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Chan Lowe: Debt ceiling paralysis


“When each side starts to care more about reducing our country’s debt than about advancing its own political agenda, we’ll finally make some progress.”

I don’t remember who said it, but it applies equally to both parties in congress. It’s all about fear…of the electorate. Not much about the daily give and take on Capitol Hill manages to percolate down to the proletariat, but we have just seen what happens when somebody threatens one of America’s great socialist programs, Medicare. Since that little stumble has now tarred the Republicans, Dems are delightedly standing back, washing their hands, and letting them hang themselves. For the moment, entitlements have become untouchable.

On the other side, Republicans owe much of their legitimacy to holding the anti-tax line. They doggedly hew to the long-discredited Laffer Curve, which posits that removing the fetters of taxation stimulates greater economic activity, thereby creating more revenue. We’re still waiting for that one to pan out in field trials.

Even though most Americans would be happy with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases (particularly on the wealthy), Republicans are stuck in Park because their primary voters in the base do not agree with most Americans.

It would be a tragedy if, thanks to this debt ceiling dance, the full faith and credit of the United States were undermined just because a few hundred spineless members of congress prefer to put their own immediate employment concerns above the long-term economic health of the nation they purport to serve.

What we need right now is some real statesmanship. Unfortunately, we didn’t elect statesmen, only politicians.

And for that, we have only ourselves to blame.

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We would have ourselves to blame if any statesmen were running for office, but the only folks who run are politicians, so we can't be blamed for not voting for statesmen. Get rid of primaries so some statesmen can make it through "the base" who filter out everyone except the wingnuts, and maybe we can get some decent candidates in the future.

"one of America's greatest socialist programs, Medicare..."; freudian slip? Like all Socialists you project your bias across all of society. We do have elections in the United States and all eligible voters can vote. If your Socialist mindset was as popular as you think your party would have prevailed in Florida and Washington. Oh by the way you are slipping in the last bastion of Florida Socialism, Broward County.

Democrats ( of which Broward county currently has the majority) will not cut into entitlements because they realize it is one of the greatest draws to their base, free entitlements. Unfortunately, the hard-working, tax-paying American is sick and tired of watching our hard earned, precious tax dollars get tossed into the vast cauldron of government waste and irresponsible spending. The free wheeling spending must stop. And neither myself or the rest of the same tax paying group is willing to allow one more percentage of tax dollars to be added to the existing amount until the politicians are willing to rein in the entitlements and start showing some responsibility with our money. And I have also come to believe ( along with the majority of Americans) that the Democrats need entitlements to get reelected and care little about anything else.

The hard-working, tax-paying American is sick and tired of watching their hard earned, precious tax dollars get tossed into the hands of a few who would like nothing more than to cut hard-earned pensions, and outsource American jobs to where child and minimum-wage regulations can be avoided, while these few gain record profits their elected politicians say the government is evil and broken then they get elected and prove it. These few are fighting an uphill battle but they have their blind protestand and non-denominational religious zealots as well as through armies lobbyists and lawyers and in some cases judges to control what a woman does with her body, start wars so foes recruit more effectivly, what people do in the bedroom, say what alternative natural medicines work, privatize cures for diseases, make profits from health complications while we breath and drink pollution, turn jails into turnstiles where conglomerates can make rehabilitation into a legal business where the bottom line profits is what matters more than justice. If cancers were to be made the illegal rather than some family looking for an honest and better life doing the jobs that our kids do not always want to end up doing like the lower-level jobs in the service industry. When free wheeling spending comes in the form of wars of agression where there were no WMD then I do agree with the unecessary gov't spending but if you are speaking of our already financially pillaged schools, veteran's entitlements, bullet trains, highways, clean energy but instead push for big oil entitlements then it is another story. If they are so much in favor of tax cuts, then cut more taxes for the middle class than the rich class since the middle class is hard-working and actually doing the heavy lifting, not just supervising, training and vacationing in exotic locations in far-off islands in their bigger-than last year yachts and mediterranean cruise vacations as the actual real americans are happy to goto the nearest public park or just stay home this year to save money.

Chan, I'm one of those who think *everything* should be on the table. Entitlements, Pensions, Defense spending, "War-on-Drug" spending, *and* increasing taxes. But the Laffer curve is not "long discredited". In fact, there's no arguing with it unless reality doesn't suit you (which unfortunately is the case with many of our politicians).
the Laffer Curve states:

"Between the two extremes of a %100 tax rate (which would generate 0 revenue because no one would work for nothing) and q %0 tax rate (obviously generates 0 revenue) is a tax rate that generates the optimum anmount of revenue".

This means that the tax rate could be too low or too high at any given time to generate teh max amount of revenue. The trick is figuring out which way to move tax rates to acheive that optimum.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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