Romney Ethical & Honest; Attackers Liars

The generally liberal Washington Post gave the accusations against Romney its “four Pinocchio” rating, which means that practically none of them are true. WP says, “The 29-minute video “King of Bain” is such an over-the-top assault on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney that it is hard to know where to begin.” But let’s summarize.

First, let's admit that it was Gingrich folks who lied the lies, but they are not the first liars in this case. The Kennedy folks told some of the same lies - even used some of the same people to tell them - back years ago. This is an old story.

Much of the effectiveness of the attack depends on the ignorance, fear and hate of the people who are eager to believe that anybody who makes profits must be bad. Most people don't really understand how business works. It is actually much simpler than they thing in concept. What you or I have done when we buy, fix up and sell a house or a car for more than we paid for it have done what Romney's firm did. Of course, the execution is complicated, which is why most of us limit our efforts to cars and houses.

You can read the Washington Post article, but I know that many will not, so let me give some clips.

"First of all, it is a stretch to portray Romney as some sort of corporate raider, akin to Carl Icahn (whose image is briefly seen). Bain Capital initially was in the business of providing venture capital -- seed money -- for start-ups, such as Staples. Then it moved to the more lucrative business of private equity, in which Bain won control of firms, reorganized them and then sold them for profit."

"In the film, three former employees of UniMac, which makes commercial washing machines, appear to suggest that quality went down under Bain Capital's management and that a plant in Marianna, Fla., was closed because of Romney's actions. But the chronology is all jumbled. Bain Capital bought the business from Raytheon in 1998, and Romney left Bain a year later to run the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City."

"In fact, Mike Baxley, who was interviewed for the film, said that he and his partner had "absolutely no idea" that the interviews were for a film about Romney and Bain... After watching "King of Bain" at The Fact Checker's request, he said: ' We were pretty shocked. Our quotes were seriously taken out of context. There is a real lack of facts.'"
"The film suggests that UniMac is out of business, but Baxley noted that UniMac is still going strong at its new headquarters in Wisconsin."
Re KB Toys
"Here again, the chronology is off. Bain Capital did not buy KB Toys until late 2000, more than a year after Romney left for the Olympics.

Re DDi
"The film, while focusing on the 2,200 jobs that were lost during the technology bust, does not mention that DDi emerged from bankruptcy proceedings and is currently thriving."

Re The demise of the Ampad facility in Marion, Ind.
" Finally, the film comes to a case that directly involves Romney. As mentioned before, this transaction formed the core of Ted Kennedy's ad war against Romney, and the interviews in those ads are raw and on point. Clearly, people in Marion are still angry at Bain's role in the demise of the facility there."
"But the company floundered -- ironically because of price pressure from companies such as Staples, which was started with help from Bain. Ampad filed for bankruptcy protection in 1999 but still exists today as part of Esselte Corp."

So the attacks against Romney in the film are mostly lies, according to the fact checkers at the Washington Post.

What we see is business in action. Some businesses thrive; others do not. Over the long run, you can find good and bad times.

Romney should not have claimed that his actions created 100,000 jobs, but in this he is much like President Obama, who claimed to have created or saved millions of jobs, even as the unemployment rate went up. Politicians like Obama and Romney, unfortunately, exaggerate their effect on employment.

The record shows Romney operated in a legal & ethical way. He produced success the old fashioned way; he earned it. Those who for religious reasons think profit is sinful can complain. Others are misguided. or mistaken.

Posted by Christine & John at January 14, 2012 9:26 AM
Comments
Comment #334472

“So the attacks against Romney in the film are mostly lies, according to the fact checkers at the Washington Post. “

Not just that but all the major checkers are out with their issues on the film. I think what we’ll see come out of this is the lies will fall away and a stronger core message will come out of it. Obama is will hone his message toward the middle class and let Gingrich and Perry camps run with the lies in the mean time. Romney won’t shake away the message of the film no matter how many inaccuracies he manages to somehow overcome.

What this story does is strip away the fabrication that Romney somehow cared about jobs instead of profit for investors. Whether jobs were lost or gained was of no value to Romney and that is the truth that Obama will have to use against him.

“Romney should not have claimed that his actions created 100,000 jobs, but in this he is much like President Obama, who claimed to have created or saved millions of jobs, even as the unemployment rate went up.”

What does the unemployment rate going up have to do with creating or saving jobs? The stimulus worked.

Unlike Romney who according to your own source cannot accurately point to his actions at Bain as a job creator, President Obama can point to the stimulus that he championed and signed into law and which is responsible for about 2.5 million jobs that would not exist without the legislation.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at January 14, 2012 10:39 AM
Comment #334475

No Adam, what this does is expose Obama’s whole platform against Romney, 6 months earlier than expected; thus causing the Obama machine to have to go back to the drawing board. By the time Obama runs against Romney (if he is the candidate), this story will have lost it’s steam, no matter how much the liberal MSM tries to keep it alive. It is called Vetting, something Obama is unfamiliar with.

Posted by: TomT at January 14, 2012 10:56 AM
Comment #334476
Romney should not have claimed that his actions created 100,000 jobs,

Yet he did, he lied about being a job creator. Back when Kennedy called him on it he lied, and yet again he has exaggerated the lie by a factor of ten. Now Gingrich has called him on it and according to you has lied to do so. Although the film is a great piece of propaganda it is a lie again according to you. Vulture politics against the vulture capitalist. But many on the right poo poo the whole “vulture capitalism” thing, they embrace and support this type of leveraging and looting. In fact not only do they embrace it they defend it with the usual conservative name calling as we have seen Frank and Royal as well as yourself do in your previous post on the subject.

In fact you have now went as far as to declare those against this type of vulture capitalism to be a religious sect with medieval views. Quite a defense in your support of Mitt, corporate fascism (or as you say crony capitalism) and vulture capitalism C&J, I must say. Wrong headed and delusional as it is, it seems to make the same claim conservatives have against environmental activist to be just as wrong headed and delusional. (However it is quite a Luntz moment just the same.)

So, anyway, I propose that from here on out we call this type of capitalism “Conservative Capitalism”. Since you guys are so proud of Mitt and his accomplishments it will be a defining point for the November elections. Embrace it conservatives and claim it as your own because you are so proud of it.

The rest of us will stick with the free enterprise system that made America great and conservatives can embrace the “conservative capitalism” of leveraging and looting of the past 30 years that has led the economy to where we are today, recovering from the huge job losses and financial meltdown due to over leveraging.


but in this he is much like President Obama, who claimed to have created or saved millions of jobs, even as the unemployment rate went up.

When Obama took office we were hemorrhaging 700k jobs a month C&J. The stimulus slowed this loss and started the turn around. Obama is not in the same category with the man you acknowledge to be a liar when it comes to job creation.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 14, 2012 11:01 AM
Comment #334477

TomT:

“No Adam, what this does is expose Obama’s whole platform against Romney, 6 months earlier than expected;”

And yet this isn’t even Obama’s work. Fancy how this is somehow Obama’s failure. No, this is Gingrich the child flinging poo. He’s happy to let the Democrats ruin the whole event if Gingrich can’t be prom king.

The message that will come out of this is Romney lied about his job creation record while founding a venture capital business that cared for profit and couldn’t care less about jobs.

“It is called Vetting, something Obama is unfamiliar with.”

We knew Obama’s place of birth and home town, the colleges he attended, his church and pastor, his family history and the family history his wife and her brother, Obama’s work history and teaching history, his legislative record at the state and federal level, his business associations, his health habits, and even some about his hobbies. But you’re right. Other than that Obama has never been vetted. Not at all…

Posted by: Adam Ducker at January 14, 2012 11:16 AM
Comment #334478

Bytes (food) for thought!

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/06/us-campaign-romney-bailout-idUSTRE8050LL20120106

The 1% and their super-pacs are pushing for Romeny, which seems a good reason to avoid him, IMO.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at January 14, 2012 11:29 AM
Comment #334479

Adam

Obama folks promised no more than 8% unemployment. It went up to ten and stayed high.

The economy gets better by itself. Obama wasted a lot of money. He is like the guy who says in February that he will cause the weather to warm up. Unfortunately for Obama, he promised too quick.

Re vetting - we know the basics about Obama, but he had done very little, so we could not really vet his record. We know he was a community organizer who attended a church run by a racist and that he had moved quickly through the world of politics. Now we know he is a poor leader and a bad manager. Now that he has a record to run on, we can judge him by what he did, not what he said.

j2t2

It is hard to say how jobs are created. Obama lied about creating millions of jobs. At least Romney didn’t piss away taxpayer money with his claims as Obama did.

Re Obama stimulus - the Obama folks use a chart that impresses the ignorant. Jobs are being lost until Obama takes office, then they start coming back - before Obama policies have been put into action.

Recessions end. Obama thought he could take credit for it. But the recession didn’t end as fast as he thought it would, maybe BECAUSE of his “stimulus”

So I acknowledge that Romney lied about 100,000 jobs and Obama lied about more than a million. Politicians are like that, unfortunately.

I don’t like what Romney said. I like less Obama’s bigger lie.

Posted by: C&J at January 14, 2012 11:44 AM
Comment #334480

I quit reading after, “The generally liberal Washington Post…”

If you don’t know better than that, the piece is worthless.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 14, 2012 11:49 AM
Comment #334481

Re premature attacks on Romney

Pretty soon liberals will say that the Gingrich attacks on Romney a clever conservative plan to inoculate the candidate against the lies inevitably coming from the Democratic noise machine. I don’t think it was a plan, but I think it will work that way.

Think about what has already happened. Liberals in this blog and elsewhere shot their rods in their indignant and misguided rage about things that didn’t happen. Now they will be left saying something like “the accusations were not true, but it is the kind of thing we think guys like Romney would do based on our hatred of profitable business.”

It is true that the Obama folks will try hard to attack Romney, using their tools of envy and class prejudice, but maybe the American people will tire of such things by then. They will be interested in getting back to the job rich environment that Romney was working in rather that just getting pissed off.

Posted by: C&J at January 14, 2012 11:59 AM
Comment #334482

Marydude

IF you don’t read the piece, please don’t bother to write about it. I don’t really need people like you around here to give the place character. This is supposed to be a discussion among intelligent people. While we might disagree, I do require a minimum amount of preparation from interlocutors.

Your comment can be translated, Marysdude admits that he doesn’t know what he is commenting on (since he didn’t read it) but feels the need to inflict his opinion on others.

Posted by: C&J at January 14, 2012 12:07 PM
Comment #334486
Re Obama stimulus - the Obama folks use a chart that impresses the ignorant. Jobs are being lost until Obama takes office, then they start coming back - before Obama policies have been put into action.

Were that the case then he did save or create “millions” as you say of jobs. The stimulus kept many local and state government jobs going C&J. Lets try and be a bit factual here please instead of the partisan nonsense. Must be a religion with you guys as much as it happens here ;)


Posted by: j2t2 at January 14, 2012 1:29 PM
Comment #334487


C&J, think of all the things said about Obama that have been fact checked as untrue but are still believed by many Republican voters.

Perceptions are more important than facts in American politics. As a Republican, you should know this is the case.

Many voters act on what they believe or don’t believe to be true and the facts aren’t all that important.

The good news is that Bain Capital owns the people that conservatives like to believe.

Posted by: jlw at January 14, 2012 1:42 PM
Comment #334488

j2t2

YOu know the chart I mean. You can find it here, with the author drawing stupid conclusions.

http://articles.businessinsider.com/2010-02-05/wall_street/30088805_1

The chart merely shows a recession getting to the bottom and coming it. There is no jump from the stimulus, which didn’t start to have any effect until March or April. Recall that there were NO shovel ready projects.

Compare the shape of the recession recovery with this graph of the average temperatures in Washington DC.

http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/USDC0001

Notice the shape is the same. Natural events and economic ones like recoveries are like this.

Now if Obama took office in January, he could claim his policies could make the weather warmer and by June he would have his “proof”. Of course, come September he would have to claim Bush was worse than we thought and could still affect things.

The big difference between this recession and most others is how weak the recovery is. So what we have is the recovery beginning before Obama policies had any effect. But then being weak after his policies are well in place.

jlw

So what you are telling me is that the Obama folks are counting on the American people not knowing the truth about Romney?

Posted by: C&J at January 14, 2012 2:25 PM
Comment #334490
Recall that there were NO shovel ready projects.

C&J recall your trip down the coast, I believe, where you saw the signs on the highway telling you the funds for the project were from stimulus money.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 14, 2012 2:35 PM
Comment #334491

j2t2

I saw signs but little activity.

Again, lots of things are happening anyway.

I think government should indeed build infrastructure. But we do not a good job of it. Too many rules. Why do we have to pay union scale, for example? Presumably it would be a good thing for taxpayers to get a good deal.

Posted by: C&J at January 14, 2012 2:40 PM
Comment #334492

C&J:

“Obama folks promised no more than 8% unemployment. It went up to ten and stayed high.”

You know that’s not true and I’ve pointed this out multiple times. You know that 8% was an estimate not a promise.

“The economy gets better by itself.”

This is true. But measuring the stimulus is not about looking at the current strength of the economy. It’s about estimating how the economy would be without the stimulus and comparing that to how it was. The models differ in opinion and result but they generally conclude the stimulus created or saved millions of jobs and increased GDP several percentage points.

“Re vetting - we know the basics about Obama, but he had done very little, so we could not really vet his record.”

He has done a lot. His opponents just tend to throw his jobs and his work experience in the dust bin to suggest he’s never had a job and so on.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at January 14, 2012 3:49 PM
Comment #334493
I saw signs but little activity.

Are you suggesting the contractor wasn’t performing the work? Certainly the contract to do the work was issued or the sign could not have been made and placed there.

Why do we have to pay union scale, for example? Presumably it would be a good thing for taxpayers to get a good deal.

The taxpayer is getting a good deal. Well unless the contract was a GWB no bid contract. Paying the Davis Bacon wages allowed the contractors to bid using the same labor rates. They are bidding on doing a good job with qualified help, not slave labor imported from China. Why the class warfare C&J?

Posted by: j2t2 at January 14, 2012 4:17 PM
Comment #334494

Adam

You are right that Obama has done a lot, but he has done a lot that most Americans don’t like.

The dominant characteristic of Obama is that he correctly identifies problems but then does the wrong things to address them.

Re Obama and the 8% - he didn’t promise but he threatened that w/o the stimulus it would go above 8%.

It goes to show how little he (and others) understand about the economy. Those same experts who say he saved jobs are the ones who thought that 8% was the bottom.

They now say “we didn’t know how bad it was”. I would say they didn’t know much of anything. That means that their estimates of how bad it would have been are about as good as their estimates about how bad it was going to get - i.e. not very good. The same models that predicted the 8% were fed new data and they “predicted” how bad it would have been.

We know the models did not produce the number of jobs that the multipliers were supposed to. So instead of questioning the model, the purveyors of the model simple said that the stimulus did indeed work and postulated a higher number.

It is really a sweet deal. A doctor tells you that w/o an operation you will lose your leg. After the operation, you lose both legs. He says, “without me you would have lost and arm too.” Maybe he is right, but his ability to assess your condition should be in serious doubt.

IMO this crisis will engender a crisis among the model makers. We will finally understand that massive spending alone does not work. It didn’t work in the 1930s and it didn’t work now. HOW you spend the money makes a difference. Obama spend it wrong.

Posted by: C&J at January 14, 2012 4:29 PM
Comment #334496

j2t2

I think the Obama folks put up the signs on lots of jobs that were not really in progress. Like so much Obama has done, he took an advance on the actual achievement.

Re Union scale - in some place you can get very good and qualified labor for well under Union scale. In fact, where my tree farm is, if we were to pay union scale, we would be among the highest paying employers in the area.

The idea of paying union scale reminds me of the joke about the guy who goes to New York. He takes a short taxi drive and ask about the “usual tip”. The driver tells him that the usual tip is $20. The guy give the cabbie $20 commenting that cab drivers much make a lot of money. “Not really, says the cab driver. This is the first ‘usual tip’ I have gotten in a long time.”

Posted by: C&J at January 14, 2012 4:42 PM
Comment #334497

Re/vetting: if any Republican had sit, for 20 years, under the ministry of someone like Wright, the left and the MSM would have gone crazy.

Re/ shovel ready jobs: I too, drove through the state of Kentucky and saw many of the signs promoting stimulus spending and NEVER saw one worker, not one.

Re/ Romney’s creation of 100,000 jobs: Romney actually saved or created millions of jobs. It is a known fact….and provable.

Re/ unemployment numbers: the press won’t be satisfied until they can get the numbers down to 7.99999% unemployment sometime before the 2012 election. Every week the jobs numbers are fudged and on Monday, they are adjusted. That’s right Adam Ducker, every week they are adjusted.

“Seasonal Hires Boosts December Jobs Report, Caps Off Year
Posted by Adam Ducker on January 6, 2012 at 8:47 AM”

What do you say we update this BS post?

Posted by: Frank at January 14, 2012 4:52 PM
Comment #334498

Frank:

“Every week the jobs numbers are fudged and on Monday, they are adjusted. That’s right Adam Ducker, every week they are adjusted.”

If you could prove that with a source I’m sure you’d have provided one. You know you’re repeating something you cannot prove though.

“What do you say we update this BS post?”

I won’t pretend my numbers are infallible, so I’d love to hear you tell me what needs updating.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at January 14, 2012 5:35 PM
Comment #334499

C&J: “Re Obama and the 8% - he didn’t promise but he threatened that w/o the stimulus it would go above 8%.”

Yes, and he was correct. The 8% “promise” comes from a document that says that 9% was the high point without the stimulus but that the high point could have been as much as 11% without it. It was 8.7% the week before the stimulus was signed into law.

“That means that their estimates of how bad it would have been are about as good as their estimates about how bad it was going to get - i.e. not very good.”

I wouldn’t say that. We know a great deal about the recession now that we didn’t know in December 2008 when Obama’s team was projecting the impact of a typical stimulus package on the recession.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at January 14, 2012 5:42 PM
Comment #334500

C&J-
Still marketing the “8%” line?

Could you answer me a simple question: how do we blame Obama for not preventing an unemployment rate from going higher than 8 or 8.5 percent if the unemployment rate by the time his legislation passed was already at 8.3%?

Don’t tell me the stimulus package included a time machine, to bring about its policies before the damage was done by the collosal screw-up of the Bush Administration.

Fourth quarter GDP shrank by 8.9%, giving the standard annualized rate. The new quarter had things down at a rate of 6.7%, which is when Obama’s bill passed.

You can argue that Obama’s bill blew up in our face, but then, suddenly, that numbers down only .7%.

Since then, we’ve been growing by between one and three percent a year. Not enough to quickly resolve unemployment, but enough to keep it from getting worse, certainly.

How is it that all the big growth comes after, and all the biggest losses come before, yet people like you blame him for the economic mess. The collapse of the economy did not come from government, it came from a private sector that outwitted itself with outrages and dishonest schemes that should have been curtailed from the beginning.

So why don’t you update your BS, and leave the statistically scrupulous Adam Ducker to attend to his won affairs.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 14, 2012 5:53 PM
Comment #334501

Adam

The test of any theory is its ability to predict future directions. It is easy to “predict” the past.

We now know more than we did in 2008. We know what happened 2008 until now. But the theories have not improved. All that they have done is adjust their projections retroactively and assert that had they not acted things would have been worse.

As I have said often, I think that the stimulus did indeed stimulate activity in 2009 and may have kept unemployment a bit lower. But this was not sustainable. It is like drinking ten cups of coffee. What the stimulus did was push activity forward. Obama bought less unemployment in 2009 at the expense of more now. That is why the recovery is so poor compared with earlier ones.

Obama spent the money poorly. His stimulus gave us massive new debt and little to show.

Posted by: C&J at January 14, 2012 6:00 PM
Comment #334502

Stephen

Please see above.

My problem with the Obama models is that they are not predictive. Hence we can doubt their accuracy. Obama claims he saved or created jobs based on the same analysis that estimated that 8%.

You are a scientist. If you do an experiment based on the hypothesis that x will happen and after the experience it doesn’t, you have to rethink your model, right? You don’t just change the numbers to make the experiment work.

The other thing you should see above is how I - and now you too supporting me - demolished the idea that the job loss situation started to improve when Obama took office. We (both of us) now assert that the improvements in February March etc could not have been due to Obama. Thanks for coming on the right side.

Posted by: C&J at January 14, 2012 6:08 PM
Comment #334503

Hey… I am perfectly happy to pit Romney the Plutocrat who tells us not to even question how people get rich against Obama the Luke Warm Populist. Romney is INDEED the most representative candidate the Republican party could have possibly picked from the bunch. He IS the candidate of Big Money no matter where it comes from. It’s time for this nation to have the debate well defined… it’s time for us to choose exactly which kind of country we want to be.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 14, 2012 6:17 PM
Comment #334505
I think the Obama folks put up the signs on lots of jobs that were not really in progress. Like so much Obama has done, he took an advance on the actual achievement.

And I, C&J, think that most conservatives go to their NAMBLA meetings and make this nonsense up. However just like you I have not one shred of proof to back up the nonsense.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Man/Boy_Love_Association

Posted by: j2t2 at January 14, 2012 7:40 PM
Comment #334506

C&J-
Marvelous.

See, my argument doesn’t rely on hypotheticals. It relies on the simple elimination of the highly unlikely and the impossible. There was no way a stimulus that was designed with a shallower recession in mind, which was greeted, before it was passed, with the very unemployment number it was designed to keep the maximum could have kept the momentum of the recession from destroying jobs. No policy works that instantly.

Obama’s Stimulus worked. It was designed to resolve, though, a much more gentle recession, not one that involved a 8.9% drop the in 2008 Q4 and a 6.7% drop in Q1 2009. We might have done more, but a certain party insisted on not doing more. As for comparing it to a stimulant? Well, that’s where you get into trouble.

The question on this is whether there was some fated level that the economy needed to get to so it could start growing on a healthy basis again. But is there a such thing? Or does the economy simply slip into whatever state it can sustain itself, no matter how dysfunctional that is? I mean, right now, we’re producing a lot less than we’re supposed to. That’s not crowding out. Businesses weren’t investing before and aren’t investing now because there simply aren’t the customers to pay a return on investment with.

So, if we had let the employment problem get worse, our troubles now would have likely been worse, too.

I think our current situation is as sustainable as any situation we would have had if we had no stimulus, only now, we’re in better shape, probably to such a degree that we’ll make up the cost of the stimulus in the deficits it prevents.

Deficits are the hidden cost of long term unemployment. We’re at record breaking highs in deficits primarily because of unpaid for Bush spending programs and the downward pull of a bad economy on revenues. Republicans want to simply define it as a spending problem, but that’s political spin. It’s both, and largely due to their policies. Ah, but they can’t both accept blame for the current fiscal problems and take back Congress and the White House. So, they’ll shift blame on to others, even as they filibuster to prevent any changes they don’t like, including the ones that might resolve that deficit in a way they don’t like.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 14, 2012 8:14 PM
Comment #334507


C&J or others,

When discussing the current economy I have couple of questions I like to ask people on the right or people in general just to get a feel how closely they are truly following the economic issues of our day.

First were you aware that the percentage of corporate profits going to the banking and finance industry rose from like 13% to something like 40% from around 1975 to the present day? Were you aware of that fact and if so what insights or meaning or significance did you attach to it?


Second were you aware that in the last three quarters we saw record corporate profits. Were you aware of this and again if so what significance did you attach to it?

Posted by: muirgeo at January 14, 2012 8:28 PM
Comment #334508

J2t2

I observed lots of signs and not lots of work. I don’t know how the signs got there, but there was a lot more promise than result.

Obama himself admitted that he learned what most of us knew - that there is no such things as a shovel ready project that isn’t already in the works.

You can see Obama figuring this out. He is not a stupid man. He just never really worked in anything that actually used shovels.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O55aRrvXtio&feature=related

Stephen

Garbage in garbage out. The Obama analysis was based on theories that don’t really work and on numbers that were not really true.

There is no case where such a massive unfocused stimulus actually produced long term growth.

We know that the massive spending of the New Deal did not end the Great Depression. WWII spending did stimulate the economy, but the massive destruction and death was a big price to pay. Just spending money doesn’t work in the long term. Keynes was mistaken. Of course, Keynes didn’t really think about the long term. He famously quipped that in the long term we are all dead.

Posted by: C&J at January 14, 2012 8:36 PM
Comment #334509

muirgeo

The rise of the finance dominance is a bad thing. It was/is a form or crony capitalism, where finance people can be rent seekers as they control choke points in industry. They do this in collaboration with government and are often protected by regulations. Obama had a unique chance to change these relationships and he failed. IMO, he failed because he failed to understand the systemic nature of the challenge. He saw the problem as one of some bad guys acting poorly. So he went after that with strong rhetoric, but didn’t change the choke points.

One reason I like Romney is that I am convinced he understands how the finance system works. Just as only Nixon could go to China and only Clinton could reform welfare, I think only someone like Romney can reform the financial system.

Re corporate profits - president Obama thinks that firms have taken advantage of the recession to trim employment and get rid of staff they don’t need. I think he may be right. But he fails to understand the next step. If firms have lots of money and are not deploying it, that means they don’t see places worth investing. Some of this results from the mismanagement and uncertainty created by Obama’s policies, but there is a more specific reason.

Financial firms can essentially get money almost for free because of Obama policies. They can then “invest” this money risk free in U.S. government instruments (i.e. debt). They are making logical and legal choices. Again, we need to address the system. Obama would like to force them to invest in things he thinks are good. When we think of Solyndra, we are not so sure.

Posted by: C&J at January 14, 2012 8:46 PM
Comment #334510

muirgeo, I so completely agree with you. Romney is the establishments pick and, if elected Pres, would provide another 4 years of status quo, an act of running in place while going nowhere at the expense of the taxpayers.

It seems clear the people/voters are willing, seemingly eager, to ride the globalised train to the next destination, Hooverville, USA.

I’ve already had the debate with myself and I ain’t goin any further down this track. $15T heading for $40T of debt with no way in hell of paying it back, 25% of the workforce looking for scant few jobs at minimum wage. Housing, education, etc.

Most of the legislators that worked so hard to break down the middle class so we could become ‘globalised workers’ are still in place, living big.

If the solution is to remove the money influence from gov’t and politics then we have two choices. One, join hands and work to force congress and the courts to recognize our rights spelled out in the Constitution by acknowledging Article V Convention. Two, join together to form a 3rd party with a different political attitude with a mission/agenda to abolish corporate personhood followed by REAL campaign finance reform.

I believe number ‘two’ would be quicker and more efficient. If that means I need to vote for Buddy Roemer until a stronger 3rd party candidate shows up, I will. In the meantime I recommend supporting AVC (www.convusa.org), Reclaim Democracy (www.reclaimdemocracy.org) and Move To Amend (www.movetoamend.org) . Additionally, we should vote incumbents from office in large numbers.

Republic Sentry Party for Buddy Roemer - - -

http://www.buddyroemer.com/

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we

Posted by: Roy Ellis at January 14, 2012 9:02 PM
Comment #334511
I observed lots of signs and not lots of work. I don’t know how the signs got there, but there was a lot more promise than result.

So as you passed through on the interstate you saw ongoing projects but not lots of work. Seems to be a contractor issue yet you blame the government, it cause a credibility issue.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 14, 2012 9:14 PM
Comment #334512

“One reason I like Romney is that I am convinced he understands how the finance system works. …I think only someone like Romney can reform the financial system.”

C&J,

OK, please provide some specifics on Romney’s plan to reform the financial system. I am unaware of any specific proposals. If you can’t find any, please feel free to provide any alternative conservative proposals for reform of Wall Street.

Its really unbelievable to see conservatives now arguing for reform of Wall Street, tougher regulation and breaking up the TBTF banks. Three decades of de-regulation and free market mania from conservatives and now, we need tough reform. What nonsense! Alan Greenspan, the free market guru, darling of conservatives and head of the Fed during the financial excesses has been at least honest enough to admit that the “free market” policies of the Fed and the administration during his long tenure proved wrong and to his great disappointment that the financial markets were not self-regulating.

“Financial firms can essentially get money almost for free because of Obama policies. They can then “invest” this money risk free in U.S. government instruments (i.e. debt).”

Nonsense! It is the Federal Reserve, an independent semi-public/private agency (our Central Bank, not the Obama administration, that sets monetary policy. The head of the Fed, Ben Bernanke, is a conservative Republican originally appointed by GW Bush and a disciple of the economic conservative icon Milton Friedman. The “free money” policy of the Fed is designed to implement the preferred conservative policy approach to stimulating the economy, i.e., increasing the money supply by decreasing interest rates and/or increasing the amount of reserves or high power money available to stimulate borrowing. Your arguing that the Obama administration is responsible for conservative monetary policy carried out by the Fed. Typical, obfuscate and blame the other guy for the consequences of your own policies.

Posted by: Rich at January 14, 2012 10:17 PM
Comment #334513

C&J: “That is why the recovery is so poor compared with earlier ones.”

You’re wrong there. The stimulus didn’t tank the housing market and gut consumer demand. You’re suggesting again that we’d be better off now if we’d had no stimulus and you won’t find many legitimate sources to back that up.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at January 14, 2012 10:22 PM
Comment #334514


Well Adam Ducker, I will do your work for you, since you seem to be too blinded by partisanship to discover them for yourself. I will give you the numbers for the past month: Dec. 10, 2011 was 368,000 (revised up from 366,000); Dec. 17, 2011 was 365,000 (revised up from 364,000); Dec. 24, 2011 was 387,000 (revised up from 381,000); Dec. 31, 2011 was 375,000 (revised from 372,000); and 399,000 (yet to be revised, but almost surely ABOVE 400,000). The weekly number are almost ALWAYS (90% of the time) revised UP at least 3,000 in the following week (as it was this week, after being revised up 6,000 in the previous week). Perhaps you could pay attention to the numbers and see if they are revised upward this week?

Here is an account of numbers fudging in Nov. 10, 2011:

“More Jobless Number Manipulation
November 10, 2011

…Folks, unemployment. They’re going gaga out there, the Drive-Bys, tongues are down on the floor (panting), economy coming back, can’t wait to get that number under 9%, get that magic eight-point… doesn’t matter whatever else, unemployment. “The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week fell to the lowest level since April, which suggests —” this is a news story by the way. “— which suggests that employers could be —” that is two vague possibilities, “which suggests” (panting) get excited there “— employers could be —” (panting) — no, no! Yes — wait for it “— stepping up hiring.” There it is. It could be, may be, might be, happening.

“The Labor Department says applications for unemployment benefits dropped to a seasonally adjusted 390,000, the third decline in four weeks.” But, ladies and gentlemen, there is something unreported. Once again it turns out that last week’s numbers were quietly revised up. Last week’s numbers were 397,000. Again people are going (panting), and we had reports could be, might be, suggesting the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week was — don’t tell anybody — 400,000. Revised it up by 3,000. So it wasn’t 397,000. So it’s 390,000 today, and it will be revised upward next week. Well, it’s gotta be 150,000 a week to start reducing unemployment in a significant, meaningful way.

Now, the regime just wants that number to have eight in it. The first number to be eight, 8.9. Once they get that then the media is gonna report it as the unemployment rate finally dropped down do 8% today, 8.9’s gonna be 8%. And 8.4% will become seven, if that all transpires prior to the election. Here is last week just to show you. “Fewer People Seek Unemployment Benefits, Hopeful Sign for Struggling Job Market. The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications dropped 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 397,000,” but it turns out, like they always are, the numbers are revised upward, and it was 400,000 last week at the end of all of the calculations.”

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2011/11/10/more_jobless_number_manipulation

And another link, if you’re interested:

http://www.etfguide.com/research/747/23/The-Art-of-Statistical-Manipulaton—The-December-Jobs-Report/

Posted by: Frank at January 14, 2012 10:45 PM
Comment #334515

C&J, the key word is “legitimate” sources, meaning liberal talking points. Conservative accountants don’t qualify…

Posted by: Frank at January 14, 2012 10:48 PM
Comment #334516

Only the right is deluded enough to use rushbo as evidence that the employment numbers are manipulated.PLEASE!!

Posted by: Jeff at January 14, 2012 11:15 PM
Comment #334517

j2t2

The government contracted the contractors. The buck stops with them. If it is a contractor not working, it is but another example of why government cannot be the method for doing these things quick.

Rich

I don’t believe in these sorts of promising plans. That is what Obama gave us and look what we got.

Obama promised to reduce the costs of health care. He gave us more coverage at more cost w/o price cuts. He promised to get the economy in order. Didn’t work. He promised shovel ready jobs …

Only an idiot makes detailed plans before taking a job and finding out what is really going on, especially about something as complex as the financial system. We know Obama failed, so it cannot be worse.

Re the Fed - you are right about its autonomy, but Obama appointed Bernacke the same way as Obama decided to continue the Bush tax cuts. I agree with both these things, BTW, but now they belong to Obama.

What I blame Obama for is that he did NOT reform the financial system. To hear him talk, he was gonna kick ass. Another example of Obama talk that means nothing.

Posted by: C&J at January 14, 2012 11:28 PM
Comment #334519

Adam

RE “legitimate” studies.

From the Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/did-the-stimulus-work-a-review-of-the-nine-best-studies-on-the-subject/2011/08/16/gIQAThbibJ_blog.html


“Of the five econometric studies detailed here, three conclude the stimulus had a significant positive effect, and two conclude it did not have much of an effect at all.

“Of the four modeling studies, three conclude the stimulus had a significant positive effect, while one suggests it had a positive, but mild, effect.”

If we just take a majority vote, most say yes - BUT NOT ALL. About 1/3 say there is not much or a mild effect. Of course, I could find lots of conservative studies that say the stimulus lost ground, but I don’t suppose you would believe them.

Now let’s think of the other part. In the better case scenarios, the stimulus lowered unemployment. In one of the most favorable studies, it “created” 3 jobs per $100,000 spent, so Obama paid $33,000 per job and this would be the good news.

If the stimulus was free, it would be okay. But is was not free. We went farther than ever into debt. Beyond that, we spent so much that there are no places left to spend.

So we are back with my ten cups of coffee metaphor. We took the payment up front.

We also have to take into account expected values. We have 2/3 with a positive payoff and 1/3 w/o. Based on those odd, does the biggest spending spree in the history of the world really seem like such a great idea?

Posted by: C&J at January 14, 2012 11:45 PM
Comment #334520

Jeff, another example of liberals attacking the messenger instead of dealing with the message. By the way Jeff, I have never seen you make light of liberals who link to the huffpost, media matters, or the kos. PLEASE!!!

You do realize that Rush links to his proof, don’t you? No, I don’t guess you do..

Posted by: Frank at January 14, 2012 11:46 PM
Comment #334521
The government contracted the contractors. The buck stops with them. If it is a contractor not working, it is but another example of why government cannot be the method for doing these things quick.

Yes but it was taxpayer money that was used to pay the contractor so using your logic you are to blame C&J! How nonsensical to think it is the government responsibility to micro manage the work of the contractor.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 14, 2012 11:53 PM
Comment #334522
What I blame Obama for is that he did NOT reform the financial system.

Couldn’t agree more C&J since this is a dictatorship not a republic and he dismantled the do nothing Congress who put the reform law on his desk to be signed. It seems you have been hitting the kool aid awful hard C&J if you actually believe this nonsense.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 14, 2012 11:58 PM
Comment #334523


C&J, what I am saying is that both the Democrats and Republicans aren’t interested in a factual forum and that both count on less than informed voters. I am saying that no matter who wins, the middle class looses.

When Republicans are in power, Democrats claim the unemployment numbers are rigged and vice versa.

If Republicans had won in 2008, we would be talking about the McCain stimulus package and the number of times the Republicans had raised the debt ceiling, but we would not be talking about McCaincare.

Posted by: jlw at January 15, 2012 12:06 AM
Comment #334526

j2t2

Blame the contractor too if you want. The problem - again - is that government CANNOT do many things.

I try to explain that everything must be implemented through some mechanism. It is a simple organizational principle.

As a leader myself, I am acutely aware that my instructions are never carried out exactly as I intend. Sometimes, if I have given the task to the right person and I empower him/her to carry it out, it is much better than I could have done or envisioned. They know more than I do and are closer to the problem. It is important to get the incentives right and the tasks right.

I also understand that there are some things that we cannot do. We have to leave these things to others.

If I am telling you things you do not know, you cannot understand how things work. But I believe you know what I am talking about.

Government is run by people and run through organizations. It MUST choose to do things in a political environment through a rules-based bureaucracy. Why? Because we cannot give government officials the kind of freedom that a business owner would have. If we do that, he/she will be making laws. And the incentives can be wrong, since they are spending other people’s money and often do not have the necessary expertise.

So government - like ALL organizations - cannot function in all areas and cannot grow beyond some limits (we can argue about exactly where but it is already bigger than maximum efficiency.) Given the fact that it must deliver service through politically influences and rules-based bureaucracy, it cannot reach rapidly. It literally have to rewrite complicated rules before it can act and these rules are almost always arrived at through consensus, which virtually ensure status quo control.


So I am not surprised that government cannot implement shovel ready projects (if they exist) rapidly. I understand the system much better than Obama did when he came in. He understood the text-books on how it is supposed to work. Experience teaches how it really works.

Children and new politicians get mad when things don’t work the way they should. They look for villeins that are stopping it. Experienced people know you have to tweak the system. You never get directly what you want in the long run. It also means that you cannot ask government to do some tasks. It is like asking the world’s best marathon runner to be a linebacker in the NFL. He is a great athlete but unsuited to the task. There is really nothing you can do to make him good at it. He has the wrong type of body, the wrong training methods and probably the wrong temperament.

Sorry for the long response, but saying that contractors are the problem just misses the whole point.

Re financial reform - We are again dealing with the system. Obama did not understand that.

In fact the system approach is why dictators do not produce great results. In theory, a dictator should be able to outperform a free market system, since they can make the needful decisions. But in fact the market beats the central planning all the time. It is BECAUSE of the decentralized and “messy” decision making process, not in spite of it.

jlw

Please see above. The valid arguments you make about both sides in politics being flawed is exactly why we must remove as many things as possible from the directly political system.

Posted by: C&J at January 15, 2012 6:49 AM
Comment #334529

“The rise of the finance dominance is a bad thing. It was/is a form or crony capitalism…”


And this is a bit of an understatement. Finance profits went from 15 to 40% of all corporate profits. Not like from 15 to 18% but 40%. They produce nothing. They extract heavily from real producers. This turning our economy into a casino has done more damage than anything. It is a result of too much faith in unfettered markets and the resultant Wall Street deregulation along with the massive build up of crony capitalism that has festered since Reagan.

When JFK was president there were some 400 registered lobbyist in DC now 30 years after Reagan/Bush there are some 50,000 and the two highest income countys in the country border DC. This started BEFORE OBAMA. Massive structural changes to our economy that the current republican congress and senate have obstructed from being fixed. Try to find ONE bill they put forward to address these things. There mission by handed to them by lobbyist payers is to maintain the status quo. Corporate profits are at a record while the productive economy stagnates because nothing is being allowed to help create real demand and FED policy not Obama is promulgating free money to the big banks while our children back it up with treasuries and the interest on them.

Romney was interviewed in the latest issue of Forbes. His solution to fix the economy… his overwhelming number one priority…. get rid of regulation. And he also said that rising income inequality doesn’t matter. He mentioned nothing about trade reform or Wall Street reform. He’s a trickle down guy and the world is showing us it’s demand that grows the economy. He’s got it absolutely backwards. Polls of small business show their overwhelming concern is with poor sales ( i.e. decreased demand) NOT with regulation or taxes. Romney offers nothing at all. Running a business and running a countries economy are two different things. See Krugman’s recent piece, America isn’t a Corporation.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 15, 2012 9:17 AM
Comment #334530

“What I blame Obama for is that he did NOT reform the financial system.” C&J


To see what boloney this claim is simply requires a look at what bills the Pelosi congress passed that where filibustered and what bills the Boehner congress passed.

The clear evidence of which party was serious about doing something was in the fight for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We saw who circled their wagons to protect Wall Street and who was prepared to simple allow “product labeling” to help make things a bit more fair for consumers. There are plenty of bought and sold republicans but a one to one comparison between the parties is not even close.

Here is the bottom line C&J. You WILL NOT see our economic problems fixed by any republican policy changes. Any policy push in their direction will only make things worse. When we break free it will be from a significant change in policy that will not be subtle and it will be democratic. My concern is that it will take things getting a lot worse before this happens.

People are deservedly pissed and if it doesn’t happen legislatively it will happen through social revolution. Our democracy needs fixing from campaign finance to lobbying reform. Likewise the legislative process needs to emphasize getting thins to a vote rather then political one-upmanship and hiding your votes. These politicians need to be forced to vote on single issues to allow the public to know where they stand and to get good policy passed and bad policy defeated.

Posted by: muirgeo at January 15, 2012 9:29 AM
Comment #334531

Frank:

It’s clear you need to read more about these statistics you’re using and the statistics you’re telling me are wrong. I won’t pretend to be an expert but you’re clearly misunderstanding a lot of this data and it lets folks like Limbaugh and Montgomery make seemingly convincing arguments to you that aren’t based on reality. And then you call me blindly partisan? Come on. You couldn’t come off sounding less qualified to talk on this subject than you have with your comments here.

Let’s look at your claims:

1. “…the press won’t be satisfied until they can get the numbers down to 7.99999% unemployment sometime before the 2012 election.”

The press reports the statistics, they do not create or edit them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the results of two surveys on about the first Friday of every new month that details the conditions in the workforce and the number of jobs created in different job sectors during a reference week in the previous month. These results are revised twice in the following monthly reports. They are not revised the week after.

2. “Every week the jobs numbers are fudged and on Monday, they are adjusted.”

You are citing unemployment insurance initial claims, a weekly report by the Department of Labor that comes out every Thursday. These are not jobs numbers and they are not fudged one week and then revised on Monday. DOL is not BLS. These initial claims are not used to measure employment or job growth.

3. “Perhaps you could pay attention to the numbers and see if they are revised upward this week?”

They probably will be revised. Revisions don’t prove the previous report was “fudged” but it’s just a matter of having more complete data for the revised number.

4. “What do you say we update this BS post?”

My post related to BLS numbers that have not been revised yet. Citing DOL weekly initial claims and showing they are revised each week does not change what BLS reported for December jobs.

5. Limbaugh: “Revised it up by 3,000. So it wasn’t 397,000. So it’s 390,000 today, and it will be revised upward next week.”

Again, revision is not manipulation. But just look at the four week moving average of initial claims and you’ll see it declining month over month. So yes, they do get revised up slightly a lot, but the overall trend is sill downward and note worthy. And again, DOL initial claims is not BLS unemployment or non-farm job creation.

6. Daryl Montgomery: “Large numbers of people only leave a labor force during periods of severe economic distress. It does not happen during economic recovery. “

This is incorrect. The labor force participation rate has been in decline for more than a decade do to changing demographics. The population is growing at similar rates as in the past but the workforce has slowed down. BLS reports on this every two years.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at January 15, 2012 9:32 AM
Comment #334532

muirgeo

Money shifted to the capital because power shifted to the capital. The Federal government power increased through the mechanism of increased regulation and ability to give and take profits.

This is also why lobbyist have grown. They follow the money like ants follow sugar. If you insist on increasing the power of the bureaucracies and official, you get lobbyists.

The system solution is to give power back to the people.

I think that liberals took a serious wrong turn in the late 1960s. They stated to believe that “the people” meant the bureaucracy and regulation.

I notice you use the phrase “running a country’s economy”. This is precisely the problem. Government cannot run the nation’s economy. All that government can do is to create the conditions whereby the people can build prosperity. This is a very important role and one only government can fill, but it is a support role. As government tries to get more into the running or managing the economy, it begins to fail at its core duties, such as creating stability and building big infrastructure.

Re “trickle down” I don’t believe in that metaphor. Helping the rich does not necessarily help the poor. I agree that the trickle down does not happen automatically.

I do believe, however, that government’s responsibility is to the system. That often means that the rich will seem to benefit, since they are in positions to benefit.

That is why the characterization of bailing out Wall Street v ordinary people is a poor metaphor. Government needs to ensure the integrity of the system. That is why I supported TARP, although not always the way Obama played it out. But I would oppose bailing our individual homeowners who borrowed to much just as I oppose bailing out individual firms who did the same.

Posted by: C&J at January 15, 2012 9:42 AM
Comment #334533

Adam

Re stats - I am nearly 100% sure that unemployment will not dip below 8% by the time of the election. I do not believe that the BLS will cook the numbers. But I do expect that the media that generally supports liberal ideals will try to sell the number as less. They will “explain” that 8% is really more like 5%, just as they “explained” that 5.4% under Bush in 2004 was more like 8%.

Posted by: C&J at January 15, 2012 9:47 AM
Comment #334535

C&J:

“I am nearly 100% sure that unemployment will not dip below 8% by the time of the election.”

It has a tough path to get there but it’s not out of the question yet. In fact the opinion of the economic growth of the last few months generally has people more optimistic about 2012 than they were about 2012 this time last year. We’ll just have to see.

“They will ‘explain’ that 8% is really more like 5%, just as they ‘explained’ that 5.4% under Bush in 2004 was more like 8%.”

I don’t doubt that the media runs with the headline numbers and wants to predict trends one way or another. But in the end as you say, that’s not manipulation of the data. You and I will still know the truth based on the real values and not the message the media puts out there.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at January 15, 2012 9:57 AM
Comment #334536
Blame the contractor too if you want. The problem - again - is that government CANNOT do many things.

So lets suppose this hypothesis of yours is true C&J. Lets suppose the state governments cannot manage their own roads and roads work, which IMHO is quite a stretch. Lets suppose just for grins it is because the money came from the feds and therefore it is the fault of the feds which is what you seem to be saying. Your answer to thew problem is to privatized the roads and make all roads a pay as you drive system, is that correct?

Posted by: j2t2 at January 15, 2012 10:38 AM
Comment #334537

j2t2

I am not making it clear. State and local governments can and do manage road projects. They often spend more than they need to etc, but they manage.

What they cannot do is ramp up very quickly or build more than a given amount. It is a simple problem of logistics and supply.

A simplified example - say we are building 100 units of road in Virginia. Most of the factors of production are employed doing this. Now the Feds drop in piles of cash. They want to produce 120 units. The people and machines to do that just are not available. If it was only one place, they could draw stuff from others, but Obama did this nationwide.

The irony is that both labor shortages and unemployment can exist at the same time. What Obama doesn’t understand is that these projects are not like those he saw in the movies. We no longer need the vast armies of unskilled workers. And much work is based on the availability of machines, or which there is a limited number.

So government can indeed build roads, but the Federal government cannot use road building as short term stimulus.

As it the Obama pattern - he takes a good idea that could serve a real need and then messes up the execution because he doesn’t understand the interaction between the private and public sectors, nor does he understand non-political organization.

Re a pay system for roads - it makes good sense as a way to build roads but even more sense as a way to control traffic. In Northern Virginia we are just finishing “hot lanes” which will have different tolls depending on traffic. Like the Soviet bakery, we cannot satisfy demand w/o the use of some incentive and market system.

Posted by: C&J at January 15, 2012 10:51 AM
Comment #334538

In the case of the stimulus money most of the work was repaving and repair of existing roads C&J. Your example has some merit in theory if we assume the conservative no bid approach to the work. However these 100 units are divided up into several different contractors with their own equipment and availability of labor.

I also have to say that we should all be thankful conservatives had lost their mojo during the ‘30’s when their ideological failures were exposed for the failures they are. Had you attitudes of “the government can’t do anything right” prevailed during the ‘40’s we would all be speaking German now.

If it was only one place, they could draw stuff from others, but Obama did this nationwide.

Had this work not happened as it did perhaps you would actually have something concrete to blame on Obama. Your hatred of government and Obama is showing here despite the work being completed as is common, during the location appropriate seasons, and was actual not the problem you make it out to be.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 15, 2012 11:15 AM
Comment #334539
First were you aware that the percentage of corporate profits going to the banking and finance industry rose from like 13% to something like 40% from around 1975 to the present day? Were you aware of that fact and if so what insights or meaning or significance did you attach to it?

Muirgeo, If you haven’t read it I would recommend the Kevin Phillips book “Wealth and Democracy” on the subject.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 15, 2012 11:27 AM
Comment #334541

j2t2

With all due respect, I think you are missing the point.

There are indeed lots of contractors but you cannot just pour in more money. It is a good thing to build and maintain roads, but it is not something that works as a relatively rapid stimulus.

Obama wanted to do the right thing, but he didn’t understand what he was doing. He recognized the right problem, but employed the wrong tools to fix it.

I do not hate government. I love government. It must be used correctly and for the correct things.

I don’t hate Obama. I think he is generally well-meaning, but in over his head. He doesn’t understand the dynamic between government and the private sector. He also doesn’t get the systemic approach.

BTW - before the 1930s, lots of things were built by the government and under conservative regimes. The reason Hoover Dam is named Hoover is because it was started and mostly finished before FDR took office, i.e. under Hoover. SO that great symbol of the New Deal is not a New Deal project.

The conservatism of the 1920s is not that of today, just a liberalism is not.

Ronald Reagan was an FDR Democrat. He used to say that he didn’t leave the party; the party left him. Government has many legitimate roles that only it can play. But it is not the solution to all problems.

IMO - people like Obama are the ones who cause problems for government by trying to use it as a tool for too many things. The old saying is that if you give a man a hammer, ever problem starts to look like a nail. This is where liberals are. They have the government hammer and don’t understand that it is not a general purpose tool.

So let me repeat - building infrastructure is a good idea. But it cannot be used as the quick stimulus Obama envisioned. I think he has now learned that lesson. I hope others do too. It is tiring to see the slow learners having to learn the same things again and again.

Posted by: C&J at January 15, 2012 11:42 AM
Comment #334548

Contradictory statements by Adam Ducker:

“1. “…the press won’t be satisfied until they can get the numbers down to 7.99999% unemployment sometime before the 2012 election.”

“The press reports the statistics, they do not create or edit them.”

And then he responds to C&J’s statement:

“C&J:

“I am nearly 100% sure that unemployment will not dip below 8% by the time of the election.”

“It has a tough path to get there but it’s not out of the question yet. In fact the opinion of the economic growth of the last few months generally has people more optimistic about 2012 than they were about 2012 this time last year. We’ll just have to see.

“They will ‘explain’ that 8% is really more like 5%, just as they ‘explained’ that 5.4% under Bush in 2004 was more like 8%.”

I don’t doubt that the media runs with the headline numbers and wants to predict trends one way or another. But in the end as you say, that’s not manipulation of the data. You and I will still know the truth based on the real values and not the message the media puts out there.”

Posted by: Adam Ducker at January 15, 2012 9:57 AM

So you tell me the media only reports facts, but then you admit to C&J that the media is more than happy to run headlines making Obama look successful, just as they were more than willing to make 4-5% unemployment look disastrous under Bush.

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to understand there is a lot of double speak when it comes to job numbers with the BLS and the Feds in general. Are the numbers the BLS is giving us correct? No, they are not. Everythingis based upon averages and adjusted data. If you take the numbers of eligible voters and those who actually are working, we would find 16-17% of Americans out of work. Hocus-pocus…and you defend it.

Posted by: Frank at January 15, 2012 1:14 PM
Comment #334552


C&J, I should agree, government should not intervene on behalf of the excesses and deficiencies of capitalism. It should not support the excesses and should not try to alleviate the deficiencies. But, I am not a radical socialist, so I can’t agree with you.

Posted by: jlw at January 15, 2012 1:34 PM
Comment #334554

Frank,
A lower unemployment rate can be a problem if the rate is rising. A higher unemployment number can be viewed positively if it is falling.

The Labor Pool Participation Rate during the Bush administration was about 16%. The number of people not working, yet eligible to work, is a tricky number because some eligible workers stay off the grid. We don’t ordinarily discuss it, but the black market is alive and well, especially in the drug culture.

Posted by: phx8 at January 15, 2012 2:34 PM
Comment #334556

Frank:

There is no contradiction. The press is not manipulating the numbers or fudging them as you like to say.

“Are the numbers the BLS is giving us correct? No, they are not.”

What do you base that on? We’re back to square one with you and the no sources thing.

“If you take the numbers of eligible voters and those who actually are working, we would find 16-17% of Americans out of work.”

I assume instead of voters you mean workers. It’s far more than 16-17% actually. The Civilian noninstitutional population was 240,584,000 in December 2011. The labor force was 153,887,000. The number of employed persons was 140,790,000. That means we have about 99,794,000 Americans who could work but are not working or about 41% unemployment by your methods.

We don’t define every person eligible to work but not working as unemployed though. We define the workforce as people who are working or seeking to work and have looked for work in the last few weeks. That is why the labor force is only 153.9 million while the population of workers is 240.5 million. There are 13,097,000 million unemployed persons and unemployment is really 8.5%. It’s not 41% or even 16-17%.

Now, the underemployment is 15.2% which accounts for people who are discouraged and people working fewer part time hours than they want to work along with unemployed persons. But there is a clear difference between unemployment and underemployment.

“Hocus-pocus…and you defend it.”

It’s not magic but I do defend it, yes.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at January 15, 2012 2:50 PM
Comment #334557


In 1982, unemployment was at 10.8% an according to Frank, it was actually what, 22%?

Many people in the country were blaming Reaganomics.

What did Reagan, the father of the modern free market movement do.

Well, he stimulated the economy with deficit spending and by lowering interest rates.

When considering these next items, think of the current Republicans and their animosity towards and their obstruction of Obama’s attempts to stimulate the economy.

Reagan:

Forced Japan to accept restraints on auto exports to protect GM, Ford, and Chrysler.

Intervened in the trade of imported textiles and apparel.

Required 18 countries to accept voluntary restraint agreements on steel imports.

Imposed a 45% duty on Japanese motorcycles to protect Harley Davidson and it’s appalling management.

Raised tariffs on Canadian lumber and cedar shingles.

Forced the Japanese to control the price of computer chips.

The list goes on and on, machine tools, car parts, accused the Japanese, accused the Japanese, accused the Japanese.

NATIONALIZED BANKS THAT WERE TO BIG TO FAIL.

Raised corporate taxes by 100 million dollars.

Redefined dumping making it easier for American businesses to accuse their foreign competitors of unfair trade practices.

Even imposed a quota on imported clothes pins.

Reagan the free marketeer.

Posted by: jlw at January 15, 2012 2:57 PM
Comment #334558

Frank seems to go with the attitude that if a number says something he doesn’t like, he uses any and all excuses to deny it.

Yes, we are more underemployed than we were. But that trend started under Bush, not Obama, and Republicans have fought like hell to keep Bush’s economic policies in place.

Yes, numbers get revised. This is part of the process. Limbaugh wants to call it funny business, but given that these are often estimates and surveys, leaving initial surveys alone would be the funny business. The economy is a moving target, which means folks are constantly in the process of losing and gaining jobs, making gains and taking losses, not all of which are picked up on the first survey.

Now Rush would call this dishonesty, but if you actually look at the sites, they call these reports preliminary, advance, and final, and such like. They outright say that these things are not the last estimate. If they were trying to be dishonest, wouldn’t they just forget to say this was the case? Also, as I pointed out before, the estimates don’t merely improve. Often enough, and these things are on record at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, just right there for the examination. You will see the indifference of the changes in the estimate to the political good of the Obama administration, if you care to look at the actual evidence.

As for Daryl Montgomery’s posting? The main thing you ought to keep in mind with his claim is that if people are falling off the unemployment rolls in the way he’s describing, then one reason that’s possible is that the Republicans have gotten in the habit of refusing to renew additional unemployment benefits.

Think about that for a second. A person is considered among the unemployed for as long as they’re taking unemployment. You’re blaming Obama for them falling off that, but your policy, not his (as he has pushed unemployment extensions regularly) would be responsible for that.

At the same time, though, that’s not the only way people can come off of unemployment. They can find jobs, for one thing, and the more people find jobs, the more money runs through the system. That means recovery.

That’s the trouble with your hostile approach to making these arguments. Being contrarian as a rule means that you will bring up just about anything to complain about, because whatever’s happening, whatever Obama’s done, you’re against it, or criticizing it. Trouble is, you kind of put yourself in a position of critiquing your own policy, that of kicking people off of unemployment benefits, and by that reducing the recorded rate of unemployment.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 15, 2012 3:35 PM
Comment #334560

C&J-

Garbage in garbage out. The Obama analysis was based on theories that don’t really work and on numbers that were not really true.

You know, you and other Republicans supported tax cuts for the rich, which utterly failed to raise job numbers as they claimed they would. That’s a theory that doesn’t work. Not one time has economic prosperity been goaded along by letting those who already pretty much can’t spend enough keep more money to not spend. Underemployment increased under your policies.

Obama’s policies, on the other hand, were accompanied by a rather sharp difference in economic conditions. The recession ended, growth returned, and the numbers of economists, in particular Douglas Holtz-Eakin, indicate that the GDP is a few multiples of the stimulus north of whether it would have been if we hadn’t intervened.

Long story short, Obama’s policies are looking better than Bush’s or even Reagan’s policies.

As for the numbers? When you have a job market screaming downwards at several hundred thousand jobs a month, you don’t wait for another month, or even two months so you can makes sure your estimates jibe.

Even so, they demonstrate that Obama’s policies were overtaken by events, rather than undermined by their own lack of quality.

Your arguments suffer from a milder version of Frank’s contrarianism. You say you think the financial sector’s capture of so much of the economic activity is a bad thing. But didn’t you realize, while it was happening, that this was exactly where your party’s policies were leading? When Phil Gramm banned further regulation on over-the-counter derivatives, did you think that was just for the average person’s benefits? When they repealed Glass Steagall, and let energy trading expand, and all kinds of other things, do you really think Wall Street’s weren’t the interests in question?

There are all kinds of elements to the financial crisis which required such loosening of regulation to occur. And what about the 2005 Bankruptcy reform bill? Who do you think that was meant to help? Why is it that those making less than fifty thousand are treated with more suspicion in their bankruptcies than those making above it, than corporations, both of which are more notorious for using it as a dodge to avoid paying creditors?

The more you look at it, the more you find yourself at odds with the Bush Administration’s policies.

Obama, as a matter of fact, tightened requirements on TARP. Many of the banks that took the money paid it back under Obama’s watch.

As for what you’re saying about stimulus?

My impression is that most businesses are doing less business than they’re capable of doing. We have a productivity gap, not an overrun, according to the statistics. America is capable of producing more now than it is actually producing. So whatever theory of yours depends on the premise that more economic activity is going on than we are capable of sustaining is wrong on the merits.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 15, 2012 3:54 PM
Comment #334564

Stephen

Unemployment is still more than 8% and we have 1.5 million fewer jobs today than the day Obama took office.

Obama supporters like to show the graph (I linked above) that shows a neat symetry of job losses peaking in January 2009 and then reducing. Good. But if Obama gets credit for that, he gets blame for the continuing problem. And if he doesn’t get credit of that, it means conditions started to improve (or bottomed out) before his policies had any effect.

As I said, if Obama’s policies were free, we could say they did okay. But they were very expensive. Now we are paying the price. We bought very little at a very high cost.

Let me repeat - I don’t know how many times - that I agree with Obama and your diagnosis of the problem. Obama messed up the implementation and spent too much.

A hungry man needs food. It doesn’t mean he has to pay $100 for a bag of potato chips or that this is good in the long term. The choice was NEVER between doing nothing and doing what Obama did. He screwed up the implementation.

I think we SHOULD have had more building of basic infrastructure. Obama gave us the spending w/o much of the building. I think we should have reformed health care. Obama extended coverage but did nothing about costs.

We also disagree re the source of the crisis. I think we agree that it came about because of collapse of the subprime market. I think this market was poorly regulated. Not too few regulations, but ones that didn’t work. However, I big part of this problem resulted from the actions of Fannie and Freddie. There has been a big bailout there.

Re TARP indeed most of the banks paid back the money, as I said they would, BTW. But Obama - despite brave talk - failed to reform the system when he had the chance.

Generally, Obama makes a good case, but then fails to do the right thing

Posted by: C&J at January 15, 2012 6:08 PM
Comment #334566
With all due respect, I think you are missing the point

Well what started as an Obama lied the same as Romney did about Bain and the jobs he created was the point C&J. Simply put Obama saved at least many jobs as Romney lied about just by keeping the states and local governments from laying off people during the worst of the meltdown. Because you didn’t see many people working was a tangent we went off on as the fact is the contracts were let and the work was there, people were being hired or at the last not laid off at the companies that won the contracts.

Then you accused Obama’s people of putting up the signs, when led us off onto another tangent. Some weird fantasy land of conservatives where a conspiracy to put highway signs up for whatever reason sounds logical.

So the feds did there job by getting money to the states so the infrastructure projects could begin. Whether they were shovel ready or in the design phase soon to be shovel ready is a legitimate point but the feds did what they could.

I pretty much understand the point which is to smear Obama with falsehoods and praise Romney for lying.

The stimulus did what it could for what it was. You seem to forget it was an effort that had to include the conservatives in Congress who were more intent on politics than solving issues. The proof is in the fact that the loss of jobs was curtailed and eventually turned around.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 15, 2012 8:33 PM
Comment #334567

j2t2


Obama is president. Romney was running one firm. If Obama, as president, can expect to equal the record of one company among many thousands operating in the U.S. it goes to show the impotence of Obama.

Beyond that, Obama spent billions of dollars with the expressed purpose of trying to create jobs. His return on that investment is certainly lower.

Re saving jobs - I am increasingly convinced that a big difference between conservatives and liberal is the systems thinking. Liberal think in simple linear fashion. Obama spends x money. He produces y number of jobs, as the economist say ceteris paribus - but it never is. If Obama spends money to “save” jobs in one place, it means funds come from someplace else.

Beyond that, even by his own accounting, Obama didn’t really save jobs so much as protect the higher than average earnings of unionized state and local workers.

Re the signs - I am not smearing Obama to help Romney. I noticed those signs in 2009 and wrote about it. Since then, Obama has admitted that he didn’t understand the concept of shovel ready.

I think it is a good thing to build infrastructure. I am pointing out that it could not be used as a short term stimulus, as Obama claimed.

Re the loss of jobs being curtailed - we hit bottom in January 2009 before the stimulus. That is when it was curtailed and started back up.

The infrastructure improvements could not have been part of the stimulus, since they didn’t happen in time. I suppose spending on signs was mildly stimulative, but not that much.


Posted by: C&J at January 15, 2012 8:46 PM
Comment #334569
If Obama, as president, can expect to equal the record of one company among many thousands operating in the U.S. it goes to show the impotence of Obama.

And you think I missed the point. This is not an issue of Obama expecting to equal the record of one company C&J. Seriously!

This is much more about conservatives such as your self trying to equate Obama with the lying of Mitt Romney. A big difference but I suspect you know that.


Beyond that, even by his own accounting, Obama didn’t really save jobs so much as protect the higher than average earnings of unionized state and local workers.

The stimulus saved many state and local government jobs as designed. You can incorrectly call it ” protecting the higher than average earnings of unionized state and local workers”, as many waging class warfare on the middle class do C&J, but the fact remains the jobs were saved.

Re the loss of jobs being curtailed - we hit bottom in January 2009 before the stimulus. That is when it was curtailed and started back up.

Actually it was March of 2009 when the loss reached its zenith C&J. April saw a significant decline over March and job losses continued to lessen from there. The Stimulus was signed into law in mid Feb and did take a while before we saw movement. It is agonizing to see conservatives stretch so far in their attempts to defame the act and all things Obama as it did start us on the road to recovery from the meltdown. It is time to accept the facts C&J instead of all this revisionism from the right.


http://www.economicstimulusdetails.com/job-loss-totals.html

Posted by: j2t2 at January 15, 2012 9:21 PM
Comment #334573

C&J-

Unemployment is still more than 8% and we have 1.5 million fewer jobs today than the day Obama took office.

Unemployment was more than 8% at the point he took office. Heck, it was about where he is now in between February and March of that year. Given how many jobs were lost in 2009, I’d guess that gets him close to breaking even where he was when he first pushed the stimulus.

That’s more success than Bush’s vaunted tax policy, which were called stimulus measures when your people first pushed them.

But if Obama gets credit for that, he gets blame for the continuing problem. And if he doesn’t get credit of that, it means conditions started to improve (or bottomed out) before his policies had any effect.

Funny that we’re only talking about Obama here. The stimulus would have been higher if the votes of people of like mind to you were not at stake, and those to the far right were not opposing it in lockstep.

I recall every Republican, save three, the Main Senators and the former Senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter voted against it, and they suffered harshly in political terms for crossing over. If it hadn’t been for them, due to the way the numbers were at that point, the stimulus would have never gotten out of debate.

Thereafter, of course, with the harsh punishments, there was no way that was coming througth again. If we had to be satisfied with less than what was necessary, there was a reason, and the Republican Senate Delegation had everything to do with it.

So, who gets the blame for our government not doing more? Where there any alternatives, beyond tax cuts for the rich and the usual stuff that didn’t rescue the economy in 1981, with the Republican Party? I didn’t see anything. The Republican version was nothing but more of the same tax cuts, the same ones that did absolutely nothing to keep your President from having the worst job generation record since Truman.

Bush already did such a stimulus, do you remember? The big rebate checks? Those weren’t free, nor are the tax cuts that your side insists on. Those, or rather the hole in our finances they create, are paid for with the same deficit dollars. Only they failed to halt the decline, and so far have also failed to encourage the job creators to create jobs.

What Obama did worked, and might have worked better if politics had let him employ fewer inefficient tax cuts, and more direct job creation. Only about 250 billion of Obama’s stimulus was actually direct spending. The reason he didn’t do more infrastructure spending and the like is that quite plainly, the conservatives in and out of the
GOP didn’t want a new New Deal. This is about your side trying to preserve the dominance of Supply Side thinking.

As for Obama doing something about costs? HA! We would love to do something about reining in those costs, with competition like a Medicare Buy-In or a Public Option! But guess what party decided that crap was communism? Guess what party trotted out death panels in order to scare people about cost-saving legislation, in order to derail a measure that actually kept people from burdening taxpayers with unnecessary treatment they didn’t actually want?

Oh, you betcha, it was the Republicans! Do you have any idea how destructive your party’s tactics were to the discourse, how many of the things you would have liked to have had were casualties of your own party’s corrosive rhetoric and stampeded opposition to Obama’s proposals?

As for Fannie and Freddie? Their collapse was not helpful at all. But they neither had the market share of that booming market, nor the regulatory clearance to make the high risk kind of loans that helped kill so many of their private competitors on the secondary market.

And really, by themselves, they could not have created all the elements necessary for the build up of toxic debts.

You needed the rating companies to slap their safe AAA rating on those assets. Could Fannie and Freddie have done that themselves? Could they have played AIG’s role, using derivatives to insure those assets so there was a pretext for that AAA rating? Could they have played Lehman Brother’s role, or Merril Lynch, or any of those Hedge Funds or Banks that were tossing around mortgage securities at inflated value like they were?

Could they have played the role of the non-bank lenders, who outcompeted them five to one in the market by the time the market peaked, though at the beginning of the last decade, it was the other way around? As for Fannie and Freddie and regulations, do you not realize that they were coming under increased loads of them, especially after the accounting scandals that plagued them at the start of that decade?

You know why Fannie and Freddie were trying to make their appeals to folks like Frank and Dodd, right? Because they were having trouble competing. They wanted to be able to get further into that market that the private non-bank lenders were making a killing in. To the extent they succeeded, they were part of the problem, but they actually did better than the average, so regardless of what some of their leaders might have wanted, they never succeeded in becoming the big part of the mess you want to say they were.

We disagree about the source of the crisis, because I know for a fact that most of the assets were in other people’s hands, and that they were well motivated to sell these toxic assets. They even formed their system and got friendly legislators of both parties to help them in order to disable the market protections that would have prevented them from making so much money selling crap.

As for the reforms?

Interesting that your people keep on bringing Chris Dodd and Barney Frank. Is their some rhetorical relationship to the law they co-sponsored perhaps? And what was your party’s position on that? Oh, yeah, I remember. They were fully against it. We had to force the issue against a filibuster, yet again. Funny how the patterns work here.

You talk about Obama failing to do the right thing, but I find very often he’ll do what he needs to do. It’s the legislators, sometimes his own party, but most often your people who didn’t do the right thing, often enough. In fact, they fought any reform every step of the way. That is, besides undoing Fannie and Freddie.

(can I remind the GOP out there that in the wake of the collapse of other non-bank lenders. They’re practically all that’s propping the mortgage market up against another disastrous collapse?)

The reason to blame the GSEs is their connection to government. No other reason. They don’t have the market share, the critical responsibilities in the economy, the above normal failure rate, or anything else that would tell us that their losses were at the center of the whole debacle. It’s how we justify the discredited tropes of small government in the post 2008 period.

We need to admit that the system broke down, and Republicans need to admit that an economy doesn’t always fix itself like it’s supposed to.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 15, 2012 10:49 PM
Comment #334609

Stephen

IF the stimulus had been bigger, we just would have spent more money to get not much. You are like the guy who complains that his wife won’t let him buy more lottery tickets and then blames her for their continued poverty.

Re Dodd-Frank - there are two reasons I keep on bringing it up. First, is that two of the biggest crooks who helped bring about the crisis wrote the law. I understand that it sometimes takes a thief to catch a thief, but even you must admit that it is ironic.

The second reason is that the law doesn’t work. It is badly written.

Posted by: C&J at January 16, 2012 9:09 AM
Comment #334611

Yeah..well… except Frank and Dodd weren’t the crooks that helped bring along the crisis. This myth is wrong.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 16, 2012 9:53 AM
Comment #334612

“The second reason is that the law doesn’t work. It is badly written.”

C&J,

The vast majority of the provisions in the financial reform bill are only in the early stage of implementation. Who knows whether it will work. Only time will tell.

You might also fact check Romney on the issue. While, he talks about repeal, he also admits to liking a substantial portion of the bill. Kind of typical for Romney. Say one thing, do another.

Posted by: Rich at January 16, 2012 9:53 AM
Comment #334614

Why does Stephen Daugherty write such long responses? I absolutly lose interest after the first paragraph and skip to the last. Would’nt it be much simpler to just give a short answer of “yea or nay”, instead of boring everyone with such lengthy discourses and trying to razzle-dazzle us with his plethora of knowledge?

Posted by: Frank at January 16, 2012 10:21 AM
Comment #334615

Frank, that is Stephen’s way, you ask a simlple question and he writes an essay.

Posted by: KAP at January 16, 2012 10:27 AM
Comment #334617

Frank:

Sometimes when folks have an interest in facts and reason it takes lengthy responses to make a point. From your point of view I can certainly see how wordy responses get in the way of your ability to very quickly dismiss things you disagree with.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at January 16, 2012 10:39 AM
Comment #334618

KAP, I find it irritating and smells of intellectual arrogance. Like Obama, he seems to be talking down to everyone and as a result, I immediately don’t give a crap about what he is saying. Stephen seems more interested in impressing everyone with his vast knowledge than he does having a simple discourse on a subject.

On the other hand, C&J, whom I believe does have an expanded knowledge, is not afraid to consider an alternative viewpoint. SD is simple at mouthpiece for the latest liberal talking points.

Posted by: Frank at January 16, 2012 10:44 AM
Comment #334619

Adam Drucker, so are you implying I do not have the intelligence to understand SD’s wordy responses. Be careful, or you will be labled with SD. Your comment is borderline arrogance.

Ecc 12:12 “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”

Posted by: Frank at January 16, 2012 10:50 AM
Comment #334622

j2t2

There were lots of crook and lots of simple mistakes. Prominent among the many actors who brought this about were Dodd and Frank. No one man and no pair of men could cause the problem. But these two contributed more than most.

Rich

My problem with Obama is almost always the same. He does things in the right direction and maybe for the right reasons but he does them wrong.

It is like me playing NBA basketball. You recognize the game and my goal is right, I just don’t play very well and I don’t really understand the game.

All

Re writing long responses - The Gettysburg Address is 264 words long. FDR’s “Day of Infamy” speech has 521 words, including the greetings. Economy of words is a sign of intelligence and grasp of the subject.

Few of us can be Lincoln or Roosevelt. My responses get longer when I don’t really grasp the issue. I assume it is the same for others.

This is not a homework assignment, so if a text gets too long, complicated or convoluted I feel I have the right to dismiss it. It is the responsibility of the writer to make his ideas accessible.

I admit to having a short attention span on this blog. I tend to read and write between doing other things.

Posted by: C&J at January 16, 2012 12:00 PM
Comment #334623

“Why does Stephen Daugherty write such long responses….?”

Posted by: Frank at January 16, 2012 10:21 AM

“Jeff, another example of liberals attacking the messenger instead of dealing with the message.”

Posted by: Frank at January 14, 2012 11:46 PM

Let ye without sin Frank.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 16, 2012 12:02 PM
Comment #334628

Frank:

“Adam Drucker, so are you implying I do not have the intelligence to understand SD’s wordy responses.”

No, not in the least bit. I simply stated that you quickly dismiss every opposing view point and you have little facts to back it up. So when you get to a long comment you have more to dismiss than usual. That’s a higher workload.

If you think that implies a comment about your intelligence that’s on you and not me. Judging just on your clear ability to write coherent sentences my honest opinion is you’re as intelligent as most people on this site.

“Your comment is borderline arrogance.”

Again, that’s you taking me the wrong way. And that’s Ducker, not Drucker, by the way.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at January 16, 2012 1:17 PM
Comment #334637


Senate Banking Committee:

Chairman and party control:

1999-2001: Phil Gramm (R)

2001: Paul Sarbanes (D)

2001: Phil Gramm (R)

2001-2003: Paul Sarbanes (D)

2003-2007: Richard Shelby (R)

2007-2011: Chris Dodd (D)

House Finance Committee:

Chairman and Party Control:

1995-2001: Jim Leach (R)

2001-2007: Mike Oxley (R)

2007-2011 Barney Frank (D)

The problems began in the late 1990’s, culminating in early 2008, resulting in the Bush TARP bailout in late 2008.

Each and everyone of these politicians played a major role and each is responsible for the sorry state of affairs, but Republicans controlled these committees for most of that time.


Posted by: jlw at January 16, 2012 3:20 PM
Comment #334640
There were lots of crook and lots of simple mistakes. Prominent among the many actors who brought this about were Dodd and Frank. No one man and no pair of men could cause the problem. But these two contributed more than most.

But the facts are different. Unless you actually believe the cops are the reason the bank got robbed C&J. The “to big to fails” needed to write loans because they were making huge sums of money with little risk. These guys and the rating agencies were in the starring roles, Dodd, Frank and the rest were bit players. You single them out C&J and you loose your credibility as you let the deregulators and free market get away with the loot. Protecting them will only lead to more of these meltdowns.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 16, 2012 5:21 PM
Comment #334641

Dodd and Frank got sweetheart loans form Countrywide. Frank blocked reform of Freddie and Fannie. They were not the cops; they were the perps. Or maybe we can say that it was an inside job.

Posted by: C&J at January 16, 2012 6:25 PM
Comment #334642

Frank and Dodd getting loans from Countrywide didn’t start the meltdown C&J. Reform of F&F would not have stopped the meltdown as F&F wasn’t the cause. The reform didn’t include regulation of the over-leveraging or the securitization of the loans. It didn’t include anything that would have made the rating agencies accountable for their incorrect ratings of the securities.Your ideologies are getting in the way of real and thoughtful analysis C&J you are in danger of becoming a talk radio conservative.

You single out 2 Dems in Government that got loans from Countrywide but you neglect to mention the CEO of Countrywide Anthony Mozilo, who was a major player in the meltdown.

You’ve gotta take the blinders off C&J.The private sector was responsible for the financial meltdown. The free market needs enlightened self interest to work it got self interest and it failed the country C&J.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 16, 2012 6:38 PM
Comment #334647

Adam Drucker, sorry…typo, hit 2 keys at same time.

Posted by: Frank at January 16, 2012 9:20 PM
Comment #334649

j2t2

There were many causes to the crash and many people involved. Removing any one of them would probably not have changed the outcome. It is wrong to say that Freddie, Fannie and Frank caused the crisis, just as it is wrong to identify any particular bank or individual. But there were contributors. Freddie, Frank and Fannie were among them.

The idea of pushing home ownership onto people who could not reasonably be expected to pay mortgages was indeed bipartisan. Bush pushed it too. But - again - the most enthusiastic champion was Frank.

Posted by: C&J at January 16, 2012 9:35 PM
Comment #334652
The idea of pushing home ownership onto people who could not reasonably be expected to pay mortgages was indeed bipartisan. Bush pushed it too. But - again - the most enthusiastic champion was Frank.

C&J it was a private sector fueled speculative frenzy not some government demand to give mortgages to those that can’t afford therm. It is that simple. If you must blame the government take them to task for not regulating the securitization of mortgage loans. For allowing banks to over-leverage and promote shyster interest only loans. For believing these to big to fail banks had their own enlightened self interest in mind. We all know they didn’t need to have their enlightened self interest in mind because since the days of Reagan we have bailed these guys out.

The banks, if they had a risk on these loans to those whom you think obviously could not have paid them back, had the experience and knowledge to determine these loans were bad. Yet they made the loans, why? They had no skin in the game they bundled and sold them. To think the government made them take risks on loans to those that couldn’t afford them is conspiracy nut thinking.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 16, 2012 10:09 PM
Comment #334653


C&J, Gramm, Leach and Bliley played a major role as well.

Larry Summers wrote the housing derivative that was a major part of the problem.

The politicians in those Congressional committees, and other committees such as the Senate Finance Committee, listened to whistle blower testimony about the housing bubble, especially the derivative, and did nothing, for years.

Everyone of the Republicans and Democrats on those committees should do as Dodd and Frank have done, get out or they should get thrown out by the voters.

Congress has an approval rating of around 10% the same as the partisans.

Posted by: jlw at January 16, 2012 10:20 PM
Comment #334703

C&J-
We got about three to five times our value on the Stimulus, in terms of preventing a decrease in GDP. That’s according to a Conservative economists model, with updated information inserted into it. That’s not “not getting much” Keeping millions of jobs and returning to growth are not outcomes to scoff at.

We peaked at 10.1% unemployment rather than 11.5%. Objectively, that’s better than the GOP hero Reagan, whose shallower recession peaked its unemployment at 10.8%

As for Dodd and Frank? I want more than they managed to get. But do I object to them trying to cozy up to voters by killing their own sacred cow? No, that’s what’s supposed to happen. Those fellows are supposed to forsake their special interests to serve the public good.

It is ironic, but it’s the kind of irony I prefer. Newt Gingrich’s kind of irony, the irony from his party in general is what gets me. They complain about a bailout, but are unwilling to put the regulations in place and the enforcement capability to reduce the risk that it will happen again. They think nothing of flinging rhetoric at Romney criticizing him for being a Wall Street vulture, even as their party enabled, and still enables folks like him without a qualm.

As for the law not working?

Well, do me a favor and provide examples of it not working. I hear “this doesn’t work”, “that doesn’t work”, but I don’t hear how or why it doesn’t work. It just seems to be something I am meant to believe.

I often show my work, adding to the length of my posts, so folks don’t have to take my word for it. Their attention spans might not be up for it, but that’s not my problem. You can dismiss whatever you want, but that neither invalidates the ideas expressed, or the facts offered.

And if others are not so lacking in patience with my work, they might find my argument more convincing for the work I put into it, the facts I enlist to my aid, and the rigors I take with my logic.

As for the last part? Being low income wasn’t the problem. Folks, after all, can find relatively inexpensive housing, and despite their lower incomes, live within their means. It says something that loans, even subprime loans, underwritten by banks affected by the CRA actually had a lower delinquency rate than average.

It’s a red herring. Why is the red herring there? Because the alternative is admitting that this was primarily a Wall Street problem, that it was the private economy, given so many liberties in terms of what it could do financially which failed to police itself. Fannie and Freddie get blamed so the old “big government” attack can be brought into play, even though they operated as private businesses right up to the 2008 crash, Fannie for at least forty years before that point, Freddie only a few years less.

Enthusiasm doesn’t pass laws, majorities in Congress, which your side had, and the signature of the president did. Barney Frank couldn’t have forced you all to take a policy you didn’t want to take. The enthusiasm idea is even more forced. It’s a rare occasion when a liberal gets enthusiastic about an idea, and doesn’t encourage the conservatives to turn against it.

I don’t buy this because I know about the hedge funds, because I was paying attention when the Republicans were insisting that Wall Street be given as much leeway as possible. I was paying attention as your people championed the interests. I was paying attention when the Bush Administration forced the dismissal of suits by state AGs against predatory lenders.

I’m stubborn because I do not doubt what I remember on account of what you claim to be true.

Oh, and regarding brevity, some famous, influential works are short. Some are long. Familiar with the page count on Wealth of Nations?

Frank-

Why does Stephen Daugherty write such long responses? I absolutly lose interest after the first paragraph and skip to the last.

1) I’m thorough and methodical. Also, writing actual responses rather than repeating short slogans tends to mean I can’t be as snappy as some.

2) That’s not the best thing to admit. Taken at face value, it means that you lack familiarity with what I actually wrote. Why should people consider your responses to me as definitive as you do, then?

Would’nt it be much simpler to just give a short answer of “yea or nay”, instead of boring everyone with such lengthy discourses and trying to razzle-dazzle us with his plethora of knowledge?

It would be simpler. Would it be right? Would it resemble any kind of writing I’d actually want to put my name to? Not really. Also, you have a tendency to push “when did you stop raping your daughter” kind of trick questions, so I’d only be giving you an unearned advantage in the debate if I did what you wanted.

As for the second part? I like to deal in a world of facts, to nail things down to reality. I try not to be boring, but sometimes important things seem a little dull on the surface.

You can talk about intellectual arrogance, but I see providing that information that I do as a mark of intellectual humility- here is my information, here are my sources, you don’t have to take my claims at face value.

What I find intellectually arrogant are folks who, in their responses, dismiss things solely on political grounds, who claim to have skipped much of the argument, but are damn sure its wrong anyways, who talk about how boring or how liberal the argument is, rather than responding to that substance with substance.

As far as considering alternative viewpoints, Yes. I consider them. But I believe in doing so only so far as the facts that I know will allow that to be done in good conscience. I will not entertain viewpoints, like the Fannie and Freddie claim, that are wrong on the merits. Being open minded doesn’t mean being gullible.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 18, 2012 12:14 PM
Comment #334724

Stephen

I am not a great believer in using models to “predict” the past or to justify programs.

Reagan’s unemployment peaked at 10+% but then fell rapidly accompanied by robust economic growth.

As I have written, I suspect that Obama policies may have bought a little lower unemployment at the expense of a much weaker recovery. Is that what you are telling me you models say?

Re Dodd & Frank - you like the irony of people who personally benefited from finance companies and whose actions helped in their own way to provoke the crisis now have written so-far incomprehensible laws to “correct” it?

Re the law not working - provide an example when it HAS worked. We still have the same sorts of financial arrangements. If you make up a big law, the burden of evidence would be that it produces more than nothing.

Re predatory lending - I think that we should control things like “payday lending”, although i suppose those who want such money will go to loan sharks.

But “predatory lending” did not have a significant role in provoking the crisis. Mortgage rates don’t go that high.

Re writing long responses - you know I like you Stephen, but you could benefit from a little editing of your work. You have to understand that most people will not read to the end of a overlong blog post.

Posted by: C&J at January 18, 2012 4:15 PM
Comment #334734


The list of Republican politicians that received preferential treatment, VIP loans from Countrywide is growing.

Most of the politicians, on both sides of the isle, that received these preferential loans are keeping their mouths shut, but the ethics committee list is growing daily. Looks like the preferable defence will be the Sessions approach, he didn’t know he had gotten a VIP loan from Countrywide. Did other mortgage seller companies give these kinds of loans to politicians?

When conservatives talk about personal responsibility, one would hope that their politicians were at the top of their list. Apparently they are not.

Posted by: jlw at January 18, 2012 6:14 PM
Comment #334737

C&J-
What’s the alternative to relying on models, eh? Flying blind? Making untested, maybe even untestable assumptions about how the economy works? We can at least weed out the proposals that are mathematically incompatible with their desired consequences.

Reagan’s unemployment peaked at 10.8%, .7% greater than Obama’s worst unemployment ever got.

AFTER his tax cuts. After he started slashing government programs. After he started remaking the rules to help his friend on Wall Street. Bush did much the same, and guess what? He presided over a declining economy that then fell off a cliff. How many stimuluses did Bush attempt with his tax cuts? Why, after all that, did Bush fail to generate the monumental number of jobs he was supposed to?

Are you going to blame that on Dodd and Frank, too?

Dodd-Frank may not be the whole answer or the best answer to what happened, but it’s something. Republicans ought to stop pretending that after one of our worst financial crises in decades, we’re just going to sit back and let the status quo remain in place. They ought to consider that it is no longer a question of whether we’re going to reregulate Wall Street, but how we do it.

Whatever approach we take, it has to work. In looking at how it works, in this complex world, it might help not to be so phobic about models, about working out what might happen in a thorough, disciplined way.

Look at predatory lending. The whole point of that problem is that so many people were deliberately saddled with debts which the banks KNEW they couldn’t pay back. In fact, that was the point. Inflate their debt, one way or another, in their credit cards or their car note, or their mortgages, throw all kinds of spike-strips in the way of their actually paying things off, paying them on time, and add all the penalties and added interest to the value of the debt, which was then sold off at a greater profit than what a well regulated, benign relationship of that type could have produced, given the same purchase.

The problem came when too many people couldn’t pay back the debts, and the market finally put its foot down. Letting the lenders get usurious in the first place set the conditions for this failure.

It wasn’t merely rates, it was the exploitation of the middle class for profit the middle class could not afford to part with, due to stagnant wages. You can preach the gospel of responsible spending, but if you continue to cut people’s spending ability with wage policies, both at the federal and the private level, then something will have to give, and when that something gives, the economy goes with it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 18, 2012 6:43 PM
Comment #334739

Sorry SD, but I believe it has been proven by many on WB that you care nothing for facts and everything for liberal talking points.

Posted by: Frank at January 18, 2012 6:58 PM
Comment #334747

Stephen

We all use models before we take action. But we cannot use the models AFTER as the test of success, when the reality does not comport with the models.

In the case of the stimulus, the models predicted lower unemployment. When the stimulus did not deliver “your people” simply kept the model and assumed it would have been much worse w/o the stimulus.

In science, any theory must be DISprovable - i.e. there must be some conditions that could prove the theory wrong. Absent these conditions, we stick with the theory. The model you use does not have that characteristic. There are no conditions where you would say the model didn’t work because it is a self proving theory.

Re predatory lending - the definition is important. Giving loans at very high rates and difficult conditions could be called predatory.

Giving a person a loan he cannot pay back may be stupid, but it is not necessarily predatory. The guy signing up for such a loan is also a crook or stupid. Either he doesn’t know he cannot pay it back (i.e. does not understand his own conditions) or is dishonest in his application.

IMO - whether stupid or nefarious, these sorts of people deserve to lose money when their “investments” go sour.

You also use the word “usurious” incorrectly. Mortgage rates were in 2008 and are today fairly low. Just because borrows cannot or will not pay their debts does not mean it is ururious

Posted by: C&J at January 18, 2012 8:26 PM
Comment #334770

Frank-
I’ve been arguing politics since I was in junior high. I’ve been arguing it on the internet for fourteen or fifteen years, and doing so on this site for eight years now.

You think “Sorry SD, but I believe it has been proven by many on WB that you care nothing for facts and everything for liberal talking points.” is something that will really make me doubt myself?

It’s easy to say that kind of crap. I could say it all the time, belittle folks in that way, but I know damn well THEY have been told something similar, too, by liberals other than myself, and they’ve become as indifferent to being told that as I am to your telling me it.

If we really want to approach this along the lines of actually defeating the other side, at least as far as the outside audience goes, we have to nail people’s arguments with something better than that, something which puts a stick in the spokes of the wheel of spin, and forces peoples arguments to come back down to earth.

In short, arguments like the ones you employ are about the weakest arguments out there. C&J, at least, try to argue on the substance most of the time. The conservative movement needs more substance-focused people.

C&J-

In the case of the stimulus, the models predicted lower unemployment. When the stimulus did not deliver “your people” simply kept the model and assumed it would have been much worse w/o the stimulus.

Every model of change works from a baseline. Let’s say that my baseline for paying the bills this month is that I have to pay 900 dollars on my mortgage, 500 on the car, 300 on utilities. I know that I need 1700 dollars in the bank to handle that every time.

Let’s add 300 for groceries and other typical living expenses like food and gas for the car. That means I need 2000 a month to pay what I need to pay. (this isn’t realistic, but we’re simplifying for the sake of argument)

If I make 2500 a month, then my baseline for what I can safely spend is different than if I was at 2200 or 3000.

Let’s take the 2200 number. If my dentist sees I have a cavity, recommends a filling at 200 dollars, I have the income to handle it, though it’ll be close. Ah, but what if my tooth broke, and it needs to be extracted, at a cost of 500 dollars? (again, spitballing here)

Well, then things get more complicated. If I get a three hundred dollar raise, though, simplicity returns. No need to save, no need to seek out credit options or payment plans, not unless you had other things you had to deal with.

Change the baseline, that is the amount of money you’re required or able to spend, and you change the result.

Quite simply, the bottom fell out from under the projected results of the stimulus. Unemployment and GDP loss resulting from the panic, the credit crunch, and the businesses being shut down were much more severe than anticipated.

Which means in simple terms, is that the Obama administration had a lot more growth and GDP to buy, a tooth to extract, rather than a cavity to fill. The size of the expense required matters when we guage the result.

If extrapolated, the newer numbers show unemployment and GDP shrinkage getting much worse. It only follows, since the initial pulse of economic damage was greater.

Why not measure the stimulus from that new baseline, rather than hold it to the old one? The question is what Obama did with the factors that were under his control, not how he ran even faster to stand still at the numbers he promised in the first place.

As for loans and everything? Well, thanks to the division of labor in a capitalist economy, not everybody knows the business of the other guy as well as they know their own. That goes for finances and mortgages as well. Some folks prey on that difference in knowledge, plain and simple. How many people were sold ARMs, and ended up paying an arm and a leg they didn’t expect to?

As for my use of the word usurious, have you ever taken a good look at credit card rates? If you doubt my use of that word, just recall that in many states, before credit cards became common, it was illegal for banks there to charge more than, say, 12-15% for an extension of credit.

When I was speaking of debts, I wasn’t merely speaking of mortgages. One way or another, though, many of these companies were deliberately trying to trip up their customors, to push them into accruing penalties and late charges. The use of ARMs, with their increasing rates, was not accidental. Folks took advantage of people’s financial ignorance. It tells you something that among the provisions that Credit Card companies resisted in the new legislation was regulation requiring them to spell out the terms of these deals, and stop screwing around with them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 19, 2012 12:02 PM
Comment #334773
Sorry SD, but I believe it has been proven by many on WB that you care nothing for facts and everything for liberal talking points. Posted by: Frank at January 18, 2012 6:58 PM

Really Frank, the many being a few talk radio conservatives. Lets face it here Stephen provides facts which is the real issue here, talk radio conservatives don’t like facts much as they interfere with their preconceived notions much of the time. So instead of dealing with the facts the talk radio conservatives would rather insult the messenger. Which is much easier to do. And it takes less writing to do so.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 19, 2012 12:26 PM
Comment #334786

Stephen

I have little sympathy for people who take out more debt than they can pay. In some rare cases there are special circumstance, but if you bought more house than you could afford or if you run up credit card bills, you are part of the problem and I would blame such people for causing economic problems for the more virtuous and prudent people.

You believe in the old fashioned punishment, at least you keep calling for it. These guys punish themselves. We should not bail them out.

You have a victim mentality. You can tell by the frequent use of the passive voice, e.g. “were sold ARMs” NO, people took out mortgages with ARMs is the better way to put it. ARMs are perfectly fine instruments. I used them all the time. If somebody ends up paying an “arm and a leg he didn’t expect” he is just stupid. Maybe such people should not be allowed to handle money, but that is a step too far.

Re the stimulus and models - how often will you move the goalposts? Unemployment went higher than Obama predicted. Okay. Move the goalpost once. It was about 1% higher than his estimate. But that doesn’t mean it should come down slower. If you look at the post on the other side, you see your liberal allies claiming that it is a good thing that the Obama stimulus brought unemployment down from 10.1 to 8.5% in a little more than two years. Under Reagan, in the same amount of time, it went from 10.8 to 7.3%.

So we have the same baseline. Well maybe Reagan faced an unemployment rate nearly a full point higher. Which model seemed to produce a better real world result? I am not very good at math, but 3.5% seems like a bigger improvement than 1.6%. If Obama had done as well as Reagan, unemployment would be 6.6% and Obama could make commercials talking about it being morning in America.

Posted by: C&J at January 19, 2012 8:20 PM
Comment #334806

To SD and all socialist liberals who defend him; SD’ responses are lengthy and boring. In fact it is a bummer to scan down his comments and see how long and boring they are. Normally I just speed read and try to catch points he has not said over and over. His liberal comments are like a broken record. Just pick a subject and I can give you an almost exact quote of what he will say on the subject. I don’t care how long he has been writing on WB; he has never learned anything. Talking to SD is like taking to a brick wall. I have been reading WB since before SD began writing (over 8 years) and I have seen his name brought up many, many times as one who does not provide facts and when facts are provided by others, he ignores them. The above debate between C&J and SD is a perfect example; no matter how many times it is proven that Freddie and Fannie were involved up to their eyeballs in the housing crises, SD continues to defend Frank and Dodd. This debate has gone on for years and no matter what proof is given, SD is unable to comprehend the facts. How do you discuss or debate with someone who has a dogmatic ideology of socialism?

Posted by: Frank at January 20, 2012 9:04 AM
Comment #334807

Frank, your facts on F&F are not facts they are conservative talking points, it is that simple. You start out with mythinformation perpetrated by uberconservatives and repeat it until you believe it. Then you are confronted and your myths are shown to be wrong. Leaving you no recourse but to blame the messenger. As is the case here.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 20, 2012 9:52 AM
Comment #334817

j2t2, DUH, they were C&J’s facts, not mine. C&J is the one discussing F&F with the DASD.

Posted by: Frank at January 20, 2012 1:56 PM
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