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Rep. Lamar Smith
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)
 
Republican Rep. Lamar Smith took to the op-ed pages this week to demand America spend money on scientific research efforts. No, really. I'm not making this up.

Well, maybe I'm making it up a little. Rep. Lamar indeed wrote an editorial ostensibly premised on how America really ought to spend money on research and development, but it was more specifically focused on how we can't do that because instead we keep caring for all these damn poor people:

Excluding national defense, the government’s largest expenses are for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And spending on these programs is projected to skyrocket in the coming years largely because of the rising cost of health care and an aging U.S. population. Increases in entitlement spending will place enormous pressure on other budget priorities, including our nation’s science funding. […]

[U]ntil we find a way to reform entitlement programs and address the elephant in the room — mandatory spending — science agencies could continue to see shrinking budgets, and America’s status as the world leader in science and innovation will be in danger.

Here's a thought experiment. Let's suppose that we slashed all of those programs—Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and we'll just throw in the cthulhuesque Obamacare for good measure—down to exactly the levels the Republican House demanded. The whole thing, every cut they want, might as well toss food stamps (sorry, we call it SNAP now) in there too. Raise your hand if you think Rep. Lamar Smith and the other House Republicans would then use some of that money to increase scientific research.

Yeah, I'll give you a minute to stop laughing.

As far as I can tell, Lamar Smith can't even bring himself to argue for increasing the nation's science budget. He's just arguing that the only way we can even keep the paltry level of support for science we have now is to cut aid to old/sick/poor Americans. Given that Republicans like Smith have gone to rather aggressive lengths to harm existing research programs, the overall effect is of Smith fiddling with a matchbook while telling you that it'd be a real shame if something were to happen to this nice place you've built, but I'm fairly sure that's exactly what Smith had in mind.

Originally posted to Hunter on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fix the Shortfall! nt (11+ / 0-)

    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 Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 11:59:09 AM PDT

  •  They care about science? Really??!! (16+ / 0-)

    research will tell them that a single payer health care system would bring down costs so there would be money for science

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 12:05:10 PM PDT

    •  Nope. All going to tax cuts for the rich (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      this just in, oldpotsmuggler, Bluefin

      That's pretty much all these bozos want. Our legislature here in Ohio wants to use the Medicaid savings from the expansion it opposed to give the rich another tax cut. These people are very single-minded.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 02:36:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sorry, but I can't stop laughing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      debocracy

      at the idea that Republicans are concerned about science. By the time they were done politicizing the Texas curriculum, Thomas Jefferson didn't exist, evolution was an "unproven theory" that "competed" with Young Earth Creationism and tax cuts were proven to always increase economic activity and government revenue.

      "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

      by Australian2 on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 01:55:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a doofus. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puddytat

    He even looks like his name would be Lamar.

    No offense to any educated people out there named Lamar.

  •  Smith wants science to serve the military (13+ / 0-)

    Don't believe this whackado for a second.

    He tried to push legislation forcing all NSF grants be focused on projects with military applications:

    http://www.slate.com/...

  •  They are determined to maintain the myth (9+ / 0-)

    that there is a fixed amount of money in the national til.

    That "mandatory spending" is a problem is one of those half truths. It's a problem for Congress critters because they don't get their mits on the pot and can't direct the flow to their friends and supporters as they'd like.

    "entitlements" is a dysphemism. It stands for rights. Imagine the Cons admitting, "we are going to curtail your rights!"

  •  we need wig research (17+ / 0-)

    seriously, that toupee really sucks.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 12:17:02 PM PDT

  •  Any time they propose a cut to (22+ / 0-)

    Social Security we should offer them two choices. Increase the caps to fully fund SS through payroll tax deductions, or cut military spending by however much the projected shortfall will be. Pick one or some combination of both. Anything else should not even be discussed.

    The money is there. There's no reason to sacrifice the security of our elderly to their budget insanity.

    "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

    by Siri on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 12:17:23 PM PDT

  •  If he can explain the science difference between (0+ / 0-)

    a kiwi and a kumquat, he should be entitled to make such cuts. /snark

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 12:23:00 PM PDT

  •  Irony abounds when a Republican talks about budget (16+ / 0-)

    using these words...

    and address the elephant in the room —

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 12:24:53 PM PDT

  •  does he even believe in science? (7+ / 0-)

    Is the climate changing, Rep. Smith?

    How old (approximately) is the earth, remind me, can you?

    Does the uterus know about rape, and destroy a foetus that results from rape?

    Help me out here, I need to know where you stand.

    Not that it makes much difference really; me, I'd take the money to fill any medicare/medicaid shortfall from the oil subsidies pot, and not cut science at all.

  •  He lost me after (11+ / 0-)

    "...excluding national defense..."

    Hey, Lamar!  How about we not?

    The most violent element in society is ignorance.

    by Mr MadAsHell on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 12:53:10 PM PDT

  •  I favor more science research (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The grouch, this just in

    But what the hell does one have to do with the other.   Has he considered that solid investments in both might be a good idea?  :)

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 01:12:02 PM PDT

  •  Cut the Congressional pensions first (9+ / 0-)

    After all, that's "mandatory spending" for people who should not be living off the public teat anyway.

    Boycott Russian vodka, Russian caviar and all things Russian. LGBT oppression cannot be allowed to stand.

    by CPT Doom on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 01:26:12 PM PDT

    •  I'd suggest that such a move would only encourage (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marcus Graly

      them to depend more upon the revolving door of becoming a lobbyist, but I'm not sure they could depend any more upon working as lobbyists or speechifying after leaving their jobs than they do now.

    •  Precisely (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marcus Graly

      And I am NOT in favor of punishing our best advocates in Congress — who are often the least wealthy — just because we're angry at bozos like this. I LIKE my senator (one of them) and my congresswoman. They fight for ordinary people all the time. And neither is wealthy.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 02:39:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ok. Democratic challenger to Lamar Smith stat (3+ / 0-)

    As Han Solo said to C-3PO:  Never tell me the odds!

  •  Sounds like something that could interest Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Subterranean

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 02:05:37 PM PDT

    •  I saw that too this morning on Twitter. (0+ / 0-)

      The content was especially vague, so I would hold on before making any judgement, especially since the shutdown proved that the Senate won't 100% go along with what the White House wants anymore.

      "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." -Jack Layton (1950-2011)

      by Coco Usagi on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 02:37:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Excluding national defense" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calvino Partigiani

    No need to say it, that's taken for granted in the beltway.  

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 02:25:23 PM PDT

  •  Lamar Smith? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    afisher, AmazingBlaise, Bluefin

    Lamar Smith, the climate change denialist?

    Lamar Smith, who wants to gut peer review of research grants?

    Lamar Smith, the Christian Scientist?

    THAT Lamar Smith?

    The plural of anecdote is not data.

    by Skipbidder on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 02:37:17 PM PDT

  •  Keep trying to come up with a politer response (4+ / 0-)

    than:  "Fuck off, you idiot," and I still haven't come up with one.

    Wiling to entertain suggestions, since I'm coming up dry myself.

    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 02:42:32 PM PDT

  •  These things always start with "Excluding national (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, trumpeter, pickandshovel, Bluefin

    defense . . . "

    Maybe that exclusion is the problem.

    "Where some see a system for encouraging discussion . . . others see an echo chamber of bad grammar, unchecked stupidity, and constructive interference . . . " -- Ars Technica

    by Rikon Snow on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 02:43:33 PM PDT

  •  Will someone Remind (4+ / 0-)

    These total idiots

    Excluding national defense
    We haven't paid for that 'national defense', these two recent wars of choice and Especially the results of, the VA budget, still grossly under funded, is mostly still borrowed, for over a decade now!! As to the VA for decades and wars from as issues were largely ignored by the flag waving patriotic country!!

    The others listed are contributed into by all working Americans, separate from that which we collectively pay and get back in return into, some states getting more then they pay into!!

    "If military action is worth our troops' blood, it should be worth our treasure, too; not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

    by jimstaro on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 02:44:22 PM PDT

  •  Excluding Republicans (0+ / 0-)

    What's the reason nothing works in Washington, D.C.?

    Thanks, Obama.

  •  Now They Are Negotiating The Fee (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluefin

    The GOP has already pocketed the social safety net cuts in Obama's budget. Now they are trying to evade Obama's call for a revenue fig-leaf in exchange. The goalposts keep moving Right. Why is that?

  •  A Reasonable Proposal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluefin

    Maybe if he gets his way, the poor will take jobs as scientific research specimens. Although, I doubt he's taken the time to think that through. Shhh.

  •  They don't even believe in science (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluefin

    Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

    by ZedMont on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 03:04:31 PM PDT

  •  Excuse me? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pickandshovel, Bluefin
    Excluding national defense, the government’s largest expenses are for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
    Why should we exclude defense spending?  Talk about ignoring the elephant in the room!

    How many unnecessarily bloated weapons systems do we really need?

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 03:04:44 PM PDT

  •  You know, if upper income citizens of this country (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluefin, debocracy

    paid their fair share of taxes we wouldn't have these problems.

    Sure, people with a lot of income pay a lot of dollars in taxes.  But, as a percentage of income, high income people can pay far, far less than someone with a mere middle income.  All the federal and state income taxes, real estate taxes, excise taxes of all sorts, and various transfer taxes and fees add up to a hefty share of the middle income persons annual income.  

    Upper income people also benefit from having much of their income outside the Social Security range and they enjoy very nice tax advantaged income streams.  Even with the new tax on investment income to support the ACA, the fat cats remain fat and the more income they have the lower the percentage of the tax bite.

  •  Question (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluefin, debocracy

    Any one know this more-or-less off the top of your head?

    Whenever these guys wring their hands over how SS and Medicare are the (almost) biggest expenses in our budget, they neglect to mention that these programs also supply a big piece of the revenues govt takes in.

    People paid into those programs on the promise of benefits in retirement.

    Am I correct, wrt SS, those payments were far in excess of payouts during boomers boom times, and not until 2030 something do payouts exceed new revenues plus SS trust fund?

    Any one know how that math works out for Medicare?

  •  Perhaps the kind (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluefin

    of scientific research that would confirm that the earth is 6000 years old, or that there's nothing wrong with the environment and we can produce and use all the fossil fuels we like without worrying?

    Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

    by ramara on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 03:09:52 PM PDT

  •  no, it isn't. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AmazingBlaise, Bluefin

    "Excluding national defense, the government’s largest expenses are for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid."

    social security is a self-supporting program, paid for by current FICA tax receipts, trust fund deposits & interest income. it is not an expense of the federal gov't at all. it is an expenditure of the federal gov't, but not an expense. the only times it contributes to the deficit, is when bonds held by the trust fund need to be redeemed.

    either rep. smith knows the difference between an expense and an expenditure, and he's just lying, or he doesn't, and should really keep his mouth closed in public, so people don't know how much of an idiot he actually is.

    •  Unfortunately your absolutely true statements (0+ / 0-)

      apply to far more ignorant (or disingenuous) politicians than just Rep. Smith, starting in the White House and working on down...

      We’re Ready, Wendy’s Ready! WTF Are We Waiting For? Bring ‘em on! The revolution has begun! Come and take it!

      by Bluefin on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 04:16:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm starting to think of National Defense as (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluefin, cablecargal

    the 'entitlement' group of programs.
    I was thinking of why is SS/mcare and mcaid listed as entitlement programs (propaganda) , and then it dawned on me. The gubmint contractors and all other's who make money on war. This of course excludes the soldiers and the VA.

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

    by pickandshovel on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 03:13:58 PM PDT

  •  So what's the right amount of spending? (0+ / 0-)

    About 63% of Federal Spending goes to direct payments to individuals who provide "no service in return" - a term of art that means they do not pay income taxes. What portion are qualified retirements and pensions vs. benevolence / safety net spending is not clear to me, but most of it is charity (i.e. Social Security, Medicare, SNAP, etc.)  What share of federal spending should it be?

    About half the population (49%+) receives direct payments from the federal government, unrelated to wages and retirements.  Is that an appropriate proportion?

    As of last April, the Labor Participation rate was 62.3%, meaning the number of adults opening reporting wages (W2 or 1099), and declining .3% per year since 2003, a trend that began in the middle of Bush 43's first term and has which Mr. Obama's policies have not changed.  What should the participation rate be if we're using a tax on labor to pay for benevolence payments?

    Our tax receipts are about 17% of GDP and projected to rise to 18%+ going forward.  Is that enough, given a 1% rise in tax rates decreases GDP by 2% to 3%? (nber.org)

    Our current national debt is running well over 100% of GDP, a level last seen during the late 1940's, during and after WWII. It was about 50% of GDP in 1980, and has climbed steadily ever since.  How much debt should we be saddling subsequent legislatures and our children with?

    We have only three sources of cash for whatever we want to spend on; taxes, printing it (although is done electronically now), or borrowing from the future via bonds and notes.  Printing it risks inflation. Borrowing it risks excessive interest expenses.  Raising taxes suppresses GDP (since there are diminishing returns to raising tax rates).  What should we do?

    Just how much of the labor participation rate is driven by the need to not work, based on the level of generosity of our benevolence giving?

    All the numbers I've quoted are publicly available numbers, generally from government / think tank data.

    So working from these existential realities, what does one change?

    •  Canard Maximus (0+ / 0-)

      Let's see how many logical errors Canus has made here. I'll start the competition.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      63% of Federal benefits go to those who provide no service in return.
      Glittering generality, false equivalence

      Define benefit.
      Define service. And no it is not a term of art for those who pay no taxes.

      Argument from fallacy

      Just how much of the labor participation rate is driven by the need to not work, based on the level of generosity of our benevolence giving?
      Canus here says that there is a "need to not work." I am disabled, and I would love to have a job. My monthly benefit does not even cover my rent. Every day I have to make hard choices about what I do with my money. I would love to work. I have applied for hundreds of jobs.  But that's not just about me, it's about most disabled people, even those who qualify for maximum benefits (which are about $1,150 a month.) There is no such thing as a "need to not work." And it certainly isn't governed by the munificence of Canus's benevolence.

      I'm getting bored. Anyone else want to take this up?

      •  Arguement from Straw Man (0+ / 0-)

        A good reference on transfer payments is, for example, is OMB (http://www.whitehouse.gov/... ) specifically Table 6.1. $3.4 Trillions consuming 66%+ of the federal spending. Here's the breakdown (http://static.seekingalpha.com/...) from the same data. So I was incorrect, it's 66%.  2/3rds.

        No doubt some of these beneficiaries pay taxes, so point given. The AMOUNT of the benevolence payments is nevertheless overwhelming federal spending.

        What percent of federal spending would debocracy wish to give away as public charity? (Noting social security is NOT a retirement fund and IS a subsidy to prevent destitution).

        Debocracy asserts that I might confuse the legitimate, well-deserving beneficiary of state benevolence, such as someone rightly qualified for disability support, with the slacker who connives to shamelessly take public charity instead of seeking gainful, taxpaying employment. That is a straw man.

        Yawn.

  •  Totally aside from the bad comb-over... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluefin

    ...it boggles the mind how it is a simpleton like this can get himself elected to a government he knows almost nothing about: SOCIAL SECURITY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE NATIONAL DEBT. It's a separate fund financed via payroll taxes, earmarked specifically for payouts to people as specified by law.

    This fool's presence in a position of leadership and authority speaks poorly of the people who put him there.

    •  Social Security and the National Debt... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bluefin, showthetaxreturn

      Actually, Social Security (OASI+DI) trust funds have a great deal to do with the national debt.

      "The only disbursements permitted from the funds are benefit payments and administrative costs. Federal law requires that all excess funds be invested in interest-bearing securities backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The Department of the Treasury currently invests all program revenues in special non-marketable securities of the U.S. Government which earn a market rate of interest. The balances in the trust funds represent the accumulated value, including interest, of all prior program annual surpluses and deficits, and provide automatic authority to pay benefits. (SSA Trustee's Report Summary 2012)"

      All excess Social Security funds are dumped into the federal general fund and consumed during the current period, with a non-marketable IOU issued to the trust. There is no actual excess cash in the trust; it's been spent.
      This non-marketable IOU must be paid back, if ever needed, by new taxes, printed money, or funds from new borrowing -- so all these IOU's are, in fact, part of the National Debt.

      •  Notice how they never talk about that. (0+ / 0-)
        •  Yep, and they won't, either... (0+ / 0-)

          ... because my initial comment was square on the money, and they don't like public humiliation.

          Why? CanusMaximus provided the evidence- the context of which is the damning part:

          Federal law requires that all excess funds be invested in interest-bearing securities backed by the full faith and credit of the United States
          EXCESS Social Security funds?! Egad! All those bad comb-overs out there are saying that it's supposed to be broke!

          And what about using those "excesses" as investment tools?

          The Department of the Treasury currently invests all program revenues in special non-marketable securities of the U.S. Government which earn a market rate of interest.
          Hell, I do that myself with my personal savings account: seems like a wise and prudent thing to do.

          But then we put the greedy, irresponsible bastards in charge and what do we get?

          This:

          All excess Social Security funds are dumped into the federal general fund and consumed during the current period, with a non-marketable IOU issued to the trust. There is no actual excess cash in the trust; it's been spent.
          I had an ex-wife that ran up my credit cards and tapped my direct deposit until I got a restraining order and sued her for damages. Since when did she get elected to Congress? And does the entire damned country have to get a restraining order on her now?

          The bad comb-overs and mush-mouthed crackers that are trying to kill Social Security are blaming their FAILURE TO MANAGE THE COUNTRY'S ECONOMY on the backs of the people who managed their personal incomes and expect compliance with the terms of the law in return for their contributions. That's why I've been saying for years that it is NOT an "entitlement" - it's a LAW.

          Blaming the nation's debt on Social Security is like blaming our planet Earth for its own pollution and climate degeneration because it happens to contain exploitable resources. The idiots who recklessly mismanage everything never think to look in the mirror when they start looking for excuses.

          •  An OSDI IOU is both an Asset and a Debt (0+ / 0-)

            The Social Security Trust books carry the IOU's issued by the federal general fund as an asset, much like one would carry a treasury bond or note as an asset, which, on the books, legally asserts there are "Assets" to cover liabilities. However, this is a non-cash asset, and only as liquid as the issuer of the IOU can produce the cash value when requested by the Trust.

            And there's the rub.  The Cash to pay Social Security IOU redemption requests must come from the federal general fund from either cash on hand or go get some (print it, tax it, or borrow in by issuing marketable notes or bonds -- taking on debt, IOW).

            The existential reality is pretty simple. We legislated a social contract to provide benevolence (charity) to the elderly and others to prevent destitution, which most agree has been a compassionate and reasonable undertaking.  

            Social Security is not a retirement fund or program and it is a gross mischaracterization to pretend so. If it were such a fund, the Trust Fund administrators should be prosecuted for gross misadministration, as the funds net of current pay-outs should have been invested in reasonable-risk investments as EVERY OTHER retirement fund would have pursued.  Furthermore, the idea of means-testing a retirement fund is fraudulent on its face, as retirement programs are EARNED by the terms of the compensation contract.  That Social Security payments are the de facto retirement income of many is a tragedy, but calling it a "retirement" fund is incorrect.

            Social Security is simply a National Benevolence program -- a Charity.  And a compassionate and kind one to be sure. So the notion that one is entitled to it, without means testing is silly. It absolutely should be means tested.  And the fact that one paid into this National Benevolence Trust all one's life simply means one was a good citizen all one's life. The idea that, on average -- unless we raise eligibility ages to reflect modern life expectancy rates -- to about age 75 or so, we'll burn through the IOU's within 20 years at current boomer run rates.

            Anyway, the present Social Security program is, in fact, a pay-as-you-go arrangement (along with Medicare -- same accounting rules).  

            The reality is Social Security and Medicare receipts are treated just like any other tax receipts, only with a Trust Fund ledger entry keeping score of how much of the excess receipts were used for other current period needs and wants.  When he comes time to pay current period Social Security and Medicare disbursements, it's a federal general fund obligation.  We're already pay-as-you-go.

            If we were to look in the mirror and say, "We'll pay Social Security and Medicare using available federal funds." we'd be accurate and honest.  Furthermore, if we say, "We will not take on debt to pay Social Security and Medicare promises -- we would be responsible and reasonable, noting the Executive branch should be put in jail for mismanagement of the funds collected for such purposes.  And since we cannot take on debt for safety net benevolences, there is no unfunded mandate -- one would not exist.  We will simply make benevolence payments if funds are on hand -- noting we must insist cash is always on hand (like a two or three year MARKETABLE security safety fund).

  •  I DEMAND a raffle! (0+ / 0-)

      In which we can raffle off a Drone, or Plane or Ship and then can use that money to spend on REAL PEOPLE Stuff.

        But then, Rand went way off the rails in VA today - where the told folks as Liberty U that if they Vote DEM - then VA will employ SCIENCE and that will lead to Eugenics...or something.  

    •  Rand's Eugenics' comments (0+ / 0-)

      On Rachel Maddow tonight, she spoke of Rand Paul "lifting" his speech today re Eugenics from Wikipedia pretty much word for word. She said it was from a flop movie.  I can't remember the movie's name...Galatta?

  •  How about we just "roll back" a few of those (0+ / 0-)

    juicy tax cuts of the last decade and a half, Lamar?

    We’re Ready, Wendy’s Ready! WTF Are We Waiting For? Bring ‘em on! The revolution has begun! Come and take it!

    by Bluefin on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 03:53:31 PM PDT

  •  T&R'd just for... (0+ / 0-)

    ...."cthuhluesque".

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 03:58:52 PM PDT

  •  SSA Trust Fund (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    showthetaxreturn

    The real elephant in the room is the SSA Trust Fund. If it really was a trust fund that could not be tapped by the federal government, the result would be a solvent SSA with better benefits. Want proof? Look at the Railroad Retirement Board Trust Fund. RRB used to be borrowed from in the same manner until the railroads and the railroad employees got congress to pass a law prohibiting such.

    Don't put up with intolerant people

    by Namekarb on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 04:07:02 PM PDT

  •  No amount of scientific research... (0+ / 0-)

    ....is going to improve the condition of the rug draped across the top of Rep. Smith's head.

  •  Reduce oil, gas, coal, and agriculture (0+ / 0-)

    subsidies to fund science.

    “Never argue with someone whose livelihood depends on not being convinced.” ~ H.L. MENCKEN

    by shigeru on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 04:34:00 PM PDT

  •  Fine Smith (0+ / 0-)

    If that's your real name, just payback the money you owe in the SS trust fund and we'll talk. When I say "talk" I mean we will do the talkin and you will listen.

  •  Before I moved to Houston, I was gerrymandered (0+ / 0-)

    out of Lloyd Doggett's district and into this clown's. He's a real nut on immigration, too.

  •  Social Security pays for itself (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cablecargal

    Payments to Social Security recipients have no bearing on the federal budget.

  •  I largely agree with him, just not his fix. (0+ / 0-)

    We are spending way too much on social programs, largely because we have organized our economy to benefit the most wealthy, and not the average American citizen. Social Security is the easiest fix, especially as it funds itself, just raise the income cap. Medicare and Medicaid are outdated and inefficient, and actually contribute to the high cost of healthcare. Western Europe realized that healthcare should never be a corporate profit center, so none of the countries there have anything that looks like our healthcare system. A national health system makes much more economic sense, than how we do it now, and would over time seriously cut healthcare costs.

    Hell, aid to the poor is one area where we can easily cut how much we spend, without cutting benefits or eligibility: raise the minimum wage! I'm sick and tired of seeing my tax dollars go to people on public assistance who are working, but getting paid poverty wages because corporations have figured out yet another way to get the American taxpayer to subsidize their profits. Workers should see the fruits of their labors, not need public assistance to make ends meet.

    Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shackles. It is by the picket line and direct action that true freedom will be won, not by electing people who promise to screw us less than the other guy.

    by rhonan on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 05:13:37 PM PDT

  •  Funny thing about Smith's concern (0+ / 0-)

    How much is Smith worth? Would you believe almost $4 million dollars as of 2010?

    Somehow I don't think he's personally worried about his retirement or paying his medical bills. It's probably more that he feels bad because he doesn't have as much money as he thinks someone like him deserves. He barely registers in the top levels of our unequal society - and that's what really hurts.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 06:28:05 PM PDT

  •  this scarcity argument has to end (0+ / 0-)

    we can not continue going about with the assumption that the resources that are at hand are subject to current limits.  there is no reason why we can not have more revenue.  

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 07:08:38 PM PDT

    •  Reason we can't have more revenue? (0+ / 0-)

      There are only two sources of tax revenue; taxes on an assessed value of property, in its various forms, and taxes on the value of commercial transactions, in their various types; essentially property rents and transaction fees.

      Since the only way to pay taxes (rents) on property is to engage in some kind of commerce where the asset's use or consumption is converted to cash (to pay the rent), indirectly, all tax receipts come from commercial activity.

      GDP's probably the best estimate we have for valuating how much financial activity is available to tax.

       Right now, based on a lot of factors, for every 1% rise in tax rates, GDP decreases 3% -- so while there is a lot of GDP to go tax, doing so kills the goose -- or at least makes is less vibrant, such as killing jobs.  Higher tax rates make it harder to invest capital with sufficient returns on investment, as taxes are expenses.

      2Q13 Current-dollar GDP -- the market value of the nation's output of goods and services -- increased
      3.1 percent, or $125.7 billion, in the second quarter to a level of $16,661.0 billion ($16.6 trillion). In the first quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 2.8 percent, or $115.0 billion.

      Tax revenue as a share of GDP is about 16% and growing, projected to 18 in the next few years.

      Remember, GDP is always "dynamic", never static; never a zero-sum-game.  For example, base on current market behavior, lowering tax rates increases net revenue because tax rates, above a certain level, have a lower marginal rate of return.

      So, sure, the GDP's out there to go tax, but doing so is pretty short sighted.

  •  Tezas (0+ / 0-)

    What is in the water in Texas that causes such hatred and stupidity?

  •  Leading the world (0+ / 0-)

    Perhaps we should comsider leading the world in kindness.

  •  A True Believer (0+ / 0-)

    While I can certainly understand that Christian Scientists like Lamar Smith and his wife can believe that money spent on actual medicine (e.g., Medicare and Medicaid) is wasted, at the same time I find it hard to believe that Lamar Smith would really be prepared to spend anything on actual science.

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