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(Huffington Post)   Americans on fixing the budget deficit: 'Stop funding what I don't like'   (huffingtonpost.com) divider line 85
    More: Obvious, Americans, line items, United States Public Debt, Medicare and Medicaid, deficits, federal government, Center on Budget  
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2068 clicks; posted to Politics » on 20 Mar 2013 at 9:15 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-20 08:16:20 AM  
"Wow, what a brand new insight that had never before been known in American politics", said no one.
 
2013-03-20 08:27:48 AM  

DamnYankees: "Wow, what a brand new insight that had never before been known in American politics", said no one.


Yeah, really. Welcome to politics 101.
 
2013-03-20 08:33:06 AM  
"YOUR Congresscritter is a pork-barrel thief who steals tax dollars to fund his delight for the perverted arts. MY Congressman is a dedicated public servant who brings home the bacon!"

See also: Approval ratings of "Congress" vs. re-election rate of members.
See also: Your children are untamed hellions who'll end up on Death Row before they can legally vote. MY children are old soul indigos expressing their exuberance
See also: Every human on earth
 
2013-03-20 08:33:33 AM  
It's more like "Stop funding what I don't understand."
 
2013-03-20 08:43:13 AM  
"Many people consider the things government does for them to be social progress but they regard the things government does for others as socialism." - Earl Warren
 
2013-03-20 09:04:38 AM  
* 72 percent support a "federal government program that would spend government money to put people to work on urgent infrastructure repairs." This is also backed by 71 percent of independents and 53 percent of Republicans.

* 72 percent support a "federal jobs creation law that would spend government money for a program designed to create more than 1 million new jobs." This is backed by 69 percent of independents and 52 percent of Republicans.

Link

The only budget proposal that accomplishes this is the Back to Work budget.

Which is of course why it gets no mention in the media.
 
2013-03-20 09:14:37 AM  
Most Americans think that 25 % of the budget goes to "Foreign Aid".
 
2013-03-20 09:19:28 AM  
You could balance the budget tomorrow by cutting off funding to PBS.
 
2013-03-20 09:20:10 AM  
Americans generally have no clue what money goes where. Back in 2008 McCain talked about cutting earmarks as being one his top priorities, that average Americans thought earmarks were a gigantic portion of the budget, something that could be cut out to huge effect.

In reality they were something on the order of half a percent of the budget.

When you ask Americans what to cut, they generally will say foreign aid and NASA, and few people agree on anything else. The problem arises when they believe these are huge things that will make a big impact, when in reality they're like an eye dropper's worth in the ocean that is the budget.
 
2013-03-20 09:20:42 AM  
My favorite moment during these budget battles was hearing some asshole from the Cato institute lament that our nations highways were fine and we spend enough on our transportation budget. I literally screamed at the radio "YOU ASSHOLE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT farkING BRIDGES FALLING APART, NOT THE ROADS!"
 
2013-03-20 09:23:23 AM  

vernonFL: Most Americans think that 25 % of the budget goes to "Foreign Aid".


And federal employees' salaries (double for Congress).
 
2013-03-20 09:25:04 AM  
Maybe we should tweak representative democracy a little.  We seem to be running headfirst into the old warning (Jefferson's?) about flaming out as soon as everyone realizes they can vote "Pay Me, Screw Everyone Else!" every year.  And I'm not talking about entitlements, either.

What if you had to get elected to be in Congress... but your district and state had to perform at a certain level in order to be eligible to STAY in Congress?  You get a 2- year term (I might even extend it to 3), and if certain metrics aren't met, you can't run for reelection.  Unemployment too high?  Taxes too high a percentage of average income?  Too much crime?  Pathetic national disaster response?  Buh-Bye, don't let the door hit you on the way out!

 Also, isn't something like 25% of the budget going to foreign aid, anyway?  ;)
 
2013-03-20 09:25:11 AM  

Muta: You could balance the budget tomorrow by cutting off funding to PBS.


Don't forget the Alzheimers research.
 
2013-03-20 09:27:31 AM  

G. Tarrant: Americans generally have no clue what money goes where. Back in 2008 McCain talked about cutting earmarks as being one his top priorities, that average Americans thought earmarks were a gigantic portion of the budget, something that could be cut out to huge effect.

In reality they were something on the order of half a percent of the budget.

When you ask Americans what to cut, they generally will say foreign aid and NASA, and few people agree on anything else. The problem arises when they believe these are huge things that will make a big impact, when in reality they're like an eye dropper's worth in the ocean that is the budget.


It's amazing to me that so many Americans can see all of the military recruitment ads on TV, read about our ongoing overseas military operations in the news, and see USAF flyovers at sporting events and somehow NOT think that defense might be a major part of the budget.  I mean, even if you're not paying particularly close attention, you'd have to be aware of the huge size of our military and the scope (and expense) of its operation.

I'm not saying the military is a bad thing, just that it's amazing how people act like it's not a hugely expensive organization to maintain.
 
2013-03-20 09:28:00 AM  
Start with non-competitive DoD research funding for projects that are over-budget or not on schedule.
 
2013-03-20 09:31:03 AM  

HMS_Blinkin: I'm not saying the military is a bad thing, just that it's amazing how people act like it's not a hugely expensive organization to maintain.


Or that without the projection of naval and air power that we have and its importance to global trade and economic activity. Seriously, we protect more water than every other nation combined and without that there would be constant moments where economic trade routes would grind to a halt due to threats.
 
2013-03-20 09:31:21 AM  
i.chzbgr.com
 
2013-03-20 09:33:23 AM  
Defense spending is wasteful.  If your congressman absolutely has to throw some pork around his district, then tell him to get Lockheed to switch from making F35's to cropdusters, which can have at least a theoretically positive return on investment.
 
2013-03-20 09:33:26 AM  

MyKingdomForYourHorse: Seriously, we protect more water than every other nation combined and without that there would be constant moments where economic trade routes would grind to a halt due to threats.


A service that, perhaps, "every other nation combined" could start paying us for.
 
2013-03-20 09:34:02 AM  
Oddly enough, I was called by Gallup last night and they asked a question about what I thought would be an acceptable end to all of these budget battles in Washington. My choice of answers was "Get what my side wants" or "End the partisan bickering and start compromising". Apparently choosing option 2 puts me in the minority.
 
2013-03-20 09:34:31 AM  

rumpelstiltskin: It's more like "Stop funding what I don't understand."


Don't understand, don't like; I think you'll find Republicans have no problem blurring the lines between those 2 disinctions.
 
2013-03-20 09:34:39 AM  
Because the point still seems to be missed on some people:

Only borrow money to fund productive programs.  Social Security is not a productive program.  Welfare is not a particularly productive program.  The military is not a productive program.

Productive programs are things like education, health care for the young and able, infrastructure, research and development, investing in our youth.

If the program is financially beneficial for our country - borrow money for it.  If the program is morally beneficial for our country - raise taxes to pay for it.
 
2013-03-20 09:35:50 AM  
I'm in both camps; Stop funding what I don't like, and raise the other guy's taxes. Clearly that's the most logical position.
 
2013-03-20 09:36:27 AM  
How about "cut the really silly stuff, and fund everything else a little less?"

There's pretty much no part of the Federal budget that couldn't be cut by at least 10% without hurting anyone but the bureaucrats.

The Feds have the philosophy of "we can't cut this $10 million program back to $9 million, and here's a $1 million study proving it."
 
2013-03-20 09:36:45 AM  

TheOtherGuy: What if you had to get elected to be in Congress... but your district and state had to perform at a certain level in order to be eligible to STAY in Congress? You get a 2- year term (I might even extend it to 3), and if certain metrics aren't met, you can't run for reelection. Unemployment too high? Taxes too high a percentage of average income? Too much crime? Pathetic national disaster response? Buh-Bye, don't let the door hit you on the way out!


Maybe, but I've often thought that the real problem is tying representatives to geographical areas.  Thanks to gerrymandering, too many reps are safe, and the reps aren't required to care about the nation as a whole, or even their state as a whole (unless they're from one of the states with only 1 representative in the house).

Instead, I think we should move to a state-by-state parliamentary-style system.  That is, each state gets the number of reps it would normally be allotted (let's say 10 for this example), and so for every 10% of the popular vote garnered by a party in that state, that party would get to send 1 rep to congress.  This has two main advantages: first, it would mean that people who used to live in districts that were gerrymandered contrary to their political beliefs (like a conservative in a liberal area or vice-versa) would actually have their votes matter.  Second, it would make it much easier for 3rd parties to get a seat at the national level, especially if they were from populous states.  For example, someone like the Green Party would only need ~2% of the popular vote in CA to get into the federal government.  Hopefully the addition of some new faces could break up the two party logjam a bit.
 
2013-03-20 09:37:55 AM  

vernonFL: Most Americans think that 25 % of the budget goes to "Foreign Aid".


And for abortions for gays and illegal immigrants.
 
2013-03-20 09:39:35 AM  
 
2013-03-20 09:41:02 AM  
Biased survey is badly worded:


Which of the following comes closest to your view on how to reduce the federal budget deficit?

1. We could eliminate most of the deficit by cutting waste and fraud

2. We need painful choices about taxes or spending to cut the deficit

3. Not sure


How about

4. We could eliminate most of the deficit by making sane decisions about spending and taxes.

5. We could eliminate all government waste by creating a Congressional watchdog position with the power to smack down elected officials that do not do their jobs.
 
2013-03-20 09:41:12 AM  

GoldSpider: A service that, perhaps, "every other nation combined" could start paying us for.


In a round about way, that the dollar is the world standard for trade and oil is traded in dollars which ensures we always get top billing for favorable economic activity sorta means they already do.
 
2013-03-20 09:42:54 AM  

TheOtherGuy: Maybe we should tweak representative democracy a little.  We seem to be running headfirst into the old warning (Jefferson's?) about flaming out as soon as everyone realizes they can vote "Pay Me, Screw Everyone Else!" every year.  And I'm not talking about entitlements, either.

What if you had to get elected to be in Congress... but your district and state had to perform at a certain level in order to be eligible to STAY in Congress?  You get a 2- year term (I might even extend it to 3), and if certain metrics aren't met, you can't run for reelection.  Unemployment too high?  Taxes too high a percentage of average income?  Too much crime?  Pathetic national disaster response?  Buh-Bye, don't let the door hit you on the way out!

 Also, isn't something like 25% of the budget going to foreign aid, anyway?  ;)


That woud disproportionately hurt poor districts, especially when those districts are poor because of the actions of the wealthier ones.

/not related, but maybe it is: why are wealthier cities allowed to drain the water from poorer ones?
 
2013-03-20 09:43:31 AM  
Naturally.
 
2013-03-20 09:44:55 AM  

TheOtherGuy: Maybe we should tweak representative democracy a little.  We seem to be running headfirst into the old warning (Jefferson's?) about flaming out as soon as everyone realizes they can vote "Pay Me, Screw Everyone Else!" every year.  And I'm not talking about entitlements, either.

What if you had to get elected to be in Congress... but your district and state had to perform at a certain level in order to be eligible to STAY in Congress?  You get a 2- year term (I might even extend it to 3), and if certain metrics aren't met, you can't run for reelection.  Unemployment too high?  Taxes too high a percentage of average income?  Too much crime?  Pathetic national disaster response?  Buh-Bye, don't let the door hit you on the way out!

 Also, isn't something like 25% of the budget going to foreign aid, anyway?  ;)


So what you are saying is you want to make it more important that Congressmen bring home the bacon to their own districts to ensure employment is high, and federal spending is higher than federal receipts from your district/state so you can keep state/local taxes down because of the net federal funding, etc?
 
2013-03-20 09:46:16 AM  

G. Tarrant: When you ask Americans what to cut, they generally will say foreign aid and NASA, and few people agree on anything else. The problem arises when they believe these are huge things that will make a big impact, when in reality they're like an eye dropper's worth in the ocean that is the budget.


And not only are those two things not huge portions of yearly spending - they're also pretty good deals.  Foreign aid is the money we spend NOW so that we don't have to spend even more money LATER through the bombs.  The Army's spent a lot of money in Ethiopia & Eritrea on welldigging and goat and cattle vaccinations.  That probably gets classified as foreign aid, but in reality it's more justified as intelligence gathering.

As for NASA, if we never spend money on it, then at a bare minimum, you could forget about GPS, satellite TV, velcro, and tang.  And who doesn't like tang?
 
2013-03-20 09:46:42 AM  

HMS_Blinkin: G. Tarrant: Americans generally have no clue what money goes where. Back in 2008 McCain talked about cutting earmarks as being one his top priorities, that average Americans thought earmarks were a gigantic portion of the budget, something that could be cut out to huge effect.

In reality they were something on the order of half a percent of the budget.

When you ask Americans what to cut, they generally will say foreign aid and NASA, and few people agree on anything else. The problem arises when they believe these are huge things that will make a big impact, when in reality they're like an eye dropper's worth in the ocean that is the budget.

It's amazing to me that so many Americans can see all of the military recruitment ads on TV, read about our ongoing overseas military operations in the news, and see USAF flyovers at sporting events and somehow NOT think that defense might be a major part of the budget.  I mean, even if you're not paying particularly close attention, you'd have to be aware of the huge size of our military and the scope (and expense) of its operation.

I'm not saying the military is a bad thing, just that it's amazing how people act like it's not a hugely expensive organization to maintain.


Maybe instead of paying taxes we should get an itemized bill from the government every year.
 
2013-03-20 09:48:44 AM  
...I have no pithy retort for this headline. It's quite apt.
 
2013-03-20 09:50:20 AM  
cirby :There's pretty much no part of the Federal budget that couldn't be cut by at least 10% without hurting anyone but the bureaucrats.

And you know this how?
 
2013-03-20 09:51:32 AM  

MyKingdomForYourHorse: Or that without the projection of naval and air power that we have and its importance to global trade and economic activity. Seriously, we protect more water than every other nation combined and without that there would be constant moments where economic trade routes would grind to a halt due to threats.


Oh, absolutely.  The military performs a lot of tasks that are vital to the global common good.  But, we could definitely accomplish those tasks just as well (or maybe even better) and save a bunch of money if we wanted to.  I just don't think that stuff like the F-35 and maintaining many many divisions of regular infantry and armored units is terribly useful for what the military actually does or should be doing.
 
2013-03-20 09:51:44 AM  

Lost Thought 00: Muta: You could balance the budget tomorrow by cutting off funding to PBS.

Don't forget the Alzheimers research.


and ACORN
 
2013-03-20 09:53:33 AM  
So it isall going to plan.

''[David Stockman] said the plan was to have a strategic deficit that will give you an argument for cutting back programs that really weren't desired and giving you an argument against establishing new programs you really didn't want,''

-Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan,7/10/1985

"You see, one of Reagan's advisers told me why the president has permitted that to happen, which makes the matter partly excusable: Reagan thinks it is impossible to persuade Congress that expenditures must be reduced unless one creates deficits so large that absolutely everyone becomes convinced that no more money can be spent."

Nobel Prize winning economist Freidrich Hayek, 1985
 
2013-03-20 09:54:11 AM  

MattStafford: If the program is financially beneficial for our country - borrow money for it. If the program is morally beneficial for our country - raise taxes to pay for it.


The problem here would lie in the definitions of financially and morally beneficial.  Florida thought it was save money by drug testing everyone on welfare and refusing benefits to everyone who popped positive.  Texas thought it would save money by closing down planned parenthood and lowering easy access to contraceptives.

And that's just things which can be strictly quantified in dollars and cents.  I can't think of a single thing a republican has proposed in the last twenty? thirty? years that they didn't cloth in rhetoric of being morally correct.
 
2013-03-20 09:54:21 AM  

Karac: G. Tarrant: When you ask Americans what to cut, they generally will say foreign aid and NASA, and few people agree on anything else. The problem arises when they believe these are huge things that will make a big impact, when in reality they're like an eye dropper's worth in the ocean that is the budget.

And not only are those two things not huge portions of yearly spending - they're also pretty good deals.  Foreign aid is the money we spend NOW so that we don't have to spend even more money LATER through the bombs.  The Army's spent a lot of money in Ethiopia & Eritrea on welldigging and goat and cattle vaccinations.  That probably gets classified as foreign aid, but in reality it's more justified as intelligence gathering.

As for NASA, if we never spend money on it, then at a bare minimum, you could forget about GPS, satellite TV, velcro, and tang.  And who doesn't like tang?


www.giantpanther.com
Loves tang. As long as it's under 18.
 
2013-03-20 09:54:28 AM  

TFerWannaBe: Maybe instead of paying taxes we should get an itemized bill from the government every year.


Well, that might disabuse some people of the idea that cutting funding for PBS would erase the deficit.  When Joe Taxpayer looks at his tax bill and sees that he's only being charged pennies for space exploration and children's television, but hundreds of dollars for defense, it might MIGHT get him (and his congresscritter) to start thinking about the budget in terms of reality.  One can hope, anyway.
 
2013-03-20 09:56:03 AM  
That chart made me punchy.

I also always feel like the only person that thinks members of Congress are really underpaid for the work they do.
 
2013-03-20 09:58:47 AM  

HMS_Blinkin: Oh, absolutely. The military performs a lot of tasks that are vital to the global common good. But, we could definitely accomplish those tasks just as well (or maybe even better) and save a bunch of money if we wanted to. I just don't think that stuff like the F-35 and maintaining many many divisions of regular infantry and armored units is terribly useful for what the military actually does or should be doing.


To the scale that we have, no obviously. But having some form of standing military is required to respond to threats when needed. And not just threats from say other nation states or rogue entities but also natural ones as well. Such as having the ability to set a carrier with many rescue choppers aboard off the coast of a hurricane stricken area, or some of the most sophisticated heavy machinery available to repair a broken levee, to even just grunt work by having many hands filling sand bags to prevent flood, or digging ditches for public works projects.

Basically we use our current military very inefficiently so despite spending a large sum on them we are getting very little return.
 
2013-03-20 10:02:41 AM  

Citrate1007: Start with non-competitive DoD research funding for projects that are over-budget or not on schedule.


Start with putting the Pentagon in charge of procurement rather than Congress. The process should be:

1. Pentagon submits budget projections to White House
2. White House includes in budget request to congress as a single DOD line item
3. Congress either approves that amount for DOD or adjusts it.
4. DOD spends it's budget as it sees fit with oversight from the executive branch
 
2013-03-20 10:05:54 AM  

xria: TheOtherGuy: Maybe we should tweak representative democracy a little.  We seem to be running headfirst into the old warning (Jefferson's?) about flaming out as soon as everyone realizes they can vote "Pay Me, Screw Everyone Else!" every year.  And I'm not talking about entitlements, either.

What if you had to get elected to be in Congress... but your district and state had to perform at a certain level in order to be eligible to STAY in Congress?  You get a 2- year term (I might even extend it to 3), and if certain metrics aren't met, you can't run for reelection.  Unemployment too high?  Taxes too high a percentage of average income?  Too much crime?  Pathetic national disaster response?  Buh-Bye, don't let the door hit you on the way out!

 Also, isn't something like 25% of the budget going to foreign aid, anyway?  ;)

So what you are saying is you want to make it more important that Congressmen bring home the bacon to their own districts to ensure employment is high, and federal spending is higher than federal receipts from your district/state so you can keep state/local taxes down because of the net federal funding, etc?


Hey, I'll be the first to admit that's an idle post, speculating about introducing a little meritocracy into civil service, not a well-considered attempt at political reform.  As you and HMS_Blinkin pointed out, geographical assignment throws a pretty big wrench into my idea in terms of magnifying the effects of voter selfishness rather than harnessing it.  There's also the worrying point that we are, effectively, bypassing democracy entirely by allowing my hypothetical metrics (instead of campaign finance considerations, as we do now), instead of voters, to determine the worth of a candidate after their first term.

I'd just like to see the farkers judged honestly and found wanting for their profound lack of good governance, in general and specific.  And to make the point that we, the people, when we have the choice, are doing a pretty poor job, in general, of judging the worth of incumbents.  And NO, I'm not talking about Obama, thanks.
 
2013-03-20 10:07:23 AM  

G. Tarrant: Americans generally have no clue what money goes where. Back in 2008 McCain talked about cutting earmarks as being one his top priorities, that average Americans thought earmarks were a gigantic portion of the budget, something that could be cut out to huge effect.


Another interest side effect of this is that eliminating earmarks is a huge reason we have gridlock. Earmarks and pork were the lubricant for negotiation - if you needed to get a moderate or two to flip sides, you would bargain with them; vote for the bill, get something in return. By getting rid of that, you essentially give people no reason to ever compromise. It's a huge problem.
 
2013-03-20 10:08:26 AM  

HMS_Blinkin: TFerWannaBe: Maybe instead of paying taxes we should get an itemized bill from the government every year.

Well, that might disabuse some people of the idea that cutting funding for PBS would erase the deficit.  When Joe Taxpayer looks at his tax bill and sees that he's only being charged pennies for space exploration and children's television, but hundreds of dollars for defense, it might MIGHT get him (and his congresscritter) to start thinking about the budget in terms of reality.  One can hope, anyway.


Your tax receipt
 
2013-03-20 10:09:57 AM  

HMS_Blinkin: TFerWannaBe: Maybe instead of paying taxes we should get an itemized bill from the government every year.

Well, that might disabuse some people of the idea that cutting funding for PBS would erase the deficit.  When Joe Taxpayer looks at his tax bill and sees that he's only being charged pennies for space exploration and children's television, but hundreds of dollars for defense, it might MIGHT get him (and his congresscritter) to start thinking about the budget in terms of reality.  One can hope, anyway.


Yeah, that's basically what I'm thinking. The main problem is that budgets are huge, and people would need enough detail to drive the point home but not so much they just TL;DR and keep whining anyway.
 
2013-03-20 10:10:31 AM  

verbaltoxin: Your tax receipt


Ahh yes, third way. Proudly proclaiming to help democrats yet helping to get republicans elected year after year.

Not knocking the presented data, just saying take it with a grain of salt given the source.
 
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