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More signs Beltway deficit hysteria is overblown

Gallup brings us still more evidence, as if we needed it, that the public ranks the economy and jobs as far more pressing than the deficit:

deficitgallup.JPG

The economy and jobs rank as the top two concerns at 30 and 28 percent. The deficit is way down at seven percent, barely higher than the number who think "dishonesty" is the country's most pressing problem.

There's an interesting thing to be noted about polling on the deficit, by the way. When people are asked about the deficit in isolation, they signal real concern. But when they are asked about the deficit in the context of other priorities, attitudes shift. Like the above Gallup poll, other polls have shown that the economy and jobs are far more pressing concerns.

What I've never seen pollsters ask is whether people would prefer to spend now to create jobs if it's understood that we can deal with the deficit later -- after the economy improves. What if pollsters asked this:

Some say the deficit is so urgent that it must be dealt with right now, by cutting government spending, even if it means cutting government programs and money spent in order to create jobs. Others say we should spend to create jobs now, and deal with the deficit later, after the economy improves and brings in more revenues. Which comes closer to your view?

I wonder how the public would respond if the question were framed that way.

By Greg Sargent  |  August 13, 2010; 1:59 PM ET
Categories:  economy  
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Comments

I'd like to see a real effort in solar energy in this country. I'm talking about a 50 billion public/private partnership to build up the grid and put in place some real jobs in this country. An effort like this could really put us on the right track.

Of course it'll never happen because the API and the coal industry has completely corrupted our Congress.

So, instead, China and Europe are taking the lead while our dumb politicians further drive our country into uncompetitiveness.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | August 13, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Watch it Greg: you are asking for a rational approach to setting up the questions that whoulc be included in a poll. I wonder why so many polls tend to reinforce particular memes. We seem to have to have a poll to decide whether we should cross a highway on a particular day.

Posted by: bitterpill8 | August 13, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: Related. Pollster took a look at a similar question as yours:

"My guess is that most Americans see the unemployment and the deficit as complementary problems, and that only a few see the conflict that many economists do between cutting deficits and stimulating job growth. So it can be confusing for many Americans when pollsters ask them to choose. I’d wager that many want to ask, “why can’t we do both?”

http://www.pollster.com/blogs/divergent_polls_deficits_vs_sp.php

"Which comes closer to your own view?

(46%) The federal government should spend money to create jobs, even if it means increasing the budget deficit

(47%) The federal government should NOT spend money to create jobs and should instead focus on reducing the budget deficit.

Posted by: sbj3 | August 13, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Greg, this comes close to what you're looking for. Americans understand the challenges we face a lot better than people give them credit for. No one who supports spending now to end the unemployment crisis doesn't also understand that the deficit needs to be cut. I guess the disagreement is how to cut the deficit, on the backs of the middle class and seniors or not.......

Check out the last graph.....

* More people support a message that embraces the need for both investments in our future and reduce the deficit over time (52 percent) than a message that only stresses cuts in spending (42 percent). Also, almost equal percentages of respondents were favorable toward “a plan to invest in new industries and rebuild the country over the next five years” (60 percent) and “a plan to dramatically reduce the deficit over five years” (61 percent).
* 62 percent of respondents support more federal to states once they understand that the aid comes in the context of states laying off teachers, first responders and other essential workers due to the recession. That includes 55 percent of independents and 48 percent of Republicans.
* 60 percent of those surveyed responded positively to an economic message that said that “we have a budget deficit, but … we also have a massive public investment deficit” that requires us to “rebuild the infrastructure that is vital to our economy” and to the economic growth that will “generate revenues to help pay down the budget deficit.” This message tests better than any other progressive message on investment as well as more conservative messages focused on spending cuts.

http://www.ourfuture.org/report/2010083211/deficits-and-economic-recovery

Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

the problem with that pollster.com question is missing the key ingredient: making it clear that you can address the deficit later, after the economy improves.

lmsinca's comes closer, I'd say

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 13, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

OT but two must see items for the day for anyone who hasn't.

Gohmerts terrorist babies conspiracy freakout.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_08/025193.php

and

Melancon's commercial about Vitter's prostitution, voting against rights for women raped at the job and voting against equal pay for women.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/08/melancons-new-serious-sins-ad-asks-voters-to-consider-david-vitter-on-women-video.php#comments

Posted by: mikefromArlington | August 13, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Spot on Greg. I had a desired poll question of my own that I havent' seen. "With Republicans repeatedly blocking unemployment extensions and jobs bills, are you more likely to vote Republican or less likely"? I really hate the polls that are done because they never ask the really pertinent questions. Just like that stupid poll question from CNN about the Mosque that isn't actually a Mosque. By phrasing it that way you're already stacking the deck against what's really being built.

Posted by: roxsteady | August 13, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "The problem with that pollster.com question is missing the key ingredient: making it clear that you can address the deficit later, after the economy improves."

It's always "later" with you guys!

Anywho, that is a CBS question - not a Pollster question. The point at Pollster (and yours) was that the wording matters.

The problem with the GQR poll is that ... it's a GQR poll "commissioned by the Campaign for America’s Future and Democracy Corps, with support from MoveOn.org; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the Service Employees International Union."

I have read that campaign pollsters "have a track record of releasing polls which show very, uh, favorable results for their candidates."

Posted by: sbj3 | August 13, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"Later" like when Clinton was President?

What GOP President has balanced the budget?

Posted by: cmccauley60 | August 13, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

sbj, I think the point is that most Americans understand that the unemployment crisis is contributing to the deficit and needs to be solved before we go overboard with spending cuts. Do you disagree with that or just who sponsored the polls? No one was trying to hide source, but the results still have merit.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"It's always "later" with you guys!"

It's always NEVER with *you* guys.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 13, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

How does the GOP get away with blocking a bill called the "jobs bill"? How do they get away with campaigning for tax cuts for the rich? If America is concerned about jobs and the economy, why are they considering giving the keys back to the guys who wrecked both?

Posted by: soapm | August 13, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

@lmsinca: "sbj, I think the point is that most Americans understand that the unemployment crisis is contributing to the deficit and needs to be solved before we go overboard with spending cuts. Do you disagree with that?"

I do disagree with that. I'm more inclined to agree with Blumenthal: "Most Americans believe the economic policies their government has pursued have helped some sectors of the economy recover while leaving the middle class and unemployed behind." I think most people feel all of this deficit spending is helping others and not themselves personally. Given that belief, they'd like to see our government stop the spending. It has very little to do with WHEN to address the deficit and much more to do with the idea that the spending is not effective.

Also, I did not think you were trying to hide the source but I think you have to take the results of that poll with a grain of salt for obvious reasons.

Posted by: sbj3 | August 13, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

sbj, out of curiosity, which policies WOULD help the middle class do you think?

Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I know how I would reply to this question from Mr Sargent:
===================
Some say the deficit is so urgent that it must be dealt with right now, by cutting government spending, even if it means cutting government programs and money spent in order to create jobs. Others say we should spend to create jobs now, and deal with the deficit later, after the economy improves and brings in more revenues. Which comes closer to your view?

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

The premise of the question is flawed. It assumes that government spending creates jobs. Clearly the money washington has spent thus far has not improved the jobless rate, therefore the question is inappropriate.

Of course the other thing that Mr Sargent & Co miss is the example provided by Greece. Huge debt burdens and a government employee class that is outraged by the fact that it cannot have everything it wants. So when the debt exceeds our GDP and SEIU is demonstrating everywhere, the Americans are right to be concerned.

This just seems kinda self serving to me. The Democrats are hell bent to find a way to rationalize their spending spree.

Now the one retort from liberals is that when in power the Republicans also spent too much. Just a few things:
(1) We conservatives abandonned them. Many of us, including myself, still don't trust them.
(2) This is a childish rationale for doing something wrong. If it was wrong for the Republicans to do, it is wrong for the Democrats too. Why don't liberals understand that?
(3) The degree of extravagance cannot be ignored. Spending by DC has grown dramatically since Mr Obama's inauguration. It exceeded the comfort zone of many in America. Hence the backlash that has stunned the Democrats.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | August 13, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"It has very little to do with WHEN to address the deficit and much more to do with the idea that the spending is not effective."

Ridiculous fact-free spew.

SBJ and the Republicans think economics should be guided by gut feeling alone. Put your finger in the air. If the breeze is blowing from the left then we hate all spending. If it's blowing from the right we need to cut taxes on the rich.

It couldn't be more idiotic. I was going to say disingenuous but clearly SBJ doesn't have the faintest idea what he's talking about so he can't possibly be trying to deceive us intentionally. It's just rank blind stupidity.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 13, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

But Ethan, where are the jobs we were promised by Obama and Roemer?

When will John Maynard Keynes be proved right?

Here's this conservatives economic view: leave the money in the hands of the people who EARNED IT.

Seems simple enough to me.

Hey, where's that force you threatened me with last week? is this it, snarky comments on a WaPo thread?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | August 13, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"Clearly the money washington has spent
thus far has not improved the jobless rate"

Clear to who, skippy? It seems clear to everyone in the real world that if there had been no spending, we would now be in a depression. That the spending has not created a booming economy 18 months after the greatest financial meltdown since the 20's is evidence only that we should be spending more.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | August 13, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Skippy thinks Herbert Hoover was a genius!

Posted by: cmccauley60 | August 13, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"where are the jobs we were promised by Obama and Roemer?"

How many times...

FORECAST.
FORECAST.
FORECAST.
FORECAST.
FORECAST.
FORECAST.
FORECAST.

Say it with me:

FORECAST.

It was an ESTIMATE you fool not a PROMISE.

This has been debunked a THOUSAND FREAKING TIMES.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/jul/13/george-will/will-obama-said-stimulus-would-cap-unemployment-8-/

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/jul/09/eric-cantor/Cantor-and-other-republicans-say-obama-promised-s/

So which is it, are you STUPID or are you a LIAR?

Which is it? Because it's one or the other.

Either way it shows that your arrogance and ego prevent you from understanding what you are talking about before you open your mouth. You know, behavior you learn in GRADE SCHOOL.

So which is it? Are you STUPID or a LIAR?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 13, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I take it back, Skippy. Everyone in the global economy (which is everyone) knows that the recession was WORSE THAN EXPECTED.

So that means that you are *BOTH* STUPID *AND* A LIAR. Not mutually-exclusive.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 13, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

@lmsinca: "sbj, out of curiosity, which policies WOULD help the middle class do you think?"

That's a toughie, lms.

We could start by extending the tax cuts - but also pay for them by reducing spending. We could actually do something to shore up Social Security so that there is a sense out there that there will be money to assist with my retirement. We could stop kicking the can down the road when it comes to entitlement spending and actually make some tough decisions. We could do something to restore 401k accounts. We could take another look at a temporary payroll tax freeze.

I am not an economist or politician - we elect people to get the answers to these questions and I don't think they have done a good job so far. I'm in the majority when it comes to that opinion.

It's obvious that folks here are convinced that Obama and the Dems have done a great job saving us all from disaster, but many people disagree.

Posted by: sbj3 | August 13, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

cmc: "Skippy thinks Herbert Hoover was a genius!"

Yup, and George Bush the Lesser, too, even though his 8 years produced $2k average loss in middle class incomes, a higher poverty rate, and not enough job creation to keep pace with population growth. Yup, we need more of all that. More! MORE!

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 13, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"Here's this conservatives economic view: leave the money in the hands of the people who EARNED IT."

Alrighty, tax cuts and trickle down economic theory. I'm sure we all want to try that again. What about de-regulation? Where do you stand there?

Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"We could start by extending the tax cuts - but also pay for them by reducing spending."

How does this help the middle class? It doesn't.

"We could actually do something to shore up Social Security"

What do you mean "shore up" SS?

Explain yourself. Cut the BS SBJ. You don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about.

"We could stop kicking the can down the road when it comes to entitlement spending and actually make some tough decisions"

You mean like Medicare? HCR extended the lifetime of the Medicare Trust Fund. You OPPOSED HCR, REMEMBER?

"We could do something to restore 401k accounts"

401k is tied to the stock market. The stock market is -- RIGHT NOW -- where it was from 2003-2006. I'm sure back then you were just as worried, right?

lmsinca asked you how you would help the middle class. You've ignored her question entirely and instead treated us with G-A-R-B-A-G-E.

Your ideology and its failure of logic on EVERY SINGLE ISSUE is obvious to everyone who isn't a Republican Tea Party Willfully Ignorant Dittohead mad at the world including and especially anyone who isn't a white Christian conservative.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 13, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I'll say what everyone's thinking right now.

Ethan2010, your'e behaving like a complete Do*chebag. Disagreement does not mean malice. Didn't grade school teach you civility?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | August 13, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

sbj: "We could start by extending the tax cuts - but also pay for them by reducing spending."

Name your spending cuts.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 13, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Gee whiz Troll. I guess it doesn't matter that nobody on the right is willing to be honest or actually know the facts.

Shows what you and the GOP think is important.

Attack me for having the guts to tell you liars off. I'm sick of all of you. Your freaking lies.

EXAMPLE, TROLL:

"wahhh obama PROMISED 8%"

It's BEEN DEBUNKED!!!!!!!

FOR OVER A WHOLE YEAR!!!!!!!!!

OVER A WHOLE YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 13, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

When you stop making arguments based on LIES, is when I start being civil to you FREAKING IDIOT PUNKS.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 13, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Ya know Ethan2010, when everybody around you seems lik an a**hole, maybe you're the a**hole. I know it may be tough to understand, with no caps and all.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | August 13, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm "an a**hole" because I'm wrong?

No, I'm "an a**hole" because Republicans lie repeatedly on every single issue and you have no defense.

Fricking pathetic.

So tell me, Troll, did Obama PROMISE that unemployment wouldn't go above 8%?

Tell me. I just want to hear you lie one more time.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 13, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

@sbj

"We could start by extending the tax cuts - but also pay for them by reducing spending."

Well at least you don't agree with Republicans there because they just want to extend them period. And we've all seen how that ballooned the deficit. Pay for them with what exactly? And do you really think the top 5% couldn't afford to go back to the Clinton years without being too terribly poor because of it. They've enjoyed the ride I know, but it didn't ever help the middle class and I doubt it would in the future.

"We could actually do something to shore up Social Security so that there is a sense out there that there will be money to assist with my retirement."

Since SS is good at least until 2037 it looks like we don't need to cut benefits at all and just a minor tweaking of the tax cap should take care of that for you.

"We could stop kicking the can down the road when it comes to entitlement spending and actually make some tough decisions."

Dems made an effort to curb Medicare with the HCR bill you didn't like. They could have done more such as negotiating drug prices etc. I have the feeling we'll be seeing that again, at least I hope so, along with drug re-importation. Special interests still rule so while I applaud some of the efforts they sure weren't enough. I forget right now which policy Republicans/conservative/libertarians had to address the medicare problem. Oh yeah vouchers. That went over like a lead balloon.

"We could do something to restore 401k accounts. We could take another look at a temporary payroll tax freeze." 401k's have probably stagnated again until the unemployment crisis ends and consumers begin spending, we've still got too much debt for that, and you had a payroll tax break in the Recovery Act you thought was pretty worthless because it was too small. Sheesh. Middle class taxes are as low as they've been in a long time, but we're still broke or jobless. We need to do whatever we can to put people back to work ASAP.

Any other ideas?

Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Your question falsely assumes that we can trust the government to "deal with the deficit later." Look at what happened the last time we had a surplus. And you think we can trust the Democrats to do the right thing when the time comes? The Dems have simply proven that they can take the Republicans' fiscal irresponsibility and take it to a new level. The Republicans spent to favor their base, and the Dems are doing exactly the same thing.

Posted by: jeffreybryan | August 13, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Tell me, Troll, did the Obama Admin PROMISE that unemployment wouldn't go above 8%?

C'mon, let's hear it.

Did they or didn't they?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 13, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Where are the jobs ethan? Where are they? When will the trillion that Obama, Reid and Pelosi spent result in a decline in unemployment.

The answer is simple: it won't. It never would. Keynes was wrong, and for a simple reason: the government doesn't spend its own money. It spends ours. so when you guys talk about "stimulus" what you're really talking about is taking money from the folks that actually have a job.

the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high. the Democrats and liberals are pushing the envelop of sophistry trying to rationalize what is clearly failure. For example, take a look at Ezra "the home of the journ o list" Klein's blog entries for today.

the American people aren't going to buy your sophistry. They heard 8% and they will stick with it. 9.5% ain't 8% and the Democrats are going to pay.

Demostrating childishness in my general direction won't change the facts as they stand. The stimulus failed. Period. Paragraph.

and in response to this:
=================
Alrighty, tax cuts and trickle down economic theory. I'm sure we all want to try that again. What about de-regulation? Where do you stand there?

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

I didn't say any of those things. I'm mentioning one of the basic tenants of America: private property.
lmsinca seems to think that all money earned by Americans is rightfully the property of the state. Therefore letting those who earn money keep it is an affront.

that's just plain offensive. This has nothing to do with "trickle down" and everything to do with the fundamentals of a capitalist democracy. You earn what you earn based on your merit and your choices.

Only the liberals see it differently. They want to confiscate money from productive people so they can give it to non productive people. Look where that's gotten us limsinca. socialism sucks. As the folks who survived it in eastern Europe. Why do you want that here?

As for regulation just a couple of thoughts:

(1) Right now the standing government in America generates approximately 68,000 new federal register pages each year. That's new regulation. Note that this is NOT new law. If we're going to have sensible regulation, congress must end its abdication of its responsibilities and bring the bureaux to heel.

(2) Regulation should be approved by the people as noted in (1) above. Regulation must demonstrate a need and a positive cost/benefit.

(3) The regulatory scheme will always fail. And it will always fail in a singularly spectatular way. We've seen two such spectacular failures recently: the SEC and the MMS. Why anyone would continue to put their faith in regulation escapes me.

(4) 68,000 new federal register pages each year is not laissez faire capitalism, nor is it freedom.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | August 13, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Troll: "I'll say what everyone's thinking right now."

You speak for yourself alone.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 13, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

...
I am not an economist or politician - we elect people to get the answers to these questions and I don't think they have done a good job so far. I'm in the majority when it comes to that opinion.

It's obvious that folks here are convinced that Obama and the Dems have done a great job saving us all from disaster, but many people disagree.

Posted by: sbj3 | August 13, 2010 3:39 PM
=======================

Either you need to be an expect to answer the questions, or you don't and you can rely on public opinion polls. You seem to be arguing both sides.

I'm not an economist, but my degree is in Economics and I've worked in finance since getting out of college (in 1981, for the sake of tao9 who seems to be confusing Sadly, No! with 4chan). So with that appeal to authority, here's my opinion!

The biggest danger I see ahead is deflation.

http://www.thenation.com/article/38063/deflation-not-deficit-real-threat

I find arguments that the stimulus didn't do anything because the current level of unemployment is high absurd. Without the stimulus, unemployment would be even higher. Period. It's far easier to make the case that the Bush tax cuts didn't help create jobs because we have the historical record...even before the real estate bubble burst, the Bush job creation record was abysmal.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/055266.php

You don't cut government spending when the economy is faced with falling demand and rising unemployment...tax revenues will decline as fast or faster and you'll end up in a deflationary spiral.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 13, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

jeffrey, except for one small fact that you left out, it was a Dem president that gave us the surplus. Unfortunately, he also followed the advice of Rubin and Greenspan and de-regulated the financial system, which Republicans used for their own personal casino on Wall Street then got the taxpayers to bail them out AND then fought financial reform tooth and nail while the banks foreclosed on the loans that made them all that money. The entire episode was a freaking nightmare which I'd just as soon not have again in this lifetime.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, this is wrong:
====================
You mean like Medicare? HCR extended the lifetime of the Medicare Trust Fund. You OPPOSED HCR, REMEMBER?

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

HCR will not extend the life of Medicare. This is not my opinion. It is the opinion of Medicare's own Office of the Actuary. If you want to hurl insults in their general direction here are two names: John D. Shatto and M. Kent Clemens.

Once again the Obama administration misstated the opinions of others. Remember the Salazar fiasco with the moratorium? this is yet another example of how the admin lies to people It is sad that you've bought into it.

For specifics I suggest that you read the letter of august 5, 2010.

For example one of the "fixes" is a reduction of physician payments by 23%. Since congress has legislatively overridden prior payment reductions, the chances of this massive cut actually occurring is pretty thin.

Entitlement reform is mandatory for America. but it will be tough to do. What makes it even tougher is thoughtless demagoguery.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | August 13, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

@skip

"lmsinca seems to think that all money earned by Americans is rightfully the property of the state. Therefore letting those who earn money keep it is an affront."

No, that's not what I said. I actually believe in capitalism but not the kind where the banks and Wall Street use our money to make their bets and then we get to pay them when they lose. What kind of capitalism was that again? I'm all for low taxes, like maybe like what we had in the Clinton years, but they shouldn't just grow the deficit and the wealth at the top. When the top 1%-5% of the population controls the majority of the wealth it makes it almost impossible for even industrious, educated, innovative and hard working Americans to improve their fortunes.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

"lmsinca seems to think that all money earned by Americans is rightfully the property of the state. Therefore letting those who earn money keep it is an affront. that's just plain offensive. This has nothing to do with "trickle down" and everything to do with the fundamentals of a capitalist democracy. You earn what you earn based on your merit and your choices. Only the liberals see it differently. They want to confiscate money from productive people so they can give it to non productive people. Look where that's gotten us limsinca. socialism sucks."

You can't possibly be that dumb. Please try again.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 13, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

No liberal that I've asked has been able to prove that an income disparity is ultimately bad for the society.

further, no liberal I've asked has been able to prove that there are structual barriers to wealth accumulation in America.

It is not easy to accumulate wealth in America. It never was. It never will be.

so what? Let's be sure we're actually talking about a real life problem before you march off to confiscate the private property of the citizens.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | August 13, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"Where are the jobs ethan? Where are they? When will the trillion that Obama, Reid and Pelosi spent result in a decline in unemployment."

AGAIN.

Check the jobs data from the BLS. Here is the chart:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/apriljobs.jpg

Here is an unemployment rate chart:

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/Economics/Unemployment-Rate.aspx?Symbol=USD

FACT: We are back creating jobs

FACT: Unemployment peaked in October 2009

FACT: More investment by both the private and public sectors means more future growth

All you have to do is LOOK FOR YOURSELF.

But you won't. Because you simply DON'T CARE.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 13, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

yeah Ethan, let's look at the BLS

First quote:
"Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 131,000 in July, and the unem-
ployment rate was unchanged at 9.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statis-
tics reported today. Federal government employment fell, as 143,000 temporary
workers hired for the decennial census completed their work. Private-sector
payroll employment edged up by 71,000."

Next quote:
"Both the number of unemployed persons, at 14.6 million, and the unemployment
rate, at 9.5 percent, were unchanged in July. (See table A-1.)"

Next quote:
"In July, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and
over) was little changed at 6.6 million. These individuals made up 44.9 per-
cent of unemployed persons. (See table A-12.)"

Where are the jobs Ethan.

let me quote Joe BiteMe:

Its a three letter word J.O.B.S.

I went and looked. And, can you Imagine? I was right.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | August 13, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"No liberal that I've asked has been able to prove that an income disparity is ultimately bad for the society. further, no liberal I've asked has been able to prove that there are structual barriers to wealth accumulation in America. It is not easy to accumulate wealth in America. It never was. It never will be. so what? Let's be sure we're actually talking about a real life problem before you march off to confiscate the private property of the citizens."

You ARE that dumb. But it's nice to see that St. Ronnie's Drunken Morning in America Dream lives on, at least in your mind.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 13, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"Let's be sure we're actually talking about a real life problem before you march off to confiscate the private property of the citizens."

The sad thing is you don't care one iota how wrong you are. You don't even bother to find out the truth of what you're talking about. It's just ignorance and stupidity full steam ahead.

As someone who cares about this country and cares about doing the right thing for ALL AMERICANS, your pathetic stream of lies and ignorant statements combined with that obnoxious, arrogant elitism about "LIBERALS" -- about whom you know NOTHING -- absolutely sickens me.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 13, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

skip

I have to get back to work, but when I'm done I'll show you the increasing gap in income disparity and how it's grown, more than doubled just since the 80's. Without a strong middle class to purchase goods and services it's in no one's best interest to fall back into supply side economics and tax cuts for the wealthy.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

"Where are the jobs Ethan."

They are in America.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 13, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"I'd like to see a real effort in solar energy in this country. I'm talking about a 50 billion public/private partnership to build up the grid and put in place some real jobs in this country. An effort like this could really put us on the right track. Of course it'll never happen because the API and the coal industry has completely corrupted our Congress. So, instead, China and Europe are taking the lead while our dumb politicians further drive our country into uncompetitiveness."

Bravo! I agree one billion percent. Model it on the moon launch.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 13, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

This is the standard bureaucrat's answer when faced with a failure:
===============
Without the stimulus, unemployment would be even higher. Period.
==================

yeah, right. since the person who wrote this is engaging in pure speculation, there is no reason to believe a word of it. It can't be proved wrong. But it can't be proved right either.

This is just more rationalization in the face of an expensive and massive failure of Obama's nostrums.

Then there's this:
==============
You can't possibly be that dumb. Please try again
===================

this is what passes for liberal thought these days. No facts, no proof, no nothing. Just another ad hom attack.

Why would Americans flock to follow nasty people like that guy? simple answer: they won't

See ya in november pallie. Till then, stay classy!

Posted by: skipsailing28 | August 13, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"this is what passes for liberal thought these days. No facts, no proof, no nothing. "

You are a pathological liar.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 13, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Doctrinaire free market purism is simply too ridiculous to discuss. Sorry. Drop in again when you come back to reality.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 13, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

It's worth noting again that a principle difference between the American political left and right, is that the latter seems to do a much better job organizing people to call their senators and House rep's. And since a national poll doesn't necessarily tell you how an issue is playing in a particular state or congressional district, congress-critters are still prone to relying on mail and phone calls to their offices (particularly the latter I'm told) in trying to gauge the wishes of the people that they're ostensibly in Washington to represent (as disdainfully as we so often like to treat that concept) and whom most of them are going to have to face at the polls in November.

So yeah, I can see how it might be productive to reframe how the questions is asked -- might want to run that one by Kos and the Washington Post polling people in fact. But also, when was the last time any of us called our congressmen?

Posted by: CalD | August 13, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

http://www.rdwolff.com/content/rising-income-inequality-us-divisive-depressing-and-dangerous

Interesting graph at the link above.

It's ironic (and sad) to see the likes of skipsailing28 bemoaning the fortunes of the small percentage of Americans who have benefited from the last 30 years. Instead he blames the victims.

=>Dubbed “median wage stagnation” by economists, the annual incomes of the bottom 90 per cent of US families have been essentially flat since 1973 – having risen by only 10 per cent in real terms over the past 37 years. That means most Americans have been treading water for more than a generation. Over the same period the incomes of the top 1 per cent have tripled. In 1973, chief executives were on average paid 26 times the median income. Now the multiple is above 300.<=

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/1a8a5cb2-9ab2-11df-87e6-00144feab49a.html

A certain group of Americans would volunteer their own family to live in a cardboard box under a bridge, and cook sparrows on an old curtain rod over an open fire, as long as people they consider undeserving in the next box over don't even get a sparrow.

Do you fit that description, skipsailing28?

Does the fact the that one in four of the US's largest corporations regularly pay no income tax to the IRS not bother you?

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/04/exxon-mobil-paid-zero-income-tax-offshore%20shelter-wal-mart-general-electric-forbes
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 13, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

skip is gone it looks like but I'll post a link also thunder, thanks btw.

"The gap in income between the wealthiest Americans and all others has grown strikingly in recent decades, the CBO data show. In 1979, when the data begin, the average after-tax incomes of the top 1 percent of households were 7.9 times higher than those of the middle fifth of households. By 2007, top incomes were 23.9 times higher than those of the middle fifth — a more than tripling of the income gap.

The gap between the top 1 percent and the poorest fifth of Americans widened even more sharply. In 1979, the incomes of the top 1 percent were 22.7 times higher than those of the bottom fifth. By 2007, top incomes were 74.6 times higher than those at the bottom — more than tripling the rich-poor gap in 28 years (see Figure 2).

The CBO data shown in Table 1 also show that between 1979 and 2007:

* The average after-tax income of the top 1 percent of the population nearly quadrupled, from $347,000 to over $1.3 million. As noted, this represented an increase of $973,100, or 281 percent, per household.
* By contrast, the average after-tax income of the middle fifth of the population rose from $44,100 in 1979 to $55,300 in 2007 — a relatively modest gain of $11,200 or 25 percent.
* The average after-tax income of the poorest fifth of the population rose from $15,300 to $17,700, an increase of $2,400 or 16 percent. [2]

The CBO figures show that the nation’s income has grown substantially since 1979; if this growth had been shared more broadly, most groups would have seen much larger gains. For the nation as a whole, after-tax household income increased 55 percent from 1979 to 2007, adjusted for inflation. If all groups’ incomes had grown by 55 percent, the average income of the bottom fifth of households would have been $23,710 in 2007 (rather than $17,700) and the average income of the middle fifth would have been $68,342 (rather than $55,300)."

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3220

Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

So you say the beltway is "hysterical" over deficits? I suppose it's because the stoooopid american people are hysterical, right? Well, you better add all of Europe, and Canada too. The overwhelming consensus is that the national debt is currently at $13 trillion (on track to reach $20T by 2016) and it's utterly unsustainable. Everyone believes this...except the american Left. The ideologues who crave a socialist utopia.

Posted by: JohnR22 | August 13, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

As a 54 year-old government worker looking forward to a long retirement starting next year at 90% of my current salary, I implore you Rethuglicans to quit your heartless obstructionism and PASS MORE STIMULUS!!!!

Think of the public unions. Please.

Posted by: EnvironMental | August 13, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Imsinca: If I were to say there should be no private property at all, and with that foundation let's now talk about how to solve today's national problems you would quite properly respond that my assumption was so mislaid that no reasonable discussion could be founded upon it. So with skip's dogmatic capitalism. Skip object to income tax, to progressive income tax, to social assistance, to everything that makes it possible to self-govern in a modern society. That assumption is as ridiculous as pretending that private property doesn't exist.

Now that is merely a point of logic. however, the larger matter is framing the national debate. So long as Republicans enter the debate with the presumption that no government action for the general welfare is permissible, as long as conservatives begin by arguing that all income taxes are presumptively illegitimate, no rational answer can emerge through normal mechanisms of compromise. In fact, I think this is precisely the strategy that the Republicans have employed since election day. It must end now. Reject outright essentially faulty premises. Refuse to permit right-wing extremism to set a border from whence compromise may obtain. Demand an honest starting place before negotiating.

I was out tonight listening to music my wife suggested. It was good, a beautiful might in Boston, and the music was bouncy and the crowd very young and exuberant, The curious thing is that both bands I heard were instrumental: nobody sang. In fact, no one on stage even said very much. And I was thinking: these kids have the same energy and vitality as young people did back in the 60s. But nobody is saying anything to them.

Someone should. I think they are ready to listen. I think Barrack Obama did and they listened. But since elected Barrack Obama has receded into the Washington DC muck and nobody can hear him anymore. I hope that changes.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 13, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

I agree. What is all this Deficit hysteria? There's a DEMOCRAT in the White House. We don't care about that stuff when there's a Democrat in the White House. You people have to get with the program.
We don't discuss the HOMELESS. That doesn't exist when we've got a DEM in the White House. We don't do the SOUP LINE stories, and we don't talk about UNEMPLOYMENT. Bank Failures, Foreclosures and Bankruptcy are also thing we don't discuss.
After all...We're in a Recovery Summer. Don't mess it up with a buncha stories about how BAD everything is.
Save it for the Republicans.

Posted by: GoomyGommy | August 14, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

How about something more honest that your proposed poll question. Something like:

"Some say the deficit is so urgent that it must be dealt with right now, by cutting government spending, even if it means cutting government programs and money spent in order to reward special interests which supported the winning side in the latest elections. Others say we should spend on special interests in order to reward them for having supported the electoral victors, and ignore the deficit until later, after the economy implodes. Which comes closer to your view?"

Posted by: ripol | August 15, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

@soapm: "How does the GOP get away with blocking a bill called the "jobs bill"?"

Ever watched Leave it to Beaver? Think Eddie Haskell.

"How do they get away with campaigning for tax cuts for the rich?"

If you understand the actual Republican argument (not agree, just understand) for tax cuts for the rich, then you'll understand how they get away with, because many voters either agree or see it as a non-issue.

"If America is concerned about jobs and the economy, why are they considering giving the keys back to the guys who wrecked both?"

Well, either they disagree with that assessment, or the Democrats are doing a really, really bad job of presenting themselves. Frankly, I tend to believe (I know others here disagree) that the Obama campaign way overpromised, and could never live up to its open-ended potential. As such, so many supporters are disappointed, they are likely to sit it out, while wild-eyes, frothing-at-the-mouth Republicans like myself are looking forward to get to the polls and "take back America".

This isn't a case of huge numbers of people deciding to vote for Republicans two years after handing the Democrats the keys--it's that the Democrat base is demotivated (which often happens when your party has all the power, yet doesn't seem to get anything done--just ask the Republicans in 2006) and the Republican base is motivated.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 17, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

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