The Simple but Horrifying Fallacy at the Core of the Tea Party

Originally published on The Agonist

It’s hard to say if the Tea Party has an acknowledged leader, but someone who professes to be just that has chosen a very opportune moment to trash Speaker John Boehner’s attempts to craft legislation that would allow an increase in the debt ceiling. Judson Phillips, the CEO of Tea Party Nation, is the self-acknowledged head of the Tea Party, and in an editorial this morning in The Washington Post, he attacks Boehner’s legislation for providing “almost non-existent budget cuts.”

Phillips says:

As the founder of Tea Party Nation, I feel confident in saying that the Tea Party understands what so many in Washington seem to have forgotten: We do not have a debt crisis. We have a spending crisis. There is only one way you get to a debt crisis — you spend too much money.

Here is what is fundamentally wrong and dangerous with the core assumption of the Tea Party: There are two ways to get to a debt crisis – you either spend too much money or you don’t take in enough revenue. Anyone who has done a family budget or a business budget understands there are two sides to every discussion of cash flow: cash flow in, and cash flow out. In government terms, this equates to taxes received and expenditures made.

By taking one half of this equation out of the discussion, the Tea Party is dragging the nation along on a fantasy ride in which only spending cuts are allowed as a solution to the government’s debt problem. The danger in an approach which demands enormous budget cuts - $4 trillion is the number mentioned by the Tea Party – is that you expose the economy to a depressionary shock, especially since the Tea Party wants the cuts immediately. Immediate cuts of that size would be the equivalent of removing 25% of all cash flow out of the economy, throwing tens of millions of middle class Americans into acute financial stress. For many poor people, it would be an existential crisis, in which starvation becomes a real prospect.

What sort of person would deliberately ignore the obvious fundamental reality of any budget? Tea Partiers have been called crazy, “nutters”, reckless, irresponsible, and just plain stupid. I suspect they have bought into a partisan set of talking points that have been dogma for many years in the Republican Party. First, all taxes are bad, because they steal money from hard-working people and deprive businesses of the means of creating jobs. Second, government spending is generally bad because it makes people indolent and dependent on hand-outs. Third, deficits are bad because they stifle economic growth.

Tea Partiers are obviously creatures of the Republican Party. Fifty of them sit on the Republican side of the aisle in the House of Representatives. They pride themselves on attracting someone like Sarah Palin as a keynote speaker at their conferences. They get funding from right-wing special interest groups. They are partisan in their approach to politics, excoriating liberals and Democrats, and eager to push the Republican Party into their imaginary world where all government deficit problems can be solved simply by cutting and capping expenditures. In his editorial, Judson Phillips ascribes all of the spending problems to the “Obama-Pelosi-Reid axis of fiscal evil.” What happened to George W. Bush and his $300 billion annual tax cut, his unfunded wars, his drug company give-away, and his bailout of the banking industry? You are no longer dealing in fantasy when you ignore the president and party who in 2000 inherited a budget surplus and converted it into a $1 trillion+ deficit.

Party hack though he is, Mr. Phillips makes some good points about waste and fraud in the federal budget. These points are lost, however, in his one-sided mind set: he takes only the Republican side in the politics of the deficit debate, and then he requires that we look only at the spending side in the budgetary calculus. We could say that his approach helps no one, but in point of fact there are some beneficiaries, namely all the people who have direct access and influence with Congress so that they can get their taxes cut at the exclusion of everybody else. That would be wealthy people, and large corporations.

As much as the Tea Party likes to fancy itself as independent, it has become the radical wing of the Republican Party. It would be bad enough if the only thing the Tea Party might accomplish would be pulling the Republican Party to the fringe of radical conservatism, but it is doing more than that. It is holding the Republican Party hostage to its immensely dangerous concept that the only solution available to the federal deficit is to cut spending. The Republican Party in turn is holding the country hostage over the same profoundly simple error – that taxes cannot be raised as a matter of principle. When one party in a two-party system perpetuates and insists on such an appalling error, the people who are going to get hurt are the 99% of the population who no longer are represented in the Congress.



TP Terror

The Tea Party has one goal and one goal only; to destroy the Presidency, and if that requires them to destroy the country as well, so be it. They are now our country's biggest terrorist threat, as shown here >>

about time we take this economic fiction on

Good for you Numerian. The fact these people ignore 1+1=2 has led me to completely ignore them. How can only deal with people who cannot recognize the most basic finance and economic laws, logic?

Considering the current mess, it's about time we expose their economic fiction, full stop head on.

Behind their fiction is a full bore agenda to destroy all social safety nets of any kind.

These people have no problems stepping over and on the dead bodies of Americans through economic insanity and cruelty.

I am an immigrant who came to

I am an immigrant who came to US in 1999 with my wife and two kids.
I learned English while working 12 hour a day, making 1400 a month (after taxes)out of which I paid $720 a month for one bedroom rent (utilities excluded)in one of the best school districts in NJ. It was very hard but I did not ask anybody to help me.
Eleven years later my wife and I are well into six digits salary and still pay for everything. We have no help from the government or any other organization other the "Bush era" taxes and merit scholarships for my daughter in college.
I am asking you Robert, where was my safety net when I needed it? My friends are having exactly the same position. How about them too? When it was hard we cut spending, when the companies I worked for paid I took classes for a Master degree, sacrificing nights and weekends and summers.

Explain to me why, when I will retire, I will have to have the same standard of living as somebody who went through life taking advantage of my hard earn tax money? I don't want to sound cruel, but people should take personal responsibility for their actions in life and sometime they should suffer the consequences for their decisions. I did it after I moved to US, for several years!
It is not stepping over peoples' bodies, it is about being fair to the people who are paying for all the safety nets and do not get anything instead.

there for the grace of God go I

Yet. When your wife gets cancer and you get Parkinson's or have surgery that puts a toxic hip replacement into your body, you get back to me.

Do you honestly believe that most Americans are not working as hard as you? You're living in a fantasy land. The median salary is $26k a year.

You typify the classic inability to have empathy or understanding that life's circumstances are often that of luck and fate and just because tragedy hasn't happened to you now....the concept of yet doesn't enter your mind.

You are walking over the dead bodies, not realizing that some day that body will be yours.

Sir, I appreciate what you

I appreciate what you are saying. I recommend that you read Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers. He gives a very interesting analysis of what it takes to be successful. Success is rarely achieved in isolation. He gives example after example of how successful people were supported in various ways, had luck that was unique, and used those advantages maximally.

The social safety net provided by our government, "we the people," is intended to support people who don't have those advantages, or the imagination to see opportunities or know how to pursue them.

What you say borders on Social Darwinism that was enormously popular in the last quarter of the nineteenth century here, while it was profoundly rejected by Europeans. If we follow the direction you suggest, we are condemning an enormous number of people to great hardships, and condemning their children to brutishness.

So, I appeal to your humanity and compassion for those who don't have your ambition and drive. Afer all, you had the courage to immigrate facing an uncertain future. How many of your countrymen didn't have our courage and determination. Should they be abandoned?

Why should you retire with the same amount of income?

If you have been more frugal than your neighbor, you should have a decent nest egg to see you through your retirement. If your neighbor lived off debt, while you purchased everything through cash and saved up for a rainy day, your retirement should be much easier. There are millions of immigrants like you who lived almost in poverty just for the chance that their children could get a decent education and they themselves could retire safely. I meet such people in the inner city all the time where I work.

I also meet many Americans who have hardly any money saved up, but enjoy all sorts of little luxuries like a nice car, a middle class home (or even a McMansion), vacations overseas, fashionable clothes, and so on. There was a time, a few years ago, when people like this could get as much debt as their home value allowed; now they are underwater in their home mortgage, facing foreclosure, and probable bankruptcy.

I come from a large family and some of my siblings followed the first avenue, living abstemiously and saving up for hard times. Others went the borrow and spend route. They come to me and ask for help with lodging or food just to tide them over until "things get better." What should I do? Let them starve? Lecture them? Give them a copy of Atlas Shrugged and send them on their way? It's a lot harder to let people starve (especially your nieces and nephews), no matter how many bad choices they made, when they are people you grew up with. Yes, there will always be some people in the family who prey upon your sentimentality and family love; eventually you learn to stop giving them money. I'm not talking about those people. I'm talking about those who got sucked into the American dream, built upon the quicksand of easy money and unlimited debt.

Notice that in American culture, there are intense efforts to make you despise people who are less fortunate than you. You are made to feel that all such people are lazy, and that they are stealing your money with the taxes you pay. You are also told that taxes of just about any sort are a form of theft. You are made to believe that all corporations are good and decent because they create jobs. As long as so many Americans fall for this, we won't have any chance of rebuilding a community of Americans - a family where there are indeed economic consequences for people who don't save and mistreat debt, but where there would also be consequences for those banks that foolishly extended such debt. This is my biggest problem with the Tea Party. Tea Partiers make a lot of excellent points about the lack of consequences for poor decision making. They make the valid point that our deficits have easily exceeded the point of sanity, and that the longer we wait to address them, the worse the consequences for all will be. What they often do not recognize is how they are being manipulated by the media, how they are made to turn against their fellow Americans, and how all this conveniently allows some corporations and some people to live off the Treasury or even steal from it. This is the real form of tax theft that powerful forces in our society want you to ignore. I am sorry to say, they are succeeding.

I Am Somewhat Confused

"I am asking you Robert, where was my safety net when I needed it?"

This is a curious comment in the middle of the rest of what you say.

Is your complaint that when you made less and as a new immigrant you didn't qualify for government help you couldn't get government assistance and now that you've been here more than five years, you make too much to receive it?

If you had two kids in New Jersey schools most of the time you've been here, the tab to the district was way more than what you paid in state and local taxes, especially in the early years. As you know, educational spending in NJ is very high, about the highest in the nation. So your family received many thousands of dollars in educational subsidies from your fellow townspeople and New Jerseyans.

In addition, if you came to America not speaking English, then I would think you came via a family reunification visa or by being a refugee. What did we ask of you when we admitted you to this country?

Why are you so critical of our system? After all we have a much smaller social safety net than any of First World nation except Japan, as I have found to my sorrow now that I have been jobless for so long.

Except for our financial situation, things haven't changed that much here since 1999. You knew what you were getting into and if you didn't like it, you should not have come here, frankly.

I'd be the last person to say that newcomers can't complain about something, but if you're going to complain about the American perspective and system as a whole, well -- you're the one asked to come here, we didn't ask you!

I Ask The Impolite, Direct Question After All

The spirit of your comments are that Americans are stupid for letting in most of the immigrants that we currently do, because they will cost the government so much money.

You do realize that, don't you?

Most of the immigrants we get are here due to family petitioning and refugee claims. While you and your wife went on to get advanced degrees and make more than an average income, many (if not most) immigrants we admit end up being a financial drag on us who earn average to below average wages their entire working lives. Some of the older immigrant parents we admit never work a single day in America but we end up paying for their SSI and medical costs. It's a great financial deal for the US taxpayer, isn't it?

So now that you are US taxpayer yourself -- one who is very conscious of benefits received for payments rendered -- would you advocate getting rid of the costly system that led to your presence here?

Deserves tp go viral

They are without conscience. They will commit a crime, not paying debts when the money is there. They will compound that by trashing the US and, to a degree, the world economy just to make a point. The Tea Party driven plot has about 20% support, reflected in the support for the Republicans in the House.

Pew Research Poll 7/20-24 Congressional Approval Republicans/Democrats

Approve 24%/30%

Disapprove 66%/60%

In absolute terms, their position fails.

They're 12 points behind the Democrats. But it's their stand alone numbers that matter. They failed, miserably. The failure of corporate media to lay out the consequences of a default is the only thing keeping the Tea Party Republicans above 20% (their bedrock number). Nihilism has a certain cachet but fades as one approaches a real cliff.

Here is another way to look at public support.  There's a clear plurality supporting the president.  The 11 point difference matches up with the difference betweeen Republicans and Democrats in the congressional poll.

Having not made their case, they're going to trash the party.  They're finished.

On the Road to Depression, the Confidence Fairy will Save Us

Numerian is dead spot on about the fiscal effect of sucking out $4Trillion or over 25% of GDP. We know this
but there is a belief out there that cuts will inspire
businsess confidence, the Confidence Fairy. All empirical evidence this year shows the opposite, cuts at the state level of around $200Billion and growing
are taking out equal percentages of GDP dollar for dollar. The history of 1937 is instructive.

What if they get their way? A rollback of the Welfare
State is a perfect storm of social upheaval. The cuts demanded by the Retrograde Mutants will turn us back to a time just before 1937 when America had 3 avowed socialist State Houses - Wisconsin,Minnesota and Louisiana. FDR constantly cited the the socialist state houses as a reason to pass Social Security, "Relief", and big increases in the Corporate Income tax rate and a doubling of the Capital Gains Tax Rate.

The modern Welfare State is a sea wall keeping out the raging storm of social revolution. Bismark, Lloyd George, Clemenceau, FDR all understood this and created
this Sea Wall. The reasoning of the welfare state is conservative, and capitalist, not radical or socialist.
The Retrograde Mutants will never understand this or much else about history. Put your finger to the winds,
the perfect storm is coming.

Burton Leed

"Confidence Fairy"

Yes, I've heard the spin ... the only reason that the Great Recession continues is some nebulous "anti-business" atmosphere that is entirely due to "the liberals" and/or "the Democrats" and/or "the leftist mass media" (the last referring to, like, CNN ... all of them except FOX).

So, thanks to 'brleed' for putting an apt tag on this particular little subsystem of the greater GOP delusional system.

Sure it got partially

Sure it got partially co-opted by Corporate players, but the Tea Party was initially formed to punish the bailed-out banksters. The economic arm of the American-Israeli empire, you might say.

The empire has been waging immoral ineffectual overextended supercostly war on the Islamic world for a couple decades while engaging in affirmative action home ownership, dishonestly bundled cds's; an offshoot thereof, loose border control, outsourcing jobs en masse and all manner of retrograde activity.

These are the People Who Robbed You

Now they're trying to do it again. Paul Krugman posted an article today in which he said "The facts of the crisis over the debt ceiling aren't complicated. Republicans have, in effect, taken America hostage." If Obama caves to them he will have shown himself unworthy of a second term. He can begin to show some courage by taking a firm position on the non-extension of the Bush tax cuts.

Frank T.

A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment to Pass before 8/2

As ludicrous as it sounds, this is the Plan du Jour coming from the Inmates of the House of Representatives (representative of What?). As some are no doubt aware, an Ammendment to the U.S. Constitution requires 2/3 majorities in each House and ratification by 3/4s of the States. All this will happen by next Tuesday. That is the plan to prevent a default on U.S. Debt by the Retrograde Mutant Inmates.

After a caucus meeting to round up the votes needed for House passage, Republicans said that Speaker John A. Boehner had agreed to modify his plan, which raises the debt ceiling only enough to last a few months, to make the next round of spending cuts and debt relief contingent on Congressional approval of a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.

Burton Leed

recall? Impeachment?

Surely people are having buyer's remorse and how to dump out these crazies from Congress?

Deader on Arrival

If the first Boehner legislation was certain to be rejected by the Senate and vetoed by Obama even if it went through, how is this new bill going to be any better? The time until we all have to live through this ridiculous squabbling all over again gets truncated, and now everything will be dependent on two-thirds of both houses approving the balanced budget amendment.

Boehner will let this go through just to save face and possibly his job, but it shows his majority to be more obdurate than ever. Talk about continuing to move the goal posts.


"Boehner will let this go through just to save face and possibly his job."

Is it possible that Boehner will do what is in the best interests of his personal financial condition, consistent with avoiding investigation of said condition? And is it possible that some politicians do not make any distinction between their political ambitions and their ambitions for their personal fortunes?

The Exorcists

Ah, the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth as the tax and spend demons are dragged kicking and screaming out into the open. It reminds me of that scene in The Exorcist, where the demon comes to the realization that he is losing possession of Reagan's body. They will say anything, in a variety of voices, to avoid facing the simple fact that they are to blame for the crisis we are in.

Kudos to the Tea Partiers and to the brave citizen legislators they elected to fight this battle. In the words of Jean-Francoise Revel, "What we end up with in what is conventionally called Western society is a topsy-turvy situation in which those seeking to destroy democracy appear to be fighting for legitimate aims, while its defenders are pictured as repressive reactionaries."

Shades of Bakunin?

The Tea Party is out to destroy the system in order to get a new system that somehow conforms to their ideology. That propbably includes destroying the Republican Party (not a bad thing in itself) as Boehner is now discovering. Good luck with your agenda and what follows. You'd better put barbed wire and claymore mines around your gated communities. The welfare state stands between you and your worst nightmare. You may have a comfortable life, but you'd be surprised how quickly that can change when times get desperate. I have seen the despots who take power when order breaks down -- it ain't pretty. It doesn't happen overnight, but you'll know when it does happen.

Frank T.

The (s)elected are hoisted in their own petard

Who would have thought that Obama and Boehner along with their retinue would occupy sch a critical space in US history. They're not even up to the standards of Elliot's 'Hallow Men.'

Before the Democratic primaries, I asked just about the only person I know who might have the real answer, this question. Who do the guys on Wall Street want? I was told, 'They'd like Kennedy but he's dead so they'll settle for Obama.' They know that they're about to hit a wall, 40% drop in stock prices, economic disruption, etc. They need someone to distract the people while they loot the Treasury to make up for their losses. When things hit the fan at the end of 2008, I asked another question. What will it look like when it's all over? He said, take a look at Mexico, particularly Mexico City. There will be extensive poverty and a thriving business in kidnapping and ransoms.

Obama, Boehner, and he rest of them, including their patrons, may be empty shirts but they certainly have the power of extreme transformation.

Haven't talked to the guy lately. I think I'll look him up.

Great parody of TP religionists

"weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth"

"demons dragged kicking and screaming"

"It reminds me of that scene in The Exorcist"

"They will say anything in a variety of voices"

Thanks to 'Bruce Bishop' for an excellent parody of TP religious rhetoric!

Of course, Bishop's comment is wholly political and intended as a parody of the TP --

"Kudos to ... the brave citizen legislators ... elected to fight this battle."

LOL. Thanks for the humor!

A Thorough Misrepresentation of The Budgeting Process

A well written fantasy about a political group the author obviously knows nothing about. He also displays a stunning lack of knowledge regarding govt. budgeting, and how it works differently from those of businesses and individuals. The following quote is a prime example of his liberal ignorance of the subject matter:

"The danger in an approach which demands enormous budget cuts - $4 trillion is the number mentioned by the Tea Party – is that you expose the economy to a depressionary shock, especially since the Tea Party wants the cuts immediately. Immediate cuts of that size would be the equivalent of removing 25% of all cash flow out of the economy, throwing tens of millions of middle class Americans into acute financial stress. For many poor people, it would be an existential crisis, in which starvation becomes a real prospect."

First of all, the $4 Trillion is the "cut" recommended for 2012, not immediately. The author seems to be blissfully unaware of the "Baseline Budgeting" method the govt. uses for its budgeting purposes. This means that all monies spent in 2011 will be held at even levels for 2012, with 7.5% automatically added whether they need it or not! This equates to an approximately $9.5 TRILLION increase in spending for 2012, even before Obama and his socialist lackeys start adding more giveaways. So the $4 TRILLION "cut" is not a cut in spending at all - it's a REDUCTION IN THE SPENDING INCREASE. This would mean the budget would only be increased by about 3.5% which is still higher than the rate of inflation.
The claim that "25% of all cash flow" would be taken out of the economy is a flagrant lie, and is only part of the hysteria and fear-mongering with which the public has become all too familiar coming from the liberals in election years.

Here's the simple fact that the American public and their political representatives are going to have to realize: the politicians we send to Washington are going to have to spend less of our money than they receive in revenues. The Tea Party mantra is all about the US Govt staying our of our lives and living within their means.

It all boils down to the cash

Any organization, even the government, has to be mindful of cash flow. When a corporation approaches death, through bankruptcy or some other form of collapse, it is always a concentration on cash flow that marks their final days. In the corporate world you can tell when a company is near death because they start conserving cash, including stiffing on 30 day trade payables.

If you read the US financial press, you will notice that people are now concentrating on US Treasury balances in the banking system. They are watching these balances go up and down, but on balance going down, to the point where people can see that around August 2 the Treasury will have to start making decisions about which "trade payables" don't get paid. Social Security recipients? Federal employees? Bond holders?

In the 1970s the chairman of Citigroup, Walter Wriston, used to say "countries never go bankrupt." He was right, in a limited way, and his bank bet billions on this theory that countries always go into restructuring of their debt, but never bankruptcy. Unfortunately, his customers did run out of money, and they did default on their bond payments, and Citigroup took enormous write-downs as a consequence.

Governments may not go into bankruptcy and liquidation, like private enterprise, but they do go into default when they run out of cash. There is a theory that governments can even perpetually avoid default, because they can always print more of their money. The fallacy here is that the printer of money - the central bank - is not the same as the government, which is the Treasury or Ministry of Finance. Even if the Treasury controls the central bank, that doesn't mean it can engineer unlimited printing of its currency to pay off ever-increasing issues of debt. Investors eventually learn to avoid the debt, or demand repayment in other currencies, or demand higher interest rates, all of which limit the government's choice. Notice this happened to the United States recently. China and Japan have slowed down or reversed their Treasury holdings, forcing the Federal Reserve to step up and replace their buying. This was one of the reasons for QE2 - though never explicitly stated. The Fed is now on the defensive over QE3. QE2 obviously failed to generate economic growth, which is especially evident from the restatement yesterday of Q1 GDP to 0.4%. The US Treasury now faces two serious constraints that are leading to a default: the central bank can no longer help buy unwanted debt, and the Congress is capping the debt level by refusing to increase the debt ceiling. As long as these two conditions hold, default on some obligations (maybe not to bond holders) will occur.

As to whether $4 trillion is taken out of the economy in 2011 or 2012, the day of reckoning is only being postponed. I have to agree with Karl Denninger, who was a founder of the Tea Party, that the day of reckoning is now inevitable. The mathematics of compounding have now taken control of the situation. The US can wait until the bond market completely abandons Treasuries (forcing interest rates up), or until the rating agencies downgrade the debt several grades, or until the Congress withholds borrowing authorization. However it happens, a serious blow to the economy is going to occur, and a debt washout in all sectors of the economy is going to take place. I equate the blow to removing 25% of the cash in the economy; Denninger equates the blow to a 12% decline in GDP. It all gets to the same end result.

TP "mantra" and precious metals markets

"The Tea Party mantra is all about the US Govt staying our of our lives and living within their means."

Yes, exactly, the so-called 'Tea Party' has a "mantra" and not a message!

Yes, the TP has a "mantra," because the TP is religious in nature.

And, like many religions, self-anointed leaders of the TP are profiteering opportunists. In particular, TP opportunists are limited-partnered up to exploit insider information to play the precious metals markets like an over-amped electric guitar.

Yes, the TP is all about keeping U.S. government out of any possible investigation of the rampant corruption in Congress!

Give the TP a chance

Aside from that I am very attached to my rights as spelled out in the Bill of Rights, I don't mind that the Tea Party has some religious fervor. If their mantra is entirely negative and about lowering taxes without closing loopholes, then NO, that's a scam, not  religious fervor. But if their mantra is about the best interests of working families in America, then OKAY, let's all be religious about that!

So what I say is:

Give the Tea Party a chance!

Let's see what happens on the FTA votes coming up.

Will there be any real opposition on the Republican side of the House? There is some opposition on the Democrat side. See ...

A test for the Tea Party


Typical bull shit Tea Party Rhetoric

Any reduction in spending during a recession/depression is unwise since it furthers the contraction in the economy. The reason here is clear. There's no point in paying down debt during recovery that never takes place. That is true and has been universally.

What's absent from you rhetoric:

- stopping offshoaring;

- stopping the import of necessary professional and lower level workers;

- ending costly and illegal wars; - and dumping the tax cuts from Bush;

- the theft of the Social Security surplus every year to fund deficits that fund purchases of goods and services from the Tea Party billionaire patrons.

You also forget to mention that we would never have heard about the Tea Party were it not for Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity. They made the organiation, they fund it, and they call the shots. Where do these right win lobbying organizations get their money? From the richest families in the United States.

This is legal and part of the process but lets get real here in the midst of your preaching and propaganda how about mentioning that fact?  Actualy, I know why you woudn't.  It would show that this whole debate is a sham and promoted by those who will profit from crisis, the Te Party Patrons.

Here is the precise reason that we need a crisis, whether Tea Party or not.  Rational analysis of the budget situation would call for much different acdtion that is going to emerge.

If you back out the Bush tax cut give-aways and the two wars, the budget deficit goes down nearly 50%.  If you restore the economy to non recessionary status, you get another huge benefit and the current deficit is round $100 billion. 

Medicare is an emerging problem but there is no crisis now unless you dig war and recessions.

But that's not the Tea Party billionair agenda is it. 

Here's the graph, it's easy enough to understand:




Running US budget like a family?

"Anyone who has done a family budget or a business budget understands there are two sides to every discussion of cash flow: cash flow in, and cash flow out"

In the first place, there are two different types of families: responsible and irresponsible. What is a responsible family? Well a family who plans the number of children it can afford to have, the size of the house it can afford to buy, the type of car it can afford to drive, etc. Not ultimately it is a family that, when it goes through difficult times, cuts the unnecessary spending: number of cell phones, cable TV, vacations etc. I hope everyone gets the point.
At the opposite side is a family who doesn't care what they can and can't afford to have and, if they don't have much to sacrifice they want everybody else to do it instead: to send their kids to school with public money (even when they are below average students), to get loan modifications for the houses they never afforded (and sometimes lied in order to get their mortgages), etc.
Now the question is, if we want to have our government to run the budget like a family's budget, which family would that be?

like a family, oh reilly?

How much more empty, ill-conceived talking points are going to be attempted in the comments.

What happens to that family when both parents are laid off and have no money. What happens to families when they have no income, no revenues.

They end up homeless in America. Does that make them irresponsible? No. This nation is refusing to enact policies to make sure these hard working good people have a stable income, jobs and opportunities.

Now let's say we have a family who refuses to even look for a job. Refuses to even attempt to get revenues into the coffers. Decides somehow refusing to earn income is freedom and they need to shrink the family down to the size of a bathtub over some philosophy.

Who is the irresponsible family now?

No wasted words

You dispensed with the know it all nostrums in record time. One reason US productivity is so high is worker commitment and attitude. People will work when given the chance and they'll work hard. They'll do exceptional work when they're well compensated and treated with respect. The crisis should be over jobs not the debt ceiling. It's a false choice - a bad Obama plan and an insane Republican plan. when it's over, the people will sort it out and there will be Hell to pay on both sides.


While right, you left out who backs the TParty-self-employed, owners,corporate executives,(upper class), extraordianary wealthy, mainly but not exclusively, white Repubican individuals brought to a fever pitch of 2013 DEBT ARMAGEDDAN. The religious and Republican elite are selling Finance from Rob Weidemer, Economist and crystal ball teller, of AFTERSHOCK I AND NOW AFTERSHOCK II available from Newsmax.

Let me fix your fallacy to

Let me fix your fallacy to reflect reality: "By taking one half of this equation out of the discussion, the Tea Party is" attempting to force government to balance it's budget like every American family. Unless the average American family has the ability to put a gun (the government uses the IRS) to the head of their employer and force their employer to pay them more in salary. (which is what raising taxes is all about...putting a gun to the head of the people and demanding more money)

what don't you that the TEA party is tired of the class warfare and redistribution of wealth on the part of government.

Increasing Government jobs demand more tax dollars...allowing more money (NOT GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS WHICH ARE TAX DOLLARS TO BEGIN WITH) into the private sector will create private sector jobs that are paid by the economy and generate revenue twice...on the business' profit and on the salary paid to the employees...not to mention sales tax and other taxes that affect the equation.

Your are welcome for this brief but insightful education regarding your illogical reasoning.

let me fix your fallacy

That is false. The reason it's false is reduced government spending as well as reduced taxes do not create jobs. It's false statistically and it's false theoretically and this is why: savings, investment and globalization. When giving away money to corporations through paying no taxes they do not expand, they redistribute those profits to investors, often through dividends. Investors, the higher income brackets to not increase spending, they use the money to reinvest, save.

Also, these days it's common for investors as well as corporations to move offshore, expand overseas and they love to invest in emerging economies, not the United States.

Statistically the evidence shows that tax cuts do not generate jobs. From GDP multipliers to correlations, it's not there. You can put money into the hands of the bottom of the income ladder and that does help the economy, because they spend it, goes into personal consumption expenditures but private investment? Nope.

We're proved this many a time on this site, with the statistics, graphs, historical data.

The Greatest Fallacy

Tea Party rhetoric about families balancing budgets is that families do not have to go to war, fix roads, bridges, and airports and they can tell their neighbors to go to hell when hard times hit. When granny gets a terminal illness, you can't just put her out to feed the bears. If you tell the government to use the family as a model for budgeting, how do they get the scientific expertise to treat cancer, the tanks and aircraft to keep the Russians from taking back Alaska and what do you do when BP spills mega-quantities on the beaches near your home? Next time you feel like drinking clean water, drill a well in your back yard. Oh yes, also tell the banks to budget like a family -- don't borrow money you can't pay back or take the depositors money to Las Vegas and put it all on red.

Frank T.