About Me

My photo
Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What a Conservative Thinks of the G.O.P., A Debt Ceiling Quiz, On Being an "Innie," plus some other stuff.

Wow!  After reviewing my last posting in which I compared Social Security to a Ponzi scheme, I did a bit of “googling” and found that I am in the company of some of the most despicable people in American politics.  The difference, of course, between me and Rush Limbaugh and Texas Governor Rick Perry, for example, is that I made some concrete suggestions as to how to save Social Security.  The right-wing critics in whose smelly company I found myself are primarily interested in destroying any government program involving spending and which lessens the ability of the rich to become richer.  The tragedy is that some of them don’t realize that they have been hoodwinked into becoming part of a “neo-anarchist” movement.  (See my recent postings on Grover Norquist, who is so anti-tax that he wants to “shrink government to a size where it can be drowned in a bathtub,” and to boot, is a closet Islamist.)

So long as I am temporarily infected with some conservative leanings, however, let me take this opportunity to share a piece by David Brooks, a conservative columnist whose words appear in the New York Times and other papers.  Brooks is a conservative Republican.  I think this column, originally published on July 4, might be subtitled “The Death Knell of the Republican Party.”  I really think that many Republicans, like Brooks, will either end up staying away from the polls in 2012 or even voting Democratic.  Here’s his column:

The Mother of All No-Brainers
 David Brooks
By DAVID BROOKS Published: July 4, 2011

The Republicans have changed American politics since they took control of the House of Representatives. They have put spending restraint and debt reduction at the top of the national agenda. They have sparked a discussion on entitlement reform. They have turned a bill to raise the debt limit into an opportunity to put the U.S. on a stable fiscal course.                                                       
Republican leaders have also proved to be effective negotiators. They have been tough and inflexible and forced the Democrats to come to them. The Democrats have agreed to tie budget cuts to the debt ceiling bill. They have agreed not to raise tax rates. They have agreed to a roughly 3-to-1 rate of spending cuts to revenue increases, an astonishing concession.
Moreover, many important Democrats are open to a truly large budget deal. President Obama has a strong incentive to reach a deal so he can campaign in 2012 as a moderate. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, has talked about supporting a debt reduction measure of $3 trillion or even $4 trillion if the Republicans meet him part way. There are Democrats in the White House and elsewhere who would be willing to accept Medicare cuts if the Republicans would be willing to increase revenues.
If the Republican Party were a normal party, it would take advantage of this amazing moment. It is being offered the deal of the century: trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for a few hundred billion dollars of revenue increases.
A normal Republican Party would seize the opportunity to put a long-term limit on the growth of government. It would seize the opportunity to put the country on a sound fiscal footing. It would seize the opportunity to do these things without putting any real crimp in economic growth.
The party is not being asked to raise marginal tax rates in a way that might pervert incentives. On the contrary, Republicans are merely being asked to close loopholes and eliminate tax expenditures that are themselves distortionary.
This, as I say, is the mother of all no-brainers.
But we can have no confidence that the Republicans will seize this opportunity. That’s because the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative.
The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise, no matter how sweet the terms. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch in order to cut government by a foot, they will say no. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch to cut government by a yard, they will still say no.
The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities. A thousand impartial experts may tell them that a default on the debt would have calamitous effects, far worse than raising tax revenues a bit. But the members of this movement refuse to believe it.
The members of this movement have no sense of moral decency. A nation makes a sacred pledge to pay the money back when it borrows money. But the members of this movement talk blandly of default and are willing to stain their nation’s honor.
The members of this movement have no economic theory worthy of the name. Economists have identified many factors that contribute to economic growth, ranging from the productivity of the work force to the share of private savings that is available for private investment. Tax levels matter, but they are far from the only or even the most important factor.
But to members of this movement, tax levels are everything. Members of this tendency have taken a small piece of economic policy and turned it into a sacred fixation. They are willing to cut education and research to preserve tax expenditures. Manufacturing employment is cratering even as output rises, but members of this movement somehow believe such problems can be addressed so long as they continue to worship their idol.
Over the past week, Democrats have stopped making concessions. They are coming to the conclusion that if the Republicans are fanatics then they better be fanatics, too.
The struggles of the next few weeks are about what sort of party the G.O.P. is — a normal conservative party or an odd protest movement that has separated itself from normal governance, the normal rules of evidence and the ancient habits of our nation.
If the debt ceiling talks fail, independent voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not. If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern.
And they will be right.

                                 *****     *****     *****     *****

And while on the subject of the debt ceiling, let’s take a little quiz, folks.  See if you can identify who said this.  Let me know.  The answer, which I expect most of you will easily come up with, will be in my next posting.  Use the “comment” option to respond.

"The full consequences of a default -- or even the serious prospect of default -- by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar."

Who said it?

a.    George W. Bush
b.    Ronald Reagan
c.    Bill Clinton
d.    Ben Bernanke
e.    Timothy Geithner
Jack Lippman

                              *****     *****     *****     *****

Bringing Back the Jobs

Listen to the pundits clamoring over the terrible unemployment figures released the other day.  Pundits and economists are good at making simple things complicated.  Here it is in just  21 words, all but three of which are of one syllable, so that both Tea Party people and those with degrees in economics can understand it.:

How can we expect to have jobs in this country when most of the stuff we buy is made somewhere else? 

I provided you with one answer to this question back on February 11 on this blog.  The piece is called "The Outsource Tax."  Please re-read it, even though there will not be an exam.

                   *****     *****     *****     ***** 

Showtime – Musical Theatre

After three years, I finally saw “Jersey Boys” on a recent trip to New York.  As a born and bred “Jersey Boy,” I had a particular interest in the show, which combines the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons with a “Soprano's” background.  Although I am still humming  "You're just too good to be true, Can't take my eyes off you,"  I gave the show a B+ and if I had been on the panel back in 2008, I would not have voted to award it a Tony.  

Good show, but not as great as the currently running “Rain” (which is both on Broadway and touring nationally) in which a “tribute” group reprises most of the music of the Beatles.  I guess I just prefer the Beatles to the Four Seasons. Meanwhile, I found it impossible to get tickets for “The Book of Mormon” for less than $280 so I suppose I will have to wait for the Republicans to nominate either Romney or Huntsman, either of whom certainly will make sure that millions of Americans have the opportunity to see the show before November, 2012.

                               *****     *****     *****     ***** 

On being an “innie”
Sid Bolotin
What a relief! I am an innie. And so are about a third of the general population.

As a child I knew I was different from other kids. I identified with the little bird in the fairy tale “The Ugly Duckling”.  Although his character appeared similar to the other fowl, swam like them, and waddled like them, the little bird felt like a misfit. Then one day he discovers that he is a swan, a beautiful, sedate creature with an introspective, quiet spirit far different than the ducks and geese he grew up amongst. From childhood through teens, into marriage, fatherhood, and beyond into my seventies, the itching, scratchy hair-shirt of “different-than” has survived all endeavors by myself and others to smooth the disquieting factions within.
Then recently I discovered Marti Olsen Laney and her book about innies. After reading about her own “innieness”, her outie husband, and her similar life experiences, I realized that she, me, and others with whom I share a deep “connection”, are “swans”. Because we’re out-numbered three-to-one by the “outies”, the ducks, geese, and other quacking, rushing-about fowl, we’ve been striving to adjust our brains to fit better, to conform to their world. Thankfully Marti proclaims that our brains are simply wired differently, and that, attempts to change the wiring, is a futile exercise. It’s like trying to teach a pig to sing…it only frustrates the teacher and pisses off the pig.

So, for all the innies and outies “out there” I present the following ten myths about introverts (Source: carlkingcreative.com):-
Myth #1 – Introverts don't like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don't talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won't shut up for days. 
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don't interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don't worry about being polite.
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don't see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.
Myth #4 – Introverts don't like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you're in.
Myth #5 – Introverts don't like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don't like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don't need to be there for long to "get it." They're ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don't have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don't follow the crowd. They'd prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don't make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.
Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It's not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it's just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.
Myth #9 – Introverts don't know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
Introverts cannot "fix themselves" and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

To send this posting to a friend (or enemy for that matter) whom you think might be interested in it, just click on the envelope with the arrow on it right below this line.  


 Top of Form
Bottom of Form


No comments: