Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Look forward not backward
If it wasn't for football and basketball I wouldn’t have anything to watch on TV except rented movies. The Sunday talk shows still have their number one hosts but MSNBC has gone to their third string hosts for breaking news and fill the rest of the hour with oldies but goodies. I've always hated the countdown to the top 10 stories, gaffes, or events. Then again I won’t watch a rerun and I'm not too fond of leftovers. While we are looking backwards others are looking forward.
There's a lot happening in the background during recess before the 112th Congress convenes. The senate democrats wrote a letter to senate majority leader Harry Reid, requesting a modification of the filibuster rule. They have to proceed cautiously so it will not hinder their efforts if they become the minority party. The fact that all of the democratic senators signed the letter was a major accomplishment in itself. The GOP is not sitting around the fireplace telling old war stories. They are secretly trying to come up with a plan to pass Federal legislation allowing states to enter into bankruptcy. This would avoid a Federal bailout and give the states a way to default on their public employee retirement fund. The GOP plan would weaken the union and hurt public employees; it's a win –win for them. A weaken union would not be able to contribute as much to the Democratic Party. The public employees would eventually be replaced with a their donor’s contract employees. The goal is nonunion private contractors. This is their first move towards plutocracy.
Looking backwards can be a diversion unless you use it to make sure that history does not repeat itself. The republican party is not comprised of a lot of Phi Beta Kappas, because they have a simple goal and a simple message. The GOP have put in a climate change denier, Fred Upton, in charge of the Energy and Commerce Committee,a non- regulatory proponent,Spencer Bachus,in charge of Financial Services and our own lone wolf libertarian wing nut ,Ron Paul, as chairman of the monetary policies subcommittee that oversees the Federal Reserve. That will keep him busy irritating Ben Bernanke, while the rest of the party tries to undo the history making legislation the Obama administration passed. It's a good thing that the democrats still have the senate and that powerful veto pen.
I did get a good laugh Sunday watching senator Coburn predicting gloom and doom unless we get our fiscal house in order. He said “legislators must be willing to make politically unpopular decisions to avoid fiscal disaster for the country - like 15%-18% unemployment.” this was after he voted for the recent tax cut package that added about a trillion dollars to the debt because it included a tax cut for the wealthiest 2%. This was the plan all along, get the estate tax and that tax cut for the rich passed, then pay for it by slashing entitlements and programs they do not like.The GOP announced December 22 that it would replace “pay-as-you-go” , “cut-as-you-go” rule, under which increases in mandatory spending would still have to be paid for but tax cuts would not.e.g. Increases in mandatory spending could be offset only by reductions in other mandatory spending, not by any measure to raise revenues such as by closing unproductive special-interest tax loopholes. For example, the House would be barred from paying for continuation of a provision enacted in 2009 (and extended in the just-enacted tax compromise) that enables many minimum-wage families to receive a full, rather than a partial, Child Tax Credit by closing wasteful tax breaks for multinational corporations that shelter profits overseas.
The pundits say that the 112th Congress will not produce anything because of gridlock but that won't hinder the GOP's efforts. The shutdown of government will not phase them a bit and repeating the mistakes republicans made during the Great Depression won’t either. The gold standard hindered our efforts to revive the economy in 1932 and the greatest mistake FDR made was listening to those that convinced him to start reining in spending.The efforts the Obama Administration put in to avoid a depression will be wasted if we allow the republicans to go whole hog with their spending cuts without tax increases.
Posted by Mike at 10:19 AM