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post #31 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-01-2008, 04:40 PM
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Name one what? A city/area that became prosperous without re-routing a river? Or prosperity without federal help? I know that the first city that I would name, you'll have a list of federal projects handy that they've received, so I won't feed you. Nor will I agree that the federal government was required to take and give back the funding for those projects for them to happen . . .
The first city in America that was built with the assistance of federal funds was Washington DC. Until the mid 1770's, most of the others were built by private enterprise, sanction by some royalty or other across the pond and out of sight. Out of mind. After the 1770's most of the rest were built by private enterprise despite royalty and despite Washington until the 1870's, when corrupt Republicans in Washington gave railroad barons our land to pay for their railroad. It's been getting worse ever since.

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The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama

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post #32 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-01-2008, 05:12 PM
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Name one what? A city/area that became prosperous without re-routing a river? Or prosperity without federal help? I know that the first city that I would name, you'll have a list of federal projects handy that they've received, so I won't feed you. Nor will I agree that the federal government was required to take and give back the funding for those projects for them to happen . . .
It wasn't meant as a trap. It was meant to point out that ALL of our cities and areas of growth have grown because of some form of Federal funding that just would not have been available in the same level had it been state or local funded.

Whether Railroads as Bot mentioned or canals [though some of those were private] or the Federal Highway System, Military Bases, Land Grant Universities, Airport expansions, Port development, Rural Electric [and TVA], thousands of water projects, the list is endless.

And none of this list is that annoying "waste" that one dislikes so much. We all like the convenience of flying into Fargo when it is needed or shipping from the Port of Cincinnati to Chennai or having that FedEx package move effortlessly from Seattle to Lexington in 12 hours. We like the ability to drive, without hassle from Key West to Bremerton WA with GPS, Weather Radio and no tolls.

COTUS was written in a simpler time when this country had under FOUR MILLION people, most all farming, many illiterate and had a life expectancy of a bit over 42. Oh, and we had SLAVES to handle much of the cost intensive work that later had to be picked up by cities, states and the Fed.

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post #33 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-01-2008, 05:18 PM
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No, those are NOT the two choices.

If you look at how earmarks are distributed, I believe you will find that most ARE overseen by state and local governments, not all simply pointed directly at specific dubious projects. That is my point completely. There are TWO different issues. One, the normal earmarks that go through process once funds are granted and the other the little [or not so little] bridges to nowhere, boat ramps and Prairie Parkways..

I am arguing that the Federal system of appropriations has to be cleaned up and monitored with COMPLETE transparency and monitoring. That process has started but is not complete by a long shot. Special interests have to be taken out of the process. But keep in mind that some of those alderman, town councilmen, state representatives, mayors, and governors are part of the "special interests" as they try and poach projects from one district to another for their area's benefit.

As long as money and politicians are in the mix there is not ever going to be a perfect system. But it seems to me that when you reduce the number of politicians you reduce the number of possible problems [and make it easier to monitor their ethics and projects]. You also gain economy of scale and reduce the bureaucratic costs associated with what would be a multiplication of administrations if each state started having to deal with all the things the Federal government now funds.

Keeping the system as streamlined as possible is the best way to monitor it and work on reducing the corruption.
Of course there is always going to be graft and corruption in politics, but local politicians are on a shorter leash, have a better understanding of the needs and resources of the local areas and constituents, and (here's the kicker), it is their job to tax and apply revenues to meet the needs of their local constituents. I understand the Phoenix example and agree that it represents a worthwhile and wildly successful application of federal funds. I have no problem with that, or the distribution of federal funds to help rebuild NOLA, or to meet requirements of federal disaster relief in general, or other high-minded projects with substantial federal implications. But that isn't what we're talking about here. We're talking about a system of paybacks and political favoritism used and abused to promote and finance local projects without regard to their merit or lack thereof. It's pure adulterated horseshit, and it needs to go.

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In a budget the size of the US's there is just not time to discuss, either in committee or on the floor each and every spending item. The physical amount of time just does not exist.
This continues to be a poor argument. We do have a system in place to consider each and every item, it is called local government.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #34 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-01-2008, 06:01 PM
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Of course there is always going to be graft and corruption in politics, but local politicians are on a shorter leash, have a better understanding of the needs and resources of the local areas and constituents, and (here's the kicker), it is their job to tax and apply revenues to meet the needs of their local constituents...

... But that isn't what we're talking about here. We're talking about a system of paybacks and political favoritism used and abused to promote and finance local projects without regard to their merit or lack thereof. It's pure adulterated horseshit, and it needs to go.

This continues to be a poor argument. We do have a system in place to consider each and every item, it is called local government.
No argument at all from me that there needs to be a quick and severe correction to the system of earmarks of paybacks and political favoritism.

On the other hand, when we also call many good projects "earmarks" [some of which just don't fit within local government venue] we cloud the issue of just what an earmark is. When some are good and some are bad yet all are called the same thing we end up with a potential revolt that breaks as much as it fixes.

An example of the complication. Local governments can deal with their own mass transit purchases. Each LG goes to the different bus manufactures and makes an RFQ. Specs and quantities and prices are presented based on that local government's RFQ. Now if each LG is going to deal themselves, they have to either finance the buses through banks or float bonds which require time and money on top of the costs of the buses. Additionally since the LG might only be buying 4-5 buses they might not get the best deal, more money. Further, sending out all the RFQs for each and every project requires a staff of purchasing managers. On the receiving end each bus manufacture now has to hire new people to deal with 3000 municipalities sending in RFQs annually, more money.

With the current system each LG has a budget, attaches to a matching grant [earmark], has a national price schedule from the different manufacturers and levels of processes are eliminated.

Using the local/state model, that same process is repeated for EVERY item in local and state government. If you want to push toward Socialism, this would be a great way to do it. The number of extra people required to fulfill the extra administrivia would be mindnumbing.

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post #35 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-01-2008, 09:06 PM
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It wasn't meant as a trap. It was meant to point out that ALL of our cities and areas of growth have grown because of some form of Federal funding that just would not have been available in the same level had it been state or local funded.

Whether Railroads as Bot mentioned or canals [though some of those were private] or the Federal Highway System, Military Bases, Land Grant Universities, Airport expansions, Port development, Rural Electric [and TVA], thousands of water projects, the list is endless.

And none of this list is that annoying "waste" that one dislikes so much. We all like the convenience of flying into Fargo when it is needed or shipping from the Port of Cincinnati to Chennai or having that FedEx package move effortlessly from Seattle to Lexington in 12 hours. We like the ability to drive, without hassle from Key West to Bremerton WA with GPS, Weather Radio and no tolls.

COTUS was written in a simpler time when this country had under FOUR MILLION people, most all farming, many illiterate and had a life expectancy of a bit over 42. Oh, and we had SLAVES to handle much of the cost intensive work that later had to be picked up by cities, states and the Fed.
That is exactly the argument Republicans made before & after the Civil War. They subverted the constitution and made it happen. Piglets across the United States have been enjoying the teat when they can get it in their mouths. Democrats were opposed to it for about 30 years or so but they lost their virginity (or saw the light) and started squealing in the barnyard even louder than the Republican blue-bloods.

The Democrats felt self-righteous and sanctimonious because instead of just making a few rich people richer by stealing from the landed taxpayers, Democrats spread the pool wider and shallower, stealing from larger and larger numbers to pay a larger and larger pool. That method bought them 50 years of dominance. Reagan and other Republicans quite fighting it and began buying it, thus splitting the Democrat Party.

Which herd of swine is the more morally bankrupt? You decide.

B

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #36 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-01-2008, 09:30 PM
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That is exactly the argument Republicans made before & after the Civil War. They subverted the constitution and made it happen. Piglets across the United States have been enjoying the teat when they can get it in their mouths. Democrats were opposed to it for about 30 years or so but they lost their virginity (or saw the light) and started squealing in the barnyard even louder than the Republican blue-bloods.

The Democrats felt self-righteous and sanctimonious because instead of just making a few rich people richer by stealing from the landed taxpayers, Democrats spread the pool wider and shallower, stealing from larger and larger numbers to pay a larger and larger pool. That method bought them 50 years of dominance. Reagan and other Republicans quite fighting it and began buying it, thus splitting the Democrat Party.

Which herd of swine is the more morally bankrupt? You decide.

B
Both sides have much to be concerned about with the ever expanding government but it HAS been the Republican dominated side that tends to charge their growth and largess while "saying" they are cutting taxes. I am sure Dracula had a good line too.

The problem is, we are in no position to go back to 1790, or 1861 or 1920 or even 1966 [four landmark years in America's fiscal history]. We have the system that we have and the JOB is to restore it to a workable condition where it is the most practicable for everyone. Right now it is NOT.

Moving everything to States level, while reducing Federal expenditures would increase State expenditures, add interwoven administrative layers as state to state infrastructure issues required central management. It would also cause state shopping by citizens as they started looking for better value. States would also try and structure their taxes to either keep or exclude citizens.

Corporations would have increased costs as wage structures would change and prejudices against workers in high labor cost states would change the dynamics of corporate America.

In other words, nearly everything about this country is set up for a centralized fiscal system. That is, in itself not a bad thing. It has many cost advantages.

What has to be done is clean house of the ethics and moral corruption inherent in a system that has gone unchecked for decades. Once that house cleaning occurs costs go further down, systems flow better and, at least in steady state taxes would either stay the same or go down instead of start rising to accommodate the high interests of our Debt and the quickly arriving boomer load on the system [much of which they put THEIR money into].

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post #37 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 08:04 PM
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. . . COTUS was written in a simpler time when this country had under FOUR MILLION people, most all farming, many illiterate and had a life expectancy of a bit over 42. Oh, and we had SLAVES to handle much of the cost intensive work that later had to be picked up by cities, states and the Fed.
Good reason to ignore it, eh?

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post #38 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 08:12 PM
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Both sides have much to be concerned about with the ever expanding government but it HAS been the Republican dominated side that tends to charge their growth and largess while "saying" they are cutting taxes. I am sure Dracula had a good line too.

The problem is, we are in no position to go back to 1790, or 1861 or 1920 or even 1966 [four landmark years in America's fiscal history]. We have the system that we have and the JOB is to restore it to a workable condition where it is the most practicable for everyone. Right now it is NOT.

Moving everything to States level, while reducing Federal expenditures would increase State expenditures, add interwoven administrative layers as state to state infrastructure issues required central management. It would also cause state shopping by citizens as they started looking for better value. States would also try and structure their taxes to either keep or exclude citizens.

Corporations would have increased costs as wage structures would change and prejudices against workers in high labor cost states would change the dynamics of corporate America.

In other words, nearly everything about this country is set up for a centralized fiscal system. That is, in itself not a bad thing. It has many cost advantages.

What has to be done is clean house of the ethics and moral corruption inherent in a system that has gone unchecked for decades. Once that house cleaning occurs costs go further down, systems flow better and, at least in steady state taxes would either stay the same or go down instead of start rising to accommodate the high interests of our Debt and the quickly arriving boomer load on the system [much of which they put THEIR money into].
You will not fix the centralized system, Bear, and those layers of administratium that you fear from decentralization already exist, they'd just have more governing to do. There are no delusions about what we have today nor about snapping our fingers and dismantling it overnight. But, a severe reduction in the size and scope of the federal government, it's power, it's control, is badly needed in this country. And, as long as people believe that it must be that way or that it cannot change, then it won't.

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post #39 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 08:16 PM
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^ Yup.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #40 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 08:28 PM
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Good reason to ignore it, eh?
No, good reason to respect it for what it is but to understand what it is not. It is an outline and roadmap, not a recipe and specific formula.

As a dynamic document it has tremendous latitude that is expected to be addressed by the two houses of Congress as they see fit to insure that the needs of the growing nation are met. And it has an Executive with Veto power to check a Congress that might over step and a Supreme Court to be the final arbiter of the laws passed by that Congress.

That is the coolest part of our Democratic Republic. We have a dynamic living government, not a static instrument.

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