Despite the advertising, one size does not fit all; it seldom fits any.
Sauce, Goose & Gander: So far, Congress has cut about $1.2 trillion from the projected 10-year deficit, 28% from tax increases and 72% from spending cuts. To stabilize the public debt as a percent of GDP, another $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and revenue increases are needed. To meet the Republican demand of dollar for dollar tax increase to spending cuts, 90% of that would have to be in the form of tax increases. Sounds about right.
Observation: “Your war, waged under a fake banner of human rights and democracy, is in fact a war against poor Afghan people. You are not only traitors to the Afghan people, but to your own people as well. You are stealing from the pockets of poor Americans and Europeans and wasting billions of dollars on killing and looting in order to safeguard only the interests of a very small, elite minority.” Ah, to see ourselves as others see us.
Correction: 'Catastrophic Mass Extinction' Likely
if Temperatures Rise 6 Degrees in Next Century
Gospel: The US is staggering from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis. The politicians, having failed to throw the economy off a cliff in January, now seem intent on smashing it against the debt ceiling in a month or so. How did we get into these traps? Ideology. Specifically Grover Norquist's anti-tax idiot-ology, which has been swallowed whole by the Republicans. They have no empirical basis for this silliness. A top marginal tax rate of 35% is inherently neither better nor worse for the economy than 70% or 90%. We need to look at “what are taxes for?” and decide how much taxation is necessary to meet society's goals. But signing an ideologically based pledge removes all the hard work of trying to figure things out. It eliminates the need to think. To cross oneself and chant "free markets, no taxes" is to substitute faith for facts, to place unquestioned loyalty above the need to save lives and provide for the common good. Because dreams trump reality. This is not a new play.
Rose Colored Oil Drums: A growing chorus claims that US oil production will rise to 7.9 million barrels a day by 2014. Then what? Doesn't this mean we will be depleting our remaining resources even quicker? Oh wait, rising prices create oil...
Two Rights, One Wrong: Economists claim that free trade agreements benefit the countries involved. The American workers
think know that they are worse off. Both are right, but you have to squint your eyes and accept that by 'countries' the economists mean 'the capitalists who run the countries”. They make the rich, richer & the poor more numerous.
Bulletproof: Yet another study reports that Americans have the poorest health and shortest lifespan among citizens of developed countries. We die at higher rates from violence - homicide to car accidents, from alcohol and drugs, from heart and lung disease, obesity, diabetes and on and on. The solutions, they say, are affordable health, education, a better social safety net, fewer guns. Blah, blah, blah. Don't pay any attention, they're just jealous. We're Number One!, just ask anyone.
Whistling In The Dark: In December the US budget deficit was a paltry $260 million. But don't let me distract you from the debt and deficit crisis.
Asked and Answered: Is it time to kill off Wall Street? Yes. As the daily press testifies, Wall Street is inhabited primarily by “crooks and scoundrels, and very clever ones at that; in short, they are villains.” Regulators and regulations kept bankers and other well dressed brigands in check for nearly 40 years after they brought on the Great Depression. During that time major financial crises were conspicuously absent, while capital investment, productivity, and wages grew at rates that lifted tens of millions of working Americans into the middle class. Since Wall Street captured Washington and abolished regulation and oversight, financial blowups have proliferated and living standards have plummeted. There's a teaching point somewhere in there.
Porn O'Graph: Why there are soup kitchens.
The Parting Shot: