Author Topic: The real purpose of the government shutdown  (Read 4899 times)

Kris

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #50 on: January 17, 2019, 12:14:21 PM »
This shit is so hilariously stupid. Trump is running tv ads asking people to call 800-350-6647 and press 1 to DEMAND that Pelosi and Schumer fund the wall. Buried at the end, the announcer says, "press 2 if you do NOT support funding the wall."

FFS...

I saw adds on Youtube a week or so ago promoting something similar - text "wall" to this number to show your support! I very badly wanted to text "IMPEACH" instead.

What a weak little a-hole.

Also, I just happened upon a Twitter account called "Rogue Melania." And its tweet about this Fox TV ad is hilarious: 


DreamFIRE

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #51 on: January 17, 2019, 07:03:37 PM »
To somehow place blame with the "democrat obstructionists" for this continued shutdown is beyond absurd.

I think there should be some compromise on the democrats' part.  They voted for a wall in the past, but they're strongly opposed now just because of Trump.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 07:44:06 PM by DreamFIRE »

sol

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #52 on: January 17, 2019, 07:56:04 PM »
I think there should be some compromise on the democrats' part. 

Does your idea of compromise involve the democrats getting anything at all, or just totally capitulating to his hostage taking tactics?

Because they've offered to compromise over and over again, and been turned away because Trump is not willing to give them anything in return.  They literally passed a bipartisan compromise budget (that got the support of every single republican senator) which Trump threatened to veto.  They offered him wall funding in exchange for a DACA fix, and he said no.  Republican senators even tried to put together a compromise plan for wall funding of something less $5b, and Trump torpedoed it before they were even finished outlining the plan.

I think the democrats are absolutely willing to compromise.  But compromise requires BOTH sides giving something up, and so far every deal they've proposed has been shot down by Trump, because HE'S not willing to compromise.  He is making demands and refusing to negotiate.  He shut down the government to get his way.

The 100% republican controlled congress couldn't even get him his wall funding, and that was before the blue wave election swept democrats into power.  Let's not forget that it was the last congress, not this one, that shut down the government.  Republicans in control of both houses couldn't get him his wall funding, so he shut down the government.  Now democrats have assumed power in one chamber, and are trying over and over again to find a solution here.  So far, Trump has refused all attempts.

Trump could make all of this go away with a single tweet.  He just needs to say "I will not veto the republican's budget bill."  Done.  Government open tomorrow.

Just Joe

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #53 on: January 17, 2019, 09:36:51 PM »
They will absolutely called back, most of them within a month, whether they are getting paid or not.

As expected, federal workers are already being called back from furlough status, and forced to work without pay.  The IRS just recalled 36k people to help with tax filing season.  Also park rangers, food inspectors, air traffic controllers, etc.  Turns out even the Trump administration thinks we need federal workers.  It just wants them to work for free.

The gov't workers won't be the first people to work for Trump who have had a hard time getting paid...

Indexer

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #54 on: January 20, 2019, 03:50:26 PM »
Reduce the size of our federal government?  Yes please!


+1

talltexan

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #55 on: January 21, 2019, 08:23:44 AM »
Do you guys want the "size" of the Federal government reduced because you think certain, specific services are unnecessary? If so, then let's work within Congress to identify those solutions and specifically reduce the resources we commit to those. (note: this was done successfully during the Obama administration via the "Sequester"; we are still waiting for the Trump administration to demonstrate an ability to cut spending and get Congress on board with it)

Or do you want it reduced because you think your taxes are too high? If so, then let's work within Congress to identify places within the tax code where we can reduce the government's impact on you (this was done successfully in Dec. 2017, surely you were posting in favor of TCJA on these discussion boards when it was being passed/signed)

Indexer

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #56 on: January 21, 2019, 09:23:39 AM »
@talltexan

1. Do I think certain services are unnecessary?  Yes. Do I trust Congress to voluntarily cut their own pet projects? No. I think letting the people compare the value of these services to their cost is a great way to put it in perspective so they can pressure Congress to trim the fat.

Do I think the shutdown over a wall is the best way to do it? Hell no! Do I agree with how Trump has handled anything? Not that I can think of. However, if the Government is already shut down, do I appreciate that voters are paying closer attention to the value and cost of services? YES! I don't agree with this shutdown, but if it results in reducing the size of government then one good thing can come from it.

2. Do I think taxes are too high?  Yes, BUT! I'm much more concerned with our debt and deficits than I am the small change in my taxes from the TCJA. I don't agree with the TCJA because it resulted in bigger deficits. They didn't lower taxes, they delayed them. If the Republicans want to lower taxes they should lower spending first. We have a party of spend more and a party of tax less, and when they compromise they both get what they want. The result are ever larger deficits.

waltworks

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #57 on: January 21, 2019, 03:31:57 PM »
The federal government is basically an insurance/healthcare company (Social Security, Medicare) with a huge armed forces. If you are really concerned about the size/amount of government spending, you have to spend your time talking mostly about those things, not about national parks or TSA or any of the little stuff that people are talking about because of the shutdown. Non defense discretionary spending was ~15% of the entire budget in 2018.

So I think talking about "shrinking the size" of the government in the context of the shutdown is a little bit dumb, because any meaningful shrinking is going to have to involve cutting way back on some combination of those 3 big things, none of which are affected here. Arguing about discretionary spending is silly when you're spending as much as we do on mandatory stuff.

Now, if you stopped sending out social security checks and shut down the DOD/stopped paying soldiers, you'd see pretty quickly how enthusiastic people are about actually shrinking that darn big government...

-W
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 03:40:12 PM by waltworks »

DreamFIRE

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #58 on: January 21, 2019, 03:53:38 PM »
Non defense discretionary spending was ~15% of the entire budget in 2018.

15% of the entire budget is actually still a very significant amount of billions of dollars in a single year.

Quote
Now, if you stopped sending out social security checks and shut down the DOD/stopped paying soldiers, you'd see pretty quickly how enthusiastic people are about actually shrinking that darn big government...

No one suggested shutting down the DOD and not paying soldiers.

waltworks

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #59 on: January 21, 2019, 04:05:48 PM »
Sure, 15% isn't nothing. But it's not a big deal in the context of what we spend on SS/Medicare/DOD. Even drastic cuts to discretionary spending wouldn't get us anywhere near a balanced budget - which IMO at least in good economic times should certainly be a goal.

My point was that the shutdown is a crappy way to have an honest conversation about spending less money. If you want less government, you're probably going to have to accept less military and social insurance/healthcare spending, full stop. Because that's what the government really is.

Associating the shutdown with small-government philosophy (which I'm somewhat a fan of myself) is a loser idea, because it makes you look innumerate at best and dishonest at worst.

-W

DadJokes

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #60 on: January 22, 2019, 06:54:47 AM »
When you compare our defense spending to the rest of the world, it's laughable. It makes up more than half of our federal budget. We could cut our spending in half and still be the most funded military in the world. If you did that and cut out all non-essential spending (and let the states pick up the slack), it still probably wouldn't be enough to balance the budget without increasing revenue. However, it would be a step in the right direction.

J Boogie

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #61 on: January 22, 2019, 08:13:52 AM »
Our bloated defense budget makes sense in context of our historical geopolitical strategy and relationships. I more or less agree with Trump in the US dialing down its global role (Though like any rational person I find his way of doing this embarrassing and needlessly contentious - bickering with our allies is pointless and harmful).

Trump is blowing these relationships up and yet the defense budget isn't getting smaller. It's getting bigger. He's clearing out hawkish top brass... that he himself hired. He's replacing them with hawkish neocons that seem to be less likely to rebuff his idiocy.


Our economy has been strong for years now. We might not have many opportunities like this to aggressively pay down our debt to give the fed a chance to raise rates.

The fed needs to raise rates if, for no other reason, than to be able to lower them when the next recession hits - but they're hesitant to do so when it means the US govt will have to start paying that much more on their debt servicing.

Neither the left nor the right seems seriously interested in fiscal responsibility. I fear we're a bit of a frog in a near-boiling pot of water, and we'll only be motivated to act when the Fed's hands are tied and they have to choose between accepting inflation or raising rates when the economy really needs stimulus.


x02947

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #62 on: January 22, 2019, 08:15:08 AM »
I couldn't find all the necessary data for FY18, so this is for FY17. Source: https://www.cbo.gov/publication/53625

Total revenue: $3.3 Trillion. 
Total spending: $4 Trillion.
Resulting deficit.  $700 Billion, or 17.5%

Of that $4 trillion spent, only $1.2 trillion was discretionary.  The mandatory spending was mostly Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, government retirement pensions, income security programs (tax credits, SNAP, unemployment, and the like), and VA benefits.  Note that actual military spending is *not* included in mandatory spending.

So what does this mean?  Even if congress were to say "cut out all discretionary spending.  No military, no parks, no NASA, no FBI, no Justice Department.  Nothing." We would still be spending 85% of our budget.

The kicker?  Federal debt is at almost $22 Trillion.  So even with 0% discretionary spending, spending 85% of our budget would have us paying off our debt in approximately... 44 years, assuming *no* interest.  Not necessarily saying we should pay off our debt, but just as a point of how much our debt is in relation to our spending and income. 

So yes, let's worry very much about how much we spend on border security.  Let's wrangle over a few billion here and there. A millionaire is made ten bucks at a time, right?  We might shave a few days off how long it takes the good ol' US of A to reach FI. 

DadJokes

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #63 on: January 22, 2019, 08:36:39 AM »
Our bloated defense budget makes sense in context of our historical geopolitical strategy and relationships. I more or less agree with Trump in the US dialing down its global role (Though like any rational person I find his way of doing this embarrassing and needlessly contentious - bickering with our allies is pointless and harmful).

...

Neither the left nor the right seems seriously interested in fiscal responsibility. I fear we're a bit of a frog in a near-boiling pot of water, and we'll only be motivated to act when the Fed's hands are tied and they have to choose between accepting inflation or raising rates when the economy really needs stimulus.

There are a couple Republicans who seem (or at least did last time I paid attention) to care about fiscal responsibility: Ted Cruz & Rand Paul. However, neither are particularly likable, and they have no chance of getting past the primaries. They do have other flaws, but I would certainly place ending our national debt as my most important issue.

oldtoyota

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #64 on: January 22, 2019, 08:44:01 AM »
They will absolutely called back, most of them within a month, whether they are getting paid or not.

As expected, federal workers are already being called back from furlough status, and forced to work without pay.  The IRS just recalled 36k people to help with tax filing season.  Also park rangers, food inspectors, air traffic controllers, etc.  Turns out even the Trump administration thinks we need federal workers.  It just wants them to work for free.

Yep.

IIRC, one of the shutdowns during Obama's time ended partly because people were upset at the national parks closing. By forcing people to work for free, that allows the services to look as though they are not interrupted. Then, people don't notice and say things like, "The government doesn't do anything anyway."


oldtoyota

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #65 on: January 22, 2019, 08:44:52 AM »
This is actually the most logical explanation for what’s going on with the shutdown. Keep everyone arguing about the “wall” when the real objective is to blow up government agencies.  It's been the Republicans wet dream since Reagan/Gingrich/et al to shrink the government to the point they can drown it in a bath tub. 

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/senior-trump-official-anonymous-daily-caller-op-ed-shutdown-federal-workers?fbclid=IwAR3FmVrHo2ChwjnYnPWqFChM0AhtSaBEJHFEGekhzWfhsCiw09VQMAOtPFk


The thread became way off topic, so I wanted to get back to the original question.

Did you watch Maddow? The shutdown is a perfect way to stop the FBI.


sol

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #66 on: January 22, 2019, 08:54:05 AM »
Federal debt is at almost $22 Trillion.  So even with 0% discretionary spending, spending 85% of our budget would have us paying off our debt in approximately... 44 years, assuming *no* interest.  Not necessarily saying we should pay off our debt, but just as a point of how much our debt is in relation to our spending and income. 

I'm not disputing your math, but I think most economists would dispute your interpretation.  Every single nation on Earth has debt, and almost every single nation on Earth has external debt owed to foreigners.  Debt is a normal and necessary part of economics, and most countries have a higher debt load (as measured relative to the size of their economies) than does the US.

So it's likely that the national debt will never be "paid off".  That's just not a goal.  No one is seriously suggesting we should become a debt free nation.  It would literally ruin our economy to attempt it, and achieving it would not benefit us in any way.

As much as the world has changed in the past 100 years, the underlying forces of economics are largely unchanged.  Fiat currency is still a made-up tool, and real national wealth is still built on your country's population, natural resources, and the skills required to convert those two things into global influence.  Everything else is just parlor tricks built on top of that fundamental foundation.  By this measure, the US is still the wealthiest country in the world precisely because it is still the most powerful and well supported, regardless of how much debt it accrues.

Fearmongering over the debt is a political tactic aimed at voters, and not representative of any politician's actual goals.  It's an excuse to influence policy decisions, like punishing poor people or locking up refugees or giving government handouts to corporations.  I don't really take it seriously anymore.  Virtually everyone who complains about the national debt is pushing an ideologically driven policy agenda unrelated to debt, and the rest are just confused.

x02947

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #67 on: January 22, 2019, 09:00:12 AM »
Federal debt is at almost $22 Trillion.  So even with 0% discretionary spending, spending 85% of our budget would have us paying off our debt in approximately... 44 years, assuming *no* interest.  Not necessarily saying we should pay off our debt, but just as a point of how much our debt is in relation to our spending and income. 

I'm not disputing your math, but I think most economists would dispute your interpretation.  Every single nation on Earth has debt, and almost every single nation on Earth has external debt owed to foreigners.  Debt is a normal and necessary part of economics, and most countries have a higher debt load (as measured relative to the size of their economies) than does the US.

So it's likely that the national debt will never be "paid off".  That's just not a goal.  No one is seriously suggesting we should become a debt free nation.  It would literally ruin our economy to attempt it, and achieving it would not benefit us in any way.

...

You are absolutely correct.  I am not in any way advocating actually paying off all of our debt.  I don't think continually increasing our debt is a good thing, but I'm not nearly read up enough on that to make any good argument.  Just trying to illustrate that we have very minimal wiggle room in our budget, and I think that is bad. 

talltexan

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #68 on: January 22, 2019, 09:43:14 AM »
Our bloated defense budget makes sense in context of our historical geopolitical strategy and relationships. I more or less agree with Trump in the US dialing down its global role (Though like any rational person I find his way of doing this embarrassing and needlessly contentious - bickering with our allies is pointless and harmful).

...

Neither the left nor the right seems seriously interested in fiscal responsibility. I fear we're a bit of a frog in a near-boiling pot of water, and we'll only be motivated to act when the Fed's hands are tied and they have to choose between accepting inflation or raising rates when the economy really needs stimulus.

There are a couple Republicans who seem (or at least did last time I paid attention) to care about fiscal responsibility: Ted Cruz & Rand Paul. However, neither are particularly likable, and they have no chance of getting past the primaries. They do have other flaws, but I would certainly place ending our national debt as my most important issue.

Just a reminder that both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul voted for TCJA. Perhaps you are able to make a case that this tax cut will eventually reduce the deficit, but we're seeing MUCH higher deficits for FY 2018 and 2019 than we say for 2017.

They often say they care about reducing the Federal Budget deficit, but they have a strange way of showing it when it comes time to vote.

DadJokes

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #69 on: January 22, 2019, 10:14:58 AM »

Just a reminder that both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul voted for TCJA. Perhaps you are able to make a case that this tax cut will eventually reduce the deficit, but we're seeing MUCH higher deficits for FY 2018 and 2019 than we say for 2017.

They often say they care about reducing the Federal Budget deficit, but they have a strange way of showing it when it comes time to vote.

Are you familiar with the Laffer Curve? It is the theory showing that reducing taxes may potentially result in greater tax revenue (and vice-versa). There are so many variables involved that it is difficult to establish exactly where we are on the Laffer Curve until after the fact.

I'm not necessarily agreeing that cutting taxes was the best idea, but I'm not going to complain about it, since I can be far more efficient with my own money than the federal government can. And since I am not aware of any politicians that want to drastically cut government spending and increase government revenue, I'm going to lean toward cutting spending.

waltworks

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #70 on: January 22, 2019, 10:44:33 AM »
The real problem is that both defense spending and social security/medicare are broadly popular. People like those programs, for better or worse, but they also dislike taxes, so they keep voting for people who won't touch any of the actual spending with a 10 foot pole and will instead rail against funding scientific research or national parks or something else basically irrelevant.

And because people don't generally know what's in the budget/can't do even simple math, that strategy seems to work over and over.

-W

the_gastropod

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #71 on: January 22, 2019, 05:44:32 PM »
Are you familiar with the Laffer Curve? It is the theory showing that reducing taxes may potentially result in greater tax revenue (and vice-versa). There are so many variables involved that it is difficult to establish exactly where we are on the Laffer Curve until after the fact.

I'm not aware of any actual economists who believe the Laffer Curve is realistic. It way oversimplifies a rather complex system. And even when studied retroactively, they've found ~65-70% tax rates are where the maximum revenue is generated. So... none of this bodes well for the traditional supply-side economist.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laffer_curve#Empirical_data

I'm not necessarily agreeing that cutting taxes was the best idea, but I'm not going to complain about it, since I can be far more efficient with my own money than the federal government can.

I'm not sure how the "efficiency" of your spending and the governments' spending are comparable? Medicare, NASA, and the Social Security Administration are all pretty efficiently run organizations, that likely have lower overheads than the corporations you spend your money at. That says nothing about the public nature of government spending. Some things don't lend themselves very well to the private sector (e.g. police, fire fighters, infrastructure, affordable schooling, military service, etc.)

And since I am not aware of any politicians that want to drastically cut government spending and increase government revenue, I'm going to lean toward cutting spending.

What politicians (realistically) make any attempt to cut spending? Republicans tend to pay a lot of lip service to cutting spending, then usually propose inflating the Pentagon's budget—the single largest line item of on discretionary spending budget—regardless of whether the Pentagon wants it or not. And they do this while proposing tax breaks (usually skewed toward the higher brackets).

Telecaster

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #72 on: January 22, 2019, 06:39:15 PM »
I'm not necessarily agreeing that cutting taxes was the best idea, but I'm not going to complain about it, since I can be far more efficient with my own money than the federal government can. And since I am not aware of any politicians that want to drastically cut government spending and increase government revenue, I'm going to lean toward cutting spending.

But that's the rub.   Over the last two years the Republican-controlled Federal government did not enact or even propose any meaningful spending cuts.   However, borrowing increased by about 60%.   Your argument about spending efficiency goes out the window because the Federal government is spending just as much as ever.

But it gets even worse than that.   Interest must be paid on all that borrowed money.   That means the government will be even bigger next year (bigger in the sense of more spending) that it would have been without the tax cuts.  In fact, paying interest on the debt is one of the single largest expenditures.   But unlike say, NASA or the DOT (the budgets of both of which are chump change compared to net interest payments, by the way), we can't have a debate about cutting interest.   It has to be paid.

To put it another way, the TCJA was concrete and permanent step to make the Federal government big and expensive. Permanently.


talltexan

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #73 on: January 23, 2019, 09:14:26 AM »

Just a reminder that both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul voted for TCJA. Perhaps you are able to make a case that this tax cut will eventually reduce the deficit, but we're seeing MUCH higher deficits for FY 2018 and 2019 than we say for 2017.

They often say they care about reducing the Federal Budget deficit, but they have a strange way of showing it when it comes time to vote.

Are you familiar with the Laffer Curve? It is the theory showing that reducing taxes may potentially result in greater tax revenue (and vice-versa). There are so many variables involved that it is difficult to establish exactly where we are on the Laffer Curve until after the fact.

I'm not necessarily agreeing that cutting taxes was the best idea, but I'm not going to complain about it, since I can be far more efficient with my own money than the federal government can. And since I am not aware of any politicians that want to drastically cut government spending and increase government revenue, I'm going to lean toward cutting spending.

I have studied the Laffer curve in one form or another for two decades. I appreciate the many confounding variables you mention, but I can assure you that Federal income tax rates in 2017 were below the peak revenue point.

I do not object that the economy grows faster when Federal revenue is cut. The evidence that it grows so much faster that revenue declines are offset is very thin.

Many people offer the example of Reagan's top rate cuts in 1981 as a time when we were above that peak. While it is true that the economy grew very rapidly from 1983-1990, Federal revenues did not grow until Regan enacted a tax reform that raised taxes at the start of his second term.

J Boogie

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #74 on: January 23, 2019, 09:21:21 AM »
Federal debt is at almost $22 Trillion.  So even with 0% discretionary spending, spending 85% of our budget would have us paying off our debt in approximately... 44 years, assuming *no* interest.  Not necessarily saying we should pay off our debt, but just as a point of how much our debt is in relation to our spending and income. 

I'm not disputing your math, but I think most economists would dispute your interpretation.  Every single nation on Earth has debt, and almost every single nation on Earth has external debt owed to foreigners.  Debt is a normal and necessary part of economics, and most countries have a higher debt load (as measured relative to the size of their economies) than does the US.

So it's likely that the national debt will never be "paid off".  That's just not a goal.  No one is seriously suggesting we should become a debt free nation.  It would literally ruin our economy to attempt it, and achieving it would not benefit us in any way.

As much as the world has changed in the past 100 years, the underlying forces of economics are largely unchanged.  Fiat currency is still a made-up tool, and real national wealth is still built on your country's population, natural resources, and the skills required to convert those two things into global influence.  Everything else is just parlor tricks built on top of that fundamental foundation.  By this measure, the US is still the wealthiest country in the world precisely because it is still the most powerful and well supported, regardless of how much debt it accrues.

Fearmongering over the debt is a political tactic aimed at voters, and not representative of any politician's actual goals.  It's an excuse to influence policy decisions, like punishing poor people or locking up refugees or giving government handouts to corporations.  I don't really take it seriously anymore.  Virtually everyone who complains about the national debt is pushing an ideologically driven policy agenda unrelated to debt, and the rest are just confused.

Would Jerome Powell and Janet Yellen be ideologically driven, or confused?

I'll lend more credence to the experts who understand the intricacies of central banking, not a reactionary oversimplifier who gives the least charitable interpretation possible to those concerned with a growing national debt.

What you regard as parlor tricks are extremely important tools, indicators, and actions that central banks can take that can lead to the success or downfall of a nation's economy. We have many tricks up our sleeve, such as QE and interest rate fixing, but if these aren't dialed back during a period of economic abundance, then we won't be able to play these cards when we really need to. We're in danger of overplaying our hand and soon the only trick up our sleeve will be to print our way out of it. Do you think the US is inflation proof?








DadJokes

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #75 on: January 23, 2019, 10:05:16 AM »

Just a reminder that both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul voted for TCJA. Perhaps you are able to make a case that this tax cut will eventually reduce the deficit, but we're seeing MUCH higher deficits for FY 2018 and 2019 than we say for 2017.

They often say they care about reducing the Federal Budget deficit, but they have a strange way of showing it when it comes time to vote.

Are you familiar with the Laffer Curve? It is the theory showing that reducing taxes may potentially result in greater tax revenue (and vice-versa). There are so many variables involved that it is difficult to establish exactly where we are on the Laffer Curve until after the fact.

I'm not necessarily agreeing that cutting taxes was the best idea, but I'm not going to complain about it, since I can be far more efficient with my own money than the federal government can. And since I am not aware of any politicians that want to drastically cut government spending and increase government revenue, I'm going to lean toward cutting spending.

I have studied the Laffer curve in one form or another for two decades. I appreciate the many confounding variables you mention, but I can assure you that Federal income tax rates in 2017 were below the peak revenue point.

I do not object that the economy grows faster when Federal revenue is cut. The evidence that it grows so much faster that revenue declines are offset is very thin.

Many people offer the example of Reagan's top rate cuts in 1981 as a time when we were above that peak. While it is true that the economy grew very rapidly from 1983-1990, Federal revenues did not grow until Regan enacted a tax reform that raised taxes at the start of his second term.

I love how when I mention one thing but say something else later on in my post (trying to fairly state both sides), people gravitate to the first item that I said I basically disagree with.

Yes, I know that raising taxes would probably increase government revenue. I also know that, just like every middle class household in America, the government would just use that money to increase spending even more. When the government shows that it can efficiently use the revenue it currently gets, I will be more supportive of giving it more.

And to @the_gastropod - I know damn well the government is inefficient with money - I spent enough time in the military to see that.

Telecaster

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #76 on: January 23, 2019, 12:05:19 PM »
Yes, I know that raising taxes would probably increase government revenue. I also know that, just like every middle class household in America, the government would just use that money to increase spending even more.

I don't see any evidence that's true, except maybe in very general ways, and certainly not with the current bunch in Washington.   For example, at the end of 2017 Congress passed the TCJA, which was projected to increase deficits by about $2 trillion dollars over the next ten years.

Then just two months later Congress approved $140 billion of new spending out of a $1.3 trillion budget.  You can see that's not a small increase.   The lack of revenue didn't constrain the President or Congress at all. 

I think everyone would like lower taxes.   And I think everyone would agree the Federal government wastes lots of money.   So from a fiscal responsibility standpoint, cutting taxes and increasing spending is the worst of both worlds.   We should hold our government leaders responsible.   If we don't, no one else will.   

Dabnasty

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #77 on: January 23, 2019, 06:16:17 PM »

Just a reminder that both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul voted for TCJA. Perhaps you are able to make a case that this tax cut will eventually reduce the deficit, but we're seeing MUCH higher deficits for FY 2018 and 2019 than we say for 2017.

They often say they care about reducing the Federal Budget deficit, but they have a strange way of showing it when it comes time to vote.

Are you familiar with the Laffer Curve? It is the theory showing that reducing taxes may potentially result in greater tax revenue (and vice-versa). There are so many variables involved that it is difficult to establish exactly where we are on the Laffer Curve until after the fact.

I'm not necessarily agreeing that cutting taxes was the best idea, but I'm not going to complain about it, since I can be far more efficient with my own money than the federal government can. And since I am not aware of any politicians that want to drastically cut government spending and increase government revenue, I'm going to lean toward cutting spending.

I have studied the Laffer curve in one form or another for two decades. I appreciate the many confounding variables you mention, but I can assure you that Federal income tax rates in 2017 were below the peak revenue point.

I do not object that the economy grows faster when Federal revenue is cut. The evidence that it grows so much faster that revenue declines are offset is very thin.

Many people offer the example of Reagan's top rate cuts in 1981 as a time when we were above that peak. While it is true that the economy grew very rapidly from 1983-1990, Federal revenues did not grow until Regan enacted a tax reform that raised taxes at the start of his second term.
Yes, I know that raising taxes would probably increase government revenue. I also know that, just like every middle class household in America, the government would just use that money to increase spending even more. When the government shows that it can efficiently use the revenue it currently gets, I will be more supportive of giving it more.

And to @the_gastropod - I know damn well the government is inefficient with money - I spent enough time in the military to see that.

If government spending was limited by revenue we wouldn't be $22 trillion in the hole. What evidence do you have that increased revenue would lead to increased spending?

Quote
I love how when I mention one thing but say something else later on in my post (trying to fairly state both sides), people gravitate to the first item that I said I basically disagree with.

Your first post did not suggest that you disagree with... actually I'm not even sure what you're referring to here. Laffer's theory? Where we currently fall on the curve?

To me it sounded like you were suggesting we might be to the right of the peak, might not. talltexan refuted the idea that we were anywhere near the peak of the Laffer curve prior to the tax cuts. I would agree.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2019, 06:18:30 PM by Dabnasty »

the_gastropod

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #78 on: January 24, 2019, 10:08:31 AM »
And to @the_gastropod - I know damn well the government is inefficient with money - I spent enough time in the military to see that.

Again: what are you comparing that to? In college, I interned at a publicly traded chemical corporation you have absolutely heard of. It was not uncommon to walk by people's desks, as they were sound asleep. The government hardly has a monopoly on inefficiency.

sol

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #79 on: January 24, 2019, 01:31:15 PM »
In other shutdown-related news, my former federal agency is considering whether or not they can recall people to work using non-appropriated funds.  Like the post office, people who are not paid by funds from Congress can technically continue to work even with a lapse of appropriations.

But there are complications.  Almost nobody is 100% funded by reimbursable work, because the congressional appropriations pay for agency overhead like facilities rent and laboratories and IT support.  Many of the people who ARE fully reimbursable still can't get much done all by themselves, if they work as part of a team that relies on people who are appropriated.  And then here's the real kicker; any employee who does return to work, even part time, would be issued a paycheck that would be assessed with ALL of their backpay deductions for things like health and life insurance, oasdi, tsp, etc, meaning that folks could theoretically work full time for one week of a biweekly pay period and then still be issued a negative paycheck.

I think it's a hard sell.  Can you imagine being furloughed at home when your boss calls you up and says "Good news!  We can pay you with reimbursable funds, please report tomorrow morning.  Oh btw, your first paycheck after you start working won't arrive for three more weeks, and then it will still be zero." 

talltexan

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Re: The real purpose of the government shutdown
« Reply #80 on: January 24, 2019, 01:33:15 PM »

Just a reminder that both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul voted for TCJA. Perhaps you are able to make a case that this tax cut will eventually reduce the deficit, but we're seeing MUCH higher deficits for FY 2018 and 2019 than we say for 2017.

They often say they care about reducing the Federal Budget deficit, but they have a strange way of showing it when it comes time to vote.

Are you familiar with the Laffer Curve? It is the theory showing that reducing taxes may potentially result in greater tax revenue (and vice-versa). There are so many variables involved that it is difficult to establish exactly where we are on the Laffer Curve until after the fact.

I'm not necessarily agreeing that cutting taxes was the best idea, but I'm not going to complain about it, since I can be far more efficient with my own money than the federal government can. And since I am not aware of any politicians that want to drastically cut government spending and increase government revenue, I'm going to lean toward cutting spending.

I have studied the Laffer curve in one form or another for two decades. I appreciate the many confounding variables you mention, but I can assure you that Federal income tax rates in 2017 were below the peak revenue point.

I do not object that the economy grows faster when Federal revenue is cut. The evidence that it grows so much faster that revenue declines are offset is very thin.

Many people offer the example of Reagan's top rate cuts in 1981 as a time when we were above that peak. While it is true that the economy grew very rapidly from 1983-1990, Federal revenues did not grow until Regan enacted a tax reform that raised taxes at the start of his second term.

I love how when I mention one thing but say something else later on in my post (trying to fairly state both sides), people gravitate to the first item that I said I basically disagree with.

Yes, I know that raising taxes would probably increase government revenue. I also know that, just like every middle class household in America, the government would just use that money to increase spending even more. When the government shows that it can efficiently use the revenue it currently gets, I will be more supportive of giving it more.

And to @the_gastropod - I know damn well the government is inefficient with money - I spent enough time in the military to see that.

Isn't it fair to break Dadjokes' criticism down into two separate critiques:

1. The government has program objectives to which I fundamentally object (ex. "I do not believe we should invade Venezuela to bring about regime change")
2. The government did a bad job of invading another country--Iraq--to bring about regime change