Going Negative

Partisan politics is a zero sum game. That is why we should work to prevent politics from leaking into other parts of our economy and our lives. Some of what we talk about on Watchblog is not partisan politics. That is why we can sometimes agree on policies that would benefit our country and our world. But sometimes we go negative.

Not name - making comparisons. We have a Republican president and congress and they get credit or blame for what we have today. If we allow Democrats to compare the current reality to a perfect hypothetical, they look good. But there is no use talking about anything without comparison.

My favorite comparison is when we have actual numbers. When we can point to a low unemployment rate, robust economic growth, reduced levels of pollution and falling crime rates, you would guess Dems would just say that things were good, but they could do better. You would be wrong. They imply or say outright that the economy is in the dumps and that everything is getting worse. How do you deal with that?

That is where politics comes in. Politics is choice. You can't just look at what you have, but at what you will trade for. This is where the Dems do less well. It is like the old joke that nobody likes getting old, but considering the alternative is death . . .

Do the Dems offer an alternative you want? Would voting Democrat just be the triumph of hope over experience? How well were Dems doing in 1994 when they ran the show?

I will end on a less partisan note. You all should vote in the fall. Look at the record of both (all) candidates and choose the one you think will best serve your city, district , state or country. But do look carefully and remember that promises are easier to make than to keep. And ask for specific actions. Anybody can promise you health, wealth and peace. Ask them how.

Posted by Jack at March 8, 2006 8:30 AM
Comments
Comment #132057

Voting out (or recalling) all irresponsible incumbents is the only right alternative, since that is the one simple thing we were supposed to be doing all along.

Show me an incumbent who doesn’t vote on pork-barrel, troll for campaign money, refuse badly-needed, common-sense reforms, fuel partisan warfare, pander, bribe voters with the voters own money, and look the other way, and I’ll support that candidate. But, there are very few indeed.

But, unless we can name at least 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are not irresponsible, then what does that tell you about the overall state of government. That’s why problems continue to grow in number and severity.

Yes, Jack is right. Vote. But, don’t fall for the myth that you need an experienced incumbent. It is the incumbents that always outnumber newcomers that will not allow any badly-needed, common-sense reforms to ever be passed.

Vote for newcomers that are not corrupt.

And, if you think there are any good, honest incumbents, list there names here, and I’ll be happy to look up their voting records, quotes, and deeds to show you how very few are honest.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 8, 2006 8:46 AM
Comment #132058

As for stats, look at the following.
It is not too hard to fathom how the next inevitable recession (which occur every 2 to 11 years for the last 46 years) may turn into the next depression, due to the growing number of pressing problems that our severely bloated governments can’t or won’t deal with. You’d think the trillions in taxes would buy much much better government? Well, it won’t. Not until voters start voting more wisely, and stop empowering the very ones that use and abuse them.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 8, 2006 8:50 AM
Comment #132067

It is nearly impossible to know who will best serve your country unless you have the opportunity to sit down with them at dinner or for a drink and really have the opportunity to grill them. otherwise you are just buying the packaging they are selling you, which often is misleading to say the least. like the impression that our president is a compassionate, honest and intelligent leader— when none of those things seem to apply.

you can slap a shiney label on a turd but it is still a turd. give me a courtesy flush will you?

Posted by: tree hugger at March 8, 2006 9:20 AM
Comment #132070

Jack,

Are we going to have to repost everything from some prior threads discounting your spin of cherry picked numbers? If you want to have a real discussion, let’s get into economic policy, strategy and tactics.
Let’s talk about why you think a $1T deficit, $8T debt, and hundreds of billions in trade deficits are good ideas for a sustainable American economy.
Let’s talk about why you permanent tax cuts for those making more than $400k a year is good for America.
Let’s talk about what else your Bush has pushed for. Like the pharma gift, the SocSec disaster, a war, etc…
Talking about your numbers is like looking at a picture of the Hindenburg. It sure looked pretty before it turned into a giant ball of flame crashing to the ground. I will limit my numbers to these two simple sets:

ECONOMIC GROWTH
$12T = GDP
$$1T = Deficit
8.3% = Deficit as percent of GDP
4.4% = Growth
2.5% = Inflation
1.9% = Growth net of Inflation
-6.4% = Growth net of Deficit

DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH
From 1979 to 1998 the income of
the top 5% increased 64%, after tax increase was 115%
the top 20% increased 38%, after tax increase 43%
the next increased 15%, after tax increase 14%
the next increased 8%, after tax increase 8%
the next increased 3%, after tax increase 1%
the bottom lost -5%, after tax lost -9%.
Since after tax income growth is even more exagerated than before tax income, means that taxation disproportionatly effects those in the lower quintiles and that the top 20% pays a lower fraction in terms of gross income than the bottom 80%. This change grossly benefits the top Jack,

Are we going to have to repost everything from some prior threads discounting your spin of cherry picked numbers? If you want to have a real discussion, let’s get into economic policy, strategy and tactics.
Let’s talk about why does Bush think a $1T deficit, $8T debt, and hundreds of billions in trade deficits are good ideas for a sustainable American economy.
Let’s talk about why Bush thinks permanent tax cuts for those making more than $400k a year is good for America.
Let’s talk about what else Bush has pushed for. Like the pharma gift, the SocSec disaster, a war, etc…
Talking about your numbers is like looking at a picture of the Hindenburg. It sure looks pretty before it turned into a giant ball of flame. I will limit my numbers to these two simple sets:
ECONOMIC GROWTH
$12T = GDP
$$1T = Deficit
8.3% = Deficit as percent of GDP
4.4% = Growth
2.5% = Inflation
1.9% = Growth net of Inflation
-6.4% = Growth net of Deficit

DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH
From 1979 to 1998 the income of
the top 5% increased 64%, after tax increase was 115%
the top 20% increased 38%, after tax increase 43%
the next increased 15%, after tax increase 14%
the next increased 8%, after tax increase 8%
the next increased 3%, after tax increase 1%
the bottom lost -5%, after tax lost -9%.
Since after tax income growth is even more exagerated than before tax income, means that taxation disproportionatly effects those in the lower quintiles and that the top 20% pays a lower fraction in terms of gross income than the bottom 80%. This change grossly benefits the top

Posted by: Dave at March 8, 2006 9:33 AM
Comment #132071

I feel as thow Republicans are useing Americas flag
to wipe there feet on and the constatution
for there backside. None are doing the job
elected to do they are to busy ruberstamping
so as not to appear devided. America is not
a Dictatership the Patriot Act is a slap in the
voters face as is NSA wiretapping , Ports , Guest
worker plan and still you pull out the rubberstamp.
The list never stops.
Republicans had there beloved Ken Starr dig into
every aspect of the Clintons life. Spending
millions and devideing America so they could
prove they were the party with Morals. Now
they stand there Morals Exposed and refuse to
hold each other accountable. This speaks volumes.
The message is clear. If you want a goverment
that hears what you say stay away from Republicans.
They lost credability when they
decided sex is a crime. Unless they are rapeing
Americas values.

Posted by: Honey P at March 8, 2006 9:35 AM
Comment #132072

OOPS. Sorry for the screwed up post. It appears you can’t use a less-than or greater-than sign for anything other than formats.

“grossly benefits the top less-than 1%” is what it should have said.

Posted by: Dave at March 8, 2006 9:36 AM
Comment #132073

In-fighting between republicans and democrats is absolutely driving people away from the parties. the biggest problem, though, is that these people are fleeing from politics in general as a response. This means less people voting, more people thinking they have no power, etc.

But this is a bipartisan problem. Just look at MD, where I live. Our governor hired Bo Harmon to run his campaign. This is the same guy who orchestrated the ad morphing war hero max cleland into osama bin laden and saddam hussein. The question is really whether or not these ads work. We know they work in the short term, but do they really help a party stay in power long term? Does this attitude of trash the other guy until i look like a saint really pay off, or is the net loss of confidence worth the political ends.

I personally thinik there can only be so much anger and fear pumped out of the American people before these tactics stop working. The day that happens, both parties will be shit out of luck

Posted by: iandanger at March 8, 2006 9:36 AM
Comment #132074

Dave

I “cherry pick” the numbers we usually compare, such as unemployment, economic growth, inflation, crime rate, pollution etc. We can tear them into pieces and cherry pick the results.

My only point is that this economy and society is very good by historical standards and in comparison to other countries in the world. It is not the best at everything.

But that is why we have comparison.

BTW - your income distribution figures end in 1998. This is a good example of why we need comparison. You may not like the current situation, but it is similar to others and there is no reason to believe Dems would do better. Many of the policies they advocate (see previous thread) would make it worse.

Posted by: Jack at March 8, 2006 9:42 AM
Comment #132078

Jack,

Are you just going to keep repackaging “Democrats are negative and have no ideas” over and over again? You are rapidly degenerating into a no-trick pony.

A great many people feel like the economy is not good. Economic security is certainly undercutting very recently solid support for the GOP here in southeast Missouri, a trend that seems to be making inroads into other solid bastions of GOP support.

Will that translate into more support for the donkeys in 06? Empirical question. Do a lot of rural, middle to low income people seem legitimately troubled by the economic reality they confront? Indeed.

Your solution appears to be “clap louder.” This must make it easier to criticize the Dems; you can’t hear past your thunderous, but increasingly isolated, applause.

Posted by: Arr-squared at March 8, 2006 9:45 AM
Comment #132082

But actual numbers are not immune to spin, and politicians records can be spun as well.

That is why, instead of being smart myself, I find it easier to recognize those who are able to analyze the numbers realistically, assess geoplolitical issues first hand, and articulate reasonable opinions based on realities and not personalities or agendas.

Friedman, Krugman, and Kristof come to mind. Even the most partisan would have trouble contesting their writings on a factual basis. I respect their opinions.

On the other hand, their have been whole books documenting Rushs’ inaccuracies with facts.

Posted by: Schwamp at March 8, 2006 10:04 AM
Comment #132083

Jack,

Unlike you being a Republcan idealogue, I am not a Democrat. I picked the date range for two reasons:
1 - They were what was available
2 - It removes the Bush component, so you can’t argue it’s partisan data.
BTW; More recent numbers are hard to get, but they are worse than these from the snippets I’ve seen.

I notice you ignore the numbers though, since they clearly destroy your premise that your “good numbers are good for alot of the people” whereas the reality is “these numbers are good for a few people”

Honey,
I like this paraphrased quote of yours:
“Republicans lost credibility when they
decided sex is a crime, unless of course it is they who are raping Americas values.”

Posted by: Dave at March 8, 2006 10:06 AM
Comment #132084

There are real questions out there as to how we came by those numbers. Unemployment numbers only count those who draw unemployment benefits. It doesn’t count those who have run their benefits out, or those who only work part time. Growth numbers are good, but the question arises again of how we come to the numbers. Investors have no real assurances that the numbers businesses give investors are accurate representations of the true financial condition of the company.

The trouble is that your party and your president are depriving us of information, and we know this. Because we know this, we feel there is a danger in taking your president’s word at face value. Your party’s relentless self-promotion and spin has made it difficult to trust the government when it says things are looking up. So many cases have cropped up where they have said they were doing well, and that efforts were succeeding, and it was either not the case, or not good enough to qualify as the unalloyed success they claim it is.

Either your people tell the truth, or they don’t. Too much of what Republicans say nowadays is about telling people what their critics say isn’t true, even when it obviously is.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 8, 2006 10:09 AM
Comment #132085

Proof Republicans have lost there mind.

Tom Delay wins Repub primary in Texas. (crook)
He was indicted for campaign Fraud..
Yet they elected him again. He did skip his
election party. To spend the night fund raiseing
at a party with lobbyist.
Republicans do not evan have the commen sense
to ditch the crooks when they find them.
When a crook knows whos dirty little hands
are connected to what dirty little cookie
jars. I guess you can not kick him out for
fear he will rat on you all. Money talks
Voters Need To Walk.

Posted by: Honey P at March 8, 2006 10:13 AM
Comment #132095

Dave,
I never got a job from a poor person. I like that rich people have money, they start business and employ people like you and me.

Posted by: dogselur at March 8, 2006 10:41 AM
Comment #132105

Jack,
Republican Platform:
1)Corruption.
2)Billions of dollars for big oil at a time when oil companies are reaping record profits and Americans are paying record gas prices.
3)Corruption.
4)Drug bill that gives HMOs a slush fund and leaves seniors with higher prescription drug prices and gaps in coverage.
5)Corruption
6)Special interests and the wealthiest one percent receive huge tax breaks, while record surpluses turn into record deficits that will be passed onto future generations.
7)Corruption.
8)Closed-door-super-secret meetings.
9)Suckling at the teet of the Military Industrial Complex.(I’ve always wanted to use teet in a sentance)
10)Disregarding the environment.
11)Most importantly corruption.
12) Dismantling civil liberties and the constitutional law.
13)If you F**k it up, spin it.

The reason I can’t support the members of the Republican party, The “real” Republican Party:
Rick Santorum
“Big Oil”(The leader of the Republican Party)
Tom Delay
Haliburton(Ever see a $40 soda?)
Jack Abramoff
Kellog Brown and Root(ever see a $3,000 wrench?)
Duke Cunningham(The Dukester)
Bill Frist
HMO’s(Oops I already said Bill Frist)
G.W.Bush(Tool)
“Right-Wing” kooks
Dick(His parents were psychic)Cheney
Grover Norquist
Wealthiest 1% of America
Donald Rumsfeld(I’m not fighting, but you will)
K Street lobbyists
Katherine Harris
Bob Taft
Bob Ney
Tom Feeny
Jerry Falwell
Pat Robertson(Oops, I already said Kooks)
Gun “Freaks” see Charleton Heston)(I can’t get behind a guy who’d make the movie “Soylent Green”)
I’m not really feeling the whole Republican vibe.
I’m not happy with the Democrats but the Republican party is a rare combination of shamelessly corrupt and hopelessly inept.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at March 8, 2006 11:13 AM
Comment #132110

Jack,

Democratic Platform:(Crickets chirping)

Reasons I don’t support the “Real” Democratic Party:
see Democratic platform

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at March 8, 2006 11:24 AM
Comment #132115

I (until recently) used to be Republican. But, I’m not impressed with Democrats either.
They are both corrupt. Sometimes to slightly varying degrees from decade to decade. Sure, Republicans appear to be more corrupt, but that doesn’t sound like a good reason to vote for Democrats either (who in reality go along with much of goes on). Sadly, they are both too corrupt.

That is why no one can name at least 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are honest, fiscally responsible, don’t pander, troll for campaign money, fuel partisan warfare, and look the other way.

That’s why bloated government, understandably, continues to grow more and more corrupt. That’s simply how it works.

So, rather than always resign to mediocrity, or the least corrupt of the corrupt, why not start voting out all of the corrupt?

Isn’t that what voters were supposed to be doing all along?

Just start ousting all irresponsible incumbents, always. That is what voting is supposed to be all about, but we have obviously forgotten that. It’s not supposed to be about parties, partisan warfare, and other clever detractors used by cheaters, to distract us all from the real problem.

This is what politicians are smugly confident (and perhaps, correctly so) voters will never discover. This is perhaps why politicians have such a disdain and lack of respect for voters? Maybe that is why politicians say “voters get what they deserve” ? Perhaps it is true? Afterall, voters have a very easy solution, if they ever decide to use it.

As long as the partisan warfare continues, and voters let themselves be seduced into it, allowing themselves to be divided and distracted, the less likely voters will ever get any reforms, and avoid learning the hard way (again). And, that may be sooner than some think, based on the last few hundred years of history, and the many ignored, pressing problems currently growing in number and severity.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 8, 2006 11:52 AM
Comment #132117

The “Catch-22” theory of politics:

Everything is as good as it can be. Anyone who says different is a whiner and a complainer and a Bush-hater and is full of hate and rage. These complainers have no ideas for how to make things better and are only trying to get their voter base agitated so they will turn out to vote. Dismiss any ideas they offer as unworkable hypotheticals or are already being tried or can’t work. (All the while claim they have no ideas.)

But, if there are things that could be better or that the current Washington power structure is not doing or could be doing better, how do we point that out without being branded angry, whining, complaining, Bush hating, rage filled agitators? If we say nothing everything goes on as it has for the last six years. If we are dissatisfied and truly believe things are not perfect and could be better, how can we articulate that without being accused of all those unpleasant things?

I guess it must be true we are angry, whining, complaining, Bush hating, rage filled agitators.

NOT! But its a great strategy Jack.

Posted by: RMD at March 8, 2006 12:00 PM
Comment #132121

dogselur,

What you don’t seem to understand is that, thanks to, among other things, unequal taxation, the “rich” people are getting more money and everyone else is getting less. And that there are less jobs out which pay real salaries and that the growth the Republicans are crowing about is due entirely to gov’t deficit spending. Without the deficit the economy would actually have shrunk by more than 6%.
But I’m glad you’re happy that Richie Rich gave you a job. Many people don’t have one and many others have two or three. Yup, things are going great.

Posted by: Dave at March 8, 2006 12:09 PM
Comment #132144

I haven’t read the full thread of commentary yet, but I just want to say AMEN to Jack’s final words in the initial comment. GET OUT AND VOTE!

Make your voice heard… it’s the only way anything will ever improve. Make the politicians, particularly the incumbents of both parties, accountable for what they do and what we expect from them.

Politics and partisanship rarely accomplish anything except maintaining the status-quo.

Posted by: Lee at March 8, 2006 1:08 PM
Comment #132154
Tom Delay wins Repub primary in Texas. (crook) He was indicted for campaign Fraud..

Indicted does not equal guilty. I might add that this is especially true when this was what? The 2nd or 3rd Grand Jury….hmmm….


And all this nonsense about the rich getting richer. Do any of you have jobs? Who employs you? Who does business with your employer? You think that the weathly that run companies that actually create jobs and wealth are going to stuff money into a mattress when there are tax cuts?

Posted by: Ryan at March 8, 2006 1:36 PM
Comment #132160

Honey,
Wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?

An indictment does not mean guilty. I’m not going to argue specifics of the indictment, because, I admit, I don’t know them. I don’t live in Texas, so there is nothing I can do about it. Can’t vote him in or out.

However, unlike you, I trust my fellow American citizens. Despite his legal predicament, approximately 2/3 of voters want to send him back to DC. They are familiar with him, what he’s done, what he plans to do. They are more familiar with DeLay’s accusers and local law, too. Apparently, they haven’t been convinced that he is a crook.

Perhaps they know more about the whole situation that both you and I together.

I found it comforting in 2000 that Gore was not elected president considering he did not win his home state of Tennessee. If anyone knows a candidate, one would think it would be the people that he/she is supposed to represent. If he would’ve won his home state, Florida would not have been an issue.

Likewise for DeLay. Texans know him far better than I do. I trust that they know what they are doing.

Trust and respect for our fellow Americans must be a difficult concept for some….

Dave,
Cheese with your whine?

There are always geographical areas and industry sectors in our country/econimy that are better or worse than the averages. You can’t point to the worst case and say “see how they are suffering” and convince me that the sky is falling.

When I look around, I see an economy that is growing. Stock market is close to where it was before the recession that started before Bush took office. Home, retail, commercial, shcool and industrial construction is bounding. Businesses are investing in their future by expanding and hiring people. People are working and buying homes, cars, etc. If it’s not this way in your area, I can understand your pessimism. I don’t think it’s fair to try to impose a guilt trip on the majority of us who are prospering because a few are not.

I’m sure many will call me callous, ignorant, lucky or whatever. Insensative to the plight of others, blah, blah, blah.

Posted by: Rich at March 8, 2006 1:46 PM
Comment #132164

Oops! Maybe I need to go to one of the new “shcools” built nearby because of our growing “econimy” and learn to spell…LOL.

Posted by: Rich at March 8, 2006 1:52 PM
Comment #132168

The Catch-22 Theory of Politics was good…

I guess we’ll see if it stands up in the event the Dems gain the White House and some seats in Congress and things don’t improve noticeably. Because then it will be Dems defending their president and the Reps screaming bloody murder, and it’ll just be more of the same, with the same feet wearing different pairs of shoes.

Posted by: Lee at March 8, 2006 2:06 PM
Comment #132182

Rich,

I like wine, thanks. How does it smell in that dark wet place you have your head in? Hope your back is OK bending so far.
I’m going to pick “ignorant pretender” for your requested ‘blah’ descriptor.

Posted by: Dave at March 8, 2006 3:07 PM
Comment #132194

Rich-
In Texas, you vote as you register. I am a registered Democrat, and therefore can only pick from among Democrats in a primary.

Republicans have gotten into the unenviable position of having to ignore or rationalize things like indictments and ethical breaches in order to maintain their power.

It reflects the lack of robust spirit and character in the party. It reflects the unwillingness to see criticism of the party and its members as having anything but a political motivation or cause. That gets in the way of the admission, condemnation and avoidance of the true mistakes and sins of the party.

It also strikes me as a gutless way to run a party. Image manipulations is a fine art, but its effectiveness is questionable in the long term. It excuses, but it doesn’t resolve. It doesn’t change the reality of your actions, and the implications and consequences make the problem of image manipulation a chronic concern where it should only be an occasional issue, and not one that requires outright dishonesty to achieve.

The more we allow ourselves to base our picture of the world on propaganda, the more we put ourselves in the position of having things screw up and spiral out of our control at the least opportune times.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 8, 2006 3:42 PM
Comment #132214

Dave, Stephen et al

I know that no statistic catches all information.

But these are the statistics we have used for many years. We are gathering them in the same way. Just be consistent.

We have good years and bad years. This is a good year. I am perplexed by the pessimism.

When I was in college, we learned that something around 5% unemployment was “full employment” in the U.S. This was wrong. But there is no way 4.7% can be called bad. Our economic growth is better than most countries similar to ours and higher than the average for the last 30 years.

If you look at Pew Research you see that Republicans are usually more upbeat about the economy than Dems. I think we are more realistic. You will notice that Dems and Republicans were about equally optimistic in 1997. 1997 had numbers much like those of 2005. Today Republicans are at about the same level, but Dems are a bit more partisan about their interpretations.

Posted by: Jack at March 8, 2006 4:59 PM
Comment #132227

I have a question, and maybe you guys can help me out on this one…

If Democrats are so great, then what the HELL happened to the State of Michigan since Governor Jennifer “wart-face” Granholm took office?

Engler made mistakes, as any other human does, but my gosh, he was a Saint compared to this incompetent idiot! Those of you that think Bush is incompetent need a good dose of what it’s like to have her as a Governor. She gives new meaning to the word!

Did you guys know that the Democratic Party isn’t even backing her in the next election? They have been actively seeking another to fill her pointy shoes. Don’t believe me? (How’s that go again?) “Google it” *grins*. Thank goodness we have Dick DeVos to run for the GOP-I’m sure I’ll never hear the end of it, but I think he’s EXACTLY what this state needs! (yea there’s that abortion thing again, but that’s on the other page…)

Anyway, my point is this, I’m sure there’s some good Dems out there (don’t shoot me Jack LOL), and I know there’s good Reps…but not ALL of either party are good. Ms. Granholm is a perfect example. Wanna talk about increasing unemployment rates, just look at us!

Oh, and one last question (sorry!)..this is for my own curiosity, yes-how come our President has to be an American but our Governors don’t?

Posted by: Tanya at March 8, 2006 5:46 PM
Comment #132263

The Constitution stipulates that the President must be native born. It is the only office in America that has that requirement.

Posted by: Jack at March 8, 2006 8:23 PM
Comment #132273

Tanya,
Calling the governor “wart-face” is a pretty good indication to me that you really don’t care how well she actually does - you’re dead-set against her.

Jack,
Just how many people is the “new AT&T” gonna be hiring? Oh yeah, they’re actually gonna be laying people off aren’t they?

All,
Unemplyment in my state has been dropping recently, but about a year ago it was above the national average. So what have the Republican in my state done? They (1) blamed the Dem governor for high unemployment 18 months ago, and (2) they now give sole credit to Bush for lowering it. They need to change the spelling of their party to H Y P O C R I T E S.

Posted by: ElliottBay at March 8, 2006 9:01 PM
Comment #132276

Elliott

So what? We can’t and should not try to maintain jobs right where they are forever. As technologies improve and business methods change, jobs are lost and gained somewhere else.

If you want to kill all new jobs, fight to keep all those you got right where they are.

Do you remember when AT&T had operators? Lots of people were employed.

Actually, if you want to maintain and create jobs, outlaw farm machinery. There will be plenty of work for everybody.

Posted by: Jack at March 8, 2006 9:17 PM
Comment #132288
We have good years and bad years. This is a good year. I am perplexed by the pessimism.

Of course you are perplexed.
I used to be just like you.
Jack, you have to push yourself.
Forget the partisan warfare.
Think for your self.
Look at all the factors.
Look at the big picture.
Then, tell me everything is hunky dorey.

Don’t keep ignoring reality.
A wise person would study these factors.
And if you study them, it’s very hard to not see how the next recession could turn into the next depression.

To flipantly discard it is irresponsible.
How about taking every single argument/topic in the list, and telling us why it’s nothing to worry about? Or, just keep ignoring it, and picking on the easy targets to perpetuate the myth that everything is rosy.

What about all of these economic and societal factors ?

There’s plenty to keep you busy there for a while, but will you just continue to cherry-pick a few positives, or debate each and every one of the factors in that list.

You think everything is very good.
Those are your words.

I only ask you debate the things you say are just OK at the least.
Not just at this instant. But, for the next year or so, and the next inevitable recession.

I’m really an optimist, but I don’t quite have the ability to fool myself to the point to believe that everything is “very good”.
But, I don’t have any of those keen, rose-colored glasses they hand out in the rose-colored column. Where can the rest of us get some of those so that we can chill too?

Don’t worry. Be happy! : )

Posted by: d.a.n at March 8, 2006 10:01 PM
Comment #132296

Elliott:”Tanya, Calling the governor “wart-face” is a pretty good indication to me that you really don’t care how well she actually does - you’re dead-set against her.”

You’re right, Elliott. I’m completely and totally dead-set against her. Unfortunately for her, I’m not the only one. Michigan needs some serious economic change, and it’s obvious that she isn’t going to get us there.

Give her a chance? Never again…

Posted by: Tanya at March 8, 2006 10:30 PM
Comment #132342

Tanya,

I live in Michigan and Governor Granholm has made some pretty unpopular decisions. Jennifer Granholm inherited a financial mess from her worthless predecessor, Republican John Engler. She has been charged under the Michigan Constitution to balance the budget. Not an easy task considering the debt left to her by Republican Engler. She has made some mistakes along the way, and I am not defending everything that Governor Granholm has done, but she has done a hell of a lot better job than Engler.

In fact she has been instrumental in my part of the state, that has actually seen strong growth in the manufacturing sector, including the addition of two new Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance advanced engine plants, a joint venture between DaimlerChrysler, Hyundai Motor and Mitsubishi Motors. While GM will be closing plants around the country, they will actually be pouring millions into Michigan plants and adding hundreds to the workforce. Bush’s policies of rewarding corporations that outsource has hit Michigan hard and Granholm has worked hard to bring new jobs to Michigan. She worked hard to secure funding to demolish an old abandoned factory that posed a health risk to the community. We have seen growth in our retail sector and the beginnings of a rebirth to our historic downtown.

BTW, while I have not noticed any tax relief at the federal level, I have noticed much tax relief at the state level. In fact this year my MI income tax refund was over double what it usually is. Not bad.

I cannot answer for the kooky national Democratic leadership (these are the people who drove Paul Hackett out of the Ohio Senate race) But I will definitely be voting for Granholm, no question.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at March 9, 2006 12:44 AM
Comment #132354

Snowman,

In Texas, our incumbent Gov is Rick Perry, who inherited the position from President Bush (and has won one election since then). He looks to be the strong candidate as he has a warchest that would rival anyone’s, he is the incumbent, our state economy is looking great (always does when oil is booming), and the Democratic candidate, Chris Bell, has no recognition at all (even though he’s been a Rep. in the House in D.C.).

We’re lucky that we will have two independents to choose from this go round—Kinky Friedman and Scott McLellan’s mom, Carol Keeton Streyhorn.

Kinky may weaken Bell’s electorate position, but Streyhorn may weaken Perry’s. I doubt it, though. I think Perry will win again.

We will have another four years of expensive special sessions called to try to fix our public education funding that is now unconstitutional (Texas is only in session 140 days every two years and we can never get our education woes addressed during regular legislative sessions). Even with Delay’s reworking our districts so that there are more Republicans in office, Perry can’t build consensus.

For Texas’ sake, I hope oil goes to $100/barrel. It’s the only way we’ll be able to keep going. A great business environment—even if it’s at the expense of all domestic oil consumers—makes Perry’s ineffectiveness look more like open market genius.

Oh well.

Posted by: JW at March 9, 2006 2:15 AM
Comment #132357

JayJay,

Thank you for pointing out some of your views on Granholm, as well as GM, which I wasn’t fully aware of-I’m researching them more in depth as I type this. I would like to make one point in my favor though, Engler inherited a deficit from Blanchard, so I don’t feel he is entirely at fault. I agree that Engler wasn’t the best Governor we’ve ever had, but I think he did an OK job considering the way Blanchard left it for him. I still stand by my belief that Michigan won’t get what we need if we have Granholm for another term, but I respect that you stand behind yours that you feel we will.

Posted by: Tanya at March 9, 2006 3:05 AM
Comment #132378

Jack,

It seems the difference is you look at last years numbers and say “see, what a good year we had, and this year doesn’t look too bad either” I look at the numbers and say “things look OK on the surface, but who are they OK for? How good is the foundation, can this last? Will it get better, what about next year? Who will pay the last 5 years tab? At what price do we have these numbers? How long can we keep this going and can we get more people onto “the rising tide” ?
You need to take of the blinders and look at the whole picture, Jack. You ned to see beyond the tip of your nose, otherwise you will only see what your masters want us to see.
(I know, sucky set of metaphors, etc…)

Posted by: Dave at March 9, 2006 9:26 AM
Comment #132389

Dave

As the prospectus always says, past performance is not proof of future returns, but you have to work with the information you have. Our economy is basically healthy. We face the normal challenges we have faced for the last thirty years.

The biggest difference is entitlements. That is the ticking time bomb that will explode in about ten years. We need to address the problems of SS and Medicare. But the REAL problem is not served when we make a general statement of malaise that takes away the focus from the REAL problem.

I think you guys need to take off the blinders. The problem is entitlements. Everything else is just noise. Get that right and we are okay. Fail and we are fried. When the President tried to work on this, however, he got fried.

Posted by: Jack at March 9, 2006 10:04 AM
Comment #132420

Jack,

you said: “So what? We can’t and should not try to maintain jobs right where they are forever. As technologies improve and business methods change, jobs are lost and gained somewhere else>”

Unfortunately, somewhere else is India, China, Mexico, and soon to be Central America. We have moved from a country of invention and production to one of service (and now much of that is being outsourced).


You also said: “I think you guys need to take off the blinders. The problem is entitlements. Everything else is just noise. Get that right and we are okay. Fail and we are fried. When the President tried to work on this, however, he got fried.”

I don’t think anyone disagrees with the fact that these entitlements need to be fixed. It was how GW wanted to fix SS is where I had a problem. It resulted in a cash-flow problem for our federal treasury.
While we are on the “entitlement” subject, how did you feel about GW’s prescription drug program? The new NEW DEAL? Many of these, entitlements have been around a long, long time and folks have paid into them. They expect a return. The problem isn’t the entitlements themselves, it’s our lousy leaders taking money we’ve put into these programs and spending it elsewhere. If we had all of the funds we have spent fighting in Iraq we could begin uprighting this tilted ship….but, loh….Iraq is another way for our leaders to rob our funded programs and spend the money somewhere else.

Sure, the economy is doing okay. I won’t argue that. Much of this is a result of deficit spending and some due to tax cuts. However, the things we are charging today will have a bill due in the future. More and more foreign countries are holding the bills…financing our growth. This, my friend, is dangerous. Now, not only are we willing to allow foreign countries to finance our greediness we are willing to also allow them to control our ports. Low unemployment, economic growth; these are great….federal budget deficits, federal debt, and trade deficits….these are bad. Don’t preach that debt/equity speach to me either. You know, thedebt to GDP comparison. The GDP can change rapidly during a recession (and these things come in cycles)….the federal debt, well, it’ll still be there.

Posted by: Tom L at March 9, 2006 12:14 PM
Comment #132436

Tanya,

Thank you. Engler did not do all bad for the state. He was responsible for the overhaul of the state property tax, which I have to give him his props for. However, Engler was Governor of Michigan for three terms, 12 years. He left the states finances in worse shape than he found them. Governor Granholm has done more to get Michigan finances under control in her one term than Engler did in three. I do respect your opinion of Granholm, as there seems to be many people with that opinion in Michigan. However, as I said I think she has gotten a bad rap simply because she has had to make some unpopular choices to get the state back to fiscal responsibility. Bear in mind also that Republicans control the state’s legislative branch, which makes it difficult for a Democratic Governor to put through an agenda. The funny thing is Republicans bash her for doing exactly what Republicans clamor for. Cut programs rather than raise taxes. In fact, the state income tax has decreased. Her cigarette tax increase was controversial to be sure, but I would rather see the tax hiked on cigarettes than on income.

I am also probably biased since I live in a small portion of the state that has seen tremendous growth under her leadership. Of course, one county will not be able to carry her to victory and I really do not know what the future holds, it’s anybody’s guess.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at March 9, 2006 1:16 PM
Comment #132515

JayJay,

I found something out today that I hadn’t heard the specifics on yet, the amount that minimum wage is increasing, which we know will get to her and she has already said she will sign it. For those of you that don’t know, we’re going from $5.15 to $6.95, gradually increasing to $7.40 p/hr by July 2008.

I definitely agree that this state is due for a minimum wage hike, and was pleasantly surprised to find out just how much of a hike we’re in for! I thought maybe $5.50 or so was what to expect. I had tried to find out by researching online but couldn’t find any actual numbers, and then just tonight I heard on the news what those numbers are. I have to admit, this certainly won’t hurt her campaign any if this goes through! I don’t think it’s a coincidence, but I do think it was a smart strategy! =)

Tanya

Posted by: Tanya at March 9, 2006 6:23 PM
Comment #132564

Dave
The problem with your demographic numbers are the the top earning Americans changes overtime. It is not always the same people in the top or bottom. People move up and down the economic ladder.

Taxes will always favor business. This is not corruption, this is a reward for taking risks and creating goods and services. The day it stop you will see real unemployment and economic hardship.
So if you do not like where you are economicly, look inside because opportunity does not knock once, it knocks every day for people looking and ready for it.

Posted by: Steve at March 9, 2006 10:42 PM
Comment #132567

As for the economic down turn, this cycles have been going on since man first began trading.
It is going to happen again and no one not even the Great Bill Clinton could stop it. But Increasing everyones taxes (and I mean everyones )will make it worest.

Posted by: Steve at March 9, 2006 10:51 PM
Comment #132570
Our economy is basically healthy.
Only if you have a very myopic view of things. But, if you look at the rosy picture, it’s not nearly quite as rosy as some want you to believe. Look at over 34+ economic factors, versus a few cherry-picked positives, and then draw your own conclusions. Research it. Yes, recessions come and go. They are inevitable. But, what will massive debt, and all the numerous pressing problems going to help us recover from the next recession? Or, will it possibly turn into the next depression? Posted by: d.a.n at March 9, 2006 11:10 PM
Comment #132666

We have communities nationwide that are divided fairly equally politically. So how does an encumbant in this climate get the votes to win? Give something to everybody (pork), support the side of hot button issues favored in your community and lie about the other guy.

Posted by: Reporter for Doody at March 10, 2006 1:19 PM
Comment #132687

Tanya,

Raising the minimum wage sounds like a good idea, but keep an eye on the prices of goods and services of places you shop at that pay a significant number of employees at min. wage. Your min. wage is increasing approximately 35% immediately and about 40% overall. I’ll bet you see an increase in the cost of most products and services that nears 35-40%, and that that cost increase will trail the hike in minimum wage by about 9-15 months.

As I have said around here several times, companies never take gov’t-inflicted losses (in this case, the cost of paying increased wages to employees) directly. It is passed on to the consumer. Thus, while it seems like a good idea to “encourage” companies to pay their employees more, all that really ends up happening is inflation because the dollars that are being paid to the employees are worth less and, in the end, end up buying about the same amount.

Gov’t regulation of the economy is ultimately counter-productive no matter what form it takes. The gov’t should protect its citizens against abuse and/or fraud by the private sector, but no more. Anything else ends up hurting more than it helps.

Posted by: LB at March 10, 2006 3:27 PM
Comment #132779

>>That is the ticking time bomb that will explode in about ten years. We need to address the problems of SS and Medicare. But the REAL problem is not served when we make a general statement of malaise that takes away the focus from the REAL problem.

Jack,

Are you sure SS is an entitlement program? Why would something I pay for (like a retirement fund) be considered entitlement? Am I missing something here?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 11, 2006 2:48 AM
Comment #132780

>>That is the ticking time bomb that will explode in about ten years. We need to address the problems of SS and Medicare. But the REAL problem is not served when we make a general statement of malaise that takes away the focus from the REAL problem.

Jack,

Are you sure SS is an entitlement program? Why would something I pay for (like a retirement fund) be considered entitlement? Am I missing something here?

I paid into Social Security since 1946, and now you tell me I’m on welfare for drawing that measly check? Kiss…

Posted by: Marysdude at March 11, 2006 2:51 AM
Comment #134175

It seems like when the neocons say things like “stop being partisan” “don’t be so negative” and “we need to be united” it’s the final statements of a dying party that’s collapsing because of its own actions.

For example, take partisanship. No party has been more partisan than the current neocons. They have created a war against democrats, made liberal a dirty word, slandered anyone who disagrees with them as a traitor, and ignore people with different opinions. So you’ll excuse me if I’m not moved by republican pleas to end partisanship and unite together. It just has no meaning when they’ve been taking that type of thing to a whole new level.

The current GOP-run government has led america into a decline. America lost respect, spent billions on a war which was a total mistake, created a large deficit, and trampled civil liberties. The fact is if you aren’t outraged or negative you’re most likely viewing the world through rose-colored glasses and ignoring the obvious truth.
The neocons can whine about “bush bashing” all they want (even though it’s all legitimate criticism), but the corrupt people running our country need to be held accountable. And when it comes to hounding a president, the dems don’t come close to the neocons and Clinton. Let’s see things for what they are, and make sure the criminals are kicked out and held accountable.

Posted by: mark at March 17, 2006 4:07 PM
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