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AMERICAN CONSERVATISM IN 2008 AND BEYOND

 
 
parados
 
  2  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 11:08 am
@Asherman,
Quote:
However, we should not blind ourselves to the fact that entitlement scocial programs, like Social Security and Medicare, agricultural supports, etc., are the real source of our National Debt burden.

That kind of ignores the reality there Asherman.

SS and Medicare have been self funding with taxes specifically for those programs. Not only have they funded the outlays they have reduced the public held debt by acting as a piggy bank to fund lots of things you didn't put on your list like military spending and interest on the money borrowed.

SS and Medicare have future promises but that isn't debt.
Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 11:26 am
@JTT,
Pork and the largely unconstrained growth in the Federal government has been a concern in conservative circles since Washington's time. President Reagan's efforts to curtail the size of the central government was a welcome, if limited return to sanity. The cost of Star Wars technology was immense, but it was an important factor in ending the Cold War. Unfortunately, the Cold War merely increased the boldness of Radical Islam, and terrorist attacks on our cities at home and our interests abroad have been constant since.

The Shrub's response to 9/11 was appropriate and his Constitutional responsibility as Commander-in-Chief of the nation's military. The 9/11 attacks were by private citizens of several countries bound by radical religious zeal. So the National Command Authority had no clear national target to 'punish' for the attacks. Instead, the focus was upon those countries in Southeast Asia that openly supported and helped prepare Al Queda, or that had a long and continuing history of threats to regional stability by seeking weapons whose use is considered especially dangerous.

Saddam's Iraq was believed to be a special threat to the region, Saddam openly supported terrorism and terrorist groups, and his regime continued to oppress the Iraqi People. The Taliban made no secret of their support for Al Queda, and provided training and logistics for them. Iraq was geographically the easier place for our military to bring its forces to bear. Afghanistan, on the other hand is a logistical nightmare. Radical populations in Pakistan, Yeman, Syria and in various African nations stood by and applauded the attacks, but there was little evidence that their government approved. The Bush administration chose to resolve the Iraqi threat first, and failed to understand that building responsible governments is much tougher than smashing the military might of tinpot dictators. The fundamental correctness in the combined forces concepts was proven, but the administration's hope that transition to democracy would be fast and relatively easy was self-deception. We conservatives supported the President at the time, and I don't regret that now.

In hind-sight, Afghanistan was almost certainly more culpable than Iraq, but the political and geographic realities are also far more difficult to operate in. There are two keys that must be turned there. The first is Iran, and the second is Pakistan. President Obama is now at the helm, and we only hope that he will be able to make the tough choices that lie ahead in dealing with these two dangerous nations. This won't be easy, and one has doubts that President Obama is experienced enough and wise enough to handle the problems.
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 01:24 pm
@Asherman,
I am inclined to favor the FDR view of federal government. However, I always read your posts on this subject. Criticism is important and your writing is always well-supported.
0 Replies
 
JamesMorrison
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 03:00 pm
@parados,
Parados, you know this, but, to be clear to others, the quote
Quote:
"But ambitious encroachments of the federal government on the authority of the State governments would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm. Every government would espouse the common cause. A correspondence would be opened. Plans of resistance would be concerted. One spirit would animate and conduct the whole"

is from one of James Madison's efforts towards the 'The Federalist'
I then implied that Madison's animating "one spirit" rejecting "ambitious encroachments of the federal government" is manifest in the Tea Party movement. Your reply of:
Quote:
"I can say "sore losers" when it comes to elections held and won as set out in the constituiton."
Was in contrast to my finding that the Tea Party movement had, not only legitimate concerns, but that their protests fulfilled a founding father's prophecy and confidence in the people to express deeply held views. My next post expressed my desire that your 'Take' on the Tea Party, in that that they were just a bunch of "sore losers", would dominate the Dems thinking while planning their future political moves. All this back and forth certainly is within the context of the U.S. Constitution. The expressed concerns of Tea Partiers is about the loss of individual freedoms they see in an ever expanding and intrusive Federal government resulting in a crushing national debt. Through none of this have I seen Tea Partiers expressing themselves as did many Democrats after Al Gore’s loss to G.W.Bush in 2000
So your question, in response to my sincere hope towards the flourishing (in Democratic minds) of the meme in question
Quote:
"Let me ask you JM...

Did Obama become President based on the Constitution?"

seemed a non sequitur.
But, the question is easily enough answered. Yes ,I believe in the U.S. Constitution in the same way as does Justice A. Scalia. It is a legal document that is the law of the land.

JM
parados
 
  2  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 03:05 pm
@JamesMorrison,
Quote:
Was in contrast to my finding that the Tea Party movement had, not only legitimate concerns, but that their protests fulfilled a founding father's prophecy and confidence in the people to express deeply held views.

It has nothing to do with James Madison's words or his argument in Federalist 46.

Madison is arguing that STATE governments will react if the Federal government over reaches. The tea party people are NOT state governments nor are the even majorities in any state let alone the majority of states that Madison is talking about.
parados
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 03:13 pm
@parados,
But Madison in 46 kind of deflates your argument JM.


Quote:
If therefore, as has been elsewhere remarked, the people should in future become more partial to the foederal than to the State governments, the change can only result, from such manifest and irresistible proofs of a better administration, as will overcome all their antecedent propensities. And in that case, the people ought not surely to be precluded from giving most of their confidence where they may discover it to be most due:


Quote:
The argument under the present head may be put into a very concise form, which appears altogether conclusive. Either the mode in which the Foederal Government is to be constructed will render it sufficiently dependant on the people, or it will not. On the first supposition, it will be restrained by that dependence from forming schemes obnoxious to their constituents. On the other supposition it will not possess the confidence of the people, and its schemes of usurpation will be easily defeated by the State Governments; who will be supported by the people.

There is nothing in Madison's argument about a discontented minority, upset about an election, having the power to overturn what the Federal government is doing. The federal government is dependent on the election by a majority of the people. That majority spoke which would pretty much defeat any argument that tries to use Federalist 46 as a basis for why they are doing that they are doing.
0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 03:19 pm
@parados,
parados wrote:
SS and Medicare have future promises but that isn't debt.


It WILL be.
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 03:47 pm
@maporsche,
I suggest that we appoint a bi-partisan committee to study the SS and Medicare financial situation at least until after the the mid-term elections are over.
Punt.
We are heading for a disaster on SS and Medicare as a huge number of us baby-boomers retire and get old and sick in the next few years.
No one, from either party, has the guts to admit that.
Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 04:34 pm
@realjohnboy,
Prados above seems to disagree that Social Security and Medicare program obligations are a problem, Johnboy. Entitlement portions of the Federal budget make it difficult for any meaningful cuts in government spending without undermining its ability to perform the essential functions we've granted it in the Constitution.

Doubtless, Congressmen and Senators tirelessly work to deliver expensive port to their constituents... afterall we demand it them, don't we. However, even every Representative and Setator joined in a sincere effort to eliminate all pork from the discretionary budget the saving would still be dwarfed by the non-discretionary budget where Social Security and Medicare are the leading giants.

Now I am not advocating elimination of those programs. That isn't possible because there are far too many stakeholders who would raise a hew and cry. However, that should not blind us to the steep rise in costs every year, and now Congress, at the President's behest, is proposing vast expansion of the health care with the Federal government as sponsor and ultimate guarantor for the program's expenses. These entitlement programs are all juicy targets for fraud and theft by both recipients and those who deliver the services. We pay an army of bureaucrats to monitor and regulate the systems to keep fraud and corruption to a minimum, and those costs are born by the taxpayers. Do we taxpayers get good return on our employing that army of self-styled expert regulators, or do they increase the costs and degrade the service by endless red-tape?

okie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 06:00 pm
@Asherman,
Good summary, Asherman. To solve our budget disaster, we need to tweak the entitlement drain on the country by reforming those programs and attempting to eliminate fraud. Equally as important or moreso, we should not be proposing new entitlements, that would only increase the budgetary problems that we have already. That would be akin to gunning the engine on a car that is already mired in deep mud. It would only dig it in deeper. We should instead concentrate on why we are stuck in the first place and fix that first.

You are also correct about discretionary spending, we can and should address waste, as well as direct the expenditures into worthwhile and constitutionally mandated government activities and services, but fixing that part of the budget will not totally fix the mess we are in. The primary problem lies principally in the entitlement drain.

When Bush proposed changes to Social Security, he was ridiculed and stopped in his tracks. Although we may not have all agreed with his exact fix, he was totally correct to suggest it was a huge problem that needed fixing.

What do I think needs doing? I would first of all attack the rampant and pervasive fraud in programs like Medicare. There is probably alot in Social Security and Medicaid as well. I would then look at trying to work our way out of some entitlement growth, one possibility would be structuring the cost of living increases somewhat differently than we now do it. I would also look at hiring and cost of living freezes or slowdowns for government employees. I would also look at revamping government retirement programs, and possibly require government employees to pay into Social Security / Medicare during their working life, after all the private sector is required to participate without regard to their own retirement programs. Anyway, those are some of the ideas that I have, in the event I would ever visualize myself in public office attempting to solve some of these problems. And those reasonable ideas would probably be demagogued by the media so that very little could be accomplished, which is a large part of the reason we are in the mess we are in today.
okie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 08:43 am
@okie,
One other thought I would like to add to the above. Although I firmly believe the fix of our budgetary problems lie overwhelmingly on the spending side, and that can only be fixed by fixing the entitlement drain on the budget, I would also point out that our tax collection system needs a major overhaul, and perhaps a major change. We are now losing hundreds of billions in tax revenue, due to noncompliance. I believe a total elimination of the broken and convoluted income tax system should be considered, and replaced by a national sales tax, which if done right, it could virtually eliminate noncompliance, plus it could stimulate the economy in ways that have not been seen in our current lifetimes, perhaps not in the history of the country. So although spending is the primary problem, we could greatly enhance revenues by unleashing the economy from the income tax fettered system that we now have. We would still have the Social Security tax to support that insurance fund, but we would no longer be tethered to an income tax that burdens every private sector business and job in this country.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 09:12 am
@Asherman,
Asherman wrote:
In hind-sight, Afghanistan was almost certainly more culpable than Iraq

Only for those who were willfully blind.
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:08 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

Asherman wrote:
In hind-sight, Afghanistan was almost certainly more culpable than Iraq

Only for those who were willfully blind.


Well said. It took no hindsight to figure this fact out at all.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:21 am
@Asherman,
Quote:
Prados above seems to disagree that Social Security and Medicare program obligations are a problem, Johnboy. Entitlement portions of the Federal budget make it difficult for any meaningful cuts in government spending without undermining its ability to perform the essential functions we've granted it in the Constitution.


I didn't say the future obligations weren't a problem. I only pointed out that SS and Medicare don't contribute to the current debt since both are currently running surpluses.

If you can't properly define the problem, how do you propose a logical solution?

With only a few minor tweaks, SS can be viable for another 75-100 years with the ability to change it in a meaningful way for future generations. The real problem is the money owed to SS by the general fund. That is NOT the problem of SS since that money was stolen to pay for military etc.

Medicare runs into problems sooner but we can eliminate the Medicare problem with a public health care option. We then just need to pay for that. Of course you aren't taking anything out of the economy if the same dollars go toward health care but you just move them to a different provider.

Quote:
We pay an army of bureaucrats to monitor and regulate the systems to keep fraud and corruption to a minimum, and those costs are born by the taxpayers. Do we taxpayers get good return on our employing that army of self-styled expert regulators, or do they increase the costs and degrade the service by endless red-tape?
The same argument could be made about insurance companies. They employ a lot of people whose job it is to examine claims and deny what is questionable or not covered under the policy. The difference is that insurance companies don't have to answer to voters. They just have an irate customer with huge medical bills that they are more than happy to drop because they no longer want them as a customer.
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:27 am
@okie,
Quote:
What do I think needs doing? I would first of all attack the rampant and pervasive fraud in programs like Medicare. There is probably alot in Social Security and Medicaid as well.

Is this the result of tens of millions of illegal aliens?

You might want to check the cost of fraud in Medicare vs the fraud in private insurance. Care to bet which is larger?

Quote:
And those reasonable ideas would probably be demagogued by the media so that very little could be accomplished, which is a large part of the reason we are in the mess we are in today.

Let's start here okie. We will freeze your SS payments for the rest of your life. No increase for inflation. Will you accept that?
ican711nm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 01:36 pm
Start controlling entitlements by freezing Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and federal salaries.
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 03:11 pm
@parados,
parados wrote:

Quote:
What do I think needs doing? I would first of all attack the rampant and pervasive fraud in programs like Medicare. There is probably alot in Social Security and Medicaid as well.

Is this the result of tens of millions of illegal aliens?
Some could be, but I think most of the fraud is through fraudulant billings by doctors, hospitals, and other providers in the system. Cleaning the mess up and finding out exactly where all the fraud is would take a concerted effort to do it, which we have not yet done.

Quote:
You might want to check the cost of fraud in Medicare vs the fraud in private insurance. Care to bet which is larger?
I am making no bets, but I think it should be obvious the government should clean its own house up before attacking private businesses, don't you?

Quote:
Quote:
And those reasonable ideas would probably be demagogued by the media so that very little could be accomplished, which is a large part of the reason we are in the mess we are in today.

Let's start here okie. We will freeze your SS payments for the rest of your life. No increase for inflation. Will you accept that?

No, that would not be my first option. I would not totally freeze Social Security benefits I don't think. One idea is to look at indexing the increases in a different manner than they are now done. For example, it might not need to be a flat percentage applied universally, it could be some kind of sliding scale, with decreasing percentage increase for higher benefits. After all, we call it a cost of living increase, and the higher cost to live should perhaps be applied as it relates only to housing and food, the necessities. Look, it is not my job to sit around all day analyzing this stuff, and I would not want to see the system become more convoluted than it is now, but we obviously need to do something to stem the rising tide of payments.
parados
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 03:38 pm
@okie,
Quote:
Some could be, but I think most of the fraud is through fraudulant billings by doctors, hospitals, and other providers in the system. Cleaning the mess up and finding out exactly where all the fraud is would take a concerted effort to do it, which we have not yet done.

According to sources it looks like we need to spend $1 to prevent every $1.55 in fraud.
That means Congress has to be willing to provide the money to stop the fraud.

Oh, wait.. the GOP cut spending for prevention of fraud in medicare and the IRS.

Maybe you need to look to the people you support politically if you want to stop fraud okie.

Quote:
I am making no bets, but I think it should be obvious the government should clean its own house up before attacking private businesses, don't you?
So, you think we should spend our health care money where the MOST fraud exists? Is that the best use of your money okie?
ican711nm
 
  0  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 04:36 pm
Quote:
Tenth Amendment Town Hall
"Exploring Solutions to Restoring Texas' Constitutional Rights"

8:30am to 1:30pm
Plano Centre
2000 East Spring Creek Parkway
Plano, Texas 75074


You are invited to a special event hosted by the Texas Conservative Coalition (TCC), the conservative caucus of the Texas Legislature.

Trillion-dollar bailouts, record deficits, a proposed government takeover of health care, job-killing environmental regulations, and looming tax increases. The excessive power wielded by the federal government over states and individuals must stop. The Tenth Amendment Town Hall hosted by TCC will serve as a forum to explore solutions to restore Texas' constitutional rights, and to limit the growing power and influence of the federal government.

The event will feature a keynote address by Judge Andrew Napolitano (author and Fox News Contributor), as well as remarks by nationally-prominent constitutional scholars and conservative state legislators. Governor Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott will also participate in this event.

The Town Hall will also feature panel discussions, including:
- State Actions to Restore the Tenth Amendment
- Requiring Congress to Balance the Budget
- Nullification: What it means, and is it an option for states?

Judy Holloway
Austin Tea Party Patriots
Common Sense Texans
havinganaustinteaparty.com
512-585-7673

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

0 Replies
 
JamesMorrison
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 06:05 pm
This just in:
Quote:
Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, a centrist Democrat who represents a Republican-leaning state, said he won't seek a third term in November, ..."To put it in the words I think most people can understand: I love working for the people of Indiana, I love helping our citizens make the most of their lives, but I do not love Congress,'' Mr. Bayh said in Indianapolis.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704431404575067330696124758.html

Sen Bayh has always seemed, to me, overall, a thoughtful member of the senate (an attribute our founders hoped to garner for all senate members). Perhaps it is good news for conservatives (given their choice actually winning the seat) but this is certainly not good news for Obama-like: what's-wrong-with-more-central-government-control? democrats. Bayh was not of the ilk of this administration, was moderate, and seemed like someone that even arch conservatives, like myself, could honestly work with.

On that note, I had mentioned before that Mike Pence might run for Bayh's seat. However, he has decided, as of January 26, 2010, to stay a member of the GOP House because he has "been given the responsibility to shape the Republican comeback as a member of the House Republican Leadership and, second, because I believe Republicans will win back the majority in the House of Representatives in 2010." Sen. Dan Coats, a former Republican U.S. Senator will run on the GOP ticket for Bayh's former seat.

JM

 

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