motives

Finally there appears to be some agreement that we must reduce spending.   Unfortunately, the mindset of those who wish to do this is all wrong. I guess I shouldn’t care about the motives of the Democrats and Republicans here, as long as they do what we all want them to do. But it does matter, because even if we manage to get our fiscal house in order (and that’s no small task), if we do not quit wasting money on unnecessary things, we will quickly get back to the same problem we are in right now. When getting out of debt, one must change the behavior that led to the fiscal crisis they were in. I know this first hand. Why is this concept so difficult for the White House and Congress to grasp?

Read the following quote from President Obama and you tell me whether he understands this concept:

“If you’re a progressive that cares about investments in Head Start and student loan programs and medical research and infrastructure,” Mr. Obama said, “we’re not going to be able to make progress on those areas if we haven’t gotten our fiscal house in order.”

So we have to put the fiscal house in order to spend MORE money on social programs. Got it. I would argue that putting our fiscal house in order requires a re-evaluation of our current spending priorities and maybe eliminating some programs. That’s not what the President wants to do.

4 thoughts on “motives”

  1. Long time no talk. Any examples you can point to that suggests Republicans have ever cut spending, cut programs, shrunk the debt or the deficit?

    I don’t think you can find anywhere in the president’s 2.5 years in office where he hasn’t agreed to spending cuts. But there also has to be new revenue cause we can’t possibly cut enough to balance the budget. And every major poll suggests the American people want spending cuts and new revenue to help alleviate the debt. It has to be possible to do both :)

  2. I don’t have specific examples of Republicans cutting spending, etc. I do recall them having a hand in the Clinton economic strategy though. :)

    My point was not that President Obama wouldn’t agree to spending cuts. What I was saying is that the new-found commitment to spending cuts (by both sides, BTW) is an acknowledgement that we can’t spend any more money on all these social programs until we pretend to cut spending enough so the American people accept the tax hikes as a necessary evil. Temporary cuts don’t have any lasting positive impact. I don’t believe that President Obama and Congress are committed to long-term cuts, which is what we need to seriously address our fiscal crisis.

    As far as the American people and their opinions – well, you and I both know how fickle they are. Even so, I think that the American people recognize that new revenue is a buzzword for them paying more in taxes. Americans look out for their own self-interest. Last I checked, this hasn’t changed. I don’t know how Congress can prove that they have the right amount of spending cuts to justify tax hikes. Explain that to me and I might just accept your argument.

  3. Hey thanks for the reply. It’s hard to find time any more to get good conversations going.

    Specific examples of Republican spending cuts would be very hard to find since there aren’t any. I guess if you want to use Boehner’s deal he helped broker that cut a whopping $37 million from the budget earlier this year you could. But that’s still not enough to lower overall federal spending, which is really what we mean when we talk about spending cuts.

    The Clinton economic strategy is rather bare from any Republican fingerprints too. Clinton’s Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act was passed in 1993 without a single Republican vote. It raised taxes and mandated the federal budget be balanced for 7 years or so. The first thing Republicans did when Bush took over in 2001 was do away with this 1993 act. And ever since then we’ve had nothing but chronic budget deficits (not to mention two endless wars, and a huge government expansion from Bush and the GOP in which they never raised a single to penny to pay for any of it).

    Most Americans I think realize what new revenue means. And most Americans would not be affected by the new revenue because it would only target those making over $250,000/year. If we are not going to be fickle we at least have to acknowledge what’s being debated and what’s not.

  4. I think that this $250,000 number is questionable, because the definition of who the haves are is ALWAYS fluid. A business owner netting 250k is different from the person who gets a 250k salary from their employer. You understand this. I understand this. The president wants to blur the lines and continues to keep redefining who the rich are. It is disingenuous of anyone to keep talking about taxing the rich, because there isn’t a consistent definition of terms in this case.

    As far as your point about the Republicans, I am really not in the mood to defend them, especially Speaker Boehner. I think the whole spending question is something neither party is willing to seriously address, at least on the Senate side. With that said, my opinion on President Obama’s commitment to spending cuts hasn’t changed. :)

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