Sunday, July 24, 2011
For one thing, I don't call my wife "honey." For another, she would respond by demanding my credit cards and my checkbook and then letting the air out of my tires.
I know, I know -- there are no parallels between running a household and running a big, powerful, insolvent country like the USA. Or Greece or Iceland or Spain or Ireland or Portugal, for that matter.
And you know why there aren't? Because when it's time to take a good hard look at the debt ceiling, people in a household usually react by trying to get things under control. Whereas the politicians who run countries take the issue and use it to frighten, cajole, and threaten voters. They seem to want (in the US, anyway) one of two outcomes:
1. The world does not come to an end and they can claim credit for the next election cycle.
2. The world does come to an end and they can blame it all on the other party, in preparation for the next election cycle.
In other words, where my wife and I would look at expenses versus income and work together to set a path to recovery, professional politicians on both sides of the aisle use the issue to flummox the public into voting for them so they can hang onto power, prominence, fat pensions, total health care, and maybe--should the unthinkable happen and the voters see through them--a lifetime sinecure with a lobbying firm.
What don't they do? They don't address the real problem, which is that our debt (here in the USA) now exceeds our gross national product and is four times the gross national product of Japan. This is not healthy. It cannot be sustained.
I'm not blaming one party over the other. They both reek, as far as I'm concerned. The Repuglicans want to slash social programs and little things like Planned Parenthood and the environment, but will allow no additional taxes on the rich or on corporations, and don't you dare touch defense. The Damnocrats want to protect "entitlement programs" and raise taxes on (some) corporations and the wealthy and the almost wealthy and the almost-almost wealthy. They don't talk much about defense, either.
And both natter about, um, finding innovative solutions somewhere down the road. "Down the road" means "after the next election."
So neither of them talks about slashing defense in spite of the fact that we've spent more than four trillion dollars in the past ten years fighting unwinnable wars in countries where we're hated. And no one talks about the size and cost of government itself, which is completely out of control. The fastest-growing sector of the American economy for the past 5-6 years has been government.
So here's what I'd do, and if I had 100 million Facebook followers, here's what I'd ask them to agitate for.
Cut defense spending immediately. Bring home everyone, and that includes those "contractors," by next Tuesday.
Freeze government spending at all levels immediately. Announce a 20% cut in the size of government through attrition and by firing deadwood. Immediately reopen all government worker retirement and pension plans for re-evaluation. Then reduce all government by another ten percent.
Tax the rich. Tax corporations. TAX RELIGIONS, through which hundreds of billions of dollars flow untaxed every year, some of it used for persecuting former Scientologists.
Make the House and Senate accept Social Security and Medicare as their retirement and health plans. What we get, they get. If they eliminate it for us, they eliminate it for themselves.
Get rid of everything that isn't essential: government dietitians and food Nazis, the Department of Alcohol Tobacco, and Firearms (which needs to be replaced immediately), all drug enforcement agencies, and hundreds of thousands of others who get overpaid to stick their noses into my life and force me to do things that common sense makes me do anyway. (And the people who don't have common sense? Let natural selection upgrade the American common-sense quotient.) The Dept. of Education, since they've done nothing but screw up the schools.
And finally, vote against everyone. Vote against Repugs and Damns. Vote against incumbents. Vote against politicians. Elect hair stylists, street mimes, school teachers, ACCOUNTANTS, mothers and fathers, anyone you'd like to sit next to on a plane. No clowns, please -- we're trying to get rid of them.
And encourage Arizona, which has put up a website to raise $50,000,000 through donations to fund a fence along the Mexican border. I'm not talking about the fence--that's a whole different conversation--but the mechanism. Let people who actively want a policy pony up money voluntarily to pay for it. Taxation by donation. If they don't, they don't. If they do, well, that's $50,000,000 that can stay in taxpayers' pockets.
And no one needs to raise the debt ceiling.
at 12:07 AM