Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Arab Spring, Long American Winter

In this season of renewal, the American spirit is still bleak, but there are small signs of brightness ahead.

New polls show a "dour public mood is dragging down ratings for both parties in Congress and for President Obama," with lawmakers' approval rating at 17 percent, near an all-time low.

In contrast to an Arab Spring, no matter what daffodils and forsythia are saying, an American Winter of pessimism is persisting.

The dollar's value is sliding, and despite the Federal Reserve's efforts, "the pace of recovery from the global financial crisis has flagged."

Spiked by the Middle East uprisings, high gas prices remind Americans daily that they are being pinched. And even liberal pundits warn that the President has chosen the "wrong economic message" to rally his supporters by falling into the GOP's budget deficit trap instead of concentrating on job creation.

Reflecting all this gloom, Michigan is going Dickensian with a proposed new law to let foster children wear only used clothing from Goodwill, the Salvation Army and other second-hand stores. “I never had anything new,” the sponsor says. “I got all the hand-me-downs."

Yet for those who look closely, there are signs of Spring--among them growing resistance to the Republican's Ryan Plan to tear down the social safety net for the old, poor and disabled. Polls show overwhelming support for keeping hands off Medicare, and House Democrats have come out of hiding with a realistic plan that calls for more "shared sacrifice."

In the Senate, with Susan Collins defecting from the Ryan Plan, Harry Reid is planning to force a vote to pressure other Republicans to put up or shut up.

Even David Stockman, cheerleader for the notorious Trickle-Down Theory that fueled social inequality by pushing tax cuts for the rich and offering crumbs to the poor, is now back to preach against "The Bipartisan March to Fiscal Madness" and "Washington’s feckless drift into class war."

Reagan's Rip Van Winkle is three decades late, but his awakening reinforces hope that bad seasons don't last forever. We are more than ready for some of his former boss' "Morning in America" cheerfulness.


Ron Davison said...

It seems like one of the biggest problems with modern liberals is there seeming inability to frame things positively. Given the choice between conservatives' dismissal of problems and liberals' apparent belief we can't solve them, most voters would rather not (choose, that is).

Fuzzy Slippers said...

You have such skill with words that I often overlook the silliness, but seriously, Susan Collins "defecting" is some kind of red flag for the GOP? Goodness, that woman is as progressive as they come on the (R) side, right up there with Romney and Bush (43), not a conservative. She has a long history of voting for democrat big-government, big-spending folly.

And do, please, explain the democrat plan for "shared sacrifice." If you can. (There isn't one, btw, and as you probably well know.)

The only buy from second-hand stores thing is farce. Sad, sick farce. No idea why republicans can't get a clue, but we'll just keep voting them out until we have a batch that has one. It's going to be fun. :)

Fuzzy Slippers said...

@Ron, there is no such thing as a "modern liberal" in the sense you imply. "Liberal" means one thing, and one thing only: small government, free people, and free markets. What "liberal" NOW means is a joke, a sad, sick joke that is the exact opposite of true liberalism. Rather like the way that "fascism" has somehow manifested as a right wing ideology (it's not, it can't be, but hey, if "liberal" now means "totalitarian tyranny," why not?)