* except this smiling man. He always seems to have something witty on the edge of his tongue. Image via Wikipedia
No default. But no matter. It’s still not enough to make anyone happy.*
In fact, just to read the headlines, I can’t help but think that it’s getting a little crazy out there.
Check out a sampling of them from this screen shot of Real Clear Politics this afternoon:
Among other things, here’ s a few things that one might glean from the headlines:
- Pres. Obama is paving the way for another Texan in the White House. How dare those pesky Republicans not agree with him. What are they–the opposition party?
- Our Harvard educated President, who engineered the largest reorganization of national healthcare in US history, as well as a giant federal deficit and the beginning of socialism and communism and the advent of the apocalypse in our day… is a pawn of…someone. If he’s the pawn, who’s pulling the strings?
- A substantial part of the political right are white, southern, extreme, and, to boot, engaged in Jihad. You didn’t realize there were so many white, southern Muslims in the Tea Party, did you?
- The Tea Partiers can be further distinguished by being either Tea Party Republicans, or Tea Party Democrats…and let’s be honest: we all know a Tea Party Democrat, right? Anyone? (Beuller? Beuller?)
- The Vice President opened his mouth and said what everyone else in the Democratic Party was thinking. Again. Who cares? It’s no BFD.
- No one is partying like it’s 1999. Because, really, who has time for another bubble when we’re too busy in inventing crises?
- Like young Zaphod Beeblebrox, Mitt Romney is playing it safe.
- If you look too close, the debt deal stinks. And seriously: there’s a reason that sausage and legislation is compared, unfavorably.
Also, if this wasn’t painfully obvious to anyone not in the employ of the federal government: we’re in a bear economy
, right now, and the light at the end of the tunnel might be a train
. Or a bear. If bears reflected light. And looked like this.
In short, what I see in just the headlines
is that everyone is obnoxious and no one is happy with the way things are going. Even the Chinese are getting in on the action
. (Because, hey–they own a substantial part of the debt we almost defaulted on).
Posted in News Round Up, Questionable Laws and Lawmakers
Tagged Barack Obama, debt ceiling, Democratic, headlines, Mitt Romney, News Round Up, Obama, Republican, White House, Zaphod Beeblebrox
Debt, debt, debt…
It seems debt is all the rage in Washington these days, and with good reason. The federal government only stays open on debt, and unless Congress and the President can agree soon, we’ll hit that limit and…well, who knows what will happen next.
Originally, negotiators were looking at a deal to cut deficits by about $2.5 trillion over 10 years.
But as the deadline approaches, Obama has raised the stakes. The goal he is now pushing for — as much as $4.5 trillion in deficit cuts over the coming decade — would require changes both in taxes and in the government’s basic safety-net programs.
“There’s going to be pain involved politically on all sides,” Obama told reporters after the White House meeting. Continue reading
Posted in Fiscal Reform
Tagged Barack Obama, budget talks, Charles Krauthammer, Congressional Budget Office, Debt, deficit, Ed Morrissey, Federal government of the United States, fiscal reform, spending problem, structural imbalance, United States Congress, war on terror, White House
Evidently, these salary increases are not connected to performance.
Gawker tells the story:
The White House says that many of those positions are considered nonpolitical jobs that come with their own pay schedules, and that what matters is that the total budget and average salary are decreasing slightly. But that doesn’t change the fact that White House staffers who stick it out are being rewarded, on average, for their continued service at a rate that far outstrips how the average white-collar worker is doing. The rhetoric behind the White House salary freeze was about making sure that the people engaged in leading the nation out of its economic mess share a sense of what American workers are experiencing. Unless roughly half of American workers saw their paychecks go up by an average of 8% last year (hint—they didn’t), that’s not the case.
Government revenues are down, but employee salaries are up. Well, not every employee’s salary–just those who work in the President’s staff. If this were a business (which it is not, and no, I’m not saying government should be run like a business), this would be the equivalent of the CEO giving his executives big raises while company revenues are falling.
In other words:
Lest you think that’s a partisan sentiment:
I’d love to hear what those highly paid special and deputy assistants advise on that one.
PS: I’m not opposed to government workers receiving compensation commensurate with their qualifications, job description, and market demand. However, I do oppose policies that have done little but strap us with greater spending liabilities with little to no effect on our revenues.
Posted in The Economy
Tagged Barack Obama, Government, Government spending, it's the economy stupid, Jobless Recovery, John Boehner, President, The Economy, Twitter, Unemployment, United State, White House
I’m a bit preoccupied. My Better Half reached her due date yesterday, and we are anxiously awaiting whatever comes next.
So, in the meantime, while I’m trying to get my “head in the game,” here’s some stuff to expand your knowledge and entertain your senses. Or maybe vice-versa. Also, libertarian views on the rise:
- Said Judge Posner, of an alleged serial spammer’s courtroom presentation. “It’s not only incompetent, it’s grotesque. You’ve got damages jumping around from $11 million to $130 million to $122 million to $33 million. In fact, the damages are probably zero.” Timothy B. Lee at Ars Technica.
- “Montgomery County officials have allowed the children to reopen their lemonade stand, by relocating it about 100-feet away from the intersection where it was set up Thursday.” This after they fine the tots $500 for their enterprising ways. WUSA9.com
- Wanna go to Harvard? Apparently the White House is a good stepping stone. “About a half-dozen staffers will begin at the premier law school this fall, bringing a rare skill set, a golden Rolodex and tales of the corridors of power to Harvard Yard. The exodus of the younger White House staffers marks the first major departure of junior aides in the Obama administration.” Politico.
- This is for you Alex (as you consider forcibly moving your fellow Americans to Somalia): Ilya Somin wonders if the public is becoming more libertarian. “Obviously, the vast majority of the public is not nearly as libertarian as most libertarian activists and intellectuals are. But it does seem to be more libertarian than the median voter of the recent past.” The Volokh Conspiracy.
- If Ilya ain’t enough for you, the NYT column FiveThirtyEight (Nate Silver) is getting in on the action, too, citing a CNN poll that seems to show a shift.
Whether people are as libertarian-minded in practice as they might believe themselves to be when they answer survey questions is another matter. Still, there have been visible shifts in public opinion on a number of issues, ranging from increasing tolerance for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalizationon the one hand, to the skepticism over stimulus packages and the health-care overhaul on the other hand, that can be interpreted as a move toward more libertarian views.
And, just for kicks, here’s a graph:
Posted in Political Thought
Tagged Ars Technica, Better-half, Eric Posner, FiveThirtyEight, Ilya Somin, Libertarianism, litigation, Nate Silver, New York Times, News, Obama Administration, volokh conspiracy, White House
…you’re more likely to run into a candidate for the White House than a Mormon missionary when you get a knock at the door.
I ran into an interesting set of data today: voter turnout nationally has never really been that high, and while it may be falling, it’s never really changed in Presidential years.
Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections from 1948-2008
Why is it that voter turnout seems stuck somewhere between 55 and 65%? What would it take to boost participation? Continue reading
Posted in Elections
Tagged Barack Obama, battleground states, Florida, National Popular Vote, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Republican, Swing state, United States, United States presidential election, White House