The State of American Politics

  • OptimusMatt

    Posts: 1124

    Feb 22, 2012 5:04 PM GMT
    You know, I watch a lot of U.S. politics even though I'm up here in Canada-land - like everything else, America exports their politics...for a premium, of course +P

    It's REALLY sad to see the state of the GOP, especially as someone who would consider himself more conservative than anything else.

    Case in point - the payroll tax cut and stimulus spending in general. The tax-cut itself is NOT a "pro-growth" strategy. Like, at all. What it IS is a band-aid measure. I don't say this as criticism but as a fairly obvious truth - this gives people who already have jobs a bit of extra money with the idea that they "will" spend it, but if you look at say, the price of gas, which has been consistently increasing, the $1000 or so a person is saving is really just kind of offsetting the increases in basic spending. So no real "new" spending actually occurs, just a bit of a pillow for people to offset the increasing costs of living.
    When you compare it to say, creating a new $45000/year job (which isn't an awesome salary but is fine for the sake of this argument) every last dollar is put somewhere in the system - be it in rent, utilities, commodities, or even savings in the bank (which then boosts the bank by granting them more capital to play with "in the larger sense"). The payroll tax cut doesn't compare. It's a bandaid solution.

    ok, so that's the general idea that the republican party espouses, right? Also that it's gimping the safety net.

    But the losses are being offset by treasury spending, so really the security net isn't being affected at all. And if this is a temporary measure then it's already agreed that it is not THE solution - but it DOES give you time to come up with a non-bandaid solution. (Which is, of course, complete tax reform coupled with intelligent spending cuts).

    Here's where the GOP are shooting themselves in the foot - stimulus spending. There ARE things the government needs to both do and have done. One of those things would be road maintenance. If there's a need in America to fix its road systems, then joint ventures between the Federal and State governments could be put into place to fix those roads up - thereby spending money on things that the government should be spending money on, AND causing private business to bolster their ranks in an entire line of industry across the entire country. The government isn't running the construction industry, it's contracting out. To private business. A very direct way for the government to do something that needs to be done (fixing roads) at a time when the construction industry could use the business. You WILL have to fix the roads at some point, so why not consider doing it when the industry could REALLY use some help? These aren't houses, these are roads that are already in use every day, and this is an idea that both makes sense and resonates with the American population in general.

    Now, the # 1 issue with this is the question of "where's the money going to come from?" The country can't afford to keep hemorrhaging money it doesn't really have - and this makes sense. But you're going to have to fix those roads at some point...

    But then the repubs completely alienate middle america by pointing to tax cuts as the solution to the woes America finds itself in. Because decreasing revenue is really going to help with the massive deficit. And if it's not ok to spend tax revenue on roads and bridges and infrastructure in general, why is it ok to cut a bunch of money out of the revenue stream entirely in the form of tax breaks (for whomever).

    The counter to the above statement is, of course, spending cuts. Because America should live within it's means. Really, all countries should. And I do agree that the fat should be trimmed, as it were. But America is SO big that it's a really daunting task to go through each department, 1 by 1, and figure out what's working and what isn't. What you can live with losing, and what you cannot. But you know whenever a repub says "deep spending cuts are required" they're not talking about intelligent overhaul, but instead just slash and burn.

    Democrats are not a lot better - true streamlining of the government would be such a big job, I think it's kind of like one of those lazy Saturday afternoon scenarios where you KNOW you've got to rake the leaves in the yard and mow the lawn but it just seems like so much effort and your couch is VERY comfortable. So you drag your heels, keep telling yourself that you'll do it a little later, just 1 more hour, etc. Which is NOT ok - DO YOUR DAMN JOB DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT. Even if you think it's not going to pass, DO YOUR DAMN JOB AND COME UP WITH A PLAN. And not an election-year grab-bag for everyone, but an actual plan on tax reform, with real thought in it.

    So that's my take on the dems, now on the repubs:

    There's no trust for the repub establishment anymore, and instead of having frank, honest discussions with congress and with the american people, all anyone ever seems to do are stump speeches with vitriolic rhetoric about red herring social issues.They all pontificate about their faith and about how Obama's failed, but not one of them have come up with a plan to do anything but cripple the country's revenue streams. The projections of the plans put forth by the repub candidates indicate that they are not solid and will very likely do serious harm to the ability of government to do it's job.

    The repubs had a chance to win this election, but the upper eschelons seem to be so bat-shit stupid they're pretty much alienating every independent voter they come in contact with. Personhood amendments? 30 % of pregnancies spontaneously miscarriage within the first trimester - it's unfortunate but a fact of nature. This whole contraception thing, while they started off on the political moral high ground (government intrusion into personal life) it warped right on over to the chauvinistic, male right and back on track to alienating people all over again.

    If 98% of catholic women use birth control, then it implies that 98% of catholic men do to. Regardless of who puts on the condom, the two of you are benefiting from it, ya know? Same with the pill - if your wife is using the pill, you might not be using a condom but you're not using a condom because you've already used your preferred method of birth control, which is in the form a pill for your wife.

    The repubs have gone SO far right it seems like it's impossible to support them at all. Which is sad, because I hear some of the things that Paul Ryan (as an example) says that make complete sense and are very much in line with my own thoughts on fiscal responsibility, but then it's peppered with this clearly obvious bias against those lower on the income scale. Voucher-izing medicare? Gee, I wonder how long it'll take for that to not be enough to buy anything decent in a for-profit, free-market healthcare system.

    Like I said, I'm a canadian who watches a LOT of U.S. politics, and I was watching Morning Joe today and I just needed to rant.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 22, 2012 6:26 PM GMT
    I remember in 2004 that the war in Iraq was the most important issue, but then on election day everyone voted based on gay rights and abortion, if not straight down party lines. I've also heard it said that most independents consistently vote as either Democrats or Republicans. This leads me to believe that economic policy positions aren't very important when it comes to actual elections.

    You said the Democrats should put out a budget even if it won't pass, but the truth is it won't even be voted on by the Republican house. There's no practical point in that. You can write a million bills, but if you know none will be voted on, why bother? True, they should have done it when they had both houses, but what's done is done (or not done).