Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Choices are Bad

Wow! Everyone is suddenly concerned about the budget deficit. Standard & Poors, (who, by the way, should no longer be in the bond rating business based on the fact they stamped AAA on a bunch of crap CDO's and helped fuel the housing mess) said they sorta, kinda might think about maybe downgrading US government debt in the future if we don't get our shit together. President Obama came out with a plan to reduce the deficit last week, after basically ignoring for almost a year the work of his own deficit commission. And Paul Ryan and the GOP have their own ideas, which, since they are Republicans and hate everyone who is not rich, includes lots more tax cuts for the rich, and a deep bow to the disproved "voodoo economics" of supply side theory.

First, let me say this is good, sort of. Not good in that I expect this problem to be solved be adults who have a logical discussion and then do what is best for the county. If I believed that, I might as well also believe that I actually am tall and thin. No, this is good because it means that at least people are talking about a problem than intelligent people have been yelling about for years, and politicians have been sweeping under the rug because it involves difficult choices. This raises the likelihood that we will avoid a Greece-like financial crisis from 0 to....oh, maybe 3%.

Reasonable people have been saying for years that we need a combination of spending cuts and tax increases in order to really deal with this problem. Based on that truth, President Obama puts forth a much more realistic program than Congressman Ryan. In fact, Princeton Economist and form FED Vice-Chairman Alan S. Blinder writes today in the WSJ that Ryan's plan would do little to decrease the deficit over the next 10 years, because most of the reductions in deficit spending he proposes would go to tax cuts (because, you know, taxes were lower in the 2000's than the 1990's, but the economy grew more in the 1990's, so clearly we need more tax cuts for the wealthy).

The GOP is now so far to the right, it appears they want to return the country to it's glory of 100 years ago, when the rich were rich, minorities were kept in their place, and if you didn't like it you could go fuck yourself. At least, that appears to be what the teabaggers want, and they are now driving the GOP bus, with the threat of taking the whole country off a cliff.

Since everyone is coming up with ideas to cut government spending, I have a few easy and sensible ones. They won't balance the budget by themselves, but we gotta start some where:
1) Stop wasting our tax money prosecuting athletes who do steroids. This is the problem of the their sport, not our government. Barry Bonds is an asshole and everyone knows it, but do we really have to waste $10 million proving it?

2) Stop wasting our money on the war on drugs in general.

3) Stop wasting our money prosecuting on-line poker sites. People want to play poker with their money, that's their problem. At least it is an intellectual exercise. It's not like they are blowing it on Kenny G concert tickets! And hey, if on-line poker were legal, that would increase tax revenues.

There. Problem solved. Your welcome. Have a nice day!

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