Tag Archives: Houston

Individuality & Connection

I was out and about in Houston today.

The picture above was taken today and conveys the fact it was quite sunny.

I was thinking as I walked and drove around about the need to take everybody as individual, while at the same time not forgetting that everyone is connected.

These two imperatives can draw upon different internal resources, and can highlight competing strains of thought about how to view the world.

Also, it was so bright and sunny as I traveled  around Houston today. Individual things stand in such clear relief when so clearly lit.

Still–I was not swayed from my thoughts. Being under the light of the sun was a unifying aspect of the things I saw.

In the year ahead please consider finding the internal resources and flexibility of mind to accept the people you encounter as individuals and without preconceived notions, while at the same time grasping that what happens to one person happens to all people.

My thoughts for a Monday Evening

Occupy Houston, pic taken by my blogging pal, Neil

I have been watching Monday Night Football, but it’s almost as exciting as watching paint dry. I’m turning off the TV. Neither team is really playing professional football.

It is extremely disappointing to see that the Department of Health and Human Services was unable to figure out a formula to get the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports system up and running. Americans need something to help us in old age. Currently long-term care is extremely expensive. There are absolutely no affordable insurance policies. Currently, if you’re poor or if you’re middle class, long-term care is simply out of your reach.

One of the things that I find just a little bit strange is that the mainstream media has simply stopped covering bank failures. This used to be big news just a couple months ago (well, more like a couple years ago). On Friday, the FDIC took over bank failures 77, 78, 79 and 80 for this year.

From EPI:

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is charged with negotiating a plan to reduce federal deficits by at least $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. It is essential for the long-term health of the nation and the economy that its proposals include equitable amounts of increased revenue. The Budget Control Act (BCA) of August 2011, which mandated the creation of the committee, has already reduced budget deficits by $895 billion over the next decade by focusing strictly on the spending side of the ledger. Statutory spending caps will reduce discretionary outlays by $756 billion, program integrity and education provisions will cut $5 billion in net spending, and debt service will fall by $134 billion (CBO 2011a). Moreover, these cuts build on the spending cuts in the 2011 full-year appropriations bill, which lowered the trajectory for discretionary outlays by $122 billion over the next decade (CBO 2011b). Relative to the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) higher baseline for discretionary spending, the BCA cuts to discretionary outlays total $992 billion, or $1.2 trillion when debt-service savings are included (OMB 2011a).

A spending-cuts-only approach to deficit reduction is unacceptable for numerous reasons:

  • Deep cuts to spending programs will defund key public investments and undermine economic security programs.
  • Without more revenue, spending cuts will disproportionately fall on lower-income and working families.
  • Spending cuts are more damaging to the economic recovery than tax increases, particularly tax increases on upper-income households.
  • Tax policies of the last decade are responsible for much of the structural budget deficit and roughly half of debt accumulation over the last decade (Fieldhouse and Pollack 2011).

Krugman is right. As the Occupy Wall Street movement grows we can expect that there is going to be more accountability on Wall Street. I know if I sell fraudulent products to the American people and hundreds of thousands of Americans lose millions billions of dollars, I can expect to go to jail. Here’s what Krugman has to say:

On Saturday The Times reported what people in the financial industry are saying privately about the protests. My favorite quote came from an unnamed money manager who declared, “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it.”

This is deeply unfair to American workers, who are good at lots of things, and could be even better if we made adequate investments in education and infrastructure. But to the extent that America has lagged in everything except financial services, shouldn’t the question be why, and whether it’s a trend we want to continue?

For the financialization of America wasn’t dictated by the invisible hand of the market. What caused the financial industry to grow much faster than the rest of the economy starting around 1980 was a series of deliberate policy choices, in particular a process of deregulation that continued right up to the eve of the 2008 crisis.