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27 November 2010

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JMH

" Many people both in "the region" and at home are becoming immensely rich from the "leakage" of government contracts both for equipment and for performance in the field of logistics. Why would anyone benefiting want to put a stop to that? 2014? What a joke."

I just overheard a defense contractor A-hole in Southside Bar explain that Iraq is/was a "Field of Dreams" and we needed to build it so the bad guys would come. Yes, these people could really care less about our men and women in uniform. And the rest of the human race? What is that? Well? The legions are feeling abused these days. Starship Troopers Whooh Hoooh!

Norbert M. Salamon

I was pleased to note that Dr. Sullivan's assessment of the porposed cuts, as per committee, is that they do not meet the demand for reduction.

It was pleasant to note that some of the commentators included [or alluded to] all the various dimensions of national security/defence expenses. My regret, is centered on the idea that taking the required spending [interest, SS and Medical] exhausts the federal income [as of 2010 budget] and thereby indicating that ALL discretory spending is DFEFICIT SPENDING.

While I strongly support mean testing for SS [we have it in Canada], and raising retirement age gradually in the future [starting in 2011], and reforming medical [must be nationalized and controlled for costs] the notion that the Defence budget and wars [as per the Colonel's remark on 2014] can be sustained is a joke.

The national debt/GDP figures for the USA are worse than that of Spain or Portugal. So if the problems in Euroland go to Spain, one will expect that the UK and USA are next, with higher interst on the debt, which would SCR*W up all prognostications in the National Blog.

So, the cuts and adjustmernts needed will have to be taken within 1-2 years, else all is lost!

Patrick Lang

NMS

"as per the Colonel's remark on 2014"

While I agree that these sums are unsustainable, The thought was that the "turkey" will not be pardoned by then. Looting will continue. pl

William R. Cumming

Would elimination of any redundancy in the 16 orgs in the INTEL community be a place to start? Or is there none?

Retired (once-Serving)Patriot

Looting will continue.

That is, until the foreign creditors decide they've financed enough.

RP

Norbert M. Salamon

Colonel:
You are right that the looting will continue. However, it is useless if the $ collapses - sans VALUABLE DOLLAR [which is less and less reality] there is no 18Million barrels of oil per day, ERGO no economy of any size, thus the looters are as broke as all others .

Adam L Silverman

Mr. Salmon: social security is paid for through a dedicated funding stream taken out in every paycheck up to (ie capped currently) ay $106,000 dollars of gross earned income per year. It is, both in it's official name from the legislation that created it, and its actuall purpose, societal insurance for retirees in the form of a direct contribution pension system administered by the Federal government. It does not contribute to the deficit, the way other spending does, because of this dedicated funding stream, though lawmakers and presidents have routinely borrowed against it. It is completely solvent, based on OMB and CBO scoring through the 2030s (ie can pay out full benefits with no tweaking to either revenue brought in or paid out) and 75% (ie can pay out 3/4s of promsed beneits) solvent into the 2070s or 2080s should no adjustments been made. Medicare does have some minor budgeting problems, but the real budget buster is Medicaid and Medicare Advantage, which was the Bush 43% attempt to demonstrate that private, for profit insurance companies could do better in administering Medicaire than the government (they can't) and the Part D pharmaceutical plan, which busts the budget. The US economy is in rough shape, and our budgeting is often times a mess for a number of reasons, but social security isn't one of them, and by and large neither is traditional Medicare.

11BP

off topic to this particular post but applies to posts here over the last couple of weeks.

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel came to the United States recently for another round of tense talks with the Obama administration, he got a decidedly warmer welcome from one of the rising Republican stars on Capitol Hill, Representative Eric Cantor, the incoming majority leader of the House.

But while Mr. Cantor and other newly empowered Republicans are eager to promote themselves as Israel’s staunchest defenders in Washington, the reconfigured American political landscape is a more complex and unpredictable backdrop for Middle East peacemaking.

“One of the first things Congressman Cantor can do is to make sure that his colleagues vote for aid to Israel,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who also met with Mr. Netanyahu.

Mr. Schumer and others worry that support for Israel in Congress, long a bipartisan article of faith, could become politicized in a way that will end up harming Israel’s interests. In the recent election, the administration’s Middle East policy became a partisan issue, seized on by several Republicans who pointed out that President Obama had tended to take a tougher line against Israel.

“That was the first time I had seen Israel used in a partisan political way,” said Representative Gary L. Ackerman, a New York Democrat and outgoing chairman of the House foreign affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.

read more at >>>

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/26/world/middleeast/26diplo.html?_r=2&hp

Mark Gaughan

Adam,
Well said.
Mark

walrus

It is only just dawning on some Americans that the country is yet to feel the full effects of the financial crisis. Most people have no idea.

Europe can look after itself. The IMF has enough to bail out Britain, but there is not enough money in the world to meet American demand for debt in the next five years - and that's debt that is maturing and must be rolled over, not new debt.

The news is being broken to you very gently. The Chairman of the FDIC says that the next financial crisis "may" start in Washington. Even blind Freddy knows that it has already started in Washington.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/40378597

The stark fact is that something has got to give. The choice is looking increasingly clear. Either Defence is cut to the bone, taxes are raised, and America begins the same type of long march towards reforming and modernising its economy and society that Australia started in 1990, or you will end up with a governing Aristocracy and serfdom for the rest.

It would appear that your masters prefer the latter course and will continue to arm themselves with the legal tools for the necessary repression under the banner of "fighting terrorism". It matters not which party is in power in Washington.

The initial key to this strategy was given by the adoption of the moniker "Homeland" to refer to America around 2002. "Fatherland" and "Motherland" having already been sullied. Peggy Noonan picked this up. I don't think anyone else did.

http://www.slate.com/id/2066978/

Jake

Will the real terrorists, please stand up?

Norbert M. Salamon

Dr Silvermqan:

Thank you for your review on SS. I was aware of these raminifications.
The problem in the near term is that the FUNDING of SST is via Federal PAPERS of vartious kinds, which earn very little interst theanks to Mr. Bernanke, QEI QEII [and coming soon QEN]. This means that ASAP the SS payroll tax is insufficient to finance the payout, then the Government will have to start CASHING IN THE PAPER. This step will be hard when the FEDERAL DEFICIT is in excess of $1 TRILLION per annum, due to WARS and WAR PREPARATION!

With Respect to Mrs. Blair's statement posted/linked by WALRUS, it should be noted that her claim of public debt reflects only the FEDERAL PORTION, while the debt of States, Counties and Municipalities is "forgotten" - this is fraqudulent at worst or intentional misdirection at best, for it is THE USA TAXPAYER [for generations top come] who are responsible for all PUBLIC DEBT, Federal or other. { Inote Canada, a confederation by Constitution, also plays the similar game when talking of GDP/Public debt ratios] - equally fraudulent]. The largest holders of FEDERAL PAPER are in order of magnitude: FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF USA, China, Japan, OPEC lands etc.

elkern

I predict that the Base Closing Circus will come to town again.

Their plan will be to eliminate redundancy by consolidating Navy bases from the (Blue) coasts to the Heartland - why have bases in CT & WA when a single one in NB would suffice? Now let's see, which other states vote(d) incorectly?

The battleship Iowa will be re-un-mothballed, and stationed, of course, in Des Moines.

A strong America needs the Dirigible!
(bumper sticker I saw in 1977)

Fred

Aparently God, at least the one worshiped by Congress and professional politicians, has forbidden raising taxes; especially taxes on those with the most money.

"It was Dick Cheney, no leftie peacenik, who hacked the first big slice out of the Pentagon in what became the drawdown of the 1990s."

Perhaps Mr. Freedberg (and other commentors)should look at the amount of debt run up due to the contractors in the two wars who are fighting at far more cost and less effectiveness, what was once done by government.

Let's cut Blackwater's budget, especially as EriK moved the renamed Xie to a foreign country to avoid US taxes.

Norbet, this alleged Social Security problem is 37 years away, at which time it will have 73% of the income required for full benefits. That is not a crisis unless one's political goal is to end it, in which case NOW, while you've got power and momentum, is the time.

steve

Mr. Salamon--

Social Security has for decades and decades kept its reserve fund in US treasury obligations. So, there's nothing new or frightening about that.

Currently, there are still some old treasury notes in the trust fund that are paying 6%, and some newer ones that are paying 2%. Those notes have been continuously rolled over and reinvested for decades.

You can find pages and pages of accounting info on the holdings and payoffs of trust fund assets at ss.gov.

But regardless, and this is my main point, the interest on those notes constitutes presently only 5% of social security income (2009). 95% of social security income is from fica tax (2009). Even today, the intake on fica tax exceeds payouts. In other words, the interest payments are gravy, which has only continued the growth of the ss surplus.

In the future? a one percentage point increase in employer/employee contributions phased in from now to 2037 (a 1/27% yearly increase in the fica tax) would insure full payments as far as the actuaries can see--far beyond 2037.

By my math guesstimate, that increase would amount to c. $11 per year on a $36,000 yr. income, i.e., 93 cents a month.

Fred

Elkern, unfortunately we in Michigan are stuck with giving tax credits to Canadian firms for Airships:
http://www.annarbor.com/news/manchester-businessman-robert-wozniak-making-run-for-michigans-52nd-district-state-house-seat/

http://avrocanadianna.com/

I wish someone would investigate this since the local 'paper' can't find the time. $37.8 million in tax credits for a company who's only asset appears to be a website? No wonder Michigan is in deep trouble.

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