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Old 01-28-2013, 11:33 AM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Fiscal times: Government spending is *not* out of control.

This is a must-read for all my conservative friends here on this board, who are due for a challenge to long-held assumptions of our ability to stabilize our government spending. The truth is, it's already pretty freaking stable.

Federal spending did, in fact, balloon in 2009. But it was primarily due to a huge employment purge that took millions off taxable payrolls and put them on existing government programs to assist them in times of need. This is what's called an "automatic stabilizer," and it resolves itself as unemployment improves. Count in the fiscal measures needed to stabilize the economy like the Recovery Act, and we have two one-off issues that caused an imbalance in the wake of the Great Recession. Those are starting to right the ship.

Government spending actually came in below projections in 2009, but the cratering in tax revenue caused by the recession is what drove the deficit.

The point: this is a temporary aberration created by a once-in-a-century collapse of the global financial system, and as the financial system stabilizes (check) and unemployment creeps down (happening), the deficit will slowly degenerate on its own. (The $2.4 trillion in austerity measures we've passed will accelerate that process.)

According to the chart you'll see below, government spending on all these major programs has actually stabilized -- yes, including Medicare. Where things are expected to get messy is on interest payments -- but so long as American bonds are the gold standard for safe investments, we literally pay very little on interest. Read: it's a problem worth addressing, but not that severe of one.

So it's not that worthy of an interest to be obsessed with the near term deficit -- what's important is the debt-to-GDP ratio, which tells us the long-term sustainability of our current budgeting. This is all prior to the fiscal cliff deal, however, so we're on a healthy path forward, fiscally.

Which futher feeds my opinion that our focus right now needs to be on unemployment, not deficit reduction.

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Column...rol.aspx#page1

Why Government Spending Is Not Out of Control
By BRUCE BARTLETT, The Fiscal Times
January 25, 2013

It is a standard talking point of Republicans and deficit hawks of all political stripes that federal spending is out of control; that major surgery is needed, especially on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, to get the budget on a sustainable course.

In fact, our long-term deficit situation is not nearly as severe as even many budget experts believe. The problem is that they are looking at recent history and near-term projections that are overly impacted by one-time factors related to the economic crisis and massive Republican tax cuts that lowered revenues far below normal.

Taking a longer-term view, such as that in a recent Treasury Department report, shows that our longer-term fiscal problem is in fact quite manageable.

As the chart below illustrates, federal spending ballooned in fiscal year 2009 mainly because of what economists call “automatic stabilizers” – programs already in law such as unemployment compensation that rises whenever a recession occurs. Spending rose from 20.7 percent of the gross domestic product in fiscal year 2008 to 25 percent in 2009.



Republicans would have us believe that all of this resulted from Barack Obama’s policies, but this is simply a partisan lie. Fiscal year 2009 actually began on September 1, 2008, and was based on the budget that George W. Bush submitted in January 2008.

Moreover, if we look at projections from the Congressional Budget Office on January 7, 2009 – while Bush was still in office and which do not incorporate any Obama policies – we see that the deficit was projected to rise from $455 billion in 2008 to $1.2 trillion in 2009 under existing law.

The actual deficit for fiscal year 2009 was $1.55 trillion. But the difference was due entirely to lower revenues than expected, not higher spending. Outlays in fiscal year 2009 actually came in below CBO’s projection – $3,518 billion actual vs. a projection of $3,543 billion.

The point is not to assess blame for the deficit; only to emphasize the temporary nature of the historically large deficits of the last few years and show that they did not result from an explosion of new spending initiated by Obama. This is important because Republicans continually make that claim, thus justifying their belief that spending must be massively slashed, especially for entitlements.

Getting back to the chart, we see that spending for every single government program going forward is remarkably stable as a percentage of GDP. Those who complain loudest about spending and deficits nearly always base their concerns on projections of nominal spending that are unadjusted for inflation, growth of the population or growth of the economy. This is intellectually dishonest.

In fact, virtually all the growth in projected spending comes not from entitlements or giveaways to the poor and lazy, as Republicans would have us believe, but rather from interest on the debt. This is a problem, but not nearly to the extent that it appears.

The reason is that interest on the debt is what economists call a pure transfer. Economically, it is little different from taking money out of your right pocket and putting it into your left pocket. That is because the vast bulk of interest goes to people and institutions who simply use it to buy more Treasury securities.

Back in the days when the federal debt was owned almost entirely by Americans, one could reasonably say that we owed it to ourselves and it was a matter of no economic concern. As Franklin D. Roosevelt put it Our national debt after all is an internal debt owed not only by the Nation but to the Nation. If our children have to pay interest on it they will pay that interest to themselves. A reasonable internal debt will not impoverish our children or put the Nation into bankruptcy.

Of course, we no longer owe the debt all to ourselves; about half of the publicly-held national debt is owned by foreigners, but most of that is held by central banks that will hold it pretty much forever. Nevertheless, there is still a fundamental economic difference between a debt arising from higher government spending on goods and services and one arising from higher interest expense.

When government buys stuff or employs workers, they are not available for use by the private sector. If the economy were growing and the unemployment rate was low, this would be a bad thing. Under current circumstances, however, when GDP is far below its potential and unemployment is high, government spending on goods and services is not displacing private use, but rather putting otherwise idle resources to good use.

My point is that economists have long differentiated between non-interest spending and that for interest, which, as I said, is a pure transfer that has essentially benign economic effects. For this reason, they are mainly concerned about what is called the “primary deficit,” which is non-interest spending as compared to revenues. As the chart shows, the primary deficit going forward is actually quite small – just 1.7 percent of GDP in the long run.

Moreover, this estimate is high because it was calculated before the effects of the fiscal cliff deal, which substantially raised revenues and reduced projected deficits relative to the assumptions used in the Treasury report. Consequently, the long-term budget situation is better than shown in the chart. It’s difficult to estimate that effect at this time – we will get additional data within the next two weeks in the president’s budget and CBO’s annual projections.

In conclusion, it is silly to obsess about near-term nominal budget deficits. What matters is the deficit as a share of GDP minus interest spending, which economists call the primary deficit. On that basis, we are much closer to fiscal sustainability than even most economists realize. Relatively small adjustments to the growth path of federal revenues and Medicare would be sufficient to eliminate the primary deficit. Taking a meat ax to every federal program, as Republicans demand, is neither necessary nor desirable.

It is a standard talking point of Republicans and deficit hawks of all political stripes that federal spending is out of control; that major surgery is needed, especially on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, to get the budget on a sustainable course.

In fact, our long-term deficit situation is not nearly as severe as even many budget experts believe. The problem is that they are looking at recent history and near-term projections that are overly impacted by one-time factors related to the economic crisis and massive Republican tax cuts that lowered revenues far below normal.

Taking a longer-term view, such as that in a recent Treasury Department report, shows that our longer-term fiscal problem is in fact quite manageable.
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Old 05-18-2013, 01:18 PM   #46
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What top 1% loopholes are you talking about?
Not going to give you specifics because I don't have time to debate each one. A couple of examples below.

and its irrelevant. Entitlment reform will not be done without the 1% paying their fair share of the taxes. It's not politically viable.

The Buffet rule etc. Why should the richest people in American pay less % of their taxes than their secretary?

Pay $4 billion annually in corporate welfare of our tax $ to the biggest most profitable companies in the world, oil companies.
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Old 05-18-2013, 03:33 PM   #47
RedNeckRaider RedNeckRaider is offline
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Originally Posted by BigRedChief View Post
Not going to give you specifics because I don't have time to debate each one. A couple of examples below.

and its irrelevant. Entitlment reform will not be done without the 1% paying their fair share of the taxes. It's not politically viable.

The Buffet rule etc. Why should the richest people in American pay less % of their taxes than their secretary?

Pay $4 billion annually in corporate welfare of our tax $ to the biggest most profitable companies in the world, oil companies.
Yeah and green ain't getting any of that welfare while producing zip~
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Old 05-18-2013, 04:12 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigRedChief View Post
Not going to give you specifics because I don't have time to debate each one. A couple of examples below.

and its irrelevant. Entitlment reform will not be done without the 1% paying their fair share of the taxes. It's not politically viable.

The Buffet rule etc. Why should the richest people in American pay less % of their taxes than their secretary?

Pay $4 billion annually in corporate welfare of our tax $ to the biggest most profitable companies in the world, oil companies.
This is the same old bullshit that you repeat over and over. I've debunked your false oil company fantasy repeatedly.

The Buffett rule isn't about closing loopholes, it's about applying additional taxes.

When a rich person pays less % of tax than their secretary, it's because (a) entitlement programs like social security are designed to benefit the secretary disproportionately (which is an understatement), (b) because the progressive tax system causes people who aren't in the top tax bracket to be priced out of some tax deduction opportunities (e.g. tax free municipal bonds), and (c) because the wealthy receive a disproportionate share of the "income" from investments which are already being taxed for the 2nd or 3rd time to begin with.
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Old 05-18-2013, 04:20 PM   #49
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This column is good news for tax cutters. If we have no spending problem then there is no need to raise taxes to cut the deficit .
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Old 05-18-2013, 05:16 PM   #50
RedNeckRaider RedNeckRaider is offline
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This column is good news for tax cutters. If we have no spending problem then there is no need to raise taxes to cut the deficit .
I saw a pretty funny picture. It was a guy holding a sign that said "they used to call me a taxpayer, now they call me a right wing extremist"
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Old 05-18-2013, 05:18 PM   #51
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This is the same old bullshit that you repeat over and over. I've debunked your false oil company fantasy repeatedly.
Only in your own mind pal.

Closing loopholes is raising taxes. We need to increase revenue, cut spending and reform entitlements. It is obvious to anyone who looks at our situation realistically. the problem is politics, on both sides of the aisle, getting in the way of what is right for the country.
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Old 05-18-2013, 05:45 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by BigRedChief View Post
Only in your own mind pal.

Closing loopholes is raising taxes. We need to increase revenue, cut spending and reform entitlements. It is obvious to anyone who looks at our situation realistically. the problem is politics, on both sides of the aisle, getting in the way of what is right for the country.
I'm not sure I've ever seen you say something correct about tax policy. Closing loopholes is raising taxes, but raising taxes is not the same thing as closing loopholes. For example, an increase in the top tax rate is not closing a loophole. Creation of the alternative minimum tax or implementing the Buffett Rule (which is essentially a second AMT) are not closing specific loopholes. It's like using a chainsaw instead of a scalpel for surgery.

The Buffett rule might coincidentally counteract some loopholes, but at the same time, it counteracts legitimate deductions too.
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Old 05-18-2013, 05:57 PM   #53
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I saw a pretty funny picture. It was a guy holding a sign that said "they used to call me a taxpayer, now they call me a right wing extremist"
I wonder if articles like these will make the Dems re-think their push for higher taxes. What do you think?
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:22 PM   #54
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I wonder if articles like these will make the Dems re-think their push for higher taxes. What do you think?
Not at all. Tax is their thing and the sales pitch. Those people that have money should share! Their target market is limo liberals and the poor~
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:08 PM   #55
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Not at all. Tax is their thing and the sales pitch. Those people that have money should share! Their target market is limo liberals and the poor~
But the original poster said conservatives need to read the article to challenge their own misconceptions. How come he didn't address the board Libs to challenge their support for higher taxes???
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Old 05-18-2013, 10:20 PM   #56
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This was funny.
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:17 AM   #57
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until we stop spending every penny we take in and get rid of the deficit.....this is meaningless

if we are 'fine' then balance the god damn budget, and pay off the debts
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:13 AM   #58
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How the Deficit Got This Big



With President Obama and Republican leaders calling for cutting the budget by trillions over the next 10 years, it is worth asking how we got here — from healthy surpluses at the end of the Clinton era, and the promise of future surpluses, to nine straight years of deficits, including the $1.3 trillion shortfall in 2010. The answer is largely the Bush-era tax cuts, war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, and recessions.

Despite what antigovernment conservatives say, non-
defense discretionary spending on areas like foreign aid, education and food safety was not a driving factor in creating the deficits.
In fact, such spending, accounting for only 15 percent of the budget, has been basically flat as a share of the economy for decades. Cutting it simply will not fill the deficit hole.



The first graph shows the difference between budget projections and budget reality. In 2001, President George W. Bush inherited a surplus, with projections by the Congressional Budget Office for ever-increasing surpluses, assuming continuation of the good economy and President Bill Clinton’s policies. But every year starting in 2002, the budget fell into deficit. In January 2009, just before President Obama took office, the budget office projected a $1.2 trillion deficit for 2009 and deficits in subsequent years, based on continuing Mr. Bush’s policies and the effects of recession. Mr. Obama’s policies in 2009 and 2010, including the stimulus package, added to the deficits in those years but are largely temporary.



The second graph shows that under Mr. Bush, tax cuts and war spending were the biggest policy drivers of the swing from projected surpluses to deficits from 2002 to 2009. Budget estimates that didn’t foresee the recessions in 2001 and in 2008 and 2009 also contributed to deficits. Mr. Obama’s policies, taken out to 2017, add to deficits, but not by nearly as much.

A few lessons can be drawn from the numbers. First, the Bush tax cuts have had a huge damaging effect. If all of them expired as scheduled at the end of 2012, future deficits would be cut by about half, to sustainable levels. Second, a healthy budget requires a healthy economy; recessions wreak havoc by reducing tax revenue. Government has to spur demand and create jobs in a deep downturn, even though doing so worsens the deficit in the short run. Third, spending cuts alone will not close the gap. The chronic revenue shortfalls from serial tax cuts are simply too deep to fill with spending cuts alone. Taxes have to go up.

In future decades, when rising health costs with an aging population hit the budget in full force, deficits are projected to be far deeper than they are now. Effective health care reform, and a willingness to pay more taxes, will be the biggest factors in controlling those deficits.

/deficits come from two wars while cutting taxes
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:17 AM   #59
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This was funny.
What is funny is you guys actually think this is a thing.







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Old 05-19-2013, 12:10 PM   #60
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until we stop spending every penny we take in and get rid of the deficit.....this is meaningless

if we are 'fine' then balance the god damn budget, and pay off the debts

But if we are "fine' then there was never any reason for Liberals to push for higher taxes. When will Direkshun take on Liberals who cling to out-dated and incorrect assumptions?
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