Friday, April 22, 2011

Bold Feints

  The Washington Post polls suggests that 87% of people are against cutting Medicare as a means of straightening out the budget. If 13% is the core group aimed at by cutting the budget to the detriment of seniors, I suspect that the bold fonts will disappear in their arguments very soon. Even as a bargaining chip to bargain away, future intent is obvious here. If the Republicans go this far when they hold only one house of the legislature and don't hold the Presidency, what does it say for them if we perchance put them into power to administer the full old people trashing treatment?
  The message seems to be that there will be no sharing of burden beyond those already burdened. Actually, instead of the same old message, the budget sounded like a paradigm shift to me at first. Having won the young 18-24 aged group in the off election which young people of multitasking abilities often have a hard time focusing on :) , perhaps the Republicans seemed to be putting to bed the notion of a class war between the poor and the rich. The undertaxed millionaires would be off the stage as the battle was waged between the young and the old. That battle IS inevitable but possibly is not even in the near offing. I doubt the 13% were composed of young folks, I'm guessing they were the core Republicans of old.
  When I raised the question of fairness with a good friend of mine, she clung to the ideas of waste in government like the example of illegal immigrants stealing health and education services. But if there is one thing we've learned here it's that cuts will be painful to ordinary American people. If we cut out small waste, there won't be enough money saved and the deficits will still grow with astounding curves on illustrative charts. If we cut out things that benefit large numbers of people, and finally make a dent in those dreadful charts, large numbers of effected people will surely be voting out the perpetrators. Prior to this time borrowing money to pay for tax cuts seemed to be an unflinchingly strong strategy. Promise tax cuts to get elected. Don't cut services that would be politically unpopular to cut, and in the next election you can complain about how big government is (because not cutting services certainly didn't shrink it) and say that tax cuts are the solution. The worse we got into debt, the bigger government seemed to get. After all, it must be that spending so much money was  the reason for the debt. To add icing on the cake, tax cuts (or borrowing money) had the effect of artificially pumping up the economy.
  Now things are substantially different. Spending money ( or "borrowing money" in the absence of new taxes) and spending it in vast sums was the only way to keep the economy from going over the edge of the abyss. Taking back tax cuts (or raising taxes) would have only had the effect of dragging that fragile economy ever closer to the edge. Any effect of keeping the tax cuts was only realized in a sort of negative reinforcement; things just didn't get as bad as they could have. There was no positive noted by the electorate I'm sure. Keeping tax cuts did not increase the amount in the paycheck but stave off the lowering of the paycheck, not exactly a banner way to promote them.
  Eventually we would have to pay this back and the Tea Party acted the fastest. One could make a legitimate argument that it might be a little too fast for the fragile economy, but in real life things move with glacial speed in a divided government. This made it, economically speaking, safe to beat one's breast and say we have to get this spending under control. But carefully notice the difference from the earlier winning strategy. Tax cuts gave people money, borrowed, but still a positive in the pay check. Unfortunately for the Republicans many Tea Party people came in not to cut taxes but actually cut government (the never before tried part of the winning equation.) Show me a positive in alienating all but 13 % of the voters. Venturing into uncharted waters would be an understatement.
   It surely won't be long until the idea of actually taxing the people who have all the money will appeal to the ordinary person. It is very clear as a local voter that my representative, Rep. Mike Rogers (R:AL), has a very clear agenda. Support his rich contributors at all costs even if I'm one of the costs.