Today I spent part of the day trying to figure out if the economy really is improving. Of course, there was all the ceremonies down in Washington about the new 112th Congress, with the Republicans in charge of the House (241-194) and with added minority strength in the Senate.
I can’t stand to watch this shit hardly anymore. I caught 15 seconds of John Boehner, or one of them, saying about how it’s the People’s house and “we have to do the people’s business” or some shit like that, and I thought, “well, you bought-and-paid-for asshole. You’re going to do the people’s business, eh? You can’t deliver on 15% of the lying-assed promises you guys made to get the 241 seats.”
Particularly, one big problem is that a lot of federal spending happens in “red” Republican districts, but the tax money generally gets raised in “blue” Democratic ones. People really don’t know about this very much, but it’s those rock-ribbed conservative states where a lot of families hardly pay $2,000 federal tax, but get these massive federal subsidies (farm subsidies, military base spending) funneled into their states. It’s easy to be against federal spending when no one is pointing out what’s coming into your neighborhood.
That goes double for fixing the federal budget deficit. Right now, the feds collect about 16% of the GDP in taxes, and spend 26%. The difference of 10% is the deficit.
Let’s put trillion numbers on that:
Maybe GDP is 14 trillion. So:
3.64 trillion is spending;
2.24 trillion is tax collections; and thus,
1.4 trillion is the deficit.
The Republicans keep mouthing off that this is unsustainable in the long run, and, in fact, no shit, Sherlock. But what they don’t do is produce a list of what can be cut to get rid of the 1.4 trillion number, the deficit. If the budget were to be balanced, the feds have to stop spending the 1 point 4 trillion. But there is no list. The Republicans haven’t produced anything.
I say, they have no credibility until they show what is getting axed to make up the 1.4 trillion. Particularly, what is coming out of red districts? The blue districts and the blue states are pulling more of their own weight, so what do the Republicans say they are going to cut in districts that vote for Republicans?
Responsible people would be very clear that eliminating the deficit is going to require spending cuts AND tax increases. Since the weight went towards tax cuts for the wealthy with the Bush-era Congresses, obviously the gap is going to have to be filled in that direction, too. But these people aren’t very responsible, which makes it hard to watch them on TV.
[Update: Right now, the federal deficit spending is a freebee. The government runs its $100 billion a month deficits, and the Federal Reserve Bank, via Quantitative Easing 2, buys up $5 or $6 billion a trading day (about the same $100 billion a month). So the deficit is being monetized. But that sort of thing can’t really go on forever, either, without there being ramifications. This is the thing the Republicans don’t seem to understand. They talk tough, but they bring nothing to the table to solve problems. Just the hot air.]
[Update #2: Look how long some of these guys have served, by the way. Impressive. Two are in there from before I was born.]