ECONOMIC developments
Consequences of Lying Economic Stats
A lesson on Banking & housing prices
McCain/Republican planned tax cut plus Housing Market Crunch
Sub-prime Bailout--banks, not homeowners
Neoliberalism, their global agenda--jk
Neoliberalism, Robber Barons, an historical view--jk
Neocon Economics Data--Reagan to Bush
US DEBT--explained
What 2008 has in store
The Great Debt Crisis Begins-08
Debt to Grow, Whomever is Elected
Trickle-down shit
Analysis of effects of tax cuts--exposes the neocon lie
Municipal Bonds are impacted by home loan defaults--dominoes
Let Them Die, the position of big PHARMA and WTO trade treaties
Financialization, the major new economic trend
China, poverty and manufacturing
Globalization and the Super Rich
Debt to Grow, Whomever is Elected

The author asks why there is so little debate over the balanced budget, and why the public isn’t concerned.  Simply put the public’s attitude reflects the attitude of the major news networks and the local stations, all which speak with a very similar voice.  Don’t expect fundamental changes from either party.  Samuelson doesn’t expect fundamental change, and the voters aren’t demanding it. 


The $3 Trillion Cop-Out


Washington Post, Feb 13, 2008 by Robert J Samuelson, page A 19.

The $3.1 trillion budget submitted last week by President Bush, with a projected $407 billion deficit for 2009 {based upon best case scenario—jk}, reminds us of the huge gap between uplifting political rhetoric -- including the rhetoric of this campaign -- and the grim realities of governing. Budgets are not just numbers. They express political choices. What should government do and who should pay? The reigning philosophy, practiced by both parties and largely approved by the public, is to evade choices.

Since 1961, the federal government has run deficits in all but five years. Only the surplus of 1969 stemmed from deliberate policy: a 10 percent income surtax reluctantly passed by Congress in 1968. The others (1998-2001) mostly reflected good fortune: the end of the Cold War, resulting in a 40 percent drop in defense spending as a share of the economy, and an unexpected surge in taxes from the economic boom. Neither was a policy act of the Clinton administration or the then-Republican Congress. 

Bush says his policies would produce a balanced budget by 2012, but his underlying assumptions are laughably artificial. First, he omits most of the future costs of the Iraq war (for budgeting, he effectively adopts his critics' plan of rapid withdrawal). Second, he assumes big savings in Medicare by freezing reimbursements to doctors and hospitals -- a policy Congress won't adopt. Third, he doesn't offset the growing revenue bite of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) that would result in a sizable tax increase -- an outcome Bush rejects.

The only way Bush could balance the budget would be by not following Bush's policies. The most telling figures in his budget involve his proposal to eliminate or dramatically reduce 151 programs, for a savings of $18 billion. That's six-tenths of 1 percent of federal spending. What's telling, though, is that Congress will probably reject even many of these proposals.

Based on campaign policies, none of the major presidential candidates would do much better. Sen. John McCain , the Republican front-runner, and Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are alike in not addressing the central budget issue: baby boomers' retirement costs. Already, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are 44 percent of federal spending. In 2007, these programs cost $1.2 trillion, more than double all defense spending.

McCain says spending will have to be cut but doesn't say where. He would eliminate the AMT and cover the costs by curbing congressional earmarks (spending projects designated for specific districts) and closing tax loopholes, says economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin.  McCain's overall goal is to balance the budget by the end of his second term, says Holtz-Eakin. That would be 2017.

Clinton and Obama haven't said when they'd balance the budget. But each has a long list of new spending increases and tax cuts. Both have health-insurance proposals intended to cover the 47 million uninsured. Clinton says her plan would cost $110 billion. Half would be paid by raising taxes on those with incomes exceeding $250,000, something that Obama would also do. Obama would provide a permanent $500 tax cut for about 150 million workers, or $1,000 for a two-earner family; he would also exempt from income taxes retirees making less than $50,000. Both would provide more-generous tax credits for college. Their lists run on.

Both campaigns insist that all their new proposals are "paid for" through tax increases, closed loopholes, reforms of government contracting and various assumed "savings." It seems doubtful that this claim would survive strict scrutiny. But even if it did, neither candidate offsets the spreading AMT. Possibly, savings from withdrawing from Iraq might cover some of those costs. Still, sizable budget deficits would continue.

But most Americans don't seem bothered. That's why both parties devote so little effort to addressing government spending or the deficits. As a society, we seem to have made a choice. It is to not control government. Almost every new spending plan or tax cut is simply piled atop previous spending programs or tax cuts. Democrats have spent seven years denouncing Bush's tax cuts but are willing to repeal only the cuts benefiting those with incomes above $250,000. When Republicans created the Medicare drug benefit (2007 cost: $41 billion), it was simply added to existing benefits.

Government acquires more functions because no one dares strip away any existing functions. People, states, localities and industries think they have a moral entitlement to their tax breaks, benefit checks and spending programs. There is an unstated presumption that the gradual growth of government is unthreatening to the economy, but as the population ages, taxes, budget deficits or both will rise. The increases could be substantial. That we are not debating the possible consequences is a cop-out -- but it is a cop-out in which the public is conspicuously complicit.



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Must watch:

Parts of Europe (such ask Netherlands and Denmark) use small local electricity generation plants, which permits the use of the byproduct heat for heating.  In one example they use all he CO2 generated to supply 4,000 hectares of green houses.   The combined heating and energy production (CHP) is a proven technology that lowers the energy consumption for electricty and heating by over 50%.   British (BBC) documentary on this


Teddy Roosevelt's advice that, "We must drive the special interests out of politics. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have themselves called into being. There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains."


For the best account of the Federal Reserve  (  One cannot understand U.S. politics, U.S. foreign policy, or the world-wide economic crisis unless one understands the role of the Federal Reserve Bank and its role in the financialization phenomena.  The same sort of national-banking relationships as in our country also exists in Japan and most of Europe.