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Thread: Obama ‘Agnostic’ on Deficit Cuts, Won’t Prejudge Tax Increases

  1. #51
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    Re: Obama ‘Agnostic’ on Deficit Cuts, Won’t Prejudge Tax Increases

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    Why can't we just cut spending?
    Because corporate interests rely on the government tit and a hand in any regulation.

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    Re: Obama ‘Agnostic’ on Deficit Cuts, Won’t Prejudge Tax Increases

    or because the majority of our spending is considered non-discretionary mandatory spending.

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    Re: Obama ‘Agnostic’ on Deficit Cuts, Won’t Prejudge Tax Increases

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav View Post
    That's not true.

    The problem is not with voters:

    Uhh I'm really confused as to what this graph is showing. Is this a poll? As in, they asked some people how much they THINK the government wastes and took the average? The average person has absolutely no idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav
    It is with politicians:

    Adults Are Responsible
    If you look at the fact that we have never reduced the size of the federal government a single year since 1965 (although next year will probably be the first time due to the high short-term expenditures this year), it makes it clear that the American people just aren't electing politicians who want to do that. The tax rates go up and down, but spending almost never goes down.

    Rather than blaming the politicians, why not look at WHY they don't reduce spending and WHY the American people keep electing them. I think the only logical conclusion is that the American people simply don't care as much about small government as they claim to. They want smaller government in the abstract, but ask them if they favor cutting social security, medicare, defense spending, DoE spending, or just about anything else, and they'll say no.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 02-13-10 at 01:40 AM.
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    Re: Obama ‘Agnostic’ on Deficit Cuts, Won’t Prejudge Tax Increases

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Uhh I'm really confused as to what this graph is showing. Is this a poll? As in, they asked some people how much they THINK the government wastes and took the average? The average person has absolutely no idea.
    It is a poll of how many cents people think the government wastes for every dollar it spends. Whether or not they "have a clue" doesn't change the fact that most people think the government is wasting a whole lot of money that it spends, which contradicts your claim.


    If you look at the fact that we have never reduced the size of the federal government a single year since 1965 (although next year will probably be the first time due to the high short-term expenditures this year), it makes it clear that the American people just aren't electing politicians who want to do that. The tax rates go up and down, but spending almost never goes down.

    Rather than blaming the politicians, why not look at WHY they don't reduce spending and WHY the American people keep electing them. I think the only logical conclusion is that the American people simply don't care as much about small government as they claim to. They want smaller government in the abstract, but ask them if they favor cutting social security, medicare, defense spending, DoE spending, or just about anything else, and they'll say no.
    Re-read the quote carefully, because you do not address the point it makes at all.

    EDIT: What evidence do you have that the size of the government hasn't been reduced a single year since 1965? How is that measured?
    Last edited by Dav; 02-13-10 at 02:14 AM.

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    Re: Obama ‘Agnostic’ on Deficit Cuts, Won’t Prejudge Tax Increases

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    And this is exactly why we have a perpetual deficit. Because people freak out ZOMG TAX INCREASE over any suggestion that we cut the deficit. And other people shriek ZOMG ENTITLEMENT CUTS over the same.

    If we're ever going to balance the budget, we're going to need to rein in entitlement spending and increase taxes.
    How about eliminating entitlements altogether???


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    Re: Obama ‘Agnostic’ on Deficit Cuts, Won’t Prejudge Tax Increases

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav View Post
    It is a poll of how many cents people think the government wastes for every dollar it spends. Whether or not they "have a clue" doesn't change the fact that most people think the government is wasting a whole lot of money that it spends, which contradicts your claim.
    Well according to this chart, people perceived that the government was wasting about 45 cents per dollar, all the way back in 1985. Yet that didn't stop them from electing a couple new generations of politicians who increased spending even more.

    This is exactly what I'm talking about. A poll that asks people what they think about an issue is not necessarily an effective way to measure public support, for many reasons. One, it doesn't measure how much people actually CARE about the issue in question. And two, it is affected by wording. As I said, the American people may think government is wasteful...but ask them to cut any specific program and they'll balk. Thus we had an unbelievably cynical sideshow of Republican senators rushing to the defense of the proletariat in light of Democratic attempts to rein in Medicare costs. (Not that the Democrats wouldn't have done the same thing if the shoe was on the other foot.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav
    Re-read the quote carefully, because you do not address the point it makes at all.

    EDIT: What evidence do you have that the size of the government hasn't been reduced a single year since 1965? How is that measured?
    Federal budget outlays.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 02-13-10 at 02:22 AM.
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    Re: Obama ‘Agnostic’ on Deficit Cuts, Won’t Prejudge Tax Increases

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Well according to this chart, people perceived that the government was wasting about 45 cents per dollar, all the way back in 1985. Yet that didn't stop them from electing a couple new generations of politicians who increased spending even more.
    Despite promising not to, no doubt.

    This is exactly what I'm talking about. A poll that asks people what they think about an issue is not necessarily an effective way to measure public support, for many reasons. One, it doesn't measure how much people actually CARE about the issue in question. And two, it is affected by wording. As I said, the American people may think government is wasteful...but ask them to cut any specific program and they'll balk. Thus we had an unbelievably cynical sideshow of Republican senators rushing to the defense of the proletariat in light of Democratic attempts to rein in Medicare costs. (Not that the Democrats wouldn't have done the same thing if the shoe was on the other foot.)
    I do think it would be interesting to poll how many people think cuts should be made for each government program/spending project.

    Federal budget outlays.
    Hm.



    Looks like it went down very, very slightly in 1969, 1987, and 1993, but for the most part I guess you're right. Scary graph.

    EDIT: Wait, what about as a percent of GDP?



    As I suspected, it went down during the 90's (and somewhat during the 80's). Not as bad as the former graph implies.
    Last edited by Dav; 02-13-10 at 02:46 AM.

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    Re: Obama ‘Agnostic’ on Deficit Cuts, Won’t Prejudge Tax Increases

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav View Post
    Despite promising not to, no doubt.
    I have a tough time believing that the American people have been duped into electing big-spending politicians decade after decade, and that they couldn't elect small government types if they actually wanted to. The more likely conclusion is that they simply DON'T want to.

    For example, Republicans are supposedly the party of small government. Yet why don't their representatives regularly campaign on spending cuts, and then actually try to cut spending? I think it's because they are well aware that the issue is a political loser.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav
    I do think it would be interesting to poll how many people think cuts should be made for each government program/spending project.
    I'm guessing you'd find overwhelming support for social security, medicare, medicaid, education, defense, unemployment insurance, and just about any other major expenditure. And people would bristle at any attempt to cut them back. That's not to say that we shouldn't reform them to get the costs under control (in fact, it's absolutely imperative that we do so for Medicare/Medicaid), but there is going to be a lot of pushback against spending cuts...much moreso than there is for tax increases.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav


    As I suspected, it went down during the 90's (and somewhat during the 80's). Not as bad as the former graph implies.
    Fair enough, but it's been fairly consistent in that 18-24% range for the last forty years or so. If that's where the political equilibrium lies, it's much more plausible to increase taxes to that level than to try to change the government spending preferences of the American people.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 02-13-10 at 03:02 AM.
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    Re: Obama ‘Agnostic’ on Deficit Cuts, Won’t Prejudge Tax Increases

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    Campaign promises are irrelevant. You can't make the American people happy anyway. You might as well just do what seems to be effective.
    Problem is nothing Obama has done has had a positive affect on jobs or the economy.

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    Re: Obama ‘Agnostic’ on Deficit Cuts, Won’t Prejudge Tax Increases

    bush 41 said read my lips

    he broke his word

    he got voted out

    by republicans

    but 41's ancient history

    fix this economy, obama, NOW

    or suffer the consequences

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