Wha?! Hm? Oh, sorry. Must’ve dozed off, there. Actually, I have to confess, I have been spending time on Facebook. Don’t know why, exactly, since the connection to people I have not been in touch with for many years is still only virtual – not even any real conversation, just having them appear on my list of “friends.” Some parts of it are fun, but are little more than time wasters. I’ll probably stick around for a while, though, especially now that FB has rescinded its ridiculously overreaching terms of service policy.
In a response to crticism that the GOP’s approach to the current economic crisis is a mixture of denial, delay, and do nothing, South Carolina governor Mark Sanford says we shouldn’t mortgage our children’s future. That’s a fine sentiment, but I didn’t see much of that argument being made before launching a war (or two) that our children will be paying for while cutting taxes at the same time, nor any mention of it when Republican senators recently voted for tax cuts worth four times as much as the stimulus package over the next ten years. Double standards much?
Cutting taxes to stimulate the economy doesn’t do much good if people don’t have the earnings to tax in the first place, or money to buy products produced by businesses whose taxes have been cut (and which, by the way, if there’s no market for their products, will not hire people to produce them, will not produce them, and will simply pocket the tax credit for losses over the last five years). Tax cuts as a central tenet of fiscal policy have failed. Destroy people’s understanding of the taxes they pay and what they pay for, as has been done systematically over the last thirty years, and you end up the “money for nothing, get your chicks for free” mentality.
Put side by side with government spending, I’ll take the government spending practically every time. Public spending will actually put people to work, build at least some new infrastructure (or repair the old), put money in people’s pockets (at least some of which they will spend), and get money flowing through the economy. Reducing tax rates prospectively on businesses that reinvest profits in new capital, new technology, and job training could help keep the momentum going, but it’s going to take a big shot of spending at street level to get things moving again.
Mortgaging our children’s future? Either way, tax cuts or government spending, that seems to be what we’re doing. But I’d rather use the proceeds from that mortgage to give them something worth having.
Never, it seems, far from popular American consciousness, Abraham Lincoln has been even more in the news over the last months for his assembly of political and personal rivals in his Cabinet as our 16th president, and how the 44th might try to do the same. I have not read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, but from what I know of it, there are some parallels, but probably not enough to justify the hype. In any case, a president seeking to emulate Lincoln could certainly do far worse; that he is still relevant today is proof enough of his enduring greatness, and makes observing the bicentennial of his birth that much more worthwhile.
Since the beginning of the year I have been trying to post much more frequently than before. For the most part, that’s worked out, with my prolific streak (or smudge, as it turns out) characterized as “posting like a madman” by my friend Brian. The pace has slowed a bit of late, partly because I’ve been busy at work and our own budgetary problems, partly because I’ve been spending time on Facebook and, now, because I hab a code id by dose. Okay, the head cold really isn’t part of the reason, but I have been having a hard time finding much to write about. When I do, though, you’ll see it here.
This is usually a pretty quiet place, with about fifty-ish views a day, nothing too exciting. In the days leading up to the inauguration, though, visits about doubled, and then dropped off just as quickly, as though the excitement bubbled over into everything else and then we had to collectively sleep it off. Still, it made for pretty predictable daily stats, and the scale of the graph was narrow enough that even a couple of views could make it look like a big day.
Until January 30th, anyway.
January 30th CNN.com ran a story about Rudy Giuliani saying that all those obscene executive bonuses (paid for with taxpayer dollars, you understand) were what kept the economy going, especially for restaurants and department stores in NYC. It was more than I could stand and I ranted about it, with my link to the story landing it on the CNN Politics page. 371 views that day (yeah, yeah, I know – stop laughing up your sleeve over there), 297 of them on that one story, and 27 comments. It was a big day for me and now it just seems, well, you know… quiet.
I guess you just never know what’s going to strike a nerve. Except now my daily stats graph really illustrates how little usually goes on around here. At least until January 30th drops off the graph in about three more weeks. Amazing how addictive those page views are.