Feb 13, 2017

Let’s talk about the budget.

I had this sitting in the drafts queue which I am trying to clean out before making a big jump over (yes it may be blogspot has seen its day). Funny thing is I wrote this sometime back in 2011!
For the people in this country who have been asleep or may have missed it, we are once again in a situation where the American people are being held at gunpoint. You might think I’m overstating the case but once again we find ourselves held hostage by Congress and its inability to do its job.

Congress is a funny place. I don’t know where I heard the phrase before, but I do know I’ve heard the phrase ‘reality distortion field’ used in the past and it appears Congress has a VERY BIG reality distortion field when it comes to the American public, the economy and principles.

Then again, Americans themselves are in denial.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results yet, year after year, election after election, Americans go to the polls and reelect their Representatives and Senators rewarding them for a job poorly done.

You’ve got to love the people who stand on principle saying they won’t vote to raise the debt ceiling but who keep passing legislation that spends and spends and spends. You’ve got to love people who are so dogged, so determined to draw a line in the sand, that they would readily plunge our nation back into recession and in so doing increase the deficit.

The budget control act of 2011 pushed back the nascent recovery and stymied the economy in the hopes it would reflect poorly on the Executive Branch and influence the 2012 elections. The same people who shouted that the President was a traitor were the very same willing to their ‘principles’ before the health of the nation. These were the true traitors.

And what is ironic here is that these are also the people who decry government ‘entitlements.’

Let’s take a second to talk about ‘entitlements’ shall we? Let’s look first though at the entitlements enjoyed by the members of Congress, benefits that most Americans would be glad to enjoy. Cadillac medical that you all too often hear about, a very special staff of doctors at the workplace who you can see at your leisure, long vacations and best of all you even get to decide when and how much your raise is going to be.

The last one is probably the most galling thing about Congress...

Roll that over in your mind for a second if you will. You have a job and you and your fellow co-workers get to decide how big a raise you will get each and every year whether the company (our Nation) is doing well or not.

I don’t know about you but that seems to be very, very wrong to me.

If anything, looking at the performance of Congress over the last batch of years I should think it is well past time they took a pay cut.

Now, just a month or so back there was a small group of Congressmen who did this again. And...
 Wow! A double queue entry. Something I started to write, tried coming back to and then fell short again!

Look, our government is dysfunctional but here’s the thing... our Founding Fathers built that dysfunction into the system. It’s that underlying tension that makes government work.

Mind you, we really can’t say it runs like a smooth machine, firing on all cylinders and taking us down a highway quickly to a bright and prosperous future because that isn’t what it does at all.

Rather, it’s an old engine that misfires from time to time, backfires, runs in fits and starts but does keep running reliably and because it doesn’t run as smoothly as one might hope we never get too far along a road we would rather have not gone down. No, because of those fits and starts we can see where we might’ve made a wrong turn before it is too late.

I don’t have a lot of good things to say about the Tea Party and Congress. Actually I don’t have much of a good thing to say about anybody who parks their ass on the extremes of the right or the left.

Also this idea that there was some kind of point in our nation’s history where things ran smoothly without opposition is a fallacy, it’s merely us looking at the past with rose colored glasses and nothing more.

I’m reading this book at the moment (actually I’m reading several books as well as catching up on comics with some graphic novels). The book I’m reading is The Real Frank Zappa Book.

The Real Frank Zappa Book 

 It’s very. very good and I highly recommend it. It reminds me why I loved Frank Zappa so much but it also reminds me of how smart he was and surprisingly in some ways makes me draw parallels between him and George Carlin.

Zappa was a cynic in many ways and that’s a trait I share to a limited extent. Even though the book was published way back in 1989 (which sounds very strange describing 1989 that way), it still has relevance today.

You know we are very much in the bubble of the present and great movements are happening around us right now. There’s the movement towards globalization which alternately is locked in a battle with tribalism. Tribalism though is taking two forms, one is in the shape of the nation-state and the other is in the form of religion (read Islam).

There is tension as our species struggles between these polar opposites.

At the same time there is a question whether or not capitalism can exist within a modern global society where automation takes hold. We don’t see a lifting of all boats but instead see an increased stratification and a widening chasm between the rich and the poor.

This is not a symbol of the future but a regression towards our past when we were ruled by kings but now our royalty is not based upon bloodlines as much as it is economics.

Can we rise above the reptile part of our brains is the question? Can we move past that hard wired part of the human animal that views those who are different as anything other than enemies? What would help us survive when we lived in caves may destroy us today.

And it IS something that is very much hard wired within us because as much as we may like to elevate ourselves we are at the end of things animals.

Well, I’m just throwing stuff (shit) out there against the wall to see what sticks but when history happens, you don’t know what’s going on until much later when you can look back and put things into context.

There are times I do ramble, you’ll just have to excuse me.

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