Monday, September 18, 2006

Delawareliberal on Mike Castle's Special Interest Legislation

Nothing says wonky so much as a multipart series requiring solid homework. Jason at Delawareliberal is wonking up a a storm with his multipart series on Mike Castle's narrowly crafted legislation that seems designed to benefit the biotech company Syngenta. Read the series from the beginning: Part I, Part II, Part IIb and Part III.
And be sure to read Part IIIb, which features this comment from Dave from FirstStatePolitics on why we can't afford to go back to PAYGO, the principle of paying for spending increases when they are enacted:
I am against PAYGO right now because politicians are impotent when it comes to fixing entitlements, and that will result in colossal spending increases, which would mandate colossal tax hikes. If the spending can be curtailed, then we can go with PAYGO. I'm not against it in principal.
The impotent politicians he refers to are of course all Republican. The impotence he refers to may or may not be related to the inconvenient fact that the GOP has been in control of the White House and both house of congress for the last four years.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No. Get the blame right, Tom.

The Republicans, along with the Democrats, are responsible for the spending boom.

The Republicans alone are responsible for the deficit boom, due to the combination of the spending and tax cuts.

But the Democrats are responsible for Social Security not being fixed. The Republicans offered a plan. The Democrats countered with nothing but a combination of blocking without offering a plan of their own and the pathetic claim that Social Security is fine. The impotent politicians in this particular situation are the D's. Being the majority party is clearly different than being a filibuster-proof majority.

Yes, the R's are responsible for a lot, especially on spending, but not this.

9:51 PM, September 18, 2006  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

You've got the blame right in saying that "the Republicans alone are responsible for the deficit boom."

The current federal budget deficit has nothing to do with Social Security. The SS Trust Fund has a huge surplus and will for a long time.

To eschew PAYGO because you see a problem with Social Security down the road is just passing the buck--in this case to future taxpayers who will have to shoulder the burden of the growing national debt.

9:34 AM, September 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm passing the buck?!?!?!

I'm perfectly happy to trade off. I'll support PAYGO right now, if entitlements are addressed, right now. Like I said, I support PAYGO in principle.

The FIRST Paragraph of the most recent Trustee's Report on Social Security and Medicare:

The fundamentals of the financial status of Social Security and Medicare remain problematic under the intermediate economic and demographic assumptions. Social Security's current annual surpluses of tax income over expenditures will soon begin to decline, and will be followed by deficits that begin to grow rapidly toward the end of the next decade as the baby-boom generation retires. Expenditures of Medicare's Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund that pays hospital benefits are projected to exceed taxes and other dedicated revenues in 2006, with annual cash flow deficits expected to continue and to grow rapidly after 2010 as baby boomers begin to retire. The projected growing deficits in both programs will exhaust HI trust fund reserves in 2018 and Social Security reserves in 2040, under current financing arrangements. In addition, the Medicare Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Fund that pays for physician services and the new prescription drug benefit will require substantial increases over time in both general revenue financing and beneficiary premium charges. As Social Security and HI reserves are drawn down and SMI general revenue financing requirements continue to grow, pressure on the Federal budget will intensify. We do not believe the currently projected long-run growth rates of Social Security or Medicare are sustainable under current financing arrangements.

2006? 2010? 2018? This is happening now.

10:23 AM, September 19, 2006  
Blogger jason said...

Maybe Bush could have "fixed" Social Security better than he fixed New Orleans or Iraq - but I doubt it.

A stronger economy based on low national Debt and energy independence would take the pressure off.

3:37 PM, September 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was no filibuster threat to kill Bush's Social Security privatization scheme. Because of Republican defections, the plan didn't even have a simple majority. Bush counted the votes and withdrew the plan rather than take a defeat. The plan, and its failure, belong to Republicans alone.

5:03 PM, September 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They didn't need a filibuster threat, because the Democrats marched in lockstep opposing the plan and went into vulnerable R districts and told seniors the big, fat lie that the GOP was going to take away their benefits. And Nancy Pelosi squashed any and all Democratic counter-plans, including I didn't support but were worthy of debate, like Wexler's.

When Social Security is on the table, and you don't offer a plan of your own, you have failed. This is laid at the feet of the Democrats.

10:16 PM, September 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So... after Bush's Social Security scheme was shot down by his own party, why didn't they adjust the plan to make it acceptable to the majority? why wasn't the plan revised and re-introduced?

Instead Republicans withdrew the plan ("Privatization or nothing!") and went to sulk in the corner and blame Democrats - fortunately the voters can see through that lie.

If Republicans want to lead on Social Security they should shut up and lead and offer an acceptable plan.

9:30 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

I guess I'll have to return to the subject of Social Security again. Look for something in the next few days.

10:22 AM, September 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul Krugman quoted in Wikipedia:

[T]here is a long-run financing problem.

But it's a problem of modest size. The [CBO] report finds that extending the life of the trust fund into the 22nd century, with no change in benefits, would require additional revenues equal to only 0.54 percent of G.D.P. That's less than 3 percent of federal spending — less than we're currently spending in Iraq. And it's only about one-quarter of the revenue lost each year because of President Bush's tax cuts — roughly equal to the fraction of those cuts that goes to people with incomes over $500,000 a year.

Given these numbers, it's not at all hard to come up with fiscal packages that would secure the retirement program, with no major changes, for generations to come. (from "Inventing a Crisis"[12] New York Times, Dec. 7, 2004)

Also from Wikipedia:
nine proposals for fixing Social Security.

12:21 PM, September 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Also from Wikipedia: nine proposals for fixing Social Security."

Don't show them to Nancy Pelosi or they will be crushed and destroyed, never to be seen again by mortal man.

4:47 PM, September 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't show them to Nancy Pelosi or they will be crushed

What's stopping the GOP from introducing any of them and ramming them through on a party-line vote?

7:40 PM, September 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that a serious question?

8:43 PM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

Dave, I can't offer an opinion on the question in question.

But, based on the overwhelming interest in the subject, I have started one of my trademarked multi-part series on Social Security. I know you'll want to be there.

9:09 PM, September 20, 2006  

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