May 25, 2017

"Here are the 66 programs eliminated in Trump's budget."

At The Hill.

155 comments:

gspencer said...

"66 programs eliminated?"

Isn't that good news?

To which the proper response is, "Why aren't there even more?"

AReasonableMan said...

Yet the deficit gets bigger.

Big Mike said...

It's a good start, especially the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

AllenS said...

A marathon starts with the first step. Winning.

clint said...

Outrage!! Why are they eliminating the "Awesome Things Everyone Loves" program?? Do they hate awesome things?!

Wait, what does that program actually do?

wendybar said...

GREAT start!! There is a LOT more waste to go!!

Etienne said...

No attack on sugar and rice subsidies. Could have got another 50 billion.

Yawn...

I do agree though, that if people need food because they are living in poverty, then other means than government should be used.

For example Protestants send billions to feed the world overseas. They could redirect their efforts to the states.

They could give up some of their private jets and buy a bag of skittles...

Bill Crawford said...

Most of the titles of these programs are meaningless; no content as to what they are for.

AReasonableMan said...

The big ticket items in the budget are medicare, social security and defense. Without reductions in the spending on these large items these little cuts are meaningless bread crumbs for the true believers.

St. George said...

Check back in six months or a year and see which programs were actually zeroed out; how many suffered no cuts; and by what percent the others were cut.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Eliminating programs that don't work? What a stupid concept!

Etienne said...

About $420 billion each fiscal year is given to the central bank as interest payments.

Hint..

rehajm said...

A small step in the right direction...right into the swamp mud.

The swamp's gonna take your shoe.

Tommy Duncan said...

Most of the titles of these programs are meaningless; no content as to what they are for.

That is, of course, a design point intended to hide the waste and redundancy. These programs are passed to give their sponsors political advantage. Any benefit to the populace is an accidental byproduct.

Tank said...

We have consensus. A tiny step, but the big problems remain.

iowan2 said...

If the titles are anywhere near accurate,(I doubt it), a lot of these programs are to encourage business.
Trump has already exhibited his ability to promote business, by the private sector with no Govt involvement. Growth over the 8 years of Obama were dismal. Now with President Trump at the helm, he is deftly finding the economic winds that are always there. President Trump is already improving growth. Just eliminating regulations and dialing back the federal bureaucracy, caging them back into their defined and statutory boundaries. My point is, govt subsidies to encourage business are not needed. GDP growth of 3 to 4% are all that is needed to return entrepreneurship to its place in driving the American economy. entrepreneurship does not work when growth is stagnate, because sweat equity never gets rewarded.
This is the understanding of the real economy that President Trump brings to the Oval office. Not some frat beer party where the rich kids sit around at 2 in the morning pontificating about subjects they are barely passing in class, but have (to their mind) the true answers. That's what the last eight years was, dilettantes at the controls.

iowan2 said...

AReasonableMan said...
The big ticket items in the budget are medicare, social security and defense. Without reductions in the spending on these large items these little cuts are meaningless bread crumbs for the true believers.

5/25/17, 7:02 AM

You have to pick a side, can't have it both ways. Sweeping up a few bread crumbs does not cause the death of 10's of thousands. That's what I heard yesterday. Death.
Which is it?

Unknown said...

Good for trump. I wait with baited the oh so learned national review never trumpets to tell me how trump is no different from a democrat again.

Virtually Unknown said...

wait with baited the oh so learned

You have to keep out of the chum bucket! It's "bated breath" as in "to abate."

AReasonableMan said...

iowan2 said...
You have to pick a side


No I don't. This kind of Manichaean thinking is exactly what leads to most of the more nonsensical statements uttered here. There are two ways to balance the budget increase taxes or reduce spending. Since the Republicans refuse to countenance the former then they should embrace the latter and do a proper job of putting the country's finances in order, not dither around the edges to no meaningful effect.

mockturtle said...

Good start! What the list doesn't show is the overlapping of programs between departments. This is true of our military, as well. I've always said that they should hand the budget over to my mother. She would have had it under control in no time.

I'm glad they are eliminating programs and hope to see whole departments eliminated, as well. 'Across the board' cuts were meaningless, as they implied that all programs--and departments--were of equal value.

AJ Lynch said...

Bottom line is total spending is going up to $4.1 Trillion yet the libruls and the librul media are so so troubled.

rehajm said...

Government revenue raised by a tax is a function of a tax rate applied to economic activity subject to that rate. The tax rate variable influences the size of the economic activity variable.

Learn it, lefties.

Kevin said...

Trump should have cut 666 programs. The press would have gone wild with the symbolism.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

Good to see "Public" Broadcasting on the chopping block. Have never understood why Republicans kept funding the Democrat propaganda mills that are PBS/NPR.

DanTheMan said...

>>Bottom line is total spending is going up to $4.1

I asked my boss for a $50K raise, but he only gave me $10K.

I can't believe that SOB cut my salary by forty thousand dollars!!!

rehajm said...

'Across the board' cuts were meaningless, as they implied that all programs--and departments--were of equal value.

The absolute worst, worst way to cost cut. Work to eliminate obvious flaws: waste, fraud, redundancy, mismanagement, inefficiency. Then take your list of programs in order of priority and lop off from the bottom up.

Rick said...

The big ticket items in the budget are medicare, social security and defense. Without reductions in the spending on these large items these little cuts are meaningless bread crumbs for the true believers.

This is how true believers attack any cut in government.

DanTheMan said...

>>The absolute worst, worst way to cost cut

I disagree. The worst way is to increase spending, and call it a cut.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Has the CBO reported the body count from the cuts yet?

Rusty said...

We're all gonna die!!!!!
Yea. Well. Eventually.
But not from this.

" AReasonableMan said...
The big ticket items in the budget are medicare, social security and defense. Without reductions in the spending on these large items these little cuts are meaningless bread crumbs for the true believers."

As a public sector employee this will be meaningless to you. You have to start somewhere.
There cuts will have the effect of showing where other cuts can be made or what areas need to be kept. In the real world where people are paid to actually, you know, work it is the same a justifying your job. If you can't you won't have one for long.

Of the three things you mentioned only one is constitutionally mandated.

Angel-Dyne said...

ARM: The big ticket items in the budget are medicare, social security and defense. Without reductions in the spending on these large items these little cuts are meaningless bread crumbs for the true believers.

Some cuts would be salutary and satisfying regardless of their effect on the budget. (Alas, as St. George points out, in the end we won't get those kinds of cuts, either.) The uniparty isn't going to do anything about entitlements or defense (or die trying not to do anything), so coming out of the woodwork on predictable schedule to bitch about "meaningless bread crumbs for true believers" is...meaningless bread crumbs for another set of true believers.

ARM to iowan2: "You have to pick a side"

No I don't.


You don't have to, but you have.

rehajm said...

Why lefties try to forget CBO scoring is dumb.

Rick said...

rehajm said...
The absolute worst, worst way to cost cut. Work to eliminate obvious flaws: waste, fraud, redundancy, mismanagement, inefficiency.


This doesn't work politically as long as it is part of the budget process. It allows Dems to concentrate their hysteria on small targets and the public doesn't see enough benefit for it to matter.

Hagar said...

The CBO is "non-partisan," but not independent; it is a creature of Congress and "non-partisan" as specified by Congress.

MadisonMan said...

Will there also be a cut in the Federal Workforce?

David said...

Second comment I looked at on The Hill site: "You cannot call yourself a human Christian and believe in this budget."

Bay Area Guy said...

Good start, I'd say.

If successful, the next budget should have an "across the board" cut of 5% of every department.

David Begley said...

I think I know what "Impact Aid for Federal Property" in the Department of Education is. There is a big Air Force base south of Omaha. Because it is federal real estate it is exempt from local real estate taxation. Therefore the federal government pays the local school district directly. The former superintendent in Bellvue created his own lobbying business for this program. Expect major whining.

James K said...

The absolute worst, worst way to cost cut.

No, it's actually a pretty sensible way if you delegate the decisions on specific cuts to the people who know where the bodies are buried, especially if you put the right people in charge. Avoid top-down micro-management. How does Congress know precisely where cuts should be made in each department?

Robert Cook said...

"The big ticket items in the budget are medicare, social security and defense. Without reductions in the spending on these large items these little cuts are meaningless bread crumbs for the true believers."

Are you suggesting there should be cuts in Medicare and Social Security? I suggest there should be increases in these programs.

What you call "crumbs for the true believers" will be devastating for many Americans, including young people trying to pay for education.

Cuts in the War budget? ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY!!!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

AReasonableMan said...The big ticket items in the budget are medicare, social security and defense. Without reductions in the spending on these large items these little cuts are meaningless bread crumbs for the true believers.

"This doesn't do everything, therefore it does nothing."
I dunno, ARM, seems like you've got a bogus unstated premise in there.

"This doesn't do enough, therefore it's not worth doing."
I dunno, ARM, seems like that ignores the reality of how actual change comes about in a political system like ours.

Fritz said...

Virtually Unknown said...
wait with baited the oh so learned

You have to keep out of the chum bucket! It's "bated breath" as in "to abate."


I had a sardine hamburger in Sicily the other day, and waited around with baited breath for the wine.

Jupiter said...

"There are two ways to balance the budget increase taxes or reduce spending. Since the Republicans refuse to countenance the former then they should embrace the latter and do a proper job of putting the country's finances in order, not dither around the edges to no meaningful effect."

This assumes that the goal is to balance the budget. But It has learned that It doesn't need to balance the budget. It no longer needs to tax in order to spend, It can "borrow" and spend. This is actually a fairly progressive way to fund It, since the resulting inflation amounts to a tax on anyone with dollar-denominated assets. And now It can spend without limit, as It has always desired to do.

Robert Cook said...

"Will there also be a cut in the Federal Workforce?"

That's always a good way to help the economy: put many thousands of income-earners out of work, thereby taking their discretionary spending out of the economy!

AReasonableMan said...

Angel-Dyne said...
You don't have to, but you have.


I agree that the large deficits are a serious problem for the country. I am comfortable with some combination of cuts and tax increases to close the deficit. That is not picking a side. Neither the left nor the right is being realistic here.

AReasonableMan said...

Robert Cook said...
Are you suggesting there should be cuts in Medicare and Social Security? I suggest there should be increases in these programs.


There are two possibilities to cut the deficit, tax increases or cuts in the large ticket programs. Those are the realistic options. Someone at some point has to embrace at least one of these options, despite the political cost. It is magical thinking to think otherwise.

AReasonableMan said...

Robert Cook said...
Cuts in the War budget? ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY!!!


We agree on one out of three at least. That's a start.

holdfast said...

Hey Cookie - Let's put all the unemployed into government jobs, regardless of whether they add any value. Problems solved Comrade!

rehajm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Hayden said...

My kid will no doubt be unhappy that the Energy ARPA-E program is back on the chopping block. Their research group has ARPA-E money directed in an area that will help with fracking and pipelines. No doubt though, much of the ARPA-E money was going into "renewables" research, which meant that much of it was being squandered.

Which gets to the point that a lot of these programs are political, and would, thus, be eliminated for political reasons. They were ways to shovel money to progressive groups, or push progressive indoctrination. Republicans would be fools to not terminate any and all such programs. And they probably will be. We shall see. And no, terminating PBS doesn't mean killing Big Bird. Apparently, Seseme Street is being produced privately now.

Ron Winkleheimer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

This doesn't work politically as long as it is part of the budget process

Yah, I was reluctant to point this part out as it's easy to criticize. The important part is to prioritize and drop the programs at the bottom of the list.

Wilbur said...

"Robert Cook said...
"Will there also be a cut in the Federal Workforce?"

That's always a good way to help the economy: put many thousands of income-earners out of work, thereby taking their discretionary spending out of the economy!"

Did you ever take an economics course or learned anything about conomics in your life? That is staggeringly ignorant.

Robert Cook said...

"There are two possibilities to cut the deficit, tax increases or cuts in the large ticket programs. Those are the realistic options. Someone at some point has to embrace at least one of these options, despite the political cost. It is magical thinking to think otherwise."

I suggest massive cuts in the War Department's budget, (actual deep cuts and not just reduced increases) and increased taxes on wealthy individuals and corporate entities.

Bob Ellison said...

On NPR this morning, they talked at length about Trump and Tillerson jaw-boning NATO members for their infidelity on defense spending.

Western Europe does not defend itself, and whines when America does. The examples are long and rich.

So where does defense spending fit into the budget?

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

That's always a good way to help the economy: put many thousands of income-earners out of work, thereby taking their discretionary spending out of the economy!

Just think of the economic nirvana we could reach if the government just hired everyone.

DanTheMan said...

>>That's always a good way to help the economy: put many thousands of income-earners out of work, thereby taking their discretionary spending out of the economy!

Break your own windows, please.

Robert Cook said...

"Hey Cookie - Let's put all the unemployed into government jobs, regardless of whether they add any value. Problems solved Comrade!"

It would certainly help. People earning incomes spend it, putting money back in the economy.

Jupiter said...

"It is magical thinking to think otherwise."

You're behind the curve. At this point, "taxes" and "deficits" are just meaningless collections of syllables. The government has discovered that it can call unlimited amounts of "money" into existence, and that Americans will hand over valuable assets in return for this "money". Taxation is continued merely as a punitive measure, and will probably be abandoned altogether at some point. The interesting question is, why doesn't this vast increase in the money supply lead to galloping inflation?

My best guess is that we are actually seeing very large increases in the productivity of the American economy, and the government spending is masking what would otherwise be deflation. In any case, it is no longer possible to understand the economy in monetary terms. Money can't be used to keep score any longer. When the government doesn't like the way the game is going, it simply "borrows" enough points to change the outcome. Bingo! Winning!

Michael K said...

"Republicans refuse to countenance the former"

The "former," tax increases, worked so well for Obama and Bill Clinton's first two years. Then Congress flipped in 1994 and the economy took off. I wonder why ?

Ryan came up with a reasonable approach to Medicare and was faced with hysterical Democrats threatening old ladies.

Bush talked about a reasonable approach to Social Security and the Congress went D followed by the 2008 collapse.

Democrats are joined at the hip with FDR and Johnson's programs that buy votes.

Robert Cook said...

"So where does defense spending fit into the budget?"

There is little, if any, defense spending. It's all or mostly offense spending...and kickbacks and graft and fraud.

Michael K said...

"People earning incomes spend it, putting money back in the economy."

I wondered where Nancy Pelosi got her ideas.

Thanks, Cookie.

DanTheMan said...

>>and increased taxes on wealthy individuals
A great way to encourage high earners to leave the country.


>>> and corporate entities.
You do understand that corporations do not "pay" taxes. They collect them from their customers, as part of the price they charge. So raising corporate taxes is just raising the price on everything the corporation sells.

See Clinton's yacht tax for an example of how poorly this approach works...


Bob Ellison said...

Look at Haiti. Good thoughts and lots of money destroyed an economy.

Jupiter said...

"People earning incomes spend it, putting money back in the economy."

What do you mean by "earning"?

I Callahan said...

That's always a good way to help the economy: put many thousands of income-earners out of work, thereby taking their discretionary spending out of the economy!

Wow. Lefties really don't understand economics.

Do you think those federal jobs are better ideas for spending than giving the money back to the private sector, where even MORE jobs will be created?

Bruce Hayden said...

@Cook -.I will suggest that you are committing the usual progressive fallacy of assuming that you can essentially increase GDP by hiring government workers. But what must be remembered is that, for the most part, govt employment doesn't produce anything, and, thus, is to a large extent, merely transfer payments, with all the consequential bureaucratic friction (ignoring here, the substantial actual economic harm done done by idle bureaucrats engaging in rule making). The reality is that the choice is not those govt employees working or not, but whether the money being spent to support them would hire more people and increase GDP more if it were not removed from the private sector in the first place. As someone pointed out, if govt employment were so effective as a job creator overall, the solution to recessions would be to hire half the unemployed to dig ditches, and the other half to fill them back in.

DanTheMan said...

>>and kickbacks and graft and fraud.

Don't kickbacks and fraud get spent, and thus good for the economy in your model???

Or all kickbacks supposed to get stuffed in a mattress somewhere?

Asking for a friend...

Robert Cook said...

"Just think of the economic nirvana we could reach if the government just hired everyone."

It'd be better than the economic hell we'll be in when automation, robotics and outsourcing erases 50% (or more) of American jobs in the next 20 years.

Jupiter said...

"There is little, if any, defense spending. It's all or mostly offense spending...and kickbacks and graft and fraud."

People receiving kickbacks and graft and fraudulent income spend it, putting money back in the economy!

I Callahan said...

increased taxes on wealthy individuals and corporate entities.

Corporations do not pay taxes. Repeat so it'll sink in. CORPORATIONS DO NOT PAY TAXES.

They raise prices every time you raise taxes on their return. After that, there will be less people buying their product, and they'll have to cut production. Which lays off people, or cuts their pay.

Raising taxes on corporations does absolutely nothing but bad. Nothing good can ever come of it. It should be lowered to zero.

rehajm said...

How does Congress know precisely where cuts should be made in each department?

This statement incorrectly assumes cuts can be made to every department. Private sector managers learned long ago across the board cuts can destroy functioning departments and reduce productivity.

Robert Cook said...

"Don't kickbacks and fraud get spent, and thus good for the economy in your model???"

Not if you consider who gets the kickbacks and fraud. It's not the mass of citizens who fuel the economy with their spending.

Sebastian said...

"increased taxes on wealthy individuals and corporate entities" Ah yes, to make the most progressive income tax system even more progressive. Let's try Swedish taxation -- 25% VAT, one-third of income for all but the very poor, an additional 20% on low-middle income. And after all, no representation without taxation.

I Callahan said...

It would certainly help. People earning incomes spend it, putting money back in the economy.

Please, Bob, re-read this sentence. And re-read it again. Then think about this: if everyone were a government employee, exactly where would the money to pay these employees, come from? Remember - you've just eliminated the entire private sector.

Bob Ellison said...

That's another recent left talking point: 50% of jobs will go away because of automation.

This will come up on NPR, in the NYT, and in WaPo over and over again for the next 18 months.

They'll talk on Terry Gross about what to do about it. What should we worry about? Are robots going to make our lives richer? Could we embrace a life of leisure for everyone? Or does every person have a right to a job, and requires one to be a good citizen?

Robert Cook said...

">>and increased taxes on wealthy individuals
A great way to encourage high earners to leave the country."


Hmmm...I wonder there was not a flood of wealthy people renouncing their citizenship and leaving America back in the mid-20th Century when tax rates were much higher?

I Callahan said...

It'd be better than the economic hell we'll be in when automation, robotics and outsourcing erases 50% (or more) of American jobs in the next 20 years.

Take 1/2 of all laid off employees. Pay them to go and break the windows of every house they see. Then take the other 1/2, and create a government-owned company that will build new windows. Tell the populace that they have to buy windows from this company only.

Will this create the nirvana you seem to think will happen? If you believe this, there really is no hope for the left in this country.

I Callahan said...

I wonder there was not a flood of wealthy people renouncing their citizenship and leaving America back in the mid-20th Century when tax rates were much higher?

Because the effective tax rate back in the 1950's was NOT higher than it is now. That's been shown a million times over. Also, back in the 1950's, there was no place to escape to; the world was still building back up after two world wars. Where were they going to go?

RC - this is history 101. If you believe any of the tripe you're typing, then you really are living a sheltered life.

Robert Cook said...

"What should we worry about...Could we embrace a life of leisure for everyone? Or does every person have a right to a job, and requires one to be a good citizen?"

Well, lacking jobs, how will people pay for their lives of leisure? Fuck that, how will they pay for housing and food and clothing? (Forget about education!) I'd say there's plenty to worry about.

Unless you advocate a guaranteed annual income paid to every citizen...?

Robert Cook said...

"Take 1/2 of all laid off employees. Pay them to go and break the windows of every house they see. Then take the other 1/2, and create a government-owned company that will build new windows. Tell the populace that they have to buy windows from this company only.

"Will this create the nirvana you seem to think will happen? If you believe this, there really is no hope for the left in this country."


You're the one advocating government-owned monopolies where must buy needlessly broken windows, not me!

Lewis Wetzel said...

Hmmm...I wonder there was not a flood of wealthy people renouncing their citizenship and leaving America back in the mid-20th Century when tax rates were much higher?
There is a flood of wealthy people leaving Cali and New York now to avoid taxes, Robert Cook.
You must understand that it is silly to simultaneously claim that rich people want to reduce their taxes and that rich people don't care about their taxes.

Robert Cook said...

"RC - this is history 101. If you believe any of the tripe you're typing, then you really are living a sheltered life."

What I don't believe are scare stories that increasing taxes on the wealthy will cause them to leave the country.

Jupiter said...

"Then think about this: if everyone were a government employee, exactly where would the money to pay these employees, come from?"

Money? Oh, that's not a problem. We'll just borrow it! The question is, what will they be able to buy with that money? Regulations, I suppose. "You look hungry, Sir. How about another nice plateful of government regulations? Special today, all you can eat! What? Oh, no Sir. You haven't had enough. I must insist."

Bob Ellison said...

Robert Cook, there was a long series of novels written by Isaac Asimov decades ago about life in a robot-rich world. It's an interesting thought experiment.

You suggest that wealth and income only come from labor. That's a Marxist fallacy.

Robert Cook said...

"You must understand that it is silly to simultaneously claim that rich people want to reduce their taxes and that rich people don't care about their taxes."

I'm not claiming that. I do believe people will ask for and take however much they grab, but will mostly accept whatever lesser they can get. Also, it's one thing to leave one state for another, and another thing to leave the country entirely. And, if they're citizens, they'd still owe taxes. Do you think all the wealthy in this country would renounce their citizenship? I do not.

Robert Cook said...

"You suggest that wealth and income only come from labor. That's a Marxist fallacy."

Bob Ellison, I have not read Asimov's novels (or Marx's treatises). How do you (or Asimov) suggest income would be created without labor?

Robert Cook said...

"Then think about this: if everyone were a government employee, exactly where would the money to pay these employees, come from?"

Who says "everyone" would be a government employee?

Bob Ellison said...

Well, Robert Cook, hit the books!

Robert Cook said...

"There is a flood of wealthy people leaving Cali and New York now to avoid taxes...."

New York City (and nearby areas of the state) seem flush with rich people, Lewis Wetzel.

I Callahan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Ellison said...

...and that's the problem. There are lots and lots of crony capitalists, statists, whatever you want to call them. That's China's economy now, and used to be Russia's before the carbon-fuel price collapse.

The richest people are in Washington, DC.

Robert Cook said...

"...think about this: if everyone were a government employee, exactly where would the money to pay these employees, come from? Remember - you've just eliminated the entire private sector."

Not I,sir Callahan. Where did I ever say the private sector should be eliminated?

chickelit said...

Nothing which targets retirees who post comments all day long on Althouse.

Noted

I Callahan said...

You're the one advocating government-owned monopolies where must buy needlessly broken windows, not me!

No, you are, when you responded in this bit:

"Just think of the economic nirvana we could reach if the government just hired everyone."

It'd be better than the economic hell we'll be in when automation, robotics and outsourcing erases 50% (or more) of American jobs in the next 20 years.

Birkel said...

Leave Robert Cook alone. Seriously, arguing economics with Robert Cook is a fool's errand.

Please leave him alone for the love of all that is holy.

It's sad, otherwise.

Robert Cook said...

"Raising taxes on corporations does absolutely nothing but bad. Nothing good can ever come of it. It should be lowered to zero."

Does this mean they'll drop the prices of their goods and services accordingly and proportionally?

Unknown said...

So let me get this straight: Cook is opposed to cuts because "Think of all the little people who will be hurt!" Ok, that's a view. So his solution? "Massive, major, pretty much defund the 'War Department'" In other words, Cook is in favor of putting on the unemployment line all our armed forces members... lessee... that's millions of little people suddenly without a job.

This is Cook's solution to cuts in government--get rid of all our soldiers, sailors, marines, and air force people.

But their jobs aren't valuable, and they don't spend money in the economy apparently. Plus, without US troops in Europe, Cook can watch as Putin rolls westward and no doubt he'll cheer the impending misery and human woe.

Right Cook? The world would be better off under Russian communist control, no doubt. Although I bet you'd be ok with China communist control either.

You have to admire the left: there is nothing so bad that they won't seek to make worse. They hate the idea of freedom, pure and simple, which is why they always, always promote ways to end it.

Even their "Sexual freedom" stuff is really "Get people addicted". So is the free drugs campaign. All of their freedoms they claim to want are really enslaving behaviors. They want ruinous taxes so they can promise free stuff to people they intend to enslave to the government. And anyone who breaks free, like a middle class black person who started their own business, is a traitor, etc.

You people need to read Bastiat. Odd how a Frenchman, of all things, was one of the best guiding lights on why communism and socialism is so horrible.

--Vance

AReasonableMan said...

Birkel said...
Seriously, arguing economics with Robert Cook is a fool's errand.


The same could be said of adherents of either party. Neither party is offering a realistic path towards deficit reduction.

Michael K said...

Cookie is a nice example of leftist thinking about economics. Bastiat showed the fallacy but the political left never gets it. Nancy Pelosi told us how Obamacare would let everyone seek their true unemployed self.

It's not the mass of citizens who fuel the economy with their spending.

Who then ? The billionaires who create vaporware in Silicon Valley ? They skim off the excess that a rich society can spare for frivolous entertainment.

One big reason why the economy has dragged along at 2% growth in the Obama year while the stock market soared and billionaires created junk like facebook and Pinterest is that the middle class and small business have been badly hurt by the regulations and the crazy behavior of the ruling class.

Venezuela provides an excellent example of where Socialism takes you if you are not very careful. Chavez was supported by the people who are now starving.

Robert Cook said...

"'You're the one advocating government-owned monopolies where must buy needlessly broken windows, not me!'

"No, you are, when you responded in this bit:




"'Just think of the economic nirvana we could reach if the government just hired everyone.'

'It'd be better than the economic hell we'll be in when automation, robotics and outsourcing erases 50% (or more) of American jobs in the next 20 years.'"


Sure, in response to an obviously rhetorical supposition, I replied, sensibly and also obviously rhetorically, that it would be better than half of the American populace (or probably more) having NO jobs or income.

I do not advocate the elimination of the private sector,and I do not expect it will ever occur.

Birkel said...

@ ARM

Math doesn't care about party. Math's intolerant and unfeeling. The only ways this government can afford it's debt is rapid GDP growth or massive inflation.

There are no other options.

Michael K said...

Cookie doesn't get sarcasm so its best to put things in very simple terms for him.

rehajm said...

Does this mean they'll drop the prices of their goods and services accordingly and proportionally?

Let's find out. Enough theory.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

I do believe people will ask for and take however much they grab, but will mostly accept whatever lesser they can get.

So I'm confused here. Who is doing the taking and grabbing? Does your paycheck represent the amount of money you're taking and grabbing from the government?

Jupiter said...

"Neither party is offering a realistic path towards deficit reduction."

Hmmmm. You're right. Why do we keep electing these unrealistic bozos? It's almost as if there is a fundamental flaw in the theory of democratic government.

urbane legend said...

DanTheMan said...

>>> and corporate entities.
You do understand that corporations do not "pay" taxes. They collect them from their customers, as part of the price they charge. So raising corporate taxes is just raising the price on everything the corporation sells.

Thank you, Dan. This is so obvious; why does anyone have trouble understanding it?

Jupiter said...

"The only ways this government can afford it's debt is rapid GDP growth or massive inflation."

Not following you here. What's to "afford"? It's just some numbers on a computer somewhere. Ones and zeroes. Zeroes and ones. Need more zeroes? Here you go!

00000000000000000000000000000000

What? You need ones?

11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

Suicide Squeeze said...

Robert Cook,

When the government stops paying an employee because they cut that job, several things happen. You focus only one one half of the balance sheet. First, an employee loses their job. There is no good way to put it. It is a net negative for them and any dependents. You think that since they don't have that income, then they do not spend anything and thus that money somehow disappears from the economy. That is not true. If that money is not given to the employee, it is likely retained by the tax payers. That extra retained money is just as readily spent in the economy as if it were spent by the one employee who no longer receives it. The economy has not changed simply because the distribution of the resources has altered. In a huge economy like ours, jobs are lost by the thousands daily. This does not cause the economy to collapse due to all the lost spending that these newly unemployed no longer do. Instead, new jobs are created with the surplus money not given to these employees and thus the thousands of jobs lost are replaced by thousands of jobs created. Over extended periods, this basically balances out (recessions and booms notwithstanding.) They key to a growing and prosperous economy is that jobs that generate goods and services that are in demand move the economy upward. Jobs that do not are a drag on the economy. Jobs that create value should replace jobs that don't. In the private sector, the process is rather automatic. Buggy-whip manufacturers are all but gone, but auto-parts stores are flourishing. This is due to the demand for their products. The government has no market signals by which to determine which jobs are worthwhile and which are not. We use a political process and lobbying to create or save jobs regardless of their value to the economy. This is not a good way to determine a job's value, but it is not a necessarily a net loss if said job is eliminated.

Birkel said...

@ Jupiter

Did you forget to close the sarc tag?
:-)

Robert Cook said...

"One big reason why the economy has dragged along at 2% growth in the Obama year while the stock market soared and billionaires created junk like facebook and Pinterest is that the middle class and small business have been badly hurt by the regulations and the crazy behavior of the ruling class."

Exactly, Michael K.! Now you're getting it! The ruling class are screwing everyone else, the small business person not least of them! Here in NYC, where commercial rents are particularly high, small business go out of business when their leases are jacked up by tens of thousands of dollars per month. The vacated spaces often stay vacant for years. The new businesses that do open up are more often banks or corporate chain store outlets than individually owned small businesses.

Unknown said...

I just want to point out something here, on morality. Take a typical inner city scenario: single mother who has 5 kids with no clue who the fathers of any of them are (except they all have different fathers, naturally. What kind of life is it if you aren't a total slut?). She's on disability, welfare, every government program there is. Just enough to continue her whore lifestyle.

Suggesting a cut that would impact this fine American example is horrifying to Cook. So instead, he wants to fire the Medal of Honor winners, the people risking life and limb, getting shot at. The guys saving women from slavery; the people keeping the sea lanes free from pirates. The guys ready to take on the hordes of North Korea; the sailors patrolling the Formosa strait. Those people, says Robert Cook, need to be fired and lose their jobs and their wives and children should starve so that our inner city slut (and it's not a phenonenom limited to the inner city, just prevalent there) can live off the government dole and spend her days high on drugs and sex. That's what Robert wants to protect, while he wants to see the soldiers, sailors, marines and air force guys fired to pay for it.

That's his morality: it's more important to keep sluts on welfare, even if it means we fire all our military.

--Vance

Robert Cook said...

"In a huge economy like ours, jobs are lost by the thousands daily. This does not cause the economy to collapse due to all the lost spending that these newly unemployed no longer do. Instead, new jobs are created with the surplus money not given to these employees and thus the thousands of jobs lost are replaced by thousands of jobs created."

Not anymore. Remember: automation and outsourcing.

The new jobs that are available are mostly low-paying service jobs with few or no benefits, "gig" jobs, temp jobs, or part-time jobs.

Rusty said...

"The same could be said of adherents of either party. Neither party is offering a realistic path towards deficit reduction."

Cutting spending is a start. Which this does.
Now if we want to discus ways of making Medicare and Social Security more efficient and solvent there are ways to do this without raising taxes.

Let's get one thing straight at the start.
Wealth creates the income that can be taxed. Nothing else. Period.
Without someone creating wealth there can be no economic growth.
Governments Cannot Create Wealth.

Robert Cook said...

Vance, you have a knack for fantasy. Ever thought of becoming a writer for "Housewives of Peyton Place?"

AReasonableMan said...

Michael K said...
Cookie doesn't get sarcasm so its best to put things in very simple terms for him.


This is exactly why your 'Righty Troll Lifetime Achievement Award' was so richly deserved. Cook is a smart guy with whom you apparently disagree. In my experience he routinely adds more thoughtful comments to the debate than you. Your deeply held belief, that you are the smartest guy in the room, is debatable even when your dog is the only other being in the room.

Comanche Voter said...

Only 66?

Unknown said...

Okay, Robert Cook: Exactly what did I say that was wrong? In this thread you said that these cuts would hurt people, and instead the entire "War department" as you said should be shut down.

I just explored what that really meant. You want to fire all the soldiers and sailors and so forth, correct? That's what shutting down the "War Department" means--all the military people would lose their jobs. You actively view that as a good thing.

And at the same time, you vehemently oppose any cuts in welfare of any kind, including to the people abusing it like the baby factory girls who keeps having kids for the paycheck from Uncle Sam. Cuts to them--"it's hurting the little people!" That's a bad thing.

So, you favor firing all the soldiers and supporting all the welfare whores. Logic. And by the way--this is a standard leftist thing. They always want to fire the millions of soldiers while decrying any and all attempts to cut welfare or make people work for it. Ergo, they value the welfare cheats over the medal of honor winners.

--Vance

Rick said...

the middle class and small business have been badly hurt by the regulations and the crazy behavior of the ruling class."

It's bizarre Cook would cheer this as accurate when his "solution" is greater regulation and a more entrenched ruling class.

Jupiter said...

"Your deeply held belief, that you are the smartest guy in the room, is debatable even when your dog is the only other being in the room."

Michael K does not act like he is the smartest guy in the room. That's how physicists act. Michael K is a physician, and they tend to have learned the hard way that smart only gets you so far. You were the smartest guy in your high school class, and as a reward, you get to sit in a small room with white walls and unappealing decor and discuss someone's rash with him. After he leaves, you will spend half an hour recording the transaction.

Cookie is either being willfully obtuse, or he is impenetrable to reason. We are attempting to convince him that what is not produced, cannot be consumed. We are failing. Pardon our frustration.

Seeing Red said...

What Cookie doesn't realize is if there's no war dept, there will be only welfare for the ruling class. The rest of us will be serfs or dead because we were weak so the strong came to take.

He must have a history major or minor.

Sebastian said...

"I have not read Asimov's novels (or Marx's treatises)." Not to violate the Althouse Back-and-Forth Diktat, but this is disappointing: if even the semi-sane lefties don't actually read Marx, let alone form a considered opinion, how are we to argue with them about (neo-)Marxist economics?

Anyway, the new Stedman Jones biography would be a start, in case the third volume of Capital is too much (but I'm sure YoungHegelian would be willing to give y'all the Cliff Notes version). Subtitle, nota bene: Greatness and Illusion.

DanTheMan said...

>>Exactly, Michael K.! Now you're getting it! The ruling class are screwing everyone else,

The struggle of class against class is a political struggle, says Cookie.

Somebody else said that, too.


Rick said...

What you call "crumbs for the true believers" will be devastating for many Americans, including young people trying to pay for education.

This is amusing. The bloated cost of higher education is an example of the government control the left desires for everything. The left knows they can no longer hide that fact it is a problem but blames anything other than government control. Thus they end up offering more of the cause as the solution.

Theater of the absurd.

Jack Wayne said...

This "cut" is on the order of .000075%. Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic? To put it in perspective, the total amount added to the debt in 2016 was $1T. The deficit, the on-budget borrowing, was roughly $525B and the off-budget deficit was $475B. It's hard to tell just yet but it looks like Trump will continue to have budget deficits of about $500B, likely more. The question is the off-budget deficit. My guess is that the off-budget deficit will be north of $400B because (I believe) of the money needed to rollover the debt. So we are likely to be on a path to add $1T/year in debt for the foreseeable future. Further, Mulvaney says this cut is needed to get to 3% growth. I don't see how that happens with a cut that is nearly invisible.

AReasonableMan said...

Jupiter said...
Cookie is either being willfully obtuse, or he is impenetrable to reason.


I disagree with Cook much of the time while at the same time finding a lot of what he says quite insightful. It is disrespectful to dismiss Cook as an imbecile, as MK does, rather than either engage or ignore.

cubanbob said...

Twenty five years after the demise of the late and unlamented Soviet Union and its Empire despite his lying eyes our Mr. Robert Cook still believes.

He advocates ever higher taxation on people like me. To which I ask why should I pay even more in taxes for services I'm not getting so others can continue to live off my money? Shouldn't those people if of adult age and in reasonable health and capable of work be required to compensate me by cleaning my house, or cooking my food or cutting my grass or other domestic services?

Robert Cook said...

"Okay, Robert Cook: Exactly what did I say that was wrong? In this thread you said that these cuts would hurt people, and instead the entire "War department" as you said should be shut down."

Well, Vance, you just said something wrong in this reply I've quoted. I neve said the War Department should be shut down. I just said it's budget should be drastically cut. And why not? It's bigger than nearly the combined total of all other nations' military budgets. Even cuts in that budget of 50% or more would leave us with a bigger war budget than any other individual country.

And why the "quote marks" around War Department? That's what it is. It was plainly called that in WWII. We do not fight in defense of our nation. We fight offensively to claim territorial or political dominance, and to obtain dominance over global natural resources.

Your encomium to our fighting forces couldn't have been better put by the yellow journalists employed by William Randolph Hearst.

You also created a scenario of a "slut," an unwed woman mother to numerous children, each by an unknown father, and you posit that as "typical." (I don't suggest there are no such families.) How about the reality that most people in poor neighborhoods, even in slums, do work? They work at the kind of menial, low-paid jobs that more and more American are finding to be the only ones available anymore. They work harder for the little money they can obtain than many wealthy people do for the riches they enjoy.

In other words, your entire post was a straw man meant to show me as a big meanie.

I don't object if you think I'm a big meanie, but I do object to ridiculous suppositions being put forth as reality.

n.n said...

Some programs are no longer viable and can be aborted. Some programs can be consolidated (a la [class] diversity). Some programs are deprecated by other changes (e.g. revitalization, rehabilitation, and reonciliation vs redistributive change a la Fannie/Freddie, Obamacare, refugee crises).

n.n said...

Anyway, while the baby has been conceived, it is not yet born. However, it is late-term in its evolution, and the Choice is to either abort it or observed its development. The principles are right, it should produce a sustainable (long-lived) solution, but the changes will need to be comprehensive.

Martin said...

I always thought there was a decent rationale for Education impact aid, which goes back long before the Great Society.

Couple of other head-scratchers, but the vast majority will only be missed by their wrokers and direct beneficiaries.

Rusty said...


Not anymore. Remember: automation and outsourcing.

Because as we all know economics is a zero sum game. That means if someone has more than you they stole their excess from you. Nobody. Anywhere. Creates wealth out of nothing.

But here's a surprise for you. There are more blacksmiths in America today than there were in 1900. People still make buggy whips. They still build wooden boats.
Automation has been around since before 1800. So has outsourcing.
We're luck that a lot of the major automobile manufacturers and motorcycle manufacturers along with the worlds heavey machine tool manufacturers all outsource the building of their products to the United States.

Angel-Dyne said...

Birkel: Leave Robert Cook alone. Seriously, arguing economics with Robert Cook is a fool's errand.

Please leave him alone for the love of all that is holy.

It's sad, otherwise.


I wouldn't say that. Cook's confusions, wishful thinking, and states-of-denial about basic economics are sometimes a wonder to behold, but he does, in his vague way, hit on serious social/economic problems that aren't going to made to disappear by tax-cutting and de-regulation (however useful those strategies might be otherwise).

E.g., automation. Yes, it's laughable to think that employment reduction consequent to automation can be fixed by making lots of gummint jobs and taxing the hell out of the private sector, but that problem remains regardless. I think Cook correctly (if vaguely) grasps that there is no law of economics that dictates that lots of wealth automatically results in the broadly prosperous middle-class society that most of us tend to assume is the natural end of a free-market economy. It isn't. It works out nicely that way under certain conditions - e.g., the post-War U.S, where a huge chunk of the gains in productivity went into workers' pockets.

But a free market doesn't dictate that the gains in productivity be distributed to produce that happy outcome, regardless of the fantasies of the glibertarians. One can have a very wealthy society with stark wealth inequality, even with a high economic freedom, and without high levels of corruption and parasitical rent-seeking. (Cooks seems always to want to assign malicious human agency to such unequal outcomes, even if he recognizes impersonal causes, like automation. But he's not completely off there, either - our system is distorted by all the standard forms of cronyism and rent-seeking.)

This can lead to a lot of discontent, social friction, and worse (because Man does not live, or judge his lot, by big-ass HD plasma tee-vees alone). Cook doesn't understand economics, and he wants to blame "Rich People" for everything while ignoring every other factor that exacerbates existing socio-economic problems. But he does seem to intuit a deep problem that happy-clappy "conservatives" dismiss as easily solved with a few de-regulatory tweaks, and I'll give him that.

iowan2 said...

Robert Cook said...
"Raising taxes on corporations does absolutely nothing but bad. Nothing good can ever come of it. It should be lowered to zero."

Does this mean they'll drop the prices of their goods and services accordingly and proportionally?

5/25/17, 9:16 AM

You are so ignorant, you think pricing is determined by the seller. In fact it is determined by the buyer. In my business, certain sectors do not pay for themselves. Revenue charged does not cover expenses. I very simplistic terms, call it CODB. That's the free market.

Gahrie said...

Comrade Cook's Economic solutions always revolve around three ideas:

A) Weaken the US.
B) Increase the size and power of government
C) Steal more money from the wealthy

I wonder why?

Birkel said...

@ Angel-Dyne:
"One can have a very wealthy society with stark wealth inequality, even with a high economic freedom, and without high levels of corruption and parasitical rent-seeking."

Examples or you are full of it.

Gahrie said...

Now, if our civilization continues, there will come a time indeed when most "work" is done by machines and A.I.. We do need to be thinking about what this type of economy will look like. Another complication to throw in is the distinct possibility of increased lifespans. This itself can be complicated by the potential costs and access to those increased lifespans.

Potentially we could end up with a very wealthy, very long-lived ruling class providing bread and circuses to the shorter lived masses, until they decided those masses were no longer necessary and simply eliminated them.

I Callahan said...

I disagree with Cook much of the time while at the same time finding a lot of what he says quite insightful. It is disrespectful to dismiss Cook as an imbecile, as MK does, rather than either engage or ignore.

I find myself in complete agreement with ARM here. I don't understand RC's thinking, which is why I question his comments as often as I do. But that aside - he seems like a good guy, and I thoroughly enjoy the banter with him.

And this is not a slight against MK or anyone else that engages RC.

I Callahan said...

Does this mean they'll drop the prices of their goods and services accordingly and proportionally?

As long as they're not the only entity in the market - absolutely they will! At least one of the competitors will, which will force the others to do the same. We all win.

That aside - quasi-monopolies may not. But that's where government CAN step in and make sure that that monopoly doesn't block any other competitors from coming into the market. Oddly enough, the opposite happens, when those monopolies lobby government and get the government to lean on competitors.

Michael K said...

"It is disrespectful to dismiss Cook as an imbecile, as MK does, rather than either engage or ignore."

Cook in that comment series obviously did NOT understand the comment he referred to was sarcasm.

Go back and look. ARM has decided to have some some of vendetta and I am not participating. I have avoided commenting on his comments unless they are direct insults to me and then I have tried to ignore them.

I enjoy this forum and we have had a few very interesting discussions. Lately, mostly since the election, the leftists are very angry and seem to want to pick fights.

Cook is not an angry commenter and I have had a couple of exchanges that I thought were polite and pleasant but he is an ignoramus on economics.

ARM used to be a reasonable lefty but is more and more like Ritmo.

James K said...

"This statement incorrectly assumes cuts can be made to every department."

This statement incorrectly assumes cuts cannot be made to every department. Does anyone seriously think there's a government department that has no fat? You're also assuming that the only cuts are across the board. If you need to cut 20% overall, start at 5% or 10% across the board, then target deeper cuts where called for. The across the board part also helps sell it politically, as "everyone has to sacrifice."

Clyde said...

Wow, that's a lot of liberal rice bowls shattering.

Robert Cook said...

"Comrade Cook's Economic solutions always revolve around three ideas:

A) Weaken the US.
B) Increase the size and power of government
C) Steal more money from the wealthy"


How is cutting our bloated, boondoggle-bloated War Department budget "weakening" the U.S. Rather, funds diverted to the wasteful War expenditures can be spent on constructive ends here in the U.S. That sounds like strengthening the U.S. to me!

How is cutting our bloated, boondoggle-bloated War Department budget increasing the size and power of the government? Stripping war expenditures down to much smaller size sounds like putting the government on a diet to me!

Taking back money the wealthy have stolen from us is not stealing...it sounds like payback to me!

Robert Cook said...

"Potentially we could end up with a very wealthy, very long-lived ruling class providing bread and circuses to the shorter lived masses, until they decided those masses were no longer necessary and simply eliminated them."

Gahrie...for the very first time, you've said something sensible! Your extrapolation is a very distinct possibility.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael K said...

"Just state your thesis, and forget the bullshit."

So, only leftist theses are permitted ? Got it.

Cookie was not the person my comment to.

You're welcome. Who are you anyway ?

Jim at said...

Make it 166 programs eliminated. With more to come.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Birkel said...

So, do I have it correct that typing "you fucks" and "shut the fuck up with your spamming each other" is NOT "...directing comments to each other and... acting juvenile"?

Or is that meta-irony from the Nth dimension?

Or, more likely still, is that an attempt to derail the Althouse comment sections of its own unique variety?

Michael K said...

Just don't direct it at another member.

Got it?


You mean like you just did you troll ?

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Hmmmm.... If only there were a way to offset these paltry "savings". I know it! Tax cuts for billionaires and bloating our Mid-East rent-a-cop "defense" budget!

Trump is a douchebag. He specifically said he wouldn't cut Medicare and SSI. And now? Guess what!

In some of these decimated communities that were dumb enough to vote for this lying SOB con man, their local hospital/health system is the biggest employer. Guess they can now kiss that away.

Even the Republican Senate won't go for this stupid shit.

Trump is less competent than Carter, and rivals Harding - or even Andy Johnson.

Just take this guy out in handcuffs already. Every day that he continues to inflict his bullshit on the country is another step in his grand plan of turning us into precisely the sort of third-rate nation that one could then campaign on "making great" again.

And I always knew we made too little progress on fighting disease for CDC or NIH to matter. This is Trump's plan to make sure that we never get a handle on the next epidemic.

Birkel said...

I checked the blog for destruction but found it still loaded.

Birkel said...

@ Althouse

So a troll trolled at the end of this thread. And then deleted the comments. That is one reason to quote another commenter.

Thoughts?

Meade said...

"Thoughts?"

Quote freely but then attack (or defend) the quote, not the person you are quoting.