As usual, I am up early, I wake up and can’t get back to sleep from thinking, thinking, thinking.
Like a tiger pacing in a cage, David goes to the front door every five minutes to see if Mohammed has delivered the Saturday papers. Once more I tell him, “You know he sleeps in on Saturday.” David began pacing at 5:30 AM. He wants to see the latest poll results.
I am happy he is so interested in what is happening in the world of politics, but don’t want him to blow a gasket if his guy loses. David’s biggest concern at the moment is the military sequestration. It was Obama’s idea to cut defense spending. This means big cuts to our military budget.
In all likelihood the sequestration will result in troop cuts, out-of-work veterans and a big hit on the labor force because vets have rights that allow them to precede others when it comes to jobs. That is if the vets can find jobs to get preference in. Things don’t look that good at present.
The big corporations like Lockheed and Raytheon have strategically placed parts of their business in key Congressional Districts. Do you think the Congress people (both Democrat and Republican) with defense operations in their districts will approve the White House plan if it cuts Defense contractor spending? No, I fear the cuts will land on the troops, who are predominantly Southern boys and girls, although many come from other areas hit by the Recession. Troop cuts fall disproportionately on the less well off who actually fight our wars.
The dirty little secret is that there is no such thing as a Peace Dividend. Our economy is so entwined with our national defense spending, that cutting it is almost impossible. People lament the passing of the Space Program, but the Defense programs are far more important when it comes to our economic health. For example, most of the telecommunications gadgets you use today are the result of Defense spending on research and development.
How do we get out of the debt and deficit mess? We will need to do it one small step at a time. It’s just like getting sober or losing weight, there are no overnight fixes. If you lose weight quickly, you will most certainly will either have a health crises or gain the weight back very quickly, or both.
If you stop drinking alcohol quickly, you can die without medical assistance in the form of drugs to ease you down from the drugs and/or alcohol. I learned this when David worked in different drug and alcohol treatment programs around the city. He also went through 3 drug and alcohol treatment programs before he got sober 33 years ago.
Although some have criticized the Romney-Ryan plan for proposed cuts in entitlement spending, the point to understand is that their proposals call for cuts that take place slowly over time. These cuts are to be phased in so slowly, that some conservatives, like David Stockman, have complained the cuts don’t do enough quickly enough. But its the only way to reduce spending and not destroy the economy.
The so-called budget surplus of the Clinton years was largely an accounting gimmick . Funds in the form of government bonds held for the Social Security Trust Fund were used to offset the budget deficits that occurred hidden from sight. The practice continued under Bush, but now the chickens have come home to roost under Obama.
The long and the tall of it is that there is no free lunch. We get what we pay for. Now that we seniors who are on Social Security want our due in the form of monthly checks. The federal government is now buying back the bonds by printing money. That’s what Bernanke’s Quantitative Easing is all about. Of course printing money is what brought the Weimar Republic to its knees back in the late 1920s.
Despite all the hype, the US government owes more to its own citizens than to China. Both of us are about to be paid in inflated dollars. I knew I should have stayed in bed.
Three of my Aunts at a family picnic at a park in Wisconsin on Lake Michigan.
Above sister Shelly and me with 3 cousins (we are the tall girls); David with cousin Peter and his father Uncle Sylvester at the picnic.