John Ransom

Lloyd wrote: Balanced Budget? I doubt that anyone now or ever wanted a balanced budget. If Congress wanted a balanced budget, they would have a balanced budget. But they are afraid of cutting some programs to achieve a balanced budget, for it would make a lot of people angry. - in response to Who Cares About a Balanced Budget

Dear Lloyd,

No doubt politicians haven’t the stomach to make the tough calls to cut the budget, but a balanced budget amendment would go a long way toward making sure that politicians play straight with Americans about how government gets paid for.

We have gotten so used to the idea of running deficits, that we are now in a position that 40 cents of every dollar of GDP goes to government.

Think about that: To pay for government today with cash, we’d have to have a tax equal to 2/3rds of the goods and services produced by the private sector.

Forcing politicians to pay cash for government would be a very good start.

Sybil wrote: Ronald Reagan built up the largest peacetime budget deficit in history back in the day, and also signed the largest peacetime tax increase. Republican George W. Bush took over a $200 billion annual budget surplus left by Democrat Bill Clinton, and handed President Obama a $1.2 trillion annual deficit. - in response to Who Cares About a Balanced Budget

Dear Sybil,

The national debt went from $1.358 trillion in 1981 to $3.6 trillion under Reagan. Clinton added $1.5 trillion to that number.

But here’s the real key: Take a look at the chart that shows the composition of Congress relative to federal debt. It clearly shows that when the GOP controls both houses of Congress since the early 90s that the amount of federal debt goes down. It also shows that when Democrats hold sway in Congress debt goes up…way up.  

Source: Wikipedia

John M H wrote: 9 9 9 would do more to restrain spending and reduce borrowing from abroad than a BBA. Privatizing SS for young workers would do more to reduce external debt than a BBA. A BBA is not only dumb, it's dishonest. What else would we expect from these clowns? Let’s get rid of all of them when we get rid of Obama. - in response to Who Cares About a Balanced Budget

Dear John,

Yeah, but what happens when 999 becomes 101010 or 111111?

Balanced budget provisions work in state governments. Are they perfect? Nope. But they are step in the right direction.

JW wrote: Michael Youssef had an excellent article in May's TownHall that also spoke to the issue of only "Tax Payers" having a vote. As the number of non-Tax Payers grows, the deficit will only get larger and larger. Capping spending is not going to happen without returning to a fundamental principle in our orginal Constitution that you need "skin in the game" before you can vote. - in response to Who Cares About a Balanced Budget

JW,

I disagree that we should be limiting voting to just so-called taxpayers. One way you could disenfranchise groups is by granting them tax exemptions.

LoninPA wrote: I am not sure why this Ransom column is being rerun, but it is probably a good idea to note what is actually happening in Italy and Greece, because if you are getting your information from Ransom I guess I am not surprised that people's pictures are similar to science fiction novels rather than reality. What happened is that Greece built up an unsustainable level of debt, unsustainable in part because being tied to the EU it can't devalue its currency. – in response to Obama Elites' European Solution

Dear Lon,

Your answer is a great example of why liberals should never be allowed to run anything that has to do with money or thinking or public service or heavy machinery.

Greece and Italy’s problems have to do with spending too much money and not being able to raise enough in taxes in order to pay their debts as a result of that spending.

Would it be helpful for them to debase their currency in order to cheat their creditors? Sure, it would. It helped the Weimar Republic cheat the Allies after WWI.

But imagine what happens to everyone else in the meantime.

Creditors would not be likely to lend money to Greece and Italy again when they know that the countries will just debase their currency to get out of paying.  Ordinary workers will see their wages shrink; people who have saved for a lifetime will see their savings depreciate. Those on a fixed income would quite literally starve to death. 

What you are talking about is really a soft name for stealing other people’s capital.

Not a big surprise though that that’s what you guys came up with as the liberal line.

It’s always free for liberals while everyone else pays.

Lastinline wrote: Mr. Ransom...your quote..."I don’t believe in the Trilateral and Bilderberg conspiracies."

Why don't you? Do you not see who is running the nations (and currencies) of the world they do control while corrupting and declaring wars (even assassinating leaders) of those they don't? – in response to Europe Ushers in Dictatorship of the Technocrats

Dear Lastline,

I just don’t buy conspiracies. They are very hard to put together and very hard to keep secret. You would have me believe in an all-powerful group of individuals, who are secretly plotting the fate of the world, while keeping it secret from the whole world.

For more on this, see below.

Shubi wrote: With the mess the world is in, if the various Bilderberg or Trilateral Commissions are secretly pulling strings, they sure are incompetent at it. – in response to Europe Ushers in Dictatorship of the Technocrats

Dear Shubi,

And that’s part of the reason why I have a hard time with conspiracies.

Couldn’t they have come up with something better than Obama and the failed central banks?

I mean basically the last several years the Bilderbergers and Trilateral Commissioners have been standing around with their pants around their ankles.

And from here it appears that they aren’t wearing underwear.

Marie wrote: Ransom, you are a money guy, maybe you can tell me. Since Social Security is nothing but a charity at this point and any funds that were ever in there were replaced with I.O.U.'s and since it is bankrupt we know the government has done a crumby job. Shouldn't this fund be taken care of by a charity that will be more efficient? How many bureaucrats work for the Social Security administration? What percentage of a dollar taken from our earnings actually make it to a retiree? How much gets sucked up by the bureaucrat blob? and lawyers? Disability is also eating Social Security.– in response to Europe Ushers in Dictatorship of the Technocrats

According to the Social Security Administration the department employs nearly 68,000 people. “The field organization, which is decentralized to provide services at the local level, includes 10 regional offices, 6 processing centers, and approximately 1,260 field offices.”

The administrative costs aren’t the issue with Social Security, however.   

Unfortunately the whole scheme was rotten right at the start.

At first there were dozens of workers to support one retiree. Now there are less than three workers to support one retiree. That’s because the scheme was set up solely as a government financing vehicle. Unlike other retirement plans, the only thing Social Security invests in is government. While critics act like Wall Street is risky, in fact if the money in Social Security had been invested in segregated accounts since 1990 investors would have realized yields of 4 times the amount invested.

This is what Time Magazine had to say about Social Security in 1939:   

[L]ast week came a fresh round of ammunition from Liberal Economist John T. Flynn. Writing in Harper's on "The Social Security 'Reserve' Swindle," plain-talking Mr. Flynn declared:

"Obviously the government cannot pay adequate pensions if it insists on 'borrowing' most of the old age taxes and spending them to support the government. The whole thing is a disguised tax levied upon the lowest income groups under the pretense of old age pension premiums. No government would dare support itself out of a payroll tax if it honestly proclaimed its purpose.”

Time wrote that already, in 1939, the president and Congress were considering a fifty-percent increase in Social Security taxes to finance expanded benefits, even as qualified beneficiaries doubted that they’d live to see any benefit from the program. “But for old folks,” wrote Time, “Social Security, which will not begin paying monthly old-age insurance benefits for those over 65 until 1942, is still pie in the sky.”

Still is.    

Art wrote: And wasn't it the sweetheart Cain who said that the poor are where they are because they don't want to exert the effort to raise themselves and they like it where they are? Surely anybody can rescue a failing pizza chain to save America from a shortage of them and thus qualify to be President.-in response to Obama's Newest Excuse: Lazy Americans

Dear Art,

Wasn’t it the pastor of Obama who said “G-ddamn America!”? If that qualified Obama to be president Cain could be emperor.

Surely anyone can be a community organizer, thus qualify as president in order to save other community organizers and union thugs.

Really? You’re comparing Cain’s resume to Obama’s?

Jimmylynn wrote: This is a riot. Obama has failed so miserably to convince American industry to trust him enough to invest money into the U.S. economy and create jobs. So then he tries to spend government money to create illusionary jobs....which has failed because Congress won't give him anymore money. Then he whines that he'll use Executive Orders to bypass the Republicans that are blocking job creations in the country.....and now in frustration he runs to foreigners to try and scrape up a few takers who want to break into the U.S. market by telling them he'll work with them on their U.S. ventures if they'll just release a little of that foreign cash into the U.S. system. Won't work...those foreigners aren't fools.-in response to Obama's Newest Excuse: Lazy Americans

Dear Jimmy Lynn,

You get the comment of the week award.

The amazing thing is that Obama turns around and pretends that he’s somehow pro-business.

Look, there is a reason why Bill Daley has already preannounced he won’t be back as chief of staff. Obama’s an economic infant.

They asked for greatness from Obama, and they got a great, big baby.

LoninPA wrote: Ransom is misrepresenting what Obama said. Actually, unless you work in government offices that try to lure business to the US he is not calling you lazy at all. Nor for that matter is he ridiculing you. On the other hand, Ransom is insulting your intelligence. Well maybe not since you don't seem to be insulted. - in response to Obama's Newest Excuse: Lazy Americans

Dear Lon,

You get the two-fer award this week.

I quoted directly from Obama’s speech. I’m not the only writer who has written about this.

I think it takes some nerve to create the hostile business environment that Obama has in this country and then go out to foreigners and lecture the rest of us that business investment is down because we are lazy.

Laziness has nothing to do with it.

You, Obama and your Occupy Wall Street friends can’t have it both ways, calling us greedy on the one hand and then us lazy on the other.

A better explanation about the dearth of foreign investment is that investors don‘t see the US under Obama as a good bet.

Why would they? The administration has picked on foreign auto makers who have already made substantial investments here and the OWS is rallying against excess profits.

No wonder business is shipping jobs and profit offshore.

That’s it for this week.

V/r,

JR


John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.
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