Archive for national budget

Infrastructure Spending Produces Big Returns for All Americans

Our public dollars are well spent creating platforms on which private enterprise can prosper. With interest rates at nearly zero, low labor costs, and the construction industry with all its suppliers scrambling for work, we should be pouring stimulus dollars into our schools, roads, and bridges. We should be building a new energy grid and sending wireless technology into every corner of the land. These are the measures that will produce big returns for all Americans.

With the economy recovering slowly and our nation’s roads and bridges crumbling, a new study from the San Francisco Federal Reserve found that making investments into infrastructure has substantial short- and medium-term benefits for the economy. Read their findings here or look below for a quick recap of the study and share your thoughts.

From Business Insider

STUDY: Every $1 Of Infrastructure Spending Boosts The Economy By $2

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Exchanging Our Mammoth Defense Industry for a Smaller, Cheaper, Stronger Military

Throughout President Obama’s first term, he kept Bush’s military leaders in charge of our defense and instituted a surge in Afghanistan. He also took out more terrorists in his first year than Bush did in his entire second term and is progressing on reducing nuclear weapons—one of Reagan’s most fervent wishes, and yet, daily he is proclaimed a socialist or worse.

Our global military presences requires both a powerful federal government and a mammoth defense industry. When big defense companies become indispensable, we should not be surprised at their political clout. What do you think of President Obama’s plan to reduce our huge industrial and military machinery of defense in exchange for a smaller, cheaper, stronger military?

For the Army, the Obama plan would reduce active-duty troops from 562,000 to 490,000. Photo illustration by 731: Photographs by Shaigan/AFP/Getty Images (missiles); Vahid Reza Alaei/AP Photo (smoke); Ron Sachs/Getty Images (Obama)

From Bloomberg Businessweek

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Littoral Combat Ship (LCS): Another Military Boondoggle, Waste of Taxpayer Money

On the heels of the Pentagon’s trillion-dollar commitment to the overrated, over budget, and under performing F-35 comes the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a seven-year investment, now triple original cost estimates, that has negligible value to the Navy.

The LCS is fast on its way to joining the F-35, giant spy blimps, and the Medium Extended Air Defense System—another military-industrial boondoggle, wasting taxpayer money year after year.

The Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is not only staggeringly overpriced and chronically unreliable but — even if it were to work perfectly — cannot match the combat power of similar sized foreign warships costing only a fraction as much. Let’s take a deep dive and try to figure out why.

From Time

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Public Money Continues to Supplement the Building of Private Corporate Infrastructure

Our nation is still experiencing the after-effects of major economic crisis, and yet public money continues to supplement the building of private corporate infrastructure. Time and time again, our legislators and government officials have proven that they’re willing to put the interests of the public aside in order to appease big business by lowering tax rates, offering more tax breaks, and increasing corporate subsidies.

These government subsidies do not encourage economic growth as much as productive taxpayers do, and as a result, everything from Social Security to unemployment and welfare rolls is affected. As you’ll see in the following article, when it comes to competitive business privileges—tax breaks, subsidies, overt political power—individuals and small businesses might as well fugetaboutit.

Welfare queens may actually look more like giant corporations.

From The Huffington Post

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Modern “Conservatives” Are Quick to Impede Progress Without Offering a Different Course

The Republican Party I knew growing up was brimming with “progressive” visionaries who valued national investment in science technology and infrastructure—building, innovating, and investing, publicly and privately, in America’s future. Now, modern “conservatives” are quick to put the brakes on progress without offering a different course.

If they wish to revitalize the Republican Party, conservatives must be willing to strike a balance between free-market ideologies and traditional conservative principles. Balancing these interests does not mean confiscating and redistributing wealth or subsidizing people’s lives, but inequalities must be addressed. Your thoughts?

"In the polarized political conflict with liberalism, shrinking government has become the organizing conservative principle. Economic conservatives have the money and the institutions. They have taken control. Traditional conservatism has gone into eclipse. These days, speakers at Republican gatherings almost always use the language of market conservatism — getting government off our backs, enhancing economic freedom. Even Mitt Romney, who subscribes to a faith that knows a lot about social capital, relies exclusively on the language of market conservatism." David Brooks | New York Times

From The New York Times

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96 Percent of Americans Have Relied on Social Welfare Programs

In a 2008 national survey conducted at Cornell, 96 percent of Americans reported needing the assistance of federal social welfare programs at some point in their life. However, many government officials, especially Republican leaders, regularly insist upon deep cuts to services for most citizens while simultaneously defending tax breaks, subsidies, and overt political power for transnational corporations.

In its preamble, the Founders stated explicitly that our Constitution was established to promote the general welfare. Americans recognize the difference between ideological rhetoric and realistic solutions, and what they’re seeking is honest leadership that puts the welfare of citizens and our system of government above all else. Would you agree?

From The New York Times

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Ayn Rand’s Radical Defense of Economic Darwinism

Ayn Rand, the self-proclaimed radical and author of Atlas Shrugged was the ultimate purist, advocating uncontrolled, unregulated capitalism. She perverted Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” into her “virtue of selfishness” and defended an ugly dog-eat-dog economic Darwinism: The masses were servile and insignificant, government was invasive and usually malevolent.

Absolute objectivism, along with the rest of Rand’s arguments, may sway teens—a time when renegade individualism stirs the blood—but time and experience validates the social/political principles envisioned by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Adam Smith.

It was back in April when audio of Paul Ryan praising Ayn Rand first gained traction during a debate over the libertarian icon's influence on the conservative congressman. Paul Ryan dismissed the suggestion that he was fixated on the author an "urban legend." National Review ran an article called "Paul Ryan Isn't a Randian" aimed at "refuting the Left’s favorite charge against Paul Ryan." | Andrew Kaczynski, Buzzfeed

From Buzzfeed Politics

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Tax Cuts Do Not Increase Overall Revenues or Spur Domestic Business Investment and Job Growth

Cut taxes on the rich, so the argument goes, and this money will be reinvested at home. For those of you who have read Patriot Acts, we’ve been over this numerous times, but let me restate an empirical fact: Tax cuts for the wealthy do not increase overall revenues or spur domestic business investment and job growth.

A new longitudinal study compiles data from the last 65-years to find why tax cuts in and of themselves have never led to economic growth. In the past, the rich may have reinvested about a third of their tax savings in the US, but now, most of it goes into savings, personal spending, or overseas investments.

A new study by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has found that over the past 65 years, tax cuts for the rich have not led to economic growth and instead are linked to greater income inequality in the United States. | Bonnie Kavoussi, Huffington Post

From The Huffington Post

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Polling Suggest 66% of Americans Want Increased Spending on Public Transportation

Major investment in our national infrastructure is essential for economic growth at home and abroad. Polling conducted by the NRDC suggests that 66% of Americans want increased government spending on transportation and are willing to pay for it by way of increased sales tax or tolls.

Despite incontrovertible evidence that trickle-down economics is a sham, Republican legislators insist on tax cut extensions (or even more cuts) for the wealthiest Americans but refuse to invest in 21st-century transportation/infrastructure. Why is this? Your thoughts!

"Sixty-six percent of Americans want Congress to spend more money on public transportation, according a poll commissioned by a prominent environmental group." Keith Lang, The Hill

From The Hill

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Vast Discrepancies Between Defense and State Department Funding

Diplomacy is a critical arm of our national security, yet there are more people in our military marching bands than in the State Department’s Foreign Service. In light of Tuesday’s tragic events in Benghazi, isn’t it about time we address the vast discrepancies between the annual budgets for the Defense Department ($614B) and the State Department ($51.6B)?

Our national security policies affect every aspect of our society—culturally, politically, and economically. Americans will always rally to defend this great nation, but a true patriot never fears a serious debate about the methods we use to accomplish this vital mission.

Dilan Samo holds a picture of slain U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens during a candlelight vigil outside the Libyan Embassy in New York City. Stevens was killed Sept. 11 during an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, by a mob angered about a film that mocked the prophet Mohammed.Photo By John Minchillo, AP

From Salon.com

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