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The Audacity of Austerity

I didn't have a valentine, so I decided to celebrate the President of the United States of America. Sure, I could wait until Monday, since that is "President's Day," but this is really more of a note that needs to be said sooner rather than later.

Immobility v. Unfairness.

Austerity is kind of a big deal right now, especially for Republicans as they attempt to win back the White House this year. It seems they want to paint President Obama as someone willing to spend someone else's money, some sort of "taxation without representation" leader "throwing away" cash on his own concepts.

There are a couple of ways to be greedy. The most obvious way is to grab all the money you can. But the other way is to block people who need funds from getting them. And that's what Austerity is somewhat about. It's a way of cutting back on the spending at a time when we are dealing with trying to make the economy grow.

Now we clearly don't WANT a huge National Debt. But in order to avoid a massive meltdown of the economy, something had to be done. The Debt ceiling was raised. The economy did stabilize enough to prevent a depression, which I think everyone can agree, needed to be avoided.

But the conversation is about cutting programs, cutting welfare, cutting medicare (which Reps are placing blame for with Obamacare, despite the fact that we're still about two years away from that going into effect). The Republicans are harping on the debt as something Obama was to blame for and that they are going to be losing out when it comes to money, because it will be going to programs they don't want to benefit people they don't know (read: care about).

Now everybody knows that the United States isn't "fair." The deck is stacked so that the people who are in that infamous 1% will stay there, as will their children, and their children, and so on and so on. The issue really is can you find a way to succeed. Is it possible to escape extreme poverty and be able to live the American Dream?

Yes, a lot of exceptional people who came up with some genius ideas have been able to rise from humble beginnings to become wealthy. But currently, there is an apparent "lockdown" on this mobility, as it appears that with the widening gap between rich and poor, the most hard hit among us are barely able to cover the basics, let alone set aside any money for their dreams. And that makes this a very different circumstance and era we are living through right now.

It's an imperfect world. There are choices to be made and sometimes those decisions are going to be difficult. I mean, we've just been in a couple of wars and through a very dramatic economic turn. But we survived that element and things are slowly coming back.

It's always so much more difficult to prove how successful this kind of circumstance is when you can't show what would have happened if these actions hadn't been taken, and that makes it at lot more difficult to demonstrate how right the choices were. No, we haven't simply "bounced back" from the horrors of 2008, but we didn't go "splat" either though it looked like we might for a few weeks there). And we are moving in the right direction.

But here's the thing about Austerity. We are a consumer economy. We need people to buy things to lift us out of the doldrums. That relies on citizens being willing and able to afford to do that, and THAT relies on more and more citizens feeling comfortable enough to start spending again.

So, while we do need to consider what to do about the National Debt, we need to get things rolling again. And that's where we're at right now.

I've been trying to listen to the Republicans to see if they are more in tune with what the country, as a whole, needs. That's a tough assignment because it's a new flavor every month. I wonder if Ron Paul is going to be a front runner at any time during the process. My feeling is no, since he isn't the sort that will fall in line with the old GOP leaders who have a serious agenda and intend to enact it, much as they did from 2001-2009. Paul is an independent thinker, a guy who really *could* be labeled a Maverick, unlike McCain and his running mate from four years past. And Mavericks are NOT what the GOP wants; certainly not now!

My fear is that the Republicans are going to keep repeating their rhetoric over and over again and that people will eventually wear down, believe them and buy into it. Don't laugh! I mean the whole Obama Birth Certificate actually had some traction there, so this wouldn't be unprecedented!

But then, Osama bin Laden got dead. The Auto Industry got saved. The Iraq war concluded.

About the only thing that the Reps have to hammer hard against President Obama is this Austerity issue. So, expect that to happen loudly and longly from now until the Conventions and debates this summer and autumn.

(x-posted publicly to greedfactor)

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