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ECONOMY: Are the stars really aligning?

Letter by Norm Eklund, Bonney Lake on Feb. 9, 2012 at 8:40 am with 68 Comments »
February 9, 2012 8:40 am

Regarding the recent report about the improvement in the economy, a few things come to mind. For example, as one skeptic observed, “The main reason for the existence of economists is to make astrology look respectable.”

Finally, if the economy is actually improving, why is there so much month left at the end of my money?

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  1. ManuelMartini says:

    As a banker told me, there are two roads to financial success. One is more money. The other is less debt

  2. Ahhh, occasionally Manuel and I agree.

    Ol’Norm may not be able to do anything about shortening the month, but there IS that possibility to bring more money in, and keep less from going out.

    Everyone cries about the national and world economy…..I concern myself with MY economy.

  3. ManuelMartini says:

    Oh, let’s not go that far, Dcr.

    The economy still sucks and is being manipulated by business for the purpose of selling the low income voters on the idea that it’s Obama’s fault.

    Regardless, I still have to be responsible for my part.

  4. C’mon now Dale….we could pass a law making all months February – that would shorten the months by 2 to 3 days each (except on Leap year when there would be one less day of savings)

  5. Cute letter. Nothing to argue about here though.

    Can’t we all just get along?

  6. We could also go back to a lunar of 13 month each 28 days long with a one-day New Year day (2 days for leap years).

  7. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Way to dance around the point, left wing economists of TNT LTE boards.

    BHO is telling everyone life is getting better, the economy is rolling along, unemployment is down. But the author, or most Americans, do not see it. Perhaps because the numbers are being worked a bit? How can millions falling out of the job market, way more than new jobs, be a good thing? This is all BHOs desired effect of 2 years unemployment.
    Guy sits on his couch for 2 years and he loses his ability to get employed.

    23% of Americans live off govt checks.

    3 years later this economy should be roaring. It is growing slowly in spite of BHOs failed policies.

  8. ManuelMartini says:

    “23% of Americans live off govt checks”

    How many of them are employees and elected officials or Social Security recipients?

    Newsmax is at it again.

  9. falkoja6 says:

    Dependency on Federal housing, health care, welfare and retirement programs accounts for the largest portion of the jump in dependence since 2001 — about a 60.7 percent increase in dependence on the Federal government.

    The percentage of people who do not pay Federal income taxes and who are not claimed as dependents by someone who does pay them, jumped from 14.8 percent in 1984 to 49.5 percent in 2009. In 1984, 34.8 million tax filers paid no taxes; in 2009, 151.7 million — nearly half of all Americans — paid nothing.

  10. alindasue says:

    ManuelMartini said, “How many of them are employees and elected officials or Social Security recipients?”

    How many of them are military? They are paid by government checks too.

  11. And, how many of them are employed by colleges and public school districts, which pay their employees with government checks as well?

  12. concernedtacoma7 says:

    1.45 mil active personnel, about the same number reserves. 1% of population if counted as one stat. Try again.

    The numbers do not match BHOs rhetoric. More people dependent on the govt, not including SS or govt employees than ever before.

    Sorry boys, his economic policies have made us all worse off and made more people dependent on big govt.

  13. sandblower says:

    It’s simple. concerned does not like our current President. He calls him names and vilifies his knowledge and understanding of complex issues because of that dislike. When he has no facts, which is often, he spouts the kind of stuff one hears from FOX or Newt or any of the other republicans who are running for office and most who are already in office. It’s almost a disease.
    The idea that Obama’s goals are a socialist plot qualifies as paranoia, big time.

  14. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Name calling? I call BS.

    Spouting facts is not paranoia. What do you call willful ignorance of facts?

    Attack the problems, which are lying politicians and a failed economic policy. Or attack me, but you just look like a fool who cannot debate facts.

  15. SwordofPerseus says:

    folkjo…

    As I read your comment I noticed that your numbers seemed inflated, or down-right wrong. I was right, you are full of beans. I googled the number of taxpayers and as I suspected there were only 142 million people who filed taxes in 2009. Here is a good idea, try only posting facts instead of made up crap, and you won’t look like an idiot then.

    The truth is out there and it will set your mind free.

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/25962.html

  16. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    As a result of a sustained effort on the part of the mainstream media and democrats to talk-down the then-robust economy (a drumbeat that was maintained from before the elections of 2004 right on up to the financial system collapse of September, 2008), fully 43% of Americans believed we were in a recession in 2006. I goes if you wish for and predict something long enough…

    The following link confirms this, and adds interesting perspective on how such a collaborative effort has been used by the MSM and Dems before, both to bolster data during the Clinton years, and talk down the economy during the Bush years:

    http://www.justfacts.com/news.economytalkfn.asp

    To a lesser extent than 0bama has, the article also details how the blame game was effectively used by George Bush (without the aid of the MSM) upon taking office in 2001.

    As I have said before, unlike the Dems and MSM, I am not one to root against the team just because I don’t like the coach. But neither am I in favor of extending his contract based on short term data from his own athletic department. It’s gonna’ take a lot more than 8+% unemployment and 2.8% growth in the GDP – for one quarter – to convince me that things will be getting better any time soon.

  17. Pacman33 says:

    The American public’s dependence on the federal government shot up 23% in just two years under President Obama, with 67 million now relying on some federal program. This progressive expansion of the American welfare state can only lead to a corruption of government and of self-serving voters.

    The leftist apologists of the welfare state and advocates of government dependence are the same rabble-rousers dividing Americans with the brazen rhetoric concerning ‘income gaps’ and ‘economic inequality’. Yet they only promote the widening in the separation of individual’s accumulation of wealth with their hypocritical, anti-American praise and promotion of American’s sacrificing independence for the dependence on an undependable government.

    As if the left needed another example of their irrational hypocrisy and collective double speak …..

  18. Pacman33 says:

    “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

    “Government can do something for the people only in proportion as it can do something to the people.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

    “I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

    “Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

    “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. That government is best which governs least.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

    “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

    I find it amazing that the founders of this nation could pound home the importance of a limited government almost to the point of annoyance, yet the left questions even disputes their wisdom despite evidence that their warnings could be more true.

  19. concernedtacoma7 says:

    The average person surviving on public assistance alone now makes more than the average worker!!! This is not right.

  20. muckibr says:

    con7, Would you cite your source so I can look it up and see what else it says, okay?

  21. took14theteam says:

    sayeth the sock puppet that never backs up his garbage.

    Been spot checking the site as of late (because I have better things to do with my time) and it appears that the M brothers have mellowed a little bit. I wonder if they got taken to the wood shed for their abuse of this site and otherwise annoyance?

    Just curious.

  22. muckibr says:

    I’m sure you’re not referring to me tookybird, because I back-up my comments more than almost anyone else on these blogs. I can prove that by directing you many of my various comments.

    As far as mellowing, again you must be talking about someone else tookybird, because I am always mellow. I find debating these issuesto be a very relaxing pastime. Hence, I enjoy the opportunity to share my views and knowledge with others here, even you tooky!

    con7, I asked nicely if you would provide a link or source for your comment, “The average person surviving on public assistance alone now makes more than the average worker!!! This is not right.”

    I’d like to see what else it says about that issue.

    Thanks!

  23. concernedtacoma7 says:

    I heard it on the radio. Keep your head on, it was clip played from Fox. I do not recall the source. I am traveling and could not find a recent article.

  24. Pacman33 says:

    muckibr said –
    “Would you cite your source so I can look it up”

    They probably don’t feature it on your leftist blogaganda sites that you eat up every word of their lies. So convinced you post links to these PerversionOfTheTruth.com websites as if it doesn’t completely expose your lack of credibility.

    Yet where are your references from motherjones, mediamatters, dailykos, moveon about the White House’s attack on the Constitution and Religion with their birth-control mandate? All those sources of your’s only lie and distort that subject, but not the others?

    Get real. Get a clue. What ever hypocrisy smells like, you must reek of it.

    http://caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/08/what-does-it-mean-when-half-of-americans-live-in-a-household-that-gets-government-assistance/

    http://news.yahoo.com/extinguishing-government-dependency-starts-er-185300605.html

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/72608.html

  25. ManuelMartini says:

    “I heard it on the radio. Keep your head on, it was clip played from Fox.”

    Sooprize, Sooprize, Sooprize (to quote Gomer Pyle)

  26. alindasue says:

    Pacman33,

    Politico may be a relatively neutral news source, but the Heritage Foundation is not. All three of your links get their figures from the same Heritage Foundation report. The editorial posted on CNN also includes everyone who uses medicare or collects their Social Security – things that they had to pay into to receive – as part of the people receiving “government assistance”.

    Even if I disregard the obvious bias of the Heritage Foundation, the numbers for their figures just don’t add up.

    Current TANF benefits for a family of three with no other income is $478 per month. Current SSI disability payments are $698 per month. The average household on assistance received $289.61 in SNAP food benefits.

    http://www.dshs.wa.gov/onlinecso/tanf_support_services.shtml
    http://www.snaptohealth.org/snap/snap-frequently-asked-questions/#benefit

    They get medical benefits (although most adults don’t have vision or dental coverage), so let’s go with a figure just over what our family pays out of my husband’s checks per month for medical: about $500.

    So using the higher SSI figure: 698 + 289.61 + 500 = $1487.61 or just under $18,000 per year. That doesn’t even come close to the $32,748 cited in the Heritage Foundation’s report.

    concernedtacoma7, did your “23% of Americans live off govt checks” come from the Heritage Foundation also?

  27. ReadNLearn says:

    Obama will save us!

    That’s a joke that just stays, well, a joke.

  28. alindasue – thank you for doing the research.

    pacman’s statistics are akin to counting every fruit that is consumed by American’s and then citing it as evidence that pomegranate consumption is overwhelmingly high – ignoring the reality that bananas and apples are the largest part of that number.

    What is really sad is the folks who rally around such numbers (“damn those ows welfare cases turning our country into socialism!”) and then complain that their Social Security check hasn’t had a big enough of a COLA to cover their Medicare increases.

  29. ReadNLearn – who wrote anything akin to “Obama will save us”?

    Oh…..right…..straw men are your forte.

  30. The economy is improving! In 2010 Mitt Romney said it would. Mitt Romney said President Obama would do everything he could to make it improve, and Mitt Romney has recently said it is improving.

    “I think President Obama will be difficult to beat in 2012, because I think an incumbent has extraordinary advantages,” Romney said in 2010. “He will do everything he can to get the economy going back again, and most likely — at least in my view — the economy will be coming back.” He continued: “Recessions do end. The economy recovers. It always has. It always will.”

    http://swampland.time.com/2012/02/06/what-will-mitt-romney-talk-about-if-the-economy-gets-better/

    “…Romney has, at various times, offered differing critiques of Obama’s economic record. Depending on the moment, he has either said that Obama’s policies made the recession worse, and that Obama’s overall record is as a job destroyer; or he has acknowledged that the economy has improved on Obama’s watch, in spite of his policies.”

    “Today, (Feb 3, 2012) responding in Nevada to this morning’s good economic news, Romney managed to make both these claims at the same campaign stop.

    First he said:
    “This recovery has been slower than it should have been, people have been suffering for longer than they should have had to suffer. Will it get better? I think it’ll get better. I don’t know how long it’s going to take,” Romney said at a business roundtable outside Reno. “ We got good news this morning on job creation in January. I hope that continues, we get people back to work.”

    In other words, yes, the economy is improving. But then he said:
    “This has been a tough time. And I know the president didn’t cause this downturn — this recession. But he didn’t make it better either. He made it worse,” Romney said.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/romneys-incoherence-about-the-economy-ctd/2012/02/03/gIQA7UGKnQ_blog.html

    But Mitt said in 2010 that President Obama would work to make it better.

    Sing along with me: “They call him: Flipper! Flipper! Flipper! Faster than lightning. No one you see, Flips faster than he!” (Original the TV heme song from the show “Flipper” about a pet dolphin.)

    So, why does Norm have more month left after he runs out of money? Simply because he’s spending too much money, and earning too little, and that’s not an economic thing, that’s called personal budgeting.

  31. BTW Thanks beerBoy!

  32. Pacman33 says:

    What ever hypocrisy smells like, you must reek of it.

  33. Pacman33 says:

    alindasue – thank you for distorting legitimate and accurate research.

    “The editorial posted on CNN also includes everyone who uses medicare or collects their Social Security – things that they had to pay into to receive – as part of the people receiving “government assistance”.

    Look at our Nation Debt. These people did NOT pay for their government assistance. They ARE dependent on the government and they are passing their WELFARE to the next generation. Nice try. Actually, nevermind it was pathetic a pitiful.

    The leftist apologists of the welfare state and advocates of government dependence are the same rabble-rousers dividing Americans with the brazen rhetoric concerning ‘income gaps’ and ‘economic inequality’.

    Yet they only promote the widening in the separation of individual’s accumulation of wealth with their hypocritical, anti-American praise and promotion of American’s sacrificing independence for the dependence on an undependable government.

  34. alindasue says:

    Pacmann33,

    They started collecting the social security payroll tax in 1935. A person would have to be mighty old to have not paid into Social Security his or her entire working career. A person (spouse) has to contribute to the system in order to collect it – and, thanks to Ronald Reagan, even if someone does pay into it, he has to also not be collecting a railway worker or postal employee pension, despite having paid into both.

    What our legislators did with the budget over the decades is another matter.

    The retirees paid into the system being told they could collect at age 65. It’s not “welfare” to allow them to do so.

  35. alindasue says:

    By the way, Pacman33, what “legitimate and accurate research” did I distort? I merely countered the Heritage Foundation’s “legitimate and accurate” facts with some of my own provided by the state’s websites.

  36. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Good research, but you left out many direct and indirect forms of assistance.

    Just look at the total govt outlays to individuals and look at govt revenues. Divide the first number by those getting assistance and the second number by the number of people that actually pay income taxes.

  37. con7, you are too funny! Complimenting someone on “Good research” when you never do any of your own. You still have not provided any cited source for the Fox quote you say you heard. You probably just made it up. You should really try to so some research yourself once in a while. You might learn something.

    I have provided references above that prove Mitt Romney even thinks the economy is getting better because of what President Obama is doing. Enough said!

  38. Divide the first number by those getting assistance and the second number by the number of people that actually pay income taxes.

    Payroll taxes pay for Social Security and Medicare – anyone who gets a paycheck pays those taxes…..Sheesh….you dig yourself into a hole and you just keep digging.

  39. concernedtacoma7 says:

    http://www.heritage.org/research/factsheets/2012/02/index-of-dependence-on-government-no-slowdown-in-sight

    Here you go, Muck. Yes, it is a heritage link. But that does not change the numbers.

    In 2010 if you lived off of the govt, you had more take home money then a wage earner.

  40. alindasue says:

    concernedtacoma7,

    A wage earner working a full time minimum wage job takes home at least $1000 per month after taxes and insurance. A person receiving TANF or SSI (as you say, living off the government) receives at most between $600 and $980, including SNAP food supplement values.

    Wage earners earning minimum wage still low enough income to qualify for SNAP and medical assistance, by the way. A person earning a more average wage of $12.00/hour takes home closer to $2000.

    The point is that the take home pay of even full time wage earner making only minimum wage is not less than a person on public assistance. You (or the Heritage Foundation) repeatedly saying that it does, doesn’t make it so.

  41. Pacman33 says:

    These people did NOT pay for their government assistance, paying for a portion of SS and Medicare is NOT paying for it. They ARE dependent on the government and they are passing their WELFARE to the next generation.

    Look at our Nation Debt if you think people ‘paid for’ SS and Medicare.

    That is the same as saying welfare isn’t government assistance because a welfare recipient paid taxes at some point in time.

  42. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Thank you Pacman.

    As he said, look at all govt outlays to individuals (this figure does not include military as their pay comes from a seperate part of the budget).

    The myth that individuals pay for their benefits is total BS.

    Why is their such a strong defense of the entitlement society from the left? It goes against everything that is American. It goes against common sense. It is emotion (charity and jealousy) over reason.

  43. alindasue says:

    concernedtacoma7,

    Putting aside the whole Social Security issue, I still have to ask:

    How does setting up temporary safety nets for people who’ve lost jobs or assistance for people who for one reason or another can’t work “[go] against everything that is American”?

    “Common sense” is a very subjective term that means different things to each person, so I can understand you saying, “It goes against common sense.” However, since when has it been “against everything that is American” to PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE (See preamble to The Constitution) of the American people?

  44. Pacman33 says:

    After generations of propagandizing Statism, the goodness of government, intervention as a necessary means to equity and prosperity, and the need to invade and manage virtually every aspect of our lives, a majority of voters believe the myth. Liberals (Progressives as they now like to be called), despite deliberate distortion of the Founders’ original intent, used the “general welfare” clause in the preamble to the US Constitution as justification for a social welfare state.

    Bribery, by way of an expanding welfare state, has been the predominant political strategy. Economies are being destroyed by Socialism as practiced via the welfare state. The euphemisms of Socialism and welfare state also provide convenient cover for what amounts to political enrichment and job security. The US has now run out of both time and money. The malignancy of Socialism nears its ugly end, the bill has come due. As Margaret Thatcher said, “The trouble with Socialism is, sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.”

  45. Pacman33 says:

    Research into what the founders meant by “promote the general welfare,” and you will find that,

    1. James Madison (The father of the Constitution)said, “If Congress can do whatever in their descretion can be done by money, and we will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one…”

    Madison was clear that the General Welfare did not mean just anything to promote it, but only what was said in the Constitution.

    2. Madison again said, “With respect the two words, ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with the. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not comtemplated by its creators.”

    Madison again was specifing that general welfare did not mean anything, it meant that it was restricted (qualified) by details in the Constitution itself.

    3. Thomas Jefferson said, “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”

    Jefferson was very clear that the general welfare meant only the 20 items listed in Article 1, section 8, the specifically enumerated powers.

    4. Jefferson said in 1817, “Our tenet was that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated, and that, as it was never meant that they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently , that the specification of powers is al imitation of the purposes for which they may raise money.”

    Jefferson was clear that the Constitution ONLY gave power for the government to raise money for what was specifically said in it, not anything else.

    5. Here is another Jefferson quote about the general welfare clause.
    “They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare…giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the US; and as they sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.”

    Jefferson made the case that the phrase general welfare did not mean anything good, because if it did, it could mean anything bad too. Thus, the general welfare was very specific, it only means what is listed in Article 1, section 8.

    6. Madison stated in 1794 that, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the mony of their constituents.”

    This clearly elaborates that the Constitution including the general welfare clause, was not meant to mean anything to do with charity.

    7. Madison again stated that , “The government of the US is a definity government, confined to specified objects…Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”

    Madison clearly stated the role of government. The Founders did not leave the Constitution wide open to government.

    It is clear that the Founders did not leave the door open for government to expand.

    The problem as I see it is not that the Founders left the general welfare clause open and we see the results of it today; I think they misjudged how quickly people would pervert it and stray. I honestly think they would be baffled at how quickly people would expand government.

  46. The great thing is, when pacman – whose posters seldom contain much sense – posts really long posts I don’t bother reading them.

  47. Very intelligent response bb. I did read his and yours…he was quoting the words of the founders of our nation…you were insulting him. You say he doesn’t make sense? Wow!

  48. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Pacman- thank you for showing the Framers intent.

    Bb- a ‘long post’ educating the board just gets ignored by you? Read the first point and it answers Alindasue.

    Alindasue, perhaps you have the discipline to read Pacman’s response. Explains the ‘unAmerican’ part. The safety net became a trap. It harms the family, and leads to waste, abuse, and freeloading. This country was based on individual responsibility.

    Take the govt out of the picture and family, church, and community would step up to care for people (as they did in the past).

  49. Pacman33 says:

    concernedtacoma7, I believe it is I who should be thanking you.

  50. Fundamentalism is the demand for a strict adherence to specific theological doctrines usually understood as a reaction against Modernist theology, combined with a vigorous attack on outside threats to their religious culture. The term “fundamentalism” was originally coined by its supporters to describe a specific package of theological beliefs that developed into a movement within the Protestant community of the United States in the early part of the 20th century, and that had its roots in the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy of that time. The term usually has a religious connotation indicating unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs.

    Fundamentalism usually has a religious connotation, but it can also refer to fundamentalist adherence to such things as political philosophies, as being a rigid unwavering rejection of current reality and an unrelenting demand to keep things as they were originally created, without recognizing that over the ensuing years much has changed in the real world, and with that change in reality must also come changes in philosophies.

    “Jefferson said in 1817″

    Jefferson was part of the Virginia planter elite and, as a tobacco planter, owned hundreds of slaves throughout his lifetime. Like many of his contemporaries, he viewed Africans as being racially inferior. Even though there is some disagreement on the subject, modern Jeffersonian scholarship generally acknowledges that Thomas Jefferson was likely the father of all of his slave Sally Hemings’ six children.

    His views on slavery were complex, and changed over the course of his life. He was a leading American opponent of the international slave trade, and presided over its abolition in 1807. In the past, Jefferson has often been rated in scholarly surveys as one of the greatest U.S. presidents, though since the mid-twentieth century, historians have increasingly criticized him, particularly on the issue of slavery.[2][3]

    If Thomas Jefferson could change his views on slavery within the span of his own lifetime, isn’t it reasonable to conclude that he might possibly change his views about American government over the span of more than three of his lifetimes?

    If scholars have changed their view of Jefferson since the mid-twentieth century, isn’t it logical to conclude that America has changed a great deal over the past two centuries?

    Or, is it just easier to close your eyes and ears and mind to the realities of todays world and remain simply a right-wing fundamentalists pining away for the good old days that were long gone, long before you were even born?

  51. concernedtacoma7 says:

    I will agree to the fundamental part. Our roots are strong and what made us great. What we need is reform, not transformation.

    We are the greatest force of good this planet has ever seen. Progressives desired a different outcome?

    Pacman framed the intent of the Founders. A welfare state was not what they desired. We have adapted to changes throughout time at a pace in line with the Framers. Now, progressive want to toss out the base that kept us great.

    Your arguments are dated and unAmerican.

    We have the most progressive leader on history at the helm, and we are all worse off for it.

  52. Pacman33 says:

    mucklbr said –
    “Or, is it just easier to close your eyes and ears …….”
    …….and give heed to “scholars” and their “views” about Jefferson while ignoring the exact words from Thomas Jefferson’s pen.

    It might just be me, ……. but Jefferson seems clear on his position on limited government. So clear a “scholar” would have to concur.

    “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

    “Government can do something for the people only in proportion as it can do something to the people.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

    “I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

    “Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

    “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. That government is best which governs least.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

    “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

  53. Not sure why quotes from a slave-holder who had sexual relations(or is it rape?) with at least one of his slaves are relevant to a discussion about a safety net for the poor in the 21st century…..

    I also note that the Randian-Rightwingers tend to lump ALL government programs like Aid to Dependent Children, Food Stamps, Unemployment Insurance, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Public School hot lunch programs, Headstart, etc. under one category which they call Welfare. Not surprising as it is far easier to denigrate welfare for the poor (rather than corporate welfare) than it is to deal with specific programs.

  54. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Because they all start with good intentions then lead to waste and dependency. That is not American! It is not what our Framers wanted or how we existed until progressives ignored the Constitution.

    This current movement that the Constitution is dated and old fashioned is very scary.

  55. One of the most famous of all Jefferson quotes is probably this one:

    “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. That government is best which governs least.”
- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1846)

    Well, you have to consider that since Jefferson’s time this country has grown and changed quite a lot. Just in terms of population growth alone…

    US Population

    2010 – 310,232,863 most recent
    2007 – 301,579,895
    vs.
    1790 – 3,929,214 first census
    1776 – 2,500,000 est.

    And your problem seems to be the size of government, which can be evaluated in terms of government jobs.

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, government accounts for about 8% of jobs in the United States. Here’s the breakdown using numbers easily accessible on the BLS website (all numbers from 2006 or 2007):

    1,774,000 Federal government civilian employees, excluding Post Office

    615,000 Post Office

    1,172,913 Military enlisted

    230,577 Military Officers

    2,424,000 State government (excluding education and hospitals)

    5,594,000 Local government (excluding education and hospitals)

    That’s a total of 11,810,490 government jobs.

    The total number of jobs in the U.S. in 2006 was 150,600,000, so government employment makes up 7.84% of all JOBS.

    In 2007, the U.S. population (according to the Census Bureau) was 301,579,895, so about 4% of Americans are employed by the government. (That’s just four percent of ALL AMERICANS are government workers.)

    If the ratio of 4% was about the same for the population of the US in 1790, then there would be a total of about 157,169 government jobs for a country with a population of 3,929,214, and only 16 states.

    The United States is now a country of over 310,232,863 people, which is almost 79 times the 1790 census population, and now includes 50 states coast-to cost, off Canada and in the Pacific Ocean plus a number of territories worldwide, which is greatly expanded from the 16 small east cost states of 1790.

    Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any statistics as to what the ratio was in 1790 of government workers/employees to the overall population. But, if it was close to the 4% we have today, that would have meant that each of the 16 states governments would have averaged about 9,823 government employees to be their elected and appointed officials, police, military (each state at that time was responsible for maintaing its own military defense force as there was no cohesive federal army) to serve an average of 245,575 citizens per state.

    I just wonder what Jefferson would have said about a 4% ratio.

    Would he have considered that a small enough government or not?

    4% doesn’t seem like that much to me. 4 government employees to serve evrey want and need of 100 citizens each. 1 government worker for every 25 citizens, which includes soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, police, fire fighters, dog catchers, etc…

    If you had a DSHS social worker who only had to keep track of 25 cases, or a parole officer who only had to keep track of 25 parolees, that would seem reasonable. But we all know from news reports that social workers and parole officers and others have caseloads far greater than just 25 to manage, and sometimes things slip through the crack, don’t they?

    Here’s just one more thing to keep in mind as regards the current size of government:

    According to a study by Paul C. Light, a government professor at New York University, the Federal Government also employed 14.6 million contractors in 2006. This was an increase of 2.5 million since 2002, and the study attributes the increase directly to contractors hired as part of the war on terror. (reported in the Washington Post) That is contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan! Those contractors were and are considered government employers, increasing the size of government.

    BTW, those contractors were hired during the last Republican presidential administration. What do you think Thomas Jefferson would have thought of that situation?

  56. Pacman33 says:

    bB sounds like he just returned from a “Straw Men Convention” in Vegas.

    The Framers focus on government’s permanent duty to protect individual rights was an impediment to the marked expansion of governmental power that Progressives desired; thus, the ideas that animated the Founder’s conception of government had to be discredited.

    The Constitution is a bulwark against tyranny, but we’ve allowed the politicians and lawyers to shoot it full of holes. It’s a Swiss cheese now, and the rats are crawling through, spreading their plague as they go.

  57. Pacman33 says:

    muckbr astonishingly spews –
    “I just wonder what Jefferson would have said about a 4% ratio.”

    What, you don’t have one of your “scholars” to to tell you the answer such an absurd query? Do you REALLY wonder?

    Why not also have them answer what Jefferson would have said about today’s number of public union members outnumbering private sector union membership? Public Unions, of coarse, be the public worker assembling against the people as a whole.

    We should all ask these “scholars” ; What kind of simpleton would consider contracting Growing of the government instead of an Alternative to growing the government?

  58. Pachyderman33, what a pathetic response. I really expected much more than a simple-minded retort such as that from you. I put a good deal of effort into crafting that message specifically for you. You disappoint thoroughly.

    Your are the one who seems to consider yourself a “scholar” on these blogs.

    You are the one who seems to believe you are the very reincarnation of Thomas Jefferson himself, and all the other Founders rolled all together into your own fragile little psyche.

    Surely you, Packy-TJ, would be able to answer such basic and strait-forward queries as these.

    And your last paragraph doesn’t make any logical sense whatsoever. A very clear example of your clouded and convoluted thought processes, if one can call what you do as thinking.

    Oh well! I gave you another shot PacRat, but it’s back on the TBI List for you!

    Just having some fun with you PackySack!

    Lighten up Francis!

  59. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Muck- your math is highly questionable. Ignoring that for now, do you really think there were millions of contractors in Iraq/Afghanistan? Please come back to earth with your figures.

  60. This current movement that the Constitution is dated and old fashioned is very scary.

    Thomas Jefferson opined that the Constitution (which he did not help write) should be rewritten every 19 years.

    “Jefferson thought the dead should not rule the living, thus constitutions should expire frequently, but the fact is that the U.S. Constitution quickly became enshrined by the public and is the oldest constitution in the world,” said Zachary Elkins, a professor of political science at Illinois.

    http://news.illinois.edu/news/07/0212constitution.html

  61. concernedtacoma7 says:

    So you post that in support of tossing our Constitution?

    Could you imagine the chaos politically and financially? Stability is one of our greatest attributes. Sure, I guess we could be like the Italians, but aside from the food I do not think we want a govt like that.

  62. con7, Really glad to know that you only find my math “highly questionable”. Whereas, I find just about everything you post as “highly questionable” and dubious. Like your comment to beerBoy:

    “So you post that in support of tossing our Constitution?”

    That takes a huge leap of bizarre imagination and spin-mastering to come up with that conclusion! Maybe he does, but no reasonable thinking person could ever conclude such a thing based on anything he has posted on this blog so far, including his 6:21 AM comment above.

    Oh, I know you’re going to reply, “But I was only asking a question!” But, connie7, it was certainly a LOADED question with a forgone conclusion, wasn’t it? Yes it was!

    beerBoy, may I ask:

    Do you feel the U.S. Constitution should be replaced as you say Thomas Jefferson opined, or are you satisfied with the current process of constitutional change through amendment, and definition and interpretation by the courts?

  63. alindasue says:

    muckibr said, “Do you feel the U.S. Constitution should be replaced as you say Thomas Jefferson opined, or are you satisfied with the current process of constitutional change through amendment, and definition and interpretation by the courts?”

    That is why the Constitution was written the way that it is with provisions for amendments to be added and powers balanced between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the government.

    The only reason I could see for Thomas Jefferson wanting to rewrite it every 19 years, as beerBoy learned from that University of Illinois article, is that the needs of society would change – which leads me to wonder if perhaps he expected it needed to be amended more often than it’s actually been…

    I’ve spent a good portion of this afternoon reading up on the subjects of “general welfare” and our social programs. I’ll write more later tonight.

  64. alindasue says:

    Ah… it’s the next morning. I didn’t get back the same day like I thought. Is anyone still here, or I save the long post for next time the topic comes up as it always does?

  65. My post was in response to the posts quoting/surmising what Thomas Jefferson would do if he was magically teleported to this place and time and the American public actually gave any weight to what he would have to say.

    The Amendment process has provided some fluidity to the Constitution AND the Court’s interpretations have also allowed the Document to have continued timeliness (not that all of the SC’s rulings have been appropriate or added to our individual freedoms). As such, the necessity for recurring Constitutional Conventions have been staved off.

    But – this assumes that one approaches the Constitution as a living, breathing document, not from an “originalist” viewpoint. Hence, all this B.S. about the Founders is worship of false idols that is based in a religious faith in the Constitution as sacred scripture handed down to us by our founder/gods – not a realistic appraisal of a contract based upon the consent of the governed.

  66. falkoja6 says:

    Hey Sword….I read from the same report but unfortunately I made a typo and put a 1 in front of the 51,631,917 while I was rounding off to 51.7 but it came out 151.7. A simple, “your figures do not seem correct” would have been more than sufficient for a correction. But no, you pompous donkey and the rest of your clan seem to take an inordinate amount of pleasure bashing anything that you and you ilk have an issue with. Go sit on your sword!

  67. alindasue says:

    Good to see this thread hasn’t been abandoned yet…

    beerBoy said, “The Amendment process has provided some fluidity to the Constitution AND the Court’s interpretations have also allowed the Document to have continued timeliness…
    …this assumes that one approaches the Constitution as a living, breathing document, not from an “originalist” viewpoint.”

    That is exactly the point I was trying to make last night. I think you explained it even better.

    Pacman33,

    Every single dictionary I consulted used the word “well-being” as either part of the definition or a synonym of the word “welfare”. It is in that context, and not the “hand outs” context, that I use that word. It is also in that context that I understand as the the intent of the Constitution’s writers when using it.

    The writers of The Constitution used the words “general welfare” twice: once in the preamble and once in Article I section 8 – which you pointed out outlines the powers of Congress.

    It says, “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States…”

    It does not actually define “general Welfare” in the article, but it does mention it specifically. The “general Welfare” was a concern of the Constitution’s writers. However, you and concernedtacoma7 maintain that quotes from some of the founding fathers would preclude “general Welfare” from meaning any form of financial assistance which would make such assistance “unAmerican”. Even Benjamin Franklin said, “…the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty…”

    However, in my search for the history of Social Security and how it was enacted into law, I found this very interesting page on the government’s Social Security Administration’s site:
    http://www.ssa.gov/history/briefhistory3.html

    It gives a brief history of “formal systems of economic security”. Here’s a few brief excerpts from it:

    “When the English-speaking colonists arrived in the New World they brought with them the ideas and customs they knew in England, including the “Poor Laws.” …They featured local taxation to support the destitute; they discriminated between the “worthy” and the “unworthy” poor; and all relief was a local responsibility. ”

    “As colonial America grew more complex… the localized systems of poor relief were strained. The result was some limited movement to state financing and the creation of almshouses and poorhouses…”

    “Support outside the institutions was called “outdoor relief” …Nevertheless, since it was expensive to build and operate the poorhouses, and since it was relatively easy to dispense cash or in-kind support, some outdoor relief did emerge. ”

    “One of the first people to propose a scheme for retirement security that is recognizable as a forerunner of modern social insurance was Revolutionary War figure Thomas Paine.”

    “The first national pension program for soldiers was actually passed in early 1776…”

    And I could go on… it was a rather lengthy and interesting article. It talks about the shifts in our society due to the industrial revolution and so forth and how they changed our support systems. There’s not space to quote all the interesting parts here.

    The point is, even during the time that The Constitution was written, there was some taxation excised for the needs of the poor and the elderly – despite it not being specifically enumerated in The Constitution. Seriously, if we were to allow congress to only vote to spend money on issues expressly listed in the Constitution, there would be no FEMA to respond to emergencies and no FAA to direct air traffic, AND our “standing army” could only be convened for two years at a time…

    While we may disagree on who “deserves” assistance these days – and I can certainly think of a lot of ways our current assistance systems could be improved – taxing at some level to provide for the poor has always been part of the fabric of America and it is hardly “unAmerican” to do so now.

  68. alindasue, Thank you for your effort here to define the issues. You’ve obviously put a lot of effort into this. I hope than at least beerBoy and/or concernedtacoma7 come back to read this and make a comment for you.

    Thanks!

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