Friday, June 17, 2011

Democrats Lose By Joining Cuts Jabber

Congress and then the White House have budget difficulties to deal with along with a looming debt ceiling problem. There sure are a lot of issues at play in this mess but one thing is real clear, spending and revenue are out of joint - pretty seriously. You sure can try to address such a problem from only one edge, but that does mean that half results ensue or unacceptable consequences ensue.

The second Democrats start to talk about cuts, sensible cuts, or any kind of cuts without taxation reform they have accomplished two things that are bad for them and the nation. First they have ceded to the one side approach and the two prong approach simply disappears. Secondly by engaging in cuts dialogue they put themselves into comparison with the GOPer while admitting that cutting is the way to go.

Any approach that involves simple humanity in relation to cutting by itself will result in virtually nothing and assuage no one concerned with the budget without slamming military spending (not gonna happen). Democrats cannot with any conscience or hope of electoral success slam hell out of people who are already over the edge or going over and the GOP gives a damn. The Democrats cannot look as though they are doing anything and will at the same time make quite a few lives just enough more difficult to take a lot of heat. Some people will notice that wealth makes out and poverty increases and the only people who will care an iota aren't voting GOP.

In order to end DADT and get a START treaty the Democrats let the BushCo tax cuts get extended. In order to get a treaty nobody opposed for any principle whatever and to get a policy that affects a vanishingly small minority of the nation revenue was decreased. Any attempt to cover that lost revenue will badly harm a hell of a lot more people who cannot take it than DADT would over years of extension. If you think I in anyway ever supported DADT you're ... well, way wrong. But that is now the proposition Democrats face if they go to cuts alone. The plain politics of it is that they would lose a lot more votes than they gained. Was DADT flat wrong, yes - was the mechanism also flat wrong, yes; and that is what you get when you do deals with the Devil.

Our tax code is so completely skewed to the favor of absolute wealth that leaving it in that state is damn near criminal and will continue to crush the economy of this nation. It is simple enough to understand that wealth will always do well short of fires and murder. It is not difficult to stay wealthy in a system that operates with capitalism at its base and I don't have a real big problem with that since most of us can benefit as well. We do not benefit as well, but the operative word is can. The fault is not with a system based on capitalism, it is the matter of making sure that not even crumbs fall off that capitalistic table. This is the crux of what Democrats face - well that and the reaction of wealth.

Democrats pretty much take anyone left of Obama for granted as voters because they have nowhere else to go and the alternative is generally nasty enough to get them to vote. It may be the case that the 2010 election results showed Democrats that a campaign of "not as bad as" can have bad results. There is also the aspect that the results of 2010 scare the hell out of anybody left of Genghis Khan. I would not want to bet on how that tension plays out and I'd sure think Democrats sure shouldn't unless smashing the country to teach us a lesson is part of the thinking.

I don't think many Democrats expect much in the line of taxation reform and that they'll go along with essentially half-measures. What I don't see them going along with is absolutely nothing done other than a ball bat taken to the poor, disabled, and disadvantaged. It no longer matters how many lies the GOP tells about "job creators" in the wealth category, only a few deluded souls believe it.

I'd like to see President Obama re-elected and Congress in responsible hands other than GOPers but there really should be some reason to do it.


Nick Istre said...

Some days, I feel I should simply not read any political or financial news online. At least for a few days and let this feeling of negativity and dread for the future of this nation drain out of my body. And unlike my tea party associates (I refuse to call them friends anymore), I don't consider Obama or the Democrats the problems; though they seem less the solution at times, as you say, there's nowhere else to go.

Capital gains taxes would be nice if I had any money to invest. As it is, I turned 32 last week and I'm currently contemplating tapping into the Roth IRA I was putting into my first job to pay for the debts I've accumulated since I was laid off in Jan 2009. I was lucky to find a job 3 months later, at 2/3rds the salary and without the health and retirement benefits.

And I'm not at all claiming that all of that debt was not my fault. I did underestimate how much of my life-style I had to cut to live under the new salary. I did (vastly) underestimate how much medical insurance costs in the individual market, having never been in that situation before. I could have held off on some maintenance and minor (in the grand scheme of things) repairs on the car that I want to keep until I can't drive it anymore. I could have not bought the new work laptop when I got the new job, and just dealt with the old laptop (which was holding me back at work, but I could have just dealt with it).

But, well, I like having a legally drive-able car (one 'minor' repair was a faulty brake-light switch; the car is still perfectly drive-able without brake lights, just good luck with inspections or not getting ticketed if I get rear-ended...). I like not having to wait on my work because of slow and vastly obsolete hardware.

I probably couldn't avoid going to the emergency room twice in those years. Those really hurt the pocketbook, as neither reached the deductible (of which I had to set high to be able to afford the above mentioned "free-market" insurance...) and ended up paying for it all. Granted, it was an eye-opener seeing how much it would have cost if I didn't have insurance.

I just find it sad that several of the above-mentioned tea-party associates are in worse state than I am; they're working retail jobs in their late 20s and still living with their parents. And many of them without health insurance. And yet they blame Obama and the Democrats for "destroying jobs/the nation" and a number of other reasons.

Several other tea-party associates are doing much better; a few of them act if they earned their current prosperity, but don't dare point out the their very wealthy parents are paying for their housing, car, health insurance, and sometimes even food. Any money they make working can go straight to frivolous spending, or into retirement funds of they're more wise. A few others are doing really well, but seemed to be in the "chosen" industries: like oil or finance. And I don't think it's really envy I think this way; I probably could still live with my parents if I could live with myself doing so. I am currently living in my dad's house, but it is his second house, and I'm paying nearly market level for rent to him for the house.

Adding to this is I'm trying to support my fiancee through school. She's found a calling in psychology, but the uncertainty of our employment future plus this feeling I have that “I should be better than this” really doesn't help. But when it comes down to it, I was born a few years too late to take advantage of the late 90s tech boom. Granted, wages were way too high for techs then, but the pendulum has swung and is being held the other way since then.

I don't ask to be rich, but is it too much to ask to be a contributing member of society and live reasonably comfortably?

Chuck Butcher said...

I cannot complain about being in construction in a crappy market because I knew a long time ago what can happen. I can complain that a large number of people just cannot see what it is that is wrecking the economy and want to blame things that are only remotely connected so as to support the Plutocrat Party.

I could probably go into an hour long dissertation on the media's failings and reeasons for it but their complete inaction on telling the truth is a problem (no, I don't include FauxNews).

Objectivity is a different thing from "balanced." Being objective involves using facts and presenting analysis that is based on facts.

Things will turn around, how much they will turn around will depend almost exclusively on what happens with dislocation of wealth. If you want me to sound hopeful on that account - you'll be disappointed. I am not. I do not see this idiotic situation being addressed unless things really hit the fan. A handful of people pointing at this will not make a difference.

Nick Istre said...

Well, I guess I'm not really looking for pity or platitudes. I'm just venting there, and I very much doubt that it's all that unique.

The very failings of our media is why I haven't had cable TV for around 5 years now; I've also not listened to radio for even longer than that, other than when I'm exposed to it when riding other people's cars. Instead, I've created and listened to playlists of my own songs in my car and at home. The only line I pay for into my house is internet, and luckily, somehow down here in South-central Louisiana, we have some of the best fiber-internet access in the country, run by the local municipality. Honestly, if that goes (and there many very vocal people, usually conservatives and tea-partiers, that want to get rid of it), there's nothing else but food, family, and my fiancee's education that holds me here. And once my fiancee graduates and we get married, moving out of the country is on our list of things to do.

And actually, many of the smart professionals that I've gone to school with have done exactly that. And sadly, this doesn't have to be like this. I and many other tech professionals actually understood why and how major corporations like Citigroup got hacked into and how to defend those hacks, but that involves those companies prioritizing and paying real salaries to professionals that know these things. Unfortunately, even if these companies are sitting on massive amounts of money, they're not hiring.

And, to go back to the media failings, this was reported as a "brilliant hack!" Ask a decent programmer who knows how to secure a site and he would liken how the company was hacked to opening a window that doesn't have a latched installed. Obviously, Citigroup doesn't prioritize the security of their customer's data. But I've yet to see any proof the media present the news that way.

Really, Google has better security than most banks. If you enable their two-factor authentication, your google mail account is very likely harder to hack into than your online bank account. And I find that fact sad.

Well, complaining among ourselves won't change things.

Chuck Butcher said...

"complaining among ourselves"

Yep, and sometimes I think this thing is just that kind of waste of time. But...
you did get a chance to vent and that means something.

Chuck Butcher said...

I know way too many in situations like Nick's. I find it really difficult to remain even slightly polite in the face of the garbage put out by those who enable and promote it. I may, or may not, weather this current economy but too many are not and will not.

The GOP is quite correct that taxes are one of the most potent tools the government has in regard to the shape of the economy - it is other than the fact that they've stood economic sense on its head.

Nick Istre said...

Indeed, I'm far from a unique snowflake. Heck, I realize that I'm one of the lucky ones. I really feel for the guy that I see delivering pizzas in his 60s. I've talked to mid-level managers in their 50s who were just laid off, with few job prospects in sight for them and an adult child who himself is having trouble finding a job.

I still have a job for now. It doesn't pay well, but it's enough, when split with a housemate, to keep a roof over my head, keep me from starving, pay for water and wastes, and to pay for the electricity and internet that keep me connected to the wider world. And the 4-man company I'm working in is doing well enough that we can last a few months if clients decide to just stop paying us.

With that, I'm going to try to keep away from news and political blogs this weekend. Play some games, watch some TV series and movies, upgrade my website, and just let this seep out. For some reason, this post plus me being in some kind of funk this morning seemed to have triggered that venting. Thanks for letting me do that.