[FoRK] Fwd: Hey, big spender...

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Wed Aug 27 01:10:57 PDT 2008

Jeff Bone wrote:
> Begin forwarded message:
>> From: "Lucas Gonze" <lucas.gonze at gmail.com>
>> Date: June 10, 2008 12:40:28 PM CDT
>> To: "Friends of Rohit Khare" <fork at xent.com>
>> Subject: Re: [FoRK] Hey, big spender...
>> Reply-To: Friends of Rohit Khare <fork at xent.com>
>> On Tue, Jun 10, 2008 at 10:15 AM, Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> wrote:
>>> Not true;  the total cost of the new spending proposals Obama's 
>>> offered up
>>> on the campaign trail, collectively, total something in the 
>>> neighborhood of
>>> $1T (rough est., but certainly in the ballpark.)
>> $1T?  This is a fable.
>>> Except the $1T in new spending he's proposing...  Except the fact 
>>> that he
>>> hasn't said anything concrete about spending REDUCTION.
>> It's not a spreadsheet, it's a set of priorities.  The 1T number isn't
>> even real, and the absence of cuts is what we call "campaign trail."
>> You don't object to politicians playing good ball, do you?  Personally
>> I think that's a quality.
> This was your prior challenge.  It's like fucking Groundhog Day, 
> Lucas.  Either read the answers to the questions you ask, or stop 
> asking them.
> Here were the answers, among others, in support of $1T.  That 
> estimate's been increased with additional scrutiny of his specific 
> proposals.
Where please?  Young man, Faux News fiction and flaxen ur-witch spells 
will not be accepted on this assignment.
>>  http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080216202609AA1S3Qo
Err, Dear Mr. Bone,
I must pick the first of your sources to point out that the skeleton of 
your argument seems to be broken, or at least severely cracked.  Perhaps 
the load you have been carrying has affected your posture?
(Sorry buddy, my name is so boring, I have to have some fun with 
others.  There is a couple, last name Sugar, who Mercury profiled as 
having a very successful blog publishing business...  OK, enough lame 
attempted humor.)

So, man, WTF?  From the article:
> $65 billion-a-year health plan
A chunk, but could save money for Medicare, etc.  An investment, 
perhaps, that might pay off.
> $15 billion in green energy spending
An obvious investment that almost surely would pay off in some way.  Are 
you arguing against this?  Should we wait for Exxon to figure out how to 
corner the market on it first?

If this site is correct, we spend $1.62B *per* *day* ($116 * 14M bbls) 
to import oil.  ($2.058B at the peak of $147/bbl.)  That's 40,000 
(50,000) times more than this investment in green energy.
This site seems to agree, although the price is worse since only 10M are 
crude, the rest are refined:
It's obvious we should have annexed Canada... ;-)
> $85 billion in tax cuts and credits
Um, hello?  Tax cut?  Not equal to "spending proposal" of "new social 
program spending" as you said repeatedly.  In fact, you are advocating 
for tax cuts, no???
So, that's $85B * 4 = $340B in tax cut, not spending.
> $25 billion-a-year increase in foreign aid
Whatever.  I don't know if this is related to spending less in Iraq/Af. 
or not.
Could certainly pay off.  Would pay off much more if my 
land/rights/services for cash proposal were enacted.
> $18 billion a year in education spending
Certainly an investment that could pay off in all kinds of ways.
> $3.5 billion for a national service plan
A pittance for something that could definitely benefit many, likely many 
more than will participate directly.
> Put it all together, and we are talking about a $200 billon plan, $800 
> billion over four years. And that does not even include fixing the 
> alternative minimum tax, a $50 billion-a-year item that will assuredly 
> get passed.
And, you counted another tax cut for $200 billion of that Obama 
"spending proposal" that you fear so much.

So, let's recap, you state that Obama has proposed a $1T spending 
proposal.  And you would rather that there were tax cuts.
Your link to back it up validates that it would indeed increase the 
deficit $1T over not spending a little and not renewing tax cuts that 
are to expire.  Clearly, no one is going to simply let those tax cuts 
expire completely, so right away the $1T number is way off.

However, in terms of what you referred to as "new social program spending",
> On Tue, Aug 26, 2008 at 6:42 PM, Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> wrote:
> "Russell, it's not just about tax increases.  There's the small matter 
> of an
> additional $1.5T in new social program spending, and all that entails (in
> terms of opportunity costs had that money and manpower been deployed
> elsewhere in the economy.)" 
there is: ($65B+$15B+$25B+$18B+$3.5B = $126.5B)*4 = $506B in new 
spending with $540B tax cut / tax cut continuance, *over 4 years*.
And this doesn't subtract out possible, sometimes probable benefits from:

Medicare, better productivity, or other health related savings.
Payback from investment in green energy, ideally a whole new industry 
where winning even a fraction of the amount we spend on oil would 
produce massive tax income and reinvestment.
Benefit of, or replacement of current spending, foreign aid.
Better jobs, competitiveness, less immigration due to better education.
Lower unemployment / welfare benefits, training, rehabilitation, and 
direct benefit from national service.

All in all, I don't find much to complain about with those choices.  I 
would add more spending for science and technology.
According to this great chart:

We spend $632B on military and $350B on Non-Military.  Obama is 
suggesting $126.5B in new spending per year, with the likelihood of cuts 
elsewhere.  Not exactly earth shattering.

This gives a better view for 2009:

The President currently spends $17.4B directly.  Does the VP remember 
how many undisclosed locations he has?  (For his money?)
DoD: $711B
Health and Human Services ($919B for Medicare minus receipts) $739B
Homeland Security $44B
HUD $46B
DOJ $27B
DOL (unemployment) $54B
DOT (Highways, etc.) $71B
Treasury (EIC / Child Credit payments, i.e. negative tax) $73.5
Interest on Public Debt $487B
VA $92B
OPM (Civil Servant Retirement) $67B
Social Security $693B

For a total budget outlay of about $3327B against $2697 receipts.  Note 
that the outlay is more, but 200-500B of receipts are in the outlay section.

So, we spend about $3T/yr. for the budget.  And we spend $593-752B as a 
country to import oil.  Note that, in 2007 dollars, crude was about 
$19/bbl before 1973 and briefly in 1998.  In fact, it is generally 
around $19/bbl when not at war.  If true, that greatly increases the 
effective cost of wars.  Reference:

BTW, look at the deficit as adjusted for wealth (i.e. % GDP), very 
interesting: Nearly flat for decades.
>>  http://www.usnews.com/blogs/capital-commerce/2008/2/14/obamas-trillion-dollar-spending-plan.html 
More of the same.
>> In fact, don't take it from me --- take it from Obama himself:
>>  http://www.usnews.com/blogs/capital-commerce/2008/2/12/is-obama-really-the-liberal-reagan.html 
"surrounded himself with centrist economic advisers" ... "cut smart 
trade deals and help displaced workers" ... "healthcare plan is more 
cautious" ... "resisted interventionist ... favors tax credits" ... 
[mostly debunked and out of context tax hyperbole] ...

So, what flavor of coolaid are you drinking?  You're not winning me over 
with what you have presented so far as proof.


More information about the FoRK mailing list