Wednesday Mashup (2/17/10)

(Trying to clear out a bit of a backlog here, I know…)

  • 1) In the Sunday New York Times, N. Gregory Mankiw wrote the following here…

    The president seems to understand that the fiscal plan presented in his budget is not sustainable and, as such, is not really a plan at all. That is why the budget prominently calls for a fiscal commission that will be charged with “identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation.” The goal, the budget says, is “to stabilize the debt-to-G.D.P. ratio at an acceptable level once the economy recovers.”

    In other words, President Obama’s long-term fiscal strategy is to appoint a commission to figure out a long-term fiscal strategy.

    Yep, kind of like the commission Mankiw’s former boss formed to come up with his Social Security privatization scam (here). And it’s funny to hear Mankiw’s criticism of Obama’s budget commission idea (which I don’t agree with either for now, truth be told) when this tells us how generally unserious conservatives are on this issue (how can you propose to balance a budget over time without discussing tax increases or other revenue enhancement)?

  • 2) Also last Sunday in the Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg engaged in the following bit of wankery (here, criticizing President Obama for balancing his work schedule with that of his family)…

    So far at least, Washington does not seem to have raised any eyebrows. When Mr. Obama told lawmakers why he was leaving the health talks, “We all said, ‘Absolutely, get out of here, go,’ ” said Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat, who was there.

    Yet even in today’s father-friendly world, Mr. Obama’s balancing act is not risk-free — especially in an economy where so many ordinary Americans are struggling. Critics could accuse him of slacking off when the country is in need.

    And of course for emphasis, Stolberg includes a quote favorable to that notion from Republican political strategist John Feehery.

    Meanwhile, this tells us that Obama’s predecessor absolutely shattered the vacation record set by The Sainted Ronnie R (still awaiting comment on that from Feehery).

    For the first time in a long time, we have a president helping to raise one or more kids (the two Bush daughters were already grown), and that makes family time particularly important.

    Besides, the one legitimate vacation Obama got was last summer, and right in the middle of it, Ted Kennedy died. So I think it’s particularly crappy to begrudge the man of the precious family time he is able to enjoy.

  • 3) And finally, the Times Sunday Magazine carried a story titled “How Christian Were The Founders,” in which our corporate media remains preoccupied with trying to find some proof that the individuals who truly risked their lives, fortunes and sacred honor during our country’s genesis (oops) intended this country to be a Christian nation.

    We could come up with anecdotes forever to argue one way or the other as to how tolerant these people really were on this subject, but I would merely like to put out the following from the Nobel Prize-winning book “John Adams” by David McCullough, pg. 222, in which McCullough describes how Adams addressed the subject in the first Constitution of Massachusetts…

    …While it did not guarantee freedom of religion, it affirmed the “duty” of all people to worship “The Supreme Being, the great creator and preserver of the universe,” and that no one was to be “hurt, molested or restrained in his person, liberty or estate for worshipping God in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience,” provided he did not disturb the public peace.

    If “live and let live” was good enough for John Adams, then it’s good enough for me too.

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