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The Bipartisan March to Fiscal Madness

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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:19 AM
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The Bipartisan March to Fiscal Madness
By DAVID A. STOCKMAN
Published: April 23, 2011

IT is obvious that the nations desperate fiscal condition requires higher taxes on the middle class, not just the richest 2 percent. Likewise, entitlement reform requires means-testing the giant Social Security and Medicare programs, not merely squeezing the far smaller safety net in areas like Medicaid and food stamps.

Unfortunately, in proposing tax increases only for the very rich, President Obama has denied the first of these fiscal truths, while Representative Paul D. Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, has contradicted the second by putting the entire burden of entitlement reform on the poor. The resulting squabble is not only deepening the fiscal stalemate, but also bringing us dangerously close to class war.
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In attacking the Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent of taxpayers, the president is only incidentally addressing the deficit. The larger purpose is to assure the vast bulk of Americans left behind that they will be spared higher taxes even though entitlements make a tax increase unavoidable. Mr. Obama is thus playing the class-war card more aggressively than any Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt surpassing Harry S. Truman or John F. Kennedy when they attacked big business or Lyndon B. Johnson or Jimmy Carter when they posed as champions of the little guy.

On the other side, Representative Ryan fails to recognize that we are not in an era of old-time enterprise capitalism in which the gospel of low tax rates and incentives to create wealth might have had relevance. A quasi-bankrupt nation saddled with rampant casino capitalism on Wall Street and a disemboweled, offshored economy on Main Street requires practical and equitable ways to pay its bills.
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Washingtons feckless drift into class war is based on the illusion that we have endless time to put our fiscal house in order. This has instilled a terrible budgetary habit whereby politicians continuously duck concrete but politically painful near-term savings in favor of gimmicks like freezes, caps and block grants that push purely paper cuts into the distant, foggy future. Mr. Ryans plan gets to a balanced budget in the fiscal afterlife (i.e., the 2030s); the White Houses tactic of accumulating small-fry deficit cuts over the enormous span of 12 years amounts to the same dodge.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/24/opinion/24stockman.ht...

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Scuba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:27 AM
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1. That's why this plan deserves some more exposure...
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 06:35 AM
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2. "..entitlement reform requires means-testing the giant Social Security and Medicare programs..."
I LOVE the way this (and the first sentence, as well) are stated as simple fact. There are many options, none of which would impose undue hardship on any group benefiting from SS, Medicare or Medicaid, current or future.

The wealthy and corporations are going to scream bloody murder, no matter what, so we may as well all buy some earplugs and move ahead responsibly, keep our social contract and strengthen each of the above programs.
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:58 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Why do you assume means testing will induce hardships?
Isn't it the opposite? Means testing will reduce/eliminate benefits for those who don't need it?
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. Only if you assume that the author of the article is willing to stop there.
Stockman is talking about means testing the programs, not the recipients.
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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:36 AM
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4. or maybe the nation is not really in "desperate fiscal condition" in the first place? nt
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 08:36 AM by msongs
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coalition_unwilling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:46 AM
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5. Consider the source: failed WH Budget Director Stockman publishes
lies in failed journalistic vehicle whose massive and continuous lies helped lie us into an illegal war in Iraq.
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. He completely turned against reaganomics.
Is that also an erroneous assessment?
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coalition_unwilling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Not sure. I stopped listening to Stockman and taking anything he
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 04:00 PM by coalition_unwilling
said seriously when he came out and confessed that none of them knew what they were doing when they cut taxes on the rich. Of course he didn't issue his mea culpa until long after the damage had been done, and it sounded a little convenient at the time, designed to sell books and allow him to escape responsibility for his part in destroying the nation's social contract.

Look at Stockman's language in this piece though and you soon spot the false consensus establishmentarian bullshit so typical of the war-mongering, lie propounding NY Times: "Likewise, entitlement reform requires means-testing the giant Social Security and Medicare programs . . . " I don't know how many times it has to be stated that Social Security IS NOT AN ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM. It is fully funded from workers' and employer's payroll deductions. Means testing Social Security will be the first step to ending it.

That little verbal tic of Stockman's right there should discredit anything else in the piece that he has to offer.
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crickets Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. "false consensus establishmentarian bullshit"
Spot on. He dives right into the stinking pile with his first sentence.
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