Democrats & Liberals Archives

The GOP Needs More than Miracles.

The Republican’s problem cannot be reduced to a bad message. It fundamentally reflects an unwanted message. This is not a time for tinkering, for new PR to cover for the same behavior. This is time for Republicans to realize that they’ve become hostages of their own ideology, of a reputation built over years that cannot be instantly wished away.

If you do the same thing again and again, and expect different results, that axiomatically constitutes the definition of insanity. The Republicans met this standard with this vote.

You cannot expect people to change perceptions overnight. It's one thing for a wolf in sheep's clothing to sneak in, and convince the rest of the flock that it's not a baaad guy. But even sheep will not be fooled if the the wolf comes in, and draps a sheep skin over its back in full view. That's not change of policy. That's change of clothing, and anybody who's ever been a teenager knows that when their parents dress just like them, they only stick out more. Republicans can neither afford to be old conservatives nor act like born again liberals.

Don't ask me what they have to be ideologically speaking. But practically speaking, the Republicans must realize that while it is not wrong to cherish old values, they cannot continue to test their old methods to failure time and again, and not admit that those methods have been flunking the tests.

We now know at this point that no tax cuts kept up apparent growth, rather the continuous, speculative turnover of real estate, supported by a deceptive system of credit extension and credit insurance that allowed America to become seriously overleveraged. On every level, we borrowed toward success, and worse than all that coming due, the predatory nature of the leveraging broke the backs of many debtors, sending them into default. Whether these people should have known better is irrelevant, because it is not the job, thank goodness, of ordinary consumers to decide whether banks give them money. (I know the Republicans like to think that the Community Reinvestment Act forced them to give money, but CRA-related loans were not merely below average in their defaults, but lenders who were required to fully comply with the law were scarce among the loans that constituted this predatory pursuit of new debtors to exploit) The lenders, bank or non-bank, were the gatekeepers of finance in this case, able to deny those who did not meet minimum standards.

This was a financial downturn only avoided on paper. the recovery was largely jobless, the tax cuts largely constituted a circuit of money between the pockets of the rich and the government. If you were rich, you got thousands, tens of thousands or more. If you weren't, a few hundred is all you would get, if that. The Republicans made it their business to make sure that the accounting chicanery and finance finagling that propped up these paper values continued. This is their version of keeping the economy pumping. Yes, lets pretend people aren't losing their jobs, or keeping their incomes up with the rising prices of everything. Let's pretend we can have broad-based prosperity at the same time that we work to progressively raise the price and difficulty of getting the same goods and services. Let's pretend that any country in the real world can long prosper without manufacturing anything. Economic elitism is the name of the game here.

The success of the Eighties and early nineties was selling this economic eltisim as economic populism. Boom times helped convince people that Republican policies could spread the wealth as a dispensation of the high-income aristocracy. But recent times have made it clear, that only works broadly as long as things are going good on their own account. When the economy turns downwards, though, the true nature of the economy reveals itself as the strain is felt most strongly on those who have the least ability to hold up under it.

Economic growth is about people broadly enjoying the fruits of their labor, which feedback into the economy to allow others to further enjoy the fruits of their labor.

The Republicans, though, from the start, have been unconcerned about this. They consider things from the point of view of the early twentieth century, pre-Great Depression. Every decade is and should be the Roaring Twenties for them. They don't accept labor, they don't accept government spending to stimulate the economy, they don't accept regulation to maintain economic stability, they don't accept the reforms that years worth of experience dealing with the changes in technology and scientific understanding have brought us. There's conservativism, preserving the values of old times, and then there's the stubborn unwillingness to move on from the past.

We cannot act as if our nation is not more urban, more densely populated, more dependent on common infrastructure, more linked together not only in an interstate economy, but an international one. We cannot say that our technology has not advanced, and brought with it new challenges that old philosophies of government aren't equipped to handle. We cannot lie to ourselves and be oblivious to the consequences of the increase of pace and interconnectness that this technology has brought to our awareness of the rest of the world.

The lessons that our current crisises are teaching us are brutal, and people are paying attention. And they are paying attention as well to the consequences of the Republican's policies, and are finding them wanting. The Republicans cannot continue to pretend like what's happening here is merely a problem with their marketing of their ideas, or their purity in expressing them. One guy famously said that if the Republican brand were dog food, they'd be taking it off the shelves. The Republicans have taken this to mean that they need new packaging and new marketing, but the reality is, they need to fix what's wrong with the dog food. They need to offer something new to America, whether it's consistent with their old ideology or not, which is useful to Americans, which does good for this country. Merely putting up a ineffectual stonewall in the way of Democrats and Liberals won't cut it. Americans will see this for the political, partisan jealousy that it is. No, the Republicans have to redeem themselves in positive action.

But of course, when do Republicans ever listen to people like me? When do they step outside of the political rivalries and actual focus on practical politics nowadays? Until the Republicans let themselves become mortal, cooperative partners with Democrats, with people in the rest of the country, until they stop acting like they're the only genuine folks around, they will continue to send the message to the rest of the country that it's either their way or the highway, and given the current circumstances, folks will certainly be heading for the on-ramp.

A minority party that says nothing but no may be able to keep itself pure, but with every refusal, it only makes diminishes its influence with subsequent legislation further. I mean, if you're going to say no to the majority every time, what's the point of being bipartisan? We'll welcome your help, Republicans, but if you're not going to be helpful, we have no reason to help you get what you want.

A note of explanation: This blog entry might have seemed far smaller before, and folks might be wondering whether I added something. In truth, I did not. A formatting error with a link caused an unfortunate shortening of the displayed text, and I was not aware of this until later. Consider this the Special Edition Collectors Edition of this entry, with Restored Footage!

But seriously, I do apologize for the error! The column has been restored to its original form as written.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at January 30, 2009 10:49 AM
Comments
Comment #274578

Unbelievably, the Republicans and fiscal conservatives are still yelling “Permanent Tax Cuts” at the top of their lungs, and the more the better.

How is it they deluded themselves into believing that there is no downside to infinite growing national debt?

They might as well be Andy Warhol’s advising Obama on economics for all they understand about the topic. Truly, they are an incomprehensible lot to anyone with a 8th grade math education and logic development.

These Republicans are demanding small business tax cuts despite the fact that small businesses are laying off employees due to losses in customer orders, not lack of working capital. They just don’t get the dependency of small business on middle class consumer demand. Small business tax cuts at this time will do not a whit for consumer demand.

They are functionally illiterate when it comes to economics. That is the pure and plain truth of it, evidenced every day by their insane calls for more of the same from the last 8 years, and expecting a different result now. (Thank you Albert Einstein for the reference.)

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 30, 2009 12:36 PM
Comment #274579

But, of course, I must hasten to add, that Democrats who believe spending on halting the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and expanding prophylactic usage, is going to stimulate our economy, overturn declining consumer confidence, and spur consumers to spend like there is no tomorrow are just as functionally illiterate where economics is concerned.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 30, 2009 12:40 PM
Comment #274590

>To understand how this works, it is helpful to look at California’s experience with a state-funded contraception and family planning initiative for women with incomes between 100% and 200% of the poverty level:

Four years after implementing the program, California saved an estimated $500 million in public health care spending, net of what they spent on the program itself. In fact, for every dollar invested in the program, the state of California saved an estimated $5.33, for every dollar spent, over a period of five years. These are conservative estimates that do not include money saved through increased productivity and cost savings from reductions in paid medical leave and sick days that result from unplanned pregnancies. Few other public spending plans can boast such a positive return on investment.

This is an excerpt from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-pete-klatsky/why-contraception-saves-m_b_162520.html

While it does not exactly prove a good stimulus, it certainly does not seem a bad one, even if it is a little slower than we’d like.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 30, 2009 3:50 PM
Comment #274594

Daugherty references Republicans sending a bad message. How about this false message by PO. The following are quotes from one of my favorite writers…Charles Krauthammer.

“Every president has the right to portray himself as ushering in a new era of this or that. Obama wants to pursue new ties with Muslim nations, drawing on his own identity and associations. Good. But when his self-inflation as redeemer of U.S.-Muslim relations leads him to suggest that pre-Obama America was disrespectful or insensitive or uncaring of Muslims, he is engaging not just in fiction but in gratuitous disparagement of the country he is now privileged to lead.”

“Every new president flatters himself that he, kinder and gentler, is beginning the world anew. Yet, when Barack Obama in his inaugural address reached out to Muslims with “to the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” his formulation was needlessly defensive and apologetic.

Is it “new” to acknowledge Muslim interests and show respect to the Muslim world? Obama doesn’t just think so, he said so again to millions in his al-Arabiya interview, insisting on the need to “restore” the “same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago.”

Astonishing. In these most recent 20 years — the alleged winter of our disrespect of the Islamic world — America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them. It engaged in five military campaigns, every one of which involved — and resulted in — the liberation of a Muslim people: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The two Balkan interventions — as well as the failed 1992-93 Somali intervention to feed starving African Muslims (43 Americans were killed) — were humanitarian exercises of the highest order, there being no significant U.S. strategic interest at stake. In these 20 years, this nation has done more for suffering and oppressed Muslims than any nation, Muslim or non-Muslim, anywhere on earth. Why are we apologizing?”

PO, the smartest man in the world needs a refresher course. Perhaps he has spent too much time with the smartest woman in the world, HC.

Posted by: Jim M at January 30, 2009 5:04 PM
Comment #274597

Jim M-
Krauthammer is the last person I will take seriously on this matter. He shouted down his own Rabbi on the matter. Like many Neocons, he is so wrapped up on in his personal opinion, that escalated warfare and widespread chaos is for their own good, so they should be grateful, that he fails to understand why few in the region are.

People like him are more interested in convincing themselves that they’ve done good than actually taking a good look at what a nosedive our reputation has taken with these people.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 30, 2009 5:21 PM
Comment #274598

Along the same theme as my previous post, these quotes from a true American hero, Oliver North, are pertinent as well.

“This week, millions of Iraqis lined up to dip their fingers in purple ink and cast ballots in the first free and fair provincial elections in the history of Mesopotamia. Not only were half the voters women but also, among the candidates vying for 450 seats in the assemblies of 14 of Iraq’s 18 provinces, more than 200 were women. Had radical Islamists — whether they’d been Sunni or Shiite — had their way, none of this ever would have occurred. Importantly, it happened only because young American soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines persevered in Iraq.

Failing to declare this election a major victory in the war being waged against us by radical Islam is a mistake. Mr. Obama could have mentioned the Iraqi elections in his “first formal television interview” — given Monday to Hisham Melhem of the Saudi-owned, United Arab Emirates-based Al-Arabiya satellite network. Regrettably, he never mentioned it.

Instead, he talked about “communicating a message to the Arab world and the Muslim world that we are ready to initiate a new partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interest.” He also responded to his interlocutor in ways that denigrated his predecessors, including by expressing his desire “to listen (and to) set aside some of the preconceptions that have existed and have built up over the last several years.”

During the interview, Mr. Obama also spoke wistfully of the “respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago” and added, “There’s no reason why we can’t restore that.”

Some will say it isn’t fair to make our new commander in chief stick to the facts. That’s the trouble with television interviews. They are on tape and stay around for years. If you are going to do them, it helps to know the facts. Let’s see, 30 years ago — 1979 — the year that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Iran, the “Islamic Revolution” was proclaimed, the U.S. was first described as “the Great Satan,” our embassy in Tehran, Iran, was sacked, and 53 Americans were held hostage for 444 days. That’s probably not the kind of “respect” Mr. Obama had in mind.

How about 20 years ago — 1989? While investigators still were combing the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 in Lockerbie, Scotland, Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi sent MiG-23s to attack a U.S. Navy carrier battle group in the Mediterranean Sea. Final score: U.S. Navy 2, Libya 0. Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa to kill Salman Rushdie. Islamic radicals murdered the president of Lebanon, and Saddam Hussein issued mobilization orders in preparation for invading Kuwait the following August. Some “partnership.”

“Unfortunately, the Al-Arabiya interview isn’t the only troubling talk coming from the Obama administration that could well leave members of our all-volunteer force wondering just what is expected of them. In congressional testimony this week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that even though Afghanistan is the new commander in chief’s “top priority,” we also “ought to keep our objectives realistic and limited in Afghanistan.”

I have spent my life in and around our military. Everyone I ever have known in our armed forces has believed in “realistic” missions and goals. But I’ve yet to meet a man or woman in uniform who is willing to sacrifice all for “respect,” a “partnership” or a “limited objective.”

Posted by: Jim M at January 30, 2009 5:28 PM
Comment #274599

Daugherty writes; “Krauthammer is the last person I will take seriously on this matter.”

Reacting exactly according to the liberal script, daugherty attacks the writer, Mr. Krauthamer, rather than the message.

I wonder which of the actions Kruathammer oulined above caused a “nosedive to our reputation”

Posted by: Jim M at January 30, 2009 5:34 PM
Comment #274604

Stephen Daugherty,
Perhaps your posts should take a “Wait and See” attitude, because they may risk supporting the wrong side of the issue.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 30, 2009 6:39 PM
Comment #274607

I’ll let Steohen point out the weakness in relying on the ‘K’ to give sound advice, and call you on North myself…Oliver North was/is a crook, liar and traitor to this nation. Calling him a hero is tantamount to referring to Reagan as a good President, and Nixon as an honest man.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 30, 2009 7:19 PM
Comment #274608

PS:

I spent twenty years of my life in the Marine Corps, and to this day would turn my back on only one other Marine…Oliver North…I am embarrassed that he calls himself Marine.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 30, 2009 7:22 PM
Comment #274609

Why I am surprised that I am not writing this in the Red Column I do believe that today the GOP made history by electing Mr. Steele to head up the RNC. And why I cannot say that is a bad thing considering his final opponent was a gentleman who a month ago belonged to an All White Country Club. I will take a wait and see stance to see if the Republicans will maintain their Status Quo or turm over a new leaf and become the responsible Loyal Opposition.

For why the average American Business Person does need a strong voice in government. Listening to Rush Limbaugh and others this last week I have to wonder if the Party Leadership can make the necessary changes needed to give any candidate a chance to win in 2010. Because why tax cuts may have helped the average American Small Business Owner in the past, knowing that many companies are holding large inventories in an attempt to blurr the last quarters GDP. I do believe that both Big and Small Business needs a ppolitical party that will inspire the American Consumer to purchase things made in America.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 30, 2009 7:28 PM
Comment #274610

Charles Krauthammer is wrong so often, he should be sued for editorial malpractice. He consistently sides with Israeli interests at the expense of all others, including the United States.

Jim M,
Oliver North is a traitor. Do you know why he was convicted during the Iran-Contra scandal, and pardoned before he served hard time? North sold Hawk Missiles to Iran. Do you know anything about Hawk Missiles? Those were the state-of-the-art anti-aircraft missiles of the 1980’s. I served in B-52’s at the time, and the Hawks were the one weapon which had a good chance of getting past the EW and blowing us out of the sky. Shortly after I left SAC, during the Tanker War, the US came within 24 hours of bombing Bandar Abbas. My friends on the flight crews were very worried about that mission. Fortunately, that mission never came to pass.

Make no mistake about it. North, no matter what his pose, was a certifiable traitor to the United States. He violated his oath when he broke the law, and shipped those weapons to Iran. And that’s not even going into what was done with the profits from that dastardly transaction. Oliver North is no friend of anyone who has ever served in the Air Force, or been loyal to the Constitution.

Posted by: phx8 at January 30, 2009 7:34 PM
Comment #274612

http://hormuz.robertstrausscenter.org/tanker_war

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 30, 2009 7:52 PM
Comment #274616

David said:

Unbelievably, the Republicans and fiscal conservatives are still yelling “Permanent Tax Cuts” at the top of their lungs, and the more the better.

How is it they deluded themselves into believing that there is no downside to infinite growing national debt?

Two days ago, without a single republican vote, House democrats OKed the biggest single contribution to our national debt in history - all in the name of economic recovery. (I appreciate your acknowledgment that not all of it even goes to fixing the economy.)

Posted by: Mark at January 30, 2009 8:32 PM
Comment #274624

Jim M-
Krauthammer’s point strikes me as naive. You can’t tell people what they should be grateful for; they either are, or they aren’t. Most folks in the Middle East are decidedly not grateful for our war, and they’re not going to make the pie in the sky rationalizations that Krauthammer would have them make to get in that mood.

So there’s no point to what he’s saying. We have to deal with these people like they are, not like we would want them to be. We have to deal with a region that’s seen America invade almost unilaterally, and pre-emptively to boot, on intelligence that turned out to be wrong (which the cynics among them would simply treat as a pretext on our part). It’s seen us screw up that war, making a failed state out of that country, and sending masses of refugees fleeing into their countries. Sunni-dominated countries have seen that war empower one of their greatest rivals. And Muslim countries, many very particular about masculinity and dignity for men, have seen Americans enjoying the humiliation and degredation of people just like them.

What ingratitude that they do not recognize all the good we’ve done for them lately.

Krauthammer feels that people should be entitled to his opinion, but it’s not Krauthammer we’re having to deal with. Now some things we should hold our ground on, not be ashamed of. But I doubt that Obama’s following the path of Bush in terms of this kind of self-absorbed expectations of the region is a wise idea. You deal with people as they are, not how you think they should be if they had the sense to share your opinion.

Weary Willie-
The Republicans have done more than risk being on the wrong side of the issue, they’ve staked their claim to that territory, telling Americans that more Bush economics will bring them recovery. The top few hundred earners have doubled their net worths. If giving them huge tax breaks was what was needed to kickstart our economy, it ought to have worked by now.

My concern is that your folks seem to consider any grade of success for our people, whether political or real, to be problematic. Obviously, there are some who think our ideas are impractical, and they have a right to their opinion. If this works, of course, we prove them wrong. But there are some who believe that even if this stimulus works, the political direction this will take us will be bad for the country. Usually this is illustrated by all kinds of exagerrated, “America falls to liberal communism” scenarios.

In which case, you’ve got an essentially untestable proposition. Which means, nobody can tell you you’re wrong about it, which means it’s a claim nobody can hold the Republicans accountable for as falsifiable.

The Republicans had the opportunity to prove their economics, their methods of regulation and de-regulation superior, and at the very least, they botched it, and this is what we’ve been left with. If our having the opportunity to do something like this is so bad, just consider that y’all folks only have yourselves to blame for not holding your people accountable.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 30, 2009 9:36 PM
Comment #274626

Mark
Is the media analysing a republican or third party proposal the way they are discussing the Democratic’s proposal? Are third party proposals being discussed?
Isn’t it weard there’s only one predominant view discussed in today’s media?. Hmmm, it arouses my natural side, it does.

Stephen Daugherty,
Who are the people you disagree with? Perhaps your phylosophy has a blind spot! I heard on another thread that Texas doesn’t get really good TV reception. Is that why;

The Republicans had the opportunity to prove their economics
?

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 30, 2009 10:05 PM
Comment #274636

Weary Willie-
I have digital Satellite, I’m afraid, so receptions not an issue.

As for your opportunity to prove your economics?

Before Obama was elected, there were maybe two years in almost three decades that the Republicans didn’t hold either the White House or the Congress. In the last eight years, for the most part, you dominated both. In that time, Republican policies became so entrenched, even Democrats bowed to them as political realities.

The Republican’s paradigm held sway for the better part of the last quarter century. Cut taxes to the bone, then cut further. Deregulate until things start going out of control, then deregulate further.

The doctors of your party seem to offer the same solution to every problem. We Democrats can be flexible on tax cuts, even make revisions to the bill to give you folks something to vote for. But because we didn’t shape things as if we were a Republican Congress with a Republican president, y’all turned your noses up, in a most organized way.

Tell me: If the Republicans actually succeed in derailing Obama’s agenda, and the economy craters further, who do you think they will blame first, those doing something, or those standing in the way, or actively sabotaging efforts as a means to political advancement?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 30, 2009 11:14 PM
Comment #274642

Damn, Stephen Daugherty!
You’re all up acting like it’s my fault! I’ve been around for ‘neart a hunerd years now and I don’t see where I’ve had the oppertunity to cause all of this!

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 31, 2009 12:28 AM
Comment #274644

I’ve watched the Progressive Party userp the freedom of the Individual since it’s greedy conception!

I’ve been there, Mr. Daugherty!

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 31, 2009 12:42 AM
Comment #274655
Tell me: If the Republicans actually succeed in derailing Obama’s agenda, and the economy craters further, who do you think they will blame first, those doing something, or those standing in the way, or actively sabotaging efforts as a means to political advancement?
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 30, 2009 11:14 PM

Your words are anticipating failure and casting blame on a “dead horse”.

Good luck with that too, Mr Daugherty.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 31, 2009 2:34 AM
Comment #274656

Jim M.
We get it. If BHO was to help you out of a burning building you would complain about it. It is a valid point you make about Kosovo.We should have gotten a more favorable regard. Most of the other examples you gave are percieved as oil imperialism by much of the world, including Muslums. We have consistently supported despotic Arab regimes like like the Sauds. We have failed to riegn in the colonial settlements of Isreal dispite what should be our enormous influence on our dependant allie. Afganistan is a saga yet to be written but the regime we installed appears to be corrupt to the core. People have to bribe their way through checkpoints. That is how we may fail there. The Talaban are jerks but they are not corrupt.Fair or unfair, the Muslum world does not hold us in high regard. BHO is in a position,because of his background, to open up new avenues of communication and point out where we have been positive in our dealings with Muslums. A realistic aknowelegement of where we have been wrong is also needed. What is wrong with that? If we ever hope to to end the Muslum fundementalist conflict we have to win the support of the moderates. This is a good thing.


Weary Willie

” I’ve watched the Progressive Party userp the freedom of the Individual since it’s greedy conception”
Did you think of that while walking to your mailbox for your SS check or on the way to see your doctor, paid by Medicare? One might think you gained some freedom from the progressive party if we didn’t know better.

Posted by: bills at January 31, 2009 3:09 AM
Comment #274660

WW,

One term…’Patriot Act’…you lost more rights at the signing of that document than in all your so-called progressive years put together.

The suspension of Habeas Corpus…you lost much of the rest.

Now, because ‘free marketeers’ have stolen our great-great-grand children’s legacy, you are about to lose your free market as well.

Don’t whine to me about your precious rights being lost.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 31, 2009 7:16 AM
Comment #274665

Weary Willie-
It’s not your fault, but it is your problem!

I don’t blame the Republicans for trying to come back, but like I said, they’re fitting the definition of insanity here: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I mean, this obstructionism is nothing new. You guys set the record for most obstructive Senate minority in history last time around, and even before the financial crisis, that was a political strategy that was sucking air.

The test of whether people were just angry with the Republicans for corruption, or whether they are simply sick of waiting for Republican policy to perform as promised took place with this last election. The Republicans did not pass.

The Republicans do not seem to have a strategy for alternative success, but rather, they are betting on and actively trying to create the conditions of Obama’s failure. Much as this might feel good for partisans like yourselves to achieve, it’s precisely what people had little to no patience for in the last election.

I’m simply telling you, people will treat the Republicans as part of the problem. They will see what the Republicans are doing, and will not blame Obama for the Republican’s obstructionism.

I mean, obviously, you folks have deliberately set out to oppose Obama. You don’t think people pick up on that? They saw Obama talking with your people, they’ve seen him treat Republicans with respect. And how do they thank him? A stonewall. Worse yet, an organized one. This is a deliberate act, a deliberate thumb in the president’s eye. Maybe it appeals to the die-hard Republicans left, but to most other people, it’s just going to be more of the same unimaginable foolishness they saw before the election. You folks still have not adjusted to the reality that most folks are no longer impressed with the Republican party’s ideological commitment.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 31, 2009 8:22 AM
Comment #274679

bills writes; “If BHO was to help you out of a burning building you would complain about it.”

If the building I was in was on fire it would probably have been started by PO. That’s what liberals do bills, create the reality or illusion of peril and then come riding to the rescue, not as firemen risking their lives, but as bystanders calling for government to outlaw fire.

A great example of this corrupt thinking is found in MMGW. Create the illusion of the planet in peril thru psuedo-science and call for measures which will further impoverish the people of the world and enrich Algore and a few others.

Posted by: Jim M at January 31, 2009 2:38 PM
Comment #274680

Wow, post # 27469, in my opinion, rates a “triple d”……delusional, demented and disturbing.

Posted by: janedoe at January 31, 2009 2:55 PM
Comment #274683

Jim M-
Yeah, that’s right. The American people haven’t turned down your folks in the market place of ideas, they’re just the victims of a conspiracy.

It’s nice to be able to explain your party’s failures away as figments of somebody’s imagination, isn’t it? Relieves the burden of actually having to correct mistakes and reconsider your party’s thinking, its philosophy.

The corrupt thinking is that which has no falsifiability. If you can’t be proved wrong, you’re not really engaged with reality.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 31, 2009 3:02 PM
Comment #274688

janedoe writes; “Wow, post # 27469, in my opinion, rates a “triple d”……delusional, demented and disturbing.”

Cute…as with the delusion that setting up “bad banks” filled with non-performing and under-performing assets, owned by taxpayers is a great investment for those who still pay taxes.

Disturbing…as with the new SHIPS bill calling for even more taxes on tobacco to pay for this latest outrage. The last tobacco user in the U.S. will certainly have an enormous burden. Liberals however find this unobjectionable as tobacco users are fourth class citizens worthy of having their rights demolished.

Demented…as with the liberal notion that the US has not saved millions of Muslims from tyranny and death and as having PO apologize for US not being loved by a very forgetful world. Demented…as with liberals and PO forcing a few more trillion of debt upon those who still pay taxes now and in the future. Demented…as to believe that conservative members of congress will go along with this charade of more pork barrel spending and pandering for votes.

Posted by: Jim M at January 31, 2009 3:49 PM
Comment #274690

Oddly enough, the Republicans are still at it, playing the same old game. Their last chief executive allowed the financial system to loot and pillage, and now they have the temerity to say that it was “government interference” in commerce that brought the economy to it’s current sad and paltry state.

I find it ludicrous that they can even think to want to try to block legislation that will create the jobs that their previous administration failed to do. Massive amounts of government spending isn’t what anyone wants, but you have to start doing something or it all goes down the drain.

Tax cuts? For your information, the states are all going bankrupt because, unlike the federal government, they are constitutionally bound to balance their budgets. How are less taxes going to solve that immediately? They will not. Only in a longer term strategy is that strategy even feasible. We don’t have the time for a long term strategy.

The rate this country loses money anymore is frightening as anything I’ve lived through, and what do you get from conservatives? The same old song and dance. The government is bad, corrupt and irresponsible.

Hogwash. The private financial system is what was bad, corrupt and irresponsible, not to mention those conservative yuppies desperate to get as high on the property ladder as they could.

Only now we have a President with the moral will and political power to actually fix what Dubya broke. We probably need it sooner than we’ll get it. Might already be too late.

Posted by: joshuacrime at January 31, 2009 4:00 PM
Comment #274691

Jim M-
That outrage is children’s healthcare for the underprivilege, which is actually cost effective, compared to letting them suffer through diseases and impoverishing their parents. This is done at the expense of those who have chosen to take up a bad habit that harms their health.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 31, 2009 4:26 PM
Comment #274705

Jim M-
You’re so concerned about who actually has to pay income taxes, in figuring out who gets a break, that you fail to realize that the point is giving the money to those who will spend it, rather than those who save and just pass each other investments

You’re so concerned about the plight of smokers that you’re prepared to let sick children remain uninsured for their sake.

You’re so wrapped up in the Neocon propaganda that you can’t figure out why more people aren’t grateful for bringing war, devastation, squalor and disaster to their doorstep. The problem isn’t that people have forgotten, the problem is, they don’t remember things the way you’d like them to.

As for forcing more debt on us? Would you give me a flying break here? Your majority’s parting gift to everybody was an immense contribution to the national debt. Now, I don’t care what kind of semantically screwed-up rationalization you care to give, but yours were the people who a) bitched at us forever over this matter, and then b) did the drunken sailor routine when you got both the White House and the Congress. And no, this didn’t seem to be a problem for all the true blue conservatives so long as the tax breaks remained in place, along with your politicians. When the politicians were defeated in 2006, then and only then did it become a problem.

Pardon me if I find your concern about deficit spending a little one-sided.

As for what the Republicans are ready and willing to do about porkbarrel spending? From the very beginning, y’all have been bigger fans of pork than Oscar Mayer, Armor, and Hormel together. Diners from across the country would be hard press to compete with the pork you fellows brought.

And it didn’t take three quarters of a century for y’all to get so corrupt, it took a few months of being in charge.

So please, if you’re so inclined, lecture me about the horrible Democrats. Here’s a word of enlightenment here, as to why the American people seem so unresponsive to your claims. Let’s put it plainly: everything you accused us of doing, you did it yourselves, and you did it worse, and you folks didn’t have the courage or the self awareness to acknowlege how contradictor y’all had become.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 1, 2009 12:03 AM
Comment #274726

For my liberal friends I would challenge you to open and watch the link to this video. You may not like Fox News or Brit Hume, but this video shows the disgraceful liberals at their worst not in his words, but from those you may believe.

This video shows that George Bush tried to warn Congress starting in 2001 that this economic crisis was coming, if something was not done. But congress refused to listen, along with Barney Frank. This video says it all.

The liberal AMERICAN media did not want this video on You Tube, so they had Time Warner threaten a law suit (proprietary rights) if it was not taken off.

This link is of the same video but is routed through Canada . Everyone in America needs to see this!

http://WWW.youtube.Com/watch?v=cMnSp4qEXNM&NR=1

Posted by: Jim M at February 1, 2009 12:38 PM
Comment #274731

Jim M,

Sorry, but virtually every teeny-tiny, itty-bitty-bit of this has been cussed and discussed, over and over right here on the right, left and middle columns. If there was even one sentence or word that we have not covered, I must have missed it during a yawn while watching your video.

Fannie & Freddie were mis-managed. Fannie & Freddy finally failed.

Fannie & Freddie did NOT cause our financial melt-down. Fannie & Freddie would have been a pimple on our economic arse, one we could have eaten up or shaken off. I don’t know why you brought this up again, but the basics of it have not changed.

Our melt-down was created in rarefied air far above F&F. Please remember that the bad debt carried by F&F still had real value…there were losses in store, but where there is value those losses are containable and controllable.

Look at GLB for the culprit, because that is where lost value came into play. Clinton was a fool to sign it, he should have vetoed and allowed the override, but GLB is still the reason for our financial ills. Blaming poor F&F is just the only way Republicans can stay in the game.

Think of it this way…if a house sells for $100,000.00 and because there is a default on the mortgage the value shrinks to $85,000.00, and insurance will pay the lender only $75,000.00. That is a twenty five percent loss, but the $75,000.00 is still valuable to the market.

Now assume that mortgage floated off into high finance where bundled into packages wherein the value of the package is in question, and that bundle is insured by a corporation that does not know the value and is not required to hold reserves of funds to pay for the bundle even if it falls flat. That is what GLB caused to happen, and that is what caused the melt-down.

Poor Fanny & Freddie get blamed for everything, and all they wanted to do was make some whoopy between the sheets…;)

Posted by: Marysdude at February 1, 2009 3:01 PM
Comment #274733

Marysdude, Jim M is engaging in the greatest spin of historical events possible with his comments and learning how from the likes of Hume and Krautheimer and Limbaugh.

But, he and his mentors are speaking to a shrinking minority who lost the Presidency and Congress in the last 2 elections. That part of history can’t be spun away. The majority get it. Republicans know how to campaign, they just can’t objectively govern. A majority of Americans now get that.

The big question is, will Democrats prove any more capable of governing? If this $825 billion dollar stimulus bill, which only gives special interests and pork spending lobbyists a big hard one, is any indication, the answer will be NO!

Obama needs to VETO this bill and send Congress back to the drawing board for a true 100% jobs creating stimulus bill. It is not the size of the dolllar amount that is important, it is how effective and efficient the spending will be in cutting short the recession and putting a net plus number of Americans back to work again and restore confidence in the rest of working Americans that their jobs are not about to be pulled from under them.

We shall see.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 1, 2009 3:15 PM
Comment #274735

George Will writes;

“Financial Report of the United States Government — the only government document that calculates what deficit and debt numbers would be if the government practiced, as businesses must, accrual accounting.

Under such accounting, future outlays to which beneficiaries are entitled by existing law are acknowledged as expenditures before they are paid. Were the Social Security surplus sequestered for accounting purposes, reflecting the truth that it is already obligated, and were there similar treatment of the other entitlement programs’ liabilities, the deficit for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 would have been $3 trillion rather than $454.8 billion. The report’s numbers show that the true national debt is $56 trillion, not the widely reported $10 trillion.

The report says that in 25 years the portion of the population 65 and older will increase from 12 percent to 20 percent, while the share of the population that is working and paying taxes will decrease from 60 percent to 55 percent. If Medicare spending continues to grow, as it has for four decades, more than one and a half times as fast as the economy, the big three entitlements, which currently are 44 percent of all federal expenditures (excluding interest costs of the national debt), will be 65 percent by 2030. Under current law, 30 years from now government revenues will cover only half of anticipated expenditures.

For years, many conservatives advocated a “starve the beast” approach to limiting government. They supported any tax cut, of any size, at any time, for any purpose, assuming that, deprived of revenue, government spending would stop growing. But spending continued, and government borrowing encouraged government’s growth by making big government cheap: People were given $1 worth of government but were charged less than that, the balance being shifted, through debt, to future generations. In 2003, Republicans fattened the beast with the Medicare prescription drug benefit (Cooper opposed it), which added almost $8 trillion in the present value of benefits scheduled, but unfunded, over the next 75 years.

Liberalism’s signature achievement — the welfare state’s entitlement buffet — will, unless radically reduced, starve government of resources needed for everything on liberalism’s agenda for people not elderly. Conservatives want government limited, but not this way.

Although President Obama promises entitlement reforms, what can be expected from a Congress with a long bipartisan record of reckless enrichments of the entitlement buffet? Recidivism.”

Link: http://townhall.com/columnists/GeorgeWill/2009/02/01/government_recidivism

Posted by: Jim M at February 1, 2009 3:43 PM
Comment #274736

Daugherty writes; “You’re so concerned about who actually has to pay income taxes, in figuring out who gets a break, that you fail to realize that the point is giving the money to those who will spend it, rather than those who save and just pass each other investments”

Daugherty ascribes to me beliefs which I don’t hold. I have not advocated government giving money to anyone. Government can only “give” money if it first takes it from someone, by borrowing or printing more of it.

This senseless spending plan being promoted by the liberals in congress merely represents the usual pandering for votes.

When congress and PO actually come up with a stimulus package I will support it. Bailouts, whether for business or private groups, will not work.

Posted by: Jim M at February 1, 2009 3:58 PM
Comment #274743

Jim M said: “Bailouts, whether for business or private groups, will not work.”

That’s conjecture. What is known is that economic collapse or freeze-up is disastrous for nearly everyone in that society. Hence, remedies, even with their negative consequences of a lesser nature, are warranted if they will avert economic collapse or freeze-up.

We are now in a vicious recessionary cycle wherein consumer confidence drops, causing a drop in demand for businesses, causing businesses to lay off a half million workers per month, which in turn, creates another half million consumers spending even less, and scaring many of the rest of workers into spending less as well, which lowers demand, which causes more layoffs, ad infinitum into another Great Depression.

At some point very soon, as in the next few weeks, some sort of government effort must engage to halt this vicious spiraling of our economy downward. You are right Jim to demand that any stimulus package be absent non-job and non-consumer confidence building wasteful spending. But, we are also approaching a point of no return toward depression and the closer we get, the more dire the need to arrest the cycle, even if the package includes wasteful measures as well.

Quite a political pickle, and my bet is, a couple Senate Republicans will see the wisdom of some stimulus though less than perfect, as being better than no stimulus at all. Though one can argue they would be wrong as too little stimulus to arrest job losses or erosion of consumer confidence will not avert entering a depression. Which is the point I hear you making, and I agree with entirely.

Credit is flowing in the markets again as a result of the bailouts of the Financial institutions, which, along with the action of the Federal Reserve, halted the run on the money markets, and did, in fact, facilitate commercial lending again, though not at the pace and depth hoped for by Paulson and Bush.

In this case, the bailouts DID work in preventing a complete financial institution meltdown and freeze-up, which would have accelerated the recession many fold.

When one says something didn’t or won’t work, one has to define what they mean by “work”, or, what the end objective is by which they measure whether an action worked or not. If you define the bailouts objective as averting the recession entirely and restoring pre-recession economic health and activity, then, yes, you are right, they didn’t work. But, then, only you would have defined their objective in that way, and no one else that I know of in or outside of government.

The objective of the TARP bailouts was to unfreeze the credit markets and get commercial and consumer lending going again. It was successful in getting a large share of commercial lending going again, and though it failed to stimulate much large financial institution consumer lending, smaller and more local financial institutions have picked up some of that slack, and credit markets are working, albeit, more anemically than before the Lehman Bros. failure.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 1, 2009 7:39 PM
Comment #274745

Jim M, that is NOT the true debt, 56 trillion. Reason: The government has the power to end all entitlements in the next 2 weeks, wiping more than 90% of that debt away in one fell swoop.

Where contracts and obligations can be renegotiated or changed at will, the ACTUAL future debt cannot be calculated until payment is made. At best, all one can TRULY say is, ‘If the government does NOT alter the Soc. Sec. and Medicare/Medicaid programs, nor raise the revenues to support those future payments, then, and ONLY then and under these specific assumptions, can one say the total debt present and future is 56 trillion dollars.

Of course, it is obvious that the Soc. Sec. and Medicare program obligations are going to change, as will their costs, as will their supporting revenues, as will the conditions for eligibility in all likelihood. Hence, George Will’s ‘Report’ is a piece of charlatan fortune telling as if he can see a future which no others can see.

We know they will change, because our economy will collapse LONG BEFORE we ever begin to approach a debt load of 56 trillion dollars. And such a collapse would alter those obligations entirely if not dispense with them entirely. A little reality and logic are required to be applied to sophists like George Will whose prescience is flawed on its face.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 1, 2009 7:49 PM
Comment #274754

Jim M-
The bailout would be done and over with if what we had were mere defaults. We could bail out the banks on their bad debt, and that would be that.

The secondary market is what complicates this, and the worst of the bad mortgages were brought into that secondary market mostly by completely private lenders, not the GSMs.

Fannie and Freddie got clobbered when the secondary market seized up. But that only happened after these poorly defined lenders went belly up, and in their death throes threw the value of their mortgage securities into question.

That’s the critical knot here, in the knotty problem of the frozen credit markets. For years, to keep credit flowing, people essentially sold the debts as securities. It wasn’t limited to Mortgages. In turn, you not only had mortgage securities, you also had insurance on those securities. But the whole system was deliberately built to conceal the quality of the mortgage securities, and to hedge against their failure.

I believe I wrote some articles on this, and you should revisit them. But what it comes down to is that the absence of regulation, of disclosure, of any real idea of how to put a dollar value to these investments, is what’s making it so hard to move credit through these markets.

As for all these pundits you bring forward, just please stop. I’m not impressed by these individuals like you. You’re not making this argument to somebody like you. My approach has always been to either present opinions that are not partisan, that are typically practical in respect to the nature of the issue, or to select somebody from your side of the aisle to make the argument. Why? Because I believe the best political arguments support a position on practical grounds. The more basic the foundation for agreement, the greater symmetry there can be between me, and somebody who doesn’t share my philosophy.

Don’t give me George Will. Will doesn’t seem to understand the treacherous nature of projections made that far out into the future, especially when their dependent, contingent really, on all things remaining equal, as they are.

Will’s a political philosopher by trade, a truly professional pundit. he wants to insist that entitlements will break the bank, but he has to assume nothing will change or be change to say that.

Go out and find a source who knows what they’re talking about. This will do two things: we will have better common ground for a political discussion, and secondly, you might just find yourself exposed to somebody who has the facts to make better arguments, both in quality and kind than the doctrinaire, dogmatic opinions that your Republican pundits give you.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 2, 2009 12:56 AM
Comment #274771

Daugherty suggests that I find sources who know what they are talking about. Would he recommend Rangel, Schumer, Dodd or Pelosi? They should know what they are talking about and perhaps do, but that knowledge certainly hasn’t lead and isn’t leading to sound policy.

Daugherty and Remer castigate George Will and believe he is a sophist (Remer) or statist (Daugherty). Will’s projections of future national debt, based upon current policy and expenditures isn’t argued by Remer, but rather, that one can’t assume this will continue. How silly when one considers increasing demands for more social spending in all three social programs and advocacy for adding another (NHC) which will eventually dwarf the others.

Daugherty makes a request of me by writing; “As for all these pundits you bring forward, just please stop. I’m not impressed by these individuals like you.”

Apparently Daugherty doesn’t understand that I am not using these writers to impress him, but to portray a wide variety of thinking on the conservative side to those who still have open minds.

This from today’s NY Times is very interesting and I believe such bipartisan thinking is the correct approach regardless of PO’s objections.

Democrats Set High Goal Of Sweeping Fiscal Reform

As Senate Opens Stimulus Debate, Sacrifices Become More Urgent

Monday, February 2, 2009; Page A01

It’s the holy grail of Washington politics: a federal budget that generates ample funds through a simpler and fairer tax code, defuses the spending time bomb for health and retirement programs, and supports the nation’s economy during the worst downturn in generations.

President Obama and congressional Democrats have high ambitions to chart such a course, and say that they hope to strike a grand bargain with Republicans to bring taxes and government spending back into balance over the next few years, taming budget deficits that threaten to spiral out of control.

That goal has never been more urgent. The Senate opens debate today on a nearly $900 billion plan to pull the nation out of recession. If passed, it would send this year’s budget deficit — the annual gap between spending and income — soaring toward a record $1.4 trillion, or nearly 10 percent of overall economic output, a level not seen since the end of World War II. The growing gap is rapidly driving up the national debt, causing lawmakers and budget experts to fret that the nation could be overwhelmed by mounting interest payments to private creditors even as it struggles to cover the skyrocketing cost of caring for retiring baby boomers.

But fixing the budget would require a kind of joint political suicide, with Democrats agreeing to trim costly social programs and Republicans acquiescing to a major tax hike. That kind of bargain has eluded previous administrations and seems highly unlikely now, even for a hugely popular new president.

Though key Republicans in the Senate say they are ready to work with Obama, House GOP leaders last week orchestrated a lock-step rejection of his economic stimulus package, signaling their intent to oppose rather than cooperate with the new president. Meanwhile, progressives in the Democratic party are preparing a major push for a big permanent increase in social spending, beyond the expiration date of the stimulus bill.

Obama and his allies nonetheless have said that they view a grand bargain as a political imperative. Anxious moderates in both parties have made clear that their support for some of the president’s most significant campaign promises hinges on having a plan to pay for them. In recent weeks, the White House has responded with a pledge to simultaneously tackle all the long-standing problems that have been driving the nation deeper into debt, from escalating health-care costs to a byzantine tax code that doesn’t generate enough cash to meet the nation’s needs.

“The president wants to make very clear that he is absolutely committed to a medium and long-term fiscal policy that will get us back to balance,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said after a meeting at the White House last week. “The fact that we are in crisis gives an added impetus to solve big problems.”

No decisions have been made about how to fix those problems. But White House officials are talking to lawmakers about setting up a process to tackle the issues within a matter of months and plan to hold a “fiscal responsibility summit” by early March.

Revamping entitlement programs and the tax code would be a stunningly ambitious undertaking. Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush tried and failed to overhaul the nation’s retirement and health-care systems; the U.S. tax code hasn’t been refurbished since Ronald Reagan was in office in 1986. But lawmakers said the soaring deficit is finally helping forge a consensus for action.

“I want a process that leads us to a conclusion this year,” said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and an outspoken deficit hawk. “It’s essential that we do this now.”

At the moment, discussions are focused on whether to name a special panel to make the difficult decisions that would be required to right the nation’s finances. Key senators in both parties are backing a plan put forward by Conrad and the Budget Committee’s senior Republican, Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), that would create a task force of lawmakers and administration officials. The task force would wrestle with the details of Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and the tax code, and deliver a reform plan to Congress for a vote later this year.

Under the proposal, the task force’s recommendations could not be amended; the House and Senate would be required to accept or reject them without changes or additions, similar to the process lawmakers use to close military bases.

Obama specifically mentioned the Gregg-Conrad proposal when he met with Senate Republicans last week. Several senators told him they would like to see such a task force created as part of the economic stimulus bill, saying the promise of a fiscal reckoning would make the massive measure easier to swallow.

But Obama “was not supportive” of that idea, said Gregg, whom Obama may tap to join the administration as Commerce secretary. “I think they think it’s just too big a lift for the stimulus package.”

In addition to Obama’s apparent reluctance, the idea faces opposition from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has argued that no special group is needed to sort through problems that already are well understood. Instead, Pelosi and some House leaders say the existing congressional committees have the expertise to handle the delicate task of rewriting tax provisions and social programs with large and avid constituencies.

Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has already crafted a plan for tackling the tax code that would increase levies on the wealthy while lowering the corporate tax rate and sparing middle-class taxpayers from the bite of the alternative minimum tax. Aides said that proposal, which the House rejected in 2007, offers a good starting point for any effort at tax reform.

But Rangel’s tax bill is reviled by Republicans, who say it is mathematically impossible to balance the budget on the backs of a very small group of wealthy taxpayers. Fixing the problem, they say, is going to force Obama to abandon one of his central campaign promises: cutting taxes for 95 percent of American families.

“It isn’t just magical. Somebody’s got to pay for this at the end of the day,” said Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.). “You’re talking about a middle-class tax increase to pay for this.”

That’s one reason why a growing chorus of lawmakers is clamoring for a process specifically tailored to the gargantuan task of combing through a tax code that runs to 60,000 pages and reexamining social programs that consume hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Advocates say such a process could bring Republicans more fully to the table, assuring that Democrats and Republicans would be jointly responsible for the painful sacrifices that are likely to be required.

“Some people have said we don’t need a commission. But you know and I know it’s never going to happen” without one, said Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), a longtime champion of overhauling the budget who is still smarting from Bush’s failure to push comprehensive tax reform.

Voinovich said some lawmakers want to introduce legislation to mandate a budget task force or commission without Obama’s blessing. “But I figure, let’s trust him,” Voinovich said. “He has made a public commitment to us that he’s going to do something about it. And I’m hoping, within the next month or so, they’re going to come to us and say: We’re going to tackle this.”

Staff writer Shailagh Murray contributed to this report.

Posted by: Jim M at February 2, 2009 12:02 PM
Comment #274784

Jim M,

I cannot speak for the entire middle class, but I, for one, would accept a tax increase, as long as the fat-cats pay up as well. Those who glean the most out of our system should pay the most for our system. The middle Class has carried them on our back far too long…over thirty years…and, there are fewer of us and getting fewer every year. Those ‘few’ your cite speaks of have what percentage of the wealth??? That is why they need to be turned upside-down…so we can catch the coin as it falls out of their pockets.

Posted by: Marysdude at February 2, 2009 1:57 PM
Comment #274816

marysdude writes; “I cannot speak for the entire middle class, but I, for one, would accept a tax increase, as long as the fat-cats pay up as well.”

I am really surprised that anyone would agree to pay more in federal taxes knowing that the current spending bill contains billions of pork…

I shop very carefully and always do a price comparison on any significant purchase as I wish to spend my money wisely and get the most product for the least amount of my money. For me, perhaps not true for you marysdude, I want congress also to show prudence and display wisdom when they spend my tax dollars.

I don’t see this crisis as an opportunity to squander money on pet projects and boondoggles that help only a select few. All American’s have a stake in getting this done right…the first time. Our collective government resources are scarce right now and to squander them without getting the desired results is wrong and to me represents malfeasance of office.

To balance any budget one needs to either spend less or have more income. I maintain we can attack this with both. Anyone with a pulse knows there are billions of dollars of wasteful spending not only by the Feds, but by many of our state governments. To continue this folly when, as we are told daily, our financial house is in peril of collapsing is worse than foolish, it is dangerous and intolerable.

As a conservative I could agree to the wealthy paying more taxes but surely marysdude, you understand that even taxing the wealthy at 100% we would not put a dent in our current debt and proposed new spending plans. When congress combines spending cuts with measured tax increases, where it can be done without harming the economy further, they will find conservative support.

Posted by: Jim M at February 2, 2009 6:03 PM
Comment #274829

Jim M.
I don’t like using pundits, period. They’re secondary sources at best. The article you put forward is good, and is what I’m talking about.

For me, the issue is that the punditry often offers only a selective, self-interested range of the facts. I prefer to do the detective work myself.

The advantage is:

1) I don’t have to settle for standard arguments or opinions.

2) I can take fresh routes in my arguments that give them more persuasive and emotional power

and

3) I don’t have to worry that the columnist I’m quoting is full of it.

There are exceptions, of course, but the general rule is substantive information that means something beyond just the political. If I’m arguing on the Stimulus Package, and a Report comes out from the CBO saying 78% of the money in the stimulus package will get spent in the next two years (like it’s supposed to), I prefer that sort of information to any kind of eloquent or forceful argument from one of my left-wing bloggers.

Substantive facts beat eloquent rhetoric. Facts can be the basis for great rhetoric, but rhetoric can never be the basis of great truth. The relationship always flows from fact to rhetoric, and it is better to drink from the wellspring than let the water wash its way down through the mud and the runoff of political opinion-making first.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 2, 2009 9:34 PM
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