Friday, August 21, 2009

Quick Hits for August 21, 2009

* Gotta admit it. I have no clue how releasing the Lockerbie Bomber makes any sense to anyone. As I got posted on the footer for Rick Sanchez on CNN, wouldn't a terminal bomber make a perfect suicide bomber? I understand the notions of compassion that Scotland has, but I think there needs to be a reasonable limit for it. This person is probably one that I wouldn't let go just because he could be a great suicide bomber and any number of people could die from such an attack.

* I am continually amazed at the difference in focus for the Obama Administration compared to the Bush Administration. Attacks in Pakistan or on Taliban groups are being kept very low profile by the Obama Administration, whereas every attack seemingly was a day of celebration for the Bush Administration. It is good to see the focus on the work to be done instead of the celebration of a first down instead of waiting for a touchdown or a victory.

* Tom DeLay's comment about wanting to see President Obama's birth certificate indicate a shift in the burden of proof, whereby President Obama is presumed to be guilty until he proves his innocence. Thus, if we flip this on DeLay, one could easy point to his political corruption until he opens up records and receipts for every receipt of money for himself, his campaigns, and for every other campaign he has been linked to. The point is that until there is a reason to shift guilt, there is no point to make either statement. If DeLay wanted to see President Obama's birth certificate, he could have easily googled it and found not only the copies of it but also official verifications of the document. I guess the birthers just want someone to spend the money to take the official birth certificate door to door nationwide to 300 million Americans. Yeah, that's a realistic expectation.

* The "moral" party on the right ought to be proud as they are starting to get Americans to believe lies and deceptions as truth. Looks like they sure showed real family values and respect for those Ten Commandments including the ones about telling the truth. Just one more example of hypocrisy on the right, which will yet again start to undermine their credibility over time with the electorate. Short term victory for long term failure, good trade off. God, we miss Ronald Reagan.

* Get ready for Tom Ridge to be crucified by the right as his book comes out that explains how the Bush Administration advisers pressured him to raise the alert levels prior to the 2004 election, which is one reason he resigned in 2004. Expect him to be treated like other local Republicans like Treasury Secretary O'Neil, and so on, that left the administration and told of their time there.

The news shouldn't be anything new after "Mission Accomplished," Bush photos in campaign material using 9/11 for political purposes, the putting of "Made in the USA" on boxes that were imported for a photo op, and so on. It was the ultimate political spectacle administration until the bottom fell out in 2005.

* While not a joyous announcement fo a $1.58 trillion dollar deficit, I think it is a positive sign of the Obama Administration when they tell us that they are pulling back on $262 billion in deficits because they simply don't believe they need to use the money allotted for the bailout.

In a world where government programs often use the money for fear of losing it in the next year's budget, often wasting billions, it is great to see a President who says "we asked for what we thought we needed. We don't think we need $250 billion, so we simply aren't going to spend it to save taxpayer dollars." It is a wonderful change of pace from asking for a budget, then asking for supplement after supplement to create hidden excesses and higher deficits. This is one more reason why I trust President Obama far more than his predecessors who never sent back unused money that Congress allocated.

* While I will still be blogging, but less consistently, I will be on an overseas vacation for almost four weeks starting on August 25th. Keep checking in.


william said...

One thing you forgot to mention with regard to the deficit, the 10 year deficit projection. Today the white house announced their projection of 7.1 trillion over the next 10 years is not accurate. It will be 9 trillion. And this number does not factor health care, which the CBO said will add another 1 trillion. I don't share your trust in Obama when it comes to the financial enslavement of my children and yet to be born grandchildren.

Tony K. said...

Actually, the 10 year projection percent increase was from the 10 year CBO projection. It was still significantly less than the over 100% increases of Reagan and GW, and the over 100% rate that Bush 41 was on after 4 years, especially when you consider those were 8 year rates vs. a 10 year rate. If we took 2 years off of those deficits, then that number is comparable with Clinton's 52%.

And the "enslavement" is pretty over the top William. If conservatives cared about it, they would have reacted to Reagan, Bush, and GW instead of treating them as the greatest Presidents ever while they financially "enslaved" your grandchildren.

william said...

I'm not sure where you get your numbers Tony but they are not accurate. In 2001 the deficit was 145 billion, when Bush left it was 1.3 trillion. So Bush added about 1.2 trillion to the deficit in 8 years. About 700 bil was added as part of the bail out of the financial system (a mistake in my opinion). Now the projections are for the deficit to climb to 9 trillion in 10 years. Ok lets break that down. Thats 800 billion per year versus Bush adding 150 billion in 8 years. So I guess the percentage is less than 100 percent but the dollar amount is staggering. Now add an additional trillion if this nightmare health care bill passes and the financial future looks very bleak. I think this clearly demonstrates how clueless the admin is in regard to fiscal policy.

As an aside, many conservatives, including myself, are very unhappy with the wild spending during the Bush admin.

william said...

**Thats 800 billion per year versus Bush adding 150 billion in 8 years.**

Should read:

Thats 800 billion per year versus Bush adding 150 billion per year for 8 years.

Tony K. said...

There is no great way to measure how much blame a President gets for the budget deficit. So the straight forward approach is how I got my numbers.

The debt from Carter's last budget was at 997,855,000,000.00.

The debt from Reagan's last budget was at 2,857,430,960,187.32

That leaves Reagan responsible for 1,859,575,960,187.32 or a 186.36% increase over the debt when he took office.

The debt from Bush 41's last budget was at 4,411,488,883,139.38.

That leaves Bush 41 responsible for 1,554,057,922,952.06 or a 54.39% increase over 4 years, projecting at almost 109% over 8 years.

The debt from Clinton's last budget was 5,807,463,412,200.06.

That leaves Clinton responsible for 1,395,974,529,060.68 or a 31.64% increase (my bad, I said Clinton was 52% off the top of my head).

The numbers are not in from GW's final budget, but his first 7 years led to a deficit of 10,024,724,896,912.49 for an increase of 4,217,261,484,712.43 or 72.62% but there is another 1.5 trillion or so to be added from his final year budget which includes his bailout. That may well take him over 100% and the debt to 11.5 trillion or so.

The numbers for Obama came out to about 72% over 10 years as an increase, but now you see the methodology behind them.

The reason for doing it like this instead of raw dollars is because with a total deficit below 1 trillion when Reagan took over, people were shocked and blown away by Reagan's deficits proclaiming our grandchildren would be "enslaved" and how horrible it was. The same happened for Bush (as a continuation of Reagan, it is why Ross Perot gained support), and for GW as he ran up the debt as it got to 10 trillion but not to the extent of Reagan.

My point is that Republicans didn't care about Reagan, Bush 41, and barely winked and talked of sustainable debt for GW, but now... with a smaller percentage increase as a PROJECTION, the GOP is acting like we are about to cut off their heads. It just lacks credibility.

william said...

Ok here is what I found.

Year Gross Debt in Billions [10] as % of GDP
1910 2.6 n/a
1920 25.9 n/a
1930 16.2 n/a
1940 43.0 52.4
1950 257.4 94.1
1960 290.5 56.1
1970 380.9 37.6
1980 909.0 33.3
1990 3,206.3 55.9
2000 5,628.7 58.0
2001 5,769.9 57.4
2002 6,198.4 59.7
2003 6,760.0 62.5
2004 7,354.7 64.0
2005 7,905.3 64.6
2006 8,451.4 64.9
2007 8,950.7 65.5
2008 9,985.8 70.2
2009 (est.) 12,867.5 90.4
2010 (est.) 14,456.3 98.1
2011 (est.) 15,673.9 101.1
2012 (est.) 16,565.7 100.6
2013 (est.) 17,440.2 99.7
2014 (est.) 18,350.0 99.9

Now the way I see those numbers the debt doubles under Obama in 6 years, that doesn't jibe with the 72 percent you come up with over 10 years. Add the health care nightmare and it will triple under Obama. Also note the percent of will exceed GDP by 2011. Under GWB it hit a hight of 70 percent of GDP. Are you sure you calculated correctly Tony? This table comes for the white house OMB.

As a libertarian, I am appalled at the betrayal by both parties. I read your blog and notice you suggest people exercise fiscal discipline yet you support an administration that has the worst fiscal policies of our lifetime. I don't understand the inconsistency.

Tony K. said...

First, you need to evaluate a little more fairly in that a President's budget does not end when they leave office. They leave on January 20th in the morning, but the budget they are responsible for ends on September 30th of that same year. So you seem to be cutting what GW is responsible for and blaming Obama for it. That is one fundamental flaw in your methodology.

Second, I am just curious why you jumped from the CBO's projection to the OMB's projection? Is it because it changed the number to make it higher in favor of your argument? Though your numbers give Obama a 42% increase in 5 years.

Third, given the history of Presidents, I don't think your claims of worst ever fiscally really apply here, especially when we are talking of Reagan's 186% increase. Now as for health care, we can't say it will triple as a deficit because we don't know the details of the package, now do we? Heck, we don't even know if there is a public option or not, so how can we know the cost much less the details of how it is paid for?

Finally, remember, fiscal discipline isn't the same as libertarianism. When I talk about each of us doing it, I am talking about having a plan and utilizing it smartly. For example, it is ok to run up credit cards if you have a clear plan to repay them that is realistic and it is for a special occasion such as a once in five years vacation, with a 6 month payoff time when you get back. It doesn't mean don't ever spend.

So we will have to see how things pan out for health care and budgetary spending. I just wonder if you bashed GW for his tax cut in 2001, which was pretty fiscally irresponsible. Or as a libertarian are all tax cuts acceptable?

william said...

In my original response I showed the 10 year deficit projection, in your rebuttal you used national debt figures, not deficit, so I switched to national debt figures as well. If we are going to have a discussion we need to use the same number sets.

The following is taken directly from the CBO and it supports my assertion that the deficit will more than double under Obama plan:

From 2010 to 2019, the cumulative deficit under the President’s proposals would total $9.3 trillion, more than double the cumulative deficit projected under the current-law assumptions embodied in CBO’s baseline (see Table 1-5).

Now given this admin history with economic predictions...massive spending to keep unemployment under 8 percent yet it rose to 9.5 percent. Warren Buffet, one of Obama's advisers, recently wrote an editorial saying we need to stop the massive spending or it will destroy the value of the dollar. Do you really have the confidence in Obama that he is leading the country down the path to prosperity or are you just so enamored with him that you cannot see the damage he is causing? Or perhaps your vision of this country is one of massive government intrusion and, dare I say, socialist policies.

Tony K. said...

First, I used debt numbers in both cases, except that debt is simply the word we use for what has already accumulated, deficit is what we use for what will accumulate or what is a single year. The numbers I used were an accumulation of the deficits of each year to create a debt for their terms. Thus, they become the same and comparable.

Second, if you want to understand what is going on in the economy, see my other article on demographics from yesterday. It explains why the economy is running the way it is. Now, the "gotcha" politics of a single number only showed that the economy tanked at a faster rate than anyone projected, which really doesn't mean much to me in terms of evaluating the economics of it.

Third, if you check the demographics article, you see why I believe the government MUST act or leave us in the economic doldrums for the next decade. It isn't a matter of socialism as much as a matter of understanding that free trade policies mean that we will be left without investment in America if we don't act. Capital flows where it has a return on investment and America won't be that place for the next 10 years UNLESS we do something to move it. I believe that Obama's proposals were the best choice in November, and are the best choice I have seen a politician put on the table in the last 8 years.

Finally, as a former Libertarian, one of the reasons I walked away from it (of many) is because some things should be the responsibility of society and if we leave them to market conditions, we doom people to poverty or death, giving them little hope to rise up. Two of those areas for me are education and health care.

Oh, and if you want me to read a table, you gotta give me a link to it. What I can say and what you have not refuted is that given the projections by the CBO of President Obama's policies, he still doesn't top the 100% mark and misses it by about 25% or so, whereas the GOP Presidents of the last 30 years all have either topped or had a rate that would have topped 100% over an 8 year period, but Obama's 70's% increase is over a 10 year period.

In other words, Obama's increase is in a 2 year longer period and is still a lower percentage increase than all but Clinton in the last 30 years, but you still slam him but don't seem to have a problem with the others.

That is one major reason Obama's debt doesn't concern me, another being that no other President in history has made a decision not to spend $250 billion because they realized it was unnecessary, and a third is that I just believe that his general policies work to build a foundation needed to develop the changes needed if we are to grow in the next 10 to 14 years.

More in other stories as they are written.