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Which Dem can best explain why the deficit is so high?(27 posts)

Which Dem can best explain why the deficit is so high?ColnagoFE
Jan 28, 2004 7:42 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/27/opinion/27KRUG.html?ex=1076259720&ei=1&en=538c03da103ff4b3

Came across this article about why they thought the deficit was so high (story made short--lack of revenue from wealthier 5% of tax base). Seems to make sense if you follow the money, but--assuming this article is mostly correct in its conclusions--which candidate has the ability to convey this message to Joe Sixpack? Kerry? Dean? Edwards?
A job made to order for Edwards' skills. nmOldEdScott
Jan 28, 2004 7:52 AM
how high should it be?mohair_chair
Jan 28, 2004 8:11 AM
Seems like wasted breath to me. A lot of the reason the deficit is so high is because there's a lot of crap in the budget. The real problem is that in order to discuss it, you have to do realistic analysis of the entire budget. This means all the pork-barrel crap thrown in by Democrats and Republicans. No one really wants to do that, because no one wants to give up their stupid wasteful programs. So it's far easier to complain about it in the abstract, blame it on the other side, and blow a lot of hot air. Talk about global warming...
Haven't you heard,.....deficits don't matter...........MR_GRUMPY
Jan 28, 2004 8:49 AM
As per Dr. Strangelove. ( AKA "The VP" )
Uhh, because you spend $1BN/day on military? nmSpunout
Jan 28, 2004 8:54 AM
Economists' WorriesJon Billheimer
Jan 28, 2004 9:18 AM
There's a fair amount of worried commentary in the business press these days about the twin U.S. trade/fiscal deficits and the overheated Chinese economy, supported by irresponsible lending by Chinese banks. Anyone remember the last several Asian meltdowns when the piper had to be paid? It's speculated that the same thing can happen when/if the U.S. consumer has to back off his current spending binge and/or foreigners stop financing the trade deficit through the purchase of U.S. bonds. Higher interest rates (which ARE coming) will force consumers to cut back on their spending, which will lower demand for Asian/Chinese produced goods, which will leave China with some productive overcapacity and whole bunch of non-performing loans. So what do you financial types think? And what would be the predictable neocon response to this kind of downturn?
The REAL question: Does the average voter understand/care?Cory
Jan 28, 2004 9:20 AM
Explaining the deficit seems pretty easy: Spend a buttload o' money in a war that was probably optional, and at the same time insist on sweeping tax cuts. More money going out + less money coming in = deficit.
The hard part for the Dem candidate will be overcoming the really beautifully planned and meticulously executed Republican public relations drive that's convinced people this is necessary, good, noble, patriotic and somehow RIGHT. Based on a lack of evidence that most people think farther than their next paycheck or their next tax bill, I have almost no hope at all.
For some reason, voters just don't care. Trick isredmenace
Jan 28, 2004 9:26 AM
to MAKE 'em care. Clinton had the ability to make voters believe that deficits were bad, but the effect was fleeting.
they don't care for a reasonmohair_chair
Jan 28, 2004 9:40 AM
It's not that voters don't care, it's that they've stopped caring, because it doesn't help. Voters are basically powerless. Lots of them go through the phase of caring, but after being ignored by representatives for years, they give up. There are better things to do than ram your head against a wall. Our representatives sell out to special interests and the people get screwed. Sure, theoretically we can vote them out, but only at the next election, and then the next guy does the same thing. It's amazing that anyone shows up to vote anymore.
they don't care for a reasonJon Billheimer
Jan 28, 2004 9:57 AM
When the people stop caring, the end of democracy is not far off.
democracy must have ended a long time agomohair_chair
Jan 28, 2004 10:37 AM
The United States never was a true democracy to begin with, so we don't have to worry about it ending here.

As for your quote, it's nice in a scary, high-minded way, but really it's meaningless. People may not care about budgets and deficits because they are powerless to effect change, but that doesn't mean they don't care about other stuff. Plus, at any given moment, someone is caring about something, forming a seamless ribbon of caring, so I guess the end of democracy will never come. Hands Across America!
That was my point....ColnagoFE
Jan 28, 2004 9:27 AM
Can it be explained so Joe Sixpack gets the implications of it? Or even cares? Can the Dems get the general population to look at the long view?
Joe Sixpack is so used to running a deficitredmenace
Jan 28, 2004 9:41 AM
in his own life, and muddling by, that it doesn't strike him as especially frightening. Previous generations -- Depression, WWII -- would have been more receptive to the warning.
Big numbersColnagoFE
Jan 28, 2004 10:31 AM
Once it gets past a billion or so I just start tuning it out. Could be 420 quadzillion and I still couldn't comprehend the #. I think it has to be put in terms that a non-mathemetician can comprehend.
Why I paid a lot less taxContinental
Jan 28, 2004 9:33 AM
I made a lot less money. No bonus in 2003 and didn't have stock earnings. This cut my 2003 taxes by nearly $20,000 compared to 2002. Many upper-middle income households had the same "tax cut." It's a major reason why federal and state government budgets are in crisis.

I'm not complaining. I'm just pointing out a significant reason for federal and state decifits that is poorly reported. Cory will never write a story about it.
What kind of nonsense is that?53T
Jan 28, 2004 10:01 AM
The article you linked to is an Op_Ed piece by Krigman, a flaming liberal in the New York Times tradition.

A budget deficit is simple math, we spend more than we collect in "revenue" (revenue is a nice way of saying taxes, fees, fines, tarrifsand other highway robbery).

Krugman then goes on to tell us his ideas on what we should do to lower the budget. He would like me and all me employed friends to pick up the slack. When he says "wealthy" he is talking about people who have jobs and can afford to raise a family.

I, on the other hand (the predictable neo-con response?) would like to see a reduction in the amount of government spending. These reduction do not necessarily have to come from departments that are already understaffed and overmissioned. I would target the vast portion of the budget that is transfer payments, Social Security, welfare, medicare, etc. Then I would reduce defence, which is another big line item. I would fire a lot of hacks from the general opertaions areas, just to maintain my neo-con credentials.
How would you reduce defense?ColnagoFE
Jan 28, 2004 10:34 AM
That seems to be Bush and Co's big line item...and a neccessary one now that they have a full scale war going in Iraq and many other countries wanting to attack us.
1. Back the ship up to the dock. 2. Load troops. 3. LeaveCory
Jan 28, 2004 11:00 AM
No, I suppose that wouldn't work now that we're committed. One sure way to cut defense spending, though, would be to reduce both the waste and cronyism. Anybody who's been in the military can't have NOT noticed the incredible misuse and waste of time, people and material. It's always shrugged off in the interest of national security, and conservatives never seem to include the military when they talk about "running government like a business," but it's certainly there.
Step 2 would be a thorough and impartial review of defense contracts, though where you'd find somebody to do it, I have no idea. I went to school in the Sili Valley and have several friends working on defense-related stuff there. Even though they benefit from it, they don't know whether to laugh or cry at the flood of taxpayers' money pouring in. It's a hugely corrupt and bloated system, driven by politics and greed rather than the needs of the nation, and the only people who can fix it are benefitting from it.
You sound like a paleo-con to me.redmenace
Jan 28, 2004 10:53 AM
Neo-cons don't particularly worry about government spending, or even deficit spending. They certainly have no interest in cutting defense, even in times of peace. Yours is a classic paleo-con position.
This isn't the Neocon response, It's been the plan all along..bboc
Jan 28, 2004 10:58 AM
Pass irresponsable tax cuts to create a severe and unimaginable budget/debt crisis, blame irresponsable spending by the Dumbocrats (even though it's now clearly the Republicans increasing spending), and then start to slash every program in sight because the US can no longer afford them.

We are all in BIG TROUBLE if Bush gets elected.

Would you "Fiscal Conservatives" rather live under in a Tax and Spend Gov. or a Borrow and Spend Gov.?
The Republicans are no longer 'fiscal conservatives,'redmenace
Jan 28, 2004 11:03 AM
they are 'tax conservatives,' which is another matter altogether. It's 'tax cuts uber alles,' and fiscal responsibility take the hindmost.
Deficitsmoneyman
Jan 28, 2004 10:57 AM
Interesting piece in the WSJ today re: deficits by Rik Hafer, chairman of the Department of Economics and Finance, and director of the Office of Economic Education and Business Research, at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

"If surging deficits do not result in rising interest rates, should we ignore them? Of course not. But let's reiterate a couple of important points. First, the absolute size of the deficit is practically meaningless. The informative measure is the size of the deficit relative to the size of the economy. For example, even though the deficit for 2004 may be the largest in dollar terms, as a percentage of GDP it is smaller than those of the 1980s and early 1990s. Size may count in many things, but not here.

Second, deficits reflect decisions by politicians. Those decisions alter the distribution of economic resources. This means that instead of debating the size of the deficit let's focus on the cause of the deficit. A deficit caused by tax cuts which put more money back into the pockets of wage earners has very different economic implications than a deficit caused by massive increases in federal spending programs. The problem is that we have both."

I don't think the Dems are being real genuine about deficits, but what else is new.

$$
Dems put an end to deficits under the greatest presidentredmenace
Jan 28, 2004 11:00 AM
of the 21st Century. How much more genuine can they be?

We're still waiting for the Bush Gang to establish their bona fides on the issue.
Dems didn't end deficitsContinental
Jan 28, 2004 11:25 AM
What ended deficits is a lot of people like me who had a few years of significantly higher earnings in an economic bubble and paid significatly higher taxes. Dem policies did not help me and others like me make more money 1998-2000.

That said, I agree that Clinton was more fiscally responsible than Bush.
Aren't some wage earners Federal employees?ColnagoFE
Jan 28, 2004 11:09 AM
So in effect they are also part of the "wage earners" and the money stays in the US just like with tax cuts. Now if we are talking about foreign contracts and spending then that is another story.
Of course they are.czardonic
Jan 28, 2004 11:37 AM
The problem is that "conservatives" only see government as means of concentrating money among the rich (where it belongs), and from that perspective the bureucracies needed to legitimize their various welfare schemes is far less efficient than simply forking that money over as a tax-cut.

Of course, "conservatives" argue that with those tax-cuts they would create jobs. And why shouldn't livelihoods be doled out by the people who have earned the right to decide who is worthy?
Deficitsmoneyman
Jan 28, 2004 1:18 PM
Interesting piece in the WSJ today re: deficits by Rik Hafer, chairman of the Department of Economics and Finance, and director of the Office of Economic Education and Business Research, at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

"If surging deficits do not result in rising interest rates, should we ignore them? Of course not. But let's reiterate a couple of important points. First, the absolute size of the deficit is practically meaningless. The informative measure is the size of the deficit relative to the size of the economy. For example, even though the deficit for 2004 may be the largest in dollar terms, as a percentage of GDP it is smaller than those of the 1980s and early 1990s. Size may count in many things, but not here.

Second, deficits reflect decisions by politicians. Those decisions alter the distribution of economic resources. This means that instead of debating the size of the deficit let's focus on the cause of the deficit. A deficit caused by tax cuts which put more money back into the pockets of wage earners has very different economic implications than a deficit caused by massive increases in federal spending programs. The problem is that we have both."

I don't think the Dems are being real genuine about deficits, but what else is new.

$$