Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Eamonn

A wake-up call?

Recommended Posts

evmori: The point is that you make the choice to purchase from a store and pay the tax or not.

 

PackSaddle: "What I see is someone who seems just to have discovered the problem and seems to think no one else has."

 

If 20+ years is "just" then you could be right. I "shout" about it because our fiscal policies, are wrong, both economically and ethically. The problem is people just take government action as the way things are and do not bother to ask if it is the way they should be. Just because people "have long ago decided to let circumstances dictate the terms of the outcome" does not mean that we should just give up and say, "Fine, people are foolish and will reap what they have sown."

 

The truth is that most people still have no idea how bad things are getting. Even fewer have really thought through the ethical questions.

 

I do share your pessimism. Look at the Debt Commission's plan. It recommends that spending be kept to 21% of GDP when the Federal Government has only managed this in 1944-1946 (okay, it came close in 2000 at 20.35%). If they had suggested it at 16 or 17% they might have had something. The Republican "Path to Prosperity" doesn't cut a dime from defense, even though we should be winding down two wars. It also does not address Social Security at all.

 

We spend more on defense than China, the UK, France, Russian, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Italy, India, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey and Israel combined. With 2/3 of those counties being our allies, we ought to be able to cut back our defense spending a little.

 

Social Security has to be dealt with. Everyone knows (even the blue hairs in Sun City) that we will need to increase the retirement age and implement means testing. But no Republican or Democrat will come close to doing anything about it.

 

Eamonn. If the bums we have will not do the job, we may just need to keep kicking them out until we get ones that will. Bums are fairly interchangeable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Just because people "have long ago decided to let circumstances dictate the terms of the outcome" does not mean that we should just give up and say, "Fine, people are foolish and will reap what they have sown.""

 

Heh, heh, You are not all that pessimistic if you are still thinking in terms of 'should'...anything. I'm not saying we SHOULD give up. I'm saying we have already made the decision as a people. I'm saying that for whatever reason, you and I and the few others who see things this way are not enough to sway a choice that has been made by so many. I'm saying that there is no way the mass of people who have lived with an 'us or them' outlook, and a 'want something for nothing' attitude thus far in our history...there is no way they will suddenly start listening to jet526 no matter how much sense he makes nor how loudly he shouts. The reason they won't is because for their entire lives before now, putting bigger and bigger debt off to the future has felt good...as far as they are concerned it worked. We ARE going to reap what we have sown. Like I wrote, interesting times ahead.

 

Look, I'm not all doom and gloom. Maybe there is such a thing as magic. Perhaps Pons and Fleischman will suddenly discover their mistake and make cold fusion work. Maybe the tooth fairy will leave us a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. But these things evidently haven't worked so far. I tend to side with the 'null' because it is more often correct.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Major spending reform is going to involve a grand compromise involving both political parties in which both defense cuts and entitlement reform will play their part.

 

Democrats can't cut entitlements by themselves and Republicans are as likely to cut military spending. Together they can impose compromises on each other. That will probably include tax increases as well. "

 

LOL. And what on what planet or alternate reality is any of the above likely to happen? I have to admit I'm with Pack. No one in government has gotten the "wake up call".

 

The two major parties have had ample opportunity to demonstrate responsible government in the last 20 years or so. Neither has done so. Both continue to govern in response to their respective special interests, and in many cases they are the same special interests and it's not the American citizen.

 

They can't compromise on $30 Billion in cuts and what needs to be done somehow is cut over a $Trillion Dollars in Federal spending and somehow magically not effect what little economic recovery is occuring. Just don't see how it can happen. We're through the looking glass on the other side fiscally speaking.

 

We can only hope Dick Cheney had incredible genius and insight when he said, "Deficts don't matter."

 

SA

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lisabob: "What I really don't understand though, is why it is ok to cut services and benefits for the middle and lower-middle class, while leaving the wealthiest individuals unscathed. Why is it so impossible to close a few tax loopholes on the wealthiest among us? What happened to shared sacrifice, when the sacrifices are falling almost entirely on the poor and middle classes?"

 

Lisa, I'm not trying to start a fight with you, but want to give a different perspective. While my wife and I are not one of those $250,000 per year "wealthy people" Obama wants to raise taxes on, we are nicely compensated for our skills and labor. I came from a blue collar background where my dad spent over 30 years in a meat packing plant. My wife's dad was a teacher and we all know how they get paid. Our parents wanted for us to have it better than them. They valued a good hard work ethic and education. We were expected to toe the line and stay out of trouble. Our parents led by example. When we were turned 16 and were able to drive, we were expected to get jobs to buy our own cars, gas and insurance while maintaining our grades at school. Our parents skrimped and saved and got us thru college. WE took our college educations and found jobs in out chosen professions. We worked hard and over the years have done quite well because of our efforts, sense of personal responsibility and making good choices. Much praise goes to our parents for how they raised us and expected us to step up to the challenge. We are raising our son the same way and he is a straight A honors student with a high ACT score, a scholarship to college where he will be in the honors college next fall.

 

My son's ex-girlfriend is a different story. A sweet and bright girl that we love dearly. She was raised in a different environment. Her parents chose to not persue additional education. They have job hopped over the years and remain just above entry level positions. Their expectations of their duaghter's grades are no all that high. They just want her to pass. They have always put pleasure ahead of work and don't worry about how they will pay for things down the road.

 

So, what you have here is an example of the "haves" and the "have nots" we always hear about when it comes to taxes and entitlements that we just can't afford to do away with without being seen as cold and heartless to the people who are not as well off as others.

 

If you are going to get a free ride for college based on your academics, you have to be in the 99 percentile with an ACT of 32 or higher. My son is in the 93 percentile with an ACT of 29. He has an $8000 scholarship which is $1000 per semester over 4 years. My wife and I are on the hook for the additional $8000 per semester his education will cost. Why? Because we don't have enough need?

 

My son's ex-girlfriend qualifies for a state program that will virtually pay for her entire college costs simply because her parents don't make enough. She doesn't even have to have that great of grades.

 

You know, I'm a pretty generous and charitable person. If I weren't I wouldn't be buried neck deep in things like scouting. Why is it fair for the government to forcibly take more of my hard earned money to give to people who have not worked as hard to level the playing field? You know, I'd like to choose who and what I provide my charitable contributions to rather than the government determine that for me. It isn't the governments job to provide for people. My parents sacrificed. I've sacrificed. As far as a "shared sacrifice", I'd like to personally buy into that rahter than the government tell me what "my" sacrifice will be. There are far to many people out there who won't take personal responsibility because they know the government will tax people who have taken risk, worked hard, earned wealth and give them part of that person's wealth. What a sweet deal? Money for nothing.

 

We need tax reform and we need it now. We need to quite talking about taxing producers more and handing out entitlements to non-producers. It isn't the way the world works and it shouldn't be how goverment works. People shouldn't be forced into providing charity and people should come to expect a hand out. It is counter-productive. I'm with Packsaddle on the Fair Tax. Let people keep every red cent they make and then determine how much tax they will pay based on what they buy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

It is fairly obvious by now that no party or individual has the answer, it took WW2 to pull us out of the Great Depression and get our industries and businesses moving again. Now we don't really produce much of anything anymore in this country and three wars are dragging our economy even further in the hole. What is worse is there is no historical precedent that even comes close to what we face as a nation. Our legislature is in chaos, our Fed Reserve System close to collapse, and a president in deep denial of much serious trouble our country truly is in. Personally, for a start, I think we should close Congress down for at least six months, send them all home with no pay since they are producing nothing for the people except partisan bickering.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, I confess I'm relatively depressed by the state of things, eh? The notion of throwing all of the bums out seems a good one. I sometimes think that selecting a legislature by lot like jury duty would be better than the current system.

 

Now I'm an old-school conservative, eh? A bit of a dying breed I suppose. I just can't see the merit in cutting taxes going into two (now 3) wars. Now, with da new budget "compromise", we're moving taxes on da highest wage earners to the level they haven't seen since 1931, and we seem to want to go further, so that the fellows who made millions by having the taxpayer bail out their bad decisions will pay less. No historians in da mix, I guess. What we were doin' going into 1931 almost wrecked the country and the world. Why would we want to repeat that experiment?

 

I'm sorry, I don't mind paying for roads and bridges. I don't mind paying for national parks and the Smithsonian. I don't mind paying for da education of young people, because I know the long term health of the nation depends on it. I don't mind paying for law enforcement, including enforcement of environmental regulations and financial regulations, because that's the duty of a citizen to protect da common lands and the future from those who would profit by stealing those common resources.

 

I don't think our ethic in America should be "I got mine and nobody should take it from me!". I think it should be "my hard work prospered because I had freedom and protection and education and resources, and I have an obligation to see to it that as much or more of those things are passed on to da next generation."

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SR540; I think you are not getting what Lisa says. She does not feel that the people who simply refuse to make any effort for themselves should be given a free ride, she is saying that most of the burden is being made to fall on those in the lowest echelon of income, or who, due to age or "real" physical or emotional problems are not fully able to care for themselves. Perhaps you and your wife pay your fair share, not shopping for every loophole you can find to not pay anywhere near what you likely should. But there are far too many, mostly in the highest levels of income who do just that. And that also includes the most profitable corporations who pay little, or even NO taxes, while shipping jobs out of the country and paying their CEO's and other top "managers(?)" obscene salaries and benefits.

 

Her issue is that most politicians on that side of the argument seem to care little that it is so out of balance, and are unwilling to make even a tiny effort to find ways to solve the inequities. We need to close the gaping loopholes, hold Wall Street and other financial manipulators responsible for their greed, find ways to make ourselves competitive in the international markets without being on the wrong side of the teeter totter, put some common sense back into our educational system, stop squandering monies overseas while our own infrastructures are falling apart and more and more people are sliding into poverty,engineer a fair, yet tough immigration system that rewards those who follow the rules and deters those who do not, develop our own energy supplies in an environmentally safe manner, and redirect our military goals to protect OUR country without getting involved militarily in other international wars. We cannot become isolationist in today's world, but we can focus our outreach to helping and building, not killing and destroying.

 

It is not an easy task. And there are no politicians who have all the answers. But justice is depicted by a scales for a reason. Somehow we need to find that balance within our political system, or we will too soon be another footnote in history.

 

JMPO and Perspective

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I sometimes think that selecting a legislature by lot like jury duty would be better than the current system."

I sympathize. It is almost as if anyone who wants to be a politician - in the best interest of the public - ought to be automatically excluded from it, they're so incredibly...hard to find the words...'thoughtless' and 'self-serving' come to mind.

 

I understand Lisa's point and at the same time there is something to SR540Beaver's post that hits close to home, at least that part about his son and college costs. Part of his frustration originates in those politicians as well.

 

There was a time when public colleges and universities were better-funded by the taxpayers. Today what we used to think of as 'public' is being redefined. Back then in some states, almost any resident student who met the entry requirements could get a degree mostly funded by the taxpayers. Somewhere along the line, the anti-intellectual spark began to cut those tax-based funds and instead substitute for them such things as lottery scholarships.

The so-called 'educational lotteries' are an obscenity. Now, high schools are under parent pressure to 'make' their children get grades sufficient to qualify for those scholarships and the colleges are under the pressure to accept them, even if they don't qualify academically.

 

Universities and colleges can only respond in limited ways: lower standards and accept more students with those scholarships, or raise tuition and allow more marginal students in, or raise tuition while preserving standards (or even raising them, thus incurring the elitist label and risking even less public funding), or some mix of the above, perhaps incorporating corporate sponsorships, etc.

None of these alternatives help the good student from a family like SR540Beaver's.

And I don't see any changes for the better on the horizon.

 

But getting back to Beavah's post and Lisa's point, I remember when, after there were predictions of huge surpluses at the end of the Clinton administration, there were two arguments as to how to respond. On one hand there was an argument to use the surpluses, if they materialized, to pay down the debt thus causing interest rates to decline and allow more investment here at home. On the other hand, there was an argument to count on that surplus in order to cut taxes temporarily in order to stimulate investment and job growth. We chose the latter. And now we seem to want to ignore that 'temporary' thing. The investment and jobs...well, those did happen...overseas.

 

Yes, there were many factors that led to our current predicament. At the base of nearly all of those factors can be found the results of our collective will, as expressed through our votes. We are going to get pretty much what we deserve.

 

And the shame of it is that honest hard-working folks like SR540Beaver who don't deserve it are going to feel the pain just the same as the others who do deserve it. It really saddens me.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just heard on the news that the two parties are not even close to a long term compromise solution to the budget problem. If no long term agreement gets reached by COB tommorrow (Tues.) then the government will shut down. Isn't the way our elected officials look out for the welfare of its citizenry make you feel so proud (NOT).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We need to start re-evaluating some basic premises and not get caught up in red/blue, conservative/liberal, democrat/republican rhetoric.

 

Why should students with good grades get scholarships? Why should students with little money get grants? We fret about the government borrowing money yet our tax structure encourages individuals to go into debt to by a house? Why? Why are there tax advantages to going into debt to buy a house but not a car?

 

Should our tax structure strive to "level out" personal income? Should our laws pick winners and losers by giving tax breaks to certain items and not others? In my state, Michigan, I can deduct tuition payments for my children if they go to colleges/universities that have not raised tuition higher than some state imposed level. Most schools do not meet that criteria. Should colleges and universities be subsidized by the public at all? And if so, what type of governmental regulation, if any, should exist? For example, the University of Michigan, a very fine public school, has very selective admission (most who apply do not get in), has an endowment of around $6,600,000,000 (second largest of all public schools) and receives public/taxpayer dollars. Is that fair? Is it fair to punish them by withholding tax dollars because they are successful fundraisers?

 

Why does the government give poor people money? Isn't that like giving alcohol to drunks, heroin to drug addicts? When did medical care become a right? Why do we spend 50% of our medical resources on the last two weeks of life?

 

Sorry to rant, but I think this republican / democrat finger pointing is disgusting and instead a basic discussion on our assumptions of what we expect out of our government is in order.

 

Just don't cut defense spending!!! Then it effect my livelihood! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Should a person choose, it is possible to not ever directly pay a tobacco tax, gasoline tax, highway toll or property tax."

 

The only way to avoid paying property tax is to have no car and live in a cardboard box (or a tent in the wilderness).

 

[Oops... I forgot about government-owned apartments.](This message has been edited by Woapalanne)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sorry guys - didn't mean to post & run but I'm too dazed by an overflow of badly written term papers to come up with anything coherent right now. (This is an occupational hazard) Will jump back into this discussion sometime soon, I hope.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."

-- Alexis de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America"

 

 

"We have met the enemy and he is us!"

-- Pogo

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"a basic discussion on our assumptions of what we expect out of our government is in order"

I agree with this wholeheartedly.

 

While admittedly I would find a Right Wing agenda very distasteful, much as others might find a Left Wing agenda equally as distasteful.

I do however think that having both the Republicans and the Democrats trying to ride the middle of the road is just daffy.

If we are going to elect bums? Then lets at least elect bums with back bones who are unwilling to sit on the fence.

Ea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...