Tea Partiers Still Hooked on Handouts

March 3rd, 2011 at 12:05 pm | 61 Comments |

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The anti-government “throw-the-bums-out” crowds have had their chance to speak out on how to curtail the deficit and what to do with those hated entitlements that are the antithesis of the America they pine for.  A new WSJ/NBC News poll though provides a glimpse of just how dependent on big government entitlements Americans have become–even amongst the Tea Party.

Not that this should be a surprise to anyone watching the slow shift of the American mindset from citizen, to consumer, to ward of the State over the past century.  According to the Wall Street Journal who co-sponsored the poll,  “Americans across all age groups and ideologies said by large margins that it was ‘unacceptable’  to make significant cuts in entitlement programs in order to reduce the federal deficit.”

No wonder President Obama in his State of the Union speech only paid lip service to Social Security and Medicare reform, mentioning each by name only once in over 7,000 words of text. He knows what Americans are really about as summed up in the old adage: “It all depends on whose ox is being gored.”

And the poll exposes the hypocrisy of many of the Tea Party movement who claim to be for smaller government and a return to a libertarian Nirvana that never existed in the first place.   Consider: by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, self-described Tea Partiers (who tend to be older and whiter than the population as a whole) declared significant cuts to Social Security “unacceptable.” Gee, there’s a shock.

In fact, as the poll reveals, less than a quarter of Americans support making significant cuts to Social Security or Medicare to tackle the mounting deficit about which they cry warnings of impending doom.

Before Tea Partiers accuse me of trashing them, let it be known that although I am not one of them, I have defended the movement many times when I felt it was unfairly attacked by the left. You see, I agree whole-heartedly with their deficit concerns.  But, unlike them, I am willing to give up my benefits to set things right.  They clearly are not — Gadsden flags and tricorn hats notwithstanding. So I am clearly the minority… even among my own kind it seems.

Despite the fact that such entitlements are already in the red, when asked directly if they thought cuts to Medicare were necessary to “significantly reduce” the deficit, 18% of respondents said yes, while 54% said no; the rest were not sure or had no opinion. On Social Security, 22% said cuts would be needed, while 49% said they weren’t.

Well then…now what guys?  What’s your plan then?

Ah, the poll goes on to say that there are two solutions that more than half of those responding would support.  And they reveal that many Americans are, in fact, quite selfish.

Solution one: More than half support extending the retirement age to 69 by 2075.  Or as I like to call it, the “deal with it after I’m dead” solution.  Of course a person in their 40s and above in 2011 would have no problem with this.

I am 43, in very good health, but I am not Methuselah.  The odds of me being anywhere but with my Maker in 64 years are pretty slim.   So, even though many Americans rant against saddling future generations with a deficit, they’ll be damned if they don’t cash in all their Social Security chips before they check out.  Very noble.

Solution two: Over 60% of those polled support reducing payments to wealthier Americans.  In other words, when it comes to their benefits at risk, it’s time to what?  Spread the wealth by reducing my benefits so theirs will remain intact because I made more money.  Penalize the rich?  Honestly, it matters little to me as I expect reduced benefits anyway.  It’s just the principle… and the Tea Party and similar movements are very much about “principle.”   Until it comes down to sacrificing their precious benefits, that is.  Then they suddenly gravitate towards that very wealth redistribution model over which they crucified Mr. Obama during the campaign through Joe the Plummer.

So what this latest poll shows is that when it comes to putting their money where their mouths are, most Americans, even Nobamanauts, show their true colors and demonstrate that we are hopelessly mired in an entitlement culture that in the end will only be solved by one guy: Mr. Mathematics.  An American retiring today will have put in roughly $114,000 in contributions into Medicare but will receive over $355,000 in services throughout their ever lengthening retirement.  If left unaddressed, this formula will eventually collapse anyway so one way or the other, austerity is a comin’.  Tick-tock.

More than seven in 10 tea party backers feared GOP lawmakers would not go far enough in cutting spending. “It may be hard to understand why someone would try to jump off a cliff” to solve the debt crisis, said pollster Bill McInturff  of his fellow Republicans, “unless you understand that they are being chased by a tiger, and that tiger is the tea party.”  Yet, as his own survey shows, this is a false premise as only one in three will be waving pitchforks.  The other two-thirds, suffering from an astounding case of cognitive dissonance, will be cashing their checks.  Certainly, the Tea Party verve and libertarian ire that demands “brave measures” from the new Congress to get the deficit under control dissipates dramatically when the firing squad of benefit reductions is trained on them.  Then, suddenly, they propose to kick the can down the road to their kids, and to spread the wealth.  Sound familiar?  “Oh… and keep government out of our lives!”  Riiight.

Hypocrisy is not an exclusive property of the far left it seems.  So good luck to the GOP in their quest to make significant cuts in the deficit… If they’re serious, I hope they like being one-termers.  What do you think?


Recent Posts by Brad Schaeffer



61 Comments so far ↓

  • Smargalicious

    Brad, Civics Lesson #1:

    Birth-to-death entitlements to non-taxpayers DOES NOT EQUAL Social Security and Medicare entitlements paid for by taxpayers.

    Questions?

    • FosterBoondoggle

      Yeah, I have a question. What the hell are you talking about?!? Do you think that non-citizens are collecting these entitlements? Or that kicking undocumented aliens out of the country will solve our fiscal problems? If you cared to actually look at the facts, you’d discover that the undocumented workers here pay in to Social Security & Medicare, but get nothing back.

  • Nanotek

    Solution #3: (1) Raise the tax rates back to where they were before the GOP acquired its deficit fetish under Bush II (2) cut unneeded military spending

    • COProgressive

      Agreed. I was in support of letting all the surplus killing Bush debt raising tax cuts. Looking back at the ’90′s, before the Bush surplus killing tax cuts, we had an economy that was headed in the right direction. America was prosperous, taxes were a little higher and we were on a path to start paying down the National Debt when it was “only” $5.7 Trillion and Republicans in an effort to continue their “Starve the Beast” ideology played the fear card of how it may actually be bad to pay off the National Debt.

      The 2001 tax cut was a very unusual tax cut in the sense that it confronted, for the first time in 150 years, the possibility that we would actually eliminate the debt in the United States. And it was that concern which creates major problems with respect to accumulating assets. When you have $500 billion surpluses, when the debt is effectively zero, creates huge holdings of private assets by the federal government, and for reasons I express in the book, I think that’s very bad idea, and I must say, Bill Clinton agreed with me on that issue. – Alan Greenspan on Meet the Press Sept. 23rd, 2007

      Bill Clinton? Bill Clinton wasn’t the President that blew the surplus, and our chance to start to bend the National Debt curve down. It was President Bush and the Republican congress that passed through the 2001 and 2003 Debt Increasing tax cuts thus keeping alive “Starve the Beast” which is why we’re in the problems we’re in today.

      So, today, “Starve the Beast” lives on in that we are so deeply in debt due to Republican foolishness, two unfunded wars, an unfunded Medicare Part D gift to PhRMA, and Billions in subsities to BIG OIL, that the Republicans and the Tea Party members want “Spending Cuts” but the only cuts they can find are cuts to fund home heating funds for the poor and free milk for school children and healthcare for Americans.

      If we cut a single social program without first re-negotiating Medicare Part D with PhRMA, and without cutting off BIG OIL from the Federal government corporate welfare teat, and foremost, END THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN!

      Once all that is done, then we can start to take milk away from grammar school children.

      “Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money (or make your cuts) and I’ll tell you what they are.” – James W. Frick

  • politicalfan

    Okay smarg. Let’s expand medicare to everyone. HCR is gaining steam. Watch!!! Even if it does not seem obvious, it will be soon. Your union busting folks are making a great argument for it!

  • ProfNickD

    I agree that a retired person who is receiving Social Security payments is not equivalent to some shiftless idler who has spent more time in his life shooting hoops and smoking weed than working. The idlers should simply be allowed to starve — they won’t be missed.

    The issue, though, is that even the benefits given to working people who have “paid into” the system, such as Social Security and Medicare, cannot be sustained.

    Social Security and Medicare alone amount to $1.2 trillion is federal spending, close to 1/3 of the entire budget. Add Medicaid, defense, and debt servicing interest and suddenly the feds are running a deficit — and that doesn’t even count one penny of other spending.

    These programs simply are financially ruinous.

    • COProgressive

      “These programs simply are financially ruinous.”

      Especially the $725,000 Million dollars a year “defense” spending and the $2,800 Million dollars a WEEK spent play a deadly game of “Whack-A-Mole” with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

      BTW, as a comparison to the War in Afghanistan @ $145,600 Million dollars a year X ten years, a Universal Single Payer Healthcare System that would cover ALL Americans from cradle to grave would cost about $100,000 Million dollars a year. You chose, $145.6 Billion a year to KILL locals in Afghanistan, or $100 Billion a year to PROVIDE healthcare for all Americans. Which is the better value for America?

      • ProfNickD

        Yes, defense spending should probably be cut in half.

        Still doesn’t solve the problem.

        • sweatyb

          Cut defense spending. Raise taxes to Clinton levels. Add a $2 million+ tax bracket. Tax capital gains as income.

        • FosterBoondoggle

          Dr. Nick (and Brad) –

          SS is not actually in the red right now, any more than an individual’s well funded personal savings account being spent in retirement is in the red. SS is sitting on a mountain of US Treasuries. The mountain shrank slightly last year because of the recession, but the SS trustees project that it will grow again next year. Deficits resume later on and, on current growth projections, the fund runs out in 2037, at which point the payouts will be about 75% of the “planned” amount. (But this is 75% of a figure based on significant wage growth between now & then, therefore capable of supporting a higher standard of living than the current level.)

          The major problem is in Medicare, but as Brad notes, the Teahadi’s don’t want to touch it – “Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare”. Anyone who proposes changes that would cut in to the profit of the medical-industrial complex gets drowned out with shouts of “Death Panel!” Witness the aftermath of last year’s report on unnecessary and harmful mammography.

  • talkradiosucks.com

    “I agree that a retired person who is receiving Social Security payments is not equivalent to some shiftless idler who has spent more time in his life shooting hoops and smoking weed than working. The idlers should simply be allowed to starve — they won’t be missed.”

    Most of the people collecting Social Security payments pull out far more than they put in. So once they reach the total they’ve put in, I guess we should let the old geezers starve too, right?

    And some of those “idlers” can’t make a living because of problems they can do nothing about. Including those lazy “children”. They won’t be missed either?

    The ones who really wouldn’t be missed by most in a reasonable society are assholes such as yourself.

  • jerseychix

    And not even a peep about keeping up the subsidies to oil companies which every single GOPer voted to sustain.

    It isn’t news that the old white people who vote have as their main opponents mathematics and logic. You simply cannot balance the budget without looking at military spending, SS, Medicare, and Medicaid.

  • Rob_654

    Well of course.

    When people want “Spending Cuts” they just assume that the cuts will be only in programs that “they” think are not worthwhile, from which they do not see a direct benefit, and which likely gives someone else something that they are not getting.

    But as soon as they realize they will lose a Federal Goodie – they don’t like those cuts because those programs are “necessary” or “critical”…

    IMHO – if the Right Wing wants to argue to move to a more Free Market \ Capitalist model – I say we agree – and we look at what will be the best return for Federal money.

    Will we get a better return on our taxpayer investment by spending money on 70 and 80 year old’s who are at the upper end of life expectancy, don’t work or if they do are not really producing at maximum capacity, or do we invest more in children an younger workers who will “repay” that investment over many decades through work, taxes and moving our country forward to meet the new challenges in the world?

  • TerryF98

    It;s a pity Schaeffer repeats the great Conservative lie about Social Security.

    Quote. Talking about Medicaid and Social Security.

    “Despite the fact that such entitlements are already in the red, when asked directly if they thought cuts to Medicare were necessary to “significantly reduce” the deficit, 18% of respondents said yes, while 54% said no; the rest were not sure or had no opinion. On Social Security, 22% said cuts would be needed, while 49% said they weren’t.”

    That is a direct lie. Social Security is fully funded till 2037 so we have 26 years of funding in hand before it ever gets to adding to the deficit.

    It only needs a modest adjustment to rates to stretch that figure to the end of the century.

    So Brad please stop telling lies SS is not in the red, repeat not in the red.

  • cafn8ed

    Speaking of Tea Partiers hooked on handouts, per the NY Times yesterday, none other than Michelle Bachmann receives $250,000 annually in farm subsidies.

    Now how’s that for a handout hungry patriot! No wonder she doesn’t want taxes raised on individuals making more than $250K!

  • Tempest in a Frumpot

    “More than half support extending the retirement age to 69 by 2075.” But the retirement age for people born after 1962 is 68 already, so I am not sure how one year will make a huge difference, especially that far out.
    I favor a radical overhaul of Social Security, link a portion of each person born after 1980′s payments directly to their own personal account run by the SSA. Make sure at least 2,000 dollars goes into it, the rest of the money will go towards funding existing retirees. When the people born after 1980 they will have their own guaranteed accounts based on their own money. The money that they put in will go towards treasuries, or state and local bonds, no screwing around with the stock market. This would lead to an eventual defacto privatization of Social Security, no more ponzi scheme of taking from the children to give to the parents.
    That would just leave Medicare as a societal obligation.

  • PracticalGirl

    Brad,

    Your point about Tea Partiers and their naked, true priorities is a good one. But goodness- we knew that as soon as they started demanding that the US continue to borrow money and add to the deficit so that their taxes could remain artificially low, didn’t we? Oh, wait- you agreed with the deficit-balooning greed on that one.

    There is a serious discussion to be had regarding Social Security benefits, levels and how it goes forward in the future. Unfortunately, you and every conservative who presents like you should probably choose your words a bit more carefully. Telling an enormous block of voters that the INSURANCE programs they’ve paid for since the day they started work is an “entitlement” program is no way to begin.

    You talk about “your benefits” and how you’re willing to kiss them good bye. Please elaborate- what does that really mean? And let’s talk about how long you’ve been self-employed/a business owner and about how long you’ve been able to avoid paying payroll taxes on your personal income. You’re not quite as invested in the program as others your age- do you really think you’re the best spokesperson for “reform”?

  • KRH67

    Terry, agreed. As far as I understand, even at the present moment SS draws in more money than it pays out, so there is no way it can be considered in the red.

    Personally, however, I view the “trust fund” as sleight of hand… I think the government has spent that money, therefore it doesn’t actually exist. So, I am worried that SS will start to annihilate us much sooner than you, I believe the projection I saw was 2017.

    And cafn8ed, that really makes the mind reel. The hypocrisy and ignorance displayed by the tea party movement as a whole is saddening, to say the least.

    A good friend of mine is extremely conservative… anti abortion, pro gun laws, no regulation, etc… and he refuses to support the tea party because of their general disassociation with reality.

    • TerryF98

      According to the trustees report of 2010 the fund will be depleted in 2037 if we do nothing in the mean time. Even then the annual shortfall on income v expenditure is 22%.

      So if we tweak the income side now by a lot less than 22% the fund will be solvent for a long time. The Social Security fund is not in the red and there is no reason it should be.

      http://www.nasi.org/research/2010/social-security-finances-findings-2010-trustees-report

      Summary: In January 2010, 52.7 million people, or about one in every six U.S. residents, received Social Security benefits. The benefits are financed by dedicated taxes on earnings paid by workers and employers, by income taxes that upper income beneficiaries pay on part of their Social Security benefits, and by interest earned on accumulated trust fund reserves.

      According to the 2010 Trustees report, the Social Security trust funds will have an annual surplus of $77 billion in 2010. Annual surpluses are projected to continue for the next 15 years (2010-24) and reserves are projected to grow to $4,200 billion by the end of 2024.

      Beginning in 2025, reserves will start to be drawn down to pay benefits. In 2037, the reserves are projected to be depleted. At that time, tax income coming into the trust funds will cover about 78 percent of benefits due, according to the 2010 report of the Social Security Trustees

      • KRH67

        Terry, I hope you are right. However, I have a sinking feeling that the trust fund, since it’s invested in t bonds as I understand, has all been spent and exists only in the fact that we believe the government will pay it back. So, when Payouts finally eclipse revenues, the money will have to come from the same place any other spending does: taxes or borrowing. That is my fear, I hope I’m wrong.

  • TAZ

    Most of the people collecting Social Security payments pull out far more than they put in. So once they reach the total they’ve put in, I guess we should let the old geezers starve too, right?

    Add an additional 5% for interest and I would agree, reach your limit and your cut off.

    • valkayec

      You know, that’s your parents you’re talking about, don’t you? Now, are you willing to let your Mom and Dad starve & become homeless or would you have them move in with you?

      Okay, I realize that your specific parents may not be in this situation, but generally speaking this is the case for many. Think about it.

    • SFTor1

      TAZ, thank god you are not running anything of importance.

      It’s this kind of moronic and shortsighted disregard for consequences that gets so many conservatives in trouble.

      Repeat after me, TAZ: there is nothing more expensive for a society than poverty.

  • larry

    Social Security is a minor problem, in need of tweaking. Health care costs are a major problem for the economy as a whole, not just the federal budget. It is a mistake to conflate the two. With the health care sector heading towards 20% of GDP, the US is crippled seriously in international economic competition, and resources are diverted from more productive uses. The opportunity costs are enormous. ACA bends the cost curve slightly, but not nearly enough. And the political system, it is now obvious, is incapable of addressing the matter rationally, riddled as it is by the pervasive false-consciousness of its partisans. The Tea Party cranks are just that, boastfully ignorant of the imperatives of the age, convinced of their own rectitude, taking delight in their own folly, like clowns at the rodeo. It doesn’t look good.

  • think4yourself

    The general thrust of the article that Tea Party participants are happy to cut programs that affect others not themselves is accurate (and Liberals also do the same). This is correct.

    I don’t see leadership from either party to address this other than in partisan terms. Paul Ryan has a plan, but it’s about privitizing a system, not fixing it, his plan doesn’t work, and he also kicks the can down the road. His plan is about Republican platform and agenda, not solving the problem.

    I’d like to see a leader of any party offer solutions for solvency of both Medicare and Social Security that is real and substantive. I’ve paid in the system for over 25 years. I’m happy to take modest cuts and pay somewhat more in taxes to balance a budget for the benefit of my children.

    My solution (king for a day). (1) Allow taxes for everyone to revert to Clinton levels. Start gradually raising the retirement age for those who are 50 years old and younger (with caveats based upon health). Possibly add some means-testing for some SS benefits. For Medicare, I would revisit how to pay for Med part D (drug prescription), look to wring out fraud (now at 48 billion per year or more), have a non-partisan conversation about cost controls (most money spent in the last 4 months of a person’s life) and raise taxes for Medicare if required.

    All of this requires that Tea Partier’s, Progressives, et al be willing to actually converse on the issue without using it as a political weapon (not likely to happen). I would look at the Debt Commission’s recommendations as a starting point for conversation.

    • dante

      My solution (king for a day). (1) Allow taxes for everyone to revert to Clinton levels.

      Done. Where do I sign up?

      Oh, and I’d also recommend cutting military spending to Clinton levels (~$300b, instead of the $750b+ that we’re spending now).

  • Churl

    A couple of questions for Mr. Mathematics:

    (1) Does the $144K medicare contribution include the employer’s obligation as well? It should, since the employer is required by law to pay it on behalf of each employee. One could say that the employer’s contribution comes out of the pocket of the employee also, assuming that employers set total employee compensation to maximize profits.

    (2) Does the $144K take account of the time value of money over the 40 or so years of employee’s working life? Somebody had use of a 40 or so year long stream of cash.

  • Fastball

    Smarg asked for questions. OK, I have a few questions.

    If Social Security and Medicare recipients receive more in benefits than they paid for through payroll taxes – and they do – doesn’t that mean that they’re receiving handouts from the nanny state? Or are handouts politically correct as long as they go to “hands off my Medicare” TP’ers?

  • blowtorch_bob

    Tea Partiers Still Hooked on Handouts…?

    What about all those handouts given to Wall Street and their friends. Socialism for the rich! Survival of the fittest for everyone else.

  • hisgirlfriday

    So when middle-aged working folks who have had payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security taken out of their paychecks for decades express the sentiment as they themselves approach retirement age that they do not want their benefits cut they are “hopelessly mired in an entitlement culture” rather than simply acting and thinking in rational self-interest? Interesting.

    I’m not normally one to stick up for Tea Party people, but I have to say I find this entire column pretty patronizing.

    That said, this poll leaves a lot to be desired also. No question about infrastructure spending. No question about military spending.

    It’s interesting that only 13 percent of the population see the Iraq/Afghanistan wars as the biggest priority of this country. Why the hell are we still there again?

  • TerryF98

    Thanks to the GOP vote this week we will continue to give $3.6 billion a year to oil companies as subsidies, Corporate welfare in effect.

    They do not need these subsidies and are making record profits. Why not stop them as the Obama administration wanted and reduce the deficit?

    The subsidies to Agriculture , more Corporate welfare, cut those out as well. Michelle Bachman will not be happy. As queen of the tea party she gets $250,000 a year in corporate welfare and pays not a cent into it.

  • ottovbvs

    Schaeffer seems to be upset that the vast majority of the country doesn’t want to see social programs gutted. Why would that be I wonder? Could it be because the real incomes of 90% of Americans have been stagnant for thirty years? Could it be because for 80% of SS recipients (who are someone’s parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters) their SS payments are more than 50% of their income and in the case of 50% of SS recipients they are 100% of their income? Could it be that a 65 year old person in excellent healthy would be paying at least $1500 a month for medical insurance if Medicare didn’t exist (and because the vast majority couldn’t afford this their relations would have rally around)? Since Schaeffer probably is in the top 2% of income earners he’s also upset that a majority think the tax take which is at 60 year lows need to be increased. The simple fact of life is these programs are essential and are the norm in any other western society.

  • sparse

    1)it’s not right to mock the willingness of people to extend the retirement age beyond their reasonable life expectancy. they were answering a poll, and it’s doubtful they were given an option other than the year 2075. so the “yes” response there would capture not only those willing to pass off that burden on others, but also those willing to take it on themselves.

    2) @practicalgirl- not sure if you have a beef with brad schaeffer being a tax cheat. but in case you meant to imply that the self-employed don’t pay SS/medicare, business owners generally either own a corporation and hire themselves as employees (and so pay a payroll tax) or pay a self-employment tax on the entire business’ profits.

    from irs.gov:
    “Self-employment tax is a tax consisting of Social Security and Medicare taxes primarily for individuals who work for themselves. It is similar to the Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the pay of most wage earners.”

    as an owner of an LLC, i actually pay a higher rate into social security/medicare than the merely employed because it covers more than just my salary, it covers all profits. in theory, it should all even out in the long run, but in practice, it leaves me with a slightly higher tax bill.

    • PracticalGirl

      No beef with Schaeffer as a tax cheat, but I should have explained better. In another of his articles, he indicated his corporate structure that, utilized correctly, can ease an owner’s personal payroll tax burden. Such business owner with a good accountant can structure payouts in ways that allow you to skip a lot of the payroll deductions on a good portion of said income. This isn’t cheating- I do it- but it also means that, as a business owner, I pay far less into the system than somebody who makes the same amount of money I do but is an employee.

      Just trying to point out the obvious: Brad doesn’t speak for nor is in the same financial “boat” as the majority of people his age.

  • greg_barton

    Thank you very much for this article. It’s a breath of fresh air coming from a conservative website.

  • Nebraska Admiral

    There is a consensus that the current and ongoing imbalance between federal revenues and spending, and the deficits and debt that result, is a serious problem. A wide range of solutions have been proposed across the political spectrum, from drastic entitlement reform, to major cuts to defense spending, to tax hikes, to cutbacks to corporate welfare and farm subsidies. Love it our hate it, the Tea Party movement has had a tremendous impact on our national politics, and it is largely driven (however incoherently) by concern about deficits and debt.

    Where has our President been? He could be driving and shaping this debate (for better or worse). But except for his brief and embarrassingly-insincere lip service to deficit reduction during the SOTU Address, he has been a total non-factor in this national debate. Is he afraid of the political fallout if he proposes any solutions to our deficit/debt problem, or doesn’t he believe we have a problem to begin with?

    I’m one of the more conservative commentators here, but I’m willing to embrace some measures that the left would approve of in order to get our financial house in order. (For instance, I’d be happy to see a large hike in the gasoline tax.) However, given all of the special interests involved, nothing will happen without the President’s sustained involvement. I hope that at some point he decides to embrace the authority inherent in his office, and puts forth a plan that can be the starting point for a serious national debate over how to repair our finances.

    • ottovbvs

      “Where has our President been?”

      Actually he’s made numerous speeches on the topic but you probably weren’t listening. Unfortunately, as the events of the last two years have amply demonstrated he’s faced with an opposition whose primary objective is trying to remove him from office (they’ve said so many times) not solving the nation’s problems. In fact at this moment they are proposing a ridiculous series of budget cuts that would cost 200-700,000 jobs. Thus the president (who is also a politician after all) is engaged in a bit of gamemanship with these crazies who talk endlessly about the deficit but cheerfully added $700 billion to it two months age and only a few days ago blocked efforts to cut billions of dollars in tax breaks for the oil industry. Before getting too self righteous you might want to consider why he has to employ these tactics.

      • Nebraska Admiral

        “Actually he’s made numerous speeches on the topic but you probably weren’t listening.”

        Since you apparently have better listening skills than I, please enlighten me on the specifics of his proposals.

        “Before getting too self righteous you might want to consider why he has to employ these tactics.” What tactics? Are you calling his meek silence in the face of a pressing national issue a “tactic”?

        • Stan

          He proposed letting the Bush tax cuts expire for couples making more than $250,000 per year. I don’t recall him receiving any Republican support for this. He also supported a health reform bill that the Congressional Budget Office says will reduce the deficit. He didn’t get any Republican support on this either.

        • Nebraska Admiral

          Stan,

          Legitimate points. However, he didn’t exactly fight for the proposed tax hike you reference or even make it much of a public issue; he instead backed off of it pretty quickly once moderate Democrats in Congress made it clear they weren’t enthusiastic about it. It seemed like a perfunctory bone to toss to his base.

          He did get his health care plan, and even with it deficits and the debt remain historically high for the foreseeable future. Even if you believe the health care law will reduce, rather than add to, the deficit (a controversial point, to say the least), it clearly is nowhere close to sufficient. Far more is necessary to meaningfully address a problem that threatens to define his Presidency.

        • ottovbvs

          “Are you calling his meek silence in the face of a pressing national issue a “tactic”?”

          Either you’re incredibly naive or incredibly disingenuous. I think I know which it is but I could be wrong of course.

  • Nebraska Admiral

    Ottovbvs,

    Many of your posts focus on questioning the personal integrity and motives of those who disagree with you. Is it beyond your comprehension that there are people out there who sincerely hold principled positions that differ from yours? Believe it or not, there are intelligent and educated people of good will who nonetheless lean conservative.

    And yes, I think that Obama is choosing not to use his bully pulpit to shape one of the most important debates of our time. I don’t think that opinion is either “naive” or “disingenuous”.

    • ottovbvs

      “Many of your posts focus on questioning the personal integrity and motives of those who disagree with you.”

      Probably because I’m a complete cynic.

      ” And yes, I think that Obama is choosing not to use his bully pulpit to shape one of the most important debates of our time.”

      And that’s where the naive or disingenuous comes in…because you’re not asking the question…why?

      And btw the fact you ignored the fact that Republicans have cheerfully added hundreds of billions to the deficit over the last couple of my months might go some way to understanding my cynicism about this sort of self righteous humbug:

      “Is it beyond your comprehension that there are people out there who sincerely hold principled positions that differ from yours? Believe it or not, there are intelligent and educated people of good will who nonetheless lean conservative.”

      • Nebraska Admiral

        Apparently, your answer to my question is “Yes”.

        BTW, what in my posts has led you to believe that I turn a blind eye to “the fact that Republicans have cheerfully added hundreds of billions to the deficit over the last couple of my months”? I didn’t address that question at all, because it was outside the scope of what I wished to observe in my post. However, whatever the Republicans have been up to, the fact remains that Obama has been very quiet on one of the most prominent issues of the day.

        Standing by for more of your petty attacks on my character. (If you’d like to surprise me by responding with a non ad hominem, fact-based post instead, please do.)

  • TerryF98

    From this study Americans in general across the spectrum have more common sense views about where to cut the budget than congress, and how to raise income. Most favored a mix and wanted heavy cuts in military spending, tax increases for the rich and cuts to most entitlements.

    You can try and come up with your ideal budget and be part of the study here………

    I had a budget surplus of $233.7 Billion. Mainly by cutting budgets across the board, Military spending back to Clinton era rates and Taxes for those above 250,000 back to Clinton rates.

    http://public-consultation.org/exercise/

    • Nebraska Admiral

      That’s a fun site to play around on. (I’ll bet my budget looks a little different than yours, though…)

      • ottovbvs

        No doubt it would. About as real as Ryan’s roadmap…probably.

        • Nebraska Admiral

          Otto,

          You got me; I confess that the budget I designed on that Website isn’t a “real” federal budget at all. (It’s an Internet toy, you see.)

          I have a flight simulator loaded on my computer. You’ll be scandalized to learn that, despite that fact that I’ve played one online, I’m also not a real P-51 Mustang pilot.

  • WaStateUrbanGOPer

    Anyone who thinks the ‘baggers are genuine fiscal conservatives is delusional. They gladly supported George W. Bush in the 2000s even when he was launching two exorbitantly expensive wars (that were both kept off the books), creating the Medicare Part-D entitlement, and pusing the passage of a huge tax cut that was not offset by any corresponding budget cuts. But Bush was all for amending the Consitution to discriminate against gays, so of course the ‘baggers supported him in spite of his fiscal recklessness– because the teabaggers are, above all things, religious right fanatics. As Andrew Sullivan has pointed out on many occasions, they are merely “christianists in libertarian clothing.”

    Just look at the budget recently passed by the Ohio legislature. It included all manner of fiscally-irrelevant amendments pertaining to the SoCon agenda, including some especially nasty anti-gay stuff.

  • bdtex

    The Tea Partiers were also the Healthcare Townhall hooligans shouting “No government takeover of healthcare and don’t f**k with my Medicare.”

  • Emanuelle

    Tea partiers are essentially delusional and selfish? Who would have thought.

  • anniemargret

    I have never trusted nor believed the main thrust of the tea party movement. I, for one, think this entire movement had more to do with a black liberal guy from Chicago getting elected President than anything else.

    They were furious. They still are. I think this is basically a resentment cultural resistance movement, with some glaring prejudice that we have already seen and heard. Fine…there are minority who are taking it seriously. But look at those faces, look at those people, listen to those people. Not a one making sense. Not any one of them offering up viable solutions, except shouting slogans.

    They came out in force when Obama was elected. THAT is the story. Move along…there is nothing to see here.

  • ScoopAway

    This strong anti Dem president sentiment didn’t start with Obama. When Clinton was first elected, there was almost immediate clamor by some to get him out of office. I remember with wonder seeing an ‘impeach Clinton’ bumper sticker within a month of him taking office, and long long before Monica was a glint in Bill’s eye. Monica was just the reason they finally found to impeach him.

    I was a good Republican at the time, and I thought that sort of immediate strong negative reaction was sour grapes for the Republicans having lost the presidency. Many of today’s TeaGrabbers are just the older version of those same ‘hate Clinton’ poor losers.

    • anniemargret

      scoop: I would tend to agree with you to a point. But this visceral animosity toward the first black president of the US is over the top…. the attempted character assassination, the insistence he is some type of ‘terrorist’ (thanks to Palin), or that he is not one of ‘us’, not a “real American’, the “Other”…. foreign born, etc….

      as if half of America doesn’t have ancestors that have come from other countries of origin!

      This is far, far worse than Clinton. Clinton got what he deserved during the Monica scandal…as a Democrat who think he is superb as a politician, I felt totally embarrassed and found his debase acts a violation of moral principles. What he got in insults after that, he incurred himself.

      Obama is different. Here is a half black man, raised by white grandparents, from a difficult childhood, raising himself from the inner city to rise to go to college, Harvard, become a lawyer, and then President. He has proven himself.

      If Republicans hate his politics they are entitled. They are not entitled to try to debase him and his lovely, intelligent wife, or his children, or his ancestry. That is pure hate and it is why I think what stands for Republicanism today is a trend toward moral bankruptcy for all their high-minded pretense of righteousness.

      And now the supreme ‘Christian” Huckabee, is debasing Obama along with the other ‘candidates.’ Disgraceful conduct.

      • ScoopAway

        You’re right. The Clinton haters might have been the beginning, but they’ve been joined by many more that I agree many of whom are racist. Those who hated Obama from the first time they saw the color of his skin and heard his name. The ‘Barry Hussein’ crowd. The Limbaugh ‘I want him to fail’ group.

        How low can they go? I still find myself shocked at some of what I am seeing and hearing. The backlash against breast feeding simply because the first lady was for it. Or being critical because she ordered ribs. It’s insane. And now Huckabee is going all ‘he’s not one of us’ birther.

        I still see people hoping that surely the Republicans must come to their senses soon. Frankly I only see things getting worse.

  • ktward

    Apologies, my time is short, comment is hit and run.

    Not sure where I saw this– I think either Maddow or Colbert …

    Three dudes: a Koch brother, a Union brother, and a Tea Party brother.
    They’re all looking at a plate of 12 cookies.

    Koch brother takes 11 cookies and says to the TP dude: ‘”The union dude wants to take the last cookie.”

  • mickster99

    Schaefer’s Fox News approach to facts:

    “Despite the fact that such entitlements are already in the red”.

    Social Security has enough resources (FICA tax, trust fund) for the next 20 years.
    Google it fool.

    The Bush tax cuts account for 40% of the current budget deficit.
    Which were just extended.
    Google it fool.

    The unpaid for Medicare Part D was passed in the dark of night by a forced vote by Tom Delay: total addition to the deficit: 650billion.

    Google it fool.

    2 Bush wars unpaid for an estimated $trillion dollars.
    Google it fool.

    Medicare costs as contributors to the deficit are due to out of control medical costs.
    If we adopted the same kind of health care programs as used by Canada the deficit would be eliminated.

    Google it fool.

    This is starve the beast at its most fraudulent moment.

    Just what we need. A derivatives trader in energy commodities advising on government policy.

    Schaefer’s bona fides

    Brad Schaeffer is co-founder and CEO of INFA Energy Brokers, LLC, an interdealer broker of complex energy derivatives, a veteran of the commodities markets since 1990, as well as frequent contributor as an energy analyst to Fox Business News.

    Hmmmm. I wonder if this fool has a bias?

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  • Raskolnik

    mickster:

    Even if everything you said is true, I still like that Schaeffer is willing to stand up against TP hypocrisy.

    The Tea Party/Huckabee types are a dying breed and they are cannibalizing themselves so they can get the 2012 nomination. I say let them have it. Daniels/Thune 2016, you heard it here first.

  • Jeffry1

    Mickster and all the others claiming Social Security isn’t in the red. The CBO reported in Feb 2010 that for the first time in twenty-five years SS is now spending more in benefits than it is taking in. In business that’s called, being in the red. Not sure what color you morons call it. This wasn’t supposed to happen until 2017 so who the hell knows how long SS can last before it’s till runs dry. Mickster I can Google anything to find support for any opinion. Fool.

    And it looks to me like the author is taking the RIGHT to task for hypocrisy and the nation to task as a whole for being addicted to an entitlement train wreck. Nowhere in this article does Shafer insist that defense not be cut because that’s not what his piece is about! Sheeeze you guys are trigger-happy.

    And since you guys probably don’t even really know what a “derivative” is, to discredit someone for their, apparantly successful, involvement in the industry on the ENERGY side (where they are used every day for legitimate hedging purposes — if you know what that means even — as opposed to wild speculation as in CDS and MBS) he probably has a better handle on the economy than a lot of you guys whose opinions are relegated to sniping from the gallery behind anonymous handles rather than put it out there with your name on it for all the world to see and dissect. These posters have more moxy in their pinkies than you bathrobed basement dwellers have in your entire beings. Who the hell are you losers to question a businessman’s bona fides when you know zero about him or what he does? Why such harshness? Very pathetic.

    There. Said my piece. Go at it fools. You can start by telling us how spending more than you take in is “in the black.” Go!