|USA 2012 Elections is radio-active in USA + allover Earth...PVAF shares "As It Is Facts" on "Free Lunches" of USA Governance from a Citizen...of unkno|
Posted by Vishva News Reporter on September 23, 2012
What's the Government For?
"The legitimate object of government is
for a community of people whatever they need to have done
but cannot do
at all or cannot so well do for themselves
in their separate and
Lincoln, 16th President of
USA, March 4, 1861 –
April 15, 1865
....time magazine explains
what the usa government is in 2012...
These days, pretty much no one argues in favor of Big Government. It was
Bill Clinton who announced in 1996 that "the era of Big Government is
over." But while public trust in government keeps declining, reliance on
government continues to grow. Americans may not like Big Government, but
they sure like their Medicare and Social Security and mortgage-interest
Michael Grunwald's cover story brings this idea alive as he charts how
much his life--and ours--is subsidized by government. It's not something
most of us think about every day as we use publicly financed roads and
electricity and communications technology--but if this presidential
campaign is in large part a conversation about the proper role of
government, it's useful for voters to better understand the role it
plays in their lives.
Michael's new book, The New New Deal, tells the backstory of the Obama
stimulus bill and all the changes it is driving. Whatever happens in the
election, it's clear that both parties will have to reckon with our
fiscal crisis through a combination of cuts and new revenue.
And as they
get to work, they might stick this quotation from Abraham Lincoln on
their computer screens: "The legitimate object of government is to do
for a community of people whatever they need to have done but cannot do
at all or cannot so well do for themselves in their separate and
And as Lincoln added, government should get out
of the way when individuals can do it better.
|And with the above introduction please click on the next line to
study and also politically entertain YOURSELF reading
Michael Grunwald's seeing "democratic" USA Government as is
today...similar to the rest of the governments on this planet Earth with
different labels such as "Kingdom", "Republics", "communist",
"socialist", "dictator"...and all the infinite shades of earthlings'
governing each others...mainly for personal human power and resulting
wealth and other life-needs-wants-desire acquisitions beyond the natural
law life-design of food-shelter-life living and life-evolution purposes
...just by "imposing leadership" in the name of fair and lawful
life-governance at every level of human-life....
HUMANITY DOES NOT LIKE GOVERNMENT'S GOVERNANCE
FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER....
....BUT TAKE "FREE LUNCHES" IN WHATEVER FORM IT CAN GET
FROM WHATEVER FORM OF GOVERNMENT
EVEN LEGALIZES-BUYS THE "FREE LUNCH" WITH
CITIZEN VOTING POWER....
...this is the continual sad mind-set of human existence
for the current known-recorded history of humanity...
|...and if you do not believe in
the above Truth....
CONTINUING STUDYING THE FOLLOWING....
My subsidized life: Grunwald at
breakfast win Miami Beach home with Max, 4 and Lina, 2
One Nation On Welfare...
Living Your Life
On The Dole...
...how Big Government underwrites
The sun is shining on Miami Beach, and I wake up in subsidized housing.
I throw on a T-shirt made of subsidized cotton, brush my teeth with
subsidized water and eat cereal made of subsidized grain. Soon the chaos
begins, two hours of pillow forts, dance parties and other craziness
with two hyper kids and two hyper Boston terriers, until our subsidized
nanny arrives to watch our 2-year-old. My wife Cristina then drives to
her subsidized job while listening to the subsidized news on public
radio. I bike our 4-year-old to school on public roads, play tennis on a
public court and head home for a subsidized shower. Then I turn on my
computer with subsidized electricity and start work in my subsidized
It's just another manic Monday, brought to us by the deep pockets of Big
Government. The sunshine is a natural perk, and while our kids are
tax-deductible, the fun we have with them is not. The dogs are on our
dime too. Otherwise, taxpayers help support just about every aspect of
Of course, we're taxpayers too, and we don't exactly fit the stereotype
of entitled welfare queens. Cristina is an attorney and until recently
was a small-business owner. I'm a journalist, an economic red flag these
days, but I work for the company behind the Harry Potter and Batman
movies, so at press time I was still getting paid. My family's subsidies
are not the handouts to the poor that help fuel America's political
culture wars but the kind of government goodies that make the
comfortable even more comfortable. Our federally subsidized housing, for
example, is a two-story Art Deco home in the overpriced heart of South
Beach. But our mortgage interest is a personal deduction, my home office
is a business deduction, and federal subsidies keep our flood insurance
cheap. Even our property taxes are deductible. So thanks for your help.
The 2012 election is shaping up as a debate over Big Government, but it
is only loosely tethered to the reality of Big Government. The vast
majority of federal spending goes to defense, health care and Social
Security plus interest payments on the debt we've run up paying for
defense, health care and Social Security. Nondefense discretionary
spending--Washingtonese for "everything else," from the FBI to the TSA
to the center for grape genetics--amounts to only 12% of the budget.
Still, it's a big government. The U.S. did not spend even $1 billion in
1912; it will spend $3.8 trillion in 2012 on everything from Missing
Alzheimer's Disease Patient Assistance ($593,842) to Snow Survey and
Water Supply Forecasting ($9,409,400), from mortgage insurance for
manufactured homes ($64,724,187) to ironworker training on Indian
reservations. There will be an additional $1.3 trillion in tax
expenditures, federal benefits (like the deductions for my 401(k) and my
nanny's salary) that are basically identical to those normal spending
programs except that they happen to be provided through the tax code.
The rise of the Tea Party and the weakness of the Obama economy have
fueled a Republican narrative about Big Government as a threat to
liberty, redistributing wealth from honorable Americans to undeserving
moochers, from taxpaying "makers" to freeloading "takers." In fact, most
Americans are makers and takers--proud of our making, blind to our
taking. Republicans often point out that only half the country pays
income taxes, but just about all Americans pay taxes: payroll taxes,
state and local taxes, gas taxes and much more. The problem is that we
pay in $2.5 trillion and pay out $3.8 trillion. And those trillions of
dollars don't all go to undeserving moochers, except insofar as we're
all undeserving moochers.
7 a.m.: Subsidized food, water, electricity and clothing
The right routinely portrays government as a giant mess of Solyndra
failures, lavish agency conferences in Vegas and pork for society's
leeches. But my taxpayer-supported morning didn't feel like mooching at
For example, my family pays for that water I use to brush my teeth,
about $100 a month. But that's a small fraction of the true cost of
delivering clean water to our home and treating the sewage that leaves
our home. And it certainly doesn't reflect the $15 billion federal
project to protect and restore the ravaged Everglades, which sit on top
of the aquifers that provide our drinking water. Most Americans think of
the water that comes out of our faucets as an entitlement, not a
handout, but it's a government service, and it's often subsidized.
Similarly, my family pays more than $200 a month for the electricity
that powers our toaster at breakfast. But that number would be much
higher if the feds didn't subsidize the construction, liability
insurance and just about every other cost associated with my utility's
nuclear power plants while also providing generous tax advantages
("depletion allowances," "intangible drilling costs" and so forth) for
natural gas and other fossil fuels. The $487 we're paying this year for
federal flood insurance is also outrageously low, considering that our
low-lying street floods all the time, that a major hurricane could wipe
out Miami Beach and that the Property Casualty Insurers Association of
America estimates that premiums in high-risk areas would be three times
as high without government aid.
Some federal largesse--tax breaks for NASCAR racetracks ($40 million)
and subsidies for rum distilleries ($172 million) and rural airports
($200 million)--is just silly. There's no reason my poker buddies should
be able to deduct the gambling losses I inflict on them once a month.
(Just kidding, guys!)
The silliest handouts that brighten my morning are the boondoggles that
funnel billions to America's cotton and grain farmers and maybe knock a
few cents off the price of my T-shirts and my kids' breakfast waffles.
Uncle Sam sends at least $15 billion every year to farmers and
agribusinesses in the form of grants, loans, crop insurance and other
goodies. The farm lobby is so omnipotent in Washington that when the
World Trade Organization ruled that U.S. handouts give our cotton
farmers an unfair advantage over Brazil, the U.S. cut a deal to shovel
$147 million a year to Brazilian cotton farmers rather than kick our own
farmers off the dole. Our food and clothing may seem cheap, but, oh, we
pay for them.
9 a.m.--1 p.m.: Subsidized transport, shelter, exercise and jobs
Reasonable people can disagree about most government aid. I enjoy NPR,
even though I don't really see why it needs about $3 million a year of
our tax dollars to produce good journalism; public-radio stations
receive only about 15% of their revenue from the government anyway. On
the other hand, I think my $500 Florida tax rebate for the
energy-efficient water heater that warms my shower made great sense,
promoting economic, environmental and national security by reducing
Unless you're a hardcore libertarian, it probably doesn't bother you
that the city of Miami Beach spends $500 million a year building roads,
fixing potholes, picking up trash, putting out fires and creating bike
lanes that make my cycling somewhat less life-threatening. The city also
owns my local tennis courts, which are receiving a somewhat
controversial $5 million upgrade, as well as the playground my
2-year-old visits frequently and the track where Cristina and I work out
much less frequently. My mayor, Matti Herrera Bower, told me tennis
players are the city's most aggressive and obnoxious special interest.
We're the farmers of Miami Beach.
When I spoke to Bower, a former dental assistant and PTA mom who got
into politics after years of community activism, the FBI had just busted
a bunch of city code inspectors for shaking down a nightclub owner, and
the city manager had just quit. MIAMI BEACH SINKING IN A VAST SWAMP OF
DISHONESTY, a Miami Herald column declared. Citizens notice the bad
news, Bower said with a sigh, but they don't appreciate that government
keeps them safe and cleans their streets. They're not too interested in
learning more, either; Bower holds regular Mayor on the Move forums to
bring City Hall to Miami Beach's neighborhoods, but only two residents
showed up to the last one. "There's this perception that government is
all dirty, and perception is 99% of what matters," Bower says. "People
are busy living their lives. They don't understand where their taxes go
and what they get."
One thing my family gets from government is Cristina's paycheck from an
advocacy group called Americans for Immigrant Justice, which is nearly
30% funded by the feds. Cristina is paid less than she would make at a
private law firm, though more than most Americans, to represent
undocumented minors in detention centers--in other words, kids in jail,
some as young as 6, many victims of gang rape, gang terror or horrific
family abuse. Cristina helps save the time of judges and immigration
officials by advising these kids about their rights, and she probably
saves taxpayers money overall by advising her clients when they have no
legal case for staying. That said, it's unlikely that her job would
exist without Uncle Sam's help.
This is true for huge numbers of Americans. Government is still
America's largest job sector, directly employing about 22 million
workers at the federal, state and local levels--which means teachers,
cops, prison guards, park rangers, coroners, prosecutors, you name it.
It is impossible to estimate how many jobs the federal government
creates indirectly through contracts for everything from fighter jets to
the guys who manage my tennis courts. Other industries depend on
government, like health care, lobbying and Washington real estate. And
the entire nonprofit world depends on the charitable tax deduction,
which costs the Treasury about $40 billion a year. Obama proposed to
limit it for rich donors, but charities went berserk, and with antitax
Republicans running the House, Congress isn't eliminating tax breaks
That's especially true of the tax breaks that deprive the Treasury of
the most revenue because they tend to go to taxpayers with the most
income. Take that mortgage-interest deduction, the third-costliest tax
expenditure at $94 billion a year. It's available only to homeowners,
who tend to be better off than renters. And since it's a deduction from
your income, it's worth more to taxpayers who earn more. That's because
the higher your income, the higher your tax bracket. And if you are in
the top brackets, you can deduct a bigger portion of your mortgage
interest from your taxes. Politicians love providing benefits through
the tax code because it makes them look like tax cutters rather than
spenders. And a politician who tried to get rid of the mortgage
deduction would probably become an ex-politician.
1 p.m.--6 p.m.: Subsidized medicine, savings and businesses
I usually spend most of the afternoon in my office, with occasional
soccer breaks when 2-year-old Lina bangs on my door and shouts, "Kick
ball me!" I often grab lunch with a friend--maybe Xavier, a
private-equity guy, or Damian, a developer, or Alan, an environmental
activist. I do physical therapy twice a week for a bum shoulder. Except
for my escape with Lina, who'd be a more convincing athlete if she
didn't carry a doll onto the field, this is all subsidized too.
The physical therapy is helping my aching shoulder, but it's also
helping drive the U.S. toward insolvency. We're not Greece or anything
like Greece, but we do have a long-term debt problem, and it's almost
entirely a result of rising health care costs. On graphs of long-term
government-spending projections, health care looks like a ski slope, and
everything else looks like a sidewalk. Most of the problem is Medicare
and Medicaid, which spend about $800 billion and rising a year to cover
the elderly and the poor. But the tax advantages for health care are the
country's costliest tax expenditure, draining the Treasury of $184
billion a year. Health benefits provided by employers are tax exempt,
which encourages Time Inc. to give me better benefits than it otherwise
might have. That may have encouraged me to get my shoulder checked out
earlier than I otherwise would have, which might save me from costly
surgery. Then again, my orthopedist might not have done an MRI in
addition to an X-ray if I didn't have such comprehensive insurance; when
the tax code rewards a behavior, like consuming health care, people do
more of that behavior.
I also benefit from another huge loophole in the tax code: the exemption
for 401(k)s and other savings plans, which costs the Treasury $138
billion a year. Every $500 I save for retirement depletes the Treasury
of about $135 it would otherwise take from me in taxes. Yes, there is a
legitimate policy interest in promoting saving, but this is another
example of the tax code incentivizing people with money to do things
they would have done anyway, like own a home, buy health insurance or
hire a nanny. Investors and financiers also enjoy huge tax advantages
like Wall Street's $1 billion to $2 billion carried-interest loophole,
which keeps hedge-fund managers' taxes at janitor levels.
But my sweetest tax advantage does not come from being a homeowner, a
patient or a saver. It comes from being a kinda-sorta businessman. If
you make decent money and you're not deducting business expenses, get an
accountant--which, incidentally, is also tax-deductible. On my tax
forms, I'm not just a dude at a magazine. I'm also an "author,
lecturer," which lets me slice some personal business expenses off the
top of my income. I'm conservative about deductions--nothing to see
here, IRS!--but my accountant says those business-ish lunches with my
work-related pals are partly deductible. So are most books I buy, 17% of
my utility bills--my home office is 17% of our home--and some of my
travel. I don't know how much I'll deduct from my trip to San Francisco
for my brother's wedding, but it won't be nothing, because I did some
book interviews while I was there.
The business community frequently complains about taxes, but the tax
code turns out to be cluttered with probusiness incentives. In fact, as
we discovered when Cristina opened a retail store just as the recession
hit, the only thing that's more advantageous for tax purposes than
opening a business is opening a failing business. When the store lost
money during the Great Recession, the losses helped reduce our tax
liability by more than half. We learned an expensive lesson in
entrepreneurial risk taking, but Uncle Sam made it much less expensive.
6 p.m.: Even the electronic babysitter is subsidized
The workday ends. Cristina drives home, past a $49 million federally
funded rail tunnel, and gets cash from our bank, which was bailed out to
the tune of $45 billion by the U.S. government. Our nanny takes a public
bus home. Then it's another hour of gymnastics, charades and other
unsubsidized fun before we deposit the kids in front of the TV--not to
watch mindless crap, because we would never tranquilize them that way,
but to watch worthy programs like Dinosaur Train and Sid the Science Kid
that tend to be supported by federal grants. It's a much better way to
My life on the dole is hardly unique. The website cfda.gov lists 2,238
federal assistance programs, from the $7.5 million Incentive Grant to
Prohibit Racial Profiling to the $4 million Wild Horse and Burro
Resource Management. Redundancies jump off the screen. The $24
billion-a-year Agriculture Department is essentially running a bonus
government for rural America with its own education, housing,
transportation, energy, health, business-promotion and
environmental-regulation programs. The $2.5 billion-a-year Bureau of
Indian Affairs supports a duplicate government for Native Americans. I
suggested to one Administration official that the $662 billion the
Pentagon spends on service members, their families and veterans is yet
another U.S. government. "No, the Pentagon runs a Swedish government,"
he corrected me. "It's a socialist paradise!"
Government investments affect our lives in all kinds of subtler ways,
from the Pentagon research that led to the development of the Internet I
use for work to the one-sided deal that subsidized a $213 million arena
for the basketball team I root for obsessively. Americans tell pollsters
they don't like government, much less the taxes they pay to fund
government, but they tend to support Medicare, the military and most
other services that government provides. This is why politicians tend to
spend a lot more time talking about shrinking government than actually
shrinking government. President Obama talks a lot about trimming the
fat, and Republican leaders talk about almost nothing but trimming the
fat. But the status quo has largely prevailed.
The explosion of Big Government under Obama is mostly a myth; the public
workforce has actually shrunk by half a million workers during his
presidency. That said, Obama hasn't been much of a fat trimmer, either.
His halfhearted efforts to rein in excessive spending got off to a
laughable start in April 2009, when he publicly ordered his Cabinet to
find $100 million-with-an-m worth of waste to cut, a rounding error in a
$3.6 trillion-with-a-t budget. He later killed a $143 million fighter
jet the Pentagon didn't want as well as a $190 million maritime
navigation system rendered obsolete by GPS, then agreed to more than $2
trillion in long-range cuts after Republicans threatened to force the
Treasury into default in 2011. But those cuts are still mostly
theoretical, depending on what happens in the fall election. Meanwhile,
the Republican Party has rallied around House Budget Committee chairman
Paul Ryan's long-term blueprint for deep (and specified)
deficit-expanding tax cuts paired with deep (but mostly unspecified)
cuts in nondefense spending. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney
embraced the Ryan plan during the primaries and then put Ryan on his
ticket, but he has been even cagier about what he intends to cut beyond
small-dollar Republican targets like Amtrak and NPR.
Independent analysts have suggested that if the U.S. actually followed
the Ryan outline, by 2050 there would be no room in the budget for
anything but defense, Social Security and health care. But even if
Republicans take back Washington, cutting isn't a foregone conclusion;
government spending exploded when they controlled the nation's capital
in the Bush era. Every line item has lobbyists watching its back, and
when you can get a reputation as a fiscally responsible budget cutter
without doing the politically difficult budget cutting, why bother?
10 p.m.: Subsidized delivery
My family's asleep. I'm reading the mail, courtesy of the U.S. Postal
Service, which is hemorrhaging cash in the e-mail era. The USPS is a
classic example of a problem Washington can't fix. It clearly needs to
cut costs and raise revenues. But the obvious cost reducers, like ending
Saturday snail-mail delivery and closing rural post offices, and the
obvious revenue enhancer, increasing stamp prices, are DOA on Capitol
Liberals are correct that we rely on government much more than we
realize. Conservatives are correct that government tries to do too many
things. Republicans have seized on the Obama campaign's Life of Julia
online tool--showing how one woman might benefit from Head Start,
tuition aid, Medicare and other federal programs during her life--to
accuse Democrats of viewing Americans as cradle-to-grave wards of the
state. Democrats have portrayed Republicans as antigovernment
absolutists in thrall to the Tea Party, eager to deprive Americans of
benefits we like and expect. There's some truth in those critiques too.
But those of us who think government has an important role to play in
American life ought to support reining in the excesses that give
government a bad name. When I asked analysts at the antigovernment Cato
Institute and the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities what
was the most wasteful government spending, they all gave the same
answer: farm subsidies. A coalition of taxpayer activists and green
groups recently proposed axing $700 billion worth of environmentally
destructive federal largesse, from fossil-fuel subsidies to sprawl roads
to pork-barrel water projects that drain wetlands. There is broad
agreement among eggheads that tax perks for yachts, corporate jets and
mortgage interest on mansions ought to go as well.
But it's hard to see the finger-in-the-wind political world following
the wonk world's lead. The costliest spending programs affect the
military and the elderly. And the costliest tax expenditures affect
families like mine. We're the kind of moochers who vote.
|PVAF APPRECIATES THE VOLUNTEERISM OF
Champaklal Dajibhai Mistry
of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada..
|for preparing and publishing today's topic of "A Government's Life-Governing As per
Natural Law Designs" along with reprints from
Time Magazine...and his
own titles-commentary-word/topic/hyperlinks elsewhere as YOUR self-tool for
YOUR self-study of today's life-science topic ...
|PVAF is publishing this life-sciences sharing as a
non-human-partisan to understand the thinking, voices and human deeds in
the citizenry of USA, the most "democratic" and most powerful and
wealthy nation of this planet Earth today... with the following take of
USA from the continuing life-sciences
Champaklal Mistry which includes currently known and evolving
as amended by Executive Order
No. 10834 dated 21 August 1959
E Pluribus Unum suggest in 1776 is included in the Seal of the United States,
being one of the nation's mottos at the time of the seal's creation
In God We Trust (official)
E Pluribus Unum (traditional)
Out of Many, One)
|USA is in 2012 a 236- year old young nation of recent human
Puritans immigrants base population
starting 1500's while running away from the violence ridden
were aspiring for a non-violent life-style based on the teachings of
Jesus Christ but away from the multi-dimensional-purpose- conflicts of
Christianity with the rest of earthlings in all nations residing on
...But the post-Puritan USA citizenry created not only the
time-place-purpose based continually changing
governing systems" but
human-polarized-mind-set based American Civil War at the same time saved
the humanity per se from World War 1 and 2 but then continued to
"afflict" the humanity with "Cold Wars + Ideological Wars"....rather
than living by and with the founding principles of "non-interference" in
life-style choices of rest of the world nations...
However USA even today continues to
provide the humanity with a evolving model of "law-based human
governance" even with a "imperfect Union as proclaimed by President
Barrack Obama".... and continual pursuit of self-choice life-style
life-sciences research and innovations along with the need and respect
metaphysical life-issues.....with a continual and undying fundamental aspiration
for human co-existence with
equality of human-ness per se, peace without
any form of violence... and
sharing among the entire evolving humanity fundamentally satisfying inherent
human-design by Nature
with Natural Laws
in compliance with
Universal Principles operating infinite lifestyle-choice diversity....
|PVAF WANTS YOU TO
BLOG YOUR PERSONAL TAKE
ON TODAYS' LIFE-SCIENCE SHARING.....
from your own life-experience of
birthing, growing-up and living life
anywhere anytime any-purpose on this planet Earth...
TO HELP TO MAKE TOMORROW HAPPIER THAN TODAY
BECAUSE YOU SHARED KNOWLEDGE OF
YOUR HAPPINESS AND HAPPY WAY OF LIFE....
.....AND EMPOWERD ANOTHER TO THE POSSIBILITY....
|...to blog away at PVAF just
click the COMMENT
button in the header of this item
and make others happy with your life-knowledge....
PVAF KNOWELEDGE SHARERS AND TAKERS....
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