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December 18, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Don’t blame it all on spending

Another view?

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There is no empirical evidence to prove “wasteful spending” caused our current deficit. Republicans seem to believe that wasteful spending includes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and support for the poor and needy. Non-wasteful spending to the Republicans apparently includes defense, corporate subsidies and giveaways of federal assets to the wealthy.

Our lack of revenue started when Ronald Reagan lowered the tax rate on the wealthy from 70 percent to 28 percent. Massive cuts in capital gains, dividends and interest-earning taxes have cost the Treasury revenue.

Tax code loopholes available only to the wealthy and corporations have cost the Treasury revenue. Lower rates and tax loopholes have been in effect for as long as 30 years.

This is empirical evidence of purposeful revenue reductions geared toward the wealthy so Republicans can blame the deficit on the poor, elderly and powerless. This strategy fits their ideological agenda.

Yes, Medicare needs major adjustments. Seniors need to pay more and we need to eliminate Medicare fraud. Social Security needs adjusting to bring in more revenue to sustain the system. Medicaid and aid to the poor will always need vigorous oversight and continuing fraud control.

A small tax increase to a limited percent of wealthy people cannot be the end of raising revenue to offset the deficit, and punishing the poor and elderly is not a fair method of deficit reduction.

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  1. Starr: When someone has to borrow nearly half of what he spends, I call that "empirical" evidence of waste and mismanagement. Common sense tells us that cannot go on forever without a financial calamity occurring. And, it's coming soon to our doorsteps unless we wake up and demand a halt to the waste, mismanagment and corruption being foisted upon us by politicians eager to buy votes with our tax dollars.

  2. The letter writer states in his introductory sentence: 'There is no empirical evidence to prove "wasteful spending" caused our current deficit.' I suggest you look across the pond to Europe and reconsider your position. The USA is headed down the exact same path thanks be to keynesian economics and the likes of Dr. Paul Krugman.

    CarmineD

  3. "A small tax increase to a limited percent of wealthy people cannot be the end of raising revenue to offset the deficit, and punishing the poor and elderly is not a fair method of deficit reduction."

    This speaks truth, somthing that some of our commenters find elusive.

  4. "This speaks truth, somthing that some of our commenters find elusive." @ Jim Weber

    The truth is Jim, it never ends with "just a small increase to a limited percent of the wealthy people." Don't believe me: Look at California, Illinois, and a host of others, mostly municipalities, cities, and towns all across the US that are insolvent and/or already declared bankruptcy. We have become Europe but on this side of the pond. It's never enough. As PM Margaret Thatcher correctly opined: Sooner or later you run out of wealthy people to tax.

    CarmineD

  5. CarmineD -

    So, is it your truth that punishing the poor and elderly is a fair method of deficit reduction? If you believe that, say so. Don't point to Europe and elsewhere!

  6. CarmineD -

    By the way, if we were Europe, we'd at least have a universal healthcare system that costs one-third to one-half less and gets better results.

  7. "CarmineD -

    So, is it your truth that punishing the poor and elderly is a fair method of deficit reduction?" @ Jim Weber

    I was born and raised poor in the ghetto of Newark, New Jersey. Now, I am one of the elderly. As usual Jim when liberal progressives can't argue on the merits of the facts, you resort to accusations of being insensitive and non-responsive to the ills of the poor.

    "CarmineD -

    "By the way, if we were Europe, we'd at least have a universal healthcare system that costs one-third to one-half less and gets better results." @ Jim Weber

    Nonsense. Canada, England, and Germany's results with government provided health care are abysmal and getting worse. What makes you think government health care will work better for the USA which has more sick and elderly to treat?

    CarmineD

  8. @Carmine....:Canada, England and Germany...health care abysmal and getting worse" Would you care to provide any evidence of that? Reputable evidence, that is, not the usual anecdotal blather from Drudge and the Caller. That's a problem for you guys isn't it. Empirical evidence which supports your positions is rarely available so you resort to half and incomplete facts, out of context, innuendo and, Re's favorite, Alinsky-style dissembling and mis-direction.

    You must have been one sorry Italian family if you lived in the Newark ghetto which was overwhelmingly black and Puerto Rican. All of the Italian and Irish I knew had long-ago moved to South Orange, Millburn and Short Hills.

  9. FYI Jim:

    "But regardless of how much I grouse about the damage government causes in the United States, I can say with considerable confidence that the government-run system in the United Kingdom has even larger problems.

    Here are some of the shocking details from a report in the UK-based Daily Mail.

    Patients having major surgery in NHS hospitals face a much higher risk of dying than those in America, research has revealed. Doctors found that people who have treatment here are four times more likely to die than US citizens undergoing similar operations. The most seriously ill NHS patients were seven times more likely to die than their American counterparts. Experts blame the British fatality figures on a shortage of specialists and lack of intensive care beds for post-operative recovery. They also suggest that long waiting lists mean diseases are more advanced before they are treated. Researchers from University College London and Columbia University, in New York, studied 1,000 surgery patients at the Mount Sinai Hospital, Manhattan, and compared them to nearly 1,100 people who had similar operations at the Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Portsmouth. The results showed that just under ten per cent of British patients died in hospital afterwards compared to 2.5 per cent in America. Among the most seriously ill cases there was a seven-fold difference in the death rates."

    CarmineD

  10. "You must have been one sorry Italian family if you lived in the Newark ghetto which was overwhelmingly black and Puerto Rican. All of the Italian and Irish I knew had long-ago moved to South Orange, Millburn and Short Hills." @ Pat Hayes

    Just goes to show Pat what I've known about you all along: You think you know it all, but don't.

    6 street and Delavan Ave. North Ward. Silver Lake section. Fight every day growing up in grammar school and high school. Public schools in Newark.

    And I wouldn't change one thing about it.

    CarmineD

  11. CarmineD

    "I was born and raised poor in the ghetto of Newark, New Jersey. Now, I am one of the elderly. As usual Jim when liberal progressives can't argue on the merits of the facts, you resort to accusations of being insensitive and non-responsive to the ills of the poor."

    I didn't accuse. I asked "So, is it your truth that punishing the poor and elderly is a fair method of deficit reduction?.

    You didn't answer.

  12. There is a problem with the history here and it goes back to the pesky issue of tax revenue for the federal government as a percentage of GDP. If you look since say 1950, only one time has it ever been over 20% of GDP, and the average is just over 18%. And the number is generally within 2% of either side of 18% in all but a few cases over 60+ years. So, knowing that, if you are consistently spending more than about 18% of GDP, you have a spending problem, since all of the wrangling with the tax code never seems to get you much more revenue than that over time. And in recent years we have been spending as much 24% of GDP when revenue had fallen to almost 15% of GDP. So, some of the deficits are a revenue issue from the recession, but much of it is still spending increases. Given all of the work with tax changes over the years, it seems that it will take something new like a carbon tax or a value added tax to generate the additional levels of revenue that the government seems to want to spend. But why should anyone support that when nearly every year the government issues reports saying that they could save hundreds of billions of dollars without reducing services but they never do that. Why shovel more money into a system that is already badly spending the money they get? If they feel they can justify the additional need for revenue, a good start would be cleaning up the existing system as a show of good faith.

  13. Government spending has increased because of the tens of thousands of people a day signing up for various assistance programs. In addition medical spending has increased at a multiple of inflation to the point where it's become absolutely ridiculous. Trillions a year.

    The combination of people demanding maximum entitlements and minimal taxes is what's causing deficit spending the world over.

  14. You could eliminate the entire Defense Department including veterans appropriations and off the book expenditures and you would save about $900 billion. Then you could eliminate the entire 2.5 million federal workforce including Congress and the president and you would save about another $250 billion. That would barely cover the Medicare and Medicaid deficits going forward.

    Getting medical inflation under control is the only way to slow down the runaway train.

    There are another 30+ million baby boomers waiting to retire and the Medicaid roles have been exploding over the last 20 years. They better get to work on the situation quickly.

  15. We spend close to $8000 per capita on medical in the United States. The next most expensive country is Norway, which spends about $5300 per capita. If we got away from the for-profit medical model, and brought our medicals expenditures to the next most expensive nation we would eliminate the vast majority of all of our unfunded liabilities going forward.

    If we increase taxes on the rich it will raise a few bucks but for the most part it won't even be noticed.

    Rock says Obama wants to control every time in the economy. If you look at what the government actually controls on a pie chart the sliver is so small you can barely see it.

  16. Good letter Mr. Starr, thank you. Good to see someone not buying into the far right ideology that got us into this mess. If Ronald Reagan didn't get the ball rolling on defense spending and extreme tax cuts for the wealthy, we'd be in far better shape. It was that ideology that changed the United States from a nation that lends to a nation borrowing from what were once third world countries; while creating a huge financial disparity gap, creating a larger class of working poor.

  17. No empirical evidence?

    Pure balderdash!

    The undeniable fact that spending in excess of revenues has gone on for more than a decade is about as empirical as it gets. Yes, by both of the last two administrations, however, the undeniable fact that President Obama has spent far in excess of what any other president has, is more than significant. The only debate left is whether as the left suggests that none of it was wasted and 100% of it was necessary to counter spending by the prior administration; or as the right contends, that while some spending was necessary to fight off the recession that the spending levels by the gone wild out of control Representative Pelosi led US Congress were far in excess of what was needed.

    That Rep. Pelosi was the first and likely the last Speaker of the House to claim so many over the top lavish perks for herself and her office and abuse them so badly; and as that was just the tip of the iceberg if one cares to take an analytical and fact based accounting of spending by this administration is more empirical evidence to support the claim that spending is the problem.

    Imagine telling your bank or credit union that spending is not the problem when they refuse to lend you additional funds after finding that you spend $1 for every 60 cents you make before deductions, and have been living on credit by borrowing 40 cents of every dollar you spend. Imagine telling anyone that spending is not the problem when your only answer to everything is to confiscate more of other peoples income to pay for your spending.

    Our US Constitution places the responsibility and duty for all appropriations on the US House of Representatives with advice and consent by the US Senate. It also places the responsibility for agreement or disagreement with spending bills arriving at the presidents desk with whom? The White House Janitor, Chef or Secret Service? The president accepts that constitutional responsibility by signing these bills and executing them.

    If you knowingly spend more than you make, repeatedly, year after year; intentionally increase both the growth and the amount of spending beyond what is needed to pay our debts, intentionally incur new programs and their attendant spending, intentionally bring new populations under the federal government umbrella that were never intended to be there, never authorized by our constitution and with no regard to affordability for future generations with no means to pay for them other than to demonize success and private property and demand increased levels of confiscation of personal assets, then yes, spending is the problem and those who advocate and create that spending at the responsible parties.

    Some seem to believe that because we are talking about the federal government instead of their personal finances that the rules of math and finance are suspended and no longer apply. News flash - 2+2 still = 4 and negative balances are negative no matter whose they are.

  18. Dale.. That's not exactly true. Deficit spending allows the government to fulfill their obligations while keeping taxes low.

    You said deficit spending has been going on for at least 10 years. It has been going on since the Revolutionary war. We got done paying for the Revolutionary war in the mid-1830s. We then had some of the worst economic times in the nation's history. Deficit spending has been part of this nations history from the very first days.

    we have had 47 recessions and depressions in the nation's history. In the 1800s it wasn't uncommon for them to occur back to back. The period leading up to the financial crisis was one of the longest in the nation's history without a contraction. Also the increase in the nation's wealth went from a few trillion dollars to almost $70 trillion in the modern era prior to the current crisis. Saying that deficit spending is bad makes for a good political talking point but it's hard to prove.

  19. http://www.pimco.com/EN/insights/pages/k...
    the above puts into perspective where all the money's going in the next few decades as well as the categories that make up the main deficit drivers.

  20. Forbes 5/24/2012 - Who Is The Smallest Government Spender Since Eisenhower? Would You Believe It's Barack Obama?

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/20...

    Interesting article considering what we hear about Obama's insanely wild spending spree from those on the right.

  21. Rusty we progressives don't want to tax you rich no accounts to the "stone age" just to the Archie Bunker age.

  22. "You didn't answer." @ Jim Weber

    Yes, I did Jim. You just didn't comprehend. Let me try again for you and maybe you will the second time around.

    I was born and raised poor in a ghetto [sorry as Pat Hayes called it] in Newark, New Jersey. And now I am elderly. Contrary to the implication of your question, I am both sensitive and responsive to the poor and the elderly, since I have been/am both.

    CarmineD

  23. "Carmine... My neighborhood was soooo poor , they tore it down to install a ghetto!
    First liar never wins Carmine." By bite

    Newark, NJ and my neighborhood was, and is still, a ghetto. The only thing that's changed is the people. No lie. Just the facts.

    CarmineD

  24. We don't have "vigorous" oversight. Wish we did. 1/3 of ALL spending on entitlements if fraud and abuse. Internal controls, fraud investigators, cut off the convicted from all welfare spending. Cut off all illegals.... We can't afford to keep ignoring this.

  25. Carmine: I was born off a Reservation and grew up, sort of, without assistance or parental presence. Posters: Does that jive with your recurring accusations of "republican?"

  26. "Carmine: I was born off a Reservation and grew up, sort of, without assistance or parental presence. Posters: Does that jive with your recurring accusations of "republican?"
    @ Roslenda

    I opine it's not where/how you start out that matters, but where/how you end up. And that has no party affiliation. But exhibits character.

    CarmineD

  27. "Carmine...I'm Sorry I said 'liar'. I didn't mean it in a literal sense. What I really meant to say was 'first quote never wins'. Forget I said anything." by bite

    Okay. Thanks for the clarification.

    CarmineD

  28. I can see a lot of minds were changed by the rants delivered. Ho, hum.

  29. Demographics: We have millions of displaced unemployed former workers. And, we have imported 15-20 million illegal invaders--half of whom are on welfare programs, many more displacing American workers. No matter how productive, successful, affluent, high-income the top X% are, things don't "remain the same" or anything close to same if we double and then triple the volume of people "in need" of more and more government services. K-12 and health care will kill the economy completely UNLESS we deport some of the people who are "in need" of services. Washington can't even figure out how to secure our borders, enforce employment of legals-only (hire Vets?), and stop importing more and more. Washington even refuses to enable temporary work permits for agricultural workers--mayhaps "they" think harping that we won't afford oranges means we'll give away free citizenship to every aspiring illegal--most who won't do agricultural work anyhow.

  30. Goggle the phrase "health care outcomes by nation" and pretty much take your choice of results. Americans spend far and away more for health care than residents of any other country. Our rating for overall health care outcomes hovers around 38th. The most common mistake is to compare what the American government spends on health care against what other governments spend.

    That is invalid. Look at the TOTAL amount spent in the US for healthcare - by governments, by insurance companies, and by individuals. THAT is how you get an overall cost. As far as my pocket is concerned, I don't care if my money goes to the government, which then pays it to healthcare providers; if it goes to an insurance company, which then pays it to providers; or if it goes directly to a provider,. Regardless - it's ALL for health care - and its ALL out of my pocket!

  31. PART of the excessive cost of healthcare in this country is that companies bill us for their spending on "administration" which includes
    1. People to pre-approve (disallow) care. (insurance companies)
    2. Six-figure starting salaries for drug reps--the people who "lobby" doctors to prescribe their drugs. (Pharma companies)
    3. 25% of Medicare goes for end-of-life care--mostly for those already dead or brain dead--endless procedures for those who will never regain life.
    4. 10% estimated of Medicare for the WRONG care--Such as prostrate surgery for the over-80 guys who aren't informed that the side effects of surgery are worse than the annoyance of their condition. (profound incontenance, immobility)

  32. "There is no empirical evidence to prove "wasteful spending" caused our current deficit. Republicans seem to believe that wasteful spending includes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and support for the poor and needy."

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!

    it is all wasteful spending because there are better ways to provide all of those things.

    Democrats and progressives use these programs to fund government workers and pensions for government workers and to make themselves feel good... not to help the poor or needy or elderly. If you wanted to do that just give the poor, elderly or needy the money.

    Just give them the money!

  33. Mr. Starr,

    Do you know what "emperical evidence" means?

    HAHA our revenue problems started with Reagan?

    In 1980 Federal revenues were about $1 trillion in 2005 dollars

    For FY2013 it will be $2.3 trillion.

    That is an inflation adjusted in crease of over 100%

    REvenues are twice as much today as under Reagan.

    That isn't a revenue problem!

    http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/reven...