Tag Archives: Government spending

A thought. A scam. A crime.

VOTER ID: I have absolutely no problem with voter ID. My problem is with 1) making it difficult, and 2) rushing it. Voter ID? Not a bad idea. The way they’re doing it? That’s suppression.

NEW STUPID GOP MEME: “In 1962, six percent of Americans got federal entitlements. Now, it’s 35 percent.” Clever. Of course 1962 was before there was Medicare.

CYNICAL MUCH?: Our Congress Critters have made clear once again that they are incapable of acting, even to save  the nation from the bullet they themselves aimed directly at 320 million Americans – the one that requires automatic spending cuts of $900 billion in January 2013.  So, diversion is called for. Time for a shiny new thing. What to do? Why, pass a new bill, The Sequestration Transparency Act. A Nebraska newspaper describes it thusly: “having proven incapable . . . they now indignantly demand to know how the President plans to cut spending.” Not them, the President. Neat.

Voyager: I am fierce proud my tax dollars helped this happen!

Voyager at Jupiter

Voyager I, launched 35 years ago, is now approaching the edge of our Solar System and will soon head out toward the other star systems that make up our galaxy, what we have fondly called the Milky Way. And it’s still transmitting data and adding to our store of knowledge like nothing else ever launched. (I’d say that its success strengthens the case for unmanned missions.)

There’s a link-rich story, plus videos and graphics at Talking Point Memo today.

We should all be proud, but also a bit sad that this is what we used to do.

NASA’s JPL has a site that follows the progress of [both] Voyagers in real time. It’s here.

US spending more as a percentage of GDP? Yup. Ummm, maybe because GDP is shrinking? Yup. But don’t tell Wolf Blitzer; it’s a little too complicated.

 

Not fair! That's hard.

Stuff I wish I’d thought of but didn’t:

Obama is spending way more than _____________ (choose your president/decade). This is true. Krugman ‘splains why:

The fact is that federal spending rose from 19.6% of GDP in fiscal 2007 to 23.8% of GDP in fiscal 2010. So isn’t that a huge spending spree? Well, no.

First of all, the size of a ratio depends on the denominator as well as the numerator. GDP has fallen sharply . . .

A 6 percent fall in GDP relative to trend, all by itself, would have raised the ratio of spending to GDP from 19.6 to 20.8, or about 30 percent of the actual rise.

That still leaves a rise in spending; but most of that is safety-net programs, which spend more in hard times because more people are in distress . . .

That’s another 2 points of GDP, or about half the rise.

So we’re still left with a bit, around 1 point of GDP. That’s the stimulus, more or less. And there are two things you need to know about it. First, it’s temporary, and already fading out fast. Second, a large part of the stimulus “spending” was actually aid to state and local governments, intended not to expand spending but to avert a fall — that is, it was about maintaining government, not expanding it.

Now that wasn’t hard, was it? Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that Obama’s still a commie plant, here to destroy us from within.

Liberal comebacks to Republican lies

POSTED BY ORHAN

In a recent post, Robert Reich catalogs and rebuts the biggest whoppers spun by the Republicans regarding job creation:

“Cutting taxes on the rich creates jobs.” Nope. Trickle-down economics has been tried for thirty years and hasn’t worked. After George W. Bush cut taxes on the rich, far fewer jobs were created than after Bill Clinton raised them in the 1990s.

“Cutting corporate income taxes creates jobs.” Baloney. American corporations don’t need tax cuts. They’re sitting on over $1.5 trillion of cash right now. They won’t invest it in additional capacity or jobs because they don’t see enough customers out there with enough money in their pockets to buy what the additional capacity would produce. Florida Governor Rick Scott, for example, says his proposed corporate tax cuts “will give Florida a competitive edge in attracting jobs.” They’ll also require education spending be reduced by $3 billion. Florida already ranks near the bottom in per-pupil spending and has one of nation’s lowest graduation rates. If Scott’s tax cuts create jobs, most will pay peanuts.

“Cuts in wages and benefits create jobs.” Congressional Republicans and their state counterparts repeat this lie incessantly. It also lies behind corporate America’s incessant demand for wage and benefit concessions – and corporate and state battles against unions. But it’s dead wrong. Meager wages and benefits are reducing the spending power of tens of millions of American workers, which is prolonging the jobs recession.

“Regulations kill jobs.” Congressional Republicans are using this whopper to justify their attempts to defund regulatory agencies. Regulations whose costs to business exceed their benefits to the public are unwarranted, of course, but reasonable regulation is necessary to avoid everything from nuclear meltdowns to oil spills to mine disasters to food contamination – all of which we’ve sadly witnessed.

“Cutting the federal deficit will create jobs.” It’s not true. Cutting the deficit will create fewer jobs. Less government spending reduces overall demand. This is particularly worrisome when, as now, consumers and businesses are still holding back. Fewer government workers will have paychecks to buy stuff from other Americans, some of whom in turn will lose their jobs without enough customers.

Reich calls on the President to refute these claims loud and long, before they become conventional wisdom. He can’t understand Obama’s silence in the face of the Republican onslaught.

S’okay cuz we can work at McDonald’s dude!

An editorial in The  New York Times today.

48th Is Not A Good Place

The National Academies, the country’s leading advisory group on science and technology, warned in 2005 that unless the United States improved the quality of math and science education, at all levels, it would continue to lose economic ground to foreign competitors.

The situation remains grim. According to a follow-up report published last month, the academies found that the United States ranks 27th out of 29 wealthy countries in the proportion of college students with degrees in science or engineering, while the World Economic Forum ranked this country 48th out of 133 developed and developing nations in quality of math and science instruction.

Foreign students who attend graduate school here used to stay and work here. Now they go home. More of getting what we asked for.

I am sure there are people who beleive these rankings are because someone somewhere hates America.

A new – and very good – idea

Via Ezra Klein at the Washington Post, some new taxation ideas are percolating up and not from the usual suspects. An organization called Third Way has posted a deep deficit reduction plan on their website (never heard of them before, but liking what I’m seeing).  Among their ideas is a “Taxpayer Receipt“. From their proposal:

“Corn syrup, milk chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, coconut, almond, soy lecithin … any consumer can read these ingredients and their nutritional value on every package of a 75-cent Almond Joy. What is provided to a taxpayer with a $5,400 tax bill? Nothing. For many Americans, the amount they pay in taxes is larger than any purchase they make during the year, but studies show they know almost nothing about where that money goes to.

This contributes to ridiculous beliefs, like the view that 20% of government spending goes to foreign aid, for example. An electorate unschooled in basic budget facts is a major obstacle to controlling the nation’s deficit, not to mention addressing a host of economic and social problems. We suggest that everyone who files a tax return receive a “taxpayer receipt.” This receipt would tell them to the penny what their taxes paid for based on the amount they paid in federal income taxes and FICA.”

It would look something like this: