Author Topic: Obama wants to halve budget deficit  (Read 6164 times)

Miyabi

  • Level 45
  • *
  • Posts: 3098
  • Fell Points: 1
  • Simple is the concept of love as eternity.
    • View Profile
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #45 on: March 18, 2009, 04:00:32 AM »
You can't just kill the spending.  By cutting it off you would just be breaking old promises made as well as causing a lot of problems from organizations that are expecting the money.

If you spend now in the effort to later not have to put out that money then you can make progress towards finally being able to cut the spending.

EXAMPLE:

I personally think that we need to eliminate the Social Security program, but so many people have put money in they would be angry that they didn't get back from the government.  Also many people would not know how to live without that money, causing many families, most importantly, children who don't deserve it, to become homeless.  BUT if we started putting out money to these people now with the knowledge that now they get more than they were before and that it will only last for a while and then we will cut it off.  Then we could focus on paying back to the other people who have already put into it.  Eventually causing us to be able to eliminate the program.
オレは長超猿庁じゃ〜。

Necroben

  • Level 14
  • *
  • Posts: 633
  • Fell Points: 0
  • What use the ability to read if one never uses it?
    • View Profile
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #46 on: March 18, 2009, 04:25:12 AM »
You can't just kill the spending. By cutting it off you would just be breaking old promises made as well as causing a lot of problems from organizations that are expecting the money.

If you spend now in the effort to later not have to put out that money then you can make progress towards finally being able to cut the spending.

EXAMPLE:

I personally think that we need to eliminate the Social Security program, but so many people have put money in they would be angry that they didn't get back from the government. Also many people would not know how to live without that money, causing many families, most importantly, children who don't deserve it, to become homeless. BUT if we started putting out money to these people now with the knowledge that now they get more than they were before and that it will only last for a while and then we will cut it off. Then we could focus on paying back to the other people who have already put into it. Eventually causing us to be able to eliminate the program.


Miyabi, I could be taking your example out of context, but SS is mainly for retirement.  Yes, there are survivor benefits, but most are given on a limited time frame anyway.

EDIT: Also disability benefits.

The problem with a lot of (or even just some of) these people is that they feel they deserve it.  So no matter what happens they're gonna pretty mad if (when) the money stops coming in.  And while some of these governmental programs actually help some people, they also hurt others.  I've seen so much wasted potential flushed away because these individuals had no motivation to better themselves.  Even if warning is given, many people will be in dire straights anyway.  If they can't manage their money now why would they later?  I'd much rather give someone a hand-up, not a hand-out.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2009, 04:27:28 AM by Gangreenben »
I don't suffer from insanity...  I enjoy every minuet of it!

It's ok to be strange, as long as it's on paper. :)

The Jade Knight

  • Moderator
  • Level 39
  • *****
  • Posts: 2507
  • Fell Points: 1
  • Lord of the Absent-Minded
    • View Profile
    • Don't go here
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #47 on: March 18, 2009, 04:26:25 AM »
I don't disagree, but you need to remember that Obama is significantly INCREASING spending.
"Never argue with a fool; they'll bring you down to their level, and then beat you with experience."

Peter Ahlstrom

  • Administrator
  • Level 59
  • *****
  • Posts: 4902
  • Fell Points: 2
  • Assistant to Mr. Sanderson
    • View Profile
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #48 on: March 18, 2009, 06:24:06 AM »
Social Security is a retirement program.  Only people who work for a certain number of years paying into the program specifically are able to collect benefits when they reach a certain age. The only people for whom it was a true handout were people who were already retired in 1935. They are now dead.

If you cut it off, millions of people who count on it because they paid into it all their lives will have no income and won't be able to eat and will die.
All Saiyuki fans should check out Dazzle! Emotionally wrenching action-adventure and quirky humor! (At least read chapter 6 and tell me if you're not hooked.) Volume 10 out now!

Miyabi

  • Level 45
  • *
  • Posts: 3098
  • Fell Points: 1
  • Simple is the concept of love as eternity.
    • View Profile
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #49 on: March 18, 2009, 06:46:05 AM »
I know at least two dozen people who don't work and don't have disabilities who don't work who manage to get SSI every month.  There are hundreds of thousands of people who do this.
オレは長超猿庁じゃ〜。

Peter Ahlstrom

  • Administrator
  • Level 59
  • *****
  • Posts: 4902
  • Fell Points: 2
  • Assistant to Mr. Sanderson
    • View Profile
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #50 on: March 18, 2009, 07:14:35 AM »
Well, if that's happening (and those people are below age 65), then obviously the whole program is worthless and we should throw it out? Um, I don't think that's what it means. If people are abusing the system, what needs to happen is reform, not throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

(Note that we come back around to Obama's goals of eliminating waste in government programs.)
All Saiyuki fans should check out Dazzle! Emotionally wrenching action-adventure and quirky humor! (At least read chapter 6 and tell me if you're not hooked.) Volume 10 out now!

SarahG

  • Level 13
  • *
  • Posts: 544
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #51 on: March 19, 2009, 09:26:11 PM »
Just so everyone is clear, SSI (Supplemental Security Income) is not the same thing as Social Security retirement benefits, survivor benefits, or disability benefits.  It's funded by general tax revenues rather than Social Security taxes.  The confusion comes partly from the similarity of acronyms, and partly because SSI is administered by the Social Security Administration.

I agree that we have far too many, and too extensive, entitlement programs; I see this as the largest single reason for the growing national debt.  However, as others have pointed out, it's very difficult to curtail a benefit once people come to believe that they have earned it, paid for it, and that it's been promised to them.  They come to depend on it, they make other financial decisions in the expectation of it, and it is not fair to deprive them of it - especially without adequate warning.

Aside from fairness, the other reason we can't get rid of entitlement programs is that our country has a bit of the compassion shared by most developed nations.  Few of us believe that our government ought to let people within its borders starve as a natural consequence of their own irresponsibility, laziness, or misfortune.  This same compassion is also the reason we don't turn people away from emergency rooms due to their lack of money, or public schools due to their legal residency status.  There is a certain minimum standard of living that we, as a society, wish to guarantee to everyone who lives here, regardless of whether their choices deserve it.  In my opinion, this minimum standard shows no signs of disappearing, but rather, will keep increasing with each new congress and administration until the country declares bankruptcy.
He ate my horse.

GorgonlaVacaTremendo

  • Level 29
  • *
  • Posts: 1641
  • Fell Points: 1
  • If we can teach a monkey to use a Rubic's Cube...
    • View Profile
    • Kinase Moves the Audio
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #52 on: March 20, 2009, 04:31:30 PM »
While it's true that entitlement programs are a large part of our budget, they definitely aren't, as a whole, the most wasteful government spending programs around.  They do need to be checked and changed to make them more accessible to those who need and less accessible to those taking advantage, and less important programs need to be dropped entirely to make room for more important programs...

However, $35.1 Billion were spent in 1998 on nuclear weapons related programs.  I know that's kind of an old figure, but from what I understand it is not estimated to have gone down significantly and, in fact, may be going up.  That includes $4 Billion just on upkeep.  To give you an idea, we had  "5,914 strategic warheads, approximately 1,000 operational tactical weapons, and approximately 3,000 reserve strategic and tactical warheads" in July 2007--900% the rest of the nuclear weapons in the world, excluding Russia who is under the same restrictions and has a comparable arsenal.  That sounds like a lot of unnecessary spending to me.

In 2006, the US' military budget accounts for about 47% of world military spending.  At least twelve out of the top fifteen runner-ups are considered American allies.
"Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other 'sins' are invented nonsense."
Robert Heinlein

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."
Edmund Burke

www.kinasemovestheaudio.com for a good time!

darxbane

  • Level 17
  • *
  • Posts: 839
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #53 on: March 24, 2009, 10:33:51 PM »
Unfortunately, even cutting defense will hurt many, as defense contracts make up a large portion of the manufacturing that is done in the U.S.  Corporate taxes and greed have combined to make us unable to compete with other countries, so the work goes overseas.  The Government allows inflated and unfair pricing in defense contracts because it is too dangerous to manufacture these items elsewhere.  Now, if we were able to reduce payroll and corporate taxes (along with raising taxes on companies that produce overseas), jobs would come back to this country, and the defense contractors could migrate to other interests.  We are stuck with our nuclear program for a while still, and you have to make sure that stuff stays in tip-top shape.  We spend 46% of the world's military spending because we protect that much of the world, although I have no problem leaving some countries (and one city in California) to fend for themselves.

Social Security should be reformed, and it should definitely be removed from the appropriations committee's hands.  The HAC votes every year to allocate Social Security benefits.  Technically, they could stop doing it anytime they wanted to.  Look it up, there is no actual program in place, like welfare or medicare, which would need a full house and senate vote to change.  it is an appropriated fund, which is controlled at the committee level.  There are plenty of other areas where spending can be curtailed.

Compassion or not, the government shouldn't be so involved in these decisions.  We should be able to decide what to do with our money.  My only give on this would be to tax outrageously unnecessary items (million dollar sportscars, diamond studded Ipods, etc).  Sales taxes would get more money out of the rich than income taxes, as there will always be loopholes in any income tax system.  However, if you buy it here, you pay the tax.  If you buy in someplace else, you pay the equivalent import fee.  A simplified tax system could cut down the cost of the IRS significantly, as well as reduce the number of Obama nominees tax cheats out there.
I wanted to write something profound here, but I couldn't think of anything.

The Jade Knight

  • Moderator
  • Level 39
  • *****
  • Posts: 2507
  • Fell Points: 1
  • Lord of the Absent-Minded
    • View Profile
    • Don't go here
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #54 on: March 25, 2009, 01:54:39 AM »
In 2006, the US' military budget accounts for about 47% of world military spending.  At least twelve out of the top fifteen runner-ups are considered American allies.

While I do feel that we overspend on our military, I'd like to know where you got this figure; it feels wrong to me, given China's military budget these days.
"Never argue with a fool; they'll bring you down to their level, and then beat you with experience."

GorgonlaVacaTremendo

  • Level 29
  • *
  • Posts: 1641
  • Fell Points: 1
  • If we can teach a monkey to use a Rubic's Cube...
    • View Profile
    • Kinase Moves the Audio
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #55 on: March 25, 2009, 05:01:44 AM »
The idea behind a democracy is that the government is us, darx.  I know we're a republic, but even so, we spout out these ideals to the world about a government of the people for the people, but then go about saying we don't trust it?  There's something inherently wrong with that.  Perhaps instead of spending so much time telling other nations what government system is the correct choice for them, we should spend a little time becoming happy with our choice.  If you can't trust a government which is supposed to represent you, that's not a system that needs to be spread.

I don't think our nuclear weapons program counts as "defense" at this point, or has for decades.  And I don't understand why you think we are "stuck with it" for a while still.  We have had more than enough nuclear weapons to act as a deterrent for decades.  If we take the same amount of money (it would take less) that we spend on nuclear upkeep and used it for some nuclear disarmament,  it would create American jobs where it destroys them, help our international standing, give us some power of negotiation in nuclear disarmament treaties, and encourage other nations to do the same.  In addition, it would make our national nuclear arsenal bleed less money from us in the future, which opens up some of the federal budget to create national improvement jobs not only providing a temporary relief to unemployment levels, but also creating national infrastructure--nice roads, buildings, parks, etc.--which help reduce crime, gang activity, and drug use if done correctly.  If you took half of the money used just on nuclear upkeep and applied it to in-nation jobs, you could create over 100,000 jobs at $20,000 a year--over the poverty level for a family of four with a single provider.  That's not including taking money from nuclear weapon research, construction and transportation.

While I agree that a sales tax could be a useful tool in cutting the deficit, it isn't really a quick fix.  To my understanding, a majority of less-than-legal tax scams are performed by large national and international corporations for whom sales tax is more or less irrelevant.  This means that working with a different type of taxation wont circumnavigate this tax problem.  For example, Wal-Mart skipped out on over $2.3 Billion in taxes in a single year (I believe it was 2006).  That's $2.3 Billion taxpayers must make up.  And lets be clear--republican or democrat is irrelevant to tax fraud.  And it's hard to enforce taxes on items bought overseas, which simply encourages those with enough money to buy elsewhere and transport in while forcing the poor to buy items with an even higher sales tax.

We spend 44.4% of our budget on the military.  If we really do protect 48% of the world (which we don't, we leave a large portion of the world to handle itself until it directly becomes an issue for our investments), perhaps we would spend more than 1.5% of our budget on diplomacy and needs abroad.  You complain about the IRS' cost to run?  Government Operations in their entirety only count for 6.9% of the budget--this includes paying every government position.  Hell, education--in an era when Americans are flabbergasted as to why they are ninth among industrialized nations in high school graduates--only warrants 2.2% of our budget.  We spend the same amount of money on the interest for our non-military debt than we do on all three of these aspects of our budget combined.

I got the figure from here: http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm.  It cites the figure from the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.  Obviously not an unbiased source, but at least the figure is cited.  A comparable figure is found at http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending, which states, "The USA is responsible for 45 per cent of the world total, distantly followed by the UK, China, France, and Japan each with 4 to 5 per cent of the world share [in 2007]."  In a later section a chart shows that in 2008 the US was 48% of world military spending.
"Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other 'sins' are invented nonsense."
Robert Heinlein

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."
Edmund Burke

www.kinasemovestheaudio.com for a good time!

darxbane

  • Level 17
  • *
  • Posts: 839
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #56 on: March 30, 2009, 05:42:52 PM »
My lack of trust in Governemnt finances is well founded and proven.  Politicians are not financial experts, for the most part, and they don't have any real consequences hanging over their heads for mismanaging programs.  It does not mean I find our system of Government less effective than other countries.  In fact, my fear is that we are becoming more like thes other countries and forgetting what makes us unique.  The country's steadily growing anathema for successful people is dangerous, and resorts to simple jealousy more than anything else.  Do you really think these rich Liberals would be so quick to talk about tax increases if they didn't already know how to avoid them? 

As for our military spending, yes, we could definitely curtail it, although the percentage of our GDP used for military spending is roughly between 4 and 7%, (which is historically low for the U.S., by the way).  In fact, according to Wikipedia, the percentage of total GDP used by the U.S is about the same as China.  We are spending more for the wars, but that will greatly decrease over the next couple of years.  We also provide the UN with over 90% of the funds for their military, and do protect at least half the world.  Ddespite your attempted rhetoric that we don't help others until it suits our interest, that seems pretty thin to me.  We are deployed in several places where, if anything, it does little to help us directly.

You quote such rosey numbers, but 100,000 20k a year jobs will only help people barely scrape by, and that is only in areas outside of California and New England. You are also assuming that this money will actually be used for just that purpose, when it is much more likely that it will be significantly lower than that by the time it filters down.  The feds will give extra money to the states, who will decrease their budgetary spending in that area and use the extra money for what they want, and the same thing happens at the city and town level.  Despit this, let's just go with the military reduction theme.  There is a big part of me that has no problem pulling back some of our troops from around the world, especially those areas that don't appreciate our support.  Regardless, however, any money saved by military reduction should be used to reduce taxes on corporations that create jobs in the U.S.  If we make it more appealing for companies to stay here than to go overseas, we will solve one of our biggest problems.  You avoided that fact in your post, Gorgon.  We are one of the world's biggest consumers of everything, if not the biggest, and yet we allow countries and businesses to operate at a lower standard and get little benefit other than tariff and sales taxes.  We could get so much more if we allowed private industry to grow in the U.S. again.  You completely avoided my point that military commerce is our most stable home-grown industry, because it can't really be moved overseas.  In fact, it is one of the only industries that has not been affected by the economic downturn. 

Cut the military a little bit.  Cut foreign aid as well.  Most of all, cut or redesign programs that don't work, including our antiquated, complex, and inefficient tax code.  Your statement about Walmart proves my point, by the way.

I wanted to write something profound here, but I couldn't think of anything.

SarahG

  • Level 13
  • *
  • Posts: 544
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #57 on: March 30, 2009, 05:50:28 PM »
The country's steadily growing anathema for successful people is dangerous, and resorts to simple jealousy more than anything else.

I like this phrase.  It reminds me of people who refuse to eat or shop at "chains" - don't they understand that chains are simply local businesses that have done enough things right to be able to expand and reproduce?
He ate my horse.

GorgonlaVacaTremendo

  • Level 29
  • *
  • Posts: 1641
  • Fell Points: 1
  • If we can teach a monkey to use a Rubic's Cube...
    • View Profile
    • Kinase Moves the Audio
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #58 on: March 31, 2009, 07:06:14 AM »
To be fair, I never said that we would use the money that way, I said we could.  And I think there are a lot of programs like that which would be better than the way we spend money right now.

Secondly, percentage of GDP is really pretty irrelevant when talking about the sheer amount we spend.  We simply don't need to spend the amount of our budget (if military is only that percent of our GDP, then imagine how little education is).

You act like the government was the institution which acted on morally and economically shaky grounds and that is why we are in an economic crisis.  It was individuals and companies acting irresponsibly, not the government, which has caused this issue.  Lack of oversight, not too much oversight or irresponsible government, was the cause.

You act like Democrats/Liberals are the only people circumnavigating taxes via scams.  It is a matter of wealth and morality, not a matter of political stance.  It is attacks against groups of people without cause like this, an "us against them" mindset, that causes mass atrocities, national splits, etc. in a historical context.  I would recommend you look at the individuals who are creating problems, rather than the groups they associate with.  For example, I could claim that in the US Christians are the biggest cause of tax problems, the economic downturn, big government, and poor education.  That statement would technically be correct.  But being a Christian isn't what is causing these people to perform their jobs so poorly, just like being a liberal isn't the cause or even a correlated matter when concerning less-than-legal tax fraud.

Military commerce is as stable as it is because we continue to pump money into it.  If we pumped that money into scientific and medical research, but only did so here in the US, that industry would become the equivalent.

We could and should put policies in place which would both encourage businesses to come here and encourage growing businesses (alternative energy, for example) with huge potential for economic power to grow.  We shouldn't do this with disregard to morality (labor laws), the future (short-sighted policies economic or ecological), or our budget.  Again, keep in mind businesses are the number one cause of the tax fraud your complaining about.

Businesses in themselves aren't to be avoided, but businesses which disregard morality or humanity in the creation of their products should--it isn't worth the trade off to have items cheaper.  Wal-Mart isn't just some home-grown company which remains morally sound as they expand.  Businesses are not people, even though we treat them like it in law.  There are plenty of businesses, from the local level to the global level, which are perfectly acceptable corporations, but there are those that aren't.

What I'm trying to say is that blaming a single group of people, or discounting a government's value so rashly is unreasonable.  If we truly have that little faith in a government, we should make it a priority to change the government to be more efficient and to reach a certain standard in every area.  Also, keep in mind, no empire has maintained forever, and no civilization can keep grasp forever.  If we continue to bullheadedly try to grab on to what made us great in the past, we will fall out of style like anything else does.  If we look to how other nations are doing better than us in certain aspects and find out why, we can learn from them and put into place policies which can help us stay greater, longer via mindful evolution.  If you think we are losing our greatness because of our willingness to do so, I don't think you understand the context of human history we are framed against.
"Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other 'sins' are invented nonsense."
Robert Heinlein

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."
Edmund Burke

www.kinasemovestheaudio.com for a good time!

The Jade Knight

  • Moderator
  • Level 39
  • *****
  • Posts: 2507
  • Fell Points: 1
  • Lord of the Absent-Minded
    • View Profile
    • Don't go here
Re: Obama wants to halve budget deficit
« Reply #59 on: April 01, 2009, 03:12:52 AM »
I do think that government has acted on all sorts of morally and economically shaky grounds, and I'm quite displeased with most of the Republicans and the Democrats out there right now, including at least 2 I know are LDS.

Something to understand, Gorgon, is that a) America today has very, very little in common with America 200 years ago.  While most people would agree that some of these changes have been good (such as universal suffrage), others are much more controversial.

From what I've read of History (and I've got a degree in it), all civilizations that crumbled did so because of one of three reasons (or a combination of them):  1.  They were destroyed by a more powerful civilization.  2.  They were destroyed by environmental factors which prevented them from living the way they had (drought, famine, cold spells, etc.).  3.  They changed their way of administering their civilization (the Roman Empire is a prime example of this).

I've never read of a civilization fall from "remaining the same" if not by conquest or uncontrollable environmental factors (where, essentially, life can no longer be supported on the scale it was).

And, Thomas Jefferson did say that he believed that it's good for every country to have a revolution every century or so.  I'm starting to wonder if he was right.
"Never argue with a fool; they'll bring you down to their level, and then beat you with experience."