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View Diary: Insolvency, tax cuts, military spending and social security (188 comments)

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  •  No worries then,just raise taxes in 2033.One thing (0+ / 0-)

    What makes you so certain, that after paying the debt, which according to the CBO will exceed 200% of GDP by 2037, that there will be any money left over to tax?

    "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

    by Kvetchnrelease on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 07:39:09 AM PDT

    •  So let's see (20+ / 0-)

      2% rates on 10 year bonds, let's do the math.

      Here's a question for you - do you think the US will default on its debt? Is that your thesis?

      But by all means, let's slash military spending to start. You with me?

      •  I'm with you. Cut military spending by half at (24+ / 0-)

        least. It's funny that no one can come to grips with the fact that there is no threat in the world against the US that can support the insane levels of military spending.

        The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. G.B. Shaw

        by baghavadgita on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 07:55:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So you don't think we need more aircraft carrier (9+ / 0-)

          groups, hundreds more stealth fighter jets and thousands of stealth cruise missiles, thousands of relentless drones and more battalions of gung-ho Marines, all to Win the War against The Threat of Total Global International Terrorism of The Most Inhuman Kind, and drugs, and all it's local franchised cells which could be hiding anywhere, even hiding in our schools and religious buildings and workplaces, and thus meriting constant vigilant spying and, if suspects are found, to be captured and tortured to no end?  

          Dare you try, even now, to say such things as might deter or prevent the future-obsessed DoD from completing Sky-Net and thence to delay it's becoming self-aware and which in turn gains complete cybernetic and privatized control of all military assets?  Or else having our military/government network turned into servile 'bots' controlled by one or several international gangs (employing hacker/cracker programmers) and the secret nation/state groups behind most major network attacks and infiltrations, much more so than 'Anonymous', and doing massive corporate espionage and theft of trade secrets, plans and other intellectual property.  If we downsize, there is less to steal, less to compromise, less to have turned against us in acts of cyber-terrorism, and less chance for T-1000's to be manufactured and unleashed to roam the Earth mercilessly, and finding John Conner's mother defenseless in the sanitarium.

          Okay, so yes, I'd agree cutting our defense spending by at least 50% seems very reasonable. Certainly we could consider dropping to the combined levels of Russia, China, India, and maybe share far more costs with the EU/NATO and Pacific Rim alliances.  It might be good to divert some spending to needed weather/climate satellites since defending our nation against losing hundreds or thousands of us to weather catastrophes would come far cheaper than our cost-ineffective millions spent per actual terrorist killed (plus the untidy expenses for collateral damage kills and maimings).  

          And if we have a few hundred billions extra, well, it's high time to start investing in the technologies NASA/ESA, Russia and China will need to cooperatively develop warp drives for interstellar travel and start the Interplanetary Federation of Sane Intelligent Peace-loving Species and zero-point free energy systems, tri-corders, phasers, space stations, transporters, light-sabers, jet boots, flying cars, star gates, food replicators if not advanced hydroponic food growth systems that are not fattening, and be transformed by mysterious black obelisques into embryonic cosmic trans-corporeal multi-dimensional consciousnesses, battle the Borg, choosing the red or blue pill, etc.  This might be where imaginative and progressive leadership could take us if we just invested in Peace and The Future, instead of War Now and Forever.  Sure, we may need some photon torpedoes and phase cannons, but we have to get out of our little world's limited, self-defeating perspectives and intense nationalized competition for scare resources and frakking wars with each other and Nature first.  What we really need is a Department of Peace and The Future!

          When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

          by antirove on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 09:56:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nicely done! You got me, I'm one of those (6+ / 0-)

            hippie peace loving folks commonly called a terrorist by today's right wing nuts.

            The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. G.B. Shaw

            by baghavadgita on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 10:19:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yep...I remember when being called Peace-nik (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kitsap River, Calgacus, baghavadgita

              was about as bad as it got from 'average' conservatives. Okay, that along with mini-lectures like, "Are you really in agreement with all those protesters? Don't you realize you'll end up with an FBI file and deemed a known supporter of communists if you sign that petition to free those criminal protesters or are photographed in that peace march?  It'll go on your permanent record and then what will you do?"

              And then there was the occasional presumptive alpha-male outburst of something like "You're just a G-D_n F_n hippie-freak, free-love, draft-card-burning surrender-monkey who wipes his/her ass on America's burning flag every day while holding up a busted peace sign while clutching some hippie dippy peace slut...and, hey, let me show you my half'a peace sign, buddy! Right up the middle, you idiot goof-ball!  And pull me another American made beer from the cooler you ungrateful freak, then you can go waste your head blowing your Mexican weed or whatever drugs you like this week. And hey, Punk! Don't you ever get my daughter pregnant with your weak headed demon seed or I'll be running your sorry ass up that flag pole with that peace flag rammed up inside.  What was it that messed up your whole generation, the flouride in the water? Those foreign rock bands like The Beatles?"  

              And that was for having horn-rimmed glasses, hair that came over the tops of my ears just a bit, bell bottoms, a guitar, and expressing a concern about the futility of the war to carpet bomb Viet Nam and Cambodia, the human and environmental costs of Agent Orange, and the odd fact that rich 18 year olds of rich and powerful families seem to get easy draft deferrals, while other kids didn't.  And the rich kids got to join frats at fancy private colleges, pickling their brains binging on beer and shots and competing to bed coeds, all the while laughing at the poor slobs who get drafted and are compelled to go to the jungles and get maimed or die in Viet Nam, and I was wondering out loud what was so patriotic and right about that, and suggesting that everyone focusing on peace and love might be a whole lot more productive for the whole world, and that I had become a committed Consciencious Objector, which kept sounding like being a Commie Pinko to her dad.  

              It is a pretty crazy country where using one's rights to assemble and speak, to take a stand, articulating a clear position for peace, with consensus as a group, and this frightening spectacle gets the hot police response or national guard out in full military garb and there are violent beat downs of those criminally peace-loving drug-crazed youth--and that beat down of those foolish peace-loving hippies is what earns the attention and approval of such conservatives.  Being for the war, marching for the war and hurling insults at, or physically confronting peace advocates, and, no problem, there are no arrests, no tear gas, no police beat downs, nobody deems you foolish or as trying to subvert or overthrow 'the establishment'.  Although scary peaceful flowers might be offered them by peace-niks as the war-niks go by.

              Be against the war, calling for peace and justice, be for reasoning together towards common consensus and finding a fair compromise, and you learn to expect the local war to come in hard, to aim directly for your head and guts, after the volleys of tear gas.  Being for Peace, holding up flowers and hand-painted signs, is clearly one of the most threatening actions and offensive acts a citizen can do, with other citizens (besides all that icky free love stuff) and require battalions of police to repress, arrest and shut down, as the media pontificates on the foolishness and affirming the criminality of those daring to protest like that, in public places.  And being a Peace-nik only makes the news only if violently opposed with harsh prejudice and getting body parts bashed in, against a backdrop of TV newsworthy picturesque roiling clouds tear gas, and an incited bloody running riot of some kind or another, even if perhaps incited by the local 'Officers of The Peace' or FBI doing their COUNTER-INTEL thing.  

              And in this current age, being an advocate for Peace and Justice can result in being named to the no-fly list and deemed a potential domestic terrorist, belligerently inciting and encouraging others to think peaceful thoughts. Raising your arm to deflect a baton blow that seems aimed at one's spleen or other vital organs or head is deemed to be criminally resisting arrest and actively attacking an officer, and refusing to heed the directions of an officer, refusing to submit to a lawful arrest, conspiracy to incite a riot, etc. If one survives that direct on-slought, the legal battle begins where 'the book' is thrown at you and keeping you suffering pain in jail as long as possible seems to be the goal of some 'in the system'. Daring to video and document what appears to be outrageous police response has been criminalized in some states.  It's not cheap or easy to advocate for Peace and tends not to leave one injury free and deprived of electronic personal property (evidence proving conspiracy of course).  Peace-loving Americans do not seem to have a clear sort of majority representation, even in these days.  Not tolerating and forcefully repressing those who form groups in public daring to adovcate tolerance, fairness, justice and just getting along peacefully is what remains uniquely and exceptionally status-quo American.

              When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

              by antirove on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 12:46:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Greek bonds... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kickemout, hmi

        ...were trading at 4% in 2009. Unless you are arguing some kind of exceptionalism...

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 09:06:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well (14+ / 0-)

          Greece is certainly not the US, not the least of which is Greece does not have its own currency.

          I find your comment silly I admit, but I give you just one important data point as a difference.

          •  Countries that print their own currency... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kickemout, AmericanAnt, hmi

            ...implode all the time, look at Weimar Germany. They tried to print themselves out of the mess they were in and ended up using wheelbarrows of cash to buy food.

            The thing to remember is that foreign investors don't give a rats ass about dollars. What they want is stuff. They send us 100 TVs, they want 105 back at some point. That's why you invest.

            I agree that the US does not look like it's going to collapse anytime soon, but neither did Greece...

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 09:16:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Look at Weimar Germany!!! (17+ / 0-)

              Yes look at it.

              They wanted their currency to implode for a reason. You know it. I know it.

              Please, let's be real.

              The rest of your comment seems divorced from reality imo.

              Investors DO want dollars. They want security. For crissakes, people are buying US binds guaranteeing an investment loss.

            •  um no (9+ / 0-)
              The thing to remember is that foreign investors don't give a rats ass about dollars.
              They certainly care.  They were reluctant to keep buying during the dollar's decline in 2007 but have resumed.

              -You want to change the system, run for office.

              by Deep Texan on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 09:49:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  They care... (0+ / 0-)

                ...because they have the impression that dollar = stuff and a dollar in the future will give you the same amount or slightly more stuff than today. (More precisely, that the dollar is the best option as a store of value as opposed to others).

                As soon as they get the idea that dollars do not equal stuff, they all leave and the economy implodes.

                The more money you print, the less stuff you imply every dollar will buy.

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 03:21:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Nope, you assume full employment implicitly here. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Deep Texan

                  The more money you print, the less stuff you imply every dollar will buy.

                  IF that were all that would happen. But this makes utterly invalid full employment (& completely accommodated savings desire) assumptions. At times like now, when the economy is starved for money, helicopter-dropping money would cause more creation of real stuff than the money represents.  

                  Printing money for a JG at a reasonable living wage for doing sensible things would be highly disinflationary in the USA, because it would crowd out a lot of insane, inflationary spending supported ultimately by government welfare, targetted to the rich.

                  What can "they" -  foreign investors - do if they think they will get less stuff? All they can do is spend their money in the USA . If they spend so much that they cause inflation in the USA, they are cutting their own throats.

                  Like Big John Connally said, "the dollar is our currency and your problem" (if they want to make it a problem).

            •  They imploded because of the gold standard (9+ / 0-)

              and a crazy monetary policy.

              Q: when did Germany return to growth?

              When Hitler reneged on Germany's debts and started a massive stimulus policy of building in the 1930s. You should look at the rip-roaring 1930s (especially late 1930s) in Germany when they were printing money left and right and had a great economy.

              If Hitler hadn't been an evil monster, he'd be thought of as the FDR of Europe for his Keynesian policies.

              There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

              by upstate NY on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 10:00:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Foreign-denominated debt was the killer (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                upstate NY

                More precisely, they imploded because the debts were denominated in gold or foreign currency. Such a debt can go to infinity measured in domestic currency. Germany had no alternative.

                Responding to Sparhawk - of course "foreign investors ... What they want is stuff."  is true But the point is that the foreign investors have no legal claim for "stuff" if they hold a fiat debt. MMT economists support a JG which would put an economy on a labor standard - in effect making the foreign investors have the right to be provided with the produce of quantities of unskilled labor in the domestic economy.

                In normal situations, this is the perfect anti-inflationary way to balance creditor & debtor rights. MMT policies would be very deflationary in the USA - see my reply to Sparhawk in another thread.

            •  You again? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pot

              I can only conclude that you are so very fond of your 1% exceptionalist authoritarian talking points that you have an unquencable compulsion to inflict them on the rest of the communtity; our reactions be damned.

              Get help.

              "What have you done for me, lately?" ~ Lady Liberty

              by ozsea1 on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 12:53:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good progressive policy (0+ / 0-)

                Means actually understanding economics.

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 01:48:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  really? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ozsea1, pot

                  coming from someone who thinks deflation is just a minor inconvenience?  I've never taken an economics class, but I understand it better than you do.

                  •  Deflation... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...is the cure, rather than the disease.

                    I hate analogies, but it's analogous to a heroin withdrawal. Sure, not having heroin is incredibly painful and giving more heroin certainly makes you feel better in the short term, but in the long term you have to get off the stuff (i.e. allow the economy to deflate down to sustainability).

                    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                    by Sparhawk on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 02:50:59 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

                  I understand economics very well, even liberrtarian economics.

                  Typical.

                  "What have you done for me, lately?" ~ Lady Liberty

                  by ozsea1 on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 02:21:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  But the problem is (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ozsea1

                  That you don't, but think you do.

                  Not your fault, it's a  worldwide dark age of economics. Studied a bit of econ back in the late 70s & early 80s. Some good, interesting stuff, but too much gibberish that simply didn't make sense.

                  Got a big shock when I opened up some recent textbooks. All the true, interesting stuff had been purged, while the gibberish had grown like cancer. Laughable, psychotic ideas like Ricardian equivalence & government budget constraints were taken seriously and pretend-proven.

                  In the interim, the enormous weight of gibberish innumerate neoclassical, pseudomathematical quackonomics propaganda had become so enormous I had started believing a little in its insane ravings. Some of the same things I had rejected before and stopped studying econ because of. Read some Keynes in the 70s, but not Lerner, hadn't heard of him - who fixed Keynes's confusions and made him clearer.  

                  A lot of the work of the MMTers is just cleaning up the absolute shit that dominated the last few decades, and just writing down carefully the things that everyone used to know, that went without saying, that hence nobody ever said. Such retrogressions, such amnesia in science are much more common than most people think, although economics is a pretty extreme case.

      •  There will come a time when the tidal wave of debt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kickemout, hmi

        comes crashing down on the economy, and your 2 percent bonds will be long gone. Will the govt default? Never. However, I would be worried if I was someone under the age of 40, because to avoid default and to perpetuate its existence, the government will indeed be forced to cut benefits to its citizens. Your view of ignoring the debt is the type of herd mentality seen all too often by selfish, self serving people irrespective of party affiliation.

        My immediate suggestion is a ten percent salami cut for every govt agency, including the military. I don't understand people who will not sacrifice a bite today for ensuring a meal tomorrow.

        "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

        by Kvetchnrelease on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 11:23:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why "indeed be forced to cut benefits to citizens" (5+ / 0-)

          ?

          Why not "forced to cut military spending" instead?

          Why not "forced to return to a progressive tax system" as existed in the 1930s and 1940s (and really, up till Reagan)?

          Oh, that's right--those alternatives aren't "realistic".  

          It is always the case that the only "realistic" alternatives are the ones that screw the 99%.

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