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Sunday, October 26, 2014 / PROGRESSIVE JOURNALISM FOR POSITIVE ACTION
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Dave Johnson
Published: Saturday 19 May 2012
“People who once thought of themselves as middle class are eating at churches, living with their parents or relatives or sleeping in cars, going through trash bins but the ‘solutions’ offered by the remote wizards and geniuses take even more money out of the economy and give it to the 1%ers.”

How To Fix the Deficit

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The public is demanding jobs, jobs, jobs so DC's wizards and geniuses are gathered at a "Fiscal Summit" -- put on by a hedge-fund billionaire -- to not talk about jobs. This summit takes place at the seat of our representative government but none of the speakers will be unemployed or homeless or poor or retired or even middle class. The premise of the discussion is framed as "we need to find a way to cut entitlements" - to cut the benefits that democracy entitles citizens to receive so that the 1% can have even more. Speakers knowingly say they "need to get away from the reporters and the glare of the camera lights" so they "don't have to worry about public backlash" -- i.e. the transparency and accountability of democracy -- and "come up with a deal." They even talk about "coming out of a room with a deal" after the elections and before those we elect take office! This entire arrogant, anti-democracy display further erodes people's faith in their leaders.

No Jobs25 million Americans either don't have a job, don't have a job that pays enough to live on or have given up even bothering to look for a job and these people are gathered to talk about how to cut back the things democracy does for We, the People. People who once thought of themselves as middle class are eating at churches, living with their parents or relatives or sleeping in cars, going through trash bins but the "solutions" offered by the remote wizards and geniuses take even more money out of the economy and give it to the 1%ers.

How To Actually Fix The DeficitsHere are some clues for the wizards and geniuses at the "Fiscal Summit:"

1) JOBS fix deficits. Because so many people are out of work we aren't bringing in tax revenue and we're paying out huge amounts for unemployment, healthcare assistance, food stamps, etc. Unemployed people don't have the disposable income to spend at clothing stores, etc.

2) Investment grows the economy, and that fixes deficits. We have an aging, crumbling national infrastructure while our international competitors have modern, efficient infrastructure. Our businesses are trying to compete but have to depend on 1950's road and rail, etc. Fixing the infrastructure has to be done at some point and right now millions of people need the work, and financing costs have never been lower.

3) A trade deficits bleeds money out of the economy and our trade deficit is HUGE. The trade deals have benefited the 1%ers and Wall Street, but they have devastated our industrial regions and their supply chains, cost millions of jobs and sucked trillions from our economy.

4) The top tax rate is low and that encourages a scam economy. When you can make a fortune overnight and keep it it makes no sense to take the time to grow a solid business. Instead of look for quick-buck schemes. Growing a solid business over time requires solid communities with good infrastructure and educated people around those businesses and we have thrown that away.

5) A democracy tariff on goods that come from countries where people have no say would remove the competitive advantage from exploitation. We have allowed countries where workers and the environment are mistreated to have a competitive advantage over our democracy where people demand good wages, good working conditions and a clean environment. Use the revenue from that tariff to make our goods competitive elsewhere.

6) Our huge, bloated, incredible, wasteful, unbelievable military budget is equal to all the rest of the world combined. Obviously this drains our economy. The Soviet Unions is gone.

Those are just a few of the things that would fix the deficit problem. Don't forget, just 12 years ago we were paying off the debt.



Let's take a moment to look

Let's take a moment to look at WHERE the payments on the debt go, because an honest evaluation of who that money goes to, MUST help make sense of the circus around the deficit and the debt (Deficits are NOT debt, but only by ONE year. They ALWAYS TURN INTO DEBT in the following budget cycle, because they ALWAYS necessitate more borrowing to cover them.)

So who gets that interest, on our debt payments? I shouldn't have asked so transparently; because now, I'm sure you know the answer.

The Banks who keep buying US Bonds, is who.

The One Percent, is who.

But, but, but, you say (and well you might), the BANKS and the ONE PERCENT are the ones DRIVING the supposed focus on lowering the deficit and the debt ... but you say that's where they make the MOST of their money, nowadays?

Too true. The debt and its interest are now SO high, and produce SO much of the wealth of the Rich, that it would take a CRAZY Rich person to oppose them in the first place, much less wipe them out as they SAY they want to.

But this is just one more lie, for them, and they are well-insulated, by virtue of their lifestyles, from any twinges of conscience, such as you or I might experience.

Government Debt is one of the MOST PRODUCTIVE CASH COWS for these folks. I'd as soon believe they want it to end, as I'd believe that crazy clowns eat the world for breakfast every morning, and sh!t us all out to build it back up for their next meal.

(Wait, that's true, isn't it?)

"Speakers knowingly say they

"Speakers knowingly say they "need to get away from the reporters and the glare of the camera lights" so they "don't have to worry about public backlash" -- i.e. the transparency and accountability of democracy"

The average person spins it this way, but this alludes to some very valid issues most people don't want to face.

First, lawmakers should be able to discuss problems honestly among themselves, brainstorm, pursue paths that ultimately lead to dead ends before a good solution emerges, throw out crazy ideas that get people thinking outside the box, change their positions when good cases are made for other positions, and so on, all without having to worry about the real time reactions of the public. Anyone who has ever worked in a group on a large project knows this is how you come up with the best result.

What the author advocates, and it's more or less what we have today, is providing an environment for lawmakers in which every idea they propose, every word they utter has to be politically safe. This produces a highly partisan working environment as both sides worry more about how they'll appear to their bases than working together. It discourages compromise. It discourages creativity and encourages lawmakers to pursue politically safe solutions, and usually that means pursuing accepted ideas instead of investigating new ones whose political palatability can't be known initially. Take safe positions you know will be acceptable to your base. It's an environment that severely limits Congress' ability to find effective solutions.

Second, democracy is highly overrated. Democracy has one significant advantage over other forms of government: It gives the people the power to get rid of bad leaders and would-be dictators. The founding fathers didn't create a democracy here, they created a constitutional republic, and for good reasons.

"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." — Thomas Jefferson

"Democracy is not freedom. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch. Freedom comes from the recognition of certain rights which may not be taken, not even by a 99% vote. Those rights are spelled out in the Bill of Rights and in our California Constitution. Voters and politicians alike would do well to take a look at the rights we each hold, which must never be chipped away by the whim of the majority." — Marvin Simkin

But there is another reason democracy is problematic. We live in a country of 310 million people representing virtually every race and religion known. We have the largest economy in the world, based on over 20 million businesses, from self-employed individuals to the largest corporations in the world. We cover 3.8 million square miles, with climatic extremes ranging from Alaska to Hawaii. No matter how you look at us, we are a complex nation and governing us is a complex task.

The following two comments taken together sum up our biggest problem in a nutshell:

"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." — Thomas Jefferson

"The truth is, as much as we want to focus on politics, the American people would rather watch television. As much as we want to talk about substance they'd rather listen to music." — Republican political consultant Frank Luntz

Any government based on democracy, as ours is, can only function effectively if the electorate is well informed and educated about issues. Yet poll after poll and survey after survey conducted to assess how much people know about issues clearly shows they are woefully uninformed.

A Pew Research poll found that only 28% of Republicans surveyed knew the government spends more on national defense than on education, Medicare, or interest on the debt. 29% wrongly believe we spend more on the interest on the debt than on defense.

"More Democrats (46%) than Republicans (28%) know that the government spends more on national defense than on the other items listed. Republicans are as likely to say the government spends most on interest on the debt (29%) as on defense (28%). A plurality of independents (44%) know that the government spends most on national defense." — Pew Research, November 18, 2010

What's particularly striking about this is that this, the federal budget, had been at the center of political debate for two years when this poll was taken. Two years and less than half of any group realized we spend more on defense than any of the other options. These are the people the author thinks can hold Congress accountable? How do you hold people accountable for their treatment of issues you don't know anything about?

Don't misunderstand what I'm saying. Democrats are equally uninformed in their own right. My point is that what the public believes should not influence policy because so much of what the public believes is just flat out wrong and so many of their positions were simply fed to them by people whose biases they like, such as Rush Limbaugh.

In this case, when only 28% of Republicans on the street — less than one in three — realize that defense spending far exceeds spending education, Medicare, or interest on the debt, why would any thinking person respect their opinions about how we should address the deficit?

Democrats aren't much better overall (46% of Democrats realizing this doesn't exactly inspire confidence in me). The bottom line is I don't want our politicians listening to the masses regardless of party. I want the uninformed masses to stop trying to influence policy, fueled by delusions that they're all policy experts because they have a connection to the Internet and get their information from sources who share their biases.

Remember, when this government was created there was no "transparency" as we think of it today. We elected our Representatives in the House (not Senators and not the president) and sent them to Washington to work out of sight and earshot of their constituents. No C-SPAN broadcasting hearings and debates in Congress, no 24-hour news networks interviewing them, no YouTube to preserve every misspeak until the end of time, no Internet, no phones. Voters couldn't use e-mail to tell their representatives what they wanted them to do or provide real-time feedback on their latest sound bite or call them to share their opinions. News traveled no faster than a horse could run.

And you know what? Government worked a lot better back before TV turned being a congressman into a role on a reality show. They argued, they fought, they bickered, they compromised, they said what was on their minds without thinking about how their constituents would react to every word they said or the consequences of having it live forever on YouTube.

The Social Security surplus

The Social Security surplus resulting from the Regan era "Reform" was used to support tax breaks for the richest American. It is time they reimbursed the Treasury for these benefits. Raise the salary cap on Social Security from $100,000 to $ 100,000,000 to include total compensation above 100% of average employee compensation. If companies can afford to pay that kind of compensation - PICK UP THE CHECK!

Our Country is falling apart

Our Country is falling apart at it's infrastructure - or lack thereof, while the Wealthy from the 2% up are getting the Discount Tickets. From the FICA Tax Cap on down the line.

Reinstate Glass-Steagall.
Bypass Citizens United.
Fund Bush's Un-Funded MediCare Part D Prescription coverage.
Remove the FICA Tax Cap.
Retire the Bush Tax Cuts for those over $500,000 AGI.
End Afghanistan!
End the "War on Drugs".

All would be good for starters.

"It is common sense to take a method and try it.
If it fails, admit it frankly, and try another.
But, above all, try something."

= Franklin D. Roosevelt =

scott i bet you have a ton of

scott i bet you have a ton of gold so when 200000% inflation hit you will be in great position

No, @Oldhat, @Scott just

No, @Oldhat, @Scott just knows what he's talking about and you don't. There is no prospect of Inflation aside from that caused by Republican War Profiteers like Valero who are jacking up the price of Gas far higher than the price of Crude would allow.

There is an ancient adage: "You cannot Save your way out of a Great Depression".
Corollary #1 is: "Especially, when the Great Depression was caused by Republican policy.

no @tom s i suggest you do

no @tom s i suggest you do some econ reading [ germany 1920-30's ] just because roof is not leaking at this moment because it is not raining does not mean there are no holes -- how one bring price down is increase supply [ see natural gas ] in a down turn you spend savings you do not borrow because levage just magnifies losses

The problem with this article

The problem with this article is that it is based on the assumption that the deficit can be fixed when in reality the problem is systemic. What has happened is that the privately owned Fed has issued so much debt that we are in a vicious spiral downwards with no hope of recovery. As an example the Rothschilds are reportedly now earning around two thirds of the planets income as interest on the debt they have invented (out of thin air). It is having to get by on one third of we what we should be earning that has resulted in the financial and economic problems we have today. The debt is so large now it will never be repaid so all this talk of austerity is just smoke and offers no real solution. What needs to happen is to return to an asset based currency, cancel all debt and end the Fed.

@Lucky..., just about every

@Lucky..., just about every one of your premises is false.

We know how to end any

We know how to end any recession. The Feds spend money until the recession ends.

The deficit is irrelevant, and any government concerned with the deficit during a recession is incompetent. Geithner makes Hoover look like an economic genius.

No President had it easier than Obama in Jan 2009. (1) reinstate Glass-Steagall, (2) Insure all home mortgages, and if you wanted a guarantee, (3) giveway hundreds of billions of dollars to anyone except Wall Street.

no to crony captilism "a

no to crony captilism "a Specific Tax Credit for A Specific Corporation or Company" deductions for actual cost only

On this, we can agree. The

On this, we can agree. The Robber Barons that Teddy Roosevelt "banished" have returned.

Here is the simplest way to

Here is the simplest way to fix Social Security and to get the Economy going providing good jobs and start decreasing the Budget Deficit.

Social Security Reform, remove the Caps on the amounts of Income that is Taxable. Make all types of Income be taxable no matter what they are, where they came from or how they were earned.

Make receiving Social Security Benefits be "Means Tested."

The Medicare and Medicaid programs were established in the 1960s. Medicare, when it was created was failed to be funded, should be made the Mandatory Universal Health Care Insurance for every Citizen of the United States of America. The Cost of Medicare must remain a part of the General Federal Budget. Medicaid should also be made a part of the General Federal Budget.

I have found it interesting to listen to the President, other Democrats, the Republicans and the Tea-Party Members talk about how the "Cost Of Living" was going up due to inflation. The one single thing that I have not seen nor have I heard that the people on Social Security and Welfare should have gotten a "Cost of Living" adjustment to make up for it. Just so those of you who do not know it the Social Security check that your parents or grandparents gets has gone down each of the past three years. WHY? Because they had to pay more for Medicare and received no cost of living raise.

First I will say that any Income Tax Reform that continues to allow for Exceptions, Exemptions and Deduction will never be Fair and Equal to all. Far Too many loopholes exist through which the 1.0% of the “Rich and Powerful” Individuals and Corporations, Companies, Institutions and Organizations squeeze through and pay NO TAXES. Even if we made the INCOME TAX RATE on every individual who made over one million dollars to be 99%, with the use of the Exceptions, Exemptions and Deductions they could not pay any taxes.

The Entire Income Tax Code MUST be Repealed and Replaced. By the elimination of ALL the EXCEPTIONS, EXEMPTIONS, and DEDUCTIONS and by making every source of Income [Wages, Bonuses, Benefits, Interest Earnings, dividends and capital gains and any other Earnings or Gains] be subject to the same Tax Code and Rate no matter How it was earned, Where it was earned, or What it was earned from.

HERE is an Income Tax Code that is based upon Fairness and Equality, and the ability to pay, just like everything else in life. PLEASE note that the implementation of this Tax Code would significantly reduce the size of the IRS, reduce the amount of time to prepare your Taxes, and sorry to say it, but it gets rid of the need for Tax Preparation Companies.

The official numbers don’t tell the full story. The situation of the poor is actually considerably worse than the Government reports. The official poverty line is calculated as simply three times the minimal food budget first introduced in 1959, and then adjusted for inflation in food costs. In other words, the American poverty threshold takes no account of the cost of housing or fuel or transportation or health-care costs, all of which are rising more rapidly than the cost of basic foods. So the poverty measure grossly understates the real cost of subsistence.

Existing Poverty Income Taxes:
[1.0] Income earned from $.01 to $13,537.00 for a family of one would pay Zero Tax Rate.
[2.0] Income earned from $.01 to $23,689.00 for a family of two would be Zero Tax Rate.
[3.0] Income earned from $.01 to $30,478.00 for a family of three would be Zero Tax Rate.
[4.0] Income earned from $.01 to $37,267.00 for a family of four would be Zero Tax Rate.
[5.0] Income earned from $.01 to $44,056.00 for a family of five would be Zero Tax Rate.
[6.0] Income earned from $.01 to $50,845.00 for a family of six would be Zero Tax Rate.
[7.0] Income earned from $.01 to $57,634.00 for a family of seven would be Zero Tax Rate.
[8.0] Income earned from $.01 to $64,423.00 for a family of eight would be Zero Tax rate.

For those who are not in the Poverty Income Level the Tax Rates would be as follows:
[9.0] Income earned from $13,537.00 to $100,000.00 would pay a 15.0% Tax Rate. PLUS.

[10.0] Income earned from $100,000.01 to $500,000.00 would pay 17.5% Tax Rate. PLUS.

[11.0] Income earned from $500,000.01 to $1,000,000.00 would pay 20.0%Tax Rate. PLUS.

[12.0] Income earned from $1,000,000.01 to $50,000,000.00 would pay 25.0% Tax Rate. PLUS.

[13.0] Income earned from $50,000,000.01 to $1,000,000,000.00 would pay 30.0% Tax Rate. PLUS.

[14.0] Income earned from $1,000,000,000.01 and up would pay 35.0% Tax Rate.

I would also create a Financial Transaction Fee of $ .50 on each and every Financial Transaction, to generate from $2 to $3 Trillion in Revenue to “Reduce the Deficit and to Invest in our future, our Infrastructure and our middle class.”

U.S. Corporate Income Taxes that were actually paid (the effective rate) fell to a 40 year low of 12.1 percent in fiscal year 2011, despite corporate profits rebounding to their Pre-Great Recession heights. The United States of America, both taxes its Corporations less and raises less in revenue from corporate taxes than its foreign competitors.

Therefore; under my Corporate Tax Rate Corporations would pay 15.0% Income Tax Rate with NO Exceptions, No Exemptions and the NO Deductions. Or they can pay the same Tax Rates as an Individual, seeing as the Supreme Court has ruled they have the same Right to Freedom of Speech, therefore they should have the same Right to pay the same Income Tax Rates. Corporations should not make Business decisions based upon the Income Tax Loopholes, they should be based on what is the best thing for the Corporation, Employees and the Investors. The top 500 Corporations, Companies, Institutions and Organizations within the Fortune 500, Pay No Taxes today. This Income Tax Plan would ensure that all Corporations, Companies, Institutions or for Profit Organizations that earned a Profit would PAY TAXES.

If Congress wants to provide an incentive to Corporations, Companies, Institutions or Organizations, Congress can do so by creating a Specific Tax Credit for A Specific Corporation or Company, with specified amounts and for specified time limits.

To create more jobs we must [Provide] a sum of money equal to the amount of money that was used for the TARP Bail-Out ($750 Billion Dollars) and that we use it to Create Jobs in The United States of America for United States of America Citizens. That this be paid for by placing a 25% Sur-Tax for the next ten years, on Individuals, Corporations, Companies, Institutions and for Profit Organizations who earn over $350,000.00 a year.

The government should also adopt strong, not toothless, measures to eliminate the trade deficit, which is now running at $500 billion per year. This alone will create five million manufacturing jobs. It should be the policy of the Congress of the United States of America that the GDP should consist of at least 50% from the Manufacturing Base of the United States of America. Eliminating the trade deficit will raise US GDP by the same amount, and to produce that much output, new workers will be needed. Suppose it costs a business $100,000 to hire a worker, including salary, benefits and profit. Dividing 500 billion by 100,000 yields five million. In other words, eliminating the trade shortfall will generate five million new jobs, paying the average wage and benefits. The Congress of the United States of America needs to address the Minimum Wage Law and increase it to $10.00 per hour. The Congress of the United States of America must make it the Law that for anyone over the age of 18 to receive the following that if they are Physically and Mentally capable of performing any kind of gainful employment that they must do so. Nothing in life is free.

To prevent the Politicians from ever putting us in this situation again, we write a Constitutional Amendment that would make it Mandatory for the Federal Government of the United States of America to have a Balanced Budget. In each year of a Declared War, or Declared National Emergency Congress would have the Right, Authority and Ability with a 2/3 vote of the Congress to grant a Deficit Budget for one year.

There is probably nothing

There is probably nothing more foolish than a Constitutional Amendment for a balanced budget. Anyone who understands fiscal policy knows that it would literally destroy the nation. The Federal Government is NOT like a family or a corporation or any type of business, that it why it called the Federal Government and not the Federal Business. A major purpose of the Federal Government is to manage the economy through Fiscal Policy with the aid of Monetary Policy

Since Americans are abysmally uneducated, it is no wonder they do not even know that Fiscal Policy and Monetary Policy exist, let alone their simple rules.

(1) In a recession, spend money and run up the Deficit; the greater the deficit the better.

(2) with inflation, on the other hand, tax money out of the economy by taxing the spenders. That is not the current problem

Tax policy has nothing at all to do with fairness. Obama says that because he is an economic moron. The wealthy could to be taxed more right now and the taxes on the lower levels could be reduced to zero. Again, it has nothing to do with fairness. Sound fiscal policy requires the government to make certain consumers have more money to spend. The government may do this by giving people money or by cutting taxes on people who will spend money and raising taxes on people who cannot spend enough of their income, although raising taxes on the super wealthy is unnecessary.

Only a fool raises taxes on anyone trying to reduce the Deficit! The Deficit is not a problem and doing anything except increasing the Deficit is stupid. But do not give one cent to Wall Street who won't spend the money on anything except its gambling addiction.

At other times when we need to accumulate capital so that it can be loaned out for investment, we generally lower taxes on the very wealthy as they save their money more than the poor and middle class. Again, fairness has nothing to do with Fiscal Policy.

The so called Payroll Tax is a cruel hoax. Yes, it puts a few dollars in people's pockets, but not enough at one time to make a significant difference and also because it is a FRAUD. There is no such thing as a payroll tax! The Feds are cutting the contributions to Social Security so that when you retire, your pension will be under-funded. Yes, the same thing that make irrational people hate public employees who want their pensions is happening to you. Your pension, social security, is being deprived of your pension contributions. It is Obama's major step towards privatization of Social Security -- in other words, it is a move to wipe out social security by giving your money to Wall Street as Geithner wants.

Also, reinstate Glass-Steagall so that regular banks will only take deposits and make safe loans. Also return investment bankers to raising capital and end Credit Default Swaps as they lure greedy people to gamble with our investment capital.

Nothing about Fiscal Policy is more complicated than basic algebra, but that obviously is far beyond the ability of all GOP, most Dems, and Geithner. Geithner is Obama's Rumsfeld.

"There is probably nothing

"There is probably nothing more foolish than a Constitutional Amendment for a balanced budget. Anyone who understands fiscal policy knows that it would literally destroy the nation."

You need not have said any more.

Investment grows the economy,

Investment grows the economy, and that fixes deficits. We have an aging, crumbling national infrastructure while our international competitors have modern, efficient infrastructure. Our businesses are trying to compete but have to depend on 1950's road and rail, etc. Fixing the infrastructure has to be done at some point and right now millions of people need the work, and financing costs have never been lower. However our tax system keeps money for those investments overseas.
3) A trade deficits bleeds money out of the economy and our trade deficit is HUGE. The trade deals have benefited the 1%ers and Wall Street, but they have devastated our industrial regions and their supply chains, cost millions of jobs and sucked trillions from our economy. So smoot-hawley is the answer.
4) The top tax rate is low and that encourages a scam economy. When you can make a fortune overnight and keep it it makes no sense to take the time to grow a solid business. Instead of look for quick-buck schemes.Just ask zuckerberg what we need is a tax increase to kill the recovery like the 1938 one did.

Here is the thing about

Here is the thing about Obama. He is an insider.

He will talk up rebuilding the infrastructure. I give him credit for this. I always look for something to give Obama credit for. It's slim pickings.

But anything he says about "entitlements" comes from the rodent language -weasel words.

I refuse to vote for a guy like that.

If Obama wants to win the presidential election all he has to do is make protecting entitlements a central issue. He would win in a landslide. Obama and his inner circle know this. It doesn't bode well for seniors. Think about it.

What can we do when one

What can we do when one entire political party refuses to acknowledge 1 through 6. The other political party won't mention 1 through 6 in hopes no one notices.

Military spending is like the elephant in the room. We need eleven aircraft carriers to the rest of the world's nine? We might. We might have to take on the rest of the world simultaneously because this nation is always right and there is that pesky manifest destiny to consider.

The media won't even entertain discussing alternatives to cutting "entitlements". On every TV program it's, "Entitlements are driving the deficit." Everyone on TV saying this is either a millionaire or a billionaire. In case you haven't noticed we have some real objectivity going on on the TV these days.

Our president needs to

Our president needs to redefine his priorities.
THEN, he needs to stand up and fight for WE, the People to rebuild this country. To again be a country OF the People, BY the People and FOR THE PEOPLE!

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