The Crazies versus the Sleepwalkers - Big Budget Showdown

By Michael Collins


The Republican crazies are in a celebrity death match with sleepwalking Democrats. It is a fabricated drama amounting to not much of anything in terms of the nation's well being. The stakes are supposedly the shutdown of the United States government at midnight this Friday. But the most pressing issue isn't discussed on Capitol Hill.

Why can't anyone in a position of power mention the unmentionable? There have been no net new jobs in the United States since 2000. There were 137 million employed citizens that year. There are 139 million employed citizens today. This comes into clear focus when you consider the size of the workforce for 2000 and 2010; 143 million versus 154 million respectively. There are actually fewer jobs in proportion to the workforce.

Isn't this a worthy topic? Shouldn't the story be carried nightly on a major network with a title like: Jobless America, Day 4000

Apparently not. Congress and the Chief Executive don't have to worry (they'll still get paid). Members of Congress have perpetual income once they've been initiated into the elect. If they win, the members, along with family and friends, do quite well. If they lose, they will likely do even better with a lobbying firm. The presidency represents the most spectacular welfare program ever. Lifetime guaranteed income, personal security details, free health care, and honoraria in the form of cash, and other benefits are a flow down a never-ending river of largesse.

Citizens have no such guarantee. Despite a willingness to do real work for long hours, at stagnant wages and shrinking benefits, nobody pays attention when more than twenty million or so are jobless.

Ignoring a jobless economy insures that an unacceptable problem for those who work, flat incomes over a decade, gets mentioned only in passing.

Celebrity Death Match

Instead of a serious, no holds barred effort to revive the economy for citizens, the Republican and Democratic wings of The Money Party are fighting over which bad budget will be adopted. The Republican budget would make Ebenezer Scrooge smile in his grave. They want to privatize Medicare, trash Medicaid, drop supports for the poorest of the poor, and dig the grave for Social Security.

Republican Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, is the mastermind behind this affront to the people, the Republican budget and the one-week bill debated now. Ryan's congressional biography says that, "he works to bring fiscal discipline and accountability to the federal government." Ryan worked in the private sector for less than two years as a marketing consultant for a family owned business while he completed his undergraduate degree

The 41-year-old budget expert never managed or owned a company. He has never met a payroll. From 1992 until his election to the House in 1998, he has worked either for US Senators or as a speechwriter for Republican luminaries. He served seven consecutive terms in Congress from 1999 through the present. Almost all of his professional experience is as a political aide or politician, nothing else.

Right now, the Republicans are on the floor of the House claiming that their one week compromise to avoid a government shutdown will allow "our troops" to be paid. Of course, the best gift to the troops would a return home from pointless wars overseas.

The Democrats are firing back that the Republicans should consider not just soldiers, but all citizens as they urge a broader settlement of the budget conflict. The Democrats are happy to give up most of the social contract between citizens and government, just not all of it. That would tarnish their image.

But neither side focuses on the core issue, citizens can't support themselves without jobs. The public can't support the government services it pays for and needs with twenty million able bodied citizens out of work. And those fortunate enough to have work, can't survive without wage increases, a problem that started before the jobless decade.

The Crazies versus the Sleepwalkers

There is but one party in the United States, the permanent institution known as The Money Party, the small group of enterprises and individuals who have most of the money in this country. They use that money to make more money by retaining ownership of the institutions of power.

The Republican and Democratic wings agree, in general, on key issues. They both favor: more wars; more defense spending; Wall Street bailouts; the ongoing evisceration of the Constitution; and other programs that benefit the very few at the expense of the many.

The adoption of Tea Party goals makes the Republicans the crazies, at least on a superficial level. A more accurate assessment takes into account that the Tea Party is the cynical creation of a fake populist movement by major corporate interests. The disaffected rank and file, many living on government pensions, don't realize that their antics are merely diversions that prop up the interests of their corporate backers.

The Democrats are the sleepwalkers and proud of it. President Obama never misses an opportunity to reach out and "embrace business," as he calls it. Not just any business will do. Obama's new pal is General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, recently in Japan to asses the situation with GE reactor failures at Fukushima or maybe look at off shoring more GE jobs.

The embrace of big business, big banks, and Wall Street, through their loyal servant, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, completes the White House landscape of all corporate all the time when the people need jobs, mortgage interest relief, and a return of the wealth transferred from their savings to the Wall Street faction so well represented in the White House.

Who will win in this latest drama on the Hill? It really doesn't matter. We all lose as long as we have two parties, separated by just a few degrees, that show consistent disrespect for reality and the people that they claim to serve.


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right on

This is so disgusting at this point, is there any law that says when the government is shut down all of these politicians simply lose their jobs and we get a new crop?

I think that law is hung up in committee;)

Nope, they get paid, the scallywags. They never miss a chance to proclaim their "exceptionalism" and entitlement. They pick every apple in the orchard and move on. They are the knights of the conference table, eating Henry VIII style and they never miss a meal. I could go on but they're not worth it. Those who don't vote and say, what's the point, they're all crooks, are right with very few exceptions.

Other than that, it's all good.

Yet none dare call it

repiglican budget actually quite poetic

or more likely the gop watched a movie with the allusion, "no country for old men" or women, yeats should have written had he been thinking about the united states senior population under the proposed budget. i caution the repubs to look at another poem, "ozymandias". imagine a vast empty desert with a crumbling statue of a tea bag.

if the center cannot hold, what of the rest of us?


Popular comment:)

The center cannot budge, as well. I like the comparison to "No Country for Old Men." The Republicans would like to think that they are the Javier Bardem character, Anton Chigurh, but they're really Josh Brolin's Llewelyn Moss. They think they've got the goods but they simply snagged the contraband and are headed for some real complications. I'm struggling to fit in Bardem to this event so I'll get back to you. Oh wait, he's the omnipresent representative of The Money Party!

Yeats also said

"all falls apart"

all recall the tax cuts for the rich

Last December. It's amazing how revenues never pop up.

And they could have acted a year ago

The Democrats had no need to wait until after the election, except that they did not want to confront minority power in the Senate. All they needed to do was vote on a House bill as it came to them, up or down, no reconciliation buzzwah. Why not?
I suspect a big part of the reason was ego ... and the institution of the Senate jealously guarding its powers that have extended far beyond what the Constitution allots them. Nearly as much of a disgrace to our Republic as the SCOTUS of the Citizens United case.

crazies and sleepwalkers

Well said.
The only thing that might change this unconscionable game is to somehow take
money out of elections (public campaign financing) and slush funds (campaign funds and jobs on their campaign committees).
But with the money at stake overall, good luck to us with that!

That would be great

Also figure out a way to get my re candidates, get rid of advertising and make it all about candidate debates, create laws that take news organizations off the air for blatant bias; and make the candidates sign a contract promising honesty and providing for immediate removal they steal or engage in nepotism.

this is over planned parenthood

If you can believe that! It's not about spending, it's about defunding their favorite targets. As far as I know planned parenthood provides low cost exams, might provide birth control but they are not abortion clinics as claimed.

So, we have the crazies going to screw military, soldiers, workers and the economy because they cannot stand giving anything to help women's health.

Unbelievable. These people should be locked up and let's just throw away the key.

Anyone reading this, make no mistake, neither side is tackling the actual deficit and that's because the biggest cost is the department of Defense.

Planned parenthood and EPA regulation of greenhouse gasses

It shows that budgets don't matter to Republicans. They'd rather interfere in a woman's right to control her reproductive health and have us all suck dirty air than balance a budget. For the Democrats, they just adore the Tea Party. It makes their half baked proposals look very appealing. "It's either us or the crazies? Who do you want in there?" Not them.

How about some intelligent, patriotic citizens who will problem solve and get things turned around?

Your budget analysis showed one real mind blower. The Republicans state outright that they want to privatize Medicare. That's something that would upset even AARP's executives. It's the great horror. I think that the so called "genius" of the budget (self proclaimed by Republicans) has written a love letter to Democratic campaign ad writers. That's stupid beyond belief, seriously.

What can we do?

What can we do?

Survival is looking good

There's growing interest these days in survival.

sleepwalking workers

Well I guess the biggest sleepwalker is American workers. With the recent exception of state unions e.g. teachers protesting very narrow issues e.g. collective bargaining, American workers are not only passive but keep reelecting the politicians you take issue with. Last I heard, AFL-CIO and Black folk are still supporting the Democrats and a great mass of workers support Republicans and Tea Party. So it seems that American workers have the government and economy they want.

Picking on Obama is cake for the masses

As Marie Antoinette supposedly said about the masses wanting bread, "Let them eat cake!"

The masses may not be asses, they may be the sleeping giant, but how can you tell the difference between the Leviathan's snores and the braying of a herd of donkeys?

Joe Sixpack may listen to Limpaw and decide to pick on Obama, but then Sally Sixpack may make a common-sense judgment that Obama is the bright spot in a gloomy night sky. Of the three branches, is the White House really the worst performer today? Of course, the SCOTUS of recent years is an outstanding disgrace with the Senate running a close second. Are the three branches in just another race to the bottom?

Myself, I think that the President seeks to respect the independence of the legisative branch and tries to perform according to what there is of the residual remains of a Constitutional ideal. The masses have no idea of how our government is supposed to function, according to Constitutional separation and balance of powers, but Obama does.

The media pseudo-elites appear to be more enthralled by the okeydoke than the masses they pretend to represent. I refer to the okeydoke of shock-doctrine effects that now underlie the paradigm of the Imperial Presidency that was foisted on us by way of US global hegemony following World War II (myth of "the most powerful man in the world").

Obama did what he could, went to considerable lengths in the summer of 2010, to retain Democratic control of the Congress. I caught myself smiling sardonically when I heard the President say that Americans will get the budget cuts they "want and deserve" (or words to that effect).

Nationally, the Republican National Committee controls the House of Representatives. Elections are rigged, more so in some states than in others. In Wisconsin, a GOP apparatchik invented thousands of votes out of nowhere to undermine the will of the people. And that's business as usual, attracting little comment in corporate media, which was very happy with the Wisconsin boohaha as a 'big story' earlier. The Republican National Committee is a huge and very successful money-making machine -- it uses images of ideologies in pursuit of further accumulation of wealth by its multiple masters and apparatchiks, but it represents no ideologies and has neither ideals nor realistic ideas.

Of course, Obama could PERHAPS have charted a very different course from the beginning (January 2009). I am not one of those who voted for him in 2008 out of wide-eyed naive expectations of great change in America despite the indifference and cynicism of most voters, including the majority who vote by not voting and who, with good reason, do not believe in the integrity of the vote-counting process.

Given that Obama is a political animal living in a political cage, can we reasonably expect him to do anything other than or better than what he is doing? I suspect that the President sees his role as contributing however he can to global social stability, but he is trying to do that as captain of a ship with a broken gyroscope and navigational system that is run by a corrupted and multiply-hacked computer.

Democrats, at best, are very slightly better. There's a little difference with the Progressive Caucus, just as there is with a few paleo-con Republicans, but none of them are currently proposing sane solutions to fundamental problems. Their positions are all based on obvious critiques of the okeydoke. But why bother even to discuss the okeydoke, except as history? Nobody today -- least of all Joe and Sally Sixpack -- really believes in it.

Well, maybe a few Tea Partiers still think that they believe in something, but about all they really agree on as national policy is that Obama is making a move to head up the New World Order and must be stopped at any cost.

I call that just more of the okeydoke. Cake for the masses.

Your best investment? Buy cake futures. I'm bullish on cake.

Gimmicks, not solutions, in the media spotlight

Spending caps are a gimmick, not a solution.

The balanced budget amendment is a complicated issue, but definitely no panacea. It's a band-aid non-cure for a systemic disease. (I support elimination of the Federal Reserve and monetary policy set by law per the Constitution. I subscribe to the American Monetary Institute.)

As for policy riders, they are part of the problem. No riders, no holds, no omnibus legislation, no earmarks. Clean legislation, issue by issue. That's how Congress should do its work. That's how members of Congress can be held responsible.

Australia has almost no public debt of any kind. We should set that as our goal for the USA. With across-the-board tariff (or VAT), it can be done over time. At this point in time in the USA, federal and other public debt should be the issue, not the debt ceiling.

Here's the equation of proportionality:

Just as term limits, for offices subject to regular elections, amounts to "STOP ME BEFORE I VOTE AGAIN!" for the electorate,


The balanced budget amendment or debt ceiling legislation amounts to "STOP ME BEFORE I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DUTIES I HAVE ACCEPTED UNDER THE CONSTITUTION" for members of the Congress!

The article above is very

The article above is very well written about the budget.
Nice Bar chart to show the up's and down's of the market.
The Money Party is also very well explained.
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