09 April 2011

Holy shmit we're talking about the deficit!

We should all envy republicans.  Whereas democrats can't seem to agree on which socks match, republicans have run a clear hard-line message that the debt is bad and that we must fight it at all cost.

For their part in negotiations over the budget, republicans should be proud.  Not too many protested when we started dropping 500,000 dollar missiles on Libya, though.  That might have an effect on the government's budget.  For me, it was a damn relief to know that the government wasn't going to shut down.  I'll sleep safer knowing that what's-his-name old duck who owns the Bucks will still be working or whatever it is he does.  And that the other Senator (what the hell is his name?) from Wisconsin is, well, I haven't got a clue what he's doing.

But really, holy shmit, we've got bigger problems than worrying about the federal government strutting itself into lock down.  Hell, that might be better for the country.  The worst thing that's happening in Washington and in state capitals is that there are legislators writing bills and proposals.  Crispinglover, you'd think we'd have enough laws by now.

What's startling is that no one who is doing all this bill writing and proposal constructing has even casually mentioned raising taxes.  Obviously the public doesn't want to hear about paying more to an organization that has proven to bu utterly incompetent with its own budget, but slashing spending isn't going to result in a balanced budget.  The country could use a new tax code designed to address the differences between the ultra wealthy and the moderately wealthy.  The sixth tax bracket begins at 250,000 smackeroonies a year and includes the top income earners, 30 million clams per year.  Some of those folks ought to be paying more than nothing. 

The new conservative poster boy for tough budget decisions is Wisconsin's own Paul Ryan.  Is this guy gearing up for a run at a higher office?  This guy could soothe a rabid badger.  His coo is as gentle as a morning dove's.  So what's his message.  Cut spending, drastically.  That sounds responsible.  Where do the cuts come from?  Mostly social programs for the poor.  No proposal for raising capital gains tax or the estate tax. 

No one is really interested in balancing the budget.  That's just great diversionary tactics so that our government can continue fighting overseas battles that make no sense, continue rewarding tax cuts to the plutonomists (GE, for example), and continue practicing business as usual that benefits a few people in power.

The whole issue is a facade to keep the American people entertained by our celebrity congressmen and women who really couldn't care less if you lost a job three years ago earning $25 an hour and now the new job that's available to you is at McDonald's earning $8 bucks an hour.  The message from our elite - go get a job there are plenty of them out there now. 

Here's another issue with the deficit.  Look at the deficit as a percent of GDP:

Pretty fishy right?  I couldn't disagree more.  I think it looks more like the US is a debtor nation and always has been.  Should it really be alarming that we owe money?  The government created Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  
Look at this graph:

Pretty interesting, right?  Our deficit is massive right now and it probably is out of control: we have had record amounts of foreclosures, hundreds of thousands of bankruptcies and layoffs, yet corporations have made some record profits in the same time period - this is the US model of growth!

What's my point?  Here it is: think about the most common form of home ownership in America - that's right paying off a home loan - a mortgage.  Then think about the way most people pay for higher education, cars, etc. - loans.  Borrowing money is the way we do business in America.  It is built into the economic system.  Will the "deficit crisis" as it has been called in the media (pure sensationalism, by the way) actually be a catalyst for change?  The safest bet is no.

The recent economic collapse was supposed to usher in major changes in investment strategy in order to avoid another meltdown.  Has Wall Street stopped default swaps or derivative speculations?  Have we seen a new rise of regulatory prowess?  Anyone who has read this far knows the answer to these questions.

Now here's my point - what will be the overall accomplishment of all of this bickering and child's play?  Nothing.  Nothing will change in the long term.   You're still getting scowalkered unless you're in the top 10 percent. And the American people are cluelessly captured  by Trump's overture for a presidency bid while the 20th season of Dancing with Idol unfolds it's final winners.  Blah.

What the shmit do you think?  Will anything really change?  Are those some cool graphs or what?  Is John Kerry the same guy who played Herman Munster?
Although it's difficult to find unbiased reporting about issues here are some references to check out:
Read about the deficit and new proposals: http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/ryan_budget_plan
Play around with different graphs regarding the budget: http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/index.php

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