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The first-rate idiots behind the new second-rate power
Townhall.com ^ | February 10, 2013 | Paul Jacob

Posted on 02/10/2013 5:55:18 AM PST by Kaslin

February 10, 2013

“It will begin. It will last ten years. It will be good for the economy. It will be very helpful,” anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist said recently. The “it” he refers to is what’s become known as “the sequester” — automatic spending cuts in the Budget Control Act of 2011 that were originally proposed and then signed into law by President Barack Obama, after being passed by both Houses of Congress.

Since everyone from Mr. Obama to the backest-bench blowhard congressman argues that we need to curtail out-of-control deficit spending, the idea was to propose some actual cuts . . . off in the future, mind you. Moreover, these particular spending cuts were designed to be so unpalatable to both Republican and Democratic politicians that both sides would be forced to come together, at some point, to agree on more thoughtful reductions in spending. The time to do this? Back then, that dreaded far flung future was today.

Add time management to the long list of Washington’s failures.

That both parties kicked the can down the road back in 2011, that they concocted and armed what they intended to be a mini-doomsday machine, and that these two colorful armies of partisan Dr. Strangeloves could not come together to disarm their creation is stunningly no surprise at all.

Now, as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta steps down, he complains again that, “If sequester takes place, and we suddenly have another half a trillion dollars [over ten years] that I got to take out of the defense budget, in an across-the-board fashion, frankly, the defense strategy we put in place I’d have to throw out the window.”

Sorry to hear that, Mr. Secretary. Perhaps that’s why, as recently as last September, a Pentagon spokesperson admitted “we have not begun any planning efforts” to address the looming 7.3 percent reduction in military spending for 2013. (Were none of the Pentagon big-shots ever Boy Scouts?)

The exclamation point in Panetta’s testimony before Congress last week was his conclusion that, “Instead of being a first-rate power in the world, we’d turn into a second-rate power. That would be the result of sequester.”

Hmmm. Doesn’t sound very safe. We’re not talking about losing farm subsidies for wealthy corporate farm companies or free cellphones for those on the receiving end of other welfare programs or the money to reward green-energy cronies. The military keeps us safe . . . when it’s not blowing up bad guys (along with women and children) in countries most of us can’t find on the map.

What Panetta and others decrying these supposedly “massive” cuts don’t bother to mention is anything about the actual numbers. The U.S. Government spent $711 billion on the military in 2011 — more than the next twelve nations combined.

The next closest are China and Russia. In 2011, China spent $143 billion on its military and Russia $72 billion. Yet, a number of recent media reports hype the fact that in coming years military spending in China and Russia may eclipse the U.S., when figured as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product. But China’s GDP is less than half of ours and Russia’s GDP compares at only 12 percent.

If, after sequestration, we become a second-rate power, it’s comforting to realize there would certainly be no first-rate powers ahead of us.

“So if you imagine for every dollar spent on militaries in the world, 40 cents of it is spent by the U.S. and roughly . . . another 45 cents of it is spent by our allies,” explains Peter W. Singer, a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution. “If sequestration happens, we go from spending about 40 cents out of every dollar to about 38 cents out of every dollar. So you decline, but not by this massive amount.”

Moreover, when it comes to national defense, cutting our dangerous deficit spending is the most important action we can take. As Admiral Mike Mullen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, argues, “Our national debt is our biggest national security threat.”

Of course, there is still time before March 1 to avoid these cuts. Obama calls for a balanced approach by raising taxes and making other cuts — unlike the fix fashioned over New Year’s in which no cuts were made and only tax increases imposed.

This time, however, smart Republicans like Mr. Norquist and columnist Charles Krauthammer realize it is Mr. Obama who is squirming and they are warning their brethren not to cave to the president. “This is the one time Republicans can get cuts under an administration that has no intent of cutting anything,” Krauthammer wrote recently. “Get them while you can.”

Indeed, the GOP-controlled House has already passed legislation replacing the sequestration cuts with different but equivalent spending reductions. President Obama can choose which cuts he prefers.

Besides, he can console himself: even with these cuts, Obama can still go down in history as the nation’s all-time biggest deficit spender.      [references, citations]


TOPICS: Editorial
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 02/10/2013 5:55:22 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
(Were none of the Pentagon big-shots ever Boy Scouts?)

I guess the author is unaware that there is a ban on Homosexuals in the Boy Scouts...

2 posted on 02/10/2013 6:03:53 AM PST by Cowboy Bob (Soon the "invisible hand" will press the economic "reset" button.)
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To: Kaslin
Anything which reduces the federal budget -- ANYTHING -- is a good thing. I'm not at all sure that the sequester is big enough to really matter or help things get significantly better -- but bring it on!

The way out of this mess is to cut deeply and cause much-o pain-o. And sensible politicians are going to have to get over the standard notion that: "If we cut really stupidly, people will beg us to stop cutting, and then we can all hop back on the gravy train!!"
No.
There are plenty of juicy places to cut that will not result instant crisis or national weakness. Cut smart and this CAN be done in a patriotic way. But the pain is inevitable. Cutting budgets means cutting jobs. But a lot of those jobs are useless. Get those people out of the government and get them contributing to the generating of wealth as part of the national economy. Everyone will benefit.

3 posted on 02/10/2013 6:06:35 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (Nothing will change until after the war.)
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To: Cowboy Bob

So... the Pentagon big-shots are homos? I’m a little confused by your logic. Help me out here.


4 posted on 02/10/2013 6:08:46 AM PST by bigdaddy45
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To: Kaslin

If we can’t handle a 7.3% cut how will we ever eliminate a 40% deficit?


5 posted on 02/10/2013 6:11:29 AM PST by csmusaret (I will give Obama credit for one thing- he is living proof that familiarity breeds contempt.)
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To: Kaslin
“If sequester takes place, and we suddenly have another half a trillion dollars [over ten years]...

Whenever Congress talks about a 10 year plan, or even a 5 year plan, it is just smoke and mirrors. Congress knows that any budget can be changed, added to or erased from history by the next Congress (and yes, even by the current Congress, shhhhhhh) and usually is.

It's all blah, blah, blah.

6 posted on 02/10/2013 6:18:55 AM PST by VRW Conspirator (Sometimes it takes calamity to lead to serenity - FReeper RacerX1128)
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To: ClearCase_guy

Also, I think you can beat-up the areas that REALLY NEED TO BE CUT with these cuts. You can slam the AARP with sacrifices the Military is making and demand that they do their share. Old people need a little more sense of guilt in this country and a little less sense of entitlement.


7 posted on 02/10/2013 6:27:25 AM PST by Empire_of_Liberty
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To: csmusaret

Bring it on. Sequester is a drop in the bucket to what really needs done.

Politicians live in a dream world where the Fed prints money to cover any expense the libs want. Need a trillion for welfare, here you go. Need a trillion to give to your green energy cronies, here you go. Give the conservatives a trillion for the military and that will keep them quiet.

And you Mr. Taxpayer get the privilege of paying for it.

How much longer will we put up with it?


8 posted on 02/10/2013 7:40:50 AM PST by Lets Roll NOW (A baby isn't a punishment, Obama is)
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To: Empire_of_Liberty
Empire, why did you choose to attack the elderly? There seems to be plenty of Americans of all ages who have a sense of entitlement.

I'm nearing retirement age and have lived well below my means for over 30 years in order to save for a retirement that assumes social security will go bankrupt. Why do you include me in your claim?

9 posted on 02/10/2013 7:54:43 AM PST by Senator_Blutarski
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To: Senator_Blutarski

It’s because of all of the television adds I am bombarded with (almost all AARP-connected) for what simply have to be Medicare swindles, Social Security riders, and Reverse Mortgages. They definately project too great a sense of entitlement. Whether we can admit it to ourselves, or not, SS is certainly a Ponzi-scheme and Medicare is beyond bankrupt. What right do people have to collect on a Ponzi-scheme they paid into, and at who’s expense? I suspect not much.

I think the nation, young and old, bought into SS because the young saw themselves freed of having to take care of their parents, and the old saw themselves freed to live as these ads project. In the end, it was a lie and a fraud that has helped destroy the family in this country and robbed the people if this country for a greedy and wasteful Government.

Maybe my “attack” sounds too harsh, but the cuts are going to have to come to these obsurd entitlement programs, and this will almost exclusively impact the elderly. When everything else is cut, and the nation is even defenseless against a powerful and beligerent China and a restored Russia (defense being one of the few, legitimate responsibilities of our Federal Government) the elderly will have to accept the cuts as well. The TV ads I see for programs to gouge these dying entitlements project a strident selfishness, to me, an attempt to “whistle past the graveyard” and pretend that this is not the case.


10 posted on 02/10/2013 8:31:25 AM PST by Empire_of_Liberty
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To: Empire_of_Liberty
I think the nation, young and old, bought into SS because the young saw themselves freed of having to take care of their parents, and the old saw themselves freed to live as these ads project. In the end, it was a lie and a fraud that has helped destroy the family in this country and robbed the people if this country for a greedy and wasteful Government.

Yep.

11 posted on 02/10/2013 8:33:31 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator; Empire_of_Liberty
Yep.

Thirded.

I'm 50 and expecting nothing from SS.

I plan on working until I croak. Fortunately, the work I do doesn't require heavy lifting.

Also, from a Christian point of view, I don't like the idea of retirement as a life-goal. Certainly, there may come a point where people physically or mentally can't work anymore. But the able-bodied should continue to contribute to society, or their families, however they feel called and are able. That doesn't have to be a full-time job.

A few years ago I read about a bed-ridden nun who spent her time knitting socks for the poor. I still remember the story, because her attitude was exemplary.

12 posted on 02/10/2013 8:48:36 AM PST by St_Thomas_Aquinas
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To: Empire_of_Liberty
"Old people need a little more sense of guilt in this country and a little less sense of entitlement."

You are wrong. Old people in this country were lied to by the media and their government their entire lives. Everything concerning those programs that imprisoned them were a fraud dressed as icing on the cake by design. It is only now that many have awakened to the truth that our very own government is, has been, and will be our biggest obstacle to regaining the liberty and freedom we were given by our nations founding fathers. Unfortunately for many, their misplaced trust in what their government and media have preached to them over and over has been abused.

I am approaching retirement age. I want social security abolished entirely. It is nothing more than government ownership of the elderly. The way to do this is simple. It must be done over a long enough period of time to be enacted in such a way that everybody wins something and gives something up in return.

1. Everyone currently on social security who actually paid into the system remains on the system until they die. Their cost of living increases would be adjusted as to amount and how often they occur. This means that over a four year time span, those who should never have been on the system in the first place, the real freeloaders, can receive a twenty-five percent reduction in benefits per year until they no longer receive anything and are off of the system.

2. Offer a one-time buyout to anyone within ten years of retirement such that they would be removed from the plan entirely and would never receive benefits. Their paychecks also would now be totally untouched by social security taxation making them an experienced, dependable, less expensive group of employees for anyone who hires them. This step alone would remove a considerable amount of future expense from the program making it a bit easier to manage as it is eliminated over time. Anyone who decides not to take the buyout will have to live with whatever adjustment are made to the plan in order to manage its cost. Whatever you borrow to fund this "buyout" will be easier to pay off and far less over time than having to pay the benefits they replace.

3. Those in the ten to twenty year range can be offered a smaller buyout or be stuck with whatever they end up with as the plan changes to contain cost.

4. Anyone over twenty years from retirement would be ineligible to receive benefits but their paychecks would still incur social security taxes until such a time as those taxes are no longer needed to fund paying recipients. Their net pay would rise as the number of those receiving social security die off. In a forty year time span, the program can be totally gone. This means that in twenty years time, you can get rid of social security and allow those who won't get it enough time to start saving for a personal retirement plan that THEY own, not the government.

Once this has been done, the real problem (the government itself, not the "old" people) will have been dealt with and permanently removed from the scene of the crime.

13 posted on 02/10/2013 9:49:16 AM PST by Uncle Sham
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To: Uncle Sham

I am not wishing to be combative, but do you really think I’m wrong?

As I posted elsewhere on the thread, these bankrupt programs are not dying quietly, or tightening their belts so that they can continue. They appear to be engaging in an orgy of spending with TV advertisements aimed directly at seniors (most connected to AARP) encouraging a selfish sense of entitlement.

You have obviously thought a lot about this, and you have some detailed ideas for a solution. I am afraid nothing so rational is in the works. I believe that what is, in fact, happening is the reckless orgy of spending and the encouragement of this sense of entitlement to make the elderly a willing part of whatever the Government comes up with next in order to escape the obligations it has for the money it has already stolen.

If, as you point out, this is all known to be a fraud, then there should be some reasonable sense of guilt from those on the receiving end as well as a willingness to adjust to a non-fraudulent solution.


14 posted on 02/10/2013 11:49:38 AM PST by Empire_of_Liberty
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To: Empire_of_Liberty

Old folks should be happy with their three cans of cat food a day.


15 posted on 02/10/2013 2:32:55 PM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
And guess what, they can still call those meals 'three squares'!


16 posted on 02/10/2013 2:35:45 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: Empire_of_Liberty
"I am not wishing to be combative, but do you really think I’m wrong?"

Yes.

Your anger is pointed in the wrong direction. It should be pointed squarely at the source of the problem, your government. Its actions are the ones turning you against "greedy, self-serving" old people. Your response is EXACTLY what the present government wants, blaming and acting upon other citizens rather than the government which is causing the problem.

"Old people" include your parents and grandparents. "Government" is just an ugly word for an ugly set of people who want to control you.

17 posted on 02/10/2013 2:59:23 PM PST by Uncle Sham
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

They shouldn’t need an immoral Ponzi-scheme to provide them with more.

Do they hate their families, or something? We’ve all bought into this Democrat lie. We ought to be able to buy our way out of it.


18 posted on 02/10/2013 3:12:48 PM PST by Empire_of_Liberty
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To: Uncle Sham
Your plan makes too much sense to ever get a chance in Washington. Too bad it would probably work (didn't Paul Ryann propose something like that and get ridiculed for his efforts?)

Regards,
GtG

19 posted on 02/10/2013 3:46:31 PM PST by Gandalf_The_Gray (I live in my own little world, I like it 'cuz they know me here.)
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To: Uncle Sham

It’s informative that you can find no moral fault in wanting to be a continuing recipient of money taken through a fraudulent Ponzi-scheme, one that everyone can admit has no hope of continuing. That this can cause no sense of shame or even willingness to compromise shows that these kinds of programs cannot be saved, which I suppose is a good thing. Unfortunately, it also indicates that they will likely be replaced by even bigger affronts to morality and justice.

The solution you proposed (with its own ridiculous immorality, such as item 4 - the young pay in, and get nothing...yeah, that’s justice) will not even be tried. As I said, the system is spending itself into oblivion, now. It’s setting the elderly up to be a mob that will demand whatever Ponzi-scheme the Federal Government wants to set up next.

The elderly have a choice. If they think that the Government will be better caretakers of them than their families, I think they will be sorely dissapointed.


20 posted on 02/10/2013 4:01:46 PM PST by Empire_of_Liberty
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To: Empire_of_Liberty
"It’s informative that you can find no moral fault in wanting to be a continuing recipient of money taken through a fraudulent Ponzi-scheme"

Morality is based upon truth and honesty. Those who paid in should get what they paid for. This is not greed, its what they were sold. Whens the last time you paid the price of a car and settled for a bicycle? I would get rid of those who never paid in over a four year time frame.

"The solution you proposed (with its own ridiculous immorality, such as item 4 - the young pay in, and get nothing...yeah, that’s justice)

The "young" get their freedom and their old age back in their hands. The cost is minimal and over time, as recipients die off slowly is reduced to zero. This means that every year they get a nice raise in pay just thanks to a few more of those despicable, greedy, old people dying off. In addition, they get a twenty year, at minimum, head start on their own retirement accounts that will belong entirely to them. Lets see, they don't ever become prisoners of the government old age plan and their accounts belong entirely to them to do with what they want. I would say they eventually end up with everything. Yet you call it "nothing".

You are pissed. OK. Look for a better solution than hating old people. In addition, have that moral compass of yours looked at. Its sending you in the wrong direction.

21 posted on 02/10/2013 7:44:05 PM PST by Uncle Sham
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To: Uncle Sham

You are in denial

If I buy a stolen car, it gets taken from me.

The freedom of the young is not yours to give.

I am not “pissed”, you are. Go re-read the posts, you will see that I am right.

You are an excellent example of why this is the “third rail” of politics. No reasonable discussion can be maintained. You never were “investing” the money was stolen, and it’s not there anymore. But the sense of entitlement is all-consuming, and you propose nothing but more theft in order to get what you think you “deserve”.

I call for a different approach, for the elderly to accept their responsibility for an unworkable system, one that is, in fact, a lie. This acceptance could be part of salvaging something of it.

The Government already has its solution. It is the government take-over of health care in this country, “death-panels” and all. But it seems you like this better.

One more point. All of the name-calling of the elderly in this thread is coming from you. I characterized the AARP advertisements aimed at them and the government with terms like “greedy” and “selfish”. If you are trying to characterize my view of the elderly with the sarcasm in your posts, you are failing miserably.


22 posted on 02/11/2013 5:18:28 AM PST by Empire_of_Liberty
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To: Kaslin
We’re not talking about losing farm subsidies for wealthy corporate farm companies or free cellphones for those on the receiving end of other welfare programs or the money to reward green-energy cronies. The military keeps us safe . . . when it’s not blowing up bad guys (along with women and children) in countries most of us can’t find on the map.

"Provide for the Common Defense" IS in the Constitution, none of the rest are.

That said, there is waste on the procurement side, and there will be places to trim costs without necessarily cutting capability, (as soon as the social experiments are shut down).

23 posted on 02/11/2013 5:31:18 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: csmusaret
If we can’t handle a 7.3% cut how will we ever eliminate a 40% deficit?

No doubt more regulations on everything will get the job done! (/sarc)

24 posted on 02/11/2013 5:34:17 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: Empire_of_Liberty
What right do people have to collect on a Ponzi-scheme they paid into, and at who’s expense? I suspect not much.

If people had willingly paid into the Ponzi scheme, that'd be one thing. It wasn't optional, any more than the chunk that goes out of my accounts every year for "self-employment tax". (Do you realize how absurd it sounds to tax ME for doing all the work?)

I don't want eternal payments of thousands of dollars, just give me my money back.

The victim of any Ponzi scheme has the right to sue to recover losses from the assets of the thief. The thief, in this case, owns over half of the land west of the Mississippi.

So let me pick out a reasonable acreage from Federal Land, and we can call it good.

25 posted on 02/11/2013 5:41:26 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: Smokin' Joe

Nothing a few hundred billion dollars here and there can’t fix according to Dear Leader and that little groundhog Krugman.


26 posted on 02/11/2013 5:59:35 AM PST by csmusaret (I will give Obama credit for one thing- he is living proof that familiarity breeds contempt.)
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To: Smokin' Joe

You have good points. I would like the acreage, too.

I don’t know if you can sue the Federal Government, but I suspect not.

The “just give me my money back” is the craw-sticker. It’s a lot of money, and the Federal Gov has already stolen and spent it. They don’t want to have to give anything back, or even admit the fraud in the first place. They’re looking for how to get more, and National Healthcare looks like the answer.

I would write-off the stolen money to NOT follow the Europian death-spiral, but this seems not to be an option. We are going to have Government Healthcare and then a VAT tax, and finally the loss of all concept of private retirement (except of course for the politically-connected). I marvel that we can watch it all happening, but still follow right-along with the program. I guess the Government certainly knows how to control us.


27 posted on 02/11/2013 6:01:01 AM PST by Empire_of_Liberty
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