Democrats & Liberals Archives

Previous GOP: Stimulus Failed; GOP Now: Phony Boom!

Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. The Republicans want to make this all about deficits. They want to talk about “phony booms” Well, there’s nothing phony about what Obama’s done with the economy, and there’s nothing at all subtle about the difference going in, versus coming out.

Take a good look at the distinction between the Bush economy and the Obama economy.

Then listen to the President's remarks on what this bill was able to do.

I would like to particular quote him on two things he pointed out. First:

Now, just to review: One-third of the money in this bill — one-third — was made up of tax cuts. I talked about this at the State of the Union. Tax cuts for 95 percent of working Americans. I just want to say to the American people, because we see some polling where about twice as many people think we’ve raised taxes as lowered taxes — 95 percent of you got a tax cut. (Applause.) Tax cuts for 95 percent of working Americans. Tax cuts for small businesses. Tax cuts for first-time homebuyers. Tax cuts for parents trying to — trying to care for their kids. Tax cuts for 8 million Americans paying for college. So far, we’ve provided $120 billion in tax relief to families and small businesses.

Now, up until this point I’ve never met a Republican who didn’t like a good tax cut — (laughter) — but you remember when I mentioned this at the State of the Union, Joe, they were all kind of squirming in their seats. They weren’t sure whether to clap or — (laughter) — or not because most of them had voted against all these tax cuts, which I thought was — it was interesting to watch. (Laughter.)

Here's what that letter I posted the link to said:

Since the economy and jobs are the central issues now, the focus must be on the Obama deficits, the Obama tax hikes on the middle class, and the Obama economic policy which makes government employees richer and the American working people poorer. Headline inflation will be subdued through the year. The unemployment rate should begin to fall by the second quarter, but there will still be millions unemployed. Even if people are going back to work, their incomes are lower, even much lower. The economy will certainly be a very high priority in the minds of voters, even if there are other very important issues by November.[emphasis mine]

Growth is now at six percent, having been at negative six percent before Obama was inaugurated, but hey, he can't be doing any good, now can we?

The author talks about a failed stimulus plan. Well, let's talk about that "failure."

Imagine if, one year ago, Congress had passed a stimulus bill that really worked.

Let’s say this bill had started spending money within a matter of weeks and had rapidly helped the economy. Let’s also imagine it was large enough to have had a huge impact on jobs — employing something like two million people who would otherwise be unemployed right now.

If that had happened, what would the economy look like today?

Well, it would look almost exactly as it does now. Because those nice descriptions of the stimulus that I just gave aren’t hypothetical. They are descriptions of the actual bill.

If you Republicans doubt this, then be aware: your Senators and Congressmen don't. In fact, Obama comments on that two, and that's the second thing I'm going to quote him on:

Now, despite all this, the bill still generates some controversy. And part of that is because there are those, let’s face it, across the aisle who have tried to score political points by attacking what we did, even as many of them show up at ribbon-cutting ceremonies for projects in their districts. (Laughter and applause.)

Think he's just joking?

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) Said Stimulus Funds Would Create “Much Needed Jobs.” Minority Leader Boehner: “The stated intent of the so-called stimulus package was to create jobs, and certainly a $57 million slush-fund studying projects did nothing to achieve that goal. With Ohio’s unemployment rate the highest it’s been in 25 years, I’m pleased that federal officials stepped in to order Ohio to use all of its construction dollars for shovel-ready projects that will create much-needed jobs.” [Boehner Statement, 6/15/09] -Congressman Boehner Voted Against The Recovery Package Twice [Roll Call Vote #46; Roll Call Vote #70] -Congressman Boehner Regularly Blasts The Stimulus And Instructed His Caucus To Oppose It. [Huffington Post, 1/27/09]

Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) Held A Job Fair Where Nearly Half The 30 Organizations Received Stimulus Funds; Cantor Also Supported Using Stimulus Funds To Build A Washington To Richmond Rail. Washington Post: “For months, Democrats have dubbed U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia a hypocrite for strongly opposing the federal stimulus package only to promote aspects of it later. Here’s the latest example: Nearly half of the 30 organizations participating in a job fair Cantor is holding Monday in Culpeper were recipients of the stimulus…In the summer, Cantor came under fire after he talked about his support of using stimulus money to build a rail project from Washington to Richmond.” [Washington Post Virginia Blog, 11/18/09]
- Congressman Eric Cantor Voted Against The Recovery Package Twice [Roll Call Vote #46; Roll Call Vote #70]

Yeah, well what can you say? At Least Ron Paul and Ted Poe... Well crap, no, they didn't.

Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) Signed Letter Requesting Stimulus Funds For NASA. According to the Houston Chronicle, the letter stated that stimulus funds for NASA would “secure good jobs and stabilize our economy.” [TP, 10/6/09] -Congressman Poe Voted Against The Recovery Package Twice [Roll Call Vote #46; Roll Call Vote #70]

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) Signed Letter Requesting Stimulus Funds For NASA. According to the Houston Chronicle, the letter stated that stimulus funds for NASA would “secure good jobs and stabilize our economy.” [TP, 10/6/09]
-Congressman Paul Voted Against The Recovery Package Twice [Roll Call Vote #46; Roll Call Vote #70]

Oh, that cannot be true? YOU LIE!

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) Wrote A Letter Stating ‘We Know’ A Stimulus Grant Would ‘Provide Jobs And Investment.’ According to a Washington Times FOIA request, Wilson “elbowed his way into the rush for federal stimulus cash in a letter he sent to Mr. Vilsack on behalf of a foundation seeking funding. ‘We know their endeavor will provide jobs and investment in one of the poorer sections of the Congressional District,’ he wrote to Mr. Vilsack in the Aug. 26, 2009, letter.” [Washington Times, 2/9/10] -Rep. Wilson Voted Against The Recovery Package Twice [Roll Call Vote #46; Roll Call Vote #70]

Some notables in the senate:

Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) Touted Job Creation, Housing Benefits Of Recovery Package. In a press release, Senator Bond announced, “This is the type of emergency stimulus spending we should be supporting – programs that will create jobs now and help families.” The release also noted, “In Missouri, about 703 affordable housing units approved by the Missouri Housing Development Commission were stalled by the equity gap. For 2009, the state officials anticipate another 2,000 units being stalled. Bond’s amendment will save more than 700 housing units and create 3,000 new jobs in Missouri.” According to KOLR-CBS, Senator Bond toured Missouri to push “his plan to create 3,000 jobs in the state and build more than 700 affordable housing units.” [Senator Bond press release, 2/17/09; KOLR-CBS Springfield, 2/17/09] -Senator Bond Voted Against The Recovery Package Twice [Record Vote 59; Record Vote 60] -Senator Bond Blasted The Recovery Package, Stating, “Unfortunately, This Bill Stimulates The Debt, It Stimulates The Growth Of Government, But It Doesn’t Stimulate Jobs.” [Forbes, 2/9/09]

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) Tried To Take Credit For A $1.78 Stimulus Grant He Voted Against. According to the Wichita Eagle, “Democratic leaders in the state Legislature are accusing U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback of hypocrisy over federal economic-stimulus spending for a Hutchinson rail spur, claiming he is trying to take credit for something he opposed. At issue is a news release issued by Brownback’s office last week titled ‘Brownback applauds infrastructure development in Hutchinson, Kansas,’ celebrating a $1.78 million federal grant to help build a rail spur to serve the Salt City Business Park. [...] The funding for the rail spur was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the $787 billion economic stimulus bill passed in February and backed mainly by President Obama and congressional Democrats.” [Wichita Eagle, 10/1/09]
-Senator Brownback Voted Against The Recovery Package Twice [Record Vote 59; Record Vote 60]

John Cornyn joins in the fun, and even goes green to boot:

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) Wrote Two Letters Asking For Stimulus Funds. The Wall Street Journal report: “The Environmental Protection Agency received two letters from Sen. John Cornyn of Texas asking for consideration of [stimulus] grants for clean diesel projects in San Antonio and Houston. Mr. Cornyn is the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.” [WSJ, 2/16/09]
-Senator Cornyn Voted

Jim DeMint, noted for talking about Obama's Waterloo, none the less wishes to bask in Obama's policy victory:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) Lobbied For Tens Of Millions In South Carolina Stimulus Funds. According to the Georgetown Times, a business coalition called the North Eastern Strategic Alliance worked closely with DeMint to secure millions in stimulus funds for the I-73 corridor highway in South Carolina. [Georgetown Times, 5/31/09]
-Senator DeMint Voted Against The Recovery Package Twice [Record Vote 59; Record Vote 60]

And in case you're wondering, it goes all the way up to the top:

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Brags About Stimulus Projects, Requests More Money. McConnell and Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY) toured a construction site at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County, Kentucky. McConnell quickly took credit for the new construction, noting that he and Chandler had inserted an additional $5 million into the 2010 budget. McConnell bragged: “This is going to be a source of significant employment. At the peak, we could have up to 600 people working on this, and we believe the substantial majority of those workers will be Kentuckians.” However, McConnell conveniently forgot to mention that even more additional funds for facility construction were awarded through the stimulus. A Defense Department report states that $5,876,000 has been allocated from the Recovery Act to the Blue Grass facility for repairs. (Chandler voted for the stimulus.)
-Senator McConnell Voted Against The Recovery Package Twice [Record Vote 59; Record Vote 60]

Total number of these people who actually voted for the final bill?

Absolutely fricking zero.

The Republicans love the stimulus. It gives them spending to bash the Democrats with, and to take credit for, both falsely, as you can see. The Republicans are not interested in helping the recovery by their actions, they're content to let Democrats take the political flack for this necessary, productive bill, while they reap the benefits in programs they brag about to their constituents. They decry the same bacon that even the vaunted Ron Paul brings home.

It's like my late great Aunt use to say, if it was a snake, it would have bit us. The hypocrisy is so widespread, and so boldface obvious, but of course, people just look right past the Republicans. Why? Because nobody who has the real power to hold them accountable is interested in doing it. Your conservative news sources won't point out the hypocrisy while they're shilling for the Republicans to return, they'll just run the sanctimonious denunciations.

Nothing's changed. The republicans are more interested in using their positions to play politics, get themselves elected, and reelected, than they are in doing actual productive work. You want to alk about condescension, here it is. The Democrats are doing all the work while so many of these Republican sit on the porch drinking lemonade and complaining about the help. None of the work, and all the credit they can wedge themselves in front of a camera to claim.

The truth of the matter is, if these Republicans were in the majority, they'd be piling up the earmarks, bringing home the pork, and focusing most of the taxpayer dollars on doing things for the already prosperous and the mostly untroubled. They'd find more reasons not to do anything about the problems the average person has, the average person being in their view just somebody whose frustrations they can exploit to pole vault their way back into a majority they have done nothing to earn.

And of course, they'll call any return to prosperity and good fortune for this country a fake boom. They'll do everything they can to make sure their friends on Wall Street once again don't need to fear greater regulation, including the guy whose rant of outrage at mortgage adjustment started the craze for tea partying, Rick Santelli

Yes, he just did that rant in the middleof a bunch of Bond Traders.

Let me lay this out flat, no insinuation, no euphemisms: The outrage from the Republicans is a con job of epic proportions. It is the height of deception.

Essentially, despite the hard evidence, we are supposed to believe that the Stimulus Failed; that we'd be better off not bailing out the banks; that Government spending is the big problem, perhaps the problem that started it all, even though interest rates have gone nowhere. The Republicans have sold their packaged controversies everywhere, and are prepared at every turn to raise doubts about the Democrats.

But they will take the good that the Democrats have done, and either omit, dismiss, or take credit for it, even as they do absolutely nothing to help.

They believe that you, the voters, will remain safely ignorant enough so that you don't look beyond this facade. They will take the approach of filling your head with all kinds of dark assessments of failures, even as they take advantage of the successes of the legislation they stonewalled to a senator, stonewalled to a representative. They will tell you just what it takes to get you angrier, more frustrated, and directing all your blame at their opponents.

The Republicans in Washington have essentially taken up a parasitic position in American politics, feeding their own glory at the expense of the Democrats, and the American people who they are supposed to serve. They are betraying you on a daily basis, lying to you.

Why?

It's pretty simple: there is no rational reason to go back to the Republicans this fast. They are just fresh off have having helped cause one of the worst economic crises in American history, no exaggeration. Their policies, though supported by some Democrats, received party-line support from Repulbicans. They let the housing bubble swell, and even took measures to keep it going, and the whole time they resisted regulating the exotic derivatives without which this scale of crisis would be impossible.

The Republicans are beholden to the old order, and that order has just failed. They must project the appearance of an even greater failure on the Democrat's part, and they have done their absolute best through an absolute party line filibuster to block most of the Democrat's agenda, both to head off the hated Liberal agenda, but also to keep people from getting a good look at how much of a difference liberal policy would make.

Republicans want to talk about deficits, because in plain terms, dealing with the deficits, largely a product of their policies, will be the most difficult of challenges to face in the coming years. They have plenty of experience raising national debt, raising spending, and then turning around and blaming Democratic Party Spendthrifts for it all. Before you scoff, tell me: who was the last Republican President to have lower deficits when he got out of office, than before he got in?

It's a joke. Democrats tend to be held accountable for their spending, because they avail themselves of taxes, and of course, you can't raise taxes arbitrarily without political backlash. Deficit spending though, is another matter entirely for the Republicans. They can spend with frivolous generosity, and run deficits with impunity, because hey, nobody expects a Republican to pay for anything with a tax-increase. That just wouldn't be realistic.

I won't lay off of Democrats for what they do wrong, because I feel that regardless of that, their behavior reflects on us. But if you keep up with the Democratic Blogs, you'll find that Democrats are not afraid to hold their people accountable. That said, there's a problem, an imbalance, when one party practices such open and robust accountability, while the other side just makes up whatever's convenient to their political purposes.

As a writer of fiction, I can tell you that it's always easier to write magnificent and shining stories about heroes who do wrong, than it is to write about human beings who err, show cowardice, and sometimes squabble at the worst times. The Republicans are free, given their willingnes to make anything up on the spot, to make themselves the knights in shining armor for people's frustrations.

But anybody expecting that the Republicans will help this country recover the way it should be helped will be bitterly disappointed. They want to continue, to vindicate what they were doing before the crash. Hell, in historical terms, they're still trying to vindicate what they believed before the Great Depression, the indifference to the plight of the middle, working class, and poor that they claim will bring prosperity when practiced in purity.

They'll keep at it, given the chance, until they prove themselves, and prove themselves infallably. The Facts of Enron, of Goldman Sachs, of the S+L's, of dozens of regulatory debacles that shook the markets didn't stop them before. Why should the mother of all meltdowns of the last half century get in their way?

But the truth is, we cannot seek such infallibility of legend without a price. The price is perspective.

If what the Democrats are doing is working, and it is, then they need to be commended, not berated and blamed for what they are doing. And the Republicans? If what they are doing is keeping Americans from getting back to work, from having affordable healthcare, from making progress on all kinds of issues, then they need to be held accountable for that.

But then, their next election wouldn't be all that fun, now would it?

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at February 17, 2010 8:47 PM
Comments
Comment #295860

Stephen

I am not sure what the “The Facts of Enron, of Goldman Sachs …” are. Enron grew up as problem when the Clinton folks were in charge. Goldman Sachs is practically a Democratic plantation. Last year their employees gave 78% of their money to Democrats.

The first stimulus - the one that bailed out the banks - and the Fed pumping the big bucks into the system, worked very well. The second stimulus - the one they rushed through last year - was not so good. Most still has not been spent, so that means that it could not have had that salutary effect you mention.

Maybe you recall the growth in 2003. Recessions end.

I don’t think the Obama spending did any harm and it may have done some good. The problem is the big bump in debt. It is hard to see how we can pay that back unless we monetize it and face years of stagflation. We have NEVER had such a debt. No country in the history of the world has. It is nearly as high as % of GDP as WWII. At that time we expected to demobilize. What part of today’s spending can be “demobilized” when the recession is over?

Posted by: Christine at February 18, 2010 1:10 AM
Comment #295861

One of the DUMBEST political moves the Democrats have made since coming to power, was passing the Stimulus Bill without a REQUIREMENT of recipients to make VISIBLE public notice at every project or program using Stimulus Money, that that project or program IS FUNDED by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

However, Rachel Maddow I believe decided to take that sow’s ear of a mistake and turn it into pure political silk on her show with an entire segment on Republicans bragging and touting the benefits of the Stimulus money back home without necessarily acknowledging it as Stimulus Bill money. Within 2 or 3 days, the NY Times, WaPo, and other major media picked up on the story and ran with it.

Democrats owe a huge vote of thanks to Rachel Maddow and her staff and producers for breaking this well researched story. And Republicans? Well, they hated her already, so, no obligation due there.

Maddow is as partisan as they come. BUT, unlike other liberal and conservative talk show hosts, she diligently works at making sure her factual ducks are all in a row. And on the rare occasion she gets something wrong, she makes sure her audience hears it from HER first, with sincere apology for the error or mistake. She makes her case without deceptions or distortions of the facts. Rather rare in these hyperbolic times of infotainment programs.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 18, 2010 1:26 AM
Comment #295865

David

As you might guess, we disagree about Rachel Maddow. Her influence doesn’t extend much past MSNBC, which pretty much nobody watches anymore, or put more concretely, more people go to the bathroom during commercial during the O’Reilly Factor than watch MSNBC all day.

But you advertising requirement is interesting. You essentially want to force advertising for a particular political program.

There are costs and benefits to everything. If you only count the benefits, even very wasteful things look good.

Of course ever politician will take advantage of every program and so do ordinary people. Liberals might complain that taxes are too low, but I don’t think Rachel Maddow insists on sending 78% of her own income to Washington as taxes.

So the idea the Republicans take stimulus money is like discovering that kids like chocolate. It has been thoroughly discussed on Fox (maybe that is where Rachel got it) i.e. on cable channels the people actually watch. Nobody cares. The idea is that if someone is handing out free candy, it makes sense to get some even if you don’t like the handout in general. It is like liberals personally not insisting on paying higher taxes. Now that word has gotten to the angry left, I suppose they will get hysterical.

The non-left part of America has known about this for a long time and it has become a non-issue.

the Obama stimulus has become like the drunk on the corner giving away money. People take the dollars but they don’t have much respect for the source and they don’t think it is a good thing for him to be out there any more.

Posted by: Christine at February 18, 2010 6:51 AM
Comment #295868

Christine-
The First stimulus? Oh brother. Were you calling it that before the so-called “second stimulus” was passed?

Doesn’t matter. You can call it Al, for all I care, but independent auditors are saying that it will have put more than two million jobs in our economy that wouldn’t have been there otherwise, and that estimate, according to the CBO, is conservative That is a success. And the ability of the Stimulus to do its job, this stimulus you call the “second” stimulus, is verifiable in the very actions of its critics. Would they want those jobs and those funds if it wasn’t going to improve things for their states and districts?

Job growth does come back after recessions, but in this case, it’s coming back much, much faster than it otherwise would have. The recession that kept job numbers down until 2003 actually ended in 2001. In our case, the recovery of jobs numbers is coming not much more than a quarter or two after the end of the recession, and that’s for a recession of historic proportions.

You seem to be fine with people grubbing after the money, and going and taking credit for the projects in their districts and states, even though they voted against the bill that funded it, and whaled on it to no end as a great evil and a failure. Their actions do not match their message.

Does this not concern you? You’re on the horns of a dilemma. On one hand, if you accept the ample evidence of the success of the stimulus package, then this tells you that the Republicans who represent you lied to your face about it’s qualities, and their own. On the other, if you don’t accept it, this is a good sign that your supposedly true-blue conservative Republicans do not have the courage of their convictions.

But as for this question of deficits, let me put it plainly: a full third of this current deficit comes from the economically driven drop in revenues. Republicans, in simply counting the cost, and not the benefits of getting the economy back in good shape miss the benefits to cutting the deficit that come from economic stimulus.

In Hoover’s Administration, they attempted to reconcile the fiscal picture during a similar deflationary situation. They failed, because the economic bad times, and the peculiar nature of deflationary downturns meant that reducing government spending and raising taxes in that period, before there was a recovery, actually took back any projected gains, because people had less to spend, and that dropped revenue.

Until we recover, budget austerity will be counterproductive. This is one of those times, when stimulus is actually a good idea, when deficts matter less than getting the economy back on line.

This is not simply spending for the sake of spending. This is keeping a short term fiscal problem from becoming a long term fiscal headache.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 18, 2010 9:11 AM
Comment #295870

Christine,
Why the Republicans and Tea Party complain about the Bank Bailout and Americas’ Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, I wonder if they would allow President Ragen to take the Nation into debt today in order to win the Cold War?

For why it is a matter of National Security that the President and Congress took the steps that they did even though it went against President Bushs’ Ideology of Business. I do wonder what most Americans would be doing if only the Top 1% of the population still had any Wealth.

Care to go back to work for a nickel a day?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 18, 2010 9:43 AM
Comment #295873

Stephen & Henry

It is the immense size of the deficit that scares me. We have never done anything like this before and neither has anyone else.

It is not only a higher % of GDP, but it is just so big. Can the world absorb that much government debt? Nobody has tried this. I think we should be careful.

We should not speed up job growth (even if that is possible) by six months at the cost of long term bankrupcy.

Posted by: Christine at February 18, 2010 11:01 AM
Comment #295879

Stephen good job, but to be fair you are bottom feeding with most of the repubs you mention here. Other than Paul I would doubt you could find an ounce of decency, honesty, and integrity amongst them. Those in the group you mention do get a lot of attention and are consistently involved in decisions that are intended to further their twisted interpretations of the constitution and their ideology at the expense of their fellow Americans. To find them taking credit for work they didn’t do is not the least bit surprising, in fact if they didn’t seek to enrich themselves politically at the same trough they use to spread disinformation, half truths and outright lies would be the surprise.

Many of these disreputable representatives are those that shouted failure when unemployment rose to 10% as they pointed to one small aspect of the stimulus bill. This bill covered many different aspects and has indeed been successful enough despite what these clowns you listed did to make this just a jobs bill that cost the American taxpayer millions per job.

“It is the immense size of the deficit that scares me. We have never done anything like this before and neither has anyone else.”

J&C where were you and your fellow conservatives when this same group of borrow and spend representatives Stephen has mentioned were spending money on 2 wars, enriching big Pharma and cutting taxes for the wealthy while doubling the deficit in a few short years? All during the boom years when, using your ant/grasshopper analogy, it was the time to prepare for the future bust times?

Posted by: j2t2 at February 18, 2010 12:24 PM
Comment #295880

Christine
” We have never done anything like this before and neither has anyone else. “

Rest at ease. That is simply not true. As a percenatge of GDP we were much higher after WW2. Its getting tiresome,but really, if it was such a hazard one would think that we would be having trouble selling bonds at such low interest. That is not the case.
I know it is hard,but just maybe,just maybe,BHO might be running a smart administration doing what it can to address problems?
I also have to gasp at the hypocracy of a party and their supporters complaining about the deficit after just side railing the best hope of containning medical expenditures to show up in decades. These are real problems. Please ,please, drop the partisan crap and help.Eschew junk like this:
http://thinkprogress.org/2010/02/16/impeach-obama-billboard/

Posted by: bills at February 18, 2010 12:42 PM
Comment #295881

Christine-
There’s a word and a concept you need to know about: metastable.

It relates to complex systems that have more than one possible point of equilibrium.

See, what kept growth going and people employed was the fact that the rest of the economy reinforced this. But push certain parts hard enough, and the system snaps quickly and violently into a new equilibrium: our current state of affairs.

Now if Bush had gon with a maybe 500 Billion dollar stimulus done the right way, in the fall of 2008, it would have headed off much of the economic downturn. Unfortunately, Republicans believe in letting the economy recover demand on its own, even if the causes were not natural.

Letting the economic collapse play out allowed the economic hard times establish themselves as the new order, with the economy reinforcing the new, less favorable conditions.

What the stimulus has succeeded in doing, although not completely, is giving the economy a hard shove in another direction, hopefully onto a course to sustainable improvement.

j2t2-
I was going for the names with best recognition. When I found Ron Paul’s name, I practically cackled with glee, because that, if nothing else, shows the intellectual bankruptness of the Republican’s “return to principles.”

The question I would pose to Republicans is whether or not what drove them away in 2006 and 2008 has truly gone away, or whether they are letting these folks once again play them for suckers. A handful of years is not long enough for true reform, not with the same faces and asses in the caucus as before.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 18, 2010 1:58 PM
Comment #295884

Stephen when the RNC says “return to principles” you probably assumed they meant returning to some principles somewhere that they once actually subscribed to rather than talked about. Sometimes they say exactly what they mean and this “return to principles” is referring to the same principles they have practiced the past 10 years. Look at the recent jobs bill that was loaded with so much repub pork for the corporate base that Reid took it off the table.

Let me ask did they actually say “return to principles” or was it “return to principals” because for the life of me I think their propagandist, Frank Luntz, does this stuff intentionally because the base is so quick to buy into it.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 18, 2010 3:27 PM
Comment #295886

There you go Steven, trying to confuse the right with facts and reality.

I can see some politician voting against a spending bill, and then when it goes through trying to get as much as he can for his constituents. But these hypocrites are making speeches about how the stimulus hasn’t created a single job. But then going out and making speeches on how the stimulus has created so many job for their constituents. Yes we can thank Rachel for digging up this hypocrisy.

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at February 18, 2010 4:59 PM
Comment #295888


Ok, the economy is improving. The statis quo seems to be getting happier. Now, all we need is about 20 million jobs.

As usual, good news for capital, not so labor.

Posted by: jlw at February 18, 2010 5:12 PM
Comment #295891

Christine said: “Her influence doesn’t extend much past MSNBC, which pretty much nobody watches anymore, or put more concretely, more people go to the bathroom during commercial during the O’Reilly Factor than watch MSNBC all day.”

Facts and reality have always been elusive and not readily accessible to the general public. Her ratings are not the issue. Adam Smith has fewer readers than watch Rachel Maddow. Doesn’t mean Adam Smith isn’t an incredible source of knowledge and explanation for the inner workings of relationships between events reported on the News.

Christine said: “But you advertising requirement is interesting. You essentially want to force advertising for a particular political program. “

Since when is the dissemination of information to the public by their government as to how their tax dollars are being spent, forced advertising for a particular political program? It is not political. IT IS GOVERNMENT SPENDING, and the public has a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent. Being a Republican I understand your abhorrence of making government spending information readily available to the public, after 8 years of Republicans hiding trillions of dollars in deficit spending in off-budget emergency appropriations which had long ceased to be emergencies.

Christine said: “So the idea the Republicans take stimulus money is like discovering that kids like chocolate.”

Red herring. The issue is Republicans stating to their local constituents that this money is good for their constituents, jobs, communities, and local economies, after having voted against it, and continuing to condemn it while taking credit for bringing that money to their communities. The hypocrisy is wider than the Grand Canyon.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 18, 2010 5:38 PM
Comment #295893

jlw said: “Ok, the economy is improving. The statis quo seems to be getting happier. Now, all we need is about 20 million jobs. As usual, good news for capital, not so labor.”

Inaccurate. The halt to job losses is an enormous relief and good news for the 130 million Americans who are still working. Which partially accounts for rising consumer confidence and increased consumer activity by those who do still have jobs.

Yes, I agree, putting those unemployed by this Great Recession back into jobs is mandatory and essential. But, there are structural impediments to reemploying those workers. A large number of businesses which survived this Great Recession, will NOT be rehiring. They will instead be buying automation to replace those laid off workers. This process is already well underway as manufacturing is increasing and capital equipment investments are rising, indicate.

Increased consumer activity is going to increase demand for lower paying service jobs, but, even many of these are being automated where possible. This is going to be a tough nut to crack, and it is going to take several more years, according Bernanke’s testimony this week.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 18, 2010 5:46 PM
Comment #295896

BTW, Christine, for consistency, YOU SHOULD ALSO BE advocating the revocation of use of tax payer dollars by Congress persons to send out mailings to their district residents which ALWAYS include politically oriented content telling their residents what a great job they are doing in D.C., shouldn’t you?

If you are going to be consistent on this, just how do you propose informing the public? The Liberally biased media? PAC’s and special interest organizations? Or just more government web sites which the general public can’t make heads or tails out of?

Your position on this Stimulus money signs, is awkward, to say the least.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 18, 2010 6:48 PM
Comment #295897

Bills

I was talking to David about this. Both % of GDP and actual size are important. When I weighed 170 lbs and gained 10% of my body weight it was different than if I gain 10% of my body weight when I weigh 250.

Things are not infinitely scalable. You know that as a carpenter. A wooden structure can only get so high. You can add 10% to a cabin w/o too much trouble, but adding 10% to an already tall building may cause it to collapse, not to mention that the amount of wood you have to devote to structural support will rise by more than 10%.

At the risk of beating the analogies to death, how about income? This is very much a similar thing. If a man making $25,000 a year pays 10% of his income in taxes, why should it be okay for a man who makes $250,000 to pay more than 10%? We all know why. It is because the percentage matters up to a point and then the sheer size begins to play a bigger role.

David

I just don’t see the point of borrowing even more money to advertise a particular government program. I am uncomfortable with government propaganda aimed at domestic audiences.

Re Rachel Maddow and MSNBC - As I wrote before, this topic has been discussed for a while on Fox. Maddow is a little … what is that word the we all cannot use anymore? The consensus is what I told you up top, “so what?”

I might think that spending our common money is a bad choice, but once you have done the deed there is no reason for me not to get what share of it I can. Republicans are not against the thing itself; they are against the spending. Once the money is spent, it becomes a sunk cost.

Mike

I depends on how many NET jobs it has created and how much they cost. The government can create jobs by giving people shovels and asking some to dig holes and others to fill them in. But they come at a cost. Somewhere else in the economy a job might be lost. If not today, down the road.

Some jobs are good and useful, whether created by government or anybody else. Others are not. It makes a difference.

Stephen

Nobody wanted to let the economy collapse. The first stimulus pumped a lot of liquidity into the system, which was the problem with the Great Depression. Not all parts of the second stimulus were bad. But most of it still has not been spent so it has not created any jobs.

Posted by: Christine at February 18, 2010 8:04 PM
Comment #295901

BTW – take a look at this chart of government spending.

Posted by: Christine at February 18, 2010 8:19 PM
Comment #295902

Christine-
In fall of 2008, we came this close to have to having the dollar collapse, and the world economy with it. This was not a recession we need to stimulate ourselves out of, but rather an existential threat to the capitalist system’s existence.

Calling it a stimulus package is revisionist history. The only point to do doing so is to criticize the “second” stimulus package, the one that was actually meant to be a stimulus package, rather than confront it on its own terms.

Nobody else is making the estimates of what has resulted from the Stimulus Package based on such revisionism. They’re measuring the effects of the bill itself.

Much of it has been spent, and millions of jobs, according to independent sources, have been created as a result. It doesn’t matter whether things fell short the way they did, because the cause of that unemployment was already in the pipeline before Obama’s policies had a chance to act. It’s not his fault unemployment exceeded eight percent. It is because of his policy, though, that Unemployment is only up to 10 percent, rather than eleven or twelve percent. The consensus also is that growth is here because of what the Democrats did.

You can repeat the Republican talking points all you want to, but they are based on the wishful thinking of a party that made the wrong bet on the American economy and the Obama Stimulus package, and is now trying to cover up for the fact. My assertions can be independently verified as facts: The Stimulus worked. Not as much as we need it to, but then that might mean that we need to do more, which Republicans also are going to try and resist, despite the fact that there’s not much political upside to campaigning against jobs.

You’ll tell us, if my guess is right, that it’s about the children, and the burden we put on them. Well, let me put things this way: if we approach this in moderation, we are giving them a much more prosperous future, with which to bear the price of America’s financial misjudgments. If we do things your way, the burden might somewhat less, but the prosperity to support it will not be there.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 18, 2010 8:28 PM
Comment #295906

Stephen

You can verify something like 600,000 jobs. You don’t know how many jobs were lost or not created as a result of the policy. I would guess that those jobs are actually gained. Good. At what cost?

New guidance says to count any job that is paid for by stimulus funds. You don’t know if that job was “created or saved” Maybe the owner just got the government to pay for his help.

Weren’t you upset when Bush was spending like mad? Now that Obama is spending even more, doesn’t that bother you just a little? There is no reasonable scenario where this money can be repaid. The record revenues of 2006 couldn’t even handle a deficit that was only around 1/5 the size.

The first stimulus worked and was needed. The second one was less successful and not well targeted. Now we’re talking about a third one BEFORE we have even spent most of the second.

Posted by: Christine at February 18, 2010 9:41 PM
Comment #295910

Our company won two major contracts in early 2009 that were re-competes of existing programs in place for years. Both projects were proposed back in 2008 and were in the business development stage for at least 2 years before that. In December 2009 both were converted to ARRA money, the reporting began, and now we count every FTE on these projects as a job “saved.”

To me the ARRA is the same as calling not spending as much as you budgeted a spending “cut.”


Posted by: George at February 18, 2010 11:08 PM
Comment #295912

Christine-
This is from one of the articles I linked above:

Just look at the outside evaluations of the stimulus. Perhaps the best-known economic research firms are IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s Economy.com. They all estimate that the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.

The CBO, which is famed, sometimes maligned for its conservative (old definition, meaning painfully careful) estimates, is saying these people are playing it safe.

Ultimate impact, 2.5 million jobs, at least.

Imagine how much worse the economy gets with those jobs not there. That’s not merely a jobs problem, it’s a fiscal problem since those out of work don’t pay taxes, or pass money up the chain to be paid as taxes.

Deflation makes it a problem to just run to the arms of austerity, because the economy is already suffering from austerity as it is: folks are too scared or too out of work to spend money.

Weren’t you upset when Bush was spending like mad? Now that Obama is spending even more, doesn’t that bother you just a little? There is no reasonable scenario where this money can be repaid. The record revenues of 2006 couldn’t even handle a deficit that was only around 1/5 the size.

This was before our economy lost two trillion dollars in aggregate demand, and threatened to descend into a deflationary spiral, not unlike that of the Depression.

The reality is, for the time being, you don’t want to do anything that’s going to take money out of the economy. The economy’s short of it. Austerity at this point is foolish, and the first four years of the Depression, and the recession in 1937, both cases where policies similar to the Republican’s failed, demonstrate this in fact.

The real issue with Bush’s fiscal policy, is that there was really nothing to justify it. There was no emergency. The events of Fall 2008, and the cratering of the economy thereafter were emergencies, and needed to be responded to. Bush’s recessions prior to that pale in significance. What’s more, he ran the deficits in times where doing so put upwards pressure on inflation. That’s the danger in doing it under most circumstances.

Why I don’t have a problem with it now is that right now, inflation is the last problem we have. At best, we’re just on the edge of fighting back from a collapse in prices, rather than an explosion in them. The government isn’t displacing investment that is there, it’s replacing investment that’s not.

Please quit with the “first” and “second” stimulus talk. I don’t buy it. I think it’s dishonest rhetorical ploy. Emergency monetary policy is not a stimulus bill. It does not account for the differences attributed to the Stimlus Package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The comparison doesn’t wash. Even with that monetary action, even with TARP, a second depression was a real possibility, a possibility we’re now likely clear of. This is the consensus of many economists, and the success of the Recovery Act is not simply wishful thinking. The only trouble is, it wasn’t as big as it should be. If we knew we were going to be at 10%, a more aggressive bill would have been in order.

You’re counting the cost now, not considering the cost later of a long term recession or economic depression. You’re not thinking fourth dimensionally, as Doc Brown might say.

The sooner we get out of this economic slump, get people employed, the sooner we’ll be able to put tax rates and spending rates back to normal levels.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 18, 2010 11:37 PM
Comment #295948


David, It is nice that 130 million are still employed and perhaps they can release a sigh of relief but, I don’t think many of them fully understand the condition the country is in nor what it is going to cost them get us out of the trouble.

They are going to be facing higher costs from inflation, higher interest rates for credit and higher taxes in one form or another.

Although inflation remains low for now, primarilly because of consumer store bought items, some sectors are rising; especially those in areas that government is looking at. Health care prices, energy prices and credit prices are rising rapidly.

Someone has to start paying down the debt and it is probably the 130 million that are working and they may also have to support as many as 10 million permanently unemployed and millions more that are underemployed.

Posted by: jlw at February 19, 2010 2:17 PM
Comment #295949

Christine— I said
“But these hypocrites are making speeches about how the stimulus hasn’t created a single job. But then going out and making speeches on how the stimulus has created so many jobs for their constituents.”

But then you said
“I depends on how many NET jobs it has created and how much they cost. The government can create jobs by giving people shovels and asking some to dig holes and others to fill them in. But they come at a cost. Somewhere else in the economy a job might be lost. If not today, down the road.”

?????????????????????????

A third of the stimulus were tax cuts. An old Republican answer to most problems. If you only have so many customers, it doesn’t matter how much money you have in you bank account you’re not going to hire more employees to service the same number of customers. We need more money in circulation ie more jobs. I don’t care how big a billionaire’s Swiss bank account is, it doesn’t help our country out.
A lot of the stimulus went to state and local government so they didn’t have to lay off more worker than they did.
And a lot of it went into our infrastructure which we’ve been neglecting for too long. To the best of my knowledge they’re were no jobs digging holes and filling them back in.

But I don’t see what your argument has to do with the fact that Republicans are a bunch of hypocrites.


Posted by: Mike the Cynic at February 19, 2010 2:41 PM
Comment #295950

jlw said: “Someone has to start paying down the debt and it is probably the 130 million that are working and they may also have to support as many as 10 million permanently unemployed and millions more that are underemployed.”

Yes. And you think the American people don’t know this? One has to be a Republican to believe that getting out from under all this debt isn’t going to cost anyone anything.

The American workers are VERY aware of how debt works, and are very aware that taxes will have to go up, health care costs have to go down, interest rates will rise, and that is why Americans are saving more, spending less, and getting their spending priorities a bit more back in balance.

The American consumers ALSO KNOW how important they are to our economy, and that when taxes are increased, more increases will have to be targeted at the very wealthy, if the people are to keep consuming and keep the economy afloat. Obama was very clear about raising taxes on the wealthy and 53% of voters elected him. His job approval rating stands at 50 to 51% still.

I have known from polling data dating back many years that the majority of Americans don’t mind paying taxes provided those taxes are not wasted and actually benefit the nation and its future, instead of simply making the wealthy, wealthier.

Another poll a few years back also showed a majority of the wealthy did not object to their taxes being increased if it would bring down the national debt and shore up our economic future. Like their less wealthy counterparts, they just don’t want to see their taxes raised and then wasted on boondoggles like invading Iraq under false pretenses, or buying military hardware that will never be used, or $145 toilet seats.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 19, 2010 4:10 PM
Comment #295963

DR
I am trying to recall,do economist call it the “paradox of thrift”/ At any rate,an ironic problem occures when everyone starts saving at once. Economies fail and everyone loses their savings. Saving is good. Saving is wise.After watching our homes lose value,our retirement funds vaporize of course we are trying to save more. Altogether,though, this will be another drag on recovery. This is yet one more reason why the government must respond with increased stimulus ,they are the only ones that can,and those instant budget hawks,now trying to blame the Dems for the deficit for political position,are hurting the country.

SD
Good job calling BS,BTW.
We are likely to get an inventory bounce, where manufacturers finally run low on inventory and they hire and purchase to build it back up. If sales are still slow they will then lay off workers and stop purchasing materials. For a while it will look like solid recovery but will be temporary. I am sure there will be calls to drop the stimulus,unemplyment funds etc.

Posted by: bills at February 20, 2010 3:49 AM
Comment #295964

Chridtine,
While I agree that Americas’ National Debt held by foreign countries is not the best path forward, it does guve the rest of the world a little bit of say in hiw fast America can build a Green Sustainable Society.

And why I would like nothing more than to see President Obama and Congress provide the Children of the 21st Century with the opportunity to purchase Special Treasury Notes in order to rebuild Americas’ Local, State, and Federal Infrastructure. It depends on the jobs being created over the next 6 months/year that will matter.

For example; the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has a lot of programs dealing with Energy Efficient Projects. And why “We’ may be paying people to do the work, the savings from most of these projects will reduce the Federal Spending. However, personally speaking I would have loved to see Congress order that Every Local, State, and Federal Building, Facility, and Site be made Energy Independent in the next 10 years. Now, thats saving money!

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 20, 2010 4:45 AM
Comment #295968

Christine
“Weren’t you upset when Bush was spending like mad?”

Most of the Bush deficit was caused by the unnecessary,ill concieved, ill planned invasion of Iraq and the unnecessary,ill concieved,ill planned tax breaks given to the wealthy. Yea,I pretty much hated it.His administrations action also led directly to a large chunk of the current defict by wreacking havoc on the economy and lowering tax reciepts massively. So now your party is standing in the way of recovery options out of shear gall. Its like the arsonist trying to keep the fire dept. out of a burning building.


jlw
Inflation is not the danger.To the contrary,diflation is the looming threat at this point. We may be approaching a similar situtation as Japan faced that led to ten years stagnation.

Posted by: bills at February 20, 2010 9:53 AM
Comment #296031

While I know increases in employment are a late indicator in the ending of recessions it is still worth noting that an average of 400,000 people are being added to unemployment rolls each week. Meanwhile the numbers of permanently employed full-time workers in the private sector are still tremendously depressed and state governments (like New Jersey) are about to have to gut budgets because, at the end of the day, the private sector is where their resources really come from.

If dry heaves are a sign of life, yes, the patient is doing better.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at February 21, 2010 8:41 AM
Comment #296052

Lee,

400,000 per week?

Dry heaves are a sign of life, you may wish it otherwise, but they too shall pass. It is far better to have to call ‘ralph’ than to be in no condition to do so.

Posted by: Marysdude at February 21, 2010 2:57 PM
Comment #296075

Lee Jamison-
First, do you have a source for your claim? I find your claim kind of problematic, since it would mean 1.6 million in job losses per month, a figure that doesn’t square with reality. Not even Bush’s worst month saw that many out of work.

Even in the best of times, people lose their jobs. The question is, are folks getting jobs back? If you can answer that question, we can properly judge the true meaning of the numbers you present us with.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 21, 2010 8:03 PM
Comment #296135

Nice chart included, too bad the unemployment rate is rising? the chart models “job loss” how vague of a chart. Its also always best to get your unbiased information straight from the horse’s mouth? No.

Posted by: BushLeague at February 22, 2010 11:15 PM
Comment #296147

BushLeague-
Too bad you think the unemployment rate is rising.

The U3 rate is down to 9.7% from its peak in October at 10.1. The U6 rate, which includes marginally attached and involuntarily part-time workers is down from its high of 17.4% to 16.5%.

By any objective measure, your statement is factually incorrect.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 23, 2010 10:18 AM
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