Interesting Sunday talkshows showing that the Repubs are starting to get a little irritated at the notion that their plan for pulling us out of the economic hole is turning out to be an empty suit. Both John Boehner(R-OH) (sporting a very scary looking tan) and Mike Pence (R-IN) showed up on MTP to talk economy. The question du jour was “how can you continue the tax cuts without paying for them?” Both had trouble articulating specifics. Boehner suggested that the best way to get the economy going again is to get the economy going again. (yeah, didn’t make sense to me either) Pence is the only one of the two that actually spoke truth when he said that argument for the unpaid for tax cuts have a credibility problem.
So today they are going back to the past for inspiration, dusting off the Contract with America’s “balanced budget” amendment talk. We all know how well that went the last time(s) it was brought up. They seem to love to promise no tax increases and a balanced budget. On paper that seems really neat. In reality when they bring it up it turns out to be a disaster. Maybe this time though it will be different. As we know from recent history Clinton raised taxes and was able to keep the budget close to being balanced. There is also talk of raising the retirement age to 70. So now we know how these tax cuts for the top 2% will play out…on the middle class. A constitutional amendment to balanced the budget is great rhetoric but not good policy…under Republican presidents the deficits have run wild. Dems at least try to balance the budget the Republicans as we know from the last 30 years will not. Alan Greenspan and now Paul O’Neill Secretary of the Treasury under GWB who at the time opposed the tax cuts says lawmakers need to focus on overhauling the entire system. I think the misunderstanding comes with the argument that we need to the tax cuts to spur job growth. Sounds plausible but the reality of job growth (read hiring) comes from demand. The more a product is in demand the more help companies need to meet that demand, in spite of taxation. Finally on this topic, I wish Geithner and Obama would stop using the past tense in referring to the economic mess we find ourselves in. The “we have gone through tough times,” needs to be replaced with “we are in tough times.”
Just to give a few examples of just how tough:
Plenty of businesses and governments furloughed workers this year, but Hawaii went further — it furloughed its schoolchildren. Public schools across the state closed on 17 Fridays during the past school year to save money, giving students the shortest academic year in the nation.
Many transit systems have cut service to make ends meet, but Clayton County, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, decided to cut all the way, and shut down its entire public bus system. Its last buses ran on March 31, stranding 8,400 daily riders.
Even public safety has not been immune to the budget ax. In Colorado Springs, the downturn will be remembered, quite literally, as a dark age: the city switched off a third of its 24,512 streetlights to save money on electricity, while trimming its police force and auctioning off its police helicopters. (source The New York Times)
Finally for today, Glenn Beck (yes I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about this buffoon any more but sometimes it’s just too easy)…last week while he was delivering his entertaining show on Fox, explaining how the Dems are going to enforce mandatory white-baby abortions, or whatever, he went ballistic after watching a speech by Obama. Turning to the camera he says: “Did I slip through a worm hole in the middle of the night and this looks like America? It’s like the damn planet of the apes.”
I’m sure he wasn’t trying to race-bait the audience comparing the USA under the leadership of a black president to a science-fiction movie about an earth controlled by monkeys. Nah that can’t be it. With Beck there are always shades of meaning and subtlety. Although right after his remark (which disappeared when it was reposted on his site) went into a tirade about crime in 4 American cities, Oakland, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Newark….mmm interesting.