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Red Steele
Veteran Advisor

some more good stuff from the "new" Time Magazine

This is from a man named Yural Levin, or something like that. A well balanced article about the two Americas and how the two sides differ in what they see, and what they think the solutions should be. Explains how a guy well versed in government, like Bruce, would see more government as the ultimate solution, and how a tight conservative farmer like myself would see that cutting government and wasteful spending is the only solution that has any chance of success.

 

As a side note, this Levin guy is able to disect Krugman with a sharp knife, too..Google Levin on Krugman for more of that. Enjoy!

 

www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2061071,00.html

52 Replies
Red Steele
Veteran Advisor

Re: some more good stuff from the "new" Time Magazine

The Debt Dilemma
Click here to find out more!

 

Leaders of democracies, like bear wranglers at the circus, must be experts at reading moods. Most of the time, the leaders of our two major parties seem to have much the same sense of the voters' basic concerns. But for the past two years, the parties have been operating under very different understandings of the public temper.

Democrats believed that the economic crisis made the electorate yearn for security, thereby creating an openness to large public programs. They enacted a gargantuan stimulus bill, expensive health care reform and other expansions of government. Republicans believed that the crisis alarmed voters about runaway government and debt, thus leaving them open to paring back the state. They ran on stopping and reversing the spending binge. (Fix the deficit? We can do that.)

The 2010 elections suggested the Republicans were closer to the mark. But the Democrats continue to bet that voters were only venting and will reject actual cuts to popular programs. And so in the great budget battle raging in Washington, we still see two very different assessments of the public on display.

On its face, the debate is about how to address the government's enormous deficits and debt while growing the economy. The problem's scale is daunting. At more than $10 trillion, our debt has doubled in the past five years and will double again by decade's end. By the early 2030s, it will be roughly twice the size of our entire economy (far larger than the largest national debt in our history, right after World War II) and still growing out of control, gravely threatening future growth and prosperity. (What does the national debt crisis mean for the environment?)

The biggest reason for this long-term debt explosion is our system of entitlements. Republicans and Democrats in Washington both understand that reforming those entitlements (especially Medicare) is essential to making a real dent in the debt. But both also know that entitlement reform has always been deeply unpopular with voters.

That is where the parties' readings of the public mood become crucial. Because they believe that voters are just as opposed to entitlement reform as ever, President Obama and the Democrats have basically declined to offer any solutions to the nation's fiscal crisis. In his State of the Union address, the President said it was important to confront the problem of entitlement spending but did not propose to actually do so. The 2012 budget he released in February offered no reforms either and would accelerate the growth of debt.

Republicans, on the other hand, believe this is a fundamentally new moment in our politics and that political calculations need not lead to irresponsible policy. They have therefore committed to offering entitlement reforms in their 2012 budget, due out in early April. It seems that although they will be vague about Social Security, they will propose concrete reforms to Medicare. They are likely to leave untouched the benefits of Americans now over age 55. But for those who are younger, Medicare would be transformed into a system of vouchers that recipients would use to buy approved insurance of their choice. (See TIME's graphic on collective outrage.)

The vouchers would provide about the same level of coverage as seniors currently get (with a little more for the poor and less for the wealthiest) but would grow more slowly than Medicare costs have and induce efficiency by making consumers more cost-conscious. Over time, such reform would yield enormous savings. But will voters be open to it?

Recent polls suggest that both the President and House Republicans run great risks with their strategies. Voters want real action to restrain spending and borrowing, but they have not come to terms with the fact that only entitlement reforms could make any real difference. They are therefore likely to judge Obama's inaction as inadequate and the Republicans' proposals as excessive. The question is which would bother them more.

Republicans have one advantage, though: the fact that their proposal would leave all today's retirees and near retirees untouched could dramatically alter the entitlement debate. In the past, Democrats have opposed entitlement reform to great political advantage, mobilizing seniors in defense of their benefits. But this time, Republicans will be making an unusual offer to older voters: "We will leave your benefits as they are and rescue your grandchildren from debt and decline."

Republicans hope that this novel appeal will neutralize some of the strongest opposition to reform of our entitlement system, allowing them to accomplish what was once politically unthinkable and markedly improve the nation's fiscal outlook. Their political future and the next presidential election may well hinge on whether they have read the mood of the country correctly.

Levin is the editor of National Affairs magazine.

Red Steele
Veteran Advisor

Neutralizing the elderly votes to allow entitlement reform

Some smart guys at work within the conservative party .....something that has been sorely lacking.

r3020
Senior Advisor

Re: Neutralizing the elderly votes to allow entitlement reform

Could go a long ways, especially if it is coupled with many other cost savings and the elimination of a lot of useless government programs that have outlived there usefulness. The republican party need to emphasize shared sacrifice.

schnurrbart
Veteran Advisor

Re: Neutralizing the elderly votes to allow entitlement reform

You guys want the elderly to give up part of their social security and medicare but, in your "shared sacrifice", what is it that you young pups are going to sacrifice??

BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Neutralizing the elderly votes to allow entitlement reform

Schnurrbart, we would gladly give up Obamacare...I know I know "obamacare lowers the deficit" Smiley Very Happy  Smiley Very Happy  uh-huh yeah adding 30 million to the gov`t dole reduces the deficit.  We would give up farm subsidies.  We would give up over-paid public employees. We would give up bombing Libya. Then and only then let`s talk about a modest tax increase, preferably a gas tax.  Look folks, Obama`s new budget has a $1.65 Trillion deficit!!! That starts with a "T" which is Trouble, yes sir we have trouble right here in River City! You sure the F don`t want to be increasing the whinning entitlement culture. And oh yeah, means testing for social security, I won`t see it anyways.

hardnox604008
Advisor

Re: Neutralizing the elderly votes to allow entitlement reform

The military/industrial complex borrowed the $2.6 trillion in the SS trust fund.

 

Time to make them pay it back.

 

That can only be done by taxing people and corporations with means of magnitude.

 

Sorry dudes, the credit card bill is due.

schnurrbart
Veteran Advisor

Re: Neutralizing the elderly votes to allow entitlement reform

Yeah, that's about what I figured you would want to "give up"!  Could you explain to me, if you think you know, who these 30 million people are who are going to be on the "govt dole" as you say and just which govt dole are they going to be on?  The health care reform bill makes available insurances available to people SIMILAR to the way govt employees get their insurance now.  They have a large number of insurance companies who have agreed to offer insurance to a large group of potential customers thus lowering the premiums because of the large group.  You pick the one you like best.  None are "govt run" unless you think Blue Cross/Blue Shield is govt run.  Yes, some people would get a subsidy from the govt to help pay if they don't make over a certain amount.  At least, that subsidy would have provisions that specify that they couldn't make over that amount and still qualify for the subsidy--unlike the farm subsidy that you get now.  I thought you guys were all for spreading democracy throughout the world--especially the Middle East???

Red Steele
Veteran Advisor

Re: Neutralizing the elderly votes to allow entitlement reform

You guys  must not have even read the essay. the whole point was that those currently on social security have an axe to gore, and will fight tooth and nail at any attempt to cut away at their benefits. This is a way to avoid those political wars and get the USA going back into the right direction.

 

as for whatever trillion the military industrial complex owes, maybe they should pay it back. Put an exise tax on armaments that are going to be shipped to tyrants around the world and get the price of weapons of war up high enough so that the USA quits being the number one arms merchant in the world. Maybe you are on to something today, instead of on something. If the treasury doesn't net any money from this, maybe at least we slow down the trade to a trickle. And crooks like LBJ, Cheney, and the like would cease to prosper.

kraft-t
Senior Advisor

Re: Neutralizing the elderly votes to allow entitlement reform

Lets see. So far you have targeted labor and now seniors as if they haven't earned what they get. You don't think people making $2 Million can afford a 3% higher tax rate on the last earned dollar, but you think teachers and seniors should sacrifice thousands of dollars they have already earned.

 

Don't forget all of thousands of dollars you have saved from a friendly tax code and yet you still think you are overtaxed. School teachers cannot deduct $200 K from their income by buying a new tractor and another $200K by buying a combine next year. Think of all the taxes you have avoided that add to the federal debt.

 

Yet here you are out in rural america and only you can determine what these people are worth. The fact that other people have paid SS taxes for 50 years has no impact on your thinking..They just don't deserve what they have paid for.

 

SS is not in deficit. It never has been. Medicare has had a surplus up until now. They are not the cause of 14 trillion in deficits. The endless drive toward tax cuts and tax incentives has driven the treasury into debt. You cnnot solve the budgetary problems with tax cuts. SOMEBODY has to pay taxes. If not those that make money, WHO?

 

Budgetary shortfalls are an excuse to cut programs you don't want in the first place even when they have surpluses. Now you want seniors and workers to take cuts whane your object has only been to cut taxes. If we magically had a balanced budget, you would be calling for more tax cuts.