Friday, July 29, 2011

Holidays and Politics

I have been on vacation - thus the blog silence, after a run where I almost got back to a regular posting routine. (Mostly gimmick posts, I admit - Friday Random Music posts, Sunday screen shots, that sort of thing - but still, content!) I have been to a strange and mysterious foreign land where the temperature never gets above 30 (at least not where I was - it might have gone higher in the plains), where they give change in $2 coins, where they eat poisonous concoctions like rappie pie. As well as more conventional pies...

It was, I'm happy to say, very nearly off the grid - what news I saw on TV was all local, Maritimes stuff, and that mostly weather related (how to stay cool when the temperature hits 32! sort of thing.) That and Anne Murray... Even so, I couldn't completely avoid the news back in the USA - mostly bad news, daily idiocies related to the debt ceiling... I managed to get on the internet and got to follow the whole sorry mess. I don't have anything profound to add to it - I might as well link to Krugman (like every blog I read) - the joys of balance... I did notice, on the road, the tendency by the TV news to seek out people who would bewail the "partisanship" in Washington for their vox populi bits - spreading the blame around evenly. Christ. We all know, the GOP is doing this deliberately, creating a false crisis over the debt limit business, figuring they can force the politics right - though they don't seem to be satisfied with that. I suspect they are playing a longer game - deliberately trying to crash the economy, and blame it on Obama - figuring the president gets blamed for everything anyway, and they will reap the benefits. They may have a point - I keep seeing these bits on facebook:
Dear Mr. President, I heard you say you will not guarantee SS checks if the debt ceiling isn't raised. Why does it always has to do with SS, Medicare, & our Soldiers pay? Why not stop your pay, your staff, or Congress and the Senate? Lets hold the paychecks of all house & senate members, then see how fast they resolve the debt ceiling crisis ! If you agree repost this & keep it going across the whole USA

I dunno where that started, though now it seems ubiquitous... it's pretty friggin' sad. From the implication that the president is creating this crisis (oh sure, it's got congress in there too - see what Krugman said about "balance"...) - even the implication that the president controls spending... to the magic thinking in all the variations on the "let's cut congress's salaries and balance the budget" spam going around... to the fact that even my tea party loving friends are posting it - shit - I thought they wanted to kill social security and medicare! they voted for the Republicans - what did they think they were voting for?

I'm not hopeful about any of this. I don't see any good coming of any of the possible results. If the dems cave - that's bad. (And, of course, once Obama and Reid agree to cut social security and medicare, the GOP will blame them for cutting Social Security and medicare. Everybody knows this, but somehow, the dems don't seem to notice.) If there is not a deal - the GOP will blame Obama for any bad fallout. If Obama does anything more aggressive to get around the problem (I like Matthew Yglesias' trillion dollar coin idea!), they will howl about tyranny and usurpation of congressional powers (powers they deliberately failed to exercise) - until they win the White House, then they will embrace and extend them. (There's probably a larger story here, of the ultimate triumph of the executive branch, of the legislature's complete abandonment of its responsibilities. I fear this - and with the increasing willingness by Congress to simply refuse to govern, beyond the structural deadlock - executive government is a real possibility. That is too depressing to go on about....)

Right. Meanwhile, since almost any result of this vote will be less government spending, with unemployment still pushing 10% and the economy starting to tank again, we are likely to see the economy crash again... Amazing.

I think I might go back to the Great White North...

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