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Discussion Starter #1
Just thought I'd toss this topic out, seeing how the first democratic presidential primary will be held in a few days (Tueday) in my home state. Thoughts? Predictions? Preferences?

- Can Dean recover from his Iowa meltdown?
- Can Kerry continue his momentum?
- Who will claim Clark first for their running mate?

Did anyone catch the debate yesterday from Manchester? I'm not a Dean fan, but I thought he put Kerry in his place with his "blood of our soldiers is on x's hands" argument. For those who didn't see it, Kerry stated that (I'm paraphrasing here) a president should make sure that all other measures have been exhausted before sending a parent's child off to die and that Bush hadn't done that (essentially blaming the deaths of the 500 US soldiers who have died in Iraq to date on Bush). A few moments later Dean correctly reminded the audience that if you're going to blame Bush for those deaths, then you should also hold Kerry, Lieberman and Edwards accountable for their deaths as well, since all three of them voted in favor of Bush sending troops to Iraq when it was presented to Congress (all thee are sitting senators in Congress). Damn facts! :D

One thing that continues to bother me though is this continued insistence that "record deficits are killing this country under the current administration". $500 billion may be a record value, but we're not even at 5% of GNP. I've attached a graph below to illustrate that even in '94, the percentage of debt/GNP is equivalent to 2005 debt/GNP projections.

For example, the national debt peaked at 128 percent of gnp in 1946. After the war, although the debt continued to rise, the gnp until the 1980s rose much faster, so that by 1979-1981 the debt/gnp ratio was only 33 percent. From 1981 to 1988, the policies of the Reagan administration—tax cuts and increased defense spending—coupled with Congress's and the administration's reluctance to cut spending on inflation-swollen entitlement programs, produced large deficits that raised the debt/gnp ratio to 53 percent, its highest level in U.S. history apart from the World War II era, with no end to the rise in sight as of 1991. This trend disturbed many Americans, and federal deficits and rises in the national debt once again became major national issues. Even in 1988, however, the debt/gnp ratio was no larger than it was during the period 1943-1961.

My point is this: it's easy to toss out huge deficit numbers to paint a picture of fiscal irresponsibility if you don't take into account the total gnp in play. It's like saying which is worse - making $40,000 a year and being $10,000 in debt (25%) or making 100,000 a year and being $15,000 in debt (15%)? The 15K sounds like a bigger number but represents a healthier fiscal picture.
 

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As long as people don't stop voting for Dean because of the way he talked:rolleyes: I am not supporter but the media is talking as if his tone in the speech is problem
 

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Going purely on instinct, I continue to feel very uneasy about Kerry despite the fact that he seems to be the favorite at the moment, and I continue to be drawn to Dean despite his Tourette's-like anger attacks...

As for the graph, it is strange to see the defecit under Reagan and Bush Sr, and the shrinking defecit that eventually turned into a surplus with Clinton, despite the fact that Democrats are usually the big spenders.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Tim said:
Going purely on instinct, I continue to feel very uneasy about Kerry despite the fact that he seems to be the favorite at the moment, and I continue to be drawn to Dean despite his Tourette's-like anger attacks...

As for the graph, it is strange to see the defecit under Reagan and Bush Sr, and the shrinking defecit that eventually turned into a surplus with Clinton, despite the fact that Democrats are usually the big spenders.
YEEEEARRRRGGGHHHH! (still cracks me up :howler: ) - to his credit, he appears to be able to laugh at himself, doing the Top 10 bit on Letterman last night.

As for your defecit/president in power point - I would contest that spending is more directly tied historically to whichever party has congressional control of the House of Representatives. A list of Congress #, year and majority party follows below from 1979 to present:

Reagan administration:

96th (1979-1981) D
97th (1981-1983) D
98th (1983-1984) D
99th (1985-1986) D
100th (1987-1988) D

H. Bush administration:

101st (1989-1990) D
102nd (1991-1992) D

While we're at it, let's look at the Clinton administration:

103rd (1993-1994) D
104th (1995-1996) R
105th (1997-1998) R
106th (1999-2000) R
107th (2001-2002) R

Note that the "Clinton Recovery" didn't really start until 1995 when (suprise) the lower-spending Republicans were in control of the House.

Remember: there are no coincidences in politics.
108th (2003-Present) R
 

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Tim said:
Going purely on instinct, I continue to feel very uneasy about Kerry despite the fact that he seems to be the favorite at the moment, and I continue to be drawn to Dean despite his Tourette's-like anger attacks...

As for the graph, it is strange to see the defecit under Reagan and Bush Sr, and the shrinking defecit that eventually turned into a surplus with Clinton, despite the fact that Democrats are usually the big spenders.
What is so strange about the graph, unless you believe the president is the one who disposes the budget? You will note that the Reagan-Bush Premier coincided with a Democratic Congress, while the Clinton years with a Republican Congress. In times of war you will ALWAYS have deficit spending, no matter who controls the purse strings....
 

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Although I would agree that the deficit's importance is at times overstated it still doesn't take away accountability from a supposed Republican like Bush spending at the rate of a drunken sailor on a 3 day leave in Singapore.

What happened to fiscal conservatism...hell he's making Clinton look like a fiscal conservative.
 

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So Pres. Reagan and others accepted overspending and decide not to use veto and other means on such important thing? Its called checks and balances not only congress control for a reason blaming deficits on Dem. congress or war is only partly correct
 

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Razor said:
YEEEEARRRRGGGHHHH! (still cracks me up :howler: ) - to his credit, he appears to be able to laugh at himself, doing the Top 10 bit on Letterman last night.

As for your defecit/president in power point - I would contest that spending is more directly tied historically to whichever party has congressional control of the House of Representatives. A list of Congress #, year and majority party follows below from 1979 to present:

Reagan administration:

96th (1979-1981) D
97th (1981-1983) D
98th (1983-1984) D
99th (1985-1986) D
100th (1987-1988) D

H. Bush administration:

101st (1989-1990) D
102nd (1991-1992) D

While we're at it, let's look at the Clinton administration:

103rd (1993-1994) D
104th (1995-1996) R
105th (1997-1998) R
106th (1999-2000) R
107th (2001-2002) R

Note that the "Clinton Recovery" didn't really start until 1995 when (suprise) the lower-spending Republicans were in control of the House.

Remember: there are no coincidences in politics.
108th (2003-Present) R
I'm not sure I agree completely - that Republicans are traditionally the fiscal conservatives. Sure, that's what they like to be passed as, but if that were the case, shouldn't the 108th republican congress together with a republican president be shown way in the grey on that graph?
 

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Razor said:
A few moments later Dean correctly reminded the audience that if you're going to blame Bush for those deaths, then you should also hold Kerry, Lieberman and Edwards accountable for their deaths as well, since all three of them voted in favor of Bush sending troops to Iraq when it was presented to Congress (all thee are sitting senators in Congress). Damn facts! :D

While that is fundamentally true, it is still somewhat of a low blow, given the inaccuracy of the information on which the vote was conditioned. Same as those lamenting Clark for supposed fuzziness over his Iraq commitment of lack hereof. Those who should be really lamented are those who did not take advantage of increasingly plausible intelligence offererings vis-á-vis the original bogus files (e.g Lieberman). But that's the media playing catch as usual.

Razor said:
One thing that continues to bother me though is this continued insistence that "record deficits are killing this country under the current administration". $500 billion may be a record value, but we're not even at 5% of GNP. I've attached a graph below to illustrate that even in '94, the percentage of debt/GNP is equivalent to 2005 debt/GNP projections.
Yet (and also to comment on Tim's remark) numbers alone don't show it all of course. Clinton's administration took full advantage of the historically positive financial climate of the time, and that was obviously very fortunate for them. Just the same they showed competence in doing so. That Bush Jr. and company have tossed the positive state of things as fast as they have are not only their fault, but certainly cannot convince anyone of their competence either. As such- the debt being the same percentage wise compared to 1994 does not mean the state of things are the same. Then it was visibly improving. Now it's visibly declining.

Razor said:
For example, the national debt peaked at 128 percent of gnp in 1946. After the war, although the debt continued to rise, the gnp until the 1980s rose much faster, so that by 1979-1981 the debt/gnp ratio was only 33 percent. From 1981 to 1988, the policies of the Reagan administration—tax cuts and increased defense spending—coupled with Congress's and the administration's reluctance to cut spending on inflation-swollen entitlement programs, produced large deficits that raised the debt/gnp ratio to 53 percent, its highest level in U.S. history apart from the World War II era, with no end to the rise in sight as of 1991. This trend disturbed many Americans, and federal deficits and rises in the national debt once again became major national issues. Even in 1988, however, the debt/gnp ratio was no larger than it was during the period 1943-1961.

But comparable numbers do not equate with comparable scenarios. If you're 'able' to have the same kind of budget to GDP debt today as Reagan was in the 80's that means you're doing something wrong, as the economy ought to be much more healthy. In any case you're including national debt which isn't on the figure. What is the state of that (purely interest ridden question... no bad intentions :) ) ?

Razor said:
My point is this: it's easy to toss out huge deficit numbers to paint a picture of fiscal irresponsibility if you don't take into account the total gnp in play. It's like saying which is worse - making $40,000 a year and being $10,000 in debt (25%) or making 100,000 a year and being $15,000 in debt (15%)? The 15K sounds like a bigger number but represents a healthier fiscal picture.
To comment on this, one would need to know the current size of the national debt as well. Until then an annual 5% debt to GDP is the same now as then being correlated already against eachother as they are.
Another thing- both in favor and against Bush. The current weakness of the $ makes debts/economy seem worse than it is long term. On the other hand a reason for the relative weakness of the $ is exactly the deficit and national debt itself.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
RedEagle said:
Although I would agree that the deficit's importance is at times overstated it still doesn't take away accountability from a supposed Republican like Bush spending at the rate of a drunken sailor on a 3 day leave in Singapore.

What happened to fiscal conservatism...hell he's making Clinton look like a fiscal conservative.
To fangul's point earlier (and a point I didn't illustrate enough above), spending is at its highest during wartime. I'd submit that Bush's budget is defense/warspend-heavy and is inflating this deficit number as a result. Furthermore, I generally agree with his rationale of investing short dollars today to correct an exponentially greater drain on the sytem in years to come (i.e. - if $200 billion (arbitrary figure for discussion purposes) invested into revamping medicare per this past year's bill that Bush got passed that would eliminate having to pay $250b in '06 in benefits, $300b in '08, etc, etc). My point is that his programs are long-term cost savers in that it's significantly cheaper to do today than it will be tomorrow.

And that includes space exploration (or as my buddy said in his best Bush-voice this AM, "This money here is for the space-goers" :howler: )
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Pila said:
I'm not sure I agree completely - that Republicans are traditionally the fiscal conservatives. Sure, that's what they like to be passed as, but if that were the case, shouldn't the 108th republican congress together with a republican president be shown way in the grey on that graph?
Not with $120 billion earmarked for Iraq, another chunk for Afghanistan and homeboy security - then it's on to domestic programs (see my rationale in my last post above)...
 

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Razor said:
Not with $120 billion earmarked for Iraq, another chunk for Afghanistan and homeboy security - then it's on to domestic programs (see my rationale in my last post above)...
How much of a percentage is 120 Bil on that graph?
 

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Razor said:
To fangul's point earlier (and a point I didn't illustrate enough above), spending is at its highest during wartime. I'd submit that Bush's budget is defense/warspend-heavy and is inflating this deficit number as a result. Furthermore, I generally agree with his rationale of investing short dollars today to correct an exponentially greater drain on the sytem in years to come (i.e. - if $200 billion (arbitrary figure for discussion purposes) invested into revamping medicare per this past year's bill that Bush got passed that would eliminate having to pay $250b in '06 in benefits, $300b in '08, etc, etc). My point is that his programs are long-term cost savers in that it's significantly cheaper to do today than it will be tomorrow.

And that includes space exploration (or as my buddy said in his best Bush-voice this AM, "This money here is for the space-goers" :howler: )
I am not so good at math, but how is allocating so much money now, while giving huge tax breaks at the same time supposed to be long term cost savings?

And how can you explain 3.5 billion for marriage counseling?Just the first one off the top of my head that pissed me off, on top of the moon project.
 

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RedEagle said:
I am not so good at math, but how is allocating so much money now, while giving huge tax breaks at the same time supposed to be long term cost savings?

And how can you explain 3.5 billion for marriage counseling?Just the first one off the top of my head the pissed me off, on top the moon project.
What's wrong with the moon project? One of my favorite.
 

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Been there and done that.
 

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RedEagle said:
Been there and done that.
This time it isn't just for braggin rights, but as a launch pad to something bigger.
 

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I'm all for it if he was dealing with a surplus. Since he's not, that's at the bottom of my priority list.
 

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RedEagle said:
I'm all for it if he was dealing with a surplus. Since he's not, that's at the bottom of my priority list.
There will always be something of the immediate future people consider a priority. It's gotta be done sometime, no time better than now, or it'll never get going.

He won major browny points with me on this one vision of his. Very bold and daring, not a whole lot of folks at the top have the balls to introduce a plan with very little immediate benefit, but have the vision to be the one to make it happen on the account of the future of the entire species.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Pila said:
How much of a percentage is 120 Bil on that graph?
It depends on the year, since it represents the percentage of debt to gnp. For example, the total fy2003 budget was 2.163 trillion. Using that number, it would be less than 5%.
 
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