Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Well, Sarah and John have pounced all over Joe's prediction that if Obama is elected he will be tested 'as John Kennedy' was tested in the 1960s.  My, my, what a surprise.  I do think Biden is right that the new President, which ever is elected in two weeks time, will be tested.  Unfortunately for the McCain/Palin camp I definitely do not want 'Quick Draw McGraw' McCain and the Beauty Queen Palin responding to those crises.  I like the prospect of measured, thoughtful, adult responses.  We have had much too much of the shoot-from-the-hip, knee-jerk kind of response that all too often results in our President shooting us in the foot, or the ass, or the pocketbook.

I have just been over to Tom Englehardt's tomdispatch blog reading his 'report card' on the Bush Administration's Global War On Terror.  Talk about friendly fire, I think we have all been 'fragged.'  

I can also say that I am not very surprised or impressed by McCain's and Palin's recent attempts to define Obama's economic policies as 'socialist.'  For years we have suffered through repeated tax cuts for the wealthy and tax increases for the less than wealthy but no one talked about socialism.  Somehow, it seems, taxing those who have little to give to those who have much isn't socialism.  Certainly McCain, who by his own admission voted for Bush policies '90% of the time,' is making, by implication, that claim.  Now he claims that he doesn't want to tax anyone.  Really??  How, then, will he pay for his programs which are largely left overs from the current administration?  His recent singing from the Populist hymnal is very unconvincing.  Too little, way too late.  And, I suspect, way too insincere.

PureLandMountain has an interesting graph and it does, as he says, explain a lot.  No wonder tuition is so high at the nations' colleges and universities.  Although the ultimate source for the graph is PHD Comics, the graph may not be far fro reality.  Many years ago, when I attended a University that I won't name, the University President held the equivalent of a town hall meeting to defuse the rising tide of dissatisfaction students were expressing over the large amount of money the University was spending on a perennially losing football team.  He repeatedly told us that the money spent on football paid for itself.  I asked him how he could claim that when the University spent $1.5M on the team and only got back, by the University's own figures, $500k.  That seemed to me a deficit of $1M.  All he could say in reply was he was sorry I 'felt' that way.  I guess my advanced degrees in science didn't provide me with the expertise required to do such elevated math.  

I am continuing today (Thursday) what I started yesterday.  Sometimes I just don't have the time to finish off what I start.

Archcrone at The Crone Speaks has a blog post that hits the nail on the head and says much of what I have been thinking about our economy for a very long time.  We have a very peculiar brand of capitalism now.  One which exists only because more and more people used credit to maintain a middle class or higher level of consumption.  We are beginning to learn the answer to the question I have frequently asked: what happens to a consumer based economy when the consumer can no longer consume in the heroic style to which we have become accustomed?  Another thought: why is it not considered fraud to make deceptive offers of credit cards to economic fragile and possibly desperate people?

This is amusing from The Australian.  Australia has been in the grip of a prolonged drought and now the authors of a government study wants people to stop using the word drought because it 'depresses' farmers.  Instead they want to encourage the use of 'dryness' instead.  Rather reminds me of the gyrations economists go through to avoid the word 'depression.'  How many kinds and levels of recession do we have to go through before someone decides to ignore the lipstick and call a pig a pig? Note: I find the linguistic contortions amusing NOT the drought.  I am glad to see that some are resisting the notion.  They are also debating the effectiveness of government programs to help drought ravaged farmers. 

Talking about code words and the creative use of language to hide rather than illuminate, take a look at Helen's latest entry at Margaret and Helen.  She is right on and we have had scads of trash talk ever since St. Ronald railed against the 'welfare queens.'  Now we have McCain ranting on behalf of the poor Joe the Plumbers while proposing programs that would leave Joe and his brothers and sisters in the dust while transferring more wealth up the economic ladder.  I don't care much for taxes either but, like Helen, there are amenities those taxes pay for which are necessary. I do like properly maintained roads.  I would like an education system that really educated.  I would love a health care system that worked for more than those who have, however tenuously, insurance or the money to buy whatever services the wanted.  I also think that a system that acts on the old Ebenezer Scrooge sentiment (If the poor are like to die without assistance, let them get on with it and reduce the surplus population) is a very unChristian, and immoral one.  If that is the essence of Capitalism I will take socialism any day.

Enough of my jaundiced rants for today.  See you all next time.

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