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As President Obama and Congressional leaders negotiate in Washington, the American people need to keep a couple of things in mind about the looming "fiscal cliff." For starters, the issue is not that the national debt will go up (which roughly half of those in one poll believe to be the case), but that it will be cut much too quickly.  If you need any more proof that economic growth and job creation should be Job Number One for U.S. policymakers, look no further than the UK, where the 2010 austerity program of draconian spending cuts and tax hikes pushed the country into a double-dip recession.

But for all the misplaced focus on the U.S. national debt, a second point can't be emphasized enough: the Republicans built that.

It's not just that Ronald Reagan presided over a tripling of the national debt (and raised the debt limit 17 times) during his eight years in the White House  or that President George W. Bush nearly doubled it again. The end-of-decade $5.6 trillion surplus forecast by the Congressional Budget Office in 2000 was more than eviscerated by two unfunded wars, two rounds of Bush tax cuts, the unpaid for Medicare prescription drug benefit and the TARP bank bailout. To accommodate those "spend and not tax" policies, Bush and his GOP allies in Congress voted seven times to raise the U.S. debt ceiling. And as it turns out, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) voted for all of it.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

As the Washington Post explained in January, President Bush added $5.1 trillion in red ink to the national ledger. But while the debt has grown by over $5 trillion during Obama's first term, less than $1 trillion can be attributed to new programs he put in place. The rest is the result of the tax revenue loss from the deep recession which began in December 2007 and the continuation of policies inherited from George W. Bush. As Ezra Klein explained:

What's also important, but not evident, on this chart is that Obama's major expenses were temporary -- the stimulus is over now -- while Bush's were, effectively, recurring. The Bush tax cuts didn't just lower revenue for 10 years. It's clear now that they lowered it indefinitely, which means this chart is understating their true cost. Similarly, the Medicare drug benefit is costing money on perpetuity, not just for two or three years. And Boehner, Ryan and others voted for these laws and, in some cases, helped to craft and pass them.
That started with the Bush tax cuts of 2001. Despite losing the popular vote and facing a 50-50 Senate, President Bush and Vice President Cheney claimed a mandate for their $1.3 trillion tax cut package. As Bush put it to Congressional leaders on December 18, 2000, "I think all four standing here understand that I campaigned on a clear view of tax relief, and that's what I'm going to bring to the floor of the House and the Senate." Cheney, as usual, was blunter:
"There is no reason in the world, and I simply don't buy the notion, that somehow we come to office now as a, quote, 'weakened president.' [...] We've got a good program, and we're going to pursue it."
Which is pretty much what transpired. By the summer of 2001, President Bush and Vice President Cheney had their $1.3 trillion tax cut, courtesy of precisely the strategy Gloria Borger ridiculed as "cherry pick[ing] one or two Democrats here and there and get them to sign on to whatever tax bill you have." (They had to use the budget reconciliation process to do it, which is one of the reasons the Bush tax cuts were not permanent.) Unlike Bill Clinton's upper-income tax hikes of 1993 (which received zero GOP votes in either house of Congress) and Barack Obama's 2009 stimulus bill (which garnered three Republican votes in the Senate and none in the House), 12 Democratic Senators and 28 Representatives provided President Bush's margin of victory.

Bush got his victory, despite warnings from Democrats that his tax cuts would produce oceans of red ink while the benefits would flow primarily to very rich. (That's why John McCain opposed the 2001 measure, arguing "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief.")  That is, of course, exactly what happened. The Bush income tax cuts of 2001 and the capital gains and dividend tax reductions of 2003 didn't drive economic growth.  But they have resulted in the lowest federal tax bite since 1950, record income inequality and a ballooning of the national debt.

In his version of the Republican myth that "tax cuts pay for themselves," President Bush confidently proclaimed, "You cut taxes and the tax revenues increase." As it turned out, not so much.

The mythmaking of Republican supply-side snake oil salesmen to the contrary, tax cuts don't generate enough economic growth to offset the loss of revenue the previously higher rates would have produced. The chart below shows just how dire the tax revenue drought has become. As a share of American GDP (see chart above), tax revenues peaked in 2000; that is, before the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. Federal tax revenue did not return to its pre-Bush tax cut level until 2006. (While this graph shows current dollars, the dynamic is unchanged measured in inflation-adjusted, constant 2005 dollars.)

All told, the Bush tax cuts drained about $2 trillion from the U.S. Treasury during his presidency and , if continued, would produce another $4 trillion hole over the next decade. So much for Mitch McConnell's law-dropping claim that:

"There's no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. So I think what Senator Kyl was expressing [that "you should never have to offset the cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans"] was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject."
As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded (see chart at top), the Bush tax cuts accounted for half of the deficits during his tenure, and if made permanent, over the next decade would cost the U.S. Treasury more than Iraq, Afghanistan, the recession, TARP and the stimulus--combined.

That's not to say the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq haven't had a dramatic impact. They have--and will for years to come.

By 2020, the direct cost of America's wars to U.S. taxpayers could reach $3 trillion. In March 2011, the Congressional Research Service put the total cost of the wars at $1.28 trillion, including $444 billion for Afghanistan and $806 billion for Iraq. (Only World War II cost the United States more in real dollars.)  In addition, baseline defense spending has almost doubled since the 9/11 attacks, jumping from $297 billion in fiscal year 2001 to $531 billion in FY 2012:

But in addition to the roughly $1.5 trillion tally for both conflicts through the theoretical 2014 American draw down date in Afghanistan, the U.S. faces staggering bills for veterans' health care and disability benefits. Last May, an analysis by the Center for American Progress estimated the total projected total cost of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans' health care and disability could reach between $422 billion to $717 billion. Reconstruction aid and other development assistance represent tens of billions more, as does the additional interest on the national debt. And none of the above counts the expanded funding for the new Department of Homeland Security.

All told, the tab for the "global war on terror" could hit $3 trillion by the end of this decade. But thus far, American taxpayers haven't been asked to pay one cent more to fund it. Noting that "'the federal budget will have the second largest surplus in history," President Bush moved forward with the massive tax cuts of 2001. But even as the World Trade Center site was still smoldering, Bush in the wake of the September 11 attacks told the American people not to sacrifice but to go shopping and "get down to Disney World." And in 2003, George W. Bush became the first modern president to cut taxes during wartime. (It should be noted that Barack Obama became the second.)

But America's overseas conflicts weren't the only items Republicans charged to Uncle Sam's credit card. The 2003 Medicare prescription drug plan got added to his tab as well.

As you may recall the sordid tale, the Bush White House flip-flopped on adding a prescription benefit within the Medicare program in order to win over elderly voters as the 2004 campaign neared. But with Democrats opposed to a bill that forbade the federal government from negotiating prices directly with pharmaceutical firms, the GOP needed every vote it could get. With 204 Republicans (including John Boehner and Eric Cantor) voting yes, President Bush and Tom Delay got their bill passed. But not without first bending the rules and breaking the law.

Arguing "we must forget about ideological absolutes," then Majority Leader Delay resorted to unprecedented machinations on the House floor to round up the needed votes. As the New York Times recalled:

Under heavy pressure from President Bush and Republican Congressional leaders, lawmakers backed the legislation by a vote of 220 to 215, sending it to the Senate, which is expected to act in the next few days. The vote, which ordinarily takes fifteen minutes to record, was kept open for an extraordinary three hours as Republicans struggled to switch votes and obtain a majority.
And what happened during those three hours was a new low, even for Tom Delay. As the Washington Post later reported, long before Ben Nelson's "Cash for Cloture" imbroglio, the House Ethics Committee reprimanded Delay for trying to buy votes for the Medicare bill:
After a six-month investigation, the committee concluded that DeLay had told Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.) he would endorse the congressional bid of Smith's son if the congressman gave GOP leaders a much-needed vote in a contentious pre-dawn roll call on Nov. 22.
Then there's the matter of the Medicare bill's price tag:
A White House desperate for an election year win on Medicare deliberately misrepresented the program's costs in order to ensure passage. On December 8, 2003, President Bush rolled out a program he claimed would cost $400 billion over 10 years. Within two months, however, the White House notified Congress that the real price tag would approach $550 billion. When Medicare actuary Richard Foster sought to present the true price tag to Congress in late 2003, then agency chief Thomas Scully threatened to fire him. Fast forward two years and the estimated 10 year price tag for the Medicare prescription plan now exceeds $720 billion for its 43 million beneficiaries.
Ultimately, the $720 billion nightmare scenario forecast in 2005 did not come to pass. But it was lower enrollment and the rapid adoption of generic drugs, rather than "competitive mechanisms" which largely explain the lower Medicare Part D bill for taxpayers. Still, the Medicare drug plan may cost as much as $1 trillion over the next 10 years (higher than the $900 billion overall price tag for the fully-funded Affordable Care Act) making it, as Bruce Bartlett noted, an "unfunded drug benefit" which adds "to our nation's indebtedness." In 2009, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch admitted as much of the Medicare Rx episode and the Bush years in general:
"It was standard practice not to pay for things."
As for Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and the GOP's willing executioners of health care reform in Congress,Ezra Klein may have put it best that same year:
"The health-care reform bills currently under consideration in both the Senate and the House actually cut money from the deficit, but they are being criticized as fiscally irresponsible by many of the people who voted for Medicare Part D. It's like watching arsonists calling the fire department reckless."
That's an apt description for the Republicans now dead set against including any tax increases in a fiscal cliff compromise. (It should be noted that there isn't really a cliff at all; while not ideal, the triple whammy of expiring Bush tax cuts, end of the payroll tax holiday and the budget cuts from the 2011 sequestration agreement can be addressed any time before or after the January 1st witching hour.)  As recent stories from the AP and new polling suggests, the press and the public is increasingly in agreement about the budget arsonists behind the nation's prairie fire of debt.

That would be the Republicans. After all, they built that.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Charging global war to the national credit card (10+ / 0-)

    has not proven to be the brightest move in the last 50 years.

  •  Oh, and I forgot to mention, taking all of my (10+ / 0-)

    Social Security contributions and spending them on the spree and now trying to get out of contract!!!

  •  Raising the debt ceiling must be part of tax cuts (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvaire, a2nite, judyms9, Jeff Y, citylights

    passed in January. See, hoping over that cliff will allow the GOP to vote for the largest tax cut since Bush. Yes, they can cut taxes because they will be high again. (Yes they can ;)) Raising the debt ceiling must be part of this package. The US cannot afford another hostage taking by the GOP as part of the debt ceiling negotiations. This must be part of the "largest tax cut for the middle class since W. Bush". Way to go I would say.

  •  It's not "tax and not spend" (9+ / 0-)

    It's "borrow and squander."

    Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: Get your We are the 99% Yard Sign.

    by DemSign on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 04:09:46 PM PST

  •  What changed between the balanced budgets of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the Clinton years and now. Republican leadership (except for one ‘democratic’ administration that wouldn’t listen to its base on tax policy and defense spending).

  •  and whenever this comes up (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvaire, judyms9, JerryNA, Jeff Y

    on a news site, all the good little GOP trolls come out and claim it's all Obama's fault, that the entire deficit is his.
    Too bad they can't read and understand this.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 04:15:21 PM PST

  •  also too (7+ / 0-)

    no discussion of Bush/Republican perfidy on the Medicare prescription drug "benefit" is complete without pointing out the extremely harmful provisions that pushed seniors into the "donut hole" - rendering it virtually useless to the low and middle-income families that really needed assistance in paying medication costs.

    Of course, the cost of fixing that Republican-created horror is placed on Obama's side of the ledger -- but I'm certain that it's better to advance Federal spending that helps the American people than the original Bush plan that mostly helped multinational Big Pharma.    

    When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called "the People's Stick." ~ Mikhail Bakunin

    by Sick Semper on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 04:20:23 PM PST

  •  Wow, front page is on fire! Excellent diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvaire, Jeff Y

    Very important history. Thanks.

  •  cost of bush tax cuts 2001-2010 = 2.4 Trillion = (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goodpractice, a2nite, Jim R, JerryNA

    $18,000.00 PER US HOUSEHOLD.

    Thanks Plutocracy. How's the new home in Boracay?

  •  I've still got a lot to read, but, if we go back (0+ / 0-)

    to Clinton tax rates, what happens to that big, bloated golden section in the top graph on the right?  Does it just stabilize, or does it actually start to shrink again?

  •  So much for the GOP as the party of fiscal (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goodpractice, judyms9, JerryNA, citylights

    conservatism. This diary clearly makes the point that fiscal responsibility is just two words that use up ink or oxygen. When Bush II came into office I predicted that he would challenge Reagan's deficit numbers, and that did indeed come to pass. Still it the Dems who are called the "tax and spend" party. The GOP is really good at PR.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 04:38:25 PM PST

  •  If I give them $18,000 of my retirement (0+ / 0-)

    will they leave my SS and Medicare alone?

  •  When will we strong arm the Iraqiis into (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, citylights

    paying for the Iraq war with all their oil money.  Send those Blackwater bill collectors over there to demand payment for all the great things the Bush Adm. did for them.  Better yet, send W and Cheney.  They aren't doing much these days.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:04:28 PM PST

  •  How can the issuer of currency be in debt to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, citylights

    The only reason for this farce is Congress' desire to deny its obligations for the management of the currency. Indeed, the whole debt kerfuffle is designed to deny that Congress has obligations to serve the public. What too many of them, Republicans and Democrats, prefer is to pretend to be rulers, secular moralists empowered to dole out punishments here on earth in case the threat of eternal damnation isn't enough to keep the populace in line.
    Because that's all some of the people who get elected to public office are capable of--all talk, no action.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:05:45 PM PST

    •  Yes! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      citylights, hannah

      Why do we as progressives even buy into the austerity framing that the debt national  is an issue that our politicians should be spending any time on?  

      There is only two differences between a dollar and a US Treasury. The government pays no interest on one and pays interest on the other.  The government also only accepts one as payment for tax obligations and not the other.  Everything else is self imposed by our poltical so-called leaders.

      The US debt is the collective dollar denominated net financial savings of the US private sector plus the accumulated trade deficit.  Any attempt to reduce the deficit as a percent of GDP must either reduce net domestic private sector savings as a percent of GDP.  Or, reduce the trade deficit.  The only way austerity does this is by driving the country into a deep and prolonged recession that might depress domestic demand and wages enough to flip the trade deficit at the expense of the horrible suffering of most people. Most likely the dollar amount of the deficit might go down a little bit but the economy decreases so much more that deficit to GDP increases while inflicting horrible suffering on most people.

      This basic understanding of the nature of money and deficits leads to only one conclusion about all politicians that even accept the idea that the deficit is a problem in the face of a recession let alone argue over austerity vs more austerity.  They either do not understand the actual economics of a sovereign government or they are deliberately cruel and inhumane people or both.

      Our politicians should be debating increasing spending by trillions of dollars on the things we need. First and foremost JOBS.  An easy start would be to fund the hiring of all the government workers laid off by the states and municipalities because they cannot have deficits.  Then, a highway bill.  And, more of a pet project, but doubling NASA's budget would be valuable.  Perhaps even a Job Guarantee.

      As for the wars there are good reasons to end them, but budget deficits are not one.  Their redirection of productive capacity away from  the US people stinks. These are good reasons to reduce the defense budget as well, but not overall spending. Instead that spending needs to be redirected to more jobs. Perhaps in renewable energy and the infrastructure to support it.

      The conversation needs to change the US government is NOT like a household.  Those who make that analogy don't get it, or want you ignorant so they can make you suffer and accept it. The wealthy are hoping for a fire sale of public property and want you to accept it on the grounds that the deficit is bad, that deficit is our collective net savings (admittedly concentrated among the wealthiest).  Reducing it will most likely harm everyone some but the wealthy least of all.

      My passion on this is predicated on the unnecessary suffering that the current arguments over austerity and more austerity will create if they become law.  I want to remain optimistic that maybe the Democratic leaders just don't get it and are not deliberately being cruel. I have no such optimism on the Republican side. I expect they don't get it and are being deliberately cruel. Can we at least try not to support the suffering of our fellow citizens, and stop buying into the false dogma that the deficit is a problem under any circumstance short of full employment.

      •  Some people are antagonists. The Republican (0+ / 0-)

        party has become their home. While their antagonism has no rational basis, they can tolerate the objects of their hatred, if they can somehow exploit them. The monetizing of the economy has made it possible to hide their antagonism and disguise their predation behind the numbers. Percentages make it particularly easy to turn the screws and squeeze ever more out of the working population for the delectation of the "elites."
        The antagonists aren't, as one might think, anti-social. They are associated by their shared antagonisms and exclusive of those who don't hate. "Exclusive" neighborhoods and "gated communities" are the evidence on the ground. Their locks and keys secure them from the knowledge that most people wouldn't want to live that way, if you paid them.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 03:34:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry to break in. Hillary Clinton has been (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    hospitalized with a blood clot following that concussion of a few weeks back. She's being given anti-coagulants. Just saw it on MSNBC. This is potentially very serious, I fear.

    And I just saw her image on the screen, and felt how much I care about her.

    "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

    by Wildthumb on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:05:46 PM PST

  •  Imagine Dragons (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA, citylights

    Imagine if President Romney was presiding over this mess.  It would be - damn those Democratic obstructionists with their long hair and their music.  They don't know economics.  They're just all gay and stuff.  Here we have Obama reasonably digging in on a few key points 1.  Raise taxes on only 2% of the taxpayers, leave 98% the same; something he ran on and repeated at numerous speeches and fundraisers
    2.  Keep Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security basically the same... But maybe, just maybe add a little life to the way we calculate inflation, means etc.  
    3.  Cut other spending, namely military spending - horses and bayonets - type spending.  
    4.  Invest in infrastructure, with a smaller stimulus package.
    5.  Protect teachers, firefighters, nurses, etc. and find ways to hire more of them.
    6.  Immigration reform.  Immigration reform will benefit the economy.  

    Anyway, on January 4th there will be a new congress that will vote for a tax cut on 98% of Americans.  The Optics will be better in the gerrymandered GOP districts and then, they'll get back to negotiating finer points.  Boehner will be a badly bruised Speaker and need to really re-work his approach to the Democrats and his own party (he already needs to do that - big time).  Obama needs to switch the conversation to the themes that brought him to the dance - strategic surgical cuts in programs that can be cut, Immigration Reform, Stimulus spending in science and engineering - that's what I hope to hear in the SOTU speech.  I also hope he looks the Tea Baggers firmly in the eye if the Dow is down 1,000 points in the wake of all this B.S. and says look - an up / down vote on the tax issue could have prevented the shock waves in the markets... But you did this and you own it.  We're fixing it and by all accounts it can be fixed in the next couple of quarters - housing starts are up, housing values are up, unemployment is improving or at least holding steady.  We are okay.  But you are petty Fox News watchers and have a skewed view of reality.  Anyway.... I'm ready... Here comes the Cliff.

  •  This needs to be repeated by Democrats (5+ / 0-)

    until voters finally understand just how irresponsible the Republican party has been and how disingenuous they are to ask the poor and middle class pay for their stupidity. They knew the bill would come due—now they want to avoid owning it by blaming it on entitlements.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:15:51 PM PST

    •  Omitting the Reagan and Clinton Years In the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer, citylights

      debt & deficit charting is something we do far too often.

      It's especially important to chart Reagan because of the widespread approval of him that has been built up since he left.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:46:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  voters don't care how irresponsible the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer

      republicans have been.

      because gays, and marriage and security !

      if voters were the least bit rational we wouldn't have to convince them of anything.

      51% of the voters in this country are fucking idiots.

      big badda boom : GRB 090423

      by squarewheel on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 11:10:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The GOP Is Excellent With The Economy (0+ / 0-)

    And On Our Defense so if they want to run up the debt, ok,  if they want to pursue two unfunded wars and a unfunded medicine mandate, hooray, we support that  Now they want to shrink government based on debt they drove up with our help.  Obama can help them even if it will help them look good.  

  •  No wonder the Republicans aren't compromising (0+ / 0-)

    If only 13% realize that raising taxes would decrease the deficit, they might as well ignore them and appeal to the 87% who think that we can cut taxes and decrease the deficit at the same time.

    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

    by jfern on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:30:52 PM PST

  •  Is that graph on the left (0+ / 0-)

    conflating federal debt with budget deficits and surpluses? It's a bit confusing.

    "I have more than two prablems" - The Coach Z

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:33:54 PM PST

  •  The "Democrats" did, too. (0+ / 0-)

    They are the good cop.

    The GOP is the bad cop.

    They're both cops.

    You are a partisan. You are posting agitprop to suit the moment. Your post and triumphalism (and worldview) lacks a very basic grasp of very recent history.

    To label any subject unsuitable for comedy is to admit defeat. -- Peter Sellers

    by krikkit4 on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:38:59 PM PST

  •  Very finely assembled. Now if we could get people (0+ / 0-)

    to see what they have voted for... Oh well it was a thought.

    Fear is the Mind Killer...

    by boophus on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:00:53 PM PST

  •  It's not just amazing, but horrifying (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That no matter how much you put this information in people's face (half the country), they always come up with some manufactured or cowardly incoherent excuse to bullshit their completely hollow and false argument back into your face.. and everyone elses in earshot to hear their dog whistles.

    About half the country are indoctrinated by false entities they call "facts".

  •  Eliminate the Tax Cuts (0+ / 0-)

    As I point out here the main reason we have a fiscal crisis is because we've had truly poor economic policy from Congress for the last few decades.

    In a rational world, the discussion would be about how to improve wages and increase the number of people working....

    What I want is simple:

    (1) Let all the tax cuts expire.
    (2) Extend and enhance unemployment compensation.
    (3) Cut the military spending by at least $35 billion per year each year for ten years.
    (4) Eliminate the trade deficit.
    The primary reason we have a federal deficit is because we cut taxes. The primary way to eliminate it is to eliminate those tax cuts. Taxes are not too high. Incomes are too low. If you are having problems paying your taxes then your income isn't high enough.

    We could get about a half-trillion dollars each year for our economy by eliminating the three big money-wasters:

    (1) Drug prohibition
    (2) For-profit health insurance
    (3) Overspending on the military
    There's a simple reason I keep talking about this. The thinking in the capital has no relationship whatsoever with fixing the problems. Until people see where we need to go there is no hope of getting there.

    Pass the word.

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