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View Diary: What the fiscal cliff means for the middle class (54 comments)

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  •  Three times you referenced the following: (8+ / 0-)
    In any event, since the United States spends 41% of the world's total military expenditure,* we could afford to redirect quite a bit of this $711 billion annual expenditure (China is a very distant second at $143 billion) to other uses.
    ...so there is a good chance that these spending cuts will be delayed, which would be a good thing, though not as good as shifting some military spending into the domestic budget.
    ...we can pass tax cuts more targeted to the middle class as well as redirecting spending from our bloated military to domestic programs.
    The entire point of these negotiations is to make the dollars spent disappear entirely, in order to reduce the deficit. To "redirect" these cuts to other places to spend the money -- puts the deficit right back where it began without achieving any reduction at all.

    In any event, there will be no military cuts, as President Obama clearly stated in the third debate. I believe him.

    The singular threat to the nation is using the debt ceiling as a bludgeon of blackmail and extortion. The Republicans do have the power to do so. This has severe implications internationally and will certainly damage the credit-worthiness of the US -- resulting in increased costs to service our own debt..


    A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

    by Pluto on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 11:56:21 PM PST

    •  I disagree (5+ / 0-)

      Making the dollars spent disappear entirely, now, will be bad for the economy. When we get unemployment down to 4%, then we can talk about cutting the deficit.

      In the meantime, we spend too much on the military anyway and need money for infrastructure, education, local governments, and a lot of other things here at home. That's why I say we should be redirecting our bloated military.

      •  You misunderstand Pluto's point. (9+ / 0-)

        The anticipated cuts take away -- kaput, gone -- funds from each affected segment of the budget; it doesn't move them to another department we like better.

        I agree with you that it would be nice to redirect military spending to non-military needs, but that's not what a budget cut is.  You have merged these two things in your argument.

        •  I'm saying we should stop or quickly reverse (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pluto

          the budget cuts. We should not cut government spending by $110 billion a year at this time.

          If Congress writes a bill to stop the cuts, nothing makes us put all $55 billion back into the military, except Republicans' bargaining power, which will be greater on this than on the Bush tax cuts since such a bill would have to pass both houses of Congress, whereas ending the Bush tax cuts can only be stopped by a bill being passed and signed into law.

          I hope this is a little clearer.

          •  This is true: (0+ / 0-)
            We should not cut government spending by $110 billion a year at this time.
            Because the markets look ahead, it will significantly contract the GDP and likely cause a steep drop in the market (when combined with tax hikes).

            The original bill could be voided (as though it never came into existence). But could it be renegotiated, moving money from defense to domestic programs that benefit people?

            I have seen absolutely no evidence of this trend in the Federal Government.


            A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

            by Pluto on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:47:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I agree.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto

      One slight disagreement though.

      We are already seeing our credit ratings downgraded.  Qualitative easing has hurt us as well as deficit spending.

      This situation is one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't.  We will likely see lower ratings no matter what Congress does... except maybe rolling up their sleeves and passing a real budget with compromises everyone can live with.. but that ain't gonna happen.

      •  The ratings don't matter. (0+ / 0-)

        Our bonds are good. People with large piles of money are paying to park their money. It's like a bad movie review, if people like the movie and go anyway, the review is worthless.

      •  I think you meant "quantitative easing"? (0+ / 0-)

        That's how I've heard it...and it's not the problem that has caused our credit rating to be downgraded. That was entirely caused by our dysfunctional Congress threatening default instead of simply raising the debt ceiling as needed. The other contributing factor is that same Congress being unable to pass a budget or signal any kind of long term plan for deficit reduction. Basically, our problem is an unstable government (i.e., the House controlled by nutcases).

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:38:24 PM PST

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    •  Are you (suggesting) that cuts ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto

      ...will have to be made in some of our domestic social and health programs wether we want to or not or else face the issue of increase spending (more debt) without raising revenue ...think taxes.  Pres. Obama repeatedly stated he would not do during this past election run-up.

      Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

      by kalihikane on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:37:49 PM PST

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      •  Me? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kalihikane

        I'm merely saying there will be no military cuts under terms of the bill that passed deadlining that reality on January 1, 2013. The President made that clear. He also said that there would be tax hikes on high earners.

        The only thing that is not clear -- which he said nothing about -- is the fate of entitlement programs. So one can only guess. One analyst I trust predicts:

        It appears that the bargaining chip Obama is most likely to deploy in his upcoming negotiations with the Republicans in Congress is an increase in the age before which Americans become eligible for Medicare or for Social Security benefits, from the current 65 to 67, or 68, or perhaps even higher. The common justification for raising the age of eligibility is the increase in life expectancy since initiation of the program almost eight decades ago (for the population as a whole, it was 62 years then, versus 79 years now.

        Does it somehow follow from this that the US should raise the age of eligibility for Medicare and/or Social Security and make them more regressive?

        Even if it were true, as Obama asserts, that a majority of Americans actually voted for «cooperation», «compromise», «consensus», and «action», they would not have had $4 trillion in economic contraction or a gutting of entitlement programs in mind.

        The single goal of conservatives is to put the Federal government out of business. That's kinda the only game in town.


        A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

        by Pluto on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 04:01:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not sure how I feel about your... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pluto

          ...(clarification) of the possibilities to come.  Both wife and self have medicare (senior preferred) via local hospital and social security.  We are satisfied with both and feel strongly that we paid upfront for social security and do not want it to change.  But, we have children and grand children and want to see affordable health care and an affordable retirement safety net that is secure not at risk to "market" fluctuations and mismanagement. To achieve this we are open to fair modifications to existing programs to secure them.

          Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

          by kalihikane on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 04:46:47 PM PST

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          •  I think you will see fair modifications. (1+ / 0-)
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            kalihikane

            Today's "fair" however, does mean that the people who came before were the sweepstakes winners of the safety net lotto.

            It means that what we consider the bottom of the rung now will actually be middle class as far as lifestyle expectations in retirement in the future.

            This is only the first year of the baby boomer retirement explosion. That goat hasn't even begun to be digested by the boa constrictor. The US decline will see us revisiting this issue again and again.

            All to maintain the lowest tax rates of any nation on the planet.


            A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

            by Pluto on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 06:02:53 PM PST

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            •  Like I said, we believe it is as much ... (1+ / 0-)
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              Pluto

              ... our responsibility to accept fair modifications to what entitlements we receive now to ensure those coming after us have those same opportunities. As you aptly state, we are the richest nation on the planet but we are unable to get a large enough majority of our population to understand that providing these basic services provides all of us with greater opportunities and security for all of us.

              Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

              by kalihikane on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:45:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Raising the age for Medicare (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pluto

          eligibility is the worst idea of any that have been floated...it could even increase costs. Raising the age for Social Security retirement again is a bad idea and propbably won't save much money as more and more people are forced to take early retirement due to lack of work.

          The best thing to do on entitlements is kick the can down t he road. The least objectionable "reform" would probably be jiggering the COLA formula.

          "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

          by Alice in Florida on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:45:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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