The whole debate is disgustingly devoid of rational, factual dialog. When will this ever end?
I will admit right up front that I have more questions than answers, but I'm I fairly high volume news consumer. I'm not stupid. And I don't subscribe to debate tactics that begin and end with accusations that your facts are wrong, or you are repeating right wing talking points, or you aren't adhering to left wing orthodoxy. I come here for perspective, and I mostly appreciate the perspective I find here. But I read the news, and I digest the news, as what I have increasingly come to recognize as an independent.
I don't vote independent. I don't vote for Republicans. I either vote for the Dem or I don't vote at all. But I have a mind of my own. There's an old saying..."You are entitled to your own opinion, but you aren't entitled to your own facts,"
How quaintly 20th century that bromide seems these days. The fact is, in this century, we are all entitled to both our own opinions and our own facts. That makes debate fairly pointless. Nobody changes their mind upon factless opinion, and when facts themselves are no longer agreed upon...there is no basis for a rational discussion.
I just read a news story that the Administration is releasing a bunch of detained undocumented immigrants, in the run up to the "Sequestration."
It's all high drama, and no substance. It is all politics, and no leadership. It is all posing, without any core beliefs. And it disgusts me to my core.
First of all...I'm pretty sick and tired of being governed this way. Lurching from one deadline to the next, which is predictably only about 4 months down the road. I'm sick of being led by an electorate that cannot think any further down the road, in terms of what this country needs, than 4 months, or the next election. I'm sick of the petty, shortsighted acrimony...the endless jockeying for political position.
You know why the Main Stream Media treats politics like a horse race? Because as far as any of the Congressmen, Administration officials or Party Big Wigs are concerned...that's all it is, and that's exactly what it is. Nothing more nor less. Why should the Media treat it any differently?
When it comes to this so called Sequestration, I will admit I have more questions than I do answers. I'm a voter...and not a particularly low info voter at that. Yet I have questions.
Why would president Obama and the administration resist proposals by the GOP that give them discretion in mitigating the impact of the Sequester? Hasn't every president for the past 30 years been clamoring for a line item veto? Or more executive power?
Or do they want to watch this event unfold without being held more accountable for where the axe falls otherwise?
Why would they decide to release undocumented immigrants held in detention, instead of reigning in prosecutions of nonviolent drug offenders, or releasing pot smokers? (For the record, I don't smoke pot). Could it be because they know it's a hot button issue? And they want to play chicken?
Why is a 2.4% across the board budget cut being talked about as if it were apocalyptic? From what I've read, $85 billion is a 2.4% cut. Granted, non-discretionary spending was spared, so that 2.4% will fall entirely upon a much smaller slice of the budgetary pie. But from my reading...that was probably the checkmate move made by the GOP.
This will undoubtedly blow up in their face short term...but long term??? I'm not so sure. It will likely change the dialog in ways that Dems don't yet realize. If cutting the entire federal budget by a mere 2.4%, once you except entitlement programs, results in the closing of airports, the closing of national parks, the indiscriminant release of possibly criminal undocumented immigrants, the mass layoffs of teachers, etc, etc, etc...indeed, the ratcheting back of federal discretionary spending to levels not seen sine the 1960's, as the NYT suggests...what does it say about non-discretionary spending? Entitlement programs?
I'll tell you what it says...If a 2.4% budget cut (and let's be both honest and real here...after this recession most of us have cut at least that amount, and mostly much more, from our own personal budgets) that leaves entitlement programs untouched results in airport closures, closed campgrounds at Yosemite and Smoky Mountains, overflowing trash bins at all the rest of the national parks, crippled school systems and all the rest...it would seem to prove that all or most of the growth in the federal budget over the past 40 years has been in entitlement programs.
Will the GOP take some flack for this Sequestration in the short term? Yes they will. Will people, after their anger subsides, begin to see the budget issue in a different light? I suspect they will. That's called strategy. Losing a battle in order to win a war.
The NYT's recently mentioned a school district in New Mexico that is especially on high alert...Much of the land comprised by that school district is federally owned, and not subject to taxation. Therefore, the feds pony up much of the school district's annual budget, which comes to $100 million. For 11,000 K-12 students. That's about $10 grand per student. The head of the school district is wringing his hands at the thought of how he will respond to the potential loss of $3 million in federal subsidies. That comes to $272 per student, over 12 months.
Both sides are playing chicken here, and the public is just being played. It will make for great headlines, if the Sequestration comes to pass, that Yosemite is closed to campers due to budget constraints. That will grab everyone's attention. But how many parks are administered by the National Park Service? Couldn't they shut down 50 smaller, much less popular and underused parks completely, and spare the gems of the National Park Service? The answer is yes, they probably could...unless they want to play the propaganda game.
The GOP wants this country to see that a 2.4% cut isn't the end of the world. And the Dems want the country to see that these cuts are far too painful. And the president, in a sudden break from all of his predecessors, is uninterested in additional discretionary budget powers being extended to it. Right now. In this situation.
I predict that this debate, and the events it sets in motion, will unfold in the most chaotic and painful means possible. Because neither side is thinking about the rest of us. They are simply playing political chicken, raising the stakes unnecessarily, and engaging in the same old horse race that we have all become so disgusted with.
Somebody please explain to me how a 2.4% budget cut can take us back to spending levels, as the NYT asserts here, that haven't been seen in 5 decades:
I'm sick of the whole debate, and I'm sick of the ideological straitjackets that frame it.
Spending 97.6 cents instead of a dollar should not mean the end of the fucking world. That's not a right wing talking point...it's just horse sense.