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William Voegeli
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BrownTheClownBuster April 24, 2012 at 6:24 PM
Richard Rider "But guess what? The last seven such tax increases on the ballot (from 2004 to present) have failed to get to pass -- and all but one failed by double digits (in spite of massive pro-tax spending campaigns). The last tax increase received ALMOST a 2/3 majority vote -- AGAINST the tax."
Now Brown, the boy the Clown, has a new Act. Just tax the rich and all the poor will support it. CA already has One Millionnaire tax and a new one will be voted on in Nov. to support the UNION PENSIONS (oh yeah-that is the secret-it has more fuzzily worded than that.) Get smart Californians-It starts with the uppers and keeps moving down the income ladder. Did you know the Income Tax started as a temporary tax at 2%ish?
If you do nothing more, look at the Chart. A picture is worth a 1000 words!!! Oops there goes another economy to self-servicing ones who will not plan for the future in trade for (unpaid) gifts of today! (Not to mention Fraud and Waste)
Sorry, nothing in this article establishes that no new taxes under any circumstances is not an irrational and unworkable position, grounded in ideology, not economics. We have a revenue problem. No one is saying that raising taxes will solve that problem, or even most of it, and spending cuts are necessary (even, I would say, in defense). But raising more revenue though moderate tax increases will help. Ronald Regan himself sometimes had to raise taxes and the Norquist position is simply unreasonable on its face.
Seeing the Social Security card reminds me of the long-forgotten assurances that Congress would never allow it to become and ID number that could be used to track us all.
Lying seems to be a prerequisite for a job in Congress.
The flaw here is that the Democrats currently own the power to keep expanding U.S. indebtedness until markets eventually refuse to fund government further and tax increases become a matter of national survival. Even Norquist will have to agree when that happens.
This is why Obama drives federal spending ever higher with borrowed money and why he doesn't really care about the debt. Expanding the debt is a project in its own right. Democrats believe they have a win-win agenda that will inevitably survive temporary setbacks like the 2010 election defeat. They lost because they grew the government too much, too fast but they know that what they wrought is here to stay and that they'll regain power soon enough. They'll get back because of the size of he client electorate that they have built and because of the woolly minded decency of forgetful centrist voters.
Rino Republicanism is no bulwark against this; it simply accomodates itself to the Democrats' Big State philosophy at a slower pace. See the relentless progress of European social democracy since 1945 to see how that has worked out in practice in a more advanced form. Thatcher and Reagan turn out to have been no more than temporary aberrations.
Once the balance of electoral power between tax-eaters and tax-payers favours the former, the nature of the struggle changes. It incites everyone to compete for a share of the government pie, as the rapid expansion of crony capitalism testifies on both sides of the Atlantic.
The fact is that liberalism has held the high ground since Marx and Bismark and there is no sign that Tea partyism is in a position to challenge it. Things would have to get a lot worse first.
The liberal media assumption is that the voters of America are clammoring for higher taxes, and that the GOP is foolish to stand in the way of such "progress." But the California tax increase experience is instructive in this matter.

An initiative state, true-blue California voters periodically have the opportunity to raise state taxes -- and by a simple majority vote.

But guess what? The last seven such tax increases on the ballot (from 2004 to present) have failed to get to pass -- and all but one failed by double digits (in spite of massive pro-tax spending campaigns). The last tax increase received ALMOST a 2/3 majority vote -- AGAINST the tax.

While tribal loyalty, gerrymandering and massive labor union spending will keep the "Golden State" (snicker) firmly in the bosom of the Democratic Party, voters are NOT prone to favor actual tax increases.

Hold the line, GOP!
Two points: One is that Obama has made stimulus, deficits, and new spending a permanent feature of structural deficits. How much of the deficit is due to revenue shortfall? How much to radicalization of spending since 2008, or for that matter, since 2000? (Yes we must blame Bush too.)I identify a minimum of $200 bil per annum of spending that should not exist at all, even allowing for bank and housing bailouts, which were presented as temporary loans that would eventually be paid back.

Which brings us to the second point. A great deal of spending is actually lending, or purely finance related. The Departments of Energy, Commerce, Agriculture, Defence, HUD, and even Labor have loaned out vast amounts to uncompetitive interests, on opaque and dubious grounds. (Check for the best run-down). Education is overwhelmed by borrowing and debt. We are learning in Egypt how insidious is the relationship between statecraft and the urge to mortgage our "allies". The irony is that by cutting off this lending, the borrowers will have to go to private markets on stiffer terms. But high interest and a shorter leash is precisely the creative destruction we will all have to undergo.
A well reasoned and persuasive article. And some good commmentary, including the one just below from B. Samuel Davis, who calls attention to an ugly truth that no politician has the courage to address.

Unfortunately, I think the author is wrong in assuming that the majority of the voting public shares his views. The Democrats, with the aid of the media, have done a good job of characterizing the Republicans "no tax" position as irrational opposition. In committing themselves to a "no-new-taxes-under-any-circumstances" position the Republicans have set themselves up: Merely to state the position makes it sound unreasonable. It takes a long article like Mr Voegeli's to explain why this is not so.

The Republicans have not dug themselves out of this hole through the limited media sound-bites available to them. They seem incapable of coming up with simple words to explain the points, and graphs, in the article. This is so notwithstanding that Obama has set up a big fat target: a record of irresponsible budgets that make no real effort at controlling spending accompanied by the suggestion that taxing the rich will solve all our fiscal problems.

I've pretty much given up hope that Romney will find a way to bring this into focus. We need a leader who can put conventional politics aside and tell the public in simple (Reagan-like) language what the problem is, why it is critical, and how it is solveable without taking away reasonably needed services. He/she should point out how the Democrats (with the acquiescence of the Republicans) have over the years created a system in which the trade government services for votes. And this leader should be prepared with a pithy and devastating response to the Democrat's inevitalbe claim that Republicans don't care about the needy and want to destroy a host of beneficial government programs.

I don't think Romney can do this. I am hopeful that the Republicans will run a national information campaign, independent of any particular candidate, which WILL bring these issues to the people. In my experience, it is not true that people automatically turn away from anyone who brings them bad news: to the contrary, they appreciate and respect someone who is willing to acknowldge the truth, even if the public wishes the truth were otherwise.

I should mention that I don't agree that the Republicans can make their case to the public while remaining absolutists on the revenue side. What they can do is explain why the first job is fixing our spending disease and this cannot be done by using as a remedy the same medicine that caused the disease to begin with (e.g, the power to tax and spend). But even if we accomplish this, we still will have the damage the disease left in its wake: the huge federal debt. Here I think the Republicans could steal the Democrats thunder and support a temporary tax increase, directed mainly to the more wealthy, that could and would be used exclusively to pay off the debt. I think this could be a big winner for the Republicans: Democrat attacks on it would reveal that they want higher taxes on the rich to maintain current excessive spending and would raise the question: after you have taxed the rich to get money to support our bloated welfare state, where to you get the revenue to pay off the debt? (Guess where.)
Where does this all go - where is America heading? At some point - some point - the debt simply gets too high and the government can't pay its bill no matter how much it taxes. However, well before then the lack of money causes other problems, decay sets in and we can say good bye to our republican form of government.

Have the benefits state worked for those getting the benefits? I'll keep pounding on this issue - the example of African Americans, especially in the inner cities shows the harms caused by the benefits state. Benefits have destroyed the African American family, criminalized its community, leading to dismal educational achievement, and a Democratic leadership whose only concern is ensuring the flow of money doesn't end. It is an unparalleled record is non-achievement, done at great cost and totally under the radar thanks to a cowardly, craven media that is more interested in electing Democrats than in preventing a modern day American holocaust. So, a trillion dollars gets wasted - not just wasted but money that was used to actively destroy an entire community - and which is being used to destroy the Latino community.

Since there is no way that the current course can lead to anything other than decay and collapse - can we really afford so many people dependent on government? - someone needs to examine just who benefits by a collapse. What happens when a government really (REALLY) can't pay its bills? What does history say about it?

One other issue - you go back to the 1940's and 1950's and see that most Americans had a great deal of respect and admiration for their government and it's accomplishments. There was a feeling of OUR government, our country. Thanks to Democrats, and its media (and to some extent Richard Nixon and George Bush, two Presidents who were incapable of taking on Democrats, and who tried and failed at governance through placating an implacable, corrupt Democratic establishment) that feeling is long gone, and most people don't even remember a time when it was there. Along with it, faith in Democracy has been lost - which is perhaps what the Democrats wanted all along.

As for answers, at this point it is simply too late. Too much debt, too much dependence and a huge number of immigrants who know nothing about the real American spirit of individual self reliance.
Santhana venugopal March 12, 2012 at 2:23 AM

Cut all student loans to those underprivilidged kids who have a B average only; or, they can pay for their own Jr. College until they reach that goal. Stop all federal funding of school construction on mega-really cool looking-over the top schools. A square brick building will do just fine.
Reduce all welfare payouts to poverty level, and qualifying income criteria shoud be 100% of poverty level or less. No COLI for welfare, and no increases for more children. Drastically cut school lunch programs; that is what food stamps are for, make your own kids lunch. Cut all departments by 10% immediatly and keep looking for more. Stop the auto increase on budgets, no COLI for federal departments. Block grant all medicaid to the states, let them deal with the problems in their own way.
That is a good start!!
Look, if some of you want to blame whichever political party, as this article might lead you to believe, you're being niave, The plain fact is we've been in a steady relentless slide into a socialistic nanny state for almost 100 years, regardless of which party was in charge. Most people will admit the republicans are just a shabe less liberal than the democrats. Unfortunately , some day there WILL be a day of reckoning!
We should always remember that the Big Spenders promise FUTURE spending cuts in exchange for a PRESENT increase in taxes. And then don't deliver on the cuts.

Gullible Ronald Reagan fell for this in the 1980's when Dems promised 3 dollars of spending cuts for every 1 dollar increase in taxes. Taxes were increased and then there were ZERO cuts -- only spending INCREASES.

The Democratic Party should exchange its jackass mascot for Wimpy, the old Popeye character who always promised that "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
Excellent! I'm off to make a donation to ATR. And I enjoyed (is that the right word?) your book, Mr. Voegeli.
Much of what the author says is true; however the culprit(s) is not the Democratic Party (recall the Republicans have held the Presidency since 1980, but for three terms (Clinton/Obama). The culprit is us, the proportion of polity that votes. One can debate whether this strange time of post-distaster recovery is or is not the time to raise our post-WW II low tax rates. What one cannot dispute is that it is time to bring the polity into these questions,and to educate it. That is an effort that cannnot relying upon polemics, partisan-blaming nor what passes for the "media" today.
Any competent Budget Director or CFO in the corporate world (worked there, did that) would never accept a budget that did not include headcount: how many people are planned to be added (or subtracted) from the work force in the budgeted year.

In recent years announcements of serious cuts in payroll have been announced by many corporations and even the USPS and municipal governments. But, other than Defense, one never hears demands for cuts in Federal employee payrolls.

We are rapidly becoming a two class society: those whose future employment is not guaranteed and civilian employees of the Federal government.

Republicans would be wise to drop unattainable (in the short run) goals of shutting down entire departments and start to focus on the people numbers. As a start, demand the Budget itself prominently include headcounts by individual department and bureau.

How hard is it for you to accept that Bush was a REPUBLICAN who governed like a REPUBLICAN with the tacit support of the REPUBLICAN congress (and party). Time to wake up from your little dream and realize that they serve their own interests and do not care about you-at all.
Well yes. But to fix it requires either a war (literally not figuratively) or a plan to re-assure those who are reliant on the promises of the Welfare State that something acceptable but different will be done instead. MOST of them are far from poor. In one way or another it is almost everyone in the country.

Even if some of the promises (Higher Education and good jobs for all; health for all life styles; Peace without sacrifice; Income without either work or investment) are inherently fraudulent and incapable of fulfillment, the expectations are there.

While some believe that the Right to Property inheres in the individual or is granted by God or is there because the constitution says so, the willingness of society to support government enforcement of that right is a big part of it, for Property is a major portion of most folk's political expectations and they demand that the Government defend their expectations as much as their persons. These promises are expectations of similar importance and must be addressed.

Where serious reform has been attempted and especially where some has actually happened, that is what was done: the expectations were addressed even if the means of fulfillment became rather different and more feasible and/or the level delivered might be less than originally thought; the expectations were not just wished away.
Everyone in the country should sit down and read this and thus better understand what has actually happened and why were are so dramatically imperiled as a nation. We have spent far more than we have ever had because we have a central bank who is a front for the banks and will assure they and the government that there will never be a time when they won't have the money to do with as they see fit. There will be a day when it collapses. The bankers and the politicians who did not do what should have been done will have pocketed the loot, converted it to fungible assets and sit around saying. "What? Me Worry?
The reason why Reagan could never do anything real about the welfare state is because the American people support it morally.
Most of the growth in "the welfare state" occurred under Republican presidents since 1981, and the beginning of "deficits don't mater when Republicans are leading" was President Reagan.

Reagan never laid out a plan to cut "the welfare state" and in fact reformed the revenue system and benefits to ensure Social Security would require no changes in law for at least four decades, and with luck, longer than any worker at the time would live.

And on health care, President Reagan made unlimited end of life spending an entitlement when he agreed to EMTALA that prohibits dumping patients on the street if they have no money to pay for care.
During my lifetime, the federal government has raised and lower taxes several times. Not ONCE have they lowered spending. Let them spend less five years in a row, and, if they still need to raise taxes, we can discuss it.

I'm not holding my breath.
Mike Constitution March 09, 2012 at 9:54 PM
To JC - The simple math is that, while the Bush tax cuts stimulated the economy and resulted in record revenues, spending still grew faster.

How hard is it to understand that Bush was a RINO that governed like a Democrat and did nothing to slow down the growth of our unsustainable and ineffective government?

The point is it is the growth of government that is the problem, no matter who is allowing it.

I don't mind it when conservatives register their problems with the welfare state, or the administration thereof.

What really galls me is when conservatives sneer at straw men liberals without making a simple good-faith effort at constructing even a first-order approximation of liberal ideals.

In this article, the author fails to address the basic crux of liberal arguments for a strong welfare state. Namely, diminishing marginal returns on investments, combined with the vagaries of unchecked capitalism, mean that some large, powerful entity must smooth out the bumps in order to prevent the human costs from outweighing the material benefits of a capitalist system. This is not unlike shocks on a car. So, maybe people like Mr. Voegeli are arguing that the shocks are so loose that the car doesn't hug the road. That's fine. But for the sake of argument, he should do a more thorough job of representing the true positions of the liberals that he accuses of deceit, cronyism, and manipulation.

Bottom line: this is a liberal Turing test fail that doesn't address any of the root causes for the growth of the welfare state.

Well gee whiz-if the Bush tax cuts, as you say, created so much revenue how was it even possible for GWB to double the national deficit in 8 years??? Pure talent I suppose.

It's not a "left wing narrative"-it's basic math.
The article needs a fourth category for the debt service. 2011 interest on the debt was ~$450B/~300M people =~$1500/person which is a large enough number to factor into the graph. Given defense and "housekeeping" are
~$2000/person, it is either in welfare or not included. Neither is reasonable.
The article needs a fourth category for the debt service. 2011 interest on the debt was ~$450B/~300M people =~$1500/person which is a large enough number to factor into the graph. Given defense and "housekeeping" are
Mike Constitution March 09, 2012 at 5:39 PM
An earlier commet repeated the false left-wing narrative that the "Bush tax cuts resulted in revenues falling off a cliff" and I am calling him on it.

The facts are that revenues fell early in Bush's term because of the Clinton .com bubble/recession and the drop was exacerbated by the slowdown after the 9/11 attacks.

The Bush tax cuts actually stimulated the economy and resulted in record revenues by 2005 with the richest percentiles paying a higher portion of taxes than before.

While the above is interesting, it seems to miss what seem, to me at least, two obvious - and important - points.

1) Since 1965 we have spent about $16T on the welfare third of the columnist's equation, the stated purpose being mostly anti-poverty. During that time the poverty rate dropped all the way from about 10.8% to about 10.7%. Basically we have flushed $16T, not-coincidentally our current Debt. This doesn't work for the nation, but it does work to buy Demo votes, which is its obvious purpose (If its purpose were to alleviate poverty, we'd have adjusted the various programs until they did just that. We have not.)

But perhaps more importantly, and seemingly completely unrecognized by the media or conservative pundits,

2) The welfare third is a free-ride for the Left on the backs of the children of the Center and Right. These entitlements are so large they ONLY can be paid via intergenerational wealth transfers. But the Left is not populating those future generations. Only two Blue states (NM, NV) are above 2.1 total fertility rate (replacement), and only six Bllue states are at 2.1. All densely-populated Blue states are shrinking in population. Only three Red states are below 2.1; six are at 2.1 and thirteen are above 2.1 - growing. Democrats are demanding to freeload on the children of non-Democrats. If there is somthing more immoral than that I am unaware of it...

.. but I AM intrigued - VERY intrigued - as to why no one, from Rush to CRB is pointing this out to the voters, particularly parents in the Center, or those wanting to become parents.
Ask a democrat what is "fair share" and the answer is always "more then you're currently paying"

We have an entire generation of democrat-enabled moochers, parasites, and leeches.

And I'm sure Romney will fight tooth and nail against Obama Care...oh wait Romney invented Obamacare.

My point is that the article tries to paint the Dems as the big spenders and seems to infer that the new republican party will save the day-and I view this as pure hog wash. Politicians will continue to spend our money anyway they see fit-belive it.

ALL Welfare needs to get an axe. We cannot afford it.
TycheSD March 09, 2012 at 3:37 PM

What about corporate welfare?
Sorry for the multiple comments, but I keep thinking of new objections to Voegeli's simplications.

What about corporate welfare? This is one of the main causes of the financial collapse, in the form of loosened regulations of the financial sector, and its biggest beneficiary, in the form of the bailouts.

A distinction needs to be made between a government that is "pro-business," (enacting tax breaks and bailouts) and one that is promoting a "free market" (allowing markets to actually work). Very few politicians in America today are in the second category, except for Ron Paul.
I have another dispute with the allocation into Voegeli's categories. The nuclear weapons program also should be moved under National Defense from where it is now, under the Department of Energy.

The philosophical justifications for the Democratic Party's socialism have all been swept away by the failures of all the "isms" of the last 100 years. Now, all that remains is a patronage system where Democratic politicians promise you goodies from the public coffers in return for your vote. With the money having run dry to perpetuate this dysfunctional system, the Dems are feeling the existential heat. And I'm loving it!
@SJH - I agree that tax expenditures should be eliminated. In fact, this is one way the government hides military spending, among other things. They provide tax credits to defense contractors for what they want them to build.

@John Lofgren - Interesting about the correlation between higher taxes and higher debt - if what you say is accurate.

@Jason - Yes, it's foolish to give the government more money at this point until they start acting more responsibly. Arguably, the government should only be involved in two of Voegeli's categories - National Defense and Housekeeping. Because there is so much spending on the Welfare State category, it crowds out spending in the other two categories. It still would be beneficial, however, to cut defense spending, as it is not the most productive use of national resources, and the Pentagon is pretty much on auto-pilot, like the Welfare State.

@Brian - You are right that Republicans have gone along with Welfare State spending, albeit at lower rates - until Medicare Part D, which was passed in order to get the senior vote away from Democrats.

Dan Goodbar says: "And the choice for health care reform is to either end the government role in health care or support, as all other industrial countries have, a government universal health care system. The former would also require employers to get out of the health care business. It is based on the theory that Americans do not pay to much for health care but pay to little. While it is what Republicans support, they don't dare say it..."

Yes, none of the Republican candidates for President is being honest with Americans either. They talk about reducing entitlements, but they NEVER mention Medicare or Social Security. So, Democrats aren't the only ones engaged in harmful deceptions.
The best article I've ever read. Why Republicans cannot use these same graphs, statistics, percentages, charts, LOGIC, etc. to make a persuasive argument agains the DemonRats, I will never understand. They are all to worried about losing their stupid jobs I guess.
Thank you for this excellent article. I am very grateful that the Republicans are finally acting fiscally conservative. However, one wonders how they would be behaving if they had a Republican president again. That's why it's difficult to trust them, even though it looks temporarily that they are trying to prevent us ending up like Greece.

I have one question: in your division of federal spending into the three categories, you place veterans' benefits in the Housekeeping category. Wouldn't all spending on military employees, past and present, fall under National Defense?
For all the words here, you're basically saying that the right rejects the current state of the "welfare state" and is playing politics to change that. Fine, but you will never succeed with this approach. Come to the table and seek intelligent modifications to the system to bring costs in line. And, use that huge dip in revenues that happened around 2000 as the bargaining chip. What's so difficult about that?
So what are you going to cut? Take money away from education. Maybe you'd like to cut money from children's healthcare. There is plenty of waste in the defense budget. I find the term "welfae" insulting, considering some of these programs are paid in to. I guess you'r end medicare and medicade. social security, and on and on. Then what? Poor people, sick and disabled people, those who have lost their job, old people, all of the most vulnerable people are SOL. This article is nothing but BS that proposes everything on the Republican check list.
Say JC.......whoever said that the Bushes aren't part of the problem? Who is endorsing the likes of Medicare D and NCLB? The shrub exploded the deficit and now Obama has doubled down on the mistakes made by Bush. Change you can believe in...NOT!
Let’s divide all federal spending into three broad categories. One is national defense. The second, the welfare state, includes Social Security; other income-support programs, such as disability insurance and unemployment compensation; Medicare; other health programs, such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program; and all programs in education, job training, and social services. I call the third “housekeeping,” meaning everything else that the federal government does: federal courts, prisons, prosecutors, and the FBI; Amtrak and air-traffic control; national parks and the EPA; embassies and consulates; veterans’ programs; NASA; and so on.

Here’s the scorecard. Spending on national defense, adjusted for inflation and population, was 42 percent higher in 2008 than in 1965, while housekeeping outlays were 76 percent higher (see the chart below). Both, in other words, grew far less rapidly than the economy or federal revenues—both of which, remember, were about 150 percent higher in 2008 than in 1965. But welfare-state expenditures were 583 percent higher. In fact, the welfare state became the core of the federal government, growing from 26 percent of federal outlays in 1965 to 61 percent in 2008.
Mike Constitution March 09, 2012 at 1:41 PM
This is a great article that explains the conservative (reality based) case that we have a spending problem. The Democrat/liberal/media are pushing the false compassion of government dependence and spinning any alternative view as fundamentally immoral. Well, allowing government to strangle the most innovative, dynamic, and creative economy in history is downright evil.
Healthcare is a commodity and a "customer" with no skin in the game is not an informed consumer making rational cost/benefit decisions but rather simply a welfare recipient...another pig at the trough or, if you prefer, an all you can eat buffet.

Moreover, it is foolish to be confounding as "insurance" a program that covers most anything related to health. It is the catastrophic incidents that lead to the cost shifting of "uncompensated care" that are a legitimate object of public action. Downplaying or the moment the fact that MANDATED auto insurance covers only the damages directly done to others, consider the absurdity of an insurance coverage that mandates the coverage of routine maintenace and oil changes.

Obamacare promises the public no policy cancellations, no preexisting condition requirements...even a cap on out-of-pocket expenses. So how do you provide total coverage for all Americans (not to mention aliens) for everything they want unless you cut what you pay doctors, hospitals, and drug companies and also ration care? And, incidentally, that rationing would be both overt through care authorization parameters (as in Britain and other countries with National Health Care) and, eventually, THE EVEN MORE SINISTER UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE of chilling the availability and innovation of practitioners, techniques and drugs, as the profit motive is diminished or eliminated.

Of course there is "rationing" going on even now but it is contractually-based rather than based on the requirements of a government budget...which means that there is a legion of ambulance chasers to help you fight it if you are being screwed. There is a world of difference between fighting the government and fighting some company when a dispute arises about anything…and there will be disputes no matter who the bureaucrats are working for. There are no “death panels” but there is the functional equivalent in a faceless bureaucracy putting cost/benefit analysis to work in deciding who will have what treatments available to them. The government should be there as a referee on health care, NOT as your opponent.
It's interesting to see how revenues kept pace with expenditures-until Bush came into office, cut taxes and the revenues went off a cliff. If the economy improved dramatically after these tax cuts, supply siders might have some ammunition for their tax policies. Of course, the opposite happened and we entered the worst financial crisis sine the 30's. We are now emerging with incredible debt levels to boot (a path firmly laid out by GWB and followed by Obama).

Additionally, blaming the democrats for the debt is a lie at best-how about medicare part D-a 10 trillion dollar unfunded obligation-forced down our throats by Bush and a republican congress???

Figures don't lie but liars can figure.

The single largest increase in expenditures since 1965 is interest on the debt. While it does not say so in the article, clearly it is put in the "welfare state expenditures".

It also needs to be pointed out that most of that debt was incurred when tax rates were cut or, as is the case now, kept below historical norms.

As for social costs, unlike defense, other areas of the budget will grow in direct relationship to the growth in the population.

Hence the biggest area of spending increase after the interest on the debt is Health Care. And this is why health care reform is so important. The truth is, and has been since before Clinton proposed health reform, you cannot be a fiscal conservative if you do not support health care reform.

And the choice for health care reform is to either end the government role in health care or support, as all other industrial countries have, a government universal health care system. The former would also require employers to get out of the health care business. It is based on the theory that Americans do not pay to much for health care but pay to little. While it is what Republicans support, they don't dare say it as it would require many people being taken out of hospitals and dumped on street corners to die.

So rather than say what Republicans want in regard to health care, they stopping any course adjustment until the car hits a wall and there is no choice.

This glaring and either to stupid or dishonest to be taken seriously mistake in regard to the debt leaves little else to be said about this article. And the little left to be said is no better.

Decreasing taxation (or holding the line on taxes) is a means to an end. All discussion which begins with the premise that greed is the basis for resistance to taxes is fatally flawed. It is the size and reach of government that is the issue. The progressive elites cannot fathom why so many common people resist the utopia offered by their benevolent betters (when their material interests might dictate otherwise).

Typically, when pressed, progressives rationalize about this resistance from the peasantry by ascribing to them an irrational “clinging to their guns and religion.” In so saying, Obama voices the same bewilderment and frustration as Karl Marx, who invented the concept of the “lumpen proletariat” to explain why many proles did not behave as he wished and expected them to.

Just as it never occurred to Marx that a “dictatorship of the proletariat” is nevertheless a dictatorship, it never occurs to today’s intelligentsia that a big government run by people who are certain that they know what is good for us better than we know ourselves, is the problem.
LOL, Iska Waren!
In response to Chad Brick, what you left out is that the taxes in other OECD countries are higher on EVERYONE. In the US, the Democrats promote the fiction that our budget woes could be solved if only we raised taxes on the 1% (or those families earning over $250K). Some Republicans would be open to tax increase IF we had an iron-clad guarantee that 100% of Americans paid some Federal income tax, as opposed to the 49% who do today, and that the increases would go exclusively toward balancing the budget and paying down the debt. We oppose tax increases because we know for a fact that neither has a snowball's chance in hell of coming to fruition. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me thousands of times over many decades...
ConstitutionalDon March 09, 2012 at 8:49 AM
"Will somebody tell me why the children in Govt get anymore of my hard earned money...?"

Because if you don't give it to them they are allowed to put you in a cage or kill you.
Wow!! Awesome article. Well researched and coherently explained so even an economic Nimrod could understand.
Great article. It sums up Democratic policies well. I've often thought they seem to have no idea of any limit to the welfare state.
Brilliant simplicity in a language foreign to the American Left?
Although it is their legal obligation to do so, the government hasn't passed a budget in almost 3 years. The collection of taxes, until a budget is passed, is illegal and a violation of the 13th Amendment (abolition of slavery) to the Constitution, is it not?
Wrong. We have the third lowest overall taxes in the OECD. If ours were at the OECD average, like those of Germany, our budget would be balanced with room to spare. So yes, you CAN make the claim that THE problem is our low tax rates. You'd only be wrong because our bloated military spending, second only to Israel's in the OECD, is also a large contributor. Our non- defense spending, at fifth lowest, can safely be ignored and should actually be expanded.
Excellent article. The 1st two paragraphs of quotes by the left about Republicans made me mad, but the rest of your commentary on the problem and the explanation calmed my blood pressure.
How does Medicare part D fit into your theory?
You give Republicans too much credit. Most of them go along with the welfare state and spend too much, albeit at a lower rate than the Vote-Buying Party.

Ultimately, as we are seeing in Europe, what limits leftists politicians isn't an opposition party, it's reality. They promise a cradle-to-grave welfare state, run up debt, and strangle their ever-shrinking base of taxpayers. Ultimately they hit a debt crisis and everyone suffers. Ironically, the poor leftists claim to care about so much suffer more than everyone else when this occurs.

How about how the Democrats tricked George HW Bush into raising taxes for spending cuts that never came. They then used it against him to defeat him in 1992. Since then the GOP has never trusted Dems to use any additional revenue to reduce the deficit. The Dems will just use the tax revenue for more spending programs.
Throughout Europe, taxes are much higher per capita, much flatter than the US and yet ..... there is much more per capita external debt.

Europe demonstrates 100% consistency: higher taxes aligned with higher debt in every case of the G20 nations there.

It's almost like the two are linked together, but we know they are not. It wouldn't be hard to imagine it as a people problem: The same people that want to raise taxes are poor money managers.
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Very well-written. Liberals just don't ever seem to think that anything is too expensive. It's like grocery shopping with my kids. NOTHING goes into my cart until I know and assess the price, even if it's just a pack of gum. Still, the kids keep trying to throw things into the cart without even checking the price. Of crap. I'm raising Democrats!
Excellent presentation. If only it could be further reduced into bite-sized sound bites for mass consumption.
The phrase too much government needs to be coupled with totalitarian beurocratic excess or some other more frightening imagery.
Perhaps something like: Welfare is just state sponsored slavery or endentured servitued.
This article ignores the problem of tax expenditures. Any serious tax reform should eliminate at least some of the major tax expenditures (e.g., mortgage interest deducation) which would qualify as a "tax increase" to the Norquist crowd and would be presented as such by political opponents. That is the problem with antitax absolutism--you can't stand resolutely against something and then turn around and vote for it, and antitax absolutism makes sound tax policy reform impossible. By the way, I am generally in sympathy with Voegeli's views on the ever-growing welfare state.
will somebody tell me why the children in Govt get anymore of my hard earned money when both sides have proved over and ever again that they are not capable of being good stewards of our money. My family has been on a budget for years we don't spend more money than we bring in we still give 12% of our income to our charities. we decide how our money should be spent alot better than congress throw them all out!!!!