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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cut, Cap and BS

Cain said, "Am I my brother's keeper?" It looks as if he and Ayn Rand are the inspiration for the current GOP programs.

Socialism becomes more popular when jobs are scarce-- in socialist countries everyone has a job and noone is homeless, which, if you are homeless or jobless, begins to look better than where you are.

The social programs of the 1930s were an attempt to remedy that particular flaw in the US "markets uber alles" system, which at that time had a decided lean towards Social Darwinism, and left a huge number of people without jobs and homes. The quickest way to accellerate a return to the bad old "buddy can you spare a dime," days, will be to undermine the social safety net-- which will clearly render MORE people homeless and jobless, because without a safety net, more people NEED jobs to keep off the streets. You don't want to encourage people to leech off the system, but SS/Medicare/Medicaid recipients paid their dues into it for years, it's not a "free ride" like some people claim. The big problem with Medicare/Medicaid, is the Pharmaceutical companies are milking every cent they can get out of our health care system. FIX THAT, and you get a big lowering of medical costs which would do us all some good, rich and poor (except big Pharma, my heart bleeds-- must be the Coumadin).

But it takes the ability to stop parroting the knee-jerk cheers of your favorite political "team" and use your brain a little bit-- which unfortunately, it seems a lot of people either aren't capable of or are unwilling to do.

The big question then becomes, how to get more jobs going w/o killing off the safety net. That's where the tough problem is.

You could lower our overhead by pulling our troops back home, but then you'd have a bunch of unemployed GIs-- still, it might be cheaper to put them to work in works projects than keeping them sustained overseas. Then again, it may produce an unstable middle east-- eh, that is, a MORE unstable middle east.

You could raise taxes, which everyone hates for the most part, but I don't see any way around it-- AND I suspect even the GOP will break their word and do it because they have to if they get in next season. We know most previous GOP presidents were not above raising taxes-- though they may figure out some "stealth" taxes, disguise them as something else. Remove subsidies, loopholes, etc., but that may kill off some businesses in the process or raise prices. I think it's gonna happen, no matter who's in charge, red or blue, Teaparty be damned. There's few other options, and we probably need to exercise any and all options we have. The Bush administration charged two wars to the credit card, but lowered taxes and then passed the TARP on the way out. Part of me would like to see what the GOP would do to pay for all this-- no doubt they'd raise taxes and blame the Democrats for making them do it. Right now they're using it all as an excuse to tear down the President, and pander to business interests big time by rolling back everything in sight. None of that is helpful, but if they were in charge they'd actually have a harder time of it because their actions would have consequences that they might not be able to blame on the Democrats.

I don't know what else there is-- there's some waste and bureaucracy in the Fed government, but outside of the Military and the safety net, there's not a lot there, and a lot of it isn't just useless BS.

There's no magic answer. Chants like "cut cap & balance" are pure braindead political posturing-- the problem is too complex for such a simple fix. Don't forget the laws of unintended consequences-- there are BIG TIME side effects to making big changes, tha can easily make the "cure" worse than the "disease." Any politician who thinks he "knows" the "right answer" is as full of it as they get-- we need to proceed with caution and take steps that WON'T break what's currently working for us. Raising taxes is undoubtedly one of those steps.

And you have to ask yourself, who as the ABILITY to pay-- because right now, we don't just need everyone to pay their "fair share," we are going to need MORE than everyone's "fair share" to get out of this mess I suspect. We can't just "cut" our way out of it, because the side effects would be worse if we tried-- the problem is not that we're spending too much, so much as we've SPENT too much, charging wars and bank bailouts to the credit card. The money is SPENT ALREADY, now it's time to pay the bill.

Of course, we could always liquidate some government assets-- maybe Mariott would like to buy the White House and rent it back to the President. What other real estate have we got? Any gold left? The price is high right now, could be a good time to sell-- though it'd drop the price big time for all those gold bugs out there (but it is a bubble, after all)...


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