It is 8:30 Tuesday morning, July 19, 2011, and I am very disappointed in our legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government. I do not see any serious effort among these people to solve the most immediate and largest problem facing the nation: the fiscal crisis. And who can deny that it is their responsibility to solve it? What I do see is a lot of obfuscation and denial.
The “deficit” is the difference between the amount of money spent and the revenue to pay for those expenses. A good measure of the deficit is the amount of money borrowed to pay for these expenses. Currently the most-used figure is forty cents ($0.40) of every dollar spent. The “debt” is the accumulation of past deficits.
To make payments on the debt we have to have a “surplus,” i.e. more revenue than expenses. It is amazing that the word “surplus” is not even being used in the current discussions so prevalent in the news, opinion pieces, interviews, etc. Why not start with a hard and fast agreement among all “stakeholders” (and that is all of us) that we must reduce the yearly deficits. It is an unquestionable fact that the whole $0.40 cannot be eliminated in one year. So I would like to submit what I think is a workable approach.
The current deficit figure being used is $1.65 trillion. That is $1,650 billion. To reduce that by the same amount each of the next eight years, including fiscal year 2012 will require limiting the yearly borrowing to $206.25 billion. The debt will continue to rise by the amount of the yearly deficits; which will be $206.25 billion less each successive year. But after eight years there would be no deficits. By that time we should have learned how to live within our means.
I have done the math and the debt will increase $5,775 billion ($5.775 trillion). But if we were to just hold the deficits to $1.65 trillion each of those eight years, the debt increase would be $13.2 trillion. The difference between $13.2 trillion and $5.8 trillion is $7.4 trillion. I think it is fair to say that sticking to this plan for eight years will save $7.4 trillion and produce a balanced budget
I don’t see how anyone can reasonably argue that we can’t find $206.25 billion in borrowing reductions each year over the previous year. The problem would be making sure that the actual borrowing is reduced by $206.25 billion. That could be locked in with the agreement on raising the debt limit pending now. What that would require is a different attitude among the people of the two branches of government involved.
One example of a source of saving is Medicare fraud. “According to government experts, the federal government could save as much as $70 billion a year by cracking down on fraud. The key, they say, is preventing the crooks from doing business with Medicare in the first place — not trying to chase them down months after Medicare has paid them.” (Source: “The Social Security & Medicare Advisor,” June 2011 issue, published by the “Senior Citizens League,” an Affiliate of The Retired Enlisted Association).
I would like to make it a little tougher for the next “gold buyers” to fleece Archuleta County citizens. Some folks might recall that a company recently rented space at the Pagosa Lodge. They had a very flashy brochure and I still have a copy.
The company offered to purchase gold coins, exotic metals and heirlooms via a full-page ad in The Pagosa SUN. I went there with gold from my bridges, a couple of coins and a gold money clip. They first offered me 140 dollars. When I asked them if that was the best they could do they upped the amount to 193 dollars. Fortunately I did not have my driver’s license with me. That prevented the transaction from being completed. I did not go back the next day. I thought that I would try my luck in Durango. I did and was offered 550 dollars for the same items.
I wrote a prayer a while back. The first line of the prayer reads like this: “Let everything that is hidden be revealed.” I am paraphrasing words that Jesus spoke. I will do my part in exposing those hidden agendas of greedy and deceptive hearts. The whole prayer is posted on this website: http://cambridgedove.com/Pages02/Page095.html. It is posted both in English and Spanish. I hope you will read it and repeat it. I only had 100,000 wallet size copies of the prayer printed. I usually leave a few at the Shanghai Chinese restaurant where they can be picked up for free.
We have to marvel at how stupid the Tea Party and their Republican puppets seem to think the American electorate is. In their fantasy view of history, things were fine on the day President Obama was inaugurated. It is naive to expect that the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression could be solved in just three years. And if you are going to blame the president for everything that is wrong, don’t you have to give him credit for what is going right?
Let’s look at a few facts. At the Bush inauguration, unemployment stood at 4 percent. Eight years later, it was at 7.8 percent and rising. At the Bush inauguration, 6.4 million Americans were living in poverty. Eight years later, 7.6 million were in poverty. On October 9, 2007, the Dow Jones stood at 14,164. On March 9, 2009, it had fallen to 6,547, crippling many Americans’ savings and 401K plans. On July 8, 2011, the Dow Jones stood at 12,657. I guess that the Tea Party and its minions were responsible for that. True, unemployment did rise to nearly 10 percent, but has since fallen to close to 9 percent. Yet, the stimulus was a “failure.” Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of workers whose jobs were saved or created by the stimulus. The auto industry bailout, which actually started under Bush, saved the auto industry and many thousands of jobs. Much of the money loaned to the industry has been paid back. So, where is the “failure” in all of this?
Now, we face the latest chapter in the Tea Party fantasy — we don’t dare raise any taxes on the wealthiest citizens or even close a few loopholes, because this would kill jobs. One problem with this “trickle down theory” ... it does not work! When Bush sent mega-tax cut legislation to Congress, he assured us that the economy would boom. We can see how that worked out! He also assured us that the tax cuts would generate so much new revenue that they would pay for themselves, an argument we hear from the Republicans in the current debt ceiling debate. Not a single non-partisan analysis has found this to be true. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the tax cuts actually added $364 billion to the deficit in 2009. There is general agreement among economists that the rich got richer through the Bush tax cuts than the middle class. In fact, median household income, adjusted for inflation, actually dropped between 2000 and 2010, while the income of the top 1 percent rose 18 percent. The top 1 percent of Americans now hold 40 percent of all privately held wealth and earn 25 percent of all income. None of this creates a single job!
So, let’s stop this myth in its tracks and recognize that real governance and leadership involves compromise. I can’t demand that all of my perspectives must win and all of yours must lose. As a lifelong Democrat, I am not fond of cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and other progressive social programs. But, I am willing to accept compromise positions, because it is the right thing to do for our nation. Oh, and by the way, despite being “on the table” for cuts, the Defense budget just scored a $17 billion increase for 2012 in the House.
John W. Porco
The lobby at the new Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts has a dramatic presence. Evocative of the past but of no really identifiable era, it has become a hotbed for acoustic music.
Musicians of various stripes play for the hour-long social preceding each theatrical performance. With its high ceilings and roomy expansiveness, the lobby ends itself well to the projection of sound from acoustic instruments. Some of the benefits of having a room like this are that it allows for a good balance between background music and conversation, and it gives the listener an opportunity to hear what things really sound like.
Let’s be fair!
I was so pleased that the president included in his remarks on Friday that the oil companies have said that they do not need the tax breaks — and, yes, that is very true. When asked by Senators at a hearing over a year ago, all stated that they do not need them. Then, why has not something been done about that? What most do not understand that these “breaks” are about double taxation. These companies must pay taxes to all foreign governments where they do business. However, they must report all of their earnings to our government. What the current tax law does is to allow them to deduct from their tax bill the monies they have paid in taxes to all foreign entities.
But the oil companies are still willing to omit these deductions; however, if the tax law that governs this were to change. In fairness it would need to apply to all USA businesses who have operations overseas. So, where’s the rub? My guess is that many in Congress have stock in those companies who moved their business overseas, costing American jobs, simply for cheap labor.
Now, who are the patriotic Americans? Oil companies have overseas operations because they have to go where the product is — at great risk and expense, they contract with foreign counties to bring the product out of the ground. Now, those who moved manufacturing to foreign counties did so simply for cheap labor — their product was right here in the good ole USA.
Of course, oil companies are ready and willing to bring their homegrown product, oil and gas, out of the ground and it is time for the American people to appreciate the work of these folks. Yes, there is risk; however, there is risk to just about everything and in this case, benefits outweigh risk when it comes to our security and our economy — oil companies provide great jobs!
Although summer days in Pagosa are always delightful, there are red-letter days I have always looked forward to: the Fourth of July, the library book sale, the Auction for the Animals and ColorFest.
This year, we’ve added a new day, a gold letter day. It’s the Gold Rush, when golden retrievers with their always-smiling faces and ever-wagging tails come to enrich our lives with their joyous ways.
To all those whose hard work and dedication culminated in the success of this wondrous event, my sincere thanks.