Economics in the Age of Obama

As the dubious Chinese curse says, we live in “interesting times”. Working on my prejudice article after the worst week in Stock Market history I ran across an article I wrote four years ago explaining political uses of economics. It’s a pretty good explanation of Democrat economic policy

Mark Twain said that there were..."lies, damned lies, and statistics." Oh, that his wit could have been applied to some of the modern world's notions of the sciences. When I was a student at Centenary College of Louisiana Economics was "the dismal science". "Political Science" was a punch line. Both statements remain true today. Unfortunately society has since been indoctrinated to speaking these course names with a straight face.
These disciplines comprise the waggly end of the scientific dog. Even briefly addressing the perversity of the two of them would require more space than a paper is likely to publish, so for today let us take a glance only at the dismal science. We will leave the abysmal one for another day.

Webster's II New Riverside Desk Dictionary defines economics as "The science dealing with the production, distribution, and consumption of commodities". The worst thing that can happen to a course of study is that it be ill-defined. This fairly accurate description of the courses I took reveals why economics stands with Twain's assessment of statistics as a means of obscuring truth.

It is fun to watch magicians fool our eyes, even when we know they are doing so. They use the psychology of physical emphasis to hide what is really happening until the result is revealed. We then draw the wrong conclusion. A dollar bill is healed, a coin is pulled from our ear. Wow!

By entraining two things we think we understand in the discussion of the economy, namely stuff and money, the dismal science plays a sleight-of-hand with what we really should be seeing; how much of our labor really does something useful.

Imagine that on some island there are three people. Two produce food and clothing and the other is a thief who manages to steal half of the fruits of the others' labor. One of the laborers could reasonably conclude that one could live better by being a thief. Were he to change job descriptions would the standard of living on the island go up or down? Modern economics is deeply confused on this issue. Thievery is, in this example, a high-income job. The statistics would indicate a trending upward. (Wink, wink.)

Our conflicted producer decides he is an "honorable" man and can't abide the idea of becoming a thief. Instead he becomes a chief, which permits him to possess the island's gun, seize half of what the still productive producer makes for himself, and apportion only a third of what remains to the former thief, who has now been relabeled an invalid. That seems fair, does it not? The producer is a "rich" man. He needs to "give back" to the community that made him that way...

This is a cartoon version of the modern world. Those who honorably accomplish nothing live well without working in the dirt. They permit those who labor the privilege of keeping a portion of what they create, claiming all the while to be protecting their effort, while insisting the producer is cruel to expect one who has not worked not to eat. Modern economics sleight-of-hand! Those with a little foresight might be seen to raise a hand in the back of the class and ask a foolish question. "Why produce?"

The political reality of our island example is, of course, that the status quo has two of the three votes. Were the producer to convince the invalid to become a producer the island might live much better, but the chief would be out of a job, and might be forced to- oh, our hearts are all a-flutter- WORK. Naturally he finds very clever ways to vilify the producer in the eyes of the invalid. If the invalid occasionally snatches something out of frustration that the producer has so much more than he has all the better! Why have a chief if bad things don't happen? The invalid's poverty and frustration both serve to provide a rationale for the stability of the status quo.

In this illustration one can see why economics as defined by Webster's Dictionary and my professors is defined improperly. Most of the economic activity, that is to say, most of the activity for which people are provided the work product of the producer, revolves around jockeying for an advantage in a contest over who gets the work product of the producer! Economics should be "The science of the distribution of purposeful human activity". Some will quibble about how to shoehorn productivity, value, or consumption into the definition but I stand by my wording.

The fact of the matter is hard work is hard work. Clever people will find ways to put a patina of glory on a lack of accomplishment and convince society to provide well for them for what they have not done. The I.R.S. does not produce anything. Neither do the people who protect us from the I.R.S. Lawyers argue. The lawyers who protect us from the other lawyers also argue, and we feed them both for the priviledge of having them do that to, and for, us. Bureaucrats pile us over with paperwork, and we feed them for what they make us do.

Interesting island we're on.

The chiefs and kings of the ancient world loved to keep wizards and magicians in their courts. Mark Twain, in his assessment of statistics, was merely taking note of how the tools of the crafts of obfuscation and misdirection had changed by the late 19th century. Little could he have imagined how, in the increased majesty of our modern world, something could have exceeded even statistics for a grandeur of misdirection.

And, gee whiz, that's only the DISMAL science!

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at October 11, 2008 12:12 PM
Comment #266573

Wow what a crock of poo. On your theoretically childish island does the chief ever capture and punish the thief, or does he only vilify the producer and therefore somehow encourage the thief to continue stealing?

Whatever. No worries. The republican party is deep in the weeds and won’t crawl out for at least 12 and probably more realistically 20 years. Bye-bye “trickle down” rubbish. Bye-bye “let the market deal with it”. And good riddance! Let’s all give a nice warm welcome to a fundamentally better way to manage a society: democracy.

Posted by: EdB at October 11, 2008 3:14 PM
Comment #266575

The chief does both because that keeps the thief/invalid dependent. If the t/i becomes a producer the chief will be outvoted by people who feel the burden of his presence.

Democracy (as defined in a government text) also has another name- Mob Rule. I’ll stick with a representative republic, thank you.

I like the Cafe Hayek site, run by a couple of George Mason economists. They skewer comments like yours all the time.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 11, 2008 4:03 PM
Comment #266583

Great post. Liberals will argue that your theory is too basic and uncomplicated to be an accurate parallel but it isn’t. It perfectly illustrates the quandry our country and society is in.

Two things, first, the invalid will never be convinced to become a producer because it’s not in his wiring to be so. We don’t live in an equal society, never have and never will. There will always be people who are willing to work, and there will always be people who aren’t. Jesus said, “the poor you will always have with you.” The distinction we need is that the chief must recognize the invalid’s greed for what it is and play the balance of power better. Of late, the producers are getting more and more tired of being taken advantage of.

The second thing, and this relates but not directly, why is a return to socialist policies considered progressive. Socialism fails a society everywhere it is implemented. I do not understand how people can be so blind to history. Have we learned nothing from Lenin, or Stalin, or Chairman Mao, or Polpot? Obama wants to implement a radically socialist agenda on this country, and foolish liberals see it as something new and refreshing.

Great post. I know you will be derided for its simplicity, but it is a perfect illustration to those actually capable of logical analysis.

Posted by: Yukon jake at October 11, 2008 5:13 PM
Comment #266585


En masse what you say in your first point may be technically correct, but as a Christian and a conservative I have to disagree with it as a description of individual cases. Jesus, for example, didn’t fail to serve the poor even though he said there would always be poor people. When he healed poor people, though, he sent them off to join society as useful folk. THAT is our model.

Secondly the behavior of the chief is a function of what he does, not his party, nor even his morality. The island’s gun is really intoxicating, you see. The longer he is a chief the more that function will corrupt him. The “solution”, to the extent there can be one, is to keep producer-types rotating in and OUT of the chief’s position.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 11, 2008 5:45 PM
Comment #266590


In short order you will need to reconnect with the new order of economics. Old philosophies are quickly going by the wayside. The chiefs got too greedy and forgot to turn on the trickle down valve. In their efforts to cut costs and increase profits they reapportioned the workforces and distributed the wealth over a broad area. At the same time they gave massive amounts of credit to those who no longer held good jobs because of the reapportioning. The chiefs encouraged and led those with down graded income into an idealized world of massive unsustainable debt. At the same time those chiefs got bored and decided to have some fun and gamble with the huge sums of compiled consumer debt. All that unregulated fun foolishly created an unimaginable mountain of additional debt which nobody has the funds to repay. The chiefs in their foolish careless greed destroyed their own kingdom bringing on cause for intervention and a guarantee that they will no longer freely rule the world. They in effect created their own demise. Old economic policies will no longer function in the new global world of financial parity. Thanks to the chiefs everyone will suffer while a new global order of financial trickle down evolves. Welcome to the new world Lee. I would suggest throwing your old economics books in the fire. They are no longer worth the paper they are printed on.

Posted by: RickIL at October 11, 2008 6:42 PM
Comment #266592

Did the right get tired of using the term Liberal for everyone that doesn’t agree with the GOP and now has to use the term Socialist for everything they disagree with? I love the way every word or concept is re-named with the GOP thesaurus.

Call them a Liberal! That’ll scare people. Call them a Socialist!!! That’ll work this year! /wink

Posted by: bandman at October 11, 2008 7:28 PM
Comment #266594


Funny, neither of those terms are in this article anywhere…

The beauty of this Island is there is no cash. Therefore the stuff people think they see happening because of the exchange of money is not there. In fact there is no such thing as money or debt in real life, either. We just pretend there is to make the creation and exchange of goods and services more fluid.

Strip all the pretend stuff down and you will see there is an exchange of labor, goods, and services, some of which only happens because of trust. The trust (and all the people who don’t do anything useful) are where all our problems lie today.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 11, 2008 7:48 PM
Comment #266596

Lee, your entire article is invalidated by the definition of economics.

Consider, instead, the total of Adam Smith’s definition, which defines economics as the study of how it is that a finite set of goods and services are distributed in a society of people with infinite demand for those goods and services. In other words, what the rules and laws and principles that govern how goods and services are distributed.

Adam Smith understood that a topic as complex as economics cannot be understood without first clearly understanding human behavior, psychology, and sentiment, (hence his book, The Theory of Moral Sentiment), and then setting about to understand the mechanics of production, distribution, value and pricing, within the context of the political and legal framework which defines the rules for distribution and exchange of goods and services (The Wealth of Nations).

The Webster’s definition is wholly and woefully inadequate, and the fact is, economics is, like psychology and sociology, a social science in which infinite variables are at play, and the key to effective management of economics is defining the most relevant and pertinent micro set of variables at play for a given economics situation or question. One simply cannot understand economics without a very broad and general education in the humanities, math sciences, and history.

The general population will never understand economics, but, they can, under appropriate leadership, be led to understand generally the major components of demand, supply, law, and philosophy of economic policy which impacts them during times of strife and corrections. That takes a very special talent in leadership however, and neither McCain nor Obama have demonstrated any brilliance in this area. Though Obama’s philosophy has been rather more consistent than McCain’s.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 11, 2008 8:39 PM
Comment #266602

Even Smith’s definition, by the use of the word “finite” is questionable. I still stand by the use of “purposeful human activity” on the grounds that any use or distribution, even of the consumable we produce and distribute here on this site remains a finite quantity, though it is relatively easy to access. We argue here, though, on subtle grounds.

As to your assertion of what people can grasp, that is the point of the island analogy. The study of economics has become crowded with concepts that are really irrelevant to understanding the fundamental underlying activity in which money’s role is that of combined lubricant and lure.

Until the public fully grasps the fundamentals of a production/consumption system the added features of barter, and then money, and then debt, etc., etc. don’t make sense.

Neither of our presidential canditates impresses me at all for their economic grasp. At least Obama has sense enough to take Mark Twain’s advice- “It is better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 11, 2008 9:28 PM
Comment #266603

I must be tired. I’m taking issue with Smith’s use of finite in terms of stuff (where infinite possibilities are diminished by opportunity costs because of limitations in the capabilities of the human agents of the economy). That is why I shortcut the definition with the use of human activity.

Now, I’d better take Twain’s advice as well.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 11, 2008 9:33 PM
Comment #266606

In ancient times, civilizations sometimes overstressed their resources, or had their economy crippled by some turn of events, and as a result, their growth became unsustainable, even the seeds of their own destruction, at least as the society they were.

The Romans, trying to expand their agricultural heartlands, helped do themselves in as a major power, because their poor soil management in the wake of their forest clearing caused runoff to silt up their most important harbors. Ephesus was one of the harbors silted up.

If you look at Mesopotamian history, you’ll find that the centers of civilization moved progressively Northward. This wasn’t merely done because it was fashionable, it was done because salt from their irrigation water undermined the harvests from the Southern reaches of the region, and they moved to get away from that.

In a less dramatic fashion, natural forces, and real world circumstance have an effect on the sustainability, cost, and the options open for any economy. The availability of an element like Indium, for example, is of concern, because thin film transistors, the invention that lets you look through the wiring in a flat screen monitor and/or TV set, are dependent upon it.

The use of rarer elements, ironically enough, has become more common in our high-tech world.

But that high tech world has allowed, with its penchant for near instant transmission of information and high computing speed, ever greater complexity in financial transactions.

Even before that, though, the creativity of the human mind created additional categories of economic activities. American would not get far into it’s first century without the emergent effects of land speculation and other financial fevers overtook the markets, causing several significant economic depression, culminating in the Great Depression that most Americans are familiar with (Indeed, for most people, it’s the only depression they’re even aware of!)

What people came to understand is that the market can mutate from a moderated system that obeys relatively simple rules of supply and demand, to a complex system where completely arbitrary exchanges can snowball into serious problems.

The dominant economic theorists on the right have assumed that the ideal system is rigged towards make investors money. But that sensibility ignores the fact that the financial wellbeing of investments depend upon businesses, and America’s strong growth over the last century or so is in part due to the growth of a Middle Class with a disposable income. In attempting to reassert the economic dominance of the investor, and making sure they get big returns no matter what, The Republicans have brought back some of the pernicious problems that brought on the Great Depression, but worse yet, have brought them back in a time where technology has vastly increased the speed at which trouble spreads, the range of its effect, and the complexity of the messes to unravel.

It doesn’t help that they’ve underestimated the other sort of secondary emergent effects of our other problems on our economy. The Republicans were so busy trying to triumph over FDR, that they failed to realize that they were vindicating him a thousand times over in the eyes of Americans brought up on cautionary tales of the excesses that led to the great depression.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 11, 2008 9:49 PM
Comment #266608


My reference to Liberal and Socialist was in reply to Yukon. It was a post only two above mine.

Posted by: bandman at October 11, 2008 10:46 PM
Comment #266609

I am not a republican, nor a member of the GOP, and any honest person who has read my posts on this blog will attest to my consistent assertion that the actions of the current administration do not represent my values. I am however, a conservative. d.a.n. once posted a link to an online test you could take that would pinpoint where you stand and I was a smidge to the right of dead center, so please spare me the reference and linkage to the GOP.

That said, the income redistribution schemes proposed by Obama are nothing but an old hat from socialist doctrine. It is a fact that money to the treasury increased with the capital gains tax reduction because investors felt safe that less of their hard-earned dollars would be confiscated by Uncle Sam and so they chose to invest more, so much so that the decrease in tax was offset to a surplus by the private sectors vastly increased investments. This is fact. And knowing this is fact, Obama proposes to raise the capital gains tax to regular income tax levels and higher, which is foolishness.

I agree with David that neither Obama or McCain have demonstrated any sound idea or conveyance of leadership or brilliance in economic transformation, but Obama is seen as the agent of Change which this country needs, yet his methods of doing so represent a return to an economic standard that has proven itself futile and ineffective and, in my opinion, depressing - both emotionally and fiscally because I believe he will win because of his rock-star status and appeal.

I do not have the answer, and neither does McCain or Obama, but my original assertion/question remains unanswered - and that is how does a return to socialism represent a progressive idea?

To Lee,
While Jesus was/is able to heal the sick and the poor, I lay no claim, and hopefully neither will any politician, to being able to transform the hearts of men. And do not take that to mean that I do not believe in helping the needy, though obviously unverifiable, I would wager a tidy sum that I give more to the needy in dollars than almost anyone on this blog - and because I am able. David may donate more of his time, but he does not seem to be as time famished with his hands in the management of three businesses (as evidenced by the time it takes to write and respond to threads on this blog 20+ times a day), so each of us gives in his own way. Where I think the philosophical difference lies is that I believe the choice to give should be up to the giver, and not to the receiver.

My most satisfying moments come from helping people and/or thinking of ways to help them, as I am sure that David (I only refer to him because I have read of his volunteer work so often) finds great satisfaction in his engagements with the needy. Back to the island metaphor, the moment the Chief takes control of how much the producer must give to the invalid, the satisfaction of charity is removed from the equation as it becomes obligatory and therefore moot - emotionally anyway.

I might also add that when the Chief takes this from the producer in the name of the invalid and then wastes it in any number of reckless and ridiculous ways, the removal of charity becomes the injection of resentment.

I can’t imagine the ramifications, but I am attracted to the idea of a chief saying “enough is enough, I am going to stop sending any money to other islands until this island has surpassed all other islands’ in terms of health care, education, and job creation.”

How that gets accomplished without giving the chief a bigger hut is complicated, but the principle is what I am looking for in a political philosophy.

These are just my thoughts however…

Posted by: Yukon Jake at October 12, 2008 1:34 AM
Comment #266617


If rich men actually produced something it would be nice. What does Warren Buffet produce again?

Or do you simply rename his accumulation of other people’s production as his? How does one distinguish between Warren Buffet, a Hedge Fund manager, and an accomplished thief?

Henry Ford early in his career actually produced something. The sad thing about wealth is it turns productive people into manipulators or simple loafers.

When you tilt the economic system so that you no longer have to produce anything, are you benefiting society or tricking it?

Posted by: googlumpugus at October 12, 2008 5:20 AM
Comment #266630

Yukon Jake, your premise that we will ‘return’ to socialism, is, as far as I tell, a false premise. First we have never abandoned capitalism, making a return to socialism an illogical statement.

Second, and far more important, is the fact that America has been a blend of socialism and capitalism with varying degrees of mix for more than 200 years. All that is going to happen going forward is an adjustment to the mix, such that health care insurance will become socialized for example, while entrepreneurial capitalism in the private sector remains vibrant and strong in other areas.

Our very first institutions of charity, the churches, were socialized constructs, wherein, nearly everyone in the community contributed to it, and those in the community who, through no fault of their own, fell victim to hardship or privation, were aided by those Church contributions. The only difference between the earliest American churches and our federal government, is that in the earliest churches, if an individual could withstand the ostricization, they were not compelled to join the church, whereas the federal government compels citizenship by virtue of being born here, and therefore, obligated to make certain contributions to maintain the general welfare of the nation, including the military, houses of government, policing, education, and commercial infrastructure such as roads and bridges, and a host of other services and goods demanded by its citizenry.

Our military has, from the time of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, been a socialized institution. Everyone is required to pay to support it, whether or not they believe they derive any benefit from it. The same can be said of NASA with more fervor, as there are millions who believe they derived not 1/10th of 1 cent benefit from it for every tax dollar paid for it.

Nonetheless, and despite these socialized institutions, some now centuries old, capitalism remains as the engine of creativity, technological and industrial advancement, and elevator of a broad middle class in terms of employment and wages.

All that is going to happen, is the mix is going to be adjusted, how much and how far, remains to be seen, but, I assure you, capitalism, hopefully with more due oversight and regulation of excesses and unjust practices, will remain a foundation for our American economy.

That all said, the greatest and most important thing that Americans can do for themselves, is to take their oversight responsibility over their elected representatives dead serious. As long as bad government policy and incompetent leadership are rewarded with reelection, America cannot and will not improve her future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 12, 2008 11:23 AM
Comment #266631

I always imagine the economy as a circulatory system. Some organs of it may use or require more blood than others, but it pays to keep the blood circulating around freely through all parts of the body, most of the time.

The Republicans make the mistake of failing to address the circulation to the other parts of the body. If those parts end up undernourished, undersupplied, they can clot up, they can die and take the rest of the body with them.

In the end, the Rich can’t sustain an economy by giving people only the scraps from their table, and that grudgingly. This economy requires a more even distribution of wealth, even if it doesn’t need a perfectly even distribution. Fairness is not only a moral value, but helps keep the rich in good business.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 12, 2008 11:26 AM
Comment #266632

Wow, what rubish this post is.

How can one discuss econ without including capital as a discusion point?

Doesn’t the producer accumulate capital over time? Wouldn’t he want to put that capital to work and earn a return? Replace expensive labor with cheaper machines that require capital?

No wonder we are in the situation we are in with this type of analysis.

How can you even speak of captitalism, when you leave the root word out of your discusion.

And by the way, wouldn’t the chief be in the pocket of the producer if we project this to our society? The producer would then require the chief to cut his taxes to zero and put the chief out of business.

But you say the chief has the gun. If the producer was any good he would create his own to defend himself.

Alo, leave religion out of economic debates. Organized religion taxes almost as much as government via coercion and guilt.


Posted by: DCC at October 12, 2008 1:12 PM
Comment #266635

You are right and I concede the point that my choice of words was poor. Return to Socialism is invalid because ‘we’ (Americans) have never officially adopted Socialism as an ethos so saying we are returning to it doesn’t make sense. As an idea however, socialism - as you point out - vastly predates America, a fact no one would dispute. But, there are several points you make that parallel socialism but in a more militant way.

David, the Church body may have in some ways ostacized you for not becoming a member, but tithing (or taxation as its parallel) has never been a militant obligation. The bible says (in more words or less) NOT to give unless you do so with a happy heart, so the “churches-do-it-too” metaphor is very weak as support for adjusting course in this country toward more socialist climates in our great experiment and journey called America.

As a premise, let me say that CEO’s making hundreds of millions is ridiculous and only acceptable (IMO) if a stock’s value has increased a ridiculous percentage AND the shareholders vote and approve the salary. That said, the idea that the rich produce nothing is so irritatingly obtuse that I’m dissappointed I have to disprove it.

You advocate for women’s rights to abortion on this blog from time to time, and I thought of the over-statement that conservatives often make (or imply) that ALL women abort their babies because they are selfish and irresponsible. The same problem is true with your statement about the Rich. It is such an incredibly untrue statement.

First, rich (except in a tiny fraction of the population) is not a birthright. The great thing about America is that if you are willing to commit the ridiculous amounts of time and effort it takes to get there, there is a reward - wealth. I will one day be a part of the super wealthy, and the idea that I produce nothing is laughable. I have worked two jobs to afford the payment and financing of rental properties. I have spearheaded two companies, and managed their books, employees and marketing - a fact that has me going to bed often after midnight, and has me up again at 5 in the morning. (If there wasn’t a sabbath, I would surely be insane) I have created my wealth from thin air, in the realm of ideas and creative approaches to the challenges of business in Alaska and my reward for not blowing that money but diversifying into commercial real estate, is wealth - in ever increasing amounts I might add. Now take the CEO’s of companies: these are not some schmucks off of the street, and you don’t get picked to be CEO unless you have done incredible things with other companies. All this takes decades of education, trial and error, heartachingly long hours, and sacrifice. The reward for all this is the position and the Salary that comes along with it. The reason the more money you have in the bank is directly proportional to your fiscal conservatism (as a generality) is because the rich, or the will-be-rich-one-day, have watched others go home and watch football, have watched them work an 8 hour day, have watched them work just-enough to make it through the month. The very idea that the committment it takes to acheive wealth, the sacrifice, is unworthy of reward is more than a slap in the face, it’s a stab in the heart and a kick to the nuts. The pictures of my little girls that sits over my desk reminds me what I am working for - the ability to send them to a GREAT college - hopefully Hillsdale. But if they go, it will not be because everyone else’s tax dollars sent them (as Obama would have) it will be because I sacrificed immeasurable time and effort to save and invest so they could have that start to life.

I will assert that on a measurable scale, anyone who says the rich produce nothing, must themselves produce very little, and therefore be unable to see the forest for the trees, due to inexperience.

When you walk down the road of removing the pot-of-gold at the end of the painbow (not misspelled) THEN you open the door to real recession. Take away the carrot and see how far the donkey walks.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at October 12, 2008 1:50 PM
Comment #266638

Yukon, why address the church government parallel which was just an analogy, when the FACT of a socialized Military which now eats an ENORMOUS percentage of our federal budget, is so much more germaine to the topic between us?

Do you fear a Socialized Military that has stood the test of time for more than 230 years? Does its necessity somehow vindicate it as a socialized institution as opposed to say Medicare or a nationalized health insurance program? Is killing people a more worthy endeavor of being justified as a socialized institution than healing and saving peoples lives?

I think your comment has the religious argument and analogy turned inside out?

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 12, 2008 2:15 PM
Comment #266639

David -

You’re right - the military IS socialized, and the military health care system IS of higher overall quality than what the normal middle-class American citizen has access to.

Lee -

Your article has no meat. It has rhetoric, metaphor, and implication…but no meat. There are no hard facts, no hard data on which to base your suppositions.

And when it comes to the IRS, here’s a bone you’ll love to chew on: the IRS is one of the reasons America has been such an economic powerhouse for so many decades.

Yep, that’s right - I said it: the IRS is good for America. I base this on what I saw in third-world countries whose governments have no reliable system of taxation and thus have much less capital with which to build proper infrastructure from roads to schools to less-corrupt justice and law enforcement to regulations which ensure a high-quality product (China’s a great example of an industrial giant with little economic regulation - “Made in China”, that’s a great endorsement!).

If you don’t have a reliable way to collect taxes (and oversight on how those taxes are spent), your infrastructure will suffer…and so will all businesses and all citizens.

A well-run government is a good thing, Lee. The conservative view that government is inherently bad…is pollyannish at best. A group without government will either form a government or will descend into anarchy…from which the strongest will emerge to form some type of government anyway - which, like it or not, means government will ALWAYS be there. If you refuse the government, you will lose. If you try to work with the government to make it better, you might find a greater success than you ever thought possible.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at October 12, 2008 2:41 PM
Comment #266641

There is plenty of blame to go around to all. President Carter to Bush Sr. to Clinton to W.
Plus no one in Congress took their oversight obligations seriously.
The Senate and the House did not protect us.
If you really want change and if you really want to get the attention of Washington then it will take voting action.
The only thing Washington understands, other then money, is being re-elected to office.
The answer is RE-ELECT NO ONE.
Replace the House this November and one third of the Senate.
All new is a real change. Not just talk.
Use your vote for action.
Re-elect no one.

Posted by: Sean Hollahan at October 12, 2008 2:48 PM
Comment #266650

Sorry for not responding to the topic that was nearest and dearest to your heart. Had I but known, I wouldn’t have wasted everybody’s time.

I disagree with the notion of referring to our military as socialzed. The funding of our military comes from taxation, but the running of our military is voluntary. The sliding scale would be a more apt analogy. Do I think that waging war is more important than saving lives? If you would actually read my posts and not snipe at them then you would have the answer to that question. I said before, and I spoke in thread-relevant metaphor (I apologize) when I referred to the chief and his hut - but I believe the good ship America needs to forgo foreign aid for a few years until our infrastructure is realigned to support breakthrough education, health care and (though I didn’t post it) new forms of energy and transportation. It’s ridiculous that 75% of Europe is nuclear powered and you can get anywhere on a bullet train in a day, but America has none of these technologies implemented.

I do however see the necessity to adress terrorism elsewhere but in our streets and among us. The notion that radical islam can be negotiaited with is utopian and naive. As evidenced by the FACT that every major conflict in the world right now, exists between Muslim’s who are unable to get along with their neighbors. All 14 of them (conflicts).

Is our military necessary, yes. DO I support my tax dollars going to the military, yes. Do I support my dollars going to halliburton for no-bid contracts in the billions, of course not. As I have said, I am no fan of the current administration, nor its handling of the war. I am however glad that the botched attempts happened on foreign soil and not our own. I don’t need to see my fellow countrymen killed here at home in order to feel good about myself.

That said, while I am willing to accept that my dollars go to support the defense of this country, I am not willing to accept the (back to my original and still unanswered point) notion that the recipients of my tax dollars in the form of wellfare, should have the power to (through politics) dictate how much I am obligated to give. In a free society, the invalid should not have the power to dictate to the producer, how much of his income must be given to the invalid. Anyone who cannot understand this point is not thinking clearly and is irrational.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at October 12, 2008 6:34 PM
Comment #266652

Yukon Jake,

In my short rant, I noted Henry Ford in his early career, produced something. I am not saying anyone with wealth produces nothing. I don’t have stats on it, but my sense is that is a relatively small minority. I have run companies and watched wealthy owners build up businesses. I have no issue with someone working hard and smart, reaping a reward.

But what I see mostly are people who marry into wealth or by some other means, aquire enough wealth to control a company. They then produce next to nothing, as do often early retirees do, they then reap their largest rewards, simply through controlling stock, and hiring cutthroats to do their dirty work.

They make gains not by fiscal conservatism, or innovation but by cutting corners, shutting out competition, outright theft, and cheating and underpaying employees.

I chose Warren Buffet both for his revered position is our society and the means by which he aquired his wealth. I don’t revere him and think his business is immoral. It’s a legal gamble based on technicalities. He’s a great stock picker, but little else.

Since Buffet deals primarily with reinsurance, he remains at arms length to the fraud of insurance in general, but he profits from it none the less.

Again, don’t get me wrong: hard work, being smart, being fiscally conservative SHOULD be rewarded. My point is America has stopped rewarding that business model as compared to the legal trick, tax cheat, cut throat, short term scammer. Yes, you can still become wealthy through hard work and a little luck. But if you want real wealth, learn how to screw someone else, legally, or at least not get caught until you are safe.

Posted by: googlumpugus at October 12, 2008 6:52 PM
Comment #266654

Glenn Contrarian,

For an article that has no meat this one has elicited a very thoughtful discussion.

Secondly, I will admit to absurdity for the sake of illustration. My notes about the IRS are a part of that illustration. A great deal of stuff hard working people labor to create is consumed by people whose productive value to the economy should not be assumed as a given.

So what if it serves a good purpose?!? The IRS could be far more efficient and far less burdensome and far less inciteful of a whole other burdensome part of the economy if it was functioning under a law that was simpler.

Argue with that.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 12, 2008 8:26 PM
Comment #266655


I actually didn’t think of the producer as necessarily a rich man. He is simply a simple metaphor for anyone who labors to produce. Those who really organize the skills of those who work and maximize their efforts, or who, by extention, with the concept of money serving as a store for the necessary stuff, land, and equipment of production, also serve an enabling function in society. Are they overpaid? It’s certainly possible, but they also serve as a market for the capabilities of highly skilled craftsmen and artizans, which gives a market on a much more intellectually demanding level. That, in turn, provides an environment of nurture for such areas as philosophy and the sciences.

That, naturally, though, goes well beyond the scope of this little metaphor.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 12, 2008 8:40 PM
Comment #266656

This blog used to be worth reading… oh well, one more post for the road.

This simplistic and childish model was intended, I assume, to make out the thief to be the poor , i.e., the recipients of ‘welfare’. The producer, I presume is intended to be the hard working American conservative, honorable (read Christian) and stalwart. Finally, I take it that the producer/turned chief is the wicked government represented by liberals.

Follow the money. The producers in this model are the hardworking Americans, liberal, conservative, and independent, who go to work each day to produce a way of life. The thieves are those who do not produce, right, but take a noticeable share of the production? Follow the money… the thieves must then be of course, the money lenders, deal makers, skimmers off the top, who rake off huge sums of money from transfers of dollars from one producer to the other. The recipients of government contracts for defense spending, farm subsidies, insurance companies that don’t provide coverage, pharmacuetical companies that deal with goverment to get above market rates, etc. This must necessarily be so, because these ‘steal’ much more money than those who sit around on their butts collecting welfare.
Finally the ‘chiefs’ must be the regulators of the economy and the government. The history of the past 70 years will show that the worst of the chiefs are the Republicans who have taken (spent) more and put a larger dent in the economy than the Democrats. Sorry, but facts are facts.

If you are going to use an analogy to support your position, you should use one that actually does.

Posted by: LibRick at October 12, 2008 9:18 PM
Comment #266663


I love the defensive overanalysis. No. It is none of those things. It is simply a metaphor for the fact that the more people who produce in an economy, versus those who consume but don’t produce, the better the lifestyle on the island will be.

The ideal is that all three do something that actually creates value, enriches life, feeds, clothes, or houses the inhabitants. That doesn’t rule out government, or even Democrats.

There are no partizans on the island. There are, though, three consumers, one producer, and an analogy for the political games of the present day. That is really as far as the metaphor goes.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 12, 2008 10:36 PM
Comment #266668

LibRick, I agree with you, and as a long-time reader and a short-time poster, it’s kind of sad to watch it slide away.
The overbearing arrogance and supremist attitude is kind of taking over. Just take a look back through time and remember some of the great contributors who have left. What’s really sad is that those who are stomping all over the opinons and ideals of some of the rest of us, just have ho idea what they’re doing. Closed minds !

Posted by: janedoe at October 12, 2008 11:25 PM
Comment #266724

“All that is going to happen going forward is an adjustment to the mix, such that health care insurance will become socialized for example, while entrepreneurial capitalism in the private sector remains vibrant and strong in other areas.”

Remer, the writer, conveniently ignores that these socialized programs, (entitlements) never remain static, but grow by leaps and bounds. Payroll taxes now exceed 15% (employee and employer contribution) and is, in reality paid entirely by the employee. If and when socialized health care premiums are added to the payroll tax how high will it go…18%, 20% or more?

At 20% for payroll taxes we must work 73 days each year to pay for entitlements which we (individually) may never use. Add to this a federal income tax of just 20% and all the state and local taxes we pay and it is not unrealistic to have middle-class workers paying 50% of more of their incomes in taxes. At this point, we must work for six months before we get to keep a dollar of our labor.

Does that sound like “vibrant and strong entrepreneurial capitalism in the private sector”? Notice that we now have the socialized sector and the private sector according to this writer. How long before the private sector disappears? How long before Remer’s misleading word “mix” becomes 100% socialized?

Question, will liberals be satisfied with just one more huge socialized program of entitlement?

Greed and lust for power can never be satisfied. For liberals, taxes can never be too high, and the blind and foolish electorate demanding even more grow with every new government hand-out.

Posted by: Jim M at October 13, 2008 4:41 PM
Comment #266728
Lee Jamison wrote: Economics in the Age of Obama
Has either party or any politician in Congress displayed much (if any) fiscal responsibility lately?

Unless someone can name at least 268 (of the 535) in Congress, then we’re screwed.

The National Debt (now at $10.3 Trillion) has more than doubled since year 2000. And for most of the time since year 2000, Republicans had a majority in both houses, and a Republican administration.

So why did you title this article “Economic in the Age of Obama” ?
While Obama has only been in Congress a few years, he did vote on a lot of pork-barrel

The fact is, too many (if not all) incumbent politicians in Congress in BOTH parites have been extremely fiscally irresponsible for decades, as evidenced by the economic instability we see today (which will probably get much worse by 2012, since all that is being accomplished is a delay of the inevitable by growing the massive debt larger).

The voters are culpable too for repeatedly rewarding THEIR congress persons for all of it with perpetual 85%-to-90% re-election rates.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at October 13, 2008 5:25 PM
Comment #266733

Jim M., do some research their Bub. A nationalized health insurance plan relieves employers of all obligations for health insurance either explicitly, or by attrition.

Employers will be freed of the burden of health insurance premiums with a nationalized health insurance program, whether or not that outcome is in the original design. It is the inevitable course, as evidenced by every other such nationalized system in place in the world today.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 13, 2008 6:06 PM
Comment #266742

I was having a little fun with the name of Gwen Ifill’s book since Obama seems to be the catalyst of all things Democrat these days.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 13, 2008 7:10 PM
Comment #266774

Gwen Ifill is definitely biased, like most people.

Regardless of who the next president is, voters should carefully reconsider their bad habit of blindly pulling the party-lever, until that finally becomes too painful.

That’s not likely to any significant extent in this election, but voters are gradually growing more anti-incumbent.
Two lousy candidates for president may be increasing the anti-incumbent sentiment.
None of the candidates for president/vice-president have much to brag about.
All of their voting records stink.
They’re all FOR-SALE.
They all look the other way.
They all vote on pork-barrel.
They all fail to police their own ranks.
They all violate the U.S. Constitution (e.g. Article V).
They all lie and/or twist the truth.
Most despicably pit American citizens and illegal aliens against each other for profits, votes, and (supposed but severely misplaced) compassion.
None of them will address these 10 most major abuses causing these 17 deteriorating economic conditions.

So, the anti-incumbent sentiment is growing, and deteriorating economic conditions is fueling that. In fact, the anti-incumbent sentiment may be larger than ever since NOV-1994.

It appears that this will not be a good year for Republicans, because all the Republican incumbent politicians have left now are their hard-core Republican loyalists who will always blindly pull the party-lever. But the Republican party has lost the independents that they need to stop the falling numbers of Republicans in Congress. Of course, the Republicans are getting what they deserve. Unfortunately, the Democrat politicians will be rewarded for the Republicans’ demise, when the Democrat politicians are essentially no more responsible than the Republicans. Not to any significant degree that really matters.

Unfortunately, the voters appear to be voting mostly Democrat this year, as if they believe that will make things better.
However, in 2-to-4 years, more voters will probably start voting out more incumbent politicians in BOTH parties, as the incompetent and dysfunctional Congress continue to destroy the economy with massive debt, borrowing, money-printing, pork-barrel, waste, and growing government to nightmare proportions. There will be more unhappy voters by year 2010 and 2012. And perhaps, when the voters are finally sufferring the consequences of their poor voting habits, the voters may finally question their bad habit of blindly pulling the party-lever, and do what most unhappy voters did in year 1933 when they ousted 206 members of Congress.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at October 14, 2008 7:56 AM
Comment #266821

Lee -

I won’t argue that the IRS needs to operate with a simpler tax code - but what tax code would be perfectly fair? The stepped tax rates we currently have? A flat rate? And what about the tax breaks and adjustments that are scattered throughout the tax laws? How much is too little to tax? How much is too much? What tax breaks should we discard? This year? What about next year? And once these are entrenched, how does one ‘unentrench’ them?

Frankly, anyone who would claim to be able to design a fairer tax code by oneself is IMO guilty of hubris. Again, one works with the tools and situation at hand, and not with the tools and situation one wishes for.

But the thrust of my reply to you is that the IRS, thanks to its ability to detect and prosecute tax fraud (which, like it or not, is one of the more efficient government agencies in the world), has been crucial to the development, defense, and prosperity of our country.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at October 14, 2008 3:51 PM
Comment #266899

Here’s a much fairer and simpler 17% tax system (a neutral/proportional tax; neither regressive or progressive).

However, a regressive tax system is only one of 10 major abuses facing most Americans today.

And one of those abuses is possibly about to finally collapse the growing debt pyramid.

Do you remember people telling you that GDP has been growing, and that we can’t be in recession without negative GDP growth?
Look at this graph.
Look at down-turn of the GDP in 2005 Dollars (blue diamonds; near top of graph).
Look at down-turn of the GDP in 1950 Dollars (green diamonds; near bottom of graph).
GDP, measured in BOTH 2005 and 1950 Dollars, has been FALLING since year 2006!

Same graph of DEBT and GDP, but un-stretched:

Has this been reported anywhere on any news or financial channels ?

How could inflation ( really only be 3%-to-5% (currently reported to only be 5.37%) ?
Especially when the U.S. Dollar is falling drastically falling ( against all major international currencies ?
How could the U.S. Dollar be falling so fast against all major international currencies if inflation was really only 3%-to-5% ?

HHHHMMMmmmmmmm … what else are we being lied to about ?
Unemployment statistics?
Income statistics?

How can we go from a “mere economic slowdown” and a “fundamentally sound economy” to “economic crisis” in the span of a few weeks?
Not even the federal government and Federal Reserve can be that incompetent, can they?
That means someone has been hiding the facts, fudging the data, and cooking the books.
It’s only a matter of time before the debt pyramid becomes so large that we can’t even keep up with the interest payments (that is, not without completely eroding the value of the U.S. currency).
Already, the federal government and Federal Reserve are borrowing and printing the money to merely pay the annaul $429+ Billion interest on the $10.3 Trillion national debt.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 15, 2008 9:53 AM
Comment #266929


This is one of my main frustrations with the MSM. WHY can they not report the fact that if inflation was calculated now in the same way it was when Carter was president, that the rate of inflation would be between 11 and 12 percent?

I can’t lay the recalculation egg at the door of the Republicans, though - it started under Clinton.

But here is something interesting comparing the Carter years to the Nixon/Ford years…and to the Bush II years. I think you’ll like it.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at October 15, 2008 1:38 PM
Comment #266942


The inflation calculation changed first in 1983 when Reagan was president (JAN-1981 to JAN-1989), and then in 1998 when Clinton was president (JAN-1993 to JAN-2001).

Thanks for the article.
Yes, I like that article.

It’s true.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 15, 2008 2:35 PM
Comment #267014

d.a.n -

And here in the Republican column, on the home turf of the Republicans, the replies from the cons to your article is…hm…the silence is deafening….

Hard to defend the indefensible…but then, the economy was never their strong suit.

“Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”
Dick Cheney

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at October 15, 2008 11:26 PM
Comment #267127

You will notice that the Misery Index Was 13.45 when Jerry Ford Left Office, and the index was 20.76 when Jimmy Carter left office. Jerry ford did reduce Inflation.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at October 16, 2008 8:16 PM
Comment #267143

The misery index depends on various metics that are not being reported accurately.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 17, 2008 12:12 AM
Comment #267162

Point Taken d.a.n, sorry i didn’t elaborate further, That was the index that Carter used while he was running for president.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at October 17, 2008 8:52 AM
Comment #267215
Rodney Brown wrote: That was the index that Carter used while he was running for president.


Misery Index = Unemployment rate + Inflation rate
Rank, President, Time Period, Index, Average, Low, High:
05, Harry Truman, 1948–1952, 7.87, Dec 1952 = 3.45, Jan 1948 = 13.63
01, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953–1960, 6.26, Jul 1953 = 2.97, Apr 1958 = 10.98
03, John F. Kennedy, 1961–1962, 7.27, Jul 1962 = 6.40, Jul 1961 = 8.38
02, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963–1968, 6.78, Nov 1965 = 5.70, Jul 1968 = 8.19
07, Richard Nixon, 1969–1973, 9.98, Jan 1968 = 7.80, Dec 1973 = 13.61
10, Gerald Ford, 1974–1976, 15.93, Dec 1976 = 12.66, Jan 1975 = 19.90
11, Jimmy Carter, 1977–1980, 16.27, Apr 1978 = 12.60, Jun 1980 = 21.98
09, Ronald Reagan, 1981–1988, 12.19, Dec 1986 = 7.70, Sep 1981 = 19.33 (Inflation measurement changed in 1983)
08, George H. W. Bush, 1989–1992, 10.68, Sep 1989 = 9.64, Nov 1990 = 12.47
04, Bill Clinton, 1993–2000, 7.80, Apr 1998 = 5.74, Jan 1993 = 10.56 (Inflation measurement changed in 1998)
06, George W. Bush, Jan-2001 - Jun 2008, 8.01, Oct 2006 = 5.71, Jul 2008 = 11.30

The Ranking for year 2001-to-Present is probably the worst ever, since by the pre-1983 measurement method, inflation now is actually 15.6%, and actuall7 9.8% by the pre-1998 measurement method.

  • ___________________ INFLATION RATES ___________
  • 16.0% |———————————————————-
  • 15.5% |———————————————————3
  • 15.6%
  • 15.0% |———————————————————3
  • 14.5% |——————————————————-3-
  • 14.0% |——————————————————-3-
  • 13.5% |——————————————————3—
  • 13.0% |——————————————————3—
  • 12.5% |——————————————————3—
  • 12.0% |——————————————————3—
  • 11.5% |——————————-3——————-3—-
  • 11.0% |——————————3-333—————3—-
  • 10.5% |—————————-3——-3————-3—-
  • 10.0% |3————-3———33———3——-33-3——
  • 09.5% |-3———-3 3——3————-3—33—3——8
  • 9.8%
  • 09.0% |—3——-3—-3333—————-3-3———-8-
  • 08.5% |—-3—-3——————————3————8-
  • 08.0% |——333——————————————-8—
  • 07.5% |——————————-8——————-8—-
  • 07.0% |——————————8-888—————8—-
  • 06.5% |—————————-8——-8————-8—-
  • 06.0% |8————-8———88———8——-88-8——
  • 05.5% |-8———-8 8——8————-8—88—8——c
  • 5.37%
  • 05.0% |—8——-8—-8888—————-8-8———-c-
  • 04.5% |—-8—-8——————-c———8————c-
  • 04.0% |c—-888——————-c-ccc—————-c—
  • 03.5% |-c————————-c——-c—————c—
  • 03.0% |—c———-c———cc———c————-c—-
  • 02.5% |—c———c-c——c————-c——cc-c——
  • 02.0% |—-c——c—-cccc—————-c-cc—c——-
  • 01.5% |——c—c——————————c—————
  • 01.0% |——-cc————————————————
  • 00.5% |———————————————————-
  • 00.0% |———————————————————-
  • _______2——2——2——2——2——2——2——2—A
  • _______0——0——0——0——0——0——0——0—U
  • _______0——0——0——0——0——0——0——0—G
  • _______1——2——3——4——5——6——7——8—-
  • WHERE:
  • 3=Pre-1983 Inflation measurement method
  • 9=Pre-1998 Inflation measurement method
  • c=Current Inflation measurement method

Some people are telling us that inflation is not that bad.
However, inflation is a lot worse than being reported.
And when inflation is graphed in past currencies (both 1950 and 2005 Dollars), the truth is revealed.
While GDP has stagnated in current 2008 Dollars, it has actually fallen sharply when measured in other past currencies.
Where in the last 108 years has that ever happened?
Not even in the Great Depression or World War II is there a dip on the graph as there is today.

  • _________________ GDP (in 1950 Dollars) ___________

  • $1.7T |——————————————————————

  • $1.6T |—————————————————————x-

  • $1.5T |————————————————————-x-x

  • $1.4T |————————————————————x—-

  • $1.3T |———————————————————-x——

  • $1.2T |——————————————————-x———

  • $1.1T |——————————————————x———-

  • $1.0T |—————————————————-x————

  • $0.9T |————————————————-x—————

  • $0.8T |———————————————-x——————

  • $0.7T |——————————————-x———————

  • $0.6T |—————————————-x————————

  • $0.5T |————————————-x—————————

  • $0.4T |———————————x——————————-

  • $0.3T |————————xxxxxx———————————

  • $0.2T |———————-x——————————————

  • $0.1T |xxxxxxxxxxxxxx———————————————

  • $0.0T |——————————————————————

  • _______1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2

  • _______9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 0 0 0

  • _______0 0 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 0 0 1

  • _______0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0
  • __________________ GDP (in 2005 Dollars) ___________

  • $14.5T |——————————————————————

  • $14.0T |————————————————————-x—

  • $13.5T |————————————————————x-x-

  • $13.0T |————————————————————x-x-

  • $12.5T |————————————————————x-x-

  • $12.0T |———————————————————-x——

  • $11.5T |———————————————————-x——

  • $11.0T |———————————————————-x——

  • $10.5T |———————————————————-x——

  • $10.0T |———————————————————-x——

  • $09.5T |———————————————————x——-

  • $09.0T |———————————————————x——-

  • $08.5T |——————————————————-x———

  • $08.0T |—————————————————-x————

  • $07.5T |————————————————-x—————

  • $07.0T |———————————————-x——————

  • $06.5T |——————————————-x———————

  • $06.0T |——————————————x———————-

  • $05.5T |—————————————-x————————

  • $05.0T |—————————————x————————-

  • $04.5T |————————————-x—————————

  • $04.0T |————————————x—————————-

  • $03.5T |———————————-x——————————

  • $03.0T |———————————x——————————-

  • $02.5T |————————-xxxxx———————————

  • $02.0T |————————x—————————————-

  • $01.5T |———————-x——————————————

  • $01.0T |———-xxxxxxxx——————————————-

  • $00.5T |xxxxxxx——————————————————-

  • $00.0T |——————————————————————

  • _______1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2

  • _______9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 0 0 0

  • _______0 0 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 0 0 1

  • _______0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0
  • That dip is masked (hidden) when viewing GDP in current 2008 Dollars.

    Thus, if the is: Misery Index = Unemployment rate + Inflation rate
    Then the current Misery Index since 2001, based on the pre-1983 Inflation measurement method, is: 15.6% + 6.1% = 21.7% (as of the end of Aug-2008).
    And that 21.7% Misery Index is only less than the 21.97% for Jimmy Carter for 1977-1980.
    And that 21.7% is very likely to get much worse (if it hasn’t already since Aug-2008) before 31-DEC-2008, making the Misery Index for 2001-to-2008 that worst ever since year 1948.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 17, 2008 3:07 PM
    Comment #267239

    It’s a bloody Mess d.a.n, Thanks, and with Unemployment climbing Bush will Break the all time misery Index Record. wooo hooo :(

    Posted by: Rodney Brown at October 17, 2008 5:02 PM
    Comment #267429

    Mervyn’s going out of business, closing all stores.

    Posted by: Rodney Brown at October 19, 2008 8:35 AM
    Comment #267943

    A far left Media …
    A far left President …
    A far left Congress …
    A far left Senate …
    eliminates all the checks and
    balances that our democracy is based upon.
    A vote for Obama is a vote for voter fraud,
    a corrupt media, and the road to Socialism.
    God Help Us !!!

    Posted by: Howard at October 22, 2008 7:10 PM
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