The deficit is going down. Woo-hoo! Let the celebrations begin. Oh, wait. That may not be altogether a good thing. Certainly not for Republicans. They need an out-of-control deficit to bludgeon Democrats into cutting more spending.
Fiscal cliffs as far as the eye can see are the deeply troubling outcome of the Great Deformation. They are the result of capture of the state, especially its central bank, the Federal Reserve, by crony capitalist forces deeply inimical to free markets and democracy.
Yes, legislative deals require compromise. But why is it that deals over economic policy almost always compromise away what a majority of Americans want?
Until leading politicians reach the right balance of tax increases and spending cuts, any chance of long-term sustainability and returning to a Standard and Poor's AAA sovereign credit rating is slim.
Obama changed political gears last week, and decided to take a new direction in his dealings with Republicans in Congress. This "charm offensive" will either later be seen as a meaningless photo-op gesture, or a brilliant strategic maneuver on the political chessboard. Time will tell.
Every time Republicans mention a "spending crisis," we should remind them that our non-military spending is at historic lows (to say nothing of the fact that they were the ones who busted the federal budget with tax breaks for the rich, and who blocked the only path to significant cost savings, single payer health care.) It would help, as well, to be more forceful in driving home the message that the government spends (wastes) a lot more on tax breaks for the rich than assistance for the poor. The federal government spends about twice as much on the mortgage interest deduction, for example, than low income housing, and provides most of the mortgage interest gift to upper income people who don't need it. Is it really necessary to spend federal dollars (via tax expenditures) subsidizing multi-million dollar second homes?
The debt crisis is a hoax, but the sequester is for real, and so is the underlying cause of this entire mess: The Wall Street crash of 2008.
It may take weeks before Congress agrees to end the sequester, but until then, the financial future of America and her citizens swings back and forth like a pendulum.
It's one thing for Congressional Republicans to stick up for a policy that will reduce growth and raise unemployment. It's yet another thing to pretend it wasn't their idea.
There is a reason why the President of the United States is called the Commander-in-Chief and it is not because we want a monarch. It is simply because someone in our government needs to take charge and do something.
The Republicans may not deserve it, but the President still wants one and has the leverage to get a grand bargain including Medicare spending reductions on favorable terms.
Right now, the best thing we have going for the stock market is that nobody in Washington truly wants to take ownership of the Sequester -- even the Tea Party will eventually duck this paternity test.
Until mainstream Republicans stand up to that radical view, there is little likelihood that the president can craft a bipartisan deal to avert sequestration--or, for that matter, reach any compromise on any of the pressing issues facing the country going forward.
As Congress struggles through one budget crisis after another, it is becoming increasingly evident that austerity doesn't work. We cannot possibly pay...
Suppose, just for entertainment purposes, that we wanted to have a sane, rational, and even informative discussion about what to do about our public deficits and debt -- one that doesn't automatically default to the "hair-on-fire, we're Greece!" that we too often get from the deficit reduction industry.
Obama's "second honeymoon" period with the public may not last more than a few months, but for now seems to be holding steady. He's in a pretty good position right now in terms of "political capital," but this will likely change as legislative reality sets in.