Who’s to Blame for the Currently High Deficit?

By: hawkgrrrl
August 2, 2011

If Facebook is any indication, Americans are becoming even more politically polarized over the current budget deficit debate.  Each side seems to feel strongly that the other major political party is to blame. 

Republicans blame the Democrats for social entitlement programs. 

Democrats blame Republicans for “trickle down economics.”   

Both parties blame the other for being unwilling to compromise on a solution.

Some view it as the main role filled by the president and hold Pres. Obama directly responsible (or past presidents). 

The American people are also to blame, for our poor planning and bad spending habits.  How can we expect our politicians to do better on a macro scale than the average American has done on a micro scale?

In true American fashion, let’s take it to a vote.  Sorry, but you are only allowed to choose ONE answer on this one!  I know that’s a pain, but pick a side!  Defend your choice in the discussion below.

Who is most responsible for the current U.S. budget deficit?

  • The American People (31%, 31 Votes)
  • Previous Leaders (25%, 25 Votes)
  • Republicans (21%, 21 Votes)
  • Democrats (13%, 13 Votes)
  • The President (5%, 5 Votes)
  • None of the above (5%, 5 Votes)
  • There is no problem with the current U.S. deficit. (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Other nations (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 101

Loading ... Loading ...

Discuss.

Tags: , , ,

38 Responses to Who’s to Blame for the Currently High Deficit?

  1. Matt W. on August 2, 2011 at 8:02 AM

    Regardless of the issue of political polarization, it did my heart good to hear Gabby Gifford’s standing ovation this morning. That meant a lot to me. It gave me hope.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  2. Matthew Chapman on August 2, 2011 at 8:05 AM

    I believe a more useful question is not who is to blame, but what is to blame.

    The majority of the deficit comes from an imbalance between income taxes and federal spending: we send out a lot more than we take in. In fact, 40% of what we spend is borrowed. That is like having your parents send you 10,000 a year to attend college, but borrowing another 7,000 on top of it. (55% is military spending. About 12% is “wealth transfers”, that is, welfare, about 17% is interest on the national debt.)

    The deficit does not come from Social Security: there is, in fact, a theoretical surplus of trillions of dollars: money the rest of the government borrowed from Social Security taxes.

    Oddly, Medicare was also running a surplus until the Part 2 prescription program was passed; there is still enough in that fund to last another five years or so.

    Social Security and Medicare do need to be reformed in order to survive much longer into the future, but that is a question independent of the deficit. In fact, elimination of Social Security and Medicare outright (simply not paying out anymore to anyone, period, collecting no more FICA taxes, and never paying out the surplus) would result in an sudden, immediate drop in the total debt, but would actually increase the annual deficit.

    Pointing and blaming is a purely political exercise, and counterproductive. What is needed is cooperation in making the hard choices to cut back spending. Good luck.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 7

  3. Matthew Chapman on August 2, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” – Winston Smith
    (George Orwell, 1984)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  4. Cowboy on August 2, 2011 at 8:39 AM

    I like the American People choice simply because it is a way of circumventing the tendency to blame systemic problems on temporary leaders. It is very hard to look at the economic policies of one President, or one party, and associate all of the blame to those policies. The bottom line is that for either party we spend more than we have, and our ideals are greater than our checkbooks.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 6

  5. iamse7en on August 2, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    My option is not up there. It’s a combination of Republicans, Democrats, the President, the previous presidents, and the American people.

    It was bipartisan.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  6. hawkgrrrl on August 2, 2011 at 9:02 AM

    Cowboy makes a great point. All problems are inherited ones. All leaders are outlived by the problems they help perpetuate. It’s the nature of term limits. And the nature of the two-party system in our nation is to blame the other party; checks and balances (gridlock) over deference and cooperation like the U.K. system. Not that they don’t have their own set of ills.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  7. Jeff Spector on August 2, 2011 at 9:02 AM

    I am with the last comment. Everyone is to blame. Everyone votes and selects their own self-interest and the good of the country has fallen by the wayside.

    If i hear one more politican try to explain what the American people want, I might scream. they merely reflect their own desires and no one elses.

    Our system is sick and in the need of some changes.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  8. Jeff Spector on August 2, 2011 at 9:04 AM

    “All leaders are outlived by the problems they help perpetuate.’

    Yes and no. when you have congress people who are in for 20, 30, 40 years, they are the problem!

    Term limit all of them!

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  9. Ray on August 2, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Lots of blame to go around to everyone. Greed and self-interest are brutal dictators in the long run.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 6

  10. jmb275 on August 2, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    Yeah, I’m gonna echo the sentiment being presented in the comments. We need better leaders and it starts at home with each one of us.

    Having said that (and in order to stir up some political fervor) I primarily fall on the “live within your means,” small gov’t side of the fence. I don’t mind entitlement so much as I mind the way it is managed and abused. I don’t mind some military spending, but I do mind when it uses a sizable chunk of our income. And perhaps more than anything else, and a function of both parties, I have a serious problem with the wars we have waged in the middle east and africa, gobbling up trillions of dollars with virtually no benefit to the American people aside from some illusion of safety.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  11. GBSmith on August 2, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    I agree about living within our means but when LBJ tried to fight the Vietnam war without raising taxes and GWB with Iraq keeping the cost off the books and at the same time cutting taxes, the only direction of the hole is down and we’re the ones that have to live with it. Thinking that we can get back to the top of the hole by just cutting expenses means a long slow trudge with minimal growth and no job creation. Not much of a future.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  12. PaulM on August 2, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    Has anyone checked to see if Dan is still breathing? I’m shocked that this thread has been open for 9 hours and I didn’t have to skip 756 comments explaining why Rs are responsible for the deficit and every other blight on humanity. Should we contact the NYPD?

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  13. Paul on August 2, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    HG: Should your headline read, “… the current high deficit” instead of “currently”? It’s been high for some time.

    As interesting as it is to mince about whose fault it is, it would be far more productive to work on reducing it.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  14. FireTag on August 2, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    I would have to combine 2 of the poll options and place the blame on that portion of the American people who don’t believe there’s a debt problem.

    Maybe blame is too strong a word, because unless you’re one of those people like me who were ignoring, say, real life, so that you can pay attention constantly to what the Feds are doing, all of the debt accumulation being piled up in this last recession has come as a terrible shock.

    Even the graphics in the OP show this. They appear to show budget projections from about the beginning of Obama’s term, before the budgeting process itself collapsed. They stop, as current law permits, 10 years thereafter, but BEFORE the real debt problem arises. Yet, you can see that the projections for fiscal 2011 (which ends in less than 60 days) and 2012 were blindingly rosy.

    But the same models that produced these results make today look like a mountain in Pennsylvania compared to one in the Rockies when you extend them out to a time horizon our kids or grandkids will have to face.

    This has been apparent to those WITHIN the Federal government since the days of “Hillarycare” in the first Clinton administration.

    I was supporting the Department of Energy’s cleanup of the nuclear weapons production sites like Hanford (Washington) and Oak Ridge (TN) when public outrage erupted over the realization that the cleanup might cost somewhere in excess of $250 billion (how quaint) and take 50 years. The Office of Management and Budget called one of the DOE Fed program managers downtown for a briefing, and I went with him to answer technology questions about the programs.

    After the Q&A was over, the Fed wanted to visit another OMB employee in the building, and, since I didn’t have the clearance to wander around the building unescorted, I had to go with him. When we got to Fed #2′s office, Fed #1 began to explain the economic problems of his program. Fed #2, with typical male gallows humor, proceeded to pull out the projections over the next several decades for the program he was working on — the US social security system. Fed #1 suddenly felt better about his own problems.

    So this has been apparent for a couple of decades, but politicians of both parties have been kicking the can down the road and outbidding each other to ADD new benefits, while denouncing as cruel and heartless anyone who actually tried to fix the problems that became inevitable once life expectancy began to increase.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  15. Mike S on August 2, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    As Rep. Bishop (Utah) said when we were in his office a few months ago talking about the defecit: Every government program was started to help people.

    Elderly people were living in poverty and eating dog food. This was unacceptable, so Social Security was started.

    Wage caps during war led to employer-based medical insurance as a benefit to hire people. When people retired, they had no medical care. This was unacceptable, so Medicare was started.

    Our children, through no fault of their own, didn’t have medical care, so Medicaid was started.

    People needing kidney dialysis were receiving inadequate care, so that was added.

    Etc.

    They are all great and noble things that served very necessary purposes. The problem is that things have grown over the decades. And it is a hard problem because no one wants to cut things that help people. It’s much easier to come up with some new program to help people.

    The harsh reality is that we could cut EVERYTHING from government besides entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc), some defense, and interest on the national debt – and in 20-30 years, they will consume more than the ENTIRE estimated income of the government. They must be changed somehow to remain solvent, but no one has any idea of how to do that.

    And we can’t tax our way out of it. If the highest tax bracket was raised to 100%, it still wouldn’t get anywhere close to eliminating the deficit.

    We can kick the ball down the road, we can fritter around the edges, we can argue about who should pay more in taxes, but ultimately, we need to STOP SPENDING.

    Now, I don’t have a way to do this without affecting millions of people adversely, and neither does anyone else. And that’s the problem.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  16. BethSmash on August 2, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    Anyone else think they should raise taxes (particularly on those in the upper tax brackets) AND cut spending generally. Maybe even starting with those programs that the GAO recommends be reviewed for funding cuts, even if they aren’t programs that are as great for rallying members of the base from whichever political party you belong to. Or maybe Congress’ salary in general. It annoys me when people think you should just do one or the other.

    Oh, and I also believe that term limits would create more statesmen rather than politicians.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  17. Jeff Spector on August 2, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    “Has anyone checked to see if Dan is still breathing?”

    Just to let everyone know, Dan and Will have been put on hiatus for a while. We’re trying to bring some level of civility to the blog. So we can have reasonable discussions without hijacks and name-calling.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 4

  18. Jeff Spector on August 2, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    No politican is sent to Washington to die there, yet many do.

    Government service (soliders, politicans, etc0 was meant to be a sacrifice and for a short time. do you service and get back to your own life.

    We do not have that now. since we liit the term of the President, why not the others.

    Might help, couldn’t hurt. they’d have to reduce the gamesmenship that goes on, but that’s not a bad thing either.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  19. Jon on August 2, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    @Jeff,

    Glad to know that you didn’t include me on that hiatus. Of course, I put myself on hiatus since I was wasting so much time and couldn’t stand all the negativity.

    Anyways, people are to blame, as the BOM & bible say, people (nations), as a whole, when they are righteous prosper, when they aren’t then things start going down hill.

    So what principles have we broken that make it so the US is going down hill? Sabbath, worshiping the God of this nation, not stealing, etc.

    SS goes beyond the mandate of a nation, which is to protect and defend the individual and his (his is used in the neutered sense, for all the PCs out there) property from aggressors. When government dictates these things and steals from the public then it has exceeded its mandate and is no longer legitimate (according to the Declaration of Independence). A principled approach would be to set up a voluntary coop (or whatever entity they like) and then do it, then they would have the problem of politicians getting into their funds (well, that’s not true, some countries have gotten into the pension funds of seniors to pay for other programs.).

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  20. Jon on August 2, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Jeff,

    #18,

    The temptation would still be there to take monies out of the funds and use it for their own things, etc. Especially with so much money rolling around.

    A more effective way to curtail this would be a voluntary government.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  21. PaulM on August 2, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    Ray:

    Greed and self-interest are not the problem. As Mike S points out, politicians trying to look out for others’ best interests have landed us where we are. I’m a firm believer in the wisdom of the crowd and it’s ability to self-organize and solve problems (out of it’s own self-interest). I do not want to be governed by anyone with the hubris required to think themselves smarter than the combined wisdom of their constituents.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  22. mh on August 2, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    jon, we are governed by people who volunteer. are you saying pres obama didn’t volunteer for the job? the majority and minority have consented to his presidency. would you rather the minority be able to overturn the election? is that a more fair way to be governed?

    methinks you have a big axe to grind against democracy, as if somehow you didn’t agree to be part of this democracy, somehow you are coerced to be governed by non-democratically elected government that you disagree with. seems kinda silly to me that you claim to be governed coercively.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  23. Stephen M (Ethesis) on August 2, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government by P. J. O’Rourke and Andrew Ferguson — is an excellent book.

    Now, you need to realize that when humor and economic science are in conflict, O’Rourke will choose humor over correct economics every time, but within that constraint the book is very good about how and why things are as they are.

    If nothing else, read the last chapter.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  24. Jon on August 2, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    mh,

    Considering the pay, prestige, and power that comes with the presidency I wouldn’t call it volunteering.

    I have no problem with voluntary democracy or republics (similar to what the Israelites lived under before their were kings). If you can logically refute the following, then I’ll listen. I can’t say it better than Rothbard so here you go:

    It is also contended that, in democratic governments, the act of voting makes the government and all its works and powers truly “voluntary.” Again, there are many fallacies with this popular argument. In the first place, even if the majority of the public specifically endorsed each and every particular act of the government, this would simply be majority tyranny rather than a voluntary act undergone by every person in the country. Murder is murder, theft is theft, whether undertaken by one man against another, or by a group, or even by the majority of people within a given territorial area. The fact that a majority might support or condone an act of theft does not diminish the criminal essence of the act or its grave injustice. Otherwise, we would have to say, for example, that any Jews murdered by the democratically elected Nazi government were not murdered, but only “voluntarily committed suicide”—surely, the grotesque but logical implication of the “democracy as voluntary” doctrine. Secondly, in a republic as contrasted to a direct democracy, people vote not for specific measures but for “representatives” in a package deal; the representatives then wreak their will for a fixed length of time. In no legal sense, of course, are they truly “representatives” since, in a free society, the principal hires his agent or representative individually and can fire him at will. As the great anarchist political theorist and constitutional lawyer, Lysander Spooner, wrote:

    they [the elected government officials] are neither our servants, agents, attorneys, nor representatives . . . [for] we do not make ourselves responsible for their acts. If a man is my servant, agent, or attorney, I necessarily make myself responsible for all his acts done within the limits of the power I have intrusted to him. If I have intrusted him, as my agent, with either absolute power, or any power at all, over the persons or properties of other men than myself, I thereby necessarily make myself responsible to those other persons for any injuries he may do them, so long as he acts within the limits of the power I have granted him. But no individual who may be injured in his person or property, by acts of Congress, can come to the individual electors, and hold them responsible for these acts of their so-called agents or representatives. This fact proves that these pretended agents of the people, of everybody, are really the agents of nobody.

    Furthermore, even on its own terms, voting can hardly establish “majority” rule, much less of voluntary endorsement of government. In the United States, for example, less than 40 percent of eligible voters bother to vote at all; of these, 21 percent may vote for one candidate and 19 percent for another. 21 percent scarcely establishes even majority rule, much less the voluntary consent of all. (In one sense, and quite apart from democracy or voting, the “majority” always supports any existing government; this will be treated below.) And finally how is it that taxes are levied on one and all, regardless of whether they voted or not, or, more particularly, whether they voted for the winning candidate? How can either nonvoting or voting for the loser indicate any sort of endorsement of the actions of the elected government?

    Neither does voting establish any sort of voluntary consent even by the voters themselves to the government. As Spooner trenchantly pointed out:

    In truth, in the case of individuals their actual voting is not to be taken as proof of consent. . . . On the contrary, it is to be considered that, without his consent having even been asked a man finds himself environed by a government that he cannot resist; a government that forces him to pay money renders service, and foregoes the exercise of many of his natural rights, under peril of weighty punishments. He sees, too, that other men practice this tyranny over him by the use of the ballot. He sees further, that, if he will but use the ballot himself, he has some chance of relieving himself from this tyranny of others, by subjecting them to his own. In short, he finds himself, without his consent, so situated that, if he uses the ballot, he may become a master, if he does not use it, he must become a slave. And he has no other alternative than these two. In self-defense, he attempts the former. His case is analogous to that of a man who has been forced into battle, where he must either kill others, or be killed himself. Because, to save his own life in battle, a man attempts to take the lives of his opponents, it is not to be inferred that the battle is one of his own choosing. Neither in contests with the ballot—which is a mere substitute for a bullet—because, as his only chance of self-preservation, a man uses a ballot, is it to be inferred that the contest is one into which he voluntarily entered; that he voluntarily set up all his own natural rights, as a stake against those of others, to be lost or won by the mere power of numbers. . . .

    Doubtless the most miserable of men, under the most oppressive government in the world, if allowed the ballot would use it, if they could see any chance of meliorating their condition. But it would not, therefore, be a legitimate inference that the government itself, that crushes them, was one which they had voluntarily set up, or even consented.

    - Murray Rothbard

    See http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/twentytwo.asp

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  25. Jon on August 2, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    The last quote from Spooner reminds of one of the reasons the church used to justify anti-homosexual marriage bills, if it’s not outlawed then the homosexuals can use the law to force the church to perform these marriages. I don’t think its principled logic but I can understand the logic.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  26. John Roberts on August 2, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    There is a certain unreality to the budget– and not merely that trillions of dollars are inconceivable sums to the ordinary American.

    The fundamental concepts of “money” and “personal property” are mere social fictions.

    My bank balance is a number in a computer, which could be wiped away with the destruction of a few pieces of paper and a well-placed electromagnetic pulse.

    My couch is not mine, any more than your couch is mine: there is no tangible connection between me and my couch. It is just a couch.

    Ultimately, money and private property are social games we play in our heads, like “language” and “manners” and “appropriate dress”.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  27. Jon on August 2, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    Hey John #26,

    I’ve heard that argument before. But the question is, do you believe the scriptures? Do you believe the 10 commandments (among others) are true? If you do then explain the commandment “Thou shalt not steal.” This commandment assumes that someone owns something that another person can steal. God has given us dominion on this earth to care for.

    What is the connection between the person and his couch? The sweat of thy brow. AKA, when you give your time and effort – i.e., work – to something you receive a monetary or physical reward for such effort and then you trade for the other item with what you have earned. If this were not so, what would be the point of work?

    Property is an eternal concept and can be derived through sound logic. Like all natural law it can be derived through logic which can help one find eternal truths.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  28. FireTag on August 2, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    mh:

    I’m finding it more useful to think of candidates for office not as volunteers, but as entrepreneurs who try to sell us goods and services, but prefer to be paid in political currency rather than monetary currency.

    Hawkgrrrl:

    Do you have a link to the very first red and blue graphic in your post? I can’t quite make out the numbers.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  29. mh on August 2, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    jon, this post is about the budget, not mises. if you want me to debate mises, email me. don’t sidetrack the discussion with another long-wunded quote that nobody reads.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  30. hawkgrrrl on August 2, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    Jon: “Considering the pay, prestige, and power that comes with the presidency I wouldn’t call it volunteering.” No one who is qualified to be POTUS is impressed by the pay, so let’s strike that notion off the table right now. CEOs make a gajillion more than that. The prestige and power, I grant you.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  31. Jon on August 2, 2011 at 11:25 PM

    mh,

    You’re the one that asked, so I answered. You have my e-mail if you’re interested, I don’t know why you asked if you’re not interested in the answer.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  32. Jon on August 2, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    hawkgrrrl,

    The pay I was including the kickbacks, books, talks, and other things that I don’t even know about that they get enriched from. I’m certain they make all sorts of money from becoming president, during and afterwards. I guess I just don’t have much faith in these people.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  33. Stan Beale on August 3, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    One of the major causes of the debt problem is the marriage of politics to money. Let me start with three aphroisms from the Cynic’s Guide to Government:

    1.The primary job of a politician that gets elected is to get reelected.

    2. Money is the mothers milk of politics

    3. You dance with the one that brung you.

    The reality is that it costs a lot of money to run a winning campaign or to scare opponents away from running against you. The denizens of Gucci Gulch (lobbiests) are quite happy to reward people, both privately and politically, for voting their way.

    Many of you have never heard of Billy Tauzin. He was the Congressman from the Bayou State that guided Bush’s Medicare Drug plan through Congress. He helped make sure that Americans buying cheaper drugs in Mexico and Canada was banned as well as forbidding the government from negotiating lower drug costs from drug companies. Both of those made Seniors and the Government to pay more for medicind. Tauzin’s reward. He quit Congress and took a 2 million dollar a year job as chief lobbiest for big pharma.

    Is that a lone case? Far from it. Here is a partial list: 4.4 billion in tax breaks for the poor oil companies. “Pay for Delay” pracrices which keep new generic drugs off the market for an average of 17 months. A free trade deal with South Korea which will allow South Korean factories in North Korea to compete for American jobs (and give North Korea money for say, restarting their nuclear program).

    Is it as bad as it appears? Well, I’ll leave you with the words of a former California legislator, “You can’t buy my vote, but you can rent it.”

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  34. Ray on August 3, 2011 at 7:42 AM

    “Greed and self-interest are not the problem.”

    I disagree, with the caveat that I never said they are THE problem. I just said they are relevant and “brutal dictators”.

    I’m not saying both of those things are evident in all people, but one of them exists in most politicians AND citizens, including me (and probably you). In my case, it’s self-interest I have to fight.

    All of us are more prone to support reflexively something that benefits us – or, to be more accurate, something that appears to benefit us. When something appears to be beneficial to us, we often don’t analyze it as closely as those things that appear not to be beneficial to us. (For example, try talking with Mormons and having a thoughtful, calm discussion about whether or not we should be able to count our tithing as an itemized deduction. I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with that idea here (and I don’t want to turn this thread into a discussion of that issue), but try having a reasonable, calm discussion about it. Self-interest generally is the underlying foundation of the discussion, especially among those who don’t understand the complexity of tax law enough to consider the whole picture fully.)

    Thus, politicians often focus on highlighting those things that will appeal to the self-interest of the broadest number of their constituents and de-emphasizing those things that will hurt the minority of their constituents – even if that minority will be hurt quite badly. It’s the heart of pork barrell spending, political campaigning and a HUGE part of getting re-elected.

    I’m not saying that is the whole picture. It’s not even close to the full answer. It is, however, a big part of it.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  35. Cowboy on August 3, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    Hawkgrrrl #30:

    Obama is kind of the anomally here, as the bulk of his net worth is derived from book royalties that resulted from his campaign and Presidency. I believe his net worth prior to getting elected was right around $1M, whereas now it is closer to $5M. Still, when we account for inflation more almost all of the US Presidents of the last century were independently wealthy. Your obviously right that the salary of the President, even factored over the remainder of their lives, is nothing compared to average CEO salaries for mid-sized companies and up. That is why for most of these individuals, money is a non-issue. Rather the power implications can’t be denied. What is left to be carnally desired by a person who has all the money they could ever need? Power is it!

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  36. hawkgrrrl on August 3, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    We need a balanced budget amendment, and we need leaders who lead, not pander. Obama has been good at giving the bad news in other situations.

    Jon – I’m as cynical as the next person about politicians, but kickbacks come to light and end political careers. I’m not convinced that’s a perk that people are banking on to get into politics. Funding from special interests, sure. Book deals and speeches, definitely. But as Cowboy also states, this is nothing compared to CEO pay. Peanuts.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  37. jmb275 on August 4, 2011 at 6:00 AM

    Ultimately, money and private property are social games we play in our heads, like “language” and “manners” and “appropriate dress”.

    Ultimately this issue is what separates major political theories and is the basis for taxation. I disagree with it though. Or rather, I agree that they are “social games” that nothing intrinsically links a couch to its “owner,” but there is also nothing intrinsically linking me to my fellows (unless you wanna do geneology back to Eve ;-) ) that should require me to care for them. But there are links (even if not intrinsic) that provide a relationship between me and my couch (my labor) and me and my neighbor (my humanity).

    All I have to say is show me one successful, reasonably sized community that does not honor the relationship between owner and property via labor. They don’t work, and never will because we own our time, skills, and labor. And when we trade those for “property” they become what we “own” even if there is no intrinsic relationship.

    BTW, this is the crux of the “taxation is forced labor” argument. If you believe money and property are not really owned and are merely social constructs (no natural law) then people don’t actually own their money and there’s no reason to not take it from them (taxation). If you believe you own your property and money because it represents your labor then you likely believe taxation is forced labor (which is a nicer way of saying “theft”). As much as I oppose higher taxes for myself I do think taxation in some form is good and appropriate. In the U.S. I think we have a pretty good balance of these two competing theories.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  38. bbell on August 4, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    I think we are all to blame at the end of the day. I like comment #15.

    Every American wants to have their cake and eat it to. Make somebody else pay for my benefits but don’t raise my SS taxes

    One big glaring issue with SS and Medicare is that there have not been enough children born to pay enough taxes at the current rates to pay for all the retirees.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

Leave a Reply

Subscribe without commenting

Archives

%d bloggers like this: