Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Listened to Senator Richard Burr on WWNC 570 am

Our esteemed Senator was on the radio this morning @ 8:20 am.  I calmed down,  opened my mind,  and tuned in.

Senator Burr's key points:
  1. Condescending attitude,  as usual,  toward the President
  2. Says Reid's plan will not pass in the Senate
  3. Outlined Republican plan - nothing new
  4. Primary difference between Ds and Rs - Reid does not get into any kind of Social Security and Medicare reform.  In other words,  Republicans really, really want to cut your Social Security and Medicare to pay for the useless wars they waged.
  5. Says $1.2 Trillion of D plan is smoke and mirrors - says savings on war not real
  6. Blames the President for not coming to the table sooner - but indicated earlier that it's not the President's responsibility since Congress is responsible - huh?
  7. Money is there to pay Social Security - if not paid,  it's the Secretary of the Treasury's fault
  8. Does not think that we will see pain in the financial mkts - Yeah Burr,  your massive trading losses in 2008 prove you an expert ....
That's it ... I can't listen to this moron any more.  I tried.  The man is an idiot.  As usual,  he has nothing of substance to offer.  He's a lawnmower salesman who got elected because he loves his wife and looks pretty.

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.


  1. I need some help. What is the debt ceiling? I initially thought it was sort of like going over the limit on your credit card. As in, it can be done but you then have to negotiate with the bank to have your limit raised and then, of course, you must pay back the money you borrowed. However, I gather that perhaps the debt ceiling is negotiating a rise in the credit limit before borrowing and spending additional money?

    I realize my ignorance and expect my question reflects the ignorance but it is a sincere question.


  2. Jill, I suspect you are fully aware of what a debt ceiling is ... If you don't want the debt ceiling to rise, what do you propose we cut?

  3. Well, no, I really don't know what a debt ceiling is. As well as I can understand, it seems to me that whatever the "debt ceiling" is, it must be raised.

    If I were to manage the cuts, I would shut down all of wars and I mean really shut them down - no troops and no money left behind. I would stop all money flowing to our mega-embassy in Iraq. I would cut salaries, staff, and benefits for both houses of congress, I would stop all corporate tax cuts and benefits unless that corporation had a huge manufacturing footprint inside the U.S., and I would change the Medicare pharmacy benefit to a wholesale, low bid contract rather than near retail price as it is currently structured. That might cover day one.

    However, I'm ignorant and have no legal or financial sense or experience so my fantasies might make a bad situation worse. I don't know.

    My question was not snark. I've heard the debt ceiling defined in very different ways and I've really no idea what it really is.

    Thank you for your blog. I shall continue as a regular reader.


  4. Wow Jill ... I wish you would run for President. You'd have my vote. You'd primarily get my vote because I really like your approach to expense cutting. And too, I've always been a believer that the world would be a significantly better place if it was entirely run by women.

    Debt ceiling - I just think of it as a line you can not cross when borrowing money. For our federal government, Congress determines where the line is drawn, and moves that line as needed. Unfortunately, we're bumping up against that line again, which will stop us from borrowing.

    To some people (The Tea Party Crowd), borrowing more is a sin. To others (I take comfort that our Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has this view), we can borrow more for now, but we must come up with a credible plan to tremendously slow, and possibly reverse, the rate of borrowing out the next 5 to 7 years.

    The primary problem is this, if we just stop borrowing and make drastic cuts now, our economy could tank. Most Republican politicians say otherwise. They constantly come to the microphone and say if we cut our deficits by slashing spending, we will grow our economy and create more jobs. I don't believe this is possible. Such a drastic change will cause economic chaos, from which we will fall into a deep depression. But there are smart people on both sides of this discussion, so my opinions could be wrong too.

    I'm really curious Jill, what do you think should be done now?

    From a very high level point of view, I think:

    Revenues - The wealthy should pay higher tax rates. And I think that EVERYONE should pay something. It pains me to know that 51% of our citizens pay ZERO federal income taxes. And we need to drastically step up energy drilling (resulting in significantly higher royalties).

    Spending - Deep cuts to defense. Make a concerted effort to eliminate Commerce, Ag and Energy departments. Means test both social security and medicare. And install a sliding scale policy payment for Medicare - the higher your income, the more premium you must pay.

    If we take these actions, I think we can get to the point within 5 to 7 years where our budgets are healthy. And we can give our economy a chance to heal.

    Just one humble person's point of view.

    Feel free to disagree. I'd like to hear more of your opinions.

  5. I have another question. I hear regularly that many Americans, perhaps as many as half or even more, "do not" pay taxes. I certainly have never had the financial means to be concerned about capital gains, investment income, or large assets that will be passed down to family, but I thought I was paying taxes when I looked at the taxes held out of my pay check. I thought I was paying tax when I ponied up my property tax every year. I thought I was paying tax everytime I made a purchase of any kind. Therefore, I tend to be more than a little annoyed when I suspect I am one of the many millions who are considered to not be paying any tax.

    If I can find out how to completely avoid paying tax, I will certainly let my neighbors know (they are construction workers, nurses, teachers, truck drivers, firefighters, and such). I expect that I might elect to continue contributing the dollars that I consider tax as I like having the military, schools, hospitals, highways, bridges, fire departments, courts and the like.

    There is so much that I don't understand and I suspect there are millions like me. I do get the feeling that I am considered an irksome burden on the country and that my 45 years of steady work are not counted as any kind of contribution or personal responsibility.

    Maybe you need to open a third blog that provides basic financial and economic instruction and insight?


  6. I see your point. I agree. And even I am guilty about pointing out on this blog that over 50% of Americans "do not pay federal income tax". While that statement is true, it ignores all the OTHER taxes that the average person pays - as you are so rightfully pointing out.

    I also get annoyed with this issue, from a slightly different angle. I am very upset with how our tax system is structured. I've pointed out many times recently that the very, very wealthy pay average federal income taxes of 18%. And in examining in detail in a myriad of IRS data, it is clear to me that the vast majority of upper middle class Americans pay 20 - 24% federal income taxes. I am not talking tax brackets. I simply mean taking the federal income taxes paid, divided by your taxable income. The bottom line is that this is simply NOT FAIR. We can not run our country on the backs of the middle class. Especially when it is so clearly evident that middle class incomes have been flat this last decade, while the rich continue to make out like bandits.

    Now, wrapping the issues you point out, with my problem of the middle class paying more than the rich, the difference is even worse if you wrap in all the other taxes one pays. Keep in mind that a person earning $384 Million (avg made by the top 400 Americans) pays the very same payroll tax as a person making $100 K. But when you take that tax as a percent of income, it tells a completely different story. The bottom line - if we were to wrap together all taxes paid, middle class Americans pay a far, far higher percentage of their incomes in taxes. Our tax structure in America is just not fair. Period.

    And unfairness of our tax structure is especially frustrating to me when I hear Republican politicians stand there and say time and again

    We can not raise taxes - sure you can, the wealthy need to be taxed more.

    Our problem is not a tax problem, but a spending problem - NO, its both a tax AND a spending problem.

    You insight Jill is helpful. I should do a better job here of giving basic information as to the inequities in our tax structure. That's one of the primary frustrations with my Republican Party, and I haven't done a good enough job laying out the case for why I think is it so dumb of Republicans to not be looking at the revenue side of the equation - with an eye to not only raising more revenues, but shifting the burden to those who have won the most economically over the last decade - the very rich.

    Thank you for your comments Jill. Insightful. Helpful.