Hello my friends! Reader "Kirstin" has not one, but FOUR articles to summarize today for your slacking blogmeister. To compensate for my sins in taking several days off, I'm going to pithily summarize all of them.
Spending Freezes or "How to Make an Economic Recovery Even More Tepid in One Simple Politically Half-Hearted Step"
NY Times, January 25, 2010
So basically Obama has decided that the public is angry over government deficits and wants the deficit cut. This is basically true, this is what a big chunk of the populace is angry/worried about, because no one in this country ever got anything higher than a C- in high school econ.
Cutting gov't spending in an economic downtown, or, I guess, technically, "jobless recovery," is exactly the wrong thing to do. That's because government demand (spending) is making up for a lack of private demand (dudes who employ you and buy shit). Getting rid of gov't spending = less demand = fewer jobs. It's simple, man!
But, you know, cutting the deficit is Super Responsible. And Barry O is nothing if not an Adult Person who Reaches Across the Aisle to do Responsible things. So he's proposing to freeze spending on discretionary items. That's everything other than defense spending, social security, and medicare/caid, i.e., everything other than the huge, ballooning cost items. All the small, unimportant shit, you know, like the budget for the departments of housing & urban development, energy, education, transportation, and justice...
In short, the small items, which support the neediest people, not to mention the future development of our country (esp. education and transportation, also energy, natch) will essentially be cut - after inflation, a spending freeze is a spending cut - while the items that are causing the deficit to balloon will get off scott-free.
It's ridiculous - "fiscal hawks" are still going to slam Obama for being a free-spending communist, because he's not touching the non-discretionary items, while liberals and other people with brains in their head are going to be rightly upset. Saving a meager $250 billion over 10 years doesn't do anything to really address our fiscal "crisis," which is not really a crisis, because it's easily solved by printing more money and then raising taxes should inflation occur, BUT WHATEVER.
Fucking people. And this is supposed to be Obama's "big comeback" for ditching health care reform. Good grief, Bill Clinton II.
If it was good enough for Mark Hanna, it's good enough for the 21st century!
Business Week, January 24, 2010
Oh man. The Supreme Court. Can't wait until they revoke the 14th-16th amendments to the constitution! How about that unnecessary "bill of rights" while they're at it. In interpreting a challenge to a law that blocked the broadcast of a politically-oriented character attack on Hillary Clinton posing as a "documentary" of sorts, the Roberts Court (remember that one scene where the Emperor first shows up in Return of the Jedi?) interprets the law AS BROADLY AS POSSIBLE and strikes down McCain-Feingold entirely, which had limited somewhat the ability of large corporations* to buy as much political ad time as they could.
It's a crude ruling, and goes way too far, but the cynic does have to ask how substantive a difference it will make. Yes, the many small contributions to the Obama campaign are an inspiring story of how many little voices can make a difference. But on the whole, the bulk of his contributors were giving several thousands of dollars at a time, not all that different than before McCain-Feingold. Is our political culture THAT different since McC-F? I mean, we still got the Bush years out of that shit, didn't we? And this pending Return of the Contract With America that seems to be coming up? Yes, it limited some "soft money" style attacks, but still...
However, while I would argue that this is not the end of the world, nonetheless, fuck, what the hell is wrong with the Supreme Court. Corporations are NOT PEOPLE, people. They are highly complex structures and should be regulated as such. And the ability to spend unlimited amounts of money is not free speech. It isn't even fucking speech, period. CAN WE PLEASE GET RID OF THE CONCEPT OF THE CORPORATION AS A LEGAL "PERSON". Aaaarururughghgh.
* You often hear "corporations and unions" mentioned in the same breath, as if they were somehow equals, but unions have nowhere near the purchasing power as corporations, on the whole. Consequently, expect most of the new flood of corporate campaign contributions and political advertising to go to the GOP, for the most part.
The End of Air America
Reuters, January 22, 2010
Well, so much for Air America. It was a nice concept, but the bottom line is: this is a center-right country. The only people who want to hear angry, screaming nitwits are right wingers, who are angry all the time. Liberals are known for having cooler heads and preferring the comedy of Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert. Shit, I'm the only liberal I know who actually LIKES Keith Olbermann. We liberals, as a species, do not get angry. So a "liberal Rush Limbaugh station" was never going to fly, in the long term. Be happy we got it at all.
The Worst Spokesperson for the Gays Ever
LA Times, January 22, 2010
Oh man! Crazy-ass super-medicated Cindy McCain is standing up for the right for gay people to get hitched. Well, that is nice for her, but that's a damn shame for our homosexual friends in Cali, because you couldn't imagine a worse person to represent "moderate Republicanism" than a McCain lady (Cindy or Meghan). Neither of them are the red-meat, NASCAR lovin' Republican that raving homophobes actually LIKE. And further, Cindy has that well-documented perscription pill abuse. Really, really choice for a campaign. I guess I'll change my mind if it works out, but, damn, if I woke up one day and Lindsey Lohan was the new spokeswoman for epileptics*, I'd be pissed.
* full disclosure: I'm an epileptic. But I pay taxes!!!
And that concludes the smarmiest, least informative James Call: Expert to date. Send me your articles!!!