilization-ending event that mysteriously leaves NYC largely untouched except for the loss of power and, when the gas runs out, shipments of essentials.

    I'm not seeing it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    An EMP would do it. And that's not hard.

    Supposedly Iran is testing how high they can launch missiles over the Caspian Sea for this very purpose.

  • John||

    But mostly, they will die fighting each other for food.

    That is not what happens any where else on earth when there is a famine. I know New Yorkers are animals. But they are really not all like Episiarch.

  • $park¥||

    John| 1.28.13 @ 2:41PM |#

    These off the grid survivalist types kill me. Unless you have a group of several hundred people and a defensive self sufficient compound to go with it, you are pissing in the wind. If the apocalypse does come, you can save all the shit you like and then watch it walk after the door when someone stronger and more organized comes and takes it.
    John| 1.28.13 @ 2:53PM |#

    But mostly, they will die fighting each other for food.

    That is not what happens any where else on earth when there is a famine. I know New Yorkers are animals. But they are really not all like Episiarch.

    Maybe it's just me, but there seems to be an inconsistency in your position, John.

  • John||

    It is just you Sparky. Just because someone is organized and will take some off gridders food by force, doesn't mean 3/4ths of the people in the country are going to be dead in a week as Rasillio is arguing.

  • Randian||

    There are going to be some panic-deaths and disease could get nasty, but the fallacy in apocalyptic fantasies is that *something* happens and suddenly people forget how to produce things, trade, and build communities.

    That is never, ever going to happen.

  • SugarFree||

    I'm sorry, Randian, but if science fiction has taught us anything it is that two decades after a world-wide disaster, society will be just like 12th Century England.

  • Randian||

    Is there any disaster fiction that *doesn't* go in this direction?

  • SugarFree||

    Is there any disaster fiction that *doesn't* go in this direction?

    Lots, but the post-apocalypse "fantasy" novel is the most common.

    One of my favorite is Earth Abides, in which we revert back to hunting/gathering. The scene where they learn to beat quarters into arrowheads is amazing. Of course, it makes more sense in that the disaster is radical de-population event.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    So the best survival place is next door to the local Renn Faire?

  • Rasilio||

    Nah, 1890's would be the furthest back we'd realistically fall

  • $park¥||

    It is just you Sparky. Just because someone is organized and will take some off gridders food by force, doesn't mean 3/4ths of the people in the country are going to be dead in a week as Rasillio is arguing.

    My guess is the truth would be somewhere in the middle. The people who have been stockpiling their goods are not just going to let the others take it, even if the others do have the stronger force. That's going to lead to some deaths. I agree it won't be apocalyptic, but I think you might be underestimating somewhat.

  • Rasilio||

    Not 3/4ths of the country, 3/4ths of the population of major cities, and even there it is really only the big East and West coast cities.

    Major cities like Chicago, Dallas, and Atlanta are surrounded by so much farmland that even with just local transportation you could probably feed people well enough to keep most of them alive while they relocated to more rural locations.

  • Rasilio||

    That is because famines typically do not occur over night, where one day there is plenty of food and 3 days later there is none available.

  • Randian||

    Yeah, I never understood the "NYC is screwed" talking point when it comes to apocalyptic scenarios. There are plenty of dogs, rats, and cats if things got really desperate.

    There were no-shit stories of people walking 50 miles out of New Orleans with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. No different here.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    There are plenty of dogs, rats, and cats if things got really desperate.

    It could get real ugly, real quick. But humans are surprising resilient, and will find a way to survive. See: Siege of Leningrad.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Leningrad

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    And there is a big river right there. So they wouldn't die of thirst.

    I can't imagine the panoply of things that would kill you if you drank Hudson or East River water. Dysentery for sure, but probably something else quicker.

  • John||

    That is why you boil it Tulpa. You could drink the Hudson, you would just have to boil it. As long as its boiled, it wouldn't kill you.

  • Randian||

    Yeah, you can boil the filthiest of water and come up with something potable.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Please, Randian, drink some boiled East River water. It would make the threads here a lot less annoying after a few days.

    There are things besides living organisms that can make water unsafe to drink.

  • John||

    And it only takes a tank of gas to drive from New York City to pretty much anywhere in the state. You don't think people wouldn't pool their resources?

  • ||

    Have you met New Yorkers?

  • Rasilio||

    With no traffic.

    Now put 8 million other people on the road at the same time.

    50,000 people getting out of a Giants game can leave you sitting in traffic for 2 hours. Now multiply that by 400 and remove all emergency services and police

  • Randian||

    Why would everyone be leaving at once? Or even at all? Why would you leave your home in the event of a disaster?

  • John||

    With no traffic.

    Now put 8 million other people on the road at the same time

    But I thought there was no gas? Now they are all out on the road? As Randian points out, there are plenty of things to eat. Hell, most urban areas are full of deer and certainly have squirrels and racoons and such. There are things to eat.

    And what is this "two day supply of food" horseshit? Have you ever been to a COSCO? Any small grocery store has tons of non perishable food. All that rice and Ramen noodles would be edible.

    And few people are going to die from bad water. First, it takes really bad water to kill you. And second, all you have to do is boil it, which even New Yorkers are smart enough to do.

    It wouldn't be good, but 3/4ths of the population dead in a week is just crap. Not true.

  • Rasilio||

    "And what is this "two day supply of food" horseshit? Have you ever been to a COSCO? Any small grocery store has tons of non perishable food. All that rice and Ramen noodles would be edible.

    "

    And have you ever seen how many trucks a day deliver new supplies to that Costco?

    The 3 day estimate refers to the point where food scarcity starts food riots and includes all of the food in the stores, all of the food in peoples homes and restaurants, and all of the food in local storage wharehouses. This generally holds true for all large cities, the exceptions would be those on major ports, So Chicago or New Orleans for example may hold more as some food in transit to other locations would be present.

    As for Dogs, Cats, Apple Trees and such, sure they exist, and 8 million people would exhaust them as a possible food supply in about a week.

  • Rasilio||

    "But I thought there was no gas? Now they are all out on the road?"

    No new shipments of gas, they have what is in their tanks and the gas stations only.

    But fine no gas makes my argument even stronger since a starving person will be lucky to make it 10 miles a day.

    "Hell, most urban areas are full of deer and certainly have squirrels and racoons and such. There are things to eat."

    But we aren't talking "Most Urban Areas", we're talking New York City. Even with Deer however. Lets give NYC a herd of 50000 deer and 10 million squirrels. How long will that feed 8 million people?

    Each deer provides about 100lbs of edible meat and each squirrel about 8 ozs, that leaves about 10 million lbs of meat. Give each person a 1000 calorie serving (~ 20 ozs) each day and you would have eaten every deer and squirrel in 1 day. Next day you go through all the birds in the city. Day 3 and all the cats and dogs are gone. Day 4, and every other living animal larger than a cockroach, except for humans are gone. And note, this is for a starvation level diet of merely 1000 calories a day.

    You are simply not accounting for how much food it takes to feed 8 million people or how much land is need to sustain that level of food production.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    No new shipments of gas, they have what is in their tanks and the gas stations only.

    And most modern gas stations can't pump gas without electricity. So if there's no electricity they have what's in their tanks and that's it.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    That 3 day's thing always bothered me. That's true in a very narrow sense. But farmers store a year worth of grain in those silos every harvest. What the preppers are preparing for is a complete break down of the electrical and transportation grid on a continental wide scale. The only things that can do that naturally is an asteroid, the Yellowstone super volcano, a massive EMP generating solar flare or the only thing man made would be a widespread war. All of which are highly unlikely.

  • John||

    What Dr. Frankenstein said. And those things are so bad that really who survives will be a question of luck. As I said above, in that situation, unless you have a self sufficient, well armed defensive compound of at least a couple hundred people, you are never going to be able to keep someone stronger and better organized from killing you and taking your stuff any way.

  • Virginian||

    You do know that survivalists have been concentrating themselves in the same geographical area right? Far far away from the densely populated areas.

    They're not in freaking Winchester or Prince William.

  • John||

    Apparently some of them are in New York Virginian.

    And people in rural areas will probably come through any big disaster fine. They are remote, can provide their own food and already have a community that can band together. So you really don't have to be a survivalist nut.

    And guess what, those rural areas that came through unscathed would quickly start banding together with other areas and helping each other and rebuilding civilization. Amazing how that would work.

  • Virginian||

    Depends on how bad it is. The thing is, if you're ready for TEOTWAWKI then you're ready for anything less.

  • NoVAHockey||

    My neighborhood was out of power for 2 weeks during the "derecho." through dumb luck mine came back on after 48 hours or so. and people just couldn't handle it - run on batteries and water, etc.

    It was probably more dangerous being on the road with freaked out soccer moms than anything else. but, we had some supplies on hand and just waited it out.

  • John||

    True Virginian. But to survive that means you have to live on some compound in Idaho. And that is pretty drastic for something that unlikely to happen.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    What if you have an occupation that requires that you live near a big city?

    Sorry, I'm not becoming a pig farmer now just to improve my odds of survival when a possible apocalypse comes.

  • Rasilio||

    " What the preppers are preparing for is a complete break down of the electrical and transportation grid on a continental wide scale."

    Yes, this is essentially what they are prepping for.

    I am not commenting on the validity of their preparations or the likelyhood of this level of event occurring, merely on the outcomes should it actually occur.

    That said, given the current global economic situation I could easily see a financial collapse leading to just this type of scenario over the course of a few weeks as the legitimacy of governments becomes no longer recognized and there are no longer any recognized valid forms of value to use in exchange.

    I'm not saying it WILL happen or even that it is likely, but I can see how it could happen in a very realistic way.

  • Virginian||

    Until the hordes heading north from NYC and the hordes heading south from the Canadian heartland meet in the middle and eat all the game and fish.

    There's just too much density in the East. I really hope I can make the move out West before shit really hits the fan.

  • Rasilio||

    Preferably someplace like this...

    http://www.silohome.com/

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Not necessarily. People who've survived societal collapses in Argentina and Bosnia seem to think cities are the safest places to be.

    You absolutely don't want to be in an isolated rural retreat sitting on food and weapons stockpiles when the brigands come. Once a strong enough band rides in and defeats you (which may take a few tries if you're tough, but it will happen) you're going to get tortured until you reveal where everything is, then they'll put you out of your misery.

  • Virginian||

    Neither Argentina or Bosnia was a collapse.

  • A Serious Man||

    These are the people that would commit ritualistic suicide if Obama died in office.

  • $park¥||

    Better to live on your knees than to die on your feet!

  • JW||

    There is no civilization worth living in, outside of NYC. Amirite?

  • JW||

    Would it not be better if they invested all this energy and expense into seeing the problems we have and then acting responsibly to help solve them? That's my choice. If it means my doom doing so, then I surely would prefer that--

    I'm pretty sure you doomed the rest of us already, pal.

  • Solanum||

    The way to keep civilization from ending is to begin funding our libraries again and to begin reading books again. Maybe listening to some classical music? How about a little art? Turner, perhaps? Movies from the golden age of Hollywood?

    A little less crassness on the radio, less violence on screen, less aggression that passes for music? More true courtesy and kindness towards others?

    Not so much machismo or master-race stuff? Fewer guns?

    While we can't guarantee that the rest of the world or even our own neighbors will follow suit, we can at least start at home.

    If we can't survive civilized, at least we won't perish as louts.

    This has to be a parody, right?

  • NoVAHockey||

    I saw that -- writer claims to be from Brooklyn. I vote real.

  • Brett L||

    Here Charlie Brown, come kick this football.

  • Randian||

    Winner winner chicken dinner.

  • Libertymike||

    John Buchigras (sp.?) on ESPN employs this phrase far too often.

    While I'm nit-picking here, I am sick and tired of sports broadcasters refering to Washington, D.C., as "our nation's capital". Just because the Ravens are playing the Skins at Fed-Ex field in Landover, MD, does not mean that Jereemy Schaap or Bob Ley or Trey Wingo should utter, "and the Sunday night game this week pits the Ravens against RGIII from our nation's capital".

    It just annoys me so.

  • robc||

    If they were serious, they would have let the sequester happen a few weeks back.

  • ||

    This.

  • Randian||

    Weren't you the one crying over the fact that they were going to go over the Cliff and ohthehumanity on the public opinion polls?

  • Spoonman.||

    No, of course not. Don't be silly.

  • JW||

    Is the GOP Getting Serious About Spending Cuts?

    Go ahead. Pull the other one.

  • Tim||

    I look forward to Obama wrapping himself in the flag and braying about how he, as commander in chief, will never allow our defenses to be hollowed out.

  • John||

    NOVA voted for the dumb bastard. Republicans really are the stupid party. They should have given the Dems what they say they want and cut the living shit out of defense and security spending targeted right at Northern Virginia. Let the Democrats turn it down and be revealed as hypocrites or let them accept it and let the voters of Northern Virginia learn that elections have consequences.

  • Tim||

    Media will run heartrending stories of shipyard welders on the brink of homelessness.

  • NoVAHockey||

    2-1 Obama at my polling place.

  • John||

    My wife's cousin and his domineering wife are big Obama people. He works for the Air Force. I so hope he gets RIFed.

  • NoVAHockey||

    works for? meaning civilian? I know I guy like that. he works for the army doing data entry. you'd think he's a ranger or something the way he talks.

  • John||

    He is a civilian. And not a veteran, which means he goes to the top of the list if RIF ever does come.

  • Libertymike||

    Why did your cousin choose such a domineering wife?

    What advice have you given him regarding the same?

  • Whahappan?||

    Wife's cousin. Pay attention.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    A large number of the NoVa federal employees are non-defense, no?

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Has anyone answered "No"?

  • A Serious Man||

    No.

  • John||

    http://www.theatlantic.com/bus.....hy/272556/

    The UK economy is a disaster but "no one knows why".

    Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as “bad luck.”

  • Gladstone||

    The UK economy is a disaster but "no one knows why".

    Cameron and Clegg are anti-government fanatics. Duh.

  • 34lbs||

    Man shoots himself in the head... he is now dead. but noone knows why.

  • 34lbs||

    It's all maggie's fault

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Survival for its own sake is absurd. Do these people really want to live in a world that's been destroyed?

    *Packs "Douglas" in ice, ships him to North Korea in box labeled BON APETIT!*

  • Rasilio||

    No.

    A more realistic assessment is that the GOP has realized that they are losing their base and face a very real prospect of being primaried unless they give the voters, flowers, a diamond, and promise that they will never hit them again.

  • ||

    This news alone that they are considering it will be all it takes to keep my dad on the R's side for another 10 years, minimum. They don't actually have to follow through, much less succeed.

  • Brandybuck||

    Translation for the Tony's of the world:

    The Federal government is like the 450 pound Wal-Mart Lady. She knows she needs to go on a diet. But her Democrat advisors tell her she has to keep eating ice cream sundaes or the economy will collapse. On the other hand the Republicans tell her that she can't have cherries on her sundaes anymore. Shocked and outraged, the Media tells her not to listen to the evil Republicans because they just want her to starve to death.

  • Enough About Palin||

    That's about right.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Wouldn't take long for the millions in NYC to flood the countryside.

    It's a loooooong walk to Lake George.

  • ||

    Longer with 8 million of your closest friends in tow.

  • Tim||

    " One creature, caught. Caught in a place he cannot stir from in the dark, alone, outnumbered hundreds to one, nothing to live for but his memories, nothing to live with but his gadgets, his cars, his guns, gimmicks... and yet the whole family can't bring him down from that, that... "

  • Adam330||

    Isn't it more likely that they are just posturing for the upcoming game of chicken?

  • ChrisO||

    The answer is, "it depends." If, by "get serious," you mean they are willing to make noises about spending, then certainly they are serious. If actually cutting spending is meant, then obviously not.

  • T o n y||

    Bobby Jindal said something halfway smart. To expand on his thoughts: being overbearing single-minded budget nannies doesn't count as good leadership to most people. I would guess that the GOP's almost exclusive focus on "zeroes" in the federal budget has only tarnished the effort of deficit reduction, since it's so closely associated with the very unpopular GOP. It's not even the fact that they've cried wolf soooo many times (when is that fiscal crisis gonna happen, exactly?), it's that the only people who think the budget is the single biggest problem are those who live in the Fox News bubble.

    That it's all a bunch of hypocritical duplicitous bullshit (they didn't give a crap about balanced budgets when they had the White House) is beside the point. They're destroying the mission by merely articulating it, because they are that unpopular.

  • John||

    Yeah Tony because operating a government that only takes in 60% of what it spends and borrows or prints the rest, is clearly the rout to prosperity.

    You know that has to end don't you? You do understand that the entire model of government and life that you have invested yourself into is dying?

  • iggy||

    Shorter Tony: If most people disagree with you, you are wrong. You would have been really pissed with Galileo if you lived in the 1500s, wouldn't you? I mean, the guy believed something most people disagreed with!

  • KPres||

    since it's so closely associated with the very unpopular GOP.

    You live in a bubble, Tony. Dems and Reps have been basically tied in generic ballots since 2009.

  • Brandybuck||

    Funny how one out of two voters still managed to vote for the "very unpopular GOP" candidate. Tony doesn't realize how damned close the popular vote came.

  • Adam330||

    hmmm...it appears that the "very unpopular GOP" is more popular than the democrats: http://www.realclearpolitics.c.....-2170.html

  • waaminn||

    Dude looks corrupt as the day is long lol

    www.ImaAnon.tk

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