Steven Birn Gets Clobbered – An Attorney Without A Clue From Grand Rapids

29 Apr

To My Readers: The irrational, idiotic and false representations made by Steven Birn and his pal LD in the following blog discussion is  typical  of the propaganda that the far-right is filling the Internet and radio with-day in and day out. The far-rights efforts have caused a huge segment of the American population to be convinced that any middle-of-the-road news organization such as the New York Times, NBC, ABC, The Washington Post etc.is completely controlled by a cabal of deceitful lying liberal/socialist. That segment of our citizenry is now convinced that the only credible information to be had is from the far-right radio talk shows and the far-right blogs on the Internet. It could be that not since the Nazis controlled the media in Germany has so much intentionally deceitful propaganda been directed towards the citizens of a country. The political outrage demonstrated by the Tea Party, I believe, is a direct result of the far-right medias’  intentional misrepresentation of our government, our politicians and the facts surrounding important issues of the day such as health care reform. It is time to stop the name calling. Its time to stop fanning the irrational hatred of our fellow citizens. We are all Americans. President Obama is not a communist. Liberals are not evil and Rush Limbaugh has become a very rich and important man by delivering his adoring misinformed and misled listeners to his advertisers.

The following blog entry is typical of the shallow and misinformed entries made by Steven Birn. Mr. Birn is an attorney in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He claims to be a Christian.

I did not demolish Mr. Birn’s argument below. Someone by the name of  ELTV did.

Federal Debt Increases More Under Obama Than Bush

MARCH 20, 2012 25 COMMENTS

In Obama’s three years and two months in office the Federal debt has increased more than it did under eight years of President Bush. In eight years the debt went up just under $4.9 trillion, in Obama’s term so far the debt has increased by just over $4.9 trillion. It’s scheduled to rise another $700 billion or so before the end of the year. This is a major issue but you wouldn’t know it listening to the mainstream press. They’re to busy following Obama’s NCAA Tournament brackets and writing stories, then mysteriously deleting them, about the President’s 13 year old daughter going on a spring break trip to Mexico. (who sends their 13 year old on a spring break trip, much less a spring break trip to a foreign country?)

There are three major issues heading into the 2012 election. Obamacare is potentially one of them, although this could be partially eliminated by a Supreme Court ruling against it. If Obamacare goes down, health care generally will replace it as a major issue. Jobs and the economy generally is going to be a major issue. We have millions of unemployed, far more than the government unemployment rate indicates and we have inflation that’s hurting middle class families. The third and largely forgotten issue is the Federal debt.

The Republican debates and the endless stump speeches have focused on Obamacare and jobs. What they haven’t done much of is focus on the Federal debt. The numbers are simply staggering. Obama in just four years in office will have raised the debt by over $5.5 trillion. It will be an increase of over 30% in just 4 years. Obama’s debt creation will only get worse with a second term. Not only will he be able to push for even more spending but Obamacare will kick in beginning in 2014. The CBO recently doubled the estimate of Obamacare’s cost, which will only add to the Federal debt. Obama’s budget estimates, even if they’re accurate, would see the Federal debt rise by over $9.3 trillion in eight years should he be re-elected.

Our debt is over 100% of GDP. And yet Obama wants to spend more money. The administration has never offered any serious cuts to the Federal budget. Unfortunately our weak Speaker of the House refuses to hold Obama’s feet to the fire. The end result is that we’re going to have an over $1 trillion budget deficit again this year. That is unacceptable with Republicans controlling the House. Unfortunately we have weak leadership, the sort of leadership that will ensure Nancy Pelosi will return as Speaker next  year.

Mitt Romney needs to start hitting the debt  hard. He needs to come up with a solid plan to reduce Federal expenditures. So far, he doesn’t seem to have a plan at all. He talks about going through each Federal program one by one but that’s a lot of nonsense talk and no one buys he’s going to do that. What Romney needs to do is offer a plan that actually reduces government spending. He needs to cut from all areas of the Federal government, including modest cuts in the military. He needs to push for welfare reform, we have far to many people on food stamps and other benefit programs who don’t need to be. Eligibility should be stricter. We have far to many bureaucrats in DC, Romney should propose an across the board cut in government employees and a hiring freeze on non-political jobs.

The only way Romney can win is if he has a solid plan and vision for the future. He doesn’t seem to have this year. The GOP has only unseated one sitting President in the last century. That was Ronald Reagan, we all know the vision he had in 1980. The Federal debt is astronomical, it’s gone up so much under Obama that it ought to be easy to come up with a simply plan to reduce Federal spending. Romney’s lack of a simple, serious plan ought to trouble fiscal conservatives. If Romney has no vision, Obama is destined for re-election. If Obama is re-elected we’re going to see a Federal debt above $20 trillion by the time he leaves in 2016.

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FILED UNDER 2012 ELECTION TAGGED WITH CONGRESSECONOMYFEDERAL DEBTGOVERNMENTJOHN BOEHNER,MITT ROMNEYOBAMAPOLITICSTEA PARTY

About Steven
I am a Christian saved by grace through faith. I am a conservative, lawyer, husband, father and political junkie.

25 Responses to Federal Debt Increases More Under Obama Than Bush

1.      ELTV says:

The increases in deficits under Bush and Obama must have clear causes. What are the biggies?

o    ELTV says:

Bueller?

o    Steven says:

Forgive me, I missed your question earlier. The deficits in both administrations are unacceptable. The problem begins with entitlement spending, including Medicare. Bush added to the problem with his ridiculous Rx program. Obama refuses to truly reform Medicare, which is what’s necessary if the program is to be saved without single payer socialist health care. Oh wait, that’s what he wants. So Obama won’t be reforming medicare anytime soon.

From there we can take a look at the absurd number of subsides we have as well as government bureaucracy. We have billions being spent on wasteful business subsidies wherein government picks winners and losers while thousands of bureaucrats write regulations to benefit one business over an other. It’s a recipe for a massive amount of waste.

Obviously there have been two wars which have been costly, I won’t get into the merit of those wars other than to say they contribute to the deficit problem. We can reduce military costs without reducing military capability. The amount of waste in the military ought to disturb us all and neither party is willing to really look at that. The GOP simply offers up more money while the Democrats offer indiscriminate cuts to legitimate weapons programs and troop numbers. During WWII we had 7 support troops for every 1 on the front lines. Today it’s 11 to 1. Surely we can cut back on some of the support staff and their costs as well as other forms military waste.

Those are the problems. Or at least they’re the beginning of an outline of them.

§  ELTV says:

I understand your philosophy – we all do. You are here lambasting the President for exploding the deficit, asserting that his policies are directly responsible. So, tell us which they are. Give us numbers.

For instance, I can go to the CBO, which you like just fine when it is saying the ‘cost’ of Obamacare is 1.7T, and conclude that by far the largest drivers are economic downturn, Bush era tax cuts and unfunded wars. The stimulus comes in somewhere below. Obamacare doesn’t even enter into it as it is a net deficit reducer (per the CBO).

End of the day, put the money where your keyboard is and show us the specific programs enacted by Obama that have blown up the deficit and led to all this debt – you must know to be so certain, right?

2.      ELTV says:

“The CBO recently doubled the estimate of Obamacare’s cost…”. Actually, I don’t think it did. In reading the report, the punchline is in Table 1, I think. Looks as if the net cost of the coverage provision is actually forecasted to be $48B lower than they put forward in 2011.

You can find the report here if you don’t have it: http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/03-13-Coverage%20Estimates.pdf

o    Steven says:

Government cost is double Obama’s $900 billion projection.

In 2008 Obama said the debt created under Bush was irresponsible and unpatriotic. What exactly is Obama’s debt, which was racked up in less than half the time? Give Obama four more years and the debt will increase over $9 trillion in his eight years.

§  ELTV says:

But that isn’t what you said. You said, and I quote, “The CBO recently doubled the estimate of Obamacare’s cost…”. That simply isn’t true.

Look at Table 2, ‘Net cost of coverage provisions’. This is the line used for the $900B baseline you cite. You will see a net cost over 10 years (2012-2022) of 1.25T, which is not remotely close to the doubling of cost being thrown around by the media.

Now why did it go up from $900B to $1,252B? It is because the current 10-year forecast added 2022 and dropped 2011. In all forecasts there was essentially zero net effect in 2011, because nothing came on line, while in 2022 there is an effect. As a result, the total for the NEXT 10 years goes up. The small remaining portion is a function of all the various assumptions in the model. Nothing nefarious here.

Ultimately, the punchline of the report you are using as evidence of the implementation of the Socialist Regime and Obamacare destroying the country is exactly the opposite of what you conclude. The CBO estimated annual effect of Obamacare on the debt actually DECREASED between the 2011 and 2011 estimates.

So, I guess the question becomes: why are your sources lying to you about the CBO report?

3.      Shleigh bin Field says:

Anybody but Obama in 2012. A fire hydrant would be a better President.

4.      Steven says:

The cost of Obamacare went from $900 billion to $1.76 trillion. That’s from the CBO as reported by every news outlet, conservative, liberal and otherwise.

5.      ELTV says:

Nope. Even the CBO says you are wrong: http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43104

“The estimated budgetary impact of the coverage provisions has also changed little…. Again, the latest projections extend the original ones by three years, but the projections for each given year have changed little, on net, since March 2010.”

6.      Steven says:

You need to stop reading Democrat talking points. The cost has doubled.

o    ELTV says:

Oh my, that is really rich, Steve. And a complete cop out. The last ditch effort of a man who clearly has no argument to make.

I’m quoting from and pointing you directly to the proverbial horses mouth – the very CBO report you are using. The CBO who simply could not be clearer in their attempt to correct you folks.

You’ve got nothing on this one, amigo – even calling me biased ain’t gonna change reality.

7.      LD Jackson says:

Hmmm, let me have a go at this. When you strip away all of the rhetoric, it comes down to plain and simple math. Yes, President Bush increased the debt and deficit, as Steven has pointed out. ELTV, you may want to ignore the facts, but doing so will not make them go away. During Obama’s first term, which isn’t even over yet, the debt has increased more than during all of the Bush years. That’s a fact that can not be ignored.

You ask what specific policies from the Obama administration caused this. I can give you one glaring policy. That would be the uninhibited willingness to spend, spend, spend and tax, tax, tax. That is his only answer to every problem. That’s why the debt has continued to grow at an unprecedented pace. Until that spending is reined in, it will continue to grow.

8.      ELTV says:

Hi LD. So, show me where I say that the debt did not increase more during Obama’s term than during all of Bush’s years. Hint: you can’t. I’m not denying anything.

What you guys are desperate to do is hang the entirety of the debt increase during his term on Obama and that isn’t supported by the “plain and simple math” offered by the CBO. The CBO conclusion is that the significant majority of the debt you attribute to Obama is in fact due to existing tax cuts, unfunded wars (both explicit policy choices that Obama continued) and a wicked recession. There simply is no spectacular increase in spending due to Obama’s own policies, except in that they continue the prior administrations policies.

If “spend, spend, spend and tax, tax, tax” is the “only answer to every problem” and that this is “why the debt has continued to grow”, prove it. If you are going to rail away at the President for increasing the Federal debt, at least have the decency to be able to cite specific policy and quantifiable impact on the debt. Otherwise, it is just word salad – the very rhetoric you claim you are interested in stripping away.

o    LD Jackson says:

The common theme seems to be to blame Bush for everything. Yes, his tax cuts were to blame for part of the deficit and the debt, but not entirely. What happens when you have reduced revenues? Most people reduce their spending. Bush should have done that and didn’t. President Obama should have done that and hasn’t. In fact, he shows no inclination of doing so. Instead, he is looking for ways to increase taxes and fees on the wealthy, just to make sure they are paying their fair share. Never mind that they are already paying the majority of the taxes in this country.

Obama knew this going in, or he should have. Due to the recession and the Bush tax cuts, revenues were down. He should have adjusted his spending levels accordingly, but he hasn’t. Let me point out again that he shows no interest in doing so. That’s why I call him a tax and spend President.

§  ELTV says:

I’m asking you and Steve to show me specific policies enacted by Obama – not failure to undo Bush policies (e.g. tax cuts and war) – that are significant drivers of the debt. The whole premise of the post is that Obama has done a ton to drive debt, but I’ve given you analysis from neutral (CBO) and conservative (Heritage Foundation – see below) sources and directly contradicts the premise of this post and your comments. You all have made the assertion – I’m asking you to back it up with specific policy and debt impact. Neither of you have managed to do so to this point.

o    Steven says:

Obama spent $800 billion on a Stimulus program, you’re telling me that isn’t a significant increase in spending? It’s nearly 20% of the debt created during his term so far.

Bush’s tax cuts don’t amount to very much. Obama wants to repeal them, even though he signed an extention on them in 2010. But even the administration acknowledges that eliminating the Bush tax cuts would net the government less than $100 billion a year. That’s assuming the super rich don’t shift their money into tax free investments like bonds or various IRS loopholes. You’re looking at at best $350 billion of what will likely be a $5.5 trillion debt created during Obama’s term had he repealed the tax cuts immediately. We’ll leave for another day whether the government makes more money off of tax cuts long term than tax increases.

Obama has done a number of other things to increase the debt. We have hired more government employees under Obama. He’s cut back on Federal oil leases, which has cost the treasury in numerous ways. You want to talk about wars, Obama said in 2008 he would end them and he simply hasn’t. In fact, he’s gotten the US involved in other wars such as Libya last year.

So yes, there have been significant increases in Federal spending. He’s also, via his policy, failed to get the economy to turn around which has contributed to the deficit. He’s been in office for over three years now, the recession is his.

§  ELTV says:

Even the Heritage Org backs me up on this. http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/06/the-three-biggest-myths-about-tax-cuts-and-the-budget-deficit

Note that, consistent with the CBO, the biggest drivers of the increase in debt is a) recession, b) defense/war, c) tax cuts. 50% of “Other New Spending” is defense and big chunk of the balance is the the Medicare drug entitlement. Note also that the 2009 stimulus “significant role in 2009-2011 budget deficits, but a small role in the overall deficits”. Nowhere on the radar is hiring employees, oil leases or these other piddly things that have you so worked up.

So, the punchline is that, to the extent that his policies have added to the debt, it has been in continuing Republican policies – you know, fiscally responsible Republican policies.

I understand that none of this will affect your pre-existing need to blame Obama for everything and your view that he is an evil socialist, but them’s the facts, Jack.

9.      Steven says:

Do you deny that Obama spent nearly $800 billion on a Stimulus package? That bill represents nearly 20% of the Federal debt accumulated since Obama took office.

o    LD Jackson says:

I don’t think ELTV understands the fact that it is the overall attitude and fiscal policies of Obama that has caused this explosion in spending. If we listed one specific policy, we would have to list them all.

§  Steven says:

Not only has Obama increased spending, he hasn’t cut anything either. But I guess it doesn’t count if Obama continues forward with Bush’s spending policies.

§  ELTV says:

What? Overall attitude? I don’t know what that means. I’m interested in specific fiscal policies that have driven the “explosion in spending”. You clearly can’t tell me what they are.

I’ve asked you both a simple question and you both clearly have no answer. You just KNOW that Obama is all tax-and-spend and you KNOW that his policies have driven all the debt during his term. I’ve given you hard numbers and quantifiable analysis from multiple sources and you’ve given me philosophical word salad.

As for the stimulus, I certainly don’t deny that it contributed to the deficit, that would be silly. That said, I’ll go with the Heritage Foundation and conclude that it had an impact in 2009-2011 but played a small role overall. If that is really the best you have, it is game over. I won’t expect a ‘Reply’ option on your next comment.

10.     Genne says:

You know ELTV you sound very informed. Someone who tries to bring reliable facts to the table. Your repeated attempts to elicit an honest response from Steven Birn and LD Jackson was of no consequence. I think that Mr. Birn’s ability to assimilate real facts and to deduce logical
conclusions have been severely impaired by his extreme right-wing blinders.

Presumably Mr. Birn has had seven years of college. Instead of using his education to bring clarity and honesty to the public discussion of political issues he has rather whole heartedly jumped on the rant and rage side of the discussion with talk radio and Fox News. What Mr. Birn simply does not know and will not contemplate is what David Hume, the 18th century philosopher said, “It is our passions and not our reason that leads.” Simple example: Anyone with a little knowledge of the current Supreme Court can predict exactly how each member will vote on any case that has a left-right point of view. The Justices could save an awful lot of time and paper by simply foregoing the sixty page decisions. If I have not made myself clear then what I am saying is that the Justices know, even before they have heard any argument or have done any research how they will vote. They might not want to acknowledge it-but any lawyer or interested person has seen it over and over again. The logical reasoning of each Justice is simply the rider of the elephant on which each Justice is perched. The elephant leads and then it is the Justice’s task to justify the path that the elephant has taken. Reverse engineering in a way.

I am not sure , but I really don’t think that Steve Birn is interested in the best facts or an honest discussion that may actually disprove any of his arguments. I think that Birn is trying to run this blog as simply a right-wing propaganda tool. Steve appears to always know that he is right even if he fails to garner the correct facts or refuses to address arguments that suggest otherwise-such as the one above. Any individual, left, right or in the middle who was not extremely blinded by ideology would find Birn’s and LD Jackson’s responses above to be inexcusable. These two will not even look at the very report by the CBO that they are supposedly referring to. They would rather rely on Fox New’s or Rush Limbaugh’s interpretation of the CBO-which of course fits in well with their extreme ideology.

Why am I writing here? Because I have decided that I will, when I am able to, interject in the hailstorm of vicious and uncivilized political rhetoric that is rampaging through this country and in the minds of its citizens. I cannot talk back to “talk radio” . I can talk back in blogs and other publications of the web.

I pray for this country. I pray that we can bring civility back into our political discussions. I respect the Office of the President and our democratic institutions. We need to stop demonizing those with opposing points of view. No one political party or one political ideology has all the answers. Even the biggest fool in the world is right once in a while. If we refuse to listen then we will miss an opportunity to learn something even from a fool.

A little story: I remember learning about Zeno’s paradox in math class. I was fascinated! I couldn’t wait to get to my dads to tell him about this crazy, mind blowing paradox. What happened? He became upset and told me that I was completely wrong. End of subject with him. What happened? I thought my father had a lively intellect and would enjoy this puzzle. Not at all. For some reason Zeno’s paradox just did not fit into his world view at that stage of his life. He said it was nonsense! I said, “But Dad, Zeno’s paradox has been the subject of intense philosophical debate for 2500 years.” He wasn’t interested.

May God shine his grace upon you.

o    Steven says:

You should really get your own blog so you can respond to each of my posts. Your comments are reaching the size of my original posts.

11.     genne says:

Steve, thank you for an opportunity to express myself. I will try to keep my comments on point, short, civil and well researched.

May God grant you peace, compassion.and wisdom.

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One Response to “Steven Birn Gets Clobbered – An Attorney Without A Clue From Grand Rapids”

  1. john552atrocketmailcom April 30, 2012 at 1:58 am #

    Test 4-48-12

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