Here's to a safe and fun New Year's Eve and a joyful and prosperous 2013.
It's going to be a quiet New Year's Eve for me. My next door neighbor who was always good for a little celebration is gone now and the house empty. I'll walk down to another friend's house for a little bit, but most likely I'll be back home well before midnight. There are several other parties I could hit, but nowadays I only rarely drive somewhere on this night. Too many amateurs out there and frankly, I just don't party as much as I used to.
I wouldn't call 2012 a bad year, but I wouldn't call it great either. The last couple of months have left me in something of a funk as we are poised to start 2013. Kind of a weird funk too, because it's less about being depressed over stuff and more about being somewhat amazed or bewildered over the news and other things.
For example, this morning's StarTribune on dead tree had a story about the fiscal cliff that talked about "massive" spending cuts of $100 billion per year. "Massive." Total federal spending is estimated to be $3.8 trillion this year, so cutting $100 billion amounts to 2.6%, or about a week and a half of federal spending. "Massive."
I hate how we let politicians talk about cuts or tax increases over ten year periods and deficits on an annual basis. Wow, $715 billion in tax increases! $1 trillion in spending cuts! Except those numbers are both over the course of ten years while we are realistically staring at probable annual deficits in the $1 trillion range. If we don't go off the fiscal cliff, at best our feckless leaders are going to maybe drop the annual federal deficit down to around $800 billion each year. As much as I hate to say it, the kids of today and future generations will be better off if we go off the cliff.
Let's Give Up on the Constitution. The link goes to an Op-Ed in the NY Times by none other than a constitutional law professor. It is not satire as far as I can tell. This is my favorite part:
This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.
Right, because America's body politic is just overflowing with respect for one another and our rights these days. Probably nobody considers the US Constitution perfect, but at least it provides a framework for the legitimacy and boundaries of government that is not easily changed. That's a feature, not a bug. You would think that constitutional law professors would understand that.
What's up with Hillary Clinton? I'm not going to buy into conspiracy theories or the notion that she is faking to avoid testifying about Benghazi. She's high enough in government though, that we should be fully informed about what is going on with her. After all, she is the fourth in line to succeed the president and if something happened in D.C., where the president and the next three to succeed him are currently(she's in New York), she would become president. I agree that is a very, very remote possibility, but once upon a time our now supine press corps actually paid attention to stuff like that. We should be able to know if the Secretary of State would be able to fulfill her duty if called upon.
That we face a "Dairy Cliff" also right now is absurd. How can the possibility of some stupid law from 1949 doubling the price of milk and other dairy products even exist? That's almost "Hunger Games" indifference to the needs of average America. Give me $7.50/gallon milk and even I might take to the streets.
I could keep going, but it's time to amble down the block and have a beer or two.
Happy New Year.