Pic of the day: The Cow Boy, by John C.H. Grabill (1888)
Conservative, n. A statesman enamored of existing evils, as opposed to a Liberal, who wants to replace them with others.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary (1911)
There are a great many ideas that are good in this nation, but not all of them. There are ideas that are well, just plain stupid that need to be rooted out. It is this second group which gets my attention here. Among the less intelligent ones out there is an idea that I wish to speak on at length here. The lie that was best asserted by Ronald Reagan, when he said “Government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem.” or some such similar diatribe against reality.
To say that government is the problem is to put the cart before the horse, to use an old axiom. Any “problem” government actually has (or is) should be run through a few filters before we decide to believe it or not.
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First: “What part?”
A government that has existed for over 225 years and is both an economic and military superpower with 300,000,000 people living under it’s protection and being part of a social contract with those 300,000,000 people, and with as many moving parts as must exist to keep such a large machine running cannot by any reasonable definition be anything but imperfect.
To be so blind as to put down the entire thing without stating what specifically is wrong with it is entirely unethical.
So, to those who think that government is the problem I ask “What part?” It can’t be the whole thing. If it was the damn thing would have collapsed of it’s own weight before any of us were born.
I know you don’t like medicare’s costs, or social security costs,or taxes or the deficit. Are they the problem? Let’s look. Medicare is there as a safety net for those elder citizens (and a few other groups) who cannot pay for health care themselves.
And as such it is necessary. Now, anything that is expensive but necessary might be a problem, but not one that can be solved by pointing at it and saying it’s a problem. Soc. Sec. is much the same, created as social insurance for those elder citizens who were then living in poverty. Half of those over the 65 were under the poverty line when it was enacted. And is still necessary even though the number is not what it was back then.
Taxes? They have gone down across the board for almost everyone. A multitude of companies paid no taxes last year. A great number of tax shelters exist that keep money from government coffers that pay for the things this society needs to function properly.
The deficit? A major issue, but one that has been growing since well before the first trillion dollar budget put together by Dubya, and necessarily grown by this President. The deficit numbers that are attributed to the sitting President are inflated by the press and those who are more interested in getting rid of him rather than any real spending on his part.
What does that mean? It means that many very expensive programs exist, but the means to pay for it seems to be disappearing. Ever shrinking taxes mean less money to pay for all the things we actually need. So government isn’t the real problem, paying for it is.
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So, let’s say that we now know what the problem is. Not enough money coming in while costs of necessary programs continuously rise . Great, nothing no one wasn’t already aware of, but that’s no big deal. Stating the obvious is sometimes necessary to make sure an understanding of it exists. So…
“How do we solve it?”
From 2001 to the dawn of the financial crisis in 2007 I heard very little from the right about our financial problems, except from one guy. Douglas Holtz-Eagin when he was head of the CBO. He was the architect of the Bush tax cuts, and even he stated in 2005 that there would be a need to increase taxes to deal with the burden of deficit spending created by those tax cuts, because the deficits would be massive.
Which means a few people knew deficit spending was a problem well before President Obama came to office.
Let’s look at the numbers. Looking at the difference between the 2001 budget projections for 2011 and the actual 2011 numbers you will see that the problems come from many sources.
Cost of Lower tax revenue, recession of 2007/2008: $3,500,000,000,000 (3.5 trillion)
Cost of Bush tax cuts: $1,600,000,000,000 (1.6 trillion)
Cost of Increased non-defense discretionary spending: $1,500,000,000,000 (1.5 trillion)
Cost of Iraq and Afghanistan wars: $1,400,000,000,000 (1.4 trillion)
Interest on the debt: $1,400,000,000,000 (1.4 trillion)
Cost of Obama Stimulus: $900,000,000,000 (.9 trillion)
Which means that most of the debt was in fact built up between the years 2001 and 2008, between 80 and 90% of it in fact.
And what that means is that the person who is being blamed for it isn’t the real culprit, at least as far as the bulk of the debt is concerned.
It means that government was the problem. In particular Republican government from 2001 to 2008 anyway. And the policy that most who view government as the problem would put in place would be to starve the beast. Which is to cut government spending. Which would simply increase our debt, and our deficit. Spending will not, and frankly cannot be cut drastically enough to actually make starving the beast work.
America, If you elect Mitt Romney, you will make government the problem again. Right now under our sitting President it is solving the problems that it faces as best it can. Maybe not as fast as some would like, or the way that they would like, but that can’t be helped. Bad government is a problem, and it can be avoided. Mitt would bring us back to bad governance.
It is a simple fact that too many tax cuts on the wealthy elite of this nation, who can actually afford to pay them, have depleted this nations finite resources to the point of nearly crippling the economy.
Lose the Bush tax cuts, increase tax revenue, fix the problem.
You might not like that answer America, but just because it isn’t palatable doesn’t mean it isn’t the right answer. No one said solutions are easy. Not anyone worth listening to anyway.
That’s it from here, America. G’night.