Sunday, July 31, 2011

Crazy Ideas?

I am getting ready to 'pack it in'.  It's too hot sit in front of my PC screen much less use my fried brain.  Blog Spot is making me go nuts.  I had some cool Maxine cartoons on the economy and it won't let me download them.  Too bad, because we all need a good laugh about now.  Instead I will write a rant to relieve my pent up anger and depression.

I am not even close to being an economist or a politician.  I'm just a simple citizen trying to figure out how Washington got so crazy.  So here a few random thoughts that I have.

First, everyone knows that the budget and raising the debt limit should not be tied together.  Who gains from this manufactured crisis?  Well, maybe the very wealthy guys (Think Koch Brothers) who are pulling the strings of the Tea Party.  Their goal is to break the unions, cut taxes and enhance their bloated bottom line even more.  How can they do this?  By tying those goals to something that must get passed, like the Debt Limit.  They could never get Congress to pass the drastic cuts that benefit them unless they use extortion and that is exactly what they have accomplished.  This was a very clever ruse on their part but in so doing, they may have killed the golden goose.  When the country slips into depression they may wish they had not been so greedy.

Every one agrees that our country owes way too much money and that paying the interest on it is going to destroy us if we don't stop.  So what's the problem?  It is no secret that when you owe more than you are taking in you have few options.  You can stop spending or you can make more money or a combination of the two.   Fine as far as it goes.  But here's the rub; a family can sit down with their budget and make a list.  First comes fixed expenses like paying the mortgage, car payment, etc.  Next come the variables like utilities and food.  After you have cut as much as you can from the variable list you decide on how to spend any money that might be left over.  If there is nothing left someone has to work at a second job so you can buy clothes, have an evening out or save for the kid's college.  There is just so much that you can do.

While this may work for a family budget it gets much more complicated if it's a business or a government.  The principle remains the same, but there are fewer things you can cut without destroying the business.  And that's just what the conservatives don't understand.  In the case of government,  if you cut money from infrastructure, education, the safety net for the vulnerable you end up destroying the country with unintended consequences.  There is just so much you can cut without raising the cost down the road for the very government you think you are saving.  It is not necessary for me to point out what happens when you cut to the bone. Crime goes up.  Poor people without jobs will rob or beg or take their anger out against the power structure that took away all hope.  We will no longer lead the world in science and development with a poorly educated populace.  And when you reduce the sick, elderly and uneducated to abject poverty it will cost more in a myriad of ways and the country that once was so great will have lost it's soul.

To me, the reasons that conservatives use to cut spending is simplistic in it's premise and stupid in it's achievement.  All economists agree that when you are in a downturn you need to spend money to get the economy growing so people can find work.  People with jobs pay taxes and that  increases government income.   They also buy things, thus increasing more revenue for businesses and, again, more income to the government in the form of taxes.  People without jobs are a drain on the economy.   Why is this so hard to understand? 

It boils down to simple logic.  The government will always have some debt and if it's citizens aren't working and  paying taxes the debt will be much larger.  The first priority should be to provide jobs.  After that we can work on the debt.  Sometimes even a government has to spend money to make money.


Friko said...

Darlene, you have it about right, except for the pious hope that the very rich might wish they hadn't been quite so greedy.

They won't suffer, they'll still be very rich. They'll even find a way to profit from everybody's misery.

Paula said...

Darlene, what else is there to say? I'm relieved that much of the fight is over, but wary of what they've agreed to. I guess we'll learn more about it tomorrow. I'm more worried about our children and grandchildren, than I am about us. All of our kids got off to a late start in their careers and having kids. They have little time to prepare for retirement, but will need to save more than we have. I don't know how they'll do it!
Friko, I just read your CARE package story and was quite moved. We have family in Saarland.

Betty said...

Darlene, you say it so much better than I can. I can tell you, though, that from my little perch here in the Ozarks, if I can believe the local newspaper, crime is going up here. And, we have more homeless people than we've ever had before.

Joy Des Jardins said...

What a terrific post Darlene. I'd like to think the very rich might wish they hadn't been quite so greedy....but I'm not convinced they are capable of that. Many of those people simply don't have a conscience about anyone's welfare but their own.

Hey, I love your new blog look wonderful.

RONW said...

the way I understood it, the Bush tax cuts were passed during a period when federal gov't revenues were high, more taxes from a robust economy. Only a few years ago Hawaii enjoyed a $200 million surplus. Seemed like only yesterday. Anyways, ending the Bush tax breaks and whatever incidental tax loopholes amounts to restoring the original tax revenue stream, no more different than when you put back on a jacket that you took off "temporarily" when the day heated up. Yes, spending needs to be cut, but not as much as calling in the free passes. Btw, enjoyed your Bernie Sanders post. At this point, I don't know how geniune the Deal is, and I've seen a lot of experts of both political stripes interviewedd on tv and somewhat out of character shrugging their shoulders as well on the same question.

Darlene said...

*Friko - I was thinking of rich business owners when I said they were killing their own goose. Without customers they will suffer. I should have clarified my thoughts better. Or maybe I should just learn to think. ;-)

*Paula - I am sure we are going to hate what they have agreed to. I'll bet my son and daughter will have to wait until their 67 to get S.S.

*Betty - Oh, you flatter me. I am in envy of your clever writing and your humor. Thank you.

*Joy - If there is any justice the rich will reap their own whirlwind like they did during the Great Depression. Of course, not all of them lost everything during that stock market crash so those that had other wealth survived nicely.

*RonW - Thank you for your visit. I hope you will return.

The surplus that Bush inherited was quickly squandered. It will take us a generation to recover, if we ever do.

Darlene said...

Memo to me; Must learn to edit before sending. Paula, of course I meant "they're 67".

Mary Florance said...

Darlene, I love your sane and sensible post. These draconian cuts on programs will result in more job losses for teachers, firemen, etc. That will affect the economy even more. I think the brains behind the tea party(Koch Bros. types) have gotten exactly what they wanted. The economy will be in such dire straights by the 2012 election that Obama will never be reelected. Even though I feel he has let his base down, I cannot imagine who his opponent will be. Mary Florance

Vagabonde said...

I wish everyone would read your post. Some of what you predict is already happening. I heard that per capita there is more poverty in the US than anywhere else in the western world. Education is going down as well as healthcare. Fundamentalist Christians and Extreme Right Conservatives families have more children than the rest, so it won’t get better in the future. I am pleased I am not a teenager.

Anne said...

Your analysis is always so clear and logical. And quietly wise. The politicians just want to confuse and incite us with slogans and sound bites. They cynically manipulate public opinion with their polemical nonsense. It's so sad.

Friko said...

Darlene, I don't think it actually was horse meat, it was probably beef. Eva couldn't read English and the horse and the name Mustang on the label made her think she was eating horse meat.

I don't suppose anybody bothered sending dog food.

Darlene said...

*Mary Florance - Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.

Lets just hope the people have more sense when they vote in 2012 than they did when they put the Tea Party in Congress.

*Vagabonde - Sometimes I am glad I am old. I think I just lived through the best years of America, even though they included a Depression, Wars, and George Bush. But I am sad for my children and grandchildren.

*Anne - Thank you for your nice words. What is also sad is how easily people are manipulated.

*Friko - Oh, I'm glad it wasn't horse meat. Whew!

naomi dagen bloom said...

Darlene, others have validated your post already, so let me just say how much I admire your new photo. And if you want a chuckle, and you've heard about Oregon Dems' awful congressman, then drop by get a mild chuckle from yesterday's newspaper cartoonist.

Of course, today was brightened by your wonderful Gabby Giffords casting her vote in the House.

Nancy said...


As usual, you have summed up the whole thing in a very cogent package that we can all understand and agree with.

I love the way you get right to the point and tell it like it is!

Kay Dennison said...

I am with you 110% -- as you well know!!!! You said it well!!

Anonymous said...

Darlene--I agree 120% with Naomi dagen Bloom that your new photo is phantasmagoric. Beautiful! Beautiful!
Cop Car

Darlene said...

*Naomi Dagen Bloom - I will be by to see your cartoon.

Isn't Gabby just wonderful? Such courage.

Thank you for your kind words.

*Nancy - Mucho, mucho gracias.

*Kay Dennison - We speak the same language.

+Cop Car - How very nice of you to say so. Thank you.

joared said...

This is brilliant, Darlene! Right to the point and everyone -- even the Tea Party people -- should be able to understand.

Darlene said...

*Joared - You think? I sincerely doubt that the Tea Party folks can see beyond their nose.

Leslie Parsley said...

You said it, my friend. It will take decades to correct all the greed and antics coming from the Republicans. What I've never understood is why the very poor can't connect the dots and still vote for them. Just doesn't make sense.

But as discouraging as it is sometimes, we can't give up.

Love the new photo and layout.