After sequester, Armageddon fatigue sets in
The morning of Sequester Day, I was standing in Starbucks behind a guy whose byzantine (read: douchebaggy) coffee order was, I thought, likely to be filled around the same time Iran figured out how to enrich weapons-grade uranium.
The place was buzzing with activity, with maybe a dozen or more folks waiting in line or at the pickup counter for drinks whose collective worth roughly equaled the GDP of Uzbekistan and whose dairy content surpassed that of a traditional Chilton dowry. (Americano, brother. Hot, no sugar, no room for cream. Once a week. That’s how vegan badasses roll.)
I thought, "well, those are a lot of unnecessary and frivolous purchases for the citizens of a country that’s supposedly on the verge of financial disaster." It made me wonder if people are simply fed up with the political brinkmanship that’s been part and parcel of the political process the past two years and are determined to return to normalcy in spite of what Washington does.
First we had the debt ceiling crisis, then the fiscal cliff, and now the sequester. The instinct that we need to bend the debt curve downward is certainly a good one (the deficit is falling, by the way, though it’s hard to see that through the fog of brutal congressional tickle fights). But come on. You’ve got to make sure the patient is really better before you discontinue his antibiotic course.
The Republican strategy on the economy appears to be this: Elect a president who spends like a maniac on wars and handouts to the pharmaceutical companies and focuses his energies on implementing tax breaks for the extremely wealthy. Fail to properly regulate the economy and preside over a gruesome recession. Allow a Democrat to take over, suddenly discover the deficit he inherited ($1.2 trillion estimated by the Congressional Budget Office for 2009 before he ever drew breath in the Oval Office), and immediately browbeat him about his free-spending ways, using the deficit (which was largely a result of lower tax receipts and automatic spending increases caused by the recession that started on his predecessor’s watch) to prevent the implementation of adequate stimulus spending. Continually hoist the Sword of Damocles over government expenditures (while threatening the country’s ability to pay its bills), freaking out the population and dimming the economy’s prospects for growth. Rinse and repeat.
As for the Democrats? Alas, these clowns are allowing it all to happen.
Of course, the longer this dance goes on, the more tiresome it becomes. Add in the meteors, resigning popes, vague threats from dead Mayans, and nattering Bible Belt rapture-bots, which have all failed so far to herald anything remotely like an apocalypse, and the Armageddon talk is quickly losing its ability to strike fear into anyone.
Growing the economy is the best way to deal with our deficit problem. (The relevant metric is really spending as a percentage of GDP, and while that did go up under Obama’s watch, it was almost entirely a result of the recession he didn’t start.)
Maybe going to Starbucks twice a week instead of once could be my way of keeping our economic engine going. I’ll skip the whipped cream and sprinkles, though. Blecch.
Eyes on the prize, Scott
I continue to be tickled by The State Journal’s unintentionally amusing headlines. (For some reason, the recent headline “Analyst: Walker’s policy ‘crazy’” got me giggling like a foppish little lad in a sweets shop. There may be a gas leak in here.)
The latest is “Walker: Voucher bill a priority.” For some reason, my prepubescent mind immediately traveled to Buddy the Elf’s declaration that “smiling’s my favorite.” His boss’s response? “Make work your favorite; that’s your favorite.”
Scott, make jobs your priority. That’s your priority.
Last week, Walker said this in response to questions about a possible presidential run:
“If I’m doing a really crappy job, that stops anybody from talking about me. If we continue to do a good job, if we continue to see improvement, people talk. Whether or not anything ever comes of it, who knows?”
Apparently, Walker is now the governor of Bizarro Wisconsin, and if the state continues on its current trajectory, he may one day consider running for president of Bizarro U.S.
“Goodbye. Me create many, many jobs. Me not crappy governor. Hello.”
Sign up for the free IB Update – your weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. Click here. If you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.