"Obama wants more taxes for more spending, not for debt reduction."

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/274171/unbalanced-michael-tanner# ]History shows us that countries as divergent as Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and Slovenia successfully reduced the size of their governments relative to their economies and lowered their debt burden substantially. They did so by controlling spending, not by raising taxes. ~Michael Tanner, National Review Online

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Paul J. Scharf's picture

You don't solve a drunkard's problems by giving him more to drink so that he can satisfy his cravings and feel better. I would say that the federal government is drunk on spending -- except that is a great insult to drunkards. It is time to stop the insanity.

If you think higher taxes will be put toward debt reduction, I have a grocery store to sell you in Antarctica.

The only way ever to cut the budget will be to lower taxes -- making it necessary for Congress to start lowering its amount of deficit spending. Over time, this will actually yield the by-product of increased revenues from increased productivity, thus lowering the deficit further -- until Congress starts another spending spree.

BTW, I would say the same thing about the "debt ceiling." The idea that we were ever going to "default" was a silly media-hype creation. We currently have enough money to pay on our current loans. Raising the debt ceiling means taking out new debt. Doesn't sound like a way to prevent default -- to me or anyone who knows anything above first-grade math.

Church Ministries Representative for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry

James Bliss's picture

There is no silver bullet to solve the situation which we are now in. This debt issue was raised in the 70s, and nothing was done back then by either political party, other than lip service.

To take any item off of the table is not a rational approach to defining a resolution for this problem.

Recent surveys have shown that a large majority of the US population recognizes that the deficit problem needs to be resolved. But, when asked about the details, there is only one consensus among these people, cut those items which do not affect me. It is at this juncture which the problem becomes apparent in that everyone, in one fashion or another, has some reliance on government spending (or not taxing) and do not want their individual sacred cow (apologies) to be touched.

We will need to have some leaders elected who do not care if they get re-elected, and are willing to make the hard decisions which will almost certainly prevent them from getting re-elected. The current administration is just an example of the problem, as was the previous administration. Neither party can claim the 'moral' high ground in this discussion since each has had their hand in the cookie jar in their attempt to persuade the electorate to vote for them as a result of various government spending/tax programs - these programs just differ based on which party is proposing them.

To claim that we could avoid the debt ceiling increase is pretty much nonsense and most economists (both side of the political spectrum) agree. If the debt ceiling were not put in place then the current administration would have the power to unilaterally decide who/what gets paid and what does not get paid (with the potential exception of the debt) since the need to implement spending cuts would have come up very quickly. It must be remembered that even if spending remains flat there is an increase in debt as a result of the interest on our current debt.

The potential solutions will result in much pain across the board, whether it is increased age to receive social security and medicare, tighter medicaid policies, cutting social programs, cutting defense, cutting government benefits for their employees, etc.

As indicated at the beginning, there is no silver bullet solution and most people will be impacted regardless of what direction the solution takes.

What many people do not take into account is the impact any interest rate increases will have on our national debt and any potential solution to our debt problem. The debt will increase dramatically with every quarter of a point increase in interest. This will happen sooner or later and result in even harsher austerity measures being necessary.

Now, do we tax, do we cut spending, do we put off eligibility for certain government benefits? Perhaps we implement a VAT like many other countries have. There will have to be some sort of combination of these put in place.

I do not have the solution, but I do recognize that there are many proposals which both sides have presented which will do nothing to decrease spending, just diminish the rate of increase and will not solve the problem (like our current 'agreement' does). Many of these proposals, from both sides of the aisle, are not founded on sound financial calculations.

Sorry, got rambling a little at the end there.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

James Bliss wrote:
To claim that we could avoid the debt ceiling increase is pretty much nonsense and most economists (both side of the political spectrum) agree. If the debt ceiling were not put in place then the current administration would have the power to unilaterally decide who/what gets paid and what does not get paid (with the potential exception of the debt) since the need to implement spending cuts would have come up very quickly.

I believe that power would actually rightfully belong to Congress, since we do not have a king in this country -- at least not yet.

But I do grant that, with the national media's help, the president might attempt to usurp such authority and use it for great political gain. Of course, Social Security would be the first thing we wouldn't have money for -- even as we continue to spend billions studying the mating habits of some obscure creature of one kind or another.

Not to mention the mischief that all the unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats could cause in such a situation.

Church Ministries Representative for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry

James Bliss's picture

Paul J. Scharf wrote:

I believe that power would actually rightfully belong to Congress, since we do not have a king in this country -- at least not yet.

The President is supposed to submit a budget (ah well...) to the Congress and then they analyze, etc. and negotiate and then pass it for the President's signature.

But, the Treasury department pays the bills. They prioritize the bills and then pay them as the money is available.

Interesting topic, but I do not believe that churches should be getting involved in politics. Especially in this situation since, from listening to that web cast, there is an apparent lack of detail involved in what is being said. It is getting to that detail which is the difficulty. But, not being able to get to that detail from a high level theory means that the theory is not supported by the reality of the situation.

But, back to what I initially was saying, I would rather not discuss this on a site devoted to religious discussions. I just made a blanket statement which appears to be acknowledged by most economists I have any respect for, but would leave the details to the government and vote for the individual I believe is going to be the most realistic and rational in their fiscally conservative policies. And I will pray throughout this process for God to reveal his will and that our leaders follow it.

Have a nice evening and I hope God watches over us as we go through this difficult situation and that God will provide the guidance we need.

JobK's picture

I have been following the national debt issue since Gramm-Rudman-Hollings was passed in 1985, back when Tom Brokaw used to regularly show a graphic on the rising national debt on NBC Nightly News. Allow me to say that the next time that the GOP gets any more serious about reducing the national debt than the Democrats are will be the first. The Democrats practice tax and spend economics. The GOP practices tax cut and spend economics. If anything, the GOP is worse because they pass themselves off as the fiscally conservative, small government party where the Democrats make no such pretensions. The GOP has convinced a significant portion of its voters that if we go a good enough job cutting taxes, we won't need to cut spending - or at least we won't need to cut spending on the programs that GOP voters benefit from and therefore support, with MediCare and defense being two huge examples - because we'll generate so much revenue that we won't have to! Reducing taxes and only eliminating programs that I don't personally benefit from or philosophically support = fiscal conservatism. Not saying that the Democrats will ever balance the budget, but the difference is that they don't claim to be trying. They also don't pass themselves off as the smaller government, less spending, self-reliance, values derived from Christianity (excuse me, Judeo-Roman Catholic-Mormon conservative ecumenical traditional western culture "Christianity") either. So while the Democrats spend more and grow government faster, the Republicans probably actually do more damage by deceiving people into believing that their tax-cut and spend policies actually are fiscally conservative, responsible economics that will eliminate the national debt, or at least would were it not for the opposition of Democrats and RINOs. (And yes, this does include how they have deceived a lot of Christians into believing that their policies reflect Biblical revelation, making tax and spend economics versus tax-cut and spend economics into a battle of godless heathens versus good Christians, as opposed to merely between two competing secular economic ideas that are both based on short term self-interest and therefore doomed to failure.)

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
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