true conservation
Posted by Stone (+1598) 13 years ago
Where are the real deficit hawks?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Let's say you're a congressperson or tea party leader looking to champion deficit reduction - a cause 38 percent of Americans tell pollsters they support. And let's say you're deciding whether to back two pieces of imminent legislation.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the first bill's spending provisions cost $100 billion annually and its tax and budget-cutting provisions recoup $111 billion annually, reducing total federal expenditures by $11 billion each year. The second bill proposes $636 billion in annual spending and recoups nothing. Over 10 years, the first bill would spend $1 trillion and recover $1.11 trillion - a fantastic return on taxpayer investment. Meanwhile, the second bill would spend $6.3 trillion in the same time.
Save $110 billion, or spend $6.3 trillion? If you're claiming the mantle of fiscal prudence, you support the first bill and oppose the second one.

Yet the opposite happened.

When the House considered a health care expansion proposal that the CBO says will reduce the deficit by $11 billion a year, tea party protesters and Congress' self-described "fiscal conservatives" opposed it on cost grounds. At the same time, almost none of them objected when Congress passed a White House-backed bill to spend $636 billion on defense in 2010.

The hypocrisy is stunning - lots of "budget hawk" complaints about health legislation reducing the deficit and few "budget hawk" complaints about defense initiatives that, according to Government Executive magazine, "puts the president on track to spend more on defense, in real dollars, than any other president has in one term of office since World War II." And that doesn't even count additional spending on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
So, as Bob Dole might ask, where's the public outrage?
One clear answer is values - or lack thereof. In our militaristic culture, we are taught to prioritize Pentagon spending over everything else.

Another less obvious answer is ignorance sown by skewed reporting.
The health bill's expenditures are typically described by reporters in 10-year, $1 trillion terms while defense spending is described as a one-year, $636 billion outlay. That can lead citizens to think the health care bill will cost more than defense - when, in fact, the 10-year comparison pits a $1 trillion health care bill against $6.3 trillion in projected defense spending.

But even that's not apples to apples. Political headlines have all been some version of Dow Jones newswire's screamer: "CBO Puts Health Bill Cost At $1 Trillion." Though the bill's expenditures total $1 trillion, the CBO confirms its other provisions recover more than that, meaning headlines should read "CBO Says Health Bill Saves $110 Billion."

Not surprisingly, the media distortions are trumpeted by the same congressional hypocrites who back bigger Pentagon budgets and oppose health reform. Their dishonest arguments were summed up by Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., in a Fox News interview. Ignoring CBO data about the health bill and the deficit, the lawmaker insisted health legislation must be stopped because it will rack up "debt (that) can break America."

Only professional liars could cite debt as reason to oppose a health care bill reducing the debt - and then vote for debt-expanding defense budgets. Unfortunately, professional liars are the norm in today's politics, not the exception.
by David Sirota
Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 13 years ago
Yeah, nothing says responsible budgeting like projecting based on 10-years of increased tax revenues while only paying for 7-years of coverage.

That kind of accounting would land you in jail in the real world. In federal government though it's 'good policy'

Or how about trying to make a bill 'deficit neutral' by stripping all the tough-to-account spending out of it so it can be passed separately.

Fear not, though. Congress still gets to keep their own health care. It's just yours that needs to change.
Posted by mtpatriot (+78) 13 years ago
Thank you Rick for someone finally stating common sense and reality. I repeatedly asked Max Baucus if they were going to have to take the same health care plan they are attempting to force on us, and he would not answer, gave it the old political 2 step. Now it is in the bill that awaits the vote that no they dont have to. They can keep their wonderful plan. So while the politicians feel it is good enough for us, it is not good enough for them. Plus the CBO also stated that it will raise taxes for the average american, so how can this be deficit nuteral? So are we back to take more from us that work for a living so the wealth can be spread around? I dont think many of us mind paying our fair share, but when there are people that feel it is their right without having to work for it, that is when I have a problem. Again thank you Rick for speaking what you feel.
Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+18248) 13 years ago
And again thank you mtpatriot and Rick for completely changing the subject from the original post.
Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 13 years ago
Not sure it was really a subject change, but if you'd like something more on topic...

here's your party's newest piece of "deficit hawk" wizardry.

White House Aims to Cut Deficit With TARP Cash

Yep, that's right. The government is going to use government bailout money to bail out the government.

How did such revolutionary thinking get us here?
Posted by Stone (+1598) 13 years ago
Colbert conservatism and the military budget

By David Sirota

Pop quiz: Name the political leader who said the following:

"We must be willing to pull the plug before sinking more dollars into weapons that do not provide what our warriors need."

Now name the leader who said this:
"(W)e cannot track $2.3 trillion in (Pentagon spending) ... We maintain 20 to 25 percent more base infrastructure than we need to support our forces, at an annual waste to taxpayers of some $3 billion to $4 billion ... There are those who will oppose every effort to save taxpayers' money ... Well, fine, if there's to be a struggle, so be it."

I'm willing to bet many self-described "conservatives" guessed Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich. I would make that wager based on the enraged response to my recent column about government data showing that our waste-ridden, $600-billion-a-year defense budget will cost about seven times more than the health-care legislation currently before Congress.

In e-mails, letters and Web site comments, right-wingers didn't vent anger at Pentagon profligacy, but at the criticism of Pentagon profligacy - as if brazenly throwing away billions on outdated weapons systems and obsolete military programs is now a "conservative" value.

Notably, the vitriol didn't include contrary numbers disproving the figures I referenced (none exists) - the responses just used Fox News-ish slogans like "the cost of freedom" to deride all criticism of Pentagon spending as unpatriotic ultraliberalism.

Of course, if that's true, then Stephen Colbert's refrain that "reality has a well-known liberal bias" is now less a laugh line than a devastatingly accurate commentary on the deranged terms of America's political discourse. I say that because here are some objective, nonpartisan, nonideological facts:

 The 2010 Pentagon budget means "every man, woman and child in the United States will spend more than $2,700 on (defense) programs and agencies next year," reports the Cato Institute. "By way of comparison, the average Japanese spends less than $330; the average German about $520; China's per capita spending is less than $100."

 "(The Pentagon budget) dwarfs the combined defense budgets of U.S. allies and potential U.S. enemies alike," reports Hearst Newspapers.