Senate The 2nd Term of the Obama Administration: Facts, Opinions, and Discussions

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ghost, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Maybe we need to bring back the Soviets?

    Seriously, why not ask the Pentagon to make a formal presentation to Congress? My understanding is, there are billions they are actually asking to cut, but our politicians seem to lack the ability to listen (surprise surprise).

    I'm wondering about the whole 'food-safety inspector/airline wait time' thing. Part of me thinks there will definitely be a noticeable effect, but it's hard not to believe the President is taking just a wee bit of dramatic license here.

    Anyway, I'm willing to bet this gets resolved by the end of April at the latest, when the bill that forces Congresspeople to stop receiving pay if they haven't passed a budget kicks in. I'm all for making that one part of the Constitution, myself.

    Peace,

    V-03
    Last edited by Vaderize03, Mar 1, 2013
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  2. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    The real deadline is March 27, which is when the current continuing resolutions expire. Any new continuing resolutions have the opportunity to adjust spending levels (overruling the sequester), and without new continuing resolutions there will be an actual government shutdown.
  3. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Part of the problem is that people don't realize what the bare minimum actually is.

    For example, if you look at my analysis, the absolute minimum number of aircraft carriers we need to maintain a defense of the nation is 6, allowing us to have 1 in each ocean at all times, a relief carrier in port on each coast, and a third carrier on each coast undergoing maintenance. In a pinch, we could deploy a second carrier (the relief carrier) in each ocean for a short crisis (although that would create significant logistical problems). Anything less than that would leave us completely unable to protect the US, as a carrier in the Pacific does no good against a threat in the Atlantic.

    But a lot of people don't recognize the logistics of that. They hear "6 carriers? Don't we only need 2?"
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  4. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Thanks for the info, Kimball.

    I got an update email from Bob Casey/Pat Toomey (my US Senators) on a bill Pat had introduced with bipartisan support to replace the sequester, and it actually makes a lot of sense, cutting some stuff we really don't need ($35 million for 'sports diplomacy, $1 million for taste testing food on Mars, etc).

    It's just a shame it's completely degenerated into partisan bickering. I hope you're right about 3/27, because the 2% medicare cut does not go into effect until 4/1, and it's projected to really harm access to care here in Pennsylvania, especially at safety-net hospitals like Temple in Philadelphia.

    Maybe they will all stop acting like children? My 5 year-old understands that you can't spend more than you have; I fail to understand why our politicians can't seem to grasp this simple fact.

    Peace,

    V-03
  5. Souderwan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    They grasp it just fine. The problem is not that the politicians don't understand, it's that they are consistently rewarded for being intransigent and divisive. They all agree that the situation is untenable, unacceptable, and that they all need to grow up and learn to compromise. But it's the other guys that aren't doing the compromising. I don't know a single democrat who isn't convinced that this situation is mostly the Republicans faults and I don't know a single Republican who doesn't feel it's mostly the President's fault.

    Frankly, Obama looks at the poll numbers--53% of registers voters think it's his fault and 60+% say it's Congress' fault--and knows he's winning.
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  6. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Yes, I know, my comments were rhetorical, which is hard to pick up on a message board.
    Last edited by Vaderize03, Mar 3, 2013
  7. Souderwan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    No, you're fine. I just get so frustrated because I keep hearing stuff like "The President's right. The Republicans need to come to the table and compromise" and "The Republicans are right. The President just needs to come to the table and compromise" and frankly, my eye muscles are straining from the amount of rolling they've been supporting.
  8. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Your 5-year-old is a child, correct? So it seems that "understanding" you can't spend more than you have counts as acting like children.

    The truth is that countries can, and do, spend more than they have. Just as corporations and people are not the same thing, comparing spending on a national level to a personal or household budget is a false comparison. The sequester is a manufactured crisis. It by no means had to happen. We ran deficits for years and it was considered to be part of the normal operation of government. The current deficit/debt obsession, which conspicuously failed to appear until the Obama administration, is really a smoke screen for the planned dismantling of the Great Society.
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Mar 3, 2013
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  9. MistrX Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2006
    star 4
    Either then, or January 2011.
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  10. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I keep seeing people make this claim, but they usually don't expand upon it. Once they assert this, they act as though they've refuted all of the arguments against deficit spending with that one claim. It doesn't work that way.

    The truth is that people can, and do, spend more than they have, too. And you can do that for quite a while, as long as you are able to find someone willing to loan you the money and you are able to make the required payments on your debts. Sometimes, taking on that sort of debt can be a good thing (such as for a reasonable mortgage, or a reasonable car payment, or a reasonably sized student loan), but sometimes it is simply the product of irresponsibility (such as in the case of most credit card debt).

    The problem with that (and this applies to people, corporations, and countries) is that eventually you get to the point where you've taken on too much debt. At that point, there are two options: either cut your spending drastically, or default on your debts.

    The major differences between a personal budget and a national budget are centered around the fact that a nation has two financial powers that a person doesn't have: the power to tax, and the power to print money. If I hit the point where I can't afford to pay my bills because of my spending, I can't just increase my income on my own. I need to either convince my employer that increasing my income would provide a greater value to them, or I would need to find a new employer willing to pay me more. A nation, on the other hand, can simply decree that people will be required to pay more in taxes (theoretically giving it more income, although this has limits in practice). Similarly, I can't just print a stack of $100 bills and deposit them in my account in order to pay my bills. A nation can (and several nations have done this in the past). Sure, that turns the currency into a cheaper form of toilet paper, but you can still meet the terms of your debt obligations. The problem is that no one is going to offer you new debt (and no one is going to want the cheap toilet paper you call currency) once you are finished with it.

    Unless you are willing to explain how the comparison to a personal budget is false, don't bother to simply assert that. It doesn't prove anything, and it ignores the many ways in which the two are comparable.

    Actually, there were quite a few Republicans who criticized Bush for deficit spending during his administration as well, especially in his last year when it started to dramatically increase.

    However, it's also important to note the scale of the problem during the Obama administration is much larger than it was under the Bush administration (or previous administrations). The total amount of deficit spending over the 8 years of the George W. Bush administration was on average 2.7% of GDP. For the first term of the Obama administration, that average was approximately 9% (the final number isn't available yet that I've found). For comparison, the averages for the Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Clinton administrations were 4.2%, 4.2% and 0.5%, respectively.

    That is a massive explosion in the amount of debt, and explains a lot of the opposition to Obama's policies. Sure, there are some who want to "[dismantle] the Great Society", but it's dishonest to claim that as the primary motivation. (After all, if that were the real goal, don't you think that the Republicans would have actually done something about it when they controlled the White House and all of Congress?)
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  11. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Kimball, that's a good analysis, but I feel compelled to point out that you're adding TARP to those numbers. Also, the first half of Obama's term was during a recession, so the debt-to-GDP ratio obviously was going to increase.

    It's a little disingenuous simply to look at who's numbers were 'higher' and lay a disproportionate amount of blame. Yes, Obama's increased the debt as a portion of the GDP, but it was Bush's policies which set up the situation leading to things like the bailouts. I would also submit that if Obama hadn't done what he had done, we would still be in a Great Depression. The deflation would have been incredible, likely with most of the middle class permanently wiped out and the US dollar destroyed as the world's reserve currency. Revolutions have started from less pain than that would have caused.

    I don't know which 'poison' would have been better, and I agree that America has an enormous spending problem, but let's not leave 2 wars, Medicare Part D, and massive tax cuts out of that equation. Doing so creates a false dichotomy.

    Whomever is 'more' responsible at this point is largely irrelevant. What we need is leadership from both parties, whom I hold equally responsible for kicking the can on entitlement reform down the road since it became obvious we were going to have problems back in the '70's.

    Peace,

    V-03
    Last edited by Vaderize03, Mar 4, 2013
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  12. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Actually, TARP itself counted in those numbers against Bush, not Obama. Without it (and the 10.1% of GDP deficit spending in his final year), Bush's average would have been even lower.

    The nation's GDP dropped in late 2008, but recovered to its previous level in only 2 years. That 10% should have been a maximum, not the new baseline.

    Your arguments might work if you are only looking at 2009 and 2010, but Obama hasn't exactly shown any plans to let up on the deficit spending. His last round of budget projections suggest annual deficits on the order of $1 Trillion for the next decade, and he hasn't even submitted a budget for this year yet (despite it being due in February, by law).

    For all you accuse Bush of being fiscally irresponsible, Obama's fiscal policy makes him look like a miser. Even Obama's proposal to avoid sequestration adds to the deficit (adding $61 billion in spending and about $55 billion in new tax revenues)!
  13. Asterix_of_Gaul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 13, 2007
    star 5
    One thing I've been watching for is for President Obama to use the sequester...that originated from the White House and that he said wouldn't happen (in a debate with Romney), to use it as an excuse for future economic problems--a political weapon to blame Republicans with. The fact is, the economy was dead before this sequester hit.

    I'm aware that Republicans voted for it as well, but I think this obvious tactic on Obama's part to find anything and everything to divert all blame to his opposition is a huge factor in why he can't get better deals done. If he really cared about the nation, he wouldn't be using so many opportunities to blame other people for bad things--to me he just comes across as a whiny child, and not someone searching for real compromise. This isn't new, but it serves as another example for his divisiveness and failure to lead imo.
  14. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    So Asterix, what would Obama need to do in order for you to consider him to be a good and unifying leader?
  15. Asterix_of_Gaul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 13, 2007
    star 5
    Stop openly blaming people and focus instead on finding common ground with solutions. If the parties are stubborn, figure out how to work with them better rather than coming back and saying it's hard because the Republicans are meanies :p

    Better yet, he should propose more ideas rather than waiting for others to propose things and then attacking their proposals.
    Last edited by Asterix_of_Gaul, Mar 4, 2013
  16. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
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    And what would those ideas be?

    What I'm getting at is instead of "rrrrrraaaaar!!! ur doin it rong!!1!1!!" what is it exactly that the President could do (instead of not do) to earn your respect? Assuming for sake of discussion that he hasn't made any proposals (which I'm not conceding that point, but for sake of discussion) what is it that you want him to propose? Instead of harping on what he's doing wrong, do you have any suggestions on what specifically he could do right?
  17. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Obama attacks the Republicans' proposals because they're always so absurdly one-sided. They're a minority party that acts like it controls both houses of Congress and the White House.
    Last edited by Alpha-Red, Mar 4, 2013
  18. Asterix_of_Gaul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 13, 2007
    star 5
    Yes, but mostly I just wanted to talk about how he's constantly hurting the process and needs to stop. Stopping the blame game is the first step in the right direction. As for ideas--it's his job to do something anyways--I want him to produce ideas, not wait for ideas from others. He needs to step up and take responsibility.

    He could start by giving up on raising taxes, and proposing serious cuts that hurt the least rather than fear mongering over relatively small cuts (the recent sequester) that his white house proposed in the first place
  19. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    The Republicans say they're done with spending cuts, after the sequester. Boehner's budget proposal actually incudes more spending, to offset some of the sequester. (A common GOP talking point right now is that Obama is solely responsible for the sequester)

    The Democrats have been saying since January that they're done with tax rate hikes.


    Now it's time to do Tax Refom and Entitlement Reform.
    Last edited by Summer Dreamer, Mar 4, 2013
  20. LandoThe CapeCalrissian Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 2012
    star 3
    a family members co pay just went from peanuts to now being $3000 a year for him and his spouse.... these aren't rich people and this program is just one of the many that are going to crush the working middle class.

    Go Obama care.
  21. MistrX Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2006
    star 4
    Wasn't he trying to do that from 2010 to 2012? And all it got him was criticism for caving too much?

    Yeah, the White House came up with the sequester, but both sides signed off on it. It wasn't necessary and they have had plenty of time to just change their minds.
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  22. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Well, it looks like the House has passed a 6-month continuing resolution (meant to carry things over until the end of the fiscal year). Now we'll have to see what the Senate comes up with.
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  23. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Legislation on both Guns and Immigration should nearly be done, and probably voted on in the Senate next month.

    I'm still meaning to summarize the President's proposals from the SOTU too, but I wanted to share this here:








    Israel apologized to Turkey on Friday for killing nine Turkish citizens in a 2010 naval raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla and the two feuding U.S. allies agreed to normalize relations in a surprise breakthrough announced by U.S. President Barack Obama.

    The rapprochement could help regional coordination to contain spillover from the Syrian civil war and ease Israel's diplomatic isolation in the Middle East as it faces challenges posed by Iran's nuclear program.
    In a statement released by the White House only minutes before Obama ended a visit to Israel, the president said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan had spoken by telephone.
    "The United States deeply values our close partnerships with both Turkey and Israel, and we attach great importance to the restoration of positive relations between them in order to advance regional peace and security," Obama said.
    The first conversation between the two leaders since 2011, when Netanyahu phoned to offer help after an earthquake struck Turkey, gave Obama a diplomatic triumph in a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories in which he offered no new plan to revive peace talks frozen for nearly three years.
    The 30-minute call was made in a runway trailer at Tel Aviv airport, where Obama and Netanyahu huddled before the president boarded Air Force One for a flight to Jordan, U.S. officials said.
    Israel bowed to a long-standing demand by Ankara, once a close strategic partner, to apologize formally for the deaths aboard the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara, which was boarded by Israeli marines who intercepted a flotilla challenging Israel's naval blockade of the Palestinian-run Gaza Strip.
    "In light of Israel's investigation into the incident which pointed to a number of operational mistakes, the prime minister expressed Israel's apology to the Turkish people for any mistakes that might have led to the loss of life or injury," Netanyahu's office said in a statement in English.
    It added that he had agreed to conclude an agreement on compensation and said Netanyahu and Erdogan agreed to normalize ties between the two countries, including returning their ambassadors to their posts.
    Erdogan's office said he had accepted the apology and had told Netanyahu that he valued centuries of "strong friendship and cooperation between the Turkish and Jewish nations".
    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that, with the apology, all of Turkey's fundamental demands had been met.
    Last edited by Summer Dreamer, Mar 22, 2013
  24. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    So, in other words, the health care system is a massive disaster, but the government better not try to do anything at all about the problem, because the insurance companies will retaliate by punishing everyone?

    Hardly. Take the Ryan budget ( please ). If the debt is of such great concern, then why more massive tax cuts?
    [ Before you even start, history says otherwise. ] Why do we see so much resistance to cuts in defense spending as opposed to things derisively labeled as "entitlements"? Why do the "repeal Obamacare" fanatics always ignore the fact that the CBO said repealing Obamacare would ultimately cost more in the long run than keeping it?
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Mar 23, 2013
  25. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Hope you've got a counterargument to "because national defense is a core function of the federal government and ensuring equality of outcomes isn't".