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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Politics of The Deficit

Recently, the news has been plagued with rhetoric about how to handle the increasing budget deficit.  For the most part we have always operated with a deficit, but at levels not even close to what we are looking at currently.  Long term Liberal Policy is the reason for this.  The left wing messiah FDR had good intentions with The New Deal, but it has outlived its prime.  The problem is that these social policies affect the day to day lives of millions of people.  Getting rid of them cold turkey would turn certain regions of the nation into third world countries.  This makes the debate difficult, because we know what needs to be done, but the right solution for the country will not affect everyone in a positive way.

Who do we turn to?  Who can actually provide a solution in which the numbers add up and doesn’t put Americans out on the street?  That is the tough question.

Non-Tea Party Republicans

These guys give you the same ideas year after year.  They do this because they are the right ideas but they aren’t exciting enough to be popular with voters.  Republican policy is always constructed in a fiscally conservative way.   Fiscal Conservatism is included in the Platform of the GOP but they seem to have problems getting effective policy implemented with this idea.  I think that they are hypocritical because they preach this ideal but then they dedicate US tax payer funds to pet projects in their districts.  This is another reason that real change is needed in the country so things get done for the betterment of the country and not just the 16th congressional district of so and so state.  The good thing about these guys is that we will have a better chance for bipartisan solutions because they don’t have the tea party pit bulls barking out orders.  We just need to keep this in mind when we are evaluating candidates to vote for every four years.  Their stance on issues is what we vote for, not how many books they’ve written, or how much they overcome in their lives.  The issues, that’s all.

Tea Party Republicans

The Tea Party started out as a meaningful movement in this country that needed to happen.  At it’s inception I was a fan, but anymore they are just a stifling force for the wheels of democracy.  Tea Party members take a debate about the budget and make into a political dogfight.  We are just trying to get the ball rolling here on some sort of budget reform and they want to talk about the discontinuation of Planned Parenthood or Unemployment Benefits, or any other hot ticket item.  I think we need to be a little more understanding and compassionate with our policy decisions, and try to handle all of this one step at a time.  You can’t group twenty different issues into one debate, nothing will ever happen because there are so many conflicting opinions.  As I mentioned earlier, some programs can’t be thrown out with one bill.  They need to be objectively evaluated and the funds dedicated to these programs need to be reevaluated.  Will more money make things better?  If we decrease funding from x dollars to y dollars how many people will be affecting in a negative way?  These are the questions that need to be answered.  We can’t just go down the list of government programs and start dumping them without a care in the world. 

The Tea Party does have some good ideas.  I don’t disagree with what they believe in, I disagree with their commitment to being a partisan group.  They did a good job getting politicians elected with their endorsements, but the panic and passion of the 2010 election has changed.  People were very upset with President Obama and the insanity of a Pelosi headed house.  Unfortunately, Americans are lazy and they forget about the issues of the past that started this Tea Party revolution.  The point is that the Tea Party loyalists will continue to vote Republican, but the Tea Party will not be able to convert moderates and liberals to vote Republican.  Their partisan nature polarizes the country just as much as the partisan nature of a Nancy Pelosi or a Harry Reid.  They shun the people who are just as close minded as they are, but on a different side of the spectrum.  Long story short, a tea party backed deficit reduction plan is not necessarily the best solution.

President Obama

I don’t like to insult the President, I have better things to do with my time.  I will say this though, if I voted for him in 2008 I’d be pretty upset right now.  He is now preaching we need to bring down the deficit to a more manageable level.  Thanks Mr. President, we figured that out already and we’ve been saying that for a couple years now.  What has changed though in the past three years?  He is personally responsible for increasing the deficit!  It makes you think if the Democrats would have kept control of the Senate and the House last year, would he be discussing the deficit with such urgency as he is now?  You can develop your own opinion, but I think that the deficit rhetoric wouldn’t make it to the oval office. 

I don’t understand why he is being so nonchalant towards his healthcare bill going through the GOP chop shop.  The republicans said that a certain part of the bill is going to be taken out, and President Obama said “I’m ok with that.”  Listen, if I ran for office and was so passionate about an issue like healthcare I would make sure that everything in that bill stood for what I campaigned on.  And if I were able to get such a bill passed, and then after just a year my political opponents are trying to repudiate the bill in its entirety, then I would be furious.  Anyway it’s good that President Obama is starting to be more bipartisan but at the same time I don’t know how sincere this recent clarity really is.


S&P now believes that the outlook on our long term debt is now negative.  Who could have predicted ten years ago that the S&P would think that the US would have problems repaying its sovereign debt.  The deficit needs to be reduced to a sustainable level, that’s a fact.  It needs to be done in a responsible way though, we can’t bank on a tea party candidate slashing left and right every “liberal” program he/she looks at.  The deficit needs to be reduced in a bipartisan manner, in which real analysis is done on all government entities to evaluate efficiency and value added to the actual country.  The most important part of all of this is for us to learn from our mistakes.  All depressions and recessions are caused by the myopic manner in which policy is implemented.  In the future, when policies are being debated we need to look at the reason for the bill, the pros and cons in the short term, the pros and cons in the long term, and potential ways in which the bill can be manipulated.  Sounds time consuming, right?  I’m ok with our politicians taking the time needed to really examine an issue, rather than just force policies through as a talking point for their next campaign.

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