Archive for December, 2009

Missing the Obvious

December 17, 2009

Former Bush 43 advisor Bruce Bartlett suggests left and right strike a bargain:

The left would accept that the only purpose of the tax system is to raise revenue and the right would accept that a fairly extensive social welfare state is here to stay. In essence, conservatives would r[a]ise the revenue and liberals would spend it. . .

Over the years, I have asked a number of liberal friends if they would take this deal . . . It seems like a free lunch to me, but I’ve never found a liberal willing to even consider the deal.

I’m not sure what Bartlett’s thinking.  What he describes is pretty much exactly what happened during the Bush administration he was part of.

That’s counter-intuitive because the GOP controlled both revenue and spending for most of the Bush administration.  However, the way they ran things was they raised revenues like conservatives, and spent as if they were liberals.*  (This was what W called “compassionate conservatism.”)

Let’s look at both sides of the equation.

On the revenue side, one of the first things the GOP did when W took office was pass a huge tax cut.  This is not surprising.  This is what American conservatives do.  It’s been dogma on the right for almost 30 years: the only thing you ever do to taxes is cut them.

On the expenditure side, they passed huge social welfare bills like Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind, and bought two money-pit Muslim countries in middle Asia.

Result?

The same as the first time the GOP tried this formula, under Reagan: budget deficits.  Great big ones.

So.

The reason none of Bartlett’s liberal friends will accept a deal in which conservatives raise the revenue and liberals spend it is they know it’s a mug’s game.  In very short order, there would be barely enough revenue to survive.

(* I say this from Bartlett’s point of view, of course.  From my own point of view, they didn’t spend like liberals.  They just spent a lot.)

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What would Bill Murray say?

December 17, 2009

To make up for that downer Deep Stupid, there’s this:

My favorite part is when the orangutan uses both hands to pry the dog’s mouth open, and uses his mouth to stuff a banana in there.  Reminds me of my older brother, for some reason.

Deep Stupid

December 16, 2009

Hi, everybody.  It’s been a long hiatus.  Hope everyone’s well, and ready for Christmas.

There’s a lot going on right now, news-wise, what with health care reform coming down to the wire and all, and much of the folderol has indeed been deeply stupid, but today’s winner — #1 with a bullet! — is the residents of the state of Michigan.

It’s really not fair to single out Michiganders.  Americans in general are deeply stupid about this.  Michigan just happens to be displaying it at the moment.

Anyway.  Here’s the deal.

In 2003, the state of Michigan convicted Matthew Freeman of sexually assaulting a minor and sentenced him to probation and 10 years on the state’s sex offenders list.  Earlier this year, the police arrested him again, this time for being within 1000 feet of a school — a place persons on the sex offenders list cannot be.  Freeman now faces up to a year in jail, and will be on the sex offenders list until 2028.

Why was Freeman within 1000 feet of the school?  Because he was playing basketball.  In the driveway.  Of his mother’s house.

“Well,” you may say, “he knew the rules.  And he is a pedophile, after all.”

Not so much.

See, the minor he “sexually assaulted” in 2003 was 15.  Freeman was 17.  And her boyfriend.  And, according to her own mother, who’s the one who called the cops in the first place to try to break up her daughter’s relationship with Freeman, the girl was entirely a willing participant in the “sexual assault” Freeman committed upon her.

So now Matthew Freeman is 23, a convicted sex offender, probably about to be convicted of a second crime that labels him a pedophile, and has no high school diploma (though he’s working on his GED).  Try getting ahead in life with that baggage.  Try getting a job (he makes $130 a week).  Try getting an education.  Try getting a mortgage or a small business loan or probably most any other kind of credit.  Try meeting the opposite sex or having children of your own.

What kind of people is Matthew Freeman going to be around for the rest of his life?  People who don’t care that he’s a convicted pedophile, that’s what kind.  Other than his immediate family, who’s that likely to be?  Not the pillars of the community, that’s for sure.  Not anybody you’d list on a resumé or a college application.

In 2028, Matthew Freeman will be 42 years old, and he will have been a registered sex offender for 25 of those years.

Absent herculean effort and some extreme good luck, what’s his life going to look like then?  Not yours or mine.  And for what?  Because blind panic and wishful thinking convinced millions of grown men and women that a 15-year-old high school student couldn’t possibly want to have sex with her boyfriend.  (Meanwhile . . .)

People be deeply, deeply stupid.