The World According to Keitho

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To spend or not to spend

Posted by keithosaunders on August 14, 2011

I managed to avoid the radio for the majority of my cross-country drive, but there were a few times where I succumbed to the lure of talk radio.  I guess the left-wing media has yet to permeate the talk radio business — 100% of the shows I encountered were hosted by rabid right wingers.  A particular low light was when I stumbled across Sean Hannity interviewing Ann Coulter.  Hannity was flirting with Coulter throughout the interview, which lent it a creepy air.  I would rather imagine my parents having sex than have to picture a Hannity/Coulter tryst.  My god, I just threw up in my mouth.

Most, if not all of the shows, bemoaned the liberal compulsion to spend the country’s money.  Apparently the deficit is the number one problem we have, and should we balance the budget, all of our troubles will be solved.  Forget about unemployment — they do not so much as pay lip service to job creation, except for it being a direct by-product of tax breaks for the wealthy. (read, deserving)

All of this talk of cutting spending got me to thinking…we’ve got an election coming up next year and there is a tangible chance that Obama will be defeated, opening the door for fiscal responsibility Republican style.  I began to wonder what would happen if the Republicans got everything they wanted.

First, let’s assume funding for schools will be slashed by fifty percent.  After all, they are run by the corrupt teachers union and their funding is squandered on things like paid holidays. (and luxuries such as text books)  

All programs related to job training, college loans, and food stamps would be cut by at least 80 percent.  NPR and funding for the arts?  Eliminated. 

This brings us to cutting defense spending, but we all know this is a non-starter.  This leaves Social Security and Medicare, which I  assume would be drastically scaled back.  The health care bill would be repealed, but heck, that may even happen under the Obama administration. 

So what is the upshot?  I envision mass poverty.  With no jobs and rising expenses the middle class would be surviving on a wing and a prayer.  The lower middle class would become homeless, but since funding for shelters would have been all but eliminated, there would be an epidemic of homelessness on the streets of our cities and suburbs. 

Crime would skyrocket and prisons would be overflowing.  Disease would be rampant and emergency rooms would become triage units.  Eventually there would be rioting in the streets and martial law would be declared.

Now, I admit that this is a worst case scenario, but I am assuming that every possible spending cut would be achieved.  Is it so much of a stretch to envision chaos in a society virtually devoid of government? 

My point is that by listening to radio and TV pundits you would think that all of our problems would disappear if only we would cut spending.  I believe that our problems would be exponentially worse.

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16 Responses to “To spend or not to spend”

  1. Too many Americans don’t believe that what happened in London this past week could ever happen here. Too many other Americans would welcome the riots so they could start shooting people at will. If you completely remove the social safety net, the less fortunate aren’t simply going to disappear.
    Pay now with education, job training, and after school programs, or pay later by building more prisons, police overtime, and an overflowing court system. Why some people believe the second choice is preferable (there really are no third options) is beyond me.
    Take care,
    Bill

    • What confounds me is this constant drumbeat by the right of cutting spending. Nobody, the media included, ever speculates on what would ensue should Republicans get everything they are asking for. For that matter, why didn’t we hear about cutting spending when Bush was president? It’s as if at some point the powers that be in the Republican party decided that the best way to defeat Obama was to attack him on spending. That’s fine — that’s politics. I would hope that our media could be a more thorough in their reporting. Rather than take everything they say at face value, why not extrapalate what it means to gut social safety nets.

      How about it, jb? What does the world look like without health and welfare? Where are the jobs coming from? What to do about mass unemployment, people who cannot afford to buy food?

      • verdun2 said

        The biggest probelm we have is lack of jobs. If either party can figure out how to return to something like mass employment, they’re going to win the 2012 election easy. Then a greatful public will let them do pretty much whatever they want (which isn’t always a good thing). Whatever happened to Carville’s “It’s the economy, stupid”?
        Btw sounds like you finally made it home. Glad you’re safe and secure in the bosom of your family.
        v

      • jb said

        Heh!

      • jb said

        Ya know, Keith . . .

        You are a smart man. Anyone who can tickle the keys and make a living doing so is not dumb. I do not for a moment think you are. But you are most bewildering at times, saying things that make no sense.

        For instance—you ought to know damn well how a job is created. Gummint can’t create anything but chaos and debt, nebber mind a job. You have to have a businessman, which I am, have enough money that isn’t raped by taxes, social programs, local yokel taxes, and subject to whatever fines the alphabet soup conglomeration of federal agencies permit or deny, to say to a prospective employee—“You have a job.”

        Of course, I have to do a complete background check to make sure he or she is not a father raper or a mother raper (Arlo Guthrie), or a crook or a deadbeat. I become liable if I hire someone like that.

        Then I have to train them, and with all the various “rights” you libs have invented and enforced, I have to make sure I am not injuring his or her tender pride by telling he or she that they might actually have to work.

        As to the “safety net?” Come, come, man, it is no longer a safety net, it is a way of life. In my years of doing home rehabs in South St, Pete ( lived in them as I rehabbed them), I encountered 3rd generation welfare recipients raising, or supporting 4th generation welfare recipients. That isn’t a safety net, that was and is a lifestyle.

        Gummint has never, in the history of mankind, been the answer to anything except how to start a war or tax the production of working citizens. To imply I owe the fruits of my labors to someone other than my family is, by definition, forced theft.

        And you and your groupies know that, even if you won’t admit it. I owe you, nor anyone outside my family, either one hour or one nickel of my labor, and I defy you to prove that I do.

        You will not, because you cannot.

      • I still want to know what a world without safety nets looks like to you. I’m not being snarky when I ask this. What if the Republicans get into power , gain the Senate, and are given carte blanche to make whatever spending cuts they want. I think it would devistate the country. How does eliminating govt spending help when we already have mass unemployment and growing poverty. For me, it doesn’t add up.

  2. jb said

    Uh, Bill

    You say:

    Pay now with education, job training, and after school programs, or pay later by building more prisons, police overtime, and an overflowing court system. Why some people believe the second choice is preferable (there really are no third options) is beyond me.

    Perhaps you haven’t noticed that both/all of those things are happening with the social welfare state as it is.

  3. […] Here. Read the thread. Unless you are the Bammster himself, my responses should be furrily clear, especially this one: […]

  4. jb said

    Keith–

    We are seeing what it looks like with a safety net, and virtual uncontrollable gummint spending and likewise uncontrollable printing of fiat money that has no backing, no real market value, and only makes the billions given to the banks and the military and the favored few worth far less by the time it trickles down to the average dude in the street.

    I would think you would be long past the LBJ mentality in arguing for “safety nets” . . . look at what they have wrought, together with unrestricted spending by BOTH parties since LBJ’s grand experiment. Ye gads, man, at what point do you back away from party lines and just admit that the 537 in DC have continued to screw the American people while trying to make us feel guilty for not supporting their schemes?

    Safety net? Is that really the issue? Ok, then let’s suspend spending at 2002 levels. Folks still get the give-away’s, and gummint is restrained from devaluing the dollar any further. Obama is off on a multi-million dollar getaway in the midst of a near depression. He might be paying the rent on the joint, but we are paying for the flight, secret service all the food and lodging for them. At some point, the bullshit has to end.

    Crying about the poor solves nothing. Of course, maybe Paul Krugman is onto something—if we just could manage an alien invasion, why, that would fix everything!

    BTW . . . I am not a Republican. Both political parties have prostituted their constituents and need to be replaced. They have spent way too much of other people’s money.

  5. Blair Ivey said

    Hi Keith,

    Glad to see you made it safely over the river and through the woods. Every time I’ve driven across the country, I’ve picked a new route so I could see new things. Next time I’ll take I-90, as I’ve never visited the North Central states.

    I would posit that the primary reason people are upset with D.C. is that it beggars belief that an institution with gross annual receipts approaching 50% GDP of the world’s second largest economy, China, cannot meet it’s obligations without ruinous borrowing.

    People can (and do) argue all they want about government spending to preserve society. The laws of economics are as immutable as the laws of physics. We have already seen the precursors to wholesale societal failure in the West, and no one can say it’s because we haven’t spent enough money. As has nearly every great society in the past, and noted about this one as far back as de Tocqueville, we have sown the seeds of our own destruction, and now will reap the whirlwind.

    Regards,

    Blair

    • It’s a good comment with valid points, Blair, but still nobody has answered my question — what is going to happen should all of these spending cuts, including ones to social security and medicare, occur. I’m taking this as a tacit admission that my hunch — that it would lead to widespread poverty followed by anarchy — is correct.

      I had a great trip and I would heatily recommned I 90. We did that last year, and South Dakota, as well as northern Wyoming, are not to be missed.

  6. Blair Ivey said

    You are correct. There will be anarchy. Maybe not this year, Maybe not next, but it’s coming. I would very much like that it not, but I am not sanguine about the outlook. There will be blood. Your hunch is a tacit admission that the ‘conservative’ view is the more likely.

    Regards,

    Blair

  7. jb said

    Keith–

    Gummint does not “create” jobs . . . that is an economic fallacy–a pipe dream, as it were. They take the money from the producers in society and create paid positions within gummint. There is nothing–zero–economically productive in such nonsense. It is merely a stealth transfer of wealth.

    You are positing your question on a biased political basis—“if the conservatives get what they want” . . . Well, take a look at how the Dems have gotten what they want, and the literal quagmire the Fed and Keynesian economics have created, You are asking the wrong question altogether. Instead, you should ask:

    What kind of mess will we have if we hold to the present course of tax and spend?

    THAT is what has got us to this point, and continuing in the same vein of madness will result in the very things you fear. I’ve made it clear many times—here and on my site—that I desire a pox on both political parties. They have lied to us at every opportunity, and taken untold trillions in taxes over the years. You are worried about anarchy if give-aways are taken away. Dude, there is no more money! What part of that do you not understand? They can print a gazillion more 100 dollar bills, but all that does is make the money you and I have even more worthless that it already is.

    The gummint is running out of other people’s money, and prices, the market, and every other indicator are making that clear. BOTH parties have taxed and spent beyond any limit all in the name of progressivism, and rather than improving things and lifting all boats, they have put everyone on a precarious edge financially.

    Listening to politicians of either party, all of whom have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, is proving to be more and more useless with each passing day. You should be pissed at all gummint, not just the other party. The Dems will screw you as quickly as will the GOP.

    When you get past your political ideology and look at the reality of matters, you would advocate being rid of both political parties pronto.

    But you won’t. You are as welded to progressive Dems as are those welded to the GOP. I call a pox down upon both your houses for being as blind as bats. BOTH PARTIES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT IS COMING.

  8. artmodel said

    Keith,

    Your point is well-taken. As is JB’s and Blair’s. Rather than address the issue of entitlement spending I would just like to mention that, to me, there is plenty of cutting that can be found within the federal government. I think a lot of Americans are unaware of how much frivolous, nonessential BS the federal government wastes its (and taxpayers) time and money on. Although eliminating this stuff can’t come close to lifting us out of our hole, it definitely can’t hurt. If someone can please tell me the VITAL purpose of these federal government agencies/bureaus then by all means enlighten me:

    Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
    Interagency Alternative Dispute Resolution Working Group
    Chief Human Capital Officers Council
    National Mediation Board
    Japan-United States Friendship Commission
    Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds
    US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
    Regulatory Information Service Center
    Railroad Retirement Board
    Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation
    Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements

    ???????????????????

    And there’s more. I say, GET RID OF ALL THIS CRAP. I’d throw out a couple of cabinet positions as well. Huge chunks of the federal government are completely asinine and, frankly, insulting by their very existence. It’s bloated and embarrassing.

    • Hi Claudia,

      If you added up the money that is spent on all of those aforementioned programs it would amount to a a fraction of what we spend on defense, social security, and medicare.. We’re talking millions, versus billions. Also — I would think that these programs are already being slashed to the gills. Why would they be funded while cutting back on education and job training programs?

      I hate to keep sounding the same one note samba, but the fact that you and jb failed to address my larger point — if we defund every social program, along with Social Security, you will see mass poverty and rioting in the streets — only confirms my belief.

      This post was inspired by the right wing radio I listened to on my recent cross country drive. Republicans keep sounding the drum beat — cut spending, cut spending – as if that is going to solve the real problem: There are no jobs! You can cut all the spending you want, but if people can’t work you have no economy.

      I hold Obama responsible as well. We should be out of Afghanistan and Iraq by now. How many trillions more would we have then? It pains me to say this but on certain issues I agree with Ron Paul more than the Dems.

      • jb said

        Keith—

        What part of “America is flipping broke” don’t you get? It isn’t an issue of keeping the mob from erupting, there just is no more money, and Bernanke is acting like the Weimar Republic in its dying days before Hitler arose and took over.

        Unemployment, officially at 9%, is twice that in reality. Stocks are tanking, banks call paying out 1% APR a wonderful thing, taxes are grabbing 35-50% of the productive income (not wealth, income) of the average citizen—sales taxes, gas taxes and property taxes—proof you never really own your own property you paid for, just keep sucking wallets
        dry. When does that flipping idiocy, which draws money to gummint and the banks, and depleting the money flow amongst those who actually produce in society, stop? You don’t want to answer that, because you are so enmeshed in thinking that Keynesian economics and the politicians of either stripes continuing to tax and spend is a good thing.

        Man, wake the flip up. Take Economics 101 over again, if you ever took it to begin with. You are spouting off an end of the world scenario that is BS. You cannot give away other peoples’ money to those who don’t work forever. We have hit the point where it no longer works. Something has to give.

        You asked the wrong question, and yes, I did answer it, you just slid right past it. THERE IS NO MORE MONEY.

        Get that? Read it again. THERE IS NO MORE MONEY. Bring your buns over to Texas and go to work with me in direct sales, and you will quickly get a lesson in economics that Barack Obama and both parties are all sadly lacking. Politicians get paid by us taxpayers to utter their economic garbage to keep getting elected, and we dolts out here in “vote-them-in-land keep voting them in.

        THERE IS NO MORE MONEY. If there are riots in the streets, it is because THERE IS NO MORE MONEY. If the 4th generation minority class goes berserk, which they are already beginning to do, it is because THERE IS NO MORE MONEY. You could take every dime from the “wealthy” and it wouldn’t be enough. These stupid politicians of every stripe have acted like the Mafia, extracting what they need, and threatening all who do not fall in line with either Armageddon or, unbelievably, even more taxes.

        This is not a liberal versus conservative issue, this is a survival issue, and that you still try to make it political bespeaks your own ignorance of what is really happening.

        The Democrats are as bad as the GOP as are the Democrats as the GOP.

        Burn that into your brain. EIther party will screw you royal to appear compassionate to the needy and the poor and those who will mindlessly vote sans conscience or factual thinking.

        Yeah, the riots are beginning, and they are not coming because of suggested cuts by a few politicians who can read the tea leaves, they are coming because the 80 year old gummint giveaway has discovered THERE IS NO MORE MONEY!

        So PLEASE, for once and for all, stop saying no one has answered your question.

        THERE IS NO MORE MONEY. That’s the answer. THERE IS NO MORE MONEY. And unless you are a multi-TRILLIONAIRE willing to donate your entire fortune to just keep our present welfare system and wars alive, I suggest you begin paying attention to the BS politicians of every stripe keep shoveling at us as they count OUR money.

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