Oct 18, 2013 at 11:47 am #1308884
Didn't take long to use the new credit card.
Can't wait for the economy to finally get some good growth % and have inflation jump to double digits.Oct 18, 2013 at 5:48 pm #2035419
Go ahead…i'm fully expecting to be the "sacrificial lamb" here….(sigh)Oct 18, 2013 at 7:01 pm #2035433
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
Let's give credit where credit is due. When Clinton left office in 2001 we had balanced budgets. What happened after that? In increasing order of contributing to our national debt:
1. War in Iraq. A war of choice.
2. War in Afghanistan. Another war of choice. (I don't recall Afghanistan attacking the USA.)
3. The Bush II tax cuts. Never intended to be temporary and a classic and undisguised plan to buy Republican votes with taxpayer dollars.
[These are documented, my fourth is my personal opinion.]
4. Reaganomics. Accurately described in 1980 as voodoo economics by Reagan's running mate George H. W. Bush.
Made deficit spending ("borrow and spend") politically correct for Republicans and encouraged unneeded and excessive off-budget funding for defense.
Don't get me wrong – the Democrats are also to blame, maybe equally. When they controlled government the handouts were massive and vote-buying too. Occasionally however Democratic programs benefit all Americans, not just the wealthy and middle class. I'd rate that coincidence more than public spirited – when it comes to the prime mover among politicians each party is the same. All are more interested in election/re-election than the public interest.
I wish there were some way to throw all of them out.Oct 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm #2035436
The other big factor is that the recession caused less taxes, more spending on things like food stamps.
A big reason for the recession was the deregulation that occurred during Clinton, pushed by Republicans, Clinton went along with it, so maybe equal blame to both.
Got to include how Brooksley Born tried to reign in derivatives but she was smacked down by the weasle Greenspan, and Clinton administration people like Rubin, Summers, and Levitt, so place that blame mostly on Clinton.Oct 18, 2013 at 8:37 pm #2035458
N/M had my facts wrong.Oct 19, 2013 at 3:35 am #2035491
A huge amount like $17T, there are going to be more than just one or two reasons. Adding to the above, let's not forget our foreign misadventures in Iraq and Afhhanistan! If folks like Mccain had their way – we would have sunk into the expensive quagmire that is Syria – and who knows where else!Oct 19, 2013 at 6:07 am #2035500
Richard's #1 and #2 are Iraq and AfganistanOct 19, 2013 at 7:09 am #2035511
Now that we found a way to blame the republicans. Of course Obama is doing something about the deficit, "the deficit is failing at it's fastest level ever" is because it was $1,100,000,000,000.00 in a single year under his watch. He has never completed a budget cycle.
By the way, the "Bush tax cuts" had the greatest tax rate reduction in the lowest bracket, 15 to 10% and benefited the largest group of people.
Also, tax receipts, I refuse to call it revenue – you have to work for revenue, are the highest ever last year. They were previously highest under Bush not Clinton.
Clinton is always looked at as an economic model, he was at the right place, right time.
Huge reductions in defense spending, huge productivity increases due to technology, expansion of a global economy and unprecedented growth in the stock markets.Oct 19, 2013 at 8:04 am #2035523
U.S. Embassy Tanzania
U.S. Embassy Kenya
With the possible exception of the Khobar Towers, all of these attacks have a nexus to Afghanistan and state sponsored terrorism. Had I been the Commander in Chief, I'd have fought it another way (to win), and with more troops, but I completely support our war in Afghanistan. Paraphrasing General Colin Powell, you avoid war at all costs but when you commit, you fight it and win it. Our problem is not our military but the inept civilian leaders which are handicapping them; both Bush and Obama.
History has shown that sticking our heads in the sand and begging the terrorists to stop attacking us is ineffective.Oct 19, 2013 at 9:09 am #2035531
Agree totally – the "Powell Doctrine" – we should have quickly completed Afganistan – the U.S. soldiers are great, generals not so much, civilian leaders committed war crimes as far as I'm concerned
I think the lesson Bush II learned, was that when his father attacked Iraq, that war ended too quickly so he didn't get re-elected
So, Bush II stayed in Afganistan long enough to get re-elected. Killing 100,000s of people just to get re-elected is a war crime in my book.
Hard to criticize Obama too much though, he ended one war and is well on the way in the second war. Things are way too complicated and unknown to us whether he could have ended them sooner, which would have been better, which is my criticism.Oct 19, 2013 at 9:15 am #2035533
"Now that we found a way to blame the republicans."
The Republicans indignantly claim that the Democrats are responsible for the deficit, but they are, if anything, more responsible themselves although there's plenty of blame to go around.
You are one sided and only blame Obama, but at least you don't do Hitler mustaches.
I am objective and see blame on both sides, but correctly put more of the blame where it belongs, on the Republicans : )
And the over-riding problem is that we allow almost unlimited political spending (bribes) which both parties partake. The Republicans though, are part of the current Supreme court case to allow even more bribes, so once again, they are worse, objectively speaking.Oct 19, 2013 at 11:46 am #2035561
Richard's #1 and #2 are Iraq and Afganistan
@ Jerry – Oops, how right you are! Well, let's say it bears repeating…
@ian – Sure, we can easily destroy a country like Afghanistan or Vietnam overnight if we really want to. But let's face it – exterminating an entire people or nation is really not an option this day and age. So IMHO, anyone who believes we can control a nation that flatly refuses to be controlled is failing to learn the lessons in both Nam and Afghanistan! They will simply let us in – then bleed us with a thousand cuts!
And so long as enough people still hold to the view that more boots will guarantee ultimate victory – I believe this nation will again be tempted to repeat its folly. As they say – those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And one ingredient to learning a lesson like this is humility – a quality now sorely lacking in the world's sole superpower.Oct 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm #2035569
Saying Bush sent men and women to die for his re-election is irrational.
I do agree that there's too much money in politics. The public sector unions are a conflict of interest and they should not be able to make political contributions.Oct 19, 2013 at 1:18 pm #2035579
"Hard to criticize Obama too much though, he ended one war and is well on the way in the second war."
Not true, Jerry. We are still sending in replacement troops and equipment (ie: fresh meat). Obama has actually tried to cut a deal to keep our forces there indefinitely. Look it up. I know for a fact my son is over there installing million dollar generators right now. Why do that if we intend to leave in 2014? Afghanistan is too strategic to just up and leave. Iran would just waltz in like they did in Iraq. If we really wanted to win the hearts and minds over there, we'd be installing septic systems, toilets and clean water for them, instead of high-tech generators they have no hope of understanding or maintaining. All part of the Military-Industrial complex. Obama is just as bad (or worse, based on his rules of engagements that are getting our troops killed over there), than Bush. Both awful, in my opinion. Sad.
MattOct 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm #2035584
"History has shown that sticking our heads in the sand and begging the terrorists to stop attacking us is ineffective."
History has also shown us a few other things that we still seem to have trouble understanding: 1) No foreign power has ever succeeded in subduing the Afghans, they just don't make very good pets; 2) That when we are constantly fighting "terrorists", year after year, always in their countries, we might do well to reflect on just why it is that they are willing to fight and die in such large numbers to take a few of us with them; 3) and to reflect even further on why it is that we have never prevailed in a single one of these fights. Hint: It is not solely because we have handcuffed our military. It wasn't true in Vietnam or Iraq, nor is it true in Afghanistan. Nor will it be true if we are foolish enough to invade Syria or Iran, particularly the latter.
Perhaps it is time to figure out what it is that has them so riled up and deal with these root causes politically and economically. To do otherwise is truly sticking our heads in the sand and will eventually bleed us white economically, socially, and politically.Oct 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm #2035585
"And one ingredient to learning a lesson like this is humility – a quality now sorely lacking in the world's sole superpower."
When you are a super power, humility comes one hard lesson at a time. Some learn it more quickly than others. In that regard, we are clearly not the brightest bulb in the chandellier.Oct 19, 2013 at 2:08 pm #2035588
"Saying Bush sent men and women to die for his re-election is irrational.'
There's no taped recording of him saying that, you have to add 1 + 1
Bush Jr, before being elected president, said:
"‘[My father] could have done anything [during the Gulf War]. He could have invaded Switzerland. If I had that political capital, I would have taken Iraq.”"
Mickey Herskowitz was hired to write autobiography of Bush Jr. but they fired him because he wasn't sufficiently positive about Bush. He spent many hours interviewing Jr. He said the Jr. told him:
“One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief,” Herskowitz remembers Bush saying. “My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of [Kuwait] and he wasted it. If I have a chance to invade Iraq, if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.” Herskowitz later says he believes Bush’s comments were intended to distinguish himself from his father, rather than express a desire to invade Iraq.
It's kind of hard to figure why Jr. attacked Iraq. None of the stated reasons are rational.
But he talked about "if I have a chance to invade Iraq", being a great leader by being "seen as commander-in-chief", and "if I have that much capital … I'm going to get everything passed I want to get passed"
The only thing that makes sense is that Bush invaded Iraq for political reasons. Can't prove it beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law though. Herskowitz adds that disclaimer so it's not clear.
I don't think it irrationalOct 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm #2035596
I'm almost finished reading a book by Rory Stewart (Scottish writer/adventurer/historian) called The Places In Between.
It is the account of his walk across Afghanistan in 2002.
Reading that it becomes very obvious why an army can't win a war there.
You can spend a lot of money trying, but can't win or really change anything.Oct 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm #2035597
From now until February 7, 2014, the U.S. Department of the Treasury can borrow as much as it pleases. Jack Lew and company aren't wasting any time. From October 16 to October 17 (that's overnight), public debt outstanding jumped $328 billion, from $16.747 trillion to $17.076 trillion. To be clear, that $328 billion has already been appropriated – approved by Congress – so it's not new spending. Still, the Treasury Department sure has gotten the new fiscal year off to a bang of a start, eh?
Wow. Just, wow.Oct 19, 2013 at 5:04 pm #2035617
"Sure, we can easily destroy a country like Afghanistan or Vietnam overnight if we really want to. But let's face it – exterminating an entire people or nation is really not an option this day and age. "
Who said that? Please don't put words in my mouth. Exchanging gun fire is a small (but extremely important) part of modern war fighting. There are other missions which need to be accomplished, much of which is logistics for not only our military but for the country we've occupied. It's far easier to keep land once you've seized it than it is to continuously seize it over and over again. For that you need boots on the ground.
"As they say – those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
Obviously this cliche needs modification to "those who selectively study history are doomed." Hell, America has already forgotten about 9/11 so how can I expect for anyone to understand the post WWI mess that is the middle east today.
While you guys are gushing over Clinton, you seem to selectively forget that he starved our intelligence community of funding and our military was defunded in a way to make it lean but not mean. I'm not speaking about the troops themselves but adapting the equipment and mission to the future of warfare which isn't an ocean of Soviet tanks in the farmlands but terrorists in a multitude of theaters.
You are also forgetting the series of terrorist attacks (which I so kindly listed for you) which were for all intents and purposes unanswered by the U.S. On top of this, we removed our troops from Beirut after the barracks bombing under Reagan and Somalia after the battle of Mogadishu (again Clinton). We taught the terrorists time and time again that if they strike us, we'll do nothing in return and it took them parking a couple airplanes in American skyscrapers for the U.S. to finally get into the business of killing terrorists like we should have been doing all along.
I don't disagree that our war in Afghanistan should have began after the Soviets left using our civil affairs to help them build up their infrastructure. We didn't and allowed for Afghanistan to become the terrorist cesspool it was on 9/11.
But maybe I'm wrong. Let's send an envoy over to the 'stans and tell them how super sorry we are, open up some dialogue where we can all share our feelings, and see how it works out.Oct 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm #2035620
" Let's send an envoy over to the 'stans and tell them how super sorry we are, open up some dialogue where we can all share our feelings, and see how it works out."
That would be funny, but, unfortunately, i'll bet that is what will happen very soon.Oct 19, 2013 at 6:05 pm #2035626
"To be clear, that $328 billion has already been appropriated – approved by Congress – so it's not new spending."
You got that part right.
"Still, the Treasury Department sure has gotten the new fiscal year off to a bang of a start, eh?"
What do you expect them to do, take one in the chest for Congress? They're doing exactly what they're supposed to do, indeed have to do.Oct 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm #2035629
"You are also forgetting the series of terrorist attacks (which I so kindly listed for you) which were for all intents and purposes unanswered by the U.S. On top of this, we removed our troops from Beirut after the barracks bombing under Reagan and Somalia after the battle of Mogadishu (again Clinton)."
All of this is related, Ian. Since we're on the subject of history, you would do well to question why we had Marines in Beirut in the first place, intervening on the side of Christian factions in a civil war that was none of our business in the first place. Ditto Somalia. The rest, as you say, is history. As long as we are intervening in other peoples' countries, occupying them, breaking their furniture, violating their customs, leaving nothing but destruction and chaos in our wake, there will be retaliation at every opportunity they can find, e.g. the embassy bombings, Khobar towers, WTC, Westgate Mall, and on and on. The sooner we get the he!! out of West Asian countries and work on solving the root causes of their anger, the sooner we will see an end to what you call terrorist attacks, and the sooner we can start to regain our own freedoms that have been lost in the war on terror. How many failures will it take? Do you think for a minute that we won in Iraq? Are winning in Afghanistan? It will be the same in any other country in that part of the world. As I said earlier, they don't make very good pets. Meantime, the Chinese are slowly catching up with us and gobbling up oil contracts all over the place, a huge copper mining contract in Afghanistan, for which we provide the security, etc. Some victory, huh?Oct 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm #2035631
as long as we're talking history and 9/11
before 9/11, during Clinton, there was a plot called Bojinka where Al Queda was going to hijack airplanes and crash them into buildings in the U.S.
maybe more due to luck or whatever, the plot was discovered and prevented
then the Clinton administration was on high alert trying to prevent another plot. When the Bush administration came on board, many Clinton people warned their Bush counterparts – Clinton, Gore, whoever was replaced by Rice, etc.
The Bush administration arrogantly ignored this and was asleep to the 9/11 attack, more into planning an Iraq invasion, at least that's what some Bush caninet person said, Treasury or something, I forget
Not that they could have prevented 9/11, but they could have at least tried
That's what we should be doing (intelligence) instead of military actionsOct 19, 2013 at 10:48 pm #2035663
"Who said that? Please don't put words in my mouth."
I did. My post, not yours.
"You are also forgetting the series of terrorist attacks (which I so kindly listed for you) which were for all intents and purposes unanswered by the U.S."
Read up on our history. We the United States have time and time and time again coveted others' land and wealth while cloaking our greed in moralistic terms. Since the Indian days of old, we have invaded their lands and then decried the "need" to defend our women and children who were scalped and butchered by "savages". And we said back then that failure to respond would encourage more savage acts – but we wilfully neglected to look into why those women and children were there in the first place.
Nowadays, we don't occupy lands outright but we insist on 'control' and we define anything and everything that happens anywhere in the world as part of OUR national interest! Yes, I mentioned humility… and I see its absence at work here in some of these posts. Arrogance on the part of our political leadership. And ignorance on the part of the herd. The lethal combination leads to our repeated interventions in the affairs of others – which serves as fuel to the fire that is increasingly harder to keep in control.
And when our president makes state visits abroad nowadays – the security detail reaches grotesque proportions. But it's a dangerous world out there? Yeah, but who helped make it so by grandstanding (and worse) as the world's lightning rod?
So yeah, instead of humbly looking at how we need to think and behave differently – we can expect some of the 'patriotic Americans' here to just dumb down and mock the entire issue by suggesting 'we all say super sorry' or maybe do a kumbaya of sorts and there will be world peace…
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