Monday, November 21, 2011

Quick Hits - November 21, 2011

The death rattle of the Congressional Supercommittee continues to reverberate.  Given the structure of the panel, the ideological positions of the two parties, and the habitual desire to kick the can further down the road - it's failure was pretty much preordained unless one of the two parties would utterly surrender to the other.   I cringe whenever I see a talking head reading news telling me that the Supercommittee was going to solve the 'debt crisis'.  This farce was never going to solve the debt crisis that we face.  Even with the automatic cuts, as the following chart shows, the trend line for our Federal government is for increased spending year after year after year.  That's what our Government does.  Tax and Spend.  This, as much as a surrender would have done, demonstrates the vapid leadership of the GOP.

Of course, the Associated Press breathlessly reports that the $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next decade, starting in January 2013, are a threat to today's economy.  No, they aren't.  The expiration of the Bush Tax cuts are a bigger threat to the economy.  The failure to cut more spending is a bigger threat to the economy.  Targeting 50% of the cuts on the Defense Department is a huge threat to our national security.

It's amazing just how many people fall for the same old budget games - it's like we're addicted to playing 3 card monte, betting our paychecks, even though deep in our subconscious, we know it's a scam.

Speaking of stuck on stupid, in America's Greece, Governor Jerry Brown is busy drafting a major tax hike ballot initiative for California voters to address in 2012.  I suspect that since the Californian voters overwhelmingly endorsed the progressive policies that brought the state from one of the top states in the union to one of the worst in 2010, they are dumb enough to 'solve' the state's fiscal crisis via huge tax increases impacting all residents.  One question that is never asked - has the State Legislature ever really cut a budget?  Or even froze a budget?

It's a challenge at this point to bring forward stories about the challenges being faced in the EU.  It's already proved itself beyond absurd with the decision that water doesn't address dehydration, but the lessons to the US cannot be ignored if we are to avoid following them down the fiscal drain.

The Socialist Party in Spain suffered a historical landslide defeat yesterday as voters reject their policies.  The new Conservative government has it's work cut out for itself as it tries to keep Spain from following Greece and Italy.  Unfortunately, this might be too little and too late for the new Government - the combination of bad domestic policies for as long as they existed and EU imposed policies on Spain may have created a crisis that is too far gone to be solved.

Influential Democrat pollsters Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen have a hard hitting Op-Ed in today's Wall Street Journal that calls on President Obama to drop out of the race for re-election and that SecState Hillary Clinton needs to step up to be the Democrat Presidential candidate if the Democrats are to have a real chance of holding onto the White House in 2012.  The premise is that the leadership and policies of the current President are so divisive that he needs to follow the steps of LBJ in 1968 and put the party ahead of his own ego.

If you've lost MSDNC's Chris Matthews, who apparently no longer has that 'thrill' running up his leg at the mention of President Obama, then there is an undercurrent in the political environment that has Democrats extremely worried that 2010 was not an outlier election result.  Middle America and independents - the one's who really decide the Presidential election - appear to be angry and frustrated with the 'fundamental change' that was done to this country under President Obama.

The World View for 21 November 2011 focuses primarily on the continued riots in Tahir Square, Cairo Egypt.  Thousands of Islamists continue to press the Egyptian military for accelerated elections so the Muslim Brotherhood can take control of Egypt.  Dozens have been killed in these riots.  With the fiscal and domestic challenges that we face, it's far too easy to ignore the international events, decisions, and actions that are occurring which also represent a significant threat to us.  We in the West are in our most significant trial since the late 1970's when we were deep in the Cold War.

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