Clayton, good response. Don't agree with all but like you open response. I added a few comments
1. You're right that Obama tabled the Debt Commission. So did all of Congress. The only ones interested in the conclusions of that committee were the committee members themselves. Shame on most of them for not taking this seriously.
However, the U.S. is experiencing historically low borrowing rates. A severe recession/stalled recovery is not the time to move to austerity on debt. That is a mid-term or long-term goal once short-term growth is stabilized. The U.S. should be borrowing money to stimulate the economy in the short term while making plans for long-term deficit reduction. Unfortunately, with 2, 4, and 6 year terms, no one is interested in the long-term, just scoring political points.
-- Didn't say drastic measures, but long term comprehensive plan needs to be developed but no one has the will power. Doesn't serve their purpose to get re-elected. Both parties. The borrowing to stimulate the economy doesn't work. If it did we should borrow 100 trillion because the return will be greater than the amount borrowed. We have been borrowing for 4 years and seen a stagnant economy. No proof that doing what we did saved us from worse. Just spin to justify more borrowing and spending.
2. Entitlements are an issue--one that has been exacerbated by poor financial planning by Congress (and the presidents who propose budgets). You're right, it's a bipartisan thing. It doesn't help that Congress has been borrowing from SS surpluses for some time while investing in the upper classes, thus leaving more to fall into the lower classes and in need of a safety net. Of course, during a recession, spending in these areas will rise. It's cyclical.
-- Investing in upper classes? Doesn't really make sense when 62% of all government spending is on entitlements. Agree that we should expect increase in recession and obviously we need to spend in this area. However can't act like we borrowed to give to the upper class.
As for state pensions, most states underfunded their pension systems despite their legal obligation to pay. This was contracted labor and you can't blame police and teachers for wanting what is contractually owed to them, especially given that this was supposed to be part of the contract for public service--lower short-term wages but good pensions. If you compare pensions to private sector ones from twenty years back, they weren't that much better either. The private sector has used this as a way to cut costs and increase profits.
-- Government entities are not required to report future liabilities and the unfunded portion. Public companies have been required too for years because it gives a better reporting of the future liabilities and the financial condition of a company. Gov't doesn't do it because they don't want the taxpayer to know the liability and rebel. All contracts have a life and are renegotiated periodically. Both parties need some protection because economic conditions change. Not sure why government employees think they are entitled to a different arrangement than the rest of us. Just doesn't make sense to me that we have government employees retiring in their late 40's and early 50s and receiving a pension for 30-40 years. The system wasn't designed to work that way and we surely can't afford to continue asking the taxpayer to fund these increases. Businesses found out that they couldn't afford to continue the pension plans, so they made a business design to move to 401k type plans. As a business you have taxes, insurance, benefits, etc increasing you have to cut cost somewhere if you want to survive. Remember the consumer/customer is buying from the cheapest provider (ie China, India, etc) and not US companies.
3. Somewhat agreed. Except to say that Mitch McConnell held a meeting for Senate Rs in which he laid out his plan to oppose every piece of D legislation and to make Obama a one-term president. Also, racism. I grew up in the Deep South, returned there after college/graduate school, and the racism was far more open than in any other period of my life.
5. Come on--you know that "you didn't build that" was talking about roads and bridges. I won't challenge you on your feelings of Obama not being pro-business, but that's a cheap shot.
-- Nope, but that was his way out of the comment. Read the speech in full. He really lashes out at small businesses several times. In this economy why wouldn't you say things to lift us up and encourage us to do more (ie expand our business, hire people, etc). No he just wanted to talk about we didn't do anything on our own and should pay more taxes. Guy is just out of touch.
6. Mostly agreed. But I think the healthcare industry demonstrates that the private sector can be very inefficient as well. Especially when it is concerned with enriching its stockholders/executives. Having to choose between a government bureaucrat and a capitalist making decisions about my healthcare is an impossible choice. We can do better than single-payer. Our nation is too large and diverse to make that efficient. It can be done, but not in the current political climate. I don't see real solutions on the horizon.
-- You are dead on. I don't know if their is a solution.
7. The social classes have been pitted against one another since 1776. This is an even more powerful force in our nation's history than racism. In fact, it has been one of the driving factors behind racism (see Reconstruction and the way wealthy white men used Southern racism to pit poor whites against poor blacks and entrench their own power).
-- Agreed. As a successful small business owner I'm just tired of hearing on the negative comments from the current administration .
Dirty politics: Frankly, I don't see the calls for Romney's tax returns or questioning his business strategies or employment (that retroactive retirement is pretty shady, even though it didn't have to be if he had just told MA the truth in the first place) that dirty. Not yet, at least. He's running on his business record, and those are all fair game for that. He should just own it instead of playing to whatever he thinks the people he's talking to want to hear. He's clearly a very good businessman, but I don't see him making the case that his way of doing business will be good for a nation, just for a few.
-- Agree somewhat. However businesses being successful leads to hiring the unemployed, more payroll taxes being paid to shore up deficits, more tax dollars to pay down debt.
Obama should talk about what has worked and hasn't worked. He's hiding behind Romney right now, but that will likely change once we get passed this phase of the election cycle. Presidential campaigns last so long these days that both sides have to fill up 24-hour cable news with something or be irrelevant. It's terrible, awful, and immoral, but that's how the system works. (We need serious campaign reform, more than just on the financing issue.)
-- Agree 100%.
Your definition of insanity doesn't hold water. It's an old cliché. However, I agree with it. The last four years haven't gone well. But we can't just look to the U.S. for causes. It's a globalized economy. Anything the U.S. has done to gain ground in the last two years has been undercut by the Eurozone and the slowing of China's development. Our recovery wouldn't have been strong without those things, but it wouldn't have been this weak. We should be thankful that we aren't suffering more, especially given how deep the hole was that we dug.
-- My expectations where not for a quick recovery. However their is no proof that what we did had any positive impact on the economy. Again just spin to justify the excessive spending over the last 8 years for that matter. Yes both administrations. The real problem is we have no long term plan and I'm not sure either party has an interest in developing one.