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The Culture War Over Our Fiscal Crisis

There seems to be no shortage of explanations these days for America’s political polarization: addiction to outrage, populist suspicion of elites, a psychological preference for revenge over compromise, racial and gender differences, even an epidemic of loneliness. And while some of these certainly have intensified the squabbling, it can’t be ignored how closely the rise of partisan acrimony has paralleled the country’s worsening fiscal crisis.

Ever since the fight over who rightfully won the 2000 presidential election, which to many seems like when normal political bickering escalated into something different, the national debt has grown [1] fourfold from $5.5 trillion to almost $22 trillion, or an astonishing $1 million per taxpayer. Increasing state and city liabilities for unfunded public pensions, which the Wall Street Journal recently estimated [2] to be larger than the entire German economy, have added trillions more.

Contributing even further to America’s growing debt problem are the predicted insolvency of its two biggest entitlement programs. According to their own trustee reports [3], Social Security will lack adequate funding by 2034 and Medicare by 2026.

The connection between fiscal stress and political polarization is not hard to understand, once we remember that most democratic elections are vote buying exercises. Those on the left are usually more blatant, offering voters some new or enhanced entitlement. But the right has its own expensive priorities and often feels compelled to counter with a leaner version of the Democratic agenda. Both parties claim they can fully pay for their respective promises but ultimately they always end up charging much of it to future generations.

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Historically, this vote-buying system works reasonably well—until the inevitable point when the interest on the accumulating debt begins to limit what the parties can realistically offer. And as it becomes clear that government will have an increasingly difficult time not only funding new benefits but making good on those previously promised, factions instinctively mobilize to protect their respective gains.

Those who have become dependent on government largesse or who have bet their retirement security on public pensions or who simply lack the skills to prosper are quite naturally attracted to redistributionist ideologies. Those who already pay most of the income taxes (as well as those who aspire to someday be similarly well-off) prefer for government to raise needed revenue by incentivizing work and investment.

Advocates of the latter can at least cite historical precedent. From the 1920s tax reforms of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon to President Reagan’s supply-side economic policies, dramatically cutting taxes and regulation has increased government revenues in the past.

But as Ray Dalio argues in his recent book Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises, it is possible for a country’s fiscal holes to become so deep that a growth-oriented tax policy cannot adequately fill them. This is the situation that America (and much of the industrialized world) has backed itself into over the last two decades, and it goes a long way towards explaining the bitter political divide.

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Despite the benefits of the 2017 GOP tax bill, concludes [4] Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius, the long-term fiscal outlook for the United States is still “not good.” Hatzius predicts that annual federal deficits will more than double within the decade to $2.05 trillion (7 percent of GDP) and warns that the country’s very stability is at risk when the next recession comes. Mercatus Center senior research fellow Veronique de Rugy nervously agrees. The continued rise in federal debt is “shocking,” she says [5], “considering the economy is growing faster than it has for a while. Even worse, there’s no end of that red ink in sight.”

As for states and cities, a December 13 report [6] by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) predicts a stormy fiscal future for many of them, with Medicaid and pension expenses continuing to outpace tax revenues. Indeed, the Pew Foundation has estimated [7] that even if state pension portfolios were to somehow grow at an historically high rate of 6.5 percent a year, they would still end up $1.7 trillion short of their obligations.

In other words, all levels of government are set to fall short of fulfilling their promises, no matter how much further unemployment goes down or the stock market goes up. And as the window to address this problem narrows, both the intended beneficiaries of government programs and those likely targeted to make the programs solvent are doing their best to undermine each other’s credibility, even over issues that have nothing to do with money.

All this is not to suggest that every extreme political position is based on a calculation of how it would impact the America’s fiscal crisis. But at the same time, it isn’t hard to predict where someone stands on almost any issue once you know how he or she relates to public programs: as a potentially vulnerable beneficiary or as a potentially besieged taxpayer.

Many knowledgeable observers, including Dalio, would argue that such political squabbling is ultimately pointless, as the outcome of America’s fiscal crisis is pre-ordained. History tells us that the only socially acceptable way for governments to manage unsupportable debt is by spreading the pain as broadly as possible, forcing every interest group—bondholders, taxpayers, recipients of public programs, government employees—to take a hit. That’s not because this approach is fair, but because shared sacrifice is the only way to stop a verbal civil war from becoming a real one.

Unfortunately, it is also true that what constitutes an equal sharing of local, state, or federal liabilities is open to considerable interpretation. A “fair” distribution of financial pain is, in the end, a compromise among elected officials who owe their positions in large part to the activism of their respective party’s most extreme and uncompromising voices.

Once more, the electorate’s eventual reconciliation to burden-sharing will open new political divisions that also must be healed, as each faction comes to terms with what it will sacrifice for the greater good. Do public employee unions do their part by accepting reduced retirement benefits or signing on to education reforms like school choice? Do taxpayers do their part by consenting to higher levies or reduced public services? Do Social Security recipients want lower monthly checks or a higher retirement age?

We are already seeing some of these intra-factional controversies play out in places like Atlanta, Detroit, Jacksonville, and Lexington (Kentucky). In these fiscally distressed cities, government workers, their pensions threatened by the prospect of municipal bankruptcy, have had to decide which is worse: salary cuts, workforce reductions, or offering fewer benefits to new hires. And in struggling Illinois towns like Harvey and Rockford [8], where local courts have ruled onerous pension obligations inviolable, it is the taxpayers who are choosing what to give up: the local library, summer recreation programs for the kids, or well-maintained roads.

There are also many who have profited from America’s debt problems (even illegally) and have no interest in solving them. As with company officials and union leaders who have successfully lobbied for unwarranted government benefits to doctors and home health care providers who annually commit an estimated [9] $41.1 billion in Medicare fraud, many know that the resolution of America’s financial crisis means more than a reduction of accustomed income.

Just as Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns had to be sacrificed during the subprime mortgage crisis as a warning to future generations not to repeat the same mistakes, so too will spreading the fiscal sacrifice around require the visible punishment of its worst abusers. The most unfairly subsidized industries, the most extravagantly pampered public employee unions, the most irresponsibly indebted cities, the most dishonest medical practitioners, and perhaps even one or two profligate states will have to serve as cautionary examples.

A day is coming when, despite all these obstacles, the public debt will have grown so large that bond investors will no longer support it. This will finally force all factions to negotiate a shared sacrifice. It will, once the hysterical screams have subsided, allow the strident political rhetoric to at last ebb. The bad news is that this collective economic pain will be far greater than it would have been had such an agreement been possible today.

Dr. Lewis Andrews was executive director of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy at Trinity College from 1999 to 2009. He is writing a self-help book based on the spiritual wisdom of America’s early college presidents.

33 Comments (Open | Close)

33 Comments To "The Culture War Over Our Fiscal Crisis"

#1 Comment By aidian On January 21, 2019 @ 10:33 pm

“From the 1920s tax reforms of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon to President Reagan’s supply-side economic policies, dramatically cutting taxes and regulation has increased government revenues in the past.”

Citation needed. The authors lost all credibility with this statement, but worse, the American Conservative lost a lot of credibility by printing it.

#2 Comment By Clyde Schechter On January 22, 2019 @ 12:15 am

Conspicuously absent from the litany of causes of our fiscal concerns are two major contributors: extravagant tax cuts during prosperous times when the money could have been used to shore up important programs or reduce debt, and our gigantic bloated military/”national security” budget.

I believe both of those will need to be among the cautionary examples when the reckoning comes.

#3 Comment By M. Orban On January 22, 2019 @ 1:49 am

So what was the Yankee Institute’s position on last year’s tax cut?

#4 Comment By Frank Speeking On January 22, 2019 @ 5:36 am

and meanwhile…

The World’s Top 26 Billionaires Now Own as Much as the Poorest 3.8 Billion, Says Oxfam

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#5 Comment By Frank Speeking On January 22, 2019 @ 5:41 am

“According to their own trustee reports, Social Security will lack adequate funding by 2034 and Medicare by 2026.”

if you think this is concerning, factor in credible projections that over the next two decades 40 percent of jobs across the globe—over the next two decades 40 percent of jobs across the globe— will be eliminated by the confluence of AI and quantum computing.

#6 Comment By JonF On January 22, 2019 @ 6:28 am

Re Those who have become dependent on government largesse or who have bet their retirement security on public pensions or who simply lack the skills to prosper are quite naturally attracted to redistributionist ideologies.

News flash: most of us have no choice about this. Private pensions are gone with the wind. The market is a crap shoot for suckers. We need to get serious about shoring up social security’s finances, and yes that will involve extending FICA taxation higher up the income scale. Deal with it.

#7 Comment By Kent On January 22, 2019 @ 6:58 am

I was hearing this kind of stuff 35 years ago when Republicans first ballooned the deficit, and I’ve been hearing it after every conservative tax cut sense. Is it just because Trump ballooned it this time that we have to run this kind of article?

Wake me up when someone wants to raise taxes back to 1960s levels.

#8 Comment By wake On January 22, 2019 @ 7:32 am

Gosh, does a Republican huge tax cut for the idle, and the resulting trillion dollar deficit in the middle of a strong economy play into this at all?

#9 Comment By JeffK On January 22, 2019 @ 8:32 am

This article is an incredible mish-mash of some truths, half-truths, random thought, and lies by omission, on a political problem that is sure to end terribly for 99% of Americans, and badly for another .9%. Only the .1% will get out of this in good shape.

Over the last 30 years The Elites have architected an economic system that delivers most profits to an increasingly small percentage of the population. For 75% of the US population, the rewards for day-to-day work are to barely get by. The Elites have accomplished this through bought and paid for politicians.

Stepping back, looking at the economy as a system, we see The Government pumping paper dollars into an economy that rapidly circulates them between government, workers, corporations, and investors.

The vast majority of these dollars are transacted electronically. As a percentage of the total dollar flow, physical dollars rarely change hands. Everything is electronic. Therefore, the elites are able to take their ‘share’ and ‘store’ these virtual dollars in accounts all over the world. Meanwhile, the American worker is a boiling frog. These workers don’t notice the massive accumulation of wealth by The Elites in their gated communities and portfolios, they just see themselves getting slightly poorer year by year.

If The US Government didn’t run up massive debts The world’s Elites wouldn’t be able to accumulate massive wealth. Period. Per the article below the richest 1% of the world own 50% of the worlds wealth.

Of course a small share of US taxpayers (The Elites) pay most income tax. They earn most of the money and have accumulated most of the wealth.

Imagine if, every day, you were forced to play a game of Monopoly to pay your bills. Imagine that in this game, the small number of winners (The Elites) from previous games (and their parents games) were allowed to keep their winnings from those previous games, yet still take their ‘stake’ at the beginning of a new game. Flush with cash from the beginning, they could buy every property they landed on, and then put up houses and hotels. Meanwhile, the Working Poor player would occasionally buy a property if the elites didn’t want it. Meanwhile, the price of housing rises every turn.

Working Poor players would just continue to play the game, going around and around the board, occasionally passing Go and collecting their $200. Eventually, The Elites would own all properties, the Working Poor would declare bankruptcy, go hone, go to bed, and wake up the next day to play another fruitless and pre-determined game.

The Elites see nothing wrong with this game. Why should they? They are comfortable. Their children’s prospects are great. They have vacations and health care. The police keep the rabble in check.

I have said this before, and I will say it again. When the next economic crisis hits it will probably be a doozy (since the distribution of wealth is now what it was right before the Great Depression). All of The Deplorables, with their ARs in their closets, may not roll over and acquiesce to The Elites next time around. Those ARs might just come out of the closet when the sheriff comes to take the house, or the hospital refuses treatment for their child.

The Elites should keep this in mind before they ask their bought and paid for politicians for yet another tax break. Our debt-fueled system enabled them to accumulate massive wealth. That massive wealth should be liquidated when capital markets determine it’s time to pay the debt.

75% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.
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Wealth concentration.
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Wealth concentration before the great depression (from The Christian Science Monitor – hardly a left wing rag).
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#10 Comment By JLF On January 22, 2019 @ 8:47 am

It’s hard for the “public pensioner” to feel sorry for the “besieged taxpayer” when the former’s existence is at risk while the latter continues to enjoy an income hundreds and even thousands greater. The fundamental problem is the distribution of risks and rewards, and the vaunted “free market” does nothing but increase that problem.

#11 Comment By S On January 22, 2019 @ 9:42 am

Perhaps if there was less welfare for the military industrial complex and wall street, the US government would find more money for common welfare. The corruption in the US government that prevents the government from negotiating with drug companies is definitely part of what would drive Medicare bankrupt. There is no real culture war. It is just a smokescreen designed to deter people from asking the right questions and reform the system. There are too many pigs feeding at the trough.

#12 Comment By joshua On January 22, 2019 @ 10:12 am

There won’t be a ‘shared sacrifice’. If history is any indicator the burden will be placed on the weakest among us as it always has been. It is natural that wolves pray on sheep. And when all the sheep have finally been devoured the wolves will turn on the weakest amongst them until all that is left are there young whom they’ll then devour.

#13 Comment By EliteCommInc. On January 22, 2019 @ 10:43 am

Supply side economic measures are hard to defend, there was increased growth of 1%. But the strategy overall, is almost as dicey as described by President Bush, “voodoo economics.” It’s predicated on the model of produce and people will buy. And the value of that model is akin to the way we measure gdp – not rooted in actuals but possibles. In the end the number of unanticipated factors, increased spending, market dips and narrow application diminished any potential gains — in that model there was little room for error.

production is no guarantor of sales.
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One of the reasons that our political leadership has been so careless about the debt is that most of it is owned by the US tax payer. So in their minds, there is little risk and the constant assumption (I guess has been – we van make it up). I guess we have been saying for more than thirty years. Ignoring the realities of cost inflation, decreased population paying in, those paying in are earning less in marketplace that has shrunk for them while empowering international corporate structures whose choices might not favor US tax payers.

In my view, the two largest concerns as expressed in the article have been empty of store since the 1980’s used as collateral for increased borrowing.
—————

Having removed any walls that restrict leveraging those measures of financial support as workers age and retire — deficit spending isn’t going to away anytime soon.

Walls are important artifacts and serve very useful purposes. They help manage what comes in and what can go out. Like other walls such regulations that limited financial instruments such as mortgages from predatory behavior. Walls that bar financial interests to unduly influence elected officials, remove these walls and whatever it was they were designed to do will have consequence. Fail to reinforce them and they will be undermined, scaled, bored through by those who simply don’t respect walls in lieu of their own interests — fail to invest in them because it’s just too much effort —

Soon you very enemies will be convincing you that no walls are in you best interest. And they will be telling you that as they cart away your assets, with a smile. Whether those assets are mortgages, stock portfolio’s, pension plans . . . cash, or your very identity.

Build the wall already . . .

#14 Comment By Thaomas On January 22, 2019 @ 10:58 am

There have been two important decisions bearing on the size of structural deficits in the last two decades: the GWB tax cuts of 2001 and the Ryan-Trump cuts of 2017. To be arguably a growth enhancing tax reform the changes have to be roughly revenue neutral. Neither of these were. Both just transferred income from everybody else to top income earners. This needs to be reversed with deficits being reduced to roughly zero or a slight surplus when the economy is at full employment and most of the increased revenue coming from the top.

#15 Comment By JeffK On January 22, 2019 @ 11:17 am

@S says:
January 22, 2019 at 9:42 am

“There is no real culture war. It is just a smokescreen designed to deter people from asking the right questions and reform the system. There are too many pigs feeding at the trough.”

Exactly. I thought of this too as I was writing my rant, but forgot to include it. The ‘Culture War’ is truly a smokescreen. The elites love both evangelical and progressive ‘cultural warriors’ since they are choosing to die on the wrong hill.

The Elites had better start spreading the wealth, or theirs will be taken from them. Either by the ballot or the bullet.

#16 Comment By MM On January 22, 2019 @ 11:49 am

JK: “When the next economic crisis hits it will probably be a doozy.”

I’m sure everyone would like to know when that’s going to happen.

And I’d like to know when California’s alleged housing bubble is going to burst again.

Which year/quarter should everyone plan for?

#17 Comment By MM On January 22, 2019 @ 12:07 pm

JonF: “The market is a crap shoot for suckers.”

So you don’t believe in taking personal responsibility and saving for your own retirement?

As someone who’s been saving a small share of my income in a diversified 401(k) for the past 15 years, and earning an annualized rate of return 10%, including the Great Recession years, I feel like a real sucker…

#18 Comment By Cratylus On January 22, 2019 @ 1:00 pm

The author cites 41billion in Medicare fraud. If true that is only 1% of the entire health care budget of $3 trillion.
Want a big saving? Single Payer programs in other industrialized countries operate at ~2/3 of our own, cover everyone and get better outcomes!
Right there we could save $1 trillion a year.
The national security state, that is, the Pentagon and CIA and NAS and ETC cost at least $1 trillion a year. (We do not know how much is hidden from us completely but we can leave this substantial amount out.). So let us cut that waste by 2/3 – at least- which means we will “only” by spending 3 times what the next largest military spends instead of 10 times as now.
Right there we could save $660 billion a year.
Add them together and you get $1.66 trillion a year to pay off the debt. Now paying off $22 trillion is in sight.
We could add to that a tax on extreme personal wealth, not productively invested within the US, and you see the goal even more readily achieved.
Strange that the author does not clearly mention the extraordinary waste in our system of ObamaCare/TrumpCare nor that of the National Security State, aka US Empire.

#19 Comment By Dale McNamee On January 22, 2019 @ 3:21 pm

I’m tired hearing about “idle rich” Social Security recipients…

Social Security is based on your earnings and if you hold off retiring and taking Social Security at 67, you get the maximum Social Security benefits…

My heart failed in 2007 and I was 54 then.

I tried to get SSDI, but the judge made her decision to deny SSDI based on her own thinking and ignoring what both Social Securty and my doctors offered as evidence that I was permanently disabled… I appealed the decision and actually had it mailed back to me unopened with a note that they had no interest in it…

My only option was to wait until I turned 62 to take early Social Security ( I wanted to wait until 65, but the income math wasn’t working ).

If I waited until 65, I would have received $1300+/month… I have been receiving $1000/month… Out of that, I pay Medicare Parts A & B, Medicare Part C & D… That leaves little left over for other bills,etc.

My wife also took early Social Security and pays the same Medicate costs… She also works and she has to watch her earnings since Social Security will make you repay their “overpayment” ( Note that : THEIR OVERPAYMENT ! ) And she has had to do so… And it hurt !

Also, if a single person makes $77,000/year or a married couple make a $155,000/year, they don’t get Social Security at all !

So, tell me about the “rich” Social Security recipients !

My late father-in-law worked for Social Security and noted that the “supplemental” programs ( SSI & SSDI ) were going to take money from retirees and help drive the system to bankruptcy… Along with fewer workers paying in ( the effects of abortion ) and people living longer…

And, Social Security was a big “slush fund” in the fact that any surpluses in it were placed in the “general fund” per law… And were never, ever, paid back !

And Medicare was raided to the tune of $500,000,000 to create Obamacare !

How’s that going for ya ?

#20 Comment By MM On January 22, 2019 @ 4:26 pm

Cratylus: “The author cites 41 billion in Medicare fraud. If true that is only 1% of the entire health care budget of $3 trillion.”

Actually, it’s more than that, and represents a large share of total Medicare spending:

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– $52 billion in improper Medicare payments, or 8% of total expenditures
– $37 billion in improper Medicaid payments, or 10% of total expenditures
– $16 billion in improper EITC payments, or 24% of total expenditures

That’s about $105 billion in just these three federal programs, or almost $300 million per day wasted.

And those are minimum estimates of waste and fraud, based on what the GAO could document.

And people think raising taxes, increasing spending, and giving the federal government more control is going to make those numbers go down?

$3 trillion in welfare and entitlement spending per year isn’t enough to improve the lives of beneficiaries and retirees who truly need help?

Please…

#21 Comment By Frank Speeking On January 22, 2019 @ 4:32 pm

“Dr. Lewis Andrews … is writing a self-help book based on the spiritual wisdom of America’s early college presidents.”

can’t wait to read what Dr. Andrews has to say about President Wilson—President of Princeton before he was President of the US.

#22 Comment By Anon2017 On January 22, 2019 @ 4:32 pm

@Dale McNamee @ 3:21pm

I don’t know where you get the idea that single people at full retirement age and earning more than $77,000 get no Social Security at all. You are just plain wrong. Single people with Modified Adjusted Gross Income of more than $85,000 are subject to surcharges on their Medicare Parts B and D premiums.

During the early 2000’s, millions of Americans voted against their economic interests by voting for politicians who promised to stop gay marriage and cut their taxes. Now they are paying the price.

On a pre-tax basis, I had recovered all of my Social Security contributions a few months before I turned 71. On an after-tax basis, I don’t expect my return from the program to be very good, but it’s better than nothing and i have never regarded it as anything more than a tax. However, I have done well with my muni bonds and stocks and have enjoyed retirement since age 57.

#23 Comment By Wilfred On January 22, 2019 @ 5:21 pm

Whoa. National debt amounts to $1 million per taxpayer?

$22 trillion divided by 300 million people amounts to $73 thousand per capita. I realize we might not have 300 million actual “taxpayers” in this country, since children, the poor, and scofflaws maybe aren’t really taxpayers, but to get to an indebtedness of $1 million per, you would have to count only 22 million residents as “taxpayers”.

Surely we have more folks paying in than that?

#24 Comment By EliteCommInc. On January 22, 2019 @ 7:20 pm

“Want a big saving? Single Payer programs in other industrialized countries operate at ~2/3 of our own, cover everyone and get better outcomes!
Right there we could save $1 trillion a year.”

I beg your pardon, those other states dwarf the US in population. If one applies the Australian model of care, the US still could not cover it without major cuts.

It was obvious that ACA was window dressing because it should ended Medicare, Medicaid and the SS provisions covering healthcare.

#25 Comment By john On January 22, 2019 @ 7:38 pm

With Social Security and Medicare threatened the United States pledges billions of dollars to Israel. Why shouldn’t people say to themselves that if the United States can send so much to Israel why can’t they keep Social Security solvent? And of course, the biggest recipient of government largesse to the tune of trillions of dollars is the financial sector with the initial bailouts and quantitative easing (money printing). So stop this nonsense about the social safety net when the biggest welfare recipients are the Corporations, the Banks, and Wall Street who socialize their losses and privatize their gains.

#26 Comment By JonF On January 23, 2019 @ 8:50 am

MM, I have. 401k. But I have no illusions that I will be rich because of it.

#27 Comment By Alan Vanneman On January 23, 2019 @ 9:02 am

What “aidian” said. I stopped reading at that point.

#28 Comment By wake On January 23, 2019 @ 9:31 am

@dale

If your comment referenced mine, (mine said the tax cut was for the idle) I was referring to the fact that doctors, lawyers, factory workers etc pay the same, in some cases higher taxes, while people who own similar companies but do not work at them got a tax break. Real estate developers got a tax break. People who own dry cleaners got a tax break, but people who work at the dry cleaner they own did not.

#29 Comment By MM On January 23, 2019 @ 10:45 am

JonF: “I have. 401k. But I have no illusions that I will be rich because of it.”

Are you calling yourself a sucker? Maybe you should put your savings under the matress, instead?

Most people will never be rich, by the way. And it’s not the government’s responsibility, on the backs of taxpayers, to make you rich via entitlements.

Doesn’t mean they can’t retire comfortably.

#30 Comment By The Other Sands On January 23, 2019 @ 12:55 pm

“Despite the benefits of the 2017 GOP tax bill, concludes Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius, the long-term fiscal outlook for the United States is still “not good.””

Yeah, turns out blowing a trillion dollar hole in the budget isn’t good for the “fiscal outlook.”

“From the 1920s tax reforms of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon to President Reagan’s supply-side economic policies, dramatically cutting taxes and regulation has increased government revenues in the past.”

Supply-side logic: if you repeats something a billion times, it suddenly becomes true.

#31 Comment By sglover On January 23, 2019 @ 4:53 pm

The authors lost all credibility with this statement, but worse, the American Conservative lost a lot of credibility by printing it.

What, like TAC has any to lose at this point? The “editors” at this rag seem to thing that becoming a way-station for Blut und Volk fever dreams is a desirable trajectory.

I’d love to see some TAC financial statements. I’d bet a week’s pay that the only thing keeping TAC shambling along is a couple-three crank right-wing oligarchs. In that circumstance “credibility” is entirely in the eye of the biggest wallet. One has to wonder — Outside of right-wing welfare, is Dr. Lewis Andrews even employable? That capsule CV at the end of the article looks mighty thin.

#32 Comment By JeffK On January 25, 2019 @ 10:40 am

@MM says:
January 22, 2019 at 4:26 pm

Blah, blah, blah leading up to “$3 trillion in welfare and entitlement spending per year isn’t enough to improve the lives of beneficiaries and retirees who truly need help?

Please…”

In 2017 the US had a $19.7 Trillion. In 2017 Total Federal Expenditure were 4.0 Trillion.

And you are saying 75% of Federal expenditures were for “welfare and entitlement spending”. Doesn’t pass the smell test. In fact, it’s a Logical Fallacy called ‘Lying with Statistics’ #70.

Your analytical skills are corrupted by your bias. Your propaganda skills aren’t much better, since it takes only a moment of thought to instinctively understand your posts are BS.

[15]

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#33 Comment By MM On January 25, 2019 @ 7:14 pm

JK:

You’re really not having a good couple of days, are you?

Again, this is pretty simple math, sir. You just have to have a curious mind and the ability to exercise it.

Means-tested spending by the FEDERAL, STATE, and LOCAL governments, which includes Medicaid and all welfare programs + entitlement spending by the FEDERAL, STATE, and LOCAL governments, which includes Medicare, Social Security, and public pensions, totaled over $3 trillion, and that was back in 2016:

[17]

I think you’re burned out on politics, frankly. Better get some rest, it’ll be good for the old ticker…

Oh, and when you can get around letting everyone know when that recession/bubble will burst, I’d appreciate it!