Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I did not watch... no principles involved in decision

I missed President Obama's address to the Joint Session of Congress last night.
I also missed Gov. Jindal's Republican Response.
Not watching was not a principled decision, but an accident - an unintended consequence of being in a show.
I was at rehearsal.

With lines to learn, I've neglected my civic duties - like listening to our leaders, and keeping this blog current.

I scanned the NYT's coverage of President Obama's speech. A line the Times chose to call out I found rather trite:
"We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before."
Well, yes - what else would he say? (Tho' I suppose I ought remember President Carter dwelling on our "malaise"!)

I am now reading Gov. Jindal's response, having seen that it's been panned for both delivery and content. (Reading it provides no opportunity to evaluate Gov. Jindal's delivery, but does make it easier to focus on content.)

The intro was actually quite good.
The first passage that caught my eye:
"Today in Washington, some are promising that government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us.

Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina -- we have our doubts."
Here we see a Republican mistaking negligent, incompetent Republican governance for Government.

Republicans have no interest in actually governing. Why should they? They believe Government to be the root of all evil.
Yes - the past eight years of Republican "governance" have been disastrous. The response to Hurricane Katrina is but a minor example. ("Heckuva job, Brownie!")
Republican "governance" has brought us to the precipice on which we now teeter.

Ah - here it is now. The panacea:
"That is why Republicans put forward plans to create jobs by lowering income tax rates for working families, cutting taxes for small businesses, strengthening incentives for businesses to invest in new equipment and hire new workers, and stabilizing home values by creating a new tax credit for home-buyers."
Whatever ails ya, Tax Cuts'll fix ya right up!

I have a simple question that I'd really like to ask Gov. Jindal:
When there's no demand, how does cutting taxes create jobs?
I'd really like to hear the explanation - exactly what magic economic mechanism turns tax cuts into jobs in the absence of demand?

I concede that giving a median-income household ($50K/yr) a few extra take-home $$$ might create demand - the median-income household may get that new washer. BUT - they might instead sock the $$$ away. (One of the occasional side-stories to the current economic mess is that we are saving more!)
Relying on the median-income household to spend the $$$ is an act of faith. Maybe the tax-cut for median-income household would stimulate demand - but there's no guarantee.

How 'bout tax cuts for the wealthy? The 95th %-ile of household incomes is less than $200K/yr. I seem to recall Candidate Obama targetting folks making more than $250K/yr.
So - what will these folks buy that they're not buying now?
For the really well-off, those making more than $500K/yr, are they really putting off purchases because they can't now afford 'em? Seems to me the extra $$$ in pocket for these folks is not too likely to create demand.

Okay, how 'bout tax cuts for business? The only argument I can posit is something like, "With the extra $$$, biz will hire more folks, thereby increasing demand."
There's a problem here: biz is currently laying off folks BECAUSE THERE IS NO DEMAND! Why would they use the extra $$$ to hire anyone?
Maybe the argument is, "With the extra $$$, biz will make more stuff." I note only that the current malaise arises from an absence of DEMAND, not a shortage of supply.

But, as a dutiful, deluded Republican, Gov. Jindal is still selling the same old snake-oil.

Okay - here's Gov. Jindal's solution to our energy problem(-s): more drilling. This, too, is a Republican standard.
(I'd bet Gov. Jindal would favor tax breaks to Big Oil to encourage more drilling!)
I note that we are now currently awash in relatively cheap oil (so Big Oil might demand tax incentives to drill!). Longer term... well, oil really is a finite resource - why not pass along some tax incentives to alternative energy? - Maybe even some direct spending on alternative energy projects?

This next one is a bit trickier:
"Republicans believe in a simple principle:
No American should have to worry about losing their health
coverage -- period. We stand for universal access to affordable health care coverage. What we oppose is universal government-run health care."
I am in full agreement with Gov. Jindal that, "No American should have to worry about losing their health coverage -- period." I too stand "for universal access to affordable health care coverage."
The problem here is that the Republicans LIKE the current system - which neither relieves any American from the worry of losing health coverage, nor produces universal access to affordable health care coverage.
In a prior post, I noted that our current health care system costs more than any of the other 29 OECD countries, and produces results near the bottom of the list.
The system we have now is BAD. Again I cite the trite but appropriate popular definition of insanity:
Doing the same thing over & over and expecting different results.
Why are Republicans so seldom challenged on this?

The rest of the speech seems to be simply a recitation of Republican talking points (tho' I didn't notice anything about abortion!):
Improve education? - School vouchers!
Cut defense? - NEVER!
I note that Gov. Jindal concludes with a joke:
"In all these areas, Republicans want to work with President Obama."
I'm happy I didn't watch!

1 comment:

  1. A hilarious moment from some hot GOP on GOP action: