Situation Normal, All Fouled Up

network-mad-as-hell-not-going-to-take-itMy colleague Dave Schuler, writing at his own digs, explains why he’s “discouraged” by the news of the day, both foreign and domestic.

  • Healthcare reform. As I commented not long ago over at OTB I wouldn’t oppose a single-payer system in the U. S. if (and only if) it were accompanied by measures that would actually control costs. In the absence of such measures IMO we’ll just have a the most expensive single-payer system in the world that we can’t afford, either. In the presence of such measures we wouldn’t be worrying about the unaffordability of healthcare insurance in the first place.
  • China-U. S. relations. I think that the mutual testing and saber-rattling is unhelpful, a prelude to a genuine trade war (or worse) that will benefit neither China nor the U.S.
  • The U. S. economy. I am very concerned that the desperate moves to “get things back to normal” are actually preventing the new normal from taking form. We’ll never have a U. S. car market dominated by U. S. automakers again and the car business is unlikely to be a growth business. Subsidized alternative energy products bought from overseas companies are unlikely to help the U. S. economy. Keeping unrealistic promises made to public employees’ unions won’t help, either. It’s cruel to say but bankrupt car companies and insolvent banks need to be allowed to fade away.
  • Iran. I have no confidence whatever that the “green” movement in Iran will result in anything other than a bunch of people being beaten and killed by the basiji. I also think that we’re going to need to reflect seriously on how we’ll deal with a nuclear-armed Iran since it’s probably too late to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons now.

He sees us as “collective deer caught in the headlights.”   But, as noted on last night’s installment of OTB Radio, he’s “positively sunny” compared to Bernard Finel, who dubs both Afghanistan and the fiscal situation as “a nightmare,” predicts we “won’t get a health care bill worth a damn,” and believes the “rule of law is likely shot.”  Worse, he’s not sure whether it’s even worth caring anymore.

I’m not fighting in Afghanistan. Since the only people we “draft” are people who have already served under individual ready reserve and stop-loss, I can’t be drafted and neither can my sons. I have good health insurance, and am likely to continue to have it, and anyway, my wife and I make enough to buy it privately if we need to. The fiscal collapse will be painful, but again, I’m doing well-enough financially that I am not really that concerned about affording retirement or affording some sort of supplemental health coverage as I get older. I don’t rely on many government services, and heck, can afford to move if I find I want better services in gated community or something. And in the end, I’m a well-educated white man, not Muslim, unlikely to find myself on the wrong end of some overzealous government action. So, the whole rule of law thing is pretty abstract for me.

In short, it is hard for me to remain emotionally committed. Yeah, we’re making tragic decisions on a number of fronts. I am not quite sure how I’ll explain to my kids how my generation managed to f_k so much s__t up. But in the final analysis, I’ll probably ride all of this out just fine.

That’s the spirit!

It’s been said that the benefit of being a pessimist is that you’re rarely disappointed.    It generally works out for me.   I’m generally optimistic about the medium- and long-run and pessimistic about the short.    Of course, as John Maynard Keynes observed, “In the long run, we’re all dead.”   But the fact of the matter is that we generally make stupid decisions, demonstrate how inefficient our political system is by design, and just muddle through somehow.

But, as Winston Churchill pointed out, “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing — after they have exhausted all the alternatives.” At the end of the day, we’ll fix health care and the budget because we won’t have any choice.    Relations with China will improve because we need each other too much to get derailed on extraneous issues.  Iran will go nuclear and we’ll get used to it, eventually wondering what the fuss was about.    Afghanistan will be a basket case, just as it’s always been, and we’ll eventually resign ourselves to that fact.  And the American economy will eventually right itself despite the best efforts of the federal government.

Beyond that, as the old Army saying that is this post’s title* reminds us, it’s always something.  I don’t know that there was some halcyon age where American politicians were all statesmen, the world was safe and free, and there was no greed or hunger, only a brotherhood of man.

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*There are other variants as to what the F stands for.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    “He sees us as ‘collective deer caught in the headlights.'”

    This, after claiming broken government is a feature, and not a bug. I think some dots need connecting here.

  2. I think Dave is quite right when he say, “Basically, I think that, after a couple of generations spent kicking the can down the road, we’ve reached the place where the can went and there ain’t a great deal more road.”

    Just because we’ve muddled along successfully in the past, does not mean you can do it forever. In the end, every major crisis in the United States has required decisive government action to solve. The idea that there is some “muddling through” solution to exploding deficits or mushrooming health care costs is wishful thinking.

    We wouldn’t be the first or last country to ignore national problems until they lead to permanent harm.

  3. James Joyner says:

    The idea that there is some “muddling through” solution to exploding deficits or mushrooming health care costs is wishful thinking.

    We wouldn’t be the first or last country to ignore national problems until they lead to permanent harm.

    I agree with both points, Bernard.

    Right now, Progressives have been elected to power and are trying to enact their policy preferences. They’re not so much trying to fix the real problems with health care as to pass programs they’ve been wanting to pass for decades. And Republicans are, naturally, trying to stop them.

    But, as Dave frequently points out, we’re fast getting to the point where even the government’s chunk of the health care bill will be unsustainable. And I think we’ll be forced to address the costs issue.

    And I do think that we’ve got the human capital to expand our wealth and pay for things that are needed. For that matter, while I think the days of 90 percent marginal tax rates are behind us forever, we’ve got the capacity to expand our tax base in creative ways. But we won’t do it unless it’s absolutely necessary.

  4. M1EK says:

    In the presence of such measures we wouldn’t be worrying about the unaffordability of healthcare insurance in the first place.

    Anybody who can say this is fundamentally unserious. If health care costs were magically cut by 50% across the board tomorrow, almost everybody on the individual ‘market’ who can’t be ‘insured’ today would still be uninsurable, and relatively few of them would be able to afford their procedures out of pocket even at 50% less.

  5. sam says:

    I alternate between despair and optimism, but always seem to land on optimism in the end. For me, it’s simply I have faith in my country and my fellow citizens. We’ll get through this and be the better for it.

  6. Brett says:

    Relations with China will improve because we need each other too much to get derailed on extraneous issues.

    Normally, this is where someone would point out the Norman Angell example from 1913, about how much dependency and economic ties failed to prevent World War I. It’s just something to keep in mind, although I don’t think we have anything like the geopolitical and nationalist train wreck that preceded World War I.

  7. Mark says:

    This is one of those posts, James, where I’m reminded why I like reading your blog so much. Spot on.

    This line in particular…

    Iran will go nuclear and we’ll get used to it, eventually wondering what the fuss was about.

  8. Steve Plunk says:

    The government is the deer caught in the headlights. The American people are still getting up and going to work every day (if they have a job).

    Why must we still assume government is the key? I say get the hell out of the way, cut taxes and regulation, and let the economy mend itself. As far as domestic issues we can lay blame on the government and it’s meddling. As far as foreign troubles we need to understand we can’t fix every problem and need to lead by example more than anything else.

    I’ll be optimistic when government understand it’s limits.

  9. Gerry W. says:

    Steve Plunk,

    I say get the hell out of the way, cut taxes and regulation, and let the economy mend itself.

    Isn’t this the laissez-faire we saw from Bush? All I saw was 8 years of tax cuts (deficits and debt), our jobs went overseas, our money went to Iraq, and our country and its problems in neglect. To get out of the way, means we will not solve any problems. Our jobs are going overseas because of cheap labor. No tax cuts or less regulation is going to solve that problem. It is some 2 billion people (cheap labor) who dictate that problem. Is it any wonder why we are shelling out more money for welfare and food stamps? We sat around for 8 years and I still do not here an adequate answer from our politicians.

  10. I dunno. I think that 40 million uninsured, with no access to preventive care, and using emergency rooms as their main point of access to the health care system is a pretty significant problem. But if you want to see it as some sort of progressive aspiration, I guess you’re welcome to do so.

    But no, I think you’re wrong. Raising taxes is just politically impossible. And cutting “entitlements” is impossible without some willingness to raise taxes. Republicans keep thinking that Democrats are a bunch of suckers, and that in the end they’ll roll over. I think those days are over. So, we’re in a game of chicken, and chicken does indeed sometimes end in a headlong collision. We’ll get the point of default on the debt before we have any impetus to act, and then, it will be too late — human capital or not.

    And Steve Plunk: “I say get the hell out of the way, cut taxes and regulation, and let the economy mend itself.”

    Yup, there you go, the triumph of ideology over empirics. There are no taxes or regulation in Somalia. Why isn’t that the paradise you expect to occur? What is so damn annoying among right-winger is that none of them seem to have any knowledge whatsoever of economic history. You think we could have conquered and settled the west without government intervention? Built transcontinental railroads? Our country is rich and powerful as a consequence of thousands of government interventions. And that is true not just of the United States, but of all countries. There is no successful society in history that has been constructed primarily on letting the “free market” allocate all resources. This isn’t an esoteric point. We wouldn’t have civilization at all if it were not for government organized irrigation projects. And anyway, cut taxes and then what? Or are you part of the Dick Cheney, “deficits don’t matter” crowd?

  11. C-Red says:

    Yup, there you go, the triumph of ideology over empirics. There are no taxes or regulation in Somalia… (etc.)

    Well said!

  12. Steve Verdon says:

    I dunno. I think that 40 million uninsured, with no access to preventive care, and using emergency rooms as their main point of access to the health care system is a pretty significant problem. But if you want to see it as some sort of progressive aspiration, I guess you’re welcome to do so.

    But no, I think you’re wrong. Raising taxes is just politically impossible. And cutting “entitlements” is impossible without some willingness to raise taxes. Republicans keep thinking that Democrats are a bunch of suckers, and that in the end they’ll roll over. I think those days are over. So, we’re in a game of chicken, and chicken does indeed sometimes end in a headlong collision. We’ll get the point of default on the debt before we have any impetus to act, and then, it will be too late — human capital or not.

    Bernard you partisan jackass.

    I agree with the above. And, Afghanistan aside (because I’m not an expert on that stuff, but you are so I’ll go with you that it is a nightmare or at the very least not good), I agree that we wont get health care reform that is worth a damn (I knew this about 3 months ago when addressing costs was largely stripped out of the “reform”) and that our fiscal situation is a nightmare as well.

    I think we’ve managed to put ourselves into a fiscal straight jacket over the past 30 years or so. Seriously, no partisanship here in that I blame Republicans and Democrats. We should have fixed Medicare along time ago. We can fix Social Security, but neither party is serious about it, and if one party does try the other demagogues the issue. Economic bubbles seems to be the new black for politicians (Clinton had one, Bush had one, will Obama want one?). See Bernard I think both houses are full of pox ridden whores.

    And Steve Plunk: “I say get the hell out of the way, cut taxes and regulation, and let the economy mend itself.”

    While ideologically I find that direction appealing it wont solve the problems. We’d need some sort of crazy ass economic growth like we’ve never seen before.

    There are no taxes or regulation in Somalia. Why isn’t that the paradise you expect to occur?

    I’d like you to point out where anyone said that reducing taxes or regulations would result in paradise. Or lets turn it on its head.

    There is lots of regulation and taxation in North Korea, where is this paradise you expect to occur.

    Don’t be an idiot.

    You think we could have conquered and settled the west without government intervention?

    Well some anarcho-capitalists point to the Old West as an example of minimal regulation and government that worked pretty well.

    Our country is rich and powerful as a consequence of thousands of government interventions.

    Or despite them. Or maybe some government internvention is necessary, but past a certain point it becomes problematic. Our government has intervened in health care and look at that mess. Look at Medicare. Do we want more of that? Your answer appears to be an resounding “Yes!” What? We didn’t intervene enough before? We’ll do it right this time around? What if we don’t do it right, and we intervene and find we have the most expensive single payer system in the world? What then? More reform? You asked where my health care reform plan is, where the Hell is yours?

    There is no successful society in history that has been constructed primarily on letting the “free market” allocate all resources.

    Some anarcho-capitalists point to early Pennsylvania.

  13. M1EK says:

    Well some anarcho-capitalists point to the Old West as an example of minimal regulation and government that worked pretty well.

    Your anarcho-capitalists are idiots. As Bernard pointed out, it took the railroad, among other massive government interventions, to develop the West. Also think water infrastructure.

    As for Medicare, we are rapidly approaching the point where Medicare will be better than the average private health plan. No, seriously. Hell, the services in every reasonably prosperous country with socialized medicine save perhaps England are already better than my private plan and mine’s above average.

  14. Steve Plunk says:

    I find it interesting some believe laissez-faire policies started with the last President Bush. We have had good success with such policies for much longer. Blaming the recent financial troubles on a lack of regulations ignores how many regulations we have put into place over the last few generations.

    I would have expected something other than a reductio ad absurdum type of argument from Bernard. Of course we are not going to do away with all taxes and regulations but it’s obvious to me we have gone too far. The meddling of stimulus packages has yielded few results and the mood of business is soured over the prospects for the future. By the way, read up on that transcontinental railroad. The government subsidized portion was soon in disrepair and had to be replaced while the privately funded rail lines were built properly. I wonder how rich and powerful we would be with only half those interventions you speak of?

    We have been slipping into a high tax, high regulation economy for a long time. American business adjusts and moves on but eventually the weight of those taxes and regulations becomes too much and the beast of government devours more than necessary. That time is now.

    We need economic growth and spending cuts to dig out of this hole. Nothing else has worked in the past and nothing else will work in the future. Business is seizing up over the direction we are headed so I doubt growth lies with the liberal path.

    From my point of view I see government waste, fraud, and abuse as far as the eye can see. I also see business succeeding while wrangling with a government that feels business is either an enemy to be attacked or a cow to be milked. Sure it’s simple to say get out of the way but for the simple minded who run the government it gets the point across.

  15. M1EK says:

    I have a couple books on the shelf about the transcontinental railroad, thanks. The most you could say about the role of private industry there is that it was a ‘public-private partnership’; without the government granting land to the operators, for instance, it would never have been built.

  16. Gerry W. says:

    Steve Plunk,

    I can agree with what you say in economic growth and cuts in spending. But to me, it can’t be the only thing. Hence the ideology of laissez-faire. I sat for years watching our jobs leave the country with the Bush tax cuts. It happened all over the Midwest. I will repeat. All I saw was our jobs go overseas, our money go to Iraq, and our country in neglect. To me it was the roaring 20’s again. And now we are stuck in this hole.

    If I may put a bipartisan cap on, I will say this. I voted for Reagan as I saw too much welfare at the time. I knew that the inflation/stagflation at the time was caused by LBJ and the democrats. They did not know how to run the country. Reagan gave us strength and along with Paul Volcker (brought in by Carter) they fixed the inflation problem. We enjoyed over 20 years of growth thereafter. However, during this time both parties (with exceptions of this and that) our energy independence was ignored. Also, we saw Japan take away a certain amount of jobs. And we saw for the last decade China and other countries take our jobs. And I have said before, we cannot just sit by and let this happen. You cannot have a country with our jobs leaving the country.

    Now, having tax cuts makes sense as this puts more money in the hands of people and not the government. However, at the same time we are losing our jobs to other countries and if you have the money in your hands and not the government, can you buy American made products so that you employ more people? To have tax cuts then we need to cut spending. Well that takes commissions as congress is not capable of cutting anything. Add to that, that we are at war so defense spending will keep going.

    Now in normal times, to get out of a recession is that you have tax cuts for about 2 years or so and the fed accommodates. This is enough to get the economy going again. While times are good, you cut spending and/or raise taxes. And if you believe in not raising taxes then you have to cut more spending. Now we had tax cuts for 8 years and it did not fix any of our problems. So this laissez-faire approach does not work without managing the economy.

    So this is where we are today. We saw the roaring 20’s and now it will be most difficult to get out of this hole. You say more tax cuts, but we had 8 years of tax cuts. How many times can you cry wolf? And if you have tax cuts, what stops a company to go overseas for cheap labor? What widgets can be made in this country and not in some other country? What products can you buy in the store that is American? At what price should our citizens get paid towards those in other countries? I am not asking for protectionism. I am only asking for some thought on how to run this country. Do we ignore our problems or do we fix them? Is it just tax cuts and less regulation? (laissez-faire)

    So all I see is these problems and I have said before that we need to invest in our country, in our people, and in the future. Since that was not done, we will have high unemployment for many years to come. I predict 10 to 20 years. Oh the economists will say we will produce jobs, but they don’t talk about the less pay and benefits. We see what is happening to the middle class in which the politicians don’t want to talk about.

    http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2010/02/04/target-to-demote-8-000-ouch/?icid=main|main|dl8|link6|http%3A%2F%2Fjobs.aol.com%2Farticles%2F2010%2F02%2F04%2Ftarget-to-demote-8-000-ouch%2F

    We have a world economy that has opened up to some 2 billion workers and there is not enough jobs to go around. We have an economy (USA) in which there are no new jobs, in which there is so much competition. And as I said before, you put an extra chocolate chip in a cookie and you knock out your competitor. And since there are no new jobs, then there is little a person can do to get a job. Hence, a look to bigger government and welfare.

    It would be nice to say that private industry will create the jobs. The question is, will Apple or Intel create the jobs in this country?

    So, all I see is the political parties stuck with their ideologies and they don’t see the problems that average people see.
    Even with the talk of a new jobs bill, I see little use from it.

    It irks me to hear Palin talk of a “free market society” when that means China wins. Because cheap labor will win every time.

    Anyways, I have said many things and it food for thought.

  17. Steve Verdon says:

    Your anarcho-capitalists are idiots. As Bernard pointed out, it took the railroad, among other massive government interventions, to develop the West. Also think water infrastructure.

    Actually no. There were people out there well before the transcontinental railroad was openend. The first one was built between 1863 and 1869. It helped, but people were moving out there well before that due to various opportunities for profit including things like the California gold rush.

    As for Medicare, we are rapidly approaching the point where Medicare will be better than the average private health plan.

    It is also one we cannot afford. Oh sure, if it was just the under 65 part of the population, no problem. But with the 65 and over, and the 65 and under…..uhhmmm no. The program is short on cash in the tens of trillions of dollars. Add on the Social Security shortfall (about $10 trillion) and there is simply no way to pay for it. None at all. At least not without some reform that addresses costs.

    Hell, the services in every reasonably prosperous country with socialized medicine save perhaps England are already better than my private plan and mine’s above average.

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc reasoning. Further, the quality of care is not necessarily clear from highly aggregated measures such as infant mortality, life expectancy, etc. After all, Americans sure like to shoot each other compared to other countries. We are also quite fat, if you believe the news reports. And I bet we drive more than people in many other countries. Are these all factors in life expectancy and even possibly infant mortality. And what about demogrpahics? Does the ethnic make up of the population play a role?

    And to be quite blunt, I don’t think you know what you are talking about. France for example has a mix of private and public. As do other countries. How do you feel about HSAs? Did you know that in Singapore that is one of their component of their health care system and it appears to be helping quite a bit? And exactly how many countries out there have sustainable health care systems? Do you know? Here, I’ll help you: two. Singapore and the Netherlands.

    I find it interesting some believe laissez-faire policies started with the last President Bush.

    No kidding, can we say William Jefferson Clinton? I found myself missing him during the last few years of Bush’s presidency. He wasn’t always in favor of regulation, the federal register’s growth actually slowed, the deficit did disappear (with alot of luck, IMO, but at least he didn’t pile on more spending), and right now if the biggest worry we had was did the President get a hummer from an intern…well I’d be positively giddy.

  18. Steve Verdon says:

    Gerry,

    I sat for years watching our jobs leave the country with the Bush tax cuts.

    I’d like to focus on this part of your post. Please explain to me the causal mechanism behind cutting taxes and jobs moving overseas. Exactly how does that work? Here is my thinking:

    1. A mid-sized businessman finds his tax burden goes down.
    2. ???
    3. Mid-sized businessman moves his operation to Mexico or overseas.

    Can you fill in number 2 for us? See, I’m thinking it is another case of post hoc, ergo propter hoc reasoning. Here are some examples,

    1. I sat on my lucky couch and the New Orlean Saints won the super-bowl. Clearly sitting on my couch caused the Saints to win.

    2. Its a full moon, and the stock market went down. Clear the phases of the moon determine the direction of the stock market’s movements.

    3. I forget my umbrella and it rains that day. Clearly forgetting my umbrella causes rain.

    4. Bush cuts income tax rates, and jobs move overseas. Clearly its the tax cuts forcing jobs to move overseas.

    Now, maybe I’m wrong here and you can help us all out.

  19. Steve Plunk says:

    One could reasonably argue the Bush tax cuts slowed the exodus of jobs out of the country. Regardless of tax cuts many jobs moved overseas for cheaper labor, proximity to markets, and other reasons. The key now is to create new jobs and save the ones we already have.

    The Bush years need to be treated as the anomaly that they were. Early policy goals were sidetracked by 9/11. Those changes were justified but the result was huge military expenditures that were not expected. We could also reasonably assume continued budget restraint if things would have been different. All assumptions of course but reasonable. If anything Bush’s spending faults were a result of compromising with the Democrats who supported his initiatives. Aren’t we all in favor of compromise? Actually I’m not but it’s funny how liberals excoriate Bush for spending like a Democrat. Just can’t win I guess.

    The sooner we recognize our current president is anti business the sooner we’ll see why the economy isn’t recovering very fast. The big man oozes with distaste for those who produce rather than consume. All of us out here hunkered down will stay so until we see his power further diminished. Taxes and regulation must be reduced to stimulate business confidence and bring a full recovery. Call it ideology if you wish but myself and many other businessmen suffering under high taxes and heavy regulation see it as hard reality.

  20. Another Matt says:

    Very interesting post and comments. That’s why I keep coming back here.

  21. Gerry W. says:

    Okay, let us say that Obama is anti business. What do republicans have to offer? I can understand tax cuts, but we had 8 years of tax cuts. That was money spent for the here and now. It did not solve any problems. It is just an instrument of many that we have to do. Even if government spending was cut back, we still have globalization. That is the one thing they don’t talk about in Washington. Or if they talk about it, they just don’t have any answers. All we get from republicans is tax cuts, cut spending, and “free market principles.” And as I have said before “free market principles” with China in the game, means China wins.

    Bush was a social conservative. He relied on a “higher authority” for his guidance for going to Iraq. He never cared about the deficit or debt and always said “stay the course.” And even Cheney said “deficits don’t matter.” Now, this is the ideology that we saw, while our problems piled up.

    Having said that, I see the republicans only going so far with the economy. Most of the time, they talk of ideology and will do little else. It will be tax cuts and then you are on your own. The individual is on his own. The cities and states are on their own. This has to be, if they interpret the constitution and federalism. The problem here is that they ignore the problems within the country. Republicans will also find a cause like neoconsim and will spend the taxpayers money in another country. And again ignores our problems. So far, I hear nothing new from the republicans.

  22. Gerry W. says:

    Maybe I should explain the pie chart better. That is splitting the pie three ways. Government, business, and people. If you have too big of government, it will mean less money and less growth for business and people. It will mean less in savings and investment. It can mean from the government side of higher taxes, inflation, deficits and debt, or just plain slow growth. And none of that is any good. So that is one thing to always remember.

    But I am surprised that Washington has not looked at globalization as an equation also. Of course they did the free trade agreement, but as I said before, it probably does not make a difference. The world has many more players and we have to deal with them. We have to find the ingredients to deal with globalization.

    And on energy independence. How can two parties be so stubborn to not work on this? Our enemy should not be ourselves. We actually know who our enemy is.

  23. Steve Plunk says:

    Gerry I appreciate your candor. There are a few things I would disagree with.

    Besides taxes businesses are subject to an ever increasing number of regulations and regulatory bodies that do little in terms of increasing safety or protecting the environment. It also doesn’t help when the President talks about bankrupting the coal industry, the number one source of our electrical power. If he is willing to say such a thing it bodes ill for all business.

    Free market principles allow us to compete China. Without them we would be in a deeper balance of trade hole. How about free market principles in computers or other technology leaders? Giving up on those principles will just doom us sooner.

    I hardly see Bush as relying solely on a higher authority for justification to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. There were plenty of other rational reason to take the actions we took. As for Bush deficits I would only ask you compare those of Bush/Cheney to those we face today. The jump in size staggers the mind.

    State and local governments should be on their own. The tangled web of revenue sources at the local level only serves to confuse the citizens and provide cover for irresponsible fiscal behavior. Taxes should be easily linked from sources to use. The present system makes that nearly impossible.

    Calls to not spend money in other countries seem funny after the recent disaster in Haiti. Who do you think is the biggest provider of aid? I’ll nominate the United States Navy. The US will far and away be the biggest benefactor. Should we spend money on that type of aid but not aid that promotes our other interests? Since 9/11 Republicans have been keen on national security and rightly so, the public demands it and it makes sense.

    I’ll be the first to say Republicans are far from perfect but they are less damaging than the alternate party. In the past they counted on tax cuts to grow the economy and then hoped to cut spending. The problem is how do you justify cutting spending with revenues increasing and your political opponents calling you heartless and non caring for those in need? Or the children? Or the elderly? Spending cuts were used to demonize Republicans.

    Sometimes government can go too far it’s quest to care for the most vulnerable and do more damage than good. I believe we are past that point.

  24. Gerry W. says:

    Besides taxes businesses are subject to an ever increasing number of regulations and regulatory bodies that do little in terms of increasing safety or protecting the environment. It also doesn’t help when the President talks about bankrupting the coal industry, the number one source of our electrical power. If he is willing to say such a thing it bodes ill for all business.

    Regulation takes in a lot of things. It is like talking of cutting spending and waste and nobody does anything about it and don’t know how to go about it. Everything is easier said than done.

    Free market principles allow us to compete China. Without them we would be in a deeper balance of trade hole. How about free market principles in computers or other technology leaders? Giving up on those principles will just doom us sooner.

    And who makes the computers? We lost most of our steel, our electronics, and autos to Japan. Textiles went to Hong Kong and other countries. We still have the brains here, but the workmanship is more overseas. The way I feel, most of our industry is vulnerable to going overseas. We’ve gone through this with Japan and now China and other countries. In fact, China outsourced to other South Asian countries. We still have to recognize globalization and cheap labor. Free market principles, to me is pitting an American worker’s wage up against a Chinese worker. And there is 1 billion of them and there is another 1 billion around the world. It is a bottomless pit in where the jobs will go.

    The internet has changed things also. Some jobs came about and others have left. McDonalds has been testing a drive thru in which you order your Big Mac from someone in India or Pakistan. So this will never end.

    Now, as I said on another thread is that we (our government) has to invest in our country, in our people, and in the future.
    That is our government should have more federal research grants to universities and spend the billions that corporations do not have for preliminary science.

    The other principle is that there are three times more Chinese than we. That means three times the brain power. That means they have a better opportunity to beat us with anything.

    China is buying our computers that are built overseas, at some point they will make their own computers. We also know that they have a plane equivalent to the 737, and at some point we will have to compete with them on that. Of course, cheap labor will win here. They are also ready to bring in a car in our country.

    You talk of free market principles and I live in a state that lost a lot of jobs and those jobs are not coming back. We live buy free market principles, but you cannot compete with up to 2 billion cheap laborers.

    Also Bush and Obama had to bail out the banks. And even Paulson said if you didn’t you would have at least 25% unemployment today.

    Again, you (republicans) talk of ideology of “free market principles.” And you continually fail to see the big picture. In other words, just have tax cuts and do nothing else.

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/222836/output/print

    I hardly see Bush as relying solely on a higher authority for justification to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. There were plenty of other rational reason to take the actions we took. As for Bush deficits I would only ask you compare those of Bush/Cheney to those we face today. The jump in size staggers the mind.

    It is one thing to go to Afghanistan as that is where the enemy was. The invasion of Iraq is another story. It was a war of many things. Maybe for oil, maybe there was WMD, maybe just to get Saddam Hussein, maybe for neoconism. In any case, Bush 41 told Scwartzkopt not to go to Baghdad. The reason being is that it would have been a quagmire and that proved to be true. Bush 43 never talked to Brent Scrowcroft, Bob Gates, James Baker, or his father. And when asked, he said “he believed in a higher authority.” This war has cost numerous of lives, Bush 41 had 500,000 troops and Bush 43 had 170,000 troops for two wars, and Bush 41 had the war paid for. It also made Al Qaeda seek a safe haven in Pakistan and Iran ended up to be the leader in the Middle East.

    There is not much to compare with the Bush deficits and Obama deficits. Bush was handed a yearly surplus and our problems were manageable. Obama inherited a total mess. A recession and almost a possible depression, an auto crisis, a housing crisis, a banking crisis, and two wars. There was 8 years of total ignorance and failed ideology. This is what you get and that is where we are today.

    State and local governments should be on their own. The tangled web of revenue sources at the local level only serves to confuse the citizens and provide cover for irresponsible fiscal behavior. Taxes should be easily linked from sources to use. The present system makes that nearly impossible.

    There is more confusion when Washington has policies and failed ideologies, while cities and states go broke with those failed ideologies. Like I have said before, I only saw 8 years of our jobs going overseas, our money going to Iraq, and the neglect of our country. That says it all. Giving us tax cuts while losing jobs, makes no sense.

    The trickle down theory did not reach the bottom 20% to 30% of the people. This is the are of most of the problems. This is the area where small communities lost the factories, and this is the area where you have the less educated. You can talk of tax cuts all day long, but if you don’t fix the problems then the republican ideology will never work. And what was interesting with Bush, is that we had 8 years of ideology. It came out pretty clear what happened. We had a nation in neglect.

    Calls to not spend money in other countries seem funny after the recent disaster in Haiti. Who do you think is the biggest provider of aid? I’ll nominate the United States Navy. The US will far and away be the biggest benefactor. Should we spend money on that type of aid but not aid that promotes our other interests? Since 9/11 Republicans have been keen on national security and rightly so, the public demands it and it makes sense.

    I was talking about Iraq. A war projected to cost 50 billion dollars and will cost a trillion. At the same time we lost jobs and neglected the country. I have no problem in providing aid.

    I’ll be the first to say Republicans are far from perfect but they are less damaging than the alternate party. In the past they counted on tax cuts to grow the economy and then hoped to cut spending. The problem is how do you justify cutting spending with revenues increasing and your political opponents calling you heartless and non caring for those in need? Or the children? Or the elderly? Spending cuts were used to demonize Republicans.

    Both parties are bad and caught up with interest groups and whatever else. Just as bad as the democrats are with spending, the republicans ideology and ignorance fails our economy. Again, maybe tax cuts and cutting spending were the thing to do. Today we have globalization and that still has to be recognized as we continually see the middle class getting trashed.

    You cannot justify cutting spending if you spend for war. You can justify cutting spending on each program as each program loses revenue. We know that Medicare needs fixing and social security. All parties are guilty of taking money out of the Social Security fund. I do agree that it is easy to demonize republicans if they have to cut spending. You need a no nonsense president that is for all people, and I don’t see one out there.

    Sometimes government can go too far it’s quest to care for the most vulnerable and do more damage than good. I believe we are past that point.

    I agree. However, we saw the republican party in doing nothing. And with that nothing we have more welfare.

  25. steve says:

    ” As for Bush deficits I would only ask you compare those of Bush/Cheney to those we face today. The jump in size staggers the mind.”

    Then go read up on the make up of the deficits. It still boggles the mind that conservatives recite these lines without doing basic simple research.

    Steve

  26. Gerry W. says:

    In the past they counted on tax cuts to grow the economy and then hoped to cut spending.

    And we used to do great things. Eisenhower built the Interstate and also sent 1 million Mexican back across the border. The Hoover Dam was built. And we put a man on the moon.

    All we had for 8 years was ideology. Embryonic stem cell research was trashed. We invested our money in Iraq and sent our jobs overseas. So this is no way to run a country. We are where we are. And it will take many years to fix this mess.

  27. Gerry W. says:

    Finally, one politician who understands globalization and jobs.

    http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/plan/

  28. M1EK says:

    Steve V, WRT health care, if anything, our system is the least sustainable of all – switching to something like France or Germany’s would actually make us more sustainable; so it’s disingenuous to claim the government influence is the unsustainable part.

    And Singapore? Really? So fascism really IS the end-result of Republicanism? A better example might do you some good.

  29. Steve Verdon says:

    Steve V, WRT health care, if anything, our

    system is the least sustainable of all – switching to something like France or Germany’s would actually make us more sustainable; so it’s disingenuous to claim the government influence is the unsustainable part.

    More post hoc reasoning, I’m afraid. This is just silly. France and the Netherlands are mixed systems of private and public. And it isn’t clear that their systems are implementable here in the U.S. I’d be all for trying, but it might not work.

    And Singapore? Really? So fascism really IS the end-result of Republicanism? A better example might do you some good.

    Pull you head from your fourth point of contact. I’m not saying the U.S. has to become fascist like Singapore, but was merely noting that Singapore is one of 2 countries with a sustainable system. Well, that one is sustainable; the Netherlands is looking to be sustainable but could turn out not to be.

  30. Gerry W. says:

    Don’t think there is a perfect healthcare system. PBS had a documentary and visited some 5 countries on their healthcare. Bottom line is that they are not perfect, but the citizens of those countries are happy with their healthcare and do not want what we have.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/view/

    On Singapore, they have to look for innovation and science to survive. Since our last president did not want embryonic stem cell research, they were happy to take it along with some of our scientists.

    http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/mar2009/gb20090316_004837.htm

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/17/business/worldbusiness/17stem.html