Wednesday, January 16, 2013

SAR #13016

As an all-purpose mantra, 'technology' is about as effective as 'om'.

This is not a Test: The threats are real. House Republicans see the idea of a government shutdown and a default on government debt payments as a Good Idea, no matter what it would do to the US economy or the future of the Republican Party. They are sure that the recent redistricting has made their re-election inevitable until after the next census and perhaps forever. Their fear is not of being defeated in the election, it is of being defeated in the primaries, where big conservative money could support their replacements if they stray too far from the lunatic fringe. So it makes convincing political sense for them to behave irresponsibly. House Republicans are happy to sacrifice the prospects for a national Republican party win to preserve their own influence, prestige, and contributions. They are not, at least by their standards, irrational. Opinions vary.

Through The Mirror: Senator Ron Wyden (Human - OR) wants the Administration to specify the conditions under which the President can assassinate Americans. I expect the answer isn't 'None'.

The Bottom Line: President Obama has reiterated that he would be "happy to have a conversation about deficit reduction," which he does not equate with negotiation. He also says,"I’m open to making modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to protect them for future generations." He did not define 'modest'. But if sounds like this conversation will be a concession, except it's not a concession if you wanted to "adjust" the social safety net all along.

A Quote: "The maddening thing is that if you fix the jobs problem you largely fix the deficit problem. The reverse is not true. If you "fix" the deficit you kill the jobs."

Don't Worry, Be Happy: Some, perhaps they've been reading the Hitchhiker's Guide, are not worried, they are sure the House Republicans will realize they hold a losing hand and will fold and raise the debt ceiling and then work out "something" on the sequestration. And then, then they will shut down the government rather than pass a 'continuing resolution' to keep funding the budget. I'm not cheered.

Goldilocks: If you are too fat or not quite plump enough, you may not live as long as those who are just right, like me. And 'just right' seems to be a BMI between 25 and 30, no matter what the doctor says.

Cow/Cabbage: It costs the 50 largest publicly held oil companies $92 a barrel to produce "new" oil. Natural gas from shale deposits costs about $8.50/mcf to produce (and that's before the lawsuits). There is a message for your pocketbook in there somewhere.

Better Late Than Useful: Now, finally, it dawns on Dr. Bernanke to suggest that the debt ceiling be abolished because it has no practical value. Of course he thinks the Republicans are trying to be practical...

Poor Workers/Working Poor: The number of US families are falling into poverty despite the parents being employed and becoming part of the 47.5 million of our officially poor. That's because most of the jobs available in our economy are McJobs, that do not pay a living wage and provide no benefits. Politicians cite the increasing employment in the service sector as a success.

The Parting Shot:


Puffed balls.

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