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Thursday, August 25, 2011

In case you missed these articles... here they are!

“It’s crazy what’s happening in America today: We’re having an economic crisis and the politicians are having an election — and there is almost no overlap between the two.” Thomas Friedman, Obama, Tiger, Golf and Politics, NYTimes.com

A quick look at the crazy state of U.S. Politics through my favorite articles from the past week (I’ll put the links here but provide a brief summary in case you aren’t in the mood to read):

Warren Buffet wrote a very intriguing piece which is ultimately calling for tax reform to end tax loopholes that favor the interests the wealthy and politically connected corporations: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/opinion/stop-coddling-the-super-rich.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=buffet&st=Search

Jeffrey Miron, Harvard Professor wrote this follow up: http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/08/16/miron.buffett.wrong/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

The top portion suggests that emphasizing the super rich distracts from the real issue at hand: tax reform. The bottom portion of the article outlines seven key areas of reform that would be most beneficial to the economy. One of my favorite suggestions he makes involves cutting back on excessive licensing requirements, fees and exams that make it extremely difficult to enter numerous trades from hair styling and medicine to real estate and medicine.

I appreciate that both sides of the argument can agree on one point- tax reform. It is time to for tax reform, reform that does not exhaust the middle class, while boosting revenues simply by taxing the wealthy proportionate to their income.

Then, Stephen Colbert creates a Super PAC , Americans for a better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. His PAC is legal, well-funded and currently running ads in Iowa. As Mark Feldstein of the University of Maryland says so poignantly, “He is taking advantage of loopholes to set up an organization that is not a legitimate political action committee, if there is such a thing, to make the point that the current system is a form of legalized bribery. Try making that point as a member of the mainstream media and holding on to your objectivity.”

My favorite little morsel in this article is the fact that Colbert’s commercial tell Iowans to write in Rick Parry, the “a” standing for American and IowA.

For more info, read the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/business/media/stephen-colberts-pac-is-more-than-a-gag.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1

Here is a link to the commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qulpucVacM8&feature=related

Meanwhile, Republicans have sold their soul to the Tea Party resulting in a field of equally absurd Presidential candidates and a lot of confused, disheveled and bewildered GOP Republicans.

The surprising piece of all this is that President Obama has actually had a solid plan throughout all of this craziness that has gone almost entirely under the radar. The Grand Bargain offered trillions in cuts, including Medicare reform, as well as revenue creation. Under normal circumstances, most GOP members would have been out of their wits with glee at such a right-wing proposal from the President. Saddled by the “no new taxes” demands of the Tea Party, the Grand Bargain was taken off the table. Instead of standing up for himself, the President seems to be taking the high road. As it turns out, Americans love the sucker punch drama Republican propaganda has to offer. They would rather obsess over balancing the budget (after all they have to balance their checkbooks) than bothering to study the actual ramifications of widespread cuts during a recession with no new revenues.

I am hoping President Obama is just biding his time until it is actually time to begin campaigning. Hopefully, he is focusing on the economy rather than focusing on an election that is still so far away.

For more on this, this article is a pretty good read: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/24/opinion/friedman-obama-tiger-golf-and-politics.html?ref=opinion (By now you’ve noticed I am biased toward the NYTimes).

And the final article that caught my eye this week: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/23/opinion/nocera-how-democrats-hurt-job-creation.html?_r=1&ref=opinion The only positive that can come of a country obsessed with balancing the budget in the middle of a recession, when fiscal policy is really our only remaining weapon and it is ultimately proving worthless, is that regulation like the instance cited in the article will be cut back.

I wanted to put these out there, a grab bag of articles offering perspectives from various sides of various issues. I’m just trying to encourage anyone that happens across this blog to educate themselves on the issues plaguing our economy and our policies. If more Americans took time to remember what they learned in Econ 101, or what they learned in high school history about the Great Depression, or even if they recalled lessons about "compromising" and "listening to their neighbors" from elementary, we might find some common ground to begin building a foundation for the future.

p.s. Okay, I thought I was done, but here is one more about some of the options the Fed has to try to ebb the recession using monetary policy since fiscal policy is essentially off the table. http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/24/how-much-more-can-the-fed-help-the-economy/

p.p.s. Please remember, I am very open to all beliefs, opinions and candidates. I know I tend toward certain ideals and ideologies, but I like to consider myself open to any and all ideas to move the United States and the environment toward a healthier future. (-: This is my olive branch! I can't figure out how to get rid of this underline... (-:

1 comment:

  1. I have to admit that reading this article one would not easily see which way you lean. Although, just by one or two comments you made I would say you lean to the left. I am not saying you are a democrat, just you lean that way. I am the same thing. I would consider myself independent that leaned to the left, on certain things.
    When it comes to the environment, I am all left, with me wanting renewable energy and efficiency and recycling. Although I don't see why everyone should't want that. On the other hand, I lean to the right on some things, such as gun control, or wanting a lack thereof.
    Which is why I think in the middle usually. Also, not only am I for new taxes on the rich and closing loopholes, but I would be ok with reforms and cuts to other programs as well. You cannot balance this budget on cuts alone.... Anyway, that is my two cents. Enjoy your day.

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