Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Republicans Study Committee Top Ten issues for 2006

The RSC has come out with its top ten priorities for 2006. Many of these are items The Republicans promised in 1994.

Mike's comments in red.

1. Make the Tax Cuts Permanent, including the repeal of the marriage-tax penalty and the death tax and pass fundamental tax reform.
I am in favor of tax cuts AFTER we have our fiscal house in order. The Federal government is claiming we will have about a 400 Billion dollar budget deficit this year. Realize that the Budget deficit is actually over 700 Billion dollars. The real budget deficit is over 700 Billion dollars because our politicians are still stealing all the extra money that is still flowing into the Social Security system and they are spending it on other items.

I am certainly in favor of fundamental tax reform! I prefer The Flat Tax.

2. Pass Budget Process Reform, which includes budgeting for emergencies with a rainy day fund, instituting a sunset commission for federal programs, instituting a constitutional line-item veto, and making the budget resolution carry the force of law.
This is certainly a big deal and should have been done in 1994. I fully support this goal.

3. Pass another Deficit Reduction Bill in the form of budget reconciliation, to reign in autopilot spending, which has risen from 25% of all federal spending in 1963 to 54% today, and is expected to reach nearly 60% in 2014.
I am certainly in favor of this as well.

4. Pass Ethics Reform that requires transparency and earmark reform that permits Members of Congress to strike earmarks on the House floor.
This is certainly a must, should have happened in 1994.

5. Pass the Marriage Protection Amendment, to ensure that marriage, the union of a woman and a man as husband and wife, is not redefined by activist judges.
I tend to think that marriage should be between a man and a woman; however, it is NOT a Federal issue. The RSC should break out their copy of The Constitution. This issue should be determined by each of the fifty states. This promise is pandering to the Christian right... I am 100% against this since it violates The Constitution.

6. Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to put our fiscal house in order.
This was specifically promised by The Republican Party in 1994. This is the largest reason that I am no longer a Republican. They lied in 1994...

To balance the Budget today would require an across the board cut in spending of 25%! That is how much The Republicans have spent!

The Republicans do not have the willpower as a Party to even cut 1% across the board...

I fully support a blanced Federal Budget. So do my kids...

7. Offset all emergency supplemental spending with spending reductions and offset all new programs with simultaneous, equivalent reductions in, or eliminations of, existing programs.
Of course I agree with this. They have been promising this since 1994.

8. Defend the Sanctity of Human Life, which includes banning all human cloning, passing the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, promoting ethical adult stem cell research, and preventing federal funding for destructive embryonic stem cell research.
Banning all human cloning? Please tell me where the Federal Government has any authority to do this. This should be left up the the fifty states.

The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, oh my. I am personally against abortion. That being said Roe v Wade should be overturned and each of the fifty states should make their own laws. Please, please, read The Consitution.

I am ok with Stem Cell research.

9. Pass Protections for Religious Freedom, such as the Pledge of Allegiance, the Ten Commandments, and religious expression in the public square.
I am in favor of some portions of this and against some portions. It depends on how it is done. This statement is to vague to comment on.

10. Pass legislation that stops the raid on the Social Security Trust Fund and allows Americans to own a Personal Social Security Account.
Remember back when they promised the Social Security Lock Box. It never happened. I agree with this point; but, they have promised it before and passed legislation about it before.

It is disappointing to see how far The Republican Party has shifted to the economic left since 1994. They have had the power to pass all of these items for a long time...


William Larsen said...

There are two sets of books our politicians like to keep, the General and Unified budgets. The Unified Budget includes every government expense while the general budget excludes social security and Medicare. Social Security has its own dedicated tax, which by law cannot be used to pay for anything but Social Security costs, United States Code Title 42, Chapter7, Subchapter VII, Sec. 911 (a). Social Security can buy US Treasuries just like you or I, but the money must be repaid. Currently the Social Security Trust fund owns $1.6 Trillion in Special US Treasuries, which is included in the $8 Trillion National debt.

A social security lock box does absolutely nothing for social security. It needs $16 Trillion today, but has only $1.65 Trillion. The lock box does not keep the treasury from borrowing money from some other entity. The lock box does not keep the congress or the president from spending more than it collects in taxes. The lock box will not curb deficits.

The president is promoting personal accounts as a way to reform Social Security. Please keep three things in mind; “There is no free lunch”, “You cannot get something from nothing” and “If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.” All three apply to every proposal to reform social security.

The present value of Social Security’s revenue cash flow is a deficit of $11.5 Trillion. How does splitting the current cash flow into two piles change anything?

The Social Security benefit formula would change. Currently previous year’s wages are indexed by the change in the US Average Wage Growth, but now would be indexed by inflation. In addition the number of work years averaged would increase from 35 to 40. Had these changes been enacted for those retiring in 2003, their benefits would be about 20% less.

Personal accounts allow a worker to divert a percentage of their Social Security taxes to a personal account. In exchange, the individual's Social Security benefit would be reduced by the value, of the equivalent annuity, of the diverted tax dollars, plus interest at the Treasury rate. This is referred to as the "Offset" condition.

Personal accounts just repackage the problem. It legislates a large benefit cut on those who retire in the future. They all fall far short of yielding the promised Social Security benefit under current law.

The only way payable benefits can equal promised benefits is for the combined assets of the trust fund and personal accounts to total $13.5 Trillion by years end. Don’t fall for an old con.

The Larsen Plan

William Larsen's Blog

William Larsen's web site

Social Security: What Went Wrong?

Myths: The Poltical Tool of Choice

Doug said...

Republicans have been complicit in reckless spending since at least 1981. Interesting arguments can be made about Presidents, Congresses, and the power of the purse, but Reagan presided over the initial ballooning of the deficit throughout his term. It got worse under Bush I. The stalemates between Clinton and the Republicans (coupled with, I believe, Clinton's tax increase at the beginning of his term with a Democratic majority) were the only time in recent memory our budget was within shouting distance of being balanced.

Mike Kole said...

The Republicans track record tells you all you need to know about this: It's empty rhetoric, and they will not deliver.

IT-Chick said...

You know on the stem cell thing.. the umbilical cord blood that is tossed away has the most stem cells? If folks were educated to DONATE that to research.. the debate could be virtually silenced on BOTH sides

Robert Enders said...

Technically, the proposed Defence of Marraige Amendment would not violate the Constitution since it would become part of the Constitution itself.

Here is the rub when it comes to gay marriage and states' rights. The Constitution requires that states honor each other's public acts. So if a man and woman get married in Ohio, they would still be married even if they moved to another state. Now, what happens when two men get married in a state that recognizes gay marraige and move to a state that forbids it? States should not be required to recognize public acts of other states if those public acts are illegal within their own borders. However, I think that the federal government should recognize same-sex marraiges in states that allow them. Gay and lesbian married couples should be allowed file joint federal tax returns if their states recognize their union.

IT-Chick said...

Robert... you think an amendment to the constitution allowing same sex marriages would ever go through.
Is that what you are saying?

Robert Enders said...

I would be opposed such an amendment, but it could be still legally possible. It's going to be interesting to see how the midterm elections go.

Doug H. Sec, Lib Pty AC said...

To All,

Here is my little take on these topics.

#1) Making tax cuts permanent.

Hell yes. But, also cut the fat belly of a bloated, obscene Federal Government as well. And cut deep folks, cut deep.

#2) Budget Process Reform.

I do agree with most of those. If the government were held to half the standards it holds its citizens and business's to, we wouldn't have 90% of the fiscal problems we do.

#3) Deficit Reduction.

And yet another Hell Yes! Interest payments alone on our debt are going to cripple us.

#4) Ethics reform.

Gee! I thought the Republicans had Jesus on their side? This should pass in 20 minutes IF they REALLY want it to.

#5) Marriage protection.

HELL NO. Remember, if Big Brother can tell you what a marriage is, then big brother can tell you what a marriage isn't. We need to get Big Brother OUT of marriage altogether.

#6) Balanced budget ammendment.

Sounds great. But if they do, the pork will be cut. Then how will Government taste without all that fat?

#7) Offset existing programs due to emergency spending.

I am not certain about this 'un. While I DO like to keep things balanced, a horror like Katrina should not be allowed to cut into what we are doing now. Perhaps some cap on deficit spending that would only be good for a couple of years. I'd have to talk about this and think about it more.

#8) Sanctity of Human Life.

Presumes a lot here, doesn't it?

As far as I am concerned every pedophile should be executed. This kindof goes against the grain of that "all human life" sanctity thing.

This 'un I am against.

Why is it whenever anyone talks about cloning they think of Frankenstein's Monster? Clone a human kidney. Clone a human heart. Clone a human lung. Solve a lot of pain and suffering if (when) we can do this.

Stem cell research is good. We certainly don't want people to die in accidents but they do every day and every day we harvest their organs. Why should it be any different with fetal stem cells?

I believe abortion is wrong in some instances, right in others. We shall each answer to our creator when the time comes. I don't think Big Brother needs to be there telling us which way to go.

#9) Protection for Religious freedom.

I thought the Constitution already did that?

If we could just get folks to use the wisdom of our founding fathers regarding much of this issue there wouldn't be a need for any more debate here.

#10) Social Security protection.

Social security basically says "Ya'll are too damn dumb to save any moolah on yer own, so's we're gonna do it fer ya."

Social security was born a crippled child. It went into a coma near 1950 and almost died. It's time folks... Let it die. Or kill it like an animal. Either way, be done with it and move on.

After all, Freedom means being allowed to make stupid decisions and living with the results.


Doug Horner

William Larsen said...


You are against deficits, for a balance budget and making the tax cuts permanent. This is very commendable. The general budget deficit in 2005 was over $726 Billion. Interest on the national debt approached $450 billion and total Federal Income Taxes totaled under $1.1 Trillion. Corporate taxes were about $258.9 Billion, Gasoline $24.2 Billion, Alcoholic beverages $ 8.4 Billion, Tobacco $7.2 Billion, Diesel fuel $9.2 billion, Air transport $12.1 Billion, Other $9.7 Billion, and Customs duties $23.3 Billion.

You did mention cutting the pork, but realistically how much pork is there? Because our representatives and presidents spent more than they collected, we now use $450 billion in current revenues to pay interest on things they wanted and consumed in the past, but we did not pay for. But then we elected them. The only way to fix the problem is to elect some one else.

I would love to be able to say make the tax cuts permanent, but it would be impracticable. Even if we cut all the pork out, we would still have to cut another $500 Billion from the general budget. Defense was about $431 Billion. We are looking at 40% across the board cuts. Where would you cut?

Doug H. Sec, Lib Pty AC said...

To All,

I shall respond here to the right honorable Mr. Larsen, our next Representative to Congress!

Where to cut the fat?


#1) His Imperial Majesty Pres Bush Giveth, I would taketh away...
Homeland security would #1 on my chopping block!

#2) Let us fall back to the great orator Pres Reagan, Kill Dept of Education!

#3) Except for Afghanistan we haven't be threatened in... well... ever. Unless you count the only military invasion of Continental American soil by General Pancho Villa. I'd cut the military in half! Keep the Corps and Navy reasonably intact (except for Boomers). That would allow us the ability to quick response and project power, but bring the rest of the troops home. I've also heard that we have 700 military bases around the world. I think 70 would do just fine.

#4) Kill HUD.

#5) Kill FDA.

#6) Simplify taxes and kill IRS!

Have I cut any pork yet?

#7) Kill the REA. Rural E??? Act. I forget what it's name is but it basically dates back to the 30's to give low interest loans to utilities to bring service to rural areas. Its time has passed.
Kill it like an animal!

#8) Cut intelligence spending by 1/2! It's true folks. We have about 50 - 80 intelligence gathering agencies, depending upon who you talk to. We don't need that much overlap. Oooohhh! Pork! I love cutting.

#9) Kill or severely cut back Dept of Energy. Who do they supply energy to? They are supposed to handle complaints against power companies but don't.

#10) Require every Congressman and Senator to submit a proposal of three (3) programs in their own disctricts that must be cut from Federal spending without allowing any overlap. Now, we all KNOW they would cut the least amount. But think about it, by not allowing overlap that would be from congress 435 x 3 = 1,305 PLUS from the senate 100 x 3 = 300! That means that 1,605 programs receiving Federal $$$ would be cut. And as we all know a million dollars here and a million there will eventually add up to real money!

#11) Kill all subsidies to corporate and farming welfare!

#12) Kill Medicaid on the Federal side! Now I know this will put a greater burden on the States forcing them to raise their taxes. However, I have greater faith that the States on their own would be able to run things more efficiently without the Feds mucking it about.

#13) Decriminalize drugs and Kill the DEA! You would also be able to kill a lot of Prisons due to less need. Pork...

P.S. Then tax the drugs and MAKE $$$.

Oh, by the way...

Compell all industries who have been bailed out of trouble by receiving Government aid to pay back that aid. Examples would be the auto companies from the 80's and the airlines after 9/11.

Finally, I don't think we won't have to suck it in and suffer for a few years! It has taken decades to build our debt and it will take decades to dig out from under it. But we MUST make that a national goal!

My simple solution would be this:

#1) Cut Federal income from ALL taxes to $1.5 Trillion.

#2) STOP selling Treasury bonds! They do nothing but put us deeper in debt!

#3) Cut the Operating expense of the Federal Government to $1 Trillion.

#4) Use that extra $500 Billion to do nothing but pay off our debt.

In about 20 years or less with a little manauvering we could be debt free.

I know I have way oversimplified things here, but in the end it must be done or we will sink like the Titanic!


Doug Horner

William Larsen said...

Doug wrote:

My simple solution would be this:

#1) Cut Federal income from ALL taxes to $1.5 Trillion.

#2) STOP selling Treasury bonds! They do nothing but put us deeper in debt!

Larsen We can do this be not increasing the debt limit. Which I have been for decades.

#3) Cut the Operating expense of the Federal Government to $1 Trillion.

Larsen Interest takes $450 Billion leaving $550 Billion to spend on everthing.

#4) Use that extra $500 Billion to do nothing but pay off our debt.

Larsen I would love to do be able to do this, I am not sure it is realastic.

In about 20 years or less with a little manauvering we could be debt free.

I know I have way oversimplified things here, but in the end it must be done or we will sink like the Titanic!

Larsen I agree 100% with your objectives!

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