Saturday, July 23, 2011

Arizonans Don’t Like Freedom of Speech, Paul Krugman Doesn't Like Interesting Times, Europeans Don't Like to Call the Greek Default a Default, . . .

 Other News That is Worth Commenting On

The recent dust storms in Arizona  have been described using a term that has its origins in the middle east.  This has created some controversy in that state  as one resident said

Josh Radtke/The Arizona Republic, via Associated Press
A large dust storm as it moved past Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix on Monday.

“How do they think our soldiers feel coming back to Arizona and hearing some Middle Eastern term?”

Actually sir, since they are defending American values, including Freedom of Speech The Dismal Political Economist thinks they would be just fine with that.  See in this country we do not police speech based on prejudice, bigotry and bias, it’s just one of those things we do not do, sorry about that.

Paul Krugman writing his regular column in the NYT has this leadoff sentence, These are interesting times — and I mean that in the worst way.  Mr. Krugman then goes on to make the case for calling our economic conditions “The Lesser Depression” as describing the period that has come after “The Great Recession”.  The problem, of course, is that he may be pre-mature in using the term “Lesser”.

He finishes up with this

There’s an old quotation, attributed to various people, that always comes to mind when I look at public policy: “You do not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed.”

leaving the rest of us again to ask why it is that we cannot come up with writing as good as Mr. Krugman’s.

The European bailout plan for Greece (version 137) would result in what is being called a “selective default”.  Now a default is usually a binary process, either you do default or you do not default.  But once again those clever wordsmiths have come up with a way to describe a solution to Greece’s debt problems that makes the unacceptable into the acceptable because of the way it is stated.

The Dismal Political Economist has commented earlier on the need to do things this way.  And here is an explanation of what a “selective default” means

it’s widely expected that, under the plan, Greece will be declared in “selective default” on its nearly $500 billion in debt, meaning that some investors will take losses while others may be paid in full.

So the next time that worthless brother-in-law doesn’t pay you the money he owes, don’t worry, he is just “selectively defaulting” on you. 

A little known Federal Program subsidizes small, under utilized rural air service.  The House wants to cut the subsidies, primarily as a purely symbolic move since the savings would amount of $1.00 per $1 million of deficit.  The bill

would cut off funding for small airports within 90 miles of larger airports, and for airports that receive subsidies exceeding $1,000 per passenger. Thirteen airports would be affected

And who is blocking this action, why it’s Senate Democrats, who are equally astounded that they and the Democratic party are tarred with the reputation of being big government spenders.

Two new polls show Texas Governor Rick Perry moving into second place in the race for the Republican nomination to take on Mr. Obama in 2012.  This is somewhat remarkable since Mr. Perry has yet to decide if he will enter the race.  The advice for Mr. Romney and Ms. Bachmann, “don’t look back, something may be gaining on you”.

Mr. Paige
 This quote is attributed to one of the greatest baseball players ever, Mr. Satchel Paige whom no one remembers as a great baseball player because he was an African-American at a time when America would not allow African-Americans to play the national pastime.  Exactly why they were able to call baseball “the national pastime” when this restriction was in place is not known.

The Senate voted 51 to 46 against the Republican Plan for raising the debt ceiling.  The plan required adoption of the Balanced Budget Amendment.  In reacting to the vote House Speaker Boehner said that

“Senate Democrats have defied the will of the American people

apparently not referring to the will of the American people that said they wanted tax increases and spending cuts to help close the budget deficit.  An unnamed Republican spokesperson said that “when the will of the American people is not what we want, then we don’t care about the will of the American people.  I mean, why should we?.”

Here is the relevant question from the WP/ABC poll. America wants the Combination Platter.

19. Overall, what do you think is the best way to reduce the federal budget deficit - (by cutting federal spending), (by increasing taxes), or by a combination of both?

The Answer:  62% of Americans favor a combination.  So if the "will of the American people" is  your criteria, that's where you go.

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