Deadly Denial–Part 2

This is the second post in a series that hopefully will show that sticking our collective heads in the sand is not conducive for not only our health, but the health of our country.

“We need doctors, we needs scientists, engineers. We need all those people involved in government, not just lawyers…I don’t have anything against lawyers, but you know, here’s the thing about lawyers…I’m sorry, but I got to be truthful…got to be truthful – what do lawyers learn in law school? To win, by hook or by crook. You gotta win, so you got all these Democrat lawyers, and you got all these Republican lawyers and their sides want to win. We need to get rid of that. What we need to start thinking about is, how do we solve problems?” – Dr. Benjamin Carson, 2013 National Prayer Breakfast

I would hope that no one reading this finds the above surprising in the fact that our elected officials are not problem solvers.  Indeed, all one has to do is look at the antics of the politicians in Washington DC concerning sequestration understand that these folks are problem creators more than anything else.  Legislation to solve a “crisis” is now the hallmark of Congress creates more problems that what that legislation was originally to resolve.

We have all watched with more than a cursory interest in the pains of the funding of Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid, and it seems that every couple of years that there is a threat of these programs going under unless additional legislation was passed to continue funding the programs.  And there are many people that have bought into the premise that the government would take care of them.  To which I wrote:

To rely on the government for anything long-term is stupidity at best and insanity at worst. – Equal Diversity

Doesn’t one ever think that Congress, among the thousands of hours spent crafting various bills and laws, come up with a solution to fund these programs without having to revisit the funding of these programs under a crisis situation?

Now I do realize that Congress is tasked, by law, to propose and vote upon a yearly budget which should include the above programs.  Except that Congress has not passed a budget in close to four years, and this is in violation of the Constitution.  The consequences of such fiscal irresponsibility has been the constant raising of the debt ceiling and the lowering of the credit rating of the United States.

Initially, the raising of the debt ceiling doesn’t sound so bad except that it means that Congress can borrow more money that will eventually need to be paid.  With interest.  Which is kicking the can down the road farther until that road runs out.

Lowering the credit rating means that the interest at which Congress can borrow money becomes higher, which increases the amount of money that will need to be paid.  This means that not only is the road running out, but the end is coming faster.

One-half of Congress and the Administration have a solution – raise taxes. The other half of Congress wants cuts in governmental spending.  The Obama compromise is to do both (sequestration).  Taxes have already been raised.  Here’s what the cuts look like, and the Congresscritters are having fits.

BCA-Chart-Revised

Now mind you, the cuts that are being talked about are a drop in the bucket when compared to the amount of deficit spending that Congress runs up every year.  And for those uninformed, deficit spending is spending more money than what is taken in.  But that doesn’t stop the fear-mongering sky-is-falling rhetoric by the Administration or by the Congresscritters.

From the post Congressional Fiscal Malfeasance:

We, as a country and as individuals, are now being bombarded by visions of gloom and doom that the “fiscal cliff” is coming, and that Congress must act or the sky will fall.  Never mind that it was these clowns that created this situation and the situation that created the financial meltdown in the first place (read the post “The American Dream or Nightmare?” for an in depth background).  And isn’t it highly suspicious that although this situation was pending, very few politicians or news outlets brought it up until after the election?

I have no doubt that the political parties are playing political brinksmanship with this “crisis’ in order to score political points with the electorate.  I also believe that both the Republicans and Democrats have had their talking points & strategies in place long before now… 

No, we do not have problem solvers in Congress, nor do we have honorable public servants in the halls of our Government.  We have people with personal agendas that are contrary to not only the best interests of the People of the United States, but of the country itself.  To quote Dr. Carson from the passage above:

“We need to get rid of that. What we need to start thinking about is, how do we solve problems?”

Any solution, any response to the sequestration should include some if not all of the following bullet points:

  • A plan to reduce deficit spending from the current levels to zero within the next ten years not covered in the points below 
  • Reduction or elimination of non-essential functions or departments
  • Elimination of duplicate departments (ex. Do we really need multiple law-enforcement departments such as DHS, FBI, ATF that engage in turf wars and overlapping responsibilities?)
  • Aggressive prosecution of waste and fraud within the governmental agencies, and those who benefit from it.
  • Removal of programs that cost money instead of saving it (the new projections of the spending on Obamacare show that this legislation will cost billions more than it was promoted to save)
  • Rewriting of the tax code to be fair for all (individuals and businesses), instead of increasing penalties for earning more (i.e., flat tax)
  • Elimination of foreign aid to hostile regimes – our enemies should not receive our tax dollars
  • Reduction of foreign aid to friendly regimes – we need the money here to resolve our financial crisis before giving it away

The final bullet point is stopping something that Congress likes to do to legislation passes by previous Congresses – changing the laws.  Congress needs to make a long term plan, pass the legislation to support it, and don’t change it.

No individual or business can remain viable if the country they are residing in is in a financial crisis.  Jobs are tentative, benefits to those who need them are reduced, and businesses will go out of business.  If you don’t believe me, look at the riots in Greece and France over losses of jobs and benefits, and perhaps you will see the future of this country if Congress doesn’t get the country’s financial house in order.

If our elected officials of either party do not enact legislation solving the financial ills of this country, then I propose We the People give them this:

 

hlg-layoff


Cross-posted to Wise Conservatism

An Alternate Stimulus Proposal

Yesterday, the Senate passed an $838 Billion “stimulus bill,” of which a reported 42% percent of its $838 billion in debt-financed costs is tax cuts, including Obama’s signature $500 tax credit for 95 percent of workers, with $1,000 going to couples. In contrast, the House version is about one-third tax cuts.  At the time of this post, it sounds like that an $800 Billion compromise version of this monstrosity is almost ready for voting by Congress.

So where is the rest of the money going? In case you have forgotten, read the previous post – it’s all going to increase the size of the Federal Government and what I would term “special interests.” But what about the hardworking person that is fighting to keep a roof over their head? From MSNBC.com:

Obama’s “Making Work Pay” tax credit would be reduced from $500 per worker to $400, with couples eligible for an $800 credit, instead of $1,000, said a Democratic aide close to the talks.

[Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max] Baucus had said earlier that $35.5 billion to provide a $15,000 homebuyer tax credit, approved in the Senate last week, would be cut back. There was also pressure to reduce a Senate-passed tax break for new car buyers, according to Democratic officials.

From another MSNBC.com article:

A provision limiting compensation for top executives of companies receiving federal bailout assistance appeared likely to be dropped altogether because of an unanticipated $11 billion budget cost.

So it should be obvious to even the most rabid political party supporter that our elected politicians do not have the best interests of the general populous in the forefront of their concern. Instead, their aim is to grow the government and take care of their supporters on the backs of the taxpayers. And they are going to do it with debt-financing, which is one of the reasons we are in this mess to begin with.

Now before I go further, let’s stop and think about the following points:

The bailout of the bankers cost the taxpayers $700 Billion, and the expected final tally for the Obama stimulus package is around $800 Billion. That’s $1.5 Trillion. To put it in perspective, that’s $1,500,000,000,000.00 that the Federal government does not have, and they are adding that to the current national debt ($10.7 Trillion). Additionally, I have heard rumblings that since the first $700 Billion to the banks didn’t work, more money may be requested.

Among the reasons for the continuing slow economic recovery (which some have termed a recession) is the lack of credit lending by the banks and other fiduciary companies due to the large number of bad loans. Even though these institutions have received Federal loans, they are not lending money to the public or businesses because of the downturn in the economy. To exacerbate the problem, jobs are being cut by the various businesses because of the lack of funding to the public for purchasing goods & services. This now becomes a vicious cycle.

But doesn’t it seem ironic that in order to stimulate the economy that was ruined by too much credit, we must now borrow money, i.e., more credit, to put back into the economy? Does anyone else out there think that this is insane, and only delays a total meltdown?

So here is my counter-proposal to the Obama Stimulus Plan – Tom’s Taxpayer Economic Relief Boost (TTERB). TTERB would work in the following manner:

  1. Each taxpayer would receive, without paying additional taxes of any nature, an amount from the Federal Government equaling the total of Federal Withholding Tax (Federal Income Tax) for the past five years. Those who have not paid any tax are not eligible for this refund.
  2. Each homeowner shall be able to deduct the entire amount of interest paid on home mortgages. For those with multiple homes, only the lowest amount of interest paid on an individual mortgage shall apply. For those who live in apartments, 20% of the rent paid during the year shall be eligible for deduction. This deduction will only be available for three years.
  3. The refunds and deductions as outlined in the above points shall first be applied to outstanding debt such as credit cards, past due bills, personal loans, back taxes & penalties, and the like before any other expenditures are to take place. Mortgages and car loans shall be exempt from this provision unless the taxpayer is behind in payments or is in danger of foreclosure.
  4. The refunds and deductions as outlined in the above points shall not be used to fund or otherwise apply for new debt or credit lines.

What this proposal will do is put money back into the hands of the responsible, tax-paying people that the Obama Stimulus Plan proposes, only without the government handouts and pork. The consumer is now able to not only pay off debt that may have been incurred, but should the person have lost their job, be able to pay his bills until the economy, spurred on by increased consumer spending, rebounds and is able to become employed again.

The entire idea is to put money back into the hands of responsible, hard-working tax-paying Americans who have put money into the system. It’s time to give these people a break. Of course, this proposal is discriminatory – deadbeats and tax-cheats will not benefit.

Yes, I know this is simple, probably too simple, for the great minds that we have in Washington to understand. But I’m a simple person, and keeping it simple works for me.