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Dems caught in trap of their own making?

In the wake of today's disappointing jobs numbers, a bunch of people around the Web have been lamenting that Dems will take it on the chin for the bad economy even while Republicans have done everything they can to block Dems from implementing their solutions.

That's true. But there's another layer of perversity to consider here that makes the situation even worse: The sputtering recovery is actually making it tougher politically over time for Dems to take new steps to solve the problem. The sluggish recovery has undermined public confidence in the Dems' general approach to solving the problem, making Dems more reluctant to attempt the next round of ambitious solutions. That, in turn, insures that the jobs numbers remain grim. And so on.

As Josh Marshall notes today, it's getting tougher to avoid the conclusion that Dems erred badly by not passing a larger stimulus package:

[I]t was always clear there was only going to be one real bite at this apple. And it just wasn't enough. Why the White House predicted a max out at 8.5% unemployment I'll never know since that was not only a politically unhelpful number, it was also deeply unrealistic. I suspect a lot of Democrats are going to go down to defeat because of it.

What makes this even worse is the perverse dynamic I noted above. Republicans have pursued a very deliberate strategy to feed public pessimism about Big Government's ability to lift us out of the doldrums, pointing to the sputtering recovery as proof that the Dems underlying philosophy has been discredited.

The result is that it's even less likely that Dems will risk taking "another bite at this apple," as Josh puts it. The public doesn't focus on the details, and the failure to pass an ambitious enough stimulus has ensured that the Dem solution fell short of expectations, which paradoxically has left the public increasingly pessimistic about govenment spending as the best means to fuel the recovery. That in turn led Dems to conclude that further ambitious government action is politically unfeasible.

In other words, Dems won't reach for the sword that can cut this Gordian Knot. As bad as GOP obstructionism has been, Dems may also be caught in a trap of their own making.

UPDATE, 2;03 p.m.: I perhaps should have been clearer that the stimulus has clearly made things better than they otherwise might have been. The point is that perversely enough, its falure to meet expectations risks undermining confidence in the governing philosophy underlying it, making further action harder. I've tweaked the above to clarify.

By Greg Sargent  |  August 6, 2010; 1:38 PM ET
Categories:  economy  
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Comments

The Dems could get another stimulus bill. They just have to offer the GOP something they want so badly they couldn't turn it down.

Posted by: ath17 | August 6, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Ugh.

For starters, can you please stop writing "Big Government" like that? Or at least enclose it in quotation marks?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 6, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"The failure to pass an ambitious enough stimulus has rendered the recovery anemic."

Is there any proof of that?

Obama got exactly the stimulus amount he wanted...

Posted by: sbj3 | August 6, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

IOW: How have weak and spineless Democrats failed *you* today? Obviously, if Obama had just used the bully pulpit none of this would have happened. Don't you ever get tired of this frame, Greg?

Posted by: CalD | August 6, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Ethan -- I assumed capitalizing it was enough to signal irony; if not, I'll start using quotes

CalD, I'm not sure I'm blaming Obama here. Dems got what they thought they could get. I'm just pointing out the perversity of the resulting dynamic, and how Republicans are exploiting it. After all, I'm hardly the first person to argue that the stimulus looks like it was too small. That's not even a controversial point.

Posted by: sargegreg | August 6, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@Greg
I called this all a year ago, meaning it's only that much more frustrating to see it play out so predictably.

I'm so sick of this political bullsh*t I could scream. Who cares anymore? The GOP won't stop until all the money in the nation is owned by the top 1%. The Dems will never recognize that the GOP is out to kill them. The media has it's collective head up it's own a**, and this surely includes the paper your blog is hosted by, unfortunately.

@ath17
You can't possibly believe that would work...do you?

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 6, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "Dems got what they thought they could get."

No - Obama got almost precisely what he asked for.

"I'm hardly the first person to argue that the stimulus looks like it was too small."

That isn't what you argued. You argued - as fact - that a bigger stimulus would have made the recovery more robust.

Posted by: sbj3 | August 6, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I see what you did there, Greg...trying to change the subject from Sharron Angle and such as.

Well it won't work!

http://www.lasvegassun.com/blogs/ralstons-flash/2010/aug/06/group-promoting-angle-event-medicare-evil-and-immo/
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 6, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Someone mentioned on an earlier thread that this recession was just like Reagan's, not so. There are some graphs posted at huffpo which show how much worse this one is than any other since 1948 and it's clearly the worst. If Dems can't come up with some pretty quick action to reverse this thing we're all in trouble and I don't mean politically.

I posted a reuters piece this morning about rumors that Obama is going to instruct Fannie and Freddie to start cramming down mortgages, that would be pretty dramatic. Until housing comes back and some of the debt is erased we're stuck in the doldrums or for the unemployed it's more like a tsunami.

I don't care how many ways Republicans try to spin this thing, it's the Bush recession and nothing they offer will bring us back.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/06/6-disturbing-charts-from_n_673499.html

Posted by: lmsinca | August 6, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey sbj ... what do you think would have made the recovery more robust?

Posted by: cmccauley60 | August 6, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

sbj -- how can I argue a hypothetical as fact?

Hypotheticals are by nature opinions, no?

And believe me, I sympathize, BBQ, though I did not predict it.

and ifthethunderdontgetya -- I'm trying to keep to a one-Angle-post-per-day limit :)

Posted by: sargegreg | August 6, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"...it's getting tougher to avoid the conclusion that Dems erred badly by not passing a larger stimulus package..."

Selective memory, I guess. Dems DID TRY to pass a larger stimulus package--$1.3 trillion was proposed--but were forced to cut it back in order to do what??? That's right! In order to get enough voted in the Senate!
Sound familiar now?

Posted by: converse | August 6, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@sbj

"Obama got exactly the stimulus amount he wanted..."

That's simply not true.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/18/biden-economic-stimulus_n_650365.html

"Is there any proof of that?"

Several notable economists, including more than one Nobel Laureate have written extensively on this. Not only did they say the stimulus needed to be larger at the time of it's passage, but have continuously shown that while the stimulus worked as it was inteneded, it didn't do what was needed to right the economic collapse brought on the the GOP - because it was too small.

The next time you decide to waste people's time with your bullsh*t trolling, try not to do so with nonsense that's so false it's laughable.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 6, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

@2vb:Obama got exactly the stimulus amount he wanted...

Factually false. The stimulus was cut by about 200 billion and much of it was diverted to tax cuts which are the least stimulative way to get money into the economy.

Regardless, if you look back at the time the stimulus was being discussed, most of the left blogosphere agreed wiht Krugman who said at the time that it was too small by about 1/3-1/2. Obama was wrong to go small with the stimulus bill. Hindsight is 20-20, but not challenging the congress right away instead of trying to bargain in good faith (when the other side clearly wasn't) was a mistake. He should have used the focus on the crash to push through a stimulus package without the AMT (should have been separate legislation for that) and with more money to direct job creation.

Administration happy talk now rings hollow, even though we did avert a full scale depression. Saying it could have been worse is not much of a campaign slogan...

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Greg, but when I see it like that, without the quotes at least, it makes me want to hurl. Maybe (hopefully) that's just me. :)

I also happen to think this story is upside down. The most important aspect of the failure to sufficiently stimulate the economy through spending at the federal level, imho, is Republican obstruction. We knew all along we'd only get ONE shot at true stimulus. Just like we knew that the push for HCR would expend such huge amounts of political capital that it needed to go early in his first term or it would never be accomplished.

The fact of the matter is that while more stimulus would certainly have helped the economy, our government is being held ransom by the business sector. THEY are the ones holding up the recovery even more than either Dems or Republicans. The corporate sector has had PHENOMENAL earnings in comparison to the sluggish overall economy.

They are simply holding out on more hiring for two reasons: 1) they are squeezing more productivity out of fewer workers 2) they are holding our government ransom by demanding deregulation or softening new regulation.

Or more accurately (for #2), they are punishing the Obama/Dem administration for tough regulations that were passed recently (HCR, FinReg, EPA).

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 6, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Reality Check:

The Republicans had the past eight years to destroy the US Economy.

How were Democrats supposed to undo all that damage, within their first eighteen months in the White House?

Perhaps President Obama should just let the damn thing collapse again, and then ask Henry Paulson if he will get down on his knees again, and beg The Republicans for another TARP bailout!!!

Posted by: Liam-still | August 6, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Ethan -- point taken. My primary point is not to blame Dems, but rather to point out how perverse the situation is...

Posted by: sargegreg | August 6, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Obama and the Democrats have failed America. They have been cowardly allowed brainless bullies to dictate the possible. The Democrats will be clobbered in November. Deservedly so. It now seems apparent that the country will have to sink even lower before the political system begins to function. We can't even mention the real problems in the country and the world, never mind discuss them, let alone attempt to solve them. The two-party system has collapsed and has been overrun by corporatism. We are f*cked. Capitalism and greed have destroyed the country. Bring on the revolution.

And have a nice day!

Posted by: wbgonne | August 6, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Greg, just try KISS.

Republicans destroyed the Job Market,

and are now complaining because President Obama has not waved a magic wand, and restored all of the Jobs, that Republicans destroyed, within his first year and half in office.

That is all you need to stress.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 6, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats need to force the Republican's to share their ideas for improving the economy then explain the biggest tax cuts in history were in place when all this happened. How can making them permanent be the solution. We have serious problems and need serious solutions and not just more tax cuts for the wealthy...

Posted by: soapm | August 6, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

What is perverse is what wbgonne touches on.

Our government is controlled by multinational corporations.

The entire GOP plus about 1/3 to 1/2 of the Dems is corporatist. That means that the Corporatist Caucus has a huge majority versus the Populist Caucus (people we know as progressives).

THAT is what is perverse about the current situation, if anything.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 6, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, I don't think it does anyone any good to ignore the political situation on the table, even if you are right in blaming corporations...

Posted by: sargegreg | August 6, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne : Failed is a bit harsh. I would give the initial decision to not ask for a much bigger stimluls a D- though...

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Bob Creamer has a post up at tds that outlines 9 ways dems can improve their situation between now and November. Here's part of one of them but they're all worth a read. The corporate vs. middle class narrative rings the most true to me and like several of us have mentioned today and for the past 18 months it's true.

"We need to describe a narrative that is about struggle - not policies and programs.

This is especially important when Democrats talk about Congress' many accomplishments this term. In fact, this has been the most productive Congress in recent history. But if a candidate tries to talk about "accomplishments," that will not resonate with the experience of everyday voters.

Instead we should talk about "battles won." Democrats won the battle with Wall Street and the Republicans to rein in the power of the big Wall Street banks. We won the battle to begin holding insurance companies accountable and prevent them from discriminating against people with "pre-existing conditions." We won the battle to rescue the economy from the death spiral created by Bush administration policies and the recklessness of the big Wall Street banks."

The language of struggle, and "battles won" has enormous advantages:

•It allows us to talk about what Congress has done in terms that everyday voters can understand. It takes their pain and unhappiness and explains why it happened.

•It places the blame where it belongs and creates a narrative with a clear antagonist and protagonist.

•It allows us to be on the offense - not the defense.

•It positions our candidates as outsider champions for everyday voters and their values - not insider apologists for what Congress has "accomplished."

•It creates the basis for a powerful mobilization narrative that engages the emotions of anger and inspiration.

http://www.thedemocraticstrategist.org/strategist/2010/08/creamer_nine_keys_to_democrati.php#more

Posted by: lmsinca | August 6, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

@BBQ: "WASHINGTON (AP) - The flailing economy continues to dominate much of President Barack Obama's attention but today is a bright spot as he signs the economic stimulus measure.
The $787 billion stimulus plan offers a massive jolt to an
economy in trouble. Obama says the combination of spending and tax cuts isn't a cure-all, but will help spark a turnaround.
It was not the bipartisan triumph the president had hoped for.
Just three Republicans backed it in the Senate, and zero in the
House. And while Obama calls it the right size and scope, GOP
leaders say it's bloated and likely to be ineffective."

http://www.wkyt.com/money/headlines/39708887.html

"President Barack Obama said on Monday that the economic stimulus bill being considered by Congress is the right size and scope and warned that the country's troubles will worsen if it is not passed promptly.

"It is the right size, it is the right scope."

http://www.fxstreet.com/news/forex-news/article.aspx?storyid=9aad6e08-ad46-4b7d-9a47-dad335327581

Posted by: sbj3 | August 6, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Fair criticism, Greg.

Corporations' dealings are problematic in general and I expressed that point, but my main point was that their political influence is under-appreciated, or misunderstood, by the public and the media.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 6, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Krugman and others predicted that the stimulus was too small, and others like Robert Leighninger that it wasn't targeted enough.

Of course, 40% of the $830 stimulus bill was in the form of tax cuts demanded by GOP. Perhaps without that it would have been just the right size.

Posted by: GeraldWeinand | August 6, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

President Obama has accomplished more, across the board; in his first year and half, than even the great FDR did.

Think about that for a while; and FDR had a solid Democratic South in his corner, compared to now. Also; FDR did not have to deal with two raging wars, when he took office.

President Obama is off to a better start, than even FDR was, and President Obama has to deal with a hostile South, and two wars.

President Obama is on track to becoming one of our greatest presidents.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 6, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Ethan, the only way forward is by taking on Big Money and the Democrats have proved that they have neither the will nor the inclination to do so. The GOP and Conservatism rule the country even when the Republicans are out of power. Might as well let them take over again so they can wreck the country so utterly that no one can pretend otherwise. Both parties are handmaidens to the UltraRich. Democrats and the Republicans are indistinguishable except at the margins. We are governed by a failed ideology practiced by corrupt imbeciles.

I wasn't kidding about the revolution. It is already beginning. It will build among the people and eventually the people will rise up and take the country back from the corporations and their political affiliates. What condition the world and the nation will be in by that point is anyone's guess. It won't be pretty, I'm sure of that. Might as well get started now.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 6, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3:"It is the right size, it is the right scope."

Not sure what your point is. The stimulus did get changed and cut back mostly by the senate to get the measly 3 votes it got.

At the time, economists and the blogosphere said it was too small. We all said Obama was wrong to say it was the right size. He was wrong about this.

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Liam:

You are deluding yourself. All that Obama has "accomplished" can be wiped out in the next election cycle. Nothing structural has changed. The national dialogue has even regressed. Obama has utterly failed to grasp the historic moment. He will not be judged well by history. Timid presidents in times of crisis never are.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 6, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

@wbg:Democrats and the Republicans are indistinguishable except at the margins.

I guess that depends on what you call the margins. What would the two SCOTUS appointments looked like under McCain? keeping balance on the supreme court and even moving it left (hopefully Obama will do this on the next pick) is probably the most important thing Obama does in the long view.

On war policy, while Obama has been bad, if the repubs were in control it would be a much larger disaster.

Can you imagine the gulf oil spill managed by someone like Brownie?

The epa now has an administrator that will actually enforce the law. Same with Justice. Same with NLRB. Same with OSHA. I could go on but you get the picture, I hope. Obama's record does look a bit centrist and timid even though he passed more progressive legislation than clinton did in his entire first term, but it is still universes away from what we would get from the repubs.

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Ethan -- thanks -- corporations' role in all this will never be properly understood, thanks to the fact that the right spent a generation blaring pro-free-market fundamentalism at the electorate...

Posted by: sargegreg | August 6, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"The sluggish recovery has undermined public confidence in the Dems' general approach to solving the problem"

As well it SHOULD, since the Democrats' attempts at a solution have only made things worse. It would have been helpful if the Democrats understood real-life economics, as opposed to the ideologically-driven fantasy world they live in.

I'm looking forward to seeing them driven from power in disgrace. I think that would make the world a better place.

.

Posted by: ZZim | August 6, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

WB, my line of thinking is not that the parties are "indistinguishable except at the margins," but that the GOP is corrupt through and through and that members of the Dem party are corrupt but the party and its values are not. I think there is a distinction there. Obviously you are entitled to think whatever you want, but while my views are probably pretty close to the extreme left on this issue, I won't go so far as to impugn the motives of the Dem party as a whole.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 6, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

@wb: All that Obama has "accomplished" can be wiped out in the next election cycle.

That is factually false. changing legislation would take the repubs having 60 votes unless the dems totally capitulate (not out of the realm of possibility, but unlikely especially since it only takes 41 of the dems to stop legislation)...not gonna happen on this cycle and next cycle Obama will be on the ticket and that will draw more dems to the polls.

@ZZ: Democrats' attempts at a solution have only made things worse.

This is factually false. The consensus of economists like Zandi (who advised McCain) said that unemployment would be 20% (2-3% higher) worse and GDP would be 2-3% lower without the stimulus, not to mention the kind of draconian cuts that states would have had to make. At least now, states have a glide path of sorts to make those cuts over the next year...It could have been much better, but it definitely didn't make things worse...

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I think wb is all snark today unless I'm misunderstanding.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | August 6, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

My point was to refudiate two "points" made here.

1) That a larger stimulus would have created a more robust recovery. Perhaps that is true - perhaps not. (As Greg admitted - and edited - you can't prove a hypothetical).

2) The idea that the Dems took what they could get even though they wanted more. It is true that at the time of the stimulus debate many economists and progressives and congressmen wanted greater spending, but Obama told us all that around $800 billion was just about right. He had plenty of support to argue to the American people - at that time - that he needed more, but he chose not to. Indeed, the Dems chose not to pursue that strategy ("It wasn't enough - the Repubs made us do it!") They only began this blame game that will fool no one after it was clear the stimulus wasn't working as hoped.

Posted by: sbj3 | August 6, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

With regards to Marshall's notes about the unemployment projections: This is apparently what led to Christina Romer's resignation today. Those numbers apparently were based on models pushed by Larry Summers, which obviously turned out to be overly optimistic. Romer, according to reports, had strongly disagreed with those projections, and had become increasingly frustrated with her lack of direct access to the president, while Summers continued to enjoy virtually unfettered direct access. It seems painfully obvious now that the Obama Administration backed the wrong horse in Summers over Romer, and the Dems as a whole are suffering the consequences.

Posted by: AndySD | August 6, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Wbgonne,

You are one one of those Lunatic Left types, that thinks that all they have to do is outline their perfect agenda, and President Obama should have no problem getting it implemented.

I bet you have spent decades supporting Nader, or Kucinich, and look what they have delivered. Nothing. Nothing Nothing. Yet you want President Obama to deliver everything you dream of, with the snap of his fingers.

He can not satisfy your childish instant perfect gratification impulses.

Healthcare reform, Banking Reform, Equal Pay for Women doing the same job; will not be reversed.

FDR did not accomplish as much, during his first eighteen months, and he had a solid Democratic South in his pocket, plus no two wars to manage. Of course he was also a WASP, so President Obama does not have that going for him either.

Grow up, and start living amongst the Reality Based Community.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 6, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

srw3: Please don't take this the wrong way but I think your comment illustrates the problem precisely. Obama and the Democrats have thought and acted incrementally as if there was all the time in the world to get things right. They were (are are) very much mistaken. The United States is in grave crisis. Our political system NO LONGER FUNCTIONS. It cannot solve problems. It can't even discuss problems like intelligent adults would in any household in America. The Democrats have fiddled while the country burned. Now the wacko greedheads will get back in to squeeze the last dollars out of America's ashes.

The Democrats and Republicans a universe apart? More like a couple of inches, I'd say. Obama and the Democrats have not achieved separation from the America-raping Republicans. From what I've seen the Democrats haven't even tried. And for that they will suffer severely at the polls, because I'm not the only one who sees it that way. If Republicans are running the country anyway Americans may as well vote for Republicans. The Democratic Party is dead. It stands for nothing.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 6, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes Greg, absolutely.

The irony is, however, that while the Republicans have muddied the waters as you suggest, the out-sized corporate influence on our political system -- whether it is oil drilling, health care, financial regulation, environmental regulation, or even net neutrality -- is clear as day to anyone paying attention.

And, btw, I mention net neutrality because I saw Countdown last night and Keith's guest on net neutrality -- Josh Silver of Free Press (www.freepress.net) -- really did a fantastic job detailing how corporate telecom's lobbying efforts essentially settled the issue before the public had even the slightest inkling of how vast an influence corporations will have on media in the future.

Here is the vid:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/#38585556

This one is good too, Sen Franken on net neutrality:

http://www.freepress.net/node/81511

To my point, in this case the corporations moved so quickly and used such force in Congress that the vast majority of Americans don't even know it's an issue, much less where to stand on it.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 6, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"Lunatic Left"

"childish instant perfect gratification impulses"

"Grow up"

"Reality Based Community"

You forgot the Magic Pony. But it doesn't matter. What you consider the Lunatic Left is far too mild. The two-party system is done. It does not work because there really aren't two parties anymore: BOTH parties are captured by Big Money. Whether we replace it or it simply continues along its corrupt path is beside the point. The nation has lost its bearings and forgotten what it stands for. Mealy-mouthed incrementalism is woefully inadequate. Let the GOP back in to wreck things completely. It is the only way forward.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 6, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

@sbj: That a larger stimulus would have created a more robust recovery. Perhaps that is true - perhaps not. (As Greg admitted - and edited - you can't prove a hypothetical).

Not exactly a refudiation. Certainly the consensus of economists who thought it was too small thought that a larger stimulus would have done more to stimulate the economy, which is why they were pushing for it.

" Obama told us all that around $800 billion was just about right. "

Even Obama has said that the projections of the economy when he submitted the stimulus far understated the extent of the downturn. And many economists said at the time that it was too small, even without the bad projections.

I don't see any refudiation here either.

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh Lord!!

Look who Sharon Obtuse Angle is going toSharron Angle sure has some interesting political associations. As Jon Ralston reports, Nevada's Republican nominee for Senate will be headlining a Tea Party event Saturday in San Diego promoted by a far-right doctors group -- a group that has itself promoted all sorts of wild conspiracy theories.

The event this Saturday, the National Doctors Tea Party, is promoted by a group called the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Among the AAPS's greatest hits: They have stated that the establishment of Medicare in 1965 was "evil" and "immoral"; They have denied the link between HIV and AIDS; they have dabbled in birtherism; they have argued that President Obama may have used "covert hypnosis" to rally his crowds; and have suggested that the Food and Drug Administration is unconstitutional." start Palling Around with.

From TPM

"

Posted by: Liam-still | August 6, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Of course, I could be wrong.

Good day, All.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 6, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Or just delusional.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 6, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Edit:

Oh Lord!!

Look who Sharon Obtuse Angle is going to be Palling Around with.

From TPM

"Sharron Angle sure has some interesting political associations. As Jon Ralston reports, Nevada's Republican nominee for Senate will be headlining a Tea Party event Saturday in San Diego promoted by a far-right doctors group -- a group that has itself promoted all sorts of wild conspiracy theories.

The event this Saturday, the National Doctors Tea Party, is promoted by a group called the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Among the AAPS's greatest hits: They have stated that the establishment of Medicare in 1965 was "evil" and "immoral"; They have denied the link between HIV and AIDS; they have dabbled in birtherism; they have argued that President Obama may have used "covert hypnosis" to rally his crowds; and have suggested that the Food and Drug Administration is unconstitutional."

Posted by: Liam-still | August 6, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne : Are you sure you are not closet trolling? Again, look at the SCOTUS or any of the agencies that are actually doing what they were designed to do and not actively working against their mission.

Corporatists do control much of the democratic party, but not all of it. The repubs might as well have tatoos on their foreheads with their corporate sponsor's logo in red, white, and blue. I'm sorry, but the human costs of allowing the repubs to take the country back to the guilded age and the next great depression are too great to just throw in the towel. But feel free to do so if you don't believe that Kagan is better than Estrada or Bork. I do hope that you keep the gloom and doom to yourself. WE have enough to deal with from the rightwingnutistan brigades that showed up here today.

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

All, check this out, a glimpse into the coming Dem strategy for the Bush tax cuts:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/08/dems_developing_new_strategy_f.html

Posted by: sargegreg | August 6, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

@ Greg: Dems caught in trap of their own making?

Answer: YES!

Although the repubs helped spring the trap with their relentless obstructionism (of course, that is what I expected them to do. I still don't know why the Obama team was totally oblivious to the reality of 21st century politics..)

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

You state that "it's getting tougher to avoid the conclusion that Dems erred badly by not passing a larger stimulus package."

Can you please explain to your readers why a larger stimulus package would have given the Dems the ability to lift us out of the doldrums? How big should the stimulus have been? Two trillion? Maybe five trillion? Now with the advantage of hindsight, please state what should have been included in the first several stimulus packages that was not?

As Mr. Obama and Mr. Geithner each have acknowledged, the economic recovery must be led by the private sector, not the public sector. So, which private sector industry should have received the benefits of a larger stimulus? The auto industry? Financial institutions? If the economy is led by the private sector, why is so much federal money being appropriated for state, county, and city employees? How do public employees grow the private sector? Let me guess, Keynesian economics explains it perfectly, right? Keynesian economics doesn't work too well when people feel so gloomy about their country's future that they save their money rather than "demand" more goods and services.

Also, I'm confused as to why it is the GOP's fault that the stimulus wasn't bigger. Did some Republican member of congress only agree to vote for the stimulus if the appropriated dollar amount was equal to or less than 787 billion dollars? If so, I don't remember that fact being reported by the media. Didn't Mr. Obama's economic team and Democratic leaders in congress arrive at that number without the support or even the input of the GOP? Why does the goofy, irrelevant GOP even enter into your analysis? I guess the GOP makes an O.K. straw man, so maybe that's your thinking.

Can't you give your readers a better answer than to simply have the government spend more money. That solution is not working very well. However, if spending more money is the only answer, be specific about where the spending should be targeted.

I believe that the overall problem regarding the recovery is that Mr. Obama does not instill confidence in a growing percentage of the American people that he knows how to lead our country out the doldrums. Rather, we find ourselves sitting and waiting for a strong gust of positive economic news, but month after month, the recovery remains idle, at best. I want Mr. Obama to succeed because I want our nation to succeed, but I have grave doubts regarding either of those prospects at present.

Andy

Posted by: Andy112 | August 6, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I am loving the debate between wbgonne and srw3. I've always admired the posts of both and today is not different. And they are engaged in a debate where I feel stuck in the middle.

Unlike Liam I do not dimiss wbgonne as a far left crackpot. I think wbgonne's points are all very valid and any debate should occur at the edge of wbgonne's statements.

srw3..while not an Obamabot has done a great job of pointing out that wbgonne might be engaging in a bit of hyperbole, by using some countervailing facts.

As for me I think wbgonne raise some very important questions.

I must be candid. Obviously I can't vote for an R after they've destroyed our economy and behaved as they've done in the past decade. Having said that I'm certainly not an Obamabot...I'd obviously vote for him again in a general election...but if the Dems had a peace candidate in the wings I'd give he or she great consideration. If the Dems has somebody in the wings who could read the polls that show Americans were ready for a single payer system but Obama wimped out to the insurance companies. Now perhaps Liam or srw3 can counter that Obama got all that he could POLITICALLY...REALISTICALLY...to which I say perhaps. I grant you the point but it's not so emphatic that anyone should feel free to cut off wbgonne, myself or anybody else who is to the left of Obama.
Just because brainless morons call him a socialist doesn't make it so!

Let's go to the facts...Google any terrorist attempt on U.S. soil since 9/11 and tell what happened. Some were foiled..we got lucky with the Xmas bomber...BUT A TERRORIST ATTACK ON THIS NATION HAS NEVER BEEN FOILED BY A U.S. ARMY DIVISION OR AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER. It's always good police work.

And here is where you warmongers are going to step in it...Ohh but ruk haven't you seen all those Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders have been killed by drones...and some even in Pakistan...hurray..hurray..
What plot did that foil. What you are reduced to if you support this insane policy in Afghanistan is pointing out BODY COUNT!!! Look how many of those horrible Muslims will killing in their country instead of here. BODY COUNT...I went once and served in a War scored by BODY COUNT.

We spend more on defense than the next 7 countries combined...are we really so stupid that we can't figure a way to defend ourselves without outspending our friends and enemies combined. Great strategy.

OBL had several goals when he launched the attack on 9/11. 1.)Make the obvious huge PR splash Score one for Osama we're one down! 2.) Provoke an ignorant American President into attacking a sovereign Middle Eastern Arab nation. Score 2-0 OSL!
3.) Drag the U.S. into costly military adventures that will ruin the U.S. Economy!

GAME SET MATCH OSAMA BIN LADIN! I'm tired of losing could we use our brains for once instead of our Mama Grizzley instincts?

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 6, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

More stimulus? What loony liberal special interest has Oblama NOT paid off? This writer is either a liar or retarded...not sure which is worse.

Posted by: mgrantham2 | August 6, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

@ruk: We could definitely cut the defense budget 10% per year for x number of years and get it back in line with what other countries pay for defense. That said, it is important to note that even though China spends a lot less, they also pay their soldiers a lot less and care for them a lot less. Since they own the factories that make their weapons, those cost a lot less as well so this does need to be taken into account.

"Now perhaps Liam or srw3 can counter that Obama got all that he could POLITICALLY...REALISTICALLY...to which I say perhaps."

All I can say is there was a possibility to get more from congress if Obama had asked for 1.5 trillion. There was no possibility to get more from congress if Obama asked for what was already inadequate to the task. Did he think that congress would make the stimulus bigger? There was no reason to have the AMT which passes every year in the stimulus. It just took money away from job creation. I would like to see the repubs vote against the AMT fix...

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"How do public employees grow the private sector? Let me guess, Keynesian economics explains it perfectly, right? Keynesian economics doesn't work too well when people feel so gloomy about their country's future that they save their money rather than "demand" more goods and services."

Teachers, cops and firefighters provide necessary services within the communities they live as well as spend money, which is why we need to sustain their employment. And most middle class Americans, even the ones with jobs, are not sitting on a horde of money they're afraid to spend. If they're saving it's because the job market is so bad they don't know when the ax is going to fall. If they're not saving it's because they've been decimated by 40%-50% falling home prices, a minimum of 25% retirement free fall and unemployment or underemployment.

Demand will come back when jobs come back and jobs will come back when debt is paid down in the housing sector or the government intervenes with a federal work program or more stimulus spending. Since neither of those two are likely, I'd say we're in for a long haul.

In hindsight, the stimulus should have been larger, but it wasn't, so now we have to figure out what to do next and I'm pretty sure tax cuts for the wealthy are not the answer and neither is cutting SS benefits or sending out vouchers to Medicare recipients that will only minimally cover their medical expenses.

And all those billionaires who committed with Buffet to give a huge portion of their wealth to charity when they die, I say why wait and why give it to charity? Find businesses and college students who need a leg up and let the spirit of entrepreneurship catch on. The banks and large corporations are the ones sitting on hordes of cash and it's not uncertainty keeping them from spending it, it's greed.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 6, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

@mgrantham2 : Watch out! Mama Grizzly Palin (your hero I suppose) will come after you for using the R word disparagingly.

See Keynes for reasons why we need more stimulus. I don't have time to teach you econ 101.

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

sbj Do you REALLY believe the figure Obama had to settle on for the stimulus was HIS FIRST choice...that POLITICS and the R's had NOTHING TO DO WITH IT? REALLY?

Andy and SBJ. Something happened today that also shines a light on what happened. Perhaps you've read that Obama's chair of his Economic Council, Christina Romer has resigned!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/06/romers-departure-raises-q_n_673586.html

Of course the Administration says it's all because of Romer's family and her desire to move back to California. Perhaps.

Perhaps this all began back at the start...
Obama asked his economic advisors for a spread of three amounts of stimulus and their recommendation. Romer dutifully ran all three amounts and what the projections might be from the computer programs. Romer is STUDENT of the Great Depression.
When it was all said and done she liked the higher amount to be safe...but Larry Summers only forwarded the two lower amounts. WTF is Larry Summmers still around. Why doesn't HE quit...that would be the biggest improvement in the Obama Administration since he took office. But certainly Obama at most was Centrist...he was hardly progressive in his choice of stimulus...if he had a choice...perhaps Summer hosed his boss.

Now dovetailing nicely into the earlier discussion between wbgonne and srw3 as to whether Obama has done enough for what used to be the progressive side of the aisle..

Check the score with me srw3 and Kevin Willis..I'm already preaching to wbgonne's choir..

Foreign Policy...wellll PERHAPS we're getting out of Iraq...at least thanks to the Iraquis we're down to 50,000 and leaving next year... THIS IS NO CREDIT TO OBAMA...OR BUSH...BUT TO THE IRAQUIS. They forced Bush into the treaty that marked set these withdrawal dates against the Bush Admin's wishes. Obama gets no blame...and gets NO CREDIT for Iraq. He has simply followed Bush II's policy.

Afghanistan...a HORRIBLE blunder by Obama...the only difference between an R..McCain/Palin had they won...PERHAPS 50,000 instead of 30,000 more troops...there is NO SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE IN OUR WAR POSTURE UNDER OBAMA THAN UNDER BUSH. I'm talking reality not verbally...obviously Obama talks a better game.

And we don't have the time to talk about how we caved to the insurance companies when it comes to health care. It's small solace to acknowledge that at least Obama tried and obviously did more than the R's.

Sorry Liam but I'm ready to sign up for wbgonne's revolution.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 6, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

There's no perversity and there's no trap. The reason the Democrats can't sell another stimulus to the public is because they can't point to any evidence showing that the first stimulus worked at all. The public doesn't trust the Democrats, not because of what the Republicans have done, but because of what the Democrats have done.

Sargent likes to assert that things would have been worse without the stimulus, but the fact is that the economy's performance has fallen way short of what the stimulus backers said it would. And so stimulus backers are stuck in the position of arguing, "trust me when I say we need a new stimulus, even though I was wrong in what I told you about the last stimulus." I think the public can be forgiven for thinking that stimulus supporters just don't know what they're doing.

Posted by: tomtildrum | August 6, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

tom, if the population would begin listening to economists from both the right and the left they WOULD know the stimulus saved and created jobs and things would have been much worse without it. Too many people get sound bite news and don't pay attention to the facts even when they're presented from someone on their own team. It's called critical thinking and a lot of people don't engage in it.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 6, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@Tomt:The reason the Democrats can't sell another stimulus to the public is because they can't point to any evidence showing that the first stimulus worked at all.

This is false. See that noted socialist Mark Zandi for his take on the stimulus. He did advise McCain in 2008 so he is not on the Obama team by any means. The consensus of economists state that the stimulus cut unemployment by 20% and grew GDP by 2-3%. Look it up.

Seriously, do you think that mindlessly repeating the same lies day after day will somehow make it into truth?

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

When are you folks going to realize that we have a WH and Congress made up of organizers, professional politicians, recent political science graduates with very few members with real work experience. Then we wonder why nothing gets done and what is done is not very good. There's an old country saying 'when you want half a job, send a boy; when you send two you get none'. Well we have sent a whole congress of boys.

Posted by: fcrucian | August 6, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

...hey, let's just listen to Palin and the failed GOP, and go back to cut taxes / cut govt that we tried for the 3 decades of the Reagan/Bush era. In fact, let's get ANOTHER big tax cut to the wealthiest as we did in 1981 and 2001.

I mean, that worked SO well to deliver Trickle Down prosperity. Almost nobody is unemployed now. And the banks and oil companies and health insurers, heck - they POLICED THEMSELVES!!! Get government out of the WAY by golly!

Abe Lincoln would have said;
"You can fool some of the people, ALL of the time"... ;^)

- Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: RField7 | August 6, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

@tomtildrum Your hypothesis is completely WRONG.

You of course simply shoot your typewriter off again with a link or anything to back up your incorrect OPINION!

"The reason the Democrats can't sell another stimulus to the public is because they can't point to any evidence showing that the first stimulus worked at all. The public doesn't trust the Democrats, not because of what the Republicans have done, but because of what the Democrats have done."

A blanked statement without a scintilla of evidence behind it. Can you handle the TRUTH Tom. Certainly there is debate on the EFFECT of the stimulus but for you to claim "they can't point to any evidence' is simply incorrect factually. Oh excuse me...you're from the right..where they have Faux news to make stuff up for them who needs facts? If Beck's 9/12 only produced an official count of 50-60,000 by DC officials well then get Sean Hannity to put up an incorrect picture from years earlier and then LIE and call it Beck's crowd. The next morning Beck claimed a University..which he convieniently couldn't remember used Satellite technology and came up with 1-2 million.

Do you people on the right not care about facts. Stop! Read Kevin W's posts...he's on the right but he doesn't feel the need to simply BS like fox and the trolls who occasionally invade us. wbgonne and srw3 have had an excellent debate using things that ACTUALLY OCCURRED not simple name calling to make their points.

Go back to red state with that weak crap Tom here on the Plum we have a little pride. Opinions are respected a lot more if there is some empirical evidence behind it. Personally I'd point this out to you Tom...

Nariman Behravesh, IHS Global Insight’s chief economist, has a nice way of summarizing what the bill did (and, to some extent, didn’t) do: “It prevented things from getting much worse than they otherwise would have been. I think everyone would have to acknowledge that’s a good thing.”

But then Tom maybe you don't care about your fellow Americans and just what a truly horrible economy Bush left Obama.

To put it in historical context for you Tom
Obama inherited the WORST economy since the Great Depression. Do you UNDERSTAND what that means Tom or are you just another Teabrain in terminal denial?

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 6, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

srw3,

I've yet to hear Barry say that the stimulus was not enough or that it even failed. Heck, he, Geithner and Binden are promoting "Recovery Summer" It's going to be awfully hard to pitch another trillion or two when the leader of the party and his top money guy are out there saying prosperity is right around the corner. Now, what's the public gonna think if Barry stops on a dime to say "Ya know what, forget what I just said, the sh*t is hitting the fan and we need trillions more to stop it." My guess is either Barry doesn't think more Keynesian stimulus is needed or, if he does think it's needed, has decided that his constituents are not gonna get it. Which is worse about those two alternatives, by the way?

I know the current meme is that the stimulus prevented catastrophe, but in the end, it did not deliver what he said it was going to deliver.

Can the American people therefore, be forgiven for skepticism when it come to this kind of massive spending? For example, was the stimulus sold as a bailout to the states so that they would not have to address their out of kilter budgets? Or was it sold as a boatload of shovel-ready projects that would employ human and unicorn alike? I happen to think Barry and Congress intended this money to get to states to help with budget shortfalls, and that's why they were allocated in block grants. Therefore, the public was lied to, even in the very foundational elements that the stimulus was sold on. Barry therefore created this mess and is now afraid to correct it because, I think, he would have to admit he lied in the selling of it.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | August 6, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

tomtildrum: Here's just one non-partisan piece of evidence that the first stimulus did "work". We just need to do more.
http://cboblog.cbo.gov/?p=967

Posted by: bsteiner1 | August 6, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

If the DEMS are caught in a trap of Republican making, then we are all caught in it; and I will be damned if I trust the same party (Republicans) who got us into this mess to get us out of it going forward.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | August 6, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Incredible. Do you people at the Washington Post live on the same planet as we do? Absolutely incredible.

Posted by: Cdgaman | August 6, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse


The GOP want the financial crisis to get worse so
they can regain power.

McConnell and Sharron etc., want the power. After their years of study and thought and consideration. And that great statesman of
principle John McCain, who'll change ona dime...
and the low class tramp Palin. Maybe
Abramoff and AIPAC since Netanyahu isn't geting everything he wants. (And both Lebanon and Iran need to be bombed and Obama don't do it)...

We're in such great shape.

Posted by: whistling | August 6, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

srw3: Please don't take this the wrong way but I think your comment illustrates the problem precisely. Obama and the Democrats have thought and acted incrementally as if there was all the time in the world to get things right. They were (are are) very much mistaken. The United States is in grave crisis. Our political system NO LONGER FUNCTIONS. It cannot solve problems. It can't even discuss problems like intelligent adults would in any household in America. The Democrats have fiddled while the country burned. Now the wacko greedheads will get back in to squeeze the last dollars out of America's ashes.

The Democrats and Republicans a universe apart? More like a couple of inches, I'd say. Obama and the Democrats have not achieved separation from the America-raping Republicans. From what I've seen the Democrats haven't even tried. And for that they will suffer severely at the polls, because I'm not the only one who sees it that way. If Republicans are running the country anyway Americans may as well vote for Republicans. The Democratic Party is dead. It stands for nothing.

======================================

"America-raping Republicans." That certainly adds to the notion of discussing problems like an intelligent adult.

Besides, if Obama and the Democrats did act incrementally they wouldn't be in this mess now. If most people really wanted radical, Progressive change the support would be there. When the Democrats are pushing legislation that 15-20% of their own members oppose and people protesting outside their local offices they kept digging.

Posted by: bbface21 | August 6, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

If you'll recall, there were plenty of people without huge political/ideological axes to grind who didn't think the stimulus represented good economic policy.

The administration screwed up both politically and economically when it ceded way too much control to Nancy Pelosi and the ossified Watergate-era pork-wielding hacks holding the committee chairmanships.

Posted by: LHS2 | August 6, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that throwing money into a ditch accomplishes nothing but the loss of the money. What has the stimulus accomplished except making the country more socialistic and allowing the economy to limp on a little longer by giving money to people on unemployment? The unemployed had a little to spend and thus add to it. And what of those unemployed? Now that the tier 5 group (unemployed for 99 weeks) no longer receives unemployment, they are no longer counted as unemployed. Do they no longer exist? Is our unemployment rate lower because these people are not counted or is it sadly inaccurate?

The citizens of the U.S. need jobs with security and a realistic rate of pay. If 75% our economy is based on consumer spending then the consumers need something to spend.

EXTREMELY high salaries for upper management and minimum wages for a large percentage of workers is unbalanced and unproductive except of course for upper management.

Jobs sent out of the country is a travesty and importing merchandise made in other countries by cheap labor and sold at high prices here is unconscionable and immoral.
These practices deny U.S. citizens the ability to find work to support themselves and make the U.S. less strong, less independent and less secure.

Our politicians need to concentrate on building this country and protecting our citizens. Yes, we need to help the rest of the world, but we need to be strong, stable and successful to be able to continue doing that.

If it is necessary to guide or teach other countries how to build their own economy and be independent seems a better course than using their low paid workers to make cheap and often inferior products to sell here. A course that enriches a few and exploits the rest.

Posted by: mdau662462 | August 6, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"discussing problems like an intelligent adult"

The present GOP is sociopathically greedy and cynically celebrates stupidity because that keeps their corporate masters in power. The present GOP doesn't give a rat's behind about America or Americans; all it cares about is power and the almighty buck. I have no interest whatsoever in attempting a rational discussion with treacherous snakes. And THAT is exactly what Obama should have said a year ago.

Have a nice day!

Posted by: wbgonne | August 6, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

TrollmcWingnut...you speak just like a Republican...you sound exactly like John Coryn...McConnell..Boner and the rest...it's absolutley asinine to begin sentences with..

"Can the American people therefore, be forgiven for skepticism when it come to this kind of massive spending?"

WTF died and left you to speak for the American Public troll? Did you present the first survey or link to show what the American people think! Of course not because you Republicans constantly say the American people think this or that even when it is absolutely an absurd claim to make.

I am an American troll and I don't think anything like you yet I don't believe I'm alone.

Stimulus 101 close up. I run a Dental Office my wife is the Dentist. By the end of the Bush term with the economy in shambles...I don't know what Americans THINK...but they put off spending on things like getting their teeth cleaned and taken care of when time are tight. 08 was awful...09 WOULD HAVE BEEN WORSE..but within the Stimulus was the LARGEST MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUT IN AMERICAN HISTORY! Of course if you watch Fox you'd never know that fact would you? Our SMALL BUSINESS was just getting by like many others...there were NO RAISES in sight for our employees. The stimulus tax cuts gave all of our employees around 3% MORE IN THEIR PAYCHECKS AFTER TAXES!!! We were thrilled as owners as well. We love and value our employees and so it disturbed us greatly to not be able to afford raises...this way our employees all got that raise and we were able to put the money into our own recovery at the office.

As far as shovel ready projects...that was hardly a lie...Here in Florida we have a shovel ready project in the form of high speed rail from TPA-Orl eventually Miami.
Obama came to town last year to announce the stimulus money that went into that project.

Your own side of losers Troll has done the same thing. Eric Cantor was caught on camera in Richmond Va bragging to his constituents about the stimulus money the Feds provided for one of the shovel ready projects in Richmond. Cantor taking credit for money that he campaigned against and VOTED AGAINST. AT NO TIME DID CANTOR SAY TO HIS CONSTITUENTS...THIS IS EVIL FEDERAL MONEY...I DIDN'T WANT US TO TAKE IT BUT IF WE DON'T SOMEBODY ELSE WILL AND SO THAT'S WHY I'M HAPPY TO BE HERE TODAY. NO JUST TELLING THE CONSTITUENTS WHAT A GREAT JOB HE DOES.

Great morals on your side Troll!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 6, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Look, I'm just speaking empirically. If the Democrats can successfully push for more stimulus (or defend the first one) by saying, "we know you can't see any effects, but here's a favorable study by Mark Zandi," then more power to them. Somehow that hasn't been happening, though.

Posted by: tomtildrum | August 6, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Or at least think of it this way: The Democrats being forced to defend their own projections is not "a trap."

Posted by: tomtildrum | August 6, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

@tmwn:I've yet to hear Barry say that the stimulus was not enough or that it even failed.

He has certainly said that the preliminary projections that he based the stimulus bill on seriously underestimated the depth of the downturn and that is why his unemployment estimate of 8% was low. But he hasn't said it failed because it hasn't failed. Look at Zandi's analysis...the stimulus added 2-3% to GDP and shaved unemployment by about 20% (2-3%). This is the consensus view of credible economists.

I agree that Obama oversold the stimulus, but that doesn't mean it didn't work, it was just too small for the massive ditch bush drove us into. It does put Obama in a tough spot politically, and it is of his own making. Its hard to run a campaign on "it would have been worse". I said at the time that he should not have overpromised, but obviously he wasn't listening to me...

BTW, did you refer to GWB as Georgie?

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

@bb:I think your comment illustrates the problem precisely. Obama and the Democrats have thought and acted incrementally as if there was all the time in the world to get things right.

Not sure which comment you are referring to. It was a huge mistake to assume that the republicans would bargain in good faith and try to legislate, compromise, cooperate, or even just get out of the way. Hopefully he has learned his lesson. Obama didn't go big when he had the chance so he has a tough row to hoe now...Treating republicans like adults and not spoiled children was his first mistake...

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Srw3, 

I wanted to call him Bushitler McHaliburton but it was taken.  And the WaPo forbid expletives.  Also I'm to lazy to use symbols instead of letters to form expletives. Barry is about as polite an epitaph as I can muster.

 I'm not arguing about the merits of Keynesian stimulus (as you've probably guessed, I'm not as on board as others [and Zandi's results are based purely on computer modeling, so I think a reasonable person could have room to disagree]) I'm arguing that Barry has no intention of asking for another stimulus, if he was,  he wouldn't  be touting "Recovery Summer".  And I doubt that the Congressional leadership is going to say that the President doesn't know what he's talking about, the economy's cratering. Therefore, there will be no stimulus, only finger pointing. 

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | August 6, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Rukidding,

You're right and I'm wrong. It was the ALL CAPS that convinced me. Thanks for the lesson.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | August 6, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Somehow people expected Obama to solve the economic problem and now that he hasn't are unhappy. well, he did save the banks. I can't say that as a gneral motor bond holder happy Obama likes unions and willing to change the bankruptcy law for there benefit. Oddly, the banks that had money loaned to auto companies got all there money back. Got to love banks only wish there was more love for people.

My larger concern was that the government may still go under which is worse than general motors going bankrupt. The government is in big trouble as has been hidding things.

Still how do you hide two wars. I wonder if we will have another war of choice coming in a few years. Sounds to me like every time the government choices to do something things get worse. The stimulus package had tax cuts in almost half the package. How does a tax cut create a job? Even Wal-mart is not hiring and some factors in China are doing nothing. But even if general motors went under in the United States it was not going under in China. Yet our government keeps saying it saved general motors. We are suppose to believe everything big brother says. They keep telling us we recovered, so why are all thing people living in the old general motors cars. I wonder if new cars come with one or two bedrooms?

Posted by: artg | August 6, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

The Stimulus failed not because the amount wasn't high enough, but because it was a very bad idea - to suggest Obama should have wasted even more taxpayer money is beyond stupid.

Posted by: Realist201 | August 6, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

So this is where all the Kool Aid drinkers hang out. It's not that the policies aren't big enough. It's the stupid policies, stupid.

Posted by: davefromtexas | August 6, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

@TrollMcWingnut : Actually we agree that there probably won't be another stimulus. As I said above Obama made his own bed by not going big with the first stimulus while promising more than it could deliver and now is paying the price in muddy messaging. But I think that it is unfair to characterize the economy as cratering right now. Cratering is what Bush did to the economy, you know, 40% drop in the markets, losing 700k jobs a month, melting down the financial system, presiding over the biggest income and wealth gap between the oligarchs and everyone else since the guilded age, all while running massive deficits and doubling the national debt. (And that doesn't even include the foreign policy debacles we are stuck in right now.) That's cratering the economy. The economy is treading water mostly.

It is mystifying and disappointing that 9.5% unemployment isn't considered a grave emergency that demands immediate bipartisan action. But that would be assuming that repiglicans have the best interests of the American people in mind and not their own selfish short term political advantage.

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Tennessee will elect a Democrat for Governor we've seen what a Republican can do/NOTHING/party/NO in trouble and they know it!

I'm glad, I'll be voting for McWherther for Governor he'll be elected and the Republicans will just hate that, they always do!

Country see's party/NO/Republicans who ruined it under their boy blew it BUsh and Republicans believe country will forget that!

Republicans have ruined themselves and our country and the 8.5 Million jobs they lost is proof of that!

Only a fool would vote Republican again after the "CRIMINAL/RECORD/FACT/MESS they left all American's in no wonder their boy blew it Bush the Pew Poll reported left/town/you/office with the "LOWEST JOB APPROVAL RATING IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES PRESIDENCY 20 PERCENT!

These facts are the record/truth of the Republicans who hope you won't look at that, who hope your put them back in so they can put you out of work like they did the record 8.5 Million jobs they lost American's who voted for them lol...

Posted by: ztcb41 | August 6, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

"even while Republicans have done everything they can to block Dems from implementing their solutions."
-----------------------------

In the above sentence, substitute the word "Republicans" for "Democrats" and visa-versa, and this describes the situation 4 years ago.

You reap what you sow. So stop whining and suck it up.

Posted by: HughJassPhD | August 6, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

@Realist201 : The Stimulus failed

You are cementing your "know nothing troll" status with these kind of remarks.

It failed so badly that repiglicans all over the country are posing with big checks and bragging about the jobs they brought to their states and districts, EVEN THOUGH THEY DIDN'T SUPPORT THE BILL and like you call it a failure. Republican governors like Perry and Sanford get on their self-righteous horses proclaiming the evil of the stimulus and then when they think no one is looking, take the stimulus money to balance their budgets. Their hypocrisy is just stunning, but then they are republicans.

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

@HughJassPhD : n the above sentence, substitute the word "Republicans" for "Democrats" and visa-versa, and this describes the situation 4 years ago.

You reap what you sow. So stop whining and suck it up.

Factually, this is not true. Republicans have been far worse in terms of mounting cloture votes, not agreeing to unanimous consent (something that the dems almost never did) and using secret holds on appointees than the dems were in the aughts. Just sayin'

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Funny, the Dems win big in 2008 because of the economy, and now they are crying because the population is taking them to task over, guess what, the economy. Guess they are finding out that when in office, you own it and it certainly can be a double edge sword.

Posted by: fwillyhess | August 6, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Why wouldn't the Repubs be obstructionist. Most of the Stimulus went towards the Public sector, and that part given the Private sector favored heavily Demo districts. As far as the Health Care bill the same shenanigans happened. Nearly all the Repub proposals were voted down. Why would you expect the opposing party to vote for totally one sided bills. So much for Obama promising bipartisanship. Also, the latest tactic to always blame Bush is so lame. I'm not a fan of Bush, but this constant campaign rhetoric out of this WH is just chicken little crap. One need only look at the source of the Housing meltdown to see all trails lead to Fannie/Freddy and the loose polices enacted by the Clinton White House. The Banks were mandated to loosen up on mortgage risks. The bottom line to this President, grow up quit whining and start providing some leadership.

Posted by: tdpss2 | August 6, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Yeah absolutely you can save huge on your auto insurance by making these simple changes find how much you can save http://bit.ly/d4HSCH

Posted by: sharonjo6 | August 7, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

There is infighting among Democrats.

The White House does not seem to care if Republicans take control of the House and even the Senate.

They plan to run against it.

One problem.

If the Republicans control the House, they control the legislation.

They can set up legislation that is popular but too conservative for President Obama. Forcing him to veto it.

The economy will continue to lag as he vetos bill after bill after bill.

At the same time, he will face investigations.

The American People will not care if there is the potential of one-party Republican rule, if President Obama continues on his path.

Remember, in the 20th Century the Presidency was held by the GOP 52 years & Democrats 48 years.

People will change on a dime and throw you out as fast as they threw you into office.

People voting in 2008 for the first time may not understand that history does not begin the day you are born.

Look behind you.

Posted by: Washington13 | August 7, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Politics is the devil you know and crime is the devil you don't know.

Pick your posion.

Posted by: johste41762 | August 8, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Politics is the devil you know and crime is the devil you don't know.

Pick your posion.

Posted by: johste41762 | August 8, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Always the same clap-trap with you silly-socialists:
"Our legislative efforts would have been a complete success if only we were allowed to spend the treasuries of China, India, Hong Kong, Vietnam and the Solomon Islands"

Ah yes, a few football games and then bye-bye democrats.

Posted by: sosueme1 | August 8, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Here's the difference between FDR and Obama: FDR knew what he was doing and WOULD NEVER have handed the New Deal over to the Congressional Leadership, even though it was dominated by the Democrats in those days. He demanded that voters hold him accountable for results. By the end of 1935, 4 1/2 million men were working in WPA and CCC camps.

Registered Voters could SEE changes happening all around them. Obama and his men, entranced as they were with the magic of Beuracracy, never understood the need to produce timely results.

FDR, despite the fact that he screwed up the Second New Deal with price controls and tax increases, was saved in the end by Hitler and Tojo and the vast rearmament program that was needed to exterminate them. Obama has no such answer to his distress.

Other than higher taxes and medical services rationing for the middle class in the middle of a depression.

Nice going, Barack. You are no FDR.

Posted by: section9 | August 9, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

It can't be that increased restrictions, higher taxes, and a promise of higher costs for all energy and transportation were a problem for the economy; clearly they were the solution; just not implemented fast enough.

Yeah right.

Prove me wrong Greg, pay everyone who does any work for you 30% more to show the increased costs; pay triple your electricity, gas, and natural gas bills; and slow down your productive work by 10% to show the increased regulations.

By your measure, and Obama's then you'll be rich and ready to hire 4 new employees... by any rational person's measure you're financially screwed and lucky if you could keep the work force you have.

Oh, and since more is the answer, double all the costs, and the slowdown from regulations... even better, right?

But feel free to sell your kids into slavery, pawning all their future earnings now so you can keep going for another year... then you'll have the Obama economic plan perfectly applied to your own life.

Do you really think this can help anything anywhere ever?

Posted by: gekkobear1 | August 9, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

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