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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 31, 2011 6:44 AM. The previous post in this blog was Forget the naked bike ride. The next post in this blog is Lovely, dark and deep. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

If the feds default, which bills should go unpaid?

If the federal government doesn't give itself permission to borrow more money by Tuesday, it apparently won't have enough funds to pay all of its obligations as they come due the next day. People are wondering which required payments would be made and which would be missed. Social Security benefits? Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals? Military salaries? Principal and interest on bonds?

Here in Portland, we should do our part. There is so much federal money sloshing around -- surely we don't need all of it.

We should tell the government to go ahead and skip the grants for the Milwaukie Mystery Train. Uncle Sam should also stiff our congressional delegation on their next paychecks. Gatsby Wyden would have to cash in a couple of the Mrs.'s krugerrands, and Ladies Man Wu would have to go without a few doses of whatever he's been taking -- no big deal, he doesn't even know what it is half the time.

The feds could also leave the local immigration jail where it is instead of building a new one next to an elementary school, tell the U.S. attorney that he doesn't need to blow resources on hassling "medical" pot parlors, cancel a streetcar or two, lay off the people who are needlessly forcing the city to irradiate its drinking water and cover its reservoirs... so many options.

Comments (31)

Portland could also help out by not putting any money aside for pensions, but instead just write up an IOU to be paid after the debt crisis.

In the spirit of saving money, I say let's furlough all employees of the Mark O. Hatfield court house. The spoiled judges there could not waste the time of prospective jurors (I have not forgotten the petulant ass that made 80 jurors go through voir dire because his was the only trial that day... and the fed's idea of voir dire is the biggest joke I have ever seen). The judges could go play golf until it's over. The US Marshals could earn a living being bounty hunters (that's what I think of them anyway - based on one personal encounter). The FBI could kill its laughable local community outreach program - http://www.fbi.gov/portland/outreach and do away with its SWAT team
http://www.fbi.gov/portland/people as the local popo have their own SWAT team. DEQ has HAZMAT teams so that's a federal duplication. Their victim's assistance program is likely a joke - rape crisis (really... there's a local non-profit that provides most of that service).

The joint terrorism task farce could be cut. The FBI is mostly a fail at that (persecuting the innocent (that lawyer) and using entrapment against teen aged idiots).

I could go on but I won't. Just unpaid furloughs for everyone at 1500 SW 1st Avenue, Suite 400 and 1000 Southwest Third Avenue. That's my offering.

Medicare payments to doctors. Hardly any primary care people take straight medicare patients any more anyway, as it pays something like minimum wage at this point. The only doctors that still take medicare are the specialists, and they can wait for their money for a while.

Social security benefits to retirees making more than 200,000K a year. Why do they even get benefits at all? They don't need "social security" any more than hypochondriacs need health insurance.
This was supposed to be a safety net, for heaven's sake!

Top military people, for sure. That'll teach them to advise us to take on more metastasizing headache wars in powderkeg zones.

Halt all the crazy construction project money for now.

Quit giving farm subsidies to rich farmers who don't need them.

Stop the war on marijuana this instant, and institute taxes on it. Make revenue on it, for God's sake!

There are many places like this.

http://www.memphisshelbyinform.com/2011/07/07/saving-92-billion-dollars-2/

"United States Department of Energy. Created by Jimmy Carter in 1979. 16,000 employees and an annual budget of $24.1 billion dollars (2009). The original purpose was to end our dependence on foreign oil at which time we imported 30% of our oil. Now we import 70%. Obviously the department of energy has failed and should be done away with and save $24 billion dollars.

United States Department of Education. Created in 1979 under Jimmy Carter, it has 5000 employees and an estimated budget for 2011 of $71 billion dollars. One of its stated purposes is as shown below.

Supplement and complement the efforts of states, the local school systems and other instrumentalities of the states, the private sector, public and private educational research institutions, community-based organizations, parents, and students to improve the quality of education;

Obviously it has failed in this purpose and should be done away with saving $71 billion dollars.

There are many other agencies and departments in Washington but this is enough for one day. $92 billion dollars saved, if only it were true."

First of all a default will never happen. At least this Y2K type crisis has folks talking and thinking about how we spend our money (score one for the Tea Party) and how few taxes the rich pay (score one for the progressives).

Lucs, Godspeed and I hope they never catch you.

How about telling every dept in the Fed govt you get 10% (or whatever amount) less? Cut what you want except customer service. Then start doing means testing. I just hear stuf like EPA $10.5 billion funding will be a 34 percent increase from 2009’s $7.8 billion in funding

Second, anyone who says if we don't put up $50M we'll lose $50M in free Fed money loses their media privileges for one month on the first offense. This has to be the all-time lamest excuse for spending money on bad ideas ever.

What people are calling a default means we are taking in about $200B every month and we owe about $210B every month.

Means testing social security is a fine idea — it should provide work for thousands of people to create, distribute and process the returns necessary to implement such a rule. Not paying doctors is a good one, too — the resulting surge in urgent and emergency care will put still more people to work.

Everything that is happening now is upside down and insane. The federal government is borrowing money at negative interest rates. (Just look at the spreads on TIPS.) That means it's actually cheaper to borrow money and spend it than it is to collect taxes and use current revenue to cover current expenses. Unemployment is at 9.2 percent and rising, and that doesn't count the millions that have given up looking for work. The country needs roads, highways, bridges, rail, power distribution and energy infrastructure. But thousands of construction workers have no job. We need serious effort on our education system. But teachers are being laid off and school days reduced.

Meanwhile the country is tied in knots over a meaningless, arbitrary and artificial, self-inflicted "borrowing" limit that could be got around at least a dozen different ways and that in the past has always been adjusted when necessary. It's completely nuts.

Gibby - I keep my nose clean. Very clean. Though the mofos have violated my civil rights a time or two (prior to the grossly misnamed Patriot Act). They have harassed a few friends of mine too. And one of my family members is a guest of the feds. We won't go into how there is no presumption of innocence with the federal system. Seize the assets. Seize them all, now. Don't wait for a conviction. But, of course, given the tainted history of the FBI's forensic's labs, if they want a conviction, they will manufacture one.

Hell NO. Means testing social security is the most stupid thing I have ever heard. Many of those of us who have paid in and paid (starting paying in at 16) and paid (top level for a number of years) will not be all that affluent (no pensions, etc.) at retirement. If the feds had not raided the social security trust fund, this would not even be a discussion. So no, means testing is stupid. If I had invested all the money, that I've paid into Social Security over the last 40 plus years, I could retire now.

On a serious note, not being the devil's advocate this time, 1) get all the troops home right and 2) go back to the pre-Raygun tax levels for wealthy Americans and corporations. It's clear that "trickle down" has been a major FAIL. The rich have gotten a lot richer since Raygun and the rest of us have done a lot worse.

Allen L.: please look at all the reasons teachers are being cut before you gnash your teeth about the fate of the children. Like everything else, education layoffs are a direct effect of the costs of the pension system and the greed of the tenured older people in the system. and the union leadership that represents them.

Robert Samuelson speaks powerfully to this question. I think it's recently been coined "gerontocracy"; I saw that word for the first time yesterday and whistled.

At least it's not a theocracy. (And heaven knows it's better than having the teenagers run things. Just the thought makes me chatter and shake.)

And Lucsadvo, agreed on everything except your dismissal of the kid who wanted to massacre thousands of people on Pioneer Square, as a mere "teen-aged idiot."
How about, tiny teenaged tip of a crazed religious tsunami that kills gays, enslaves women, and endorses pedophilia?

Just an old-fashioned (teen-aged idiot love-)song....one I'm sure they wrote for you and me....yahde yada...coming down in 3-part harmon-eee...

Remember the $9 billion dollars that just disappeared during the Iraq war?
We need to take a good look at what it costs to be the "warriors of the world" for resources apparently...for corporations ...
at the expense of the people of America...
and people's needs.

I'm talking about excluding affluent seniors, who have more than a 200K income stream from their business and investments. If their business and investments go belly-up, they can reapply for their benefits. Why should the very rich get benefits if they clearly don't need them? I hear frequently from seniors who are somehow living on 500$ a month, usually women who were divorced late in life and never worked at a high--paying job. It's disgraceful that they live like church-mice while wealthy seniors are also collecting to help pay for their cruises.

But evidently, this strikes a pretty serious nerve, to be called the stupidest idea anyone had ever heard of. Kinda over-reactive.

Lucs, I have no doubt you are a good person. A little tough on the cops sometimes, but someone needs to be keeping tabs I guess. You are right, I would never want to be on the wrong end of a federal investigation. Very scary.

You and I agree on getting troops home and ending the wild ride for the weathly. This is a time however when I would never want to see the end of a task force seeking out and jailing terrorists.

Gibby, I actually have my reasons for the stuff with the cops. I once worked alongside (I was in a civilian role) a very bad cop... child molester, wife beater.... he was kicked off the Wash DC police force in the 60s for killing too many long hairs and blacks (and that was well hard work to get to in those days)... then he latched onto a job with a special division of NY state popo. His fellow officers called him a cowboy. He was a nightmare. He was eventually reduced in status to a ranger - no guns and no permission to shoot at people - that was after he chased a motorcycle speeder off park grounds into the nearby hamlet and fired his service weapon in violation of NY State police use codes - he endangered innocent folks. There was a lawsuit. Yadda.

As for how I know about the other stuff (one of his fellow officers told me about his taste in porn and well his wife got away with shooting him in cold blood - the local sheriff let more than one battered wife off the hook when they shot their abusers). The cops in that part of the world still don't protect battered women but that one let them fix their own issues without retribution.

I have known a number of other bad cops. There are good cops and I know it. But it sickens me that cops protect bad cops and that murder is OK for the PDX popos.

As for the whole terrorist thing. Cripes... you all are like children afraid of the big bad boogeyman. Please. Giving up your civil rights (the ones my mother's ancestors paid for in blood) is losing to the terrorists. Far more than you will ever get.

Tell me just how many people has the TSA caught for all the money we waste on that? And how many TSA agents have been fired for stealing from passengers? More of them fired than terrorists caught.

As for Gaye... tell me now... do the Anders Behring Breiviks and Timothy McVeys and Scott Roeders and Eric Robert Rudolphs of the world bug you as much as those you others that you rail about? Maybe we should worry about Christian, right wing, straight, white men. Just sayin'

There are nut balls of every ilk on this planet and in this country. The FBI's track record of stopping nut balls is dismal... Hell the FBI is responsible for deaths in Waco and Ruby Ridge.

"Unemployment is at 9.2 percent and rising, and that doesn't count the millions that have given up looking for work. The country needs roads, highways, bridges, rail, power distribution and energy infrastructure."

I believe we said that about 2 years back and dropped $1T extra debt. The entire govt is having their strings pulled by hig-ups who really have no interest in better education or infrastructure.

On means testing for SS, you're going to have to face it one way or the other. We're getting close only 3 people supporting each recipient. I'd love to givce out what is promised, but we are rapidly running out of resources. If someone can show they don't have any assets or income, fine they do deserve social security.

How about drug testing for welfare or unemployment? Otherwise, since benefits are what is driving most of spending, what do you recommend we cut?

Gaye - Let me clarify on needs based. My fear is that the feds would use their ridiculous poverty standards as the means test. I could live with $200K if it were adjusted annually for inflation.

Hell get rid of social security completely! Just give us the money we paid for this "entitlement" back. I'll take US currency, gold, silver, or Swiss francs, preferably the latter and call it even.

Lucsadvo, we've been over this. Once every so many years, a first-worlder defender of something or other goes postal. Motivation varies, as follows.
nativist:(Breivik)
constitutionalist:(McVeigh)
environmentalist:(Unabomber and the recent nutcase who killed people at the post office to reduce humanity's numbers)
anti-abortionists: (Rudolph, others)

Some of them say they are Christian. They all say they want to save us from ourselves. They are psychopaths and we all know it.

What these nutjobs don't have is a preacher telling them to go forth and wreak destruction, and a church-organized charity network financing their plans to fix America.
You don't think this is significant, and I do, and therein lies the rub.

BTW, McVeigh was an atheist ("my religion is science" he once said), and Breivik hates other Christians 'cos they are so wishy-washy with the turn- the-other-cheek-and-not-throwing-the-first-stone stuff. In his frequently copy-and-pasted "manifesto", he stated part of his motivation was to make other Christians be less wishy-washy. It's just amazing what kind of logic a psychopath can come up with.

Maybe equalizing our per capita defense spending to equal the second most military-crazy country? Seems like not having our defense spending exceeding the rest of the world's might be a pretty good start. Nah, that would be too obvious.

Where to start cutting? In the spirit of Ben's advice - eliminate the Defense Department. Obviously it has failed in it's purpose (how many lost wars since 1945?) and should be done away with saving $600 billion dollars a year.

Brinksmanship is apparently over. I tag the Dems spineless sell outs.

Their victim's assistance program is likely a joke - rape crisis (really... there's a local non-profit that provides most of that service).

It that spirit, I say get rid of the entire welfare system. Churches and non-profits used to cover that as well.

There "Christian" based groups with "religious" leaders who I would dub terrorists (KKK, Aryan Nation, The Order, The Jonestown cult, Branch Davidians (offshoot of Seventh Day Adventists (who have a major barrel of hateraid in their theology)). The feds have not historically done a good job of preventing these groups from doing acts of violence. And I am never going to be in favor of targeting one kind of religious nut jobs over another. If the Feds are spending $$ on investigating and targeting Muslin extremists, then they can do the same (and with the same teeth) for the abortion doctor killing extremists and others. They are still out there and still causing terror.

They could stop funding the MLR work that is going on 7 days a week just south of the Marquam bridge.

Here's one complete waste of time and tax money. For years and years, like the past almost 20 years I have been working, docs have been able to write their patients pain meds without writing their DEA number on the scripts. The local pharmacist could look up the doc's scrawl in their database, and if things didn't look right, or the patient looked too off his rocker from too many scripts collected from too many doctors ("doctor-shopping" this is called), then the pharmacist would call the clinic.

All of a sudden, out of the blue, we are told, oh, the DEA has decided to enforce the rules now. Havoc has ensued. The clinic phones ring with multiple calls from the pharmacies asking for the doc's DEA number, every single time a script for pain meds is presented that doesn't have the number written on it. Even if the pharmacist has the number in his/her database and knows the Dr personally and has filled thousands of his/her scripts. "Please tell the docs they have to write their DEA numbers on the scripts now."

So much money could be saved by just calling a moratorium on all these crazy minor regulations that don't save any lives and just get in the way of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

pdxjim, the work on the MLR bridge is being financed from the $250 Million stolen from the Oregon Lottery. Oregon Lottery dollars are suppose to be used for economic development and other stipulated goals. Very few fed funds are involved so far.

The feds haven't yet agreed to their $800 Million share. They are being informed of the likely failure of Clackamas Co and Milwaukie to contribute their stipulated shares which may blow the whole MLR train. CoP and TriMet is even short by over $70 Million. Now, with the federal debt crisis not being resolved even after tonight's agreement, there's likely a chance that the Fed's portion won't be honored no matter the shortcomings of the local financial picture.

What is the budget for the drones?

Easy breezy - EPA slash all funding till the budget issue is finished, then fund at only half. Departments of energy, education gone, gone, gone, never to return. Money for 'Arts' gone, gone, gone, never to return. Money for foreign aid, gone till budget done, then only half. Money for department of transportation cut to ONLY roads and hire a few guys with some of the savings to make sure that NO MONEY goes to ANY kind of trains, streetcars or other non-road transportation (including no money for bike paths). No pay for ANYONE in congress or the executive branch till after the crisis AND a ballot measure every year where we rate the president and vice-president's performance and vote to give, take or leave their pay the same. Cut welfare, with some of the savings hire a few more folks to REALLY look at the case-by-case basis of folks who need it. Drug test any and all who receive welfare, social security disability, unemployment and food stamps. And I've only had one cup of coffee, wait till I get my second cup in me.

"That means it's actually cheaper to borrow money and spend it than it is to collect taxes and use current revenue to cover current expenses."

Except you're increasing the debt again. If they actually had a plan to reduce spending and stop digging a deeper hole, I'd buy it, but whenever interest rates turn around that debt'll be a monster to deal with.

Gaye..."The local pharmacist could look up the doc's scrawl in their database, and if things didn't look right, or the patient looked too off his rocker from too many scripts collected from too many doctors ("doctor-shopping" this is called), then the pharmacist would call the clinic."

A State employee wanted to COUNT how many prescriptions were going to one individual so that they (the State) could better serve the addict into becoming healthy. Good intent, got funding for research and when the State government changed by election, the project was TAKEN over by the JUSTICE department... and now I see the repercussions to all the conversations I had with a friend over the easy manipulation of idealism. The Health and Welfare Department did the dirty work under innocent intent and then the Politics took over to create the WAR ON DRUGS.
This should be nipped in the bud now by the PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY!
I like your original idea... let the pharmacists be the watch dogs.. they only have the patience good health at hand, not a hidden intent. At least we know what the Pharmaceutical Industry's intent is! But Pharmacists are usually practical community people! Thanks for bringing this up Gaye


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Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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