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Old August 1st, 2011, 05:37 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by myp View Post
Balanced budgets? Did you mean raise the debt ceiling?
No, I meant that if we passed balanced budgets, and did it on time, we wouldn't have to play chicken games.

The point is, how do we stop this from happening over and over again?
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Old August 1st, 2011, 05:51 PM   #42
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No, I meant that if we passed balanced budgets, and did it on time, we wouldn't have to play chicken games.

The point is, how do we stop this from happening over and over again?
Games are always played in negotiation- those won't go away. When it comes to balanced budgets- it is a tricky situation Federally since they have no capital budget but only an operating budget. That is one of the problems with the currently proposed balanced budget amendment.

Maybe if some sort of controlled capital budgeting were put in place along with a balanced budget amendment- that might work. The other problem though is in forecasting GDP, which is often wrong.

There are a lot of changes needed to get a better system in place, no doubt.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 03:54 AM   #43
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Problems, problems, problems, and more problems. This mindset is the only problem I'm worried about.

1) We need to clearly define the job. Say, passing a balanced budget by X date every year.

2) Then we need to have specific consequences that fall directly upon the congress people themselves, if they don't do their job.

Until the defined job is done, such consequences might include things like...

- No pay, perks or privileges. No parking spaces, gyms, cafeterias, etc.

- If budget is X weeks late, members agree to donate any funds they have accumulated for their next election to charity.

- If budget is Y weeks late, members agree to serve in their underwear. That is, if you refuse to do the job, public respect is withdrawn. Act like a clown, look like a clown.

If this is declared "unrealistic" then we can remind the members that the damage they do to regular people when they don't do their job is very real.

If people are losing their businesses and marriages etc, then congress can surely survive serving in it's underwear. I assure you that will only take a few days.

Each member can be asked to sign a pledge agreeing to such conditions. If they don't sign, then they can be asked why at every single public appearance.

We don't need muddle, problems and sophisticated analysis.

We need clear minded decisive leadership that puts congress in the hot seat, and forces them to cut the crap, or go home.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 07:42 AM   #44
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I'm all for putting more pressure on Congress (I would actually ideally put more than you stated- how about you can't run for reelection unless the budget or deficit is within x range (either balanced budget or a deficit within a range of GDP, I would probably go with the latter)?), but again, the problem stands that there is no capital budget for the Federal government. No capital budget means big expenditures in one year that are meant to be long-term investments (such as roads which they don't replace every year obviously) would fall into the budget of just that one year. That's in contrast to household and state budgets, which have capital and operating budgets.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 08:44 AM   #45
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Yes, but what you don't seem to grasp is that the underwear component of my proposal is absolutely crucial.

Unless the whole country can see flabby old senators giving pompous speeches in their underwear, we will be unable to achieve the state of jolly hilarity needed to get this economy running again!!!

Capital budgets? Why not build some of the roads this year, and some more next year?
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 09:09 AM   #46
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Roads are just an example. It can be anything- some things will cost a lot to build/create and it might have to be spent at once but might be used for years to come. Think of you buying a house- you pay a certain amount every year until it is paid off. So when you make your budget you set aside what you have to pay for every year- that is capital budgeting. Currently, the Fed govt can't do that and they pay for the "house" in entirety the year it is passed even if they will be using it for years to come. It makes a cap vs. GDP hard due to the fluctuations and makes a balanced budget hard to pass if one year you have xxx billion more in spending due to one project but not the revenue to pay for it (even though over 10 years when you use the project made by that spending, you might have that revenue).
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 09:13 AM   #47
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You like to list problems more than you like to solve them. If this keeps up, you will be required to post in your underwear!
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 09:28 AM   #48
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I am stating the actual problems that need to be considered in passing sensible legislation- it is not thinking things through that gets us in many messes we get in. The world isn't as simple and intuitive as some seem to think.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 11:02 AM   #49
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I am stating the actual problems that need to be considered in passing sensible legislation- it is not thinking things through that gets us in many messes we get in.
We've already hired somebody to deal with all these problems. They're called Congress.

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The world isn't as simple and intuitive as some seem to think.
Ah, but it is. If you would think it through a little farther, I think you'll see this.

Here's the solution to all the problems you are so interested in.

We the American people turn to Congress and say...

Quote:
"Bring us balanced budgets every year by X date. If you bring us problems, delays, excuses, finger pointing, rationalizations and game playing instead, we'll have to let you go."
Clear direction, and clear consequences. That's our job as the employer. Simple.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 11:26 AM   #50
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We've already hired somebody to deal with all these problems. They're called Congress.
That doesn't mean anything. How many problems have they solved over the last x decades? How many have they created? And how many of those "problems" are problems to some and not to others (they might even be benefits to others- special interests is a glaring example)?

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Ah, but it is. If you would think it through a little farther, I think you'll see this.

Here's the solution to all the problems you are so interested in.

We the American people turn to Congress and say...
First of all the American people do not agree 100% on everything- nor should they. Me and you and the rest of this forum is an example- we have different solutions and different goals, as do the politicians.

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Clear direction, and clear consequences. That's our job as the employer. Simple.
My statement from above stands. Furthermore, what is a balanced budget to you? How do you deal with large, necessary expenditures that have long term utility if you don't have capital budgeting? By throwing my question aside, you neglect an actual problem that the government has in all this (whether or not they realize it and by the looks of it a lot of the politicians don't). And since that's a problem, there are different solutions and different people have different ideas. It isn't the American people vs. Congress, it is more complex than that because some of the American people want one thing, others want another, some Congressmen want one thing, and others want others.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 01:47 PM   #51
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Ok, you win. I leave you to your never ending list of problems. Have fun with them!
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 01:50 PM   #52
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Neglecting real problems in these things is nothing short of fairy tale. I'd rather live in reality and consider problems than in a dream world where everything is perfect, but false
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 02:43 PM   #53
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You aren't living within reality, but within your own limited understanding of what leadership is.

The anti-tax activists took simple but decisive action, got lots of members of congress people to sign their pledge, and are now pretty much running the show, whatever we may think of their point of view.

Years ago I was involved in political activism here in Florida, and was one of a couple dozen citizens with no money or experience who lead an effort that changed one of the substantial laws of our state.

It happens all the time when folks finally get off their butts and apply determination and commitment to a clear goal.

Congress will do anything we tell them to do, if we present them with clear instructions and clear consequences. The instructions and consequences have to be simple, and easily understood by all involved.

Quote:
Do you promise that if Congress doesn't produce a balanced budget on time you personally will resign? Do you take the pledge or not? Yes, or no?
Simple.

Simple is what galvanizes people to action, and action by regular people is what is needed, not more "experts" like the ones who are currently driving the economy in to the ground.

Experts are the problem, not the solution.

Did you notice what the experts on Wall Street did? They created financial instruments so "expert" that even they didn't understand them, resulting in the near crash of human civilization.

Have you noticed that it's the experts in Congress who are so expert they've only passed a few balanced budgets in my lifetime?

You aren't being realistic, you're suffering from a defeatism brought on by experts who'd like you to believe that it's so complicated that only they can do it.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 03:18 PM   #54
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Except that people did understand them. Perhaps not the math and where the assets were split and joined, but they understood what they were if they took the time to actually look at the facts. After all, people wrote the algorithms that made those securities and other people did call the housing bubble before it burst. The rest of them were just too happy with the money and living in their fairy tale world to realize it.

And, why the attack on facts? I am not arguing based on ethos which you imply by saying that I am just saying what the "experts" say. Sure some of the experts might feel the same way (but most definitely not all- some experts will be right, others will be wrong), but that is mere correlation. I have provided potential shortcomings based on my readings and problems that have happened here and in other countries in the past. Should we not learn from our past?

But even in your example of getting people together as an activist- you undoubtedly faced hurdles in that, no? You undoubtedly faced political opposition. These are the things I speak of and they are very real. I am not saying things are impossible to do, but there are obstacles that need to be considered and overcome in any solution. By ignoring those obstacles, you are only going to make things harder on yourself when you either push through something that you end up regretting or show up looking foolish because you don't understand how things work.

But on a more on-topic note, I am questioning whether the balanced budget proposals in their current form are even plausible. You seem to think they are, I am not sure. And even in this microcosm of the whole debate, we see that there is opposition, despite us both being part of the "people".

Oh and the tea party isn't exactly in charge- big finance still is as it has been for a while now, but that's a topic for another thread
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 03:50 PM   #55
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Quote:
But even in your example of getting people together as an activist- you undoubtedly faced hurdles in that, no? You undoubtedly faced political opposition. These are the things I speak of and they are very real.
Sure, we had opposition. We ignored them. They sat on their butts, we didn't, we won. The deciding factor was what it always is, who wants it more, who is willing to act.

Quote:
I am not saying things are impossible to do, but there are obstacles that need to be considered and overcome in any solution.
I hear ya. I'm debating the general tone of your comments more than the particulars.

Mostly I'm debating because I like to debate. And performing a noble public service in filling your young forum with hot air content etc etc..

Quote:
By ignoring those obstacles, you are only going to make things harder on yourself when you either push through something that you end up regretting or show up looking foolish because you don't understand how things work.
But the key is that nothing will happen unless somebody acts. So unless we have a path to action, we have nothing, no matter how schooled we may be in the details.

To be fair, there's room for everybody. I'm writing more like a political activist, and you're writing more like a congressional staffer. I agree that we need folks who know the details.

But, if every time somebody looks like they might act we present them with a big list of problems, nothing happens, and the details don't matter.

Quote:
But on a more on-topic note, I am questioning whether the balanced budget proposals in their current form are even plausible.
Again, I will express my preference for simpleness.

- Most of the states have been routinely producing balanced budgets for years.

- If the feds don't do this too, we're all going to become Chinese slaves.

We do it, or we die. Simple enough?

You staff people can work out the details and fine print. My concern is that the issue be presented simply and clearly enough that regular people understand and demand it.

If that doesn't happen, we'll soon be too broke to able to afford staff people.

Quote:
Oh and the tea party isn't exactly in charge- big finance still is as it has been for a while now, but that's a topic for another thread
Right, I agree, the anti-tax activists haven't taken over the government, but they did get their way in the most recent circus.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 04:05 PM   #56
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Again, I will express my preference for simpleness.

- Most of the states have been routinely producing balanced budgets for years.

- If the feds don't do this too, we're all going to become Chinese slaves.

We do it, or we die. Simple enough?
Do you know why states can have balanced budget amendments? Because every state has a capital budget That was my primary worry about these bills in the first place as I described above.
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Old August 7th, 2011, 05:42 AM   #57
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As i feared, the Senate killed it so it's back to the beginning with just 2.5 days to go..
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Old August 7th, 2011, 02:05 PM   #58
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As i feared, the Senate killed it so it's back to the beginning with just 2.5 days to go..
Plagiarism is illegal.
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