We did it before and we can do it again

Our infrastructure is getting old and needs to be renewed. It is not news that much of what we use today was built fifty, a hundred or more years ago. America was a much poorer & less advanced back then. A question that we should ask is how did a country so much poorer than we are today, with less developed technology and significantly smaller government spending do what we cannot? How can we shovel such piles of money out the door and have so little to show for it?

The "Economist" has an article about our decaying maritime infrastructure that gives some hints. It talks about a lock that connects the Mississippi River to the Inland Waterway. This is worth billions of dollars in commerce yet it was built in, "1921, and is 600 usable feet long, or half the length of a modern lock. Its replacement was authorised in 1956. Construction on the replacement was authorised in 1998, and then stalled by lawsuits." reference.

We used to be a nation of doers, engineers & visionaries and now we are a nation of wimps, weenies & lawyers. We used to design stuff and then just do it. There usually was lots of gnashing of teeth, but things got done. We finished the Hoover Dam in less time than it takes to get an environmental impact statement through the process. I read an interesting book about Hoover Dam called Colossus, on the building of the Hoover Dam. Almost each time I turned the page, I said to myself, "We could never do this today." With the lawyers, NGOs and NIMBY folks arrayed around, they would not have been able to toss the first shovel full of dirt. I don't doubt that we wiped out at least one subspecies of beetle or snail, but who knew then and who cares now?

We really need to get better at this. We don't have to learn new lessons; we simply have to relearn what we used to do. Remember, we build most of the stuff we have to renew when we were poorer & less advanced and government budgets were much lower. We did it before and should be able to do it again.

On the plus sides, shale gas is creating an industrial renaissance in the Great Lakes region. Gas has been a real game changer and barge and ship traffic is is expected to improve more than any time in the last thirty years. I know this is a little off topic, but I grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan and anything having to do with the Great Lakes fascinates me.

Posted by Christine & John at February 2, 2013 6:34 PM
Comments
Comment #361290

Good post C/J. Born in 1940 I lived through much of the nation’s achievements you write about. You ask…what has changed? Our attitude toward government and each other is the change that counts.

I recall the enlistment posters of yesteryear. The best one simply said…”Uncle Sam Needs You.”

Today it seems, the attitude is…You Need Uncle Sam.

Yesteryear we formed groups to help each other with our own resources. Today, we form groups to help ourselves with government resources.

Yesteryear we went to church with our parents and learned from where morality comes. Today, we sleep in on Sunday morning and believe morality is whatever we believe it to be and are comfortable with.

Yesteryear shame was a major factor influencing us to not indulge in behavior that was shunned by the community standards.

Today, community standards are challenged by minority groups in courts.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 2, 2013 7:02 PM
Comment #361292

You know, If you said, “let’s modernize our infrastructure!” You’d hardly get an argument from anybody.

Too bad you’re too insistent on austerity to get it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 2, 2013 8:03 PM
Comment #361293

Stephen

The problem is not the money. We did it on a lot less in the past. The problem is the procedure, lawyers and bureaucracy.

Consider the recent case of the Keystone pipeline. They filed the papers in 2008, five years ago and there is still no decision. It took five years to build the Hoover Dam.

Posted by: C&J at February 2, 2013 8:06 PM
Comment #361303

C&J-
I hope the thing never gets past Oklahoma. The truth is, we’re basically harvesting the crude that was either too expensive or too difficult to bring up before.

Things are simply more expensive now than they used to be, and it costs money to do things in a decent, reliable manner. If we don’t want some idiot cutting corners on safety on a bridget or something, we need to set our expectations reasonably.

We got all kinds of problems because for the last couple generations, we’ve labored under the notion that our infrastructure would basically last forever. But nothing does. The past slips through our fingers, finer than dust, and leaves us ultimately empty handed.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 3, 2013 12:36 PM
Comment #361304

Over a hundred people die during the construction of Hoover Dam. Nowadays, we have regulations that greatly reduce the frequency of workplace accidents, but it costs us time and money.

Posted by: Warren Porter at February 3, 2013 12:58 PM
Comment #361305

Warren

I think we should do all we can to make work safe, but not lose sight of the mission.

IMO - we look at this from the wrong direction. I know you understand statistics, so lets look at it two ways.

If we have a fair lottery, it is 100% certain that somebody will win. YOUR chances when buying a ticket are maybe one in several million. Each of these things is true, but they must be distinguished. When we get a winner, he often thanks some system, fate or a deity, since he invalidly looks at HIS chances of winning and calls it a miracle.

The same goes for risk. If we take a workplace accident, plane crash or anything else, we can project that X number of people will die. The next line is usually something like, “If we can save even one life…” But this is wrong. We have converted risk to certainty at the aggregate level and then brought it back to the individual level.

I have volunteered for risky duty and sometimes just did it for convenience or fun. Each time we get into a car, we are vastly increasing our small risk of violent death. If none of us drove, we would save tens of thousands of lives every year. But our individual odds small, however, and those are what we figure.

So my long response to the short question is this. We should do all we can to limit accidents in the aggregate, but recognize that perfection is impossible. In some dangerous professions, we should make the risk clear and let people play the odds as they wish. An average Americans has a much greater chance of dying is a car accident than he does at work. In fact, work is one of the safest places to be.

We need to treat accidents of all kinds as risk. That means that they are not usually the result of villains or bad planning. Simply speaking, shit happens. Each time it does, learn but don’t go after the bad guys unless there really are bad guys.

All jobs can be made safer but some are inherently more dangerous than others. I do forestry, which is one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S. I am in more danger in the woods than I was in Iraq, but I don’t feel in danger all the time and I willingly accept the risk. We should just let people do that. Hoover Dam was worth the 100 lives, IMO.

Posted by: C&J at February 3, 2013 1:59 PM
Comment #361307

Between you and me, I’m sure we could tolerate more risk with these projects. However, the public at large does not have the stomach for such things. Maybe we have grown a little to soft over the decades, but the average American is very prone to hyperbolic descriptions of workplace fatalities.

Most people will put a great deal of effort into avoiding a spectacular death while ignoring the much greater threat of a mundane death. Look at our reaction to 9/11 for instance; even in the worst case scenario, Al Qaeda could never do enough physical damage to actually disrupt our way of life. Their only weapon was to prey on our psychological weaknesses and fears.

Posted by: Warren Porter at February 3, 2013 3:13 PM
Comment #361309

Warren

We have a significant problem in the U.S. with innumeracy and especially a misunderstanding of statistics. I will not say a poor understanding. It is worse than that. Average Americans actually have a false idea of how these things work.

It is also the fault of lawyers and the media. Lawyers search for clusters so that they can sue. Media makes this worse by focusing on the single victim. You get headlines like, “Sure, a million people were saved, but it wasn’t enough for Mr. Smith…”

I don’t know how to counter this, but I think we need to counter it.

Posted by: C&J at February 3, 2013 3:45 PM
Comment #361310
Average Americans actually have a false idea of how these things work.

This isn’t the fault of the media. These misunderstandings are often rooted in what is called “common sense”, which is mostly a folklore derived from when we lived on the African Savannah. If you must blame something, blame Darwinian natural selection.

In previous generations, we anointed elites to make these sorts of decisions. Justifications were created to alleviate the consciences of these elites, but most of these justifications were rooted in defunct ideas of racial superiority or other forms of prejudice/discrimination. This is what enabled yesterdays leaders to put their ideas through without concerning themselves with the risks involved. We have relegated those ideas into the dustbin of history, and now we have to deal with the consequences.

Posted by: Warren Porter at February 3, 2013 4:44 PM
Comment #361311

Warren

You are familiar with prospect theory & the work of Kahneman and Tversky?

Re the elites pushing things through - I believe in elites, but they should be elites of merit and duty. People like us are indeed smarter than average. We should not pretend otherwise. This gives us more ability and more responsibility. The problem with today’s so-called elites is that they often demand the material rewards and respect while avoiding responsibility, ironically using the excuse that there are no elites.

Re risk - I think we should be willing to accept reasonable risks. For example, I would be willing to risk the millions to one additional risk if I could leave my shoes on going through the airport. I would also be willing to assume the risk of infrastructure repairs.

As you know, I volunteered to go to Iraq because I thought it was my duty and worth doing. I used to go out among the people. I assumed the risk and told Chrissy that if something happened she should not blame anybody but me (and the bad guys). I didn’t want any of that crap about being called a victim. I was where I chose to be. Of course, I figured my odds were good, but some of my colleagues were indeed hurt and killed.

I think this is a rational assumption of risk. There was 100% chance that someone would get killed. All of us shared the risk considering our own odds were decent.

I think all risk should be assessed like this. We need to manage, not avoid risk. I fear we have become a nation of wimps and weenies. One guy gets killed and we give up the endeavor. I don’t mean to sound flippant about life and death and I take these things very seriously, so seriously that I think we cannot simply give in to fear.

Posted by: C&J at February 3, 2013 7:26 PM
Comment #361312

The problem with deaths at construction sites is the safety of the non-participants C&J. It is those that sit in the officers that demand that which makes these sites unsafe. The push for cost savings and production leads to rash high risk decisions with the lives of others. It’s a job not a death sentence yet those that sit in the office and assume no liability nor risk expect others to do just that.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 3, 2013 8:28 PM
Comment #361330
You are familiar with prospect theory & the work of Kahneman and Tversky

Not formally, but as you probably already know I am quite well-read in a large variety of fields.

I believe in elites, but they should be elites of merit and duty

In order for this to work, we have to abandon our Jeffersonian dogma that “All Men are Created Equal”. Without proper restrictions, opening this can of worms can lead to very terrible outcomes.

Earlier generations did not obey the Jeffersonian dogma as well as we do. WASPs generally considered themselves “more equal” than African Americans or recent immigrants from Catholic Europe. Consider the case of the transcontinental railroad, which was also constructed with the blood of many of its workers. The elites of the day discounted those fatalities because they didn’t believe an Irish-American or Chinese-American life was equal to their own lives.

Basically, this won’t work unless we can develop a moral framework where every fatality is simply one’s just deserts. It would be extremely difficult to implement such a mode of justice without risking its exploitation by a few tyrants.

I think we should be willing to accept reasonable risks. For example, I would be willing to risk the millions to one additional risk if I could leave my shoes on going through the airport. I would also be willing to assume the risk of infrastructure repairs.

The problem is not whether you or I can accept the risks. You allege that, “People like us are indeed smarter than average”, which is likely true. However, we operate at this country at the behest of people much closer to the mean (or even below it). Imagine how the least intelligent quintile of Americans would react. They are numerous enough to cause great uproar if their psychological needs for safety and security are not met. It is well documented that the human mind has a propensity for assigning too much importance to terrorist attacks and not enough to automobile collisions. These “stupid people” will not be able to comprehend the probabilities and risks. It is impossible to ever achieve “informed consent” with these people.

I think all risk should be assessed like this. We need to manage, not avoid risk. I fear we have become a nation of wimps and weenies.
Most of us have been “wimps and weenies” since the dawn of time. It has only been with the advent of democracy that the feeble minded have grown their influence.

j2t2,

The problem with deaths at construction sites is the safety of the non-participants C&J. It is those that sit in the officers that demand that which makes these sites unsafe. The push for cost savings and production leads to rash high risk decisions with the lives of others. It’s a job not a death sentence yet those that sit in the office and assume no liability nor risk expect others to do just that.

Good point, this is the paradox we are in. Only elites know how to properly manage the risks, but because so few people are elite, it makes sense to risk the lives of plebeians and protect the lives of the patricians. However, the paradox is that now that the patricians no longer have any skin in the game, it changes the ways they assess risk. Our impossible task is to assign different numerical values to different human lives and to do so in a manner that avoids letting anyone exploit anyone else.

Posted by: Warren Porter at February 4, 2013 10:28 AM
Comment #361336

If the US is to be competitive again we need to cut through the liberal red tape and start rebuilding our infrastructure.
And yes Warren, we can do it with austerity. There’s a whole heap of waste in the budget, when we have one that is, that can be cut. We can then use this money on the infrastructure.
I wouldn’t be opposed to paying a little more in taxes if there was a guarantee that the money would go rebuilding our infrastructure. And not get wasted on some liberal program that only makes folks more dependent on the government. But I have a hard time believing anything Congress and/or the President promises.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 4, 2013 12:59 PM
Comment #361345

Warren

Jefferson believed in elite. His elite, which I support, was one of intellect and responsibility. You are worried about a different sort of elite, one based on race, group identity or hereditary privilege. These we cannot but abhor. We don’t have to make that choice. The choice is not between elites of the bad sort you mention and the problem of mob rule. A good first step would be to restore or in some cases help create a better link between responsibility and consequence. In a free society, you can make choices but you must live with what you do. We have made it too easy to be stupid and mistaken that for “democracy.”

Beyond that, not everything and not most things should be subject to democracy. How you live your life is none of my business except to the extent that you ask me to pay for it. This is a good. The problem comes with expanded government. If you want to live off Twinkies and smoke three packs a day, it is not my business. But it becomes my business if I have to pay for your folly with higher taxes or health care premiums, it becomes my problem too.

That is why freedom depends on fewer government mandates. If I take your money to pay for habits you dislike, you have a right to complain.

Posted by: C&J at February 4, 2013 5:22 PM
Comment #361356

j2t2,

“The problem with deaths at construction sites is the safety of the non-participants C&J. It is those that sit in the officers that demand that which makes these sites unsafe. The push for cost savings and production leads to rash high risk decisions with the lives of others. It’s a job not a death sentence yet those that sit in the office and assume no liability nor risk expect others to do just that.”

While I don’t necessarily disagree with your overall point, I am currently working at a job site that is the exact opposite from what you write.
Safety at this site is driven by the client, not by the contractors, and the contractors know that if there are too many reportable incidents that they not only will be dismissed, they won’t be invited to work on any of this company’s projects in the future.

This is a $5 billion project. The previous projects had over a million man hours without a lost day due to an accident. Safety is a culture here, and if you can’t comply you are walked off of the site.

Now, some of the rules are a little over the top. I can’t use a soldering iron (of any type and butane is forbidden), or a shrink gun without a “hot work” permit.
Other rules such as being tied off over 6 feet on a ladder (this is grounds for immediate dismissal) I can mostly understand.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at February 4, 2013 7:41 PM
Comment #361358
Jefferson believed in elite. His elite, which I support, was one of intellect and responsibility.
Jefferson did not believe in the dogma that he had written. Jefferson’s elite was one of wealth white male Virginia Planters. Neither his African slaves nor his non-landowning neighbors would ever be considered to be capable of being elite. He remains virtuous because he penned that “All men are created equal…”, but we should not follow his example in implementation of this dogma.
You are worried about a different sort of elite, one based on race, group identity or hereditary privilege. These we cannot but abhor.

Humankind has never created a truly meritocratic elite. In order to craft such a class of decision-makers we would have to abandon our creed that “all men are created equal”. Otherwise, such a framework would be completely unsustainable.

A perfectly meritocratic elite working alongside a liberal democracy that protected each and every citizen’s personal liberty is simply a fantastical utopia that lives alongside the utopias of Communism and Fascism.

Posted by: Warren Porter at February 4, 2013 9:38 PM
Comment #361360

Rocky I wonder if it is the lawyers, insurance companies and OSHA that you can thank for the newer mindset when it comes to safety in the workplace. The death or serious injury of a worker at a site costs the client money. It cost the GC money so safety has become more important to them over the years. This is the “liberal red tape” (as Ron mistakenly puts it) that according to C&J prevents us from doing the infrastructure projects in this country. I was describing an older mindset in my previous comment. While this old mindset still exits the safety culture mindset is becoming the new norm.

The conservatives want OSHA and worker safety to return to the days of the Hoover dam to save paperwork and red tape. It was cheaper back then but only for some, The workers family paid in the short and mid term if not the long term. We all paid in the long term with the different societal ills that result from dead dads and such. Many companies have changed to become more safety oriented over the years

I currently work in the same culture you speak of and it to is client driven. Yes it can be carried to far but that is better than being carried to far the other way.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 4, 2013 10:37 PM
Comment #361365

Warren I think the paradox is as complex as you say. You have made several good points but as we talk about risks lets remember who was recently bailed out when they took excessive risks with other peoples money. It was the elites. Yet it is the rest of us that are, according to C&J, wimps and weenies.

The point C&J seems to be making is the time frame before the shovel hits the ground that is the problem. The protests by environmental groups or Indian tribes that were not a problem when these people could be bullied into submission is the problem according to C&J.

I believe the real issue here is the unwillingness of the elites to free up the Federal money to make the infrastructure projects a reality. C&J are not alone amongst the conservatives who tell us the government is small, we can no longer do these big projects. Ron’s response to you is indicative of the conservatives “small government” attitude.

The elites or the self proclaimed elites are the ones telling us we cannot do these types of projects. Our elites are small minded these days, that is the paradox we face in this country. The Ron’s telling us “If the US is to be competitive again we need to cut through the liberal red tape….” and “But I have a hard time believing anything Congress and/or the President promises”. The C&J’s telling us “We used to be a nation of doers, engineers & visionaries and now we are a nation of wimps, weenies & lawyers.” Our opposition leaders, and the propaganda machine of the conservatives telling us the debt we ran up rebuilding Iraq keeps us from rebuilding our own country.

The paradox we face is the elites are not up to the task of rebuilding the infrastructure of this country. Nor do they want to. The elites are to busy tearing down the government for their own economic and political power to believe in the ability of this country to build/rebuild our infrastructure. Our elites are not able to manage the “risks” because they cannot manage themselves, IMHO. The greed and avarice of the elites has taken it’s toll on them.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 4, 2013 11:28 PM
Comment #361383

j2t2

I was very unhappy that the Obama folks bailed out all those fat cats. Obama has now nominated one of the fattest cats from Citibank as his Treasury Secretary. I guess that kind of thing is okay because he has a D in front of his name.

Re workplace safety - if we manage risk, we limit injuries. It works well that way. If we pretend or believe as you do that each failure is the result of some sort of plot, we are back in the middle ages.

You are evidently among those people for whom statistics is a strange and unknowable type of black magic.

Re small government - Can you answer the question how we build great things when budgets were lower and technology more primitive? Is there anyway we can rebuild our current infrastructure, let alone build all we need, with the current situation?

Re - “The elites are to busy tearing down the government for their own economic and political power to believe in the ability of this country to build/rebuild our infrastructure. Our elites are not able to manage the “risks” because they cannot manage themselves, IMHO. The greed and avarice of the elites has taken it’s toll on them.”

These are mostly Democrats these days.

I find it amazing - I even admire - the liberal ability to both be the controlling elite and avoid responsibility for anything that happens. During years when we spend more than any time in human history, liberal can complain that spending is too small. When the biggest spending binge in human history ended up building very little infrastructure, liberals can complain that they are the victims of … I am not sure what.

There are indeed too many wimps and weenies around today. I do indeed look with nostalgia to the days when doers could kick them to the side, when people like me build dams, bridges and roads and didn’t have to put up with so much whining from people like you.

Posted by: C&J at February 5, 2013 4:26 PM
Comment #361414

Let’s not forget the educational system we have developed as of late. I find it reprehensible that we don’t teach our children about general safety. Things like looking for wet surfaces instead of expecting someone else to place a sign on a wet surface “to protect us”. I look for ice on any sidewalk when it is cold. I think I do so because my brother broke his leg slipping on ice on his way to school one day. I learned the easy way, by watching someone else suffer. It doesn’t have to be so.

Let’s not forget also, as C&J mentioned, the lawyer. It is because of the lawyer that people must place signs in every danger zone “to protect us”. The only real protection being afforded is to the owner of the sign from the lawyer. We now have signs on ladders, signs on products, signs on foodstuffs, signs on electrical wiring, signs ad nauseam. Just ask yourself; “Why do we need laws to force people to wear seat belts?”, “Why do we need labels to tell people cigarettes are hazardous to their health?”, “Why is a label required to inform the user it unsafe to place a ladder on an uneven surface?”. It’s because a lawyer will find fault with the manufacturer of the product instead of finding fault with the irresponsible actions of the user.

C&J also makes a good and valid point when referring to the building of the Hoover Dam. He mentioned the many bugs and animals that were displaced and destroyed in the process of building that dam. He makes the point that it didn’t really matter that these bugs and animals were lost. Nothing drastically changed that had catastrophic consequences.

I really don’t know why the spotted owl or the little lizard couldn’t be put in a zoo for posterity and let the rest of the world progress. Perhaps because it has nothing at all to do with the spotted owl or the little lizard.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 6, 2013 4:56 AM
Comment #361419
I was very unhappy that the Obama folks bailed out all those fat cats.

I didn’t get to read any farther than this comment C&J. why bother when you start off with known misinformation, half truths, outright lies.

“The Act was proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson during the global financial crisis of 2008.
On October 1, 2008, the Senate debated and voted on an amendment to H.R. 1424, which substituted a newly revised version of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 for the language of H.R. 1424.[6][7] The Senate accepted the amendment and passed the entire amended bill, voting 74–25.[8] Additional unrelated provisions added an estimated $150 billion to the cost of the package and increased the length of the bill to 451 pages.[9][10] (See Public Law 110-343 for details on the added provisions.) The amended version of H.R. 1424 was sent to the House for consideration, and on October 3, the House voted 263–171 to enact the bill into law.[6][11][12] President George W. Bush signed the bill into law within hours of its congressional enactment, creating the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to purchase failing bank assets.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Economic_Stabilization_Act_of_2008

Posted by: j2t2 at February 6, 2013 8:20 AM
Comment #361427
The Democratic Party, which won a majority of seats in the 2006 election, expanded its control in 2008.
At the start of the 111th Congress, the Democrats held 56 seats in the Senate, with the two independents continuing to caucus with the Democrats for a total of 58.

I think those are Obama folks.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 6, 2013 2:06 PM
Comment #361437

j2t2

Did the fat cats get bailed out after January 2009? Was there any real restructuring that put them out of work after January 2009? Is not Obama’s pick for Treasury one of the fat cat leaders of Citibank? Was not his previous Secretary of Treasury one of the most important architects of the bailout? Didn’t Democrats control both houses of Congress in 2008?

I know you want to blame Republicans but the facts do not support this.

Posted by: C&J at February 6, 2013 5:05 PM
Comment #361441

Yeah, seems odd, doesn’t it? The Republicans who tried to stop TARP because it bailed out the fatcats were called by Obama and other Democrats as ‘trying to destroy the country’, TARP had to be passed. So over their objections it was.

And then, j2t2 uses TARP to show how Republicans bailed out the fatcats?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 6, 2013 6:23 PM
Comment #361447

Paulson proposed it. Not Geithner

GWB signed it into law. Not Obama.


http://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/110-2008/h681

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/110-2008/s213

Posted by: j2t2 at February 6, 2013 9:09 PM
Comment #361450
Did the fat cats get bailed out after January 2009?

No the law that bailed the fat cats out was signed in October 2008. The Obama administration administered the law as required.

Is not Obama’s pick for Treasury one of the fat cat leaders of Citibank?

And this proves what? Are you suggesting that any and all globalist are guilty of something here?

Was not his previous Secretary of Treasury one of the most important architects of the bailout?

No the bill was given to the HOR by Paulson not Geithner. It was already law when Geithner took the position of Secretary. Geithner administrated the program, quite well I might add.

Didn’t Democrats control both houses of Congress in 2008?

Yes and it seems they voted down the Paulson “let them take the treasury with’em” bill he proposed. Remember the dems didnt have a super majority during this time frame.

This is the results of the Obama influence into the TARP-
“The TARP program originally authorized expenditures of $700 billion. The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act reduced the amount authorized to $475 billion. By October 11, 2012, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stated that total disbursements would be $431 billion and estimated the total cost, including grants for mortgage programs that have not yet been made, would be $24 billion.[1] This is significantly less than the taxpayers’ cost of the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s but does not include the cost of other “bailout” programs (such as the Federal Reserve’s Maiden Lane Transactions and the Federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). The cost of the former crisis amounted to 3.2 percent of GDP during the Reagan/Bush era, while the GDP percentage of the latter crisis’ cost is estimated at less than 1 percent.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troubled_Asset_Relief_Program

Great job of administering a law that started with a giveaway to the fat cats.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 6, 2013 11:18 PM
Comment #361461

J2t2

Geitner was a leading member of the Fed who helped design the program. Everybody who knows the subject knows that. I thought you did. Sorry If I overestimated you. I thought TARP necessary, but a majority of Republicans voted against it. It was bipartisan at least.

Democrats were as much involved in this bailout as Republicans. Actually, I think they should be proud of this, since the money in TARP was paid back with interest, but you don’t like it so I am playing your line.

The bailouts of 2009 of the auto industry still have not been paid back and probably never will.

Re Lew – If you don’t like the fat cats, how can you embrace one of the fattest.

Here’s a question I asked Stephen. Is there any time in the last 50 years when you think Democrats called the shots and so are responsible for the outcomes of a five year period?

Posted by: C&J at February 7, 2013 4:55 PM
Comment #361472

C&J Paulson brought it to Congress on a scrap of paper. Give’em the treasury he said, no rules no regulations. GWB agreed’ The dems in the HOR didn’t nor did the Dems Senators. Geithner came in and made the mess work.

Democrats were as much involved in this bailout as Republicans.

I agree C&J. But trying to create the conservative myth of Obama folks is wrong. That is my point.


The bailouts of 2009 of the auto industry still have not been paid back and probably never will.

“In December 2008, G.M. received $9 billion in federal aid by order of President George W. Bush.”
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/c/credit_crisis/auto_industry/index.html

Are we trying to create a revisionist conservative myth once again C&J?

Posted by: j2t2 at February 8, 2013 11:47 PM
Comment #361478

j2t2

What I am trying to point out is that the big bailouts happened with the enthusiastic support of Democrats. I have long said that the first stimulus (in 2008) was useful and necessary. The second one in 2009 was largely mis-targeted.

But the only reason we are on this track at all is that you implied that Republicans were the ones who bailed out the fat cats and Democrats were just victims of this. If indeed you meant to say that Republicans had some part of the bailout of the banks and that Democrats were also among its primary architects, we are good.

I know that both parties were involved in the crash and the bailouts of the banks. I also understand that the financial crash was multifaceted and not caused by any specific policies. If you agree with me on this, you are wiser and more reasonable than I thought, but you may learn to express yourself better.

Posted by: C&J at February 9, 2013 9:33 AM
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