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Author Topic: Sequestration  (Read 3286 times)

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Offline LunaTopic starter

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Sequestration
« on: March 01, 2013, 11:13:46 AM »
So this is what things have come down to. The sequester goes into effect today and no one in Washington is doing a damn thing about it. Am I the only one that is pretty much totally fed up with just about everyone in the government?

Not just the House Republicans, either... but them, the Senate AND the White House. I have to go to work and do my job... they should have to, as well. But they just sit on their hands and wait to see if they can convince enough people that the other side is more at fault than they are.

Boehner wants the Senate to "get off their ass" and pass a bill... but he is being just as intractable as they are!

Offline Trieste

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Re: Sequestration
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2013, 12:28:41 PM »
I was just talking about this with someone yesterday. Congressional base pay is about 170k. They get cost of living raises automatically every year. They have frequent recesses. Thy have a sane health care system and their pensions are secure.

None of that is threatened. Why, exactly, should they give a crap at this point, especially after Citizens United?

Offline Avis habilis

Re: Sequestration
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2013, 12:45:21 PM »
Half the people in Congress are independently wealthy. I don't mean that figuratively either. I mean fifty percent of them are millionaires. Cut their pay. Eliminate their pay. Cut all their benefits. Take away all their staff resources.

They won't notice. They don't need it.

Offline elone

Re: Sequestration
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2013, 12:48:06 PM »
I think we have to face the fact that our government is totally broken and in serious need of some major reform. Ultimately, we the voters need to boot them out, but that is so difficult because everyone always says it is not my congressman/senator, it is all the others.

Some ideas:

1. Term limits on House and Senate, maybe that would lessen the impact of lobbyists funding campaigns and effectively running our country. They put them on the President, why not all of the useless people in Congress.

2. Redistricting by non partisan organization, maybe the census bureau or some sort of commission/court.

3. A real third party movement, we would need to make it easier for parties other than Dems and Repubs to get on ballots.

4. Get rid of campaign contributions from pacs etc. Unfortunately our Supreme court really screwed us on this one.

5. National referendums on issues, let the voters decide some of this stuff directly. (opens can of worms)

5. Real ethics reform/transparency

6. Reform of congressional rules that allow these stalemated to continue

7. Vote, write, express your opinions frequently.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Sequestration
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 02:10:26 PM »
*nods to all of elone's suggestions*

A few more - and not just applying to the U.S.

1 Politicians seeking top offices, or parliament/city council seats, should be required to have some serious work/career experience outside of politics. I'm fed up with people who have practically never had a job outside of politics, party youth leagues, party affiliated think-tanks, party communication etc, and then running for parliament or even entering the top level of government.

2 People in parliament should be encouraged to keep up a non-political career while they are sitting - it helps them grow a spine vs party bosses and keep in touch with outside issues -  but this should also be kept in the public eye, and transparency and sharp-toothed watchdogs should apply to minimize interference between the political career and someone's off-house job or old employers. - Also, entitlements and bonuses from politics and steady non-political jobs should not be allowed to pile up on each other to the ceiling.

3 No country should have just two parties monopolizing the political system

4 Make central banks and treasuries more transparent and broaden the public debate about what they do and why.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 02:44:19 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Sequestration
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 02:30:05 PM »
Half the people in Congress are independently wealthy. I don't mean that figuratively either. I mean fifty percent of them are millionaires. Cut their pay. Eliminate their pay. Cut all their benefits. Take away all their staff resources.

They won't notice. They don't need it.

Hell just take away their free POSTAGE. Make the federal system pay postage and sudden the post office would suddenly be closure to being out of the black.

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Re: Sequestration
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2013, 03:16:58 PM »
I think you mean 'back in the black'.  (Being 'in the red' comes from the days when deficits were written in red ink to distinguish them from profits - a convention that can still be seen in spreadsheet settings today.)

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Sequestration
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2013, 03:21:59 PM »
One thing I've always thought would be a good idea: Elected officials' salaries should be directly indexed to the average income of their constituents. I understand that salaries should be attractive to educated, capable professionals, so I wouldn't say they should *match* their typical constituent - but their fortunes should rise and fall with them. This assumes, of course that we eliminate outside sources of personal profit from a political career; for example, I've always been blown away that insider trading is perfectly legal in the US as long as you're in Congress.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Sequestration
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2013, 05:29:51 PM »
It's one thing to be pissed off about it in the abstract.

It's another thing entirely to see the look on my professor's face when he said today that his lab (one lab in one department at one university) lost a $275k grant today and if he doesn't replace the money he will be looking at laying off at least 15 students.

At least 15.

I don't care if my only other options are Jan Brewer and Rick Perry - I am extremely unlikely (I won't say 'never', but...) to vote for a single member of the current Congress again. At all. Regardless of party.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Sequestration
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2013, 06:16:06 PM »
I think you mean 'back in the black'.  (Being 'in the red' comes from the days when deficits were written in red ink to distinguish them from profits - a convention that can still be seen in spreadsheet settings today.)


Yeah.. i MEANT 'nearly in the black' but someone talking in the background threw me off.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Sequestration
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2013, 11:03:15 PM »
"Follow the money" remains as true as ever.  :-(

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Sequestration
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2013, 11:34:08 PM »
I want to just point out the cuts over ten years is just $1.2 trillion out of a much larger budget its not the end of the world here, most of the government is still funded. It seems to me most people wanted the spending to be reduced and now it is and now they are complaining its being reduced - I don't get it frankly. All this means is things like the grant for the lab will need to find another source of funding corporate, an endowment fund, local or state government money or something else maybe the university can raise tuition to fund these things.

As I see it conservatives wanted less Federal control and funding in many cases now they have it charity, local and state governments need to pick up the slack now. The other side seemed to feel we overspent on things like the military will now that is going to be reduced.

Ever consider the Sequestration could be in the long run a good thing seems to me this will in time reduce waste and programs that are not working that well, even if in the short term its going to have some negative impacts.

Offline DTW

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Re: Sequestration
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2013, 11:35:19 PM »
I don't think our system is broken. I think  It's outdated. I tend to be very liberal but even I'll admit that there's something wrong when the Democratic Party as it stands today was founded in 1828 and The Republican party as it stands today was founded in 1854.


Seriously The two main political parties of the united states were founded pre-electricity , pre-car , pre-plane. 

I get that the members and to an extant the ideologies change but still we're talking about two parties that are both over a hundred and fifty years old.

I also don't think the people who founded these parties envisioned things like the Internet , Electronic Gaming Consoles and High-powered assault rifle.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 11:39:10 PM by DTW »

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Sequestration
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2013, 11:41:45 PM »
I just wanted to add most of the daydream changes require the politicians to act requiring several constitutional amendments at the state level or Federal level what is the chance of that happening when your stepping on their respective power bases. A third party could work but the funding and support would be hard to muster to get a foothold and would need to be appealing to enough people to matter. I tend to be more pragmatic than that all I and many can hope for is to get some things for us out of the government here and there.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Sequestration
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2013, 12:01:51 AM »
I just wanted to add most of the daydream changes require the politicians to act requiring several constitutional amendments at the state level or Federal level what is the chance of that happening when your stepping on their respective power bases. A third party could work but the funding and support would be hard to muster to get a foothold and would need to be appealing to enough people to matter. I tend to be more pragmatic than that all I and many can hope for is to get some things for us out of the government here and there.

Okay, but sometimes it's necessary to think outside of the box. Almost nobody pre-1990 really believed the Soviet Union would disintegrate either, not in the foreseeable future and not without a major war. And the USSR, too, had wide popular support among its own people - probably as wide as the U.S. has today on home ground. Sure there was dissent, but most people who lived there were in support of the country they knew even if they felt the order had grown bloated and a bit corrupted sometimes. Even most of those who were critical were not thinking in terms of actually tearing the place to bits and building from the rubble.

*nods at DTW* Political systems that become outdated ultimately lose their legitimacy. The same if the system has nothing to offer except to a lucky few who can kick and climb their way into the backrooms at the top.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Sequestration
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2013, 01:25:39 AM »
A third party could work but the funding and support would be hard to muster to get a foothold and would need to be appealing to enough people to matter. I tend to be more pragmatic than that all I and many can hope for is to get some things for us out of the government here and there.

Tell that to the NDP.

Offline Bandita

Re: Sequestration
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2013, 07:22:20 AM »
Here's a thought.  Take away the filibuster.  Just obliterate it. 

There was a time in politics when there was no filibuster.  Aaron Burr was responsible for the filibuster, because he, very politely, hinted that it would very very seldom be used, because a 'gentleman' knew when to shut up. 

You take away that thing, that abused tool that the founding fathers didn't actually add until the 3rd or 4th congress or so, and you have a system that can work again.

Until then, this whole sequester thing is working out very very nicely for republicans.  They WANT it.  It means losses of jobs, and people getting angry, and they hope that will mean Democrats get blamed.  They WANT to break our government, they WANT to make it so that people will vote for them, not because they like them but because if one party rules both house and senate, then work might get done. And most of all they simply don't care anymore who gets hurt in the process.

Edited to add:

I would also point out that the two parties have changed so much that they don't even come close to resembling the parties they were 150 years ago.  The republican party 150 years ago was still the party of anti-slavery, of freedom and equality. 

And then about 50 years ago, the party flip-flopped and became the home base of the KKK.  There have been incredible changes in both parties, the Dems used to be the official party of slavery and now they want to make sure every kid gets health care.  Huge changes.  You can't judge that the parties are outdated when they have evolved so much over the last two centuries.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 07:28:28 AM by Bandita »

Offline DTW

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Re: Sequestration
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2013, 07:29:56 AM »
Tell that to the NDP.


It's kind of sad on my part that a few years ago , I was watching CSPAN and saw a debate for Canadian Prime minister and laughed because it seemed more like  one of our Primary Elections debates then a Presidential one. Now I think most americans would love to see a field like that.



It's still kind of amazes me as  american to have seen a Prime Minister debate between Stephen Harper , Stephane Dion ,    Gilles Duceppe , Jack Layton and Elizabeth May.


Offline Ephiral

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Re: Sequestration
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2013, 11:15:13 AM »

It's kind of sad on my part that a few years ago , I was watching CSPAN and saw a debate for Canadian Prime minister and laughed because it seemed more like  one of our Primary Elections debates then a Presidential one. Now I think most americans would love to see a field like that.



It's still kind of amazes me as  american to have seen a Prime Minister debate between Stephen Harper , Stephane Dion ,    Gilles Duceppe , Jack Layton and Elizabeth May.

TBH, not all of them are viable candidates at this point - we're still basically a 3.5-party system. But the NDP is ~60 years old, and in just my own time as a voter, they've gone from a wasted vote to kingmakers in a minority government to the Official Opposition. With poorer sources of funding than the incumbent parties. And I think it's strengthened our system. (I'm of the opinion that a minority government is a healthy government, because it prevents any one interest from steamrolling all others.)

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Sequestration
« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2013, 11:26:03 AM »
Once you have a faction entrenched in your political system whose only concern is to break the system, and that no longer even pretends to care about the welfare of anyone not in its base, and that will not change course for any reason for the foreseeable future, there are basically no good options. I don't see any way out of a long-term impasse like that beyond the executive essentially claiming emergency powers and bypassing Congress.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Sequestration
« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2013, 12:10:19 PM »
I just want to put this out there this is a small cut in the budget in the scheme of things at 5% of the affected agencies and the military, what will everyone be doing when they have to cut say 20% or more from the budget to balance the books and pay down the debt. It could be more than 20% but lets say its four times worse. I'm serious the sky is not falling, the government is largely funded and have everything running well so far as I see it. But you know eventually they will need to look at raising taxes and/or cuts based on the need to make things balance out and all.

Seems to me this trial run with small cuts is not boding well for the later big ones.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Sequestration
« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2013, 05:02:55 PM »
Cuts need to be made, but the sequestration is basically a dumb blunt instrument that was supposed to spur people into making actually useful cuts. The problem from my standpoint is where this money is being cut. NIH alone is looking at an 8% dip. See, the thing about research (already underfunded to start), is that as technologies become more complex they rise in cost unless you have a research foundation to improve and refine that development.

E.g. the medical entitlements that are not being cut have a cost that will increase as A) the economic situation worsens, B) the cost of medical tech increases, C) population grows. Medical research gradually reduces those costs. So the base state is a sort of treadmilling. Cut research and the cost of the end product increases to a greater extent than it would with funded research (not to mention the economic hit of lost jobs). So is anything being saved?

The same basic principle applies to other areas as well: cost of a standing military and the care given to veterans increases over time and is reduced via the research by the VA, DOD, etc.  Any way you cut it removing research funding only costs in the long run, it's a blatantly short-sighted tactic employed by people who either lack the foresight to see (or the integrity to admit) the problems down the road.

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Re: Sequestration
« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2013, 11:25:25 PM »
I just wanted to add most of the daydream changes require the politicians to act requiring several constitutional amendments at the state level or Federal level what is the chance of that happening when your stepping on their respective power bases. A third party could work but the funding and support would be hard to muster to get a foothold and would need to be appealing to enough people to matter. I tend to be more pragmatic than that all I and many can hope for is to get some things for us out of the government here and there.

In theory a constitutional amendment could be passed without having to deal with the federal level at all.   My civics lessons are a little rusty so I may have the numbers wrong in this, but if I'm remembering correctly if a majority of states call for a Constitutional Convention for the purpose of passing an amendment setting term limits for Congress as well, then the measure is treated as having cleared the Congress.  Meaning that once a majority has agreed to the measure, it's sent to all the states for consideration and then requires a two-thirds majority to be ratified.

So it would be possible, but I am not entirely optimistic about such an amendment's chances through either process with politics as fubar* as they are now.


*Fubar - For those unfamiliar, this is an American slang term that stands for "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair"

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Sequestration
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2013, 10:55:03 AM »
And what if it backfires two things I and many people I know want to see is:

A guarenteed social safety net for all citizens and we mean guarenteed affordable housing, food, clothes, assurances of a job or welfare funds if one isn't working and education at Federally supported schools free up through four years of college or a trade school.

The second would be making all forms of discrimination illegal including economic discrimination for example you couldn't use ones credit rating against them for employment and you couldn't have laws hurting the homeless in public policy.

And I would add to this the use of the military as it is for the defense of US soil and our territories, and for humanitarian missions only and the former would require a threat of invasion at the level to destroy the body politic of our nation. That is the military is to only be defensive or for humanitarian missions no more deployments all over the world unless its a general war. And I would narrow the threat to be governments and nations not groups to take out any support for a war on terror. I would allow in the language deployments for elimination of foreign threats limited to the special forces as a limited action by the president. This would allow us to downsize the military under clear lack of need for a large military but maintain a strong home force and some special forces.

Now how many here would support this as law of the land? You get the issue you could invoke this and anything could happen some people might like but some could be huge shifts in policy.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Sequestration
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2013, 11:50:11 AM »
And what if it backfires two things I and many people I know want to see is:

A guarenteed social safety net for all citizens and we mean guarenteed affordable housing, food, clothes, assurances of a job or welfare funds if one isn't working and education at Federally supported schools free up through four years of college or a trade school.

It's interesting that you would put this in a thread about the sequester (which you are defending) which includes cuts to things like schools, housing, and other 'safety net' sorts of programs. One of the more well-publicized results of the sequester is the loss of Head Start for a large number of children. Forcing spending cuts when revenues are already lowered due to recession is, uh, not the way to get more help from the government.

The second would be making all forms of discrimination illegal including economic discrimination for example you couldn't use ones credit rating against them for employment and you couldn't have laws hurting the homeless in public policy.

I could get behind this, as long as 'all forms' includes things like criminal history and drug testing. If someone is a felon who has already served their time, and they are applying to a job that doesn't require security clearance, why do they have to disclose that on their application? After all, they have been rehabilitated by the for-profit prison system.  ^-^

I am always very wary when someone talks about "Outlaw all forms of discrimination!" because it almost invariably translates to, "Outlaw all forms of discrimination that apply to me - those other fuckers deserve to be discriminated against!"

And I would add to this the use of the military as it is for the defense of US soil and our territories, and for humanitarian missions only and the former would require a threat of invasion at the level to destroy the body politic of our nation. That is the military is to only be defensive or for humanitarian missions no more deployments all over the world unless its a general war. And I would narrow the threat to be governments and nations not groups to take out any support for a war on terror. I would allow in the language deployments for elimination of foreign threats limited to the special forces as a limited action by the president. This would allow us to downsize the military under clear lack of need for a large military but maintain a strong home force and some special forces.

Now how many here would support this as law of the land? You get the issue you could invoke this and anything could happen some people might like but some could be huge shifts in policy.

This sounds like a really nice idea that might have worked back in the days of rocks and sticks. With modern technology comes the ability to devastate another country from your La-Z-Boy in West Bumfuckigoula or wherever. Since other countries no longer need to invade us to hurt us very badly, I would be very wary of adopting a strategy like this. I would probably also restrict humanitarian aid to places devastated by natural disaster or civilian populations affected by war - maybe. I'm personally of the opinion that there is so much humanitarian aid needed in the US that we don't have a lot of business sending resources elsewhere until we get that straightened out. It's kind of like expecting those parts of the east coast that got hit by Sandy to ignore their rebuilding so they can send aid to places affected by wildfires in the west.

It's not that I don't think we should help others who need it, but it is an established fact that you are better at helping others when you have reached a stable place yourself. I think the US needs to do that. Badly.