Economics

In Less Than 20 Minutes, President Obama Will Lay Out Another Meaningless Program to Marginally Trim Federal Spending…

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Hey, it's a day of the week with a y in it, so it's time for another presidential address about the economy. This time, President Barack Obama will be talking from the White House Rose Garden:

President Barack Obama will lay out a plan on Monday to cut the U.S. deficit, striking a populist tone aimed at galvanizing his Democratic Party base ahead of the November 2012 election.

Obama will vow to veto any cuts proposed for the government-run Medicare health program for the elderly unless Congress agrees to raise taxes on companies and the wealthy.

The president's recommendations to a congressional "super committee" would deliver deficit savings of more than $3 trillion over the next decade, his aides said, with roughly half of those savings coming from higher tax revenues.

This is the equivalent of switching from foreign to domestic champagne. While upping the amount we drink.

To put that $3 trillion into perspective consider the following:

  • $3 trillion over a decade works out to $300 billion a year. If Obama expects to realize "half of those savings" via higher taxes, then we're looking at trimming just $150 billion a year in spending. And not from today's baseline, either, but from a series of budgets that will increase every year. About $1 trillion of the spending "cuts" come from draw-downs in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • This year's deficit alone is expected to be $1.3 trillion.
  • This year's budget (never actually finished) will come in somewhere around $3.8 trillion.
  • Under Obama's proposed budget plan released earlier this year, he would like to be spending $5.7 trillion in FY 2021. Under the draconian (read: lavish) budget proposal pushed by the GOP and authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), we'd be spending $4.7 trillion in 2021.
  • "Obama's proposals left out a number of cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that he had put on the table during summer negotiations on a so-called 'grand bargain' with Republicans that ultimately went nowhere."

Is this any way to get spending under control? No. Is it any way to create conditions of political certainty that might actually help business create jobs? No. Is it any way to seriously grapple with either the immediate or long-term fiscal problems of the government of the United States? No.

Here's a plan to do all three, cooked up by me and Reason economics columnist Veronique de Rugy late last year, using Congressional Budget Office numbers (that have been slightly revised since). We called it "The 19 Percent Solution" because it keeps federal spending at roughly the historic average of federal revenue. By taking a decade to correct our spending course, it allows for small, consistent year-over-year cuts to be made from current spending patterns. That would allow for long-term planning and a sense of continuity and avoid massive disruptions to existing situations. Of course, expecting Congress to do anything over a period of time (other than spend spend spend) is a real problem. But if the folks in Washington, D.C. are indeed looking for a grand bargain, they could do worse than take a long look at "The 19 Percent Solution."

Here it is, explained in video form, in a fake kitchen, with a real piece of pork:

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  1. In Less 20 Minutes,

    Psssst….

  2. Right now Gary Johnson is answering live questions with real answers.

    http://cdn.livestream.com/grid…..oplay=true

      1. Non-live stream here if you want to check it out:

        http://cdn.livestream.com/grid…..mute=false

    1. Re: kilroy,

      Right now Gary Johnson is answering live questions with real answers.

      Unlike… whose?

  3. Obama will vow to veto any cuts proposed for the government-run Medicare health program for the elderly unless Congress agrees to raise taxes on companies and the wealthy.

    He plans to offset the savings from feeding grandma cat medicine by confiscating the money employers would have spent on new hires. Interesting.

    1. curious how he did not have Medicare religion when he proposed using a half-trillion from it to pay for Obamacare. Let’s just tell the truth: today’s speech was brought to you by the Democrat National Committee.

    2. Obama will vow to veto any cuts proposed for the government-run Medicare health program for the elderly unless Congress agrees to raise taxes on companies and the wealthy.

      is that a threat or a promise?

  4. An apron over The Jacket?

  5. I guess what gets to me is that you guys (the no new taxes ever, cut spending folks) are just totally dishonest about everything. We could pretty much deal with the entire deficit issue by Congress just doing nothing and letting the Bush tax cuts (all of them) expire.

    Instead you offer up bizarre and laughable talking points that service an agenda: revenue increases don’t increase revenue, or we must apply Keynesian theory, but only to taxes, not spending (raising taxes kills jobs). It’s just such blatant bullshit.

    You think people are poor because they are bad people, and they are rich because they are good people, and you think government should exist to punish or reward based on this formulation of virtue. That’s why handouts to the rich don’t bother you as much as handouts to the poor. The rich are assumed to be downtrodden, and the poor are assumed to be given a leg up. Never mind the Orwellian mental gymnastics required to believe in this absurdity. I just wish you guys could say what you mean. Stop with the crisis bullshit. You want to end the welfare state, and it wouldn’t matter if the economy were just fine. Just say it. If you can’t be honest about what you want then why do you think it’s such a good idea?

    1. Re: Sockpuppet,

      I guess what gets to me is that you guys (the no new taxes ever, cut spending folks) are just totally dishonest about everything.

      You should feel in good company then, you dishonest piece of shit.

      We could pretty much deal with the entire deficit issue by Congress just doing nothing and letting the Bush tax cuts (all of them) expire.

      Besides being dishonest, you’re also lousy at math. Even with those so called “tax cuts” (which have been in place for 10 fucking years now) being erased, there would still not be enough to cover the current deficit, especially when considering the low performance of the economy.

      You think people are poor because they are bad people, and they are rich because they are good people,

      You’re a childish mountebank. Nobody has argued this here, ever.

      Fuck off, slaver!

      1. Ending the tax cuts may not solve the whole problem but they’d go a long way without inflicting nearly as much pain and economic damage as gutting social safety net programs, which is the only alternative.

        You may not realize you’re a moral busybody who equates wealth with virtue, but that’s in fact the core of everything you believe.

        1. “I guess what gets to me is that you guys (the no new taxes ever, cut spending folks) are just totally dishonest about everything. We could pretty much deal with the entire deficit issue by Congress just doing nothing and letting the Bush tax cuts (all of them) expire.

          Instead you offer up bizarre and laughable talking points that service an agenda”

          11:06 Tony must have read 10:23 Tony and just felt douchey.

        2. Re: Math-less sockpuppet,

          Ending the tax cuts may not solve the whole problem but they’d go a long way without inflicting nearly as much pain and economic damage as gutting social safety net programs, which is the only alternative.

          Translation: Since Paul already likes being paid with what is stolen from Peter, then Peter should be robbed more. Leftist morality 101.

          Certainly ANY reduction in entitlement payments will be resented by the unproductive parasites – it will make them lift their butts to go to work. Pure torture.

          You may not realize you’re a moral busybody who equates wealth with virtue[…]

          You’re a childish mountebank, sockpuppet. NO ONE has argued that wealth = virtue.

          1. Why do you even bother? We’re never going to agree on the moral premise that taxation is evil (and therefore civilization is unjustifiable), so it’s just a conversation stopper. I’m capable of arguing from a particular point of view regardless of my moral premises, why aren’t you?

            1. There isn’t a way to raise taxes high enough to dig us out of the holes being dug right this minute, Tony. Five cents more on the dollar won’t cut it.

        3. Says the guys whose entire political philosophy is based on nothing more than good old fashioned envy, and the will to use guys with guns and the authority of the state in order to force those people to hand it over.

    2. Why waste time with someone who’s admitted he doesn’t argue in good faith ?

      Tony|7.12.11 @ 1:18PM|#
      ??What I often fail to acknowledge is that often I’m merely playing devil’s advocate. I try not to have too many deeply held beliefs, if I can help it.

      1. So I’m required to believe things deep in my heart before I’m allowed to engage in debate?

        1. it would be a change

        2. believing something tends to give your debate points some credibility.

          1. I disagree. The only thing that gives a side credibility is data. Believing strongly is a distraction.

            1. The only thing that gives a side credibility is data.

              Hence your complete lack of credibility sockpuppet.

            2. Yet you never present any data. So you admit you have no credibility?

              Wow, that makes it just that much easier to ignore you.

            3. The only thing that gives a side credibility is data.

              Which you patently dismiss when it doesn’t fit your confirmation biases.

              1. I’m too lazy to cite every single thing, but I’m confident that when my assertions don’t fit the data I’ll be corrected by all you industrious citers.

      2. I knew something was not right with him. I feel clean for never having wasting my time responding to such utter bullshit.

    3. Take your Keynesian Kult bullshit and cram it up your ass, Tony, and while you’re at it… stop with the crisis bullshit.

    4. Sorry guys. I just got the note from the doc that I am officially fully retarded. Please remember this when reading my comment above.

    5. Keeping more of my fucking money is NOT a fucking handout you retarded ass piece of shit.

  6. Don’t feed the troll.

    1. “don’t feed the troll” comments are like the appetizer course for trolls.

      1. Re: Neu Mejican,

        “don’t feed the troll” comments are like the appetizer course for trolls.

        Perhaps. A troll will certainly make noise and rattle his cage, but still: Stand back, because he tends to fling his droppings at people.

    2. Tempting, tempting, but then I read the CA HSR is in trouble, so I relaxed….

  7. We could pretty much deal with the entire deficit issue by Congress just doing nothing and letting the Bush tax cuts (all of them) expire.

    (1) I thought those were the Obama tax cuts now.

    (2) So now Tony is on record supporting tax increases on the “poor”:

    Bush tax cuts: $544.3 billion. The package would extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone for two years.

    The bulk of that cost — $463 billion — is for the extension of cuts for families making less than $250,000, including two years of relief for 2010 and 2011 for the middle class from the Alternative Minimum Tax.

    The rest — $81.5 billion — is attributable to the extension of cuts that apply to the highest income families.

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/12/0…../index.htm

    (3) Math is hard. Note that the “cost” of the two-year extension (2011 and 2012) was $544.3BB. Note, also, that the deficits for 2011 alone is around $1.5TT. So, if the Bush tax cuts had expired on schedule, the 2011 deficit would still exceed $1TT, and I expect the 2012 deficit would as well, absent any other changes.

    1. He must think the poor are poor because of their sins, so it’s okay to punish them by taking more of their money, RC.

      1. T|9.19.11 @ 10:40AM|#
        “He must think…”

        Pretty sure you’re mistaken there.

    2. I thought those were the Obama tax cuts now.

      If you’re a mindless partisan zombie who thinks in talking points. Who gives a shit?

      I’m not necessarily in favor of ending all the tax cuts. But you can’t care more about deficits than jobs then take off the table the most sensible and least painful means of addressing the issue.

      All I’m asking is that you be honest about the fact that you want to see an end to all social safety net programs, and you’ll employ whatever rhetoric you can in the service of that end. Stop proving Naomi Klein right.

      1. “you want to see an end to all social safety net programs”

        Allow me to quote:

        Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

        We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain – Bastiat

      2. “We could pretty much deal with the entire deficit issue by Congress just doing nothing and letting the Bush tax cuts (all of them) expire.”

        I kinda sorta like talking points, but only ones with big tits.

      3. “you’ll employ whatever rhetoric you can in the service of that end”

        Isn’t that what everyone does in politics all the time? Not that it necessarily makes it right, but if you support a certain agenda, wouldn’t it make sense to use every argument you can which supports such an agenda?

    3. Jesus, the-tax-cuts-are-the-problem meme is still going on? How stupid is that? Particularly when the Democrats allowed them to continue when they controlled the government? Not to mention that even a tax increase wouldn’t solve the problem of too much spending?

      GOP supporters do idiotic things, too, but I’m not sure they are as successful at carrying two impossibly conflicting ideas in their heads at the same time.

      1. “GOP supporters do idiotic things, too, but I’m not sure they are as successful at carrying two impossibly conflicting ideas in their heads at the same time.”

        Well, Obama’s had 2-1/2 years to end Bush’s Wars, and they somehow remain Bush’s Wars, probably the new one too.

      2. “Spending is the problem” is a matter of opinion, not to mention a GOP talking point. If you want to fix the deficit you can either gut medicare or raise taxes. Saying spending is the only problem is to assert an agenda other than deficit reduction. This is made even more clear by the GOP whose major players are now willing to raise taxes as long as they hit the middle class.

        1. Re: Really Stupid, Clueless Sockpuppet,

          “Spending is the problem” is a matter of opinion

          No, you imbecile. If the problem is a budgetary deficit, then the problem is with the SPENDING. That’s not an opinion, that is a FACT. The only thing that is under the spender’s TOTAL control is the spending – nothing else.

          1. Except we’re talking about government, which also has the power to tax.

            1. Re: Dumb, really really dumb sockpuppet,

              Except we’re talking about government, which also has the power to tax.

              Special pleading? It there’s nothing else to tax, then what? You show such a lack of intelligence, sockpuppet, that I am beginning to believe you’re just someone’s idea of a bad joke, or maybe Bob Beckel in disguise.

              1. You’re lecturing others about lacking substantive arguments?

                1. Re: Sockpuppet,

                  You’re lecturing others about lacking substantive arguments?

                  Yes, because you require it. You exempt the government from the laws of economics because [as you argue] it has the power to tax (i.e. steal.) This is pure nonsense: You have to have available VICTIMS before you can steal from them. That is NOT under the governent’s total control, otherwise levying taxes would be a very easy task. You simply wish to ignore this fact because you like the spending, but your wishes change NOT A THING.

                  1. Congress has the constitutional power to tax and appropriate. Whatever your moral hangups on taxation, that’s a fact. Congress has to pass tax hikes and it has to pass spending bills. It just takes votes. If we have a budget deficit, then to fill it you either spend less or tax more. Both are options. That’s only not the case if you have a policy agenda that has nothing to do with closing budget gaps.

        2. Unfortunately, it’s easy to pull up numbers and data that prove that spending is outpacing GDP or budgets. Once outlay starts crushing the ability to pay it back (again, we can really easily look at the debt we rack up by the second) then no amount of green jobs, stimulus or shaving a penny off here and there is gonna amount to much.

          If you want to brand overwhelming data as a “talking point” then fine. It’s a lot more classy than trotting out the “seniors, kids and bluecollar workers” tripe that the Democrats never get tired of. But unfortunately this problem and the mad pace of spending are as much a GOP crime as a Democrat one. But the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania is taking the belt for fiscal insanity.

        3. If you want to fix the deficit you can either gut medicare or raise taxes.

          Yet another false choice from the person who can’t do basic math.

    4. Did I just imagine 2009-2010 when the Democrats controlled the Presidency and both houses of Congress with big majorities? They could have repealed the Bush tax cuts any time the wanted.

      It is the Reid, Pelosi, Obama tax cuts now.

  8. So, strawman arguments aside, Tony and the rest of the full-on retards who view the economy with blinders dont want to address the real problem.

    Massive debt brought on by insane expenditures and ramped up spending isn’t the issue. We should just jump through hoops to break even for a very short current fiscal fix and then go back to shooting ourselves in the foot with disastrous crippling legislation.

    And none of it is Obama’s fault – his horrible track record of slathered legal constraints for businesses, his continued overextension of the military, his bailouts and meddling in labor situations. Nope, it’s still Bush’s tax cuts that have us in such a pickle.

    Christ, the delusion is so awful that it’s getting ri-goddamn-diculous.

    1. Hey, that full on retard diagnosis came from the doctor- so it’s a medical condition and should be off limits as a tool to point out my full on retardation.

  9. “If you can’t be honest about what you want then why do you think it’s such a good idea?”

    I’m pretty sure it’s because self-absorbed, gun-cuddling twerps don’t mind dishonesty. Remember, they’re on a ceaseless survivalist campaign in their own minds, stuck in some weekend-warrior fantasy where ethics and civics are quaint concepts that just get in the way of the survival imperative.

    What baffles me is that you’d think that if one had chosen to be off in fantasyland all day long that one would choose something less adolescent than a universe of shitty action movie melodrama such as this. I get the idea that some of the anti-democracy creeps that hang around here are actually grown-ass men and women. Incredible.

    1. Re: Orel Hazard,

      So many words, so little substance. What teh FUCK are you talking about, Oral?

      1. Oh, I’m sorry. This two dozen instances of inserting the phrase “Smith And Wesson” into political discussions around here isn’t you?

        http://tinyurl.com/3mhe9o2

        It’s some other gun-cuddling, anti-democracy twerp?

        Sorry, then.

        1. One fondles guns, one doesn’t cuddle them. Make a note for future reference, will you?

          1. One fondles guns, one doesn’t cuddle them.

            To be fair, my tricked-out M-1A likes a cuddle after a hot session at the range.

        2. Re: Orel Hazard,

          This two dozen instances of inserting the phrase “Smith And Wesson” into political discussions around here isn’t you?

          Yes, it’s me. I ask again: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? Because these cutesy references are NOT replacements for cogent ideas, you miserable piece of bull droppings.

        3. So owning a gun is anti-democracy now?

          Twat

          1. Thesis: Glibertarians tend to be delusional, simple-minded, gun-cuddling civics illiterates.

            Challenge: “What the fuck are you talking about?”

            Proof Of Thesis: Instant replay of challenger’s continually simple-minded fixation on guns in place of civics.

            Retort From Challenger At Proof Of Thesis: “What the fuck are you talking about?”

            Ha ha.

            1. I’m assuming you meant that as a retort to Old Mex and not me.

              1. DesigNate: That’s correct. For you, I have only the suggestion that you look into the function of the comma.

                The sentence “The cars come in blue, green and white”, does not state that any car is colored blue, green and white.

                And also this: I do not care about anybody owning a gun. Being an American adult, I recognize most gun laws are meaningless as controls. I also realize that gun ownership is equally meaningless as preservation of “liberty”.

                However, the mindless, lazy, adolescent fixation on guns and the cuddling of guns standing in for the relatively hard work of civics and liberal democracy — that is what I oppose.

                1. You might want to learn some grammar before trying to explain it to others.

                  The sentence “The cars come in blue, green and white”, does not state that any car is colored blue, green and white.

                  Yes it does.

                  “The cars come in blue, green or white” would properly state that cars come in your choice of blue, green, or white.

                  1. Yeah, not in this world, sorry. You’d like the ambiguity present in my example to support your reading, but that’s purely your own reading – a reading that intentionally ignores the distinction of colors while projecting an actor and a choice into the example.

                    But sure, by all means, let’s stop talking about tiny-cocked libertarians and their histories of gun fetishes plus illiteracy in civics and opposition to liberal democracy. Let’s instead embrace shallow pedantry and hope nobody notices.

                    1. Let’s instead embrace shallow pedantry and hope nobody notices.

                      DesigNate: That’s correct. For you, I have only the suggestion that you look into the function of the comma.

                      Huh, I guess you’re right. Let’s drop the pedantry because it doesn’t advance the dialogue.

                      You’d like the ambiguity present in my example to support your reading, but that’s purely your own reading

                      Don’t want to be misunderstood? Maybe try not being ambiguous. I know when you’re ambiguous it lets you be smug when you have to explain how someone couldn’t read your mind. It also lets you change your argument to be counter to whoever you deem your opponents to be. I suppose that’s what you’re really going for at this point anyway, the smugness factor.

                    2. ” I suppose that’s what you’re really going for at this point anyway, the smugness factor.”

                      Not true. There’s also the “being totally right” part, the “substantiating my claims with evidence” part and the “being funny while doing it” part.

                    3. Well Orel, let me know if you achieve any of those goals.

                    4. Are you paid by the word or by the obnoxious comment?

                2. The sentence “The cars come in blue, green and white”, does not state that any car is colored blue, green and white.

                  Actually, it does, and one could successfully argue that they were promised one or more cars with a color scheme reminiscent of the national flag of Sierra Leone.

                3. By science you are an insufferable twat.

                  1. Orel ties O2 for the stOOpid.

    2. What baffles me is that you’d think that if one had chosen to be off in fantasyland all day long that one would choose something less adolescent than a universe of shitty action movie melodrama such as this.

      That’s pretty amusing coming from a neckbeard who thinks real life is just like the movies.

      Ha ha.

  10. $3 trillion over a decade works out to $300 billion a year. If Obama expects to realize “half of those savings” via higher taxes, then we’re looking at trimming just $150 billion a year in spending[…] This year’s deficit alone is expected to be $1.3 trillion.

    Do you want to bet that the tax increases will never be applied to pay down the deficit but be sqaundered on yet another set of useless programs?

    1. It is what they do best. Squandering.

  11. Photo caption:

    “I drink your hope. I drink it up.”

    1. “all your liberty are belong to us.”

  12. What really bugs me is Warren Buffet’s continued efforts to carry the water for liberal democrats with his disingenuous nonsense about his tax rate being lower than that of his secretary.

    He is deliberaly ignoring the double taxation of corporate income in his calculation. Whatever his proportional share of coroporate income taxes are paid by by the companies he has equity investments in counts as him paying it just as much as if he had written the checks himself and those taxes have to be included in the calculation of what his tax rate is.

    1. Warren Buffet, is very adept at taking advantage of the tax-code to increase his wealth – most famously for snapping up companies put on the market by heirs to pay for the estate tax of dead owners.

      Interesting factoid. Apparently Warren’s dad was a friend and confidante of Rothbard. I sometimes wonder if ol’ Warren is using Power and Market as a roadmap on how to enrich one’s self.

    2. Warren also ignores his own company’s fight with the govt over taxes it actually owes, as opposed to the fictional taxes he claims to want to pay. Liberal thought can only survive in the presence of a massively uninformed populace, and what better place than America to find that.

  13. Hey, Obama’s “plan” may do nothing about the deficit. But it has sure driven Solyndra off of the “Top Stories” list on my Google home page.

  14. “You think people are poor because they are bad people, and they are rich because they are good people, and you think government should exist to punish or reward based on this formulation of virtue.”

    You think rich people are rich because they are bad people and you think poor people are good, and you think government should exist to punish or reward based on this formulation of virtue.

    See how easy that is?

    1. This is supposed to be @ Tony for his asshattery upthread.

      Squirrels.

    2. Not as easy as you think. I don’t tend to inject arbitrary moral judgment into my political beliefs. I’m sure there are good and bad people among the poor and the rich.

      But the major factor in opposition to safety net programs seems to be that recipients are undeserving lazy parasites. I think libertarians fail to realize that this idea is straight from the protestant work ethic, only minus all the other ethics of christianity. I fail to see how moral fingerpointing is useful though.

      We see it as a constitutional right to provide a free legal defense to the worst of criminals, if necessary, so I just don’t see why someone’s laziness should factor in when we’re talking about a minimum standard to prevent problems that should only exist in the 3rd world. The Ayn Rand view of the world may have claimed to be secular but it was every bit as morally judgmental and absolutist as any religion. I prefer to keep religion out of policy.

      1. But the major factor in opposition to safety net programs seems to be that recipients are undeserving lazy parasites.

        Other objections, in no particular order:
        * Constitutionally suspect
        * Subject to mission creep, as with all .gov programs
        * Demographically unsustainable
        * Socially destructive

        But sure, it’s only that poor people are parasites that you ever see. Where are you looking?

        1. Every single one of those claims is severely lacking in evidence and obviously exist to support the relevant agenda.

          You don’t really care about their constitutionality, right? That’s not a question of the merit of the policy, after all.

          Second point: we should not provide a safety net because of paranoia about government running away with it. I’m sure all the starving people would be grateful you’re protecting them, not from starvation, but from “mission creep.”

          “Unsustainable” assumes an all-or-nothing approach. Sure we’re an aging population, but that only means we have to spend more on the safety net for old people. Either that or return to a time when getting too old to work was a death sentence for many people.

          “Socially destructive” is part and parcel of the moral premise. Poverty is far more socially destructive than safety net programs, I’d argue. Indeed, the only thing keeping it so that the richest 500 Americans have as much wealth as the bottom 150 million Americans is the fact that people aren’t rioting over access to food and water. The whole point of such programs is social stability. I think you should keep your moral assumptions out of it.

          1. For the record I don’t really have a problem with a fairly strong social safety net.

            I simultaneously see ineptitude and instability in our current system, and would rather see something much more voucher-like. Also, I believe if you get hit by a car you shouldn’t be denied care just because you can’t pay just right then. But that’s already how ERs work.

            1. Re: Evan from Evansville,

              For the record I don’t really have a problem with a fairly strong social safety net.

              I also have no problem with it, as long as YOU pay for it.

              1. Old Mex—yeah I know. I’m a bad libertarian, but you’re a curmudgeonly bastard.

                This is why libertarians are so brushed aside so easily by the MSM: they can point to people like you and declare all of us monsters who want puppies to be inserted into vaginas so they can eat out the diseased carcass inside and that’s like, totally how Ron Paul ran his OBGYN.

                Libertarianism and the non-aggression principle are philosophical in nature and it’s very easy to boil everything down to its logical, libertarian pulse.

                But that doesn’t work in politics. So I strive for something that I can live with that is also a measured improvement. And then we can work from there.

                1. Re: Evan from Evansville,

                  Old Mex—yeah I know. I’m a bad libertarian, but you’re a curmudgeonly bastard.

                  It’s cheaper to be a curmudgeon than a stupidly profligate do-gooder.

                  This is why libertarians are so brushed aside so easily by the MSM

                  So it’s the libertarians fault now for not wavering in our principles?

                  1. Dogmatists aren’t at fault for being dogmatists?

          2. Re: Sockpuppet,

            “Socially destructive” is part and parcel of the moral premise. Poverty is far more socially destructive than safety net programs, I’d argue.

            So much for arguing that they’re constitutional.

            The whole point of such programs is social stability. I think you should keep your moral assumptions out of it.

            Thus spaketh the mountebank – Isn’t the argument that entitlements avoid social instability a moral argument, you moronic piece of doodoo?

            1. ” Isn’t the argument that entitlements avoid social instability a moral argument, ”

              No, it’s a civic argument.

              I grant it would take someone not illiterate in civics to recognize this — a class which excludes you.

              But you are welcome for the education.

              1. Not even so much a civics argument, as an expedient argument. As in, its expedient to pay a kidnapper for the release of a hostage.

                Morality is, perhaps, arguable (a life is saved v. the likelihood that rewarding this behavior will cause more of it and cost more in the long run).

                1. You realize that reality is an absolute defense, right?

                  The reality of industrialized poverty is that the more the rich are left alone by the state, the more poverty grows. The history for this — both distant and recent — is absolutely uncontroversial.

                  And you also realize that reality providing an expedient argument doesn’t weaken the argument, it weakens the opposing argument. You know that, right?

                  Right?

              2. Re: Orel Hazard,

                No, it’s a civic argument.

                The above statement tells me two things: One, you do not know that there are no civic arguments; and two, that you’re just stupid.

                I grant it would take someone not illiterate in civics to recognize this — a class which excludes you.

                Oh, sure, because robbing people to give goodies to other people is the staple of civics. Right, Oral.

                1. http://tinyurl.com/3mhe9o2

                  As someone with such a steady, proven record of talking about guns as political methodology, you have zero credibility on the subject of civics, sorry.

                  Zero.

          3. Oh, btw, it’s also crystal-fucking-clear that YOU don’t really about their constitutionality. Because, that’s like, so fucking quaint.

            Old people, except in the direst of situations, rather than being coddled, should be empowered (OH MY GOD Oprah is gonna love me for that one!) to be able to set their own retirements and finances without being hobbled by the government.

            Here’s fair for SS–I want out NOW. (I’m 24, i’m never seeing that money again.) Grandfather people in over x age and give buy-out plans to people in the middle, depending on how much they ‘put in.’

            And, with an extra 12.4% in my pocket every month….well shit that just might be stimulative!

            1. You may be able to do just fine with that extra money in your pocket, but that alternative would leave huge amounts of retirees without ANY income. SS was not invented as a socialist conspiracy to oppress you. It was invented to address a real problem of poverty among old people (and to get old people out of the workforce to make room for young people).

              You could, through no fault of your own, have elderly parents or grandparents you’d have to take care of, and that could easily eat up 12.4% or more. “Empowered” is a euphemism for “mostly left out to die.”

              1. This is what passes for logical discourse for the Left:

                You may be able to do just fine with that extra money in your pocket, but that alternative would leave huge amounts of retirees without ANY income.

                You see? You’re a bad person because you do not want to part with YOUR money.

                1. OM given that human life expectancy has never been as high as it is, how on earth can you assume that a laissez-faire market would provide for the needs of people too old to work? What evidence do you have? It’s a completely novel situation for the human species.

                  1. Yes, life expectancy is higher now than ever before. But don’t you DARE expect anyone to support themselves longer before falling into the great social safety net.

                    1. If that were an actual solution I’d say consider it, but while it may sound like common sense it doesn’t necessarily add up to savings, since there will still be medical expenses, and just because you live longer doesn’t mean you’re able-bodied any longer.

                    2. Moving the retirement age is not an actual solution? The only thing that can solve this problem, at all, is raising taxes?

                      Why do you want to take options off the table Tony? Why do you hate young people?

                    3. I’m saying it could be an option but it’s not quite so simple. A private healthcare market is just more expensive for individuals. Sorry if that contradicts a deeply held faith in the free market, but it’s what the evidence says. So leaving people to the market in healthcare for a few extra years when their healthcare expenses may not be any less doesn’t necessarily save the country any money.

                    4. So leaving people to the market in healthcare for a few extra years when their healthcare expenses may not be any less doesn’t necessarily save the country any money.

                      It does if the country isn’t the one paying for their healthcare. I’m not entirely sure why you think that even though people are living longer their useful age still ends at 65.

          4. “Every single one of those claims is severely lacking in evidence and obviously exist to support the relevant agenda.”

            Only to lying, blind shitheads.

          5. Two points, and I’m going to quit feeding trolls for the day.

            You don’t really care about their constitutionality, right?

            Wrong, fucko. The federal government has no business in welfare. It’s not constitutionally authorized, so it’s a state and local level function, where the debate properly belongs.

            “Socially destructive” is part and parcel of the moral premise.

            Wrong answer yet again. If you think the Great Society welfare programs haven’t been profoundly destructive to poor communities in general and the black community in particular, you simply lack enough knowledge to discuss the issue with any credibility. Fuck along, now.

            1. They clearly are constitutional, at least for the time being, since no court has struck them down. But arguing their constitutionality isn’t the same as arguing their merit.

              The only comparison we have to a society with safety net programs in place is the time before they were enacted–not a great time for blacks or the poor in general, either. All you offer are fairy tales. A laissez-faire economy leaves most people in inescapable poverty. If the programs don’t work to increase upward mobility but rather to increase dependency, you’d have a point, but you’re not offering an alternative except “if only everything were exactly as I want it, nobody would be poor unless he chose to be,” which is as I said a fairy tale.

          6. Poverty is far more socially destructive than safety net programs dependency on the State, I’d argue.

            I’m sure you would.

          7. In third world countries, which you are trying to imply America is magically beyond, politicians generally will spout the nonsense you spout, not the opposite that you think they do. The tribal mindset, the economic nationalism, the “sacrifice for the community” these are all stock arguments and beliefs in most third world countries, your beliefs.

            1. Whatever the rhetoric, the reality in those places is that a tiny minority has all the wealth and everyone else suffers in dire poverty. If anything the US is trending in that direction.

              1. The poor in America are not poor compared to anyone else, even your precious Sweden. Just because most people will never have the wealth of the Forbes 400, it does not make them poor.

                There is one trend that America is following from the third world, the third world style politicians with their empty promises and the gullible who vote for them, like you.

                1. The richest 500 people in America have more wealth than the poorest 150 million. This is an almost unprecedented level of wealth inequality, and can only lead to bad things. But I fully expect you to defend it to the day 1 guy has all the wealth, because obviously he earned it, since he’s wealthy, and you can’t be wealthy and a parasite at the same time!

                  1. So wealth level is irrelevant. Wealth inequality is the real problem. It doesn’t matter that the poverty level in the US is 10 times higher than the poverty level anywhere else.

                    I have two children and I’ve been teaching them that the most important lesson in life is that life isn’t fair. Once you can fully grasp that life isn’t fair, you can stop expecting it to be. Then when you’re on the receiving end of the unfairness you can do something to change your position. I can tell you they become a lot more industrious when they come across something that, in their mind, isn’t fair now.

                    1. Life isn’t completely fair and never will be, but that is no excuse to accept pure darwinian competition and make life as unfair as possible. Civilization is about smoothing over the risks of living in nature. Most people prefer it.

                    2. Not that I’m saying pure Darwining competition would be awesome, but how is it “unfair”. Really, if we actually had pure Darwinian competition, it would probably be MORE fair. The whole problem with wealth inequality is supposedly that the children of the wealthy are protected from competition.

                      If it really was a Darwinian jungle out there, everyone would be forced to compete on the same terms.

                    3. In a darwinian jungle, who your parents are would cease to matter? I don’t think so.

          8. “lacking in evidence”

            Hah.

  15. this “plan” won’t even cover the debt incurred during Obama’s administration.

    1. So instead of borrowing $1.6 Trillion a year, we will borrow $1.3 Trillion a year? (Assuming a massive tax-hike doesn’t change behavior)

  16. Try rattling your tin cup, Mister President:

    How do you make a contribution to reduce the debt?

    There are two ways for you to make a contribution to reduce the debt:

    * You can make a contribution online either by credit card, checking or savings account at Pay.gov
    * You can write a check payable to the Bureau of the Public Debt, and in the memo section, notate that it’s a Gift to reduce the Debt Held by the Public. Mail your check to:

    Attn Dept G
    Bureau of the Public Debt
    P. O. Box 2188
    Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188

  17. But (as they have been saying on the teevee this morning) POLLS SHOW the American people approve of higher taxes on the wealthy other people!

  18. Boy, INCIF Tony and these threads get a lot shorter.

  19. INCIF Tony and these threads get a lot shorter.

    But how would I know what I think, without Tony to explain it to me?

    1. Just assume you’re racist and hate poor people and work outwards from there.

  20. Here comes Tony with his Spock high brow argument, claiming that he does not care about such old fashioned ideas such as morals. Then he immediately goes into “what about poverty” and “what about the children and granny” as if these are not moral arguments.

    1. If they are, they are obviously superior to “haven’t billionaires suffered enough?”

      The thing is, I can make it all about self-interest. Most importantly, any individual is more likely to fail than to succeed. It is in every single person’s self-interest for a safety net to be available in case he needs it.

      Furthermore, everyone has parents, and you can’t predict how much care they’ll need in their old age or whether you’ll be able to afford it and still thrive. A safety net removes that burden and allows the supposed virtues of capitalism to be realized without the drag of random and devastating costs.

      Unless of course we live in oligarchy in which the wealthy have no chance of failing and thus see no need for a safety net.

      1. So you do actually believe in morals, shocking. I do not care about billionaires, I just do not care for your politicians. Any society where the individual is sovereign, not the tribe, not the politician, will always be better off both materially and spiritually, which is why those are the morals I like to follow, not your scaremongering about how orphan Annie is about to starve without politicians to save her.

        Anyone with parents alive who thinks that the government should take care of them, clearly does not care too much about their parents.

        1. You can love your parents beyond measure and still not be able to afford to take care of them in old age. A safety net simply lets the virtues of capitalism happen while smoothing out some of its risks. Without risk there would be no capitalism, of course, but that doesn’t mean we have to tolerate the most amount of risk, or tolerate starvation among old people in favor of a few extra toys for billionaires.

          I don’t think having morals is the bad thing, it’s being morally judgmental like a common Christianist that I have a problem with. Sometimes it seems that free marketeers don’t care whether an economy is productive as long as bad people (a label applied to those people who fail at capitalism) aren’t getting something they don’t deserve. I’d rather we err on the side of giving someone something they don’t “deserve” than err on the side of letting a perfectly decent person suffer poverty and early death due to bad luck.

          1. it’s being morally judgmental like a common Christianist that I have a problem with

            A strange comment from someone telling me I’m obligated to take care of the old people that are out dying in the streets. And then calling me a monster for not actually feeling obligated.

  21. Reason–Why do you warn me of these speaches only 20 minutes in advance? I have discovered that the key to fabulous gains in the stock market is to short the market whenever B. Hussein Obama speaks on economics. Today it was a 200 point drop. It was a 300 point drop the day after unveiling the American Jobs Act. With greater warning, I could afford to contribute to Reason.

    1. To be fair, the main driver of stock market volatility is not America but the problems in the Eurozone. America has problems, but Europe is far deeper in the economic quicksand.

      1. True enough. At the very best, he’s not the prime cause of the drops.

  22. I think you might be missing something.

    We’ve already got a bipartisan commission working secretly to come up with a deficit reduction plan by November. There’s really no reason for Obama to suddenly announce a totally different proposal full of populist gimmicks except as an election year tactic.

    This is pure politics. What we’re witnessing here is Obama’s opening salvo of the 2012 election season.

    1. It’s not fair for the president to try to get reelected! Our constant daily assaults on him should be the only message allowed!

  23. Well, I’m not suggesting it’s unfair for him to make it, it’s just stupid to take his proposal seriously.

    Personally, I don’t much mind the concept of making sure people who make money off of investments pay the same rate as wage earners. But I would rather have it be part of a comprehensive simplification of the tax code than a gimmicky add-on that probably will result in some wacky marginal rates for some individuals.

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