Did I hear Abraham Lincoln groan as he rolled over in his grave? Part 1 of 3

The Republican Party—known as the GOP or the Grand Old Party—was founded on February 28, 1854, when Alvan E. Bovay called an anti-slavery meeting at the Congregational Church in Ripon, Wisconsin. Abraham Lincoln was the GOP’s first elected U.S. President.

Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

That leads me to this question: why is it so easy for the GOP—or Democrats for that matter—to fool some of the people all of the time, and why am I asking this question?

Let me explain, and I hope that I don’t lose the thirty-second people who make up the average readers surfing the Internet.  Short attention spans and poor reading skills often don’t make for educated people and ignorant people are easy to fool.

I left a comment for an ABC-Yahoo! News piece about the US National Debt and the Deficit. Many of the comments blamed Obama for the increased National Debt. Anyone who disagreed was voted down by a large margin.

President G. W. Bush’s 2009 budget—the last budget he submitted to Congress—left the national debt at $12,311,349,677,612 [that’s more than $12.3 Trillion].

Near the end of Obama’s first term in office in December 2012, the debt had reached $16.4 Trillion, and conservative-media critics and tea-party politicians blamed Obama for the increase—in thirty seconds or less, I’m sure—and in my comment, I explained—until I ran out of room—why President Obama could not be held responsible for most of what has been added to the debt since he has been President.

Then an anonymous person left a comment and accused me of lying and this anonymous person left no evidence to support that accusation. I did not lie and the facts—when one spends the time to understand them—also do not lie.

Mandatory and Discretionary Spending Explained

All I did was explain—probably in too much detail for the average 30-second fool—that the annual-federal budget had two parts: 1. mandatory and 2. discretionary spending.  According to NationalPriorites.org, 62% of the annual budget is mandatory and only an act of Congress can change this portion of the budget. When I say mandatory, I’m talking about programs like Social Security that’s been around since 1935 and Medicare since the early 1960s. Without approval from Congress, the president cannot change the way these programs are funded, because they are on automatic pilot. If you want to discover more about mandatory spending in the U.S. Federal Budget, you can find it here at cbo.gov

It is Discretionary spending that funds the departments and agencies of the federal government and here is where the President has some input, but he still needs approval from Congress. He can’t force Congress to approve the budget.

For example, the Department of Defense [DOD] gets 57% of discretionary spending [in 2011, President Obama proposed $549.1 billion to fund the DOD, but Congress only approved $530.8 billion]; the Department of Education received 3% of discretionary spending; Department of Labor 2%; Department of Transportation 2%, etc.

Discretionary spending may be increased or decreased on an annual basis by Congress. In other words, what will it cost for each agency to operate for another year to fulfill that department or agencies duties according to laws that were passed by Congress?

There is one department that has both mandatory and discretionary spending. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was formed in 1778, and for 2013, 54.4% of its budget [$76.3 Billion] was considered mandatory and could not be touched. Therefore, the President can only submit the VA’s discretionary budget of $64 Billion to Congress for approval.

This paragraph offers an example of the challenge that comes with cutting federal budgets: VA Medical Programs make up 87.9% of the Discretionary Budget for the VA—programs that are in place because they were promised to military veterans who fought in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, The Iraq War and Afghan War. Millions of troops who fought for their country—for you—have service-related disabilities that need medical care, and each year the cost of this medical care increases requiring the President—no matter who he or she is—to request more money to fund this program.  Source: va.gov

And some fools blame the president for increasing spending for the VA and other departments. Do you want to refuse medical care for the troops who fought in America’s war—the troops who defended this nation; who defended you?

As you might now understand—I hope—based on the needs of the federal agencies and departments, the president’s budget proposal projects estimated spending, revenue, and borrowing levels for the coming fiscal year starting each October 1. The president’s budget proposal serves as a starting point for Congress to consider, and Congress is under no obligation to adopt all or any of the President’s budget and—historically—often makes significant changes.

And deficit spending happens when tax revenues do not cover mandatory and discretionary spending. If the law didn’t allow the federal government to borrow money, one of four things might happen: 1. The Congress drastically raises taxes; 2. The Congress drastically cuts funds to federal departments and agencies like the DOD ending the ability of the U.S. to defend itself; 3. The Congress raises both taxes and cuts funds to some agencies and departments to find a balance if possible, or 4. the government goes bankrupt, shuts down and the United States collapses as a civilization erupting into anarchy, chaos and violence.

Maybe China would send troops to the United States to restore order, because after the West collapsed financially, China might be the only country left that could afford to do that.

Continued on November 15, 2013 in I heard Abraham Lincoln groan as he rolled over in his grave: Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

4 responses to “Did I hear Abraham Lincoln groan as he rolled over in his grave? Part 1 of 3”

  1. Until I started blogging, I did not know how rampant stupidity really is in this country. It’s the scariest thing about living in these times, that people are so dead ignorant and stupid — and PROUD of it.

    1. What is that old saying? Something like, the more I learn, the less I know. The people who are easy to fool haven’t learned much but that doesn’t stop many of them thinking they know it all. Studies show that 80% of adults after high school—who do not go to college—never read a book again. And whatever these people were taught in school, doesn’t mean they learned it or remembered what the teachers struggled to teach them.

      Long Term memory is fickle. We have little to no control over what it decides to keep from short-term memory because our brain does that job while we sleep. And even then other studies show us that what we remember in long-term memory can be edited without our control to become something else—events can be revised and altered in our long-term memory and we have no control over that either.

      If the results of this brain research was taken seriously, the standardized tests students take in the public schools would not be used to judge the performance of teachers.

      What’s really scary is that Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk show host, tells his listeners that they don’t have to worry about thinking because he will do their thinking for them. I’ve heard him call his fans ditto heads.

      1. Arggh!! indeed. But maybe it should be ARGGH!!!! GASP!!!!! As the shock sets in when you discover the facts about what is happening in the US.

        I’m currently reading chapter 17 of “Reign of Error” by Diane Ravitch. I finished chapter 16 yesterday. What I am reading about the deliberate destruction of the public schools by elements of the profit-driven private sector is so disturbing, I had trouble sleeping last night. The movement behind the privatization of the public schools started about 30 years ago and like a cancer it has spread across America virtually threatening our way of life. While the public schools are kept under a magnifying glass subject to tougher and tougher demands and harsher restrictions that blame and punish teachers and the teacher unions for every perceived flaw and accusation leveled at them, which are mostly false, the growing private sector schools that are now taking billions in tax payer money are exempt from the same rules and demands being put on the public schools. The private sector schools that are replacing the public school in major cities across the country have no oversight in how the spend the money; do not need to hire credentialed veteran teachers; can fire teachers and administrators at will for no reason at any time even in the middle of a teaching day; mostly pay less to teachers than the public schools but pay their CEO’s and owners way more—millions more. This is only a sample of the threat to America’s way of life.

        The challenge is to find enough literature, open minded people to read this book so they will fight to keep what’s left of the public schools in America. Even top performing districts have been plowed under in the greed-driven movement to turn over the more than $1 Trillion in tax payer money annually that has in the past supported the public schools to the private sector where there is no oversight on spending or what goes on in the classroom or what is taught; no standardized testing, no qualifications needed to be a teacher, etc.

        The misleading and outright lying advertising and PR campaign behind this movement has attracted a lot of money and support from some of America’s wealthiest citizens and the nonprofit foundations.

        Watch the video from beginning to end to see both sides of this issue.

        For example, on page 142 of “Rein of Error” reveals: “The state of Louisiana gave a grade of D or F to two thirds of the charters in New Orleans. Only nine percent received an A and 14 percent earned a B. There are vast disparities among the charters: some are high performing, but most are low performing.”

        This may be the biggest challenge to the freedoms most Americans enjoy. What will happen when there are no public schools left? Will we then turn over the military to the private sector? Wait, that is already happening too. The Brookings Institute reported on how the United States is Outsourcing War to the profit driven private military industry.


        Quote: “PMFs are businesses that provide governments with professional services intricately linked to warfare; they represent, in other words, the corporate evolution of the age-old profession of mercenaries. Unlike the individual dogs of war of the past, however, PMFs are corporate bodies that offer a wide range of services, from tactical combat operations and strategic planning to logistical support and technical assistance.”

        Once the military has been turned over to the private sector like the public schools are, will the Commander in Chief be the US President or corporate CEOs?

        The movement—really a war—to privatize the public schools and the US military started in the 1980s and 1990s.

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