The complexities of the budget

February 22, 2011

Lois Capps

OPINION By Congresswoman Lois Capps

We have a big problem with our federal budget deficit. If not properly addressed, it threatens our long term economic future and could stunt our children’s future opportunities. We simply must address this issue in a responsible way.

Let’s be clear about a couple of things. First, deficits are something we can solve if we work together to find bipartisan compromises. America has met the challenge of a lot of crises over the years and we can do the same here.

Second, our deficit is not just “a spending problem.” It’s a problem about wasteful and unnecessary spending, to be sure. But it’s also a challenge about revenues, economic growth and how we responsibly balance a host of legitimate competing priorities.

For example, plummeting revenues from the deep recession that started in 2008 are responsible for nearly one third of the current deficit. That’s why economists of all stripes say that restoring strong economic growth so more Americans are working and paying taxes is the most important step we can take to put our budget back in order. And while we tackle the deficit, we cannot stop building for tomorrow or our economy will not create jobs in the future.

Simply put, complicated problems like the Federal Budget deficit just don’t have easy, bumper sticker solutions. So, where do we go from here?

First, we have to make sure we don’t do anything that costs jobs today. For example, the new Republican majority in the House approved a budget for the rest of the year that could put hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work, in both the private and public sector, with huge cuts in public safety, education and transportation construction projects. With unemployment in California still in double digits, their proposal points us in exactly the wrong direction!

But we must stop wasteful spending and fix broken programs. Just last week I voted to end $3 billion in funding for a second engine for a new military jet the Pentagon doesn’t want, but that Congress has continued to fund anyway. I also voted to cut subsidies to corporate farms and have been working to get companies to pay appropriate royalties for oil and gas they extract on our public lands, which the Government Accountability Office says would save taxpayers $53 billion.

We must also acknowledge that reining in spending means some important priorities will have to go on the back burner. The President’s new budget freezes non-security spending for 5 years, covering everything from NASA to education to transportation. This will cut projected deficits by another $400 billion over the next decade and bring federal spending to the lowest level since President Eisenhower sat in the Oval Office. The President has also called for big cuts to a range of programs, like eliminating inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that impede investment in clean energy, which will further reduce our deficit.

But even that freeze on spending, as far reaching as it is, only scratches the surface of our deficit problem. The freeze doesn’t apply to defense, homeland security, Medicare or Medicaid, which make up the majority of federal spending. The President has called for nearly $100 billion in defense cuts and the health reform bill saves billions in Medicare overpayments to insurance companies. We should be prepared to do more, but it should be noted that both of those moves have been aggressively opposed by many of the same people loudly decrying our deficits.

Fourth, we have to end the Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthiest among us. The extension of tax cuts on incomes above $250,000 will increase our deficit by almost $1 trillion over the next decade.  This is unsustainable and economists agree that those cuts don’t really add to economic growth.

Finally, enacting spending cuts must be done with an eye toward future economic growth.  Indiscriminately cutting education means our kids won’t be ready to compete in the increasingly global marketplace. Pulling back on research and development for clean energy or cutting-edge medical technologies will mean America falls behind in these growing global industries. And delaying road improvements, broadband rollout and electricity grid efficiency upgrades means we won’t have the necessary infrastructure on which to build tomorrow’s economy.

And one more thing – Congressional leaders must respect the trust the American people have placed in them. Threats to shut down the government over budget disagreements are irresponsible and even considering defaulting on our national debt is downright reckless. Working out agreements among very divergent opinions requires a lot of give and take, from everyone, but it is what we are hired to do as public servants.  Walking away if you don’t get your way is simply not an option.

I’m confident the American people are ready to pull together and make sacrifices to get our budget problems under control. I hope that all Members of Congress will do the same.

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“Methinks the lady doth protest too much”

Good grief Lois, there’s still a few of us out here with a memory.

“Memory” of what? Politically, Lois Capps is one of the best things that has happened to the Central Coast. Honesty, integrity hard-work, no-scandals, and making sure some crooked or whacko conservative extremist corporate tool does not get the office—what a great legacy!

Thank you Lois Capps, a true political hero of the Central Coast.

From todays LAT:

The state Franchise Tax Board reports that during the two decades between 1987 and 2008:

Inflation-adjusted incomes of the top 10% of California taxpayers increased by 43%; the top 1% by 81%. Meanwhile, incomes of the lower 60% dropped by around 12%.

The income gap doubled between the top 1% and the average middle-class Californian. In 2008, the top 1% enjoyed 39 times the income of the middle class. In 1987, it was about 19 times.

The average inflation-adjusted income of the middle-class taxpayer actually dropped from $41,800 to $36,600.

And this has to do with Ms Capps opine how?

She is somehow going top get credit for your stats?

She authored legislation that led to these figures?

No. She just stepped up and took over her dead husbands position and has continued to get re elected by the liberal dems along the coast in the carved up district she has controlled for decades.

Once again she may be a very nice person, so what, name one piece of positive legislation she has authored?

Name one way she attempted to balance the budget during all the decades the dems have led the state house?

Name one thing she has brought to the legislature that has lowered operating costs or cut spending?

OK,”easymoney”, you say you want Congress to enact more laws, expecting government to come to your rescue. But what specific type of laws do you want Mrs. Capps and her colleagues to create? Please give us some details, because as it is now, your complaints are vague and whiny as if you expect the government to be your nanny you can cry to and blame for all you unhappiness.

You probably wouldn’t even have any reason to complain if our nation wasn’t so out of whack that we give the biggest tax breaks to the richest people who get fat and unhappy upon the backs of a nation that keeps them afloat and eating their fresh berries each morning, while those in the lowlands get cancer and respiratory diseases from the poisons they cloud our atmosphere with in order to keep those berries pretty in their bowl.

You’re arguing for your own demise, “easymoney”. Don’t be a sucker for the men and women who would eat you before they’d give up their precious berries, wine and all the pharmaceuticals they eagerly and easily pay their doctors for, the same ingredients that people on the street go to jail for each and every day, paid for by you and me.

Wise up, my friend.

First off, I never said anywhere that I wanted more laws nor did I ever say “expecting government to come to your rescue.” IMHO, there are far too many laws now and I have never in my 59 years taken any government assistance. I am doing just fine all by my lonesome…

What I do have a problem with is politicians who write vague oped pieces. I expect an elected public servant to help not add to the problem.

IMHO, Ms capps has done little to nothing in her tenure on the hill over the decades. And I am not the one whining, Ms Capps is. Instead of making assumptions about me or personal attacks how about asking yourself, what has Lois done that makes her stand out? How about answering my question instead of attacking me? “Name one thing she has brought to the legislature that has lowered operating costs or cut spending?”

Lois Capps consistently voted AGAINST all the crazy policies of the Bush administration that pushed our nation to the edge of financial disaster. Was she always successful? No, because of Republican opposition. Now many of those Republicans are distancing themselves from Bush, and their disastrous voting record, as fast as they can. Lois Capps doesn’t have to do that. She saw through the Bush disaster from the very beginning, and even had the courage and wisdom to see through the lies and vote against funding the war in Iraq, where Bush, and all those who voted for him, are responsible for hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths and fuels threats against the U.S. to this day.

Lois Capps is a political hero who doesn’t need to grandstand to do what needs to be done to protect the interests of those in her district.

Lois Capps is doing her job wonderfully and we can ALL be thankful for the honesty and integrity she has demonstrated year after year. She gets the job done and she does it well.

If you want to see her voting record, try the internet where you can research the HUNDREDS OF VOTES she has cast trying to save tax payers money, protect their health, and save lives of the innocent.

But the fact is, Republican leadership over the years has devastated our nation’s economy, cutting the taxes of the wealthy,and putting it on the back of the middle class. Lois Capps has been CONSISTENT in fighting against that. She is not a sucker. She knows the score.

Lois Capps rocks!

OK, “easymoney’, how about you tell us who you think would do a better job as a congressional representative for Capps’ district? Who is YOR candidate? Anyone? Here’s your chance to quit whining and blaming government for your unhappiness and stand up for someone who you are sure will be honest, have integrity and work diligently for the best interests of the citizens on the Central Coast. Here is your chance to put up or….

First off, I have never focused my discussion at or toward you by name. And I was not whining, just commenting on an opinion piece by capps. My opinion of hers.

Second I already have very capable representative in Kevin McCarthy who is doing a wonderful job.

Third since you called me out personally and attacked me personally, I’m done here…

Kevin McCarthy doing a “wonderful job”? Huh? In what way? All I can see is that he is a complete tool.

If you mean he’s done a “wonderful job” by being a complete flop as Republican Party whip, thereby helping the Democrats, then I think you might have a decent point.

Zap that makes me sick. They’re getting richer and they are the ones crying because of union workers. The wealthy are getting so rich and we are payng their taxes, it just doesn’t seem fair.

What’s the matter, Lois? Getting a little nervous that the stuff going on in the Middle East, Greece, and our own Midwest might be coming to California soon? Been thinking about a “preemptive strike”?

Forget it, there is nothing that you can do to stop it!

You have been one of the biggest do-nothings in Congress that there is. You have done NOTHING to stem the flow of out-of-control spending going on. There are literally HUNDREDS of programs in the federal budget which are COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY, and I have not heard a word out of you about getting rid of them! So much for all your high and mighty rhetoric about “our federal budget deficit.”

You want to do some good up there in Congress, Lois? Find out what happened to the MISSING TRILLIONS:

Trillions of dollars are missing from the US government. What’s going on? Where is the money? How could this happen? Where are the checks and balances? How much more has gone missing? What would happen if a corporation failed to pass an audit like this? Or a taxpayer? Who is responsible for this? Would your banks continue to handle your bank account if you behaved like this? Would your investors continue to buy your securities if you behaved like this? Learn more in the articles below.

We await your answer, Lois.

Once again Lois Capps tells the truth, and once again her opponents don’t like it.

Lois Capps is a political hero for standing her ground, being honest, and having integrity, term after term. There is no doubt that her congressional district is better off because of her

If enough people were willing to face the facts as Capps explains them, and work positively as she suggests, our entire NATION would be a whole lot better off as well.

Lois Capps is exactly the kind of politician we need more of. Her wise words and leadership are well appreciated by those who are realistic, honest and love our country.

We are very fortunate that Lois Capps has been willing run for re-election term after term despite the unwarranted abuse and groundless insults that so many good politicians receive these days from people who have a hard time appreciating truth.

I have a feeling that no matter what Lois addresses, she isn’t going to be appreciated. The divisive nature of the citizens in this state and country has reached an all time high and it’s embarrassing at times. Did anyone notice that she states that it is going to take a collective effort to solve this crisis, thereby noting that she realizes that she doesn’t have “all the answers”? I for one appreciate her article and recognize that she did identify and address areas of wasteful spending to the tune of billions of dollars. No single individual can represent the entire solution.

I believe that Lois did fail to address the problem with unions in the private sector, they have no business in the private sector and have to be reigned in. Union’s are playing a dirty political game on the backs of the tax payers and now control our politicians by means of large campaign contributions. We have all seen this problem escalating time and again over the years. We are now working for the public employees rather than them working for us.

It is amazing to me to see what some of the readers and commentators here believe; “I can think of ZERO examples where government has taken over something and made it better, it always ends up worse.” Of course, that comment shows a complete lack of historical perspective- there were times in the U.S. when we allowed “police” departments that were actually private firms; if you owned a large company, like Ford Motor Company, you could hire your own private “police” force and use them for strike breaking purposes that included attacking the strikers, injuring, maiming and even killing the strikers. These private “police” forces broke the law, hurt the citizens that “real” police forces are charged to protect; regulated, government run police forces are much better than private security firms for the protection of the average citizen, period. Same thing goes for “private” fire departments; do you remember the story from last year about the man whose house was allowed to burn down because he had supposedly not paid some type of tax? The fire chief of that department was called about the situation (I think he was out on a golf course at the time of the call) and told his men to “stand down” and let the house burn; that is the action of how a “private” fire department would work. Government can’t do ANYTHING better? WRONG!

“The handout system is done.” Yeah, right; like the “handouts” to the largest corporations that pay NOTHING in income taxes? Like the oil companies that receive federal subsidies? Like the mega-farm corporations that receive crop subsidies? Like the banks that receive our monies so that they could pay their executives there multi-million dollar bonuses? If anyone actually believes that it is only the Democratic Party that has some sort of “socialist” agenda, look at how many Republicans have voted repeatedly for tax breaks for corporations, subsidies and allowing our national resources (foresting and mining, oil and gas extraction rights, for example) to given away for nothing. Socialism, as practiced by the Republicans is to “socialize the losses, privatize the profits”; what little actual socialism that is put forth by the Democrats is to try and benefit those who have the least among us (Social Security pays out quite a bit to those in our society who are disabled and to widows whose husbands paid into Social Security all of their lives).

As to why the pensions are in such trouble, why it is that the states, counties and cities are having issues paying into those pensions, let’s take a brief look into what happened. Most of the pension funds were funded quite well for a long time. When the financial industry “invented” derivatives, no one understood what was happening. Rating agencies gave those derivatives high ratings so pension fund managers invested in them thinking they were a “safe” investment. When the bottom dropped out and many of the pension funds lost a huge chunk, the state, county and city agencies were on the hook to make up the shortfall because that is how the funding is supposed to work. It was not the fault of the agencies, it was not the fault of the fund managers, and it wasn’t the fault of the unions; it was the fault of the companies that invented the crap that everyone thought was safe, and even more at fault was the rating agencies that assured everyone that the investments were safe. The bankers and ratings agencies have ripped everyone off, laughed all the way to the bank and no one has been arrested and charged with the crimes that occurred, and in the end, we the taxpayers are ultimately on the hook. How about we have a state’s attorney general go after the firms that ripped everyone off and get the money back for those pension funds?

These graphs can help us understand why the country is hollowed out, as Booty-juju says” skint.”

Cappsian fluff.

Where’s the beef?

The gosple according to the “nicest” legislator in the house. Wake up lois…

You have been in office for how long? You have helped balance the budget how? You have authored how many helpful bills, not counting the Tat removal bill?

Where’s the beef? the British investment banks ate it.

Lois, it IS a spending problem. We taxpayers have forked out money hand over fist for DECADES to try and make it work. Well, it isn’t working. Matter of fact, it is all going to hell in a handbasket. Why? UNIONS. You speak like a politician and say very little. We taxpayers will no longer be placated with several paragraphs on a page or a lengthy speech of untruths. The time has come for the private sector to gain the upper hand and take back our voice. You have a choice to listen, do as we say, or get out and be replaced with someone who will. Are you listening, Lois??

We’re going to hell in a hand basket because of unions! You need to get out more, read a few newspapers other than CCN. We are broke because of wars that were started by Bush and low tax rates for the wealthy,,also because of Bush and the republicans, not because of Lois Capps or unions. Thank goodness for unions, thank goodness we don’t have sweat shops thank goodness not all of our teachers are on food stamps. Republicans are so much more like communist then they think. Very rich or very poor no in between=China and the USA (because of republicans). Poor working conditions for the middle class=republicans/China. Kill anyone who breaks the law=China/Republicans. No health care=China/republicans.


FYI, here is a list of Democrat Senators who voted FOR war:

Baucus (D-MT)

Bayh (D-IN)

Biden (D-DE)

Breaux (D-LA)

Cantwell (D-WA)

Carnahan (D-MO)

Carper (D-DE)

Cleland (D-GA)

Clinton (D-NY)

Daschle (D-SD)

Dodd (D-CT)

Dorgan (D-ND)

Edwards (D-NC)

Feinstein (D-CA)

Harkin (D-IA)

Hollings (D-SC)

Johnson (D-SD)

Kerry (D-MA)

Kohl (D-WI)

Landrieu (D-LA)

Lieberman (D-CT)

Lincoln (D-AR)

Miller (D-GA)

Nelson (D-FL)

Nelson (D-NE)

Reid (D-NV)

Rockefeller (D-WV)

Schumer (D-NY)

Torricelli (D-NJ)

Looks like a who’s who of the Democratic party.

Socialism ( Dems rebrand it, but it is still socialism) stops working when you run out of other people’s money to spend. And you know what? That time is now. Experiment is over. It doesn’t work.

Unions??? Guess what, if you don’t like what your employer is doing, vote with your feet. Better yet, remove the regulations and taxes that make it prohibitive to go into business in this state. Then, people can take their expertise and become the competition.

The handout system is done. Time to get back to the hand up system. I can think of ZERO examples where government has taken over something and made it better, it always ends up worse. Government isn’t the solution, it is the problem.

Lois Capps isn’t the solution. Lois Capps is part of the problem.

“The handout system is done. Time to get back to the hand up system. I can think of ZERO examples where government has taken over something and made it better, it always ends up worse. Government isn’t the solution, it is the problem.”

“Lois Capps isn’t the solution. Lois Capps is part of the problem.”

Very well put, chop…

As to unions and binding arbitration, even a simpleton like me can figure it out…

When a small percentage of recipiants (“In 2010, the union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union–was 11.9 percent, down from 12.3 percent a year earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.”)

who pay almost nothing into their own retirement system (4-6%) and the rest of us taxpayers has to foot the bill for that retirement package, something is wrong with the system. Simple economics…

Capps has had decades to do something, anything right, yet her biggest claim to fame is the taxpayers funded tattoo removal program… She is a big part of the problem.

Although many congressional dems were duped into believing the Bush admin. lies such as Al Qaeda was from Iraq (911 tragedy) and that Iraq was storing and manufacturing weapons of mass destruction, Lois wasn’t duped. She voted against going to war in Iraq. But I’m not going to make excuses for those dem politicians that voted to go to war in Iraq. They should have known better than to trust anything out of Bush/Cheney/Rove/Rummy’s mouths. So they don’t get a pass. But Lois was smart enough to know that we shouldn’t have jumped into that war.

I’m glad that you are fortunate enough to just walk away from a job/career if you don’t like the conditions. But there are many people with families that need to pay their bills, not everyone has the choice to walk off a job.

You can’t think of one thing that the govt. has taken over that it hasn’t made better,,,then you don’t think.

Because of the FDA our medications and food are safe. I’ve been to countries ie Mexico that make me appreciate this well run agency.

You may not agree but Social Security has helped and probably saved the lives of millions of seniors and disabled people and so has Medicare.

The military may have it’s issues but I believe that we are better off with our military as opposed to no military.

I’m glad that we have such great govt. standards that our buildings didn’t collapse such as the ones in NZ did the other day.

Our roads are safe,,(excluding Grover Beach).

Thank goodness the private sector can’t build over Yellowstone.

Next time you fly in a plane think about what it would be like up there without Fed regulations and the FFA.

The list is long. I say you militia types should take over Texas and you can live in your bunkers and care for yourselves free of all govt. regulations that most of us apprecitate.

There are many govt. agencies that have made this country better. I’ll bet that you want the govt to tell me or my daughter what we can do with our body. I wouldn’t be surprised if you wanted the govt. to regulate the right for gays to get married either.

Thank you, Typoqueen.

It’s interesting to see, time and again, people who tell us the United States is the greatest nation in the world, also telling us that everything the United States government does is wrong or incompetent.

That Lois Capps voted against the war—in the face of all kinds of pressure and opposition—is another reason to count her as a wise, political hero from—and for—the Central Coast.

Best New Bumper Sticker:

Lois Capps Rocks!

I agreed, Lois Rocks!

The more appropriate bumper sticker would be: ” This turnip has no more blood”.

Then the turnip needs to vote Democrat and let the wealthy pay their fair share so you don’t bleed to death.

Don’t treat us like fools, Choprzrul. Government has “taken over” police, fire, military, sewer service, the justice system, and ALL for the better.

Do you want to go back to vigilante justice, lynchings, mercenaries, out houses, battling your own fires, and being a cop?

Show some respect!

I need a loan to start a bumper sticker company.