March 27, 2011

The penny wise pound foolish budget

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 3:43 pm

One of the guys who does volunteer work for the Marina (del Rey) Tenants Association (MTA) asked this columnist if we could help him in his private cause of trying to restore the level of karate instructions his daughter was receiving at the Sun Valley Park Recreation Center in Los Angeles County. There had been three classes a week and it had been reduced down to two a week and he wanted to see if he could get it back to three. (Cue the “putting toothpaste back into the tube” analogy?)

The Marina Tenants Association has, since its inception in the Seventies, been battling the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors over rent rates because the history of the world famous boating marina has lead the local voters and several newspaper reporters to ask for various investigations over the years because the fact that the developers who build in the county run area make profits that are deemed “excessive” while being regular campaign donors to the very politicians who are assigned the task of overseeing the possibility that the people who provide their own financial political support are too enthusiastic in setting new rent rates in that area. To some, it would seem that the voters think that the politicians, who assure their constituents that they will be impartial, are being disingenuous.

The fact that many voters are confused by the elimination of many budget items at a time when the question of financing new military operations in support of a civil war in Libya is being glossed over in a perfunctory manner is causing them to question the disparity of a “penny wise and pound foolish” agenda.

The President is scheduled to address the nation on Monday evening and explain his reasoning.

To cynics, it seems like the President is assisting the Republicans in their new “Take-away” strategy. The Republicans take away citizens rights and benefits while simultaneously taking away the tax burden for the corporations and rich individuals.

To some, it looks like the Republican agenda in Michigan amounts to taking away (AKA disenfranchising) the voters right to representation via mayoral and city council elections by installing “viceroys.”

The challenge, for the President in Monday night’s speech, will be to explain the apparent fiscal policy contradictions in terms that the average voter can understand. If President Obama can do that without sounding like a parody of the standard Bush war speech full of assurances that the task is hard work and that progress is being made; then he will (in effect) have kicked off his re-election campaign with another example of his famous speech-giving style (as St. Ronald Reagan often went to the people to use his charm to win the voters’ hearts). If, however, he fumbles and comes off sounding like a college professor explaining calculus to a grade school mathematics class, he could face a more formidable reelection challenge than most of his cheerleader-pundits currently expect.

The degree of difficulty for the President’s task has been further increased by a recent New York Time article that asserted that the new American military activities directed against Libya was based on some resentment for what American business men perceived as “extortion” on the part of the Libyan leader in return for commercial opportunities inside that country on the African continent. That would leave the war open to some snide commentary using the old mafia concept of “this is nothing personal, just business” regarding the new hostilities. Even just the idea of such a possibility contradicts the President’s assertion that the new “war” is being waged for strictly humanitarian reasons.
(Doesn’t the concept of “war for humanitarian reasons” sound rather Bush-esque?) [Note: efforts to find the article online were unsuccessful. Readers are invited to do their own fact checking on this possible news story explantation.]

If this new “conspiracy theory,” from the New York Times, is ever proven to be a valid explanation, that could further complicate the President’s attempt to win the hearts and minds of American voters for a second time.

Unfortunately for voters, each and every cause (such as the level of karate class instructions in Sunland Park) needs an individual restoration effort, while the Republican program can be as cold and unemotional as the stroke of a pen crossing the item off a local budget.

Somewhere in Berkeley, we noticed a bumper sticker that drolly noted that you will never see an Air Force Base holding a bake sale so that they can buy a new fighter jet.

Conspiracy theory nuts will have their usual song and dance ready if the Republican Supreme Court Justice in Wisconsin wins reelection on Tuesday. The Democrats have been trained to respond to any new allegations that the Republicans have stolen (i.e. take it away from the Democrats) an election by saying in unison: “We just didn’t get enough voter turn out. We’ll have to try harder next time.”

It is not clear if the President will use the Monday night speech to assuage the voters fears about some tangential subjects such as assurances that there is no need for concern on America’s West Coast over malfunctions at some electrical generating plants thousands and thousands of miles away in Japan. Only disloyal subjects – make that word “citizens” – would be suspicious enough of such reassurances to go to the Internets site that reports radiation levels in the USA to fact check their own President.

Do Republicans want to take away from the country’s support of the Commander-in-chief?

Another part of the Republican “Take-away” agenda is to reduce the excessive amount of disposable income in the voters’ pockets (via lowering wages) so that the rich can have their fears about lower profits during hard times taken away from their list of worries.

One intrepid conservative has incurred the wrath of her lackeys by pioneering the “you should donate your labor to my business” trend and is ignoring the workers’ “strike.” Why strive to get them to work for “less” if you can get them to work for free?

In the old days, rich business moguls used to hire thugs to come in and use baseball bats to knock some sense into the hard hearts of the financially motivated “firebrands,” who often were outside agitators and not actual workers. Actually, the instigators usually did the “observe and report” routine from the sidelines while the workers themselves took the actual physical punishment.

Voluntary work opportunities abound for liberals. Hired gun writers, by definition, tend to only join the causes (such as lowering the tax burden of the rich) that will provide them with a paycheck.

When the tax rate for corporations and rich individuals is reduced to absolute zero, will they stop their lobbying efforts or will they then proceed onward to an effort to provide “tax reparations” for (what they perceive as) past taxation injustices? Would people actually think that capitalists could be that greedy?

The fact that the (so-called) Liberal Media has become more and more subdued in their attempts to foster the various causes embraced by Democrats tends to indicate that the Republican efforts to dismantle FDR’s “New Deal,” can now proceed unhindered, especially since most of the issues will be sent to conservative dominated appeals courts.

If Conservative Christian Republicans gain control of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of American government, what will Rush Limbaugh have to use as the basis for a (rather one-sided) debate on the public air waves? We may soon find out.

Quote wranglers debate about the legitimacy of a quote often attributed to Collis Huntington: “Whatever is not nailed down is mine. What I can pry loose is not nailed down.”

Now the disk jockey will play the song “Money (That’s what I want)” done by both the Beatles and the Stones (the only song recorded by both groups), the Flying Lizzards, and ? We have to go find a copy of the Jefferson Airplane song “Volunteers.” Have a “just say ‘Thank you, masked man’” type week.

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