Reinforcing Failure

One of the great legacies of the Bush Administration is further proof that tax cuts work.  They stimulate the economy.  They put people to work.  They are a just-plain-good thing.

Now, the Bush Administration screwed up, and badly, by not cutting domestic spending.  Those of us who supported Steve Forbes up until the end of the 2000 convention are justified in going “I Told You So”.  And so we shall.  But Bush’s tax cuts have given us an economy that, by any rational measure (except Lexus/Nexus hits) is one of the best ever.

Oh, the Democrats will barber than they starve the government of revenue – which, of course, exposes the central problem with their thesis; the role of our society is not to keep government afloat first and foremost.

The Dems have that wrong – aggressively so.   And they want to “fix” that – to put government at what they call its’ rightful place in the fiscal food chain, way up front.

Jay Reding on the Dems’ plan to gut the US economy:

 To [re-raise taxes] would be to erase the millions of jobs created in the past few years, introduce a huge amount of uncertainty into the market, and ensure that businesses would delay job-creating capital investments until they know what the tax consequences of those choices would be. The Asian markets had a massive sell-off because of similar fears, and the same would happen in America if there was a credible threat of a major capital gains tax increase…However, the worst thing that could happen is for the Democrats to raise taxes, spurring another selloff and then add more to the already burdened entitlement system. That is also precisely what the Democrats want to do — which is why the President should be prepared to veto any bill that raises capital gains taxes beyond the current level.

The economic reality is that capital gains taxes are economically wasteful — they don’t generate much revenue and they hurt economic growth, reducing tax revenues in other areas. Even if a 0% capital gains rate isn’t politically acceptable, neither is a return to a time when capital gains rates were acting as an anchor on economic growth.

It’s here, again, that elections matter.  It’s here that we pay for having the likes of Amy Klobuchar and Tim Waltz in Congress; their philosophy is “government comes first”. 

58 thoughts on “Reinforcing Failure

  1. Now, here’s another story about funding for TBI’s. I’t essentially that same as the one you posted but with a bit more information.

    I liked this part especially.

    The Pentagon asked only for $7 million and didn’t respond properly when congressional staffers tried to find out whether it needed more money for the program, said Jenny Manley, a spokeswoman for the Senate appropriations committee.

    “The Pentagon needs to get behind the things that they want,” she said. “Otherwise, we’d just be kind of guessing about what they really need.”

    Pentagon budget experts did not respond Monday to a request for information on why they had not sought more money.

    So Terry, Congress did what was asked of it didn’t they. Oh and, by the way Terry, who establishes the National budget? Is it the President or Congress?

  2. Even your story doesn’t mention Bush or the Bush administration.
    This is not a national budget issue. It’s an appropriations issue. That lies with the congress. You are determined to somehow make Bush responsible for cutting the VA budget regardless of the fact that his proposed 2008 budget for the VA — the money he requests from congress — is 86.7 billion dollars ( ). That’s almost twice Bill Clinton’s last VA budget request.

    There is an interesting story in the back of this, I’m sure. Someone at the pentagon really does not like the BIC, and congress doesn’t seeming willing to back the BIC against the pentagon. Yet the generosity of this president towards vets (he is, remember, a veteran himself), measured by his requested funding of the VA, is beyond question.

  3. Titanium plates in my skull make it difficult to follow links! Ha ha! Droll fellow!
    How you must enjoy directing the lives of your ‘clients’. Strange, but the way I learned it a ‘client’ could fire his or her server. Guess it’s different when your in social work.

  4. Terry said.

    “How you must enjoy directing the lives of your ‘clients’. Strange, but the way I learned it a ‘client’ could fire his or her server.

    A. I don’t direct the lives of my clients.

    B. The clients that aren’t court appointed can fire me but that’s never happened. I have, however, fired several non court appointed clients who were incapable of following the program that we developed together. And I’m not a social worker.

    By the way Terry, to your point about National budgets vs. the Appropriations bills…

    The President proposes a budget, Congress drafts a budget resolution based on the President s requests. When passed, the various appropriation committees work within the parameters of the Presidents Budget to get the authority to draw money from the Treasury to pay for items. If there is not enough money in the budget for a particular department, the appropriations committees rob from Peter to pay Paul. They are forced to cut funding for TBI treatment and research so they can cover the costs of other VA areas.

    Also, it is the President that determines what function of Government will get what amount in the budget. If the Secretary of Defense doesn’t ask for enough to cover the costs of treating the troops suffering TBI’s, the President won’t put it in the budget. The Secretary of Defense is appointed by the President.

    I realize Terry that in your world, the President isn’t accountable for anything since NOTHING is his fault – unless he’s a Democrat. Then of course, everything is his fault.

    One other thing I wanted to point out to you Terry. Here’s another story about Bush cutting funding for TBI’s for the general population which also incidentally benefits Vets and active duty injured military.

    You’ll have to follow a link to the NYT from inside of this post but I think you can handle it.

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 – President Bush’s budget for 2006 cuts spending for a wide range of public health programs, including several to protect the nation against bioterrorist attacks and to respond to medical emergencies, budget documents show… …The budget would also eliminate a $9 million program for the treatment of people with traumatic brain injury

  5. I was listening to a Gulf War I vet speak last night. Among the many things he talked about, one was the mental damage soldiers on or near the front suffer. Out of the five people in his (I missed this word) group, three were now dead. One of a drug overdose and two of suicide.

    His name was now Diane so its conceivable that he’s had a bit of a weird time since the war as well. Actually, its amazing how many transgenders and transexuals that I’ve met that are Gulf War I vets. I’m all for people doing what they need to do, but the spike in the trend suggests some causal factor.

    Beyond that, the number of homeless who are gulf war or Vietnam veterans is shameful.

    I really have had no personal involvement with the VA and so cant’ say whether or not they’re doing well with the resources they have or not.

    However, I do believe our country has become very very good at turning civilians into soldiers but has fallen down miserably at turning soldiers back into civilians.

    Many are able to find their own way but too many don’t fare so well.

  6. phaedrus, what they’re seeing now is a huge number of guys coming back with pretty profound gambling, alcohol and drug problems. Also, the anger control issues – probably related to PTSD – are pretty bad as well.

    I’ve got two guys that I have been working with that have gotten into problems taking multiple pay day loans from internet based lenders – at 708% APR Interest. And no, I’m not exagerating. It really is 708% APR.

    I’ve been working to get Lori Swansons office to look into predatory lending against returning vets but all of these lenders seem to operate out of island nations outside of the US so it doesn’t fall within the Interstate commerce areas.

    The other thing that I am seeing a lot of is banks offering to refinace a vets home, they do a consolidation and then they give them an low rate ARM. The ARM goes up, the vet can’t make payments, The problem is that in most cases these guys unknowingly lose their VA secured loan when they do this so they don’t even have the VA to turn to for help.

  7. Doug-
    Your understanding of the federal budget process is flawed. The president’s proposed budget is non-binding. Congress and congress alone has the power to spend money and it can spend as little or as much as it wishes on whatever it wants. “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” only occurs if the congress wants to do so.
    The money cut from the TBI program was infinitismal compared to the 2.3 trillion dollar federal budget, and initismal when compared to the 30 billion dollar increase Bush has handed the VA so far in his administration. Neither of the two articles about the cut we’ve linked to here so much as mention Bush. The cuts are instead blamed on the pentagon. The program had so little support — two months before election day — that a drive to restore the cuts died without making it to a floor vote.
    Yet you wrote:

    The people I work with inside the VA are concerned that they are not equipped to handle the problems they are starting to see. Further, the funding for TBI’s is getting cut and there aren’t enough qualified caseworkers to deal with the number of guys coming back with serious psychological disorders.

    That’s directly related to the administrations failures Mitch and there is no one to blame but the President.

    Democracy in action just isn’t good enough for you, is it, Doug? Dare I suggest you’re not getting the full story from VA scuttlebut? Once you reach the point in your anger where you can somehow tie Bush into a narrative that reflects poorly on him, no matter how shabbily it’s constructed, your curiosity ends. You suddenly have _the_ answer. That’s called Bush Derangement Syndrome.
    Do you hold Bush responsible for the federal response to Katrina or do you hold him responsible for the creation of the Hurricane itself?

    I realize Terry that in your world, the President isn’t accountable for anything since NOTHING is his fault – unless he’s a Democrat. Then of course, everything is his fault.

    Then once again your concept of reality is badly off kilter. You’re just making things up now.

  8. Terry said,

    “Your understanding of the federal budget process is flawed. The president’s proposed budget is non-binding.”

    Until Congress passes the budget resolution. Which is determined by the Presidents budget proposal. Which is determined by the budget requests submitted by the 20 or so different agencies or departments that report to the President.

    “That’s called Bush Derangement Syndrome”

    That’s called a meme and it’s used to diminish or otherwise trivialize legitimate criticisms.

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