Emily explains it all

The feebs we sent to Congress keep coming up with all these plans for a fiscally sound increase to the debt ceiling (lol, inorite), and what I’m hearing from people is myriad variations on, “why are all these plans so fucking stupid?”  Boehner’s first plan excitedly announced it would “cut $1 billion from the federal budget in the first year!”

And then everyone laughed.  Because that’s really stupid.

So everyone’s looking at each other and wondering, why can’t they get it together?  This is not difficult.  And it isn’t, really.  Ten years ago it would have been complicated – which is not the same thing as difficult – but now the sheer size of the debt/deficit means it’s all been neatly simplified for us.  For e.g., we once might have had to spend a month arguing whether to cut the SEC or the DoE.  No more!  Now we have no money to fund either one.  See how simple that was?

It’s just math, people.  It’s basic addition and subtraction, stuff we all learned when we were kids.  Yes, the numbers are really big, but the process doesn’t materially change when you add some zeroes (or claim that 1 minus 1 equals 2, because otherwise kitties will die of cancer).  If you can balance a checkbook, you can balance the federal budget.

Yet, the politicians are playing dumb, standing around drooling on themselves, putting forth several plans which everyone then freaks out about how that plan would be the end of the world as we know it, and then the CBO lets us know that it wouldn’t actually do anything at all, and they go back to the drawing board.

Two reasons for that.

The most important reason is political will.  There’s that old saying, “Woulda, coulda, shoulda, but you didn’t.”  Sometimes you knew what the answer was, but, for whatever reason, you didn’t implement it.  No sense crying about it after the fact.

Politicians know what the answers are, they just don’t have the balls to effect them.  The answers were painful in the S&L debacle in the 80’s, so we papered it over, which made the answers more painful when the tech bubble collapsed, so we papered that over, which made the answers more painful when the housing bubble collapsed, so we papered that over…  The pain is delayed, which means that when the INEVITABLE (underline underline boldface) conclusion is realized, it is more painful that it would have been originally but, to politicians, that isn’t the point.  The point is, they have to delay the pain (with compound interest) or else it might cost the next election.  Bugger what it does to you.

Bluntly, politicians have turned one nasty financial episode which would have cleared the overhead but probably cost a few of them their re-election campaigns, into a global financial Armageddon.  And they did it with malice aforethought.  Sorry.  Sucks to be us.

They’re hardly going to switch horses midstream.  They know the plans they are proposing are bullshit.  It’s a dog-and-pony show.  They could do something about the issue (it isn’t fucking difficult – math is rather easy, actually), but by now they have borrowed so much trouble that they know fixing the problem would wreck their careers forever.  They’ve promised so much to Paul by means of robbing Peter that they’ve reached the point where Paul will lynch the lot of them if they dare not follow through.  Regardless of the fact (FACT) that it is now mathematically impossible to rob enough from Peter to pay Paul what they’ve promised.  FACT.  It cannot happen.

Which brings me to my second point.  They cannot propose a plan which either significantly raises taxes OR cuts spending.  Why?  Government spending is all that is propping up GDP.  Recall that a ten percent reduction in GDP is how one identifies a depression.  We’re already in a depression, the numbers prove it, but federal spending is included in the GDP calculations.    Ergo, all the feds had to do was drastically ramp spending (remember when the Dems were freaking about Bush2.0’s 400billion deficit?  Yeah we’re more than quadruple that this year, with crickets from the Dems).  This hid the loss in GDP.  We are papering over an actual recognition of an economic depression by fudging numbers.  Fuck with the numbers (either tax increases OR spending cuts will mean a hit to GDP) and we’ll have to acknowledge reality.  Politicians don’t like reality.  Being at the helm in a depression hurts their chances of being re-elected.

There you have it.  A proper plan, which either increases taxes or cuts spending, will piss people off and bring into the open that our economy is in a depression.  Both will significantly reduce politico asshats’ chances of being re-elected.  Therefore, they give us stupid plans.  I mean, really, what else do you expect?

Published in: on July 28, 2011 at 8:05 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. yep, that’s it in a nutshell…

    • “nutshell”…

      Yeah, it could have been longer, but the nuts in your neck of the woods must be pretty big.

  2. […] As for the idiotic and weaselly phrase “Great Recession”, I call your attention to this column by Emily Hemingway.  We’re in a depression, kiddies, not a recession; you aren’t allowed to include government […]

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