Feb 04 2013
One thing about being back in the US for a while. It just depresses the hell out of you, at least if you turn on the news.
If you watch the local news here in North Carolina-a lot of people are meeting violent ends. For what purpose I am not really sure. But there are some truly screwed up people out there, judging by the number of homicides I saw reported in just the past three evenings.
On the other hand, if you watch the national news-you see the same old drama playing itself out again and again. Our national leadership is simply unable to put aside their petty bickering and do the right thing and provide a budget for the rest of the year-along with spending targets for the remaining four. And before anyone throws out the stupid and completely ridiculous canard that "the House did pass a budget, two of them"-you can stop right there and stop wasting your breath. Just shut your pie hole because the statement is not true. Paul Ryan's so called budget was a fraud, based on cruel and evil premises-and worst yet-his numbers did not add up. When examined carefully, by reasonable economists, his math just falls apart. Garbage in=Garbage out.
Now that does not absolve Obama or the Democrats for not pushing harder to get a budget passed. However when you have a group who has proven to be such a group of spoiled children as Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, the entire Teabag caucus, and the rest of the "serious" people are, it becomes impossible for Congress to do its primary and perhaps most important job.
But as far as Ryan et al are concerned-they have only one job. Screw the black guy in the White House at every opportunity. A solid majority of Americans did itself proud by seeing through that smoke screen and sending Romney home. ( Which home is that by the way? The one in California or the one in Massachusetts? Or any of his other ones. It is hard to keep track of them all).
The failure to have a proper and serious budget is destructive. It does not allow the government and the people in it to plan. It does not provide security to a large group of folks who need it, and so whatever recovery we are undertaking gets short circuited.
And when I make that statement, that does not mean that taxes returning to the level they should have been at all through this decade is a part of that uncertainty. Its not. Setting tax rates and sticking to them-while you figure out long term tax reform is not "stoking the flames of uncertainty".
However you can see by the cuts that are now being trotted out by the services-which- if the Navy means what it says are pretty Draconian. Now I tend to look at the Navy closest because it is my field of expertise-but it seems to me that they are being deliberate in trying to paint a picture of gloom and doom if sequestration hits.
Now don't get me wrong, I think sequestration as currently laid out is a disaster for the country, not just for DOD. However, both sides of the house, defense and non defense CAN accept some cuts. But they are going about it the wrong way. The Navy appears to be concentrating all of the pain in OM&N and personnel. Why I am not really sure. Actually I take that back, I know exactly why they are doing it-hoping to get a lot of people so upset that a ground swell builds to restore funding. The problem with that line of thinking is that there are folks like Ryan, who never served a day in his life, who welcome Draconian cuts. They don't get hurt, you see, so they could care less about anyone else.
But rather than make vertical cuts and RIF's, e.g.., removing whole staff's and agencies that are on the cusp of irrelevance, they intend to make sure everyone "feels the pain". The money gets saved but it's a stupid self inflicted move that will cause the deaths of real Sailors unnecessarily . At least in aviation it will.
The same is true in other areas of the government. There are cuts to be made to be sure-just as there is a need to raise the revenue base of the government to do the things it is supposed to be doing. But "spreading it out" and saying travel is the culprit of increased spending, or stopping training, or furloughing civilians for 22 days, or any of the other things being proposed is short sighted. And glosses over a Navy created problem, namely the service's inability to say no, that have created the problems its faces today.
Let me say this again. Vertical cuts. Do away with the extra organizations and flags. Stop LCS acquisition. Deploy only one carrier to CENTCOM if need be. RIF civilians on the staffs that get vertically cut. Yea that is painful-but in the long run its less painful that doing this same drill next year.
Vertical cuts. What remains-you fund to 100%. Whatever 100% turns out to be.
And the only way to do that is with a budget.
Which is why I say it is the most destructive force in America right now.
Do I think we will get one? Not a chance. I have zero confidence in our GOP Galtian overlords, especially the saunty Mr. Ryan- he of zombie eyed granny starving fame- to do the right thing. I despise the man.
Shakespeare summed the guy up well:
Mark you this, Bassanio,
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
The country needs a budget, a responsible budget that makes real progress towards balancing the budget, with both revenue and prudent cuts. But because Mr Ryan and his ilk are as described above by Mr. William, nothing of the sort will be accomplished.