Obama to Tea Partiers: "What would you do?"

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    Sep 20, 2010 11:02 PM GMT
    "The problem that I've seen in the debate that's been taking place and in some of these Tea Party events is, I think they're misidentifying sort of who the culprits are here. "

    "As I said before, we had to take some emergency steps last year. But the majority of economists will tell you that the emergency steps we take are not the problem long-term. The problems long-term are the problems that I talked about earlier. We had two tax cuts that weren't paid for, two wars that weren't paid for. We've got a population that's getting older. We're all demanding services, but our taxes have actually substantially gone down."

    "So the challenge, I think, for the Tea Party movement is to identify, specifically, what would you do?"

    "It's not enough just to say get control of spending. I think it's important for you to say, I'm willing to cut veterans' benefits or I'm willing to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits or I'm willing to see these taxes go up. What you can't do, which is what I've been hearing a lot from the other side, is we're going to control government spending, we're going to propose $4 trillion of additional tax cuts, and that magically somehow things are going to work. Now, some of these are very difficult choices."



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    Sep 20, 2010 11:08 PM GMT
    Well, they are just about to roll out their 20-point platform
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0910/42302.html

    But the Tea Party's input is noticeably missing.
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    Sep 21, 2010 12:16 AM GMT
    At some point in time some responsible politicians, regardless if they are democrats or republicans are going to have to cut programs. There's no way around it. For him to say that it cannot be done is unbelievable. It HAS to be done.
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    Sep 21, 2010 12:23 AM GMT
    Well, the trick is to get voted into Congress first, then choose which group to antagonize. The more marginalized, the better and less outcry.
    If they can only tell us which programs they would cut BEFORE the election...but then how would they get elected?

    Conservatives can get elected, but they cannot govern.
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    Sep 21, 2010 12:48 AM GMT
    If I had my druthers, we'd begin with cuts to foreign military adventuring, to include metering down our involvement with NATO to the minimum acceptable level, i.e. withdraw completely from Germany, the UK, and Italy, and certainly the Middle East, save for whatever skeleton crews are needed to redeploy should the European theatre ever come under attack from a potentially hostile power.

    In the foreseeable future, that could include Russia, Iran, or Turkey (yes, even though it is a NATO member)... and possibly (but not as yet very likely) some sort of alliance between any and all of these. Russia is the old power in the region, and Iran and Turkey are both ascendant stars in the Islamosphere, if not regional great powers already.

    The better thing to do would be to pull out the old Bismarck playbook, and to play Iran and Turkey against each other, and possibly these two against Russia, while avoiding the poisonous "encirclement" doctrine (the Cheney Doctrine, if you will) of these powers directly by the US.

    Downsize the army to elite rapid response units, and detail these to fulfill the basic Constitutional allowance for a defense-only oriented force.

    The Navy should perhaps be refocused to attrition out the older carriers while replacing these with advanced submarine and ASW ships, making its mission more of a defense and nuclear counter-strike than a force projection platform.

    The USAF should be refocused to make it the premier communications and strategic nuclear defense/counter-attack force, as well as pursuing space-based weapons platforms and counter-space warfare.

    For social programs, Social Security and Medicare should be privatized, or at the very least, transitioned to a personal account system rather than a pool of funds, and managed akin to the TSP (Thrift Savings Plan) which most federal employees and military members can contribute to alá 401(k) plans.

    Reasonable cuts in services across the board as an austerity mesure will need to be endured, and serious thought to which services can completely be done away with is needed.

    Either withdraw completely from the UN, or so minimize out financial burden to this and other supranational organizations.

    Stop lending money to countries that cannot pay us back (ironic, in that we can barely pay back our debtors ... )

    Audit the Federal Reserve, and see about shutting it down and dismantling it.
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    Sep 21, 2010 2:15 AM GMT
    jprichva said
    mocktwinkie saidAt some point in time some responsible politicians, regardless if they are democrats or republicans are going to have to cut programs. There's no way around it. For him to say that it cannot be done is unbelievable. It HAS to be done.

    Not necessarily. It does show that you cannot see beyond your right-wing prism though.

    We could--gasp---raise taxes. If the tax rates merely went to where they were under Ronald-the-Drooling-Idiot, we'd be running a surplus right now.


    Ah yes. Raise taxes on everyone in an already toxic economy. Killer way to kick-start the economy and create jobs.

    Ooops, I meant... kick start someone else's economy as more jobs get outsourced to lower tax nations.
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    Sep 21, 2010 2:17 AM GMT
    Um, this was a town hall meeting. He didn't have time to explain ALL of his plans. You can read about all the specifics on his website. It's on the front page under "featured legislation."
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    Sep 21, 2010 4:06 AM GMT
    alphatrigger saidIf I had my druthers, we'd begin with cuts to foreign military adventuring, to include metering down our involvement with NATO to the minimum acceptable level, i.e. withdraw completely from Germany, the UK, and Italy, and certainly the Middle East, save for whatever skeleton crews are needed to redeploy should the European theatre ever come under attack from a potentially hostile power.

    In the foreseeable future, that could include Russia, Iran, or Turkey (yes, even though it is a NATO member)... and possibly (but not as yet very likely) some sort of alliance between any and all of these. Russia is the old power in the region, and Iran and Turkey are both ascendant stars in the Islamosphere, if not regional great powers already.

    The better thing to do would be to pull out the old Bismarck playbook, and to play Iran and Turkey against each other, and possibly these two against Russia, while avoiding the poisonous "encirclement" doctrine (the Cheney Doctrine, if you will) of these powers directly by the US.

    Downsize the army to elite rapid response units, and detail these to fulfill the basic Constitutional allowance for a defense-only oriented force.

    The Navy should perhaps be refocused to attrition out the older carriers while replacing these with advanced submarine and ASW ships, making its mission more of a defense and nuclear counter-strike than a force projection platform.

    The USAF should be refocused to make it the premier communications and strategic nuclear defense/counter-attack force, as well as pursuing space-based weapons platforms and counter-space warfare.

    For social programs, Social Security and Medicare should be privatized, or at the very least, transitioned to a personal account system rather than a pool of funds, and managed akin to the TSP (Thrift Savings Plan) which most federal employees and military members can contribute to alá 401(k) plans.

    Reasonable cuts in services across the board as an austerity mesure will need to be endured, and serious thought to which services can completely be done away with is needed.

    Either withdraw completely from the UN, or so minimize out financial burden to this and other supranational organizations.

    Stop lending money to countries that cannot pay us back (ironic, in that we can barely pay back our debtors ... )

    Audit the Federal Reserve, and see about shutting it down and dismantling it.


    Not opposed to your ideas around the military.

    I wouldn't let SS or Medicare be privatized as Wall Street can't manage the money it has let alone the nation's retirement accounts.

    Austerity measures do not work and will only hasten the decline of the US into a regional and then third world nation.

    I'm open to lessening our foreign aid but not sure how it would be most strategic at this time.

    Federal Reserve should be publicly audited but shutting it down is silly because it allows to control our currency. The reason European countries are in such disastrous shape is because they cannot manage their own currencies under the Euro.

    To that I would add, closing corporate loopholes, adding short-term tariffs against companies that move jobs overseas, giving preferential government contracts to that keep jobs in the US, engage in massive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for everyone already here, engage a massive public works program focused on green technology, institute an ownership interest in any drugs or medical devices that use research or technology developed via government grants or contracts, allow Medicare and SS to negotiate directly with drug companies and medical device manufacturers, publicly fund all elections, and make it a federal crime to lie in campaign ads or for sitting members of Congress or the executive branch to lie to the American people.

    And the tea partiers have no ideas, which is sad given how much Koch brothers money has been poured into creating their "movement."
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    Sep 21, 2010 7:20 AM GMT
    Christian73 saidI wouldn't let SS or Medicare be privatized as Wall Street can't manage the money it has let alone the nation's retirement accounts.


    My thought on this would be to parallel the retirement funds managed under the Federal Thrift Savings Program, which is overseen and heavily regulated to avoid much of the tampering and mismanagement that affected many pension plans that traded on Wall Street.

    To be accurate, it is semi-privatized in that the TSP funds touch (in bulk) various "market baskets" of funds ranging from very conservative/low growth government bond funds to riskier/higher yield international funds to some more conventional funds that mimic things like the Vanguard S&P 500 index fund, but regulated in that trading events are conducted over certain minimum horizons, among other things.

    While not perfect (and few things in this world even come close to perfection) it strikes me as a far better solution than the present.

    Christian73 saidAusterity measures do not work and will only hasten the decline of the US into a regional and then third world nation.


    I largely agree, but to the point of scaling the severity to have as small of a footprint so as to allow for a quicker recovery: I probably would have vetoed the various stimulus packages (particular certain parts if we had the line-item veto) that stuffed the coffers of various banks that are now trying to re-leverage by flipping T-Bills with the ultra-low interest rates they can get from the Federal Reserve...

    Christian73 saidI'm open to lessening our foreign aid but not sure how it would be most strategic at this time.


    It pretty much comes down to making sure our own house is in order before we try helping out the rest of the world.

    Christian73 saidFederal Reserve should be publicly audited but shutting it down is silly because it allows to control our currency. The reason European countries are in such disastrous shape is because they cannot manage their own currencies under the Euro.


    The Fed was a creation of the big-money/banking interests of the early 20th century which sought to circumvent (or soften) the cyclical rounds of booms and busts which racked the nation. It is not in itself evil, but it is very much unaccountable to anything other than itself, and the successor organizations to the various financial houses and conglomerates that helped found it.

    It would be hasty to just shut it down without a better, more accountable monetary infrastructure ready and waiting to switch over to.

    Christian73 saidTo that I would add, closing corporate loopholes, adding short-term tariffs against companies that move jobs overseas, giving preferential government contracts to that keep jobs in the US,


    Agree.

    Christian73 said... engage in massive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for everyone already here...


    ...Only if this path to citizenship is contingent upon them assimilating to, and having a spirit and desire to assimilate into mainstream US culture and language.

    Christian73 saidengage a massive public works program focused on green technology.


    Disagree - the market should be the driver in greening our technology, though tax breaks could be an option to encourage the market to move a little more aggressively on this matter.



    Christian73 saidinstitute an ownership interest in any drugs or medical devices that use research or technology developed via government grants or contracts, allow Medicare and SS to negotiate directly with drug companies and medical device manufacturers


    Interesting, but unsure about this.


    Christian73 saidpublicly fund all elections...


    STRONGLY agree with this. A maximum cap of $5M for each Presidential/VP ticket, $1M for senators, and $500k for congressmen drawn from public funds.

    Christian73 saidand make it a federal crime to lie in campaign ads or for sitting members of Congress or the executive branch to lie to the American people.


    Interesting to see how this would be enforced. Lots of impeachment trials would ensue, methinks.

    Christian73 saidAnd the tea partiers have no ideas, which is sad given how much Koch brothers money has been poured into creating their "movement."


    No less surprising I'm sure, than George Soros pumping his near limitless sources of cash into MoveOn.org and other hyper-liberal advocacy groups.
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    Sep 21, 2010 8:02 AM GMT
    I see one huge problem with any reform to social security... there is no money to invest. It is part of that whole "unfunded liabilities" problem that is creeping up. Any of the money that has been deducted off of the cheques has been spent already and the government is banking on future income to pay for it when (and only when) the bill comes due.

    As for the Federal Reserve... Nobody has been able to explain to me why it is needed. Why the government can not issue it's own debt without the Reserve. I was surprised to find how many Americans actually believe it to be a "branch" of the government. "the creature from Jekyll island" is a pretty good read (or video to watch) if you actually believe the Fed is a benevolent association of bankers here to serve the U.S. (or that it is a government entity.)