A Credible Downgrade?

On Friday Standard & Poor’s lowered the AAA credit rating of the United States. The new credit rating is now AA+ and it marks the first time in history that the U.S. has had its credit rating lowered. It probably doesn’t even need mention that this will serve as political ammunition for opponents to President Obama. It will be beside the point that the Republicans use of the debt ceiling for political advantage is the only reason the United States came precariously close to a first ever default on its financial obligations.

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Balance We Can’t Believe In

A balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution has been floated before. Let me state emphatically that it’s a stupid idea. I’m all for conscientious spending of tax dollars but a balanced budget amendment means that in a time of national emergency (natural or man-made disaster) we could not spend the money required to address the emergency at hand unless we could balance the books in the process. But if there is one silver lining, we wouldn’t have had the two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) had there been a balanced budget amendment at the time.

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What Does It Mean To Be A Liberal?

We are witnessing a consolidation of the political left (liberal) and political right (conservative) into distinct parties in America, and I believe this has brought about confusion in political self-identity. People tend to stick with the political party of their parents and close relatives. So even people who hold a liberal view on a particular issue, may still vote for a Republican when they step into the voting booth.

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Budget Debate Nonsense

The current government budget debate is an argument over pennies instead of an adult conversation over dollars. This highlights a fundamental issue that it’s near impossible for people holding temp jobs (elected officials) to solve the really big, long term problems our country faces. There is no real talk about cuts to the big entitlement programs or tax increases to help solve our budget deficit because to do so is seen as political suicide. So instead politicians go after the low hanging fruit in the hopes that the “dumb” American public will be happy that something was done. Then those politicians can run a campaign in the next election saying they cut spending and didn’t raise your taxes. The budget items being discussed don’t amount to much in the way of savings. Cutting funding to public radio (or other low hanging fruit) equates to a family debating whether they should buy a name brand product over a store brand product when instead they really should be discussing whether they need a fancy car or that expensive tropical vacation. I think the real problem is that nobody is paying attention. The average person in this country doesn’t pay very much attention to government, politicians or much of anything that they don’t perceive to have a direct and immediate impact on their lives. Politicians know this and that’s why they go after the low hanging fruit because they know that most people only hear quick sound bites and then move on. So if they can say they cut spending and didn’t raise taxes, to the average citizen that sounds like a good deal and will then reward that politician with another term. There needs to be an awakening in this country. More people need to start paying closer attention to what is actually going on in this country and in the world.

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