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Dean Baker in The Guardian explains everything economic: the Debt, Social Security, Climate Change, etc.

Baker writes a masterful takedown of all the VSP fog about the need for a Grand Bargain on taxes and earned benefits.

Opening paragraph

Imagine if in response to Japan attacking Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, our political leaders had debated the best way to deal with the deficits from war spending projected for 1960. This is pretty much the way in which Washington works these days.
A bit more of Baker's trenchant prose below the fold.

Baker points out a FACT! Such a liberal thing to do:

If the economy were back near its pre-recession level of unemployment, then the deficits would be close to 1% of GDP, a level that could be sustained indefinitely.
And then points out the hypocrisy of those who bleat about the burdens for our children:
Imagine that we listen to our Campaign to Fix the Debt friends and find a way to pay down the debt while neglecting any steps to curb global warming.

We'll be able to tell our children and grandchildren that they don't have to pay interest on government bonds (they also won't be receiving interest on government bonds, but let's not complicate matters with logic), even as they evacuate their homes ahead of flood waters.

For the next 6 weeks we will be bombarded with more lies just like those we heard in the last 6 months, with the Republican effort to win the bargain after losing the election.

Will the truth stated clearly and concisely by Baker get any attention?

Originally posted to Urban Owl on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:38 PM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pat bunny, Frameshift, Ryvr

    We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

    by Urban Owl on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:38:20 PM PST

  •  All healthcare becomes affordable if we get (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    debedb

    insurance companies out of the middle. It's not that we're not paying enough already, just that we're not getting what we're already paying for. Of course, if we get everyone an annual physical, we may turn out to also have too many doctors and hospitals, but so be it.

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 07:34:19 PM PST

    •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ryvr, HeyMikey

      And all the scared talk about deficits and the debt are cover for the R attack on social programs.

      Another source on this:

      Galbraith in Salon

      We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

      by Urban Owl on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 07:43:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Link CO2 tax & Medicare-Medicaid-Social Security (0+ / 0-)

        If we phased in a greenhouse tax on a reasonable time schedule, the revenue would follow a bell-shaped curve: starting low, peaking as the tax increased, then dropping off as the tax increased enough to make fossil energy use rare.

        (If fossil energy use does not become rare, the tax isn't high enough.)

        Guess what also will follow a bell-shaped curve? The expenses required by the retirement of the Baby Boomers. Those expenses (most notably to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, but also to a range of other government services) have already started to increase as the first of the Baby Boomers (born in '46, now age 66) have already retired; those expenses will peak about 15-25(?) years from now, when the majority of the Boomers are retired; then the expenses will fall as the Boomers die off.

        If we played our cards right, the revenue curve from the greenhouse tax would more or less track the expense curve from the Boomers' retirement. Nail, meet hammer.

        [Note: the same revenue pattern could also derive from a properly executed cap-and-trade plan. I am well aware the political clout of current greenhouse emitters could easily prevent a cap-and-trade plan from being executed properly. That's a separate discussion.]

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 12:32:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good idea sort of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HeyMikey

          Carbon tax is a great idea, but we need to spend a chunk of that on the people too poor to take that hit and another chunk on investment in getting to a low carbon lifestyle, e.g., transit, solar, insulation, etc.

          Also, SS is fully funded more easily, just eliminate the cap on earnings subject to the tax.

          Medicare needs the cost of medical care to flatten and perhaps decrease, and any cuts that just transfer that cost to the private sector (old people) is not a solution.

          Income taxes need to go up on the top and defense spending needs to come down.

          But what is on the table? None of the above.

          We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

          by Urban Owl on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 04:57:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  various... (0+ / 0-)
            Carbon tax is a great idea, but we need to spend a chunk of that on the people too poor to t
            ake that hit
            Agreed.
            and another chunk on investment in getting to a low carbon lifestyle, e.g., transit, solar, insulation, etc.
            Not required apart from #1 above. The carbon tax will stimulate private investment in efficiency and renewables.
            Also, SS is fully funded more easily, just eliminate the cap on earnings subject to the tax.
            More easily--mathematically. Perhaps not politically. If Obama only has enough political capital for a limited amount of tax increase...see below.
            Medicare needs the cost of medical care to flatten and perhaps decrease, and any cuts that just transfer that cost to the private sector (old people) is not a solution.
            Yeah, I agree. But again you're absolutely right on the math but that doesn't meant it's politically gonna happen.
            Income taxes need to go up on the top and defense spending needs to come down. But what is on the table? None of the above.
            I suspect, actually, that some of both of those are about to happen. Enough? Not enough to make me and you happy. But some.

            The point is that Obama has authority to regulate CO2 without needing any permission from Congress; without needing to give up anything as a bargaining chip. In fact using the EPA to regulate CO2--with a fee or cap-and-trade--would actually increase Obama's political capital because (1) a majority of Americans agree we need to act on global warming, and (2) it would reveal the GOP as not serious about the deficit, weakening their public support.

            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

            by HeyMikey on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 06:18:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'd be happy with a carbon tax (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HeyMikey

              But I fear a B-S move to cut SS and Medicare, probably with the totally bullshit raising the entry age trick.

              Nobody seems to read Dean Baker or Jamie Galbraith, and Krugman alone is not enough.

              We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

              by Urban Owl on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 06:23:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Ppl should rec this diary (0+ / 0-)

    This a.m.'s HuffPo Headline: "
    DEAL WITH THE DEVIL
    'Grand Bargain' Talks Will Likely Target Medicare,
    Social Security & Programs For The Poor"

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

    We need to destroy the idea of a bargain on the backs of the middle class and poor citizens now before it gains even more momentum.

    Come on, Mr. President, the country overwhelmingly re-elected you to protect us from this!!

    -- Ryvr
    END THIS WAR NOW

    by Ryvr on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 06:03:49 AM PST

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