Democracy is supposed to be about making lives better. Jon Walker.
Sky, Falling: Even after four or five days of The Sequestration, the sky still hasn't fallen. That's because most of the visible cuts will be the result of layoffs and staffing cuts, and regulations require the government give 30 day notices before chopping staff. The notices are going out and the sky will resume falling about the time the Republicans do – or possibly do not- shut down the government at the end of March.
Mean is the Ends: Eurozone finance ministers are demanding that budget cutting proceed despite abundant evidence that the primary effect of austerity has been a decline in GDP, an increase in unemployment and riots in the street. The leaders are not unaware of this, they just don't care. Perhaps they have some as yet undetected goal.
Quoted: "The historical behavior of interest rates and growth rates in U.S. data suggests that the government can, with a high probability, run temporary budget deficits and then roll over the resulting government debt forever. ...whenever a perpetual rollover of debt succeeds, policy can make every generation better off. ... the adverse effects of deficits, rather than being inevitable, occur with only a small probability."
Good To The Last Drop: The Republican zeal for saving taxpayer money has led them to defund ACORN, a non-existent entity. Imaginary savings are high on the list of their accomplishments.
The Ends Zone: Greece's creditors, not happy that there are still a few Greeks who are not living hand-to-mouth and going without pharmaceuticals, are insisting that more civil servants be laid off and more of the country be privatized – if not simply crated up and shipped off. There's even interest in cutting out the middle-man and privatizing tax collections.
Essay Question: What better use could the US make of the $30 billion it gives to Israel every year?
Welfare for the Providers: Look, before we let Obama and the Republicans destroy Medicare, why don't we do the one thing that has a chance of solving the problem of getting affordable health care for everyone? Do away with it. And do away with Medicaid, too. And switch to a single-payer system that exercises its ability to say 'no' to ridiculous prices from pharmaceutical firms and to the unnecessary profits and administrative costs sucked off by our for-profit hospitals and out profit driven insurance system.
Cause & Effects: After Texas cut $73 million from the state's family planning budgets, there have been some 20,000 unplanned births to poor women on Medicaid, at a cost of $237 million to the taxpayers. A few renegade Republicans who believe in mathematics propose putting $100 million back into the programs.
Tax Form: Since 2003, over $65 billion in tax-exempt bonds have been issued by state and local governments on behalf of and for the direct benefit of various corporations. Chevron, which made $26 billion in profit last year, was the largest beneficiary – bigger than even the sports franchises.
Remember When: Ten years ago, we learned that the US government planned to spy on representatives to the UN in order to gather "the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to US goals or to head off surprises". And the individual who provided that information was arrested. If you think the US changed its behavior, you've been out behind the barn too long.
The Parting Shot: