Over at BPI, one of the commenters posted an e-mail from her Republican Congressman, who is apparently attempting to preemptively shift the blame if the debt ceiling isn’t raised:
I have heard from quite a few concerned seniors and veterans in the last few days. The concern stems from the President’s suggestion that Social Security and other benefits won’t get paid in the absence of a deal to raise the debt ceiling. This is a scare tactic, pure and simple.
Spending on Social Security, Medicare, veterans’ benefits and our troops has already been authorized by Congress, and the President has the authority to continue funding these priorities. If he chooses not to, it will be his decision and his alone.
As Sheriff, I always had a contingency plan – hope for the best, but plan for the worst. My hope is that the President won’t play games with your Social Security check, but his current posturing doesn’t inspire much confidence.
The bolding is mine, and it demonstrates a seriously poor understanding between “authorized spending” and “having the money to spend.” Because it’s not a scare tactic, it’s a potential reality. Anyone who has ever worked in the private sector (let alone government) for an employer of any real size should have grasped it immediately.
Back in the late 70’s, there came the idea of “trickle down economics.” The basic idea, at least as it was put to the public, was that by reducing the tax rates on the rich and corporations, they would have more money to invest, which would create more jobs and economic activity farther down. In other words, by the government taking less from the wealthy, the benefits would “trickle down” to the rest. As more businesses and jobs were created by this, pay scales would rise and with it, the government would receive the same – or more – tax revenue than it would have had it continued with the previous tax schedules. As a theory, it sounded good. In practice, it has been a miserable failure. It turns out there was a core assumption being made, that in practice turned out not to be the case. An “implied contract” that was broken.
For a couple of years, I lived in Southwest Colorado. One of the places I used to go on various service calls was a small little resort town called Pagosa Springs. It’s a pretty place, at the western bottom of Wolf Creek Pass. It has a year-round population of about 1600, with a lot of “second homes” in the area. A typical resort town, in many ways. On the other side of the Rockies, there’s a major city – Colorado Springs It has over 400,000 people, and a fairly stable and vibrant economy. It’s the home base of a lot of conservative organizations, a haven for low-tax and small government advocates. Which is rather interesting, because Colorado Springs and Pagosa Springs wouldn’t be that much different, if it weren’t for one thing: Government spending.
Well, now that CPAC is over and the House Republicans have announced some of their proposed cuts, what they’re after is increasingly clear. They want the US to be just like Nigeria. Mostly poor, malnourished, poorly-educated, and living in a toxic wasteland. But it’s all good if you’re wealthy and in power.
Watching various state legislators trying to prove how much they “respect” the Second Amendment by passing inane gun laws makes me want them to take it to the max. I want them to pass a requirement that all state legislators must carry a gun while in the legislative chambers, that there be a rule of “fair shooting”, since both sides were armed, and no charges will ever be filed. Either they’ll learn to be civil and compromise, or they’ll be weeded out in a hurry. Either way, it’d be a win-win for the electorate.
At the end of November, I wrote a post about “unit pricing” when it comes to education. You see it brought up a lot when people start talking about the cost of education. There’s an idea that somehow a school district should have a set cost per student. That is, if School District A is spending $10,000 per student, it’s doing better budgeting and cost control than District B which is spending $20,000 per student. It also creeps into “quality” measures, where you see people claiming that the higher cost is an indicator of a better education. Which makes it a convenient target for complaints when it comes to tax money. As I said back then, it’s not the entire story – or even correct. In one of the local papers, there was an story about the school costs, and the price per student. Interestingly, the same points came up.