Saturday, December 23, 2017

Deficit Spending And Populist E-Mail Chains


This has been circulating in Nashville's music community this week and, at first, I was surprised to see the progenitor was-- at least inspirationally-- Warren Buffet, rather than Jimmy Buffett. "Let's see," it begins, "if these idiots understand what people pressure is all about."
Salary of retired US Presidents ... .. . . ..$180,000 FOR LIFE.

Salary of House/Senate members ... . . .$174,000 FOR LIFE. This is stupid

Salary of Speaker of the House ... .. . . ..$223,500 FOR LIFE. This is really stupid

Salary of Majority / Minority Leaders . . ..$193,400 FOR LIFE. Stupid

Average Salary of a teacher . . ... .. . . .. $40,065

Average Salary of a deployed Soldier . . .$38,000
In July of 2011, as the Republican threat to shut down the government was heating up, Warren Buffett, was on CNBC, went after the debt ceiling and deficits, although as notes, "more in the nature of a wry commentary on the workings of Congress than a serious proposal for tackling the budget deficit."

"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election."

Without deficits there is no progressive agenda and no big things to work towards accomplishing. It's as absurd a proposition as the assertion that Buffett asked his statement be sent around in an e-mail chain (which he never did). The people who did, however, knew exactly what they wanted, which is what all conservatives always want: shutting down the progressive agenda and ending all social safety net programs. "Warren Buffett," they claim dishonestly, "is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise." It then devolves into a hodgepodge of proposals that a bunch of Obama haters came up with in 2009, ideas not remotely connected to Warren Buffett. Today they're calling it the Congressional Reform Act of 2017, which sounds pretty alluring... until you get the #7, the actual key to what these people are trying to accomplish.
1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman / woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.

2. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 3/1/17. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.

Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people, then it will only take three days for most people in the U.S. to receive the message. It's time!


If you agree, pass it on
And if you're smart, don't. Just ignore it and work to defeat corrupt conservatives in Congress and elect progressives instead. I contacted Stephanie Kelton, formerly the chief economist for the Senate Budget Committee Democrats, about the Buffett quote (the real one) and she was surprised. "He’s got to be kidding," she told me. "If he’s not, then it is one of the most economically illiterate things I’ve ever heard. First of all, there is nothing inherently wrong with a budget deficit-- it’s simply a mechanism to put more money into the economy. Deficits can increase because of voluntary choices made by policymakers-- eg the Trump tax cuts-- but they can also increase on their own, say, in a depressed economy as tax receipts fall off and spending to support the weak economy (unemployment compensation, food stamps, Medicaid, etc.) automatically increase. This is what happened during the Great Recession, when federal budget deficits automatically rose to about 10% of GDP. As Krugman observed, those Deficits Saved the World. With this 'Buffet Rule' in place, not only would we have added 535 more people to the ranks of the unemployed, but we would almost certainly have ended up with a full-blown depression on our hands."

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At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worst deficits connected to Congress are the twin deficits of honesty and integrity. Neither Party has much of either.

At 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deficits as a means to revive a moribund economy is one thing.
Deficits as policy as a means to bankrupt government so as to destroy sustenance programs (thus, killing poor, sick, old and former soldiers who are too 'spensive to live) is another thing.

The first, historically, is a very good tool and has proven efficacious in the past.

The second is an ongoing plot by the rich to, ultimately, kill people they hate.

The chain letter illustrated herein is part of that plot that depends on americans being dumber than shit and reactionaries eager to hate someone, anyone.

At 1:26 AM, Blogger debcoop said...

So last year my cousins got a slightly version of this chain letter.
It was so stupid i did some research

This is what I wrote back

So I did some fact checking.

Warren Buffett did not ask that this chain letter be sent. Per a statement from his firm, Berkshire Hathaway.

There is no such Constitutional amendment. 

And Warren Buffett does not think the Federal debt is a problem. I will go into that below. 

Nor does it seem  that Warren Buffett actually supports term limits.

Buffett thinks that the threat of not raising the U.S. debt ceiling is a "political weapon of mass destruction".

While he did make this statement on CNBC...,he said it in 2011. He made this statement in July during the crisis surrounding the Republican refusal to vote for a debt ceiling increase. A refusal that was playing chicken with crashing the world economy. 

It had nothing to do with the debt itself or the his thoughts on the wisdom of government debt at all.

It was a wry, joking commentary on the use of extreme incentives. And the thrust of his wholly unserious proposal was as an example of the use of extreme incentives to motivate... specifically to motivate the  Republican members of the House to behave responsibly in terms of raising the debt ceiling.

Warren Buffett was speaking in favor of raising the debt ceiling on that July 7th, 2011 broadcast.  Which would mean also he is not against the federal debt. 

And as further support of the fact this had nothing to do with the amount or existence of the federal debt itself, here is what really thinks of the federal debt.

"The nation’s debt is “a lower percent of GDP [gross domestic product] than it was when we came out of World War II. You’ve got to think about it in relation to GDP,” added Buffett, a vocal advocate for increased taxes on the nation’s wealthiest, a stance he alluded to in the broadcast.

“I would say in a country with $50,000 of GDP per person, that nobody should be hungry, nobody should lack a good education, nobody should be worried about medical care, you know, nobody should be worried about their old age.”

Buffett's stance on the debt is that the amount of acceptable debt is a function of the ratio of GDP to debt. Not that the absolute amount of the debt itself is inherently good or bad, but that it should be weighed in terms how how well the federal debt provides Americans with things they need.

This  chain letter is deceitful and dishonest,  not just about Warren Buffett and his views on debt and term limits,  but the the "facts" about Congress itself.

Congressmembers  do pay into Social Security.

Congressmembers do have to get their health care like everyone else.

Congressmembers are subject to all the same laws as the rest of us, even about sexual harassment.

At 5:18 AM, Anonymous MinnesotaCentral said...

Ask your Member of Congress to sponsor

H.R. 145 CLEAN Act - "Citizen Legislature Anti-Corruption Reform Act"
Will terminate pensions for Members of Congress, and require the equal application of laws to Members of Congress.

H.R.1701 - EGO Act - “Eliminating Government-funded Oil-painting Act”
Will prohibit the use of Federal funds for the costs of painting portraits of officers and employees of the Federal Government.

H.R.1855 — will repeal the authorizations for office space, office expenses, franking and printing privileges, and staff for former Speakers of the House of Representatives.

At 7:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:26, not quite.

congressmembers get healthCARE. We get insurance, if we can afford it.

Congressmembers may, on paper, be subject to all the same laws. But who is responsible for enforcing those laws? And how stupidly obvious and extreme would their offense have to be before they are actually prosecuted?

I say often: Laws only matter when someone assiduously enforces them. The us DOJ does not. Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein and Donald trump are not in prison, are they?

At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

debcoop and her cousins proved my point made at 9:08


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