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US budget deal: Winners and losers

Mark Mardell | 18:17 UK time, Saturday, 9 April 2011

Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief. Everyone in my family, that is. We are about to take some holiday, spend some time taking friends round the sights of Washington DC and then visit a national park. Now these attractions will stay open for business.

A park ranger at the Bunker Hill monument in Boston, Massachussetts

I am sure many Americans share this sense of relief - that their government has not shut down, and for more serious reasons than mere avoidance of holiday season disappointment.

There's little doubt that it would have made America look rather ridiculous and people would have blamed politicians as a class.

But who are the winners and losers?

The Republican leader, Speaker John Boehner, is a clear winner. Had there been a shutdown, his party would have suffered, and his authority would have been damaged. He negotiated skilfully between the Democrats and his own ardent members and won a deal that many independents will welcome as sensible and necessary.

For the Tea Party movement, too, it is a success. They have made their agenda Washington's agenda. They have stiffened the steel in their leadership's spine to hold our for deeper cuts. But if they complain that this is not enough, or that they've been betrayed, they will look petulant and fall into a Democrat trap - that of looking and sounding like extremists.

The social conservatives, for a time insisting on a rather incoherent anti-abortion policies tacked onto the budget ("fungible money" doesn't make it into a soundbite), risked disaster for their party.

They appeal to a minority in the country and look politically irresponsible - a danger to their party's electability and the purity of the Tea Party's economic and constitutional messages.

The Democrats as a whole don't come off well. They look like realists, but they've given a lot of ground. These cuts will hurt their natural supporters and undermine plans and projects dear to their hearts. The tactics were quite skilful but I can't see the strategy .

President Obama has made the best of a bad job. He has tried to celebrate the agreement as the American virtue of compromise in action. He made himself look like an honest broker, standing for sensible compromise, rather than the deeply involved player that he is. He did a good job of making a shutdown sound really scary, and so pushing the Republicans towards a deal. But once again he looks like a skilful chairman, rather than a leader. The cuts he has had to accept will, I imagine, undermine important parts of his programme.

With bigger battles ahead, over the 2012 budget, the debt ceiling and the deficit, President Obama has yet to explain how he will fund hope and pay for change. By welcoming the deal, as he must, he has embraced a pared-down vision, accepted something smaller and meaner than he offered in 2008.

It was obvious this blow was coming after last year's elections, but it is a serious blow to the presidency nonetheless.

I'll be back in a couple of weeks.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Everyone will claim they won. That's fine. The public won because the shutdown was avoided.

  • Comment number 2.

    Mr. Mardell,

    I hope you and yours have an enjoyable vacation!

  • Comment number 3.

    I completely agree GH1618.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Mark, I think you described the outcome pretty well. Boehner, IMO, gets major credit for making a deal and walking way with much more then what was expected. As you said, he was very clever in negotiating with Democrats by adding items he was willing to compromise on but they were not.

    My understanding is Boehner will now push to pass Paul Ryan’s fiscal 2012 budget plan, which cuts $6 trillion in government spending over the next 10 years. And to add spice to the stew, he still has those items Democrats were not willing to walk away from still in the mix.

  • Comment number 6.

    Mardell - you REALLY need to stop hanging around your journalist pals and DC and New York and talk to people who might have a different view. Maybe on this vacation you will talk to someone in a Wal-Mart or Target or a burger joint in Philly. Maybe you will go to a NASCAR race or go fishing in Minnesota or see Cape Canaveral. Because you really don't have a clue about how a lot of Americans feel. Better yet, go to a place like Kings Island or Cedar Point and stay at a Hampton Inn or Hilton Inn, try the free breakfast and talk to the person filling the coffee pot or making the omelets.

    Now, just look at this column for my humble analysis.

    YOU:
    Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief. . . . .I am sure many Americans share this sense of relief - that their government has not shut down, and for more serious reasons than mere avoidance of holiday season disappointment.

    ME:
    Hardly - now we continue to grossly overspend, in 5 weeks spending more than the UK does in a year, and borrowing 40% of it or more. $38 Billion is Chump-change when Obama increased the budget by over $1 TRILLION (or $1,000 Billion for you Brits) in 2 years. Many of us think this insanity must stop.

    YOU:
    There's little doubt that it would have made America look rather ridiculous and people would have blamed politicians as a class.

    ME:
    The US would look ridiculous? Like the European scramble to prevent Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain (and the Euro) from collapsing? In Spain, with a 20% unemployment rate, they are being ripped for having a deficit of just under 10%. Here, Obama is targeting a 40% deficit this year and next and only 35% the following year, and you think closing the government for a day would make us a joke?

    YOU:
    The Democrats as a whole don't come off well. They look like realists, but they've given a lot of ground. These cuts will hurt their natural supporters and undermine plans and projects dear to their hearts. The tactics were quite skilful but I can't see the strategy .

    ME:
    Democrats are "REALISTS"? Only if your reality has orange skies and money oozing from trees. They had months to pass the budget THEY waited and the failed, over and over. They could have passed a budget last year, when they had total control, they could have passed it in December, knowing that Republicans would be taking over the House, but they abrogated their responsibility. THEY FAILED and you call them "realists"? Is failure the only reality you know?

    YOU:
    President Obama has made the best of a bad job. He has tried to celebrate the agreement as the American virtue of compromise in action. He made himself look like an honest broker, standing for sensible compromise, rather than the deeply involved player that he is. He did a good job of making a shutdown sound really scary, and so pushing the Republicans towards a deal. But once again he looks like a skilful chairman, rather than a leader.

    ME:
    Could you identify ONE time in the last 3 months prior to last night that Obama got involved? How many times did he call Boehner? None. How many times did he tell Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi to work out an agreement? None. Obama was out to lunch, but being clueless and a liberal are positive things for you. He did NOTHING except sign the bill.

    The Republicans screwed up badly when they had a chance to do something, because they were afraid of losing, and they still lost. I really hope they learned a lesson from that debacle. People like you will never like Republican policies, because they assume you have to have a level of responsibility you would rather dump on the Government. There is no simple fix, but based on what I see of Europe, the failures there are far worse than those here.

    YOU:
    I'll be back in a couple of weeks.

    ME:
    Have a good time. I just got back for the Grand Canyon - fantastic. Or the Smokey Mountains. Or Cape Hatteras. Or Arcadia National Park. All fantastic sights, and I hope you enjoy it.

  • Comment number 7.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 8.

    The U.S. and local governments should cut ALL funding to all health and human service non-profits. The government can't oversee it's own spending, much less provide oversight of non-profits and their use of federal dollars. The idea that Planned Parenthoods abortion activities are not enabled by government funding is laughable. It's like claiming that a food-stamper buying alcohol and tobacco with their "own" money, is not being enabled by their WIC card. Defund them all...and put the money against the deficit.

  • Comment number 9.

    6 escapedfromny,

    “The Republicans screwed up badly when they had a chance to do something, because they were afraid of losing, and they still lost.”

    I disagree. This “loss” as you call it was small potatoes compared to what comes with the 2012 Budget fight. Shutting down the government over a relative pittance worth of difference in dollars would have been childish. Remember, Boehner originally proposed cutting only 32 billion dollars and only later increased it to 60 billion dollars. Democrats originally proposed 4 billion dollars in cuts and later raised it to 30 billion dollars. The final deal was for 38.5 billion dollars in cuts. Now, do you really think shutting down the government over less than 22 billion dollars is worth doing when they’re about to debate cutting 600 billion dollars a year for ten years? I don’t.

  • Comment number 10.

    6. At 21:35pm 9th Apr 2011, escapedfromny wrote:

    Best post I've read in a long time.

  • Comment number 11.

    9. At 22:07pm 9th Apr 2011, rodidog wrote:

    YOU:
    I disagree. This “loss” as you call it was small potatoes compared to what comes with the 2012 Budget fight.

    ME:
    I was referring to 2001-2007, when Republicans made noises about being fiscally responsible, but screwed up. Believe me, there were a LOT of Republicans who were furious at the congressional leadership and even GW Bush for not fixing things. They made noises about it, but they got so much blow back from the press and the Democrats that they ran away from even trying. I know a lot of people my age who don't expect the government to take care of us in our old age, and are afraid of what will be expected of us and our children if it tries.

    YOU:
    Shutting down the government over a relative pittance worth of difference in dollars would have been childish. Remember, Boehner originally proposed cutting only 32 billion dollars and only later increased it to 60 billion dollars. Democrats originally proposed 4 billion dollars in cuts and later raised it to 30 billion dollars.

    ME:
    If it is a pittance (and I agree that it is), then why shouldn't the Liberals and Democrats cave? After all, it's only a pittance? It's not like we are cutting a trillion dollars. No, they are interested only in keeping the spending levels as high as possible. Look at how they whined day after day over such small amounts. I had my senator's aides tell me that out of $1.4 TRILLION, he could find only $6 BILLION that could be cut. That's absurd. GE or Exxon could cut that amount and no one would notice. Heck, there are probably 100 corporations that could do that, and keep all services, but in DC, we cannot get rid of more that .03% of the budget without bringing the world to an end. And I am supposed to TRUST this guy?

  • Comment number 12.

    ---and still 1% of Americans have 20% of its wealth.

    ---and 10% still have 90% of its wealth.

    --- and laughing at the "suckers" ---all the way to the bank !

  • Comment number 13.

    It's interesting that Republicans never mention "defense" spending when they get so indignant about the budget. But questioning why we are still involved in two overseas wars isn't "patriotic", is it? All this teabagger nonsense started when the Dems dared to try to spend more money at home. What about the monstrous deficits incurred during King Bush's reign?

  • Comment number 14.

    quietoaktree, (#12. At 22:45pm 9th Apr 2011)

    ”---and still 1% of Americans have 20% of its wealth.
    ---and 10% still have 90% of its wealth.
    --- and laughing at the "suckers" ---all the way to the bank !”

    Thanks for the trenchant, penetrating insights. I doubt that anyone other than you was sensitive to that reality, and I thought the unwarranted attack at a group was particularly revealing. It is always illuminating to read your posts.

  • Comment number 15.

    As #13 Scott pointed out wars cost money -- there is no MacWar !

    --and AIPAC made clear to our representatives --- Israel´s billions was more important to America than planned parenthood or the American environment.

  • Comment number 16.

    The losers are the majority of the American people..although most don't realize it. As far as I believe, governments were formed to take care of each other, not to wage wars. We all contribute to help the sick, the young, the weak...not to invade far off countries and support a huge military and weapons complex.
    Since when has taking care of the sick and elderly, educating our young, and making sure everyone has a safe place to live become un-America? Socialism, Entitlements, are dirty words, while waging wars, killing and maiming our young, and no taxes at all for the very wealthiest, both individuals and corporations, have become patriotic.

  • Comment number 17.

    Scott: "It's interesting that Republicans never mention 'defense' spending when they get so indignant about the budget."

    I suppose the phrase "to provide for the common defense" means little to you, but I tell ya what, I'm a Republican who's actually open to such cuts if they are made responsibly; where in the defense budget would you like to see cuts made?

  • Comment number 18.

    Brilliant comments and rebuttals, escapedfromny. Either Mr. Mardell, who has undoubtedly never ventured outside an American city with a pop. of less than 100,000, either still doesn't get America after all his time here, or he's just another another liberal mouthpiece in the left-leaning press. His continual attempts to paint the US as a fundamentally liberal country are painfully transparent. Most Americans are downright sick of it and are tuning it out in droves. With the exception of Fox News, ratings for all the cable news networks are in the tank - and yes, we know that Fox has a lot of Republican cheerleaders, but at least they aren't always trying to disguise their bias or getting caught manufacturing stories like their competition (when they say "fair and balanced" they mean compared to everything else). The American people aren't just tired of the illegally elected President and his anti-democratic cronies shredding the Constitution, their mad as hell about it! This country has been on a downhill trajectory since Bush I, and every successive administration has put their foot on the gas. Something like the Tea Party doesn't just appear magically, and you can't blame it on the Republicans, either - their just as scared of a grassroots uprising as the Dems. In fact the GOP has a lot more to lose from a Tea Party ascendant. Its no shock that the big government racists in DC attack this growing segment of largely white, middle class wage-earners..they've been doing it unceasingly for forty years! But why is the rest of the world so upset? The Tea Party wants the US *out* of foreign wars in which there is no vital national interest, they want a balanced budget, they want streamlined immigration policies, an overhaul of the Patriot Act to protect our civil liberties..seriously, if you're one of the innumerable nations that still somewhat rely on a strong American presence in the world, what's not to like?? Common sense Tea Party solutions are the only road to preventing a real, and probably permanent shutdown of the federal machine. The very fact that a federal government shutdown can shake so many people tells you everything that's wrong with this nation. When nearly 20% of the working population is dependent on Washington for their paychecks, and when 40% is on public assistance and nearly 20% don't work at all..? That's not a strong nation, that's another Greece waiting to happen. As others have stated, the idea that we can't trim more than 0.1% from the budget is ludicrous. We can either reign in spending now and reform this country from the top down or we can pay a terrible price later. And the rest of the planet will pay it right along with us.

  • Comment number 19.

    #17 BEL

    --- Would you accept 1x overkill for China and Russia or the world ?

    ---just trying to set limits --- and then cut.



  • Comment number 20.

    BienvenueEnLouisiana, (#17. At 00:31am 10th Apr 2011)

    ”... where in the defense budget would you like to see cuts made?”
    At the risk of stirring up a hornet’s nest, I’d suggest the MDA/BMDS program.

  • Comment number 21.

    #18 psycros

    ---start paying fair taxes and stop the subsidies.

    Africa is paying for the cotton subsidies with its poverty and begin taking uncontrolled Capitalism seriously.

    ---the rest of the planet is already paying along with us-- or didn´t you notice ?

  • Comment number 22.

    To psycros #18

    As an American it is important that you don't pay for news you don't want to hear or that undermines your own prejudice and that you only watch news confirming your own beliefs even if they're sometimes misguided.

  • Comment number 23.

    22. At 01:59am 10th Apr 2011, _marko wrote:

    To psycros #18

    As an American it is important that you don't pay for news you don't want to hear or that undermines your own prejudice and that you only watch news confirming your own beliefs even if they're sometimes misguided.

    ME:
    Somewhere in the 60's we go the idea that news was supposed to be unbiased. And that is in fact a failure to understand humans. Everyone is biased. There are newspapers called the "Republican" and "Democrat". Am I to assume they are unbiased? GE owns much of NBC, and Disney owns ABC. Does anyone with a brain actually believe those organizations will really do in-depth reporting on their parent companies? Fox News is unabashedly conservative, but they also have many liberals on regularly, and they often get a far more insightful debate going than you would ever see on CBS, NBC or ABC. And do I and others like me check other sources? I AM on the BBC, right? I read their stories, as I do others, but as some have pointed out here, Fox does not spew one-sided stories all the time and then claim that they are "just reporting".

    The New York Times' motto, "All the news that's fit to print," makes the claim that it alone determines what is important. So if you are happy that a group of unnamed people, who are accountable to no one and do not have to make any effort to show why they act the way they do, sitting in a room in their new offices in New York City, alone determine what you are to think about any and every issue, then independent thinking is not something you are familiar with.

  • Comment number 24.

    6. escapedfromny:

    I'm with you.

  • Comment number 25.

    Many of the comments were anti-MM, and attacked him when his ideas have ample opportunity to be criticized. Let's keep the personal attacks to a minimum please.

    More than once I've seen his comments on how Americans react differently than Europeans and I wished more American politicians thought the same way. i.e. Our differing value systems result in differing actions, not will malicious actions that need to be apologized for.

    While he may be more liberal than some of the posters on this forum, he is more aware of American life than most elected politicians in the US. I would like him to see life in the semi-rural "Inland Empire" in California. I not even confident our republican HR rep (Mary Bono Mack) knows much about people living here.

  • Comment number 26.

    11. At 22:39pm 9th Apr 2011, escapedfromny:

    "...but in DC, we cannot get rid of more that .03% of the budget without bringing the world to an end. "

    ***********
    I believe democrats have actually convinced many Americans that their (Americans') world will end if spending is cut.

  • Comment number 27.

    mark,

    the last Bush administration ran up the largest deficit in its time and started an unfunded war - another after the vietnam experience, and precipitated the country into fiscal and job meltdown with which Obama has now to work with. Winner and loser political parties are transient. It seems fical to think along winer or loser lines. I would think the future needs all political sides to work together. Why don't you parallel both UK and Europe politics. The idea of winers and losers is no more than a pop fashion. Or is Europe different?

  • Comment number 28.

    11 11 escapedfromny,

    “I was referring to 2001-2007, when Republicans made noises about being fiscally responsible, but screwed up. Believe me, there were a LOT of Republicans who were furious at the congressional leadership and even GW Bush for not fixing things.”

    I’m afraid I missed your reference to 2007. Its true Republicans made mistakes and it cost them in the 2006 elections. It seems to me you either accept them on good faith this time around or live with congress being controlled by Democrats, who I assume you think are less fiscally responsible.
    ------

    “If it is a pittance (and I agree that it is), then why shouldn't the Liberals and Democrats cave? After all, it's only a pittance? It's not like we are cutting a trillion dollars.”

    Exactly, so why shut down the government over a pittance when Republicans plan on cutting trillions beginning with the 2012 budget?

  • Comment number 29.


    Budget money is scarce and will be scarce long off into the future, as the majority of US taxpayers likely well know. Yet there seem to be two very big questions fit for discussion on the floor of US Congress; 1) how did such fiscal calamity happen, in regard to the banking bailout, etc., and 2) how can that be avoided in the future?

  • Comment number 30.

    13 Scott,

    “It's interesting that Republicans never mention "defence" spending when they get so indignant about the budget. But questioning why we are still involved in two overseas wars isn't "patriotic", is it?”

    Republicans agreed to cut 2 billion dollars in defence spending for 2011 as part of the Budget compromise and Democrats have controlled both houses of Congress since 2007. Starting in 2009, Democrats completely controlled the government and without any Republican support could have cut defence spending or ended both wars at any time by defunding them, they chose not to.

  • Comment number 31.

    Chryses, are you talking about cuts to the Navy MDA/BMD program or the long range land based MDA/BMD program?... I'd rather see cuts to the land based one intended to protect Europe. I suppose the Navy's aegis cruisers can pick up more of the slack; they're already shielding Europe & Asia from Iran & N. Korea.

    What I'd prefer to see is the closing of under utilized bases oversees, except those in Asia of course. Keep in mind that the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan will come to an end sooner rather than later, this will certainly bring the defense budget down as well.

    Regardless, the bulk of our long term debt comes from our entitlement programs & our trade deficit; Congress is going to have to figure out how to solve these tough problems & then sell the solutions to a very cynical public.

  • Comment number 32.

    If we've learned anything from this, we've learned that Democrats are like hoarders. They have an unlivable amount of expenditures and will admit they have a problem when their mess is exposed ("Of course we need to reduce the deficit!" Sound familiar?), but will literally scream bloody murder if anyone dares touch anything! How are we supposed to make substantial cuts to the deficit with these delusional people always standing in the way only to be backed up by the mainstream media?

  • Comment number 33.

    escapedfromny - It would seem that hypocrisy is the one thing that Americans have left in abundance. Please explain how you speak for the person filling the coffee pot in the Hampton Inn? Is it my imagination, or would the person filling the coffee pot - which I assume is the US version of the man on the Clapham omnibus - be worrying about mortgage or rent payments, about how to afford a basic hospital bill or about how they are going to pay school fees and balance their own budget? It seems a little harsh for you to be their mouthpiece and then brag about your holiday to the Grand Canyon - a place the the person filling the coffee pot has only seen on TV. Like all of your persuasion, you seem so convinced by the immutability of your point of view that you assume that the world around you must share that view. Maybe you should ask the person filling the coffee pot yourself. Or maybe, just for a lark, just once, you should fill their coffee pot?

    psycros - "And the rest of the planet will pay it right along with us." Umm. Not convinced by that one. The world is a big place, and getting bigger. The rest of the world thinks that America will pay for its profligacy all by itself. The world thinks that China and India will be calling the shots pretty damn soon and that the US will become increasingly irrelevant. Just a point of view. 6.5 billion people in the world of which 350million are Americans. Just a bunch of figures.

  • Comment number 34.

    Ref 31 BienvenueEnLouisiana-

    "What I'd prefer to see is the closing of under utilized bases oversees, except those in Asia of course."

    Those closings would certainly help reduce the military budget.

    One could find ways to significantly reduce the military budget by reviewing blue prints for the manufacturing of military hardware and cutting out excessive manufacturing costs.

    An example of this:

    Years ago I had worked for a small company subcontracting the machining of military parts. We were producing a component for an automatic weapons mount which stipulated three surfaces which must be held to half a thousandth of an inch, plus or minus, tolerance. There was absolutely no need for such a close tolerance, other than to drive up the cost of producing the part. Those surfaces could have easily allowed for a tolerance of plus or minus five hundreds of an inch without decreasing the durability or integrity of the part, nor its performance in conjunction with the total system; but making a significant difference in the cost by driving it down considerably at the lesser tolerance.

    I brought this to the attention of the contracting company engineers who strongly advised me to mind my own business and not rock the gravy boat. They used very marvelous engineering terms instead of coming right out and telling me to "shut up"; but offered nothing to support the need for such close tolerances on such a non-critical part.

    Calling for closer-than-required tolerances is a way of padding the bill. A part which could have been manufactured for $2.00, now became an $8.00 part because of the need to hold an unneeded, close tolerance.

  • Comment number 35.

    26. At 03:36am 10th Apr 2011, AndreaNY wrote:
    "I believe democrats have actually convinced many Americans that their (Americans') world will end if spending is cut."

    ------------------------

    I believe republicans have actually convinced many Americans that their (Americans') world will end if taxes are raised.

  • Comment number 36.

    "The world thinks that China and India will be calling the shots pretty damn soon and that the US will become increasingly irrelevant. Just a point of view. 6.5 billion people in the world of which 350million are Americans. Just a bunch of figures."

    Two large basically third world countries will be calling the shots soon? Sounds pretty delusional to me. Considering both have a laundry list of issues.

    Hell China can't even develop its own jets without stealing designs from the US DoD.

  • Comment number 37.

    Military spending cuts, while an important part of the solution, will not suffice to fix the debt problem. Here's that graph again: http://zfacts.com/p/55.html

    Note on the blue graph that the national debt was approximately constant from shortly after WWII through 1981. We had seven presidents from both parties, while Congress was Democratic, except for a few years with a Republican Senate. The population and GDP were increasing, so the debt was actually coming down relative to our ability to pay, although increasing in absolute dollars.

    The problem started in 1982, with huge increases in military spending but no comparable increases in revenue. The debt doubled (in constant dollars) in the Reagan presidency alone. It continued to go up in the Bush presidency, even though the cold war was ending. Bush terminated some expensive military procurements, notably the B-2 bomber and Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, but the last few were comitted so are built during his term. Seven of our ten Nimitz-class aircraft carriers were built during the Reagan-Bush era. Then Kuwait was invaded, which (in my opinion) required a military response.

    Cuts in the military, especially ships and personnel, started with Bush and continued into the Clinton term, But it isn't until the end of Clinton's second term that we see a small rollback in (adjusted) debt. The next Bush president is very soon confronted with the 9/11 attacks and the long war against terror. Not satisfied with this, he makes war on Iraq as well. This brings us to Obama, who was given two wars to manage. It took a year and a half to disengage from combat in Iraq, but the long war continues. Meanwhile, expensive military programs continue to be cut, notably the F-22 stealth fighter.There aren't many more big ticket items to cut from the military.

    Even if military spending can be brought down significantly, there are two additional pressures on the budget. One is that the interest on the debt goes up with the debt (although we are fortunate to be in a period of low rates). The second is that the baby boomers are beginning to retire.

    The debt is now three times what it was in 1980, and the population is aging. To bring the debt down, you have to do better than any government did for 30 years after WWII, and you have to do it for a long time. How are you going to that? It is not possible for one president of any party to reduce the debt to pre-Reagan levels, in my opinion,

  • Comment number 38.

    20. At 01:22am 10th Apr 2011, Chryses wrote:

    BienvenueEnLouisiana, (#17. At 00:31am 10th Apr 2011)

    ”... where in the defense budget would you like to see cuts made?”

    -------------------------

    Can I suggest, every item that the DoD does not want?

    KSc

  • Comment number 39.

    Mr. Mardell for some one who has been in the US as long I dont think that you really understand how the US works, The budget is not like in a Socialist country, by the Constitution every year a budget must be created, but there is always money left in the old to cover until the new, the national parks dont shut down even when the govt shuts down, the govt now is running under the funds from 2010 if they dont come up with a budget they just allocate the same money they did in 2010, by law you just keep your old budget, the problem is the new items going in and the cutting of the 2010 budget and adding to it, this govt shut down has happen many times you are just listing to people trying to get their way on both sides by talking junk! to use an analogy it is the same as a husband and wife planning a budget and both threaten to not pay the power bill or food if the other partner dosent include dance lessons and cut out the weekly buying of lottery tickets, they are just BS and Bluffing each other they are going to pay the power and buy food regardless of what ever else they decide they have too if not the kids call the PO PO and they both go to jail and still have the power and food bill to pay! Its just scare tactics to get both sides people to put pressure on the other side and No it is not embarrassing to either, we the american people dont care and our politicians will do what we want in the end, which by the way is the problem half the people are telling the democrats to get this and the other half are telling the Republicans the same, and if a budget is not produced which will break the law the president gets a blank check to spend what is needed in his opinion, Our founders placed enough checks and balances to make the system work and yes it is the Best! Shut downs and the threat of them have been a mainstay of the system it forces both sides to a compromise. By the way we havent even finished collecting money for last years budget we dont do that until April 15th the budget is figured 1 year in advance the new budget will come out in oct of 2011! Both sides are selling smoke for attention.

  • Comment number 40.

    In a response to number 34, fact is whatever the US military orders it always choses the lowest bidder, so what ever you were working on still was the lowest bid to have the US govt buy it, and the military has been burned many times by contractors who say you dont need it that good, but you dont fly it or fight it or use it under the conditions the miltary does, ck the M-16 and the 9mm pistol, the cost is the cost, yes contractors over charge the govt but the US govt also, demands a discount if you deliver early and if the govt pays in 90 days it is a auto 1% discount and the US can demand that you use union labor or not use union labor and they reserve the right to alter the order at no charge and to take up to 180 days for payment if needed at no penalty to the govt. so fact is that is what cost so much companies charge more because the contracts are good but the red tape and slow payment you end up over charge to compensate for, also sometimes the people ordering the product or item really dont know anything about it, or the military trys to make a one size fit all, so what ever part you were making the guy ordering it might have had problems last time which got people hurt or killed and didnt want to take chances or just didnt realize what he was ordering, remember in the US govt workers are looked down upon and a lot of people are hired who are unemployable in the privt sector or former retired military, but if you truley had a problem their are a dozen or more ways to report it and get it changed you could have started with your congressman after all he is responsible for the bill.

  • Comment number 41.

    for every US citizen why do you always want to cut the military, building the military up is what creates wealth and jobs. The richest the us has ever been was during the world wars and after each one we had the same problems we have today, I live in SC we used to have a colt rifle plant, during the 90s with the draw down it was closed and 800 tax paying jobs were lost 800 car buying, power bill paying, mall shopping jobs were lost, wages were highest in the country during ww1 and 2 and vietnam and the Cold war fact is war makes money if your country is being bombed, we thanks to OBama have to build 191 missles which if they are built here will stimulate the econ like fire, the problem we have now is that we wont build them here and the companies are foreign owned, if you really worry about the debt then do away with NAFTA, raise the tariff on China and force the miltary like johnson and kennedy and Regan did to buy only US made Items, no more swedish Trucks and belgian rifles and british jet engines and chinese head gear, we are at war still and we are buying war material like FRance and Germany and Italy had to do at the end of WW2 from non domestic sources, yes a bomber cost 6 billion dollars to build and 60% of that cost is in wages FOR HEAVENS SAKES AMERICANS STUDY HISTORY AND ECONOMICS FOR ONCE!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 42.

    The US will never be ridiculous (although its politicians, like all politicians, often are) for two reasons. First, because of its terrifying fire-power: take the US lightly at your peril. Second, because despite its foundation upon genocide and slavery (which is why the Chinese cannot stand what they see as US hypocrisy) the US is, in a muddled sort of way, a functioning democracy in which the freedoms of thought, speech and action (as per J.S. Mill) are taken seriously. Like England, the US (because it is full of good Americans) will forever debate the pros and cons of the two irreconcilable philosophies that are Freedom and Equality. Or rather Freedom versus Equality. The debate will never be concluded but while it lasts – and may it last forever – there is hope for Americans. Of course, the day WILL come when Americans will have to give up their love affair with personal transport in those ridiculous little metal boxes. Says Nick Ashton-Jones

  • Comment number 43.

    In response to 38 to cut what the DoD dosent want is kinda funny, in 1920 the War Dept, (DoD) didnt want Tanks or Aircraft, congress forced it on them only because people like billy mitchal raised a stink, the DoD wanted more Horse cav and the Navy wanted Battleships, DoD felt 2 aircraft carriers we plenty. JFK forced the DOD to buy for all branches of service the same fighter bomber, the F-4 and man did the military hollar and say they didnt want it, the DoD didnt want heilocopters they wanted more paratroops, the DoD didnt want the M-1 rifle said the springfield was enough, ever time we have listened to the DoD US service men have paid the price, our planes were out classed by japans, the new fangled RADAR the the brits had was just a toy. sometimes what the DoD wants is not the best and generals always fight the last war with the last wars equipment and the troops pay the price!

  • Comment number 44.

    Nick Ashton-Jones all love to you but once again a socialist just dosent understand a democracy, or what the US is all about, you cant, and as for genocide and slavery you must have the US confused with Latin America, who had more indians and more slaves, or with england who enslaved india and most of africa or russia who enslaved half of a Continent or europe whose germany killed in excess of 100 milion people and tried to wipe the jewish race out or france whos conquest of the new world and africa and asia killed millions or of china who enslaved the korean and viet and other ethnic minority's since the start of recorded history and If i am not mistaken I believe the bulk of the new world genocide was started by Spain and England I mean isnt that where most of americans came from, and the day will never come that we have to give up any thing why?? because you say so or that you are jealous, dont hate it is unbecoming, the only thing that can hurt my country is to go the way of the UK into a self loathing socialist monster second guessing our ever action dont forget for all the bad their is much more good and that what has been done is no different than any one else or nothing knew. Thank you Britain for all the wonders that you have given the world but dont hate because you choose to have your current state, just change and rise again. As for true equality we in the US have it before the govt and law and have shed an ocean of blood to get it this way and in the words of many a famous man and women, its not perfect but it is the BEST!! WHY BECAUSE WE TRY! COME TO THE US WERE YOUR COMMENTS ARE NOT MODERATED AND YOU CAN VOTE DIRECTLY FOR YOUR LEADERS AND YOU CAN BE LAZY AND NOT VOTE AT ALL BUT STILL COMPLAIN IF IT DOSENT GO THE WAY YOU WANTED IT TO, TRY THAT IN THE EU! SAYS ZAPBRAG with all respect.

  • Comment number 45.

    oh and one other thing about china dont confuse china's historical racism and elitism and give it the character of indignation about hipocracy of the US and the west the koreans and viets and tibetians and mongolinas and others are well aware of china's history towards ethnic minority's and its neighbors hasnt been so long that the God emperor of china told the British ambassador why his vassal the king of england didnt send better gifts of course the chinese sent the message through the lowest ranking civil servant in the service, china's indignation is because they view that the world is theirs and that we all are, the rest of the world, their disobedient vassals, wont be long before ambassadors are required the Kowtow.
    .

  • Comment number 46.

    44 zapbrag

    I greatly sympathise with your writing but when you said: "YOU CAN VOTE DIRECTLY FOR YOUR LEADERS" didn't you mean you can vote directly for your member of the Electoral College, which isn't 'direct', in the sense of one-person-one-vote for your president. Are you in favour of changing to direct votes for the President? Would Obama have won if he had one-person-one-vote?

    To Mark Mardell: Happy holidays and if you bump into two British couples and 4 children somewhere on the highway that links Virginia-Savannah-Miami-Key West, say hello to them from Ad who will miss them this Easter!

  • Comment number 47.

    It was all a bunch of phoney drama, deigned to sell "hamburger helper" and blankets with sleeves.

  • Comment number 48.

    46. At 11:40am 10th Apr 2011, Ad wrote:
    44 zapbrag
    I greatly sympathise with your writing but when you said: "YOU CAN VOTE DIRECTLY FOR YOUR LEADERS" didn't you mean you can vote directly for your member of the Electoral College, which isn't 'direct', in the sense of one-person-one-vote for your president. Are you in favour of changing to direct votes for the President? Would Obama have won if he had one-person-one-vote?
    ____________________________________________________________

    You are correct about the Electoral College, although, that is still more direct than the way parliamentary countries choose their PMs.

    As far as the last election, Obama got 52% of the popular vote so the electoral college didn’t really affect the outcome this time.





  • Comment number 49.

    28. At 03:51am 10th Apr 2011, rodidog wrote:

    YOU:
    I’m afraid I missed your reference to 2007. Its true Republicans made mistakes and it cost them in the 2006 elections. It seems to me you either accept them on good faith this time around or live with congress being controlled by Democrats, who I assume you think are less fiscally responsible.
    ------
    ME:
    Democrats do not even run on the idea of cutting spending, except military spending, on anything. Occasionally , Republicans make the effort to do just that. During the Health Care debate, Democrats claimed that their plan would cut some $50 Billion annually in waste. If that were the case, why didn't they make the effort to cut the waste in 2007 or 2008 or 2009? And redundant functions are the norm. Our schools get FEDERAL money from 6 different departments and bureaus. I thought the Department of Education would deal with local schools. But instead, WE have to fill our 6 different sets of requests and compliance forms, and six sets of bureaucrats have to make sure every box is checked. But try to get rid of one of these overlaps? It's as if you are asking to cut off people's, well, whatever you cut off that most guys don't want cut off . . . . .

    YOU:
    Exactly, so why shut down the government over a pittance when Republicans plan on cutting trillions beginning with the 2012 budget?

    ME:
    Posturing, and pressure from the Right to prove they could try to get something done now. But you are correct - we will go through this is 50 times the ferocity in August and September.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    BienvenueEnLouisiana, (#31. At 04:15am 10th Apr 2011)

    Chryses, are you talking about cuts to the Navy MDA/BMD program or the long range land based MDA/BMD program?... I'd rather see cuts to the land based one intended to protect Europe. I suppose the Navy's aegis cruisers can pick up more of the slack; they're already shielding Europe & Asia from Iran & N. Korea ...

    I suggest that the cost of developing and deploying the anti ballistic missile system exceeds the value returned. The system is expensive, and is designed to provide defense only “against limited ballistic missile attack.”

    The only military purpose of developing and deploying IRBMs & ICBMs is to deliver WMDs. The successful intercept rate for a successful ABM system must therefore be 100%, or the system will be unsatisfactory (ref here Hiroshima & Nagasaki; to the defense the bombers were indistinguishable from recon aircraft). It follows that any large-scale launch that an adversary could make would saturate the ABM system, by delivering more warheads and decoys than the ABM system has. This is why the cost of the MDA/BMD program is functionally specific to only those adversaries that can launch a limited number of decoy-less missiles. This reduces the adversary count for which this system could - not will, but could – be effective to two.

    This is not to say that the effort has not had, nor that it continues to have many derivative, or “spin off” benefits in various high tech industries, but I think such value(s) serve more as excused for this or that development program rather than justify them. The various programs funded under the anti ballistic missile system umbrella consume about 13% of the DoD’s R&D budget. I question the cost/benefit ratio.

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    GH1618, (#37. At 07:03am 10th Apr 2011)

    ”... in my opinion,”
    I may be mistaken, but I believe that the maximum size of a post is about 2,000 characters.

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    The real losers are all countries that are currently being violated by US hegemony. American imperialism is the biggest portion of the American deficit. Imagine of the United States could no longer afford war...

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    Come on BBC. Where was the spell and grammar check on this article?

    'spine to hold our for deeper cuts' (out - surely?)

    'on a rather incoherent anti-abortion policies tacked onto the budget' (either leave out the 'a' or make policies, policy - surely?)

    Am I being pernickety? I don't think so. This is the BBC and should uphold good grammar and spelling from it's own employees.

    I read the article through in order to try to understand what's going on in America.

    Last time I read this author (about 2-3 days ago) - he was ultra sympathetic to Mr. Obama and was downing the Republican's.

    This time he at least seems more balanced.




  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 61.

    Sometimes.

  • Comment number 62.

    Nick Ashton-Jones (42), it's a bit self-righteous calling out the US for its "foundation upon genocide and slabery" when Europeans were an integral part of the slave trade. Britain's slaves were sent to the colonies instead of Britain, that's all.

    As for the genocide, both Britain and North America were first settled at the end of the last glaciation, about 10,000 years ago. Where are the pre-Celtic people today? We don't know what happened to them only because it happened in prehistoric times, so is not documented.

    We are all fortunate to be living in more enlightened times. Nobody here is responsible for our distant past, and there's nothing we can do about it except to try to adhere to higher standards today.

  • Comment number 63.

    Good comment - No.6 'escapedfromny'.

  • Comment number 64.

    18. At 00:48am 10th Apr 2011, psycros wrote:

    Great post!

    The only thing I would disagree with is that apart from a couple of "anomolies" the US has been on the slippery slope towards the "progressive dream" of a hugely expanded Federal government and ultimately a one world government since Woodrow Wilson. George H. Bush merely advocated it much more publicly than those that had held that office before him.

  • Comment number 65.

    42. At 09:36am 10th Apr 2011, Nick Ashton-Jones wrote:
    "Of course, the day WILL come when Americans will have to give up their love affair with personal transport in those ridiculous little metal boxes. Says Nick Ashton-Jones."

    One major problem we face right now is that those boxes are not little, they are often huge SUVs that get less than 20 MPG [and those are American gallons which are smaller than imperial-i.e. 75.7 Liters].

    A few months ago an economic stimulus was an auto buyback scheme, this was to help the auto industry and encourage drivers to buy newer more fuel efficient cars.
    Guess what? Most of the idiots bought new pickups and SUVs, with a small, if any, increase in MPG! Some even bought bigger and less fuel efficient models!

    We have a large number of these undereducated and less than brilliant people who make such mistakes all the time, and especially when they vote. It is a very good thing that the US government usually moves very slowly, because these people often get distracted or lose interest in their dim-witted projects before they finish them.

  • Comment number 66.

    56. At 13:16pm 10th Apr 2011, BluesBerry wrote:

    "Imagine of the United States could no longer afford war..."

    I think I would tend to agree with that part of your statement. Ron Paul makes an extremely good point that with the type of "elastic economy" we currently have whereby there is no real spending restraint in Washington because they can always print (quantitative easing) or borrow more, tying the country's currency to a tangible asset like gold, was and would be, instrumental in restraining Congress from entering into foreign conflicts.

    Unfortunately we now live in the era of the "professional politician" and there is no end to which they will go, money they will take (taxation), print, borrow and spend, lies they will espouse and tricks they will play (glibly described as "just politics") to ensure they are continuously re-elected.

  • Comment number 67.

    I agree with the many people who want us to cut military spending. Maybe we should pull out of Germany and Korea, seems we've been there long enough.

  • Comment number 68.

    66. At 15:38pm 10th Apr 2011, andyparsonsga wrote:
    "they can always print (quantitative easing)"

    If only the US government did print it's own money. What we do instead is have private banks print the money and borrow if from them with interest. I could support a gold standard system but I would rather use straight fiat money controlled by congress. Anything is better than our debt based system that Wilson got us into. Worst president ever.

  • Comment number 69.

    I need to correct my above statement. I did not mean to imply that the US Government currently has any say in it's own currency. What currently happens is the private, un-audited bank known as the Federal Reserve Bank decides the US needs more currency and have the banks they work/ed for print the money which they then use to buy government bonds. They also get to create the money twice by loaning the same amount out privately with interest of course.

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    The public won because spending cuts were made. Keep it going.

  • Comment number 72.

    Ellen 16 wrote: and no taxes at all for the very wealthiest, both individuals and corporations, have become patriotic.
    ----------
    Some say that the Dems and Repubs passed tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations to create more jobs...where is the evidence?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Electric
    An excerpt:
    In March 2011, The New York Times reported that despite earning $14.2 billion in worldwide profits, including more than $5 billion from U.S. operations, General Electric did not owe taxes in 2010. General Electric had a tax benefit of $3.2 billion. This same article also pointed out that despite their continually diminishing tax liability since the 1990's, GE has laid off one-fifth of their American workers since 2002.
    ----------
    So if corporations are getting higher tax cuts, why does this cause them to lay off more workers?

    Just think, America, if our taxes were returned to the previous level before Bush, we could decrease our debt by 3 trillion dollars plus over the next eight to ten years!!!

    Yet our politicians loyally chose to give corporations and wealthy tax cuts despite the fact that it could save more money than any of the programs they are talking about cutting!!!

    Is it not amazing how much greed dominates politics?

  • Comment number 73.

    Here's some interesting USA history on taxes...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax_in_the_United_States
    An excerpt:
    During the Great Depression and World War II, the top income tax rate rose from pre-war levels. In 1939, the top rate was 75% applied to incomes above $5,000,000 ($75 million 2007 dollars). During 1944 and 1945, the top rate was its all-time high at 94% applied to income above $200,000.
    --------
    Wow, so during WWII tax rate was 94%?
    WoW again!
    --------
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_tax_cuts
    An excerpt:
    Economist Simon Johnson wrote in 2010: "The U.S. government doesn’t take in much tax revenue -- at least 10 percentage points of GDP less than comparable developed economies -- and it also doesn’t spend much except on the military, Social Security and Medicare. Other parts of government spending can be frozen or even slashed, but it just won’t make that much difference. That means older Americans are going to get squeezed, while our ability to defend ourselves goes into decline. Just because there’s a bipartisan consensus on an idea, such as tax cuts, doesn’t mean it makes sense. Today’s tax cutters have set us up for tomorrow’s fiscal crisis and real damage to U.S. national security.
    In August 2010, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that extending the tax cuts for the 2011-2020 time period would add $3.3 trillion to the national debt, comprising $2.65 trillion in foregone tax revenue plus another $0.66 trillion for interest and debt service costs.
    ----------
    Doesn't the American public care about 3.3 trillion dollars?

    What about the fact that part-time and temporary workers pay more than some big corporations?

    If a corporation has the right to spend as much money on political campaigns like a person (as ruled by Supreme Court) why don't they have to pay taxes like a person does also?

  • Comment number 74.

    America is an industrious and enterprising nation. We can always find new ways to make a buck at someone else's expense, while declaiming the necessity to the lower classes and extolling our honorable motives to the rest of the world.

    Americans are generous. We believe everyone should have the same disadvantages we do, and rather than wait for them to come to at this epiphany on their own, we're happy to help their evolution along--by force, if necessary. Force is costly, Mark, make no mistake. Most of the huge deficit we run is due to the constant need to impose our capitalist values on others.

    I don't think most foreigners appreciate how hard it is to be an American these All this crying about the environment, healthcare, and unemployment without a second thought for the bottom line or executive bonuses. As if it was somehow our responsibility to be our brother's keepers. There's no appreciation for the cost of maintaining country club memberships, multi-million dollar homes, or frequenting 4-star establishments. They've no idea what it takes to succeed, those parasitic low-lifes at the bottom of the food chain, those COMMONERS, always whining and crying about their supposed plights, as if they deserved anything better than a cardboard box! And whose fault is it, if not their own? If they want employment they should find a way to create it. Then they could buy their own healthcare and they'd understand why we don't give a fig about the environment, because they wouldn't either!

    People take advantage of American charity, Mark. Even our own people, sad to say. But America's always been an "every man for himself" kind of nation. Glory of the Old West, and all that. We've always been a bit of a pirate State. Forget all that rubbish on the Statue of Liberty about "giving us your poor" and being a light of hope. "Take what you can--give nothing back!" That's the motto of the real "winners" in our society.

  • Comment number 75.

    68 csgators,

    “If only the US government did print it's own money. What we do instead is have private banks print the money and borrow if from them with interest.”

    You should really look this up. The simply answer is, the U.S. Treasury creates all monies backed by the Federal Reserve. The U.S. Mint makes coins and the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing makes paper notes. The Federal Reserve oversees the velocity of money in the market place. In other words, how much many dollars will be in circulation at any one time.

    “I could support a gold standard system but I would rather use straight fiat money controlled by congress.”

    If you support the gold standard than you support shrinking our economy back to pre WWII levels, there is simply not enough gold in the world to meet today’s demand for capital.

    “Anything is better than our debt based system that Wilson got us into.” It is not a debt based system. We have a system based on future performance.

  • Comment number 76.

    zapbrag (41), your point about military spending is well taken, particularly with respect to WWII, but the situation we are in today is not comparable. If you look at the graph of inflation-adjusted debt to which I linked earlier, you will see that while there was a huge runup in the debt during the war (a factor of five), it was quickly brought back a bit (to a factor of four), where it remained approximately constant for 30 years under Democratic Congresses and presidemts of both parties. The debt never approached pre-war levels, but it didn't need to because of growth in the economy. Look at this graph of debt relative to GDP: http://zfacts.com/p/1195.html

    The debt relative to GDP actually came down to below pre-war levels until about 1982. Then it shot up again, for the first time since WWII. This was Reaganomics at work, aka "voodoo economics," a term coined by George H. W. Bush. Bush inherited the Reagan debt, and when he tried to fix it by raising taxes, he failed to get re-elected.

    The debt has become a problem, and it needs to be fixed, but the first step is to recognize the true source. President Reagan created the problem by embracing "supply-side" economics, and all the present-day Republicans have to say is to repeat the Reagan mantra about "tax-and-spend Democrats." That's not going to fix it. What will fix it, if anything, is for Republicans, as well as Democrats, to reject Reaganomics, to cut defense spending, revise (but not privatise) entitlements, get the economy working, and raise sufficient revenues in taxes. I'm not optimistic.


    When the nation is getting wealthier, a constant debt (inflation-adjusted) amounts to a reduction, because indiVidual people are better off, an

  • Comment number 77.

    65. At 15:27pm 10th Apr 2011, JMM wrote:

    YOU:
    One major problem we face right now is that those boxes are not little, they are often huge SUVs that get less than 20 MPG [and those are American gallons which are smaller than imperial-i.e. 75.7 Liters].

    ME:
    The US Gallon is about 3.8 Liters. And believe it or not, there are lots of reasons Americans get these cars beyond the assumptions of a few "experts". Family size and transport of more than just family members, for one. When we have to take 6 kids from the neighborhoods to the park or ball field, you want SIX cars to take them, or one? Apparently, you would prefer six. If you have three children, do you suppose both parents should drive a Mini or Smart Car? And, yes comfort - Americans like being comfortable. We like Air Conditioning too, something many Europeans seem unacquainted with.

    YOU:
    A few months ago an economic stimulus was an auto buyback scheme, this was to help the auto industry and encourage drivers to buy newer more fuel efficient cars.
    Guess what? Most of the idiots bought new pickups and SUVs, with a small, if any, increase in MPG! Some even bought bigger and less fuel efficient models!

    ME:
    DUH! Anyone with a BRAIN could have seen that, but the Obama Administration seems clueless as to how people really act outside of their total control. If I had a clunker, and could get $4000 for a new Honda Pilot or CRV, I would too. And that was the other funny thing, most of the new cars were Toyotas and Hondas, not Chevys. Yup, Obama helped foreign auto makers. BRILLIANT.

    YOU:
    We have a large number of these undereducated and less than brilliant people who make such mistakes all the time, and especially when they vote.

    ME:
    Thank you for explaining how so many people could be duped by Obama. Oh, you were not referring to THOSE "undereducated and less than brilliant people", you were referring to those "undereducated and less than brilliant people" who do not do what people like you tell them to? You mean those people who dare to disagree with American liberals, and therefore are "undereducated and less than brilliant people", because we all know that anyone who does not do exactly what Liberals tell them to under all circumstances is "undereducated and less than brilliant", right?

    YOU:
    It is a very good thing that the US government usually moves very slowly, because these people often get distracted or lose interest in their dim-witted projects before they finish them.

    ME:
    Yes, you are correct. What ever happened to all those windmills and solar plants and new technologies Obama promised us? What ever happened to closing Gitmo? What ever happened to the FutureGen CO2 Extraction facility that was approved by Congress in 2007 (Under Obama's guidance, and supposedly to be built in Illinois)? What ever happened to Obama's promise to cut the 2008 deficit by half (to about $200 Billion) by 2012? (Current 2012 projection is a $1.6 Trillion deficit). What ever happened to all those promises about waiting 5 days to sign a bill? What about Obama condemning Bush for even thinking of using the military without Congressional approval? What about Obama's promise to grant drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico (and Obama giving $2 BILLION to Brazil to drill off shore so we can buy oil from THEM rather than getting it within the US)?

    Yup, there are lots of things people forget. But a lot of those people are being reminded of them now and they are not happy.

  • Comment number 78.

    75. At 19:07pm 10th Apr 2011, rodidog wrote:
    "You should really look this up. The simply answer is, the U.S. Treasury creates all monies backed by the Federal Reserve."

    When the FED does quantitative easing they don't actually print the money, it's electronic. The FED bought the last round from Goldman Sachs, look it up.

  • Comment number 79.

    http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article7578.html

    "How does the Fed get its money? It doesn't need to borrow it; it merely creates an entry into its balance sheet. All the Fed requires to “print” money is a keyboard connected to a computer. The difference between the Fed and the Treasury issuing money is that the Treasury needs to get permission from Congress before selling bonds. In this context, it shall be mentioned that physical cash (coins, bank notes) are entered as liabilities on the Fed's balance sheets; they are rather unique liabilities, however, as you can never redeem your cash: if you went to a bank, the best you can hope for in return for your dollar bill is a piece of paper that states that the bank owes you one dollar. While it is possible for central banks to remove cash in circulation, they are not obliged to do so. "

  • Comment number 80.

    What a load - 'a serious blow to the presidency...'
    wait till local taxes go up as a result of the cuts...the back-lash will hit the GOP and tea party pretty hard
    2012 will be a battle between objective reasoning and bigotry-i hope reason wins
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32EZgesi7b4

  • Comment number 81.

    ref #72

    First everyone got a reduction in their taxes, not just the rich. I am not rich but they do pay a dispropotianate share of the tax burden.

    I begrudge them less than the prvilidges public employees get.

    I would rather have thier pension taken away first.

  • Comment number 82.

    80. At 19:33pm 10th Apr 2011, mabelwhite wrote:
    "What a load - 'a serious blow to the presidency...'
    wait till local taxes go up as a result of the cuts...the back-lash will hit the GOP and tea party pretty hard."

    You have more faith in the American voter than I do MW -- but your point is exactly on target otherwise I think. Tax men at each level -- city, county, state, federal -- are about to begin a round of musical chairs to see who gets the blame.

    Ultimately, the people are going to pay the bill. The only questions are: who will end up with the dirty job of bill collector, and will the people in the top 10% of the economic hierarchy and corporations like GE pay their share for a change?

    "2012 will be a battle between objective reasoning and bigotry-i hope reason wins."

    We can all hope I suppose -- but not much chance of that actually happening.

    PS Since we're hoping -- how about hoping for a corporate alternative minimum tax?

  • Comment number 83.

    74. At 18:36pm 10th Apr 2011, M Bergman wrote:

    YOU:

    . . . . We can always find new ways to make a buck at someone else's expense, while declaiming the necessity to the lower classes and extolling our honorable motives to the rest of the world.

    . . . . We believe everyone should have the same disadvantages we do . . . .

    ME:

    It is clear from your comments that you hate the fact that people who disagree with you could not be forced to do your will, because you and your current opinions are in fact perfect in every way, and anyone disagrees in even the slightest way is inferior to you.

    What you want is a Dictatorship of the Liberals, so you and all who agree with you could make everyone else's lives better, because anyone who does not agree with you is not capable of making a decision that is good for them.

    YOU:
    Most of the huge deficit we run is due to the constant need to impose our capitalist values on others.

    ME:
    Really? Are we forcing million of illegals to stream across the border? Are we forcing refugees from Somalia and Cuba and the Congo and Kosovo to come here? Seems that they have decided that here is better than anywhere else.

    YOU:
    . . . . As if it was somehow our responsibility to be our brother's keepers.

    ME:
    So you think we SHOULD attack those places like Libya and Myanmar and North Korea to save millions from certain torture and death?

    You are willing to force YOUR values on anyone who disagrees, yet you whine about America forcing its values on others. Double standard? Oh, no! It is part of your perfect wisdom.

    YOU:
    And whose fault is it, if not their own? If they want employment they should find a way to create it.

    ME:
    Yeah, like the taxi driver from Ghana who is getting his MBA. Like the Greeks who own the most popular restaurant in town. Like the great-grandson of slaves who became Secretary of State, and the Czech immigrant who became Secretary of State. All without lazy liberals dictating to them. They must shame you so.

    YOU:
    Then they could buy their own healthcare and they'd understand why we don't give a fig about the environment, because they wouldn't either!

    ME:
    Yup, they got jobs and worked hard because, once upon a time, working hard was something you taught your children. But not anymore, at least in the typical Liberal family, where they expect the government to tell them how much toilet paper to use and how many hot dogs you can eat in a month.

    YOU:
    People take advantage of American charity, Mark. Even our own people, sad to say. But America's always been an "every man for himself" kind of nation. Glory of the Old West, and all that. We've always been a bit of a pirate State. Forget all that rubbish on the Statue of Liberty about "giving us your poor" and being a light of hope. "Take what you can--give nothing back!" That's the motto of the real "winners" in our society.

    ME:
    You got that right - American Liberals want to take everything and control everything and whine when anyone dares suggest that any idea outside their control is preferable to their dogma.

    American Liberals are the most closed minded people I know. When you ask for facts, they call you racist, when you ask for an explanation, they roll their eyes and sigh, "you just don't understand." When they are caught lying, they claim it was for the greater good. When they break the law, they claim that they care, and the law should not stop caring. When you ask why an idea of theirs fails, they always as for more time and money. And they will blame anyone and everyone, except themselves, when they fail.

  • Comment number 84.

    M: As if it was somehow our responsibility to be our brother's keepers. There's no appreciation for the cost of maintaining country club memberships, multi-million dollar homes, or frequenting 4-star establishments.
    ----------
    Its a very, very small portion of America that can afford country club memberships, million dollar homes, ect...

    There are millions upon millions of hard-working people in America just struggling to survive who are trying every possible way they can to find jobs...
    -----------
    M: They've no idea what it takes to succeed, those parasitic low-lifes at the bottom of the food chain, those COMMONERS, always whining and crying about their supposed plights, as if they deserved anything better than a cardboard box! And whose fault is it, if not their own?
    ------------
    Its Congress's fault for implementing free trade agreement, which is why most of our industry has gone overseas and why millions of hard-working Americans have lost our jobs- this is causing hte loss of the Middle class; also it is Congress' fault for instating the tax cuts for rich and corporations as this, along with the wars going on for too long, has caused USA to go into massive debt by trillions...
    -----------
    M: If they want employment they should find a way to create it. Then they could buy their own healthcare and they'd understand why we don't give a fig about the environment, because they wouldn't either!
    -----------
    There's no reason why health care should put people in debt by the thousands/ millions- the number one reason for bankrupcy in USA is health care debt...

    The bigger picture is that the environment is what supports life on Earth...we need the environment healthy for us to be healthy...
    ------------
    M: "Take what you can--give nothing back!" That's the motto of the real "winners" in our society.
    ---------
    I know I pay my fair share of taxes, which is why it upsets me to hear that I, working a part-time job, paid more than some billionaire corporations- all we are asking is for them to pay their fair share (what pre-Bush era taxes were) and I, in fact, support everyone, not just one group, going back to pre-Bush era tax levels...it also upsets me to hear that we have trillions of dollars in debt from tax cuts for rich/corps...basically, giving them these tax cuts only continues to create more debt and actually threatens USA national security...

    Why do American taxpayers, especially the Middle class, have to pay trillions in debt for wealthy and corporations' tax cuts?

    -------

  • Comment number 85.

    82. At 20:10pm 10th Apr 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    "2012 will be a battle between objective reasoning and bigotry-i hope reason wins."

    We can all hope I suppose -- but not much chance of that actually happening.

    --------------------------------------------------

    Yes, that is why Obama will lose in 2012. He does not have enough racists supporting him this time around and he has show people that he is not particularly smart or able to handle the issues at hand.

    Or are you among those ignorant and narrow-minded liberals that think disagreement with Obama can only be due to racism? Isn't that a bigoted view on your part?

  • Comment number 86.

    MK: First everyone got a reduction in their taxes, not just the rich. I am not rich but they do pay a dispropotianate share of the tax burden.
    -------
    If we want America to work, I believe that everybody should pay their fair share- this includes poor, middle class and rich- we all need to contribute equally percentage wise...
    --------
    MK: I begrudge them less than the prvilidges public employees get.
    --------
    Can you quote a cost, MK, on how much the privilges public employees get cost us?

    So it doesn't bother you that taxpayers, including yourself, have had to pay trillions in taxes just so rich and corps can pay little to no taxes?
    --------
    MK: I would rather have thier pension taken away first.
    -------
    How much do the pensions cost in comparison to the tax cuts?

  • Comment number 87.

    77. At 19:11pm 10th Apr 2011, escapedfromny wrote:
    65. At 15:27pm 10th Apr 2011, JMM

    You thought you had me there eh? It might interest you to know that my first graduate assistantship was killed by the Marxists who controlled the department when they found out I was not fooled by their phoney rhetoric.

    No, I am not about to defend fools, with or without college degrees, on the left any more than on the right. One of America's biggest problems now is the phoney divide between left and right. The corporations and banks are stealing us blind while we quarrel, and laugh all the way to the Cayman Is. with their ill-gotten loot.

  • Comment number 88.

    Here'a link to a graph that shows the military budget from 1945 to 2005:

    http://www.mtholyoke.edu/%7Ejephrean/classweb/United%20States.html

  • Comment number 89.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 90.

    LucyJ, (#86. At 20:41pm 10th Apr 2011)

    ”... If we want America to work, I believe that everybody should pay their fair share- this includes poor, middle class and rich- we all need to contribute equally percentage wise...”
    So you propose to tax everyone at the same tax rate?

  • Comment number 91.

    KTubbys, (#89. At 22:30pm 10th Apr 2011)

    "If US people on the inside side were aware of various american transgressions which were covered by official secrets acts for the safety of the country sanctioned by the so called elite rulers and powers that be, such as black ops, false flags, mass murder etc would the government workers and american patriot tea bloggers and right wing (wrong) republicans and left wing (right) democrats (and correct centrists) expose it or hide it?"

    Any evidence to support your claim about mass murder THIS time?

  • Comment number 92.

    85. At 20:31pm 10th Apr 2011, escapedfromny wrote:
    "Or are you among those ignorant and narrow-minded liberals that think disagreement with Obama can only be due to racism? Isn't that a bigoted view on your part?"

    So you ARE as butt-ignorant as you seem!

    Wow!

    Buy a dictionary, sport. Look up the word "bigot." I think you'll find that you qualify.

  • Comment number 93.

    James Baldwin explained the innocent bigotry of white americans best-why they feel the need to 'take their country back' -

    "...They are, in effect, still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it. They have had to believe for so many years, and for innumerable reasons, that black men are inferior to white men. Many of them, indeed, know better, but, as you will discover, people find it very difficult to act on what they know. To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger. In this case, the danger, in the minds of most white Americans, is the loss of identity. Try to imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning to find the sun shinning and all the stars aflame. You would be frightened because it is our of the order of nature. Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one’s sense of one’s own reality. Well, the black man has functioned in the white man’s world as a fixed star, as an immovable pillar: and as he moves out of his place, heaven and earth are shaken to their foundations..."

  • Comment number 94.

    92. At 22:45pm 10th Apr 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:
    "Buy a dictionary, sport. Look up the word "bigot." I think you'll find that you qualify."

    You officially lost the debate. The bigot and racism accusations are a sure sign you have zero intellectual argument for your positions.

  • Comment number 95.

    91 Chryses writes:
    "Any evidence to support your claim about mass murder THIS time?"
    ---------------------
    How about My Lai, 1968 - the mass murder of over 500 Vietnamese villagers by American troops?

  • Comment number 96.

    margaret howard, (#95. At 22:58pm 10th Apr 2011)

    ”... How about My Lai, 1968 - the mass murder of over 500 Vietnamese villagers by American troops?”
    How about an example less than 43 years old?
    LOL!

  • Comment number 97.

    94. At 22:55pm 10th Apr 2011, csgators wrote:
    "You officially lost the debate. The bigot and racism accusations are a sure sign you have zero intellectual argument for your positions."

    I have NO IDEA what you're talking about. The fellow that styles himself as "escapedfromny" raised the issue of racism, not me or mablewhite.

    Otherwise, "bigots" come in a wide variety of flavors. Don't tell me you're ANOTHER one that needs to buy a dictionary, are you?

  • Comment number 98.

    92. At 22:45pm 10th Apr 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    YOU:
    So you ARE as butt-ignorant as you seem!

    Wow!

    Buy a dictionary, sport. Look up the word "bigot." I think you'll find that you qualify.

    ME:
    Boy, are you out of touch. I am a member of a racial minority as defined by the EEOC and and other organs of the Government of the United States and the State of New York, among others. And based on words of Jesse Jackson and Joy Behar (ABC and CNN host) and Whoopie Goldberg, Malik Shabazz, and Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, members of minorities cannot be racist. Are you sure you want to argue with them? ;)

  • Comment number 99.

    96 Chryses writes:
    "How about an example less than 43 years old?
    LOL!"

    -----------------------------
    Why? Does that make it alright?

  • Comment number 100.

    #99 MH

    --when did we begin with the term ´collateral damage ´ ?

 

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