Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quote of the day

Norman J. Ornstein:
a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget would be disastrous.

Yes, yes it would.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Uhm...isn't the federal budget already beyond disaster?

Mrs. P

The Ancient said...

We can't fix the deficit and debt issues (which are separate) with our current tax system.

No one seems willing to admit that.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll bite. What's the fix?

Mrs. P

The Ancient said...

FLG --

Here's a freebie.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/19/the-glenn-beck-debeers-connection/

What's wrong with this?

The Ancient said...

Mrs P --

As afraid as I am of your bark, I am still more afraid of your bite.

But here's the problem: We have a tax system that developed by accident, over the past century. It doesn't make sense anymore. It's bad for economic growth -- even if one believes in "progressive taxation." (Which I do, vaguely, but only insofar as it goes to nicking the very rich, because I don't want a plutocracy.) We need some very different way to raise revenue. One that encourages economic growth, and obliges a greater proportion of "the eligible voters" to pay income taxes of some sort. Right now, less than half population pays income taxes. We are careening towards something that is just not sustaniable.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh Ancient. I'm in agreement with you. Except that we are not careening towards unsustainable we left sustainable years ago.

Have you been reading W.R. Mead lately? Or M. Barone? Fascinating stuff they are speaking of.

Mrs. P

Anonymous said...

This from Barone over the weekend:

"It's hard to keep up with all the arguments and proposals in the debt limit struggle. But what's at stake is fundamental.
"The bedrock issue is whether we should have a larger and more expensive federal government. Over many years federal spending has averaged about 20 percent of gross domestic product.
"The Obama Democrats have raised that to 24 or 25 percent. And the president's budget projects that that percentage will stay the same or increase far into the future.
"In the process the national debt as a percentage of gross domestic product has increased from a manageable 40 percent in 2008 to 62 percent this year and an estimated 72 percent in 2012. And it's headed to the 90 percent level that economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart have identified as the danger point, when governments face fiscal collapse."

http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/07/federal-expansion-real-issue-debt-ceiling-debate#ixzz1Sf6xLPHu

Then this am:

"For what have institutions of higher learning accomplished with their vast increases in revenues? The answer in all too many cases is administrative bloat.
"Take the California State University system, the second tier in that state's public higher education. Between 1975 and 2008 the number of faculty rose by 3 percent, to 12,019 positions. During those same years the number of administrators rose 221 percent, to 12,183. That's right: There are more administrators than teachers at Cal State now.
"These people get paid to "liaise" and "facilitate" and produce reports on diversity. How that benefits Cal State students or California taxpayers is unclear."

http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/07/will-college-bubble-burst-public-subisidies#ixzz1Sf8STdwj

Anonymous said...

Then this by W.R.Mead:

"If the green movement hasn’t done much for the planet lately, it has given us some cool new expressions. One of the best is “global weirding,” the trendy new way of branding the apocalypse formerly known as global warming. It combines the virtue of ‘climate change’ (which is that anything from deep freezes and record blizzards to ferocious hot spells and droughts can be held up as evidence) with the catchiness of global warming. Not bad.
And unlike some green scare propaganda, the global weirding hype is actually true — although more about the human rather than about the natural world. Politics, economics, international relations, religion: everything in our world is getting weirder, and the weirding is happening faster all the time. These are the best of times and the worst of times in ways that would blow Charles Dickens’ mind.
"This change is rapidly propelling us into a century that will be radically different from everything humanity has known before. Just as the twentieth century unleashed new horrors and terrors even as it revealed new accomplishments and new glories, Auschwitz and the Gulag standing beside medical miracles and technical wonders, so the twenty first century is going to dazzle and appall us. The highs of scientific discovery and technological advance will be exponentially higher than what went before; we will be lucky if the lows aren’t exponentially worse. We have all been given tickets on the wildest roller coaster ride in the history of Planet Earth and there are going to be spills as well as thrills before the ride is done.
"Our governing classes, our academics, our journalists and our professionals mostly hate this and, eyes firmly fixed in the rear view mirror, try to pretend that the world of the twentieth century can never, will never break up. Except for some entrepreneurs, mavericks and renegades, our technocratic elites are mostly a bunch of rule followers and incrementalists. They got where they are by scoring well on tests, manipulating the platitudes of conventional wisdom a little better than the next guy and by pleasing their supervisors.
This is almost exactly the wrong way to raise leaders for tumultuous times. We need Teddy Roosevelts, Winston Churchills, Harriet Stowes and Alexander Hamiltons. We are producing legions of promotion-hungry bureaucrats and narrow specialists with no knowledge of or interest in the tumult and chaos that inevitably rises up in times like ours. We then place them in large, bureaucratically run institutions and expect them to deal creatively with the unexpected, the revolutionary and the totally new.
"The mismatch between the small ‘c’ conservative ideas of our leaders and chattering classes and the upheavals around us makes the times even more dangerous than they have to be. The crew is rearranging the deck chairs instead of preparing the life boats — not because they don’t want to help the passengers, but because their minds have no room for extreme events beyond the bingo, shuffleboard and dance contest that were scheduled for today.
"These last few days that sense of the good ship Denial rushing headlong towards Niagara Falls seems particularly strong, and not just when one looks at the Washington debt limit discussions..."

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/07/14/global-weirding-coming-at-us-all/

Mrs. P

Anonymous said...

Ancient - I forgot to add Barone's correction that he printed the next day:

"In my Sunday Examiner column I noted that the national debt currently amounts to 62 percent of gross domestic product and I cited Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart’s book This Time Is Different for the proposition that economic growth is impaired when debt reaches 90 percent of gross domestic product. However, it has been pointed out to me (see this paper by Senate Budget Committee Republicans) that these two measures of debt are incommensurate: the 62 percent figure refers to public debt outstanding while Rogoff and Reinhart’s 90 percent refers to total debt. This underlines rather than undermines my point, for total debt now amounts to 95 percent of gross domestic product. We may already be at the danger point, rather than heading there fast."

http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/2011/07/things-are-worse-i-said#ixzz1SfTBHAaz

Mrs. P

 
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