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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Blame Deficit on Recession, Russ Olson, LAIC, You, Me....

David Montgomery earns his pay this week with a great blog post on how much of the 2009 deficit can be attributed to Bush and how much to Obama. The short breakdown: Bush is responsible for $600 billion, Obama $350 billion, and the recession $420 billion (economy slowed down, government received less revenue). Montgomery's post gives some useful numbers to deflate Senator Thune's facetiously false claim that Bush's final budget "ran a deficit of just over $400 billion."

Meanwhile, Madison's own Jon Hunter grumbled a bit last week about the proposed (and now rejected) bipartisan deficit commission. Hunter grumbled that we don't need a committee to study a problem that we all recognize and know how to solve. Hunter also expressed his pessimism about the prospect of the Administration or Congress actually doing anything about that problem.

Missing from Hunter's grumbling was any mention of the plank in our own eye. Certainly deficits will continue as long as politicians keep promising pork and subsidizing corn and taking us to war without passing taxes to pay for them. but our politicians will keep doing that as long as we keep asking them to. Among the local deficit drivers among us whom Hunter neglected to include in his complaint:
Go ahead, wag your finger at the people responsible for our deficit. Just be sure to do it while looking in the mirror.


  1. Steve Sibson1/27/2010 8:19 AM

    "Go ahead, wag your finger at the people responsible for our deficit. Just be sure to do it while looking in the mirror."

    Nice post! We are responsible for the deficit for many reasons. So with the Republican/Democrat feud out of the way, how do we "the people" fix the problem?

  2. Steve,

    It starts by people thinking for themselves instead of them being spoonfed by whatever media outlet they choose to read/watch/listen.

    People like Glen Beck and Keith Obermann want us arguing and fighting. It's what generates their ratings which equals into more sponsors for their shows and more money for them.

    Once people recognize that these guys and gals are entertainers only interested in their own careers, then we have a step in the right direction.

  3. Steve Sibson1/27/2010 1:22 PM

    "It starts by people thinking for themselves"

    Mark, I will let you have your point with the media. I will like to apply your thought from above to education. The first step should be reforming education, so that people have the tools to "think for themselves". So the education reform needs to move in this process:

    1) Abolish the Federal Department of Education
    2) Abolish the state Department of Education
    3) Abolish the university's departments of education.
    4) Take those savings and give parents vouchers and let the free market determine what a quality education is. This will force parents to think for themselves, perhaps for the first time.

    These reforms will end up increasing the quality of education while reducing its costs. And parents will have "choice". Aren't you Progressives pro-choice?

  4. Steve-

    Your plan is interesting. However, what if those parents choose to use that voucher on a school for astrology? Without any government oversight, how does one regulate what is and is not a school? How does the free market enhance "good schooling".

    Scientologists have schools too.....

  5. Great post. We all have a say in how we got to this point. It will probably take a decade to get out of it.

  6. Steve Sibson1/27/2010 8:52 PM

    "Without any government oversight, how does one regulate what is and is not a school?"

    The parents become the oversight.

  7. Vouchers solve little in South Dakota, where rural folks don't have multiple schools to choose from. Taking the savings from cutting education programs and handing them out as vouchers also doesn't get rid of the deficit. Vouchers also transfer more costs to families to boot: Tuition, textbooks, and tutors purchased on the individual market will cost more (in money and efficiency) than the taxes we pay to sustain public schooling. (Analogy: individual vs. group insurance.)

    How do we really fix the problem? Stop asking for federal handouts. Show me the candidate (Dr. R.Blake Curd?) who will call for an end to dependence on federal funds and who will be honest about the impacts on the South Dakota economy. Show me the candidate who would come to a rally in Madison and tell our boosters that it is irresponsible to ask Uncle Sam to pay for adding lanes to Highway 34. Show me the candidate who will say to my neighbors on Lake Herman that it is hypocritical to gripe about the deficit and those darn big-government Democrats but then pass an opt-out, increase taxes, and squirrel away taxpayer dollars in hopes of raising enough to qualify for a grant from Uncle Sam to build a sewer system.

    Don't forget, Steve, I'm the only participant in this conversation who has lowered taxes 60% (and fought to cut them further) and stood against federal handouts in an actual public policy situation.

  8. Steve, fixing the problem also begins with finding the candidate who will look South Dakotans in the eye and tell them to stop increasing the deficit by taking crop insurance, social security, medical assistance, flood insurance, and highway funds from Uncle Sam.

    Fixing the deficit is about political courage and leadership.

  9. Steve-

    So, what I take from your comment, is that you would be fine with turning over the education to parents entirely?

    What about parents that are not rational actors? (doesn't your position assume that the parents are acting in the best interests of the child) Is that just too bad for the kids then?

  10. "The short breakdown: Bush is responsible for $600 billion" [over the course of eight years -- SG.], "Obama $350 billion" [over the course of one year -- SG].

    The math:
    Bush blows $6.25 billion per month.
    Obama blows $29.2 billion per month.

  11. Steve Sibson1/28/2010 5:33 PM


    There are laws that are directed at bad parents. So what percentage of parents to you believe do not care about their children?

  12. Steve, I believe 17% don't care about their Children. Also, are you anarchist? You seem to object to every kind of regulatory authority. I would really like a list of things your are against and a plan from you on how to fix it. All I seem to hear from you is how this and that are bad and should be abolished but I never seem to hear any real answer on how to fix the problems.

    Matthew M. Siedschlaw

  13. Steve Sibson1/29/2010 5:57 AM

    "Steve, I believe 17% don't care about their Children."

    So why punish teh 83% who do care for their children.

    "Also, are you anarchist?"

    No I beleive in a constiutional republic based on natural law. That system has been under destruction since FDR's constiutional revolution of 1937. My goal is to retore what we lost.

  14. Steve Sibson1/29/2010 6:07 AM


    Fixing the probelm will require "the People" believing a political leader who says time to be Americans and stop being government dependents and sbubjects of an administrative welfare state. Education reform is critical, as it fosters government dependancy and is being controlled by those who believe in "Progressive" ideaology.

    And Cory, you seem to not grasp the concept that removing administrative controls saves money. The administrative welfare state that the Progressives have been creating since FDR is killing us in more ways than one. Voucers will help small rural areas. It takes only one student to make a school. You ought to understand that, being a homeschooler. Which reminds me of a question:

    "If you are so fond of the government schools, why don't you use them?"

  15. Steve, your arguments are about as accurate as those of the economists who say that people always make rational choices based on their own best interests. But they don't. Humans go over to the dark side fairly regularly: have you ever kept track of the number of child abuse and child rape cases that are handled in this county alone? Families may always "love" their children, but they sure don't always do what's best for them, and sometimes their definition of love is pretty sick. Personally, I believe in original sin which means that no, I don't trust parents - or anyone else - to do the right thing 100% of the time. And as for "natural law" - whose natural law are you going to pick? John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Marquis de Sade, Napoleon, Karl Marx? They're all very different, and all claim to be based on "natural law". And if you go by the Bible, there's nothing in Scripture about democracy or constitutions: and capitalism, as in usury, the charging of interest on loans and investments, is strongly, repeatedly condemned. So instead of just repeating your catchphrases, how about defining them?

  16. Steve Sibson1/29/2010 5:20 PM

    “I believe in original sin which means that no, I don't trust parents - or anyone else - to do the right thing 100% of the time.”


    I am in complete agreement with you on that point. I think the best we can do is to get that percentage as close to 100% as we can. The question is “how”, and the “how” is what we should be debating…not the "who". We are all sinners.

    Yes, a percentage of parents abuse their child, but so do a percentage of teachers. Yes, none of us are perfect and we sin, including government employees and officials. Instead of pointing fingers, we should instead be helping each other move to the doing right 100% of the time.

    I will get back to the how after addressing your "natural law” question. The version I am referring to comes from the Declaration of Independence’s first paragraph, “Laws of Nature and of Nature's God”. The second paragraph then goes into natural rights; “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

    The key is to note that our rights come from God. There is a fundamental question we all have to answer, do we believe in God and follow Him, or do we reject God. The Declaration clearly states the we need to follow the Creator and His Natural Laws. That makes logical sense. Why would we not follow the instruction manual of the one who Created us? Understanding the Bible is paramount to understanding God’s Natural Laws.

    Now back to the “how” from the beginning of this comment. So in order to move closer to doing right 100% of the time, Bible study and a serious attitude of understanding and following God’s Natural Law is the “how”.

    Do you now see why schools without God and the Bible is not really education? And why we must reform the education system to fix what is wrong with America, the rejection of God? We must instead reject the secular Progressive Movement, because they have rejected God and the America that our founding fathers envisioned it to be...one that is self-governed by those who are governed by God. Instead, the Progressives want a group of men to govern via an administrative welfare state run by a bunch of elitists who think they know more than the rest of us.

  17. Steve, your take on education is great except for one thing: the reason Christianity is splintered into hundreds of denominations is because people don't agree and have never agreed on the interpretation of the Bible and what it says about God and about laws. (And not just now: Think back to the Sadducees, Pharisees, Zealots, and Essenes.) For example, as I said before, usury - the foundation of our whole economic system - is anathema throughout the Bible. But you're a gung ho capitalist. So where do you get that natural law from?
    And by the way, the Laws of Nature and Nature's God is straight out of John Locke, Deist, who did NOT believe in original sin.

  18. "And by the way, the Laws of Nature and Nature's God is straight out of John Locke, Deist, who did NOT believe in original sin."

    You are correct, John Locke did not believe in original sin. But he was not a Deist in the radical sense of the word. He was a Christian. Read Gary Amos, Defending the Declaration if you want the details.

    And you are correct about usury, but wrong that capitlaism requries it. The United States began on the gold and silver standard. It is the Federal Reserve system that uses usury to rip us off.

    Good points Eve,

    Steve Sibson

  19. Here is more on Locke and how the Natural Law foundation of the Declaration was based on Scripture. So again the Bible is key. Note what Locke said about atheists:

    Locke's theory of Revolution began with the Bible. He said first that all laws must conform to Scripture:

    [T]he Law of Nature stands as an eternal rule to all men, legislators as well as others. The rules that they make for other men's actions must . . . be conformable to the Law of Nature, i.e., to the will of God. [L]aws human must be made according to the general laws of Nature, and without contradiction to any positive law of Scripture, otherwise they are ill made.
    Locke, Two Treatises on Government, Bk II sec 135. (quoting Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, 1.iii, § 9 [shows Puritan influence])

    This thought is found in the Declaration of Independence ("the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God"). More specifically, the Bible requires that office-holders be men who "fear God." This excludes atheists, which is what Locke and every single state in the union did. The constitution he drafted for Carolina did not allow atheists to hold office. And in his Essay on Toleration, Locke specifically exempted the atheist from the civil protection of toleration:

    Lastly, those are not all to be tolerated who deny the being of God. Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all; besides also, those that by their atheism undermine and destroy all religion, can have no pretence of religion whereupon to challenge the privilege of toleration.
    Chas Sherman ed., (NY: Appleton-Century, 1937) pp. 212-13

    Steve Sibson

  20. It's true, that it used to be that no one tolerated atheists. However, you can have people who believe in God and yet have such different interpretations of how God should be served, that the one considers the other the equivalent of atheists. (The recurring "Catholics aren't Christians", or "Unitarians aren't Christians" or whatever "arent' Christians" argument.)

    Re usury, it became the core of capitalism when John Calvin legalized the charging of interest on loans in Geneva, Switzerland back in the Reformation; after that, others agreed until it became the core of banking and commerce. It has nothing to do with the standard of currency: interest was charged on loans under the gold and silver system just as it was after we went off the gold standard. Private moneylenders, and private banks, were charging interest back in the 1700's, way before the Federal Reserve.

    Anyway, the trouble is still definitions. People define the laws of Nature and of Nature's God differently. I would not have wanted, under any circumstances, to live in Calvin's Geneva - but he thought he had created God's perfect society. And Calvin's Geneva was considerably different from Roger Williams' Rhode Island, or William Penn's Pennsylvania. All of them would and did educate children differently, legislated, governed, etc. Getting back to the Bible is by no means as easy as you seem to think: Calvin, Hasidic Jews, Amish, and many others all think that's exactly what they've done - and look how widely they disagree.

  21. Eve,

    So then do you agree that no one has ever implemented true capitalism? So why call anything in America capitalist? As you said, fascism is more appropriate label.

    And I agree that there is huge disagreemetns among Christians, and so was the case with our founding fathers. Locke said that the debates should not tolerate atheists.

    Bottom line, there was only one perfect example on earth...Jesus Christ. No one has created a perfect society, although that should be our goal, even in a fallen world.

    And Cory, today it is atheists that don't tolerate Christians. You have proven that time after time. It is now time that we as a nation stop tolerating the Secular Progressives. We need to ignore their worldview, and go back to creating what many of the founding fathers wanted, true capitalism based on the liberal theory. (Just got that from James Burnham's "The Managerial Revolution". An Atheist friend, who is an admitted and proud Marxist, suggested it.) It is past time to realize that Hegel was wrong. We should have learned that from Hitler & Marx.

    Steve Sibson


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