Democrats & Liberals Archives

A Measure of Prosperity

President-elect Obama has established a task force, chaired by Vice President-elect Biden. The purpose of the task force is to grow and improve the economic conditions of workers and the middle class. How will Biden measure the state of prosperity of working families?

Biden explained his task force this way:

Our charge is to look at existing and future policies across the board and use a yard stick to measure how they are impacting the working and middle-class families. Is the number of these families growing? Are they prospering? President-elect Obama and I know the economic health of working families has eroded, and we intend to turn that around.

How will he know if working families are growing and prospering? All we measure nowadays is how Wall Street is fairing. The status of the Dow appears in newspapers every day. Expressed crudely, when the Dow rises we have prosperity, when it falls we have recession. Sure, there are other measures but most of them are related to the world of investment and finance.

Why all this emphasis on Las-Vegas finance? Why not on workers? Does not the vast majority of our population consist of people working for a living? Shouldn't the most important measure of prosperity be concerned with workers?

There is one measure of how workers are doing: the unemployment rate. It's hard to call this a measure of worker prosperity, however. It's more a measure of the difficulties workers have in obtaining jobs. It gives us no idea of what workers are getting paid and what benefits they have.

I think a good measuare of how workers - and the country at large - are doing is the median worker income, which consists of median wages and the value of median benefits. For greater clarity we may break down these values in terms of different industries. These values should be posted by newspapers on a regular basis.

The median worker income would also give us a good measure of how business is doing. High worker income implies that businesses are doing well enough to pay their workers well. When workers do well they feed the entire economy and financial people do well too.

An argument can be made that worker income is a better measure of prosperity than the Dow. Main-Street indexes tell us more about the state of the entire economy than Wall-Street indexes

Posted by Paul Siegel at December 23, 2008 8:00 PM
Comments
Comment #272775

Good points all, and a fair rundown. I would only add that the unemployment index you referred to has, for a few decades, been a lie anyway, and a horrible measure of an economic health. It has measured only those receiving compensation (looking for work), it fails to count those who do not any longer receive compensation, but who did not go back to work. That is a pretty easy track to follow, but our government sees it as an embarrassment and refuses to count them.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 23, 2008 8:56 PM
Comment #272777

Paul
Right as usual
Marysdude
The Reps figured out to control unemployment and inflation. Lie about them. Of course now deflation is the problem and unemployment has supassed anything their prevarications can cover up.

Its my fervent hope BHO pushes through legislation to once again allow trade unions to organize. An actual of a repeal of the Taft- Hartly laws is in order.That is not likely to happen but there is already legislation ready to go to allow card check votes,eliminating the ability of employers to intimidate and fire pro-union workers. It would also help if he replaces the Bush anti-worker schills on the NLRB with fair minded people willing to return the board to its original purpose,legitimizing union elections and protecting the rights of workers to collectivly bargain without unfair,illegal interference.
He and the Dem congress should quickly increase the minimum wage to a liveable standard and build in cost of living increases. This tends to raise the floor for all workers. It does not lead to layoffs. Thats another Rep lie with no foundation. States raising the minimum wage uaually experience a slight uptick in employment.What leads to layoffs is stagnant or declining wages among other market factors.

Posted by: bills at December 23, 2008 9:33 PM
Comment #272782

Paul excellent work. Better questions.
None of the current measuring sticks reflects how the middle class is doing. We need a new yardstick to measure the alleged prosperity of the middle class. The median income statistic now reflects family income with what 60 to 70 % of American families relying upon 2 salaries to pay the bills and is still compared to the single provider families of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. Perhaps a real twist should be included, say a non economic factor such as quality of life.

When I first heard of the task assigned to VP elect Biden I actually thought there is still a glimmer of hope for this Country. The reign of witches may actually be coming to an end. What an excellent idea transition team, now if we can just keep the repubs/corporatist/conservatives from screwing things up with failed theory and ideology long enough to accomplish something with this mandate. Just by announcing this plan Obama and his transition team has accomplished more good for this Country than Reagan and his followers have the past 30 years.
Perhaps the repubs are right and Obama is a political messiah ;)

Posted by: j2t2 at December 24, 2008 1:21 AM
Comment #272792

Paul,
The way you frame the question and your proposed answer closely mirrors the way the Roosevelt administration framed the issue during the Great Depression. The result of this analysis was that they chose to artificially prop up wages, which resulted in unemployment staying high all the way up to the beginning of the war.

It wasn’t until the war economy forced the government into pulling young men out of the employment economy for soldiers on the one hand and bolstering employment by forcing capital investments and, ultimately, wage reductions in key areas on the other. (Here I part company with some of my favorite economists who say W.W.II didn’t break the back of the Depression in America. It clearly did, by giving workers a sense of expendable wealth and well-being earned up in hard work in the times when they could not spend on sharply rationed consumer products.)

In essence the framing is wrong because it puts the cart before the horse. The greatest economic driver is that both the predominant spending power and the greatest concentration of economic choice-making is retained in the larger middle class. That means finding ways to reduce the concentrations of the latter power in both private-interest moguls and in government moguls.

Right now the debate is only between which moguls we should favor. Either of those solutions, as the lessons of the Great Depression and our current boom/bust economy show, will fail.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 24, 2008 12:11 PM
Comment #272804

WWII did not end the depression, nor did it create a middle class. Social Programs started the ascension from the depression, and the GI Bill, with the help of unions initiated the middle class.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 24, 2008 2:01 PM
Comment #272820

The idea of using the median wage to judge how the country is doing sounds good. The only question I have is are ya talking about individual income or household income?
I think it should be individual income. Using household I don’t think would be accurate. If ya have a household making $30,000 a year how do you know if that’s from one person or five? The statistics would show that folks are doing better than they are if it’s taking five people to make the $30,000. Using individual income would show if that $30,000 is coming from one wage earner or five.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 24, 2008 6:34 PM
Comment #272824

Middle class could be measured by income levels, adjusted for high cost of living areas like New York City, etc. Let’s say middle class extends, currently, from 50,000 to 150,000 for homes with single earners and between 80,000 and 250,000 for multi income homes. Figures would have to be adjusted at least every two years.

Median income is far more difficult because as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, the median income might not change that much. Median sets when half the working citizens earn more and half earn less. One guy at the top can skew those figures really out of whack, i.e., the difference between the two lowest earners is probably a dollar, but the difference between the two top guys may be several billions of dollars.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 24, 2008 8:19 PM
Comment #272830

Lee
Your parting company with some of your favorite economist is a mistake. WW2 did of course stimulate the economy but that level of stimulation needs not be for the sake of warfare exclusively.Besides we already have a war or two and our spending on arms is close to ww2 levels. Too the contrary,war is clearly one of the least efficient stimulas options. It is by nature dangeriously inflationary for example,creating tremendous demand without introducing much supply. More Krugman. FDR and congress made a big mistake in 1937 when they reduced the initial levels of stimulation and the recovery graph went from upwards to a sharp drop. That is the danger we will again face in about a year after the BHO plan is in effect. There will influential calls to cut back. The idea of fiscal restraint is compelling and correct in normal times. These are not normal times. In the circumstances we face at this junture “Stay the course” as far as a large stimulus programs needs to be the order of the day.The voices calling for cutbacks will come from the right and left but most from the right. I hope you do not join them.

Posted by: bills at December 24, 2008 11:15 PM
Comment #272835

“Middle class could be measured by income levels, adjusted for high cost of living areas like New York City, etc. Let’s say middle class extends, currently, from 50,000 to 150,000 for homes with single earners and between 80,000 and 250,000 for multi income homes.”

Perhaps we could just split the earnings into 5 pieces, the Rich, The UMC, The MC, The LMC and the Poor. We would need to include all income into these figures including investment earnings not just salaries and wages. Of course it would need to be per person not per household. We have seen how many have been fooled by this when comparing the ‘50’s and ‘60’s and ‘70’s to the ‘80’s , ‘90’s and ‘00’s.

“FDR and congress made a big mistake in 1937 when they reduced the initial levels of stimulation and the recovery graph went from upwards to a sharp drop.”

bills you seem to be forgetting your revisionist history that has become so popular this past few years. The duration of the depression was extended, according to the revisionist, due to regulations that made the rich investors uneasy and they refused to invest ;)

Posted by: j2t2 at December 25, 2008 9:42 AM
Comment #272836

j2t2,

Three middle class categories might help in determining who a particular policy was effecting the most…so you’ve probably got a point there.

I’m just hoping Obama doesn’t let Washington lower his aims of tying our economy to low income levels and allowing a ‘trickle up’, instead of this horror we’ve watched happen for the past few decades.

He can’t get in there soon enough for me. This rat Cheney/Bush can still do a lot of harm before he has to wave goodbye…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 25, 2008 12:05 PM
Comment #272839


I would have considered Obama serious if he had name someone with expertise in this area rather than a corporacrat who is a self proclaimed foreign policy expert.

I expect a few minor alterations coupled with a loud pronounciation of great achievement.

Posted by: jlw at December 25, 2008 1:05 PM
Comment #272843

What some of y’all don’t seem to understand is that none of Roosevelt’s schemes were really putting very many folks to work. If them schemes were working why is it that the depression lasted for 9 years after he took office?
It took WWII to really start putting folks to work. And when folks started working the economy started improving.
The reason it aint working now is automation. It took a whole heap more folks to make an airplane then than it does now. So not as many folks are being put to work to make the equipment needed for the troops.
Not only that, but we don’t need as much equipment than was needed in WWII. We have what? 30,000 to 40,000 troops in war zones. Compared to 1,000,000 or more in WWII. A whole heap of difference.

Anyway, MERRY CHRISTMAS Y’ALL!

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 25, 2008 2:11 PM
Comment #272846

Ron,

Beg to differ…a depression does not end in a day. The work programs did work to ease the crises. My father an independent carpenter, could not find enough work to keep his family alive, so he went to work with the CCC. At fifty cents a day, he was able to hold the wolf off until he could get back to work for real.

He was working steady when his draft number came up, so he went to Kansas City and enlisted in the Marine Corps. So with a steady job, a wife and five children at home he went to war. Instead of helping the crises, the war took people with jobs and put them in harm’s way.

There was an increase in manufacturing, which needed workers, so people with 4F ratings got to work, women who had been taking care of families got to work, but as soon as the war ended, so did most of those jobs. Some idiot on the ‘right’ started this bullsh*t about WWII being the cause of depression end, but that is only to lessen the credit those work and social programs were getting. That business about the war is hooey.

Work and Social Programs put into place by FDR were making things better for a lot of people. The war took jobs from folks who were providing for their families for the first time in several years, and gave those jobs to folks who did not need them for any other purpose than to make war supplies.

When the troops were released after the war, unions they joined, and the homes bought under the GI Bill and schooling attained under the GI Bill crested the great Middle Class. The Middle Class bought goods, because they had money, and wallah! Great Economy!

That is why it is important, in the current situation, to feed the kitty from the bottom up. Buyers make an economy work, not bankers. Bankers have crashed the system twice. How many times does it have to occur before we get the message?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 25, 2008 3:22 PM
Comment #272855


Thus, the Great American Middle Class was born and now we have a task force created to improve the lot of the middle class rather than a task force to determine how we can incorporate the upper class and the lower class into the middle class.

Posted by: jlw at December 25, 2008 7:18 PM
Comment #272861

“My father an independent carpenter, could not find enough work to keep his family alive, so he went to work with the CCC.”

My dad was also in the 3-C’s, but when the war started he worked in the Baltimore Shipyard until he enlisted. The wars of today cannot be compared to WWII. Every industry was producing war machines; ships were being turned out every week in all the shipyards. American steel mills were producing steel. Miners were working. Farmers were producing all the crops and meat they could. It is true that those who were not in uniform for whatever reason and women also filled the jobs. But the jobs they had produced, a product to be sold here or to our allies. What government job or infrastructure position ever produced a product to be sold?

As Lee stated before, the work of the war era did more than provide income for families and taxes for government, it also provided a mental lift for people who had been living in despair for more than a decade. These people began to see daylight, not at the hand of a government handout, but as a result of producing something. This was picked up by military men coming home from the war and desiring to further their educations or find good jobs that allowed them to add hope to the joy of defeating a danger to the world.

What government handout ever caused a man to want to better himself? The proof can be found in the generations who received and depended on welfare and still do today. To believe a government handout would lift men out of dispair is as ignorant as believing the social programs of FDR ended the depression.

Concerning the Taft-Hartley Act; a repeal of this act would destroy what is left of our economy and business. It would obliterate no-strike clauses that are in place for the security of our country. There are already provisions to negotiate contracts by government boards.

When the economy is good, there are plenty of jobs and the salary is dictated by the demand for workers. On the other hand, when the economy is down, government intervention to try to drive up wages will do nothing but cut jobs. In order for the “Lower Class” to move to the middle class, they must have a desire to do better. Government handouts and welfare destroys that desire.


Posted by: Oldguy at December 26, 2008 12:51 AM
Comment #272863

FDR’s reforms kept the US from doing what many other countries did,move toward totalitarianism either on the right or left. Examples: Hitler/Stalin The New Deal preserved democracy. The Depression lasted too long not because of the programs but because the programs were not big enough and they were cut back in 1937 for political reasons. The recovery graph took a nose dive because of it. What WW2 provided was a truly massive economic stimulus package,sustained for long enough to be effective. Point is the stimulus must be large, sustained and intense to do any good. There is no reason war can be the only justification for that action except to get political opposition to be silent about it.
Lee
There were wage controls. There were also price controls. Federal troops were called upon to open factories that had locked out workers in bargainning disputes.

Posted by: bills at December 26, 2008 4:53 AM
Comment #272864

“What government job or infrastructure position ever produced a product to be sold?”

Oldguy it just makes me mad when you insult our military and those fine individuals that served in it like you do. You also seem to find it convenient to forget the firefighters, police and others who work for the government. While it may not be a widget they produce, the bases they live in, the vehicles they drive, the food they eat are all products that are made and sold to make sure that the military can deliver its product. We call it freedom. The firefighter may not make a product but the service they provide is indeed important. The same could be said for the police, public schools and government scientist working at such places as NASA. Do you use electric power produced due in part to the dams built during the ’30s?
You seem to forget the political situation during the ’30s when you make your comments. FDR had not only the depression causing republicans and conservatives to deal with but a strong socialist movement as well as the fascist and nazi’s. Yes those that would see the country destroyed from within still held enough sway to keep the programs of the era from being as successful as they could have been. The naysayers in the repub party who even back then were just mouthpieces for the very rich fought against FDR and the American people as they struggled to turn the country around. It wasn’t corporate America, nor the investors, that saved the day it was government policy that did.

In your way of thinking it was Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito that brought the world out of the great depression. But lets face it, FDR saved the day, Yes the Democrat President saved the country after the repubs trashed it. Sound familiar?
I suppose Hoover wasn’t a conservative republican either. How easy it is to forget what got us into the great depression, perhaps that is why the revisionist work so hard to explain what got us out of the depression. But lets face it it was what we call today “Reaganomics” that caused the great depression. Maybe that is why the revisionist spin you spout would have us believe the government and especially the dems caused the problems of today.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 26, 2008 8:02 AM
Comment #272868

J2t2:

Since this discussion is also taking place in the red column I will simply reiterate, there are of necessity government jobs that are needed. I also said the desire of our founding fathers was less government and not more. I wonder haw many teams of lawyers and advisers our founding fathers had on payroll? You are a bit dramatic to reach out and accuse me of insulting the military. My grandfather served 7 years in submarines in WWI and my father served in Europe in WWII and I also served during Vietnam. So I do understand the sacrifices of those in the military. I simply say, it is a pipe dream to believe government can stimulate the economy by building roads and bridges. These jobs should be paid for by highway and fuel taxes, but since fuel is not selling and truck companies are going out of business, there is no revenue. This should be to the liking of the left because we all want to worship at the altar of Global Warming.

FDR introduce socialism to America and that is all his programs ever did.

“In your way of thinking it was Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito that brought the world out of the great depression.”

Actually, these dictators did start these wars as a result of their financial conditions. They promised their nations prosperity if elected. Kind of like the promises BHO has given to the American people. War initially helped them, but the cost was too great. We missed much of WWII. My mother lived in London and lived through many years of the war before we ever got involved. Of course, America was already gearing up and producing war machines to sell to our allies. As I said before, my father worked in the Baltimore shipyards to build ships that would deliver goods to England. It is stupid to think concrete bridges, highways and dams led us to prosperity, when it took the “the awakening of a sleeping giant”, as Yamamoto described America, to turn us into an industrial giant. During the depression we stood in soup lines and 15-20 years later we were paying for the rebuilding of Japan, and all of Europe. There must have been a lot more money in bridges and dams than I ever believed.

Posted by: Oldguy at December 26, 2008 11:17 AM
Comment #272870

Marysdude
I’m well aware that depressions don’t end in a day. But to last 9 years after government programs are put into place shows that the government by it’s self can’t end a depression. It also shows that Roosevelt and his programs were a failure with the economy. And Obama’s government programs are going to fail as well.
It takes the private sector hiring folks to make tangible products to be sold to make the economy strong.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 26, 2008 1:44 PM
Comment #272873
What government handout ever caused a man to want to better himself?


Old,you answered your own question when responding to dude’s comment on the C.C.C.
Then (again), the GI Bill, or more succinctly, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act..?
These certainly weren’t “handouts”, and just as certainly went a long way to give people hope and a bit of $ in their pockets.
Most people when offered a hand, think of it as a hand UP and not a hand OUT.
Obama is essentially wanting to re-create the concept of the C.C.C. by attacking the infrastructure……some of which probably hasn’t had much done to it since back then.

Posted by: janedoe at December 26, 2008 3:07 PM
Comment #272875


Just as today, one of if not the first thing the Roosevelt Administration did was infuse the banking system with taxpayer dollars. Just as today, the banks, for the most part, sat on the money because there was no good place to invest it.

IMO, the New Deal social contract was essential for the survival of the government. Without it, many thousands if not millions of people would have died, especially the old and the very young. I can only imagine what this country would be like today and what the plight of the old would be if not for Social Security. Although I hate the welfare system because of what it does to institutionalize poverty, this country would look more like Mexico or Haiti without it.

Conservatives do themselves no service by denying these things. The conservatives would be far better off if they circumnavigated the liberals and joined forces with Progressives to create a full employment economy rather than going on and on about the virtues of a Dicksonian Era capitalist system.

There are several factors associated with the great post war American economic expansion.

There was the fact that much of the industrial base of the world was destroyed during the war while we had undergone a large industrial expansion at the same time. Compared to other nations at the time, we came out of the war with much wealth and an industrial base that could easily be transformed into peace time production.

Another factor was the baby boom which meant that we needed more of everything.

What was the governments role in the expansion? We can start with the tremendous effort and investment put forth to build a modern, nationwide expansion of the infrastructure. This liberated the automobile and the people who owned them. It helped create the urban sprall that we have today and created a tremendous boom in the private sector.

Government research and development investments in the military and the space program was, IMO, the primary source for another huge expansion in the economy, the high tech era.

There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the government has played the key role in producing the country and the way of life that we enjoy so much.

There is also no doubt in my mind that the private sectors influence on government coupled with the peoples lack of desire for change has caused the problems that we now face. The easiest example to prove this is the oil companies. They have bribed our government into doing nothing in the area of alternative energy for several decades to protect their product and their profits.

Posted by: jlw at December 26, 2008 5:02 PM
Comment #272876


The great American economic expansion has reached its conclusion. Humpty Dumpty has fallen. All the kings horses and all the kings men aren’t going to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

So what can the king do?

He can send his horses and men throughout the land and put money in the peoples hands. Considering how spoiled the people are and considering how they hold their government is such low esteem, economic hardship such as the people suffered in the Geat Depression will not be tollerated and the government will fall just as it could have done in the 1930’s without the New Deal. In economic hard times, the people will not tollerate a government that they feel is not on their side.

At the same time, the government needs to begin the creation of a new Humpty Dumpty, a new economy. If the government makes the mistake of trying to revive the current economic system which has fallen victim to the corporations vision of the future, it will fail miserably.

The best example to explain what I mean is hopefully the alternative energy boom. If the government allows the corporations to control this, it will happen but, it will not create the numbers of jobs that are necessary to keep our economy strong. If the government invests in alternative energy in a way that helps business, communities and people obtain their own solar and wind means of producing energy, we will create a whole new economy based on a more self dependent self efficient economy that is less dependent on centralized corporate entities. This will create many thousands, possibly a few million new small businesses to incorporate and maintain this new economy. Corporations will always have their markets in our society but, it is time to end our dependence on the corporate energy monoply and move to a less centralized energy grid.

Posted by: jlw at December 26, 2008 5:49 PM
Comment #272880

jlw
You put your finger on the biggest single reason we will be hearing much more about nuclear power. Personal enery independance is the last thing the energy oiligarchs want. That would mean freedom. The enormous about of capital required for their construction insures that only the big players ,oil companies,large utility monopolies etc. will continue to be in control.

old guy
The early fathers DID invest in canals and roads and ports. Why on earth do you believe that infrasturcture investment cannot stimulate the economy? Esinhower did it with the intrastate highway system that is still paying vast benefits

Posted by: bills at December 27, 2008 12:30 AM
Comment #272883

bills:

You guys are entirely to thin skinned. I understand we need an infrastructure and we need police and firefighters. We also need representatives in governments. But we need them in the most limited quantity as possible because they are financed by taxpayer’s money. Which means people who work and provide a legitimate profit are taxed to pay for those who (may work), but do not provide legitimate wealth to the country as a whole.

To say a government-financed program, such as the WPA or CCC, was creating wealth to the nation is crazy. It’s like giving your kids a $25 allowance each week. They may have the $25 in their pocket but it does nothing to increase the wealth of the family because the money is just being moved from one pocket to another. If the child had the opportunity to mow lawns for $25 dollars a week, which would add wealth to the family as a whole, what incentive would there be for the child to mow lawns? Government financed jobs are no more than welfare and welfare destroys any incentive to better ones self.

J2t2 brought up the subject of the military and tried to include them in the list of taxpayer funded jobs and at the same time change the subject from responsibility to my lack of support for the military. I would say, show me a democratic leader in the past 30 years who has supported growth of the military. Democrats are notorious for cutting military spending in order to increase social spending. What is their reasoning for doing this? It is because they consider the military to be non-productive spending and that the money better serve in other programs. I simply say, instead of spending trillions in social programs that are non-productive, spend the money in ways that would create private enterprise. If the government has that much excess money to just throw away, then taxes could be cut to allow investment in the private sector.

But then you will say, cutting taxes do not spur growth in the private sector and I will say, why are companies fleeing cities and states who offer them no tax incentives? Railroads were given thousands of acres of government land and huge tax breaks and as a result they created thousands of miles of road to move products. At the same time they provided millions of legitimate jobs, paying legitimate wages from which legitimate taxes were taken. An example of failed railroads is Amtrak and the defunct Conrail, millions of taxpayers dollars were pumped into these government controlled companies. I know for a fact, that Conrail was hiring people up to the day before it was bought out by CSX and the NS railroads. Conrail was a broken railroad and could not show a profit, but they had unlimited taxpayer funds. Amtrak has always operated at a deficit and if it were not for taxpayer dollars, they would be non-existant.

Posted by: Oldguy at December 27, 2008 10:58 AM
Comment #272892

Social programs helped get us out of the depression because it increased discretionary spending.

And many of our national parks, railroad stations, etc., would never have come about or been improved enough for visits.

Programs like TVA, lit up several million folks lives.

That WWII ended the depression is boondoggle. WWII put us very deep into debt and cost thousands of American lives. If WWII got us out of the depression, please tell me how much improvement our finances made per life lost. Then I may agree with you about how great the war made our economy.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 27, 2008 9:19 PM
Comment #272897

“J2t2 brought up the subject of the military and tried to include them in the list of taxpayer funded jobs and at the same time change the subject from responsibility to my lack of support for the military.”

No Oldguy I simply showed you a chink in the armor of your failed ideology. Are you trying to say the taxpayers do not pay for the military? The issue wasn’t responsibility Oldguy it was your incorrect statement “What government job or infrastructure position ever produced a product to be sold?”. Would you argue that a solider in the US army isn’t a federal government job? would you argue that the company that provided uniforms, weapons and food to the solider does this without recompense? If you would reread my comment you would also notice I provided additional examples that would cause a rational person to think your statement is inaccurate.
In additon, Oldguy, I didn’t accuse you of not supporting the military I said “it just makes me mad when you insult our military and those fine individuals that served in it like you do.” It seems to me in your attempt to promote a failed economics system such as Reaganomics you forget important parts of the government with the blanket statements you make.

“I would say, show me a democratic leader in the past 30 years who has supported growth of the military.”

1. The nation has largely been ruled by repubs and conservatives the past 30 years.
2. The cold war ended in the ‘80’s.
3. The only war in the past 30 years we have fought is the war for corporate control of oil in the mideast.
4. The military is for the defense of the nation. Roughly 50% of our tax dollar is spent on the military.
5. http://mediamatters.org/items/200511180008

“The Post’s and the others’ labeling of Murtha as “pro-military” or a “pro-military Democrat” raises several questions. First, would these news organizations characterize any of the 184 Democrats in the House who voted* to compensate for a $1 billion shortfall in spending for veterans caused by the federal deficit — but many of whom also voted against the Iraq war resolution — “anti-military”? What about those 216 Republicans who voted against increasing veterans’ benefits, the vast majority of whom voted for the war resolution? Are they pro or anti-military? And what about the 44 Senate Democrats who voted for Sen. John F. Kerry’s (D-MA) amendment increasing death benefits to military families — many of whom also voted against the Iraq war resolution? And the 25 Republicans who voted against the Kerry amendment?”

Why would any sane intelligent leader support an increase in military expenditures when we have not been attacked by a nation trying to conquer us? Why would anyone consider Democrats that support veterans anti military?

“Democrats are notorious for cutting military spending in order to increase social spending. What is their reasoning for doing this? It is because they consider the military to be non-productive spending and that the money better serve in other programs.”

Perhaps it is much simplier than this Oldguy. Perhaps it is because our forefathers warned us against a standing army. Or more likely it is because such a considerable sum is spent on the military that a cut in the military budget is the fiscally responsible thing to do as we are constitutionally bound are to provide for the common defense of the people not fight corporate wars for profit by an elite few.

“I simply say, instead of spending trillions in social programs that are non-productive, spend the money in ways that would create private enterprise.”

We could argue here that this type of short term near sighted corporate thinking is why the Country is in such a mess today Oldguy. Social programs are very productive, Oldguy, perhaps not for the financial gain of the elite but they do serve a higher purpose. The problem with private programs is they don’t always make money when in service to the needs of the downtrodden and infirmed of this nation.

“If the government has that much excess money to just throw away, then taxes could be cut to allow investment in the private sector.”

The money is not thrown away Oldguy it is used to help the people of this nation in our pursuit of life liberty and happiness.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 27, 2008 11:29 PM
Comment #272898

Marysdud

Now you throw into the mix the loss of lives during WWII by the great society. Might I remind you, it was under was democratic administration that the Japs were able to almost destroy our Pacific Fleet, with no supposed knowledge of what they were doing. Again it was a democratic admin that wanted to go to war and eventually declared war. So if there is blame for loss of life, let’s lay it at the correct feet.

If the new deal was such a great deal, why was’nt there any real employment until the war started.

If we were so deep in debt, how were we able to forgive debts and rebuild allies as well as enemy nations?

“Social programs helped get us out of the depression because it increased discretionary spending.”

I’m just an oldguy, but could you explain this statement to me? I have no idea!

Posted by: Oldguy at December 27, 2008 11:32 PM
Comment #272911

>I’m just an oldguy, but could you explain this statement to me? I have no idea!
Posted by: Oldguy at December 27, 2008 11:32 PM

Old,

Nope…I’ll let you figure it out yourself…I won’t do your research for you, and I won’t explain a statement written in English to you either.

It was you who said the war brought us out of the depression as if you thought it was a good thing…all I asked was for every increase in discretionary spending, how many lives were lost. If indeed the war was such a good economic tool, what was the cost of the tool?

There was an increase in employment right up until spending for the New Deal dried up. Had that spending continued, we’d still have made it out, even without the war. I’m pretty sure FDR anticipated the war, and quit pressing for New Deal monies because of that anticipation.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 28, 2008 2:37 PM
Comment #272912

PS:

I thought us Dems were a bunch of chickens, and traitors. Now you tell me we are just another bunch of war mongers…make up your mind.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 28, 2008 2:41 PM
Comment #272917

PPS:

Take a look at the words of Cheney/Bush’s first Sec Of Treasury, Snow:

>And both Mr. Paulson and his predecessor, John W. Snow, say the housing push went too far.

“The Bush administration took a lot of pride that homeownership had reached historic highs,” Mr. Snow said in an interview. “But what we forgot in the process was that it has to be done in the context of people being able to afford their house. We now realize there was a high cost.”

I know you’ve got a lot to say about Reno, but…but…but…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 28, 2008 9:23 PM
Comment #272924

Oldguy
Bridges, highways and waterways do not add wealth to a country? Preposterious. Pretty basic economics. You can make the best,cheapest widgets in a world hungry for widgets but if they cannot get to market they are worthless. Infrastructure improvments also add wealth AND increased government revenues. A carpenter or ironworker on a bridge job earns a salary. He or she pays taxes on that salary to federal state and local governments. This multiplies dramatically. The logger that cuts the timber for shoring pays taxes as does the sawmill worker and haulers and nail maker and engineer and concrete supplier and the payroll clerk and bolt manufacturer and the people that work for the bolt manufacturer and the miners that supply the concrete manufacturer and the people that run the roachcoach that stops at the job at lunchtime and the company that supplies safety equiptment and the driver that delivers the equiptment and the rebar and steel supplier and the truck drivers that deliver the rebar and the rental company that provides the forklift and the mechanic that repairs the forklift and the tire manufacturer that supplies the rental company that………
There is no other segment of the economy that has a more substantial return on public investment and the returns continue for decades. The WPA retainning wall around my childrens California school is still,after its builders have mostly passed on, retainning.

Posted by: bills at December 29, 2008 12:09 AM
Comment #272927

bills

Well, lets see, taxpayers paid for the retaining wall 75 years ago and how much revenue did you say the retaining wall has provided in the past 75 years?

If the goverment pays for highways and bridges, they are paying the wages and for all the materials that are used to build the bridges and highways. So far it is a taxpayer funded project. We are now paying the wages of everyone involved in the project. Now, lets add to this the idea that liberals want to shut down all travel on these bridges and highways by shutting down production of fuel to power vehicles. Oh, I get it, we are spending money for nothing. Sounds like typical liberal planning.

If I were going to use examples, I would never use one that came out of a failed state like California…

Posted by: Oldguy at December 29, 2008 7:08 AM
Comment #272932

Oldguy,

“Well, lets see, taxpayers paid for the retaining wall 75 years ago and how much revenue did you say the retaining wall has provided in the past 75 years?”

Does the government have to only do things that provide revenue, or could this “retaining wall” provide protection to the school from damage, and thereby actually save the taxpayers money?

You bitch and whine about spending money on infrastructure when all of us depend on this same infrastructure for the commerce that helps keep this country running.
Shall we just let it decintigrate, and let this country slide into oblivion?
How will all of these small businesses that you keep going on about get their products to market, without the repairs to the roads, bridges, and waterways you so disdain?

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at December 29, 2008 11:55 AM
Comment #272939

It is ludicrous to say Democrats want to shut down fuel for vehicles. That would be stupid and silly…hmmm…sounds more Republican…

Many on the left want to stop the equally silly and stupid ‘drill baby drill’ proposed by the right. Drilling for more oil is a lost cause, except for oil company profits. There is plenty of oil being pumped to last until we develop alternative fuels.

If we doubt there is enough oil, perhaps that will encourage us to work harder and faster on those developments. Anyone who believes in America will know we can achieve this little goal.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 29, 2008 4:14 PM
Comment #272955

M

“Many on the left want to stop the equally silly and stupid ‘drill baby drill’ proposed by the right. Drilling for more oil is a lost cause, except for oil company profits.”

Those stupid Chinese, they still think there is plenty of oil.

Posted by: Oldguy at December 30, 2008 9:20 AM
Comment #272958

Plenty? Plenty of oil? I don’t think the Chinese care how much oil there is…they just want all the pennies. They don’t care what damage is done to the environment either, as they have proven as many times as Cheney/Bush has proven he doesn’t care about it.

But, it is time for Cheney/Bush to go home, and the incoming guy does care, and if the world is lucky, he will set a new agenda that even the Chinese will sign on for…no matter whether they sign on or not, since we push more hydrocarbons than any other nation, we can still make a difference…

Plenty of oil…what a whacko concept…where does this oil come from? How much is being produced each year (not processed, but actually naturally manufactured in the bowls of the earth)? Who died and made the Chinese the seer of nations?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 30, 2008 12:22 PM
Comment #272980

Md

“and the incoming guy does care, and if the world is lucky, he will set a new agenda that even the Chinese will sign on for…”

I’m sure they will be concerned about what BHO thinks or says. He is only the “MESSIAH” to the american left and the europeans. To the rest of the dangerous nations of the world, he just another… well you get the picture.

Of course veep Biden says we cannot build clean-coal power plants in the US, but we will build them in China.

Speaking of clean coal, do we have the technology to produce petroleum products from coal and how much coal reserves do we have in the US? Since we are out of oil, maybe we could go that direction. Wait a minute, that would make coal mining companies and oil companies the enemy and it would probably cause the extinction of some insect. Forget that idea, I was just trying to look at the problem from a logical point of view.

Posted by: Oldguy at December 31, 2008 10:00 AM
Comment #272985

Old,

And, a Happy New Year to you too!

Posted by: Marysdude at December 31, 2008 11:25 AM
Comment #272995

The Art of the Impossible

Thomas Sowell is one of my favorite writers and once again he focuses on the dumbing-down of American voters.

“People can get the possible on their own. Politicians have to be able to offer the voters something that they cannot get on their own. The impossible fills that bill perfectly. It might seem as if adding the costs of government bureaucracies to the costs of medications and medical treatment would make it impossible for the total costs to go down. But again, the impossible is no problem in politics.”

Link: http://townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2008/12/31/the_art_of_the_impossible?page=1

Posted by: Jim M at December 31, 2008 3:40 PM
Comment #273002

Jim M. Its hard to get through the entire “writings” of Sowell as he is just another typical hater. What he leaves out is much more intelligent than what he puts into his half baked comments. To my way of thinking he is one of the reasons we as a country are so dumbed down, his misleading ideologically driven babble has dumbed down many on the right for the past 30 years. Where was he at during the Bush years and the great dumbing down known as the Reagan years?

Lets just look at this comment from his post:
“You want the government to create more jobs for people when there is widespread unemployment? It’s been done. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the government employed more young men in the Civilian Conservation Corps than there were in the Army. The money to pay for all this had to come from somewhere— and that meant that there was less money left to employ other people in the private sector. While jobs created by the government may not have reduced total unemployment, these jobs increased votes for the administration, which is the real bottom line in politics.”

What nonsense. Does any intelligent person actually think that the CCC took people that were already employed and gave them work? Employers were not hiring period. That is why the government had to step in. The capitalist think only of their own benefit and fortunes. They chose to sit it out. To think the CCC didn’t reduce unemployment baffles me? To think this was done solely because politicians wanted votes smacks of the worst kind of dumb in my book. These same people extol the virtues of the business tycoons that stood by and did nothing because they couldn’t make a profit yet run down those that did something. That’s dumb.

It seems to me Jim M. that Mr. Sowell is a decade late on noticing the dumbing down of America.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 31, 2008 5:21 PM
Comment #273003

Jim M, it’s hard to lend much credence to comments made regarding “dumbing down” when they are made by such illiterate and narrow-minded posters. My guess is that (in your humble opinion) these are some of the well-educated, and non-dumbed-down voters……???
Thanks j2t2 for your timely and to the point response.

Posted by: janedoe at December 31, 2008 5:44 PM
Comment #273007

Have a Happy and safe New Year all !!!

Posted by: janedoe at December 31, 2008 11:18 PM
Comment #273011

old guy
“Well, lets see, taxpayers paid for the retaining wall 75 years ago and how much revenue did you say the retaining wall has provided in the past 75 years?”

Ok lets see now…got it! $343,628.53. There happy now?

Posted by: bills at January 1, 2009 9:27 AM
Comment #273015

j2t2 has a problem with Mr. Sowell’s reasoning regarding government-made jobs. Well, let’s take j2t2’s opposition to the ridiculous level. We can have full employment in the U.S. anytime we wish by merely passing full employment legislation and finding government paid work for everyone needing a job.

And, we can eliminate poverty in the same manner by legislation mandating a minimum wage of $50 per hour. Problems solved…right. Full employment for those able to work and elimination of the working poor. We’re left with just the middle class and the upper class…what a nirvana this would be.

j2t2, this is such a simple solution and makes me wonder why we haven’t been doing this all these years. We should all write our legislators and demand full employment now and a minimum wage of $50 per hour. Be certain to cc Mr. Obama.

One should reference the successful Social Security program in their letter as another grand ponzi scheme is what is needed right now.

Posted by: Jim M at January 1, 2009 11:42 AM
Comment #273027

Jim M I have noticed you have not directly addressed the issues at hand with your response but instead have chosen to go off into kool aid land with your response. I would ask you to stop and look at the big picture and realize the times have changed and the ideology you espouse, as practiced, has damaged this country the past 30 years. The unequal wealth distribution and false productivity that comes from the deification of the wealthy and the financial sector is symptomatic of a larger problem and must be dealt with.


“j2t2 has a problem with Mr. Sowell’s reasoning regarding government-made jobs. Well, let’s take j2t2’s opposition to the ridiculous level. We can have full employment in the U.S. anytime we wish by merely passing full employment legislation and finding government paid work for everyone needing a job.”

Well you have certainly taken it to the ridiculous level Jim M. I will give you that. The problem we are facing regarding employment is those fine American multinational corporations you think will come in and save the day hasn’t Jim M. In fact they are taking jobs away from Americans and shipping them overseas. To think they will come to the rescue if the Government doesn’t provide jobs has been proven to not be true. Sowell and his ilk would have us believe that jobs provided through infrastructure work will keep these very same corporations from providing decent paying jobs to Americans. How many times do you have to fall for that old line before you realize it is not the case?

Posted by: j2t2 at January 1, 2009 4:10 PM
Comment #273043

Thanks j2t2 for your comments. I do believe those “fine American multinational corporations” you speak of will bring jobs back to our shores given the right incentives. Under both Democrat and Republican administration we have done a lot of harm to our industrial base and jobs.

For profit Corporations all over the world are in competition against each other for customers and there are only two ways to attract customers that I can think of; 1) quality of the product and 2) price.

America can and has produced the finest quality of products available anywhere. Price, is a combination of many things…cost of labor, material, taxes, market regulations and tariffs.

I believe the correct solution is to make our private corporations more competitive in the world rather than giving up and simply providing government jobs. We can spend taxpayer money creating real and lasting jobs in our private industries or, as some would, spend those valuable resources propping up our national employment artificially and for finite periods. Obviously, I prefer the former.

When all the bridges, roads, schools, hospitals, etc have been built, and the treasury and taxpayers are broke, will there be any fine corporations left in this country?

Can the U.S. exist and prosper relying upon government made work? If so, for how long? Does this type of economy compete with the world on any level? Should we not be competitors in the world for jobs and customers?

Posted by: Jim M at January 2, 2009 11:34 AM
Comment #273051

Here are some interesting excerpts from a NY Times article in today’s paper regarding our steel industry. I find a lesson in this article for our automotive industry regarding making a comeback.

“New spending should provide an immediate jolt to the steel business, which has already gone through the painful makeover now demanded of automakers. Steel mills were closed, companies were consolidated, hundreds of thousands lost their jobs and the survivors agreed to concessions. As a result, productivity shot up and so did profits, to record levels in the first nine months of this year. Even as the economy wobbled, steel held its own.

But then the recession hit in force. Steel goes into nearly everything made in America, from homes and office buildings to cars, appliances and light bulb sockets, and as construction and manufacturing wound down, so did the output of steel, plunging 50 percent since September.”

“Not since the 1980s has American steel production been as low as it is today. Those were the Rust Belt years when many steel companies were failing and imports of better quality, lower cost steel were rising.

Foreign producers no longer have an advantage over the refurbished American companies. Indeed, imports, which represent about 30 percent of all steel sales in the United States, also are hurting as customers disappear.”

Link; http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/02/business/02steel.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&th&emc=th

Posted by: Jim M at January 2, 2009 1:47 PM
Comment #273052

>Thanks j2t2 for your comments. I do believe those “fine American multinational corporations” you speak of will bring jobs back to our shores given the right incentives. Under both Democrat and Republican administration we have done a lot of harm to our industrial base and jobs.
Posted by: Jim M at January 2, 2009 11:34 AM

J2t2,

I agree with this statement of Jim M…the right incentives of which he speaks, are, of course, slave labor, indentured servitude, et al. It’s easy to compete with China and other asian nations…all we have to do is agree to live in squaller, dig through garbage dumps for our food and wear rags…no a problem for me, is it for you?

Posted by: Marysdude at January 2, 2009 1:57 PM
Comment #273053

Thanks to Marysdude for his nonsense response to which I won’t need to reply. I have found that generally when one side of a discussion has no answers or reasonable counter proposals they resort to such tactics. I asked 4 questions and received no answers.

Posted by: Jim M at January 2, 2009 2:26 PM
Comment #273078


We let our corporations and government sell us a globalization bill of goods based on a false premise. The false premise was that if we allow millions of manufacturing and service jobs to leave for low wage countries, it will create even more millions of new jobs here.

As a result, our workers/consumers lost much income and buying power at a time when we were expected to support both our own economy as well as the economies of China and other low wage countries.

That is half of the equation.

The other half is another bill of goods sold to us by our politicians and corporations based on another false premise, that business has a built in movating factor to self-regulate themselves without the need for government regulation.

Although this philsophy is primarily promoted by the Republicans, It was exasperated by Democrats like Dodd and Frank who blocked attempts to increase regulation on their pet projects Fanny and Freddy.

This created a huge bubble of greed which was ignored and allowed to continue until there was no capital left to invest and or nothing to invest in.

Now our country is bankrupt but, we refuse to admit that because we can still get away with creating money out of thin air.

It is very doubtful that infrastructure or other government spending is going to get the world out of this mess in a meaningful way because the premise that you can manufacture where labor is cheap and sell where goods are expensive is false.

Enlightened self-interest has run it’s course culminating in corporations to large to fail.

The world needs a new economic model. I would like to be hopeful that my country would lead the world in this but, considering the partisan driven self-ignorance of the majority of our voters, I can’t.

Posted by: jlw at January 3, 2009 12:56 AM
Comment #273079

“Thanks to Marysdude for his nonsense response to which I won’t need to reply. I have found that generally when one side of a discussion has no answers or reasonable counter proposals they resort to such tactics. I asked 4 questions and received no answers.”

Jim M. I said as much to you in my previous comment when you didn’t answer any questions but chose to make light of my comment. Instead of making light of a very real concern of those that work for a living in this country why not instead answer his remark with some factual information that would serve to prove his point incorrect. The American corporations that flocked to China the past 30 years did use child labor and have left some areas in China polluted beyond belief. Yep these companies worked with a communist dictatorship that used a capitalist economic system to attempt to bring their nation out of poverty. What do you say about these companies bedding down with communist dictators? certainly as a conservative concerned with small government and less government interference in our lives you don’t think this is more acceptable than working with unions in this country do you?
Most families have 2 people working at least 1 job each to maintain a decent standard of living in this country. In order for us to compete with China when the technology that we have is made available to them by these companies we would need to lower wages to such a low figure that we could not achieve a subsistence level above what marysdude has described. What is your opinion of this?

Posted by: j2t2 at January 3, 2009 1:00 AM
Comment #273081

Jim M
Thanks for that bit about steel. When I was in California a few years ago,my Dem Assemblywoman got a law passed requieing that the massive amount of steel to be used in rebuilding the Oakland Bay Bridge and retrofitting the Golden Gate Bridge be made in America. You should have heard the Republican caterwalling. It would cost the taxpayers more etc.like American mill workers don’t pay taxes. They even screamed in a near panic that it would mean actually building a new steel mill. Sounded good to me.Eventually Chinese steel was used. The then Democratic governor of Ca. vetoed the law, saying it was contrary to GATT.
I hope that the comming economic plan to put people to work creating and rebuilding the infrastructure uses American steel. If the idea of these huge expenditures is to put Americans to work then to hell with GATT and the horse he road in on.

Posted by: bills at January 3, 2009 8:41 AM
Comment #273084

J2T2 writes; “In order for us to compete with China when the technology that we have is made available to them by these companies we would need to lower wages to such a low figure that we could not achieve a subsistence level above what marysdude has described. What is your opinion of this?”

Why single out China…are they our only competition in the world? What about Japan and Korea and many others. Did you read my comments above about our steel industry? We can compete successfully anywhere in the world. Thus far, I know of no Chinese made vehicle being sold here. But, if we don’t restructure our auto companies, as we did our steel companies, and make them competitive we will loose that business as well. Propping up the big 3 with government bailouts will not make us more competitive.

That our political class of both parties have squandered our jobs and riches in unfavorable trade negotiations is true. All this can be undone. It’s fair to be critical of American corporations taking every legal advantage they can to stay alive. It is also fair to be critical of American’s who purchase foreign made autos and other goods who also rob other American’s of their jobs. We all want jobs to stay here in America but yet we buy cheaper goods made elsewhere.

Did you read bills comments above? In this case it was republicans who were wearing their political hat rather than their American hat and they were dead wrong. It also happens that democrats are just as guilty of such outrageous acts. Jobs and wages should not be political footballs and yet they are. Wake up and stop sending these same folks back to government. Will we do that, have we done that…NO! We’re all so caught up in our own little world’s of party and power that we don’t. We haggle, blame, defame and castigate the other guy, the other party, and keep getting what we deserve. Some folks are all caught up in insignificant issues while the big issues sail right over their heads. Wake up America.

We can bring jobs and riches back to our shores if that is what we truly desire. But it won’t happen with the congress sitting or soon to be sworn in. I don’t see a mouse-turd’s difference between what we had and what we will have for the next two years. Politics has become the art of granting privilege and favor to some at the expense of others rather than the art of doing what is right and good for all Americans and the country.

I answered your questions and gave my opinion in post #273043 above.

Posted by: Jim M at January 3, 2009 12:29 PM
Comment #273086

Jim M,

Here are your four questions:

1.When all the bridges, roads, schools, hospitals, etc have been built, and the treasury and taxpayers are broke, will there be any fine corporations left in this country?

My answer: Yes

2. Can the U.S. exist and prosper relying upon government made work?

My answer: No

3. If so, for how long?

My answer: It takes a while, but at sometime in the future, things will level out

4. Does this type of economy compete with the world on any level?

My answer: Since the world is also in recession…yes

5? (somebody can’t count) Should we not be competitors in the world for jobs and customers?

Answer: Yes

I did not respond to those four (5?) questions, so am wondering why you felt it so necessary to bless me out about my answers (which I have now provided).

My response was to J2t2, and not to you directly, so I had no expectation that you would deem my entry on a level high enough to suit you…that is why I addressed it to J2t2. And, it was in regard to something you had said to him, i.e., “I do believe those “fine American multinational corporations” you speak of will bring jobs back to our shores given the right incentives.”

And, this is what I said to J2t2:

J2t2,

I agree with this statement of Jim M…the right incentives of which he speaks, are, of course, slave labor, indentured servitude, et al. It’s easy to compete with China and other Asian nations…all we have to do is agree to live in squaller, dig through garbage dumps for our food and wear rags…no a problem for me, is it for you?

My suggestion, which agreed with your statement, did not require an answer or response from you…I guess we’re straight now…right?

Posted by: Marysdude at January 3, 2009 1:13 PM
Comment #273089

Thanks Marysdude for the response. My errant counting should be excused at my ancient age.

My son gave me a gift of the series of five books written by Winston Churchill on his memories of the second World War. I am well into the first book title; “The Gathering Storm”. I am astonished at the similarities of events and public attitudes existing at that time in Great Britain, France, and the U.S. with what I observe happening in our world today.

The blindness of the public and their governments towards this gathering storm was just astounding. As I find appropriate, I may relate some of Churchill’s wisdom as it may pertain to today’s problems.

I am hoping you have a healthy and happy New Year.

Posted by: Jim M at January 3, 2009 3:20 PM
Comment #273091

Jim

Some say “History repeats itself” and others say “if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to make the same mistakes”.

As with today, many at the time of Hitler’s rise to power, thought they could talk their way out of war.

Posted by: Oldguy at January 3, 2009 5:12 PM
Comment #273095

>many at the time of Hitler’s rise to power, thought they could talk their way out of war.
Posted by: Oldguy at January 3, 2009 05:12 PM

Did someone try to talk Cheney/Bush out of going to war? Didn’t work…

Posted by: Marysdude at January 3, 2009 5:47 PM
Comment #273098

Yes Jim M we are basking in the results of misguided trade agreements and as jlw said “The false premise was that if we allow millions of manufacturing and service jobs to leave for low wage countries, it will create even more millions of new jobs here.”.

Both parties are funded by corporate America and a few special interest groups. It is these people that fund our elections and pick our candidates. It is little wonder that there is not much difference in the 2 parties. Until such time as we get corporations out of the electoral process we cannot expect our representatives to work in the best interest of this country. To think that foreign countries and entities can buy lobbyist to influence votes in Congress staggers the imagination, yet it happens. We can blame the voters but I believe it is the candidates and the bribery by corporations know as campaign contributions that cause us the biggest share of our problems.

When we shifted out of producing goods with real value in this country we started going downhill. When the wealthy decided to earn their money in the financial sector instead of real innovation in the production sector we tanked. Bubble bubble bubble all proving this out.

Sir Winston will tell you the real enemy of the Country.
“The seed of imperial ruin and national decay-the unnatural gap between the rich and the poor…the exploitation of boy labor, the physical degeneration which seems to follow so swiftly on civilized poverty…the swift increase of vulgar, jobless luxury- are the enemies of Britain. Winston Churchill, 1908 (around the same time as the collapse of the British empire in much the same manner we are seeing here today)

Posted by: j2t2 at January 3, 2009 6:08 PM
Comment #273118

Thanks to j2t2 for your comments. Yes indeed, our political parties are corrupted by money from all sources, not just corporations, but other special interest groups as well. And frankly, I don’t know how to resolve this and still conform to our constitution. Corporations are “special interest groups” just as much as those advocating gay rights, abortion rights, environmental rights, animal rights, workers rights, religious rights, etc. One can hardly restrict the rights of one “special interest” group with regards to influencing political decision, without restricting the “special interests” of the other groups.

This is why many object to government redistribution of wealth by directly taking from one group and giving to another thru manipulation of our tax code.

Thank you for the quote by Churchill and I will just take your word for its accuracy…while I don’t disagree with the message.

My interpretation of this quote;

“the physical degeneration which seems to follow so swiftly on civilized poverty…the swift increase of vulgar, jobless luxury- are the enemies of Britain.”

is that a nation whose majority populace has become dependent upon government for its sustenance (civilized poverty) and the extremely wealthy living off inherited wealth and position (jobless luxury) are the enemy. Is this your interpretation also?

Posted by: Jim M at January 4, 2009 12:31 PM
Comment #273150

>Corporations are “special interest groups” just as much as those advocating gay rights, abortion rights, environmental rights, animal rights, workers rights, religious rights, etc. One can hardly restrict the rights of one “special interest” group with regards to influencing political decision, without restricting the “special interests” of the other groups
Posted by: Jim M at January 4, 2009 12:31 PM

True enough, but freedom of speech and freedom of information don’t have to be separated…how about if we require every government employee who is involved in lobbying efforts, to note the who, what, when, where, why, and outcome of all those meetings. They should be required to list all trips, transportation, lodging, and other perks, i.e., golf greens fees , etc.

Just openness might slow some of the influence peddling, and make bribery more difficult.

It might at least create an atmosphere of up front dealing…any Congressman, or any aide that is caught not complying, might get a whoopin’ with a long wet noodle or some such…???

Posted by: Marysdude at January 5, 2009 3:31 PM
Comment #273155

Marysdude, thanks for your comments. Frankly, to do what you propose would require another huge government bureaucracy to monitor, read and disseminate the information. And then, someone or some group or committee would need to determine if there was any wrongdoing which would require a political decision to be made as I know of no government regulator agency that is not political.

We could simply ask congress to have every member sign a simple statement after each vote that they received no compensation of any kind from any lobbying group interested in that vote. The penalty for signing a false statement would be immediate expulsion from congress.

Oh wait…congress would never place itself under those rules even though they have all taken an oath of office which would seem to prohibit such activities in the first place.

Posted by: Jim M at January 5, 2009 4:54 PM
Comment #273157

If it is not a violation of the constitution to have free speech zones when special interest groups want to protest at political functions then certainly it is not to much to ask that lobbyist only be allowed in free speech zones. Perhaps 1 room at the House and Senate set aside for interested groups of lobbyist to meet with committees of our elected representatives. It seems we have taken “free speech” to mean anything the lobbyist feel like doing is free speech yet do not hold the group of protesters on the same pedestal. What a difference money makes in the equation huh? I wonder what group our founding fathers had in mind when they made freedom of speech an inalienable right.

To think we need to have lobbyist pay for the meals and entertainment of our elected officials lowers our elected officials to fodder for the sales guys. We put temptation in front our our elected officials, tell them it is the norm for representatives, them insult them when they are caught playing the game. Meanwhile the lobbyist and their corporate sponsors throwing the money around and buying the favors are treated as “just invoking my free speech rights” and protected.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 5, 2009 6:07 PM
Comment #274684

When Republicans get elected to power their philosophy is; The public is too stupid to understand how to vote for their own best interests, therefore we have the right to scam and dupe them to our hearts content.
When Democrats get elected to power the Republicans have the right to punish the upstarts. Want proof? 71,400 jobs gone in one day and that’s only a teaspoon in the bucket.

Posted by: Stephen Hines at January 31, 2009 3:10 PM
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