Friday, July 08, 2011

Senate Democrats draft debt-reduction plan

Senate Democrats have drafted a sweeping debt-reduction plan that would slice $4 trillion from projected borrowing over the next decade without touching the expensive health and retirement programs targeted by President Obama.

Instead, Senate Democrats are proposing to stabilize borrowing through sharp cuts at the Pentagon and other government agencies, as well as $2 trillion in new taxes, primarily on families earning more than $1 million year, according to a copy of the plan obtained by The Washington Post.

With debt-reduction talks under way between Obama and congressional leaders, Senate Democrats are unlikely to adopt the blueprint. However, it has gained broad support among those eager to chart a path to solving the nation’s budget problems without making politically painful cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

“The very strong feeling was we needed to get this into the conversation, because it provides an alternative view,” said a Senate Democrat familiar with the blueprint, who spoke on condition of anonymity because it has not been publicly released. “What’s striking is how modest the changes need to be to get us back on track.”
Read the rest here.


Cayo Joe said...

One supposes that the "track" the Dems wish to put us back on is the one which runs off the cliff. Their "plan" is predictable liberal dogma: soak the rich and cut the military while continuing (and expanding when no one's looking) big government welfare programs that are the source of the massive debt and deficits.

Are Dems really so dense, obtuse, and innumerate? Certainly there is a good deal of housecleaning to be done at DoD with respect to what we're spending tax dollars on however, the military budget as a fraction of GDP has been in decline for some time, especially when one looks at the non-war expenditures. And, just who do the Dems think provide the jobs that drive the economy? And who pays of the taxes already? The rich, of course. The top one percent of earners pay 40% of the taxes and the bottom 40% pay nothing at all with many actually getting government handouts in the form of EIC.

We might limp along with a hollow military for a decade or more. We suffered through the Carter malaise but survived. But the really rather tired bromides about "throwing grandma under the bus" and getting the rich to "pay their fair share" aren't going to work anymore because the people who know how to create wealth (as opposed to those in Congress who inherited it, married it, envy it, or just despise it) won't suffer being bled white. They'll take their businesses and jobs somewhere -- anywhere -- the parasites and vampires of government are less of a burden.

Which always leads me back to the question: As Orthodox Christians, what do scripture, church dogma, and the patristics have to say about government? The nattering liberal wing of the Orthodoxy seems to believe that government is just charity by another name. I think that charity can only be charity if it is completely voluntary and free of the threat of force which taxation and government spending clearly is not. I've pressed a notable GOARCH bishop on this several times but he steadfastly refuses to answer directly.

Any thoughts???

Visibilium said...

Orthodoxy says nothing about government. Your bishop was correct in not answering.

In the Orthodox scheme of things, the State in the Church/State symphony functions as the representative of the laity. Recent Orthodox memories about Tsars and Emperors and such are strong, but Orthodox republics have existed as well. In the Roman Empire, the Emperor was seen by many as the protector and guarantor of citizens' rights, not a tyrant.

Orthodoxy has historically conformed to whatever State apparatus has existed, except when it's impossible, and believes that good citizenship is a Christian duty.

I happen to agree with you that State-sponsored welfare is injurious to Christian charity, since such involuntary welfare crowds out private charitable spending.

Cayo Joe said...

I should have posed the question thusly: Where in scripture, dogma, or patristics is it written that we should look to government (or the crown, the empire, or "Rome" in any guise) to do charitable works? I posed the question because this particular bishop (not my own but a very popular and "hip" one) is forever crowing about this or that government program and seems to support the whole socialist/progressivist agenda, e.g., welfare programs, progressive taxation, socialized medicine, etc. During many contentious online discussions I asked repeatedly where it is written that we should "look to Rome" to solve our social problems, how it is that taxation can be viewed as charity, and whether or not Judgment/Salvation will come collectively or individually. I don't perceive that as a terribly difficult question for a bishop to answer. His reticence might reasonably be construed as evidence that he has permitted Manhattan liberalism to color his theology.

Visibilium said...

He's expressing his personal views. He's probably well aware that his views may differ from Truth, but some bishops aren't so aware. Telling an old-country cleric that you disagreed with his sermon would get you bounced pretty quickly.