Debt? Whose to blame? What to do, What to do?

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  1. tsmog profile image85
    tsmogposted 3 months ago

    From Riches to Rags: Causes of Fiscal Deterioration Since 2001 by Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (Jan 10, 2024) says;
    https://www.crfb.org/papers/riches-rags … ation-2001

    [Who in the hell are those people. There about page is at the next link.]
    https://www.crfb.org/staff-members

    “In 2001, the U.S. federal government ran a $128 billion budget surplus and was on course to pay off the national debt by 2009. Since then, the government has borrowed an additional $23 trillion, bringing the national debt held by the public to a near-record 98 percent of GDP and transforming that surplus into a $1.7 trillion deficit.

    Some have claimed this fiscal deterioration was entirely caused by tax cuts or was completely due to spending growth. In reality, both spending increases and revenue reductions can explain the growth in deficits and debt.

    The growth in deficits and debt can be explained both by the automatic growth in mandatory spending and by the enactment of tax cuts and spending increases. Absent any of these phenomena, debt would be on a far more sustainable path.”

    Further along they state:

    “Looking at the policy changes enacted since the beginning of 2001, we find:

    •    Debt is 37 percent of GDP higher due to major tax cuts, 33 percent higher due to major spending increases, and 28 percent higher due to recession responses.
    •    Most debt – 77 percent of GDP – can be attributed to bipartisan legislation.
    •    Absent these tax cuts and spending increases, the debt would be fully paid off.

    Comparing spending and revenue as a share of the economy over time, we find:

    •    Rising spending relative to GDP explains about two-thirds of the growth in annual budget deficits since 2001, while declining revenue explains one-third.
    •    Had revenue remained stable as a share of the economy, the debt would be half its size; had primary spending been stable, it would be nearly paid off.

    Under any of these counterfactuals, the deficit would currently be much smaller, and in some scenarios the budget would have been balanced or in surplus.”

    Within the conclusion they add:

    “These high and rising deficits and debt are caused by the disconnect between spending and revenue. Whether spending is “too high” or revenue is “too low” is a question of values and priorities that cannot be answered objectively. However, it is useful to understand whether changes in spending or revenue can explain our nation’s fiscal deterioration – and the clear answer is that both can. Increases in spending and reductions in revenue are both to blame for the rapid rise in deficits and debt that has occurred since 2001.”

    After the conclusion is the methodology further explain their study. Worth a peek.

    Relative to ‘now’ . . .

    Any thoughts how to solve the problem?

    1. peterstreep profile image81
      peterstreepposted 2 months agoin reply to this

      Something to think about.....

      summery Oxafam report.:

      Since 2020, the richest 1% have captured almost two-thirds of all new wealth – nearly twice as much money as the bottom 99% of the world’s population.

      • Billionaire fortunes are increasing by $2.7bn a day, even as inflation outpaces the wages of at least 1.7 billion workers, more than the population of India.

      • Food and energy companies more than doubled their profits in 2022, paying out $257bn to wealthy shareholders, while over 800 million people went to bed hungry.

      • Only 4 cents in every dollar of tax revenue comes from wealth taxes, and half the world’s billionaires live in countries with no inheritance tax on money they give to their children.

      • A tax of up to 5% on the world’s multi-millionaires and billionaires could raise $1.7 trillion a year, enough to lift 2 billion people out of poverty, and fund a global plan to end hunger.

      Survival of the Richest - OXFAM


      Taxes on the richest used to be much higher. In the United States, the top marginal rate of federal income tax was 91% from 1951 to 1963; top inheritance tax rates stood at 77% until 1975; and the corporate tax rate averaged just above 50% during the 1950s and 1960s.
      There were similar levels of tax in other rich nations. These high levels of tax were supported across the political spectrum and existed side by side with some of the most successful decades of economic development we have seen.

  2. Kathleen Cochran profile image77
    Kathleen Cochranposted 3 months ago

    The last time we had a surplus - we took in more than we spent - was in 2000. It was the result of a large tax increase in President Clinton’s first year in office leveled almost solely on upper-income taxpayers.

    Factcheck.org

    Easiest way to get out of debt.

    1. wilderness profile image94
      wildernessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

      Certainly the easiest; another "money grab" is always pretty easy for politicians.

      On the other hand, is simply taking more of peoples earned income the best way to balance the budget?  IMO no.  The best way is to cut spending and limit the government to what it should be instead of an entity that finds that it, not the earner, actually owns what everyone has worked for.

      1. Ken Burgess profile image78
        Ken Burgessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

        I saw this post of yours on another thread, from 12 years ago, and just had to share it:

        wildernessposted 12 years ago

        Are you kidding?  My wife and I budget $300 per month for groceries, but that includes toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste and toothbrushes, soap for dishes, laundry and showers, cat food, soda pop and all the other myriad purchases one makes at a grocery store.  I doubt that we spend $100 per person per month for food - a $400 food budget for the two of us would be heaven, with steak and lobster every day.

        Try getting by on that amount per month for groceries today, you'd be living on Ramun Noodles and PBJ sandwiches for the whole month.

        1. tsmog profile image85
          tsmogposted 3 months agoin reply to this

          I'm sure Wilderness can answer for himself. Personally, the price rise due to inflation can be summed in one word. "Ouch!" Yes, as Eso, points out I did get increases in Social Security, but a year late. Simply put, those increases follow along inflation and aren't enough to compensate for the loss in savings while waiting for the increase. At least that is what I am experiencing.

          1. Ken Burgess profile image78
            Ken Burgessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

            I think we all know the reality... no matter what the government tries to tell us the official inflation rate is.

            Bottom line... what cost you $100 to buy in the grocery store 5 years ago cost you at least $150 today... and with government spending where it is at, finding money for wars that were avoidable and paying for millions of migrants that are being provided better resources than American Veterans, I expect it to continue in the same direction.

      2. Kathleen Cochran profile image77
        Kathleen Cochranposted 2 months agoin reply to this

        Wilderness: Fiscally Sound America, (believe it or not) is a group of retired congressmen from both major parties. They have suggested that reforming tax expenditures should be the top priority for budget reforms. Tax loopholes or special tax breaks result in more than $1 trillion in lost revenue every year. Those losses were larger than all income taxes paid by individuals in 2022.

        “With our national debt rapidly increasing as a share of our total economy and our nation’s economic growth stagnated, we can no longer wait for the next generation to make the tough decisions necessary to resolve our fiscal issues,” said Tom Tauke, U.S. Congress retired (R-IA) co-chair, FSA, and Executive Vice President, Verizon Communications. “We have a moral responsibility to save our country. And we believe that the vast majority of Americans are willing to do what is necessary now to ensure a bright future for themselves and their children. We simply cannot delay these difficult choices anymore.”

        Of course the argument could be made that FSA members were the very elected officials who allowed the current fiscal situation to develop on their watch. On the other hand, who better to know where the mistakes lie that need to be fixed? And possibly only those with that kind of knowledge - who are now out of office - can do anything about it.

  3. tsmog profile image85
    tsmogposted 3 months ago

    Today, from the Committee for a Responsible Budget posted a new article. It is; How Much Did President Trump Add to the Debt? (Jan 10, 2024). They stated they will post one on Biden in the near future.

    A quote within the article states:
    "Of the $8.4 trillion President Trump added to the debt, $3.6 trillion came from COVID relief laws and executive orders, $2.5 trillion from tax cut laws, and $2.3 trillion from spending increases, with the remaining executive orders having costs and savings that largely offset each other."

    Their promise of an article with analysis for Biden enticement is:

    "To be sure, other Presidents have also added substantially to the debt. In a future analysis, we will estimate how much President Biden has added to the debt – we pegged this figure at $4.8 trillion before the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and other recent actions."

    https://www.crfb.org/blogs/how-much-did … p-add-debt

  4. Ken Burgess profile image78
    Ken Burgessposted 3 months ago

    Well, that was a very disappointing article.

    So much so it made me do some digging.

    The Com for a Responsible Federal Budget is a non-profit public policy organization.  Didn't get much of a feel for their biases, but didn't dig very deep.

    Here is the thing... what have we been doing post 2001?

    War, war, more war, funding other's wars, and.. paying large contracts out to MIC companies to provide security and services to places we are in, officially or not, like Syria, Iraq, etc.

    This is where a very large portion of that debt comes from, and our budget is more than half devoted to the Pentagon and military spending. 

    America has become a bloviated war machine that is just pissing away money like there is no tomorrow.

    1. tsmog profile image85
      tsmogposted 3 months agoin reply to this

      Thanks for piquing my curiosity of your perspective - War is responsible for a large portion of the debt. So, poking about to explore it I agree it did contribute. How is that to be resolved followed by a solution? Seems complex to me with the knowledge I have, today.

      America’s wars and the US debt crisis by the Jordon Times (Updated May 24, 2023)
      https://jordantimes.com/opinion/jeffrey … ebt-crisis

      And, not as recent . . .

      War Debt: America’s Cost of Going to War by Debt.org (Updated Nov 17, 2020)
      https://www.debt.org/blog/war-debt-america/

      Along with . . .

      The “Ghost Budget”: How America Pays for Endless War by Just Security (Jan 3, 2024)
      https://www.justsecurity.org/90907/the- … dless-war/

      Great reads/info . . .

      1. Ken Burgess profile image78
        Ken Burgessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

        Like the first article pointed out, there would be almost no debt, if not for the overseas 'peace' efforts of the US these past couple of decades.

        Trump is the only President in the past quarter century that did not involve America in a new conflict, or overthrow another government.

  5. Nathanville profile image92
    Nathanvilleposted 3 months ago

    Tim, it may not be all doom and gloom; and the USA is not alone!

    This link shows that compared to some other countries the USA isn’t doing so badly e.g. the national debt as a percentage of GDP is far worse in Japan, Greece, Singapore and Italy.

    https://www.visualcapitalist.com/govern … economies/

    With regards to your question of “what to do”; there is no easy answer and no quick fix.

    From when I studied economics at college - knee jerk reactions to economic crises by Governments e.g. making sudden changes, can do more harm than good.  The best economic course is usually for a Government to keep its nerve, and to plot a slow and steady course that aims to reduce the national debt slowly over time, rather than taking drastic steps to try to bring down the national debt quickly.

    1. tsmog profile image85
      tsmogposted 3 months agoin reply to this

      Howdy Arthur! Thanks for weighing in with a fresh perspective. The linked article for me is enlightening. Not only the article itself, but the offered links within it. Educational! Just for info purposes the links that piqued my curiosity were:

      Animated: Global Debt Projections (2005 - 2027P)
      https://www.visualcapitalist.com/global … ions-2027/

      Charted: The World’s Aging Population from 1950 to 2100
      https://www.visualcapitalist.com/cp/cha … 0-to-2100/

      U.S. Debt: Visualizing the $31.4 Trillion Owed in 2023
      https://www.visualcapitalist.com/cp/us- … d-in-2023/


      Your statement. "With regards to your question of “what to do”; there is no easy answer and no quick fix." I have to agree. As stated elsewhere I am no economics whiz, yet am learning.

      The article of the OP places near equal blame on spending, cutting taxes, and recession responses. Okay, the blame game is out of the way from their perspective. Regard how to fix it what caught my attention is; "Rising spending relative to GDP explains about two-thirds of the growth in annual budget deficits since 2001, while declining revenue explains one-third."

      From a novice perspective it appears 2/3 of attention should be placed on spending and 1/3 on increasing revenue as a long term solution.

      Interestingly, prefacing with I have my priorities as others theirs, The Committee for a Responsible Budget offers an opportunity to develop a budget and see how it works. It is an interactive allowing selection of many different variables. Take a peek.

      Fix the National Debt
      https://www.crfb.org/debtfixer

      If anything I have learned while continuing to do so, yes, there are the easy answers like slash defense. But, this interactive tool allows one to actually do the changes with the elements and see the results.

      In other words, one can learn 'How' to slash defense through the offered variables. The same learning opportunity is for:

      Investments
      as stated, Defense
      Social Security
      Health Care
      Domestic
      Income tax
      Other taxes

      and, finally, see the results.

      1. Nathanville profile image92
        Nathanvilleposted 3 months agoin reply to this

        Thanks for all the links; most interesting, and most educational – Particularly your last link, the ‘Fix the National Debt’ link, which I spent over 2 hours slowly, and painfully, working through.  The difficulty for the National Debt link for me is that the British tax, benefit and social systems are not comparable to the American systems – So to try to find the nearest option for each question required a lot of cross reference with the UK Government website; for examples:-

        •    We don’t have health insurance in the UK because all our medical care is 100% free at the point of use, as it’s all 100% paid for from taxes.

        •    In the UK State Pension is a fixed flat sum which everyone with more than 35 years employment automatically gets, that’s tripled locked to increase each year by whichever is the higher from annual average wage increase, inflation, or 2.5% e.g. it’s not based on your earnings, and is not means tested.

        In answering the questions, rather than answering them how I would like to see them answered, I put myself in the shoes (mind-set) of the current UK Conservative Government e.g. to emulate their current economic and social policies; such as:-

        •    The Conservative Government’s cut in the Defence budget over the past 14 years.

        •    The Conservative’s Government increase in spending on childcare in recent years.

        So on working through the form, as Health is free and social benefits tend to be broader in the UK etc., I was expecting my completion of the form to increase the National Debt, not decrease it – but the final result was surprisingly the reverse (see image below) – If only it could be that easy in reality!

        As regards the other links:-

        •    Yes, as stated in one of the links “Debt sharply increased in both 2020 and 2009 in conjunction with economic downturns”; 2009 being the world financial crisis, and 2020 being the pandemic – but for some reason they failed to include the Ukrainian war, which is having the same general negative impact that the pandemic caused; and for the UK we’ve also had the negative impact of Brexit compounding the economic crisis caused by the pandemic and Ukrainian war.

        •    But of course, one of the major long term cause of high National Debt as highlighted in your other link is the problem across all wealthy countries of an ageing population; in the UK in 2022 19.7% of the population was over the age of 65, while in the USA it was 17.13%.  The ageing population representing lower percentage of the population of working age (paying taxes), with an increasing population of people in retirement and having to be supported by the State (from taxes).

        Yep, as stated in another of your links “tackling national debt is simple in theory: raise taxes or reduce spending, or a combination of both.”   But, as we know, it’s much more difficult in practice e.g. “which taxes should be raised? Which programs should be cut?”

        As stated in your links “national debt rises during recessions because government’s revenue, (primarily composed of taxes) decreases, while at the same time, governments tend to increase spending to help stimulate an economic recovery – A little bit of a “catch 22” situation.

        https://hubstatic.com/16873206.jpg

        1. tsmog profile image85
          tsmogposted 3 months agoin reply to this

          Wow!! I am amazed you spent as much time as you did playing with the learning tool!! I didn't. I am currently playing with it with a step by step approach learning what the elements offered for change are. I see the big picture with my personal values such as I am pro-defense. I spent some time, yesterday, looking into those elements.

          Link to Debt Fixer tool to peek at possible defense changes.
          https://www.crfb.org/debtfixer

          For instance, 'Allow Veterans to See Any Doctor Outside of the VA' would result with a $520 billion increase. I reflect on a neighbor, Jerry (RIP), I used to give rides to the VA hospital in San Diego. That is a forty minute drive. If it were possible for him to see a doctor locally he would not depend on help from someone.

          Also, I reflected, looking into VA medical facilities seeing there are 172 serving the nation. So, I looked into if you go outside of network what does that entail. Three considerations I envisioned mirrored myself - age, health issues, and income sources - social security and savings.

          Next, I thought of a plot in a TV series, Seal Team. One of the subplots was a younger member of the team was injured by an explosion. He had appointments with VA about that. And, he roomed with a former Seal Team member also having to go to the VA. But, the VA was local to them. What if it were not local to them. 

          Then, I stopped as it was time for lunch. But, I gained respect for all of our legislators having to make decisions regard the budget while considering the goal of lowering the debt, their ideology, and the constituency they represent.

          I say, Hooray for you, for playing with the tool while at the same time doing as best as can be applying the UK structure to see the results.

          For now, I will continue my journey one step at a time with defense and see what the results are and then move to one of the other categories. One thing to note, you made progress at the goal of lowering debt. Hooray!

          1. Nathanville profile image92
            Nathanvilleposted 3 months agoin reply to this

            Yep, absolutely; when I did economics at college, it wasn’t just the basic microeconomics that most people learn at school, in the 2nd year we switched to macroeconomics (a view of the whole picture), which is a lot more fun, and shows just how complex economics is in the real world:  So from that I too, as you stated “I gained respect for all of our legislators having to make decisions regard the budget while considering the goal of lowering the debt, their ideology, and the constituency they represent.”

            I found it a worthwhile exercise “Playing with the tool” as it gave me a greater insight into the American tax and benefits system, which is radically different to the UK system in many respects – So it was a very educational exercise – and the fact that I managed to lower the debt in the online model was just by chance.

            I too, am pro-Defence; which is why I (like many Brits) were dismayed when one of the first acts the Conservatives made when they came to power in 2010 was to cut the Defence budget by 8% – decommissioning our last aircraft carrier in 2011 (five years ahead of schedule), living the UK without any aircraft carriers for six years, until the new one was commissioned in 2017; and cutting the size of the British armed forces by 20%.

            The only cut the Conservative Government that hasn’t made, is the annual recruitment of Gurkhas into the British Army; the Gurkhas make up about 5% of our Armed Forces, and are always deployed as an advanced force in any conflict because the Gurkhas are the world’s toughest soldiers, and therefore a great asset to the British Army.

            This documentary shows how Gurkhas are selected for recruitment into the British Army.  As you will see from the video, few (if any) American or British born citizen would be capable of doing the physical tests that Gurkhas have to go through, to select the best of the best:  https://youtu.be/hbYScADMKa8

            WOW – The help Veterans get in America sounds rather complex and a little disjointed, unless I’m not seeing the whole picture?  And the potential option you mentioned, to “Allow Veterans to See Any Doctor Outside of the VA” is a little alien to me in that in the UK, as well as the “Veterans-UK” (the UK equivalent to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in America), veterans do have free and full access to the NHS, like everyone else, so the issue of being able to see another doctor is irrelevant in the UK.

            In the UK ‘Veterans-UK (which is a part of the Ministry of Defence) work in partnership with other national and local government Authorities, the NHS, and various charities dedicated to veterans - to provide a joined up service.

            The 1st link below lists the responsibilities of ‘Veterans-UK’ which includes:-

            •    Free help with compensation claims for injury in the armed forces.
            •    Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.
            •    War Pension Scheme
            •    Armed Forces Pensions
            •    Help and welfare for veterans and those leaving the armed forces
            •    Veterans Welfare Service
            •    Defence Transition Services
            •    Help and support to the family when a veteran or service person dies

            https://www.gov.uk/government/organisat … s-uk/about

            The 2nd link below provides details of the additional free help and support the NHS gives to veterans:
            https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/armed-f … eservists/

            If you follow through on the above links it should help to clarify some of the similarities and differences between help and support veterans receive in America and Britain; and if it does I’d be interested in what you learn.

            1. tsmog profile image85
              tsmogposted 3 months agoin reply to this

              Thanks for the reply! Informative. A little wandering follows . . .

              Having never taken economics classes both for micro or macro I do get the jest of it while have done my own 'self' education since became retired. That was motivated by my desire to become more informed on politics as the 'big' picture, though realized there are specifics to it. In other words the maco-politics and micro-politics borrowing from economics.

              Before retiring I was colloquially a sheeple just voting Republican a result mainly through socialization supplemented by the biographies I read of those I had an interest gaining admiration as a child developing into an adult.

              For instance, I admire Teddy Roosevelt, a former president, from reading two biographies on him. One while in grade school and one while in middle school. Consequently, being embed within me it affects my assessment of beliefs as well as political position.

              One element for my voting trend before retired it was easy peasy allowing me to develop other interests with a higher priority. For instance, career. In other words, revenue keeping to the economics of things contrast living expenses and acquired debt. Causes?

              Today, being retired, I have the 'luxury' of time to actually assess my beliefs with its system incorporating both emotion and cognition. Fortunately, today, I, as well as others, have the availability of the internet as a tool for that purpose. However, importance to each varies.

              Back on track, the tool, as with you, I find it enlightening. I have sought to lower the debt by examining each micro element as a stand alone within the category focusing on defense first Make the changes, then do a compare/contrast with debt as it is today as given by the tool.

              For instance, I would like to give those benefits to the vets, but how to balance that cost is the question. Do I do  it with cutting an element of defense or elsewhere. Onward the learning experience goes.

              I can see an advantage for yourself with the NHS as a given. I can relate to that personally, today, receiving Medicare through Social Security, today, though there is nominal cost for it deducted from my benefit.

              Yet, what of those having to pay for health insurance as mandated by our government today. That is the given here. Then comes introspection with my journey with having the availability of provided health care contrast/compare cost. There was more pain associated with that than pleasure economically speaking for myself.

              The bottom line to cut debt, sacrifice.

              Appreciated the additional info and will give attention to them later today. We are in agreement, it appears, on defense.

              That was a long windy road wink Yet, with positive results, of which one is clarity for myself.

              1. Nathanville profile image92
                Nathanvilleposted 3 months agoin reply to this

                My grandfather was a trade unionist, and my mother (a staunch Labour supporter) had the same dislike of Winston Churchill (Conservative Minister in her day) that I had for Margaret Thatcher, and for similar reasons.

                Nevertheless, I didn’t have any firm political views when I left school and started work; but that quickly changed when Margaret Thatcher came to power e.g. Margaret Thatcher had a loathing for socialism and anything related to socialism, she was very open about her dislike of socialism, and it showed in her polices e.g. she made two failed attempts to scrap the civil service pension scheme, being thwarted in the courts each time; and she attempted to scrap the NHS in favour of the American style healthcare system, but fortunately her own political party didn’t support her.

                So it was her attacks on socialism that made me a socialist e.g. I quickly learned the import role that socialism plays in a modern British democratic society.

                Yes, as you said “The bottom line to cut debt, (what to) sacrifice”.

                That’s where the different political ethos’s of the different political parties come into play e.g. in economic terms socialism tends to put greater emphasis on “bottom up economics” (giving greater financial protection to the working classes as they will then generate the wealth in the economy (stimulate economic growth), by spending the extra ‘disposable income’ that then filters up to the upper classes, generating increase ‘demand’ for goods and services, which in turn generates an increase in employment), while capitalism tends to put a greater emphasis on “top down economics” (giving the businesses the tax breaks etc., in the theory that they will then pass some of the financial benefits down to the workers in the form of higher wages etc.”.

                I’ve tried to simplify this aspect of economic theory into just a short paragraph, but perhaps this video below might give a clearer picture into the two different economic theories that economists have been arguing about for over two centuries.

                Top Down versus Bottom Up Economics: The Obama Administration Plan that Hasn't Been Tried Before https://youtu.be/TMp0Gmag3BA

                1. tsmog profile image85
                  tsmogposted 3 months agoin reply to this

                  Thanks Arthur, for the feedback!!

                  You brought up not only an interesting point, but an important one. That is where your parents stood in the political world. Having a cursory knowledge of what a trade unionist means, labour party, and conservative I can grasp the influence of those for you.

                  One thing, to note, I feel, is that the impact of socialism in the UK is much greater than here both economically, politically, and socially. In other words the socialization effect. In support of that I offer from the Fraser Institute; New poll finds strong support for socialism in the U.K. (Mar 25, 2023). A fairly short read.
                  https://www.fraserinstitute.org/blogs/n … -in-the-uk

                  "The poll (commissioned by the Institute of Economic Affairs and Canada’s Fraser Institute) taken in the fall of 2022 shows that the U.K. has the highest level of support for socialism as the ideal economic system (43 per cent) among the four countries involved in the poll (Australia, the United States, Canada and the U.K). The U.S. has the lowest support for socialism at 31 per cent.".

                  One thing to note is over the last ten years I have explored on and off Sweden's form of government, politics, and economy to understand my Dear Friend's perspectives. Of course, culture too.

                  As an aside, today, conservatives use socialism and communism as pejoratives while liberals use Trumper or Trumpist and MAGA for them. MAGA = Make American Great Again, Trump's slogan.

                  Relating to the parents influence my dad was a Republican/Conservative while my mom was a Democrat/Liberal. Arguably how much could be at question as well as being transitory over their lifetime. A consideration is my parents did not discuss politics ever in the family environment. Matter of fact the following topics are hands off at family functions - politics and religion. Privately, yes.

                  However, they both were staunch on patriotism since my dad was a career Marine for twenty years. Consider the military in essence is socialism. That, as well, as my grandpa, my mom's dad, fought in WWI in France. He fought in the battle of the Argonne Forest experiencing the usage of Mustard Gas.

                  Is the U.S. Military Socialist? by AllGov (Jan 6, 2016) AllGov is a left leaning organization. Note: A short read.
                  http://www.allgov.com/news/unusual-news … ews=858082

                  The reason why I bring up the military as socialism is I lived within that environment for eighteen years before moving out of the family home. After moving out it was full on capitalism investing into myself/career and capitalize on that with opportunities advancing myself and times of failure too.

                  The reason why I say transitory is my dad in his second career drove a bus for the North County Transit District here where I live for almost twenty years. He was in the position of being an old guy. Supporting transitory he was instrumental as an organizer with bringing in union representation for drivers and maintenance workers, which did happen.

                  So, conservative position → to a liberal one. My mom was supportive of that. Did that affect their voting record, who knows.

                  Granted, I have a lot to learn on the economics academia. However, from my playing with that tool to lower debt specific to defense I am learning. I say that because it has prompted journeys from here to there to grasp what the elements within means. I suspect that will carry forward to the other categories like taxes, social security, and investments.

                  1. Nathanville profile image92
                    Nathanvilleposted 3 months agoin reply to this

                    Thanks for your comprehensive feedback. 

                    One comment that caught my eye was where you said “A consideration is my parents did not discuss politics ever in the family environment. Matter of fact the following topics are hands off at family functions - politics and religion. Privately, yes.”

                    Yep, politics, religion and sex tend to be taboo subjects in Britain in social circles, unless you’re socialising with friends that you know well enough that you know you’re not going to offend them, or cause an argument or rift with them.

                    But in private, as a family I, my wife and our son always have a family discussion prior to voting so that we all come to a common agreement on how we are going to vote; which in the General Election is invariably Labour, but in local elections coming up in May this year, we’re currently leaning more towards supporting the Green Party.

                    Thanks for the link to poll conducted by the Fraser Institute, which confirms the strong support for socialism in Britain (no surprise there); although, the Fraser Institute’s added personal comments does reflect their strongly Right-Centre biased (again, no surprise there).

                    In reading your comment “The reason why I bring up the military as socialism is I lived within that environment for eighteen years before moving out of the family home. After moving out it was full on capitalism investing into myself/career and capitalize on that with opportunities advancing myself and times of failure too.”

                    In think in the UK there isn’t such a stark difference (the boundaries are more blurred) because when you leave home it’s not “full on capitalism investing into myself/career” e.g. in the UK there is a lot of support available from the State, such as ‘Social Housing’, Housing Benefit, Social benefits for people on low income etc., and plenty of opportunities to advance oneself, such as free and cheap adult education.

                    One of many keystones in supporting you in adult life in the UK are Government funded services like the ‘National Careers Service’ (launched in England in 2012 by the UK Conservative Government) https://youtu.be/BN4rdE2HXaw

                    Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have their own similar Government funded schemes:  Such as the Skills Development Scotland (a Scottish Government Department created by the SNP (Socialist) Government in Scotland in 2008): https://youtu.be/rW4tpEBKyUU

                  2. Nathanville profile image92
                    Nathanvilleposted 3 months agoin reply to this

                    Where I said in my previous reply to this, re relation to your link “….the Fraser Institute’s added personal comments does reflect their strongly Right-Centre biased (again, no surprise there).”, to elaborate for example:-

                    In the Fraser Institute’s personal comment they said (to quote):

                    “Apparently, Britons have forgotten their experience with British Steel, British Gas, British Petroleum, British Telecom, British Aerospace and other failed nationalizations.”

                    The statement above, by the Fraser Institute, is pure ‘misinformation or disinformation’.

                    Certainly British Steel was a lame duck, along with other British Industries, including British car manufactures; these were nationalised by Labour, rather than bailing them out with government subsidies, or just leaving them to market forces where as Private Industry they would have gone bankrupt.  But even as Nationalised Industries they were a burden on the taxpayer.

                    So in the 1980s Margaret Thatcher reprivatized them to sink or swim, along with every other Nationalised Industry (for Conservative political ideology) including British Gas, British Telecom (mentioned above by the Fraser Institute), and the National Grid, Water, Sewage and British Rail (not mentioned by the Fraser Institute).

                    But neither British Gas nor British Telecom (mentioned by the Fraser Institute), nor National Grid, Water, Sewage and British Rail were failures as National Industries – They were all profitable.

                    The result of privatising British Gas and the other Service Industries, including the Railways, was that the new private owners immediately put up prices significantly and creamed off all the profits to their shareholders rather than reinvesting in the service infrastructure.

                    Prior to being privatised Telecom was at an advanced stage to start upgrading the telephone network from copper wire to optic fibre cable; when it was privatised in the 1980s, the plan to upgrade the infrastructure was abolished – and it’s only been within the last 10 years that the UK Conservative Government has forced British Telecom to commence upgrading its infrastructure from copper wire to optic fibre.

                    As regards British Rail, when it was privatised in the early 1990s it was split into two private company sectors, the rail network and the trains.  The rail network when bankrupt in 2002 and subsequently renationalised; while in 2019 the UK Conservative Government finally admitted that privatisation of the trains was a failure because although the private train operators are making profits, rather than reinvesting the profits they have been creaming off the profits to their shareholders, and were consistently hyping the price of travel to make even bigger profits for their shareholders – So the UK Conservative Government are now in an advanced stage of renationalising the trains to bring down prices and to increase reinvestment in the railway; about 25% of the trains have already been taken back into State (Government) ownership, with the profits going towards Government Revenue rather than into the pockets of shareholders.

                    As regards the National Grid, that is being renationalised by the UK Conservative Government this year, specifically to give the Conservative Government a tighter control over gas and electricity sector as part of its legal requirement for the UK to be carbon net zero by 2050.

                    Below is an old video (made before the Conservative finally decided to renationalise the trains), but it does lay out the issues:-  https://youtu.be/AJMPM7HOWms

            2. tsmog profile image85
              tsmogposted 3 months agoin reply to this

              Howdy, Arthur!

              I have given some time to the Veteran Benefits topic focusing on health care. First, it seems I have misspoken about their ability to go outside of network (The VA hospital or a VA medical facility). Going back to the Budget Fixer I see it says;

              “A 2014 law temporarily allowed VA-enrolled veterans who lived a certain distance from a VA facility or who had to wait for a certain amount of time to see private doctors outside of the VA system. A subsequent 2018 law made this policy permanent in a similar program. This option (That being what the Budget Fixer offers with a cost of $520 billion to choose or continue as is) would remove restrictions on the current program, allowing any VA enrollee to see private providers outside the VA system.”  In other words, no longer any qualifiers as in distance from a facility (40 miles or 64 km) or too long of a wait time (30 days). There is more to it than those two.

              The link next explains the program. It is dated July 25, 2017, so before the 2018 law. It is called The Veterans Choice Program.
              10 things to know about the Veterans Choice Program (July 25, 2017)
              https://news.va.gov/39882/10-things-kno … e-program/

              At this time I am reconsidering my position with a strong lean toward choosing the option with its cost. What sticks in my craw is the wait time based on personal experience.

              I did explore the links offered on benefits for veterans in the UK.

              Regarding benefits in general there are a lot of them to compare/contrast. However there are similarities. Below is links for peeking at them with a skim.

              With my exploration of VA benefits, here, it is complicated. For instance benefits differ with 9/11 being where change occurs. I will say of importance for the Vets I know is following. However, note, those friends military service were pre-9/11.

              Health care
              Education benefits
              Home loans
              Small business help

              Links:

              Choose VA
              VA offers benefits that can help Veterans buy, retain, or modify a home; earn a degree; start a career; stay healthy; and do much more in life after the military.
              https://www.choose.va.gov/?utm_source=g … gLFKfD_BwE

              VA benefits for service members
              https://www.va.gov/service-member-benefits/

              About VA health benefits
              https://www.va.gov/health-care/about-va … -benefits/

              Footnote: There is sentiment that there are four branches to government here. That being the Constitutional ones - executive, legislative, and judicial. The fourth being bureaucracy. From this learning experience I saw that in action and have empathy for Vets especially those outside of available assistance.

              1. Nathanville profile image92
                Nathanvilleposted 3 months agoin reply to this

                Great, that’s good news for VA’s about there no longer being any qualifiers as in distance from a facility.  Thanks for all the links, which I did skim through.

                Yes, these schemes are often complicated, and we also get a lot of bureaucracy in Britain (which can be a right pain in the backside at times); but having joined-up services e.g. one-stop-shop, which is a methodology the UK Governments have tried to implement across the board since the 1980s does help e.g. the Government’s integrated transport policy.

                Waiting lists (wait time), as you mentioned for the VA’s, is also an issue for some parts of the NHS, and a major embarrassment to the UK Government; exasperated by the pandemic, the NHS industrial action (strike action) and underspending by the Government – A failing by the Government for which they are paying dearly in the opinion polls in Election Year.

                Fortunately, although I and my wife, and our close friends, who at our age frequently use the NHS, we haven’t been affected by any of the waiting lists reported in the Press; whenever we’ve had a problem or issue, or any concerns, we’ve always been seen without delay, and routine check-ups (which are frequent at our age) have all been carried out without any delays – So the efficiency and dedication of the NHS, in spite of the pressures put upon it in recent years, has given the NHS a good reputation, and it is highly regarded and highly respected by the British Public.

                This YouGov link sums it up:
                https://yougov.co.uk/politics/articles/ … mic-period

    2. GA Anderson profile image88
      GA Andersonposted 3 months agoin reply to this

      Just an interjection . . .

      The first thought of your comparison was a depressing one. Our state of affairs is so bad (even accepting your 'better place than' point) that it fits economic comparisons with Greece and Italy.

      The economic levers of governments may be complex to apply but the basic concepts aren't. Continually spending more than you have leads to an inevitable disaster—whether an individual or a government.

      GA

      1. Ken Burgess profile image78
        Ken Burgessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

        Agreed.

        If you have $100 dollars but are spending $200... you are not going to be able to survive on that system for long.  No need to complicate it.

        That is essentially what America has been doing since 2001, with escalating increases into how much more the government spends than it is taking in.  Deflating the value of the dollar, or causing inflation, however you want to qualify it.

        1. GA Anderson profile image88
          GA Andersonposted 3 months agoin reply to this

          Deflating the dollar's value seems the most damaging, and controllable, factor.

          There can be many causes for the one cause of inflation, but only one for devaluation — which is recklessly printing more money.

          GA

      2. Nathanville profile image92
        Nathanvilleposted 3 months agoin reply to this

        Absolutely - the importance of 'living within your means' is something that was drummed into us when I did economics at college.

  6. tsmog profile image85
    tsmogposted 3 months ago

    Perspective

    The Hill offered a compare/contrast for Trump vs. Biden on debt. It is;

    "The Biden White House dishonestly blames GOP-led tax cuts under Donald Trump for “90% of the debt increase.” For the record: under the Trump administration, the debt went up significantly only after Congress passed relief measures aimed at keeping the COVID-impaired economy afloat. In his first three years, the debt rose by $3.3 trillion — too much, for sure, but nothing compared to the $6.25 trillion jump in debt during Biden’s first three years. And there has been no emergency to excuse Biden’s spending. "

    More can be discovered at the following link.

    Joe Biden’s extremist spending is a danger to the US by The Hill (Jan 4, 2024). Consider it is an opinion article. Also, The Hill per Allsides Media bias places them at Center edging 'Lean Left'.

    https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/438 … to-the-us/

  7. Kathleen Cochran profile image77
    Kathleen Cochranposted 3 months ago

    What would we cut? Who would it hurt?

  8. Readmikenow profile image93
    Readmikenowposted 3 months ago

    One thing the United States can do to save money is to stop paying illegal aliens, have strict border security.  Take the funds used for them and begin a massive deportation program.  Only let LEGAL immigrants into the United States.  This money should be used for American citizens because it was provided by American tax payers.

    "At the start of 2023, the net cost of illegal immigration for the United States – at the federal, state, and local levels – was at least $150.7 billion.

    At the federal, state, and local levels, taxpayers shell out approximately $182 billion to cover the costs incurred from the presence of more than 15.5 million illegal aliens, and about 5.4 million citizen children of illegal aliens. That amounts to a cost burden of approximately $8,776 per illegal alien/citizen child. The burden of illegal immigration on U.S. taxpayers is both staggering and crippling, with the gross cost per taxpayer at $1,156 every year."

    https://www.fairus.org/issue/publicatio … ayers-2023

    1. gmwilliams profile image84
      gmwilliamsposted 3 months agoin reply to this

      AMEN, Mike.

    2. tsmog profile image85
      tsmogposted 3 months agoin reply to this

      Thanks for input, Mike!

      Agreed the border and illegal immigrant issue is a drain on the economy. I live in San Diego County and it is a drain on our local economy, which I experience.

      I see it as far as debt as a trade off at this time considering the cost to deport them and the cost to build the wall. I would support that if wisely spent. According to the Debt Fixer tool shared earlier in the thread it would cost $180 billion to Tighten Border Security and Build a Border Wall.

      According to AZ Central back in 2017 it states;

      "ICE spent an average of $10,854 per deportee during the fiscal year that ended in September, according to ICE spokeswoman Yasmeen Pitts O'Keefe. "This includes all costs necessary to identify, apprehend, detain, process through immigration court, and remove an alien," she said in an interview."

      For 15.5 million at that $10,854 would be a cost of $170.5 Billion. So, combined that is approximately $350 billion. That is at the federal level.

      Debt Fixer from the Committee for Responsible Budget
      https://www.crfb.org/debtfixer

      Note: Building the wall and tighten border security is in the Defense category

      How much does it cost to deport one migrant? It depends from AZCentral (Apr 27, 2017)
      https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/po … /99541736/

      1. Readmikenow profile image93
        Readmikenowposted 3 months agoin reply to this

        "It would cost $180 billion to Tighten Border Security and Build a Border Wall."

        Well, according to the article I posted the United States is "$182 billion to cover the costs incurred from the presence of more than 15.5 million illegal aliens, and about 5.4 million citizen children of illegal aliens."

        So, a wall could be built, border security tightened and still have $2 billion leftover to spend in United States citizens.

        1. tsmog profile image85
          tsmogposted 3 months agoin reply to this

          Agreed, until you consider the cost to deport them. Or, do I have that wrong? I think I did say it would be a trade off I would support, so you aren't getting any argument from me.

  9. tsmog profile image85
    tsmogposted 2 months ago

    Free Webinar on the Debt since 2001 by The Committee for a Responsible Budget. It takes place on Jan 31st at 2 pm ET. It is based on their recent paper; From Riches to Rags: Causes of Fiscal Deterioration Since 2001. (Jan 10, 2024).

    Article can be found at link next.
    https://www.crfb.org/papers/riches-rags … ation-2001

    From Riches to Rags: Causes of Fiscal Deterioration Explained webinar at the next link.
    https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/ev/ … 6PC02RmA==

    "Committee Senior Vice President and Senior Policy Director Marc Goldwein will give an in-depth and non-partisan look at what is the true cause of the federal debt increase, as well as address the myth that only one party is to blame. Goldwein will cover three major areas of debt increase: increased spending, tax cuts, and recession response." 

    "The discussion will take place via Zoom on Wednesday, January 31, at 2 pm ET. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A portion, where you will have the opportunity to submit questions."

  10. tsmog profile image85
    tsmogposted 2 months ago

    The Debt! 2024 Policy Proposals. Is it worth it?

    The Committee of a Responsible Federal Budget offers a look at policy proposals by the Biden administration for 2024. In other words, the nuts & bolts of the spending machine. It spells out each proposal with Annual Cost followed by Per Person. (Note: There is a drop-down menu to see per taxpayer and per household, too) Revealing!! Worth a quick glance at the glaring costs being proposed. For instance;

    https://www.crfb.org/interactives/is-it-worth-it

    Policy Proposals
    ** Student Debt → $50 Billion annual cost → $149 per person
    ** Paid Family Leave → $22.5 Billion annual cost → $67 per person
    ** Universal Pre-K → $14 Billion annual cost → $42 per person

    There is a bonus!! See key areas on:
    ** 2024 Federal Spending
    ** 2024 Federal Tax Breaks.

    Note: Hoover cursor over the ‘i’ to see the explanation for that item. Also, at the Federal Spending category, click on it for a drop-down of items within the category.

    1. Nathanville profile image92
      Nathanvilleposted 2 months agoin reply to this

      One may wonder why governments in the Industrialised economies (regardless to their politics) seem less concerned about growing National Debt than us – The short report on British TV News Channel (a couple of days ago) explains all:  https://youtu.be/9SW_JjgoW1I

  11. Ken Burgess profile image78
    Ken Burgessposted 2 months ago

    Debt? Whose to blame? What to do, What to do?

    Stop spending money when we don't have to.

    The so called Border bill... is really a fund Biden's wars bill. 

    In it, more than 60 Billion going to Ukraine, which, believe it or not, is not a State of America.  It is not even a protectorate of America.

    60 billion 'win the war' it will not do anything more than waste money as it extends the inevitable end, this war is a waste of lives and money, always was, there was more than one opportunity to negotiate a peace, Biden chose war... stop paying for Biden's idiocy.

    1. Willowarbor profile image60
      Willowarborposted 2 months agoin reply to this

      I, for one, would like to see a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine.  A recent detailed analysis by the New York Times showed that the front line across southern and eastern Ukraine has hardly shifted in the course of this year, and that does not look like it will change. Putin has yet to spell out clear terms for a settlement .

      Why have NATO Powers not encouraged negotiations sooner?

      The aim may be to bleed Russia white, militarily and economically, and also send a message to China that it shouldn’t challenge the global hegemony of the US and its allies.  The GDP of Russia is  smaller than the state of Texas. 

      But for me, there’s also the nagging hypocrisy of the war in Ukraine. So many around the world support Ukraine’s resistance to foreign occupation (and  they should) but heartily deny Palestinians any way to resist their occupation. Even non-violent methods of resistance like the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign is vilified.  Why the double standard? Even Zelensky has twice voiced unilateral support for Israel saying that “Israel’s right to self-defense is unquestionable”. Zelensky ought to see how his invaded and occupied land is more akin to the situation of the Palestinians than the Israelis. The obfuscations are everywhere.

      So are the double standards. We certainly did hear a great deal in the US about the Israeli's  killed or abducted by Hamas, as we should, but will those same voices rise to the same volume for Palestinians  killed in Gaza?  It does not seem so.

      The double standard may be expected considering how the plight of the Palestinians has been discussed in the past, but that doesn’t eliminate its moral darkness. It’s also particularly dangerous and tone-deaf at this moment, when the  Neytanyahu government is using unprecedented violence on a largely defenseless and penned-in population.

      We want to force Russia and Ukraine to the negotiation table while turning a blind eye to Israel’s relentless bombing, which Biden admitted is “indiscriminate,” has made Gaza  an uninhabitable ruin killing nearly 30,000. 

      Putin and Netanyahu both need to be firmly put in their place.

      1. Ken Burgess profile image78
        Ken Burgessposted 2 months agoin reply to this

        Furthermore, if one does a deep dive into the history and facts and plenty of video evidence from 2009 - 2021 ... one should easily be able to conclude that Crimea was FINE being part of the Russian Republic.

        Crimea was not under occupation any more than Moscow is under occupation... it was a tourist destination and site of the most important Russian naval base Russia has.  Russia/Putin poured billions into building that bridge and improving its infrastructure.

        The people there actually had a VOTE and seceded when Ukraine had a nonfunctional OVERTHROWN government with a puppet regime put in temporary control.  The overwhelming majority wanted OUT of Ukraine.

        WTF are we doing saying we are "defending Democracy"... Isn't that really democracy?

        90% of the people living there are Russian or have Russian family, they speak Russian, do business with Russia... is it really hard to believe that as Ukraine fell into chaos they wanted out?

        Of course not.

        So why is there war? 

        Because Ukraine didn't want to negotiate a peace in the Donbas region and wanted to take Crimea back.

        And if the Biden Administration hadn't supported Ukraine in this nonsense, there wouldn't be a war.  This is our war, we fund it, arm it, train it... and Ukraine pays the price in lives lost and ruined because of it.



        I doubt you will ever type a sentence I feel to be more true than this.

        I think that also pretty much sums up the Biden Administration's foreign affairs efforts.

        1. Readmikenow profile image93
          Readmikenowposted 2 months agoin reply to this

          "Crimea was not under occupation any more than Moscow is under occupation... it was a tourist destination and site of the most important Russian naval base Russia has.  Russia/Putin poured billions into building that bridge and improving its infrastructure."

          Don't start with your russian propaganda. It's obvious you get your talking points from a russian source.

          Many of the things you espouse were spoken by putin during the tucker carlson interview.

          "Because Ukraine didn't want to negotiate a peace in the Donbas region and wanted to take Crimea back."

          That's right.  They are Ukrainian territories as they have been for decades.

          Those territories were illegally annexed.  This is the opinion of Europe and most of the world.

          1. Ken Burgess profile image78
            Ken Burgessposted 2 months agoin reply to this

            Mike, your country is not better off for this war. The people are not better off for this war, things aren't going to get better for Ukraine if this war continues.

            The American MIC is better off for this war,  BlackRock is better off for this war, maybe other power players are better off for this war that I don't know about.

            America's economy, the EU's economy, the citizens of these nations, are not better off because we are fighting this war.  Clearly other parts of the world are beginning to unravel, in part, because of this war.

            America, the UK and parts of Ukraine, its current leadership, thought they could force their will upon Russia, felt they could overthrow Putin or get the Russian economy to collapse, or whatever the 'think-tank' insight was at that time.  They were wrong.  It is time to see this reality, it is no longer in question.  The war needs to end... if it escalates things only get worse, for the world.

            1. Readmikenow profile image93
              Readmikenowposted 2 months agoin reply to this

              Guess who is no better off for having started this war?  russia.  This conflict was started by russia. Ukraine has every right under international law to defend its sovereignty.  This point is agreed upon by the world. 

              russia thought they could just go into Ukraine and take what territory they wanted without any pushback.

              They were wrong.

              Ukraine has gone to war with the fourth largest army in the world.  They regained over 70% of their territory that was initially overrun by russia.

              It is estimated by the Institute for the study of war that russia has lost approximately 1/3 of its army to this conflict.  That is soldiers, equipment, tanks, airplanes, air defense, rocket launchers, APC, attack helicopters, etc.  That is huge.  Their black sea fleet has been decimated by Ukraine using drones in the water and air.  russia has lost over 300,000 men in this war.  It is estimated at the rate russia is going, they will have lost 400,000 by April.  Not wounded, but 400,000 KIA.  This past month there was more than one day when russia lost over 1,000 solders, in a day. A single day.

              Their tactics have all failed.  They are now reduced to using human waves to try and to make progress. Anybody who knows warfare knows history has shown this will work for a period of time, and then you run out of men and equipment. Ever study the Battle of the Bulge?

              russia can't keep fighting this war with the losses they are experiencing.

              I look at the front lines and the battle maps daily.  russia's attack groups are getting smaller. They are using older and less effective equipment in their front lines because that is all they have.  Their troops are not motivated.  Many run when the shells start to drop.  They have troops behind the attack groups with orders to shoot the attack group if they don't go forward.

              russia is down to using North Korean ammunition and drones from Iran.

              It's just a matter of time before russia's military become so run down they won't be able to hold their positions.

              1. Ken Burgess profile image78
                Ken Burgessposted 2 months agoin reply to this

                That is open to debate, from what I have heard from people that have visited Russia in the last year, they are doing better than ever.

                True or not, I don't care.

                I care about America.  I care about our economy, and by extension the global economy since it is all tied together.

                I care about our skyrocketing out of control debt, this war is borrowed money... borrowed money that means higher inflation, borrowed money that means time taken off the clock, the ticking clock to when our fiat dollar collapses, our banking system collapses and all Americans suffer.

                I damned sure care about not starting WWIII with the country that has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world and is proving themselves to be our equal when it comes to weapon technology... which means their ability to hit America with nukes is a pretty sure thing.

                You look at this from a Ukraine perspective, and honestly, I don't give a rats ass about Zelensky, or the Ukraine government, the sooner it folds the sooner this war ends, the sooner Ukraine can recover and its people can stop suffering.

                You really should consider America's track record... how is Afghanistan doing?  How about Iraq?  Libya?  Syria? 

                Is there any nation better off for our military intervention for the last 30 years?

                Do you really think Ukraine is going to fair better if they keep this up, if they allow America to continue to use them, until the last drop of Ukraine blood is spilt?

                1. Readmikenow profile image93
                  Readmikenowposted 2 months agoin reply to this

                  "That is open to debate, from what I have heard from people that have visited Russia in the last year, they are doing better than ever."

                  Who are these people?  Are they relatives?

                  "Do you really think Ukraine is going to fair better if they keep this up, if they allow America to continue to use them, until the last drop of Ukraine blood is spilt?"

                  You don't understand Ukraine or their history with russia.  One only has to start with Holodomor to begin to understand the hatred for those in power in russia.  I know Ukrainians, they will fight until the last drop of Ukraine blood is spilt.  They will fight this war against russia for generations if necessary.  If the United States was to pull it's funding, they would go elsewhere for money and support.  Trust me, they will not surrender or quit.

                  They are that determined and focused.

                  What is strange is that most Ukrainian people have no problem with russian people.  When it come to the relationship between russian and Ukrainian people. Loosely translated it goes "Love the children but hate the parents."

            2. Nathanville profile image92
              Nathanvilleposted 2 months agoin reply to this

              What price Freedom?

              1. Ken Burgess profile image78
                Ken Burgessposted 2 months agoin reply to this

                They had freedom.

                This is not about freedom.

                This is not about Democracy.

                This is about Ukraine did not want to negotiate over Donbas and wanted to take Crimea from Russia so Zelensky refused to honor the Minsk Agreement.

                In 2019 they were talking peace and end to conflict.

                World leaders including Russia's Putin meet with Ukraine leader, aim to end conflict
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAg2deQY-UI

                Russia President Putin And Ukraine President Zelensky Sit Down For Peace Talks For First Time | TIME - 2019
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvdmnFQuXQY

                Biden gets in Office... and all of a sudden its all about taking Crimea and no compromise, no negotiations.

                Zelenskiy Calls For The 'De-Occupation' Of Crimea In UN Speech - 2021
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnAnMxOkKSM

                So... prior to all this, Crimea was doing just fine:

                Life Inside Putin’s Crimea - 2018
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzO7gIT5GYU

                I am not arguing that all nations agree that Crimea had a right to secede or that Russia didn't seize control of aspects (mostly military assets) of Crimea in 2014.  For example:

                Ukraine crisis - 2014
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNFj5fsEbHA

                Taking over a Ukrainian Base - 2014
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBLs_AsBtjg

                But it was done, 8 years had passed.  Crimea part of Russia.  Time to move on.  Time to end the conflict in Donbas.  Time to negotiate.

                Zelensky and Biden refused.  Still refuse.  Ukrainians pay the price.

                1. Nathanville profile image92
                  Nathanvilleposted 2 months agoin reply to this

                  Yeah; Ukraine ‘had’ freedom and democracy:  Russia is not a free democratic country, it’s a dictatorship: 

                  Russia invaded and occupies a large portion of Ukraine; and would be in control of the whole of Ukraine if they hadn’t been pushed back.

                  It is about Freedom; If Mexico annexed Texas would you have the same attitude?

                  I’m sorry, but your views are nothing more than Russian propaganda – Unlike you, having lived under the Russian threat in Europe all my life, I do know what the Ukrainians are going through.

                  1. Readmikenow profile image93
                    Readmikenowposted 2 months agoin reply to this

                    Nathan,

                    He does put forth russian talking points as well as propaganda.  If you watched Tucker Carlson interview with putin, he espouses many of the same talking points. 

                    Using twisting facts to portray russia as a victim.  The country that invaded another sovereign country for no other reason than they could.

                    Many in Europe realize russia would love nothing better than to rebuild the former soviet union.  If they are not stopped in Ukraine, they will try to make it happen.

                    "This is about Ukraine did not want to negotiate over Donbas and wanted to take Crimea from Russia so Zelensky refused to honor the Minsk Agreement."

                    I struggle to read anything more detached from reality.

                    Crimea was illegally annexed by russia.  That is something Europe and the rest of the world agree on. It is a fact.

                    The Donbas is Ukrainian territory.  russia shipped its paramilitary groups into the area to take it from Ukraine.

                    How mentally sick and disturbed to believe a country defending itself against an aggressor led by a leader who could be likened to Hitler is wrong.

                    This could be over tomorrow if russia would go back behind its borders and stop its aggression.

                  2. Ken Burgess profile image78
                    Ken Burgessposted 2 months agoin reply to this

                    Its funny, what you call 'freedom' in the UK I would call oppression.

                    I pretty much keep those thoughts to myself as you prattle on about how great the UK is at policing up the internet.

                    Or how your free medical system can have you waiting, months, years for a procedure... but it is free, relatively speaking.

                    We all have different perspectives of what "freedom" is.  Yours does not match mine.

                    The point was Ukraine WAS free... of war... of occupation. 

                    But they didn't  want to negotiate with Russia, so Russia did exactly what the UK, the Biden Administration, and others wanted it to do... it used a 'special military operation' to force the matter.

                    And here we are... with Russia NOT collapsing like the brilliant strategists in the Pentagon, DC and the UK thought... with Putin NOT overthrown like those same brilliant minds expected would happen... and, from all we can tell, Russia doing better than ever.

                    Yeah... it was worth it... not negotiating... we sure showed Russia and the world... you stand up to America and the UK and just look at what happens to you.

  12. Ken Burgess profile image78
    Ken Burgessposted 2 months ago

    And today's headline will put this thread right back on track:

    SENATE BETRAYS AMERICA, Pre Dawn Vote APPROVES $95B In Ukraine, Israel Funding As US Facing INVASION

    1. Willowarbor profile image60
      Willowarborposted 2 months agoin reply to this

      Yeah but the house wants immigration AGAIN... So Senate funding bill is apparently DOA in the house until they get immigration.

      1. Ken Burgess profile image78
        Ken Burgessposted 2 months agoin reply to this

        I think addressing our border should come before sending another hundred billion dollars to foreign war efforts.

  13. tsmog profile image85
    tsmogposted 7 weeks ago

    Back on the subject of our Debt comes a recent report/analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Budget.

    Can Donald Trump Eliminate the Debt? published Feb 28, 2024
    https://www.crfb.org/blogs/can-donald-t … inate-debt

    The opening is:

    "In discussing another potential term in office, last month, former President Donald Trump declared, "we’re going to pay off our debt.” President Trump similarly promised to pay off the national debt within eight years during his 2016 presidential campaign.

    Although it is impossible to know the future, this claim is almost certainly false. Absent massive revenue increases – which President Trump has never mentioned – it would be literally impossible to pay off the national debt over the four years of the next presidential term, and practically impossible to pay it off over the ten-year budget window.

    Over four years, even eliminating all spending would not be enough to pay off the debt, nor would doubling revenue collection. Over ten years, paying off the debt would require cutting all federal spending by about 60 percent or boosting revenue by two-thirds. Assuming Social Security, Medicare, and defense spending are exempt from cuts – consistent with President Trump’s rhetoric – even eliminating all remaining spending would not pay off the debt without trillions of additional revenues."

    Note: For learning or curiosity using the link to 'Interactives' at the top of landing page are interesting topics.

    1. wilderness profile image94
      wildernessposted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

      Easey-peasey for our politicians!  Simply borrow 30T from China, to be paid back by our children's children, and voila!  All is well!

      1. tsmog profile image85
        tsmogposted 7 weeks agoin reply to this

        wink

  14. tsmog profile image85
    tsmogposted 5 weeks ago

    CRFB Reacts to the President’s FY 2025 Budget (Mar 11, 2024)

    CRFB = Committee for a Responsible Budget

    https://www.crfb.org/press-releases/crf … 025-budget

    The PDF document of the actual 2025 Budget Proposal follows next (188 pages - I use Adobe Acrobat Reader and I have contents links on the left using hyperlinks to jump to the topic)
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/u … fy2025.pdf

    President Biden released his Fiscal Year 2025 budget request today, including a number of tax and spending proposals and a roadmap for the country’s finances over the next decade.

    Under the President’s budget, based on its own estimates, the national debt would rise to $45.1 trillion or 105.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2034, from $27.4 trillion or about 97 percent of GDP today. The budget would reduce deficits by a net $3.3 trillion over the next decade, relative to its baseline.


    Concluding last three paragraphs . . .

    "We are entering an inflection point in our nation’s fiscal history. Time is of the essence to get our situation under control. Both the economy and our national security depend on it.

    This budget is an important step in the right direction, but it’s still too little. The budget lacks a plan to put the debt on a downward path, to pay for its proposed tax cut extensions, or to prevent the 23 percent across-the-board Social Security benefit cut – the equivalent of a $17,400 cut for a newly retired couple – scheduled to take effect around 2033.

    We need presidential leadership to take the bull by the horns and get our fiscal health under control, and we need Congressional leadership as well. With divided government in an election year, we know it won’t be easy – it hardly ever is. Nevertheless, the President and Congress should work together, as they did last year with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, to begin making some serious progress."

  15. tsmog profile image85
    tsmogposted 5 weeks ago

    Released March 11, 2024 is Analysis of the President's FY 2025 Budget by the Committee for a Responsible Budget.

    https://www.crfb.org/papers/analysis-pr … 2025budget

    Its a deep dive graphics and all. The key highlights are:

    ** Debt would approach but not breach its previous record as a share of the economy, growing to a high of 106 percent of GDP by 2030 and stabilizing around that level. In nominal dollars, debt would grow by $17.7 trillion, from $27.4 trillion today to $45.1 trillion by the end of 2034.

    ** Deficits would total $16.3 trillion (4.6 percent of GDP) between FY 2025 and 2034, reaching $1.7 trillion (3.9 percent of GDP) in 2034.

    ** Spending and revenue would average 24.4 and 19.7 percent of GDP, respectively, over the next decade, with spending totaling 24.2 percent of GDP and revenue 20.3 percent of GDP in 2034. The 50-year historical average is 21.0 percent of GDP for spending and 17.3 percent for revenue.

    ** The proposals in the President’s budget would reduce projected deficits by $3.3 trillion on net through 2034, including $3.2 trillion of new spending and tax breaks, $5.2 trillion of revenue increases, over $900 billion of spending reductions, and nearly $400 billion of net interest savings.

    ** The budget irresponsibly punts on tax cut extensions and Social Security solvency by calling to extend expiring tax cuts for those earning below $400,000 with offsets and extend Social Security solvency but failing to specify the policies to accomplish these goals or incorporate the cost of the extensions.

    ** The budget assumes strong economic growth and stable inflation, with assumptions in line with consensus over the next few years but somewhat more optimistic later in the decade. The budget assumes real GDP growth of 2.1 percent per year, compared to CBO’s 2.0 percent projection. It assumes the ten-year Treasury yield to average 3.8 percent, compared to CBO’s 4.0 percent.

    Also, for interest the following article from Newsweek . . .

    What a Second Trump Term Means for Taxes (Mar 12, 2024)
    https://www.newsweek.com/what-second-tr … m=Bulletin

    "In an interview with Newsweek, Oswald said a second Trump term would be unlikely to see America's national debt, which currently stands at $34 trillion, slashed due to the Republican front-runner's support for tax cuts and relatively high spending.

    "Gravity is ultimately going to catch up with us and we have to start paying our bills," Oswald said."

    "Oswald said that if elected in November, Trump will be under pressure from Republican donors to cut the highest rate of income tax, which currently sits at $609,350+ for singles, and $731,200+ for a married couple filing together."

  16. tsmog profile image85
    tsmogposted 5 weeks ago

    Debt
    The White House Claims Borrowing $16 Trillion Over the Next Decade Is Fiscally Responsible by Reason online (Mar 12, 2024)

    If you can't even get close to balancing the budget when unemployment is low, tax revenues are near record highs, and the economy is booming, when can you do it?

    https://reason.com/2024/03/12/the-white … sponsible/

    Is this a formula for debt?

    "For fiscal year 2025, which begins on October 1 of this year, Biden is asking Congress to spend $7.3 trillion while the federal government will collect just $5.5 trillion in taxes. That will necessitate borrowing $1.8 trillion to make ends meet. Over the 10-year window covered by the president's budget plan, federal revenues would exceed $70 trillion, but Biden is proposing to spend $86.6 trillion."

    What do you think?

    Wisdom?

    Can Trump fix it? How?

  17. tsmog profile image85
    tsmogposted 2 weeks ago

    Taxes, Taxes, Taxes What is that old adage? "Death and Taxes" stated by Benjamin Franklin way back in 1789.

    Large parts of the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA) are set to expire at the end of 2025. Design your own solution below.

    Taxes directly affect the nation's Debt, the tax payers pocket book, business owners P&L statements, and revenue to operate the nation.

    How to solve the dilemma? Maybe you may want to give a go at it. You can do that with The Committee for a Responsible Budget tool for deciding the varied tax schemes. They provide the ability to forward your solution to policy makers at the option at the bottom of the page.

    Build Your Own Tax Extensions
    https://www.crfb.org/build-your-own-tax-extensions

    Note: Worth a peek just to see what decisions are to be made by our legislators. Have fun and see your results,

    If you want to play with the budget to Fix the National Debt go to the next link.
    https://www.crfb.org/debtfixer

    Also, worth a peek and become informed what is debated, thrown at the wall and see what sticks, or come up with wild A** guess. It can be fun.

  18. tsmog profile image85
    tsmogposted 2 weeks ago

    Debt, Deficit, Taxes, and a Budget

    The $6T Gap Between Trump’s and Biden’s Tax Plans | WSJ YouTube video (6:01 min.) Mar 27th, 2024 by Wall Street Journal
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSUtQPa4g-8

    A short and sweet video explaining the differences between the concepts of Trump and Biden that will affect; Debt, Deficit, Taxes, and the Budget. The goal is to lower the Debt, right?

    1. wilderness profile image94
      wildernessposted 2 weeks agoin reply to this

      I do not believe there is a single person on Capitol Hill that has a goal of lowering debt.

      Possibly (possibly!) lowering the deficit, although I doubt that any are sincere in that, either, but never the debt.  Every budget proposed for years now has been deficit spending, meaning the debt goes up.

      1. tsmog profile image85
        tsmogposted 2 weeks agoin reply to this

        "I do not believe there is a single person on Capitol Hill that has a goal of lowering debt."

        You're probably right. Sad!

 
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