Archive for March, 2011

March 31, 2011

Budgets are nothing more than shell games

Thomas G. Brown |

According to Roll Call late last night Congress may be close to a deal that will cut the budget $73 billion. This is closer to the $100 billion that the tea party members of Congress want to have cut from the budget but a long way off what would be needed to make a sizable dent in the deficit. Right now that would be about 5% of the debt we have this year and is just a half a percent of the total deficit that is over $14 trillion.
The article does not give any specifics which should show how serious this claim is by those who leaked it. The Federal government takes in about $194 billion a month in taxes according to the IRS records from 2009. This would give the President and Congress $2.328 trillion to budget and spend yet they still are projected to run a $1.5 trillion deficit for 2011. That mean they spent about $3.8 trillion dollars in a 365 days. I am not sure about you but if I went that far over budget and couldn’t find ways to run my business more efficiently I would be fired. Yet very few people look at this and see that this is money mismanagement plain and simple.
As for the cuts on the budget which are symbolic at best and slap in the face at worst do nothing to curb future spending and stop this runaway train that we are on. Right now our debt interest alone cost more that we taking in through all Federal Tax revenues in a year. The cost stands at $3.5 trillion. This is a real problem for the US and we must cut Military spending not Defense spending as well s cutting Social Security and Medicare. These three programs (again the military budget not the defense budget) are not only Unconstitutional but a huge drain on the budget and will continue to get worst if nothing is done. Sadly things should have been done a decade ago but we still have a window of opportunity but that is closing quickly. As of right now the total of these three programs cost $2.2 trillion dollars and climbing. US Debt Clock . Sen. Rand Paul (KY) stated that a plan to start raising the age of eligibility is a way to restructure Social Security and Medicare to save it. His idea is to allow folks who are 50 and older to collect their benefits at the scheduled 65 years of age. But those younger than 50 would have their schedule date raised to 70 yrs old. He also mentioned means testing which would helped decide if those with high incomes where eligible. The age limit would be gradually raised although specifics have not been outlined but the ultimate goal would be to phase out the programs gradually.
As for the military spending I have mentioned before I would cut our human and economic losses that we have in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring our troops home at once. The total cost as of 2010 for all military actions since 9/11 has reached $1.121 trillion according to the Congressional Research Service The total amount of US deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan is at 5,885 which just includes the US count and not the amount of civilian deaths attributed to the wars. The cost of our troops that we have in other countries is also a huge drain on our economy at a time when we have zero money and have to beg borrow and counterfeit every cent to pay for our Empire. As of 1998 we have over 200,000 troops stationed abroad in over 144 countries excluding those that are in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is from a report published by the Cato Institute.

With all this being said we have a long way before we can safely say that we have had any type of meaningful and lasting budget cuts that will amount to anything but a few popcorn headlines. We should not give up but push twice as hard on our Congressmen and Women. As well a push the President to join those of us functioning in the real world.

March 29, 2011

Congress Takes a stand against illegal action in Libya

Thomas G. Brown |

I seem to remember when I was in junior high that we had learned that the United States never offensively went to war. I was told and history and for the most part points this out. But since Vietnam we have been involved more and more in what I would call offensive wars that we didn’t not need to be in as we these countries where not a direct threat to the United States.

The Federal Government is set up of three branches with different powers that are separated on purpose by the constitution. On of these pesky powers is stated in Article 1 section 8 “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;” This apparently was not clear enough for Nixon although the Democrats have a hand in Vietnam as well.
We even created the War Powers Act of 1973 to force the President to ask Congress for permission before we go to war. The President is authorized to use troops if we have a national emergency caused by attack. We have not been attacked by Libya in fact they where not even a threat to our way of life. The only reason President went into Libya was that we are the arbiters of goodwill and needed to protect rebels and save lives of Libya. This would be laudable if we even knew who these rebels are and if the President used his own money and soldiers to enter this military engagement. But he did not do that he used taxpayer funds and the future funds of children just born and those who will be born in the future. In addition he has zero skin in the game. None of his relatives have been sent to this or any of the other wars we are involved.
The Congress was away when the President “notified” them by letter that he was sending troops into Libya. So they have an initial pass but they have to opportunity to veto this war action by convening a hearing and then vetoing the action with a 2/3 vote.

So, I ask Congress to get the stones to push for a hearing and veto this action. We must put the guts back into Congress!!