Sunday, October 08, 2006

Blog Talk: the noise within

Deficits redux

A certain Democratic spin blog has been dragging up the issue of budget deficits for months; blaming Jim Nussle for the federal red ink, the red ink manufacturers' use of cheap foreign labor, global warming caused by the paper produced from trees used to put the red ink on, and the token victim that happens to be standing just close enough to the red ink to succumb to a burning and itchy rash that creates a permanent disability, which then requires trial lawyer intervention for purposes of the dissolution of the red ink industry and the greater good.

I wonder if Gordon is going to say anything about the most recent CBO estimate of the federal budget deficit? Saturday’s AP story from the WaPo:

WASHINGTON -- The federal budget deficit estimate for the fiscal year just completed has dropped to $250 billion, congressional estimators said Friday, as the economy continued to fuel impressive tax revenues.

The Congressional Budget Office's latest estimate is $10 billion below CBO predictions issued in August and well below a July White House prediction of $296 billion. …

…At $250 billion, it would be the lowest since the $158 billion figure in 2002, the first deficit following four years of surpluses. …

…But when measured against the size of the economy, which is the comparison economists think is most important, the deficit picture looks even better.

At 1.9 percent of gross domestic product, the 2006 deficit registers far below those seen in the 1980s and early 1990s. The modern record of 6 percent of GDP came in 1983 and deficits greater than 4 percent in 1991 and 1992 drove Congress to embark on a 1993 deficit-cutting drive.

, the long-term deficit picture remains bleak due to the looming retirement of the Baby Boom generation, which threatens to swamp Social Security and the Medicare health care program for the elderly. …

Democrats want voters to believe that they are fiscal watchdogs even though the facts seem to indicate that when Democrats controlled the US Congress we had much higher debt ratios. Is there any reason to believe that Democrats plan to be fiscal hawks to a budget overloaded with entitlement obligations?

Ah, no. Just check out Bruce Braley on his Social Security trip. Reported in the Quad Cities Times.

Social Security doesn’t face the crisis that backers of private accounts are claiming — and using some government estimates, it may not be at risk of insolvency, Democratic congressional candidate Bruce Braley said in Davenport on Thursday. ...

... He told a group at the Lend-A-Hand that there needs to be careful study of the problem before fixing a problem that “may not even exist.”

Referring to a range of estimates in the Social Security trustees annual report, Braley later said in an interview: “There is a real question if you use the high range estimate whether the Social Security trust fund is in serious danger of becoming insolvent.” …

I think the Democrats may have punched this Social Security ticket one too many times given recent polling shows Republican Mike Whalen up by 13 points. I’m offering up the first Big Cheer to the death of Social Security as third rail politics.

Side Notes on the Appels

Okay, so here's my opinion:

It is not inherently misogynistic to be concerned about the amount of time that a couple spends with their small children. Misogyny (in a loose sense, not meaning the hatred of women but the stereotyping thereof) enters into the picture when one automatically looks at the woman as the culprit and questions her ability to mother while working, because obviously the kids should come first. Inherent in this attitude is a concurrent presumption that the father's work is either more important or somehow more valuable than the time that he spends with said kiddies, and a conspicuous lack of questioning his ability to father.

In reviewing the postings to date, I don't find Iowa Ennui's piece to be misogynistic or sexist. She doesn't focus on the woman as the one who is neglectful, but the couple as a whole. State, however, does cross the line with his first post. She hates the kids? If that's the case, what's his busy schedule - just another way to say "I love you?" He pulls it back a bit with the second post. Yes, he still lists a bunch of things that are focused on her, but he does wrap it up by saying his concerns are about the two of them equally.

In case you're wondering, I am aware that there's a whole issue of money involved with any decision about who should spend time with the kids. I am also aware that it appears that his career is far more financially lucrative. But don't you think that's more a private economic matter for the two of them (and perhaps their financial counselor if they have one) to work out? I don't think it's any defense to claim "but that's why I presumed she was neglectful and not him - of course he can't stay home." Might I suggest that, with a little creative accounting, he should consider stepping aside for a while to give her a shot? Either way, it's not relevant to the greater issue.

So, to answer the Madman's question: no, you're not misogynistic, in my opinion. Neither is Bob out of line by pointing out the sexist assumptions that are inherent with pointing the finger at the wife. State skirts the line, as he's so fond of doing, but I think a close reading of his second post shows that while he's critical of her for seeking the office, he's not presuming she should necessarily be the one to give ground in her career.

Thanks Kris. What would the world do without our intelligent & quirky lawyers and their blog habits?

Out of the South.

State 29 is right -- despite his rabid misogynistic tendencies when it comes to slash & burn blogging on the pampered, self-indulgent behavior of ‘important’ people – South of Iowa is good, and the it blog for Iowa Ag issues.

A recent post, the smack down of the eco-enviro types (a.k.a -- the rich NIMBYs) is brilliant, and all the guys, moms & kids know I’m not one for hyperbole.


Federal Budget Surpluses and Deficits

The largest annual U.S. federal budget deficit, as a percentage of gross domestic product, was at the height of World War II when it hit 30.3% of GDP.

By comparison, the federal budget deficit for 2004 as a percentage of GDP is estimated at 2.7% of GDP.

During the 70 years between 1934 and 2004, there have been 12 budget years in which the federal budget has had an annual surplus.

(SOURCE: U.S. Department of the Treasury via
A person in my office knows Stacy Appel and just found out that she is pregnant with child number 5.
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