Three words: President Paul Ryan.
Two words: Financial de-regulation.
One word: Choice.
On the first point: Paul Ryan’s budget plan is a disaster for every aspect of the government except for the military. Under his plan, non-defense discretionary spending (that would be spending on, say, the USDA, NOAA, USGS, NIH, CDC, NASA, etc.) would be cut by $1.17 billion dollars. It would be roughly cut in half by 2021.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I think that there’s a helluva lot of Good Stuff™ coming out of agencies such as these. (Conflict of interest note: That would include my husband’s salary, benefits, and retirement, too.) To use just a couple of examples, NOAA is the agency that correctly predicted that Hurricane Sandy would take a sharp turn to the west and head inland at New Jersey, and that it would combine with a strong nor’easter. USGS is the agency that does volcano monitoring, which may not be a big deal in general, but in Alaska is a big deal.
Paul Ryan’s budget plan would also cut funding for federal disaster relief, Pell grants, and “revisit” the Dodd-Frank financial regulation reform.
Which leads us to point number two, financial de-regulation, which Mitt Romney has said he is for.
Can I just say “ARE THEY OUT OF THEIR BLOODY EVER-LIVING MINDS?!?!”
Look. You know what caused the greatest recession since the Great Depression? Repealing the Glass-Steagall Act. The Great Depression was caused by wild amounts of gambling on the stock market with borrowed money which was backed by…the expected gains from the gambling on the stock market. Somewhere along the line, suddenly people realized that there was nothing backing up those loans, so they were essentially worth nothing. The onset of the Great Recession was caused by the realization that the wild amounts of gambling on the housing market with borrowed money that was backed by…the expected gains from the gambling on the housing market was all a chimera, a game of smoke and mirrors.
I remember watching with open-mouthed amazement the prices of houses in our little Hippy Dippy Enclave In the Woods as they rose…and rose…and rose yet again. At that point, I started following several “housing bust” blogs. Some of them were written by wild-eyed end-of-the-world doomsayers, but some were written by economists or housing market analysts who were taking a clear look at the fun-house-mirror world of NINJA (no income, no job) loans, house flipping, mortgage derivatives, and derivatives of the mortgage derivatives. When it all caved in, I wasn’t surprised.
For those of you who don’t really remember what it was like…there was a rumor that Henry Paulson, the Secretary of the Treasury, actually got down on his knees and begged Nancy Pelosi and other powerful congresscritters in a secret meeting in September 2008 to save Wall Street and the banking industry.
It was that bad.
While I don’t like George W. Bush and think his presidency was awful, I have to hand it to him and the congresscritters: they hunkered down, put forth a bailout bill, and when it was shot down, put it out again and pulled in all their congressional IOUs to get it passed. It was highly unpopular. But I feel it was also highly necessary. TARP was the first step in saving our country from the Grander Depression, in my opinion, with Obama’s economic stimulus the second step.
And all of this was started by financial deregulation.
Mitt Romney joked in one of the debates that he wasn’t talking about allowing people to start banks in their garages.
That’s not what I’m worried about. I’m worried about another stupid round of high-rolling gambling suckering the U.S. into yet another round of wild “prosperity” that is founded upon…nothing. And then staring into the financial abyss yet again, when my husband and I are retired and living on a fixed income.
My third point is choice. I have a daughter. I have a daughter adopted from China. I have a daughter adopted from China because her parents had no choice. Whether it was economic, whether it was seeking a boy-child, whatever—the entire cultural situation in China that produced the situations where there were “extra” girl babies being abandoned, backed by, in some cases, forced abortions…well…
I want my daughter to be able to have a choice when she becomes sexually active and (please no!) accidentally gets pregnant. I want her to be able to decide what is best for her. If she decides to have a baby and keep it, that’s cool. If she decides to have a baby and relinquish it for adoption, that’s cool. If she decides not to have a baby, and has an abortion, it is her choice.
I don’t want her choice to be dictated by old white men who think a few cells is equivalent to a living, breathing human being.
As recently as during the Republican primaries, Romney said he “absolutely supports” a Constitutional amendment banning abortion. Paul Ryan, his running mate, is the author of the “personhood” bill. Both have said they want to defund Planned Parenthood. Both have supported laws that would allow companies to deny their employees coverage for birth control and abortion due to moral or religious beliefs.
My personal belief is that my employer has no right to limit what female reproductive services my insurance dollars pay for.
Now, since the Republican primaries, Mr. Romney has backtracked on most of these positions. He is attempting to re-position himself as a centrist to appeal to the independent and moderate voters.
Which Romney should I believe? The one who ran for governor of Massachusetts claiming he was pro-choice, then in 2005 vetoed a law expanding access to emergency contraception, then claimed he would support revoking Roe v. Wade in the Republican primaries, then claimed there was no legislation regarding abortion in his presidential agenda? The Romney who was quite the hawk during the Republican primaries, or the one who pretty much nodded and said, “What he said!” to all of President Obama’s positions during the third presidential debate? The one who favors financial de-regulation, or the one who said “Well, of course we need some regulation!” during the second debate?
The Des Moines Register seems to have fallen for Romney’s shift-to-the-middle stance, which they cited in their endorsement editorial. But I can tell you from experience that hoping a right-wing candidate will actually be more centrist than he sounds is a Bad Idea. I voted for George W. Bush in 2000. Yes. (Please don’t hit me!) I voted for him thinking he couldn’t possibly be as right as he sounded, and that he was probably going to be a pragmatic centrist. I thought Al Gore was too liberal.
Hah. Look what I got. You can believe I did not vote for George W. Bush in 2004. I’m not going to fall for another “shift-to-the-center-now-that-I’ve-got-the-nomination” ploy again. Besides which, as I stated in yesterday’s post, I am fully satisfied with Barack Obama as president.