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Learn from the fall of Rome, US warned
Financial Times ^ | August 14, 2007 | By Jeremy Grant

Posted on 08/13/2007 5:35:11 PM PDT by Sir_Humphrey

The US government is on a “burning platform” of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country’s top government inspector has warned.

David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country’s future in a report that lays out what he called “chilling long-term simulations”.

These include “dramatic” tax rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments of holdings of US debt.

Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were “striking similarities” between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government”..

“Sound familiar?” Mr Walker said. “In my view, it’s time to learn from history and take steps to ensure the American Republic is the first to stand the test of time.”.

Mr Walker’s views carry weight because he is a non-partisan figure in charge of the Government Accountability Office, often described as the investigative arm of the US Congress..

While most of its studies are commissioned by legislators, about 10 per cent – such as the one containing his latest warnings – are initiated by the comptroller general himself..

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Walker said he had mentioned some of the issues before but now wanted to “turn up the volume”. Some of them were too sensitive for others in government to “have their name associated with”..

“I’m trying to sound an alarm and issue a wake-up call,” he said. “As comptroller general I’ve got an ability to look longer-range and take on issues that others may be hesitant, and in many cases may not be in a position, to take on..

“One of the concerns is obviously we are a great country but we face major sustainability challenges that we are not taking seriously enough,” said Mr Walker, who was appointed during the Clinton administration to the post, which carries a 15-year term..

The fiscal imbalance meant the US was “on a path toward an explosion of debt”. .

“With the looming retirement of baby boomers, spiralling healthcare costs, plummeting savings rates and increasing reliance on foreign lenders, we face unprecedented fiscal risks,” said Mr Walker, a former senior executive at PwC auditing firm..

Current US policy on education, energy, the environment, immigration and Iraq also was on an “unsustainable path”..

“Our very prosperity is placing greater demands on our physical infrastructure. Billions of dollars will be needed to modernise everything from highways and airports to water and sewage systems. The recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis was a sobering wake-up call.” .

Mr Walker said he would offer to brief the would-be presidential candidates next spring. .

“They need to make fiscal responsibility and inter-generational equity one of their top priorities. If they do, I think we have a chance to turn this around but if they don’t, I think the risk of a serious crisis rises considerably”.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 2late; aliens; barbarianinvaders; education; energy; illegalaliens; immigration; sustainability; wanker
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Every part of me wants to scream this is pointy headed BS until I take a sober look at things. Listen to any Democrat and realize they control the congress and are odds on favorites to win the White House. (Don't flame me, I am going to everything in my power to fight the poltical fight against this)

Can this really happen to us on our watch?

1 posted on 08/13/2007 5:35:12 PM PDT by Sir_Humphrey
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To: Sir_Humphrey
Mr Walker, who was appointed during the Clinton administration to the post

'Nuff said. Another Clintonista holdout that W. failed to purge.

And don't think, Mr. Grant, that we missed the reference to "imperial Rome = imperialist America =
hate-Bush-get-Bush-stop-Bush-impeach-BushBushBushBushBushBushBush
BushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBush!"

2 posted on 08/13/2007 5:40:11 PM PDT by Old Sarge (This tagline in memory of FReeper 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub)
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To: Sir_Humphrey
Who was appointed during the Clinton administration

Nuff said

3 posted on 08/13/2007 5:41:03 PM PDT by PajamaTruthMafia
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To: Sir_Humphrey
Not like there is anything new in there. You hear the same warnings over and over. Hearing them combined with the declining morals is new though.
4 posted on 08/13/2007 5:42:58 PM PDT by BallyBill (Serial Hit-N-Run poster)
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To: Sir_Humphrey
Nothing more than standard socialist talking points.

...inter-generational equity ...

The most glaring tip off, i.e. income redistribution.

5 posted on 08/13/2007 5:44:38 PM PDT by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: Sir_Humphrey
Simply go look at your school district’s budget, your county’s budget, your state’s budget and any other taxing entity’s budgets. You will see such great uber spending and fluff, it will turn your stomach. One major problem is each person who is elected and leaves office has usually gotten retirement AND also invested their time in office to support them comfortably with some new legal add on to an agency. Hence, the uber requirements to hold a plumber, electrical, real estate, CPA, etc. license. Many of these “certified classes” are run by ex-legislators or their close friends....
6 posted on 08/13/2007 5:46:11 PM PDT by YouGoTexasGirl
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To: Sir_Humphrey

“Learn from the fall of Rome..”

One of the many differences between us and Rome is that the latter did not have a death wish while we do. It is called globalization, multiculturalism, PC and the desire for diversity and not unity.


7 posted on 08/13/2007 5:46:32 PM PDT by 353FMG
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To: 353FMG
One of the many differences between us and Rome is that the latter did not have a death wish while we do

Rome had its own special vices, however some of the ones you mentioned they faced as well. And inevitably the result will be the same

8 posted on 08/13/2007 5:51:16 PM PDT by billbears (Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. --Santayana)
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To: Sir_Humphrey

so why did he have to get FT to run his story? /rhetorical question.


9 posted on 08/13/2007 5:54:45 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (Hate me, I'm white.)
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To: PajamaTruthMafia

Don’t lie to yourself, High-On-One’s-Laurels...all the signs are there and you’d rather blame the currently popular enemy than see the larger problem. Both parties are equally complicit in that problem and our nation is imperiled by it.

Can you act on that information or would you rather see everything brought down just to see one’s traditional enemy denied victory?


10 posted on 08/13/2007 5:55:31 PM PDT by NewRomeTacitus
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To: Sir_Humphrey

I’m watching to see if we lose a third space shuttle. I see it as a microcosm.

Any one example is meaningless, but many small measures can add up to something more meaningful than the dramatic parallels that Walker is making.


11 posted on 08/13/2007 5:55:45 PM PDT by SteveMcKing
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To: billbears
we're all doomed!

not.

12 posted on 08/13/2007 5:55:59 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (Hate me, I'm white.)
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To: Sir_Humphrey
Can this really happen to us on our watch?

I'm not going to agree with the pointy head over our being over-extended with the military (although I really believe Bush not increasing the size of the military after 9/11 when he had a friendly Congress was a mistake that will haunt us for years to come), but I will agree that morally we are on a decline, and Congress and the Federal Government are spending way too much money on useless programs, and that we should care more about immigration than we do (I don't give a damn if Bush considers them "guest workers", his wanting to legalize them would be a drain on this country).

Rome should be studied very closely - Rome didn't fall in a few days, and many of the factors that contributed to its decline are impacting us now - out of control spending, corruption, immorality, immigration problems, etc. Sure, maybe many centuries separate us, but many of our problems are the same.
13 posted on 08/13/2007 6:00:01 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
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To: Sir_Humphrey

Walker is right. Our entitlement programs with an unfunded liability of $60 trillion and a flood of immigrants, legal and illegal, combine to make a giant train wreck ahead. It may already to too late to avoid the consequences. Congress must act prior to 2017 to “fix” Medicare and SS. It is just a matter of what “fix” they employ, but they must do something.


14 posted on 08/13/2007 6:04:21 PM PDT by kabar
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To: the invisib1e hand

I hear alot of this “Fall of Rome” meme rattling around from the left these days. High taxes, lack of entreprenuerial spirit, moral bankruptcy, a weakened military, a loss of cultural identity- all these define the Democrat party, so they must be experts on the “Fall of Rome”. They are plotting it every day. The antidote to decline is liberty, decentralized government, low taxation, the entrepreneurial spirit, traditional morality and an elite volunteer military. Check, check check check. Sounds like conservatism.


15 posted on 08/13/2007 6:05:14 PM PDT by brigadoon
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To: brigadoon
The antidote to decline is liberty, decentralized government, low taxation, the entrepreneurial spirit, traditional morality and an elite volunteer military. Check, check check check. Sounds like conservatism.

Hear, hear.

May all the doofus bellyaching stop right there.

16 posted on 08/13/2007 6:08:36 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (Hate me, I'm white.)
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To: Sir_Humphrey
What is it with people and Rome? The “Empire” was the salvation of Rome, if one is referring to the period 30 BC to 180 AD. Augustus and the later Emperors turned Rome from a great slum with a few public buildings into the
great metropolis of the Empire, outstripping even Alexandria.
17 posted on 08/13/2007 6:10:47 PM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: Sir_Humphrey
Another striking similarity is that Rome had “Caligula”, and we had “Clintigula”.
18 posted on 08/13/2007 6:11:18 PM PDT by One_American
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To: kabar
I agree. Pretty much every single headache we have can be traced to liberal policies. This guy will talk about underfunded health care as a fiscal crisis, but as a Clintonista will back a huge government takeover which will become a bottomless pit for expenditure. He talks about extended involvements around the globe, but as a Clintonista supports ‘globalization’ and intervention in such places as Kosovo and Haiti. The answer to our problems starts with term limits and an end to government patronage.
19 posted on 08/13/2007 6:11:45 PM PDT by pieceofthepuzzle
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To: Sir_Humphrey

Rome became liberalized and lost her ability to wage war. So much so that a vagabond like Attila the Hun kicked Rome’s ass.


20 posted on 08/13/2007 6:11:47 PM PDT by Jaysun (It's outlandishly inappropriate to suggest that I'm wrong.)
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To: Sir_Humphrey
Rome “fell” (I assume he is writing about the Western Roman Empire) after it could no long field and army that was Roman and not Barbarian in nature.

It was the culmination of several centuries of bad administration and private armies going all the way back to Sulla.

21 posted on 08/13/2007 6:13:53 PM PDT by Mikey_1962 (If Roger Maris got an asterisk next to his name, Bonds should get a syringe)
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To: Sir_Humphrey

Does anyone know where we can download this report?


22 posted on 08/13/2007 6:13:55 PM PDT by bahblahbah
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To: Sir_Humphrey
Can this really happen to us on our watch?

Yes.

We all fight in our own way. However, there is no guarantee we will prevail. Many of our citizens fight against us for no other reason than they like to destroy things.

On the plus side I happened to drive by an anti war protest Saturday afternoon and the seditionists were all shouting and shaking their "Honk if you want our troops out of Iraq NOW" signs. You could have heard crickets chirping. Dead silence at the light. This in Mass. Hope still exists!

23 posted on 08/13/2007 6:14:19 PM PDT by Nuc1 (NUC1 Sub pusher SSN 668 (Liberals Aren't Patriots))
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To: kabar

If we didn’t have a flood of immigrants, we’d be underpopulated and with a vast imbalance tipped towards the aging population, thanks to 40 years of abortion.

Rome was underpopulated, relative to its empire; Spain at the time of its invasion by the Muslims was extremely underpopulated; and just about any place that has ever fallen has had a severe drop in population prior to its destruction.

We need immigrants: we have to make them Americans, though, and that is where we are failing. And that’s our fault (permitting “bilingual ed,” separate language facilities for every group, special rights for Muslims, etc.).


24 posted on 08/13/2007 6:15:05 PM PDT by livius
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To: Sir_Humphrey

Learn from the fall of Rome? I agree: don’t lose wars against barbarians.


25 posted on 08/13/2007 6:15:34 PM PDT by sphinx
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To: facedown
Inter-generational equity is a valid concern. It has been raised by Tom Paine, e.g., do we cower and pass on the problem of this British tyranny to our children, or children's children, or deal with it today? What's a tell here is the new Rat theme of inter-generational equity, from the premier architects of the grand Ponzi scheme called Social Security. Before W tried feebly to reform that, he piled that huge mound of unfunded liabilities higher with the Senior Prescription Drug plan. To those that follow it was the Republicans, despite majority control of both houses and the White House, that did nothing to stop this from advancing, and even abetted it, thereby allowing Rats to flank them and double-back to falsely use traditional Republican fiscal responsibility language against them. Democrats thrive off of social envy, why not inter-generational envy? Those for whom that term will not seem to be mere rhetoric may not fondly remember the Bush administration, or how Republicans used their historically unique opportunity, at the expense of future generations.

The parallels to Rome seem relevant to me, regardless of the speaker's Clintonian background.

26 posted on 08/13/2007 6:16:01 PM PDT by kcar
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To: Sir_Humphrey
America is recreating the Fall of Rome in fast-forward.
27 posted on 08/13/2007 6:16:10 PM PDT by Barnacle (Hunter 2008)
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To: Old Sarge

I’ve never known an accountant to go off like this. Imagine if all our accountants in our jobs and lives behaved so, lol.


28 posted on 08/13/2007 6:18:10 PM PDT by txhurl
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To: Jaysun

This isn’t as far fetched as you would think. In Houston, we have a football stadium (Astrodome) right next door to a football stadium (Reliant Park).

Amazing.


29 posted on 08/13/2007 6:19:04 PM PDT by visionary
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To: sphinx
Learn from the fall of Rome? I agree: don’t lose wars against barbarians.

What does our President do when we're invaded? Invite them to become citizens!

Sorry folks. But if this guy represents the Right in this county... We are frikin' doomed.

30 posted on 08/13/2007 6:19:55 PM PDT by Barnacle (Hunter 2008)
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To: Sir_Humphrey

I knew that one day it was bound to happen, and now it has: I agree with something said by a Clinton appointee.

To all those issuing a kneejerk bash just because he’s a Clinton appointee, I’ll remind you that we conservatives pride ourselves on intellectual honesty over partisan politics.

I don’t agree with everything he says. For example, he seems to see the majority of the problem on the fiscal front, while I think the moral rot is of far greater concern, especially when viewed in a long-range context. Morality and character are the glue that hold us together in troubled times. And in case you haven’t looked around, morality and character are in shorter supply by the day in our country.

We as a society now engage in bizarre, indefensible behavior that will be our un-doing.

MM (in TX)


31 posted on 08/13/2007 6:23:26 PM PDT by MississippiMan (Behold now behemoth...he moves his tail like a cedar. Job 40:17)
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To: visionary
I don’t think it’s far fetched at all. I was serious. I go to Houston fairly often. And Austin. Austin is a cesspool of liberal ignorance.
32 posted on 08/13/2007 6:24:02 PM PDT by Jaysun (It's outlandishly inappropriate to suggest that I'm wrong.)
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To: Sir_Humphrey

If these people are so smart why don’t they realize that dramatic tax increases don’t add up to more money to the government in the long run and the effects on the economy and the tax base?

If you told them we could balance the budget with a 90% tax rate for 2 years they would consider it, instead of contemplating that 90% of the people would stay home (nevermind the 10% that would revolt :0)


33 posted on 08/13/2007 6:28:34 PM PDT by word_warrior_bob (You can now see my amazing doggie and new puppy on my homepage!! Come say hello to Jake & Sonny)
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To: Sir_Humphrey

Were this report issued, with these exact same words and same analysis, seven years ago, I doubt that any FREEPER here would disagree.


34 posted on 08/13/2007 6:34:31 PM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (Visit this thread 1-hour from now. In that time, an average of 416.6 more ILLEGALS will be in the US)
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To: NewRomeTacitus

Ya. I’ll go buy a bunch of gold and build a fallout shelter. Call me when it’s over!


35 posted on 08/13/2007 6:36:02 PM PDT by PajamaTruthMafia
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To: Sir_Humphrey
Can this really happen to us on our watch?

Sure. Conservatives talk a mean game, but when push comes to shove they have seldom shown to have what it takes to take names and kick serious arse.

36 posted on 08/13/2007 6:36:21 PM PDT by HitmanLV ("Lord, give me chastity and temperance, but not now." - St. Augustine)
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To: AmericanInTokyo

Ya, but it wasn’t and that’s the point. The conditions aren’t that different.


37 posted on 08/13/2007 6:37:10 PM PDT by PajamaTruthMafia
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To: brigadoon

“so they must be experts on the “Fall of Rome”. They are plotting it every day....”

This hackneyed historical analogy misunderstands Rome’s decline and our problems.

Whenever intellectuals of the author’s ilk start fretting about fiscal solvency it is always being used as a Trojan horse for raising taxes. It is amazing how little the media and permanent washing bureaucracy cared about entitlement reform when Clinton was in office. It was as if this burning problem didn’t exist.

The reality of the situation is that the Social Security System’s problems could be solved with one stoke of the pen. Merely by restricting COLA adjustments to the Social Security system to the inflation rate would fix the system in near perpetuity. This simple change would reverse the current insane policy of computing COLA increases based upon labor force productivity rates. This bit of insanity was enacted in the 1970s.

Similar changes would quickly fix the other entitlement programs.

The only way in which we resemble Rome is in the way in which public officials have been co-opted by special interests I have a solution for that problem but it wouldn’t be pretty.


38 posted on 08/13/2007 6:40:23 PM PDT by ggekko60506
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To: Old Sarge
BushBushBushBushBushBushBush BushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBushBush!

That's, Emperor Bush.

39 posted on 08/13/2007 6:42:34 PM PDT by mhx
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Comment #40 Removed by Moderator

To: 353FMG
One of the many differences between us and Rome is that the latter did not have a death wish while we do. It is called globalization, multiculturalism, PC and the desire for diversity and not unity.

Well said. Some people nowadays seem to think that the Latin motto on our coins, e pluribus unum, should be translated, "out of one [people], many [cultures]."

41 posted on 08/13/2007 6:46:14 PM PDT by AmericanExceptionalist (Democrats believe in discussing the full spectrum of ideas, all the way from far left to center-left)
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To: Sir_Humphrey

Duncan Hunter will fix much of what any of the other candidates wouldn’t and couldn’t.


42 posted on 08/13/2007 6:48:05 PM PDT by familyop (cbt. engr. (cbt.)--has-been)
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To: Sir_Humphrey
Can this really happen to us on our watch?

Yes and it will, unless a major effort is made to stop it.

43 posted on 08/13/2007 6:48:30 PM PDT by sauropod (You canít spell crap without the AP in it.)
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To: Sir_Humphrey
declining moral values and political civility at home

Yes, without question

an over-confident

NO EFFIN' WAY. This guy has NO understanding of military history or operations. The American military, with as few hands as it has, relatively speaking, is the strongest military force EVER. Period. It's due to technology, training, logistics, and morale.

and over-extended military in foreign lands

Maybe, but only because they haven't been allowed to fight and decisively win the war. This is due to political correctness. Otherwise they'd be home.

and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government

YES, YES, YES, YES . . .

44 posted on 08/13/2007 6:50:12 PM PDT by Hardastarboard (DemocraticUnderground.com is an internet hate site.)
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To: AmericanExceptionalist
The US government is on a “burning platform” of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country’s top government inspector has warned.

David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country’s future in a report that lays out what he called “chilling long-term simulations”.

These include “dramatic” tax rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments of holdings of US debt

I see a lot of knee jerking from country club Republicans. Walker sees skyrocketing taxes as a problem not a solution. I agree completely with what I read here. I am so sick of boomers having a huge party and sticking us with all the bills.

45 posted on 08/13/2007 6:54:19 PM PDT by bluetone006 (Peace - or I guess war if given no other option)
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To: Sir_Humphrey
"chronic healthcare underfunding..."

Did the Romans have government healthcare?

46 posted on 08/13/2007 6:55:22 PM PDT by Peter W. Kessler (Dirt is for racing... asphalt is for getting there.)
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To: ggekko60506

How would that work (in non-economic-major terms)? Turned what you said over for several minutes but it’s not getting anywhere.


47 posted on 08/13/2007 6:58:19 PM PDT by NewRomeTacitus
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To: Sir_Humphrey
Can't quite agree with the comptroller...

1) fiscal deficits: lower taxes some more and I bet revenues go up (Laffer Curve), further get our unfunded liabilities on the books (social security future payouts) and you can do this yourself Mr. Comptroller. If I ran a business with the accounting standards the Feds use, the IRS would put us out of business. Also, allow citizens to keep their own social security contribution and invest it. That will provide a better rate of return than the current system.

2) chronic healthcare underfunding: the US spends more of it's GDP than Britain, France and Canada do. We're not underfunded at all. If anything, we need to introduce more competition, and that can be done with tort reform.

3) immigration: agreed, illegal immigration is a bad deal for citizens, relatively inexpensive means to force illegals back to their home countries exist - prosecute those who hire illegals, that will slow things down quite a bit, and the Feds already have everything they need to do the job

4) overseas military commitments: Japan, Germany and other first world countries need to step up and pay for their own defense.

Easy huh?
48 posted on 08/13/2007 6:58:41 PM PDT by RKV (He who has the guns makes the rules)
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To: ggekko60506
>I have a solution for that problem but it wouldn’t be pretty.

So do I, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

behold, a pale horse.


49 posted on 08/13/2007 7:02:42 PM PDT by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: Peter W. Kessler
The healthcare underfunding is a bizare one. Military commitments can be overextended. Fiscall responsibility is needed. He did mention immigration.

But how did he miss over-taxation and corruption? I can tell you corruption is eating at the soul of this nation, it is widespread.

50 posted on 08/13/2007 7:03:46 PM PDT by Williams
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