Monthly Archives: August 2011

Lost their minds?

Republicans insist that making businesses happy with low taxes, low fees and no regulations will magically produce jobs in and of itself makes no sense. If, because of all the cuts in state and federal revenues that they’re also insisting on, ordinary people have no money with which to buy products, businesses will just sit on their cash and wait for buyers to show up before adding jobs or services. It’s what they’ve been doing for some time now.

Unfortunately, this kind of thinking seems to be a western world phenomenon these days with dire consequences for everyone. Europe isn’t talking about stimulus spending or raising revenues either but insisting on the kinds of budget cuts that are losing jobs and creating hardship for their peoples. David Cameron in Britain seems to have succumbed to the Conservative disease so prevalent here, and look what has happened there. The London riots were not just kids on the rampage for the fun of it, or the criminal behavior of a bunch of thugs, though elements of both were involved. Cameron refuses to acknowledge that anything his government has done might have something to do with the terrible destruction we’ve seen. He even wants to throw the convicted rioters and their families out of the only shelter they have. Is he going to build debtors prisons to put them in as well, so they can labor for the State for free (slavery)?

Governments and Conservatives in the West seem to have lost their minds. But as today’s New York Times editorial puts it:

The Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable want tax cuts too. But how exactly do these executives imagine this spending would be paid for, if not through higher taxes? Or do they really want the elderly and low-income families to give up some of their safety-net benefits to widen interstate highways, while high-income money managers sacrifice nothing?

Are business leaders, too, afraid of the Tea Party-type extremists as are many of our Republican moderates? Or are they all infected by the magical thinking that denies history, evolution, global warming, and the basic economics of government. What next?

The coming economic mess?

I found this in Steve Richards column at the Independent.  He’s talking about David Cameron’s response to the situation in Libya, but I think it applies to the US right now too.

Some of the best thrillers depend on the audience knowing in advance that a deadly outcome is unavoidable. We sit, watch and wait, gripped with fear as the inevitable end looms. And often the characters suspect they are making the wrong moves but cannot stop themselves from doing so.

The same pattern applies in politics. Governments tend to make the same colossal mistakes as their predecessors. Leading figures recognise the errors when they were committed the first time around but then proceed to make a similar set of misjudgements. It’s as if they are trapped by dark forces beyond their control.

We too are making the same mistakes all over again and seem about to revisit the pain of 1937.  Our common sense has left us for the Tea Party fantasy world.  The deal is done.  The public and the President will do the suffering.  Keith Olbermann has a compelling rant at Current TV.  His “four great hypocrisies” are the sharpest criticism I’ve seen of the “deal” anywhere, and he makes sense.

There was also this calmer discussion at MSNBC.

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The comment about the Super Committee I found chilling. They are going to put us through the agony of this “debate” between now and December. By then I suspect lots of people will be angry, and I hope they are angry enough to quiet the TeaParty and its Congressional members.  Instead of a calmer, settled atmosphere Washington could well become more acrimonious and dysfunctional than it is already.  Not a pretty picture.  It could well turn some voters off completely which in turn won’t help anyone.

Welcome to our new nasty world!

Obama gave in.  The Tea Party can jump for joy, and then remember that what they’ve done will affect them as much as the rest of us.  I first saw this video at  It was made by a teacher at Kahn Academy a website that is a treasure trove for us folks in education.  I have used it for K-8 math a lot. It explains the difference between the Deficit and the Debt Ceiling in a way that is easily understood.  Have a look:

It’s a little long, but it explains very clearly how we got where we are, and perhaps, why President Obama finally gave in to what is a really bad deal for the country.  You can see how unhappy he is with the situation in this picture that I “borrowed” from the NewRepublic’s newsletter.

That is one very tired and discouraged gentleman!  And well he might be, since who knows if either the full Senate or House with OK the deal.  The so-called TeaParty politicians seem to have a special talent for upping the ante and making a really terrible problem even worse.  They have already managed to damage out standing with the rest of the world and are on their way to making the Great Recession return with a vengeance.  Hang on to your hats!  And your pennies.