Posts Tagged ‘President Bush’

Captain Rick: I am pleased to announce that Thomas C. Patterson, past Arizona state legislator and guest journalist on Atridim News Journal since 2013, will present a series of reports on subjects of great importance to America and our world. The first in the series is about the Strategic Defense Initiative and the explosive situation in North Korea.  

I asked Tom why he is presenting his voice on ANJ. His reply: “I write it because I don’t want to be part of the generation that let liberty die out on our watch or at least I want to know that I did what I could to prevent it. I would like some of the good things about America to be there for my grand-children. I always love it when you carry my stuff. Let me know if I can be of further help in your efforts to promote the good and the true.”

ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL

Guest Commentary

by

Thomas C. Patterson

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ABOUT: Thomas C. Patterson is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Nebraska. He was elected to the Arizona State Senate in 1989, serving as minority leader from 1991 to 1992 and majority leader from 1993 to 1996. Patterson was the author of legislation creating Arizona’s charter school system and welfare reform program. Until 1998, he was a practicing physician and president of Emergency Physicians, Inc.. Patterson also served as president of the Arizona chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. In 2000 he became chairman of the Goldwater Institute. In 2013 he became a guest journalist on Atridim News Journal. Thomas is a resident of Chandler, Arizona.

SDI: Defense against a Lunatic in N. Korea ? …
Does Trump have it backwards ?


Americans are finally finding out what it takes for the Left to support antimissile defense in a nuclearized world. The answer: an immediate existential danger from a crazed dictator with nothing to lose from terrorizing us.

Now we’re faced with a lunatic who has the capability of obliterating parts of our mainland, an achievement which has made him a player on the world stage. The current crisis has been predictable for a long time. As nuclear capability gradually became within the technical reach of rogue states and terrorists everywhere, our leaders studiously ignored the signs of danger.

The first antimissile defense was the Strategic Defense Initiative, conceptualized by President Reagan and ridiculed as "Star Wars" by his political adversaries. Even when it proved effective in halting the end of the Cold War, opponents still followed a strategy of repeatedly under funding and undermining the technology, then complaining about the lack of progress achieved.

Barack Obama was a prominent opposition leader, helping to stall the program and then as president pronouncing it “unproven”. He canceled previously negotiated antimissile installations in Poland and Czech Republic. Later he was caught on a hot mic telling a Soviet official that he would later be "flexible with Vladimir" with respect to missile defense.

We are now in a dangerously vulnerable situation. Experts say it would take up to three years to implement a system that would fully protect us from North Korea and eliminate China’s first-strike capability.

Still, our inability to protect ourselves wouldn’t be such a big deal now if not for the weak diplomatic efforts that failed to contain the North Korean menace. After North Korea first begin developing nuclear capability, President Clinton in 1994 struck a deal in which North Korea agreed to come clean and pursue only nonmilitary uses of nuclear power.

But the Commies negotiated harder and smarter than we did, preserving multiple loopholes and avoiding effective compliance checks. The treaty probably did more to facilitate North Korea’s missile program than to hobble it.

Unfortunately, George W. Bush did nothing to end the dithering and confront reality. Obama, for his part, raised appeasement to an art form around the world. He complained about wasting money "making some version of this Cold War daydream into reality" as one pundit put it. In the end, Obama finally had a change of heart when his truculence had put our country in obvious danger and only then authorized anti-missile bases in the West.

The lessons of history are clear. Diplomacy only succeeds when practiced from a position of strength. Appeasement doesn’t stop aggressors. When tyrants show you who they are, believe them. Unfortunately, our leaders have kicked the can down the road until there’s no more road, as Charles Krauthammer said.

Now that our mortal enemies have well-developed nuclear capabilities, our options are limited. Israeli forces in 1981 attacked the Iranian nuclear base Dosirak and were able to inflict telling damage but most observers agree that approach today would produce unacceptable consequences.

Russia and especially China, North Korea’s main patron and trading partner, should both be urged in the strongest terms to help convince North Korea to stand down. The hard truth is that a nuclear North Korea, hostile to the US, is in the strategic interests of both, so it’s unlikely we can win them over.

Teddy Roosevelt’s foreign-policy advice was to "speak softly and carry a big stick". President Trump seems to have it backwards, issuing bellicose threats, like he has so often, without seeming to realize that he must be willing and able to carry out the threats for them to have effect.

That leaves missile defense, the best of the bad options out there. We need to bear down and pour all the resources we can into this national emergency. Fortunately, missile-defense doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective as we found in the Cold War. Just the credible prospect of an anti-missile strike degrades the value of the enemy’s nuclear arsenal and greatly reduces the possibility of a first strike.

But we never would have come to this perilous point if our leaders had put America’s security interests above politics.

Tom’s previous reports in ANJ Guest Commentary

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Captain Rick: The U.S. Legislature has failed to balance America’s budget almost forever. If it compromised by using the economic common sense rule of 20% of GDP for both revenue and spending, its budget crisis would end and a much brighter future would await the children of our world.

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Record Tax Revenue: I am glad to see we have hit a new record of $2.7T in revenues, just a tick above the previous record of $2.6T in 2007. As population grows, we better hope our tax revenue keeps going up every year. Things went far astray during the ‘Bush War and Tax Cut’ era, the Great Recession that followed and ‘Obamas Record Spending Spree’ to try to fix it, including a reckless 2 point payroll tax cut. Thankfully, it and some other irresponsible tax cuts vanished on Jan 1 as a result of the Fiscal Cliff and helped bring us closer to sanity. Unfortunately this new revenue record leaves America with a very anemic tax revenue of only 16.9% of GDP. The 40 year average is 18%. A healthy economy achieves revenue equal to 20% of GDP…so America is still far short of needed revenue…and part of the reason why America’s finances are in such terrible shape.

Record Spending: The other part of the reason America’s finances are in such terrible shape is because America’s spending is too high. America is currently spending $3.55T or 22.2% of GDP. That percentage is higher than almost every year since 1986. A healthy economy limits  spending equal to 20% of GDP…so America is still far over the limit for spending…the other part of the reason why America’s finances are in such terrible shape.

Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals debate: Republicans and conservatives argue that taxes are too high and do not agree to any further increases. They say the entire answer lies in cutting spending. Democrats and liberals argue that spending levels should be held. They say the entire answer lies in tax increases. Its easy for me to see why our legislature is in gridlock. Both sides are stubborn and illogical. Neither side possesses the the solution. The solution resides in compromise. 

Captain Rick’s proposal of compromise: I propose that the U.S. Legislature uses the economical common sense guideline of 20% of GDP as a target for revenue and spending to achieve a balanced budget. 20% has proven to be workable figure for successful governments in the past. The figure can be argued…19 v 21…but 20% is a good starting point. Diminishing America’s national debt is a story for another day. It would require the balance to shift to more revenue and less spending…perhaps 21% of GDP revenue and 19% of GDP spending. Real compromise needs to begin soon … in order to protect the future of our children.  

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Info from previous reports:

Fiscal Cliff: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/

GDP: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/gdp/

Captain Rick: In Lesson 4 we examine the Chemistry of the “Fiscal Cliff”… the composition of the $600 billion of tax revenue increases and spending cuts that will automatically take place by law on January 1, 2013, unless the U.S. Congress agrees to revised legislation and President Obama signs it into law before then. Agreement does not appear to be very likely as the two sides are currently far apart. The Democrats are for minimizing spending cuts and maximizing tax revenue increases, while the Republicans are for the opposite.

As large as $600 billion sounds … we learned in the “Fiscal Cliff” Math of Lesson 2 … it will only eliminate half of America’s deficit (the extra amount that is spends every year over that which it receives in revenue). In simple terms, it would take two “Fiscal Cliffs” to fix America’s deficit problem. That would balance the budget but do nothing to reduce America’s staggering $16 trillion national debt (the accumulation of all of deficit spending in past years). Even with the “Fiscal Cliff” spending cuts and tax revenue increases, Americas National Debt will continue to grow by $600 billion a year.

Congress and the President are currently trying to find ways to agree to cut the size of the “Fiscal Cliff” spending cuts and tax increases … ways to “water it down” and “kick the can” down the road for future generations to solve the U.S. Debt Crisis. It would require over 26 “Fiscal Cliffs” to eliminate the U.S. National Debt. In perspective, the “Fiscal Cliff” more closely resembles the slope of an ant hill.

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“Fiscal Cliff” Spending Cuts that take effect on January 1, 2013

Defense will be cut $55 billion in 2013 from projected levels of discretionary defense spending. That translates into at least a 10% cut to every program, project and activity that’s not explicitly exempt.

Non-defense will be cut $55 billion in 2013 from projected levels of nondefense spending, which includes things like education, Medicaid, food inspections and air travel safety. Budget experts estimate the cuts will result in at least an 8% cut to programs, projects and activities. These cuts include:

Medicare Doc Fix expires. Payment to care providers will drop 2%.

Unemployment benefits extension expires. Unemployment benefits will revert back to the old norm of 26 weeks, down form the current 99. That means workers who lose their jobs after July 1, 2012, will only receive up to 26 weeks in state unemployment benefits, down from as many as 99 weeks in state and federal benefits that had been available until recently. By one estimate, more than 2 million claimants will lose their benefits by January.

“Fiscal Cliff” Tax Revenue Increases

Bush era tax cuts will end on December 31, 2012. As a result:

Income tax rates: Rise to 15%, 28%, 31%, 36% and 39.6%, up from 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33% and 35%.

Capital gains rate: Rises to 20% from 15% for most filers.

PEP/Pease limitations: Restored. High-income households may not be able to take some itemized deductions and personal exemptions in full.

Child tax credit: Falls to $500 per child from $1,000. The refundable portion also reduced.

American Opportunity Tax Credit: Expires. The lesser value HOPE tax credit for college tuition is reinstated. Several smaller education tax benefits also expire.

Earned Income Tax Credit: Expansion of eligibility for the credit expires.

Marriage penalty relief: Expires. Effectively that means a low- or middle-income two-earner couple will owe more to the IRS than they would if they were single making the same income.

Estate tax: Parameters revert to pre-2001 levels. The exemption level falls to $1 million from $5 million; and the top tax rate on taxable estates rises to 55%, up from 35%. AMT patch

Expired already for 2012. Income exempt from the Alternative Minimum Tax in 2012 — for which taxpayers will file returns next year — falls to $33,750 for individuals and $45,000 for married couples. That’s down from $50,600 and $78,750, respectively, if the exemption amounts had been adjusted for inflation. As a result more than 30 million people will be hit by the so-called “wealth” tax, up from 4 million to date.

Obama’s Payroll tax holiday expires. The Social Security tax rate reverts to 6.2%, up from 4.2%, on the first $110,100 in wages. Effectively, someone making $50,000 will pay another $1,000 in payroll taxes next year;  someone making $150,000 will pay $2,425 more.

Some budget experts count as part of the fiscal cliff the onset of a new Medicare surtax on high-income households under health reform. They include:

A 0.9% surtax will apply to wages on earned income over $200,000 ($250,000 if married). That’s on top of the 1.45% Medicare currently owed on all wages. Those making between $200,000 and $500,000, for instance, will only pay about $633 extra while households making $1 million or more would pay another $11,242.

A 3.8% Medicare surtax will also apply for the first time to at least a portion of high-income households’ investment income.

How the “Fiscal Cliff” could effect America’s citizens

The top 1% of households, which have incomes above $506,210, would face an increase of $121,000. Within that group, the top 0.1% — those making more than $2.66 million — would get hit with a tax hike of nearly $634,000.

By contrast, households making up to $20,113 would see a $412 average increase. That may simply represent a smaller refund to those households, many of which have very little if any federal income tax liability to begin with.

Households in the middle — with total incomes between $39,790 and $64,484 — can expect a roughly $2,000 increase.

Captain Rick’s closing thoughts …

The sacrifices presented by the “Fiscal Cliff” for Americans are small in comparison to the positive effects towards solving America’s monumental debt crisis for the benefit of our generations to come. Many of the “Fiscal Cliff” elements originate from the expiration of very fiscally irresponsible previous tax cuts by Bush and Obama … ones that should have never been implemented in the first place. Giving them up is a “no-brainer”.  We should all hope that the U.S. Congress goes home early for the holidays and does not do anything to “water down” the fiscally intelligent “wheels-in-motion” that the “Fiscal Cliff” will automatically bestow on January 1, 2013.

View Captain Rick’s entire FISCAL CLIFF Course 101: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

Captain Rick: I believe the “Fiscal Cliff” could be a means of leading America away from the verge of economic destruction, that if left uncorrected could reduce America to a third world country … while much of the ignorant news media is presenting the “Fiscal Cliff” as a dreaded thing that America must avoid.
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America is facing the “Fiscal Cliff” because of monumental fiscal errors. The Bush tax cuts and Iraq war expenses were extremely reckless. They contributed to  producing America’s “Great Recession”. The Obama spending fixes of trillions of dollars were astronomically stupid. It all has left America on the verge of fiscal disaster, spending far more than it is receiving in revenue.
Stay tuned for “Lesson 2” in my continuing “Fiscal Cliff 101” series…where I will continue to “break it all down”.