There's always a 'next'. It is seldom 'better'
Luck O' the Irish: Headlines clamor the new Irish Plague will be mortgages. Already 4.6% of Irish mortgages are 90 or more days delinquent and nearly 25% of Irish houses are underwater. Thankfully the US doesn't have to worry. In the US the numbers are only 4.3% delinquent, 23% underwater and 3.8% in foreclosure.
Seems Like Old Times: The administration claims, in federal court, that it not only has the authority to kill Americans anywhere at any time, but that authority is unquestionable and unreviewable by the courts. Remind you of anything? Yes, Bush, but I had the divine right of kings in mind.
On Taxing the Rich: In 2009 66% of all Americans made less than $40,000, while fully half made less than $26,261. A tax system should be judged on the level of existence people can afford after paying taxes.
Cold Water: Tea Partiers thought their chosen heroes were going to do something about the big banks. Imagine how proud they are that the new head of the House Financial Services Committee has already warned regulators not to enforce the Wall Street reform laws for fear of harming big banks' profits. Welcome to the real world.
Payday Loans: California is borrowing $40 million a day from Washington to pay unemployment benefits. The state already owes over $8.5 billion and must start paying it back late next year. Also, the increased cost of unemployment benefits will add $21 per worker a year to the nation’s payroll costs.
Another Next Time: Shut your eyes. Relax. Now imagine a drilling blow-out like Deepwater Horizon, but in the Arctic. Under ice. Facing sub-zero temperatures and high winds. Relax, it's only in your imagination.
Lay on the Couch: Surveys show that the voters were not endorsing the Republican agenda, but still looking for the change that had been promised two years ago. The narrow Yes/No nature of the American electoral process stymies any nuance, forcing the country to lurch about as the electorate waits for the elected to catch up.
The First Domino: About 60 million Americans, including 25% of all children, get their healthcare through Medicaid. Faced with a $25 billion budget shortfall, Texas Republicans say the state should withdraw from Medicaid. Their complaint is that under the new federal health care program the state can no longer reduce benefits or change eligibility to keep folks from getting aid. So they are looking to balance the budget on the backs of the sick and the poor. The poor vote Democratic, when they vote, so the Republicans do not see a downside. If Texas drops out, the rest of the poor GOP dominated southern states will, too.
Welfare Queens: The federal government is quietly bailing out states whose tax revenues don't match state expenditures. Funding for this will run out in June 2011. What then?
Flushed: Meltwater flowing through the Greenland Ice sheet via crevasses and large drains called moulins carries warmth into the interior, accelerating the projected melting from centuries to decades – or less. But don't worry, "this process is not the 'death knell' for the ice sheet.” It will take thousands of years for the ice sheet to disappear completely.
Worst Case Scenario: In January, Congressional Republicans will, en mass, decline to participate in their government-sponsored health plan and buy whatever insurance they can afford from BC/BS. Simultaneously they will begin a campaign to de-fund all VA healthcare programs and institute an educational blitz to convince seniors to forgo Medicare. Obviously funding for the federal portion of Medicaid will also be withdrawn. Not true, but it really should be.
No Brainer: If the GOP is going to control the deficit and cut spending, what about ethanol subsidies for all those Republican farmers? Talk about distorting markets...