Monday, July 26, 2010

Good Monday morning to everyone. Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous: low 80s with a cool northerly breeze. I would happily endure that weather all year round. The rains Friday night through Saturday morning were monstrous. Thankfully, only rain here. I wondered a couple of times Saturday night if that rain has some hail with it but the gardens are intact so evidently not (or not much). We didn't get any of the flooding that hit west of Chicago and east of us in areas around Mishawaka and Shipshewana. The news this morning said we have received enough rain to make this one of the wettest Julys on record. It is already in the top ten for heat. At least we can be thankful that we don't have a broken dam to deal with.

MSNBC had this link this morning. If Ezra Klein at Newsweek is right and the Financial Regulations recently passed put restrictions on the payday loan business then the fight is well worth it. What I really hope, however, is that there is a grass roots revolution in our attitudes toward debt. Our levels of debt are obscene on all levels, government and individual. I don't know if it is possible to reign it in without crashing the whole system. But the economic models that are based on infinite 'leverage' (a euphemism for debt) and unlimited industrial production are inherently unsustainable. Some bright person somewhere really needs to come up with something better.

So, the next big battle looming is over the Bush tax cuts. The issue is simple. Either Congress votes to extend them or they expire on Dec. 31. The opinion is split now. One group wants the cuts extended--end of story. They argue that it is folly to increase taxes on anyone when the economy is still so fragile. Another group wants the cuts to expire claiming that the revenues are needed to keep address the growing budget deficit. Another group wants to continue the tax cuts for those 'middle class' people who earn less than $200k ($250k/family) while letting them expire for anyone earning more. My attitude goes back to my response when the tax cuts were enacted--'Tax cut? WHAT tax cut??' I think we should let the cuts expire. We have had years of the wealthy and corporations getting breaks while the rest of us picked up the tab. After the cuts expire, we should look at tax breaks for those making less than $200k--the ones who have to spend what they make to live. We have a consumer driven economy and they are the people who MUST spend.

For an interesting and related commentary with a nice history lesson thrown in take a look at this post. My first response to the whole notion of trickle down economics, when I first heard about it, was that what usually trickled down (piss and shit) you didn't want to trickle down on you. As it turned out we got the piss and shit while other countries got the real benefits of new jobs and increasing standards of living. And the whole notion is coming up again in arguments over the Bush tax cuts. Gollum lied when he promised that if the hobbits 'be nice to us, we'll be nice to them.' Our legislative Gollums are making the same promise. Why in the hell do we believe them?

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