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Friday, November 11, 2016

Question for Republicans in 2017

Image result for washington dc

A question now, for Republicans in Washington, D.C., now that you're got the President-elect (I still shudder, thinking about that one) and both the Senate and House of Representatives.

You famously, publicly declared a policy of blocking and obstructing our twice-elected President from getting anything done, from getting any of his goals achieved while he was in office.

Fortunately, through hard work and time, we still got things done for the people, not least of which was the ACA, "Obamacare" and a list of others.

Now that you will have control of virtually all of Washington, are you going to make our government work, in general?

More specifically, are you finally, at long last, going to write, propose and pass a jobs/infrastructure bill in the coming year?

Our infrastructure needs the updating and improving and modernization and sorely, as we all know.

Additionally, the nation, we Americans, need the jobs and heaven knows the economy needs the boost.

Since it will now be on "your watch" and any success on your hands, are you going to work together and get this done?

Sure, we know you want to dismantle Obamacare and the EPA and other programs. (It would be nice if you'd dismantle the Republican boondoggle called Homeland Security you all created during the George W. Bush adminstration).

But could you, would you, will you now, at long, long last give us this jobs/infrastructure bill, please?

It's the least you can do, it's positive and it would and will help the nation in at least the 3 ways I described above.

Please. We're begging you. Do this one, big, great thing.


Sevesteen said...

What features would a jobs bill include? Concrete features I mean, not "whatever it takes to make jobs".

I don't think the government can create jobs--sure, they can "create" government workers by taking taxes from people with jobs, (or businesses that create jobs) but that's like trying to make a rope longer by cutting some off one end and tying it to the other.

Mo Rage said...

America's infrastructure, our roads, highways and bridges, state by state, are famously in need of updating, improving and maintaining. You can relax. This isn't about creating some new agency to handle this. It would be contracted out to construction companies across the nation. Our own state of Missouri, as one terrific example has the following:

Missouri lacks funds to replace, repair bridges

"...641 of the department’s approximately 10,400 bridges are in critical condition."

And our Interstate 70, from Illinois on the East to Kansas on the West, is so under-maintained as to be dangerous.

Sevesteen said...

That appears to be an infrastructure bill, rather than a jobs bill. Roads are at least something that government should be doing. I do have some argument about the proportion of federal vs state vs local funding--I want it as local as practical.

Who decides that a bridge is in critical condition, or that an interstate is under-maintained--the department that wants more money? When is any organization going to say "we're fine, we don't need more money" vs "This is why we need lots more money"?

The point is that this sort of infrastructure repair may be necessary and useful, but it isn't really creating jobs, it is taking some of the work of your job and my job to pay for someone else's job. Basic math says that there is a limit to the number of tax receivers vs the number of taxpayers--making you and I support more and more workers isn't a realistic solution to a lack of jobs even when technically those jobs aren't direct government hires.

What I would do--Make it easier to hire people with less paperwork, less taxes and less commitment. Make tax treatment the same whether the employer or the employee pays for a benefit--so if employer paid health care or retirement is not taxed, the same thing employee paid will be deductible. Make sure that people don't lose out financially by working vs welfare--probably lower benefits to those who don't work at all, but phase them out more slowly when people begin to earn.

Mo Rage said...

Your view of government and how government works and what it does for the people is not just skewed--and greatly, badly--but it's uninformed. I've no idea how you've come to your conclusions with and about government, nor do I want to know, but it wasn't in a classroom. Not for your conclusions.

So yes, it's an infrastructure bill first but, guess what? Infrastructure requires people doing the work. Computers can't build or repair our roads and bridges. That mush surely you know and acknowledge. So yes, an infrastructure bill would create jobs. Lots of jobs and across all 50 states. And we need it, we need them all.

Falling apart: America's neglected infrastructure

As for your questions, "Who decides that a bridge is in critical condition, or that an interstate is under-maintained..."

And the answer is, of course, engineers. Again, you should know that. These departments don't exist just so they can stuff their own wallets. Apparently you believe that. If so, you are extremely cynical but then that fits your view of citizens paying taxes so that makes sense. It is, again, cynical and negative but it fits.

Your last paragraph isn't even good English. It doesn't make sense. It's not a coherent thought. I'm hoping you wrote it on your cell phone so you have a reason (excuse?) for what it turned out as it did. You're usually much more, again, coherent, if still cynical.And I'm not side-stepping the issue or your statements, either, by saying this. It's legitimate. Go back and read it.

Sevesteen said...

It should be easier for a business to hire people--reduce the amount of paperwork, reduce taxes that a business pays when hiring, make sure that if an employee doesn't work out the employer isn't stuck with them. There should be no tax advantage for employer-paid benefits vs employee paid benefits. Make sure that if someone on welfare works, they don't lose welfare benefits faster than their after-tax wages increase. A jobs bill should make it easier to create new jobs.

There are things that government can and should do for the people. Roads are one of them, although that doesn't mean every road is justified. But what you and a lot of other statists fail to acknowledge is that a job paid by taxes harms the economy at the same time it helps. Consider--would we be better off with roads paid for via taxes, or if we could get the exact same roads for free? Not a trick question, I don't know of a free way to get roads. The point is that we would obviously be better off if we could get the same benefits without taxes, therefore taxes do at least some harm. Sometimes the harm is justified when providing an essential service, often the harm outweighs the good. Everyone says their group needs more, whether in government, industry or charity. The March of Dimes never announced "Our work is done", they shifted gears to a new worthy cause. Where I work, IT (my department) needs more money, production needs more money, facilities needs more money, stockholders want a return on investment...All of them can justify their wants, but there is never enough to give each of them all they desire.

This is the result when you take "we need more" on faith, without proper checks and balances. This is my town's library, a small town of below average income. Funds were available, so funds were spent on luxury that doesn't advance the library mission. (I'm not anti-library, I grew up in the previous location and usually had the maximum number of books checked out) You helped pay for that lobby, with its gilded ceilings and marble floors.

So yes, the engineers in the highway department will declare a crisis. And so will the parks department, the water department, etc. I've worked in government a little, never heard of someone saying "we're fine, give our budget to someone else". Instead, it is "end of the fiscal year, we've got money left over--find something to spend it on so we don't get next year's funds cut". So it was spent, often on replacing something perfectly functional with something else that didn't work better. The private sector does some of that, but there's a lot more pressure to keep it reasonable.

Mo Rage said...

You clearly don't understand that it's a national highway system.

And we haven't spent enough on our highways, roads and bridges for years and years. Due to Republicans and Right Wingers, we haven't raised fuel taxes in years and years. Additionally, cars get more miles per gallon so that reduces the amount of fuel we needs so less taxes for this infrastructure. Finally, we gasoline went up to $4.00 per gallon, we drove less. Again, reducing the number of miles we drove so less tax money coming in.

You should know---and acknowledge---all this.

We need to raise the gasoline taxes and we need to pass an infrastructure/jobs bill.

And soon.

And by the way, it also helps increase both business and travel, which is also good for business.

Sevesteen said...

You clearly are not capable of generalizing. The Missouri (or Ohio) highway department like other government agencies has an incentive to over-state their need in order to get more funding, regardless of the source of the funding.

"The percentage of bridges that are structurally deficient—meaning that they require extensive maintenance, but are not necessarily unsafe[19]—has declined from 22 percent in 1992 to 10 percent in 2014.[20] Highways and roads have also improved: The Federal Highway Administration notes that the percentage of vehicle miles traveled on the National Highway System with “good” ride quality rose from 48 percent in 2000 to 60 percent in 2010, while the share with “acceptable” ride quality increased from 91 percent to 93 percent."

I'm well aware of $4.00 per gallon gas, the job I had at the time depended on people buying 16mpg vehicles. I had to get a new job...

A jobs bill can't be merely "more government jobs", or "more jobs making stuff the government pays for", basic math says that there's a fairly low practical limit on how many jobs can be paid for with tax revenue--we can't all live off taxes. You can at least articulate what an infrastructure bill would cover, you haven't managed the same for jobs...beyond "infrastructure would create a few jobs".

Mo Rage said...

A jobs bill isn't remotely about more government jobs. At all. Not in any way. It's actually about more construction companies with more people working on more highways, roads, bridges, sewers and sewer systems, etc. I've no idea where you got the idea of government jobs. It shouldn't and wouldn't mean more government jobs at all.

I never once said "infrastructure would create a few jobs." I've no idea on that why you'd put quotation marks around it, as though I did.

Sevesteen said...

"more construction companies with more people working on more highways, roads, bridges, sewers and sewer systems, etc."

is the same as

"more jobs making stuff the government pays for".

You are obsessed with "I didn't say those exact words", especially when you've indicated general agreement with the idea. The quotes are to delineate an idea, seemed to be appropriate in informal writing without getting into HTML.

Did the quotes confuse anyone else?

Mo Rage said...

"more construction companies with more people working on more highways, roads, bridges, sewers and sewer systems, etc."

is not the same as

"...more jobs making stuff the government pays for."

Yes, I am "obsessed", if that's the word you want to use, being either misrepresented or misquoted. If you don't mind people doing that to you, you have low standards. That's your choice. I refuse to tolerate or allow it. I don't and won't misrepresent you or anyone else. I expect the same treatment. It doesn't seem to much to ask. It seems quite reasonable, in fact.

Sevesteen said...

Not the same words, economically the same. You can't just keep taxing the people with jobs to give more people jobs, then tax the people you just gave jobs to create still more jobs. Jobs and infrastructure are separate problems with separate solutions.

Quotes do not necessarily indicate attribution, they are used when a word or phrase is used in a non-standard way.

Did I misuse them where the US government says that the roads aren't worse? Quotes are appropriate there, since I cut and pasted from a .gov website.

Mo Rage said...

You're interested in re-interpreting what people say, for your own goals. I'm not. Again, I don't do it to you--or anyone else, for that matter. You seem to find it necessary so you can turn the conversation, in your own mind and/or for your own purposes.

The fact is, the facts are:

--we haven't raised taxes on gasoline for infrastructure in years,

--our funds have been shrinking because people are driving less

--our funds are shrinking because mileage on our cars is getting better and better (thanks to government) and

--gasoline prices are at record lows so we can--and should--afford an increase in gasoline taxes.

Additionally, infrastructure improvements would

1) again, provide good jobs in the construction industry to do that rebuilding,

2) improving infrastructure helps increase business and is a net plus, over time and not a great deal of time and

3) besides increasing business--travel and tourism, among others, it also helps keep us all safer.

There is everything to like--love?--about this and nothing to fear or dislike.

Sevesteen said...

I'm the one who reinterprets words, considering your interpretation of the word deport?

Trump's idiotic Wall across the Mexican border would provide construction jobs, that doesn't make it a good idea.

I'm not arguing that we don't need some infrastructure, the argument is how much and what level of government should support it. Local taxes and government are less likely to waste money on things like gold plated libraries. Local government spending federal funds are almost certain to waste.

Travel and tourism is the same excuse used by sports teams. Unless the majority of tourists are from outside the US, it isn't creating any new wealth here.

Creating wealth is the key, not just shuffling the existing wealth or worse, destroying it on useless spending.

Mo Rage said...

Well, then. Since we agree--finally--and you're not arguing that we don't need some infrastructure, we're more than halfway there.

The New York Times, coincidentally, had an instructive article on this very subject, infrastructure that points out what I'm saying.

Choke Point of a Nation: The High Cost of an Aging River Lock

It points out how it keeps us, America, from doing yet more business.

Travel, tourism and more, just sheer business, is not an excuse. It's not just legitimate but it's very real business. It's also business people, getting to and from that very thing---that is, getting business done. It just makes sense.

"Creating wealth" sounds like a 5 year business plan by government and I know you're not about that, given what you've said in the past.

Then there's the kind of infrastructure on things like pipes for water all across America so we have not just clean water but lead free, as well.