Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Off Topic Tuesday: Super Committee Failure

The “Super Committee”, surprise, surprise, turned out to be a super-failure. The media is covering this like it is big news but no one really expected anything different. It was a cop-out when they first formed it, it was never serious and neither side really wants to solve anything. You know it isn’t serious when their goal was to cut, at most, about a whopping 3% from the “budget” when the USA is now over $15 trillion in debt. The biggest expense, far and away, is entitlement spending and the Democrats made it very clear that they would not even consider cutting that back at all. They are not serious. Of course, the Democrats claim that the Republicans are the problem because they won’t consider any tax increases on those horrible rich people but, honestly, that is campaign fodder and nothing more because everyone knows that even if the wealthiest 1% were taxed *totally* -I mean if the government took every last dime they had, it would fund the United States for a grand total of about six months. The Republicans are right on this one -the USA has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. That is a fact.

It is also true that the Democrat war on the rich to increase revenues is simply campaign fodder because they were offered a deal that would close tax loopholes (used almost exclusively by the very wealthy) which would increase revenues to the government while not actually raising taxes. They refused it. One would think they would want to close these loopholes anyway, deal or no deal, but of course not. In case anyone thinks I am being unfair, let me assure you that I still don’t believe the Republicans, by and large, are being sincere in their sudden concern with the national debt. Where was this concern when George W. Bush was President for eight years and spending money like there was no tomorrow? I don’t buy it. They don’t get it either and when I look at the crop of GOP presidential candidates I am only further convinced that the Republicans still just don’t get it. They just sound a little better lately because the Democrats keep doing things that are blatantly retarded. Voting against a balanced budget amendment, for example, because it is just a “Republican ploy”. Really, how on earth, when the country is $15 trillion in debt, do you argue that balancing the budget is a bad idea?

President Obama never wanted this “Super Committee” to accomplish anything because he wants the narrative of his reelection campaign to be, “Things suck, but blame the ‘do-nothing’ Congress, don’t blame me”. The Republicans don’t really want an agreement either because they want the campaign narrative to be, “Things suck, fire Obama and elect Governor Romney” (who looks like the dad in the ‘came with the frame’ family at Sears). Obama keeps whining that the Republicans are “putting party before country” but let’s be adult about this. They both put party before country and this is not anything new. This is business as usual. Obama’s problem, and one reason why he has had to whip up the class warfare rhetoric to the point that there is riot police in the streets, is because he purposely allowed himself to be way, way over-sold. Expectations for George W. Bush were so low, any time he managed to string together a coherent sentence people were impressed. Obama, on the other hand, came to power as the great leader who would unite the country, rebuild Washington, save the planet, save the economy, make our enemies love us, make the oceans recede and lions sleep next to lambs. Obama has had some pretty dramatic successes (by his way of thinking) as President, yet everything that is bad seems ten times worse because he sold himself as being the super-man who could be all things to all people and solve every problem with no fuss or trouble.

Even if I were to give the Super Committee the benefit of the doubt as to their sincerity, the fact of the matter is that in the United States today the opposing sides have virtually nothing in common anymore. Take someone from east Massachusetts and someone from east Texas; they may as well be from different planets. The people of the red state/blue state divide agree on absolutely nothing, not on morals or values, not on economics, not on foreign policy, not on the proper role of government, not on the environment, not on the constitution. They fundamentally disagree on what the United States itself is or should be about. Nor can I hold out much hope for compromise. They don’t agree on the most basic judgments of “right” and “wrong” so how can you compromise on any moral or social issues? Pragmatism doesn’t come in to it. You have one side pushing for European social democracy when you can look over to Europe and see the failure of social democracy with your own eyes, yet still they push for it so, obviously, pragmatism is out of the question.

What do I think will happen? Search me, I’m no prophet. I can say I don’t think it beyond the realm of possibility that the USA begins to break up. When low tax, business friendly states start to have to foot the bill to bail out high tax, welfare states America could start down the path Belgium is on. It may also be, as Ron Paul has warned before, that the US dollar will become worthless and states will start to simply ignore the federal government and go their own way. Compromise seems even more unlikely to me as I notice the recent rise of the libertarian movement. For the uninitiated these are basically conservatives who have given up on social issues (they are pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro-legalized drugs) but hard-line on upholding capitalism and keeping the government out of economics. More and more conservatives seem to be going this way as they basically give up on the social issues because they don’t like being the “bad guy” who opposes gay marriage. Yet, they are absolutely opposed to any of the limits to capitalism that past conservative governments have made. As the Democrats drift more toward socialism and the Republicans drift more toward absolute capitalism, moral issues will no longer be an issue and there will be no room for any compromise or concessions at all between these two diametrically opposed world views.

It’s not a rosy picture, but then I’ve never been accused of being all sweetness and light.


  1. I agree with Dr. Paul on this one.

    I don’t think the US will outright break up just yet, but rather will slowly drift apart. But it won’t happen suddenly.

    Even with the reality being that Americans are divided and no longer even united on what it means to be an American, both Left and Right think they have that in common, and both still believe in a United States Of America. The Principal Identity they have is that they are Americans. This is superior to the State Identity at this point, and does allow for some common Cultural Ideas, even if radically reinterpreted. So I would imagine ( And I don’t mean that I can actually see the Future)

    Plus, too many people are too use to being able to drive “From sea to shining sea” to contemplate 50 separate, sovereign nations. Especially in the 48 States that connect to each other with no obstruction, political or geographical.

    My guess is that the Federal Government will go broke and no longer be able to fund itself or the Programmes it regulates, much less the agencies that keep the States in line. The States will then overtake those functions of the Federal Government and cast off the shackles of the Federal Government (Even if this is reluctant in States like California or New York) and gradually begin to be independent.

    With the Dollar becoming worthless, the States will then find it easier to regulate their own interests, but still allow the Federal Government to entertain Diplomats and make peace treaties and arrangements for them.

    It’ll be sort of like Pre-1865 America in terms of States ability to nullify Federal Power, though not for Ideological reasons.

    However, if the decay continues it may well be that the Federal Government simply collapses and the States become wholly independent Nations by Default, or begin to declare their Independence at a Time when the US can’t stop it or lacks the will to try.

    On that note, maybe that Russian bloke form a couple of years ago wasn’t that far off after all? Of course there’s no way in Hell Tennessee will side with New England and join the EU, as opposed to Texas or other Southern States.

  2. A second Civil War, do you think? It's bound to happen eventually, probably in our lifetime?

  3. and thats why democracy fails!When the shit is about to hit the fan no one do nothing just because the necessary measures arent popular....

    Sorry for the english and for the bad word but that one deserved!hehe

  4. Not a surprise at all. I doubt any group of politicians, anywhere, really have the self disciple to react properly to financial crises with meaningful spending cuts. The only reason why countries like Greece and Portugal are making cuts is because the gravy train got cut off - both of those countries are no longer able to borrow money endlessly, and were forced to start balancing their budgets as a condition of receiving bailouts.

    The US will get serious about its debt when our creditors start making the same demands. As of now, China is still willing to go on pretending that the US is capable of repaying its loans and therefore continues to buy our debt, allowing Congress' moronic spending patterns to continue. If, one day, China suddenly ended its debt purchases and started demanding budget reform as a condition of future financing, the whole house of cards would collapse and the politicians would suddenly have to face the cold hard reality that the United States government is like the foolish man that built his house on sand.

    The US can survive, but only if it wakes up to the fact that it has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, and starts making deep, deep cuts across every single federal agency. And, that will only happen under external pressure.

    Worst case scenario, if things do start falling apart, maybe the eastern US could at least merge with Canada and create a new Dominion of America?

  5. Problem lies in the fact that financial discipline is gone, and mindless deregulation took place where it shouldn't, and mindless overregulation where it shouldn't. Thus business and individuals could get into trouble spending, but found it harder to make money through problem-solving. The car industry is a sorrowful tale of this, as is banking. Australia, NZ, Canada, South Africa, Brazil and the Middle East have pretty resilient banks due to inherently conservative principles. The US and UK since the 80s followed idiotic deregulation, and especially the Clinton Administration's policies of supposedly making it easier for Americans to buy homes.

    Much of what has been said about the Republicans can be said of so-called "conservative" parties in the West, who will do nothing to turn back the clock on PC, abortion, et al while making us all feel everything is hunky dory economically, and doing nothing to stop our cultural decay we see on our TV screens.


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