Until the GOP specifies its massive spending cuts, alongside its further tax cuts and huge defense spending plans, then they deserve to be treated with contempt. If you've touted yourselves as the champions of fiscal rectitude, you'd better have the proposals clear. We know what the record of Republican presidents is: more increased spending than Democrats in far better economic times. Voting for the GOP in the past has meant voting for more and more debt and spending. If they intend to break that pattern they better show us exactly how.

Electing Republicans to fix the budget is like hiring Jerry Sandusky to watch your kids.


Dave said...

I'll grant you that the GOP has spent a lot of money. I'd even say that under Bush 43 they were the party of borrow and spend. But at least the current GOP leadership is acknowledging there is a problem. With Obama you only get the idea that "the rich" will always be available to fund your every desire, and without any hint of personal responsibilty that might get in the way. Sure the Ryan budget isn't perfect, but it is as least a start, an acknowledgement that something needs to change on the spending side of the ledger.

Gino said...

like Dave, i'm hoping that maybe the current GOP leadership has gotten the religion they've been preaching... but i'm not betting any money on it.

Brian said...

Who is this GOP leadership of which you speak? It certainly isn't their presidential candidates.

Acknowledging that there is a problem means absolutely nothing without concrete solutions on offer. There are none. The only concrete policy positions anyone has taken are: 1) cutting taxes, and 2) increasing defense spending.

And they can get away with it because the average voter is too fucking stupid to realize that you can't balance the budget by cutting the NEA, support for Planned Parenthood, food stamps, and foreign aid.

Brian said...

By "anyone" I mean presidential candidates. Ryan has made an attempt, but he ain't steering this ship.

Mr. D said...

Electing Republicans to fix the budget is like hiring Jerry Sandusky to watch your kids.

True. And electing Democrats to fix the budget is like hiring John Wayne Gacy to watch your kids.

We need a better hiring process.

Brian said...

Empirically, the Dems have been better on the budget, at least in the presidency, for the last few decades.

Not great. But better.

Mr. D said...

Not the last three, though.

Brian said...

Public debt/GDP shrank under Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Carter, and Clinton, grew under Ford, Reagan, both Bushes, and (so far and very likely through his first term) Obama.

So, you're 1/3 right about the Dems, though arguably right about the only one that really matters in this discussion.

I'd also argue that neither Eisenhower nor Nixon would be electable in today's GOP.

I'm not arguing that people should vote for Obama because of the budget. I'm arguing that it's foolish to think that voting for Romney will make a damn bit of difference.

Mr. D said...

I'm arguing that it's foolish to think that voting for Romney will make a damn bit of difference.

Probably. And Truman, JFK and Clinton are not on the ballot, of course.

And I'd add that every one of the gentlemen on the list contributed to the issues we face in a significant way, regardless of party.

Gino said...

as for the budget issues, i believe we are AT the precipice. we may have already gone over.

the future, if there is one, scares the shit outta me.
Dark Ages 2.0 is my prediction, and sooner than you think.

at least i still have that plot of land to pitch a tent on.

Brian said...

Being the greatest country in the world is expensive, and ultimately unsustainable. Ask the UK.

I share your general pessimism, Gino, but I don't think we're looking at dark ages.

We are looking at some point in the relatively near future, a reckoning that you cannot have 1) broad entitlements for the middle class, 2) a global empire supported by unassailable military might, and 3) marginal tax rates that top out at 35%. ALL of those things have to be addressed.

The military's gotta get smaller and do less, and retirees are going to have to take a haircut on lifetime benefits. Medicare and social security need to have higher ages for eligibility, the cap on income taxed for them needs to be higher, and payouts should be rigorously means-tested. All the precious deductions in the tax code that have been used to social engineer (including the mortgage deduction) need to go away, and be offset by lower rates in the low to mid-income ranges. The top rates need to go up.

None of these proposals are radical in any meaningful sense. None require re-writing the Constitution. None even require "getting rid" of anything wholesale.

And none of them will get you elected.

I don't know what will force the reckoning. But if it doesn't turn around by the time I enter my peak earning years, I frankly do not plan to stick around (if I'm even still here by then.) If I'm going to pay a good chunk of my income into a welfare state, it will be one which I can reasonably expect to still be there when I need it.

Dave said...

First, I think we can all agree that we should see a radical increase in naval officer pay and allowances. I'm in desperate need of a fourth fully funded college degree.

Second, we should acknowledge that we get the politicians we want; they are literally the people's representatives and largely reflect the public's desires. That is, the government spends a lot because that's what the public likes. Politicians who oppose spending, especially specific programs, tend to lose. So I would guess that this largely explains the GOP's lack of specificity. Publically support a reduction in funding for the Dept of Education and you quickly find yourself accused of hating kids. To the extent that such behavior taints our political discourse, it largely serves as an indictment of those voters swayed by such rhetoric. My primary problem with the public's professed desire for increased spending and decreased taxation is that it is largely an exercise in wishful thinking fueled by the desire to get something for nothing. And that's where GOP leaders at least start to move in the right direction; Ryan's plan starts the process of acknowledging that there are financial consequences to spending that until now have largely been solved by borrowing. Obama's "plan" (to the extent you can have one without having passed a budget in 3+ years) continues to fundental falicy that we can continue to get something for nothing if only we take the money from "the rich." And besides being philosophically questionable, it also is mathematically impossible as the total confiscation of all income over $250k (even assuming such confiscation wouldn't affect economic behavior) would fund the federal govt for approx 2 weeks.

B is right in that the public doesn't seem to appreciate the scale of govt spending going to entitlement spending relative to such programs such as the Park service and NIH. I suspect that is in part because the public has largely lost track of huge numbers like $15 trillion. I would recommend that the debt be discussed in dollars per person; I would guess that saying the debt is $51000 per person would be more meaningful. Of course my share of the debt could be zero if I only voted for democrats, who would make others pay it for me.

Gino said...

it will be a different, more modern version of the Dark Ages, where i'll be blogging from it: outdoor living and more venison recipes.

peak earning years??? enjoy yours. mine are gone, along with a lot of other things i worked to build.