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Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:40 AM

Why Republicans Canít Propose Spending Cuts

Republicans think government spending is huge, but they canít really identify ways they want to solve that problem, because government spending is not really huge. That is to say, on top of an ideological gulf between the two parties, we have an epistemological gulf. The Republican understanding of government spending is based on hazy, abstract notions that donít match reality and canít be translated into a workable program.


The absence of a Republican spending proposal is not just a negotiating tactic but a howling void where a specific grasp of the role of government ought to be. And negotiating around that void is extremely hard to do. The spending cuts arenít there because they canít be found.



http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2012/12/why-republicans-cant-propose-spending-cuts.html

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Reply Why Republicans Canít Propose Spending Cuts (Original post)
UCmeNdc Dec 2012 OP
Live and Learn Dec 2012 #1
exboyfil Dec 2012 #2
DonRedwood Dec 2012 #3
PoliticalBiker Dec 2012 #4
BlueStreak Dec 2012 #5
PoliticalBiker Dec 2012 #7
BlueStreak Dec 2012 #8
A Simple Game Dec 2012 #10
BlueStreak Dec 2012 #11
politicaljunkie41910 Dec 2012 #6
Filibuster Harry Dec 2012 #9

Response to UCmeNdc (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:54 AM

1. Great article! Been saying this for years.

There really isnít money to be cut everywhere. The United States spends way less money on social services than do other advanced countries, and even that low figure is inflated by our sky-high health-care prices. The retirement benefits to programs like Social Security are quite meager. Public infrastructure is grossly underfunded.


I always challenge people who say the government spends to much to clarify on what. They rarely have any answer at all.

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Response to UCmeNdc (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 10:10 AM

2. You only need 2,000 Big Birds and all his friends

to balance the budget. I still wish Obama had asked Romney were the other 1,999 Big Birds were going to come from.

A right wing coworker was discussing how his mom planned to spend everything before going into assisted care under Title 19 (he did not know what Title 19 was). I pointed out to him, under his hero Paul Ryan, that there was a good chance that he would be responsible for the nursing home bill because the states will obviously start applying their filial responsibility laws in that case, and he and his wife both have very good jobs.

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Response to UCmeNdc (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 10:27 AM

3. I'm kicking this because it is brilliant.

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Response to UCmeNdc (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 11:14 AM

4. I say...

... cut the hell out of defense. They can afford it and with no... none... nada... zero... effect on our readieness. We need not be manned for a global conflict. We have no global threats... at least not in the need for massive armament and manpower sense. The only real impact would be to the politician's cash flow from loss of lobbying funds. Big fucking deal.

As a veteran, I've seen where our tax money is wasted. Military contractors (companies, not the workers) make a mint... a literal mint; and that is OUR tax money with absolutely no oversight or effort to hold them accountable.

Our politicians would use any cuts in military spending to close bases or something ridiculous like that as political leverage, but where they need to pull funding is payments to MIC (Military-Industrial-Complex) contractors. Their ROI (Return on Investment) needs to be audited to ensure we are getting our moneys' worth on what we are spending. We are not. Not by a long shot. The government is getting way overcharged for what we are getting from them and have been for decades.

I know the military is held as some kind of sacred cow, but we spend more in our defense budget than most of the world combined. A lot of that cost is because of the gross over-payment to the defense contractors, but we could cut billions annually and there would be no impact on our ability to wage war.
Most of our threats are not large scale conflicts anyway. Iraq and Afghanistan are abborations that either weren't needed or got escalated too late. If we kept our eye on the ball, Iraq would not have been needed and Afghanistan would have been a hell of a lot shorter.

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Response to PoliticalBiker (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 11:33 AM

5. "Defense" is not about defense

When was the last time our military was used to defend Americans against an attack here at home?

"Defense" is:

- A jobs program
- Pork of the highest order
- The means for the richest to steal resources from the rest of the world
- A highly profitable international industry

but the one thing it isn't about is defending Americans against attacks.

Because of this, it is almost impossible to scale it back. Too much profit in it the way it is. We invite conflicts -- even foment some of them, especially in the Middle East because that allows us to sell loads of arms to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the Euro countries.

The rich will fight to the death any efforts to turn off this money tap.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 02:32 PM

7. RE: "Defense" is not about defense

I totally agree, but we MUST cut back on defense.
It is the biggest money pit we have.

I totally understand the profit issue. I've seen the amount of waste that just gets *charged off* in the contracts.
There needs to be accountability and consequences for going over budget or missed deadlines... substantial consequences... perhaps termination of contract or ineligibility for future contracts for a period of time. The politicians that pine for those contracts need to disclose lobbiest contributions so we can see who's bribing them.

There is so much corruption and dirt involved with letting of defense contracts that you'd be amazed. When the F22/23 program was being technology tested, according to the capablities and durability testing and cost feasiblity evaluation was going on, according to the data available (I was working on a weapons research facility at the time) the wrong plane was selected. Both had similar capabilities, but because of political favoritism, the better plane was overlooked. We still got a plane with monster capabilities, but there was a better one.

Defense can easily afford the cuts, it's the polytishuns that are the ones that have to be convinced to make those changes. THAT is always the hard part.

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Response to PoliticalBiker (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 03:34 PM

8. I agree with you, of course. Just commenting on the enormity of the task

But the first step is to start talking openly about it. 5 years ago, few were willing to talk openly about gay marriage, and look how quickly that has changed.

A couple of years ago, no politician would have promised to raise taxes, and Obama just won an election partly on the basis of his plan to raise some taxes. It is no longer taboo. In fact, it is IRRESPONSIBLE and RECKLESS to NOT talk about paying for the full cost of our government.

And likewise, the 0.1-percenters who have profited so handsomely off the military-industrial-complex have cowed the rest of the country to never speak of "lowering our defenses". We must start the straight talk about this. We could easily reduce our military spend by at least $1.5 trillion over 10 years and not give up any essential capability. And by scaling back our war machine, the average American would be safer, not less safe.

If we just cut, then that will have some impact on jobs. But if we invest some of those cuts into things of lasting value for the country (new technologies

So let's get this raised into the mainstream conversation.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 05:46 PM

10. How true.

but the one thing it isn't about is defending Americans against attacks.


Just do a search on military bases per state. No offense meant to Kansas, but who are we defending Kansas from with our three military bases there? Even in my home state of New York, we supposedly have five military bases. One is West Point, one is an arsenal, one is an historical base in Brooklyn, one is a navel base protecting Saratoga Springs (from pirates?), and the last is Fort Drum, protecting us from Canada.

By the way, why do people believe we will leave Iraq and Afghanistan? We still have bases in Japan and Germany.

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Response to A Simple Game (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:03 PM

11. The bases are carefully distributed to key Congressional districts. As are the weapons plants

Look at any of the major weapons systems. They will almost always have an incomprehensible supply chain with the various bits and pieces being placed in districts, in order to guarantee that the funding can never be cut off. This is a major factor that causes these systems to cost 5 times what they ought to.

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Response to UCmeNdc (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 11:53 AM

6. Great article. My spending cuts suggestions:

1) Bring the troops home from Afghanistan now, not at the end of 2014 or never if McCain and Graham had their way.

2) Close Gitmo, and relocate the prisoners who are actual terrorists to federal prisons in the US. This would save hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

3) Slash the Defense Budget in accordance with the terms of the original sequestration agreement and spend that money on infrastructure projects across the nation which will put unemployed people back to work.

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Response to UCmeNdc (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 04:15 PM

9. They like government spending but just won't admit to it. Hey, they don't offer cutting their pay

or their staff. They don't want to change the fact that they qualify for social security by just serving 1 term.
They increased gov't spending -- Reagan, Bush, and Bush. All their cuts are to social security, medicare, and medicaid. How about defense? How about across the board 1% cuts?
Ending the wars at least stops our borrowing and interest. Putting the money into infrastructure which creates jobs, helps stimulates the economy, and gets people to pay taxes.
The Rs are just blah, blah, blah, -- no specifics. You would think that at this stage of the game ALL congressmen would have specific ideas -- even alternate ideas.

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