Saturday, December 31, 2011

The End

December 23, 2012 is just around the corner...


Inspired by "HolyCoast"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Reason For Voting

Are you starting to think about presidential candidates for next years election?  Are you having a tough time deciding who you would vote for?  How about Mitt Romney, or Newt Gingrich, or Ron Paul, or Michele Bachmann, or some other Republican candidate.  Or maybe you're having a problem deciding if you want to vote for Barack Obama again.  If so, here's something that might help.  Sorry, but I couldn't embed the video...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWS2NVX6VP0&feature=youtu.be

Inspired by "Maggie's Farm"

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stone Henge

Thank you "Pinterest"

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Blue Ray


Mary Did You Know

Smack Dab or Snack Dub

Some people like to stand smack dab in the middle of it all.  Then there are those that don't like to stand at all.

Take A Stand

Learn to stand on your own two feet rather than trying to balance yourself on someone else's shoulders.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Me, A Libertarian !!!



You say you're an independent person but that you're sorta conservative in you're political views.  Me too.  You say you're pretty handy with the Internet and Facebook and Twitter and you use these social media tools to keep yourself politically informed.  Me too.  And you say that lately you've had this weird feeling maybe you're becoming a Libertarian and you don't know why?  Me too.  


Maybe this will help...


Libertarianism represents the true existential threat to the crony capitalism that has flourished for decades in both established political parties. But with both political parties in decay and independents positioned to determine the outcome of next year’s Presidential and Congressional elections; voters seem ready to embrace a political philosophy that puts strict limits on all government activity in order to maximize individual liberty and economic freedom.


Libertarianism is defined as “any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals.” To the political party establishments who fund their existence on the ability to attain this power and rent it back to their crony capitalist fellow travelers; libertarianism was dismissed as a “popular, dogmatic political cult in the vein of Marxism-Leninism.” The political elites have been comforted that “libertarians would never get hold of true power – for unlike their Marxist-Leninist brethren, they are a political cult without a broad base of support; they have no proletariat and no peasantry!” But in the age of social networking’s viral formation of voluntary associations at virtually no cost; libertarianism has found its broad base of support that can compete favorably versus paid advertising that drives the “peasant” support of the established parties.
Political party competition in America has primarily been fought out on television screens with thirty second ads that end in: “and I endorse this message”. In 2008, dark horse primary candidate Barack Obama successfully tapped the internet to raise money and mobilize millions of voters; but Obama spent 50% of the $650 million campaign contributions he raised on television commercials during the Presidential election. In 2010 many politicians tried the same strategy; but even digital expert Meg Whitman who had jumped on the social media bandwagon, including Facebook and Twitter in the primary; scaled back on internet ad buys in favor of the tried and true television spots for the gubernatorial election. Analysts estimate that of the $2 billion campaign dollars raised for the 2010 midterm elections; over $1 billion was spent on television spots, $250 million for commercial radio, and $650 million on direct mail campaigns; versus less than $50 million on internet strategies.
Over the last twelve months there has been an unreported ground-swell of support for Congressman Ron Paul’s libertarian philosophy that virally self-organized through social media. Paul never captured as much media attention as other Republican presidential candidates; even after placing second in the early Iowa Ames Straw Poll. When his name came up on the cable news shows, his libertarian ideas were dismissed the fringe ramblings of an unelectable candidate.
The media remained oblivious to Paul’s emergent online following. According to the Pew Charitable Trust’s Project for Excellence for Journalism; in a new study analyzing more than 20 million election-related tweets from May through November, Paul “fared far better” than any other Republican candidate. Pew found that Ron Paul was referred to “positively” in 55% of the 1.1 million Twitter assessments about him; versus 15% negative assessments and 30% neutral:
“This treatment of Paul stands in contrast to that of most of the GOP field, for whom twitter has been a tough neighborhood,”… “Five of Paul’s seven GOP rivals have had negative opinions on Twitter outstrip positive ones by roughly 2-1 or more.”
America’s libertarian roots were incubated in the run-up to American Revolutionary War of 1776. The British raised taxes by 500% from 1698 to the 1773, and imposed the taxes without consent from America’s own directly elected representatives; denied Americans their right to a fair trial by enforcing the Sugar and Stamp Acts in military courts; and kept troop high to intimidate the colonials settlers into submission.
American Exceptionalism is associated with our libertarian tradition based on personal freedom, egalitarianism, individualism, populism and laissez-faire. Of course these values clash directly with goals of crony capitalists to extract massive wealth from U.S. government contracts, permits, grants, special tax breaks, and so forth. But the low-cost economics of libertarian social networking is driving a determined Ron Paul to challenge crony capitalist’s tight-fisted grip on elections.

Thanks to "Big Government" and Chriss W. Street for the inspiration.

This Must Be Done


Getting america out of deep debt
By Tom Price and Paul Ryan
December 12, 2011

For three straight years, the U.S. government has run trillion-dollar deficits. In total, the nation has recently surpassed $15 trillion in debt — a number that continues to rise. For nearly 1,000 days, the Democrat-led Senate has refused to write a budget while Washington continues to careen from one budget crisis to another. This is a stark reality for a nation already facing tremendous economic challenges, and it is the strongest argument and impetus for the series of budget-process reforms recently introduced by members of the House Budget Committee.
Earlier this year, House Republicans presented a budget to the Congress that would cut nearly $6 trillion in spending, reform the tax code and improve and strengthen programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. We drafted, debated and passed a plan to put our nation on a path to prosperity. President Barack Obama, along with Democrat leaders on Capitol Hill, responded with demagoguery while offering no credible plan of their own — no plan to pay off the debt and no plan to save and strengthen health and retirement programs for seniors.
Elected leaders should not be able to avoid their responsibilities in such a cavalier manner. And yet, under the broken budget process in Washington, they have been able to get away with doing nothing as the debt piles even higher.
Members of the House Budget Committee are now stepping in and stepping up with a package of reforms — 10 bills, recently introduced, that would make certain Congress has the tools to control spending and will be held accountable for practicing the necessary oversight.
Each proposal speaks to a weakness in the current budgeting process and provides a solution to fix the problem. Taken together, they present a path out of the current dysfunction and a way for lawmakers to confront our nation's challenges.
Among the bills being proposed is legislation we authored that would require the Congressional Budget Office to begin analyzing the macroeconomic impact of major pieces of legislation. The Pro-Growth Budgeting Act requires the CBO to provide a more dynamic assessment of how pending legislation would affect economic realities such as business investment, real gross domestic product and unemployment.
This would provide a more complete perspective on the real-world impact of legislation beyond the usual revenue, outlays and deficit accounting already relayed by the CBO. It would ensure that lawmakers are better informed and forced to consider the consequences of their actions on the economy as a whole, not just on Washington's bottom line.
The current broken budget process provides ample opportunity for Congress to overspend and underprioritize. The proposals put forward by members of the House Budget Committee take positive steps toward a more accountable and responsible budget process — one in which members are more cognizant of how best to promote growth in the economy while practicing sound fiscal management. In doing so, we would help lift the shadow of debt that is hanging over economic activity and limiting our prospects for a more prosperous future. Bills such as the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act will make it easier for leaders to do their jobs and harder for others to avoid the responsibility bestowed upon them by the American people.
U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., is chairman of the Republican Policy Committee in the House of Representatives. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Thank you:  Committee On The Budget, House of Representatives

Blank Pages

I tried writing a book once.  I wrote all the page numbers down and couldn't think of anything else.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Speed Thinking


Barber Shop Backroom

Drexel, NC is 292 miles from here, but it'd be worth the trip to get my haircut there next time I need one.

Best viewed in full screen...



Food Stamps


Don't Forget


Demo

                                        Sometimes I think 
                             God gave me a "demo" for a brain.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Good News

                                   Good news and great joy,
                                   Mary had a baby boy.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Too Much Gas


One of the most traditional meals in our house when I was growing up in Maine was homemade baked beans every Saturday evening.  Those baked beans made with molasses and brown sugar and served with hot dogs and brown bread were always great.  But there was just one problem with those great suppers back then and it seems our country's got the same problem these days..."TOO MUCH GAS".  


Here's what I'm talking about. 




According to this chart, the price for a gallon of gasoline has gone DOWN in the past three months.


  



And, according to this chart the price of a barrel of oil has gone UP in the past three months.




Guess what?  There's more gasoline  floating around than there is a need for people to buy it right now.  So much so that this chart shows for the first time, our country's exporting more petroleum products than it's importing.  And most of what I read says the reasons there's so much gasoline is because, first, the economy stinks so we're not using as much and, second, a lot of the cars running up and down the roads these days are getting a lot better gas mileage then they use to.


But I got a couple other ideas why there's TOO MUCH GAS.


First...
Yup, North Dakota.  In 2001 North Dakota produced 443, 071 barrels of oil for the whole year.  This year, North Dakota is producing an average of 488,068 barrels of oil per DAY and by the end of next year the only other state producing more oil will be Texas. Hummmmm!


Second,
Yup, ethanol.  Ever stand there pumping gas and look over at the pump and notice that 10% of what you're pumping is ethanol?  In 2000 this country produced 1.63 million gallons of ethanol.  In 2010 we produced 13.2 million gallons.  Hummmmm!   








With all that being said, you know what?  Those baked bean suppers I used to eat were so good I really didn't mind too much gas later on in the evening.  And, if too much gas is going to keep the price of a gallon of gasoline lower, I guess I won't mind that too much either.



Friday, December 9, 2011

Butt Prints

I'm too lazy to leave footprints in the sands of time.  But I leave a real good butt print.

Slow Food

Going through a fast food drive-thru these days reminds me of the time I got sick and had to have my Amish neighbor take me to the hospital emergency room.

Redneck Si-Fi

My kind of Si-Fi...


Close Encounters of the Redneck Kind from Zero on .
Thank you Maggie's Farm

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fence Sense

When it comes to making sense, I'm on both sides of the fence.

Snake Oil

What pandering pundits and most politicians peddle.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Legalism

I noticed this morning in church, that my pastor was carrying an iPad along with his bible.  Then he preached a really good sermon on "legalism".  Hence, I couldn't resist this...  

Dessert

I don't need a bigger piece of the pie, "cause I'm gonna have Heaven for dessert.

Next Of Kin

Guaranteed you'd treat your neighbor like next of kin if you had to share one of these...'Specially at the same time.

Stable Influence















Thank you "Holycoast.com"

Preaching

This country does not need religious entrepreneurs with business plans preaching to people.  It needs pastors with Bibles preaching to sinners.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Then And Now

"Opportunity"
















"Outcome"
















"Units"

Someday you or I, or someone we know and love could become a "unit".



Thanks to:  "Maggie's Farm" and "The Anchoress" ...and "The Anchoress" has an excellent commentary.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Wonder Why ?

Hmmmmmm...I wonder?  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  NO COMMENT

















Thank you:  "Grouchy Old Cripple in Atlanta"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Saving The American Idea

"The Divider vs The Thinker by Peggy Noonan


People are increasingly fearing the divisions within, even the potential coming apart of, our country. Rich/poor, black/white, young/old, red/blue: The things that divide us are not new, yet there's a sense now that the glue that held us together for more than two centuries has thinned and cracked with age. That it was allowed to thin and crack, that the modern era wore it out.
What was the glue? A love of country based on a shared knowledge of how and why it began; a broad feeling among our citizens that there was something providential in our beginnings; a gratitude that left us with a sense that we should comport ourselves in a way unlike the other nations of the world, that more was expected of us, and not unjustly—"To whom much is given much is expected"; a general understanding that we were something new in history, a nation founded on ideals and aspirations—liberty, equality—and not mere grunting tribal wants. We were from Europe but would not be European: No formal class structure here, no limits, from the time you touched ground all roads would lead forward. You would be treated not as your father was but as you deserved. That's from "The Killer Angels," a historical novel about the civil war fought to right a wrong the Founders didn't right. We did in time, and at great cost. What a country.


But there is a broad fear out there that we are coming apart, or rather living through the moment we'll look back on as the beginning of the Great Coming Apart. Economic crisis, cultural stresses: "Half the country isn't speaking to the other half," a moderate Democrat said the other day. She was referring to liberals of her acquaintance who know little of the South and who don't wish to know of it, who write it off as apart from them, maybe beneath them.
To add to the unease, in New York at least, there's a lot of cognitive dissonance. If you are a New Yorker, chances are pretty high you hate what the great investment firms did the past 15 years or so to upend the economy. Yet you feel on some level like you have to be protective of them, because Wall Street pays the bills of the City of New York. Wall Street tax receipts and Wall Street business—restaurants, stores—keep the city afloat. So you want them up and operating and vital, you don't want them to leave—that would only make things worse for people in trouble, people just getting by, and young people starting out. You know you have to preserve them just when you'd most like to deck them.
***
Where is the president in all this? He doesn't seem to be as worried about his country's continuance as his own. He's out campaigning and talking of our problems, but he seems oddly oblivious to or detached from America's deeper fears. And so he feels free to exploit divisions. It's all the rich versus the rest, and there are a lot more of the latter.
Twenty twelve won't be "as sexy" as 2008, he said this week. It will be all brute force. Which will only add to the feeling of unease.
Occupy Wall Street makes an economic critique that echoes the president's, though more bluntly: the rich are bad, down with the elites. It's all ad hoc, more poetry slam than platform. Too bad it's not serious in its substance.
There's a lot to rebel against, to want to throw off. If they want to make a serious economic and political critique, they should make the one Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner make in "Reckless Endangerment": that real elites in Washington rigged the system for themselves and their friends, became rich and powerful, caused the great catering, and then "slipped quietly from the scene."
It is a blow-by-blow recounting of how politicians—Democrats and Republicans—passed the laws that encouraged the banks to make the loans that would never be repaid, and that would result in your lost job. Specifically it is the story of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage insurers, and how their politically connected CEOs, especially Fannie's Franklin Raines and James Johnson, took actions that tanked the American economy and walked away rich. It began in the early 1990s, in the Clinton administration, and continued under the Bush administration, with the help of an entrenched Congress that wanted only two things: to receive campaign contributions and to be re-elected.
The story is a scandal, and the book should be the bible of Occupy Wall Street. But they seem as incapable of seeing government as part of the problem as Republicans seem of seeing business as part of the problem.
Which gets us to Rep. Paul Ryan. Mr. Ryan receives much praise, but I don't think his role in the current moment has been fully recognized. He is doing something unique in national politics. He thinks. He studies. He reads. Then he comes forward to speak, calmly and at some length, about what he believes to be true. He defines a problem and offers solutions, often providing the intellectual and philosophical rationale behind them. Conservatives naturally like him—they agree with him—but liberals and journalists inclined to disagree with him take him seriously and treat him with respect.
This week he spoke on "The American Idea" at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. He scored the president as too small for the moment, as "petty" in his arguments and avoidant of the decisions entailed in leadership. At times like this, he said, "the temptation to exploit fear and envy returns." Politicians divide in order to "evade responsibility for their failures" and to advance their interests.
The president, he said, has made a shift in his appeal to the electorate. "Instead of appealing to the hope and optimism that were hallmarks of his first campaign, he has launched his second campaign by preying on the emotions of fear, envy and resentment."
But Republicans, in their desire to defend free economic activity, shouldn't be snookered by unthinking fealty to big business. They should never defend—they should actively oppose—the kind of economic activity that has contributed so heavily to the crisis. Here Mr. Ryan slammed "corporate welfare and crony capitalism."
"Why have we extended an endless supply of taxpayer credit to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, instead of demanding that their government guarantee be wound down and their taxpayer subsidies ended?" Why are tax dollars being wasted on bankrupt, politically connected solar energy firms like Solyndra? "Why is Washington wasting your money on entrenched agribusiness?"
Rather than raise taxes on individuals, we should "lower the amount of government spending the wealthy now receive." The "true sources of inequity in this country," he continued, are "corporate welfare that enriches the powerful, and empty promises that betray the powerless." The real class warfare that threatens us is "a class of bureaucrats and connected crony capitalists trying to rise above the rest of us, call the shots, rig the rules, and preserve their place atop society."
If more Republicans thought—and spoke—like this, the party would flourish. People would be less fearful for the future. And Mr. Obama wouldn't be seeing his numbers go up.

And here is who and what Ms. Noonan is talking about...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vocal Metal

 Even if you're not into heavy metal, you gotta hear this...
















 Thank you "Grouchy Old Cripple".

Saturday, October 22, 2011

OWS Benefit

Sad, but hits the nail right on the head.  And, funny too.











Thank you "Grouchy Old Cripple".

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Up And Down

Up on a soapbox is good.
Down on your knees is better.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bits Of History A Repeatin'

The bloggers are a bloggin',
That there's somethin' evolvin'.
But whatever's a comin',
The world's gonna keep revolvin'.
The talkin' heads say,
The next big thing's here,
That the revolution's near.
But to me it's quite clear.
It's just a bit of history repeatin'.
The tweeps are a tweetin' a new style's a growin'.
But they don't know if it's a comin' or if it's a goin'.
There's fashion and there's fad.
Some's good and some's bad.
And it's all a bit sad, cause...
It's just a bit of history repeatin'.
I've seen it before and I'll see it again, and...
I've said it before and I'll say it again...
It's all just little bits of history a repeatin'.



Saturday, October 15, 2011

Not 99%

Lots of demonstrating going on these days by young folks declaring they're being cheated by big banks, big shots and big boogeymen (and boogeyladies). And they keep carrying on about being the 99%. Well, here is one declaration that says he/she is NOT a member of the 99%. And I have a personal hunch there are a lot more young folks out there like this and the 99% may have been just a tad overstated.

 Thank You "Small Dead Animals"

  CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Right On Ray !!!

I always did like Mr. Stevens...


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WE MUST NEVER FORGET…
There were 2977 lives lost on September 11, 2001, not counting the hijackers. Their children and spouses and mothers and fathers and family and friends did not get one more day to be with their loved ones. This Sunday please pray for the families and friends of those lost ten years ago that they may endure one more day. And then, thank The Lord you have had “ONE MORE DAY” times 3652.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Pursuit of Big Government

"The Real Story of America's Founding".


Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence, which includes the famous line, “We hold these truths to be revealed after careful study by Ivy League-educated people, that all men are in need of constant care and supervision, that they are endowed by the highly-educated intellectual class with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are free Health Care, strict and expansive Regulations on all activities, and the pursuit of Big Government.”

And Patrick Henry was quoted as saying, "Give me a large government telling me what I can and can't do while spending most of my money, or give me death!"



Thank you Frank Fleming, Pajama Media and Maggie’s Farm


************

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flag Day

Mighty Proud Of My Flag

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Have At It

A successful politician is much like an unlicensed plumber holding a big knife and telling you he has this dream that he'd like to cut your chest open and you say, "Sure, you got my vote, have at it".

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Fraudulent Feast

When was the last time you had a lobster and steak dinner?





























Thanks to:  'Maggie's Farm"

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Choose Wisely

The most important thing about this video is that one of these guys IS NOT using a teleprompter.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Real Life "Tom Clancy Hero"

Robert Micheal Gates

What a coincidence.  This past Saturday I finished reading Tom Clancy's latest book "Dead or Alive".  The next day our military special operations and intelligence agencies assassinated Osama bin Laden.  If you don't know the coincidence I'm talking about, read Mr. Clancy's book. 

We owe many people a debt of gratitude for eliminating Osama bin Laden.  The CIA was the lead agency in finding and tracking him down.  Navy Seals, Army Rangers and other special operations personnel were the doers on the ground in Sunday's operation.  President Obama made a courageous decision in authorizing the operation.  But perhaps those that remain in the background or off to the side sometimes have the greatest impact on an operation of this nature.

Robert Gates was in the CIA for over 25 years and was the only career officer in the CIA's history (as of 2005) to rise from entry-level employee to Director of Central Intelligence.  He was appointed Secretary of Defense in 2006 by President George W. Bush and is the only Secretary of Defense to serve under two Presidents of different parties.

I've always wondered why President Obama kept Mr.Gates on as Secretary of Defense after the Bush administration?  I wonder if it had anything to do with tracking down Osama bin Laden?

I wonder if Robert Gates has ever met Tom Clancy?

Robert Michael Gates is retiring next month. 

Thank you for protecting our country, sir.

************

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We Are Lost

"Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts."

We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today;
Cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen!"
—  Billy Graham

************

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Conservative Circus Clowns

"There's A Sucker Born Every Minute" - P.T. Barnum

The other day Oprah Winfrey asked President Obama why he waited two and a half years to release his birth certificate to the public.   Mr. Obama explained that, "even though this is not usually what the state of Hawaii does, I instructed my advisors to ask the State of Hawaii for a special dispensation to provide us with the original in order to put the issue to rest". 

Mr. Obama never did answer the question of why he waited two and a half years. 

The Birther issue was a "circus" concocted by the White House two and a half years ago after questions were first raised during the 2008 presidential campaign.  It was then perpetuated by the White House for the past two and a half years for the sole purpose of making a bunch of clowns out of a bunch of dim witted conservatives.  And it worked.  There were a lot of people, and not just Republicans,  jumping on the "Birther Bandwagon" as of late.
 
But why now?  

I suspect the main objective all along was to wait until Sarah Palin announced her candidacy and then provide the original birth certificate.  But "Chump Trump" came along.  The controversy was getting too difficult to sustain and so, the certificate of birth was produced.

But this will not be the last you hear about this subject.  Come 2012 campaign time, any and all non-Democrat candidates who ever came close to this issue will be portrayed as just another "Conservative Circus Clown".

************

Saturday, April 23, 2011

2012 Prediction

Heaven's Ranch


While many of us are in church tomorrow morning celebrating Easter Sunday, the Rev. Franklin Graham will be appearing on ABC's "This Week".  Anchor Christiane Amanpour will be asking him his opinion on Republican presidential candidates for 2012.  What we will miss is Rev. Graham saying this...

"Donald Trump, when I first saw that he was getting in, I thought, well, this has got to be a joke," said Graham. "But the more you listen to him, the more you say to yourself, you know, maybe this guy's right."
"So, he might be your candidate of choice?" Amanpour asked.
"Sure, yes," Graham responded.

If Donald Trump wins the 2012 Republican nomination for President of The United States, Ronald Reagan will not return from the grave.  But, there may well be an earthquake in California the day after the convention and "Heaven's Ranch" just might sink into Hell.

Inspired by ABC News/Politics 

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dump Mr. Chump

Beware of Donald Trump.  He's trying to make you a chump.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Don't Hold Your Breath

Talk, Talk, and More Talk.

 

These guys got all kinds of plans to fix the deficit.  But if history tells us anything, they'll do nothing but disagree.  Well, speaking of doing nothing, how about this...


"How Congress can balance the budget in eight years by literally doing nothing. This is not a joke."

 




The Simpson-Bowles blue-ribbon deficit commission longs to slash Social Security and defense spending. The Bipartisan Policy Center's Alice Rivlin and Peter Domenici yearn for a value-added tax. Rep. Paul Ryan's politically deft, economically daft plan conspires to shift the burden of health care spending, cut taxes for the rich, and make up the difference with fantastical supply-side growth assumptions. And President Obama is likely to embrace the Simpson-Bowles recommendations when he announces his long-term budget plan on Wednesday.

One might think that we need all of these big plans, these grand bargains, because of the enormity of the fiscal challenge the country faces. The United States is swimming in a sea of red ink, with trillion-dollar annual deficits and an unfathomably gigantic cumulative debt.

But the truth is we don't need any of these plans. Every one of them is entirely unnecessary for balancing the budget and eventually reducing the debt. They may even be counterproductive. Thus, Slate proposes the Do-Nothing Plan for Deficit Reduction, a meek, cowardly effort to wrest the country back into the black. The overarching principle of the Do-Nothing Plan is this: Leave everything as is. Current law stands, and spending and revenue levels continue according to the Congressional Budget Office's baseline projections. Everyone walks away. Paul Ryan goes fishing. Sen. Harry Reid kicks back with a ginger ale. The rest of Congress gets back to bickering about mammograms. Miraculously, the budget just balances itself, in about a decade.

I know. Your eyebrows are running for your hairline; your jaw is headed to the floor. You've had the bejesus scared out of you by deficit hawks murmuring about bankruptcy and defaults and Chinese bondholders. But don't take it from me. Take it from the number crunchers at the CBO. Look at the first chart here, and check the "primary deficit" in 2019. The number is positive. The deficit does not exist. There's a technicality, granted: The primary deficit is the difference between spending and revenue. The total deficit, the number more commonly cited as "the deficit," includes mandatory interest payments on the country's debt. Even so, the total fiscal gap is a whisper, not a shout—about 3 percent of GDP, which is what economists say is healthy for an advanced economy.

So how does doing nothing actually return the budget to health? The answer is that doing nothing allows all kinds of fiscal changes that politicians generally abhor to take effect automatically. First, doing nothing means the Bush tax cuts would expire, as scheduled, at the end of next year. That would cause a moderately progressive tax hike, and one that hits most families, including the middle class. The top marginal rate would rise from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, and some tax benefits for investment income would disappear.

Additionally, a patch to keep the alternative minimum tax from hitting 20 million or so families would end. Second, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obama's health care law, would proceed without getting repealed or defunded. The CBO believes that the plan would bend health care's cost curve downward, wrestling the rate of health care inflation back toward the general rate of inflation. Third, doing nothing would mean that Medicare starts paying doctors low, low rates. Congress would not pass anymore of the regular "doc fixes" that keep reimbursements high. Nothing else happens. Almost magically, everything evens out.

These are the CBO's baseline projections. But, of course, Congress is not likely to let the Bush tax cuts fully expire, or slash doctors' payments. So the CBO also prepares an "alternative fiscal scenario" that looks more like the path we expect Congress to take. It's the alternative scenario that has the horror-show deficits. But Congress doesn't have to act. It just has to do nothing. Or when it does do something, it has to pay for it.
That last bit is important: We want the numbers of the do-nothing path but not necessarily the policies. The fiscal future written in current law is hardly the best of all fiscal futures. For one, health care spending would comprise an enormous portion of overall spending. Right now, the United States spends about $1 in every $6 on health care. In a decade or two, based on the do-nothing plan, it would spend $1 in every $5, then $1 in every $4, and not get better health outcomes, either. Those dollars would be better spent in other industries or on other priorities. Moreover, under the do-nothing plan, the government would tax a much bigger share of GDP than it currently does, and the tax burden on the middle-class would be uncomfortably high.

But the do-nothing plan proves the point that the budget revolution does not need to be particularly revolutionary. Yes, the dollar figures are enormous, so big that it would appear to require "bold" plans that include massive new taxes or cruel new cuts. But, in fact, we don't really need to end Social Security, sell Alaska, or ship the poor to Canada to get back in the black. We just need to stick to current law—particularly the tax and health care provisions—and then we can tinker our way toward a better, healthier economy.

That is because, by and large, the hard work of fixing the fat part of the budget has already happened—through health care reform. The Social Security crisis you sometimes hear about is essentially a myth. The trust fund will run out in 2037, "at which point tax income would be sufficient to pay about 75 percent of scheduled benefits through 2084." Full Social Security solvency would require only about 0.7 percent of GDP, which you can get to by exposing income above $107,000 to the payroll tax. There is no debt crisis, either, as long as the U.S.'s lenders remain confident in the country. The crisis lies in spiraling health care costs. The Obama health care reform bill might not work, but it does contain programs that could turn the tide over time. The big wheels of deficit reduction are already turning—and it might be better for Congress to step back, stick to pay-as-you-go, and let them turn.


Of course, Slate's Do-Nothing Plan is not a bold plan. It is not a banner plan. It won't get us facetime on Meet the Press, or a mash note from pundits. It requires some very unpopular measures—such as serious middle-class tax hikes and sticking with Obamacare. But asking Congress to do nothing, at the very least, seems to have a pretty good chance of making it through Congress.

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