• Fake Crisis vs. Real Crisis.

    The hastily-revised proposal for resolving the debt ceiling "crisis" (also known as the Revised Budget Control Act of 2011) passed through the House of Representatives like a broken-up kidney stone -- 269 to 161. Looks like Boehner managed to get some of his fellow reps' asses in line, after all.

    Today, the Senate casts their vote on the proposal. Chances are the Senate will go through this bit of Kabuki theatre and pass this proposal, for "the sake of the nation" (or Wall Street -- hard to tell these days), in spite of what's in it:

    • $900 billion in deficit reduction over a 10 year period via discretionary spending caps, with $350 billion coming out of the Pentagon's hind quarters.
    • A $2.1 trillion bump in the debt ceiling through 2013 via some rather frantic hoop-jumping -- more on that in a bit.
    • The creation of a bi-partisan "super committee" consisting of 12 members picked by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., tasked to locate $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts by Nov. 23. Their findings will be sent to Congress for a vote.
    • $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts in domestic and defense spending, on the condition that Congress fails to pass the "super committee" proposals. Social Security, Medicare and programs serving low income earners are left off the chopping block.
    And the methods for enacting that $2.1 trillion debt ceiling bump border on the Rube Goldberg-esque:
    • The president certifies the U.S. government is within $100 billion of losing its shit and is immediately given authority for a $400 billion bump.
    • That bump triggers an automatic request for another $500 billion bump, only this time Congress has the opportunity to vote it down. Of course, the president can simply veto the vote, and if Congress fails to override the veto, the president gets the $500 billion bump.
    • If the "super committee" comes up bupkis on deficit reduction or if Congress doesn't pass their proposals, the president can then bump the debt ceiling up another $1.2 trillion, after the whole song and dance between him and Congress.
    • If the "super committee" finds between $1.2 to $1.5 trillion in cuts and Congress passes it, the president can then raise the debt ceiling by an equal amount without any opposition from Congress.
    The House even brought in Gabrielle Giffords in to cast a "yea" vote. No offense, but who knows how many sympathy votes that brought.

    I'm not all that happy about blogging what is essentially a fake crisis designed to keep the president on the hook for "fiscal mismanagement", especially when there are a number of real, actual crises that could use a bit of attention.

    One crisis to focus on is how the economic downturn more than doubled unemployment rates for blacks with four-year college degrees and widened median wealth disparities between black and white households. The common refrain is when whites catch a cold, blacks catch pneumonia. Well, with whites battling an economic pneumonia, blacks are experiencing impending organ failure with a side of septic shock.

    The numbers? According to the Pew Research Center's figures, the median wealth for white households in 2009 was $113,149. The median wealth for black households? $5,677. Hispanic households fared slightly better with $6,325 in median wealth. And while 2.9% of whites with four-year college degrees are out of work, 6.5% of blacks are currently in the same boat.

    The median wealth of a single black woman? $5.

    In any other venue, there would be quips about how blacks brought this upon themselves, with their penchant for high crime, adversity towards education, willingness to sponge off of government assistance instead of lifting themselves by their bootstraps and overall laziness. At least Georgia knows how to put its lazy knee-grows to work.*

    That's why I can't be bothered to blog about a fake crisis with a more-or-less predictable ending. There are real issues we should be focused on.

    *That was "sarcasm", folks.