Chapter 11 For Politicians?

Remember David Stockman? He was the director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Regan administration most known for his budget cutting recommendations. He recently wrote an op-ed to the NYT that is worth reading.

If there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing. The nation’s public debt — if honestly reckoned to include municipal bonds and the $7 trillion of new deficits baked into the cake through 2015 — will soon reach $18 trillion. That’s a Greece-scale 120 percent of gross domestic product, and fairly screams out for austerity and sacrifice. It is therefore unseemly for the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, to insist that the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers be spared even a three-percentage-point rate increase.

If you, like I am, are concerend about the extent of the federal deficit and budget, let’s stay intellectually honest here. As Stockman points out, the deficit grew because he expanded the  warfare state and George W. Bush increased the non-defense related budget a whopping 65% from 2000:

In 1981, traditional Republicans supported tax cuts, matched by spending cuts, to offset the way inflation was pushing many taxpayers into higher brackets and to spur investment. The Reagan administration’s hastily prepared fiscal blueprint, however, was no match for the primordial forces — the welfare state and the warfare state — that drive the federal spending machine.

By fiscal year 2009, the tax-cutters had reduced federal revenues to 15 percent of gross domestic product, lower than they had been since the 1940s. Then, after rarely vetoing a budget bill and engaging in two unfinanced foreign military adventures, George W. Bush surrendered on domestic spending cuts, too — signing into law $420 billion in non-defense appropriations, a 65 percent gain from the $260 billion he had inherited eight years earlier. Republicans thus joined the Democrats in a shameless embrace of a free-lunch fiscal policy.


  1. Barnstorm

    If there’s anything worse than a “tax and spend” liberal, it’s one of those “cut taxes and spend even more” conservatives. No wonder our economy went off the cliff just before Bush left town.


    “BLARNEY” is the proper name for a place in Ireland, and a famous 1446 castle there, said to contain the “Blarney stone”. Visitors come from all over the world for a chance to kiss the stone itself and thereby gain the gift of eloquence. In Ireland, eloquence is defined as being able to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.
    Whoever is using the “Blarney” name here, apparently kissed the wrong stone, twice.


    Actually I have been held upside down by the knees to kiss the “Blarney Stone” at Blarney Castle outside of Cork.

    ‘Tis there’s the stone that whoever kisses
    He never misses to grow eloquent;

    ‘Tis he may clamber to a lady’s chamber,
    Or become a member of Parliament.

    “A noble spouter he’ll sure turn out, or
    An out and outer to be let alone;

    Don’t try to hinder him, or to bewilder him,
    For he is a pilgrim from the Blarney stone.”

    Francis Sylvester Mahony 1804-1866


    Really ! You fell for that ? The hanging upside down is a gag they pull on carefully selected tourists. The stone is actually inside the castle, much more accessible than they led you to believe.


    Actually the stone is situated on the bottom of a parapet with bars and is situated on the bottom of the piece, which is about 90 feet above the ground below. Bars have been placed so pilgrims would not fall to their death.


    You will look long and hard for any documentation of the actual location, or even of the existence, of a “Blarny Stone”. Stories, in many versions, are numerous and easy to find.
    The owners of the Castle have made a pretty fair business out of a story that there is a special stone and it has special powers. The real gift is their ability to make such stories entirely believable, with no supporting evidence. If you travel in Ireland, you will find many things that defy explanation, and no shortage of stories seeking to explain things the storytellers themselves do not understand, but choose to believe.
    From a logical point of view, If there was anything to the story, wouldn’t a very special stone, with magical powers, be placed on some altar where it was protected from the elements and easily acccessible ?


    Actually no. The perception that it is magical is only enhanced by it’s location. 4 leaf clovers are considered magical and lucky by the Irish also, so don’t the Scottish have the right to put the stone where they want? Hell, they invented and drink “Scotch” which is spoiled Iodine in big bottles. Anyone who can drink enough of that can kiss the Blarney stone even if it is on the top of Mt Everest.


    Depending on which story you choose to believe today, the Scotch had nothing to do with the placement of the stone, if there is a special stone. All the stories seem to agree the castle was built by Irish and the stone, if there is a special stone, was placed by Irishmen. There are some who have doubts, as the story seems to be no more than a couple of hundred years old, while the castle predates the story by several hundred years. Could it be that some Irishman made up a story to attract visitors who could be persuaded that hanging upside down off an old stone castle was a wise thing to do ?


    What part of “the Scotch had nothing to do with the placement of the stone” don’t you understand ? The known facts seem to be the present castle was built around 1446 by Irishman. The story about a stone with magical powers to grant the gift of eloquence started about 1800. The word “Blarney” meaning a certain form of charming but totally unreliable speech orignated about 1600 when queen Elizabeth of England, listened to one more of many excuses why the owner of the castle was willing to pledge his loyalty, but not his castle to her.
    There are Irishmen who will swear this stone is a piece of the same stone Moses struck and got drinking water to flow in an old testament bible story.


    Sometimes, depends on wether I am the yanker or the yankee. Go back a few entries and you decide. I like that story about the Blarney stone being a piece of the same stone that supplied good drinking water for Moses and his followers. Like many Irish stories, the listener wants to believe. If it isn’t true, you can’t help wishing it was.
    Texas Tech has a stone on display they claim is a fragement of the Blarney stone. They wouldn’t lie about something like that, would they ? They are a bit vague about how it was aquired.