Democrats & Liberals Archives

Bad Sign: Choosing the Battlefield, Losing Anyway

Congratulations, GOP, 70% of people think we need to deal with the budget deficit this year. I’m not sure how many would do that as an alternative to fixing the economy, but let’s just take that number at face value. What does it tell you, then, that more people think Obama has a better approach, and that 76% of Americans believe that taxes have to be part of the solution?

50% want gun control, to 46%. 72% believe that a pathway to citizenship should be part pf the priorities(47%), or the main prioritiy (25%) in the immigration debate. 54% think we should develop alternatives on energy.

Obama has larger segments if not majorities on all four of the issues chosen, 45-38 on the deficit, 45-39 on guns, 50-33 on immigration, and 47% to 26% on climate change.

Finally, on the sequester fight, which Speaker Boehner's tried to scapegoat Obama on, 49% of Americans would rather delay the spending cuts, to 40% who would let them go on if no deal is made.

It doesn't get better. 49% of Americans are willing to blame the Republicans right out for the failure to reach an agreement, to 31% on Obama. Even if you include the 11% who blame both sides, Obama only gets to 42%, while Republicans see 60% total by that measure.

Bluntly: Republicans are not winning the fights they're picking, and where the President is taking the initiative, he's got the upper hand.

Republicans are the main reason we're having a budget debate with this kind of weak economy going on. They wanted this controversy, and they've been pushing it since 2009. Yet, for all their noise, they've failed to convince the majority of people to back their play. They push deeply unpopular artificial crises, and take the less popular side of the debate regarding taxes on the rich.

If this is how Republicans defend their position on fiscal matters, if this is how it plays out, I don't know why Republicans are even bothering. Insistence does not equal persuasion.

The Republicans might think they have contained policy change, but they haven't. They've only slowed it. Meanwhile, most Americans want something else, and they're going to get it, one way or another. One day, the dam has to break, and if Republicans haven't rerouted the motivation driving people to want different policies, it's going to rush through, and carry a different political agenda with it.

The extreme positions, though, give the Republicans a liability. They can't make small choices to avoid bigger ones. Every choice is treated as a slippery slope, every deal, even necessary, unavoidable ones, is treated as an evil betrayal of principle. With this situation, the Republicans options to placate the growing segments of dissenters to their policies have grown thin.

If they hoped doubling down on their beliefs would restore the party's brand, it hasn't happened. In fact, folks hate them worse than ever. They can degrade Obama in others' eyes, but they can't elevate their own image.

The Republicans have an alternative, but it means recalibrating the party to suit the center, rather than the fringe. It's not a new struggle. Eisenhower fought the same kind of John Birchers that now seem to run the party. William F. Buckley had to fight them, too. Nixon appealed to more than just the upper-crust and the arch-conservatives. He wasn't saying "We're all Keynesians now" for nothing. Even Reagan's reconfiguration of the party in part focused on making policies that favored the 1% palatable to the rest. Thus the Job Creator rhetoric. Thus the tax increases when the Budget deficit seemed out of control. Thus taking advantage of Soviet offers with Glasnost and Perestroika.

Reagan secured a lasting legacy for his party in part because, not despite, the fact that he compromised with Democrats. He made his position seem more reasonable, more friendly in its appearance to much of the Voting population. He didn't demand that everybody just take a huge step to the right. You could speak of Reagan Democrats for that reason.

President Obama is comparable in that sense. Like Reagan, he takes office at a generational crossroads. In the 1970s, people were disillusioned by the Democrats and their policies. Now its the Republican's turn.

Problem is, Republicans will not admit they've lost the benefit of the doubt. Instead, they fight a long-term rearguard action, trying to stop Obama and his Democratic allies from changing things. Well, maybe they defeat him in the short term, stifling his legislation and forcing ugly compromises on him.

In the long term, though, Republicans have gained a reputation for fecklessness, disagreeability, and sometime outright nuttiness. They're seen as throwbacks, even dangerously so. They are losing the public relations battle, even as they try, largely unsuccessfully, to defeat Obama's positive image.

The strain is showing on the party, and the truth is, they are losing more than just the elections they should expect to lose.

They should, if we went merely by the popular trends, have won the Senate last time. But they didn't. They failed to lose against even so weak and disliked a candidate as Harry Reid. If they had picked somebody normal, they could have done the job. But they didn't. They picked Sharron Angle, who proceeded to actually convince Democrats that letting Harry Reid lose, though he was a fairly disappointing leader to many Democrats, would be a bad idea.

That's how they lost the Senate. Then this election came, and they actually lost even more seats!

The Framers set up the system to counterbalance the many different interests of the different states and the different districts. I know Republicans are constantly talking about how their leaders are supposed to be obligated to do what their constituents want, but they forget that constitutionally, this is only one part of the design. Fact is, the design really is put together so nobody can get everything they want. And that's a good thing. The way I look at it, politics in the system set up by the founders is meant to be a game always played, but never permanently won. In a realistic sense, that's how most real world governments work. But many real world governments try and ignore that fact, or deal with it with token efforts at mollifying the people.

Eventually such governments topple, as the leader's exhaust enough patience, or events undermine the strength of their control apparatuses. In the meantime, there's a lot of pain and suffering, as ideologues and traditionalists insist on maintaining appearances and forcing the policies they've decided are for the best.

We do things differently, letting people let off the steam of dissent, but also organize to overturn the government in a peaceful manner. This is natural in our system, intended. But unfortunately, some people have started to think of their political movement as indispensable, while seeing the other side as an existential threat. It's not a sensibility that bodes well for happy endings, really.

Nobody is indispensable, and there isn't one half of the population that wants this country, its economy, or whatever to fail. Like members of my family often kid each other, "You can be replaced with a button." If it's not Democrats or Republicans, it could be whoever is left standing after we're finished screwing it up. Very often, in psychological terms, the result of an unsolvable conflict about choices is that people make a third, unrelated choice instead.

I don't want that, you should fear that if you're a conservative. The reality is, people just want the system to work. Most people's ideological goals don't get much more complex than that. They might parrot back slogans if you drill it into their heads enough, but its function that is America's true political center.

I think Republicans overestimate people's awe at how ideologically consistent they're being. I think they overestimate how much that will matter when things get screwed up, or when things don't.

What the survey results should tell the Republicans is that their efforts at purity are becoming mutually exclusive with their efforts at persuasion and rehabilitation of the party's image. That doesn't mean that conservatism has to be abandoned, but conservatism isn't merely policies, especially policies that aren't working in the real world. It's supposed to be a careful attitude towards policy, a careful attitude, not an exclusively hostile attitude toward the extension of our institutions.

Republicans keep on saying we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Convenient formulation, since it focuses everything on austerity they can do without having to compromise and be unpopular with their already wary constituents.

But the truth is, what we have is a budget problem. Budgets are BOTH revenue and spending, outlays and receipts. The budget numbers that are publicly available to anybody at the White House OMB website shows the deficit opening up from both sides during the Bush years. It wasn't merely rising spending, and anybody who alleges that is wrong on basic facts. Revenues also decreased. If we were to replace "spending" with "costs", and "revenue" with "income", and we were to call the Federal Government a "Small Business" ;-) and we said that the costs increased while the income decreased, the reason for that "small business" to be running at a loss would be painfully clear to conservatives just as much as anyone.

Only when it comes to government could Republicans look at facts that show declining income for the government, and say that part of the budget problem wasn't revenue. If anybody took that approach with a business, these same Republicans would be the first to tell them that they got to make money to make a profit. Somehow, though, surpluses magically appear despite the fact that they're cutting income.

It amounts to plain, common sense, and that's why more than three quarters of all Americans support taking a balanced approach to a balanced budget. The Republicans have taken a position that is mainly just the ideological fantasy of a group following the principles that a man came up with when he was twelve, a time when most of us believed that everything good was free because our parents paid for it. Following Grover Norquist's ideology, we've ended up with trillions more in debt, and a system that is mainly the decaying legacy of generations that were not afraid to spend money where it was needed to promote the national interests.

We very often distill our intellectual points down to simple principles, but in the process of abstracting our ideas, we very often forget what comes first in terms of what succeeds and what does not. Not our ideas, because those are just ghosts in our head which reality is not obliged to match. Realities. Whatever our intentions, reality is going to be a constant check on our theories, and part of the reason that the framers wanted self-government, rather than another monarchy, was that a government that was close to its people and their concerns could be more receptive to those reality checks, not so removed from the real best interests of the people by power and privilege.

We can either insist that ideology is going to win the day, and end up paying the price with protracted errors that we maintain for politically defensive purposes, or we can start at what works, whether it flatters our theories or not. It is a mark of adulthood that we recognize that what we fantasize to be real about the world, like the glory of war, the trustworthiness of those in authority, and other ideals, gives way to more sober, more practical understanding of the flawed realities involved.

I don't wish the conservative movement to be destroyed. Not sure that can really be done, actually. But I do wish them to move past this political adolescence and recognize that the world they're dealing with is going to confound such simple and overblown expectations as their leaders have long sold them.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at February 24, 2013 8:21 AM
Comments
Comment #362010

Stephen

“Reagan secured a lasting legacy for his party in part because, not despite, the fact that he compromised with Democrats.”

Perhaps Obama should learn from the great Ronald Reagan.

Posted by: C&J at February 24, 2013 12:00 PM
Comment #362012

Conservatives have been demanding spending cuts for the past two years. Now we’re here. How have conservatives reacted?

The sequester is Obama’s idea. It’s a terrible idea. It’s all Obama’s fault. It’s.. it’s… the Obamaquester!

The Obama administration should negotiate with conservatives. Negotiating means no revenue increases whatsoever. Negotiating means providing the GOP cover so they don’t have to take responsibility for their agenda. Why, oh why won’t Obama negotiate? He’s a terrible leader!

The sequester is no big deal. Just 2.4%. Shucks, people will barely notice! It’s just a big scare amplified by the Lamestream Media. (Oh wait. Sarah Palin was kicked off FOX news. Can we still call it the Lamestream Media?).

The sequester is a terrific idea, it’s a Republican idea, by gub, and the GOP cannot wait to implement it! In fact, it doesn’t go far enough! This seems to be the Tea Party Republican position.

The GOP position seems to morph daily. They know they’ve been screaming for spending cuts for the past two years. They pushed the economy to the bring with the debt ceiling debacle, and received blame for wanting to harm the economy. They wanted to do it again, but couldn’t help noticing that failed last time. They pushed the economy to the brink with the fiscal cliff, then a few Republicans joined the Democrats in a compromise. Now, spending cuts are here once again, the result of another artificial deadline demanded by conservatives. It’s here, and Americans despise the GOP for doing this, yet Republicans simply cannot help themselves. Once again, they console themselves that the problem is not their message, but media bias, and most of all… OBAMA!

Conservatives have jumped in the ocean to prove an ideological point, but they can’t swim, and now they’re demanding someone throw them an anchor.

Posted by: phx8 at February 24, 2013 1:57 PM
Comment #362013

phx8

It actually is Obama’s idea. But it certainly is a bipartisan problem.

I don’t think the cuts will be that harmful if we allow flexibility. I advocate giving the president and his appointees the flexibility to cut where it makes sense. The executive indeed already has a lot of discretion. We need not cut cops and air traffic controllers.

I have gone through exercises to but 3%, 5% and even 10%. We can cut overtime, travel and some programs that are not in our primary mandate. In some ways, leaner is better. I sometimes get more effective results by giving people less. There is a place where too many people or too much money causes dis-economies.

And there is certainly 5% that can be cut.

Re negotiations - president Obama has been unable to negotiate well. He doesn’t even really try. Presidents usually reach out the opposition. Obama was a member of the Senate. He must have had some personal relationships. Reagan could talk to Tip O’Neill, why can’t Obama find even one friend among people he used to work with?


Posted by: C&J at February 24, 2013 2:29 PM
Comment #362016

C&J,
The Democratic focus is on growth and jobs. The Republican focus is on spending cuts and debt. Why should the Democrats adopt the Republican focus? The recent election gave Democrats every reason to think their focus is the right one.

I realize Republicans forced the Obama administration to agree to a compromise that included the sequester. That was the price extracted by Republicans in order not to default on the US debt, or initiate an immediate and deep recession through a 44% cut in government spending. Just because Obama agreed to the ransom does not mean he should not adopt the point of view of the Republican kidnappers.

It’s almost as if the GOP is wondering why Obama has not developed Stockhold Syndrome. Doesn’t he know how to negotiate?

Obama does, in fact negotiate with the GOP, both Senators and Boehner in the House. Obama often uses Biden as a point man for legislative negotiations.

In practical terms, I would very much like to see an enormous cut to defense spending. In that regard, I agree with Howard Dean: the sequester may be the only way to obtain large defense cuts. However, a compromise should be easy to reach, one that includes revenues as well as latitude for departments to institute cuts as they see fit.

The problem is that portions of the GOP want this sequestration, not compromise. They demand everyone adopt their focus. They demand it! And they will stop at nothing to achieve this because they are motivated by a belief in the rightness of their own self-righteous ideology.

Posted by: phx8 at February 24, 2013 4:15 PM
Comment #362017

phx8

I believe that government can safely cut 2-5% w/o causing any problem. In fact, I think the exercise is healthy to help various entities refocus on their priorities.

If you are a Keynesian and believe in fiscal stimulus, you would also be against any tax rises. In fact, the increase in taxes as a result of the fiscal cliff and the increase in payroll taxes are taking many times more money out of the system.

Re the sequester - everyone agrees that it was Obama’s idea, evidently actually proposed by Jack Lew. Sources also agree that the sequester was supposed to include only cuts, not tax increases. We had tax increases with the fiscal cliff.

I return to my original point. I don’t think we need any compromises at all beyond giving Obama and his appointees the flexibility to make cuts where they are most needed. In fact, this would be my preferred outcome. Let the people on the front lines figure out what they want to cut and what they want to save, instead of asking Congress to micro-manage what they understand only darkly.

You have been in positions of authority. Do you think you could do a better job deciding where to take a 2-5% cut or would you prefer it be dictated to you from people far away?

I think the cuts are positively good. It will increase efficiency, by making managers abandon lower priority projects. If/when the crisis passes, they can add resources to the surviving better projects.

Frankly, I could do better with a 5% cut that I could manage than a 5% rise that came with too many strings.

Posted by: C&J at February 24, 2013 4:59 PM
Comment #362019

C&J-
You believe we can cut without a problem. You know what the financial sector says? The Sequester will send us into a recession.

The Republicans focus on debt reduction, in a time where austerity is ill-advised, because that’s all the options Republicans will allow themselves. So, you marshal the rhetoric to defend that position.

But lets look at last year’s election. Your guy was promising more tax cuts, which would have cut into revenues, and more military spending, which does, despite Republican sensibilities, still count towards the outlay totals in the budget.

See how that works? It’s all window dressing.

There may be a case for reduced federal spending eventually, but the way this is being done, I am told, is so Godawful stupid, it may end up making things worse, not better, because to do what you’re asking, we either have to make the unemployment problem worse by putting thousands of workers out of work, or by breaking federal contracts, which will come with penalties and litigation.

And why did the sequester come along? In order to force compromise at a later date, because we couldn’t come up with the trillions of dollars of cuts you hostage takers were demanding all at once! It simply wasn’t practical to do it in the time left before we ended up going over the debt ceiling limit.

Which is a big part of the argument against this. Rather than work as a deliberative body and slowly but surely do this over time, the Republicans want to make a big show for their constituents, to prove they aren’t the idiots who created the deficit again in the first place.

But look at the election promises above.

The simple fact is, you folks have gone out of your way not to change, even as you seek the power you lost. You don’t want to learn. You don’t think you need to learn. All that disaster and failure notwithstanding.

You think you’re smart, but as I’ve learned over time, sometimes being smart just means you’re more creative when it comes to screwing up. Being right in reality, rather than just thinking you’re right, takes a different kind of discipline, a discipline the GOP and conservative movement no longer encourage. It’s more important to be right ideologically, than to check your own assumptions.

Republicans assumed that Bin Laden and the Taliban were defeated. They weren’t. They assumed WMDs would be found along with terrorist cells in Iraq. They were never found, and the cells got imported after the fact.

They assumed energy prices would go down with their reforms in that category. They went up, rising to almost four dollars. They assumed that drilling more oil would lower gas prices. We’re drilling more than ever before, but no real lowering of prices has occured.

They assumed that letting Lenders have free reign would improve the economy, and that letting the markets police themselves would create natural order. They assumed that if they let Lehman Brothers collapse, it would only take itself with it. Instead, the host of derivatives contracts meant that every other big bank and investment house was now in danger. They assumed that if they didn’t vote for a bailout, the markets would take care of themselves. They didn’t.

They assumed Tax Cuts would create jobs, stave off economic doldrums. They didn’t. The Bush Administration was piss-poor, especially in terms of a two term President, in terms of job creation, and that’s without having an eight million job hole to start your administration out with.

Again and again, your side has made assumptions about how things would go, and again and again, they’ve been proved wrong. I’d say that, more than anything else is what has the GOP in trouble.

Smart people can make bad assumptions, mistakes. But if they don’t engage in the discipline of self-examination, of rational review of results, they won’t see either the errors coming, or be able to understand why people are so angry or frustrated with them.

Republicans need to quit insisting that “compromise” means forcing your agenda on us, and having us agree. I know that’s the definition that keeps you from having to change anything, or do anything differently, but the point would be you should be changing things, should be rethinking things. Not doing so is why you have more than three quarters of the American people disagreeing with you on the fundamental shape of a debate you provoked, you forced on us. You won the battle to have the deficit be the major focus, but have lost the war on what policy to use.

That should tell you something.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 25, 2013 8:02 AM
Comment #362020

Stephen, as long as you and your people get to define the “battlefield,” then yes, it looks as if people on the right are losing.

Republicans already gave you some of your punishing tax increases in hopes of addressing some spending this time. Wouldn’t that be a “combination of both” that the poll shows support for?
I wonder what results an honest poll question would get? Something like: With taxes now being increased on all Americans, is it now time for spending cuts?”

Republicans have already given you gun control to help you cope with your fears. Background checks are already mandatory and people cannot own assault weapons without a special tax and permit. I wonder where people get the impression that no background checks are done and that anybody can walk into a gun store and buy a fully automatic weapon? Probably from the same idiots who claim gun death rates are highest in red states with fewer gun laws, but ignore the fact it is the urban blue areas in those red states that are the problem.

Why do you intentionally leave out tougher border security in your fantasy of mass support? I wonder how much support there would be if it was explained how many billions of tax dollars are spent on illegal immigrants each year?
There is no doubt that you would not intentionally blur the line between immigrant and illegal immigrant if they did not support your people.

Ah, and energy, or climate change as you promote it, lol.
Everybody understands and supports the need for developing alternative means of energy, the problem for leftists is that most are not alarmists. Which is why your people never ask just how much pain people are willing to endure in order to fund your idea of a no “dirty” energy utopia.

You know, I think the election in 2016, not this past one, is going to be the real test of whether our country stays the United States or becomes just another European clone as you seem to believe these “polls of support” show.
IMO, people are showing support for Obama, not leftist policy and it is going to be very interesting to see your turnout if your candidate is an “evil” white male. In fact, I will go on record now as saying 2016 will be Bush vs Gore II, but alot more contentious.

Posted by: kctim at February 25, 2013 10:35 AM
Comment #362021

kctim-
You think people were unaware of the previous tax increases when they were asked that question? No. And so, the answer to your question is also no. People are simply not convinced of the Republican’s view on an issue the Republicans insisted on forcing into the public debate, at the expense of dealing with jobs and the economy.

On Gun control, I can’t believe you think I wouldn’t remember the gun show loophole. Oh, and what about that antiquated reporting system that basically allowed the guns to “walk” so the cartel could use them to kill border agents?

As for immigration? You have a vivid imagination. It’s nice for getting people like you to froth at the mouth over the matter. But the reality is, most of us are sane, reasonable, honest individuals, and it would make more sense, even if we’d like many immigrants to be voters, for them to be citizens, so the voting couldn’t be called into question.

As for Climate Change? It’s not alarmism, it’s science. It’s what most climate scientists say to be true, and with my background, I see little reason to buy into the so-called skeptics’ rhetoric.

I mean, you would have to expect Climate scientists to be utter morons to have not checked all kinds of different alternatives. And you’d have to be ignorant of the science to think it hadn’t been checked yet. But it has. People have looked at the situation, filtered out many of the variables, established what the effects are of the forcings.

Global Warming is not a new idea. It’s been around since a century ago. People have known for that long of CO2’s heat trapping ability. They’ve suspected that over the next thousand or so years, climate would gradually change to a warmer level. They thought this was a dandy thing.

What they had not learned yet was the speed and ferocity of typical climate changes. They’d not yet seen the evidence like the Cave of Swimmers, which told us that climates could shift in mere centuries, or evidence concerning the last ice age that showed it taking around a decade for the new ice age to begin.

They also didn’t have the computing power to model the systems that govern climate change.

You call us alarmists because you’ve been coached by a wide variety of people who basically have been taking their lines from the energy sector, who profit from the very carbon emissions that would have to be limited.

But the reality is, the rational evidence tells us there’s a problem, and the objections raised by most of the critics aren’t for scientific benefit, but to make people like you feel that your side still has mainstream scientific credibility, but that one of those omnipresent liberal conspiracies is hiding the truth.

What we’re dealing with is not the difference between the way we are now and utopia, but rather between meeting this challenge while there’s still time to head it off, or enduring economically destructive changes to this world’s climate and geography. There’s no such thing as a free lunch in nature, and your problem is, you don’t want to concede the argument that releasing the carbon dioxide that was captured all at once in a geological instant is a bad idea. You just want to sit there comfortable, and not have to concede anything to the dirty liberals.

As for 2016, I will do what I did before: worry about the content of the character, not the color of the skin. If the best candidate is a white guy, it won’t be a problem. If it’s a white woman, no problem. Latina, fine. Black, fine. It makes me happy that we have a more diverse cast of characters in our ranks, but it also makes me happy that we pick more competent, more responsible legislators.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 25, 2013 11:17 AM
Comment #362022

kctim,
I agree, the 2016 election will be a lot more important than the midterms. The 2014 Senate math figures enough in favor of the GOP that they might be able to retake it, despite themselves. That’s funny, because it’s going to lead a lot of people to make some hugely false assumptions. In 2016 the Senate math is hugely in favor of the Democrats, as much as 2012 and 2014 combined. In addition, if Hillary runs, polls show her absolutely swamping potential GOP opponents. We’re talking Democrats taking Texas, Kentucky, supermajorities in the House & senate… THAT kind of landslide. Better learn the lyrics to “The Internationale.”

I’m glad people immigrate to this country to find opportunity, even if they are so motivated that they do so illegally. Something is wrong with our laws if we cannot process people who want to be Americans fast enough. Let’s change the law today and make it much easier for all to come here and become a citizen. Clearly, anyone coming to this country should be made legal immediately and welcomed with open arms. It’s a noble ambition. These are good people. They’ll make great Americans. We need more.

Posted by: phx8 at February 25, 2013 11:21 AM
Comment #362023

Stephen
YOUR poll says the people want a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. As Republicans gave you your tax increases and are now wanting spending cuts, their view on the issue seems to be a combination of both.
Now, your people are saying MORE tax increases and no spending cuts, which is not a combination of both.

The “gun show loophole” is hyped up BS to scare people like you into believing anybody can go to a gun show and buy a gun from a dealer without a background check. That’s not how it is.
What you are talking about is the private sale of guns between two individuals, something they can, and already do, without going to gun shows.
I didn’t think you wouldn’t remember the “gun show loophole” rhetoric you have been taught, I was just hoping you were a little more intelligent than to bring it up.

Yes, our government walking guns over the border is a bad idea. We agree.

Funny how your people refuse to address the actual cause of the problem.

“As for immigration? You have a vivid imagination. It’s nice for getting people like you to froth at the mouth over the matter.”

WTF are you talking about? ILLEGAL immigration costs taxpayers billions each year. It is neither sane, reasonable or honest to ignore that fact. Your people also label anybody against ILLEGAL immigration as being against ALL immigration, and the only reason you do this is for the affected immigrants vote.

“As for Climate Change? It’s not alarmism, it’s science…”

Please read what was written before launching into the talking points you have been given. I didn’t dispute the claim of global warming, cooling, climate change or whatever the hell you are calling it now. I clearly said that while almost everybody is for developing alternative energy, they are not going to demand or support life altering measures to gain it.
I call you alarmists because you blame Republicans for not supporting your theory of immediate drastic change being needed.

“You just want to sit there comfortable, and not have to concede anything to the dirty liberals.”

No, I just want to be able to go to work, feed my family and keep a roof over our heads. None of which I would be able to do with a 2 or 3 hundred percent increase in my energy costs.

“As for 2016, I will do what I did before: worry about the content of the character, not the color of the skin.”

Hate to burst your bubble there, but you will show up to vote and your vote will be liberal no matter what. In other words, your type is not who I am talking about.
If your people do not get the turnout Obama did, your wet dreams of a European style government may not come to be.

“but it also makes me happy that we pick more competent, more responsible legislators.”

You must be one sad sum bitch right now then. Maybe that’s why you are stuck on this Democrats good, Republicans bad kick?

Posted by: kctim at February 25, 2013 2:18 PM
Comment #362024

Phx
If the 2016 leftist does not get the same turnout Obama did, the election will be much closer than Stephens ‘the whole country loves the Dems’ rhetoric of late. Especially if you guys keep going after the 2nd Amendment and calling for higher taxes the way you have been.

Very few people, left or right, want an end to immigration. What they want is to slow ILLEGAL immigration. If you want to make it easier to become an American, go for it. Just stop rewarding those who break the law by coming here illegally and stop demonizing those who believe in the rule of law, all in hopes of your party being rewarded at the ballot box.

Posted by: kctim at February 25, 2013 2:33 PM
Comment #362025
Actually, the sequester doesn’t cut federal spending at all, or rather it cuts it only in the Washington sense of any reduction from projected baseline increases is a cut. In reality, even if the sequester goes through, the federal government will spend more every single year.

This year, the sequester would slow the growth in federal spending by just $85 billion, from an expected, pre-sequester budget of $3.64 trillion — less than a 2.3% reduction. To put that in perspective, the federal government borrows $85 billion every 28 days . In fact, this actually overstates the size of this year’s cuts. Because of ongoing contracts and the Byzantine labyrinth of federal budgeting, only $44 billion of that $85 billion will actually be cut from this year’s budget. The rest will be cut in future years, but attributed to this year’s budget. So, the real reduction in federal spending this year is just 1.2%. If the federal government can’t reduce spending by less than a penny-and-a-half on the dollar without throwing us into the dark ages, something is truly wrong.

It is true that the cuts are not spread equally across all types of federal spending. Entitlement programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are generally exempt — Grandma’s Social Security check won’t be cut — meaning that discretionary spending takes a disproportionately larger hit. Still, we are talking about a reduction of less than 9%. That would leave domestic discretionary spending, after adjusting for inflation, at roughly the same level as 2009. You recall 2009, don’t you? The starvation, the mass closure of our schools, the shutdown of the transportation system, the burning cities?

The proposed spending reductions amount to less than 0.03% of our gross domestic product. If our economy can’t survive spending cuts of that size, we truly are Greece.

http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/fairy-tale-spending-cuts

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 25, 2013 3:06 PM
Comment #362026

Why do many people not believe the chicken little hysteria that the White House is creating?

1) We did worse in the 1990s and we were better off for it

2) The details they give us don’t match up with facts. For example:

If you want a thorough agency-by-agency rundown of the budget cuts sequestration would deliver, the Office of Management and Budget has you covered. In compliance with The Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, the OMB sent a detailed report to Congress in September 2012. But there’s a small problem with the report: One of the cuts it warns against would affect an agency that no longer exists—and didn’t exist when the OMB sent its report to congress.

The first line item on page 121 of the OMB’s September 2012 report says that under sequestration the National Drug Intelligence Center would lose $2 million of its $20 million budget. While that’s slightly more than 8.2 percent (rounding error or scare tactic?), the bigger problem is that the National Drug Intelligence Center shuttered its doors on June 15, 2012—three months before the OMB issued its report to Congress.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 25, 2013 3:16 PM
Comment #362027


I forced myself to read Stephen Daugherty’s novel, “The Long Rant”…Opps! I mean “Bad Sign: Choosing the Battlefield, Losing Anyway”. I was reading it to be polite. I’ve heard it all before in one word or another. But then I came to this paragraph:

The Framers set up the system to counterbalance the many different interests of the different states and the different districts. I know Republicans are constantly talking about how their leaders are supposed to be obligated to do what their constituents want, but they forget that constitutionally, this is only one part of the design. Fact is, the design really is put together so nobody can get everything they want. And that’s a good thing. The way I look at it, politics in the system set up by the founders is meant to be a game always played, but never permanently won. In a realistic sense, that’s how most real world governments work. But many real world governments try and ignore that fact, or deal with it with token efforts at mollifying the people.

I thought, “What a bunch of bovine fecal matter!”.

Stephen Daugherty, the Framers didn’t set up this system, your Progressive Democratics set up this system. The system set up by the Framers was co-opted by Democratics in 1912 with the ratification of the 16th and the 17th amendments.

It was your corrupt state legislatures who elected your corrupt senators that ratified these amendments, Stephen Daugherty. It had nothing to do with the Framers or their version of the Constitution. The Framers set up a system of checks and balances that worked fine for 125 years. It was the corrupt state legislatures (your excuse) that elected corrupt senators (your excuse) that ratified these amendments.

You can rant all you want to lay blame solely on the Republicans for our current mess, Stephen Daugherty. You can completely ignore the 100 years of Progressive policies and claim they are as clean as the wind driven snow when handing out responsibility, but don’t you ever try to frame the Framers! This is your mess!

Watch out, people! Pretty soon Democratics will be teaching your children this country was founded in 1912!

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 25, 2013 3:25 PM
Comment #362028

http://reason.com/blog/2013/02/19/what-will-sequestration-really-look-like

research by Carmen Reinhart, Vincent Reinhart, and Kenneth Rogoff argues that maintaining levels of gross debt greater than 90 percent of GDP for five years at a time reduces future economic growth by as much as 1 percentage point a year for 20-plus years. We’ve been in such a “debt overhang” situation since 2008 and the cumulative effect over the coming years will likely be substantial. In the chart to the right, the blue line represents expected economic growth when gross debt is lower than 90 percent of GDP and the red line shows reduced growth due to debt overhang.

Who exactly is up for having 24 percent less stuff in, say, 2036? Start building it into your retirement plans, because that’s where we’re heading if spending and debt patterns keep going the way they’re headed. As the CBO illustrates it, there’s really no scenario under current trends in which revenue catches up to spending.

phx8 tell us that we don’t have a spending problem… Stephen tell us that we can easily balance the budget in a short period of time if we just raise a few taxes.

Unfortunately, the facts say otherwise.

The Democratic focus is on growth and jobs.

I had to doublecheck that I wasn’t reading the Onion here…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 25, 2013 3:50 PM
Comment #362029
President Obama and other so-called progressives insist that the American people are not overly dependent on government. They also predict dire consequences if the automatic budget “cuts” known as sequestration take place March 1. But as Sheldon Richman observes, both claims cannot be true. If modest across-the-board “cuts”—mainly cuts in the rate of growth—in military and domestic spending pose a threat to the American people and the U.S. economy, then the country is alarmingly dependent on government.

Soooo, which is it?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 25, 2013 3:56 PM
Comment #362030

“As Republicans gave you your tax increases and are now wanting spending cuts, their view on the issue seems to be a combination of both.
Now, your people are saying MORE tax increases and no spending cuts, which is not a combination of both.”

Kctim,

The actual facts are that spending cuts already signed into law far exceed any revenue increases agreed to by Republicans. Spending cuts enacted into law over the past two years total 1.4 trillion, excluding any savings from wars. The revenue increases total 600 billion from the fiscal cliff deal. With reduction of interest costs, the total deficit reduction package, thus far, is 2.5 trillion.

Contrary to your statement, the Obama administration and Democrats have proposed an additional reduction in spending of 930 billion with an estimated savings of 200 billion in interest outlays for a total spending reduction of 1.1 trillion. Additional tax revenues of 580 billion are proposed through limiting tax deductions to 28% for the wealthiest and closing loopholes.

The Obama administration proposes a total deficit reduction package of 4.3 trillion of which more than 2/3 is in spending reductions.

The truth of the matter is that the Obama administration has been consistent in its proposals for deficit reduction as a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. It is the Republicans who have been intransigent.

Posted by: Rich at February 25, 2013 5:05 PM
Comment #362031

kctim-
When judging intent in polls, I think its healthy to judge multiple related points. More people trust Obama’s approach, by 45-38. Would they do so if taxes were seen as high enough on the people Obama was targeting?

More people are willing to relent on the Sequester than let it go through, by 49 to 40. Would this be the case if spending cuts were as much of a priority for the majority of Americans as you think?

More people will blame the Republicans in Congress if things go wrong, by 49 to 31. If the sentiment was that the Republican’s position was the more reasonable one, this result would go the other way.

As for your vivid imagination? Let me ask you a question: who the hell would actually have motivations like you folks on the right keep on ascribing to us? Who would actually like to see the economy go downhill? Who would actually want to have all the fun expunged from their lives? Who really wants government up their hindquarters? Who really wants to WAGE WAR ON CHRISTMAS FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY?????

These are the descriptions of stock villains from Children’s cartoons! Normal adults in America do not have these motivations!

But it makes for great, cheap, frothing at the mouth opposition, and it provides great excuses for people not to compromise or even associate with folks who aren’t taking the views of the right.

As for Climate Change?
Look, if you know the science, it tells you that we have to make significant changes to the way we gain and extract energy in order to avoid pushing things past the point of no return. If you’re not disputing the science, then you’re not disputing the problem the science shows us, which is that continued emissions at current levels will push us towards significant increases in global average temperatures by the end of this century. Given that the system is non-linear, this is a stitch-in-time situation.

More to the point, I have been consistent in saying that the reason to start the ball rolling now is that the later we start this process, the more extreme the necessary measures to either adapt to or prevent the warming will be. It will be cheaper and more effective to start now, than start later when the effects make even the so-called skeptics clamor for action.

As for wet dreams of European style government, I have yet to have had a dream where a parliament comes by and makes love to me, nor any sexual activity with constitutional monarchies. I’m certain I haven’t had any dreams where I fly naked into the window of a social welfare regime lying in bed. I guess I’m just not kinky in that way.

As for Democrats good, Republicans bad, the real question is whether I’m wrong. If I’m right, there’s no point to resenting what I’m saying, because however unfair you might think it, it’s a fair cop, and truth should overrule your personal preferences.

Rhinehold-
There’s this little thing called inflation, and another little thing called interest on debt. As for Greece, they’ve been cutting the hell out of the budget in Greece, in a fierce attempt to stem the budget deficit there.

Not working.

Your assumptions are faulty. Half a million jobs are estimated to hang in the balance, and that is not a minor thing for an economy.

For all your Reason and CATO institute partisans say everything will be fine, the folks in the financial sector seem to have different ideas about “fiscal drag”. They’re in the business of anticipating economic trends, while Reason and CATO, quite bluntly, are in the business of selling libertarianism.

Weary Willie-
For the information of our readers, the amendments you refer to are this:

“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

and this:

“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.[“

In other words, you oppose the measures that allow for progressive income taxes and popular election of Senators.

That’s what the big business and the wealthy wanted? The taxes were meant to be applied to them! They’ve been fighting that ever since! And the whole thing about popular election of Senators? A fine bit of turnaround, since the whole motivation behind that amendment was to remove the power from the hands of state legislators who used that power to appoint their cronies to the Senate.

You’re the first person to mention any notion of this nation being founded in 1912.

You said it was working fine. Did it? We had the civil war and those amendments following that. We had these amendments, which you dismiss as the result of cronyism, despite their populist bent, and the significant effect of removing the selection of the Senator from the hands of more removed state legislatures. The People of America judged there to be a need to change the way the constitution operated, and they would do so again another nine or ten times.

And you know what? That was the design of the framers! Just look at the fricking document, amendment was part of it. And they made certain, with the 2/3rds threshold for proposal and the 3/4ths proportion for passage in the state legislatures, that it wasn’t simply the idle impulse of the simple majority that brought these changes.

The changes that Democrats and other kinds of progressives made over time helped build a strong middle class, and had America operating as a creditor nation. The changes Republicans made, though not all bad, have in sum resulted in America owing trillions more than it did, and have led to a haphazard, poorly regarded government structure that doesn’t satisfy what most Americans want from their government.

You want to believe that somehow we’ve strayed from som ideal, but the ideal of America was part stabilizing republican structure, but also democratic, representative adaptation to the needs and the will of the people.

If it isn’t, I’ll tell you what happens: people will get more and more dissatisfied, until they overturn the government as it is, and change it to something else. Now, what I hope is that this happens by means of elections and the peaceable reforms that come after. But if folks on the right keep things up, they’ll get people in the streets, calling for the heads of the elite.

If you don’t pay heed to the progressives, those who believe the system can be changed from the inside to be geared to the benefit of the many, you will have to pay heed to the radicals, the people you’ve been conned into believing we are.

If you don’t work with the people who will compromise with you, if you keep on trying to warp the system to fit the radical beliefs of the few on the right, you will have to contend with those who would force the system to work towards the public good by more radical means.

That is the way of things. The folks who had good common sense realized this, and found way to let out the steam, and domesticate the more progressive impulses. Those who didn’t threw themselves against such movements and marginalized themselves. Americans are not going to accept a situation rigged against them, they don’t think their country was founded to have them be the stepping stone of their society’s elite.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 25, 2013 6:25 PM
Comment #362032

phx8

Surely you don’t want to equate your guys with the truly evil ideology associated with the Internationale.

I actually do know the words and used to be able to sing it in poor Russian.

Stephen

President Obama wants to raise taxes. Whether you raise taxes by $100 or make government cuts of $100, you are taking that out. So if you believe in this stimulus, you can neither cut spending nor raise taxes. Of course, you must also wonder why the economy is so weak four years after the end of the last recession.

So your proposal would be simply not to raises taxes or make cuts and just keep the debt rolling? What “compromise” do you see in that, except maybe compromising future generations?

The Obama folks can choose to make the cuts hurtful or helpful.

Of course, maybe the Obama folks don’t know where to cut. President Obama’s folks claimed that the National Drug Intelligence Center would lose $2 million of its $20 million budget under sequester, but Obama didn’t notice that this Center had closed down on June 15, 2012. Are you scared to lose what doesn’t exist?

Posted by: C&J at February 25, 2013 6:40 PM
Comment #362033

C&J,
The Internationale? Kidding.

BTW, saw “Groundhog Day” and loved it. Awesome movie. Great rec. Thanks.

Posted by: phx8 at February 25, 2013 7:28 PM
Comment #362034

The Sequester will be an excellent opportunity for obama to strut his stuff. We’ll find out whether he is a true executive who can manage, or just a politico who can only win elections.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 25, 2013 7:40 PM
Comment #362035
The changes that Democrats and other kinds of progressives made over time helped build a strong middle class, and had America operating as a creditor nation. The changes Republicans made, though not all bad, have in sum resulted in America owing trillions more than it did, and have led to a haphazard, poorly regarded government structure that doesn’t satisfy what most Americans want from their government.

More bovine excrement, Stephen Daugherty. When are you going to realize that Democratics have also been elected and voted right along side Republicans? Your party is not the virgin when it comes to culpability! Your party is as much to blame as the Republicans!

Get over your victimhood, Stephen Daugherty. Democratics have fostered the victim mentality. Democratics have fostered the double standard. Democratics have been able to get away with it because a complicit media allows your party to play the blame game.

I fail to understand how you can be blind to these facts. Sure, you can sugarcoat them to make believe they don’t exist. You can project your party’s faults onto the Republicans and repeat, repeat, repeat. What you can’t do is deny that these “progressive” changes, over the last century, have put this country into debt. It’s not the wars that have accumulated this debt, it’s entitlement spending! It’s not the Bush Tax Cuts that have put this nation into debt, it’s entitlement spending! Who’s all in for entitlement spending, Stephen Daugherty? It’s Democratics! The Buy-The-Vote Party! Go ahead and write another book about how the Republicans are the cause and the Democratics are just poor victims of mean, selfish, Republicans. Hide your head in the partisan sand while your Democratics spend this country into the poor house. It won’t change the fact that the Democratics are destroying this country from the inside with your threats and your democratic fairness and equal entitlement crap.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 25, 2013 10:03 PM
Comment #362036

“What you can’t do is deny that these “progressive” changes, over the last century, have put this country into debt.”

False.

“It’s not the wars that have accumulated this debt, it’s entitlement spending!”

False.

“It’s not the Bush Tax Cuts that have put this nation into debt, it’s entitlement spending!”

False.

Even the most casual observer of our economic history would instantly realize these statements are complete and blatant falsehoods.

War generated debt during the Great Depression and WWII, but almost all of the current round of debt- 90%, about $9 trillion- was accumulated under the administrations of three Repubican presidents: Reagan, Bush #41, and Bush the Weaker; and most of that debt was accumulated through a combination of tax cuts and increased defense spending.

Two other major factors should be mentioned: 1) Under Bush the Weaker, rising costs in the private health care sector were passed into the government health care sector. 2) Financial deregulation resulted in the S&L fiasco under Bush #41, and the same played a major role in the economic meltdown at the end of the administration of Bush the Weaker.

The financial catastrophe of 2007 - 2009 drove deficits and debt much higher during the Obama administration, as we know. Since Obama took office, the deficit, though large has decreased every single year.

So-called ‘entitlement spending’ played almost no role whatsoever in accumulating the current debt. Only the increases in the private health care sector played any role at all in increasing federal spending that was not related to wars or tax cuts.

Posted by: phx8 at February 25, 2013 10:41 PM
Comment #362037

If the sequester happens, it will be interesting to see what happens after a month.

The GOP wants it, and if no one really notices much difference, it will be a great case for smaller government and spending cuts.

The Democrats do not want it, and if everyone notices a big difference, it will support the Democratic case for concentrating on growth and jobs.

Posted by: phx8 at February 25, 2013 11:21 PM
Comment #362038

“So-called ‘entitlement spending’ played almost no role whatsoever in accumulating the current debt. Only the increases in the private health care sector played any role at all in increasing federal spending that was not related to wars or tax cuts.”

Why bother, phx8? Facts just don’t seem to matter.

“Who’s all in for entitlement spending, Stephen Daugherty? It’s Democratics!”

Your must live in a fantasy world, Weary. SS and Medicare enjoy enormous support from the public. Its called the third rail of politics for a reason. The “Ryan Budget” purporting to “save” Medicare was DOA with the public upon its release. Republicans furiously backpedaled from it.

Posted by: Rich at February 25, 2013 11:33 PM
Comment #362039

You forget Rich that SS and Medicare are entitlements that are paid into all our working life. Welfare and medicaid are paid into by the working class for the non working class in the form of tax dollars.

Posted by: KAP at February 26, 2013 12:06 AM
Comment #362040

KAP,
Welfare and Medicaid come “to about $235 billion, the bulk of which is SNAP (formerly food stamps) and about one-third of Medicaid. That’s 12 percent of all federal welfare spending and about 6 percent of the whole federal budget. Once you account for the fact that some of these program dollars go to the working poor, you end up with CBPP’s estimate of 10 percent, or about 5 percent of the whole federal budget.”
http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/02/how-much-do-we-spend-nonworking-poor

Btw, the linked article has a nice chart that breaks out the spending in a way that’s easy to see at a glance.

So, about 5% of the federal budget goes to welfare and medicaid. $235 billion. I thought that was interesting. Taking care of the poorest of the poor seems like a reasonable thing for a government to do. We’re a wealthy country, and there’s no reason anyone in America should starve to death, or die from exposure or want of medical care.

For welfare, a single person typically receives about $300/month; a family of four, $900.

For food stamps (SNAP), a household of one would receive $152/month.

Posted by: phx8 at February 26, 2013 12:45 AM
Comment #362042

The debt didn’t magically appear when Republicans gained control of the government. The debt caused by the welfare state, call it the socialist state, has been an ongoing fact for more than half a decade.

For instance, a person I know received an operation when she was an infant. This operation enabled her to be eligible for social security payments for the rest of her life. She calls it her disability payments. Those payments have convinced her she cannot work, she does not need an education, or any reason to better herself. In fact, she refuses to better herself for fear of losing these payments.

She is not poor. She has her cell phone, cable, home phone, internet access, chips and snacks, cigarettes, pop, rent, utilities, air conditioning, computer. She has things working people don’t have.

Her so called disability gives these things to her as well as an excuse to not earn her keep by working. I find it odd her disability keeps her from getting a job but she can walk across town to buy her cigarettes time and time again with no problems at all.

This is not a late, Republican phenomenon. This is a systemic cancer masquerading as compassion. This is a lure with a barbed hook attached used by Democratics to catch the vote of the poor slave that is dependent on the handout.

What kind of mobility does a family of four have on $900 a month, phx8. Are they not locked onto an economic plantation? Their only motivation, the only action they feel they need to pursue, is to vote for the politician that will guarantee their handout. Everything else is supplied to them like that for the family pet.

I did not ask to be enrolled in this welfare/socialist state. It was forced upon me by a parent who is enjoying the benefits of this ponzi scheme. A parent who gets angry at the mere mention of it’s failings. A parent brainwashed into thinking it’s his own money he’s spending. He refuses to believe he’s spending my money. He actually believes my money is waiting for me in my magic bank account just like he believes his money waited for him in his magic bank account. Little does he know it’s all Stephen Daugherty’s and his Democratic’s bovine excrement he’s believing in.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 26, 2013 4:31 AM
Comment #362043

Just to correct an oversight. I meant to say half a century, not half a decade. Half a decade would put it squarely in Obama’s lap wouldn’t it?


Posted by: Weary Willie at February 26, 2013 4:35 AM
Comment #362044

C&J: “So your proposal would be simply not to raises taxes or make cuts and just keep the debt rolling?”

That’s what I’d certainly propose. Debt is going down on it’s own for now. If it stayed the same for a few years then what is the big deal? A fully recovered economy would take care of a good chunk of the remaining debt and we’d be able to work on less drastic and partisan proposals to take care of the rest and actually tackle real problems coming up.

That isn’t happening though. The Republicans wanted a fight over debt to ruin President Obama’s re-election campaign. That didn’t work. Now if we slip into a minor recession who’s going to get the blame in politics? Certainly not President Obama. He’s not running for office anymore. There’s going to be a whole lot of Republicans kicked to the curb in 2014 if things go the way Republicans themselves are designing this. If you think there’s a path where Republicans emerge from this stronger you’re kidding yourself.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at February 26, 2013 7:58 AM
Comment #362045

C&J-
It’s not so simple. If you cut in the right places, tax in the right places, the economic impact is lessened. That’s why you tax the rich first. Not out of resentment, but because the money they would have likely saved anyway (and did with the Bush tax cuts, according to surveys) wasn’t contributing much to economic activity anyway. And you cut wasteful programs in favor of ones that generate more economic activity, and therefore more revenue.

In case you haven’t noticed, though, I did not complain about a lack of austerity after 2008, and only favored tax increases for the rich in 2010. I have been consistent in not turning tax increases into the panacea that Republicans have promised spending cuts will be for the economy.

And no, I don’t wonder why the economy is so weak, because I haven’t bull****ed myself as to what caused the economic crisis. You’ve bought into a story that exonerates Wall Street and the Republicans. But if you look at what broke the banks, hell, if you look at the proportion of subprime loans made and defaulted on, you’ll find the pattern doesn’t support the conservative narrative. CRA-related loans and GSE related loans defaulted less. You’d be looking for where they defaulted more than average.

You’d find it with the non-bank lenders. But those would implicate Wall Street, make regulating derivatives an imperative, rather than an obstacle to recovery.

The economy is weak because we lost several million jobs in the space of just a few months, along with a significant percentage of GDP. We also saw a simultaneous credit crunch, a locking up of the very mechanisms of vehicle and housing purchases. We remain in the doldrums not because of some airy-fairy confidence problem, where investors just don’t feel like clapping enough, but because of mechanical constraints imposed on our economy by the disaster itself.

You smugly sit there, believing strongly that the solution to the problem is what Reagan did, or what he was alleged in legend to do. Austerity. But those were different times. Inflation was sky-high, and the markets needed cooling down.

What strikes me, as I look at things, is that your side keeps trying to recapitulate the solutions and even the political turning points of that era. I’m pretty well convinced the point of what you folks said about Benghazi was to get your Teheran hostage crisis, your foreign policy blunder to make us look weak. You try to revive Reagans economic policy, his attempts to reduce big government, and all that.

You forget that the results actually forced Reagan into a different tact. Rather than reduce government outlays, Reagan increased them by 30%. He would also find it necessary to repeatedly raise taxes to make up for what he had reduced.

Everybody has their fantasies about how things are supposed to work, but then we are confronted with the way things do work, and what makes us good or bad leaders, is how we deal with that, how we judge that. Obama didn’t win in these past elections because he’s simply some empty suit who knows how to campaign and nothing else. He’s an adaptable thinker who is down to earth enough that he doesn’t miss where his expectations are defeated, where new ideas are necessary.

The Republicans have lost that adaptability, in order to get people zealous enough to ignore the consequences of their failures. They’ve had to insist on a strained anti-liberal, anti-progressive, austerity-based agenda because their politics won’t allow anything else.

The Republicans have traded creativity in political thought for orthodoxy, and the more rigid they get, the more they disregard the way the real world reacts, the more creativity of what they have left they shed, in order to avoid the dissenters, the second thoughts and all the rest that might shatter the illusion of a Conservative movement ever-triumphant.

Until the Republicans realize they have fallen on hard times, through their own error, they will not succeed in turning them around. They cannot confront the problems they will not admit exist.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 26, 2013 8:51 AM
Comment #362046

phx8, I don’t give a whole hill of beans for your comment, my comment was for the fact that your side throws around SS and medicare as entitlements like welfare and medicade which they are not. As I stated SS is paid into by the working class and welfare is paid into by the working class for the NON WORKING CLASS.

Posted by: KAP at February 26, 2013 12:40 PM
Comment #362047

Royal Flush-
The Sequester isn’t about Obama, because the people who must, under the Constitution, take the initiative, are your people, and because of the way the Constitution structures lawmaking, must take into account the attitudes of the other relevant bodies if it wants something to pass. The Republican have tried to act like it’s the 90’s all over again, but the critical difference is they failed to take back the Senate. Additionally, even during the 90’s, the Republicans were faced with the necessity of compromise.

Today’s Republicans are trying to preserve their purity, make their voters believe they’ll guarantee them absolutely everything they promised them. But the framers constructed Congress so that there would be so many moving parts, that only the most generally agreed-upon ideas would be carried forwards.

Whether you like it or not, the system is set up so that agreement must be had between the Republican House, the Democratic Senate, and the Democratic President. Additionally, in order to pass anything out of the House, the Republicans need a majority, and ironically enough, the Republican’s Tea Party, with its refusal to compromise, has forced Republicans to rely on Democrats to achieve workable compromises.

Work with me here: if those Tea Partiers were to concede to some compromise, they would be able to pass more without Democratic votes. Without that need to please Democrats, Republicans could push their proposals further right.

Whatever’s in your head, whatever you chivalrously swear to uphold, your sum total of positive (which is to say getting things done) influence if nothing you promote passes is zero. If Republicans cannot concede enough to Democrats, then however much they’ve stalled the Democratic agenda, there own is also stalled as well.

Stalemate. A draw.

Republicans have hoped that future electoral victories would guarantee them a victory in the next match, but they didn’t win that, and as 2014 and 2016 approaches, none of the things that made this last election tough will make those elections any easier. Republicans still alienated minorities, women, and the young, and they don’t seem to be doing any bridge-building.

The best that Republicans are doing is not losing. The worst is what they’re doing right now, which is putting themselves in a position where, to please their most radical elements, they are depriving themselves of the choices that might seem more reasonable to the political center, the people who will decide the next elections. The question is whether Republicans will come to their senses and figure out that people will not reward them for more dysfunction, as they are prepared to cause.

Weary Willie-
Do I realize it? Hmm. You mean, do I realize that Democrats voted alongside Republicans on many matters back in the days that the Republicans dominated?

Seriously, you think I don’t keep track?

One part of what Democrats and Progressives have been doing is changing that tendency to imitate Republicans. The party is changing.

What you want to imply is that we’re equally culpable. I suppose if you pretend that the Republicans had nothing to do with creating the whole tax-revolt atmosphere, that they haven’t turned that into an absolutist creed, you could believe that. But no, your people promoted that policy as an unquestionable dogma, turning George H.W. Bush’s foolish campaign promise into a litmus test for true conservatism. even now, Republicans had to be dragged kicking and screaming into it.

You talk about a cult of victimhood. Really?

No, my politics, progressive politics is not about sitting on your ass feeling sorry for yourself. It does mean you help the old, the sick, the disabled, etc. But it also means you stand up for yourself, for your rights, rather than queasily agreeing to give up on your interests so that you can keep your job, or not lose economically important businesses overseas.

You’ve been fed bull**** propaganda for so long, you probably wouldn’t know real liberalism if it whacked you with a two-by-four. Fact is, the entitlement spending you folks are so eager to sacrifice is something people have spent their lives paying for, paying more taxes for that than they did in income taxes! You mewl about how we’re creating a cult of victimhood, while you make victims of millions by stealing what they have rightfully earned in order to avoid raising taxes on thos who can afford to pay them!

Which sums up, in some shape, what my political philosophy is really about: Not allowing yourself to become a victim.

You talk about progressive changes driving this country into debt, but defense spending and tax cuts have been the major drivers of the debt, not entitlement programs. You waged two wars, and deficit financed one massive tax cut after another, and that is where much of the trillions comes from.

You are the one promoting a culture of victimhood, making people feel that it’s liberals who made victims out them. Meanwhile, you try and screw people out of the retirement and the healthcare they worked their entire lives to earn.

That’s the sick irony your curdled outrage hides. You promote elitist policy that sacrifices the very interests you claim to protect, for the sake of those who were comfortable before, and would be comfortable again afterwards, but who somehow have to gall to believe they’re victims whenever anybody asks them to contribute more.

And no, the debt didn’t magically appear. It tripled under Reagan, because he taxed less, spent more (double digit increases over his first term and over his second). It got better under Clinton, who grew spending at a lower rate, and grew revenue faster. Then Bush comes back again, increases spending by several percentage points a year, and cuts taxes. The Debt increases, lo and behold!

Now you can relate your anecdote about the woman, but you know what? The Laziness of one person does not equate to everybody faking it, or taking disability when they could do better. You call it a cancer, but you know what the real cancer is?

The real cancer is the callous preservation of wealth and privilege at the expense of the public interest. I have no objection to people who can earn their way through the world, doing so. I want them too. If they fall into unemployment, or poverty, I want the system actively trying to push them back out again to be competitive.

I don’t want us to pretend that by simply allowing others to fall into destitution and despair, we can preserve for ourselves a much more bountiful economy. That’s bull. The reality is, when we do that, we pull down the businesses in our communities and the overall economic health of the country. The money goes back into the community, and we badly need that. We complain about the poor being able to afford necessities and certain luxuries, I think we should take a second and remember that the people who do work benefit from what they pay, and this nation benefits from the fact that its poor are not half so poor as the poor of other places.

It’s a feedback cycle. You can either let most people fall closer and closer to poverty, with folks just a misfortune away from devastating loss, or you can elevate the public away from poverty, and ensure that people are more robust against such failure.

That strengthens the economy.

Now it ought to be paid for, and we should make sure it runs most efficiently. We should make sure those who can work do. I don’t mind passing reforms that in fact, not just in theory, promote that. Liberalism and efficiency are not enemies. What I mind are people who only see the fortunes of the rich and powerful when they judge the virtue of economic policy.

You, unwittingly, have become just such a person, and my instinct is, you’ve probably become one against your better interest. Why? Because you were sold a fairy-tale that the market is inherently moral, that it ensures the best, more worthy outcomes by its raw behavior.

The truth is, though, the market, like most selective mechanisms in nature, makes no comment on the moral nature of survival. The virtueless survive just the same as the virtuous, sometimes at the expense of those who do things the right way. In nature, there’s no help for that, thus the aggression and sneakiness that wild animals, even herbivores can demonstrate.

But we? We’re not mindless beasts. We’re not obligated to live at our most “natural”. There should be respect paid to the complexity of managing an economy in a free society, in a global economy, but we should recognize that if we want better virtue from the actors in our economy, we’d better write that into the rules, and make sure those who don’t follow them pay.

We cannot abandon wisdom and morality on an individual level, abandon it to the provisional, expedient machinations of the market. We must have something outside of herd behavior to tell us where and what the limits are.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 26, 2013 12:49 PM
Comment #362048

Stephen, We could save a whole lot of money by telling the President to stay home instead of using Air Force 1 to continue his campaign tour. He don’t need to do any campaigning anymore he won the election.

Posted by: KAP at February 26, 2013 1:07 PM
Comment #362049

KAP,
It’s true that working people pay for those non-working poor on welfare and medicaid. A person can argue it’s unfair and unjust for the non-working poor to be given taxpayer money without earning it. It’s also true, per Weary Willie’s point, that there are people who freeload and take advantage of the system; as for them, I think most of us would agree that those people should be taken off the roles after a certain period of time.

Nevertheless, IMO most of the non-working poor are in their situation for a reason, and that it is not a matter of choice or or a weakness fostered by dependency. Some people are physically disabled, while others are mentally ill, or suffer retardation, or suffer other debilities that make them unable to hold a job. The sad fact is, some people are simply unable to function in our society. Some simply cannot contribute.

For those people, the non-working poor, I think it is appropriate for ‘We the People’ to cooperate in order to prevent them from starving, or dying of exposure, or for want of medical care. We’re a wealthy country, and it would be shameful for us as a people to not take care of those who cannot take care for themselves. It’s not a question of fairness or justice, so much as a question of mercy and compassion and basic human decency.

Most people do not take welfare as a basic matter of pride. Most people want a better life for themself and their families. When people immigrate to this country, they often send their money back to their families abroad, rather than spend it on themselves. Many bring their families here in order to seek opportunity. They’re striving for something better. That’s a short history of America.

Posted by: phx8 at February 26, 2013 2:06 PM
Comment #362050

phx8, IMO we should care for the mentally ill and disabled who can’t hold a job do to their disability. As for the physically able bodied people who are milking the system because of pure laziness, weed them out. Clinton’s 3 years and done for any able bodied person should be sufficent, even if they have to take a job flipping burgers at McDonald’s.

Posted by: KAP at February 26, 2013 2:19 PM
Comment #362051

The Democrats do not want it, and if everyone notices a big difference, it will support the Democratic case for concentrating on growth and jobs.
Posted by: phx8 at February 25, 2013 11:21 PM

Yup…that’s right, and we will soon find out if obama is truly the chief executive of all the people or just a social worker who climbed higher than warranted.

As chief executive an honorable and effective leader will make those cuts that cause the least damage and pain. This should not be difficult as the GAO has identified at least $120 billion per year in waste, fraud and duplication.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 26, 2013 2:42 PM
Comment #362052

Royal Flush-
That’s not the way it works. You keep on going back to Obama, but Obama can’t do crap until your people in the House send the Senate, and then him the bill.

Stop dodging responsibility. You guys got yourself into this trouble by doing the whole debt ceiling then. It’s your fricking job to get yourself out of it. If that takes breaking a few promises you shouldn’t have made in the first place, so be it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 26, 2013 3:08 PM
Comment #362053

Doughboy writes; “Which sums up, in some shape, what my political philosophy is really about: Not allowing yourself to become a victim.”

and then also writes; “…have (the) gall to believe they’re victims whenever anybody asks them to contribute more.

In some demented comic-book world populated by liberals like Doughboy this may be true. That the “victims” are those being housed, fed, clothed, and cared for by the taxpaying perpetrators of their victim-hood.

Never…never…never have I read anything from Doughboy that thanks taxpayers for their sacrifice in sharing part of their earned wealth with those who earn none. It is the taxpayers of this nation, and only them, upon which welfare recipients rely for their very subsistence. And yet, Doughboy resents those very same taxpayers when they suggest that they are already paying enough in taxes.

This Doughboy liberal claims to be victimized when another American suggests that they wish to keep more of what they actually earn by working.

Sir; you are demented.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 26, 2013 3:14 PM
Comment #362054

Doughboy writes; “That’s not the way it works. You keep on going back to Obama, but Obama can’t do crap until your people in the House send the Senate, and then him the bill.”

Pure flummery from my liberal penpal. I do understand why in this instance you wish to portray obama the social worker as being helpless. As chief executive he has all the power he needs to make necessary cuts to spending where they will be felt the least.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 26, 2013 3:19 PM
Comment #362055

When the recession hit, state after state had to cut back as, unlike the Feds, they can’t print money and must balance their budgets.

We heard of states cutting “non-essential” services. Yet, I have yet to hear obama or dem legislators even suggest that in the gigantic federal apparatus of hundreds of thousands of employees there is a single “non-essential” job or service.

My friends, the flim-flam man and his minions are hard at work scaring the American people rather than finding ways to alleviate all unnecessary pain. They are shysters and should be shunned by all.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 26, 2013 3:45 PM
Comment #362056
There’s this little thing called inflation, and another little thing called interest on debt.

What’s the inflation rate now, Stephen? I am all for capping increases to the budget at inflation, but it hasn’t been that low for a very long time. 8-10% increases in most departmental budgets have been common even during the time we haven’t even had budgets. There is a lot we could be doing to cut ‘fat’ out of government, but no one seems interested in addressing that, do they?

Tell me Stephen, when would be a good time to cut spending? I’ve asked this of you before and have gotten no answer. I suspect it is because there is no answer in your mind, until all money from private income is directed to government first…

As for Greece, they’ve been cutting the hell out of the budget in Greece, in a fierce attempt to stem the budget deficit there.

Not working.

Then perhaps we should address it BEFORE we get to that point? I don’t see your logic here Stephen, since Greece got themselves into a situation that they can only survive by taking money from other countries in a bailout, we should keep on spending so that we can end up the same?

Your assumptions are faulty. Half a million jobs are estimated to hang in the balance, and that is not a minor thing for an economy.

It never is and it never will be. But if a 1.2% decrease in the spending we do will cause such a dire situation then we are truly already fucked, aren’t we? Yes, some government jobs will be lost, but the left isn’t concerned about that or they wouldn’t be raising taxes (which decreases jobs) or raising the minimum wage (which decreases jobs). With dealing with our debt that WE incurred so that we don’t pass that debt on to our children, we free up the economy who is shitting themselves that we are going to turn into Greece so that the private sector can bring back those people into their ranks.

For all your Reason and CATO institute partisans say everything will be fine, the folks in the financial sector seem to have different ideas about “fiscal drag”. They’re in the business of anticipating economic trends, while Reason and CATO, quite bluntly, are in the business of selling libertarianism.

I got a deal for you, Stephen. You stop using fallacies like this one and I’ll keep actually treating you with a modicum of respect and continue discussing these issues with you in the future, k?

When you want to actually address what was written, I’ll respond.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 26, 2013 4:00 PM
Comment #362057
“What you can’t do is deny that these “progressive” changes, over the last century, have put this country into debt.”

False.

Actually, it is true. You can look at a graph of spending vs GDP and since the 1970s it has taken a huge turn upwards. Not because of the Cold War (though that was part of it). ‘Entitlement’ spending is around 60-70% of our current national budget.

“It’s not the wars that have accumulated this debt, it’s entitlement spending!”

False.

Again, look at the increases in entitlement spending and military spending. While I suggest we cut both, you don’t seem to want to admit that the one side of the equation that you like is part of the problem. Nothing, ever, will get done long term until we fix the problem, even if we cut back on the military as much as I would like, we are still going to see increases, year over year, in entitlement spending. Just check out an ONB report on it sometime.

“It’s not the Bush Tax Cuts that have put this nation into debt, it’s entitlement spending!”

False.

True, your suggesting that it was the Bush Tax Cuts (that you defend and demand 95% of them stay in place, btw) was not the cause.

Even the most casual observer of our economic history would instantly realize these statements are complete and blatant falsehoods.

Perhaps people should be more than ‘casual observers’ of the economic history then…

War generated debt during the Great Depression and WWII, but almost all of the current round of debt- 90%, about $9 trillion- was accumulated under the administrations of three Repubican presidents: Reagan, Bush #41, and Bush the Weaker; and most of that debt was accumulated through a combination of tax cuts and increased defense spending.

Sooo, 9 trillion dollars is 90% of our debt? How much do you think our debt is?

As of TODAY, the debt is 16,610,557,777,904.98. In what world is 90% of 16.6 trillion 9 trillion, exactly?

BTW, you forgot Clinton, odd since he added to the debt to, every year he was in office.

And you leave out Obama who, if we just take spending from September 30, 2009 to current, has added 4,690,038,613,585.56 in debt in one term, it took the people you excoriated (and Clinton) 7 terms to twice that. And we don’t see any backing down, even the ‘draconian cuts’ we are talking about will give us increased debt…

As for ‘not taxing enough’, let’s remember what “>Keynes said (you seem to like Keynsian economic theory).

“25 percent taxation is about the limit of what is easily borne” and “Aggressive taxation may defeat its own ends by diminishing the income to be taxed.

*shrug* I disagree with Keynes on a few things here and there, but he was right about this…

Posted by:
Rhinehold at February 26, 2013 4:16 PM
Comment #362058

*sigh*

Let’s try that again.

Keynes wrote:

“25 percent taxation is about the limit of what is easily borne” and that “Aggressive taxation may defeat its own ends by diminishing the income to be taxed.”>Keynes wrote

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 26, 2013 4:19 PM
Comment #362059

Austerity doesn’t work say the liberals so let’s try ever more spending. We will know when we have spent enough when the economy is humming or the country is dead broke. What a choice.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 26, 2013 4:26 PM
Comment #362060

Stephen

Obama’s new taxes took out $600 billion. If you worry about cuts of $85 billion, what do you think this $600 would do?


“The Sequester isn’t about Obama, because the people who must, under the Constitution, take the initiative, are your people, and because of the way the Constitution structures lawmaking, must take into account the attitudes of the other relevant bodies if it wants something to pass. The Republican have tried to act like it’s the 90’s all over again,”

Isn’t it great that Republicans were able to create a budget surplus in the 1990s. The president just waited for them to put it on his desk and then signed it. Sweet. Here I thought you guys gave Clinton credit for that.

Obama wants to take responsibility for nothing. If what you guys say it true, isn’t Obama really worthless?

Re stupid cuts - So how do you disagree with me? I am advocating that the Obama folks have an use the authority to cut the right places. I am certain that I could cut 5% out of any government budget w/o causing any trouble at all. In fact, if I were given sufficient authority, I could cut in such a way that would INCREASE efficiency by reducing or eliminating some of the redundant and troublesome programs. Of course, I am smarter than Obama.

Re falling on hard times politically – you might be right that “people like me” have some unpopular ideas. But mine have the virtue of being right. Being right is not always, perhaps not usually popular.

Posted by: C&J at February 26, 2013 4:54 PM
Comment #362061

“Austerity doesn’t work say the liberals so let’s try ever more spending.”

Royal Flush,

It’s not just liberals. How about Ben Bernanke, the conservative disciple of Milton Friedman and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board? In testimony before Congress today, this is what he had to say:

“Bernanke also urged Congress and the White House to temper the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts slated to take effect March 1. He said such large cuts would put a “significant” near-term burden on the economy. Instead, he said Washington should devise a plan to address the nation’s massive deficit by cutting the budget in a few years when the economy is stronger.”

Massive budget cuts, he added, would slow the recovery, hurting efforts to reduce the deficit as the government receives less tax income.

Noting that lawmakers recently have made progress in reducing part of the nation’s debt, he said the current plan “doesn’t quite match” the problem. Congress should not be “doing tough policies today when the real problem is a longer-term problem.” http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/02/26/bernanke-testimony-congress/1947427/

Posted by: Rich at February 26, 2013 6:00 PM
Comment #362062

C&J, here’s a start:

. But it may not be such a bad thing if taxpayers started funding fewer fighter jets. The Fiscal Times notes that last Friday (the traditional day to dump bad news), the Pentagon announced that it was grounding its F-35 fighter jets, which were approved during the Clinton administration (look it up kids). Fiscal Times reports:
This was the second time in two months the plane has been taken out of service….after this latest failure, the problems with the F-35 are simply too numerous to ignore.

Equally impossible to ignore is the $1.5 trillion price tag for one of the biggest failures in Pentagon history. $1.5 trillion is the cost of operating the air craft for 55 years, an amount that has been consistently increased as the program drags on. It’s the most expensive weapons system the Pentagon has ever commissioned. And as problems mount, there are growing concerns that the F-35 will never fly a combat mission.

Because of competing claims among service branches, the Marines, the Navy, and the Air Force all got their own, specially tricked out versions, each of which is dysfunctional in its own way:

The Pentagon ordered nearly 2,500 planes for $382 billion, or fifty percent more than the original cost.

As the price soared, the Pentagon in 2010 deemed the program “too big to fail.” Yet it continues to fall short. Recent engine troubles are just the latest in a series of mechanical failures. A pilot was killed when oxygen to the cabin was cut off. The aircraft are running too hot, limiting their ability to operate in warm environments.

The original delivery date was supposed to be 2010. Then it was delayed until 2012. Now, it’s not expected to be in service until 2019.

And there’s this kicker: “If the F-35 order is filled, DOD will have 15 times as many planes as China.” And 20 times as many as Russia.

Or how about this new gem:

Obamacare will increase the long-term federal deficit by $6.2 trillion, according to a Government Accountability Office report that will be released today.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), who requested the report, revealed the findings this morning at a Senate Budget Committee hearing. The report, he said, “confirms everything critics and Republicans were saying about the faults of this bill,” and “dramatically proves that the promises made assuring the nation that the largest new entitlement program in history would not add one dime to the deficit were false.”

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 26, 2013 6:05 PM
Comment #362063

As for what ‘economists’ think…

according to a survey of economists released Monday by the National Assn. for Business Economics. The group said that nearly 60% of economists now expect the so-called sequestration, which will slice about $85 billion from the federal budget, to begin March 1 in full or partial form.

The survey of 49 professional economists, representing industry, government and universities, indicates that experts don’t see a recession scenario as a result of the new spending cuts, as they did the “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and fiscal reductions, which were mostly avoided at the last minute at the start of this year.

More than half of these economists predicted that the effects of sequestration and other budget uncertainties would shave economic growth by less than half a percentage point this year. Another one-third said the pain would be greater, with real gross domestic product, or total economic output, sliced by up to a full percentage point.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 26, 2013 6:11 PM
Comment #362064

I heard obama speaking today that he just couldn’t choose which programs or employees to cut back. Well DUH…just what I have been saying all along…he is not an executive capable of decision making, but rather; just a social worker who knows how to dole out the money of others.

Don’t bring problems to his desk, just give this creep money to spend.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 26, 2013 6:15 PM
Comment #362065

5 Things to know about sequestration

1. The Cuts Are Tiny!

The actual cuts in fiscal year 2013 are only $44 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The rest don’t even take place until 2014 or later. Whether you use $44 billion or $85 billion we’re talking about 1 or 2 percent of total government spending.

2. Spending is Still Going Up!

Even with the sequester, the federal government is expected to spend more this year than it did last year. The government spent $3.5 trillion in 2012 and is expected to spend $3.6 trillion in 2013.

3. The Pentagon Won’t Starve!

The largest chunk of cuts will come out of the defense budget, which has doubled over the past decade. The Pentagon will still have about $500 billion at its disposal, not counting war-related and emergency appropriations.

4. You Can’t Cut Nonexistent Programs!

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget says the sequester will cut a whopping $2 million from the $20 million budget for the National Drug Intelligence Center. That sounds pretty bad - until you realize the Drug Intelligence Center closed its door in June 2012.

5. It Was All Obama’s Idea!

The whole damn sequester was the Obama administration’s idea. As the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward has reported, despite Obama’s denials to the contrary, “the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House” as part of the deal to raise the debt limit back in August 2011.

So as members of the president’s cabinet and party rail against the draconian nature of the sequester and the unfairness of it all, it’s worth keeping in mind that these cuts are genuinely puny.

And that the president has nobody to blame but himself.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 26, 2013 6:16 PM
Comment #362066
How about Ben Bernanke, the conservative disciple of Milton Friedman and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board?

You mean the guy who is directly responsible for the 2008 economic crash? Yeah, let’s listen to him and his ‘expertise’/ability to predict the future.

As for him being a ‘disciple’ of Friedman, that’s like saying Judas was a ‘disciple’ of Jesus… When someone everything they ‘learned’ from their mentor in its ear, it’s hard to be taken serious when people try to tie the two together.

http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?a=824

cutting the budget in a few years when the economy is stronger.

Stronger? I’m curious what gives you or anyone else the warm fuzzies that it is going to ever get any stronger than it is now unless something changes.

Especially when you consider that Obamacare, which is just now starting to kick in, is going to add 6.7 trillion to the debt. And that unless we deal with medium-term debt this year, our credit rating is going to be downgraded.

Please, Rich, explain to me what is going to make the economy stronger?

lawmakers recently have made progress in reducing part of the nation’s debt

Him saying this explains exactly why you shouldn’t listen to him. How, exactly, has this country reduced any part of this nation’s debt?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 26, 2013 6:23 PM
Comment #362067
The idea behind Obamacare was that it was supposed to bend the healthcare cost curve downward while allowing people to keep the doctors and insurance they already had. It was sold to the American people as a salve for rising costs that would help those who did not have insurance while inconveniencing hardly at all those who did. The reality as we already know it to be is starkly different. Costs are projected to go up, the number of people who have already lost their insurance has risen precipitously, and states are already beginning to warn they are facing a shortage of qualified doctors and other medical personnel and may not be able to keep up with future demand.
Posted by: Rhinehold at February 26, 2013 6:37 PM
Comment #362068

Royal Flush-
Doughboy again?

You know, your thanks to the taxpayer is that you’re going to tell them that after paying into the system for a lifetime, they’re going to get shafted. You’re going to make the poor suffer, the folks at the bottom suffer, so a few up top don’t have to pay more.

And really, tell me about victimhood! It wouldn’t be a break from your usual behavior.

How many times have you, or somebody like you on this site complained about taxes, despite having the lowest burden since Eisenhower’s time? How many times have you said that Climate Skeptics, instead of simply missing the boat on the science, are the victims of a conspiracy to silence them?

How many times have you blamed bad press on a conspiracy of liberals in the media?

How many times, when confronted about obnoxious and/or bigotted remarks, play the political correctness card, claiming to be the victim of excessive pressure not to criticize women or minorities?

Modern conservatism has turned into being about constantly playing the victim. It’s even founded on the idea that all this government, and all the taxes that are having to be paid, are just a pure burden for the average person.

You guys obstruct the traditional operation of government, as it’s been done for decades, and say you have to do that, because otherwise the Democrats will run right over you. Oh, and you can’t compromise, because there’s this whole big disaster that’s going to happen if you do.

You folks nowadays are constantly playing the victim card, constantly alleging that things are just so damn unfair that you should be able to do whatever you want and stop whatever you don’t like. The world has to revolve around you, because there’s just so much bad in it that’s been unfairly foisted upon you.

Me? For me, this is about creating an America that lives up to ideals, doesn’t turn them into fairy-tales that only kids believe. For me, it’s about having a society that’s got a moral center that can be shared between people of different faiths and different philosophies. This is about having a nation that is more than just nominally a land of equality and equal opportunity.

This is about having a country that people can take pride in, without having to blindfold themselves with the flag. I like being able to point to the Wright Brother’s plane, and say “First in Flight”, then to the Moon, and say, “An American stepped there first.”

When I was growing up, I thought we’d learned from our mistakes in Vietnam. I thought we’d follow up the strings of achievement like the Space programs with more of our own. I thought we’d learn from our mistakes in the Great Depression, and that we wouldn’t repeat them.

If you had told me that America would be two awful military quagmires, not just one, that we’d have an essentially dead space program, that we’d have evidence of a world changing climate event, but we’d be doing nothing about it because of special interests… if you told me that our government would be in danger of default because the party whose spendthrift ways put us back in deficit wanted to rebuild its credibility by threatening to cut America short on its debts…

I think you would have made the little kid I once was weep. America has been allowed to decline under your leadership, and the arrogance of your political movement has blinded you to the fact that this is the direction your policies have led it. You don’t take responsibility for anyting, you just constantly demand that things are done your way, on the basis of your faith in how right you are.

A faith most other people no longer share.

I want my country back on an upwards trajectory, back taking care of the business necessary, budget-wise, infrastructure-wise, economy-wise, and otherwise, in order to restore our nation’s greatness, it’s advantages. Concrete improvements. I’m tired of clapping alive tinkerbell with policies whose direct results are obviously negative, whose benefits are assumed to be the secondary result of whatever’s done.

I want the folks in Congress to be people less interested in destroying government, and more interested in running the place in a reliable manner that doesn’t send shocks into the economy every few weeks for the sake of forcing a partisan agenda on the majority.

Rhinehold-
The problem with your philosophy is that you treat fiscal matters as if they don’t affect the economy. It’s an inconvenience in your equation.

It’s not a fallacy to point out that Cato is a Libertarian think-tank, nor that Reason is a magazine founded to promote the same thing. It’s also not a fallacy to point out that the investment banks would be more clear-eyed, since they’re, for better or worse, trying to adjust to economic conditions in the right way.

The thing is, you cannot both complain about an economy in the doldrums, and ignore the near-term effects of spending and not spending. We’re not going to get better fiscally, until we have full employment. Tossing people on unemployment, or off it again if they don’t find jobs will not promote a healthier economy, and while the economy remains unhealthy, we won’t exactly be in splendid shape.

The rich can afford to treat everybody else’s fortunes as secondary, to believe that left to itself, the economic problems will resolve themselves. They’re doing well, right? No need to burden them with anything, require them to clean up their behavior.

But this society isn’t set up to support them, and it shouldn’t be rigged to their advantage, if that’s not the idea.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 26, 2013 7:30 PM
Comment #362069
The problem with your philosophy is that you treat fiscal matters as if they don’t affect the economy.

Nonsense. The problem is that I don’t treat fiscal matters as if they affect the economy the way you think it affects the economy. High governmental debt stagnates economic growth. High taxes stagnate economic growth. Fluctuating policies stagnant economic growth. Increasing a national minimum wage that is out of step with cost of living realities in most of the country stagnates economic growth. Everything affects it, you just see it as one sided. Spending more of the public’s money to do things is good, not spending more of the public’s money to do things is bad. You are the one being simplistic here, Stephen, and out of touch with reality.

It’s not a fallacy to point out that Cato is a Libertarian think-tank, nor that Reason is a magazine founded to promote the same thing.

It is a fallacy to suggest that the points that those organizations make are wrong because of it. Which is what you are trying to do. It’s a “Poisoning The Wells” fallacy, a variant of an Ad Hominem attack.

It’s also not a fallacy to point out that the investment banks would be more clear-eyed, since they’re, for better or worse, trying to adjust to economic conditions in the right way.

Or in a way that benefits them specifically. You assume that their way is the ‘right way’, I disagree. So let’s actually discuss it instead of you trying to use fallacious tactics to avoid doing that.

The thing is, you cannot both complain about an economy in the doldrums, and ignore the near-term effects of spending and not spending.

You can when you are pointing out that the near term effects of too much debt are causing more problems than what will happen if we don’t do something about it. We have already been warned that if we don’t act this year to do something about near-term debt, we will be downgraded. The UK just had that happen to them and the result was not very nice, much worse than if we shave off the increases we had planned on on a some programs.

We’re not going to get better fiscally, until we have full employment.

When was the last time we had full employment?

Tossing people on unemployment, or off it again if they don’t find jobs will not promote a healthier economy, and while the economy remains unhealthy, we won’t exactly be in splendid shape.

Stephen, you and I both know that the Dems and Reps have been overstating the adverse affects of a 1.2% cut in this year’s spending for political reasons. You really expect people to believe that a few government workers getting furloughed (and reimbursed in full later) is going to amount to putting us into a recession? As I pointed out, the economists do NOT believe that such a paultrey amount will cause a recession…

You also don’t understand Bastiat’s explanation of why you are wrong here, either.

The rich can afford to treat everybody else’s fortunes as secondary, to believe that left to itself, the economic problems will resolve themselves. They’re doing well, right? No need to burden them with anything, require them to clean up their behavior.

But this society isn’t set up to support them, and it shouldn’t be rigged to their advantage, if that’s not the idea.

Seriously, Stephen, you baffle me. You say before that the government shouldn’t be picking winners or losers, should be making sure that everyone is treated equally, and I agree. But then you do nothing but support policies that treat people with money differently than those without just because they have it and you want to give it to someone else. You suggest that we are ‘rigging the economy to their advantage’ and I agree we shouldn’t. But we shouldn’t be going the other way either. You recently demanded an increase in taxes on the rich, and when that made its way through the economy and caused the loss of a large number of jobs, you were ok with that. But heaven forbid we try to get ourselves on solid economic footing so we don’t end up like the UK and Greece. THEN you are concerned about how it will affect unemployment.

So, you don’t want to ‘rock the boat’ in this economy (even though you say we have been in a recovery since 2009) and do anything that would put anyone out of work. But then you support raising taxes, raising the minimum wage and a health care plan that is costing people jobs already.

You seem to like to pick and choose pretty randomly there, Stephen…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 26, 2013 7:47 PM
Comment #362070
How many times have you, or somebody like you on this site complained about taxes, despite having the lowest burden since Eisenhower’s time?

This isn’t actually true…

Californians this year face a combined federal-state income tax rate of 51.9 percent on earnings over $1 million, and upper-income New York City residents are taxed at a 51.7 percent combined city, state, and federal rate, a phenomenon that even the Times itself recognized earlier this month as front-page news. Government, in other words, is already taking more than half of every marginal dollar earned.

The Times editorial claims that “Even with recent increases, the new top rate of 39.6 percent is historically low.” It justifies that claim with a hyperlink to a table that says “Note: This table contains a number of simplifications and ignores a number of factors…Perhaps most importantly, it ignores the large increase in percentage of returns that were subject to this top rate.” That disclaimer isn’t mentioned in the Times editorial. Nor is the fact that, according to the table to which the Times links, in 1988 and 1989, the top rate was 28 percent, or that in 1990, 1991, and 1992 it was 31 percent. In addition, speaking of history, the Medicare payroll tax didn’t apply in the pre-Medicare days. America didn’t have an income tax at all, with rare wartime exceptions, until the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified in 1913.

Raising rates higher than current levels would be impractical. The higher rates would so encourage tax avoidance and discourage extra work that the returns in increased government revenue would start to diminish. Even John Maynard Keynes wrote that “25 percent taxation is about the limit of what is easily borne” and that “Aggressive taxation may defeat its own ends by diminishing the income to be taxed.”

Sorry, just talking facts now…

this is about creating an America that lives up to ideals

Who’s ideals, Stephen? That is what this is about to me too, only my ideals are the ones that this country was founded upon, not some new sense of progressive authoritarianism that you seem to want to push on everyone.

I want the folks in Congress to be people less interested in destroying government, and more interested in running the place in a reliable manner that doesn’t send shocks into the economy every few weeks for the sake of forcing a partisan agenda on the majority.

That would be great, but unfortunately you point to only one half of the problem. The Left has been kicking the can down the road every few months for quite some time because it doesn’t want to compromise either. Yet you only blame the Republicans…

The situation we are in now is OBAMA’s idea. Quit trying to assign blame only where you want it to be.

As for tax revenues:

The best thing for tax revenues, for the deficit problem, and for America overall would be robust economic growth. But the government reported negative real economic growth for the fourth quarter of 2012, and there are some signs that the payroll and income tax increases that took effect in January 2013 are already inflicting more damage. Why slow an already sluggish economy by increasing taxes even more? Don’t just take it from me; even Paul Krugman, the Nobel Laureate New York Times columnist, once wrote, “High marginal tax rates can hurt economic growth.”

Yet, that’s exactly what Obama pushed and you supported. *NOW* you are worried that the economy might drag?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 26, 2013 7:59 PM
Comment #362071

Obama already has significant discretion to cut waste. If the cuts hurt, it is Obama’s choice.

The Obama folks want this to hurt as much as possible. They know that the small cuts really will not hurt anything. We can cut 5% off government with no adverse effects at all. NONE. In fact, IMO, a cut would actually improve efficiency if done right. This is going to be hard for the Obama folks if people find out the truth.

Posted by: C&J at February 26, 2013 8:00 PM
Comment #362074

Rhinehold,
Pardon if I was unclear. Up until 2009, 90% of the debt was accumulated under three administrations: Reagan, Bush #41, and Bush #43. Most of this debt was accumulated as a result of tax cuts, defense spending, the S&L crisis, and the finanical meltdown of 2007 - 2009. One other area contributed to this debt: increased federal spending on health care as a direct result of increased costs in the financial sector. This added up to about $10 trillion, as some of us already know.

Since Obama took office, the debt has increased to over $16 trillion. Most of us would agree the increased debt and deficits were a direct result of the economic meltdown of 2007 - 2009. I don’t think anyone here would suggest the additional debt was a result of increased spending on social programs.

One could make a case that some of that spending, for example, the spending on unemployment benefits and extensions of unemployment benefits beyond six months, could be considered ‘entitlement spending’; however, virtually no one would consider unemployment benefits a bad idea.

Since Obama has taken office, the deficit has decreased every year. It has declined in absolute terms, and it has declined in relative terms; as a percentage of GDP, it has declined from just over 10% of GDP iun 2009, to 5% in 2012.

Posted by: phx8 at February 26, 2013 9:33 PM
Comment #362076

Rhinehold-
Can people really survive on the Minimum wage working full time? If the answer is no, then you are contradicting yourself. The inability relates directly to the fact that the market has set prices for the necessities of housing, feeding oneself and a family, and other times beyond what employers are willing to pay.

What you’re really rewarding is an imbalance, not a balance.

The notion that leaders in the business world are actually trying to harmonize with the market as a rule is misleading at best. Very often, folks are trying to do an end-run around requirements. Jobs get sent overseas, workers being fired for the crime of asking enough in wages to actually pay for things at the prices the big businessfolks are asking for them.

The reality is, the upper classes have gotten greedy, and used to being greedy. But in their quickness to cut costs, they’ve undermined many of the consumers they neeeded, and worse.

We need rules because some people play the game too creatively, and the market doesn’t necessarily punish those people.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 27, 2013 1:46 AM
Comment #362078

Stephen

You fundamentally understand how markets and human systems in general work.

You complain that business leaders are not trying to harmonize with the market. Of course they are not. The system does not require that they try or even understand what they are doing.

The same actually goes for politicians. How many of them are trying to harmonize with each other. I know you love Obama as much as God, but do you really think his only or even his primary goal is to harmonize with the political system?

This is why we do not concentrate power. We do not trust in the virtue of the business, political or any other sort of leader.

Re pay - I know you probably don’t actually do steady work, but imagine you did. What if someone offered you $50 an hour but you thought you really didn’t need that much money to support your lifestyle at a minimum level and/or that you did not produce that much in value for the employer. Would you turn down the “extra” money?

Posted by: C&J at February 27, 2013 5:37 AM
Comment #362079

Rhinehold-
The Ad Hominem fallacy relates to an inappropriate use of personal attacks to serve as the test of truth for what people say.

You don’t appreciate, though, the subtlety of the argument.

Goldman Sachs and other such private firms are not big fans of Obama and the Democrats. They gave rather significantly in 2010 and beyond to defeat them. So, why else would they take what is essentially the President’s position?

What I am saying is that the folks at Cato and Reason are not paid to argue for big government, for tax increases over spending cuts, even if that may be the more rational and workable position. They are the product of purpose built political advocacy.

Now, Goldman Sachs and folks like that would be dubious sources when it comes to financial reform. But on Fiscal matters, I would expect that they are pretty much interested mainly in what the effects of the policy on the economy are. They don’t have a dog in the fight.

They’re talking about fiscal drag. Why? Because all the lost jobs will have their effect, because the government won’t be pumping money into the economy for which their is no current removal of money from the economy.

As bad as deficit spending can be long term, in the near term, it helps provide our economy with more economic activity than it otherwise would be getting. Essentially, other countries are parking their capital in our economy by way of investing in our national debt. Take that away without reasonable replacement (which could happen with moderate enough cuts in a good economy), and you hurt the economy.

But that’s not kosher theory among libertarians. The point of the movement, from my perspective, seems to be to deconstruct government’s growth going back a century, to turn back the clock. But did you ever consider what it was, exactly, that motivated people to expel themselves from this supposed eden?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 27, 2013 8:14 AM
Comment #362080

Rich

“Spending cuts enacted into law over the past two years total 1.4 trillion, excluding any savings from wars.”

Has our spending and debt grown over the last two years?

“Contrary to your statement, the Obama administration and Democrats have proposed an additional reduction in spending…”

Only if they are spending less than they take in, which they are not. And, if I am not mistaken, these “reductions” are projections of the future. What good is saving a couple of bucks over ten years if you spend ten times that over the same course of time?

The Obama administration is playing a shell game. They refuse to address the fact that they are spending more than they are taking in because they falsely believe government must grow every year.

The truth of the matter is that the only way to effectively cut spending is to spend less than we take in.

Posted by: kctim at February 27, 2013 9:40 AM
Comment #362082
Can people really survive on the Minimum wage working full time? If the answer is no, then you are contradicting yourself.

You are apparently missing the point…

1) Not everyone who works is wanting a wage that they can survive on because of many reasons. Either they are looking for experience over pay, are not the main breadwinners of the house, looking for a little extra income from a second part time job, etc. There are many reasons why someone would want to make a wage less than what you want to FORCE them to take. You are saying you know better than them, so you put a gun to the heads of the employers and employees and make that choice for them.

The reality is that the overwhelming majority of people making ‘minimum wage’ (over 70%) are not the main breadwinners in a house and are not trying to live soley on that income. By raising the wages of those jobs you eliminate many of them and block that avenue of people who would want to take those jobs. Students, second-income earners, extra-income earners, etc. And main-income earners in a household who do take minimum wage jobs almost never stay in them for long. They get raises, promotions, change to higher paying jobs after building a work history, etc. The stereotype of a man working at McDonald’s to feed his family of four is the exception, not the rule.

2) The NATIONAL minimum wage does not take into account the living expenses of most of the communities. If we are going to have a minimum wage then we should make it dependant upon the cost of living of that economic area, not set at a national number, based on the cost of living a four person family (as we do now). Seven dollars an hour is not very much for people who live in LA or other large cities, but smaller cities, more rural areas, etc like let’s say a small town in Montana, it is not as small as you think.

This is not a one size fits all country, Stephen. There are reasons we have states, counties, cities, townships, etc. The needs of people in different parts of the country should be the focus, not trying to shoehorn everyone into the same mold. For all the talk of the left to ‘celebrate diversity’, they spend a lot of time trying to cookie-cutter people into the mold that they have chosen for us to live in.

The inability relates directly to the fact that the market has set prices for the necessities of housing, feeding oneself and a family, and other times beyond what employers are willing to pay.

Here’s the fact, Stephen. If no one was willing to take those jobs for the price that is set, then they would go unfilled and businesses offering those jobs would have to either offer more money, add benefits to the job or do without those jobs. Because they exist and are being taken by individuals of their own free choice, it tells us that the balance is there, you just don’t like it.

You want to change the balance to favor one side over the other. And do so with armed police.

The notion that leaders in the business world are actually trying to harmonize with the market as a rule is misleading at best.

No one is suggesting what you have suggested, Stephen. But in a free country it does balance when we aren’t manipulating it to fit our political needs.

Very often, folks are trying to do an end-run around requirements. Jobs get sent overseas, workers being fired for the crime of asking enough in wages to actually pay for things at the prices the big businessfolks are asking for them.

Sorry, Stephen, but I don’t know of a single person who has ever been fired for asking for a raise. What world do you live in exactly? As for jobs being ‘shipped overseas’, when you force business to operate as you think it should, that is the result you get. And it isn’t happening as much as you think, in fact many businesses who try to ‘ship jobs overseas’ end up bringing them back because there are costs and other non-bottom-line financial issues that make them not worth it.

But the fact is that if a job is being shipped overseas, it usually means that it is not economical to have them here. So blocking the shipping only ensures that the company eliminates those jobs completely or goes out of business. It doesn’t force employers to pay more. Thinking that it does is a huge misunderstanding of how businesses operate.

The reality is, the upper classes have gotten greedy, and used to being greedy. But in their quickness to cut costs, they’ve undermined many of the consumers they neeeded, and worse.

What pretentious BS this is…

We need rules because some people play the game too creatively, and the market doesn’t necessarily punish those people.

Playing the game ‘creatively’ is not always a bad thing and does not always need punishing. But we do need rules. We just need to make sure that those rules don’t tip the scales in one direction OR THE OTHER and ensure that liberty is maintained. That last part is the part you want to ignore…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 27, 2013 10:27 AM
Comment #362083
The Ad Hominem fallacy relates to an inappropriate use of personal attacks to serve as the test of truth for what people say.

You don’t appreciate, though, the subtlety of the argument.

Because the ‘argumemnt’ is not subtle, nor does it address the issue. You want to avoid the conversation by calling into question the motives of the points made, not by addressing the points made themselves. That’s where your fallacy comes into play.

Goldman Sachs and other such private firms are not big fans of Obama and the Democrats. They gave rather significantly in 2010 and beyond to defeat them. So, why else would they take what is essentially the President’s position?

A) Goldman Sachs didn’t give anything as they are prevented by law from donating to a candidate specifically. However, their employees, who donated a lot to get Obama elected in 2008 did switch to Romney in 2012 because they felt betrayed by the administration. But you assume that they then wouldn’t agree with the Obama administration on financial policy that would help/harm them directly? If the sequester goes through, it could harm their direct business. That’s a much greater motive, IMO, than a disagreement in political policy…

What I am saying is that the folks at Cato and Reason are not paid to argue for big government, for tax increases over spending cuts, even if that may be the more rational and workable position. They are the product of purpose built political advocacy.

Again, the motives of those in question do not make their points invalid, Stephen. You work hard to promote for big government, for tax increases over spending cuts, even if that may be the less rational and workable position. Yet you want *US* to take your arguments as they stand and debate them, not dismiss them just because you are making them. But you don’t want to afford someone else the same respect that is given you by doing so.

Now, Goldman Sachs and folks like that would be dubious sources when it comes to financial reform. But on Fiscal matters, I would expect that they are pretty much interested mainly in what the effects of the policy on the economy are. They don’t have a dog in the fight.

What kind of BS is that? They have a huge dog in the fight because the economy is how they make money. More specifically, they make MUCH more money when the economy is bouncing up and down via manipulations (ones that they can be privy to and help drive) than they do if the economy was more stable and easier for everyone else to predict. You seem to think they have some altruistic view of things after just telling me that businesses are all about greed…

As bad as deficit spending can be long term, in the near term, it helps provide our economy with more economic activity than it otherwise would be getting.

And that is the reason we are in this mess. We want it easier now and are willing to do it on the backs of our children. I agreed with Obama 100% when he said

“The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents - #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.”

It was true then and it is still true now. We are willing to trade good times now and pay for it with bad times for SOMEONE ELSE. And this TINIEST of spending cuts is not going to spiral us into a recession as I have already shown by quoting a group of economists that have said exactly that.

But that’s not kosher theory among libertarians. The point of the movement, from my perspective, seems to be to deconstruct government’s growth going back a century, to turn back the clock. But did you ever consider what it was, exactly, that motivated people to expel themselves from this supposed eden?

Your ‘perspective’ is about as valid as me calling you a socialist, Stephen. If you want to play those games, do it as a solitaire game, not with me as I won’t be playing them.

It’s not about ‘turning back the clock’ as much as it is fixing the problems we created by ignoring the purpose of this country’s founding. As a means to allow geographical disperse areas of the country to govern themselves while allowing for some small limited centralization of power for the purposes of national policies and ensuring the states don’t work to screw each other. We have given in to all of the things that the framers of this country warned us against and we are seeing the ‘fruits’ of that now. Further, we have abandoned the idea of liberty of the individual because it is easier.

You want an efficient market and government without concern for liberty. If that is the case, why not just socialize or nationalize the entire economic system? That would allow for much more efficiency, right? Where do we draw the line, except for when it harms you directly? That seems to be the only time you want to limit government’s power, Stephen, when it hits close to home.

And you call other selfish and greedy?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 27, 2013 10:48 AM
Comment #362084

Stephen

The ONLY way to fairly judge intent in polls is to ask fair and honest questions. Would people trust Obama’s approach if they knew his targets have already been hit? Would they trust it more if they knew the extra money wasn’t being used to address the nations debt? Would they trust it more if they knew, like with the ACA, the extra costs will be passed down to them?

“Would this be the case if spending cuts were as much of a priority for the majority of Americans as you think?”

What I think?
The poll YOU cite says the majority of Americans want a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. We have had tax increases that will bring in more money, so it is time for spending cuts actually addresses the debt.

“More people will blame the Republicans in Congress if things go wrong, by 49 to 31…”

BFD! How many of those same people actually know what the Dem and Rep positions are, instead of what they are told they are?

“Who would actually like to see the economy go downhill?”
“Who would actually want to have all the fun expunged from their lives?”

According to leftist propaganda, everybody on the right does, which is why you constantly preach such lies to gain voter support.

“Who really wants government up their hindquarters?”

Nobody. But your people sure as hell don’t mind sticking it up the “hindquarters” of others who disagree with your beliefs.

“Who really wants to WAGE WAR ON CHRISTMAS FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY?????”

But yet you have no problem believing and promoting lies of a war on women, a war on children, a war on minorities etc… Go figure.

“As for Climate Change?…”

If you know human behavior, it tells you that they do not like changes that cause immediate harm to their pocketbook and way of life. It tells you that it must be a gradual change if you want their continued support.

Contrary to far leftist fear mongering and propaganda, we have started addressing the issue, the ball is “rolling now,” and it will continue and we will adapt as needed.

“As for wet dreams of European style government, I have yet to have had a dream where a parliament comes by and makes love to me…”

No, your dreams and thoughts are of government screwing others who dare disagree with your views. Their cries of NO mean YES to you, because you know what they really want, what they really need.

“As for Democrats good, Republicans bad, the real question is whether I’m wrong.”

The “real question” is whether you are using actual facts, not opinion or party line talking points, and using those facts to hold both sides to the same standard. You do not.
That is why you bend over backwards to justify the actions of Dems, but will try like hell to condemn the same actions of a Rep. That is why you praise “polls” which support your opinions, but disregard “polls” that do not. That is why you use emotion to argue your opinion on issues like the 2nd Amendment and redistribution of wealth, which makes you inconsistent in your beliefs.
There is no “IF you are right,” Stephen. Because you are wrong.

Posted by: kctim at February 27, 2013 11:09 AM
Comment #362086

To further bolster my point to Stephen that he wants to avoid:

As the nation girds itself for last-minute Sequester Hysteria Inflation, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on how statists have decisively revealed themselves these past two months. All you have to do is compare the blatant, coordinated politician-fearmongering in the run-up to Friday’s statistically insignificant one-year trim in federal spending with the relative absence thereof in the face of the New Year’s tax hike on 77 percent of Americans (by an average of $1,257).

The White House’s “Seven Things You Need to Know About the Tax Deal” somehow managed to avoid discussing the negative impacts that the reduction in take-home pay will have on an already fragile economy. Yet here was President Barack Obama yesterday warning about the “hundreds of thousands of jobs” that will be lost due to the sequester cuts. The Obamaite Center for American Progress hailed the New Year’s tax hike by saying “Of course, any new revenue is a step in the right direction.” But if you take money out of bureacurats’ pockets instead of taxpayers? “Sequestration Takes a Big Bite out of Government Growth.”

This is a basic, revealing conflict of philosophical visions. On one side are people, like these 350 economists, who believe that prosperity and jobs flow primarily from government spending. On the other side, the rest of us. When faced with having their fiefdoms inconvenienced, politicians will use our tax dollars on scaremongering where the emotional manipulation is right there in the headline: “Impact of…Cuts on Middle Class Families, Jobs, and Economic Security.” When faced with inconveniencing taxpaying Americans, crickets.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 27, 2013 11:27 AM
Comment #362088

C&J-
You make false assumptions.

Business Leaders:
I don’t believe the system will encourage them to behave properly, willingly or unwillingly. I believe it will encourage them to behave profitably, and I do not have the faith your side has that this means they will behave morally. Why? Simple fact: people sneak around, do things behind people’s backs, keep secrets. Even if we can count on the market to efficiently punish misbehavior, people have to learn of it first, be aware of it, care about it sufficiently to change their behavior.

Those with the power to lead often have the power to conceal.

The system can’t punish a lack of moral harmony it does not perceive. So, people avoid punishment through deception.

Additionally, I’ve observed that adults, in real life, myself included, can often resort to expedient, short-term oriented behavior, in order to suit one’s interests. Put another way, people sometimes take shortcuts, rather than walk the path intended by those setting up the rewards and punishments. I believe this to be an inherent tendency in human beings. Nature rewards many creatures that take shortcuts to fulfill their needs. Does it not make sense that human creativity can so easily be turned towards short-circuiting the feedback cycles of market rewards?

Or put another way, people cut corners, and you know it. They’ll do this to avoid humiliating failures, or to gain glowing plaudits for their successes.

If you set up the system to where wild speculation and market distorting activities are not punished, if you minimize disclosure requirements and other regulatory burdens, a path will be worn in the grass between the moral sidewalks, as people take the path of least resistance.

Politicians:
I would say there is more than one level of harmonization at work here. What I would say is that your side is developing the next big backlash against it. On one side, you’re promising people stuff your reduced political power won’t allow you to consistently give them. On the other side, you’re just ticking people off.

But more importantly, Republicans are failing on substance. They’re not keeping government working properly, instead pulling stunts that make things more dysfunctional.

How long before people figure out that if they want things to work well, they’ve got to elect us instead?

Concentration of power:
I believe the concentration of power and wealth are emergent properties of any sufficiently large and wealthy society. Even if you forcibly cut everything even, it will likely tend towards some sort of concentration.

You can claim that you don’t trust in the virtue of business, but nothing you claim would happen works unless that’s what you’re trusting in, and it works like you trust it will.

As for steady work, I work regular hours and a regular work-week. But if I was making 50 dollars an hour? If I was doing that, I think I could easily budget to live within those means. God, at that rate, I’d be able to afford to both live on my own and support my family.

I don’t go around dancing with joy saying “yay, taxes!”, but I wouldn’t feel put upon to pay them. I’ve assumed that this is the price we pay for living in a governed, civilized nation.

kctim-
Government has to keep up with inflation to keep the value it gives to programs stable. To do otherwise is to ignore basic monetary economics.

The Clinton Administration managed to reduce the deficit by making sure revenues grew faster than spending. The Bush Administration did the opposite. Who opened the deficit, who closed it?

You focus just on spending, and that just blinkers your whole perspective, because the budget is a relationship between what is spent, and what is collected in revenue. If the revenues grow to be greater than the spending, it doesn’t matter what the absolute trend in spending is, you will no longer be in deficit, no longer be accumulating new debt.

Obama had to accept the fiscal consequences of Bush’s reckless fiscal policy combined with the natural fiscal effect of having the economy go bug**** at the start of his administration.

You turn around, and behave as if this big deficit is the sole result of his decisions. You turn around and pretend that anybody could ride austerity into prosperity from the position Obama was given.

It’s bull****! It’s no simple thing to end two unpaid for wars, to cut a third of the budget between two and three trillion dollars.

But doesn’t it just feel wonderful to beat up a Democrat over the budget again? It’s free political grist for your mill, and you don’t even have to take responsibility for promoting policies that mathmatically led to the deficit int he first place. Conservatives get to keep their little fantasy land.

The deficit will never resolve itself under Republicans, the way things are going. They’re as reckless with dealing with fiscal matters in this time of want, as they were in a time of plenty.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 27, 2013 1:00 PM
Comment #362092

Rhinehold-
You know, this is what makes the incentives so perverse in this society. FORCING people to take more money?

I can just imagine it. Somebody proposes a 9 or more dollar minimum wage, and people protest outside congress going, “Please don’t force more money on us!”

I don’t know what rarified economic climate you exist in, but where I’m coming from, given how many hours I’m pulling down, I’d love to have an extra two or three dollars in my pocket every hour! Trust me, I’d use it. I’d put that moola back in the economy. As it is, I’m force to put off things like getting teeth fixed and tires fixed until I’ve got the money.

As for willingness to take the jobs? If you look at things like work visas, where businesses pretend to look for workers here, but instead just hire foreign workers for less money, then you’d realize the market doesn’t run like you’ve idealized it to.

By the way: I don’t object to states setting their own rates on top of the national minimum wage. But the thing you ought to realize is that in many of these rural states, like Arkansas, we have people making these low wages that end up having to also be on government assistance. Which means that businesses are charging more than minimum wage level prices for necessities in those places. Somebody’s profiting or at least breaking even at below market costs on account of these low wages.

Don’t lecture me about the need and necessity of local and municipal governments. I’m well aware of that. You, though, seem to assume a more ideal market situation on those wages than actually exists.

One last thing, while I have it in mind: you really haven’t been in economic trouble lately? My current job, which I’ve managed to keep for several years, is not the most splendiferous one in terms of pay. But for most of those several years, it at least allowed me a chance at keeping things afloat. If I had lost that job at any point, I would have been well and truly screwed!

Can you understand that? If I had lost that job, I would most certainly be looking for a replacement, because the truth is, my family needed the money! I wouldn’t have the luxury of just going “Oh, the market isn’t giving me the job I want, so I guess I will wait.”

People will bargain for better benefits, strive for better compensation later in these situations, once they feel confident they can find another job.

You, though, expect some sort of magic market fairy moment where any such discrepancy is magically resolved.

I mean, you can’t have this ideal job market of yours, and at the same time have people shipping any job that moves in that direction overseas. If the pressure is towards below market wages and compensations, if people are squeezed, then debt and its attendant problems will become a chronic part of the economic situation. It’s simple, tyrannical math. If you’re selecting for folks who will take less money, but also forcing them to spend more at the same time, you will see more debt, or less economic activity.

Raising the minimum wage is about stopping this, putting people back on a more cash and carry basis. We have to stop rewarding people for cutting corners in this economy.

By the way, when I say, “playing the game too creatively,” it’s a euphemism for lying, cheating, and otherwise avoiding healthy economic behavior to get economic rewards sooner, and in greater amounts. It’s greed encouraging people to do not-nice things.

On the subject of the cuts?

Look, five percent cuts all around is not chump change. Jobs will be lost, contracts will be cancelled or delayed, transfer payments will not go through.

You want to pretend nothing will happen? Fine. Call our bluff. Then we’ll find out what the fiscal pain really feels like, when the real cuts begin.

You do not have to assume that all jobs and productivity flow from the federal government. You don’t. It only has to have an effect. It only has to be economic activity that everybody else in the market will miss.

This is the problem of relying on publications and news sources that only yield one point of view.

kctim-

The ONLY way to fairly judge intent in polls is to ask fair and honest questions.

In other words, I would guess, the loaded question you prefer. I guess it’s not good enough to just ask people what their priorities are. I guess they have to be properly educated by the right wing media before they answer, so they give the right answers.

My uncle once related to me that if you sent a signal through a filter, and the filter was turned up too high, the filter would become the signal.

Republicans, in their quest to expunge liberal bias, have only succeeded in replacing whatever bias might have been with their own filter, which has progressively blinded them to more and more of mainstream culture.

These are simple questions, not complex, leading ones. Who do you think can be more trusted? Which option would you pick?

You can question whether they are educated as much as you would like them to be in right-thinking Conservative philosophy, but can you really say, allowing for that or not, that the raw numbers, the snapshot of public opinion as it is, doesn’t portend significant opposition to your policies?

I’ve already explained how the questions, taken as a whole, disprove the notion that people consider the tax increases already made sufficient to deal with the problem of the budget. If they did, they’d favor a spending only approach more.

It seems to me that you’re trying to explain away the results, rather than take them at face value. I don’t think Republicans have been unclear, or really could be uncleared. It’s not as if you have a very nuanced position! Spending cuts, across the board, shrinking government, no new taxes!

Oh, and by the way, you stay classy on that rape metaphor. Seriously, fellow, you think you do anything more than just turn people’s stomachs and insult people with that rhetoric? The right has gotten too enamored of arrogantly pronouncing that everybody has to cater to their position, or otherwise get their character assassinated.

How many different ways have you insulted me in the course of your comments? How many different kinds of character defects have you implied?

This is the way you do politics. No civility, no sense of common cause, no sense of compromise. You assume that we’re practically an alien species, subversives among you.

Ironically, though, it makes you more isolated, more unable to convince people of what you want to do. So the paranoia increases, and every year, the Democrats and the liberals come to be that much more evil.

You should realize that we’re not so different as you would hope, or believe. You should realize that adults in most other walks of life have to deal with the give and take of working with other people who are not necessarily of like mind.

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that nothing splendiferously liberal will happen with the current Congress in session. The trouble is, folks like you haven’t resigned yourself to the fact that conservatism will be likewise restrained. Instead, y’all seem to pull at the bindings, trying to force your way on people through sheer obstructionism and stubbornness. But the thing is, folks only have so much stamina and patience, and I think the GOP’s observers in the general public have run out of both. The GOP could do more good for itself in the coming two years by making sure that government quietly, competently works, than by attempting the same political stunts it did last year.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 27, 2013 1:52 PM
Comment #362093
I can just imagine it. Somebody proposes a 9 or more dollar minimum wage, and people protest outside congress going, “Please don’t force more money on us!”

LOL, I know you are trying to be cute here Stephen, but the fact is that what happens is that people are right on board with that increase. Except, then they find that their job is done away with because it is no longer worth it to the company to keep them employed. This affects the teens in this country most of all. But you don’t care because you think you’ve done some great justice.

But you haven’t. You have increased unemployment, cut out jobs for people who want to enter the work force to build a work history and get better paying jobs and in the end what happens?

Everyone who was making $1 over minimum wage then goes and asks for more money, people who were making $5 over goes and asks for more money, etc. Most unions have rules in place that they get automatic increases in their salary when the minimum wage increases. Suddenly, everyone is making $2 an hour more than they were, which causes prices to increase to make up for extra cost in doing business. And suddenly, $9 an hour doesn’t seem that much anymore… And the cycle begins again.

I don’t know what rarified economic climate you exist in, but where I’m coming from, given how many hours I’m pulling down, I’d love to have an extra two or three dollars in my pocket every hour! Trust me, I’d use it. I’d put that moola back in the economy. As it is, I’m force to put off things like getting teeth fixed and tires fixed until I’ve got the money.

Sounds like a personal problem to me. Perhaps you should try to better yourself and earn that extra couple of bucks by making yourself worth more to your (or another) employer if you are unhappy with what you are making?

Or, I suppose, you could force businesses at the point of a gun to give you a raise. I bet the sense of achievement in that is just as good, right?

As for willingness to take the jobs? If you look at things like work visas, where businesses pretend to look for workers here, but instead just hire foreign workers for less money, then you’d realize the market doesn’t run like you’ve idealized it to.

No, that’s exactly how I ‘idealize’ it. If someone is willing to work for less, the company should hire them if they think they can do the job as well. That only makes sense and keeps the costs of the goods and services of that company down for everyone in the country to afford, especially the poor.

What you propose though just increases the costs of business, which increases how much they will charge for their goods and services, and simply screwed the poor more than you think you’ve helped them.

By the way: I don’t object to states setting their own rates on top of the national minimum wage. But the thing you ought to realize is that in many of these rural states, like Arkansas, we have people making these low wages that end up having to also be on government assistance. Which means that businesses are charging more than minimum wage level prices for necessities in those places. Somebody’s profiting or at least breaking even at below market costs on account of these low wages.

And who is to blame there? The business who takes advantage of the alterations to the business market or the government who changes the rules to make it possible for them to do so?

One last thing, while I have it in mind: you really haven’t been in economic trouble lately? My current job, which I’ve managed to keep for several years, is not the most splendiferous one in terms of pay. But for most of those several years, it at least allowed me a chance at keeping things afloat. If I had lost that job at any point, I would have been well and truly screwed!

No, I make sure that I am valuable to the companies that I work for so. I keep my knowledge of the position updated, attend classes on my own dime in my off hours, etc. I routinely improve my situation, even in ‘hard times’ because I WORK at it, not just punch a clock.

BTW, I don’t make as much as I could either. Market analysis for my position, experience, etc shows that I should be making about twice what I am making now. But I choose to work for less than I can get because I love the company I work for AND because I prefer to spend my time and energy helping others through charity and mentoring programs.

I grew up with nothing, I built everything I have from those humble beginnings and I know that I make my choice of making less than I can in exchange for intangibles that you wouldn’t understand.

Can you understand that? If I had lost that job, I would most certainly be looking for a replacement, because the truth is, my family needed the money! I wouldn’t have the luxury of just going “Oh, the market isn’t giving me the job I want, so I guess I will wait.”

Yeah, because I’ve never lost a job before or had to take a job I didn’t particularly like in order to take care of my family. What a joke.

Let me give you a little history…

I worked minimum wage for a few years while working through high school and college (though I rarely made just minimum wage, I always improved my pay where I worked by bettering myself). I then joined the Navy as a nuclear reactor operator. Which, btw, is not a lot of money… Two years in I damaged my knees and was medically discharged. Out of a job with no prospects, having to move from the city I was in and had to stay with my inlaws for a small bit. I tried finding work in the field I was trained in (Nuclear Operator or Electronics Technician). Thanks to fearmongers the nuclear power plant that was being built by my home town was scrapped.

I didn’t let this stop me from taking care of myself and my family, I started working as a data entry operator with a temp company. A long term assignment I had ended and I was left without a job, but was offered a chance to work on fan clutches for semi-trucks with a local truck parts store based on my work history. Instead of saying ‘but I do this…’ I took the position and worked for that company full time for eight years. While I was working there I put myself through more school, getting a certificate in computer programming. I then went looking for a position in the field, finally finding one that was less pay than I was currently making, but I knew I would be happier and have a better chance of more money in the future.

I now make quite a bit more, though could make even more if I decided to. And while I am content with my lot, I still improve and better myself to be more attractive to other employers and will most likely be making a move someday that will put me in a different career path…

I did this on my own, without assistance, without putting a gun to anyone’s head and making them pay me more. That’s the way this system works and I work hard to teach that to others who seem to think like you do that somehow ‘the system’ owes you something without you putting in the hard work for yourself to get where you want to go.

People will bargain for better benefits, strive for better compensation later in these situations, once they feel confident they can find another job.

And the ONLY way to feel confident is to increase your worth to a company you want to work for. Even in these ‘trying times’, companies are hiring and moving people into new positions all of the time. All it takes is making yourself someone that they want to employ. Then they will not get rid of you even in rough times because you are too valuable. That is how you do it…

You, though, expect some sort of magic market fairy moment where any such discrepancy is magically resolved.

There is nothing ‘magical’ with making yourself valuable in the job market, it takes hard work and resolve, not voting yourself other people’s money.

I mean, you can’t have this ideal job market of yours, and at the same time have people shipping any job that moves in that direction overseas.

Tell me, Stephen, what is the alternative?

If the pressure is towards below market wages and compensations, if people are squeezed, then debt and its attendant problems will become a chronic part of the economic situation.

You use an oxi-moron, Stephen. If the jobs are being offered an filled at a certain rate, they are not “below-market’. They may be lower than YOU think they should be, but they are at market.

Raising the minimum wage is about stopping this, putting people back on a more cash and carry basis. We have to stop rewarding people for cutting corners in this economy.

You may want that to be the purpose and result of raising the minimum wage, but that isn’t what happens. Fewer people have jobs, prices rise and it makes it harder for people to enter a work force where they can prove to employers that they are worth more than they are getting paid.

It’s the same story as always with progressives. You want to make things be a certain way, but your ‘solutions’ make them worse. Minimum wages hurt the very people you are thinking you are helping. It increases unemployment and increases inflation. In the end the people who keep their jobs end up just as bad off because the price of everything else increases to make up the pay increase and others are simply left out in the cold without a job or a way to re-enter the workforce.

Look, five percent cuts all around is not chump change.

It’s a shame we aren’t talking about ‘5% cuts’, but rather ‘1.2% cuts’…

Jobs will be lost, contracts will be cancelled or delayed, transfer payments will not go through.

You have already proven you don’t care about jobs being lost by supporting increased taxes and higher minimum wage laws… So why you are mentioning that as a problem now is odd…

You want to pretend nothing will happen? Fine.

I never once said ‘nothing will happen’. It is just that that ‘something’ is not nearly as dire as you make it out to be.

Call our bluff. Then we’ll find out what the fiscal pain really feels like, when the real cuts begin.

This has been done before, the pain was negligible and it was more ‘dire’ than we are talking now.

You do not have to assume that all jobs and productivity flow from the federal government. You don’t. It only has to have an effect. It only has to be economic activity that everybody else in the market will miss.

Stephen, surely there will be issues, but you didn’t care about them when you were getting your political way, screaming about them now is beyond laughable. Further, the whole thing could have been avoided if the left had just worked to cut the budgets by getting rid of waste, duplication of efforts, failed programs, etc. But it didn’t. However, the fact that many think that a VERY MINOR decrease in government spending will cause torrential ripples is the perfect reason why we SHOULD be limiting government, not increasing it.

I’m not a ‘fan’ of the sequestration because it does little to address the actual issue.

BTW, I did work in government for a while so I understand how their budgets work. You see, each year, just before the budget process, every department spends as much as they can on things they don’t need in order to use up all of the previous year’s budget. If they don’t, they might not get the automatic ABOVE INFLATION increases in their next year’s budget. Then the next year the same thing happens. There is no reward or push to minimize spending in governmental agencies and every incentive to increase them beyond what is necessary to do their jobs effectively.

There is no budget of any department of the federal government that couldn’t survive a 1.2% decrease in spending, probably even more. But instead, in order to keep that budget, they waste tax money. You can’t tell me it doesn’t happen, I’ve been a part of it.

This is the problem of relying on publications and news sources that only yield one point of view.

I would suggest that you stop doing it then. Myself, I read articles and news from all different sources, as you well know. From Glenn Greenwald, to the Huffington Post, to the AP, Reuters, IHT, MSNBC, Fox, etc.

The evidence in this can be seen in the multitude of articles I have linked to and commented on on this very site, you will notice in the latest red column article I linked to the Huffington Post…

Your attempt at some sort of disparaging remark falls pretty flat on that evidence, just another fallacy that you want to latch on to in order to not actually discuss the topic but try to score ‘debate points’ without having to do the work.

You’re better than that, Stephen…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 27, 2013 2:48 PM
Comment #362094

Doughboy has repeatedly espoused his love for both government and unions. I suggest he obtain a job with either and thereby fullfill his every wish.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 27, 2013 3:43 PM
Comment #362095
You can see it in the administration’s conflicted approach to Medicaid: The White House has been increasingly adamant in its refusal to allow any cuts to the joint federal-state program for the poor and disabled. In 2011, Jack Lew, the former White House Chief of Staff and budget head, somewhat famously demanded that the program be exempt from the sequester. And more recently the White House has declared that it will no longer discuss any cuts to Medicaid — even cuts administration officials had previously said indicated they would consider.

Yet at that same time, the administration has been waging a fierce legal battle to preserve the rights of states to cut Medicaid reimbursements as much as state officials want. The administration’s official position is that “there is no general mandate under Medicaid to reimburse providers for all or substantially all of their costs.” The White House is very clear, in other words, that states should be able to cut the program’s payments as they see fit.

You can see a related tension in the administration’s approach to Medicare, the federal health program for seniors. Unlike Medicaid, Medicare is not exempt from sequestration; it’ll face a 2 percent reduction, which will amount to about $11 billion next year. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, noting that the cuts will hit health and drug plans as well as other providers, has warned that this will “result in billions of dollars in lost revenues to Medicare doctors, hospitals, and other providers, who will only be reimbursed at 98 cents on the dollar for their services to Medicare beneficiaries.” And the White House doesn’t seem too pleased either: The Office of Management and Budget’s report on sequestration complains that GOP alternatives to the spending reductions are wrong partly because they “fail to address Medicare sequestration.”

Yet the White House’s whole theory of Medicare reform is built around cutting reimbursements to health providers: When President Obama talks about modestly reforming Medicare without cutting benefits, that’s exactly what he means. Obama has repeatedly called for cutting payments to drug manufacturers, and ObamaCare includes more than $700 billion in cuts to Medicare, which are distributed amongst the various big players in the health industry. The Medicare cost-control board that ObamaCare sets up is expected to focus heavily on reimbursement cuts.

Partisan inconsistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines, to paraphrase Emerson.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 27, 2013 3:55 PM
Comment #362096

I mentioned the F-35 earlier, it looks like private industry is going to help bail out at least some of the issues:

http://gizmodo.com/5987321/ge-is-turning-a-six-flags-roller-coaster-into-an-f+35-launcher?utm_campaign=socialflow_gizmodo_facebook&utm_source=gizmodo_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Superman: Escape from Krypton has been terrifying Six Flags Magic Mountain visitors since 1997. Once the tallest roller coaster on the planet and the first to employ a linear motor system, Superman launched riders up a 415-foot vertical track at 100 MPH. Now GE is working to convert the technology behind the amusement park ride into an electric catapult capable of flinging F-35s into action.
Posted by: Rhinehold at February 27, 2013 4:31 PM
Comment #362097

Stephen
You guess wrong. I want informed answers, not loaded questions. A generic question about something everybody is concerned about does not mean everybody supports the same solutions to reach the goal, as you seem to believe.

Simple questions and statements leave too much room for one to find the support they desire. If you claim 50% support Obama’s gun control measures, shouldn’t people be expected to actually know what those measures are before saying they support them? That is not “right-thinking Conservative philosophy,” that is common sense.

“I’ve already explained how the questions, taken as a whole, disprove the notion that people consider the tax increases already made sufficient to deal with the problem of the budget.”

A notion that YOU created. MY point was that you got your tax punishment and it is now time for actual cuts in spending.

“It seems to me that you’re trying to explain away the results, rather than take them at face value.”

YOUR link says a majority want a combination of the two. God only knows how you can read into that to mean support for massively severe tax increases before any spending cuts at all.

“Seriously, fellow, you think you do anything more than just turn people’s stomachs and insult people with that rhetoric?”

I do not care nor worry if the way I present the truth insults anybody, Stephen. I do not live in a sci-fi liberal utopia where I feel as if I must apologize for presenting the truth in a way that insults or offends people.

“The right has gotten too enamored of arrogantly pronouncing that everybody has to cater to their position, or otherwise get their character assassinated.”

That is very interesting coming from the side that labels everybody against Obama’s policies as being rednecks and racists. From the side who labels those in favor of legal immigration as racists. From the side who labels those who think women should pay for their own birth control and abortions as women hating sexists. From the side trying to label those who support the 2nd Amendment and read the Constitution as racist terrorists. From the side who promotes the idea that Christian Americans are no better than muslim terrorists.

“How many different ways have you insulted me in the course of your comments? How many different kinds of character defects have you implied?”

You personally? None. Your ideas and the way you push them onto everybody else, plenty.

“This is the way you do politics. No civility, no sense of common cause, no sense of compromise. You assume that we’re practically an alien species, subversives among you.”

No, the way I do politics and civility is determined by whether the person I am debating respects my views or not.
My sense of common cause is based on individual rights, not personal emotions. And my sense of compromise is based on what I have left to compromise.
Oh, and you are correct. I do consider changing the Constitution through legal run arounds instead the Constitutional majority required as subversive.

“So the paranoia increases, and every year, the Democrats and the liberals come to be that much more evil.”

Poor blind Stephen. You guys are seen more and more evil each year because each year you take more and more.

“Instead, y’all seem to pull at the bindings, trying to force your way on people through sheer obstructionism and stubbornness.”

How about some examples of that? I can give you numerous examples of you forcing your way onto me, can you do the same? Not silly crap like I am forcing my way onto you because I won’t pay for your health care, or drive the car you want me to or own the guns you think I should either.

“The GOP could do more good for itself in the coming two years by making sure that government quietly, competently works, than by attempting the same political stunts it did last year.”

Maybe.
Or maybe the way they could make sure of those things is to stop liberal policies from further eroding our liberties?

Posted by: kctim at February 27, 2013 5:01 PM
Comment #362098

Rhinehold-
You’re operating on a very abstract notion of employment, which assumes that the only pressures that matter will be cost per employee. The question is, how exportable and how expendable are those jobs in the real world. Would you really save two bucks an hour going down to one cashier, or will you end up slowing down your system so much people go elsewhere.

You’re also missing something else, because you fail to place the worker in the economic web. True, costs go up per worker, but workers then turn around and do more business. You assume the costs will be negative, but you also assume that these businesses are so borderline they’ll have no choice but to do it

And really, is a cycle of rising wages a bad thing?

As for my “personal problem?”

I don’t know what economy you’re living in, but my personal problem is a problem for a lot of people! In fact, it’s the fact that so many people have the same problem, on account of being unemployed or in jobs that are less than ideal for their skills and former earning power, that has made this such a problem.

Or, I suppose, you could force businesses at the point of a gun to give you a raise. I bet the sense of achievement in that is just as good, right?

Are you naturally skilled at being an *******, or did you have to learn?

Personally, my dream is to take the book I’m writing, which I’ve put a ridiculous amount of work into, and make a lot of money off of that. You like to think of me, since I describe myself as a liberal, as lazy, but the reality is I’m a bit of a workaholic. I spend much of my time on the bus writing, and I’ve filled more than ten hundred page pads with writing on the book, not to mention created hundreds of pages worth of notes, three or four languages, several detailed city settings, and a number of densely plotted set pieces.

But for the time being, I earn my money doing something else.

On the subject of the work visas? It seems like you’re making a pretty strained argument here, that over time has proved false. Walmart found, that as the economy got softer, owing to all these wonderful outsourcing optimizations, that folks were less and less able to afford their cheap products.

It’s not a very robust way to go about things, not to mention the fact that this is a rather patronizing, elitist attitude to take. I mean, seriously, I’m gutting your pay for your own good? If these companies were in dire shape, this might make sense, but often these are profitable companies simply trying to squeeze more profit out.

You seem to think that capitalism can survive the long term suppression of wages. I don’t think so. Why? It’s simple: the incentive to embrace capitalism is disposable income. You seem to think that people should work for poor wages for the good of all, but Adam Smith himself would probably call that idea ridiculous. After all, he said, the butcher doesn’t work for the sake of your family but his.

You’re expecting people to defer their own self-interest. For what? More cuts in pay? More sacrifice of their positions to raise the abstract productivity of the company?

What, in the end, is the incentive to maintain a relatively unregulated system, not to reach out and socialize the system? For decades in this country, the incentive was the American dream, that you could, working an ordinary job on a moderate education, get enough salary to pay for a home in the suburbs, a nice car, and raise a family.

But you’ve decided that workers should just continue to sacrifice to the company instead, working longer hours, doing more, for less pay. You’ve backed a regime of degradation, on the grounds that people should be glad they have jobs, and if they don’t like theirs, they should magically find better ones, go seek out the company that pays better (even though they’re often racing to the bottom.)

So, what do you have left to justify all this? Well, you fearmonger about socialism, about economic ruin. You talk about the freedom to pay people unliveable wages as if its a cornerstone of modern civilization, rather than an erosive force, and ironically a major reason for many to be dependent on government.

I mean, really, if you so hate big government, why not pay people enough so they work for you, instead of sapping off the tax dollars you so desperately want to save?

You assume that if the support weren’t there, folks would be able to demand greater wages. Right. Was that the way it was before? No, it wasn’t. People were simply left on their own.

I mean, really, which is worse: the government saying you must pay people sufficiently to avoid their dependence on government, or the government providing for those who cannot afford to exist on the money their full time jobs afford. I prefer the former to the latter. I’d rather make the private sector do the right thing, than bailout those who don’t pay people what the market requires.

I believe in a kind of capitalism where certain limits are set, so that what’s good about capitalism, the risk-taking and reward-seeking, is channelled for the best, and where the cost cutting takes the form of true efficiencies, rather than things like dumping dangerous chemicals into the environment, underpaying employees or making products without the proper margins of safety.

I don’t have your trust in the system that left to themselves people will just do the right thing. There are too many unscrupulous people out there with nice, numerical arguments that seem to make more ethical arguments look like naivete and unprofitable sentimentality, and there’s often too much profit to be made ignoring the standards of decent human behavior. I’ve seen it happen over and over again, and I’ve got enough of a memory that I can’t dismiss the fact that it happens.

If we were perfect, angels, we would not need to be governed, we would not need to enter into compacts to constrain each other. You would not need a contract if you could simply count on people to keep their promises. You would not need laws against theft and murder if temptations and aggravations or cold-blooded greed did not work their dark magic on people.

The point of our kind of system is that rather than have some authority from on high pronounced these things, unquestionable, we get together, and we have a nice debate about what our laws should look like. We take responsibility for ourselves, for the shape of our society.

My sense is that there has to be a balance between freedom and law, and that the fulcrum of that balance is a somewhat emotional one. If we want to avoid the impulse towards authoritarianism, we have to set up systems where people are held accountable for bad behavior, and it has to be a deliberate aim. The more people get away with outrageous behavior, and the more our institutions seem ineffective at stopping them, the more people will clamor for something stronger.

So, if you don’t like having big government on your case, it might be better to agree to a less heavy-handed set of regulations that help keep a problem in check, or the private sector might do well to actually police itself, be transparent.

Otherwise, you will have these occasions where the sectors in question so explosively **** the bed, that nobody can think straight for the mess and the stink. Folks will go heavy hand simply out of spite for the ugly consequences.

The cuts, by the way, are 5%, they’re just not for the whole year, just yet. They will be next year.

What you should consider is that this sequester has the potential to be a STB moment for the Republicans. Republicans said it wouldn’t be a problem back in that government shutdown, eighteen years ago, and it actually turned out to be a much bigger mess than that.

If you’re wrong, and I think you are, if the economy goes back into recession, there won’t be any question as to the cause, and you will have a very long term answer to any assertion that cuts need to be made. Remember the Sequester will become a hindrance to any policy push to reduce the size of government, of spending.

Too many Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians assume people in the real world will be as sanguine about the consequences, the pain of the cuts, as they are in abstract about it. But what you don’t figure on is the fact that nobody is. If the economy goes downhill, there will be a ready-made scapegoat for that.

It’s been at least three generations since the days when Democrats made their big blunders with the Guns and Butter policy of LBJ. The deficits that caused, and the instability from funding the war helped define Democrats, who are actually rather good historically at balancing budgets, or at least not blowing them up, as big spenders.

Now we have the sequester, the debt ceiling, and all that garbage, allowing Democrats and Liberals to return the favor by painting Republicans and conservatives as reckless cutters, Academic ivory-tower theorists who refuse to believe that their theory translates into anything less than unicorns and flowers.

It might not be extremely dire, but after years worth of recovery, folks are going to be rather unhappy to see any kind of recession for any kind of reason coming back. And this won’t be some business cycle coming home to roost, such that any association with a party or movement is second hand, this will be a recession with a rather specific political cause, which Democrats will honestly be able to say would never have happened, if it weren’t for the Republicans’ shenanigans.

It is a gift to those who would oppose the austerity you want.

As for that last thing? I’d point out to you one simple fact, in fact repeat it from the paragraphs before: None of this would have happened if Republicans had not forced this on us. None of it. It’s not partisan inconsistency, if it’s supposed to be a concession to another party that wants even deeper cuts, even greater changes.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 27, 2013 5:28 PM
Comment #362099

Watergate journalist Bob Woodward on Wednesday slammed as “madness” President Barack Obama’s decision against deploying an aircraft carrier because of the automatic spending cuts scheduled to begin Friday.

The USS Harry S. Truman, which was supposed to leave for the Persian Gulf earlier this month, has been kept at home on Pentagon orders because of the sequester.

“Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying, ‘Oh, by the way, I can’t do this because of some budget document?’” Woodward, associate editor at The Washington Post, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Reagan wasn’t the only former president Woodward invoked to criticize Obama. “Or George W. Bush saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to invade Iraq because I can’t get the aircraft carriers I need.’”

And then came Bill Clinton. “Or even Bill Clinton saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to attack Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters,’ as he did, because of some budget document?”

It’s a matter of duty for Obama, according to Woodward. “Under the Constitution, the president is commander-in-chief and employs the force,” he said.

“And so we now have the president going out because of this piece of paper and this agreement [saying], ‘I can’t do what I need to do to protect the country.’ That’s a kind of madness that I haven’t seen in a long time.”


Posted by: Royal Flush at February 27, 2013 5:43 PM
Comment #362100

Royal Flush-
Yes, I heard about this.

Under our Constitution, the President can’t spend money that Congress hasn’t appropriated for the purpose. It’s appropriated a cut of 5%, so you tell me, if the navy doesn’t have the budget to deploy, what exactly is the President supposed to do?

The sequester is an across the board budget short-sheet. However much you might want to pull the sheets towards your priority, to do that we’ll have to make other cuts elsewhere.

Most cuts are factored in over time. Why? To avoid economic shocks, to give sufficient time to plan, and to avoid cluster****s like this one.

So, guess what, some famous pundit faults Obama for holding back a carrier fleet on account of this budget problem? Well, that’s Woodward’s mistake. Sudden Budget gyrations have consequences, and if the Republicans had been smart enough to not provoke them, they could have avoided this.

Or, put another way, if Republicans hadn’t been elected, or if they hadn’t forced budget cuts in the first place, would this be happening here?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 27, 2013 5:57 PM
Comment #362102

Sorry Doughboy, but I just couldn’t force myself to read the entirety of your last pitiful screed. Don’t you ever tire of whining and blaming others for your predicament?

Your book writing has about as much chance of making a profit as digging in your back yard for gold. From what you have described about the book it would seem suitable only for those who wish to escape reality and live in the liberal fantasy world.

Some morning Doughboy, while you’re shaving…if you need to shave…ask yourself; Is that guy in the mirror part of the problem or part of the solution?

Is it the whiners in the country or the doers who create the jobs and hire the employees? Was our Republic designed to be your nanny or an entity created to ensure individual freedom and liberty for all?

Are you only deserving of an increase in pay by government edict? Are you really that worthless as an employee?

Get off your pity-pot Doughboy and start acting and doing like a man who is capable of directing his own destiny.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 27, 2013 6:05 PM
Comment #362103

Stephen

The president cannot spend money he does not have, but he can choose some of the places to cut and where not to cut.

I could cut 5% off any Federal budget w/o causing any damage at all. In fact, there are lots of cuts that would make government more effective.

The other thing that is true is that budgets are not really being cut. They are simply getting lower increases. This is called a cut in Washington.

I remember going through the Graham-Rudman cuts in the late 1980s and early 1990. These cuts were also across the board, but they were deeper. It was hard, but not terrible and it set the stage for surpluses a few years later.

Posted by: C&J at February 27, 2013 6:09 PM
Comment #362104

Doughboy writes; “Under our Constitution, the President can’t spend money that Congress hasn’t appropriated for the purpose. It’s appropriated a cut of 5%, so you tell me, if the navy doesn’t have the budget to deploy, what exactly is the President supposed to do?”

That is a pathetic answer for a pathetic, dumb-ass president. Once again you confirm my repeated statement that obama is nothing more than a social worker capable of calling the plumber when the toilet runs over if he has the budget. Otherwise, let the damn thing overflow.

We have a useless clown for commander in chief. Our allies must be horrified and our adversary’s delighted.

Perhaps obama should telephone the child leader of North Korea for advise.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 27, 2013 6:14 PM
Comment #362105

Stephen, If the so called commander in chief can fly all over the country pushing his fear mongering with no problem finding the funds to do so then I can’t see why sending the USS Harry S. Truman to the Persian Gulf would be a problem.

Posted by: KAP at February 27, 2013 6:35 PM
Comment #362106
You’re operating on a very abstract notion of employment, which assumes that the only pressures that matter will be cost per employee.

No, in fact I pointed that out in my comments that you might have missed.

The question is, how exportable and how expendable are those jobs in the real world. Would you really save two bucks an hour going down to one cashier, or will you end up slowing down your system so much people go elsewhere.

There are a lot of questions for businesses to have to deal with here, but none of the solutions are going to be ‘well, we’ll just make less profit and keep going, those darn progressives busted us and we will just have to suck it up.’ No, business operates because those who own the business and who are earning their living off of those businesses are going to want a certain profit in order to allow the business to continue. If they can’t get that profit (either because no one wants their product, the costs are too high or the prices are too high to cover their costs) then they will shut down the business and work to make their money elsewhere.

You know, like Hostess.

You also forget the fact that over 70% of the people earning minimum wage are not main-income earners in a household. Further those that are are only working those jobs temporarily.

The idea of a single-bread winner of a family of four earning minimum wage (which is how the rate is set) just isn’t happening.

You’re also missing something else, because you fail to place the worker in the economic web. True, costs go up per worker, but workers then turn around and do more business.

Do more business? You’ll have to explain that one to me. Are you saying that employees are only working 50% hard at their jobs but if they get that extra $2 an hour they are going to work 75%? You realize that you are making my point for me, right? If these workers would work 100% at their job they wouldn’t be in them for long as they would be more valuable to the company or another, they would be given a raise or be able to earn more somewhere else after having demonstrated it.

Are you really suggesting what I think you are suggesting?

You assume the costs will be negative, but you also assume that these businesses are so borderline they’ll have no choice but to do it.

If the company isn’t ‘so borderline they’ll have no choice but to do it’ then the company isn’t functioning at peak levels. That’s the job of bosses, management, etc to ensure that the company is working at the appropriate levels to maintain a specific level of profit. Sure, there are exceptions to that, but they are usually backed by risks that demand the high profit margins. Very few companies are just making money over fist with little costs, not ones that last very long anyway. Take a look at what investors to public companies look at to determine if the stocks are good buys or bad buys…

And really, is a cycle of rising wages a bad thing?

If it is couple with a cycle of rising prices, yes it is. If it based on workers becoming more productive and in turn companies becoming more productive, then no it isn’t.

I don’t know what economy you’re living in, but my personal problem is a problem for a lot of people!

It’s still a personal problem, not one that I am required by the point of a gun to solve for you, sorry. I will do what I can to help you (I am going to actually give you advice in a bit) but demanding it? That’s not the way to get help, IMO.

In fact, it’s the fact that so many people have the same problem, on account of being unemployed or in jobs that are less than ideal for their skills and former earning power, that has made this such a problem.

And I’ve been there myself. Not once did I think ‘Hey, I’ll just use the force of government to get more money.’ What an awesome idea that is! It won’t backfire on me AT ALL.

Or, I suppose, you could force businesses at the point of a gun to give you a raise. I bet the sense of achievement in that is just as good, right?
Are you naturally skilled at being an *******, or did you have to learn?

A little of both, natural talent is all well and good but like anything it needs to be nurtured and worked on.

Personally, my dream is to take the book I’m writing, which I’ve put a ridiculous amount of work into, and make a lot of money off of that.

Awesome, what is stopping you?

You like to think of me, since I describe myself as a liberal, as lazy

Never once have I thought that or suggested in any way that I thought that. I think you are projecting a bit here… BTW, I consider myself a liberal too, just a classic one, not a progressive/statist one. I don’t think anyone who reads what you write (or how much you write) would think that you are lazy…

but the reality is I’m a bit of a workaholic. I spend much of my time on the bus writing, and I’ve filled more than ten hundred page pads with writing on the book, not to mention created hundreds of pages worth of notes, three or four languages, several detailed city settings, and a number of densely plotted set pieces.

Awesome, now how many query letters, agent’s doors and publishing companies have you written and contacted? There is more to being a writer than writing, sorry to tell you. I know a little about the business being a writer myself.

Have you considered self-publishing, getting work out there and in the hands of readers who can critque it and possibly pass it on to larger publishing firms? Getting on Amazon with an ISBN is an easy thing to do these days. I’ll give you a link to a couple of those sites:

http://www.lulu.com
http://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-summary-page.html?topic=200260520

Here’s the key, Stephen. If this is what you want, go do it. Writing is good, tweaking is good, rewriting is good, but at some point you have to just get up and put something out there. It may not be perfect at first, no one’s first book is. But hand-wringing that you want to be a writer is something millions of people do. Less than 10% actually do something about it. I want to see you succeed so please please please take my advice and become a published author TODAY. Don’t wait around for it to happen, make it happen. Bypass the entrenched businesses that work to keep people like you out more than let you in.

You can do this, don’t let another day go by without you living your dreams.

But for the time being, I earn my money doing something else.

Me too. I actually have several hobbies that I enjoy and earn money at. I write (books and songs), play music, draw/paint, etc. In fact, one of the hobbies that I made the most money at was recently deemed ‘illegal’ and I have to consider actually leaving the country in order to continue it. It’s a shame that I would have to move to Canada to have more freedom than I have in the US but that’s the way it goes when you live in a totalitarian police state.

On the subject of the work visas? It seems like you’re making a pretty strained argument here, that over time has proved false. Walmart found, that as the economy got softer, owing to all these wonderful outsourcing optimizations, that folks were less and less able to afford their cheap products.

So, you think that by raising their prices to pay for higher worker salaries they are going to be able to more and more afford their not so cheap products? I’m not sure you are thinking your arguments through very much, Stephen.

It’s not a very robust way to go about things, not to mention the fact that this is a rather patronizing, elitist attitude to take. I mean, seriously, I’m gutting your pay for your own good? If these companies were in dire shape, this might make sense, but often these are profitable companies simply trying to squeeze more profit out.

Or trying to stay profitable in the fact of increased costs, taxation, regulation, etc.

You seem to think that capitalism can survive the long term suppression of wages.

Stephen, NO ONE IS SUPRESSING WAGES. Wages are what the company can afford and what the employees are willing to take for the work. That simple, there is nothing nefarious going on here.

I don’t think so. Why? It’s simple: the incentive to embrace capitalism is disposable income.

? Now you are completely off of the rails.

No, the incentive to embrace capitalism is FREEDOM. The freedom to work for yourself or someone else and in exchange be compensated in a way that both parties agree to. Whether you have ‘disposable income’ or not is up to you and what your desires are, not everyone is the same.

You seem to think that people should work for poor wages for the good of all, but Adam Smith himself would probably call that idea ridiculous.

No, I think that people should be free to work for whatever wages they want to and can demand from employers. Or work for themselves.

You’re expecting people to defer their own self-interest. For what? More cuts in pay? More sacrifice of their positions to raise the abstract productivity of the company?

If someone is working for a company that they think is doing that to them, they should find other employment. Trust me, this happened to me, I was working for an employer that was great, but there was a change in management and after a time it was clear that they were no longer operating effectively. I found another position and left. It was that simple, I didn’t demand the government come in with the police and force them to treat me better…

What, in the end, is the incentive to maintain a relatively unregulated system, not to reach out and socialize the system? For decades in this country, the incentive was the American dream, that you could, working an ordinary job on a moderate education, get enough salary to pay for a home in the suburbs, a nice car, and raise a family.

And that still exists. That dream, however, has NOTHING to do with ‘minimum wage’. Minimum wage jobs are NOT ‘ordinary jobs’ with ‘moderate education’, Stephen. You are just demagoguing now. ANYONE can have that ‘American Dream’, but it takes work. And it is harder now because we have made it harder by taxing people more, limiting the businesses that can operate and how they can operate, etc.

But you’ve decided that workers should just continue to sacrifice to the company instead, working longer hours, doing more, for less pay.

Of course not, people should not put themselves in that position. IF they don’t, those won’t exist… I think you are confused on how the ‘market’ works…

You’ve backed a regime of degradation

? First, what ‘regeime of deregulation’ are you talking about? I haven’t seen deregulation happening anywhere on any kind of scale you are implying for decades.

on the grounds that people should be glad they have jobs, and if they don’t like theirs, they should magically find better ones, go seek out the company that pays better (even though they’re often racing to the bottom.)

“MAGICALLY”? No, not magic, Stephen. It’s called hard work and improving yourself.

So, what do you have left to justify all this? Well, you fearmonger about socialism

Nope, not sure where you get this but hasn’t happened.

about economic ruin

It’s not fearmongering, Stephen, it is what is happening right now. You sit there and tell me how bad it is and how bad it has been for years, then want to say that ‘everything is fine’?

You talk about the freedom to pay people unliveable wages as if its a cornerstone of modern civilization, rather than an erosive force, and ironically a major reason for many to be dependent on government.

Actually, the LACK of entry level jobs, because of us trying to create a high enough entry level payscale is what is keeping people dependant on the government, Stephen. I’ve pointed out how this works to you and shown you the facts behind it and you still trot out your fairytale of how ‘business is keeping us all poor’… Poor poor Stephen, the man isn’t giving you want you want so you go get your big brother to make him?

I mean, really, if you so hate big government, why not pay people enough so they work for you, instead of sapping off the tax dollars you so desperately want to save?

Try to make some sense, Stephen. Sapping off tax dollars? Please explain to me how I am doing that, especially considering I could be getting money from the government for my knees but choose not to?

You assume that if the support weren’t there, folks would be able to demand greater wages. Right. Was that the way it was before? No, it wasn’t. People were simply left on their own.

Ok, I am going to make an assumption that you are talking about robber barons and how life was 100 years ago, etc? The tired old canard that you throw out whenever you talk to someone who doesn’t agree with progressivism? Let me give you a little history lesson of capitalism that you seem to have missed in public education.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/objectivist/2013/02/25/capitalism-in-no-way-created-poverty-it-inherited-it/

For much of human history, the vast majority of the population was mired in poverty. All too often, the average individual lived in unimaginably wretched conditions. It was only in the nineteenth century, and then only in the West, that the masses started to enjoy prosperity.

Keep that in mind when you hear about living and working conditions during the nineteenth century. Because it’s true—by today’s standards, the living and working conditions of the time were often miserable. But by the standards of everything that had come before, they were not. For the men and women working those jobs, they were often a godsend.

Remember also, the population of the time was growing at a rate never before seen in human history—so fast that early economists like Malthus wrung their hands over whether such growth could be sustainable. How did the West actually sustain those growing numbers? Only through the rising productivity made possible by capitalism. Many of the workers who manned the factories would not have been able to survive at all in the era before capitalism.

Indeed, two basic facts speak more loudly than any statistical study could. First, factory owners did not have the power to force workers to labor in their factories; all they could do was offer work at a given wage to people who were free to accept the offer, or reject it and look for work elsewhere. Second, people flocked to those jobs, emigrating to the cities from America’s farms and from abroad.

How, then, did conditions for workers improve? Just as businessmen had to compete for customers, offering better products and lower prices, so they had to compete for workers, offering them better wages and better working conditions. This process of competition led businessmen to bid wages up to reflect workers’ productivity: the more productive workers became—the more skills they developed, the more efficiently they were managed, the more capital and technology they could employ—the higher their wages tended to rise.

As a result of the era’s mounting productivity, the statistics show steadily rising wages and steadily declining working hours—long before the government intervened to “protect” workers. Real wages more than tripled over the course of the nineteenth century.

In 1870, according to research from Michael Cox and Richard Alm, the average worker worked 3,069 hours a year. But as his productivity increased, by 1913 he could enjoy a much-improved standard of living working only 2,632 hours. Or consider how much easier it got to earn the money for a half-gallon of milk (56 minutes in 1900, down to 31 minutes in 1930) or 100 kilowatt hours of electricity (107 hours in 1900, but only 11 hours in 1930).

What about child labor? Didn’t nineteenth-century capitalism sentence children to hard and dangerous work? Child labor, despite what we’ve heard, was not created by capitalism. It’s a practice that stretches back to prehistory, when children would spend hours toiling in the scorching sun or freezing rain, risking disease, injury, or death, virtually as soon as they could walk.

Why were most children made to work before the twentieth century? Is it because parents were sadistic and governments cruel? Hardly. It’s because, before capitalism made us rich, children had to work if they were to survive at all. When a family lives on the equivalent of a dollar a day, there is no alternative: if you can work, you work.

What eliminates child labor is not government decree but a rising standard of living. That’s what eliminated it in the West during the nineteenth century, and that is what is eliminating it today in countries like China. As parents grow richer, one of the first things they do is use their burgeoning incomes to send their children to school.

If capitalism is what caused the West to grow rich, then it was capitalism, not government intervention, that eliminated child labor in the developed world.

Those ‘horrible conditions’ were better than what came before it Stephen. They got better through the type of capitalism I mention, NOT through government intervention. Government has a long history of ‘fixing’ problems that were already being fixed before they got involved and then claiming success in dealing with it, leaving the bad effects of their policies in place to create more problems in the future.

Like we are seeing today.

I mean, really, which is worse: the government saying you must pay people sufficiently to avoid their dependence on government, or the government providing for those who cannot afford to exist on the money their full time jobs afford.

How great it is that there are other options that the two you offer. You are basically saying, ‘which arm do you want me to pull off, the right or the left’. I prefer not having an arm pulled of at all, if it please sir.

I believe in a kind of capitalism where certain limits are set, so that what’s good about capitalism, the risk-taking and reward-seeking, is channelled for the best, and where the cost cutting takes the form of true efficiencies, rather than things like dumping dangerous chemicals into the environment, underpaying employees or making products without the proper margins of safety.

*sigh* And you suggest that only government can accomplish that type of system, right?

Do I have to go into the story of UL again?

I don’t have your trust in the system that left to themselves people will just do the right thing.

That’s a shame. :/ Too bad you can’t see the good in people…

There are too many unscrupulous people out there with nice, numerical arguments that seem to make more ethical arguments look like naivete and unprofitable sentimentality, and there’s often too much profit to be made ignoring the standards of decent human behavior. I’ve seen it happen over and over again, and I’ve got enough of a memory that I can’t dismiss the fact that it happens.

Give me an example of those times YOU have seen this Stephen.

If we were perfect, angels, we would not need to be governed

Ah, the ‘you are talking anarchy’ BS again… :/ Here I had thought we had gotten past it but you just can’t do it, can you. I’ll give you a quote from Madison

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”


We would not need to enter into compacts to constrain each other. You would not need a contract if you could simply count on people to keep their promises. You would not need laws against theft and murder if temptations and aggravations or cold-blooded greed did not work their dark magic on people.

You are right, and NO ONE IS SUGGESTING THIS.

The point of our kind of system is that rather than have some authority from on high pronounced these things, unquestionable, we get together, and we have a nice debate about what our laws should look like. We take responsibility for ourselves, for the shape of our society.

Which is great, provided that a) they don’t infringe on the rights of individuals while doing so (you always leave that part out) and b) it is done at a more local level where the needs of the people in an area are more easily met and determined. Trying to set wage prices in rural Montana to that of downtown LA is the exact OPPOSITE of what that should be.

So, if you don’t like having big government on your case, it might be better to agree to a less heavy-handed set of regulations that help keep a problem in check, or the private sector might do well to actually police itself, be transparent.

It often does. Funny how you don’t see that…

The cuts, by the way, are 5%, they’re just not for the whole year, just yet. They will be next year.

You’ll have to show evidence of that since that is NOT what I have read… 1.2% this year.

Of course, if had planned to spend 10% and we make it 5%, you call that a 5% cut, right? Sorry, I am not playing that game, Stephen. The cuts are 1.2% less this year than last year.

If you’re wrong, and I think you are, if the economy goes back into recession, there won’t be any question as to the cause

If the economy enters a recession, as it has STARTED to do already, it will have happened before the sequester and will be a direct result of the tax increases on both the upper class and middle class workers in this country. But you won’t accept that even when the facts are there for you to see, will you?

It’s been at least three generations since the days when Democrats made their big blunders with the Guns and Butter policy of LBJ. The deficits that caused, and the instability from funding the war helped define Democrats, who are actually rather good historically at balancing budgets, or at least not blowing them up, as big spenders.

Still not true, when you consider the monitary policy comes from congress, not the President. Go look up the deficit spending with the house and senate in control by Democrats like in 2007-2011… Tell me what happens to deficits then. We almost had a balanced budget in 2006…

It might not be extremely dire, but after years worth of recovery, folks are going to be rather unhappy to see any kind of recession for any kind of reason coming back. And this won’t be some business cycle coming home to roost, such that any association with a party or movement is second hand, this will be a recession with a rather specific political cause, which Democrats will honestly be able to say would never have happened, if it weren’t for the Republicans’ shenanigans.

Here’s what is going to happen, Stephen, since you like to predict the future…

The sequester will go into place (perhaps) but be stopped either at the last minute or within a week or two of it occurring. However, the economy will tank, as it already is, because of the tax increases of late last year (we are ALREADY seeing the results from that). Then, what are you going to do to explain that away?

As for that last thing? I’d point out to you one simple fact, in fact repeat it from the paragraphs before: None of this would have happened if Republicans had not forced this on us. None of it. It’s not partisan inconsistency, if it’s supposed to be a concession to another party that wants even deeper cuts, even greater changes.

No, what would have happened is that our credit rating would have been lowered again (as has been promised by Moody’s and S&P) and we would have had the economic fallout of that to deal with, coupled with the fallout of the tax increases AND the costs of implementing Obamacare. Of course the Republican’s would most likely be blamed for that too, right?

In fact, this is why it was suggested by the president, most likely, as a scapegoat for his policies and what they are doing to the economy. People like you will just eat it all up and further the cause of progressivism…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 27, 2013 6:41 PM
Comment #362108

Rhinehold…I admire your patience and kindness in dealing with Mr. Daugherty. He contorts himself into a political pretzel and you attempt to straighten out his views with a gentle hand.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 27, 2013 7:35 PM
Comment #362110

After the sequester, this fiscal year’s federal budget ($3.553 trillion) will still be larger than last year’s ($3.538 trillion). Last year, the border was patrolled, emergency responders arrived when called, and airplanes left on time and safely landed.

If things are screwed up after sequester it is because Obama has failed to manage properly.

Posted by: C&J at February 27, 2013 7:54 PM
Comment #362111

C/J, your post is logical and simple common sense as usual.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 27, 2013 8:02 PM
Comment #362112
Personally, my dream is to take the book I’m writing, which I’ve put a ridiculous amount of work into, and make a lot of money off of that. You like to think of me, since I describe myself as a liberal, as lazy, but the reality is I’m a bit of a workaholic. I spend much of my time on the bus writing, and I’ve filled more than ten hundred page pads with writing on the book, not to mention created hundreds of pages worth of notes, three or four languages, several detailed city settings, and a number of densely plotted set pieces.

You didn’t build that!

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 27, 2013 10:21 PM
Comment #362113

Best wishes on your book, Stephen. A writer writes. It’s the only way.

Posted by: phx8 at February 27, 2013 10:33 PM
Comment #362115
It’s not about ‘turning back the clock’ as much as it is fixing the problems we created by ignoring the purpose of this country’s founding. As a means to allow geographical disperse areas of the country to govern themselves while allowing for some small limited centralization of power for the purposes of national policies and ensuring the states don’t work to screw each other. We have given in to all of the things that the framers of this country warned us against and we are seeing the ‘fruits’ of that now. Further, we have abandoned the idea of liberty of the individual because it is easier.
Posted by: Rhinehold at February 27, 2013 10:48 AM

So true, Rhinehold. We have given in, and we have had it done to us in just one short year, 1913. The year the 16th and the 17th amendments were ratified. Ratified by the corrupt politicians elected by the corrupt state legislatures for the purpose of fixing the corruption. Kinda’ like foxes guarding the chicken coop.

It was also the year the Federal Reserve was created. The icing on the Democratics cake.


The Fed’s “Depression” and the Birth of the New Deal

Mistakes play a dramatic role in history. The Fed’s mistakes led to others even more serious, the New Deal and the massive delegation of legislative authority that breached the separation of powers. Here, then, is the history of those terrible mistakes, offered in the hope that it will challenge historians to abandon their ideologies, return to their craft, and give us a history that will better guide our future.


The collapse in the banking system wiped out bank deposits. The result was shrinkage of the money supply by one-third and a severe depression that dramatically altered the U.S. Constitution and the character of our government. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the massive delegation of legislative authority to newly created executive branch regulatory agencies, and the supplanting of the public’s faith in the market system by faith in government intervention all have their origin in these Federal Reserve mistakes.

Once the dike of judicial resistance was broken, the programs came fast and furious. New Deal statutory creations included: the Emergency Banking Act (1933), the Economy Act (1933), the Federal Securities Act (1933), the Tennessee Valley Authority (1933), the Civilian Conservation Corps (1933), the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (1933), the Glass-Steagall Act (1933), the Civil Works Administration (1933), the Public Works Administration (1933), the National Recovery Administration (1933), the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (1933), the Farm Credit Administration (1933), the Federal Housing Administration (1934), the Gold Reserve Act (1934), the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act (1934), the Works Progress Administration (1935), the Public Utilities Holding Company Act (1935), the Social Security Act (1935), the National Labor Relations Act (1935), the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (1936), the National Housing Act (1937), the Farm Security Administration (1937), and the Fair Labor Standards Act (1938).
The four main issues before the courts were the delegation by Congress of lawmaking powers to the executive branch, the New Deal redefinition of all economic activity as interstate commerce subject to regulation, new takings of private property as a result of agricultural allotments and price controls, and the gutting of the Tenth Amendment, which reserves to the states all powers not expressly given to the federal government by the Constitution. The federal government ceased to be restrained by the U.S. Constitution and became whatever the New Dealers wanted it to be. As Justice George Sutherland observed at the time, this revolutionary change did not occur through constitutional amendment but as a result of changes in the attitudes of a few men.
The Great Depression was the product of the first institutional creation of the new regulatory order and most certainly could not have happened without the creation of the Federal Reserve System. Until the Federal Reserve came into being, it was not possible for regulatory mismanagement to shrink the money supply by one-third.
Yet the New Deal achieved a diminution in rights, not in unemployment. This became apparent by 1942, when Ohio dairy farmer Roscoe Filburn was prosecuted successfully by the compassionate federal government for violating the Agricultural Adjustment Act by growing grain for his family’s direct use. In a unanimous decision, the now-tamed Supreme Court ruled that Filburn had engaged in interstate commerce by not engaging in it. Filburn, the Court ruled, should have purchased the grain with which he fed his cows, chickens, and family, not raised it himself. In order to permit the federal government a wide range of action, New Dealers destroyed the doctrine of enumerated powers.
The New Dealers put their trust in government, not in the Founders’ Constitution. Roosevelt told the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in 1935, “I hope your committee will not permit doubts as to constitutionality, however reasonable, to block the suggested legislation.” New Dealer Rexford Tugwell said that New Deal policies “were tortured interpretations” of the Constitution in support of actions that the framers “intended to prevent.”
The Great Depression occurred because the Federal Reserve missed every opportunity to take active measures to ease the internal drain on bank reserves.
The Federal Reserve did not fail in its responsibilities because central banks did not know how to stop panics. Indeed, the prescription is in the Fed’s charter. Walter Bagehot described the appropriate policies in a famous book published in the nineteenth century. The Bank of England stopped the panic of 1825 by doing exactly what the Federal Reserve should have done in 1930. The Fed failed because of “committee work” and personal rivalries and jealousies. Moreover, the existence of the Fed prevented banks from using measures taken in past panics, such as banding together to funnel reserves to troubled banks, or, when all else failed, taking concerted action as in 1907 to restrict payments of cash to customers. Banks would honor checks drawn by customers so that the payments mechanism could continue, but would not honor cash withdrawals except for regular purposes such as payrolls. By acting to prevent the loss of cash from the banking system, banks prevented the decline in reserves and multiple contraction of the money supply.
The Federal Reserve was formed to make such measures unnecessary. But the wisdom of regulators proved to be far short of the ability of bankers themselves to prevent panics from collapsing the money supply. By concentrating power over the money supply in a few hands, progressives greatly leveraged the power of mistakes. The New Deal and the Great Society are the unfortunate consequences of the progressives’ trust in wise men and their lack of faith in the market. Now that the market has triumphed everywhere and its supposed greatest failure can be seen to have lain with the unwise actions of the wise men themselves, the legacy of the progressives looks more dubious than ever.


Today, the entire Western financial world holds its breath every time the Fed chairman speaks, so influential are the central bank’s decisions on markets, interest rates and the economy in general. Yet the Fed, supposedly created to smooth out business cycles and prevent disruptive economic downswings like the Great Depression, has actually done the opposite.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2008/03/59405/#VZOwiWiKeaEhxO62.99

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 28, 2013 2:03 AM
Comment #362117

Royal Flush-

Sorry Doughboy, but I just couldn’t force myself to read the entirety of your last pitiful screed. Don’t you ever tire of whining and blaming others for your predicament?

First, if you haven’t read it, you don’t know what you’re responding to. Second, I don’t particularly enjoy reading your hateful responses, but I do, so I know what your claims are, what to respond to. Third, I know that much of the reason I’m in my current predicament has to do with mistake I’ve made. Unfortunately, the consequences are not that easily undone, and I hardly need anybody else making things worse, say, by causing an economy destroying financial crisis.

As for my novel? I’m not digging for gold. I’m working hard to do something genuinely ambitious. Part of why I decided to do this, to return in 2009 to what I already had there and build an actual novel out of it, was that I felt that it was time to break free from my circumstances. Yes, I feel sometimes that I am subject to forces beyond my control. I almost suffered the effects of big cuts at my workplace. But you know what? I don’t take this fact to be an an excuse to simply sit down and drown in my own idle self-pity. My response is to take action, to do things in order to improve my situation, and to fulfill the purpose of work I’ve been doing since my teenage years.

I do not see good writing and filmmaking as idle occupations. Both take hard work to do right, and to do well. I’ve trained myself, sacrificed a lot of time and money to give myself the tools to do these things.

The only reason I show up here at all, is because I think the issues we discuss are of that level of importance. Otherwise, I’d be working on the novel. Often enough, if I don’t leave a comment or write an entry for some time, that’s what I’m doing.

As for “liberal fantasy world?”

My kind of fiction is escapist in the sense that you can forget your troubles while reading it. Not a bad thing in my view, because people’s troubles can be pretty toxic. It’s a service I’m glad people performed on my behalf when I was going through the worst periods of my life.

But it’s not escapist in the sense that the characters have easy lives, or the world itself is this idealistic place. The world I have my character struggling through now is no picnic. It’s corrupt, it’s full of deadly, nasty politics, and even this proud, magnificent law-enforcement outfit that his friends belong to is riddled with traitors, spies, and obnoxious bureaucrats in its chapter there.

Speaking of fantasy, though, are you having fun there? I mean, really, I could post a photo of what I look like right now, but I don’t think you care about the facts of what kind of guy I am. I think you have an image you want to wallpaper on me, and you don’t particularly care about acknowledging any good thing about me. And if I changed to suit you, I don’t think, on basis of lifelong experience, that you would actually respect me any. You’ve got this fantasy that you represent the hard-workers and the right-thinkers, and this entitles you to be a complete *******. But really, that’s not the worst fantasy.

The worst fantasy is, that you think that after all the nasty, vile things you’ve said, that you’re winning the debate. You’re not. The Conservatives, are alienating demographics, one by one, and you’re a foot soldier in the battle to carry out that alienation. You, and thousands like you, out there, help Democrats to succeed by making comments so vile and offense, by being so insulting and unfriendly to those who don’t agree with you, that people turn against your party and your movement.

So, congratulations: you’re doing a better job of promoting liberalism and the Democratic Party than I could ever do.

Perhaps that’s why I’m so lenient about your insults, given what I could do under policy. Perhaps I’m convinced that by allowing folks like you to show your true colors, that I’m promoting my cause.

C&J-
I’m sorry, but didn’t most Republicans vote for the sequester? Didn’t their debt ceiling negotiations force it into existence, as part of the compromise that ended that wholly self-inflicted crisis? The whole point of the sequester was it’s indiscriminate nature. The whole point of it would be that it wouldn’t be managed, and therefore wouldn’t be optimized. Why? To scare Congress into actually coming to a more judicious compromise.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Congress, under the Republicans, can be scared into a better compromise. They want to continue to govern like the majority they were before 2006. Even though Democrats hold two of the three parts of the lawmaking process, namely the Senate and the White House.

Can people count on any give and take from the Republicans that isn’t drug out of them by force?

Without that, Republicans are going to continue to alienate people.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 28, 2013 8:34 AM
Comment #362119

As we continue to hear the litany of pain that will be afflicted upon Americans by our own president, I read today that despite the looming sequester the administration has seen fit to send $365 million to Syria in humanitarian aid over that past two years. And, the administration is considering sending another $60 million.

I can’t put my finger on another American president who believed humanitarian aid to a foreign country took precedence over our own citizens.

As for Doughboy’s comments about my being nasty to him, he is mistaken. I have a little fun with calling him Doughboy and have explained why in previous posts. If that’s offensive to him…so be it.

It is offensive to me for Daugherty to lump me in with all Republicans. I am a conservative and despise much of what the Republicans have done in the past. I acknowledge that the Rep party is deeply flawed in some respects.

Rarely, and never with obama, has Daugherty ever been critical of the libs and Dems. Even when proven to be incorrect he stubbornly insists that his “facts” are the only ones that matter.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 28, 2013 1:52 PM
Comment #362120

How are we to really know if the Republican Party is in such dire straights? Maybe the MSM is just exaggerating. It’s not like they haven’t exaggerated before! I haven’t come across a Republican who denounced his/her party yet.

How do we really know this opinion of the Republican demise isn’t just beltway oriented, a product of the MSM in a beltway bubble?

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that people will say one thing before an election and then say another after they find out who won. I’m sure the same will be true when the takers find out there isn’t that much to take any longer. The tax increase at the beginning of the year is one example of a broken promise their benevolent master made. I doubt if the people will support him blindly if the goodies quit coming. Wishy-washy goes both ways.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 28, 2013 2:13 PM
Comment #362121

Weary Willie-
I find it interesting that the article critiquing FDR’s policies are coming from the Hoover Institution. That’s sort of like a critique of Obama’s handling of the economy coming from the George W. Bush Foundation for Wall Street Studies.

Hoover’s reputation is tied to four years worth of economic decline that hit it’s maximum with nearly a quarter of the American Workforce being out of work. Take that for what you will.

The New Deal managed to knock ten points off of unemployment, before anti-austerity efforts in 1336 started off another recession. But by 1943, where you had those Hoover institution guys complaining about judgments, you had the country back down in the single digits on unemployment.

As far as other things go? There’s a certain naivete in the position it talks about. You want to know what made the old sense of the state autonomy fade away? It wasn’t liberals. It was technology.

I want you to go into your local shopping center. Turn around three times, and look at every business there. Chances are, you will see a number of franchise operations whose commerce takes place across state lines, whose parent company are domiciled in another state.

Look at a map. We got this huge interstate system now. You know all those trucks you see running on those roads?

Look at the comments on this board. I write this from the State of Texas. Where do you write it from? Do you have friends and family you keep in touch with, who don’t live in your state?

In one place after another, technology has made the systems we depend upon more the product of interstate commerce, rather than state law. And really, even back as far as Lincoln’s time, the railroads and telegraph lines were developing. By the thirties we had the automobile running around, we had telephone networks, we had radio networks and even the beginnings of television. The industrial revolution, and the follow-up advancements are what led to more government, as the common experience of the average person became working in a factory, rather than on a farm, and where even farming had become more mechanized.

We try and pretend like we’re rugged invidualists, but the frontier is long dead, along with most people who actually lived that way. In the meantime, we have to keep stable and healthy this real world, this new world we live in.

Now there is a good question as to how to do this, and conservatives don’t necessarily have the wrong idea on everything. Unfortunately, the party is following the logic of the idea past the point where today’s technology will allow it to go.

Republicans are trying to vindicate somebody who people lost faith in more than 70 years ago. So they insist on policies appropriate to the period. To be brutally honest, though, Hoover’s regulations were behind the time in the thirties. Now they’re several technological steps obsolete.

I haven’t seen, in that time, any evidence that the business community has gotten any less prone to corrupt or unscrupulous behavior. We’ve seen plenty of evidence that in the absence of regulation, people do not police themselves. Greed is simply too powerful a motivation to put to bed for good.

It’s funny how so many of the Republican’s arguments start with that one assumption: that whatever bad that happened in the pass was over with, that people wouldn’t make the same mistake again, etc., and that if we do something like, say, striking down part of the voting rights act, nothing bad will happen.

Unfortunately, the truth all to often boils down to the fact that the people who bashed the regulations being quick to restart the objectionable behavior. With minorities set against them, how slow do you think Republicans will be to rewrite the laws to put those minorities in a more disavantageous position

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 28, 2013 3:40 PM
Comment #362122

Why do you have to kill the messenger, Stephen Daugherty? Can’t you critique the message, the message being the destruction of the 10th amendment and individual rights?

Why do you think all of these things you mentioned wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the federal government? Do you actually believe we’d be pulling our shit around in a cart if it wasn’t for the 16th amendment? How can you be so certain that things wouldn’t be better than they are now if we had taken a different path, stuck to our guns, so to speak.

You don’t have a time machine that lets you explore different timelines, do you Stephen Daugherty?

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 28, 2013 3:55 PM
Comment #362123

“I haven’t seen, in that time, any evidence that the business community has gotten any less prone to corrupt or unscrupulous behavior”

The same is true of government, Stephen. Why is it that you put so little faith in something that cannnot, or is even capable of, controlling every aspect of your life, but yet embrace the only entity that can and does?

We can advance into the future without throwing away our past.

Posted by: kctim at February 28, 2013 4:11 PM
Comment #362124

Stephen’s typical ‘bad choice’ fallacies…

It’s either ‘regulate everything’ or ‘regulate nothing’. There is no other option, in his political view.

I’ll restated, Stephen, No One Is Suggesting Zero Regulation (except a few anarcho-capitalists).

And wow, because companies operate across state lines, that means we can ignore the PURPOSE of the interstate commerce clause and just regulate at a federal level all those things that the federal government was never supposed to regulate.

It’s a shame that the framers couldn’t envision a society were business operated across state lines, no business ever did that before…

“On every question of construction carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” – Thomas Jefferson to William Johnson, 1823
“It is very certain that [the commerce clause] grew out of the abuse of the power by the importing States in taxing the non-importing, and was intended as a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves, rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government.” – James Madison, Letter to Cabell, February 13, 1829
“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress… Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.” – James Madison, Letter to Edmund Pendleton, January 21, 1792

Your arguments are tired cliches that do not reflect reality of things, Stephen.

You want to know what made the old sense of the state autonomy fade away? It wasn’t liberals. It was technology.

Bzzzt.

Ever hear the phrase ‘all politics is local’? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Politics_Is_Local

The fact is that most people aren’t concerned about how people in other states live or choose to live. They want to determine their own fate in their own area of the country but retain the basic rights and protections that the federal charter promises.

Further, they despise the idea of people from another part of the country telling them how to live their lives or choose for them how to govern their local communities. There is a reason why congress is so despised, you think it is because of Republicans, but the polling tells us quite clearly that the majority of Americans think that the federal government is overstepping it’s power.

http://www.govexec.com/oversight/2010/10/poll-americans-believe-government-is-too-large/32536/
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/wash-post-poll-large-majorities-want-smaller-federal-govt-say-govt-controls-too-much
http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2011/08/25/poll-most-americans-think-the-federal-government-has-too-much-power
http://www.gallup.com/poll/143624/Majorities-View-Gov-Intrusive-Powerful.aspx
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0112/71647.html
http://www.gallup.com/poll/123101/Americans-Likely-Say-Government-Doing-Too-Much.aspx
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-10-11-1Abiggovernment11_CV_N.htm
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/03/cnn-poll-big-shifts-on-role-of-government/
http://www.conservativecommune.com/2012/08/indicators-wapo-poll-says-majority-thinks-government-too-big/

I know that Stephen is all about ‘listening to the majority of the people’ but it doesn’t seem to understand what they are saying…

The progressive movement in trying to regulate and fix all perceived problems is leading us to the inevitable end of either scaling back the power of the federal government or the attempt to eliminate the need of the states (which will most likely result in another civil war).

The purpose and reason for the commerce clause is clear in the writings of the people who wrote it and argued for it. It’s a shame that their calls to not abandon it otherwise the country would be subverted into something it wasn’t supposed to be have gone unheeded because of the appeals to the greed of the promised benefactors (which were lies, but don’t tell them that).

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 28, 2013 4:15 PM
Comment #362125

kctim makes a good point, Stephen. If business does something illegal (fraud, deceptive business practices, etc) the government is there to keep them in line. But if we cede those things to the government, who is going to keep them honest?

That is why Madison said:

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 28, 2013 4:19 PM
Comment #362126

The most nefarious part of the current bastardization of this country we call the ‘federal government’ is that we give the power to citizens now to tell people living in different parts of the country how they can live their lives. In many cases, most people voting for something at a national level have it at their state level already, but what they WANT is to tell other states how they can deal with their issues.

That’s how far it has come. If the people in a state want something, they just have to legislate it in. Why does it need to be done at a federal level? So that they can tell OTHER STATES how to do it to. That way, when they enact policies that drive people from their states, they can make the other states enact the same policy. They are reducing the ill effects of their policies by forcing them country-wide.

And don’t think that people don’t get off on being able to put a gun to someone’s head and tell them what to do. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t be in this mess we are in to begin with.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 28, 2013 4:26 PM
Comment #362128

This is the type of thing that ‘federal grant money to states’ (taken from the states and other states) ends up happening. And Stephen tells us that without all this money we are going to go into a recession..

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/02/why-a-one-room-west-virginia-library-runs-a-20000-cisco-router/

Marmet, West Virginia is a town of 1,500 people living in a thin ribbon along the banks of the Kanawha River just below Charleston. The town’s public library is only open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. It’s housed in a small building the size of a trailer, which the state of West Virginia describes as an “extremely small facility with only one Internet connection.” Which is why it’s such a surprise to learn the Marmet Public Library runs this connection through a $15,000 to $20,000 Cisco 3945 router intended for “mid-size to large deployments,” according to Cisco.

In an absolutely scathing report (PDF) just released by the state’s legislative auditor, West Virginia officials are accused of overspending at least $5 million of federal money on such routers, installed indiscriminately in both large institutions and one-room libraries across the state. The routers were purchased without ever asking the state’s libraries, cops, and schools what they needed. And when distributed, the expensive routers were passed out without much apparent care. The small town of Clay received seven of them to serve a total population of 491 people… and all seven routers were installed within only .44 miles of each other at a total cost of more than $100,000.

In total, $24 million was spent on the routers


The routers in question were purchased as part of a much larger grant from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), which passed out several billion dollars to help upgrade broadband networks across America as part of President Obama’s initial stimulus package in 2009. West Virginia’s cash was meant to wire up the many “community anchor institutions” such as libraries, schools, police, and hospitals across the state with Internet access delivered over fiber-optic lines. As part of the project, the state also had to purchase some sort of router for each institution. Instead of “right-sizing” the routers for their intended destinations, the state group of officials charged with implementing the grant decided they would make things easy by purchasing the exact same router and installing it everywhere, even in the most rural locations they planned to reach.

Consider, for instance, how routers were purchased for the state police. When the West Virginia State Police purchased their own routers a few years earlier, they chose Cisco model 2xxx machines at a cost of only $5,000 or so apiece, with only a single Cisco 3xxx model purchased for the largest deployment. In 2010, when the state received its grant money, no one asked the State Police what they wanted or needed; indeed, the police were “never contacted” at all by the Grant Implementation Team. (This was a widespread problem; the report notes no capacity or user needs surveys were ever done before the money was spent). Instead, the team simply ordered 77 Cisco 3945 routers at a cost of $20,661 apiece—that’s one $20,000 router for every 13.7 state police employees—and sent them off to the police. (Each router can handle several hundred concurrent users.)

Had the Grant Implementation Team replaced 70 of these routers with the cheaper model, the state could have saved $1.4 million. And that’s assuming that the routers were even needed to begin with—in many cases, they were not.

Such cost savings could have been found all over the state. Nearly all of the West Virginia’s 172 libraries could have saved $16,000 per router, saving the state $2.8 million more. Many of the state’s public schools are likewise small institutions that could have easily used smaller routers and saved another $3.68 million. In total, another $5+ million could have been spent on tech that was actually useful for the state’s residents.

Though, maybe he is right, I’m sure Cisco made some good bank at the taxpayer expense, a rural area in WV now has better equipment that most states, who most likely helped them pay for that equipment by the way it was done at the federal level.

If they hadn’t bought those overpriced routers, how many Cisco employees might have had to be laid off? Gotta keep those people employed, unless it means raising taxes (at double what the sequester is targeted for) or raising the minimum wage, both of which are costing people jobs… But that’s ok…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 28, 2013 5:07 PM
Comment #362129

Royal Flush-
I do so enjoy your attempts to pretend that you’re not really insulting me. Let’s take a look at one comment. First, I think you’ve made it clear that by calling me a doughboy, you’re calling me soft, fat. Given that we’re not exactly on the best of terms, calling me fatty, essentially, is a bit presumptous and naturally offensive on your part.

You then proceed to say that you “couldn’t force yourself to read the entirety of your last pitiful screed”.

When I complement somebody on their writing, I don’t remark that I forced myself to read it, much less that I couldn’t get all the way through. Calling it a screed, a bit of a loaded word, doesn’t help much either, and calling it a pitiful screed only compounds the venom.

Not a good start.

Then you ask whether I tire of whining and blaming others for my predicament. Hmm. Just what you say to somebody when you’re not trying to provoke them, or accuse them of being lazy.

You then portray my writing as an attempt to hide from reality, and specifically say that my book will only appeal to people who want to do the same. That’s right, it’s not insulting to tell a writer that you think their work is insipid and will only appeal to others with similar character defects to you.

You then repeat your insult, and then question my manliness or my maturity by asking whether I need to shave, while delivering a rather patronizing question. You continue that patronizing tone in the next questions and then deliver this gem:

Are you only deserving of an increase in pay by government edict? Are you really that worthless as an employee? Get off your pity-pot Doughboy and start acting and doing like a man who is capable of directing his own destiny.

No, I’m just imagining all this, right?

It may just be that years of being in your political orbit has deadened you to how patently offensive an patronizing this language is. Or maybe you’ve been taught not to care, to think it’s only right to treat folks like me that way.

You’ll probably respond by saying you’re only forcing me to confront the truth, but you really just seem to enjoy sticking the little knives in far too much.

Being offensive has become a habit. But with minorities increasing their share of the electorate, and many of the groups you’re offending becoming stronger as well, you’re putting yourself in a position where you’re offending more of the people you need to convince to support you.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 28, 2013 5:24 PM
Comment #362131

Doughboy complains; “First, I think you’ve made it clear that by calling me a doughboy, you’re calling me soft, fat.”

OK, I will explain one more time for your benefit. You are the “boy” (as in childish) who is always calling for more government “dough”.

Doughboy complains; “Then you ask whether I tire of whining and blaming others for my predicament.”

Sorry, but it is true. Change your attitude and things will get better for you.

Doughboy demands more money by government edict and complains that I am insulting him. I am insulted that he keeps digging into taxpayer pockets so he can buy “stuff”. He has told us that raising the minimum wage would mean just that for him. Work and earn the money to buy your own extra “stuff” Stephen. I suspect the taxpayers are already subsidizing some of your needs.

And finally we hear his constant drumbeat that as more minorities are allowed to vote we will have even more liberalism.

You’re kidding yourself Doughboy if you believe the working taxpayers of this country will allow themselves to become mere pawns of the “something for nothing crowd”.

Living in your fantasy world leads you to believe that sheer numbers will force working Americans to do your bidding regardless of the cost to themselves.

You need to wake up my friend before the real world comes crashing down on your head. Continue to wallow in self pity and blaming others for what you don’t have and you will never move forward.

You remind me of the failed OWS nut-jobs who believed they could force corporate America to bend to their socialist demands.

Let me know when your fantasy book is published and I will buy a copy. Yes…I am that kind and generous.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 28, 2013 5:51 PM
Comment #362133

Royal Flush,
Your name-calling comes across as unpleasant and unnecessary. Stephen has taken a lot of time to respond to your comments in detail. While I understand you disagree, the least you can do is show respect for someone willing to debate with you, in detail, on so many contentious issues.

Posted by: phx8 at February 28, 2013 5:59 PM
Comment #362135

phx8 reminds me; ” Stephen has taken a lot of time to respond to your comments in detail.”

And I have taken time to respond to him. “Doughboy” is not a disrespectful name. I have explained why I use it. It is no more offensive than calling him “cute” or “cuddly”.

What both he and you object to, in my opinion, is that I dare portray someone who wants more money from my pocket as being a boy seeking someone’s else’s “stuff”.

Doughboy keeps up a constant drumbeat for higher taxes and greater debt to provide ever more public spending on him. I consider that childish and selfish.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 28, 2013 6:33 PM
Comment #362136

Stephen

“I’m sorry, but didn’t most Republicans vote for the sequester?” They did, but it was the president’s idea.

There is more flexibility than the president says. He has already made choices. All agencies can make priorities within their allotments. There is also built in authority to move some money among the allotments.

There are lots of things that can be postponed and many that can be cut. I just see absolutely no reason why a 5% cut need to cause any disruption of core functions of any government agency.

You can argue, and I am sure you will, that these cuts hurt; they do. It makes managers make hard choices. But any good manager has plans to operate with a 10% cut or a 10% rise. Nobody can be sure of conditions in future. Only idiots don’t have contingencies. All government agencies have suspected that there could be cuts and all have developed contingencies. The non-political managers have figured out how to do with with minimal disruptions and they can and will carry out these logical plans unless their political masters (i.e. Obama) folks, interfere to make things more painful.

Posted by: C&J at February 28, 2013 6:39 PM
Comment #362138

Royal Flush-
You know what? You guys sent trillions to the mid-east for the sake of your “humanitarian aid” The defense budget itself is in the hundreds of billions.

But now you’re complaining about foreign aid to the rebels in Syria? If it helps them win, gets us a friendlier government in place, then maybe it saves us money.

As for it being offensive that I lump you in with Republicans?

Jeez louise. Is there anybody who posts here, who despite nearly totally agreeing with the GOP on every subject, actually remains a self-identified Republican?

As for criticizing Obama? I have my differences with him, but I tend to hold back such criticisms when I see people like you piling on him. I figure he’s well criticized enough, and I only encourage the excess and invite people to portray inaccurately huge gaps of daylight between me and Obama on those accounts.

In other words, I’ve observed that Republicans and conservatives are too quick to jump on what small criticisms I might have and make big misunderstandings out of them, so I don’t typically share them.

I will readily admit my party and my president are imperfect, but I won’t hand conservatives free ammunition, if I can help it.

By the way: the sequester was designed to be a five percent cut across ALL accounts. So there’s no shifting it around, no managing it. It’s supposed to be a disaster, with the idea that Republicans might be wary of causing further disasters by failing to come to an agreement.

What does it tell you that Republicans habitually ignore such warnings?

So, what is it that you want the President to do, break the law? Or is it just that the Republican House cannot take responsibility for anything? I recently read that the VAWA passed the house, with the majority of support coming from the Democrats. It’s becoming all too common typically for only enough Republicans to back something for it to pass, while Democrats provide the majority votes.

But I guess that’s just function in government flowing through the easiest channel.

KAP-
Do you really want to make the claim that one or two jets touring the country is financially equivalent to having dozens of warships, tens of thousands of personnel, dozens of jets deployed half way around the world and kept there for several months at least?

The problem with getting your arguments from people mainly looking to get rhetorical effect, is that they tend to fall apart when people with passing familiarity of such matters tak a close look at them. You’re smarter than that.

Rhinehold-
Hostess’s main problem is that it was loaded down with debt from being taken over by the arbitrage specialists on Wall Street. Hostess has some of the most recognizable brands on the face of the planet, yet somehow these people were unable to leverage that into success. When does poor economic performance become management’s fault? Why are we assuming that it’s the worker’s fault?

Next question: if you can’t make a living on the minimum wage, is that perhaps the explanation why those who draw it typically aren’t the main income earners?

Of course, you’ve point out that many union contracts reset wages in response to changes in minimum wage. So, even if they aren’t the main income earners, doesn’t it stand to reason that the effects may extend to those who are, under such conditions?

Do more business? You’ll have to explain that one to me.

Its sad that I would have to. If I’m making a hundred more dollars a paycheck, then I’m going to buy more things. I’m going to pay off more debts. I’m going to engage in more economic activity.

Do more business, in other words.

And being able to pay more bills, do more things, you will have happier workers. It may not be a hundred percent change in productivity, but you may be able to get people to do a lot more, with better efficiency, because they’re being rewarded more in line with what they believe they need or want.

As for “getting it at the point of a gun?”

A bit harsh, considering that SWAT rarely raids such businesses. But it is a legal mandate, to be sure.

I think you have only to look at the developing world, and the way corporations let people be mistreated, underpaid, etc, to know what they would do if the law didn’t say they had to pay people a certain amount. You have too much faith in their virtue.

As far as writing? I’m a one thing at a time person, really. Writing now, complete that, and then concentrate on publishing.

I appreciate the advice, though.

On the subject of profit, we’re talking about VERY profitable companies doing this. instead of merely aiming to be profitable, it become all about hitting targets that are way above breaking even.

As for disposable income?

Well, let me put it this way: if you’re always at the edge, if you work long hours at a thankless job, but don’t get ahead, if you can’t save, only become more and more endebted, then what’s the point? The children of these people see their parents work themselves to death, sometimes literally, and don’t really see the incentive to do the same.

You talk of freedom, but freedom for whom? For the capitalists up on top? Great! but that’s a few percentage points. Meanwhile, everybody else is underincentivized, watching people who very often screw up but get rich anyway, and in the meantime, the debts pile up, and all their options and avenues for advancement dry up.

Disposable income means they have enough to pay for their necessities. It means they have the money left over, after necessities, to do the things they want to do. It means they can drive additional consumer spending, over and above what they need to survive.

There’s no point to preaching to people about freedom, if most of them don’t have enough money to truly make a lot of free choices!

You say people should be free to work for whatever wages they want to, but you forget something critical, which is the modern presence of unified corporate price-setting on this matter. Its no longer Adam Smith’s era, when folks negotiated wages between each other. Very often, it’s corporate head offices that set the wages, and there isn’t necessary much difference beteen one job and the other.

Labor has become commoditized, to a great degree, since that time. The machine does the specialized work, often enough, while your average minimum wage employee requires minimal training.

You can tell people not to put themselves in that position, but really, do they control whether they put themselves in that position? Look at the differences in executive pay between now and thirty years ago, then look at the differences in ordinary wages, adjusted for inflation. That will tell you what you need to know about who is putting who in what position.

On the subject of minimum wage as opposed to dependence on government support, its simple. If people are paid living wages, they will be more independent, less likely to become dependent on government programs, with any such moral hazard you imagine. If you instead turn a blind eye to people filling in the gaps by essentially forcing their employees to rely on assistance to survive at their wages, then you encourage that dependence.

Business will take what opportunities it can. That’s their nature. I think telling people “Pay your workers well” is a lot healthier than “lowball them and pocket the difference at taxpayer expense.”

As for that last thing?

It’s a puff piece.

Almost 81% of Americans today live in urban areas. That use to be about five percent, back in 1790. It didn’t break 50% until around 1920. For much of the classic, first Industrial revolution period, most people decided to live on farms.

Cities of those days were not the kinds of places you really wanted to stay, unless you lived in the middle or upper class portions. They were breeding grounds for disease, had levels of crime and violence you wouldn’t believe. It wasn’t merely appalling from our point of view, it was appalling to Americans and Europeans of that time, too.

A lot of times, people would go to the factories, get their fill of city life and go right back. That, or they’d die.

I really don’t buy this notion that the market led to the end of child labor. I really don’t. First, factory owners of that time were not so scrupulous. Second, it was progressive movements themselves that lead the charge to get kids out of factories and into schools instead, not industrialists.

Your friend misses a big part of what made child labor distinctly more distasteful in the industrial age: the dangers of the machines. These are things that could rip limbs off, crush people, or cut them up. Children, very often, were employed to reach into small places that adults could not. Think about that for a couple seconds. Nightmare fuel potential.

In ancient times, it just wouldn’t make sense to do things this way, since labor depended on strength which children did not yet have. But if your machine provides all the strength?

There’s far too much documented fact out there about how children were employed in these factories for folks to take these fairy tales about the wonders of industrialization seriously You practically have to ignore contemporary accounts to believe that crap.

This was something that had to be forbidden.

I don’t believe that government has to do everything, but there are some things you can only do with government, and other things that require government to be in place to backstop the threat that if industry doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, government will.

I can see the good in people, and the bad. It’s not simplistic, however black and white my tone might make my views seem. But I remember things well enough that when somebody says, oh, the market will make sure nothing bad happens in the food industry, my brain brings up the E. Coli infections from the eighties, the contaminated peanut butter from the last decade, and yes, more than twenty years of Marvin Zindler’s “Slime in the Ice Machine!” report on television.

I’ve seen the way people cut corners in real life. It’s not that I trust people to be evil, I just trust folks to be tempted, and for some to yield to it. And if the incentives are big enough and perverse enough? Then a great number of people, perhaps even a majority will start doing things in a bad way.

Put another way, I build my expectations on what I’ve observed, not on what I hope people to be like.

As far as the rights of the individual go?

There are some rights that should be more or less sacrosanct. And others that are less indispensable. We need to be watchful, to look at what works and what doesn’t. As for whether it’s best done at a local level?

That depends on what truly is local. There’s a lot I’m glad to leave to local places to figure out for themselves. But there’s much, like civil rights, pollution, and interstate commerce that just can’t be reliably regulated at a state level.

As far as budget go, I was referring back to the sixties. But as far as 2007 to 2011 goes?

Good god. The recession started in 2007! Then you have the crash in 2009! It would be very unrealistic to expect balanced budgets in the wake of a revenue killing giant financial crisis.

2006 was not an almost balanced budget. It was the product of an unsustainable housing boom, the busting of which is what unbalances the budget even more severely down the line. Put another way, the middle three years of that decade basically borrowed growth with interest from the rest of the decade.

On the subject of the sequester?

Look, there is no argument that can realistically state that the sequester would have happened with a Democratic Congress. This is the direct result of the debt ceiling impasse, a debacle that would not have occured if Republicans had done what had mostly been done since the debt ceiling was instituted in 1917, and just passed the thing.

And even without it, even if the Republicans do come to their senses and pass a compromise the next day, (it starts tomorrow!) we still had months of uncertainty before that, not to mention the cuts that were backloaded from the deal even before that.

And you know what? We still have ****loads of these little confrontations going on, with Republicans threatening not to raise the debt ceiling, or a government shutdown. Democrats like myself are not really having to paint the target on these stupid mother****ers’ backs. They’re doing it themselves, and taking pleasure in doing it.

By the way, you know what’s been lowering our credit rating, what they primarily blamed it on last time? Political factors. As in, they believe we’re good for our debt, but we got stupid SOBs in there threatening not to deliberately default if they don’t get what they want.

Face facts: the Republicans are damaging their own brand, not to mention the brand of libertarian philosophy, and becuase of their insular media and philosophical environment, they’re taking pleasure in doing what’s hurting their cause.

To be frank, I’m not always encouraged by what I see on my side of things, and we have plenty of morons to worry about on our side. But what I can take comfort in is that at least most of them are eager to make my party look good, and the focus of the party is on selling our agenda, making it look good.

I look at the Republicans, and I see people who have been and are giving up many of their advantages, for the sake of not wanting to change, or be told no by anybody.

I see people so crippled by their party’s insularity that they don’t realize how much their appeal has shrunk. By the time they realize it, I think it might be too late for them to avoid the painful consequences, and I don’t think the loss of power that entails, added to the paranoia about the results of losing control, will make that a pleasant event.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 28, 2013 7:08 PM
Comment #362139

Stephen, The people on those ships still get paid no matter if they are in port or out to sea. The planes of that Air Craft carrier still fly on a daily bases unless down for maintenance. Unlike Air Force One which cost $174,000. per hour while Obama is on his campaign trips and a whole lot less than that when it is on the ground. The military operates 24/7 Air Force One does not, it only has to be ready when the President wants it to fly. By the way congress is a car ride away and that is who he needs to talk to instead of going on his fear campaigns.

Posted by: KAP at February 28, 2013 7:25 PM
Comment #362141

Doughboy writes; ” It’s supposed (sequester) to be a disaster…”

How many times in how many different ways can we tell you that these cuts are insignificant and can be easily managed by responsible department heads. All this gloom and doom spouted by obama is irresponsible and borders on being criminal.

As for people becoming discouraged because of temporary low wages Doughboy doesn’t begin to understand what our forefathers endured. His milquetoast comments are pathetic in this land of unlimited opportunity.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 28, 2013 7:54 PM
Comment #362144
Hostess’s main problem is that it was loaded down with debt from being taken over by the arbitrage specialists on Wall Street. Hostess has some of the most recognizable brands on the face of the planet, yet somehow these people were unable to leverage that into success. When does poor economic performance become management’s fault? Why are we assuming that it’s the worker’s fault?

We aren’t ‘assuming’ anything, we are discussing the factual issues of the company. They are well recorded. The company operated for over 80 years, but in 2012 when they filed for bankruptcy the reasons given were “legacy pension and medical benefit obligations and restrictive work rules.” Remember that the workers were given a stake in the company just a few years earlier. Unions within the organization had been unhappy with Driscoll’s proposed compensation package of $1.5 million, plus cash incentives and a $1.95 million “long term compensation” package. The new CEO also cut top executive salaries to $1. It asked that the unions/workers work out a deal to bring down the costs during this time so that they could return to profitability. Most of the unions involved, including the Teamsters, agreed. However, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ International Union (BCTGM), which represents 6,600 Hostess employees, took the strike action after the latest contract proposal from Hostess Brands was rejected by 92 percent of its members.

Instead of working with the company to keep it going, they decided it would be better for the company to close and they have no jobs apparently. If the company was profitable, it would not have closed.

Part of the problem has to do with the manipulation of food prices (especially bread which they made) and costs to the company to make that bread, the largest cost was employee salaries and pension plans.

BTW, I like how you try to make GE the villian in the whole thing, when they saved the company from going bankrupt a few years earlier…

Next question: if you can’t make a living on the minimum wage, is that perhaps the explanation why those who draw it typically aren’t the main income earners?

No, the explanation why is clearly defined already, you just don’t like it. The vast majority of the people making minimum wage are students or spouses of the main income earners who are looking for either a few extra dollars to add to the family income or gaining work experience and some extra spending money while they attend school.

Of course, you’ve point out that many union contracts reset wages in response to changes in minimum wage. So, even if they aren’t the main income earners, doesn’t it stand to reason that the effects may extend to those who are, under such conditions? If I’m making a hundred more dollars a paycheck, then I’m going to buy more things. I’m going to pay off more debts. I’m going to engage in more economic activity.

Do more business, in other words.

That all sounds great, but here’s the problem. If all of these people are making more money, the business that pay them are going to have to increase the costs of their goods and services in order to pay for it. So that ‘extra couple hundred dollars’ is going to get eaten up by the increased costs of necessities like food, heat, etc. So that ‘extra money’ just goes to keeping the status quo, in the end it doesn’t help anyone.

It’s as I said before, sure people are going to vote for ‘free money’, remember all of the people lining up in 2009 looking for the ‘Obama Money’. Free healthcare is another bill of goods. Sure, people will vote for things when the costs of them are hidden to them, until it is too late. The cost for raising the minimum wage is fewer jobs and NO increase in spending power because of the results of raising those costs for businesses that get passed on to the very people you are trying to help.

And being able to pay more bills, do more things, you will have happier workers. It may not be a hundred percent change in productivity, but you may be able to get people to do a lot more, with better efficiency, because they’re being rewarded more in line with what they believe they need or want.

Until they get the bill. And then they aren’t very happy workers anymore. It is only when you make REAL improvements that provide real increases in salaries based off of value to employers that you get happy workers. Phoney raises that end up costing the entire amount of the raise to keep living are not real.

As for “getting it at the point of a gun?” A bit harsh, considering that SWAT rarely raids such businesses. But it is a legal mandate, to be sure.

Threat of the use of force that you can legally back up is just as nefarious as the actual use of force, Stephen.


I think you have only to look at the developing world, and the way corporations let people be mistreated, underpaid, etc, to know what they would do if the law didn’t say they had to pay people a certain amount. You have too much faith in their virtue.

Again, you keep wanting to say I want ‘NO LAWS’. Either stop doing it or just admit that you are incapable of discussing the issue.

On the subject of profit, we’re talking about VERY profitable companies doing this. instead of merely aiming to be profitable, it become all about hitting targets that are way above breaking even.

‘breaking even’ is not going to cut it. Profits need to be obtained in order for it to be worth the work of running a business. What amount of profit is ‘ok’ to you? How do you measure it.

Do you have any examples?

As for disposable income? Well, let me put it this way: if you’re always at the edge, if you work long hours at a thankless job, but don’t get ahead, if you can’t save, only become more and more endebted, then what’s the point? The children of these people see their parents work themselves to death, sometimes literally, and don’t really see the incentive to do the same.

My parents were ‘always on the edge’ and worked hard to put a roof over our heads, feed us and provide for the family. We didn’t have much ‘disposable income’, my father travelled for work a lot and you know what? We were a very happy family. As children we knew we were being cared for, we appreciated what my father went through and we loved him for it. Different people have different values and different desires out of life.

Diversity.

Where do you think you get off telling them they are doing it wrong?

You talk of freedom, but freedom for whom?

For everyone, Stephen. I had thought you would understand that by now. It is not freedom to use a gun to get what you want, it is the opposite of that.

Meanwhile, everybody else is underincentivized, watching people who very often screw up but get rich anyway, and in the meantime, the debts pile up, and all their options and avenues for advancement dry up.

You do realize that the MAJORITY of people are not as you describe, right? Are you so blind to not see why millions of people try to move to this country every day? If it were so bad, why would they want to come here again?

There’s no point to preaching to people about freedom, if most of them don’t have enough money to truly make a lot of free choices!

Wow, so freedom requires you to have money? What happened to ‘the best things in life are free’? What about the freedom to walk down the street without being asked for proof that you are legally allowed to exist in this country, what about the freedom to live your life without police knocking down your door because they think you might be doing something they don’t like? What about the freedom to choose the way you want to earn your income? What about the freedom to not have to work extra hard to be foreced to pay for other people to not have to work as hard as you do?

What kind of freedoms are you thinking about here? I would like just some of the basic ones, like not having a gun shoved in my face with thousands upon thousands of laws dictating everything I do…

You say people should be free to work for whatever wages they want to, but you forget something critical, which is the modern presence of unified corporate price-setting on this matter. Its no longer Adam Smith’s era, when folks negotiated wages between each other. Very often, it’s corporate head offices that set the wages, and there isn’t necessary much difference beteen one job and the other.

Again, you don’t really know how business works…

Labor has become commoditized, to a great degree, since that time. The machine does the specialized work, often enough, while your average minimum wage employee requires minimal training.

Which is good since the vast majority of minimum wage employees are teenage students.

You can tell people not to put themselves in that position, but really, do they control whether they put themselves in that position?

Yes. 100%. Simple as that. Anything anyone chooses to do they do because they choose to do it. They aren’t forced to do anything, that requires government.

On the subject of minimum wage as opposed to dependence on government support, its simple. If people are paid living wages, they will be more independent, less likely to become dependent on government programs, with any such moral hazard you imagine. If you instead turn a blind eye to people filling in the gaps by essentially forcing their employees to rely on assistance to survive at their wages, then you encourage that dependence.

No Stephen, if you raise the minimum wage, or as you say a ‘living wage’ artificially, the costs of goods and services will increase to match and they will NOT have that independance. You want a fairytale land where businesses will just eat the costs and make less profit (or even work at a loss) in order to keep the company going. It doesn’t happen.

I really don’t buy this notion that the market led to the end of child labor. I really don’t.

I know you don’t buy it. But those are the facts.

First, factory owners of that time were not so scrupulous.

Some were, some weren’t. You’re making a blanket statement that just isn’t based on reality.

Second, it was progressive movements themselves that lead the charge to get kids out of factories and into schools instead, not industrialists.

Actually, it was the Great Depression that did that, because jobs had become so scarce that adults were taking the jobs that the kids were doing, willing to take the lesser wage.

There’s far too much documented fact out there about how children were employed in these factories for folks to take these fairy tales about the wonders of industrialization seriously You practically have to ignore contemporary accounts to believe that crap.

You can continue to straw man argue if you want, but the author says very clearly that the industrialization situation was not what we want, compared to what we have today. But it does make it clear that it was BETTER than anything else that was going on in the world anywhere. Before industrialization, children worked harder and longer with their families, it was very dangerous to live and food to live off of was harder to come by. Capitalism, which is the reason we have freedom in this world today, and industrialism made things better to the point we had the LUXURY to say ‘hey, we shouldn’t be treating our kids this way’.

No One is saying we shouldn’t have child labor laws. What we are saying is that they aren’t going to come back if we limit the federal government, as you are trying to suggest…

I don’t believe that government has to do everything

I’ll believe it when I see you talk about ANYTHING that the government shouldn’t be doing.

but there are some things you can only do with government, and other things that require government to be in place to backstop the threat that if industry doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, government will.

That is something we agree with.

I can see the good in people, and the bad. It’s not simplistic, however black and white my tone might make my views seem. But I remember things well enough that when somebody says, oh, the market will make sure nothing bad happens in the food industry, my brain brings up the E. Coli infections from the eighties, the contaminated peanut butter from the last decade, and yes, more than twenty years of Marvin Zindler’s “Slime in the Ice Machine!” report on television.

You mean those things that happened under the noses of the FDA? So, we should have government keeping our food healthy, but they can’t do it so… I’m confused here Stephen. You want perfection? Nothing bad to ever happen? Are you serious in thinking like that?

As far as the rights of the individual go?

There are some rights that should be more or less sacrosanct. And others that are less indispensable.

There you go.

That depends on what truly is local. There’s a lot I’m glad to leave to local places to figure out for themselves. But there’s much, like civil rights, pollution, and interstate commerce that just can’t be reliably regulated at a state level.

Again, I agree. But you then go on to say that ‘interstate commerce’ includes everything we want it to be…

The point of that was very clear, is still very clear, to anyone who isn’t trying to subvert it to expand the power of the federal government.

2006 was not an almost balanced budget. It was the product of an unsustainable housing boom, the busting of which is what unbalances the budget even more severely down the line. Put another way, the middle three years of that decade basically borrowed growth with interest from the rest of the decade.

Just like the Clinton years, who left the economy in recession and left Bush with a mess. Yet you want to blame Bush with the mess he inherited but don’t want to blame Obama for the mess he inherited…

Who was in charge of the congress during the 2007-2009 timeframe, Stephen? Until Obama took office, presidents couldn’t just create laws and enact them without congressional approval…

You can’t have it both ways, Stephen.

Look, there is no argument that can realistically state that the sequester would have happened with a Democratic Congress.

No, it wouldn’t. We whould be in worse debt and getting our credit rating lowered instead…

By the way, you know what’s been lowering our credit rating, what they primarily blamed it on last time? Political factors. As in, they believe we’re good for our debt, but we got stupid SOBs in there threatening not to deliberately default if they don’t get what they want.

Stephen, you like to ignore the parts of the equation that puts the Democrats in bad light, don’t you? The last downgrade was partially because of political fears and partially because those fears would result in the debt not being taken care of. The latest threat is entirely because we aren’t dealing with debt.

Face facts: the Republicans are damaging their own brand, not to mention the brand of libertarian philosophy

Well, now you are going to have to explain how Republicans are damaging Libertarian Philosophy… Tread lightly…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 28, 2013 10:47 PM
Comment #362147

BTW, I didn’t post the end of that article and you apparently didn’t go read it…

This is not to deny that governments have limited or forbidden child labor by law. But child labor was going away on its own, and the laws were far from benign. By pushing children out of the newer, more visible factories where these laws were easier to enforce, hungry children were forced to seek work at smaller, older, more dangerous factories—or failing that, as economist Ludwig von Mises notes, to “infest the country as vagabonds, beggars, tramps, robbers, and prostitutes.”

To be sure, life during the early days of capitalism was hard (as life had always been), but for anyone willing and able to work, life was better than it had ever been—and getting better.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 28, 2013 11:18 PM
Comment #362148

Who’s to blame for Sequestration?

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/02/heres-who-is-really-to-blame-for-sequestration/273587/

Don’t look at Obama or Republicans in Congress. The failure of the bipartisan “supercommittee” 15 months ago created the current mess.

Patty Murray. Jon Kyl. Max Baucus. Rob Portman. John Kerry. Pat Toomey.

These six senators from both parties, along with six members of the House of Representatives, are the people to blame for the sequestration cuts scheduled to hit the federal budget beginning Friday. And yet in the energetic round of finger-pointing that has consumed Washington in recent days, their names have hardly been mentioned.

They are the former members of the so-called “supercommittee” — the bipartisan crew that, back in 2011, was given four months to propose $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. It was their failure to come together that created the current mess. Today, Republicans are focused on pinning sequestration on President Obama, who came up with the idea, while Obama has pointed the finger at Congress, which voted for it on an overwhelming, bipartisan basis. But that’s silly. Nobody who “agreed” to sequestration actually wanted it to happen. In classic Washington fashion, they thought they could assign the hard work to somebody else and get them to do it. They were wrong.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 28, 2013 11:45 PM
Comment #362155

We really have moved to the next stage.

Obama and congress share “blame” for sequester. But now that it is happening Obama and ONLY Obama can decide how much pain it will cause. He is executive and is making the choices. He is choosing actively in some cases and passively in others, but Obama is choosing how much pain is inflicted and where.

Posted by: C&J at March 1, 2013 5:58 AM
Comment #362156
A 2011 Government Accountability Office report gave a sampling of the vastness of what could be cut, consolidated and rationalized in Washington: 44 overlapping job training programs, 18 for nutrition assistance, 82 (!) on teacher quality, 56 dealing with financial literacy, more than 20 for homelessness, etc. Total annual cost: $100 billion-$200 billion, about two to five times the entire domestic sequester.

Are these on the chopping block? No sir. It’s firemen first. That’s the phrase coined in 1976 by legendary Washington Monthly editor Charlie Peters to describe the way government functionaries beat back budget cuts. Dare suggest a nick in the city budget, and the mayor immediately shuts down the firehouse. The DMV back office, stacked with nepotistic incompetents, remains intact. Shrink it and no one would notice. Sell the firetruck — the people scream and the city council falls silent about any future cuts.

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 1, 2013 9:28 AM
Comment #362157
According to a report by Sentier Research released last fall, inflation-adjusted median household income has fallen more since the end of the recession in mid-2009 (down by 4.8%) than it did during the actual recession (2.6%).
Posted by: Rhinehold at March 1, 2013 9:58 AM
Comment #362160

KAP-
I really doubt they launch sorties off an aircraft carrier while in port. There’s munitions, there’s supplies for feeding all the people on the ship, there’s any number of logistical matters that go into a deployment. I’m pretty sure those jets consume quite a bit of fuel taking off, flying and landing, and that the nuclear fuel it takes to move that carrier comes with its own costs.

You know, even in ancient times, Sun Tzu said, nobody ever brilliantly protracted a war. he had whole gobs of commentary on the costs of fielding an army beyond one’s borders, how much it cost.

That’s a lesson the GOP never learned.

Royal Flush-
The cuts were designed to impact any and all accounts that those in government were using. It was designed so it couldn’t be shifted around. It was designed to be punishing.

C&J-
There’s nothing inevitable about it that Congress can’t undo. It was their decision to try and force this, and now your people are scrambling to try and avoid responsibility for it.

Rhinehold-
Actually, since this is all accounts, the guys in the back room of the DMV will get hit with everybody else.

It still provides the politically damaging cuts to cute, likeable programs, even while it strikes at everything else.

On the subject of Hostess, Hostess was carrying a huge amount of debt on its back, supposedly put there by the very equity firm that supposedly saved it. Ask them what happened to one of the world’s most recognizeable set of brands. Ask them what happened to the twinkie.

This is what I dislike about so many of these speculators. Rather than make their money by running businesses well, which is difficult, they instead engage in mathematical manipulations that exploit tax laws and financial regulations in order to use these businesses as excuses to debt finance their own personal fortunes.

We discussed some of these examples in the election, thanks to Mitt Romney’s former profession. We saw how Sealy was pressured into pushing an inferior product (going from two-sided mattresses to one), reducing value for customers, and making them little different from their competition. We’ve seen with Clear Channel how their company, which isn’t that splendiferous in what it does for media consumers, is now groaning under a debt load it’s not expected to be able to pay back.

We see with Boeing how attempts to outsource backfired, as their jets had huge systems integration problems. Of course, investors and others made large amounts of money in the short term.

So on and so forth. If we don’t rig the rules right, people make money doing stupid, and ultimately unprofitable things, and they often get to run away laughing to the bank while formerly productive businesses go down in flames.

We set the rules to encourage productive behavior, to discourage shortcuts that leave both consumers and other investors paying more for less return.

No, the explanation why is clearly defined already, you just don’t like it. The vast majority of the people making minimum wage are students or spouses of the main income earners who are looking for either a few extra dollars to add to the family income or gaining work experience and some extra spending money while they attend school.

Like it, don’t like it, it’s simply a fact. The question is, what makes things that way. If we raise minimum wage, will we see more people relying on it as a means to support themselves?

That’s the thing to watch for.

As for buying power, if people are falling short and having to endebt themselves in order to deal with the necessities of life, does it not occur to you that this has buying power reducing consequences? If people pay their debts, that’s money they can’t spend on either necessities or luxuries. If they don’t, their credit rating suffers, and they end up having to pay more for what they do finance.

Now inflation is going to take its toll, and if wages are stagnant or declining, the buying power is going to be reduced. If people are better paid, yes, prices might go up, but growth will come with that, so people will keep up. If we don’t increase wages, folks will continue to fall behind.

Also, it’s a matter of incentive. You can either help people keep up, or you can let them suffer the strain of being paid less, effectively, for doing more work.

Again, you keep wanting to say I want ‘NO LAWS’. Either stop doing it or just admit that you are incapable of discussing the issue.

What’s your alternative, then? Your arguments seem to lead to a place you hesitate to go. Come on. Should a minimum wage be required by law? If that were to go away tomorrow, what would stop businesses from ratcheting down what they pay, gradually squeezing the market down to the lowest the market can bear?

‘breaking even’ is not going to cut it. Profits need to be obtained in order for it to be worth the work of running a business. What amount of profit is ‘ok’ to you? How do you measure it.

Businesses can make as much profits as the market will let them. I am less concerned with what amount they are entitled to, and more concerned with what kind of behavior they engage in to gain their profits. You talk about examples. How about Chainsaw Al, and his successors? This was and is a commonly reported phenomena, of profitable companies engaging in layoffs in order to raise their P/E Ratios. It happened in the Nineties.

It happens today.

As for your family? You know what, my family and I… There’s no question that we love each other. My mom always goes to bat for me, and my dad only sit around medically retired because he really doesn’t have the strength or the mental faculties necessary to work any longer. But my parents paid an awful price for their economic situation.

There’s a human side to the equation of wages, of price, that people get too mathematically minded to keep in mind.

Where does motivation enter into your equations? I mean, I have to pay a certain amount in student loans and for cell phones to keep them current. Any job less than that is not worth my while. Any job that would provide me with such money, but would have me in constant psychological despair would not be worth my while. I understand sacrifice, better than most people.

But at the end of the day, there is a point at which too much is being asked for too little.

You do realize that the MAJORITY of people are not as you describe, right? Are you so blind to not see why millions of people try to move to this country every day? If it were so bad, why would they want to come here again?

First of all, immigration is down, as I understand it. Second of all, there’s a dynamic between how things are over there, and how they are here. It’s different if you grew up middle classed, and economic circumstances knock you down a rung, than if you come here from poverty overseas, and find your prospects improve.

But it’s ultimately more expensive to survive here, than in those countries, so you can be poor in this place on wages that would pay months worth of wages overseas. That’s how markets work in the real world.

As for what that guy wrote, I’d make this observation: what machines did to people, especially children, is documented. What they did to the environment is documented. You say the behavior isn’t coming back if we get rid of the laws, which is what you mean when you say getting rid of the government.

Me, I’m skeptical of that. Why? Because in my own lifetime, I’ve seen people and corporations make the same mistakes that they promised never would be repeated if the laws were undone. I believe that some tendencies in human behavior, even despite best intentions, are emergent from unconstrained populations.

If you allow a market where people can stack up castles of air out of speculative investments, you will see crashes like those from 1987, 1929, and 2008. The tendency is timeless, and it will occur any place you let it. Why? Because people are greedy, and people are fearful.

I know folks like to portray ant colonies as being models for authoritarian behavior, but in truth, science has found the opposite. Science has found that most ants simply behave the way they do because they are responding to common chemical cues that trigger them to engage in a certain kind of behavior. Get enough of them doing that in one place, and it triggers other behaviors, too. The system seems to act with seeming intelligence, but it’s this sort of system that Amdro exploits to kill the queen, and it’s also this kind of system that often grinds up individuals in the nest in the process of preserving the nest as a whole.

Emergent behavior isn’t necessarily liberating behavior, isn’t necessarily freedom. It can become a trap, your brain leading you to do things because other poeple are doing, even as your conscious mind knows its stupid.

They did an experiment a while back where they asked a whole bunch of people the answer to a question. They secretly lead just about everybody else than the test subject to give the wrong answer. You know what happened? often times, the person gave the wrong answer, despite knowing better, because of the peer pressure they felt.

Here’s what I believe: I believe people are both rational and irrational, and the division between one kind of behavior is non existent. Sometimes its shades of one, sometimes its shades of another. What I also believe is that rational thinking and behavior can serve irrational ideas and goals, and vice versa.

We hope that we’re better than our brains, that we exist outside of them with some perfect will, but we aren’t, and we don’t. Rational policy that ignores irrational elements of humanity will fail. Irrational policy that ignores the rational breakdown of how things actually happen will fail.

We need to deal with humans as they are, and sometimes that means wielding legal authority to do so.

As far as the “slime in the ice machine” report, as I recall it that’s simply a publicization of reports from food and restaurant inspectors.

Look, I don’t expect the FDA to catch everything. But without their services, you would likely get a corner-cutting environment not unlike what you have in Upton Sinclair’s books.

Just like the Clinton years, who left the economy in recession and left Bush with a mess. Yet you want to blame Bush with the mess he inherited but don’t want to blame Obama for the mess he inherited…

There was not one recession during the entire Clinton administration, and if the bubble bursting meant that Clinton’s economy had over reached, then you still had about 17-18 million jobs created, net. By comparison, the net on Bush is under two million, the recession that caused all the job losses in the beginning slight. And the economic hand he dealt Obama? A worse recession than what had been seen in several decades.

It’s a false equivalence on the math alone. Don’t insult my intelligence with it. I know the numbers. Hell, I know Obama created more jobs in his first term, both net and gross, than Bush did in his first term, and that was despite an economy starting out so ravaged by the financial crisis that people had capitalism on life support.

As for how Republicans are damaging the Libertarian brand? Well it’s not as if, on economic issues, you’re too far apart in prominent aspects. Smaller government, less regulation, cutting spending, cutting taxes, devolving things down to the states, etc. Now if you talk up something just like it, people are not going to do the well-researched thing, and say, oh, Libertarians aren’t Republicans.

Your policy and theirs will be lumped together, and yours will suffer for the comparison, if their policy has been a big failure.

Oh, nice try with the Supercommittee, but that again doesn’t exist without the debt ceiling negotiations, which the Republicans provoke.

It’s pretty simple: if you hold somebody hostage, and force a concession out of them, and then you dislike the result of the concession, there was a simple way, quite a ways back, that you could have avoided it: you could have chosen not to try and extort the result in the first place.

The Republicans are responsible for their attempt to force austerity on the country. If they’re complaining that the austerity doesn’t look or function the way they envisioned, that’s tough. They never bothered to hammer out a workable compromise in the first place, instead lurching from one manufactured crisis to another. How can you expect smart, coherent policy to come out of that? This is detail work, and they’re going at the budget and the economy with GD pickaxe and sledgehammer.

This is what you get when folks with little ability to constructively compromises try to force their will on a deliberate, republican (small r) government. This system was built to encourage compromise, and they’ve been fighting that the whole way.

Any damage they get is their own damn fault.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 1, 2013 11:50 AM
Comment #362161

“Oh, nice try with the Supercommittee, but that again doesn’t exist without the debt ceiling negotiations, which the Republicans provoke.”

So now, the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES isn’t responsible for his decision because somebody else made him make a decision?
LOL!!!

Posted by: kctim at March 1, 2013 12:24 PM
Comment #362162

kctim-
The thing I would ask you is why the President is to be held responsible for the fact that Republicans never seem willing to sit down and agree to things like budgets, spending, and taxes the way dozens of other Administrations and Congresses have done, even with significant party differences at stake.

Adults used to understand that Congress was an instrument of negotiation and compromise between the states and communities of America, and that they really wouldn’t get everything on their wishlist.

But now radicals in the GOP are telling people that they’re going to get everything they want, despite the fact they only control one chamber of Congress, and the guy with the veto pen isn’t in their party. So the best they can do is create impasses, and hold the function of this nation hostage.

For all they claim to know the constitution, they don’t seem to acknowledge in their behavior that their position, under the workings of that document in real life, only allows them to get their way under the most strained of circumstances.

This whole controversy can be traced back to policy that Republicans forced on the Democrats, which the President and his party didn’t want. And now that the President won an election talking about a balanced position, and people are calling for a mixed program of cuts and tax increases despite what went on at the first of the year.

The Republicans are at the root of this mess, and deserve blame for the economic and social outcomes. They tempted fate, we didn’t. We just did our best to placate their irrational asses. Makes you think, perhaps, that it might just be for the best to switch to the Democrats. Democrats won’t inflict harsh austerity on an economy that’s on the ropes. They won’t tempt fate with the debt ceiling. That’s not the way they roll. Democrats are the nice, safe stable alternative to the Republicans at this point. They’ll keep on task. They’ll make sure things run well. Less uncertainty, less borrowed trouble.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 1, 2013 12:39 PM
Comment #362166

Daugherty writes; ” I mean, I have to pay a certain amount in student loans and for cell phones to keep them current. Any job less than that is not worth my while. Any job that would provide me with such money, but would have me in constant psychological despair would not be worth my while. I understand sacrifice, better than most people.

But at the end of the day, there is a point at which too much is being asked for too little.”

In two short paragraphs Daugherty has summed up his work ethic and moral structure. Do we know what he means when he says…”not worth my while”? I believe so. He means that unless wages are high enough to satisfy his minimum standard, he won’t work at all.

What then we ask? I would guess that not working doesn’t mean that he would stop living. I suspect that he means he would attempt to live on some kind of welfare or handout paid for by me and you.

In Daugherty’s mind, refusing to work is his right and expecting us to pay for his needs is our responsibility.

This is both ethical and moral corruption.

Does anyone believe his statement…”I understand sacrifice, better than most people.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 1, 2013 3:21 PM
Comment #362168

Stephen

I would answer that Obama is the one who is unwilling to sit down and compromise. That when he had no other option but to kick the can down the road again, he made the decision to take the tax increases that Republicans were willing to compromise on in order to get some of the spending cuts the country needs.
Now he wants even more tax increases than what he has already agreed upon, before he even thinks about spending cuts.
And now you are saying none of that is Obama’s fault because Obama only agreed to those things when Republicans wouldn’t give him everything he wanted concerning the debt ceiling.

Come on man, at some point even you have to recognize the endless circles you are running in in order to defend this guy at all costs.

Posted by: kctim at March 1, 2013 4:25 PM
Comment #362170

Stephen, What a dumbass statement, of course they don’t launch aircraft from a carrier while in port. They do launch them from the carrier to the nearest NAVAL AIR STATION when in their home port so they can continue to keep up with quals. As I said Stephen the military is a 24/7 operation unlike Air Force 1. By the way most ships don’t unload munitions while in port. Carriers do unload bombs and missels though. Stephen the nuke fuel will last over 20 years for the carriers. So if the president was smart he would be commander in chief instead of campaigner in chief.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2013 5:25 PM
Comment #362172

Stephen

You did kick yourself in the ass with the statement that a low paying job was not worth your while.

You have a moral responsibility to take whatever job will pay you something in order to mitigate your dependency. Of course, you should try to find the best possible job you can get, but you have to take what you can get if you cannot get the best, unless you have someone independently wealthy willing to support you or you are independently wealthy yourself.

Posted by: C&J at March 1, 2013 5:44 PM
Comment #362175

That is before enterring their home port the day before they launch ALL aircraft to the Naval Air Stations.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2013 6:21 PM
Comment #362186

Royal Flush-
This is the real irony of the approach you folks are taking to me.

Did you not see it?

You know, I just said that the way I would determine whether I should take a job is whether it pays my bills, and whether I can endure the job.

That’s rational decision-making, of the kind you would claim you are a proponent of. This is precisely what any true proponent of free market theory would suggest people do. Adam Smith himself said this would be the way the market worked, and that jobs that were especially dirty, dangerous, or disreputable would naturally demand higher wages.

It seems to me that folks only have the supply side of Adam Smith in mind. Everything is seen from the position of the economic elite. Of course, you could turn that around, but that’d just be making the mistake in the opposite direction. Truth is, both sides are trying to satisfy their rational self-interests according to Smith’s accounting.

If I deliberately chose a job that would not pay my bills, wouldn’t I be defeating my own interests? If I picked a job that forced me to be constantly dealing with, say, delicate social situations, would I not be setting myself up for failure?

While Adam Smith’s theories are not entirely applicable or accurate, I think they’re a good starting point for understanding one very important point: That there are limits to the sacrifices you can ask of people before they balk, or worse, before you grind them into the dirt.

It’s not all one side. The unions are simply the modern adaptation to a situation where machines did much of what was once skilled work, where workers could be treated, as individuals, as expendable.

Folks want to pretend like the market somehow does all things, that it’s a magic virtue machine, and that if you let it run freely, it will naturally come up with optimal ideas.

I don’t think so. I think anybody who believes that should not only look at history, but natural history as well, because the fact is, every creature on the face of the planet, from the most docile doe to the most ferocious lion, from the most symbiotic fungus and algae, to the most parasitic worm or microbe, has a niche, is selected for by the environment.

In other words, emergent systems don’t necessarily work in rational, much less benign ways. Order is more provisional, and the way people and things adapt can take all kinds of different directions.

As human beings, we have more of a choice as to what our environment selects for, and I’m all for letting part of what we select for get determined by good old fashioned random interactions.

But there’s a part of me that understand this, as well: that the reason we have a brain the size we have it is that there is survival value in being able to think and decide ahead. The ability to react quickly is important, but appropriateness of response is important as well.

Laws are a rational extension of experience, I believe, especially where human behavior becomes sadly predictable, not to mention costly.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 2, 2013 12:23 AM
Comment #362188

Stephen

“You know, I just said that the way I would determine whether I should take a job is whether it pays my bills, and whether I can endure the job.”

When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging. Don’t you see how bad this makes you look?

You are falling directly into the stereotype that “your people” say is not true about people w/o jobs. You are telling us that some honest work is not worth your time, even when you have no other options. This is what WE say about lazy people and liberals when we are giving you a hard time and here it is you saying about yourself.

Slow down for a second and let me tell you what a good man would say and do. It is not that different from what you are doing, but the attitude is different.

“I am sad that I don’t have the opportunities I want at this time. I am taking jobs that do not pay ‘enough’ in order to help pay my bills, but I am always on the lookout for ways to improve my skills and get a better job that will make me a more productive citizen.”

Posted by: C&J at March 2, 2013 6:48 AM
Comment #362192

It would have been refreshing if Mr. Daugherty had just written that he made an error when writing that; “Any job less than that is not worth my while.”

I understand mistakes made when writing about passionate positions as I make many myself.

And as usual, an attempt to parse the mistake is equally painful.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 2, 2013 11:35 AM
Comment #362195

Royal

I don’t recall Stephen ever admitting a mistake of his own or his party w/o any reservations or excuses.

I suspect, however, that he doesn’t believe he made a mistake by saying that he would not take a job not worth his while.

Posted by: C&J at March 2, 2013 12:01 PM
Comment #362196

I suspect, however, that he doesn’t believe he made a mistake by saying that he would not take a job not worth his while.
Posted by: C&J at March 2, 2013 12:01 PM

You may be correct and if so, that would be a true shame. Our American greatness was built upon our work ethic.

When I was 12 years old I earned money by mowing lawns and shoveling snow for neighbors. At 14 I had a paper route. Unlike many of my friends, I always had spending money despite the fact that none of us five children received an allowance from our parents. Our “allowance” was food, clothing, shelter, and gobs of love from our parents.

I can not describe the wonderful feeling of independence and self reliance it gave me to purchase my first new bicycle with my own money.

Honest work, no matter how little it pays, is good for the soul.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 2, 2013 12:21 PM
Comment #362202

Yep, I bought a 20 gauge shotgun and a bow when I was 14 with the money I made doing odd jobs. I honed my meager woodworking skills I learned in shop class building stuff for the old ladies in my neighborhood.

Yep, those were the days.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 2, 2013 2:22 PM
Comment #362226

Stephen

“I mean, I have to pay a certain amount in student loans and for cell phones to keep them current. Any job less than that is not worth my while. Any job that would provide me with such money, but would have me in constant psychological despair would not be worth my while. I understand sacrifice, better than most people.”

This attitude is why we need to eliminate extended federal unemployment benifits. Something is not worth your while because it pays less than you need to maintain your lifestyle. I have a suggestion. GET A SECOND JOB. Many of us including myself have done this at one time or another in thier lives. It sucks but it is what a self sufficient responsible adult does. All this handwringing about added emotional distress is horseshit. Be a freakin man. Deal with it.

Why should the working American public be forced to pay for more gov’t spending because someone won’t get off thier ass, and do what they have to to survive ? This BS attitude that it isn’t worth my time to work for less, so I’ll just sit on my lazy butt, and let someone else who has the decency to do the right thing, carry my weight too. JEEEEEZ !!

Posted by: dbs at March 3, 2013 8:26 AM
Comment #362232

C&J-
I still can’t figure out what I said that was wrong. I mean, you guys talk about the joys of being independent, and then describe all the little things you got because of your work ethic.

Think about that a second. You implicitly tie reward to your work. Now what if they didn’t compensate you enough for the time and effort and trouble that it required.

Whenever I hear about the market, it’s about management cutting costs. Never mind that the companies are often profitable, making cost pressures irrelevant to the layoffs. Fact is, the conservative perspective on the market is one-sided. Those who reap the profits are considered before those who pay the bills, and the fundamental questions about how legitimate the means by which the profits are gleaned are not asked, because supposedly these economic elites know better than the rest of us what is in the economy’s interests. Huge crashes, scandals and other dust-ups notwithstanding.

Adam Smith, the guy whose work forms the backbone of rational markets theory did not imagine such a one sided system. He imagined competing interests. He expected the worker to bargain for his self-interest just as he expected the employer to bargain for theirs. The deal they reached would be a compromise between the two.

I just have to wonder, am I getting bashed for believing that this is a sound idea for the same reason that you might knock a kid for some naive notion that goodness is rewarded and the world is fair, etc?

Well, I’ve found that some “adult” ways of doing things are fundamentally unwise, but if you have powerful enough people behind them, beating it into everybody’s heads, the unsustainable, unconscionable, and unwise ideas gain currency, and seem to become the true wisdom instead.

Among those? That for everybody to profit, to maximize employment and everything, that we have to basically give away the shop on all our interests, becuase it’s the interests of the so-called job creators that matter most.

In reality, its common sense that things don’t work this way, and like many cynical attitudes, it comes full circle around to become a truly naive belief.

Wages have been stagnant for most, if not dropping, even while executive pay’s increased by quite a few multiples. That, and other statistics show that the notion that conceding your interests would profit you was false. Americans have not profited by giving into the desires of the economic elite.

Is believing that sticking up for yourself is a good thing what bothers you folks?

Seriously, I don’t know what I said wrong, and at this point, I think that I just said something that was politically incorrect according to Right Wing Standards, something which denies the notion that I should just be grateful for any job I can get, and that I should subsume any idea of working for my own profit to the profit of my prospective employer.

Well, I’ve long been sick of doormat economics, and nothing’s really changed at this point. I stand by what I’ve said.

As for digging holes deeper? Yeah, like I really need advice on how to avoid that from the Republican Party, which dived headlong into making every controversy its been engaged in for the last decade and a half worse, just to show everybody.

I find it funny that the folks on the red column, when confronted by a simply stated version of the employee’s side of Adam Smith’s rational market theory, are so locked into opposition to liberals that they treat it as some sort of gaffe to have said it.

When all politics that you engage in become predicated on what you oppose, or worse, who you oppose, then you will inevitably twist around to hating common sense and even your own theories.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 3, 2013 11:31 AM
Comment #362241

Stephen

I think that you have a caricature of the free market. We conservatives believe in doing quality work and being fair to our employers and employees. Fair does not mean necessarily paying more and it rarely means unions.

Re work ethic - you also have that backward. Our work ethic is not in place because we want to get more stuff. That is the happy result of having a good work ethic. Our work ethic is our responsibly to our country, our God and our fellow citizens. We are committed to working hard because it serves our society. It served lazier people like you and we would like you to be more ethical in your work. This would make you a better person, a happier person and relieve us of some of the responsibility for taking care of you.

RE “Is believing that sticking up for yourself is a good thing what bothers you folks?” - sticking up for yourself w/o providing something in return is indeed a bad and an immoral thing. Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

You people emphasize what you will be able to take from society; we people emphasize what we will contribute. You get mad when we prefer not to contribute more of our stuff to support you. If you stick up for yourself to try to steal more from me, yes - I think that is a bad thing.

Posted by: C&J at March 3, 2013 1:38 PM
Comment #362242

Stephen

Let me add one thing. I get paid for 40 hours of work, no matter how much work I actually do. I am not edible for overtime. I tend to work 50-60 hours a week. I know that “people like you” think that this is stupid and that I should demand more or else work less. This is the difference between the work ethic or people like me and people like you. We are indeed usually more successful because we work harder and smarter. But we are also usually better people because we contribute more to our society.

You really do not do a good job of advertising for liberalism when you continue to demand contributions from others while admitting that you are unwilling to pull even your own weight.

Posted by: C&J at March 3, 2013 1:44 PM
Comment #362243

Stephen, I will try one more time to explain what I found offensive in your comment about only accepting work that is worth your while.

I defend anyone’s right to accept or reject any job offering by any company or individual.

I do not defend the right of anyone to reject work, because of the wage it pays, and then expect others to pay for them to live without working because of their rejecting of the wages offered.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 3, 2013 1:46 PM
Comment #362276

C&J-
I simply expressed my preference for choosing my employer, and the wages I would seek rationally. But since you feel the need to expound on yourself and other Conservatives as superior, elites by comparison, you feel the need to take a reasonable set of criteria, and turn that into me just being a lazy mooch.

I believe that work life in this country has invaded the rest of our lives, and that there should be a penalty for such excessive possessiveness of people. We belong to ourselves, and we should not be absent in our children’s lives so much that the point of raising a family is undone. Heck, our spouses might want to see us, too!

By taking the supply side so consistently, the right has lost perspective on things, not weighing the human side of the equation in matters.

Royal Flush-
I have a job. As for the people you talk about, they have bills to pay. If they want to maintain their standard of living, they can and should take the risks necessary to get the job that pays well. And it’s to the taxpayer and the businessman’s benefit if they get it, because that means more people will be paying into the system, both in terms of government and in terms of business owners.

If you just expect people to take the first job that comes along, to lowball their own needs, there are a lot of people who are going to get stiffed on what they’re owed. They’ll be a lot of houses foreclosed on, or sold for less than that they’re worth. They’ll be a lot of businesses that don’t get customers because people can’t afford to shop for their goods and services.

Because people like you have such a one sided perspective, it doesn’t occur to you to see things as anything more than a zero-sum game. It doesn’t occur to you that if a person holds out for a better job, rather than takes the first one they can get, that they serve themselves and society better than if they neglect their own needs.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 4, 2013 8:37 AM
Comment #362279

It is of no use to point out the obvious to Doughboy. He will not answer my question about choosing welfare over work being his default position.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 4, 2013 12:27 PM
Comment #362287

SD:

“I believe that work life in this country has invaded the rest of our lives, and that there should be a penalty for such excessive possessiveness of people. We belong to ourselves, and we should not be absent in our children’s lives so much that the point of raising a family is undone. Heck, our spouses might want to see us, too!”

When I was your age, I felt the same way. I worked 15 hours a week from Saturday night until Sunday morning, and gardened the rest of week. When my car needed new tires, I got a full time job, kept the weekend job, and worked 7 days a week for a year and a half, before I cut back down to full time. So what? I agree, so what, since I was not asking anyone to contribute to my lifestyle. If you are not incapacitated or otherwise unabale to work, working even at a minimum wage job helps pay the bills. Why should anyone who is able have expectation of someone else to take care of them?

Posted by: Mike in Tampa at March 4, 2013 4:55 PM
Comment #362289

Royal Flush-
People don’t listen. Haven’t I made it clear that if you don’t have a choice, you take what work you can? In fact, haven’t I made it clear that this is the choice I made?

The folks on the right can’t seem to grasp one critical point here in my argument: the competition of interests. COMPETITION. As in the pressures go BOTH WAYS. BOTH WAYS!!!!!!

You got that? In other words, there’s a point at which I’ll tell myself, “Stephen, you know, you held onto this job out of necessity, but now the market’s improving, how about we get a better paying job?”

Emphasis on Better Paying. If I have to, if I lose the job, and things look grim enough, I might take an inferior one, or a tougher one that pays the same, but as a rational economic actor, your own theories tell us I should be looking for better.

Of course, that is, if you folks actually stick with your principles when you find me agreeing with them. Oddly enough, when Democrats start agreeing with or espousing these ideas, Republicans all of a sudden seem to change their minds.

Odd how that works. I think the current Republican Party basically has one constant principle, and one alone: They are against Liberals and Liberalism, whoever they are, and whatever that means. It essentially boils down to oppositional defiance of anything the Democrats do, or anybody who says something that might help the Democrats.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 4, 2013 5:50 PM
Comment #362291

Stephen

You are failing in your responsibly to your society with your selfish concentration on your own desires. If you are failing to pull your own weight, you are asking someone else to pull it for you. In other words, people like you want to rest and enjoy life while people like me rest less and enjoy less in order to pull your weight.

How can you possibly see that as a morally defensible position?

Indeed, many of us have chosen to earn less money that we otherwise could in order to devote time to our families and to others. Most of us volunteer to help others and that takes out of our paid work time too. But we pull our own weight first. That is the only things that allows us to be generous.

People like you cannot be generous. If you give money to the poor, you are just giving away other people’s money.

“should be a penalty for such excessive possessiveness of people” – the work good people do is a service to others, as is all productive work. You are just a selfish guy and you cannot seem to understand that many successful people work mostly for the satisfaction of doing excellence rather than additional money. Don’t project your lazy attitudes onto us.

I repeat - Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

Posted by: C&J at March 4, 2013 6:41 PM
Comment #362320

C&J-
You keep on insisting on things that aren’t true. I believe in hard work. I believe in doing things right. I believe in any number of virtues you’ve written of as dead in me. You’ve elevated our political disagreement on this matter to the level of an idiotic melodrama, and I’m sick and tired of it.

Do you really expect to bargain down people to just eating the scraps off the table, yet at the same time preserve capitalism as the main mode of the American economy? If you don’t want this shift towards European style socialism that you so dread, you need to understand this: capitalism is a system sold by rewards.

When a worker contributes to a pension fund or a 401k, and then sees the reward of that in their retirement, a promise has been fulfilled, and capitalism has been sold well. When wages go up, and people feel the buzz of being able to go do the things they had deferred for a lack of cash, Capitalism has been sold well. When loyalty to the company is rewarded with loyalty from the company, and their hard-work, improvement in skills, and increase in experience is rewarded by continued employment, Capitalism has been sold well.

When some idiot lays you off because as an experienced worker, you take home more compensation, and to put it bluntly, he wants that money to pad his own pocket, then capitalism isn’t well sold. When wages are kept perpetually low, and people don’t find that an increase in virtue as a worker is rewarded with higher wages, Capitalism isn’t well sold. When you are expected to work long hours, lose touch with your family, and devote yourself to people who don’t give you much in return, capitalism is not sold well.

You can berate me as selfish, but I’ve done much of my work for the past several years to help support my family, and when I’ve been given raises or breaks, its very often gone back to helping them. The worker is not an island, and the process of negotiating wages between employees (or groups of employees) and management isn’t simply about personal, selfish interests, it’s also about doing well by those they care about.

You’re so obsessed with maintaing the privilege of the wealthy, that you’ve failed to stop and consider that they keep their privilege, to the extent they do, because people think it is in their interest to do so. To the extent that the events of the last couple decades have disillusioned people aobut this, the popularity of such deference has fallen.

This is not about laziness vs. productivity. This is about whether people are willing to wait around forever for the deferred benefits of being altruistic towards the so-called “job creators.”

I think if you read the situation right, you’ll see that people are out of patience with them. That is how the side that heeded the Occupy Wall Street Movement triumphed this last election over those that followed the Tea Party.

People aren’t looking for handouts, they aren’t looking to be rewarded for not working at all. They’re looking for the system to reward them for doing the right thing by being a working, productive member of society, and if misfortune should befall them, they want some sort of safety net below them so they can get back up on the high-wire, and take the risks that capitalism demands of them.

If you want to convince people to support capitalism, you’d better stop ignoring what’s in it for them, because if your vaunted upper classes won’t voluntarily provide the incentives, people are not going to wait around forever for a fair shake. You are building the antagonism towards your own version of this system.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 5, 2013 5:40 PM
Comment #362325

Stephen

You told me that you would not take a job not “worth your while” even if the alternative was no job at all.

I just believe that a good person should do what he can to fulfill his responsibility. You should always try to better your condition, but you take what you can.

Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

You are indeed looking for a handout. You insist on getting more than you have earned and you refuse offers of employment if you don’t get it.

I had an MA in 1983, but no good job. Unemployment was higher than 10%. I worked at a temporary job stuffing newspapers at night. I hated the job and it certainly did not use my fancy education. I stayed there only until I could do something better, but I did stay until I could create other options.

This job would be below your elevated standards. You think you are better than I am. You are mistaken.

Posted by: C&J at March 5, 2013 6:25 PM
Comment #362338

C&J-
I love people who quote back platitudes instead of actually reading or listening.

Look, my current job is not ideal, and I took it under less than ideal circumstances. I was looking for a job that was more along the lines of Radio/TV/Film, and that would pay enough to allow me to live on my own, pay off my student loans, etc.

So, don’t lecture me about me thinking I’m above all that. I’ve already made such a sacrifice. What I was saying is that it is not at all a bad thing for people to strive for a better deal than that. I don’t say so out of some nose-in-the-air arrogance about the whole thing, but from the bitter experience of what happens when you have to take a job in desperate circumstances that pays you less than you need to earn. Something IS better than nothing, and I was never disputing that.

What I am disputing is a ridiculously unbalanced sense of the economy that relies on people at my end of things to sacrifice without benefit in return so that a few more fortunate individuals can make more money. Like I basically said, If you want Capitalism to be beloved, folks have to benefit. There has to be more to be gained by sticking with a system where you earn what you get, than one where you take from those who have the most to artificially maintain a standard of living for the rest.

I don’t think much of mainly socialist systems, because I don’t think central authorities are agile enough to properly micromanage the whole thing. I’m not entirely against management of the economy, but I think that’s better done in broad strokes. I think the market is useful. I just don’t take a view of it that buys into the myth that the market, or any other selective, adaptive process must necessarily perfect itself into something morally good. I think there are different ecosystems possible, if you will, and only some of them are workable, much less desireable or moral.

We must set the right tone for the markets, the right constraints on misbehavior, the right discouragement of practices that are more exploitation of the system’s weaknesses than they are productive methods of running a business. I don’t mind it when the simple adaptations of the market yield moral results, but if they don’t, I am not unprepared to intervene, to have our society make the choice to be moral, not simply assume that the market must, by definition, produce the most moral system.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 5, 2013 10:38 PM
Comment #362366

Stephen

I believe in doing the right thing and I try to do so in my private and public life. The means I take responsibility for myself and others.

You told me that you would not take a job that as “not worth your while”. You defended that position. If indeed you are working and have been working, you are not in the category I assigned you, BUT YOU are the one who told me that you were in that category.

So then let’s be clear. If you are working and have taken a job “not worth your while” then don’t say you are not. I tried on several occasions to help you find the truth. It is entirely your fault if you misled me not one but several times. Learn to write better.

I told you that “Of course, you should try to find the best possible job you can get, but you have to take what you can get if you cannot get the best …”

So now you agree with what I said and are trying to claim it was your original idea.

Posted by: C&J at March 6, 2013 4:34 PM
Comment #362397

C&J-
It WAS my original idea.

The problem with the Republican party these days is that they arrogantly suppose that only those on the Right value our defense, value morality, value economic prosperity, and believe in some sort of capitalist system. Stoked by strained propaganda, they drive away those who show even the slightest deviation from their dogmatized notion of things.

You folks don’t realize when you have common ground with people, so you waste opportunities to gain agreements that would serve just as well to blunt what you see as the excesses of liberalism, so you can claim the abstract glory of being politically pure.

You’ve gotten harsher over time. I don’t think you realize that. You’ve gotten angrier, more politically dogmatic. The party’s pathological internal culture is having its effect on you, and moderates like yourself are getting dragged towards the stridence and alienating obnoxiousness of your fringe, rather than your fringe towards the centrist appeal of your more moderate wing.

To be blunt, your party is behaving like one that willingly trades popularity for orthodoxy, appeal to the majority for a righteous-feeling political purity. Me? I think there always has to be a balance, if you want your party to prosper, to have its influence. In a Republic as well designed as ours, nobody has absolute control, only influence, and the degree of that influence depends on the willingness to listen, cooperate with others, negotiate and compromise. This government was designed by the framers to trip up the zealots, to keep America from running around with its head cut off, like so many governments run by democratic means alone. It’s why we are a democratic, representative republic, rather than a Direct Democracy. It’s why the Bill of Rights is so important.

I know it’s hard to cool the fire in you heart, but the truth is, others will not share your passion or your beliefs, and any movement of the policy or politics of this country in the direction you want will depend on your ability to convince people of your position. Much of this “I take a position, you take a position, and we battle it out” stuff is just modern window dressing, political theatre. The real important debates are carried out behind the seens, sometimes just in people’s thoughts alone.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 7, 2013 7:44 AM
Comment #362424

Stephen

You told me that you would not take a job not worth your while. When I questioned you, you reiterated it. Again. You lied to me and I based my reaction on your lie. It is entirely your fault. I am indeed angry that you lied to me. Stop that and I won’t be angry with you anymore.

Re my ideology – yes I believe that we have a duty to work and support ourselves to the extent we can. I will not compromise on this. I don’t like lazy people who demand more than they are willing to earn.

If this is a “Republican” or an old fashioned idea that will soon disappear, I fear our country will go down the drain. I repeat again what you consider a platitude – Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. I believed that in the past; I believe it now and I will believe it until I die and “people like you” will not weaken my sense of responsibility or dignity. You should join me.

Posted by: C&J at March 7, 2013 8:18 PM
Comment #362666

C&J-
In case you haven’t noticed, the liberals and Democrats of this nation run their parts of the nation just fine. Yes, some people are lazy and good for nothing, but that’s true in red states as well, and nothing’s going to change that.

You’ve accused me of lying to you. Very well, I accuse you of being arrogant, condescending, and unwilling to pay heed to multiple attempts to set the record straight. There are some things I won’t talk about because I don’t belive they are people’s business to know. But other than that, I am much more willing to volunteer real, accurate information about myself and my motivations than is average.

I don’t like to be misunderstood, or to keep up a fiction. I especially hate others seeming to maliciously slander my reputation, to misrepresent my views and beliefs.

I don’t think I should join you. First, You didn’t have enough respect for me to take me at my word. Second, I find your beliefs about what many Democrats, not to mention me are like to be horribly inaccurate. Why should I join somebody who assumes that my decision not to agree with him is based on some sort of defect of basic character?

And really, do I buy into a lot of what you say? No. I’ve got no concrete reason to become a Republican. I’m not a Democrat simply because I believe the party a receptacle of superior human beings. No, I find more than enough twerps jerks and jackasses in my own party. I have my own frustrations with them.

But I know what I believe. I know where I stand on a number of key issues, and although I have my problems and my reservations, I know what my positions add up to, logically speaking. I’m not a Democrat out of some sense of white guilt, or because I’m lazy and want free crap, or anything else. I’m a Democrat because when I go down the list of things that are the policies of the party, and I go down a list of the same, the overlap is 85-95%. Given that overlap, I see no real reason to pretend I’m anything else but a Democrat on the substance.

I see what the Republicans are doing as well-intentioned, but done blindly, and in a way that I believe is contributing to a decline of this nation as a world and economic power. The irony is, all the years that this nation functioned as a hybrid economic system have been discarded, with the years before FDR idealized as some golden age. That, despite the fact that our time as a prominent world class economic power came during the time that Conservatives are so quick to discard.

There doesn’t seem to be a sense of preservational conservatism in the Republican Party, keeping change from overwhelming things, rather it’s a radically revisionary conservatism, one that seeks to remake what is no longer there. The problem is, much of once was passed from this world for a reason, and recent circumstances in my opinion serve as reminders for that.

You would like me to think of current liberalism as a threat to our way of life, to the continuation of American Capitalism, but I don’t see things that way. I see the conservative policies, however inadvertantly, as being that threat, because of their problematic assumptions and failures of actual policy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 11, 2013 5:29 PM
Comment #362679

Stephen

You lied to me. I gave you several chances to tell the truth, but you doubled down. Then you tried to claim that I had you all wrong and put the onus on me for believing you in the first place.

I took your word. You told me that you would not take jobs not worth your while. I took that to be true. I asked you about it. You said it again.

“I accuse you of being arrogant, condescending, and unwilling to pay heed to multiple attempts to set the record straight.”

I sometimes am arrogant and condescending, but I don’t lie. You did NOT try to set the record straight until you tried to use the revelation.

So I admit that I am sometimes arrogant. If you just admit you lied, we will move on. But I will have to watch you more carefully.

Posted by: C&J at March 11, 2013 6:48 PM
Comment #363444

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Posted by: mkoutleter at March 27, 2013 9:57 PM
Comment #364564

The only way the budget will get fixed is if the American People Demand and Order the President and Congress to take a permanent deduction in pay and benefits (at least 50%). then you will see an improvement in the economy and the deficit.

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