I know few of you are interested in my thoughts on economics or the budget--and it is especially a shame to speak of such things in the middle of Holy Week--but I am sitting here watching Hannity interview Sarah Palin and thought I would jot down my thoughts.
1. The S & P announcement, whatever the politics behind it, confirms to me that Obama's budget proposal is not enough. We should be looking at something more extensive like the bipartisan budget commission's recommendations this past Fall.
2. The debt ceiling has to be raised. I think almost everyone recognizes this, and it is really too serious of an issue to use for political bargaining. Anyone who votes against it is a danger to the US, almost on the level of impeachment. We should immediately eliminate from our minds any candidate who suggests we should not do so--these are very, very dangerous, loony people.
3. Ryan's proposal to privatize Medicare and push Medicaid down to the states is a non-starter. Not only does it have no chance of passing--I get so annoyed with people who can't handle reality and prefer to beat their heads against the wall until they knock themselves out--it seems to deconstruct the very purpose of these programs, which was to provide medical care for the most vulnerable in our society--the elderly and those unable to take care of themselves. Instead, it likely lops off these in favor of those partially able to take care of themselves. Cut it we must, finance it some other way we must. But Ryan's idea is DOA, period.
4. We should increase revenues at the same time we make deep cuts. Perhaps we could compromise by only returning to pre-Bush rates for those who earn over 500,000. Or perhaps we could institute a flat tax on these individuals without any exemptions. I am as unconvinced as ever that tax breaks at this level for this group return more economically than the taxes do, and there is no moral argument to be made here that stands up against even the smallest scrutiny.
My thoughts in troubling times... It's compromise, compromise, compromise. The fear that Congress and the President will not be able to compromise, more than anything else, stands behind the S&P statement.