Blaming presidents for spending or taxation

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Hello everyone.

I have a very, VERY neocon friend who I enjoy debating with. The other day we were discussing issues of government spending and taxation, and I brought up many of the disasterous taxation and spending legislation that came about during the era of Bush Jr.

He said that we progressives are wrong to blame Bush for anything related to spending or taxation, because the president doesn't technically spend a dime of public money. The Ways and Means Committee is responsible for that, and that committee is of course controlled by Democrats.

I smell something fishy about this. This stinks of FAUX News to me. I know better than to believe that the infamous "Bush Tax Cuts" were 100% produced by Democrats, but I lack the knowledge to counter this. Are we really wrong to ever hold a president acountable for fiscal issues? Apparently the Dems have been in control of the Ways and Means Committee for decades now, and I can see that the real point my friend's trying to make is that our financial woes are all due to the Democrats!!!

How do I counter this? Could anyone explain how the president's accountable, when it is Congress and especially that committee who make these desicions? SHOULD we be looking more at Congress than the president, regardless of who he is at the time, for blame over our fiscal woes?

CrimsonReticula
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"The years passed, mankind became stupider at a frightening rate. Some had high hopes the genetic engineering would correct this trend in evolution, but sadly the greatest minds and resources were focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections."

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

LOL so true...

Quote chilidog:

"but sadly the greatest minds and resources were focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections."

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Jamie Grand
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"And there was a time in this country, a long time ago, when reading wasn't just for fags and neither was writing. People wrote books and movies, movies that had stories so you cared whose ass it was and why it was farting, and I believe that time can come again!"

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Probably if Congress would stop writing checks for Presidential undeclared wars, we'd be in better shape.

Empires aren't cheap. Our 725+ military garrisons around the globe have to be funded. The new Africom Command will add to that. The African Continent has to be staffed by U.S. garrisons. to protect the U.S. from invasion by Uganda. The Central African Republic might begin rattling its sabers at us any day now. Troops on the ground near-by is the only way to save our fannies.

It works. Slovenia and Georgia haven't dared to attack the U.S. for fear of immediate reprisal. Ugunda won't either once the new African garrisons are in place.

Had Reagan not invaded Grenada, Washington, D.C. may have been taken over by their 1,000 man army

Bankrupting ourselves out of a need for a reasonable defense is an absolute requirement. Don't blame Congress or the Pres. for keeping you safe. .A reasonable defense ...the largest part of our national budget....is expensive.

Retired Monk -"Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Not only is the Ways and Means Committee controlled by Democrats in every Congress, but they are all Jews and they are the ones secretly implementing sharia law in this country, that's why they need all the Mexicans.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I think what you are describing is an example of a more general phenomena.

Republicans are never to blame for things that go wrong but they always deserve full credit for whatever goes right. This general way explaining the world is followed consistently by both Republicans and journalists. There is no arguing with them, they know this is just the way it is.

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PensiveLiberal
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

#1, the Pres proposes the budget. Congress starts with that template. They pass a budget, which the Pres can either sign or veto. So, the Pres does have a voice in the budget process, at every step.

#2, The House and Senate were firmly Republican from 2001 - 2006. Add in the 8 Senate Blue Dog Dems, and Bush got whatever he wanted. Since the Republicans controlled both houses, they controlled all the committees too. If one were so inclined, they could google House ways and means 2001, 2003, 2005, and find out who chaired them, and they'd all be Republicans. In 2007, after the Democrats took back both houses, no major legislation was able to pass through the Senate filibuster, or over Bush's veto.

#3, finally, whenever anyone tries to deflect blame on to congress, it is because they know their guy is at fault. Bush took credit for all those tax cuts, heck they're called the Bush Tax Cuts of 2001 and 2003. The runaway spending was signed into law by Bush, and two needless occupations were his doing. How did these become law without his signature?

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Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 7:21 pm

Hey Crimson. Basically I would respond to your friend that budget problems all over the world right now, except maybe for Greece, are revenue problems NOT SPENDING PROBLEMS. And all gov't spending goes up when you have democracies that help the unemployed and uninsured during severe econ. downturns. All deficits swell greatly during downturns because overwhelmingly these are revenue problems. Many people not working kills tax revenue. Paul Krugman in his blog at the New York Times is outstanding on running lots of recent historical data and graphs on this for both the U.S. and Europe. Also, Reagan ran huge deficits that still cost us every year because of increased interest on that debt. Gov't spending as a % of GDP under Reagan increased greatly. And then we had some conservative fiscal sanity and 1 or 2 balanced budgets under Clinton-but then it's back to 2 unfunded wars and the Medicare donut hole to under W-not to mention the continued financial dereg. that screwed the whole economy. My recent political history is fuzzy-so I don't know in how many years since 1980 (Reagan to now Obama) the Repubs. have controlled the Congress and this "Ways and Means Committee your friend is so fond of. I know it's weird, but all we have is a revenue problem, not a spending problem. Not that we couldn't save boatloads of money if all sectors of government became more efficient-but on national level, to look for spending cuts only from non-military programs is barking up the wrong tree. Krugman runs graphs on Government spending as a percentage of GDP for many countries going back over many years. He does this in his NYT blog. Check him out.

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dvdjoki
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I'd like to know what else he and his friend debate about.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Thank you. This was very informative and just what I was looking for. The Google search tips are also very helpful.

CrimsonReticula
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Jan. 2, 2012 2:36 am

We debate everything from politics, economics, and society to religion and philosophy.

I'm a progressive athiest existentialist keyensian, he's the polar opposite.

Many good times as you could imagine

CrimsonReticula
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Jan. 2, 2012 2:36 am
Quote Phaedrus76:

#1, the Pres proposes the budget. Congress starts with that template. They pass a budget, which the Pres can either sign or veto. So, the Pres does have a voice in the budget process, at every step.

Asking for money, and constitutional power of Purse are two entirely different things.

Do you regularly give out money you do not have? I can ask you for a million dollars without losing any sleep. The choice then falls to you deny my request or take a second out on your house to give to me. The sole responsibility for US budget is and always will be the House of Representatives.

Quote Phaedrus76:

#2, The House and Senate were firmly Republican from 2001 - 2006. Add in the 8 Senate Blue Dog Dems, and Bush got whatever he wanted. Since the Republicans controlled both houses, they controlled all the committees too. If one were so inclined, they could google House ways and means 2001, 2003, 2005, and find out who chaired them, and they'd all be Republicans. In 2007, after the Democrats took back both houses, no major legislation was able to pass through the Senate filibuster, or over Bush's veto..

At the time the 2001 Tax cuts made sense and were designed to counter the Dot.com bubble burst.

The 2003 tax cuts I personally disagreed with in light of the 2 wars.

However, “Bush Tax Cuts” is a misnomer. Republican Tax Cuts is more accurate.

Quote Phaedrus76:

#3, finally, whenever anyone tries to deflect blame on to congress, it is because they know their guy is at fault. Bush took credit for all those tax cuts, heck they're called the Bush Tax Cuts of 2001 and 2003. The runaway spending was signed into law by Bush, and two needless occupations were his doing. How did these become law without his signature? .

Whenever some “deflects blame on to Congress” is because they are Right and you are a political talking head. The president has ZERO constitutional power of Purse. That is the reality, that is how it really is. To continue to absolve the congress of their constitutional responsibilities to the People. You just get more of the Same. Is anybody holding them accountable for 15 Trillion in debt they’ve accumulated? Certainly doesn’t seem like it.

President only have the ability to accept or reject congressional laws. Congressional bills have become so huge they term them omnibus bills and they generally attach them to necessary and vital bills to ensure they are not rejected. How’s fault is that, Presidents or Congress?

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Capital
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Sep. 30, 2011 2:51 pm
Quote dvdjoki:

Hey Crimson. Basically I would respond to your friend that budget problems all over the world right now, except maybe for Greece, are revenue problems NOT SPENDING PROBLEMS.

I beg to differ.

A normal person. Deficit spends in down time and saves during up times. Show me where Congress has EVER saved during the Good times.

It very much is a spending problem. Putting it in CAPS, isn’t going to change that

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Capital
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Sep. 30, 2011 2:51 pm
Quote CrimsonReticula:

I'm a progressive athiest existentialist keyensian, he's the polar opposite.

My kinda guy. Care to share in this other discussion?

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MEJ
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Democrats did not control Congress so the first response is a lie. It is also true that Democrats did not stonewall Bush and did give him his nominees for the most part along with supporting his foreign policy budgets in the end. I think they were well leveraged by the patriot/military memes and the pr image of being soft on whatever enemy the Right presents. Can you imagine how they would be blamed for the failure of the wars had they not funded them?

There were solid reasons for disliking Bush and his policies. There were even good reasons for seeing his election as illegitimate. Unlike Obama, Bush really did not win his first election and was given it on another really bad Supreme move. Instead of taking the country down, Gore and the Dems acceded to the coup. I wish they had not. That would have been the time to take the country down, but it won't matter after awhile because the GOPimps will take it down by themselves.

Anyone with a sense of history and a modicum of common sense ought to appreciate why governments spend when the private capital markets get cramps. If we could go back to avoiding the bubbles and bursts, we could have a better longitudinal discussion of the merits of investing and cutting spending. I think that question is fairly simple. Investments that return profits to the treasury are good to make and function as stimulae in times of recession. Spending that wastes our financial resources on follies or feeds the money glut at the top is harmful. War is almost never an investment in value. If we are not repulsing an invader, we are the invader who needs to be repulsed by those we have invaded. Empires are expensive waste. They are racket business plans for the few at the expense of the many and the cannot be democracies.

We could point to the same problem with investments in entropic and dysfunctional structures such as the oil companies and industrial ag. We could get a much better bang for the buck by supporting farm to table ag and renewable energy production.

The problem we encounter in the polemic with the Right is that very little of the waste is what the Right wants to cut. Santorum and Newt make "food stamps" sound like a disease afflicting the poor rather than an inadequate program to address hunger in America. We need a lot more, not the removal of public programs that help poor people. Insane!

Heck, giving bums money to buy booze would be good for the economy and far better than giving the wealthy more than they will spend, even were they to spend it domestically. I am not for the abuse of alcoholics, but the point is that the economy would benefit. It is not about whether poor people would buy beer and ciggies if they could with food stamps. It is about the system and its need for redistribution of wealth from stagnation to productivity. If this offends the rich, too bad. It is not THEIR money if it is required for the economy of everyone. If they don't invest it where it is needed, we have to do it for them. The need is determined by social reality, not by some abstract 'decider.' Get over this romantic nonsense about economic freedom as if it were escape from social reality.

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DRC
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The other way we're subsidizing Walmart...

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