American Elephants

Here’s the Problem, In Their Own Words. by The Elephant's Child

Obama wants to”have a conversation.”  Paul Ryan wants to fix things.  Inaction is not a reasonable or acceptable answer.

Facing Up to the Problems of the Nation or Avoiding Them? by The Elephant's Child

Paul Ryan explains the drivers of our debt and what we can do about it. Keith Hennessey, a common sense voice on matters financial, chimes on President Obama’s budget. The budget tracks his State of the Union address as well as leaks over the past month. Spending, taxes and deficits reach new plateaus, each well above historic averages.  Are these thoughtful budget experts merely crying in the wilderness?

The President proposes sustained bigger government, bigger deficits and bigger debt.  Much bigger.

The numbers, Hennessey says, are terrifying. The President says his new goal is to pay for what we spend by the middle of the next decade. This suggests that since there was existing debt when he took office, it is not his responsibility to pay for even the interest payments on that “inherited” debt.

The President’s new budget contains, of all things, a hidden 25¢ per gallon gas tax, a State bailout and an unemployment tax increase on almost all workers.

President Obama has announced a new commission on trying to make women more equal to men. He has played more golf, and entertained more sports teams, done some fund raisers. There is all sorts of “activism” in the administration directed at an ordinary liberal spending agenda in a world that is falling apart. Obama may have dithered long enough about Libya that the rebel cause will end in elimination of the rebels, thereby eliminating the potential problem.

Even members of his own party are getting anxious about his absence on anything to do with the budget. There are momentous things going on with the American economy and with the disaster in Japan, with the Middle East in turmoil, and with the budget battle in Congress. Keith Hennessey says:

The President’s job is to “address the challenges the Nation faces, including those that have been building over the past 70 years.”

The President’s budget ignores the problem of entitlement spending under current law, and proposes Medicare and Medicaid savings only sufficient to offset a portion of his proposed spending increases.  Team Obama’s topline message includes dangerous and misleading reassurances that Social Security is not an immediate problem.  Demographics, unsustainable benefit promises, and health care cost growth are the problems to be solved. The president instead wants to build more trains and make sure rural areas have 4G smartphone coverage.  …

For two years America has been debating whether restoring short-term economic growth or addressing our government’s fiscal problems is a higher priority. With his State of the Union address and this budget, President Obama is trying to define a new problem to be solved.  He thinks Americans are at a long-term competitive disadvantage relative to the Chinese because our government isn’t spending enough on infrastructure, innovation, and education.  …Is this problem more urgent than restoring short-term economic growth? Is it more important than addressing unsustainable deficits and a federal government expansion that will leave fewer resources for the private sector?

Solving big problems is hard.  Making big decisions is hard. There are no medals awarded for avoidance. When you sell yourself as the answer to people’s hopes for doing big things, then you have to face up to the big problems and do the hard stuff.  Or at least be present.

If This was a Novel, You Would Reject It as Preposterous. by The Elephant's Child
March 15, 2011, 3:00 pm
Filed under: Japan, News | Tags: , ,

Many still pictures of the aftermath of the tsunami from Britain’s Daily Mail.  Makes you understand why they said their most dire need was heavy lifting equipment.  Unbelievable devastation, with ships on top of houses, rescue workers dwarfed by the piles of rubble. From the maps, it appears that there are 11 cities worst hit by the tsunami.

Aftershocks continue, there have been more than 100 since last Friday, the latest a 6.2 shock.  Officials say 430,000 people are living in emergency shelters or with relatives.  The government has sent 120,000 blankets, 120,000 bottles of water, but snow is expected.  The maps accompanying the story are well done.

Lots of straightforward  information on the nuclear plants is available here. The media continues to dramatize, causing runs on potassium iodide tablets here.  Apparently people are unfamiliar with the location of Japan.

The Japanese continue to react with stoical resignation and dignity in the face of overwhelming chaos.

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