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Author Topic: Newt, The Debt Limit, and Taxes - Or: Are We Going to Destroy Ourselves?  (Read 13120 times)

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Offline ReijiTabibitoTopic starter

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Okay, so after watching the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, a couple of questions popped up in my mind.  First up, Newt Gingrich.

In his latest appearance on Meet the Press, Gingrich made several statements distancing himself from the radical right-wing Republicans, and seemingly courting the moderates, which, given the state of the country right now, seems exactly like what we need - we need to get away from radicalism (on both ends), and work together to solve this country's problems.

No sooner had that happened, though, than news media outlets (or rather, outlet, since I noted with some irony that all the programs saying this were Fox News, aka Hotbed of the Radical Right) that Gingrich's statements had compromised his viability as a candidate for the Republican party.  No sooner had that happened than Newt Gingrich made a press appearance saying that his statements on that show (against Paul Ryan and his healthcare plan) were out of context, and anyone using clips of his statements were wrong.

>_<  Number one.

Now, the Debt Limit.  The US hit the debt limit on Monday, and the only reason that we haven't defaulted yet is because the Treasury enacted some emergency measures to clear up enough money for us to keep paying costs until August, when everyone seems to think that the bill to raise the debt limit ceiling will be passed.

So, here's my question: Why didn't Congress, the President, his advisors, the government personnel responsible for this in general, see this coming?  Or, rather: When Obama came into office, our current national debt was X, with a limit of $14.264 trillion.  Proposed spending was Y.  So why didn't anyone do the math and say, "oh, hey!  Spending's going to put us at the debt limit!"  Why is it that this whole debt ceiling thing seems like it's just getting attention now, rather than a few months ago?

>_< Number two.

And lastly, Taxes.  In reading articles about solving the debt problem, financial experts have been consulted on how to fix the problem.  And most of them have gone on record saying one simple thing: Cuttting Spending Isn't Enough.  Now, I'm all for cutting government spending, especially when a significant portion of our budget are useless pork projects, but like they said, you can't just cut spending to solve a debt crisis on this level.  We'd eventually end up undercutting ourselves a lot.  No, we need less expenditures and more revenue.

And yet, despite this, some Republicans are saying no, no new taxes, no increased taxes, nothing that even remotely involves raising taxes, when, according to the Colbert Report's guest tonight, Austan Goolsbee, that taxes, especially for the wealthy, are at a historic low?  ((In the case of the wealthy, the lowest they're been in the past 60 years!)  So how does someone continue to justify keeping potential revenue out of the hands of the government, and leaving it in the hands of people who, quite frankly, don't seem to be using it?

>_<  Number three.


So, all this makes me wonder: is the end of the United States within sight?  Are the persons responsible for the downfall of this country not the Russians, or Germans, or any of the past enemies that we've had...but us?

Offline Xajow

]The problem is that unless we get spending under control, the amount of revenue doesn't matter. Because even if we could magically double revenue right now, without getting spending under control the government would be back to spending more than it takes in probably in 12 months or less. The idea that raising revenue will solve the problem is sort of like doubling a teenager's weekly allowance and expecting the teenager to not be asking for more money the next month.

Offline Sure

So, all this makes me wonder: is the end of the United States within sight?  Are the persons responsible for the downfall of this country not the Russians, or Germans, or any of the past enemies that we've had...but us?

No, and to some degree every nation's fall comes about due to itself, in that order. Military, not financial, weakness is what signals the end of a global hegemon.

1.) Because, until recently, getting the debt ceiling raised was a fairly easy affair. Nowadays there's a big battle over it, but this will be far from the first time it was raised.
2.) The trouble is that everyone wants cuts to someone else's programs, and everyone wants taxes raised on someone else. People who talk about raising taxes on the wealthy are inevitably not referring to themselves, for example. As for the last, to be honest, the way you phrased that implies some rather odd (to me) views of the government's relationship to the citizenry. I might be reading into it a bit much, though.

As to Gingrich, he did violate the general election strategy of pander to the party for the primaries then become more moderate once you've won the election. As to what's actually going on, I can't really say. I'm not following the 'elections' yet.

Offline Vekseid

Okay, so after watching the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, a couple of questions popped up in my mind.  First up, Newt Gingrich.

In his latest appearance on Meet the Press, Gingrich made several statements distancing himself from the radical right-wing Republicans, and seemingly courting the moderates, which, given the state of the country right now, seems exactly like what we need - we need to get away from radicalism (on both ends), and work together to solve this country's problems.

No sooner had that happened, though, than news media outlets (or rather, outlet, since I noted with some irony that all the programs saying this were Fox News, aka Hotbed of the Radical Right) that Gingrich's statements had compromised his viability as a candidate for the Republican party.  No sooner had that happened than Newt Gingrich made a press appearance saying that his statements on that show (against Paul Ryan and his healthcare plan) were out of context, and anyone using clips of his statements were wrong.

Newt handed his wife divorce papers while she was stricken with cancer. What do you expect? The only politician whose status as 'scum of the Earth' rivals his is Rick Santorum.

There are a few Republicans with a sense of personal integrity - David Frum, Ron Paul, etc. These are the sorts of people that should be acknowledged as having a position in the debate, rather than being outright insane.

Not that I consider them to have valid opinions, mind. I just don't have to worry about Ron Paul being a hypocrite, which is a nice change of pace.

Quote
Now, the Debt Limit.  The US hit the debt limit on Monday, and the only reason that we haven't defaulted yet is because the Treasury enacted some emergency measures to clear up enough money for us to keep paying costs until August, when everyone seems to think that the bill to raise the debt limit ceiling will be passed.

So, here's my question: Why didn't Congress, the President, his advisors, the government personnel responsible for this in general, see this coming?  Or, rather: When Obama came into office, our current national debt was X, with a limit of $14.264 trillion.  Proposed spending was Y.  So why didn't anyone do the math and say, "oh, hey!  Spending's going to put us at the debt limit!"  Why is it that this whole debt ceiling thing seems like it's just getting attention now, rather than a few months ago?

It was an issue a few months ago. It's been being argued for a long time. Democrats should have handled it last year, but - as with the budget - they punted on it because they were afraid of the upcoming election. Their demotivated base cost them a seven-point swing.

A part of me suspects it's intentional, but it's pretty clear that this sort of idiocy is either going to have to be booted out of Government or the country will far apart. Not for long, mind, but still.

Quote
And lastly, Taxes.  In reading articles about solving the debt problem, financial experts have been consulted on how to fix the problem.  And most of them have gone on record saying one simple thing: Cuttting Spending Isn't Enough.  Now, I'm all for cutting government spending, especially when a significant portion of our budget are useless pork projects, but like they said, you can't just cut spending to solve a debt crisis on this level.  We'd eventually end up undercutting ourselves a lot.  No, we need less expenditures and more revenue.

And yet, despite this, some Republicans are saying no, no new taxes, no increased taxes, nothing that even remotely involves raising taxes, when, according to the Colbert Report's guest tonight, Austan Goolsbee, that taxes, especially for the wealthy, are at a historic low?  ((In the case of the wealthy, the lowest they're been in the past 60 years!)  So how does someone continue to justify keeping potential revenue out of the hands of the government, and leaving it in the hands of people who, quite frankly, don't seem to be using it?

Historical government spending.

As the chart above clearly shows, anyone who tells you that the debt is solely because of overspending is a liar - the Government has handled even larger amounts of spending responsibly. Reagan raised taxes on low and middle incomes, cut taxes for the rich, and now we have our debt. We'd actually be sitting fairly pretty right now if it wasn't for that and the Iraq war. And our economy would be stronger, too.

Quote
So, all this makes me wonder: is the end of the United States within sight?  Are the persons responsible for the downfall of this country not the Russians, or Germans, or any of the past enemies that we've had...but us?

No. Not for very long, anyway.

The fact of the matter is that most Americans actually understand what the real problem is - the overreach of corporate and special interest power. Some 75-80% of Americans think Corporations have too much influence. And they're pretty set on that regardless of what sort of question you ask them or how you attempt to weasel-word it - excessive corporate influence is rightly seen as the root cause of this nation's problems.

The reason it's being allowed to get so bad is - well, are you starving? Is anyone you know starving?

Things simply haven't gotten bad enough yet that Americans have no choice but to act.

It will happen, eventually. When gas gets to $10 a gallon, when floods, wildfires, and droughts and other severe weather are pounding the nation. When food stamps finally get cut and fifty million people are told to choose between acting up and letting their family starve.

America's been through worse and still ended up on top of the world. I'd say, at least to some degree, it's even because of it.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Newt is not my favorite republican. Like Vek's said.. the whole divorce thing with his wife while she was suffering with cancer is typical of his actions in the past. He's an ass and a bit of a rattlesnake.

Honestly though he's right, budget reform is going to take more than cut, cut, and more cuts in the budget. We need to fix the tax code. I hate to say that. I know it's unpopular and a bad word, but we can't give 'stimulus' packets to everyone in the damn country. Encourage folks to invest and put things in savings, and accept that you won't be getting as much back from taxes.. or even paying them.

We have to pay our way. The popular political tact is to lie and say we can keep cutting it.

Offline Serephino

That's what is pissing me off about Republicans.  This year they wanted to cut the budget by 60 million.  They got about half that because a lot of pressure was being put on them.  But the budget they want for next year slashes 13 trillion; and they call it the road to prosperity.  It even cuts taxes more for the wealthy!

I get it; they earned it, and they want to keep it.  But they're also the ones that have it.  The ugly truth is that taxes need to be raised, and you can't take it from the poor.  As the saying goes; you can't squeeze blood out of stone.

I do agree that spending needs to be cut too.  It astounds me that the Republicans went after social programs like rabid dogs when doing the budget, but they somehow overlooked all that money they were giving to oil companies who are shooting for record prophets again.  Now, even some Republicans are admitting it might not be a bad idea, but I have a feeling they're only saying that because it's public knowledge and voters are angry.  It shouldn't be an issue now, after the budget was passed.  And a majority of Republicans are STILL blocking it. 

They have also been trying to raise the debt ceiling for months now.  The problem is the Republicans know that it needs passed, so they are trying to attach parts of bills that they couldn't get passed before.  This last time they tried to attach the thing where a woman would have to approve to the IRS she was raped to be able to get funding for an abortion.  As much as they need to do this, the Democrats aren't letting that crap slide.  My fear is eventually they're going to have to, and I'm afraid of what little pet project the Republicans are going to get their way on.  They seem hellbent on making abortions damned near impossible to get, and taking away women's rights in general.

This is what happens when one party has too much power. 

Offline Callie Del Noire

It's not one party. I know it seems like it in the media but it's both sides. They are 'tax cut crazy'. Less taxes and such is always a good way to reap benefits in the elections. The republicans have had a bad trend to go to what the most vocal, if small, group of people within the party want to do.

It was the 'Moral Majority' for a while, and now it's the 'Tea Party' groups. The leadership is trying to hold onto control and get behind any faction that will let them keep it. The democrats are doing it by letting the liberal elements in the party take control and run with their programs and the GOP does it by backing folks that will let them stay in control. The growing segment of the party that are more moderate aren't going to let the leadership to stay in place, they know it. To go a bit more moderate means the younger and up and coming groups will have more control.

It, on the party leadership side, comes down to control pure and simple. They want to stay in control. That is why Newt is aiming for the moderates, the folks who pushed him out don't want to back him. He knows it, so he's trying to play to the younger and more moderate segment of the party.

I saw some of the same action when my brother was trying to run for office back a few years ago. FOR YEARS, the party was pushing him to run for a state level office but he went too high. Suddenly he was 'an outsider' or 'inexperienced' because they knew he wasn't going to let them set his path. After they left him and the other candidates for a 'johnny come lately' they tried to get him to run for a seat in the state legislature that Jesus Christ himself couldn't win against the incumbent in office there. And wanted him to pay his own way through it.

Seriously, a 20+ vet in the same seat all those years? Not even in the area that he lived/worked in. The leadership talks the talk, but they are more interested (and invested) in staying in control.

Offline Jude

The idea that we can fix the debt problem on the backs of the wealthy and corporations is a fantasy.  If you look at how much we owe and the actual revenues that we make, to do that would require ridiculous tax increases.  Cutting isn't enough either, pork isn't as big of a problem as people make it out to be.  Sure, there's a fair degree of waste there, but it's not like 25% of our country's budget is waste.

Our goal right now is to create a budget which allows us to pay down on the debt.  That requires 3 the budget to be divided into 3 financial portions:  actual spending, interest payments on the debt, and debt payments.  As such, we're going to need to slash spending more and raise revenues higher than if we were trying to put together a functional budget for a debtless country.  That means when it comes to deciding how we're going to organize our government during this time we need to slash spending and raise taxes beyond what we want to do for the regular operation of the country.  Therefore thinking about what can and can't be cut and what taxes should and should not be raised as a normal state isn't really the right way to look at our fiscal situation.  We're not operating under normal circumstances, this is big-debt time and sacrifices have to be made.

Tax the wealthy or corporations too much and they'll leave -- remember that we live in a global economy where it's easy to find another home if your current one is taking too much from you.  That doesn't mean we can't tax some corporations more (like GE, if I recall they paid 0 in taxes this year), we just have to be careful not to disincentivize their presence in America to the point that they leave.

Social programs are going to have to be cut somewhat.  Medicare and medicaid are 43% of Federal Spending on their own; that's over double what we spend on defense.  This is just a fact of life.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Tell me how leaving loop holes to companies who bemoan that their 'tax burden' as the primary reason they are moving production overseas at the same time they are getting tax benefits to the rate of half their net gain for that year?

For example GE reporting a 14.2 BILLION world wide and 5.1 Billion in the US total, and paying NOTHING to the government and gaining 3.2 billion in tax breaks.

No need for corporate tax reform? I disagree. There is LOTS of it. First thing we need to do? Make the tax breaks work for us. Encourage infrastructure growth and R&D again. Once upon a time we, the US, were innovators because we invested in our infrastructure and tried to innovate. That went away in the 70s. We need it back. BADLY.

Manufacturing in the US is provably worth it, several companies have shown by innovation and revamping how they support their clients more efficiently than overseas concerns. Granted the companies are operating with standards of performance of 98+% and restricting their service area to a hundred miles or so, but those are jobs we got back.

Lean material management, Six Sigma planning techniques and such along with technical innovation can fix a lot of the 'production shortfalls' that are a primary excuse for moving out of country.

As a business community, the US is short sided. We refuse to meet other countries who hinder commercial competition with restrictions and we do all we can to allow them to set US policy even when it's not in our best interest.

That being said.. the US Corporate Tax Code needs to be fixed. We have the HIGHEST in the first world at 35%, fixing it would do a great deal in making US businesses competitive and actually encourage less creative accounting and perhaps bring some business back. Honestly every politician I've seen in the last 12 years who supported corporate tax reform gets HAMMERED in the polls and that confuses me.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 01:12:19 PM by Callie Del Noire »

Offline Jude

I agree with you that we need to reform our tax codes (for corporations and the wealthy too -- I support universal reform really, so long as we don't toss progressive taxation out completely) so that corporations in the US pay more than they are now, I'm just saying that we have to be careful about it.

As far as manufacturing goes, that's gone and not coming back unless you create protectionist legislation, because American workers just can't compete with the lower wages that people in third world countries get with as cheap as shipping is in today's global economy.  Though I guess the momentum could change if we start valuing energy differently though -- which could happen if we actually did something about global warming legislation.  If it costs more money to ship goods from China, then imported goods from China will have a hard time competing with American made goods.  Right now the cost of shipping is being kept artificially low through the use of fossil fuels, which chances are result in the cheapest energy cost that human civilization will see until we perfect solar technology to the point of approaching Dyson sphere-like concepts (bubbles or swarms).
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 02:37:54 PM by Jude »

Offline ReijiTabibitoTopic starter

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Okay, so, a lot of quality things have been said.  Here's what I think, on those thoughts.

@Sure

You mentioned 'odd views of the government's relationship to the citizenry.'  Can you explore/clarify that?  You might not be reading into it too much, after all.

On Weakness: So, as long as our military is strong, then we'll always be a global power?  This might be an extreme example, but I find it hard to believe that that would be the case if everything else were falling apart.

On Comment One: Oh, I know.  I know it's not the first time.  A trillion dollars probably didn't even exist way back when.  And I know that the debt limit ceiling has been raised 10 times since 2001...more on that later.

On Comment Two: You would be correct in the fact that I am not referring to myself when I was talking about raising taxes on the rich.  But, according to some figure I remember reading here on E somewhere, the top ten percent of earners make something like 25% of the economy's money, but only spend 15% of it.  And while it's good to save...that extra 10% is going into their pockets.  The numbers may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the rich don't spend all of the money that they make, or even a significant portion of it.  Meanwhile, people are out there on food stamps, and middle America is facing a crisis.  Problems which could be solved by increasing the taxes on the rich, since they're not using their wealth.

Regarding Newt, to All Who Commented on His Sleaziness:

Gingrich has never been a favorite politician of mine.  That comment was more about the fact that everyone (IE, Fox News) seems to think that playing to the moderates and ignoring what Callie calls the 'most vocal minority' is political suicide.  Or at least until someone's garnered the party nomination.  My question is, do the radicals of this country really have that kind of power?  Where a small handful of men can steer the nation's course?  If so, then we have a problem.

@Veks

On Newt: See Above.

On the Debt Crisis:  >_<  Of course.  Elections.  Why am I not surprised?  "Well, on the one hand, we've got this really big, country-threatening crisis, and on the other, we've got keeping our party in power.  Let's deal with number two!"

And that is why politicians are number two.

On Idiocy: The problem is that, like in education, Americans seem to have truly undervalued its importance.  By that, I mean the following.  For a long time, the old phrase was "those who can't do, teach," implying that the people who weren't good enough to go into their field of business went into the field of teaching others about that field of business.  Problem is, that just means that all those 'non-good' people end up becoming our nation's teachers.  And then we wonder why our kids hate going to school, and lose their desire to learn.  It's only been in recent history that people have started to realize "Hey!  We need good, qualified college graduates - not necessarily Education majors - to go into primary and secondary schools and teach our kids!"

Politics is the same way nowadays.  Used to be that politicians were some of the most intelligent, well-educated people of their day.  A number of US Presidents in the past were lawyers - Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR (though not his relative Teddy, but Big T was well-educated!) - some of the most educated people of their day!  Nowadays?  This may be an extreme example, but I feel like the attitude is: "Failed at everything else?  Why not try going for a public office?  As long as you say the right things, kiss enough corporate behind, and suck up to enough voter bases, you'll be a shoe-in!"  Politicians, in contrast, seem the least educated these days.

Just Google Michele Bachmann constitutional challenge.

Part II Forthcoming...

Offline consortium11

There are a few Republicans with a sense of personal integrity - David Frum, Ron Paul, etc. These are the sorts of people that should be acknowledged as having a position in the debate, rather than being outright insane.

Not that I consider them to have valid opinions, mind. I just don't have to worry about Ron Paul being a hypocrite, which is a nice change of pace.

I have great respect for Ron Paul (and like much of what he says) but there's some distinct rust on his halo.

He has a very bad habit of adding pork to a bill, then voting against it (knowing that he'll be the only one voting against it and that it will pass regardless) and then taking the pork for his home constituency. Essentially he gets to keep his "vote against government spending/pork" reputation intact... while also getting all the benefits for him and his constituents of that self-same pork.

In the muddy puddle that is political hypocrisy it's very much on the small side but it's still there.

Offline Callie Del Noire

I'll be honest, and blunt. I trust Newt Gingrich to do the things he promises in the face of adversity and unpopular party opinion about as far as I can throw the USS Nimitz.

He's of the same sort as Vice President Cheney. I do not trust him, I don't believe him and I see this as an attempt to get back into the inner circle of the party. He's been on the outs for the better part of a decade since he left congress. He wants back in and figures that no one else can pull it off.

Sadly he's not too far off, I don't see a lot of hope in the line up of the coming election.

Offline Asuras

This is one of my favorite charts ever. They should have it on the news every night.

It basically answers the question, "How the hell did we go from a budget surplus to ballooning debt in ten years?" (it comes from a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts)



In 2000, the CBO (the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office) said that the entire debt would be paid off, and then some by 2011.

One big factor, obviously, is "Technical and Economic Changes." Basically this means that the CBO was too rosy about US economic growth. But even if they'd had a crystal ball, the US debt would still have been halved.

The other two-thirds is because the Bush and Obama presidencies spent way more and cut taxes way more than the CBO projected. If the Bush tax cuts (the "2001/2003 Tax Cuts" in this graph) and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had never happened (or taxes had been raised to pay for them), the debt would be the same as in 2000.

But really, whoever wants to balance the budget has to answer a simple question: what taxes do you want to raise and what spending do you want to cut. It's that simple. Medicare, social security, or defense? Everything else is simply not enough.

So this is Obama's 2012 budget (from the White House):



Just looking at that, you can see that if you want to make a big hit on spending, you have to make huge cuts to the big areas of spending: defense, social security, health care, and income security (i.e., welfare and unemployment) Platitudes about pork barrel spending are just that; platitudes. They largely fall into that lower right hand corner of "etcetera" about transportation and the like.

Offline ReijiTabibitoTopic starter

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Damn.  That chart is damning.  It seems like, on the CBO chart, the two biggest factors in contributing to the national debt we have now are the 2001/2003 tax cuts and the wars we fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I seem to vaguely remember something about our country's national debt during the Clinton administration (either at the end or in 1995, I forget which) was only to the tune of $5 trillion.  I think.  Which means that the Bush administration built up almost $10 trillion dollars of debt in eight years.

And it seems like if there are programs to cut, there are 4 categories that it should happen in, according to the second chart: Medicare, Social Security, Ongoing Operations, and whatever Other Defense is.

Offline Oniya

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Unfortunately, the baby-boomers are hitting retirement age, which means both Medicare and Social Security are going to be hammered just to give people a minimum level of living expenses.

Offline ReijiTabibitoTopic starter

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Also true.  Which brings me to a point I've always contended about Social Security, which is that the inventor never intended it to last.  Remember, SS came about as part of FDR's New Deal, to help the American people during the Great Depression.

When Social Security was established, 32 Americans were paying into it for every 1 that was getting something out.  Back when I was in high school (about 10 years ago), my US History teacher told me that that figure was now 3 to 1, and that when the baby boomers retired, it was going to go to an inverted pyramid, with 1 person paying in for multiple people paying out.

I hate to say it, but our own programs are punishing us for raising the quality of life we have in this country.

Offline Asuras

This would be my plan (and forecast):

Eliminate corporate taxes, raise income taxes

Corporate taxes are stupid. They tax small businesses at the same rate as big business. Except big business can afford getting around it. Small businesses and start-ups can't.

But all businesses pay dividends or appreciate in capital gains. That's income to shareholders; it's the reason people are in business. People are in business to get personal income. Tax that. Why not tax it in one, simple place and invest the hell out of auditing it? Make rich shareholders pay more.

Eliminate tax cuts that were implemented since 2001

They were stupid. Just looking at the CBO chart I posted says that they're responsible for a large portion of the current debt.

Cut social security, medicare, and defense

An across-the-board cut. These are the main factors in spending. Since the danger in medicare and social security is in the medium to long term, phase in these changes. For instance, raise the retirement age as of 2020 two years.

Don't do it immediately.

The economy is still weak. It makes sense to have low taxes and high government spending. But we should commit to a strategy as the economy starts growing (which, actually, it is). i.e, next year we start doing this stuff.

The deficit will improve as the economy improves.

As the economy recovers, the deficit will naturally fall as tax revenues rise. So it's really not like the deficits of 2009-2011 are permanent.

Raise the debt limit yesterday

The fact that we're even toying with this is insane. If we get to July and Congress is still toying with this, you're going to start seeing interest rates rise, stocks falling, and CDSes on US debt skyrocketing all because the teabaggers have no idea what they're playing with.

Offline Callie Del Noire

I don't know about eliminating corporate taxes, but we sure as hell need to reform it to bring home all that money the American companies who can do it are hiding overseas. The US has the highest corporate tax rate of any First World nation. It is strange how we can have the most open government to payola from Corps and yet force them to hide their money elsewhere.  It truly boggles the mind at times. Almost every presidential candidate that I've listened to who has gotten elected has IGNORED that.

The dirty little secret that could fix a hell of a lot of problems. Drop Corp Taxes to.. 10% and slap a MAJOR benefit for things like US reinvestment and R&D. Bring our businesses back home as well as our troops folks. Stop doing foolish things like NAFTA and other agreements, stop letting other nations slap protectionism moves in place while we meekly stand there looking shocked. I don't know where the US economy as a consumer basin is anymore but I'm sure it's not far behind China (who is #1). Put up some counters to the protectionist measures that Europe and Japan have done and you'll see some very upset lobbyists on the hill but let's be honest.. they have done it to the North Am nations for DECADES.

I also agree with Asuras.. we seriously need to reevaluate our tax 'reform' (snort) of the last decade.


Offline RubySlippers

I say do nothing save raise the debt ceiling as needed, we can coast along a few more decades maybe. After that if we go bankrupt enact martial law and WW II style rationing. Most people will be content if they get housing, food, clothes and entertainment covered well we can do that ourselves and in time the new life will become accepted by people. Might be a good bump to have real national health care and push green technology so there could be good things that happen. And the Russians showed an internal economy can meet most needs if properly done.

Offline Jude

You're using the Russians as an example of a functional economic strategy??? (extra question marks added for emphasis)

Offline Callie Del Noire

Newt's response to media criticism (as read by John Lithgow)
John Lithgow gives Newt Gingrich's press release a dramatic reading

And yes, I'm a bit surprised by idea of using the Russian managed economy model. It was broken and they are still paying for it.

Offline ReijiTabibitoTopic starter

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Okay, more doom mongering from the halls of the Daily Show, with their Tom Hanks guest star broadcast last week.  I'm starting to wonder if we're ever going to get past all this jockeying for political position crap and actually, you know, have the politicians do their damn jobs instead of being the whiny little children that they're mostly being.

Also, a friend lent me a book called The Creature From Jekyll Island, about the Federal Reserve and how it's responsible for a lot of the problems in this country, especially when we went off the gold standard.  He claims that if we don't reverse the trends that we've got running, then we're essentially going to end up being absorbed into some huge globe spanning government body like the UN.

Thoughts, comments, anyone?

Offline Vekseid

A lot of the fearmongering about the federal reserve is straight up hoax and conspiracy nut material. Yes, they should be more transparent, but pulling us off the gold standard was not a sin.

Offline gaggedLouise

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*trying to figure out the size of the headlines that would fit the news of "United States going Bankrupt"*

I read somewhere that the actual amount of state currency reserves held by various nations, including the U.S., is many times bigger than the sum of money that would be equal to all the gold ever mined in the world, if it would be sold on today's sales price for bullion. That sort of shows one reason why the gold standard became obsolete.