Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Good morning after the debate to you all.  Yes, we did watch.  I expected that each side would claim at least some victory and that expectation was fulfilled as I watched the comments.  Republicans were happy and so were Democrats.  I was surprised when the reports came in that Obama dominated on time--46 minutes to Romney's 40.  At least three times I yelled at the TV for Romney to shut up and stop trying to 'win' points by steamrolling his opponent.  George Will thought the candidates managed to push their aggression to the point of rudeness but pulled back just before crossing the line.  I though Romney crossed that line several times.

Obama did a good job of reminding the audience of who was in charge when the economy collapsed and whose policies precipitated it. I liked the question asking Romney what the differences were between himself and George W. Bush.  The differences were superficial.  I caught a hint (not sure now from whom) that Romney was more liberal on social issues.  George, if I remember rightly, tried to defund Planned Parenthood, tried to restructure Social Security into a private account program, and tried to convert Medicare to a voucher program--all policies supported by the Romney/Ryan ticket.

The answer, however, revealed that there aren't all that many differences.  The question from the woman who asked how the candidates would ensure that women got equal pay for equal work was illuminating.  Any woman who votes Republican after listening to the give and take on that one deserves to be lost in Mr. Romney's binder.  Romney would do nothing on the policy level.  For him the whole issue is private matter.  He proclaimed loudly (but not quite accurately) how he actively searched for qualified women to work in his cabinet when he was governor and then was kind enough to be flexible enough to allow talented women to adjust their working hours to their family obligations.  And that is where he thinks the effort should end.  Obama's response was a masterful explanation of how "women's" issues are really economic issues.  Romney would basically rely on the tender mercies of individual employers to be enlightened enough to make the same kind of effort he claims to have made.  That reminds me of the results of relying on the individual states and businesses to treat blacks equally.  We know how well that worked.

The Fact Checker at the Washington Post has an examination of Romney's claim that he will create 12 million new jobs in the first term if he is elected.  The claims don't hold water and provide another example of how 'math challenged' Romney really is.  Earns four 'Pinocchios' from Glenn Kessler.

Ah, well, now on to other things.

This is intriguing.  Evidently some veterans are finding sporadic anti-veteran sentiments on campus these days.  I noticed the first negative comment cited reflected a resentment at the taxpayer provided benefits--"Why should we pay for these guys to go to college?  Everybody who goes into the military is stupid--that's why they joined the military instead of going to college."  I think the economic resentment fueled the aspersions on intelligence.  The veterans have a decent chance of coming out with their degree and without the debt load most non-veteran students will face.  But I find the underlying sentiment more disturbing and infecting far more than veterans.  When the housing market, especially the sub-prime market, imploded a large number of very vocal pundits objected to any help for the threatened homeowners citing all the 'good' people who were 'responsible' about their borrowing who wouldn't get help and painting all the defaulting borrowers with the brush of fecklessness, irresponsibility, or even criminality.  We can see similar patterns throughout our (You're on your)own(ership) society.  Remember George II's phrase?

Another thought comes to my mind however: this seems very familiar.  Not the disparaging comments but something a bit deeper.  My father was a WWII veteran and used the GI Bill to go to a trade school. They paid his tuition, books and gave him a living stipend as well.  I used the GI Bill to go to college and get my first degree.  By that time the nation wasn't so grateful for veteran's services post-Vietnam.  I received a monthly stipend that was adequate only because I lived at home.  I noticed the post-9/11 benefits were more in line with the benefits my father got.  If we have that low grade resentment on campus what might it portend for the benefits the veterans will receive in the future?  Especially now that the second unnecessary, unsuccessful, and unpopular war is winding down?

I did notice yesterday that the Social Security Administration has put out the figure for next year's cost of living increase: 1.7%.  They say, of course, that inflation has been low and that a minimal raise is justified.  I say they evidently don't have to eat or fill up their gas tanks.  Mom just wondered how much of that raise (plus a bit) they will take back for Medicare.

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