Friday, January 29, 2010

State of the Union: part II

There's a saying: "When you're a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail." Obama's rhetoric is his hammer, and he seems to be assuming that his problems will go away if he says some things very well. In his recent State of the Union speech, he was alternately serious, jovial, angry and "soaring" in his rhetoric. (I guess "soaringly rhetorical" is one of his epithets, like "grey-eyed" for Athena" or "devious" for Odysseus. Would that Obama were a bit of the latter!) But a lot of what he says just doesn't make sense.

First is this "budget freeze." This simply flies in the face of what nearly every economist thinks is reasonable. It's not just Krugman, though he puts the case very well in today's Times. What we need is more economic stimulus in the near term to bring down the terrible unemployment literally terrorizing the country. We will need this stimulus for at least another year, probably more. I personally think that aid to cities and towns should be a major part of any such Federal spending. In any case, a freeze on non-defense and non-"entitlement" (terrible word, a favorite of the PTR), even if it won't occur until next budget cycle, is exactly what we don't need. If anything, the tons of wasteful defense spending could be cut and transferred to the more efficient, competitive and productive civilian sector.

Next, and even more inexplicable, it seems that Obama is still making noises about bipartisanship and claptrap like "it's time to try something new. Let's try common sense -- a novel concept." That thigh-slapper got him nothing from either side of the aisle. Is it possible that he truly believes that the PTR is interested in helping him solve problems? That they will give an inch on their belief in trickle-down voodoo economics, also known as tax cuts for the rich? Socialism for the rich, law of the jungle for everyone else. Like the Bourbons, they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. What part of beneath contempt doesn't Obama yet understand about them? It would be one thing if this talk of bipartisanship and "working together to solve America's problems" were just chin music. But congressional Democrats are getting increasingly annoyed that the President is not laying out a concrete strategy to get his program -- especially healthcare -- passed. A lot of them have to face re-election pretty soon, and they need leadership, not talk.

And then, finally, there were actual sops to the PTR: incentives for oil and gas development -- as if the booming oil industry needs a bailout -- as well as accelerated construction of new nuclear plants -- as if any state, much less red ones like Utah, have agreed to accept waste products with a half-life of 20,000 years -- and the oxymoronic "clean coal" chimaera -- as if there were any such affordable feasible process. This stuff is throwing money at problems of the type that the PTR can understand, but no one else can.

Has our great orator become totally unhinged?

What part of "the PTR is beneath contempt" doesn't he understand?

(I encourage everyone to use PTR -- Party of The Rich -- instead of the misnomer G.O.P.)

No comments:

Post a Comment