Frustrated Incorporated
I just want something simple, like the TRUTH!

In Response to:

Which, goes a way to explaining why we’ve spent more money reconstructing Iraq than Germany and Japan but have received inferior results. And in the interests of “keep most of what you earn” apply to today as well as tomorrow? Are you concerned about the massive budget deficit we’ve built. Don’t you think that cost-plus contracts go against the notion of the free market and capitalism? And that the government should be able to account for $8.8 billion of $12 billion that it flew over to Iraq in huge wooden pallets (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=2852426)? If not, why not?
Given the war has already cost over $450 billion, what do you estimate the total cost of this war to be? Would you support raising taxes to support it, or would we have to make drastic cuts to social spending and infrastructure?
codesmithy

<special thanks, for the engaging comment!>
PL

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“government should be able to account”

Besides a Military, that is capable of winning wars, the government bureaucracy, the larger it becomes, the larger the failures become. Think about it… what local / state/ federal department actually works well?

It cost, what it cost to win. Losing, is the death of our nation/way of life.

“Would you support raising taxes to support it…”

No, and when you see the record of tax cuts, that seemed to always work. The Kennedy tax cuts, which came in under Lyndon Johnson worked. The Reagan tax cuts worked. The Bush tax cuts have worked, clearly. And when we see when Bill Clinton raised taxes in 1993, it did not lead to a recession, but it did lead to downturn in the economy, which grew less. But then when they reduced the capital gains rate in 1997, you saw the stock market really boom.

It’s a good day to talk about the virtues of tax cutting, a day when unemployment declined, many more jobs were created, the S&P 500 hit a new high, the dollar actually increased against the Euro. And the federal budget deficit was projected to be the lowest in five years.

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By Alexandra Twin, CNNMoney.com senior writer
October 9 2007: 5:44 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Stocks rallied Tuesday, sending the Dow and S&P 500 to all-time highs as investors breathed a sigh of relief that the minutes from the last Fed meeting supported hopes for another interest rate cut by the end of the year.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped more than 120 points, ending at an all-time high of 14,164.53. The blue-chip barometer had hit an intraday high of 14,166.40 shortly before the close.
FED FOCUS ECONOMY HOT STOCKS INVESTOR RESEARCH CENTER

The broader S&P 500 index hit a record intraday high of 1,565.26 right before the close, and ended the session just short of that at 1,565.15.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite added 0.6 percent, ending at a fresh 6-1/2 year high.

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Imagine; after the dot com bursting bubble, after 9/11, during to wars (Afghanistan / Iraq), and the normal cycles of the economy, it is quite amazing, how depressed everyone that listens to the media, or their favorite liberal politician. I think prozac or suicide-watch may need to be utilized.

Context:

September 2007 is the 49th consecutive month of job growth, setting a new record for the longest uninterrupted expansion of the U.S. labor market. Significant upward revisions to employment in July and August mean employment growth has averaged 97,000 per month over the last three months. Since August 2003, our economy has created more than 8.1 million jobs, and the unemployment rate remains low at 4.7 percent.

The U.S. Economy Is Growing And Dynamic

* Real after-tax per capita personal income has increased by over 12.5 percent – an average of over $3,750 per person – since President Bush took office. More than 30 percent of the Nation’s net worth has been added since the President’s 2003 tax cuts.

* Real wages have grown 2.2 percent over the 12 months that ended in August. This is much higher than the average growth rate during the 1990s, and it means an extra $1,266 in the past year for a family with two average wage earners.

* Exports have increased by over 14.8 percent in the 12 months that ended in July. This has resulted in an $8.3 billion reduction in the trade deficit.

* Real GDP grew at a strong 3.8 percent annual rate in the second quarter of 2007. The economy has now experienced nearly six years of uninterrupted growth, averaging 2.7 percent a year since the turnaround in 2001.

Make drastic cuts to social spending and infrastructure?

Well, since I think we use about 4% or 5 % of the GDP for the Military and non-discretionary spending is like 60-70% more or less (I think more…), I remember seeing that figure somewhere, but … I’m sure someone out there, will tell me, if I’m that far off.

So, when it comes to Social spending :

Robert Samuelson who is an economist and columnist for the Washington Post. Ran a piece in the Washington Post is a little problematic for me in some areas. The title of his column was, “Entitled Selfishness.” His theme here is that the baby boomer generation is in a state of denial. Let me give you some excerpts here. “I say this to the 76 million or so subsequent baby boomers and particularly to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, our generation’s leading politicians: Shame on us. We are trying to rob our children and grandchildren, putting the country’s future at risk in the process. On one of the great issues of our time, the social and economic costs of our retirement, we have adopted a policy of selfish silence.”

Now, excuse me, Mr. Samuelson, George W. Bush for six years has tried to do something about this, and he has been rebuked at every turn. He’s been turned back. Now, maybe he didn’t sell this privatization of accounts as well as it could have been, but you can’t lump him in there with somebody who is apathetic about this. “As Congress reconvenes, pledges of “fiscal responsibility” abound.

Let me boldly predict:

On retirement spending, this Congress will do nothing, just as previous Congresses had done nothing. Nancy Pelosi promises to ‘build a better future for all of America’s children.’ If she were serious, she would back cuts in Social Security and Medicare.

President Bush calls ‘entitlement spending’ the central budget problem.

If he were serious, he, too, would propose cuts in Social Security and Medicare.

They are not serious, because few Americans — particularly prospective baby-boom retirees — want them to be. There is a consensus against candor, because there is no constituency for candor. It’s no secret that the 65-and-over population will double by 2030 (to almost 72 million, or 20 percent of the total population), but hardly anyone wants to face the implications:

Much of the rest of government (from defense to national parks) would have to be shut down or crippled. Or budget deficits would balloon to quadruple today’s level. Social Security and Medicare benefits must be cut to keep down overall costs. Yes, some taxes will be raised and some other spending cut. But much of the adjustment should come from increasing eligibility ages (ultimately to 70) and curbing payments to wealthier retirees.

By comparison, other budget issues, including the notorious earmarks, are trivial. In 2005, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (the main programs for the elderly) cost $1.034 trillion, twice the amount of defense spending and more than two-fifths of the total federal budget. These programs are projected to equal about three-quarters of the budget by 2030, if it remains constant as a share of national income. Preserving present retirement benefits automatically imposes huge costs on the young — costs that are economically unsound and socially unjust. The tax increases required by 2030 could hit 50 percent, if other spending is maintained as a share of national income.

Pundits and think tanks say they support ‘fiscal responsibility’ and ‘entitlement reform’ and oppose big budget deficits. Less often do they say plainly that people need to work longer and that retirees need to lose some benefits. Think tanks endlessly publish technical reports on Social Security and Medicare, but most avoid the big issues.

Are present benefits justified?

How big can government become before the resulting taxes or deficits harm the economy?

… Our children will not be so blind to this hypocrisy. We have managed to take successful programs — Social Security and Medicare — and turn them into huge problems by our self-centered inattention.

Baby boomers seem eager to ‘reinvent retirement’ in all ways except those that might threaten their pocketbooks.

The politicians are afraid of denying or cutting back benefits, because they will lose the elderly vote. Most baby boomers I know have never even counted on Social Security. They don’t think it’s ever going to be there for them.

The younger you go into generations that follow the baby boom generation, that sentiment is even more profound. “Social Security, give me a break, it’s not even going to be there when I retire.” A lot of baby boomers plan on working beyond 65 for that reason.

I don’t know too many people who are sitting around waiting to collect Social Security, but the current crop of people who are will stop at nothing to make sure their benefits are untouched. Even if it means massive tax increases on their own kids!

They’ll put up with that. They will incur and they will vote for that in order to keep their Social Security coming. Harshbut true.

So the problem with this is — I’m sure there’s some baby boomers that are going to present a problem here just in numbers, and you can’t deny that, but immediate reform?

Don’t lay that solely at the baby boomers.

You got a current crop of senior citizens who will not put up with it, and they are one of the largest voting blocks out there, and they are not going to be patient or tolerant with this, at all, and that’s why there’s laziness, reluctance, and fear among politicians to deal with this.

AARP is quite a large lobbying group.

One Response

Couldnt be written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

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