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GOP plan would trigger major layoffs at SLAC

Original post made on Feb 18, 2011

The prospect of major layoffs at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and other federally funded institutions was raised Thursday by California Democrats in response to a budget-slashing Republican proposal under discussion in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 18, 2011, 11:19 AM

Comments (21)

Posted by David B, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Everyone who complains about a proposed cut should be required to recommend a replacement cut that saves the same amount.

What "hard decisions" is our esteemed Congresswoman actually willing to make? When will she accept that we are OUT OF MONEY?


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm

The sad thing is the proposed cuts are less than a tenth of what's necessary. The truth is, the federal government needs to cut 2 trillion a year.


Posted by Second Santa Claus, a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2011 at 1:23 pm

"Everyone who complains about a proposed cut should be required to recommend a replacement cut that saves the same amount."

Really?

And where were the cuts for the billions in tax breaks for both the wealthiest and the working Americans that were compromised in December?

The veil of fiscal responsibility appears awfully thin, when only a couple months ago, there was a demand that the wealthiest Americans, already at the lowest tax burden since the 50's required an additional $600 billion in cuts, in order to maintain cuts for working families and a small UI extension.

Short memory, eh?

When was the last time both the highest bracket, and the cap gains rate, were this low?

"Amid complaints about high taxes and calls for a smaller government, Americans paid their lowest level of taxes last year since Harry Truman's presidency, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data found." Web Link

"Actually, as a share of the nation's economy, Uncle Sam's take this year will be the lowest since 1950, when the Korean War was just getting under way.

And for the third straight year, American families and businesses will pay less in federal taxes than they did under former President George W. Bush, thanks to a weak economy and a growing number of tax breaks for the wealthy and poor alike." Web Link

Good luck, SLAC, and all American infrastructure, in these perilous times.


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2011 at 2:24 pm

We are not OUT OF MONEY. We have a large deficit but are unwilling to cut the items that make up 88% of our spending. We could cut the other 12% to zero and not balance the budget. That would ruin our society and compromise our future while gaining us very little. Dealing with Social Security and Medicare will only get harder as time goes on. Small changes now can reap enormous benefits in the future. I think that our politicians know this but just don't have the courage to do it.


Posted by Second Santa Claus, a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Donald:

While Medicare is a mess, please don't include Social Security in budget deficit discussions.

Social Security dies not add to the budget deficit.

SS is okay for another couple decades. The only fix required is to remove the cap for SSI taxes, applying SSI to wages above ~$110k/year. Or even add a donut hole with no SSI taxes for annual wages earned in the "donut hole" of ~$125k through $250k, reapplying for all annual wages above $250k/yr.

Those fixes would make SS solvent virtually forever.

No cut in benefits to our elderly, no raising of the retirement ages, no re-direction of privatized funds to Wall Street.

Otherwise, we're probably pretty much on the same page.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm

So instead of entering this crisis with the explicit understanding that no federal program or tax increase is beyond assessment, Second Santa Claus immediately wants to take the single largest expenditure off the table.

Sorry, that just doesn't work.

I'm more than willing to sacrifice by paying more taxes and having fewer services. Social Security benefits are a big part of the problem and should not be exempted from the solution.


Posted by Second Santa Claus, a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2011 at 3:38 pm

"Social Security is a self funded system. Therefore this program is not, and has never added a single dime to the federal deficit."

You may raise ages, reduce benefits or eliminate them completely for the year - it will not effect the deficit.

I didn't take it "off the table." I offered a recognized fix that makes it solvent darn near into infinity and retains benefits to keep our elderly in their homes and off cat food.

Budgets and deficits concerning SLAC, etc.. do require a fix on both sides: selective cutting of expenditures and increasing revenues - increased tax collection through both a better economy and perhaps repeal of December's cuts.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 19, 2011 at 8:29 am

With reference to Social Security, Second Santa Claus says he "didn't take it off the table."

Unfortunately, his prior post says, and I quote, "please don't include Social Security in budget deficit discussions."

I suspect that with Social Security changes your ox is being gored.

Sorry, no ox is going to spared from budget problem. Not teachers, not cops, not pensions, not defense, not farmers, not taxpayers, not oil companies, not welfare recipients, and definitely not the largest government program of all, Social Security.


Posted by Second Santa Claus, a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2011 at 10:23 am

"Social Security is a self funded system. Therefore this program is not, and has never added a single dime to the federal deficit."

You keep working around the above statement, so I'll post it again.

"I suspect that with Social Security changes your ox is being gored. "

Nope, SSC is not in that age group, the white beard is fake (don't tell anyone!) :o)

But our parents and grandparents are, along with 50 million others, with a high percentage of voters. Even the freshman tea baggers will make sure changes don't effect that group anytime soon. So, about that ox?

I'll also stand by: "The only fix required is to remove the cap for SSI taxes, applying SSI to wages above ~$110k/year. Or even add a donut hole with no SSI taxes for annual wages earned in the "donut hole" of ~$125k through $250k, reapplying for all annual wages above $250k/yr."

SSC


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm

You are correct that Social Security pays for itself... but only for six more years, then it is in a deficit and will draw on general tax revenues to pay those benefits.

However, Medicare and Medicaid are, in aggregate, LARGER than Social Security and they ARE NOT self funded. They are, in fact, funded from general revenues.

You can't fix this problem by ignoring the largest mandatory spending programs. It's like a family saying they are going to cut back on everything but their housing costs. For our government, there simply aren't enough National Endowment for the Arts or Corporation for Public Broadcasting dollars to even make a small dent.

Web Link

Personally, I think the only way out of this mess is to get the government out of the pension and retirement business. We can gradually phase in a system where people fund their own retirement plans, keep their own money, use it how they wish, and even pass it on their children. Think about how much better the government budget would be without having to fund SSI.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 20, 2011 at 10:12 am

"Think about how much better the government budget would be without having to fund SSI."

Think how many people would be living on the street with that kind of system. Because in some cases people wouldn't put the money into retirement plans and in other cases when the economy tanks, which it does cyclically, and millions of people's retirement funds are wiped out. We'd be back to the bread lines and soup kitchens of the great depression. SSI was started for that very reason.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 20, 2011 at 5:38 pm

MV -

They don't have to put money away for themselves. My suggestion is to take the current SSI deductions - about 15% of your salary - and put it into a retirement account. I'm not suggesting one penny less than we are spending now - I'm only suggesting we invest it in individual accounts. There could be rules on investments, just like there are with other retirement plans and people couldn't withdraw money until they are 65. And, this money, which each employee has earned, could be passed on to their children, just like other retirement accounts.

Do the math (I have). Even modest wage earners and modest returns would allow people to retire with hundreds of thousands of dollars... most with more than a million. That's enough to live on without the government.

Don't think it will work? Many European countries already do this and it seems to work extremely well for them. Those countries that don't are in the same predicament as we are.

And we already have programs for the truly poor and indigent.


Posted by Second Santa Claus, a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2011 at 6:23 pm

"And we already have programs for the truly poor and indigent."

Which appear to be the top targets for budget cuts. One could cut a couple bombers or defense contractor sweetheart deals or one can just rip away the social safety net.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 20, 2011 at 6:28 pm

POGO:

my apologies, I didn't fully understand what you were proposing. I would agree under the circumstances you describe. Strict controls over diversification would need to be in place. Even so, it still doesn't acknowledge the problem of the loss of value of retirement accounts that might occur in a major down turn in the economy can create.


Posted by Second Santa Claus, a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm

The entire privatization effort was backed by Wall Street financial firms, as the most important thing they wanted for their political donations.

Well, besides deregulation and limited oversight, which led to the 2008 disaster.

But other than that, hey, let's go for it!

I mean, how much could it cost to keep funding SS benefits for existing retirees, soon to be retirees AND fund the privatized accounts of youngsters? Isn't that adding an entirely unplanned for cost?

Who takes the hit?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 1:48 am

The Menlo Park posters who oppose the Hospital expansion should be cheering these cutbacks - fewer MP jobs, less MP traffic and fewer MP shoppers - exactly what the posters have been demanding.


Posted by Ed, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 21, 2011 at 10:15 pm

"And we already have programs for the truly poor and indigent."

----------------------------

"Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge. "Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again. "And the Union workhouses?" demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?" "They are. Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not." ...

... "a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?" "Nothing!" Scrooge replied. "You wish to be anonymous?" "I wish to be left alone," said Scrooge. "Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there."

"Many can't go there; and many would rather die." "If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 22, 2011 at 11:24 am

Just a few examples of federal programs for the poor and needy: food stamps, child support programs, student lunch programs, WIC, worker's compensation and, of course... Medicaid. I haven't even mentioned the STATE programs.

I didn't realize that retirement benefits should be one of those "entitlements," too.

Just one question... where does it end?


Posted by Second Santa Claus, a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2011 at 11:46 am

"...where does it end?"

At the Department of Defense. Everything you mention (excluding MediCare/Caid) and allude to is a mere pittance compared to DOD spending.

Of all the talk of fraud, waste, mythical welfare queens, of workers having rights to fair wages and conditions, so much of all that is dwarfed by just the *suspect* part of the DOD budget.

Suspect: a new marine assault vehicle (AAAV: do we really land on the beach anymore?), the second F-22 jet engine being built in Boehner's district, along with Raptor's two competitive designs in the pipeline, the Crusader howitzer (just the name alone! let's deploy the Crusader against the Islamists!) the *constant* revolving door from the Pentagon to defense contractors, etc..

While I can't possibly prove it, one has to wonder whether the Pentagon budget has more fraud and waste than the rest of the federal and all the state government budgets combined.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm

SSC -

What makes you think I'm defending the defense budget?

We have to start somewhere. The largest federal expenditures are entitlements - it's over 50% of the budget. I'm fine with cutting back ALL of it, entitlements, defense, farm subsidies... everything.

A billion here and a billion there... pretty soon, you're talking about real money.


Posted by Second Santa Claus, a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Simplifying the budget into the four biggest segment areas: Social Security, Medicare, defense and discretionary spending.

The likelihood of significant cuts to Social Security and Medicare is slim, even Boehner and the tea baggers don't really want to see significant cuts, hence the ever popular tea bagger sign: "get your government hands off my medicare".

Obama cut Medicare costs significantly by getting rid of the insurance company welfare program called Medicare Plus, and you heard the screaming about that, here and elsewhere.

I've posted the serious solution to Social Security - raising or removing the payroll cap, that essentially makes SS solvent forever.

Which leaves the last big legs: the DOD and discretionary spending. I should have been more clear - painful cutting in discretionary is actually very few dollars in savings compared to slicing off a fraction of DOD spending.

Cutting discretionary spending just hurts more people, and they are usually the those that are already scraping by.

To some folks, that's a moral issue.

Back to SS: "Social Security is a self funded system. Therefore this program is not, and has never added a single dime to the federal deficit."

and

"Specifically, looking to the next two decades, Social Security does not cause our deficits." - from today's USAToday op ed from OMB Web Link

You personally prefer to have the government out of retirement and health care. That's not going to happen.

For all that "FDR is a hero" talk on the other thread, Social Security is one of the reasons.


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