My Chambers Stove project has attracted my attention for much of the last several months... and the world has seemingly gone to hell without my advice. This. Must. End.
As a public service, I offer another "Lesson From the Middle." It appears the Left and Right at the top of the political food chain have all the cerebral processing power of a wooden log -- the left thinking much in the same way a bit of teak does and the right having the thought processes of say... pine or cedar. I feel like both sides need a serious dose of reality ... and I am here to give it to you if the excessive cellulose in your skull can handle it.
This should be something Mommy and Daddy taught you growing up, but ... a family has an income. They also have expenses. The income has got to be more than expenses or little Billy eats the cat. It's not hard. Money in has to be more than money out. There was an old school method of dealing with debt crisis in the family: stop spending so damn much. There was also a corollary: when you have extra cash, save it for later. That same simple process works for families, for corporations and for governments. I repeat: It's not hard.
FOR THE LEFT
You can blame the world's woes on Bush from now until your upcoming recall election but this temper tantrum just isn't true. Bush was an idiot. You're right there. Bush was a free-spending socialist. You're right again. But debt troubles were there before him and they're here now after him. So pipe down and look at the numbers. There is no amount of tax-the-rich that will fix this. You can tax them all at 100%, and even if they didn't pack up and leave the country, you'd still be drowning in debt. You have to cut spending. And I don't mean some stupid $2.7 billion dollar cut like the esteemed Senate majority leader (brain of maple) wants. That not only doesn't make a dent in the debt, but it doesn't even make a dent in the deficit. If the amount being spent is still more than the amount made, YOU ARE LOSING GROUND.
You can't make a "trillion dollar cut over 10 years" when your overspending by more than a trillion dollars every single year. It's math. You have to cut enough to not only stop the bleeding, you also have to start emptying the debt bucket. You need to cut so much it hurts and makes everyone scream bloody murder. They need to know what services they're losing and why: Because they can't afford it. Explain it to them in simple terms. Don't scream that John Boner wants to crush Public Broadcasting. Tell them how much we will miss Public Broadcasting and that if they really want to keep it, operators are standing by to take their pledge.
FOR THE RIGHT
I have very strong philosophical problems with taxation -- not just the taking of monies by force, but the taking of monies by force and then spending it in ways that are often diametrically opposed to things I believe. (I have graciously given you a partial solution to this that no one has implemented. I'm waiting.)
So you understand: I hate taxes. I hate them from my core. I have philosophical issues with them. So listen when I tell you: You MUST raise taxes. Again, I don't mean raise taxes on the wealthy. If we eat the wealthy, we're still going to be hungry tomorrow. What you need to do is raise taxes on all of us. We have to feel it. We have to know "Service X costs money. You are paying for it. It isn't free." It's been Monopoly money that sprays out of the Fountain of Free Things™ so long that we have lost track of it. Let us know. Send me a statement in detail of all the insane, stupid things you are doing with my hard earned money. Infuriate me so I might vote the next guy out that wants to spend a dime more.
FOR YOU BOTH
Your plans are no more than hand waving. There is this call for compromise... and I am telling you: DON'T. You can't compromise between two plans that hold all the water of a dishtowel when you are mopping up a spill the size of an ocean. You're compromising between two bad choices in an attempt to keep your job another term.
Finance just isn't that hard. It isn't about manipulating currency or moving markets or perfect timing. It's just about living beneath your means and saving the rest. It's second grade math. Attempts to make it more than this are nothing but a scam to pass the buck to the next generation or the next Congressional session. Just stop.