Wednesday, April 10, 2013

No pain, no gain

I was trained as a family therapist, but I think I've always had a natural inclination to the basics behind the thinking that informs the discipline.

For example, family systems theory is based on the biological observation that all living systems gravitate towards homeostasis. In other words, patterns about how different members of the system relate to each other become ingrained and there is momentum towards always maintaining the status quo. That means that even when things become dysfunctional, change is difficult.

Often times the only way to change things is for one member to upset the homeostasis by throwing something completed different (unexpected) into the mix. That means that other members can't rely on the same-old same-old and have to adjust. Whala...an opening for change.

Ever since the 2010 mid-term election, the discussion about the federal budget has gravitated towards a seriously dysfunctional homeostasis. Its clear now that the 2012 election didn't change that much. I'm beginning to think that perhaps President Obama threw chained CPI into the mix to rattle things up. And boy has it done that!

We've all watched the TOTAL freak-out by many on the left.  Its become so irrational and disconnected from reality that it appears as though some people have lost their freaking minds.

Ever since he was elected back in 2008, some of these folks have had a reservoir of fear/anger towards President Obama that seems to have come totally unleashed these last few days. Lets be real, this freak-out isn't about seniors getting an annual increase that is $45 less than they would have without chained CPI. Nope, this move by the President blew the lid off of something that's been brewing for years now.

On the Republican side, today has been quite the show. First of all, you have the predictable response from leadership...which was to embrace chained CPI but reject tax increases.

Then there was Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) who attacked President Obama for "going after seniors." A chorus of liberals responded by saying "See, we told you Republicans would use this against us!" But that was before Club for Growth President Chris Chocola went after Walden.
With nearly $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, the last thing Republicans should attack the Democrats for is for making the most minor reforms to our entitlement programs. If anything, President Obama nibbles around the edges of entitlement reform and doesn’t do anything to put entitlements on a permanently sustainable path.

Greg Walden ought to think about clarifying his remarks on chained CPI, and think about clarifying soon.
In the middle of all that, Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform announced their opposition to chained CPI because of the tax increases.

As we speak, President Obama is dinning at the White House with a group of Republicans. All of the sudden their response to his budget might not be as predictable as one might have assumed a few months ago. The President is under an onslaught of attacks from the left and the Republican position on his proposal is not clear.

Could change be in the air? As they say...no pain, no gain ;-)

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