Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Economy is coming on strong

European debt deal
GDP growth rate: 2.5%
DJIA + 339 points
S&P and NASDAQ one-day gains of over 3%
Best October for the stock market since 1987.
As I wrote on July 3rd, the economy is roaring to life. What does this mean for 2012?

During the summer, the DJIA cleared 12000, only to see the economic comeback take a serious hit when the Tea Party threatened to default on US debt, or perhaps cut government spending by 44%, thereby plunging the economy into an instantaneous depression. It was a grave threat by terribly stupid people, and it resulted in a downgrade of US debt by S&P. At last, the market has shaken off that despicable attack launched upon the financial markets by American conservatives. The news is good, and even non-farm payroll numbers are looking up.

The economic comeback provides a rising tide for Democratic hopes in this upcoming election, and a potential disaster for the GOP. The Republicans should have provided an alternative. They should have provided appropriate praise when the president succeeded, offered compromises on job bills, and provided solid proposals when their ideas differed from the administration. Instead, the GOP pinned their hopes on reflexive attacks and a do-nothing attitude in Congress, expecting the upcoming election to be nothing more than the usual referendum on the record of the incumbent. Now, between a string of foreign policy successes and a rising economy, the prospects look good for Obama, Hillary Clinton, and others, and that Republican strategy looks very, very bad indeed. The Republicans have one card left to play: a government shutdown. Will they dare to do it?

In addition, the comeback of the economy destroys the hopes of the various Tea Party clowns, the laughable flavor-of-the-months, and it strengthens the hands of Romney even further. He is a lock on the nomination. And he is a lock to lose.

It has been a remarkable performance by Barack Obama, a success achieved, at times, in spite of himself. It's hard to keep a good economy down. The key to the future of the economy still revolves around job creation, reigning in corporate control of politicians, and pursuing fair trade rather than 'free trade.' Do we have the wherewithal to do it in the coming four years? Do we have the ability to transform a good economy into a great economy?

Posted by phx8 at October 27, 2011 7:57 PM
Comments
Comment #331117

It means nothing. Tomorrow the stock market could sell off and drop 350 points. Don’t try to deceive people with a one day picture of the market. Another bailout in Europe and a band aid applied to Greece, but nothing changes.

I truely don’t understand the left; you hate capitalism, corporations, investment brokers, and financial institutions. And yet you expect the same institutions to bring us out of our funky economy. Why would you be happy when the market goes up; don’t you understand it is Obama’s fat cats who are making money?

It’s going to take more than a one day raise in the market to save Obama’s rear end.

Posted by: Mike at October 28, 2011 12:45 AM
Comment #331118

Mike,
You are right about the volatility of the stock market. It’s always risky to make long-term assessments based on the short-term. However, I think there are other elements that support this, enough to go ahead with the assessment. Economic statistics support this assessment; not only is the trend positive, it is becoming more positive. The upward slope of the trend is increasing.

I can’t speak for the left, but personally, I don’t hate capitalism. I think most people want to see capitalism tempered by socialism in a pragmatic mix.

Corporations are legal fictions. It’s just a question of how we manage our legal fictions.

I think small businesses are great. Larger businesses are fine, too, as long as they don’t grow so large that they warp the marketplace. When corporations grow large enough to become parts of an oligopoly, or when a monopoly develops, it harms everyone. It corrupts the political system and abuses the public commons. It crushes competition. It hinders development of small businesses, new products, and new industries. Properly regulated, the tool of government can break up organizations which become ‘too big to fail.’ The combination of capitalism, socialism, and government regulation of business can become a very powerful thing. Whether it is a force for good or bad- well, that is up to us.

Posted by: phx8 at October 28, 2011 1:25 AM
Comment #331123

phx8

“I think most people want to see capitalism tempered by socialism in a pragmatic mix.”

Where in the name of satan did you get such balderdash. There are many universities that teach that I suppose. That is like mixing oil and water because you think most people like it that way. That is foolishness to the nth degree. Socialism has never worked for a sustained period of time. It is never good for society. It is a foot in the door toward totalitarianism.

The United States of America has a unique position in history. We have a form of government never tried before and it has been successful through all kinds of trials. The country has survived. It has grown. And it did it within the framework of our system of government. Over the last few decades many people have tried and continue to try to subvert and convert our system to a myriad of other types of systems that have in the past failed.

This country needs to get back on the course that made it great and quit tampering with it and ending up in the sewer. Those who want power, authority, and the evil that goes with it need to get their minds re-newed. They are on a collision course with failure.

If you really believe “The Economy is Coming on Strong” what is it when the economy is vibrant and growing. Your use of the word “strong” and applying it to the present situation is only attained from eating funny mushrooms. One game did not make a championship. One day does not show a conclusion that you reached. Shouting from the mountaintop when everyone else is in the valley does not convey a message.

I prefer a rock solid economy without those influences that are causing large government to interfere.

Posted by: tom humes at October 28, 2011 12:52 PM
Comment #331126

Tom humes,
You write: “Shouting from the mountaintop when everyone else is in the valley does not convey a message.”

It’s not easy being a bull when the media bombards us with reasons to be bearish. There is a lot of pessimism, and a lot of that is driven by the situation with unemployment. Keep in mind, unemployment is a lagging indicator.

Anyone can tell you what you want to hear about the economy. Most people seek sources of information that confirm their prejudices. They hear what they want to hear. Not only that- bad news sells. If it bleeds, it leads. You might find value the opinion of someone like myself if it turns out I am right about this.

Posted by: phx8 at October 28, 2011 1:56 PM
Comment #331128

Wait long enough doing rain dances and sooner or later it rains.

Economy looks okay, although we should wait a little more to see if unemployment comes down. Recessions usually only last a little while. This one under Obama has gone on longer than most.

It seems like the Obama stimulus front loaded recovery, i.e. got more at the start. After that it slowed the process and weakened it.

By this time in the Reagan presidency, the economy was growing by 7% and the economy added more than a million jobs in September 1983. Obama will not jump that bar.

Posted by: C&J at October 28, 2011 3:24 PM
Comment #331129

BTW

We agree - “a success achieved, at times, in spite of himself. It’s hard to keep a good economy down.” Right, the economy got better in spite of Obama.

Posted by: C&J at October 28, 2011 3:25 PM
Comment #331130

phx8, you talk about monopolies; one of the greatest monopolies is higher education. Young people are told they must have a college education, and these universities and colleges, while receiving federal funds, have continued to raise their tuition rates more than a thousand percent in the past few decades. My granddaughter is attending a college in WV. My daughter bought her books on line for a mere fraction of the cost at the school bookstore. Students are ripped off and yet no word about this from the left. The students protesting OWS are protesting the student loans; why aren’t they protesting at the gates of these universities. And you talk about corporations having too much influence in politics, do you feel the same about the socialist/Marxist professors who are filling our youth’s heads full of mush and turning them into anti-American zombies? No, no complaints there, are there? It’s okay as long as it promotes socialism, but God help us if we promote free enterprise and capitalism. As usual, a double standard from the left.

Posted by: Mike at October 28, 2011 3:38 PM
Comment #331131
According to calculations based on the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, on All Hallows’ Eve the United States’ total debt will surpass its Gross Domestic Product for the first time since World War II. That means the average American’s share of government debt is more than an average American makes in a year.


http://dailycaller.com/2011/10/28/spooky-us-debt-to-surpass-gdp-on-halloween/#ixzz1c6p3NaHg

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 28, 2011 4:09 PM
Comment #331132

Mike,
Higher education is not a monopoly or oligopoly. States run their own university systems. Private universities compete with one another for students and professors.

Books are expensive, but that will change as more and more material becomes available online.

You throw out a vague conspiracy theory about Marxist professors. It’s just nonsense.

C&J,
The stock market is a leading indicator. The old joke is that it has predicted 10 out of the last 7 recessions. You have to take more than the equity markets into consideration. For example, there is a huge amount of cash on the sideline right now. That means the bad news is already out there, and the sellers have sold. Stock ownership has moved from the weak hands to the strong.

In another bullish sign, the oil companies announced huge profits. They have a lot of cash on hand. What do you think they are doing with their cash? What do you think they consider the best possible investment of their cash? It’s not drilling. It’s not oil exploration.

They are buying back their own stock.

Incidentally, we’re not in a recession, and have not been in a recession for some time. It’s hard to believe we’re not in one, given the relentless pessimism, the bad news bombardments by the media, and the high unemployment, which is a persistent hangover from the economic collapse three years ago. Until policies change, I think we’re looking at another version of the recovery period that occurred between the first and second Bush recessions, a jobless recovery. Of course, some jobs will be created- but until trade policies change, and until outsourcing is stopped and manufacturing returns, the long term is problematic.

Comparing the current economy with the economy under Reagan is useless. There are far too many differences to draw anything meaningful from a comparison. A better example would be Japan since 1990. We’ve spent an enormous amount of money in order to avoid re-living the Japanese experience. It’s tough, because there’s no guarantee this will all work. There never was a guarantee. But I think it will.

Obama did a lot of things well. Others, not so much. In the period running up to next November, Congress- and Obama-will be deadlocked. As long as the GOP does not shut down the government, the gridlock will be adequate for continued economic expansion.

Posted by: phx8 at October 28, 2011 4:27 PM
Comment #331133

Rhinehold,
Interesting number, but meaningless. When it comes to debt, two numbers matter: 1) the portion of the federal budget consumed by debt (9%), and 2) tax rates. Current rates are at historic lows. While 9% is unpleasant, it’s manageable. Grow the economy through job creation, raise tax rates back to the Clinton administration levels, and the debt problem will fade. At the end of the Clinton administration, they were predicting a $10 trillion surplus. It just goes to show: debt numbers can change fairly quickly, depending on policy decisions.

Here’s a wild prediction: do nothing, keep the Bush economic policies in place, and the debt will get worse. Pretty crazy thinking, I know, but I like going out on a limb.

Posted by: phx8 at October 28, 2011 4:45 PM
Comment #331134

phx8-

I am on the side on this one, mainly because I have believed all along that the economy would come back no matter what Obama or congress did. In fact, I eventually came to the conclusion that the economy would bounce back in spite of all that Obama and congress did. And before any liberals jump on their high horse, yes I would include Bush with Obama—just as much of a hindrance to the recovery.

Second, I think you will have a hard sell on “the economy is roaring to life” when personal disposable income continues to decline (report). This is what the majority of Americans see, the amount of money they actually have after paying their bills. They don’t care so much for leading or trailing indicators, they care about the here and now, and their own personal financial footing.

On another note, we all know how quickly people quit listening to the chicken little’s of the world. You can only scream that the sky is falling so many times before you lose all credibility. The same goes for its antithesis. In July you claimed the economy was racing along, and no one saw it. Now here we are again, with you seeing the signs of recovery, and the rest of us scratching our heads. Eventually, your positive attitude will prove right, but you are definitely losing credibility every second until that happens.

Lastly:

I can’t speak for the left, but personally, I don’t hate capitalism. I think most people want to see capitalism tempered by socialism in a pragmatic mix.

WOW! This is not what most people think, or want to see. But feel free to encourage Obama to come out and say this. Then it won’t matter what level of ‘clowns’ the Republican and conservatives throw on the ballot, the entire American population would vote for ANYONE running against that statement.

Posted by: adam at October 28, 2011 5:13 PM
Comment #331137

Adam,
Many conservatives throw around ‘socialism’ but don’t seem to know what it means. I know the traditional definition- government ownership of the means of production- but conservatives will include progressive taxation and government regulation in the mix. Social Security and Medicare? Maybe. The VA? Perhaps. Really, it’s name-calling intended to end the discussion with a wave of the hand and the invocation of another version of Godwin.

The stock market hit a high this summer, and I have to admit, I didn’t foresee just how willing to destroy the economy the Tea Party turned out to be. That was bad. It shook everyone up, and it gave the economy a shove in the wrong direction. We’re in pretty good shape now, as long as the conservatives don’t shut down the government.

You’re right, personal disposable income did not do well, but consumer spending increased anyway. Increasing wages will need to be part of the mix in order to generate a sustained and truly healthy recovery. It didn’t happen under Bush, and if Obama doesn’t act, it won’t happen this time either. We’ll just end up with a Democratic version of the infamous “Greatest Story Never Told,” a weak recovery and another circle around the drain.

Posted by: phx8 at October 28, 2011 5:50 PM
Comment #331140

phx8, “You throw out a vague conspiracy theory about Marxist professors. It’s just nonsense.”

Time and space do not allow for an answer to this statement. It don’t take rocket science to realize our universities and public school systems are riddled with socialist/communist teachers and professors. I would be an absolute waste of time to find the facts for you, because you have it in your head that it’s not true.

Posted by: Mike at October 28, 2011 6:32 PM
Comment #331141

phx8 writes; “In addition, the comeback of the economy destroys the hopes of the various Tea Party clowns…”

I am very high on the ability of America to come back from our current financial troubles and have stated so many times. However, I certainly do not attribute one day, or even a series of up-days on the DOW, and other markets, for my optimism. And, I give no credit at all to obama for yesterdays spike up in our markets.

The United States enjoys many advantages over the countries in the rest of the world. We have a huge and varied land mass blessed with fertile soil. We have many great rivers fostering commerce along with the best highway system in the world. We are blessed with an industrious and educated population living under the most enlightened founding documents the mind of men have ever created.

Our natural resources abound and we are a nation united behind the notion of inalienable rights that come from God. Our property and individual rights are protected by the rules of law.

There is nothing to prevent us from regaining our preeminence in the world as the first among nations except for our political blunders and sheer stupidity.

One can swipe at the Tea Party and attempt to place blame on that movement but it is merely an exercise in hyperbole. The Taxed Enough Already movement is an expression by those of us who believe government is large enough and should grow no larger. That government spends enough and should spend no more. That workers are taxed enough and should be taxed no more.

One may call the funding of certain necessary services, such as a military, police force, fire department, the building of roads and schools and such…socialism, but any thinking honest person does not.

When Americans give freely of their money and time to charitable efforts to help the needy is it called socialism? When any group of people recognize a common problem and work together freely, without coercion, to formulate a remedy it is not socialism…it is the combined efforts of a free people to help themselves to the disadvantage of no one.

True socialism leads to tyranny. As the French historian and political theorist Alexis de Tocqueville wrote…”Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 28, 2011 6:39 PM
Comment #331143

C&J,

You have argued on the one hand in recent posts that Obama’s policies in response to the recession impeded recovery but on the other hand have argued that Reagan’s policies assisted recovery. But, was there that much of a distinction?

Putting aside revisionist rhetoric and the obvious issue, as phx8 notes, that the economic factors related to the two severe recessions are different, I fail to see a major distinction in the thrust of their policies. Both increased government spending. Both increased the federal deficit to historical peace time levels. Reagan had the additional luxury of cutting taxes more than Obama could due to the existing Bush tax cuts. The bottom line is that both used fiscal policy to pump more money into the general economy at the expense of federal deficits. Both used Keynesian fiscal policy to counter the deep recessions.

When the economy showed signs of recovery, Reagan signed one of the largest tax increases in history, broadened the tax base by eliminating loopholes, credits, subsidies and other tax avoidance mechanisms and increased government fees aggressively. Again, a very Keynesian policy.

The idea that Obama is some sort of liberal spendthrift and that Reagan was a balanced budget conservative in practice is complete nonsense.

The conservative myth of Reagan’s economic and tax policies is not only incorrect, it is down right dangerous.

Posted by: Rich at October 28, 2011 6:58 PM
Comment #331145

“One may call the funding of certain necessary services, such as a military, police force, fire department, the building of roads and schools and such…socialism, but any thinking honest person does not.”

Royal Flush,

Then, what do you call it? Why do we have a public education system funded by tax dollars? It wasn’t always that way. The Constitution doesn’t require it. The same for police, fire, infrastructure, emergency medical and stabilization services, etc. None of this is required. For a considerable period in our history, they were delivered by the private sector and in some instances are still provided in that manner. So, why have we generally “socialized” the delivery of a wide expanse of services?

It seems to me that the answer is that these services are more efficiently and effectively delivered under the umbrella of a government taxation and delivery system. Its just a common sense collective business decision. If private education, fire and police businesses and highways, etc., met the needs of the nation, they would not have been “socialized.” Someday, we will come to our senses and recognize that health care is in the same category as police and fire and realize that the correct business decision would be to socialize the financing and/or delivery of the service.


Posted by: Rich at October 28, 2011 7:24 PM
Comment #331147

Rich, we obviously have two different meanings of socialism. Where does your idea of socialism end and tyranny begin, if ever?

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 28, 2011 7:35 PM
Comment #331151

Royal Flush,

Well, what is your definition? Why are publicly funded and managed police, fire, education, infrastructure, emergency medical and stabilization service, libraries, highways, etc. acceptable without the threat of tyranny?

Like, I said, it seems to me that it is a business decision. Under what approach can the necessary services be delivered most effectively and efficiently. If private police do a better job, then we ought to privatize the police services. If private fire departments do a better job, then we should privatize fire services. It seems that we have reached common agreement that government taxation and operation are preferable to private operation for a wide swath of services for a variety of reasons.

Posted by: Rich at October 28, 2011 8:03 PM
Comment #331152

Rich asks…”Well, what is your definition (of community provided services).”

My answer was written above…”When any group of people recognize a common problem and work together freely, without coercion, to formulate a remedy it is not socialism…it is the combined efforts of a free people to help themselves to the disadvantage of no one.”

Now then, please answer my question…”Where does your idea of socialism end and tyranny begin, if ever?”

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 28, 2011 8:16 PM
Comment #331159

phx8

You may recall when unemployment was 4.5%, our liberal media was saying how bad it was.

We are not technically in a recession, but the Obama recovery felt like one. He is no Ronald Reagan.

Re Japan


As I recall, Japan also spent a lot of money and went into debt.

Rich

The economy tends to recover if it is allowed. Reagan did the right things that allowed it to recover. Obama, not so much.

I have said many times that presidents get too much praise or blame for the economy. Liberals were happy to blame Bush and then claim that Obama would make things right. Obama failed by HIS and YOUR standards. I never really expected him to succeed, so he is doing about as well as I figured.

Rich & Royal

The functioning of the free market requires strong and efficient government.

Socialism requires government ownership or control of the means of production, as was mostly the case in Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia or lesser places like Venezuela. Other less nasty places have at times approached socialism.

The fact that government provides services does not make it socialism.

There are two types of useless definitions: ones that include everything and those that include nothing. If you define socialism to include any government operation, it includes everything and so is useless. It should be abandoned.

Beyond that, definitions of capitalism etc are still fouled by that old fart Marx, who defined lots of things he didn’t understand and managed to infect generations of academics.

The Heritage Foundation publishes an index of economic freedom, which is a much more useful measure.

Posted by: C&J at October 28, 2011 9:19 PM
Comment #331163

When free people decide through their elective government to “socialize” the provision of certain services such as fire, police, education, medical services, etc., can those that oppose such “socialization” opt out of contributing to the funding for the services? No. So, there is always going to be some form of coercion in the provision of “community provided services.” Otherwise, you would have the free rider problem. There would always be a significant proportion who would simply decide not to pay the taxes but benefit from the services. That is a simple fact of life. Should the police check a list of cooperative contributors before responding to a burglary in progress alarm?

We are protected from a tyranny of the majority by our Constitutional rights which cannot be infringed by majority political action. We are protected from the tyranny of an individual political leader by our Constitutional political process including provisions for impeachment, protections against infringement of individual rights as well as general elections. The answer to your question is simply that the people are free to form any cooperative agreements they desire through their elected officials, including coercive taxation, subject to Constitutional limitations. They are also, of course, free to form any fully voluntary cooperative agreements for economic, social or health related reasons without government coercive sanctions.

Posted by: Rich at October 28, 2011 9:53 PM
Comment #331164

“The economy tends to recover if it is allowed. Reagan did the right things that allowed it to recover. Obama, not so much.”

C&J,

What did Reagan actually do? What distinguishes Reagan’s economic policies from Obama’s? Did he not use fiscal stimulus with a huge tax cut? Did he not increase government spending simultaneously with the tax cut resulting in a huge deficit? How exactly did Reagan “allow” the economy to recover? He certainly didn’t balance the budget. He certainly didn’t cut back federal expenditures. He ran a huge federal deficit during a severe recession.

Posted by: Rich at October 28, 2011 10:10 PM
Comment #331167

Good point Rich. We seem to have forgotten the biggest socialization of all, capitalist debt from failed business ventures. The conservative god Reagan started the modern era bail outs with Chrysler and the S&L’s and it has continued to grow to this day, so yes it appears in many ways Obama and Reagan are two peas in the same pod. Why would we expect any difference when we are still using the trickle on theory of economics made famous this time around by Reagan. Use to be called mercantilism.

Socialism requires government ownership or control of the means of production…

I agree C&J, the problem however seems to stem from the constant half truths misinformation and outright lies of conservatives this past 30 years in general and the last 3 years in particular. The constant whining that Obama is a socialist, for starters. Have you guys forgot your own propaganda as you rush to defend capitalism? Anything short of a completely deregulated market is socialist remember guys? All dems and liberals are socialist, anything ringing a bell here conservatives? You guys are amazing as you flip flop like a Romney and don’t even realize it.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 28, 2011 11:37 PM
Comment #331171

Rich

What Reagan did was to respect the system, not try to mess as much with market mechanism and restore faith and confidence. I remember well those heady times when we were again proud to be Americans and looked forward to building our country.

Obama is all about malaise and blame. He keeps on telling us how messed up things are and it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

President indeed do not manage the economy. Remember that when you want to blame president Bush or maybe president Romney. What they do is set the tone. Obama’s tone is not inspiring. Reagan’s was.

Both Reagan and Obama made unique historical contributions. Reagan is remembered for bringing America back, for creating conditions that ended the Cold War in victory and for his belief in the greatness of America, which he passed on to the people.

Obama will be remembered in history as the first president with African ancestry.

J2t2

Obama is not a socialist. But he seems to have little confidence in the free market. His ideas are like those I learned and rejected in the 1970s. I thought they were gone, and I am a bit distressed to learn that many serious people still hold with them.

Posted by: C&J at October 29, 2011 7:12 AM
Comment #331173

I just wonder where we would be in a recovery if:

1. The auto industries would have been allowed to file for bankruptcy and the courts had allowed them to restructure? Of course this would have hurt the unions.

2. If the EPA had not been used by the administration to virtually shut down production of energy? Of course this would have gone against the GW fanatics of the left.

3. If the border agents had been allowed to do their job, and the Feds would have worked to stop illegal aliens at the border instead of giving them guns? Of course this would not have allowed Obama to try a back door means of gun control, and would have caused Obama to lose his vote support from Hispanics.

4. If the government had not gotten involved with forcing banks to make home loans to people who had no ability to pay the money back? Of course this would have hurt the left with their promises to minorities for free housing.

5. If SS was actually fixed? Of course this would take a slush fund of money away from liberal democrats, who use the money for re-distribution of wealth through a myriad of social policies .

6. If Obama had dropped obamacare as unworkable? Of course this would have denied government of another 17% of our economy, would have taken government out of the decision making policies of American’s health, and would have caused companies to see a certainty for the future.

These are just 6 things that would have worked to help our economy, but the Obama administration does not want recovery, they want uncertainty and these policies certainly provide uncertainty.

Posted by: Frank at October 29, 2011 10:31 AM
Comment #331174

Rich

What Reagan did was to respect the system, not try to mess as much with market mechanism and restore faith and confidence. I remember well those heady times when we were again proud to be Americans and looked forward to building our country.

Obama is all about malaise and blame. He keeps on telling us how messed up things are and it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

President indeed do not manage the economy. Remember that when you want to blame president Bush or maybe president Romney. What they do is set the tone. Obama’s tone is not inspiring. Reagan’s was.

Both Reagan and Obama made unique historical contributions. Reagan is remembered for bringing America back, for creating conditions that ended the Cold War in victory and for his belief in the greatness of America, which he passed on to the people.

Obama will be remembered in history as the first president with African ancestry.

J2t2

Obama is not a socialist. But he seems to have little confidence in the free market. His ideas are like those I learned and rejected in the 1970s. I thought they were gone, and I am a bit distressed to learn that many serious people still hold with them.

Re socialists/capitalism - I never defend “capitalism since that has so many strange definitions, mostly written by Marxist influenced pucks who don’t understand what they are talking about.

I prefer “free market”, which as I have explained many times includes a strong, but not overbearing government, lots of choice and the market mechanism.

I don’t think Obama has a consistent set of values at all when it comes to governing. He is a community organizer. I consider that a pejorative thing to be and I don’t like to call our president that, but it seems to be his mind set.

Community organizers are not good leaders. They tend to be tactical and not strategic and their raison d’être is to get somebody else to give more stuff to somebody else, while claiming to help the poor or the mistreated. In other words, they don’t actually create any wealth or even create the conditions for wealth creation but just move stuff around.

This is what we have in the White House until January next. The republic will survive and recover, but it will be better when it is over.

Posted by: C&J at October 29, 2011 11:10 AM
Comment #331176

Frank

Good points.

I would add a seventh

7. If the President had talked up ALL America (as Reagan did) instead of “fighting” for some Americans against others.

Posted by: C&J at October 29, 2011 11:13 AM
Comment #331177

There you go again Ronnie Raygun raised taxes seven times and cut and ran from Beirut. Leaving over 200 dead Marines. He would be run out of the teabag/republican party and cringed at the actions of the right in Congress. Please find a new deity.

Posted by: Jeff at October 29, 2011 11:47 AM
Comment #331182

Jeff

I consider him at the demigod level, not really a deity.

Ronald Reagan the legend, like all legends, has outgrown the man. He inspires us to trust the people, rather than the politicians, to decentralize our country, to rely on ourselves more and to be resolute in the face of enemies. If his personal qualities did not always live up to this, we can only say that the flesh is always weak.

We know that no man can be what we need to inspire us to reach our potential, understanding that our reach will always exceed our grasp.

On the other hand, the current resident of the WH inspires not at all. He believes in more government, greater centralization. While Reagan spoke of the greatness of and the exceptionalism of America, Obama tells us that we are just like everybody else and should get used to the limits, become more like Europe.

Maybe he is right in details, just as Jimmy Carter might have been right. But we need higher goals than recognizing our limits.

To finish the line above ““Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” Reagan understood this; Obama not so much.

Obama just isn’t the artist the Reagan was. Few are.

Posted by: C&J at October 29, 2011 12:24 PM
Comment #331187

The President may not inspire the right because they have an unnatural hate for the man. In times past he would be considered a moderate republican. Most if not all the labels that have been applied are just B.S. Republicans know what they have doing and saying are just wrong but I guess the just can’t help themselves it’s just sad.

Posted by: Jeff at October 29, 2011 1:12 PM
Comment #331189

Jeff, most on the right see Obama as inexperienced and the last 2 and a half years have shown his inexperience. IMO you guys on the left should have went with Hilliary.

Posted by: KAP at October 29, 2011 1:52 PM
Comment #331190

Where did you buy that stuff you’re smokin’ Jeff. Or maybe your computer keyboard is screwed up. Whatever some unintelligible stuff showed up.

The left has a great capacity to accuse those that they disagree with as being hateful. The proof is in the pudding. People on the opposite side of the left rarely show any hate. They make a strong point and the left interprets it as hate. Pity the fool.

Definitions of ‘isms are rarely sharply stated. There is always a broad brush to paint the definition of any ‘ism. That is why the question will not be answered to anybody’s satisfaction.

Maranatha

Posted by: tom humes at October 29, 2011 1:56 PM
Comment #331196

“Jeff

I consider him at the demigod level, not really a deity.

Ronald Reagan the legend, like all legends, has outgrown the man. He inspires us to trust the people, rather than the politicians, to decentralize our country, to rely on ourselves more and to be resolute in the face of enemies. If his personal qualities did not always live up to this, we can only say that the flesh is always weak.”

So basically, what C&J is saying is that Ronald Reagan represented the beliefs of the founding fathers. I can agree with that…

“The President may not inspire the right because they have an unnatural hate for the man.”

Possibly, by some, but not me. But I don’t believe I am inspired because either I believe the man knows what he is doing, which scares me, or that he has no idea what he is doing, which is more probable.

“In times past he would be considered a moderate republican.”

He would never have been considered, but I do believe in times past, say in the days of our founding, he would have been tarred and feathered. And the foundin fathers would have had about as much faith in him as the did the Torres.

“Most if not all the labels that have been applied are just B.S. Republicans know what they have doing and saying are just wrong but I guess the just can’t help themselves it’s just sad.”

I can believe this, if the left is willing to admit they treated Bush I and II, and Ronald Reagan in the same way.

Posted by: Frank at October 29, 2011 3:51 PM
Comment #331200

TH You always come out with both guns blazing. That’s all right I think your small and weak and angry. Why would I attack Reagen Or Bush H.W. I voted for both of them Bush jr is an Idiot to say otherwise your just lying to yourself but if it makes you fell better he looks pretty damn smart compared to the current crop of candidates running for the nomination.

Posted by: Jeff at October 29, 2011 5:38 PM
Comment #331201

We really should stop the direct attacks on each other. We should rather take pride in subtlety. It is a sign of our own intelligence and erudition when it takes a few minutes before the person knows he has been insulted, or maybe never does but others do.

Calling people we have never seen “small, weak and angry” doesn’t really do very much for anybody and reflects worse on the attacker than on the ostensible target.

Posted by: C&J at October 29, 2011 6:02 PM
Comment #331204

Let’s lay this out by the worst rates per decade. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rate in 1933 = 24.9%; unemployment rate in 1949 = 7.9; unemployment in 1958 = 7.5; unemployment in 1961 = 7.1%; unemployment rate in 1975 = 9.0; unemployment rate in 1982 = 10.9%; unemployment in 1992 = 7.8%; unemployment in 2009 7.8% -m before the Obama stimulus. It went up just past 10% in the stimulus first year. Since then it seems stuck at around 9%.

You might also take a look at the better times - 1948 3.4%; 1953 = 2.5%; 1969 =3.4%; 1970 3.9%; 1989 = 5.0%; 1999 = 4.2%; and not long ago in 2006 = 4.4%.

So we get peaks and valleys within a few years of each other.

If we wait long enough, the economy will recover and people can say Obama did it. But it probably won’t come soon enough to save him.

On the day Reagan was elected, unemployment was 7.5%. This was Reagan’s benchmark. It went up beyond 10%, but came back down to 7.2% which helped him get reelected.

On the day Obama was elected, unemployment was 6.8%. It went up beyond 10%, but doesn’t seem to come down much below 9%. This is his benchmark. Do we think unemployment will be back down around 7% a year from now?

The other problem for Obama is history. In Reagan’s time, a low unemployment rate was more than ten years before. People were accustomed to rates of around 8% so 7% seemed okay. Today we all remember unemployment rates in the 4+%. So 7% is going to seem not so good, even if it happens, which is a low probability event.

Posted by: C&J at October 29, 2011 6:40 PM
Comment #331209
Obama is not a socialist.

We all know that C&J, it’s just funny to watch the conservatives here on WB flip flopping like a fish out if water on the issue.

But he seems to have little confidence in the free market.

The “free market” is being held hostage by the capitalist C&J, who use their money to buy our politicians, they have proved unfettered capitalism or as you prefer “the free market” and the conservative mythology surrounding it has led us into believing half truths misinformation and outright lies. It is the uber partisans on the right that actual believe the market will police itself despite all the evidence to the contrary.


His ideas are like those I learned and rejected in the 1970s. I thought they were gone, and I am a bit distressed to learn that many serious people still hold with them.

Not gone C&J just wondering in amazement at those who still believe the Reaganomics that even his VP knew to be voodoo economics. The ‘70’s were a result of Nixon, the Bretton Wood accord, OPEC and the resulting inflation not Carter as conservative mythology would have us believe.

Reagan is not a legend nor a demigod guys he is a myth. A conservative myth used to fool movement followers into voting for any one that can out Reaganspeak the other candidates. He ran the most corrupt administration of the past 80 years. You guys on the right really should make the conservative propagandist work a bit harder for their money, you make it to easy for them.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 29, 2011 8:11 PM
Comment #331210

And what does union money buy?

Posted by: Frank at October 29, 2011 9:21 PM
Comment #331212

“What Reagan did was to respect the system, not try to mess as much with market mechanism and restore faith and confidence.”

C&J,

What are you talking about? What has Obama done that disrespects the “system.” He continued the Bush bailout of Wall Street. You agree with that. That is not surprising since Reagan began the major bank bailouts in 1984 with the bailout of Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Company. His administration invoked the TBTF rationale for the bailout.

Obama further resisted any radical reform of Wall Street. The Financial Reform Act was a moderate and hardly radical effort at re-imposing some form of regulatory control of the financial markets. So, again, what did Obama do that “messed” with financial market mechanisms?

What has Obama done in the other markets that could reasonably construed as “messing” with “market mechanisms.” Has he imposed wage and price controls, a la Nixon? What disruptive executive or legislative action has he initiated? Oh, I know. Its the health care reform taken from the Heritage Foundation.

Perhaps its the stimulus package. Reagan never did anything like that. Oh, but maybe he did. His huge tax cuts while increasing government spending pumped government deficit financed money into the economy. But, lets not call that a stimulus. Sounds too much like Keynesian economic policies. Reagan would never have done that!

Maybe its reversal of free trade agreements and institution of protectionist policies. That would be a real departure from Reagan/Carter/Clinton/Bush policies. If you can point me to such actions or even suggestions of such action, I would appreciate it.

As for your criticism of Obama’s experience as a community organizer in his first job and prior to attending law school, the only thing that I can say is that I must agree with you. Organizing poorer people and neighborhoods to participate in the political process and to advocate for their self interests, i.e., police protection, economic development, better schools, etc., is so un-American. I have always been suspicious of groups like the PTA, Neighbor Hood Watch, Young Republicans, Young Democrats, League of Women Voters, Chambers of Commerce, PBAs, political block leaders, etc. They are such a pain in the arse to the political process.


Posted by: Rich at October 29, 2011 9:29 PM
Comment #331214

The conservative cult like worship of Reagan is a truly sad commentary on the state of current conservative philosophy. It is weird. It is as though they are searching for some justification for their current ideology. See, we were right once, thirty years ago. Doesn’t matter if the times have changed. Doesn’t matter if the rhetoric never matched the reality. This may be news to conservatives: Reagan never balanced the budget, he ran huge deficits; Reagan talked tough on terrorism but cut and ran in Lebanon and negotiated arms for hostages with the Iranians; Reagan negotiated a massive nuclear arms agreement with the Soviet Union despite his characterization of Russia as the “evil empire;” Reagan initiated a massive “fix” for Social Security despite his rhetoric against Social Security, etc.

The conservative myth of Reagan doesn’t match the reality of Reagan.

Posted by: Rich at October 29, 2011 10:00 PM
Comment #331223

Rich

Cutting taxes and spending money might be the same from an accounting perspective, but they are very different in all other ways.

The first lets you keep more of your own money. It shows confidence in the people’s choices. The second lets bureaucrats and politicians call the shots. It shows confidence in political choices.

On simple terms it is the difference between me telling you to buy what you think best and me taking your money, charging you an administration fee, and then buying you the “gifts” I think you need or deserve.

Reagan put most of his trust in the people to make choices about how to spend their money. Obama favors the bureaucrats and politicians. That is the bottom line difference.

Re community organizing - it is just another example of distrust of the people and trust in elite organization.

Obama was from Hawaii. He grew up there and in Indonesia. He was raised by well off white grandparents and attended good private schools. Good for him. Now he shows up in Chicago to help the great masses because he knows more about what they need than they do.

A community coming together to help itself is great. It is the basis of American success. Bringing in a paid professional to do it for them not so much.

Posted by: C&J at October 30, 2011 9:15 AM
Comment #331233

C&J,

It seems to me that if you really thought about what community organization really meant, you would applaud it as one of the most appropriate anti-poverty, pro self help methods ever employed. It gives people nothing of direct material value. No food stamps, no rent assistance, no government “charity.” What it gives people is the opportunity and assistance in developing organizational control over their neighborhoods and their future. Its a bootstrap approach to managing the problems of poverty.

“Now he shows up in Chicago to help the great masses because he knows more about what they need than they do.”

That is not what the community residents who he worked with at the time said about him. “Obama encouraged residents to come up with their own priorities with the gentle admonition: “It’s your community.” http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/070826/3obama.htm

“A community coming together to help itself is great. It is the basis of American success. Bringing in a paid professional to do it for them not so much.”

So, we agree that community organization is a quintessential American approach to overcoming poverty. The only disagreement is whether it should be enabled by professional assistance. That strikes me as a specious argument. Most of the great immigrant success stories (Irish, Italian, Polish, etc.) were aided by the “community organization” efforts of the Catholic church. Interestingly, in the case of Obama it was no different. “Two years after graduating, Obama was hired in Chicago as director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Greater Roseland (Roseland, West Pullman and Riverdale) on Chicago’s far South Side.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obama#Chicago_community_organizer_and_Harvard_Law_School

I don’t know what the criticism really is. As a young man, Obama decides to take a job with a church based organization with a long track record of assisting immigrant groups overcome poverty and achieve the American dream through self help. It wasn’t some radical organization fighting the “man.” He wasn’t advocating violence and confrontation. He wasn’t advocating government giveaway programs. He was attempting to get the community he was working with to organize themselves for the betterment of their lives and for their children. For that, he is criticized?


Posted by: Rich at October 30, 2011 7:16 PM
Comment #331237

Rich

Just as there is a material difference between getting to keep your own money and getting it back as a “gift” from the authorities, there is a material difference between a community organizing itself and a professional coming in to do that for them.

The former is in the American tradition, described by Alexis de Tocqueville among others. The latter is more in the playbook of the commissars. The former is grass roots, bottom up. The latter is astro-turf top-down.

I am sure that Obama did it for idealistic and good reasons. But such organizing always have an overt political agenda. They are organized to further a political agenda.

If you bring in engineers to help build things or teachers to teach useful skills, you may argue that you are building up the people. Demanding political rights and welfare are not as admirable.

How do you feel about NRA community organizers sent into schools and communities to inform people about the 2nd Amendment rights? There are those who oppose this. They also do useful things like teaching gun safety and hunting skills. Nobody should object to this, but there is some legitimate disagreement about the political messages.

Posted by: C&J at October 30, 2011 7:53 PM
Comment #331246

C&J,

The only thing that I can say is that charitable, church based organizations with a long track record of assisting the less fortunate in helping themselves overcome the disadvantages of poverty cannot be a bad thing.

You say that there was an overt political agenda. What was it? Could it be that the organization that Obama worked for and his own motivation were simply to help people overcome some very difficult obstacles by self help through community organization? If you have evidence of some different motivation, what is it? Sometimes, there are people that simply want to help others without some ulterior motives.

“If you bring in engineers to help build things or teachers to teach useful skills, you may argue that you are building up the people. Demanding political rights and welfare are not as admirable.”

This is purely a supposition on your part unsupported by any evidence and a prejudice that liberals, such as Obama, are solely interested in getting something for nothing from the system. Where is the evidence that the organization that employed Obama or for that matter, Obama himself, ever
demanded “political rights” or “welfare” for the residents that he was working with?

This may be shocking to you, but there are a lot of liberals that think that personal responsibility, education, hard work, discipline, etc. are essential to overcoming poverty, prejudice, etc. There are many liberals that feel the answer to these problems ultimately comes from within. It seems to me, that efforts like that of Obama as a community organizer to stimulate self help organizational efforts are entirely consistent with those goals.

You apparently see the role of a community organizer as some of agent sent into a community to recruit membership for a parent organization. Similar to union organization. That is not what Obama did or was hired to do. His job was to facilitate the organization of residents is a given area into their own unique community group with its own priorities for the purpose of bettering their own community not to be in service to some parent organization with a political agenda.

Posted by: Rich at October 30, 2011 9:02 PM
Comment #331249

Rich

The article your provided, evidently written with help of the Obama campaign, indicated that Obama helped organize politically. There is no indication that he was giving advice on self-discipline, teaching math or encouraging kid to avoid bad habits. He may have been doing those things too.

How do you feel about the NRA programs, BTW?

Posted by: C&J at October 30, 2011 9:41 PM
Comment #331258

C&J,

Establishing a community organizational vehicle for residents to advocate for their self determined interests and to provide a network for their mutual assistance and communication is hardly comparable to sending an advocate of a certain political position, e.g., NRA, to instruct the residents as to the correct position.

I have no idea why conservatives should fear self help community organizational efforts in poor neighborhoods.

Posted by: Rich at October 30, 2011 11:00 PM
Comment #331264

Rich

The NPR example is almost exactly the same. In both cases, outside professionals came in to organize a more or less willing community to take political action.

A real grass roots organization of people rising to help themselves is the Tea Party, BTW. It is clear that conservatives also know how to organize politically.

The most effective “grass roots” organizations are those that organize to solve their own problems, w/o calling in significant help from government. This is an American tradition long celebrated by conservatives and lovers of liberty in general.

It is the difference between saying, “I am going to do something about this problem” and saying, “I am going to demand something be done.” Both spring from similar grievances, but the former is what free people prefer, the latter is what those who are dependent on others must do.

I cannot speak for all conservatives. The reason I am suspicious of astro-turfed “community action” is that it tends to organize the poor as political cannon fodder.

The problems of the poor do not result primarily from government ill will. They result from habits and behaviors of many in the community. Aiming political power out serves to divert attention from the real cause of the problem.

The very best social program for the poor neighborhoods is to establish the reasonable expectation of order. Crime is what most oppresses the poor. Where the authorities have established order, a legitimate if neglected part of government, the poor begin to help themselves.

Few community organizers call for greater police protection as the primary solution. I do not know. Was greater order a big part of Obama’s portfolio?

Posted by: C&J at October 31, 2011 5:37 AM
Comment #331269

“I cannot speak for all conservatives. The reason I am suspicious of astro-turfed “community action” is that it tends to organize the poor as political cannon fodder.”

Certainly, there is the concept of using a community organization to put political pressure on government but there is also the equal recognition of the inherent value in self help through community organization. The exercise of political power is a strange criticism, in my opinion. Does the PTA not exercise political power though pressure on School Boards? Does a local crime watch group not pressure the police for better protection?

This is Obama in his own words on the purpose of community organization:

“This means bringing together churches, block clubs, parent groups and any other institutions in a given community to pay dues, hire organizers, conduct research, develop leadership, hold rallies and education campaigns, and begin drawing up plans on a whole range of issues jobs, education, crime, etc. Once such a vehicle is formed, it holds the power to make politicians, agencies and corporations more responsive to community needs. Equally important, it enables people to break their crippling isolation from each other, to reshape their mutual values and expectations and rediscover the possibilities of acting collaboratively the prerequisites of any successful self-help initiative.”

There is an idealism in Obama’s words. In retrospect, he has recognized that such idealism is tempered by the realities of the world. He has said that his accomplishments as a community organizer were not spectacular and that he probably gained more from the experience than the residents that he was working for.

“Few community organizers call for greater police protection as the primary solution. I do not know. Was greater order a big part of Obama’s portfolio?”

I have no idea other than a bio mention that he worked with the City of Chicago to reduce crime in a neighborhood park.

On the issue of crime and community organizing, the most successful approach in recent years in reducing inner city crime is “community policing.” “There is a growing realization that the best strategies for fighting crime in residential neighborhoods are those where the police work closely with resident organizations.” http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/1991/03/An-Empowerment-Strategy-For-Eliminating-Neighborhood-Crime

The concept is a spin off from the general community organizing concept. That is, empowering inner city residents through self help organizations and close working relationships with authorities to control crime.

The concept of “community organizing” seems to have a bad connotation among conservatives. I think that is a mistake. Properly implemented, community organizing is an invaluable tool for managing the problems of the inner cities.

Posted by: Rich at October 31, 2011 10:54 AM
Comment #331289

Speaking of Reagan here is an arrow into the heart of another conservative myth. It should also dispel any notions of sainthood for Reagan.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/31/gop-candidates-plans-on-economy-housing_n_1066949.html

Posted by: j2t2 at October 31, 2011 6:10 PM
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