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Let's talk about debt.
February 7, 2006 5:04 AM   Subscribe

More red ink. The White House has just released the budget for 2007. If approved by Congress, this budget would increase defense spending by 24%, cut money from healthcare, education, and the environment all while adding another $354 billion to the U.S. debt. (NPR analysis.). At the end of FY2000, the U.S. debt - the accumulation of the deficit spending of all previous 42 U.S. Presidents - was $5,674,178,209,886.86. Today it is $8,195,544,127,376.07 (here is an up-to-the-minute estimate.) Bush took office with a budget surplus and a forecast of a cumulative 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion. In just 6 years, the party of tax cuts and balanced budgets , under the steady leadership of President number 43 has added 45% to the Ú.S. national debt.
posted by three blind mice (74 comments total)

 
This is the new "conservative."
Like black is the new white.
Tax cuts for corporation and those who own them.
Benefit cuts for the working class.
Bigger, fatter contracts for the military corporations.
The ugly face of corporate fascism.
posted by nofundy at 5:09 AM on February 7, 2006


It's certainly a boon for red ink makers. They've been doing quite well throughout the Bush Administration, apparently.
posted by clevershark at 5:18 AM on February 7, 2006


Baffling. The military industrial complex continues to win while almost everyone else is bled dry abroad with bullets and here without.
posted by juiceCake at 5:18 AM on February 7, 2006


If approved by Congress, this budget would increase defense spending by 24%

Does that include the requesed $120 Billion supplemental funding? No! Last year's certainly didn't include the extra $70 Billion that was voted for Iraq.

And, to be scrupulosly fair, Bill Clinton did not truly balance the budget. He came close, but when you count Social Security income, he missed by $20 Billion in his last full year, by more in others.

Still, much better than Bush or Bush -- the real deficit won't be $354 Billion, once you count SSI surpluses that are used for general spending. It will be much more.

Those wondering the easy way to calculate the true defict? Simple. Take the public debt at the start of the fiscal year, and subtract it from the public debt at the end of the year. Any positive result is a deficit. Any negative result, a surplus.

The Onion headline said it best, right after the 2000 elections. "Our Long Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Over."
posted by eriko at 5:21 AM on February 7, 2006


We can always bomb the bond-holders if debt servicing becomes too onerous.
posted by killdevil at 5:21 AM on February 7, 2006


Remember this doesn't include the 100 billion plus Dubya will ask for in Iraq and Afghanistan again this year.
posted by nofundy at 5:35 AM on February 7, 2006


Bomb the ones that buy our bonds? That would be China.

Generally, we prefer to bomb the ones that buy our weapons. Iraq, for instance
posted by toma at 5:39 AM on February 7, 2006


Make sure your next election has a paper trail.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 5:40 AM on February 7, 2006


It's interesting to me that Bush left Katrina off the budget, even though he's asking billions for reconstruction. I mean, really, does he think if he doesn't put it into the budget, we're not really spending it?
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:44 AM on February 7, 2006


George Bush is an Idiot and so are 51% of us!!
posted by lee at 5:44 AM on February 7, 2006


Well, it could be a sign that the Rs expect to start losing this year. You see, they take a big dump in the national debt, then when the Ds are in power, they can orchestrate an outcry for budget balancing. That way social programs get put off yet again. Robert Reich has a tragicomic description of this process in his Clinton memoir.
posted by O Blitiri at 5:51 AM on February 7, 2006


funny, my copy of the Chicago Sun Times, right in front of me says " 6.9% increase in Pentagon budget"

Where are you getting 24%?
posted by phredhead at 5:53 AM on February 7, 2006


6.9% increase in defense budget mentioned here. Although considering the size of the defense budget, that doesn't make it any better.
posted by furtive at 5:56 AM on February 7, 2006


The military industrial complex continues to win while almost everyone else is bled dry abroad with bullets and here without

yes but the same-sexers can't marry and kids don't learn dangerous urban legends like evolution in public schools!

that's the important stuff, you know.

ps when red-state Bush fans have to start buying their own meds and pay Europe-style prices for gas, maybe something will change. Diebold willing, of course.
posted by matteo at 6:16 AM on February 7, 2006


funny, my copy of the Chicago Sun Times, right in front of me says " 6.9% increase in Pentagon budget"

My mistake, phredhead:

From the first link, Table S–4. Discretionary Funding By Appropriations Subcommittee I read it (incorrectly) as a percentage increase.
posted by three blind mice at 6:33 AM on February 7, 2006


So all those balanced budget amendment Republicans are pretty quiet now. You'd have to tie yourself into some serious rhetorical knots to defend this level of spending and still call yourself a conservative.
posted by octothorpe at 6:44 AM on February 7, 2006


Ben "and Jerry's" Cohen did a Flash animation (transcript) last year that uses Oreos to illustrate how much the US spends on defense versus social programs.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:48 AM on February 7, 2006


How exactly is this debt going to be repaid?
posted by Talez at 6:51 AM on February 7, 2006


You'd have to tie yourself into some serious rhetorical knots to defend this level of spending and still call yourself a conservative.

you'd have to tie yourself into some serious rhetorical knots to defend just about anything this administration has done and still call yourself a conservative. in fact, one of the few bright spots in the past several years has been watching the amazing contortional feats of people throughout the mediasphere as they justify all of bush 2's bullshit.
posted by lord_wolf at 6:56 AM on February 7, 2006


Wait until a few years when the baby boomers want to retire. Its much harder to cut Medicare and Social Security because spending for those programs are written into law. This country is going to be up shit's creek and I'm just glad to get my education done before the Bush Administration cuts all the financial aid. One a good note, after the Bush Administration is through, fewer moderates and independents will want to vote GOP.
posted by j-urb at 7:02 AM on February 7, 2006


America sucks more every day.
posted by wakko at 7:03 AM on February 7, 2006


America's national “portfolio” of foreign assets and liabilities is really worth $724 billion, not minus $2.5 trillion. What is more, if its foreign assets are as stable as the authors say, it follows that “the country has not been running a deficit.”
posted by public at 7:05 AM on February 7, 2006


America's national “portfolio” of foreign assets and liabilities is really worth $724 billion, not minus $2.5 trillion. What is more, if its foreign assets are as stable as the authors say, it follows that “the country has not been running a deficit.”

So, public, is what you're saying is that all the U.S. Government has to do is seize these assets and there's no debt?

In a few years, it won't surprise me a bit if the "conservatives" are all for the idea.
posted by three blind mice at 7:14 AM on February 7, 2006


Public, thanks for the link. That's a great example of what I was talking about. In order to justify the deficits they need to invoke theoretical astro-physics that they don't even seem to understand very well.
posted by octothorpe at 7:51 AM on February 7, 2006


My pro-Bush friends when asked what Bush has done right point to the economy.
posted by stbalbach at 7:59 AM on February 7, 2006


"America sucks more every day."

Thank you for the cogent musing.

Personally, my economic situation sucks but I don't blame Bush for it. What I do blame him for is doing a complete 180˚ on his "compassionate conservative" line of crap. Much like others are saying, my conservative friends look downright foolish attempting to defend this pathetic President. It's been a real eye opener watching the Republican leadership rubber stamp one appropriation, one spending bill, one new expansion of government after another all the while telling the droning red state masses they are conservative. Damn I wish there was a legitimate third, even fourth party in this country.

Politicians should all take to wearing make-up so they can look like proper whores.
posted by j.p. Hung at 8:12 AM on February 7, 2006


Economy eh? The boom in housing an energy prices have all but wiped out any gains (if there were any to begin with) by the lower and middle income classes. Of course if you're in the top 20%, its been a great 5 years.
posted by SirOmega at 8:12 AM on February 7, 2006


My pro-Bush friends when asked what Bush has done right point to the economy.
I don't know about you but my 401K has been dead flat (other than my contributions) for the last five years. I thought that republicans were supposed to be good for the stock market. If this is a good economy, I'd hate to see a bad one.
posted by octothorpe at 8:15 AM on February 7, 2006


Oh, by the way, if this guy is right, we're currently in default, having exceeded our debt ceiling. Gee, oopsie!

Make sure your next election has a paper trail.

LOL that's a good one, pretending like we have any control over that. Recently in Texas I heard a radio ad which I think was paid for by taxpayers, featuring an elected official of some sort reassuring us that technology always makes voting better! And aren't we lucky to have neato-keen futuristic electronic voting machines (with no paper trail)! The future is bright indeed.

How exactly is this debt going to be repaid?

*REPAID*!? Are you on crack? The Rapture is imminent, nothing is going to be repaid. Haven't you heard?
posted by beth at 8:20 AM on February 7, 2006


A++++ SELLER. WOULD VOTE AGAIN.
posted by psmealey at 8:23 AM on February 7, 2006


What I do blame him for is doing a complete 180˚ on his "compassionate conservative" line of crap.

Personall,y I suspected the whole compassionate conservative thing was a huge pile of guano since his father's "thousand points of light" nonsense. The bigger deal to me is the 180˚ turn away from the humble foreign policy/no nation building drum he beat in the 2000 campaign. The "911 changed everything" canard apparently knows no limits to its application.
posted by psmealey at 8:31 AM on February 7, 2006


The real source of dark matter is that a dollar of US investment abroad yields a far higher return than a dollar of foreign investment in the US.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:45 AM on February 7, 2006


"According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, just the portion of the tax cuts going to the top 1 percent of households, whose average income is about $1 million a year, is almost equal to all federal spending on education or veterans."

-- "House of Cards Budget," The Boston Globe
posted by digaman at 9:11 AM on February 7, 2006


octothorpe:

Historically, the stockmarket performs best under Democrats. The GOP might counter that this is because Democrats blow the savings carefully put aside during the previous GOP term, or whatever, but in simplistic terms of how the stockmarket does when who happens to be in at the time, the correlation is democrat.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:15 AM on February 7, 2006


The GOP might counter that this is because Democrats blow the savings carefully put aside during the previous GOP term

They might also counter that the sun is made of cheddar cheese.
posted by digaman at 9:18 AM on February 7, 2006


Personally I suspected the whole compassionate conservative thing was a huge pile of guano since his father's "thousand points of light" nonsense.

Time to come clean. The siren song of compassionate conservatism is why I voted Bush in 2000. Gore promised things and Bush promised things and, having been a conservative for most of my life, I thought, 'Well. If he's serious about this principle, it could really be a good thing.'

Har har har.

You know what they say. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me... you... can't fool me twice. Or something.
posted by verb at 9:23 AM on February 7, 2006


Talez writes "How exactly is this debt going to be repaid?"

US debt is held in US dollars, they'll inflate their way out.
posted by Mitheral at 9:24 AM on February 7, 2006


What you are seeing here is straight-up class warfare, folks.

The top 1% are waging their war of "fuck you, I'm getting mine."

When the Republicans finally have had enough of their tax cut jihad, and decide to raise taxes (in about 5-10 years, assuming they still have power or the gov't hasn't gone belly up), guess who they are going to raise them on?

Flash back to Reagan. The top 1% will stay right where they are -- the lower and middle class will have their taxes raised. Currently, the 4th quintile pays the highest taxes, the 1st quintile the lowest, the 5th quintile the second lowest, and the 2nd and 3rd quintile are in the middle (where the quintiles are dividing up the American population based on income. Which is a metric that grossly distorts things to favor the top, as their income is insignificant compared to their wealth).

After the great Republican Wealth Redistribution of 2010, the top quintile will be the lowest, and the rest will all be raised.

Mark my words. Republicans are for one thing any more: makings sure the top 1% pay very low taxes -- lower than anyone else. Everything else that Republicans blather on about is a smokescreen. That is their only real concern.

Indeed, tax cuts are the only things Bush has been able to consistently do right since he's been elected. He's turned everything else to shit. It's not surprising: tax cutting is the only thing that Bush is serious about.

If you are not in the top 1%, and you vote R, you are the definition of a chump, sad to say. You're being duped.
posted by teece at 9:36 AM on February 7, 2006


Let them invest in cake.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:53 AM on February 7, 2006


If the GOP are true conservatives, and they hate big government, and they control the White House and Congress, this is a golden opportunity to cut the programs themselves (instead of just "starving the beast" by cutting their revenue). No? If they did that, they could afford their precious tax cuts. Anything else just seems pointless, cowardly and irresponsible.
posted by futility closet at 9:56 AM on February 7, 2006


If the GOP are true conservatives, and they hate big government, and they control the White House and Congress, this is a golden opportunity to cut the programs themselves (instead of just "starving the beast" by cutting their revenue).

Bush's Social Security "reform" was the first wave in that effort, futility closet.

The Republicans finally met the limits of their propaganda machine with that one -- they came face to face with the notion that killing a program like Social Security would destroy them forever.

So now we're back to plan B for Republicans: get while the getting is good. There will NEVER be any spending cuts by Republicans that can match their tax cuts.

But that's no reason to stop lining the pockets of the top 1%, now is it?

Again, you're a dupe if you vote for these crooks.
posted by teece at 10:02 AM on February 7, 2006


EJ Dionne on the budget and Bush's drive to make tax cuts permanent.

Republicans upset with the budget (knowing this could further screw them, especially in rural states, for the 2006 elections).

Scientists worried about funding for non-military projects.

My own sense is that the majority of Republicans were willing to swallow their conservative ideals as long as Iraq was a "win" for the party. Now, it's clearly not, but they're still conducting themselves like 9-11 was yesterday. I think the 2006 elections will say a lot about this country and whether or not the Democrats have the stomachs to take some risks--it's the economy, stupid, all over again, and you need to remind Americans every single day that the debt is not an abstraction--it's something you and your children and your grandchildren will have to pay off in the form of higher taxes, lower wages, or both.
posted by bardic at 10:06 AM on February 7, 2006


If the GOP are true conservatives, and they hate big government...

Do they really hate big government, or did they just hate it when the Democrats were in the majority? Now that they are the government, they seem pretty cool with big government.
posted by psmealey at 10:11 AM on February 7, 2006


psmealey, exactly. Up there with "activist judges" being a smear of convenience against what the Right disagrees with based on outcome, not philosophy.

More broadly, polling shows that if you ask Americans if they like "big government," they tend to say "no." If you ask the same person if they'd like a new highway overpass, a new high school gymnasium, or a new type of attack helicopter for the Army, they'll always say "yes."
posted by bardic at 10:33 AM on February 7, 2006


Damn I wish there was a legitimate third, even fourth party in this country.

I wish there was a legitimate second party in this country.
posted by papakwanz at 10:39 AM on February 7, 2006


Please, Bush-supporters, make some counter-arguments. I wanted to be deceived into not caring.
posted by matkline at 10:49 AM on February 7, 2006


one thing i've never understood: the richest people in this country already have more money than most of us will see in a lifetime, so why do they insist on getting more and more and leaving the rest of us with less and less? is it simply greed? is greed that powerful and controlling of an emotion?

i really have never understood that. i mean, i'd like to be financially comfortable myself, but i don't want or need umpteen million dollars: i just want to be able to afford good beer every weekend and not have to sweat car repairs and hospital bills. are the rich that different from the rest of us?
posted by lord_wolf at 11:02 AM on February 7, 2006


lord_wolf writes "are the rich that different from the rest of us?"

Nope, many of them are still just keeping up with the Jones.
posted by Mitheral at 11:08 AM on February 7, 2006


It's about being richer than their (already) rich neighbor, not being richer than you, lord_wolf, or me.

Beyond a certain amount, I think money ceases to be a means to comfort and security and becomes something more akin to a social marker. The more you have, the more esteem you may expect from your peers (us poor schlubs are most assuredly not their peers).
posted by Chrischris at 11:10 AM on February 7, 2006


are the rich that different from the rest of us?

I hear their meat is a bit more tender and juicy, from not having to work for a living. But we won't get to that part until Phase IV. I've said too much already.
posted by beth at 11:41 AM on February 7, 2006


Chrischris is right. A FOAF is a very rich man - former CEO and chairman of several major UK companies - and he apparently spends all his time fretting that he can't keep up with his super-rich American counterparts. Bigger yacht, more houses, more servants, etc. America's crazy-money culture is affecting remuneration negotiations here in Europe, too.

For God's sake, won't someone think about the non-US CEOs?
posted by athenian at 12:07 PM on February 7, 2006


“...balanced budget amendment Republicans are pretty quiet now. You'd have to tie yourself into some serious rhetorical knots to defend this level of spending and still call yourself a conservative.”

I prefer attacking the spending level and pissing on and on loudly about a balanced budget amendment so I can continue to drink from my “conservative” labeled coffee mug.


“If you are not in the top 1%, and you vote R, you are the definition of a chump, sad to say.” - posted by teece

And if you are in the top 1%?

I’m not really wealthy, but I am fat and happy.
But even if I was balls rich, I’d still rather make sure everyone is doing ok enough to buy what I produce and that my money goes to educate people and let them earn on their own instead of going towards better police protection so they’re not stealing from me.
It’s just more efficient to let a dollar go towards something regenerative and positive than go toward something static and possibly negative. I think the upper eschelons are being suckered as well with this Attila the Hun “Not only must I succeed but everyone else must fail” strategy.
Bad policy screws everyone.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:43 PM on February 7, 2006


Damn I wish there was a legitimate third, even fourth party in this country.

I wish there was a legitimate second party in this country.


I wish there was a legitimate party in this country.

Proper electoral reform (not a bandaid) such as proportional representation would make it all possible. Let there be six parties, with none able to muster a majority, thus laws pass or fail if they appeal to enough parties, and grudging cooperation instead of partisanship holds the most power.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:11 PM on February 7, 2006


Here's to 2008.
posted by frogan at 1:27 PM on February 7, 2006


That budget is an incredibly bad joke.

And those top 1% rich folks are going to suffer along with everyone else when the Dow Jones Industrials plummets.

The thing that's been keeping the US$ and the economy up over the past few years is massive interest rate cuts along with the tendency for folks to remain confident in the Bush administration.

That confidence is showing serious signs of caving. And when it does people are going to cut their spending and hunker down. Then the sh*t will hit the fan, because we got masses of people with debt loads they can't handle. When they default, there's a big chance of a domino effect that will cripple the economy.
posted by storybored at 1:48 PM on February 7, 2006


"If you are not in the top 1%, and you vote R, you are the definition of a chump, sad to say. You're being duped."

Here's where to find out whether you're in the top 1% or not.

"is it simply greed? is greed that powerful and controlling of an emotion?"

Yes. Yes it is. As is the unrelenting desire for the esteem of those people one thinks are appropriate to pass judgement upon oneself. Also, the unrelenting desire to feel superior to someone else, anyone else.

I'm sure you've heard the word "starfucker" somewhere, yes? Apply liberally (pun intended)!

Primate tribal hierarchical behavior, that's all it is. Seriously.

"And those top 1% rich folks are going to suffer along with everyone else when the Dow Jones Industrials plummets."

Suffer some on-paper losses, sure, but they're not going to suffer like we are, because their investments are diversified and they always have lots and lots of straight up cash money. Half of us may wind up on the street with no income and no hope of same, but they'll still be sitting in their mansions and on their yachts with very little modification to their lifestyles.

Other than hiring their own armed militias for personal defense, and buying heavily-armored luxury SUVs so they can drive around outside their gated communities, of course.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:55 PM on February 7, 2006


public: That Economist article is about the current account deficit not the US Federal government deficit.

They are different things and can be quite out of synch.

For instance, Australia runs a government surplus but has a chronic current account deficit.

One of the more worrying things about the US is that it runs twin deficits. This is somewhat offset by the fact that the US dollar is still the world's number one reserve currency and thus the US government, unlike most other governments, only has to worry about paying its own loans back in its own currency. However, at some point the risk involved in this for other countries may change and it may drive people toward other currencies more, in particular the Euro, the Yen and Yuan. Were this to happen the consequences would be dire.

Unfortunately, this would also be true for the rest of the world as US demand, which is financed by the housing bubble and loans to the government, companies and the public, would probably rapidly decline. US demand is what has been used by the rest of the world's economies to keep growing. Oddly enough, as a whole, the world saves too much, except for the Anglosphere which spends to much.

This fundamental imbalance will not remain forever. When it breaks bad things will happen. All that would be needed would be a trigger, like rising inflation driven by rising oil prices.

Oh, wait.

However, this should already of happened, so who knows.
posted by sien at 2:03 PM on February 7, 2006


it may drive people toward other currencies more, in particular the Euro, the Yen and Yuan. Were this to happen the consequences would be dire.

Everyone keeps talking about this as a hypothetical.

What are the reasons to suppose it won't happen?
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:08 PM on February 7, 2006


sonofsamiam:

It could trigger a rush away from US$ which would wipe the value. The people with the most influence to trigger such a rush (the banks of other countries) have a lot of money owed to them in US$, so if the value plumets, they're as screwed as the USA. So it's kind of like a game of chicken - how much hurt can you take before you cut your losses and bail?

Caveat, I am the very model of a modern Major-layman :)
posted by -harlequin- at 2:33 PM on February 7, 2006


And in fact it is happening, China has moved away from a direct Yu1n peg to the US$. They are now fixing it's value to a basket of currencies.
posted by Mitheral at 2:58 PM on February 7, 2006


Direct Yaun peg
posted by Mitheral at 2:59 PM on February 7, 2006


sonofsam: Yes. There are reasons why it may not happen.

The demographics of the US are better than those of Euroland and Japan. The US's population is likely to continue growing, and hence the US economy, for decades to come. Eurolands may well decline and will definitely age. Japan has dramatic demographics that may be the key reason behind Japan's relative reduction in economic strength.

Despite the current government deficit the US federal deficit could literally disappear overnight. Only two decisions would be required, that of withdrawal from the Iraqi disaster and reversal of the Bush tax cuts. Euroland runs chronic deficits. Places like Italy run around the same deficit as the US and have done so for years. Even Germany, which used to run a balanced budget has failed to do since unification.

There has to be hope that the next US administration will be competent.

The Euro is also an experiment. It will be tested, probably when someone breaks the stability pact chronically, or at least more chronically than now.

The Yuan is subject to the opaque whims of the Chinese government. China's economy may overheat or their could be a credit crunch when all the hopeless state industries go under.

harlequin is also right.

The Economist has been writing about something along these lines happening for the past 2-3 years. They started writing about how over valued the tech sector was sometime in the mid to late 90s. There are serious imbalances, something will have to give sometime in the next few years.

On the other hand - the world actually runs a current account deficit so unless we are borrowing from the 1st Bank of Alpha Centauri or similar, it may be that there are problems with the data itself.
posted by sien at 3:07 PM on February 7, 2006


How exactly is this debt going to be repaid?

In blood and tears.
posted by moonbiter at 3:09 PM on February 7, 2006


Sweet Magnolia.

After a lifetime of being a Republican, I just became an Independent.

Somebody, hold me.
posted by darkstar at 3:10 PM on February 7, 2006


"How exactly is this debt going to be repaid?"

Or far more easily, by inflation. The US is the only country that has this option to such a large degree. Inflate the dollar for a few years and you get rid of the deficit.

However, this is a bit of a one trick pony. Play this game too much and people will no longer lend you dollars.
posted by sien at 4:13 PM on February 7, 2006


"On the other hand - the world actually runs a current account deficit so unless we are borrowing from the 1st Bank of Alpha Centauri or similar, it may be that there are problems with the data itself."

We are currently borrowing from the Bank Of Nearly Free Petroleum Energy, which makes it possible for the entire world to be in financial debt. Unfortunately, that bank will be raising its rates rather a lot sometime within the next 30 years - maybe next year, maybe 2025, there's a bit of disagreement over the exact date. Actually, the rates have gone up quite a lot in the last few years. Money-based financial forces and world account deficits may or may not bite us in the ass, but expensive energy will definitely hurt us, sooner or later.

Money isn't real, material productivity is, and when the latter gets expensive, money will get its legs chopped out from under it.

Still, there's obviously the possibility that financial disaster will make the energy question moot.

Ain't life grand? :D
posted by zoogleplex at 4:16 PM on February 7, 2006


And if you are in the top 1%?

I’m not really wealthy, but I am fat and happy.


You're right. If I were in the top 1%, I still wouldn't vote R. But I'm not into the politics of "fuck you, I've got mine."

Whether it's stated or not, many Republicans are. They really believe that Bush is helping them out with tax cuts, or that Bush gives a shit about their magical sky deity, or that Bush gives a shit about the war on terror, or that Bush gives a shit about being a "conservative" (whatever that's supposed to mean in 2006 America). And Republicans have convinced these people that their battling some "other" to be destroyed (hence the "fuck you" part).

The sad reality is, that by watching the Bush administration over the last 6 years, there is precisely one thing, and only thing only, they've shown even the remotest bit of seriousness about: and that's getting money into the pockets of the top 1%.

So if you think Bush is helping you out, that's only true if you are in the top 1%. Every other Republican voter (hi Dad! hi Gramps! Hi Uncle!), sorry to say it, is being duped by Bush and his buddies in Congress. He couldn't care less about those voters.

But even if you are in the top 1%, Bush's policies are fucking up America something fierce. So unless you are purely and completely selfish, even the top 1% can't find a good reason to vote for a guy. But a disturbing amount of the top 1% crowd seems completely happy to take their graft, and shrug their shoulders at the damage done to the fabric of the US society.

The fact that he gets any votes at all is testament to the power of the Republican propaganda machine.
posted by teece at 4:21 PM on February 7, 2006


"Whether it's stated or not, many Republicans are."

Probably should be noted, teece, that a lot of Republicans - let's call out most of Orange County, CA as an example - are not actually in that top 1% at all, but they sure like to pretend they are. These are the folks who've made themselves "even" with the Joneses by burying themselves in debt, some of them into the millions by buying very large homes/McMansions. Most of them are not actually wealthy.

Here's how you know who's really wealthy: really wealthy people do not work day jobs (unless they are workaholics, which some are). They make all their income from their investments and from things they own like businesses and apartment buildings. They usually own several homes, and they can just decide to fly to Monaco and stay there for a month anytime they feel like it.

Someone who makes $250K a year from working some sort of regular job, even a doctor or lawyer, is not really wealthy. They're working for a living just like us, and have far, far more in common with us than with the top 1%.

Also important to note that the top 1% we're talking about here are NOT the top 1% of income-earners, it's the top 1% of wealth owners, which is a very, very different thing (though of course there's some overlap).

The top 1% of wealth owners currently owns something like 50% of the entire privately-held wealth of the US, with the rest spread around the other 99% of us.

Roll that around in your head for a while.
posted by zoogleplex at 4:45 PM on February 7, 2006


j.p. Hung writes "Damn I wish there was a legitimate third, even fourth party in this country."


Me too. I mean, I spent the nineties despising Clinton, and I was glad when Bush "won" in 2000, because I wanted to see Gore get slammed for not repudiating Clinton. Last thing I wanted to do in 2004 was work for the Dems.

But.

THERE IS NO VIABLE THIRD PARTY.

And.

BUSH AND THE NEO-CONS AND THE ABRAMOFF REPUBLICANS ARE GOING TO KEEP FLUSHING THIS COUNTRY DOWN THE TOILET.

At this point, your choices have narrowed: the only effective way to oppose Bush and save your country is to swallow hard and join the Democrats.

THERE IS NO THIRD PARTY.

And

THERE IS NO MODERATE WING OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY LEFT.

So

YOU'RE EITHER WITH THE DEMOCRATS OR YOU'RE HELPING BUSH FLUSH THE COUNTRY DOWN THE TOILET.
posted by orthogonality at 6:58 PM on February 7, 2006


The thinking process of the average voter: My wife lied and cheated on me, so I shacked up with a transexual prostitute and now my ass hurts. If only I made decisions without trying to punish those who betrayed me.
posted by disgruntled at 7:42 PM on February 7, 2006


The thinking process of the average voter: My wife lied and cheated on me, so I shacked up with a transexual prostitute and now my ass hurts. If only I made decisions without trying to punish those who betrayed me.

Damn, I guess that makes me an average voter.
posted by effwerd at 7:57 PM on February 7, 2006


zoogleplex: As money isn't real do you mind giving me all of yours?
posted by sien at 8:06 PM on February 7, 2006


sien: Thank you!

harlequin: So the game of chicken is kind of like an extended multiplayer prisoner's dilemma, where, if everyone stays in and everything goes well market/politics-wise things'll be good. On the other hand, if enough dollar holders pull out, confidence in the dollar will drop, everyone will try to pull out at once, and we'll all lose a lot of money.
posted by sonofsamiam at 4:49 AM on February 8, 2006


LOL sien... OK ya got me there. :)

Um, the answer is no. I live in LA, where the need for money is all too real.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:25 AM on February 8, 2006


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