Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Republicans Lead the Charge Into the Wilderness

The Republicans want us to use austerity to find our way out of our economic straits, claiming it’s a government spending problem. They want us all to believe that if we cut down, the economy will rebound, to the benefit of everybody. Heh. Ever notice how big government’s always the problem, and tax cuts and spending cuts are always the solution. Ireland tried doing things the Republican’s way. Care to hazard a guess where they are?

Unemployment is up to 13.8 percent (it was as low as 4.2 percent as recently as 2005); public spending has been savagely and repeatedly cut since 2008; the deficit has risen to 14.3 percent; and current predictions suggest that 100,000 people will emigrate in the next several years, from a population of 4.3 million. The bill from the struggling banks may, in the end, total upward of $135 billion 100 million euros, in an economy with a G.D.P. of $220 billion 160 million euros.

The housing bubble that fueled the boom has collapsed, along with the banks that made the loans that led to it in the first place. In November, the country was forced to accept a humiliating and onerous $92.8 billion 67.5 billion euro international loan package that tied it to a brutal four-year austerity program. The package came with such unfavorable interest rates that some economists feel the country might be unable to afford even to service the debt.

That's some recovery they got there. Let's focus on that last part:

The package came with such unfavorable interest rates that some economists feel the country might be unable to afford even to service the debt.

Does the phrase "Killing the goose that laid the golden egg" ring any bells? Taxes and national debts don't get paid out of a vacuum. They get paid out of the economy as an alternative to that much money's worth of anything else.

There are consequences for such things.

I think Brian Cowen was probably the worst taoiseach we’ve ever had,” said David Ryan, 76, a retired businessman, using the Irish word for prime minister and speaking of Fianna Fail’s former leader. “I am totally angry,” Mr. Ryan went on — not just at Mr. Cowen, who resigned last month, but at the Irish banks whose spectacular debts his government promised to guarantee on a fateful day in 2008. “They were totally corrupt.”

The results of the election will not be announced until late Saturday. But an early exit poll predicted a crushing defeat for Fianna Fail, one of modern history’s most successful political parties, which has been in power for almost 60 of the last 80 years, most recently from 1997 until the present.

The Republicans in this country need to heed the warning inherent in the Taoiseach's probable fate, and that of his party. In fact, they should have heeded 2006 and 2008. They seem intent on not doing so. They seem intent on using their new political power, earned by trashing Democrat's economic plan relentlessly, in order to tear their swath through the public sector at the state and local level. It seems that they're set to do the same to Washington.

I've posted the link that says that this could kill a million jobs again and again, so just take that as my position.

But budget cutters at the state and local level have already done a good job of putting an extra hole of unemployment in an economy that needed it like you or I need another hole in the head, to the tune of 405,000 jobs.

Those are losses that our job gains have had to fight back against. Those are people who had to go on unemployment, burdening an already heavily burdened system. Those are people who won't spend at the supermarket or the retail store as the consumers they once were. You might think that government money is somewhere separate in our economy, not related to growth or anything, but that wouldn't be the reality. The reality is, 405,000 job cuts is still a hell of a lot of people out of work, and a lot we'll have to spend to keep them from falling into a hole financially.

Economies are dynamic, and rife with feedback factors, so when you fire 405,000 people from their jobs, there are consequences.

Earlier, last year, Ezra Klein had this to say about the effect:

The good news: The private sector gained 64,000 jobs in September. The bad news? The public sector lost 159,000. And they weren't all census jobs, either. Local governments fired 76,000 workers. In other words, this is the first jobs report in recent months that isn't driven by census layoffs. If there were no census jobs at all, the report would still be negative.

and:

The government can't make the private sector invest. They can't demand that Wal-Mart start hiring. They can offer incentives, and tax breaks, and encouragement, but that's it. The same cannot be said when it comes to public sector jobs. The government can, if it's willing to run deficits, keep those workers employed. But Senate Republicans, alongside some conservative Democrats, have decided to make the government pro-cyclical: Rather than fighting the downturn in the business cycle, the government is now accelerating it.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! What do we call this, Dr. Strangeglove, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying About The Bad Economy and Love the Recession? I can just see the visual, Scott Walker riding a downward trend on a chart down into another economic downturn, going "Yeeeha!" all the way down, waving a cowboy hat.

Now folks on the Right will be quick to cite Germany. What about Germany?

Well, it turns out the German boom didn’t last long. With its modest stimulus winding down, Germany’s growth slowed sharply late last year, and its economic output still has not recovered to its prerecession peak. Output in the United States — where the stimulus program has been bigger and longer lasting — has recovered. This country would now need to suffer through a double-dip recession for its gross domestic product to be in the same condition as Germany’s.

Yet many members of Congress continue to insist that budget cuts are the path to prosperity. The only question in Washington seems to be how deeply to cut federal spending this year.

Funny the way that works.

Who do the Republicans expect to save us? Well, judging by the hundreds of billions they fought to give the rich in tax cuts, the upper class. However, the spending of the rich is never that stable:

Increased consumer spending has fueled hopes that the current economic recovery will keep getting stronger, but behind the encouraging numbers is a little-noticed reality: Much of the new spending has come not from America's broad middle class, but from a small slice of affluent people at the top.

And upper-crust spending, while welcome, can be worrisomely volatile. Since it involves luxuries, not everyday necessities, the buying can suddenly shrink if something such as the recent stock market plunge panics affluent shoppers.

For this economy to recover, the American people as a whole must recover.

The Republicans and conservative Democrats, though, have decided to push in the other direction. They're attacking Unions that help keep the average person's wages higher, even among non-union members. They attack unemployment benefits that help keep consumers from becoming casualties of the state of chronic high unemployment, which by the way, they are completely unwilling to spend to resolve.

The GOP and its punditry will talk your ear off about the need to tighten the national belt, even as they add luxury to the lives of the luxurious with their tax cuts and subsidies to their favorite special interests. They'll fight to preserve the upper classes, the corporations, and their friends from having to sacrifice anything, or follow any rules they feel are bad for their business, but they'll demand we do without, that we suffer through the economic downturn and build character by doing it.

For the wealthy, the emergency seems to be over, and things in fact seem better than ever, thanks to all the money we taxpayers ponied up to keep their rear ends from falling screaming and burning into the great dark abyss. The irony is that the Same Republicans who allowed them such permissive policies, who voted for those bailouts, now use the resentment over that measure to win elections against Democrats, even while they vote to repeal reforms meant to prevent these dummies from making the same collossal, costly mistake again.

If it wasn't real life, I would think that the person writing the story was nuts.

Listen folks, it's pretty simple: The Rich will always take care of themselves, always make sure they're made whole. But when it comes to making everybody else whole, doing right by the rest of us, that's where they feel the costs rather than enjoy the benefits. For them, austerity makes sense, because they worry about investments, they worry about their own taxes and their own prosperity, which pretty much has recovered. They've got theirs, now the rest of us have to do without ours to pay for not only their mistakes, but their continued privilege to keep the power that they so terribly abused, that they used so incompetently.

Now, the GOP and its friends have succeeded in confusing a lot of people, to the point where nearly half of Americans don't even know that the Affordable Care Act hasn't been repealed.

People aren't stupid, but when the information is bad, and bad information is plentiful, they can be fooled. Folks who got power don't want to give it up, and it's shocked even me the extent to which they're willing to twist the truth to keep winning.

In my last entry, I offered my theory on politics, about tensions and the dynamic changes that often occur as a matter of critical mass. I would point to Wisconsin as an example of what can happen when such factors are ignore: one hell of a mess, to be sure.

You can keep people in the dark for a while, but information management in this day and age is notoriously tricky. When I was born, back in 1979, a video camera was a big old sucker you had to carry on your shoulder, and distributing that video required a television and a television station.

Now, when somebody says the average person makes the news, one has to wonder whether they made it on the news, or instead shot the relevant video themselves. Nearly every phone comes with a camera now, and HD cameras are available that don't even rely on tape anymore to operate, just computer memory. When I was in college, ten years ago, DV video was at its height. Now video can be stored on flash drives, sharply reducing the necessary profile (no need for moving parts.)

And that's just the beginning. The ability to create content, for people to report and send messages over the internet, to organize quickly and effectively has vastly increased.

Which is to say that if some folks push their luck enough, they have no conception of how fast and how hard a political revolution might come at them. Folks won't rest or be silent the same way they once were.

This is not the 1800s, when most communication moved at the speed of a horse. This is not the Twentieth century, when reliable information could be contained if it were kept from the broadcasters and the newspapermen. Where once people would have had to pour through volumes to find how their Congresscritter voted, their constituents can now find such evidence, damning or otherwise, with just a little diligent searching.

And then, like I have, they can publish this all on a medium where potentially millions can see it.

Do the Republicans really think they can put the lid on the cauldron and sit on it, keep the average folks down? If dictators like Mubarak and Qadaffi are vulnerable, just how safe do they think their jobs are, in a Democracy?

Seriously, folks, you either do good for most people, or in the long or short term, you will see your political fortunes fall. Look at the Taoiseach over in Ireland. That is where the Republicans will end up, if they keep this up. And really, they've already tasted that kind of defeat in 2008. Are they so desperate to prove themselves right that they're willing to test their political power to destruction?

Well, long ago, I might have given them more credit for a sense of self-preservation, but nowadays, I simply don't know. They seem to live to prove everybody else wrong, even if the only people who buy their excuses are the folks who already buy the conservative line.

Look at Obama, my friends from the Right. He's there in part because people wanted to send a message to Washington. Whether you think he's been the best medium for that message is beside the point. And really, distinction between liberal and conservative are also beside the point. They want somebody to help them. The rich have been saved from ruin, now the rest of us want some help.

Given what we've seen here, are deep, reckless cuts what we need here, or a plan for economic recovery? Do we want to end up like Ireland or Greece, two countries that are facing greater austerity with none of the benefits of it, or do we want to end up like we did after WWII, after somebody finally got it through their skull that what America needs is greater growth, not greater poverty.

Which is what austerity is another word for. The irony is, to afford the inevitable, eventual cuts to spending and rises in taxes, we will need to be quite a bit richer not to knock our economy on its rear end. It's important, if we actually intend to resolve our debt and deficit problems, to keep the revenues coming in reliably. If we stall or brickwall the economy trying to cut government spending at a quick rate, we'll only fall further behind, like Ireland and Greece have. You cannot punish growth in order to resolve a deficit, because economic growth is the source of the money you're going to have to pay off your debt with.

Let's fix our economy, and get the middle class and working class back on their feet so our businesses can get the customers they need to justify further hiring and further purchases of equipment. Let's stop slashing budgets in a way that only prolongs the deficit. Let's start realizing that if America doesn't remain competitive, it won't be able to afford to pay of its creditors, who aren't really that shy about maintaining their edge, in comparison.

Let's follow the example of FDR, the guy who actually helped us out of a deficit, rather than the example of Herbert Hoover, who helped make one worse with his policies.

Let's fight the business cycle, not surrender to it now that the Rich and powerful and the economy they run are no longer in imminent danger of collapsing under the weight of their Wall Street's incompetence .

And for heaven's sake, let's quit giving them the benefit of the doubt. They've been given chance after chance to police themselves right, and have failed at just about every juncture. If you want somebody to police somebody, to keep them in line, use the Government, that's what it's there for. The market will never successfully regulate itself so long as its participants can manipulate that market to get away with theft and dishonesty.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at February 26, 2011 12:40 PM
Comments
Comment #319289

Stephen

Dictators like Mubarak or Qadaffi supported large and intrusive governments. Your comparison to conservatives is not apt. Who is it that wants to expand the size and responsibility of government?


Re the size of our government - we are just asking to bring the size of government spending down to what it was pre-Obama.

The last time we can all agree that things were working well was back in 1999. Why can’t we agree to try to get government spending down to about what it was then, adjusted for inflation and population growth. Or is even Clinton also too conservative?

President Obama told us that w/o his stimulus unemployment would go above 8%. In fact, WITH his stimulus it went to almost 10% and stayed there. Maybe we need change we can believe in, not more of the same.

So the stimulus didn’t work. What is the next liberal idea? More of the same. And for heaven’s sake, let’s quit giving them the benefit of the doubt. They’ve been given chance after chance to police themselves right, and have failed at just about every juncture. (I could not have said it better so I used yours)

Posted by: C&J at February 26, 2011 5:54 PM
Comment #319292

C&J-
The comparison is to anybody who long fails to provide for the needs of their people, or appears to.

As for large and intrusive government… The comparison is apt. Department of Homeland Security, the doubling of the defense budget, the passing of the PATRIOT Act with hardly anybody given a chance to read it. Republicans are fully willing to expand government for political benefit, and when it involves defense and people gathering information for the government. They’re fully willing to intrude into people’s lives to dictate what they do in their bedroom, and to spy on people without warrants in the name of protecting everybody.

You might want to interject, as usual, a protest that Democrats do it, too, or that Republicans have since learned better, but just look at the way you folks budget.

No, once you get down to what you folks actually do, and actually support, you’re not really any better fiscally, and you sure as hell don’t shrink government, or truly want it smaller, unless you’re counting the parts that actually help the average person. It’s really more of a question of style of government than anything else, who we spend money on, rather than one side being ultrafrugal and the other the spendthrifts. I’m tired of Republicans taking credit for government shrinking they don’t actually do, while they use that false reputation to attack programs that do work, and which provide benefits for the average American above and beyond their cost.

God. What is this obsession with the size of government? What the hell determines that? Me, I don’t want my government to get too big or intrusive, but I want it capable of intervening where the American people ask it to intervene.

The stimulus worked. It, to be blunt, stimulated. The CBO, which had no agenda of its own, demonstrated that in blunt terms of GDP growth and improvements in the employment picture. You want a real lousy recovery, look at Reagan. His Unemployment numbers hit 10.0 early and stayed there for almost a year, hitting a high of 10.8%. Obama’s worse job numbers hit 10.1%, and he did that with a point or two worse GDP drop than what Reagan suffered, and the banks on life support.

Maybe you want to hold Obama to the number he predicted before people saw the revised figures on 4th Quarter 2008, and found out the hole was deeper than we thought. Me? I’ll hold him to the promise to stimulate the economy, which he did, and much better and much faster than Reagan did. Who knows what he could have done if the Republicans weren’t intent on sinking his every effort.

But what it had to stimulate against was an economy where many states decided to take the Hoover approach to stimulus, which is laying off people and hoping the business cycle rewards them for shedding the excess labor.

Only problem is, it is the shedding of labor that reinforces the bad economic picture. People aren’t buying because folks aren’t hiring, and because people aren’t buying, that’s putting the pressure on the people and business that are still afloat.

If you want to ignore the real numbers, go ahead, but the threat I outlined in my entry above remains: if your policies undermine economic recovery, or even turn it around into another downturn, things will not go so well for your party.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 26, 2011 8:07 PM
Comment #319296

Our country faces two separate problems: first the economy/unemployment, and second the runaway spending. Cutting spending will lower the deficit, but may not help unemployment. Cutting spending may have been an option once, but not anymore. Part of cutting spending is to cut bloated government employees and programs, which will probably increase the unemployment levels. Democrats use government jobs to attempt to lower unemployment figures, which in turn increases government spending. Cutting taxes puts more money in the pockets of Americans, business and private, but does not necessarily mean the money will be spent to help the economy. One of the problems that arise from a slow economy is that companies cut their work force and then they realize they can get the same amount of production with fewer employees; hence, they are not eager to rehire until they absolutely have to. States are facing the exact same problems, without the ability to just print more money. When we see so many people lose their jobs during this bad economy and at the same time see government increase employment it proves only one thing; that government has learned nothing. All Federal and State employment is bloated with an excess of employees.

Regarding employment and the economy; employment will not come back until the economy improves, and companies (even if they do have cash reserves) will not invest until they know what the future holds. Obama has shown himself to be the enemy of capitalism. He has spent the past 3 years blasting the corporate world, as have all liberals. Every Bill he and the democratic controlled congress have passed in the past two years has been anti-business. And just because he now wants to appear to be pro-business, he cannot be trusted. Obama’s greatest enemy to economic recovery is Obama.

Posted by: 1776 at February 26, 2011 11:17 PM
Comment #319297

Stephen

Well, Mubarak and Qaddafi had large state sectors. In fact, in both places the state employed most of the people in some way or other. There were lots of rules that regulated private enterprise. And they still failed to satisfy the people.

Of course, we Americans have never gone that far toward state control and we probably never will. But we did see a rapid expansion in government spending and influence during the last decade. This includes both the Bush and the Obama administrations. And those massive expansions did not satisfy the needs of the American people.

The last time we can agree that the economy worked okay was 1999, when government was much smaller than it is today. That is one reason I am concerned with size of government. I am also concerned with the size of government because of the massive increase in spending. We cannot afford as much government has we have got. It doesn’t seem like we have much of a choice.

IMO both sides of the debate are a little disingenuous. Democrats want bigger government and higher taxes as a stealthy way to get more income redistribution. Republicans want lower taxes as a way to limit the growth and extent of government.

I would not oppose higher taxes if I was reasonably certain that the money would be used to address the deficit. But I believe that additional revenue will just tempt politicians to spend more money, requiring even more revenue and still not getting at the deficit. Politicians need to demonstrate their ability and will to limit their appetites for tax money.

Re Reagan - we were coming off a period of extended bad times with inflation running at double digits and even higher interest rates. The Fed was wringing inflation out of the system, which was prioritized over unemployment. But when the economy bounced up, it went up a lot, not this anemic recovery we have had so far under Obama. Those improvements allowed the economy to grow for a quarter century. Unfortunately, Obama will not do as well.

Reagan claimed it was morning in American and people felt it enough to reelect him by a massive amount. If Obama does as well, he will be reelected by a similar big margin. I cannot predict the future, but looking ahead just over two years, I would not be confident if I was a Democrat. How do you honestly feel about the odds?

Posted by: C&J at February 26, 2011 11:18 PM
Comment #319300

1776-
Your first paragraph hardly makes sense. You seem to acknowledge that there will be negative economic effects to cutting spending, but then… Gosh, I don’t know.

There is no separation between fiscal matters and the economy. The government pays for things in one of two ways: borrowing, or taxing. Since your tax cuts are not out of a surplus, you’re not really handing people back their money. You’re handing them back money from a loan you have to take out in their name to run the government at its current cost.

They’ll have to pay for that, with interest.

So, ironically enough, over the long term, you take more money out of people’s pockets with these ill-conceived tax cuts.

Of course, once you’ve given them out, in an economy like this, it’s hell taking them back, even if you’re running a massive deficit. What’s more, the Bush Administration’s policies targeted the rich, who according to what I’ve read saved rather than spent the money. More to the point, both in Reagan’s time and Bush’s, the tax cuts failed to stimulate the economy as promised, failed to pay for themselves through increase revenues as promised, and then failed to make those bad job markets recover.

Worse yet, in Reagan’s case, he signed the tax cuts in 1981, and didn’t even break even on the unemployment rate until 1983. Meanwhile, he ran that 11 month period of 10.0% plus unemployment, climaxing in a 10.8 rate at one point.

The economy improves in his case after a boatload of deficit spending, relaxed interest rates, and reduced inflation. Oh, and raised taxes.

It seems to me the Republican took the Bush lesson on “No new taxes” to heart, and worse yet, took the wrong lesson. Bush should have never made that promise, since it committed him to record deficits.

You say the government’s bloated with an excess of employees. Well, however negative your connotation, your choice of words might be, those “bloated” jobs are still jobs. Lose them, and you gain the liabilities of more unemployed, and lose the asset of somebody with a dependable paycheck who can pay their own way in life.

More to the point, the Private industries are not thinking they can get way with doing more with fewer people. We’re running an output gap, which means that we could very likely do almost a trillion dollars worth more in business, if we got things back in gear. What they’re thinking is, that so long as economic conditions are so crappy, they can’t improve their profit by opening up businesses and hiring new people. With no customers, the investment is a waste.

For this economy to improve, somebody has to start being generous. Well, the folks who don’t have jobs, or enough pay to make ends meet can’t be too generous. Like I said, savvy investors and businesspeople won’t untighten their belt to spend cash on businesses that won’t see a return. If private business won’t spend, if the Average American can’t spend, who then spends to promote growth?

You can go on repeating your propaganda, your accusations against Obama, but two years after capitalism was about to become obsolete, we’re growing again.

One part of it is, Obama actually acted to stop the slide into greater unemployment. He actually intervened and prevented the collapse of the car industry, which now is doing good business again. Would the economy have been better off suffering through the millions in job losses? Remember, those add to the burden on the economy, weighing it down.

If you want to see the real enemies of capitalism, it’s the folks on Wall Street, and their incredibly complex market manipulation machinery. With their derivatives and their computers, they’re building a system that’s difficult for mere mortals like ourselve to control, and worse yet distorts prices out of shape.

By muffling or shouting down those signals, these people call the market to cease to function in the self-correcting manner they should, so Mortgage Lenders can go out and build up a big supply of toxic assets for the banks.

In doing so, they create a destructively huge bubble of false wealth, which undermines the system when it pops, and pop it did.

Because Obama opposes this status quo, you call him a socialist, an enemy to capitalism. But right now, the bankers and brokers are about its worst enemies, because they can’t even restrain themselves after one of the worst economic disasters in history.

I guess that’s what happens when you deliberately leave people unaccountable on matters.

The greatest threats to renewed growth and recovery are those who would push a pro-cyclical policy, and allow those who tied the markets in knots to do exactly what they were doin before.

What exactly is going to regenerate those jobs on the other side of the public/private divide?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 27, 2011 12:43 AM
Comment #319301

“Who is it that wants to expand the size and responsibility of government?”

C&J good question. Specifically who has called for the size and responsibility of government to grow. If we look back the past 30 years it would seem conservative repubs have expanded the size of government. In fact the Bush years have been a main reason for the growth of government financially during the Obama administration.

The confusion seems to be the constant chanting by the corporatist tea party for a reduction of spending while are are struggling to come out of a depression. This may seem like a call to reduce the size of government yet in fact it only serves to increase the size of government as far as debt is concerned. Just because one yells and shouts for a reduction on the size of government does not mean that is what is achieved when the policies are in place.

This is exactly what happened in 1936. The country was coming out of the great depression and the conservatives in the Congress insisted upon a reduction of the debt. In 1937 we slipped back into a recession.

Armed with this knowledge we should be able to learn but unfortunately the dems are about to cave to the insistent demands of the corporatist wing of the repubs and send us back into recession….oops I mean cut the size of government.

We need to cut but we need to grow first. We are not there yet. Insist that your team do what they do best, borrow and spend. Unless WW III is the goal.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 27, 2011 2:22 AM
Comment #319303

j2t2

IMO - the country - Bush included, Republicans included, Democrats included - panicked a little after 9/11. We wanted to create institutions to protect us and wanted to prevent the economic collapse that many people thought would follow the massive disruptions caused by 9/11 and the evidently changed world situations we faced.

There was some legitimacy in this, but we overshot - learned more from the lesson than it had to teach.

A similar panic happened in 2008. That is what pushed Obama over the top.

The problem on both sides is the reach for government solutions to legitimate problems. We lurch into bigger programs. It works like a ratchet. It grows in time of stress, but doesn’t return to its pre-stress levels when the danger is mitigated. Even worse, politicians and the media always talk in the language of crisis. In 2005, for example, when things were going very well, we still heard all the panicked cries about unemployment.

Our good friend “Jack” wrote at the time that it doesn’t get much better than that. http://www.watchblog.com/republicans/archives/003728.html.

When conditions are bad, politicians are “addressing the crisis”. When things are good, they are using the opportunity to … well - address the crisis.

So we have calls for more government when things are bad and calls for more government when things are good. That is the challenge.

We all seem to agree basically that conditions were better in 1999. I think that might have been the result of a very good confluence of luck and policy. We had a Democrat in office who followed business friendly policies, Republicans in congress to discipline his and allow him to say “no” to his left wing, plus the discipline of remembrance of the big debt. Unfortunately, even then when money started to flow in politician started to want to spend more money again.

BTW - I like how you use the word conservatives in congress. In 1937 the Democrats were in such complete control of everything that people thought the Republican party would die out.

But even if we accept that a cut in government caused a recession (which is not the consensus), government in general was much smaller. Even with FDR’s “New Deal”, government was small by today’s standards. Remember the ratchet that has been working since then.

The difference between a life saving medicine and a deadly poison is often in the dosage. Government is necessary. Too much is deadly.

So let’s think about where we want to be. Maybe we can agree to go back to the last time where we agree that we were on the right path - 1999. Government of that size and scope, adjusted for inflation and population, would be a good return point.

Posted by: C&J at February 27, 2011 10:32 AM
Comment #319305

“BTW - I like how you use the word conservatives in congress. In 1937 the Democrats were in such complete control of everything that people thought the Republican party would die out.”

The conservatives in Congress still had a say, C&J. It wasn’t like FDR listened only to the dems. Are you saying the Dems voluntarily cut the budget?

However I do agree it wasn’t just the conservatives and the cuts.

“Maybe we can agree to go back to the last time where we agree that we were on the right path - 1999. Government of that size and scope, adjusted for inflation and population, would be a good return point.”

Baby steps C&J, baby steps. It seems our reps in Congress cannot agree to cut back to 2008 levels, So just like it took time to get to the 2010 level it will take time to get back to the 1999 level.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 27, 2011 12:49 PM
Comment #319306

j2t2

Back to 2008 would be a start.

Our budgets should be forward looking, in any case. We would be planning for expenditures a couple years hence. Presumably, the economy will recover by then and we will be facing the problem of overheating.

The other problem with government spending is exactly that time lag. It is like in the old houses when you took a shower. Turn on the hot water and only cold comes out. Compensate for the cold and when the hot hits, it is scalding. Turn it down, and you freeze. The best response is NOT to react to the short term signals.

Posted by: C&J at February 27, 2011 1:07 PM
Comment #319307

Stephen, the only negative effect on the economy, by cutting spending, would be the growth of unemployment by government employees.

Taxes are certainly the money of the American taxpayer. The means for cutting taxes does not have to be found or justified; the money is already ours. I believe what the American taxpayer wants is for someone in Washington to be responsible and use our tax dollars for important issues and not for personal or political projects. If politicians were responsible, there would be no need to raise taxes or to borrow money. If states have to live within their budgets, why should it be so evil for the taxpayer to ask the same of their federally elected officials?

“So, ironically enough, over the long term, you take more money out of people’s pockets with these ill-conceived tax cuts.”

I assume by this statement, you mean cutting taxes takes the money out of the pockets of those who make a living through the re-distributive efforts of the left?

“Worse yet, in Reagan’s case, he signed the tax cuts in 1981, and didn’t even break even on the unemployment rate until 1983. Meanwhile, he ran that 11 month period of 10.0% plus unemployment, climaxing in a 10.8 rate at one point”

I have heard the left defend Obama, even until the present time, by blaming all the problems he has with the economy on George Bush. Ronal Reagan was elected in 1981, do you also believe the problems Reagan faced during his first 2 plus years are the result of Jimmy Carters mishandling of the economy?

“You say the government’s bloated with an excess of employees. Well, however negative your connotation, your choice of words might be, those “bloated” jobs are still jobs. Lose them, and you gain the liabilities of more unemployed, and lose the asset of somebody with a dependable paycheck who can pay their own way in life.”

Let me ask you one question Stephen, and if you could, answer it straight up, and not as a politician would answer. Would private companies operate the same way as the Federal Government does during the current economic times? Would private enterprise spend money, they don’t have, just for the purpose of keeping people employed.

“If you want to see the real enemies of capitalism, it’s the folks on Wall Street, and their incredibly complex market manipulation machinery. With their derivatives and their computers, they’re building a system that’s difficult for mere mortals like ourselves to control, and worse yet distorts prices out of shape.”

The democrats had control of the government for 2 years, why didn’t they do something about this so-called problem? Could it be that Wall Street is in the pocket of the democrats? Obama who talked the talk, failed to walk the walk. It turns out the transparent/boot the lobbyist out of DC administration, is secretly meeting in undisclosed places. For all the talk of cracking down on Wall Street, the Democrats will never do it, because this is where their re-election funds come from. Could it be the democrats were too busy creating a HC system that has literally scared the hell out of corporate America? Who is the left to determine who spends and who retains their own money? I personnaly believe that the elite hollywood group should spend ALL their ill-earned gaines on Tea Party efforts. Why don’t I have the right to demand this?

Pertaining to the stimulus; you and Obama are about the only ones left who believe it actually helped our economy.

Posted by: 1776 at February 27, 2011 2:00 PM
Comment #319310

Stephen, with all due respect, your post has far too many ideas presented. Thus, it is very difficult to read. It would be wiser to clearly and concisely posit a few main ideas, and then expand upon them. Not write the Rise and Fall of Western Civilization.

I do admire your passion, however.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at February 27, 2011 2:14 PM
Comment #319311

SD

“You say the government’s bloated with an excess of employees. Well, however negative your connotation, your choice of words might be, those “bloated” jobs are still jobs. Lose them, and you gain the liabilities of more unemployed, and lose the asset of somebody with a dependable paycheck who can pay their own way in life.”

“One part of it is, Obama actually acted to stop the slide into greater unemployment. He actually intervened and prevented the collapse of the car industry, which now is doing good business again. Would the economy have been better off suffering through the millions in job losses? Remember, those add to the burden on the economy, weighing it down.”

Both of those statements show you have no understanding of the Constitution and of economics. Those are just rhetoric from the left and have no meaning. That applies to j2t2 also. Corporatist tea party. What is that? You guys on the left sure like to come up with those bogus descriptions and phrases and try to make people think you know something about nothing.

Posted by: tom humes at February 27, 2011 2:37 PM
Comment #319312

” That applies to j2t2 also. Corporatist tea party. “

Oh Tom, if the shoe fits….

” What is that? “
AN accurate reflection of the facts, my friend.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 27, 2011 3:11 PM
Comment #319331

C&J-
I think the obsession with size is a deliberate distraction from function. If you can get people worried about big government, maybe they won’t be so vigilant about good government.

There seems to be a lot of agreement that government has deteriorated over the past couple generations, and I think the fact that one side has decided that the first priority is to reduce government, rather than run it well, is one of the keys. It’s a lot harder to shrink government if you’re actually worried about the consequences for governance and the economy.

I think the mistake is to give government power without moderating that power with constraints on how it can use it, constraints that force it to focus on doing what it’s supposed to do, and otherwise keep out of folk’s lives.

I think the mistake is to create new spending items without an idea of how to pay for it.

So much of what the Republicans have done wrong comes from their very unbalanced view of government. How can those who don’t moderate themselves moderate America? Their poor impulse control, their unshakeable belief that anything they do in the cause of their poltics is right leads them to lurch into policies, and into defenses they’d have been better of not getting into.

1776-

Stephen, the only negative effect on the economy, by cutting spending, would be the growth of unemployment by government employees.

Employees who contribute their money, their pay back to the economy. They pay mortgages, car notes, groceries, utility bills- everything most private employees pay for, and, let me add, are paid by.

Because we are running a deficit, any tax cut we are given requires, if not offset, additional deficit spending, because that revenue is now gone. The taxes we pay are already applied to paying for the expenditure.

I assume by this statement, you mean cutting taxes takes the money out of the pockets of those who make a living through the re-distributive efforts of the left?

No, actually that’s not its effect at all. Remember, we’re deficit spending, so any federal spending is still getting paid for.

No, what I mean is that when we amass debt, when we run deficits, we pay for it by pushing out treasury bonds which we then have to pay interest on. Your people deliberately chose this method to pay for their spending, and by granting the tax cuts they did, made us that much more reliant on that method.

Go look at the Treasury budget, and you’ll find one of the biggest, and often least discussed elements of the federal budget: what we spend to pay back our creditors, and service our debt. That’s money that doesn’t go to programs of actual immediate use, and which nowadays often goes to help finance other nation’s economies.

[D]o you also believe the problems Reagan faced during his first 2 plus years are the result of Jimmy Carters mishandling of the economy?

The question is complicated. Reagan continued the monetary policy of Carter and Paul Volcker. However, he pretended to the American public that if they cut taxes and increased defense spending that they would feel it less.

But the approach backfired, vastly increased the nation’s debt. Republicans sell the dream that if we somehow all pay less to the government, government will either shrink to suit, or the economy will grow and help the government recover it’s lost revenues.

It just hasn’t happened. But ask any GOPer, and they’ll say it’s the best thing you can do for the economy. In truth, it’s just an excuse for giving the upper class a windfall, and relieving them of the responsibility so many of them hate, of carrying the rest of the country, to a certain degree, on their backs.

Except, everybody else carries them on their backs, has to bear them as a burden. When your light bill goes up, when the price you pay at the pump goes up, when somebody squanders the assets that were supposed to pay for the pension funds, that enriches somebody more at your expense. Folks are willing to adjust to that to a degree, but there are limits, and not just limits in terms of what they wish they could pay, but indeed, limits to what they actually can pay, as a matter of fact.

Let me ask you one question Stephen, and if you could, answer it straight up, and not as a politician would answer. Would private companies operate the same way as the Federal Government does during the current economic times? Would private enterprise spend money, they don’t have, just for the purpose of keeping people employed.

No, but then we’re talking apples and oranges here. The Private company cannot legally obligate the nation to pay to keep the operation going. The Federal Government can, and does. The private company can only call upon its own credit to borrow money. The Federal government can borrow on the credit of an entire nation, one that happens to have the world’s largest and wealthiest economies.

So, while blunt and often desperate necessity drives the layoffs in the private sector, the government has a choice.

More to the point, our government, if it sees that the economy is weak, that consumers at the middle class level are lacking in cash, and that high unemployment is driving much of the economic downturn there, can choose to act countercyclically, deliberately keeping people employed, to keep more money flowing into the economy.

Instead, though, your people will willingly push more austerity on an already too austere economic situation.

The democrats had control of the government for 2 years, why didn’t they do something about this so-called problem? Could it be that Wall Street is in the pocket of the democrats?

The paragraph that’s a part of seems to go in several different directions. First Wall Street’s in the Democrat’s pocket, then it’s scared of what the Democrats are going to do. Do you think your people were lobbying the Democrats for their health?

I know you think the government should get its hands even further off the economy. Problem is, if the government doesn’t define right and wrong in the economy, deception and con games will flourish wherever people can get away with it.

You’re too busy fighting liberal elites to understand just how much the activities and the policies of the people you support are hurting you.

As for the stimulus? Sorry, while your poisonous propaganda has convinced some people it didn’t work, nonpartisan analysis, and analysis from many economists suggest the opposite. The failure of the Stimulus package was your way to blunt the political impact of it. That’s why the people who you trust and listen to had to insist it didn’t work.

You better keep an eye on real results, rather than just political rhetoric. The politicians will say what they have to say to get their way. Only by consulting real data about what’s gone on do you develop a truly independent perspective, that allows you to truly hold your politician’s feet to the fire. If you take their word on everything, they can lead you around by the nose, even when they’re dead wrong, and by the time you can see or admit that things didn’t go like they were supposed to, you’re already screwed.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 27, 2011 9:36 PM
Comment #319332

Kevin L. Lagola-
The main idea is this: The Republicans are pushing policy that will exacerbate our economic problems, and those problems will make our fiscal situation worse.

We need people employed, working jobs, taking home paychecks that they power our consumer economy with.

We do not need to add more unemployment to what is already excessive unemployment.

We cannot afford to set our debts right, until we have the economy moving along at such a pace as to take the painful austerity measures without falling into a truly serious economic downturn again.

The Republicans are anticipating a problem that does not yet exist, and making a problem that already does exist worse in the process.

tom humes-

Both of those statements show you have no understanding of the Constitution and of economics. Those are just rhetoric from the left and have no meaning.

Really, so you’ve won the argument already without offering real evidence of your own?

Nah. I understand the Constitution well enough, thank you very much. I just don’t agree with your interpretation. In fact, I find it a rather extreme and impractical reading that defeats the purpose of the adaptive government the Framers gave us.

Economics? You’re preaching an economic theory that says to get ahead in a financial crisis relating to unemployment being too high, you ought to make it go even higher.

Nah, I think I understand economics well enough. Or, at least, basic math. There’s not much point in inflicting scorched earth austerity on a economy like ours. There’s no inflation to fight, and too much of all the consequences of your policy in actual already: the poverty, the unemployment, the economically driven fiscal shortfalls.

We need to fight our current situation, because it’s economically and fiscally unhealthy. We do not need to compound the mistakes of Wall Street, which already inflicted great austerity on this country, by having the government pile on even more burdens on the average person.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 27, 2011 9:51 PM
Comment #319354

Mr. Daugherty has a knack for writing lots of words, endlessly circle around without imparting any insight, and using examples that are meaningless. Here is just one example of his circular thinking…
“You cannot punish growth in order to resolve a deficit, because economic growth is the source of the money you’re going to have to pay off your debt with.”

Let’s analyze this statement.

1) “You cannot punish growth” (means) we must spend more money we don’t have on jobs we don’t need to grow government that is already too large.

2) “resolve a deficit” (means) sometime in the future, we don’t know when or how, but someday.

3) “economic growth is the source of money” (means) growth is spending money we don’t have on jobs we don’t need that don’t create permanent jobs in the private sector that will magically multiply and produce wealth. This is the “trickle-down” theory in reverse. If government takes enough from the people to spend on the people, the people will be enriched. For Mr. Daugherty, he sees no error in this thinking. I am quite sure he also believes in creating something from nothing as well.

4) “money you’re going to have to pay off your debt with” (means) the money government takes from you in deferred taxes will some day come back to you so you can pay your debts. Government can’t pay its debts, will take money from you to spend more while still not paying its debts, and this will make us all richer…someday.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 28, 2011 1:39 PM
Comment #319355

No matter how Mr. Daugherty spins his magical solutions, the fact is, this congress is not going to fund massive new spending. Fiscal restraint is the order of the day and the liberals can just forget their big spending dreams. The health care bill will be found unconstitutional by the supreme court and congress will begin anew finding solutions to our health care debacle.

This nation will face severe energy shortages as the turmoil grows in the middle east and the public will demand greater use of our own available energy resources. We will drill for more oil, built new nuclear plants, and use even more of our abundant coal. The growing violence on our southern border will demand more attention from Washington and illegal immigration will be curtailed.

Our military presence in much of the world will be reduced and those countries getting a free ride on our dollar will increase their own protective forces out of necessity.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 28, 2011 2:17 PM
Comment #319357

Royal Flush-
Royal Flush has a knack… oh **** it, it’s not worth my time. Let me address the substance instead.

Let’s put forward a list of programs Republicans are not going to cut: The two wars, Medicare Advantage and the Drug Benefit, The Department of Homeland Security, and their tax cuts.

They will also not touch Medicare in any way, except perhaps to repeal laws that would make it cheaper.

So, on (1), your high horse got broken legs and had to be put down. Face it: your party plans to spend money it doesn’t have, too. The difference is, you plan to spend it reinforcing the economy that was before the economic crisis. You’re not looking to put this economy on a better footing, bringing back manufacturing work and manufacturing profits. A richer country can pay back its debts and reduce it’s assistance payments to the average American much better.

On (2), well, as soon as possible is the better answer. And it’s a much better answer than your big budget man Paul Ryan came up with. He promises to balance the budget in 50 years. I know having a long term plan to reduce the deficit, but that’s ridiculous. No, it really is.

On (3), It’s common sense. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Government takes its revenues from economic activity it taxes. Where there isn’t economic activity, there’s no taxes. If we don’t improve the economy, the chances for improving the fiscal picture are low.

On (4)…? I’m not real sure I understand you, but here’s my best try.

Money in an economy circulates. If there isn’t enough circulating, revenues from taxes on that circulation go down. If the economy grows, there’s more resources at hand to pay back debts. If it doesn’t, there are less. That simple.

Only trouble is, our economy is in really crappy shape, thanks to the Economic crisis. it’s not a problem that’s going to fix itself, much less fix itself for free.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 28, 2011 3:05 PM
Comment #319358

Royal Flush-

No matter how Mr. Daugherty spins his magical solutions, the fact is, this congress is not going to fund massive new spending.

Well, this is where you and I agree. Of course, you won’t like my solution: Get a new Congress in place that’s willing to invest in this nation’s future.

Fiscal restraint is the order of the day…

Oh, is that what your people were saying when they decided to renew the wasteful, fiscally expensive tax cuts for the Rich? Please.

The health care bill will be found unconstitutional by the supreme court…

What else do you see in the magic crystal ball? Will I find love? Should I invest in this penny stock or that one?

Really, the interpretations necessary to do that will likely be too much for even the conservative Roberts court to stomach.

This nation will face severe energy shortages as the turmoil grows in the middle east…

And since we’re net importers of most of our oil, which will remain the fuel of the choice…

And those new drilling projects won’t come online for years…

And since even then, the oil won’t stay here, and won’t remove most of our dependence on international energy…

…well, your plans won’t exactly do much to help. Unless you’re a CEO or an investor in an energy company, in which case, you’ll be paid back handsomely for your contribution to their campaign.

The growing violence on our southern border…

Really, this Administration has already curtailed much of the illegal immigration. Did you know that some of the proposed budget cuts are on border security?

Our military presence in much of the world will be reduced…

Probably will. But will you like the results?

Part of the reason for the hegemonic policies of the last few decades was the notion that we didn’t want many of those countries, European countries as well, building up the forces and the attitudes that go with them to become challengers to our power.

We kept our allies under our umbrella of protection so they wouldn’t become additional rivals that might ally against us.

Is this what you want? Because, you know what comes with this territory? The need to deal with other countries more as equals. The need to negotiate. The need to understand more of the rest of the world in your dealings. The reality that you will no longer be able to dictate terms so powerfully.

All the things your people have been fighting this past decade. Oh well.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 28, 2011 3:24 PM
Comment #319359

Mr. Daugherty’s rebuttal…thanks for the laugh.

He writes “Government takes its revenues from economic activity it taxes. Where there isn’t economic activity, there’s no taxes. If we don’t improve the economy, the chances for improving the fiscal picture are low.”

He begins his comment with …Government takes…” That pretty much sums it up.

He then suggests that government creates lasting taxable economic activity by taking money out of the free economy for spending that government deems necessary or appropriate.

The liberal lament seems to be that there just isn’t enough taxation to support the government we would like, so to solve this problem, we don’t increases taxes, but rather, increase spending.

Why don’t we increase taxes? Because the American people won’t stand for it. What’s left, deficit spending. Of course, deficit spending must be paid back someday with interest through taxation.

Liberals love spending other people’s money. They can’t get enough of it. We have a debt of $14 trillion and it still isn’t enough. If spending $14 trillion we didn’t have couldn’t solve our problems, perhaps another $20 trillion or so might just do the trick.

This is a new day and a new congress Mr. Daugherty. You and your liberal friends will just have to adjust or leave. With only 20% of the people supporting your policies you’re in for a rough time.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 28, 2011 3:38 PM
Comment #319360

LOL…Mr. Daugherty writes; “And since even then, the oil won’t stay here, and won’t remove most of our dependence on international energy…”

Well who’d of thunk it? We ship our oil to Canada, they ship theirs to Venezuela, they ship theirs to Saudi Arabia, they ship theirs too…it’s just a game of musical oil tankers. It must be more profitable to ship our oil all around the world and then import what we shipped to others. I wonder from what government czar Mr. Daugherty got this asinine idea. Perhaps we could apply this logic to our food as well.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 28, 2011 3:48 PM
Comment #319363

Royal Flush

For some time now SD and others on WB have been honing their “skills” so they can get a good audition for SNL. I guess that has not happened yet. They are still working on it.

Posted by: tom humes at February 28, 2011 4:53 PM
Comment #319366

Royal Flush-
I don’t get your approach. You focus on a choice of words, but don’t acknowledge the basic truth behind them. If your cuts worsen the economy, the fiscal picture, over the long run, worsens with them.

He then suggests that government creates lasting taxable economic activity…

I know, I’ve violated your precious dogma.

The simple answer is, yes. When they measure GDP, the government’s expenditures in our economy are part of that growth. Of course, it also takes money out of the economy to fund its operations, and to pay back its creditors.

That said, we’re putting out to the economy more than we’re taking from it right now. Your party has even endeavored to deepen this deficit, their policy causing an instant 200 billion dollar addition to the deficit, when it passed with the Obama compromise of last December.

Funny how that works. Deficits don’t matter if they follow Republican Dogma about fiscal matters and the economy, right?

The liberal lament seems to be that there just isn’t enough taxation to support the government we would like, so to solve this problem, we don’t increases taxes, but rather, increase spending.

You operate with a double standard on fiscal matters, rather than seeing things from a reconciled perspective that takes in both sides of the equation.

You also ignore the kind of economy you are in while you push your agenda, using a cure intended for economies that need runaway monetary growth to stop to resolve an economic crisis based on runaway monetary decline.

The car is on the train tracks. The rational response is to hit the gas until you are off the tracks. The Republicans have their foot on the brakes.

That is the liberal lament.

If you think you can fix America’s debt without fixing America’s economy, you are like a man working minimum wage who thinks that by sacrificing, he can afford a Rolls Royce. Fiscal recovery will cost money, money we can’t use for other things. If we actually need that money to grow economically, your Fiscal recovery will be blunted, likely completely swallowed up by the fiscal consequences of an economic downturn.

And why? Because your austerity hits a nation with too much austerity in the economy to begin with, too much working against growth, against improvement in the jobs market. It’s like putting somebody on a starvation diet to cure malnutrition.

As for the idiocy concerning oil? Listen, fellow, what do you think happens to our oil prices if we stop selling to other countries. Hell, do you think the oil companies you do so many favors for are actually all operating purely from this country anymore? There’s a world market, and hoarding oil here won’t help. We don’t have the supply necessary, even with your protectionist proposals, to achieve that kind of independence. Your assumptions are based on ignorance of how the market works, an ignorance political hacks in your party encourage so that people don’t see the point of ending the endless kowtowing to oil interests.

We need to support energy sources that do not rely on fossil fuels. Supplies are finite, and economic consequences come of our dependence, both now, and in the future.

Liberals love spending other people’s money. They can’t get enough of it. We have a debt of $14 trillion and it still isn’t enough. If spending $14 trillion we didn’t have couldn’t solve our problems, perhaps another $20 trillion or so might just do the trick.

Want to join me in counting up how much of this debt came under Bush 41, Reagan, and Bush 43? How many votes did your people make to raise the debt ceiling, before they finally found Jesus, and threatened a worldwide economic collapse to please the tea party movement?

Your party is the party of amnesia and ignorance, one where the leaders and the pundits have to keep people in a constant fog to keep them devoted to policies that only benefit the few and the wealthy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 28, 2011 5:15 PM
Comment #319369

Mr. Daugherty writes; “The car is on the train tracks. The rational response is to hit the gas until you are off the tracks. The Republicans have their foot on the brakes.”

LOL…the car is on the train tracks all right and the train is fueled by spending. And the liberals want to add more fuel to make the train go faster. We have five people sitting on their arses in the car begging the train crew for help on their cell phones and five people in back of the car pushing to save everyone.

He writes; “If you think you can fix America’s debt without fixing America’s economy, you are like a man working minimum wage who thinks that by sacrificing, he can afford a Rolls Royce.”

It must be a Republican or Conservative since he’s working and dreaming of earning (not being given) a better future. Liberals believe everyone should have a Rolls Royce whether they work or not.

He writes; “Fiscal recovery will cost money, money we can’t use for other things.”

Well…congratulations, you got that one right. Money gobbled up by government for the purpose of making government larger can’t be used by the private sector.

He writes; “And why? Because your austerity hits a nation with too much austerity in the economy to begin with, too much working against growth, against improvement in the jobs market. It’s like putting somebody on a starvation diet to cure malnutrition.”

That’s the best one yet. A starvation diet for liberals means only $14 trillion in debt and budget deficits in the multiple trillions. Republicans and conservatives calling for a 2.5% reduction in annual spending is “draconian”. Dude…you better store up some good depression drugs as you’re in for a rough ride.

Mr. Daugherty must hate the future because he seems to be living in the past. Everyone but the libs and dems are to blame for everything wrong in the country. When he is stuck for an answer he reverts to the past and the evil Republicans. It’s all Reagan’s and Bush’s fault.

The voters are stupid he claims and being mislead. Only Mr. Daugherty and his fellow libs have facts and answers. I wonder what it is like to be in a room with ten people and only Mr. Daugherty and his brother lib know the truth? That’s not arrogance is it?

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 28, 2011 5:52 PM
Comment #319372

Royal Flush-
Most of that 14 Trillion is a product of your policies. Hell, most of Obama’s budget deficits come from what you folks did. Most of his own policies, with the deliberate exception of the Stimulus, were deficit neutral.

But you are not willing to take responsiblity for that. You have to make the “Evil Bill” argument that got a laugh in Twister. Oh, you see, it was a Liberalized Republican Party that created those deficits, and spent all that money they didn’t have. We’re the new Republican party, with extra Tea Party flavor, and we killed that evil twin of ours.

Exceeeeeept, you and your people support pretty much the SAME DAMN POLICIES!

There isn’t enough of a difference between Bush policies and Republican policies now to make a damn bit of difference.

Even your friends at Goldman Sachs can only take comfort in the fact that the Republican’s current budget won’t pass the Senate or the President’s desk. Otherwise they’re predict a one to two point decline in GDP, a “fiscal drag” to use Goldman Sach’s own term for it.

See, even Wall Street knows what you refuse to acknowledge: the money will have to come from somewhere.

See, the difference is, people aren’t paying right now for what’s being spent in deficit. But they are being PAID right now by that same borrowed money. That is the asymmetry of deficit spending.

It’s one of the reasons Bush ran a deficit rather than insist on paying for his spending. If he actually asked people for the money, the political support for his wars, his programs, and his other agenda items would be subject to the pushes and pulls of people’s ability or willingness to pay that high of a rate. If people have to pay out of pocket for their government, they are more vigilant, more involved, more demanding about what they are paying for. If they don’t? Well, that’s why Republicans spend like drunken sailors.

But much as I would prefer a balanced budget, the money has to come from somewhere. Otherwise, it’s a fiscal drag on growth, growth we badly need to get out of the hole dug by this recession.

We have to borrow money because of the lower revenues. If we fixed the economy, we would not face the long term debts that come as a result of allowing that downturn to last so long. It will save us more money in the long term to have an economy that can soak up the deficit with it’s growth. It worked before, it can work again.

The voters are stupid he claims and being mislead. Only Mr. Daugherty and his fellow libs have facts and answers. I wonder what it is like to be in a room with ten people and only Mr. Daugherty and his brother lib know the truth? That’s not arrogance is it?

I don’t believe voters are stupid. Not uniformly interested or invested, but not stupid at all. I wouldn’t write what I do if I thought most people were stupid. I couldn’t help stupid people by sharing what I know.

And what I know? Well, I certainly know enough not to be taken in by your BS, and I think over time people will learn, and are capable of learning. If I had as little faith in people as you claim, I would advise folks to lie to their faces, the same way your politician lie to them.

But I think folks learn, and I think people are smarter than they or the media give themselves credit for. What’s needed is background, and that is what I provide people.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 28, 2011 9:43 PM
Comment #319373

Your Trust Is Important

I’ve ask you to trust me, I will do the best I can for you.
I promised no new taxes, to cut spending, and to create jobs.
Trust Me

I know I’ve felled you in the past, I know that my actions have cost you
your lively hood, homes, jobs, and sanity. But you can trust me

Even though I am more concerned about my special interests
you can trust me.

I may take away some of your rights, I may take away some of your liberties
but you surely can trust me

While I receive kick back from oil companies and their lobbyist, you pay more in gasoline and groceries…
but you really can trust me

I know whats best for you, I really do. Even though I work 2 weeks on and 1 week off, if you have a job you work 40 plus hours just to make ends meet…
but hey trust me

I know my friends and I my have told you one thing and we are doing another, we are also causing a worst situation for you to and putting on the blame on someone that we hate.. you trust me so much you can’t even see the conspiracy… thank you.

I may have lied about a few things, weapons of mass destruction oops over 4,000 US soldiers killed, but hey you can trust me

I may have blamed others for the messes that I’ve help create and acted like I wasn’t there, c’mon trust me

Sure I may twist the facts to fit my own agenda, never mind the truth… you wouldn’t fact check me anyway, I appreciate your trust in me.

Even though my plans have been proven to slow national growth and increase unemployment by hundreds of thousands, but I know whats best for you, you won’t pay attention to notice, “read my lips” you trust me!!!

Of course I will tell you what you want to hear, How else can I take care of me and my contributors special interests? you choose to believe my words without researching the facts… wow, you did trust me

I am your Republican that you voted for, after I finished with health care, spending cuts, abortion, collective bargaining then I will worry about your jobs if there are any left.

You’re my base: not too educated, easily influence, and thank you so much for never questioning or fact checking… you made me what I am, now I am gladly returning the favor. Say bye to your unions, bye bye to your common rights, so long to health care.. you cost too much to be alive anyway. You think with me because you want to be me but not smart enough to know when you are being taking advantage of… thank you, thank you.

Thank you so much for trusting me, I have so much more to do for you!!!!

Posted by: outofwork vet at February 28, 2011 10:17 PM
Comment #319375


“In 1937 the Democrats were in such complete control of everything that people thought the Republican party would die out.”

Unfortunately it didn’t happen.

In 1929 the Republicans were in such complete control of everything that people should have anticipated the Great Depression.

One would think that after the Greedy Old Party gained complete control of everything again and did the same thing again, people would know better than to put Republicans in control of anything.

Posted by: jlw at February 28, 2011 10:40 PM
Comment #319379

In three words or less - answer to Stephen’s question of not enough revenue; therefore we must increase taxes : Cut Spending.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at February 28, 2011 11:30 PM
Comment #319393

Kevin L. Lagola-
Actually, until we’re out of the economic dire straits we are in, we can do neither. That’s why I supported Obama’s deal.

The Republican’s policy is too rigid. You folks are too willing to let the fiscal situation get out of control, rather than considere additional taxation.

And no, don’t pull that infinite taxes crap on me. I don’t want endless tax raising. I want Americans to decide what they are willing to pay for, and pay for that now.

But right now, I believe our needs exceed our means. Unlike Republicans, I don’t believe we should cut muscle with fat to achieve fiscal balance. More to the point, I don’t believe that will make us any healthier, in that sense.

The answer, in my opinion is: 1) Bring the economy back so we can afford to cut back on government without causing a major return to recession. 2) Balance the budget from both the spending and the revenue side, which will be easier when people can afford the higher taxes, and can afford for the government to spend less on their needs.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 1, 2011 10:15 AM
Comment #319394

Stephen, How about cutting some of those multiple agencies that the CBO brought out yesterday. Time to start with the waste, multiple agencies basicly doing the same job is highly unacceptible. That Senator that said that this make congress look like a bunch of JACKASS’ was right.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2011 10:43 AM
Comment #319399

Correction that’s GAO not CBO.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2011 11:48 AM
Comment #319402

KAP-
Sure. Like somebody commented, it would make a lot more sense to cut those than to cut necessary and useful programs.

While we need to keep the Government’s support to the economy fairly constant, I believe we should be getting the best bang for our buck in all cases. As a liberal, I believe government should fulfill purposeful goals with its spending, and as such, I don’t like waste or duplication.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 1, 2011 12:12 PM
Comment #319405

Mr. Daugherty writes; “See, the difference is, people aren’t paying right now for what’s being spent in deficit. But they are being PAID right now by that same borrowed money. That is the asymmetry of deficit spending.”

Brilliant…just brilliant. When the government doesn’t pay for what it spends we have a deficit. How revealing…how prescient. Government is meeting the payroll by borrowing money. We hire folks with borrowed money so they can pay taxes with borrowed money. MY…MY…in some circles that could describe a Ponzi Scheme.

I have a very good friend who emigrated from Poland in the early 80’s. He worked for the Communists. His favorite saying is…”We pretended to work, and they pretended to pay us.”

I find it odd that Mr. Daugherty rails against what he believes was reckless spending by Republicans, as though they were in complete control for the last three decades, yet now that obama and friends are trumping reckless spending with gigantic spending, it becomes necessary. He would have us believe that $14 trillion in debt occurred only on the Republican watch with no Democrat fingerprints to be found. How silly, how absurd.

A new wind is blowing in the land Mr. Daugherty and rather than blowing $100 bills to be squandered, it is blowing the seeds of fiscal sanity. I wonder what obama’s campaign stump speech in 2012 might be. Elect me again and I promise to spend even more borrowed money? Music to liberal ears I am certain, but just a dull, annoying dissonant thud for most Americans.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 1, 2011 1:54 PM
Comment #319407

“blowing seeds of fiscal sanity”??? What are you smoking ???
There’s definitely stuff blowing around, but it’s from the mouth of the orange man, et al. All the renegade governors who are out to make names for themselves have done nothing but show their true colors and let out some of the outlandish plans they have to take control. People are getting a real wake-up about the intent to stifle union representation, sick care, elderly care, disabled care, poverty support, and everything else NOT of a right-wing position. The whole intent is a power grab, and I hate to inform you that you don’t have nearly the support you might think you do. The greed is far too obvious.
Where are jobs????? Boner promised that would be a first…. guess he must have lied.

Posted by: jane doe at March 1, 2011 3:31 PM
Comment #319408

Yea jane and Obama said that the unemployment rate wouldn’t get above 8% with the stimulus, I guess he lied to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2011 3:35 PM
Comment #319410

However, KAP, Boner is supposed to be in charge of the House….he can set the agenda, and drive the frikkin’ bus, but he’s too dam busy kissing ass and pushing his own personal agenda.
Obama stepped into crap left behind by a ****load of others and had to muck through it all to accomplish anything.. and that he has done on any number of things, miraculously, and without much help!!
Find some other ways to support your imaginative plans and B.
S. rhetoric..the ones you guys continue to use, don’t work any more.

Posted by: jane doe at March 1, 2011 4:15 PM
Comment #319411

And the republicans had the house for 2 months now and Dems still have the Senate and Pres. Jane, so anything the house pushes through still has to go through the senate and Pres. So cry to someone who cares.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2011 4:22 PM
Comment #319413

Nobody’s crying, except for you, Kap…..uh, oh ya, and Boner. And so soon with the lame excuses to cover up inaction. Way to go….since they bitched daily about failures and deceit and inactivity…..hmmmm. Doesn’t seem they’ve changed their tactics at all.

Posted by: jane doe at March 1, 2011 4:36 PM
Comment #319414

The only ones crying and Bit—ing are you liberals Jane. For 2 years Democrats had the majority and did nothing to curb the unemployment. So who is covering up for inaction jane just keep blameing the other guy for your own parties screw ups.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2011 4:46 PM
Comment #319415

As always Jane I take your comments seriously. Could you share a few of the cuts proposed by the house that you consider harmful to the nation?

As for public unions, it is certainly time that this scheme to defraud the taxpayers had some light shed upon it. We have state employee unions sitting at the table with the politicians they funded for election negotiating their wages and benefits. Who is representing the taxpayer?

Please explain for us why states should be required to collect state employee union dues through payroll deductions. Are the unions not capable of collecting their own dues from members who wish to participate?

Jane writes; “Where are jobs????? Boner promised that would be a first…. guess he must have lied.”

Could you provide the quote to back up your comment?

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 1, 2011 4:57 PM
Comment #319420

KAP-
The eight percent figure was based on preliminary figures for the size of the downturn in GDP for the fourth quarter of 2008. Obama did not have the revised figures which would show that the recession was deeper than thought. It’s not a lie if you tell people the truth as far as you knew it at the time.

Royal Flush-

We hire folks with borrowed money so they can pay taxes with borrowed money. MY…MY…in some circles that could describe a Ponzi Scheme.

I wouldn’t ask those circles to head up a financial crimes unit.

Ponzi Schemes are high-return financial schemes. People getting the benefits of those schemes are not required to pay back the money provided. They get high percentage point returns quickly.

They are never told that they’re recieving proceeds from the money other people are paying in, right at that moment. That fraud, that misrepresentation is what makes a Ponzi Scheme so insidious.

Deficit spending, though it provides rather quick benefits, do so at a cost to the taxpayer later. You end up having to pay that money back. What kind of Ponzi scheme does that? It’s a promised negative return on investment.

That is, unless something real and productive is done with the money.

Ahhhhh. Here we come to the crux of things. What we as liberals intend to do through deficit spending is improve the economy, to help us wean ourselves off of foreign energy, to bring more manufacturing jobs here to America, rather than watch them go offshore instead. We plan to invest, just as a city, state, or corporation that issues bonds (as the Federal government does) often act to invest in things like schools, equipment, and other things.

Your side, as I demonstrated, is little different in deed, though the words promise radically different actions and outcomes. So, the key question is, what are we invested in here? The Republicans recently acted to protect tax breaks and subsidies for oil companies. Does government really need to be paying to back more of the same in terms of policy?

The Republicans seem to have no real ambitions for this nation’s future. Their leadership regarding science, technology, and improvements in infrastructure is practically nil. And why shouldn’t it be, if they’re seeking to be foolishly consistent with the idea that government helps nobody (except perhaps the campaign contributors)?

The Republicans cannot afford to have government to be demonstrated of any value because that confers legitimacy on what the Republicans want to destroy, whether it’s right or wrong, for ideological reasons.

I find it odd that Mr. Daugherty rails against what he believes was reckless spending by Republicans, as though they were in complete control for the last three decades…

I wouldn’t say it was complete. Reagan had about the position after 1980 that Obama has now, With a Republican Majority in the Senate, and the Democrats leading in the House of Representatives. The Republicans held onto that Senate until 1986.

Bush 41, of course, had a completely Democratic Senate and House, but the Republicans would control Congress for the majority of Bill Clinton’s term, and the majority of George W. Bush’s tenure as well.

For virtually all of the time that the Democrats were the unquestioned majority in Congress, the Republicans instituted a campaign of filibustering that blocked about 80% of what the Democrats sought to pass. For the first two years of that four years, they also had a President willing to veto much of their agenda as well.

So, long story short, your party may not be totally responsible for everything that occured, but they certainly wielded greater power for the majority of that time in one way or another, and set much of the tone for how we taxed, and more importantly, how we spent.

But try getting you to admit that. When something goes wrong, it’s always the Democrat’s fault, or the fault of some liberal policy or institution started (or percieved to have started) under liberals. It’s a bad habit that means that Republicans at home don’t always register the full meaning or the full effect of the policies their leaders support, and those leaders certainly don’t tell them.

Like I’ve said before, just because somebody committed an error with you, doesn’t absolve you from blame. Wrong with company is still wrong. And, in this case, your party lead with this particular policy, actual tax cuts, targeted at the upper class, and promised but never forthcoming spending cuts, especially in terms of military funding.

If fighting to preserve tax cuts and tax breaks and then turning around and saying that the only problem is spending is sanity, I want no part of it. I see things from both sides. I see a combination of reckless spending increases, and reckless tax cutting and a failure to offset. Bush wanted to maximize political benefit by giving people goodies, without asking them to take on the financial burden of paying for it.

He had no economic crisis to justify not asking for new taxes or offsetting cuts to other programs. He intentionally stimulated through debt-financed tax cuts, knowing it would increase the burden.

And yes, Democrats did so with him, and the Republicans in Congress. They knew the political climate. The climate that was hostile to tax increases. The climate that was hostile to regulation and other checks on bad business practices.

The climate your people devotedly created. You folks had your day in the sun, your chance to prove much of their theories right, though not all. But having failed at that, you haven’t given up on the ideas, you’ve given up listening to anybody who gainsays them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 1, 2011 6:05 PM
Comment #319423

Guess he should have waited for the revised figures then, Stephen. Saying something before you get all the facts isn’t quite smart is it.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2011 6:27 PM
Comment #319424

PS. That goes for both Reps. and Dems Stephen.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2011 6:29 PM
Comment #319425

Mr. Daugherty writes; “For virtually all of the time that the Democrats were the unquestioned majority in Congress, the Republicans instituted a campaign of filibustering that blocked about 80% of what the Democrats sought to pass. For the first two years of that four years, they also had a President willing to veto much of their agenda as well.

So, long story short, your party may not be totally responsible for everything that occured, but they certainly wielded greater power for the majority of that time in one way or another, and set much of the tone for how we taxed, and more importantly, how we spent.”

Hmmm…the Republicans filibustered big spending by Dems and are responsible for “how we spent”? Please explain.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 1, 2011 6:32 PM
Comment #319426


“We have state employee unions sitting at the table with the politicians they funded…”

The last time I checked, unions weren’t giving a whole lot of money to Republican governors and legislators. Republicans love to brag about how they dominate many state governorships and legislatures.

Sounds to me like not giving money to anti-union Republicans is the rub.

Posted by: jlw at March 1, 2011 6:32 PM
Comment #319427

KAP,

Bush missed by a couple of million on the number of jobs that his administration said would be created in the two years after passage of his tax cuts. Blaming Obama for missing an unemployment projection at the height of the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression is petty. It was a bad situation. How bad, was difficult to tell at the time.

Posted by: Rich at March 1, 2011 6:42 PM
Comment #319429

Rich, The fact is that both Bush and Obama have a hand in the mess this country is in. I wasn’t a Bush fan nor am I an Obama fan but to blame just one party IMO is petty. Both made predictions that turned up false.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2011 6:55 PM
Comment #319430


It is hard for me to understand why some liberals can’t give Bush credit for the jobs created in China. Conservatives do.

Posted by: jlw at March 1, 2011 7:10 PM
Comment #319431

Sounds to me like not giving money to anti-union Republicans is the rub.

Posted by: jlw at March 1, 2011

Sounds to me like some folks can’t think. It makes no difference to which politicians public unions give support. Giving money to those who set their pay and benefits should not be tolerated by those who pay the bill.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 1, 2011 7:16 PM
Comment #319437


“Giving money to those who set their pay and benefits should not be tolerated by those who pay the bill.”

Royal you do realize that is not the case, don’t you? The state employee contracts are negotiated by the Office of State Employee Relations in Wisconsin.
The agreements are then approved or not by the representatives of the people of the state of Wisconsin.

“http://oser.state.wi.us/”

Posted by: j2t2 at March 1, 2011 10:40 PM
Comment #319439

KAP-
I’ve got Aspergers, so I insist on a level of meticulous attention to detail that would drive most people up a wall. What I’ve found out is that this is a very time consuming way of doing things. Even I, by this time in my life, have learned to pull back a little, and get things done.

Obama passed his stimulus package ten days before the revised figures came out for the fourth quarter. Those figures went from an estimated 3.8% percent annualized rate of decline to 6.2%.

So, tell me: is your argument that Obama should have waited, during a month where 720,000 people lost their jobs, until he got the full information, and then and only then design a stimulus package?

Time was of the essence. If he made a mistake, undershot, then your argument would then be that he should have done more. But guess who resisted that? Guess who quickly changed the subject to the deficit and the national debt, after several years of supporting those who made it possible?

Royal Flush-
Such a self-serving way to phrase things. Democrats offset much of their new items, the Healthcare bill included. Republicans offset nothing. They didn’t feel they had to.

Why was that? Why did the Republicans let paygo lapse? Wasn’t it a big success, keeping both sides of the budget equation constrained, stable?

The truth is, modern conservatives are not truly fiscal conservatives. They either believe in a theory that says that the economic activity that trickles down from the rich who benefit from being tax cuts will make up for lost revenues, or that is all just a smokescreen for doing a favor for their pals.

Either way, the scheme’s never worked.

Ah, but the Republicans keep on saying it will work, all the time, any time, and they’ll even rewrite the rules so they can cut taxes without offsetting it, and get away with it. That is the depth of your party’s commitment to true fiscal conservatism: like that of a grain of sand.

It’s ****ing marketing. That’s all it is. Your party reduces deficits the way a brand name Soda increases sex appeal. Not one Republican President in the past thirty years has actually walked out of the oval office with a lower deficit, much less a lower national debt. And the Republican Congress? Didn’t care to maintain fiscal responsibility when Bubba wasn’t in the picture to call them on the carpet for it.

America doesn’t need a bunch of penny-ante, economically destructive spending cuts at a time of economic instability. It needs us to resolve the economic problems of this country, and through that, regain the economic strength necessary to stand the austerity that will resolve our debt problems. It’s like getting a better job so you can pay off your loans. Maybe you have to invest a little upfront, but you don’t profit by remaining in your current mediocre position.

It’s time for America to fight back against its current austere circumstances, instead of letting them become the new norm.

I’d say you have a choice: save or create jobs, or look for new jobs for your Representatives and Senators.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 1, 2011 11:50 PM
Comment #319442

Stephen, He should have waited until the revised figures came out. Those 720K out of work may have only been short term but now we will never know. I have found at this time in my life NOT to rush into things but to take my time and get it right the first time.

Posted by: KAP at March 2, 2011 8:13 AM
Comment #319444

KAP-
Look, my point about mentioning the 720 thousand out of work was to indicate the momentum of this event. We actually got a taste of deflation, of a general decline of prices in that summer.

Events like these have a life of their own, and the longer you wait, the greater the damage. Some estimates said that had Bush enacted a stimulus plan early on in response to the crash, he could have gotten away with just 500 billion dollars in stimulus, and that would have simply taken care of everything, unlike the stimulus that did pass, which due to political pressures from the right, ended up a half measure at several hundred billion.

The policies of the right fail to have a real appreciation of exponential behavior in the economy, terms that change by multiples, geometrically, rather than by addition, arithmetically. Yes, if you cut spending now, you would reduce the deficit by that much, but only if the economy doesn’t move because of your cuts, which it won’t do.

The cuts will inflict, according to Goldman Sachs and Moody Analytics, between .5 and 2 percentage points of drag on economic growth, puting between 700,000, and 2 million people out of work.

Such job losses and such growth reductions are felt through higher expenditures (for unemployment, government aid, and early retirement), and lower revenues (due to lost income and ripple effects in the private sector)

And for what? Listening on the radio today, John Boehner was talking about confidence in the economy. If anything has put us in this awful fiscal and economic position today, it’s the faith that mood will overcome math. Yes, psychology has an effect when it comes to the success and failure of economic systems and government policy. But no, those effects still have to overcome the mathematical consequences of what has been done.

If Obama had known how deep the recession was, he would have proposed a larger stimulus package. It would have been the better fiscal idea, too. Better a strong one-time charge that you can pay off in prosperity, than a long term sojourn in economic and fiscal purgatory that doesn’t actually fix the problem.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 2, 2011 10:36 AM
Comment #319447

Stephen, What could have happened and what did happen are 2 different things. Bush warned about the housing thing but it fell on deaf ears so now we have to live with the housing crash. Obama said the stimulus would prevent the unemployment rate from going above 8% with his stimulus plan but we all know what happened there. Getting the facts before acting is the key, preliminary and actual, act on the actual not the preliminary.

Posted by: KAP at March 2, 2011 11:15 AM
Comment #319448

Mr. Daughert writes; “America doesn’t need a bunch of penny-ante, economically destructive spending cuts at a time of economic instability.”

Since Mr. Daugherty has spoken about his Asperger’s I will be understanding where I can. However, it is at odds to call something both…”penny-ante” and “destructive”. Which term should apply in your opinion Mr. Daugherty?

Some dems and libs call a 2.5% reduction in government spending draconian. Is 2.5% penny-ante? If so, why draconian?

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 2, 2011 12:01 PM
Comment #319449

Mr. Daugherty writes; “If Obama had known how deep the recession was, he would have proposed a larger stimulus package.”

Only an inexperienced president would call for spending hundreds of billions of scarce dollars without knowing for certain of the need and likely results of that spending.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 2, 2011 12:04 PM
Comment #319451

Stephen:

Let’s fix our economy, and get the middle class and working class back on their feet so our businesses can get the customers they need to justify further hiring and further purchases of equipment. Let’s stop slashing budgets in a way that only prolongs the deficit. Let’s start realizing that if America doesn’t remain competitive, it won’t be able to afford to pay of its creditors, who aren’t really that shy about maintaining their edge, in comparison.
Let’s follow the example of FDR, the guy who actually helped us out of a deficit, rather than the example of Herbert Hoover, who helped make one worse with his policies.
Let’s fight the business cycle, not surrender to it now that the Rich and powerful and the economy they run are no longer in imminent danger of collapsing under the weight of their Wall Street’s incompetence.
And for heaven’s sake, let’s quit giving them the benefit of the doubt. They’ve been given chance after chance to police themselves right, and have failed at just about every juncture. If you want somebody to police somebody, to keep them in line, use the Government, that’s what it’s there for. The market will never successfully regulate itself so long as its participants can manipulate that market to get away with theft and dishonesty.

We aren’t going to be able to fix our economy until we address the root of our problem(s). And every single one of the economic problems this nation currently faces (including in Wisconsin, Ohio, etc., etc.) stem directly from Wall Street, and the fact that no one who was responsible for blowing up our economy has been made to answer for their many CRIMES.

People on the left can keep saying that all this started under Bush and that Republicans are at fault. People on the right can keep trying to hang it all on Obama and claim that all of the problems come from the left. But the fact is, everything that started during Bush’s presidency has continued exactly the same way under Obama.
There has been no change at all. And it has become very clear that neither the Democrats or the Republicans in Congress intend on addressing the source of the nation’s problems (not to mention that it has been the source of many other countries problems as well) because the vast majority of them have been bought and paid for by Wall Street and Big Corporate.

In other words, you can say “let’s use the government” but our government is owned, and not by people like us.

This being the case, clearly our entire citizenry needs to rise up. Because we no longer have anyone who represents We the People’s interests in any way, shape, or form. We have to demand that the people who did this to our country (and to other countries) will pay a heavy price.
We’re talking major Criminal Trials, Jail Time, and the Seizing Of All Their Assests — for the people on Wall Street who are responsible for what has happened.

And please, let’s stop all the finger pointing and admit that we need a brand new government from top to bottom.
Admit that every single one of the old politicians must go.
Admit that whether we’re talking Democrat or Republican, what we actually have at the moment is a totally rotten and corrupt oligarchy.

Please read this link:
It clearly explains exactly how America has been defrauded by Wall St. investors and how the financial crisis is tied to what we see happening in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 2, 2011 1:05 PM
Comment #319452

Well said Adrienne!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: KAP at March 2, 2011 1:22 PM
Comment #319458

Thanks KAP.

I really think Americans need to stop acting like silly sports fans when it comes to our current economic and political situation. I personally have come to the point where I no longer care at all what letter politicians have after their name — I know they’re all thieves and that they don’t represent We the People.

Indeed to me it is clear that this is blatant class warfare we are experiencing — and all the wealthy crooks on Wall Street and in Washington who exploded our economy and keep continuing to rob us would really like nothing better than for all of us peons to continue squabble over our “teams” while we’re picking over the rotten economic scrapheap they’ve left as a result of their thievery.

Americans left and right should stop allowing them to divide us this way when it comes to what they’ve done to our country. Let’s just admit that the only “teams” that matter at this moment in time are the Crooked Haves vs. us, the Wretched Have Nots.

We the People on the Wretched Have Not team have played by the rules of the Crooked Haves game for far too long. We’ve lost and they’ve won big time. We’re losing our jobs and our homes. We pay our taxes and live by the rule of law for the most part — and go jail at the drop of a hat whenever we inch beyond the law in the least degree. Meanwhile, the rich can totally avoid paying taxes, and they’ve gotten filthy rich by cheating and stealing from us, and are never made to pay any price whatsoever.

Time to demand that the game come to an end. Time to tell the Crooked Haves that they’re finished, and that all of their Democrat and Republican aiders and abettors need to get off the field. In fact, many of them need to go directly to jail, and we need to seize their assets in order to take back the mountains of money they’ve stolen from us.

Time for We the People to realize that at this moment we all need to be on the same team. We need to raise our fists and start acting together like a single hand in order to remove these Wall Street and Washington thieves from power and put them in jail where they belong.
And after we’ve done that, well then we can re-form ourselves into our right/left politcal-viewpoint squadrons and get back to arguing over the liberal/consevative stuff.

Btw, I probably should have put up Matt Taibbi’s full article instead of just that interview with him. Here’s the link to his full article.
It’s a long one, but very comprehensive, so I really hope that some of you will take the time to read it:
Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?
Financial crooks brought down the world’s economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them

Posted by: Adrienne at March 2, 2011 3:35 PM
Comment #319459

KAP-
Bush warned about nothing. Your source shows Freddie and Fannie. They were the last of MANY lenders to fall, and arguably wouldn’t have fallen if they hadn’t destroyed the secondary market. Meanwhile, Bush ignored the advice of many who said that the predatory lending in the housing sector needed to be reined in, that the derivatives market was a ticking time bomb. Hell, the Enron mess was a bellwether of that.

It’s after the fact spin to suggest Bush was a Cassandra figure, unheeded by everybody else. It’s revisionist history.

Obama said the stimulus would prevent the unemployment rate from going above 8% with his stimulus plan but we all know what happened there.

What do you mean “we”, Kemosabe?

Obama made the prediction with a weaker crash in mind. That in mind, this stimulus, designed to confront that shallower recession, would have had to blow the doors of off original expectations in order to create an equal effect to what Obama spoke of, when he and the rest of the world were facing a 3.8% decline in that quarter rather than a 6.1% plunge.

I have to ask: against such expectations, how could the stimulus possibly be viewed as suggest.

Then I have to ask whether that’s not the point of setting such a disingenuous standard for success in the first place.

Royal Flush-
2.5 percent of government spending, when the government’s spending 3 trillion dollars, is 75 billion dollars, or a quarter trillion over ten years.

Why “Penny-Ante?” The budget deficit is 1.5 trillion for this year, of which your cuts amount to 5%.

Why “Destructive?” Because the estimates on this look to take anywhere from 700,000 to 2 million jobs away from Americans, mostly in the private sector.

It can be both at once because each term describes the cuts in a different context. The cuts are far too small to reduce the deficit. Heck, their promised 100 billion in cuts wouldn’t do much better. Instead of cutting one in twenty dollars from the deficit, it would be one in fifteen.

But in a nation where the private sector gains in employment aren’t strong enough to replace the jobs we already lost, we’re not equipped to handle the hit we’re going to take from that slash-and-burn approach to budgeting.

Only an inexperienced president would call for spending hundreds of billions of scarce dollars without knowing for certain of the need and likely results of that spending.

Mentally, I have the picture in my minds eye of my head hitting the desk and thumping it again and again while the tears come out in frustration. Of course, I’m not actually doing that, but that is the impulse that comes to mind.

First of all, who are the Republicans to give that advice with their thrice-failed attempts to create magic growth through tax cuts? Your last attempt, even before the Great Recession ended with a decade of flatter job growth than any seen since WWII. Yet your people repeatedly tried it. “Jobless Recovery” became a standard word for the “improvement” in the economy, which it turns out was mostly false, built on a pile of worthless derivatives.

Oh, and exactly what was that TARP thing most of your people voted for. Were your people fully informed when they did that? Or when they voted it down the first time?

Second, the economy is far too complex a creature, especially in a crisis where it’s not behaving linearly or predictably, for somebody to just go in there and deal with the problem perfectly. Understanding that is part of why I’m not a socialist.

Obama did the best he could under terrible circumstances, and looking at today’s circumstances by comparison, we shouldn’t be too critical.

Adrienne-
History never works that way. There is no top to bottom change without a revolt that ends in the utter decapitation of the government. I’ve read enough history to know what in order to get out of a situation like this, you need years of struggle and difficult choices and compromises.

The first step is to believe that you can get something actually done, that you and your fellow travellers, politically speaking, can change things.

The politicians have always been corrupt to one degree or another, the special interests always strong, but we’re stronger, if we get our act together, even in the face of the co-opting of government by corporations. I know because this country once suffered through a similar time, and came out of it. I have faith we can change things for the better.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 2, 2011 3:42 PM
Comment #319465

Stephen, just read that article, okay?
Our government is ruled by corruption, left and right.
All of us really need to understand this fact in order to change anything for the better.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 2, 2011 5:04 PM
Comment #319468


Adrienne, A great post. One small quibble, the roots of our current economic situation go back at least to the mid 1950’S. The capitalists thought they would have a hard time convincing the Great Generation to give up their mistrust of banks and debt to become hedonistic materialistic mass consumers. That wasn’t the case.

After the 1970,s the American workers were in desperate need of raises if they were going to maintain a mass consumption economy.

Fortunately capitalism found an alternative, financialization. The workers don’t need raises, they just need easy credit.

Now we are totally addicted and so is our government. The national debt is a reflection of our consumer debt. I guess one could say we have a minimum payment economy.

IMO, it does little good to recognize that the corporations are controlling our government without recognizing the control they have over our lives and our way of life.

For me, reducing the influence that corporations have with our government is very important, but not the most important aspect of solving our problems.

Choice is often touted as a stalwart of capitalism and freedom. Very little is said about how the human psyche can be manipulated.

Now that third world countries like China and India are growing a middle class of their own, it is time to alter the class structure in the U.S. and reduce the size of our the middle class. That is the process that the business community and the government is working on now. The tea party baby boomers are championing this process. Too many in the middle class not enough slave wage workers and many that we have are pampered by the government. Something has to give and so far it is the middle class. It is just a sound business decision.

Stephen, bipartisanship makes it extremely hard to change the situation. My bought off politicians are at least better than their bought off politicians.

How long does it take for a corporation to buy a new politician? For some new politicians it takes no time at all, they volunteer. The general rule is that it takes the amount of time between the primary and the general election. I doubt if any politician at the national level could be elected without corporate sponsorship.

I have heard that Obama will have in excess of a billion dollars for his reelection campaign and that isn’t coming from 100 million $10 dollar donations. That is the equivalent of more than 40 thousand $25,000 per year or 25 thousand $40,000 per year jobs that will be spent by one politician for his reelection bid. Almost all of that money will go right back to it’s source.

Posted by: jlw at March 2, 2011 6:20 PM
Comment #319474

jlw, I don’t disagree with your points. Still, what Wall Street has been allowed to do to this country, obviously with the full aid and cooperation of both political major parties, has been the greatest swindle in world history. We the people need to stop our partisan bickering long enough acknowledge the fact that they have stolen from each and every one of us, and therefore, we must make an attempt to address this together as one unified entity, no matter what our political positions happen to be.

As for the protesters in Wisconsin, here’s some news:
Wisconsin voters launch recall campaign against Republican state senators supporting Walkers “budget repair” bill.
Very smart move, imo.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 2, 2011 7:21 PM
Comment #319478

Adrienne,

A great article by Taibbi. He makes a very good case, in plain language, that the financial sector has captured the regulatory, criminal justice and political systems. The fact that there were over 1,000 successful high level criminal prosecutions and numerous civil actions after the Savings and Loan collapse in the late 80s and, thus far, not one successful criminal prosecution after the greatest banking failure since the Great Depression is highly telling. Why, even Neil Bush, son of the Vice-President at the time was not immune from significant government and private civil actions.

The real question raised by the Taibbi article is why we now have chosen to treat this sector of the economy as immune to regulatory control and normal criminal standards. In my opinion, it is not simply political contributions (Wall Street makes equivalent massive contributions to both parties depending upon the winds of the time). It seems to me that we have simply become too dependent upon the financial sector for economic growth. The too big to fail (TBTF) syndrome resonates as truthful. The major financial institutions are responsible for an enormous amount of capital inflow into the United States. No politician wants to seriously impair that benefit and risk negative economic consequences. jlw has it right by directing attention to the financialization or our economy.

Its time that we got a grip on what has been happening to our economy. One asset bubble after another (currently commodities and stocks) to fuel a consumer debt driven economy. Its an issue that both conservatives and liberal politicians have avoided.

Posted by: Rich at March 2, 2011 8:01 PM
Comment #319500

When does a political philosophy become a “mental disorder”?

When its adherents advocate that a national debt of $14 trillion is manageable and should be increased.

When its followers believe it is beneficial for government to borrow money to pay people to work so they can pay taxes to government with that borrowed money. Some even call this fiscal sanity.

When it promotes ideas that states with crushing debts can become solvent by continuing to favor one class of citizen (public employees) over those of all other citizens and when it promotes no spending reductions and yet expects a balanced budget.

While some may object to having their cherished political philosophy described as a “mental disorder”, the only other description that might apply is a belief in magic.

Those with a “magic” affliction presume that government can continue to expand and spend with no consequences.

Republicans believed that they could starve government by denying tax increases and yet they were pushing and shoving for room at the pig trough along with their Democrat brethren. They were hypocrites…Dems were merely pigs.

Occasionally we had a somewhat conservative congress that reigned in big spending plans of presidents and the country enjoyed some success in living within (or somewhat close to) its means.

Today, we find ourselves with a conservative orientated congress and a spendthrift president. The battle has been joined…big spending versus modest cuts and taxes static. It is a battle for survival and no one can predict which side (or if either side) will win.

At this time the conservatives appear to be in charge and we see great gnashing of teeth and wailing by the liberals. A pittance of 2.5% reduction in spending is called draconian and heartless. A president takes the stage and calls for cuts while advocating huge new spending plans. His followers applaud such leadership as wise and needed.

Some on this blog tell us that only by spending more can we get to a point where we can spend less. They rail at being referred to as mentally disordered. One must assume then, that they are merely practicing magic.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 3, 2011 1:04 PM
Comment #319501

Thanks for taking the time to read the article, Rich.

I really think if more people tried to understand what has happened, and what is still happening with these Wall Street crooks we might actually be able to demand change and get this country back on the right track. In fact, I honestly don’t see how we can improve anything until we do.

These criminals should not be considered above the law — and when it comes to negative economic consequences, the wealthy upper caste shouldn’t be considered any more important than the hordes of Americans who have lost their jobs and homes because they decided to game the system and blow up our economy for their own personal gain. And to add insult to injury these criminals continue to collect enormous bonuses consisting of our tax dollars — as social services for people who are desperately in need (because of their crimes) are being slashed in every state in the nation, and while crony capitalists like Walker think they can seize upon this economic crisis to simply renege on the union contracts of hard working people, and sell off his state’s public utilities to benefit people like the Koch Brothers.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 3, 2011 1:16 PM
Comment #319544

Adrienne,

The article was first forwarded to me by a conservative friend. This is not a liberal or conservative issue. The financial sector has become so powerful that neither party is willing to take it on. The financial sector is no longer in service to Main Street providing capital for US industry and commerce. It has become an economic entity unto itself.

Posted by: Rich at March 3, 2011 8:51 PM
Comment #319566

Royal Flush-
I think you have the borrowed money thing dead wrong. The idea, as with entrainment in fluid physics is the get money moving by moving the money through society. Right now, there are a lot of businesses holding back cash because they can’t get the business to justify opening new locations.

If we push enough money into the economy, or take it from wasteful sources of neutral effect and put it into the economy in the right place, when we can get the money flowing in the economy again, and thereby catalyze other business. Once they’re back on their feet, private businesses take over the job of stimulation.

And once you’ve got more jobs and more revenue, you start attacking the deficit by taxing more to fil the beast, and cutting back with programs that are no longer as necessary.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 4, 2011 1:01 AM
Comment #319594

Royal Flush,
You rail against govt. spending, i.e. stimulus. There is an opposite to the word stimulus; it is called depression.

Why won’t anyone embrace raising taxes? I do. Not raising the rates but how about eliminating charitable contribution deductions? Isn’t government supporting the needy a form of welfare? Can anyone argue that elimination of this deduction would slow down the economy?

If you want to argue for privatization that is atleast a legitimate argument, but being against goverment spending period hurts everyone. Just ask Cisco Systems stockholders.

Posted by: Schwamp at March 4, 2011 1:26 PM
Comment #319596

Schwamp writes; “Royal Flush, You rail against govt. spending, i.e. stimulus. There is an opposite to the word stimulus; it is called depression.

I oppose spending that exceeds revenue. At some point, “stimulus” by virtue of government spending beyond its means is called “bankruptcy”.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 4, 2011 1:47 PM
Comment #319617

No, RF, you don’t oppose that. If that was really your core belief, you would have opposed the tax cuts from the beginning. We had balance, and it was a Republican President and a Republican Congress that destroyed it.

Your side shows no sign of deviating from the policies that undid the balance, so there is no good cause to credit your side for having seen the light.

That being the case, the big difference between fiscal management on either side, is the targets of the spending, who benefits from the power of government, and how. In practical terms, the Republicans use the populism of budget balancing as window dressing for a elitist policy that mainly benefits the special interests.

Republican rhetoric nowadays is about getting people to accept policy they would otherwise roundly reject as counter to their interests. This is no exception.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 4, 2011 5:47 PM
Comment #319640

Mr. Daugherty has attempted to read my mind again…he writes; “No, RF, you don’t oppose that. If that was really your core belief, you would have opposed the tax cuts from the beginning. We had balance, and it was a Republican President and a Republican Congress that destroyed it.”

I believe this is the 11th time I have written a response to Mr. Daugherty in which I have revealed myself to be an independent conservative. He can’t read my mind. And, apparently can’t read my posts either.

It would help to understand what Mr. Daugherty is talking about if he could be more specific. What tax cuts? What balance?


Posted by: Royal Flush at March 4, 2011 7:37 PM
Comment #319648

Royal Flush-
If you’re so independent then, make me your promise that in 2012, you’ll oppose making the Tax cuts for the rich permanent.

Tell me you’ll support raising taxes at some point, enough to help soak up some of the deficit.

Go ahead. Prove your independence by having an opinion that is even remotely different from the Republican mainstream

Your math simply doesn’t work. If your math doesn’t work, your boasts about being more fiscally responsible doesn’t work either. Responsibility requires the ability to understand when you’re screwing up. Now you tell me I’m screwing up, and the only cause could be a mental disorder. Well, in my experience, ignorance and/or the desperate hanging on to a theory in spite of the evidence suffice.

We’ve had ten years of the Bush Tax cuts, and if you go by the results, the track record of those cuts in job creation is at best a wash. Given that a huge chunk of the deficit never would have happened if the tax cuts hadn’t come to pass, we really have to question the wisdom of letting you get your way on the grounds that the Republican fiscal policy is what’s best for the economy.

I mean, the Republicans have renounced none of the policies that put us deeper in the hole. Why should we take seriously the claims of having deficit cutting as a first priority from those whose policies have done nothing but explode the deficit, and to little stimulative effect.

Obama at least can point to a report that says his policies, and that of the Democrats restored hundreds of thousands of jobs, and is fertilizing further growth.

Every bit of growth helps, because getting the economy back to a stable footing, to a more active, less idled level of activity means revenues are coming in and replacing deficit spending. Good business makes good fiscal sense.

The Republicans, by contrast, seem prepared to take the contradictory position of leaving this country in its economic torpor in order to deal with a deficit that is about four tenths economically caused.

It just doesn’t add up.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 4, 2011 8:53 PM
Comment #319689

Mr. Daugherty writes; “Tell me you’ll support raising taxes at some point, enough to help soak up some of the deficit.”

Already done, got both the coffee cup and T-shirt. I have written numerous times that I will support reasonable tax increases, both payroll and income, if used to reduce the deficit and restore stability to Social Security.

He also writes; “Given that a huge chunk of the deficit never would have happened if the tax cuts hadn’t come to pass…”

Well DUH! Of course, any person would know, even the mentally disordered, that more revenue will pay for more spending. I have repeatedly called for taxes to be in the historical norm of 20% of GDP. And spending should not exceed revenue (except for times of war and extreme emergency) Please don’t ask me to believe that the $14 trillion in debt was all war related or emergency spending and I won’t ask you to believe that it was all done by the Dems.

He also writes; “Why should we take seriously the claims of having deficit cutting as a first priority from those whose policies have done nothing but explode the deficit, and to little stimulative effect.”

Perhaps you have not noticed the results of the last election. Both parties have seen some of the big spenders in their respective parties defeated and replaced by fiscal moderates or conservatives. It’s a good sign and good start.

He also writes; “Obama at least can point to a report that says his policies, and that of the Democrats restored hundreds of thousands of jobs…”

Yeah…jobs created or saved. I thought it was in the millions…guess not. Your theory suggests that with enough deficit spending we could have full employment. We pretend to work and government pretends to pay us.


Posted by: Royal Flush at March 5, 2011 11:12 AM
Comment #319695

Royal Flush-
Well those are some awful nice sentiments concerning taxes, but looking back at the Bush years, would you have done anything different tax wise? As for the 20% target? The more important target for those seeking to balance the budget is the absolute number that represents the total spending.

The question, really, is what are the biggest problems between us and having a balanced budget, our debt growing at a slower rate?

The economy remains one of the biggest problems for revenue, and for the long term, it’s slowness in recovering is a big long term fiscal problem. It’s not just a matter of addition, but of multiplication. If getting the economy back to something approaching normal increases growth of GDP by enough, if we get back a lot of that 900 Billion output gap, then a significant chunk of the deficit will be gone, and with it trillions of dollars in debt over the long term.

We also need to continue reform on healthcare, because that is one of the long term drivers in raised spending. If we’re not getting rid of Medicare, as we’re obviously not, then it’s a national priority to reduce cost growth in Medicare.

The Republicans are too interested in just impressing their base with symbolic, ill-advised cuts that do little to deal with the problem. Perhaps Republicans think when they finally succeed in keeping Democrats down for good, they’ll be able to be entirely true to their ideas and ideology.

But actually, Republicans already had that chance, and blew it. Simple fact is, Reaganomics doesn’t work. Tax cuts to the rich are not a very strong stimulus. Spending it on infrastructure and aid to the poor does a better job because in the first case you’re getting economic benefit from the infrastructure, as well as the premium of economic stimulus from the paychecks to build it, and in the other case, people will spend the money for assistance, and that will flow its way back through society, aiding growth.

Tax cuts? They just sit there. Surprisingly enough, giving more money to those who are already not spending a lot of the money they have leads to it being saved rather than spent.

As far as the last election goes, it’s irrelevant to what works in terms of budgeting. Nobody said the world was fair. Sometimes it takes time to see success in its full flower, and sometimes it takes just something like what’s happening in Wisconsin to finally convince you that you were right to reject those people in the first place.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 5, 2011 1:52 PM
Comment #319705

Sorry Mr. Daugherty, no new meat to chew on from you just the same old tired scheme…spend more money. Have a great day.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 5, 2011 4:12 PM
Comment #319809

RF,
The government spending cuts are going to have no effect on the entrenched government workers who have worked their whole careers riding the gravy train. The cuts are seriously impacting jobs for young people trying to start a career through government contractors at very modest wages.

Either the tea party cheering squad doesn’t know that they are going to wreck the economy or that is really their unstated goal. I don’t know which, but I find it hard to stomach the combination of indifference to the inevitable crumbling of the job market for the young while being outraged at the thought of the wealthy losing a tax break.

Posted by: Schwamp at March 9, 2011 7:44 AM
Comment #319889

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ブログがんばってくださいね。

Posted by: ドクターリセラスーパーホワイト at March 10, 2011 4:59 PM
Comment #320294

Here’s the deal. How are the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy promoting the public good? Are they helping the helpless? Are they helping the environment? Are they helping women and children? Are they helping the elderly? Do they do anything at all other than make the rich richer?

Yet the people who promoted the extension of these tax cuts to line the pockets of the rich are the first in line to do union busting, cut social programs for the poor and elderly, cut EPA programs, trying to privatize social security, and kill people through making medicaid budget cuts more important than human lives (transplant candidates in Arizona).

We really have our values screwed up if making a profit is more important than caring for our citizens. I wonder at what dollar value a balanced budget is worth more than the dollar value of a human life. Who makes these decisions? How do they sleep at night?

Posted by: cc at March 17, 2011 7:55 AM
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