Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Simple but not Easy

We have two important problems, the solutions to which are basically simple, but alas, not easy. Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize winning economist I much admire (along with Robert Reich), has written a book about how simple it would be to end the depression we are currently in by taking some relatively simple steps. The impasse that exists in Congress can likewise be broken by relatively simple steps. Neither of these problems is likely to be solved easily, in both cases for the same reasons.

Krugman pointed out that had we not reduced state budgets so dramatically and thereby fired large numbers of policemen, firemen, teachers, social workers, and others, the employment rate would still be somewhere approaching normal (I think 4 to 5% is considered normal). These state budget s were, of course, slashed by over-zealous conservative Republican Governors and state governments taken over in 2010 by extreme right-wing activists, introducing what we now call “austerity” driven motives. It would be a relatively simple matter to restore the funds allocated to the states that would allow them to rehire all the worker s they have laid off, a situation that would have almost immediate positive effects on the unemployment figures, to say nothing of quickly improving the economy as these workers would now be able to essentially re-enter the economy by having purchasing power and thus stimulate the creation of even more jobs. While this is theoretically possible and even easy it is not likely to happen.

The gridlock in Congress is similarly amendable to a simple solution. The basic problem is well-known, Republican intransigence. They announced from day one of the Obama administration they would not cooperate and also said publicly their number one priority was to ensure that Obama would be a one-term President. They have followed this strategy faithfully, the result being that virtually no positive steps to improve the economy have been possible. Now, having blocked all of Obama’s attempts to move the country forward they have the audacity to insist he has failed. This is hypocrisy carried to a level not often seen.

In principle the solution to these problems should also be simple. Actually it is, but it is by no means easy. The way to creating jobs and solving the unemployment picture, as well as solving the dreadful gridlock in Congress, is to get rid of Republican Senators and Congresspersons, particularly those identified with the Tea Party that have been the source of the pigheaded refusal to govern and thus brought about this do-nothing Congress. Congress, now effectively controlled by right-wing extremists, has not allowed any action to be taken on reducing unemployment, global warming, , or improving the economy. As long as they remain in office this situation is not going to change. These are urgent matters but cannot be handled as such because of our democratic process. Not only does it take time to remove such useless characters, it also takes enough votes to get rid of them. In this case you might think this would be easy as they are so obviously both guilty and useless, but strangely, the voting public cannot be depended on to vote intelligently, especially after months, even years of right-wing propaganda telling them that black is white, up is down, wrong is right, and that Mitt Romney is actually someone who should be President. While these problems are urgent the democratic process is not designed for urgency. We must wait for the next election no matter how much harm can occur in the meanwhile.

Breaking news: I have just learned that Republicans are going to introduce a one hundred million dollar item in their budget proposal to begin a missile defense system for the East coast. They wish to begin a project for a missile defense system that doesn’t work to protect us from long range missiles from Iran that do not exist, carrying nuclear weapons that also do not exist, and is something that would never happened even if all of these did exist. The Republican mind is a strange thing to behold, assuming that it, too, exists. They will probably want to pay for this by closing all orphanages and letting the orphans fend for themselves, or charging veterans for their wheelchairs and seeing-eye dogs. Sigh! So it is here in the great “Beacon on the Hill.”

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.

Oscar Wilde

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