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The Morning Plum

* Can Obama recapture the spirit of '08? A striking finding in a new CBS News poll: Only two thirds of Dems who supported Obama in 2008 say they'll vote Democratic this time around. Dems have exactly two weeks to get these people to "buck up."

* Surge in outside spending is primarily activity on the right: Brian Beutler points to data showing that the massive rise in anonymous spending is being fueled by Republican donors who are opting for anonymity, rather than give through more traditional channels -- another data point demolishing the false equivalences between spending on right and left.

* But...but...but...there are outside groups on the left, too! As Sam Stein reports, lefty groups are pinning their hopes of offsetting the right's massive TV ad spending advantage by ... knocking on doors and handing out leaflets.

* Obama unilaterally disarmed the left's outside spending: Ben Smith reports that some Dems are blaming Obama for the huge outside spending disparity, because he shut down the lefty outside spending infrastructure. If this is true, than doesn't it kind of undercut the case by the U.S. Chamber and Karl Rove that both sides are doing it?

* The Obama tax cut that never existed: Lede of the day, from The New York Times's Michael Cooper, on the tax cuts that were part of the stimulus:

What if a president cut Americans' income taxes by $116 billion and nobody noticed?

And: Cooper cites polling showing that one in ten Americans are aware of the Obama tax cut.

* The Tea Party rubes are in for a rude shock: Eugene Robinson predicts that if the GOP takes power, the Tea Partyers who helped put them there are going to discover that they've been played for chumps by all the fantasy talk about spending cuts and repealing Obamacare.

* The Tea Party rubes are in for a rude shock, part II: Carrie Dann on why repeal just ain't gonna happen.

* The Tea Party rubes are in for a rude shock, part III: Senator Judd Gregg edges perilously close to acknowledging reality:

"I don't think starving or repealing is probably the best approach here," Gregg said on the Fox Business Network. "You basically go in and restructure it."

* Boehner can just taste victory: The House Speaker-to-be has locked himself and his football in a room somewhere to ensure that he doesn't fumble on the one yard line.

* Who says no one will ever learn who's funding all those ads? Jed Lewison predicts: "You can be sure that after the election the GOP's anonymous benefactors will reveal their identities to newly elected Republican congressmen and congresswomen."

* And since the war over Jack Conway's Aqua Buddha ad continues to rage: I thought I'd repost my interview with the victim of the Aqua Buddha prank. Turns out she did, in fact, accuse Rand Paul of the things Conway's ad says he did.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | October 19, 2010; 8:37 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, Campaign finance, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Republicans, Tea Party  
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Next: Aqua Buddha prank victim: Jack Conway ad is "over the top," but accurate, raises legit questions

Comments

"Message force multipliers".

That's the Pentagon's term for the propaganda trick of placing multiple voices into numerous media outlets to repeat a certain message or narrative. The goal is to influence opinion through creating an impression of consensus (more doctors recommend Kool cigarettes). It's an old intelligence technique. I first read about it in the sixties.

If you've ever wondered why Gerson or Kristol or Rove have sought regular media space in the big media outlets or why people like Gingrich, Liz Cheney, etc are so frequently on your TV, it is as a consequence of this propaganda technique being well understood and utilized by the right. If you've wondered why these media outlets, such as this paper, have allowed themselves to be corrupted in this manner by political operatives with a propaganda objective, you aren't alone. Gerson's column today is about as clear an example of the bastardization of a formerly respectable newspaper for precisely this propaganda function.

Does anyone actually think that Gerson is unfamiliar with the last decade of cognitive science research as applied to human response to political ideas and political allegiances? The chance is about zero. But he pretends he is unaware in order to forward a key anti-Obama propaganda message.

"Obama the snob

After a series of ineffective public messages -- leaving the political landscape dotted with dry rhetorical wells -- President Obama has hit upon a closing argument.

"Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now," he recently told a group of Democratic donors in Massachusetts, "and facts and science and argument [do] not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared. And the country is scared."

Let's unpack these remarks.

Obama clearly believes that his brand of politics represents "facts and science and argument." His opponents, in disturbing contrast, are using the more fearful, primitive portion of their brains. Obama views himself as the neocortical leader -- the defender, not just of the stimulus package and health-care reform but also of cognitive reasoning. His critics rely on their lizard brains -- the location of reptilian ritual and aggression. Some, presumably Democrats, rise above their evolutionary hard-wiring in times of social stress; others, sadly, do not..."

And does anyone actually imagine that Gerson is unaware of the ongoing rightwing PR use of fears and hatreds to stir emotional responses which, far more commonly than we would wish to believe, trump rational thinking? Probably not as he's doing exactly that in this column as he does regularly.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 19, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/18/epitaph-for-an-administration/

Posted by: Papagnello | October 19, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Counter-intuititive subhead of the day (from Dennis Prager at NRO)

"The quality of many GOP candidates is the highest in modern memory."

Posted by: bernielatham | October 19, 2010 8:36 AM |

...................

Not very much of a compliment to Newt and his 1994 Contract On America candidates, is it?!

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

test

Posted by: bernielatham | October 19, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

"Can Obama recapture the spirit of '08?"

No. Most Obama voters realize he lied last time around.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I see. Liberals, young people, immigrants and other 2008 Obama supporters need to "buck up" and support an Administration and a Senate leadership that have done anything but stand up for their base. I wonder why that message isn't taking....

Posted by: stonedone | October 19, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Yes indeed. Obama's base will fair much better under the Republicans.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Again, that thin rallying cry:

Better than the alternative.

Some winning line.

Posted by: Papagnello | October 19, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

The list of accomplishments by this administration and in the 111th Congress is literally historic. There is an AP article published yesterday that confirms this.

Obviously there are a few holes, but anyone on the left who is complaining is basically just ego-trippin'.

Anyone on the right who is complaining is ignorant, deluded, or has ulterior motives.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 19, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

For those who read Brooks' column in the NYT this morning ("sheesh, there's like hardly any monies from the C of C and Rove and it doesn't matter anyway") Greenwald has a response...
http://www.salon.com/news/politics/campaign_finance/index.html?story=/opinion/greenwald/2010/10/19/brooks

Posted by: bernielatham | October 19, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

"Boehner can just taste victory: The House Speaker-to-be has locked himself and his football in a room somewhere to ensure that he doesn't fumble on the one yard line."

I can see Agent Orange from here. He's in the Honeymoon Suite at The Four Seasons, drinking whiskey, practicing his putting on the carpet, and taking calls from "interested parties" who have made "contributions" to GOP House candidates and would like to be at the head of the trough so they can hit the ground gobbling come November.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 19, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

The most frightening thing about the deluge of secret corporate money is just how brazen the Plutocrats have become. The main reason Big Business commandeered the Chamber of Commerce as its propaganda vehicle was because corporations feared the public reaction of the corporations were found to be influencing the political process. Big Business knew it was supposed to stay out of politics because that belonged entirely to the American people and the American people wouldn't stand for corporate intrusion. But now look where we are: when asked to detail its involvement in the political process, who its donors are, whether it gets money from foreign companies or foreign governments, the Chamber of Commerce tells the American people to shut up and mind your own business.

This speaks very poorly for the health of our democracy. The Plutocrats are staging a bold coup to install puppet legislators. The Plutocrats think the American people are so indoctrinated by free-market propaganda that we have become unable to defend our democracy.

The American people must rise up against the plutocrats and their propaganda vehicles like the Chamber of Commerce. Boycott the Chamber of Commerce and its member companies. Full disclosure now.

(Re-posted from prior thread, a response to Liam's comment)

Posted by: wbgonne | October 19, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Greg,

Would it be possible to compile a GOP candidates and the clearly detectable lies that they have told this election cycle.

Just having a table of Kirk, Angle, O'Donnell, Raess, Paul, Miller, ... and a count of discovered lies with links would allow readers to quickly deduce the strategy. "Say anything and deny saying it if challenged."

And by no means should this be limited to the folks mentioned above; this is a clear policy. (Sort of like Karl Rove accusing the Dems of doing what the GOP does 10x as much of in an attempt to confuse.)

The second strategy seems to be to hide and say nothing. (Toomey and Rubio seem to be on this list, but that may just be that the national media isn't looking at them.)

Posted by: grooft | October 19, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

@Bernie....Are you suggesting the R actually stands for Reptilian brain?

@wbgonne "and would like to be at the head of the trough so they can hit the ground gobbling come November."

Hit the ground gobbling...that's some funny snark and seasonally appropriate. Yes I'm afraid the Oligarchs are going to have a terrific Thanksgiving Holiday.

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 19, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

This speaks very poorly for the health of our democracy. The Plutocrats are staging a bold coup to install puppet legislators.
==============================

The Supreme Court decision has made them brazen, but this has been going on for a while.

http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/014053.php

"And the banks -- hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created -- are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place," said Dick Durbin.

What's especially pathetic is the wingnuts chanting about "taking back the government" while they help cement control of it by the plutocracy.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 19, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

And just to reinforce my point about the Plutocrats' boldness, here is one of their propagandists defending the anonymous expenditures by an association of businesses designed to influence American elections:

"the message is the message. Just like the message of "Publius" was the message."

Think about what the Plutocrats are saying here: That Dow Chemical secretly donating money to the Chamber of Commerce to influence our elections is the equal of James Madison arguing in favor of ratifying our Constitution. Welcome to the United States of Money.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 19, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

"The Tea Party rubes are in for a rude shock"

It will be interesting to watch these dynamics play out. I quoted Dick Armey yesterday doing a predictable hedge on "libertarian" values. Today in the Guardian, a Fox regular who also contributes to that paper, pushed a narrative of how rightwing women are standing up as feminists and individuals under the libertarian banner and this big pink frilly tent includes celebration of the pro-choice and gay types. Not a chance in bloody hell, of course, but maybe a few votes can be gained by insisting the moon is made of cheesium.

Weyrich, no dummy, expects the movement to come face to face with it's Manichean duality post-election and undergo a "fight for its heart and soul". Of course, the winner will actually be the corrupted and bloated liver.

Passionate internal warfare will be a good thing but my guess is that the pressures to maintain power through electoral victories and the continued streamlining of propaganda outlets and messaging will once again effectively crush or hide the dissents Weyrich expects.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 19, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Another indication of the Plutocrats' Coup: the Plutocratic candidates no longer feel obliged to respect the press. GOP candidate now routinely flout the press and choose whether and to whom they will answer questions. The Plutocrats have designed their own information delivery system: Fox News and direct advertising financed by secret donations. The Plutocrats are simply ignoring the media that was designed as the most important guarantor of open democratic elections.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 19, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Shorter Shrubbit (Ethan):

We're the only ones right.

In other news, more Fraudgate:

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/whistleblower-speaks-fraudclosure

One wonders what Obama will bargain away this time in order to save TBTJail.

Posted by: Papagnello | October 19, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

And Beck is hawking food survival kits for the end of days...

"While your neighbors are struggling to find food, you will be dining on lasagna, beef stroganoff, and a variety of other delicious entrees. What's more, this food will retain its nutritional value and freshness for up to ten years." http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/10/malthus_meets_pt_barnum.php?ref=fpblg

Murdoch and Beck - they are like characters from a Batman movie but without a fashion sense.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 19, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne & thunder...

"This speaks very poorly for the health of our democracy. The Plutocrats are staging a bold coup to install puppet legislators."

"What's especially pathetic is the wingnuts chanting about "taking back the government" while they help cement control of it by the plutocracy."

Agreed and agreed.

A couple of things make me optimistic however. I do concede it's probably going to get darker before it gets better but...

Point 1.) Throughout the course of history the progressive thought and ideals have always won out over the reactionary conservative viewpoint. The list is simply too long to enumerate...but when you think of labor laws, abolition. womens suffrage etc...the progressives eventually always win out over the conservatives on those positions. This has been a theme that runs the course of history...with some obvious setbacks along the way...but in the end...progressive thought wins out.

2.)Factually speaking there is no denying that our wealth distribution has become more concentrated than at any time since 1929 and the trend is towards more concentration and the speed of that concentration is picking up exponentially.
EVENTUALLY a TRUE populist movement will explode upon the scene. We all know the old saying about you can fool some of the people some of the time...yadda..yadda.
As the wealth continues to become ever more concentrated, and the oligarchs continue to rule...the masses will rise up. Being an optimist I think it will take place at the polls and not in the streets...although I don't rule out the latter as a possibility. It's only a matter of time...perhaps as early as 2012...before a genuine populist movement takes hold...one that is not lead around by their ignorant noses by folks like DICK Armey..Rick Scott..and the rest of the Oligarchy.

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 19, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Eugene Robinson is absolutely right. Just as progressives and independents are disillusioned with the Obama after he won in 2008, the tea party crowd is going to be disillusioned with Republicans in 2011 because if the Republicans take over the House than there is no way in hell they are going to get rid of a $1.3 trillion deficit unless there is BOTH increase revenue and spending cuts. If the teaparty is all about spending cuts what the hell are they going to cut?

Posted by: maritza1 | October 19, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

"The goal is to influence opinion through creating an impression of consensus (more doctors recommend Kool cigarettes). It's an old intelligence technique. I first read about it in the sixties."

If you notice, Fox often quotes OpEd's in WaPo and NYT, along with other Murdoch outlets, WSJ, UK Times, etc to give the impression of a consensus among a wide variety of news outlets. The average person won't realize they are all from right wing pundits and journalists pushing the same propaganda.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | October 19, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"Beutler points to data showing that the massive rise in anonymous spending is being fueled by Republican donors who are opting for anonymity"

A lack of testicular fortitude, there. Very disappointed in those folks: John Wayne and the Marlboro Man, they are not.

That being said, I think that mostly proves that nothing succeeds like success, and that people, generally (as much as I love them) don't have much sense.

They are putting all their money into sure things that they aren't going to get much return on--it's not like this money is going directly to the politicians. How are those politicians going to reciprocate to donors when their anonymous, and going through 3rd parties like the CoC. Tell them they donated all that money to the CoC, which then ran the ad attacking their opponent that the actual campaign hated and wished they had never done?

I dunno. When the outcome is almost guaranteed--and polling indicates that the pro-business, anti-big government candidates are going to do pretty well this time around, just based on not being Democrats (or, in some cases, just not being the incumbent)--what sort of sense does spending a ton of money on campaigns make? That's the question I'd like answered.

Seems to me it's another variation on the human tendency to buy high and sell low.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

rukidding7:

I will feel a lot more sanguine when I begin to see significant political organizing on the Left and from Mainstream America. Until the people react against the Plutocrats in a systematic way I fear the Plutocrats will remain ascendant because the Plutocrats are VERY organized. Fortunately, votes are the ultimate currency in a democracy so there is always hope.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 19, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

@wb - Exactly like publius. Cute, no? Anonymity has such a rich tradition in America and we need to celebrate it. The chap who walks into the bank with a gun and wearing a mask? There's publius.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 19, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

maritza1, for starters, the Departments of Commerce and Education.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

@maritza1: "If the teaparty is all about spending cuts what the hell are they going to cut?"

Symbolic things that will make Obama look wasteful and unserious when he vetoes them. And repeal healthcare.

@mikefromArlington: "The average person won't realize they are all from right wing pundits and journalists pushing the same propaganda."

It is, indeed, on of the great tragedies of our time that the average American cannot be as smart or wise--or be trusted to think for themselves--as mikefromArlington. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

"If the teaparty is all about spending cuts what the hell are they going to cut?"

I'd reform Medicare by phasing in a means test. Same with Social Security. Young workers should not have to subsidize those who have the ability to care for themselves. I'd also gut defense spending. Figure you have to start with the big 3.

the rest of the stuff, like Robinson mentions in his column, is really budget dust.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | October 19, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Good one, Bernie. I am Publius. No, I am Publius. NO! I am Publius. Let's ALL be Publius and just use numbers like that 54whatever guy that posts here.

Later.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 19, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne "I will feel a lot more sanguine when I begin to see significant political organizing on the Left and from Mainstream America."

Agreed. This is a particularly dark time politically. But it is that historical progression of progressive thought over conservative thought that give me hope. Eventually the war mongering will come to an end. Eventually people will catch on....just how "eventually" is what remains to be seen.

And so I also agree with your last line as well..."Fortunately, votes are the ultimate currency in a democracy so there is always hope."

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 19, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

@mike - Yup. The reason this propaganda technique continues to see use is because it is effective and fairly easy to set up.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 19, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

@bernielatham: "it is as a consequence of this propaganda technique being well understood and utilized by the right."

So the question is, why is that folks on the left don't understand or utilize it. Are they too stupid too, too lazy, or do they just not care enough about their country to try and stop this carefully orchestrated right wing campaign to mislead the idiot public (and thank goodness you are one of the unique minds that can see through this ruse!)

Hang on. It just occurred to me: they are too noble, and too honest, to resort of such underhanded tactics. Ah, the curse of nobility. It must be a burdensome cross to bear. /snark

Re: Obama's remarks that he's facing implacable opposition (and a potential midterm rout) because people are scared and nothing thinking things through . . . he said what he said. In a public forum. It was, if nothing else, impolitic. I would expect a lot of voices to want to unpack those statements, and ask what the heck was he thinking? I'd think even a sympathetic person would want to know, even if he believes that, why he'd actually say it in public?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Kurtz and team at TPM stay on the voter intimidation story...
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/10/whats_the_rnla_up_to.php#more?ref=fpblg

Note DeVos' role here. He's the brother in law of Blackwater's Eric Prince, of course.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 19, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

@NoVaHockey...You are a relatively new poster and so I'm not sure which side of the aisle you come from...but as a fiscally "responsible" progressive I think you have hit the nail on the head.

"I'd reform Medicare by phasing in a means test. Same with Social Security. Young workers should not have to subsidize those who have the ability to care for themselves. I'd also gut defense spending. Figure you have to start with the big 3."

Yes and yes again. If only both sides would begin an "honest" discussion. BTW might I add...let the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% expire as well. If we're going to get serious about the deficit...let's get freaking serious!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 19, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"why is that folks on the left don't understand or utilize it. "

Kevin: Did you read Invisible Hands? It explains fully how the Radical Right developed its propaganda apparatus beginning in response to the New Deal but metasticizing in the 1970s.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 19, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"We're the only ones right"

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

Historically-speaking it is factually accurate. We were right about Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Iraq, Vietnam, women's liberation, environmental and labor laws, on and on and on. Democrats ARE the only ones who are "right" and I agree entirely with posters this morning who have taken the long view on all of these issues. We are winning and we will continue to win.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 19, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne does not post with his REAL name, why is that?

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: "This speaks very poorly for the health of our democracy. The Plutocrats are staging a bold coup to install puppet legislators."

As opposed to 2006 and 2008, when they stages a stealth coup to install puppet legislators.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

DeVos and Amway are charter members of the Plutocracy.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 19, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"Eugene Robinson predicts that if the GOP takes power, the Tea Partyers who helped put them there are going to discover that they've been played for chumps by all the fantasy talk about spending cuts and repealing Obamacare."

Andrew Sullivan has repeatedly been making the same point. You cannot anywhere find any national GOP politician or candidate who has any credible proposal for making meaningful cuts. All they offer is irrelevant window dressing and showboating (which is pretty much all they've offered for fifteen or twenty years now, frankly).

Posted by: akaoddjob | October 19, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Kevin, our public is getting dumbed down by Murdoch's version of journalism. He's doing it to the U.K. and other countries around the world as he's doing here.

Out politicians are becoming less and less honest and less and less intelligent because ignorance is being sold as some sort of honorable thing by the right wing. The less they know, the more they are just like US! or something.

I honestly think the right would rather have less intelligent lawmakers that are less able to think on their own and could possibly be swayed by intelligent debate. If they keep Republican leaders stupid and charismatic they can continue to gain more control of this country.

I realize some on the right think this is healthy for our country but I really don't want an economy that is reliant on 5% of the populations spending habits of which an overwhelming majority push for right wing legislation that will help them out personally.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | October 19, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Kevin:

I'll take that as a "no" on whether you read Invisible Hands which suggests that you aren't really interested in information, just sophistry, so here goes from the King of False Equivalencies:


Yeah, who really cares whether American elections are influenced by secret money. I mean it would be nice if that didn't happen but, hey, what are you gonna do. And now I'm going to vote for people who think it's fine if companies secretly give money to political candidates. Of course, you understand, I'm against secret money to candidates but that will never happen and even if it does, both sides will do it anyway. So what are you gonna do? I'll also vote for people who think the 14th Amendment should be repealed, that the minimum wage is unconstitutional and that global warming is a hoax. Even though I don't believe any of those things I'll vote for candidates who do because those candidates will never do the things they say they want to do. What are you gonna do? Oh, and I want Sarah Palin to be president who also believes all those things I don't believe because she won't be able to do them either. What are you gonna do? Oh, did I mention that both sides do it?

Posted by: wbgonne | October 19, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne does not post with his REAL name, why is that?

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

---

I know of at least one case of cyber stalking on the Post boards. Besides, who names their kid Claw? ;-)

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 19, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin..."It is, indeed, on of the great tragedies of our time that the average American cannot be as smart or wise--or be trusted to think for themselves--as mikefromArlington. ;)"

Intended as snark I'm sure but I view it as the literal truth. It is indeed a great tragedy...and I'd toss in you as well as Mike from Arlington...as well as the majority of posters on this blog. It is incredibly sad that most people had no idea during the HCR debate what socialized medicine meant...single payer...private..they had no idea that we already have all three.

I had a young R come to my door on Sunday on behalf of his candidate. As you might imagine I had a great time engaging a young R. When I asked him if he was aware our country already had socialized medicine he was astounded...NO NO he claimed we don't have ANY socialized medicine. When I pointed out the VA..he was speechless...when I added that the VA btw also got higher marks than the other two forms in our country he was taken aback...when I mentioned we already had a form of single payer insurance...much as Canada has for it's citizens only that it was limited to those over 65 and called Medicare...again this young man of about 35 was flummoxed. This young R was an engaged citizen. He was out pounding the street for his Tea Party candidate. Yeahh he had that now famous "enthusiasm"...the big gap over the Dems...too bad he didn't also have the time to learn some facts.
When I pointed out that our taxes are at their lowest in 50 years...again he was dumbfounded.

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/2010/05/11/US-tax-burden-at-lowest-point-in-years/UPI-74091273594893/

If an engaged, enthusiastic young 30 something has such little factual knowledge..yes Kevin..IMHO it is LITERALLY a tragedy! I'll let you guess Kevin where the young man said he got his information and did his news gathering. Yes this is one young man...but I've had this experience over and over and over again during the HCR...and the lowest tax fact seems to really blow teabaggers minds! :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 19, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"...it is as a consequence of this propaganda technique being well understood and utilized by the right."

But barely understood and utilized by the left, naturally. Perhaps, Bernie, the DNC would appreciate you offering up your phenomenal insight into all this, given how clueless and incompetent they appaerntly are when it comes to propagandizing.

I wonder: If a propagandist of the left set out to discredit its political opposition on the right, wouldn't an effective method be to convince people that any opinion expressed from the right is itself "propaganda"?

Bernie, you wily old dog, you.

"Obama clearly believes..."

Which is "clear" precisely because Obama said it. And he wouldn't lie. Or engage in propaganda. Would he?

Posted by: ScottC3 | October 19, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

So, there are valid reasons for anonymity (if you're a Democrat)?

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: Perhaps you should define what you mean by "right".

"Historically-speaking it is factually accurate. We were right about Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security" . . . Yup, fair enough. Although Hoover (one of the evilest Republicans ever) tried to implement a form of Social Security)

" ... Iraq, Vietnam . . ."

Um, Vietnam? The conflict that began when Harry S. Truman sent advisers to South Vietnam in 1950? That went hot when John F. Kennedy tripled our troop presence in Vietnam in 1961 and then tripling them again in 1962? U.S. Combat units were deployed beginning in 1965--under LBJ. Involvement peaked in 1968 with the Tet Offensive (again, under democrat LBJ). The war did continue for some time under Nixon, but it was Nixon who eventually declared "defeat with dignity" and pulled troops out of Vietnam. Are you suggesting we should have stayed in until we won it, and annexed North Vietnam?

"women's liberation"

Are you really sure it was a good idea to liberate them? /mock

"environmental and labor laws" . . . like OSHA and the EPA? Created under revered Democrat Richard M. Nixon? Or the Clean Air Act of 1970 (Nixon) or the Clean Art Act of 1990 (H. W. Bush)?

"Democrats ARE the only ones who are 'right' and I agree entirely with posters this morning who have taken the long view on all of these issues. We are winning and we will continue to win."

Well, not in 2010, you're not. :p

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

@Greg

I'm not sure if it was your intention, but the "knocking on doors" line in this post seems pretty condesending - and rather short sided, if that is the case.

If the polls are right, getting Dems to turn out on election day will be the only hope Dems have of holding off disaster. Knocking on doors has been proven time and time again to be more effective at actually getting people to vote than tv ads. While ads reach the broader electorate, targetted canvasing can be the best way to try and get registered Dems actually show up on election day.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | October 19, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"As opposed to 2006 and 2008, when they stages a stealth coup to install puppet legislators."

Hilarious.

Why any of you take Kevin's remarks seriously for even one second is a mystery to me. So what if, unlike his other troll friends, he can string together a coherent sentence?

Or have we already forgotten about the Bush Culture of Corruption and the Republican Do-Nothing Congress? Are we willing to take someone seriously who actually wants to go back to that era of total corruption, ineptitude and utter failure? Not me, dream on. In fact, I would argue that people like Kevin are among the more dangerous people to our country as they use their intellect to cheer on the plutocrats in a seemingly more "sensible" tone.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 19, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"As opposed to 2006 and 2008, when they stages a stealth coup to install puppet legislators."

Hilarious.

Why any of you take Kevin's remarks seriously for even one second is a mystery to me. So what if, unlike his other troll friends, he can string together a coherent sentence?

Or have we already forgotten about the Bush Culture of Corruption and the Republican Do-Nothing Congress? Are we willing to take someone seriously who actually wants to go back to that era of total corruption, ineptitude and utter failure? Not me, dream on. In fact, I would argue that people like Kevin are among the more dangerous people to our country as they use their intellect to cheer on the plutocrats in a seemingly more "sensible" tone.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 19, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

@bernielatham: "it is as a consequence of this propaganda technique being well understood and utilized by the right."

So the question is, why is that folks on the left don't understand or utilize it. Are they too stupid too, too lazy, or do they just not care enough about their country to try and stop this carefully orchestrated right wing campaign to mislead the idiot public (and thank goodness you are one of the unique minds that can see through this ruse!)
...
Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 9:47 AM |
=======================

Follow the money, K.W. There's plenty of money for defense and energy corporations in perpetual war. And those companies advertise in allegedly liberal papers like the NYT and the WaPo.

(I know you're only pretending to pose a question about this, but I'll pretend you're serious.)

Who is better off if we don't engage in perpetual warfare? The average Joe and Jane on the street. How many legislators can Joe and Jane buy? How many advertising pages?

"It’s a big club and you ain't in it." - George Carlin
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 19, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Mitch McConnell and Michele Bachman caught lying through their teeth...

"The founder of the House Tea Party Caucus, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, is among scores of Republicans and conservative Democrats who criticized the $787 billion economic stimulus law while privately asking Obama administration officials for stimulus money to pay for local projects.

Copies of lawmakers' letters are posted as part of the Center for Public Interest's Stimulating Hypocrisy story and they were also shared with members of the Investigative News Network.

INN member MinnPost reports that Bachman — who has campaigned saying the stimulus law was a "failure" and that it did not create any jobs — quietly wrote at least six letters to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to seek stimulus funding for Minnesota projects. In one letter, she sought $300 million for a replacement bridge on the St. Croix River and cited a state estimate that the project would create nearly 3,000 jobs."
more here
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky/2010/oct/19/congress-rank-stimulus-hypocrisy

I really really despise these people.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 19, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

papagnello

Thanks for that insider's piece. Interesting stuff. Are you watching the market today? Did you hear that BofA said they finished their review of the hundred thousand or so foreclosures in the "23" states and saw no errors and are set to resume? Think anyone believes them?

Posted by: lmsinca | October 19, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

The public panned it. Republicans obstructed it. Many Democrats fled from it. Even so, the session of Congress now drawing to a close was the most productive in nearly half a century.

Not since the explosive years of the civil rights movement and the hard-fought debut of government-supported health care for the elderly and poor have so many big things — love them or hate them — been done so quickly.

[...]

In terms of legislative successes, the current session of Congress is "at least on a par with the 89th Congress" of 1965-1966, said Norman Ornstein, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

[Stimulus, HCR]

Obama has also signed into law at least a dozen other pieces of legislation of significance. They include:

* Making college loans more affordable.

* The Cash for Clunkers program that helped rejuvenate the auto industry.

* New consumer protections for credit card users.

* Making it easier for women to challenge pay discrimination.

* Increasing federal regulation of tobacco products.

* Cracking down on waste in Pentagon weapons acquisition.

* Making attacks based on sexual orientation a federal hate crime.

* Giving businesses tax incentives to hire unemployed workers.

* Tax credits for first-time homeowners.

So where is the love?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_prolific_congress

IOW, all you haters can take a walk.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 19, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"When I pointed out that our taxes are at their lowest in 50 years...again he was dumbfounded."

He might have been, since your claim was untrue.

"when I mentioned we already had a form of single payer insurance...much as Canada has for it's citizens only that it was limited to those over 65 and called Medicare"

Key words I suppose are "a form of," but even that is a dubious description at best. A common sense meaning of "single payer" to most people is that the government appoints itself the "single payer" for all health care. To say it includes any insurance program available to a population borders on sophistry. So you flummoxed the kid with double talk. Congrats.

"When I asked him if he was aware our country already had socialized medicine he was astounded"

That was a great rhetorical trick to ask this and then "prove" it with the VA. You really showed him.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

btw, headline from that AP article was:

* A productive Congress gets no respect from voters *

Indeed.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 19, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@Bernie...Agreed on the hypocrisy over the stimulus. They can use the excuse..well if it was the law of the land I HAD to make sure my constituents get their fair share.
I get that. But to turn around and come up with "JOB PROJECTIONS" and then hit the stump and say the Stimulus didn't create a single job...the hypocrisy is a bit overwhelming.

And as a follow on to my post to Kevin about the ignorance of the "average" American and the TPers in particular.
They are now trying to say that the stimulus was more expensive than the war in Iraq. That war has already been figured at above one trillion and climbing while the stimulus was 787 Billion. But what's a QUARTER OF A TRILLION amongst tea baggers. And try letting a tea bagger know that of that 787 Billion 40% comprised the largest middle class TAX CUT in our history.

"There are none so blind as those who will not see nor any so deaf as those who will not hear."

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 19, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

"I wonder: If a propagandist of the left set out to discredit its political opposition on the right, wouldn't an effective method be to convince people that any opinion expressed from the right is itself "propaganda"?"

You mean the way Big Business has been doing that for 70 years to anyone who denies the Glory of the Free Market, calling them -- whether they are professors, journalists, entertainers, unionizers, or average Americans wondering what the h*ll is happening to their country -- Communists and Socialists and what-all-else? It appears that the Capitalists are the Masters of Deceit not the Communists. Ironic, no?

Posted by: wbgonne | October 19, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

This is just too funny. Watching the liberals here go about the daily task of condescending in the general direction of those with the temerity to disagree with them is just plain entertaining.

Methinks Mr Robinson has already assumed that sour grapes and crow don't make a good meal. Instead he'll try to dampen spirits with mealy mouthed nonsense about the Republicans.

What oh so smart guys like Mr Robinson forget is that many republicans lost in 06 and 08 because of conservative disgust with their behavior. Mike Dewine can't get elected again in my state because no one on "his" side trusts him at all. Cordray may be a Democrat but he'll win handily.

and many of us know that we can't trust the Republican power elite any more than we can trust the Democrats. The fact is, spending went up under McConnell too. So we have to send a message. That message is that we'll be back in two years and the harvest of incumbent heads will continue until congress is brought to heel by the people.

I, for one, am tired of a ruling elite that eats our substance while stifling our lives. I don't care what the party affiliation.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 19, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

"I, for one, am tired of a ruling elite that eats our substance while stifling our lives"

And that's why you're going to vote for the Plutocrats. Got it.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 19, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

@rukidding: "It is indeed a great tragedy...and I'd toss in you as well"

Yes, I am unquestionably a great tragedy. Just ask Ethan! ... ba dum dum!

"...as well as the majority of posters on this blog. It is incredibly sad that most people had no idea during the HCR debate what socialized medicine meant...single payer...private..they had no idea that we already have all three."

Then, as Strother Martin (playing the prison warden in Cool Hand Like) once said: "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

And some of that failure comes from the premise: that these folks are dumb, and how do we smart people lower ourselves down to the correct level to somehow communicate with the great unwashed masses? What a lot of folks on the left consider "propaganda" and "media manipulation" is the political right not treating people like they think they're stupid. I'm not saying that none of them think the voters are stupid, because, of course, they do. They just don't treat them that way.

"I had a young R come to my door on Sunday on behalf of his candidate."

Ah, yes.

"As you might imagine I had a great time engaging a young R. When I asked him if he was aware our country already had socialized medicine he was astounded...NO NO he claimed we don't have ANY socialized medicine."

Interesting. Well, at least you had the chance to set him straight. Sounds like he only recently got engaged in politics. Or, the Republicans naturally attract stupid people. That's also an option.

"This young R was an engaged citizen"

I would guess he'd be "recently engaged". I don't think he could have engaged in too many political battles in the past and still have no idea that Medicare is socialized medicine, that medicaid is socialized medicine, and that the VA is really socialized medicine.

"...and the lowest tax fact seems to really blow teabaggers minds!"

Okay. I'll have to take your word for that. My point is, at level, that people may not have all the facts, but they aren't stupid just because they don't agree with you--yet. However, over time, "You're stupid, vote for me" is not a winning campaign strategy. Even if you're right on policy, you still catch more voters with honey than vitriol.

BTW, if we have the lowest tax levels in 40 years, then why was 2007 the highest tax revenues to the government in the history of the country? Why are our tax receipts, during a recession, in 2009 higher than the tax receipts for 2004--or any year before that, and over 400 billion higher than the highest year of the Clinton administration?

Was the country in good shape in 1996? Well, then, how did we manage that in 1996, with revenues of $1.45 trillion, when in 2008 (the last year of the evil Bush regime), revenues were $2.524 trillion--almost a trillion and a half more?

The problem with the economy is not insufficient revenues to the government. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"Productive" is in the eye of the beholder. I would call it DESTRUCTIVE to America and freedom.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

All, the victim of Rand Paul's Aqua Buddha prank speaks out about Jack Conway's new ad:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/10/aqua_buddha_lady_conway_ad_is.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | October 19, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

in response to:
======================
You mean the way Big Business has been doing that for 70 years to anyone who denies the Glory of the Free Market, calling them -- whether they are professors, journalists, entertainers, unionizers, or average Americans wondering what the h*ll is happening to their country -- Communists and Socialists and what-all-else? It appears that the Capitalists are the Masters of Deceit not the Communists. Ironic, no?

========

What is ironic is the inability of people on the left, who have such a high opinion of themselves, to see the abject failure that is collectivist economics.

Isn't it completely possible that those on the right recognize what those on the left don't: that is that prosperity is the result of personal freedom, not the result of central command and control?

but what dyed in the wool left professor actually support economic freedom for Americans anymore? The dogma of the left must be protected against all manner of actual experience, right?

And are the unions a force for good in our country? Given the number of states that have right to work laws, and the steady decline of unions in the private sector it is clear that the people have spoken and unions aren't of interest to us any more.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 19, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Q.B. "He might have been, since your claim was untrue."

Yes we should all believe YOU of all people...the person who is wrong on almost every subject. Of course I provided a link but then I guess we should respect YOUR OPINION more than UPI or USA Today.
As 12Bar might post bwaahaahaaa

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/2010/05/11/US-tax-burden-at-lowest-point-in-years/UPI-74091273594893/

WASHINGTON, May 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. tax burden has shrunk to its lowest level in 60 years, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said.

Including state, federal and local taxes, the average tax bill came out to 9.2 percent of personal income in 2009, USA Today reported Tuesday.

That's down from an average of 12 percent over the past 50 years. The tax burden has not been this low since 1950, the newspaper said.

As they say opinions are like Q.B.'s...everyone has one!

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 19, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"I really really despise these people."

We've noticed. And yet hate is supposedly a fixture of the right. Go figure.

Posted by: ScottC3 | October 19, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Using your definition, even Hitler was "productive" for more than four years.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

What oh so smart guys like Mr Robinson forget is that many republicans lost in 06 and 08 because of conservative disgust with their behavior.
Posted by: skipsailing28
------------------------------------------

Geez, I thought they lost because ACORN coordinated voter fraud and racist black Americans voting for a black man as President. Or because unions bought the elections or diseased liberals minds were duped by a charismatic leader or that poor people wanted to vote themseles access to the bank acconts of the wealthy.

I've heard all those offered as explanation of the recent electoral success of the Democratic Party. I guess I'll add yours to the list, too.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 19, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

@skipsailing8: "What oh so smart guys like Mr Robinson forget is that many republicans lost in 06 and 08 because of conservative disgust with their behavior."

There is also the "grass is always greener" scenario. Many Republicans lost due to general dissatisfaction with the status quo (not a wholesale embrace of liberalism, anymore than 2010 will represent a wholesale embrace of conservatism). However, as is usually the case, once you jump the fence to the next pasture, you realize it's not that green over in the new pasture. Not like you thought it was. Actually, the grass was really better in the older pasture. And maybe--dare I say it?--a bit greener. I'll jump back over there!

Politicians like to pretend this doesn't happen, and that they won't, at some point, get cycled out just for the sake of novelty--and some won't. But many of them will, and I think that will tend to be the case more often (especially for congressmen and senators who were, in the past, used to lifetime appointments). While I like the idea of term limits, I'm beginning to think that, if trends continue, we won't need them. The nationalization of house and senate races will create defacto term limits as, at some point, even politicians in the safest district will get the boot. In the right, hyper-nationalized election.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"Given the number of states that have right to work laws, and the steady decline of unions in the private sector it is clear that the people have spoken and unions aren't of interest to us any more."

No, what is clear is that one of the Plutocrats prime objectives was to destroy the union movement in the United States, which they have largely succeeded in doing by playing one region -- the South -- against others like the Northeast and Midwest. The Plutocrats just moved their companies to states where unions were weak and they could pay workers less. Just like the Plutocrats today outsource American jobs to China and India because they have even cheaper workers than the Southern U.S. states.

And you're proud of this?

Posted by: wbgonne | October 19, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Kevin,

Amazingly, federal receipts are 5 times what they were in 1980, when we had the tax rates for which folks like ruk are nostalgic. And 2.5 times the receipts in 1990.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

@ScottC3: "We've noticed. And yet hate is supposedly a fixture of the right. Go figure."

But it's always justified. Indeed, it's a deep, intelligent, profound hate. One entirely justified, because it is a hatred of evil, of immorality, of injustice.

Unlike all that Tea Party hate, which is mindless, every-man-for-themselves animalistic hate.

As liberal comedienne Margaret Cho once said us all us bigots and rednecks down in the south: "It's not the hate, it's the stupidity."

Which is true--they have no problem with anger and hatred (see Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar walking off The View when Bill O'Rielly was on? BTW, loved Barbara Walters telling them off for their short-sightedness the next day) as long as it's for the right reasons. And as long as it isn't, from their point of view, stupid.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

too funny. when all else fails, rename the dragon that is about to slay you. Right woe? Just too funny.

Plutocrats? YOu mean like Nancy Pelosi? that kind of plutocrat? Or Jay Rockefeller? Or John, the tax dodger, Kerry? Did you know that Kerry served in Viet nam?

The facts are simple: liberalism is being rejected. Instead of renaming your enemy why not ask yourselves why this is?

Again I go back to the true believers. YOu guys MUST believe that your dogma explains everything, just like the Koran, or the Bible or the communist manifesto. Therefore the rejection of what you percieve as the perfection of the human condition can only be the result of some nefarious actions by shadowy ne'er do wells with a lot of money and influence. Or because stupid Americans are too easily swayed by the aforementioned ne'er do wells. Very, very amusing.

It is just hilarious.

I am reminded of the pretzel logic of the left during the Bush years. On the one hand the left claimed that he was a "chimp" and not very bright. On the other hand the left claimed that he was the mastermind of all manner of evil plots.

You guys never could make up your mind.

So dwell in denial my man. It is, apparently, far better for you than facing your addiction.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 19, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Kevin,

Amazingly, federal receipts are 5 times what they were in 1980, when we had the tax rates for which folks like ruk are nostalgic. And 2.5 times the receipts in 1990.

Posted by: quarterback1
-------------------------------------------
2 questions for both of you:

1) To what do you attribute this increase in receipts despite the lower tax levels?
2) What conclusion are you drawing based on this information? That we should continue to cut taxes in order to increase revenue?


Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 19, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

*Making college loans more affordable.

which distorts the cost of the college by removing any incentive for the institutions to control costs. encourages students to take on debt for jobs that aren't there.

* The Cash for Clunkers program that helped rejuvenate the auto industry.

unjustified interference. also hurt low-income people by distorting the market for quality used cars by destroying perfectly good machines. what a waste.

* New consumer protections for credit card users.
buyer beware

* Making it easier for women to challenge pay discrimination.
Don't know enough to offer an opinion, so no comment.


* Increasing federal regulation of tobacco products.
smokers are truly that last group you can actively discriminate against.

* Cracking down on waste in Pentagon weapons acquisition.
big deal compared to the expanding cost of lives and $$ in Afghanistan.

* Making attacks based on sexual orientation a federal hate crime.
hate crimes are no more or less awful than any other. If i beat you to rob your or b/c you're gay, the result is the same. better idea -- encourage the gay community to defend itself by expanding concealed carry. wonder how many gays get bashed if the next time someone tries they get a .45 shoved in their face in response to their bigotry.

* Giving businesses tax incentives to hire unemployed workers.
see above re: auto industry.

* Tax credits for first-time homeowners.
see above re: auto industry. distorts actual value of homes for short term sales boost.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | October 19, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

@quarterback: "Amazingly, federal receipts are 5 times what they were in 1980, when we had the tax rates for which folks like ruk are nostalgic. And 2.5 times the receipts in 1990."

And even if you argue that the Laffer curve is irrelevant within those tax brackets (a reasonable, if difficult to prove, argument to make, as the tax rates never approach 100% or 0%), it seems to me to be prima facie evidence that the problem with the economy is not insufficient tax revenues. Thus, irrespective of the utility and wisdom and fairness of progressively taxing the rich, there is no reason to think that the additional revenue will do anything to improve the general economy. Maintaing the Bush tax cuts for folks making over $250k might do nothing to help the economy in and of itself, but letting them lapse will also do nothing to help the economy. It's a non-starter, as they say.

Additionally, government expenditures were around $1.6 trillion in the halcyon days of 1996. Government expenditures were $2.78 trillion in 2007, almost $3 trillion in 2008, and $3.5 trillion in 2009.

Which leads me to wonder what, exactly, the prediction that more government spending is going to improve the economy? And it doubling and tripling government spending merely staunched the flow, making it so we have a 10% unemployment rather than 12% unemployment, what sort of government spending will be required to return us to the evil 5% unemployment of the evil Bush years? 5 trillion? 8 trillion?

BTW, estimates have 2010 expenditures at $3.7 trillion, $3.8 trillion in 2011. I know it's been said that it will be lower, but my Googling has not led me to such optimistic projections. I'm open to 'em, if they are out there. I asked for links, was told to go find it myself, went to find it myself, and instead found we're going to be spending more, not less.

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Kevin:

"Unlike all that Tea Party hate, which is mindless, every-man-for-themselves animalistic hate."

Or even, dare I say it, reptillian hate. If that actually means anything.

BTW, I missed the whole View imbroglio (I'm not exactly an avid watcher), but did hear about it. I've been meaning to check out the clip.

Posted by: ScottC3 | October 19, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Apparently it's never occured to any of the Einsteins here that when the workforce expands by one-fourth to one-third over the space of several decades, it results in more taxes being collected - even though the guys at the top end of the income scale are paying a lower rate.

DURRRR!!!

Posted by: JennOfArk | October 19, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

@ashotinthedark: "1) To what do you attribute this increase in receipts despite the lower tax levels?"

More economic activity, higher wages, more taxable income, the very wealthy doing less to evade paying their taxes, because it becomes simpler and cheaper to just pay them when rates are not confiscatory.

"What conclusion are you drawing based on this information? That we should continue to cut taxes in order to increase revenue?"

I think we should continue to decrease taxes on the middle class (and I mean cut taxes, not issue tax credits and temporary holidays), irrespective of the effect on revenue--although I believe it would be neutral or positive. However, that's not the conclusion I'm drawing.

The conclusion I'm drawing is that our current struggling economy is not the product of insufficient government spending or insufficient revenues to the treasury. It can't be. Thus, we should look elsewhere. What encourages offshoring, for example? Should we seriously consider raising tariffs to make good manufactured in China or elsewhere more expensive? Should we create specific offshoring taxes? I, for one, would not shed a tear if Comcast had to pay a few extra bucks for directing my phonecalls to someone with a thick foreign accent who is reading a script and claims his name is Bill. ;)

The solutions to our economic travails don't lie in increased government spending or increased revenues. As Ruk likes to point out, we have the lowest tax rates we've had in 40 years, so the problem is not "high taxes". However, we have greater revenues to the federal treasury than ever, and greater government expenditures than ever, so the problem is also, clearly, not too little government spending or too little revenue to the treasure (i.e., "low taxes").

Stagnant housing and real estate markets aren't going to be fixed with more government spending or higher taxes. Offshoring is not going to be reduced by higher taxes, or more government spending. Automation and increases in efficiencies that obsolete certain workers might benefit from retraining or other government programs, but just spending money on "infrastructure", and raising taxes, isn't going to fix anything there, either.

My conclusion is not so much that we shouldn't be arguing, but that we might be arguing about the wrong things.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Worth repeating:

Republicans have argued that the Recovery Act can't create jobs, won't create jobs, hasn't created jobs, will create jobs, and has created jobs -- all at the same time.

If these GOP officials believed their own rhetoric, this would be impossible, suggesting they couldn't possibly mean what they say. Indeed, we have the written requests for stimulus funds to prove that even Republicans think the stimulus is good policy.

Here's a letter from Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) saying that government spending in his district would "create jobs." And here's a letter from Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) saying that government spending in his district would "create jobs." And here's a letter from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) saying that government spending in his state would "create jobs." And here's a letter from Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) saying that government spending in his state would help with "job creation." And here's a letter from Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) saying that government spending in his district would help "put people back to work."

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_10/026196.php

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 19, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Kevin asked:
"So the question is, why is that folks on the left don't understand or utilize it."

Aside from all the snark... my response depends entirely on what it is you wish to do here. If you want merely to argue, that's one thing. If you wish to learn some stuff, that's another. And if you wish to do some learnin' on all of this then you need to do some reading; Weston and Lakoff for the state of cognitive research, "What Orwell Didn't Know" (you can google and order it up) for some modern writing on propaganda techniques, and Tye's "The Father of Spin" on techniques developed nearly a century ago (and far more sophisticated now) on marketing/propaganda. You can profitably start with the last of these, a recommendation supported by Mary Matalin...
"For the vast punditocracy who think they created spin and the chattering classes who disdain what they think is a modern phenomenon...A must-read for the aforementioned and wannabe spinmasters."

Like I said...if you want to actually learn some stuff.

Your question isn't an easy one I can answer in any complete way because I don't understand it well enough myself. This will be brief. At a Weston lecture I attended with a bunch of psychoanalysts, Weston laid out some examples of effective Republican ads in contrast with some ineffective Dem ads. The differences were obvious. He then brought into the discussion what his (and others') cognitive science research had brought to light which spoke to these differences. A lady sitting next to me (I'd never met her and this was new stuff to her) turned to me and asked why Dems were lousy at this while Republicans were smarter. My response was a guess but a fairly educated guess.

There is within the Republican community, because of who comprises that community, specifically in this case the business sector, a far greater need to understand human response and how to manipulate it. Marketing/advertising, if it is to be effective, has this fundamental task. That Bernays (the subject of Tye's book) was Freud's nephew ought to give you a clue on the connection between advertising and cognitive understanding/manipulation. Obviously, successful ad campaigns must effectively address what goes on in peoples' heads and emotions and must manipulate them to give their product an edge. Or even to create a need for a new product/service where no need was previously perceived (on the part of consumers).

Also, what can't be ignored in all of this is the divergence between the actual need for some product/service or the actual value of it (or even it's destructiveness, like tobacco) and the dynamic to make money through marketing. Advertising and the profit dynamic have no necessary connection to moral considerations at all. Often, as with tobacco, moral considerations must be actively rejected, ignored or suppressed for the advertising/corporate profit dynamic to fulfill itself.

Gotta leave now....will try more later.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 19, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

@JennOfArk: "Apparently it's never occured to any of the Einsteins here that when the workforce expands by one-fourth to one-third over the space of several decades, it results in more taxes being collected - even though the guys at the top end of the income scale are paying a lower rate."

Apparently you slept through your reading comprehension classes, or, otherwise, you would have know that that is not, fundamentally, the point.

"DURRRR!!!"

Physician, "durrrr!!!" thyself.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Shorter Kevin Willis:

I can't even rebut the truth of your point even with my usual BS spinning.

Posted by: JennOfArk | October 19, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Physician, "durrrr!!!" thyself.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 11:03 AM
========================

People keep getting born, and keep getting older, and keep retiring.

You've got a plan to stop that stuff, right K.W.?
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 19, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

@ScottC3: "BTW, I missed the whole View imbroglio (I'm not exactly an avid watcher), but did hear about it. I've been meaning to check out the clip."

Bill O'Rielly was all class (like, I know, right?). They did nothing but make him look good. And probably add another 5-to-10,000 viewers to his show. Good job, girls!

But I liked Barbara Walters lecturing them the next day. She could have been channeling me. So, of course, I thought that was awesome.

BTW, the "walk out" was one of the experiences, during a perfectly reasonable discussion that "we" liberals (and leftists in liberal clothing) were having with some irascible young conservatives (regarding the first Gulf War) that made me wonder if "liberal" actually meant what I thought it meant. The "walk out" is a direct appeal to the choir, but tends to alienate fence sitters. I know it's hard for liberals to accept, but the evil and cruelty of Fox News and Bill O'Reilly is not objectively self-evident to everybody, and for those not members of the choir, it tends to (in my opinion) provoke: "Huh?" moments. Much more than, "Why, they must really be bad! I'll never watch that show, or listen to talk radio, since it's that important to Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar! I'm voting Democrat from now on!"

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Again, that thin rallying cry:

Better than the alternative.

Some winning line.

Posted by: Papagnello | October 19, 2010 8:56 AM |

.....................

You want perfection, instead of the choice that is better? What are you; four years old?

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"As they say opinions are like Q.B.'s...everyone has one!"


What you've shown is that you can find a statistic to support just about any vague assertion you want to make. I realize that complexity like this usually escapes you, but the article you linked only concerned a "tax burden" statistic that measures average percentage of personal income paid in income taxes.

Even you must realize that this does not represent all the taxes we bear, or reflect the rates we pay. But perhaps you don't realize that, for example, one major reason this average rises and falls is not changes in tax rates but changes in income -- because we have progressive rates, recessions causing lower incomes generally lead to lower tax payments. Tax rates are not lower than Reagan left them, and tax receipts are astronomically higher than they were 20 years ago, let alone 50 or 60.

Seeing how sloppy your arguments and use of "facts" are on this blog, I can only shudder at how these conversations you constantly boast about actually sound.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

The stimulus is an interesting topic. I don't know that anyone claims zero jobs were created because of it. Rather I believe that the argument against it was that it was discredited kenysian economics that hasn't worked in prior attempts.

The huge political issue for the Democrats is that they spent this money and the results aren't what Americans need. Many Americans concluded that this was a sop to Obama's cronies and an outright waste of money. Certainly the LA revelation of 55 something jobs being saved or created for 11 million makes the entire program look like an expensive failure.

Failure is punished and here it comes.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 19, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

@thunder: "People keep getting born, and keep getting older, and keep retiring."

Darn those people.

"You've got a plan to stop that stuff, right K.W.?"

An interesting non sequitur. This addresses my point how?

I'm going to take a stab at it. Tell me if I've got it wrong. You're suggesting that government revenues and expenditures have increased roughly at the same rate as population?

Well, US population as of 1998 was 270.3 million. In 2008, it was 310.5 million. That's a 12% increase in population.

Well, government revenue increased by 32% from 1998 to 2008. That's almost triple the rate of population increase. More telling, government spending went up by 44% between 1998 and 2008. That's an increase of almost quadruple the increase in population.

But even if it had been exactly the same (which it clearly is not) it would not invalidate my point. Even if revenues and expenditures were roughly the same, adjusted for population, between 1998 and 2008, it would still indicate that the solution to our economic malaise will not be found in increasing government revenues, increasing expenditure (or, to be fair, in cutting individual income taxes). Because a decrease in revenues, and/or a decrease in spending, are not the source of our current economic troubles, and probably not even a contributing factor.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

@Jenn: "I can't even rebut the truth of your point even with my usual BS spinning."

Well, it's very easy to insist your points haven't been rebutted when you don't re-read what you think you're rebutting (incorrectly, as it turns out), or any subsequent rebuttals. I refer you to me previous comment; please explain to me how I'm wrong. Thanks!

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Will The Tea Party insist on Means Testing For The Bush/Cheney Tax Cuts For Fat Cats, program, or will they just rubber stamp the borrowing of four trillion dollars to pamper the pampered?

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"Well, US population as of 1998 was 270.3 million. In 2008, it was 310.5 million. That's a 12% increase in population.

Well, government revenue increased by 32% from 1998 to 2008. That's almost triple the rate of population increase. More telling, government spending went up by 44% between 1998 and 2008. That's an increase of almost quadruple the increase in population."

Comments like this might lead some to believe that you've never heard of the multiplier effect. Which would be odd for an economics expert such as yourself.

Posted by: JennOfArk | October 19, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"2 questions for both of you:

1) To what do you attribute this increase in receipts despite the lower tax levels?
2) What conclusion are you drawing based on this information? That we should continue to cut taxes in order to increase revenue?"

1) Mainly to the fact that the economy is much larger.
2) That people like ruk are engaged in essentially meaningless but manipulative rhetoric at best when they make claims like "our taxes are at their lowest in 50 years."

The clearest implication of his claim to the "young R" was that our tax rates are the lowest they've been, and that simply isn't true. But more importantly he is implying that "our taxes" are too low, which is absolutely preposterous in view of the fact that the government takes many times more money than it did just 20 or 30 years ago. And it taxes me ferociously.

The problem with our budget is spending, not taxes. What they are spending will have to be paid for either now or later, and they are spending at unprecedented levels outside of WWII. I believe that the Obamacrats spending us into financial and economic catastrophe either deliberately or recklessly because they do not care. They seek to make us a socialist or quasi-socialist nation, and that's what they are very obviously proceeding to do.

We need to radically cut back on spending and the size of government, and that means domestic programs, because, ruk notwithstanding, that is "where the money is."

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

@Jenn....Perhaps K.W. believes that the old Standard Industrial Codes (S.I.C.'S) and their replacement the North American Industrial Codes (NAICS) are simply a figment of economists and developers imaginations. They've just pulled those multipliers you suggest from thin air.
In one of my CCIM courses on developement we spent the better part of a week learning how to apply those codes to determine if a community warranted something like another shoppping center..or more new restaurants.

But most Kevin when you toss around figures like that in the abstract you make it look like government revenue which you report has risen while government spending also rose. Doesn't that seem counter intuitive to you very argument?
Increased Federal spending was accompanied by voila...increased tax revenues. How did that happen?

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 19, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Kevin,

"As Ruk likes to point out, we have the lowest tax rates we've had in 40 years, so the problem is not "high taxes"."

If you check into it I think you'll find that Reagan left them lower. Then Bush I and Clinton raised them, and Bush II only reduced them a bit. They are certainly lower than they were before Reagan. And they are lower than before Kennedy, the first post-War tax-cutting, supply-side President.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

@bernielatham: "If you want merely to argue, that's one thing. If you wish to learn some stuff, that's another."

Why can't I do both? Life is short, and I prefer to multitask.

"There is within the Republican community, because of who comprises that community, specifically in this case the business sector, a far greater need to understand human response and how to manipulate it."

Arguably, this makes sense, except that there's no shortage of liberals and Democrats in marketing, advertising, lobbying, or on K Street. Or in the psychological disciplines. They have access to the same type of knowledge and experience, and certainly (re: recommended reading) there's nothing that keeps them from stocking up at Amazon.

This is anecdotal, but I know I have heard of more than one case where such laudable fellows gave what sounded to me like good advice (Pat Caddell, Dick Morris, to name two I can think of) and were overruled. It's either a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth (i.e., a tendency to design advertisements by committee) or a risk averseness (some of the most effective political ads, for me, are ones where, after I've seen it, I say: "No, they didn't just do that, did they? Demon sheep? Seriously?").

In the end, I think it comes down to execution. It's not enough to try a specific approach-such as the upbeat optimistic ad, or the down-and-dirty negative ad--but how the ad is spun. Similarly, it's not enough to have talking points or send talking heads out to the Sunday shows (both sides do this; it's not just Karl Rove showing up, and it's not just Fox News on my cable TV). It's how the arguments are presented.

There is always the possiblity, too, that Republicans and conservatives are using Neuro Linguistic Programming to hypnotize people into voting for them. Let's not forget that. ;)

BTW, conservatives don't always have everything scripted and prepared. I assume you've seen the discussion of Jonah Goldberg's new collection of essays where two of the panelists had apparently gone through an acrimonious breakup, and one of them decided to hash through their issues on air.

http://www.mediaite.com/online/best-c-span-clip-ever-panelist-shares-vengeful-details-on-his-ex-girlfriendco-panelist/

If you think that's how the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy wanted the panel to come off, I'd be interested in hearing that theory. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Q.B. You've yet to offer the first link to YOUR ASSERTION about taxes. And remember the difference between nominal rates and effective rates.

Rick Scott earned on average 10 million per year for the past three years...the only years he would release his tax returns. He paid on average 15% taxes on that income...hardly what his nominal rate would have been. But you and Scott continue to weep for the wealthy as if they are overtaxed.

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 19, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Again for those who wish to argue about tax burdens. Sorry Kevin mathmatically it is simply specious to jump back and forth between % or share of income paid in taxes and actual amounts.

If I pay 15% of Ten million I've paid 1.5 million.

40% of one million is $400,000 less than half of the first example.

Revenue to the Gov't looks better at the lower rate of 15% than it does at the higher rate of 40%...but guess what...8.5 million looks a lot better than $600,000 as well. I know caveat emptor. Rick Scott was smart enough to scam the Gov't and we taxpayers and earn 300 million in the process getting fired while his Corporation (shareholders) paid out 1.7 Billion in a record fine for Scott's shenanigans. I know it's the "American Way"

Again while some here share their opinion backed by NO LINKS...ONCE AGAIN...

http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/2010-05-10-taxes_N.htm

Federal, state and local income taxes consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That rate is far below the historic average of 12% for the last half-century. The overall tax burden hit bottom in December at 8.8.% of income before rising slightly in the first three months of 2010.

But of course Q.B. is more informed than our Commerce Dept and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. He speaks from on high!

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 19, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

@ruk: "Perhaps K.W. believes that the old Standard Industrial Codes (S.I.C.'S) and their replacement the North American Industrial Codes (NAICS) are simply a figment of economists and developers imaginations. They've just pulled those multipliers you suggest from thin air."

Why would you say that? What indication did I give that I thought that?

"In one of my CCIM courses on developement we spent the better part of a week learning how to apply those codes to determine if a community warranted something like another shoppping center..or more new restaurants."

Yes, well, you know, after I railed against new restaurants and shopping centers, I could see where you'd come up with that. Oh, wait . . .

"But most Kevin when you toss around figures like that in the abstract you make it look like government revenue which you report has risen while government spending also rose. Doesn't that seem counter intuitive to you very argument?"

Um, not really. Unless you're going to grant that things were superior in 2006 and 2008 to 1996 and 1998?

"Increased Federal spending was accompanied by voila...increased tax revenues. How did that happen?"

Because, um, the government is always going to spend more money? And usually more than it takes in? ;)

Right or wrong, I think the argument that government expenditures rise to meet and exceed revenues, rather than government expenditures increasing tax receipts, is a pretty good one.

To me (and I may be mistaken) the sort of "pish-posh, and what of it, it's time for tea" dismissals are not, to me, compelling rebuttals.

In any case, more revenues and more spending isn't doing much to increase the overall performance of the economy, or increase employments. Employment was higher in 2005 and in 1996, years where, per capita, the government took in less money and spent less, as well. And those are two samples, but in most year to year comparisons, you'll see similar things.

It's not exactly irrational, or counterfactual, to conclude that government revenues and outlays have little to no causal relationship to private sector employment, and may be caused by, by don't seem to do much to cause, robust economic growth (at least in the near term). Clearly, expenditures in infrastructure (like the Interstate system), land grants, the Louisiana purchase, etc., are the sorts of things that, in the long term, have a large positive impact on the U.S. economy. Can you imagine what our GDP might be if the land of the Louisiana purchase still belonged to France?

BTW, spending increased significantly between 2008 and 2009, yet tax revenues went down. So government spending does not necessarily increase tax revenues, even when much of that spending is on temporary government jobs (and those folks pay their taxes, just like everybody else).

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"Q.B. You've yet to offer the first link to YOUR ASSERTION about taxes. And remember the difference between nominal rates and effective rates."

No, and I'm not going to go fetching you links to prove what is common knowledge that you an expert like you should know. Tax rates are not their lowest in 50 years. Bush I and Clinton both raised them. The government takes in immensely more in taxes than it did 30, 20, or even 10 years ago. (And, no, merely population growth does not explain it.)

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"Q.B. You've yet to offer the first link to YOUR ASSERTION about taxes. And remember the difference between nominal rates and effective rates."

No, and I'm not going to go fetching you links to prove what is common knowledge that you an expert like you should know. Tax rates are not their lowest in 50 years. Bush I and Clinton both raised them. The government takes in immensely more in taxes than it did 30, 20, or even 10 years ago. (And, no, merely population growth does not explain it.)

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

ruk, you are expert at ignoring every inconvenient point that anyone brings up that messes with your facile opining on the many areas of your expertise.

Perhaps you will get it when everyone is so poor in the aftermath of Obama that the "average tax burden" is about 1%. Then you can turn your wrath upon him.

I know, you probably don't understand. But try really hard and perhaps someday you will.

The true measure of your detachment from reality, however, is your belief that our problems are caused by a government starved for taxes, when it is spending at previously unimagined levels.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

@ruk: "Again for those who wish to argue about tax burdens. Sorry Kevin mathmatically it is simply specious to jump back and forth between % or share of income paid in taxes and actual amounts."

Um, how it the world would that be applicable to anything I've posted? Are you literally suggesting that I should compare U.S. population to tax revenues *without* citing percentages? What would you suggest?

I was comparing rates. How do you compare rates without citing percentages?

I'm entirely open to it, but, remember, I'm a mouth-breathing, extra-y-chromosome Republican type, and can barely tie my own shoes without the assistance of a government program, much less do advanced math. :P

To whit, here is what I wrote, plus real #s (easily retrievable yourself):

"Well, US population as of 1998 was 270.3 million. In 2008, it was 310.5 million. That's a 12% increase in population."

"Well, government revenue increased by 32% from 1998 to 2008."

Or went from 1.72 trillion to 2.52 trillion. And that makes a difference to my point in what way?

"That's almost triple the rate of population increase. More telling, government spending went up by 44% between 1998 and 2008. That's an increase of almost quadruple the increase in population.

Or, government expenditures went from $1.65 trillion to $2.98 trillion. And that makes a difference to my point how?

Re: links. You know the WaPo comments holds your post (forever) if you include a lot of links. But, here ya go, we will see if this works:

* should be turned into 3 "w"s, per standard internet nomenclature.

***.npg.org/facts/us_historical_pops.htm

***.npg.org/facts/us_pop_projections.htm

***.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200

factfinder.census.gov/servlet/NPTable?_bm=y&-qr_name=ACS_2005_EST_G00_NP01&-geo_id=01000US&-ds_name

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

In answer to quarterback's question, U.S. GDP went from $2.8T in 1980 to $14.3T in 2009. Now it's math time.

14.3/2.8 = 5.1

In other words, taxes as a fraction of GDP have been flat. Nothing terribly amazing.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 19, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

yeah, let's talk taxes. What is the current total paid in taxes, of all types to all forms of government stated as a percentage of gdp?

How has that changed over the past two decades?

The simple fact is that all government spending is ultimately a tax on the citizens. The government cannot generate any wealth on its own and must therefore extract from its citizens the largesse it intends to spend.

Now we face a difficult time. the government cannot keep its promises to the citizens. The combined forces of thoughtless liberalism and greedy public service unions threaten to turn our country into a Greek tragedy several orders of magnatude greater than what we've seen from that country thus far.

And the American people sense that this is out of control and completely reckless.
so again, what's the total bite of our government(s), stated as a percentage of GDP? What does it have to be to fund the committments made thus far?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 19, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

@JennOfArk: "Comments like this might lead some to believe that you've never heard of the multiplier effect. Which would be odd for an economics expert such as yourself."

I am aware of the multiplier effect. I'm also aware that sugar caramelizes at 320° f, and that's only slightly less pertinent to my point.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

And there is still that Donkey in the Room that the Elephant pretends not to notice:

When Bill Clinton left office, we were running an annual federal budget surplus, 22 million jobs had been added, and there were still plenty of jobs available.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

And the American people sense that this is out of control and completely reckless.
so again, what's the total bite of our government(s), stated as a percentage of GDP?
Posted by: skipsailing28
-------------------------------------------

What's amusing to me is that the democrats are going to lose this election because voters are going to wake up to the fact that liberalism destroys are economy, is unamerican etc.

However, when republican's lose an election, it's voters holding republican's responsible for being...well being liberals.

So nobody ever really votes against Republicans. Do you really believe this self-serving explanation for election results?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 19, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

And yet there is still that Donkey in the Room that the Elephant pretends not to notice:

When Bill Clinton left office, we were running an annual federal budget surplus, 22 million jobs had been added, and there were still plenty of jobs available.

Bush/Cheney Conservatives destroyed our economy.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"In other words, taxes as a fraction of GDP have been flat. Nothing terribly amazing."

Which is impossible under the standard liberal dogma, accepted by residents like ruk, that cuts in tax rates under Reagan necessarily reduced tax revenues and permanently crippled the economy.

How would you explain that?

And how would you explain why the government can't get by with only five times the tax revenue of 1980 but instead needs to spend nearly another 1.5 trillion, soon to be much more?

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still: "When Bill Clinton left office, we were running an annual federal budget surplus, 22 million jobs had been added, and there were still plenty of jobs available. Bush/Cheney Conservatives destroyed our economy."

What happened to that surplus, Liam? Revenues grew over the 8 years of the Bush admin (after a brief dip, when tax cuts were first implemented). What happened was that government spending increase significantly under Bush/Cheney. And 9/11.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

When Bill Clinton left office, we were running an annual federal budget surplus, 22 million jobs had been added, and there were still plenty of jobs available.

Bush/Cheney Conservatives destroyed our economy.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse
___________________________________________

Bill Clinton benefited from impeccable timing. He got to enjoy the inflation of an equity bubble and got out just as it burst. All gain, no pain.

The economy was already in a perilous state due to the bursting of the equity bubble, and the only thing that kept it upright was the inflation of a residential real estate bubble. Once that burst, well we know what happened.

If you want to find someone to blame, blame Alan Greenspan, as opposed to Clinton or Bush.

Posted by: sold2u | October 19, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still: "When Bill Clinton left office, we were running an annual federal budget surplus, 22 million jobs had been added, and there were still plenty of jobs available. Bush/Cheney Conservatives destroyed our economy."

What happened to that surplus, Liam? Revenues grew over the 8 years of the Bush admin (after a brief dip, when tax cuts were first implemented). What happened was that government spending increase significantly under Bush/Cheney. And 9/11.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis
----------------------------------------

And of course, as you have stated earlier Kevin, what do either of those things have to do with the collapse of the economy? The economy didn't collapse because of government spending or tax cuts or increases in tax revenues.

The economy collapsed because of Republicans. Unless you are a Republican, then it collapsed because of the Democrats. Unless you're a rational person, then it collapsed for an awful lot of different reasons.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 19, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, just browsing through the comments here I think the elephant in the room you're all ignoring, willfully or not, is the rising costs of health care. We can either bring the costs down or suffer the consequences of long term deficit spending. And I'm sorry but while Sarah was talking about death panels, and Republicans were trying to scare seniors about losing benefits, the Dems at least made an effort to address the problem.

We need to get away from fee for service, address the most cost efficient way to achieve the desired health results and end the monopolies of the health insurance industry and the stranglehold the pharmaceuticals have on our health care dollars.

Unfortunately, we haven't all faced up to the reality yet, but we will eventually.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 19, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@ashotinthedark: "So nobody ever really votes against Republicans. Do you really believe this self-serving explanation for election results?"

People vote against Republicans all the time. And if Republicans get too slash happy, all the "smaller government" independents will turn on them, and vote 'em out.

People also vote against Democrats, all the time.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Which is impossible under the standard conservative dogma, accepted by residents like quarterback, that rises in tax rates under Clinton necessarily crippled the economy and permanently reduced tax revenues.

How would you explain that?

While you're at it, would you mind using constant GDP numbers? Inflation hasn't been zero over the last 30 years.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 19, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca

I agree with you. Preventive Medicial practices, and automated access to medical records should help. We also need to stop all those TV ads for Prescription Drugs. We now are allowing people's TV sets to diagnose and prescribe. That is crazy.

Best results analysis; should help contain costs, if applied properly.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

lms,

"And I'm sorry but while Sarah was talking about death panels, and Republicans were trying to scare seniors about losing benefits, the Dems at least made an effort to address the problem."

They made an effort (successfully) on a foot in the door, or a down payment, or whichever metaphor you like, at instituting socialized medicine. That's far different from "controlling costs." All the promises of "controlling costs" and "keep your plan" are already falling to pieces.

"We need to get away from fee for service, address the most cost efficient way to achieve the desired health results and end the monopolies of the health insurance industry and the stranglehold the pharmaceuticals have on our health care dollars."

It frankly boggles my mind how anyone could explain how costs can be controlled by further divorcing payment from service. That's really the main root cause of "high costs," if you choose to believe in "high costs."

To what monopolies are you referring?

And how do pharma companies have a stranglehold on us? What does that even mean? You think they should provide their products for free?

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"While you're at it, would you mind using constant GDP numbers? Inflation hasn't been zero over the last 30 years."

You did the math, so how about you recalculate for inflation, then explain how it changes your conclusion.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

They provide them to foreign countries for far less than they do to America. Of course The Republicans blocked all attempts at passing legislation that would allow Americans to negotiate for reduced bulk rates.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

They made an effort (successfully) on a foot in the door, or a down payment, or whichever metaphor you like, at instituting socialized medicine. That's far different from "controlling costs." All the promises of "controlling costs" and "keep your plan" are already falling to pieces.

------------------------------------------

Attempting to judge the impact of legislation designed to be slowly rolled out over 4 years and which just had the first reform measures go into effect less than a month ago is is ridiculous.

I also note, you didn't attempt to defend Palin's death panel claims or the other point about Seniors losing benefits.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 19, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

welcome to the comments here ashotinthedark!

I never said that no one ever voted against republicans. I cannot bring myself to vote for Mike DeWine for AG here in Ohio this time around. The stench of his failure as a senator clings to him. Cordray isn't my ideal but he restored a corrupt department after the last democrat to win the AG's job drove it into a ditch. So he'll get my vote.

Voinovich retired rather than face the wrath of the voters over his bungling during the Bush years. he's a career pol of the worst sort. I think Portman will do fine, but only for a while. The disease that is DC will get him, of that I have no doubt.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 19, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"I also note, you didn't attempt to defend Palin's death panel claims or the other point about Seniors losing benefits.'

I've addressed those issues more than once before, as lms knows. I see no reason to address the potshots lms took this time. Government control ipso facto means rationing by government. End of story.

"Attempting to judge the impact of legislation designed to be slowly rolled out over 4 years and which just had the first reform measures go into effect less than a month ago is is ridiculous."

Really? Then I guess trying to judge its likely impact when it is being cobbled together and jammed down the country's throats, with the Speaker memorably stating that members had to pass the bill to learn what was in it, was super-ridiculous. I'll hand to to Obama for cynicism and deviousness, though, in constructing the whole thing to "roll out" on an inscrutably mysterious timetable, and having costs projected to avoid any accountability.

All the cost and "you can keep your own plan" fantasies are, however, already being exposed as nonsense. We don't have to wait until the full disastrous consequences are realized to pull the plug and throw the bums out. They are trampling our rights and freedoms and destroying our childrens' heritage. We are going to stop them.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

qb

Fee for service is not what patients pay for services but what doctors are paid. Most of the studies suggest that one of the best ways to lower health "care" costs is to pay by the illness or temporary condition rather than test by test or treatment. The CBO recommended this several years ago.

And regarding Pharma, shortening the length of time of patents to increase the development of generics or less expensive cancer drugs, importing from other countries, reducing the amount of consumer advertising etc. are all cost saving measures the big pharmas fight against. The same way the insurance industry fights against competition.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 19, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

in response to this:
====================
Attempting to judge the impact of legislation designed to be slowly rolled out over 4 years and which just had the first reform measures go into effect less than a month ago is is ridiculous.
======================
But the effect of this bill is already being felt. The take over of yet more of the American economy is now clear. When the government graciously grants an employer a "waiver" that permits the firm to do what is was doing before, we're sliding toward serfdom. Why does McDonalds need federal permission now, when it didn't need it before this monstrosity of a take over was passed?

this is from AP:
"WASHINGTON – Aerospace giant Boeing is joining the list of companies that say the new health care law could have a potential downside for their workers.

In a letter mailed to employees late last week, the company cited the overhaul as part of the reason it is asking some 90,000 nonunion workers to pay significantly more for their health plan next year. A copy of the letter was obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

“The newly enacted health care reform legislation, while intended to expand access to care for millions of uninsured Americans, is also adding cost pressure as requirements of the new law are phased in over the next several years,” wrote Rick Stephens, Boeing’s senior vice president for human resources.

[. . .] Spokeswoman Karen Forte said the Boeing plan is more generous than what its closest competitors offer, and the company was concerned it would get hit with a new tax under the law."

sooo, what we have here is prudent businesses attempting to discern the economic impact of new federal law and warning their employees of adverse impact.

Sorry, but that's now. Today. the four year roll out is just not a good enough reason to ignore the current impact of this really bad bill.


Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 19, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"I've addressed those issues more than once before, as lms knows. I see no reason to address the potshots lms took this time. Government control ipso facto means rationing by government. End of story."

Fair enough, those false claims have been discussed at nauseum.

"Really? Then I guess trying to judge its likely impact when it is being cobbled together and jammed down the country's throats, with the Speaker memorably stating that members had to pass the bill to learn what was in it, was super-ridiculous."

Yes, goodness knows the 6-8 months or so that the bill and issues were debated certainly didn't give us enough time to digest what was being shoved down our throat by our elected officials through our legislative process. Let's just take polls to see what the laws should an shouldn't be.

I suppose you are equally upset by the refusal of Congress to end Don't Ask Don't Tell when the country overwhelmingly wants it ended.

"I'll hand to to Obama for cynicism and deviousness, though, in constructing the whole thing to "roll out" on an inscrutably mysterious timetable, and having costs projected to avoid any accountability."

It's not mysterious, it's in the bill. The roll out has to be over years in order fo the industry to adapt and to allow demonstration projects to run their course. But your insight into Obama's thought process on a bill that he didn't write is invaluable.

"All the cost and "you can keep your own plan" fantasies are, however, already being exposed as nonsense."

This issue is addressed in another article from the post today. As usual, it's not as clear cut as you make it seem.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 19, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

qb and skip

The status quo was unsustainable and increasing the costs to businesses, the government and individuals (if they could even get insurance or afford care). To pretend otherwise is a typical political response but is not based in reality.

Instead of doing less to contain costs, we need to do more.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 19, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if you guys are really interested or not but here's a pretty comprehensive analysis of various cost saving measures without all the political demagoguery included. It even includes mal-practice reform.

http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec22/ch340/ch340c.html

Posted by: lmsinca | October 19, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

lms,

Shortening patent time is just another way of robbing peter to pay paul, in gross economic terms. Developing a new drug costs hundreds of millions of dollars to well over a billion, and sometimes more. Shortening patent life is reducing roi, hence can only come at the expense of drug development. If you want shorter patents, be prepared to expect fewer new drugs. (Generic drugs are not really developed, btw; it's more like they are reverse engineered or simply copied.)

Not sure exactly what you mean by importing, but the FDA is the main impediment to importing drugs, and Democrats want it to be more restrictive, not less.

On consumer ads, again, I think that to believe you can regulate your way to lower costs is as backward a way of thinking as is possible. Companies promote (and drug companies don't just advertise) products to make money. If they can't advertise, they will have to try to make up for it somewhere else, or again may just not bring as many new drugs to market. There is no free lunch through regulation any more than through government spending.

Paying per illness strikes me as one of those unrealistic and unworkable economic fantasies. You would basically like doctors to bear the risks and uncertainties of treatment. But the main reasons for "excess" testing, treatment, etc., imo are the liability system and the fact that we use "insurance" primarily for routine and easily anticipated illnesses, which leads people to feel no restraint in seeking testing and treatment. You would also need to figure out how to price every different condition or illness, including taking into account a patient's overall medical history and condition.

As for insurance competition, the Democratic Party is the main obstacle. Not very complicated. Your party won't allow it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"We also need to stop all those TV ads for Prescription Drugs. We now are allowing people's TV sets to diagnose and prescribe."

So the doctors who sign their names to the prescription are not responsible?

Posted by: NoVAHockey | October 19, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

lms,

"The status quo was unsustainable and increasing the costs to businesses, the government and individuals (if they could even get insurance or afford care). "

Although I think that's an overstatement, I haven't advocated doing nothing.

"Instead of doing less to contain costs, we need to do more."

Perhaps, but Obamacare can't and won't really do anything to contain costs other than by rationing, whether it is de jure or de facto.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"Perhaps, but Obamacare can't and won't really do anything to contain costs other than by rationing, whether it is de jure or de facto."

You believe this because you don't know what's actually in the bill. Maybe we could go over this later if you're interested. There are actually a lot of the most widely accepted proposals for controlling and even lowering the cost of health care over the long term.

While I believe we could have gotten a better bill, it's really a decent beginning. But there's an awful lot of mis-information out there that's difficult to dispel.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 19, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I won't speak for QB1, but I believe that as long as we persist in seperating the cost of tx from the patients we will never control costs.

The pressure to improve quality while lowering cost that a consumer based market can bring to bear is unparalleled. Right now providers don't actually view patients as "customers" Their "customer" is the payer. So we get Medicare/medicaid/commercial insurance companies making decisions about patient care. When the patients/customers begin paying bills the rationing decisions will be located in the right place. Costs will decline as those avenues of care that patients view as marginal will be shunned while effective treatments that are promptly delivered by concerned staff will be rewarded with more volume.

there are a large variety of ways that such decisions can be made. Even today the choices can be stark. In my market there are two insurance firms with dramatically different approaches to managing care. On the one hand is a loose "all in" firm with a vast network of providers. Because they cannot vector patients to specific providers their rates are not as good as the other firm which has a tightly controlled network. The first firm's premiums are higher because they tout greater provider choice. The second firm's premiums are lower because they tout high quality providers but offer less choice. Because the second firm can guarantee higher volume to providers they can negotiate better rates which they use as a marketing tool for customers. Ultimately customers can chose to pay for a bigger network with less "management" of the care or pay less for premiums and experience more intense management of the care.

So driving the decisions to the patient simply makes sense. It will bring on line the major dynamic that has given us the material life style we enjoy today. The impetus behind faster/cheaper computers will be the impetus behind faster/cheaper health care.

If someone else pays, some one else choses what to buy. Patients are out of the loop and market forces have no impact.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 19, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@skip You are truly delusional (meant in a literal not snarky or insulting sense) if you think the "free market" can possible help contain health care costs. It does an excellent job on "elective" services like plastic surgery, breast augmentation and other unnecessary procedures and the market pretty well dictate's prices for those services.

But since I'm not a believer and you are perhaps you can help me with my own personal quest for free market relief.
My wife and I who have NO preexisting conditions other than the fact we are in our early 60's, pay $23,000 in annual premiums (do you suppose we haven't shopped and shopped) for a policy with $4,000 deductibles across the board. This means IF we remain completely healthy we'll end up paying close to $30,000 for our health care when you add in tests and procedures associated with folks our age..colonoscopies, mammograms, etc.

2 years ago I suffered a relatively simply kidney stone as we were driving north to our vacation cottage. Don't know if you've ever had a kidney stone skip but if you go online..you'll see there is pain, excruciating pain..and then kidney stones.
And so what were my options other than hit the closest emergency room. Was I supposed to call around from I-75 to several cities and "shop" for the most inexpensive emergency room. It was diagnosed...at least partially incorrectly..as 2 mm when it was actually 5mm...we continued on to our cottage. A day later I ended up in the emergency room once again because 5mm would not pass. They kept me for a night observation..worried about the effects on my kidney...decided to take it by a procedure which ended up costing me another night in the hospital. Entire experience...a little over $5,000 on top of the $20,000+ premiums.

How was the free market going to help me skip? Was I supposed to call the half dozen hospitals within 2 1/2 hours drive and ask their charges on everything from a room to their durable medical supplies, disposables etc. Was I supposed to call all the Urologists in the area to find out their charges for the procedure. Was I expected to do this while I was in such pain that I literally hung my head over the toilet and puked my guts out...I suppose I could have kept the cell phone nearby to call in between hurls.

Anybody who thinks free enterprise will hold down costs for health care is completely uninformed and lives in lalaland.

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 19, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

@rukidding: "You are truly delusional (meant in a literal not snarky or insulting sense) if you think the 'free market' can possible help contain health care costs."

Well, if folks paid for most stuff, and insurance was for catastrophic and emergency care, then the free market would contain health costs. At the cost of less preventative care.

It's not impossible, but there are trade-offs.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 19, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

skip

I think I understand your argument and in some ways I agree with it but as long as we have employer provided insurance, a rapacious insurance industry, and lack of competition in the pharmaceutical industry we need to go in through the back door to begin to bring down costs and also empower individuals.

I'm short on time right now but would enjoy discussing this further if you want. BTW, we just saved $200 per month for my husband and I, we're back to $1500 per month by going for the local network, same quality, less choice. I'll take whatever I can get at this point.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 19, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Here's the free market at work:

ESWL vs Percutaneous Nephrostolithotomy . Which is cheaper? Which is less invasive? If there were no free market, as in inventors could not make themselves rich by developing new techniques, would there even be ESWL? Or EHL? prior to the extracorporeal TX methods what was the average cost of a surgical removal of a stone? do you see what I'm talking about? the free market has incentives to produce new methods that lower cost and improve quality. if ESWL didn't exist the cost and risk to you would be far, far highter.

I understand your POV. Let's think about this in terms of risk. Single coverage is brutally expensive because you share the risk with no one. That's why employer coverage is more attractive. I work for a firm with 4k employees. Large pool, lower premiums. If we move the tax deduction from the employer to the individual and allow for folks to develop their own risk pools you could find a group that would lower your cost because you'd be sharing risk.

In Ohio there is an outfit called COSE, council of small enterprises. They offer insurance and have a "group" over which to spread costs. A truly free market could replicate that. A church, or a credit union, who knows?

Also, you've decided to retain a fair amount of risk. That makes sense as a way of lowering premiums. in a situation where medical savings accounts provided incentives for savings, the frequency of primary care visits would decline because folks would have a financial incentive to tough out the sniffles and such. Thus the retained risk would make even more sense because not only would premiums be lower but by allowing people to keep some of the savings the patients themselves would ration care.

I'm not delusional. I have a highly detailed view of the healthcare delivery system. Maybe its my thirty years in hospital financial management.

Again, I understand your position and I don't envy it. But socialized medicine won't make your life any better.

I understand your POV. the current insurance system which connects employees has serious limits. We can do better.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 19, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I just did the math using available information. It's also quite possible to do using nominal dollars. In 2005 dollars, the economy has a little more than doubled in the last 30 years.Both GDP and taxes have the same normalizing constant--cumulative inflation. I presume that you chose to use numbers not adjusted, so that you could claim that taxes are five times higher (big scary sounds). Both taxes and GDP have roughly doubled in the last 30 years and the share of GDP paid in taxes has stayed roughly constant.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 19, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@skip I respect you experience in hospital finance and will respect you POV in return.

I'm afraid you still haven't convinced me.
When I was still in broadcast journalism Hilary was trying to get through HCR. I made it my journalistic business to research the subject thoroughly. In addition..like lmsinca I have done scads of research in the past year and half as part of the current HCR debate.

Here is but one link...it's not from a liberal think tank...it's Bloomberg/Businessweek hardly a bastion of liberal thought.

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_29/b3993061.htm

The Best Medical Care In The U.S.
How Veterans Affairs transformed itself -- and what it means for the rest of us....
This keeps happening despite the fact that the VA spends an average of $5,000 per patient, vs. the national average of $6,300.

I'm not advocating socialized medicine Skip. I do believe nothing will get solved until we have a single payer/augmented by private insurance..can you say Medicare for all system. Yes there will be the trade offs you describe...perhaps we will forego the latest and supposedly greatest treatment for prostate cancer or any other number of diseases. I'm sure you know better than I that there are now several options...one them being hugely more expensive for less than a 1% chance of a better outcome.
Perhaps that 1% is not something we can afford.

Two facts surprised me when I did my research back in the Clinton years. The first is from memory and so perhaps you can fill me in with the proper numbers...but I was astounded that something like 80% of our healthcare $ were spent on the last year of life. Tons of money spent on people like Terri Schaivo when my dental assistants in our office can't afford ANY insurance and we surely cannot afford to even subsidize it much less provide it. We are the stereotypical small business and as you correctly suggest that skews our risk pool.

The 2nd fact that truly amazed me...living in Florida..working in Sarasota at the time I had a huge pool of foreign tourists to interview. NOT ONE OF THEM...are you ready Skip...not the British with their supposedly horrible N.H.S...not the French..not the Germans..and espcially not the Canadians had ONE BAD WORD for their health care systems. They certainly viewed us as nuts. And this was almost two decades ago and thinks have only gotten worse in our country since then!!!

We ALREADY have rationing. Idiots like Sarah Palin and Grandpa Grassley ruined any chance of genuine discussion on HCR with their death panels and pulling the plug on granny. DeMint never engaged in good faith preferring instead to work for "Obama's Waterloo". This is why I will never again vote for an R...never is a long time..but certainly not in the foreseeable future...I view their performance during the HCR as literally being traitorous to their fellow Americans!

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 19, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

"Both taxes and GDP have roughly doubled in the last 30 years and the share of GDP paid in taxes has stayed roughly constant."

The point remains the same, inflation adjusted or not. Why is twice as much money than the government took 30 years ago not enough? Why does it still need to spend another 1.3-1.5 trillion? Do you think that is really explained by inflation?

And the point remains that the figures still disprove the central dogma of liberals about tax revenues and rates. Lower rates did not lead to lower revenues, or destroy the economy. That's a lot of bunk, to use a technical term.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Skip is doing a fine job representing what is basically my point of view on health care and insurance -- no doubt better than I could -- so I don't have much to add, except that what really underlies the views of people like ruk, from my past discussions here, is their (strange) belief that health care is a "right" and is not an economic good or service.

To me, that sentiment is not just wrong but incoherent. It's a denial of reality, and I don't believe it will ever be possible to arrive at any sensible conclusions starting from that premise. All basic human needs are nevertheless needs for economic goods and services, and they are subject to economic principles. Government can't do anything about that, and it can't change the laws of economics. Accepting that reality is the beginning of wisdom, and I don't believe the left accepts it at all.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

"We ALREADY have rationing."

No, we don't. You can say it a million times, but it isn't true. You can buy all the health care you want and can afford.

Please, please stop corrupting the language.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

QB -Lessee - the fraction of GDP spent on health care has gone up dramatically in the last 30 years. Half of that is government spending. You try squeezing that balloon.

The fraction of the population 65+ has gone up. Absent Logan's Run, there aren't easy solutions.

The peace dividend is gone and replaced by DHS.

"And the point remains that the figures still disprove the central dogma of liberals about tax revenues and rates. Lower rates did not lead to lower revenues, or destroy the economy. That's a lot of bunk, to use a technical term.
Posted by: quarterback1 | October 19, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse"

Oh, please. Reagan got his tax cuts and the deficit went over $100B for the first time. There were some modest tax rises in the first Clinton budget and oh, shock, horror, a budget surplus. Bush enacted tax cuts and set new records for deficits. Handing Pres. Obama a nice bit fat deficit exceeding $1T.

What you fundamentally fail to understand is that I'm not a fiscal liberal. A dollar of deficit spending is far worse than a dollar of taxes (or a dollar less spent) due to that magical thing called compound interest.

Here's the adult thing to do. Decide how many services we want provided by the government. I don't care. 20% of the economy or 40% of the economy. Then design the tax structure with the fewest distortions that raises the needed revenue. Spare all of us the BS about liberal economics. Pay for it or shut up.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 19, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Major brands always give out their popular brand samples (in a way it is similar to coupons) I use these guys to get mine http://bit.ly/aJWSXv enjoy your samples

Posted by: markballou20 | October 20, 2010 5:59 AM | Report abuse

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