Sunday, April 15, 2012

A useful link, family sports

Taxmageddon nicely highlights how solving the deficit spending issue is going to require sacrifices neither party can own up to.  Of course, the fiscal crisis resulting the from 2008 bank crisis called for deficit spending.  However, everything before that going back to the beginning of Reagan's budget busting tax rollsbacks, short of some 9/11 spending, were deficits of choice that came from irresponsible taxation/spending policies.
Generally silliness has been a recent theme: 
  • Allen West, R FL, claimed there were about 78 to 81 communists in the Democratic party in Congress.  Suggesting that either the long departed McCarthy still has work to do or we're witnessing another Batshit-Crazy-Republican (BCR) moment inspired by too much Rush, Hannity, and Savage.  (Michael Savage is a secret favorite because for every 10 minutes of air time, he spends 9 minutes telling you he told you so.  He seems to hold the GOP mainstream in great contempt as well.  Actually he might hold everyone in great contempt.).  Clearly it was BCR moment barely met by commenta by Fox to CNN, because everyone knows that the GOP isn't expected to live in reality any more.
  • Two weeks past it's peak, BCR Joe Arpaio's 12-months too late investigation into Obama's birth certificate was met only by silence in the GOP media for the most par.  Apparently Joe was so disconnected that he failed to realize "pressure" from Donald Trump has solved this mystery quite some time ago.  Donald triumphantly returned to Celebrity Apprentice which is a bit more than halfway through the current season. 
  • Meanwhile, the Romney thought they had a seminal moment in their campaign with a part-time TV pundit and Democratic operative said Ann Romney had never worked a day in her life.  Ann was quickly rolled onto Fox to express her outrage.  The story generated as much sizzle as glass of recently poured soda.  The backlash may get worse, but when Mary Matilin finds the worst angle on the story that the Obama administration condemned the comments rather than stick up for Hilary Rosen, you know this isn't a hardly a seminal moment.  Mary, what should Obama has said? 
Bottom line:  Gender gap exists because the GOP position is that imposing restraints on access to birth control is a requirement of religious freedom.   OK, I now know that the attack on birth control is really a move on the part of the GOP to soften the defenses against attacks on access to abortions by moving the bar.  The idea being that women will give more on abortion in order to preserve more access to birth control.  It seems a bit of genius if hadn't backfired so thoroughly, however this kind of tactic has worked beautifully for the GOP over and over again.

In tune with happier times to come, Michigan, Alabama, and host of other schools held their spring football scrimmages.  Michigan's took place in the Big House to be followed by the U of M's first varsity lacrosse game against OSU.  Hoke's comments on the game can be found here.  OSU beat Michigan 12-9 with Michigan probably exceeding expectations.

The girls sporting events aren't quite over.  Thursday the youngest scored 2 goals and had several assists in a Middle School shellacking (11-0) of a county team, however her club team lost 2-1 in an important game (on a relative level) on Friday.  If they win today against the top team, they will win a share of the title for their division.  My HS student's team lost twice at the Legacy Tournament in Georgia, but she scored 2 goals and had 2 assists in the first of the games. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Travels and Travails, a Deficit of Solutions

It has been quite a while since I have posted ... no doubt my two readers missed me deeply.

Travels and Travails

First, the dental travails:  I have an abscess that will end up costing me $2,000 in imaging and surgery to remove the abscess and fill the root.  I am experiencing mild discomfort most of the time, unless I bit down on something hard - then it is a bit more electrifying.  Since I've already had a root canal and crown on the tooth, I hate to have it pulled.  Also I already have a missing tooth on the opposing side which I am trying so I have a total no sides of my mouth that I can chew on.  I have another cracked molar and I am waiting on an implant.   All told this stuff will run me close $10,000.  

Second, I've been busy both working and playing.  Work has slowed down, but at least we managed to catch up some in the first quarter.  I played some of Mass Effect 3 - but I have not made it to the end - which is supposed to be stunningly bad.  We went to the Bahamas and stayed at the Atlantis resort.  The lazy river ride is highly recommended and it is the most expensive family resort I hope to ever go to.  Reduce the price by 33.3% and I think I'd be great with it, but ridiculous prices for food mean I'll probably never return.  There were huge yachts in the bay when we there:  Mi Sueno and Blue Moon were a couple, but there were quite a few.  Have no fear, I didn't get dloser than looking at them. 

Third, my girls are playing in lots of sporting events, so I am trying to attend as many as I can.


The political world has matured in a rather depressing way.  I think I am ready to start hoarding some cash in gold or different currencies.  There is a paucity of realism about the budget deficit which requires both raising revenue and cutting spending in numerous areas. 

On taxes, Obama is at least attempting to raise more revenue, if only in a relatively ineffective way.  Let's at least quickly dismss GOP argument that raising more revenue won't help the deficit because the Buffet Rule or rolling back the Bush tax cuts on the highest wage earners won't balance the budget.  Of course, it won't balance it, but raising revenue will reduce the deficit (unless you just spend that much more) because you have more revenue.  This concept is as idiotic as saying that producing more oil and gas in the US can't drive down energy prices because the world demand will use it up.  Sure - it won't create cheap gas - but having a greater supply will decrease it a bit.  (Proving liberals and conservatives will sometimes say just the stupidest stuff to suit their crazy biases).  But, Obama, where are the cuts?  One of the biggest areas Obama was looking to cut was health costs through the mandate and a centralized committee to dictate treatments and objective performance evaluations of therapies.  Let's call those imaginary cuts and likely inadeqauate though conceivable.

The GOP/Romney/Ryan budget certainly goes after some social programs while adding to military spending.  Sadly, it calls for significant revenue reduction.  Ryan calls for magical spending cuts in discetionary spending other than the military.  It is magical because none of it is specified, but it requires huge reductions in that spending.  Close you eyes and think of any time starting with Reagan when such spending was reduced (keep dreaming).  Take away the magical spending cuts and the Ryan budget continues to blow stuff away.

We have no path to the compromises that need to happen to make serious progress:  a willingness to raise revenue (its going to require raising taxes) combined with a willingness to make real cuts in (social and military) spending (not just centralizing health care). Some of the medicare stuff seems like a no brainer:  why did the government buy my Dad a mutliple thousand dollar wheel chair and powered wheel chair.  There were less expensive but functional models that could have been paid for AND then he could have paid for nicer ones if he wanted to.  Does this mean that all seniors have the same choices:  no.  But it does mean that all seniors have an option.  The Democrats need to take us there before we get more extreme plans. 

Final Thought

Sanctorum probably did his damage to Romney, but in the end, it was largely self inflicted.  When Romney used $100M of mostly negative advertising to torch is conservative opponents, he was alienating the hardcore base.   Combine that with an election year attempt to set women's rights back to the 1950s and ban birth control and the GOP has dug itself a pretty big hole. 

Hope that the Tea Party goes away and lets us have an older Bush Republican and Democrats get serious on cutting spending remains very slim.