“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Have We Committed $4 Trillion to The 'War on terror' and What Has Been Accomplished?

"Osama bin Laden and his henchmen probably spent the pittance of just $500,000 on organising the September 2001 attacks, which killed 3,000 people and directly cost the US economy an estimated $50bn to $100bn. In 2003, President George W Bush proclaimed that the Iraq war would cost $50bn to $60bn. Governments that go to war invariably underestimate the cost – but rarely on such an epic scale."

'War on terror' set to surpass cost of Second World War
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
Thursday, 30 June 2011

The total cost to America of its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the related military operations in Pakistan, is set to exceed $4 trillion – more than three times the sum so far authorised by Congress in the decade since the 9/11 attacks.

This staggering sum emerges from a new study by academics at the Ivy-league Brown University that reveals the $1.3 trillion officially appropriated on Capitol Hill is the tip of a spending iceberg. If other Pentagon outlays, interest payments on money borrowed to finance the wars, and the $400bn estimated to have been spent on the domestic "war on terror", the total cost is already somewhere between $2.3 and $2.7 trillion.

And even though the wars are now winding down, add in future military spending and above all the cost of looking after veterans, disabled and otherwise and the total bill will be somewhere between $3.7 trillion and $4.4 trillion.

The report by Brown's Watson Institute for International Studies is not the first time such astronomical figures have been cited; a 2008 study co-authored by the Harvard economist Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz, a former Nobel economics laureate, reckoned the wars would end up costing over $3 trillion. The difference is that America's financial position has worsened considerably in the meantime, with a brutal recession and a federal budget deficit running at some $1.5 trillion annually, while healthcare and social security spending is set to soar as the population ages and the baby boomer generation enters retirement.

Unlike most of America's previous conflicts moreover, Iraq and Afghanistan have been financed almost entirely by borrowed money that sooner or later must be repaid.

The human misery is commensurate. The report concludes that in all, between 225,000 and 258,000 people have died as a result of the wars. Of that total, US soldiers killed on the battlefield represent a small fraction, some 6,100. The civilian death toll in Iraq is put at 125,000 (rather less than some other estimates) and at up to 14,000 in Afghanistan. For Pakistan, no reliable calculation can be made.

Even these figures however only scratch the surface of the suffering, in terms of people injured and maimed, or those who have died from malnutrition or lack of treatment. "When the fighting stops, the indirect dying continues," Neta Crawford, a co-director of the Brown study, said. Not least, the wars may have created some 7.8 million refugees, roughly equal to the population of Scotland and Wales.

What America achieved by such outlays is also more than questionable. Two brutal regimes, those of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, have been overturned while al-Qa'ida, the terrorist group that carried out 9/11, by all accounts has been largely destroyed - but in neither Iraq nor Afghanistan is democracy exactly flourishing, while the biggest winner from the Iraq war has been America's arch-foe Iran.

Osama bin Laden and his henchmen probably spent the pittance of just $500,000 on organising the September 2001 attacks, which killed 3,000 people and directly cost the US economy an estimated $50bn to $100bn. In 2003, President George W Bush proclaimed that the Iraq war would cost $50bn to $60bn. Governments that go to war invariably underestimate the cost – but rarely on such an epic scale.

If the Brown study is correct, the wars that flowed from 9/11 will not only have been the longest in US history. At $4 trillion and counting, their combined cost is approaching that of the Second World War, put at some $4.1 trillion in today's prices by the Congressional Budget Office.


  1. This video is a remarkable look into the mind of the Pakistanis. This Gen. Hamid Gul says some amazing things at the 4 minute mark. He has an interesting insight into the current calamity in Libya.

    I repeat: What have we accomplished?

  2. After 104 months of conflict, ABC's Diane Sawyer says the Afghan War has become the longest in U.S. history. But is that really the case?

    Have we really been fighting in Afghanistan longer than in Vietnam?
    The start of the Afghanistan conflict can be pinpointed very precisely — the shooting began on Oct. 7, 2001, just over 104 months ago. By Sawyer's reckoning, the Vietnam War lasted only 103 months, from August 1964, when the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was passed, to March 1973, sixty days after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords. But others dispute this timeline.

    The start date of the Vietnam War is a gray area. The Pentagon lists American deaths in Vietnam from November 1955, when the first military advisors started working in the Southeast Asian country. Even if you exclude those early days, dating the war to the Tonkin Gulf incident "simply isn't right," says Richard Holbrooke, U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, who also served as a diplomat in Vietnam. Look at the Vietnam War Memorial, he says. "The first names are from 1961, if I'm not mistaken. And the last are after 1973."

    What about all the other wars in American history?
    Many of the Indian Wars lasted decades, says Don Surber in the Charleston, W.V., Daily Mail. The Second Seminole War lasted from 1835 until 1842, and the Sioux Wars lasted from 1854 to 1890. "The reason the length of this war is raised," says Surber, "is to label it Vietnam and dump it." But the differences between the two conflicts are "stunning." For one thing, just over 1,000 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan — our fatalities in Vietnam were "58 times as great." Also, he says, in the case of Afghanistan our enemy struck first.

  3. Massive Mission Creep on an unprecedented scale.

    Afghanistan could have been a mostly in and out affair, but things started going downhill fast with the introduction of the Regular Army.
    Winning hearts and minds at that point with our ROEs, remote decision-making, and over-lawyering was nothing but a mirage.

    The original Iraq plan was a good one: Advise the Iraqi Army in advance to fade into the background, then pay them to keep the peace under new leadership, giving us the opportunity for an early exit there, also.

    This was quickly blown out of the water with the introduction of Viceroy Bremmer, and we were well on our way to an extended, disasterous, occupation.

    And still we heard the prattle about a peaceful western style Democracy, as the possibility of that ever occuring diminished rapidly over time.

  4. The Refuges:
    The demise of Christianity in Iraq one of the least reported on atrocities.

    The cleansing of neighborhoods of Sunnis in one instance and Shias in another.

    The tens of thousands of traumatic brain injuries to our troops, often with serious lifelong consequences.

    At least we can sleep well knowing our freedom and liberty are safely in the hands of the TSA.

  5. Getting no Respect


    Pakistan has called a stop to US drone flights from a base that has launched strikes against Taliban and al-Qaeda militants on its border with Afghanistan.
    In the latest sign of US-Pakistan tensions, Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar, defence minister, said on Wednesday that Islamabad had ended US operations at the Shamsi airbase in Baluchistan. The move comes after a surge of anti-American feeling in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden last month in a US raid on Abbottabad, a Pakistani hill station.
    The Shamsi base, about 300km from Quetta and close to the Afghan border, has been used to launch drone strikes on militants – part of a campaign the US says has wiped out about half of al-Qaeda’s leadership.
    “No US flights are taking place from Shamsi any longer. If there have to be flights from this base, it will only be Pakistani flights,” Mr Mukhtar told the Financial Times. “We have ended all US flights from the base.”

  6. Haven't watched Gul yet, but remember reading about him long, long ago.

    And Muqtada al-Sadr is still wasting precious oxygen.

  7. I knew Bremmer was an asshole when I saw the tight red tie with work boots. Bush gave him some medal for his glorious work as I recall. Obama must thank good old George everytime he gets on AF-1. Without Bush he would still be in Chicago.

  8. George's ability to overlook the cleansing of Christians from the region matches his ability not to see the devastation the illegal hordes have brought to California and other states.

  9. No vetos on spending, no immigration control, no control of Congressional social programs, no slowdown of government expansion, no control of governmental regulation, no thought to the long range implications of Middle East wars, no end to borrowing from China. Mission Accomplished.

  10. Bush must have been good for at least 50% of the white support for Obama when all evidence showed that Obama's entire career was based on his African culture, and as a Reverend Wright radical who has vowed to "share the wealth".

  11. The irony is that Obama has done nothing for the people that form his core support. The wars go on. Wall Street goes on. The Banks have been recapitalized at the expense of savers. Major corporations are stronger than ever while small and medium business are starved for capital and dropping like flies.

    Unemployment and foreclosure continue. Obama is a charmed guy.

  12. Obama is going to lose the election if we can get someone that is still alive up there.

    Libya is a success.


  13. .

    The War on Terror, a big expense in terms of blood, treasure, and human misery. But tht doesn't even take into account what it has done to the American spirit.

    It has accelerated the American public's road down to wimpdom as expressed in comments like "If you have done nothing wrong, what problem do you have with the government reading your e-mails."

    I believe the term is 'useful idiots'. Either they haven't read books like 1984 or they fail to see what goes on in countries like China and others.

    The government has managed to sanitize everything. There is no personal cost to wars. Your kids not going.

    Torture? To make it legal, you just get some White House lawyer to write you a legal brief saying no problem. For the American public, it provides catharsis especially since they are not the ones holding the towel over the guy's face or pouring the water. It all takes place in some basement or in another country using the CIA or some guns for hire.

    The "Patriot Act"? The name itself should be a clue you are getting ready to take it in the ass. The government has a problem with someone, just brand him as a 'suspected terrorist' and you can lock him away for years with no trial. You want to read his e-mails? No problem. Just call him a suspected terrorist.

    Heck, once you have the Patriot Act, you need a buraucracy to manage it so you create the redundant Department of Homeland Security costing more tens of billions of dollars and giving us the TSA.

    But it's all good. The government is protecting us.


  14. .

    Libya is a success.

    This from a

    "...rural scrub with no thought tween the left lobe and the right"


  15. Roger that on The Patriot Act…calling the country the "Homeland" sounds way too much like "The Fatherland " for my taste.

  16. A few years ago, we had an army major that used to post here. We had a few disagreements on my statement that it was a huge mistake ending the draft. When we had the draft the miltary was composed of two quite different groups, lifers and non-lifers.

    The non-career oriented enlisted men were much more representative of the American Public. They did their job but did not drink the Kool-aid. The officers and NCO's preferred the lifers because they were easier controlled.

  17. The Homeeland, Deuce, the keystone of the Mr Bush's "New World Order"

    Bi-partisan to the core.

    As noted in the other thread, there has been "No Change" with Obama in the White House.

    The Leviathan, steady as she goes.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. The US Military has everyone on a "Career Path".

    Lots of families, dependent upon those re-enlistment bonuses.

  20. Jan 13, 2010 – There are 70500 single parents on active duty in the U.S. military

  21. The Military was always an option for a poor boy during "tough times." That's how my uncle ended up on the West Virginia.

    enlistment/reenlistment is up, btw.

  22. I read an article, yesterday, the gist of which, was that we're heading into another "30 Years War" over Resources.

    We really need to get busy on "Renewables," right now. And, I mean, "Really Busy."

  23. Gotta give some Jerky for the Socialist Regulars at the Bar to chew on:


    Realizing that increasing taxes can never match out-of-control spending, the Republicans have dug in.

    Our income-tax system doesn’t tax wealth as such.
    It taxes income.

    Most people in the highest bracket have been in every tax bracket.
    They were not in highest bracket ten years ago and they may well not be in it ten years from now.

    Is there anything more defining of what this country is all about than the ability and the freedom to prosper as a result of one’s own efforts? Shouldn’t we be able to win this argument with the American people?

    The Fairness Argument
    Spending cuts are smarter and fairer than soak-the-rich tax hikes.

    The average person must wonder what the Democrats are thinking. Even the most casual observer knows that U.S. debt projections foretell disaster.

    With spending at 24 percent of our economy, a modern record, how can Democrats expect to avoid substantial spending cuts?

    The answer, of course, is that they expect that, when push comes to shove, they can raise the taxes necessary to cover the problem — specifically, that they can tax the people who don’t vote for them to pay for the programs that primarily benefit those who do.

    Even when the taxes inevitably dip into middle-class pockets, it will be easier to tax than to cut spending. And the rhetoric will still be about taxing the rich and made easier with a little help from the media.

    — Fred Thompson,

  24. I learned something interesting, yesterday.

    1) The solidest economy in Europe (some might say the world) is the one Major Economy in the world whose use of Net Primary Energy (fossil fuels) has been Flat since 1981.

    2) This is the same country that has been in the forefront of mandating the use of Renewable Energy (wind, solar, etc,) and conservation (insulated houses, etc.)

    Any guesses who that might be?

  25. Oh, and they haven't accomplished this with Nuclear. Their nuclear peaked in the late 80's, and has been falling since the turn of the Century.

  26. While there is no argument that the Feds are spending 24% o the GDP, a 60 year high, there is also no argument that the revenue the Federals collect, as a percentage of GDP, is at a 60 year low.

    At 15% of GDP, where it has been for the past three years. The longest run of low revenue generation by the Federals, in post WWII history.

    If lowering Federal revenues were truly the pathway to prosperity, we'd be in the midst of an economic boom.

    The problem is not taxes, it is the balance of trade deficits and the costs of a decade of war.

  27. This is what California accomplished Yesterday.

    They will be producing 33% of their electricity with Renewables in 2020.

    When the rest of the world goes to war over coal they will be ready to blow the warriors a big, fat raspberry.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Those pesky Seniors, doug, trying to get "something for nothing", from the youngsters.

    More than trying, they're succeeding.

  30. From the Associated Press

    June 18, 2011,

    U.S. officials say Pakistan has apparently tipped off militants at two more bomb-building factories in its tribal areas, giving the terror suspects time to flee, after U.S. intelligence shared the locations with the Pakistani government.

    Those officials believe Pakistan's insistence on seeking local tribal elders' permission before raiding the areas may have most directly contributed to the militants' flight. U.S. officials have pushed for Pakistan to keep the location of such targets secret prior to the operations, but the Pakistanis say their troops cannot enter the lawless regions without giving the locals notice.

  31. We've got to "get out" of the Muslim world. That means we have to get loose from their oil.

    I know, Pakistan doesn't have any oil, but they are the Saudis' pets, and that's all you have to know about that story.

  32. Yeah, Right Rufus:
    Thermal Energy contributed 40% of the electricity used in California.

    And the moon is made of Green Cheese.

    My Ass.

    Unless "Thermal" includes natural gas fired boilers.

    What a load of shit.

  33. Adam Carolla holds the Guiness record for the most downloaded podcast.
    Carolla is a California resident who has received significant benefit from Amazon click throughs by his faithful listeners.

    Jerry Brown's minions "win" Carolla loses.
    I'm guessing Adam won't leave the state.
    Many will.

    One percent of Californians pay over 40% of the income taxes, perhaps as few as 360,000 out of some 36 million in the state. Each time one of these golden gooses flies east to no-tax Nevada, we lose about $50,000-80,000 in state taxes—or the money to keep a felon in the Corcoran prison house fed, housed, medicated, and counseled for a year.

    Do the math: one small businessman escapes to Tahoe or Reno, one lifer has no support.

  34. It does, obviously.
    So what is impressive about California?

    ...that it imports Nuclear Electricity from Arizona?

    ...that it imports coal-fired elecgtricity from out of state.

    Fuel for the Socialist NIMBYs!

  35. Our own Ravenna

    Here too, there are warnings. In California we are spending hundreds of billions on prisons, in which killers and thugs sue constantly for expanded rights, while universities lay off professors (though rarely nonacademic apparatchiks and administrators), and turn away students. Ravenna invested in thousands of hours of sculpture, we in thousands of hours of legal work in appeals and writs. Our cynical intellectual elites are becoming ever more postmodern even as the undereducated majority becomes premodern.

    The state spends more and more on redistributive entitlements, less and less on infrastructure. Its population is bifurcating. A small, highly taxed elite supports museums, the arts, and gives to universities, a growing underclass swarms the emergency rooms, criminal justice system, and welfare roles.

    The utopianism of the shrinking elite wants the Saturday night felon to have sophisticated jurisprudence when he is arrested, the best brain surgeon when a .44 magnum enters his skull in a gang dust-up, and humane day care, health care, and counseling—and yet now has no way any longer either to pay for it, or how to convince the growing underclass to become better educated and more productive. (To do so would demand a tragic diction and mindset).

    One percent of Californians pays over 40% of our income taxes, perhaps as few as 360,000 out of some 36 million in the state. Each time one of these golden gooses flies east to no-tax Nevada, we lose about $50,000-80,000 in state taxes—or the money to keep a felon in the Corcoran prison house fed, housed, medicated, and counseled for a year.

    Do the math: one small businessman escapes to Tahoe or Reno, one lifer has no support.

  36. Well, gotta go spend a long day at the VA. Missed my last two appointments, gotta keep this one.

    Think about this: A 15 Million gallon/yr cellulosic ethanol plant in your county will not only produce enough fuel for 25,000 cars/light trucks, but it will also produce approx 130,000 Megawatt/hrs of electrcity annually.

  37. doug, what are you looking at?

    No where in that pdf does it claim that 40% of CA electrical generation is geothermal.

    It shows:

    Total 24-Hour System Demand
    (MWh): 666,759

    Then it lists geothermal at:
    22,001 MWh

    Looks like they claim geothermal is a tad less than 4%, not 40%

  38. The average household will use about 2 megawatt/hrs annually (and, probably, a similar amount outside the house - factories, stoplights, store lighting, etc.)

  39. Ballpark guess from graph:

    28,000 Megawatts total

    2,500 Megawatts from renewables.

    Whoop de fuckin do!

  40. So, a small cellulosic ethanol plant will supply the electricity for a county of approx 30,000 households (or 100,000 peeps.)

    * I might be undershooting on the electricity used outside the house, but, what the hey. I'll look it up, tonight.

    You throw in some wind and Solar, and it's still a 100% solution.

  41. THERMAL 'Rat:

    My later post indicates I see through their fog.

    THERMAL means Hydrocarbon or Coal Based Electricity.


    California is a bankrupt Socialist Wreck.

    Utopia for Rufus to love.

  42. Yes, Thermal does include nat gas.

    They're just getting started, Doug. The Solar part will be over twice as big next year.

    Some people look ahead, Doug. Some people keep drilling holes into the ground until one day they're shocked to find nothing came out.

    Gotta go. Later.

  43. Wonder who is it that the French are "Arming Up"?

    A French newspaper quotes a military official as saying that assault rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and anti-tank missiles were airlifted to rebels in the western mountains. But Col. Mokhtar Milad Fernana, overall commander of the rebel forces, says his men never received such arms.

  44. Speaking of holes:

    BP just DOUBLED their estimate of their reserves in Brazil.

    California chooses to outlaw drilling, business big and small, and reward the loafers and public employees.

    Wanna bet on California versus Texas or Virginia five years from now?

    I'm game!

  45. Cellulosic Plants are ruining the landscape in California just like the Windfarms.

    My bad:

    None to be seen!


  46. Historical Source of Revenue as Share of GDP

    Total Tax Receipts
    (% GDP)

    1934 4.8

    1935 5.2
    1936 5.0
    1937 6.1
    1938 7.6
    1939 7.1

    1940 6.8
    1941 7.6
    1942 10.1
    1943 13.3
    1944 20.9

    1945 20.4
    1946 17.7
    1947 16.5
    1948 16.2
    1949 14.5

    1950 14.4
    1951 16.1
    1952 19.0
    1953 18.7
    1954 18.5

    1955 16.5
    1956 17.5
    1957 17.7
    1958 17.3
    1959 16.2

    1960 17.8
    1961 17.8
    1962 17.6
    1963 17.8
    1964 17.6

    1965 17.0
    1966 17.3
    1967 18.4
    1968 17.6
    1969 19.7

    1970 19.0
    1971 17.3
    1972 17.6
    1973 17.6
    1974 18.3

    1975 17.9
    1976 17.1
    TQ 17.7
    1977 18.0
    1978 18.0
    1979 18.5

    1980 19.0
    1981 19.6
    1982 19.2
    1983 17.5
    1984 17.3

    1985 17.7
    1986 17.5
    1987 18.4
    1988 18.2
    1989 18.4

    1990 18.0
    1991 17.8
    1992 17.5
    1993 17.5
    1994 18.0

    1995 18.4
    1996 18.8
    1997 19.2
    1998 19.9
    1999 19.8

    2000 20.6
    2001 19.5
    2002 17.6
    2003 16.2
    2004 16.1

    2005 17.3
    2006 18.2
    2007 18.5
    2008 17.5
    2009 14.9
    2010 14.9

  47. Revenues are DOWN because of the Pelosi/Obama economy of scaring the crap out of small business, retirees, and investors, and etc.

    NOT because of "Tax Cuts" since no taxes have been "cut."

    ...a point I made a week ago which eluded Queerk.

  48. .

    ...a point I made a week ago which eluded Queerk.

    Now, you bring me into your idle rants nitwit?

    Revenues are DOWN because of the Pelosi/Obama economy of scaring the crap out of small business, retirees, and investors, and etc.

    NOT because of "Tax Cuts" since no taxes have been "cut."

    Pure GOP bullshit. The first comment involves the logical fallacy of the false assumption, the second involves the fallacy of the false conclusion.

    Revenues are down because of a whole host of reasons some political, some not. As a kool-aid drinker, you talk merely of the sins of the Dems and ignore the sins of the GOP.

    It being GWB and his enablers in Congess, you know, guys like Mitch McConnell, that thought up the brilliant concept of waging wars and offering tax cuts without paying for them. It was under his watch that the entire financial fiasco was hatched.

    Does Obama and the Dems deserve blame? Sure. They took the policies already put in place and expanded them. As rat said Obama and the Dems merely continue the policies of Bush and the GOP.

    You read the American Thinker listen to Hannity and absorb the talking points coming out of McConnell and Boehner. Instead, you would be doing yourself a favor if you read some books on economics, logic, and critical thinking.

    You are clueless.

    The last comment on "tax cuts" shows your ignorance. It is a pure case of lying with statistics.

    The Bush tax cuts (along with the extension of them in November) will end up costing the Treasury $2.8 billion dollars. The Bush administration predicted that the stimulative effect of the initial tax cuts would result in a budget surplus of $5.6 billion over the ten year budget projection. We've seen what it actually gave us.

    They also said it would stimulate job creation. What we got during the Bush presidency was an enemic 8 million jobs, less than is needed to keep up with population growth.

    Now the GOP despite all the proof to the contrary insist what we really need is more tax cuts.



  49. .

    Here's another example of lying with statistics that should hit home.

    You talk about California as a vast welfare state; yet CA currently receives 1.32 dollars back from the US government for every dollar it submits in revenue.

    Sounds pretty bad. But what state do you think currently gets the most back per revenue dollar? I won't keep you guessing, its Hawaii. The poi boys get back between 3.25 and 3.50 dollars back for each dollar submitted to Washington.

    At first glance, this looks like Hawaii is loading up at the federal trough, a real welfare state. However, any thinking person would recognize that the numbers don't reflect disparities in population, the number of elderly receiving benefits, employment rates, etc.

    You on the other hand, if the info came from some GOP hack and fit with your general meme would jump on it with two feet.

    As I've stated before, you lack the ability for critical thought (at least in a political context)because you brain is benumbed from a constant sugar-high from all the kool-aid you drink.



  50. .

    Here's one you will love Dougo.

    CNBC spent all day yesterday raving over a poll that Steve Liesman put out that purported to show that independents were moving towards the GOP stand in the battle over the debt ceiling.

    Steve Liesman was proud as a peacock. Larry Kudlow said it was justification for all he has been saying. Every commentator on CNBC was saying the poll was truly illuminating. And I can see you nodding your head in approval.

    Who is Steve Liesman, some well known pollster? Is he qualified to pull together a poll? Well, not really. He is one of the regular commentators on CNBC.

    Did the poll talk about the major issue dividing the GOP and the Dems on the debt ceiling debate? Well, no. Taxes weren't even mentioned in the poll. All the questions centered around spending and does the public like it. Duh.

    By the way, the population of the poll amounted to 73 people.

    When asked why he didn't include questions on tax cuts in the poll, Steve said "I didn't want to make the poll political."

    "I didn't want to make the poll political."

    The only thing that people talked about yesterday was the poll and the fact that the public wasn't interested in taxes, this even though taxes weren't mentioned in the poll.

    I mention this only so you will have another kool-aid stand to go to.


  51. .

    The debate over the debt ceiling is interesting. It points out the vacuousness of the GOP leadership.

    Supposedly, the discussion is about negotiations. In my opinion, everything should be on the table. But it's not.

    The GOP has ruled out eliminating tax loopholes for rich companies and individuals and limiting some deductions. Instead they propose spending cuts that primarily affect the middle class and the poor.

    When the Dems insist that sacrifices be shared, the GOP take their ball and go home. Their excuse. We would never get the votes in the House.

    Tell me what the fuck is the leadership's job if not to muster the votes. They are sent there to legislate not to throw up their hands and throw out excuses.

    If the debt ceiling is not raised on time it will be the GOP's fault. Hopefully, Obama will stand firm on the tax issue.

    The fact is I doubt it will happen. He has proven himself to be a weak sister and his constituency is the same as the GOP's, big business and the banks. Once again the little guy will get screwed.

    As I've said before, the GOP and the Dems, two sides of the same coin. Unlikely to change anytime soon.

    The only people that don't get it? The kool-aid drinkers on both sides.

    You want to debate me on the matter Dougo, bring it on.



  52. The rise or fall in GDP, doug, could be attributable to "Pelosi", but the percentage of the GDP that the Feds collect, is based upon tax rates and loopholes.

    Mr Bush and his cohort pushed those Federal rates to historic lows. Promising economic growth, as a result, but delivering depression instead.

    Now they want to deliver US more of the same.

    Open your brain, it is balance of payment deficits and a decade of war that have put the economy into stagnation.

    Medicare Part D exemplifies the GOP and well illustrates Mr Fred Thompson's point.

  53. .

    Most people in the highest bracket have been in every tax bracket.
    They were not in highest bracket ten years ago and they may well not be in it ten years from now.

    And when they are not in it again, they won't be paying the higher rates.


  54. .

    Shouldn’t we be able to win this argument with the American people?

    Evidently not.


  55. .

    Spending cuts are smarter and fairer than soak-the-rich tax hikes.

    Perhaps this is true. But it reflects the standard GOP position, it's either one or the other. Ridiculous.

    On spending, the Dems are not arguing that there should not be major cuts. The argument is over which cuts are made and who they should be made on. It's called negotitions.

    On taxes, the GOP has ruled them out. When the Dems insist they be part of the deal, the GOP takes their ball and goes home to sulk. That is not called negotiations.


  56. .

    With spending at 24 percent of our economy, a modern record, how can Democrats expect to avoid substantial spending cuts?

    Once again, the standard GOP line. I guess it gets down to the meaning of substantial since the amount of required cuts will be dependant on whether tax loopholes are abolished.

    However, keep saying the same thing long enough and someone might buy into it, perhaps, someone over in Maui.


  57. .

    specifically, that they can tax the people who don’t vote for them to pay for the programs that primarily benefit those who do.

    The exact same argument can be made against the GOP with regard to not eliminating tax loopholes and deductions.

    As has been mentioned here often, GOP and Dems, two sides of the same phony coin.


  58. .

    My questions to you Dougo, what tangible good has the Bush tax cuts done for us?

    This is a serious question.