Two Cheers for the (Latest) Bailout


As an opponent of the bailouts, I’m thrilled to see that President Bush has unilaterally extended $17 billion to the auto companies, conditional on their being financially viable by March. No really, I’m actually happy about this, at least given the little we now know.

Why? Because the money came out of the already-allocated $700,000,000,000. Rather than waiting for the next Congress to throw good money after bad in January, Bush (probably without meaning to) diminished the amount that my generation of taxpayers is likely to be on the hook for.

Given that the government stole $700,000,000,000 from me and my friends, I'd rather see that go to moderately wealthy autoworkers than to obscenely wealthy investment bankers.

It will be up to the Obama administration to make the rest of the hard decisions on this case. Hopefully, he'll show them tough love, call the loans if the automakers (especially Chrysler) don't become viable, and avoid spending even more money taxpayer money propping up the affluent.

Posted by Chops at December 19, 2008 11:50 AM
Comments
Comment #272397

It is encouraging, but I’m afraid it’s way too little way too late.

The dominoes that are GM and Chrysler are already tipped over too far for this to make any difference. And make no mistake about it, their tumble will take a lot of subordinates (suppliers, aftermarketers, dealers, etc.) down with them, including companies vital to our national security.

When it’s all said and done, people are going to wonder why they offered to spend so much (a blank check, really) on the banks and so relatively little on the auto manufacturers.

These are the fruits of political conservatism, folks. I guess we all have to be reminded of that every 3 generations or so.

Posted by: Varsity at December 19, 2008 12:34 PM
Comment #272398

I’m not convinced that the auto makers need a government bailout. Even if it is from the $700,000,000,000 already stolen from my grand youngins.
And I’m sure as hell against some sort of ‘Auto Czar”. Another bauracracy is just what we don’t need.
What’s wrong with chapter 11? The auto companies will still be in business, they’ll be under the eye of the courts, and we won’t have another unneeded government agency sucking up money we don’t have while not doing any good at all.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 19, 2008 12:34 PM
Comment #272400

Ron >What’s wrong with chapter 11? The auto companies will still be in business

With the current, still screwed-up state of the credit markets, it is highly unlikely they will be able to line up financing on the open market to come out of chapter 11. Chapter 11 is tantamount to chapter 7 liquidation - they will cease to exist.

Yes, you read that right: the Bushies fell all over themselves to give the banks $700B and it hasn’t made much of a difference in the seized-up credit markets, while they’ve taken at least 2 weeks and made the auto makers jump through hoops for their (relatively) measly $17B.

Posted by: Varsity at December 19, 2008 12:45 PM
Comment #272405

Varsity
Guess what! I was against the first $700,000,000,000,. And I’m against this too.
While I hate to see thousands of jobs at risk we cannot afford to keep bailing out everyone that can’t run their businesses.
Who do y’all think is gonna pay for this? It sure ain’t gonna be the folks getting the money. But then maybe y’all don’t care what kind of future your grandyoungins have.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 19, 2008 1:05 PM
Comment #272411

Ron >I was against the first $700,000,000,000,.

Me too.

Ron >And I’m against this too.

Me too, but it’s hard to argue that it’s OK to bail out the banks to the tune of $700B but not the auto makers at all.

As you could see, the automaker bailout very nearly did not happen this year, but Bush is in historical image damage control mode. Had the automakers gone down on or shortly after his watch, Duhbya would have forever after been synonymous with Herbert Hoover.

Ron >Who do y’all think is gonna pay for this?

Why, of course it will be the same people who will pay for all the other Republican/Conservative deficit spending of the last 8 years: my children and your children and our children’s children, etc.

But it will be far easier to re-claim the $17B from the automakers than the $700B from the banks: the TARP administrators already have lot track of where much of the money has gone and what it was used for.

My guess is someone like Warren Buffett or Kirk Kerkorian will come along and swoop up the bankrupt automakers for a little more than the amount of the bailout and quickly turn them around, if history is any indication.

Posted by: Varsity at December 19, 2008 1:23 PM
Comment #272413

Ron,
Don’t be too sour on this bailout. The principle issue in the whole economic situatuion is trust. To loan money you must trust you can get it back. To buy a car you must trust you can get it serviced, buy gas for it, etc.

That is why I haven’t been wailing about the bailouts. Money is not value. It is a symbol for value. If we don’t spend the money and the trust that makes economic transactions possible evaporates, nothing of value will be created or transacted and our saved money becomes worthless anyway.

We need to get people to spend money to buy cars, so people will make cars, so people who make cars can spend money for (X) so people who make that can spend money, etc., etc.

If there’s lots of economic activity we can deal with the consequences of how we got it started.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 19, 2008 1:34 PM
Comment #272418

Money is not value, Lee? Perhaps not strictly - you can’t eat it - but it’s a claim on value.

One of the biggest travesties being perpetrated here is that the government is effectively taking limited resources away from successful businesses and giving it to failing ones. If the gov’t weren’t borrowing $700 billion, there would be more loans available, at better interest rates, for those who have a legitimate shot at making money and creating jobs.

Instead, that money is being sucked up and given to some of the least creative and least accountable businesses in America. If they couldn’t use their own money wisely, why should I expect them to use mine wisely??

Posted by: Chops at December 19, 2008 2:04 PM
Comment #272425

Chops, Yes and no. I can claim all sorts of things, but for a transaction to occur you must acknowledge my claim. Money, then, represents a measure of mutual trust.

In as much as we were talking inflation earlier, you can see how this become germane. If transactions become stuck classical economics says the price must fall until the resistance to the transaction is overcome. In real life all sorts of things make the fall of prices a grinding, broken process, though. What is happening in the current situation is the liquidity of the money supply is increased by moves that effectively devalue (but not really, yet, since it is a history of transactions that establish actual monetary valuations) the currency itself. More transactions can then occur (public economic trust is restored) at which point the increase in transactions allows the financial system to remove excess liquidity before the new round of activity can erode actual pricing.

I’m pretty sure that’s the theory under which financial leaders are working. It doesn’t sound awful to me, as long as they can pull the excess money supply out before dollar prices start to fall.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 19, 2008 3:03 PM
Comment #272427

Woops, I meant “dollar values”, as in the velue of the dollar itself.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 19, 2008 3:05 PM
Comment #272443

Chops wrote; “Rather than waiting for the next Congress to throw good money after bad in January, Bush (probably without meaning to) diminished the amount that my generation of taxpayers is likely to be on the hook for.”

In my opinion Chops, any taxpayer money used to bail out Detroit is throwing money away regardless of the pocket from which it is withdrawn.

Taxpayer money lavished upon our nations banks (with which I disagreed) is not being thrown at them because they can’t compete as is the case with Detroit. And, banks have a fiduciary responsibility to their depositors which is partially backed up by the FDIC.

Detroit has stockholders and bondholders but no depositors. And, Detroit is non-competitive unlike our banks.

Whether we throw $14 billion or $100 billion at Detroit it will not make them competitive without severe restructuring. And, it won’t encourage more American’s to buy their products.

Keeping the plant running and employees paid does not translate into a recovery…merely a reprieve. A conservative president would never entertained such a move.

We need to spur the purchase of American made vehicles along with the restructuring of Detroit. Government has many tools to encourage buying products made in the US and doing so would make infinitely more sense.

Posted by: Jim M at December 19, 2008 5:58 PM
Comment #272455


The $17 billion is the tip of the iceburg. What do liberals think, Jan.,20, the economy is going to jump up off the floor and take off like a rocket?

We haven’t even begun to see the bad yet. Wait till comercial property slumps. Wait till tax revenues come in and towns, cities and states start felling the pinch even more than they are now. Wait till the housing market takes another downturn, which it always does a few months into a recession.

2009 is likely going to be a bad year for car sales, possibly one of the worst in history and it is going to take a whole lot more billions to keep the big three afloat.

Coming out in support of the UAW in no way diminishes the fact that the Democratic party for the past twenty years has been conjoined at the mindset with Republicans in a class war against workers.

I can’t wait to see how well the liberals are going to support the coal miners union, the railroad workers that haul the coal, the power plant workers that turn it into electricity and the construction workers that maintain the plants. Every year, hundreads of construction workers, representing many trades, are needed to repair and maintain each coal fired power plant. I did just that for eight years.

Corporate solar farms, corporate wind farms and corporate nuclear plants aren’t going to come close to replacing the jobs involved with coal.

Posted by: jlw at December 19, 2008 8:56 PM
Comment #272459

Varsity
None of the bailouts should have happened. And it has to stop somewhere. Here’s as good of place as any.
It ain’t the conservatives that’s got this economy screwed. It’s the duopoly that’s done it. I know y’all think Bush is conservative, but trust me he ain’t no more conservative than I am liberal. No true conservative is part of the duopoly.
But your right. Our youngins, grandyoungins, and great grandyoungins will be paying for this as well as the last 50 years of irresponsible deficit spending.

Lee
So OK to put our youngins futures in jeopardy to save the butts of the folks that’s got their companies in in bad shape. I don’t think so.
Then again my company hasn’t been doing to well. The drought down here has put a stain on everyone and a whole heap of folks haven’t paid me. Maybe the government could give the agricultural businesses down here say $10,000,000,000. After all, it ain’t fair for us to struggle while irresponsible CEOs get their butts bailed out.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 19, 2008 11:41 PM
Comment #272468

Every state controlled by democrats is in dire financial condition. Why would anyone think that a democrat president and a congress controlled by democrats could do any better than these states? If we are hurting in this economy now, just think how bad it will be in two years. Historically, bailouts have never worked. Look at the history of a government financed railroad (Conrail). They were never able to operate without government money until they were bought out by the CSX and NS railroads. Another example is Amtrak.

Will the 17 billion help the auto industry, NO? Who is going to buy a car from these companies in the next 3 months, not knowing if they will be around to support the product they sold. Further more, the national attitude was against this bailout and was seen by members of the senate who stood for the desires of their constituents and yet was over-ridden by the president. I propose that the American people will not buy vehicles from any company who accepted the bailout simply in protest against the government and the companies. The problem is that American automakers cannot compete with non-union companies. Foreign carmakers have been proven to be able to make a dependable product. The warranty of foreign autos far exceeds those of American. It was revealed 40 years ago that the American automakers made their main profits from selling repair parts and not from the initial sale of the auto. The big three was forced to build a vehicle that would compete with the reliability of those foreign made. Until the big three can build a vehicle that can compete in price, they will continue to slump. Hence, the unions enter the picture. When union controlled automakers are forced to pay guaranteed wages (whether working or not) and pay exuberant benefit packages to workers who can retire as early as their mid-forties, it is impossible to compete in price. The UAW is killing their employer. The UAW is not concerned about their members; they are concerned about their own positions, power, and benefits.

The president tried to work out a bailout or loan that had strings attached, which would require union as well as company concessions. Good idea, but will never happen. The leader of the UAW said yesterday, that when BHO and the democrats took control in January, these concessions would be renegotiated. This will happen, because the Democratic Party is beholden to the unions.

Posted by: Oldguy at December 20, 2008 9:05 AM
Comment #272469

When the price of gas soared in the early 70’s, Americans dumped their big American cars for the smaller foreign made fuel-efficient cars. As the price of fuel came down and as the financial status of Americans improved, and the big three saw the desire of the American people to own SUV’s and trucks, they met that need. Liberal tree huggers continued to buy the foreign cars because of the environment. The rest of America wanted vehicles that word protect their families in an accident, would be comfortable in a long trip, and would pull a camper or boat. The American automaker met the needs of the consumer. In the meantime, the liberal tree huggers moved from fuel-efficient foreign cars to bicycles and battery powered golf carts. The democrats, eager to support the tree-huggers, refused to allow the use of coal, nuclear, or natural gas as a means to produce electricity and ultimately release oil for other needs. Most power plants on the east coast are oil fired. Further more, they refused to allow exploration and production of domestic oil. With the world’s economy on an upward trend and countries becoming industrialized, it was natural for the price of oil to rise. The left love’s to tell how much oil we consume, per capita, and yet has never tried to convert oil fired power plants to coal or nuclear. When the price of oil skyrocketed, it was only natural that an implosion of the economy would take place. This would be a perfect time to begin drilling for our own oil, but that could never happen because we are all worshipping at the altar of “Global Warming”.

Let me pose a question, “what would be the results of a middle-east war that destroyed oil production?” Would the economy get worse or better?

Posted by: Oldguy at December 20, 2008 9:37 AM
Comment #272488


“As the price of oil came down and as the financial statis of Americans improved, and the big three saw the desire of the American people to own suv’s and trucks, they met that need.”

Oldguy:

What effect did Opec’s increase of production and reduction in the price of oil have on conservation measures and a need to be free of oil dependence?

What effect did the big three’s advertising campaigns have in fueling the American peoples desire to have suv’s and trucks? Do people really believe that the only effective use of advertising is for the purpose of gaining market share?

By far, the fuel most used to produce electricity is coal. Second is nuclear with 20% of the production. At this time and in the next 20 years, the trend in new power plants calls for the use of natural gas for electric power production. What effect will that have on the price of natural gas for home heating?

In the 1960’s and 70’s the amount of oil used to produced electricity was reduced to 17%. Today, barely 2 percent of our electricity is produced by oil. Two percent, Oldguy.

By the accounts of the oil industry itself, American oil fields, both those being exploited and those yet to be exploited amount to no more that 3 to 5 percent of the worlds oil reserves, an amount that we could completely exhaust in a decade or less at current levels of use. Example, the controversial oil fielde of Anwar contaim approximately a six month supply of oil at the rate that we burn it.

If a war in the Middle East resulted in the destruction of production in that region, it would be cataclismic for both the industrialized world and the developing nations because we have done virtually nothing to reduce our dependence on oil. Do you mean, what if Israel were to nuc those oil fields?

The real questions are: What effect will the control of Mid-East oil by foreign suitors and the expatriation of 50 to 75 percent of the wealth generated by that oil have on the people of the Middle East? What effect of a reduction in price of that oil by the foreign suitors have on our need to free ourselves of our addiction to that oil and other sources of foreign oil?

Oil is a finite resource and when it is gone, its gone. It will be gone in just a few decades. Shall we wait until oil is gone to react?

Posted by: jlw at December 20, 2008 3:09 PM
Comment #272499

>Every state controlled by democrats is in dire financial condition.
Posted by: Oldguy at December 20, 2008 09:05 AM

Old,

Are you saying that the states in conservative control are not in trouble? Be fore you answer that question, take a look at the financial situation of Georgia…the redest of the red states…

This is a financial meltdown…what part of ‘financial’, or ‘meltdown’, is so hard for you to understand?

We are in deep doodoo, and you are comparing apples to oranges?

I’d suggest you shake this one off and see the national and world situations for what they are, not what yoiu want them to be…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 20, 2008 5:39 PM
Comment #272500

PS:

Old, I assume you think economic problems in New York, and California, are separate from those of Podunk and Yazoo City…woops!..Wrong again…let the two most populace and wealthiest states fail and see how many small businesses in Podunk and Yazoo City have to close down.

National disaster means the whole nation suffers.

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act…read it and weep…it says, in effect…”pass me, and in about nine years, you will see a global financial meltdown”…and that’s just the first sentence…after that it REALLY gets rough…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 20, 2008 5:46 PM
Comment #272502

The proximate trigger for the current crisis was not actually the drop in housing prices. It was the spike in fuel prices. We had been dealing with a falling housing market for two years, but the fuel situation pushed Detroit over the precipice and nobody could stand in front of dominoes as fast as they were falling anymore.

The inherent instability of world oil markets is no longer tolerable. Sure, the average price of oil will be low over the long haul, (and even much, much lower as we show serious signs of weaning ourselves from the need of it) but the damage done to the economy in those moments when it is not, and by the whipsawing from heights to valley floors is too devastating to be dependent on, and investing in, oil forever. You would not commit to raising your children in a place where you depended on shipments of oxygen that might not always arrive on time, even if that oxygen were promised for free! Why do we do exactly the same thing with the fuel that makes our economy function?

It is bloody stupid.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 20, 2008 5:55 PM
Comment #272516


Lee, the raising of interest rates triggered the huge rise in mortgage defaults. Your right that the price of oil made a bad situation unbearable.

Posted by: jlw at December 20, 2008 8:49 PM
Comment #272522

I’m not sure about the impact of high oil prices…they might have caused a few to default on their house payment…but even real estate that is not being paid for has value.

I believe, from my gut, that the stratospheric rise in non-valued bundles of debt, and the insurance thereof without the reserves necessary to cover those defaults, was the culprit that brought the house-of-cards down.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 20, 2008 9:40 PM
Comment #272523

PS:

I said it above, and I’ll say it again…

>Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act…read it and weep…it says, in effect…”pass me, and in about nine years, you will see a global financial meltdown”…and that’s just the first sentence…after that it REALLY gets rough…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 20, 2008 9:42 PM
Comment #272555

I read an article recently in which the writer posed an interesting idea. With oil prices at rock-bottom prices now would be a good time for the US to be purchasing huge amounts of oil and storing it anywhere we can find an empty tank or exhausted oil well.

Such huge reserves of “cheap” oil could be used to offset future shortages (manipulated or real) and place the US in the position of having a reliable and reasonably priced supply.

And, with sufficient reserves at “fire sale” prices we could confidently divert resources to continue the research and development of new energy. We can keep our oil reserves in the ground which will satisfy the left and the environmentalists, guarantee a supply at a price we decide upon, and get on with the future.

Since it has become unprofitable for US to drill for new oil it may make sense to purchase the product from those willing to pump and sell at low prices. I don’t think oil will become a “white elephant” and worthless any time soon.

Posted by: Jim M at December 21, 2008 1:53 PM
Comment #272604

>I don’t think oil will become a “white elephant” and worthless any time soon.
Posted by: Jim M at December 21, 2008 01:53 PM

Jim M,

As long as oil is available, we will never wean ourselves off it…that’s why we say we are addicted to it. When we finally understand that oil is not an infinite resource, we will find alternatives…postponing will put entirely at the expense of future generations. IT IS NO LONGER AN OPTION. We must act now, when the new jobs from replacing oil with renewables are available to those who so desparately need them, and our nation can benefit from slowing the flow of our currency into other nation’s coffers.

We all know by now that no matter how much oil we have, it will not last forever, and we also know that the sooner we find new energy resourses, we will be better off, and we know that if we are aware of oil availability we will not get serious about working toward renewables…why try buying up the market when we are broke and can use the money for direct benefit rather than nebulous benefit that may or may not appear in ten years?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 21, 2008 9:06 PM
Comment #272638

I haven’t visited this site for many weeks and I am amazed at the response I received, especially in the red column. This proves my previous points, that liberals dominate watchblog.

jlw:

You fail to understand that a capitalist society is based on supply and demand. OPEC has not increased production. They have cut production, and the price of oil should be climbing but they are falling because the demand is low. Conservation is taking place because of low demand. Of course OPEC are scoundrels and will cut each other’s throats. What they say they will do, and what they actually do are two different things. Their need for a constant flow of money will not allow them to cut production.

As pertaining to the SUV’s and trucks; yes, companies advertise, but people buy the vehicles they want to own. I bought a new 1-ton Dodge Ram diesel last year. The sticker was 51 k and it gets about 20 mpg running empty. But I bought it for the purpose of pulling a 33’ fifth wheel camper. My mileage is now 12 mpg. I don’t care about the cost of the truck, the camper, or the boat I also pull. I don’t even care about the cost of diesel fuel. We travel because we are retired and that was our plan from the beginning. I have several friends who work for RV dealerships and they are still selling motor homes and trailers. Why, because that is what people want. Liberals believe they can dictate what everyone else should do or not do. People want vehicles big enough to carry their families and provide protection. You can’t understand that.

Actually 2.5 percent of electricity is produced by oil. That is 500,000 barrels a day or 182, 500,000 barrels per year. Which equals 3,650,000,000 gals of gas per year. That’s enough to supply US vehicles with gas to last 38.24 days or about 10% or our gas consumption. If we cut the use of oil to power plants and replaced it with coal or nuclear, would it not free up 10% of our oil consumption for gasoline and that does not even include 7 gals of diesel per barrel. The left loves to talk about how much we oil we consume, but did you know that 10% of the petroleum we use is refined as products and exported to foreign countries. Yes, it is true, we use a large percentage of the oil produced in the world. But, what effect would it have on the world if we cut usage and cut production of food and other products and cut shipping of those products to the rest of the world? What effect would that have on the world? Would you cry, “we are mean and hateful because we have food and the rest of the world is starving”? The left loves to say how much oil reserves we have and what percentage we use. It is not logical to compare the numbers. The reserves is oil in the ground and the usage is oil out of the ground. Will the left cry as loud in 10 or 20 years when another country has industrialized to the point where they are using the largest percentage of oil? No, I don’t think so. The left hates their own country and is embarrassed that we are successful.

You Said, “If a war in the Middle East resulted in the destruction of production in that region, it would be cataclismic for both the industrialized world and the developing nations because we have done virtually nothing to reduce our dependence on oil. Do you mean, what if Israel were to nuc those oil fields?”

Let’s consider another scenario. Instead of blaming Israel, what if Iran initiated the nuclear attack and the rest of the Muslim nations joined in as they did in 1967, and Israel responded with attacks on oil fields. What would that do to the global economy?

You said, “The real questions are: What effect will the control of Mid-East oil by foreign suitors and the expatriation of 50 to 75 percent of the wealth generated by that oil have on the people of the Middle East? What effect of a reduction in price of that oil by the foreign suitors have on our need to free ourselves of our addiction to that oil and other sources of foreign oil?”

What foreign suitors control Mid-east oil? Do you believe the dictators of these countries actually care to share the wealth of these national resourses with the general population? There is no logic here; the market, not by suiters, determines the price of oil. We will be free from oil when someone invents a cheaper source of power. The government cannot will to produce energy. Electric cars sound great, but only tree hugging, whale saving, geeks will buy them. They are not feasible in present form to our society. Where do we plug them in for recharge? Energy is not free, if we plug them in, then we increase the usage of electricity. Which means more fossil fuel or nuclear power to produce more electricity. Wind power will never make a dent on the production of electricity. It is a pipe dream.

http://www.mnforsustain.org/windpower_schleede_cannot_replace_oil.htm

The liberals wanted to cut the usage of oil, and when the demand decreased, then the taxes also decreased. State and Federal gas taxes are fixed and not percentages. When the American people cut usage, the taxes, which were supposed to pay for infrastructure, were also cut. So, what does CA do, they raise the taxes to compensate, therefore punishing people for cutting back on usage. Typical liberal logic.

Marysdude:

It is true that many states face financial problems. Let me challenge you to name a state or city, which is controlled by democrats, that is not in trouble. Then name me states and cities controlled by republicans who are in trouble. I look for an answer to these questions, yea sure.

Lee:

I respectfully disagree. It was the housing market and the lending institutions that initiated the problem and the Freddie and Fannie involvement that collapsed everything. It all goes back to the slush fund that democrats had with freddie and fannie.

Posted by: Oldguy at December 22, 2008 10:48 AM
Comment #272652

Oldguy said: “I haven’t visited this site for many weeks and I am amazed at the response I received, especially in the red column. This proves my previous points, that liberals dominate watchblog.”

Since conservative views are welcome here, you seem to be pointing to at deficiencies of conservatives to participate in open public debate compared to liberals. Any guesses why that would be, Oldguy, or is it that liberals are such vastly superior debaters they end up chasing limited capacity conservatives with losing debate arguments into silence?

My own impression is that conservatives subscribe to contradictory theories and values vs. policy agendas, making their participation in debates especially susceptible to trying to defend the indefensible from a logic and debate perspective.

Examples: Pro-War - Military and Pro-life.

Favorable policy toward business by government but laissez faire when it comes to consumer or worker issues.

Government sanctioned and supported religious promotion and intolerance toward religions competing with Christianity and Judaism.

Fierce sovereignty protections for the U.S. and gross disregard for sovereignty protections for other nations.

Internal conflicts and contradictions over social spending for people in need, Pro-Katrina assistance but, anti-federal aid to school children in need. Pro-tax deduction for religious charities but anti-exemptions for the poor, or non-religious.

Pro-favorable spending treatment toward military personnel but anti favorable treatment to most other professional categories at the blue collar wage level, including fire, police, EMS, and teachers.

Pro favorable government treatment of business for exporting companies and anti-business treatment for domestic based companies.

Pro-immigration and anti-immigration conflict amongst conservatives. Fiscal conservatives arguing for increasing legal immigration and social conservatives arguing against.

Pro-NAFTA vs. anti-illegal immigration. What a contradiction that is.

For keeping government out of people’s private lives while being staunch supporters of the drug war, sexual activity monitoring and regulation, and individual identification submission to government on demand vs. those conservatives opposed to on demand ID.

The list goes on, and the liberals are not without their own hypocrisies and contradictions, but, when it comes to debate, the list is longer for conservatives and very much less defensible by conservative stated principles. Liberal principles are by definition, more inclusive, and therefore, less contradictory and easier to defend logically and consistently.

At the heart of this difference however, I believe, is the conservatives attempts to include the faithful, who by definition need no logic or empirical evidence to support their beliefs. This puts such self-ascribed conservatives at big disadvantage when it comes to logical debate of issues conservative against liberal. Liberals include far more people whose beliefs do not rest solely on faith, but, reasoned logic and some inconclusive empirical evidence, and inquiring agnosticism, giving them better proficiency with logical debate in general.

Inquiry leads to logical processes. Faith does not. Which is why the stone age aboriginals of the deepest Amazon Forests where civilized people are warned NOT to go, are also religious people. Religion and faith can be found in all sectors of humanity, but, those sectors where a questioning of the premises of faith are part and parcel of that faith, more liberal views and debate acumen seem to spread and in great numbers.

Children are inherently inquisitive, and to the extent they are permitted to question the values and beliefs of their parents, they will be both more liberal themselves and children of liberals as well. Though there is much research in this area, the conservatives have for decades attempted to make such research taboo. Interestingly, this phenomena are readily at work in most other societies as well, where the research is published and conservatives deem it taboo or heresy, and have taken to producing research of their own (faulty as it is) to contradict the opposition.

Still, human history reads like a textbook of progressive liberalism and revolution against dogma and unquestioned presumptions. Conservatives, therefore, will always be on the losing end of debate ultimately if history is any guide, because their beliefs, traditions, and education are preservational and backward looking, while liberals (always rooted in the young and next generation) are always inquiring, testing, and challenging the perservational and backward looking in search of something newer, better, and more universal for themselves and their progeny.

That’s my answer to why WatchBlog seems to have more liberal voices than conservative, anyway. A bit far flung and driven to basic principles, but, relevant I think. It is obvious from conservative voices expressed every day here, that conservatives are free to participate and proliferate their voice on WatchBlog subject to the same terms as liberals.

So, why do you think, OldGuy, that it appears to you WatchBlog is dominated by liberal voices and opinions. It will be interesting to hear a conservative opinion on this.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 22, 2008 1:21 PM
Comment #272653

OldGuy said: “You fail to understand that a capitalist society is based on supply and demand.”

What society are you talking about, OldGuy? We are not a capitalist society. Haven’t been since Herbert Hoover. We are a mixed economy society, part capitalist, part socialist, and partly governed by policies that don’t fit neatly into either category. So, I guess your entire reply to jlw, was based on some other society. Care to name it?

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 22, 2008 1:24 PM
Comment #272654

OldGuy, what you fail to realize is that the speculation bubble on oil prices burst. That is ALSO why prices dropped so dramatically. In fact, oil prices dropped far more dramatically than the actual drop in demand in did. Pretty much blows your whole case of purist supply and demand view out of the water, and lays waste to your implication that capitalism is so wonderful, since pure capitalism without regulation and oversight results in just speculative bubbles that must come crashing down investors lulled by faith that prices will rise perpetually.

Actually, when I think of it, Captialists are pretty dumb. They constantly play this high risk game of musical chairs and whoever is left without a chair at the end, eats the losses of the speculative investments. Which makes losers of nearly all investors eventually given true crystal balls on the future have not yet been invented. The Great Depression was one example. We sit on the precipice of another example in which all investors could lose, and lose big.

I suppose you will argue it doesn’t matter to capitalists that Great Depression or economic collapse occur, as long as so many investors got theirs in between the troughs of human misery and privation and losses on a national level. Pure captialism is pure greed, and will never be guided by enlightened self-interest because the enlightened self-interest balances the nation’s and society’s needs with the investors need for greed. Adam Smith is absolutely clear on this in his discussion of Theory of Moral Sentiment, and absolutely wrong in the prediction in Wealth of Nations that societies will educate their investors to become enlightened self-interested investors. History since Adam Smith’s day proves that has not been the case, in any semi or quasi or mostly capitalist society in the last two centuries. All mostly capitalist societies have failed to the extent of being forced to a more mixed economy approach to economics. Forced, by revolution, civil war, or protracted periods of human suffering contributed to by unbridled capitalism.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 22, 2008 1:37 PM
Comment #272657

marysdude wrote; “why try buying up the market when we are broke and can use the money for direct benefit rather than nebulous benefit that may or may not appear in ten years?”

Anyone else have a comment that might have a little more thought or deeper thinking involved rather than the usual knee-jerk liberal mantra?

Posted by: Jim M at December 22, 2008 2:52 PM
Comment #272663

Remer writes; “Liberal principles are by definition, more inclusive, and therefore, less contradictory and easier to defend logically and consistently.”

Let’s see if I can chew on this brilliant statement for a moment to help me swallow it better.

Liberal principles of big government: less self-reliance and fewer individual rights, pro group rights, huge money-sucking black holes masquerading as entitlement programs, and required political correctness attract more voter support.

More folks receiving federal and state hand-outs equals more folks who are dependent upon government. And, as more folks no longer need to think or work as government promises to do both for them, they become easier to manage and rule with government no longer being required to be logical as long as the hand-out is consistent.

Remer then writes; “At the heart of this difference however, I believe, is the conservatives attempts to include the faithful, who by definition need no logic or empirical evidence to support their beliefs.”

With this statement Remer reveals his real problem with conservative thinking. My God, they have faith and consequently couldn’t possibly have a brain. In one fell swoop Remer shows his animosity toward and contempt for the 87% of self-admitted religious folks in the US.

Signing many of his screeds; “Thank Buddah”, in what I believe is a weak attempt to disparage Christians, perhaps we Christians should all wish Remer a Merry Christmas and say a prayer for him as evidence that we do have a heart…if not a brain!

Posted by: Jim M at December 22, 2008 3:35 PM
Comment #272668

Remer writes; “Actually, when I think of it, Captialists are pretty dumb.”

In capitalist systems, goods and services, including those regarding the most basic necessities of life, are produced for profitable exchange. Capitalism is originally defined as a mode of production, where it is characterized by predominantly private ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange in a mainly market economy.

Actually, when I think of it, Socialists are pretty dumb for discarding capitalism. Earlier, Remer extolled the virtues of liberalism with one identifying feature being the lack of faith. He now identifies another, a denial of capitalism as being dumb in his opinion…kind of like having faith right Remer?

Posted by: Jim M at December 22, 2008 3:50 PM
Comment #272675

Jim M,

Knee Jerk Mantra…wow, you do know how to make a fellow feel good…thanks a bunch.

For the hard-of-hearing, I will pontificate a little:

We are being overwhelmed by the capitalistic part of our unregulated, so-called ‘free market’ system. And, while we count up how many bonuses the Ceos have coming from our tax-payer bailout money that we are borrowing from our great-great-grandchildren, we contemplate our energy future.

1. Drill for more oil that may take as long as ten years to become marketable in our ‘free market’ system, that says all oil go into the world oil market, and have prices set by world consumers. Meanwhile we waste time and economic resource to find, drill and extract that oil.

2. We turn immediately to research and development of renewable energy supplies. Our finite resources and time are spent on something we may actually benefit from. Jobs may actually be made available to Americans, who desperately need jobs right now, and the few dollars those CEOs leave us can be better used.

What a toss-up. And what an un-thought out knee-jerk reaction to a serious problem…thanks again for pointing out just how simple minded I am, Jim M. Because, I see nothing practical or pragmatic about what I just said, do you, you brilliant, philosophically superior conservative, you.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 22, 2008 4:20 PM
Comment #272677

Remer describes the “faithful” as; “the faithful, who by definition need no logic or empirical evidence to support their beliefs.”

No Remer, what you describe is “blind” faith, such as that found in liberals who believe another huge government entitlement such as NHC, would be somehow different in its success over Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Isn’t it interesting that intelligent and otherwise normal people get so confused when they attempt to defend a belief system that is so easily discounted.

Posted by: Jim M at December 22, 2008 4:27 PM
Comment #272681

marysdude, your quote; ““why try buying up the market when we are broke and can use the money for direct benefit rather than nebulous benefit that may or may not appear in ten years?” is what I was referring to as “knee-jerk”.

I asked for comments on the wisdom of the US buying up oil at these distressed prices and storing it for later use when the price of oil reaches lofty levels again. I see no possibility that 1) oil prices will not rise by very significant amounts in the near future and 2) that we will not still need very significant amounts of oil for the next ten years and beyond.

According to PEBO, congress, Mr. Bush, and many others we are not broke as witness these God-awful trillion dollar bail-outs and projections for new spending.

You responded to something else entirely, not anything I was posing.

Posted by: Jim M at December 22, 2008 4:43 PM
Comment #272683

>It is true that many states face financial problems. Let me challenge you to name a state or city, which is controlled by democrats, that is not in trouble. Then name me states and cities controlled by republicans who are in trouble. I look for an answer to these questions, yea sure.

Posted by: Oldguy at December 22, 2008 10:48 AM

Old,

I am not d.a.n., so I won’t research all the states, but the two largest states in population and economies are New York and California.

New York has a Democrat in Charge and California has a Republican…

While no state is exempt from financial ills, I’ll challenge you to tell me which of these is currently in a panic over its own economy…yeah, right…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 22, 2008 5:10 PM
Comment #272685

>You responded to something else entirely, not anything I was posing.
Posted by: Jim M at December 22, 2008 04:43 PM

Jim M,

I responded to your posit, by saying we should not expend precious funds on oil, when oil is on its way out anyway. As long as we have oil, we won’t expend resources on energies that we need into the future…only I said it using a lot less verbage. I had no idea that little tid-bit would befuddle folks…mea culpa…I will try to expound more profusely from now on.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 22, 2008 5:16 PM
Comment #272689

Jim M,

By the way…what is ‘knee jerk’ about my original reaction to your question about buying up all the oil in the world and storing it in barrels out behind the barn?

I think you just like to use that phrase…’knee jerk liberal’…kinda like Rushie likes to tell everyone that any Democrat is far-far-far left, and is the most liberal Democrat in the history of the world.

By the way again: this from Wikipedia…did you really mean what I said would be considered to be liberal ‘mantra’?

A mantra (Devanāgarī मन्त्र) (or mantram) can be defined as a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that are considered capable of creating transformation.[1] Their use and type varies according to the school and philosophy associated with the mantra. Other purposes have included religious ceremonies to accumulate wealth, avoid danger, or eliminate enemies. Mantras originated in the Vedic tradition of India, later becoming an essential part of the Hindu tradition and a customary practice within Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. The use of mantras is now widespread throughout various spiritual movements which are based on, or off-shoots of, the practices in the earlier Eastern religions.
Posted by: Marysdude at December 22, 2008 5:28 PM
Comment #272734

DR:

So the government knows better how to manage business: can we say Social Security, Amtrak, Conrail, Medicare, and public school systems. Not a very good track record. Perhaps we can look at the waste of cities, states, and federal employees.

Perhaps there are not many conservatives on this site for the same reason a lot of people refuse to watch Hannity and Combs. Because talking to Combs is like trying to talk to a recording, no matter what argument was given, his answer was the same, a recording.

Honestly, I don’t know how you can use the word liberal and logic in the same sentence. Liberals operate strictly on emotion, no logic involved.

Marysdude:

California and New York are lame examples. I expected better from you. Arnold was elected on a platform that he would fix the already broken economy. The problem is; Arnold is a republican in name only. A social conservative is nothing more than a tax and spend liberal. The problems in California have taken liberal democrats many years to create.

The only reason it would take oil 10 years to reach the market is because tree hugging, whale saving, baby killing liberals would do all they could to block it. Exactly how long is it going to take to create this mythical miraculous energy that needs vehicles to use it, infrastructure to supply it, and lots of money for individuals to buy the experimental vehicles? Where are people supposed to get the finances to buy these cars in an economy that has tanked?

You blame CEO’s for the ills of the economy and yet give the unions a pass. The democrats are the ones who insisted on pumping trillion dollar bailouts into the economy. The American people certainly didn’t want it. Where were liberals when airlines were forced to file chapter 11 and restructure. It was required to save the companies and it is the only thing that will save the big three. What part does the Constitution play in government bailing out one company and yet allowing a competitor to fail? You don’t have a problem with that? Answer this question for any of you liberals who own your own business, if the government came in and took control of your business, could they do a better job than you?

Posted by: Oldguy at December 23, 2008 12:24 AM
Comment #272737

Old,

Too bad you won’t take my examples of states in financial turmoil…after all it was your challenge, and I responded with alacrity. I repeat, I will not do your research for you. If you want to prove a point, you provide the research.

It is the oil companies who say it will take about ten years, and they do not mention anything about ‘tree hugger’ obstructionists. Perhaps your research should go beyond states in financial trouble and expand into oil drilling as well.

By the way, I had previously mentioned Georgia, the reddest of the red states, as about to fold up, now California, even though you don’t accept the ‘Arnold’ as Republican…you got a twofer, and haven’t given me one…duh!

Posted by: Marysdude at December 23, 2008 8:02 AM
Comment #272738

I don’t know if the bailout will do more harm or good, and neither do you. Time will tell, and if it does no good, we’ve really got ourselves into the pickle barrel. What I do know is that a monkey could have done better at running AIG, or Lehmens…or…or…or…so the government can’t do any worse than the crooks who put us into this poophole.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 23, 2008 8:07 AM
Comment #272770

David:

You can also say the same as your comments above, about socialism and communism.

It is interesting to watch the world move toward capitalism from socialism/communism and to watch so many people lifted from poverty.

Looks like finding the right balance is the key.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 23, 2008 7:06 PM
Comment #272779

Craig,

Life is a pendulum. The farther a belief swings one way the farther it returns, but each full swing loses a nano. That is in economy especially.
All else being equal, we will at some future point stop at the bottom, in the middle.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 23, 2008 9:52 PM
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