Secure America's Future Economy
SAFE’s “hit nail on head” Blog - Replies:
I couldn't agree more. Beware those people -- especially politicians -- who have an agenda. – Retired judge (NJ)
Very good blog. Then this report, although the child in Delaware probably does not have Ebola. http://tinyurl.com/k7alqhl - Retired investment adviser
You certainly took the GOP to task, and I agree completely. There is just no marketing of ideas like '94, as you mentioned. Take GovCare. Unless the GOP has a comprehensive alternative, we won't get anywhere simply calling for repeal. – SAFE director
Didn’t have a link, but could it be the Phil Donahue interview? Watch that one – it is pure gold!!! - Joe Hilliard, PA
Bingo! The interview was in 1979 (Friedman was promoting his book “Free to Choose”), ran 46 minutes, and here is the link. http://tinyurl.com/k4z4zag
While lauding the corporation as “one of the most important institutions in the world” in his book review, Professor Mayer also calls it “the cause of immense problems and suffering” and “a source of poverty and pollution.” The failures of corporations “are increasing,” according to him, and “while governments are subject to repeated questioning and scrutiny” corporations receive “relatively little attention.” I don’t believe government actions are monitored more rigorously than corporate actions, certainly that’s not evident from the generally accepted explanations for the 2008 financial crisis, but even if they were so what? It would be a big mistake to abandon corporations to the whims of left wing academics. – SAFE director
The EPA seems to be engaged in a power grab! [pun intended] – SAFE director
I think the end is nigh. It is financially impossible for the Federal Reserve to withdraw the money injected into the money supply. If the economy starts to improve inflation presents itself. If the Fed raises interest rates to control it, they throw the economy into a depression. If they don't raise interest rates hyperinflation occurs. The only workable solution is for the Federal government to stop borrowing so much money, but there is no stomach for this in Washington. The patient has already died; it’s just missing a death certificate. We are all living on borrowed time - literally and metaphorically. – Retired financial planner
Just to let you know that my involvement has not diminished, I attended the Texas Republican State convention to help Ted Cruz and, with the TEA party, to lobby the delegates to eliminate the guest worker (amnesty) plank from the platform. We succeeded, so the national Rep. Establishment cannot look to Texas as an example for that viewpoint.- Former SAFE president
The only way to stop this insanity is to elect more conservatives, starting this November when the American people have a chance to return the Senate to Republican control. – Retired judge
Let’s hope the power of the purse can serve to check the president’s momentum and agenda. The tyranny of the “urgent” (manufactured and promulgated on the left; inadequately resisted by RINOs) is sabotaging constructive dialogue, debate and Constitutional decision-making. - NeighborWhy should they back down on the CPP? They won! Wish us better luck in the next incarnation. – SAFE director
Rep. Carney and Sen. Coons were at the Veterans Memorial community based outpatient clinic in Dover on May 26. Both spoke about the importance of honoring and respecting our veterans and dealing with homeless vets. While their speeches were nice, neither of them mentioned the VA scandal or improving support for vets in need of long-term care. – Sam Friedman, CRI
The Pimco outlook cited for the rest of 2014 et seq. seems very high. There has been a lot of “stimulus” spending since 2009, with little accomplished beyond running up the debt. Further “growth” will be dependent on more deficits and debt, which cannot safely be continued. Expect stagflation ahead! – SAFE director
Speaking of government overreaching, some states (e.g., Virginia) have enacted laws requiring motorists to change lanes, yielding added space for a standing emergency vehicle. The law sounds reasonable on its face, but look how the police are using it: (a) First cop stops someone for speeding; takes his time about writing a ticket while they sit on the side of the road; (b) Additional cops from “wolf pack” observe, then pursue anyone who does not change lanes; (c) While the first non-lane-changer is being ticketed, the game continues....... Drive defensively! – Retired IBM executive
We have an arrogant government that will grab what people let them grab, but resistance must be handled in an intelligent way. Thus, Senator Jim Inhofe has criticized the tough talking Oklahoma militia (which claims to have nearly 50K members), saying he blames both sides and that BLM critics should not take the law into their own hands. http://bit.ly/1gO1GT7 - SAFE director
Let’s be realistic. Over the last 70 years, almost every major policy change in DC was liberal leaning or nonpartisan. Very few “Conservative” policy ideas have been made into law. http://delonline.us/1qE72qD - Sam Friedman, CRI
Unless and until they lose control of the Senate, the Democrats will have no reason to deal on the budget, taxes, or real immigration “reform” (versus their path to citizenship version). The Republicans have earned this trip into the ditch for going along to get along. Look for cover! – SAFE director
Dennis Prager tells it like it is in this 9-minute video. The root problem is that Americans have forgotten what this country was supposed to be about. http://www.youtube.com/embed/XNUc8nuo7HI - SAFE member (DE)
So the premise of the blog entry that arguments could be made that people would actually listen to is false, and the country will inevitably continue down the path to ruin? Let’s hope not! - Publius
On Friday, all employees in my office received a notice from our insurer, Aetna, that it could no longer offer our existing coverage because that coverage did not comply with ACA. I spoke to several friends this weekend that received similar notices. These are the life changing events that will cause millennials to wake up. I just hope it’s not too late. – SAFE director
Since politics is not based on truth - rather on persuasion - I demand that Side A PROVE any statement or I will ignore it or add it to my list of ideological edicts from them. – SAFE director
The inability of progressives to see that their ideas haven’t been working leads me to agree with research suggesting a genetic component. See, e.g., this current piece from Mother Jones. http://bit.ly/1jaU6FD Forget about compromise, one side or the other is going to prevail. – SAFE member (DE)
Liked the entry, but why did you rule out the idea of having state legislatures choose senators. They should represent their respective states versus having their own little fiefdoms. – SAFE member (DE)
Our thought was that arguing against having the voters select senators directly would sound too much like trying to turn back the clock (which can never be done).
I read Levin’s book, and my reaction was, how could we expect Congress to abide by these amendments when they don't abide by the current Constitution or its amendments? So a CC might be a useless effort, even if successful. – SAFE member (Texas)
If a CC worked out as Levin envisions, the Constitution would be back in vogue and all the politicians would be scrambling to get in step. Their lack of respect for the Constitution has been based on a perception that no one was paying attention.
Key problem with democracy is not lack of leadership, because leadership is not what decides the outcome of elections. Those who are lower in the socio-economic hierarchy will always vote for alms. – SAFE director
Looking back over the past four score years the march toward omnipotent, unlimited "progressive" government has continued steadily with no more than an occasional brief pause (the Reagan years?) until the next leap "forward." It almost seems inexorable now. People are more wedded to their political ideologies than the Constitution or even their religion (assuming they have one). Republicans at best try to slow the pace of growth, but the seduction of government passing out ever more handouts, or being entrusted to solve every perceived problem is an irresistible siren song for too many politicians and voters. (And even when someone merely proposes to slow the rate of increase in spending, this is irrationally attacked as a heartless, draconian "cut.")
Liberals instinctively want to impose their will on the populace in every way imaginable. No matter how incompetent government is in imposing and administering its misguided and too often unconstitutional policies, most people apparently give more weight to its "good intentions." 21st century liberalism in America is fast morphing into fascism. The Constitution is disregarded if it gets in the way of achieving "utopia" and "social justice." Everything will be tolerated except those who oppose the liberal, Saul Alinsky agenda.
The final nail in the coffin is the slavish devotion of most all TV and print journalists to the liberal cause, along with their vitriolic, knee-jerk antipathy to anyone who disagrees. Without a blunt, crusty, cynical, dogged, inquisitive, and intelligent press that prides itself on challenging whoever holds power regardless of their ideology, the first amendment freedom of the press has no meaning, at least not in the context that the Founders understood it. – Steve Grimble, author of “For Love & Liberty”We aren’t ready to give up hope yet, but admittedly things have been headed in the wrong direction and time is getting short. Wake up, America! - Publius
The entry on healthcare and "telling a story" was well thought out, timely & entertaining. Just yesterday, I talked with a big supporter of GovCare. She is a Harvard MD practicing with a large hospital (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) and also with the VA Hospital there. It was an amazing and frustrating conversation. Supposedly a life-long Republican, she has jumped ship because "the Republicans did not have any suggestions or proposals to resolve healthcare issues and were at war against women's rights, especially the ‘right’ to get government-paid contraception and abortion.” She cited no credible data, and dismissed my factual arguments as “right-wing spin.” I could not sway this single-issue voter, who has bought all of the liberal story lines and myths. – Retired financial executive
Side A has the edge at the ballot box. No matter how the economy does, the top layer will receive grants and slick jobs while the bottom layer rakes in welfare, food stamps and HC subsidies. Nothing will change until there is some fiscal calamity that can be pinned directly on progressives. A currency plunge might do that or a few strokes of hyperinflation. – SAFE director
Response: We’re inclined to be more optimistic for the reasons cited in the entry, basically because ideas do matter and Side B would have lots of ammunition if it offered a real alternative instead of an “us too, but not quite so much” message.
The chart of "Marketable U.S. debt" shows said debt increasing from $2,000,000 (two million dollars) in 1990 to slightly less than $12,000,000 (twelve million dollars) in 2014. I think the actual figures are a million times higher than that. – SAFE member
Response: The chart shows the growth trend properly, but there should have been an “in millions of dollars” legend.
I try to remain optimistic about the Republic's future, but most all the trends and critical indicators suggest to me that things are going to hell in a hand basket. G.K. Chesterton once remarked: "A society is in decay when common sense becomes uncommon." Evidence that common sense in America is an endangered "species," certainly in Washington DC and the media, is daily on parade. – Retired financial executive
It is clear that the Executive Branch executes laws selectively. The system is failing. Get set for uglier things in the future. – SAFE director
I think Krauthammer was right to call it the “chestnut speech,” because the president’s claims of success rang hollow and he offered little in the way of new ideas. – SAFE director
Manmade global warming theory is accepted dogma now. No comments against GW are acceptable. – SAFE director
A link to this entry was forwarded by John Greer of the Climate Common Sense network and by Peter Rigby. Many thanks, your interest is appreciated.
We also wrote to the three Delaware members of Congress urging them to reconsider their adherence to the MMGW theory. http://bit.ly/1f6ZOoi
Corporate hiring has been stagnant for several reasons, including technology advances and a shortage of highly qualified job applicants. This may lead to pushback, which has been described as an “Occupy Boardroom” movement. http://www.cnbc.com/id/101307134
Every company in America, large and small, ought to be seriously considering the question of how best to spend or invest its capital at the moment. Otherwise, it could well be forced to part with it -- whether by lawmakers, labor unions, bankers, activists or 'raiders', or private equity dealmakers. It doesn't help corporate America's image that the Affordable Care Act gives the impression that many companies are also shifting the cost and burden of health[care] coverage onto workers and taxpayers.
Such a government and leftist invasion into the boardroom could tend to force businesses out of the country. – SAFE director
I've always contended that the bust was ultimately caused by the Community Reinvestment Act (1977), because as a realtor I saw it happening in a real-time basis. And by way of support, see this analysis: Here’s how the Community Reinvestment Act led to the housing bubble’s lax lending, John Carney, Business Insider, 6/27/09. http://read.bi/19trioj Let me know what you think - SAFE member (and still a realtor)
SAFE response: Our blog entry is written from a 20,000 foot view and doesn’t cite the CRA as such, but see point 2 (Government policy created the bubble, starting with Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" of the late 1960s) and the "Fans of Theory X" paragraph (listing a string of "policies that are inherently unstable" including "well-intentioned housing policies to benefit the lower economic echelon"). Chapter 5 of John Allison’s book is in harmony with Mr. Carney’s analysis.
|12/9/2013||Attorney General Eric Holder at Justice is the dude who scares me the most in this administration, but you are right about the EPA. Their policies are ideologically driven, and we are already feeling, in the coal industry and coal fired power plants, the resulting potential for damage to our economy. – Military historian|
Why should we be surprised? The rabid leftists actually believe they are on a holy crusade to redistribute wealth for the good of the poor. They will grab all they can get. And IF they lose the Senate, they will want the old filibuster rules back. – SAFE director
Excellent review of what's going on in the Senate. – SAFE director
|11/18/2013||I like it. As for the next installment(s), the proposed solutions for the fiscal problems we face get very little traction in the media. So anything that illustrates some of the proposed solutions, and the pro's and con's of those solutions would be great. – SAFE director|
The CBO never gets anything right. They should be focused on the US national debt (not simply the amount of the debt in public hands), which stands at $17.1 trillion and represents 107% of the Gross Domestic Product. – SAFE director
See update on what actually happened at the BCC meeting. Delaware Chatter, 11/14/13.
BCC meeting was damned discouraging if you ask me. The Democrats can't wait to kill off the Sequester and the Republicans seem to be begging for an opportunity to do help them get it done. I guess those Congressmen and women just accepted the CBO's promise that the Affordable Care Act will save the government money. Those people seem to be living in an Alice in Wonderland world. I cannot think of one government program that has actually saved money and I can think of dozens of government programs that have cost the taxpayer a lot more money than the CBO originally estimated. There seems to be an air of unreality wafting from Washington, D.C. these days - and it scares me. Thanks for your emails, even when discouraging, they keep me informed. Please keep fighting the good fight. – Military historian
I don’t think the left is seriously interested in anything except tax increases and more spending & social programs, so it’s hard to see a constructive budget deal – even simply to replace the sequester with targeted spending cuts. – SAFE director
I am so glad that you diligently research these matters and offer concrete suggestions--however many times they go un-heeded. Your group is to be congratulated for your perseverance. – Family connection
And what happens when interest rates go up to control inflation? – Retired investment & insurance adviser Overloaded borrowers start going bust and gov't defaults on debt, or Fed starts printing more and more money and we wind up with hyperinflation. Either way, the consequences will be toxic for the middle class. Rich can protect themselves if they are smart; poor have nothing to lose. - SAFE
No surprise: the Republicans caved with no discernible benefit from all the flak they are taking for shutting down the government (actually, it is the president who will negotiate with Russia and Iran, but not Republicans, who shut down the government). – SAFE director
"Singularity" (point at which “artificial intelligence exceeds human intelligence) is predicted as not being too far in the future. The critical issue then will be who programs or controls the computers. "Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzwell, 2005. http://amzn.to/16OI1TU - SAFE director
It’s easy to understand the current economic stagnation, with most of the new jobs being less than 30 hours a week to avoid the obligation to provide healthcare coverage under GovCare. Economic growth is stunted by high business taxes, increasingly onerous regulations, and government officials more interested in serving their own interests than boosting the economy. A political shakeup is needed, but it won’t happen until things get really bad and the middle class is hammered. – SAFE director
Unless there is a government shutdown, the Republicans will inevitably get outmaneuvered and run over. – SAFE director
I am praying!!! – Texas steel executive
I saw the exchange prices in Delaware State News. There are really only 2 companies offering coverage on the Delaware exchange, when you think that Coventry has 2 divisions. Most of the plans appear to be very pricy, especially given that many have low co-pays. For example, the cheapest "Bronze" plan is over $2,000 for someone my age, single non-smoker in good general health. But, it would only cover 60% of my costs; I'd still have to pay the other 40%. Even the catastrophic plans are about $1,600 at the cheapest. – Young DE professional
|9/23/2013||The Left has secured the allegiance of the economic underclass with promises like free healthcare. They have no interest in solving the fiscal problem and will not attempt to do so. -SAFE Director|
I don’t see anyone taking the lead to start dealing with the real issues. We are between a rock and a hard place. – SAFE director
Re Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz’s advocacy of deficit spending, his ideas are truly extreme and driven by an underlying political agenda. See, e.g., http://bit.ly/14zwXJ5. - SAFE director
Solid analysis, wish I thought the members of Congress were listening. – Financial executive
Have you heard that you got a “shout out” on the Rush Limbaugh Show last week? I've forgotten what it was about, but the Rushman definitely did mention the source as Bill Whipple. Keep on, keepin on - you're getting a lot of this stuff right. – Military historian [This was a surprise to us, but nice to hear.]
Re being all in favor of civility, Saul Alinsky taught the power of ridicule. Why should Side B forego use of this weapon? - SAFE director
We always appreciate a good citation. Thank you. – John Williams, shadowstats
You say "Perceptions of ‘how bad is it,’ and ‘who is to blame’ may prove crucial in the budget battle expected after Congress returns to Washington in September." But conservatives are in a bind, because if they say things are bad, the progressives will use their words as a pretext to demand more “stimulus” for the economy. – SAFE director
We cannot expect any improvement in US economic performance until 2016, because Socialism just doesn't work! - SAFE member
I agree that most Americans aren’t studying about the debt limit, but they are concerned about GovCare and they also think welfare handouts are out of control. A home health aide recently commented to me and my wife, for instance, that "these young girls get themselves pregnant and then think someone else should take care of them while they sit at home watching TV and living on food stamps." – SAFE memberThe debt ceiling may not be an issue Americans pay attention to, but it should be. People should realize that IF they pay Federal income taxes their average share of the tax liability is currently running $242,000. [That’s $16.7 trillion divided by 69 million tax returns in the top 50% of returns, which pay almost 100% of the individual income tax collected.] We need to push the debt more. – SAFE director
The president successfully played the race card several times so why not continue? What does he have to lose? The conservatives won’t support him anyway, and libs are all on board with this. – SAFE directorShelby Steele, a black man, writing in the WSJ says the anger of Jackson, Sharpton, et al., over Zimmerman's acquittal isn't about Trayvon Martin but about the fact the jury thumbed their noses at these supposed civil rights leaders. He says they are irrelevant and are living off the fumes of the glory days of the movement in the 60's. They are, of course, trying to make this a racial matter, yet one juror said race was never even mentioned in the jury’s hours of deliberation. Now Sharpton is bleating about how he personally arranged for dozens of demonstrations against the verdict across America; proud of his handiwork. – SAFE director
No chance Congress cuts spending this year. I hear the farm bill that passed the House provides for even more spending than the Senate bill did. – CRI member
In a follow-up letter to GOP leaders, we said our analysis “agrees with the indicated Republican position in some areas, disagrees in others, and generally stresses the importance of ‘walking the talk.’”My list below. I am following this path—fix things with God, then fix the executive & legislative branches. Then cut spending, reform the tax code, fix the economy (cheap oil & gas would be a kick start), streamline Government, THEN fix the border …. and the military. So I am different! But we better get them all fixed soon, no matter what order! – Texas steel executive
Ban taxpayer funding of abortions
Exercise vigorous oversight of the administration Make Congress more open & accountable Repeal Obamacare & lower healthcare costs Cut spending Reform the tax code Expand energy production Eliminate excessive government red tape Secure the border & enforce our laws Keep national security strong and prepared Improve access to quality education My addition: Pull our Military out of Afghanistan.
My doctor is going after them! http://bit.ly/10GPXBd Texas steel executive [Dr. Hotze is challenging the constitutionality of the employer mandate. He views the decision to delay implementation as vindication, and is scheduled to take a bow on Fox Business News (July 8, morning). Others view the delay as lawless because the legislation does not authorize it, but share Dr. Hotze’s conviction that GovCare should be repealed.]
Re: "Envisioning millions of new voters who would be inclined to vote for their party, Democrats are solidly in support of the proposal. The debate has been mainly on the Republican side of the aisle." The immigration law has been perverted for decades to gain ballot box stuffers who are loyal to the left. This game is corrosive, and it can be played out in other areas such as taxes & welfare benefits. For a preview of what America will be like in 30 years, look at central areas of the biggest US cities. – SAFE directorResponse: If you are right, the future will not be pretty.
Great minds think alike. I do wish I was better at addition and subtraction. - SAFE member
The “progressive solution” is Death Panels to get the oldies to check out earlier. Amnesty for illegal immigrants and a hike in the inheritance tax are also favored. - SAFE director
The more you know, the scarier it get. – Retired finance executive
Re IRS targeting of tea party groups, here’s the first hand experience of one of our good customers: http://bit.ly/16DMR5o - Texas steel manager
Update: A report based on the White House visitor log suggests the president may have been privy to the IRS targeting before it began in 2010. http://bit.ly/17TLK1f
Candidly, they don't need ideas. They need courage! David WalkerWe agree that courage is a prerequisite for action, but it’s still necessary to be headed in the right direction.
Budget projections beyond 2 or 3 years are meaningless. GovCare implementation in 2014 will inflate outlays, and I see zero indication that Congress will cut spending. SAFE director
The most common mainstream dismissal of Stockman’s scenario is “he must be wrong because things look good now.” Such a position supposes that economics can’t be understood or predicted, only observed. Similar arguments were made about the housing market back in 2006 et seq., and we all know how that turned out. In any case, things don’t currently look very good. The latest jobs report was another disappointment, stock price increases are a product of quantitative easing by the Fed and other central banks, and the federal government is pushing to reflate the housing bubble. Abandon hope, there is no way out but default. – SAFE director
I do not think your comments on the TCKB statement about the fiscal problem were too harsh. Some people will probably have to experience healthcare “reform” before they understand the problems. Unfortunately, the rest of us will understand it too. – A Delaware millennial
[In a similar vein, see “Why we should be optimistic about repealing Obamacare and fixing the healthcare system, Townhall.com, Daniel Mitchell, 4/11/13. http://bit.ly/10WjR1Q ]
The president keeps saying "No" to the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would deliver oil from Canadian '”tar sands,” to US refineries because of alleged environmental problems. But if the oil goes to China and they refine it as fuel, what is the difference to the atmosphere? This is insane. More generally, I agree with everything in your update. Thank you so much for doing what you do and please keep it going. – Military historian
Re what would happen if the Fed slammed on the monetary brakes. US debt service of $200B+ per year would double or triple in relatively short order. The politicians would not be willing to allow this, so why not “pull a Cyprus” and start levying taxes on our bank deposits and 401(k)’s? In government we trust, oh yeah! - SAFE director
FYI—we have a team from our company at the “Government relations Fly-in” to discuss the Keystone Pipeline and other things. We are not optimistic but will do our best. – Texas steel executive
The case for global warming has never been made to the satisfaction of those who are scientists and who demand some reasonable proof. There is much distortion of the data, actual fudging of such as by Phil Jones and more. – SAFE director
Here’s a statement (emphasis added) from the SOTU address: "We’ll reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and ask more from the wealthiest seniors. We’ll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn’t be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital – they should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive.” I’ve got two questions. (A) If Medicare is an insurance plan, as opposed to a welfare scheme, how it is proper to discriminate against people on grounds that “they don’t need” healthcare benefits? (B) Given that the biggest healthcare costs typically occur in the last years of life, can there be any doubt that “death panels” or the equivalent are in the offing? I also think the government will try to latch onto IRAs and 401(k)s in some fashion, thereby curtailing the ability of even the relatively well off to make their own healthcare decisions. – SAFE directorJudging from letters in the News Journal, many people apparently believe only the government can grow the economy and cutting spending will cause widespread unemployment and recession. They must think the government has magical ways to get money to spend. They don't realize that $1.00 of every $1.40 spent came out of the pockets of private citizens, meaning they have less to spend as they wish, and that Americans will eventually have to pay the other 40¢ plus interest. The president has touted his message that big government is the answer to all needs very effectively. – SAFE director
The National Debt (including trust funds) is now about 106% of GDP and in five years, on current trend, will hit 135% of GDP or higher. We could be looking at annual interest cost of $1 trillion by 2017. http://bit.ly/X1BP2Q Why not make the point that this avalanche of debt is terminal, using up-to-date numbers and scare a few people? Mumbling about senators’ past statements is ancient history. – SAFE director
[Quoting statements of local political figures may give our points more impact. Notice how we attempted to use this leverage, in a recent letter, to get the Delaware members of Congress – or at least their staff members - to actually read our analysis. http://bit.ly/XsR4SN]
[A] If bat and ball cost $1.10 and the bat costs $1 more than the ball, how can the ball be anything other than 10 cents? [B] I liked question 2...all you need to know is that day 48 will be twice day 47. And the question on five or one hundred machines seemed pretty obvious. How could you not get at least one right? SAFE director *** (A) Ball costs 5¢. Bat costs the same plus a $1.00, or $1.05. Total cost = $1.10. (B) Granted, yet we are told that some 2/3 of participants in the original exercise answered all three questions wrong. Maybe the “similar” questions were a bit trickier than the ones in the Reason writeup. Another possibility is that the preliminary assessment of political leanings conditioned participants not to look for rational answers.
This is great stuff - a home run. Re women's pay. I have seen studies where if you factored in the job experience, training, job difficulty, job safety and the fact that women like indoors jobs and more time off - women are actually earning more per hour than men. And why is the Obama Admin. paying male staffers 18% more than female staffers? – Military historian
This is nonsense -- thought you guys were better than this type of stuff. – Retired finance executive
Very interesting stories. Good job. – SAFE director
That's great dedication: working on Christmas Eve! I hope someone in Republican Party HQ is listening, and particularly that he/she will institute meaningful action before the GOP loses further market (sorry, electorate) share. – Retired IBM executive
Don’t assume that whatever revenue increases are accepted will reduce the deficit. Unless and until the current spending spree is reined in, trillion dollar deficits will continue. No deal should be struck until there is a budget with fixed limits on department spending. – SAFE director
I agree, going over the cliff could be the best thing for Republicans. They could come back in early Jan and reduce middle income taxes. – SAFE director
Well-researched essay on healthcare. The ONLY objective governments have here is control.. – SAFE director
If only Congress would read and heed the recommendations. It looks like another backroom effort is underway to craft a bill the president will sign - and the GOP will approve. – SAFE director
Removing the debt ceiling, as former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner have urged, would give the government license to spend without limit, making this country more like the European Union. – SAFE director
The majority of Americans want to tax the rich for ‘fairness” reasons, and they do not understand the consequences. So taxes will be increased, and if that hurts the economy the left will push for more tax increases - again in the name of “fairness.” I can’t see any way out of this downward spiral. – SAFE director
I've talked to people who voted for the president and they seem to see him as sharing their background and/or supporting things they want. He was raised by a single mom – he won’t cut funding for Planned Parenthood - he cares about helping people – my boyfriend get healthcare insurance despite a preexisting condition – the rich aren’t hurting, so taxing them “a bit more” is OK. They don’t seem to understand that the potential revenue increase would be a drop in the bucket, nor the negative consequences of punishing success. - Teacher
Update: Offered a choice between Plan A and Plan B, US voters punted. The president was reelected (albeit by a narrower margin than in 2008) and his party kept control of the Senate. On the other hand, Republicans kept control of the House. Look for continued gridlock in DC.Thanks for all you did trying to get Americans to stop their odd experiment with socialism. Unfortunately, we have this news (Chinese Communist Party congratulates the president) this morning: http://bit.ly/WAGPhb - Businessman, Houston, Texas.
I agree generally with the blog about lawyers as political leaders, although one can't stereotype, e.g., Lincoln was a very successful lawyer. In recent times, it seems to me the most effective presidents were pragmatic men who possessed people and/or leadership skills, such as Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, Reagan, & Clinton. Only one of them (Clinton) had legal training. – Retired finance executive [Our list of “effective presidents” would be a couple of names shorter.]
Some great leaders happen to be lawyers, and, nevertheless are great leaders in spite of it – Retired attorneyExcellent! You are certainly leading a charge for our principles. – Retired finance executive
Is our government too big or too small, or as with the Goldilocks analogy you used - just right? Without doubt, the government is too darned big. There are literally dozens of counter-productive government programs in HHS for Welfare, Food Programs for the poor, Medicine, Jobs, Job Training, etc. With a $1.1 Trillion dollar DEFICIT, the question is not what is the optimum size of government; BUT, WHAT GOVERNMENTAL FUNCTIONS CAN WE AFFORD TO PAY FOR GIVEN OUR REDUCED ECONOMIC STANDING. A complete [top to bottom] re-evaluation of our entire budget is long over-due. – Military historian
All the regulatory agencies, what Lew Rockwell labels, "The list from Hell," should be abolished, along with most of the cabinet positions that guide them. When I was mistakenly a "liberal," being young and impressionable, an "old" conservative asked me, in a matter-of-fact voice: "What did the Department of Commerce do yesterday?" Of course, I didn't know, and answered, "Why, I don't know." To which he responded, "I don't know either, and that's just the problem." – SAFE member, Georgia
Here is a link to the Caesar Rodney platform for Delaware; it was posted on their website after our entry went to press. http://bit.ly/PZ94zS
The timeliness of this week's entry was underscored by the president's latest (9/22/12) weekly address, in which he blamed a host of current problems on Congress. Here's an excerpt: "See, when they skipped town, members of Congress left a whole bunch of proposals sitting on the table – actions that would create jobs, boost our economy, and strengthen middle-class security. These ideas have been around for months. The American people want to see them passed. But apparently, some members of Congress are more worried about their jobs and their paychecks this campaign season than they are about yours." http://1.usa.gov/PSQZl3
Former budget director David Stockman nailed it...if the Securities & Exchange Commission had jurisdiction over the Executive & Legislative branches, many of us would be in jail. – SAFE Member, Arizona
Many thanks for the plug ... Lots of material in your blog ... Will read with interest. Robert Levy, Cato Institute
|9/17/2012||On the off chance that I might repeat myself, the DC politicians will NOT stop spending because this might mean giving up their jobs, perks and pensions. – SAFE director|
My husband and I went to see the Movie 2016 today. Came home and found myself so angry. Most people of course have their own justifications for their feelings, but this was narrated from the book [“Dreams From My Father”] Obama wrote himself. I now know the answers to all the many questions as to why these crazy things are happening. If he becomes President again, it's going to be devastating for all of us, our children and grandchildren. They will not know what our country was like and how we all looked forward to our futures. Please, please, please get yourself out of your life for just two hours and go watch it. - Arizona friend
I'm going to look for "2016" at a local cinema. Meantime, I wish someone would remember the Eisenhower years: Ike made a point of getting business people into government. His feeling was they are more pragmatic than lawyers, who tend to think problems can be solved just by passing laws. Sarbanes-Oxley would be an example, or Dodd-Frank for another. Romney seems to be missing opportunities, and I cannot understand why. Is he saving ammunition for the debates? – Retired IBMer
The matter of the debt should be discussed but will probably not be. Cutting spending is one way to get a Leave Washington ticket forever. Nothing will be done about it until we have our next fiscal crisis. Soon! – SAFE director
It is one thing to be a skeptic (natural uncertainty) about global warning being caused only by man (because it is not). It is another thing to spend so much time passionately trying to totally refute that man has anything to do with the problem. Retired finance executive.
[SAFE response: We agree that carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels may have some warming effect, but dispute claims (e.g., in the News Journal SLR series) that carbon emissions have somehow become the primary driver of global climate change. Such claims underlie the renewable energy proposals now in vogue – which are inherently uneconomic and could only be implemented with massive government support. Objective scientific research of the factors driving climate change should by all means continue, but there is no reason to panic and collapse the US economy.]
I agree. Political candidate
Some liberals claim big deficits are OK because interest rates will stay low while GDP grows rapidly. See, e.g., this August 2011 blog post by Paul Krugman. http://nyti.ms/nGASZG However, rapid GDP growth is far from assured – particularly with current government policies – and interest rates won’t stay in the basement forever. To win the argument, we must discredit these rosy assumptions. - SAFE director
You guys are doing yeoman's work there, please keep the emails coming. – Military historian, Colorado
This could be a foretaste of a second term if the president is reelected. We are already seeing negative consequences of the president’s easing of immigration rules ("Dream Act"). Illegals are learning how to "game" the system. This could be a replay of the reforms in the 80's when we had a huge jump in illegal immigration. Also, there's much confusion in ICE and the Border Patrol organizations. – SAFE director
Sweden is an interesting example of a country that was going bankrupt and managed to turn it around and now has a balanced budget. They still have most of the public support programs but with limitations that make for long-term viability. Any lessons here for the US? – Retired finance executive [We’ll follow up on this tip.]
UPDATE: the president reprised this tax proposal in his weekly address on July 14, if anything sharpening the attack. Sample: “The folks in Congress and on the campaign trail who oppose this plan warn that it would somehow hurt small businesses and job creators. Well, they’re completely ignoring the facts. “ http://1.usa.gov/NVZiw2
The economic situation is not much better here than in Europe. Neither party is really interested in cutting spending, so they will vote to raise the debt ceiling again. Moody's and S&P will cut the US credit ratings. Interest rates will eventually rise, and Inflation will roar. A bond bubble is on the way.............big time. – SAFE directorExcellent post. I consider myself a moderate (democrat or republican, which is very rare nowadays), and agree with most of what you say in this blog. – UD professor
Like us borrowing a line from “A Few Good Men,” another observer has questioned the seeming lack of interest in evidence presented by Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s task force that the copy of the president’s birth certificate posted on the White House website is a forgery. The media can’t handle the truth, Tim Brown, FreedomOutpost.com, 7/18/12. http://bit.ly/OZZo5b
I really liked the Republic vs. Democracy video. Too many folks think we live in a democracy! And a good entry, overall. – SAFE directorIn stagnating economies (e.g., the former USSR, much of Latin America and Africa), government elites often seize wealth in the name of fairness and convert it to their own use. This does not improve economic performance, it simply changes who controls the wealth. – SAFE director
Progressives are not for growth, and they are using energy costs to make this country less competitive. It will be tough to stop them until energy prices go through the roof and the public starts to notice. SAFE director
I couldn't digest all of this. I read MOST of it, but my mind bogged down. Sorry. – SAFE director [The entry was pretty long; we will try to do better.]
Dangers from nuclear power have long been disabused and countered by the Access to Energy newsletter and every other scientific discussion of energy and its costs. The costs of building new nuclear power stations has been warped upward by magnitudes due to the special interests that have come to control energy in Washington.
By the way, Dr. Arthur Robinson, the current editor of Access to Energy, is running in Oregon to unseat a 13-term congressman named Peter DeFazio. I recommend Robinson’s book, Common Sense in 2012 , which teaches what's wrong with D.C. as well as how to fix it. SAFE member, GA
No spending cuts and the debt soars. Get set for a major fiscal event in 2-3 years; buy gold. – SAFE director
The Ex-Im Bank is just another federal subsidizer for all sorts of unsavory institutions, plus part of the bailout network. It's a taxpayers' nemesis, and a counterforce to stable economic policy. If the Republicans support continuation of the EIB, they are part of the problem. Abolish the EIB and all like it. They are millstones around the neck of legitimate enterprise. – SAFE member (Georgia)
Rapid elimination of the budget deficit would tank US economy in the short run; it’s simple math (40% deficit x 25% of economy = 10% hit to GDP). On the other hand, soaring debt has reduced the potential economic growth rate by two percentage points and this drag effect will keep getting worse. There being no apparent will to make material spending cuts in any area other than defense, I see no hope for a “soft landing.” – SAFE director
Yale economist Robert Shiller sees the world in a “new age of austerity,” which is akin to “the late Great Depression.” Quantitative Easing “might help,” but is unlikely to offset the general mood of austerity. The outcome will not be simply a matter of economic variables, but how people react to the situation. http://bit.ly/IIDsZH (9+ minute video of Shiller interview on Squawk Box Europe.)
Generally, the debt for other countries reflects their total debt. In our case, we have all the state debt over and above national debt. I don't know what our total state debt is, but I'll bet that it plus national debt would be even more staggering. Can we ever repay? – SAFE directorWell worded - I like it. – SAFE director
I think that Paul Ryan intends for his plan to be a serious one and he deserves credit for putting it out. It's better than his last proposal but still not comprehensive enough. In addition, it has no bipartisan support. Therefore, it's going nowhere for now. – David Walker
Looks like a small step in the right direction. We must rally as many as we can. Thanks for your leadership. - Member of Leadership for Liberty (PA)
I’m OK with supporting cuts in any federal program, in any amount, and for any length of time. – SAFE director
This week’s entry shows a lot of work and a good understanding of the real situation – which really alarms me. If we don't take our medicine, we won't recover. – SAFE director
Why is the president running as a non-incumbent? As a community organizer, that’s what he knows how to do. – SAFE member
Excellent work. - Financial executive
What do we do if a nuke goes off in Manhattan or Haifa? Start diplomatic talks? - SAFE director
Holy moley! What a blog. - SAFE director
This is a good overview of our current picture. If we cut much more out of defense, we will have to rely on air and naval power or long-range missiles to get the job done. Missile involvement will restart the nuclear discussion, which has been relatively quiet for a while. Air power will rekindle the fires of military terrorism opponents. Both of these will have a public relations effect upon our government. Therefore, I think we should add to our list of necessities for elected officials a requirement for a very thick skin. – SAFE director
Thoughtful analysis as usual. Undertaking a cost/benefit analysis is entirely logical, but requires dealing with noises from those affected at their respective feeding troughs. – Former IBM executive, South Carolina
Good analysis. I'm not sure it will matter which presidential candidate wins. We will have 4 years of gridlock. - Dan Mitchell, Cato
Update: a letter summarizing the “bin it” viewpoint was sent to about 60 members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, this morning. Here’s the link: http://www.s-a-f-e.org/contacting_legislators_2011.htm#120511.I hate to say this, but to continue the tax reduction or not is a very political decision. I think the Republicans are really forced to continue. I like what I heard this morning about tying the continuation to building the Keystone pipeline. If the GOP stops this, I think we will see negative results next Nov. – SAFE director [This is admittedly a tough call for the Republicans. What do the rest of you readers think?]
It’s fine to push for fiscal responsibility, but Congress will NOT STOP SPENDING. – SAFE director
I fired off my thoughts to the Joint Committee, thanks for the link. The cry to raise taxes is absurd . . . the members of Congress already squander the tax revenues that flow into Washington, whereas they should be reducing spending, because the federal budget contains political schemes not authorized by the Constitution, the same Constitution they took an oath to support. – SAFE member, Arizona
I don’t believe the Joint Committee members will propose real spending cuts unless there is a huge fiscal emergency. Could happen, witness the burgeoning Italian debt problem with the premier on the brink of being forced out, but probably not before 11/23. – SAFE director [Response: We remain hopeful, but skepticism about the JC doing anything constructive is growing – and may well be vindicated by events.]
Governments attain their powers by spending and buying votes from an ignorant polis. Governments never pay down the debt and will never agree to cut spending except at some later date or on some remote asteroid. All governments will default on the debt in a variety of ways. – SAFE director
[Response: Generally true, but there have been exceptions, e.g., New Zealand halved its government spending in the 1990s. This audiotape (3 segments, 1.25 hours, .WAV files, compatible with Windows XP and Mac OS X) by Maurice McTigue (now with the Mercatus Center) explains how it was done. McTigue1, McTigue2, McTigue3.]
You do not mess around. This is outstanding! – Financial executive
I’d like to expand on several points: (1) Proceeds from the auction of carbon allowances by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) are not remitted to the Delaware treasury, they are primarily used to fund a nongovernmental organization called the Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU), which in turn advocates the renewable energy cause and subsidizes various renewable energy initiatives, all without effective public supervision; (2) The SEU and the Center for Energy and Environment Policy (CEEP) at the University of Delaware are headed by the same individual. On the CEEP Website, “cheap energy” is characterized as “simply a form of subsidy to the status quo at the expense of future generations.” It is therefore proposed to “take the necessary actions to build a sustainable and equitable energy regime.” http://www.ceep.udel.edu/energy/index.html; (3) Speculators have fled the RGGI market due to New Hampshire's attempt to escape, Delaware's failed effort to end participation and New Jersey's unilateral withdrawal. The auction revenue has fallen from $2.5M per quarter to $400K. – SAFE member and citizen activist
UPDATE: one-page summary of this entry sent to Joint Committee and JC members. http://www.s-a-f-e.org/contacting_legislators_2011.htm#101011
Don’t expect any requests for further help. The JC members can do nothing but stall. – SAFE director
Compromising to get things done re the fiscal crisis is not the answer. The only thing that could come out of that would be less socialism. We don't want ANY socialism. It is killing Europe and will surely kill us as well. We don't need Democrats or Republicans per se, we need conservatives. – SAFE member in PA
I hope they [the members of Congress] are watching the TV reports about the financial crisis in Greece, where the citizens are protesting the austerity measures and increased taxation -- AND calling for a drastic review of government expenditures, to be based on value-received criteria. Or so the reporter indicated. – former IBMer
As usual I agree with your outlook, not that it helps me sleep better. – College classmate
A result of global warming to be sure. – SAFE director
Re the latest "Nail on the Head" blog, I think the only "Hammer" that might work--and Mancur Olson, whom I knew, would probably agree with me – is a proposed 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It would bar Congress from (a) restricting the rest of us while exempting itself, or (b) providing special rights and benefits for its members that no one else gets. – Richard Timberlake, Georgia
[We agree with the spirit of the proposed amendment, but it might not prove to be a panacea. http://bit.ly/cXbCao] .
House Speaker Tip O'Neil: “All politics is local.” – SAFE director
SAFE note: In addition to posting this entry and our letter to the Joint Committee, we brought them to the attention of a number of contacts. The feedback was generally positive, but we did not hear from everyone and there were few comments on details of our proposals let alone offers to reinforce them. Moral: it is comparatively easy to show the fiscal problem is real, but getting people to join in supporting a concrete solution is a “different kettle of fish.”
“Suggestions well thought out” (SAFE), “I sure hope they’re listening” (SAFE), “the specifics are excellent” (SAFE), “thanks for this thoughtful piece” (Princeton professor).
SAFE director: My approach is to propose more drastic changes, because they are needed, and a good bargaining tactic. Thus: Give Medicaid to the states without grants, make the goal debt repayment vs. balancing the budget, and institute a “temporary” tax for each overseas military action.
[Lest we forget, a telephone excise tax imposed to help pay for the Spanish-American War was in effect for 108 years. http://usat.ly/uEPQ4]
”I agree completely,” said a Cato expert, but “of course, the Dems won't agree to a package of spending reforms, so a sequester is the best option.”
[We will review them as time permits.]
#“Never happen” said a SAFE director re our suggestion that the JC should emulate the Fiscal Commission in 2010 by conducting a relatively open process (videotapes of general meetings, publish draft report before voting).
He sees no chance of joint recommendations for real spending cuts. “The House has to just stand firm on the Appropriations committee and cut spending apart and different from any joint votes for a budget. This will raise great fires and anger.”
At the rate things are going, this could become the new national anthem. http://bit.ly/EPgNz - SAFE member, Arizona
The only real questions in the wake of S&P cutting the U.S. debt rating to AA+ are: (a) What took so long? & (b) Why isn't the rating lower? - SAFE member, Delaware
Too true. All too true. - Michael Tanner, Cato InstituteThe stock market predictably plummeted on August 8, the first trading day after the S&P downgrade announcement. The president et al. will continue touting tax increases and “stimulus,” while some economists (including Ken Rogoff) call for more QE (bond market purchases by the Fed). This will only ramp up the debt and speed the dollar’s decline. - SAFE director
7/11 UPDATE: The grandiose idea of a $4T deficit reduction deal collapsed over the weekend, and the principals in the debt limit showdown are reportedly back to discussing $2T+ deficit reduction to pay for a debt limit increase of equal side with continuing disagreement as to whether tax increases will or will not be included in the mix. Yet another meeting of the principals is scheduled today.
Multi-year tax agreements are untrustworthy. Whatever Congress agrees on this year will change next year, when a new budget is presented and debated. The time has come to face the facts. We cannot continue to spend at the rate we have without disastrous results, so there must be no INCREASE IN THE DEBT CEILING! As for concerns about the consequences of default on our debt obligations, there is plenty of revenue to meet those obligations if we pay them first. – SAFE director
Both sides must bend, so let’s put half the federal budget on the table along with a copy of the U. S. Constitution. It will be seen that half of the budget is for political schemes, not authorized by the Constitution, which serve to keep corrupt politicians in office. – SAFE member, AZThe bond markets will not tolerate the US deficit and debt spree much longer. When they balk, we will see interest rates hit double digits hard and fast. Plus which, just wait until CA, IL, or NY comes to Washington looking for a bailout. Neither Side A nor Side B seems to appreciate the gravity of the fiscal problem and the urgency of acting decisively. Get set for a disaster. – SAFE director
I agree that the president and his party are pursuing policies that would bankrupt America, with a little help from some Republicans. Thank goodness there are only 17 months to go until the 2012 elections. – SAFE member in Arizona
Congress will not offer much of anything in the way of real spending cuts, because of all the sacred cows being protected. Take a look at what has been going on in Greece and our own state of California. I don’t believe there can be any real change without a market crash that forces our political leaders to push the “reset” button. – SAFE director
Postscript: SAFE sent a letter to Vice President Biden et al. on May 31, which conveyed the substance of this entry. http://bit.ly/iCaPHT
I share your view on the seriousness of the problem. College classmate, South Carolina.
The blog entry and letter are clear, and much more "hard-hitting" than I used to see from SAFE. This type of input is not readily accepted, so it MUST be done by as many as possible, as often as possible to try to knock some sense into these politicians' heads! Retired finance executive.
How can we be assured of a 'guarantee' on spending cuts? I would want to see the agreed cuts put into legislative language and published for all to see. History shows that promises of action after the next elections could not be counted on. SAFE director.
More deceptive slogans might include: (1) “Everything must be on the table.” How about putting a copy of the U.S. Constitution on the table? (2) “No one is above the law.” Good idea, but corrupt politicians and illegal aliens seem to get a pass. Keep up the good work, exposing the political elites who are bankrupting our country. – SAFE member, Arizona
These 16 Tons lyrics also apply because the skyrocketing debt will be dumped on taxpayers soon enough: (1) “I owe my soul to the company store,” and (2) “another day older and deeper in debt.” Let’s hope Americans will dig their way out of this mess in November 2012. – SAFE member, Arizona
Mainstream media has basically ignored any connection between domestic oil production restrictions and soaring gasoline prices. “The Business & Media Institute found that out of the 280 oil price stories the network evening shows have aired since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, only 1 percent (3 stories) mentioned Obama's drilling ban or other anti-oil actions in connection with gasoline prices.” http://bit.ly/hnFi8a - SAFE director
Update (Fox New, 4/25/11): the EPA has issued an order blocking Shell drilling in the Arctic by denying air permits that was to have started this summer after 5 years of effort and nearly $4 billion spent to date by the company. Such projects are needed to combat declining production from the Alaska North Slope, which could force closure of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. http://fxn.ws/gaq8ob
Isn't it true that even the fed's taxes on gasoline exceed the profits of the oil companies on a cents/gallon basis? Certainly, federal, state and local taxes must be greater in total. And the governmental bodies involved do nothing to find, develop, refine, distribute and sell anything. No risk; outsize reward. – SAFE director [Point well taken. From the 4/21/08 entry, Pain at the pump: why energy prices are soaring: (1) On average, U.S. drivers pay federal + state excise taxes of about 50¢ a gallon (47.0¢ on gasoline, 53.6¢ on diesel) for motor fuel. (2) Income taxes are levied on oil company profits as well, and the total taxes imposed on the industry generally exceed company profits. Between 1981 and 2006, according to the Tax Foundation, “government collected $1.65 trillion in total taxes after adjusting for inflation. That is 65 percent more than the combined earnings of the 16 largest domestic oil companies during the same period.”]
I think the two parties are on track to keep spending until the economy collapses. There is little hope unless we have another financial crisis. – SAFE director
[If so, the next financial crisis will result in changes that are not only deeply disagreeable but also irreversible. See, e.g., “5 things that will happen to you when America goes bankrupt,” John Hawkins, Townhall.com, 4/12/11. http://bit.ly/dL7Dzk]
Attach the Debt Authorization to a Balanced Budget Amendment. This should have an implementation period of 7 years - to give time to get to a balanced budget. Once we have balanced budgets, we can begin to pay down the debt - and we will stop borrowing.
Some features of amendment - All funds must be included including entitlements, defense and interest. Accounting must conform to accounting laws for private companies. Taxes can only be increased with a 2/3 vote of each house of Congress. Provision can be overridden ONLY in the cases of declared war or declared national emergency and a 2/3 vote of each house of Congress. -- Joe Hilliard, PA
1. Gov. spending should be brought back as close as possible to the taxpayer. The way it is now it is viewed as "free" money. Nothing is saved by refusing Federal funds since they will just go to someone else. In short, we need much smaller Government.
2. Eliminate government departments such as the Department of Education. Having been a school superintendent, I saw much waste and few benefits from Federal involvement. Same can be said of agricultural subsidies.
3. Everyone should be paying some tax so they all feel the effects of spending.
4. There should be much more stringent rules for the spending of welfare funds. I have seen commodities being sold to obtain money to buy liquor and much spent on non-essential food and drinks such as soda pop. – Richard Kirsch, SAFE member, South Dakota
I’ve found Hayek’s writings to be tedious and wordy, but am looking forward to the "creative" liberal approach! – SAFE director
Thanks for my 15 seconds of `”fame.” – Harry Thompson
The federal government posted a record $223 billion deficit in February. That’s nearly four times larger than the spending cuts in the House Republicans’ spending bill for the remainder of FY 2011, and over 30 times the Senate Democrats’ opening bid. Apparently, the politicians intend to spend us into bankruptcy. – SAFE director
We have said quite a bit about two threats if government spending is not drastically curtailed: huge tax increases or sharply higher inflation. A third possibility is the confiscation of wealth, such as via a mandated conversion of private retirement funds into government-controlled accounts. This ploy has been used elsewhere, e.g., Argentina, and ideas have been suggested in this country that might have a similar effect. http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=36823 -- SAFE director
The promise of future spending reductions is nonsense and all concerned know it. The president et al. are willing to run huge deficits, whatever the economic consequences, because they are fixated on wealth redistribution. – SAFE director
I was in a florist shop last week, run by a fellow and his sister, and asked if government regulation had any negative effect on his business. His first reaction was that he had moved to Delaware from Philadelphia and the business climate was much better here. In further conversation, however, he admitted reluctance to hire some part time help, like a student to do basic chores, because he could not afford to pay the minimum wage and was also concerned with getting stuck with healthcare costs. I wonder if Vice President Biden ever really talks to businesspeople in his home state. – Retired finance executive.
I agree the government is not adept at creating jobs, but that does not mean it will stay out of the way. Many members of the public have an unrealistic view of the ability of the government to run the economy. Also, members of Congress point to programs as proof that they are “doing something” about unemployment, whether or not there is any proof that the programs are achieving useful results. – SAFE director
Nice letter – we’re also trying to bring spending down to 20% of GDP as soon as possible. – Brian Riedl, Heritage Foundation
This challenge [restoring accountability and fiscal responsibility to the federal budget] is not something that I take lightly. Moving towards a more balanced budget will take creative thinking by leaders in both parties. There are a number of different steps that I believe the Senate should take to begin to reduce the deficit, not the least of which is returning to a process of drafting, debating and adopting annual budget bills. I also believe we must streamline our tax policy to make paying and collecting taxes more straightforward and efficient to the benefit of both taxpayers and the Treasury. – Senator Chris Coons, in a 2/15/11 letter
Barring a major financial event, like Fitch or SP downgrading our AAA credit rating or a few big banks going down, there will be no attempt to seriously cut anything because the Tea Partiers don't have enough votes as yet. – SAFE directorIf I were president, I could cut more in 10 days than Congress will EVER cut. Happy New Year! -- Retired finance executive
A SAFE member in Arizona reminds us that Wednesday, December 15, is Bill of Rights Day. Imagine how James Madison would have felt about the current antics in Washington. http://bit.ly/g8x2fW
I agree with all of the points, especially the overhaul of our tax system. – SAFE director
Extension of the Bush tax cuts is fine, but the estate tax should not be revived (in any form) and government spending must be cut. The bond markets have responded negatively to announcement of this larded-up deal, and Moody’s is warning of a potential downgrade of Treasury securities if it goes through. http://www.cnbc.com/id/40641123 - SAFE director
I liked the comments to Delaware members. http://bit.ly/hUyTjP How about including them in a news release: SAFE, an organization founded and headquartered in Delaware promotes smaller, more efficient government, etc. – SAFE director
Looks like the Fiscal Irresponsibility Commission didn’t dare propose eliminating political schemes not authorized in the Constitution; that would cut the budget in half. Keep up your good work, exposing the political elites who are destroying America. Only 23 months to go until the 2012 elections, when maybe things will be put back on track. – SAFE Member, Arizona
Given past performances of Congress, any new revenues will go into new social programs and the cuts will never be enacted. Nothing substantial will happen until we have another financial crisis. – SAFE director.
I will be surprised if anything comes of this Commission's recommendations, but I was encouraged today to hear Erskine Bowles say the spending must be curtailed (or something like that). Coming from a Clinton adviser, that is significant. – SAFE director.
Wow! I would love to be on the team with authority to start killing all of these stupid regulations. – Retired finance executive
Maybe the draft Fiscal Commission proposal is better than nothing, but balancing the budget many years later is very unrealistic. We do not know what the future will bring. Your proposal for earlier balance is in the right direction. However, we need much stronger as well as earlier action. I think the key is the American public. We should make it clear that we will punish members of Congress who do not at least support the proposals and will reward those who work for more drastic action than described in the proposals.
One example: Stop payments from the bankrupt federal government to the states. This includes Medicaid. – SAFE director
My hat is off to you! Hope our legislators are listening. – IBM alumnus.
Would the politicians treat a spending ceiling like they did the debt ceiling? Anyway, it sounds like worth trying to me. - SAFE member, California
Right on, right on, right on, & have the chairman represent the taxpayers, who are forced to pay the bills. - SAFE member, Arizona.
If you want to see what an ingrained entitlement attitude does to people, watch the unions in France rioting and bringing the country to a standstill solely because the government wants to (has to, if it doesn't want to go broke!) move the full retirement age for their equivalent of our SS up 2 years from 60 to 62. We just did that; instead of 65, it's now 67 for anyone age 50 or younger, and the American public accepted it without a peep. It probably needs to be moved to 70. Heck, I'm 72, and still working (have my own consulting business), still cut my own grass, change the oil in my cars, fix shingles on my roof, climb my (large) Pin Oaks to cut limbs off with my chain saw, and see no reason to move to a "retirement community". If my full SS payments hadn't started until I was 70, it would not have cramped my life style materially. – Climate Common Sense member
I like the three commissions idea, which could reassure bondholders that the U.S. is on the right track. Why not incorporate this idea in an op-ed piece for the News Journal and/or other publications in the region? – SAFE director
This may be a Hail Mary proposal because we have to deal with politicians, but if you and I were running the country these proposals would be implemented -- and faster than the suggested deadlines. It's a realistic proposal, when considered by people of principle. – Retired financial executive
Excellent! This needs to be read by Carper, Kaufman & yes, Castle. I want to discuss Thursday. - SAFE director
You almost have to be a policy wonk to read through this, but it’s worth it if you want to get a handle on why we have so many conflicting views on so many issues.
It's a coincidence, but just this morning I was discussing, with the principal of our school, how people who were born at different times have very different worldviews. People 70 and older think very different from the boomers and as for the under 30 crowd I have no idea just what their driving values are if any. On the other hand, history has given us lots of surprises and I am not ruling out the younger citizens. Sometimes I believe that they have escaped the brain washing that my generation received because we followed the rules. - SAFE member, Maryland
Candidate X has been talking about the choice of the future – state control or personal freedom. I'm going to forward this piece to a contact at the campaign. - SAFE director
Our political leaders must understand that upholding and defending the Constitution does not mean doing anything that suits their purposes, and if they don’t get it they should be voted out of office. Keep up your good work, exposing the corrupt politicians who are destroying our country. - SAFE member, Arizona
On the debate over the turnout, let the liberal press or the liberals underestimate the crowd at their own peril. If they say it's a small turnout, then the event is not significant. I think the 300,000 to 500,000 is probably more accurate. The liberals better be running scared! – SAFE director
Thanks for this. Best summation of the issues anywhere, rant-free. – Virginia attorney
Quoted comment by MoveOn.org about the $2 trillion of government bonds in the trust funds misses the point. Congress spent the money, so the asset held by the trust funds is offset by a corresponding liability of the government – net balance zero. If Social Security had used the temporarily excess funds to buy T-bonds, a real asset could have been created. – SAFE director
If all tax exemptions are removed, look out! Homebuilding and charitable/non-profits will suffer greatly! If the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, the economy will suffer greatly! – SAFE director
As noted in this week’s blog entry, SAFE recently submitted a comment to the Fiscal Commission.
7/26/10 – Urged the Fiscal Commission to seek best answers to the fiscal problem, avoid arbitrary solutions such as 75% spending cuts/ 25% tax increases.
Several contacts provided feedback, including these comments:
Many thanks for your email. I'm pleased that you are commending my book to the Fiscal Commission. Let us all hope they are able to negotiate effectively! Professor Robert Mnookin, Harvard Law School
I fear that the Commission was created with just one goal - to get key Republicans to surrender their no-tax-hike position. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try to educate them, so I'm glad you're sending info. Let's keep our fingers crossed. Daniel Mitchell, Cato Institute
In addition, we sent a pointed message on this year’s activity in Washington to the members of Congress from Delaware.
7/26/10 – It is time to recognize that the economic stimulus package was a mistake, slash wasteful government spending, extend the Bush tax cuts, and stop attempting to “take over” the private sector.
Dear readers, we would love to hear what you think.
We can only marvel and peer into the abyss to see what a "tax expenditure" might be. Is this like a Clinton tax “investment?” – SAFE director
Thanks. Here is my testimony to the Fiscal Commission at the public hearing on June 30.
http://www.cato.org/testimony/ct-ce-06302010.html – Chris Edwards, Cato Institute [Well put! Makes our point that the Discretionary [Sending] work group could benefit from talking with Mr. Edwards in greater depth.]The Commission’s official name – “National Commission of Fiscal Responsibility and Reform” – is not descriptive. I hope the voters will restore fiscal sanity by voting out the big spenders/taxes/regulators this Fall and in 2012. – SAFE member, Arizona
Well put! How can we get a reasonable chance that a Commission member will read it? – SAFE director [We are planning SAFE comment to the Commission that will summarize “take your time and do the job right” point and reference the blog entry. Other ideas for follow-up would be appreciated.]
I see little evidence of any intention to cut spending. Although Co-Chair Erskine Bowles has talked about the need for spending caps and said he would not like to see federal tax revenues go much above 21% of GDP, he is also believed to favor a consumption tax and has likened tax breaks (which he would put on the chopping block) to “spending by a different name.” Rising taxes to pay for gold-plated social programs will tank the economy, and it is imperative to break this pattern. – SAFE director
The SAFE blog provides good insightful info on very serious topics -- may not always agree with the positions taken -- but I learn a lot and it helps me reach a more informed understanding and point of view -- keep up the good work. – Retired finance executive
|6/7/2010||The president denounced BP for damaging the Gulf coast environment, yet he says nothing about debris fields left in the Sonoran Desert by illegal aliens as they enter the country over the Southern Arizona border. http://www.desertinvasion.us/ Me thinks there is a double standard at work! -- SAFE member, Arizona|
I propose two suggestions from SAFE re bringing down the deficit: (1) Concentrate on making it easy to start a business and make it profitable, with no subsidies, by eliminating or streamlining regulations. (2) Cut spending enough to pay off debt, at a rate as fast as possible. Stop grants to states - the American people are endangered more by the federal debt than by financial problems of individual states. – SAFE director
Thanks for sharing and for your kind follow-up note. – David Walker
Good stuff, as always. We linked to you on our blog here: http://www.ntu.org/governmentbytes/fiscal-commission-meets.html.Andrew Moylan, NTU
I agree that the “Fiscal Responsibility Commission” will propose big tax increases to keep the spending party going unless the American people push hard for a different outcome. By way of historical perspective:
• “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism,” said Norman Thomas in the 1930s. “But under the name of Liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program . . .”.
• An inspirational statement from JFK’s inaugural address in 1961 has since been twisted into: “Ask not what your country can do for you...demand it.”
• February 2009, Newsweek cover story co-authored by Evan Thomas (a grandson of Thomas): “We are all Socialists now.” – SAFE member, Arizona
I watched the I.O.U.S.A. Solutions program, and here are some points that struck me.
(1) “What’s the role of government?” asked Amy Holmes. Good question, but no one mentioned adhering to the Constitution. Half the federal budget consists of items not enumerated in or contemplated by the Constitution – which violates the spirit if not the letter of the 10th Amendment.
(2) Former Senator Bradley and Senator Conrad spoke about telling people the “truth,” but there was an earlier video clip of the president telling a whopper about not passing on the national debt to future generations.
(3) The politicians would like to keep the party going because it keeps them in office. With 47% of the citizenry not paying income taxes, it is politically advantageous to provide freebies for all and stick taxpayers with the tab. We the people need to put a stop to this. – SAFE member, Arizona
I'm with you on vote them out. – SAFE director
It would be more meaningful to divide the $62T fiscal hole by the 65 million or so Americans who pay income taxes. That works out to nearly $1 million per taxpayer.
We need to cut every government salary by 20%, every government-spending program by 10% or more, and impose a permanent hiring freeze. Then cut corporate taxes to reinvigorate the private sector and keep up the inflow of tax revenues.
But don’t hold your breath. Politicians would rather see roaring inflation and default on our debts than cut the salaries of government workers. They will probably try to inflate their way out of this mess, creating an even bigger mess. – SAFE director
I think the fundamental problem with
the U.S. school system is that it attempts to promote equal outcomes, not simply
equal opportunities. That is why the feds are in the classroom, and until it is
accepted that there is a wide range of talent in the student population it will
be virtually impossible to get them out. I don’t think this is politically
feasible for public schools; only private schools or home schooling can
circumvent the leveling process that enshrines educational mediocrity as the
gold standard. – SAFE director
The U.S. Department of Education must be abolished, for the sake of children's education, and to show evidence that the federal government is serious about doing what is necessary to save the economy. Bill Morris
Thanks for keeping me advised of your excellent reporting work. David Brooks, of the NYTimes, said on PBS on Friday that the national debt will shortly become the problème-du-jour . . . certainly exacerbated by medical missteps. Brooks cited the Treasury's latest debt offerings, which went poorly. My only hope is that the huge number of Boomers will awaken when they see their retirement plans slipping away. – Princeton classmate
Clearly, we should be on the lookout for renewed offensives in other areas, notably cap and trade (or the regulatory equivalent), immigration "reform," and huge tax increases (after the November elections). This activity is ideologically driven, despite repeated experience that it will not work. The weaknesses of the left are inflation and unemployment, either (or both) of which will bring down governments. – SAFE director
|3/22/2010||Here is another wrinkle: this bill covers spending which must be originated in the House. It was created in the Senate so, constitutionally, it doesn't measure up. – SAFE director[The GovCare supporters in the Senate amended H.R. 3590, an unrelated House bill, by striking the text and adding the text of a healthcare bill. We presume there are enough precedents for this dodge that there would be no point in challenging it. December 24, 2009 Ordered to be printed as passed In the Senate of the United States, December 24, 2009. Resolved, That the bill from the House of Representa- tives (H.R. 3590) entitled ‘‘An Act to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the first-time homebuyers credit in the case of members of the Armed Forces and cer- tain other Federal employees, and for other purposes.’’, do pass with the following AMENDMENTS: Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert:]|
Great letter! I think you, er, "hit the nails on the head." There's some reason for optimism in that Speaker P. is having trouble garnering the votes. If there's no vote before spring vacation, the Congressmen will hear even more back home how much this bill is disliked. I heard this morning that there are 35 house seats now held by D's that polls show a 70% disapproval of the HC bill. Will they walk the plank for Nancy and Barry O.? Frankly, I doubt it. – SAFE director
We appreciate your commitment. It's going to be close. –Michael Tanner, Cato Institute
Currently, we have the spectacle of programs teaching people how to put grandma on the dole, so they can get a large inheritance and live big. To help avert meltdown, Medicaid must be transferred to the states. If that causes a few states to go bankrupt, so be it, but the program must be downsized. As Chris Edwards wrote, the availability of federal money causes the states to overspend. – SAFE director
[Note: See SAFE reform proposal #4: “Have the states assume full responsibility for Medicaid and SCHIP programs, with the federal government providing block grant funding and not attempting to dictate what coverage should be provided.” http://www.s-a-f-e.org/healthcare_reform.htm]
Looks like the president’s agenda is GO GREEN...RECYCLE CONGRESS. – SAFE member
Excellent blog! Here are some related thoughts:
• Cato: Natural gas power is typically being used for peak load requirements. Apparently both coal and nuclear are cheaper, or have been cheaper. (The high cost of nuclear construction is sunk cost for existing facilities.) If natural gas gets cheaper due to new techniques for “fracking” shale deposits (as Cato may be assuming), it can be used more, postponing a power shortage. Characteristically, the environmentalists are gearing up to attack “fracking” because it works.
• Heritage: Excellent analysis of the government's interference in private sector initiatives. How can we pressure the government to get out of the way of smaller nuclear reactors?
• We understand that the Delaware PSC plans to add “environmental cost” in evaluating Delmarva Power's energy purchase plans. They will probably add enough “cost” to make coal look "too expensive." – Bill Morris
I was visiting the world’s largest uranium mine in Australia and asked the guide why we are not using nuclear power like France, Japan etc. It comes down to the policy against reprocessing the fuel, which as you point out is a holdover from the Carter era. – SAFE member, Maryland
I'm fully onboard. Heck, they can put the nuclear stuff under my town if they want. – Virginia attorney
There is NO support for nuclear power among the lefties. They will pursue follies like they do in Spain and Germany. SAFE directorhttp://tiny.cc/DGPK4
Re stated mission of the Fiscal Commission: This verbiage means nothing. Leftist governments cannot survive without spending and letting the interest payments loose just provides an outlet. I am all for gridlock. – SAFE director
If anything, you have understated the debt crisis by focusing primarily on the fiscal side of the equation. There is no way the U.S. can maintain a AAA rating while holding interest rates down, and if interest rates are allowed to soar this will put more pressure on the federal budget and cut off the economic recovery that everyone is counting on. The assurances of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to the contrary are worthless.
And the United States government is not the only entity with fiscal problems. Some U.S. state governments are under heavy pressure too, with California at the head of the list, and they will predictably be headed for Washington with hat in hand.
Beyond our borders, Greece and Spain are in crisis mode and the European Union is under pressure as a result. Their problems will adversely affect the U.S., and vice versa.
Ideally the governments concerned would cut back their spending and regulatory regimes severely and allow market forces to bring the situation back into balance. The more likely result, if history is any guide, is they will keep overspending and default on their debt. Drastic, disruptive changes can be expected over the next decade as a result. – SAFE director
The out of control federal budget, has similar characteristics to Toyota`s recent problems ...stuck gas pedal & brakes don’t work. It’s all about tax & tax, spend & spend, elect & elect.
There is no need for a Fiscal Commission. The functions of the federal government are spelled out in the U. S. Constitution, which the president and members of Congress took an oath to support. Expenditures for these purposes may properly be included in the federal budget. All else represents waste, fraud and abuse, designed to provide job protection for the political ruling class. – SAFE member, Arizona
Re the healthcare bill, I believe the Constitutional justification for requiring people to buy specified insurance coverage is yet to be explained. It should have been provided under a standing rule of the House of Representatives (Rule XIII: Calendars and Committee Reports, Contents of Reports): (d) Each report of a committee on a public bill or public joint resolution shall contain the following: (1) A statement citing the specific powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact the law proposed by the bill or joint resolution.
Given the content of the 10th Amendment, I doubt that such justification exists. But what the heck, the sponsors of the Govcare bill won’t let a little thing like the Constitution get in their way. – SAFE member, ArizonaThanks for all the blogs, however this latest is one of the best and most informative. It just may be that there is some reason for optimism out there--somewhere. – Retired finance manager
Folks, if there is one thing that liberals know, it's that nature abhors a vacuum. Accordingly, this merry band of sycophants pollutes us with their noxious gas of humbug. – Conservative Caucus member
I see this nation as being in intensive care. If we don't fix the problem (Congress) this year, it will be on life support. Congress is so intent on accumulating the power to control our lives that they are willing to risk being thrown out of office to accomplish it. – SAFE director
I'm not in favor of having a Constitutional Convention. My biggest concern is that it would afford the opportunity for mischief to those who wish to turn the Constitution into a wish list. The "Writers" provided a wherewithal for amending the Constitution that has served us well these many years. – Alex F. Wysocki, Conservative Caucus of Delaware
I fully support the idea of Congressional term limits, but can see no hope for making it happen unless the members voluntarily limit themselves or the voters limit them. A Cons. Conv. with the present Congressional make-up could be a real disaster! SAFE director
Given who holds the reins of the power structure at the moment, we could be in a lot of trouble calling a Constitutional convention. It could be re-written in a manner that we would not like. SAFE director
Let the revolution begin, again...no more taxation, without representation...throw the bums out. SAFE member, Arizona
OK, OK, it was just a thought. But remember the adage, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Publius
Concerning Gen. Powell's comment about "repeating mantras of the far right," it should be pointed out that Conservatism IS the center. As I told some of the leadership at the Republican State convention in May, to the right there are the libertarians and the anarchists. To the left are the liberals, socialists, fascists and communists. And liberal & socialist are probably synonymous. Conservatives ARE in the center. Too many have bought into the myth that conservatives are the far right. – SAFE director
I think one of the biggest problems is payoffs like we saw to Sen. Landrieu [D-LA] on Saturday. You should not be able to put, for example, highway money in a defense appropriations bill or defense funding in a health care bill. I don't know how to phrase this, but I'm sure you get my meaning. – Donna Gordon, Delaware Tea Party
I rarely get time to review everything that comes in but I did read this entry and have to say you have put a lot of ideas on the table and most are very informative. Also good to see you are on top of my favorite think tank, Cato. – SAFE member, Maryland
Machiavelli in his own inimitable way said it best: "When it is absolutely a question of the safety of one's own country, there must be no consideration of what is just or unjust, of merciful or cruel, of praiseworthy or disgraceful." We should not prefer being humbled to being pertinacious when our country's honor is at stake. - Alex Wysocki, The Conservative Caucus of Delaware
Sorry, I got totally lost on this one. – SAFE member
I am speechless! Every “I” is “dotted” and every “T” crossed. I had never heard about Jack Morgan. I am praying believe me. This is the death or life of our Republic. – Steel supply firm executive, Texas
For better schools,
get the corrupt Washington
politicians out of the picture, & return education to states & localities, where
it belongs per the U. S. Constitution. - SAFE member, Arizona
When I read the first sentence [defining site-based management], I kind of bristled. Accountability is an over-used term and usually only refers to the accountability of the teachers and administration. With that being said, there are a few important points that you make that really appeal to me. First, that the principal and teachers at a school generally know what’s going to work best for their students. They are with them all day; they know their needs pretty well. Also, I like that the focus is on the students. Obviously, 7th grade algebra isn’t for all students, but some are just waiting to soar. It’s important to meet students where ever they are at and help them advance from there, otherwise they’ll get overwhelmed and shut down. I especially liked that you mentioned the ACTIVE SUPPORT OF PARENTS. I can’t stress how important this is. Too many parents feel like they shouldn’t have to watch over their kids in middle school when that’s one of the most crucial times. Unfortunately, I experienced many parents who weren’t involved, wouldn’t return calls, wouldn’t come in for conferences, and one that even gave a false phone number to the school. There is no accountability for these parents. If a child is suspended, they may stay home alone anyway- not much of a punishment. Finally, I get sick and tired of all these bureaucrats try to tell teachers how to do their jobs. Let them try to teach kids after making the children sit through 3-4 hours of testing every day for a week. Somehow, I don’t think they would be too productive. The bureaucrats show up for a few hours and think they know what a school is like, but it’s not until they’re in the “trenches” so to speak, that they can really make decisions that are best for all concerned. Anyway, it sounds like this is a great school. Good luck to them. –Delaware teacher
While the Administration mounts a big push for its version of healthcare “reform,” never mind what it would cost, the U.S. dollar is sinking and gold is soaring due to a national debt that is already high (and headed much higher).
If matters are allowed to continue on the present track, look for the cost of imports to soar. The only way to raise fresh capital will be to print it, with the well-known consequences of spiraling inflation and interest rates.
It is time for the government to start paying attention to the real problems, such as balancing the budget and keeping it that way. - SAFE member
Good writin' there. Has anyone yet answered the basic question whether the pre-plateau global warming trend was caused more by nature than by humans? I haven't seen a definitive answer on that. – Virginia attorney
SAFE response: We would say “mostly nature,” as the fluctuation of global temperatures began long before the Industrial Revolution and nothing observed since then seems out of line with past patterns. See “A Global Warming Primer,” National Center for Policy Analysis, e.g., p. 14http://www.s-a-f-e.org/GlobalWarmingPrimer.pdf
Please send this 9/12 March on Washington video to everyone you know. It is genuine. I was there and that was the woman singing the National Anthem and it was the actual crowd. The only people not participating in this march were the people at the very back near the Washington monument underneath the tents; they were there for another function. -- Donna, Delaware Tea Party
* * * * * *
Great description of the 9/12 events...hope it goes again next year. -- SAFE member, Arizona
I would have loved to go to Washington for the march, as I have often done with the pro-life group. Keep up your good work---lets hope the fervor continues! -- Retired dental hygienist, Delaware
The FDA has ordered three firms to stop production of a medicine (natural desiccated thyroid, or NDT, made from a product of porcine origin) that has been in use for 100+ years and is identical molecularly to a compound in the human thyroid. NDT has been an absolute lifesaver for me and for others suffering from the same condition. There are reports that the two remaining producers may be closed down, and in any case they may not be able to meet the demand for NDT. With a 6-week supply on hand, my survival is at risk. And the plan is to give the government even more power over healthcare? – Steel supply firm executive, Texas
John Adams and his crowd must be turning over in their respective graves! Oh well, for my final few years, I'm just going to concentrate on improving my golf game. – Retired financial executive, Florida
We must stop this major healthcare overall – those on Medicare will take a big hit on what services will be covered. – SAFE Member
Good article. Hits the nail on the head. – Steve McClain
I believe GovCare would provide free medical care for illegal aliens (the exception clause is meaningless as no mechanism has been provided for enforcement) and abortions at taxpayer expense, and that it would constrict medical care for older folks nearing the end. Following the historical path of government, the plan would be expensive and inefficient. The substantial cost involved would be shifted to the private sector by imposing unfunded mandates on employers/workers and raising taxes. The government is in a huge fiscal hole already, which is rapidly growing due to reckless spending and promises. GovCare would make the situation that much worse. Bury businesses in costs and taxes and they will flee the country as they are now leaving California. Let government debt soar and we can expect double-digit inflation or worse and a rating downgrade on U.S. government securities to junk bond status. – SAFE member
# A SAFE director wishes the three members of Congress from Delaware would read and thoroughly digest the SAFE blog, but doubts it will happen. “I have been writing them with pithy examples from articles I have been collecting,” he says, and have booked a bus seat for the 9/12 “March on Washington.”
# A SAFE member in Arizona contrasts the extensive media coverage of the Bernie Madoff investment scam with the lack of recognition that Social Security, which marked its 74th birthday on August 14, is a government-run Ponzi scheme that will shortchange younger workers when they retire. In a similar vein, see “Madoff writ large,” 1/12/09.
Also, the length of a document may not correspond to its importance. The U.S. Constitution took 40 pages (in the Cato printing) to set up the national government; HR 3200 (one of several healthcare bills under consideration) takes 1,000+ pages to prescribe proposed healthcare “reforms.”
# A SAFE member in Delaware is concerned that illegal aliens could receive healthcare insurance subsidies under GovCare. He likens the situation to apparent plans to count illegal aliens in the 2010 census by not inquiring as to their citizenship.
Although HR 3200 (Section 246) does not allow for federal affordability credits “on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States,” it is unclear whether and how illegal aliens would be identified and excluded from coverage. We plan to discuss this issue in a future entry.
|4/13/2009||Hopefully there will be a huge turnout at the Wilmington riverfront tea party on April 15. Charlie Copeland is scheduled to speak. I don't know if there's just one or there are more organizations involved [we gave the credit to Founders Values, but there may have been others involved]. Charlie has an ancestor who was the youngest member of THE Boston Tea Party. He was 15 and held the lantern so the others could see what they were doing. SAFE director|
We are employing a three-track approach. The Administration, the Congress, and the American People. – Peterson Foundation
In addition to being costly, a bigger federal role in education would be ill advised. My thought: the Department of Education should be eliminated, and Congress should pay attention to the 10th amendment. – SAFE member
If anything, you are understating the problem. I fear the Fed is hiding some more problems and printed money somewhere by virtue of having injecting trillions of dollars of liquidity into the financial system that do not show up in the government accounts. – SAFE member
Well done, thanks for sending. – Townhall.com columnist
Expresses many of the issues being raised by the dangerous decisions being made in Washington. Thank you. – Retired finance manager
We, too, are very concerned about the budget picture and will continue to express that to Congress and the president. – National Taxpayers Union
Great minds think alike. I had been thinking of how similar the activities of some U.S. corporations are to a feeding frenzy of sharks, and the U.S. Congress is unthinkingly feeding that frenzy. They fail to remember any history of hyperinflation and the collapse of cultures. What are they thinking? How long before they start printing dollars to cover all they have promised? How did we get to 1.5 trillion dollars in this "bail-out"? I don't remember the votes being taken. - - SAFE director
Madison was right in his quote. I also agree that once a program gets launched, there is no looking back no matter which party is in power. - - Retired financial executive
I don't know how the government will dig itself out of this. They are trying to bail everyone out who comes with their hands out. Bankruptcy may come much quicker than we had anticipated. - - SAFE director
You should get the “decrease spending” message out and tell your members to vote for John McCain. Obama will spend us out of social security! - - Sound reproduction engineer
Thanks for the comment. We can't do what you suggest, as a Section 501(c)(3) organization, but we have been and will continue to hammer home the message that this country needs smaller, more-focused, less costly government. Hopefully, the voters will take the point to heart and make a wise choice.
Great article. By the way, on CNBC the next morning Warren, Pete, Bill Novelli (AARP) and I all agreed on two things. First, we must focus more on the future. Second, we need a capable, credible and bipartisan Fiscal Future Commission. - - David Walker
Your blog synopsis and critique is good, and I will recommend it to some people who I have been trying to explain the film and topic too. - - Financial executive
Just back from Tokyo, thanks for the heads-up. In fact, Quad Cinema and Regal E-Walk 13 will both be screening IOUSA in New York the next few weeks, so it should have a wider audience. I plan to see it at QC soon. - - Asia/Pacific consultant/author
Since one of the objections to nuclear power is the question of what to do with the waste, where do France and other European countries dispose of their waste? -- SAFE member
This question will be addressed in next week’s entry.
The AEC was replaced by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or NRC: it is probably housed in Energy but may have been independent before Energy was created. -- SAFE member
Our description was oversimplified, and it has now been corrected. The former Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) had oversight over all nuclear programs, both military and commercial. The NRC was formed in 1974 to regulate the commercial operations, while oversight over military programs and the promotion of nuclear power was transferred to other agencies (which became part of the Department of Energy when formed in 1977).
|7/14/2008||Thanks for your coverage and for your interest and efforts. -- David Walker|
|7/7/2008||An oil rig is no less pretty than a windmill, and a whole lot more productive at this point in the game. We saw several wind farms on our swing out west and they most certainly did not enhance the landscape. For the short haul, and maybe for the long, drilling and nuclear are about it. -- SAFE member|
I appreciate your comments about Budget Hero and have forwarded them to the game's production staff. -- Public Relations Manager, American Public Media
I remember playing a "game" like this a few years ago that was put out by AP. In that version, you had to win over enough legislators to pass the budget. Needless to say, you couldn't cut a thing and still get enough support to pass a budget. I thought it was very heavily tilted toward "big government." -- Director of Government Affairs, National Taxpayer’s Union
Excellent blog. I'm also pleased that medical marijuana acceptance is
spreading. -- SAFE member
Treatment courts sound very good; I had never heard of them. -- SAFE member
|6/2/2008||I sent some general thoughts on capping taxes to various "representatives" in Congress (representing who?). -- Financial manager|
|5/26/2008||The truth hurts - but, I think Congress needs to hear it! I just can't believe how ineffective Congress is and how they've messed up. No wonder their approval rating is so low. -- SAFE member|
The only error I saw was that the “hockey stick” restatement of historical temperature data was proposed by a professor at Penn State University rather than the University of Oklahoma. -- Dr. David Legates
(The reference has been corrected.)
I always believed that our gas prices were the result of speculators taking advantage of a difficult energy environment. The supply and demand has not changed as much as the increase in the price of a barrel of oil in the last year. What does global warming have to do with this? -- Attorney, Florida
We are not sure how the change in supply and demand can be measured quantitatively, but at a certain point unmet demand will force prices up very sharply until a balance is reached.Very interesting stuff. Haven't found a thing yet I can disagree with. -- Attorney, Virginia
|4/28/2008||Keep up the great work! -- SAFE member|
Meaty is right! Will read this more in depth when I get a chance, but I hope SAFE is emailing these links to senators and representatives as they are updated weekly. -- Technology consultant
This entry drew some encouraging responses, but no suggestions for the next issue on how to make the sale. Please be thinking about that part, folks, because being right is only half the battle.
Yes, we have a terrible fiscal problem hanging over us, and I like your solution for social security. The rising medical costs are a continuing problem, but maybe the next president will try to get those in hand. And how about all the debt for the Iraq war! -- Family connection
A lot of good info and insight re the topics. -- Financial manager
Excellent! Comprehensive. Shows a lot of effort. -- SAFE member
|3/31/2008||Thanks for Posting -- Jagadeesh|
SAFE member comment: As to individual coverage, did you consider the idea of having funds made available that are the person's own money to the extent that he does not use all dollars in any year for healthcare costs? That is an incentive to use only what is really needed while having funds to use where care is required.”
Our response: Such an arrangement, commonly referred to as a health savings account (HSA), offers considerable advantages over the “use it or lose it” plans that represent the current norm for healthcare insurance. Many people would appreciate being rewarded for staying healthy, and there would be greater incentive for younger workers in good health to sign up.
HSA coverage would predictably be more expensive than catastrophic loss coverage, however, because routine healthcare expenditures would be part of the package. The decision involved would be somewhat analogous to choosing between “full life” and “term life” coverage. People who liked the combination of insurance and forced saving with an HSA might be quite willing to pay the extra cost.
After watching Bill Moyers's TV show last Friday, where he interviewed
the authors of "Where Does the Money Go" and "The Age of American
Unreason," I ordered both books. The first describes how our Federal
Government (presidents and Congress) are ruining our Country's financial
stability and how to solve it. The second helps explain the problems
with current thinking and actions of people. Should be great reading.
-- SAFE Member
Great job! I was somewhat concerned that Bill Moyers had not covered the moves announced by Pres. Bush.
Much appreciated. as is all the work you are doing. Keep fighting the good fight. -- Michael Tanner
I hope over the next 5-10 years, we can agree on a few solutions that will provide good healthcare at reasonable prices. However, I don't think it will come from our Government. No accountability! -- StockbrokerThanks for your note and related efforts. -- David Walker
Somebody has got to think about improving the productivity of medical personnel and procedures. And it wouldn't hurt, in addition, to end billion-dollar rip-offs as in the case of United Health Care's CEO, reported several times in WSJ. Whatever happened to dedication, serving mankind, reducing suffering -- the values communicated in medical schools? -- Princeton alumnusThe answer is neither Michael Moore's approach ("Sicko") nor George Bush's, but I look forward to swapping ideas as and when.-- Management consultant
I agree with S-A-F-E that we want government out of healthcare. It is an oxymoron to say that we cannot afford healthcare, as if healthcare were some service that comes with a set price which is either affordable or not.
Healthcare is a consumer good like any other. In a free market the public will purchase just as much healthcare as it wants, no more and no less, just as we do with housing, food, clothing, fuel, you-name-it. -- Economic commentator
In your blog, you wrote:
"Responsibilities" is not an accepted word, "guardians" would sound pompous, "white hats" is too breezy, etc. If any of our readers has suggestions, we would love to hear them!
How about "Visionaries"?....with an eye to the future, it fits with the aim of "Securing America's Future Economy."
|Your results comment, "disruptive & disagreeable" just don't cut it. It doesn't make the problem sound as serious as it is. What is the matter with the word "bankrupt"? We are facing national bankruptcy, and need to call a spade a spade.|
I couldn't agree more. Beware those people -- especially politicians -- who have an agenda. – Retired judge (NJ)