Live Webcast: Conference on America’s Fiscal Choices

October 5, 2010 at 8:30 am

Today, the Center’s Executive Director, Robert Greenstein, joins Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, former Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers Martin Feldstein, former Congressional Budget Office Director Robert Reischauer, and 18 other prominent economists and budget experts who are speaking at a conference that we’re co-hosting with The Century Foundation, Demos, and the Economic Policy Institute.

They’ll be talking about deficit reduction, health reform, recession and recovery, and national security, among other topics.

Moderators include Jackie Calmes of the New York Times, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, Robert Kuttner of the American Prospect, and Stan Collender of Qorvis Communications.

Join us virtually and view the live webcast from 8:30am – 4:30pm. The live stream of this event has ended. We will post the video from the conference shortly.

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27 Comments Add Yours ↓

Comments are listed in reverse chronological order.

  1. Workingclass Housewife #

    What backs a nation’s credit is the people, the public, doing things with the things nature gives. The nation’s credit is derived from the people’s workingness, so the nation’s credit belongs to the public.

    What on earth is the nation’s credit doing in a few private hands???

    What is the sense in forcing the government and people to pay interest to a few private parties to borrow what is their own by rights in the first place?

    Why does everybody mis-think that money must be lent into the economy? It could be spent into the economy by governemnt, by ourselves, the public, just as easily, and without the ridiculous, unproductive debt.

    We are crazy to be accepting austerity measures.

  2. Curious in the Midwest #

    I’m curious about the conversation about placing return on investment analysis on the use of federal dollars. It seems that for nonprofits receiving federal dollars for human service programs, there is an astronomical cost to collecting data that proves that the funding was spent and improved lives, whether in the short or long term. And often times the cost of the data collection and reporting isn’t an allowable cost to the grantee. The topic of food stamps was raised; many nonprofits provide food pantries for emergency consumption…how does an agency place a cost/benefit on what that box of food means to the family, especially beyond that of the short term cost for food replacement.

    Is it a cop-out to say that we can’t track the value of the federal dollar when we know that for any household, the dollar is only as strong as what it can accomplish for food and neccessities.

  3. Workingclass Housewife #

    America: where we have to spend our families on our money, just to make ends meet.

  4. Workingclass Housewife #

    Yes! Human service/care workers are the heart of humanity. Their lowpaid work injects/generates many multiples of their pay into the economy.

    Some jobs, like hedgefund king, are net extractive.

    Go panel!

    (Thanks to you all and to the kind moderator who has let a real workingclass voice have a say today.)

  5. Workingclass Housewife #

    Amen, Lady who is talking! The people who are not you are your environment. The wealthpower giants have made a major logic-whoopsie. They have made the only planet they have to live on very unhappy and very dangerous.


  6. Workingclass Housewife #

    Work is the first fundamental essential condition of life. If bear no pickee berries then bear no eatee berries. Same for humans. The insertion of money between work and eat does nothing to change the fundamental situation humans are in. Economics 101 is you have a stomach to feed. Society is not a postive benefit to the individual if society withholds jobs from people who want to work. No work = no eat = you die. Society has no right to withhold a job from anyone.

    “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

    “If you do not specify and confront real issues, what you say will surely obscure them. If you do not embody controversy, what you say will be an acceptance of the drift to the coming human hell.” -C. Wright Mills from The Causes of World War III

    “To find out the true state of facts, to report them with fidelity, to apply to them strict and fixed principles of justice, humanity and law; to inform as far as possible the very conscience of nations, and to call down the judgment of the world on what is false, or base, or tyrannical, appear to me to be the first duties of those who write.” -Henry Reeve

    “The rich have given to the poor a little food, a little drink, a little shelter and few clothes – the poor have given to the rich, palaces and yachts and an almost infinite freedom to indulge their doubtful taste for display; and bonuses and excess profits, under which has been hidden the excess labour and extravagant misery of the poor” – Gilbert Seldes

    “The modern English oligarchy does not rest on the cruelty of the rich to the poor – it rests on the unfailing kindness of the poor to the rich.” – GK Chesterton

    “If there were but one person in the world, it is manifest that he could have no more wealth than he was able to make and save. THIS is the natural order.”
    -Henry George 1839 – 1897

    (and THAT is the sanity 6 billion people have been driven far from) (though Henry forgot to include the person’s share of wealth produced courtesy division of labor)

    “The patience of the oppressed has always been the most inexplicable, as well as probably the most important, fact in all history.” -Author Amos Elon from The Pity of it All

  7. Sue #

    Can you supply a link to the list of speakers and the full agenda. I can’t tell who’s talking. Thanks.

  8. Workingclass Housewife #

    Single payer off the table by premeditation, proponents not just silenced but even arrested, public not allowed to hear the benefits arguments.

    Naughty, naughty Congress! Naughty, naughty President!

    Money is power. How obvious is it that where there is tyranny there is overfortune overpay? We have the ideals of equality and justice but have the opposite practice. We have acquiesced to a ghastly economic farce that was fundamentally misconceived. Democracy is by definition made impossible by our wealthpower inequity factor of a billion to one, so why do we all still speak of democracy as if it exists?

    Our government has been devoured by superwealth. Only a grassroots growth in awareness, practicality, maturity, seriousness, comprehensive perspective, correct priorities – only the growth of these things in the people will rescue us. Education alone can do what must be done.

    Tell everyone the truth: only work creates wealth, only demand creates jobs, and we do NOT have to give our money away to make it work for commerce!

  9. Workingclass Housewife #

    China’s economic strategy versus USA’s military strategy, vying for dominance – I think it’s likely the Chinese plan will prevail, but, with their own economic inequity factor on the increase (inequality increases exponentially) (money rakes money, compounded) (unless you install a corrective mechanism to counter the automatic and ceaseless drift of work in one direction and wealth in the opposite direction) the Chinese, too, are already on the path to their own eventual downfall.

    Every Empire has been strong in its less-unequal beginning, and all have fallen when real material wealth economic inequality was allowed to gallop away unchecked.

    When our thinking about the money pool is “let’s all play everybody grab for all you can get from the pool and grab off each other and grab back, too”, we have filled our world unnecessarily with unhappiness, insecurity, deprivation, unsafety, unsustainability, violence, tyranny-slavery. When our thinking becomes “I want from the pool of wealth what I contributed by my work, no more and NO LESS, as this is justice and maximum peace and happiness for me” – we will climb down from this writhing human pyramid we were so silly to construct, stand on level ground and have a peace and plenty picnic.

    When, pretty please, will the experts and the higher-educated, those who should be the human herd’s bellwethers moving us to safer pastures, focus like lasers on the root cause of the million terrible consequences of overpay/underpay we’re endlessly trying to deal with?

    When I have a weed in my garden, I don’t go out and pull the leaves every day, I dig the thing out by the root and be done with it.

    And hey – just how DID we working Americans get so dumb, so full of self-contradictions that we can make sign saying keep your big-government hands off my social security?

    Q: Did The People fall, or were they pushed?
    A: They fell. Right after they were pushed.

  10. Workingclass Housewife #

    The Original American Dream of Freedom was the great dream of freedom FROM the tyranny of the European moneypowers our founders fled.

    It was never the dream to grow limitlessly rich at the expense of your countrymen.

    Vigilance about WHAT is the question.

    We produce enough wealth through our work to afford the stuff and projects of livingry, but the stuff and projects of killingry are a luxury we can no longer afford.

  11. Workingclass Housewife #

    On S.S. – When some get paid billions, why are earnings above approx. $100,000 (what is the exact cutoff right now?) not subjected to social security tax? I have never heard the reasoning presented. Anybody here know?

    On national defense: USMC Major General Smedley Butler told us true: War is a racket. Only 10% of our military spending is on defense, the rest is offense…making the world safe for the corporado capitalists to do very profitable business.

    James Madison said the purpose of government is justice. The State built on injustice cannot stand. We have giga-extreme injustice. We will not stand this way.

    For as long as humanity dangles the carrot of unlimited personal fortunes in front of everyone we will always have those with least scruples going hardest after that carrot and we will always have a few people having the power to create ever more new legal thefts, and we will always have a few people having the overpower to cannonfodder the people in the ‘profit off the destruction then profit off the reconstruction’ games they play, blinded to the very purpose of life itself by their monomania for wealthpower.

    Ooh – Someone just said “jobs in their district”.

    It isn’t by accident that the parts for planes that drop the bombs come from plants established in every state in America.

  12. Workingclass Housewife #

    One panel spoke of extending (or not) or making permanent (or not) the Bush tax cuts, and I’d like to point out a missing observation about the graduated income tax.

    Theodore Roosevelt said: “No person should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar’s worth of service rendered, not gambling in stocks, but service rendered. The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by people of smaller means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective, a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion, and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.”

    And the people thought: Good, we’re stiffing it to those rich people. Boy, I’m glad I don’t have to pay such high tax rates.

    But the people were fooled again – because the graduated income tax is in fact another legal theft.

    Here’s how it works: If a person who is getting out of the pool of wealth 100 times what he or she puts in pays only a 75% tax rate, they still get out 25 times as much as they put in. A person being underpaid and paying a 25% taxrate is still being robbed – by the underpay. A person being underpaid should be getting a negative tax-rate that brings their pretax income up to equality with what they contribute by their work. If both people are producing $1000 of work products, the person pulling out 100 times as much as he put in, and paying a 75% taxrate, would be getting $25,000, and the person being underpaid 20%, and taxed 25%, would be getting $600. One working person putting in $1000 and taking out $25,000 in money and power, the other putting in $1000 and getting out $600 in money and power.

    This is not justice. This is very far from it.

    If only Teddy (or Jefferson) had thought of public inheritance, the just sharing of deceased estates among everyone. If they had, they would have turned around the downward slide of America from democracy to decline and fall. The force of erroneous tradition was still bending Teddy’s reform thinking away from sense, but once (if) people had seen how much money and political power they were getting from public inheritance, Teddy would have got more presidential terms, and been the greatest President. And he would have given a practical demonstration to the world, and saved millions of lives, and saved billions from unnecessary sufferings. Saved the entire infinite future of the human race from an infinity of giant unnecessary sufferings. If only he had seen that all inheritance is other-earned, that any other-earned money is a license to create violence and destroy happiness.

    Private heirs have done nothing to earn the money we give them free-gratis. And since overpay has nowhere to come from but from underpay, it means somebody who worked got underpaid so a private heir can have something for no work done.

    Only work creates wealth, so only work deserves pay.

    People come up with plenty of rationalizations meant to justify paying heirs for nothing done to produce the wealth they’re getting, but what I have never heard anyone do is bring a logical, soundly-reasoned argument for forcing working persons to give up their own fairpay to fund the gift.

    I think whatever created us is not so irrational as we humans are.

    It’s human non-sense to allow a man whose creator has called him home to yet keep his personal overfortune intact via private inheritance to non-earners of the possessed wealth.

    Sanely restricting private inheritance, switching to the justice of public inheritance would take self-earned wealth off no one and would gently rain increasing equality down on everyone over 3 generations with no shocks to the economies.

  13. Linda Read #

    Could you please add this conference to U-tube so that I can forward it to others? Thanks.

    • CBPP #

      Thanks for the question and for your interest in sharing the video with others. We likely will archive the webcast on our website. The event’s other co-sponsors — The Century Foundation, Demos, and the Economic Policy Institute — likely will as well.

  14. John #

    Will there be a transcript of the proceedings available online?

    • CBPP #

      Thanks for your question, John. We won’t be able to provide a transcript. However, we likely will archive the webcast on our website. The event’s other co-sponsors — The Century Foundation, Demos, and the Economic Policy Institute — likely will as well.

  15. Workingclass Housewife #

    Unlimited Personal Fortunes Capitalism – the capitalism practiced in the USA – the capitalism where reward has been unnaturally and unjustly disconnected from sacrifice to work – has entered it’s inevitable, predictable collapse stage. The collapsing will continue until people become realistic. The collapsing can be reversed at any time by countering the economic inequality. Insofar as people reduce the inequality, the crisis will be reduced. Nothing else will reduce or reverse the collapse.

    We are not in a financial crisis. It’s not a banking crisis or an economic crisis or a monetary crisis or a fiscal crisis.

    We are in an INEQUALITY CRISIS.

    We are in a crisis of overpay-overpower/underpay-underpower. The myopic wealthpower giants of Earth have obviously declared their intent to never relent in the ultimate economic fight to the death with the very global labor that produces all of the wealth.

    A fortnight’s pay ranges from $1 to $1 billion. Carve that onto your brain. Plant the seed of that fact in your mind. Water it with reflection and good sense. Pay ranges from $1 to $1 billion – make that fact king and queen in your mind. Measure everything in your experience against that fact. There is nothing that can be anywhere near as profitable to you. If you find within yourself an aversion to considering it, ask yourself why. Ask yourself is it wise, is it good sense, have I a good reason to avoid this fact. Maybe this fact is an irritation that makes a pearl, a very valuable pearl. A pearl of vision that can make a world that will make this present state of the world seem like a deep hell, a hell that would drive children to madness.

    Economists need to make the point strongly that pay injustice is not just one more problem: it is the root problem, fixing which fixes all the problems – fixes suffocating bureaucracy, disinformation, tyranny, war, warmongering, starvation, overcrowding, corporate fascism, corruption, poverty, terrorism – it fixes everything. How can anything work when a few have most of the money, which is the lubrication for the social machine, the blood of the social body?

    People are fascinated by the immediate problems and can’t take their eyes off them to look at the big picture and see the root cause.

    Pay justice will always maximise spending, the efficiency of the cycle of production and consumption – and reduce violence which is a waste of money, lives, property, energy, confidence. The giant sucking machine has taken spending away from most, breaking the cycle.

    Pay justice will always be the only answer – one can’t steal and steal and steal without end. They saw this (to some extent) at the end of the 19th century, when economics practice changed from low wages to high wages. The Marshall Plan saw this, as the way to avoid loss of European markets and thus global loss of confidence.

    In Rumania, Ceausescu had most of the money and everyone else stood in bread queues all day instead of working, so Ceausescu ruled over a shrinking economy – until he could no longer afford the extreme security he needed to stay alive. And the same is true in Russia and in America and in every country, in some countries more, in some countries less. And it is globally true. The greater the overpay/underpay ratio, the higher the security costs and the poorer most people are to produce the wealth to pay those costs. The rich countries and individuals become poor, forced to erode their over-fortunes paying endlessly for the security required to protect an over-fortune.

    The violence and disturbance of the world is proportional to the overpay/underpay ratio, which today stands at one billion. It is that ratio that makes all the bombs, all the terrorists, all the corruption, builds all the concentration camps, inflicts the torture, damages the environment, makes the spies and the traitors and the secret police and the police state. It is that ratio that drives the riots and the revolutions, the overthrows and the assassinations. It is that ratio making a constant meal of everyone’s safety and security.

    What is it that has brought us to this calamity? It is the accumulation over thousands of years of a tiny error, sand falling, one grain at a time, that makes a mountain that buries the world. Buying, selling and swapping. Transactions, or exchanges. With specialisation of work jobs, division of labor, exchange came into being. We specialise in our work, and then exchange our specialised contribution to the pool of goods and services for all the other goods and services the other specialists produce. I concentrate on designing cameras, someone else concentrates on growing lettuces. Where in this is the grain of sand?

    In any exchange, the amounts of work on the two sides of the exchange cannot be equal. One must give more than the other. No one knows exactly what anything is worth. Every exchange leaves one side poorer, the other richer. Every transaction is a fair-exchange-no-robbery plus an unavoidable robbery on top. Multiply this by billions of transactions every day over thousands of years and we must arrive at extreme overpay and underpay. Most people are aiming to give as little, and get as much, as they can. Business is buying cheap and selling dear, business is just selling for more than it costs you. It is the easiest thing in the world for a business to get $11 for something that costs it $10. And no one knows that an involuntary gift has been given.

    When a business pays all its costs, including the fair pay of the managers, and finds it has money left over, it says, what a good boy am I. By definition, the leftover money has not been earned. All workers including managers have been paid out of costs. The leftover money belongs to overcharged customers and underpaid workers. But it is now legally owned by non-earners. It is a free lunch for them, paid for by others. It is money for nothing. It is injustice. It is theft. And it has buried the world in war and want. And it is soon, if we don’t face it, to bury the globe in smoke and death.

    Humanity must commit murder in order to retrieve our chance to have a future:

    We must murder the idea to allow overpay/underpay.

    We will either rid our species of the diabolically stupid and egregiously unjust idea to allow limitless withdrawals from the pool of wealth for what is necessarily limited contribution, or we will succumb to the results of having the next and the next and the next wealthpower giants, ad infinitum until the violence attached to the injustice sets off the global bombs on this planet we have wired to blow.

    Don’t be a geno-sadist. Campaign for Fairpay Justice and reap the biggest dividend, or you will get history on repeat on steroids kaboom.

  16. Elizabeth #

    Is there any help available if the webcast will not load? It just keeps refreshing. Thanks.

    • CBPP #

      You may want to try viewing the webcast with Firefox, rather than Internet Explorer, as your web browser.

  17. Alex Knopp #

    The webcast transmission seems to halt or pause every 2 minutes and it’s very difficult to follow the flow of the discussion!Can you fix it? Thanks.

    • CBPP #

      We are working with the Newseum to address technical problems with the webcast. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

    • Alex Knopp #

      Now it seems better, thank you!

  18. Jennifer A Hill #

    Can you turn the camera to any visuals during the upcoming presentations? Thanks!

    • Jennifer A Hill #

      What is the hashtag for social networking?

      • CBPP #

        Thanks for your question, Jennifer. The hashtag for social networking is #fiscalchoices.

    • CBPP #

      Unfortunately, we aren’t able to show visuals, just the speakers. Thanks for the question.

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