Friday, October 22, 2010

Pondering ...

40 comments:

Kristen said...

That's powerful stuff.  I've been so heartened over this last year as normal Americans have started to pay attention to what government is doing, and to respond with righteous fury.  The liberals have always depended on an unknowing and uncaring population to achieve their goals.  I hope those days are gone for good.

spek said...

But only 17% of the budget is non-defense, non-entitlement spending.  You can play with that all you want, and not make a dent in the deficit.  Real change will only come when you talk seriously about cutting defense spending, raising the retirement age, cutting medicare and...raising taxes.  If you look at what the Brits are doing - it's bold and it's political suicide and will be very painful, but it's forward thinking and will pay off in the long run.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Defense is a mere 22% of the budget.  And "entitlement spending" is a place rich for cutting.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

<span>Defense is a mere 22% of the budget.  And "entitlement spending" is a place rich for cutting.  As is an ever-growing Federal Government.  </span>

Eliminate Department of Education.

Eliminate HUD.

Eliminate ALL (including US Military) Diversity Directorates.

Eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency.

Eliminate all but a small skeleton of DHS outside the operational structure.

spek said...

True but not included in that 22% is billions in unfunded liability over the next 50 years for our veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq.  We sent them over there; some got hurt.  We owe them an irrefutable debt, but aftercare, rehabilitation, counseling, and for some - 100% caregivers is going to be hugely expensive.  Forgive my ignorance -I'm not sure if VA services comes from the Pentagon budget or not, but this money gotta come from somewhere....and needs to be offset either from increased tax revenue or cutting other programs. 

And you forgot to cut Homeland Security.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

You gotta be kidding.  There are about 40,000 wounded from both Iraq and AFG.  You actually think such care is going to add up to a significant total?  The stimulus package cost more with a swipe of a pen than the Iraq War has from 2003 to this morning.  By nearly $130 billion.  Given the CBO estimate of the stimulus costing $839 billion dollars, if that money were divided among the 40,000 wounded, it would represent about $21,000,000.00 per service member. 

And you missed my last line about cutting DHS.  

Cutting $100 billion out of the Defense Budget per annum will reduce the debt accumulated at current rate by approximately 5.8%.  For the cost of gutting national defense, you make a gesture and continue to spend on all things welfare.  How Clinton/Carter of you.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

<span>You gotta be kidding.  There are about 40,000 wounded from both Iraq and AFG.  You actually think such care is going to add up to a significant total?  The stimulus package cost more with a swipe of a pen than the Iraq War has from 2003 to this morning.  By nearly $130 billion.  Given the CBO estimate of the stimulus costing $839 billion dollars, if that money were divided among the 40,000 wounded, it would represent about $21,000,000.00 per service member.   
 
And you missed my last line about cutting DHS.    
 
Cutting $100 billion out of the Defense Budget per annum will reduce the annual debt accumulated at current rate by approximately 5.8%.  For the cost of gutting national defense, you make a gesture and continue to spend on all things welfare.  How Clinton/Carter of you.</span>

Quartermaster said...

Powerful stuff, as Kristen says. Jeff Nyquist has been saying the same thing as the Prof's last line. It's also a very real possibility. The debtor is the servant of the lender. In this case the most likely word we'll need to use is slave.

spek said...

I never said anything about not cutting enttitlement and social programs spending.  Nothing should be immune from cuts.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

On that I certainly agree. 

As for the estimate of "some economists", the figure of $900 billion was bandied about for OIF and OEF Veterans' long-term care.  Well, the number of wounded vets with moderate or severe brain injury, about 4,000 total, and the number of severe wound/amputees (not double counting) is about 1700.  That is 5,700 people for $900 billion, for long term medical care. Or, about $158 million per Veteran. 

I have quoted you above what that number divides into for the 40,000 wounded between the two operations. I have a Purple Heart, so I should get my $21 million.  I dunno about you, but I can't even get Lipitor paid for.  Whereas the twenty mil would buy a lot of Lipitor and back injections.

Let's just say some "economists" are trying to bamboozle to prove a political point.  It isn't the Defense Budget, nor the cost of the wars, that is causing this hemmorhage of debt.  They just want you to believe that it is.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Put that commercial on several times during each episode of The Colbert Report; Jon Stewart; Oprah; The View; South Park; Glee; Mythbusters Obama Episode; The Simpsons, and every 20 minutes on MTV.

ewok40k said...

Well, US actually needs to improve its education services and cutting homeland security when the AQ is training a new wave of convertites plus is seeking to gain new "martyrs" on US soil is simply suicidal... While I cannot agree more on Diversity Directorates, heh. Simply get a way to discipline the vast beaurocracies. streamline them and make them do the job they are supposed to do, efficiently. Without them no modern country can function, for good or worse.
Make schools again places where children learn to love their country, do math and understand Shakespeare.
Concentrate R&D spending on achieving energy independence... fusion, better, safer fission reactors (which can double as a naval propulsion), electric and hybrid cars, revival of the railways. Wind turbines and solar panels will be a fragment of puzzle too, but not a solution in themselves. Moon trip? Hell yes, but make it a part of Helium3 energy source development. And do it before Chinese beat US to the moon.

Eric Palmer said...

I guess you can't build an economy on flipping houses. Who knew? Ditto about NAFTA and the free trade fanatics (vs. fair trade).

As for anything Defense related, we need to figure out an exit strategy from WWII and bring most of the forces home from Europe.

Fed spending? No more borrowing--period. dot. live within our means and pay off the debt.

ewok40k said...

Regarding medical reform: conduct review of what services state can afford to guarantee citizens. Make estimate, how much can we spend on the health services, then make a basket of affordable ones. Start with those that with least financial input give the greatest lifesaving effects - e.g. vaccinations. Drop the costliest, cutting edge therapies for rare diseases.
As for the defence sector, I am afraid US has locked itself into the box of ever-smaller, ever more high-tech, ever costlier systems that cant be serviced by anyone save highly trained professionals who do cost a lot too.  Tech advantage isnt always the silver bullet, if enemy can outproduce you 10-1. Ask Germans how Tigers and Me-262s went against Shermans and Mustangs. But US cant simply go back to the massed armies of yesterday because of political impossibility of draft and tech requiring professional users. No easy solutions here.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

ewok,

The bureaucratic side of DHS has grown exponentially to become a self-contained impediment to mission success.  The agencies that reside there are hampered constantly by their own organizational umbrella. Get rid of it.  Leave a skeleton info sharing and policy staff only.  Everything else, including those thousands of six-figure positions that contribute little and detract much, goes away.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

"<span>Regarding medical reform: conduct review of what services state can afford to guarantee citizens."</span>

No, no, and NO!

Providing medical care is not the role of government.  The health care provided by government will be poor quality, inefficient, outdated, and exceedingly costly, and the government will have but a small fraction of the capacity of private hospitals. 

Not only that, but the government will use its position as the regulator of private hospitals and insurance companies, who would then be de facto competitors, to water down ALL health care to the level of what the government can provide.  All the efficiency of the Department of Motor Vehicles, all the compassion of the Internal Revenue Service.

ewok40k said...

Alternative is 60-80% of society with no health care at all... Enjoy your epidemics in walled-in settlements for "haves" if you are one, have you ever read "Mask of the Red Death"?
Private health industry, all the efficiency of the pirania school, with compassion of the same.

GIMP said...

Defense spending does need to be cut, and the cuts need to come from weapons systems.  Big Navy's bright ideas of balancing the budget by delaying promotions while simulatneously accepting cost overruns on weapons systems is lost on nobody.  Basically, if you're on active duty you know your leadership refuses to do the most basic leadership thing, which is take care of your people.

We accept cost overruns and install new gear (USS ENTERPRISE / JADOCS) for a ship that's only going to cruise once more.  LCS - seriously?  USS SAN ANTONIO - we paid for that?  Our budget isn't being drained by retirements, it's being drained by overpaying for garbage that doesn't do what it's supposed to do and costs more than the contract said it would.

Instead of recapitalizing by buying new toys, we need to put some serious cash into training our sailors to coorectly maintain the gear we have now.  You can't get a sailor to school on PCS because it's too "expensive" to train them, and no squadron can afford to send them because they have no TAD budgets.

I think it's too expensive not to train our sailors and to buy pieces of sh*t like the USS SAN ANTONIO.  The Navy should literally not pay for that ship or anything like it.  RAAF isn't paying for Wedgetail.  Late, over budget, and doesn't work right.  Keep it.

The only hope for the DoD budget is serious reform.  Don't let anyone who retires work for the defense industry and watch how quickly prices come down.  Failed acquisitions are killing DoD, not retired PO1s who put in 20 years for $1800/mo.

I must have missed the leadership seminar on "screw your people first."  Some leadership.

Aubrey said...

That is a load of crap Ewok - you've been watching too much Michael Moore.

I've seen government run health care in action in Canada - there is a reason why anyone in Canada who can scrape together the cash (outside of the insane taxes they already pay) comes down to the US for care.

Government-run = inefficient, ineffective, unresponsive
Private-enterprise = innovative, efficient, responsive, effective

Simple enough to me - as an American the only obligation the government has to me is to NOT come between me and the choices I make about my healthcare. Anything else is not just intrusive, but is a big, glowing neon sign-post on the road to European socialism. And I do not want to go there.

Aubrey said...

I should clarify - the only obligation the government has in regards to healthcare.  It has other obligations to me, as I do to it outside of that arena.

Aubrey said...

Ewok,

This country was founded on the concept of local control of the education system - and it worked pretty freaking well for 200 years. The Ed department was a Carter creation, and is still an ongoing effort for the left to get overall control of the indoctrination of the next generations.

Since you cited a book in your plug for socialized medicine above, I will cite a book here - go re-read "Brave New World" and understand that is where federal/national control of education and child-rearing get you.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Ewok,

The debate about healthcare is really about health insurance, and the rising cost thereof.  Which is because of an exceedingly permissive litigious atmosphere with astronomically high awards for "negligence" rather than malpractice, that drive up the costs of every last phase of health care.

Obama's assertion that hospitals perform procedures to make money alienated many in the otherwise solidly liberal industry.  Hospitals perform those long lists of tests and procedures (some of which they do not see a dime for) because that partiicular protocol has been proven to survive in a neglect or malpractice trial.  So that when some 87 year old smoker with COPD gets admitted and dies two weeks later, the family cannot get a $8 million settlement because the hospital was neglectful in failing to run a full (and expensive) set of lung tissue tests on the old gentleman.

The people who benefit most?  Trial lawyers.  Almost entirely liberal Democrats. 

Tort reform.  That would NOT benefit the lawyers.  So they hate the idea.  But how else does one stop the costs of health care from rising at five times the rate of inflation? 

Sure as hell isn't a government takeover.  Ask Massachusetts, Oregon, and Hawaii, all of whom have tried it and all of whom are deeply in the red because of it.

Anonymous said...

<span>

What a bunch of crap coming from a bunch of lifers that will suckle from the government their entire life. Can't start life on your own? Join the military, make it twenty years and have life time b<span>enefits. </span>.

</span>

Casey Tompkins said...

Um, Ewok, do you really think people without a health-care plan or service aren't in fact taken care of in the US? If so, you are hideously mistaken. Not to mention you fail to cite the survival rates amongst European plans compared to those in the United States, especially cancer. Clue: we kick serious buttocks in terms of overall mortality.

To put it another way: your plan gives more free government services, but our plan gives longer life spans. Think about it.

Skippy-san said...

What is probably most disturbing about your point of view is that you basically are stating that you will allow people to made to suffer when they don't have to.  As was proven again and again in the health care debate-allowing universal access to health care is not the same as government run healthcare. Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, have all proven that it can be done-and done well.

Furthermore, the "runaway spending myth" ignores some basic facts too. Krugman has been pointing this out for days-and while I realize most of you guys don't believe him even when he is right-perhaps you should run the numbers your self. No giant expansion of the welfare state — just business as usual in the face of a horrific slump. Government spending is at the same curve it has been for the decade-revenues have dropped a lot however. Has a lot to do with tax cuts and the recession.

Byron said...

What, they get crappy health care and half pay for 20 years of being away from their family, never being there for the important parts of your kids life, like when they were born? The high divorce rate because young wives have a hard time taking the pressure of being mom to kids and knowing daddy is thousands of miles away and might be killed at any time?

Shove it, you anonymous jackass. Not only is your statement an insult to the military who stood watch for 20 years, it's also piss poor and shows the depths of your stupidity.

C-dore 14 said...

Guest, Yep, it's quite the gravy train.  I've often wondered why the line of applicants doesn't stretch out the recruiters' door and around the block.

Those benefits, that you're attempting to use to discredit other reader's comments here, are also known as "conditions of service" and have been earned by much more than just "gutting it out" for 20 years.  Don't know about the rest but the government got its money's worth out of me and I'm not apologizing for what I receive from it now.

Byron said...

You earned every nickel of it, C-dore, every damn nickel. Hell, we owe you and those like you much much more. Only far left wackos like "guest" who will never understand what willingly placing yourself between the citizens of this republic and an ugly death really means. He'll never understand the hardships or the cost to the families that stay behind or get drug from one duty station to another. Or what it's like for your kids to go to a half dozen schools before they graduate high school.

No "Guest", you'll never understand what career military people sacrifice so you can sit on your fat ass and take nasty anonymous pot shots at honorable people. Get stuffed, you pompous coward.

Bubba Bob said...

If our health care system worked, there would be good reason for wanting to keep it.  However, if you compare it with the rest of the world, the only thing we are number one in is cost.  In the reform debate anyone who says our current system works, clearly has not used it.

Last year I paid $25,000 to an insurance company for a family of seven.  We had two soccer physicals.  $25,000! Life expectancy, low; infant mortality, high.  When third world countries have better health care than us and the only thing we are number one in is cost, anyone who says the system works is a brainless ideologue parroting the party line.

Compare the Navy's system with the nation's.  I have been treated for a serious injury by a 1st class with a High School diploma; his work was so good, twenty-five years later a plastic surgeon asked where the work was done.  At sea, on a frigate.

Navy healthcare is socialized medicine and it is light-years ahead of what we have now.   

Bubba Bob said...

I ain't changing my opinion based on contrary facts!

UltimaRatioRegis said...

What "guest" really needs is to be lying with his leg in tatters on some filthy street somewhere slowly bleeding to death and screaming for his mother.  Then he can note whether it is some AFSCME employee or a US serviceman risks his own life to drag him to safety. 

But, of course, he won't ever be.  Because he would never stoop so low as to serve his country.

Bubba Bob said...

If you don't have free trade; you don't have freedom.  

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Once again, Bubba, the issue is not availability or quality of care.  But cost.  Specifically that which deals with insurance at all levels. 

Tort reform.  Without it, all of the rest is rearranging deck chairs.  Obamacare is akin to opening the scuttle valves.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

<span>What "guest" really needs is to be lying with his leg in tatters on some filthy street somewhere slowly bleeding to death and screaming for his mother.  Then he can note whether it is some AFSCME employee or a US serviceman who risks his own life to drag him to safety.   
 
But, of course, he won't ever be.  Because he would never stoop so low as to serve his country.</span>

ewok40k said...

URR, he doesnt even have enough courage to sign a name nor even a pseudonym...

Aubrey said...

By the way, the issues of infant mortality and life expectancy are completely false arguments.  There is no standard for reporting those numbers, so each and every country takes its own tack.  Why does Japan show a much lower infant mortality rate than the US? Because their health care is better? No - because they do not count a baby as a live birth if it is not breathing, whereas we do that baby as a live birth if it shows any signs of life at all. Those numbers change even more when you count in premature births and neonatal care. The upshot is, our numbers show the US with a "high infant mortality rate" - measured as a the ratio of deaths of infants under 1 year of age per 1000 live births - because of differences in stats, not because of our supposed horrible health system.

C-dore 14 said...

Byron, Although our girls had mixed emotions about moving around both now admit that they benefited from it in the long run.  Regarding pay, Mrs. C-dore reminded me this AM of the old wive's cliche that the first 10 years of retirement pay was really the overtime that they hadn't gotten around to paying you while on active duty.

As for "Guest" I'm guessing that he was a one tour JO or EM who got out because he was so much smarter than the rest of us.  Perhaps some time ago too since I haven't heard the term "lifer" much since the early 70s.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

I disagree to the extent that I think he never served. Ever.

In any case, he says the retirement is too good. The recruiters have been open way past business hours since 60+ years ago, so he didn't like the bennies near enough to want the job, or couldn't hack the program.

If any of it, any at all, was easy, they would have just hired a civilian contractor. Gold braid and gold hash marks are paid for by those who wear them, and they don't come cheap.

And he's welcome, it was an honor and privilege, even if he does have to look up the last three words before the last comma.

Skippy-san said...

If it is replaced by the Hobbesian helll that the Teabaggers want to shove us into-that's not a change for the better. 

<span>"The cuts that the GOP and Tea Party candidates are proposing - what they're actually saying, as opposed to what their mindless acolytes think that they're saying - aren't even enough to cover the $3.7 trillion cost of extending the Bush tax cuts for another decade, let alone reduce the deficit.

And no, the tax cuts aren't going to expand the economy enough to pay for the tax cuts. How do I know that? The fact that they didn't in their first ten years is a pretty good indication of what the second ten years will bring. Even if there was that much economic growth, it would be swallowed alive by steadily increasing federal deficits. The only real non-political competition between Democrats and Republicans seems to be which can bankrupt the country the fastest."
</span>

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Skippy, you constantly push the Marxist-Leninist workers' paradise, so your economic analysis might just be a little suspect.