It was nasty outside this morning and I felt a cold coming on, so I thought: It’s not a good day to do something enjoyable like going to the library to pursue research in classical philology. Perfect, though, for unpleasant activity like reading WaPo Op-Eds.
First, some background. I long ago got in the habit of going out in the morning to get my paper. It’s good exercise, it’s one less list I would get my name on to have a subscription for home delivery, and I can’t get used to reading a newspaper on a computer screen (though I don’t mind finding the URLs for the benefit of you folks out there). This situation rules out the NYT because, apart from the fact that it costs too much, there is little market for it in the DC ‘hood where I live, so the corner store doesn’t carry it. Thus I place my money in the open slot of the hard plastic-enclosed lazy susan for the clerk to rotate and retrieve to put in the cash register, putting any change I’m owed in the slot and rotating it back to me. Now lighter by $1.33 including tax ($2.65 on Sunday), I tuck the WaPo under my arm and am ready to rock and roll.
Today we have Liberal #1, back in his usual time slot after missing last Tuesday, suggesting that Obama’s new immigration plan is a ploy to draw the Republican flak onto himself and allow the serious minds in the Congress to work quietly on a plan that will gain bipartisan support. The first part has certainly happened, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for the second. Honorary Hasbarist complains that there is too much false intimacy these days, and wants to go back to a time when men shook hands upon meeting and only smooched other men if they were family. I’m only surprised he forgot to blame Arab culture for the kissing surfeit. Fox Guest has moved on from last week’s anti-Promethean attack on Obama administration new technology initiatives (see here, updated here), to a more classic anti-labor issue, naturally disguised as the opposite: As against “Liberal firebrand Paul Krugman,” he opposes raising the federal minimum wage to $9 per hour, arguing that there is too much danger of negative effects like increasing unemployment. In a generous mood he concludes: “Here’s a thought: Don’t eliminate the minimum wage. Leave it at $7.25.” Here’s another: Let workers own their factories, and they can decide the optimum wage structure.
The most interesting column is by Compassionate Conservative, who laments that “official Washington is so concerned about the coming sequester that it headed off on vacation.” There are reasons why both of The Two Parties are just as happy to let the thing happen, he says: the Democrats, because it’s probably their only chance to get cuts in the defense budget; the Republicans, because a 5.1% reduction in domestic spending is at least something, even if it’s “more of a haircut than a scalping.” Of course, this will mean the “ethical abdication” of indiscriminate cutting of the deserving (citing the AIDS Drug Assistance Program as an example) as well as the undeserving. And the cuts in so-called entitlements will be too little in the context that their share of the budget is going to grow in coming years.
Apart from the last point, which succumbs to the notion that Medicare and the like are not something that people have earned, I have to say that I find little fault in CC’s analysis. And no amount of caving on Social Security and Medicare on Obama’s part is going to satisfy the Tea Party, so my prediction, as I said the other day in a comment on another blog, is that the sequester will happen. It will be followed by emergency measure after emergency measure in the opening days of March as constituencies scramble to restore funding, as the Lear jets of lobbyists urgently cutting their Florida vacations short jam “Reagan” National Airport, and as people out in the land anxiously await the results. Read the rest of this entry →