Suggested Discussion Outline

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Suggested Discussion Outline

Post by johnkarls »

Suggested Discussion Outline

The following outline is respectfully suggested –

A. Comments About Specific Chapters of Great Society

Our tradition is to devote the first portion of each monthly meeting to going through the focus book, chapter by chapter, to invite important comments that are specific to a particular chapter. After all, each participant (except, perhaps “first timers”) have taken the time to read the focus book and her/his opportunity to opine on anything in the focus book should NOT be denied.

Introduction: The Clash

New Frontier --

1. The Bonanza
2. Port Huron

Great Society --

3. Great Society
4. Revolt of the Mayors
5. Creative Society
6. Interlude: Looking for Socialism
7. Housing Society
8. Guns, Butter and Gold
9. Reuther and the Intruder

Abundant Society

10. Moynihan Agonistes
11. The Governor of California
12. Scarcity: Burns Agonistes

Coda: Demolition in St. Louis

B. Financing The Great Society – Or Not!!! (LBJ’s famous/infamous “guns AND butter”)

1. Yes, our author does list at the beginning of each chapter three statistics – (a) “Guns” as a percentage of GDP, (b) “Butter” as a percentage of GDP, and (c) The Dow Jones Industrial Average for the period covered by the chapter.

2. And yes, she does have “Chapter 8: Guns, Butter, and Gold – Thanksgiving 1967 to March 1968.”

3. HOWEVER, it is respectfully suggested that our focus book UNDERSTATES the OVERRIDING IMPORTANCE of President Johnson’s REFUSAL TO PAY for either The Vietnam War (our author’s “guns” statistic presumably refers to the entire Defense Department budget as a percentage of GDP) or for The Great Society (our author’s “butter” statistic presumably refers to the budget for all domestic programs, new or already existent, as a percentage of GDP).

4. LBJ’s refusal to raise taxes to pay for either The Vietnam War or The Great Society gave rise to the derisive slogan “Guns AND Butter”!!! [LBJ originated the slogan but conservatives gleefully adopted it as an attack slogan.]

5. This Section B is a classic Cri de Coeur from someone who lived through LBJ’s refusal as an active-duty U.S. Naval Unrestricted-Line Officer 1967-1970 (Ensign > Lieutenant j.g. > Lieutenant) and who saw first-hand the devastation caused by LBJ’s refusal!!! The following first-hand observations are respectfully offered –

5-1. For the U.S. Gov’s fiscal year 7/1/1968 – 6/30/1969, the Defense Department’s share of government-wide budget slashing was met by DoD deciding on a HORIZONTAL SLASH – the budget of EVERY COMMAND (except for activities DIRECTLY ASSOCIATED with The Vietnam War) was slashed 10%. BTW, with the rampant inflation caused by LBJ’s refusal to raise taxes to pay for The Vietnam War or for The Great Society, the 10% across-the-board slash in “nominal” dollars meant a much larger slash in “real” terms.

[BTW, shouldn’t our author have included a fourth statistic at the beginning of each chapter??? Viz, the rate of inflation!!!]

5-2. The across-the-board slashes meant that, inter alia, training and deferable maintenance were history. For example, every U.S. Naval Base featured potholes permeating all of its streets. Even U.S. Naval Air Stations featured taxiways permeated by potholes (only the potholes in the runways themselves were repaired).

5-3. For the fiscal year 7/1/1969 – 6/30/1970, the Defense Department’s share of government-wide budget slashing was ANOTHER 10% (except for activities DIRECTLY ASSOCIATED with The Vietnam War) on top of the 10% slash for the previous year. BTW, with rampant inflation caused by LBJ’s refusal to pay for The Vietnam War or for The Great Society, the 20% slash from 2 years earlier in “nominal” dollars meant a much larger slash in “real” terms.

5-4. The Defense Department decided that the 10% HORIZONTAL CUTS for the preceding year HAD ALREADY CUT INTO THE BONE!!!

5-5. Accordingly, the Defense Department decided to make VERTICAL CUTS!!!

5-6. By 8/31/1969 the U.S. Navy, for example, was busy “moth balling” (if memory serves) 120 ships and more than 30 aircraft squadrons and getting rid of 110,000 enlisted men/women (human beings are NOT “moth balled”!!!). And every young Reserve Officer (which includes every OCS graduate on her/his initial 3-year “tour of duty” as a full-time officer) was told “Prove to us you are career oriented, defined as a minimum 3-year extension on your current remaining active-duty obligation, or you will be gone by the end of October”!!!

6. For any masochists who might be interested in the issue of government finance (OR LACK THEREOF) and “just can’t help themselves” in delving further, it is respectfully suggested to review all of the materials for our 12/14/2011 meeting 9 years ago on the subject of “Balanced-Budget Amendments & Redeeming National Debt With ‘Wallpaper’ In Both Europe and the U.S.” which can be accessed on by scrolling past the first seven sections which are numbered -- following which in reverse chronological order back to 2007 when our bulletin board was inaugurated, is a cluster of 4-6 sections dealing with each meeting.

C. All of The Great Society Programs – Whether Mandates or Requiring Funding

1. It is respectfully suggested that our author focuses in detail on a few pet targets while virtually ignoring dozens of Great Society programs (e.g., the Civil Rights Law of 1964 outlawing discrimination in public accommodations, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Medicare/Medicaid Act of 7/31/1965 with Medicare addressing the medical care of our elderly and Medicaid enabling American society to “warehouse” its elderly in nursing homes, getting rid of billboards on federally-financed highways, etc., etc.).

2. Indeed, one of our author’s favorite targets is the so-called “Welfare Queens” of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) Program WHICH WAS NOT PART OF THE GREAT SOCIETY, having been enacted in 1935 as part of FDR’s New Deal.

3. ACCORDINGLY, it is respectfully suggested that at this point in our meeting, we go through the Suggested Answers to this month’s Short Quiz which, inter alia, attempts to catalogue and comment upon the ZILLIONS of Great Society programs. The Suggested Answers to the Short Quiz are available at viewtopic.php?f=614&t=1992&sid=57228a2b ... 9ac7a9e6cb.

4. AND ALSO, it is respectfully suggested that we go through the COMMON MISPERCEPTION that the AFDC Program was part of The Great Society rather than FDR’s New Deal by reviewing two postings in the “Participant Comments” section of

The first dealing with Thomas Sowell’s misperception re the AFDC Program and entitled “A False Claim That Welfare Programs Did NOT Reduce Poverty” and available at viewtopic.php?f=614&t=1993&sid=57228a2b ... 9ac7a9e6cb.

And the second entitled “Dorothy Roberts Following Thomas Sowell ‘Over The Cliff’ !!!” and available at viewtopic.php?f=614&t=1994&sid=57228a2b ... 9ac7a9e6cb.

C. Anything Else Re “Great Society” or The Great Society


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