Deficit Rag


The good news about the Republican plan to reduce the deficit, according to this AP analysis, is that it will halve the federal shortfall "in a few years."

And the bad news?

All three GOP budgets [i.e., plans prepared by the president and GOP congressmen and senators] would make federal shortfalls worse than if lawmakers did not act at all, Democrats and balanced-budget advocates say. Some Republican figures show the same thing.

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  1. How much?

  2. There is no problem letting the murderer have federal aid, he was done with that crime. Besides he wasn’t funing terrorists with his behaviour.

    The benefits of the war on drugs:
    1 It gives those brave entrepeneurs in the bad neighborhoods a way to get rich.
    2 It provides the fuel to keep advancements in tactics and technology of law enforcement up to speed.
    3 It gives law enforcement an excuse to go mess with people who are generally unlawful in other things but it is hard to prove.
    4 Doing drugs would not be half as fun if it were legal.

  3. Sorry that was the wrong thread, it was supposed to be on the drug one.

  4. Dave S-

    It’s not a bad thing, but the point is I don’t believe it. Supposedly they’re just trying to starve the beast. That makes sense if you’re trying to do it via tax cuts. But some claim that deficits in their own right starve the beast, and I don’t see it.

  5. “Sorry that was the wrong thread, it was supposed to be on the drug one.”

    Oh, thanks, I thought you on drugs there for a minute.

  6. A real-world prediction is that we are going to keep all this crap, and pay for it. It will be paid for out of future economic growth, not by raising the net proportion of their incomes Americans pay in taxes.

    That we throw money away on all this Beltway-inspired bullshit, of course, contributes nothing to economic growth (and even retards growth)…but capitalism in North America is dynamic enough to carry the freight.

    Republicans are not going to cut spending– so Thoreau will have to put them down in his memoirs as wrong-doing people…and neither is anyone else.

    Democrats are not going to raise taxes significantly…they aren’t going to get the chance.

  7. Nick,
    It sounds better when the frog (or chris) sings it.

  8. Andrew,
    So the beast can’t be starved because the economy is to strong and vabrant that it can carry the monster even if the monster is on roids, so to speak?

    So then if starving the beast was the plan, that too will fail. As it also seems that the plan to fight the rate of increase inch by inch is doomed to fail.

  9. kwais

    We are running unusually high deficits right now mostly because the economy is sort of weak, and that will right itself shortly. The total size of government won’t increase that much throughout the rest of this decade.

    Why is the government as large as it is now? In the deathless words of James Carvelle: Why does a dog lick his dick…because he can!

  10. I didn’t know there were beaches in South Dakota!

    – Josh, blond

  11. I actually share Andrew’s prediction:

    The government will remain big, fluctuating in size a little bit over time but overall remaining pretty much the same.

    What I reject is the notion posed by some people that the GOP is in some way much better than the Dems. The GOP is committed to the status quo. The biggest difference (on domestic policy) is that the GOP will divert a little bit of the gov’t spending to things that it favors (e.g. put money in abstinence education programs that have never been shown to work, instead of putting it in fuzzy liberal social engineering programs that have never been shown to work).

    Of course, there are differences on foreign policy, and maybe we’ll just all have to agree to disagree, to avoid “Should have have invaded Iraq?” thread # 1,874,235.

    The point is that domestically they both favor a big government that will benefit their own favorite players in the culture war. Hardly cause to vote one over the other.

  12. thoreau,

    Well, there is no real reason why the deficit won’t simply continue to expand. At least neither you nor Andrew has given us one yet.

  13. I said that the size of gov’t will remain about the same, not the size of the national debt. I think the deficit will grow for now, but shrink in the future, and then grow again. The national debt will, by definition, continue to grow as long as there is a deficit.

  14. Unless Clinton is President.

  15. “The real story on a budget is the result of it, and our results stand up to scrutiny,” White House spokesman J.T. Young said Friday.

    Did I wake up in Bizarro World? The results of Bush’s budgets are record deficits now and in the future, and the steepest job loss since the 1930s.

  16. Does “Deficit Rag” refer to the song that frog sings who keeps getting reinterred in “time capsule” boxes of cornerstones of buildings?

  17. Hello my baby, hello my darlin’, hello my deficit ragtime gal…

  18. “Deficit Rag” is an allusion to a song from a Simpsons episode titled “Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington.” “The Deficit Rag” is one of several songs sung by a parody version of Mark “Antidote to Laughter” Russell. The lyrics go a little like this:

    The deficit rag, oh yeah the deficit rag,
    Those budget gaps can be a twelve-digit drag,
    I’m telling ya, that’s the deficit,
    They really made a mess of it,
    That’s the deficit rag!

    More details here:

  19. tsk tsk Nick. Don’t you know it’s bad form to explain you own joke.

  20. This is all part of a brilliant plan: Make the deficit as big as possible as fast as possible. That way, interest payments will eventually be so huge that every dime not spent on the military will have to be spent on interest. No more EPA! No more Department of Education!

    You can trust the Republicans on this because they’re from the government and they’re here to help. Honestly. Really.

    Now, anybody interested in some beach-front property in South Dakota?

  21. “No more EPA! No more Department of Education!”

    And that’s a bad thing?

  22. OK, we agree the current deficit will fluctuate over time but never, ever leave us, overall debt will fatten itself as it absorbs the yearly deficits, and neither major party has any desire to change the situation.

    Ultimately we the sheeple either impose a revenue cap to squelch the inflow (as there will be no incentive to “not spend”, ever) or accommodate ourselves to using the bulk of the gdp to service the debt, all the while taking our own tax funded cookies from the jar.

    Gentlemen and ladies, we are the Titanic and that is a big berg ahead.

    See you,

  23. – Unless Clinton is President.

    … and we get another Republican revolution.

    Those Republicans sure were useful when they were just spoilers. Sadly, running the show in D.C. seems to be a bit like holding the One Ring: most are so easily seduced by its power.

  24. All we need to do is raise the retirement age to 110.

    Best Social Security reform yet.

    – Josh

  25. The deficit is irrelevant – spending is the problem. Whether financed by deficits or taxes, government spending is the problem because it takes valuable economic resources ($$$) and spends them in a less (the least) efficient manner.

    Cut spending and taxes can be lowered and the deficit will disappear. Nothing else matters (on this topic anyway) than spending.

  26. Socrates said democracies last longer than other forms of government but eventually fail too after a certain tipping point of the poor, who will always be the majority, voting to take money from the rich.
    The refinement/ corollary of Socrates truth is: the more likely to vote elderly–becoming a larger and larger majority–are voting to take away future earnings of the young.

  27. Now let me see, I should be glad that Al Gore did not steal the 2000 election because if he had;

    He would have pushed though and signed an unprecedented interference with, expansion of expenditures on and unfunded mandates on local education authorities, would have pushed for the expanded Clinton-Reno intrusions into all aspects of personal life, a huge expansion of unfunded liabilities for medical care and drugs for old people, and a huge internationalist nation-building program to “build democracy” for all the benighted lesser people of the world. And further he would never have vetoed a single spending bill on the grounds that it was excessive.

    I’m so glad that didn’t happen. I just came out of a coma for the last 3 yrs what else has happened?

  28. P.S.

    The “deficit” is an attempt to quantify the extent of the rip-off of the young, but government being government can get away with saying: “Deficit? What deficit? All we need to do is raise the retirement age to 110.”

  29. Aw, Rip, you just don’t get it.

    However bad Bush might be, you must take it as a matter of faith that Gore would have been worse.

    On a serious note, I’ll make one prediction that (admittedly) can’t be tested: If Gore had won, Jim Jeffords would still be calling himself a Republican, so Tom Daschle never would have been Senate Majority Leader.

  30. Thoreau,

    I absolutely agree that the repubs aren’t doing any better, but each election cycle I am forced to listen to one group of people propose boundless spending, which incites the other group to claim that it isn’t enough.

    I am just saying that in this light, it is not surprising that dems are assumed to be spenders. It is every plank in their platform. If I ever heard a Dem that wanted to reduce government spending and overall levels of redistribution, he’d have my vote in a minute.

    This election cycle will drive me to vote LP, as I don’t really care which of the other guys spends all of my money. Once they have both made the commitment to rob me of my retirement and my savings for my own medical care so they can give it to someone else, I don’t care one bit the details of their plans. No secret, I supported and still support a broad understanding of self defence on the national level and on the domestic level.

    The dems are openly hostile to my biggest hot button issue, which is guns. That already hurts them badly, but if they had anything to give me as an alternative to the repubs at this point, believe me, I’d take it. They don’t. Instead, I laugh through the tears of the spectacle of Kerry talking about Bush eviscerating domestic programs.

    I hate them all.

  31. At some point thoreau, if a party/candidate says they are going to spend more, and the answer to every single question in every debate is that “I will spend more than the Republican, who doesn’t care about you!” don’t you have to believe them?

    If the dems don’t like this impression, they can change it at any time. Please. Give me anything.

  32. Steve is right. The deficit is just a symption of the disease of overspending. The govt still spent way too much in the late 1990s, yet because there were supposedly surpluses, politicians patted themselves on the back for being fiscally responsible.

    It’s all a crock. The problem is spending too much, and we’re spending too much because it gets politicians elected, and it gets politicians elected because America is a welfare state. Ending the welfare state is the only way to restrain govt spending.

  33. Jason-

    The Democrats want to spend more money than the Republicans claim they will spend. That much is 100% true.

    The problem is that the Republicans also want to spend more money than they claim they will spend. Don’t believe me? Just look at the first 3 years of Bush’s administration, where we had a Republican in the White House, GOP control of the House, and GOP control of the Senate for a year-and-a-half of 3 years.

    Now, maybe the reason for all of this is that, in his 18 months as Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle was just an amazingly effective politician who seized control of the budget process and forced all of Washington to obey his every whim. Maybe Daschle proved to be an opponent who scared Karl Rove and Tom DeLay into submission.

    But I can’t help but think that the GOP should get at least a little bit of the blame for spending increases. Call me crazy, but that’s my gut feeling.

  34. EMAIL:
    DATE: 05/21/2004 06:12:19
    Friendship make prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.

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