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Newest Blogger: Councilman Gary DeLong

Gary DeLong, Candidate for the 47th Congressional District, wants to hear your perspective on Balanced Budgets and the Federal deficit.

Editor's Note: We have invited all three Long Beach candidates for Congress to have their own blog, and we look forward to them.

Welcome to my first “Blog” posting.

My goal is to use this blog as a means to stimulate a thoughtful conversation about significant national issues.  As many of you already know, I am a candidate for the new 47th Congressional District.  58% of the new district is in Los Angeles
County (Avalon, Long Beach and Signal Hill, and a portion of Lakewood) and 42%
of the district is in Orange County (Cypress, Los Alamitos and Rossmoor, and
portions of Buena Park, Garden Grove, Stanton and Westminster).

There are many issues currently facing our country and its citizens:  a rising national debt, deficit spending by the President and Congress, changes to our healthcare system, the long-term viability of Medicare and Social Security, a poor economy, high unemployment and many more.

There are a wide variety of views on each of these topics, and no one person or one party has all the answers.  As we begin our conversation, let’s keep it civil and stay on topic.  Also, let’s be respectful to all who comment, whether we agree with their perspective or not.

Ok, here it goes.  Should I be elected to represent the new 47th District, one of my top priorities will be to get to a balanced budget as quickly as possible.  I simply don’t believe Washington should spend more than it receives in revenue.  I am opposed to spending my kid’s money, no matter how worthy the cause may be.  (I've attached a CNN Headline News video I was featured in, regarding my views on the Federal deficit)

I recently read an article that pointed out that Washington has created over $2 trillion in National Debt the last two years.  This is more debt than was created in the first 200 years of our country, from President George Washington to President Ronald Reagan.

Over the last ten years (during both Republican and Democrat administrations), the cost of the Federal government increased by over 100%.

Washington is generating debts, and then expecting our children to pay for our expenses.  We don’t behave this way in our personal lives, why are we allowing our government to create this problem for the next generation? 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Carol Meyer April 09, 2012 at 02:38 PM
While President Bill Clinton was in office we we running a surplus and our national debt was decreasing. When George Bush became President he changed the tax laws that primarily benefited the wealthy and then entered our country into wars that cost this country much money and sacrifice of lives without dealing with those costs. I would just like to see that tax structure taken back to what it was during the Clinton presidency as a start in dealing with the national debt.
Gary DeLong April 09, 2012 at 02:58 PM
You are correct there were budget surpluses during President Clinton's second term. In the last 20 years there have been 4 years of budget surpluses. 1998 $ 69 Billion 1999 $125 Billion 2000 $236 Billion 2001 $128 Billion Since 2001, Revenues have grown from $1.99 Trillion to $2.46 Trillion ($47 Billion increase) while Expenses have grown from $3.795 Trillion to $1.862 Trillion ($1.934 Trillion increase). While the Bush tax cuts may be part of the problem (some say tax cuts generate economic growth and tax revenues), the fact that the Federal government has doubled its expenses over the last 10 years is a larger part of the problem. I don't know how much of the increased cost is associated with war, but I suspect you are correct that it is a large portion. I'll see if I can find that figure. Thank you for your response.
John B. Greet April 09, 2012 at 04:58 PM
In my opinion, the ever-increasing debt and deficits are the single greatest challenge we face as a nation. A friend recently shared several items that should be of great concern to all of us: Egan-Jones has now cut its U.S. credit rating one step to AA, citing our growing debt. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-04-05/egan-jones-cuts-u-dot-s-dot-rating-one-step-to-aa-citing-growing-debt As our credit rating continues to decline, our interest payments will continue to increase, further exacerbating an already abysmal fiscal situation in the U.S. According to usdebtclock.org, our current total interest on all debt is $3.7 trillion...again, just in interest alone. http://www.usdebtclock.org/ We absolutely must get a handle on our borrowing, spending, debt and deficits. We absolutely must.
Gary DeLong April 09, 2012 at 05:09 PM
John Greet is absolutely correct - we must stop deficit spending and reduce the national debt, for the reasons he mentioned, and many more. The devil is in the details - what should be cut and what is the best way to generate more revenue? I look forward to more comments regarding this challenge.
Panglonymous April 09, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Good morning, Mr. DeLong. Just a couple of structural questions. -Will pieces and comments posted under your name be written and posted only by you, or will campaign staff be participating under your name? -Will your blog (and those of your opponents') be simultaneously posted to each of the local Patches that serve the OC/LA county constituency of the New 47th district - or only to the BelmontShore/Naples franchise, as currently seems to be the case? Welcome, and I look forward to your participation.
Gary DeLong April 09, 2012 at 06:07 PM
I will be the only one posting under my name. I don't know if my blog will be posted elsewhere - I'll ask the Patch editor.
John B. Greet April 09, 2012 at 06:43 PM
No area of the national budget should be immune from budget cutting scrutiny, *including* defense and Homeland Security. We maintain and staff a *lot* of mlitary bases around the world that really should not be necessary any longer. Treaties are one thing, but they should not include our being required (or even requested) to maintain what amounts to a standing army, air force, or navy in a foreign country. Before we even look at Defense and DHS, however, we need to look at all of the federal departments and agencies that currently have no constitutional foundation to exist at all. http://www.usa.gov/directory/federal/index.shtml I would dearly *love* to see our Congress sit down with a less...recalcitrant...President, go down the list of these agencies, line by line, and juxtapose their functions and missions against the Constitution, as currently amended. If there is no specific enumerated power for any given Department or Agency, it should be de-funded, period. We would realize immediate savings of *billions* of dollars in our federal budget, and billions more once we sold off all of the properties, buildings and equipment those de-funded agencies had occupied/used + the savings from no longer maintaining those buildings or providing light, water, heat, cooling, sewer, refuse, communications, etc for them. Cut the overall federal government back to only those functions that are constitutional and the debt will quickly take care of itself.
Nancy Wride (Editor) April 09, 2012 at 07:57 PM
I invited Alan Lowenthal, via his communications director, who said today would be the earliest they could discuss, and Steve Kuykendall, like DeLong, via e-mail, to blog, and I hope that they will all take me up on it, and I think readers will keep them conversing. If it is simply a blog of one-way campaign slogans nobody will read it. I appreciate that Gary is actively conversing with readers. I also disagree with JohnG, about the President being recalcitrant as if Congress, political operatives, PACs and media just want to get along and compromise get things done for the greater good.
John B. Greet April 09, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Hi Nancy. I think the current President is recalcitrant because the current Congress is Republican-led. He seems to see the current Congress as an impediment to his goals and objectives and I think he is correct. In fact I celebrate that he is correct. I do not, however, recall him being to any degree recalcitrant during his first two years, when he enjoyed a Democrat-led Congress. He has also recently proven himself recalcitrant toward the Supreme Court, and for no better reason than that he seems to think there may be even a possibility that the Court may not rule in his favor on ACA in the coming weeks. I think political operatives and PACs are *supposed* to be equal parts recalcitrant and fawning. That is sort of their raison d' etre...so long as those methods, and any others, help them accomplish their political goals. As for the media...well, it seems to me as if our media used to be primarily populated by actual journalists, who took their responsibility to factually inform the public a lot more seriously than do those who work in that business today. Today the media's primary goal seems to be to editorialize and influence, rather than simply to inform and allow folks to make their own decisions based upon the facts the media uncovers and presents to them in as unbiased a manner as possible. I do not doubt that Pres. Obama sincerely believes he is working for "the greater good"...in much the same way that Stalin and Mao did, and that al-Assad does.
Panglonymous April 09, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Gary Would you agree that federal regulatory agencies have been selectively de-funded to the extent that they are largely understaffed and ineffectual? Would you agree that other agencies like DHS have been deficit-funded and inflated beyond efficacy?
tinytom April 09, 2012 at 11:58 PM
What is your educational background?
Gary DeLong April 10, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Panglonymous, In regard to your questions "Would you agree that federal regulatory agencies have been selectively de-funded to the extent that they are largely understaffed and ineffectual?" and "Would you agree that other agencies like DHS have been deficit-funded and inflated beyond efficacy?", I have not researched either of these issues. However, since the Federal government is deficit spending by $1.4 trillion this year, I think it is reasonable to assume that DHS (and other departments) have been deficit funded.
Gary DeLong April 10, 2012 at 01:10 AM
I received an undergraduate degree in business from Cal State Dominguez Hills, and an MBA from USC.
tinytom April 10, 2012 at 01:50 AM
I just read that 20% of college graduates get a degree in business - number one. So you would think business would be robust. Now you'll say that we are over taxed and over regulated. But since I've been voting in 1980, this is usual talk every time from the Republican side. So, in what way are you unique from this status quo monotony?
Gary DeLong April 10, 2012 at 02:47 AM
tinytom, It sounds like you and I have a different perspective when it comes to regulation. Nevertheless, I hope there is room for all points of view on this blog. A variety of perspectives will lead to a robust discussion. Thank you for your desire to participate.
John B. Greet April 10, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Pan: I think you will find that every Department or Agency on the directory I linked...a current-day (not historical) government directory...has both a budget, and personnel and facilities and equipment assigned to it. Our federal government is involved in so many things...spending (squandering) so much of our federal tax dollars...for which it has no proper constitutional authority, it is simply staggering. Here's just a sampling from the current budget, just in the Department of Agriculture: Food and Nutrition Service: $102 billion. Why? Crop Insurance: $9.2 billion. Why? Agricultural Marketing Service: $1.3 billion. Why? I think one could easily argue that the federal government has absolutely no business having a "Department of Agriculture" at all, but, really, crop insurance? If government *must* be involved in crop insurance at all, wouldn't it be better handled at the state or local level? Better still, wouldn't it be better left to the private sector and leave government out of it entirely? If we are to be guided by the constitution, and where the Fed. is concerned I think we should, the answers seems clear, at least to me.
Panglonymous April 10, 2012 at 06:15 AM
Gary, here's some background: 1) "...Bush administration anti-regulation policies became operational almost from the get-go, with the reassignment of 2,500 FBI agents out of the financial crimes division into Homeland Security shortly after 9/11, and the appointment of two anti-regulators to head up both the SEC and the Fed. The Bush administration failed and refused to replace the reassigned FBI agents in the white-collar crimes division until after the mortgage market began to fail in 2007. In September 2004, however, the understaffed FBI issued a press release to the CNN Washington Bureau, warning of an emerging "epidemic" in financial crimes that had the potential, "if not curtailed," to become the next S&L crisis, and the Bush administration still did nothing to increase FBI staffing in the financial crimes division and took no other systemic effort to curtail the burgeoning mortgage fraud. That inaction was clearly an expression of the Bush administration's deregulatory, hands-off policy toward the financial industry. The FBI at that time was concerned with the apparent increase in borrower fraud, but did not then have the manpower to look any deeper than the few hundred cases that had come to its attention. In fact, as we have seen, there was much borrower fraud but that was in large measure the result of widespread control fraud by the bankers themselves encouraging liar loans..." http://tinyurl.com/8ytcgj5
Panglonymous April 10, 2012 at 06:16 AM
2) "The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work." http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/a-hidden-world-growing-beyond-control/
Panglonymous April 10, 2012 at 06:18 AM
John: "Our federal government is involved in so many things...spending (squandering) so much of our federal tax dollars...for which it has no proper constitutional authority, it is simply staggering." Agreed.
Nancy Wride (Editor) April 10, 2012 at 07:47 AM
Before I fly off on spring break, during which Reza Gostar will be your editor this week, I have a question, Gary. How best do you think we should provide healthcare for our country? I'm assuming since you are endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce and any chamber I know of hates the Healthcare Congress passed, that you are opposed to it. But are you? And if not, what do you propose or what would you support?
Panglonymous April 10, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Regarding the skilled unemployed in their 40's-60's who have exhausted their 99-weeks of unemployment - many of whom finally stop looking for work altogether, judging further efforts as futile: Would you support deficit spending to fund immediate relief for these workforce untouchables? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwpdGyIY2fQ [60 Minutes segment - The 99ers] http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/closetohome/view/ [PBS Frontline doc - Close to Home]
Gary DeLong April 10, 2012 at 10:40 PM
No, I don't support deficit spending. However, I would be open to cutting something else in the budget to pay for it.
Panglonymous April 11, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Do you think it likely that the great majority of these individuals can be reintegrated into the productive workforce? If so, how; if not, what will become of them? http://www.google.com/search?q=companies+not+hiring+unemployed (Gary, I can't suss this one out; if you can, I will vote for you.)
Panglonymous April 11, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Gary may secretly favor 'Medicare for All' (although if he does, it'll probably remain confidential.)
Thomas McClimans April 11, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Mr. DeLong, I find the current fiscal state of our country to be both depressing and disturbing. I just can't find any way around the math of our national debt and deficit spending that leads me to any positive outcome (although I would dearly love one!). I've yet to see any practical plan to address this that has any chance of being passed & properly implemented. I'm not asking for iron-clad specifics, but could you in broad general terms provide what in your opinion would be a workable solution that addresses our debt, deficit spending and entitlement reform?
Gary DeLong April 11, 2012 at 03:01 PM
I agree we need to improve our healthcare delivery system, it is not working for everyone. But I'm concerned the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" which was signed into law in 2010 is not the best answer. My concerns are as follows: 1. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has indicated that this legislation may cost up to $1 trillion over the next 10 years. If this is true, then we don't have the money to pay for these additional costs and I am opposed to having our kids and grandkids pay for our expenses. We must learn to live within our means. 2. When I talk to hospital administrators and doctors, they tell me that this legislation will neither reduce the cost of service nor improve overall patient care. I think the solution we come up with needs to be supported by those in the medical field. Democrats and Republicans need to work together to identify real solutions to our healthcare challenges. I am committed to doing so.
Gary DeLong April 20, 2012 at 06:40 AM
Hello Mr. McClimans, Thank you for your email. You have hit the nail on the end for what should be our priorities - eliminate deficit spending, reduce the national debt, and reform our entitlement programs so they are sustainable for the future and don't go bankrupt. 1. Eliminate Deficit Spending - Currently the Federal government is deficit spending at a rate of $1.4 trillion this year. We are using our kids' money to pay our bills. Because the cost of the Federal government has doubled over the last 10 years (under both Republican and Democrat administrations), we must first reduce the cost of the Federal government. However, we won't be able to cut our entire way to a balanced budget, at least not without some very significant unintended consequences. Accordingly, we need to generate more revenue. Not by raising taxes, which will further harm our economy, but by government working in partnership with the private sector to grow businesses, generate jobs, and generate more tax revenues. 2. If we are successful with #1, we can begin paying down the national debt. 3. The current entitlement programs are unsustainable - they will go bankrupt in the future if changes are not made. We need to work together to protect the promises we've made, but reform the system so it will be economically viable for future generations.
Nancy Wride (Editor) April 20, 2012 at 07:29 AM
I don't know anyone who doesn't think the deficit is serious, but we have been paying for two wars and the bail out of American industries--big auto and banks. And plenty of economists think the stimulation package was not enough to help right the boat from a financial disaster. So what are specific examples of how you see "government working in partnership with the private sector to grow businesses, generate jobs and generate more tax revenues"? What is a good example of that in Long Beach and how would it be enough? And what entitlement programs are you talking about?

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