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The reality is that Medicare “as we know it” will change because it must. The issue is how it will change, and, leaving aside this or that detail, the only alternatives are Mr. Ryan’s proposal to introduce market competition or Mr. Obama‘s plan for ever-tightening government controls on prices and care. Republicans who think they can dodge this choice are only guaranteeing that Mr. Obama will prevail.
via Review & Outlook: Republicans and Mediscare – WSJ.com.
Also, “Why Gingrich has no chance to win the nomination for the White House.”
“The longer Congress fails to act, the more we risk that investors here and around the world will lose confidence in our ability to meet our commitments and our obligations,” Geithner said in a letter to congressional leaders.
via Geithner warns U.S. to hit debt ceiling by May 16 | Reuters.
Meanwhile, in Congress:
A Republican budget plan due to be unveiled on Tuesday would cut $5.8 trillion from U.S. spending over the next 10 years, a congressional aide familiar with the proposal said on Monday.
The plan, which would take effect when the next fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, is expected to propose sweeping changes to the Medicare and Medicaid health programs, as well as hard caps on government spending and tax cuts.
via US Republican budget plan would cut $5.8 trln in 10 yrs.
That’s what I call a good start.
I’m reading “Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown” by Wiedemer, Wiedemer, and Spitzer. They claim to have seen the current recession coming before it happened, the result of the popping of various bubbles in our economy, including in the housing and credit markets. Interestingly, and perhaps most frightening, the authors believe that things will get worse, yet. You see, while national leaders are talking about the recession like it’s the result of a down cycle in the market, just another downturn following the growth of the last few years, the growth they are promising cannot come about without either a new bubble–which must eventually pop–or dramatic increases in productivity. It’s a scary proposition they are prophesying, and while they believe there are ways to survive and even make money in it, the sheer size of the next bubble is terrifying.
As bad as the financial judgment of the private sector bankers and investment bankers is, even worse is the incredible irresponsibility and bad judgment of the public sector–the U.S. government. They have been involved in the biggest bad loan of them all: the monstrous government debt bubble. We can’t possibly pay it off. Our tax base in a good year is only $2.5 trillion. In a bad year, it’s less. The total government debt bubble will soon be over $11 trillion and rising rapidly to $15 trillion. Even if we directed 100 percent of our taxes to paying it off, it would take at least six years, assuming interest rates stay at their current incredibly low level. What if interest rates rose to 10 or 15 percent? We would have a hard time just paying the interest!
From “Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown,” p. 57.
I find it noteworthy that the authors, while damning political leaders for their irresponsibility in debt creation, do not pull punches for either of the two major parties. Both are at fault. As a good friend of mine likes to observe, both conservatives and liberals have done a good job of spending in recent years–they just spend for different things.
Maybe Economics 101 should be required for freshman Congressmen and Senators in addition to the other orientations for a newly elected politician takes office in the Capitol. The basics of supply and demand, to say nothing of budgeting and spending, could be considered as important as ideological purity, if not more so.
Posted in Books and Reading, Questionable Laws and Lawmakers
Tagged Aftershock, Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown, Bond market, Books, Business, Current Events, Democratic, Economic bubble, Government debt, Late-2000s recession, non-fiction, politics, Recession, Republican, Spitzer, US government, Wiedemer