Weekend Update 01-14-2012

This post contains a really good and very short summary of the Tax Policy Center analysis of the Romney tax plan. Basically the well-to-do will pay less in taxes, the working poor will pay more, and overall revenue will decline. Overall revenue declining will either increase the debt or increase the overall burden on all but the wealthiest Americans as programs and services on which they rely are dismantled or slashed. But those are the same features of every Republican tax plan. I can only conclude that those who aren’t rich and vote Republican either want to pay more to fund more handouts to large corporations and wealthy Americans or they don’t know math or they suffer under the delusion that they will be part of the wealthiest, privileged class in our country so eventually this will benefit them. None of the math required to understand the impact of these plans is particularly difficult. Certainly by middle school we expect our children to be able to do math at this level. So I really don’t understand it.

This is an interesting site where you can find the #1 song on any particular past date. Want to know what the top pop song was on the day you were born?

Americans are more likely than citizens of other nations to believe they live in a meritocracy. It’s mostly fantasy. It’s actually harder now to move up from one economic class to higher ones here than pretty much all the European nations. I will note that, though I don’t see how it can possibly help him win the GOP nomination, Jon Huntsman openly acknowledges and tries to discuss that fact. I’ll also note that Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt are my two favorite American presidents. I’ve read and studied them both extensively. I’m sure any time a modern Republican tries to associate the views of either of those great presidents with the current incarnation of the GOP, they roll over in their graves. Teddy Roosevelt would, indeed, most definitely not approved.

Who fires whom? Romney’s gaffe was all over the news. Frankly, I also thought it was even worse taken in context. Health insurance doesn’t work that way. The fact that Romney thinks it does, even after implementing health care reform when he was a governor, exposes a man who is frighteningly out of touch with the reality of those of us who haven’t been shielded by millions and hundreds of millions of dollars our entire lives. At the bottom of this post, Krugman points out that the lack of empathy Romney evinces does not come simply from his life of privilege. FDR, after all, also lived a life sheltered by wealth and privilege. But FDR could still empathize with those who did not. It doesn’t appear that Romney can do the same.

A business is not like a national economy. That would seem obvious, but apparently it’s not. An economy is also not like a household budget, I’ll add. It’s not just that these comparisons are inadequate metaphors; they are actually misleading and will lead you to the wrong conclusions about the best actions to take. Krugman expands on that point in his column.

Democrats are not anti-market. In truth, politicians always have a tendency to lie, tell half-truths, and distort the truth. That’s been true for as long as there have been politicians. In our history as a country, though, it’s been less common for us to have one party so completely surrender to the temptation of propaganda and fabrication that almost every time an overwhelming majority in the party speak it’s a lie or distortion. While you can find fringe people in every group, the Democratic party is hardly anti-market and never has been. They simply disagree with Republicans on the best way to help markets function well. On the whole, the historical data leans more in favor of the Democratic assertions about the role of governments in a market economy than the Republican assertions. Perhaps that’s why the wheels are coming off the GOP. When your view of what reality ought to be slips significantly from what reality actually is, perhaps a reliable sense of truth is one of the first victims. If you don’t believe me, just fact-check Romney’s stump speech.

I’m pro-woman too. (And pro-child and sometimes even pro-man.) I’m glad that my wife and daughters and daughter-in-law can vote, own property, have a professional career (if desired), and in general, at least in theory, have the same rights and privileges and responsibilities that I do, which definitely makes me a “feminist” by any meaningful definition. I wouldn’t want to live in any other world. But in our modern world, with everything structured as it is, abortion is a hard topic with no easy or absolute answers. Unfortunately, it’s rare that you’ll see anyone on either ‘side’ of the debate confess that reality. More than anything else, that’s why I deeply appreciated Sarah’s post. I commented at length as a result. Oh, and there’s a Princess Bride reference in the post. How can you not love that?

I like spoken word in general and there are places scattered here and there in the video where I empathize with the things he’s saying. But I find I tend to agree more with Fr. Andrew. Watch the video and then read the post. Elizabeth Esther shares similar thoughts. And here’s another post on it from Sarah Moon. Decide for yourself.

The Moral Hazard Myth. This is an article from 2005 a friend sent me. It captures extremely well many of the things completely wrong with treating health care coverage like car insurance (which at its core is what Republicans are doing).

It’s true that Orthodoxy doesn’t have anything if you take out the “God-talk”, but I still enjoyed this post.

This entry was posted in Weekend Update. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
%d bloggers like this: