“You do it first!” “No, YOU do it first!”

This is the game being played in DC, today.

The GOP wants to utterly destroy SS and medicare. They just don’t want their totally white, geriataric base to see it.

*Some* Democrats are OK with this. *Some* Democrats are opposed to it. *Some* Democrats are “on the fence”; gimme some honey and I’ll vote with you.

So, the GOP is maneuvering to have Democrats cut SS and Medicare, and the Democrats are trying to figure out a way to let the cuts to defense, already in the sequester, take place without devastating the economy. (Don’t misunderstand this. MASSIVE cuts to defense, over night, will affect suppliers of defense contractors, so there’s a bit of dancing to be done on the part of “the left” to avoid further damaging the economy.)

SS and Medicare are dangling by a thread, and the POTUS (yeah, our current POTUS, Barack Obama) has said, and whether you realize it or not, continues to say, “Make me do it.”

Enough with the “Obama’s gonna sell us out” comments. “Make” him “do it”.

It’s really up to us.

The “game”, right now, is to get the Republicans/teabaggers to own the calls to cut SS and Medicare. Which they won’t do, so don’t lose any sleep over the default on the debt. Meanwhile, the GOP/baggers want the Democrats to name cuts to SS and Medicare. Which they won’t do.

The debt ceiling vote will come, and it will be raised.

The next big battle is the sequester. Which defense cuts will we keep? Which social programs cuts will we keep?

Put your pants back on and get to work. Educate yourself on the sequester. Decide what YOU want to do about debt (or quit bragging about Clinton running a surplus).

The sequester battle is the one that matters, but the Battle for America never ends.

(Video posted right after the.worst.president.in.history “won” re-election.)

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  1. Oralloy’s avatar

    All the defense cuts are just as bad as all the cuts to social spending.

    What we really need to do is raise taxes.

    That said, it is ironic that Obama was actually willing to go along with some quite appalling cuts to social spending (I forget if it was Medicare or Social Security, but he was willing to let the Republicans gut one of them in exchange for a tax increase). But then the tea party people outright blocked any deal on raising taxes, and by extension they also blocked Obama’s agreement to gut the program.

    It sounds counterintuitive, but if it weren’t for the tea party’s refusal to compromise with Obama, America might be looking at some pretty grim reductions to our social programs right now.

    I think what we really need is a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

    Yes, I know deficit spending is good in an economic downturn. But that’s outweighed by the way Congress abuses the deficit all the rest of the time.

    But unlike previous balanced budget proposals, that always seem to envision courts ordering a reduction in spending if there is a deficit, I propose having the courts order a tax increase whenever there is a deficit.

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  2. Timbuk3’s avatar

    Personally, I’d like to see defense cut by enough that we’re only spending as much as whoever’s currently in second (from more than the next 20 highest spenders). The Navy has proven, to me, that an aircraft carrier based strike force can put enough firepower on a target that we don’t need bases in Japan, SK, or the Phillipines, for sure, and could at least scale back (if not close completely) Ramstein. We may need the medical facilities there, and possibly one place in East Asia. And even that is to “maintain empire”, in a way. Clinton had a great idea with a smaller, faster army, too. (I think he called it “rapid deployment forces”, but I’m too lazy to look for a link.) As long as we’re in NATO, we have to be ready to aid our allies, but when you’ve got ships with such strong (classified) defenses that they’re virtually unsinkable, carrying cruise missiles that can hit a bull in the ass at 500 miles, I think we’ve got that covered.

    I have lots of reasons why we don’t need to worry about being invaded, and the second amendment is only one of them. We have “pork barrel” bases scattered all across the country. Some of them should be closed.

    But if we made cuts that large “over night” it would plunge the world into depression, so we’ve got to accept that it can’t be done all in one go.

    Development of new weapons needs to be looked at. I don’t know what DARPA’s budget is, it may not be that large, and I’m all for funding research, but most weapons programs (F-35) seem to run WAY over budget. How about telling contractors “no, you bid that price, that’s all you get”? Nah, that won’t work. We’ll just get shoddy merchandise, but if “free enterprise” is the solution to everything, there’s got to be an argument that works in the current detached reality. Maybe just pass a law that says we won’t buy anything that’s not more “mature” than what we’re funding, now?

    As far as social services go, the GOP has stipulated that $400-$450K is “middle class”, so at the very least that should be the cap on payroll taxes that fund SS.

    I’m opposed to any cuts to social services. It’s disturbing to think that “we” are looking to solve our problems by feeding people who can’t afford to feed themselves. Maybe that’s a metaphor, but cutting health care for people who can’t afford chemo when they have cancer isn’t the way I want to fix things.

    I’m amused by the people who speak of Obama “playing 11th dimensional chess”. He was an inexperienced Senator when he took the office. I’m sure he, like anyone else would, has learned on the job, and I think he’s a pretty bright guy. That doesn’t mean I think he’s a genius, much less “God’s gift to mankind”, but it’s a fact that none of the “cuts to SS and medicare” that he’s “offered” (I put that in quotes because who knows what the GOP asked for, behind closed doors?) have become law. When you’re playing politics, sometimes you offer things you know the other side can’t accept. Maybe Obama was a neophyte when he took office, but some of his advisors (like his Secretary of State’s husband) weren’t. Publicly embarassing your opponent is a “win” in politics, and as far as I can tell, Obama’s won on SS and medicare, so far.

    I like your idea of “tax increases are mandatory when we have deficits to pay”, to some extent, but I can’t support it, at least without further modification. I’ll give you a real example; Bush took the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq “off budget”. My position is, anyone who lives in a district who’s congressman votes to go to war will be subject to a larger tax burden AND send AT LEAST one child (or grand child) to fight in the war. No “outsies”, no buying your way out; you voted for the fucker so one of your progeny is putting their lives at risk, and you’re gonna pay a little more. But, being a Keynesian, I can’t go along wiht an unconditional raise in taxes any time the party in power decides to spend more money. I think it should affect those people who voted to increase spending by electing irresponsible congress-critters. Hell, I’d gladly pay more in taxes to feed a few families.

    We actually used to do something like this, according to a diary my wife read that was written by one of her ancestors. He was faced with a choice (in, I think, the civil war) to either send a kid or money to fight the war.

    One other thing; I think it’s time to demand that every state gets back $0.97 in Federal spending for every $1.00 in Federal taxes. I realize a few things about this:

    1) It will inordinately hurt poor people in red states;
    2) It will inordinately hurt the economy in red states, which will FURTHER hurt the poor in red statess, and;
    3) It will leave more money in the hands of blue states, which fund progressive causes FAR more often than red states fund them.

    So, it will be a short-term loss (I hope) for the poor (which is anti-progressive and cruel), but I think it’s time to send the message that taxation isn’t the “overpowering evil” that so many Americans have been brainwashed to believe.

    Our founding fathers and parents gave us a great country, and we’ve broken it.

    I wish “we”, who on BOTH sides worked so hard to fix the problems we faced by standing in long lines to vote, donating money we no longer have, spending time we could have spent on earing money in a second job…

    …would insist that we spend less time on “gun control” and more time on the economic issues that are real, that we face.

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  3. Oralloy’s avatar

    Personally, I’d like to see defense cut by enough that we’re only spending as much as whoever’s currently in second (from more than the next 20 highest spenders).

    That would mean the end of the free world. We would no longer be able to defend our allies. And our allies, recognizing this, would start siding with the bad guys against us in world diplomacy, in order to not antagonize enemies that we were no longer able to defend against. As more and more nations stopped being our friends, many of our profitable economic links would fall away.

    Eventually, it would be us against the entire world. Perhaps with our nukes we could survive that. But it would not be a very nice world to live in.

    The Navy has proven, to me, that an aircraft carrier based strike force can put enough firepower on a target that we don’t need bases in Japan, SK, or the Phillipines,

    Carriers might be able to make a brief intense strike, but they have a finite number of weapons in their stores. Unless we come up with a way to continuously resupply them in bulk, they will not be an ideal way to wage an entire air war from.

    Also, China has developed weapons designed to keep our carriers far enough away that the carriers’ traditional fighters will be out of range of any regional war.

    We’re countering by developing little “mini B2″ unmanned bombers that will greatly extend the range of our carriers, but developing those takes defense spending.

    Air bases, particularly in Japan, are a far more reliable (and unsinkable) way to defend our allies from Chinese aggression.

    We don’t have bases in the Philippines at the moment. Increased aggression from China may change that however.

    As long as we’re in NATO, we have to be ready to aid our allies, but when you’ve got ships with such strong (classified) defenses that they’re virtually unsinkable, carrying cruise missiles that can hit a bull in the ass at 500 miles, I think we’ve got that covered.

    Cruise missiles are a horribly expensive way to conduct a bombardment. We’d go bankrupt if we ever had to conduct an entire bombing campaign by cruise missile. In today’s money, I wouldn’t be surprised if they cost over a million dollars per shot.

    I don’t know what DARPA’s budget is, it may not be that large, and I’m all for funding research, but most weapons programs (F-35) seem to run WAY over budget.

    If we cut back on F-35s, do we ramp up production of F-22s again?

    Or do we fly F-16s and let Chinese pilots in stealth fighters shoot all our guys down?

    When you’re playing politics, sometimes you offer things you know the other side can’t accept.

    I forget which program it was that Obama was offering to gut (I think it was either Social Security or Medicare), but I believe he was making a genuine offer to the Republicans in the spirit of compromise.

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