Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
Father of American Liberalism

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Crooks and Liars: Opinion: David Neiwart: Senate Resoundingly Rejects Ryan Budget, 57-40

Crooks and Liars: Opinion: David Neiwart: Senate Resoundingly Votes Down Ryan Budget, 57-40

This post was originally posted at FRS Daily Times on WordPress

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday afternoon showed again that they are not ready to make a big decision on another key issue, the Federal budget. In a way this is good because the House GOP budget should never become law. Because it transforms Medicare into a voucher system. It puts most if not all the budget deficit on our safety net. And doesn’t do a damn thing to reduce overall spending on defense. Or repeal the tax cuts for high earners, or end corporate welfare. This House budget went down overwhelmingly 57-40.

Then Senate Minority Leader McConnell brought up what he called President Obama’s Federal budget plan. Which was more of a set of goals then anything and not a serious proposal. And that went down by a whopping 97-0. But with Senate Democrats apparently incapable of offering a serious budget proposal that gets our deficit and debt under control in a responsible way. The Senate was left with a choice of two budget plans that will never become law. Even though the Senate minority can’t block budget related items. And the Senate Democrats have a three seat majority, they have been incapable so far of coming up with their own budget plan that they can pass and send to the House.

It would be both great politics and policy for Senate Democrats led by Senator Kent Conrad Chairman of the Budget Committee, to develop their own budget plan that’s responsible and pays down the deficit. Because they would have something to counter the House with and be able to take it on the campaign trail. “This is what we want to do and this is what House and Senate Republicans voted for.” And have a major campaign issue, meaning Medicare to use to retake the House in 2012 and keep control of the Senate.

Because between the House and Senate roughly 280 Republicans members of Congress voted for the House GOP budget. That cost the GOP a House seat Tuesday night. This is something they could take nationally, just a thought. Leadership is about choosing and governing. Not you can sit on your hands when you’re in the opposition and minority. This is a lesson that the White House and the Senate Democratic Leadership should learn. The House Democratic Leadership drafted its budget plan and they are in the minority.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Coach Strusky-History Channel: 39- President Jimmy Carter and the Late 1970s

Source: Coach Strusky-
Source: This piece was originally posted at FRS Daily Times Plus

This might be putting it simplistically, but Jimmy Carter’s presidency and the late 1970s might be able to be summed up in what was dubbed as his malaise speech. Even though it was a hell of a lot more complicated than that. Despite President Carter’s brilliant ability to examine issues and problems, this speech however you want to define it, sounded like a lecture on what was wrong with the American people.

Seeming to blame the problems that the country was facing on themselves. That what the center of our problems, the reason for our economic problems was materialism that we wanted too much. Instead of the fact that it’s not that the country wanted too much. But the fact that a lot of middle class Americans and low-income people were fighting just to survive, to make ends meet. Which was very difficult because of the high unemployment, high interest rates, high inflation and the energy shortage.

The bad economy was the center of America’s problems and that was bad enough. And then throw in the foreign policy issues of late 1978 into 1979 and 1980, with the Monarchy in Iran collapsing in early 79, the Iran hostage crisis of November, 1979, where Americans at our Embassy in Tehran were taken hostage and held for fourteen months, with Russia invading Afghanistan in 1980. It was a lot on any President’s plate, even for a President as intelligent as Jimmy Carter.

I’ve said this before, but Jimmy Carter as President had a brilliant ability to examine issues for what they were for and understand them. But lacked the ability to figure out how to solve the problems. The economic crisis on 1978-90 and the malaise speech is a perfect example of this. He knew what the issues of the bad economy of that era were, but didn’t have a prescription to fix the problems.

He saw the economic crisis as something to do with the budget deficit. Even though compared with GDP the deficit was very small back then. Thanks to President Nixon, Ford and yes Carter limiting federal spending. The main issues with the economic crisis had to with high unemployment, high interest rates and high inflation. And the way to solve economic problems is putting people back to work, even if that means running a short-term deficit. Or increasing the deficit, because once you establish solid job growth, you get the economy running again and you can address whatever budget deficit you had run up.

President Carter not only miss-diagnosed the economic crisis from a policy point of view, but from a political point of view. Because with a decent economy, President Carter gets reelected. I believe even with the hostage crisis, because President Carter actually scored decent ratings for the way he handled that situation. That election still would’ve been close I believe. But if he handled the economy properly, President Carter gets reelected and Ronald Reagan perhaps never becomes President of the United States.
Coach Strusky-History Channel: 39- President Jimmy Carter