Monday, August 01, 2011

The Borrowing Limit Deal: HE, or BAU by the Candy Store Generation?

I’ve been following this debt ceiling debate closer than I should. I watch the coverage on Fox News Channel till I get tired of that, then turn to MSNBC (mainly for laughs), till that makes my blood pressure go up, then to CNN, till I can’t stand any more. Then I turn to cable channel 46 or 30, and hope I catch a replay of an episode of Criminal Minds, and see what the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) is up to.

But there's another wording for BAU: business as usual. I can't help but think that’s exactly what this debt ceiling increase deal is: business as usual. Increase our ability to borrow to fund cowboy poetry festivals across the nation for the next two years of so, make a few designated cuts, and delay all the difficult decisions until later.

Anyone care to predict what will happen when this new super-duper congressional committee comes up with its recommended cuts just before Thanksgiving? Congress won’t approve them by Christmas. These "automatic triggers" will go into effect, but when the many members of Congress realize exactly what that means, we will have a major battle over that. Maybe some spending cuts will come to the table for debate, but so will tax increases. "The wealthy don't pay their fare share" will come up as it always does, and proponents of that will not tell the American people that taxes fall heaviest on the poor and middle class, regardless of who writes the check to the government. Indeed, they don't recognize or accept that themselves.

This will become the main issue of the election of 2012 at the presidential and congressional levels. I suppose that’s a good thing. Once again social issues will take a back seat to economic issues. Those of "Tea Party" leanings will either be strengthened or, if the Democrats and the press can succeed at branding them radical obstructionists, lose ground. I can't see clearly enough to have a clue of what will happen to Tea Party strength in that election.

This all makes me wonder if what we are seeing now the first battle between the Had Enough Generation and The Candy Store Generation. The CSG are the Baby Boomers, those who had everything given to them on a platter by a once great generation who didn't want their children to go through the hardships they did. The HEG is someone who comes after the CSG and cleans up their mess. Possibly this is the first struggle between those two for supremacy. If so, the HEG has shown up quicker than I expected it to.

But we've still got a lot of the CSG in the Congress. Just how stupid are these people? I hate to keep coming back to the Nevada Cowboy Poetry Festival, but Harry "The Gray" Reid brought it up, saying how awful it would be to de-fund them. Now Reid is not technically a member of the CSG. Born in 1939, seven years before the official start of the Boomers, he theoretically belongs to what Brokaw called "The Greatest Generation". But clearly there is a transitional group, born late in one generation but who didn't participate with the older ones in their struggles. That's Reid. That's Pelosi. They are older Boomers at heart, leaders of one wing of the CSG.

They think it is perfectly acceptable to borrow $35,000 from the People's Republic of China to fund a poetry festival, and expect their children to pay the interest on that money for perhaps twenty years and then have their grandchildren pay the bill itself sometime after that. As I said before, this is beyond ridiculous; it's moronic.

But I don't see anything yet that is going really make a dent in this out of control spending. The committee that's part of the deal probably won't work. The battle will continue. And the election of 2012 will let us know if the Had Enoughs have arrived or not. My guess is they are beginning to show, but that the Candy Store Generation will still have sufficient power to continue to make a mess of everything up until 2014. That’s when we might see the HEG make enough of a move to really change things.

Until then, it's BAU with the CSG. Let's hope they don’t run us over a cliff in these last three years. We're very close right now.


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