August 3rd, 2011
One of our frequent commenters, Kad Barma, posted a comment to a recent post by Jim Peters. While the main point of the comment is to explain why Federal spending must be curtailed (a conclusion with which I disagree but I’ll address that in a future post), KB also posits a scenario for a resurgence of the Democratic Party in Washington – or at least that’s how I read it. To give all of our readers a better chance to see the comment, I (unilaterally) decided to repost it here:
[by Kad Barma] I’m actually encouraged that a determined group of legislators could FINALLY stop Congress and the present administration from spending so far beyond our means. Our present government spending as a percent of GDP exceeds that of Greece, who has just defaulted. Only by the good graces of the foreign countries that hold almost half our debt are we allowed to go on printing money over at the Treasury. Pretending that borrowing more to support that spending is any sort of solution is the real crisis, and the Democrats have certainly shown no leadership on crafting a solution to that side of the equation.
Raising taxes, whether via tariffs or rescinding Bush tax cuts to the wealthy, to cover government spending in significant excess over 20% of GDP is still going to bankrupt us. (The interest payments would soon become our entire federal budget). Don’t get me wrong–those Bush tax cuts to the wealthy NEED to be rescinded, because the middle class cannot shoulder the burden alone. But the point made by the small and determined group of legislators is that the 20% of GDP ceiling is not something that can be ignored anymore, and not even for one more budget cycle. And good on them for sticking to their guns.
Fairness of the burden is the next issue at hand, and I’m surprised Democrats aren’t more encouraged by what just happened. Instead of a unified opposition to rescinding the Bush tax cuts, preserving Medicare and Social Security, and all the other important programs of our government, Democrats are facing a fractured and broken Republican party and a much easier road ahead. (The Speaker of the House couldn’t convene his majority!!!) They still must bear their portion of the responsibility for the outrageously unbalanced federal budget, but they will have a stronger hand in shaping the next version.
UNDER 20% OF GDP!!!!
August 3rd, 2011
Florence Marion was a charming, enthusiastic, determined, untiring maven of the arts and culture scene in Lowell for many years. Her contributions were honored and remembered with a bronze plaque installed at the corner entry way to Boardinghouse Park – a musical hotspot – in downtown Lowell. While bronze is a medium of art and so appropriate for honoring Florence, it’s value makes it a target for theft. Back in November of 2009, her plaque was actually ripped from it sidewalk site. All is well now according to a story in today’s Lowell Sun. An exact replica has been installed so securely that park folks claim only an excavation could remove it!
Read more about Florence Marion here at lowellsun.com.
August 3rd, 2011
Frequent contributor Jim Peter sent along the following in the aftermath of the debt ceiling crisis resolution:
I watched with a great deal of interest the situation as it regards raising the debt “ceiling” which was just avoided with a compromise that could hardly be dignified by that term. It was a surrender on the part of the Democratic Party to a handful of spiteful Republicans who believe they have some adherence or allegiance to the “Tea Party” in Boston in 1775. They have nothing to do with that Tea Party, except stealing the name. That was started to avoid a tax, true, but it was also designed to show that there would be “no taxation without representation” in London’s Parliament. It was a protest designed to show that the colonists were Englishmen, not colonists, and it drew attention because of its unique style.
Now we have on our hands an unruly group of protesters taking on a party, the Democrats in this case, whose primary desire is to make sure that the poorest of the poor have representation in this democracy. Like the millions of immigrants before, they, the Democrats, are fighting the sitting elite to make sure that the children are fed nutritional food, and believe me, it is an uphill struggle. Not only are they fighting the lunch programs at school, they are fighting the television at home that makes it so desirable to eat that which has no nutritional value and can make you heavier, which increases our risks for the medical profession. And, the medical profession is fighting the government for assuming a role in what it seems to perceive to be their pervue. The new health law, which has not even gone into practice yet, is opposed by the very insurance companies and for profit hospitals it is intended to help. read more »
August 3rd, 2011
Page one of the NYTimes online and in print features Deborah Sontag’s lengthy article about Pericles Clergeau, the young man accused of murdering Jose R. Roldan last January at the Lowell Transitional Living Center on Middlesex St. The reporter offers a disturbing account of Clergeau’s behavior for years and the problem he presented for medical, social service, and criminal justice systems.