Monday, November 21, 2011

It takes Superman, rather than the Super Committee to solve the deficit

We need "Superman" to fly out of the sky and fix it all. Is Superman a dictatorship? The committee is one tool of Democracy. I'm not advocating dictatorship. That would be even worse. Superman is just an angle that comes up, by coincidence, because of the name "Super Committee."

Part of the problem is, democracy needs compromise. Senator Patty Murray, a Super Committee member, stated it well when she talked about the need for shared sacrifice.

I notice that if high income people can't pay anything more in taxes, everyone else seems to refuse to give an inch. They say, "No cuts to Medicare, veteran's benefits or whatever."

What happened to the concept of everyone pitching in to help out?

One would think the military might be good at this. They talk about sacrifice and serving one's country, even giving one's life for country, but they don't seem to want to give an inch either. Can't the Pentagon take cuts too?

When the automatic cuts go into effect, the cuts that were placed into law for the occasion of the Super Committee not agreeing on a deal, the Pentagon is cut. The Pentagon is cut along with everything across the board. However, now there's rumblings in Congress to spare every last penny of Pentagon budget.

Maybe our solders could lead the way in sacrifice, so our world wide military could be smaller. Would that endanger the nation? Maybe, but if our economy implodes, the nation is endanger anyway.

Another solution is to just print the money we need to run our government. Just print it and don't worry about the inflationary consequences of printing money.

Seems like part of the reason why our economy is in it's current state of despair is inflation. Not future inflation, but past inflation. USA has ALREADY priced itself out of world markets for many goods and services.

The cost of living and doing business in USA is pretty high. We already have the high cost of US medicine, we've had the housing bubble; even though that's now deflating, we've had the spiraling costs of corporate executives. We have had multi-million dollar law suites and, of course, we have way too many lawyers.

At the same time, overall inflation remains low. Cost of many products and services, such as MP3 players, keeps going down. There are strong factors, in the economy, that are anti inflationary. One of the most important of those factors is technology. It's getting cheaper to do lots of things. Labor is being replaced with robots which are often cheaper than workers, especially workers here in America that are saddled with high healthcare, housing and education costs.

Technology can also mean consumers providing their own service, like booking one's travel, on line, rather than employing a travel agent. We're getting more "self service checkout" in the supermarket. This situation has been building for a long time, but it is most likely accelerating today.

Here is an interesting aside. Years ago, the state of Oregon outlawed self service gas stations. I think they were trying to preserve jobs for gas station attendants. Law is still in effect today. That may not be the best way to preserve jobs, but it's interesting to note. I wonder about how many people know about that law, outside of Oregon, or if any other states do it?

There's a lot of factors holding down prices in some sectors of the economy. Standard worries about inflation may not apply. It certainly seems true that worries about inflation do not apply the same way in all sectors. Instead, there's concern about unemployment. One's hears people say, "it's unemployment stupid."

Technology is a game changer.

Technology can bring great advantage to society. More leisure, for instance, but we have to be willing to rethink some economics to make this work. Not giving an inch doesn't work.

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