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America's Hidden Government

  1. Nov 8, 2003 #1
    This is not a conspiracy theory, just so you know. This is all based on the truth of how American government works. And, hopefully, this is a non-partisan issue that we can all agree on.

    Critics of government spending and taxation complain that we should cut programs like Social Security, public schools, and Medicaid
    in order to balance the budget. Proponents of social programs often have to raise taxes to fund those programs. What no one really talks about, to my knowledge, is how both sides in Congress pad the laws they pass with completely unrelated tax loopholes, spending programs, and wasteful ideas. For instance, the $87 billion for Iraq included 8.5 billion for a free trade meeting in Tampa, Florida. The PATRIOT Act apparrently included provisions about the environment, tort reform, and other peripheral or unrelated issues. I'm sure there is as much done this way by one party as the other.
    This causes two main problems. The first is obvious: to vote for a valid appropriation, politicians wind up approving spending that is 'under the radar'. The second is more insidious, and frankly more damaging to democracy, IMO. A politician can be smeared for voting against a bill that supports something positive like after-school programs, because of riders that will divert large amounts of the spending towards less savory programs, or includes legislation that some people thing is ethically wrong. For instance(I am making this up, but I have read of real life examples that I can look up, if needed), a bill promoting expanding benefits to veterans can include a rider that lowers environmental standards.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2003 #2

    GENIERE

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    You are absolutely correct. No sarcasm this time. It has been a part of our political process since day one. Like all things in life, it has a good side and a bad side. One pol may say to the other; “help me build a highway and I’ll help you build a bridge”. It’s the excesses that are the cause for concern. In general the funds make up a tiny part of the federal budget.

    It is one of the reasons I prefer to have most tax money go to the states rather than the feds. I won’t continue as you asked for non-partisan views.
     
  4. Nov 8, 2003 #3
    I think we have gone way past the point of tax dollars going to the states exclusively...we are the United States, after all. Plus, any good free-marketeer would tell you that you get a better rate on things in bulk, right?
    That is neither here nor there...politicians are accountable to the people, and this sort of backdoor lawmaking puts them a step ahead of the power of the people.
     
  5. Nov 8, 2003 #4

    GENIERE

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    The fact that pols are accountable to the people is partly responsible for the riders. They must bring home the bacon so to speak

    Do you think any representative government in the world operates differently?

    I can respond negatively to that comment if you wish but that would go off topic.
     
  6. Nov 8, 2003 #5
    Bring home the bacon for WHO?!? The people, or the tremendous minority who can donate thousands to a campaign?
     
  7. Nov 8, 2003 #6
    BTW, feel more than welcome to start your own thread on taxes going solely to the states...that could be pretty interesting.
     
  8. Nov 9, 2003 #7

    GENIERE

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    No. They bring home the bacon to unions, bar associations, civil servants, and all who earn a living by doling out government largess to insure the less fortunate remain dependant on them.

    As far as a new thread, it’s too late and tomorrow is football day. I’ll do it soon. Please do not miss-quote me; where in my post did I state taxes go solely to the states?

    Back Sunday PM.
     
  9. Nov 9, 2003 #8
    Thanks for lying again...see you tomorrow!
     
  10. Nov 9, 2003 #9
    This is called pork barreling, or grafting. It accounts for 8 billion dollars of spending on average a year. If i were president, the first thing i would do is tell congress and the nation that i wouldnt sign one bill, no matter how important, until it was cleansed of all pork.

    The problem is, everyone loves pork barreling. A recent piece of pork in indiana cost the nation 6 billion dollars (a new highway). In my own state, a pedestrian bridge is being made to cross the Missouri river(20 million). You see, our congressmen like to attach these little things to cash in the votes next election. They spend United States money for State purposes and thus, win election, because the people who have been given the gift are also the ones who are voting. The ones who get screwed (the other 49 states) are the ones who dont have the power to take down the dirty congressmen.

    My 3 cents.
     
  11. Nov 9, 2003 #10
    Yep...this is one of those issues that crosses party lines...I think that this is also a good reason for campaign finance reform. If politicians weren't indebted to their financers, maybe we could get some real representation.
     
  12. Nov 9, 2003 #11

    russ_watters

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    That's called "pork" and its talked about all the time. Not sure what you mean by "hidden."
     
  13. Nov 9, 2003 #12
    seriously, 87 billion dollars is crap compared to 8 billion a year over decades... We would be able to handle war a little easier if we didnt have such a tight budget... But what is the point, we are only wishing, nothing will stop it... That is, until im president.
     
  14. Nov 9, 2003 #13
    Well, you add $87 billion to the $100 million wasted her, the half billion there, and it quickly adds up. Add to all of that the idiotic tax cuts, and the moronic deficit spending, and you have a recipe for disaster.
     
  15. Nov 9, 2003 #14
    Stumbled unto this....

    A Little Perspective on $87 billion.
    or "A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon it starts to add up to some real money."

    http://www.crunchweb.net/87billion/
     
  16. Nov 14, 2003 #15
    I agree with you zero something must be done. Thats why I am running for 2016 Presidental Election, or one that takes place closer to when I turn 35. I want to be able to listen to people such as your self and others smarter than I, in order to Save the United States from Self Distruction. What do you say?

    No more pork

    Clean Enviroment

    Free Education for all

    Everyone works and has a job

    Standardized Health Care for all

    Anyone who has a job has a home

    Those are just some things that I will do as President of the United States of America.
     
  17. Nov 14, 2003 #16

    Njorl

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    I don't think you can ascribe pork barrelling to one party or another, or to corporations over labor. When the Marine Corps and the DoD didn't want the "Osprey", congress insisted they have it. The company that builds it benefited. The workers who build it benefited. All other companies and workers who could have done something useful with the money suffered. The marines who died in the damn thing's crashes suffered most.

    Congress has to make deals to work. That is fine. When large segments of congress agree to support eachother's fairly popular measures that would not otherwise pass, that is how the system should work. Without compromise, nothing could ever be accomplished. What is disgusting and counterproductive is a large number of individual congressmen each agreeing not to shoot down eachother's pet projects that could not otherwise have a prayer of passing.

    Njorl
     
  18. Nov 14, 2003 #17
    The Osprey program is a perfect example of the way our government doesn't work. Wasn't there an aircraft that DID work, that the government could have invested in instead? Shouldn't that have been the criteria, instead of catering to an investor, or going for the lowest bidder?
    The military is probably the single worst 'criminal' spender I know of. When I was in the Marines, they were replacing the artillery ballistics computers, with a 'new' computer system that was obsolete when we got it. The damned things name originally included the word 'interim'...it was known to be only a stopgap until the Marines got the next newest system, that the Army was already starting to phase in. Why would you invest millions in a computer system, when you know going in that you will have to replace it within 3-4 years anyway, with another system that already exists? The same was true of the GPS system the Marines bought.
     
  19. Nov 14, 2003 #18

    selfAdjoint

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    There wasn't any alternative to the Osprey that could do what the Osprey does, convert from horizontal jet flight to Vertical take off and landing, and carry a company of men and equipment. That is what made the Marine Generals' eyes bug out, not corruption. Just look at how easy it is to shoot down Chinooks and Black Hawks (helicopters) in Iraq, because they fly so slow and low. And that's what the Osprey is supposed to replace, that's the tactical problem it's supposed to solve.
     
  20. Nov 14, 2003 #19

    Njorl

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    The Osprey is very hard to shoot down, what with it being grounded all the time.

    Njorl
     
  21. Nov 14, 2003 #20
    Ummmm...there is a huge difference between what the Osprey claimed to do, and what it actually does, which is fall out of the sky alot.
     
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