12 November 2013

As “Fiscal Conservatives,” we take issue with how the “Conservative” side of American politics looks at deficit spending and debt. Here’s why:

Every year, our family takes in a certain amount of money as “income.” A portion of that income, we use to make “capital improvements” and “investments.”

A portion of funds employed for capital investments constitutes down-payments for new real estate properties, for which we take out mortgages.

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If One Were to Look at selective parts of our family balance sheet, one might see:

Deficit Spending (We have added 80% of “spending” in relation to the 20% down-payment)

Increasing Debt (We have added that 80% of “debt” to the balance sheet. This debt addition may be offset by total reduction of principal on all mortgages.)

Over more than three decades of such “deficit spending,” our debt-to-equity ratio is less than 50%.

Any political “Conservative” might say that we are “spending” ourselves to ruin, and that we risk leaving a mountain of debt to our children and grandchildren.

Our children don’t mind.

Regards,
(($; -)}
Gozo!

[NOTE: The above post on “deficit spending” was prompted by our reading of Why The Most Important Budget Event Of The Year Has Had No Impact, which was posted earlier today by Stan Collender, at “StanCollender’s Capital Gains and Games.
@GozoTweets
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18 January 2013

Time Magazine’s Recent cover feature about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie once again reminds us of the key limitation of the American Conservative’s political views. Until the American Conservative experiences a need or disaster first- or second-hand, he doesn’t believe that it exists.

In the Christie case, the Governor’s embrace of Democratic President Obama and the Federal Government’s FEMA services made a big-spending Liberal out of this candid, big-hearted guy.
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From the Perspective of the American political Center, we are of course familiar with this tendency: if all it takes to turn an American Liberal into a Conservative is a single case of being wrongfully sued, all it takes to turn an American Conservative the opposite direction is one first-rate disaster.

For superlative example, why do so many elderly, otherwise-Conservative Americans support Medicare and Social Security? Because they know first-hand how essential this social “safety net” is to keeping them on solid ground.
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Our Favorite Big-Hearted Cynic, columnist Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, takes to task both sides of the current assault-rifle-control controversy—the National Rifle Association and the President—for their use of kids in the discussion.

The National Rifle Association [NRA] has come out big, as we all know by now, with its questionable-taste ad, holding President Obama responsible for the armed-guard protection that his two daughters get at their private school. But Mr. Milbank also accuses the President himself of using children as props, in his address seeking to garner public support for his various proposals for bringing down body counts when it comes to mass murder in America.

To this point, Mr. Milbank writes:

“There’s an argument to be made that the horrific nature of the carnage justifies reminding the public that children are vulnerable, but partisans on each side will only dig in deeper if they perceive that the other side is using kids as props.”†

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If It Takes a Disaster to turn an ideologically constrained Conservative into a Moderate American— reasonable-enough to realize that the Federal Government plays an essential role in modern American life—then it makes sense for Barack Obama to show what an innocent child—at risk of assault-rifle attack at school or movie theater or mall—looks like, while as President, he speaks to the American people in this disturbing debate.
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Does Either Side, Left or Right, have any substantive answers to the epidemic of mass murder in America? Well, maybe yes, and maybe no. Vice-President Joe Biden, at the behest of the President, recently sounded out a lot of different sides about this issue. The President, surrounded by his innocent-kid props, put forth his findings from the Vice-President’s efforts. The NRA fired back. While some of us debate the regulation of gun-ownership and the use of kids as political props, every one of us awaits to learn the news of the next mass murder.

Regards,
(($; -)}
Gozo!

P.S.: To put a nice wrap around this, Governor Christie has now spoken out against the NRA ad, as CNN reports here:

TRENDING: Chris Christie Rails Against NRA, Calls Ad ‘Reprehensible’

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*See the NRA’s ad here: When His Kids Are Protected by Armed…

† Read Dana Milbank’s Washington Post essay here: The Gun Debate Is Nothing to Kid About

@GozoTweets
10 January 2013

In response to a piece by David Weigel posted on SLATE,* someone asked why it is that the views of so-called “Conservatives” are shown respect and consideration which it seems is disproportionate to the lack of respect and consideration such views merit. What follows is Gozo’s response.
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The Answer Involves the psychological concept of “projection”:

The Right continually accuse the Left of deliberate malfeasance. What does this projection say about those on the Right?

On the other side, the Left continually speak to the Right as if they—such as those “neocons”—are reasonable and honorable people, determined to do what is best for self and country.

What does this projection say about the Left?
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The Downside to the Left’s honorable and respectful expectations of the Right is that the whole of the country remains held up—obstructed and impeded—by the Left’s honorable need to include the malevolence of the Right in resolving our shared challenges.
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In America, the Right consists of that deadbeat brother-in-law, at the far end of the Thanksgiving table, who insists that, here in the United States of America, he’s got the God-given right to bring his assault rifle to the God-damn table and set it down on the table in front of his place, and what are you going to do about it?
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The Way I See It, that type of scenario represents the basic answer to the question of “Why?” Those on the Left are constrained by a unilateral sense of mutual respect.

That the Right is not similarly constrained by this putative “Christian” practice remains part of the puzzle.

And as for the brother-in-law’s question—“What are you gonna do about it?”—I haven’t any idea.

Regards,
(($; -)}
Gozo!

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*“Kristol vs. Hagel: The neoconservative’s campaign to stop Obama’s Defense nominee is smaller than it looks, and it might have peaked.” (Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 at 1:15 PM ET)

@GozoTweets
13 December 2012

Online Gym writes, “Gozo I sort of agree Capitalism remains the most-effective economic model….And yes our capitalist model is flawed. But it takes decades to get it correct….It’s almost like we need to slow down and review our growth and correct what needs to be corrected….”
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This is exactly right: being that capitalism is a human “invention,” of course it has flaws. Perfection is always the pinnacle to which we aspire, not one on which it is given to us to stand.

Given that we exist in a universe cycle of perpetual motion, of perpetual ebb and flow—of perpetual energy and entropy (as described in Newton’s laws)—the Perfect is near-certain to exceed our grasp.

This cycle provides the only canvas available for our great works. Which means that, often, “we need to slow down and review our growth and correct what needs to be corrected.”
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The way I see it, the Conservative mind-set is particularly averse to taking the wrong steps, in fear of making new mistakes. The hazards of “unintended consequences” seems to come quickly to the Conservative mind and lips.

That’s a good thing: the impulsive Progressives need someone to help slow them up. To keep them from rushing willy-nilly over the cliff.

But, then society as a whole needs the progressive risk-takers, such the Wright brothers, who take that cliff-leap and lead us eventually to flying around the world, seven miles up, at a thousand miles an hour.
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The “slow down and review” process began in earnest with the election of Ronald Reagan as President.

Under his guidance, sure, our debt grew to frightening heights. But things also got brought back down to Earth.

America took a breath, a pause, following the heady epoch from the Great Depression to the declines of the Vietnam War and the Great Society.

But it’s now thirty-two years on. This Conservative pull-back has hampered us with ideology that, the more its elements fail, the more its adherents want to double down.
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We need to take a clearer look at capitalism, and how it really works.

First of all, we ought to go read the book, to see how Adam Smith characterizes collaboration as the key element, rather than this thing about “competition” and “greed,” which are essentially side-effects.
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I think it’s a crime that we don’t teach such essential things in our schools. I believe we waste a tremendous learning and growth opportunity in our educational system, by not recognizing the demographic changes of the last century.

American kids no longer grow up in single-earner homes, where they learn our culture’s habits and values there. Instead, our kids learn from television and the Internet and the streets. It’s no longer enough to teach them history and math/science.

We need to teach them how to manage their economic lives. And how to manage our political society as a whole.
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My personal, big question is, “How do we get there from here, when the Right is so-blindingly focused on winning the tug-of-war between sides, that we have impasse at every turn?”

Unfortunately, I haven’t a clue. And so I keep coming around to places like this, getting up on my soapbox, and hoping that I can finally manage to spy something, from perched on the soapbox’s modest height.

Regards,
(($; -)}
Gozo!

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Read the originating discussion at:

1 May 2012

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WHO SAID IT? “No sacrifice at the expense of someone else is too-great a cost for a Conservative American in service of his ideology.”
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Regards,
(($; -)}
Gozo!

@GozoTweets

 9 April 2012

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Freedom isn’t free! (But someone else should pay for my healthcare.)”
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Regards,
(($; -)}
Gozo!

@GozoTweets