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.
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.