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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"The Budget Fight" &"Big Brother"

There are two interesting articles in the Washington Post this morning. The first concerns the upcoming budget battle. In his State of the Union Address, President Bush is expected to call for a balanced budget.

Lest you think that the president was visited by the ghosts of three fiscally responsible spirits over the Christmas hiatus, fear not. This is just another piece of Republican political jujitsu, as the Post explains:



Politically, analysts say, the president is calling the bluff of Democrats, who won control of Congress in part by accusing Bush of reckless fiscal policies. While Bush now shares the Democrats' goal to erase the deficit by 2012, the politically perilous work of making that happen -- cutting spending or raising taxes -- falls to the Democratic-run Congress.
"The Democrats have assailed deficits under President Bush. The White House is telling Democrats to walk the walk," said Brian M. Riedl, a budget analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Budget experts and economists from across the political spectrum, including some who worked in the Bush White House, say that Bush is unlikely to offer real concessions toward a balanced budget in the plan he delivers to Congress next month.

After all, as Dick Cheney was quoted as saying back in 2002, “Deficits Don’t Matter”.

And, if your party’s not-so-secret secret plan is to “drown the Federal Government in the bathtub” , then you’d be right, “Deficits Don’t Matter”….in fact, deficits are your friend.

Up until now, the deficit’s existence hasn’t been all that worrisome in our daily lives…


Since then, an unexpected gusher of tax revenue has flooded the Treasury, driven largely by stratospheric corporate profits. Bush credits his tax cuts with spurring the economy and producing more tax receipts, an argument that has been refuted by many conservative economists and Bush's own Treasury Department.

(The fact that this recovery has, unlike the boom times of the Clinton years, not been beneficial to ALL has been a fact of some concern to Centralist Democrats.)

But, the Fiddler’s bill comes due in 2009 (just in time, I might note with some bitterness, for a Democrat to enter the White House and be handed a leaking garbage bag full of rotting trouble by the departing President Bush…however, I digress.)

From the Post:


the Social Security surplus will begin to shrink in 2009, as the baby boomers start to retire. It is it estimated that the fund will dry up completely in 2017. At that point, the nation's rosy fiscal picture will darken rapidly. Costs for entitlement programs -- Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare -- will explode. Without radical changes in tax policy and retirement spending, the deficit will make up more than 24 percent of the economy by 2050, Walker said.

In other words, if we don’t fix it NOW- we are in really deep shit. Because if we don’t fix it now, we will be headed straight back to the days of the Robber Barons of the late 19th Century (you remember, the big dog capitalists who authorized their police minions to shoot men who were striking for an eight hour workday, or an end to Child Labor?)- the good old days when there was no Income Tax or OSHA to slow them down, and no Medicare or social security to help alleviate the mind numbing fear of their workers.

And consider this: When we “go back”, there won’t be the option that was open to many Americans: “Go West…buy a farm, escape Big Business!” The frontier is closed…if you’d care to read the second article I’ve linked to…you’ll see that Big Business is watching your every move.

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/15/AR2007011501085.html?referrer=email

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/15/AR2007011501304_pf.html

1 comment:

k said...

There are tensions in our culture that aren't really addressed beyond terms like "looming social security problems", "health care" and "tax cuts". Our government has really matched the pop culture tone of disgusting excess (on all the wrong things)set by folks like Paris Hilton, Donald Trump, etc. What isn't talked about enough is that living in deep debt is now the American way, stock investments intended for retirement for baby boomers took considerable losses a few years ago, and social security payments and health care are not things my generation can expect. Americans are encouraged to plan and invest as if they had the money to do so, as if will put them in good stead in the future. I can only guess what my morally bankrupt country will be able to do for me when I need it.

I could make myself crazy trying to prepare for the unknown. Instead, I'm going to spend my time brushing up on my homesteading skills. Come find me when our economy finally caves in, there is no more money left for vapid programming (like American Idol and Beauty and the Geek), and our travel industry collapse makes homebodies out of us. I'll send you home with an intelligent book to read and some fresh veggies. They'll be the only healthcare and education I'll be able to afford.