Up for Debate: What now for U.S. government?

Friday, November 9, 2012 at 1:02am

Now that the campaigns are done, what issues must President Barack Obama and Congress tackle over the next four years at least, starting with the most pressing? How might the parties work together, ideally in a different manner than over the last four years?

Filed under: City Voices
Tagged: Up for Debate

211 Comments on this post:

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 10:17

Good Lord, where to start.

Nemo, I don't think your assertion that the storms are getting bigger and more frequent is not necessarily true. I may be true in the short-term, but not in the longer time. I don't really want to change this debate over to one of climate change but I would be willing to bet we would have some disagreement there, that would end up with you calling me names.

B2:Adman, I get the feeling you would have posted differently had Romney won.
Not really although I doubt the question would have been framed in the same way. In general I believe that there is a role for gov't to play, I just think that what govt can accomplish is limited, and people look to it to do things that it is not capable of doing well.

Loner:Adman wrote, " Has a Democrat administration really made any difference?"

Notice Adman's choice of words; specifically his use of the term, "Democrat administration". Whenever someone uses the term "Democrat administration", instead of the term, "Democratic administration", it's a tip-off that the writer or speaker is a regular fan of Rush Limbaugh, FOX News, right-wing blogs and right-wing internet sites.

These are the same people who insist that the USA is NOT a democracy, but a "constitutional republic".

Excuse me I didn't intend to besmirch anyone, although Obama ran a Democrat, not a Democratic. I glad that your radar was able to hone in on me though. In your pain over my use of a word you missed my point. That being that regardless of who is in the White House, the Federal Government can't fix this.

As to your last point, I'm not sure I understand. Do you really think our form of Gov't is a democracy? Ben Franklin once said a democracy is a lion, tiger and lamb voting over what is on the menu for lunch. We are republic that is pretty simple really.

By: Loner on 11/9/12 at 10:18

Slack attack.....target destroyed.

By: slacker on 11/9/12 at 10:18

Bohener can fill up a swimming pool in 16 min., while listening to ''Danny Boy''

By: yogiman on 11/9/12 at 10:21

It would be great if we had perfectionist spellers who correct an occasional misspell-er but I guess they feel they're much perfecter that than the one they're correcting. eh, gdiafante?

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 10:23

Loner said: Adman is a Republican? He claims to be a Libertarian...but so far, his language is very Republican-sounding.

Last week I said that I lean to be Libertarian, and that makes me a man without a country. I want the democrats to stay out of my wallet and the republicans to stay out of my bedroom. There are limited things the gov't should do but the single biggest is protect our liberties.

By: gdiafante on 11/9/12 at 10:23

[click] ..!.

By: gdiafante on 11/9/12 at 10:29

Adman, do you understand the Constitution? Congress controls the purse strings, more specifically, the House. Now, who runs the House?

All the Dems can do is present a plan, if the House rejects it, no one's into your wallet. What tax increases have hit your wallet? As far as I know, the Bush Tax Cuts have been extended...and extended...and extended...

If you're speaking of Obamacare, if you have insurance, you're not paying the "penalty"

If you're speaking of what happens if the pending cuts take effect, direct your ire to Congress. All the President can do is present a plan.

The fundamental lack of understanding about how our government works is astounding. Do they even offer Civics classes anymore?

By: gdiafante on 11/9/12 at 10:31

I agree with you, Adman...we're not a democracy and were never intended to be one. We are and have always been a Constitutional Republic. It wasn't really until the Age of Jackson that Democracy became an issue.

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 10:40

Adman, do you understand the Constitution? Congress controls the purse strings, more specifically, the House. Now, who runs the House?

All the Dems can do is present a plan, if the House rejects it, no one's into your wallet. What tax increases have hit your wallet? As far as I know, the Bush Tax Cuts have been extended...and extended...and extended...

If you're speaking of Obamacare, if you have insurance, you're not paying the "penalty"

If you're speaking of what happens if the pending cuts take effect, direct your ire to Congress. All the President can do is present a plan.

The fundamental lack of understanding about how our government works is astounding. Do they even offer Civics classes anymore?

Of course I understand all of that. I was speaking in broad philosophical terms not so much in specific terms. By the way has the President presented a plan? If so what was in it? Anything besides repealing the Bush tax cuts?

By: gdiafante on 11/9/12 at 10:45

You must have memory loss...

http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-07-21/politics/29960306_1_paper-reports-carney-nbc-news

By: Blanketnazi2 on 11/9/12 at 11:05

More like selective memory loss......

By: Loner on 11/9/12 at 11:05

Members of the Democratic Party run as Democrats...members of the Republican Party run as Republicans....using the term, "Democrat Party", to refer to the Democratic Party, is almost the equivalent of using the term, "Republic Party", to refer to the Republican Party....it's rather silly, isn't it?

The words "democracy" and "republic" are both nouns....the word "democratic" is an adjective...but the word "republican" can be used as an adjective or a noun....playing semantic games to deceive the gullible is unfair and silly...but the tactic obviously works on some people.

Those who reduce the concept of a secular democracy to "mob rule" have been misled by right-wing ideologues. When we make war on words, we make war on ideas....and nobody really "wins".

I like to think of the union of American states, the USA, as one nation, indivisible...a unified, secular, democratic republic.....what's wrong with that?

By: Captain Nemo on 11/9/12 at 11:17

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 9:35
I know this a cynical outlook, but I think many people will be disappointed because they are going to find out what government can't do. FEMA can't fix New York and New Jersey. A week and a half - 2 weeks after the storm are the people in Staten Island any better off then the people of New Orleans were in the same time after Katrina?
_______________________________________________________________________

The weather is not the only issue Adman that FEMA deals with, and I was not talking about Climate Change so much as committing on your post. Do you really think that NY and NJ area would be better off with out FEMA?

The storm was more than anyone had ever seen and this is not an hour long TV show that comes to conclusion in and hour. There was over a 147,000 in one area of New Jersey alone that has to be removed. My God man would do you expect from any government (Fed, City, State, left or right) could do under these circumstances?

By: gdiafante on 11/9/12 at 11:17

From what I've read about the collapse of the "grand bargain" between Obama and Boehner, both were in unfamiliar territory...Boehner had agreed to tax increases and Obama had agreed to entitlement reform...but it was others that nixed the deal...neither side wanting to give an inch.

Like I said, they should just lock them in a room until they get an agreement. Then debate the damn thing so Americans can see which members of Congress are holding this thing up. Public pressure...

To conjure up the lizard king...we want the deal, and we want it...

now

By: slacker on 11/9/12 at 11:25

Two more years of gridlock, is a sad, bluegrass song.
-Uncle Pen

By: Captain Nemo on 11/9/12 at 11:29

LOL brrrrk

By: Captain Nemo on 11/9/12 at 11:30

LOL brrrrk

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 11:38

The weather is not the only issue Adman that FEMA deals with, and I was not talking about Climate Change so much as committing on your post. Do you really think that NY and NJ area would be better off with out FEMA?

The storm was more than anyone had ever seen and this is not an hour long TV show that comes to conclusion in and hour. There was over a 147,000 in one area of New Jersey alone that has to be removed. My God man would do you expect from any government (Fed, City, State, left or right) could do under these circumstances?

My point exactly. Are the people better off because FEMA is there? Of course. Might there be ways to do it better? Most likely. Is it worth what it costs? Now there is a good question.

By: Loner on 11/9/12 at 11:39

You republicans may be right.....Look at the Electoral College method of presidential selection...in the beginning, state legislators, not the people, appointed both the state's presidential electors and the state's US Senators.

It was all about preserving states rights, not the human or civil rights of the residents of the country....the "We, the People" language was used for rhetorical flourish...it got the citizens to back the scheme...but in essence, the people were pretty much out of the federal loop....their elected state representatives voted and decided in their stead.

The Founders created Democracy Super-Lite....today we have Democracy Lite....that's all the original constitution can deliver.

It's amazing that the citizens are even allowed to directly vote for the POTUS-VPOTUS and their US Senators....it took constitutional amendments to get those civil rights.

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 11:42

From what I've read about the collapse of the "grand bargain" between Obama and Boehner, both were in unfamiliar territory...Boehner had agreed to tax increases and Obama had agreed to entitlement reform...but it was others that nixed the deal...neither side wanting to give an inch.

Actually the reports I read said they had a deal and at the last minute Obama came back and said he had to have 400B in additional revenue.

Now if you really want to talk about selective memory loss.

By: Loner on 11/9/12 at 11:44

“Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
— Abraham Lincoln

“A free government is a complicated piece of machinery, the nice and exact adjustment of whose springs, wheels, and weights, is not yet well comprehended by the artists of the age, and still less by the people.”
— John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, May 19, 1821

“Too many people expect wonders from democracy, when the most wonderful thing of all is just having it.”
— Walter Winchell

“Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”
— Reinhold Niebuhr

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 11:58

geez loner if you are going to quote someone at do so accurately or note that you are paraphrasing. Here is the exact quote of the last phrase of the Gettysburg Address.

"that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

I will be happy to post the entire Address if you want it, but nowhere in it does the word democracy appear.

By: Loner on 11/9/12 at 12:21

Adman send your complaint here:

https://www.constitutionfacts.com/?section=funZone&page=famousQuotes.cfm

They listed those quotes under the heading: About Democracy.

Here's what Merriam Webster says:

de·moc·ra·cy
noun \di-ˈmä-krə-sē\
plural de·moc·ra·cies
Definition of DEMOCRACY

1
a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority
b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections

2
: a political unit that has a democratic government

3
capitalized : the principles and policies of the Democratic party in the United States from emancipation Republicanism to New Deal Democracy — C. M. Roberts

4
: the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority

5
: the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges

See democracy defined for English-language learners »
See democracy defined for kids »

Examples of DEMOCRACY

The nation has chosen democracy over monarchy.
In a democracy, every citizen should have the right to vote.
The company is not a democracy; decisions are made by a board of directors, not the workers.
There is democracy within the company.

Democracy, I would repeat, is the noblest form of government we have yet evolved … —Norman Mailer, New York Review of Books, 27 Mar. 2002
[+]more

Origin of DEMOCRACY:
Middle French democratie, from Late Latin democratia, from Greek dēmokratia, from dēmos + -kratia -cracy
First Known Use: 1576

By: Loner on 11/9/12 at 12:24

Adman is Ben Dover...undercover?

By: slacker on 11/9/12 at 12:39

Ben does use geez a lot, & they've never been seen posting together.
Hmmmmmm...

By: slacker on 11/9/12 at 12:48

I've gotta go n' get my golden parachute out of storage. Hope everybody has a nice weekend.

By: gdiafante on 11/9/12 at 12:51

Adman, in order for it to be selective memory loss I would have had to, at one time, had the memory in order to selectively forget it, no? For you to infer that from the statement from what I've read is amazing.

You're a legend in your own mind.

Besides, regardless of who tanked the plan, your assertion was that his only plan was to repeal the Bush Tax Cuts, which is misinformed.

Consider yourself now informed.

By: gdiafante on 11/9/12 at 1:00

Read the Federalists Papers, Loner. It gives great insight into the founders thought process on creating the Constitution. They patterned the government after the Roman Republic.

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 1:15

well i guess we don't read the same stuff then my apologies.

I will say that all I ever hear form Democrats (and I do watch a few shows on MSNBC, more then I watch on Fox) is that we have to repeal the Bush tax cuts. I suspect this is more to repudiate Bush then to actually address the deficit issue. My attitude is go ahead and repeal them, then come back and try to explain to the American people why we still have a massive deficit.

By: Loner on 11/9/12 at 1:21

Oh, I read most of the Federalist papers in High School,Gd...in American History class.

I think that the Founders were rebellious democrats who distrusted centralized government...after all, they took up arms against the British Crown...they did their best to replace that system with something new and bold....but what was new and bold in the late 18th century should not limit our thinking today....the Founders provided a baseline, not the outer limits of what can and should be done....the Constitution was designed to be a living document...but special interests are defeating and co-opting the thing.

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 1:25

Some of the comments on here remind me of an old George Carlin routine. If you are old enough you might remember the 7 words you can't say on TV (later expanded to 11). He goes through them 1 at a time but he saves that good old anglo-saxon F word for the last. So he asks the question, What does F mean?" he answers himself that it means to have sex or make love, but it is also the word you save for the end of the argument when you can't think of anything else to say. Funny stuff, but that is how things get here. When someone can't make a cogent argument they start calling names, or making snide comments. Human nature I guess.

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 1:28

Constitution was designed to be a living document... Loner the founders also gave us a process keep the constitution up to date. it wasn't the court system or by legislation, it was by amendment.

By: Loner on 11/9/12 at 1:47

Constitutional Amendments are extremely difficult to do...it takes a 2/3 vote in both Houses to propose an Amendment and 3/4 of the fifty US states have to ratify the thing within a limited time frame....that is damn near impossible to do.

The people in each of our US states agree on some but certainly not all issues...that's why we have the Congress.

As far as i can tell, the only completely bipartisan, full-50-state consensus is this: "What's good for the Jewish State in Palestine is good for each and every state within the American union and is good for the USA as a whole".

US House and Senate Resolutions confirm my claim...the pro-Israel Joint Resolutions are nearly unanimous...Google it. no state within our union of states has that much legislative clout....and the state of Israel does not contribute to the US Treasury...it raids it. Again, here's why:

http://maplight.org/us-congress/interest/J5100/view/all

Why pay US taxes and settle for 2 Senators and a few Reps, when the alternative is to simply bribe the US lawmakers and delude them into thinking that what's good for Israel is good for the USA?

The Israelis are smart...very smart. Why buy the cow, when the milk is damn near free?

By: gdiafante on 11/9/12 at 1:53

The Bush Tax Cuts should be repealed, adman. And I don't know one person who thinks that doing one thing will suddenly reduce the deficit. In fact, it's quite the opposite, most people want a combination. Well, except for the hardliners in the House.

Everything should be on the table when speaking of reducing debt, if you're serious. Everything, including the tax cuts which, contrary to popular belief, do actually incur debt.

Adman has passive-aggressiveness down to an artform...

By: gdiafante on 11/9/12 at 1:58

It is difficult to get an amendment passed, but not impossible. That was the point.

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 2:15

Fine let the Bush tax cuts expire. If everything stays the same, that will reduce the deficit somewhere around 10%. So no one expects the deficit to be completely eliminated, so lets say the expectation is to cut it in half. Where will the other 40% come from? Spending cuts? Not gonna happen. We need a comprehensive budget plan, and the single biggest thing that can happen is to get the economy moving, and create jobs. People with jobs pay taxes, and take less in govt benefits. The deficit is reduced from both ends. The debate lies in how that is done.

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 2:25

Let me say this about the Bush tax cuts. At the time they were enacted Republicans crowed about how great they were and that they were responsible for the growing economy from 2001- 2006. I didn't believe it then, and history has proven that the expansion during that period was brought on by cheap money from the Fed. That is the thing I don't understand on either side of the argument because the argument is around the fringes. We are talking about 4.5% tax cut to top marginal brackets, and that is somehow responsible for an economic boom? It doesn't make sense, just like raising the rates back up will somehow solve the current woes. We are not talking about big enough changes to make any real difference. If you look back you will see that the Kennedy tax cut in 1962 reduced the top rate from 90% to 70%. 20 years later Reagan's first tax cut was from 70% to 50%, then in 1986 from 50% to 28% along with major reductions in deductions. Those cuts were large enough to be meaningful. 4.5% really isn't.

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 2:42

I guess this is what I believe about taxes:

1. Taxes are a drag on economic activity.

2. Taxes are necessary to fund the gov't .

3. Taxes should be used to provide the govt with revenue, but not to implement some kind of social agenda, punish the rich or successful, redistribute wealth, or to benefit one industry over another.

4. Everything else being equal lower tax rates are preferable to higher tax rates.

Given those basic ideas IMO we need to be looking for the optimal level of tax rates, that being the point at which they generate the maximum amount of revenue, while doing the least damage to economic activity. No one on this board can tell me that 39.5% is the right number, and no one else can say that 35% is either. We need some eggheaded economists to study this so we can make an informed educated decision.

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 2:50

The Bush Tax Cuts should be repealed, adman. And I don't know one person who thinks that doing one thing will suddenly reduce the deficit. In fact, it's quite the opposite, most people want a combination. Well, except for the hardliners in the House.

Everything should be on the table when speaking of reducing debt, if you're serious. Everything, including the tax cuts which, contrary to popular belief, do actually incur debt.

Adman has passive-aggressiveness down to an artform...

You seem to want to blame everything on house republicans, but what about senate democrats? The very idea of touching any entitlement program is DOA with them. Bush floated the idea to allow people under a certain age (50? I don't remember exactly) to take 3% a measly 3% of their social security contribution and segregate it away from the SS system. You would have thought he was suggesting they burn down the Capital or something. The cries went out Bush want to privatize SS when he was only suggesting 3%.

Passive-aggressive huh? Keep it up you are proving my point.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 11/9/12 at 3:00

Adman, part of the problem was that Bush didn't say how the $2 trillion in transaction costs would be funded. Also, considering how the stock market was between 2004 - now, that wouldn't have been such a hot idea, huh?

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-11-10-social-security_x.htm

By: Blanketnazi2 on 11/9/12 at 3:06

Because a substantial portion of the payroll tax would be diverted to creating private accounts, the federal government would have to borrow the money needed to keep making benefit payments. This borrowing is accomplished by selling government bonds. In effect, investors would be exchanging one set of paper—stocks purchased by the new private accounts—for another set of paper, Treasury bills. No real new value would be created, only profits for big investors generated by an increase in paper values. There would be no greater pool of savings to finance investment.

As for the promised high rates of return—if stocks were so lucrative, why would big capitalists and investment banks, the institutions which would loan the trillions of dollars the government would borrow to set up private accounts, agree to buy government bonds instead of investing their capital in the stock market themselves?

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/feb2005/socs-f03.shtml

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 3:07

B2 I'm not sure I get your drift. Please expound

By: Blanketnazi2 on 11/9/12 at 3:08

According to one authoritative estimate, the pumping of trillions and trillions of dollars into private investment accounts will generate colossal income to Wall Street—$940 billion in fees over the next 75 years, to say nothing of the ample opportunities for outright fraud and swindling as hundreds of millions of inexperienced, small-scale “investors” try to make their way through the stock exchange.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 11/9/12 at 3:13

A study by University of Chicago business school professor Austan Goolsbee focuses on President Bush’s plan to partially privatize Social Security, and finds that financial institutions stand to gain from the Bush plan—at the expense of seniors.
According to the study, the financial services industry would reap a $940 billion windfall in fees and other administrative charges for managing private accounts, while expenses could take 20 percent of the typical beneficiary's account.

http://seniorliving.about.com/od/lawpolitics/a/socialsecstudy.htm

By: Captain Nemo on 11/9/12 at 3:13

Here is a sad note

Gen. David Petraeus resigns as CIA director, citing affair

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83643.html

By: budlight on 11/9/12 at 3:16

parnell3rd on 11/9/12 at 7:28
Next up for the US gov't. Senate and Congress will once again ignore the will of the people and they will "bail out" all of the bankrupt states in America.
I sure do miss the billion dollar deficits we had under Pres. Bush
Oh, and how easy you liberals forget, there has not been a budget passed in four years including the 2 years demoNcrats had total control.
But, I'm sure in some sick twisted way you will still blame republicans.

you are right Parnell.

And blanket, sorry to bust yo pot head bubble, but pot is still a federal crime and some of the law enforcement in respective pot passing states were on the news saying they would enforce the laws according to fed. gov't. Pot is not healthy and we don't need you boozers and potheads on the road driving at the same time.

OR texting; some girl (I think out west) was testing and fell into a pit of rattle snakes; got bit several times and lived to tell it (6 or 7 anti-venom treatments later). She probably is typical of an Obama voter. DUH

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 3:17

B@...thank you. Now I'm not sure I would describe 3% as a substantial portion. Also, at the time the govt would not have had to borrow anything because the revenue from ss tax was greater then the benefits that were being paid out. It would have reduced the amount of the annual ss surplus by 3% that the govt was using and therefore cause the govt to have to borrow more to cover that if that is what you mean. The dirty little secret about ss is that you don't own the account. If you die before ever drawing a dime everything you contributed is gone unless your surviving spouse decides to forgo his/her benefits to draw yours or you have dependent children. Nothing from ss goes to your estate. By allowing 3% to be held outside the ss system at least your heirs would be able to keep a small portion.
Nobody said that the 3% had to be invested in stocks, it could have been invested in bonds or left sitting in cash. The big difference was that the individual owned that portion.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 11/9/12 at 3:21

Adman, I think you're missing the point. There is cost associated with diverting the account - the administration fees would be a windfall for the investment companies and in essence would be swapping a more secure investment for a less secure one. I would not handle my personal investments that way - you'd be insane to do that. Why would I want the government to do that on my behalf? Anyone who understands SS knows that you don't have a "personal account." What I'm paying right now is going to the folks who are already being paid - it doesn't go to a future fund for me. And that 3% investment going to your survivors - not so. Read in full the articles posted above. That's not how it was going to work.

By: budlight on 11/9/12 at 3:22

By: Adman on 11/9/12 at 10:23
Loner said: Adman is a Republican? He claims to be a Libertarian...but so far, his language is very Republican-sounding.

Last week I said that I lean to be Libertarian, and that makes me a man without a country. I want the democrats to stay out of my wallet and the republicans to stay out of my bedroom. There are limited things the gov't should do but the single biggest is protect our liberties.

Adman, I agree with you that the dems need to stay out of our wallet and the republicans out of our bedrooms. BUT here's the catch 22: when the so-called adults get together and do "it" there are unintended consequences such as unwanted babies, so they ask the gov-ment (ie, me and you) to pay for their "oops" and then there's the HIV or other vd's or std's which they say OOOP, pay for me please! So just as soon as these "free spirits",who think that anything goes and then gov-ment will pick up the tab, grow up and start paying out of their own pockets for their own mistakes, then I'll be happy.

Freedom of one's bodily control starts before the panties come off, dears! Start there so you do not end up in abortion clinic.

By: Captain Nemo on 11/9/12 at 3:28

The troll monkey comes in with her special brand of religion and casting her wicked response to all that do not agree with her words of wisdom ,into her tiny bit of verbal Hell. LOL