Thursday, January 24, 2013
Barry ain't a Big Spending Lib'rul after all!
Unsurprising, if you've followed how President Obama's overall spending has shaped up, it turns out that he's not a Big Spending Liberal. What is surprising is how much the local & state impact was - I knew it was important, but I didn't think it was *that* significant!
In a Mother Jones article, Kevin Drum shows just what the President's spending actually is:
It certainly undermines a central claim that Paul Ryan, et al, have made and keep making. The difference is I have yet to see a plausible chart from Paul Ryan, etc. His alleged "budget" contained nothing plausible (and yes, I read it - twice). This isn't to say that the deficit isn't important - it is, and it will remain so until employment really starts to kick back into gear. But in the balance between blindly reducing the deficit and ensuring that economic growth keeps happening? I'd say The Prez has got it mostly right.
Somehow, I can never get away from the premise that Paul Ryan's "budget" forces the US into the unnecessary and now capricious "austerity" of Greece and Spain. What that actually is, is the prioritization of one budget cost over another - quite literally, it puts large banks before the people. In doing so, it undermines efforts to reform an economy because whatever protections that do exist are kept simply so *some* people have some protection from the intended reforms. In other words: austerity really doesn't work. Stimulus does, but only if it's managed well; you can argue that President Obama didn't manage it well, but it's difficult to do that based on these charts and the knowledge that while unemployment remains high, it is declining. (It would decline faster if the Republicans would stop dicking around with the national debt, etc.) Are we (still) in extraordinary circumstances? Yes. Does that require simplistic, vague "policies" that have little factual basis? Hardly! Especially when, contrary to Eric Cantor's recent claim, the proponents of such efforts (the Republicans) haven't actually produced a viable budget plan that can be judged, scored or even understood. The Dems haven't produced much, if anything of a plan, either (a common accusation, I know. It's a generally correct one.) But, politically, they don't need to. Politically, all they need to do is lambast the easily-lambastable Republican efforts; the White House can point to The Constitution and say they've produced what is required (they have), and that's about the end of any discussion!
Just like George Bush, Barack Obama is better off not being detailed and forcing the Republicans into the position of explaining their cuts-only plan.They're doing a terrible job at that because they have awful material to work with. That's when they have something; mostly they have nothing but hot air, and even that's best described as lukewarm! The blame for it all can be, despite all the Fox News and Wall St Journal bleating, laid firmly at the feet of the Republicans. They have managed to paint themselves into a corner because the Tea Partiers, who seem to be able to understand Ayn Rand's obtuse language (yeah, well - they don't) can't fathom the Federal budget. Or any State-level budget. I have seen no evidence that the Tea Party and far right have a grasp on what is in government budgets, never mind comprehend them. And in this case, I do think the absence of evidence is a strong indicator that there is an absence of comprehension. The politicians and "leaders" simply reflect that ignorance, or (in some egregious instances) aid, feed and abet it.
(Oops. I didn't mean to write so much! :-) )