We are at yet another critical juncture in our history and we have dumb and dumber duking it out in DC. This is when you have to ask yourself, do you want dumb to stop dumber (D: raising the debt ceiling and revenues and then failing to reduce spending), or do you want dumber to stop dumb (R: those forcing spending cuts only)? Oh, did I mention there’s also dumbest (the Tea Party who won’t allow any tax increases or any debt ceiling management)? Good times…
Here’s the equation again:
Dumb = Democrats: continue spending at current levels until our debt surpasses our annual GDP (collapse within 2-3 years)
Dumber = Republicans: austerity measures and spending cuts only (collapse within 1 year).
Dumbest = Tea Party: austerity measures only and don’t raise the debt limit (collapse next Tuesday)
See? This formula always works. It’s like magic.
Integral thought alert:
Whichever party wins, the country is likely to lose. If the Republicans win, we’re going to get an unbalanced debt deal that relies too heavily on frontloaded spending cuts, forgoes tax hikes that could further reduce the deficit, and rewards a reckless and dysfunctional model of negotiating through brinksmanship. If the Democrats win, we’re likely to see some sort of crisis before we see any sort of action, and this isn’t an economy or market that can handle much more bad news. Heads, dysfunction. Tails, catastrophe.
Let’s get the one thing Republicans have been right about out of the way first (hint: it’ll be short). President Obama never understood the depth of this collapse, never. He was told perceptions rule the stock market, so act all business as usual. At the end of the day he suffered from the normalcy bias. He should have listened to his Budget Deficit Commission and started some of the necessary spending reductions across the board. He would need to balance those cuts carefully as not to trigger a double dip recession. But, at the end of the day, if he fails to change the trajectory of our deficit, his presidency will plummet like a Gingrich campaign in Seattle. This current direction is unsustainable, kind of like me at the Brewfest last week.
The right needs to focus on responsible spending cuts. So get to work on that… instead of all the other nonsensical bullshit you typically focus on during any given news cycle. I’m being facetious; we’re not going to get that help. The right is all Bachmann-bat-shit-crazy these days. Cuts from the right will not be across the board—they will likely be ideologically and lobbyist driven and only target those must vulnerable in our society. What’s worse is this: today’s Republicans must now sip from the tea cup of stupid, or risk political extinction. Those least in the know are holding those barely in the know hostage. Good times… It’s not about Bush, Crank, it’s about those people who voted for Bush, twice, becoming even less insightful since. Stephen Hawking is going to need to determine if this is breaking any Universal laws; this level of ignorance could start bending space.
My agency, in the field of behavioral health, has been subjected to about 37% cuts in the last three years. No shit. You want to keep drawing blood from that stone? Of course you do. How much did Gates agree to cut defense again? Zero percent? That’s reasonable. When I talk about responsible cuts, they can’t cost us more money in the long run, nor can they destroy or end countless lives (see: the Ryan plan). My field could probably have survived 15% cuts (leaner and meaner, baby!). But now at 37%, Arizona will have to rebuild the programs currently being gutted on the tax payer’s dime. They will do this about a year or two from now when they realize, “wow, that was stupid.”
The right’s ideas fall into two main categories: 1. totally wrong or 2. partially right. I can’t think of any recent examples where they nailed it. Can you? When did you ever say, whew, that was a close one; thank goodness we listened to those folks over at Fox. This being-wrong-all-the-time stuff wouldn’t be so bad if they were capable of negotiation. Example: even when they’re partially right about something, like the deficit, they’ll screw it up anyway with that all-or-none thinking. Their perception of reality is the most skewed, the most compromised, and the most detrimental to our future (see: Hannity’s America).
Need more delusional examples? When The Crank says something always happens EVERY TIME, let’s take tax cutting to create jobs as an example…well, a journalist over at Slate Magazine researched this phenomenon globally. If Annie Lowery is correct, then The Crank’s “ALWAYS happens EVERY TIME” can be translated roughly as:
Throughout the history of all economies on the planet, it’s only happened a couple of times and the direct correlation between tax cuts and job creation remains dubious at best.
Again, we have that situation where nine out of ten economists think one thing, but Fox shoves the microphone in the face of that one economist left behind. Yeah, that’s the ticket… just like that 97% of all climatologists thing. I’d love to see The Crank in Vegas. Of course, in this case he’s thankfully only gambling with the global economy instead of the inhabitability of the Earth. Roll them dice, baby!
And when The Crank says something like this or that “never EVER worked”, like socialized medicine, he really means, its working great in Germany, well in Australia and OK in Canada. Watch, his rebuttal will be “Canada’s healthcare doesn’t work!” thus proving his point…er, somehow.
What does this all mean, you ask? The Republicans are now the ones living in the land of the theoretical. The Crank is just a symptom of a greater illness. It used to be the liberal professors were the only ones operating wholly in the philosophical realms. Some Prof would suggest some progressives (aka, expensive) idea, but there was always some neatly trimmed, small glasses type reminding him of the actual budget. These were the debates of old; these were my father’s Republicans. Somehow, to the detriment of this country, that has all changed. It’s not that we dislike conservatism, Crank, just your version.
Fareed Zakaria over on CNN covered this radical Republican transformation (of course, you heard it here first on the Daily Discord). So how does one become a theoretical bean counter anyway? You were supposed to be the ones to say, “No, America, you can’t buy that Dodge Viper. Let’s get a sedan.” Then they pulled out some bills and bank statements and started clicking on a calculator. Now, they pull out a Ouija board, some Tarot cards, a Magic Eight Ball and start burning some sage (speaking of eight balls, where’s my “package” Mr. Shaman?).
So Mr. Bean Counter Foxeteer guy, this means you no longer have any function in this society. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m buying the F-ing Viper, bitches. Dems will continue to ignore you, on cue, because you have no credibility and, as a result, we will spend ourselves into oblivion. But, meanwhile, we get a Viper! Liberals are doing what they do, spend money, and Republicans are not doing what they used to, which is make fiscal sense. It’s a recipe for…what’s today’s date again?
Where is the right’s economic evidence? Probably on some Beckian chalkboard somewhere. Taxes as a percentage of GDP are lowest since the 50s; we have amongst the lowest in the industrial world. The hostility to business, for the most part, is invented propaganda designed to Rush the Limbaughs back into power to finish us off. You know what hurt businesses? The biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression, that’s what.
Pragmatism means cutting the Grand Bargain of the 21st Century: tax reform, revenue increases, and entitlement and defense cuts. You cannot take away one of these three legs and hope the stool will stay upright. By insisting on new no revenues, the GOP is not taking responsibility for its own role in creating this debt, is ignoring the real dangers of total gridlock, and refusing to play an adult role in resolving it. By never offering anything substantive to restrain healthcare costs or to insure more Americans, the GOP is unserious on healthcare policy. By refusing the only solution to immigration – tighter border controls and a path to citizenship for those already here – they are merely making amnesty a reality while making the lives of many hard-working people and their US-born children more precarious.
Andrew’s gets it. The problem is this: these more integral solutions to our problems typically piss off both liberals and conservatives alike, which is why I have little use for either of them. D and R will only agree to their half of the solution, which isn’t going to work. We need less D, less R, and more Transcosmetic party! Three members and bloating.
There was a really great debate on Fareed Zakaria last week, wherein Robert Reich (liberal) battled David Stockman (conservative). Reich made a compelling case for the group who believe that tightening everything now, through austerity measures only, “would be repeating the history of Hoover.” Stockman, meanwhile, made a strong case that the kitty is dry and that the only way out of this is to cut entitlements (like Medicaid), defense spending to some degree, and raise some revenues (he’s at least one Republican not giving a pass to the Bush tax cuts). This is where the debate should be. Somewhere between these two gentlemen lies the answer. I actually lean a little toward the conservative guy, Stockman—although it will likely cost me my job. Now, The Crank, as usual, is choosing some imaginary door number three. We’re just going to pretend lobbyists don’t exist. We’re going to ignore that people need basic services and we’re just going to pull 14 trillion dollars out of our collective asses by next Tuesday. Great plan…er, great depression. The Crank’s plan has always been, “Let everything fail, have that depression, and then we’ll be OK in a few years.” Ummm, when the dollar is not the currency of choice on this planet, we’re not going to be OK, we’re going to be Greece.
So listen up Mr. President, no negotiating with Teabaggerists. Bad enough we have to negotiate with Republicans. As Sullivan, Stockman and Klein, and anyone else with a clue can attest, we need a multi-pronged approach to tackle a 14 trillion dollar deficit. We do not need to be held hostage by people with just those two switches in their head, good/bad, up/down, lobotomy/electro convulsive therapy. We need nuance, not nuisances. You will get your spending cuts and tax reforms, but ending the Bush tax cuts for at least some of the population has to be part of the solution. Sorry, reality again. To negotiate, one needs to negotiate, not storm out of the room after refusing to fund two wars. Oh, and robbing from China to pay Paul Allen hasn’t helped either…imagine that.
Hear ye, hear ye: the negotiating will be limited to this: for what income group will the Bush tax cuts expire? Will it be for those earning over $250,000 a year? over $500,000? over a $1M? Let the real negotiating begin.
My posts remain based on independent thought and The Crank’s are primarily fueled by propaganda. This is why I agree with you sometimes, Cranko and you never agree with me…er, even when I’m agreeing with you. For you, Obama is always wrong, so if he develops a plan to solve all of our problems tomorrow, you will vote against it on principle. If one puts this into historical context—coming off the heels of eight years of Incurious George—then, sorry, I have the right to be angry and you have the right to remain silent.