Do Republicans really want to turn us into Greece?

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There are less than 20 days until the March 1st Sequester deadline. And Washington is gearing up for a major fight. If politicians can't come to a compromise, the looming $85 billion of Republican austerity is set to make devastating cuts to programs many Americans depend on. Despite non-defense spending being 14% lower than it has been in a half-century, deficit hawks in the Republican party want more austerity imposed on the working poor in our nation.

Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee estimate that additional cuts will have a devastating impact on food safety, aviation safety, early education, disaster relief, and law enforcement. And vital programs like WIC, which helps low-income women provide food for their infants and toddlers, may be forced to tell 600,000 women and children to go hungry.

In his weekly YouTube address over the weekend, President Obama again called on Congress to act now in order to avoid “deep, indiscriminate” cuts. He called out the Republicans directly saying, “they would rather ask more from the vast majority of Americans and put our recovery at risk, than close even a single tax loophole that benefits the wealthy.” Rather than working to avert the impending crisis, House Republicans like Speaker John Boehner are simply using it to attack our President...coining the ridiculous term “Obama-quester.”

No country, in the history of the world, has ever cut it's way to prosperity. We can only hope that Congress starts considering a smarter approach – like the Sanders-Schakowsky Corporate Tax Fairness Act – and prevent devastating austerity. Stay tuned.

Thom Hartmann Administrator's picture
Thom Hartmann A...
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How quick you forget that Obama proposed the Sequester in the first place. The Republican mantra all throught the presidential campaign was, "Do you want to turn out like Greece?", and you laughed and mocked them. Eighteen months ago, you were telling us how Greece was not in trouble. Now that you turned out to be incorrect, you blame the other side. Ever get tired of fence jumping? Stay tuned.

Redwing's picture
Redwing
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Jun. 21, 2012 4:12 am

Obama proposed the sequester TO DELAY THE CUTS. And the conservatives were screaming the cuts were not deep enough.

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Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 7:21 pm

Start with the fact that the sequester is a “cut” to federal spending only in the Washington sense of “any reduction from baseline increases is a cut.” In reality, even if the sequester goes through, the federal government will spend $2.14 trillion more in 2022 than it does today.

The sequester would reduce the growth in domestic discretionary spending by $309 billion over ten years. But annual spending on these programs will still increase by $90 billion over that period. If we are actually spending more in 2022 on domestic programs than we are today, it is hard to see too many children starving in the street. Moreover, entitlement spending, the fastest-growing portion of the domestic budget, will hardly be touched by sequestration. It will continue to increase at the same astronomical rate as before.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/339913/don-t-fear-sequester-micha...

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Redwing
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Jun. 21, 2012 4:12 am

Shows the basic dilemma with the deficit. Everybody screams about something when you cut by the amount that is really necessary. Don't cut the program that supports me-cut the other guy's program. Just look at defense alone. Our priority is the war on terror-but contractors still want to build more expensive planes and ships.

DynoDon
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Jun. 29, 2012 9:24 am

The, "Sanders-Schakowsky Corporate Tax Fairness Act", should be our emphasis of promotion when we learn more about this bill. Unless of course, you are a paid promotional employee of a cheapest labor possible multi-national company. If you are, are you at least making minimum wage??

Every one regardless of their favorite political party should be in favor of this. Of course, we have traders and we have traitors also. Back to work for me producing actual goods and services

Mark the Shark's picture
Mark the Shark
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Nov. 18, 2011 3:02 pm

@ Redwing

Reading deeper into that article you cite, it sounds like the only item safe from the budget cuts is war spending -- which is a good indication of what the powerful think is really important. The other spending cuts sound like they primarily effect those civilians employed by the military and the poor of our nation -- to demystify both of these let's call the first one the Republican's version of welfare and the second the Democrat's version of government employment for the poor. They would usually be charactized the other way, but they really are two different ways of saying the same basic notions.

SO, what is really going on in Washington, DC at the moment is austerity in which everyone except the War Machine is squabbling over a smaller portion of the pie. AND the real story ought to be about how that privileged War Machine is destroying both our rights as Americans and the American economy all at the same time.

Historically War Machines in every Empire have had precisely this effect -- especially when that Empire no longer has room to profitably grow at the expense of those around it. That an empire's cannabalism eventually turns inward on itself is a phenomenon common to empires AND it is a symptom that it is in decline.

The American Empire is in decline. How soon until it falls? What will that fall look like? It may be that we will all know that sooner than we may think.

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DenisePf
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Dec. 16, 2012 12:35 pm

I believe in the Obama's sequester plan, the cuts to specific departments are listed. Just as in all the new taxes in Obamacare. You know, the ones that everyone is trying to get their own exemption from.

Redwing's picture
Redwing
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Jun. 21, 2012 4:12 am

If posters listened to Thom's interview with economist Michael Hudson today, they might get that the deficit debate is pure nonsense. The U.S. could re-build its entire infrastructure...even adding high speed rail and renewable energies to it...without borrowng a dime. Such expenditures aren't inflationary. Government can simply create/spend the money to do it.

Central Banks needn't borrow a penney to finance government...especially when the economy is in the pits. Severeign governments in charge of their own currency are self-financing should they care to impliment that sovereignty.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Once again, the sound of one wing flapping.

In the first place, you are trying to make one tactic employed in a sick struggle against ideological refuseniks where the prospect of something everyone hated for different reasons was supposed to inspire a smarter compromise. He still deals with people who will not accept compromise, and many of us blame him for it if only because it gives to many bad ideas the veneer of credibility. Cutting government jobs in a recession is stupid, but it is part of the stupid Obama has to take in order to get anything smart at all.

There are some who see the sequester as the best chance we get to take a whack at the War Department and are willing to accept a lot of short term stupidity in order to get at what is always the most guarded fat in the budget. Yes, Obama also makes the case for needing the strongest military force for our "global mission." He just does not see war as the effective way to run an empire and wants to go diplomatic. He might wish he could take us all the way to an International Community of Nations with security in mutuality instead of dominance. He has not talked about doing it. Neither party has decided to be for getting out of the global superpower business.

Your taunts are tiresome and empty. We stipulate that Obama has governed as a moderate conservative rather than as a Progressive. The gains in social issues such as Marriage Equality had their own momentum and needed no Obama leadership, only a willingness to accept and endorse what the public has come to know. It may be that we are going to see a public ready to cut military spending, sick of war and wanting to be sure that the wounded are cared for rather than creating a lot more of them. We may find the New Rome far from any American vision we can be part of.

The Sequester is the Scab that has formed on a political pustule of fiscal hypocrisy and delusion. The MIC Empire will demand its take and leave us with the rest as the GOPimps serve their masters and Dems make sure they don't cause any trouble that would shake our confidence in "our government."

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am
Quote polycarp2:

If posters listened to Thom's interview with economist Michael Hudson today, they might get that the deficit debate is pure nonsense. The U.S. could re-build its entire infrastructure...even adding high speed rail and renewable energies to it...without borrowng a dime. Such expenditures aren't inflationary. Government can simply create/spend the money to do it.

Central Banks needn't borrow a penney to finance government...especially when the economy is in the pits. Severeign governments in charge of their own currency are self-financing should they care to impliment that sovereignty.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

Printing money leads to prosperity. Why doesn't everyone do it? Please explain how printing more pieces of paper can lead to prosperity.

LysanderSpooner's picture
LysanderSpooner
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

If it were all that easy we could test Hartmann's assnine theory out by having this advertisers pay him with homemade script that they produce for the good of the economy.

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Redwing
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Jun. 21, 2012 4:12 am

We are already the "greece" in their money making machinery. Without the "greece" the money making machine would seize up and not function.

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Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 6:53 am

The word assnine, describing Thom Hartmann? You are obviously writing about yourself. Redwing are you even employed? Or is your only employment here on this forum? If so are you at least getting minimum wage?

Now, getting back to the real problem with the U.S. economy that everyone should agree on regardless of their favorite political party. The U.S. economy needs to be more production based. A $785 billion dollar trade deficit for 2011 was poor production in comparison to the spending. This needs a lot of improvement. All members of congress should be concerned about this. If they are not then they should be voted out of office regardless of their political party. Of course, the problem with the republicons is that they like to run up the debt when they have control of both the congress and white house. Yet complain about the debt when they don't. The republicons should go back to their roots as republicans of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s and be more concerned about the productive capacity of their nation. If not then they are not traders. They are traitors.

In contrast, to the traitors currently in congress, we have at least two people in congress that know how to manage trade. This should be obvious with the Sanders-Schakowsky Corporate Tax Fairness Act.

Mark the Shark's picture
Mark the Shark
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Nov. 18, 2011 3:02 pm

More money in circulation signals those who are hoarding money that inflation is on the horizon, so they are encouraged to spend their cash today, increasing the velocity of money, creating demand, creating jobs. Read.

Edit_ The qualifier is this is true in a recession when reduced demand has caused less employment.

Phaedrus76's picture
Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 7:21 pm
Quote Phaedrus76:

More money in circulation signals those who are hoarding money that inflation is on the horizon, so they are encouraged to spend their cash today, increasing the velocity of money, creating demand, creating jobs. Read.

Edit_ The qualifier is this is true in a recession when reduced demand has caused less employment.

Where does the production come from? Is the economy driven by spending or investment? (Note: I'm not a Supply-Sider. They're just welfare-state conservatives)

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LysanderSpooner
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote LysanderSpooner:
Quote polycarp2:

If posters listened to Thom's interview with economist Michael Hudson today, they might get that the deficit debate is pure nonsense. The U.S. could re-build its entire infrastructure...even adding high speed rail and renewable energies to it...without borrowng a dime. Such expenditures aren't inflationary. Government can simply create/spend the money to do it.

Central Banks needn't borrow a penney to finance government...especially when the economy is in the pits. Severeign governments in charge of their own currency are self-financing should they care to impliment that sovereignty.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

Printing money leads to prosperity. Why doesn't everyone do it? Please explain how printing more pieces of paper can lead to prosperity.

Government could solve unemployment within a month...no inflation, no insolvency, no austerity.... merely by reclaiming monetary sovereignty.

It can merely create and spend money into existence to buy up unsold productivity...unemployed labor, unsold materials, unsold products, unused factory capacity. It could rebuild the nation's infrastructure and add to it...high speed rail, mass transit, conversion to renewable energies....WITHOUT CRUSHING DEBT AND DEFICIT CONSTRAINTS.

The only losers would be banksters and the Wall St. Casino....the perpetuators of the monetary myth

Whenever government has a surplus under the current monetary system....it's followed by a Depression.

Governments don't have to borrow to buy un-utilized resources. They can simply create/spend the money to use it.

Every dime in taxes is a withdrawl from the money supply. Government has to replenish it. Every penney paying off a private sector loan is a withdrawl from the money supply. Banksters have to replenish it with new loans, or government has to make up the difference....or the money supply disappears. It's shrunk $4 Trillion thus far.

Probably if we reach the point where there isn't enough to buy a haircut (as happened in Argentina) we may come to our senses

Governments are the consumer/employer of last resort when any economy enters a downward spiral.

Perhaps you don't understand how the market system and our monetary system actually works. Long-held myths and ideologies don't match what is actually so. Video: Prof. John Harvey.

http://www.modernmoneyandpublicpurpose.com/seminar-4.html

Greece is no longer sovereign in monetary policy. It has given up its own currency and adopted one which it has no control over. The U.S. isn't in that same position. We have a choice. The only option for Greece is to withdraw from the Euro and regain monetary sovereignty. Until them, its economy will continue to collapse. Euro's are leaving Greece and aren't being replenished. It's money supply is disappearing. The means to exchange goods/service ...and even to pay taxes to service German/French loans....is drying up.

If we impose austerity at home, which implies a shrinkage of the money supply supplied by goverment, the same thing will happen here. It's a choice.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Phaedrus76:

More money in circulation signals those who are hoarding money that inflation is on the horizon, so they are encouraged to spend their cash today, increasing the velocity of money, creating demand, creating jobs. Read.

Edit_ The qualifier is this is true in a recession when reduced demand has caused less employment.

Inflation myths abound.

QUOTE:

"The bottom line is that there are a number of processes that can create inflation, none of which starts with, “the money supply increases.” Someone make a conscious decision to raise a price or wage, and they must be able to make this stick. Because every higher price you pay means someone is getting more income, inflation causes a redistribution of income."

Causes of Inflation: Market Power

First, the economic agent could have market power. This means they have the ability to avoid (at least to some extent) competitive pressures. [OPEC]

Causes of Inflation: Demand Pull

Another means by which inflation can take place is a rise in demand relative to supply.

Causes of Inflation: Asset Market Boom

Third and very relevant today, inflation can be injected from the asset market.

Causes of Inflation: Supply Shock

Last is a supply shock. If a storm rages through the Gulf of Mexico, taking out oil derricks and refineries along the way, this may well raise the price of oil and gas" - Prof. John Harvey, economics

http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntharvey/2011/05/30/what-actually-causes-...

The only constraint on government spending money into existence without borrowing is: it can't buy what doesn't exist. If it issues money without a corrsponding purchase or seeks to buy what an economy can't supply, only then is government spending to increase the monetary supply inflationary, It can simply create and spend up to the limits of economic productivity that aren't being utilized. Currently, that's about 25% of the U.S. economy. TRILLIONS.

Under current conditions, government can simply create and spend trillions without borrowing.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

The economy is driven by consumers' spending. My income comes from others' spending. If everyone decides to not spend money on alcohol anymore, because there is no rational reason to buy booze, tavern owners and their waitstaff will all lose income.

Phaedrus76's picture
Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 7:21 pm

A drop in government spending in the 4th quarter of 2012 (particularly in defense spending) was cited as being a primary reason for "negative growth" in the quarter.

Another reason is all the fiscal cliff hysteria created by congress' own manufactured crisis fooled some consumers and some in the business world that the sky really was falling, so they panicked and cut back on spending. There also was fear that income taxes would go up, which only happened for about 0.7% of individuals, on income above above $ 400K / $ 450K.

Now is not the time to be thinking about cutting the deficit or balancing the budget on the backs of the lower and middle classes. The economic engine of the country needs to be primed, not starved of fuel.

Austerity cuts economic activity and therefore the resulting tax revenue goes down, which is contrary to what the banksters are telling people. The banksters are waiting for things to get so bad that governments sell off assets and / or privatize services at fire sale prices.

***

from Thom's news today:

Republicans stand for one thing. Austerity.

miksilvr
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Jul. 7, 2011 11:13 am

When you stop screaming at the stupidity and the damage being done, you do get the pleasure of seeing ideological collapse on the Right. What was sold as "Supply Side" and "free market" economics in the promise that lower taxes and less regulation would "unleash business (capitalism)" and create the economic abundance that would take care of all.

The contradictions are everywhere. OOOOHHHHH, the Deficit and the moral obligation to our children and grandchildren. From those who deny environmental science and delay any conversion to green energy we get concern about "debts!" Worse, the 'debts' themselves we propose are investments while the unpaid bills for the Right's Imperial Dance Party and Kegger and the costs of the damage done are very much on our books. The Right does not give a shit about what comes after its Sun King Re-enactment. After them, the Rapture or the Deluge or even an elite ability to flee the earth. History really is coming to an end on the Right.

Among the Democrats, including Bernie as a caucus member, we do get some very sane and reasonable bills that have not had a chance in the Corporate bought and sold. DeFazio has been on that incremental trade tax for Wall St. that would stop the computer program 'investments.' Sen. Warren has a wonderful education in what needs to be done there. We need to insist that they have their time and voice as we are tired of going down with failed ideology bought by wealthy fools.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

When people stop screaming about government debt being the reason government can't do anything, and finally understand modern economic theory that sovereign governments needn't borrow...perhaps things will get better.

Medicine finally understood that bleeding patients kills them rather than cures them. Economics has yet to have the same broad awakening. Myths abound.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I think the passing of this bill would stimulate the U.S. economy, while also lowering government debt. But then we would need to convert the republicons to republicans. And the demorats to democrats. At least two U.S. politicians know how to manage a nation's economy. Click on the link and see information on their bill.

The Sanders-Schakowsky Corporate Tax Fairness Act

http://www.sanders.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CORPTA%20FAIRNESSFACTSHEET.pdf

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Mark the Shark
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Nov. 18, 2011 3:02 pm

This is a comment for 22. Which is why Mitchell has his laws of ecoomics in all his blogs:

Mitchell’s laws:
●The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes.
●Austerity is the government’s method for widening the gap between rich and poor,
which leads to civil disorder.
●Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.
●To survive long term, a monetarily non-sovereign government must have a positive balance of payments.
●Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
●The penalty for ignorance is slavery.
●Everything in economics devolves to motivation.

including the latest http://mythfighter.com/2013/02/16/budget-cuts-coming-great-news-for-us-r...

pshakkottai's picture
pshakkottai
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Jul. 11, 2011 10:27 am

I was reading an article in Mother Jones magazine today (print edition ... could not find link for the article online yet) about the US Navy going big time with investments in green energy, including a biofuel / jetfuel mix that uses algae to make the biofuel. The Navy is also converting over land vehicles to electric or hybrids, and using more solar and wind and tidal power for land facilities.

The title of the article is "Full Green Ahead", with a subtitle of "Damn the deniers, the doubters and the bean counters, With Washington frozen on climate, the Navy is breaking the ice."

Some republicans actually tried to pass legislation barring the military from paying anything more than market rates of conventional fuels for alternative fuels UNLESS THEY COME FROM FOSSIL FUELS!!!

I smell Koch!

The good news is that when the Navy and the rest of the military becomes more reliant on green energy, the empire will have less need to start wars or other military action over oil.

Go GREEN and save lives in the process.

miksilvr
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Jul. 7, 2011 11:13 am
Quote Redwing:

If it were all that easy we could test Hartmann's assnine theory out by having this advertisers pay him with homemade script that they produce for the good of the economy.

You do realize that households and businesses operate under an entirely different set of rules than governments, don't you?

Government's aren't households. We should probably stop pretending they are. National governments are currency sovereign if they utilize their own currency. Households and businesses aren't.

We fought a Revolutional War over being forced to borrow money into existence. We won the war and over time lost the battle against banksters.

The U.S. Constitution provides for merely creating and spending money into existence. There is a reason for that...stemming from the Revolutionary War against England and banking. Sovereign governments needn't borrow for domestic uses.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Currently Chatting

Can Democrats Set Out a New Path?

Democrats must embrace a pro-government platform, not run away from it.

Those were the sentiments of Senator Chuck Schumer today, in a speech given at the National Press Club. Talking about the reasons for Democrats’ losses on Election Day, Schumer said that those losses were proof that the American people and middle-class want a government that will work more effectively for them.

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