The Debt Crisis and the Health of the American Political System
Another left turn here from health matters to other stuff, like the debt crisis and politics. Let’s just call it a blog post about the health of the American political system.
At this point, my regular readers sigh and mutter, “Here he goes again…”. Yes, this is a deviation from health matters. A full blast turn into one of my pet subjects – politics!
Strangely, it is possible that you haven’t heard about America’s “debt crisis” and the game of “chicken” now being played by Repubs and Demos in Washington. Before I saw those Leno or Letterman shows where one of them wanders around asking people on the streets about geography, or history, or politics, and make fun out of how little is known about geography, or history, or politics – well, before then I would presume that EVERYONE in the U.S. knows about the debt crisis and that a few might have strong views on the matter.
Maybe you do, maybe not, but Jeff Rose does, and the rest of this post belongs to him. Because, you see, Jeff Rose pays attention to what’s up everywhere and writes a weekly email newsletter about it. Today’s bit about the debt crises and recent political shenanigans I deem worth sharing with you.
Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.
Now, from Jeff Rose:
I don’t care who wins or loses in the debt limit fight. The entire population of the US (and maybe lots of the world) loses. It seems not to matter if the world’s stock markets crash, if the interest on US debt soars, or if the US spirals back into a depression as long as one party can blame the other. Even lobbyists are confused. It almost makes me nostalgic for the smoke-filled back rooms where deals were actually made.
The independent Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says that the Boehner plan could very well “produce the greatest increase in poverty and hardship produced by any law in modern U.S. history.” Small people are intent on making the US much less great, destroying the village without saving it. Why should anyone think the US would do the honorable (full faith and credit) thing if it can’t even do the logical thing?
The money that the house says can’t be spent has already been authorized by that same house. We know that whatever is done will be a reaction without a strategic plan. Obama has been relegated to the grandstands. We find out that there are 39 riders on the Republican appropriations bill that all curtail environmental regulation. Boehner said that the Democrats would be responsible for a potential economic catastrophe if the senate didn’t vote for his plan. So much for compromise.
Joe Walsh, a freshman tea party congressman from Illinois says that he “won’t place one more dollar of debt upon the backs of my kids”. His ex-wife claims he owes her and the kids $100,000. Want congress to move? Take away their barbershop, gym, parking lot, dining room, and other perks. We’re already on the verge of another recession. What will draconian spending cuts do to the already shaky economy?
Finally, Friday the house Republicans mustered barely enough votes for a plan that was entirely unacceptable to the Democrats controlling the senate. It extends the debt ceiling for only six months and requires a balanced budget amendment. It was immediately tabled in the senate. So far on Friday, Obama has lost 33,000 Twitter followers. Come Saturday, all sides are “fully engaged”. In posturing? Sunday…same, same, with no leaders in sight (or in Washington). What would Jesus do? He’d take care of the poor.
The Republican demand to save $16 million on the FAA budget by cutting subsidies to rural airports is costing us $25 million a day in uncollected excise taxes. The FAA shutdown continues. The airlines are keeping the federal taxes that they don’t now have to pass on to the government.
Politics makes no sense.
The wealth gap between whites and non-whites is getting to be a chasm. The median wealth of white U.S. households in 2009 was $113,149, compared with $6,325 for Hispanics and $5,677 for blacks, according to the analysis by the Pew Research Center. That’s awful. We spend 75% more per person on health care than other rich countries without better results. That’s awful.
The US rural population is down to 16% of the total population. Farm interests are fighting a new immigration crackdown. Americans won’t pick produce. Unpicked produce rots. End of story.
You can help pay off the national debt with a check to “Bureau of Public Debt”. It’s deductible.
The national debt is increasing at about $3.83 billion a day. US officials tell us that al-Qaeda’s days are numbered but that al-Qaeda Yemen is growing. Are we supposed to understand the subtlety? Two days later we hear the administration saying that Iran is supporting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
The post office is looking at another 3,700 neighborhood post offices to be closed, many in rural areas. Losing money? Cut spending. Can’t bitch. Walter Reed’s 102-year run was pretty good for a hospital.
One of the endless blue ribbon committees has recommended closing up Yucca Mountain and put nuclear waste somewhere else. Yea! I live in Nevada. The SEC has subpoenaed production and economic records from shale gas developers. The suspicion is that they are telling Wall Street different stories than those being told to regulators.
Authorities still haven’t found the 26 AK-74’s stolen from Ft. Irwin, CA. They are updated versions of the old AK-47. Newt has closed his account at Tiffany’s. Rick Perry can’t be a frontrunner until he gets into the race. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is fat and asthmatic, not what we’re looking for in a presidential contender. He is (was?) on Romney’s short list for veep.
I (Joe Garma) now return to thank Jeff Rose for permitting me to post this, to thank you for your read, to acknowledge that we covered a lot of ground of some pretty complicated stuff, and to ask that you weigh in about how you feel about it in the Comments section below.