I have friends I call on who are only concerned about the meat and potatoes of issues and not the politics. They are not tied to any political party or agenda. They will vote Republican or Democrat. [I’m not sure about 3rd parties.] And they can pretty much give me a good idea of where the middle ground is. I talked to one of these friends this week about the AIG bonus bomb and what she thought about it. She said she didn’t care about those AIG bonuses. She cares about having healthcare.
Today volunteers will be on the streets talking to people and rallying support for the national budget submitted by the President to the Congress. Next week, the budget goes into debate on the Hill.
The Congressional Budget Office has already delcared this budget a blue print for weakening the economy by increasing the deficit by $1 trillion a year according to the Washington Post. But let’s look back 7 years ago at the CBO and its projections in a report by the “News Hour’s” Paul Soloman with Barry Anderson, then Deputy Director of the CBO (one of the numbers crunchers):
BARRY ANDERSON: For 200 years, we forecasted not ten years out, not five years out, but only 18 months out. You look at the private forecasters; they’re really not doing too much more than that right now. I know the Congress needs estimates that go out ten years and we will supply them. But we make no bones about it that there is an awful lot of uncertainty about what our projections are ten years hence.
PAUL SOLMAN: Would you bet me $100 that your projections will be within 10 percent of the ultimate reality?
BARRY ANDERSON: No, and the reason being is because I would bet you many times $100 that Congress will enact legislation that will change those projections somewhere different than the $5.6 trillion. But I don’t know what legislation they’re going to enact.
PAUL SOLMAN: And you don’t know if it will make the number higher or lower.
BARRY ANDERSON: Exactly.
In all fairness to the CBO, I did go to the source – the Director’s Blog – and encourage readers to do the same. Note the emphasis on “current laws and policies” in its projection. Meaning, if policy remains the same, these are the projections. And what the office offers is an analysis not policy.
I believe strongly, the economy says more about human behavior than numbers. On “current laws and policies,” those AIG executives are entitled to those bonuses. This has been the practice for some time and no one complained as long as everyone was cashing in – Wall Street’s verison of “spread the wealth.” In terms of behavior and ethics, they suck. So what do you do? Where do you put your focus and energy in terms of changing the policy to curb the behavior.
This week, on “The Tonight Show” President Obama continued his three talking points about the budget: education, energy and healthcare.
This is where I’m shifting my attention. My friend doesn’t have a healthcare plan even though she has a full-time job. I’m not sure she’s up for the fight about single-payer, universal vs. private, public whatever. But I’m sure she’s very interested in a healthcare plan that’s affordable, available, and attainable no matter what your present medical condition, age, and/or income.
As my sister said to me, the budget should be looked at as a moral document. After the debates, what the final national budget looks like remains to be seen. But it will certainly reflect what this country truly values.