Posts Tagged ‘Republican’

The Public Has Spoken – Sort Of

Once you understand public choice theory, watching politics unfold becomes less of a frustration and more a source of amusement.

I just heard President Obama lay out his near term agenda. He was elected by a decent majority and will fight for the issues for which he campaigned. The people have spoken, and the people want a Democratic agenda implemented.

But the House of Representatives was also just elected. It is firmly Republican. The people have spoken, and the people want a Republican agenda implemented.

Same voters. Two conflicting agendas.

Some pundits say that voters want compromise. I don’t understand how you compromise between raising taxes and lowering taxes, for example.

I can only conclude that what voters actually favor is gridlock. This restrains both Democrats and Republicans and preserves the status quo. The last several presidents, when given a compliant Congress, have moved the country in unhappy directions. Gridlock forces politicians to take a “timeout” and allows only actions which are broadly acceptable to voters.

voting day in a small town

voting day in a small town (Photo credit: Muffet)

Don’t expect a lot to happen in a gridlocked political system – the public has spoken and inaction seems to be our preference as a nation.

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Government Shutdown Phase 1

It’s coming down to the wire, but I don’t see anyone other than politicians and media types getting too excited. I see more annoyance. In all the media yakking, an important point is often overlooked: Congress shouldn’t be doing this now. This budget exercise was, by law, due last year when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. Through sheer ineptitude, the Democrats failed in their most elemental responsibility of governance. Now the GOP gets to fix the mess the Democrats left behind. And it’s not looking pretty.

But this is a warm up exercise: the real battle will be the 2012 budget. There are two proposals: Obama’s and Ryan’s, and they couldn’t be more different. It’s hard to imagine what a compromise would look like. We could be looking at a *real* government shutdown next year.

Budget Problems

In Washington, they’re getting lined up for a battle royal on the budget. President Obama’s budget proposal is basically to drive the government deeper and deeper into hock. The Ryan (Republican) proposal calls for major cutbacks. Both rely on long range forecasts that are unrealistic, but for different reasons. A battle is coming. The Democrats are aghast that we would cut spending on such vital national interests as the Cowboy Poetry Festival (I’m not making this up). Republicans want to gently slash everything except our massive military outlays. If nothing else, this will be fun to watch.

I am not convinced that the Ryan (Republican) proposal cuts enough, but it would at least buy some time. The Democrats simply seem to want to throw future generations under the bus. I could be wrong, but that’s how it looks to me.

Whatever happens, it won’t be more severe than the Ryan (Republican) proposal. That’s the upper bound of fiscal rectitude, which means we’ll be in big trouble again – but not as bad as if the Obama budget were adopted.

There’s little you or I can do about this. Angry calls to Congress or letters to the editor are of hardly any value. All you can do is plan your affairs accordingly.

With Friends Like This…

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

Image via Wikipedia

Recall the Team Obama modus operandi: getting something done, no matter how lame, compromised, or even counterproductive it is, is considered to progress because it presumably can be swaddled in enough propaganda to be made attractive to a presumed to be chump public.

via The Sandbagging of Elizabeth Warren (and 49 State Attorneys General) « naked capitalism.

Wow. If this is what liberals think, what will the 2012 election look like? But the Democrats can take some comfort in the knowledge that the Republicans will probably pick the least appealing candidate they can find.