Third Party & Independents Archives

The Real State of Our Union as Seen Through the Eyes of an Average American

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient…US CONST, Art II, § 3

The President gave his State of The Union Address on January 31, which painted an overly optimistic and largely false picture of the true state of our Republic. He said our Republic was sound when the sane among us know that it is anything but.

My fellow Americans I believe the state of our union is weak, perhaps as weak as it has been at anytime in our history save the period preceding the Civil War in 1861. The problems vexing the nation are many and complex, but our government(s) and people seem to lack the political and moral will to resolve them. As the nation becomes more culturally diversified, we are pulling further and further apart as a society, and nothing can be agreed to without a fight; the spirit of compromise and mutual respect that are supposed to mark a great working democracy, is vanishing. And this disunity of purpose across a broad range of issues leaves the nation vulnerable to all manner of negative internal and external influences that play on emotions at the expense of intellect informed by the principles that founded this nation, and the Constitution.

The Rising Threat of the Christian Right

While we fight the unending battle with Islamic fundamentalism that threatens our way of life from without, the rise of Christian fundamentalism here at home threatens our Republican Democracy from within. The continued matrimony of religion and politics across the broad spectrum of American politics threats our very way of life.

Abortion, Pray in Schools, the Pledge of Allegiance, Gay Marriage, The Ten Commandments in the public square, Stem Cell research, Intelligent Design, Abstinence only Sex Education, Terry Schivo(sp), and the Air Force religious regulations are all part of the Fundamentalists Christian Right’s crusade to fashion an America to their liking. The Christian Right see an America where the Constitution is but a quaint document whose time has come; who needs a document fashioned by flesh and blood man who is after all fallible, when we have the Holy Bible fashioned by God—a God no one has ever seen, and no one can prove even exists I hasten to add—to guide us. Sound familiar?

The irony is that the real threat to our American way of life, our American Dream, comes not so much from without, as the Bush Administration would have us all believe, but from within, which is the way all great civilizations have fallen. Fundamentalism is born of conservative thought, and conservative thought seeks the status quo in order to keep those in power, well in power. Fundamentalist hate changes in the form of progress because it weakens their power base by spreading the wealth so-to-speak. A civilization has never prospered under the thumb of Fundamentalism, and evidence of America’s backward slide is palpable in almost every facet of society.

I believe that religions were and are formed by men seeking to subjugate others (traditionally women ad minorities), and maintain power for themselves. Christianity’s noble underpinnings and principles have long been perverted by those with less than noble intent.

And as we (America) dwell on the false issues that the Fundamentalists bring to the table, which by the way are all of matter of freedom of choice, or fall well within well establish constitutionally established doctrine, the nations real problems remain unaddressed, and are allowed to fester. The doctrine of Separation of Church and State is a sound one based on history and Constitutional underpinnings, and the wall separating the two should not be allowed to be breached further.

The Culture of Corruption and Incompetence

Our president is a liar, and hence corrupted! The political talking heads on the Sunday morning talk show dance around the word by calling Bush’s statement misleading, but the man—a professed born again Christian, an Evangelical—is a lair. He lied about the reasons we went to war with Iraq; he lied about the intelligence he used to justify his little war; he lied about the cost of the Medicare Reform Act; he lied about the governments response to Hurricane Katrina; he lied about the NSA’s domestic spying program; he lied about knowing Jack Abramoff; the man is a liar. And if that were not bad enough, Bush is incompetent and the twin maladies have pervaded the entire government.

The Senate is broken and what we witnessed this past week is further evidence of its demise. Senator John McCain

We know have a Culture of Corruption and Incompetence that seems to have pervaded the American government at all levels. If Clinton taught American teens that oral sex was no big deal, Bush has taught Republican politicians that it’s alright to lie, and be totally incompetent. But it’s alright, because apparently more then half the electorate (those with deep fundamentalist Christian roots) doesn’t seem to mind as long as you label the opposition amoral. It’s apparently more important to the Evangelicals (fundamentalists Christian) to have a candidate who opposes abortion than it is to have one who tells the truth and abides by the Constitution. Never mind that he has sinned by lying. It’s more important to talk about being moral than it is to actually exhibit the behavior yourself. It doesn’t seem to matter to more than half of the American populace that their government, on all levels, is increasingly failing them, as along as Jane Roe cannot have an abortion, and those darn Gays aren’t allowed to marry.

What was Medicare Part D? What was Katrina? What was the Energy Bill? Surely these are signs of growing government corruption and incompetence. The Senate, once widely respected as the world’s most deliberative body is dysfunctional; so too is the House of Representatives. And the federal courts are slowly declining because Congress fails to act on filling vacancies and giving the courts the funding they need; shameful!

Whatever happened to intellectual discourse guided by mutual respect and a common goal? What ever happened to shared values and the “can do” culture that used to exemplify America? What has happened to our national pride? Do our founding principles no longer matter to the vast majority of us?

What Cost Liberty?

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin

Across this great land our Fundamental (Constitutional) Rights as guaranteed under the federal constitution are being eroded both by the state and federal governments and by the people as we seek security at any cost. Once again, our society faces the greatest threat from within. It is not the terrorist who will strip or Constitution of its meaning and influence in the name of security, it’s our own government.

The USA Patriot Act (how ironically named), and the domestic spying debacle are just two examples of government morphing slowly into Big Brother. The NSA has been spying on Americans for some four years now without our knowledge; what else is the Bush White House up to without our knowledge? Are we as a nation really willing to sacrifice liberty at the alter of security at any cost. And once we achieve that security, what value will it be if we are not a free society?

Growing Leadership Vacuum

The signs of our demise are all around us, if we only care to look. And we lack the leadership to safety navigate the morass. Laura Bush recently stated that Senator Hillary Clinton should show some empathy when discussing the current occupant of the White House. Why? Its time to start calling a spade a spade; Bush is no leader; he is in fact a follower, a puppet, a face. The real power lies behind the man, and that is the problem. The President has to be his own man, he has to be a leader, and Bush is not; he is incompetent, inarticulate, and ill-suited to the job. Bush is a dullard, he lacks the vision and wisdom needed to fulfill the mission at hand, and We The People and the country are the losers. His Presidency should go down in history as the worse since the Grant Administration(s) following the Civil War.

And this lack of leadership does not confine itself the White House, it pervades the Congress, and the state government as well, with every few exceptions. Oh if we only had a leader! Bush is long on rhetoric and short on substance. What again is hybrid animal-human cloning?

In closing my fellow Americans, I state for the record, that the state of our nation is weak and decomposing by the day. From failing primary education to an ever increasing dependence on foreign oil; from incompetent and dysfunctional government to the rise of Evangelical Christianity and all that purports; from the War in Iraq, to the decreasing American influence abroad; from the growing immigration situation to the lack of leadership to resolve it; from the growing lower class, to the continued decay of our major cities; from the continued erosion of our manufacturing base to the growing health care crisis; from our ballooning national debt to our ballooning trade imbalance, we are a nation tittering on the edge of collapse; we are not sound by any measure…

Posted by V. Edward Martin at February 12, 2006 1:30 PM
Comments
Comment #123930

I am glad I am not the guy living in the country you describe. My country has its share of problems, but they are tolerably like those of other periods. My country’s economy is growing at a decent pace, which is about twice as fast as our Euro trading partners. Our unemployement rate of 4.7% is about half theirs. So there are problems, but compared with the past and compared with others, it is pretty good.

BTW - I would begin to tally how many times people used that Franklin quote, but that number would be too big. Suffice to say that Franklin was a sophisticated man who served his country in a variety of covert and overt roles. The liberty he was talking about would not be threatened by listening into communications with foreign enemies. In fact, he would probably have laughed about the context in which he is quoted.

Posted by: Jack at February 12, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #123949

That’s a whole lot of empty partisan bluster. Why not just come out and say what you mean?

“If America won’t let my party run it, then I’m gonna hate America.”

Posted by: sanger at February 12, 2006 3:54 PM
Comment #123958

Jack—

surprise you are the guy living in the country I described if you are living in the United States, I didn’t make this stuff up, it happening. If you want to deny it happening is grand, but a growing economy based in large part on consumer spending is grand, and might qualify as the only bright spot on America’s horizon, but how long can that last with the real wages of most Americans sliding backwards.

And how much of you unemployment rate takes into account the number of people who cannot find jobs and have stopped looking, and hence dropped out of sight and off the roles?

And I think the situation we find ourselves in is just what Ben Franklin was referring to in his quote. Too bad he is not here to ask.

Sanger—

I don’t have a party which is why I write in the middle column. I pretty much said what I wanted to say; it too bad that you are not more receptive, but then again that is wholly and regrettably predictable…

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at February 12, 2006 4:32 PM
Comment #123959

sanger,

It is much more complex than that. This country is being pulled apart by the extreme right wing, and people are finally starting to open their eyes to it.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at February 12, 2006 4:34 PM
Comment #123962

Excellent blog!

America, like Rome seems to be decaying from within. Conservative often complain liberals think american people are stupid (and that countries like France think so). I hate to admit it, but that’s probably true. We (the majority of America) doesn’t think critically anymore. We don’t use reason to make decisions, we use fear, emotion, and fundamentalism.

Perhaps it’s good Bush continues to lead it into collapse. Then maybe we’ll all wake up and realize the irrationality of neoconservative values and the type of thinking it encompasses. Then again, maybe it’ll all be too late.

“My country’s economy is growing at a decent pace, which is about twice as fast as our Euro trading partners.”

By what measure? Maybe you’re right, but an economy is only good if it is solidly built and sustainable. Right now the US is using up natural resources and depending on the middle east while piling up more and more debt. Stock market prices alone have little or no connection to the actual wealth being produced, and are more based on human psychology than actual economic soundness.

If the US goes bankrupt, China overtakes us economically, or we haven’t dealt with the other crises facing us, the temporary relief from the tax cuts won’t mean anything.

Posted by: John at February 12, 2006 4:42 PM
Comment #123963

V.Edward Martin,

Great article.
Did you notice the first two comments. Proved your point. They seem to actually be enjoying the downfall of America. You’d think the “morally superior” right would want to fix the problem.
They ignore and even defend corruption and hypocrisy. They are so fixated on this warped far right agenda they don’t notice the damage their doing to achieve it.
They’re so religious and guided by spirituality they call for preemptive war based on lies. The assassination of foreign leaders.
They live in fear. They are willing to give up all of their rights to the most useless president this nation has had in my lifetime. Fear and stupidity are a bad combination. That is what the president is counting on. That is what the far right loves.
There are those of us who could care less about this party-line nonsense that the right keeps spouting, who just want to see the U.S. great again. There are those who serve the far right kooks. There are those who are so far left that they’ve lost track of where they stand and unfortunately, there are those who just don’t give a shit.
What a voting pool.
If those who don’t care would wake up we can balance parties and increase the number of parties so that our government gets America back on track. The far right and left can go back to being ignored.(The good old days)
Once again, excellent post.
Thanks Jack and Sanger for proving Mr. Martin’s position.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at February 12, 2006 4:46 PM
Comment #123964
They’re so religious and guided by spirituality they call for preemptive war based on lies. The assassination of foreign leaders.

Andre,

Sorry, but I will have to dissent with you on this one. They may be religious but they are not spiritual by any stretch of the imagination.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at February 12, 2006 4:53 PM
Comment #123971

V., Great article. It boggles the mind that it’s this bad, and the Right touts things as being not just good, but the best ever. I live in the Midwest and our area has always had the job market the rest of the country yearns for. You could quit your job on a Mon. at 9:00 and be working for someone else that afternoon, and that was not all that long ago. Now, according to the lunatic fringe, things are better than ever. Well, again, my area which was always mentioned as the best place in the whole country to work and raise a family is seeing record layoffs, and that’s with the 6 months of prosperity we’ve had building junk living quarter for FEMA, which incidently sit in full fields now in MS and LA because some imbecile didn’t take into account that if you bring thousands and thousands of trailers for people to live in, you’re gonna need an infrastructure (read sewer, water, electricity and the like) for them to be any use at all. So Jack, if I have to hear of these great growing jobs again, please tell me that you’re not talking about the Walmart’s and the McDonald’s of the world cause that’s all that’s growing around here. Oh, and abandoned buildings they’re selling to church groups for $1.00 and of course then they are no longer on the tax rolls generating any income for services. I am so glad that I’ve got the majority of my living done because this old mortal coil ain’t gonna be around much longer with bozos at the wheel like we got now. I just pity the kids and grandkids, they’ll be paying for this last five years forever.

Posted by: ray at February 12, 2006 5:25 PM
Comment #123975

I think I see the problem.

This country did not start a decline in January 2001. It has been declining for decades, the lack of any real leadership since the mid 80s has put is in the position we are in now. The last 3 presidents have been without vision, heart or courage.

Ray, you mention that mid west and the job market, apparently you weren’t around for the early 80s when almost all manufacturing jobs were lost and we crawled with the rest of the country to rebuild it. It went back down again during the last years of the 90s, not immediately in 2001. While our current ‘leader’ is not helping, he is not the lone cause.

And because people want to try to point to a single person or single party as the problem, the problem is going to remain unresolved, our country broken and our society in tatters.

For once I would like to see a people from both sides AND THE MIDDLE stop playing party politics and really take a look at the problems with this country. From legal racism, forced taxation and tyranny from all corners, we are treated as mindless sheep because we WANT it that way. We don’t want to have to rely upon ourselves for our own way, we don’t want to rely upon ourselves for our own happiness, we look to the cradling arm of the government to solve all of our ills when it IS the government that is the problem!

Unfortunately we would be in the SAME condition now had we elected Kerry, Dole, Dukakis or Gore in the last 4 elections because WE are the same and WE get the government we deserve. Until WE change, the resident of the White House is meaningless. We don’t know what a true leaders is anymore, and we don’t want one because a true leaders is going to tell us we are weak and have no self-sufficency and force that upon us, and apparently we don’t want that.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 12, 2006 5:47 PM
Comment #123980

V. Edward Martin,
This time, I agree with most of what you wrote above. You (repeated below) hit on many of the most important issues facing the nation.

In closing my fellow Americans, I state for the record, that the state of our nation is weak and decomposing by the day. From failing primary education to an ever increasing dependence on foreign oil; from incompetent and dysfunctional government to the rise of Evangelical Christianity and all that purports; from the War in Iraq, to the decreasing American influence abroad; from the growing immigration situation to the lack of leadership to resolve it; from the growing lower class, to the continued decay of our major cities; from the continued erosion of our manufacturing base to the growing health care crisis; from our ballooning national debt to our ballooning trade imbalance, we are a nation tittering on the edge of collapse; we are not sound by any measure…

V. Edward Martin,
You know you are going to be dismissed immediately by the majority party (which happens to be Republican at the moment) as a “Chicken Little”. The sky is falling. Oh my ! And, the left is going to agree with you, because they oppose the majority party.

That’s simply the way it works.
The motivations of the right make it wrong.
The left just happen to be right, because the right is wrong.

But, the fact is, you are right.
Those are serious problems being ignored.
Government has been very irresponsible.

Jack is all over it in a heartbeat: I am glad I am not the guy living in the country you describe. My country has its share of problems, but they are tolerably like those of other periods. My country’s economy is growing at a decent pace, which is about twice as fast as our Euro trading partners. Our unemployement rate of 4.7% is about half theirs. So there are problems, but compared with the past and compared with others, it is pretty good.

Ha! What Jack doesn’t want you to talk about is how long it will take to pay off the National Debt. About 139 years now.

So, unemployment is down? What Jack doesn’t want you to see is the whole picture. Many better paying jobs have been replaced with lower paying jobs. Median incomes have been falling every year for the last 4 consecutive years, and manufacturing jobs are still going overseas. Many people stopped looking for jobs and are living on their savings, and running up personal debt (which is at an all time high of about $30 trillion). And, then look at GM and Ford. What is rosy about that? But, then I don’t have a conflict of interest. If my party had the majority, I’d be tryin’ to paint a rosier picture too. In fact, I used to do just that when I used to be Republican. Thank goodness I can now see better having removed the partisan blinders.

Also, Jack and Craig Holmes don’t want you to take a serious look at the percent of National Debt to GDP. They both seem to think 66% (and rising) is OK. They point to WWII when it was higher, but fail to point out that GDP had decreaed during WWII, which created a skewed percentage. Clever though.

Also, Jack doesn’t want to talk about the looming shortages of Social Security. He’ll tell you that Bush tried fix it, but Democrats wouldn’t let him. That is so lame.

And, what about border security? Corporations don’t want it. Corporations want cheap labor.
Nevermind the existing laws against illegal trespassers. The administration is hypocritical by advocating national security, but refusing to address border security.

Hmmmm…..sorry, but I just don’t think it is quite as rosy as some want us to think it is, despite how hard they try to do so.

There is no doubt that our government is irresponsible and unaccountable, and voters allow it.

That is why we should all, seriously, consider removing our partisan blinders, reject the partisan warfare, reject those that try to fuel it, stop trying to defend the indefensible, stop trying to make things seem worse than they are, and try to start to educate and remind the voters of their important responsibility. Government never reforms itself. Only the voters can peacefully force it to happen, by simply doing the one simple, non-partisan, common-sense, peaceful, responsible thing that voters were always supposed to do, all along, always, every election. Vote out (or recall) irresponsible incumbents, and demand common-sense reforms.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 12, 2006 5:52 PM
Comment #123981
Perhaps it’s good Bush continues to lead it into collapse. Then maybe we’ll all wake up and realize the irrationality of neoconservative values and the type of thinking it encompasses. Then again, maybe it’ll all be too late.

I hate to bust your bubble John, But it aint just the neoconservitives (and they aint conservitive) that’s doing it. Both neoconservitives and neoliberals are responsible.


If the US goes bankrupt, China overtakes us economically, or we haven’t dealt with the other crises facing us, the temporary relief from the tax cuts won’t mean anything.

Your right about that. The only way to stop any of the above from happening is to starting with this election cycle vote out ALL the idiots now in DC. And keep doing it until they start addressing the problems of this country. And not the problems of special intrest or their wallets.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 12, 2006 5:53 PM
Comment #123982
Whatever happened to intellectual discourse guided by mutual respect and a common goal? What ever happened to shared values and the “can do” culture that used to exemplify America? What has happened to our national pride? Do our founding principles no longer matter to the vast majority of us?

Our founding principles? Freedom from governmental tyranny, from overreaching government? We haven’t seen the principles of our founding fathers since the early 1900s or even before the civil war. The notion of what this country was SUPPOSE be has long since erroded from the minds its citizens through a GOVERNMENT CONTROLLED educational system that wants us to forget it has ensured that we will be unable to stand without our precious governmental programs that would be better served by privated industry and charities.

No, Edward, the problem is NOT Bush, it’s not the Republican Party, it’s US.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 12, 2006 5:55 PM
Comment #123985

Well said Rhinehold!
Edward makes many good points.
But, you are right.
It is not just Bush.

You are completely correct.
That is the truth.

It is all of us.
It is incumbents and voters that allow it.

Now, how do we fix it?
I think only the voters can fix it now.
Irresponsible incumbents (of all parties) won’t let newcomers pass badly-needed, common-sense reforms.

I think newcomers are mostly well-meaning, but they are hit smack-dab in the face with the status quo, perpetuated by incumbents.

Incumbents tempt, pressure, and threaten newcomers that don’t accept the status quo.

And, that is quite logical, since we know it is human nature for incumbents to preserve their cu$hy, coveted seats of power. Newcomers can not pass any reforms that will reduce the incumbents power or opportunities for self-gain.

I guarantee, if voters simply started voting out, always, every election, and never forget that duty, we would see history in the making.
We would finally learn from our mistakes.
We would quickly resolve our many problems.
We would all be amazed.

Think it isn’t possible?
We don’t really know that do we?
So, why not try?

Posted by: d.a.n at February 12, 2006 6:04 PM
Comment #123987

That is, always vote out irresponsible incumbents, every election, until no more irresponsible incumbents exist.
Keep the good ones (if you can find any).
Personally, few (if any) deserve to stay,
and that is they price irresponsible incumbents should pay, for looking the other way.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 12, 2006 6:08 PM
Comment #123992

… and if you don’t vote them out, at least send them on a hunting trip with Cheney!

Posted by: tony at February 12, 2006 7:23 PM
Comment #123994


I do worry about SS and entitlements. We hoped to solve that problem, but we ran into too much resistance for people who a year ago claimed the system was not in a crisis.

Re the end of the world (or at least end of America scenarios) I have heard them all before many times. People write whole books about it. Eventually they will be right.

Re statistics - 4.7% unemployment is the by the measure we use. You guys might wish to change it depending on the person in power and you can say it is an imperfect measure, but it is comparable to previous statistics of the same sort and by the measure we use, unemployment is very low by historical American standards and low by comparison with other developed economies.

If you and your friends are having trouble finding good jobs, perhaps you should look in the mirror.

I am not saying that things are perfect today. I am not saying that there are not many things to work on. I am saying that compared to other times and places, our country is doing all right.

If you want to solve problems you have to be realistic. That does not mean saying things are much worse than they are.

Posted by: Jack at February 12, 2006 7:42 PM
Comment #123996

Gotta love Cheney!!!

Posted by: Aldous at February 12, 2006 7:48 PM
Comment #124011

Tony—

Good one!

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at February 12, 2006 8:43 PM
Comment #124031

Yeah, Chaney does lnow how to take care of them, doesn’t he?

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 12, 2006 9:56 PM
Comment #124033

Jack,

You want to dwell on 4.7% unemployment?
Fine. Let’s say crime is down (even though that started in 1993) and umemployment is low.

But, don’t you think that may possibly be due to a nation maxing out all of its lines of credit?

But, let’s give you two points for those things you’re careful to stick close to.

But, what about the rest of it?
What about the other things, such as education, National Debt, border security, government FOR SALE, abuse of eminent domain, wire-tapping without warrants, alienating allies, bad intelligence used to justify entering IRAQ, George Tenet’s “slam dunk”, no tax reform, no campaign reform, no election reform, rampant spending, borrowing, and printing too much money.
But what about the rise of inflation?
What about the rising debt? $2.14 billion per day?
What about National Debt up to 66% of GDP (up from 33% in 1980) and rising fast?
How about those getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar. I wonder who Abramoff will implicate? It really looks like more Republicans than Democrats. Not that I care that much. I think most (if not all) of them are corrupt.

I’m glad you recognize some problems with Social Security and Medicare.

But here is the one question I have.

Do you think Republicans are responsible?
Do you think they are doing an adequate job?

Posted by: d.a.n at February 12, 2006 10:01 PM
Comment #124043

DAN

Responsible for what?

The country is in generally good condition. I believe the roots of our current prosperity go way back in our history. Both parties have contributed. Ronald Reagan, a Republican, turned the country around in the 1980s. Bill Clinton, a Democrat, help (perhaps inadvertently) consolidate the Reagan revolution, although things didn’t get better until after the Republicans took the House. George Bush, a Republican, is doing a good and competent job. The second round of tax cuts were very good.

BUT presidents get too much praise and blame for the state of the economy and society. Trends are long term. We benefit (or pay for) decisions made decades ago or longer. Politics matters in that it creates conditions for people to be creative. In the U.S. most Republicans and most Democrats believe in the free market in both economics and ideas. THAT is the basis of our prosperity.

I don’t worry very much about debt in general, since it is not a growing part of our GNP. But I am disappoined with Republicans spending like Democrats. We have to cut the role of the Federal government, both to save money AND just because the more Fed you get the less liberty you have.

I don’t know what to do about this. I don’t want to jump from the frying pan of Republican progams into the fire of the Democrats.

I worry most about the growth of entitlements, SS, Medicare, Medicaid etc. We have to address these things and have not.

The President showed great courage in addressing the problem. I suppose you could say it is his fault in that he was unable to push the issue with his own party and with Dems.

But the Dems, who were most responsible for defeating SS reform, have no right to point the finger on this one.

Posted by: Jack at February 12, 2006 10:32 PM
Comment #124053
For once I would like to see a people from both sides AND THE MIDDLE stop playing party politics and really take a look at the problems with this country.
I understand the disdain for political parties. However, in this case I think it really is one specific party that is causing most of the problems.

The republicans like to point out that democrats just whine and complain. However what they don’t want you to know is that it’s actually legitimate criticism, and they can’t do more because the GOP controls the government.

Again, democrats and republicans are both problematic, but we still should assign blame and accountability where it’s due.

Posted by: John at February 12, 2006 10:56 PM
Comment #124055

John

I see credit and blame for our current sitution like a balance sheet. There is more credit. We have a positive balance. If you want to blame Republicans for the low crime rate, 4.7% unemployment, strong economic growth, record high net worth for U.S. households etc, you can, but Dems do deserve some credit too.

Posted by: Jack at February 12, 2006 11:03 PM
Comment #124056

Jack,
It was not a trick question.
Are they responsible in general?

Republicans and Democrats both, on the whole, are doing a terrible job, and it has been getting worse for the last 30 years.

I don’t give a care anymore about parties.
They are not the problem.

I’m glad you’re willing to admit there are some problems, but would not go nearly so far to say as you do that “The country is in generally good condition”.

That is what bothers me.

I don’t think things are not as good as you say.

You say you don’t worry about debt?
I think that is a mistake.
You say it is not growing as a part of GNP.
But it is.
It is now 66% of GDP (up from 33% of GDP in 1980).
And it is scheduled to go much higher.

You are correct to worry about Social Security and Medicare. That is not all the Republicans fault. But, can we please discard with which party is to blame and where to point the finger?

Seriously. Think about what you’re writing? “have no right to point the finger on this one”. Both parties are culpable for the terrible mismanagement (over decades) of Social Security and Medicare.

And, Bush pandering to buy votes with prescription drugs didn’t help the situation at all.

And, what about all the other badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms?

I don’t see incumbents of either party passing any reforms.

So, all I can conclude is that irresponsible incumbents of both parties are the problem.

And, that is quite a few (maybe all of them).

Do you disagree with that ?


Posted by: d.a.n at February 12, 2006 11:04 PM
Comment #124062
I hate to bust your bubble John, But it aint just the neoconservitives (and they aint conservitive) that’s doing it. Both neoconservitives and neoliberals are responsible.

I’m not a democrat, however both parties are not equally at fault.
It’s the dems who have been against things like the patriot act, the Iraq war, and they are the party who don’t make decisions from religious fundamentalism. It’s true they haven’t done much, but that’s because the GOP is almost in complete control of the government.
Again, I’m not saying they have all the answers, but for next election at least, they have a chance at winning.

Only the voters can peacefully force it to happen, by simply doing the one simple, non-partisan, common-sense, peaceful, responsible thing that voters were always supposed to do, all along, always, every election. Vote out (or recall) irresponsible incumbents, and demand common-sense reforms.
Darn, it’s not easy when most of the people are too stupid and lazy to care. Maybe this is too cynical, but where I live most people don’t think about these things, they just vote republican endlessly because they want tax cuts and think republicans represent their religious values. Of course if they bothered to look it up they’d know the tax cuts are mainly for the rich, and furthermore that it just means they’ll pay less now and their children will pay much more later. And I guess honesty and compassion aren’t important to their family values, as long as those sinful gays can’t marry, pesky teens are caught taught condoms don’t work, and women can’t get abortions. Posted by: John at February 12, 2006 11:17 PM
Comment #124065

Don’t forget that tears pass HIV.

But I guess that’s all OK, since, according to Jack, we’re living in the GREATEST ECONOMY IN HUMAN HISTORY. In fact, it’s not so much an economy, as it is an econo-gasm — money is spasmodically shooting out of people’s orifices.

Or so I hear.

Posted by: Yossarian at February 12, 2006 11:29 PM
Comment #124066
John

I see credit and blame for our current sitution like a balance sheet. There is more credit. We have a positive balance. If you want to blame Republicans for the low crime rate, 4.7% unemployment, strong economic growth, record high net worth for U.S. households etc, you can, but Dems do deserve some credit too.

I think I understand what you’re saying but I’ll try to explain. Yes, the economy may look good for a while such as in stock market prices, etc. However, it’s not good if it isn’t sustainable. Right now it isn’t good because of actual wealth produced, but of consumer spending and the natural recovery of the shock value from 9/11.

The republican PR specialists of course can use statistics and numbers to make things look good, while ignoring the whole picture. Eventually however unless something changes China will overtake the US economically and then we’ll all be screwed. The massive debt necessarily will come back to haunt us.

Of course, I’m not an economist. However, I should point out that there is much more about the state of the US than the economy (or its appeareance). For example, fundamentalism is growing and it is sure indicator a society is in decline when fear and ignorance replace reason and unity in decision-making. Civil liberties are being eroded. And the US has lost enormous respect in the world.These aren’t any less serious than the current economy.

Posted by: john at February 12, 2006 11:30 PM
Comment #124067

John,

And democrats think that they are voting for the party that ‘cares’ about them and is trying to use the government to help them, when in reality it is the party of bigots and greed, only they are greedy in regards to power, not money.

BOTH parties are scum, only when you can admit that to yourself will you actually start to see it. It’s like a christian who believe’s in the veracity of the bible, only when he is willing to take off his blinders is he able to see to see the truth.

Liberalism and Conservatism are just religions to many.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 12, 2006 11:31 PM
Comment #124073

Jack:

If you and your friends are having trouble finding good jobs, perhaps you should look in the mirror.

This is really beneath you. I’m surprised. A very tacky thing to say.


Posted by: womanmarine at February 13, 2006 12:15 AM
Comment #124075

Yeah, almost makes you want to just revolt. George Washington and Jefferson had the guts to stand up to tyranny, too bad we don’t have the same.
Seriously, there’s little hope of taking back the country through peaceful, democratic means when those democratic means are corrupted and designed to serve only those in power. I guess the American people are destined to be continually screwed by those in power.

Posted by: John at February 13, 2006 12:23 AM
Comment #124229

Woman

I apologize if it sounded harsh and maybe it was. My problem is just frustration. Let me explain.

The statistics on the economy and society are very good. As I have said many times, the unemployment rate is very low by any standards. The economy is growing. Crime is down. Pollution levels are down. Family net worth is up. That is not to say everything is perfect. Life is always a challenge and should be. But conditions are good.

My own observations track with the statistics. When my kids and their friends (people without skills or connections) go looking for their first or nearly first jobs, they are finding them easily and getting $7 –8 an hour. Virginia, where I live, has a very good economy. But when I talk to my relatives and friends around the country, they complain about the economy, but they also talk about their vacations in Las Vegas or the new cars they are buying. BTW – most of these guys are not rich or particularly well educated.

I understand the challenges of the economy, but I have seen these challenges before and heard the predictions of collapse all my life. Beyond that, my reading of history indicates a fairly consistent pattern of doomsday predictions. I am sick of it.

So I understand that in any economy in any place in all the world, some people will be having a harder time than others. If this is you, you probably should change your behavior. That is harsh, but it is good advice, because if you are living in this economy and you are really having trouble, you may be very unlucky or you may be doing something consistently wrong. I don’t mean this necessarily as an incitement. I have a degree in ancient history. I studied Greek and Latin. Nobody wants to buy that skill. When I sent resumes, I could almost hear the laughter. I could get angry about that injustice or (as I did) I could get an MBA. Society pays for that one.

Or the third option, which I think is more common, you might have elevated expectations. People have learned to expect a lot. They expect to take vacations to nice places. They expect to be able to buy a house soon after they get a job and (if you have seen the housing stock lately) they expect a nice place. These are all good things that should come as a result of hard work and smart decisions, but they may not come as fast as people like. It is also true that MOST people will never become rich. But that does not mean they can’t have a very good life.

Many people have too much money, but few have enough.

To a very large extent your life is in your hands. This is a good thing, but as with all opportunities, it carries risk.

Posted by: Jack at February 13, 2006 9:27 AM
Comment #124242

John,
You make a good point.
Yes, while unemployment, and inflation are not relatively high, it is not sustainable.
It is an illusion of so much debt. $40.2 trillion of it (total U.S. debt). What’s the interest on all that? How long will it take just to pay down the $8.2 trillion in National Debt? 139 years? And that would require a lot of discipline. I don’t think congress has the discipline.
And, now that the government is printing too much money is just making it worse.
But, if that bothers you, just get some of those cool rose colored glasses, and all your worries will disappear.

I see credit and blame for our current sitution like a balance sheet. There is more credit. We have a positive balance. If you want to blame Republicans for the low crime rate, 4.7% unemployment, strong economic growth, record high net worth for U.S. households etc, you can, but Dems do deserve some credit too.
And the argument about record high net worth? That’s a joke. People shifted from stocks to real estate. But unless those homes are paid for in full, they don’t own them. And it may be starting now. There are signs. In my area, near Dallas, Tx., foreclosures just reached the highest level since 1989 (17 years ago)! But, don’t worry. You’ll be OK as long as you leave on your rose colored glasses.

And the low crime? OK, it is lower. But that steady trend started in 1993. So, Democrats are probably most to blame for that? Eh? Clever though; trying to take credit for it.

OK, those are the positives.
And, I don’t think they will be long lived.
As you said, John, they are not sustainable.
They are an illusion due to massive debt.
There will be consequences for that some day soon.

Now, let’s examine the negatives, and you tell me if the rosy picture is sustainable? Let’s just look at the most pressing issues first.

[01] National Debt is now 66% of GDP. It’s absolutely amazing that some want to say that is not anything to worry about. They use the lame excuse that it was higher in WWII. But, they also fail to say that GDP fell during WWII which skewed the percentage.

[02] An aging population and 77 million baby boomers that will soon retire (if they can afford to), earn less money, pay less taxes, spend less, and start drawing on already troubled Social Security and Medicare systems. But that is not the Republicans fault. Bush tried to fix it and those bad Democrats wouldn’t allow it. What a stupid argument!

[03] National Security. This is a farce. Why? Because the borders are mostly wide-open. While the government is trying to grab more power (e.g. wire-tapping without warrants), they hypocritically ignore the wide-open borders, refuse to enforce existing laws, and refuse to punish those luring illegal trespassers here for sub-minimum wage jobs.

[04] Energy Vulnerability. This is a supreme failure of the government. What good is the hundreds of billions to run the worthless Energy Department? This is where government could have done what no corporations would. But it was in-league with corporations instead. Disgusting.

Then, throw in the rest, and tell me how rosy it looks now? Especially when bought-and-paid-for incumbents won’t tackle tough problems for fear of risking re-election or defying their big-money-donor puppeteers?

(05) Iraq, Iran, N.Korea, Afghanistan, etc.;
(06) terrorism; ignored warnings to secure cock-pit doors;
(07) insolvent pensions ($1.6 trillion in the hole), looming bankruptcy of the PBGC;
(08) corporate/investor fraud;
(09) health care crisis; unaffordable and increasingly unreliable;
(10) election fraud;
(11) Identity Theft (fastest growing crime), false Identities;
(12) campaign finance, buying elections, government FOR SALE;
(13) pollution and global warming; diseases caused by it;
(14) globalization and outsourcing, global pillage, falling incomes, declined manufacturing (will we forget how to make things?);
(15) increasingly costly, and abused tax system;
(16) foreign policy that alienates allies;
(17) declining quality of public education;
(18) the 40 hour work week is more like 50 hours (and 2 workers per household);
(19) a crumbling infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.);
(20) urban sprawl, 40+ hours per month (540 per year) commuting, traffic grid-lock, insufficient mass transit systems; tremendous cost in fuel;
(21) insufficient law enforcement; perversion of the law and legal plunder; abused presidential pardons;
(22) a dysfunctional legal system full of greedy parasitic ambulance chasers and idiotic juries ruining everything for everyone else;
(23) an arrogant, incompetent government that can’t seem to solve anything, or do anything quickly except vote themselves raises; incumbents will not allow newcomers to pass any badly-needed, common-sense, nobrainer, responsible reforms; incumbents won’t allow any reforms that reduce the power of their cu$hy, coveted seats, or their opportunities for self-gain; incumbents don’t want campaign finance reform, tax reform, election reform, budget reform; incumbent are gettin’ theirs and they’ll be fine when the rest of us have to suffer the consequences of their greed and corruption;

But, don’t fret about none of that.
As long as you keep those rose colored glasses on, you be just fine. The sky is not falling. Don’t be a Chicken Little. Don’t worry, be happy. And ignore the obvious motivations of those that paint the rosy pictures and tell you that you worry too much.

Just focus on these few measlely (and temporary) positives (i.e. 4.7% unemployment and lower crime levels), and ignore the overwhelming list of other problems that government ignores as they grow in number and severity. Don’t you see how those few positives far outweigh the need for any concern over the much more numerous problems? No? Well, you must have taken you rose colored glasses off. Put them back on.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2006 9:50 AM
Comment #124248

The lefts “political fundamentalism” is no different than “religious fundamentalism.”

To even suggest that the clinton fiasco was only about oral sex and nothing about corruption or lying shows just how partisan you really are.

Are we as a nation really willing to sacrifice liberty at the alter of security at any cost? Of course we are. We have already proven that with the 2nd Amendement.

I will state for the record, that our nation HAS been weak for some time and that our Constitutional rights have been slowly taken away for decades now.
Its just alittle different now that rights YOU care about are the ones affected.

Posted by: kctim at February 13, 2006 10:09 AM
Comment #124259
The statistics on the economy and society are very good.
Wrong. Especially with the very part. The economy is more vulnerable now than before. And I don’t say that because I’m bad off. I’m not. I’m self-employed, my home and vehicles are all paid off, we have no debt, and we have savings in the bank. But, I’m not representative of most people. So, that proves nothing, except that my motivation is not fueled by the lack of having a job as you flippantly implied. So, I don’t think that bit (about lookin’ in the mirror if you can’t find a job) helped your argument. It probably ticked off a lot of people instead.
As I have said many times, the unemployment rate is very low by any standards.
Wrong. It is low. Not very low. Another good try though.
The economy is growing.
Clever. So? It always is. The only time it did not grow was during WWII, and GDP actually decreased.
Crime is down.
Overall maybe. Have you checked out all the crime by illegal aliens? Why is this allowed? How about just enforcing existing laws to reduce crime? Tell that reduced crime statistic to all of the victims of crimes that should have never occurred.
Pollution levels are down.
That’s highly questionable, since it is very hard to measure. And, the ozone is still being depleted, so I wouldn’t start celebrating yet.
Family net worth is up.
Wrong. People fled from losing stocks to real estate. They increased their vulnerability with the increased chance of foreclosure, because most don’t own those homes free and clear.
That is not to say everything is perfect. Life is always a challenge and should be.
Nothing is perfect. Perfection is not the issue.
But conditions are good.
Wrong. Median incomes have fallen four years running. Debt is crushing us, and destabilizes the economy. Inflation, while 3.5% now, is bad. The assumption that 3.5% is good is wrong. That seemingly small 3.5% erodes purchasing power significantly over a decade. And it is going to get worse thatn 3.5% due to the crushing debt. And that debt to foreign nations carries some serious concerns too. Just saying it is good isn’t enough. All of your facts are debatable. But, most of all, they make one wonder why someone wants to use a few questionable positives to trivialize so many important issues. Even if it was alarmist, would it not be prudent to acknowledge their existence and potential for harm? Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2006 10:36 AM
Comment #124269

QUESTION: Why condone inflation? Why defend the steady erosion of the purchasing power of a dollar?

ANSWER: The cause is due to the creation of the Federal Reserve (in 1913), followed by the absence of a gold standard (since 1933) needed to restrain the Federal Reserve, allowing the Federal Reserve to create (print) money out of thin air. Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said:

“In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit (debt creation)” - Alan Greenspan (#8), 1966

Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2006 10:56 AM
Comment #124281

Jack:

Sorry, I don’t buy it. Your frustration seems to stem from the fact that many people don’t agree with you on the state of the economy. There are many facets to the economy, and just because you happen to know some folks who complain, but in reality are fine doesn’t negate the fact that there are many being adversely affected.

I am not an economist, but I don’t think I have to be to feel that the economy is or is going to be in trouble, just due to the unbelievable deficit. Someone, somewhere has to pay for that. There is no way that it can not have an effect on the economy.

I and many others understand that no matter the state of the economy, there will always be folks in trouble. Blaming the victims is another low blow, but according to you, it must be their fault. Get real.

Posted by: womanmarine at February 13, 2006 11:33 AM
Comment #124293

KC—

I will admit that Clinton lied about having sex in the Oval office, but you are not really trying to acquaint that small infraction with the wholesale lying, incompetence, and dysfunction we are experiencing under the Bush Administration? Come on be real.

Lying about getting a blowjob did not put American lives at risk, let alone cause them to be killed; How many Americans have lost their lives as a result of Bushes actions and or inactions in the last five years? Some 5,500 and counting. Lying about Monica did not upend people’s lives, and waste vast sums of money, nor break several federal laws, nor leak classified information!

If ever a President deserved to be impeached, Bush is he.

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at February 13, 2006 12:03 PM
Comment #124296

Woman

You are right that my frustration is just that people don’t agree with me. I am not joking here. There obviously is a real disconnect in people’s perceptions of the economy. By all the standards I use to measure, things are good. We can argue about it for a long time, but it is like telling me it is dark out as I look out my window at 12 noon. It could be lighter, but it certainly is not dark.

DAN

4.7% is very low. It rarely goes much lower than that. It has been lower in only FOUR of the last 30 years. It is not the best ever, but you can’t really complain about it.

Pollution is lower (in the U.S. at least) by all the meaures the EPA uses. Sorry if that is not enough.

Crime is lower and dropping. Again, we measure by what we can and have measured.

The economy has been growing at a annual rate of more than 3.5% since 2003. That is a good rate by historical or world standards.

People didn’t flee the stock market into real estate. Real estate went up. Most people did not have that much money in stocks. In any case, the net worth is higher. Net worth is assets minus liabilities. Everything else is commentary.

Re inflation - a little inflation is a good thing, alot is bad. Right now it is not bad. Inflation has a beneficial (non-economic) benefit of letting people off the hook at least a little for their bad decisions and making home ownership a winning propositions in almost any market.

Posted by: Jack at February 13, 2006 12:16 PM
Comment #124298

VEM
“I will admit that Clinton lied about having sex in the Oval office, but you are not really trying to acquaint that small infraction with the wholesale lying, incompetence, and dysfunction we are experiencing under the Bush Administration? Come on be real”

Small infraction? Every time clintons corruption and crimes are mentioned, you guys all try to make it sound like that dumb “oral sex” crap, was ALL his administration was guilty of. Wrong!

http://users.aol.com/beachbt/

That link has some decent info about clintons “scandals.” Hardly “small infractions.”
Sure, some are conspiracy theories or have been excused away because he was on “their” side. Some are alot like the links you see on here condemning Bush for everything.
But, alot of them have many credible links and a truly NON-PARTISAN person will take the time and research and find out just how much alike the last two administrations really are.

The only major difference between 1996 and 2006 is the name of who is President and which party he belongs too.

Posted by: kctim at February 13, 2006 12:21 PM
Comment #124319
Pollution is lower (in the U.S. at least) by all the meaures the EPA uses. Sorry if that is not enough.
Actually, Bush has weakened pollution laws. This is simply for his corporate buddies’ profits. He probably has the worst environmental record of any president. And he still won’t admit global warming exists, let alone do anything about it.

I can’t comment from the EPA measures, however from the administration’s history of firing and getting rid of people who disagree with them (like that NASA scientist who spoke about global warming), I can’t help but wonder if these “measures” have been corrupted for the administration’s agenda.

Of course, there is the whole problem of the west’s addiction to fossil fuels, global warming, overpopulation, and what will happen when we run out of oil. But that is a problem for pretty much all civilized countries, not just Bush. They too are corrupt and incompetent. Without the will power and dedication to create a sustainable economy western civilization will probably be in trouble some time, it’s just a question of when.

Small infraction? Every time clintons corruption and crimes are mentioned, you guys all try to make it sound like that dumb “oral sex” crap, was ALL his administration was guilty of. Wrong!

http://users.aol.com/beachbt/

That link has some decent info about clintons “scandals.” Hardly “small infractions.”


I’m sorry but I can’t agree with you that oral sex is worse than a senseless war with thousands of people killed. So what if someone in the white house downloaded porn (you don’t even know if it’s true since this person obviously has an agenda)? Maybe distasteful, but Clinton wasn’t nearly as incompetent, money/power-hungry, and corrupt as this administration.

I guess however if you’re the type of person that believes tolerating homosexuality is the cause of all our problems (and katrina was a punishment from God), sex is more evil than senseless violence, and liberals are all evil atheists trying to destroy the bible, you might believe that website.

Posted by: John at February 13, 2006 1:09 PM
Comment #124322

Jack,

Sorry, but the few, cherry-picked, mediocre truths don’t trump the truths you try to evade.
They also don’t tell the whole story.
Clever, but I’m not buying it.

A little optimism is OK, but sticking one’s head in the sand is dangerous. Carefully crafted statements reveal a motivation to paint a rosy picture, no matter how bad everything else is.

It’s not hard to take a couple of debatable positives, and spin it into a healthy economy.

But those few positives are mediocre and temporary? I don’t think people are falling for it. Not even all Republicans. We have pressing problems that threaten the future of the nation, and pretending or slanting it with short-term, mediocre data leads one to suspect an ulterior motivation. I used to be Republican, and played the same game. But, after a while, it gets too hard to paint a rosy picture, and defend the indefensible. It is no mystery that Republicans want to believe things are rosy. When Democrats had the majority, they did the same thing.

Can you really say the National Debt is not too big and 66% of GDP (and growing) is not too large? Even if you are right, wouldn’t it be prudent to pause, and at least say: “maybe there is reason for concern” instead of simply saying: “things are good” ?

Especially when it does not look sustainable at all, there are half a dozen serious issues that have a real potential for unraveling the economy, and a government that is increasingly corrupt, greedy, FOR SALE, and refuses to pass any common-sense reforms.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2006 1:17 PM
Comment #124330

“I’m sorry but I can’t agree with you that oral sex is worse than a senseless war with thousands of people killed”

Sigh, its not. In fact, only the lying part about it has anything to do with us, the rest was between him and his old lady.
It is all the other crap that pissed people off.
Secrets to the chinese, fund raising, killing Americans, illegal war etc…
The bj was just like Capones taxes. It was what they could get him on.
But yet, you all would rather try to make it seem like the bj was the only thing he did wrong, and in doing that, you are just as guilty as the right is today in allowing the downfall of our country to occur right in front of your eyes while you make excuses.

Posted by: kctim at February 13, 2006 1:37 PM
Comment #124332

KC,

So you admit that only the (1) lie about the BJ irks you, then the half a dozen or so lies that Bush has told that I detailed in my article must really tick you off! Not to mention the lies Republican members of Congress have told over the last three or so years…

V. Edward

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at February 13, 2006 1:45 PM
Comment #124338

Debatable postives? Cherry picking?

We are talking about the unemployment rate, median household net worth, growth rate of GDP, overall crime rate and I coud throw in rising productivity.

These are the common ways we measure an economy. What measures would you suggest. Most people in the world would love to be cursed with America’s economic situation.

The debt is a problem and entitlements are a long term threat, but the debt as a % of GNP has been higher in the recent past (as late as 1995, and we survived and prospered) and the debt ratios of many other major industrial countries is similar or worse.

I also noticed from your chart that debt was low during the sucky seventies, which shows that you can have lower debt and a rotten economy.

Posted by: Jack at February 13, 2006 1:49 PM
Comment #124350

VEM
“So you admit that only the (1) lie about the BJ irks you”

Read what I said again. The bj fiasco didnt concern me one bit. It was a personal matter between him and hill. When he lied to the people is when it bothered me.
It was and still is, ALL of the other stuff that went on during his reign that is important.
And YES, all this crap going on with Bush ticks me off also.
The difference being, I will not give clinton or Bush a break simply because of which party they belong too.
You all make excuses for the corruption and crimes of clinton and the right does the same for Bush.
It is our country that suffers while the two sides play their little political game and it is “the people” who suffer most.

Posted by: kctim at February 13, 2006 2:07 PM
Comment #124381

KC,

Can we set aside the Partisan bickering for the moment? And by the way, I do not belong to either Party, and Clinton lost a huge amount of my respect vis-à-vis the Monica affair. Clinton is no longer in office, Bush is. Clinton did not take the country to war based on false statements and knowingly false intelligence, Bush did. My point is this, Bush and his henchmen, one of whom shot another human being this past weekend, have taken corruption, and ineptitude to a level never before seen in modern American governance.

If you refuse to see this simple point, and acknowledge it, then you are beyond reason! I do so hate it when I am discussing the many failing of the current Administration those who support it immediately yell, well Clinton did this, or Clinton did that! Clinton is not the issue, he is no longer in office and has not been for five years; Bush however is in office and therefore accountable for his actions. Remember when he said he was going to bring honor and integrity back to the Office of President of the United States, and that he would govern with humility and wisdom; we are still waiting for this to come to pass!

V. Edward

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at February 13, 2006 3:06 PM
Comment #124385

Debatable postives? Cherry picking?

Absolutely.

We are talking about the unemployment rate,
Yeah, but the new jobs were not with higher paying jobs. Median wages have been falling for 4 consecutive years. What about that?
median household net worth
Wrong. Household net worth is a common trick. You fail to point out that there are more workers per household. Another good try though. Try it again on and individual basis.
growth rate of GDP,
Wrong. GDP has always grown except from 1945 to 1950 (where it dipped slightly). That proves nothing. Do you want to address how National Debt is now 66% of GDP (up from 33% in 1980)?
overall crime rate
So? Like I said, that started in 1993 and the rate has been falling steadily since at about the same rate. Still does not prove much. Also, you are talking about violent crime? How about white collar crime? Also, many crime statistics strangely exclude murder, because the victim can report it. Very strange. Cherry pickin’ maybe.
and I coud throw in rising productivity.
Yes, I agree with that. But, that is a tribute to the Americans workers, despite an oppressive government. Certainly not the Republican party. Sure, taxes were reduced slightly, but who did they help the most? Oh no….please…not another trickle down theory.
The debt is a problem and entitlements are a long term threat,
Finally, something we agree on. What does that mean for your short term positives?
…but the debt as a % of GNP has been higher in the recent past (as late as 1995, and we survived and prospered) and the debt
True, but they leveled it off. I knew you’d bring that up. The problem is the current administration still has no plans to cut spending. In fact, next year’s budget will be $2.7 trillion, and Bush will get one of the biggest spender award (ever)! By the way, why doesn’t he veto some pork-barrel, instead of cutting back on the poor and needy? This government is growing more corrupt. It’s a given of course, but try and argue against that, and see how many will agree with you?
I also noticed from your chart that debt was low during the sucky seventies, which shows that you can have lower debt and a rotten economy.
Jack, there you go again. Remember energy shortages? Lines at the gas pumps? Price Controls. Sure, what are you saying? It was sucky then, so it’s OK to return to a state of suckiness?

Sorry Jack,
I’m just not buying it…the partisan bias is much to easy to see.

Now, forget all of that for a moment.

Let’s focus on something much more important.
Don’t you think we can and should do much better?
If so, how?
Keep votin’ for irresponsible incumbents?
Incumbents that won’t let newcomers pass any badly-needed reforms?
Keep doin’ what we’re doin’ ?
It ain’t workin’ !

What is our #1 biggest problem standing in the way of all other solutions ?

What is the first step to solving that #1 problem ?

Do you believe irresponsible incumbents from both parties should all be voted out?
Can you put partisan motivations aside?

If so, what are we to do?
How about asking voters to do what they were supposed to be doing all along?
Not just vote Republican or Democratic.
Is that possible?
Simply vote out (or recall) all irresponsible incumbents, always, not once in a while, but every election, regardless of party?

Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2006 3:16 PM
Comment #124397

VEM
Partisan bickering? I want to hold BOTH sides accountable, you wish to only on hold one.
So yes, please leave partisan bickering aside.
Who cares about Monica? Sheesh.
I SEE your little simple point. You refuse to see mine. BOTH sides are corrupt, you choose to only see it as a Rep thing.
I do so hate it when people are always trying to bash Bush on everything they excused clinton on. He’s been out of office for 5 years now but yet you all act like it is ancient history and should be forgotten. Well guess what, its not. You just wish it were so you don’t have to admit Bush is nothing but the status quo in todays politics.

Unjustified war? abuse of power? rights violations? illegal contributions? secrets to American enemies? etc…
You can ignore the fact that these crimes did NOT begin with Bush if it makes you feel better. Hell, if you just say its Bushs fault, everybody in the blue column will agree with you. Is that what you want? For everybody who already thinks Bush created global warming, the black plague or whatever, to be the only ones who agree with you? Or is it more important to reach people who dont quite see it your way and convince them?
If you wish the latter, then how can you expect them to listen to you if you have different rules for each side? How can you expect them to listen to you while you disregard them?

“Remember when he said he was going to bring honor and integrity back to the Office of President of the United States, and that he would govern with humility and wisdom; we are still waiting for this to come to pass!”

No, half of the country are waiting for that. The other half are thankful liberals no longer run our country.
Its a game and you are playing it just as they hoped.

Posted by: kctim at February 13, 2006 3:49 PM
Comment #124417

This is unbelievable. As I told womanmarine, I don’t understand where people are coming from.

I have given you the commonly used statistics for measuring economic health. The numbers are good. Some like unemployment and productivity are extraordinarily good, much better than the averages of the past thirty years. In the case of economic growth it is only very good, higher than that average. The worst we can say about is that things like median wage are not quite as high as they were (in real dollars) five years ago. BUT that was an extraordinarily good time and we have been through a recession. AND we are not talking big gaps. In this horrible case, median income is 0.98% less than its all time high. If you want to say that we are suffering the same sort of wages we did in 1998, I would have to give that to you.

Re the crime statistics, crime is dropping period.

I don’t credit Bush with all this. Presidents get too much credit and they take too much blame.

My only point, again, is that the economy is currently good measured by any of the statistics we have used in the past or any statistics commonly used internationally. You can worry about the future. I can’t predict the future. But what we have now is good in fact it is very good, much better than average, better than most other times.

Your question could be: How can we keep this great economy? That would be a valid question, give the dark clouds you see on the horizon. But you need not negate the good news we have had in the past three years to do that.

You might say “May we keep the curse of the present prosperity and may we never recover.”

BTW - re the 1970s, you missed my point. I don’t want to go back to that horrible decade. My point was that DURING that horrible time, we had the lowest debt ratio, so maybe there is not the causality you worry about.

I would ask question to my glass mostly empty colleagues: Unemployment is 4.7%. How low can it go? Growth is 3.5% annually. How high should it be? Please, live in a real world.

Posted by: Jack at February 13, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #124451

Jack,

No, Jack. Saying any of it is very good is exaggerating. And, commonly used statistics is not nearly quite good enough. We both know how they get used.

4.7% unemployment is not historically high, but it isn’t great, and it is not the whole picture, since it fails to recognize that new jobs were lower paying jobs, as evidenced by the lower median incomes for 4 years.

But, the most suspicious part is saying 66% Debt to GDP is not too high? It is too high.

And what does it mean that the 1970s was sucky when the ratio of Debt to GDP was 33%, so double that (e.g. 66%) is OK and nothing to worry about now? Are you now trying to say a high ratio of National Debt to GDP is a good thing and the

My point was that DURING that horrible time, we had the lowest debt ratio, so maybe there is not the causality you worry about.

Non-sequitur. The Debt to GDP was 33% in 1980.
The Debt to GDP is 66% now in 2006.
Just because conditions of the 1970s were not great does not justify higher Debt to GDP percentages now.

Jack, there is some truth in pieces of what you say. So you see things differently. That’s fine, and you are of course entitled to do so. I see reasons to be concerned, and you think things are very. You want desparately to prove things are very good, and I can easily show valid reasons to not start celebrating yet. You finally concede that entitlements are a problem, but percent of Debt to GDP is not? The two are not inseparable. Especially when one was plundered for the other. Surpluses from Social Security have been borrowed (plundered) since a few years after it started.

We’ll just have to agree to disagree.
You proved a few points, but at the cost of ignoring pressing problems and the real potential for harm.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2006 5:44 PM
Comment #124486
Actually, Bush has weakened pollution laws. This is simply for his corporate buddies’ profits. He probably has the worst environmental record of any president.

How do you figure? Because he didn’t make laws or because pollution decreased during the time he was in office? Which one of those are you more concerned about and I think you might have a hint at what you’re REALLY upset about…

I don’t think it’s really the environment as much as it is a hatred of ‘corporations’ and capitalism.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 13, 2006 7:10 PM
Comment #124638

Terrific article, V. Edward. I agree with you 100%.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 14, 2006 12:52 AM
Comment #124920

YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD

If what they want is a conservative nation?
Roll it back and start from scratch.
Pull back from the countrys who have
there hand out. Use that money to fix
social security and throw what is left to health care. Take back this corpurut welfare
every last penny of it. That would take care
of the rest of health care bill and we would have
plenty left to fix every dam and levey out there.
Make education a federal program. All schools
get so much money per student. This rate must be
set fairly so every teacher has egual pay and
equal amount of students. Test the teachers if
they want a good paying job then they must show
they can earn it. etc etc etc.
COMMEN SENSE PEOPLE.
Roll back the salerys of our elected officials
to what it was the last time the min wage was raised. If they get
caught with there hand in the cookie jar they must pay back any salery they
recieved and the job goes to the runner up.
COMMEN SENCE PEOPLE.
this party vs that party would be a little
less of a issue. If they had no favors to be sold.

Posted by: Honey P at February 14, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #125006

Like Jack, I don’t know what indicators would satisfy the posters who don’t like the current economic situation. By all the measures currently endorsed by economists, the US is doing well, extremely well when compared to our European counterparts. If you are just going to throw out the accepted indicators when they don’t support the talking points of your chosen party, then it is impossible to intelligently discuss the economy.

I would argue that the problems cited by Jack’s critics are characteristic of an economy in transition. People in certain industries are being displaced, however that is natural result of the changing economy in the US. Just as plastic widget making went to Japan, then Tiawan and now China, semi-skilled manufacturing jobs are going overseas. The unions saw to that by pricing American labor out of the market. In contrast, other industries in the US are strong, such as healthcare and technology driven fields. You can’t get a job making ceiling wax anymore. Get over it.

I also think it is important to consider the global benefit of exporting yesterday’s jobs to countries with developing economies. As income levels rise, there is a corresponding reduction in the percentage of a nation’s population that is attracted to revolution and terrorism. By exporting jobs to developing countries, the US increases global security and reduces terrorism.

Posted by: goodkingned at February 14, 2006 3:51 PM
Comment #125016

goodkinkned,
I belong to no party.
As stated above, some of Jacks points are true.
But to say it is “very good” is an exaggeration.
And mixing truths with exaggerations is a clever, but old tactic.

To understate 66% National Debt to GDP isn’t responsible (up from 33% in 1980, and growing fast).
To trivialize the impact or shift the blame for looming shortages in Social Security and Medicare, and 77 million baby boomers that will soon start earning less, paying less tax, spending less, and drawing on those troubled systems is foolish.
To pretend 3% to 4% (or higher) is good perpetuates a myth.

But, just because the next Great Depression is not here yet, is no reason to believe those (especially over in the red column) that say the National Debt is “not too high” and the economy is “very good”, and us lay people don’t know nothin’ about economics. I’m still in amazement of such rosy interpretations. But, then (damn it), I too used to wallow in that partisan motivated dribble too. At least until it got too difficult to defend. Ridiculously difficult, actually.

If a depression comes, what we have done in the last 25 years is going to make any recovery very difficult; very painful.

And, this administration now seems to be doing just about everything it can to make it impossible to put our nation back together again.

And the incumbents continue the pork-barrel spending, borrowing, printing too much money, and votin’ themselves raises and cu$hy perk$.

The key to a healthy nation is the freedom of association, enterprise, trade, sound money that is backed by more than just paper, private property rights, civil rights, wages and prices that adjust by market conditions, some forsight and leadership, and a legal structure that shores up these institutions rather than undermines them.

The incumbents have done just about all it can in the last 25 years to undermine all of that (and countless examples can be provided). It seems we are going backwards, not forwards.

If the government were to follow those key policies, it would be easier to have a rosier outlook. Cautious, realistic optimism might turn to real optimism (perhaps even enthusiasm). But, as it is now, it is difficult without any of those nifty rose colored glasses they wear in the rose colored column. So, I will remain cautiously optimistic, and prepare for the outcome that is not hard to fathom, but is starting to look inevitable.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 14, 2006 4:03 PM
Comment #125019

To pretend 3% to 4% inflation (or higher) is good perpetuates a myth. Even 2% inflation is bad. It destroys value. With a paper money system, there is no value behind the paper. Printing money, as they are printing too much now, destabilizes the economy.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 14, 2006 4:06 PM
Comment #125040

Jack, Ned,

Admitting the problem is the first step in recovery.

V.E.M.

Good article, thanks. One item:

apparently more then half the electorate (those with deep fundamentalist Christian roots) doesn’t seem to mind as long as you label the opposition amoral.
I think this should be rephrased to “more than half the tallied votes”
A) Statistics don’t lie, only statisticians. Gore and Kerry both probably won.
B) The Bush core was over represented. I.e. A greater fraction of them voted than the rest of the population.

Posted by: Dave at February 14, 2006 4:35 PM
Comment #125146


Dave

Yes. You all should admit that you don’t understand the economy and then you could learn about it. Since you don’t believe the unemployment rate, median income, growth of GNP or overll crime rate, please tell me what measures you would use? I guess you can look out the window and smell the poverty.

DAN

Why don’t we try to put it into comparative numbers like you might get on a standardized test. If we compare this economy to those of in the lifetimes of an average American (about 33 years), this economy would probably fall in the 87th percentile. The crime rate is lower now than any time in the last thirty years, so (since you never get to be in the 100th percentile) we are now in the 99th percentile. Debt ratio is not as good, probably about the 30th percentile, so indeed we do have a problem. But I would remind everyone that the debt ratio was worse in 1995 than it is today and nobody expected a turn around back then either. If you compare our numbers to our industrialized peers in Europe and Asia, we are in the 90th percentiles generally.

So, I think we can justifiably say it is very good.

Posted by: Jack at February 14, 2006 8:00 PM
Comment #125431
DAN Why don’t we try to put it into comparative numbers like you might get on a standardized test. If we compare this economy to those of in the lifetimes of an average American (about 33 years), this economy would probably fall in the 87th percentile.
I am looking at the big picture. I’m looking at all the factors. My charts don’t try to hide the fact that Debt to GDP in WWII was higher than it is now. The few short-term positives you cling to will be meaningless as these other many, longer-term pressing problems are continually ingored and grow in number and severity. The crime rate is lower now than any time in the last thirty years, so (since you never get to be in the 100th percentile) we are now in the 99th percentile. No, only since 1993 for the most part. It also depends on the type of crime. Some types of crime have increased. Crime in some areas has grown worse. But, —- OK, 1 point for Jack.
Debt ratio is not as good, probably about the 30th percentile, so indeed we do have a problem.
I’m glad we can now agree on the debt problem. Also, trying to use the percent of Debt to GDP is misleading. But, if we’re going to use it, it has reached 67% which is up from 33% in 1980. —- So, 1 point for d.a.n
But I would remind everyone that the debt ratio was worse in 1995 than it is today and nobody expected a turn around back then either.
No. Not worse. Debt to GDP was 67% in 1995. Debt to GDP is now also 67% in 2006. And 67% Debt to GDP is a bad thing as you say. Also, total U.S. Debt is higher now ( $40.2 trillion ). —- 1 point for d.a.n
If you compare our numbers to our industrialized peers in Europe and Asia, we are in the 90th percentiles generally.
True and False. Some of those nations are simply in worse shape than we are, which does not at all mean we are in good shape. Not at all. The argument that someone else is worse doesn’t equate to we’re doing good. Besides, you already have agreed that “we have a problem” above regarding debt. —- 1 point for d.a.n

—- FINAL SCORE: —-
—- Jack: 1 point
—- d.a.n: 3 points

So, I think we can justifiably say it is very good.

No. Not good. Not even OK.
I think you are overlooking a whole lot of problems.
Perfection and Utopia is not goal or the point. Not at all.
Look carefully at the list of pressing problems above.
List more positives if you like.
Then, let’s go down both lists.
Then we’ll see if things are very good as you say, or if it would be prudent to say things are shaky, and we shouldn’t be celebrating yet, much less saying things are very good.

Look at the list carefully. There’s a lot of explainin’ to do to discard all of that, and ignore the real potential for an economic meltdown in the not too distant future. There are definitely ingredients for that recipe. To ignore all of it, and tell people things are very good seems to be truly blinded by partisan motivations.

And, as we work down the list, I am confident that more level headed persons are going to reject your saying things are very good, and more responsibly, at the very least, say there is real potential here for problems, it is probably irresponsible to say things very good , and the most prudent approach would be to say things are shaky, and they need our attention now. That would be the responsible thing to do, even if you were right that things are “very good”. Sorry, though. I’m not even remotely buying it. And, I think you are hurting your credibility by trying to say things are “very good”.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 15, 2006 12:06 PM
Comment #125512

Economist Joke:
A physicist, a chemist, and an economist are shipwrecked on a desert island. Starving, they find a case of canned pork and beans on the beach, but they have no can opener. So, they hold a symposium on how to open the cans.

The physicist goes first:
“I’ve devised a physical solution. We find a pointed rock and propel it at the lid of the can at, say, 25 meters per second —”

The chemist breaks in:
“No, I have a chemical solution: we heat the molecules of the contents to over 100 degrees Centigrade until the pressure builds to —”

The economist, condescension dripping from his voice, interrupts:
“Gentlemen, gentlemen, I have a much more elegant solution. Assume we have a can opener…”

Posted by: d.a.n at February 15, 2006 3:07 PM
Comment #125543

Jack,
Regarding home ownership, have you checked the total foreclosures for the last 4 quarters?

Posted by: d.a.n at February 15, 2006 4:12 PM
Comment #125574

Dan

Debt is a gathering or (dare we say)imminent problem.

But you do need to use the ratio. I owe alot more in real dollars than I did 25 years ago. 25 years ago I owed only student loans, as I recall about $15000. Today I owe about 20 times that amount, but 25 years ago, I had a negative net worth and I was poor; today I am not. If you only know that one person owes $15,000 and another $300,000 you really don’t know much. In fact, if I had to guess, I would usually go with the 300K person.

So we are a lot like we were in 1995. Except unemployement and economic growth are better.

BTW - you also much know that we are selling 10 year bonds at 4.5% and getting lots of people who want to buy them. Back in 2000 investors demanded 6%. So investors are evidently confident enough in the U.S. ten years out to demand only 4.5%. If our economy grows at about 3% (and it has been doing better than that) and inflation is about 2% (and it has been higher) we are looking at a negative real rate of interest.

Posted by: Jack at February 15, 2006 5:04 PM
Comment #125591

Jack, Sure, I see a few positives (that you point out).
But, the big picture, to me, raises caution flags.
It certainly is not what I would call “very good”.

[01] Median Incomes (the have fallen for 4 years)
[02] National Debt (risen sharply for 5 years; interest is a quarter of every dollar)
[03] Deficits (very large now)
[04] Foreclosures (on the rise as shown above)
[05] Trade Deficits (not a pretty picture either)
[06] Crime (OK, but still too high, some crime types dropping since 1993)
[07] CPI / Inflation (on the rise)
[08] Energy Dependence/Vulnerability (not good)
[09] GDP (not bad in spite of bad government; a tribute to voters, not government)
[10] Education (sad picture there too)
[11] Wiggle room/Opportunity (we don’t have much left, with massive debt)
[12] Health of Entitlement systems (would have been OK if not plundered and expanded)
[13] Honesty/Integrity of Government (it gets an F ; look at this and you be the judge)
[14] Stocks (fair, in spite of bad government)
[15] Net Worth (stagnant, if you consider more workers per household and falling media incomes, 40+ hour work week and growing)
[16] National Security / Vulnerability (bad, ports and borders still not secure enough)
[17] Illegal Immigration (bad, costing lives and billion$ )
[18] Unemployment (fair, in spite of bad government and falling median income)
[19] Infrastructure (crumbling bridges, rails, roads, tunnels, ports, etc.)
[20] Pension systems (bad, $1.6 trillion in the hole)
[21] Corporate Ethics (bad, ENRON, MCI, Global Crossing, ob$cene CEO incomes, investor/stock fraud, etc.)
[22] Health Care (increasingly unaffordable and unreliable health care and health insurance; solutions are needed, and government and insurance companies (middlemen) are not part of the solution)
[23] Taxes (stupid, costly, abused, unfair; skyrocketing property taxes; property taxes are running some people out of their homes, because they can no longer afford the ridiculously high, ever increasing taxes on the homes they have already owned for decades)
[24] Legal System (bad; perversion of the laws to do the very things they are supposed prevent; insufficient or selective law enforcement; pardons by presidents to release convicted criminals; legal plunder (e.g. abuse of eminent domain laws and recent, alarming supreme court rulings), wealth re-distribution, plundered entitlement systems, Gerrymandering to manipulate votes based on geographical boundaries, too many greedy, corrupt, and parasitic ambulance chasers, and idiotic juries allowing astronomical judgments for personal injury litigation with million$ and billion$ going to lawyers, etc.); identity theft (the fastest growing crime in the U.S.); no reliable form of identification (e.g. iris and/or finger-print and/or voice-print, and/or hand-print, and/or thermal facial geometry patterns, etc.); spying on citizens; releasing repeat offenders to repeat crimes of rape, child molestation, murder, etc.); violation or insufficient protection of basic rights (e.g. discrimination, and crimes based on religion, race, gender, age, wealth, sexual preference, etc.), and execution and incarceration of innocent people)
[25] Election System (bad, lots of election fraud; unfair and illegal barriers preventing third party candidates from getting on election ballots; limited voting choices and candidates (which could be improved by an Approval Voting system); corrupt campaign finance; negative campaigning; pandering; influence peddling; influence by wealthy and/or powerful special interest groups; government FOR SALE; buying elections; 90% of elections are won by the candidate with the most money, giving rise to an elitist and arrogant government; 5% of the wealthiest have 59% of all wealth in the nation; thus, the middle-to-lower-class-income groups do not have an equal voice in government)
[26] Foreign Policy/Trade (bad, hurting business; alienates allies; global pillage/race to the bottom)
[27] Interest Rates (not too bad, but rising now; raised how many times this year?)
[28] The size of government (growing ever larger, to nightmare proportions)
[29] You say investors are confident? That is meaningless. They were confident right before every stock market crash too. Just because someone is dumb enough to keep loaning you money doesn’t make it fiscally responsible.
[30] Potential for an economic downturn? (high)

Add that all up, and I have difficult seeing everything is “very good”.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 15, 2006 6:18 PM
Comment #125608

Here’s what an former assistant treasury secretary under Regean thinks of the economy.


http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_allen_l__060215_we_ve_been_had_2c_amer.htm

Posted by: Tim Crow at February 15, 2006 7:11 PM
Comment #125631

Tim Crow,
Thank you !
We have to challenge those that want to paint a rosy picture just to stop the hemorraging of lost party members from the rose colored party.
When ever it occurs (which is usually, simply the majority party at the time), it is partisan motivated.

Did you know Bush has grown the government by hundreds of thousands of employees. And, it keeps growing to nightmare proportions. They now have a new strategy. They tie everything to GDP as a justification to spend, borrow, and be more fiscally irresponsible.

I don’t care about parties, to be honest.
The only reason (and I used to be a Republican until recently) I pick on the rose colored column, is because their arguments and excuses are all obviously partisan motivated.

I fear, with the decline the quality of our education systems too, that we may forget how to make anything. Very disturbing !

Posted by: d.a.n at February 15, 2006 7:47 PM
Comment #125682

d.a.n.:

Interesting. I’m an ex-Democrat.

Probably the most fudging on the economy I see the neo-cons do is in regards to job creation. Since the beginning of the recovery from the last recession (March ‘01), job creation has consistently been behind the rates of the other previous six recoveries. Neo-cons insist that there has been excellent job creation because of all the tax cuts—huh unh. If there had been no tax cuts at all, there should have been two million more jobs created in the last five years. At this stage in previous recoveries jobs would have grown by an average of 9.3%, and never less that 6.4%. Job growth since March of 2001 in reality, is 1.6%

Bush, in a rare moment of candor, told Congress at the beginning of 2003, that even without the 2003 tax cuts, 4.1 million jobs would be created by the end of 2004. With the tax cuts, he projected job growth to be 5.5 million. In reality, in that 18-month period, 2.6 million jobs were created. And one could argue what percentage of those jobs were real ones, with a salary and benefits that would really support a family of four.

Posted by: Tim Crow at February 15, 2006 11:01 PM
Comment #125692

d.a.n.:

Forgot to mention what the price tag for those tax cuts are—the ones that have created a minimum of jobs: $840 billion. With interest, make that $925 billion.

That a “conservative” administration has increased the Federal debt by over $2.5 Trillion (that’s with a ‘T’)in five years is unbelievable. That’s why these people are not, by any stretch of the imagination, ‘Conservatives’. They are Regressives, and they are leaving a broken country for your children and grandchildren.

Posted by: Tim Crow at February 15, 2006 11:12 PM
Comment #125704

Tim Crow,
You know something (about jobs)?
You are absolutely right.

If I’m not mistaken, the net loss is 66 million.
Funny how the rosy-picture-painters avoid that.

Tim Crow, I have children, nieces, nephews, and they have children too. The debt we are piling on them is absolutely immoral.

But, politicians don’t care. They all have golden parachutes (funded by tax-payers after only one or two terms in office). The avererage American voters will suffer the consequences of bought-and-paid-for incumbents’ irresponsibility the most.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 15, 2006 11:57 PM
Comment #125705

Sorry. I mean 660 thousand jobs lost (net).

Posted by: d.a.n at February 15, 2006 11:58 PM
Comment #125706

Sorry again. I mean 581,000 jobs lost (net).

Posted by: d.a.n at February 16, 2006 12:00 AM
Comment #125835
Dave

Yes. You all should admit that you don’t understand the economy and then you could learn about it.
Posted by: Jack at February 14, 2006 08:00 PM


Jack,

I would posit that you are the one who needs to learn about economics and simultaneous equations. I would also hope you are large minded enough to see the whole picture and not the distorted rosy snippet the GOP bought MSM wants you to see.

Posted by: Dave at February 16, 2006 8:39 AM
Comment #126154

Dave, Dan

Dan first.

Nice chart. We had a downturn. We recoverd. You notice the drop started in JANUARY 2001 and started back up in MAY 2003. How long do you think it takes an econmic policy to take effect? Would it be too much to contend that Bush’s policies could not have taken effect BEFORE he was in office (January). Maybe when his first budget took effect (October 2001) and maybe even a little longer. Maybe MAY 2003?

Dan and Dave

I am “cherry picking” all the usual economic and social indicators. If this economy is bad, so were all the economies in most of our lifetimes. If your contention is that the U.S. economy sucks in general, it is your business. You have the right to be needlessly unhappy. But you can’t say this one is worse.

Dan worries about debt. I can understand that, although I am not as worried. Besides that, what part of 4.7 and 3.5 don’t you understand?

If we include unemployement, productivity, crimes rates, pollution, economic growth, household net worth and overall debt, what is left of the whole picture besides hatred of Bush.

Posted by: Jack at February 16, 2006 9:37 PM
Comment #127497

Jack,
The economy at this very instant is simply stable. It was stable right before 1929 and 1999 too.
What is a valid reason for concern is the big picture, all factors, all things considered.
Even many respected economists recognize the potential for concern and caution.
You have a few short-term positives, but seem to ignore the much more numerous long-term problems. And debt that is 67% of GDP (and growing fast) is only one of the many exacerbating problems (see below).

The fiscal irresponsibility is reducing our options and destroying opportunity at a time when we should be doing better to enhance the next recovery from the next recession (which will happen someday), or worse (which is not hard to fathom).

Jack, (regretfully) I voted for Bush, and I don’t hate him. But, alleging “hatred of Bush” does not surprise me at all. It simply reveals partisan motivations. My complaints with Bush (specifically) mostly are that he lost his veto pen, and ignores border and port security. As for all the rest, congress and the offices of the executive branch are all culpable for the fiscal irresponsibility (pork-barrel, graft, bribes, campaign fraud, etc.).

If you think things are very good, it is your business. You have the right to stick you head in the sand if you want. But to say it is very good is laughable (Sound familiar? It is derived from your sentence above).

You can say things are “very good”, “good”, “fine”, or “OK”, but to say that, you have to ignore the big picture:
[] limited growth potential; due to significant and increasing global competition; global pillage; bad foreign policy that alienates allies; bad for business too;
[] energy vulnerabilities (this one thing is a huge factor, and government has proved to be incompetent by doing nothing for decades to reearch alternative energy sources and technologies);
[] $40.2 trillion in nation-wide debt;
[] decreasing quality of education;
[] Median incomes has been falling for 4 consecutive years; more workers per household needed to sustain same income levels (the rich get richer, the rest getting poorer);
[] healthcare system plagued with middlemen (i.e. greedy insurance and incompetent government); the number of people without insurance is increasing; the number of people being bankrupted by one visit to the hospital is increasing;
[] 80% of problems stem from 20% of the root causes (Pareto Effect);
[] any equity that low to middle-class income earners have in homes will be lost in the next recession; foreclosures will wipe away the tiny bit of equity. Also, foreclosures have been rising for the last 13 consecutive months (nationwide) and it is not slowing;
[] inflation is rising;
[] interest rates are rising;
[] trade deficits are growing;
[] manufacturing continues to move over seas;
[] Percentage of Debt to GDP continues to rise (up to 67% now, up from 33% in 1980).
[] savings levels are falling as median incomes continue to fall;
[] the percentage of households with no assets is increasing;
[] looming shortages in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.
[] 77 million retiring baby boomers, making less, earning less, paying less tax, and wanting to draw benefits from already troubled entitlement systems;
[] decreasing number of tax payers per entitlement recipient;
[] plundered, mismanaged pensions $1.6 trillion in the hole;
[] crumbling infrastructure (roads, bridges, tunnels, railways, ports, air ports, buildings, water treatment, etc.);
[] unsecured borders and sea ports; illegal immigration (losing lives and money);
[] increasingly irresponsible and corrupt government, sabotaging the recovery from the next economic downturn, while voting themselves raises, perk$, and a special retirement plan;
[] tens of thousands of cases of eminent domain abuse; and growing worse; corporate fraud; stock fraud; incompetent SEC;
[] government FOR SALE, corporations controlling bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians; arrogant incumbents that refuse to pass any badly-needed, common-sense reforms;
[] rampant Gerrymandering;
[] rampant election fraud and few (if any) held accountable;
[] access being blocked for 3rd parties and independents to election ballots and debates;
[] increasingly unfair, costly,and abused tax system; politicians resist reform (they like it the way it is; that’s because it benefits them most).
[] skyrocketing property taxes;
[] decreasing transparency in government;
[] The U.S. is now one of the most unequal (wealth distribution) society in the industrialized world. States have experienced financial trouble after a decade of tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Our democracy has been weakened because of the power of accumulated wealth. Our corrupt, FOR SALE government is more concerned with writing rules and administering regulations to serve the big-money-donor puppeteers. This concentration of political power directly and indirectly undermines equality of opportunity in America. Too much economic inequality also undermines economic stability and growth, threatening prosperity for all. Sure, there are many countries that are worse off, but that is never a justification to not do better, and we can do much better.

So, sorry Jack. A few cherry-picked, short-term positives don’t convince me that everything is “very good”. The economy at this instant is stable. But, the big picture (above) does not add up to “very good” and does not prove it will remain stable. Not even close. Certainly not anything to be celebrating about, or concluding it is simply “hatred of Bush”.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 19, 2006 4:19 PM
Comment #127498

Jack,
The economy at this very instant is simply stable. It was stable right before 1929 and 1999 too.
What is a valid reason for concern is the big picture, all factors, all things considered.
Even many respected economists recognize the potential for concern and caution.
You have a few short-term positives, but seem to ignore the much more numerous long-term problems. And debt that is 67% of GDP (and growing fast) is only one of the many exacerbating problems (see below).

The fiscal irresponsibility is reducing our options and destroying opportunity at a time when we should be doing better to enhance the next recovery from the next recession (which will happen someday), or worse (which is not hard to fathom).

Jack, (regretfully) I voted for Bush, and I don’t hate him. But, alleging “hatred of Bush” does not surprise me at all. It simply reveals partisan motivations. My complaints with Bush (specifically) mostly are that he lost his veto pen, and ignores border and port security. As for all the rest, congress and the offices of the executive branch are all culpable for the fiscal irresponsibility (pork-barrel, graft, bribes, campaign fraud, etc.).

If you think things are very good, it is your business. You have the right to stick you head in the sand if you want. But to say it is very good is laughable (Sound familiar? It is derived from your sentence above).

You can say things are “very good”, “good”, “fine”, or “OK”, but to say that, you have to ignore the big picture:
[] limited growth potential; due to significant and increasing global competition; global pillage; bad foreign policy that alienates allies; bad for business too;
[] energy vulnerabilities (this one thing is a huge factor, and government has proved to be incompetent by doing nothing for decades to reearch alternative energy sources and technologies);
[] $40.2 trillion in nation-wide debt;
[] decreasing quality of education;
[] Median incomes has been falling for 4 consecutive years; more workers per household needed to sustain same income levels (the rich get richer, the rest getting poorer);
[] healthcare system plagued with middlemen (i.e. greedy insurance and incompetent government); the number of people without insurance is increasing; the number of people being bankrupted by one visit to the hospital is increasing;
[] 80% of problems stem from 20% of the root causes (Pareto Effect);
[] any equity that low to middle-class income earners have in homes will be lost in the next recession; foreclosures will wipe away the tiny bit of equity. Also, foreclosures have been rising for the last 13 consecutive months (nationwide) and it is not slowing;
[] inflation is rising;
[] interest rates are rising;
[] trade deficits are growing;
[] manufacturing continues to move over seas;
[] Percentage of Debt to GDP continues to rise (up to 67% now, up from 33% in 1980).
[] savings levels are falling as median incomes continue to fall;
[] the percentage of households with no assets is increasing;
[] looming shortages in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.
[] 77 million retiring baby boomers, making less, earning less, paying less tax, and wanting to draw benefits from already troubled entitlement systems;
[] decreasing number of tax payers per entitlement recipient;
[] plundered, mismanaged pensions $1.6 trillion in the hole;
[] crumbling infrastructure (roads, bridges, tunnels, railways, ports, air ports, buildings, water treatment, etc.);
[] unsecured borders and sea ports; illegal immigration (losing lives and money);
[] increasingly irresponsible and corrupt government, sabotaging the recovery from the next economic downturn, while voting themselves raises, perk$, and a special retirement plan;
[] tens of thousands of cases of eminent domain abuse; and growing worse; corporate fraud; stock fraud; incompetent SEC;
[] government FOR SALE, corporations controlling bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians; arrogant incumbents that refuse to pass any badly-needed, common-sense reforms;
[] rampant Gerrymandering;
[] rampant election fraud and few (if any) held accountable;
[] access being blocked for 3rd parties and independents to election ballots and debates;
[] increasingly unfair, costly,and abused tax system; politicians resist reform (they like it the way it is; that’s because it benefits them most).
[] skyrocketing property taxes;
[] decreasing transparency in government;
[] The U.S. is now one of the most unequal (wealth distribution) society in the industrialized world. States have experienced financial trouble after a decade of tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Our democracy has been weakened because of the power of accumulated wealth. Our corrupt, FOR SALE government is more concerned with writing rules and administering regulations to serve the big-money-donor puppeteers. This concentration of political power directly and indirectly undermines equality of opportunity in America. Too much economic inequality also undermines economic stability and growth, threatening prosperity for all. Sure, there are many countries that are worse off, but that is never a justification to not do better, and we can do much better.

So, sorry Jack. A few cherry-picked, short-term positives don’t convince me that everything is “very good”. The economy at this instant is stable. But, the big picture (above) does not add up to “very good” and does not prove it will remain stable. Not even close. Certainly not anything to be celebrating about, or concluding it is simply “hatred of Bush”.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 19, 2006 4:21 PM
Comment #330475

Give your self some timeout. Take a break. Go for a walk around the block or invest a bit of time at the gym. Do some exercise. It will take your mind off whatever difficulties you are facing and release the tension you are experiencing. Doing this will give the energy and inclination to deal with the responsibilities and issues you face as well as increasing your hormone levels that will support produce calm and happy feelings and keep your blood pressure within normal levels.

Posted by: Man Loth at October 12, 2011 10:42 PM
Post a comment