Sunday, February 6, 2011

This one has been building like Mount Vesuvius

Who else is getting tired of all of the empty talk about fiscal responsibility coming from Washington on both sides of the aisle with little action?  Bowles-Simpson went over like another Janet Jackson Super Bowl Halftime appearance.  Why?  Because the stuff is hard (channeling W) and the best plan includes a combination of spending cuts (65%) versus tax increases (35%).  In the meantime we get the following failed concepts, sound bites, half-measures, and strategies:
-        Majority leader, the oh so infuriatingly nasal human sound bite machine Eric Cantor and his cut and grow strategy.  Cut and grow?  That’s fine if you are the fabulous hairstylist Marissa at Industry 12.  But as an economic plan, WTF bro?
-        President Obama not using the State of the Union address to spell out the necessary grand scheme of investing while cutting.  Yes we need to invest in certain areas, while controlling and possibly cutting elsewhere.  You gave us half measures without the necessary pain.  I know you’re in reelection mode, but we need a leader, not a campaigner. 
-        Then there’s Rand Paul.  I give the wackadoo credit for at least putting his plans out there, but he is way off the mark.  I read his 37 page proposal and here is my critique:
o   Don’t call food stamps an entitlement program and trying to link obesity increases to poverty and why we should cancel food stamps is abhorrent.
o   He talks about reducing subsidies…I say eliminate all of them: farm, gas/oil, transportation, etc.
o   There is a recurring theme to push responsibility to the state level.  This includes: education, parks, natural resource mgmt, forest service…last time I checked the state fiscal situation is worse off than the federal situation.  Gingrich wants states to be able to declare bankruptcy.  Hell, who needs education?  To the GOP, an ignorant electorate is their best chance.
o   Cuts in space, atmospheric, and oceanic science, because the last thing need to do is understand our planet.
o   Close overseas bases, but what about domestic?  Not in there, why?  Political hot potato, Democrats, Republicans, and Tea Partiers are all for cuts as long they are not in their districts or states.
o   Paulyanna calls for a 2.7% decrease in defense spending.  Sorry dude, you need to go bigger.
o   I do agree to move the Coast Guard to the Department of Defense, but I would go further and dismantle the entire Department of Homeland Security due to its bloated structure, cost and ineffectiveness.  Hey Republicans, the salt for your wounds is you guys created this governmental monster.
o   In rationalizing his proposal to cut the Department of Education, Paul cites statistics from the 1st half of the 20th century.  Seriously?  That data that ranked the US as the leading nation in education and thus we should go back to those days.  Sorry Sherman, Mr. Peabody has left the building and the Wayback Machine is broken because you cut funding to the arts and sciences.
o   We don’t need a Department of Energy because the market will develop new sources of energy.  Really, do you mean the gas, coal, and oil industries?    I guess one man’s grant is another man’s subsidy.
o   Son of Ron wants to cut federal funding to clinics that provide care to non-citizens.  So please come to our country and pick our lettuce but if you get sick….you’re on your own.
o   I am all for privatizing TSA, post office, and Amtrak.  Can we privatize Congress?  Hmm sounds like a funny satirical Christopher Buckleyish novel.
o   His blaming the great recession on HUD is laughable.  The billions of dollars in the form of lines of credit came from Wall Street so loans could be securitized, [packaged in CDO’s and eventually synthetic CDO’s.  Go see Inside Job and learn something.
o   He wants to eliminate the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  Well that would have been helpful to Casino Jack Abramoff four years ago.
o   Eliminating foreign aid.  Actually foreign aid levels are a minuscule part of the budget, but I find it duplicitous that Republicans like Cantor want to move Israel’s aid to the Department of Defense so it can be preserved.  I love Israel, but c’mon.
o   Spare me the usual easy targets on NPR, NEA, NEH, unemployment benefits (cuz people are lazy), consumer safety protection, etc. 
-        GOP geniuses who say we need to cut federal agencies like the FDA, EPA, CFTC, SEC, etc. because the market knows best and it can self regulate.   On what planet do these people live?   Deepwater Horizon, 3,500 annual deaths related to food safety, and the great recession; the defense rests.
When it’s all said and done can our representatives and elected officials think big, long term picture, and the common goal?  Bring this country back to growth and profitability. Consolidate government functions, eliminate bureaucracy, expand education programs like race to the top, invest in all current AND future energy solutions, and simplify the tax code (more on that another time).  The tough medicine will come with respect to Medicare and Social Security, they represent two big steel anvils that say ACME and are hanging over our head, and we are Wiley Coyote.  Payroll taxes will be going up up up.
Now where is that undocumented worker to get me a Chinese beer from my fridge made in Malaysia to go along with my chips and salsa made with high fructose corn syrup, while I watch my South Korean TV I brought home in my German car?  Next you’ll tell me Snookie is Venezuelan.

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