The Anorexic Nature of Austerity

photo_11944257_an-icon-image-austerity-package-with-dollar-bill-and-tape-measure

Choosing to not eat has long been recognised as a mental health disorder that is more about taking control than about weight management. Each refused bite of nourishment may feel like success in the moment, but long term health prospects diminish by the day: too many are lost or damaged to consider “anorexia” a healthy strategy.

Every time I see an affluent and influential talking-head on TV suggest that “we” should take control in the short term by refusing to spend on those things that nourish this body of citizens, I am reminded of how dysfunctional, destructive, and seductive success in the moment can be: I believe “austerity” is an economic mental health disorder.

For the sake of ALL Americans, Congress needs to do some healthy, long term thinking. NOW.

Advertisements

Managing the Debt Ceiling Is Like Getting Dressed

Image


Some mornings my son, now a father, woke up in such a tizzy that he wanted to bicker about everything. I fondly recall the morning he wanted to argue about whether or not he should zip up his jeans.

Watching the House vote this morning, it occurred to me that managing the debt ceiling is a lot like zipping: they both amount to finishing the job.

My son decided zipping his jeans was a good idea when I showed him how his pants would fall down if he didn’t. Just like the time to work through the “to-zip-or-not-to zip” question was before my kindergartner left the bedroom, it seems to me the time to discuss the debt ceiling is EVERY TIME we approve a budget.

What we do now is metaphorically wait until we find our jeans around our ankles, and then try to put the blame for our public embarrassment on someone else.

[Photo credit unavailable, I am sorry to say.]

Bogarumba: frantic dancing to imaginary music


AngryWoman

I have used the term Bogarumba for 30 years to describe the private-interest mischief used to confuse, manipulate, and distance real people from meaningful participation in the American political process. So much more than “wag the dog”, it includes every known strategy to control the narrative so that we (the people) spin off in ungrounded debate – planting flags, taking positions, never to find common ground – while the narrative creators have their way with the law of the land.

Funded by a crescendo of tax cuts leaving mountains of money in the hands of the few and their pet lobbies, they have launched fake science, blocked research, and created an infusion of “common knowledge” that is based upon private objectives, creating a barrier to our solving old problems in new ways: the very definition of American ingenuity.

Before any reader decides this is an attack on one party or another, let me be clear that this is an attack on the influence of cash on this republic’s democracy, regardless who plays the game. This is a cry for first, Campaign Finance Reform, as a tool to get our elected out of the financial death grip of monied interests (allowing the elected to represent voters rather than dollars), and second, Tax Code Reform that properly channels American wealth into a legitimate form of participation in the American political process.

Anticipating our recognition of these barriers, well paid spin doctors have prepared a plethora of alienating talking points and logic pathways to keep us apart. Our only defense is for each of us to ask ourselves the simple question, “is there life after kool-aid?”, can we each describe to ourselves the America we seek, and then come together to address the multitude of issues we face as a nation?

I say we can. This is what the Coffee Party is all about.

Tax Cuts and Date Night

Parents know that when the kids begin to date, school nights are out and weekends are in. There are exceptions, of course, but we know that kids need sleep if they are going to try to learn something in the morning.

I say peace and prosperity tax cuts are just like date night: they should only happen when the conditions are appropriate. The continuation of these tax cuts during time of war and recession makes about as much sense as letting your kids go to a rave the night before their final exams.

And, as every parent knows, once it looks like the exception has become  the rule, you have a battle on your hands that you may never really win.

But when I try to be the adult in the room and point out the obvious about tax cuts (that the conditions are not right, and the exception has become the rule), you would think I was standing in the lunch line at school badmouthing the rave:  the “partiers” doth protesteth too much, methinks.

America Run Like A Business: No Debt Ceiling “Emergency”

Attention, people who want America to be run like a business! Do not believe the fiction about to spew forth about the contrived debt ceiling “emergency”.

This retired business owner knows a few things about running a successful enterprise. If America were my business, hunkering-down (austerity) would not be my go-to solution.

The first thing I would do is end discounts I could not afford: think tax cuts (discounts), tax loopholes (discounts), and subsidies (discounts + refunds + incentives that can exceed the cost of the product)!

The second thing I would do is realistically price my product (reevaluate taxes). After a decade of unfunded war, should we add a war tax?  And the Medicare D non-compete giveaway: should we add tax to cover it or reconsider that decision? There are many pricing issues to discuss, but those two alone amount to $Billions per year.

While cost savings are always appropriate, cutting back on the American product line before doing the first two steps is just bad business. Why discount and underprice America out of existence? This is a revenue crisis, not a debt crisis.

My recommendation to Congress: the market (taxpayers)  having received the greatest value from discounts etc. in the last 10 years is well positioned to absorb a cost increase. End the dysfunctional discounting practices immediately. Recognize the national debt as predominantly unfunded war debt and plan for repayment accordingly.

Preserve the product line: the American way of life.