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September 19, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Parties need a kick in the pants

Neither party is offering a plan to really address our financial mess. When financial disaster struck in 1929, many rich and powerful people were financially decimated, and some survived relatively intact. Nearly everybody else was ruined. Our civil society just sucked it up for the most part and did not attack the wealthy and powerful.

I wonder what the calculus of the rich and powerful is today. Do they think that if financial disaster strikes, it won’t affect them? Do they believe it won’t strike? Do they believe that civil society today will act as it did in the 1930s, suck it up and not attack the rich and powerful?

If I were rich and powerful, I’d look closely at the woefully inadequate economic plans of the Republicans and the Democrats, look at $16 trillion in debt and $1 trillion deficits, and I’d look really closely at our society today. I’d seriously have to wonder, if financial disaster does strike, am I immune from its effects, and what will the civil backlash be like today, versus in the 1930s?

The rich and powerful are closest to the levers of power. Perhaps they might consider kicking the two parties in the you-know-what and telling them to come up with a “real” economic plan instead of “fake” ones.

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  1. Rich Americans can probably soften any effects of a financial disaster by spreading their wealth around in different countries.
    As far as Mr. Casler's lament that neither party is offering any economic solution, I have come to the conclusion that both parties truly believe that maintaining the status quo is the best they can hope for. They have all been convinced that economic austerity and even most tax increases will make the economy much worse.
    I expect whichever party wins in November, or even in the case of another split government, both parties will miraculously come together to extend the Bush tax cuts as the very first piece of business, likely passing any required legislation well before the end of the year. Both groups desperately want to avoid the dreaded "fiscal cliff". I hate to break the news to them, but America already drove off that cliff during the George W. Bush era.
    In my opinion the campaign slogan of both parties may as well be "Ride, ride, ride with me, On the train to bankruptcy".

    Donald Desaulniers

  2. Michael

    Depending on the outcome of the
    November election, if Obama manages to hang on
    I believe that some sizable number of our wealthiest folks will run for havens in other countries. They will get while the getting is possible. They will take as much of their money as they can and leave. Enough is enough.

    That would be a shame. Nonetheless, the confiscatory policies of this current president are insane, and I cannot blame anyone who is vulnerable to remain. I have a friend who has recently bought a home in Canada, and is moving initial amounts to Canada in anticipation of a final move after the election. This movement is beginning already and will only increase. This wealth migration will be more evident this time than during the Great Depression.One of the reasons is that American society,with it's changing demographics, and entitlement mentality of food stamps,and other government handouts is no longer an attractive place for increasing numbers of invididuals who are in the top wealth producing categories to stay in America. Even middle class Americans are increasingly dissatisfied and are beginning an outward migration. Cost of living being a major consideration.

    Contrary to the rhetoric of the left, about 80% of the top 400 wealthiest people in America are self made individuals, the so called rain makers of business society. They can work their magic from places outside this country.

    What is becoming more probable, is that Obama will not be re- elected, that Israel will hit Iran before the election, and that another Republican president will be consumed with a war upon taking office. In this event, there will be a flurry at the White House to undo a number of Obama's unthinkable failed policies and a real move to restore fiscal balance. And the wealth flight will be arrested to a great degree for the time being.In this event, I like the chances of concrete results.

  3. "We have created the world's newest financial aristocracy, a class that has successfully put itself beyond the reach of government constraint and can do pretty much whatever it wants " in pursuit of its own personal gain."

    From the book: "The Betrayal of the American Dream" Donald L. Barlett, James B. Steele.

    The wealthy, as an overwhelming majority, want to pull the ladder up into their tree house and cut the path off for everyone who hasn't made it yet. Outsourcing compensates the owners, not the country.

    Romney believes we have unlimited financial resources to commit the US Military to an invasion of Iran. The debt doesn't bother him as long as it is being spent to 'destroy evil' in the world. The money to fight that war will come in part from school lunch programs and planned parenthood - because the under-privileged will supply the least costly combat infantry option for Bibi.

  4. Don from Canada

    Have some faith in your neighbor, especially if Obama is not re elected.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governorshi...

  5. Surely you jest Mr. Casler. Dems have done nothing in 4 years to reform and preserve entitlements in the USA. GOP, Romney-Ryan, have a plan to save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from extinction by 2030 which by current measures if untouched will consume over 60 percent of the US budget. A sure amount for our bankruptcy. Dems [read Obama] talked about it, posed, talked some more, posed then and still punted.

    CarmineD

  6. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner had it exactly right when he said we [read President Obama and Administration] don't have a plan [for entitlement reform] but we know we don't like the GOP's plan.

    CarmineD

  7. BTW, CBO Director came out yesterday and announced that if on Jan 2, 2013 the tax increases go into effect and the sequestration cuts are allowed to happen, US will experience another recession in 2013. Unemployment will likely rise to 9 percent and GDP fall to zero or negative. That's the fault of both parties, BUT Dems and Obama own the White House and it's on the Dem's watch.

    CarmineD

  8. Carmine,

    No, I don't jest. Bush and the R's largely really damaged the economy by spending money not generated via tax revenue. Obama and D's largely rubber stamped that until the results turned bad and then haven't had the guts to stop doing it once in power. The R's plan, if placed back in power, stick fingers in holes in the dam while tons of water pour over the top.

    I give Romney and Ryan credit for talking about on steps on entitlements, but along with that they talk about increased military spending, lowering taxes and don't mention any eventual tax increases and are extremely vague on what reductions in spending they will make.

    I'm sorry, but although Obama's plan that never seems to reach a balanced budget is obviously a disaster, the R's plan that doesn't reach balance until the 2030's is just a slightly smaller disaster.

    I call a spade a spade. Those that actually support this President and the D's .... and most importantly actually believe they have a decent plan are extremely misguided and foolish.

    Those that actually support the R's .... and most importantly actually believe they have a decent plan are also misguided and foolish.

    We all ought to be asking the question in the old Peggy Lee song... no matter what party we vote for and that question is .... 'Is that all there is, my friend?'....

    Michael

  9. Europe is already experiencing the flight of the rich and powerful, or their money.

    It is adding to the problems of recovery.

    Citizens in some countries are taking their money out of banks. How long before that occurs here?

    Many of today's rich and powerful have no national loyalty. Their loyalty is to themselves, and some of their money is already gone in offshore accounts.

    Who knows how much? We don't have access or release of tax returns.

  10. Bradley,

    Let me offer some advice. First, thinking and then proclaiming that either party is 'all evil, all the time' is simply inaccurate. unfortunately, both parties put their pursuit of power above all else. That makes it hard to admire them, but it also makes them what they are, which are a bunch of human beings. WE need to demand a lot more of both parties, no matter which one we support. Calling one party names accomplishes nothing of value.

    Second, I don't attack you since you support the D's, I simply disagree with you and a lot of what the D philosophy is. It is quite possible for you to disagee with me, the R's and their philosophy without personally attacking me, and since the moderator, for the most part, doesn't allow such attacks, you'd be well advised to avoid them if you want what you write to appear.

    I suspected the letter I wrote would generate an immediate personal attack on me and a diatribe against the R's and it did. I'm happy to debate and enjoy doing so. I'm not interested in engaging in personal attacks.

    Michael

  11. Bob,

    I believe you are correct in that if the American economy continues in decline, the ubber wealthy will leave. However, there are two other facts to consider.

    One: There are many many wealthy people who live here who will not be able to leave... not wealthy enough to afford to leave or businesses that can't easily be moved. Those people are the ones that should be concerned.

    Two: How big and important a part of the global economy are we? A pretty big part, even if you ask people whon don't live here, like Don from Canada. If the ubber wealthy think they can easily escape the economic ramifications of an American economic meltdown, I have news for them, and the news isn't good.

    Michael

  12. "Carmine,

    No, I don't jest. Bush and the R's largely really damaged the economy"

    Tell Mr. Casler, at what point do we get to start blaming President Obama and the democrats for the last 4 years of the financial messes?

    Fed Res Chief is poised once again to stimulate the economy. That's all the Obama economic policies have done and it hasn't worked. And won't by Nov 6.

    CarmineD

  13. A few things that come to mind...

    We need a plan for reform of the "entitlements" of the wealthy.

    We need to end tax loopholes and tax evasion schemes.

    We need a single payer universal healthcare plan. This could eliminate Medicare and reduce Medicaid expenses.

    We need to protect Social Security and increase it's ability to be real security for generations to come.

    We need passage of a jobs plan, which obstructionists in Congress refuse to pass.

    We need repair and replacement of decaying infrastructure, including updating to modern technology.

    We need to focus on securing our grids and cyber technology in the national interest.

    We need reforms of our economic system, banks, financial markets.

    We need to reform drastically the lobbying system of influence.

    We need to return to one person, one vote and end the "personhood" concept for other entities.

    We need serious reform of campaign financing.

    We need to support business in finding ways to increase the middle class with less wage disparity, and the potential for living on a one wage earner income if the economic situation requires it.

    We need to end "entitlements" for business.

    We need to reform and strengthen public education, with more emphasis on high academic achievement and the means to reach it. This includes more discipline and expectations to learn, not simply pass tests.

    For those unable to meet the challenge, we need training in trades, and other support capabilities within the various fields. We need to start thinking in quality results outcomes, not diplomas.

    We need planning for increasingly limited resources.

    We public needs to understand the global issues.

    We need to get an honest perspective of our role in the world, and that it has changed.

    We need a new Democratic Congress to support Obama, for forward movement while hopefully working in the interest of the People as a whole.

    We also need to stay on their backs for significant reforms toward good governance and the interests of the People.

    We need all Americans to start thinking of how they can live within reason and save money for their future needs. No benefit to try to appear like you can afford more than one really can. Personal debt is not a good thing. Good financial governance begins at home.

  14. An interesting research result from the Pew Research Center in the article "The Lost Decade of the Middle Class".

    http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/08/2...

    We need to see our politicians address wage disparity and the disappearing middle class.

  15. Carmine,

    As I have said in the past, President Obama and the D's must shoulder the responsibility for the last four years. That doesn't and shouldn't excuse what happened in the prior 8 years, a lot of which wasn't good.

    I can tell it frustrates you that I won't put the entire blame on Obama. The entire blame for where we are isn't his. The last 4 years are his. Those are the facts.

    Anyone who reads what I write knows I lean conservative, especially economically, that I usually support R's and that I disagree with many Obama policies. They should also know that when I listen to Doug Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office, who spoke today, I hear an unfiltered statement about what must be done and what is likely to happen if that isn't done. I NEVER hear that from D's in office or the party hierarchy. I NEVER hear that from R's in office or the party hierarchy. Why?

    Because Mr. Elmendorf isn't in elected office, doesn't have to figure out how to do all the unpleasant stuff that will have to be done and won't suffer the ire of Americans if he proposes that or even worse... does any of it!

    We absolutely need really brave leaders who tell the whole truth about taxes having to be raised and government having to be cut. We don't have that now.

    The politicians know the following: We're all sitting out here after having bought the most expensive TV and Sound system at Best Buy. We bought it on a 2 year no payment plan and we thoroughly enjoyed it for two years. We loved Best Buy, with all the great electronics they offered. But now, it is time to pay, and when the bill comes, we say... ''Damn Best Buy, those $%#!*'s'' That TV and sound system is awfully expensive and its really gonna hurt to have to pay... DAMN THEM!

    The only difference Carmen, is that Best Buy would make us pay... or else, but our politicians can and do not only give us 2 more years to pay, they actually give us another TV, that we can pay for.... later!

    Both parties do this; it is killing our country and that's why I won't lay 100 % of the blame on Obama or Bush, R's or D's and why I not 100 % on board with R's.

    Michael

  16. Kepi,

    Read the comment policy and you will understand. The paper wants to promote debate and discussion, not hate filled diatribes and personal attacks, which is exactly what Dipstick and Bradley engage in.

    Michael

  17. "Surely you jest Mr. Casler. Dems have done nothing in 4 years to reform and preserve entitlements in the USA."

    And the GOP lies continue. The Medicare actuary confirmed that the Affordable Care Act extended the viability of the Medicare program.

    "If health reform were fully repealed, as the House of Representatives has voted to do, the Medicare hospital insurance program would become insolvent eight years earlier, in 2016, and the costs of SMI would be significantly higher and rise more rapidly in the years ahead."

    WITH the Affordable Care Act, the solvency is extended to 2024; and that's assuming only 60% of projected savings are realized.

    "GOP, Romney-Ryan, have a plan to save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from extinction by 2030"

    The problem is, Romney-Ryan's "plans" are rabidly unpopular, and would change benefits for current seniors, even though they've sworn they won't.

    "By overturning the Affordable Care Act, Romney will restore major spending commitments to [Medicare] -- billions of dollars worth of higher reimbursements for private insurance companies and hospitals that Obama cut out of the program."

    "Because Medicare is built upon a trust fund accounting system, that commitment -- $700 billion over the next 10 years -- will deplete the program's existing finances and hasten its insolvency by years. In 2016, under Romney's plan, Medicare will be out of money, and he and Congress will likely have to choose between finding other savings in the program, raising Medicare taxes, abruptly slashing benefits for current seniors, or a combination thereof. "

    Let's also remember that CouponCare and privatizing Social Security are both very, very unpopular.

  18. Spesking of off topic,has anyone taken notice that both parties have spoken half truth's about one another so far during this campaign for president.What ever happened to subject matter for the real issues at stake in our country.Taking half statements and trying to make voter's beleive something else was meant, is beyond me.Perhaps the letter writer is correct in saying both parties need a kick in the pants.

  19. Michael:

    I agree with your comment on the quality
    of debate. Tough debate is ok. Personal attacks and nasty comments are not.

  20. Mr. Casler:

    Ben Franklin said, and I agree: He who is good at making excuses, is seldom good for anything else.
    Fits the current president and admin perfectly.

    "Private sector is doing just fine." July 9, 2012

    "If you have a successful business, you didn't build that." July 13, 2012

    And in 2009, and 2010, to justify extending the Bush tax cuts, Obama said with GDP at 2 percent we could not raise taxes on any in the US.

    And now with GDP at 1 percent and going negative, it's okay to raise taxes on those making $200,000 and more.

    Not to mention that in Feb 2009, Obama told Matt Lauer if he didn't turn the economy around in 3 years, he deserved to be a one term president. I agree and hold him accountable to his standard.

    CarmineD

  21. Victor,

    R's have tried to stop a lot of what President Obama wanted to do and they do want him to be a one term President. But what you fail to acknowledge is that for at least some Moderates, what Obama wanted to do and has done are things they don't agree with.

    Michael

  22. "And the GOP lies continue. The Medicare actuary confirmed that the Affordable Care Act extended the viability of the Medicare program."

    Now surely you jest, sir.

    From the Medicare Trustee:

    "Strong Likelihood" That Obamacare's Medicare Cuts and IPAB "Will Not Be Viable In The Long Range"

    "Further, while the Affordable Care Act makes important changes to the Medicare program and substantially improves its financial outlook, there is a strong likelihood that certain of these changes will not be viable in the long range. Specifically, the annual price updates for most categories of non-physician health services will be adjusted downward each year by the growth in economy-wide productivity. The best available evidence indicates that most health care providers cannot improve their productivity to this degree--or even approach such a level--as a result of the labor-intensive nature of these services."

    CarmineD

  23. "But what you fail to acknowledge is that for at least some Moderates, what Obama wanted to do and has done are things they don't agree with.

    Michael"

    Too bad the first African-American president turned out to be likely the worst.

    He and Biden will lose. Romney-Ryan will get 318 electoral votes and carry all the swing states winning 53 percent of the popular vote.

    CarmineD

  24. Carmine,

    I understand you don't support and will not vote for President Obama. Fine. I get that. Let's take what you say and talk about it.

    "Private sector is doing just fine." July 9, 2012 - Obviously a foolish statement and flat wrong. Although in artfully said Obama was saying the private sector was doing fine in relation to the public sector. Still a foolish comment.

    "If you have a successful business, you didn't build that." July 13, 2012 - If you listened to the entire context, it can be reasonably argued that Obama was saying that small businesses did not build roads and bridges, schools, etc and those were needed before businesses could start and be successful. He's still wrong in that Americans pay taxes to build roads, schools and bridges, but it's also true that R's intentionally took that statement out of context and ran with it.

    And in 2009, and 2010, to justify extending the Bush tax cuts, Obama said with GDP at 2 percent we could not raise taxes on any in the US. And now with GDP at 1 percent and going negative, it's okay to raise taxes on those making $200,000 and more. - That statement is a real problem for him in his argument about taxing the wealthy. No good defense here.

    in Feb 2009, Obama told Matt Lauer if he didn't turn the economy around in 3 years, he deserved to be a one term president. - That's a problem for him too. It was a foolish and arrogant statement by an inexperienced President.

    Carmine... the guy doesn't deserve to be re-elected. We agree on that. I work real hard to be fair and what I just said above is fair. I'm not going to vote for the guy and will support Romney/Ryan... as long as it turns out that Romney really isn't a tax cheat, a felon, or a murderer.

    Michael

  25. Seniors in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia and Nevada stand to lose their Medicare Advantage plans because of Obama raiding the Medicare Trust Fund by $716B to pay for Obamacare. They will vote for Romney Ryan. Independents already are against Obamacare by an overwhelming majority. Two voting constituencies Obama-Biden lose Nov 6. Among others.

    CarmineD

  26. "From the Medicare Trustee:"

    Now surely you jest sir.

    You took three lines of text out of a 279 page report.

    Did you bother to look up what you pasted?

    It's listed under "STATEMENT OF ACTUARIAL OPINION."

    While you reply on opinion, the FACT is that that same actuary stated in the report that absent the medicare payment reductions found in the ACA, the FHIT fund would be bankrupt in 2016. With those savings, the program's expected solvency moves to 2024. And that date is based on the assumption that only 60% of the anticipated savings would be realized.

    The repeal of the ACA, which Romney-Ryan supports, speeds up the bankruptcy of the FHIT fund of Medicare, and puts the drop dead date at 2016. Romney-Ryan actively advocate for a plan which would bankrupt that section of Medicare before the end of Romney's first term.

    That's why when they tell you that they wouldn't change benefits for current seniors, your BS detector should be going off. The ACA closes the Medicare prescription drug loophole. When Romney-Ryan repeals it, millions of seniors would fall right back into the hole, paying, on average, hundreds more per month. The free preventative care they're allowed under the ACA? GONE.

    These are facts, and they're the plans of the ticket your promote. Maybe you should understand what they're proposing before you comment.

  27. Carmine continues the fraud:
    "Seniors in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia and Nevada stand to lose their Medicare Advantage plans because of Obama raiding the Medicare Trust Fund by $716B to pay for Obamacare."

    FALSE, says Politifact: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/...

    In an interview on the CBS program 60 Minutes, Mitt Romney said Obama "robbed Medicare" of $716 billion to pay for "Obamacare." We found that exaggerated what Obama had done in the health care law.

    While the health care law reduces the amount of future spending growth in Medicare, the law doesn't actually cut Medicare. Savings come from reducing money that goes to private insurers who provide Medicare Advantage programs, among other things. The money wasn't "robbed." We rated the statement Mostly False.

    Responding to the Romney attack, Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said Ryan's budget relies on the same $700 billion in savings from Medicare that Mitt Romney and other Republicans have been attacking Democrats about.

    Ryan has confirmed that, and we rated it True.

    Carmine caught lying again.

  28. Carmine,

    I do find it tragic that the first African American President was not better prepared for the job, inherited about the worst economy imaginable and that he wants to transform America in ways many Americans don't agree with.

    That said, a 'fair' look at any electoral map where about 38 of 50 states are 'locked' as either R or D states says Romney/Ryan is anything but a sure thing. Romney/Ryan trail in several swing states, plus the fact that Romney/Ryan just about have to win Florida to give them a chance and that Florida has many seniors who want Medicare left alone and believe Obama will save it.

    Michael

  29. Kevin,

    There is so much 'spin' on both sides, all our heads should be spinning. Arguing that reducing future spending increases is not really a cut is as bad as arguing that reducing the growth of government spending is actually a cut, as D's and R's often do. Please spare me.

    Medicare Advantage pays much of the 20 % that Medicare doesn't cover. Does anyone really believe there will be no negative effects when reducing the amount that is paid to doctor's and hospitals under Medicare Advantage. Again, please spare me.

    Your claim about Medicare going broke in 2016 under the Romney/Plan assumes they do nothing. That's not what they propose.

    You do expose the R hypocracy about the cuts in Medicare because they are included in the Ryan budget, but it would be nice if you were as diligent about pointing out the 'smoke and mirrors' in the Presidents plans and budgets as you are in doing so to the other side.

    The truth is that both sides are providing very poor plans when you stand them up against the real issues we face.

    Michael

  30. "Arguing that reducing future spending increases is not really a cut is as bad as arguing that reducing the growth of government spending is actually a cut, as D's and R's often do."

    No, it's not. Reducing future spending increases AND reducing the growth of government spending has a very real effect on budgets, the budget deficit and the debt. Sorry for the reality check.

    "Please spare me."

    Clutch those pearls.

    "Does anyone really believe there will be no negative effects when reducing the amount that is paid to doctor's and hospitals under Medicare Advantage"

    You were very concerned with the reduction to Medicare Advantage as it applied to the Affordable Care Act under Obama, yet didn't say a peep about the Ryan budget, which contained the same "cuts" or "reductions in future spending." I had to point it out to you. Then, suddenly, you were concerned.

    "Your claim about Medicare going broke in 2016 under the Romney/Plan assumes they do nothing. That's not what they propose."

    They've promised that benefits to anyone under the age of 55 WILL NOT CHANGE. That means everyone who's in the system, and everyone coming into the system by 2016 will see NO DIFFERENCE in Medicare. If Medicare stays the same, as they've proposed, it goes bankrupt in 2016.

    So either Romney-Ryan are lying about effects to current Medicare participants, or their lying about increasing taxes.

    They've proposed NO CHANGE to Medicare benefits between now and 2016. Since you know what they propose, you should know that.

    Again, spare me.

  31. Antigov: "Tough debate for many republicans is a discussion between 2 or more republicans. Like the republican primary?"

    Seriously! Look no further than the abortion timebomb they've been lobbing around this week. Is rape "legitimate" or "illegitimate?"

    Should rape victims be forced to carry their attackers' children to term? The GOP platform says YES. Paul Ryan's entire legislative history on abortion says YES. Mitt Romney's previous statements say YES.

    Yet suddenly, when their positions are exposed, they flee, abandoning their previous statements (or decade plus of legislative history) and directly contradict themselves.

    Yesterday, Paul Ryan said "rape is rape." But he co-sponsored legislation as soon as last YEAR that said otherwise. When challenged on it, he said that Romney was the top of the ticket, but that he was PROUD of his "pro-life record." Uh, buddy, your "pro-life record" says that not all rapes are actually rapes.

    We saw the same thing when Ryan was chosen as the Veep. First Romney said they were running on Romney's economic plan... implying that plan was different than Ryan's. Then Romney and Ryan's plans were "pretty similar." Then Romney surrogates were on television declaring them "completely different" and finally Romney said they were "practically identical."

    Watching the GOP attempt ideological consistency is better than watching Benny Hill.

  32. Kepi,

    That is a very long letter and I disagree with much of it. First, I have never flagged anyone and Yes, I do enjoy debate.

    I have said and will say again the R's should just shut up about social issues such as Gay marriage and abortion. The country is moving toward the Progressive views on these and other issues. I have no problem with gays marrying and I support the right to choose.

    However, I think the country is moving conservative economically and I think the D's will fight this to the very end.

    To argue that D's or R's, for the most part, want to hurt the country, is idiotic in my opinion. Neither party, nor most in them wants to do anything of the sort. Our system is very corrupted so we get very flawed legislation out of Congress.

    For example, our health care and insurance system is a disaster. No honest person can argue that. The ACA is very poor legislation as an attempt to deal with it. Why? Because once President Obama, in what I believe was a sincere effort at reform, handed to details to Congress, the special interests with lobbyists used their influence to keep and even advance their positions. As soon as that was allowed, the legislation never had a chance to be anything but poor.

    Health Care practitioners, big pharma and insurance companies ARE the reason care is so expensive here. The ACA handed the insurance companies 30 million new customers and asked very little of them in return. Big pharma got to keep the prohibition of re-importing drugs into the US at lower costs and little was also asked of health care practitioners. If those three players were rewarded instead of asked to make changes, the result wasn't going to be good.

    Argue all you want about the details and the valid fact that the R's offered nothing, and the law is still poor legislation that will most likely create as many problems as it solves.

    The Deficit and the Debt... amazing.... We are going to have to tax everyone more and have the government spend less if we are ever going to get a balanced budget and pay down the debt. Do you see a coherent plan to do that? I don't.

    Believe what you like and by all means support the party you believe in. I will do the same. I think the difference between me and you and me and most others is that I recognize the huge flaws in both parties so my commitment to the R's is not strong (3rd party, please come along) and I am highly disappointed in them. It's the old adage - the better of two bad choices.

    I firmly believe that no matter who wins this November, financial destruction awaits us.

    Michael

  33. RefNV and Bob,

    Thanks for your comment. I appreciate the support. I like to debate the issues. I am not interested in attacking anyone or their views.

    I am sorry Bradley and a few others feel differently, but most here are respectful of others and their views, even if they disagree. That said, Bradley has a right to act and feel as he does, although I am not bothered a bit when his letters are rejected by the moderator.

    Kepi says he doesn't 'understand' the rejections, but what I think he means is that he doesn't 'agree' with them. If one reads the rules, it is easy to understand why Dennis, Bradley and others sometimes have their letters rejected by the moderator.

    What I find most frustrating is my belief that if any party gets control of the government, it will only be for a short while. If you completely demonize and hate the opposition, how do you ever reach a compromise to get anything done? I always argue for voting as you like, but if both sides left the venom at home, we'd all be better for it.

    Michael

  34. Comment removed by moderator. refers to removed comment.

  35. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  36. good job sick you know your doing good when their censuring you, Whose the censure dave berns or chuck muth ?

  37. kepi,

    You ask why anyone making less than $250k/yr would vote Republican. The answer in its simple, those people generally subscribe to the belief that they can better decide how to spend their money than the government can on matters not pertaining to security or basic infrastructure. That is part of the fundamental divide between Democrats and Republicans and what is generally meant by "smaller" government.

    You mention that higher classes don't seem care for lower classes, at any level. There are some studies on charitable giving compared to political affiliation that indicate that conservatives are more generous with private charity than liberals are, and further, that religious affiliation is not the main factor.

    This is again in line with a fundamental divide between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to taking personal responsibility for ones own well-being.

    My own belief is that government should legislate justice, not morality. An example of this is my support for gay rights and Roe v. Wade. Those are moral issues that don't belong in the government realm. By the same principle, I don't think that providing an equal standard of living to those whose only claim is "it is the moral thing to do" is a legitimate function of government or use of tax dollars.

    The rich that Michael wonders about might well be in for a surprise. I have often compared our present environment to that of the Roman Empire in its declining years. I am beginning to think it is transitioning to the French Revolution (which resembles ours in name only.)

    The Democrats' plan seems to be to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. The Republican plan seems to be to just stop laying eggs if possible.

    Either way, no more golden eggs.

  38. Michael,

    During Obama's inauguration secret meetings were held to plan an organized effort not to work with him at all. That is a fact! Even before he attempted to enact policy we heard, "I hope he fails!" and "We will make him a one term president!" I'll agree there are some policies the Democrats won't negotiate, but honestly, Republcans rarely voted to work with Dems and that is another fact. They've held the economy hostage and downgraded our Triple A rating, hoping it will return them to the White House. You can't lay equal blame on both parties when one party resisted any attempts to compromise and became the "Party of No."

  39. "Did you bother to look up what you pasted?

    It's listed under "STATEMENT OF ACTUARIAL OPINION."

    They go hand in hand sir. One report, joint effort. Both trustees and actuaries contribute. I quoted the excerpt verbatim. Nothing taken out of context except your interpretation of the report.

    "The Boards of Trustees for Medicare (also Boards) report annually to the Congress on the financial operations and actuarial status of the program. Beginning in 2002, there is one combined report discussing both the Hospital Insurance program (Medicare Part A) and the Supplementary Medical Insurance program (Medicare Part B and Prescription Drug Coverage). The Office of the Actuary in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) prepares the report under the direction of the Boards."

    CarmineD

  40. "FALSE, says Politifact: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/...

    Yes and No. The cuts [savings as they are euphemistically called by Obama] are accumulated over a 10 year period starting in 2012. They are reductions in Medicare expenses compiled from reduced services, reduced benefits, and reduced recipients. The $716B goes to fund Obamacare. It's not taken at one time but over a period of time[specifiaclly 10 years]. 10 years is the maximum that CBO uses because it believes beyond that time the suppositions are no longer valid.

    CarmineD

  41. Vernos,

    I have never denied that there has been a concerted effort not to work with Obama and the D's, by quite a few, but not all of the R's. That's a fact and I accept it and I don't like it.

    I think the R's should have compromised with Obama and the D's more than they have. But I have large problems with the agenda and what I believe to be the philosophy of President Obama.

    Let's review. From 2004 to 2008, Bush and the R's spent a huge amount of money and didn't recoup much of it in taxes. Obama is elected and he spends a ton more to save GM, Chrysler and the banks. Fine, I hated it but I felt he had to do it. Obama did that but he did it poorly.... killing the bond holders and rewarding the labor unions in an unfair manner. Neither of those groups should have been favored and one was. Then he bailed out the banks but got almost nothing in return for doing it and then his Justice Department doesn't prosecute anyone.

    Then he uses a political hammer on the R's and passes the ACA. He hands it off to Pelosi and Reid and they allow themselves to be completely eviscerated by the lobbyists for big pharma, health insurance companies and health care providers. The result is a huge lost opportunity and an expensive and poorly written bill.

    Then the stimulus, where way too much of the money did not go to create shovel ready jobs in the public or private sector, but was instead used to maintain salaries, Raises and benefits for workers at state and local levels. He even is so foolish to laugh when reporting that shovel ready jobs were not shovel ready.

    And through all of this spending, the best he can do is call for more taxes on the wealthy and business, no real action on entitlements and now wants another 1 trillion dollar stimulus. On top of this he says nothing when the Senate just stops submitting budgets and then he submits at least two that can't get any D votes.

    Did R's cause all this carnage. No they didn't. Could he have done more with cooperation of the R's? Yes. Should they have co-operated more? Yes.

    But the following has to be recognized. He had almost full power for 2 years out of 4 and look what he choose to do and not do. It has to make one wonder what he would have done with more cooperation from R's and what he will do with 4 more years.

    Vernos, I am willing to criticize the R's for what they've done, but the fact remains that the results of 4 years of Obama have been pretty bad... and not all that can be fairly layed at the feet of the R's.

    I know you disagree and I respect you and your views but I simply cannot share them. Obama wants to take the country in a direction I don't want to see it go. We need to elect someone else to lead us. Am I overjoyed it's Romney? No. Do I believe that both Romney and Obama can surely preside over the further decline of America if they do not aggressively attack spending and taxes? Yes I do.

    Michael

  42. Boftx,

    Excellent analysis. You see the flaws in what both parties have proposed. So many people on both sides seem to 'actually fear' criticizing their party of choice, when in fact that is exactly what we all should be doing...if... we wish to have the tough actions we need to take called for an enacted by our government.

    Michael

  43. kepi,

    You may not be a Democrat, I myself am a Whig but am registered as "Unaffiliated" since that party is not yet organized in Nevada. But I think you would classify yourself as "liberal" or even "progressive." That is impression I get from your comments.

    It should be understood that the terms "Democrat" and "liberal" do not mean the same thing, just as "Republican" and "conservative" are not equivalent.

    Michael's letter is reaching down deeper than what can be addressed by referring to political parties. In some respects, it is even deeper than broad philosophical terms such as "progressive" or "conservative."

    It touches on something that is part of the very roots of a person's being. There is a fundamental difference between someone who needs help to continue to be productive and someone who demands an existence simply because their parents got sloppy. It seems to me that there is a larger number of the latter today than there were in the 30s.

    This is demonstrated by the fact that there are so many people who are receiving public assistance who are unwilling to work in the fields or other undesirable jobs for the same amount of money or slightly more.

    It is the apparent unwillingness to engage in unpleasant, but productive activity that makes me think that our society has undergone a sea-change and those who are productive, no matter what economic class they fall in, are going to have reason to fear those who are not.

    It should also be understood that none of what I am saying applies to those who are physically or mentally unable to care for themselves.

  44. Let me close this evening with the following thought:

    Former President Bush made several decisions that turned out to be very poor decisions. Even when he made good decisions, often the execution was bungled. He has been rightly criticized for his performance. By the end of his 2nd term, he couldn't have been elected dog catcher.

    Look honestly at President Obama's first term and you see many of the same issues. If we don't give Obama a pass because he inherited a recession (so did Bush and then we got hit on 9/11) and we don't give him a pass because R's obstructed, we then must ask ourselves whether we are willing to to use the same yardstick we used to fairly measure Bush's performance, to now measure Obama's performance.

    If we do, then he, like Bush before him does not deserve another term. Bush couldn't have had one but Obama can.

    Michael

  45. Casler invokes George W. Bush. That's rich.

    In November, when Mike goes to the polls, he'll cast his vote for Romney-Ryan.

    "Mr. Ryan has been, at best, a loyal politician who voted for everything President George W. Bush wanted, including every law that expanded the size of the federal government and every tax cut that drained its resources and every war that spilled its blood and money, and then opposed everything President Barack Obama wanted even if those policies would shrink the debt, deficit, and the size of government. Only when President Obama and the Democrats come to power did Mr. Ryan return to what may be his honest beliefs and advocate for the radical shrinking of Washington. He has been a consummate politician bent on survival and a radically social conservative one, at that, not a radically libertarian one."

    Mike writes a weekly letter to the editor, clamoring for change to the way our country is governed, yet he enables people like Paul Ryan and Sharron Angle by voting for them.

    Enablers can only blame the person staring back in the mirror.

  46. Ksand99 is all over Paul Ryan because he didn't follow what even Kevin says might be his true beliefs while former President Bush was in office. What a revelation!!!! A politician who votes with his party so he can remain in office.

    I don't like that politicians do this but it is reality and I don't generally criticize politicians for being inconsistent. Why? Because the politicians you like are very likely to have done exactly the same thing as politicians you don't like.

    Ryan should be judged on what he is saying today... unless you are willing to use the same yardstick to judge politicians you like. Want to find an inconsistent politicians that I suspect Kevin likes? Look no further than our own Harry Reid! If you are going to go back and see if a politician has been consistent, you better look long and hard and expect to come up empty.

    This is just one more attempt at backward logic: Draw a conclusion and then only look for things that bolster than conclusion. Very poor reasoning.

    Michael

  47. How about this EVERYBODY!

    Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:

    "I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.

    The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds)took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple!

    The people demanded it. That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

    Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year
    or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure.

    Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to
    a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

    In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

    Congressional Reform Act of 2012

    1. No Tenure / No Pension.

    A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.

    2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

    3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

    4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

    6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

    7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 12/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.

    Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

    If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Don't you think it's time?

    THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!

    If you agree, pass it on.

  48. It's pretty simple, Mike.

    You specifically called out George W. Bush and the bad decisions made during his term.

    I noted that you are going to vote for Bush's #1 enabler; a man who says he's conservative but has a voting record which betrays that.

    You criticized Obama for "cutting" (yes, you used the very language you now claim to hate) Medicare Advantage, yet the ticket you're voting for in November not only passed a budget which enacts those cuts, but the top of the ticket said he would sign them into law.

    You want Obama judged on his record, but Ryan judged on his rhetoric. Do you recognize that?

    Obama must be judged on the past three years, but Paul Ryan's record is immaterial? And while you give Ryan a free pass on his record, you want to hold Reid accountable for his record.

    I know it strikes a nerve when your rhetoric collapses in on itself, but you have zero consistency here.

    Vote for Paul Ryan, who wrote legislation that would cull Medicare Advantage. It's the same as your vote for Sharron Angle, who you claimed would be willing to compromise.

    Yes, Mr. "Personal Responsibility" holds Paul Ryan as innocent. What a sham.

    You claim to hate the debt and that it's a security issue and the #1 thing Americans should be concerned with, yet you're voting in November for someone who was a blank check for the administration you criticize.

    Bailouts, stimulus, wars and massive entitlement expansions... all debt-funded and approved by Paul Ryan.

    Why do you hold Obama accountable for his record yet have a complete double-standard for Paul Ryan?

    GOP hypocrisy at it's best.

  49. Honestly, I think that most of the comments from both democrat and republican partisans here lack some degree of insight.

    Both Bush and Obama, and their financial advisors and government entities were and have been at work trying to deal with both a national and global economic crisis.

    It doesn't rest on one man's shoulders, or one party. To think so is very shortsighted and shows a lack of understanding of the complexity of the politics and problems and how governments and economies operate, plus how they are interrelated.

    Also, as far as the US goes, the Congress has a good deal of culpability in it's obstructionism and intransigence.

    This is a long term process, and many changes can take place globally before we begin to see the light of day.

    Even now, Europe is considering move to including growth in its formula, as the US recommended. Euro bonds are also under consideration, something the US did earlier.

    If any of those commenting think they have the solution for the world, please present your solution, and send it to the various governments in the world. You might get credit for saving the global economies.

    Here are a few links for those interested in timelines and other information for review, both nationally and globally, related to the events of the global crisis, and more. Sometimes memories are short, especially during an election year.

    National:

    http://timeline.stlouisfed.org/

    http://libraryguides.law.pace.edu/financ...

    Global:

    http://www.cfr.org/economics/timeline-gl...

    http://www.weforum.org/

  50. While you Obama fans are kissing his feet and patting yourselves on each others' backs, what does this say about your leader's $6400 myth on Romney-Ryan's Medicare plan. Don't all answer at the same time. Plenty of time to do so.

    CarmineD

  51. By kepi, you have changed somewhat,I see a new woman who is not to be bullied any longer. You also seem to not let things bother you as you once did.Keep up your good posts, and your inner strength has appeared and will remain forever. I think most of use truly enjoy what you have to say,even some of your critics.Have a great day today and every day.

  52. kepi,

    I don't really want to go off topic like this, but I think you will be disappointed to know that I do not share your (and others) low opinion of Mr. Casler.

    I have had the pleasure of meeting him and I see no reason not to basically take him at his word. He on occasion make mistakes, as do we all. He is even known to admit when he has done so (again, unlike some others here.)

    Far from trying to be a referee, he is stating how he sees things. He and I differ to some extent, but our major difference is in what we see is the best way to fix the problems with our political system that we both agree is completely screwed. He basically wants people to vote all the bums out, and replace with new (bums?) from both major parties again.

    I say that people should throw off the mindset that there can be only two major parties and set about growing a new party that truly represents the independent/pragmatic view, the Whigs.

    Michael is more than capable of presenting and defending his views, but I think the frequency of what are becoming ad-hom attacks is becoming disturbing given he is one of the most polite commenters on this site.

  53. teamster,

    We can't afford altruistic Democrats.

  54. Nancy,

    I was going back over some comments.

    Thank you for passing on Warren Buffets suggestions. It was great to read and I agree too.

    I will pass it on.