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Good Enough For Government

In Good Enough For Government, Matt on November 19, 2010 by Two Barbers Tagged: , , , , , , ,

This week’s Good Enough is a bit of a departure from the from the established rule of Good Enough For Government (if I have to refer to it again from now on, I will use the acronym GEFG and skip the bold type as well), which is to report on some action made by the federal government over the course of the week. I won’t go too far off to the side with reflexive commentary, but the ultimate goal is to become more and more accustomed to the people in power and terminology that denotes their actions through sustained, habitual forced attention.  Up until today, I think I’ve been pretty faithful to that rule, albeit some tentative ‘do these jeans make me look fat’ tweaking.

Well, this week, GEFG does not come out of any white columned building erected to represent the elegance of Greek democracy, but the NY Times (feel free to extract whatever juxtapositions you will).

On November 13th (which would technically count since it was Saturday, the day after last week’s post), the Times posted an article with a digital budget puzzle (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/13/weekinreview/deficits-graphic.html) which lays out general areas of the budget that are being scrutinized in current discourse about the deficit among leaders (see the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform’s draft proposal [http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/CoChair_Draft.pdf], composed by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, which has been prominent in the news lately).

The puzzle isn’t going to suddenly impart you with some magical comprehension of our nation’s finance but it may help with foundation-laying for working knowledge of the federal deficit, in the sense that when we can get farther through an article, panel discussion, or pundit’s diatribe before having to tap out.

The puzzle was accompanied by an article (or visa versa, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/weekinreview/14leonhardt.html?_r=1) titled Ok, You Fix the Budget, whose condescending veneer, what with a White House maze and squiggly-line graphic of spiral notebook-esque doodles ultimately connecting two points dubbed, uber-simplisticly, “deficit” and “surplus”, not to mention the overall impression left by a “deficit puzzle” in itself, is not lost on your writer. But at the risk of looping back inelegantly, I’ll say again, it might be a useful little tool to frame an approach.

Right now, the two rival ruling parties in congress are battling over separate issues linked by the deficit, which is rapidly becoming a political football. The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Continuation Act, which would extend the period that people can apply for federally funded unemployment benefits beyond the current 99 day limit, was voted down today in in the House of Reps. (although it won a majority of votes 258-154. Not competently sure why; just that for some reason it needed a 2/3 majority, or 290 votes) and to avoid getting swamped in equivocation, I’m just going to say it’s the Republican party that has been the most vocal in opposition to such legislation, but if that doesn’t sit well, then you amend it with a corrective comment. (It seems like they have been aggressive too, more so than in the past, and for about year, since Sen. Jim Bunning used the filibuster against a bill that eventually was passed and extended unemployment benefits in late February. This may just be an example of heightened sensitivity from the media in response to fervor around the economic woes throughout the country or it may just stand out more because of the severity of such a stance in a time when unemployment rate is beginning to mimic a divergent series in calculus.) In an article on OpenCongress.org, Donny Shaw, a government blogger, pointed out a contradiction in the rationale of the Republicans who, in crude terms, want to cut unemployment benefits while maintaining the tax cuts from the ‘Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001’ and the ‘Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003’ a.k.a ‘The Bush Tax Cuts’, ‘The Bush Tak Cuts on the Wealthiest 1%’, ‘The Bush Era Tax Cuts’, etc., while beating the deficit drum (http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/2108-Midweek-Unemployment-Extension-Update [although he called it irony rather than contradictory because of, as he anticipates, a possible compromise between the two, which isn’t really solid irony. Just two things that might cancel each other out.]).

-Matt

PS

Sorry about the naked links. WordPress’ hyperlink tool isn’t working today.

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One Response to “Good Enough For Government”

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