Mistakes of Others & Ours

The world is changing and so is America. But we are going the wrong direction. I read an article talking about how Canada is doing better than the U.S. It is not rocket science. They are just doing some of the smart things we did in the 1980s and 1990s, back when we used to make fun of them for doing things more like we are doing now. We Americans have been dropping on the index of economic freedom. If we keep it up, we may drop out of the top ten.

I keep on thinking of Argentina. A century ago, Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world. It is blessed with good climate and lots of resources. The people are fairly well educated and competent. But the country has been really poorly managed. The "right" and the "left" have fought it out for ... forever. But neither is interested in a free market. Everybody looks to the government for solutions. The only difference between a leftist & a rightist government is who is ripping off whom using the power of the state.

Nobody decided to throw away the gifts of nature. In fact, one reason the place went bad was because it was too gifted. People thought they were entitled to more and thought the mechanism of the state could give it to them. By and by it got worse. So instead of thinking of Argentina as we do Netherlands or Belgium, which at one time it was, we think of it like ... Argentina. It is an entirely self-inflicted fate.

I don't think we will make those same sorts of mistakes, but America is not immune to the forces of history that have brought down great countries. We have had an extraordinary run of success. We have reinvented ourselves countless times and always came out better. Our initiative and imagination has always been greater than the challenges.

This time, not so good. We are experiencing the worst recovery in our history.

We have always caught up to the trend line. Even during the Great Depression, we had bounces, growth rates of 11%, 9% and 13% (1934, 1935 & 1936). Today, the only kind of thing we are getting is a kind of dead cat bounce.

So I have thought about countries in the far south of the Americas and the far north. We have another example - Chile. The Argentines used to think of Chile as we used to think of Canada. Today Chile is a developed country. It is no coincidence that Chile is three places above us on Index of Economic Freedom and 155 places above Argentina. In the long run, it is not natural wealth, good climates or resources that make countries rich. It is the initiative of the people released by smart laws and big doses of economic freedom. Let's learn from the mistakes and successes of others, as well as from our own.

Posted by Christine & John at April 3, 2012 9:45 PM
Comments
Comment #340069

Canada is going to eliminate their penny. Maybe we should do the same.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 4, 2012 9:13 AM
Comment #340073

C&J,
While I appreciate some of what you wrote, one thing you tried to do is compare our situation and the Great Depression. Obviously, there are many differences, but it appears you are trying to work out a time line, so here goes.

If you’ll remember you stated:

…we had bounces, growth rates of 11%, 9% and 13% (1934, 1935 & 1936)…
.

All of which are correct. Fortunately, we haven’t had to wait the same amount of time as it took for us to emerge from our Recession, as it did for us to emerge from the Depression.

We have been in our deepest economic straits only 3 years, if one wants to be correct. And, if you’ll notice, it took an extra year for the growth you show to take place during the Depression.

The Depression lasted for nearly 11 years, and growth did not start until 1934. A full 4 years into it. We are starting to see growth in the 3rdyear.

We are starting to move on the right track. YEAH!!! This is far better than the time period between 1930-1934.

However,since we are in a Recession, not a full on Depression, trying to compare the two is relatively useless.

Posted by: Highlandangel1 at April 4, 2012 5:02 PM
Comment #340077

For all the crying from the left, led by Obama. About big business, taxes, and subsidies; and how cutting corporate taxes will do nothing for the economy. I find it interesting that the United States is now by itself in high corporate taxes. Every other industrialized nation has cut corporate taxes; do they know something about about growth and recovery that Obama and the misled left do not know?

Posted by: TomT at April 4, 2012 6:10 PM
Comment #340078

Canada is doing better because it never had the bottom fall out of its FIRE industries. Canada did a much better job regulating the financial and real estate/mortgage markets during the 2000s and did not succumb to the deregulation mania that swept the US and European markets. It didn’t allow an explosion of private sector debt as occurred in the US and Europe.

Canada also has a much more developed safety net supporting consumer spending, universal health insurance, and has maintained a strong public job sector during the downturn. http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/pages/series-canada-the-recession

Yes, we could learn a lot from Canada. However, I doubt that conservatives would like the prescription.

Posted by: Rich at April 4, 2012 6:17 PM
Comment #340081

Rich

Canada is beating us on the index of economic freedom. It depends on what kind of conservative you are talking about. If you are looking for free markets, Canada is currently freer in many ways. I would like to go in that direction.

Highlandangel1

As Bush bashers are quick to point out, the recession hit at the end of 2007. Counting on my fingers I get 2008,9,10,11 and now 2012. The Depression started in late 1929 - 30,31,32,34.

Beyond that, if you look at the article linked on this, they use the Depression as the worst case scenario. This recovery is worse than all the post Depression recoveries from recessions too.

I don’t know for sure what, but whatever we did in 2008 anon either didn’t work well or maybe even created more trouble. My belief was and is that the massive stimulus of 2009 moved economic activity, perhaps making the recession at bit less severe but at the expense of the subsequent recovery, making the recovery more anemic and the economy more vulnerable to shocks.

Posted by: C&J at April 4, 2012 6:58 PM
Comment #340124

“Canada is beating us on the index of economic freedom.”

C&J,

Well, maybe on the Enterprise Institute’s rankings but not on the Global Competitiveness Index 2011-2012 rankings. The US is significantly ahead of Canada. http://www.weforum.org/issues/global-competitiveness

Posted by: Rich at April 4, 2012 10:02 PM
Comment #340128

Rich

Glad we still win lots of things. I want to see our position improve.

I still think the U.S. is the greatest country in the history of the world. I believe we will innovate, adapt and overcome the temporary problems we find ourselves facing now. But we have always done that by correcting mistakes. I think we are on the wrong track now. It is not the road to perdition yet, but we need a course correction.

Posted by: C&J at April 4, 2012 10:47 PM
Comment #340706

I think, C&J, that your party’s problem is that it’s living in the past, trying to escape a set of errors and a series of failures that it doesn’t want to admit to.

You don’t want to admit that all the talk of free markets magically making everybody their own ponies was just cover for rolling back economic rules to those of the 1920’s, rules meant to defend the wealth and the prerogative of the rich. The reality is, they were never going to give anything back. The reality is, you and they will blame everybody else but yourselves for how this economy turned out, and you’ll cycle us right back into the same horrible situation, expecting things to get better.

The reality is, your people have fought just about any change, and have succeeded in derailing most of it, so the status quo you’re complaining about is mostly of your own making.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 5, 2012 8:58 AM
Comment #340711


A MIT study says a world economic depression will occur by as soon as 2030 unless economic growth is slowed or a more sustainable economic growth model is adopted, including a great effort to produce renewable energy sources.

Critics say that slowing economic growth will condemn billions to a life of poverty. But, IMO, because of population growth, billions are already living their lives in poverty and no amount of economic growth is going to change that, in a meaningful way, it the time frame.

This will be especially true if the Republicans can deliver what the Market wants.

Posted by: jlw at April 5, 2012 12:23 PM
Comment #340716

Do you reckon that Canada is actually drilling and developing oil reserves and selling their oil for a profit has anything to do with their financial success?

Posted by: Frank at April 5, 2012 2:31 PM
Comment #340719

Do the Canadians strip search their citizens for, say, jaywalking? Because thanks to the conservatives on the US Supreme Court, in yet another 5 -4 decision, US citizens can be strip searched- repeatedly- for any misdemeanor, no matter how minor.

That’s a conservative take on liberty and freedom. Strip searches for traffic violations. You guys are priceless.

Posted by: phx8 at April 5, 2012 2:53 PM
Comment #340720
Do you reckon that Canada is actually drilling and developing oil reserves and selling their oil for a profit has anything to do with their financial success?

American oil drilling is at an all-time high so I don’t think so. Maybe it’s the pennies (or lack thereof)?

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 5, 2012 3:06 PM
Comment #340730

Please tell me what it is with you liberals? Can’t you tell the truth?

phx8 is trying to say a cop can strip search an American citizen on the street; but tell me phx8, was the upholding of the law for those in jail or for those on the street?

And now we have WR playing the same game; was the all time oil drilling on Federal land, controlled by Obama, or was it on private or state land that Obama had no control over?

Tell the truth and stop with the Chicago thuggery games.

Posted by: Frank at April 5, 2012 6:24 PM
Comment #340732

Frank,
So you favor strip searches for misdemeanors. You are such a fine example of conservatism. Bravo, Frank, Bravo! Way to represent. Keep it up.

And don’t bother pretending I said something I didn’t say. You’re a troll, Frank, and I won’t respond to you after this comment.

Posted by: phx8 at April 5, 2012 6:30 PM
Comment #340734

phx8, let me make the question as simple as possible: “are those who are strip searched in jail?”

Yor comments are the troll comments, because you are misleading.

Posted by: Frank at April 5, 2012 6:36 PM
Comment #340739

Stephen

Is it ever possible for you to see the world w/o the partisan filters? Or maybe in a little more nuanced fashion?

We are talking about places like Australia, New Zealand, Canada or Switzerland. They don’t have Republicans and Democrats as we do. They are employing policies more free market in many ways than ours. I doubt they they are trying to “roll back” rules to resemble those of 1920s America.

jlw

See what I wrote to Stephen. Goes for you too. It is interesting that MIT predicts a depression in 2030, but it is silly too. It must have been the MIT kids that did it, maybe making up a video game. Nobody can predict the world economy 18 years out.

Warped

I would get rid of pennies and paper dollar bills. We could still have virtual pennies, but those who still pay with cash can have their bills rounded to the nearest nickle.

Posted by: C&J at April 5, 2012 8:29 PM
Comment #340799

C&J-
When you stop practically quoting the Wall Street Journal editorial page on everything, or taking the Heritage Foundation or American Enterprise Institute at their word about everything, you can talk about your ideas being without partisan filters.

I was in support of the New Deal Reforms even when I was a Republican, because I had seen the news reports, early in my life, demonstrating the market’s weakness. I figured if this much deregulation wasn’t preventing economic problems, if the banks that were constrained weren’t tanking, while the Savings and Loans that weren’t so constrained were, then there was something to the New Deal argument.

But Republicans, as far as I can see, are fans of testing ideas to destruction, rather than relenting when signs come up that certain approaches are problematic. Your warning on Derivatives and corporate finance, on the banks and their accounting, was Enron. Enron was also your warning on energy prices, on energy speculation.

But these are warnings you don’t heed. That, above simple partisan sentiment, is what frustrates me at the Republicans resistance to putting back the constraints on the financial institutions. And it’s what doubly frustrates me about the GOP’s active push to blame this all on Democrats, on the Stimulus, and on the regulation of the markets. You’re not only taking the wrong lesson from one of the worst financial disasters in history, but you’re actively trying to intensify the mistake, while blasting the approach that has actually led us to the point where we’re back growing 200,000 jobs a month.

And I think we have room to complain here because Bush’s approach took a shallow recession that began and ended in a single year, and turned it into a season of job losses that lasted until the middle of his turn. Obama, meanwhile, once he got things turned around, has genuine, continued job growth.

I mean, you say drilling will make gas cheaper, we drilled more, whoever’s responsible, and gas prices are still obnoxiously high. You say taking that pipeline down from Canada will improve oil prices, and the facts are that they will. At least from the point of view of the Tar Sands Extraction company that’s going to make more money on a barrell of oil (that is, charge more), because they no longer have to sell it at a discount to locals in the midwest. You guys said helping GM and Chrysler recover was a bad idea, but now they’re surging back, doing good business, creating new jobs here. You guys said that the Chevy Volt was a boondoggle, but they’re back on the assembly line early, making new ones, because sales of the Volt have reached new highs.

The problem is, Republicans have become programmatically contrarian on every point Democrats make, whether or not the merits of the Democrat’s arguments justify it. Meanwhile, the obsession with deficit reduction in a time where austerity drives in other nations have caused serious financial shortfalls continues to mark the policies Republicans push, policies even Goldman Sachs, hardly an organization of heathen socialists, says will produce “fiscal drag” on the economy.

Republicans are simply not listening anymore to contrary views, even when those views are substantive.

As for those MIT predictions? It’s pretty simple: energy is the ability to do work. If you can’t power your vehicles, transport your workers, move your cargo, you’re not going to be able to grow the economy. The Depression they’re talking about is what happens to our economy if we let energy prices direct the transition to new energy sources, rather than kickstart it early.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 5, 2012 9:02 PM
Comment #340843

Stephen

Do you disagree with the information or the numbers included in the articles? Do you think they are lying about the relative growth, unemployment and tax rates? It will be interesting if you have some alternative figures.

Re New Deal reforms - you have to be specific about which ones. Most of the New Deal was repealed or greatly modified by 1939, before either of us was born. Some of the monuments of the New Deal, like the Hoover Dam, were designed and started before the New Deal.

Beyond that, I have never met anybody who wants to go back to conditions of 1929.

I know you enjoy talking about ENRON, but you must recall that ENRON grew to be a threat at a time when Democrats controlled the regulatory environment. The problem was discovered when Republicans were in charge. This does not mean that it was a Democratic problem alone, but the chronology indicates that it was not a Republican one either.

Re oil and gas - I say that energy exploration in America will increase the wealth that stays in America; it helps create American jobs and American wealth. The price of natural gas is much lower than it was a few years ago. If we are going to buy oil and gas, I prefer to keep the money we spend more in America, maybe Canada, than send it to the Middle East. Is that really such a radical idea?

The price of gasoline is higher, much higher, than when Obama took office. I didn’t blame Bush for those prices and I don’t blame Obama, but clearly whatever Obama did is NOT keeping prices lower.

RE MIT study - If you base your assumptions by extrapolating the present twenty years into the future, you will almost always be wrong. Twenty years ago, experts predicted that we would be running out of natural gas and need to import massive amounts. Today the situation is completely different.

This is one of the big reasons central planning fails so disastrously.

Re Chevy Volts - buy one if you want. If it runs on electricity, it means that it mostly runs on coal, BTW, since a large part of U.S. electricity is coal generated.

RE the recovery - it has been very weak. We spent billions and got not much. I think that we traded success in 2009 for a slower recovery today.

Posted by: C&J at April 5, 2012 9:25 PM
Comment #341130

I find it funny that you reference growth rates during the
Great Depression, times where we did exactly what you’re saying for us not to do. Fact of the matter is, your economic policies are focused, more or less, on hoping that the folks higher up in charge of the companies will look at new tax rates, look at the freedom they now have to cut costs by polluting, overworking people, changing their job titles to deny them overtime, look at their fatter wallets, and go “Gee, I need to make some new jobs with all the money I now have!”

That, as opposed to keep it themselves, which is the normal, understandable, and obvious thing most people do. Normal, obvious and understandable, but not really good for job creation.

More later.

Whereas we do more direct investment and actual jobs programs, which means people are actually getting the benefits outright, and the jobs are really being created.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 6, 2012 9:04 AM
Comment #341131

Stephen

It all depends on context. Government was much smaller then. It could have a greater positive effect. Beyond that, we don’t know whether or not the stimulus worked. It did not solve the Depression.

If you try to grow plants, you know that some fertilizer makes plants grow better. After a point, more does not help and after that more can actually be harmful.

IMO - liberals just don’t get this idea. They cannot seem to understand balance and nuance. Your people are constantly phrasing as all or nothing. President Obama is not telling the truth when he says that some people wanted to do nothing. And you are being dishonest when you repeat that or imply that somebody wants to “go back” to 1929.

The world is not binary. We rarely have all or nothing choices.

But let me get back to context. I supported some stimulus and I like spending on infrastructure. The Obama folks just didn’t administer it well. We got not much infrastructure for the massive bucks spent.

“My” economic model is based on creating wealth for America. It is true that “people like me” are more concerned with creating wealth than how it is distributed. I leave the details like that to “people like you”. But I point out that we have to create wealth before you can re-distribute it. And if excessive concerns about equality of results starts to interfere with wealth creation, everybody get less.

Posted by: C&J at April 6, 2012 10:05 AM
Comment #341135

C&J-
You talk about wealth creation, but we’ve been creating oodles of wealth for the few lucky folks, and it hasn’t lead to job creation. Far from it. The rich got dramatically richer under Bush, and if Bush’s policies continue, they’ll get richer still. Yet the period under Bush is a terrible time for job creation.

It makes a whole lot of sense if you stop assuming that the folks upstairs automatically look out for the average person’s interests on their behalf, but instead look out for their own. No melodrama about good and evil, just plain, good old fashion being out of touch, seeing things from a different angle that makes it more difficult for them to behave in a more empathic way.

As for your fertilizer metaphor? Interesting, but really, with the banks floundering like they were, there wasn’t exactly an excess of investment going on. I mean, where is this magic threshold where doing more was a problem. Can you even prove it exists?

Seriously, I can demonstrate that most economist believed it created growth and created and save jobs. You? You’re arguing that it crowded out private investment at a time when private investment was positively anemic, the banks on life support.

There’s no empiricism to your model, just shopworn conservative axioms.

I’m not dumb. I know you have to create wealth to distribute it, but how do we do that? Do we froth up a bunch of gamesmanship between the big banks that leaves them in this weird, emergent position of being able to crater each other with their own demises, or do we engage in profitable business that has imports and exports cycling, people actually working- that is, real economic activity going on in the classic sense, not just symbolic activity going on at the top which the rest of us get the symbolic table scraps from You might envision economic growth coming from the top, but the reality is, the current economic problems are disproving that, as the main drivers of low business is low customer activity.

It is not merely a question of the equality of results, although more even wage and benefits growth is better than the rich racing ahead. No, it’s a question of whether we’re relying on the economic activity that just a few can produce, as opposed to the more massively robust activity that the many can create. It’s also a question of whether we’re rewarding real productivity, or symbolic/cooked-book type productivity.

Your system basically rewarded people more and more for their cleverness in manipulating markets and finance. Mine is more focused on creating manufacturing, making sure people are paid enough to afford what we’re expecting them to buy. It’s not good enough, this past event has proved, simply to lend them more and more credit, and hedge yourself up to the gills so you don’t have to worry about the blowback from lending them too much, or being too predatory. People have to get the incomes necessary to justify the spending that justifies our growth figures.

Just making life cheaper and regulation easier for the big boys hasn’t put America in a better financial position. You’ve had decades to prove that would happen, and worse than failing to prove it, you’ve actually proved that things don’t work the way you imagine them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 6, 2012 11:51 AM
Comment #341137
was the all time oil drilling on Federal land, controlled by Obama, or was it on private or state land that Obama had no control over?

Who cares? Your original hypothesis was this:

Do you reckon that Canada is actually drilling and developing oil reserves and selling their oil for a profit has anything to do with their financial success?

According to your contention, it should make no difference as to whether or not the oil drilling was subsidized by the government gravy train or not.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 6, 2012 1:31 PM
Comment #341138
I would get rid of pennies and paper dollar bills. We could still have virtual pennies, but those who still pay with cash can have their bills rounded to the nearest nickle.

I’ll do you one better. I’d get rid of nickels too. Replace the quarter with a simple half dollar and we could forget about that decimal place all together. We don’t have virtual half-pennies, why should we bother with virtual pennies?

BTW, I’m glad you take a reasoned approach to this topic. Most conservatives would complain about the “rounding tax” & “inflationary pressure” that would be imposed by eliminating pennies.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 6, 2012 1:35 PM
Comment #341140

Stephen

Democrats took control of the House AND the Senate in 2006. They won the presidency in 2008 and still control both the presidency and the Senate. During 2009 they held all the marbles and passed the programs they wanted. We have a Democratic plan in place now and have for a few years. How’s that been working out?

We had great job growth in general from 1982-2007. This is a good run. We should figure out what went right during that time, what no longer applies and what new conditions will mean we have to change tactics. I frankly cannot see how any intelligent person can find fault with those general outlines. This is just the way anybody who understand how makes decisions. Anyway, at least, not blinded by hate.

I have never assumed the the guys upstairs look out for those below. That is a LIBERAL idea. You assume government leaders will do that. I do not. I do not assume business leaders will either.

People are not driven only by profit. I have never met anybody like that or even heard about such a person. But we (all of us) are influenced by opportunities and incentives and held back by constraints.

Government’s job is to create conditions by which the people can prosper. Surely you do not disagree. We part company about how much government bureaucrats and politicians can manage correctly the complex machinery of the market, which none of them understands and many have no personal experience.

Re you being able to demonstrate that most economists agree that the stimulus created growth - I believe that too. But I believe that it moved economic activity forward, creating a weaker recovery and that government spend way too much for too little result.

You say that “my” system favor finance. What makes you believe that? You say that you favor manufacturing. How? I favor free choice and free markets that transmit information about relative scarcities and other factors through the price system.

I understand that most people really don’t understand or overlook this and most leftist just call it profit-motive. But ask yourself how do you know the value of anything? Without a price mechanism, you use too much of some things and waste other. It creates shortages and Soviet style rationing. In fact, general ignorance of the topic among Marxist DID indeed create the Soviet style shortages. In our own American experience, it created the gas lines some of us recall from 1979-80.

The finance system, BTW, was not free in 2006-8. In fact the constraints on home mortgages forced many to invest in sub-prime loans. That was even government policy. I know lefties dislike this, but as we learn more about the crash, the simplistic idea that it was “greed” is being displaced by the more mature understanding of the complexity of the system and its flawed system of incentives.

Posted by: C&J at April 6, 2012 1:41 PM
Comment #341149


Canada is the largest country on the planet. It is also one of the wealthiest in terms of natural resources. With a population one tenth the size of ours, one would think that Canadians are doing quite well. The reality is that the average Canadian worker is no better off financially than his American counterpart.

“Nobody can predict the world economy 18 years out.”

I somewhat agree with that, there are always some unforeseen events. But, assessments can be made based on current trends. The MIT results are very similar to other attempts at prediction. It would be interesting to know what some of the conservative institutions models say.

Conservatives have made a lot of bold predictions about the economy if we deregulate the market and promote Laissez Faire and Caveat Emptor. Should we disregard their predictions as well? There is little evidence to support their predictions, and as a matter of fact, the evidence shows that the average citizen was worse off before the age of regulation and financially worse off since the new age of deregulation.

Posted by: jlw at April 6, 2012 3:03 PM
Comment #341153

Post Hoc Ergo propter hoc. The Republicans have gone on a record breaking obstruction binge, with your approval, meaning that the House and Senate can’t perform like they’re supposed to, given the majorities we had. You even rationalized this distortion of the system in the name of minority rights. Did it not occur to you that this distortion of the system accords you some responsibility for the results, for the consequences?

Oh, and yes, now your people are half in charge of the legislature. Now who’s responsible for what?

Oh, by the way, the market’s primary function is not to convey information. It’s a social interaction, during which people may lie or emotionally pressure the other side. Information is exchanged, but folks, if they’re not obligated to say, often won’t tell people little things like, hey, the firm who’s selling you this investment is secretly betting against it behind your back, its so rotten. Or that a certain chemical in wide distribution has been found to cause cancer. Or the truth about what the scientific state of affairs with Carbon emissions and global warming.

Things that might have a certain awkward, shall we say negative, effect on business. Oh dear, who would have thought that after a long world history of people being cheats and swindlers that it would be possible for people to conceal information you would need to know, or buffalo you so you don’t believe the stuff you need to believe?

The Republican vision of the economy represents a mix of what people would want to believe about an ideal market, and what some would like them to believe about the market to promote their particular interests. This is how you can square supposed small government principles with both the corruption displayed under the Bush Administration, and the increase in actual government authority. Small government is the red herring they throw people to make the problems of industrialists, financiers, and other wealthy people the problems of the average person, by making them feel that there is this dark cloud over the country. Trouble is, America’s done much better under that supposedly stormy sky than it’s done under the claimed clear sunshine of what you folks wrought with the Reagan revolution.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 6, 2012 3:39 PM
Comment #341154

jlw

I don’t believe in central planning because I don’t believe that any planner can accurately gather and analyze data at the level required.

I love to read books that talk about the future. We can see some general trends. But think of the big unpredicted things. We had good things like the fall of the Soviet Union, The fall of crime rates in the 1990s, a budget surplus, the rise of China (maybe good),and the other BRICS, the development of shale gas fracking and the commercialization of many nanotechnology improvements (your all-cotton shirts no longer need to wrinkle is a tip of the iceberg example). Right now, we are witnessing a big drop in birthrates is places like Mexico and Brazil, and even in many Islamic countries. This was completely unpredicted in 1992 and will profoundly change the world.

On the downside in the last twenty years, we had 9/11 and the general terror threat. We thought that was contained. We had the rise of China (maybe bad), the rise and evident collapse of the EURO, a strengthening of international crime networks.

These are big variables. There are lots of other smaller but also important ones. There is a high probability of breakthroughs in nano and biotech, but we cannot know how or what. In nanotech, we could be looking at a revolution in materials science. But we have no way of saying what it will be, so a plan cannot take it into account in any but a very general sense.

The good thing about markets is that they are decentralized, pragmatic and flexible. It is a form of iterative planning. That is why it works so much better than the big brain planners.

Posted by: C&J at April 6, 2012 3:50 PM
Comment #341155

Stephen

“Oh, by the way, the market’s primary function is not to convey information.” The market doesn’t have a “function” in the sense you are using the term. It has useful aspects. Conveying information is one of the most important. It does NOT require people to ostensibly cooperate on this.

How do you know how much to pay for a book on Amazon? Has someone helpfully told you?

Re small government - I think government should generally be smaller and more effective. This is not something I reserve only for politics. I think every organization should be no larger than it needs be to do the job. The difference with government is that it has the power of coercion and can force compliance. That is why we need to be careful.

With my staff and colleagues, I use the adage that “if it NEEDS not to be done it needs NOT to be done.” This saves a lot of time and money. We have corollaries that some things are really important but not our business, i.e. we are not the most appropriate to do the job or we cannot affect the outcome no matter how much we throw at the problem.

This has not meant we accomplish less. In fact, we accomplish much more than most others by focusing on what we do well and letting others do the same. This is the paradox of most organizations. Activity is not the same as effective. Often when you do less you accomplish more. This is, IMO, how government should work. Unfortunately, incentive in government tend not to support the efficient deployment of resources and personal restraint.

My beliefs on size and scope are not based on a vague ideology about what SHOULD be, but rather on a long career of experience and observation about what DOES work. Overstretch affects any large organization and most small ones. As I said above, the government difference is that it can compel people to use its services.

In general there are just some things you cannot have and many things that you cannot have simultaneously. Politicians may know this, but their promises don’t reflect their beliefs.

I also don’t really see many cases of real villains and heroes in these sorts of things. Most people are trying to do the right thing while doing well for themselves. But their actions have consequences they did not foresee.

The other phrase to recall is that sometimes things are not going badly in spite of your best efforts but BECAUSE of them. Government is often plagued by this.

Posted by: C&J at April 6, 2012 4:06 PM
Comment #341160

Is it just me, or does anyone else notice a sense of terror in the comments and attitudes of the liberals on WB? Perhaps this is a picture of things to come as the SCOTUS determines the fate of obamacare in June, or perhaps it could be the loss of Congressional seats and the presdiency in November? I certainly see a change of attitudes from those on the left.

Posted by: TomT at April 6, 2012 5:01 PM
Comment #341163

Tomt i assume the t is for troll and as far as yoour post you wish!!

Posted by: Jeff at April 6, 2012 5:18 PM
Comment #341167
Is it just me

It’s just you. Trust me.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 6, 2012 6:31 PM
Comment #341172

TomT-
It’s just you.

Let’s take a for-example. Let’s say the mandate gets struck down. There are plenty of liberals who say, “Medicare for All/Medicare Buy-In”.

Honestly, your association of the mandate with us is one of the more odd ironies of recent politicaly history. Do you actually realize at all that the political history of this provision was conservative until it became part of healthcare reform? In fact, the only reason it got on was that the Republican signalled that they’d be willing to vote for the mandate!

This only makes sense if you look back over the history of the mandate as an idea. It’s not an accident that Mitt Romney pushed it in Massachusetts, or that Republicans were pushing it as an alternative to Hillarycare all those years ago. It had its origins in a Republican think-tank, for crying out loud!

Yet Republicans obediently slam it as a socialist government overreach!

When your political history is limited to what you heard on Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh yesterday, when opposition to an agenda is your agenda, you’re not going to avoid these self-destructive self-contradictions. Republicans have only one means of being consistent now: opposing Obama.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 6, 2012 9:16 PM
Comment #341178

C&J-
Conveying information is not its most useful aspect. Mediating goods and services is the point of a market. Or rather, if we want to stop committing a fallacy of reification here, the market is essentially what we call our economic interactions, which don’t necessarily convey information, but do necessarily convey goods and services. Information is involved, even inextricable as an element, but it’s not the point of a market. We create markets because we have needs and wants.

Now, despite the fact that you haven’t really been listening when I said this, I’ve been pretty consistent in saying that I do not favor price controls, that I think most economic decisions belong down where information can be more quickly and more easily be absorbed and reacted to. Where the law belongs is in dealing with broad behaviors, and specific phenomena of financially dangerous practices. It needs to be put there to define how the market is operated, because some people, given the chance, will cheat people, and others will imitate them in an effort to join them in having a competitive advantage.

I mean, some people cite Darwinism as a way to justify these things, saying survival of the fittest is the model for running an economy. There are several problems with this.

Species can go extinct, and not necessarily for rational reasons. We just saw investment banks essentially become extinct, and the big banks almost followed them. If they had, we’d have been in a hell of lot more trouble. Nature doesn’t care if the relentless operation of its rules destroys everything. We… Well, we ought to be a bit more selective about the outcomes we’re willing to see occur.

Evolution does not move towards the ideal, it moves towards the provisionally rewarding and competitive. There are multiple examples of species that have put themselves in some pretty tricky evolutionary positions, such that they are reliant on another species in order to continue to exist. It’s nice to have a butterfly with a foot-long shnozz to suck up your nectar and pollinate your flowers, but what happens if your butterfly dies out?

We can identify qualities we want in a given company, like honesty and a tendency not to sell product with poisonous heavy metals within them, and hope that public pressure is enough to keep them from doing that, but the reality is, the actual pressures of the system we’ve set up aren’t going to naturally create virtue at companies. That’s a choice, and hardly one profit compels to be made in only one way. You can profit by not raising levels of toxic metals in the drinking water, or you can lobby congress to negate standards that make it a problem, or to cut budgets to the enforcers bothering you. Ought doesn’t necessarily become is. People don’t necessarily react to the possibility of public outrage by reforming.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 6, 2012 9:35 PM
Comment #341179

Stephen

“Mediating goods and services is the point of a market.” But based on information about prices. I learned this when I was working in post-communist societies. Communism collapsed for lots of reasons, but a big one was that they couldn’t really make good decisions because their benighted system stripped out information.

Re price controls - I never mentioned them. When you interfere with markets, you interfere with price signals. I believe, as you do, in rules that protect people from fraud and/or enforce contracts. I oppose rules that try to set a “fair” price.

I also never used the Darwinian example with the market. A market shares some characteristics with evolution, but it is not the same. Competition in a market is not fatal. People and firms displaced by market competition can and often do reinvent themselves. In fact, most of the most successful people and firms have failed several times.

But like evolution, market do not move toward ideal results. But like an ecological system, it provides constraints on what is possible. A government that understands the limitations of its own power can do some good. But it is in the nature of humans to overreach and certainly in the nature of politicians to over promise. That makes it the duty of free people not to ask too much of their political leaders and to demand that they restrain themselves.

You have identified a fundamental weakness of regulation right here when you say, “You can profit by not raising levels of toxic metals in the drinking water, or you can lobby congress to negate standards that make it a problem, or to cut budgets to the enforcers bothering you.”

But it is worse than that. You can lobby Congress to create rules that actually protect you. Or you can use political power to get taxpayer money, as happens with crony capitalism. This is what I worry about with Obama.

Posted by: C&J at April 6, 2012 9:58 PM
Comment #341180

Tom,
It’s just you.

Stephen already pointed out that the origins of the provision for the individual mandate came from The Heritage Foundation, developed as an alternative to the Clinton administration’s health care reform proposals, and advocated by Republicans during the 1990’s, including Romney. In addition, a huge number of people spent a lot of time developing the current health care insurance reform, and most legal scholars concluded the individual mandate would be considered constitutional. It would be extremely surprising if the SCOTUS killed the reform. However, the recent hostile questions from the Court, and the statements by Obama after the SCOTUS took its secret vote suggest destruction of health care reform is a real possibility.

The opposition to ‘Obamacare’ is motivated entirely by partisanship. Because Obama favors it, conservatives feel they must oppose it.

But if reform is destroyed by the SCOTUS, it doesn’t change the underlying problem. We have people suffering from recission and lacking coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Tens of millions of Americans lack coverage. America spends 17% of its GDP on health care, while no other industrialized country spends more than 12%. Despite spending so much, the US ranks about 29th in longevity (right after Slovenia) and about 30th for infant mortality.
Health care costs more than doubled during the Bush administration.

Remember how conservatives complained about the growth of government under Bush? No? Well, they should have. And if they would have bothered to notice, they would have seen that government grew mostly within three sectors: 1) DoD, 2) Homeland Security/TSA, and 3) health care costs driven by the private sector.

So the problem remains. Should Obama’s reform go down- and we won’t know that until June- then the problem still needs to be addressed. It is bad for the entire country if the problem goes unaddressed.

A marketplace solution, like allowing insurers to compete across state lines, won’t work; they will simply headquarter in the state with the least regulation, and the problem will be as bad as ever (for a historical comparison and understanding of why this solution will fail, consider the Credit Card industry).

The problem has to be addressed. The most logical solution will be Medicare for all. That’s what I have always wanted all along, so it wouldn’t break my heart if conservatives on the SCOTUS win this battel against the individual mandate, since it will certainly result in winning the war by expanding Medicare to cover all of us.

Posted by: phx8 at April 6, 2012 10:02 PM
Comment #341182

phx8

But ObamaCare does not make health care less expensive. It just spreads it out more.

We have to addres the very expensive procedures. Most of the money spend comes in the last year of life. We also make heroic efforts to save premature babies and those with severe handicaps. It is a hard choice, but everybody will die and sometimes saving a life just is not worth the expense.

One way our Euro friends save money is by NOT doing the expensive things. We might call this cruel, but it is not. Why save a baby that has no chance of ever living a normal life? That is cruel. Why keep some old guy alive an extra six months if it will be nothing but pain?

Our society is not ready for that debate. Ironically, LACK of government medicine has allowed us to avoid it.

IMO, it is the ultimate in lack of dignity to hang around when you are too infirm to live life well. It is a gift to pass quickly and terrible to be saved by aggressive medicine.

Posted by: C&J at April 6, 2012 11:48 PM
Comment #341207

C&J
I was trying not to state the obvious - but:
it was during Bush’s tenure that our economy fail. Since you brought it up, please ask yourself this:

Is it possible that Republicans in office during the 1982-2007 helped to create this mess? Since they were in office far more often than Democrats who else should we blame? Obviously something went wrong. Maybe it’s time to let someone else try something different.

People are not driven only by profit. I have never met anybody like that or even heard about such a person.

What a absurd statement! Do you ever watch the news? Read a newspaper? Check the news out on-line? Remember all those wonderful, self-serving doctors who cheat Medicare? Or the Hilton menace, Enron, or all those who use Ponzi type schemes?

What about all the people eagerly hoping they can find a way to made a profit, legally or illegally. You might not want to forget about all the wonderful criminals we have in our world who will do almost anything for profit.

Posted by: Highlandangel1 at April 7, 2012 8:40 PM
Comment #341209

Highlandangel1

The time between 1982 and 2007 was an extraordinarily good time from the economic point of view. Twenty five years of expansion with only two very shallow recessions is the best overall record in history. The post-war good times lasted from roughly 1948-1972, about the same amount of time. There are no other comparable periods in our history or those of any others.

No economic good times last forever and most don’t last that long. I don’t “blame” anybody for this. In fact, I think that people should be fighting over the credit. Bad times follow good and we hope the other way around.

In any case, in the 25 year period, Democrats controlled the House for 14 years. They controlled the Senate 11 of those years and the presidency for 8, so Democrats can share the credit/blame.

Re profit - people like profit, but it is not the sole motivation of most people.

There are also certainly cheats, which is why we need the rule of law. But we need to be careful who we give power to watch whom. That is why I fear and oppose all concentrations of great power. Government is able to concentrate power in more sustainable ways than private parties. In fact, private parties almost always seek, and often get, government to deploy its power to protect their status quo power.

Re trying something different - of course we should and we do. The situation is always changing and we adapt. The measures we applied in 1982 won’t work as they did back then.

What I see with Obama, however, is not something new. His ideas are retreads from the 1960s and 1970s. These notions crashed and burned with the bad economic times that stretched from 1973-1982.

Posted by: C&J at April 7, 2012 10:15 PM
Comment #341213

C&J, bubbles bubbles bubbles, how easily we forget as we look back this past 30 years. On paper it may look good to you but alas it is only for some that these have been extraordinarily good economic times. The income inequality this period is noted for fogs the rose colored glasses you wear.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 8, 2012 9:59 AM
Comment #341220

j2t2

All life could be called a bubble. No matter how successful your life, it will one day be over. I always warn my over-ambitious colleagues that the day you retire is the day you are a former - whatever you were. Sic transit gloria mundi. This was true in the past, is true today and forever will be true. “The Flower that once has bloomed forever dies.” Nothing lasts forever. 1982-2007 was a good time. I think we all would like something like that back. And we can if we are smart and maybe a little lucky.

Re income inequality - it almost always grows during times of expansion. My masters thesis was on the period of Archaic Greece, when increased trade and progress created income inequality. The general prosperity increased, but it increased faster for some than others, as happened with us.

Measures of inequality almost always fail to take account of technological and quality improvements. In 1982 the rich had nice televisions, computers, reliable cars, air conditioning, VCRs and they could afford to have their clothes professionally laundered so they could look neat.

Today the poor compared to the rich in 1982 have better quality televisions with more choices, better computers, more reliable cars, air conditioning, DVD (better than VCRs) and nanotech has made wrinkle free 100% cotton clothes available to all.

The development of these things have helped the poor more than the rich. The rich already had some versions of these things. Now they may have slightly better versions, but it matters less to have a slightly better computer than to go from having non at all to a very good one.

I live in Brazil these days. They have a growing middle class. It would be called poverty in the U.S. but people are happy because they now can afford little refrigerators and small cars. The difference between having a refrigerator and not is big. Getting the fancier model is less a jump.

Re rose colored glasses - I try to see opportunity in even hard situations. You can call them silly if you want, but it works better than the alternatives.

Posted by: C&J at April 8, 2012 1:30 PM
Comment #341266

Frank

The man is nuts and hateful. The scary part is that he still can draw crowds and sometimes people even support him.

I read the article. It is also interesting the way that this half-educated man can lead the ignorant. He uses just enough references to famous people to make some think he understands his subject.

It does disturb me a little that Barack Obama could sit through this kind of thing and not throw up. But I suppose he was doing as many do in church, sleeping.

Posted by: C&J at April 9, 2012 11:14 PM
Comment #341267

Rich was right. Canada never did jump on the deregulation bandwagon with banks. Bankers in Canada do well but not like the mega-million year salaries some US bankers make by taking risk with other peoples money.They would get fired if the did.A decent safety net including national health care also makes a big difference. Responsible businesses are not saddled with the ever climbing cost of medical coverage.
I would not put too much stock in the new Merdoc version of the WSJ. To bad . they used to have standards in their news reporting though never in their editorial/financial commentary. Could have made a killing betting against them. They have been nearly 100% wrong, ie. predicting for hyperinflation and huge bond rates for 3 years now.

Posted by: bills at April 10, 2012 2:09 AM
Comment #341268

C&J,

“Today the poor compared to the rich in 1982 have better quality televisions with more choices, better computers, more reliable cars, air conditioning, DVD (better than VCRs) and nanotech has made wrinkle free 100% cotton clothes available to all.”

It’s interesting that you bring this up.

The Commodore 64 came out in 1982, at a cost of just over $600.00, It’s creator Jack Tramiel, died yesterday.

Since you want to take a walk down memory lane, I thought I would play too…

The best selling car in 1982 was the Ford Escort.
The Sony Beta, though rare, was the VCR of choice.
IBM was the computer of choice for those of us that weren’t using computers mostly for games, if we had a computer at all.

In 1982 I was 30 years old, and was working as a breakfast cook making $6.50 an hour. I drove a 1976 Chevy Bel Air that had been a taxi cab. I bought it for $500. The TV I owned was a used Panasonic 25” that I bought for $200. I lived in the same house I live in now and we still don’t have air conditioning, unless a swamp cooler counts.

My point is that we can all look at the past and see how much better life is for all of us now, however most of the advances are toys that aren’t really necessary for a happy life.

All of these comparisons to the past are mostly useless.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at April 10, 2012 8:58 AM
Comment #341278

bills said:

“Bankers in Canada do well but not like the mega-million year salaries some US bankers make by taking risk with other peoples money.”

You mean like Corzine and Mf Global and his use of other peoples money?

“It does disturb me a little that Barack Obama could sit through this kind of thing and not throw up. But I suppose he was doing as many do in church, sleeping.”

Posted by: C&J at April 9, 2012 11:14 PM

Yes I agree that Wright is a complete nut, but I don’t share your belief that Obama was sleeping. He listened to Wright and he agreed with Wright. Aren’t you able to see a drift in America toward real race problems? We are seeing it every day; Obama, who claimed to be a uniter has done everything he can to divide the nation. His administration, from the very beginning, has been filled with racist blacks bent on dividing America. Van Jones, Eric Holder and others whose goal is to go after whites and let blacks go. A recent letter sent to Holder by the Zimmerman family has asked Holder if his blind eye on the New Black Panther threats is because Holder is black. We will see what kind of response they get. Glenn Beck has predicted race riots this summer and I partly agree. Holder has done nothing so far to get a hold on these problems and this is seen as a green light to groups like the NBP. Obama would love this to happen because it would give him the perfect opportunity to declare Marshall Law.

Rocky Marks; another four years of Obama and we will all be walking, riding bikes, or riding horses (for those who live in the country). I was a teenager in HS when we got a house with indoor plumbing. I don’t consider an indoor toilet to be a toy. Buying a gallon of milk at the store is much easier than getting up at 5:00 AM to milk cows. I carried coal and wood to keep our Warm Morning stoves burning, and I think a furnace is much better. There can be no doubt that life in general is much better today than it was when I was a kid and I don’t consider our modern conviences to be toys.

Posted by: Frank at April 10, 2012 5:14 PM
Comment #341301

Frank,

“I don’t consider an indoor toilet to be a toy.”

Why am I not supprised…

“…I don’t consider our modern conviences to be toys.”

I don’t know how I survived before they created an ap so I could watch movies on my cell phone.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at April 10, 2012 11:19 PM
Comment #341302
It does disturb me a little that Barack Obama could sit through this kind of thing and not throw up. But I suppose he was doing as many do in church, sleeping.

You do realize that those out-of-context clips are not typical of Wright’s sermons? Normally, Wright does a very good job concealing his crazier ideas. I’m not surprised that Obama was duped.

link text

ABC news purchased 20 years of Wright’s sermons and found only two instances where Wright revealed his belief in various conspiracy theories. I can easily believe that Obama was absent on those two Sundays.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 10, 2012 11:43 PM
Comment #341361

Frank:
You must be old enough to collect social security.
Thank your Democratic forefathers.

Do you also get\use Medicare?
Be sure and thank the Democrats once again.
Now, if you don’t like your prescription Cost plan: blame the Republicans

C&J: Why the heck do you care about US politics? You don’t even live here! Enjoy your rose colored glasses!

I live in Brazil these days. They have a growing middle class. It would be called poverty in the U.S. but people are happy because they now can afford little refrigerators and small cars. The difference between having a refrigerator and not is big. Getting the fancier model is less a jump.

Re rose colored glasses - I try to see opportunity in even hard situations. You can call them silly if you want, but it works better than the alternatives.

Posted by: Highlandangel1 at April 11, 2012 5:09 AM
Comment #341370

Highlandingle1; yes, I am more than old enough, but I don’t receive SS or Medicare. I made enough money in my life (despite the Democrats goal to keep me poor) to pay for my own insurance and retirement, but thanks for being concerned.

Warped Reality; You must be very naive to believe Obama was not influenced by Wright. And you must be very naive to believe Wright only had 2 sermons showing his true feelings. I believe it was you who said you disagreed with the things Wright was preaching and now you say he did’nt really say them. Where do you think Michelle Obama got the idea that she was only now proud to be an American?

Posted by: Frank at April 11, 2012 11:30 AM
Comment #341378

Rocky

My only point is that a poor person of today has access to quantity and quality of goods available to a middle class person of a generation ago and to a rich man of a century ago.

We talk about inequality. It has grown. But general increases in welfare have largely eliminated absolute misery of earlier times. Now it is just relative.

Highlandangel1

I am still American and will return to America. In some ways I am disinterested but certainly not uninterested. In fact, I am more concerned with the long term health of my country than what happens today or tomorrow.

Warped

Don’t but Wright too much slack. The fact that he would ever say such stupid and hateful things shows the kind or racist dolt that he really is. No good person should accept him.

It is possible Obama was asleep. But he should denounce Wright as least as strongly as he does any other racist.

Posted by: C&J at April 11, 2012 7:08 PM
Comment #341383
You must be very naive to believe Obama was not influenced by Wright

I never said Obama wasn’t influenced by Wright. Obama sat in Wright’s pews for 20 years; for all but a handful of sermons, Wright presented himself as very mainstream. Some of Wright’s language can be explained by the context in which he said it, whereas other things are inexcusable. Nonetheless, if Obama missed those three sermons, he would never have known about Wright’s views in those areas.

Trinity United Church of Christ sold tapes of every service for those twenty years and the media purchased them all and spent hours watching them all before uncovering those select three sermons. If Wright said anything incendiary in any of those other sermons, we would know about it.

he should denounce Wright as least as strongly as he does any other racist
Obama did this in his speech ‘A More Perfect Union’ that he delivered after those three sermons were publicized. Posted by: Warped Reality at April 11, 2012 11:37 PM
Comment #341387

“I never said Obama wasn’t influenced by Wright. Obama sat in Wright’s pews for 20 years; for all but a handful of sermons, Wright presented himself as very mainstream. Some of Wright’s language can be explained by the context in which he said it, whereas other things are inexcusable. Nonetheless, if Obama missed those three sermons, he would never have known about Wright’s views in those areas.”

Yes, and if a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his ass every time he jumped. I will tell you something WR, since you suffer from naivety. Wright is a radical, and when radicals have a platform to preach from, they preach radicalism. Example: Van Jones is a radical and his message is always the same; Sharpton, Jackson, and Mohammad of the NBP are all radicals and their messages are always radical; Hitler was a radical; Stalin was a radical; and Obama is a radical and his message is always radical. I’m not sure who you are trying to convince when you say Obama sat under a radical for 20 years and failed to hear his radicalism.

“Trinity United Church of Christ sold tapes of every service for those twenty years and the media purchased them all and spent hours watching them all before uncovering those select three sermons. If Wright said anything incendiary in any of those other sermons, we would know about it.”

You are basing your conclusion on the premise that the MSM wants to connect Obama with Wright’s radicalism. The problem with that is that the MSM is in bed with Obama and has tried to protect him for the past 4 years. Any conservative outlet; Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michelle Maulkin, or even Fox News has been attacked (as the radicals) for revealing the information. So much for getting the truth out.

Let’s look at the latest comments from Obama: he claimed yesterday, that his radical tax policies should be called “The Reagan Tax Cuts”. What a joke to think a socialist would compare his tax policies to Ronald Reagan. The left hated Reagan. So who is reporting this as the lie and misconception that it is? You guessed it; Glenn, Rush, Sean, Michelle, and Fox News. But silence from the left leaning MSM. Not only does the liberal MSM not deal with the lie; they actually promote the lie. Wake up WR and smell the roses.

Posted by: Frank at April 12, 2012 9:06 AM
Comment #341390
when radicals have a platform to preach from, they preach radicalism.

This is opinion, not fact. Radicals fully capable of concealing their opinions and preach mainstream things if they choose. Look at the link I posted earlier. There are dozens examples of TUCC services that do not feature any of Wright’s conspiracies.

You are basing your conclusion on the premise that the MSM wants to connect Obama with Wright’s radicalism

But the MSM did connect Obama with Wright’s radicalism. ABC purchased 20 years of taped services and combed through all of them to find a handful of outrageous statements.

Any conservative outlet; Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michelle Maulkin, or even Fox News has been attacked (as the radicals) for revealing the information. So much for getting the truth out.

They had access to same videos. They probably watched 20 years worth of sermons, but couldn’t find any other radical sermons.

What a joke to think a socialist would compare his tax policies to Ronald Reagan
Obama isn’t a socialist; he’s a Democrat just like Reagan used to be. In fact Reagan claimed that he never stopped supporting FDR New Deal policies. He always claimed that he opposed the direction the Democratic Party took in the ensuing decades. I don’t get the joke. Reagan complained about unfairness in the tax code in the ’80s; Obama complains about unfairness in the tax code in the 21st century. Both Obama and Reagan believe that businesspeople should pay more taxes than their secretaries because the businessperson earns much more money. I guess some people in the MSM complain because Reagan wanted to use the additional revenues to cut rates all-around, whereas Obama wants to use the revenue to cut the deficit, but that just shows that Obama is more fiscally responsible. Posted by: Warped Reality at April 12, 2012 10:17 AM
Comment #341407

WR, let’s look at Reagan first: Obama is the anti-Reagan. The Buffet tax would raise $5 billion a year and it would take 3000 years to pay off the national debt with this tax. Obama spends 10 times this much in a year in failed green policies. Obama said the purpose of the Buffet Rule was to pay done the debt over the next decade. This is simply a straw man used by Obama to create class envy and keep the eyes of the voters off of our current conditions. This is about politics and posturing and has nothing to do with real leadership. Obama is nothing like Reagan; in fact Reagan has been one of the most attacked presidents in American history. The left has used Reagan as a punching bag for years, and now Obama wants to compare himself to Reagan???? Give me a break WR. Is it the goal of the left to just sling shit and hope some of it sticks?

Concerning Obama: yes he is most certainly a socialist. He wants to raise taxes and cut nothing. He wants government to own, operate and control all industry. He believes it is the right of government to choose who wins and who loses in industry. You explain to me one thing that Obama and the Democrats have done that has not lead to socialism?

“This is opinion, not fact. Radicals fully capable of concealing their opinions and preach mainstream things if they choose.”

Tell me WR, how many statements does it take to be a radical? If Wright spoke as a radical in 3 sermons, what does that make him? It makes him a radical. Let’s look at an example: a white Baptist preacher, somewhere in America, says in his sermon “it’s time to cut welfare to these lazy niggers”. Is this man a radical? Yes he is; but if he preaches a week later on Jesus and love; is he still a radical? Yes, he is… Warped, you cannot tell me a radical like Wright can say one thing one day and something else the next week and still not have the same radical positions. When a man speaks on a daily or weekly basis, as a pastor does, his personality comes out in ALL of his messages.

Re/the media: can you honestly tell me that the liberal MSM has not protected Obama? They are still protecting him. Obama is their choice and they will work to get him reelected. This is a fact of life, and you are naïve to believe the press is going to vet Obama. They never have so far;why should they start now?

Posted by: Frank at April 12, 2012 5:01 PM
Comment #341417

Frank,

“You explain to me one thing that Obama and the Democrats have done that has not lead to socialism?

Please show us a shred of proof of what they have done that has.

You rail about Obama is this and Obama thinks that, but without any actual proof it is all merely hyperbole.

Obama had a chance to take over GM, and Chrysler and didn’t do it. He had a chance to take over banks and didn’t do it. Obama opened up carrying weapons in National Parks, but he’s conspiring to take away our 2nd Amendment rights. Obama wants to ruin America.
Obama is a socialist, Muslim, Kenyan, plant.

Surely Obama will next be discovered to be the anti-Christ.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at April 12, 2012 7:01 PM
Comment #341418
The Buffet tax would raise $5 billion a year and it would take 3000 years to pay off the national debt with this tax.

Obviously, the Buffet rule alone won’t fix the debt problem, but it will work in concert with spending cuts and other increases in revenue to reduce the deficit.

Obama spends 10 times this much in a year in failed green policies.

Source? In any case, when we implement a carbon tax we’ll eliminate all so-called “green spending”

This is simply a straw man

No, Obama is the only person in Washington apart from Ron Paul who is serious about eliminating our deficit. He wants to reform entitlements & cut spending and at the same time raise revenues back up to their historical norm.

Obama is nothing like Reagan; in fact Reagan has been one of the most attacked presidents in American history.

Obama has been attacked many times more than Reagan. A significant fraction of conservatives even alleged that Obama was Constitutionally ineligible for the presidency without anything to justify their allegations. Obama has been accused of being a Socialist simply because he prevented our banking sector from collapsing. Obama has been accused of being a Fascist simply because he wants to decrease health care costs. On the other hand, House Democrats cooperated with Reagan in order to let the President implement his vision for America; this is something Obama did not receive when he was in Reagan’s shoes.

cut nothing
Obama’s budget proposal will cut discretionary spending to the lowest level since Eisenhower’s Presidency(with respet to GDP).
Tell me WR, how many statements does it take to be a radical? If Wright spoke as a radical in 3 sermons, what does that make him? It makes him a radical. Let’s look at an example: a white Baptist preacher, somewhere in America, says in his sermon “it’s time to cut welfare to these lazy niggers”. Is this man a radical? Yes he is; but if he preaches a week later on Jesus and love; is he still a radical? Yes, he is… Warped, you cannot tell me a radical like Wright can say one thing one day and something else the next week and still not have the same radical positions. When a man speaks on a daily or weekly basis, as a pastor does, his personality comes out in ALL of his messages.

It takes just one statement to be a radical, and Wright made just one such statement when he alleged that the government created HIV solely to deprive African-Americans of equal citizenship. His other two sermons can be explained when one listens to the context of his words. Beyond those three sermons, I am confident that he made no controversial remarks. If Wright were the President, I would agree with you that his sermon about HIV would disqualify him. However, Wright is not the President, Obama is. Obama obviously missed that sermon (I give him the benefit of the doubt unless you have proof that says otherwise). Evidently, Obama only attended services where Wright behaved as a mainstream preacher. And you can see Wright’s mainstream preaching at the youtube channel I linked to earlier. If Obama only saw Wright’s mainstream preaching, he had no opportunity to see Wright as the radical that he was until the spring of 2008 when the media popularized those clips. When that happened, Obama immediately condemned Wright’s rhetoric and he left the church as he should have.

Let’s look at an example: a white Baptist preacher, somewhere in America, says in his sermon “it’s time to cut welfare to these lazy niggers”. Is this man a radical? Yes he is

According to the recent history of political discourse in this nation, that preacher would not be a radical. Otherwise, Pat Robertson & Jerry Falwell would have been castigated as such decades ago. There is a double standard in this country when it comes to White & Black preachers. For 31 years, Romney actively supported a religion that actively discriminated against African-Americans without making a peep; yet he gets a free pass.

When a man speaks on a daily or weekly basis, as a pastor does, his personality comes out in ALL of his messages.
This is opinion and not fact. I can accept that one’s personality always comes out, but we aren’t talking about Wright’s personality. We are talking about Wright’s belief in certain conspiracy theories, namely that the US Govt conspired to create the HIV virus in order to harm African-Americans.
Re/the media: can you honestly tell me that the liberal MSM has not protected Obama? They are still protecting him. Obama is their choice and they will work to get him reelected. This is a fact of life, and you are naïve to believe the press is going to vet Obama. They never have so far;why should they start now?

This is your opinion and not fact. You live in a fantasy world of conspiracies, just like Rev Wright. Obama was vetted in 2008, which is why ABC brought Reverend Wright to the spotlight.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 12, 2012 7:23 PM
Comment #341522

Warped

You don’t remember the Reagan times. He was relentlessly attacked. They used to say he was stupid, war mongering. Many of the educated fools I knew at the time actually thought he would start a nuclear war. They used to call him Ronald RAYgun and claim that the chimp he once costared with was the brains of the duo.

Re Wright - he is such a hateful racist that it must have been hard to be around him. Those kinds of stupid ideas don’t surface only once.

I am not as worried about Obama. He really doesn’t care about that or much else. I don’t like that such racist can continue to be respected by some in “the community”.

Posted by: C&J at April 13, 2012 7:46 PM
Comment #341539

Warped Reality; now I know why you chose this name. C&J is right. You have no idea how Reagan was attacked. I will simply mark it up as the ignorance of youth. Reagan was absolutely hated by the left and didn’t have the best support from the Republican establishment. Just open your liberal eyes for once and look at the statements of old liberals on WB. They hated Reagan.

“Obama’s budget proposal will cut discretionary spending to the lowest level since Eisenhower’s Presidency (with respect to GDP).”

Are you kidding; the goal of Obama is to cut nothing. Perhaps you need to take a look at our national debt. You know what WR, it’s a waste of time talking to you. I will be dead and gone; but you will never draw a penny of the SS tax you are paying each payday and your kids will NEVER do as well as you and you will never do as well as my generation. You talk about things you know nothing of and all you know is what you have read or have been told by socialist professors. Young man, you are in for a rude awakening.

Re/Wright; you are an idiot to believe Obama didn’t know what Wright was.

WR, I will give you a list of the friends, mentors, and associates of Obama. Call in conspiracy; call it whatever you want, but I see a list of anti-Semitic racists:

http://www.groundwar.com/expose/obamafriends.htm

Try reading it if you dare and you tell me who his friends were? You try to say he was asleep or on vacation when Wright spoke his radicalism and yet many of the people on this list (who supported and taught the same things as Wright) were actually on Obama’s staff and still are.

You like to use the terms “opinions or facts”; well these are the facts. Now you can either answer the charges of attack the researcher.

Posted by: Frank at April 13, 2012 9:03 PM
Comment #341588


The truest thing you can say, in relation to Reagan’s record, is that a large majority of conservatives don’t have a clue about what that record actually was.

Posted by: jlw at April 13, 2012 11:10 PM
Comment #341628
now I know why you chose this name

Now there’s something original. Going right for the ad hominen when you run out of things to say.

You have no idea how Reagan was attacked. I will simply mark it up as the ignorance of youth. Reagan was absolutely hated by the left and didn’t have the best support from the Republican establishment. Just open your liberal eyes for once and look at the statements of old liberals on WB. They hated Reagan.

At the end of the day, Tip O’Neil was always willing to compromise with Reagan. Today, Republicans do not even consider the possibility of negotiation. Conservatives never gave Obama the chance he deserved to implement his vision and many judged him not by the content of his character, but by some other measure. This is why Obama has been mercilessly attack ever since 2007. All this libelous slander claiming that Obama has ties with Socialist/Communists is all one huge con. It gives Obama’s opposition an excuse to oppose him when they cannot find a substantive policy reason to oppose him. Reagan received his fair share of criticism because his policies were a radical departure from what had been the norm for the past five decades. Nothing that Obama has done or proposed has deviated from anything that Democrats over the last half century have proposed.

Are you kidding; the goal of Obama is to cut nothing. Perhaps you need to take a look at our national debt.

Most of that debt run-up is due to the neoconservative ideology that has fought unnecessary wars and expanded our military without any rational reason. Now that the economy is getting back to speed, we won’t need any more stimulus. Hopefully in a year or two we can implement an austerity budget to get a handle on the debt. Conservative ideology is diametrically opposed to balancing our budget as can be seen in Paul Ryan’s recent proposal that adds billions to our debt over the next 10 years. Cutting taxes at this point is extremely irresponsible and anyone who isn’t willing to consider increasing revenues is not concerned with balancing the budget.

You know what WR, it’s a waste of time talking to you. I will be dead and gone; but you will never draw a penny of the SS tax you are paying each payday and your kids will NEVER do as well as you and you will never do as well as my generation.

Where there’s a will there’s a way. I’m prepared to work my but off in order to insure my future and the same will be true for my kids. Your generation had the benefit of sucking at the government’s teat, and my generation doesn’t, but we can overcome that disparity. Sooner later, the shit will have hit the fan and the elderly won’t be getting their checks. The PPACA started us down this road with its cuts to Medicare (esp Medicare Advantage). The government will probably have to eliminate most social welfare spending in the future, but my generation knows not to expect anything from the government.

You talk about things you know nothing of and all you know is what you have read or have been told by socialist professors.
Believe or not, I’ve gotten most of my political beliefs from two sources: Things that I’ve read online or in print and my parents. I’m studying a STEM field, so there’s isn’t anytime for most of my instructors to discuss politics in class. Only on the rare case that I’m forced to take a class in the humanities do I have to sit through that sort of indoctrination.
Try reading it if you dare and you tell me who his friends were?

I see Bill Ayers & other people with whom Obama knew of in only the most fleeting senses.

I see people like Anita Dunn who are hardly radical.

I only see a con to debase Obama’s name and reputation because there’s a certain group that feels threatened by Obama for some reason.

I have a Radiative Atmospheric Physics exam next Tuesday that I need to study for, so consider this the end of our conversation.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 14, 2012 10:25 AM
Comment #341631

Warped

“At the end of the day, Tip O’Neil was always willing to compromise with Reagan.”

Not always and when it was maybe it was Reagan ready to compromise.

Barack Obama is just not as good a leader as Reagan. He is silky smooth w/o having a real character. He cannot make human connections the way Reagan could.

Reagan faced a fantastically hostile Democratic leadership. The press hated Reagan. He brought everyone around through his proactive leadership and real charm. Obama sadly lacks these things.

IMO, Obama is an accidental president. He showed up on the scene at the right time with the right outward characteristics. He zoomed into office, but he is just in way over his head. His smoothness makes it seem like he know what he is doing, but he does not. He took the greatest gift of popularity and great expectations any president has had in my lifetimes and squandered it within the first months.

Reagan took office under a cloud of hostility. Within a couple of years, he had turned much of this to good use. Democrats didn’t love him, but they learned to respect his abilities to get things done.

Republicans, as we see in the primaries, cannot speak with one voice as a general rule. Obama managed to push them all together. That is a great accomplishment, although not one I think he intended or wanted.

Posted by: C&J at April 14, 2012 11:16 AM
Comment #341720
“At the end of the day, Tip O’Neil was always willing to compromise with Reagan.”

Not always and when it was maybe it was Reagan ready to compromise.

Are you kidding me? O’Neil enabled Reagan to implement his fiscal vision. Reagan got his tax cuts and his military spending. There’s hardly anything Reagan wanted and didn’t get, and it wasn’t because he was more willing to compromise.

Obama on the other hand has done everything save changing parties in order to placate GOP congressmen & congresswomen. Instead of pushing for a single payer plan he supported a variation of Romney’s health care reform plan that he implemented in Massachusetts. Instead of pushing for a carbon tax, Democrats passed a cap & trade scheme in order to please conservatives in Congress. Instead of passing a stimulus package consisting of pure government spending, Obama and the Democrats made a third of package tax cuts. Obama has spent much of his first term battling people who think he is Constitutionally ineligible to be President, something Reagan never faced. After all of this, you have the audacity to claim Reagan had a more hostile environment? You have the audacity to claim Reagan was more willing to compromose? All I have to say is WOW! that’s an impressive piece of cognitive dissonance that you’ve pulled off there.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 15, 2012 2:40 PM
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