January 31st, 2009

It’s a disaster

From the beginning of the economic crisis back in the pre-election fall, Barack Obama has been consistent about one thing: rhetoric that maximizes whatever panic and fear might be driving it.

And here he goes again. In naming Joe Biden to head a task force on the middle class and its economic woes, Obama uses his usual inflammatory rhetoric (emphasis mine):

This [recent shrinking of the economy] isn’t just an economic concept. This is a continuing disaster for America’s working families. As worrying as these numbers are, it’s what they mean to the American people that really matters.

There is no doubt we are in difficult economic times. But “disaster?” Obama’s words are certainly not “the only thing we have to fear.” But they cannot help but add to the fear that already exists and is probably helping to drive investment and consumer spending down; they neither reassure or inspire confidence.

Obama is not a dumb man, so I can only conclude that the consistent negativity of his pronouncements is deliberate, meant to provoke a fearful response that gives him carte blanche to do whatever he thinks best. In this he is also like the doctor who gives the patient a poor prognosis, knowing that if the person gets well sooner, it may well be interpreted as due to the doctor’s fabulous intervention.

141 Responses to “It’s a disaster”

  1. Mr. Frank Says:

    The Messiah is playing to his base, many of whom are suffering. He is deflecting responsibility from himself to the bad economy because he knows they expect miracles he can not deliver. You may recall the video of the woman who thought her mortgage and filling her gas tank would not be a problem if Obama were elected.

  2. Paul Gordon Says:

    “Obama is not a dumb man,…”

    While I am in total agreement with not underestimating someone, when that someone does enough dumb things one has to wonder if “what you see is what you get”.
    -

  3. John Says:

    “Obama is not a dumb man,…”

    Well perhaps he is. He should have got himself elected as Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of little old Ireland (pop 4 million) where the Taoiseach earns more than the President of the United States.

    Still as the rest of us simple people of Ireland endure our over paid politicians spare a minute for this wonderful blog that we received, it’s simple but perhaps can help in these terrible economic times created by a few greedy individuals !

    http://jobs2ireland.com/jobs2ireland-blog/signs-that-job-market-is-slowing-down/comment-page-1/#comment-18

    John

  4. expat Says:

    All of Obama’s prouncements lead primetime evening news here in Germany, and I suppose in much of the world. Please tell me how Obama’s remarks taken in conjunction withe the Buy America “stimulus” package is going to enhace America’s position in the world.

    I was furious about his grand Brandenburg Gate gaffe this summer because it indicated total ignorance of the political situation here. Despite his intensive tutoring, he has learned nothing.

    He may not be dumb in an IQ sense of the word, but his intense need for adulation overcomes any brain activity governing analytical and rational thought. Believe me, a few months (or weeks) down the road, European elites who felt the Matthews tingle are going to forget that sensation and once again point out how stupid, provincial, and naive their American underlings really are.

  5. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    Is there anything is BO’s background that suggests he is smart, in the sense of managerial or strategic skills?

    There are enough signs in his initial days in office that suggest he is not in control of events or his plans. His choice of Hillary for SecState deprives him of the possibility of a serious, helpful advisor on Foreign affairs. It seems to be the same in other areas. Does he use or respect advice? With his public approval he could have easily said we will take a few weeks to carefully prepare our economic response and gotten rave reviews from press and public.

  6. SteveH Says:

    Barack Obama has feigned his intelligence to most Americans by the same methods that a British accented high school dropout can feign intelligence to Americans.

    They both come across with an uncanny sounding articulateness that doesn’t that doesn’t easily register with our minds stored experiences of being around dumbasses.

    We’ll have to coin a new word for these folks. We got hillbillys…How about articubillys? Or Intellibillys?

  7. Tom Says:

    Obama=Chavez.

    I’ve said that here before.

    Obama and the Dems want the country in a ditch, the 53% scared, paranoid about evil Wall Street, looking to him for financial and healthcare salvation more and more. Nationalization is good, so good for the hoi-polloi! That’s his path to heightened power, personality cultism. We may see a move to revoke the Presidential term limit after he wins re-election, and get a President for life.

  8. Darrell Says:

    Obama lacks basic leadership knowledge and skills, a leader cannot be negative, even in the face of great adversity.
    Someday maybe, probably toward the end of his term, he might learn that what he says and how he says it has tremendous ramifications on peoples behavior, he seems to still be on the campaign trail.
    This was my number one problem with electing him, he never led anything that would demonstrate leadership or managerial acumen. We are now seeing it first hand.

  9. Oblio Says:

    Disaster-mongering is good business for President Obama. It keeps emotion high and reason low. His folks can keep control of the news cycle and the political narrative, because the media loves tear-jerking stories above all things.

    But the real thing to watch is what is happening in boring staff meetings, in new regulations written by union lawyers, in the growth of a Shadow Cabinet within the West Wing, and in concessions made in international negotiations that will never hit page 2, much less page 1.

    The danger will arise from decisions that appear to be banal and bureaucratic at the outset, and they will be made as boring as possible–even technical– to discourage people from paying close attention.

    Talk about President Obama’s intelligence is a waste of time. He and his people know what they want, and they mean business.

  10. Rose Says:

    100% right.

  11. Occam's Beard Says:

    According to some, at least, Carter was one of the most intelligent Presidents.

    ‘Nuff said.

  12. FredHjr Says:

    Investors are demonstrating with their actions that they have no faith in the “hope and change” of Obama. The guy may be cunning, but he has no clue that the constant drumbeat of negativity feeds into market psychology. Also, investors know what awaits them at the end of the road: doubled capital gains taxes. People have been withdrawing capital like crazy largely because they expect an unfavorable environment going forward. It isn’t just the wealthy that are eschewing stocks: it’s middle class people too. The economic geniuses of the Team Obama seem impervious to these facts.

    When capital goes on strike, companies don’t expand. That means flat or falling employment. And if his policies are going to be especially hard on small business, then employment is in a free fall.

    The trust fund kiddies and Wall Street backers of Obama truly do not know what life is really like out there in the real economy.

  13. FredHjr Says:

    Oblio,

    I agree with you that Obama and his team are not stupid, that they know what they want. But they ARE quite uncomprehending about how capitalism works.

    Just rent-seeking lawyers who have not a clue how to make something useful.

  14. Deana Says:

    expat –

    I hope you keep posting here over the coming weeks and months. Your perspective is quite interesting.

    Every single time I see or hear Obama, he is mentioning the words “disaster” or “crisis.”

    What would have happened if Roosevelt had gotten on the radio during the Depression and WWII and constantly referred to everything in apocalyptic terms?

    It’s unthinkable!

  15. Baklava Says:

    Was Obama’s work with ACORN something that showed he was smart?

    Was Obama’s stated economic policy positions during the campaign show that he was smart?

    During debates with McCain did Obama say anything that showed he was smart?

    No. No. No.

    The few economics classes I had in 1991 taught me more than Obama knows about economics. Since then I’ve learned way more.

    John McCain cleaned Obama’s clock on so many issues during the debates – the only way you can think differently is if you focused on style or you believe liberalism is the solution.

    After working with ACORN and pushing for teaser interest rate loans for low income home buyers, I can only say that Obama IS THE CAUSE of the problems we are in …. as well as his coworkers in the senate named Dodd and others.

    I want Obama to succeed at becoming smart and learning what this country needs.

  16. Gringo Says:

    What I find scary about the “Stimulus Bill” is that there is SO much SO fast, with the pressure to pass without due deliberation.

    What I find ironic about the whole shebang is that the mess we are in is a consequence of overspending and not saving enough, and yet a MASSIVE amount of spending is going to get us out of it.

  17. Lee Says:

    Not OT, but I have to share:

    How many Obama supporters does it take to change a light bulb?

    None. Just hoping it will change is enough.

  18. SteveH Says:

    FredHjr,
    I disagree. The democrats know exactly how destructive they are to the economy. They’re perfectly willing to see it slide into oblivion if thats what it takes to gain total control. Or more importantly to not have it controlled ever again by free market conservatism.

    These people had no problem prolonging the suffering of average Iraqi lives. They have no problem with average American lives either.

  19. Perfected democrat Says:

    How do you spell d-e-m-a-g-o-g-u-e? This marginally accomplished, previously unremarkable radical left-wing lawyer, and dubiously self-proclaimed community organizer, is quite obviously no man of stunning intelligence; But rather another ideological political opportunist, an operator and manipulator (of historical proportions, think Che, Castro, Chavez, Stalin, Mao), with the usual and remarkable “cunning” (not quite the same thing as intelligence), and who is simply lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. History repeats, though perhaps not identically…

  20. Perfected democrat Says:

    But Gringo, there’s no time to waste when, on top of it all, the sky is falling!

  21. FredHjr Says:

    Since we don’t have access to Obama’s college and graduate school transcripts, we therefore do not know if he had any economics courses. I still maintain that he is not stupid, and is likely a very cunning fellow. It is a common error in thinking in our country now to mistake cunning for deep intelligence. Deep intelligence is an integration of logic, knowledge, wisdom, spiritual maturity, and other intangibles that results in thought and action that goes beyond immediate goals that transcend my own selfish ends.

    Those who want to destroy the economy in order to make government the controller of it all truly do lack the understanding necessary to be wise governors. Only the market economy can produce the revenue stream that funds government. If you kill the market economy, you are putting us all back to the level of the stagnant Soviet economy. That’s why they opened up to the West in the 1920′s. They needed investment capital and technological innovation to raise their standard of living, especially after the bloody and destructive civil war they had just endured. Then, during the 1960′s Yuri Andropov and Mikhail Gorbachev saw that the Soviet economy was falling far behind again, and so with recourse to Antonio Gramsci’s theories about how to remake Marxism, they decided that eventually they only way to save Marxism was to open up to the West again and lure in capital and technology. Thus, the successful controlled collapse of the Soviet Union and their playing possum afterwards in order to achieve that.

    Planned economies and collectivism impoverish nations and people. There is ample historical evidence that this is so. During the last two to three years of my sojourn on the Left I was becoming aware of the truth about what really went on in socialist countries and that planted the seeds of doubt in my own mind about the feasibility of Marxist theory. Also, the arguments against socialism and liberation theology by Michael Novak forced me to look at compelling facts about human nature that I eventually could not overcome. Most of my years on the Left (1977-1987) were an academic/intellectual search for ways to to get around these arguments and find a theoretical revision that could work. It could not be done, and when I realized this I made my break.

    I say this not to trumpet myself, but merely to cite an example: it takes a mind tasked with a rigorous journey to arrive at an understanding of economics. I majored in economics in college, minoring in philosophy. Later in graduate schools studying philosophy and then business and finance. I am not a superior intelligence, certainly above average. I am not even a deeply cunning person. I AM a curious person who cares for the truth and I spare no psychological and inner barriers to that end.

    I didn’t go to Ivy League schools as Obama and his wife did. Or as his policy wonks did. And yet ordinary citizens like me can see the handwriting on the wall. But, anyway, one can be very clever, cunning, and manipulative and get into these institutions. But a man who is 47 years old and still believes in Marxism has intellectual maturity issues. I was 32 years old when I broke with Marxism. Why can’t he have done the same?

  22. Giles Says:

    President Obama has clearly distinguished himself from his predecessor in that he abides by the time-honored Democratic tradition of hurling money and cronies at a problem instead of rationally analyzing successful tactics from the past and tailoring them to this new obstacle.

    The economic crisis is slowly but surely getting better. Unfortunately for Wall Street, we can reasonably expect continued reliance on early (and largely unnecessary) 20th century economic policy from the current administration.

    Is President Obama a communist, or a socialist? No, but he is a Democrat, which is (next to a Marxist or a socialist) the last thing that America needs at the moment. What America needs is a libertarian policy towards the economy, not a New New Deal.

    I am watching the new President’s actions with extreme interest – and crossed fingers.

    -G

  23. Oblio Says:

    History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes.

    You can be indifferent to net losses in a system if you can make sure that someone else will pay for them. Hence the irresponsible trust fund babies and Ned Lamonts of the world. Other psychological and social benefits can be more important. Hence the Nancy Pelosis/San Francisco Democrat phenomenon.

    President Obama and his gang are in charge, and they intend to stay in charge. If the “rich” end up a lot less rich in the process, it is not going to break their hearts. Like the Clintons, they themselves won’t stay poor for long. On the other hand, if they obviously wreck the markets, they won’t stay in power. I remember a saying from my Washington days: “I want it dead, but I don’t want my fingerprints on the corpse.”

    Fred, I think you have been reading Amity Shlaes. Everyone should. Investors have a lot of reason to be nervous about what this administration will ultimately do.

    In the meantime, everyone should settle in for The Permanent Campaign, Part II.

  24. Rose Says:

    I feel ill. We have absolutely no power over any of this. It’s like a Greek myth with Zeus and the other gods hurling thunderbolts in the sky above reality. When the lightning finally strikes, the forest will burn. Only this time they’ve set the whole world on fire.

  25. Mr. Frank Says:

    Fox news is reporting that Obama is asking that defense spending be cut 10%. How smart is that during two wars and a deep recession? This could be a real wake up call for those who wish to see.

  26. FredHjr Says:

    Mr. Frank,

    I was not surprised by that news. Those of us who have really been listening to The One for over a year are expecting this.

    None of his team’s and his party’s economic steps have been surprising. They are only surprising to the people who were looking the other way or imitating the ostrich.

  27. SteveH Says:

    I’m waiting to hear the words general strike. I’d gladly donate these next 4 years to hell on earth to rid this country of these mentally deranged socialist once and for all.

  28. expat Says:

    I called my legacy democrat brother yesterday. He follows politics rather superficially. His first words: ” Did you hear what that stupid Pelosi did?”

    Keep your fingers crossed folks. Perhaps all is not lost.

  29. Stark Says:

    Manipulation is not leadership that anyone will believe in for very long.

  30. kaba Says:

    Just Obama’s version of the fireside chat; “We have everything to fear except fear itself!”

  31. Rose Says:

    LOL, kaba.

  32. turfmann Says:

    I would rather be governed by the first two thousand people in the Boston telephone directory than by two thousand graduates of the Harvard Law School – most especially mute editors of the law review. (apologies to Buckley)

    This frightening fortnight comes as no surprise whatsoever to those of us that actually listened to what he said during the campaign and applied his words to the real world.

    Looking forward, I see the situation only getting worse.

    Sorry to be such a downer. :(

  33. Hong Says:

    It’s the typical hysterical attachment to fear mongering rhetoric: ‘Do as I say or else it will be your doom.’ It adds more fear among an insecure electorate and unfortunately it often works. The Democrats are the originators and masters of this loathsome technique. It’s largely how they won this election and how they plan on holding power. Blame anything wrong on the Republicans or the economy. Not their own incompetance.

  34. Giles Says:

    Hong,

    To be fair, inciting fear in the masses and blaming on your mistakes on the opposite party is the province of all politicians, regardless of their party.

    - G

  35. expat Says:

    Giles,

    But you must admit that the Land of Capone has a special heritage of inciting fear.

  36. gcotharn Says:

    Like a doctor? Dispensing a placebo.

  37. Baklava Says:

    Giles,

    You are mistaken with your generalization.

    Conservatives lean towards removing power from the government and giving it back to the individual.

    Liberals lean towards removing power from the individual and giving it to the government.

    Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness – yet Democrats vote consistently against life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in favor of equality of outcomes for all, a sense of justice which ends up being divisive politics and making people dependent on governmet.

    To be clear, if asked a democrat will deny that they are in favor of dependence on government but their stated policy positions RESULT in dependence every time.

    Yes there are Republicans who do not get it…. but the Republicans in the House the other day ALL voted against MORE government.

    The generational theft act that they are pushing through Congress is all big government leftist policies….. not one bit of help to this country.

  38. Tom Says:

    We should also take note of the equity markets’ response to The One and the leftist Congressional majorities: the worst Jan. decline in >100 years. Not a vote of confidence. When Alcoa announces it’s cutting its 2009 production by 18% and its capex budget by 50% for 2009, Alcoa is saying it expects things will be bad for a long time.
    The gun shops in my area have sold most of their inventory, and national demand is so high they don’t know if/when their orders will be filled.

    In sum, lots of voices, all signalling negatives.

  39. Gray Says:

    This has been making me drink.

    My liver isn’t going to make it through the next 4 years.

    Instead of having my liver buried separately with full military honors, I just want it blown from the mouth of cannon.

    Like David Crosby’s.

  40. Kathy from Kansas Says:

    God bless you, Neo-neocon, for having this blog! I, too, was once a radical, so I feel that I KNOW this Obama sleazo and his best-buddy Bill Ayers. One of the things I like about this blog is the marvelous insight and articulateness of the people who post comments here. I’m sure I’m out of my league among you good folks! But I just wanted to thank ALL of you for being here, and for sharing your thoughts. At this time in my life, and in our country’s history–when it feels that not only is everything going to hell in a handbasket, but the rate at which it’s going there is ACCELERATING at a dizzying pace–it is a huge comfort to me to hear from other people who are seeing what I’m seeing. It gives me hope for our dear beloved country when I see so MANY people who KNOW what makes this country so precious and unique, so WORTH saving!!!

  41. FredHjr Says:

    Kathy from Kansas,

    Welcome aboard! And know this: lots of us who left the Left feel the wrath of our former colleagues. I certainly do. And you know what? I don’t give a damn what they think of me! I think they are, at some level, worried that there are many of us who have left their ranks with the playbook.

    I think Obama is going to a four-and-out guy. So will Pelosi’s Congress. As an investment professional, what I am seeing from these people is incredibly irresponsible and stupid. It may make a certain sense FOR THEM, but their goals and our goals are not necessarily convergent. Their constituencies are not hard to figure out: urban districts with mainly people who are collectivists, university towns and college campuses, urban ghettos with many people who are told they are victims when really what is happening is that they are held down by the people calling them victims… You get the picture.

    But I am confident that more of the urban rabble will see how incompetent these people are after four years and will get the Carter Lesson we got back in the Seventies (well, not me, since I was a committed Leftist until 1987, but I never made fun of Ronald Reagan).

    We just have to hold on and hope that the country survives it.

    I’m still not optimistic about the survivability of Western Civilization. But I could be open to a contrary viewpoint that makes a good argument.

  42. Hong Says:

    Giles says,

    “To be fair, inciting fear in the masses and blaming on your mistakes on the opposite party is the province of all politicians, regardless of their party.”

    When has a Republican ever succeeded in talking down the economy, the war, and society as perfectly and disingenously as the Liberals? Did not the Mossiah, err Obama recently criticize the US to the Arabs in recent interview? So I dismiss your argument. For I cannot account for a single Republican, with one or two possible exceptions like Buchanan, who’ve ever openly cheered for bad news in America as the Democrats have done. They’ve transformed fear mongering into a cottage industry.

  43. thelittleprince Says:

    Many of us are hopeful for a better future and so the rhetoric of change sweeping the Nation is a powerful one. It touches us all to the core like the scripted ending in the movie, “ The Killing Fields“. Resistance is futile under the banter of such beautiful music. Our emotions are brought out to the forefront to confront the unknowns. Yet deep down, below the exterior, I cannot consciously believe in such an agent. I question the authenticity of such a drastic push at this point in history. I wonder if such rhetoric stems from the audacity of hope or perhaps a deeply veiled ulterior motive. One the masses are afraid to confront alone in the dark. And so, a figure head is needed. I am reminded of a master pulling on the strings of the people’s hope and imagination in order to feed his own ego in what is a flawless tune for an unforeseen agenda.

  44. Bookworm Room » Sunday reading Says:

    [...] that neoneocon and I seem to operate on the same blogging track.  Well, we did it again, because her latest post is about Obama’s relentless negativity, something I blogged about [...]

  45. Fred2 Says:

    Naomi Klein calls this the “Shock Doctrine”. At least, she does when the conservatives do it. Or when she thinks they do it.

  46. Bogey Man Says:

    Wasn’t it Rush Limbaugh who has repeatedly said he hopes Obama fails to turn around the economy?

    I’m a little confused by the consensus here.

    It seems to be that:

    It’s really bad for Obama to say we’re experiencing an economic disaster, even if the facts clearly show we are, because he might scare people into not borrowing and spending more.

    But it’s really good to say the President is a cataclysmic loser who’s driving the economy straight into the toilet because he’s not smart or is the wrong kind of smart or is an evil double-agent of communism because that will give everyone the confidence they need to take out that third mortgage.

  47. Oblio Says:

    FredHjr, I left a message for you about the survivability of Western Culture.

    http://neoneocon.com/2009/01/24/tale-of-the-camps-guantanamo-al-qaeda-and-saudi-re-education/#comment-100294

    Rose, you might read it , too. We have a lot of power to take action.

  48. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Scaring the population is the way to get them to cede power and money to the government. Traditionally, it’s been a foreign threat. Not always, as here.
    Said it before. A lot of people are going to have to pretend to like what they’re swallowing to justify their votes for O.

  49. FredHjr Says:

    Take a time-out, everyone, and ask yourselves this question: How does this recession compare with the ones in 1973-75 and 1980-82? Some people talk about a depression. Do they even know what that is?

    What I find lacking in much of the posturing and rhetoric of people from news rooms to the Oval Office is the lack of circumspection and historical perspective.

  50. Baklava Says:

    Bogey lied when he wrote, “Wasn’t it Rush Limbaugh who has repeatedly said he hopes Obama fails to turn around the economy?

    I challenge you Bogey to find that quote. You can’t.

    It says more about YOUR character that you wrote something like that than anything else.

    Did you know that? ;)

  51. Baklava Says:

    http://radioequalizer.blogspot.com/2009/01/new-anti-limbaugh-radio-attack-ad-to.html

    To be clear. Conservatives, Rush and Republicans want America to succeed. Obama’s policies need to fail because they are harmful to America.

  52. Baklava Says:

    Neo, You may find this interesting

    http://www.floppingaces.net/2009/02/01/sunday-funnies-27/

  53. SteveH Says:

    I’ll go on record as wanting the economy to fail. If its success faciltates the installation of a gargantuan govt in place of a big govt….Yes absolutely. Let the market and jobs continue their dive.

    I want no part in my productivity helping out mentally deranged socialist in a power grab for my freedom and rights as an individual.

  54. Giles Says:

    Hong,

    Just being the Devil’s Advocate. It is true that the Democrats have deeply affected America for the worse, more so than any other political party. Fairness compels me, however, to say that every political party has its own fair share of yahoos and snakes-in-the-grass – the DFL just happens to have far more of them than the GOP.

    - G

  55. Oblio Says:

    Giles, you are a Minnesotan.

  56. nate zuckerman Says:

    ho hum: same attack against a new guy when for 8 years in control the GOP has left the nation in a total mess.

    Why not comments about TAX CUTS are the answer? Ins ‘t that the usual tirade?

    If not Obama and his rhetoric of worries etc, then what exactly do you lads and lasses propose to fix things other than spewing venom?

  57. Oblio Says:

    Tax cuts…what a good idea, starting with capital gains, and thinking about ways to reduce the future tax burdens of IRA’s and 401K’s. Reducing payroll taxes would be a big help, since current workers are not going to earn a return on their contributions. I would like to see Medicare taxes reduced, but that is unrealistic.

    At some point soon, the Administration will need to think about inheritance taxes. The current law is crazy, with its 2010 0% rate, if I am remembering correctly, followed by a return to pre-Bush levels in 2011 of what(?) 45%. This is the Throw Momma From The Train Law. The stakes are not trivial, as there is still a massive generational transfer of wealth up for grabs, and the recipients of government funds will want their share.

  58. Baklava Says:

    Nate,

    They are the answer.

    Obama’s proposed tax increases on capital gains and upper income had people buckling down, bracing themselves and DIVESTING from the market.

    Obama needs to apologize for those proposals and let everyone know that he understands economics now.

    He needs to say that during his administration there will be no tax rate increases on capital gains, corporations or individuals period.

    He needs to go one step further and propose broad (not targeted) corportate, capital gains and individual tax rate decreases.

    The effects would be immediate. Everyone would be able to keep more of their own money. People could condidently invest in the market not fearing that their increases in value would be taxed more.

    It is what Kennedy and Reagan did and the recessions that were in their time reversed into huge economic booms.

    Allowing the private sector to flourish naturally is what the government should do.

    WHAT is happening NOW?

    People are waiting to see who the government picks and winners and losers in this economy. Nobody really knows the value of ANYTHing anymore because the government is involved in saving and helping some companies but not all.

    This is NO WAY to run an economy. Big government socialism is not good for the economy.

    The definition of socialism is the government choosing who gets what resources.

    The definition of capitalism is the PEOPLE choosing who gets what resources.

    The federal governments simply cannot continue to spend upwards of 25% of GDP. From 1959 – 1974 the federal government spent about 20% of GDP. After 1974 you see the deficits start. The federal government with the implementation of the Great Society started spending about 23% of GDP.

    It is unsustainable.

    Federal spending on defense has gone from 50% of the federal budget in 1964 – less than 20% of the federal budget now. You cannot solve this budget problem by:
    1) Raising tax rates
    2) Cutting defense spending

    You have to lower the amount spent on the big three entitlements, education, etc.

    As a centrist – I think that McCain’s proposal to freeze spending at current levels except veterans benefits would’ve been the way to go. Obama’s plans are a disaster.

  59. Baklava Says:

    Nate,

    Do you want the economy to grow?

    If you want the economy to grow, what is the problem you have with tax rate decreases?

    Does the U.S. become more competitive internationally with make work jobs or does the U.S. become more competitive internationally when companies are able to flourish, invest in research and development and provide goods and services for americans and people of other countries.

    Did you know who the biggest exporter is?

    It’s the U.S.

    Will our export market shrink or grow under Obama’s trade war mentality. European countries have already lashed out at Obama for his trade war type policies in this stimulusgenerational theft act package.

  60. Baklava Says:

    And nate,

    What has left the nation in a mess is the teaser interest rate loan crapola given to us by Chris Dodd and agreed to and supported by Obama later.

    Chris Dodd and Obama were the largest two recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac money.

    When people bought homes with nothing down, paying interest only (not paying down the principle) and essentially buying more house than they could afford (all ideas supported by the Democrats and all things that Bush and McCain tried to reform but the Democrat controlled congress didn’t let them) the OUTCOME was the mess we are in now.

    Dont’ you think so Nate? ;)

  61. Hong Says:

    As usual, Booger missed the nuance of Limbaugh’s argument. He hopes Socialism fails because it would be disasterous for the economy if it succeeds. Way to go losing the argument before even beginning.

    The problem is that Obama exaggerates the crises and uses it to force a leftist agenda through without due consideration from Republicans. Exactly the partisan wrangling he promised to end. His hypocrisy undermines his promises.

  62. Hong Says:

    Giles says,

    “Just being the Devil’s Advocate. It is true that the Democrats have deeply affected America for the worse, more so than any other political party. Fairness compels me, however, to say that every political party has its own fair share of yahoos and snakes-in-the-grass – the DFL just happens to have far more of them than the GOP.”

    I’m still finding it hard to come up with a name other than some outlier like Buchanan or Ron Paul. Whereas the Dems own candidate is spouting fear and soaking in the hysteria to push a liberal agenda.

  63. Oblio Says:

    Baklava, good catch on corporate income taxes. Let’s cut them to 10%, and make dividends tax free income for individuals.

  64. Baklava Says:

    If you love the employee, you have to love the employer.

    You can’t target the employer and help employees at the same time….

    That is divisive.

    You either want America to succeed or you don’t.

    Obama’s policies do not help America succeed. It is economics 101. He hasn’t shown that he has learned economics 101.

    I hope he does learn it and quick….

  65. Tom Says:

    Baklava 4:13pm:
    And if you support the troops, you must support their commander.
    As least the Dems are consistent in their schizoid thinking: Hate the employer, hate the Commander.

  66. Bogey Man Says:

    Why couldn’t the Republicans cut spending?

    Cutting taxes is easy, which Bush showed by doing it.

    It is also pointless if you don’t cut spending.

    Do the math and you find the Bush administration didn’t actually cut real, total taxes, they just pushed payments out to a later date. We are now stuck with the bill.

    At what point will Republicans wake up and realize that the key is cutting spending. Without spending cuts, lower taxes are an illusion — a very dangerous one that led directly to the disaster we now face.

  67. Mike Wilson Says:

    I can’t help but think of what happens when you take your car in to get fixed.

    The mechanic comes out, covered in oil, shaking his head saying “it’s bad, it’s really bad.”

    And RIGHT THEN you realize he’s gearing you up to get bilked, setting you up to agree to something drastic.

    Right then is right now.

  68. Hong Says:

    “At what point will Republicans wake up and realize that the key is cutting spending.”

    Booger continues to display his contempt and ignorance of history. A key platform of conservative republicanism has always been spending and tax cuts. Broadly generalizing all republicans as liberal tax and spend Democrats is why you continue stretching your record of incoherence. lol

  69. jojopug Says:

    Someone else commented “After working with ACORN and pushing for teaser interest rate loans for low income home buyers, I can only say that Obama IS THE CAUSE of the problems we are in …. as well as his coworkers in the senate named Dodd and others”.

    Have you actually been a client of ACORN in Chicago? I was. ACORN was the only group which could help me to get a 30 year, FIXED-RATE loan at 6% with NO second mortgage. The broker recommended by my builder would have required a first and second mortgage. I have known others who got stuck with variable rate second mortgages because they went through brokers. The greed-driven mortgage industry caused this debacle, not ACORN. Your claim is preposterous.

    I also find it interesting that Obama is being slammed for fearmongering when this is the same tactic used by Bush and the neocons to get us involved in the Iraq war. It’s certainly not a tactic limited to democrats.

  70. Bogey Man Says:

    “A key platform of conservative republicanism has always been spending and tax cuts. ”

    Sorry Hong, the data are in. Republicans don’t cut spending, they increase it, time after time after time, from Nixon to Reagan to Bush I to Bush II and, in the latter case, a GOP-dominated congress and senate led the way.

    Sure, they talk a good game about cutting spending, but they have yet to achieve it in our lifetimes.

    And, as I said, they may cut some specific tax rates, but they never succeed in reducing the total financial burden on the taxpayer because they always increase spending. Even their “tax cuts” are illusory when you do the math.

  71. Hong Says:

    Your catalog of mistakes continue Boogs. The conservative philosphy of Republicanism has always been tax and spending cuts. Efforts to control spending have often failed but it doesn’t negate the values that drive them. It was precisely that failure that drove our party from office. We are and have been associated with lower taxes and less government. Name calling us drunken Democrats is therefore a flawed and sloppy work of analysis.

    “Even their “tax cuts” are illusory when you do the math.”

    Hmmm, exactly how when they’ve been in place for several years now. If they are repealed that won’t be the Republicans who are at fault, but your pork addicted Democrats.

  72. John Spragge Says:

    Mike:

    I understand your suspicion, but sometimes cars really do break down in expensive ways, and honest mechanics really do exist. The Bank of Montreal projects that the United States will suffer 10% unemployment by next year, a rate not seen since the Reagan Recession of 1982. At the same time, a look at the gap between the top ten percent of family income and everyone else shows a serious skew in US income. Add to the the fall in the stock market and the housing market, and the objective changes in the situation of the United States (external indebtedness, dependence on imported resources), and you can make out a case that many middle-class Americans face a disastrous situation.

  73. Bogey Man Says:

    “exactly how when they’ve been in place for several years now.”

    As I explained, Hong, Bush didn’t lower the overall tax burden, he merely shifted it from today’s voters to tomorrow’s. If you don’t cut spending, and Bush clearly didn’t, you simply cannot cut the overall tax burden, as simple math demonstrates.

    As even you admit, Hong, Americans are wise to the Republican modus operandi. They know that far from reducing the overall tax burden, Republicans actually increase it, while shifting the brunt away from its rapidly narrowing constituency of wealthy investors to middle and upper-middle class wage earners.

    You tell me, Hong, if the tax cutting philosophy is part and parcel of a spending cut philosophy, why have the Republicans from Nixon to Reagan to Bush always increased spending?

  74. Hong Says:

    “As I explained, Hong, Bush didn’t lower the overall tax burden, he merely shifted it from today’s voters to tomorrow’s. ”

    I would argue that a tax cut (even a temporary one) is lowering one’s tax burden, especially if you were already paying a large share but that’s simple logic talking. Don’t burden yourself with that.

    “If you don’t cut spending, and Bush clearly didn’t, you simply cannot cut the overall tax burden, as simple math demonstrates.”

    Things like the Clinton recession and the 9/11 intervened unfortunately. An embittered Democrat party was also an overlooked factor in your analysis. Broadly blaming Republicans without context was your only thin reply.

    “As even you admit, Hong, Americans are wise to the Republican modus operandi. They know that far from reducing the overall tax burden, Republicans actually increase it,”

    Now you’re just projecting when you can’t support your arguments again. I never said that, only that Americans understand the Republican party as the one of lower taxes and spending. A point completely lost in your rashness to respond. And you simplistically reduce your arguments again by ignoring that the wealth producing sector pays a disproportionate share of the taxes. It’s only sensible to refund some of their taxes.

    I would ascribe much of the failure to reduce spending to something called the Democrat party, the Cold War build up, etc. Republicans aren’t often in the majority and when they are the Democrats can remain a reactionary obstruction as they’ve done for the past 8 years.

    Of course Republicans haven’t always held to their principles. It makes you inordinately giddy to note their lapses and but the obstruction from Democrats was also a factor. Example: was it not Reagan who sought to eliminate the Dept of Education? Efforts have been made but they were blocked. But by all means continue to evade such inconvenient truths.

  75. FredHjr Says:

    Ronald Reagan had to work out a deal with Tip O’Neil, Speaker of the House. O’Neil would give Reagan the tax cuts (remember that top marginal rate at that point was 90%) and Reagan would get far fewer of the spending cuts he wanted.

  76. Bogey Man Says:

    It comes down to whether you want to hold Republicans accountable for their actions. Voters do, thus the GOP’s evisceration in the last two elections.

    People like Fred prefer denial. Reagan agreed to increased spending, while simultaneously cutting taxes, patent fiscal irresponsibility.

    Hong is hallucinating again. He claims the GOP “seldom” held power, when it controlled the nation’s purse strings for 12 of the past 13 years, the executive for the past 8 years and the judiciary for the past decade. That he would call this “seldom” is a good measure of how skewed his judgment is.

  77. Hong Says:

    I wonder how logic fails you so often Booger. It does make for an entertaining rebuttal on my part though.

    “It comes down to whether you want to hold Republicans accountable for their actions. Voters do, thus the GOP’s evisceration in the last two elections.”

    Question is whether it was all their fault. They clearly ignored their principles and behaved like the Democrats in spending unwisely. The current economic crises however, is largely a result of liberal economic policies.

    “People like Fred prefer denial. Reagan agreed to increased spending, while simultaneously cutting taxes, patent fiscal irresponsibility.”

    Again ignoring the substance of the issue to promote a cheap talking point. Domestic spending in many areas were actually cut. The large increase was in the Defense budget to help combat the Soviet buildup in Europe.

    “Hong is hallucinating again. He claims the GOP “seldom” held power, when it controlled the nation’s purse strings for 12 of the past 13 years,”

    Just applying truth and common sense to your vision of world hysteria. Was this nation only 13 years old my myopic friend? How long have the Democrats held financial control in the last 60 years? The majority of that time. A fact which you again evade from. Facts however cannot be ignored even from the blindly biased such as yourself.

    “That he would call this “seldom” is a good measure of how skewed his judgment is.”

    13 years out of nearly 60 suggests seldom is how often you make any sense Boogy. lol

  78. FredHjr Says:

    Shut up, Booger, you ignoramus. I’m tired of your lying on this forum. And I’m not the only one tired of it. You slop up every thread you slink into.

    I remember those days very well. It was common knowledge that Reagan and O’Neil negotiated this trade off. The one spending increase they both did agree upon was the defense budget. By the way, in those days I was anti-Reagan, anti-Republican, and anti-capitalism. I was a HOSTILE WITNESS to the period, but in the interests of being fair to both parties I choose to speak the truth about it.

    Booger picks his nose and flicks it at the pages of this weblog.

  79. Bogey Man Says:

    Looks like we agree on the facts: Republicans always increase spending.

    The only dispute we have is whether to hold the party accountable for its own actions, or blame someone else for their actions.

    I happen to agree with basic free market economics, including the benefits of lower taxes. I vote Democrat, though, because I’ve seen how — regardless of whatever theoretical positions the Republicans claim — Democrats are more successful at lowering the overall tax burden on the economy.

  80. Hong Says:

    “Looks like we agree on the facts: Republicans always increase spending.”

    Actually again, you missed the facts. Reagan cut spending on many domestic programs he thought wasteful. The overall increase was largely on the military. You continue to show failure for attention to detail. Sloppy work.

    “Democrats are more successful at lowering the overall tax burden on the economy.”

    Exactly how when they’ve increased spending consistently? You define a reduction in the tax burden as an increase which is both stupid and insane. A remarkable feat even from a liberal like you. lol

  81. Bogey Man Says:

    Wrong again, Hong:

    Did the Reagan Administration deeply cut social spending? Total federal payments for individuals — the broadest measure of transfer-payment spending — rose from $344.3 billion in 1981 to $412 billion in 1989 (1982 dollars), a 19.7 per cent increase. The conventional wisdom insists this rise conceals two divergent trends: an enormous increase in payments to the elderly (mainly Social Security and Medicare), offset by reductions in the “safety net” programs targeted to the poor.

    A detailed analysis shows, however, that spending on programs that provide income, food, health care, housing, education and training, and social services to poor families increased substantially (in constant dollars) between 1981 and 1989.

    An alternative way of measuring social spending is the percentage of GNP transferred by the Federal Government to poor people. In the Carter years (1977-80) means-tested programs averaged 1.65 per cent of GNP; during Reagan’s two terms, this share averaged 1.73 per cent.

    Whether measured in real dollars or as a percentage of GNP, the Reagan years can hardly be called a time of declining commitment to the poor. The most persuasive proof of this is the decline in poverty itself. When Reagan took office the poverty rate had been rising from 11.4 per cent in 1978 to 14.0 per cent in 1981. Within 18 months the trend was reversed. After climbing to a high of 15.1 per cent at the end of the recession, the rate declined steadily — to 13.0 per cent in 1988. And, according to the Ways and Means Committee’s Green Book, when food and housing benefits are taken into account, the 1988 rate was only 11.6 per cent.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/reagan/rubensteinb200406101425.asp

  82. Hong Says:

    Proving why voting Democrat is economic suicide. Thanks for making my point Booger. Could you imagine the massive increases under a liberal President? Oh yes, we’re about to. lol

    Reagan cut non defense spending by 9.6 percent. which no other President came close to doing. Your grasp of detail is slipping some more. He also trimmed the budget of a majority of government agencies. Something no other President was able to do.

    http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.20697,filter.all/pub_detail.asp

    I’m still waiting for the explanation on how Democrats reduce tax burdens when they increase taxes on everyone at nearly every opportunity? Take your time fear monger.

  83. FredHjr Says:

    Congress controls the purse. Both the President and Congress often submit separate budgets and they negotiate from there.

    Reagan wanted the line item veto (I opposed it at the time) and Congress would not give it to him. Reagan wanted three things from Congress during those years.

    1. He wanted taxes cut deeply across the board to spur investment and the economy.

    2. He wanted an increase in the military budget in order to counter the Soviets in Europe and on the oceans.

    3. He wanted cuts in welfare spending.

    But his party did not control Congress. For the first six years of the Reagan presidency (1981-87) The Republicans controlled the Senate, and the Democrats the House f Representatives

    In 1986, the Democrats recaptured the Senate (while retaining the House) and thereafter remained in control of both chamber until losing both in 1994.

    Therefore, in the face of divided government, with the purse mostly controlled by the Democrats, military spending grew significantly, but welfare spending also increased but at a slower rate than would otherwise have been the case.

    Now for the most important question: What would have happened in the economy during the Eighties if the top tax rates remained 70%?. Or the capital gains tax rate had remained at 39.9%? The top marginal rate was dropped to 35%, and the capital gains tax rate was lowered to 20%, later put up to 28%.

    Essentially, what the party of the Social Democrats want to do is to repeal the Bush 2003 tax cuts before they sunset out in 2010, so that next year the marginal rates revert to what they were prior to 2003. Most of the people who will be getting their taxes cut under Obama will be getting tax credits and a check from the government, since they pay no taxes. The top rate will go back up to 39.9%, the capital gains tax rate will go back to 35%, and income over 250K will be subject to FICA taxes.

  84. Bogey Man Says:

    Democrats like Clinton have successfully lowered the government’s burden on the overall economy by balancing revenue and spending, which lowers the cost of capital for the private sector, helps stabilize the dollar globally and contributes to global confidence in America as the safest place to invest in growth. These policies lead to faster economic growth, which allows government to increase or maintain spending levels without raising taxes.

    The Republican approach of cutting some marginal tax rates while simultaneously increasing spending does give the economy a powerful short-term jolt of growth. However, it pushes up borrowing costs for the private sector and the government, crowds out investment, destabilizes the dollar’s value against other currencies and saps global investor confidence.
    These are the main reasons the stock market under Republican presidents underperforms relative to Democratic administrations over the past half century.
    While people like Hong tend to blame results on coincidence, the record is clear. It’s no accident that the deepest postwar recessions have been in 1982, 1991 and now. In each case, they come as recompense for a Republican administration’s resort to the fiscal steroids of big increases in spending, coupled with tax cuts. You can make any excuses you like, but the record is clearer and voters, it seems, know it.

  85. Hong Says:

    Giving Clinton credit repeats the same error you made before, ignoring the influence of the opposition party. In this case the Republicans can be credited with positively influencing the economy. They prevented much of the Democrats worst spending instincts and was able to prevent the socialist healthcare boondoggle for 12 years. Ignoring it proves me correct.

    “Blame results on coincidence”
    Are you even trying to be coherent? No, you’ve already lost the battle with history Booger. The facts prove the liberal policies of awarding loans to low income families was a root cause in this financial turmoil. 1982 was a result of years of Democrat neglect as is the current crises. Can you imagine stagflation under a Reagan?

    “You can make any excuses you like, but the record is clearer and voters, it seems, know it.”

    I simply resort to the logic and history that you neglect. What is your excuse for ignoring it?

  86. FredHjr Says:

    The recession of 1980-82 was the result of the Fed’s steady increases in interest rates, beginning in 1979. Please revisit the actions of Volker’s Fed during that period.

    The brief recession of 1991 was also the result of the Fed increasing interest rates. That recession was harder in the Northeast (where I live, and lived through it) because we had a real estate bubble that the banks got caught in.

    The prosperity of the Clinton years was purchased by the monetary restraint of the Eighties, the Reagan tax cuts, and the continuing monetary restraint under Greenspan.

    The stock market performed well under Reagan, stalled and then started again late in G.H.W. Bush’s term, performed well under Clinton right up until late 1998 and then fell, stagnated early in G.W. Bush’s term and then took off, and only collapsed after the oil price run ups and the effects of the bad Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac paper were being discounted furiously.

    Stocks during the Carter, Ford, and Nixon years performed poorly. Under FDR the stock market did not perform well.

  87. Bogey Man Says:

    Let’s look at the record:

    Spending

    In 1980, Jimmy Caner’s last year as president, the federal government spent a whopping 27.9% of “national income” (an obnoxious term for the private wealth produced by the American people). Reagan assaulted the free-spending Carter administration throughout his campaign in 1980. So how did the Reagan administration do? At the end of the first quarter of 1988, federal spending accounted for 28.7% of “national income.”

    Even Ford and Carter did a better job at cutting government. Their combined presidential terms account for an increase of 1.4%—compared with Reagan’s 3%—in the government’s take of “national income.” And in nominal terms, there has been a 60% increase in government spending, thanks mainly to Reagan’s requested budgets, which were only marginally smaller than the spending Congress voted.

    The budget for the Department of Education, which candidate Reagan promised to abolish along with the Department of Energy, has more than doubled to $22.7 billion, Social Security spending has risen from $179 billion in 1981 to $269 billion in 1986. The price of farm programs went from $21.4 billion in 1981 to $51.4 billion in 1987, a 140% increase. And this doesn’t count the recently signed $4 billion “drought-relief” measure. Medicare spending in 1981 was $43.5 billion; in 1987 it hit $80 billion. Federal entitlements cost $197.1 billion in 1981—and $477 billion in 1987.

    Foreign aid has also risen, from $10 billion to $22 billion. Every year, Reagan asked for more foreign-aid money than the Congress was willing to spend. He also pushed through Congress an $8.4 billion increase in the U.S. “contribution” to the International Monetary Fund.

    His budget cuts were actually cuts in projected spending, not absolute cuts in current spending levels. As Reagan put it, “We’re not attempting to cut either spending or taxing levels below that which we presently have.”

    The result has been unprecedented government debt. Reagan has tripled the Gross Federal Debt, from $900 billion to $2.7 trillion. Ford and Carter in their combined terms could only double it. It took 31 years to accomplish the first postwar debt tripling, yet Reagan did it in eight.

    Taxes

    Before looking at taxation under Reagan, we must note that spending is the better indicator of the size of the government. If government cuts taxes, but not spending, it still gets the money from somewhere—either by borrowing or inflating. Either method robs the productive sector. Although spending is the better indicator, it is not complete, because it ignores other ways in which the government deprives producers of wealth. For instance, it conceals regulation and trade restricdons, which may require little government outlay.

    If we look at government revenues as a percentage of “national income,” we find little change from the Carter days, despite heralded “tax cuts.” In 1980, revenues were 25.1% of “national income.” In the first quarter of 1988 they were 24.7%.

    Reagan came into office proposing to cut personal income and business taxes. The Economic Recovery Act was supposed to reduce revenues by $749 billion over five years. But this was quickly reversed with the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982. TEFRA—the largest tax increase in American history—was designed to raise $214.1 billion over five years, and took back many of the business tax savings enacted the year before. It also imposed withholding on interest and dividends, a provision later repealed over the president’s objection.

    But this was just the beginning. In 1982 Reagan supported a five-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax and higher taxes on the trucking industry. Total increase: $5.5 billion a year. In 1983, on the recommendation of his Spcial Security Commission— chaired by the man he later made Fed chairman, Alan Green-span—Reagan called for, and received, Social Security tax increases of $165 billion over seven years. A year later came Reagan’s Deficit Reduction Act to raise $50 billion.

    Even the heralded Tax Reform Act of 1986 is more deception than substance. It shifted $120 billion over five years from visible personal income taxes to hidden business taxes. It lowered the rates, but it also repealed or reduced many deductions.

    According to the Treasury Department, the 1981 tax cut will have reduced revenues by $1.48 trillion by the end of fiscal 1989. But tax increases since 1982 will equal $1.5 trillion by 1989. The increases include not only the formal legislation mentioned above but also bracket creep (which ended in 1985 when tax indexing took effect—a provision of the 1981 act despite Reagan’s objection), $30 billion in various tax changes, and other increases. Taxes by the end of the Reagan era will be as large a chunk of GNP as when he took office, if not larger: 19.4%, by ultra-conservative estimate of the Reagan Office of Management and Budget. The so-called historic average is 18.3%.

    Regulation

    For all the administration’s talk about deregulation (for example, from the know-nothing commission which George Bush headed), it has done little. Much of what has been done began under Carter, such as abolition of the Civil Aeronautics Board and deregulation of oil prices. Carter created the momentum and Reagan halted it. In fact, the economic costs of regulation have grown under Reagan.

    Some deregulation has occurred for banks, intercity buses, ocean shipping, and energy. But nothing good has happened in health, safety, and environmental regulations, which cost Americans billions of dollars, ignore property rights, and are based on the spurious notion of “freedom from risk.” But the Reagan administration has supported state seat-belt and federal air-bag requirements. This concern for safety, however, was never extended to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rules, which, by imposing fuel-efficiency standards, promote the production of small cars. The shift to small cars will cause an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 highway deaths over the next ten years.

    Bureaucracy

    By now it should not be surprising that the size of the bureaucracy has also grown. Today, there are 230,000 more civilian government workers than in 1980, bringing the total to almost three million. Reagan even promoted the creation of a new federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs to join the Departments of Education and Energy, which his administration was supposed to eliminate.

    http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=488

  88. FredHjr Says:

    So, Bogey, what would you do to help spur economic growth right now?

  89. Hong Says:

    The record proves Reagan made a robust effort to curb spending and largely succeeded. He reduced the tax rate from a punishing 70 percent to 28 percent.

    You’ve shown a pig headed intensity to ignore the 800lb gorilla. Please continue doing so to strengthen my argument. The current financial crises is being stoked by fear mongering from Obama and the Democrats. A crises liberals created largely with an anything goes lending policy to low income recipients.

    Again, ignoring the influence of the opposition party on your spending policies is the gaping flaw in your post. No amount of cutting and pasting will erase that. This writer ignores the Cold War and it’s influence on spending. He also seems to hide the fact that Democrats were in the majority in Congress through much of Reagan’s presidency.

    Booger’s evasion of the pernicious influence Democrats had on economic spending is calculated fear. He has proven Neo-Con correct through his tiresome actions here.

  90. Oldflyer Says:

    Nice try Bogey.

    Reagan increased spending to repair the defense department that Carter had gutted. I was on active duty during the Carter years and we were hurting–bad. Aside from defense, Reagan tried to cut spending and he was thwarted over and over. The only thing he could have done was shutdown the government like Clinton did. In retrospect he probably should have; only during the Cold War it was unthinkable.

  91. FredHjr Says:

    Hong,

    I wish he would answer my question in my above post: what would he propose to encourage economic growth?

    A lot of the stock market’s decline since late October reflects fear on the part of investors that the Obama team is going to put the capital gains tax rate back to 30%, the top rate back to effectively 40%, and the income over $250K taxed to FICA. They are reacting to the doom and gloom prophesies of predictions that the recession is going to last years, even though most investors know that this recession is probably very much like in depth and duration the ones in 1973-75 and 1980-82, both of which were mainly caused by very steep run ups in oil prices.

    Absolutely nothing Obama and his team is doing and saying is providing calm leadership. Even the “stimulus” bill is really a “Porkulus” Bill. Only about 5% of that bill’s appropriations will go for immediate jobs in infrastructure, and most of the spending does not kick in until 2010.

    We have a Red Diaper Baby in the White House, just as I knew would be the case a year ago. So far he has done nothing that could be construed as friendly towards the business community.

  92. FredHjr Says:

    There is also the fear of how much socialized medicine is going to cost the country. There are so many unknowns.

    We are truly in uncharted territory. Because Obama is even more Left than FDR was.

    If his early moves truly did reflect the centrist histories of some of his early cabinet appointments, I think the markets would be calmed and we could shorten rather than lengthen this recession. But right now we don’t get a calm leadership. Just fear mongering and catering to Leftist interest groups like ACORN in that Porkulus Bill.

  93. Hong Says:

    I understand Fred. Bog can’t even admit Reagan actually cut non defense spending (the only President in recent history to do so) or somehow dismisses it. He cannot admit the influence opposition parties can have on budgets. Nor can he openly admit that the liberal lending policies under Clinton helped teeter this economy over the cliff. He has no room to maneuver so must resort to bashing Conservatism. I expect another long winded cut and paste post from another writer more original than himself. lol

  94. Gray Says:

    I agree with Bogey Man’s comments on this thread, with the notable exception that when he says ‘cut spending’, he means ‘cut defense’.

  95. Oblio Says:

    I hope that Bogey will cut and paste his growth recommendations from the Ludwig von Mises Institute, since he took the critique of Reagan from the same site. I am a big admirer of Hayek and Mises, particularly for being such staunch anti-collectivists, but the Austrian School’s abhorrence of defense spending has always struck me as the true definition of ivory tower thinking.

    Current deficits pose potential burdens for future tax-payers, not for future voters. We know, sadly, that these two groups are not identical.

    The single biggest federal budget problem we face is still the same as before the market crash: unfunded liabilities for Social Security and Medicare. Here, our problems are a drop in the bucket compared to the challenges the Europeans face.

    I don’t consider the financial system bailout to be much of a problem for the budget, despite the eye-popping numbers associated with them. The government’s return on investment for keeping the financial system out of liquidation dwarfs any other use of funds, and I expect that we will get most of it back sooner than people think. Properly managed, it should show a tidy profit for the treasury, but I have no confidence that it will prove to be properly managed, since Henry Paulson seemed to make such a hash of it.

    In short, I’m still with Robert Lucas in believing that the probably is primarily monetary at this point. I wish the President were not so negative: it doesn’t help investor confidence at all.

    Despite higher unemployment, we still benefit from very high labor market participation rates relative to other industrialized economies. Low world growth means cheap energy, which is also a positive factor in the picture.

    I still believe that inflation in the current circumstances in both desirable and inevitable. This will mean a managed partial default, in real terms, at the expense of US bondholders.

  96. Gray Says:

    I still believe that inflation in the current circumstances in both desirable and inevitable. This will mean a managed partial default, in real terms, at the expense of US bondholders.

    This is a key point. We won’t see inflation, we will see deflation–’stagflation’, remember that?

    “The 1970s. The first time was just for practice.”

  97. FredHjr Says:

    Oblio,

    Anything at the expense of US bondholders WILL have an impact on the mortgage markets and on equities as well. When I do discounted cash flows in order to arrive at estimates for the value of a company’s stock, a part of the model involves the “risk free rate” and we get that from the US bond markets. The higher that number is, the lower the value of stocks.

    I am in the investment business. I do equities’ research. And even someone like me has a hard time wrapping my brain around what the melt down caused by the sub-prime market has done. Add to that the deficits we are looking at going forward, and I can no longer relate to the size of those numbers as I can the light years between us and the Andromeda Galaxy.

    But clearly the way you start digging out of this mess is to get the economy growing and tax revenues increasing. However, if you put in place policies which do not promote business growth and investment those numbers become truly numbing. Government jobs and pork do not provide much of a multiplier effect.

    That’s why I want to hear from the people who slam Reagan to do more than just through spittle at him. I want to hear from them what they would do to grow the economy. Ankle biting and caterwauling do not cut it.

    For my part, if the President and his advisers were to talk to me and be sincerely interested in what I think would get the economy growing I would be able to provide an intelligent answer. I would be constructive and I would not insult them. But I would point out to them how what they are doing right now is not helpful at all.

  98. FredHjr Says:

    A repeat of the 1970′s is my worst nightmare. I did not experience that decade as very hospitable for people looking for work. I turned 18 in 1973 and I was 21 when I got out of the Army in 1976, starting college in January of 1977. Even though I qualified for the G.I. Bill I still had to work, and finding jobs was very difficult for young people in that decade. The cost of living was leapfrogging too.

    It was a decade of economic and foreign policy crisis. It was a decade when a lot of bad stuff was happening in the country and abroad.

    Is this what I want for the young people who voted for Obama? Certainly not. But, they never learned about what that decade was like from their teachers, parents, and professors. And so they are going to get the same lesson we got. Hopefully most of them will learn from this and adjust their world view accordingly. They will learn that socialism does not work.

    The irony of it all is that just as the people of Europe, perhaps too late, are discovering that socialism is a failure here in America our young people want to experiment with it.

  99. Gray Says:

    I am in the investment business. I do equities’ research. And even someone like me has a hard time wrapping my brain around what the melt down caused by the sub-prime market has done.

    I defer to you on financial matters. Based on my reading, The sub-prime ‘market’ was fuelled by short-selling mortgage-backed securities.

    (It pains me to even write “mortgage-backed securities”).

    The short sellers got caught short(er) once every boomer cashed out the max of equity and there was no one left to purchase homes at the inflated price and the mortgage holders couldn’t pay.

    It’s gone back to value base on securities and most of the value was based on bullshit business models.

    Simply: Nobody builds anything anymore, and hasn’t for years, and there is no one left to buy luxury shit on cashed out equity.

    We staved off the crash for most of a decade by leveraging bullshit and shuffling bullshit (tranche bundling).

    There aren’t enough producers making enough Real Wage to buoy a fat economy for the Boomers to get a ROI.

    Demographics is a bitch and even three illegal families per McMansion are under the short-sellers estimates.

    We are all ‘long’ now…

  100. Giles Says:

    Oblio,

    However did you guess?

    - G

  101. Bogey Man Says:

    It’s not the 70s I’d be worried about, Fred. The year you graduated, 1974, unemployment was a mere 7.2 percent. The year I graduated, 1982, the depth of the Reagan jobs destruction program, it was above 10 percent!!

    US Unemployment:

    Carter years:
    1979 6.0
    1978 6.0
    1977 6.4
    1976 7.8
    Average: 6.55 percent

    Reagan years:
    1988 5.3
    1987 5.7
    1986 6.6
    1985 7.0
    1984 7.3
    1983 8.3
    1982 10.8
    1981 8.5
    1980 7.2
    Average: 8.34 percent

    Bush I years:
    1992 7.4000
    1991 7.3000
    1990 6.3000
    1989 5.4000
    Average: 6.6 percent

    Clinton years:
    2000 3.9000
    1999 4.0000
    1998 4.4000
    1997 4.7000
    1996 5.4000
    1995 5.6000
    1994 5.5000
    1993 6.5000
    Average: 5 percent

    The data are in, Fred. Unemployment was 27 percent higher in Reagan’s 80s, than in Carter’s 70s. If you want to compare with the Nixon-Carter 70s, or Clinton’s 90s, Reagan’s unemployment was as much as 67 percent higher!
    Moreover, unemployment was higher under Reaganomics than at any time since the Great Depression. Republican presidents are job-killers, the data show, without question.

    In terms of economic policies, it would be silly to lay 100 percent of the blame for skyrocketing unemployment on Reagan’s irresponsible tax cuts and runaway military spending. Those two policies, in fact, probably helped in the very short term, when the monetary battle against inflation was forcing companies to cut expansion and job creation.
    It took high unemployment to break the back of inflation and Reagan’s shortcoming was not that he undertook to defeat inflation, but that he failed to acknowledge the necessity and effectiveness of fiscal stimulus measures to offset the dramatic plunge in private investment caused by soaring interest rates. He was an ideologue and an actor, not an economist or a thinker. And the country paid dearly for that.

    When Obama talks about the era of responsibility, he’s pitching to people who are fed up with Republican excuses. There’s never a failure anywhere they’re willing to own up to. It’s ALWAYS someone else’s fault: the media, the universities, the political opposition, on and on and on. Voters are tired of that.
    It is certainly true that the world’s biggest economy is not a puppet at the end of strings controlled by the president. Like the Bible says, “time and chance happeneth to them all.” But over them all. Indeed, it pays to pay attention to policies as well as politics.
    But as a political matter, it’s important for presidents and their parties to accept responsibility for what happens on their watch. Reagan didn’t run on the promise to cut spending IF Tip O’Neil agrees. He promised simply to cut spending. He failed to deliver and he needs to accept responsibility for that.
    That’s what leadership is and what voters crave and what Republicans, if the ones on this blog are any measure, have yet to learn.

  102. Bogey Man Says:

    “Nobody builds anything anymore, and hasn’t for years.”

    I wouldn’t be so down on America.

    We build much of the world’s best software, many of the best weapons, while developing many of the very best life-extending drugs and bio-mechanical devices.

    We don’t dominate the world in auto making or steel or, even, agri-business, the way we did for the decades following WWII, but we’re still No. 1 in many important categories and, I believe, our best days lay ahead.

  103. FredHjr Says:

    Bogey,

    I graduated from high school in 1973, not 1974.

    I graduated from the University of New Hampshire in December of 1982, right at the depth of that recession.

    But the difference between us, I think, is how we understand why those recessions happened: oil.

    It was oil that drove inflation in the 70′s. When Volker was appointed by Carter in 1978 he told Carter that the remedy for stagflation was going to be painful. So, beginning in 1979 the federal funds rate and the discount rate began climbing upwards. It took a bit more than three years to get inflation out of the double digits down into the 5 to 6 percent range. It wasn’t Reagan who destroyed jobs.

    I understood what was happening. My major in college was economics, and I had taken the course “Money and Banking.” Years later, after I had left the Jesuits and was an MBA student at Boston College, I learned a lot more about how the financial system functions (my concentration was in Finance).

    You have to understand that I was pretty much an academic type of revisionist Marxist up until 1987, when I broke with the Left. So, I was at that time opposed to Reagan’s policies. The interesting thing is that I did not close my mind off to the critiques of socialism, and eventually I could not overcome them. Anyway, I was not a Leftist who was making fun of Reagan. And only years later have I come to appreciate what he accomplished with the economy and the concluding years of the Cold War.

  104. Oblio Says:

    Gray, “stagflation” was “inflation” + “stagnation.”

    Giles, you referred to the Democratic Party as the DFL, which is the name of the local Minnesota Dem affiliate, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, a name out of the ’30′s if I ever heard one.

    Fred, I agree, and I use the same models you do, eg Ke = Rf + beta * market premium.

  105. FredHjr Says:

    Bogey,

    By the way, 1980 was a Carter year, not a Reagan one. Recalculate. 1976 was not a Carter year; it was a Ford year. So, recalculate those.

    Again, my question: What do you think would be a policy we should pursue that would lead to economic growth and job creation?

    I ask questions like these because I happen to be a father. I think about the kind of world my progeny will have. And not just economics. But that other big issue is one for another time. It does, however, tie in to my fears that Western Civilization is in a suicide watch. We are losing the robust core of our civic, cultural, religious, and philosophical heritage because people don’t believe in them anymore. But human beings are not automatons that can function without meaning in life. The world’s oldest totalitarian ideology – it’s 1,400 years old – is swamping Europe. It’s a very powerful ideology, much more so than Communism, because it promises its adherents paradise for martyrdom. The Communists – well – very often they needed political officers to compel soldiers to charge the enemy’s positions. These people, on the other hand, love death. And they boast of it.

    We have to live for more than just money and creature comforts. Only a renewed sense of common purpose and the ability to sacrifice for humanistic and religious values will save us from this very powerful and aggressive ideology.

  106. Oblio Says:

    Bogey, did you graduate from high school or college in 1982? I wouldn’t have guessed that we were so close in age either way.

    This casts your comments in a new light. If you don’t mind my asking, what did you study, and what is your career?

    You made a nice balanced correction to Gray’s hyperbole that the US doesn’t make anything anymore, by the way.

  107. Baklava Says:

    Bogey is ALWAYS about identity politics.

    The point is it doesn’t matter WHO keeps growing government. Whether it is Obama or Congressional Republicans it is WRONG.

    Tax rate reductions does help the economy.

    Reagan was sworn in in 1981 and Bogey wants to play identity politics and pin the 1981-1982 recession on Reagan.

    Tax rates were reduced dramatically but revenues into the government doubled from 550 Billion in 1982 to 990 Billion in 1989.

    Tax rate’s are not the problem Bogey. It is an every increasing amount of money spent by the federal and state governments and guess what? We are stealing from future generations. No matter WHO does it it is wrong.

  108. sergey Says:

    I can not judge is it OK for US president to cry “disaster”, but disaster it is. I watched TV yesterday, where Anatoly Chubais gave an interview in Davos to Russian anchor Marianna Maximovskaya. (As popular in Russia as Oprah in US.) I know Chubais quite well, I worked under him; he is the most honest and accurate analyst in economics and politics among upper ranks of Russian elites. And he was very grim. “When I went to Davos, I suspected that situation is bad. Here I understood that I was wrong: it is very bad. I talked to the best world economists, those whom I knew for many years, and who understand economy dozen layers deep. And everybody said that they understand nothing, have not a clue what is going on; all their knowlege seems not applicable. Situation has no analogue in history, we are in uncharted waters.”

  109. Bogey Man Says:

    Fred writes:

    “It’s a very powerful ideology, much more so than Communism, because it promises its adherents paradise for martyrdom.”

    Why do you think paradise for martyrdom is a good deal, Fred? Just because you may find it attractive, very, very few people in the world agree with you on that point.

    The vast majority of the world’s Muslims want nothing to do with martyrdom, and neither should you.

    Contemporary western values are much stronger, more attractive and are, in fact, thriving, whereas the ideology of radical Islam is in its death throes.

    Terrorism is the military tactic of the weakest. Suicide missions are not the method of a thriving, attractive ideology. They are the final stage of failure for a mummified movement that has been kept alive primarily by people like Fred, who find some perverse kind of strength in the willingness to commit suicide for a cause.

    The collapse of communism came as a complete surprise to Western conservatives. That’s because they had built their entire political movement on exaggerating the Soviet threat. They had so much invested in that threat, they were absurdly compelled to be be the biggest cheerleaders for the power and appeal of communism.

    Western liberals, on the other hand, understood communism for what it was: a suicidal political idea that had very little appeal to humans. We liberals understood that Stalinism and Communism had sewn the seeds of its own destruction. We could see that the system did not appeal to people, that wherever it was practiced, people fled. We knew it was weak, and therefore, never an ideological threat to Western society.

    It’s no surprise, then, to find the debate breaking down the same way now. Conservatives insist that Islam is just about to sweep Christendom out of Europe and roar through the U.S., based on its ideological appeal.

    Liberals know better. Radical Islam isn’t going anywhere. Everyone living under it is unhappy and, many, so much so that they foresake family and tradition and simply leave. It is the ideology of only the most desperate fake religious gangsters — a blight first and foremost on the Muslim world and a significant blight and public safety hazard for the West.

    But be sure of the this, radical Islam poses zero ideological threat to the West. It has no chance whatsoever of gaining a following anywhere where ordinary people have running water and public schools. Zip. Zilch. Nada…

  110. sergey Says:

    History shows that suicidal political ideas often have tremendous appeal to humans. Multiculturalism, for example, which flooded Europe with millions unassimilatable Muslim immigrants, and human rights absolutism, which makes impossible effective uprooting of terrorism, are clearly suicidal, especially when combined, but what appeal these insanities enjoy!

  111. Oblio Says:

    Let’s talk economics, not Radical Islam and the Decline of Western Civilization. If you must, please take that debate back to the endless Guantanamo Bay thread.

    Bogey, the ball is still in your court to recommend some growth policies. Fred has asked twice now.

  112. Hong Says:

    Booger says,
    “runaway military spending”

    This ‘runaway’ spending is what helped break the back of the Soviet Union and ultimately rescued the United States from the Great Depression. It wasn’t the Keynsian economic policies or the New Deal. Those actually were a negative establishing tariffs and price controls (Buy American sound familiar). You sound poorly educated when you phrase events in such a manner. Please continue doing so.

    “When Obama talks about the era of responsibility, he’s pitching to people who are fed up with Republican excuses.”

    Actually what he’s doing is pitching fear and feeding the paranoia of the doomsayers. Laying blame on the Republicans is a neat scapegoat which you apply with equal measure. Exactly which party controlled Congress for the last 2 years? The Reagan years remain a success in reducing domestic spending and introducing the tax reductions that eventually restored the damage of the Carter Presidency. Booger makes the claim without proof that Democrats reduce the tax burden. Inconvenient facts that ignore his wishful imaginings are driven away. Nothing in any of his posts proves. They are rants about Reagan and republicanism. Now he just repetitively hammers away at Reagan like a Tourettes patient.

    “They are the final stage of failure for a mummified movement that has been kept alive primarily by people like Fred, who find some perverse kind of strength in the willingness to commit suicide for a cause.”

    Were the movement so moribund than how does a proven anit-semite like you explain the recent Mumbai killings? Pakistani intelligence may have directed the Moooslim squad and it’s no secret their first victims were Jews. And if Islamism is a harmless fad among the Muslim zeroes then explain the presence of the 19 hijackers of 9/11. They certainly weren’t religious ‘gangsters’ or particularly ostratcized from their famalies. They appeared well settled in and one even was engaged if I’m not mistaken. Of course as always you’re spouting fiction and groping as you always do. lol

    Yes, and do try and answer Fred’s question. He’s only asked it twice…

  113. SteveH Says:

    The fact is no person or party in this country has or can effectively cut govt spending until voters stop beings played like fiddles in a game of oneupmanship that only knows one direction. Up.

    We are where we are, and heading where we’re heading because of voters. Period.

    There is no political solution to fix a morality problem. Until people care about their grandchildren as much as they care about themselves, this problem will be around.

  114. Hong Says:

    Booger,

    Your unemployment figures ignore the statistical changes made during Clinton’s presidency in the employment surveys. It’s been criticised for artificially lowering the unemployment rates. If you’re going to apply a standard it ought to be uniform wouldn’t you say? hmm….

  115. FredHjr Says:

    “Why do you think paradise for martyrdom is a good deal, Fred? Just because you may find it attractive, very, very few people in the world agree with you on that point.”

    I never said I found it attractive, Bogey. You are slipping into a bad habit again here, taking liberties with what I wrote without reasonable warrant for doing so.

  116. Hong Says:

    International Affairs: 1.6%
    Energy -42.5%
    Natural Resources and Environment -20%
    Science, Space, & Technology 10.5%
    Agriculture -6.5%
    Transportation -10.9%
    Community and Regional Development -32.6%
    Education, Training, -32.6%
    Employment, Social Services
    Health -15.6%
    Income Security 14.2%
    General Government 4.2%

    Those were Reagans first term reductions in discretionary spending. The facts don’t lie, he succeeded more than any president to trim and reduce non-military spending. Booger is having a fit trying to ignore them.

  117. FredHjr Says:

    “Terrorism is the military tactic of the weakest. Suicide missions are not the method of a thriving, attractive ideology. They are the final stage of failure for a mummified movement that has been kept alive primarily by people like Fred, who find some perverse kind of strength in the willingness to commit suicide for a cause.”

    Bogey, with that accusation you have stepped over the line into the truly malicious. I was right about you on another thread. You really are a bad person.

    I appeal to all the other members of neo’s forum who have at least some sense of who I am. Are any of you outraged over this accusation without basis? You should be, and if you are not then shame on most of you. That I am said to keep alive the movement of jihad terrorism…

    Henceforth, I cannot accord any respect for this pathetic creature. If such as this is what represents the modern “liberal” movement of the Democratic Party, then I want to stay as far away from these people as possible. They stink of corruption, if they would approve of the ethics of expediency that would allow a slander like this.

    I would never allow you guys to be labeled in this manner by Bogey. I was right on that other thread about him. And I don’t give a good goddamn if neo objects to my language and bans me for it, for if I have to defend myself alone against this slander then I don’t want to be here anymore. Bogey is an insolent little prick.

    Good bye.

  118. Hong Says:

    I do apologize for Booger since he’s too mentally stillborn to do so on his own. He thinks because you point out the danger of radical Islam, you must support it. It’s the sick logic of a liberal divorced from good sense and honest reason. I think we can all take a lesson on the behavior of liberal trolls from Booger’s behavior.

  119. Baklava Says:

    Bogey wrote (still with the identity politics), “Liberals know better. Radical Islam isn’t going anywhere.

    They aren’t going anywhere. Just killing thousands of people here and there.

    Do you read what you write Bogey?

  120. Gray Says:

    “Nobody builds anything anymore, and hasn’t for years.”

    I wouldn’t be so down on America.

    We build much of the world’s best software, many of the best weapons, while developing many of the very best life-extending drugs and bio-mechanical devices.

    Not so much:

    The software thing has largely gone to India and weapons building has been cut back and cancelled until it is nearly nonexistant.

    The Russians and Chinese will be launching our astronauts.

    I’m a defense-contractor SW Systems engineer. I’ve been laid off 3 times and Obama is going to cancel my current program.

    The drugs and bio-tech thing is driven by the aging of the baby boomers and isn’t a growth market.

    You’re not going to even pay lip service to the new bullshit ‘green jobs’ that are supposed to save us?

  121. Baklava Says:

    Fred, I understand your button is pushed, but think about this…

    Bogey is the opposite of persuasive. He moves people to see not his viewpoint but the ridiculousness of his viewpoint

  122. SteveH Says:

    If radicalism isn’t going anywhere then how did the trade center fall and a community agitator get elected?

    FredHjr,
    I’m as offended as you at how fundamentally unreasonable a liberal’s mind is. Its in their DNA.

  123. Baklava Says:

    To liberals, Radical Islam is marginalized but conservatives must be stopped !

    Heaven forbid our policies would benefit America

  124. unknown blogger Says:

    Someone in the peanut gallery cried:

    “Bogey, the ball is still in your court to recommend some growth policies. Fred has asked twice now.”

    Heckuva job Bogey! You know you got ‘em on the ropes when they start asking you for policy recommendations!

    And props to Sergey for piping up about the nature of the situation we are in.

    How this crowd can blab on and on about “unwarranted fear mongering” without even the SLIGHTEST sense of irony should give you an idea of what you’re up against.

    But keep fighting the good fight, until you’ve got something better to do, you’ve made good headway.

    —Unknown Blogger

  125. E Says:

    Fred, I think it would be best to disengage from BM. I agree with Baklava that his unhinged posts do more to damage his own bizarre positions than they harm you. BM’s refusal to engage with real issues and his exuberant sand-flinging (that guy is the worst nuisance on the beach!) show he’s not interested in an actual exchange of ideas.

    If we ignore BM, he might just go away. I think what he really wants is attention, and he doesn’t mind spewing badly-reasoned and poorly-supported posts to get it. I’ve noticed he never answers a legitimate question, he never corrects his obvious mistakes, and he never apologizes for his offensive mischaracterizations of his opponent’s arguments. So what’s the point of interacting with him, when he gets to ignore all the rules of logic, good sense, and polite behavior? It’s a mug’s game, and I’m not going to play. I’ll save my comments for people who listen, reason, and respond – whether I agree with them or not, that’s the basis for lively and informed debate.

    By the way, I know perfectly well where you stand. You keep on standing there! Don’t let the sand-flingers get you down.

  126. Maggie's Farm Says:

    More Monday links…

    Back from NH. Image of your NJ above. Man, do I enjoy that funky old Cannon Mountain. It’s like the anti-Vail. Thanks to all for filling in for me. While away, I see that Pajamas Media is having problems with its biz model. That’s to…

  127. E Says:

    Unknown Blogger, who on this post said “unwarranted fear-mongering?” You put it in quotation marks. Perhaps this is just for emphasis, as in “fresh flowers,” or my dad’s favorite, seen along Route 6 on Cape Cod, “Clams!”

    Did read Neo’s original post and some of the comments following? If so, you would understand the consensus that the president’s relentless gloom-and-doom pronouncements will have a dampening effect on the retail and financial sector. Not what we need just now.

    Sergey helpfully shares his own experience about the view from abroad. No one here suggests that the situation is not disastrous. It is. But wallowing in an exultation of despair is unlikely to improve our lot. Irony is not the prerequisite to pointing out this obvious fact. The president has an obligation to show real leadership by giving people hope. You would think he would be better at that by now.

  128. Hong Says:

    Unknown coward:

    Nice work giving vent to liberal trolls everywhere. Proving you haven’t got a policy clue but are still free with useless verbiage. lol

  129. Gringo Says:

    E: I would agree with you regarding how to respond to BM. After he misrepresented what I had said on one thread, I documented his misrepresentations, and stated I was ending my participation in the “dialogue.” BM did not apologize for what he did, but instead asked another question, and considered my non-reply to be evasion. Had he apologized, I would have answered his question.

    There is no point in such “dialogue.”

  130. Baklava Says:

    Reading comprehension issues were shown on prior threads. He actually did acknowledge that he misread once. But only once. :)

  131. E Says:

    Baklava, I stand corrected! Thanks for your careful reading.

  132. unknown blogger Says:

    E, the point of my comment was about the lack of a sense of irony in Neo’s post and subsequent comments.

    Neo questioned Obama’s use of the word disaster to describe the effect of the current economic situation on America’s working families, then wrote:

    “…I can only conclude that consistent negativity of his pronouncements is deliberate, meant to provoke a fearful response that gives him carte blanche to do whatever he thinks best.”

    Does that sound like a familiar critique we’ve been hearing for the past 7 or 8 years against anyone you know?

    Yet in contrast to the previous administration’s fearful “smoking gun/mushroom cloud” pronouncements, it is now undeniable, clearly evident and virtually unanimous (see Sergey) that we are going through a nearly unprecedented economic disaster right now, and the threat that it will get worse truly “imminent.”

    It’s Obama’s willingness to call it out as such and deal with it head on that marks such a refreshing change from the previous administration, which was always slavishly on message and relentlessly attempting to put the most upbeat spin on everything as they “created reality.”

    “The economy lost 1.5 million jobs in just the final three months of [2008] bringing the losses for the entire year to 2.6 million, the worst since 1945.”

    You can’t spin your way out of numbers like those, encouraging Americans to do their part by “going shopping.”

    So far it seems to me Obama is treating Americans like adults, fully aware that they can take dreadful news like grown ups.

  133. SteveH Says:

    unknown blogger,
    Let me correct your analogy. Had GWB suggested after 9/11 we all get on our knees and pray to allah i’d see your comparison. Theres a fundamental difference between using fear as a mobilizer and fear as a demoralizer.

  134. E Says:

    Unknown, I’m still not sure why irony is required. Especially when discussing the economy.

  135. E Says:

    Unless, of course, unknown’s goal is to have us think less about Obama’s unhelpful comments, and more about the supposed failures of past presidents. It’s not pertinent to the current discussion of the economy.

    Neo’s point is that leaders’ words have the power to shape the public’s confidence and economic behavior, for good or ill. See what Harry Reid hath wrought: loose lips sank the ship of Hartford Financial Services by causing a one day 32% drop in the value of its stock. http://www.reuters.com/article/hotStocksNews/idUSTRE49180220081002
    Moaning about how disastrous things are will have a malign impact on the public’s confidence. And however cool and hip and ironical you might happen to be, “going shopping” is important. The public’s resistence to do so because of financial uncertainties has already cost thousands of jobs in a number of retail sectors. Nobody really cares what Bush said about the war on terror – that’s an “et tu quoque” distraction typical of people who won’t judge the current argument on its own merits.

  136. Lee Says:

    Hey, waddya know! It’s Unknown Baby! Whassup?

    For a while now, guys and gals, I’ve been referring to UB as “Unknown Baby” because of all the childlike rants and crying he usually does around here.

    “The recent rapid acceleration in job losses could portend the end of the recession, say those inclined to see the glass as half full. Job losses are almost always worst just a month or two before a recession ends, they say.”

    From the article linked to by U Baby.

    “Disaster”, huh?

  137. Hong Says:

    “Does that sound like a familiar critique we’ve been hearing for the past 7 or 8 years against anyone you know?”

    It does Unknown Coward. It’s the talk about Bush but in that case it was rubbish. Thanks for reminding us of the childish liberal hysteria about our last president. I wonder if you really understand what Obama and the Democrats plan for this economy or if your too drunk on the kool aid to assume it’s all for the best. Even as many other peoples and nations regret their slide (often forced) to Socialism.

    “You can’t spin your way out of numbers like those, encouraging Americans to do their part by “going shopping.””

    Now who’s spinning? The tired talking point about shopping ignores the deeper reality and depth of Bush’s comment. The refusal to allow Islamo facism to control our lives. It meant living your life unfettered by fear and hysteria and shopping was only a small, yet important element. Thanks for the opportunity to demolish that silly thread.

  138. sergey Says:

    Reaction of a complex self-regulating system, such as market economy, on external intervention, takes time. In many aspects, it take years. For example, creating favorable investment climate translates into visible results only in the end of investment cycle; for energetics it comprise 8-9 years. Some reactions are imediate: tax cuts can influence revenue in the end of fiscal year, and improve purchasing power a month after introduction. Markets have a life of their own, with their own dynamics; do not expect fast fixes. And in some regimes complex systems can go out of control and react to intervention in absolutely unpredictable fashion. We (all the world) can be now in just such position.

  139. Hong Says:

    Obama’s feeding the panic. There’s no ‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself’ moment in his speech. I certainly don’t detect it. If anyone else can they can freely say so.

    Sergey,

    Do you consider it better to apply a tax rebate or the French model that’s been reported on Drudge? A model that appears largely a rehash of the New Deal.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/02/02/business/frecon.php

  140. Mia Says:

    I would imagine a lot of the poor souls who voted for Obama think he’s going to pay their mortgages for them and supply them with their every need by taking down the rich people, snatching their money away and, like Robin Hood, showering it on the poor and “deserving” like themselves. I had a young hairdresser tell me that she was voting for Obama because he and Biden aren’t rich and McCain is. She didn’t know their stance on any issue, but only that he promised to make the world a better place. She said this admidst smatterings of the obligatory “Bush is an idiot” and “senseless war” rhetoric.

    At any rate, nothing will stop the passage of this obscene “stimulus” package. They won’t even listen to the CBO when they say this package will make things worse in the long run. I suppose as long as it seems to work until re-election time is over, nobody cares.

  141. Mia Says:

    “Yet in contrast to the previous administration’s fearful “smoking gun/mushroom cloud” pronouncements,”

    Yeah, like in 2001 and 2003 when President Bush warned that Fannie and Freddie needed regulation? Like when McCain drafted a bill with a proposal to appoint a federal agency to keep an eye on Fannie and Freddie, only to be shot down by Frank and others? Like when Bawney Fwank came out last year (no pun intended) and said that Fannie and Fweddie wewe fit as a fiddew?

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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