Wednesday, August 3, 2011

There may be a post later...

...hopefully with good news, but we'll see. I'll be off to see the special specialist very soon, with plans for a green cast...if they restocked the green. I can, however, guarantee that there will be no more pink! =P

Meanwhile, I think my rant from yesterday needs a slight explanation. I sat here, typing up a post that blamed Republicans for a massive hole in our country's financial future, but didn't say HOW that happened.

Our nation's leader is the first black man to become President, likely to be followed by the first Hispanic, woman, lesbian President...(I have no idea what I'm talking about). It was a progressive move, or some would say. This man, however, is focused on trying to keep everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, happy. If not happy, then placated. He wants cooperation between the two major parties, and he's not getting it...even from his own side, who like as not will oppose him on any number of issues.

The perceived views of the parties goes something like this: Democrats want to tax the people into the stone age and spend lots of money on programs viewed as outdated and/or useless. The Republicans want smaller government and tax breaks for the wealthy, leaving the U.S. government to perhaps get a second job mowing lawns to earn its revenue. Both parties struggle furiously to keep their constituents happy in the hopes of being voted into office for another term.

Now we need to back up a few years to when Governor Bush illegally sat in the seat of the Presidency. (You need to be a George Carlin fan to get that one.) He signed into law a number of tax breaks for the wealthy, which would include his own family, so that they get a sizable cut in the taxes they have to pay. Just as an example, without my having researched this at all, the average American family might pay 30% in taxes, while the 1% of the population that is genuinely rich pays around 25% in taxes. While it's nice that the rich get to stay rich, it puts a significant dent in the government's revenue.

Returning to the present, it would seem that the Democrats wanted to repeal those tax breaks in an effort to boost the influx of money to the government. Republicans, who hold a majority in the Senate, balked and fought this with all their might, as it seems assured that the wealthy right wing would surely vote said republicans back into office when the time came. It's all rather complicated, but there's also this silly theory that money equals free speech. Republicans don't want to see their "speech" cut off.

And so our government representatives began fretting over the debt ceiling some time ago, and the battle began for each side to get what it wants. The Democrats wanted to not only raise the debt ceiling, but also raise some taxes to start paying down that debt. The Republicans wanted to raise the debt ceiling and cut government spending, thereby...not really doing anything that seems useful to me. It's bad bookkeeping. If you don't start whittling down the money owed and just keep increasing the debt ceiling, all you're doing is increasing the debt owed. You're not actually SOLVING the problem.

So here's what the Republicans did...They simply disagreed to everything recommended by the Democrats, including the Democrat President. The Reps made no effort at compromise, leaving all such negotiating to the Dems...and then saying "no," anyway. The Reps held the Dems at bay until the deadline was almost upon them, leaving the Dems little choice but to agree with the Reps. Something had to be done. The Republicans weren't budging. Thus, the Democrats had to be "the bigger men" and just take the beating.

Ideally, a number of things would have happened. First, raise the debt ceiling so we don't default on money already owed. Second, cut the tax cuts; fair is fair, even though 30% of a middle class income is significantly smaller than 30% of an upper class income. Finally, decrease government spending. These ideas are rounded out, with no details whatsoever, because as creative as I am, I wouldn't know where to start when it comes to making significant tax cuts.

It's also a good idea to keep in mind that my major sources of news are the AOL homepage, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert. I suppose I could also be using the Onion as a source at this point, too.

I have to go, gang. I'm gonna be late if I don't head out to the doc. Be well, and DFTBA!


Zeb The Troll said...

I'm back from GenCon!

Oh, right, taxes and deficits...

Nice summary, Rob.

To be fair, it wasn't all Republicans that were being douche bags. It was specifically the Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives. And they even pissed off their non Tea Party party mates, but there are enough of them to have some clout, even though most of them have no actual experience in national level politics.

The Republicans have a point, though I agree they went about making it very, very poorly.

Let's use a household budget as an analogy to our debt problems. The (R)'s are saying "Look, if we can't afford electricity, we should probably think about dialing back our cable bill and maybe not getting HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, AND The Movie Channel, okay?" The problem is, they didn't offer up basic cable instead of all-the-bells cable. They said "Why don't we get rid of our phone service and just get everyone cell phones?" without being able to explain how this was going to actually work, let alone save us any money.

On the other hand, there's a certain portion of the voting public that says "I just CAN'T LIVE without all of their movie channels, you'll just have to give up your allowance."

This is obviously a gross over simplification, but my point is that both sides have valid arguments, but everyone being unwilling to bend, even a little bit, on anything until the last second. (Kudos to Pres. Obama, though, who was willing to offer compromises, even though it offended his own party and wasn't accepted by the other. It's been a long time since I've seen an executive willing to do that for the sake of actually getting something done instead of wallowing in legislative gridlock.)

Raistlin said...

I realize this post is late, and nothing against you personally Zeb, but the whole "government debt vs household debt" thing drives me up a wall. It's convenient, easy to digest by the masses, and also completely wrong. Macro and micro economics have nothing to do with each other. There was a recent TIME Magazine article that summed it up well, but the basic theme was that so called "balanced budget" would actually hurt our economy because it would destroy spending, which in turn wrecks any chance of growth.

The Bush tax cuts won't survive their next end date, which is good, and raising the debt ceiling>>>>defaulting. It just sucks that Boehner can't rein in his own party to agree to something that EVERYONE needs.