When it comes to grappling with the details of complex financial matters, I suspect I am like more than a few other voters. My eyes glaze over and my brain disengages. So when considering the current financial crisis, my first instinct was to assume it might be too complicated for me to understand. Or at least too complicated for me to care to understand. After all, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said "no one knows what to do" about it.
Reid was not the only one unsure of what to do. Barack Obama "would not say if he supported or opposed" the AIG bailout, and in fact didn't seem too sure of who AIG even was. Neil Cavuto interviewed NewYork congressman Gregory Meeks, who is a member of the House Financial Services Committee. It was evident Meeks didn't know how things had failed so miserably (scary considering his position), and when Meeks was asked why Bush deserved sole blame and not the Democrats who have controlled Congress the past two years, he just said we should have found ways to work together and that we need a new president who would work with the Congress. He never did say what the President needed to do about it. Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden threw his two cents into the discussion by declaring it is "patriotic" to pay taxes. I don't know what that says about Rep. Charlie Rangel, but I do prefer that definition to the one that says it is patriotic to bash America.
In a more perfect world those in the media would educate their audience by providing accurate information, but since they are still, after about three decades, confused about something as simple as what is and is not a government budget cut, I decided not to look there for answers. Here's a quick lesson to those in the media -- if a politician approves something less than the full amount of a requested increase, but the final amount of money going to that budget item ends up being more than it was the year before, that is an increase, not a cut. Here is a nice little scenario most people can understand. If you make $50,000 a year and you ask for a $10,000 a year raise, but you only get a $5,000 raise, you ended up with a 10% increase, not a cut in pay. What many of the newspapers across the country have been doing to reporters' salaries over the past few years -- now those are cuts.