I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Sylvia Mathews Burwell Snapshot

This post is neither endorsement nor criticism. I simply need a place to scribble a few notes for future reference about Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the president's newly-appointed Budget Director, whatever that is. The job has been empty for months, but that's not remarkable since the White House, like most of Washington, seems to regard the word "budget" as a far more pliable concept than you or I.
I'm mildly curious why all three of her names are being used but I presume that "Burwell" part is important, like the "Rodham" in Hillary's name or the "Heinz" part of Mrs. Kerry's.

►She's been recruited from Walmart Foundation. This is more than interesting since Walmart has become an iconic symbol of a string of political flash points including

  • the double-edged impact Chinese imports (much cheaper for cash-strapped Americans at the bottom of the economy, 
  • many of whom are there because of jobs being outsourced to China. Not to mention 
  • the income gap which is most easily illustrated by the obscene wealth accumulation of the Walton family
Not that Ms. Burwell is to blame, but when a vast fortune wants to dress in it's Sunday best, as we saw in the last presidential election, money is no object. Back channel connections and amounts, thanks to legal and tax codes, need not even make the news. 
This is yet another appointment requiring the ritual approval of the Senate, so my guess is that she has enough political chops to make the grade. The fact that she is a woman surely has nothing to do with this appointment. Surely not. 

►Walmart Foundation is to the Walmart fortune what antiperspirants and after shave are to professional athletes. Those who bleed, sweat and gets TBIs in the course of paying the rent need to look and smell their best at social gatherings. In background reading I came across the quaint idea that Walmart's low prices are so beneficial to low-income  Americans that the effect is better than if the company had provided more jobs! This argument is like junk food companies suggesting that the high-calorie products give consumers more bang for their buck than fruits and vegetables. 
As in the final chapters of The Godfather, power and fortune pave the way to legitimacy. Just last week I heard a story about some company from the prison-industrial complex getting its name on a stadium which goes a long way toward cleaning up a lot of dirty laundry

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