Friday, September 7, 2012

Caaamper's Political Foray-Musings from the DNC


I’ve been struggling lately.  Struggling with keeping my cyber mouth shut…on Facebook at least.  Struggling and failing.  My wife reminded me that I have a more important role in life than to be a commentator (or instigator) on political subjects, and that I should try to refrain from spouting off on Facebook for the sake of my role as an elder in our church.  I agreed, so I am dialing back on that public forum.  I’m still perusing other people’s propaganda, but I’m doing my best to bite my cyber tongue.  Instead, I will confine my commentary to this blog series.

During President Obama’s speech last night, one of my Democratic friends for whom I have a great deal of respect shared the following quote:

“I will use the money that we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt, and do some nation building at home.”  Barack Obama—September 6, 2012

Initially, I liked the sound of that and responded with:  “If he’s re-elected, let’s hold him to that.”

I’ve thought about that statement today quite a bit, and I no longer like it.  Why?  Well, good question.  I’m glad you asked.

The reason is that it is IMPOSSIBLE!

If I told you the following, what would you think of me?

“I’ve been borrowing $1000 per month for the last few years on my credit card to buy stuff I wanted.  But, I’m not going to do that anymore.  Instead, I’m going to use THAT money to pay down my debt.  I’m going to stop buying new stuff.  Rather, I’m going to use that borrowed money from my credit card to pay the payments on the credit card….except for some other new stuff I really need to get.  I am still going to buy that stuff with the credit card.”

You would think I’m nuts!  Where’s Dave Ramsey when you need him?  Get me a straight jacket and lock me up for my own good!

But, that is exactly what the President actually said only on a macro level!

He can’t pay down the debt with the money that we won’t be spending on the wars because the wars have all been FINANCED WITH DEBT.  At best, he could stop the debt from expanding further, but he cannot pay it down with that money.  It sounds really good at first blush, but it doesn’t hold water.

If you are going to pay down debt, you first have to stop buying things on credit.  You have to get yourself on a budget where you spend less than you take in.  Then, you start putting some of the surplus against your loans and the balance will start to decline.  In other words, stopping the war spending is only the first step.  The others would be to create a federal budget that is balanced (no more deficit spending), and then to set aside money within that balanced budget to put toward the debt.

I will give President Clinton some credit.  He basically did that.  Our current President cannot even get a budget together (balanced or unbalanced) to submit to congress.

Now, for my second musing on the Democratic National Convention and this one will probably set poorly on both sides of the aisle….

I was amazed at how loudly and enthusiastically that the delegates and the speakers touted the fact that President Obama had killed Osama Bin Laden.

This… from the party that has the most disdain and opposition for capital punishment in our American judicial system.  Really?  Are they serious?  They are screaming at the top of their lungs that one of the reasons that America should vote for their guy is because he arranged for a man to be killed. 

Wow.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think Bin Laden was a bad man.  I think that circumstances dictated that he should be taken out.  I’m not insinuating that he shouldn’t have been shot.  However, he was still a human being…a living man.  His life was taken.  Capital punishment carried out on a global stage.  I personally don’t think we should ever celebrate the necessity of killing someone…let alone campaign for political points from the deed.  It may be popular, but I found it distasteful.

You may disagree with my musings, but I think my logic is sound….on both points.

3 comments:

  1. Mike, Your point about not re-spending money that was borrowed in the first place is right. Both wars (Iraq & Afghanistan) were unfunded and contribute greatly to our current deficit spending (without generating as many jobs here as such spending ideally would in an economic downcycle). Bringing the troops home, and bringing defense spending overall back into some better alignment is important. I'd rather see us spend on rehabilitation for the troops than more guns & ammo. Ending those things that created the structural deficit needs to happen so we can get back to a reasonable budget that provides necessary services. (Remember, that 3rd unfunded thing was the Bush tax cuts, when he eliminated Clinton's surplus.)
    As to cheering a murder, I agree with you. I did celebrate, however, that good triumphed, at long last, over evil (and I don't use that word lightly). The "good guys" won, after 10 years. And in the context of the overall "good guys winning" - celebrating that the US auto industry is "back from the dead" and Bin Laden is "among the dead", I think a rousing cheer was understandable.
    What did you think of the message about the key messages in the speech: rights and responsibilities of citizens, and working together/not leaving anyone behind?

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  2. I agree w you and Nancy and am definitely dialing back everywhere but in my prayers. May Americans make the changes that allow God to show USA grace and mercy.

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  3. Elizabeth,
    To be honest, I didn't watch the President's speech on Thursday night. I couldn't take any more politics that night. I did watch it today...just now. I found the themes to be on target and sound. For the most part, I found very little to criticize with some exceptions. But, I'm not surprised by that since that speech as almost all political speeches at both conventions were about 99% rah rah rhetoric and only about 1% substance.
    You said in a comment on my FB wall that I had singled out two "minor" points in the speech to discuss with this post. I must admit that I take issue with the characterization that those points are minor. That comment about taking the money not spent on the wars to pay down the debt is highly indicative of the way that money is viewed in Washington. Also, when I brought up the point of Bin Laden's death being so loudly used for political points...I wasn't even referring to the President's mention of it. It was used over and over throughout the convention.
    The speech did spur some new thoughts in me. I will see if they will develop themselves into more posts.

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