Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sez Reality: "I Bite." Sez Kristi Noem: "Ouch!"

     Our Congresswoman Noem and her cognitively disconnected comrades on the ridiculous right continued their hapless crusade against reality the other day when they wouldn't support the debt limit increase, which cleared the U.S. House of Representatives despite their political temper tantrum.  Her Republican Party leader Boehner was able to convince almost 30 of her GOP comrades to join him in support of political fact-facing. Their collective grip on the real world was firm enough to muster up the votes needed to get the debt ceiling increased.  I don't know why Congresswoman Noem can't understand that shutting down the government or forcing the United States Treasury into default have catastrophic consequences, both on macro and micro levels.  On that score, my fellow Vietnam vets will understand when I say it's akin to our famous conundrum in that ill-starred war:  we had to destroy a village in order to save it.  These right wing anarchists essentially want to destroy our country as a means of trying to save it. 
     This is not only beyond stupidity, it's a tacit admission that they don't have the political skills and muscle power to get the budget reductions they insist are needed in order to avert their vision of a fiscal apocalypse.   It also shows a basic lack of understanding as to the best way to cut deficits: increase revenues, people.   In this case that translates into keeping an economy thriving and growing so that businesses and individuals have continually growing incomes from which continually growing taxes can be received.  How on earth is the business sector of our economy supposed to thrive when it constantly fears talks of budget stalemates, government shutdowns, and U.S. Treasury defaults as a backdrop for their day-to-day spending and investment decisions?  These showdowns cost money, and money is just what the federal government needs in order whack away at its deficits.
     By all means, Ms. Noem and your conservative ilk, keep fighting like the dickens for your positions on specific policies like Obamacare, federal benefits, military spending, whatever.  That's the kind of political conversation we need in this country and in the long run I think the results won't necessarily be perfect, but will work as well as can be expected.  The recent passage of the farm bill, far as it was from your initial expectations, was nevertheless suitable enough for you to sign on.  Though I believe you took more than your share of credit for its passage, your public air of resignation and acceptance at least coincided with the political realities of the day.
     But this business of threatening to close down the government or stymie our country's ability to service its debt?  It's just plain immaturity.  Not only that, it's a disservice to your many constituents in this at-large state with just one congressional rep.  You're sent to Congress to represent and get the best deal  for as many South Dakotans as possible on issue after issue.  Shutting the works down because your ideological allies in Washington have ripped your sense of  loyalty away from those you serve is no way to represent this state.  Need I remind you of how much your vote last Fall  to shut down Mt. Rushmore and other national parks in South Dakota cost the tourism industry here?  You can make your point without selling us out.
     This is why I was disappointed and dismayed that your name didn't show up on the list of Republicans who voted to lift the debt ceiling a few days ago.  It made me wonder what you thought it would accomplish to throw markets into turmoil, scare retirees into wondering if their pensions would turn up in their bank accounts, give buyers of U.S. Treasury securities second thoughts about loaning us money, and put an indelible smudge on the full faith and credit of the United States Government.  This is anarchy.  Its allure to those who can't deal with the problems of debt by resorting to it aren't leaders.  They're failures at doing their jobs. 


  1. "It also shows a basic lack of understanding as to the best way to cut deficits: increase revenues, people." Well said, Mr Tsitrian. I have said for a long time that repeal of the personal tax cuts, would go a long way to fixing this debt ceiling crisis that we seem to have every few months rather than years now. But I like your idea that the way to do it is to expand the number of people working. The only problem with that is those jobs will have to be provided by the government and or small business, (which is a real risk for the person starting the small business, with the economy in the situation it is in,) because the large corporations have sucked all that they can out of our country and are moving to other climes for the cheaper labor that they can find there.

    You also wrote, " By all means, Ms. Noem and your conservative ilk, keep fighting like the dickens for your positions on specific policies like Obamacare" While I was against The Affordable Healthcare Act, (because I am for Universal Single Payer Healthcare) from the outset, it has become the law of the land, and as such need to be fixed not thrown out. As Senator Thune said recently the fact that our healthcare takes up 20% of our GDP, is unsustainable. And he is right, but that is before the Affordable Healthcare act went into affect. The HR director at the last job I had before I retired came right out and told us, that he sympathized with the fact that our premiums kept going up every year. But he reminded us that the company's share also goes up every year. He pointed out (and this was 10 years ago) that those increases that the company was sustaining were also affecting the amount that the company could afford to give us as an increase in pay. He said that the time might come where the company would no longer be able to give us pay increases. The other part of that is that may be the other reason that major corporations leave the US for greener pastures. They don't have to pay for healthcare of their employees in most other countries.

  2. Thanks for the comments, Lanny. I believe recent history has shown us that tax cuts in this day and age don't automatically stimulate the private sector and create more revenues because of expanded economic activity. That model may have worked in other eras, but it's obvious that we're not seeing those results now. The Laffer Curve might have been fine and dandy way back when, but it's a relic of another time. Given the choice, I'd much rather see taxes go back to earlier, higher rates than resort to draconian cuts in government spending as a way of reducing deficits. At this point, releasing money into the economy through entitlements, which will stimulate consumer spending, is probably the best chance that we have of goosing up the economy. Capital spending by business just will never be what it used to be because so much of that money is flowing out of the United States. Tax cuts for the investment class just have not resulted in capital spending the way they used to. As to healthcare, I'm at this point resigned to letting ACA go into widespread practice and see what results. I don't like ACA, but it's here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. I hope I'm wrong about its prospects, but don't see any other approach at this time. As ever, appreciate your remarks here and elsewhere, Lanny.

  3. America just doesn't have the younger population to grow the economy. The Baby Boomers have driven our prosperity in the 80's thru 2008 and with their slowing consumption and economic desires, we are going to naturally slow.

    Let's just get rid of the debt ceiling. It's never honored anyway.

  4. Your thumbnail analysis makes pretty good sense, which definitely puts us into a "new normal" when it comes to economic growth rates. Seems like a periodic, even if pro forma, vote on raising the debt ceiling at least gives us a timely reminder that debt is accumulating. An eye needs to be kept on it. Using it as a cudgel for political gain is probably about as self-defeating an effort as I can imagine. Flipping a switch that is guaranteed to set off financial chaos is no way to resolve budgetary issues. It only makes things worse. I appreciate your comment, Mr. Wasson.

  5. Increasing taxes , as Obama has aptly demonstrated, does nothing but increase debt and unemployment. Now, pay attention as I educate you and your Pravda like blog;..Cut taxes, regulations and entitlements , and you let businesses grow and prosper. A prosperous business hires more employees .More employees means more taxpayers. More taxpayers means,....more revenue to the government! This lesson in reality and common sense has been brought to you by a conservative Republican.

    1. Thank you, Mr. Caeser. Last time a Republican cut taxes was a bit over ten years ago. I don't think the results square with your conclusions as to what happens when taxes are cut. As to deregulation, that bi-partisan disaster called the Financial Services Modernization Act in the late '90s tore down the firewall between bankers and brokers, supposedly to make businesses more efficient, leading to growth and prosperity. The subsequently cozy relationship between mortgage brokers and bankers didn't work out very well. I appreciate your comment and invite you to take the last word

  6. Bankers and brokers that took govt tax dollars as part of that deal certainly didn't prosper, since any private sector enterprise that stays afloat through govt, subsidies , is an accident waiting to happen, as history has shown. However tax cuts , reg cuts, on private sector companies that operate free of govt, control or interference, grow and prosper, which means the nation grows and prospers. This formula always works , except when corporations like Goldman Sachs , or Wall Street itself, are propped up by govt tax dollars. That's why they are corrupt and greedy. Get it?They are the government!When Republicans rule, prosperity reigns.When Democrats rule,financial disaster reigns, and that's because Dems only raise taxes and regulations , which destroys the economy guranteed.Name a prosperous sucessfull Dem administration. You can't because it doesn't exist!Clinton had a Republican House and Senate& Kennedy was a tax cutting strong military conservative, who Dems wouldn't even let in their back door, if he was around today! That leaves you with a whole lot of bad Democrat economies , and leaves me with a whole lot of good Republican economies! In other words, I win, and you lose! But that's only natural, since I am, after all , a Republican, and therefore , always right.