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5 Comments
  1. Blackadder permalink
    April 19, 2011 9:17 am

    People may view the Ryan plan as draconian, but we are likely to end up with something even worse if the budget problem isn’t addressed soon.

  2. Blackadder permalink
    April 19, 2011 9:21 am

    Btw, I should add that my own preferred solution on entitlements is means testing (if the term “means testing” offends you, you can call it progressive cost sharing).

  3. April 19, 2011 10:05 am

    As much as those, both on the Left and the Right, love to sound smart talking about economic issues, the truth is that all this stuff about “debt” and “borrowed time” is absurd.

    The goods exist TODAY. If a house could be built…it could be built. You can’t borrow time! Obviously, the time, labor, materials, etc…all existed IN THE PRESENT to build those houses. So why shouldn’t they have been built?? As far as I can tell, it’s not because those resources should have been channeled into something ELSE (what else, exactly?)

    A few resources, like energy, may be currently limited (though practically unlimited, and clean, energy technologies are being developed). But, in general, if all those consumer goods exist…then we had the production capacity to produce them! And why shouldn’t production capacity maximized??

    It is absolutely foolish to limit production based on finance rather than conforming finance to the possibilities of production.

    We talk about “borrowing from China” and such, but we’re not literally taking products from them which they want us to pay back in kind later. No people would make such a loan while continuing in want and poverty itself; I wouldn’t lend you food if I were starving. No, the “borrowing” is purely abstract credit.

    But all this “credit,” this “debt” is just a financial creation. The goods exist. The production capacity to make all this stuff exists. The only problem is that our monetary system, finance, is not (as it naturally should be) subordinated to production, and that distribution through private credit is usury, is designed to concentrate more and more wealth in the hands of a few, is designed dishonestly to put in private hands the wealth of types of capital that by nature are owned by all (time, rain, sunshine, the collective know-how of humanity, technology, social networks, our own labor even).

    Every year, the debt increases because (paradoxically! evilly!) production makes MORE. There is more and more stuff, and not enough money to represent the newly created value (the fruit of another year’s worth of labor and sun and rain and innovation) so we “borrow” the money; which is to say, go to private bankers to create it (at no cost to them, really) and then promise to pay them “interest” on this new money, going into “debt” in the process. Even though the new wealth, the new value has been produced and exists currently!!! Why should we have to pay them? Why should we have to owe the bankers this private (and increasingly unpayable) tax on all new production?

    It’s insane. Social Credit, debt-free money, is the only way.

  4. W8kwses permalink
    April 20, 2011 4:28 pm

    For background, let me introduce myself as a retired lay ecclesial worker, with a pastoral masters degree on top of a law degree from a very reputable institution.
    I don’t recall Jesus being big on means testing, or worrying about the work ethic of those whom he helped. And I know a lot of people who are working hard, yet survive only because of food stamps and Medicaid for their families. I do not doubt that there are ‘social leeches’ who avail themselves of those programs, but I do believe they are a minority, a small minority, and we should not punish the working poor as a tool to avoid subsidizing that minority. If one believes there is such a group, then devise a remedy addressing that group per se. And seeking higher education should be regarded as a good, rather than as a having taken an option not to work that terminates assistance.
    The one economic factor which the House Republicans ignore, and indeed seem ready to compound, is the revenue analysis. Republicans need to study and acknowledge that tax cutting under Bush II demonstrably did not result in economic growth, and tax cutting under Pres. Reagan also did not result in economic growth. It is a fiction that more money in the pockets of the top 2% of the nation economically automatically results in more investment yielding job creation. Say again, that’s fiction. The second part of the revenue analysis the House Republicans persist in ignoring, is that when an economic unit is suffering, be it a family or a business or a government, it is silly not to consider raising services rates or inventory prices or taxes.
    I have worked all my life, sometimes for others, sometimes with others, sometimes as an owner-manager, and more recently as a pastoral worker. I have lost a job during a market slump making my private retirement next-to worthless, thus I am not interested in Social Security disappearing as a source of living relatively immune to becoming worthless. I am aware Social Security is in good shape financially currently, though is anticipated to run out of capital some thirty years from now. That can be fixed by adjusting all FICA and other brackets for inflation, and by modest increases in the amount of earnings that are subject to the tax, and/or by extending FICA taxes to types of significant income other than wages. Medicare is the kind of single-payer insurance that we all ought to have access to, and Medicare/Medicaid need to be able to negotiate prices for services and goods such as prescription medications.
    The overall deficit needs to be addressed by adjustments in taxes as well as by searching out waste; but it would be a serious error to think that spending other than Defense, Social Securing, and Medical programs is adequate to take the hit and balance the budget.
    We are all familiar with one of Jesus’ teachings about the show-off rich man who puts gold at the altar, and the poor woman who puts a few coins there. Jesus called attention to the poor woman giving of her substance, and the rich person giving of his surplus. Graduated taxes follow that teaching. FICA and income taxes for the least well off among us reach their substance. Present top brackets take a relatively small portion of the referred to surplus/excess. They were much higher prior to Bush II, and should be returned to their level then, which should fix a substantial part of the deficit. End two wars fought off budget until Pres. Obama came to office, and balance would be within reach. End the Recession, and paying down the debt as we began to do under Pres. Clinton could be resumed.

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