A Political Ramble

Hey, you’ve been warned in the title; nothing of any significance here, It’s a ramble, sheer opinion.

Today was an interesting day, in a dear-diary sense. Several people suddenly glommed onto a fairly throw-away post, the one entitled “American Jobs Bikini Graph” because it looks like the bottom half of an Old Glory themed bikini. (Strictly speaking that should make it a monokini or unikini, but I’m not a strict person.)

Today was also the day I pick up my beloved son for his biweekly weekend visit, and the day of the local library’s Friends of the Library book sale. Guess which of the three polled lowest on my sustained-attention scale, go on guess.

Still, I can’t say the sudden influx of visitors to my quasi-moribund blog was insignificant to me. I apparently get quite a number of people visiting, but they seldom say anything, and that really does perturb me. I love a good discussion, and I’ll settle for an argument. Sadly, I don’t seem to have the gift for provoking it, or at least not for sustaining it.

Is Obama in any real sense responsible for the growth in jobs in the year plus since he came into office? Was George W. Bush responsible for the decline in jobs during the tail end of his term, and if so how much? Is it even possible to determine? These are questions it should be possible to have a good conversation about, even if agreement remains elusive.

(For the record, I’m unsure of whether Obama’s economic policy stance is going to prove out, but there’s certainly no negative evidence proving it’s wrong; conversely, the supply-side economics of Reagan and both Bushes have been disastrous by any reasonable measure other than “income increase at the highest income level” – in terms of national debt,deficit rate, poverty levels, income disparity and what-have-you that degree of correlation is strong evidence of causation. Reaganomics makes us poor.)

I did see hope in one response to the Bikini post, in which the poster questioned why, if jobs were increasing, the unemployment rate went up. That was a *good* question (see the post for my response), fact-based, non-obvious and on point. Less encouraging but still worthy was the one trying to cast blame for the Econopalypse on low-income home-buyers – no, poor people being unable to pay a loan is a symptom, not a cause – but that was based on at least a partial viewing of the data, and the responder had put some thought into it. These are people I can talk to.

Then there was the third. Oh, Bog…. Obama is a liar, you know he is, your graph must be skewed because,,, well, because Obama is a liar.

Oh, and inexperienced! Like there’s ever been a single case of a President with a decade’s experience on the job. The system is set up to avoid experience on the job, and for good reason.

If the job of Chief Executive were properly limited and controlled, I’d be happy with unlimited Presidential terms. Sadly, it isn’t, and if there’s one thing we can thank George W. Bush for it’s for showing us that the Founders were insufficiently prescient in limiting the role of the Executive. Even more sadly, we can’t thus far thank Obama for reversing any Executive power grabs whatsoever – if anything he’s extended them.

It’s a bit ridiculous to expect he should, of course. Look at the whole system from a system analysis POV and you see any number of open positive feedback loops, and that’s just one of them. It’s easier to invest authority in the Executive than to repeal it; it’s easier for the Legislative to legislate than to remove legislation. The Judicial is actually founded on the principal of upholding prior judicial decisions.

I’ve yet to see a third party with any inkling of an improvement to the system, though, The Libertarians and their wannabes are all about rolling things back, but overall and despite the warts and running sores the general situation in this country has improved over the years. Anyone who wants to go back to the 1950s or earlier is a) an over-privileged white male asshole much like myself only too stupid to see it and b) delusional even at that, as OPWMAMLMOTSTSIs didn’t even have it as good as they thought they did.

I don’t really expect to see our political representation system fixed in my lifetime, of course. Hell, I don’t expect the British to manage it, and they’re starting from a much more malleable place. To fix the problems in our system would require overwhelming votes from the very people who benefit most from the status quo.

If I were a person of consequence, the Drudge Report would be screaming it right now: MURTAGH A TEA PARTY SUPPORTER!!! eleventyONE!111!

I’m not and few people care, but to borrow a phrase let me be clear; I think the Tea Party folk are by and large badly informed people, with very little understanding of the issues they are (sometimes rightly) exercised about, encapsulating a distressingly significant number of out-and-out racists, and led about by the nose by corporate interests who couldn’t care less about the welfare of the Tea Party members themselves, who might best be described as dupes and (to borrow a phrase from a dubious source) useful idiots.


~ by B.T. Murtagh on May 16, 2010.

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