Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Where to Begin?
Why so few posts? No, it's not because of the new blog, though news has made it especially relevant yesterday and today. No, it's not because of excess Christmas shopping--or else I'd have more of it down. No, it's not because of excess holiday partying, though I did recently leave my mark at the Opryland Hotel and, not so long ago, lost my shirt (or was it my pants?) playing poker.

No, the reason for the dearth of posts is simple: outrage fatigue. There are just too many things to pull my hair out over and I can hardly take it. So here's what I'm not feeling up to writing about:
1. The President's recent ridiculous prime-time speech, outdone only by his embarrassing next-day press conference. Yglesias and Kevin Drum handle them succinctly.

2. Spygate. How do you start expressing sufficient outrage over Bush's flaunting of the law? Josh Marshall gets it started here and here. Think Progress exposes and eviscerates a Cheney lie over the offense here.

3. Johnny Damon is a Yankee!!? wtf?

4. We could be funding national health care with all the money going to tax breaks for the wealthy. But we're not.

Instead, try this one on for an outrage. The Senate just passed (by virtue of Cheney's tie-breaking vote) a budget chock full of domestic spending cuts. And what takes the biggest gillooly to the knees? Student loans.
The bill would cut the amount of loan money guaranteed by the federal government, pushing up interest rates. It would also impose a 1 percent insurance fee on student loans. Proponents said the changes would control federal spending and help chip away at the federal budget deficit.
critics said the cuts would overly burden students, who already borrow an average of $18,000 to finance their college educations. The United States Student Association estimates that the changes will add several thousand dollars in interest payments to student bills.

"This bill abandons the government's longtime commitment to ensuring that the neediest students get the most help," said Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts. ''It imposes so many hurdles to new aid that it is sure to leave behind those who need our help the most to stay in school."
So, at least the Republicans are cutting spending hence reducing the deficit right? I mean that wouldn't cut a kid's student loan at the same time they were borrowing more money on that kid's future would they? At least we can tell them that in exchange for higher difficulty accessing higher education, in return they get stuck with a smaller bill in US debt, right?

Of course, no.

This budget, obscenely named as a deficit reducing measure, merely leaves out the tax cut side of the equation to be picked up in a separate bill, so it looks like they're being at least fiscally responsible, since they're not responsible in any other way. And of course the media is lapping it up. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page in this Boston Globe story to see that the tax cuts will be voted on in a separate measure. Kevin Drum warned us about this switcheroo, and the media's inability to juggle the elements into a truthful statement, last week. Today the Senate brought it to fruition, 51-50. I'm pissed. More details and links here.

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