It’s hard to pin down exactly why I haven’t been posting much recently. I think I’ve become a little overwhelmed with our nation’s politics. It seems to have reached a level of absurdity that I can’t bring myself to write about. I can’t tell the difference between Republicans and Democrats, I don’t see much hope in any real change happening soon,and so I think for a while I’m giving up on writing about the American political landscape.
I am however still motivated by the current challenges that my community faces. One of those challenges I was interviewed about by the local newspaper AnnArbror.com. I talked to a reporter about the growing need for emergency food assistance, the budget cuts, and the lack or resources. I was happy with the way he wrote about the subject, and if you’re interested you can read the entire thing here.
And while I’m on the subject of food banks, Matt Ygelsias wrote and excellent article in Slate about how to best help your local food bank (hint: it’s not dropping an old can in a box once a year.)
I suppose this can be called a shift in focus. I hope to start writing again more frequently, and I’m sure I’ll touch on the broader themes and causes of the difficulties that people in South East Michigan face, but I don’t anticipate caring about the GOP debates anytime soon.
Hold on everybody, it’s getting colder and weirder every day.
Before this deal was struck, Obama gave a speech to the nation where he rallied us all around a common cry for… Compromise! Ok, so it wasn’t that inspiring. But in principle I don’t think compromise is that bad of a thing, that is, if it’s an actual compromise. But this so called deal, doesn’t look like any compromise I remember leaning about as a kid. Democracy Now has a good run down of who gets what in this bill.
The deal includes no new tax revenue from wealthy Americans, provides no additional stimulus for the lagging economy, and will cut more than $2.1 trillion in government spending over 10 years, while extending the borrowing authority of the Treasury Department. The debt deal was a victory of sorts for the Pentagon. Rather than cutting $400 billion in defense spending through 2023, as President Barack Obama had proposed in April, it trims just $350 billion through 2024, effectively giving the Pentagon $50 billion more than it had been expecting over the next decade.
See? Compromise! Rich people get to keep their tax cuts, the military gets to keep more money than expected, and the American people get keep their recession.
Keeping these tax and service cuts are really only going to do one thing, and that is put more burden on the states. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities issued a report showing just how big the burden of the recession is on the states. Fourty two states have budget shortfalls and rely on Federal dollars to cover their needs.
When those dollars dry up the states are forced to either make even deeper cuts, raise their taxes, or shut down completely. The CBPP concludes that these cuts will of course make our recession worse, not better. And the consequenses are very real
Spending cuts are problematic during an economic downturn because they reduce overall demand and can make the downturn deeper. When states cut spending, they lay off employees, cancel contracts with vendors, eliminate or lower payments to businesses and nonprofit organizations that provide direct services, and cut benefit payments to individuals. In all of these circumstances, the companies and organizations that would have received government payments have less money to spend on salaries and supplies, and individuals who would have received salaries or benefits have less money for consumption. This directly removes demand from the economy.
So where is the balance? Why didn’t the Democrats stand up for progressive values? Matt Taibbi has a pretty good answer.
The Democrats aren’t failing to stand up to Republicans and failing to enact sensible reforms that benefit the middle class because they genuinely believe there’s political hay to be made moving to the right. They’re doing it because they do not represent any actual voters. I know I’ve said this before, but they are not a progressive political party, not even secretly, deep inside. They just play one on television.
Most of the Democrats have been keeping up this act for a long time, but I’m not really buying it anymore.