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Weekend Open Thread

All, I'm heading out for the weekend, so you have the place all to yourselves. Keep it clean!

By Greg Sargent  | September 25, 2010; 8:15 AM ET
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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The other day Warren Buffet was interviewed on CNBC and he argued against extending the Bush taxcutsfortherich, although he did hedge on whether the cutoff point should be $250k or higher. However, I have always wondered, when the super-wealthy argue that they should be taxed more, why don't they just do it? If Buffet thinks his taxes are too low, why doesn't he pay into the treasury the amount that he thinks if the "right" amount, regardless of what tax law says he owes? There is nothing at all stopping him.

Also, there is absolutely no doubt that Berkshire Hathaway, and most likely even Buffet himself personally, employs tax accountants to manage his corporate and personal tax bills. Has he instructed them to do their best to maximize his (and Berkshire's) tax liability? Or do they do their best to minimize it?

I wish CNBC, or anyone really, would ask him these questions when they interview him about tax policy.

Greg...maybe you can do some real journalism for a change find out if Buffet tries to limit his tax liability while at the same time calling for government to increase taxes on others, including those who aren't nearly as wealthy as he is.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 25, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Ahhhh....the stupid is strong in this one:


"Evolution is a myth," O'Donnell said as the others piped up incredulously. She repeated herself, then added:

"Well then why aren't monkeys still evolving into humans?"

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/09/christine-odonnell-flashback-evolution-is-a-myth.php?ref=fpi

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 25, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I get the faith thing and all but believing in Genesis happening in the last 8000 years or whatever is neoconservatism at most. Even in countries such as Ireland and Italy, virtually 100% Catholic countries, literal interpretation of the Bible is much lower than say Catholics and Fundamentalist Christians here in the U.S.

I'm really fascinated by what's taken root here in the U.S. that didn't take root in Europe. Why has the Church here insisted on pushing such obviously untrue stories.

I guess it'll take time for many to realize science makes God unnecessary.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 25, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Weekend reading for anyone interested:

Paul Waldman on the Tea Party
http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=tea_party_standard

Dana Goldstein reviews Waiting For Superman
http://www.thenation.com/article/154986/grading-waiting-superman

Ari Berman's book comes out Tuesday
http://www.amazon.com/Herding-Donkeys-Democratic-American-Politics/dp/0374169705

Looks really interesting.

And another reason why re-electing freshman Rep. Mark Schauer (MI-7) should be a progressive priority:
http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/09/ex-rep-running-for-old-seat-i-dont-know-if-obama-is-muslim-or-born-in-us-audio.php

Posted by: michael_conrad | September 25, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Spencer S. Hsu:
"The Obama administration urged a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit over its targeting of a U.S. citizen for killing overseas, arguing that the case would reveal state secrets."
-------

Isn't it just amazing how conservative liberals become when they're the ones in power. LOL.

Posted by: Brigade | September 25, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Michael-

Thanks for the links. "Superman" was quite interesting.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | September 25, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@schrodingerscat

Your assessment reminded me of an angle on O'Donnell's prominence that hasn't received much coverage.

O'Donnell (along with Angle and Buck) emerged with even more extreme than usual GOP positions on social/cultural issues, just as an increasingly visible contingent in the party wants to a call a "true" on these very issues. Can the Republican establishment, or any meaningful segment of it, convey the "truce" while backing numerous candidates who ratchet up the crazy on women's reproductive health, LGBT rights, and teaching a literal translation of the Bible in a Science classroom? And do the more internally consistent self-styled "libertarians" in the coalition have a breaking point?

Paladino may be the most striking. His campaign is a visceral repudiation of George Pataki-ism. Paladino is running on criminalizing decisions between a woman and her doctor, even in cases of rape and incest... in New York. Clint Didier's backers want Dino Rossi to embrace similarly politically suicidal positions here in Washington.

Don't look now Mitch Daniels and company, but not only is a decisive majority of your activist base not interested in a "truce," they want an escalation. Extremist social conservative "libertarians" are all the rage these days (in more ways than one).

The GOP - An unholy alliance of the old testament and Ayn Rand.

Posted by: michael_conrad | September 25, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Brigade-

...and shows how mistaken (but fully intentional) the Right's hyperbole over Obama's supposed over-the-top liberalism is.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | September 25, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@Chuck

You're welcome.

Any thoughts on the film?

Posted by: michael_conrad | September 25, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Withholding states secrets isn't a conservative viewpoint.

Where do you folks get the idea its a partisan viewpoint?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 25, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

. Even in countries such as Ireland and Italy, virtually 100% Catholic countries, literal interpretation of the Bible is much lower than say Catholics and Fundamentalist Christians here in the U.S.
----------------------------------
I have a personal opinion about this. Being a cradle Catholic, and having attended twelve years of Catholic school, Catholics are taught that there is no conflict between reason and religion. We are not taught to believe the Bible literally. There is a long tradition of scholarship and science within the Church. That's not to say that the Church hasn't had its periods of craziness and denial of some scientific truths, but in general, the Church teaches one to seek information, not hide from it.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I should have said:

Being a cradle Catholic, and having attended twelve years of Catholic school, I think I have some personal experience in what Catholics are taught.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for addressing that 12BarBlues, I was just about to respond and you've more than taken care of it.

The only other thing I'll point out is that except for abortion issues, most Catholics on the ground share little similarities with their evangelical brethren, but are typically dragged down with the Fundies by most liberals.

Posted by: holyhandgrenaid | September 25, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse


Ahhhh....the stupid is strong(er) in this one:

http://washingtonscene.thehill.com/in-the-know/36-news/3169-rep-hank-johnson-guam-could-tip-over-and-capsize

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | September 25, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

@mike,

My own view of U.S. Catholicism is that Catholics here are not creationists. I have known a lot of Catholics, as you can imagine, have belonged to many parishes, in conservative as well as liberal states, and I never met ONE parishioner who claimed he was a creationist. Ditto to being a literal believer in the Bible. Not ONE. n Further, I have never heard a sermon that pushed either view. In fact, science and learning are highly regarded and are not inconsistent with a belief in God. There was a papal enclyclical on just that subject.

I'm not saying creationists and literalists don't exist. Maybe it's more of an east coast thing.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Umm Troll, I was going to point out that I read some story to that effect 6 months ago, but then it turns out the story is dated March 31st in your link. Could you try to be a little more timely perhaps?

Posted by: holyhandgrenaid | September 25, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The only other thing I'll point out is that except for abortion issues, most Catholics on the ground share little similarities with their evangelical brethren, but are typically dragged down with the Fundies by most liberals.
--------------------------------
Dear holy,

I am prolife which clearly comes from the foundation laid by my Catholic schooling. I also am pro-social justice. I hold both views from an ethical and religious point of view. I don't know this, but I would bet I am in the mainstream of U.S. Catholics. I doubt we have too much in common with Christian Fundamentalists.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

mike:

"I'm really fascinated by what's taken root here in the U.S. that didn't take root in Europe."

I'm fascinated by the liberal belief that religiosity in general and biblical literalism in particular is something new that is somehow growing ("taking root") in the US. Is there any evidence at all a literal belief in the bible is more widespread today in the US than, say, 20 or 50 or 100 or 200 years ago? I would venture to guess that the nation is less religious today, and certainly less inclined to believe in the bible as literally written, than at any time in our history. The very reason, I suspect, that such people are more noticeable (and notable) today than, say, 100 years ago, is that it has become a much less mainstream view than ever before.

To be sure, the US is definitely less secular than Europe has become, but religiosity, not secularism, is the historical norm for both places. Rather than Mike's characterization above, it makes far more sense to wonder why secularism has "taken root" in Europe at a faster pace than it has in the US.

As an aside, Mike's characterization is also interesting as a good example of the cognitive dissonance of "progressive" thinking which views itself as normative and opposition to it as deviating from the norm, despite the fact that "progressivism" by its very nature is a desire to move away from historical norms and standards rather than to "conserve" them.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 25, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Arguing that your guy is not as stupid as the other side's stupid guy is not a very smart argument.

All we know is that there are two stupid people.

So what. What is more interesting is whether anyone here is willing to follow a stupid person. What does that say?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

holy:

"Could you try to be a little more timely perhaps?"

You mean timely like the years old statements Greg keeps dredging up from O'Donnell? Timely like that?

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 25, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

12Bar:

"What is more interesting is whether anyone here is willing to follow a stupid person. What does that say?"

It could be saying just how utterly horrible the alternative to the stupid person is.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 25, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh, you think there is value in comparing stupid people? I don't. I'd rather not discuss the views of stupid people, whatever their relative stupidity. Seems like a huge waste of time, since no one would be willing to follow a stupid person. Right?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

You know, like "hey, I know you're stupid, but I LIKE how you think".

Gawd help us.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

"Umm Troll, I was going to point out that I read some story to that effect 6 months ago, but then it turns out the story is dated March 31st in your link. Could you try to be a little more timely perhaps?"

Why, did he suddenly get smarter?

"So what. What is more interesting is whether anyone here is willing to follow a stupid person. What does that say?"

Agreed, I was demonstrating your point. In the end though, determining stupid is subjective. I think, for example, that increasing Capital Gains taxes in the name of "fairness" is stupid, particularly when it causes revenue from said taxes to fall.  Smart people can say and do stupid things, in my opinion.  Doesn't make them stupid overall.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | September 25, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

12Bar:

"I'd rather not discuss the views of stupid people, whatever their relative stupidity."

Well, you are definitely out of step with your leftist brethren here, then. Clearly they, along with Greg, like to spend inordinate amounts of time discussing the views of people they consider stupid.

"Seems like a huge waste of time, since no one would be willing to follow a stupid person. Right?"

Well, not sure what you mean by "follow" a stupid person, but as I suggested, if the electoral alternative to a "stupid" person is bad enough, lots of people might be willing to vote for the "stupid" person.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 25, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Did any liberal/progressive here defend that guy, what was his name?, Alvin Greene? I don't think so. Alvin might be running on the Democratic ticket, but you don't hear anyone on this blog lift a finger to write to his defense. What defense could possibly be used that wouldn't make the writer sound a little weak in the upper carriage?

Like, oh, "at least he's not as DUMB as your guy". Or, "he's just like us, and that's why we like him". Or, how about this, "who says you have to be smart to be in Congress".

These are the lamest defenses in the world, because it says more about the writer than the person defended.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't waste my vote on a stupid person. People died to ensure my vote.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

This is amazing. Must read on DADT.

(Reuters) - A former U.S. Air Force flight nurse expelled from the military after revealing she is a lesbian was ordered reinstated by a federal judge on Friday in a closely watched court challenge to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

The American Civil Liberties Union, representing Major Margaret Witt in contesting her dismissal, has said that if returned to the service, she would be the first person to lawfully serve openly in the U.S. military as a homosexual.

"She should be reinstated at the earliest possible moment," U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton said as he spoke from the bench of his packed courtroom in Tacoma, Washington.

Witt's supporters erupted in applause, and some wiped tears of joy from their eyes.

Witt, 46, reacted to the news almost stoically at first, then broke into a wide smile.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE68M5X220100924

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 25, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

@TrollMcWingnut

You are walking in to a completely lopsided contest.

Rick Barber, Dale Peterson,Tim James, Phil Davison, Ernest J. Pagels, Michelle Bachmann, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, Basil Marceaux.com, Ilario Pantano... all of the Birthers and all of the Deathers... and all of the Austrian school kooks.

Louie Gohmert alone = game over.

It would take the mother of all crowd-sourcing efforts to get a handle on the endless stream of stupid coming from your side.

You have one dumb quote. Christine O'Donnell is like a one-person Stupid Factory. She probably says more extremely idiotic things in one day than the Rep. you mentioned has said in their entire life.

If you're tired of Wingnuts getting called stupid, why not urge them to... (wait for it)... Stop. Being. So. Stupid.

Or they could keep looking out for the Mice With People Brains riding on the backs of Jesus Horses urging people not to fap... and telling them to stop coddling people with HIV/AIDS because condoms spread STDs and homosexuality is a choice.

Posted by: michael_conrad | September 25, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

@ethan,

Are you following the DADT issue closely? I have not, I admit. Is there a backstory to all this? Did Congress know this case was at the edge of verdict, and wanted to get their vote in before the judiciary pushes the envelope?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I think that DADT is DOA at the Pentagon, and everyone knows it. I'll bet there are other cases coming down the pipeline that could push the Pentagon into changing their policy.

I wonder if the guys who are really out of synch here is Congress. I'm beginning to wonder if they are feeling like they better "run to get in front of the crowd, because we're their leaders".

Not that they've gotten off the bench yet.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Is it possible that's why the Senate held the DADT vote, even though it lost, to get the votes on the record? For the campaign?

I wondered why they held a vote that wouldn't carry the day. They don't usually do that.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"Umm Troll, I was going to point out that I read some story to that effect 6 months ago, but then it turns out the story is dated March 31st in your link. Could you try to be a little more timely perhaps?"

Why, did he suddenly get smarter?

"So what. What is more interesting is whether anyone here is willing to follow a stupid person. What does that say?"

Agreed, I was demonstrating your point. In the end though, determining stupid is subjective. I think, for example, that increasing Capital Gains taxes in the name of "fairness" is stupid, particularly when it causes revenue from said taxes to fall.  Smart people can say and do stupid things, in my opinion.  Doesn't make them stupid overall.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | September 25, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Smart people can say and do stupid things, in my opinion.
--------------------------------------
Are we still talking about Christine O'Donnell?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Whoops! Double post. It makes the following even more poignant.

michael_conrad,

Thank you for pointing out that disagreement with you equals stupidity. I bow to your superior intellect. 

May I be your pet?5

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | September 25, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

And to answer all doubt about my position, I don't think O'Donnell is stupid.  I would vote for her over the Marxist guy.  I'm looking for reliable votes to first, defund Obamacare, and second, repeal it when he's voted out of office. I'm taking it on faith that she means what she says and will vote to do that.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | September 25, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@troll,

Thanks for having the courage to simply state your views about Christine.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

" I'm looking for reliable votes to first, defund Obamacare, and second, repeal it when he's voted out of office."

Do Republicans have any policies that WON'T increase the deficit?

Posted by: DDAWD | September 25, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I love the logic some of our right wing reactionary friends utilize when carping against the 3% additional the wealthiest 2% of our society might have to pay.

In order to support such a tax increase the supporter first of all has to totally avoid all the accounting mechanisms the wealthy use in their tax avoidance and in fact simply donate extra to the government. Aside from the intellectual absurdity of this argument it is also wildly hypocritical for "most" of our reactionary friends who make that argument.

If you accept such logic does it not also then stand to reason that if you are for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan you must volunteer to serve on the front lines where the danger is greatest.

Does that not make Dick 5 deferment chicken hawk Cheney one of the most incredibly hypocritical cowards to live in the U.S. He's all for war...oohhhh unless he has to do some of the fighting.

By the logic of our two right wing reactionary friends if you support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan you should be right there on the front lines serving along with the brave men and women who are doing the fighting for our reactionary friends.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

There are at least two posters here who through their incredible arrogance and hubris have arrived at the conceit that while THEY are able to articulate arguments from the progressive point of view as well as their own conservative viewpoint...progressive bloggers cannot possibly comprehend and articulate debate from the conservative point of view. The arrogance and hubris behind that viewpoint is simply stunning.

I can't speak for all progressives but until a decade or so I was as conservative and reactionary as any blogger on this site. Perhaps that is why I sometimes become strident and even hyperbolic in my posts. There is no anti-smoker more dogmatic than a former smoker...no teetotaler more sincere than the former alcoholic.

But I'll bite...perhaps our all knowing..all wise reactionary friends can explain the difference between the Bush doctrine for nations and what I'd describe as the Bush doctrine for individuals...other than the obvious of course...one is for nations the other is individual.

Bush doctrine at work in the neighborhood...
My neighbor and I have quarreled in the past. I hear from another neighbor that a friend of a friend has told him that my neighbor has just purchased a shotgun and is prepared to use it to kill me. I see my neighbor in his back yard with a shotgun. Of course under the Bush doctrine I then have the existential right to lob a grenade into my neighbor's house and take him out before he can kill me.
Ohhh and if I happen to also kill his wife and infant twins...well..unfortunate..but that is simply written off as collateral damage.

Is this not a perfect example of the Bush doctrine at the individual level?

I'll let our all knowing reactionaries explain how this behavior is different from one sovereign nation attacking another without any more provocation than "intelligence". Self defense no longer has any meaning in the World since the advent of the Bush doctrine. Anybody WE deem to be a threat is fair game!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

@rukidding,

You are still willing to engage with those who hold progressives in such contempt, but I'll admit, I'm having trouble. What is the point in debating with someone who views my intellect as substandard and defective, not because I was born that way, but because of an ideological lean. Apparently, if I leaned the other direction, my mind would improve.

Get real. I don't view people who disagree with me as mentally defective, and if I did, I would not blame them for avoiding me like the plague.

I'm beginning to see the pointlessness of political blogs as a tool to sharpen one's knowledge. They seem to be the venue for angry people to try to lord it over their opponents. I didn't come here for that.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

" Smart people can say and do stupid things, in my opinion. "

I agree. But do you want to know what a sure fire sign of stupidity is? Forming an opinion on a subject that one obviously has not even the barest of knowledge about.

For O'Donnell to ask the question she did, demonstrates that she doesn't even have the most basic knowledge or understanding of evolutionary theory....yet she's comfortable making some sort of judgement about it. That tells me that she lacks intellectual curiosity, skepticism, and the self-awareness to understand that she doesn't even know what she doesn't even know. So, yes - I think that makes her less than bright.

I guess some people are comfortable with that as long as she votes the "right" way. I might be naive and optimistic, but I've always thought that this country's best hope was to have the best and brightest trying to solve our problems - even if that occasionally required me to vote against my ideological leanings. To each his own, I suppose.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 25, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

@12BarBlues

"I'm beginning to see the pointlessness of political blogs as a tool to sharpen one's knowledge. They seem to be the venue for angry people to try to lord it over their opponents. I didn't come here for that."

I also share this sentiment. But then I'll learn something new on this blog...sometimes from the left..sometimes the right (we do have thoughtful conservatives like Kevin W, tao9, Brigade and others and some who don't wish to be defined by us like sold2u).

I certainly take your point about some...perhaps the majority...definitely a significant % of posters who cannot bear the thought they might be mistaken. I've made my share of mistakes on this blog and have offered apologies (where warranted), corrections or accepted somebody's point.

I'm reminded of a situation with my elderly mother-in-law. She was griping to my wife that everytime she called my sister-in-law the phone had been busy for the past week...something must be wrong with the phone. My wife asked to watch my mother-in-law dial...and quickly observed that my mother-in-law had been dialing her own number...hence the busy signal. My mother-in-law's reaction. She broke down crying...the humiliation of being WRONG was so overwhelming that something as trivial as a misdialed number brought her to tears. We have many posters like my mother-in-law.

I hope you do not leave our blog in frustration 12bar. Your's has been a voice of reason and honesty. Contrary to those two posters who claim we can't understand THEIR point of view...I believe we can. I understand what made my mother in law cry. I understand why a man who claims a Summa Cum Laude diploma from Stanford can be so reactionary. I understand it, but like you it does frustrate me.

And lest anyone think I'm hurling "reactionary" around as a perjorative without meaning...much as the righties hurl socialist/communist etc...I use this word literally and with understanding of not only what it means but what it FEELS like...been there done that!

For clarification...

re·ac·tion·ar·y

1. of, pertaining to, marked by, or favoring reaction, esp. extreme conservatism or rightism in politics; opposing political or social change.

I use the term describing certain posters here in the sense of opposing social change.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

@S's Cat

"she lacks intellectual curiosity, skepticism, and the self-awareness to understand that she doesn't even know what she doesn't even know. So, yes - I think that makes her less than bright."

You realize I'm sure that you've also written the perfect description of Sarah Palin. But then virtually everybody has already jumped on the comparison of O'Donnell to Palin. Actually IMHO she's far far more attractive physically than Palin, and is certainly able to handle the English language in a fashion that is far superior to Palin...realizing of course that is faint praise indeed. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

"I love the logic some of our right wing reactionary friends..."

You might, if you actually understood it. Obviously, you do not.

"In order to support such a tax increase the supporter first of all has to totally avoid all the accounting mechanisms the wealthy use in their tax avoidance and in fact simply donate extra to the government."

Certainly there is a contradiction when a person declares that his tax rate is not high enough, yet he does his best to minimize the tax he pays. I can't make you see that contradiction, but it is there for any reasonably intelligent, honest person to see.

"If you accept such logic does it not also then stand to reason that if you are for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan you must volunteer to serve on the front lines where the danger is greatest."

No. The proper analogy would be if one insisted that people like himself should be drafted into the army, but did his best to avoid being drafted. That would clearly be a contradiction on the order of a wealthy man insisting that he (and others like him) pay too little in taxes, but then attempting to pay the least amount of taxes legally possible.

"Does that not make Dick 5..."

No, it doesn't.

"There are at least two posters here who..."

Why do you so awkwardly avoid saying our names? Will you soon be referring to us as "those who must not be named" or "you know who"? How childish can you be?

"...progressive bloggers cannot possibly comprehend and articulate debate from the conservative point of view."

No, that is not what qb said and not what I agreed with. It is certainly possible for progressives, some of them anyway, to comprehend and hence articulate a conservative point of view honestly. It is just that, for some reason, they don't. They don't take the time to understand what conservatives are saying, and hence when they argue against them they are arguing largely against phantoms of their own making.

I haven't the slightest idea what the purpose of your whole Bush doctrine diatribe is. However, the difference between individuals in a society and nations in the world is quite obvious.

Individuals are subjugated in their authority to act in particular instances to the authority governing the society in which they live. Hence, if I suspect my neighbor of planning to kill me, I go to the police for protection. That is precisely why the police exist.

Nations, however, are the ultimate sovereign. There is no authority existing over them. There is no one to go to for protection. Nations must protect themselves, in whatever way they deem necessary. This is precisely why wars oftentimes occur. If one nation threatens another, for whatever reasons (good or bad), there is no overarching authority with overwhelming coercive power to arbitrate the conflict and force a solution on the two nations, as there is with conflicts between individuals within a nation.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 25, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

"I use the term describing certain posters here in the sense of opposing social change."

What "social change" do you suppose I oppose?

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 25, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I simply ignore posters who have contempt for me. I think that's just common sense. However, the list of posters who are contemptuous is getting rather long. And the list who isn't, is getting rather short. That doesn't cover everyone--there are the crazies and the one-issue folks. Everyone avoids crazies. Unless the one issue is mine too, I'm not into the one-issue folks.

I'm not your garden variety liberal, for example, I am prolife. This is so jarring to some conservatives that I've been called names and a liar while they scour the archives for some proof that I'm not. Since I've ALWAYS been prolife, and have always said so, I'm not on the defensive about it. But, the point is that posters so compartmentalize their opponents that one thing that doesn't fit, and wow! WWIII.

But, most people are complex and hold views from both sides of the ideological spectrum. For a person who embodies liberal and conservative views to appear on this blog is hardly a world shaking event, since there are a lot of us.

While it deflates my ego that I am not seen as a complex individual, but rather as a type, that's only part of the reason for my discouragement. The other reason is the sheer waste of time spent discussing issues with someone who is contempuous of me. I thought that crap was done once out of elementary school.

But, I will agree that I do learn things from blogs. I learned to be far more sensitive to the folks in New Orleans during the Great Gusher, for example, and had to admit I wasn't really "walking a mile in their shoes".

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

@ScottC

"Certainly there is a contradiction when a person declares that his tax rate is not high enough, yet he does his best to minimize the tax he pays. I can't make you see that contradiction, but it is there for any reasonably intelligent, honest person to see."

I think you are the one lacking in comprehension here Scott. I hardly believe that Buffet was simply referring to HIS PERSONAL tax rate...but rather the tax rate of all people in a certain income status...which happens to include him.

That's certainly what I'm referring to when I talk about raising the taxes. It is intellectually ludicrous to think that ONE person's taxes/donations whatever..even Warren Buffet or the Koch Brothers are going to significantly impact our nation's budget.

"They don't take the time to understand what conservatives are saying,"

Actually SOME of us have taken that time...and in particular with you. You mentioned your fear of a society where those without "skin in the game"...recipients of government subsidies..non taxpayers...you can be more specific...because they are the majority basically get to take from the minority who earn the big bucks. I've conceded long ago in a post to you that I DO understand that fear and that it is not without some justification. I however do not look at life in such absolutes but rather more like a pendulum that constantly needs balancing. While I would certainly concede that we should pay attention to your fear, we are SOOO FREAKING FAR removed from that end of the spectrum that it borders on being intellectully dishonest to even bring it up. During a period in our history when the rich are literally becoming wealthier, and statistically the farther up the ladder you go..the more their wealth has increased in the past 30 years it's patently absurd to fear for the wealthy in our country. Again 1 out of 7 are living in poverty...can you at least agree that is a problem even if we disagree on the solution?

"The proper analogy would be if one insisted that people like himself should be drafted into the army, but did his best to avoid being drafted."

And how is Dick Cheney or you for that matter that different from me. Are we not all Americans responsible for our defense. I had a college deferment, I had opportunities to join the reserves or the N.G. unlike Cheney or Bush as a proud American I DID go to Vietnam. Seeing how chicken hawks like Cheney have made out doesn't exactly make me feel I made the best decision. Fighting wars without sacrifice is just another form of what you worry about in our tax code...no skin in the game CAN produce perverse results.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Scott C Continuing our discussion....

"Nations, however, are the ultimate sovereign. There is no authority existing over them. There is no one to go to for protection. Nations must protect themselves, in whatever way they deem necessary."

In other words you do not believe in the United Nations or acting in concert with other nations in the world...like our allies. Unilateralism is OK for us...doesn't that then by your definition make it OK for ALL the other "Sovereign Nations"?

For example...Sarah Palin was one of four people who campaigned for the top two offices in our nation. She is considered by those on the right and left as perhaps a 2012 Presidential candidate. She went on our most "popular" political network and talked about how going to war with Iran would be an advantage for Obama. The saber rattling against Iran has been endless not only by her..but folks like Bolton (also exploring a possible presidential run) Lizard Cheney and many other neo cons. We have ALREADY INVADED Iran's neighboring nation Iraq on FALSE PRETENSES. If you were an Iranian Scott by your logic they would certainly be within their rights under the Bush Doctrine to nuke us if they thought they could get away with it.

Seriously Scott...if you were an Iranian do you really think you'd find it that far fetched that either we or our client state Israel might attack?

The ONLY thing that prevents that is their fear of not just OUR retaliation but the World's reaction. But then Scott perhaps you are one of those who believe Might makes right.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I guess it'll take time for many to realize science makes God unnecessary.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 25, 2010 9:15 AM
-----

Interesting. I wonder how it does that? If we last long enough, there will probably be another paradigm shift or two or three in human knowledge along the way. The "science" of 1650 looks pretty primitive by today's standards, but in 1650, just like today, they thought everything was pretty well figured out except dotting a few i's and crossing a few t's. Three hundred years from now people will doubtless be laughing at some of the ideas we have today, but if the past is any indicator of the future, belief in God will not be one of them. Even physicists like Wheeler were doubtful that a material universe could actually "exist" in the absence of observation and intelligence.

I always get a tickle listening to atheists, especially since most of them are totally ignorant of the Christian doctrine that belief in God is not something you arrive at intellectually. It is innate. If God doesn't give it to you (grace), then there's nowhere else you can get it. A roomfull of blind people might think two guys talking about the sunset are crazy. If they were born blind then they obviously don't know what "seeing" amounts to. Becoming a Christian is sort of like winning the lottery. Just because your name isn't called doesn't mean there was no lottery and no winners. You don't believe in God; I'm sorry for you, but I can't help you.

The reason I oppose creationism being taught in school is the same reason I oppose many of the speculative "conclusions" reached from the "facts" of evolution. Any form of creationism taught would just be one group's "interpretation" of evidence as opposed to another group's. Modern doubt about a 6000 year old earth is not simply a reaction to Darwin and Lyell---as witness:

------------------------------
"For in these days [of creation] the morning and evening are counted until, on the sixth day, all things which God then made were finished, and on the seventh the rest of God was mysteriously and sublimely signalized. What kind of days these were is extremely difficult or perhaps impossible for us to conceive, and how much more to say!" (The City of God 11:6 [A.D. 419]).

"We see that our ordinary days have no evening but by the setting [of the sun] and no morning but by the rising of the sun, but the first three days of all were passed without sun, since it is reported to have been made on the fourth day. And first of all, indeed, light was made by the word of God, and God, we read, separated it from the darkness and called the light ‘day’ and the darkness ‘night’; but what kind of light that was, and by what periodic movement it made evening and morning, is beyond the reach of our senses; neither can we understand how it was and yet must unhesitatingly believe it" (ibid., 11:7).
---Augustine

Posted by: Brigade | September 25, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

@ScottC...Correct me here if I'm mistaken...perhaps you are for the social change I'm going to mention but simply don't agree on the method of achieving such change.

Let's start with something simple. A basic social change that already exists in EVERY civilized nation but ours.

Health care for everyone of our citizens!

How about a more equitable distribution of income? I'm not referring to a central committee that determines wages or wealth I'm talking about a group of policies that would lead to better balance. Not just tax code.

Example. CEO's now earn 8X more relative to workers wages than they did just a few decades ago. Is it your position Scott that CEO's have INCREASED their productivity 8 times faster than that of our workers...that they DESERVE these exhorbitant salaries. Or could it be possible that they have learned how to game the system...placing each other on their Board's of Directors..creating an incestuous situation where their pay just continually climbs...and their golden parachutes grow as well..so that a loser like Carly Fiorina or Rick Scott can get fired..and in Scott's case cost his company 1.7 BILLION in fines and yet walk away with hundreds of millions.

The tax code about which you are incredibly "reactionary" already subsidizes these perks for the wealthy.

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

U.S. taxpayers subsidize excessive executive compensation — by more than $20 billion per year — via a variety of tax and accounting loopholes. For example, there are no meaningful limits on how much companies can deduct from their taxes for the expense of executive compensation. The more they pay their CEO, the more they can deduct. A proposed reform to cap tax deductibility at no more than 25 times the pay of the lowest-paid worker could generate more than $5 billion in extra federal revenues per year."

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Or could it be possible that they have learned how to game the system...placing each other on their Board's of Directors..creating an incestuous situation where their pay just continually climbs.
-------------------------------
This is the truth and I know it from personal experience. It's called the Executive Compensation Committee of the BOD and everyone sits on each other's ECC committee. Executive compensation didn't grow to the sky for NO reason.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

For those who are interested, the first time I heard about the Executive Compensation Committee scheme was in the early 1980's. How long it was going on before that, I don't know.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

@12BarBlues

"But, the point is that posters so compartmentalize their opponents that one thing that doesn't fit, and wow! WWIII.

But, most people are complex and hold views from both sides of the ideological spectrum. For a person who embodies liberal and conservative views to appear on this blog is hardly a world shaking event, since there are a lot of us."

Amen!!! I like to believe I am pragmatic.
Not infallible, but I attempt to be pragmatic. I'm largely anti-purist. I do not believe in PURE free enterprise or capitalism...NOR do I believe in PURE socialism. I think a rational society tries to figure out what BLEND works the best. But of course there is at least one...and I'm sure many more..although like you I don't even consider the idiots..like everyone else I simply scroll past STRF and a couple of other no brainers like skipsailing...but at least one adamantly insists I am a socialist because he doesn't possess critical thinking skills or the ability to understand nuance in any form.

As far as the numbers of wacks...yes this blog has gone from a very progressive blog with lots of progressive commenters to one where the righties grow in number. Not certain why that has happened. Some have alluded to an exodus of the Fix which has sent wackos our way. What concerns me more is that we hear less and less from solid posters like Suekzoo...KathleenHussein (at least she checked in last week) and others.

That is why we need you to hang around 12bar!

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

You're good for my ego, rukidding. Thanks for the pep talk.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

rukidding7 wrote,
"My neighbor and I have quarreled in the past. I hear from another neighbor that a friend of a friend has told him that my neighbor has just purchased a shotgun and is prepared to use it to kill me. I see my neighbor in his back yard with a shotgun. Of course under the Bush doctrine I then have the existential right to lob a grenade into my neighbor's house and take him out before he can kill me.
Ohhh and if I happen to also kill his wife and infant twins...well..unfortunate..but that is simply written off as collateral damage."

-----

I take your point. In my own estimation, the scariest thing that's happened in the United States during the last ten years was the failure of intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq invasion. The most powerful nation in the world attacks another sovereign country in a supposed pre-emptive strike---they're going to hit us with WMD; we have to hit them first---and it turns out the other country was no threat at all.

Neocons reacted by contending the WMD justification was just one among many and the war was just. An evil tyrant was gone.
Liberals responded by contending they were simply hoodwinked by the Neocons.

The way I see it, people all over the right and the left, including Bill Clinton and others from his administration, were the victims of bad intelligence. I'm now convinced that Saddam Hussein went to the gallows still in a state of near disbelief that the U.S. would actually carry out its threats---expend the time, treasure, and human resources to remove him, of all people, from power.

As I recall, Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, which eventuated in the first gulf war, was undertaken partly because of some diplomatic bungling in Bush41's administration.

So here we are. WMD's exist all over the world, whether Iraq had them or not. And someday a nuclear or biolgical attack may claim many thousands of lives in Cleveland---or where ever. We have to take names. We have to make a list and check it twice. When the inevitable occurs, the public will be in no mood for FBI investigations and courtrooms. And unless the administration in power at the time has the right names on its list, it will go down in history alongside Pol Pot and Hitler for its response.

Good intelligence is not a luxury in today's world. But we obviously don't have it.

Posted by: Brigade | September 25, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your posts 12Bar. We still have some great posters here...you, lmsinca, BG,
Liam, Ethan, Mike, Chuck...ahhh I should have never started a list because I'll leave somebody out. Please accept my apologies.

And again we have some thoughtful conservatives here as well. tao9 is one of my faves because he is so cryptic and mentally challenging and because he has a terrific sense of humor...Kevin W also possesses a sense of balance and humor...Brigade..who I originally misread and had to offer an apology also tries to be as pragmatic from the right as I strive to be from the left...

I think one of the reasons we have attracted so many conservatives is because there generally is some attempt at sanity from a great number of our posters left and right. As for the obvious wacks...while I used to be a reactionary conservative...I don't believe I've ever been as wacked as some of these folks...although that too is subject to debate. :-)

I like the sign that John Stewart has made up for his rally for sanity. "I might disagree with you but I'm pretty certain your not Hitler".

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I'll second the kudos for 12BarBlues. We disagree on many issues, but she is a very articulate spokesperson for her views and just the sort of contributor who makes things interesting.

Posted by: Brigade | September 25, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

@Brigade 1.) "The way I see it, people all over the right and the left, including Bill Clinton and others from his administration, were the victims of bad intelligence."

2.)Good intelligence is not a luxury in today's world.

3.)But we obviously don't have it.

I agree it was a bi partisan failure but not just of intelligence. You are a thoughtful person Brigade...I highly recommend a retired Colonel, Andrew Bacevich's new book "Washingt Rules America's path to perpetual war." Since WWII our entire societal structure has been set up for absurd expenditures on the MIC. Eisenhower predicted this the day before he left office. Anyway if you read Bacevich's excellent analysis you'll see our problems run far deeper than just intelligence.

I agree 100% with your 2nd point.
I'm not really certain about your 3rd point. I do realize that we had the shoe bomber during the Bush Admin...and the Xmas and Time Square bombers during Obama's time...but the truth is...we need a certain amount of luck as well as great intelligence.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Pretty much everyone here is smart. It ain't a contest, it's a blog.

One ought not make judgements on someone's intel from comments/posts, political statements, vid-snippets from the tweens at ThinkProg et.al., and etc.. Passion, affinity, confirmation bias, and waaaay over-inflated self-esteem will cloud the picture.

Thoughts that look, and sound, beeeee-utiful from the podium or policy papers/platform often are spectacular failures in practice...cosmic fails even...Exhibit #1 is our extremely eloquent, unpopular President.

Only way to truly tell is face to face (per se), and much more importantly, over time.

Wisdom trumps smart everyday, actually eternally, and wisdom is not often the bailiwick of the progressive who is almost always on to the next thing, before the last thing has been even proved beneficial.

"What do we want (fill in new, progressive, "social" cause here)??!!!"

"When do we want it? NOW!!!! And if you're not w/us you're a (fill in epithet of choice here)."

It's tough to bear, I know, but someone like STRF might very well demolish anyone here, including Greg, in a public, open-air debate...depending upon subject, demeanor, prep, presentation.

The conceit that one group is smarter than another because of the former's "superior" ideology or point of view is silly.

Now, ya'll go read some Burke, dagnabbit!

Posted by: tao9 | September 25, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

The conceit that one group is smarter than another because of the former's "superior" ideology or point of view is silly.

Now, ya'll go read some Burke, dagnabbit!

Don't worry tao I loves me some Burke and I certainly agree with your definition of silly.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"Actually IMHO she's far far more attractive physically than Palin, and is certainly able to handle the English language in a fashion that is far superior to Palin...realizing of course that is faint praise indeed. :-)"

Agree with your assessment. And as Bill Maher pointed out last week (and I'm paraphrasing) - she's not near as mean as Palin.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 25, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, brigade, for the compliment. It is all the sweeter since you didn't have to make it.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

@tao,

Sensible post, thanks for that. However, you might revisit the wisdom versus intelligence comment, where progressives are found to be less wise. Aren't you just changing the vocabulary, while keeping the argument going?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

How far back does the criminality and political corruption of the Koch brothers go?
Quite a ways, as it happens...
http://www.businessweek.com/archives/1996/b3469090.arc.htm

Posted by: bernielatham | September 25, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

12Bar,

Thanks backatcha, and thanks for pointing out the subleties of Catholic thought above.

I don't think it's a vocab, or close reading Chomsky thing...wisdom and intelligence are very different categories.

I think my take on wise progressiveness (?sic?) obtains...not part of the big-picture job description although there are innumerable individuals.

That said, they're indispensible to a working polity.

I gotta go, perhaps will revisit later.

Posted by: tao9 | September 25, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

"Three hundred years from now people will doubtless be laughing at some of the ideas we have today, but if the past is any indicator of the future, belief in God will not be one of them. "

I agree (for the most part) that what we understand about the world will be far more advanced in 300 yrs than it is now. As recently as 100 or so yrs ago physicists were lamenting the fact that all the great work had been done. Then, all of a sudden, we had relativity and quantum mechanics and everything was turned on it's head.

As far as God, well....I think you kind of gloss over the fact that religion and the role that it plays in society has changed tremendously throughout history. Do we not summarily dismiss the religious practices of the ancient Egyptians or the Aztecs as primitive? Are we not horrified now at the idea of witches and heretics being burned in the name of Christ? When was the last time someone was sent to the stocks for blasphemy or not attending church?

So, while you may be right that we probably won't be laughing at a "belief in God", that "God" and how we worship him/her may be totally unrecognizable to any of us in another 300 yrs.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 25, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

mikefromArlington 9:15 AM


I don't think it is appropriate to comment on other people's religious views.


The left goes nuts when people say Obama is a muslim -


However, the left seems to believe it is OK not to like Christine O'Donnell on account of her religious views.

The Constitutional states CLEARLY there shall me no religious test for any office.


But the left seems to have one.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

"I hardly believe that Buffet was simply referring to HIS PERSONAL tax rate...but rather the tax rate of all people in a certain income status...which happens to include him."

Yes, exactly. So he clearly believes that he himself (among others) do not pay enough in income tax. Hence my question...why doesn't he just pay more? Why does he need a law to force him to do that which he believes he ought to do anyway? If he were walking down the street and saw a person lying on the sidewalk bleeding to death, presumably he would stop to help, regardless of whether or not there existed a "good samaritan" law demanding that he help. Now, he may be in favor of such a law, but he wouldn't need a law to force him to do it, would he? So why does he need a law to force him to pay more taxes if he truly believes he doesn't pay enough?

"I however do not look at life in such absolutes..."

What "absolute" are you talking about?

"While I would certainly concede that we should pay attention to your fear, we are SOOO FREAKING FAR removed from that end of the spectrum..."

Last year 47% of of all income tax filers paid no income tax. That's 47%. That's 4% away from being a majority of income earners. If, to you, a mere 4% represents "SOOOO FREAKING FAR removed" from a majority of income earners, I don't know quite what to say because words obviously do not mean the same thing to you as they do to me.

"Again 1 out of 7 are living in poverty...can you at least agree that is a problem even if we disagree on the solution?"

Poverty is relative, and hence will always exist. Consider a few stats about the poor, from a 2004 study:

*46% of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a threebedroom house with oneandahalf baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

* 76% of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

* Only 6 % of poor households are overcrowded. More than twothirds have more than two rooms per person.

* The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

* Nearly 75% of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.

* 97% of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

* 78% have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

* 73% own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2004/01/understanding-poverty-in-america

So, when you talk about poverty being a "problem", you have to be a little more specific about what problem, exactly, you are talking about.

(con't)

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 25, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

ruk (cont’d):

“And how is Dick Cheney or you for that matter that different from me.”

I have no idea. I don’t know the first thing about you, and barely anything about Cheney. Besides which, neither you nor Cheney nor either of your histories has any relevance at all to the analogy I drew for you.

“In other words you do not believe in the United Nations or acting in concert with other nations in the world...like our allies.”

No, that is not at all what I said. I said, and I meant, that nations are the ultimate sovereigns, and are, in the final analysis, responsible for their own protection and making their own judgments about what is needed to provide that protection. It may mean working through the UN or with other countries to do so. Or, if deemed necessary, it may mean ignoring the UN and other countries in order to do so. Again, nation states are the ultimate sovereign entity. The UN does not have, and cannot enforce, authority over the US (or any other nation for that matter).

“Unilateralism is OK for us...doesn't that then by your definition make it OK for ALL the other "Sovereign Nations"?”

It is not a question of being “OK” or not “OK”. It is simply a fact. Nation states make their own decisions. Sometimes they choose to cooperate and act in concert with other nations, and sometimes they don’t. There is no higher authority with enforcement power to stop them from doing so. The only thing that can stop them is the power of other nations.

“If you were an Iranian Scott by your logic they would certainly be within their rights under the Bush Doctrine to nuke us if they thought they could get away with it.”

If I were Iranian I would be more concerned with what the Iranian government might do to me than what the US government might do to me. And whether or not the Iranian government (to be distinguished from the Iranian people) is “within its rights”, that is precisely why I want the US to be the most overwhelmingly powerful nation on the earth. So that no nation ever thinks that it can “get away with” putting the US in jeopardy. I don’t care whether they think they are “right” to do so or not.

“But then Scott perhaps you are one of those who believe Might makes right.”

Of course I don’t believe that “might makes right”. But “right” needs might to defend and enforce itself. Just take your own thinking on Iraq. According to you the US has committed a great crime in pre-emptorily invading Iraq. Where is the enforcement against the US? Why didn’t the UN or some other international “authority” come in and arrest Bush, remove US forces from Iraq, and reinstate Saddam? Because they can’t.

Now, perhaps you lament the fact that the US is the most overwhelmingly powerful nation on the earth, and hence cannot be stopped if it decides to embark on some international adventure that you deem unjust. I for one do not, because the alternative is that it will be some other nation that we can't stop.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 25, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Also from the Heritage article:

"Of course, the living conditions of the average poor American should not be taken as representing all the poor. There is actually a wide range in living conditions among the poor. For example, over a quarter of poor households have cell phones and telephone answering machines, but, at the other extreme, approximately onetenth have no phone at all. While the majority of poor households do not experience significant material problems, roughly a third do experience at least one problem such as overcrowding, temporary hunger, or difficulty getting medical care."

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 25, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Now, we're saying the poor aren't really poor? We are saying that the federal poverty level of $22,050 for a family of 4 is not hopeless, unbearable poverty? That is just common sense.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

12BarBlues at 4:34 PM


You don't try to ignore posters - you try to start fights with them - and instigate fights.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Obama has made another critical error on the economy


Obama has been too soft on the banks -


One can say Bush did the bailout - but Obama has been managing it -


The banks are NOT lending - and they have really low interest rates which they are not passing onto their customers.

The banks have been out of control - and Obama has let it happen. In addition, Obama refuses to do anything about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Obama has been a disaster.

There are some obvious things in the economic policy lines where Obama is just leaving things out - Obama's inexperience and lack of qualifications shows.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Here late to the party today, but a thought on why Catholicism doesn't produce fundamentalists.

Historically Catholics have not been enocouraged to read the Bible. The church until perhaps the last 200-300 years always associated Bible reading with heresy. The church at one point specifically forbade translations into the vernacular insisting only on the traditional Latin and Greek versions. In English for instance, the official Catholic or Douai version came out nearly 200 years after the earliest complete Wycliff version.

Even today, most Bible study groups you find will be based around evangelical religions and not Catholicism.

Keeping interpretation in the hands of priests and the Vatican has had a huge organizational advantage to the church. While Prostestant relgions constantly formed and reformed based on new interpretations, Catholic orthodoxy was actually strengthened after the intial paroxysm created by the Reformation.

Evangelical protestantism caused creationism to be much stronger in the US than Europe simply because the Catholic Church was a strong hierarchical influence there, while it was small and insular as a force in the colonies of Great Britain from 1607, up until the early 1800's. Catholicism doesn't really take a strong nationwide hold until post Civil War.

All of the above is neither good nor bad but an effort to provide an valid historical reason for what would seem to be a puzzling aspect of religious life in the US

Posted by: 54465446 | September 25, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

STRF wrote:

"One can say Bush did the bailout - but Obama has been managing it -


The banks are NOT lending - and they have really low interest rates which they are not passing onto their customers.


The banks have been out of control - and Obama has let it happen. In addition, Obama refuses to do anything about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac"


You can run from thread to thread, but you can't hide from me. The bailout was mainly Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke's idea. Neither Bush nor Obama knows much about finance or economics. The Fed has actually managed the bailout, not Obama. He wouldn't know where to begin. I'm surprised that you didn't bring up the fact that a large amount of bailout money is simply "unaccounted for" as in the the government doesn't know where it went, and the Fed either doesn't know or isn't saying.

The banks have been out of control since Gramm Leach Bliley and the CFMA in particular. You know, the legislation that "every economist agrees with you" about.

If you ever meet anyone who knows what to do about Fannie and Freddie AND who isn't a drooling idiot, invite him on. This is a huge problem that NOBODY on either side wants to touch. They are effectively guaranteeing ALL of the non-jumbo home mortgages in this nation, which is way beyond anything that was ever intended. If they were a submarine they would be considered below crush depth, way below!

Posted by: 54465446 | September 25, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

@numbers,

Why are Freddie & Fannie guaranteeing all the nonjumbo mortgage loans?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

@ScottC And I thought you prided yourself in your math skills...really?

"Last year 47% of of all income tax filers paid no income tax. That's 47%. That's 4% away from being a majority of income earners."

The top 2% in our country possess over 20% of our nation's wealth...the top 10% possess over 60% which leaves the bottom 90% to divvy up less than 40%

http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

This inequity btw is increasing not diminishing or even remaining static. At some point..the top 10% would own all the wealth and the figure of 47% that disturbs you so much would become 90% who couldn't AFFORD to pay taxes. Mathematically your fears are actually arse backwards. If the wealth wasn't so concentrated at the top there would be far more than 53% of us who are ABLE to pay taxes.

As for your views on poverty...great..you compare us to third world countries and point out how LUCKY we are...you're all heart and compassion Scott!!!!!!

The largest reason for bankruptcy in our nation is health costs. We have people working MORE than 40 hours a week who don't get health insurance on their jobs and also don't earn enough to buy insurance. Because they can't do simple things like have moles checked to see if they are malignant..they literally die...or if their lucky and they simply get sick then they only face bankruptcy.

Against this backdrop are the people like Rick Scott who cost his company 1.7 BILLION in fines...who it was said by his board members would have completely wrecked HCA if he hadn't been forced out by his board. His punishment...a 300 million golden parachute.

Scott quite simply you are one of the biggest hypocrites on this blog. You bemoan the lack of sympathy for R positions from progressives...yet you have NEVER once demonstrated an iota of understanding of progressive causes nor a scintilla of compassion for your fellow Americans. You approach this blog as a debating game without ever having revealed a bit of humanity along the way.

Fine Scott...you are the all knowing master debater...but you are mainly master debating your own selfish mind!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

54465446 at 8:20 PM


OK then - first of all, those who have gotten to know me, know that I haven't been hiding from anyone.

Let's get on the topic - if you understand it so well - what are your solutions.


If you don't know the solutions - then be specific about what you think the problems are.


Obama - through TARP - has been regulating the banks - and clearly there are serious shortcomings. The banks are not lending - and interest rates to consumers are still high - even though the rates the government gives the banks are being held low.


Explain what you think the problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are - AND why you think they are so unsolvable.

>>>>> If your position is that Obama is keeping the policies at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in place - then that is the exact opposite of what Obama said just this weekend - Obama is trying to portray the Republicans as wanting to return to the economic policies of Bush - while you are saying that OBAMA IS ACTUALLY KEEPING THESE POLICIES IN PLACE.


Let's just be honest about what is going on.


What has to get done to get the banks under control?


>>> Is it possible that the idea that "too big to fail" is just wrong - these banks are really monsters which have to fail - in order for the economy to get back to normal ?

>>>> You say the all the non-jumbo mortgages are guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac -

- Are they continuing to do that? Did they stop ?

- IF they have guarenteed all those mortgages, how do they get out from under those guarantees - can they sell the risk ? That is what Wall Street does all the time - they sell the risk.


So let Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac CREATE A DERIVATIVE - and sell the risk out.


How about that ?

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

12Bar:

"Now, we're saying the poor aren't really poor? "

Who is saying that? What I said, exactly, was that poverty is relative.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 25, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Try living on $22,050 for a family of four and see how relative it feels. You want to make it all about numbers, and not about how it really is to live that life.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

"Last year 47% of of all income tax filers paid no income tax. That's 47%. That's 4% away from being a majority of income earners."


_____________________________

Yea but those people ARE paying social security taxes - so they feel like they are paying federal taxes. This figure is for income taxes - not social security.

I think everyone knows we have a progressive tax system - so the real question is should it be more progressive or less progressive. The rich are paying more no matter what.

The questions start to impace ECONOMIC GROWTH - if you take from the small business owners, less jobs get created. One tends to forget that taxing people at higher income affects economic decision making.


One also has to remember the super-rich have accountants who shelter large amounts of income. This creates distortions in the economy again - people seek to shelter their income - instead of putting it into small businesses which may create jobs (these businesses tend NOT to have so many opportunities for tax shelters).

Which would you prefer?

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

@12bar You are wasting your time with Scott. He has yet to concede a point on this blog and yet he bemoans the fact that progressives can't understand issues from a conservative point of view.

He then loves to play word games with you...after using his Heritage Conservative Think Tank propaganda he then says he wasn't implying that our poverty problem is simply in our minds..just it's all RELATIVE.

Of course this came in response to a direct question!!!!

"Again 1 out of 7 are living in poverty...can you at least agree that is a problem even if we disagree on the solution?"

Did he answer..of course not..Scott rarely answers direct questions but posts all manner of obfuscations so he can then claim some form of saying he didn't say what he really said. In response to a direct question..he lists a bunch of stats from a CONSERVATIVE think tank which are dubious at best with the CLEAR IMPLICATION
that poverty in our nation is overstated...or as he specifically stated relative.

So no Scott doesn't give a rat's arse about the less fortunate or he could have said so...but in his arrogant world that may have indicated a minor flaw in his world view...heaven forbid.

Scott is exactly as I characterized him...a master debater...he continually master debates with his own mind. Don't really know Christine O'Donnell's positioin on that. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

BTW To show Scott's intellectual dishonesty his link to the Heritage "study" was from 2004!!!! Long before the great Bush recession...the 2nd Republican economic disaster in the past 60 years moved that poverty stat to 1-7.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

"And I thought you prided yourself in your math skills...really?"

The only math I did was to take 47% away from 51% and got 4%. Are you trying to suggest that that is wrong? Seriously? You really have to work on making your insults more coherent.

"This inequity btw is increasing not diminishing or even remaining static."

You are trying to change the topic. The issue we were discussing was the possibility of a majority being in a position to vote themselves government benefits at the expense of an electorally powerless minority. You claimed that we were "SOOO FREAKING FAR removed" from such a possibility that I must be dishonest to even bring it up. We are, as I pointed out, a mere 4% of income tax filers away from being in exactly that situation. If you believe that is "SOOO FREAKING FAR removed" from reality as to make me dishonest for raising it, then you and I do not share a common language.

"As for your views on poverty...great..you compare us to third world countries..."

Now you are just making things up.

"Scott quite simply you are [yada, yada, yada]..."

This is classic ruk behavior. Whenever you find yourself on the short end of the facts or the debate, you start accusing me of having all kinds of moral shortcomings, despite your complete ignorance of me or how I conduct my life. Let me know if you have more than moral self-righteousness and superiority on which to hang your arguments and I'll be happy to continue.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 25, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

54465446 at 8:20 PM


Talking about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:


This is a huge problem that NOBODY on either side wants to touch. They are effectively guaranteeing ALL of the non-jumbo home mortgages in this nation, which is way beyond anything that was ever intended.


___________________________________

Well - let's get specific about WHAT the problems really are - and why they can't be solved.


Obama is in there now - and the economy is his RESPONSIBILITY


If Obama doesn't WANT the job, he should resign.


Obama should get the right advisors in there - and figure out what has to be done.


To blame Bush - or to say that both sides do not want to touch the problem - TO be honest, THAT DOESN'T CUT IT.


There is an economic crisis out there.

Obama seems to regard the economic crisis as a distraction - from other things he would rather be doing -


BUT THAT IS NOT THE JOB.


If anyone else in the country said, I don't want to do my job - Im going to ignore my responsibilities and do something else - that person would be fired.

The CENTRAL PROBLEM - which you seem to agree - is there ARE UNADDRESSED ECONOMIC PROBLEMS OUT THERE - that have to be addressed.

This is Obama's fault - right now, at this moment.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Is there anyone on this blog who has ever been poor?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Scott...I don't really care how you conduct your life...you may be the greatest philanthropist this country has...that's not how we've engaged each other. We are engaged on a blog and you've offered enough opinions to show that yes you are a master debater and you are without compassion or heart. But just to please Kevin, tao and the rest let me be perfectly clear....
I don't know you from Adam...but I can read your posts and have done so now for a period of months...they are consistently heartless, without ever once acknowledging a progressive viewpoint...you and tit4tat are pretty much peas out of the same pod...however I clearly give you the advantage in playing word games...your posts are far more cohesive and organized than tit4tat's but you are still playing word games without expressing anything...you are as I said a master debater...you continually master debate with your own mind.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm tired of hearing words, words, words. Who has had the experience of being hungry or being homeless?

Instead of opining on how poor people aren't relatively poor, maybe we should take the time to find out how poor people actually live their lives and whether that is good for the nation, as a whole. Is it good for our nation to have 1 in 7 living in poverty? Then, we might have some idea as to whether LESSENING the number of people in poverty is worthwhile, or not.

We can just close our eyes to our poverty "problem" or we can pledge to do something about it. Which is it?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

@numbers,

Why are Freddie & Fannie guaranteeing all the nonjumbo mortgage loans?


__________________________________

Great question The easy answer is that Bill Clinton's appointees at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - and Barney Frank - created a system in which this happens.


They wanted the poor to own their own houses.


But what they did was inflate the housing market into a bubble - then the government guaranteed the AIR IN THAT BUBBLE.


That is a simple way to put it.


First - let's all agree the democrats did this - clear and simple


Next - what can we do for this.


IS this still going on ? How much has been halted - and we are just dealing with the "old bad deals" - and how much is still going on "new bad deals?"


Obama is NOT ADDRESSING THIS PROBLEM.

The housing market is STILL inflated - there is STILL a bubble. Why would someone buy a house in this environment - when the housing prices could still go down ?

They are not allowing the housing prices to FLOAT FREELY - so they are ADDING RISK TO present and future purchases - THAT MAKES THE GUARANTEE PROBLEM WORSE, NOT BETTER.


The stimulus was the WRONG way to go - the real problems are still there.


Obama is a disaster - this is the worst time in American history to have someone with no experience, no qualifications, no business experience, NO NOTHING.


It is time to give it up - and get someone who can do the job.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

"BTW To show Scott's intellectual dishonesty his link to the Heritage "study" was from 2004!!!!"

What gave it away? Was it the fact that I said in the very post in which I provided the link, er, "from a 2004 study"?

Such dishonesty!

12Bar, tao...how in the world can you take this clown seriously?

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 25, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Even if one has no compassion for the lives poor people lead, one can still understand that it is not good for our nation to have so many people in poverty.

People in poverty cannot participate fully in supporting the nation (taxpaying). People in poverty are an underutilized asset (unemployment/underemployment). People in poverty perpetuate themselves, generation after generation. Poverty causes early death, poor health in the living, chronic diseases from poor nutrition such as diabetes. Poverty creates a class of people who are not invested in improving our society since they see nothing in it for themselves.

I'm trying to think of one positive quality for poverty.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Scott,

I take ruk seriously because he is sincere. Is it possible he didn't see your comment about a 2004 link? Is it possible it is just an oversight?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

12Bar

The democrats have been in and out of power for decades - in fact from the 1950s to the 1990s they held the House for 40 years.


Did they really help the poor? Not really.


The inner cities are still there - the problems are still there.


I see the democrats going into the poor areas at election time every year - getting their votes - and then leaving - not to come back until the next election - I think they call it GOTV.


GOTV means ignoring the poor for 49 out of 52 weeks a year.


I see government programs - which just have created massive debts - the democrats then borrow the money - which requires taxing the people MORE to pay the borrowing.


I don't see it. I don't see the democrats doing much for the poor - I see them running for election - I see them sitting in their offices when they are elected - I see them making all their deals, collecting all their campaign contributions.


I don't really see them helping the poor much.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks 12bar...you are correct I didn't see it but that is exactly the kind of game Scott loves to play. I gave him too much credit to believe he would post a link from 2004 when we were talking about poverty in 2010!!! AFTER the great Bush Recession!!!

But again that is Scott's M.O. He once chided me for posting a definition and which I claimed I got from Merriam Webster. When he found out that it wasn't word for word from Merriam Webster he gleefully pointed out that I had lied. I WAS MISTAKEN..it came from the Dictionary.com which I have in my home computer favorites while Merriam Webster was in my work computer.

But that's exactly how Scott operates...he spends his time trying to jump somebody's mistakes..and NEVER EVER confessing to his own..even when they are clearly pointed out.

Again though as I have said before I feel sorry for Scott. His POSTS indicate a truly miserable human being. Again so as to not disturb the blog police...I do not know Scott from Adam..and so AGAIN..I'm simply saying IMHO his posts reveal a really selfish person who enjoys playing word games and gotcha than actually engaging in a GENUINE discussion!!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

12Bar

From a practical point of view - there are illegal aliens doing everything they can to get into this country.


The point is - we are creating INCENTIVES for people to come to this country - and get government benefits.

We could take MILLIONS out of poverty. - And the immigrants would STILL be coming.

You will wake up one morning - and there will be MILLIONS more out there - in the cities and all over the country.

What are we going to do when all these immigrants - illegal and legal - have children - in 20 years we are going to have an entirely new generation - which will have to have JOBS OR GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE

If we don't have the jobs, we have to give them government assistance.


You are saying - up the government assistance - so MORE people come here - and more people will be in the next generation.


The questions are just not as simple as you are putting them.


You are saying legalize 20 million illegal aliens - who will be 50 or 60 million people in the next generation -


And then ANOTHER WAVE of immigrants will come - hoping for a new amnesty for those who entered illegally.


All we are doing is creating incentives for MORE government assistance - more government borrowing and MORE DEBT.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

12bar...you are completing missing the point...as Scott illustrated with his six year old Heritage report..."Let them eat cake."

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

rukidding7


The economic studies have proven that the recession is over -


We are now in the Great Obama Stagnation -


the drags on the economy as a result of Obama's policies.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

rukidding,

I'm genuinely curious, do you think ScottC3 (and QB1) are arguing insincerely? I read their comments and think that they certainly believe what they write, and that there life experiences have certainly shaped and reinforced their world view.

Obviously, you think they are wrong. You may even not like their debating style, but why does that make them "heartless"? I read their comments and think, when they're responding to a question, they are sincerely trying to answer a question. Do you? An example is ScottC3's comment that poverty is relative. How could it not be? And he never said there was no poverty, or that no one /is suffering from poverty. I think his reference to the Heritage study (propaganda or not, that's worthy of debate as well) was illuminating in that it was helping define terms. I also think Scat's contribution about true suffering, along with 12bar's addition on surviving on $22k/family of 4 was worthwhile. Would you agree that understanding terms and agreeing on definitions is a good thing (not that you have to agree, just that it helps)

Also, what viewpoint are they not addressing? Are they trying to obfuscate or something to shield their true motives?

I admire their ability to articulate conservative positions and wish that I was that articulate. I enjoy reading their "take" on the various (though at times monotonously repetitious, Angle, Palin, Tax Cuts for greedy quintillionaires rinse repeat) subjects. Should they agree to things they do not necessarily agree with for the sake of comity? What does that accomplish?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | September 25, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Is there anyone on this blog who has ever been poor?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 9:39 PM
---

Many would probably consider the cirmcumstances in which I was raised "poor"---not by third world standards but by today's. My parents separated when I was an infant and I was raised by my maternal grandparents, who were my legal guardians. They owned a small farm that had been in the family since the 19th century. My grandfather was born in 1884---his father and some uncles were Union veterans of the Civil War. He farmed with a team of horses and horse drawn implements until he retired in the 1950s. We had no indoor plumbing---just a well and an outhouse. The house was wired for electricity the year I was born.

It was rather like growing up as a member of an earlier generation. I didn't really feel "poor" even though I knew there were others better off than us and no one else in the area was still farming with horses. There were still a few neighboring houses that had not been modernized. We had flower gardens, vegetable gardens, orchards, grapevines, berry patches, pets, and always enough to eat. As Scott said, poverty is, in many ways, a relative term. If I had to go back to living that way again, I wouldn't be very happy---but I was perfectly happy at the time. Ignorance is bliss.

Posted by: Brigade | September 25, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

@ruk,

Perhaps Heritage is saying "let them eat cake". I don't know, I didn't read their piece. I'm asking our fellow posters, not Heritage, what we should do about 1 in 7 living in poverty. Reduce that number? or say to hell with it?

It seems to me that 1 in 7 is way too high, too costly, too dangerous to our society as a whole. We can sit around and parse just "how poor" these people are, but we all know they are too poor to have skin in the game.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Ok Fannie and Freddie, there is no simple answer to the reason they are currently guaranteeing so I'll give one that is mostly correct but a more financially sophisticated person than STRF would say wasn't wholly accurate.

After the economic crisis the mortgage market in this country simply stopped, like turning off a faucet. Banks and financial institutions all over the world held bundles of American mortgage backed securities that no one knew the value of. Furthermore, the CDO's were the basis of the asset value of all the banking institutions just like accounts receivable for a small business.

Suddenly, all the mathematical tables went askew because you coudn't any longer predict what was a collectible mortgage. Imagine what would happen to an insurance company if a pandemic started killing policy holders. Every calclulation you have would be wrong, and you would be afraid to write new business.

In order to stop this and to start the economy moving again, the Fed took tons of these CDO's as collateral for bailout money, effectively freezing their decline in value and saving the bookeeping of the banking system. They also suspended the Mark to Market accounting rule which previously would have required the banks to place an estimated present value on these assets regardless of future collectability. Again we're getting way off the usual thread post here in complexity.

BUT none of the above restarted the secondary mortgage market, where new mortgages could be bought and sold. Easy to understand since housing prices continue to fall and no one can predict where and when it stops. Well you can't have an economy where no one is buying and selling new homes, so the government came out and said EXPLICITLY what had always been murkily implicit that it was guranteeing the financial status of Freddiie and Fannie and thus all the new loans that they approve.

Since the secondary market for non FF mortgages is still dead, they are effectively guaranteeing the whole of the market. So if anybody out there is a Wall Streeter and wants to nitpick what I wrote; I KNOW that it's not exactly perfectly correct but good enough for time place and circumstance!

Posted by: 54465446 | September 25, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Our pal 54465446 is not here


However, I would love to hear his response


Apparently he agrees that Obama is not taking care of significant economic issues that have to be addressed.


In fact, it seems like 2007 and 2008 all over again - we have a housing market that is being kept inflated - and at some point the air has to come out.


The problem is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is guaranteeing the AIR in that bubble.


But the situation IS getting worse - Obama is ALLOWING the problem to be unsolved and it is getting WORSE.


Meanwhile, all Obama wants to do is blame Bush -

And Obama wants to put his OWN DRAGS ON THE ECONOMY - in terms of higher health insurance premiums to pay for this round of ADDITIONAL BENEFITS - and there is more to come.


Obama wants to add $700 Billion in taxes to the economy as well.


All that adds up to a $1.16 TRILLION DOLLAR drag on the economy.


AND Obama has more to come.


IT IS A DISASTER.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

@brigade,

What part of the country?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

On health care, I might add that when I was a child, the local doctor could be summoned to the house if I didn't feel up to sitting in a doctor's office. As I recall, the examination room in his office usually had overflowing ashtrays, and the doctor usually had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth while he listened to my lungs. The poor devil never lived much past 50. We're a lot smarter now. :)

Posted by: Brigade | September 25, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

12Bar:

"Instead of opining on how poor people aren't relatively poor..."

Actually the point I was making was that poverty IS relatively defined. Many of our poor live in conditions far better than moderately well-off people a century ago. Poverty is relative.

"...maybe we should take the time to find out how poor people actually live their lives"

Yes, I agree. ruk talks about people "in poverty" as if that is a perfectly clear description of their condition. It is not. The government already provides all kinds of benefits for people who are definitionally in poverty. Are those programs accomplishing anything? If so, then, then their real condition ought to be a lot better than is implied by the simple proclamation they are "in poverty".

"We can just close our eyes to our poverty "problem" or we can pledge to do something about it. Which is it? "

Well, you can pledge to do something about it, but you ought to have a reasonable measure of whether or not you are accomplishing your goal. For example, if you define poverty as a level of income, or as the inability to purchase a certain level of living standard, and then provide government assistance to those in poverty as part of your "solution", then continuing to count the number of people "in poverty" doesn't tell you anything about whether your "solution" is working. Because no matter how much assistance you provide, and no matter how much better their condition becomes because of the assistance, they are still, definitionally, in poverty. After all, that is how they qualify for assistance. So does that mean you haven't accomplished anything?

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 25, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

@brigade,

What part of the country?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 10:24 PM
---

Midwest.

Posted by: Brigade | September 25, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Scott,

I (imperfectly try to) take everyone seriously.

It's a beauty way to go, eh?

Regards,

tao McKenzie

Posted by: tao9 | September 25, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

12barblues:

How did I do on the understandable level?

Posted by: 54465446 | September 25, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

12bar While I certainly share and commend your concern for the poor...probably because you belong to one of those religions that as Glen Beck points out..heaven forbid..cares about social justice...I am even more concerned about our disappearing middle class.

There have been numerous economic studies in a variety of economies around the world that show that societies without a strong middle class do not operate as efficiently economically. It's not good for the wealthy, middle class, or the poor.

I have an excellent link which alas is on my work computer...I'll share it sometime with you.

Some of the attitudes on this blog and in American politics truly are depressing. We all can name people we know..or perhaps have witnessed who have gamed the system.
I join with everybody in bemoaning the woman who has additional babies when she can't already care and nurture those already in her family. I'm all for trying to find a way to stop that sad phenemenon.
But it seems to me that the poor who are gaming the system are but a very small % of the costs associated with the wealthy who game the system. Again..Rick Scott...bought up hospital after hospital..
engaged in kickbacks and payoffs to Doctors..was booted from his Corporation by the board who preferred to pay 1.7 BILLION in fines..Scott took his 300 million and started a new company Solantic which takes advantage of those without insurance...he has already had to settle two lawsuits with physicians who claimed he used their names illegally..and what is happening to him now...the tea party idiots here in Florida have him on the ballot as the R nominee for Governor. Kevin W, tao and some others have revealed their distaste for this scumbag..to their credit...but others continue to defend the indefensible. I just don't get it. Social justice is a bad thing?

How can anybody think this is a good thing....
"Of all the new financial wealth created by the American economy in that 21-year-period, fully 42% of it went to the top 1%. A whopping 94% went to the top 20%, which of course means that the bottom 80% received only 6% of all the new financial wealth generated in the United States during the '80s, '90s, and early 2000s (Wolff, 2007)."

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

54465446 at 10:20 PM


So the problem is getting worse, not better - specifically the AMOUNT of questionable mortgages is STILL PILING UP at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.


Obama has NOT solved the problem - and he hasn't even tried.


Meanwhile, $800 Billion has been wasted on the stimulus - AND Obama's economic team is leaving en masse because they really don't have any answers.

Well - the way to stop doing something - is to STOP doing it. NOT to continue.

If there is a RISK out there to the mortgages, the mortgage insurance instruments should be put out there - and PRICED BY THE MARKET.


If it is expensive, then let it be expensive


________________________


Let me just say one thing on what you said - essentially AIG was guaranteeing the mortgage porfolios prior to September 2008.


AIG underprices those guarantees - and they were UNABLE to pay out when those guarantees were to be called in.


ARE YOU TELLING ME that the United States GOVERNMENT has now created a MASSIVE AIG - piling up the guarantees but having not enough behind it ?

This is EXACTLY what I am saying - Obama is NOT ADDRESSING THIS ISSUE - he is letting it get worse, not better.


Obama has NO idea what he is doing, and this is not the time to have an inexperienced and unqualified person in this position.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

@54465446 Thanks for a great explanation.
I have learned a lot about CDS's from sold2u and now you've clearly explained why the Gov't backed the CDO's.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

One more point to address something STRF said. IF the government were to come out tomorrow and say as of the end of this year we guarantee no more mortgages, the effect on the market would be devastating. Mortgages rates would leap overnight because once again all estimates of collectibility go out the window. Brokers would require higher rates to compensate for the increased risk. Estimates as to how high rates would go if the Gov leaves the market are anywhere from 6.5% to double figures. Can you imaigne that happening now on top of everything else? THAT is why no one can touch the FF problem right now at least.

Posted by: 54465446 | September 25, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

How did I do on the understandable level?
------------------------------
Very understandable. Thanks, that was a lot of typing.

Another question: how different is the federal guarantee of F/F? Isn't that really the same as before the great financial disaster?

Ballpark, how much of the nonjumbo market was not F/F before the meltdown? How much of a premium were they charging over F/F mortgages? Or is that the way to look at it?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

@Brigade...Wow guy you must be as old as me. I too recall Doctors making house calls.
And yes everybody smoke. LOL But Doctors back then didn't make the huge multiples of what working people earned as they do now.
Their children went to school with me...not private schools...and they certainly didn't live in mansions like my Cardiologist brother in law. Many if not most of them actually entered medicine with at least a % of altruistic motivation. I'm not suggesting that many don't today, but statistics do not lie.
We are currently facing a shortage of Internists, Family Docs..whatever you wish to call them..because young people all wish to become Specialists which is where the real money exists.

I didn't say it...but I've heard someone quoted as saying..."Money is the root of all evil." Of course if that person didn't give away every last penny they had that would make them a fraud in some posters eyes. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Crucial difference: AIG can't print money, the government can. Gotta go pick up my daughter from a dance!

Posted by: 54465446 | September 25, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

54465446 at 10:20 PM


If we are realy in a position in which the federal government is guaranteeing the DOWNSIDE of the housing market - then maybe, just maybe it is being done the wrong way.


See - the guarantees are going to the banks - not to the buyers of the properties.


The buyers are being asked to buy - at inflated prices - but are not getting the guarantees. The banks are getting the guaranatees.


This is precisely the SAME problem with the bailout - the banks were bailed out when they really should have failed - and now they are going to back to trying to rip people off again.


____


What you are saying is this - the US government NOW is creating a massive guarantee - it is basically a bailout on contingency.


The public can't get this guarantee - they are being told to buy houses that are at inflated prices right now.

HOW in the world does that make sense ?


Obama is a complete disaster.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

@STRF

There is a kernel of truth in the assertion that Obama's policies are prolonging the recession, but not much more than that. Yes, he is creating uncertainty, and the bashing of business is counterproductive, IMO.

Look, we are in the aftermath of an asset bubble, and the usual levers that government has at its disposal (tax cuts, stimulus spending, lowering interest rates) don't work very well in that environment. Bush's tax cuts were disappointing economically - but that doesn't necessarily mean the theory that tax cuts can spur an economy is wrong. Obama's stimulus plan has been disappointing - that doesn't mean government stimulus doesn't work either. The Fed has cut interest rates to zero, and the economy hasn't reacted as hoped - do we really want to dismiss monetary policy as a tool? Deflation is what follows burst bubbles - deflating asset values, and unfortunately deflating incomes. It creates this economic death spiral which feeds on itself, and it is why asset bubbles suck so bad and should be avoided, even though they feel great in the beginning. Probably the best Federal Reserve Chairman we ever had - William McChesney - said the role of the Fed was to "take away the punch bowl just as the party is getting going." Bubbles Greenspan should have taken that advice to heart.

Economic analysis has become so irritatingly partisan - if you are Larry Kudlow you think tax cuts are the elixir and stimulus spending is a waste of time. If you are Paul Krugman, you preach spend, spend, spend until it turns around, and if that doesn't work, well, more cowbell. Look, nobody is wrong here - everything "works" in a normal economy - problem is, this isn't a normal economy. Look at Japan - When their market peaked, Milli Vanilli, Paula Abdul, and Phil Collins were dominating the charts. They still haven't recovered after two decades of pulling out all of the stops to get the economy going again. The Nikkei is still 76% off its peak - to put that number in perspective, that would mean we would be oscillating around Dow 3000 in 2020.

Remember, the stock market bubble burst in 2000 and the only reason why we had any economic growth (IMO) during the Bush administration was because we were inflating a real estate bubble. If the Maestro had been doing his job, we would have had a recession in 97, which would have prevented both the stock market and real estate bubble from forming. By all rights, the Great Recession should have happened in 2001, after the stock market bubble burst. And, look - Clinton was no economic genius, but he was in the right place at the right time - presiding over an inflating stock and real estate bubble. Bubbles are fantastic while they are inflating, but the hangover is absolute hell. If you want to point the finger at somebody, pick Alan Greenspan. Not Bush, not Obama, not Clinton. Presidents are like quarterbacks - they get too much credit when they win, and too much blame when they lose

Posted by: sold2u | September 25, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

12Bar:

"Is it possible he didn't see your comment about a 2004 link?"

It is almost a certainty. But that is the point. He spends his time trying to figure out ways to malign my character rather than actually paying attention to what I say.

This latest episode is typical. He overlooks what I wrote, and uses his error to pontificate on my alleged "dishonesty". When I point out his obvious and foolish error, I am suddenly the bad guy who "spends his time trying to jump somebody's mistakes". I mean really. I don't doubt his sincerity in the slightest, but I ask again, how can you take such a person seriously?

If he didn't share your politics (or at least a lot of them), I doubt you would spare even a minute for him and his shenanigans.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 25, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

@ruk,

I think the shrinking middle class and the exploding poverty class are flip sides to the same coin. Each has issues specific to themselves, but they overlap a good deal. In my lifetime, I think I've seen the best of times and now I fear the worst of times.

Since no one but brigade has acknowledged being poor, I'll share my story. I have been poor--not homeless, but on foodstamps to feed my kids and sitting all day in free clinics. I put myself through college back in the day, through workstudy, loans and grants. I got hired at Arthur Andersen, the first female professional in that particular office, which I owe to affirmative action and a 4.0 GPA. I went on to work in venture capital and helped build companies for sale and public offering. I owe my success to being born at a time when there was a lot of opportunity, to affirmative action (thank you God) and to my own efforts. I have paid cajillions in taxes in my working life which is part of my payback for the opportunity in the U.S.

People can lift themselves out of poverty but they can't do it by themselves. I am living proof of that. Not everyone can do it, or wants to do it, but it is to our collective benefit to help those who can.

Now, times are different. People come out of school with loans they can never repay, look for good jobs that don't exist, and startups? Forget about it. I feel sorry for young people today.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

54465446 at 10:37 PM and sold2u


The idea that the government can "print money" - means that massive inflation is what you are saying the government should do to get out of this mess.


______________________

"Letting the air out of the bubble" - it has to get done.


Prolonging the situation only makes the crisis worse - because the guarantees are continuing to pile up.


You two are basically agreeing there is a massive problem - AND nothing is being done to solve it.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

@ruk: "I just don't get it. Social justice is a bad thing?"

Well, depending on what you mean. When it's the Animal Farm kind of social justice, not so much. ;)

With such things, the devil is always in the details. Social justice sounds good, and I think--in the abstract--is good, but in the specifics can involve the-ends-justify-the-means thinking, and the every-popular robbing Peter to pay Paul. So, it's not necessarily a self-evident positive, despite having the words "social" and "justice" in the top level rubric.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 25, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

@Scott,

Until a few days ago, I hadn't actually paid much attention to ruk or to you, so don't think I've got a dog in this fight.

Just a suggestion to you both: you obviously don't trust each other and therefore arguing is pointless. Maybe if you repaired your relationship and trusted each other's honesty, you would be better off. Of course, I could be totally wrong.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

sold2u


I never dismissed monetary policy - but as you said, there appears to be limits we are reaching.


EXCEPT that the banks in many ways are standing in the way of effective monetary policy - they are not lending.


The whole idea of lowering interest rates is to spur lending and borrowing. But that isn't happening because the banks would rather operate a casino which they have stacked in their own favor - rather than the role they should have is lending to businesses.

The basic idea - banks were given license to take deposits in - so they can lend - has been broken. They are taking their FDIC insurance and doing something else with the money.

This is PRECISELY THE POINT - Obama is not regulating the banks properly. The job is NOT getting done.


__________________________________-

Let's get back to the main point - there is STILL an asset bubble.


Obama - instead of letting the air out - is actually HOLDING THE AIR IN THE BUBBLE.

Obama is guaranteeing all these mortgages - and allowing the guarantees to CONTINUE TO PILE UP.


54645464 is saying that if we let the bubble burst, it will be a calamity -

Well - I am not saying let a calamity happen.


I am saying "let the air out"


A Guarantee - if the market prices it at a certain level, that is what it is worth - and that is a valid indication of the RISK.


What 54565465 is saying is that the government is selling guarantees at WELL BELOW MARKET RATES.


This is a bail-out again -


This time the US government is the massive version of AIG

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm SO glad someone asked about social justice. Since I am Catholic, and respect the scholarship in the Church, I'd like to present some of the principles of social justice as defined by the Church.

The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected--the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Now here's another principle for the other side:

Life and Dignity of the Human Person
The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia. The value of human life is being threatened by cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the use of the death penalty. The intentional targeting of civilians in war or terrorist attacks is always wrong. Catholic teaching also calls on us to work to avoid war. Nations must protect the right to life by finding increasingly effective ways to prevent conflicts and resolve them by peaceful means. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

@ScottC3: "However, I have always wondered, when the super-wealthy argue that they should be taxed more, why don't they just do it?"

Because they believe it should be structural--that a properly ordered society would just naturally tax the superwealthy and confiscatory rates for the general good. If they want to support specific things, they'll give to charity. They believe that the best possible society has a robust and financially sound government, and that it should get that way by taxing the very wealthy a very lot.

Which is fine. I'm not entirely sympathetic, but I understand the thinking. What always amazes me is that the same folks who gleefully site the Warren Buffets of the world as being folks we should listen to because they want higher taxes and are super rich are the same people who will tell us, moments later, than the GOP is shilling for the super rich. If this were true, then the GOP would be advocating for higher taxes on the super, super rich, like Warren Buffet, because super rich folks from George Soros to Warren Buffet clearly want higher taxes--not to individually pay more out of the goodness of their hearts, but for taxes to be higher. If the Republicans are really doing nothing but the bidding of the super-wealthy . . . we don't count Warren Buffer, Bill Gates, George Soros, and a bevy of other wealthy folks who support higher taxes as part of the super wealthy? Because, um, why?

And certainly, if there was an unambiguous shadow conspiracy of wealthy plutocrats to award the rich huge tax cuts while sticking it to the middle class, folks like George Soros and Warren Buffet are in a position to be aware of it. Why don't they ever mention it? You know, bring it into the light?

And when it comes to taxes, why should we be listening to what super-wealthy ultra-rich plutocrats like Warren Buffet say, anyway? Super-wealthy ultra-rich plutocrats want to destroy the country, crush the middle class, and ruin America so they can add to their already immense riches. Or isn't that right?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 25, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

@12Bar: "I'd like to present some of the principles of social justice as defined by the Church."

Oh, sorry. Religious people are crazy, thump Bibles, hate sex, and think the world was created in 6 days. And hate science.

So whatever they have to say on the issue, it has to be wrong.

/snark

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 25, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

@STRF

If you define "inflation" as a wage / price spiral, I don't think the government could create it even if it wanted to. Inflation is too much money chasing too few goods, and with capacity utilization at around 70% (lows since we have been keeping records) we don't have a scarcity issue - we have a glut.

I have argued this on Ezra's blog - trying to create inflation is a seductive argument - create inflation, and the relative value of debt decreases. My problem with that argument is that you need the "wage" part of the "wage / price spiral" to play along. Does anyone think that if gasoline increases to $5.00 a gallon, they could march into their boss's office, demand a raise, and get it? Maybe if unemployment was 5%. But if workers cannot negotiate a raise then all inflation will do is decrease disposable income, which will depress the economy further. Look, I am a minority in this argument, I recognize that. But I think trying to create inflation will just sucker punch the middle class.

Posted by: sold2u | September 25, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

sold2u at 10:44 PM


I'm trying to respond to you - but I don't want to veer off into a discussion as to what should have happened 10 years ago - we are here now in this situation


_______________________

However, your point is 10 years ago we traded the internet bubble for the mortgage housing bubble -


Well what are we doing now - we are trading the AIG guaranteed bubble for the US government guaraneteed bubble ???

_______________________

That is NOT an economic policy - it is a disaster.


Obama is in office RIGHT NOW - these are his policies - if NOTHING is getting done - then that is OBAMA'S POLICY to do nothing.


_______________________


This whole idea that the problem was here before - or it was Bush's fault.


The American People see right through that - they are looking for someone to set things straight NOW.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

@12BarBlues: "Just a suggestion to you both: you obviously don't trust each other and therefore arguing is pointless. Maybe if you repaired your relationship and trusted each other's honesty, you would be better off. Of course, I could be totally wrong."

Amen to that. The human insistence on mistrusting the honesty and sincerity of those we disagree with seems to cause much unnecessary strife.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 25, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Careful Kevin, you risking your status here. Another post like that and the " crazy wingnut teabagger" label is going to come out.

Or are us teabaggers racist still? Or racist and crazy?

Put me some knowledge here!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | September 25, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

@kevin,

So snark aside, what do you think about the first two principles of social justice that I presented?

Anyone else can chime in too.

I thought the criticism is that social justice is not specific enough. So I present some specific thoughts. Reactions?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

@Scott: "'What is more interesting is whether anyone here is willing to follow a stupid person. What does that say?' It could be saying just how utterly horrible the alternative to the stupid person is."

Bingo!

That's so true. And determines so much of my voting. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 25, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

sold2u at 11:17 PM


I just started discussing "inflation" because of the comment by 5456554565 - and I was saying it was a bad policy idea.


Let me add one thing to what you said - in this Free Trade economy - excess demand is going to China - and creating DEBT - not inflation.


Obviously one of the problems in the international economy is the exchange rates are not floating freely - and not responding fast enough to equalize the trade deficits - and find the international trade equilibrium.


So the exchange rates are one problem - with the inflation.


_______________________


OK we both agree that "inflation" is not really a good policy option to get out of the asset bubbles.


I reluctantly had to say that the country is going in that direction - in at least a part of the solution - a way to deal with a PART of the air coming out of the bubble.


But what you say is right - the excess money is going to end up in China - not in the form of inflated dollars.


________________________________

This brings us back to the central problem - the guarantees are still building up - the US government as become a massive version of AIG.


The banks are HOLDING OFF on many foreclosures - this also is artifically inflating the housing market -


Because the banks are afraid of crashing the housing market by foreclosing at the normal rate - and putting so many houses on the market at once.


__________________________________


This is my CENTRAL POINT - the housing market has to float down to its equilibrium level - for any sound economic growth to take place.


We can't continue with an inf.lated situation - artificially - because the guarantees are piling up.


AND that equilibrium level INCLUDES pricing the RISK of the guarantees correctly.


If the housing market is allowed to come down - the what 54565446 said will not happen - the risk will be priced properly and the guarantees will be less expensive that 56455446 says.


______________

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

@STRF

I don't know what the administration could do to force banks to lend, and IMO that isn't the problem here. No one is borrowing to expand capacity - they have excess capacity as it is. They may want to borrow to make ends meet until the economy turns around, but that's it.

The banks only want to lend to people who absolutely, positively, don't need the money. They are worried that their assets are going to decline further in price. They are worried that the bank examiner is going to look at a loan they have marked at 100 cents on the dollar and tell them to mark it at 80 cents. That is why they are sitting on cash - if the examiner tells them to revalue their book, they better have excess cash on hand, or else they are insolvent. They won't deploy it until they are confident things are turning around. Until then, they are going to keep as much cash as they can in reserve in case things take a nasty turn downward. Of course this is a self-fulfilling prophecy, which is why asset bubbles suck so bad.

As to your other point of how to deal with the real estate asset bubble, I agree with you. I believe the residential real estate market must bottom - and any attempts to force a premature bottom through policy like foreclosure prevention only drags the process on further. If the real estate market bottoms and starts advancing, people can put a line under their losses and plan accordingly. Until then, they will just sit on their hands.

Posted by: sold2u | September 25, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

@sold2u Again thanks for your enlightening economic analysis.

"Presidents are like quarterbacks - they get too much credit when they win, and too much blame when they lose"

I agree with this and believe it to be true for foreign policy as well as the economy.
Presidents are reactionary when it comes to foreign policy...which is why even though I am severely disappointed I understand Obama's actions re Iraq and Afghanistan. If you view the 2008 election as microcosm of the American view of foreign policy/defense you can see that our country brooks very little debate about the subject. Ron Paul for the R's and Denis Kucinich for the D's were pretty much the only candidates in a crowded field who actually dared to question our current strategy.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

@ STRF.

I agree, the overvalued real estate market is the elephant in the room. Lets let the market clear, and then take it from there.

Posted by: sold2u | September 25, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

@12Bar: "what do you think about the first two principles of social justice that I presented?"

In short (I'm posting between hefty MySQL queries, so . . . and that one's already done, damn!) . . . I think those are entirely reasonable, well-considered and fair general positions, although I think there can be legitimate questions or issues taken with elements (i.e., unions being necessary to the dignity of work, perhaps).

The devil, as I mentioned, tends to be in the details. How do we achieve this social justice? What does it look like? Is our religious and moral concept of social justice best served by legalism? Should we reach social justice by making everything on the path to social justice either compulsory or forbidden?

Which is shorthand, doesn't do justice to the point, but sufficed to say--perfectly reasonable position, well stated, although I don't think the government is necessarily the best way to achieve the goals of social justice, nor am I sure that the goals of social justice are best served via legal penalty, legal compulsion, wealth redistribution, etc. But I could be wrong.

@Troll: "Careful Kevin, you risking your status here. Another post like that and the 'crazy wingnut teabagger' label is going to come out."

Wouldn't be the first time, won't be the last. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 25, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

sold2u at 11:17 PM


The problem is the Free Trade agreements - they are based on international economic theories - which are simply not working.


What we need - and should have been in the agreements originally - are mechanisms to bring the International Trade to equilibrium when the inefficiencies prevent it.


The exchange rate is just one - we need a mechanism to insure that trade gets balanced.


We are allowing these imbalances to continue - and allow debt to China to build up - this has to stop.


I don't buy the idea that allowing housing prices to fall to equilibrium levels produces calamity. And I don't buy the idea that pricing risk properly in the mortgage market produces calamity.


Housing prices will be lower - that will lower the cost of the guarantees, not raise them.


Clearly, there is greater risk IF we allow the housing market to remain artifically inflated.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

@12bar...Congrats on your ability to overcome some severe challenges. You are beginning to rival lmsinca as our blog saint...and I say that sincerely without snark.

You are a fairly recent addition to our blog...don't know if you came over as part of the Fix shakeup or what...but you'll see that the normal players rarely change stripes.

While I am no longer a Catholic...the nuns were just too much for me...I do respect your faith and in particular the views on social justice. I agree with Kevin that the devil is in the details but when we have a party more concerned with "Obama's Waterloo" than an actual solution to our health care dilemma...when we are the ONLY civilized country on earth to not have a functioning health care system for ALL of our citizens...it's really hard to not ask whether that represents social justice.

I applaud both your achievements and your view of social justice. Doubt your going to get much sympathy from the "other" side on this blog however...they've spent the past month decrying a 3% increase in taxes for people who have benefitted the most in our society over the past two decades. Even the "reasonable" righties like Kevin use words like "confiscatory" tax policy.:-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

More about economic justice, since that's what we've been talking about:

Economic Justice

The economy must serve people, not the other way around. All workers have a right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, and to safe working conditions. They also have a fundamental right to organize and join unions. People have a right to economic initiative and private property, but these rights have limits. No one is allowed to amass excessive wealth when others lack the basic necessities of life.

Catholic teaching opposes collectivist and statist economic approaches. But it also rejects the notion that a free market automatically produces justice. Distributive justice, for example, cannot be achieved by relying entirely on free market forces. Competition and free markets are useful elements of economic systems. However, markets must be kept within limits, because there are many needs and goods that cannot be satisfied by the market system. It is the task of the state and of all society to intervene and ensure that these needs are met.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

@ruk,

Take a look at this for work in social justice: http://www.osjspm.org/major_themes.aspx.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

"Competition and free markets are useful elements of economic systems. However, markets must be kept within limits,'

21Bar that great Republican President Teddy Roosevelt apparently agreed with you...leading him to break up the big trusts and monopolies. Think that is going to happen again. Perhaps.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

sold2u at 11:33


The banks are holding off on foreclosures - so they won't crash the market - and make the other mortgages in their portfolios worth even less.


This delay is hurting the country - because the buyers don't want to take an unnecessary downside risk - so there is now a stand-off.


This is PART of the lack of adequate Obama economic policy.


Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 25, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

12barblues, I'll bite.

"The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected--the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative."

I'm not trying to be jerky here but I don't know how an economy "serves the people"? Does the U.S. economy serve the people?

I'm also leery of "the right to productive work". Anytime something is a right, I start getting the feeling that some one needs to provide it. What I mean is that the Government is responsible for providing me with "productive work" if I'm otherwise not able to. I just don't think that is a government role. I would look at it more like the governments is to inhibit, as much as possible, it's interference in the creation of and continuied existence of "productive work".

I'm fine with the idea of workers organizing, as long as they're not forced to organize. Or deprived of work, or considered lesser than an "organized worker" and therefore prohibited, or considered second for work.

I'm not a huge believer in governments determining "decent" wages. I tend to see the minimum wage law as depriving the least skilled among us (generally the young) of a chance to work for any wages at all. Every time wages go up, i.e. minimum wage rules, youth employment goes down.

I'm sure I missed somethings, sorry if I did.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | September 25, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

12Bar..tried your link but couldn't get it to produce the page.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 25, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

@ruk,

Maybe the Church is not your father's Buick.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

@ STRF

"The banks are holding off on foreclosures - so they won't crash the market - and make the other mortgages in their portfolios worth even less.


This delay is hurting the country - because the buyers don't want to take an unnecessary downside risk - so there is now a stand-off.


This is PART of the lack of adequate Obama economic policy."

_______________________________________

I agree.


Posted by: sold2u | September 25, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

http://www.osjspm.org/

That's the top site.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 25, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

sold2u at 11:33


The banks are not taking their proper role in the economy - in a sense they are still trying to manage their horrible portfolios.


The question is : Are the banks really bankrupt ?


If one allows housing to float to an equilibrium level, does that bankrupt the banks? If it does, then it has to be dealt with like that.

Because the banks are USING the bubble to get out - but the debt is piling up on the US government - and on citizens.


WHY should the banks be allowed to get out of trouble by PUSHING their debt onto the federal government - and onto to citizens in the form of over-inflated housing prices ?

Every time someone buys a house, they are essentially TAKING OVER the downside, the risk - that is PROPERLY WITH A BANK RIGHT NOW.


DOES THAT MAKE SENSE AS AN ECONOMY RIGHT NOW?


Talk about "social justice."


The point is that Obama is NOT addressing these problems at all - and it is Obama's responsibility.

The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac problems have to be dealt with.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

I'm not trying to be jerky here but I don't know how an economy "serves the people"? Does the U.S. economy serve the people?
---------------------------
No. Maybe that's the point.

The quote you are responding to is the Catholic Church's stand (in part) on social justice.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

12Bar "Maybe the Church is not your father's Buick."

Indeed! I took my mother to Mass a couple of years ago and couldn't get used to a Mass in English! :-)

Actually since we're on the subject of church and social justice...one of the things that upsets me most about organized religion is the wealth. Do we really need such magnificent edifices for example?
I was raised Catholic...tried several "brands' of protestantism, Presbyterian, Methodist, and even a couple of years as a Southern Baptist. As I said earlier I now consider myself a Deist of sorts...I don't view the Higher Power as a specific individual entity...yet I still certainly believe in a Higher Power. As for organized religions I tend to favor the Buddhists...not many Buddhist wars of aggression...when they disagree with something profoundly instead of killing and maiming others who might not feel as strongly as themselves they simply kill themselves. I was moved far more by the Monks who set themselves on fire in protest of the Diem regime (alas Catholic) in South Vietnam than I am by 19 wack jobs who flew jets into the World Trade Center or any of the Islamists who kill not only themselves but innocent people as well.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 26, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

This is precisely the problem with Obama - he NEVER took the economic crisis seriously.


Obama put together a stimulus which was packed with democratic pet projects - promised job creation - and never delivered.


Obama then went off to create a massive health care program - with uncertain TRILLION dollar costs - and which created a DRAG ON HIRING. Who knows what all these additional benefits will eventually cost the economy.


Someone HAS to pay - the Federal government in taxes, the States in taxes OR companies and individuals in the form of higher premiums.


If Obama told the TRUTH about that TOTAL COST, the program would have been done - as it should be.

MEANWHILE - THE HOUSING MARKET IS STILL INFLATED - and we are finding out that Obama is PILING UP THESE GUARANTEES - essentially guaranteeing the DOWNSIDE of an inflated housing market.

Which MEANS - IF YOU AREN'T FOLLOWING - WHEN IT BURSTS, THE TAXPAYERS GET A MASSIVE BILL - COURTESY OF OBAMA'S HORRIBLE ECONOMIC POLICIES.

___________

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Since we pray every Sunday for social justice, and social justice is spelled out pretty specifically, it really hit me when the term "social justice" started getting negative press. What? I thought that was a central tenet of Christianity. My bad--now it's each man for himself? Where was I when they made that big switch.

I encourage everyone who thinks that we could do better to improve our world, to do something. Someone told me I should teach, so I joined a program to teach illiterate people to read. And I have taught one person to read. It took 2 1/2 years, but she can read. It's small, but big to her. Do something to make things better for one person, or many if you can. Everything counts.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

12Bar...thanks for the link..got it this time...however..time for old guys like me to hit the hay. I've bookmarked it and plan to read it more in depth tomorrow. Just looking at the home page however it seems like a wonderful thing.

Again I appreciate your efforts. Sometimes when I get depressed by the coarseness of our society or the lack of compassion I think of people like you and lmsinca who ARE doing something to make it better.

I leave you with an old worn out story that you've probably heard before. Thousands of starfish had washed up on the beach and were dying since they were out of the water. An old man walking the beach saw a youngster tossing the starfish back into the ocean. The old man said what are you doing...you can't possibly save all these thousands of starfish...the youngster replied..."yes you're right of course but I can save this one...and this one...and this one.

We ALL make a difference and judging you only by your posts..it seems you are making an effort to make yours a positive difference. Have a great night.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 26, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

At the same time the economic crisis has not been addressed - we have a bunch of people out there talking about "social justice" - and other things.


What they are really saying is: Let's expand government programs WAY more than they have been.


But HOW are we going to pay for all of this???


AND Obama appears to be CENTRAL to this problem.


Obama appears to have the ATTITIDE - Let's JAM in a MASSIVE BILL FOR MORE PROGRAMS AND HEALTH BENEFITS before the next bill for the economic crisis comes in.


Because, if we wait for the next bill to come in, it will OBVIOUS that the nation can NOT AFFORD the expanded social programs.


This is the HEIGHT OF IRRESPONSIBILITY.


This represents an extremely SHALLOW view of the government and taxation - expand the government programs and let someone else worry about how to pay for them.

This happens time and time again - the democrats jam in massive programs, massive union contracts, massive transportation commitments - and they have someone else PAY.


THIS IS THE PROBLEM WITH OBAMA.


Obama REALLY does NOT know the total cost of his health care plan - AND he doesn't know the COST OF GETTING OUT OF THIS ECONOMIC CRISIS.


To say we are headed in the wrong direction, is a terrible understatement.


Not only does Obama have no experience, and no qualifications, Obama has NO JUDGEMENT WHATSOEVER. The country is in the hands of MAD FREE-SPENDING MANIAC - as well as being and EGOMANIAC.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

12Bar

You are ignoring the economic crisis, just like Obama is -


Everyone can see what you are doing on purpose - and it is pretty obnoxious.


What is wrong with you that you think it is so important to be disruptive -


Are you an adult? You have all these stories, however Im thinking you are a 10 year old child - one who didn't get their way, but is still stomping her foot on the ground.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

@Troll

I clearly did not argue that disagreement with me = stupidity. My point was that your single example is laughable compared to the sheer tonnage of abject stupidity radiating from people who are representative (in their views and their standards) of the conservative movement.

For example, claims that climate change is a hoax don't earn the "stupid" label because they differ from my view. They earn the "stupid" label because they are based on demonstrable BS.

As far as the bowing to my intellectual superiority goes, maybe you should hold hands with my intellectual superiority instead. In conservaLand, bowing to Saudis is a disgrace, while holding hands with them is the sign of a War President. I wouldn't want to see your License to Wingnut It Up revoked or anything like that.

Posted by: michael_conrad | September 26, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

If it is true that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now essentially guaranteeing all the non-jumbo mortgages in the country.


And the banks are holding the foreclosed housing off the market.

THEN the net result is the banks are being able to TRANSFER THEIR LIABILITIES OVER TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

Obama has Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac basically guaranteeing the AIR IN A BUBBLE - and the problem is getting worse, not better.


This is Obama's economic policy.

It is a serious, serious problem - and getting worse - and we have Obama in there doing nothing - with hardly an economic policy - AND Obama has no idea what he is doing.


And we have people like 12bar thinking that they should talk about EXPANDING BENEFITS in the middle of a crisis that hasn't been solved yet.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

rukidding7 at 12:15 AM

then the tide came in and all the starfish were back in the water.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse

michael_conrad at 12:56 AM

Except WHEN the people went in, and asked the scientists at East Anglia to show the temperature logs which backed up their claims of global warming, the scientists said they didn't have the temperature logs.


ALL they have is a set of temperatures which have been "altered" through computer programs


BECAUSE, they said, the raw data from the temperature logs was WRONG, and it NEEDED TO BE "ADJUSTED."


I'm just saying, if there is NO PROBLEM with the raw temperature data, why can't we all see it???


The data isn't there.


It isn't a matter of "stupidity" or not - it is a question of being able to verify it.


If a scientific experiment is true, then anyone can reproduce the experiment and verify the results.


We don't have that - the raw temperature data is NOT being produced.


ANYWAY - if these scientists were HONEST, that RAW DATA WOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR ANYONE TO REVIEW. It isn't - and their "theory" is complete hogwash.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

ONE other point


Obama and crew HAD to know that Woodward's book was coming out - and Obama and the national security team was going to look in disarray.


So, why in the world would Obama allow his economic team to turn over right now? NOW the national security team looks like a mess - AND the economic team looks directionless and WITHOUT AN ADEQUATE POLICY.


It sure seems like Obama's economic team has NO IDEA what to do - so they are leaving - and Obama doesn't have any idea who to replace them with


(then the left starts talking about an affirmative action candidate - NOT the best person for the job - and the business world says "oh wonderful")


ON TOP of the economic team mess, Axelrod and Rahm are jumping ship/moving on.


No Chief of Staff, no political advisor, holes in the economic team - the national security people in disarray.


DOES ANYONE ELSE SEE THIS PICTURE ???


Pretty bad - does ANYONE have any confidence in Obama that he can pull this together. It seems like Obama is going to be all alone - still with no idea what he is doing.

I suppose having so many meetings with the clueless Obama takes its toll on people.


This situation - with so many people leaving - has to be a problem - I don't remember this kind of departures in another administration - ever.


Is this a sign that the INSIDERS ARE JUMPING BECAUSE THEY SEE HOW BAD THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IS.


This is like all the insiders selling their stock all at once.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Kevin:

"Amen to that! The human insistence on mistrusting the honesty and sincerity of those we disagree with..."

Come on, Kevin. My problem with ruk does not derive from a lack of "trust" in his honesty and sincerity. And sometimes disputes cannot sensibly be blamed on human frailties on the part of each disputant.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 26, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Kevin:

"Because they believe it should be structural--that a properly ordered society would just naturally tax the superwealthy and confiscatory rates for the general good."

I'm sure it is true that they do believe it should be structural. But in the absence of the structure, the moral obligation still presumably exists. So why don't the likes of Buffet and Soros honor this obligation?

"And when it comes to taxes, why should we be listening to what super-wealthy ultra-rich plutocrats like Warren Buffet say, anyway? Super-wealthy ultra-rich plutocrats want to destroy the country, crush the middle class, and ruin America so they can add to their already immense riches. Or isn't that right?"

Good question.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 26, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

"Keep it clean!"
Tough luck, Greg. It's only Sunday morning, and already 165 people left their stuff lying around here. Who's gonna clean this up?
:D

Posted by: Gray62 | September 26, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

McWing:

"I'm genuinely curious, do you think ScottC3..."

Thanks.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 26, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

"why should we be listening to what super-wealthy ultra-rich plutocrats like Warren Buffet say, anyway? Super-wealthy ultra-rich plutocrats want to destroy the country"

Looks like someone's thinking is severely handicapped by false generalisations. All superrich are the same, so Buffet=Koch, Soros=Murdoch etc. Of course, this can only end in mental confusion!

Posted by: Gray62 | September 26, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Gray62:

"Looks like someone's thinking is severely handicapped by false generalisations."

I wholeheartedly agree.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 26, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

"Do we really need such magnificent edifices for example?"

I was raised out in the country in a "low church" society, where "plain" is a high value, and I probably didn't even know any catholics, nor have I ever had any attraction to Catholicism.

But I am always moved by Cathedrals and the magnificent churches of the "high church" denominations. Strange. It doesn't say anything about whether they are justified or not, just that they are not without power.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Kevin said:

"Because they believe it should be structural--that a properly ordered society would just naturally tax the superwealthy and confiscatory rates for the general good. If they want to support specific things, they'll give to charity. They believe that the best possible society has a robust and financially sound government, and that it should get that way by taxing the very wealthy a very lot."

I understand this argument, but I don't buy it at all. First, the "tax the rich" position is usually based on a deontological argument about justice, which does not seem to me to permit one to say "I am not meeting my moral obligation, because the law is not compelling me and other 'rich' people to do so." Second, a this "social justice" position does not accept giving to charity as a substitute for paying taxes. That is its whole point. Third, I see no viable argument from practicality or systemic restraint, i.e., that somehow it is necessary for all the rich to pay higher taxes for me to be expected to do so. Indeed, if a just and ideal system requires the government to receive more money from "the rich," then the fact that the Koch family doesn't agree with that proposition is no reason why Warren Buffet's meeting his own claimed moral duty would not make the system more just and fair.

And that is not even considering the more utilitarian argument that the economy functions better with more taxes on the rich and redistribution of their money. If that is true, there is no sensible argument why Buffet, Gates, Soros, et al. should let the Kochs' disagreement stand in their own way. I think it is just the easy morality of people who don't want to put their own money where their mouths are.

Going to my unfancy church now. Will try to chime in more later.

For example on why it is that ru is always flaming about "chicken hawks" like Cheney but has no problem with Joe Biden or our current and last Dem Presidents. Double standard much?

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

"For example on why it is that ru is always flaming about "chicken hawks" like Cheney but has no problem with Joe Biden or our current and last Dem Presidents. Double standard much?"

Can you show me an instance where Clinton said that his detractors' beliefs would “undercut the troops”, “embolden [the] enemy”, and “encourage the terrorists”? Can you show me where Obama received 5 deferments before attending a political convention where they mocked his political opponents purple hearts?

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 26, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

"Double standard much?"

IMHO absolutely not. Biden was one of the few voices in this current administration that advocated ignoring the Generals who ALWAYS ask for more troops, more money, and advised the President to commit much less to Afghanistan. Obama chose to ignore Biden.

Clinton certainly did not advocate unilateral adventurism. His biggest commitment to military action was in the former Yugoslavia and it was in concert with many of our allies.

What defines a chicken hawk is not their lack of military service. Perhaps you could question Biden or Clinton's bravery for their lack of service...but they didn't exhibit the hawkishness that led us to one of the worst military disasters in our nation's history...certainly rivaling if not exceeding Vietnam. Bush/Cheney led us into a totally unnecessary war based on false evidence. There is plenty of information after the fact that shows Bush/Cheney not only ignored any intelligence that ran counter to their desires (and there was plenty) but actually worked feverishly to sell a number of false premises...Iraq helped with 9/11..WMD..yadda yadda.

A chicken hawk has to combine BOTH elements..lack of military service with a burning desire to commit military forces.

Actually John Fogerty does a far better job describing the entire "Chicken Hawk" mentality better than me with his hit tune

Fortunate Son

Some folks are born made to wave the flag,
ooh, they're red, white and blue.
And when the band plays "Hail To The Chief",
oh, they point the cannon at you, Lord,

It ain't me, it ain't me,
I ain't no senator's son,
It ain't me, it ain't me,
I ain't no fortunate one, no,

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
Lord, don't they help themselves? oh.
But when the taxman come to the door,
Lord, the house look a like a rummage sale, yes,

It ain't me, it ain't me,
I ain't no millionaire's son, no, no.
It ain't me, it ain't me,
I ain't no fortunate one, no.

Yeh, some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
ooh, they send you down to war, Lord,
And when you ask them, how much should we give,
oh, they only answer, more, more, more, yoh,

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 26, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

That's as very typically nonsubstantive, snarky response, scat. I could respond to by showing how silly it is, and then you would give another snotty retort claiming "that's not what I meant." So I will just skip it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

We don't need to tax the rich more because it "properly orders society." We need to tax the rich more because over-concentration of wealth is something that disables a consumer-based economy, and if it's not addressed, eventually reaches a point where it diminishes the wealth of the only people who have any as well.

Or perhaps someone here who is on board with the "morality" argument of why it's wrong, wrong, wrong to tax the people who have all the money a little bit more can explain how a consumer economy can continue to thrive and grow when 50% (and growing) of the population no longer have any discretionary income to participate in it. Last time I checked, no matter how rich a person is, there's a limit to the number of refrigerators, televisions, houses, cars, clothing, etc. they will consume. While they may consume more of each thing than a person of average means, will 10% of the population really buy as much of this stuff as 50% of the population would buy if only they had the money? I kind of doubt it. So over-concentration of wealth eventually, inevitably, leads to lower demand. Which eventually and inevitably leads to less wealth for the people who own everything.

Wealthy people's incomes and wealth actually increased more under Clinton's higher tax rates than under Bush's lower ones. The result of average people's incomes also improving, which allowed them to buy more stuff produced by companies owned by the rich. But by all means, let's not think about doing things that work - let's instead make airy farty arguments about the "morality" of asking people who benefit the most from the security and stability provided by government and its services to pay a little bit more in taxes.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 26, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

@qb: And that was a very typically dismissive, intellectually dishonest reply.

I simply exhibited why there was no double standard....showing that, despite your grandiose claims to the contrary, you really don't understand the left very much at all. You, as usual, don't address my questions, just decide to hurl invectives.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 26, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Jenn:

"We need to tax the rich more because over-concentration of wealth is something that disables a consumer-based economy, and if it's not addressed, eventually reaches a point where it diminishes the wealth of the only people who have any as well."

So the wealthy should pay higher taxes for their own good? Is that it?

I tend to think people should largely be left to determine for themselves what is and is not in their own best interests.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 26, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The wealthy should pay more taxes for EVERYONE'S good, including their own.

I thought that was pretty clear but I suppose not when the goal is to miss the point.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 26, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

@Jenn

"I thought that was pretty clear but I suppose not when the goal is to miss the point."

You hit the nail on the head there Jenn.
Most of the R's operate in a fact free zone.
The tea party wing of the party has simply elevated this aversion to facts...

Such as the fact that since Herbert Hoover's Administration the country has done better economically under D Presidents than R's.

"I tend to think people should largely be left to determine for themselves what is and is not in their own best interests."

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it...this comment shows either an ignorance of history (since the poster is far from ignorant) or displays exactly what you have just posted Jenn...an unwavering devotion to missing the point.

Theodore Roosevelt was the last President to deal with "people should largely be left to determine for themselves what is and is not in their own best interests."
We saw what the "robber barons" did acting in THEIR own self interest, the resulting monopolies (can anybody say Health Insurance Companies in 2010 the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, exempts health insurance companies from the federal anti-trust legislation that applies to most businesses.) and the "trusts" that the "Rough rider" wisely broke up. Where will the next T.R. come from...The Dems..LMAO...The R's LMAO...

One thing that does give me hope is tit4tat's nemisis...John Maynard Keynes who famously said...
"The power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared to the gradual encroachment of ideas."

The reactionaries will ultimately lose their arguments...as they have done throughout history.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 26, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

@tpm:

In the furor surrounding the passage of Arizona's notorious immigration crackdown bill, one incident that heavily inflamed the debate was the shooting of Pinal County Deputy Louie Puroll, who was allegedly shot by gang of drug smugglers he was tracking in the desert. Puroll reported being ambushed by the drug smugglers and then engaged in a running gun battle in which was grazed by a bullet in the back.

Now though two renowned forensic pathologists are saying that Puroll's wound was clearly suffered at point-blank range and thus, quite possibly, self-inflicted as part of an effort to create a cause celebre to rally anti-immigrant forces in the state.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2010/09/doctors_raise_doubts_about_ariz_deputys_shooting.php

Would YOU take a bullet to keep the immigration laws the same they are now???

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 26, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

"I tend to think people should largely be left to determine for themselves what is and is not in their own best interests."
------------------------------

Great sentiment. Excuse me for being a pragmatist, how does that apply to tax policy?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Since the U.S. started imposing taxes, has the federal tax structure ever been other than progressive?

Just curious.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

@12Bar: Since the ratification of the 16th amendment in 1913, the rates have always been progressive.

There was some earlier forms of a personal income tax (for instance, during the Civil War) - they seem to have beeen flat in nature - but only taxed income over a certain level.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 26, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Scat, sorry but little list of "show me's" is not a cogent argument. It's just a snarky throw away line. I haven't made any grandiose claims. I've just said I think conservatives generally understand more about liberal ideas than vice versa. For example, I doubt any regular conservative commenters here are unfamiliar with the Keynesian theory posed by Jenn above. I think far fewer of you understand alternative points of view. You take it as self evident that you are right, and as ru shows again you attribute any disagreement as a moral failing or a lack proper feeling.

But in any event, your response was a shallow, smart aleck retort, the sort on which I'm not going to waste more time.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

thank you, cat, for that answer.

In the states that tax income, are they all progressive too?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Re state taxes--I'm not asking anyone to do research. I just thought someone might know since that is the hot topic.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Obama and crew HAD to know that Woodward's book was coming out - and Obama and the national security team was going to look in disarray.


So, why in the world would Obama allow his economic team to turn over right now? NOW the national security team looks like a mess - AND the economic team looks directionless and WITHOUT AN ADEQUATE POLICY.


It sure seems like Obama's economic team has NO IDEA what to do - so they are leaving - and Obama doesn't have any idea who to replace them with

ON TOP of the economic team mess, Axelrod and Rahm are jumping ship/moving on.

This situation - with so many people leaving - has to be a problem - I don't remember this kind of departures in another administration - ever.


Is this a sign that the INSIDERS ARE JUMPING BECAUSE THEY SEE HOW BAD THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IS.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

So far, the nation has endured three lines of thought from Obama on the economy

"Blame Bush"

and - "Let's not address Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac"

"Obama doesn't want to go back to the policies of the last 8 years"

Well - WHO has to POINT OUT - that if Obama and the democrats are NOT doing anything about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, then Obama is CONTINUING the policies of Bush.


This is because, in part, the policies at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ARE democratic policies -


There is a sense of DRIFT - precisely because the stimulus was diverted to democratic pet projects and should never have been expected to do what Obama promised.


The nation has ZERO confidence in Obama - and Obama's talk has given the nation even less confidence.


Something has to get done about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - the whole situation is getting worse, not better - the guaranttees are piling up at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - and the taxpayers are going to get hit with the BILL.


Clearly Obama's attention is on other things - this is not the kind of person the nation deserves in this position.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"Scat, sorry but little list of "show me's" is not a cogent argument."

You stated there was a double standard. I provided two specific reasons why progressives attack rightwingers like Cheney for their lack of military service - not because they weren't in the military per se; but rather because it's unbelievably hypocritical for someone who did everything in their power to avoid service to 1)accuse others of not being sufficiently supportive of the military or the country or 2) openly mock someone who did answer the call and laid their life on the line.

Now, in order for there to be a double-standard, you would have to find instances where we have uncritically allowed Clinton or Obama to engage in these same behaviors.....so, can you show where that has occurred? Can you back up your claims of a double-standard?

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 26, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

@12bar:"In the states that tax income, are they all progressive too?"

It looks like several states (more than I would've thought) have flat rates.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 26, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

SOCIAL JUSTICE

I believe everyone is in favor of social justice - the questions around it are significant though.


The FIRST major problem is that most people would agree - after looking at the issue - that these schemes should not be allowed to interfere with ECONOMIC GROWTH.


To advance one not-too-extreme example - a "social justice" scheme which reduces economic growth by 3% - some liberals may want to agree to that.


However, over 10 years, that is a 30% slam to the economy - and it is just too costly.

So, people who say they are in favor of "social justice" - when confronted with the ideas of what it takes for ECONOMIC GROWTH, begin to refine what they are in favor of.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - a good program which has been HYJACKED BY THE LEFT - in an effort to provide more loans to lower-income people.


The result is that many people who could not afford loans got them - and lost their houses in the end - is that social justice?


NO, it was misguide.


Take it one step further - the ECONOMIC DISTORTIONS have been widespread and deep - the housing market has become inflated - so everyone buying houses have paid more - not just those targeted to help.

That actually cause some foreclosures on a set of people who - if the housing prices were not inflated - would have stayed in their houses.


But the taxpayers as whole got hurt, those who ended up with CDOs in their portfoios got hurt - and the economy is stalled.

Those looking for a job now have it more difficult - is that social justice.


The POINT is that these schemes often hurt many many bystanders - the liberals think it makes sense to take from one to give to another - and then 5 other people end up getting hurt in the process.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

@cat,

That's interesting. Which states are those? Since you have them right there. And what are their tax rates?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

@12bar:

Co: 4.63%
Il: 3%
In: 3.4%
Ma: 5.3%
Mi: 4.35%
NH: 5%
Pa: 3.07%
Tn: 6%
Ut: 5%

http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/228.html

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 26, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Just my dumb idea, but if we have flat tax states and progressive state taxes, perhaps it would be useful to compare their economies and see if the tax structure makes a difference. Rather than just argue about whether it's fair or not, which seems a little subjective to me.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

quarterback - I'd be interesting to hear the "alternative points of view" to the Keynsian theory I cited.

It's pretty much basic econ that profits are easier to come by when markets are stable or growing. Show us an example where it's easier to make money and expand the economy when demand is shrinking, and you'll have an alternative point of view worth consideration.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 26, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Looking at the list of states, one can't help but notice that the bluest state of MA has 5.3% flat tax and the redest state of UT has 5% flat tax.

Another observation, with a few exceptions, the states are not contiguous.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Looking at the flat tax list, I can't see any great economic powerhouse in this group. Michigan is in real economic trouble. PA doesn't have a great economy despite having the lowest flat tax.

Does anyone see any trends coming out of this list of flat tax states?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

This country should be extremely concerned about the picture emerging from Obama.


Obama is overruling his Generals who have decades of military experience.


Obama types up a 6 page military strategy, hands it out in the situation room - and demands that the Generals "agree" with it.


Then - Obama allows the Stimulus money to be diverted to democratic pet projects. Everyone knew this would lead to reduced job creation.


Then - Obama decides he will ignore the economy - and go to health care - and OBAMA ENDS UP CREATING A MASSIVE DRAG ON THE ECONOMY in the form of a 2,000 page bill full of secret provisions, and unintended consequences.

This is NOT an economic policy - it is an ECONOMIC DISASTER.


We are in the middle of the Great Obama Stagnation.


The economic team appears to have NO ANSWERS and they are leaving - one by one. One even got a billboard in Times Square relating to a sex scandal.


Now we find out that Axelrod and Rahm are leaving - the advisors are leaving before things get worse and worse.


Who is in charge?


Will the inexperience and unqualified Obama be left alone - without the top guys around ?


This is a matter of serious concern to the nation.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

sold2u at 11:33 writes:


I don't know what the administration could do to force banks to lend, and IMO that isn't the problem here. No one is borrowing to expand capacity - they have excess capacity as it is.

______________________________


OK - however when you say "capacity" are you talking about manufacturing - or what sectors of the economy.


Certainly investment can come in other sectors of the economy.

____________________________


I do not like what I'm hearing - the liberals are throwing their hands up and saying there is nothing they can do.

Yet - those Clinton Free Trade deals are still there -

Businesses would rather invest in China and Brasil - no one is happy about that.
____________________________


Do we have a situation here in which the Free Trade deals have been so DISTORTED that it only makes sense to INVEST in China and Brazil - and the United States is sitting on the sidelines?

Economies are dynamic - growith is key - a international trade economic model which is static - does not account for the dynamics of investment and growth.

And yet, the United States has locked itself into a static international trade model which is:

- creating trade deficits,

- throwing Americans out of work without viable alternative - and

- curtailing investment opportunities in the US.


Obama is completely clueless - and he is simply not the right guy to handle ANY of these issues -


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

@12Bar....Searching for some empirical knowledge of economic results based on tax rates in the various states might be commendable but IMHO I'm afraid there are simply too many variables that muddy the results. Climate, natural resources, education systems and a myriad host of other contributors to a state's economy make any single factor like taxes too difficult to separate from the whole.

Here in Florida we have a 0% income tax...none nada...and yet our economy is in the cr&pper even more than other states with 5%+ tax rates. Still I wouldn't make the case that either 0% or 5% have a major effect on the economy.

In Florida our leaders have simply relied on our natural resources for so long that we were left with our pants down when the bubble burst. Our terrific climate...beautiful beaches and scenery have drawn millions of new folks since the end of WWII. Alas that is ALL our state has depended on over the years...GROWTH.
We have sold our souls to developers and the only reason our economy "appeared" to be OK is because we have operated like a giant Ponzi scheme. As long as the influx of people continued we were OK. A few years ago, for the first time since WWII we experienced a net loss of population. This past year we picked up about 20,000 new residents...still well below the number to fuel the growth we need...since tourism and growth are our main two industries. Now new houses sit empty...the construction boom is gone..perhaps for ten more years or even longer.

The retirees who came to our state had already paid taxes in their home state and watched THEIR children receive good educations in return. After settling in Florida many of those folks objected strenuously to proper funding of education.
We are left with a poor education system, water shortages and stress on our once beautiful natural resources...and as the old Joni Mitchell song went...we've got a great start on paving over paradise.

This economic downtown at least has slowed rapacious developers. I am not anti-development and in fact sit on my city's planning commission. However the development should proceed wisely with attention to concurrency (the ability to provide infrastructure water etc.) and our environment. We have finally begun to recruit industries that have a future, high tech industries that also provide a reasonable living wage instead of the low wages and lack of benefits served up by our service and tourist industries.

Wish us luck 12Bar...we need it here in Florida. The r's have been in control for over a decade and Marco Rubio and the boys sold out to the special interests achieving great PERSONAL wealth by selling OUR public offices!

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 26, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

One thing seems fairly obvious to me--states with flat taxes don't seem to fare better than those with progressive taxes. Countries with flat taxes (Eastern Europe) don't fare better than those with progressive taxes (U.S., for example).

So to boil everything down to a flat tax vs progressive tax argument is too simplistic, no? We want to make things simple, but not simpler than they are.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

JennOfArk at 9:55 AM

You don't get it - the problems you talk about have more about the Free Trade deals that Bill Clinton put in place -

Changing the tax rates is NOT going to help the poor - it will ONLY lower economic growth, cause more wasted government spending - AND actually cause LESS jobs to be create - HURTING THE POOR who are you trying to help.


It is pretty simple.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Jenn

Taxing more from the wealthy does NOT help the poor like you say.

The money goes to the government - and corrupt politicans - and wasteful government spending.


WHAT YOU WANT is economic growth - more jobs -


If you tax the wealthy, you decrease economic growith - and fewer jobs are created.


You are thinking in a STATIC way - and not concentrating on what the ECONOMY NEEDS FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

@ru,

Without divulging any secrets, how are y'all doing with attracting high tech industry? Are they satellite software development, or moving the whole company?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Jenn

Taxing more from the wealthy does NOT help the poor like you say.

The money goes to the government - and corrupt politicans - and wasteful government spending.


WHAT YOU WANT is economic growth - more jobs -


If you tax the wealthy, you decrease economic growith - and fewer jobs are created.


You are thinking in a STATIC way - and not concentrating on what the ECONOMY NEEDS FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

12BarBlues at 2:11 PM

ru is correct - there are too many variables to start drawing conclusions of flat tax verses progressive tax structures.


And yet you are desperate to start drawing a conclusion


_____________________________-


As I said at the beginning of all this - and the FEDERAL tax structure is ALREADY progressive - so the question is whether to make it more progressive or less progressive


Messing around with state tax rates in the range of 1 - 5 % is not going to tell you much - when the federal rates are sitting there at 15 - 36%.


The very presense of the federal progressive taxes in the economy will blunt any sensitivity which the state taxes have.


______________________


The question is HOW TO CREATE JOBS - that will give you MORE SOCIAL JUSTICE than ANY scheme you can come up with.

OK - are you happy now? We talked about what you wanted to talk about? You are like a 9 child starved for attention.


.

.


Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

The Important Question is HOW to get out of the Great Obama Stagnation ???

The liberals are still concerned about diverting Billions of dollars in the WRONG DIRECTION - and destroying the economic growth of this nation.


Meanwhile - Obama and the liberals are IGNORING the fact that multinational companies want TO DO NOTHING BUT SIDESTEP THE UNCERTAINTY AROUND OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE PLAN - and go INVEST IN CHINA AND BRAZIL.

This is DESTROYING future economic growth - because OBAMA IS DRIVING INVESTMENT TO CHINA AND BRAZIL.


The Obama health care plan - with its hundreds of secret provisions - and unintended consequences - is DRAGGING THE INVESTMENT AND JOB GROWING DOWN IN THIS COUNTRY.

Obama and liberals just IGNORE this - they give you blank stares like they got away with something AND THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OR THE COSTS.

Everyone knows what Obama and the liberals did - and no one is going to let them forget it.

When the country was in crisis - all Obama and the liberals wanted to do was JAM SOME STUPID MISGUIDED AGENDA DOWN THE THROATS OF AMERICA.

.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

* Conway surges, now tied with Paul in WHAS11/CJ poll *

Three weeks after Republican Rand Paul claimed a 15 point lead in the WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll of Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, Democrat Jack Conway has suddenly closed the gap, and the latest poll shows that the race is now a statistical dead heat.

Compared to an identical WHAS11/Courier-Journal poll three weeks ago, Conway is up seven points, Paul is down six. It is the first time Conway has polled above 45% in the general election poll and the first time Paul has polled below 51%.

"Whether that is a result of genuine traction for this particular Democrat, second thoughts about his opponent, or a newly raised consciousness among voters who a month ago were not focused on the contest, I am not sure," said Survey USA pollster Jay Leve.

[...]

Conway has women voters, affluent voters and North Central Kentucky to thank for his surge:

* The Democrat led among women by a mere three points just three weeks ago, and now leads by 16 points among women, 55% to 39%. Paul holds a 21 point lead among men. The resulting gender gap is a whopping 37 point margin.

* Paul had led by as many as 21 points among voters who earn more than $50,000, and today leads by five.

* In North Central Kentucky, Paul has led by as much as 22 points, but the race is now dead even in the Bluegrass Poll, 49% each.

Likely Voters
Rand Paul (R) 49%
Jack Conway (D) 47%
Undecided 4%
SurveyUSA / Margin of Error +/- 4%

Likely Voters - Men
Rand Paul (R) 59%
Jack Conway (D) 38%
Undecided 2%
SurveyUSA / Margin of Error +/- 4%

Likely Voters - Women
Rand Paul (R) 39%
Jack Conway (D) 55%
Undecided 6%
SurveyUSA / Margin of Error +/- 4%

Likely Voters – Eastern Kentucky
Rand Paul (R) 53%
Jack Conway (D) 40%
Undecided 8%
SurveyUSA / Margin of Error +/- 4%

Likely Voters – Western Kentucky
Rand Paul (R) 48%
Jack Conway (D) 45%
Undecided 7%
SurveyUSA / Margin of Error +/- 4%

Likely Voters –North Central Kentucky
Rand Paul (R) 49%
Jack Conway (D) 49%
Undecided 2%
SurveyUSA / Margin of Error +/- 4%

Likely Voters – Louisville and surrounding
Rand Paul (R) 47%
Jack Conway (D) 49%
Undecided 3%
SurveyUSA / Margin of Error +/- 4%

http://www.whas11.com/community/blogs/political-blog/Conway-surges-now-tied-with-Paul-in-WHAS11CJ-poll-103804449.html

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 26, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Everyone should be clear - Obama's health care plan is NOW DRIVING JOBS OVERSEAS.


Obama has created so much UNCERTAINTY and unknowns with his health care plan - that businesses are looking to invest in China and Brazil.


Once an investment goes overseas - those jobs are gone for decades - the jobs are in Brazil or in China - and the company is not going to all of a sudden shift back the investment when Obama changes his mind.

The DAMAGE TO THE ECONOMY is only now coming to light -


Nancy Pelosi said we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it - what a classic.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"It is pretty simple."

Yes, you are.

If taxing the wealthiest people a few percent more allows for investments in education, health care, infrastructure, etc, then yes it absolutely does help people who are less well-off. If they can for example send their kid to college on a grant rather than digging into their pocket, or having the kid take on tens to hundreds of thousands in debt, then those dollars NOT spent by the parents or students for college can be spent on other things. This creates what is known as "demand."

Disparity of wealth like we have now indicates that labor is being undervalued, which leads to ever-increasing disparity and eventually, shrinking demand. People who are spending every penny on rent, utilities, food, clothing and transportation can't buy new dishwashers and cars and refrigerators and you name it - so less of them are sold, the manufacturers/distributors and retailers sell less, and so on and so forth. The only way to increase demand is to get money into the pockets of people who will spend it. Government has only a few tools at its disposal to make sure wealth doesn't become so over-concentrated that it spawns a deflation of demand; those are tax legislation (raise taxes higher on those making the most to slow the accumulation of assets in their hands and apply estate taxes to lessen the concentration of wealth over generations) or mandated higher wages. Republicans reject all of those and instead promote policies to encourage concentration of wealth.

The inevitable end point, therefore, for Republican policy is a few people owning everything and everyone else owning nothing, at which point there isn't much, if any, of a consumer economy. If you can explain how to make a consumer economy work under such circumstances, feel free to take a crack at it. Otherwise, stop embarrassing yourself.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 26, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

@ethan,

It looks like you've really gone into the crosstabs. Preceeding this poll, a couple of others have shown a tightening, so this is more confirmation.

What is the reason for the gender gap, do you think?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Disparity of wealth like we have now indicates that labor is being undervalued, which leads to ever-increasing disparity and eventually, shrinking demand.
-----------------------------
From the looks of consumer demand, eventually has happened.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan: Those numbers from Ky are really surprising. Outlier, maybe? Or has something happened that might've turned the race around?

Not to rain on anyone's parade, but I think I'd like to see those numbers repeated by another polling outfit before I get my hopes up.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 26, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

@12bar: D'oh! Just saw your post. I was unaware of the other polls showing the race tightening. Were those just as close?

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 26, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

@cat,

Here are the 2 preceeding polls which show a tightening in a +6R race.

SurveyUSA 9/21-23/10 561 LV 49 47 4 +2R

Benenson (D-DSCC) 9/20-22/10 800 LV 45 42 13 +3R

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"What is the reason for the gender gap, do you think?"

It's a good question. Maybe his extreme stance on abortion?

Check out this recent article on Rand Paul's dealings with an extremist conservative "doctors" group:

* Rand Paul part of AAPS doctors' group airing unusual views *

Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul belongs to a conservative doctors’ group that, among other things, has expressed doubts about the connection between HIV and AIDS and suggested that President Barack Obama may have been elected because he was able to hypnotize voters.

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100924/NEWS0106/309240084/1008/NEWS01/Rand+Paul+part+of+AAPS+doctors++group+airing+unusual+views

Seriously, everyone needs to read that article!!!

Obama HYPNOTIZED US into voting for him!

Seriously.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 26, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

This race has a lot of polls, but there's a fair amount of variation.

A picture worth a thousand words--see http://www.pollster.com/polls/ky/10-ky-sen-ge-pvc.php

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, 12Bar. Somehow I managed to miss those. Great news!

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 26, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

@strf,

Here's one for you:

Obama HYPNOTIZED US into voting for him!

Bwahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

This Whole Election is about Obama


Obama is sending the country in the wrong direction - jobs are being sent overseas just to avoid the uncertainty around Obama's health care plan.


Obama has over-ridden the best advice of his Generals - with decades of experience.

Obama's economic team is leaving - Rahm is leaving - Axelrod is leaving - WHAT does that tell you?

Obama doesn't know what he is doing

What is worse, Obama has NO IDEA what to do.

The liberals are just talking in the wrong direction - distracting everyone from what has to be done to fix the economy. And we just get the same tone-deaf and ridiculous responses from the left - focusing in on everything else but economic growth and jobs creation.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

"Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul belongs to a conservative doctors’ group that, among other things, has expressed doubts about the connection between HIV and AIDS and suggested that President Barack Obama may have been elected because he was able to hypnotize voters."

If that's true, that just confirmed what I learned after working very closely with physicians for several years: there are plenty of "not so bright" people out there practicing medicine.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 26, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Jenn at 3:11 writes:


If taxing the wealthiest people a few percent more allows for investments in education, health care, infrastructure,

________________


No it doesn't - you are trying to say you wanted to help the poor - and increase social justtice with your taxes.


But then you turn around and talk about making massive government programs more massive.

You way does not work - and with this economy, you might as well be whispering into the wind.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I have a hunch that the sudden widening of the gender gap is about something other than abortion. Hasn't Rand always been prolife? I think so.

Maybe it was Rand's dismissal of illegal drugs being much of a problem, when it is considered to be a scourge by Kentuckians.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Jenn

The nation is in the middle of the Great Obama Stagnation


And all you want to do is STAGNATE IT MORE.

How in the world can that make sense?

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Apologies if this was posted previously. Ann Coulter at Homocon, from TPM:

"In one of a series of racially insensitive remarks that pervaded her speech, Coulter added, "Marriage is not a civil right. You're not black." It was part of a larger argument on which she later elaborated, telling the crowd that the 14th Amendment only applies to African-Americans and that it does not, in fact, apply to women, LGBT people or other minorities."

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/09/ann-coulter-at-homocon-marriage-is-not-a-civil-right-youre-not-black.php#more

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 26, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

When a football game is over - it's over


When one team really can't come back, it's over.


It is the same way with Obama - it's over.


There is nothing the liberals can do.


The liberals are just showing their true colors now - getting nasty as they go down - and ignoring the real issues in the country. Everyone is WATCHING Obama carefully now - Obama can't get away with anything anymore. It is a disaster.


Liberalism is dead - Obama has exposed it for the dead-end it is.


Liberals have to face the death of their philosophy as well - We see all these arguments here about taxing everyone else - how wonderful it would be to tax everyone to pay for these massive government programs that do little but drag down the economy.


It's over - it really is over.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

scat,

So it would appear you have a very different definition of a hypocritical "chicken hawk" than someone like ru, who appears to define it as anyone who failed to serve and later advocated or supported miltary action that ru finds inappropriate. But let's take yours.

First, you didn't cite any example of Cheney's "openly mocking" Kerry's Purple Hearts. You apparently want to hold him vicariously responsible for other people's behavior. I could probably assemble a virtual encyclopedia of attacks on, and mockery of, Republicans by Democrats, if that is your standard, but it makes no sense. You're just grasping at straws.

Second, as for "accus[ing] others of not being sufficiently supportive of the military or the country," you are apparently referring to arguments of Bush and Cheney in 2007 arguing that Democrat declarations of defeat in Iraq and attempts to force deadline for quick withdrawal.

Perhaps you'll recall the years of Democrat attacks on Bush and Cheney for supposedly "taking our eye off the ball" and pursuing personal grudges and interests in fight the "wrong" war rather than the "right" war in Afghanistan. Remember how Bush and Cheney were attacked for declaring premature victory and not finishing the job? For not pursuing OBL in the mountains?

Would you try to suggest that Biden and Obama didn't participate in that? We heard Obama personally mock John McCain in a debate for supposedly not having the courage to puruse OBL in Afghanistan.

And here is Obama attacking McCain for suggesting that the situation in Iraq was improving but riding in an armored vehicle and wearing body armor in Bagdad.

http://kdka.com/politics/Democrat.Barack.Obama.2.281567.html

Here is Joe Biden criticizing senators for "voting against body armor" for troops.

http://www.barackobamavideos.net/joe-biden-criticizes-senators-who-voted-against-body-armor-for-troops

Here is Biden attacking Rumsfeld for insufficient concern for troop safety and equipment.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1009760,00.html

This could go on and on. We could go back and look at claims of Clinton and his surrogates about Republicans. You think he didn't suggest that they cared less about the country and our security than about taking him down? Go to the Clinton library sometime. That's basically the story it tells -- the good you President was elected, the evil Republicans tried to destroy him, but he was able to defeat them and save the country from their evil designs.

But what all this really shows is that you have a silly definition of hypocricy underlying your "chickenhawk" epithet. What to do in Iraq was a serious debate in 2007, and it is plain absurd to suggest that Bush's or Cheney's draft records made it hypocritical to argue against the Dem strategy of declaring it lost and pulling out. There is no contradiciton there, only in your mind.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Homocon?????

I couldn't believe that--so I had to find out that Ms. Coulter was speaking to a group of gay conservatives.

A notable quote:

Despite the laugh lines, Coulter's arguments against same sex marriage were not well-received by much of the crowd: for instance, the question and answer session after the speech was dominated by Homocon attendees grilling her on her position on a range of issues, including whether opposition to same sex marriage was really in line with the conservative principles of limited government and whether she personally believes that homosexuality is a choice -- a question she declined to answer.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

JennOfArk at 3:11 PM


You forget how much investment ends up overseas when you start over-taxing the rich.


You are forgetting about job growth.


You are looking at a static model - not a dynamic one which focuses in on jobs creation and economic growth.


Funny you refuse to address the obvious points presented to you - and instead just insist you are right.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"quarterback - I'd be interesting to hear the "alternative points of view" to the Keynsian theory I cited."

Are you admitting that Keynsian "demand" economics is the only one with which you are familiar?

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I don't see the liberals talking about much economic policy - other than they think it is a good idea to raise taxes.


The liberals forget that Obama's health care plan has resulted in $460 Billion in additional health care premiums - THAT IS JUST LIKE A TAX INCREASE.


AND then the liberals want a $700 Billion tax increase on top of that.

So that equals $1.16 TRILLION IN OBAMA DRAGS ON THE ECONOMY.

You all have to be NUTS if you think that is a good idea in the middle of the GREAT OBAMA STAGNATION.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

STRF, if you can't answer a simple question, then don't bother answering. It's clear you're as far outside your depth of understanding on this as you are on most issues.

Put up or shut up: explain how a consumer economy can continue to function and how it will produce wealth when an ever-increasing percentage of the people participating in it cannot buy anything.

If you can't answer that question, there's no foundation for the rest of your babbling. If you were a smart person you'd realize this. So answer the question - how do you create jobs and grow a consumer economy if demand is shrinking, which it does when wealth becomes more and more concentrated into fewer and fewer hands?

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 26, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

quarterback - no. I'm asking you to state these alternative points of view that explain how profits and economic growth can be generated out of shrinking demand. You're the one who says it can be done, so it's up to you to answer as to how.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 26, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

@jenn,

When I was younger an oldtimer gave me a great piece of advice. "Never take a bet from a guy sitting in a bar. If he says he can bring a dead fly to life and gives you odds, don't take that bet. You'll lose."

You have just broken the "Dead Fly" rule. You have asked STRF a simple question, one that seems so straight forward, so obvious, so simple. But, you will see in short order, that nothing can be further from the truth.

You will see dead flies buzzing around in the very next post from STRF.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

"We don't need to tax the rich more because it "properly orders society." We need to tax the rich more because over-concentration of wealth is something that disables a consumer-based economy"

You asked for alternative points of view.

One would start with noting the oddity of your assumption of a "consumer-based economy." This is a common assumption of Keynesianism, but one they almost never examine. What does it really mean? What would a nonconsumer economy look like?

Even in Keynes' own terms, part of what it overlooks is that investment is just as important as "consumption" or "demand." Investment generally comes from savings, and it is investment that creates jobs, new productive capacity, technology, productivity gains -- all the things that lead to economic growth and welfare gains.

Your theory assumes that "the rich" put their money under a mattress. In reality, they spend or invest it. When the government takes more of it to redistribute, spend, or "invest," it is not creating any new "demand" or investment. It is simply diverting resources from one place to another.

You said, for example, that when the government taxes "the rich" and uses the money to pay for poorer students to go to college, "then those dollars NOT spent by the parents or students for college can be spent on other things. This creates what is known as "demand.""

But this is a fallacy or at least fails to account for all that is actually happening in this scenario, because by taxing (we'll set borrowing to one side) "the rich" it is simultaneously substracting the combined spending and investment they would have contributed to the economy. This might seem fine to you, because you think the government should pay for college, but there is a cost. When you make the facile assertion that "the rich" can only buy so many refirgerators, etc., you assume away the true facts, which are that they do buy more (and bigger and better) refrigerators and cars, go on vacations, build more houses, etc. (Recall Democrat attempts to create more "fairness" and adjust "demand" through the luxury tax? They mainly put people out of work building yachts.)

And perhaps even worse, you assume away the investment of "the rich." Every dollar the government taxes them will reduce captial investment. This again probably seems okay to you because either you just don't believe such investment happens or you would rather have the goverment "invest." But it is a cost of your theory which you ignore.

You said that income disparity means that "labor is being undervalued." This is another assumption, and an entirely subjective and unprovable one. If labor were "undervalued," its price would go up because of more competition for it. Instead, you assume it is always undervalued, and tax investment capital to "create demand" you believe is "missing." But just diverted resources from private spending and, citically, capital investment, meaning few jobs.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Doh. People don't invest in things that aren't going to earn a return because there is no demand.

The critical flaw in supply-side "theory", which so far brought us the S & L collapses (overinvestment in commercial real estate despite lack of demand), the dot-com bust (overinvestment in technology and internet businesses, despite lack of demand), and the housing crash (over-investment in mortgages, despite lack of qualified demand), is that demand doesn't follow investment; it leads it. Wishing and hoping it weren't so won't make it otherwise.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 26, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

"I could probably assemble a virtual encyclopedia of attacks on, and mockery of, Republicans by Democrats, if that is your standard, but it makes no sense."

Can you show one instance where the mocking of a wounded combat vet was done on national tv at a major political party's convention? Do you not truly believe that if Cheney or Bush or the RNC found the mocking distasteful the little purple band-aids would've disappeared in an instant?

Can you show an instance where a democratic senatorial candidate who was granted a Vietnam era deferment for a bum knee attacked a wheelchair-bound vet "for breaking his oath to protect and defend the Constitution"?

"Perhaps you'll recall the years of Democrat attacks on Bush and Cheney for supposedly "taking our eye off the ball" and pursuing personal grudges and interests in fight the "wrong" war rather than the "right" war in Afghanistan. Remember how Bush and Cheney were attacked for declaring premature victory and not finishing the job? For not pursuing OBL in the mountains? "

You think criticizing someone for declaring premature victory or pursuing the wrong strategy is the same as attacking your political adversaries for "emboldening the enemy"?

"And here is Obama attacking McCain for suggesting that the situation in Iraq was improving but riding in an armored vehicle and wearing body armor in Bagdad."

So? Did Obama claim that McCain was weak on terrorism or that he was "encouraging the terrorists"? Did Obama claim that McCain didn't deserve the accolades or awards he received for military service? If I remember correctly, Obama was always very careful to thank Senator McCain for his service. Did Bush show the same level of gratitude and respect for Kerry?

"Here is Joe Biden criticizing senators for "voting against body armor" for troops."

Nowhere in that clip did he even mention Republicans. He was attacking everyone who voted against the body armor - and if I remember correctly that included a fair number of Dems.

"Here is Biden attacking Rumsfeld for insufficient concern for troop safety and equipment."

Biden was hardly alone in attacking Rumsfeld for his remarks - even General McCaffrey was in that article criticizing him. In fact, Rumsfeld's ridiculously flippant attitude when he responded to that soldier was only made worse by the fact that he himself never saw combat during his military service.

"That's basically the story it tells -- the good you President was elected, the evil Republicans tried to destroy him, but he was able to defeat them and save the country from their evil designs. "

It's pretty clear to me that Repubs were trying to bring him down - do you not remember the impeachment hearings? I also seem to recall that anytime Clinton tried to do anything in the area of military action he was immediately criticized for trying to "wag the dog" and deflect attention away from other stories. I'm no huge Clinton fan, but the level of vitriol and was pretty shocking.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 26, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Hating to get in the middle of someone else's debate, but isn't a fact that 70% of our economy is consumer demand? Or do I have that wrong?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

The party affiliation respondent crosstabs on that SurveyUSA poll for KY Senate are:

51% DEM
36% GOP
12% IND

{{{snort}}}

That's either a misprint or they found a whole 'nother Kentucky!

http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=fc6b082e-60eb-4208-bf85-6991405eff5a

Posted by: tao9 | September 26, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"quarterback - no. I'm asking you to state these alternative points of view that explain how profits and economic growth can be generated out of shrinking demand. You're the one who says it can be done, so it's up to you to answer as to how."

As I thought. You aren't familiar with other viewpoints. You don't appear to have been aware that they exist. Go ahead, just admit it.

So, I provided your answer. Continuing, however:

Here is one of countless articles discussing flaws of, and alternatives to, Keynesian economic religion.

http://nrd.nationalreview.com/article/?q=YzVhZmI5MDAxMDEyZGIzMWVlZTUzZWU1ZDY2ZjExNTQ=

The problems of jenn's theory are even worse when government focuses on taxing capital investment per se. In simple terms, that ill-considered approach can be thought of as putting a tax on creating jobs in order to increase more "demand" for the fewer goods and services that will, as a result, be available. All these government interventions and attempts to "right the economic ledger" are doomed to do harm.

And I did not even get into the incentive problems of progressive rates.

Btw, Keynesianism gave us the Phillips curve, which said that there is a stable relationship and trade off between unemployment and inflation. That idea was wrecked by stagflation, which simply proved it wrong as a theory of long-term economic performance.

You are arguing a form of this same theory, under which demand falls and unemployment rises as the rich put all the money under their mattresses. You even referred to it above as a deflationary cycle. History proves the theory wrong.

Scott is probably a much better "economist" than I am and could probably do better than this, but I am not surprised you seem to have been unfamiliar with the fact that your "demand" theory of economics is controversial not just "basic economics" that everyone accepts as "just the way it is."

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

s-cat,

If you were around Boston for the 80's thru the 00's, and caught Sen. Kerry's general public and private act, you'd have no problem, none whatsoever, suspecting that the V'Nam exploits were, uh, embellished.

Then there's Winter Soldier stuff.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: tao9 | September 26, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

@tao,

Interesting breakdown of registered voters in Kentucky in 11/2008:

1,629,845 Democrats

• 1,040,438 Republicans

• 186,948 other voters


Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2008/05/02/393155/kentucky-gains-16333-new-registered.html#ixzz10fp9lYmQ
--------------------------------
How that reflects in the likely voter pool, I don't know. My calculations say that 57% are registered Democrats. Perhaps Democrats vote R in Kentucky?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

JennOfArk at 4:13 PM


I already answered your question - I said it several times.


The key is jobs creation and economic growth


What you are proposing leads to LESS jobs and LESS economic growth - which in turn reduces the demand you are talking about.

And there is no need for you to be rude - that is a character flaw.


Maybe the liberals should spend part of their meetings on character flaws - perhaps it would help.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Just to double check Kentucky registration numbers by party, I got these updated numbers from the Secy of State's site for 9/10.

STATE TOTALS *
1,627,673 Democrats
1,064,962 Republicans
192,798 Other

http://elect.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/9B962D0A-E25D-43DE-8DE6-8603346E3433/239153/statcnty.txt
---------------------------------
Looks like registered Democrats are still about the same proportion, 57%.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

JennOfArk at 4:13 PM


Perhaps the reason you didn't understand that I was answering your question was I was trying to be polite to you.


I wasn't explicitly telling you how wrong you were - or claiming that your IQ was so low it might make you ineligible for execution.

I was just trying to debate the policy options.


And I wasn't claiming how badly you were advocating driving jobs overseas - and lowering economic growth for years to come - which would increase the trade deficits - and make the entire economy worse off.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

@12Bar "How that reflects in the likely voter pool, I don't know. My calculations say that 57% are registered Democrats. Perhaps Democrats vote R in Kentucky?"


Zing! Imagine that! The crosstabs tao referenced actually UNDERREPRESENTED the Dems. Who'd of thunk it? (((snort))) :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 26, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't explicitly telling you how wrong you were - or claiming that your IQ was so low it might make you ineligible for execution.
-------------------------------------
Buzz buzz buzz. Watch those dead flies comin' to life.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

@ruk,

Actually, I think the reason the sample is 51% Democrat is because it is likely voters. The enthusiasm gap in Kentucky seems to be about 5 points (per numerous polls). So if registered Democrats are 57% and like Democrat voters are 51%, that shows a 6% enthusiasm gap. I think I have that right.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

@12Bar STRF still hasn't forgiven you for bringing up social justice last night. I normally don't wade through his stuff but he was the last man standing last night and he was really, really, really peeved that you dare ask for social justice.

Perhaps he's from the Glen Beck school of thought...social justice...we don't need no stinking social justice..how about some good old fashioned Economic Darwinism survival of the fittest...Caveat Emptor..Everybody for themselves...ya know the ole.."Let them eat cake crowd".

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 26, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

12Bar...thanks for correcting my erroneous interpretation of your remarks about the number of Dem voters in Ky. I think your 6% enthusiasm gap number is perfectly plausible.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 26, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

"Can you show one instance . . . "

I can show you innumerable instances of scurrilous attacks by Dems on Reps' loyalty, patriotism, concern for troops, dedication to our security, etc.

But you are pretty far off track now. That's what happens when you set out a flawed, partisan position and then try to keep it from falling apart.

"You think criticizing someone for declaring premature victory or pursuing the wrong strategy is the same as attacking your political adversaries for "emboldening the enemy"?"

No, I think the unhinged attacks on Bush and Cheney -- including the shrieking charge of treason by Al Gore, and Jim McDermott's charge that they sent troops to die for their own pleasure -- were infinitely worse than Bush and Cheney's argument against declaring defeat.

"So? Did Obama claim that McCain was weak on terrorism or that he was "encouraging the terrorists"?"

Yes, he did claim McCain was weak on terrorism, and he and all Democrats continually asserted that Bush's, Cheney's, and McCain's policies "made us less safe" and encouraged and incited terrorism. I'm quite certain you've repeated the same talking points.

And in this instance Obama was specifically arguing that McCain was downplaying the danger to our troops while riding in an armored vehicle and wearing body armor. That precisely fits your own stated definition of "chicken hawk" hypocrisy.

"Obama was always very careful to thank Senator McCain for his service."

His campaign also suggested that McCain was unstable because of his POW experience. (That campaign that supposedly was Obama's executive experience.)

"Did Bush show the same level of gratitude and respect for Kerry?"

Do you have some examples of his failing to do so?

"Nowhere in that clip did he even mention Republicans. He was attacking everyone who voted against the body armor - and if I remember correctly that included a fair number of Dems."

It is irrelevant under your stated definition that he was attacking everyone and not solely the GOP. By your definition, having takeg five deferments, Biden was a chicken hawk for attacking others for supposedly lacking concern for our military or country.

"Biden was hardly alone in attacking Rumsfeld for his remarks - even General McCaffrey was in that article criticizing him. In fact, Rumsfeld's ridiculously flippant attitude when he responded to that soldier was only made worse by the fact that he himself never saw combat during his military service."

The merits of the attack are not relevant under your own stated definition. I will take this as an admission that Biden was a chicken hawk. And I'm glad to see you admit that Democrats across the board attacked Rumsfeld.

"It's pretty clear to me that Repubs were trying to bring him down - do you not remember the impeachment hearings?"

Irrelevant. As a draft dodger, Clinton could not make this criticism without being a chicken hawk.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

No other survey has that kind of a gender gap in Kentucky - 16 points among women


I would wait for confirmation from other polling organizations before going all crazy over it.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

@ruk,

STRF can't forgive me for a lot, mainly pointing out to y'all his disgrace at the Fix and being forcibly evicted from there. Just add social justice to the long, long list of my transgressions. The only person with a longer list is the President, so I am in good company.

I am rather proud of the Church's stand on social justice because we all know the Church hangs its head in shame on other issues. The Church is far from perfect, but I have great respect for their ethically reasoned stand on social justice.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

"Perhaps he's from the Glen Beck school of thought...social justice...we don't need no stinking social justice.."

As a lifelong conservative, I can assure you guys that the critique of "social justice" is not original to Glenn Beck.

When we see it invoked as a mandate for government policy, it is just another way to say welfare state or socialism.

But it does always raise the intriguing quesiton of why you liberals are always trying to impose your religion and have government policy based on it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I thought the criticism was that "social justice" was not adequately defined. That's why I posted the Church's position on social justice. The Church is also prolife and against embryonic stem cell research. I assume you don't have any trouble imposing that on everyone.

BTW, I share the Church's position on prolife and stem cells.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Chickenhawk (also chicken hawk and chicken-hawk) is a political epithet used in the United States to criticize a politician, bureaucrat, or commentator who strongly supports a war or other military action, yet who actively avoided military service when of age.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chickenhawk_%28politics%29

The ** CHICKENHAWKS **
[ "Chicken Hawks" are people who are enthused about their country engaging WAR – which is why they are called "hawks", – but who make sure that their own butts are nowhere near the fighting – which makes them "Chicken Hawks" . – ]

http://www.liberalslikechrist.org/about/chickenhawks.html

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 26, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

@12Bar...It's clearly evident that STRF suffers from Obama derangement syndrome...are you suggesting he might also be suffering from 12BarBlues derangement syndrome as well? :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 26, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

rukidding7 at 5:53 PM


I'm not upset at 12Bar for anything she did last night - not at all.


It is everything else that she has done.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

While we are at it - we might as well take the first steps toward canonization for 12BarBlues.


Everything she has done- all the fights she has engaged in - all the fighting she has tried to instigate.


But she goes off and sets up some postings on social justic - and - well let's just canonize her and be done with it.

Who is with me ???

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

12BarBlues derangement syndrome
----------------------------
Bwahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!

We could put that to music, in the 12 bar blues form, of course. Call it the Grudge Blues.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"Doh. People don't invest in things that aren't going to earn a return because there is no demand."

Doh is right. You've stated a handy little axiom of investment and microeconomics. Unfortunately, it has essentially nothing to do with this discussion of macroeconomics.

"The critical flaw in supply-side "theory", which so far brought us the S & L collapses (overinvestment in commercial real estate despite lack of demand),"

So your explanation of the S&L crisis is that some people suddenly decided to invest in commercial real estate despite there being no demand for it? Interesting if absurd.

"the dot-com bust (overinvestment in technology and internet businesses, despite lack of demand),"

Of course, there was what has been chareacterized as a bubble burst. But the growth of tech businesses and the incredible explosion of tech wealth was and remains real.

And isn't it interesting how you are now arguing against your own Keynesian theory, which depends on the rich putting their money under the mattress. Now you have them "overinvesting." You simply aren't making any sense now.

"and the housing crash (over-investment in mortgages, despite lack of qualified demand),"

A product of government regulation encouraging and often compelling lending to unqualified borrowers. Oops.

In short, you have no idea what you are talking about as supply-side economics.

"is that demand doesn't follow investment; it leads it. Wishing and hoping it weren't so won't make it otherwise."

LOL Which is why Steve Jobs had to go invent the iPod to meet all that unmet iPod demand.

And why Starbucks had to go opening all those stores to meet the unmet demand for expensive, fancy, fattening coffees.

And why someone started marketing those silly bands to meet all the unmet silly band demand.

Even as a matter of microeconomics, your statement is ridiculous. Sometimes investment follows chases known demand, perhaps to meet it in a newer or cheaper way. But the real growth and risk taking and innovation come from people who invest in what they believe people will want even if they don't yet know about it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

The 12BarBlues Derangement Arrangement

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I bet 12BarBlues won't like this catchy tune.

http://bearcreekledger.com/tag/brian-glover/

Posted by: actuator | September 26, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

"I assume you don't have any trouble imposing that on everyone."

I don't have a problem with people advocating what they think the law should be. I do have a problem with people who spend half their time fanatically proclaiming separation of church and state (and condemning abortion laws or resistance to gay marriage as religiously motivated) and the other half proclaiming that church teaching on social justice should be law. You may not fall into that category, but many liberals do.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Obama's job approval is down to -44.5 according to the Real Clear Politics average - which is a NEW LOW


On the hypocrisy scale, Obama is also testing new lows with the trial ballons he is sending out for the midterm elections.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

There is a place for religion in the Town Square.


That is a quote from a Supreme Court case - which states that all religion doesn't have to be removed from the public space in order to meet Constitutional requirements.

Separation of Church and State has been taken too far - the exact phrase is "establishment of religion" - which originally mean allowing one religion to control the reigns of government.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

12BarBlues was too busy last night being OBNOXIOUS - to realize just how ironic her comments were.

The discussion was about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - and how Obama has refused to clean up that mess - and the financial problems are MOUNTING at those two institutions - it's not like Obama has stopped anything.

The IRONY comes in here: HOW did we get into the mess at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? A bunch of democrats got together and took two perfectly good institutions who were operating just fine - AND tried to FORCE them to make loans which were unwise.


Their objective was to increase home ownership for the lower classes. Barnie Franks and a bunch of Bill Clinton appointees were pushing for these unwise policies.

SO WHO GOT HURT?


The people who could not afford the houses, they coulnt afford the mortgages either - many of them ended up in foreclosure WHAT good was that?


Everyone ended up PAYING MORE for housing in an inflated market - and some of those people ended up not being able to afford their mortgages as well - so they are out, and they just may STILL be in their houses if these unwise policies were not adopted.

The taxpayers got slammed with bailouts - anyone with a CDO or interests in any institution with CDOs got hurt.

AND the WORST may still be come - because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has not been fixed, the problems are MOUNTING.


There is the IRONY - they went out to have all sorts of Social Justice with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac adopting unwise policies - and all these UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES end up.


NOW some of the exact people they were seeking to help now can not find jobs.

WE aren't even out of that mess - and Obama is NOW coming in with health care - with HUNDREDS OF SECRET PROVISIONS AND UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES - and TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF COSTS.


It is an unbelievable JOKE that Obama and the liberals still haven't LEARNED.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 26, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

"Obama's job approval is down to -44.5 according to the Real Clear Politics average"

Wow that IS frightening. If he keeps dropping he'll eventually reach Ronald Reagan's low point of 43%. Of course St. Ronnie rebounded nicely to finish at 53%..TWO POINTS BEHIND CLINTON'S AVERAGE AND ALMOST TEN POINTS BEHIND BUSH THE ELDER!!!
LMAO!!!!

http://www.gallup.com/poll/11887/ronald-reagan-from-peoples-perspective-gallup-poll-review.aspx

For those who need a good laugh...if you missed SNL's opening skit last night...you really should check it out....

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/26/christine-odonnell-snl_n_739503.html

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 26, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Troll,

Saw this above:

"I admire their ability to articulate conservative positions and wish that I was that articulate."

Thanks, but you give yourself far too little credit. Your comments are terrific.

(As witness ru's usual reactions to them. :-) )

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

(As witness ru's usual reactions to them. :-) )

Wow thanks for elevating me to such high status. It's appreciated. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 26, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

And finally, back to ru's rant that started much of this messy thread:

"There are at least two posters here who through their incredible arrogance and hubris have arrived at the conceit that while THEY are able to articulate arguments from the progressive point of view as well as their own conservative viewpoint...progressive bloggers cannot possibly comprehend and articulate debate from the conservative point of view. The arrogance and hubris behind that viewpoint is simply stunning."

Your hyperbole has become ridiculous, and your serial misrepresentations and mischaracterizations unbearable.

I said something much more modest than this, without any hubris about it: that I think conservatives generally understand and can even articulate liberal ideas on their own terms -- without straw, etc. -- better than liberals understand conservative ideas. I asked whether BG or others disagree. And I've now on the previous thread stated several reasons I believe explain this difference.

You then said:

"But I'll bite...perhaps our all knowing..all wise reactionary friends can explain the difference between the Bush doctrine for nations and what I'd describe as the Bush doctrine for individuals...other than the obvious of course...one is for nations the other is individual."

Of course, asking us as a test of my theory to explain what you apparently take to be a conservative doctrine is precisely the OPPOSITE of what I proposed. And in doing so you thoughtlessly and inadvertently confirmed precisely what I had proposed, because you characterized the "Bush Docrine" in simplistic, straw-man terms.

Scott has already beautifully refuted your analogy, and even then you insisted upon clinging to straw-man caricatures of the theory of international relations and national security he outlined. The only thing I would note is that I'm not even sure the Bush Doctrine is a conservative perspective. Either way, whether or not you agree with it, you failed to treat it on its own terms as opposed to your caricature.

All you've done, in other words, is provide more evidence for the accuracy of my claim. You completely misstated what I said, and you then tried to use an "example" that only proved your inability or unwillingness to deal give a fair account of the Bush Doctrine. In your case, I suspect it is both -- you are unwilling to deal with other ideas on their own terms, so you never undertake the distasteful task of trying to understand them.

As usual, all we learn from your comments is that you are very angry and hold people with other views in contempt.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

@qb:"Can you show one instance . . . "

I can show you innumerable instances of scurrilous attacks by Dems on Reps' loyalty, patriotism, concern for troops, dedication to our security, etc. "

I'll take that as a "no". You specifically called out Biden, Clinton, and Obama but yet you've produced nothing that they've done that rises even close to the level of the mocking of Kerry at the RNC Convention or Saxby "Bum-knee" Chambliss attacking Cleland, or the Bush WH attacking war opponents as "emboldening the enemy", or "encouraging the terrorists". You would've posted it in a second if there was any "there" there. Instead you've chosen to obfuscate as much as possible and try and drag the conversation into the woods.

"By your definition, having takeg five deferments, Biden was a chicken hawk for attacking others for supposedly lacking concern for our military or country."

Biden is attacking others for lacking concern for the safety of our troops and his own son. I didn't see him attacking anyone for not being sufficiently supportive of military action.

In addition, you can attack Biden and his deferments all you want, but he did have a son over there - which is more than you can say for Cheney or Bush. I detest Palin for a million reasons, but I would never attack her for being a "chickenhawk". She had a child over there - and that's probably even harder then putting yourself in the line of fire.

"But you are pretty far off track now. That's what happens when you set out a flawed, partisan position and then try to keep it from falling apart. "

And as usual, qb, when all else fails, attack, attack, attack!

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 26, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

"LOL Which is why Steve Jobs had to go invent the iPod to meet all that unmet iPod demand.

And why Starbucks had to go opening all those stores to meet the unmet demand for expensive, fancy, fattening coffees.

And why someone started marketing those silly bands to meet all the unmet silly band demand.

Even as a matter of microeconomics, your statement is ridiculous. Sometimes investment follows chases known demand, perhaps to meet it in a newer or cheaper way. But the real growth and risk taking and innovation come from people who invest in what they believe people will want even if they don't yet know about it."

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad this little snippet started with an LOL buecause it sure is funny as an economic governing principle during a deep recession.

He also says:

The problems of jenn's theory are even worse when government focuses on taxing capital investment per se. In simple terms, that ill-considered approach can be thought of as putting a tax on creating jobs in order to increase more "demand" for the fewer goods and services that will, as a result, be available. All these government interventions and attempts to "right the economic ledger" are doomed to do harm.

This is a good one too. First of all, capital investment is not taxed, capital GAINS are taxed. In simple terms, the remainder of the statement is nonsense. The suggestion that investors invest "to create jobs" and not "to make money" fails basic economic logic. Or is it your premise, nickel, that venture capital is the primary fuel of the Ameircan economy?

Finally, the nickel throws out this beauty:

"ne would start with noting the oddity of your assumption of a "consumer-based economy." This is a common assumption of Keynesianism, but one they almost never examine. What does it really mean? What would a nonconsumer economy look like?"

It would look like China.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 26, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

"It would look like China"

Are you saying that a Command economy is non- Keynesian? I can't think of anything more Keynesian.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | September 26, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Isn't the U.S economy about 70% consumer demand?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that's what I was saying Troll. You really got me there.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 26, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Surely someone here who argues so eloquently about macroeconomics could explain how much of the U.S. economy is consumer demand. I'm under the impression that it is 70%. Am I wrong?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

"I'll take that as a "no". You specifically called out Biden, Clinton, and Obama but yet you've produced nothing that they've done that rises even close to the level of the mocking of Kerry at the RNC Convention or Saxby "Bum-knee" Chambliss attacking Cleland, or the Bush WH attacking war opponents as "emboldening the enemy", or "encouraging the terrorists". You would've posted it in a second if there was any "there" there. Instead you've chosen to obfuscate as much as possible and try and drag the conversation into the woods."

1. Yes, I did, above. Everyone can see it.

2. Try for some consistency. You attacked Bush and Cheney but are trying to hold them responsible for Saxby Chambliss and unknown people at the RNC convention. Everyone can see who obfuscated and went off into the woods.

3. So I'll take this as concession, since you have no coherent response.

"Biden is attacking others for lacking concern for the safety of our troops and his own son. I didn't see him attacking anyone for not being sufficiently supportive of military action."

Your said that the chickenhawk epithet is deserved "because it's unbelievably hypocritical for someone who did everything in their power to avoid service to 1)accuse others of not being sufficiently supportive of the military or the country or 2) openly mock someone who did answer the call and laid their life on the line

By your definition, Biden is a chickehawk. Nor did I see any excemption for having a son in service. It's really convenient how your definition morphs to exempt all Dems.

Btw, here is ru's chickenhawk definition above:

"Chickenhawk (also chicken hawk and chicken-hawk) is a political epithet used in the United States to criticize a politician, bureaucrat, or commentator who strongly supports a war or other military action, yet who actively avoided military service when of age."

Biden was a strong advocate for international and U.S. military action in Bosnia and Kosovo, he called for strong military action in Afghanistan, and he voted in support of military force in Iraq. Ergo, chickenhawk.

Obama engaged in endless macho sabre rattling about war in Afghanistan. Chickenhwawk.

"And as usual, qb, when all else fails, attack, attack, attack!"

Pot, kettle.


Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

"I'm glad this little snippet started with an LOL buecause it sure is funny as an economic governing principle during a deep recession."

If you were economically literate, you would know better. One reason we remain mired in high unemployment and slow growth is that companies are sitting on their cash -- because of Obamanomics. Capital is sitting idle because of Obama and crew.

"This is a good one too. First of all, capital investment is not taxed, capital GAINS are taxed."

No kidding. Which is to say that as a funcional matter that investment is taxed. The higher gains are taxed, the less incentive to invest, the less expansion of capacity, technology innovation, jobs, etc.

"In simple terms, the remainder of the statement is nonsense. The suggestion that investors invest "to create jobs" and not "to make money" fails basic economic logic."

I didn't say that, did I?

"Or is it your premise, nickel, that venture capital is the primary fuel of the Ameircan economy?"

I'm not sure what that question means or how it would be measured. I doubt you have any idea what you are asking, either, because as usual you are just blowing hot air. I responded to jenn's dogmatic claim that "supply follows demand."

Tell us, was that true in the examples I cited? And tell us how it applies at the macroeconomic level. Suppose you just expropriated all the capital. Where is you demand going to come from, and where is the supply going to come from?

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Consumption accounts for more than two thirds of GDP, more than $10 trillion dollars in the
U.S. economy. This spending results from the economic decisions of over 100 million households
as they purchase food, clothing, houses, vacations, refrigerators, cars, and health care.


Macroeconomics: Economic Crisis Update
Charles I. Jones


http://www.stanford.edu/~chadj/Consumption2009-11-25.pdf
-------------------------------
So about 2/3 of our economy is consumer demand or consumption.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

"Isn't the U.S economy about 70% consumer demand? "

Based on the standard Keynesian formula? I don't know the current breakdown.

Do you think that is good or normative?

Do you think the Keynesian spending model is a good foundation for economics?

Do think the rich must be taxed because they put all the money under their mattresses and thus kill "demand"?

What advantage (setting "justice" aside) do you see to the government's taking their money and spending it, versus their spending and investing it? What disadvantages?

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm not advocating anything. I'm just trying to get to the reality of the economy. It is about 70% consumption and it is consumption that has declined. Seems we should pay at least lip service to the facts before arguing about how to improve the economy.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

"A product of government regulation encouraging and often compelling lending to unqualified borrowers. Oops."

qb, just once it would be nice if you would admit that both the banks and rating agencies had a "little" something to do with the housing bubble and subsequent crash.

Between the faulty records of title and the lawsuits hitting the banks for knowingly selling sub-standard mortgages to investors, there will be a lot of lawyers getting rich out there anyway. Let's hope they spend it in the economy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"During a little-noticed hearing this week in Sacramento, Calif., a firm hired by Wall Street to analyze mortgages given to borrowers with poor credit, which were then packaged and sold to investors during the boom years, revealed that as much as 28 percent of those loans failed to meet basic underwriting standards -- and Wall Street knew all along.

Worse, when the firm flagged those loans for potential issues, Wall Street banks ignored its recommendation nearly half the time and likely purchased those loans anyway -- selling them to unwitting investors who were never told that the biggest home loan due diligence firm in the country had found potential defects in these mortgages."

"During questioning by Angelides, Beal acknowledged that, because the firm was checking roughly 10 percent of the mortgages Clayton's clients were looking to purchase, one could say that Wall Street firms waived in as many as 1 million loans that Clayton had initially rejected."

"The rating agencies began requiring such third-party due diligence in 2007 after a state attorney general stepped in, Johnson said. By then, though, it was too late.

"Keep in mind that the rating services basically based a lot of their rating decisions not on an examination of every loan or the collateral, but basically on representations from the issuer," Cecala said. "That was the system we had in place."

Cecala said it was "highly unlikely" that Wall Street firms shared Clayton's findings with the rating agencies.

"We could have... stopped the factory from producing," Johnson lamented."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/25/wall-street-subprime-crisis_n_739294.html

Posted by: lmsinca | September 26, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

The latest (and perhaps late) U.S. economic recovery has been driven by an extraordinary boom in consumption spending. Between 1947 and 2000, personal consumption spending averaged 64% of total gross domestic product (GDP). Over the latest economic recovery (beginning in 2001), it has averaged 70%.

http://www.epi.org/economic_snapshots/entry/webfeatures_snapshots_20080319/
---------------------------------
It should be pretty clear to all of us that the bubble in the real estate market fueled the increase in consumption from 64% to 70% of GDP. People routinely refinanced their homes and used the equity to spend.

We have at least lost that amount of consumer spending, at a minimum.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Your comments really aren't very interesting and they certainly are not responsive, informative or convincing nickel. For example, how does this provide any substantive information:

"If you were economically literate, you would know better. One reason we remain mired in high unemployment and slow growth is that companies are sitting on their cash -- because of Obamanomics. Capital is sitting idle because of Obama and crew."

Nice conclusion without but without any basis. You said it so it must be true. Gee, I'm convinced.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 26, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

So what does your 2/3 figure tell you?

Why is the answer to economic issues always "fallen demand"? What evidence is there for jenn's very common belief that economic contraction is caused by the rich hiding all the money under their mattresses, thus leading to "underconsumption." (Hint: slim to none.)

Do you claim this is what caused the recent recession continued malaise?

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

"Your comments really aren't very interesting and they certainly are not responsive, informative or convincing nickel.

. . .

Nice conclusion without but without any basis. You said it so it must be true. Gee, I'm convinced."

Trust me, the feeling is mutual. So why not just not respond? I don't find you contribute anything but snark.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what Jenn's arguments are, or yours either, because I've only been scanning your posts. But my eye fell on someone's comment that one should question whether the U.S. is a consumer driven economy. Seems like it is, to me, with 2/3 being consumption.

What is causing the economy to falter? REally? Lost jobs, job insecurity, crashed real estate market has collapsed consumer confidence. What? You think it's something else?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

OK I don't find you contribute anything but snark.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 26, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

"qb, just once it would be nice if you would admit that both the banks and rating agencies had a "little" something to do with the housing bubble and subsequent crash."

A lot of actors played a role. I've never denied that. But I've seen you and most of your liberal compatriots claim over and over that it resulted from unregulated free markets. It would be nice for once to see you admit that government regulation and Fannie and Freddie had something to do with it.

If banks committed the fraud described in your story, it wasn't because they were unregulated. But the bad loans existed in the first place primarily because of government lending regulation and Fannie and Freddie.

It most certainly did not result from what jenn claims -- that "the rich" (for unknown reasons) "overinvested" in mortgages for which there was "no demand."

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

"You think it's something else?"

They think it's because we are taxing the wealthy far too much thereby inhibiting the wealthy's ability to invest and create jobs.

Forget the fact that the middle class grew and we had nothing resembling this economic crisis during the period from post WWII until the late 70's when the marginal tax rate was higher...significantly higher at times than it has been in this millenium. In other words they've tried their policies and they have failed absymally. Our policies were tried for the first 30 years after WWII and the middle class actually grew...wow what a concept..something that actually worked!!!

12Bar to understand "their reality" you have to imagine you've fallen down Alice's rabbit hole and up is down and down is up.
History, facts...they are all irrelevant.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 26, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

QB1 wrote,
'If labor were "undervalued," its price would go up because of more competition for it.'
----

That's the idea. But first we'd have to start locking up business owners who hire illegal immigrants and vote out politicians who buy into the argument we don't have enough (and can't train enough) high tech workers in our own work force and therefore have to import them from India---or where ever. These factors depress the value of labor by interfering with supply and demand in our own work force.

Posted by: Brigade | September 26, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

The wealthy invested and created jobs, but they are overseas. I know people who are moving to India for middle management high tech jobs. They used to move here. No more.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

qb:

"Scott is probably a much better "economist" than I am and could probably do better than this..."

Not that much better. Before I left for the day this morning, I read Jenn's post about why placing higher taxes on the wealthy is a good thing, and I had exactly the thought you articulated...she apparently believes that wealthy people put their money under their mattresses. Craziness.

BTW, I particularly liked this:

"LOL Which is why Steve Jobs had to go invent the iPod to meet all that unmet iPod demand.

And why Starbucks had to go opening all those stores to meet the unmet demand for expensive, fancy, fattening coffees.

And why someone started marketing those silly bands to meet all the unmet silly band demand."

Unmet silly band demand. Very good.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 26, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

We can argue opinion all day, but there should be a list of facts that are not disputed.

One is that the U.S. economy is consumer driven (70% more or less). Demand is way off for reasons listed below.

Two is that capacity utilization is quite low, about 70% I believe. This does not indicate lack of investment, at present.

Three, millions of jobs have been lost either through exporting them to other countries or just plain layoffs. A lot of these jobs will never come back. Some will.

Fourth, the crash of real estate and credit markets has drastically reduced confidence and consumption. The real estate market does not look good for several years at least.

Fifth, the decline started under Bush and continues under Obama, so pinning the blame to one or the other seems incorrect.

Sixth, monetary policy has been used, but is nearly exhausted.

----------------------------------
What is the point in picking out someone's sentence to refute. We should be able to agree on some broad facts.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

12bb,

My questioning the "consumer economy" characterization isn't a mathematical or descriptive quibble. It is more conceptual.

"What is causing the economy to falter? REally? Lost jobs, job insecurity, crashed real estate market has collapsed consumer confidence. What? You think it's something else?'

That's clearly part of the story. But only part of it. Have you ever talked to any execs about why companies are sitting on cash, for example?

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

correction: capacity utilization is about 75%, still same comment.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Have you ever talked to any execs about why companies are sitting on cash, for example?
-----------------------------------
What are they telling you?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

12bb,

I don't think I disagree with too much in your six points, but "what is to be done" doesn't flow from them in any pre-ordained way.

Your percentages for consumption make me question your position, though, because if is true that under the Keynes formula consumption went from 64 to 70% 2001 to present, then it would seem to me that your side would be critical of that increase and be treating the recession as the result of a consumption bubble.

But that would also raise some real contradictions for the standard liberal critique, which holds that the rich got richer and the middle class and poor poorer under Bush. I can't see how those things could all be true under the Keynseian demand theory jenn and ru are (again) arguing. How could consumption have increased as a share of the economy when the rich were taking all the gains (and putting them under their mattresses)?

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Hi 12Bar!

Here's why I typed the classic PL parenthetical snort (TM@Tena).

KY 2008 Presidential Election results:
John S. McCain 57.37% (1,048,462)
Barack H. Obama 41.15% (751,985)

Apparently KY registered DEMS don't vote much.

I think President Obama's approval rate is presently in the low 40's in KY.

Sooooo...OK snort is a bit too strong. {{{giggle}}}

Posted by: tao9 | September 26, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

"What are they telling you?"

That they are apprehensive and uncertain about higher taxes, cap and trade, more regulation, card check, etc. So they are playing it safe and sitting on the cash they have. That's not spin but actual words used.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 26, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

First, I do not have a side. I am just trying to get a stake in the ground about the facts.

I don't understand why the economy being 70% consumer driven is Keynesian.

This is my rather simplistic point, but valid I think--if the economy is consumer driven, then attention spent on other than consumption issues is pretty well wasted time. That is, if we care to recover.

If capacity utilization is at 75%, I fail to see why business is going to invest more when they're not utilizing what they have. It seems rather intuitive that it is not lack of investment, but lack of demand that is driving the problem.

So, what drives demand? There seem to be two camps here: 1) trickle down--give money to rich people and they will invest it, and create jobs or 2) trickle up--give middle class people more money (taxes) and they will spend it and create demand.

Isn't that the kernel of the argument?

No?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

@tao,

I don't chide you for questioning the sample of the poll. At first blush, it did seem strange. But then, I thought I'd check to see exactly how KY voters register. Much to our surprise, 57% are registered Democrats. I don't think you can say that Democrats don't vote there. I think they cross over.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

@qb,

There is a fair amount of uncertainty to business owners, so I am not surprised they are sitting on their hands. We can't discount that factories are underutilized either as a motive.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Our small business wholesales to other small businesses all across the country. We talk to probably 30-40 different customers everyday. To my knowledge none of them are worried about their taxes going up, they're probably mostly under the $250k mark anyway. They're getting a new tax break on employee health insurance this year and while they're still ordering and paying their bills pretty much on time, they have fewer customers so they're ordering less obviously.

If the big corps are sitting on their money and the consumer is saving more because of their job and housing uncertainty, then I think the small businesses are getting squeezed in the middle of these two dynamics.

Some of the small tax cuts Congress has passed will possibly help, but I'm not sure it's enough to bring demand back into the small business market.

Posted by: lmsinca | September 26, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

"So your explanation of the S&L crisis is that some people suddenly decided to invest in commercial real estate despite there being no demand for it? Interesting if absurd."

No, dummy, and if you had even the slightest scintilla of knowledge of recent history, you would know the reason they all decided to invest in commercial real estate was that Reagan, in all his wisdom, pushed for and got provisions that allowed the S & L's to write off their losses on office buildings sitting empty. So there was a false (non-market-based) incentive to keep building the damn things, even though no one needed more office or commercial space - it's because they allowed the investors funded by the S&Ls a tax write-off on something that no one at the time needed. It's the same "Field of Dreams" theory that all of "trickle-down" is based upon - "if you build it, they will come." Well, not if they don't need it, and not if they don't have the money to get through the gate.

Go read about it, since you obviously know nothing about it whatsoever.

And by the way, asking you to provide examples of your weak-a** assertions doesn't mean that I don't know or understand the premise of "other economic models" such as the discredited-in-the-minds-of-anyone-who-pays-attention "trickle down" theory, but that since YOU are the one who's claiming that these other models offer a better explanation of how economics works, it's up to you to present them and defend them. Which, of course, you've failed to do. As usual.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 26, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

"So your explanation of the S&L crisis is that some people suddenly decided to invest in commercial real estate despite there being no demand for it? Interesting if absurd."

No, dummy, and if you had even the slightest scintilla of knowledge of recent history, you would know the reason they all decided to invest in commercial real estate was that Reagan, in all his wisdom, pushed for and got provisions that allowed the S & L's to write off their losses on office buildings sitting empty. So there was a false (non-market-based) incentive to keep building the damn things, even though no one needed more office or commercial space - it's because they allowed the investors funded by the S&Ls a tax write-off on something that no one at the time needed. It's the same "Field of Dreams" theory that all of "trickle-down" is based upon - "if you build it, they will come." Well, not if they don't need it, and not if they don't have the money to get through the gate.

Go read about it, since you obviously know nothing about it whatsoever.

And by the way, asking you to provide examples of your weak-a** assertions doesn't mean that I don't know or understand the premise of "other economic models" such as the discredited-in-the-minds-of-anyone-who-pays-attention "trickle down" theory, but that since YOU are the one who's claiming that these other models offer a better explanation of how economics works, it's up to you to present them and defend them. Which, of course, you've failed to do. As usual.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 26, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

12Bar. Agree on the cross-over point. The parties are at such loggerheads lately I never would have thought of that possibility.

Posted by: tao9 | September 26, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

@Jenn,

Since qb was so good as to read and respond to this list, I wonder if I could prevail on your to give your opinion. Are these all facts not in dispute?
----------------------------------

We can argue opinion all day, but there should be a list of facts that are not disputed.

One is that the U.S. economy is consumer driven (70% more or less). Demand is way off for reasons listed below.

Two is that capacity utilization is quite low, about 70% I believe. This does not indicate lack of investment, at present.

Three, millions of jobs have been lost either through exporting them to other countries or just plain layoffs. A lot of these jobs will never come back. Some will.

Fourth, the crash of real estate and credit markets has drastically reduced confidence and consumption. The real estate market does not look good for several years at least.

Fifth, the decline started under Bush and continues under Obama, so pinning the blame to one or the other seems incorrect.

Sixth, monetary policy has been used, but is nearly exhausted.

----------------------------------
What is the point in picking out someone's sentence to refute. We should be able to agree on some broad facts.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 26, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca--Thanks very much for responding to my question in a previous thread about the CA races. I appreciate your take on them. Hope you're right about Brown vs. Whitman, for CA's sake! From what I know of him (and I'm old enough to know that he and Linda Ronstadt were once an item, LOL), I agree he's not the ideal candidate, but he's bound to be better than his opponent.
Here in NY, we're faced with Paladino, wealthy, bombastic and crude, whose momentum, I hope, will soon fade.
Thanks again.

Posted by: carolanne528 | September 26, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Stop lying about the housing meltdown, too. Fannie and Freddie didn't even get into any of the hinky loans until 2004 or so, and then only because the commercial lenders were doing so much of it that it was cutting into their market share.

No, the housing meltdown went more like this: by 2002, in the stagnant Bush economy with its wonderful tax breaks for millionaires that were going to create jobs, no jobs were being created - they were being offshored as quickly as possible, and while productivity was rising by 20% through the decade, worker's wages were remaining flat. And energy prices went through the roof, and other things followed...just to stay even, people started cashing in home equity to keep the bills paid. Meanwhile, all this wealth that's ending up in fewer and fewer hands is looking for a place where it can earn a return - certainly not in manufacturing, because we don't DO that anymore, and with everyone maxed out on home equity loans and credit, where are you gonna put that sweet, sweet, cash where it can earn you even MORE money you'll never possibly be able to spend? Home mortgages, thanks to the fallacious belief that "real estate is ALWAYS a safe investment since it's a tangible asset" and "home prices ALWAYS go up." And yeah, that might hold true IF you're lending to people who have a prayer of being able to pay those mortgage payments. Which these people didn't.

Or did you forget that there's supply and demand at work in investment, too? You have a lot of money flooding into the mortgage market looking for borrowers, and it's going to exert pressure to loosen lending standards to create demand.

Where we were circa 2002 is like a poker game where one guy has won all the chips. He can loan them to the other players to keep the game going for a while, which he did from 2002 - 2007 or 08, but after they lost the chips again, it was game over. That's where we are now, and the game's not going to start going again until the players with no chips have some to play with.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 26, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

QB

If our capacity utilization is at 70%, we should NOT be importing anything.


And yet, Obama is allowing us to have a trade deficit with China.


What is wrong with this picture?


We should utilize our own resources first, and our own people FIRST.


Then import after that. - WHY IN THE WORLD IS OBAMA ALLOWING US TO HAVE A TRADE DEFICIT UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES ???


Does anyone see what is wrong here?


Obama has NO IDEA what he is doing.

This country WILL be much better off when Obama is long gone.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 27, 2010 2:56 AM | Report abuse

I just read through the comments for this evening - and I've come to the conclusion that few of you have any idea what you are talking about.


12Bar comes on - talks up some economic points - however she really doesn't have any policy prescriptions - or any analysis at all.


Some of the other comments seem pretty pointless.


What you all have to remember is Obama's health care plan is a MASSIVE DRAG on the economy - because people are reluctant to hire if they don't know what their health care costs for their existing employees is going to be going forward.


We get rid of Obama and the health care plan - and the economy GETS INSTANTLY BETTER.


The Free Trade deals have to be revised as well.


Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have to be addressed as well - the difficult decisions have to be made.

Thank you all


Thank you goodbye.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 27, 2010 3:06 AM | Report abuse

"The bailout was mainly Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke's idea."

Did no one here watch Oliver Stone's latest version of "Wall Street" this weekend? You guys need to get out more often.

Posted by: clawrence12 | September 27, 2010 6:55 AM | Report abuse

@clawrebce12: "'The bailout was mainly Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke's idea. -- Did no one here watch Oliver Stone's latest version of 'Wall Street' this weekend? You guys need to get out more often."

As I suspected, the crisis was Gordon Gecko's fault! Or Charlie Sheen's. It's totally believable that it would be Charlie Sheen's fault.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 27, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

@12Bar: "Much to our surprise, 57% are registered Democrats"

So, if Rand Paul wins in Kentucky, Democrats will be, quite literally, to blame. ;)

If only the general public could be purged of blue dogs and conservadems. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 27, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

No, Kevin, it was actually Bretton James (played by Josh Brolin), although Bud Fox does make a cameo appearance.

Posted by: clawrence12 | September 27, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

@12Bar: "What is the point in picking out someone's sentence to refute. We should be able to agree on some broad facts."

You'd think so, wouldn't you? Yet, it's much more difficult (and there's much less interest in doing so) than one would think.

@12Bar: "So, what drives demand? There seem to be two camps here: 1) trickle down--give money to rich people and they will invest it, and create jobs or 2) trickle up--give middle class people more money (taxes) and they will spend it and create demand."

There is a 3rd camp (I know, cuz I'm in it). It's the "two-way street camp". It's that there needs to be a base level of "wealth" with those nasty rich people for job creation, innovation, R&D, etc, and that there needs to be money available to the middle class so folks can create demand--and also respond to what's available. I.e., it does not good for rich companies like Apple to create demand on the supply side with new products like the iPod if, despite how much consumer would want such a thing, they cannot buy it.

Then there's how money is accessed--a lot of consumer debt out there, which responsible folks actually start paying off in hard times. Which displaces money from the demand side from the present back to the past . . . and so on. 3rd camp is a little messier. ;)

That being said, on my side of the 3rd camp thinks we're overly concerned (if the main goal is a robust economy) with higher taxes on wealthy people being a drag on the economy at anything like proposed levels, and with the growing gap between the merely wealthy and the super-ultra-rich. The latter being a correlative rather than causative factor, and the former being to small (a 3% tax increase) to radically drag down private investment in job creation.

Although, I think a serious candidate would propose a more progressive tax structure that went up much higher, in much smaller increments, so that if you made between $250k and $500k, you'd only be paying .5% more, but if you made between $500k and $750k, you'd being paying 1% or more, then 2%, then 3%, then 4% then 5%.

When you get into the multi-millions of income, there's a good chance the money going to the government would be creating more jobs with the money (admittedly, public sector jobs, not necessarily desirable) than the private wealth. When you're shaving that 3% off the income of a sole proprietorship or, more important, an s-corp, you're taking that money directly out of the bank, when it could go to making payroll in lean times. Admittedly, this affects a small percentage of people in relative terms, but those are still very real jobs for a lot people (I had such a job for a decade, so I should know).

Easy answer? Let the top tier tax cuts lapse as as some wish, and simultaneously lower corporate taxes and otherwise lower the cost of small companies becoming c-corps. All s-corps could become c-corps if there was no cost advantage to being a sole proprietorship or s-corp, and bang . . . problem solved.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 27, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

"No, dummy, and if you had even the slightest scintilla of knowledge of recent history, you would know . . . ."

I've never seen anyone who spins such convolutd economic fantasies with such certitude and grade-school name calling. Do you actually think calling people dummy and railing like this hide the fact that you are just making stuff up?

Now, I'm no expert, but I know the S&L crisis was a culmination of many complex economic factors having their origins in misguided government policies going all the way back to the Depression. The soaring in inflation and interest rates of the 1970s and their eventual taming by the Fed in the 1980s was probably the largest contributor. You'll recall that your Keynesian theory said that such stagflation couldn't exist. But it in fact gave us precisely the soaring inflation, interest rates, and unemployment it said couldn't occur.

The government tried, through a series of regulatory tinkering efforts through the 60s, 70s, and 80s, to keep S&L's afloat in the market niche the government had assigned to them -- paying low interest on short-term deposits and lending to mortgage borrowers. Like every such effort by the government to restrict markets, regulate prices, etc., it eventually failed, but not until after government had tried many gimicks to keep the system afloat, all of which made the end messier.

Your claim that it was instead all due to some new Reagan tax deduction for building unneeded and unwanted commercial buildings would be simplistic even if you provided any details. But you don't. The 1986 legislation actually eliminated tax shelters, which some have said was a factor. What was this new tax write-off, and can you show us any reputable history that shows it was THE cause?

But let's look at the bigger picture, since your argument has now gone completely off its rails. You started off this whole discussion with your recitation of the Keynesian economic theory that, in a free market economy, the rich eventually take all the money and hide it under their mattresses, leading to a failure of "demand," deflation, recession, unmployment, etc. A free market doesn't work, you claim. So, the government, you say, has to keep taking that money out from under the mattresses of the rich and spending it, robbing Peter to pay Paul and keep the engine running.

(continued)

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 27, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

@qb: "'No, dummy, and if you had even the slightest scintilla of knowledge of recent history, you would know . . . .' -- I've never seen anyone who spins such convolutd economic fantasies with such certitude and grade-school name calling."

I'm not always sure that Jenn doesn't have a point, or a legitimate issue that ought be addressed, but I tend to agree--with all the name calling, who wants to?

BTW, I thought the exact same thing reading the thread last night on my iPhone, and was tempted to go through the convolutions to post: "What are we in here? 3rd grade?" in response to one of her missives, because she really comes off, sometimes, like a hyper-intelligent 12 year old. :)

And maybe that's the way to have these kinds of discussions, and I'm just too dense to see it. But I don't see how it remotely aids in communication.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 27, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I think this is called projection:

"I've never seen anyone who spins such convolutd economic fantasies with such certitude and grade-school name calling. Do you actually think calling people dummy and railing like this hide the fact that you are just making stuff up?"

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 27, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Continued response to jenn's rant:

That was your macroeconomic theory. Then you switched gears (apparently unwittingly) to a microeconomic context and claimed that the S&L crisis is an example proving your theory, because it resulted from "overinvestment" in unwanted buildings. But now you have completely flip flopped and are arguing that the crisis was caused by government tax policy that distorted the free market. In fact,
you explicitly say this mystery tax break was "a false (non-market-based) incentive to keep building the damn things, even though no one needed more office or commercial space . . .."

So you are now making a conservative criticism of tax policy that distorted free market incentives. Your theory of the S&L crisis, as simplistic and unsupported as it is with specifics, is completely contrary to the Keynesian theory you started out to defend.

Here is one useful explanation of the crisis.

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/SavingsandLoanCrisis.html

Doesn't exactly match your story.

Even wikipedia doesn't follow your story line.

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

Then there is this:

"And by the way, asking you to provide examples of your weak-a** assertions doesn't mean that I don't know or understand the premise of "other economic models" such as the discredited-in-the-minds-of-anyone-who-pays-attention "trickle down" theory, but that since YOU are the one who's claiming that these other models offer a better explanation of how economics works, it's up to you to present them and defend them. Which, of course, you've failed to do. As usual."

On the contrary, it's quite obvious you don't understand alternatives to your Keynesian religion. And this didn't start with my making any claims about which theory is better. It started with your assertion of Keynesian dogma as the truth, and your asking what alternatives there are.

It isn't up to me to present and defend anything. My only challenge was as to whether liberals like you understand alternative points of view and can fairly address them on their own terms. You have proven once again that you can't.

And you've proven again that you are little more than an ill-mannered school child.


Posted by: quarterback1 | September 27, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/09/the_morning_plum_98.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 27, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

And, finally, jenn, I'm not going to waste much time on your cockamamie financial/real estate collapse theory, other than to note that it's cockamamie.

The whole secondary mortgage market was pretty much a creation of the government through Fannie and Freddie, for example.

You have people without jobs, apparently, taking out equity loans to buy groceries. You have no jobs being created when in fact jobs were being created. You have the Clinton recession as the Bush recession.

You have people with too much money deciding to make more by lending to people who couldn't pay it back (right after you said people don't behave like that). Why is it you have no explanation for this behavior? I guess that's where government interventions, the Fannie/Freddie secondary markets and all come in, isn't it?

You have, in other words, a self-contradictory and convoluted hash of buzzwords and ideas you heard somewhere, strung together to sound like they are an explanation of something. I'm not even sure you have any idea any longer what you are trying to explain.

But all that really matters for purposes of this discussion is that your convoluted fantasy-history again has nothing to do with the defense of your Keynesian falling-demand-because-the-rich-are-hiding-the-money theory of economics (does that make me smarter or cooler, the way I used those hyphens like that?). It doesn't even support your "supply follows demand" dogma.

And now I've spent all the time I intend to on your ill-mannered nonsense.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 27, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

"When you get into the multi-millions of income, there's a good chance the money going to the government would be creating more jobs with the money (admittedly, public sector jobs, not necessarily desirable) than the private wealth."

This is where you lose me, Kevin. If not somewhere before. Perhaps you have more data and research at your fingertips, but from all I've read there really is no credible case that this is true. Christina Romer didn't find it to be true. And the recent "stimulus" experience doesn't seem to support it on the spending side.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 27, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

qb - blah blah blah blah.

If you don't like being called a dummy, stop being a condescending jackass who substitutes questions for answers.

As for the S&Ls, I suggest you go back and do some reading. What put them under was the repeal of the tax write-offs that allowed people to build commercial properties they had no hope of renting due to the glut in the market. Once the tax write-offs were repealed, suddenly the investors were on the hook to pay the notes and had no tax losses to offset it. And they defaulted, and the S&Ls went bust.

Ask anyone who lived in Dallas in the late 80s, or in any number of other cities. Hell, ask anyone in the building business, or people who were recent graduates of architecture schools who couldn't get jobs thanks to the large inventory of empty office buildings and a glut of space that lasted about 5 years.

The proximate causes of the S&L meltdown are well known and have been for years; you can pretend that it was all this other crap but everyone knows what caused it. What do you think the RTC was all about? Huh? Think that got set up because there WASN'T a lot of empty buildings sitting around whose owners had defaulted on payment?

If you don't want to be called a dummy, stop pretending to be one. I could call you a liar instead.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 27, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

JennOfArk EXCELS at ill-mannered nonsense, seemingly from a 3rd grader.

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 27, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

@qb: "This is where you lose me, Kevin. If not somewhere before. Perhaps you have more data and research at your fingertips, but from all I've read there really is no credible case that this is true"

I'm not arguing that it's definitive, or decisively true, just not inconsistent with observation (not to mention where it looks like super-wealthy people tend to put their excess capital--the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, for one example, is a repository for "excess" super-wealth, and tends to be spent mostly outside of America). And the jobs created would be public sector jobs, with all that entails. And our government has shown a private-sector penchant for increasing what public servants are paid, recently, as much as for hiring new ones, so even that might not be true.

I'm just suggesting what I am willing to entertain as rational possibilities, not what is definitely happening, or would definitely happen, in a complex system.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 27, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

@jennOfArk: "If you don't like being called a dummy, stop being a condescending jackass who substitutes questions for answers."

It is possible, in my estimation, to respond to behavior you consider to be that of a "condescending jackass" without being one yourself. And engaging in a extremely low-quality of grade school invective, besides.

But if you enjoy it, then, well, variety is the spice of life, isn't it?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 27, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

"qb - blah blah blah blah."

Indeed, that's what you say.

"If you don't like being called a dummy, stop being a condescending jackass who substitutes questions for answers."

Ironic.

"As for the S&Ls, I suggest you go back and do some reading.'

I have. It's apparent you haven't, since you think it had a simple cause. I dare say you are the only person in the world who thinks so.

"What put them under was the repeal of the tax write-offs that allowed people to build commercial properties they had no hope of renting due to the glut in the market."

As I said, now you are arguing not that it was a failure of the free market but that it was an anti-free-market tax subsidy. (And now of course you have flip flopped to argue that it was the repeal of that tax policy.) You are unwittingly making a free-market, conservative argument now. You fall into that trap because you don't understand free-market theories. You only know your straw-man caricatures.

"The proximate causes of the S&L meltdown are well known and have been for years; you can pretend that it was all this other crap but everyone knows what caused it."

They have been well known. And people who have studied it in depth identify a much larger context and many more overarching causes than your simplistic story, which you apparently "know" because your friends told you. Only you would consider the factors the experts think led to the crisis "all that crap."

"What do you think the RTC was all about?"

The job of the RTC was actually to dispose of failed thrifts taken into receivership. I litigated some cases involving its work.

"Think that got set up because there WASN'T a lot of empty buildings sitting around whose owners had defaulted on payment?"

You really are a master of fallacious logic.

"If you don't want to be called a dummy, stop pretending to be one. I could call you a liar instead."

Brilliant.

After all your fussing and fuming and name calling, you are stuck with the fact that you were trying to prove your Keynesian demand macroeconomic theory, but you ended up making a free-market critique of interventionist tax policy that distorted the real estate market.

Nice work!


Posted by: quarterback1 | September 27, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Name-calling is all she can understand.

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 27, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Kevin,

"I'm just suggesting what I am willing to entertain as rational possibilities, not what is definitely happening, or would definitely happen, in a complex system."

No worries, I'm easy.

I find the whole foundation of the Keynesian world view (C+G+I is how to imagine what we are doing) dubious, and like you (I think) find the mania to say the two choices are to have government "feed C" or "feed I" foolishly simplistic. Why, as some have asked, does it obviously make sense to measure the economy from this spending perspective in the first place? Why is 70% or 64% "C" the "right" percentage?

I think this is a world of unexamined assumptions and profuse fallacies, like the rich hiding all the money under their mattresses. It seems to me the only explanation for the proposition you are willing to entertain about government job creation is that government is better able to spend or "invest" money more efficiently than private actors. I can't imagine why that would be true, but it certainly is what our liberal friends assume.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 27, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

The investment in unneeded commercial real estate for tax shelters had nothing to do with it, which is why the wiki has it listed as the first "cause" for the S&L failures, to wit:

"Causes
Tax Reform Act of 1986
By enacting 26 U.S.C. § 469 (relating to limitations on deductions for passive activity losses and limitations on passive activity credits) to remove many tax shelters, especially for real estate investments, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 significantly decreased the value of many such investments which had been held more for their tax-advantaged status than for their inherent profitability. This contributed to the end of the real estate boom of the early to mid '80s and facilitated the Savings and Loan crisis. Prior to 1986, much real estate investment was done by passive investors. It was common for syndicates of investors to pool their resources in order to invest in property, commercial or residential. They would then hire management companies to run the operation. TRA 86 reduced the value of these investments by limiting the extent to which losses associated with them could be deducted from the investor's gross income. This, in turn, encouraged the holders of loss-generating properties to try and unload them, which contributed further to the problem of sinking real estate values."

And of course, as we all know, the S&Ls ultimately ended up holding the bag on many of these properties when they couldn't be unloaded and the investors went into default.

Go ahead and lie some more, qb.

And Kevin, you seem to be mighty sensitive to anyone dishing out what qb and Scott etc dish on a regular basis. Whatevs. Maybe some of us just don't have much tolerance for willful dishonesty, which is what qb exhibits in every exchange I've seen here.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 27, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The unfortunate thing for people like you jenn is that you can't change the comments above. I didn't say the tax policy had nothing to do with it. I said that was only part of the story.

So the only liar here is you, and everyone can see it.

And of course you can'tdeny the fact that you are now attacking government distortion of the free market, precisely the opposite of what you set out to do. In fact, it probably has not even occurred to you that the tax break you are attacking can be viewed as a demand subsidy as easily as a supply subsidy. Either way, it is a free-market critique.

See how sticky things get when you go out into the complexity of reality and try to claim your neat little underconsumption theory explains everything?

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 27, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

qb - funny how you always end up arguing something way off-point to what someone has said, and then claiming some kind of victory.

Liars do this kind of thing frequently.

Here's the original comment which you've labored mightily to throw smoke around:

"The critical flaw in supply-side "theory", which so far brought us the S & L collapses (overinvestment in commercial real estate despite lack of demand), the dot-com bust (overinvestment in technology and internet businesses, despite lack of demand), and the housing crash (over-investment in mortgages, despite lack of qualified demand), is that demand doesn't follow investment; it leads it. Wishing and hoping it weren't so won't make it otherwise."

See anything there attacking government intervention in the market? Nope. Though that's what caused it - the kind of tax policies that you and yours continue to insist is our only hope.

I didn't "set out to attack government distortion of the free market"; I set out to attack this BS belief that your tribe has that supply creates demand. It doesn't. I gave you three concrete examples that it doesn't. You replied with a string of obtuse replies about everything BUT the central point, and now try to claim that the original argument was about me "setting out to attack government distortion of the free market" which of course is a straw man of your own making.

Not that this is surprising. This is the same reason you answer questions with more questions when you're asked to support some patently ridiculous claim you've made. You do it because you're fundamentally dishonest, and the questions you are asked to answer would undermine the conclusions you've already reached. Can't have facts getting in the way of those. So you instead start pretending that the argument is about something else. It wasn't. It was about the failure of supply-side "theory", and a tax incentive which encourages supply to greatly exceed demand merely underlines that the former does not drive the latter, as the fallout proved.

Obfuscate all you like; arguing a point other than the one under consideration doesn't mean you've "won" anything, only that you've yet again proven you're a tool incapable of intellectual honesty.

Which hopefully won't hurt your fee-fees as much as being called a dummy.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 27, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

qb - funny how you always end up arguing something way off-point to what someone has said, and then claiming some kind of victory.

Liars do this kind of thing frequently.

Here's the original comment which you've labored mightily to throw smoke around:

"The critical flaw in supply-side "theory", which so far brought us the S & L collapses (overinvestment in commercial real estate despite lack of demand), the dot-com bust (overinvestment in technology and internet businesses, despite lack of demand), and the housing crash (over-investment in mortgages, despite lack of qualified demand), is that demand doesn't follow investment; it leads it. Wishing and hoping it weren't so won't make it otherwise."

See anything there attacking government intervention in the market? Nope. Though that's what caused it - the kind of tax policies that you and yours continue to insist is our only hope.

I didn't "set out to attack government distortion of the free market"; I set out to attack this BS belief that your tribe has that supply creates demand. It doesn't. I gave you three concrete examples that it doesn't. You replied with a string of obtuse replies about everything BUT the central point, and now try to claim that the original argument was about me "setting out to attack government distortion of the free market" which of course is a straw man of your own making.

Not that this is surprising. This is the same reason you answer questions with more questions when you're asked to support some patently ridiculous claim you've made. You do it because you're fundamentally dishonest, and the questions you are asked to answer would undermine the conclusions you've already reached. Can't have facts getting in the way of those. So you instead start pretending that the argument is about something else. It wasn't. It was about the failure of supply-side "theory", and a tax incentive which encourages supply to greatly exceed demand merely underlines that the former does not drive the latter, as the fallout proved.

Obfuscate all you like; arguing a point other than the one under consideration doesn't mean you've "won" anything, only that you've yet again proven you're a tool incapable of intellectual honesty.

Which hopefully won't hurt your fee-fees as much as being called a dummy.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 27, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Let's underscore your dishonesty a bit more, with these nuggets from upthread:

"The critical flaw in supply-side "theory", which so far brought us the S & L collapses (overinvestment in commercial real estate despite lack of demand),"

Here's your reply:
"So your explanation of the S&L crisis is that some people suddenly decided to invest in commercial real estate despite there being no demand for it? Interesting if absurd."

Funny how the wiki says you're wrong. "This contributed to the end of the real estate boom of the early to mid '80s AND FACILITATED the Savings and Loan crisis." So here's you, ridiculing what everyone knew at the time and has known since, that a provision of the tax code promoted a real estate bubble and the S&Ls that were heavily invested in said bubble got knocked out - because they had invested in OVERSUPPLY. And then here's reality, saying that, basically, you're lying again.

Here's another gem:
"And why Starbucks had to go opening all those stores to meet the unmet demand for expensive, fancy, fattening coffees."

Remember all those Starbucks that shut down here about a year, year-and-a-half ago? Seems like there wasn't sufficient DEMAND for all those Starbucks.

Here's another:
"And why someone started marketing those silly bands to meet all the unmet silly band demand."

You mean, those silly bands that had been around for 2 or 3 years already before they caught on? Yeah, NPR interviewed the president of a company in Ohio that makes those things, and he talked about how his workforce had been around 20 people for the past several years, but then this year, after the "craze" hit, he's up to around 250 employees.

Too bad he didn't hire those employees 2 years ago, eh? Since if he had just made more silly bands, the craze would have taken off. Since supply drives demand and all. I wonder why that guy was such a moron and didn't know to hire those people sooner?

Just a sampling of your attempts to engage on the central issue, qb. No honesty there at all.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 27, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

@jenn: "And Kevin, you seem to be mighty sensitive to anyone dishing out what qb and Scott etc dish on a regular basis"

And you seem to be might sensitive to people pointing out your impressively boorish behavior. Or that you seem to believe that the validity of your arguments hinges on how many pedestrian, 3rd grade insults you can hurl. If you feel no discussion is complete without pervasive invective, you could at least take the originality of your insults up a notch. Although I'd suggest you try leaving them out for a few weeks, and see how it feels. You might find it's not so bad.

As far as what ScottC3 and qb dish out, it would seem to me (I have not done an objective count) that your fecundity with the insulting playground bon mot is not only much greater than either of them, but, indeed, greater than both of them put together. At least, if adjudged on a percentage basis.

I may be wrong about this, but it's the impression I'm left with.

That being said, when anybody engages for such tit-for-tat, I don't much care for it (but who am I? I am nobody), and I've noted the sub-optimal quality of the dialog between ScottC3, qb, and--yes, even me, like right now--before. I think we can all do better, to be perfectly honest.

Have either ScottC3 or qb responded to any thoughtful comments that you've made about how insulting they are with "sorry if I hurt your wittle fee-fees"? Because if they have, I missed it.

"Which hopefully won't hurt your fee-fees as much as being called a dummy."

I don't think you're hurting anybody's feelings (if that's your goal, you're going to have to take it up a notch). It's just that the peppering of your comments with insults, and the nature of them, is so frequent and unusually simplistic that it's almost Tourett's like, and you should expect others to comment on it.

Or you could go on one of those "negativity" diets. I hear they're awesome.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 27, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Good grief, jenn, there really is no end to your dishonesty. You're a truly frivolous "intellect," and I normally wouldn't bother any further with you, but you are such an arrogant and obnoxious plague on this blog that I am going to continue to expose your compound lies and distortions and grind your nose in them for all to see.

"See anything there attacking government intervention in the market? Nope. Though that's what caused it - the kind of tax policies that you and yours continue to insist is our only hope.

I didn't "set out to attack government distortion of the free market";"

No, you didn't set out to do that, and I didn't say you did. What I said was PRECISELY the opposite. Here's what I said:

"And of course you can'tdeny the fact that you are now attacking government distortion of the free market, precisely the opposite of what you set out to do."

"But now you have completely flip flopped and are arguing that the crisis was caused by government tax policy that distorted the free market."

This is very clearly set out in the exchange above. And now you are simply misrepresenting that I said the opposite.

"I set out to attack this BS belief that your tribe has that supply creates demand. It doesn't. I gave you three concrete examples that it doesn't."

First, my tribe doesn't have such a belief.

Second, you wittingly or unwittingly tried to change the subject from you Keynesian macroeconomic theory to a debate about microeconomic phenomena, and you gave three microeconomic examples that in fact prove the case against rather than for government intervention. You probably still don't realize this, because you in fact do not understand free-market theory or what you think is "supply-side" theory. You might do better if you grasped that supply-side or free-market theory does not favor any kind of tax policy that purports to favor one type of investment or consumption etc. It generally favors a neutral and flatter tax system that does not, as Keynesianism does, call for high taxes on high incomes and capital gains.

Third, your examples had precisely nothing to do with your macro Keynesian theory. You still either don't get this or are so dishonest you can't give up obfuscating.

"You replied with a string of obtuse replies about everything BUT the central point,"

No, I gave you three very concrete microeconomic examples of when "supply created demand," to use your terms -- iPods, Starbucks, and Silly Bands. To which you (wonder why?) had no response, since, if your axiom were true, these products, like all innovations, would never have found a market.

And I went on to explain how YOU were now evading the "central point," which was your claim that the money-in-the-mattress demand theory of macroeconomics is beyond challenge.

(continued)

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 27, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

To continue the exposition of jenn's profound dishonesty and expose her to as much public humiliation as possible:

You then repeat your false claim that:

"and [you] now try to claim that the original argument was about me "setting out to attack government distortion of the free market" which of course is a straw man of your own making."

Again, you've utterly reversed what I said. Talk about the ultimate mash up of straw man and irony and flagrant lying, you've really taken the cake.

What I said, very clearly and repeatedly, was the very opposite -- that you set out to defend the Keynesian case for government intervention in the free market but ended up attacking government interventions that caused the S&L crisis. Just to make it crystal clear again, let's look at precisely what I said.

Here was me at 10:09:

"After all your fussing and fuming and name calling, you are stuck with the fact that you were trying to prove your Keynesian demand macroeconomic theory, but you ended up making a free-market critique of interventionist tax policy that distorted the real estate market."

And also at 10:09:

"As I said, now you are arguing not that it was a failure of the free market but that it was an anti-free-market tax subsidy. (And now of course you have flip flopped to argue that it was the repeal of that tax policy.) You are unwittingly making a free-market, conservative argument now. You fall into that trap because you don't understand free-market theories. You only know your straw-man caricatures."

And this was me at 8:40:

"That was your macroeconomic theory. Then you switched gears (apparently unwittingly) to a microeconomic context and claimed that the S&L crisis is an example proving your theory, because it resulted from "overinvestment" in unwanted buildings. But now you have completely flip flopped and are arguing that the crisis was caused by government tax policy that distorted the free market. In fact,
you explicitly say this mystery tax break was "a false (non-market-based) incentive to keep building the damn things, even though no one needed more office or commercial space . . .."

So you are now making a conservative criticism of tax policy that distorted free market incentives. Your theory of the S&L crisis, as simplistic and unsupported as it is with specifics, is completely contrary to the Keynesian theory you started out to defend."

So, you are just simply lying, jenn. And it couldn't be plainer. Your argument fell to pieces when you tried to support macro Keynesianism with micro "crises," so you have been lying and obfuscating and transposing and misquoting what I said ever since.

"Which hopefully won't hurt your fee-fees as much as being called a dummy."

Nothing you have to say could hurt me in the least. To the contrary, I am enjoying grinding your arguments and your credibility into dust.


Posted by: quarterback1 | September 27, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

More of jenn wildly flailing to save her credibility:

"Funny how the wiki says you're wrong. "This contributed to the end of the real estate boom of the early to mid '80s AND FACILITATED the Savings and Loan crisis." So here's you, ridiculing what everyone knew at the time and has known since, that a provision of the tax code promoted a real estate bubble and the S&Ls that were heavily invested in said bubble got knocked out - because they had invested in OVERSUPPLY. And then here's reality, saying that, basically, you're lying again."

Your claim was that the S&L crisis proves your Keynesian "demand is King" theory because it was caused by people "overinvesting" in commercial real estate. But of course, that wasn't the "cause" at all, even in your newly revised and better-than-ever theory. The cause was tax policy that artificially incentivized commercial real estate development.

And of course you blissfully ignore the entire larger economic and regulatory context in which it occurred, which the experts have thoroughly documented and outlined. To you and your "friends," that is just "all that crap."

"Remember all those Starbucks that shut down here about a year, year-and-a-half ago? Seems like there wasn't sufficient DEMAND for all those Starbucks."

There are still almost 17,000 Starbucks stores, and then there are all the thousands of imitator stores. You really think a few store closings prove that supply never "creates" demand? You really think it was demand for %5 lattes and %8 frappacinos that America had never heard of that "created" Starbucks?

You are seriously desperate. Believe me, you can let go. No one in the world believes your dogma. You don't need to either.


"You mean, those silly bands that had been around for 2 or 3 years already before they caught on?"

You have a world-class gift for evading the point. It makes no difference how long it took for the product to "take off" and become a phenomenon. Before he "invented" it and took a chance that people would want to buy it, there was NO demand for it. None whatsoever. Are you able to grasp that with your Keynes-imprisoned, small mind? Before he invented the Silly Band, it didn't exist, and no one had ever heard of it, let alone wanted to buy one.

So in your world view, he indeed was a moron. A moron for investing and taking a risk on developing and marketing a product which the world had not heard of, and for which there was NO DEMAND.

Once it was on the market, low and behold, there was demand! In a couple of years, the demand became a mania. How did that happen? Because he marketed it. He offered his product to the market. That is called "supply." Retailers saw it and bought it. Consumers saw it and bought it. And now every kid has a drawerful. Yes, jenn, supply can "create demand."

I swear I have never seen anyone so profoundly gifted at missing the point and denying the obvious.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 27, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

shorter qb: blah blah blah...you said the opposite of what you said....blah blah blah...I said the opposite of what I said...blah blah blah...your larger point about how demand drives supply is irrelevant because of Nietzche and this convoluted economic argument and jargon I'm going to throw in here to try to mask my BS about how supply creates demand and blah blah blah...while I'm at it I'll just pretend I didn't see the rug pulled out from under my brilliant Starbucks and silly bands arguments...blah blah blah.

If you build it, they will come? Tell it to the guy who invented BetaMax.

You are a truly tiresomely dishonest individual.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 27, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

shorter jenn:

Please! Stop thrashing me in this debate! Please stop showing specifically how I lied!

Please stop giving examples of successful products for which there was no demand until they were invented!

You might be able to break out of your thought prison if you (1) learned some basic rules of logic, such as how inductive reasoning does and doesn't work (hint: one product's failure doesn't prove that all products fail), and (2) learned that one simple idea doesn't always explain everything.

"If you build it, they will come? Tell it to the guy who invented BetaMax."

Tell it to the guy who invented VHS. Or the CD, or $200 basketball shoes, or pomegranate juice, or the Snuggie, or Disney World, or . . . . All morons, according to you, whose products failed because there was no demand for them. Oh, wait . . ..

"You are a truly tiresomely dishonest individual."

Does this mean I shouldn't expect a Christmas card?

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 27, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

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