Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dangerously Out of Touch

Go ahead. I dare you. Watch those Sunday talk shows from our nation's capitol and see how much of what passes for political discussion concerns the need for government to cut back on spending. David Gregory will almost certainly ask someone what ideas there are to get "entitlements" "under control".

Then, even if you have already seen this, listen to what those who study these things say (about halfway into this):

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As discussed ad nauseum here and elsewhere, these are not outlier opinions or those of the radical left. It is the view of almost every economist who does not work in Washington or for a political point of view. Yet the noise machine keeps telling us about deficits, and excessive government spending.

Of course, as Jon Stewart pointed out repeatedly during a week of virtual tributes to schoolteachers such as his mother, this demand that government balance its budget does not apply when discussing tax breaks for the wealthy:

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What did we expect? Some of us are practically unable to discuss politics without talking about how stupidity reigns supreme across the land and that those who revel in anti-intellectualism can hardly be expected to support schools.

Still, the NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll that got so much notice this week offers some hope doesn't it? The public may actually be seeing through all of this noise, and remembering, perhaps, what parents, grandparents and, ahem, teachers, might have told them about the Depression, the New Deal, the growth of unions and of the middle class, might be rethinking the refrain made popular by the movie actor who played the part of President of the United States from 1981-1989.

[By the way, we are obligated to note here that the best actor to portray a President of the United States, has a son whose is self-destructing on national television, providing yet another excuse for what passes for news to be diverted to a voyeuristic delight in watching someone kill himself. This is a truly sad aside, which presents little more than a reason to feel very bad for the actor who so brilliantly portrayed the greatest president fiction ever created, President Josiah Bartlet).]

Returning to reality, sadly, all the poll means to your self-absorbed Congress and its hangers on, is that the public is being stubborn in opposing what "everyone knows" must be done. Chris Hayes, unsurprisingly, brilliantly explains what he aptly describes as Washington's "disconnect" in The Nation this week and the question that follows from that is what are the ramifications of a government which has been bought and paid for, and no longer even considers what is best for the country, and what a growing number of people seem to understand.

Don't look here for an answer, just a stab at hysteria. Nick Hornby and Ben Folds may think "he should know. He's got his own blog" but this blogger does not. What is out there does not suggest solutions or much of a positive future, but who knows, maybe FDR will come back to life. Maybe, if he does, he will threaten Congress the way President Roosevelt did when he took office 78 years ago yesterday:

I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption.

But, in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis -- broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.

For the trust reposed in me, I will return the courage and the devotion that befit the time. I can do no less.

Take that. And, you know, it is not clear that people today would support a would be near dictator any less than they were prepared to do in 1933.

1 comment:


This turned out a lot prettier here Barth!