Sunday, August 27, 2006

Is Political Gridlock the Only Way to Get Fiscal Conservatism Nowadays?

(I’d like to state that what is written in this post is just some rambling on a morning where I haven’t gotten enough sleep. Any flaws in grammar or logic should be considered with that in mind)

From what I’ve observed in my lifetime the most fiscally conservative our nation has been was during the last six years of the Clinton administration. Despite this the Democrats can’t lay claim to being the nation’s fiscal conservatives since what spurred Clinton’s conservatism was the Republicans taking control of Congress in 1994. This led to some knockdown-drag out fights between Clinton and the Republicans (anybody remember the Government shutdowns in 95’ and 96’?) but in the end these skirmishes helped result in balanced budgets and eventually a surplus (admittedly other things also played a role in creating the surplus, however the legislation passed at the time certainly was a large factor).

In the years since Clinton we’ve predominantly had the White House and Congress controlled by Republicans. As a result spending has spiraled out of control and 2 things have disappeared, the surplus and most of the political gridlock. While we hear all the time that the nation is more polarized than ever this has not translated into the same amount of gridlock as we had in the mid 90’s (possibly the only issue that has created the amount of fervor seen in the 90’s has been the filibuster issue regarding Supreme Court Justice nominations). Basically Bush has acted as a rubber stamp, using his veto only once on legislation, no matter what spending was attached to a bill.

At the end of the day the gridlock of the mid 90’s didn’t insure fiscally conservative governance, but was likely just a side effect of having a better balance of power within our government. The recent centralization of power within one party has probably played the biggest role in squandering the country’s financial security. In the end I don’t think it matters which party has control of the White House, just so long as the other party is in control of the Congress.

Random Thoughts

While setting up my fantasy football team for this season I indulged myself in a bit of fantasy politics. I came to the conclusion that if I could pick 2 Americans to run for President and Vice President in 2008 I would choose Mark Cuban and Oprah. I'm not sure which one I would prefer to be President and which one I'd like for Vice President, but either way I'd take it. This decision was arrived at in part by reading this story about Oprah's school in Africa and this post from deadspin about Cuban's favorite book from college.

Here’s a short but good entry over at the Cato Institute’s blog. In less than a page it gives a great example of why political party affiliation has become completely unimportant to me. The post talks about the role reversal of the Republican and Democratic parties in terms of fiscal conservatism, specifically over the issue of earmarked spending in legislation.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Update on Mid East Editorial Comics

That Iranian newspaper that said they'd have a Holocaust cartoon contest has actually gone through with there plans and is now displaying some of the comics. The article explains that the idea is to "test the West's tolerance for drawings about the Nazi killing of 6 million Jews in World War II." So far I have yet to hear of any riots as a result of these comics like the riots that came in the wake of the prophet Mohamed comics, so it looks like we in the west have passed this test of our tolerance.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Finally an Update!

I realize that it's been a while since I posted anything new. Life has been really crazy lately between finishing up the last week of work and moving. Speaking of the move, everything went well, though there are still plenty of boxes that need to be unpacked. Also, thanks to Rusted View for all the help during the move.
In other news; a company has developed a perfume that smells like cheese. I think I know what one of Angelina's Christmas gifts this year is going to be.