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Weekend Update 06-11-2011

Posted: June 11th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Weekend Update | Comments Off on Weekend Update 06-11-2011

As good an explanation as any I’ve seen for why Washington isn’t doing a thing about jobs.

She texted. We kicked her out. And then she left Alamo Drafthouse the gift of a wonderful advertisement in the form of a voicemail! As the week progressed, this one seemed to go viral — as well it should. Tim League responds to the widespread attention.

This church sign war is hilarious. I judge it a clear win for the Catholics.

Wednesday was World IPv6 Day and things went pretty smoothly.

Vouchercare Is Not Medicare. Indeed, the GOP’s attack on Medicare looks to me like a carefully designed lie. (Hardly surprising from the party who made political gains last year in large part due to Politifact’s 2010 Lie of the Year.) And it was a multi-layered lie. First, it’s a blatant lie that those of us younger than 55 would ever receive anything vaguely like the benefits provided by Medicare. That lie has been debunked so thoroughly from so many sources, I’m surprised Republicans are still buying it. But the more subtle lie was that those who are 55 and older would get to keep the Medicare plan they currently have. That was a cynical attempt by the GOP to retain the support of senior voters on whom they depend, but it failed on two levels. Apparently, none of the Republican politicians grasped the fact that most people, seniors included, don’t just care about themselves. Most people care about their brothers, sisters, children, nephews, nieces, and grandchildren. In fact, it’s my experience that seniors, if anything, care more deeply about the welfare of their family. In something as critical as this, it was and is delusional for the GOP to think that self-interest would win the day. However, the lie goes deeper than that and seniors, as one of the more politically savvy segments of our population, saw right through that lie as well. The promise that they would keep the benefits they were currently receiving was always an empty promise. As the two-tier system developed, with more and more Americans thrown into poverty as they age (the way they were before Medicare) continuing to provide “gold-plated” benefits to some and not to others would be politically unsustainable. That’s especially true since those negatively impacted will have paid into the existing Medicare for decades for benefits they won’t receive. Republicans, despite frequent appearance to the contrary, are not so stupid that they don’t grasp that reality. Fortunately, our seniors aren’t that stupid either. At this juncture, it amazes that there are still enough people in our country willing to vote for Republicans that it remains a viable political party. But then, I’m told I constantly over-estimate people. I guess it’s true. The plan seems like a certain loser and an albatross around Republicans’ necks.

The gluten-free girl was in Austin for a conference and blogged a report! Cool beans.

When you deny the benefit of “going through the motions” in the practice of our faith, you deny our bodies and physical nature. Sometimes, it’s those motions which keep us moving. Moreover, how can we say we do anything that doesn’t involve our bodies? Preston Yancey captures that in locomotion.

The cost of cancer treatments put them out of reach of many. Not that there’s anything wrong with our health care system …

Of course, the noisy tea baggers don’t really care about the deficit or they would care about very easy to understand graphs like these.

Devil’s Ink is modern day version of Screwtape. I liked the post here on a video of Ryan refusing a Bible.

This poll is interesting. I’m not convinced that anyone in Washington will pay attention, but it is interesting. So far our politicians have seemed intent on repeating the mistakes of the past. Personally, I think any potential depression will probably look more like the Long Depression than the Great Depression, but the indications seem pretty clear that we remain at risk of some sort of depression.

So. Turkey, Chile, and Mexico do have lower total taxes as a share of GDP than we do, but that’s about it out of major developed countries. It looks good until you add in total health care expenditures. Suddenly, we don’t look so great after all. But instead of sharing the burden across society, we let it crush those who get seriously ill. And who among us believes we will go our whole lives without anyone in our family getting seriously ill?

So, on the 10th anniversary of the Bush tax cuts, what have they achieved? 38% of the benefit went to the top 1%, while the top 20% received 65% of the benefits from the tax cut. The worst decade of job growth since WWII. Income stagnation for all but the wealthiest Americans, who saw their income and wealth soar. Did they create a smaller government? No. We entered two wars, added Medicare Part D, and government spending as a share of GDP grew, essentially on credit. (Of course, that growth as share of GDP was immensely helped by the anemic growth in the GDP during the years of the Bush tax cuts.) I don’t think a “smaller government” is any sort of benefit in a generic sense. (What did you shrink and what impact did that have?) But it was one of Bush’s own measures and claims for his tax cuts and it obviously failed. So by Bush’s own measures, his tax cuts were a dismal failure. They failed every publicly voiced measure. Of course, if his unvoiced measures were really about increasing the concentration of wealth (and concomitant power) of his rich family, friends, and acquaintances then he succeeded wildly. So was he lying about his goals or was he merely inept? Those seem to be the two options available. Of course, they aren’t mutually exclusive.

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