Fair and Balanced

I stumbled across this video today and thought it could serve as a basis for an interesting discussion.

Note that this presentation was made by a lady named Caroline, who is a self-described "federal government employee" and "member of the American Federation of Government Employees". Also note that, as I type this, it has a total of 80 views. (I hope that she has enabled Adsense as she is about to get a few hits!)

The first seven minutes or so are facts that we can all agree upon. The deficit is there and to cut it would require some significant changes to the federal structure. Then, at around the 7:00 mark, Caroline proposes her remedies. This is the crux of the matter and be sure to hear her out before you respond.

On one side of the argument, the deficit is not sustainable but government is vital, perhaps even too small, and it needs more funding through higher taxes. These extra taxes will close the deficit.

On the other side of the argument, the deficit is not sustainable and government spending needs to be trimmed and restructured. This slowing of government growth and outright reduction in spending will close the deficit.

My questions to you are:

  • How do we reconcile these two points of view?
  • Is it possible to achieve the level of political cooperation needed to make it happen? 
  • Can we discuss this in a civil manner here on TFMR? If not, how can we expect the politicians to do any better?

  • Bonus question: What is my point in starting this discussion?

TF

276 Comments

agrock's picture

first

first

Jdawg's picture

Second

2nd

Hrunner's picture

Turd

Thurd, so immature!

achmachat's picture

Can we discuss this in a

Can we discuss this in a civil manner here on TFMR? If not, how can we expect the politicians to do any better?

who tells you that some of us here at TFMR aren't "the politicians"?

Jdawg's picture

Just Staying On Top

Always ready

Apples's picture

I think Turd is missing a

I think Turd is missing a tremendous revenue opportunity to fund the website.    Any declarative post jockying for position ("first", "second", etc.) should require a "rent" of sorts for the space in the form of a $5 donation.  :)

Be Prepared's picture

In 7th Heaven....

Oh... right... that was a TV show.

printmemoney's picture

My answers to turd's questions

  • How do we reconcile these two points of view?

We don't....the system collapses.  A nationalistic regime rises out of the ashes.

  • Is it possible to achieve the level of political cooperation needed to make it happen?

See answer to number 1

  • Can we discuss this in a civil manner here on TFMR? If not, how can we expect the politicians to do any better?

Yes, I believe the topic can be discussed civilly here.

Bonus question:

I believe that you are doing social experiments on your followers Turd for amusement mostly, but you may be tracking responses to publish some grand research paper.

And by the way,

My answer to the bonus question was sarcastic, but my answers to the other questions weren't.

8th

meegoreng1's picture

I disagree with some of the

I disagree with some of the remedies proposed by this Caroline. She proposes allowing Bush tax cuts to expire. Imagine the domino effects of a slower economy will do to this country. She proposes to raise tax on the 1%. Again, that cuts jobs immediately. Caping the SS tax is another form of more taxation. 

While she is talking about more taxes, nothing is mentioned about the criminal IRS organization which is controlled by the FED  and how they are raping our country  and have been since 1913. 

I say eliminate the Federal Reserve and their cohorts. Default on these bast$%&s!

That ALONE will help our economy tremendously. 

SRSrocco's picture

COMEX INVENTORIES

DELAWARE DEPOSITORY
+101,993.333
SCOTIA MOCATTA
-801,311.960
COMBINED TOTAL
-699,318.627
140,471,581.739
Apples's picture

Personally on this topic I

Personally on this topic I object to the whole idea of "sacred cows".  Just because a program has overwhelming support/importance behind it doesn't mean there isn't room to root out inefficiencies and make cuts.  

Also, on the subject of revenues I really think there's a way to sell an iron-clad flat tax to the public.  This uneven system we have right now induces a great deal of mistrust because there's the perception (and reality) that some people can abuse loopholes while others can't.  Even if taxes were raised across the board... at least it would be fairly applied to everyone.  The famous analogy of Warren Buffett and his secretary would be moot if everyone paid the same rate.

pourty's picture

(Lack of) Reconciliation...

  • How do we reconcile these two points of view?   It's not even possible, those on each side are true believers, and are not going to be swayed by stately arguments.
  • Is it possible to achieve the level of political cooperation needed to make it happen? I wish it were.  Presently the only thing the politicians appear to cooperate on is bringing forth the destruction of the USA, both economically and socially.
  • Can we discuss this in a civil manner here on TFMR? If not, how can we expect the politicians to do any better?  I predict we will see those on both sides with tempers raging if this discussion goes on very long.  The moderators may be required to keep it civil...
Sneed Hearn's picture

What is impossible will not happen

How do we reconcile these two points of view? Easily as both are dead wrong. It can easily be shown that no combination of tax increases, even to 100% of income for those paying taxes, would be grossly inadequate to pay off both today's debt and tomorrow's obligations in constant dollars. So it won't happen. Likewise it is politically impossible to cut entitlements and military spending sufficiently to close the deficit, at least not until after a traumatic crash that drastically changes perceptions. So there simply ain't nothing going to happen that will close the deficit until after it is too late to avoid a crash. It's the old Chinese curse: interesting times.

Is it possible to achieve the level of political cooperation needed to make it happen?  Ha.

Can we discuss this in a civil manner here on TFMR? If not, how can we expect the politicians to do any better? Time will tell but anyone believing that either point of view can be implemented pre disaster is deluded, in my opinion. Those who believe that way are welcome to think I'm deluded. In good time we will find out which.
 

I Run Bartertown's picture

Fair and Balanced

Buy Bunches. Wherever you want, but since I was mentioned (not "a customer" or "a commenter on TFMR"), I'll toss up this note:

1) I was a happy Provident customer...until I wasn't.

2) taking info from an anonymous public site, cross referenced to PRIVATE transaction data, commented on specifically back in the PUBLIC site...hmmm. TY for not including CC/address/purchase history...

3) While doing #2, customer address was surely visible. I've NEVER heard from him. In his shoes I would toss a Peace dollar in the mail and ask a guy to retract the post. Then you cover the IMAGE (which was his intention today) as well as the actual customer service part.

4) the conversation?...here there is no middle ground..he.is.a.fucking.liar. I have nothing to gain by misrepresenting the conversation. Mr. 'try a test order' does. 

5) I have an order processing with Lear, of all places, who got savaged much worse on here just 2 days after I placed my order. We'll see. I'll post about them too. Wonder if they'll come back and post about me too? LOL.

6) the take-away, to me, is that US, communicating.. WORKS. I didn't get my issue resolved by my post, but I didn't expect to. My only expectation was that people here be aware...nothing more...but clearly, this fellow might think twice about doing this to ANYONE...which is more than I would hope from just a heads-up to friends. 

10kiss) So, this weekend, my kid can earn a few bucks going to EVERY PM forum on the planet to duplicate my Provident forum. After a lifetime of collecting Mercs, she came up to my desk and said "Daddy, what are these silver discs? Can I have some?" "Sure, honey."

Dr G's picture

Bernanke gets 75% approval

Desert Fox's picture

Civil Discourse

For the most part I'm thinking PM investors have a good sense of what it would take to solve the Federal Deficit as well as a bunch of other fiscal concerns.

Our biggest problem stems from having the right answers but no one {in power} is asking us. MSM isn't doing their job either. {probably are doing "their job" but it's not to educate the masses} I find myself unable to watch the news anymore for more than a couple of minutes without arguing with the anchor. {Good Grief}

Sure, we can be civil and play fair, but no one else wants to play that way.

Bummed!  {actually angry}angry

Pining 4 the Fjords's picture

OK, I'll give this a serious shot

I know that intelligent and well intentioned people can disagree with me, so please understand that this is just my opinion only.  To me, the core of the matter comes down to a simple fact-  there is a point of taxation beyond which even highly motivated and highly productive people will refuse to be productive...  the payoff becomes so small, compared to other things they could be doing with their time, that to continue to work hard and produce becomes a waste of their time. I believe this level is somewhere in the 40-50% range, but obviously this is subjective. 

I'll probably take some flak for this, but here is my story (reprinted from a PM I shared with some friends here in a conversation related to this topic)- take it for what it is worth to you:  

Four years ago I had three main sources of income, and I worked pretty hard at all of them- My regular 9-5  "day" job, trading and investing, and a side business I started buying ratty apartments or houses and fixing them up myself then either reselling at a better price or renting them out at a higher amount. I found that I was putting in huge days, earning multiple sources of income, then getting very pissed off when the regulations, the tax man, and the system would take chunk after chunk of my earnings.

It really hit me one day when I got a call from one of our tenants to fix a basic problem with his place- the day I had was just frantic, rising early to check the markets, working my butt off all day at work, more market stuff when I had a few minutes, then rushing home jumping into work clothes and running over to his place... I was working at his place that evening, having put in a really long day, no dinner yet, hadn't seen my kids at all, and it hit me: This guy has a bass boat parked outside. I don't own any kind of boat. He has a 4 ft wide flatscreen TV with two game systems. I don't even own a flatscreen. The man was unemployed, spend every cent that came in, and was living off welfare (which I know because he was late with his check a few times because "the state" was late with his check so he couldn't pay me on time) and he was perfectly healthy- looked like he could have kicked my ass if he wanted to, but maybe that was just the tatoos.  And honestly, I am sitting there thinking You Shit. You scumbag bastard. I could be home with my family now and instead I am working my ass off, saving my capital so i can put it to work productively, and for what? To pay a huge chunk of change support YOU, you lazy hunk of crap. I realized I was the stupid one, and suddenly it was just all there, right in my face. The productive will be milked, the unproductive will be rewarded.

So I "went Galt", and consciously withdrew my productivity as much as I could.  This also totally shifted what I thought of as "productive".   I decided I would 1. not do the apartment thing anymore- no doing the work myself to save money, no more purchasing or potentially flipping. Less income and a lower tax bracket would be just fine. 2. Stay out of the normal stock market for good, and withdraw my capital from the system, stick with physical in hand. Only trade metals and then only to try to get more physical, and 3. withdraw from productivity and the economic system as much as possible, given my need to still provide for my family (I do not have any of these things perfected by a long shot, but TRYING to do these things has given me some new directions).

So I started trying to figure out ways I could extract myself from the economy- not be a monk, but find ways in which I could still work hard and produce, but produce in a way that benefited my family directly, skipping the system and the state.  The short version is, investing in gold and silver does this to a large degree with the capital I have managed to save, and I am growing as much of my own food as I can- making my own cheese, trying (unsuccessfully, so far) to grow fruit trees, gardening, etc instead of chasing the money.  I truly believe my time is better spent being productive for myself and my family, rather than striving for that extra pay just so the state (in its various forms) can take 40-45% of what I earn.  I am sorry, but the idea that I should have to bust my ass for all of January, February, March, April, and May before I can actually keep a penny of what I earn is beyond belief.  I refuse to be a serf. 

So frankly, higher taxes than what we have now is a non-starter.  The productive will increasingly either a. cheat,  or b. deliberately stop trying, because the reward is so small.  So ultimately, the only true solution is government to shrink to a level where - whatever it attempts to do - it can be paid for by a reasonable tax rate, and nothing more.   Cut until you have a budget deficit of zero, and anything that cannot be paid for outside of that, well, just isn't done.  

and FYI- Yes, I am well aware that it is the elite banksters and cronies, not your typical "welfare mom" who are to blame for this system, but that is primarily because we hew to the notion that government can fix all, and needs to be all powerful to do so.  This is their base of operations.  They all feed at the same trough-  the hardworking, productive elements of society.  Rant-off. 

mje173's picture

lol at this lady. complete

lol at this lady. complete insanity.

She lost me at:

DON'T touch Medicare.

DON'T touch Mediaid.

DON'T touch Defense.

Spend, spend, spend! Because it's always awesome when the world can keep on spinning while people get 'something' for 'nothing'.

If she REALLY wants the good manufacturing jobs back, why doesn't she make a video decrying how its inhumane to ship jobs to totalitarian countries that the US fought wars with in the first place? Why not just NOT trade with any country that doesn't have human rights, environmental laws, etc.

Of course she doesn't even care to look at the big picture.

snoopy1710's picture

How do we reconcile these two

  • How do we reconcile these two points of view?

I guess we don't, since the third option is (and has been for decades) to just print the money needed to cover the deficit. There are of course good arguments on both sides (not that I necessarily agree with all of them), that is why the third option is so appealing. In the long run however that will lead to a "greek situation" over here, and it might already happen at the end of this year (aka "financial cliff").

  • Is it possible to achieve the level of political cooperation needed to make it happen? 

With this deeply divided country, I would hazard a "No". Either increasing revenue or cutting spending would inflict a tremendous amount of pain on either constituency of the Blue/Red team, and to a certain degree on both of them, so I don't see that. And to be fair, looking at Greece the US has in all probability already passed the point of no return.

  • Can we discuss this in a civil manner here on TFMR? If not, how can we expect the politicians to do any better?

I hope we can.

  • Bonus question: What is my point in starting this discussion?

See answer to #1.

Snoopy

agrock's picture

but in 1950's

were people responsible enough not to gouge the gov't by selling $9K handtools or tossing huge las vegas parties on the tax payer's dime?

i think that's part of the problem.  It would be interesting to see how much would qualify for 'wasteful' or 'non-responsible' spending.

Desert Fox's picture

Pining 4 The Fjords

OMG! You've hit it out of the park! {again} You summed up a lot of my own personal experiences over the last decade or so.

Once the hard-working/industrious/risk-taker finds that no matter how hard he works nor how many risks he takes, he is not fairly rewarded, he will stop pulling on the harness so hard.

That won't bode well for those "riding" the Gravy Train.

NW VIEW's picture

CAROLINE????

She has lived on tax revenues to long.  I think Nancy P. wrote the script with the aid of Harry.  She missed the inflation of wages and benefits that the state, local and government employees have been given since 1960.  She could make some revenue if a national B.& O. tax on the gross income of all government employees started in Jan. 2013 so they could be paying like the self employed.  (Never see that one).

The really incredible  view of the video is that she really believes that her plan is the answer and she has zero understanding of the effects of her folly.

Mr. T.F. must have posted this video to show us that things are almost hopeless with these people in government and that P.M. will continue upward.    jmo

GuerrillaCapitalist's picture

Re: Fair and Balanced a Video

I've been out working on farm equipment and needed a break so I logged in to my home away from home and found Turd's challenge.

I haven't had an opportunity to really think this through, but the woman makes some excellent points. Of course I bristled at the financial transaction tax and the increase in capital gains but  hey that's my ox being gored. 

Even though I'm a retired army officer from a long, long line of veterans dating back to before the first  American Revolution I've been a strong proponent of scaling back the defense department drastically.

We blundered into Iraq thinking it would be the cake walk the first gulf war was. We should have gotten out of Afghanistan as soon as we routed the Taliban. Sticking around to try and make them the 51st state was beyond stupid.

Now that's not to say the entire financial catastrophe was caused by these two wars. It's been a long time coming and we can argue the cause but it amounts to spending more than we have and borrowing the rest.

I agree with the speaker that we need more revenue. The libertarian  in me is cringing, but the hard nosed, shrewd business man  is writing this post.

I think we need to re-build our manufacturing base. We are an amazing resourceful, innovative people like the world has never seen . We need to find a way to awaken that and get everyone to buy in.

I have more rattling around in my head, but need to get back to work. I'll chime in again later this evening after I've had a chance to think through this challenge a bit more.

BONUS QUESTION: Turd: I think you posted this in order to tap into the great wisdom of our community. I firmly believe you recognize the immense brain trust that has rallied around you and you. My big yellow hat is off to you my dear friend. Thanks for having the balls to bring controversial topics up for discussion.

Be Prepared's picture

The Federal Government & The Constitution

First, she has an extremely "Biased" point of view.... She is talking her book.... Pleaaasseee the Government has done squat in the last 25 years to improve the quality of life... here in America.  She belongs to the Federal Government Union and this comes off like a commercial for just how great they are...

She controls the dialogue by angling the basis of the discussion..... using a picture of who disappears when this service disappears.  Then tries to use the ratio of government employees to population as a justification that the current number of employees has been stable for the last 40 years.

Answer:

The Federalist #45

....The number of individuals employed under the Constitution of the United States will be much smaller than the number employed under the particular States. There will consequently be less of personal influence on the side of the former than of the latter. The members of the legislative, executive, and judiciary departments of thirteen and more States, the justices of peace, officers of militia, ministerial officers of justice, with all the county, corporation, and town officers, for three millions and more of people, intermixed, and having particular acquaintance with every class and circle of people, must exceed, beyond all proportion, both in number and influence, those of every description who will be employed in the administration of the federal system.

....The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government. The more adequate, indeed, the federal powers may be rendered to the national defense, the less frequent will be those scenes of danger which might favor their ascendancy over the governments of the particular States.

We need to both cut drastically and increase taxes in a "fair and balanced" way..... which isn't ever going to happen.  So fail...

Bonus Question Answer:  That there is no point.... whether we elect Romnel or OBummer... we will get more, bigger government... more taxes.... and fewer freedoms.  It's a One Party System and it doesn't include the American People.

Irksome's picture

I kind of agree with the

I kind of agree with the general premise, and the general solution.  

I would like to see cuts in spending, not the way she described it, but complete elimination of some FEDERAL departments is a good idea.  And that would not get us to balance.

On the revenue side, I'm actually fine with removing the SS tax cap.  If anything, it makes income tax easier to understand.  But the biggest revenue issue is the various loopholes in both corporate and personal taxation.  There are many proposals for better tax systems, but they are all political suicide until we actually implode.

10% tax for Apple versus 35% for your average small or medium sized business is just as ludicrous as me paying 48% but Mitt Romney paying 15%.  I'm just sayin'.

Green Lantern's picture

This is easy.  RETURN

This is easy.  RETURN OPERATION TO THE USERS MANUAL!  It's the only way to reconcile this argument. 

The Constitution of the United States

All the questions are answered in this one document.    Every citizen should own a copy and know's it contents and then we wouldn't have two sides of the argument.   The founders spend hours, days and weeks, pouring over documents from all over the world.    And despite the fact that the founders were men like you and me with their human frailties and extraordinary differences, they managed to come up with an extraordinary document!  Why have we gone so astray?   

Every soldier, police officer and politicians swears to uphold the constitution but they never do.     And the first slide in her presentation, all those cabinet members are standing in front of the man who might have been the most important force during the writing of the constitution, yet they violate every tenet that he promoted.  

Washington was very quiet and said very little during the Constitutional Convention.  However, his very demeanor was the cementing force that brought all the divergent parties together.   When Silence Speaks Loudly..  

We can't discuss how to pay for government debt when we can't agree on the fundamental role of government and it's operations.   

Here are some parts of the constitution that have been overtly violated.   Every violation contributes significantly to our national debt.  This is just a handful, we could go on all day looking at all the violations including giving away the governments role to print money.  

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years (Probably the most expensive violation)

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Section. 3.Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted

Answer to Bonus question: BUY GOLD.  CAUSE THIS AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN

BTW,  I will be the first US Citizen to offer to forfeit my entire social security benefits that I have paid for my entire working life.  In return for going back to the users manual.  With truly free markets, I will be able to make back what I've lost within a year or less investing in markets that aren't controlled and having a free market economy that allows me the pursuit of happiness and a fair playing ground to make money.    It should be phased out over time so the elderly can get it since they no longer have the opportunity to work.  

Green Lantern's picture

BE PREPARED beat me to

BE PREPARED beat me to the punch! You da man BP.  

I Run Bartertown's picture

Civil. OK. I can do it.

Our humanity demands that we not mistreat the damaged and the broken (libs). 

But common sense dictates that we not let the damaged and the broken into positions of power. If you (presuming able-bodied) have an ongoing requirement for government dependency, you're voting under duress, and we should not allow that.

Tube's picture

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