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Americans worry about GOP's plan -- or lack thereof

One other poll (pdf) result that I meant to mention:

Which of the following concerns you more?

(A) That the Republicans have offered no specific plans or programs to deal with the issues facing the country so it is hard to know what they would do if they were to win the majority in Congress, OR (B) That the Democrats have offered no changes that they would make to deal with issues facing the country, so it is hard to know what they would do differently from President Obama’s current policies if they were to retain the majority in Congress?

Republicans have offered no plans ........... 43
Democrats have offered no changes ......... 39
Some of both (VOL) ................................. 8
Not sure ................................................... 10

By Ezra Klein  |  August 12, 2010; 9:55 AM ET
Categories:  Polls  
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Comments

Yup, GOP as the party of NO is a successful theme for Dems. Sad part is they are not exploiting it fully because the theme is actually TRUE.

Unless GOP addresses this part and are able to distance from Palin, there is no good news for America.

But may be things might move here...
(http://www.21stcenturypolitics.com/2010/08/good-political-news-from-america.html)

Posted by: umesh409 | August 12, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Both choices offer by this poll question are false.

The Dems did offer change by adding $1 Trillion to each of our yearly budgets.

The Repubs to have a plan. It is to change back to budgets that spend $1 Trillion LESS each year.

Posted by: mgsorens | August 12, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Philosophically, the GOP is all about long-term accrued benefits from pro-growth incentives, so it's tough for them to address voter's immediate concerns. So they try to translate their idealogy into the language of the short-term, which often leads to nebulous results (talk of regulatory uncertainty, the many benefits of tax cuts, etc.) On the flip, side their message is always simple, because they don't have to engage too thoroughly with the facts of the moment.

Posted by: jduptonma | August 12, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I would love to see mgsorens show how Democrats have added one trillion per year to the budget.

Posted by: jldarden | August 12, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

jldarden,

The last Republican controlled budget, 2007, was $2.7 Trillion.
http://www.cbo.gov/budget/data/historical.pdf

2009 budget $3.5 Trillion
2010 budget $3.6 Trillion
2011 Budget $3.7 Trillion (projected)

Posted by: mgsorens | August 12, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Two of those three numbers are less than a trillion. Additionally, one of those numbers (2009) was a budget signed by George W. Bush. So what we're really getting to here is one of two options?

A) Bush exploded the deficit with some new program as he was leaving office
B) Spending has increased due to automatic measures caused by the recession (see: unemployment benefits and Medicaid).

Posted by: jldarden | August 12, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

re: mgsorens:

That is $0.1T increase per year, not $1T extra. (ie $4.5T, $5.5T, etc).

Republicans want to extend Bush tax cuts yet reduce budget by ... what - voodoo, magic, severe cuts to military?

Medicare and Social Security cuts?
Where is there to cut?

Posted by: Bak1 | August 12, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

jldarden,
No, no, no, Bush did NOT sign the 2009 budget nor did it get any Republican votes in the House!

In 2008 Bush did propose a budget as required by law, but the Dem Congress went renegade that year. Bush threatened to veto overspending so, Dems refused to vote on a budget. They ran the government on continuing resolutions 'till Bush left office.

After Bush left office, Democrats passed the 2009 budget and Obama signed it.

Posted by: mgsorens | August 12, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Bak1, "reduce budget by ... what - voodoo, magic,"

Why not cut the extra $1 Trillion that was added since 2007?

Even better why not cut spending back to 18.4% of GDP as it was at the end of Clinton's term?

Posted by: mgsorens | August 12, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Bush signed the TARP legislation, with Paulson enacting before Obama was in office. That accounts for a big portion of the increase.

Point of post was what is GOP plan reduce deficit? How will they cut spending?

Don't see a plan yet. Cut aid to states? Cut Unemployment benefits? That they have voted for, but is that the GOP plan?

Posted by: Bak1 | August 12, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

It is telling that msgorens has not responded to Bak1's comments. We are still waiting to hear where msgorens would make $1 trillion dollars in spending cuts.

Also keep in mind that a not insignificant part of the budget goes to payment of interest on the debt added during two terms of George W. Bush, a President who inherited a budget surplus from his Democratic predecessor.

Posted by: Patrick_M | August 12, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Bak1,
The CBO estimates that TARP will end up costing only $109 Billion. The $700 Billion TARP was intended to be loans. Many of them have already been repaid with interest.

The most well known Republican plan is the "Roadmap for America's Future." This is the one you must have heard of. The CBO concluded that it would not only eliminate deficits, but also completely pay off the Debt!

The cuts in that plan are less dramatic than the cuts during the Clinton Administration.

Posted by: mgsorens | August 12, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Patrick_M,
Sorry if I have been too slow with my responses.

The answer is to cut all the NEW spending added since 2007. Of course we are spending much less now in Iraq, so that money could probably be used for unemployment benefits.

I think almost all Repubs favor unemployment extensions. The question has been whether to use unspent 'stimulus' funds for that or to borrow the money from China. Repubs wanted to use stimulus funds.

Posted by: mgsorens | August 12, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

mgsorens, you live in a fantasy world. TARP was Bush's baby and was supported by McCain and Palin. The other explosions in the budget were unfunded wars, unfunded tax cuts, and the unfunded Medicare Part D. These were all in relative boom times, when the government should have been tightening its belt. The bust began under Bush, you will recall, hence TARP.

Under Obama there's the health care bill which will *reduce* the deficit because unlike all the Republican programs (of little or negative value), it was funded. And there's the stimulus, which is meant to be *counter-cyclical* so it *should not be funded* in the current budget. That's the idea. Borrow when interest rates are low and no one else can or will. Spend the money to provide some of the absent demand. Pay back the borrowed money and its minimal interest when times are good and the private sector is supplying both demand and tax revenue.

Since Reagan the Republicans have provided lots of talk but no action on fiscal restraint. It's Clinton who balanced the budget. Bush who unbalanced it.

Posted by: dfhoughton | August 12, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

dfhoughton,
Let me direct to to this link. You may think it is a fantasy?
http://www.cbo.gov/budget/data/historical.pdf

The deficit was only $161 Billion in 2007.
At that time, spending in Iraq was at its' peak, the Bush Tax Cuts were in full effect, Medicare Part D (medicine for old folks) was in full effect.

How can that be? Democrats claim all those thing add up to $1.4 Trillion deficits?

Since Bush invested only half the TARP funds, I think he should be responsible for half of the $109Billion that TARP will cost.

The other 19 nations of the G20 have unanimously rejected Obama's big government spending plans in favor of smaller government and business friendly tax cuts. Why do you think that it so?

Posted by: mgsorens | August 12, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

mgsorens still hasn't answered the main question. Many folks agree (myself included) that we need to take a Kenyesian approach to this economic disaster. We need to increase deficit spending to offset the lack of demand in the private sector. Here you are arguing tooth and nail against this approach but you have not revealed to us what the opposing plan is and why it will work.

The plan being touted by Paul Ryan is the same Republican chicanery that was foisted on America in the 90's and was rejected. See Paul Krugman for more (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/06/opinion/06krugman.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss). So please enlighten us as to what is the plan (if you have a different idea) and why do you think it will work?

Posted by: dkinmd | August 12, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have a plan.

Fear, Hatred, Distortion, Distraction and Division.

Posted by: thebobbob | August 12, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

msgorens contines to dance around the question.

We aren't spending significantly less in Iraq, and the logistics of withdrawal will be very expensive, so that war of choice will continue to be very expensive for a long time to come. At the same time, we have escalated the war in Afghanistan. So is msgorens proposes defense cuts he should lay them out with specificity, as well as exactly what additional "new spending" programs since 2007 can be reduced or eliminated, that will add up to a trillion dollars in lower spending.

Posted by: Patrick_M | August 12, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

A large part of why the deficit was 161 billion in 2007 (and it was actually 340 billion, but what's 200 billion between friends) is because a lot of costs were not counted by the Bush administration which are being counted by the Obama administration. Funding for the wars, for example.

As for the other G20 nations not increasing spending, the answer is two-fold.
1. They face different pressures in the bond market.
2. They (the developed ones, at least) already have much more generous safety nets than we do, making their decreased social spending higher than our proposed increase.

Posted by: jldarden | August 12, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

mgsorens:

"The other 19 nations of the G20 have unanimously rejected Obama's big government spending plans in favor of smaller government and business friendly tax cuts. Why do you think that it so?"

A number of reasons: 1) they haven't but it's pretty for your argument to say they have; 2) countries in the EMU or who can't control the terms of their loans as we can or otherwise differ from us in various ways are more constrained in their policy options; 3) fools are not confined to the U.S.

I'm not an economist, though. Paul Krugman has been addressing the foolishness of economic policies in other nations at length for many months. If you want to sharpen your argument, try him.

Posted by: dfhoughton | August 12, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

ezra, confirmation bias much?
Lets stick to the policy analysis, if we want to hear whiney political rants, we all know where Matt Yglesias's blog is.

Hopefully the increasing frequency of this type of post doesn't mean you are downing two bags of Fritos at your desk each day like MY as well. That big boy can eat!

Posted by: cdosquared5 | August 12, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

cdosquared5:

"Lets stick to the policy analysis, if we want to hear whiney political rants, we all know where Matt Yglesias's blog is."

Or we can come here and wait for comments like this!

Posted by: dfhoughton | August 12, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"So is msgorens proposes defense cuts he should lay them out with specificity"
==============================================
My goodness how can I be more specific than to set as a goal EXACTLY where we were in 2007 as a goal! Not just for defense, but for the entire budget. And I'm speaking of the size of the budget relative to GDP.

I say as a goal because I realize it may take a while to get there from where we are after 4 years of Democrat Congress.

Posted by: mgsorens | August 12, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Msgorens clearly doesn't get it. Even using 2007 as a baseline as several problems:

1. You need to slash Social Security and Medicare (since the only way to keep those costs constant in the face of the Baby Boomers retiring and rising health care costs is to slash benefits).
2. You need to slash unemployment benefits and aid for the needy (since the numbers collecting now are higher due to the recession, only way to spend the same amount of money is to give each less).
3. You need to go back to the Bush practice of cooking the books by listing the wars as "off-budget".

Posted by: jldarden | August 12, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Actually mgsorens does get it.
jldarden would like to pretend that Medicare and unemployment extensions are responsible for deficits skyrocketing from $161 Billion to $1.5 Trillion when the Democrats took control of this country's purse strings.

That is plainly NOT TRUE!
Further it is ridiculous to insist we can't make any cuts without first putting SS and Medicare on a sound footing.

Lastly it is ludicrous to insist that the Iraq War, on which current spending is about $50 billion per year, could be responsible for repeated $1.5 TRILLION yearly deficits whether that $50 Billion is on budget or off budget!

Posted by: mgsorens | August 12, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

'mgsorens' is probably a plant for that stupid GOP leader Boehner or even more stupid Tea Party.

Problem is he does not read anything what Krugman and other folks have written. TARP is not Obama responsibility. Both Banks and Auto industry have paid their part of TARP with profit.

Affordable Health Care Act - that talks about 1 Trillion price tag but for over a decade which again is balanced over that period. It is simply stupid to keep adding that price tag in any single year's deficit. Besides CBO itself has said AHCA will reduce deficit.

What else Obama has spend more money then? That is stimulus of which 1/3 has been tax cuts, 1/3 have been to States Red and Blue and only 1/3 is spending.

Basically the entire deficit is contributed because of layoffs when Bush Economy collapsed due its internal contradictions; reducing Fed's revenue collection.

When more reduction in Medicare cost was proposed, you Republicans started to argue about 'pulling the plug on Grandma'.

'mgsorens' and his GOP band have done enough damage with their 'tax cut voodoo economics' and Iraq war. They are the responsible party here and are forcing Obama to clear the garbage. Instead of helping for that cause (or offering better alternatives); they are ready to create more misery to Americans just for the sake of their opposition to Obama (on many occasions racist opposition).

'mgsorens' is a fool who just wants to waste our time and stop whatever good is left in this country to solve our problems realistically.

Posted by: umesh409 | August 12, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"My goodness how can I be more specific than to set as a goal EXACTLY where we were in 2007 as a goal!"

Here is how you can be more specific: What do you cut in order to reach that "goal," msgorens?

Part of what you fail to acknowledge is that the cost of the government providing the same level of services rises each year, simply as a result of inflation (money buying less than it did the year before), and population increases (more people for government services to serve), etc. Even as the Clinton administration managed to balance the budget and generate a surplus over three consecutive budget cycles, expenditures rose for these reasons.

So if you want to cut spending to 2007 levels, you will need to reduce services to below 2007 levels, and you will need to be specific about what programs will be slashed and eliminated, in order to come up with your "goal" of a trillion dollars, rather than using vague generalities about the "goal."

If you will not lay out the programs you will cut and show the savings from each (that total one trillion dollars), you are not serious.

Posted by: Patrick_M | August 12, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The first budget Democrats had control of the purse for is 2010 (arguably 2009). To blame the Democrats for the budgets when Republicans, between filibuster and veto, controlled the process, is absurd.

Posted by: jldarden | August 12, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Also, the Iraq supplemental was at least 70 billion every year since FY2006.

Posted by: jldarden | August 12, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

umesh409,
I don't create the deficit numbers. They come from the CBO, and yes you are right TARP is a very small amount.

Patrick_M,
Of course I meant each budget item the same as 2007 as a goal. I did mention that I was suggesting a budget size relative to GDP. Guess you misread it.

jldarden,
So, your position is that a budget, 2009, that got no Republican votes in the House, and that a Republican President threatened to veto and did not sign. Is still the Republicans responsibility rather than the responsibility of the people who created it, voted for it, and signed it?

Posted by: mgsorens | August 12, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Re: your response to Patrick_M:

Your argument is bunk due to the three factors I set out earlier.

As for the FY2009 budget:

10% of House Republicans voted for the finalized budget. Far from being a massive increase, even with it's final passage during the depths of the recession (March 2009), it still spend no more money than Bush's proposed budget from February 2008.

Posted by: jldarden | August 12, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

"Of course I meant each budget item the same as 2007 as a goal. I did mention that I was suggesting a budget size relative to GDP. Guess you misread it."

Dancing this way and that. You don't want to save a trillion dollars, you want to cut an amount (that you don't disclose) that would put the ratio of federal spending to GDP as the same level as 2007 (because there is something so clearly magical about that particular year).

So please tell us what that magic number works out to be for the next budget cycle, and then explain what programs you would cut to meet that goal, which is actually some number other than one trillion dollars.

But then, since you initially told us all that spending now goes up by a trillion every year, we have known from the beginning that you are wandering around blindly in the dark with your budgetary "ideas."

Posted by: Patrick_M | August 12, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

What is magical about the 2007 budget is that it was only $2.7 Trillion dollars, and it had a deficit of only $161 Billion. Spending equaled 20% of GDP.

My next goal would be to continue cutting until government reaches 18.4% of GDP as it was at the end of the Clinton administration, when we had budget surpluses.

jldarden,
Cute trick to try to leave out the $410 Omnibus Spending Bill of 2009, that contained the spending increases for that year.


Posted by: mgsorens | August 12, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

mea culpa "$410 Billion Omnibus.."

Posted by: mgsorens | August 12, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

msgorens:

Again:

So please tell us what 20% of GDP works out to be for the next budget cycle (since you obviously have thought through your plan so carefully), and then explain which government programs you would cut and by which amounts in order to meet that goal, which is actually some number other than one trillion dollars.

Posted by: Patrick_M | August 12, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

@ msgorens:

"The Dems did offer change by adding $1 Trillion to each of our yearly budgets.

The Repubs to have a plan. It is to change back to budgets that spend $1 Trillion LESS each year."


Today must have been one of the happiest days of your life! You began the day believing that the budget is growing by a trillion dollars ever year! Then you found that you were completely wrong.

What a relief, eh?

Still waiting for you to explain the plan that "is to change back to budgets that spend $1 Trillion LESS each year" though.

Posted by: Patrick_M | August 12, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

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