Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Theatric Votes

Okay, so the Republican House of Representatives held a "symbolic" (I call "theatric") vote not to lift the national debt ceiling today. Raising the debt ceiling is about fulfilling our promises as a nation. Republicans and Democrats have already voted for and passed a national budget that everyone knew and knows would require a raise of the "national debt limit" (what an oxymoron). So the "showdown" is completely hollow. Despite the disastrous effects of defaulting on our debt payments, some of our politicians pretend Congress hasn't already committed to the spending and therefore the debt it incurs. So all of this is political theater. Make no mistake.

Now the "real" debates happen (also theatrics) in which Republicans fight for budget cutting (where was this zeal during the previous Republican administration?) in exchange for raising the "debt ceiling." Please. Watch what they most want to cut. That tells you something about a politician's real motivation.

After all the theatrics, the Congress will vote to raise the debt ceiling to the levels to which they've already committed via prior budget approvals. Without that approval, Armageddon happens. So you can bank on it being approved... and everything else being theatrics.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Relaunched Again...

Some people have requested that I post some materials from some guest lectures I have given and courses I have taught. I thought I could pull out this dusty old blog and, as time permits, post some of the charts I use with general commentary - and use this also to post updated charts, economic indicators, business news, and policy and politics with respect to national economics, which has quickly come to a point of nadir in our national discourse.

I have not touched this blog in over a year and mostly didn't maintain it much since I started it in 2004. Over the past year, I would say my political orientation has trended more moderate as we've seen more policy-making from Democrats in The White House and majorities in Congress, and now with a divided Congress. I don't like a lot of what I see on both sides, and I think both sides are working together and with media to undermine the real discussions we should be having as a nation. I will attempt to deconstruct a lot of that here, and to try and point readers and myself in more constructive directions.

I will not obfuscate my point of view, which is discernably conservative in some respects and notably progressive and liberal in other respects. Bear in mind that the bounds of those labels do shift over time. Richard Nixon offered a national health care plan, but Democrats didn't think it went far enough at the time. When President Carter offered a public health system to Ted Kennedy, Kennedy opposed it, partly because he thought it wouldn't work, and partly because he was planning his epic 1980 run for president against President Carter. I'm just one person, and if I'm not your flavor of coffee, that's okay.

You're welcome to comment or email me if you'd like more discussion or with questions, and I will get to that as time permits.

Please note to the right of the page I have accumulated over time a list of other people's related blogs, mostly economic related and not all with a partisan or ideological bent, many of them academics. I encourage you to check them out and please email me any others I should consider listing there (or any I should unlist).

Your interest flatters me just by visiting the page. This will be an experiment. If I'm unable to keep things posted daily or every other day, I may alert those of you whose email I have when a new post goes up. Let's see how this goes! Onward, outward, and forward....