The Foolishness of Battling over the Budget in Public

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Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) sometimes fights its battles against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) in public. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer points to the superiority of his products over those of his rivals. Such comments do not sway consumers or investors, who have made up their own minds about the corporation. The same principle holds true in the war between Republican members of Congress and the Obama administration. Hardly anyone listens to either side, because their positions are expected. The public only becomes increasingly cynical as each party grows more bitter in its attacks on the other.

Republicans introduced a new proposal calling for tax increases that would total $800 billion, which is about half of the Obama plan. Some of these would come from cuts in entitlements. The rich (those who make more than $250,000 a year) would not be taxed more than they are now. Almost every part of the Republican proposal runs counter the one presented by the White House.

Republicans described details of their plan, but those details were vague, as vague as the administration's. Both sides agree that more meetings will be necessary to reach a compromise.

The average citizen watches the news every day and wonders what the public banter does to solve the problems of potentially higher taxes and burdens on business that may cause layoffs. Not a single public statement from either party gives them hope of resolution. These people see no advancement of solutions that would make their financial plans for next year any easier to set in motion.

It would be better if politicians did not air their opinions in public about programs that can never work. Political statements no longer impress the electorate as viable. Politicians are no longer fighting for election or reelection, which makes the posturing all the more absurd.

Americans become more wary of the value of any political proposals as each day passes. And that wariness is more likely to cause them to freeze any actions they may take as the year comes to a close.

Douglas A. McIntyre

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Politics Tagged: AAPL, featured, GOOG, MSFT