The Agitator #102: Deja vu all over again
by Oliver_Halle
 The Agitator
February 06, 2014 10:52 AM | 1582 views | 4 4 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

The media has been all but silent about the upcoming debt ceiling issue that will become relevant on February 7th. Secretary of the Treasury, Jacob Lew, says that he can find money here and there to borrow in order to pay the nation’s bills until about the end of the month. Contrast the national attention of last fall when we hit the debt ceiling and congress was unwilling to budge. I suspect that the voice of silence we are hearing this time may be a hint that a deal to raise the debt ceiling is in the works.

It is unlikely that the opponents to raising the debt ceiling in the Republican Party are going to submit quietly. What little I have already heard on the topic is that tea party Republicans are insisting on corresponding cuts in spending. That sounds good if you are trying to fool the American people into believing that raising the debt ceiling is like getting another credit card to go on a spending spree. In fact this Republican controlled House worked out a bipartisan budget agreement recently that increases spending, particularly for defense, over the next several years by restoring money that had been cut by the sequester. Raising the debt ceiling allows for the government to pay for the spending that has already been incurred, not future spending.

All of this makes for great political rhetoric, and you can be sure that you will hear a lot about Obama spending us into oblivion without one word of acceptance of responsibility by the responsible parties: our elected representatives. Obama can’t spend what hasn’t been authorized even if he wanted to. So as long as we keep unneeded military bases open, build weapons the Pentagon doesn’t want or need, continue the social costs of defense at current levels, and tout how defense is the main priority at all costs, then we need to pay for it. If some of this amounts to a jobs program under the guise of defense, so be it, but the taxpayers ought to know that it doesn’t come for free.

It was comforting to know that our two U.S. senators from Georgia voted for the latest farm bill that will cost over several years approximately a trillion dollars. Included in the bill are insurance subsidies and price supports for various crops. Farming has become largely a big business enterprise, and as such these businesses should bear the risks and rewards as any other business. But Johnny and Saxby don’t want to tell their constituents that food prices may rise as a result, and conservative taxpayers who complain about government giveaways don’t want to pay the real cost of farm products despite touting that free markets should be allowed to work their magic.

Another giveaway program is the subsidy that taxpayers provide for flood insurance to those who choose to live in a flood plain. Many, if not most of those that live along the beaches, rivers, and other waterways, have the money to pay for their spectacular views, but somehow they can rationalize that the rest of us should help them pay for it. If Republicans insist on government cuts, three ripe areas are wasteful defense spending, farm supports, and flood insurance subsidies. It won’t happen, though. My preference would be to put some of that money into paying for the rehab programs funded by the private sector for our seriously injured war veterans. That too won’t happen. The constituency isn’t large enough.

On an unrelated topic, I tip my hat to the Cobb County police officer who was shot the other day while making a traffic stop. Few tasks are more dangerous for a cop than pulling someone over. There is no such thing as a routine traffic stop. These men and women who risk their lives daily without the public realizing it deserve a lot more than they get. I hope that when the economy improves our uniformed services will be first in line for a much deserved pay raise. It’s long overdue and shameful that we aren’t doing better by these loyal public servants.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
February 07, 2014
Kevin, Kevin, Kevin. What are we gonna do with you?

Folks, our progressive friend often pats himself on the back for presenting facts. And, it's true. He accurately cited an article from Forbes.

Here's the rub. Presenting a fact is one thing. Presenting all the facts is another. Presenting all the facts in context is yet something else.

See the Forbes article by Rick Unger, dated May 24, 2012, "Who is the Smallest Government Spender since Eisenhower? Would You Believe it's Barack Obama?"

Unger's article is based on an analysis, er, creative numerology, first presented by Rex Nutting, MarketWatch, May 22, 2012. Compare the dates.

Nutting's analysis is based, not on spending, but spending GROWTH. A rebuttal can be found here...

It's kinda like this - Nutting, Unger, and now KF, are saying that Billy Bob, who is 5' 6" and weighs 355, only gained 3 pounds last month.

February 07, 2014
The Agitator is incorrect concerning flood insurance. Many homes are not beachfront but require flood insurance. There are numerous wetlands, streams and rivers that can flood and are nearby occupied by many different classes of people who could not obtain mortgages without flood insurance. Many of these homes do not have spectacular views. The lack of availability of flood insurance could wreck havoc in the insurance market. Of equal concern was the inability of the Obama administration to administer payments during recent hurricanes.
Guido Sarducci
February 06, 2014
Why did you not mention that the lion's share of the socalled Farm Bill is for Food Stamps and other

government giveway programs?

You want to tell the people what their money is going for, let's tell them all of the story.
Kevin Foley
February 06, 2014
Oliver, the Communist rag Forbes noted recently that Obama has spent less than any president since Eisenhower. It's true - look it up.

Obama will stand his ground, refuse to let the GOP blackmail him, and they will lose. Again.
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