Misperceptions = We’re Boned

I was going through my email last week, and the latest piece of tp (were I to print it out on a cottony, quilted sheet) from MoveOn(left).org showed up, firing off the usual whining about how the Ryan budget was going to “kill Medicare” how the whole, relatively modest budget plan was “a  naked, unapologetic attack on working Americans for the sake of Big Insurance and the richest of the rich,” and….


But in going though this usual litany of blame with no damned solutions other than taxing the rich, I discovered a couple thing.

First, they generally don’t mention cutting a damn thing in the spending department.  And then, it’s usually just the military.  Conversely, that’s the one thing the GOP won’t cut (as evidenced by the latest solution the Heritage Foundation churned out, which is better than the leftist BS), but they will go after Mediscare.  And NO ONE wants to even fuck with Social Insecurity

Second, the MoveOn mooks cite a poll which shows the following: “…Americans oppose cuts to Medicare or Medicaid by a margin of 80 to 18 percent, including 73 percent of Republicans and 75 percent of Independents,” and  “…64 percent of voters supported raising taxes on incomes above $250,000 to pay down the deficit, with 63 percent of independents backing that approach.”  Even shifting those numbers by a whopping 10% (to ostensibly remove bias) doesn’t tell a good tale.  And that tale?

We’re boned.  Seriously, permanently boned.

Let me give you a couple charts that illustrate everything:

This first one is our spending percentages for 2010.  These are not estimates, and this data is collated from the OMB data.  84.5% of our spending falls under four categories: Health (Medicare and Medicaid, and soon Obamacare) at 24.4%, Social Security (the Ponzi scheme) at 21%, Defense (you know, the war thing) at 20.6%, and Income Security (I had to look this up, but it’s a combo of federal employee benefits, unemployment, and welfare) at 18.5%.  Now, if 47% of our spending is deficit spending, we’re going to have to make cuts in ALL of those categories.

And the worst part is that we can’t cut just one or two completely out of existence (because even cutting the two largest wouldn’t eliminate the deficit).  We HAVE to have defense spending, as that’s a constitutional imerative of the government.  We can’t just kill the health, SSI, and welfare, because we’ve made too many people dependent on them.  And as for the unemployment and federal employee benefits, people have worked for those, so we can’t just screw them over.

Which brings me to chart number two.  You’ll notice growth in defence went up 70%, Mediscare and Medicaid both 75%, Social Security 38% (relatively small, thank FSM), non0-defense discretionary spending 55%, and the rest, 64%.

What is that, about 50-60% overall growth over a decade?  And has our population grown by that amount?  or our needs?  Or anything not fucking cancerous?  Bernie Madoff didn’t give that good a return, and he was a criminal.

The fact is that until we get serious about cutting all the big programs, the ones that really cost us cash, we don’t have a damned chance.  And with only a small percentage of the American public being able to look at the damned obvious and come up with the solution (since there’s maybe a handful of politicians that get it), it brings me back to my suppostion:

We’re boned.


About patrickmspeaks

Father, tech-head, political sage, and the Illustrious One of (little) 3x2 fame, I have been blogging for a few years now, and want to stretch in new directions, discover new things, and redefine redefining just for the fun of it. Nonetheless, having produced a pointless paragraph about me, I'll stop before something bursts.
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4 Responses to Misperceptions = We’re Boned

  1. You are right. We are boned…certainly if we don’t raise taxes. We are currently taxed at the lowest rate in the last 60 years, so I think we can afford a little more.

    Social Security should not be included when talking about federal spending. It is self funded and does not contribute to the deficit. In fact, SS has loaned the government trillions of dollars.

    There are certainly billions than can be cut from the defense budget without hurting our national security.

    There is waste and fraud in medicare and medicaid. I would start by allowing medicare to negotiate drug prices.

    But, no matter what we do, we are boned if we don’t raise taxes.

    • Jerry, did you miss the whole recession/limping recovery thing going on? That’s the one BIG reason not to raise taxes. Conversely, I don’t think any lowering would be a great idea at this point. What would work would be to lock in the current personal rates at their current rate for another 5-6 years, long enough to create stability (which is one part of the problem with the current economy) which will lead to the economy getting booming again. Then comes the increased revenue. Also, you’re looking at just tax rates. You forget to include the added embedded taxes caused by the corporate rates, compliance costs, regulations, mandates, sin taxes, and every other way the government manages to squeeze blood from the American turnip.

      Of course the only people with the income at this point to really “afford” a tax hike would be the “rich.” The downside there? You’d have to get near 100% taxes to make a dent. And no one with sense would even try that, because there’d be no question what the people who could afford to leave the country with their money would do.

      And that ignores that the problem is NOT income, but spending. As in if we increase revenue, that just gives Washington more cushion to spend..

      As for Social inSecurity, like any Ponzi scheme, it funds itself until it can’t. Then it collapses. And since the government isn’t putting the money away, just shuffling it to current beneficiaries and dumping IOUs into an office in West Virginia, we’re approaching a time when it dies. And that time, of course, will be before I’m old enough to receive it. So it’s not exempt from finding ways to cut it here.

      And when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid, you’re scratching the surface. Washington has been doing that for decades. And remember, we haven’t ADDED Obamacare costs into the health care mix yet.

      The point I make is that we are really pussyfooting around the problem, grabbing our ideological hammers and either going after our favorite straw man (defense and the rich for you, medicare and abortion on the right), and ignoring the fact that it’s this myopia that continues to pile the debt on.

  2. dmarks says:

    The rich are already paying a huge amount, and providing a huge proportion of the taxes coming in.

    Even if you were to steal…. ahem “tax” ALL of the rich’s assets, you’d still have a large deficit and debt.

    However, such a policy would not happen instantly, and the time between serious discussion in Congress and enactment of such a law, the rich would move themselves or at least all of their assetts out of the country, and cause a huge economic collapse due to the lack of investment.

  3. Dustin says:

    We are not boned. A budget deficit is not a problem in and of itself a problem. The federal budget is not constrained by revenue or ability to borrow, it’s only constrained by inflation. It cannot be forced into bankruptcy unless our leaders do something stupid(like refusing to raise the debt ceiling).

    This would be a difference without a distinction if inflation and federal deficits rose and fell together. Fortunately, inflation and budget deficits don’t perfectly rise and fall together because of savings desire, trade deficits, and otherwise idle labor & capital. That’s why in 2008,2009, and 2010 the federal government could deficit spend about 1 trillion dollars and see almost no CPI movement in 2008 and 2010, and actually saw deflation in 2009.

    Now I’m not saying conservatives don’t have a point about reducing budget bloat. I’m also not saying that progressives don’t have a point about how to better distribute taxes. What I am saying is that both those groups are wrong in thinking that a budget deficit is a valid reason to do these things.

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