Category Archives: the deficit

Is This What You Really, Really Want?

 
 
 

The Republicans have become little old stingy men in the nation’s pantry counting the rice grains and reporting back that the cupboards are bare. They chant the word “debt” and the word “deficit” as if these were the only important words in America. They do not accept the reasoning that judicious spending could stimulate the economy and that this would make the “debt” and the “deficit” loom less large. They do not accept that we could all be in this together. We the people have become the enemy.

Republicans are saying that corporations were chased away by greedy workers (in unions) and by too many regulations, both environmental and financial. I guess they don’t live next door to one of the dirtiest lakes in America, full of heavy metal waste from industries like Solvay Process, Allied Chemical and Honeywell like I do. I guess we are to blame for getting upset when corporations dirtied our air, our ground, and our water. We aren’t even supposed to notice this or complain about it because that’s the kind of stuff that made industry leave us. We are supposed to believe what the oil industry says about global climate change because we all know what liars scientists are.

It is unfortunate that the next new thing; that new invention or innovation that will require us to flood factories with workers, has not been invented yet. If we perfect more and more robotics to do the work people used to do we may never see the day when factories will once again cover America and employ Americans? We may have to pay people not to work the way we pay farmers not to grow crops or raise cattle or chickens?

I get the point of the Conservatives and Libertarians. They do not want to support people who don’t work. Everyone is not suited to be an entrepreneur however. We could use more plumbers, more electricians, more computers repair people, although we often don’t bother with repairs anymore. We could use more people who understand computer coding and programming. And we could certainly use more people who can secure our computers, which apparently leak data like sieves. We still need farmers, and grocers and truck drivers. Medical workers are always in demand from lightly trained workers to extremely well-educated practitioners. Some training money might help make more people employable.

I don’t know if people really understand that Republicans are already cutting the federal government through the sequester and by refusing to pass any laws, even appropriation laws. They are serious about ending safety net programs and they are just moving ahead with cuts with or without our permission. Remember all those poor factories workers who lost their pensions when their factories closed. Soon that will be all of us. The GOP already separated funding for food stamps from the Farm Bill and they intend to pass the Farm Bill without the traditional funding for food stamps. They intend to get rid of the SNAP program and to let hungry Americans rely on churches and charities. They have voted 40 times to repeal health care and now they may listen to a few extreme voices in their party who want to refuse to raise the debt ceiling or pay America’s debts until Obama agrees to kill health care. They would like to kill all federal health care.

Do you really want to get a voucher for school for your children and a voucher for health care? What if schooling and health care costs more than the amount of your voucher? What if the costs keep going up? Do we want to trust private companies to educate our children? Our schools are far from perfect but are we sure this is the way we want to go? Once we lose all our safety nets how easy will it be to get these programs back if we need them, when we need them? I wouldn’t want to have to hold my breath while I waited for another Great Society. How poor will we all get?

The Republicans want to end birth control and abortion. There will be more of us. How long will it take before we are at each other’s throats? Have you stockpiled some weapons in case we need to have a revolution? I hear that Republicans have lots of guns stashed away. Will you end up on the poor side or the well-off side? The odds of ending up poor are getting better and better.

I really think you ought to give this all some thought because the GOP is already succeeding in pulling the rug out from under us. There are millions of us who should be standing on the rug anchoring it in place. If we were all paying attention that rug could not be yanked away even though the floor beneath it is slippery. You better jump on the rug soon or that warm rug we all paid for will disappear and you and I will be on that cold, slick floor until the economic cycle turns everything topsy-turvy once more (which could take a very long time.)

The Democrats have not exactly been towers of strength, but we had better vote for them in 2014 and in 2016 because at least they don’t blame us for everything and they don’t want to privatize everything. I think we can trust that the Democrats will not pull the rug out from under us. By the time all of us wake up in the empty pantry without the rug and wishing we could smell the coffee, it may be too late.

This blog post is also available at www.brissioni.com
 

 

An Endless Republican Loop

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I feel like we are caught in a time warp or an endless loop. The Republicans have been giving us the same message over and over for the past four years and even though the American people voted against their plan they insist that Obama come to meet them when they should be offering to go to meet him. Their only message, offered to every commentator every time they are interviewed is about the need to cut spending, balance the budget, and get rid of the deficit. They always act as if Obama is a spendthrift who passes out money to everyone and pays no attention to the nation’s debt or its deficit. They are changing their message slightly because instead of expressing a desire to privatize everything, and to cut entitlements, they are focusing, for now, on Medicare. Health care costs are rising at an alarming rate and I am sure we all worry about whether Medicare will continue to be available. But it is very interesting that the party that wants small government is always talking about cutting our benefits. That is all they seem willing to cut. They never suggest cuts in any other programs or departments of government. They offer to revise the 70,000 page tax code, but again they rarely give us any specifics.

There are several economists who admit that avoiding austerity has actually helped the American economy. And although all of us are unhappy with huge national debts and deficits, some economists suggest that they are not that enormous given the recession we just came through. Paul Krugman, an economist who writes in the New York Times calls the Republicans “deficit scolds” with good reason because that seems to be their sole argument, repeated ad nauseum.

 I also do believe that Obama fully intends to make some cuts in spending, but I know he would also like to do some spending because he thinks it would help create jobs. Paul Ryan who appeared on Meet the Press this Sunday repeated the same alarmist message that we have heard from him before. He intimates through his arguments that Obama is ruining the American economy and that Obama is a stubborn idiot who needs to be saved by the Republican agenda. He still worries that we have created an “institutionalized” group of inner city minorities who lack initiative because they have been supported by the government for too long. I don’t think the financial support they get or the rigmarole they must go through to get that support really produces a living income or a satisfying lifestyle. I would think that a focus on educational models that help people succeed in school would be more useful than some “throw them in the deep end and see if they swim” strategy.

The Republicans do have some plans for how to become a more popular political party. They have decided to go after the minority vote by working with Democrats on immigration. They have decided that the only reason Obama won was by pandering to minorities so they want to get in on some of that pandering action. However, just in case Spanish and African Americans see through this courtship and decide they will not be wooed, Republicans want to change the way electoral votes are counted. Because big cities tend to skew Democratic and more rural areas tend to skew Republican.  Presidential candidates often win all the electoral votes in a state if they win the major cities. The GOP has come up with a plan to go district by district to count the vote and then to apportion the electoral votes in the state by the numbers of districts won, instead of the number of votes won. If a candidate won the popular vote s/he would not necessarily get all of that state’s electoral votes.  Electoral votes would be split among the candidates. If we had run the 2012 election Mitt Romney would have won the Presidency even though Obama won the popular vote, experts say. Why isn’t this the perfect time to get rid of the elitist Electoral College and decide the election by the popular vote alone?

Last week John Boehner accused Obama of trying to get rid of the Republican Party. Why would Obama bother when the Republicans are doing such a great job of sabotaging themselves? They are committing political seppuku.We are not a single party nation and I don’t believe we really want to be, but if the Republicans can’t moderate their agenda I, for one, would be just as happy to see them sidelined until they stop trying to dictate a path that Americans did not choose and do not want, for some very obvious reasons.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

This photo is from an article on yahoo.com. Thank you Yahoo.