Jonathan Alter on Boehner’s Misleading Speech

Here’s a nice summary of all the many falsehoods and inaccuracies in Speaker Boehner’s televised address, from Jonathan Alter via Bloomberg. However, at this point I’m most disappointed in President Obama. He appears to be willing to cut off his own arm to appease the GOP, in exchange for… what, exactly? Nothing that I can identify.

The facts are quite simple. We already spent this money. We need to fulfill our obligations. We have to raise the debt limit accordingly. This has nothing to do with whether we should continue future spending at the same rates, or whether we should try to reduce our national debt overall. Of course we should try to curtail government spending, and of course we should adjust both spending and revenues to reduce our deficits. We can sort these matters out at any time; there is no reason it has to be now, under the gun of the approaching deadline, in a way that risks default and a reduction in our credit rating. We will only end up having to pay even more than we currently owe if that happens. I don’t understand why any of this is a mystery. I don’t understand why “conservatives” are so completely out of touch with the fiscally conservative, prudent position on this matter. Pay what you owe, already, and then roll up your sleeves and figure out how to stop continually spending beyond your means.

 

Happy 70th Birthday, George Clinton!

Sane Conservatives on the Debt Ceiling

Some words from sane conservatives on this issue.

 

Debt Ceiling Madness

An article yesterday in the New York Times describes the preparations that banks, mutual funds, and others are taking in case the current debt ceiling impasse cannot be broken. It seems clear that even if a solution is reached, the gridlock in Washington is damaging confidence in the U.S. as a financial safe haven. If we have to have another debate like this every time the treasury needs to spend more money, how can investors trust that we won’t someday fail to resolve it?

The more I read about the debate, the more it seems that people are making a mistake I’ve mentioned here before: that raising the “debt ceiling” or “debt limit” is the same thing as agreeing to increase the national debt. We already DID increase the national debt, though, when we agreed to these financial obligations. Maybe we shouldn’t have spent so much money, but now that’s water under the bridge. The only question is, having run up the credit cards, are we going to pay them off or not? And we cannot afford to say no. If I say no to my creditors, I end up paying more in interest or penalties, and this is roughly what will happen to the nation as a whole if we even flirt with default!

Should we stop spending so much, though? Absolutely! I agree with the critics of our out-of-control debt who argue that we cannot sustain this course. We need to make difficult, belt-tightening decisions, and doubtless lawmakers will disagree about where to make cuts. But the debt ceiling is a separate issue. Playing political games with the deadline will hurt ALL of us, including those of us who want a more austere budget. I’m starting to become a little amazed that so many people don’t get this. I had assumed that a deal would be reached because it’s so obvious why it’s needed, but now I’m wondering if Congress might truly be short-sighted enough to hurt our economy with this fight.

I wonder if some Republicans think they can blame Obama for any resulting economic crisis, so they think default is politically valuable and therefore worth risking. Is it possible that they actually believe this? Talk about cutting off your own nose to spite your face…

Organic Eggs

This past winter I started buying organic eggs, since the price of regular eggs had risen so high that the organic eggs were only slightly more expensive. Wow!!! The organic eggs are SO much better! I continue to be amazed at how different the taste, shell texture, and raw contents of the eggs are, compared to the non-organic varieties. I’ve tried a few different brands of organic now, and notice the same benefits with all of them.

This morning we had scrambled eggs, and it’s wonderful to once again have light, fluffy, delicious eggs that taste and smell like “real” eggs are supposed to, and as I remember them being when I was younger. While she was still alive, my grandma often used to remark on how products like these had changed over her lifetime, and how she was sorry we wouldn’t have the same high quality foods she had once enjoyed. We have much more variety and availability of foods in the off-season than she had ever imagined, but the quality of the average meat and dairy products available in the stores has been radically reduced. We have to seek out specialty products in order to approach what was “normal” for grandma in decades past. Now that I can see the huge difference in eggs alone, I begin to realize what she was talking about!

Pediatricians turn away kids who aren’t vaccinated.

This headline comes from a story on Yahoo today by Jessica Ashley. Pediatricians in Chicago and NYC discuss their new policies on refusing to see patients whose parents have chosen not to vaccinate them. Since these markets are large enough that the parents have the option of finding another doctor, the pediatricians feel comfortable that their policies are not depriving anyone of medical care. It sounds like they would not have the rule if they were located in, say, a rural area where parents could only access one such doctor.

Personally, I think this is a good policy that will protect the health of other patients who are vulnerable or too young to have been fully vaccinated. It’s not fair for parents who decide not to vaccinate to expose and endanger other children whose parents don’t have the luxury of such a choice. I would be pleased if my own doctor’s office chose to adopt such a policy, as it would give extra protection to our kids who suffer from asthma and for whom vaccination is not complete protection against illness, and to our soon-to-be new baby who will be making all of those regular, early trips to the doctor before he or she is old enough to receive vaccines and boosters. Pertussis and mumps are both making a strong comeback in my area, thanks to the high numbers of unvaccinated children. I don’t need my newborn or asthmatic kids exposed to those germs in the doctor’s office, thanks!

Best Store-bought Salsa I’ve Found

I’m weary of the usual brands of salsa sold in grocery stores that are basically a chunky mess of chopped tomato, onion, and pepper. One of the nice things about dining out at a Mexican restaurant is that the salsa is usually much more blended and smooth, with a subtler, stronger, spicy flavor. For a long time we were unable to find such a salsa in a jar at the store, so my husband sometimes would make his own large batches of it on the stove.

At last, though, we found it: Melina’s brand salsa! Sold at large chains like Hy-Vee, Cub Foods, Target, and many smaller grocery stores. This salsa has a smooth, soft texture–no big chunks of anything! The basic flavor is sweet, pure tomato, mixed with plenty of sweet chili pepper, garlic, cooling cilantro, and a little spicy jalapeno zing! Melina’s Mild is strong enough to pack a punch, but is still enjoyed by the smaller kids and doesn’t burn. The Medium is much stronger than a Medium in most of the typical brands–it will really heat up your mouth, and my little kids find it much too powerful. I’m not brave enough to try the Hot, so I leave that to those willing to have a mouth in flames!