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What Must We Defend?


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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

What Must We Defend?
By Patrick J. Buchanan
May 31, 2011


"We need to be honest with the president, with the Congress, with the American people" about the consequences of cutting the defense budget, said Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in his valedictory policy address to the American Enterprise Institute.

"(A) smaller military, no matter how superb, will be able to go fewer places and do fewer things."

Gates seeks to ignite a debate the country seems reluctant to have. With a federal budget running out of balance by 10 percent of gross domestic product, what are we Americans willing to sacrifice? What are we willing to forego? What are we willing to cut?

The biggest budget items are Social Security, Medicare and defense. To Democrats, the first two are untouchables. To most Republicans, defense is off the table. Indeed, the likelihood is that any budget deal to which both parties agree will contain escape clauses to enable Congress to avoid the painful decisions and kick the can up the road.

Consider the situation the U.S. military faces.

The useful life of the planes, ships, missiles, guns and armor that date to the Ronald Reagan buildup of the 1980s is coming to an end, and the cost of replacement weapons is far greater. A fleet of 2,440 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, for example, will cost over $1 trillion.

Military health care costs have risen 150 percent in 10 years to $50 billion a year. The pay and benefits of today's forces, which are one-tenth the size of those we deployed in World War II, have seen comparable increases. These costs are eating deeply into the dollars for new weapons systems.

And while we no longer face a Soviet Union with nuclear and conventional forces equal to our own, U.S. commitments have not been reduced but augmented since the end of the Cold War. Six Warsaw Pact nations were brought into NATO, along with three republics of the old Soviet Union.

Meanwhile, the disarmament of Europe continues in the wake of the debt crisis. Of special concern are cuts by the Tory government of Great Britain, our most reliable ally for 70 years.

While the U.S. Army and Marine Corps have been shuttled in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan, China has fought no wars -- but grown its defense budget by double-digits annually for two decades.

She now possesses submarines, missiles and aircraft sufficient to challenge the United States in the Western Pacific and is clearly intent on forcing a U.S. strategic retreat from the region.

"The tough choices ahead," said Gates, are "about the kind of role the American people -- accustomed to unquestioned military dominance for the past two decades -- want their country to play in the world."

We face the necessity of choice, and perhaps the place to begin is for Americans to ask two questions.

First, what is so vital to our security we must defend it at the risk of war? Second, what Cold War commitments can we relinquish now that the Soviet Empire no longer exists and Russia no longer represents a global threat?

Once the Afghan War is over, certainly, a U.S. withdrawal from South and Central Asia would seem in order, as this is about as far from the United States as one can get.

The same would hold true of Korea. From 1950 to 1953, the United States, with a 330,000-man army, fought both North Korea and China. At issue was not only the fate of the peninsula, but the orientation of Japan in the Cold War.

Today, Seoul has twice the people and 40 times the economy of the North. Pyongyang has no Stalinist Russia or Maoist China backing it up in a war with the South. Can we not now withdraw our remaining 28,000 troops and restrict our commitment in any new war to air and naval support?

China today not only claims Taiwan, but the Senkaku Islands that Japan claims, and all of the islands in the South China Sea, which are also claimed by Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Is it our obligation to validate all of these claims against China? What is our vital interest in any of these disputes when every president since Richard Nixon has agreed that Taiwan is part of China? Cannot these countries buy from us the weapons to defend themselves?

Europe is as prosperous and more populous than the United States. And the Russian army is no longer in Germany, but 1,000 miles to the east, behind the Baltic republics, Belarus and Ukraine.

What is the necessity now for a U.S. troop presence in Europe?

Retrenchment is rarely attractive. But what is apparent today to almost all is that this country is now and has been for at least a decade living far beyond her means.

We borrow hundreds of billions annually from allies, to defend those allies. We borrow hundreds of billions annually from our children's future to maintain our present lifestyle. Our leaders have yet to show the toughness and maturity the new times demand.


SOURCE: http://buchanan.org/blog/

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

What needs to be cut are "pet projectcs" and grants to oil companies to find alternate fuel sources.
I mean really giving an oil comapany money to look for alternate fuel source is like paying Mcdonalds not to sell french fries!

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

While I agree the pet projects and foreign aid should be eliminated, both of those together still only amount to what would be called pocket change when compared to the cost of the "big three", Social Security, Medicare and defense; and this especially in light of our nearly uncountable debt.

Hard and difficult choices will have to be made in order to have any hope of salvaging the American economy. The longer these decisions are put off, the harder and more difficult the choices will be if and when they are made.

As it is, none of the "big three" can continue as they are much longer without crumbling under their own weight and the country into unrecoverable economic ruin.

At the moment we still have a little time so that reforms could be made with Social Security and Medicare so those relying on these will continue to be covered and something better and more sustainable may be created to take over some years down the line.

America simply can't continue to sustain a top-notch military that is present and often engaged in nearly every area of the world. America needs an objective analysis of what truly is our defense priorities, what falls into secondary, third, fourth, etc. Then a realistic assessment could be done as to what is needed to absolutely cover the primary defense priorities, what it would then take to calso cover the secondary matters, third, etc. After this, the cost of each could be calculated and compared with what the budget will reasonably and realistically afford. At this point, if America can afford defense that goes beyond primary, we move into covering some or all of the secondary aspects and if the budget affords, move into the third, etc. Whatever is affordable, but NO budget increases for the express purpose of covering anything beyond the primary.

If this were done along with a comprehensive downsizing (a REAL donwnsizing, meaning actual elimination of agencies and programs) of the federal government, there could yet be hope for an economically stable America that has a strong defense.

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  • Advanced Member

I've said all along that we need to enact a war tax to pay for the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. If we really support our troops, we would be paying for the conflict today, not defering the costs for future generations.

RAISE TAXES and you will see whether or not the American public truly supports the conflict.

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  • Lady Administrators

Actually, kob, anytime taxes are raised, economic hardship occurs. We can talk all we want about taxing the "richest 1 (or 2 or 10, depending on who's talking)% of Americans, but the truth is - they will not be the ones who will suffer. When businesses are taxed higher and higher, they have to let people go, thus creating more unemployment - which is already high. Those who are in the highest brackets $$ wise know the loopholes to keep from paying higher taxes.

Abe Lincoln proposed a war income tax - and was soundly defeated, because the American people alive then knew very well that any tax, once imposed, is almost completely impossible to dislodge...kinda like entitlement programs! (and, BTW - I have given something much more precious than tax $$...I have given my son, as have many Americans, some paying the ultimate price - that's true proof of support)

A better solution would be to lower taxes (actually change to a fair tax, which would take time and be difficult, but could happen) and then make it a choice to contribute. AZ just did that...kind of as a joke. On tax forms, they gave option for people to contribute to the state. And, surprise, surprise, people did. It didn't garner a huge amount (contributions ranged from $1 to $1,000), but who knows where it will lead?

As far as cutting the defense budget: I am not in favor of anything Barney Frank (I know the article was by PBuchanan) proposes (and he has pushed for a smaller defense budget for quite some time). One of the responsibilities of the federal government is to secure the national defense...Defense spending shouldn't even be on the same page as things like Medicare. There is really no comparison.

Social Security began as a government retirement plan - and therein lies its weakness. It is not the government's job to take "care" of people - whether it is financially, academically, healthwise, etc. However, Social Security was a contract entered into by people back when it was instituted (now it is extortion...just try not to pay it when it's tax time and you're self-employed...talk about strangulation!). There are people alive now who have paid into it all of their lives. And because of mismanagement (which is what happens when feds interfere with private lives), the money is basically gone, with current workers paying for current SS users. The program needs to be revamped so that it can slowly be phased out, thus returning the responsibility for one's retirement upon the individual. Medicare is an entitlement program, and is actually becoming the biggest drain on our economy. It needs to be restructured with the view of being dismantled in the future.

Foreign aid needs to be stopped - that tops out over $400 billion right now. Yes, we are in much more debt, but anyone who has worked budgets knows that every "little" bit helps!

Congressional pay needs to be cut. Drastically. There is no need for them to be "earning" 6 figure salaries. Even the POTUS and Veep should take a pay cut.

Governmental departments need to be eliminated - thus eliminating many wasteful jobs. The IRS needs to be dismantled, along with the Federal Reserve.

There are many ways to eliminate debt - and even the "smaller" debts need to be looked at.

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  • Advanced Member

I am well aware that raising taxes may impose a hardship on people. But at the same time, war imposes hardships on people. It must be financed in some manner, and right now, it is being financed through total debt, which is in effect taxing future generations when not giving them a representative voice in our government. Talk about taxation without representation. Bush started it and Obama continues it.

Let us look a bit at our history. Prior to the 1910's, the income tax was unconstitutional. The 16th Amendment to the Constitution was passed in 1913, giving the U.S. constitutional authority to enact an income tax.

In 1913, the top tax bracket was 7 percent on all income over $500,000 ($11 million in today’s dollars1); and the lowest tax bracket was 1 percent. Then came World War I. In order to finance U.S. participation in World War One, Congress passed the 1916 Revenue Act, and then the War Revenue Act of 1917. The highest income tax rate jumped from 15 percent in 1916 to 67 percent in 1917 to 77 percent in 1918. War is expensive, and must be paid for. The WWI generation sacrificed economically in order to finance a war they deemed to be important. Did you see that????? 67% and 77% on top income earners. Yikes!!!!! Yet they ponied up and paid for the war.

Then came the Great Depression. What did congress do during this time? Congress raised taxes again in 1932 during the Great Depression from 25 percent to 63 percent on the top earners. I'd have to dig a bit more to see why this increase was done. World War II then brought the U.S. out of the depression. Again, war is expensive, and revenue must be raised. What did Congress do? Raised taxes and issued war bonds. In 1944, the top rate peaked at 94 percent on taxable income over $200,000 ($2.5 million in today’s dollars). Now that’s a high tax rate!!! Stifling, even. However, that generation recongized they were in a war of vast importance, and it took incredible sacrifice financially and physically to prevail in this conflict. And we complain at relatively low tax rates of 33% on those who earn over $250,000 a year. We are a bunch of complainers.

The income tax rates remained high after WWII in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The highest marginal rate never dropped below 70%, which helped finance the other wars we had during that time, including the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Then in the 1980's, The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 slashed the highest rate from 70 to 50 percent, and indexed the brackets for inflation. Tax rates continued to decrease, justifiably so, during a time of economic prosperity and relatively low confilcts (we did have the Cold War, but that demanded not near the resources that prior was demanded). Then, the Tax Reform Act of 1986, claiming that it was a two-tiered flat tax, expanded the tax base and dropped the top rate to 28 percent for tax years beginning in 1988. The hype here was that the broader base contained fewer deductions, but brought in the same revenue. Further, lawmakers claimed that they would never have to raise the 28 percent top rate. The 28 percent top rate promise lasted three years before it was broken.

During the 1990s, the top rate jumped to 39.6 percent. However, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief and Reconciliation Act of 2001 dropped the highest income tax rate to 35 percent from 2003 to 2010. The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 maintains the 35 percent tax rate through 2012.


Look at what we did during times of extraordinary conflict. We raised taxes. Did that perhaps hurt the economy? That is debatable, but what it did do was cause the affluent in society (those getting lucrative contracts and benefiting financially from the war), to pay taxes to help pay for the war. Sure, no one likes taxes. No one likes war either. But the two go hand in hand. SOMEONE WILL HAVE TO PAY TAXES TO FINANCE THE WAR, either now or later.

what did Bush, and now Obama do to pay for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars? they did not raise taxes. Bush cut taxes, and Obama has extended those tax cuts through 2012. Instead, they are borrowing money financed heavily through foreign lenders. Is this a smart move? Bush did not even put the war spending in the budget, thus hiding the cost of the war. When Obama included it in the budget, the deficit spending went way up, and was a bit mroe open about it, yet he still continues to borrow foreign money to pay for the wars. So, one day the foreign creditors will come knocking on our door. At that time, perhaps the next generation, will have to raise taxes and harm their economy, to pay for our war. This is an important conflict we are engaged in. All I am saying is that if we deem it so important, and, as a country we decide to engage in the war, then as a matter of principal, we should be willing to pay higher taxes to support the war.

It is immoral for us to borrow money, and tax future generations to pay for our problems today. Plain and simple. During the Great Depression, they could have said, "We don't want to raise taxes, it will prevent economic recovery." INstead, they raised taxes extraordinarily high, to pay for their war, and guess what? The economy recovered despite high taxes. There will be a time when taxes should be lowered again, but now is not one of those times. Now, when we have spent billions and billions of dollars through foreign lending on our wars, we must pony up and pay for it. If we do not want to pay for it, then we should pull out and stop the conflict.

So my proposal is to raise taxes to an adequate level to generage revenue to pay for the wars. If we have to finance a small amount, I can handle that, but financing the entire war WILL raise taxes on future generations and will harm their economy. It is our conflict. If our economy must go through trials to pay for the war, then so be it. Our troops are sacrificing, but are people who are not families of troops paying a sacrifice? No. We are not. We are not paying for the war, and continue in comfort. All I am saying is IF the conflict is important, THEN we will sacrifice our comfort and vacations, and cars, etc. to pay for it. When the war hits our pocketbooks, it will force us to pay attention to the wars because we have a vested interest. Politicians do not want us to pay attention, I suspect, because they are paying contractors billions of taxpayer dollars and not paying taxes to support the war in which they are making a fortune.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I'm all for a strong defense but what we need to decide is exactly what it is we really need to defend. Do we really need to be defending all these other nations, especially those who are, or could be, capable of defending themselves? Do we really need to have troops stationed in over 100 countries? Do we really need (or should we even be) the police of the world? Might we be better off if we took a truly "America first" look at our defense needs?

No nation can perpetually police and defend the entire planet as America has been striving to do. We need to have clearly defined defense priorities based upon current reality and reasonable future projections. Much of Americas global defense strategy is still based upon the Cold War. This is very outdated and holding to such was part of the reasons our troops encountered many difficulties in Iraq they might not have if an updated defense strategy had been conducted sooner.

Modern warfare, and especially that which America counts on, is hi-tech and very expensive. America can't sustain a modern, hi-tech miltitary that spans the globe as the American defense strategy currently stands. To an extent, America today is in a similar situation the Soviet Union was in the 1980s. Our economy is weak and on the brink of crumbling. We are awash in debt and interest on the debt is eating away our GDP. Our military is in need of an overall upgrade as major components of our military are nearing the end of their service.

The only way America could sustain the current military defense strategies and meet the needs for upgrades would be to make drastic cuts, and they would have to be drastic, throughout much of the government (this would have to include the cutting or eliminating of SS and medicare as well as several other programs and agencies); or double our debt. The people will not accept the massive tax hikes that would otherwise be required.

We really do need a new, meaningful, realistic defense strategy and then to base our defense budget upon that.

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  • Advanced Member

So the government asks for tax rates as high as 33% - 94% during some wars? Wow. God Himself only claims 10%.


If it is important enough for a country to engage in a war, it is important enough for the citizens to pay for it through taxes. If they do not pay for the war, then all you do is defer the cost to your children and grandchildren and increase their taxes.
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Perhaps if we had stayed under England there would be no need for such high taxes.

As for the wars we are in, its past time to bring the troops home, we are not making things better, we are just making them hate us more. Them use our military for defense alone.

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  • Advanced Member

As for the wars we are in, its past time to bring the troops home, we are not making things better, we are just making them hate us more. Them use our military for defense alone.


I agree with you on this point. (is this a first?!?!) lol. I wonder, if we raised taxes to a level necessary to pay for everything, then people would really take a hard look at cutting spending. I sincerely believe we must raise taxes right now. Why? Because we have a huge deficit. Until people actually pay for what their represntatives are doing, they will not REALLY care about it. When they feel it in their pocketbook (and we really don't right now....my effective tax rate this year after deductions and all was 4%...yes, my "actual" tax rate in the brackets was about 28%, but after dedutions and all, the effective rate was 4%). When we raise taxes to pay for everything, then people will either 1) decide the services provided are important and will accept the high rates of tax, or 2) decide they pay way too much, and demand that spending is drastically cut.

only when we pay taxes to sustain everything will the people put pressure on congressmen and senators to change the status quo.

So raise the taxes, and let us see what happens.
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  • Lady Administrators

We ARE paying for what Congress is doing. That is why they need to be reined in. Raising taxes HURTS the economy, kob. And hurting the economy throws us deeper into debt. Raising taxes is not the answer. CUTTING SPENDING is the answer. Massive cutting. Not just little bits here and there, although every little bit helps toward the total. (being self-employed, our tax rate was much higher...and, believe you me, we feel it. We feel it horribly.)

All that history you cited is proof that raising taxes doesn't work. Did "war tax" eliminate our debt? Nope...we are worse off now than ever before. And that isn't because of the current war. It is because of irresponsibility in the halls of Congress. It is Congress' responsibility to rein in the POTUS, and it is our responsibility to rein in Congress. Until we take that responsibility seriously and get people into office who will do what is necessary, we will remain the second-world country (or go into third-world status) we have become.

The mantra that we need to raise taxes is just blather that doesn't go an economy or a country any good. History proves that.

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  • Advanced Member

We ARE paying for what Congress is doing. That is why they need to be reined in. Raising taxes HURTS the economy, kob. And hurting the economy throws us deeper into debt. Raising taxes is not the answer. CUTTING SPENDING is the answer. Massive cutting. Not just little bits here and there, although every little bit helps toward the total. (being self-employed, our tax rate was much higher...and, believe you me, we feel it. We feel it horribly.)

All that history you cited is proof that raising taxes doesn't work. Did "war tax" eliminate our debt? Nope...we are worse off now than ever before. And that isn't because of the current war. It is because of irresponsibility in the halls of Congress. It is Congress' responsibility to rein in the POTUS, and it is our responsibility to rein in Congress. Until we take that responsibility seriously and get people into office who will do what is necessary, we will remain the second-world country (or go into third-world status) we have become.

The mantra that we need to raise taxes is just blather that doesn't go an economy or a country any good. History proves that.


Ironically, deficit spending has only skyrocketed since the 1980's when taxes were cut. Ronald Regan even scaled back his tax cuts and increased taxes when he realized his cuts were too deep. During the Clinton presidency, taxes were raised, and he left us with a surplus. The economy boomed despite his tax increases in the mid nineties. A recesion begain in the early 2000's, and Bush cut taxes again. His tax cuts did nothing to help the economy, but the deficit skyrocketed at this time due to tax cuts, a sluggish economy and two wars.

We need a tax hike. Someone has to pay for the wars.

So raise taxes temporarily. Make it hurt people, because honestly, while we do not hurt today, our grandchildren will feel the hurt when they have to pay high taxes to pay for our spending today. So make it hit people hard in the pocketbook now. It will be a temporary pain, but necessary to get our fiscal house back in order and to make the government responsive to us, snce people would then really care about what is going on, instead of who is winning Dancing of the Stars this week.

I agree that spending cuts are also needed. I have no doubt about that and do not argue that point. But spending cuts alone will not get us there. It will take spending cuts AND increased taxes to get our fiscal house in shape. Only when we stop these wars and reduce debt, will lowering taxes be appropriate again.

I am telling you, increase taxes, and then people will demand spending cuts. They will not really demand them until you make them pay for what Congress is doing. By borrowing, people do not realize how much this is costing us. Make them pay up today, and they realize it and will then question the spending. Congress will not reduce spending until people really demand it. People have not realy demanded it because they are not really paying for it all and do not feel the pain. In theory they like it, but citizens (most of them anyway), will not demand change nad put real pressure on Congress until they see it directly effect their bank accounts. It will not directly effect their bank accounts until Congerss raises taxes to pay for everything. If taxes are not raised, it will only defer the pain until later, perhaps until it is too late.

If I go out and borrow money for a vacation, I don't feel the pain. I just get the pleasure of taking a nice trip. I can max out my credit cards and really live it up. One day though, the pain of paying for it will come. That is the situation we are in. We must 1) cut spending 2) raise taxes to pay for what is provided. If we do not do both, we are just kicking the bucket down the road and living on funds we do not have. If we allow Congress to spend money we do not have, we are taxing future generations who are not represented by our government. If we pay taxes, goverment has to be responsive to us.

Will raising taxes temporarily cause an economic strain? Perhaps. But the fact is our government must pay for our commitments...war, and everything else. Do you really think people will demand change in spending as long as taxes remain low? Not a chance. In theory it sounds good, but when start cutting programs that effects people (and when these programs are run on borrowed money that the taxpayers have not paid) cutting programs hurts more than paying the relativly low rates we pay today. So people will not demand change. Rather, people will say, oh, don't cut that program. If you take it from their pocket and it hurts them today to make us really pay for the programs, then it forces the taxpaer to perform a careful analysis. Does it hurt more to pay taxes to pay for this program, or are the taxes I pay worth keeping this program. At that point, Congress MUST listen becaue it really is the taxpayer's money they are spending, not borrowed money to be taxed later.

Do people like this? Not a chance. Most people want to feel good, enjoy what the government does, and pay low taxes. Just like many today are living on credit cards, deferring the problem to their children after they die. If people were serious about holding the g'ment accountable, they would demand a tax rate that equals are spending. BUt that would cause many people to get upset and demand less spending. Congress does not really want that, so they will not raise taxes. They want people to be complacent about what they do, so if they keep tax rates low, hide spending, and borrow mass amounts of money, then they really do not have to be responsive to a small fraction of people who actually pay attention. If everyone pays high taxes, then I guarantee you everyone would pay attention and there would be mass revolt and outcry over spending, which honestly, is what we need. Edited by kindofblue1977
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

We ARE paying for what Congress is doing. That is why they need to be reined in. Raising taxes HURTS the economy, kob. And hurting the economy throws us deeper into debt. Raising taxes is not the answer. CUTTING SPENDING is the answer. Massive cutting. Not just little bits here and there, although every little bit helps toward the total. (being self-employed, our tax rate was much higher...and, believe you me, we feel it. We feel it horribly.)

All that history you cited is proof that raising taxes doesn't work. Did "war tax" eliminate our debt? Nope...we are worse off now than ever before. And that isn't because of the current war. It is because of irresponsibility in the halls of Congress. It is Congress' responsibility to rein in the POTUS, and it is our responsibility to rein in Congress. Until we take that responsibility seriously and get people into office who will do what is necessary, we will remain the second-world country (or go into third-world status) we have become.

The mantra that we need to raise taxes is just blather that doesn't go an economy or a country any good. History proves that.

That's about the size of it. The only thing I might add is that it's more the job of the POTUS to rein in congress when they send him excessive or just plain wrong spending bills (by using his veto power, influence and the bully pulpit). Congress needs to let the POTUS know they won't accept his budget proposals if they are excessive, go against the Constitution, isn't what's in the best interest of the country, etc. (by the way, I do agree this could be viewed as congress reining in the POTUS).

The sad fact is, none of the branches of government are rightly performing their constitutional duties of abiding by the Constitution or holding one another accountable by using their "check and balance" powers.

Indeed, we need massive budget cuts but career politicians won't make such because they fear losing their jobs. Millions of voters would be outraged when their pet handouts and benefits were cut or ended. Who is willing to bite the bullet and force the hard medicine on this country?
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  • Lady Administrators

kob, the reason the deficit has risen is because Congress has increased spending. Um, anyone who does a personal budget should know that. If a person spends MORE than they make, they have deficit increase. If a nation spends MORE than is brought in, ta-da! deficit increase. That's a real duh! moment, there. And check out that surplus. It's rather disingenuous to call it that when there is still a deficit. In a family situation, a true surplus comes when the debt is gone. Speak for yourself that Dubya's tax cuts didn't help the economy - they certainly did! Again, deficits don't arise due to cutting taxes, they arise due to spending too much. Dubya did that, yes indeedy. And BO has taken it to a much higher level.

You are just way off base in the idea of raising taxes, even temporarily. Cutting spending is the way families get control of their budgets, and it's the same with nations. In order to balance any budget, spending must be cut. A good place to begin is with Congress and the POTUS. Does anyone here make a 6 figure annual salary? No? Then, why on earth should our public servants. Sorry, but they should make less...

John, I have to disagree with you a bit. Yes, the POTUS can veto bills, but the Constitution has protection written in there for an override for a reason: because the POTUS does not make the final decisions, especially on economic bills. If the POTUS vetoes something that Congress believes is necessary, then they can override it. As to the bully pulpit...there's been a bit too much emphasis on "bully" by this current POTUS. Everything's a crisis, everything has to be done NOW, everything's a scare tactic.

Congress has within its Constitutional powers to impeach and remove the POTUS (and the SCOTUS). He cannot do so to them. They can consider his proposals for bills, in whatever area he wishes to recommend. But it is their Constitutional power to pass or vote down any bill.

The check and balance is more for the American people than the branches of government: none of the branches are going to police the other properly. That is why the American people need to be informed and active - to ensure that the right people are in place to demand that each branch do what it should.

There are several who are willing to bite the bullet and are attempting to do so. Paul Ryan is one. Although his budget plan doesn't go far enough, it is better than what is out there now. And it has a better chance of being adopted than something more stringent. As you mentioned, people won't be happy that their entitlements are shut off. These entitlements gradually grew to mammoth proportions, and it will likely take time to shrink them...time that many Americans will need to be able to learn how to stand on their own two feet, instead of allowing taxpayers in the form of government handouts to support them.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

We've got a group in congress, and one in the White House, that's cut from the same thing many Americans are cut from, they think if I've got a credit card, borrowing power, I should use it an borrow every penny I can get my hands on and spend it all those thing I lust for.

This group changed things so that even those that did not have borrowing power could borrow money, that had bad credit so they could buy any thing they want including houses, that has us in the position America has found itself in the last few years.

Now add to that all the retirement pay that city, county, state, federal, and even private own companies has promised to its employees, that to has put us in the position we find our self in.

America is founded on money, and it will lead to its destruction, for Americans are greedy and it cannot stand the pace that has been set, especially with so much corruption is Washington with companies getting such wonderful favors from our politicians.

Our government would work very good, if only our politicians were honest, as well as the high judges, that is if it were not for all the sin. They are not, so we will fall as did Rome, just a matter of time. But that is not really our problem to slove. we are given instructions by God to 'Go, teach, baptize,' making disciples for Christ. That is what we ought to be doing, we will not leave this world a better place for our children, we will not leave this country a better place for our children. God has already informed us of that, as well as the judgment He has given this world becasue of its sin. Its only a matter of time before its carried out. Men's only hope is Christ.

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  • Advanced Member

kob, the reason the deficit has risen is because Congress has increased spending. Um, anyone who does a personal budget should know that. If a person spends MORE than they make, they have deficit increase. If a nation spends MORE than is brought in, ta-da! deficit increase. That's a real duh! moment, there. And check out that surplus. It's rather disingenuous to call it that when there is still a deficit. In a family situation, a true surplus comes when the debt is gone. Speak for yourself that Dubya's tax cuts didn't help the economy - they certainly did! Again, deficits don't arise due to cutting taxes, they arise due to spending too much. Dubya did that, yes indeedy. And BO has taken it to a much higher level.

You are just way off base in the idea of raising taxes, even temporarily. Cutting spending is the way families get control of their budgets, and it's the same with nations. In order to balance any budget, spending must be cut. A good place to begin is with Congress and the POTUS. Does anyone here make a 6 figure annual salary? No? Then, why on earth should our public servants. Sorry, but they should make less...


I don't think I am off base. The majority of Americans, while they say they want to cut spending, when you start touching a program that benefits them, they do not want it cut. Social security, for one. Medicare for another. Highways, are another example. Defense spending is another. I could go on and on.

My point is not merely to increase taxes to balance the budget (though I do believe a modest tax hike is in order at this point). My point is that when government had debt spending, people like their programs too much to give them up and cut them. Why? Because they are not really paying for it. My point is to make people pay for what they say they want. Raise taxes across the board to a level necessary to sustain current spending, then EVERYONE will see that this is a huge problem. When EVERYONE pays in and is hurt financially, then true reform will come. Why? People will be forced to either accept drastic cuts to their beloved programs, OR they will decide higher taxes are worth the keeping the programs.

In an ideal world, I might agree with you. But in reality, people just do not care unless it hits them financially. Congress knows this. Republicans say they are for a balanced budged, but I don't think they really are. Democrats say the same thing, but I don't think they really are. If they were serious, they would cut programs and raise taxes. They can say they want to cut programs, but their constituents do not want that, so they will not make necessary cuts. They will not raie taxes for the same reason. What if they did raise taxes so we could pay for everything they were doing? What do you think would happen then? I truly believe you would see a movement like none other we have seen in recent decades. I believe it would motivate citizens to really pay attention and then demand what they want. It would b a mass reform, which may be exactely what we want. But that will not happen. Why? Politicians are too cowardly to do what is necessary. they like the like of accountablity.

I'm not sure Obama has taken it to a new level. I think it all about evens out when you compare Bush and Obama. The difference is where they want to spend the money.

One more thing....I think Democrats and Republicans are both delusional right now. Republicans think the problem can be fixed solely by spending cuts. In looking at the numbers, this just isn't possible. Democrats think that the problem can be fixed solely be tax hikes. The same can be said for their belief. It will take both. It will take a modest tax hike, plus spending cuts, plus a growing economy. It takes all three. However, Democrats won't budge on spending, Republicans won't budge on taxes, and we are just stuck. It is ridiculous. Politics is all about compromise to come up with a good solution where everyone will get a part of what they want, but give up some of what they want. R and D's won't compromise anymore. Partisan media multiplies that problem. Edited by kindofblue1977
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  • Lady Administrators

I heartily disagree that Dubya and BO even out. Dubya did damage, that is for sure. But BO has taken it much higher...our debt is worse now than ever. I do agree that I am not sure many people are serious about balancing the budget. But cutting spending is the way to do it. The same criteria for families applies to nations. Family members can only bring in so much money before they have to start cutting. The government already extorts money from the taxpayers (yep, I believe it's extortion...the IRS yellow book calls income tax voluntary....just try unvolunteering!), and the well is running dry.

Cuts that are needed - with no raising of taxes:
Foreign aid: almost 500 billion$ - that would be a great step
Federal departments that are not constitutional,like the Dept. of Ed. that Carter saddled us with - the Dept of Ed alone to the tune of &31 billion; Health and Human Services: Medicare/Medicaid: $788 billion (again, would need to be gradual because people don't know how to take care of themselves anymore)

Defense spending is constitutional (albeit there could be some severe cuts there); most of the discretionary spending in the federal budget is not and should be eliminated.

Did you know that the net worth of all the wealthy people comes to less than the national debt? Taxing them more simply won't do anything.

Cutting spending is the key. Just like in our homes...

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

LuAnne, I don't think we are in actual disagreement, just looking at different sides of the same coin. We have had the problem with many presidents signing spending bills filled with pork barrel projects, excessive spending in unnecessary areas and that sort and the president signed the bill with the excuse that it was what congress sent him and there was important stuff in the bill that made it worth signing. Instead of this, the president should veto such bills, meet with key congressmen about the matter and then (if still necessary) take to the bully pulpit. I agree that congress has the ultimate voice in what goes forth regarding spending in that they are the ones who present the spending bills and they do have the potential to override a veto. In any given case, it would depend upon the make-up of a particular congress as to how much of a real threat of an overirde might be.

Taxes and debt have been paying our way, with far too much of it coming from taking on increasingly burdonsome debt. The government needs to operate on something along the lines of a "pay as you go" deal where they must, by law, maintain an actual (not by accounting tricks) balanced budget.

Such an arrangement would take pressure off congressmen who today fear to vote on certain matters. If cuts were necessary they could rightly point out the law required them to vote as they did. At the same time, if there were a public uproar over the cutting or ending of a program or agency, such as the Department of Education, then congress could submit how much of a tax increase it would require to maintain the DoE and see if the public liked that option any better.

I can understand why some are so upset with what they see as wasted defense spending when we have a president who commits our military to an unnecessary (and having nothing to do with our defense) war in Libya which has cost hundreds of millions of dollars and is continuting to cost. On top of this, if any other nation interferred in any of the attacking nations as they are with Libya, they would be screaming about the illegality of it.

As things currently stand, American can't continue to pump the same sort of money into SS, Medicare and defense without making draconian cuts elsewhere AND extensively raising taxes. Very tough decisions have to be made regarding all three (as well as the budget in general) before they either collapse or indebt the country so deeply America defaults on her loans...and then what!

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