Sunday, September 15, 2013

Al Qaeda Reads Too Much Paul Klugman

I assume you saw the headline that Al Qaeda wants more lone wolf attacks to bleed the US economically
In an audio speech released online a day after the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 strikes, Zawahri said attacks "by one brother or a few of the brothers" would weaken the U.S. economy by triggering big spending on security, SITE reported.
I think he's reading too much Klugman and that "green shoots" bull crap if he thinks he needs to do anything to bleed us.  We're doing a good enough job of it ourselves.  We're bleeding ourselves out faster than the clients calling the suicide hotline. 

And for the occasional passerby who'll read this and say it's the war spending that's doing it, we could zero out military spending except veterans' benefits we've promised, send everyone on active duty home, dock every ship, ground every plane, park every tank, and open us to any attack imaginable, and still run a deficit.  We're still bleeding ourselves to death.  (sources: these overall revenue figures and these spending figures and my favorite, the Debt Clock)
With an estimated deficit currently running about $800 billion for the year, you can see zeroing out the entire blue section still leaves you with about a $150 billion deficit.


10 comments:

  1. The constitution mandates a few things and the military is one of them. Military spending isn't arbitrary or optional is required by the constitution. Welfare on the other hand is unconstitutional for the federal government. The federal government has about 2400 welfare programs hidden within five federal departments and spends about $1.2 trillion on these programs. THAT is where the deficit comes from and not the required constitutional spending on the military.

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    1. Absolutely - but I didn't go there because that's not the argument they'll drop on me. They always say it's the military spending and (as Michael Moore famously said) "we're not out of money, it's just in the wrong hands". Meaning your hands and mine. And if the government just takes all the money and distributes it as they want, there will be no problem.

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    2. The Constitution says that "Congress shall have the power... raise and support Armies... [and] to provide and maintain a Navy." The exercise of a power is usually seen as discretionary, not mandatory. Not only is the size of those military forces not established constitutionally, the permanent existence of one (the Army) is almost unconstitutional as the language in the rest of the Army clause is specifically written to discourage a standing army.

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    3. Are you saying that defending the country is not mandated by the constitution? That would be a very odd interpretation. But my real issue is/was that while military spending is a requirement in the constitution welfare spending is prohibited, that is since it isn't specifically authorized for the federal government it is therefore unconstitutional. To spend one red cent on federal welfare is wrong but to "borrow" the money to spend on welfare is tyrannical stupidity.

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  2. While the military is in the constitution, there is not supposed to be a standing army like we have now. There is no way that the founders wanted a standing military that numbers 2% of the adult population and spends more money than every other nation in the world combined.
    The real issue here is this: Discretionary spending means nothing. If we shut the entire government down today, and all we did was pay out mandatory spending: Medicare, Social Security, VA benefits, Interest on the debt, etc. which are REQUIRED by law to be paid, shutting everything else down: everything we think of related to government– the Military, all of the Alphabet agencies, the courts, Federal prisons, foreign aid, food stamps, welfare, bailouts, etc., we would still be running a $200 billion deficit.

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    1. By the vote of a majority of senators entitlements must be paid. You make it sound like it ordained from heaven. However by the constitution the defense of the country is required. The simple answer is for a majority in congress to change the law and make ALL budgetary items subject to a yearly renewal of their budgeted spending. That any federal spending was put on automatic payment is a dereliction of the congressional duties.

      I can tell you how to cut the budget: Separate SS from the federal budget and let the SS payments be managed by a professional staff and not congress. End ALL federal welfare. Eliminate the Depts of Education, Labor, HHS, HUD transportation, and Energy and of course fire all of their workers. Then identify the least productive 10% of the remaining civilians working for the federal government and fire them. If that doesn't balance the budget repeat that last step as many times as it takes to get it into balance.

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  3. A wise businessman once said "ALL expenses are variable..." That means that any asset can be sold, any cost can be reviewed, outsourced, or cut.

    Likewise, ALL government spending is discretionary. This has several important conclusions:
    1. We do NOT exclude liberal welfare plans from our deliberations.
    2. We prioritize what we must do, and then see if there is room for what we would LIKE to do.
    3. It is deceptive to show a pie chart of only what the left call "discretionary." Everything, ever dime is on the table. And that means welfare reform is as unavoidable as any other of the hard choices we face.

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  4. Can I just say all you guys are great?

    This is a great bunch of comments.

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  5. I read that as all government is discetionary.

    might just be me though...

    itor

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  6. "discretionary"
    itor

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