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Steve McMahon
12-09-2010, 08:56 PM
I am not of any strong political bent and have voted both Conservative and Liberal at both the Federal and Provincial levels. I am a bit confused though - when I think about it in general terms, both for Canada and the US of A, it seems to me that for as long as I can remember the Conservatives always spend us into huge deficits (mostly military), and the Liberals end up doing all the spending cuts to get us out of those huge deficits? The only thing that seems to change is that the deficits are bigger, requiring larger cuts to bring us back from the brink each time. Is it just me or does this seem backwards? Shouldn't the Liberals be the ones doing the big spending and the conservatives be the tight wads? I am also curious if this is what happens on the other side of the world also? My father always quoted someone saying that "if you weren't a Liberal you didn't have a heart, and if you weren't a Conservative you didn't have a brain."

Ian McColgin
12-09-2010, 09:35 PM
No, you have it exactly right. It's wrong to think that the conservatives are lying when they claim they are about fiscal responsibility and liberals are about reckless spending. It's just that the conservatives live in an alternate universe.

Milo Christensen
12-09-2010, 09:44 PM
The saying, mis-attributed to Winston Churchill, is more along the lines of growing up to be a responsible adult: If you're not a liberal at 25 you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at 35 you have no brain.

Edit: Wow, glad I got set straight and was able to edit this before Jamie saw it. Thanks a lot.

Ian McColgin
12-09-2010, 09:55 PM
Milo shows what I mean by alternate reality. In this universe, we see the amazing escalation of governmental debt begun by Reagan and carried further by two Bushes with only the eight years of Clinton providing any de-escalation. Yet the Republicans are held up by the righties as responsible. Remarkable, what?

ccmanuals
12-09-2010, 09:56 PM
little bit of Google goes a long way.


SET RECORD STRAIGHT ON CHURCHILL : : A July 5 letter writer alluded to a quotation often attributed to Winston Churchill, which the writer paraphrased as "If you're not liberal when you're young, you have no heart. If you're not conservative when you're older, you have no brain." Despite the writer's cautious use of "attributed" and "parapharse," as an avid Churchill buff, I am compelled to set the record straight on this myth.
: : The quotation usually attributed to Churchill is, "If you're not Liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not Conservative when you're 35, you have no brain." However, the attribution is false. There is no record of Churchill ever speaking these words, and it is highly unlikely that he would have because Churchill himself did precisely the opposite. He entered politics as a Conservative and was a Conservative at age 25. He switched to the Liberal Party at age 29 and was a Liberal at age 35. (He returned to the Conservatives at age 49.) Also, his beloved wife, Clementine, was a life-long Liberal, and Churchill would hardly have delivered such an indirect insult to her.
: : It should also be remembered that "Liberal" and "Conservative" are the proper names of British political parties and do not translate precisely to the left and right wings of the American political spectrum. That is too long a subject for this space, but it can fairly be said that Churchill's political viewpoint and guiding principles did not change radically, despite his twice switching his allegiance. In Churchill's own view, changes in the party, not in himself, compelled his party switches.
: : However, there is a verifiable Churchill quotation that may be relevant to today's political situation. In 1943 (at the height of World War II, when England's very survival was at stake), he wrote: "The power of the executive to cast a man in prison without formulating any charge known to the law and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government...."

Paul Pless
12-09-2010, 10:00 PM
Milo shows what I mean by alternate reality. In this universe, we see the amazing escalation of governmental debt begun by Reagan and carried further by two Bushes with only the eight years of Clinton providing any de-escalation. Yet the Republicans are held up by the righties as responsible. Remarkable, what?your simplistic lack of grasp of how the effect of fiscal and economic policy often lags (sometimes by years) is what is remarkable

Ian McColgin
12-09-2010, 10:02 PM
So Carter caused the Reagan deficits and Reagan caused the Clinton surplus which in turn caused the Bush 43 deficits? Try getting real about who wrote what budgets. Or stay in that alternate universe.

Paul Pless
12-09-2010, 10:07 PM
Try getting real about who wrote what budgets.try being intellectually honest ian

Ian McColgin
12-09-2010, 10:17 PM
Did the federal deficit ramp up during Reagan and Bush 41, curtail a bit during Clinton, and then go up again with Bush 43, or did I read all the reports from every sourse at the time and in the books now dead wrong?

stumpbumper
12-09-2010, 10:18 PM
Military spending vastly increased under President Reagan. Some of it was good and necessary, but some of it was excessive and wasteful. Clinton did return us to fiscal soundness. Then the "weapons of mass destruction" lie, which beguiled us to be diverted into the Iraq War, by President G. W. Bush together with the war in Afghanistan were passed on to the Obama administration. The funding for both of these wars was done by heavy deficit borrowing under Bush with (I'll be kind) less than accurate budget accounting for it. That, together with a decimated economy, due to a lack of financial regulation, was passed on to President Obama. There has really been very little evidence of any liberalism during this era. I heard a Republican senator admit once (don't remember who) that his fellow Republicans liked deficit spending because it left nothing for liberal programs.

Steve McMahon
12-09-2010, 10:18 PM
Regardless of who said it, I guess I have followed the pattern - When I was in my 20's I voted Conservative for the big spenders, and now in my 40's I tend toward the Liberals who seem to be more fiscally responsible. Milo and Paul - with all due respect you both appear to be of the "older" generation that was hard core one party - "my daddy was a ____, therefore I am a ____" In Canada at least that seems to be a trend that is fading as education and free thinking improves. I have no idea who my parents voted for because religion and politics were taboo subjects at home. On the provincial level we knew who most of our neighbors voted for by who had the jobs hauling gravel for the department of highways at any given time. Dad's rule of thumb was to give each party $100.00 donation during the campaign, and then give $500.00 to whomever won.

Ian McColgin
12-09-2010, 10:25 PM
Reagan increased the federal debt as a percentage of the gross domestic product by 11.3% his first term and another 9.3% second. Bush 41 put 15% on top of that.
Clinton pulled thigs down 0.75 his first and another 9.0% his second.
Bush 43 added 7.1% first term and another amazing 20.0% second.

These fact do not square with Republicans as fiscally responsible.

bobbys
12-09-2010, 10:31 PM
little bit of Google goes a long way..

Well if Milo got that wrong please do not tell Jamie after Milo ripped him...

A direct quote, not a "paraphrase" is not spin. The laugh is that you're trying to spin it that Pelosi was wrong to begin with. She said what she meant and meant what she said. Admit that you're just too damn lazy to look any thing up, even though it takes only a second or two to Google to come to a complete transcript. No, it's all about an unending mindless stream of unconsciousness for you. But you have a responsibility when posting on forum like this to get things correct and I intend to hold your toes to the fire until you stop the mindless blather and do a bit of research before posting.

Keith Wilson
12-09-2010, 10:35 PM
Here you go:

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/National-Debt-GDP.gif

The spike lately is more because tax revenues have decreased (both because of Obama's tax cuts and the effects of the recession) than because of increased spending. The curve has leveled off some since the graph was made.

Paul Pless
12-09-2010, 10:37 PM
Milo and Paul - with all due respect you both appear to be of the "older" generation that was hard core one party - "my daddy was a ____, therefore I am a ____" Not really, my dad was a social liberal whose concerns about education and opportunities outweighed his leanings towards free trade, etc etc. My mom was/is a christian moral conservative. My parents didn't really talk much about politics to us. My dad did teach me his philosophies on economics and world history. I really became a conservative in college. My degree is in Economics and the school where I studied is very conservative. Also I'm in business in Alabama, and there really is no alternative to being Republican for me there. I voted for Obama in the last election. I'm still learning about Michigan politics, which are really ****** up, if I don't say so myself. . .

Steve McMahon
12-09-2010, 10:44 PM
an apology to Milo and Paul - my post #11 was perhaps on second read a bit harsh - I got the impression from your reply's that you were jumping up to defend the conservative governments without considering the reality of what has been proven by history. Perhaps my impression was not accurate?

Milo Christensen
12-09-2010, 10:47 PM
Milo shows what I mean by alternate reality. In this universe, we see the amazing escalation of governmental debt begun by Reagan and carried further by two Bushes with only the eight years of Clinton providing any de-escalation. Yet the Republicans are held up by the righties as responsible. Remarkable, what?

I didn't mention the Republican party. You want to relate traditional, rational, American conservatism to what's happening within the Republican party, that's something you want to do, not I. There's simply no connection left anymore.

Paul Pless
12-09-2010, 10:51 PM
Steve, I'm becoming much more liberal as I get older. Chief among political issues for me now is the environment, centered on sustainability, alternative energy, and less waste. The drill baby drill faction of the GOP is disgusting to me. I also have concerns about the growing deficit and I'd like to see our foreign policy trajectory reversed - especially the military aspect of it - neither party seems capable or willing to do that though. If I were in another country I think I could easily be a member of any number of 'green parties'. Sadly, there is no viable similar party here . . .

Steve McMahon
12-09-2010, 10:56 PM
Paul - I have always been amazed at the "local" implications of politics in the US - I work closely with a company in Florida, and another in Texas, and in both cases it would be suicide to question their very open hard right christian political views. All good fun as we go out to very expensive dinners, indulge in adult entertaiment (it's ok, the G-string covers everything) and get seriouisly drunk on the companies tab. :) It's ok though - they have drive thru churches to absolve their sins and all is well.

Steve McMahon
12-09-2010, 11:00 PM
Ian -I think I said this 10 years ago - we must share a dram some day.

stumpbumper
12-09-2010, 11:01 PM
[QUOTE=Keith Wilson;2802597]Here you go:

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/National-Debt-GDP.gif

The chart reminded me of a recent interview I saw of David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon. When the reporter commented on the extreme views of many conservatives today and asked them how they felt about it since Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon were conservatives, they both almost "bristled" at that remark. They said neither Presidents Eisenhower nor Nixon considered themselves "conservative." They considered themselves to be progressives.

Milo Christensen
12-09-2010, 11:03 PM
. . . Milo and Paul - with all due respect you both appear to be of the "older" generation that was hard core one party - "my daddy was a ____, therefore I am a ____" . . . .

My father was a university professor investigated by the McCarthy commission as a possible communist sympathizer due to connections to the "weary willy's" in Arizona in the 40's. Somethng about locking striking field workers in boxcars in the Arizona sun?

No, I was a liberal, anti-war, teacher's union official and activist when I was young and desperately poor. When I grew up and became increasingly affluent, I started becoming more and more conservative as a small business owner. After being on the state organising committe for James Earl Carter (how I loved that man!), I became a Reagan fan and I joined the local Republican party for the same reasons I joined the Chamber of Commerce, it was just good business.

But that was twenty years ago. Now, both political parties are such perversions of where they came from there's nothing but absurdity in being proud to be a member or a defender of either party any more.

If only Ian could see me smile while spouting off against Reagan and praising Clinton. Reagan had a predominantly Democratic congress for most of his term in office and Clinton had a predominantly Republican congress for most of his term in Congress. Where we both get angry is the perversion of the Bush II Presidency aided and abetted by the Republican majorities in Congress. But then, I get just as angry these days at the perversion of the Obama Presidency aided and abetted by the former Democratic majorities in Congress. It's become very clear that we cannot afford to have either party in power of the Executive and Legislative branches.

Milo Christensen
12-09-2010, 11:29 PM
Both Ian, and Keith's simplistic chart, suffer the common illusion . . . .

I think you should have said 'delusion', although I hate to use that when referring to Keith because he trys so hard to be reasonable, but I delight in using it against Ian.

Ian McColgin
12-09-2010, 11:46 PM
I see no evidence in Keith's posts and I know there's none in mine putting forward the fantasy that a US president has sole control. But nor are they hapless victems of some force, whether Congress or liberalism or whatever, that forces them to destroy social programs under the guise of saving the budget while at the same time presiding over a budget that puts debt right through the roof. Rather, it's the righty mantra of "not my fault". "Someone else must have spent all that money."

They don't lie. They just live in an alternate universe.

Milo Christensen
12-09-2010, 11:50 PM
And with grateful thanks for one more sardonic smile, I bid you, Ian, a good night.

David G
12-10-2010, 12:03 AM
No, I shouldn't expect that you would.

Judge,

How about if you increase the signal/noise ratio?

In regard to the data that Keith presented - you've made the point that correlation does not equal causation. That's certainly an argument. Can you back it up? So far I'm not convinced... but I'm listening.

OTOH - if all you want to do is snark at folks and proclaim your obvious superiority - I'll have to just write you off another deluded crackpot.

How about you Milo... you seem to agree. Would you like to build on this position?

David G
12-10-2010, 12:16 AM
That's the thing about deluded crackpots...their pointless challenges tend to be ignored.

So... you got nothing. That's too bad.

Milo?

Ian McColgin
12-10-2010, 12:24 AM
Part of being in the alternate universe is what we see as facts don't matter. For example, presidents submit a budget and get more or less of what they want depending. Rightie apologists have argued that unless an ideologically pure president (none such exist) gets everything (yeah, right) their point is undamaged. Fine, in the alternate universe. In this universe, not so much.

pefjr
12-11-2010, 11:15 AM
http://img.timeinc.net//time/cartoons/20101210/cartoons_01.jpg

S.V. Airlie
12-11-2010, 11:23 AM
The saying, mis-attributed to Winston Churchill, is more along the lines of growing up to be a responsible adult: If you're not a liberal at 25 you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at 35 you have no brain.

Edit: Wow, glad I got set straight and was able to edit this before Jamie saw it. Thanks a lot.

Don't worry about it Milo. I won't say anymore about it. I certainly didn't call you on the carpet about it.I just let it slide. It was a mistake nothing more...Humans are fallible

Keith Wilson
12-11-2010, 11:52 AM
Well, of course the chart only shows what it shows and ignores all else; if that's "simplistic", so be it. Obviously correlation isn't causation, there's some lag time, and presidents don't have absolute power. However, the record of the past 30 years shows very clearly that when self-described conservatives are in power in the US, they have not reduced government spending to any significant degree. They may spend the money on different things (a large expansion of the military for Reagan, wars for the Bushes) but overall spending has not decreased, either in absolute terms nor as a percentage of GDP. Conservatives have enthusiastically cut taxes, mostly income taxes for those with the most income, and made up the difference by borrowing. This may be a good or a bad idea, but the record is very, very clear.

And the record of the past two years is even clearer - the one issue the Republicans in Congress really care about, the only thing they're willing to make any concessions to get, is lower income tax rates for the very wealthy.

Milo Christensen
12-11-2010, 03:24 PM
. . . Milo?

Oh. Have I been called to account for my political beliefs? Well, then, put on your reading glasses, take a nice sip of your choice of Isle of Islay single malt and let's get to it, shall we?

First of all, to blame a particular political party for the growing sins of the past 50 years is to engage in partisan cage rattling and that cage rattling has become too simple minded to respond to in any serious way. Unfortunately, I have to use party names in what follows and some partisan hack on one side or the other will take some kind of exception to something:

Democrats have been responsible for all of the growing number of entitlements that aren't properly funded. Certainly no Republican whose seat would ever be up for grabs by a Democrat can campaign on eliminating, reducing, privatizing, tax increasing, what have you without the entitled public rising up and striking them from office. But, Republicans have been responsible for making the Military/Industrial Complex in particular, and governement in general, an unfunded liability as well, and any Democrat whose seat would ever be up for grabs by a Republican certainly can't campaign on significant reductions in defense spending or taz increases and hope to be elected.

Note the common theme: Members of either party whose seats are vulnerable can't oppose the positions enacted when the other party was in power in Congress. That leaves us with the safe seats. Both parties have them. There is zero selective pressure on the safe seats for moderates, so that leaves us with extremists at both ends. Re-elected again and again, they control the agenda of Congress when their party is in power.

When the Democrats have the majority, they increase entitlement programs and benefits for existing programs without the corresponding and necessary tax increases. When the Republicans have the majority, they increase defense spending and work to create an environment for wealth to increase, again, without corresponding tax increases.

Note the common theme: Nobody increases taxes to the necessary level. We can talk about reducing the current year deficit by 5% (it would still be fiscally irresponsible in the extreme) by increasing taxes on the wealthy by 3.6% all we want and all that that means is that both parties are blowing smoke up your ass to hide the real problem and that is that everybody needs to have their taxes increased.

Again, there's a selective bi-partisan bias against fully funding anything because you need the folks in the "up for grabs" seats to get anything done, and they ain't gonna touch being responsible for tax increases. Neither are the safe congresspersons for life, they can be as ideologically irresponsible as they want for as long as they want. The only solution to this problem is mandatory term limits. The concept of "losing experience" is ridiculous compared to the danger of retaining extremists on both sides. Real world expertise is what you should be hiring for your staff if you're a citizen congressperson. Instead we get political hacks with political staffs with enormous warchests they don't need to get re-elected so they can use that money to generate personal power in Congress year after year, generation after generation.

As a compassionate conservative I'm ready to pay more taxes. As a fiscally reponsible conservative, I'm ready to attack anyone who proposes penalizing one group of income earners while not standing up and saying "Hey! I have a job or an income, I'm O.K., I can pay a few percent more. Raise my taxes too, I want to help." And to this point, I have seen no one on this forum willing to publicly support paying more taxes personally.

delecta
12-11-2010, 03:35 PM
Social security and medicare were both created by liberals.

They happen to be the biggest problems to our national debt.

We need to address both, soon.

Milo Christensen
12-11-2010, 03:38 PM
Social security and medicare were both created by Democrats.

They happen to be the biggest problems to our national debt.

We need to address both, soon.

Low income taxes were created by Republicans. We do need to address all three soon. Fixed All That And Made It Properly Partisan For Ya.

Ian McColgin
12-11-2010, 03:53 PM
Social Security and Medicare work as insurance funds. While if we don't gain control over medical costs and don't increase the medicare premium it will have a problem within the next decade, both are solvent now. They are not part of our debt problem and are pushed about in the righties discussion of the federal budget without acknowledgement of their seperate and dedicated funding.

Since Reagan, the only entitlements that have grown are entitlements for large corporate interests, especially defense contractors, agribusiness, and the great financial institutions. Poor people's entitlements shrink as the need grows and just as in the fifties it was starteling to the public that there was hunger in America, it's growing now.

S.V. Airlie
12-11-2010, 03:57 PM
Judge...I've said it all along charts graphs and stats are written by those who want to make a point.

Goebels did the same thing In fact he should be considered a pro.. It's called propaganda.

Hot Air
12-11-2010, 04:03 PM
http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4bf7f0947f8b9ac23f940400-619-449/gross-federal-debt-as-a-percent-of-gdp.jpg (http://dshort.com/charts/federal-debt-2011-budget.html?federal-debt-to-gdp-politics-update)

S.V. Airlie
12-11-2010, 04:03 PM
Umm presidents.. Presidents are supposed to be leaders of the country. But as in our society, the work of the congress is or should be taken into account. The president seems to be responsible for signing bills. He stamps his name on the president he holds.. It is up to those congressmen who really decide what happens. Okay simplistic.. but it supposedly is a checks and balances government.

What's a little turkey without the dressing. They go together like mutt and Jeff..

donald branscom
12-11-2010, 04:36 PM
Delecta- "Social security and medicare were both created by liberals.

They happen to be the biggest problems to our national debt.

We need to address both, soon."


Donald Branscom
I guess you have a couple hundred thousand in the bank?

mikefrommontana
12-11-2010, 09:14 PM
As a compassionate conservative I'm ready to pay more taxes. As a fiscally reponsible conservative, I'm ready to attack anyone who proposes penalizing one group of income earners while not standing up and saying "Hey! I have a job or an income, I'm O.K., I can pay a few percent more. Raise my taxes too, I want to help." And to this point, I have seen no one on this forum willing to publicly support paying more taxes personally.

Well Milo, if I had a job, I'd have no problem paying more taxes--my biggest concern is getting the money applied to controlling the debt.

There was a story on NPR that raised the concern that the proposed 2% drop in the Social Security tax is a mechanism to start defunding and eventually getting rid of Social Security.

I honestly don't think that the current "compromise" is going to do any of us any favors and rather hope that it gets shot down and all the tax breaks stop. It would lend a serious impetus to both sides to review the tax code. If the compromise is approved, the Republicans will honestly have no reason to come to the table for the next two years--if the tax breaks end, their supporters will be earnest to regain the deals they have today. The ideological left is getting hammered for their resistence to the compromise, but maybe it's the right thing to do--even if some politicians get voted out of office over it.

Do the right thing.

John Smith
12-11-2010, 09:18 PM
So Carter caused the Reagan deficits and Reagan caused the Clinton surplus which in turn caused the Bush 43 deficits? Try getting real about who wrote what budgets. Or stay in that alternate universe.

Good luck! You obviously haven't been paying attention. Every time we cut taxes, revenues go up, so the tax cuts Bush passed were absolutely necessary in order to fund the two wars and the Medicare prescription drug program. Extending the tax cuts will give us more money, and we can make social security and Medicare more financially sound with it.

Just ask the conservatives; they'll tell you this is how it works.

Allison
12-11-2010, 09:50 PM
I am constantly struck by the lunacy of American politics.
When people can claim that funding Medicare and Social security are the cause of your financial problems and that the fact that you've been dragged into 2 stupid wasteful and expensive wars and been forced to bail out failed banks has nothing to do with the mess.
All those western countries, that is most of the Western world, that enjoy a higher standard of living , have better education systems etc. all have universal health care and old age pensions. They all have a tax system where the rich are taxed not given enormous tax cuts!
None of those countries have huge numbers of people living without medical insurance, living in poverty.

Are the conservatives in your country so deluded that they can't understand this simple fact?

Milo Christensen
12-11-2010, 09:58 PM
. . . Are the conservatives in your country so deluded that they can't understand this simple fact?

I do wish, Allison, when discussing American politics, that you'd take more care to differentiate between conservatives and Republicans.

Steve McMahon
12-11-2010, 10:07 PM
I think I am beginning to understand:
In the US, the Democrats are really Conservative, and the Republicans are Liberal.
In Canada the Liberal party is Conservative, and the Conservative party is very Liberal. (Still haven't figured out the NDP - just socialist I guess?)
I should have opted for Political science in grade 12 instead of that extra physics credit.

Ian McColgin
12-11-2010, 10:49 PM
And I wish that people who want to disassociate themselves from the lunatic right would recognize the extent to which the modern right has captured the language. Frankly, I wish liberals would get this point as well. As people who actually read this Forum already know, I believe deeply in the productive value of a conservative temper in our social mix, but that conservatism is different from the rightie form of conservatism whether called neo or macainista or palinism.

Allison
12-11-2010, 10:56 PM
Ian I think there are a few simpler words for it, try "ignorance", because that's what it is when you deny the reality that's staring you in the face and keep supporting policies that are designed by their very nature to hurt the average person and only benefit the very few, the rich!

Ian McColgin
12-11-2010, 11:12 PM
Sadly, Allison, we've learned that facts do not persuade people. Another thread got at the research - how people fed false information and then later the truth clove to the original falsehood very firmly. There is a correlation between rightist-conservatives holding to what's factually wrong more than lefty-liberals, but the lefty-liberals are generally harder to fix on anything and once the (WE ?) fix on something they are indeed even harder to change. Proportionately a smaller population, but harder in the change.

The right has learned this lesson far better, which is why they simply repeat the same stuff - low taxes make lower federal debt, poor people vote for whomever promises a higher dole, democrats cause wars, and so on - without any concern for facts.

If we want to persuade the right, we cannot flog them with the destructive results of their policies or lecture them on how the really rich, like the Koch brothers, manipulate them. We can't show that these are indeed the same manipulative tactics both Hitler and Mussolini used. We must find a different language to enable them to find their own way.

Allison
12-11-2010, 11:32 PM
Ian, there is always hope, without it what a bleak future would be on the horizon for all those poor people who actually voted for their own destruction!

Ian McColgin
12-11-2010, 11:42 PM
I quite agree.

Keith Wilson
12-12-2010, 10:27 AM
When people can claim that funding Medicare and Social security are the cause of your financial problems and that the fact that you've been dragged into 2 stupid wasteful and expensive wars and been forced to bail out failed banks has nothing to do with the mess.I quite agree with you about lunacy. The problem is it's all in the numbers, and since most people don't look at the numbers very carefully or don't understand them if they do, it's easy to lie undetected, or to repeat untruths sincerely. A couple of points:

Social Security and Medicare have nothing to do with our current problems.

Social Security has a minor problem long-term because of demographic changes - relatively fewer young people, old people are living longer. This would not be at all difficult to address if we raise the retirement age a little, and increase the income limit for SS taxes; problem solved until long after we're all dead.

Medicare is not a problem right now, but it's a large long-term problem (over 20 years or so), partly because of the demographics, but mainly because medical costs in the US are increasing much faster than anywhere else in the civilized world. This is not only a problem for Medicare,its a problem for everybody who ever gets sick. The US already pays twice as much as other developed countries for heath care (and they cover everybody, all the time), and the gap is widening. This is insane, and it can't continue.

The bank bailout didn't cost much money, and it may end up turning a profit. The alternatives were far, far worse.

The short-term problem we have right now is mainly because of less tax revenue because of the recession, and because of tax cuts. Federal tax receipts are considerably lower as a percent of GDP than they've been for 50 years. This is not sustainable either.

Military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq cost about 4% of the budget between '03 and the present, and that's now decreasing as we leave Iraq. It's a lot of money, but in the larger picture it isn't that much. If there had been a good reason to invade Iraq, we could afford it. A more important issue is the total amount spent on the military, which has roughly doubled since 2000. The US spends as much as the rest of the planet put together.

John Smith
12-12-2010, 10:35 AM
People seem to have lost the ability to actually think. Many simply don't pay any attention, which is why 46% didn't know the election results.

Given a choice between two "facts" they will believe the one most convenient; the one they want to be true. This is why so many people today tell me, "Every time we cut taxes, revenues go up" The have to know that can't be true. My aunt and my brother tell me emphatically, "Bush kept us safe for 8 years."

Sadly, they can cite "news" sources that make these statements.

Milo Christensen
12-12-2010, 10:48 AM
Folks can sit and spout off about ignorance all they need to to reinforce their cluster group feelings of superiority. Reality is that more college educated people voted than folks without a high school education. Reality is that the average Republican is more likely to have a college degree than the average Democrat. Reality is that we spend some 40% of our GDP on government services and still don't get some of those lovely things Allison wants us to have. Although I speak about the reality, I will appear to some to be posting as a partisan.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kRmiLsIF6Ls/SuRlNIOZoKI/AAAAAAAAALg/99F8YsCtBow/s400/kelly_we_have_met_enemy_cvr.jpg

Ian McColgin
12-12-2010, 11:16 AM
Gallop polling before the last election (April 2008) showed McCain ahead of Obama among those who had not finished high school 46% to 40%. Gallop found no significant difference in support among those with some college through completing college. Among those with post graduate credits 52% favored Obama to McCain’s 42%.

There are some conservatives of all the various sorts from non-party conservatives to various partisans who support the current Republican party who have variously argued that either conservatives or Republicans are either better educated or have higher IQ than their either liberal or Democratic counterparts. Mostly these interpretations borrow parts of data used in a more nuanced and interesting way at: http://people-press.org/report/?pageid=945

The larger statistical studies that led up to the classic stereotype of red state versus blue state show the blues with generally higher education also show that within areas of educationally disadvantage voters there is some evidence that Democrats have an edge. This correlates with urban (tending Democratic) educationally disadvantaged voters outnumbering their rural and tending more Republican counterparts.

For myself, I’m not at all convinced that either averaged education level or IQ of a group of people is by itself a good indicator of that group voting wisely.