A Grand Strategy
The Obama administration has turned back pleas for emergency aid from one of the biggest remaining threats to the economy -- the state of California.
Top state officials have gone hat in hand to the administration, armed with dire warnings of a fast-approaching "fiscal meltdown" caused by a budget shortfall. Concern has grown inside the White House in recent weeks as California's fiscal condition has worsened, leading to high-level administration meetings. But federal officials are worried that a bailout of California would set off a cascade of demands from other states.
With an economy larger than Canada's or Brazil's, the state is too big to fail, California officials urge.
"This matters for the U.S., not just for California," said U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who chairs the state's Democratic congressional delegation. "I can't speak for the president, but when you've got the 8th biggest economy in the world sitting as one of your 50 states, it's hard to see how the country recovers if that state does not."
I think Californians are lucky that Obama hasn’t put California on the list of terrorist states yet.
Too big to fail? Where have I heard that before? This is reminiscent of the time California asked Bush for help during the energy crisis where Bush replied that “California created the problem, California can fix it.” Yet I suppose that when you are fighting terrorists all over the globe and you are busy passing legislation to fund those wars there may be little time or money to be had for domestic affairs.
And who gets hurt the worst? Why the poor of course because naturally among the first items to be cut from the budget will likely be a welfare system that more than one million people rely on and many other worthwhile programs that give aid to people whose very lives may depend upon like Medicaid. Whether the Obama administration is correct about California or not Congress (or at least in the House, it still has to pass in the Senate) has little problem when it comes to funding Obama’s Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The House passed yesterday a $106 billion bill that funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through September, as Democrats backed President Obama despite their misgivings about his strategy in Afghanistan.
The 226 to 202 vote came after Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner implored some reluctant Democrats during the day to back the bill, and after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had strongly pressed her colleagues in a closed-door meeting to vote for the bill. In the end, 221 Democrats voted yes, and 32 voted no.
One of those voting yes was Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who had earlier said that he opposed the war funding. "We are in the process of wrapping up the wars. The president needed our support. But the substance still sucks," Weiner said.
And notice how this news story is framed. It’s always “Despite their misgivings” isn’t it? Yes, it is always and forever “though worried about the president’s strategy” or “despite this and that” they always manage to keep the marauding and hulking U.S. war machine chewing up the bodies and spitting them out. My favorite is the “president needs our support” and doggone it, it really, really sucks. Is this an adult speaking? Sucks? Yeah, it really sucks that we are blasting the lives of so many people around the world. It really sucks when you find the decapitated head of a child in the rubble left by U.S. air raids. It’s unavoidable suckiness though, you know -- collateral damage. Yeah, it all really sucks.
The long and the short of it is Congress will always fund the wars no matter how much bad acting and childish gibberish they enthrall us with. And not the least of the problems with Weiner’s statement is that it is completely insulting that we are supposed to be stupid enough to accept it at face value.
Returning to part of Weiner’s statement -- “The president needed our support” -- I would just like to ask what happened to that balance of power that exists in misty legends? If the president is clearly wrong on an issue as Weiner seems to be implying then isn’t it his job as a member of Congress to oppose it? That was a rhetorical question.
To sum it up there is no money to help keep valuable assistance and safety net programs in place for the poor, the aged, and the sick, but there’s nothing so urgent as funding wars under the nonsensical rubric of fighting terrorism.