Friday, December 13, 2013

Today Senator Patty Murray and Rep Paul Ryan are touting a new "bipartisan" budget deal. A better name for the deal would be "business as usual". We are witnessing the triumph of the military industrial complex as they have successfully reinstated spending to pet defense contractors while promising that we will save some money in the future on something or other.  Murray who represents Washington state where I believe every other person works for Boeing and Ryan, who receives significant campaign contributions from defense contractors, have returned to business as usual in our nation's capital. Their bill is being strongly defended by John Boehner who hails from Ohio where we manufacture the Abrams tank which is then driven to Nevada and stored in the desert because nobody needs all the vehicles we are producing. The sequester is not an ideal choice for fiscal policy but at least the spending cuts were across all sectors. This current "deal" signals that nothing is changed.

Pope Francis has made numerous statements recently about economic inequality. I think this is a good thing. Some commentators took exception to this (i.e. Larry Kudlow) as if economics exists in a vacuum. Larry seemed to be outraged that the Pope didn't say you should make all the money you can all the time with little regard for the consequences. I don't think basic human concern for the impact of economic events on the lives of people is off limits. Life has to be about more than money. In New Jersey, the state  recently gave approval for on line gambling . At the same time, in response to the Affordable Care Act, the state took no steps to make health care available on line..  I am not endorsing the Affordable Care Act nor condemning gambling, I just think is sad that the state has these priorities.

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