08 June 2009

Good Lord, He's Talking Politics Again?

“Arf, Arf, I Don’t Have to Think, I’m In Politics”

Reluctantly, I understand that some modern politicians are too competitive, petty and short-sighted to acknowledge, let alone gently praise, wise actions of political opponents. When an office-holder hits a home run, the most effective response is graciousness, followed by silence and the sour grapes of “Oh, yeah? How about the the starving children in Gambia, you could have helped them with that program and you didn’t because you hate them.”

But going even farther and saying that the good result a politician gets is a bad result looks really stupid, doesn’t it? That doesn’t bother West Virginia Delegate Kelli Sobonya, who has rung the Capital moron bell this week.

I make no bones about my support for Governor Manchin. But everyone is acknowledging that he has put West Virginia in the best possible position to weather these tough economic times, including having a huge “rainy day” surplus fund in the bank, equal to a minimum of ten percent of yearly gross state revenue. (And Schwartzenegger thinks he’s tough?)

Delegate Sobonya, a Republican from Cabell County, excoriates the Governor because the Wall Street Journal recommends only a five percent surplus fund. (Remember the WSJ? Lehman Brothers used to have a thousand copies delivered every morning. Need New York City office space? Where Lehman Brothers was is available. Other firms are still on Wall Street, operating on our tax money.) So, we have a national Administration spending trillions against the will of the national Republican party, and now people in the state Republican party oppose saving money.

I'm back to that old Gospel tune, I Wonder as I Wander. I wonder: Should Governor Manchin be flattered that it now takes slobbering idiocy to criticize his economic policies?

A Modest Proposal for American Prosperity & Peace

Thesis - Since 1980, we have endured 21 years of screwball economics.

That does not damn the intentions of the authors thereof. Indeed, it is perilous in the extreme to challenge (at least openly) anyone’s intentions. Their intelligence, yes; their sanity, sure; but not their intentions. In almost every instance, a person believes that what he or she is doing is good or at least justified. To promote that conclusion later, he, she and those who stand to benefit from a finding that the decisions were correct will use every sort of logical mishmash to justify the purity of the actions, the necessity of any suffering as collateral damage caused by the opponents who made the actions harder and, if the results aren’t rosy, remind us that undoing the work of the unGodly takes time. Presidents Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II believed that they were conservatives seeking to reduce government and balance budgets, and that Democrat obstinence and Factors Beyond Their Control blew up the deficits.

We had an eight year hiatus from screwball economics with President Clinton, for if you ignore the packaging and look just at results, it was eight years of peace and prosperity, he downsized government a tad, ended “welfare as we know it,” and ended with a healthy budget surplus.

President Obama is not a “Clinton Democrat.” He has abandoned Bush II screwball-economics-by-stealth and instituted the Screwball Economics Circus Parade, with a trillion bucks tossed on the table to be carved up in earmarks, loans, incentives, kickbacks, graft, payoffs, payola, backscratching, pork, overdue infrastructure replacement, worthless infrastructure construction, and kneejerk nonsense.

We need to look back to what worked, the 42nd President, Mr. Clinton. It’ll take a constitutional amendment to make him eligible for reelection. And to accomodate the personal weaknesses which doomed his administration to vulnerability to vicious irrelevant rumors and zany expensive attack, we'll give him every Wednesday off, and call it “It Never Happened Day.” We'll give him a pager, and if we really, really need him, we’ll page him. Otherwise, let him alone, don’t bother him, and don’t bug him about what happens on It Never Happened Day.

Eye on the ball. Results matter.

Symbolic Sacrifice, Reckless Decision

The Obama Administration has submitted its proposed budget to Congress which will, of course, rewrite it, slip in earmarks & pork, make lots of corrupt legal deals and a few corrupt illegal deals. Such is life.

To show fiscal responsibility (oh, please, stop it, I’m dying laughing here), the Administration has proposed what it terms significant cuts. You might think that’s odd with a trillion dollar stimulus, but work with me here, OK?

Among the cuts are:

The Administration proposed cutting the F-22 fighter production program to 187 units. This aircraft has been in development for 15+ years, and is intended to replace all of the operational fighters in U.S. service. Like it or not, current military doctrine uses these aircraft heavily. They are damn expensive, owing largely to ruinous development cost, which will now be apportioned to a fraction of the planned units. If a future Administration decides that the old equipment which will have to be retreaded due to the production stop on F-22's isn’t up to the task, there will be a loooong delay in restarting production and bringing more units of the F-22 online, even if the manufacturers make the same aircraft without modifications due to future technology.

The Administration cuts funding for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility. Let’s just send the Arabs the ammo and quit giving them subtle ways to screw us. If we don’t use an all-hands approach to energy, we lose. Coal is the future of electrical generation for decades. Live with it. But nuclear is necessary. Nukes make radioactive waste products with long half-lives. These products have to be stored in a stable location. "Oooh, golly, it’s dangerous to store" it is a stunningly stupid attitude, and when the lights go out, those now complaining about storage will be the first to complain about lack of generating capacity.

And the Administration cuts $400 million in assistance to states and localities for jail costs to house illegal aliens who commit crimes. Right, don’t enforce immigration for political and economic reasons [don't piss off liberals & Hispanics, and have illegal cheap labor available), and cease supporting one of the programs which helps cover your own blunders. Smart.


There’s a public awareness campaign for everything. Everybody has a colored ribbon for something, so much so that now they have to go to color combinations to keep things sorted out. Rallies are good. Decorative flags, fine. Car magnets, kickin’. There’s an Abused Children awareness campaign going on downtown right now.

But until you prevent the abuse, until you help the child, you have done nothing. Until you have raised money for research for breast cancer or provided care or services to patients, you’ve done nothing. If your ass is not in the grass, you are a spectator. Between TV and videogames, we are teaching our youth a spectator ethic, and the asses in the grasses grow rarer and rarer. Results matter. Results matter. Results matter.

Pippa passes.



Blank Field said...

I'm proposing the creation of a new political party: Fiscal Conservative, whose prime tenant, or plank, is a balanced budget and rainy day fund.

To be a member of the FisCon party you have to eschew a federal position on abortion, homosexual rights and religion, leaving such issues to the States. Some states may have high tax rates to pay for lots of services, while other states will have low tax rates and little in the way of state and local services.

My only problem is that a FisCon President would need to be protected from divisive beliefs on abortion and religion by a Constitutional amendment that prohibits federal judicial intervention in issues of abortion, marriage and religion, leaving the various states to sort out how their citizens will live their lives. That way Supreme Court nominations won't carry the emotional freight they do now.

The vast majority of job & careers is independent of religious belief. The guy in the next cubicle can believe in Angels & Demons whilst I believe in Bobby Jones & Jack Nicholas, but we'll have no problem working together if we both believe in our jobs.

Live and let live, and when necessary, move to a state where you're most comfortable... Religious conservatives in California can change places with Free Sex Socialist in Alabama...

sheila222 said...

Roger, I think the economy during theClinton administration had its own screwball stuff going on. The Nasdaq went through the roof and then fell thru the floor. We all felt good going up, that's for sure. If this chart weren't essentially a logrithmic chart, it would look even worse. It was a harbinger of things to come. Just my take on it.