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Tuesday Talk: Where’s the Fiscal Fairness?

July 26, 2011 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

 Minnesotans called for a fair and balanced solution in the state budget negotiations. We didn’t get one. It appeared as though the federal debt ceiling talks might result in a more equitable solution, with millionaires at least shouldering some of the debt burden. Now, it looks like seniors and the middle class will bear the full deficit reduction burden.

What will it take to get back to a time of fiscal fairness?    

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  • Tony Rozycki says:

    July 26, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Where’s the fiscal fairness?

    Outside either party’s plan.

  • Don Knudson says:

    July 26, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Fiscal fairness is possible only when the ideology of conservative politics becomes toxic to voters.  As long as voters are willing to elect people who sign pledges to interest groups before they promise to serve the people of the state or nation, then we will remain with the current gridlock.

    It is true that Republican legislators in MN would have let the state remain closed until the next election without any problem because they made a pledge to their ‘no taxes god.’  Fanatacism in politics and religion run in the same stream of temptation to destroy the “enemy.” And of course, the enemy is us.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    July 26, 2011 at 8:31 am

    If we do Joe it will be because of the Democrat party that controls 2/3rds of the show here bud. Obamas, my way or the hyway speech last night sure made that clear. Looks like he bought himself the short term fix weather he likes it or not. I stand with the Repubs on this BS Joe. We can no longer aford 1 public employee for every 6 of us working for the private sector, it isn’t seniors and middle class taking the hit here it’s seniors and public employees your really crying about. In reality, it is not clear seniors are going to be hit that hard either. Fixing entitlements like SS and medicare should have been done a long time ago, not in the middle of a crisis. Medicare fraud must be contained, as it is presently a national embarasment and testimony to the failure of socialism in America second only to our Federally controled socialist education system.

  • Maggi Schiller says:

    July 26, 2011 at 9:10 am

    It took all of America to get us into our current fiscal mess.  It will take all of us to get out.  I think it is time to cut ALL spending - including monthly social security and welfare checks - by 5% so everyone has to face the fact that getting out of debt is the responsibility of all of us.  (Certainly that means we will have to provide for the truly poor who honestly can not help themselves.)  I personally think most Americans are willing to help, as long as EVERYONE has to help. 

    Once that 5% downpayment on fiscal responsibility is made, we need to get to work on a workable plan to get our house in order.  I consider myself to quite socially liberal.  I teach school and prepare income taxes for a living. I see huge opportunities for revenue, and for savings.  Cut the Earned Income Tax Credit and MN Working Family Credit by 20%.  End ALL special interest tax credits, while lowering corporate tax rates.  Limit itemized deductions, although that needs to be done VERY carefully so as not to further damage the housing market.  Broaden the base for MN sales tax to clothing and some additional services.  (Yes, this is regressive tax policy, but the poor get huge benefits from government - paying a little sales tax would be a way for them to share in a debt reduction plan.) Impose a 2% national sales tax on all internet sales - 1% to be used exclusively to pay off treasury debt and 1% to go to states, by population, to reduce their debt.  Limit growth in government spending, while recognizing we need government services.  Bring our military home and put them to work building roads and bridges and improving the electric transmission grid here rather than around the world.  Enact national health care with an emphasis on prevention.  Quit complaining about paying for health care for illegal aliens - we will pay for it in the emergency room if we do not pay for it up front! 

    There are ways to make life better and more equitable here in the US and in MN.  But we need patriots who know what the word compromise means and who are honestly more concerned about the common good than they are about getting reelected.

  • Greg says:

    July 26, 2011 at 9:19 am

    The Republicans and their sycophantic supporters, suffer from a shared set of psychological dysfunctions.  They’re like folks who abuse chemicals to deal with the stress and discomforts of their lives; the use of such chemicals (legal or not) only rendering their lives even more stressful and uncomfortable.

    But instead of chemicals, the Republicans are addicted to ideas and an ideology which are doing to them the same things those chemicals do to those who are addicted to them:

    Like addicts in the midst of their chosen “high,” they wrap the demonstrably false ideas and the ideals they base on such falsehoods around themselves like a warm, cozy blanket, and reject everything else, as well as all efforts to help them escape their addiction.

    In the words of experienced recovering addicts everywhere, the Republicans need to HIT BOTTOM.

    Sadly, they currently have sufficient political power to make sure that ALL the citizens of the US hit bottom with them (and yes, that means YOU, TOO, Wall Street, banks, and the fabulously wealthy).

    Of course the underlying motivation is arising from these dysfons’ own missing personality pieces which are acting as tricksters seeking to get even for decades of being locked in internal exile within their dysfunctional owners.

    That “getting even” takes the form of creating undeniable, self-destructive urges which cause the Republicans to create a world which will constantly rub their noses in everything they’ve long been incapable of experiencing or expressing: compassion, empathy, and the ability to trust those whose opinions might differ from your own.

    The more they gain control and follow their own dysfunctional ideologies, the more the rest of us (and they, themselves) will find themselves living in a world where the genuine need for empathy and compassion, as well as the need to trust those whose help you need, even if you don’t agree with them, will become the norm for ALL of us (even the dysfons, themselves).

    Healthy people will struggle, but will be able to function in such a world. The dysfons, however, in getting everything they demanded in order to build what their trickster urges told them would be a perfect world, (this means you, Mr. Norquist) will each find themselves living in their own personal hell on earth,...

    Only to find that, when they leave this life behind, God is not amused with them either.

  • Greg says:

    July 26, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Gee, Maggi, I must have missed the part in your plan where those who have seen their incomes double, triple, and quadruple over the past 30 years, while their income taxes were cut, and their capital gains taxes were cut to a percentage FAR below what average people pay on their incomes, are being asked to sacrifice even a single penny to deal with this deficit.

    Did you leave out that paragraph, or do you honestly believe (as you’ve laid out) that we must solve the deficit only by further impoverishing the poor and elderly in order to leave the wealthy untouched?

    Somehow that doesn’t qualify as “fiscal fairness,” does it?

    Continuing the class warfare the rich have been waging against the poor and middle class since the days of Ronnie Raygun is more like it.

  • Ginny says:

    July 26, 2011 at 10:02 am

    What a sharp divide in focus between the two speeches last night, Obama and Boehner. I don’t believe Boehner once mentioned human beings in his deficit reduction address. They do not seem to matter in his world of cuts, statistics, percentages, government growth or whatever.
    Big problem in those who believe they are governing the country or state, not to notice its residents.

  • Dan Conner says:

    July 26, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I see WD Billy is at it with his ignorant statements.  First, Democrats don’t control 2/3rds of governemtn here.  In Minnesota the House and Senate are both controlled by Republicans.  That means 2/3rds are controlled by Republicans.

  • Dan Conner says:

    July 26, 2011 at 10:11 am

    In another ignorant statement WD Billy says there is one Federal employee for every 6 workers?  I think WD Bully better go back to math class.  There are about 2 million Federal employees and about 125 million workers.  That means there is about 1 Federal employee for every 60 workers.

    I think WD Billy needs to be concerned about GIGO (garbage-in garbage-out).  He draws silly conclusions based on wildly inaccurate facts.  Hopefully, he doesn’t expect readers to find him credible.

    I think WD Billy needs to spend more time researching the facts and less time running off with the keyboard.

  • Christeen Stone says:

    July 26, 2011 at 10:12 am

    As I listened to both speeches last night I went back in my thoughts to The Great Depression. I was a 9 year old when it began, old enough to be very much aware of the suffering going on around me. My dad was a soldier so we had an income, meager though it was. We like everyone else tried to help those around us. There was a lot of discussion but no action until F D Roosevelt gained office in 1933 so I always felt he had brought the plans that
    brought us out of the Depression. However,
    I was corrected by a Historian I trust that the plan was a bipartisan one that had been presented to Hoover who wouldn’t accept it.
    It was evident Big Business and Corporation was the driving concern in
    Boehner’s Speech. So my suggestion is we need real Campagin Reform so legislators are serving the people, not the highest paying lobbyist. This is not about POLITICS it is about what keep America a
    free and just nation.

  • Dan Conner says:

    July 26, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I could make several replies to WD Billy’s mistatements of fact and conclusions, but suffice it to say, he draws conclusions before the facts.  Then, he suggests people, old people and others need to have Social Security taken away. 

    I suggest that WD Billy lead the way and forego his own benefits.  He has written before about the meaningless and poorly paid work.  Instead, he lives off public largess while he wants to terminate benefits for others.  Isn’t that hypocritical?

  • Cee Vee says:

    July 26, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I believe the only thing that can possibly restore fiscal fairness is the next election.  Politicians need to find out that, even though their wealthy campaign contributors can fill their war chests, the common person has the power of the vote.  They need to find out that they must do what’s best for the country as a whole and not just please lobbyists.
    For this to happen, we need to act as educated and informed voters.  We need to stop letting slickly-produced ads and sound bites influence us and spend some time checking the candidates’ records and backgrounds on our own…and to look at more than one source. In short, we need to get involved.
    (I realize I’m preaching to the choir here.)
    I want to scream every time I hear people say that politics bore them or they hate politics.  Lots of things in life are not particularly interesting or pleasant, but they are necessary.

  • Dan Conner says:

    July 26, 2011 at 10:25 am

    There currently is no fiscal fairness.  The wealth and income gap between the rich and poor is greater than at any time in US history and yet the rich pay proportionately less than the middle class in taxes. 

    Multi-billion-dollar earning hedge fund managers pay a lesser tax rate than the wage earners working for them.  Today, the top 5% of the wealthiest people in our country have virtually ALL our country’s wealth.  The top 400 people in our country have almost 1/2 our country’s wealtb.  This is not only unhealthy, but it is dangerous.

    Today, the superwealthy are now spending their extreme and mostly unearned wealth, on consolidating political power.  If the current trend continues, the super-rich will own our country.  We will be mear serfs working for enormous corporations and shopping in a company store.

    This will mean a loss of freedom for everyone, except for the very few super-rich.

  • Bernie says:

    July 26, 2011 at 10:30 am

    WD Billy’s ignorant statement as you put it Dan is in reference to the Congress. Perhaps you should sharpen your reading skills. Read his post again, slowly this time.

  • Dan Conner says:

    July 26, 2011 at 10:44 am

    In the moronic debate about Government vs private sector health care fraud, it should be noted that it is the private sector that defrauds Medicare. 

    Our electorate is so ignorant of the facts and implications that in Florida they elected the Tea Party CEO (Rick Scott)of a health insurance corporation that defrauded Medicare out of about $1.6 billion.  That was the largest Medicare fraud in US history.  However, Tea Party voters apparently admired those credentials and elected him Governor of Florida.

    It is amusing the Tea Party voters elect criminals to political office and complain about corruption.  I suggest they first become informed.

    Tea Party FOX worshippers seem to get too much of their information from a fraudulent and criminal source.  These are people who need to be in prison, not in or affecting political office.

  • KJC says:

    July 26, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I almost don’t know where to start on this topic, as things are so greviously out of whack.  Every statistical measure shows the middle-class being hammered… that the last decade was the first since the Great Depression (and this was already true by 2007… even before the Big 2008 Crash) where median incomes were falling.  but our costs sure didn’t, did they?  Horrible squeeze.
    There’s plenty of solid observations on this thread already, so I’ll start a new aspect to it.  When you look at states where the anti-big-government rhetoric is consistently the loudest, what is another unifying feature that they share?  They are nearly all states that get more back, in federal government spending, that they pay in, in taxes.  Yes, the big complainers are also the big net “gainers.” (Like South Dakota, which gets $1.5 back for each $1 they’ve put in, for example.) 
    This exemplifies the kind of pretense that’s masquerading as “thinking” that is going on in our great fiscal debate.  People don’t ‘fess up to how much they’re getting, and obviously are thinking that “it won’t be them, because they’re earned theirs etc” until… it is.  As long as there is this magnitude of denial, it is difficult to have a rational conversation.  Somehow we must.
    With mirth, I suggest: that I’d be happy to the person to tell all those states (add Florida and Texas to S.D… and there’s many more, usually in the South) where there is all this anti-government screaming going on:  “Don’t like us?  No problem, just send us the money back!!”
    Where’s the fiscal fairness indeed, when the winners in the “who gets the federal dollars” game are also the biggest whiners and complainers.  It’s time everybody called them “out” on this.
    If you don’t, please don’t expect that there will be any genuine solution(s) any time soon.  We the People….

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    July 26, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    First, thanks Bernie that saves one correction. The next is one “public” employee to every 6 of us in the private sector includes not only Federal employees, but also includes state, municipal, and county as well. As for the “more research” statement, I think you need new glasses. It seems you like funding every criminal organization on the planet through our medicare system. When I say every, I am speeking of the Russians, the Ethiopians, the Gianans and every criminal organization on this side of the Atlantic as well. Some are placing the fraud figure at over 20%, apparently that works well with your wealth sharing views Dan?

  • Dan Corbett says:

    July 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    There is supposedly a “Social Contract” between the governed and those governing in the name of the people When those in power blatantly disabuse their positions of power to the detriment of the people, the social contract has been abrogated.  Government, both nationally and in our state, no longer functions to the benefit of the people.  Instead, overt racism, elitism, plutocracy, and the most narrow-minded social and political agenda in this country’s history, is being presented as “patriotism.”  This patriot has had it.  If the Democrats don’t have the wherewithal to maintain principles of equity and fairness against the insane actions of the Republicans, it is time for a new political movement.  The social contract is broken, and God help the citizens of the Republic if this continues.

  • Dan Conner says:

    July 26, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Well, Bernie, if WD Billy is talking about “Congress” then he should have said so.  When he uses the term “here” is is easy for one to interpret that as Minnesota.  I suggest WD Billy be clearer in his writing.  It should not be up to the reader to interpret what he says when he could have simply stated what he meant.

    Also, 2/3rds of the Government is not “controlled” by Democrats.  Republicans have a sizable majority in the House and the Democrtats have the narrowist of majorities in the Senate.  The ability and tendency of Republicans to filibuster each and every Democratic Senate proposal has allkowed the Republicans to bring Government to a screeching halt.  So there is hardly Democratic “control” there.

    The President obviously comprises 1/3 of Government, but his legislative agenda has been frustrated by Republicans content to bring Government to a halt.  The Republican party is both dysfunctional and unpatriotic.  They operate where it’s party over country.

  • M aggi Schiller says:

    July 26, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Greg, you are correct that I DID leave out the paragraph about tax reform which DOES make the wealthy pay their fair share.  Tax rates are not necessarily too low, in my opinion, but tax BREAKS are way too high and very unfairly distributed.  My point was, however, that taxing the wealthy ALONE will not solve the problem.  Everyone has to help, and if we don’t we will all suffer through higher interest rates, less service, a growing population of children living in poverty, and an even more rapidly diminishing middle class.

    Tax breaks to businesses that actually create permanent jobs and a safety net that actually encourages and helps people to work make sense.  Trickle down economics does not. And neither does an unregulated free enterprise system.  Balance, which implies a real concern for the common good, is the key that seems to be missing.

  • Dan Conner says:

    July 26, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    WD Billy - you need to get over your paranoid preoccupation with foreign countries.  Your nonsensical rant obout them are irrelevant and unrelated to the subject of this post.

    Second, you allegation of “criminal” activity doesn’t hold a candle to the Tea Party support and election of who should be a felon as Governor in Florida.  He defrauds Medicare of $1.6 billion and the Tea Party runs him for Governor.  Your alleged concern about fraud and corruption seem disingenuous in light of the Tea Part’s willingness to run and elect fraudsters for public office.  It’s hypocritical at best.

    Don’t get indignant about fraud and corruption and then support and elect the people who perpetrate it.

  • Dan Corbett says:

    July 26, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Interesting analysis, Bill.  How have you determined the percentage of fraud in a health care plan that has yet to be implemented?  Perhaps acquiring facts from an actual news source rather than the nonsensical and massively inaccurate partisan politics played by Fox News would provide you with a “fair and balanced” perspective or at least a rationale one.  Cutting social and medical programs that benefit all spectrums of the society without raising revenue, especially from the so called “job makers” who haven’t produced much in the way of jobs despite huge tax benefits and subsidies, defies any economic logic I’m aware of.  In a free society, all views are needed to arrive at the best possible solutions to shared problems.  Refusing to work toward this goal by walking out of talks and refusing to work with those with differing views is hardly the hallmark of Americanism ballyhooed by Republicans.  Again, how does this in any way represent a workable social contract?

  • Dan Conner says:

    July 26, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I suggest that WD Billy furnish facts about his allegation of criminal countries.  You know there are a lot of countries and people in this country that think our country is criminal.  We are a long way from being a straight-shooting nation.  Also, they have nothing to do with Medicare. 

    Again, I think WD Billy needs to look at the fraud figures for private health care insurers.  There is more than fraud there than with Medicare.

  • S Johnson says:

    July 26, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    We are witnessing the greatest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the rich in this country’s history. Since the 2002 tax relief to the wealthy everything has been going downhill for the middle class. It’s time to end this madness and the teaparty is making it worse. We have entered into class warfare.

  • Cathy says:

    July 26, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Getting back to the origional question….I am very disappointed in all the politics involved in the debt ceiling fiasco. Boehner was compromising at first, then he gave in to the Tea Party and now refuses to compromise. Our economic security depends on the outcome of this political mess. The Bush tax cuts are the main cause of the debt crisis. We are at 1950 tax levels. Is it a coincidence that the debt grew year after year after the tax cuts in 2001? We also lost jobs at the same time. Corporations hardly pay any taxes. What is wrong with closing tax loopholes? What is wrong with a balanced approach? Entitlements are not the problem.

  • Ginny Martin says:

    July 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I was working at a large multi-national company when Ronald Reagan was elected. A friend of mine, whose husband was in the Minnesota Senate, said, We are about to witness the greatest transfer of wealth from the poor and middle classes to the rich.” It took me aback, but she was right. Another friend said he and his wife planned to dedicate part of their income to a Black Education fund whose name I forget.
    We didn’t know the half of it back then, and I wonder if even they could have anticipated what would follow.
    Much of the rants sans facts are probably taken from the ALEC group. If you don’t know about it, check it out. Many of our conservative elected officials are members; ALEC has created hundreds of “model” legislation plans that follow the goals of privatization, no new revenue, and breaking the unions or any organization that might stand up to the big corporations. That’s why they have been targeted in the last couple of years. ALEC is heavily funded by the Koch brothers and similar billionaires who do not want to give up an iota of their power and money—although I can’t imagine what they do with it all. More than that, they are out to gain complete control of the government and bring about all these wonderful things like privatization.
    One more thing: yes, the next election is important, but I think this country is in for the long haul, and we will have to keep working and working to defeat the huge corporations that would prefer to run everything themselves.
    We need to inform ourselves and others and walk streets and knock on doors and try to get people to realize, if they don’t already, what is really going on. I think the polls suggest that they do know what’s going on, but we have to hammer it home.
    I think trying to respond to Billy is futile. He’s been saying the exact same thing no matter what the issue for a long time.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    July 26, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    I can agree with some of what you say, Maggi, but (and you’re not alone - even the president repeats the lie that Social Security must be cut) Social Security is 100% self funded with the contributions we make during our working lives.  It is our insurance against total poverty in old age or if one becomes disabled (one in seven) before retirement age.  It also supports the surviving spouses and the millions of children of workers who die before retirement age.  It adds not one penny to the deficit, but the Right wants to use the deficit as an excuse to kill it and all the social safety net. 

    In Minnesota, Governor Dayton could have funded all the health and human services bills handily if the Republicans had only agreed to reverse the Pawlenty tax cuts for the wealthy.  Now THAT would be fair, as many or most of them agree. 

  • Cathy says:

    July 27, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Ginny, how true. The Koch Brothers and Karl Rove hold 2 meetings per year and invite Republican leaders. Last year, Rep. Eric Cantor and Rep. Paul Ryan and 2 supreme court justices were seen at their meeting. Their main topics were to talk alike “Raising taxes is a job killer,” etc; eliminating taxes for corporations and the wealthy, squashing unions and entitlements. They have many organizations with disguised names such as Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Works, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Federalist Society, even the Chamber of Commerce is funded by them. Americans for Prosperity moved into Wisconsin and funded Scott Walker’s election. They are holding the reigns to legislation there. They are thick in our nation’s capitol, throwing their weight and money around.

  • Dan Conner says:

    July 27, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Bernice, I totally agree with you.  In fact, Social Security used to be off budget because of the fact that it was funded by a trust fund and not general revenues.

    Social Security has not contributed anything to our deficit.  In fact, it helped reduce the annual deficit for decades, while all Republican Presidents didn’t blink at causing annual deficits.  Now Republican want to destroy an unrelated program because of deficits they created?  Seem lkike some dubious plot to me.

    For decades Social Security has taken in more FICA taxes than it paid out in bnefits.  In 2011 it starts running a deficit and Republicans want to cut it?  What about the $3 trillion in Federal security notes held by Social Security?  They are a debt obligation of our Government.

    Republican generally seem to be financially irresponsible.  They now want to renege on past accrued debts and now they want to loot a trust fund promised the Social Secuity taxpayers.  Not much integrity there.  Kind of like FOX news and News Corp.  At least Great Britain is catching up with them.

  • Dan Conner says:

    July 27, 2011 at 8:54 am

    I agree Kathy.  While the Republicans constantly mouth “class warfare” when the Democrats proposing to increase taxes on the rich, the rich have demonstrated that they have actually been waging class warfare for years.  Y=They have amassed more money and power than at any time in history.  The rich have waged class warfare for years and they are winning.

    I’m afraid we are at or nearing the point of no-return, where the rich have permanently established financial and political advantages that can not be overcome.  The wealth of the rich is more skewed than ever and they are amassing political power like no other time in our country’s history.  This has to be stopped.

    Either people must standup to the corporate and rich takeover of our country or we will lose it.  We must all fight our serfdom.

  • Cee Vee says:

    July 27, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I agree, Dan.  Both public policy and politicians are being bought and paid for by the wealthy and corporations at an unprecedented rate.
    Unfortunately, the same can be said for our media. Class warfare is alive and well in America.  It began somewhere around 1980, and the affluent are definitely winning.  Talk radio and stations like FOX News have saturated the airwaves with the wealthy’s (excuse me, I meant to say “job creators’”) agenda to the point where the middle and lower classes are voting against their own best interests.
    My hope is that the findings of wrong-doing in Rupert Murdoch’s empire in Europe will lead to similar investigations here and the eventual reform of these supposed “news” tv and radio talk shows. They are nothing more than 24/7 political ads supporting the interests of rich.

  • KJC says:

    July 27, 2011 at 9:19 am

    There was this time in our great country, about a 100 years ago, called the “Gilded Age.”  Regulations were weak, and the wealthy and powerful built huge empires, and stamped out the competition… building huge levels of monopoly in many industries. 
    We got saved that time by?  Public outcry and the Supreme Court.  And to quote one of the Justices, as they were breaking up these excesses?
    “You can have concentrations of wealth, you can have democracy, but you can not have both.”
    I think far too many people are still toying with the idea that we can allow continued excess concentration without risking our democracy.  The Supreme Court has already spoken about that… it’s clear that trickle-down economics didn’t work that time either.
    We the People.

  • KJC says:

    July 27, 2011 at 9:36 am

    All the facts reported about the names of the groups and institutions are correct, and the tone of their participation represents the ugly reality of power politics.
    So let’s be extra fair?  Of all the institutions that are so clearly involved, one of them, just this once, has had an attack of sanity.
    That would be?  Yes, the Chamber of Commerce has done a kind of about face in the usual “lockstep” in the usual game of using the same “talking points” to give the illusion of consensus.
    Yes, The Chamber is openly leaning on Republicans to get the debt ceiling raised.  Of course, their members are quite likely to face both direct and indirect negative consequences from a default.
    Still, the fact that they’ve strayed from the usual blind lockstep spewing of “talking points,” on just this one issue, needs to be noted.

  • cathy says:

    July 27, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Since when do they add to the debt ceiling bill? It has never been done before. The other 117 times it was a one sentence bill to raise the debt limit. These are debts on spending already passed by congress. 2 unfunded wars, Bush tax cuts, unfunded Medicare part D for the drug companies. Today has been declared “national call in day” to congress. I called my 2 senators and representative and gave them an earfull.

  • KJC says:

    July 27, 2011 at 10:52 am

    You’re entirely correct Cathy, usually there isn’t something else attached to the debt ceiling bill.  Just a few words, changing the numbers in the existing legislation are put to a vote.
    It has been done many, many times.  Who even heard about this during the Bush administration?  A Republican Congress wasn’t trying to unseat a Republican President though, were they?
    So that’s different this time, the political situation as the next election looms.  I pointed that out to my elected officials, and made it clear that I didn’t like this being made into a crisis… one that instead of saving us money is going to cost ALL of us hundreds of billions.  Looking at the markets this week, you can already see the beginnings of that being the real outcome, the real practicality of governing… as opposed to the verbal pretenses behind a win-at-all-costs electioneering strategy.
    Thanks for doing your job as a citizen and calling your elected representatives, good job!

  • Paul Harder says:

    July 27, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I’m curious…

    If I have the numbers correct there are 87 members of the tea party caucus and there atre 435 members of the U.S. House of Reps. Seems to me that once you take out the tea party there are 348 non tea party members.

    It takes 218 votes to pass a bill.

    The Dems control 193 seats.

    So we can’t get 25 republicans out of 240 to vote with the democrats on this bill?

    Doesn’t this feel a little like “tyranny of the minority?”

  • Cathy says:

    July 27, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    KJC, you talked about the Gilded Age. Corporations and the wealthy paid little or no taxes, and controlled government,  which is where we are headed, again. The one who fought against it was Pres. Teddy Roosevelt -a Republican! They were furious with him and said that he betrayed his class.
    Boehner compromised at first but got orders not to from the Tea Baggers. They don’t realize that they are in control of our economic future. They are too busy signing pledges.

  • Dan Conner says:

    July 29, 2011 at 2:57 pm


    What bothers me about the “guilded age” was that many years later the Great Depression followed.  Ifear that could be repeated, only more quickly.

  • Dan Conner says:

    July 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Cathy—I forgot one other thing…the gilded age ocurred at a time our country was growing like crazy.  Population and the industrial revolution all grew at teh same time.  Most people in our country did far better.  Today, only the top 2% does better, and at everyone else’s expense.

  • Ginny says:

    July 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    The “panic” of 1929 was only one of many in the country’s history. There have been several. This era just closed in about 2008 has been compared to the gilded age, and many who were paying attention thought we would also see a depression. We did. Unemployment was 25%.
    FDR’s actions were helping us lift out of the depression. But in 1937, FDR thought we were out of the woods and started cutting taxes. Guess what! We were back in a depression that was only remedied by World War II.
    Any of that sound familiar? That’s why many economists were disappointed that Obama’s stimulus package was so paltry. It was not enough to really get us out, although it stopped some of the worst of the depression’s incursions.

  • Dan Conner says:

    August 1, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Ginny—you are so right.  It’s the same reason R. Reagan increased taxes after his massive tax cut after taking office.  He cut taxes too much.

    Taxing the high income groups will cause economic growth because income is redistributed, and most importantly, put into consumptive use.  The rich typically take a major share of their income and save or invest it. The poor and middle class consume with it.  Consumption is what maintains and grows the economy, not saving and investing.  Particlularly, when the saving is in banks to evade income taxes.

    At present, the rich are not even doing theire share to grow our economy.  They don’t pay their share of taxes and they don’t consume in proportion to their income.  They are referred to as “job creators?”  Hardly, the poor and middle-class create far more jobs.

    The question that should be asked is, “Would our country be most benefited by a few very rich people or millions of middle class?”  The obvious answer is millions of middle class.  The middle class are the consumers which create economic growth, more business investment and the creation of jobs.

    It is impotrtant to remember the rich don’t create jobs in an environment of little or no consumption.  Why would a business hire more people when the deamnd for their product has not increased?  Answer:  They won’t.  It is the consumption of the middle class that creates jobs and causes economic growth.

  • Ginny says:

    August 1, 2011 at 11:14 am

    It wasn’t “many years later.” It was right on its heels and precipitated by the excess of that age.

  • Dan Conner says:

    August 2, 2011 at 11:13 am


    The Great Depression was many years after the “gilded age.”  The “gilded age” refers to a period of time at the end of the 1800’s.  1890 is a common reference point.  It lasted into the early 1900’s but was primarily in the later 1800’s.  The gilded age was at the time of John D. Rockefeller, etc.  The Great Depression didn’t start until 1929.

  • Cathy says:

    August 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Dan, Why are you addressing me? I didn’t infer that the Great Depression was caused by the Gilded Age. You smokin’ something?  Please re-read my comment.I am well aware of history.

  • Ginny says:

    August 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    You’re right. The gilded age was long before the 1930s Great Depression, but it was caused by similar forces.
    Banks were not insured, and people lost millions. People did not have enough money to buy things, so jobs shut down. FDR started to pull the country out of depression and then in 1937, after much improvement, decided we could go back to cutting programs again, and we slid back into a worse depression, not to come out until 1942 and WWII.
    But a key cause was the mortgage fraud that launched this depression, which is a lot like the fraud which occurred during the Great Depression. As Fortune notes:
    ”  . . .the biggest banks have routinely mishandled homeownership documents, putting the legality of foreclosures and related sales in doubt [thus replaying] the 1930s, when Americans lost faith that institutions such as business and government were dealing fairly.”
    Sound familiar?
    I don’t know who or what is going to put humpty dumpty back together. It won’t be the guys who created it.

  • Dan Conner says:

    August 3, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Cathy, I’m sorry.  I meant Ginny.

  • Dan Conner says:

    August 3, 2011 at 9:29 am


    I agree with everything else you say.  Our country is circling the drain while the rich fiddle.  They are raping our country and not wanting to return any of their bounty to it.  They have used people to handsomely profit, but care so little about those people that they would like them to disappear.

    Is a French Revolution required?

  • Ginny says:

    August 3, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Naw , we have technology. We don’t need gallows. 
    I think this may be a long, slow process, based on peoples’ experiences with this new “freedom,” a ground roots (a real one) realization of economic realities, and courage. And technology. Of course, the rich have much more money sunk into technology, not to mention TV ads and dirty tricks (did you read about the flyer sent out to registered Democrats telling them the election date was two days after its actual occurrence? Nice.) That’s one way they try to win.
    There are a number of progressive organizations out there that I think are coming together. Pressure on elected Democrats and Independents as well as on candidates would be one way. The People’s Budget that Bernice mentioned could be a rallying point.
    We have more troops, but not as much money, so we have to be smarter and more honest. That shouldn’t be hard.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    August 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Hi Ginny,  Thanks for mentioning The People’s Budget. 

    For anyone who would like to learn about the differences between The People’s Budget and the Ryan Budget (which the media did NOT ignore), the organization TakeAction Minnesota is offering two training sessions.

    The People’s Budget vs. The Ryan Budget: A Training, Thursday August 4, 6:30 to 8:30 at their office in the Grigg’s Midway Building, 1821 University Avenue, Suite S-137, St. Paul 55104

    Progressive Message Training: Tuesday, August 9, 6:30 to 8:30, same location

    Register by seeing their website: or by writing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    I’m sure you don’t need to be a member to attend.