Friday, June 21, 2013

Growing the Dream, at Taxpayer's Expense...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
erty -vs- Tyranny

Perhaps this is the New Democratic Version of nation building?

Hold on to your hats folks. Increased aid isn't far behind.

As the deficit and national debt continues to grow.

Republicans and Democrats differ how?

Yahoo News - President Barack Obama makes the first extended trip to Africa of his presidency next week—but he won't be stopping in his ancestral homeland.

Obama's weeklong trip—June 26-July 3—which he's taking with his wife, Michelle, and daughters Sasha and Malia, as well as with members of his economic and trade team, is to signal America's interest in trade, democracy and economic development in Africa. He will visit Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.

"We see Africa as one of the most important emerging regions in the world," deputy national security adviser for strategic communications Ben Rhodes told reporters on a conference call Friday. He added that the administration sees "growing economic opportunities [in the continent] for increased trade and investment" by U.S. businesses.

The trip will also focus on "democracy and democratic institution-building," Rhodes said.

Rhodes acknowledged the president's "deep personal and familial connections" to Kenya and noted that Obama has visited the country as a private citizen and as a senator. But Rhodes said it "wasn’t the best time for the president to travel to Kenya" given the recent election of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto, who both face charges of crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court.

The trip has drawn some controversy at home related to its projected costs, which have varied in multiple news reports.

Rhodes said on Friday the White House can't confirm the cost because it's not being determined by the White House.

"We don't have the exact figure on costs—frankly we don't own or control those numbers," he said. "The security requirements, which make up the bulk of the cost, are determined by the Secret Service, and they don't publicly release the breakdown of the costs for these types of trips." Rhodes added that the Secret Service and White House military office determine the security costs for overseas trips of this nature.

Obama will pay tribute to former South African President and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela while in Africa, and he has planned a visit to Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned.

But as for a visit with the former president, Rhodes confirmed on Friday that the White House will allow the Mandela family to lead on that front due to Mandela's health issues. He is currently hospitalized with a lung infection.

It is what it is. It will continue to be what it has been. With no end in sight.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic Toc...

Via Memeorandum


  1. Two differences:
    Republicans have had their fiscal policies guiding the nation for 30 years. Cut taxes, but not spending.
    When Democrats were guiding the (overspending) they raised taxes to pay that bill and not go into debt. Through all the Democratic spending from WW II on, this country had huge debts, but we taxed ourselves at twice the rate we do now, and did not pass on that muti-trillion dollar bill to the next generation (us).
    If we had done the simple Math and either cut spending, or raised taxes, we would not be in such debt.
    If cutting taxes actually increased revenues, why are we in such debt Demarks (Dennis?)?

    1. Yep, cut spending... MIC, foreign aid, wasteful programs, and stop raiding SS fund, etc...

      Feel free to add at will...

    2. Sammy asked: "If cutting taxes actually increased revenues..."

      There is no "if". Revenue went up steadily after the tax rate cuts, according to US Treasury data.

    3. "When Democrats were guiding the (overspending) they raised taxes to pay that bill and not go into debt."

      When? Are you talking about Carter and before? That was a LONG time ago. Even Clinton, who was not as bad as they others in this regard, ran a constant deficit for a total of %1.6 trillion in debt for his terms.

    4. dmarks, revenues went up as a result of market stabilization followed by increased market demand.

      Just imagine what would have happened if spending was cut (brought into control) and taxes were stabilized at a reasonable level? We would be in a hugely improved fiscal posture.

  2. Republicans are making the point that we need to get rid of the nanny state. Go back to before the safety net programs were enacted? One must pause and consider life conditions in America before 1933. The depression was not the only reason Americans decided to enact those programs and raise taxes on themselves. It was the "straw that broke the camels back." For decades Americans were loudly complaining about poor conditions in America. Life expectancy rose dramatically because of those programs. You cannot cut taxes BEFORE you cut spending. Just as (IMHO) you cannot gut those programs BEFORE you have something to replace them, or become another impoverished (starvation, early death because of poor health care, etc.) nation in the world. I, for one, am willing to pay higher taxes to have the best quality of life in the world. I see that as part of being the greatest country in the world, not just military might. Besides, we will have to invest in America's infrastructure, SOON. I see no way around Americans making a financial sacrifice (higher taxes) to meet the 21st century. Our social programs are the most expensive, but if they were gone, we would still have to spend trillions on keeping up America.

    1. I for one am NOT willing to pay more taxes UNTILL...

      1) Military spending (MIC) is cut...
      2) Foreign aid is cut...
      3) Congress moves to single item, and I MEAN single item appropriation bills...
      4) Congress puts an end to lobbyists, PERIOD.
      5) Term limits are enactefed... 12 years for senators and 14 years for representatives. Time served in one chamber applies to both...
      6) Subsidy programs are ended...

      This for starters...

      Feel free to add further suggestions.

    2. I suggest capping Congress pay at 100K. That leaves them in the upper crust, for sure.

      Offer them vouchers for free housing in DC Public housing to make up for some of the expense. Entirely zero out the Congressional pension program. Let them get by on Social Security instead... and if they can't well... hmmm. whose fault is that, then?

    3. Sammy said: "Republicans are making the point that we need to get rid of the nanny state."

      There are no serious proposals to do so. The main Republican proposing budgets is Paul Ryan... and he increases social spending.

      "I, for one, am willing to pay higher taxes to have the best quality of life in the world"

      Yet we have been paying more and more in taxes and getting worse and worse services. Go figure.

      "Besides, we will have to invest in America's infrastructure, SOON"

      I'd like to see how the spending is compared to inflation. Anyway, some simple reforms would greatly increase infrastructure spending. Get rid of Davis Bacon/prevailing wage and similar corruption and you increase infrastructure spending by 10% right away.

      "I see no way around Americans making a financial sacrifice (higher taxes) to meet the 21st century."

      I do. We are already spending plenty. Just cut the massive waste that is there, before you even consider further robbing, further impoverishing the American public.

      When I see the number of Federal employees raking in over $100,000 soaring way of of control (a trend Obama inherited from Bush), it is clear that reforms are needed INSTEAD OF TAX INCREASES or all they will do is take the increased tax money and pay government employees a million a year instead of 100,000 a year.

    4. I agree.

      There would be nothing wrong with reps and senators having a gobernment administered 401K with a competetive rate of return when the market does well. Of course a match, since that would entail taxpayer dollars would be out of the question.

      Further, they would be able to re-enter the private sector with highly marketable skills. Right? :-)

  3. If you wait to fix all the problems, nothing will get done.There will always be political corruption, graft, partisan legislation, etc., etc. I agree with all you listed. How long do you think it will take to meet those requirements (and more) and can we wait that long to invest (spend) in America? It's a work in progress, always has been. None of what you listed would be passed by the Republican majority current House, and even harder if Democrats get majority.

  4. I would stop all this contracting out. It doesn't save us money and those workers are not subject to the same standards as federal employees. Halliburton is a good example, but I mean in all areas, not just defense.

    Cut Congressional pensions, yes, and cut their salaries.

    Regulations add to the costs, but who is deciding which regulations are necessary, or not. The political element is not going away.

    The Speaker said the immigration bill won't pass because it only solves 25% of the problem. He's waiting for a 100% perfect bill? Defeatist attitude. We do what we can, and we can tackle many problems at once. Easy to talk perfection, a little harder to make it work with politicians.

  5. I would increase contracting out, but put in place measures to ensure the cost is very low. Such as really competitive bidding processes. If the standards you are referring to mean overpaying the workers when others do as good of a job or better for lower cost, than those standards are best broken. What do you mean by them?

    1. Costs for sure. I was talking about inept, negligent standards that electrocute soldiers in their showers, their water and food making soldiers sick, etc.
      Command and control suffers when there are to many contracters.

  6. Sammy said: "Regulations add to the costs, but who is deciding which regulations are necessary, or not. The political element is not going away. "

    Well, I draw the line between bad regulations (such as those that protect businesses from competition and create monopolies, and the ridiculous labor regulations that force workers into unions against their will) and the good ones (no child labor, protections for safe food, etc).

    The first category is clearly there due to corruption and not any concern for the public good.

    1. It rarely comes down to what's best, or intelligent, it's political.


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