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  • Happy 2013! Off the ‘cliff’ in a hand-basket!…

    SkyHarbor, 2012/12/31 

    That’s Debbie Reynolds ringing in the New Year (and showing off some lovely gams) for Life Magazine 60 years ago. It was a simpler time. No ‘Fiscal Cliff’ jitters for them – just the ‘Red Menace’ and ‘The Bomb’! ;-)

    The rest of the world is looking aghast at the U.S. as we ‘play chicken’ with the economy. If they think the Kabuki drama of the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ is ‘exciting’, just wait for the looming Debt Ceiling battle! (the last of which, if you’ll recall, is what put the ‘Cliff’ in effect in the first place!) – Off the cliff we go! WHEEEEEEEEeeeeee!

    Best Wishes and Good Luck to us all in 2013!

    6 Comments »

    1. byronius wrote,

      So far, so good.

      We watched ‘MIB III’ and ‘Shaun Of The Dead’, and then I walked the dog, and that’s about it good night.

      Comment on 2013/01/01 @ 12:23 am

    2. Dan K. wrote,

      To heck with the fiscal cliff, I’m concerned that Debbie might fall off that clock she’s sitting on!

      Comment on 2013/01/01 @ 12:38 am

    3. SkyHarbor wrote,

      This nice shot of the Space Needle was taken at midnight from across Lake Union at Gasworks Park. The streak in the upper right is probably an extraterrestrial craft doing a quick New Year’s fly-by. ;-)

      Well, we DID indeed go over the dreaded ‘Fiscal Cliff’ at midnight. Although the Senate moved at 2:00 am EST to pass a ‘band aid’ to soften the landing IF the House follows suit today. I give it an ~80% chance of passage. Most are deferments… or more ‘kicking the can down the road’ – SOP. Oh well. God Bless America!

      Comment on 2013/01/01 @ 3:28 am

    4. SkyHarbor wrote,

      The House groused, but did finally pass the Senate’s bill to head off the worst immediate effects of the ‘fiscal cliff’. Yay!

      But we’re up against the infamous ‘debt ceiling’ once again, promising yet another cataclysmic battle on the Hill. You remember August of 2011? When Standard & Poor’s lowered the Nation’s credit rating on the mere threat of a default? The teabilly-poisoned GOP had held the ‘good faith and full credit’ of the United States HOSTAGE to their demands for big ‘entitlement’ cuts… revealing the teabillys’ appalling ignorance of basic economics.

      The debt ceiling isn’t about spending exactly, it’s about money that’s already been spent. The ‘debt ceiling’ is in effect then, simply our promise to pay our bills. So NOT raising the debt ceiling as required is equivalent to defaulting on our debts.

      Yeah. THAT thing again. No other modern nation allows a legislature to control its debt ceiling. It’s archaic and stupid. But that’s how America does it.

      But President Obama has said repeatedly that he refuses to play the same game we did in 2011. In otherwords, if the GOP tries to tie draconian spending cuts to a threat to refuse to raise the debt ceiling, the President will simply call their bluff… even ALLOWING the country to default if need be.

      And why not? If the threat of a default is enough to lower our National ‘FICA score’ (making loans more expensive), what’s the practical difference?

      Some may recall the infamous U.S. ‘government shutdown’ of 1995-96 when then-President Clinton refused to buckle to then-Speaker of The House Newt Gingrich and his GOP’s demands to slash spending for Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid while increasing military spending (sound familiar?). The shutdown backfired badly, costing the GOP their Congressional majority… and the Newt-boy his Speakership (and political career). The Republicans are apparently very slow learners!

      Strange how the ‘business-friendly’ GOP not only does NOT understand business, but can’t play poker either. You’ve GOT to “know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em”!

      Sorry for going on – but I think it’s important to understand this stuff – Please feel free to correct me on any errors!

      Comment on 2013/01/02 @ 7:26 am

    5. byronius wrote,

      At the heart of the matter lies the fact that a great chunk of this nation is either mentally ill or absolutely brainwashed, even if the latter description does not quite reach the original Soviet/North Korean meaning of the word.

      Booman’s take:

      For the first time in some of your lives, the House of Representatives just passed a bill that the majority of the majority party opposed. Ordinarily, such votes are not even allowed to happen. And, while technically this vote occurred past midnight (and thus in 2013), this is the first time that Republicans have voted for tax increases since they helped Poppy Bush violate his “Read My Lips” pledge over twenty years ago. The Republicans also voted for stimulative tax credits and an extension of unemployment insurance, in violation of their anti-Keynesian economics absolutism. Insofar as the fever could be broken, it has been broken.

      If you watched the debate in the House, it was clear that the Republicans were absolutely miserable and the Democrats were absolutely giddy. Yet, many respectable voices in the Progressive movement are unhappy. I want to remind you, first of all, that only 16 Democrats in the House voted against this bill. That is only a tiny fraction of the Progressive movement. Unless you think your elected officials are idiots, you probably are wrong to see this as a defeat. This is a bill that was supported by people like Bernie Sanders, Al Franken, Jeff Merkley, Tom Harkin, and Sherrod Brown. If you think that they sold you out, you might be an extremist yourself.

      Yes, it sets us up for a battle over the sequester and the debt ceiling, but that was where we were from the beginning, right? We were going to battle over those things, but also unemployment insurance and progressive tax credits and so much more that we got in this deal.

      The GOP has been splintered, with their leader forced to take the minority position within his own party and then forced to ram it down the throats of his base. If you ever thought you’d see that day, raise your hand. And we need it to happen again to tackle immigration reform or assault weapons or climate change. It may not happen, but this was a prerequisite if it was going to happen.

      If you are worried that we will see cuts in entitlements two months from now, you are probably correct. We were never going to escape that entirely. But any cuts we see will be matched by further tax hikes. We have a president who is coming off a series of victories whose popularity will have never been higher, and he isn’t going to cave. The GOP might think that cuts to entitlements are popular, but they are wrong. Actually, they know that they are wrong and that the only way to get them is as part of a bipartisan deal where blame is widely shared. They will not refuse to pay our debts in order to slash our Social Security checks and, if they do, we’ll win back the House.

      Relax. Have a cigar. Bask in the glow.

      Comment on 2013/01/02 @ 7:51 am

    6. SkyHarbor wrote,

      re #4: Nice! ;-)

      Indeed, if the Gilas insist on forcing the debt ceiling issue, not only will they earn the lasting emnity of the American voters and (as Booman points out) lose their House majority, but they will even CEASE to be a National political party of real importance… completing the disintegration begun with the 2012 election debacle.

      Democrats and Progressives don’t get a free pass however. Power implies responsibility and there ARE unsustainable expenses which we continue to incur. There IS a problem to be solved, but solved with intelligence and compassion rather than knee-jerk reaction and incorrect information and prejudice. The American voters will (properly) make us PAY if we fail.

      Comment on 2013/01/02 @ 8:01 am

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