A Government Shutdown over the Budget Debate would be Transparent, unlike this Current White House

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 7th, 2011

It is interesting the doom and gloom the White House is warning us about a potential government shutdown.  But as they make their case, it seems less doom and gloom and more of a good thing.  The truth is most of us wouldn’t even notice it.  And we’d save a lot of money we don’t even need to spend (see White House says shutdown will delay pay to troops by Richard Lardner and Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press, posted 4/7/2011 on Yahoo! News).

The Obama administration warned Wednesday that a federal shutdown would undermine the economic recovery, delay pay to U.S. troops fighting in three wars, slow the processing of tax returns and limit small business loans and government-backed mortgages during peak home buying season.

No worries here.  There is no recovery.  At least nothing worth saving.  We’ll pay the troops.  This is more of a scare tactic to scare the military wives.  Some of us may have to wait longer to write a check to the IRS for our income tax.  Those who do I’m sure will manage.  Small business loans?  Government shouldn’t be making loans.  That’s why we have banks.  And government-backed mortgages?  Really?  Come on, it was the government-backed loans that got us in the mess we’re in.  The subprime mortgage crisis wouldn’t have happened if the government wasn’t backing loans in the first place.

The dire message, delivered two days before the federal government’s spending authority expires, appeared aimed at jolting congressional Republicans into a budget compromise.

To jolt the Republicans?  Compromise is a two-way street.  Why is always the Republicans who are stubborn?  Why isn’t the other side, the stubborn side, stubborn?  What happened to President Obama’s debt commission?  The Republican budget isn’t asking more than Obama’s highly esteemed debt commission that Obama has filed away in the round file.  For he never had any intentions of making any cuts.  Because Democrats don’t make cuts.  They just talk about them.  So people can see that they’re serious.  And when people lost interest, bang went the debt commission’s report into the trash.

As the talks continued, the White House sought to put the prospect of a shutdown in terms people would care about, warning even that the beloved National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in the nation’s capital would be wiped out. The Smithsonian Institution and national parks around the country would also be closed.

Life’s hard.  People are dying in genocide in Libya (according to the Obama administration).  If it’s not quite genocide then let’s call it civil war.  And there’s a lot of that going around.  In the grand scheme of things, missing the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade just doesn’t seem as great a disaster as wholesale death and destruction.

Under long-standing federal rules, agencies would not be affected that provide for U.S. national security, dispense most types of federal benefit payments, offer inpatient medical care or outpatient emergency care, ensure the safe use of food and drugs, manage air traffic, protect and monitor borders and coastlines, guard prisoners, conduct criminal investigations and law enforcement, oversee power distribution and oversee banks.

That sure sounds like we’ll be paying our soldiers.  They’re providing national security.  And if Libya is a vital national security interest, so are the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.  If we don’t pay our military it is nothing more than a cheap partisan trick to scare people into hating Republicans.  No, it seems like we’ll pay most of the ‘important’ things in the event of a shutdown.  Other than parks and Cherry Blossom Festivals.

Mail deliveries would continue in the event of a shutdown. U.S. postal operations are not subsidized by tax dollars.

Really?  Our tax dollars don’t subsidize the U.S. Postal Service?  That same postal service that hasn’t shown an operating profit since I don’t know when?  Really?  Since when?  But I digress.  The important thing is that the mail will keep coming during a shutdown.

According to the shutdown scenario described by the administration, the government would have to significantly cut staffing across the executive branch, including workers at the White House and civilian employees at the Defense Department; close to 800,000 workers would be affected. Congress and the federal court system will also be subject to a shutdown.

Good.  Make Thomas Jefferson happy.  Well, make his spirit happy.  Cut the executive branch.  It has grown way beyond what any of the Founding Fathers ever envisioned.  I doubt if Alexander Hamilton would even approve of its size today.  Though he would be pretty impressed with the power of the military, though.  But that’s a different story.  Let’s slash the executive branch for awhile and see if anyone notices.  If not, here’s a chance for some real budget cutting.  Let’s make these cuts permanent.

At the Pentagon, defense officials were finalizing plans that would lay out how the department would deal with a shutdown. But they already have acknowledged that U.S. military troops — including those in war zones — would receive one week’s pay instead of two in their next paycheck if the government were to close.

Military personnel at home and abroad would continue to earn pay, but they wouldn’t get paychecks until there was a budget agreement and government operations resumed.

Cheap partisan scare tactics.  Whenever a government can’t get the tax increases they want, they threaten the teachers, cops, firemen and, now, the military, in a childish tantrum.  Gimme want I want or I will cut the things that are important to you.  Those things that, if cut, puts you into peril.  How do you like that, hmmm?

What makes this worse is that they’ll enjoy not paying the military.  They don’t like them.  Never have.  In fact, they almost regret repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell because it took away their go-to excuse to keep these people off of their Ivy League campuses.

Key national security responsibilities, including operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and earthquake assistance to Japan, would not be interrupted by a shutdown, the Pentagon said.

So are they paying them?  Or just making them work without a paycheck?  Maybe our soldiers should go on strike.  Like the teachers.  To prevent unfair treatment.  You have to admit being forced into combat operations without pay is worse than being asked to contribute another fewer percentage points to your own health care.  Of course, these aren’t the same.  The Obama administration would not stand by and allow teachers to suffer an outrage like paying for their own health care.  Soldiers in combat?  The hell with them.

Social Security payments would continue to be delivered, and applications for benefits would continue to be processed, Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue said.

Yes, they will sacrifice the soldiers.  And why not?  Most of them vote Republican.  But senior citizens?  Dependent on Social Security?  That’s another story.  Anyone dependent on the federal government votes to keep federal government big, i.e., they vote Democrat.  So the seniors get paid.  Always.  Unless the Republicans can be blamed.

Medicare would still pay medical claims for its 48 million recipients, who are mainly seniors but also several million younger people who are permanently disabled or have kidney failure. Payments to doctors, hospitals and other service providers could be delayed, however, should a shutdown continue for several months.

Sacrifice the soldiers (many of who vote Republicans).  Protect the seniors (many of who vote Democrat).

The Obama administration said the impact on the housing market would be more severe than in 1995, the last time there was a government shutdown. The Federal Housing Administration accounts for 30 percent of the mortgage market, nearly three times the amount 16 years ago.

And the greatest financial crisis ever (the subprime mortgage crisis) to hit the United States happened after the government backed three times as many mortgages than they did in 1995.  Having the government stop backing mortgages is a good thing.

The nation’s 15,700 air traffic controllers would keep working, as would many of the Federal Aviation Administration’s 6,100 technicians who install and maintain the equipment for the nation’s air traffic control system.

The planes will still fly in the event of a shutdown.

Operation of the International Space Station would be unaffected. NASA’s Mission Control in Houston would continue to work around the clock to keep watch.

Soldiers, no.  Astronauts, yes.  Even though the International Space Station is international.  With other nations ‘watching’ the station.  And our astronauts often catch a ride with the Russians on their Soyuz rockets.  So the space coalition could survive a few months easily without us.

Among other consequences cited by the administration:

_The Environmental Protection Agency would cease issuing permits and stop reviewing environmental impact statements, which would slow the approval of projects.

_Most government websites would not be updated, unless they were deemed essential.

_Federal courts would be unable to hear cases as clerks, stenographers, bailiffs, security guards and other employees would not be at work.

At most these are inconveniences.  Unlike the out of control spending that can “herald the end of the republic.”  As Benjamin Franklin warned us about when people learned they can vote themselves money.  And that’s where we are.  They’ve learned.  And have.  Franklin’s prophetic warning is about to play out if we don’t stop spending.  This is the choice.  Keep spending and end the republic.  Or make some serious cuts.

The Democrats have not presented a budget as called for in the Constitution since before the last election season.  Why?  It wouldn’t help them win any elections.  Further out of control spending would show them as irresponsible.  Responsible spending cuts would anger their voting base.  So they abdicated their constitutional responsibility.  They punted.  Now they’re trying to run out the clock with the Republicans on offense.  Positioning them to look like the bad guys.  No matter what happens.  Pain now (cuts).  Or greater pain later (no cuts).  It will be the Republicans’ fault.  Because they’re acting like the grownups here.  While the Democrats play their childish, partisan games.  And when the Democrats break the nation with their spending, like a child they’ll say it wasn’t them.   It was the big elephant in the room.  The big GOP elephant.

But what will the Democrats do if they win this showdown?  What will become of our country?  For if they don’t cut spending they will have to raise taxes.  But not by a little bit.  For the spending cuts proffered by the Republicans still aren’t large enough to solve the impending entitlement crisis.  So if there are no spending cuts the increase in taxes will have to be huge.  Bigger than the dollars in the current debate.  So big that they will truly undermine the anemic economic recovery underway.  Pulling the nation into a deeper recession.  So deep that we may never pull out without even more ‘draconian’ spending cuts.

In the grand scheme of things, a government shutdown is the least of our worries.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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Democrats Seek to Increase the Debt Ceiling, Republicans Prefer Spending Cuts

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 2nd, 2011

Obamacare Push the Deficit Higher than Reagan’s and Bush’s Combined

Ronald Reagan had deficits of $200 billion.  The Left said that was reckless and irresponsible.  George W. Bush averaged $800 billion deficits.  The Left said that was reckless and irresponsible.  Now Obama’s deficits approach $1,500 billion.  And the Left says, “Let’s raise the debt ceiling.”

It’s a reckless and irresponsible game Obama, Pelosi and Reid have been playing.  During the worst recession since the Great Depression they have gone on a spending orgy.  Hoping to pass as much as possible in as short of time as possible.  The goal being simple.  Get as many people as possible addicted to this new government spending.  Make it political suicide for the opposition to repeal.  Thereby giving the Democrats yet more things to frighten voters about should Republicans win elections.  That those rascally Republicans will take away those benefits they fought so hard to give them.

But they have increased spending to levels impossible to sustain.  Medicaid is bankrupting the states.  Medicare and Social Security are bankrupting the nation.  Despite this, Obama, Pelosi and Reid passed Obamacare.  This on top of stimulus spending that stimulated nothing but unions and Democratic loyalists.  They’re selling bonds and printing money to feed this orgy of spending.  In the process mortgaging our future.  And making the United States credit worthiness on par with a subprime mortgage.

The Best Way to Stop a Spending Crisis is to Stop Spending

The Left is now concerned.  They see spending is unsustainable.  With the current debt ceiling.  So they want to raise the debt ceiling (see Obama aide: Debt limit fight could be “catastrophic” by Caren Bohan posted 1/2/2011 on Reuters).

White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee accused Republicans of “playing chicken” with the nation’s financial credibility.

“This is not a game. You know, the debt ceiling … is not something to toy with,” Goolsbee told the ABC News program “This Week.” “If we hit the debt ceiling, that’s … essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in American history.”

“The impact on the economy would be catastrophic. I mean, that would be a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008,” he said.

Interesting.  When we get ourselves in trouble by maxing out our credit cards, what do debt counselors tell us?  To solve our problem by getting another credit card so we can keep spending?  Or do they tell us to cut all of our credit cards and sell everything we own to pay our bills?

When spending gets you in trouble you stop spending.  You don’t keep spending.  It’s what we the people do.  And it’s what our government should do.  Because the nation, the states and even our cities are all having spending and debt problems.

Big Government Spending Destroys Some of our Biggest Cities

Big Government at every level is failing.  Destroying great cities in its wake (see American Cities That Are Running Out Of People by Michael B. Sauter posted 1/1/2011 on Yahoo! Finance).

New Orleans has lost more than a quarter of its population in the past 10 years as the result of Hurricane Katrina. The rest of the cities that have lost major parts of their population have seen their flagship industries, which include coal, steel, oil, and auto-related manufacturing, fall off or completely collapse.

The big losers?  Flint, Michigan.  Cleveland, Ohio.  Buffalo, N.Y.  Dayton, Ohio.  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Rochester, N.Y.  Big, blue cities.   Big labor unions.  And big public sectors.  Is there any surprise that these cities are dying?

Targeted Tax Cuts and Incentives Don’t Stimulate

The evidence is all around us.  Government spending may get you votes in November, but it is bankrupting the nation, the states and the cities.  And you don’t fix that problem with more taxing.  And more spending.  Even liberal Democrats know this (see Goolsbee: Obama to Make ‘Tough Choices’ on Budget by Mary Lu Carnevale posted 1/2/2011 on The Wall Street Journal).

Mr. Goolsbee, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said on ABC’s “This Week” that the administration is focusing on spurring investment and improving U.S. exports and innovation to boost economic growth. And he said that steps already taken, such as cutting payroll taxes by two percentage points and giving small businesses new tax incentives, should soon provide some economic fuel.

They know that cutting taxes stimulates the economy.  They admit as much by cutting payroll taxes.  And by offering tax incentives.  But they target everything.  It’s never across the board.  Because across the board tax cuts don’t offer tit for tat.  And what good is a tax cut to a politician if it doesn’t get you something in return?

Repeal Obamacare, Forget about Raising the Debt Ceiling

Cutting taxes will stimulate the economy.  It worked for Harding.  For Kennedy.  For Reagan.  And for Bush.  Reagan doubled tax receipts with his cuts.  But he still had $200 billion deficits.  Why?  Because the Democratic Congress spent the money faster than it came in.  And they reneged on their promised spending cuts.  Lesson learned?  You have to cut spending.

There’s hope.  Thanks to the Republican ascendancy at the 2010 midterm elections.  The Republicans have the power of the purse.  And a lot of Democrats lost their seats for voting for Obamacare.  You add this up, and you can take tough words about repealing Obamacare seriously (see House to vote early on health care repeal by Jake Sherman posted 1/2/2011 on Politico Live).

Incoming House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) says the new Republican-controlled House will look to repeal Democratic health care overhaul legislation before President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address later this month.

“We have 242 Republicans,” Upton said on “Fox News Sunday.” “There will be a significant number of Democrats, I think, that will join us.”

Upton, whose committee will key in the GOP’s effort to roll back the law, said that he believes the House may be near the two-thirds majority required to override a presidential veto. Short of repeal, Upton said the House will “go after this bill piece by piece.”

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are political third rails.  Too many people are dependent on them for significant reform.  But Obamacare is a no brainer.  No one is dependent on it now.  Repealing that will be pain free.   Other than a bruised ego.  But Obama can get over that.  When he retires in 2012.

You repeal Obamacare and our debt crisis all of a sudden gets a whole lot easier to manage.  So let’s cut that credit card.  Before we build up a balance that we’ll never be able to pay off.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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