Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Debt ceiling "crisis" fallout...

Blah.  It hurts my head, but it is done for now.  Probably the only thing that was actually accomplished was Congress embarrassing the nation in the eyes of the world...

The Tea Party’s War on America - NYTimes.com

From the article:
These last few months, much of the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people. Their intransigent demands for deep spending cuts, coupled with their almost gleeful willingness to destroy one of America’s most invaluable assets, its full faith and credit, were incredibly irresponsible. But they didn’t care. Their goal, they believed, was worth blowing up the country for, if that’s what it took.

Like ideologues everywhere, they scorned compromise. When John Boehner, the House speaker, tried to cut a dealwith President Obama that included some modest revenue increases, they humiliated him. After this latest agreementwas finally struck on Sunday night — amounting to a near-complete capitulation by Obama — Tea Party members went on Fox News to complain that it only called for $2.4 trillion in cuts, instead of $4 trillion. It was head-spinning.

All day Monday, the blogosphere and the talk shows mused about which party would come out ahead politically. Honestly, who cares? What ought to matter is not how these spending cuts will affect our politicians, but how they’ll affect the country.

The President Surrenders on Debt Ceiling - NYTimes.com

From the article:
Republicans will supposedly have an incentive to make concessions the next time around, because defense spending will be among the areas cut. But the G.O.P. has just demonstrated its willingness to risk financial collapse unless it gets everything its most extreme members want. Why expect it to be more reasonable in the next round?

In fact, Republicans will surely be emboldened by the way Mr. Obama keeps folding in the face of their threats. He surrendered last December, extending all the Bush tax cuts; he surrendered in the spring when they threatened to shut down the government; and he has now surrendered on a grand scale to raw extortion over the debt ceiling. Maybe it’s just me, but I see a pattern here.

Are Your Political Opponents Crazy? - NYTimes.com

From the article:
Conservatives, for example, see business as primarily a source of social and economic good, achieved by the market mechanism of seeking to maximize profit. They therefore think government’s primary duty regarding businesses is to see that they are free to pursue their goal of maximizing profit. Liberals, on the other hand, think that the effort to maximize profit threatens at least as much as it contributes to our societies’ well-being. They therefore think that government’s primary duty regarding businesses is to protect citizens against business malpractice.

Of course, conservatives admit that sometimes business practices need government regulation and liberals admit that sometimes regulation is a bad idea, but in each case these are exceptions to their basic picture. While conservatives are (as Ronald Reagan put it) terrified at the words, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you,” liberals are terrified at the words, “I’m from [for example] the cable company and I’m here to help you.”

Hardly anyone holds either of these rival pictures as the result of a compelling logical argument. Pictures come to have a hold on us from a complex mixture of family influences, schooling, personal experiences, discussions with friends, reading newspapers and blogs, and more. Arguments may play a role, but they are not decisive and we simply come to feel convinced of a particular picture. Apart from clearly pathological cases, there’s nothing inappropriate or irrational about this process. It’s the way almost everyone forms basic convictions about serious matters, including not just politics but also morality and religion.

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