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Posted at 2:53 PM ET, 01/26/2011

Ryan without a Roadmap

By Adam Serwer

Yesterday I wrote that the Republican response to the State of the Union wouldn't change the fact that "talking about cutting spending will still be popular, while actually gutting the social safety net won't be." Rep. Paul Ryan's response seems to vindicate that argument. Matthew Yglesias writes:

He spoke at length about his desire for less spending and more limited government. But he didn't mention which programs, specifically, he wants to eliminate. Which is particularly odd because the "roadmap" calls for, among other things, the elimination of Medicare. That's kind of a big deal! If Ryan thinks we should do that, wouldn't a nationally televised addressed be a good opportunity to explain it to people?

Likewise, Ross Douthat noted that despite his warnings of a fiscal reckoning, Ryan was "even more vague about the details of that reckoning than the president's address." As Peter Suderman noted at Reason yesterday, in the run up to the speech, Democrats were making a concerted effort to tie Republicans to those proposals through Ryan.

But that's probably not because Democrats fear Ryan's proposals -- it's because Democrats think that messing with Social Security and Medicare is unpopular even if talking about fiscal discipline in the abstract isn't. As Steve Benen points out, a recent Gallup poll shows that despite giving Republicans a majority in the House in November, Americans are opposed to cuts to almost everything except, naturally, foreign aid. The poll even showed a slim majority opposing cuts to arts programs, which I actually find astonishing. 

While governing by poll numbers alone is a bad idea, by avoiding precisely the kind of specifics in his response that made conservatives excited about his Roadmap in the first place, Ryan was basically conceding the point. While Republicans like to argue that Americans are instinctively conservative and really want to dismantle the social safety net, that case is harder to make if someone like Ryan avoids making a detailed case for doing so when everyone's watching precisely because it could cost Republicans politically. 

By Adam Serwer  | January 26, 2011; 2:53 PM ET
Categories:  House GOPers  
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Comments

Again, we are talking about different universes here. "All adults" or even "all adults eligible to vote" may favor something, but most don't vote. So thye GOP can claim "America" supports them because of adults, the 20% or so who voted GOP was larger than the 18% or whatever who voted Dem. But only a minority of registered voters voted, and many aren't even registered.

Posted by: Mimikatz | January 26, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Seems as if some are upset that Ryan adroitly outmaneuvered them...

Posted by: sbj3 | January 26, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"As Steve Benen points out, a recent Gallup poll shows that despite giving Republicans a majority in the House in November, Americans are opposed to cuts to almost everything except, naturally, foreign aid. The poll even showed a slim majority opposing cuts to arts programs, which I actually find astonishing."

We have seen the future and it's California.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 26, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Funny how Republicans were positioning themselves as the savior of Medicare the last two years now they want to gut it.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 26, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Also of note:

"Deficit at $1.5 Trillion, a Postwar Record"

"The nation’s budget deficit will widen to nearly $1.5 trillion this year, and the country faces “daunting economic and budgetary challenges,” the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Wednesday as it released its most updated fiscal report.

The budget office noted that “the deficits of $1.4 trillion in 2009 and $1.3 trillion in 2010 are, when measured as a share of gross domestic product, the largest since 1945 – representing 10 percent and 8.9 percent of the nation’s output.”"

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/deficit-1-5-trillion-a-post-war-record/?hp

Posted by: jnc4p | January 26, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

@jnc4p: "We have seen the future and it's California."

Abandon all hope...

Speaking of California, I laughed out loud at the bits in Obama's SOTU about undocumented immigrants and their children:

"They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet they live every day with the threat of deportation.... millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows."

It is patently obvious to anyone living in Southern California that Obama has no clue what he is talking about. Living in the shadows? Pledging allegiance? Threat of deportation?

This man is completely out of touch.

High speed rails. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Posted by: sbj3 | January 26, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

sbj said: "High speed rails. Yeah, that's the ticket!"

How important is maintaining and up-grading infrastructure? Which infrastructure projects would be worthwhile and which not? Are you at odds with the C of C on this?

Posted by: bernielatham | January 26, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"Deficit at $1.5 Trillion, a Postwar Record"

And if they were consistent, the GOP would dispute the CBO on this amount. It's as high as it is because the COB just accounted for the tax cuts. But tax cuts don't add to the deficit...remember? lol

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 26, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

@sbj "Seems as if some are upset that Ryan adroitly outmaneuvered them..."

That's a little cryptic...could you be a little more specific. Otherwise I'm liable to think you meant it's a good thing to lie about the sky falling, not true by the way...and even worse he has a plan but he's so ashamed of it that he won't even mention in front of the largest audience he is likely to get in his lifetime.

Wow SBJ nothing like the courage of your convictions. We know this idea sucks and is unpopular...so we just won't discuss it with the American people until Frank Luntz can create some more lying talking points to disguise our real intent.

Wow what patriots!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

sbj, can you explain the rights disdain for high speed rail and public transportation who's intent it is to relieve congestion on the roads?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 26, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

"While Republicans like to argue that Americans are instinctively conservative and really want to dismantle the social safety net, that case is harder to make if someone like Ryan avoids making a detailed case for doing so when everyone's watching precisely because it could cost Republicans politically."

America is a Center-Left country. Everyone knows that. It's just that everybody says the opposite. Go figure.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 26, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, over 50% of the kids in public school in CA are Latino. Many have lived here since they were small, or were born here. However, the pledge isn't regularly said any more in CA schools. But most of these kids are trying, and a great many want to and do go on to college, despite the declining level of state support.

What does coming out of the shadows mean? Some testified in favor of the DREAM Act and jeopardized their status. Obama's point about educating people and sending them home to compete with us was a good one, although they do pay out-of-state tuition.

Posted by: Mimikatz | January 26, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

@sbj-

Good point-as long as we don't enforce laws against employing undocumented wokers, I guess they don't really have thrat much to worry about...

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 26, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"the rights disdain for high speed rail and public transportation"

The Right opposes mass transit because it reeks of Communism. First of all, Americans were meant to drive alone in Cadillacs. Second, discussing mass transit is a suggestion of a hint of an acknowledgement that global warming is real, which gives Cons the vapors instantly. As you can see, the RIght's reasoning is typically brilliant and unassailable.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 26, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

@jnc4p Your 1.5 Trillion figure is meaningless you provided NO CONTEXT

AGAIN EVERYBODY...THE SKY IS NOT FALLING!
It's a problem not a crisis!!!!

The position held by virtually all respected economists is that the deficit is a problem, as the President said, but it's not unmanageable and it's not a CRISIS.

No the sky is not falling!

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/keep-large-debt-numbers-in-context/1146801

The debt of the United States is currently $14 trillion and is rising fast. Congressional Budget Office projections show it climbing to roughly $70 trillion in the next 75 years. • Numbers this large tend to boggle the mind. Such numbers lower our nation's sense of financial security, increase anxiety and, especially for future taxpayers, foster insecurity. • At a time when the United States is borrowing ever more money to repair our nation's infrastructure, buy oil, improve math and science education, and fight joblessness, should anxiety over America's debt prevent us from additional borrowing to modernize the country? Before answering that question, it is important to realize that such numbers — while accurate — are only part of the story. Such numbers play well in a sound bite, but the sound bite is missing some critically important contextual information.

The debt capacity of a government, just as for a corporation or an individual, requires reference to the earning power from which that debt will be repaid.

The projected $70 trillion debt referenced above is accumulated over the next 75 years.

But how does it compare to the nation's ability to pay? That is, what proportion is $70 trillion to the 75-year national income?

At a "pessimistic" economic growth rate of zero percent, the gross domestic product will total $1.05 quadrillion over the next 75 years; at an "average" 2 percent rate, the GDP will total $2.46 quadrillion; and, at an "optimistic" 3 percent rate, the GDP will total $3.95 quadrillion.

Comparing $70 trillion to these three numbers, we see that debt as a percent of the GDP varies from 7 percent at zero economic growth to 2.84 percent at 2 percent growth and to slightly more than 1.77 percent at 3 percent growth. Such computation demonstrates that while the projected $70 trillion debt figure represents an important problem, it is also a problem that is quite manageable. Sure, let's get better control over the national budget, but there is no need to panic or take sudden actions with Social Security, or continue the neglect of our roads and rail networks.

Omitting information is misleading"

Oh no..say it ain't so...the R's..party of Gov't takeover...death panels..killing granny..job killing...are misleading. Ole Blue Eyes Chicken Little Ryan was only telling part of the story in a deliberate attempt to frighten and mislead the American Public...not the R's..when have they ever done that..it's so unlike them.
LMAO.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"Obama's point about educating people and sending them home to compete with us was a good one."

Yeah, I thought so, too.

Relatedly, our new "R" governor, Rick Snyder (aka Rick Michigan, One Tough Nerd) said in his first State of the State last week that Michigan should be working to attract highly educated immigrants to Michigan to revitalize our economy, noting that a big chunk of the start ups in Silicon Valley were the product of such immigrants.

I'm wondering how soon they throw him out of the RGA....

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 26, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

OT, but nevertheless, quite humorous about Bachmann:

"a major Tea Party group in her own state is strongly criticizing Bachmann’s plans. The Tea Party Patriots of the Twin Cities sent out an e-mail last night saying that Bachmann “does not speak for the Tea Party“:

Please call Michele Bachmann’s Office and tell her that she does not speak for the Tea Party. Michele has announced she will be giving the ‘Tea Party Response’ to the President’s State of the Union Address. The Tea Party Patriots Organization is a grass roots organization. One person has no right to speak for the whole organization."

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/25/bachmann-speech-criticized/

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 26, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"Second, discussing mass transit is a suggestion of a hint of an acknowledgement that global warming is real, which gives Cons the vapors instantly."

It has nothing to do with global warming. The complaint is that mass transit does not cater to the individual, it caters to the masses. Conservatives aren't unlike harley riders and punk rockers who self-identify as individualists sticking it to the man but end up dressing, talking and acting just like all their buddies.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 26, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"Deficit at $1.5 Trillion, a Postwar Record"

And if they were consistent, the GOP would dispute the CBO on this amount. It's as high as it is because the COB just accounted for the tax cuts. But tax cuts don't add to the deficit...remember? lol

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 26, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Which might well explain the GOP's recent attacks on CBO. You're either with us or you're against us. There is no neutral.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 26, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

"sbj, can you explain the rights disdain for high speed rail and public transportation who's intent it is to relieve congestion on the roads?"

One of my winger friend's problem with public transportation was simple: he didn't use it, so why should he have to pay for it? Not his problem that some poor schmuck couldn't afford a car.

In addition, a lot of what I'm hearing from people here in ATL seems to be centered around the idea of keeping the "wrong" sort out of certain areas. Shocking, I know.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | January 26, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

"Conservatives aren't unlike... punk rockers."

Posted by: sbj3 | January 26, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

In addition, a lot of what I'm hearing from people here in ATL seems to be centered around the idea of keeping the "wrong" sort out of certain areas. Shocking, I know.
----------------------------------------

Detroit is a great example of how well this works. Now even the "wrong sort" wants out of Detroit and now the Grosse Pointers (affluent suburb neighboring Detroit) are freaking out about former city residents renting houses in GP to send their kids to better schools. It's such a fascinating phenemonon.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 26, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

ashot,

Did you listen to Rick Michigan's State of the State last week?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 26, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that Ryan told us EXACTLY what he wants to cut:

"We believe government's role is both vital and limited -- to defend the nation from attack and provide for the common defense."

Clear as day: He wants to cut EVERYTHING besides the defense budget.

Posted by: converse | January 26, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

@Sue At least you get to see Your Governor.

Our Governor hides out in his office..or somewhere...he certainly avoids the media and the public...answer to constituents...WTF are you talking about..
I'm RICK SCOTT!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Here is how we compete with China, "free" money for corporations to invest...overseas!

"At their first meeting of the year, Federal Reserve policy makers voted unanimously on Wednesday to continue the central bank’s controversial $600 billion plan to spur the recovery by buying [back its own!] government bonds...The current round of easing — $75 billion a month in bond purchases, starting in November — is supposed to continue through June... A tough choice looms for the Fed: if the frail recovery were to suffer a setback — whether to extend or expand it beyond the $600 billion and into the second half of this year."

Of course it will and they will, QE3 for sure, count on it. Pumping money borrowed from future taxpayers into corporate coffers is the purpose of government, it is right there in the Constitution, something about wealth redistribution.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 26, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Always click the link. Benen, who is almost 100% reliable, said that a majority opposed cutting funding for the arts, but the actual question was about funding for the arts and sciences. My guess is that people support funding of natural scientists (and not so called "social scientists" such as myself). To be more specific, I think they support funding of medical research. They might even know that the NIH budget totally dwarfs not only the budgets of the NEA, the NEH budget and even the NSF.

Posted by: rjw88 | January 26, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

@rukidding7 "Your 1.5 Trillion figure is meaningless you provided NO CONTEXT"

Context:

"a Postwar Record"

"when measured as a share of gross domestic product, the largest since 1945"

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/deficit-1-5-trillion-a-post-war-record/?hp

Here's some more context from David Stockman:

"Four Deformations of the Apocalypse"

"IF there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing. The nation’s public debt — if honestly reckoned to include municipal bonds and the $7 trillion of new deficits baked into the cake through 2015 — will soon reach $18 trillion. That’s a Greece-scale 120 percent of gross domestic product, and fairly screams out for austerity and sacrifice."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/opinion/01stockman.html

Posted by: jnc4p | January 26, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

@rjw88

"They might even know that the NIH budget totally dwarfs not only the budgets of the NEA, the NEH budget and even the NSF."

Then again they probably don't. Since you are involved in the field I'd love to know your ideas on how we are prioritizing these entities. I'm one of these weirdos who actually likes to know what's happening where the rubber meets the rosd, not what pundits and pols tell me.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Before I retired I paid off all of the debt that I possibly could, thus enabling maintenance of the same standard of living with a substantial reduction in income. I don't understand how anyone can expect this nation and its residents to continue to prosper with a government that seems to totally lack any economic common sense.

I see the Chinese using the energy of its private citizenry to produce wealth and power for the nation and its unchangingly totalitarian government. Meanwhile for two years under this failing administration and two prior years under a democratic party controlled congress and the prior failing administration the productive potential of the U.S. citizen is drained by political policy making totally lacking in common sense.

Posted by: actuator | January 26, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

suekzoo-

I did listen to his State of the State and well, I'm not real pumped.

What's interesting is that the national politics, to some extent, are mirroring Michigan, but a few years behind.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 26, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

actuator: Before I retired I paid off all of the debt that I possibly could, thus enabling maintenance of the same standard of living...

And if we thought this country was entering retirement and about to die, as Ryan apparently does, we might follow a similar economic strategy. But for those of us who would like the U.S. to continue as a strong, healthy nation for many, many years to come, Obama's vision of INVESTMENT makes a hell of a lot more economic sense.

Please don't be so thick-headed that you think your personal retirement strategy is a good plan for our nation.

Posted by: converse | January 26, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Ryan's speech was so out of touch with the mood of the country. It might have worked in September, but optimism and pride are sweeping across the country. Perhaps it was Obama reminding us of the character of Americans in his address in Tuscon.

Ryan's speech was a partisan attack on the president and a severe downer. And it was a direct contrast to how Republicans and Democrats presented themselves earlier in the House Chamber. It was as if Ryan didn't even notice that Tuscon happened and America pulled together.

The contrast between Obama's optimistic challenge and Ryan's doomsday warning was an embarrassment for the Republican party.

Posted by: Beeliever | January 26, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

The municipal dominoes start to fall:

"New York State Takes Control of Nassau’s Finances"

"A state oversight board has seized control of Nassau County’s finances, saying the wealthy and heavily taxed county had nonetheless failed to balance its $2.6 billion budget despite months of increasingly ominous warnings."

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/27/nyregion/27nassau.html?hp

Posted by: jnc4p | January 26, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

ashot,

I really liked that he came out in favor of the dang bridge over the Detroit River. And that he leveraged the Canadian money with the DOT to get money for the state. That was pretty savvy, IMO, and really shot the state GOP in the foot.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 26, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Converse, does your response mean that you believe increasing debt in a time of reduced revenues is a form of "investment"? Debt has to be repaid does it not? Short term thinking by politicians notwithstanding, but then, they may not live long enough to have to deal with the results.

Posted by: actuator | January 26, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

jnc4p: "The municipal dominoes start to fall"

Meanwhile, over in England, the budget slashing that the new conservative government enacted is starting to show signs of weakening economic growth. (Jeebus, who woulda thought that taking money out of the economy would cause it to stall??)

" Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government received a sharp political jolt on Tuesday with the release of official figures showing that Britain's economy contracted slightly in the last three months of 2010, prompting some economists to warn that the country was at increased risk of a "double dip" recession after four consecutive quarters of modest growth.

While the economic figures are subject to revision, the 0.5 percent shrinkage fell well short of the 0.5 percent growth many economists had predicted. And the wider message seemed clear: The slowdown placed the Cameron government's $128 billion, four-year program of spending cuts and tax increases -- policies on which it has staked its survival -- at sharply heightened political risk.

The net effect of the new figures was to blunt the government's momentum and to recast — at least until economic growth resumes -- the role Britain has played in the global debate about the best way back to prosperity."

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/world/europe/26britain.html

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 26, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

sue- That's a good point. I really should be more positive.

What did you think of the shout out to the Michigan roofers that Obama mentioned several times?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 26, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I posted all of this data in pieces earlier, but to be clear...

Sales of existing homes declined to a 13-year low and new sales totaled just 321,000, down 14 percent from 2009.

Five million borrowers are at least two months behind on their mortgages.

Foreclosures are expected to reach 1.2 million this year, exceeding last year's 1 million, according to RealtyTrac Inc. "2011 is going to be the peak," Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at the company, said earlier this month.

This is a bfd and **|red:corporations/banks sitting on money borrowed from future tax revenues|** is not going to fix it. This is an epic policy failure, something many of us attacked the Obama team for not seeing, let alone doing something about soon after his election, when he hired the supply siders and Bush era leftovers.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 26, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Austerity works! Ask the Brits:

"And here's a fascinating parallel. Britain has been through this exact kind of conundrum a few months ago. And David Cameron's government decided that they would go the Republican route. They would slash the deficit by cutting public spending. And today, this morning, out came the figures. The economy has shrunk by 0.5 percent.

"Now, there are lots of excuses. They're even blaming the weather. The reality is if you do this you're taking a huge gamble with the strength of your economy. And you now have a clear divide between the Republicans and the Democrats. President Obama is saying freeze, invest, grow. Republicans are saying slash, don't invest, grow. One will win."

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1101/25/se.01.html

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 26, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Pardon the response Converse, I forgot that to a modern liberal debt is just another way of obtaining something at the cost of someone other than themselves. That's what liberals do. The individual liberal may be a fine example or responsibility. The "collective liberal" seems to be unconcerned about economic reality but very concerned about the plight of the "less fortunate". Concerned enough to create debt to the extent that millions of others get to join the "less fortunate" in their suffering.

But then, their intentions are good. Keep paving that road and we'll get to where it leads and it ain't prosperity.

Posted by: actuator | January 26, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

"“We’re going to invest in the future — but we’re also going to freeze domestic spending. So mixed signals — and although there were no numbers, given the further assurance that the freeze won’t affect anything important, this has to mean that the investment plans are small change,” Krugman wrote in the New York Times. “I have no idea what the vision here was. We care about the future! But we don’t want to spend! Meh.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/01/26/liberal-pundits-knock-obamas-state-of-the-union-address/#ixzz1CBFggbfY

Posted by: sbj3 | January 26, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

ashot: "What did you think of the shout out to the Michigan roofers that Obama mentioned several times?"

I liked that a lot, actually. A friend of mine works for that company, so it was nice to see that recognition.

A part of me really thinks our state is on a precipice of a decent up-turn. I'm pulling for The Nerd to be successful, even though I didn't vote for him. I like that he is not beholden, and rather apolitical. I worry that he could be overpowered by the politicos in the congress, but so far he seems to be his own guy, and that's good. It was no surprise that the state went so red in the last election, and we could have done so much worse that Rick....think Pete Hoekstra...jeebus...

:o)

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 26, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2 "This is an epic policy failure, something many of us attacked the Obama team for not seeing, let alone doing something about soon after his election, when he hired the supply siders and Bush era leftovers. "

The cossacks work for the Czar.

If Obama isn't doing anything about this it's because of choices he made, not due to "Bush era leftovers." No one made him renominate Ben Bernake for a second term or pick Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. When the banks started to cave on judicial mortgage modification aka bankruptcy cramdown back in 2009 there was a moment when Presidential leadership might have have made a real difference. Instead, the administration chose to side with the banks because they believe that preserving the existing financial system is a more important goal than helping homeowners.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 26, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

As an older American who has endured several hard times in our country's past, it was offensive for a guy that looks like he just got his big boy pants to address our nation and tell us that our country is doomed.

We have endured much worse than this, and we will meet the challenge and continue to grow and lead.

Posted by: Beeliever | January 26, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Converse, does your response mean that you believe increasing debt in a time of reduced revenues is a form of "investment"?

First of all, the main reason this is "a time of reduced revenue" is because your idiot republican friends decided to continue tax cuts for millionaires and add half-a-billion to the deficit.

Secondly, yes, significant investment often does mean increased debt. Think hard now... How did you buy your first home?

But, for the nation, significant investment also means more jobs, greater income, and --think really hard now--increased revenue for the government to use to pay off the debt.

You teabaggers... you want to run the nation, but don't have a f'ing clue what you're doing.

Posted by: converse | January 26, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

@actuator Did you follow the link in my 3:49 Post? Read it and gain some understanding of debt.

A country is like a corporation or as you like to suggest also like we individuals.
A young couple earning $100,000 annually buys a $300,000 house...with what..debt!
Do they then say as you guys are doing with the Federal budget...OMG we owe three times what we earn. No they say $1600/mthly payments represent 20% of their current annual income. Perhaps that is acceptable to them perhaps not...but it's not freaking three times their income.
In addition that couple, could actually earn more in the future...which of course would drop the 20%...read the article and learn something about our debt besides right wing fear mongering talking points.,

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"it's because of choices he made"

Oh I agree, trust me, no one made him hire Summers nor re-up Bernanke et al. Those of us who got him elected, over The Clintons have been appalled ever since. We knew The Clintons already, we stupidly thought this guy might understand the nature of this economic crisis.

OTOH, since we knew McSame/Palin and The Clintons didn't get it, I suppose it was worth a try...but we are in deep trouble here and all we are doing is more borrowing, which really means, hoping to inflate another bubble.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 26, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"because they believe that preserving the existing financial system is a more important goal than helping homeowners."

And you don't? You think ANYBODY would be able to help home owners if our banking system completely collapsed ala 1929?

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Sue-

I have some hope too, if for no other reason than it just has to get better. I do worry about the brain drain that has occurred here in the past several years, but many of my friends will come back as soon as there is an opportunity to do so.

House values have also been hit so far and so many people are underwater, that I do worry about people having money to spend. But I do think the Nerd has some potential, was happy he ended up as the R candidate, and wasn't all that disappointed Bernero didnt' win (even though he did a good job with the city of Lansing).

jnc4p- While shrink is more than capable of defending himself, I didn't interpret his comment to be letting Obama off. Shrink has repeatedly pointed out how Obama has sided with the banks and Wall Street.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 26, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey guys, I have purchased homes using debt. Having said that, the debt never exceeded 18 percent of my annual revenue. Why do you think that increasing debt to the extent that it eventually exceeds GNP (it's getting closer & closer thanks to Obama's two years) much less multiples of annual government revenues can realistically be repaid? Individuals and businesses that behave this way wind up in bankruptcy. Actually you don't think in those terms because there is no real intention in a liberal's mindset that the debt will ever be repaid. Just keep passing it on despite long term consequences.

Posted by: actuator | January 26, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

@Sue and ashotinthedark

Since my wife and I own a modest 500 sq ft cottage on the U.P. on Superior...I'm glad to hear a couple of Michganders upbeat.

Every summer when we drive though Calumet my wife and I just cringe...it's a ghost town.
But it's not an accurate reflection of today's problems...it became a ghost town after the copper ore ran out and the mines closed. What little tourism is available is certainly not a substitute and most of the local kids are not exactly exceptional workers...the smart ones leave as soon as they get a chance...perhaps they move to Kalamazoo and stay in state..but they leave Calumet/Laurium/Hancock because there is no future there for them.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"if our banking system completely collapsed..."

What does that now two year old crisis have to do with QEI, QEII, the set up for QE III?

Posted by: shrink2 | January 26, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

ashot: "I do worry about the brain drain that has occurred here in the past several years"

YES! and that is why I found it remarkable that our Nerd wants to extend a warm welcome to highly educated immigrants, especially since the national GOP has been so anti-immigrant. I also liked what he said about education (mirror image of Obama's message) AND that he said we needed to work toward universal healthcare for all the state's citizens. Those were so far away from what the state GOP endorses that I found it amazing...and hopeful. I hope he can find cooperation in the congress, and we see some improvements.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 26, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I found it ironic and funny that Ryan huffed and puffed about the deficit all the while failing to mention that he has been in congress for 7 terms. He did nothing while our surplus of the 90's was turned into deficit, for no reason other than obliging rich republican donors. Those tax cuts were passed using budget reconciliation no less. What a tool!

Posted by: mynameismelissa | January 26, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

That should say "the annual payments never exceeded"

Posted by: actuator | January 26, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

@rukidding7 ""because they believe that preserving the existing financial system is a more important goal than helping homeowners."

And you don't? You think ANYBODY would be able to help home owners if our banking system completely collapsed ala 1929?"

The two aren't mutually exclusive.

There were also ways to prevent a complete collapse that didn't require paying out AIG claims at 100 cents on the dollar to benefit Goldman Sachs.

I would also submit that the excess profits on Wall Street are evidence of anti-competitive behavior, and that the Justice Department should initiate an anti-trust investigation of the larger Wall Street banks to break them up.

See Steve Pearlstein's article on this.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/19/AR2010081906574.html

Posted by: jnc4p | January 26, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"there is no real intention in a liberal's mindset that the debt will ever be repaid. Just keep passing it on despite long term consequences."

Which liberals think that? None that I know. That sounds a lot more like St. Ronnie and Dick "Deficits Don't Matter" Cheney.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 26, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

actuator-

Hmmm...you would probably disapprove of my debt to income ratio when I was in college and law school. However, in order to compete in the job market, I felt the need to invest well over my income in hopes of a good return down the line in the form of a good job. While that was naive with respect to law school (half tongue in cheek there), I think you get my point.

One thing that has not been raised in the back and forth (and thanks to all parties for being very respectful during this debate)is that we are actively competing with countries from around the world. We can't stop investing now and fall further behind. The picture isn't as bleak, or as simple as what is painted by the likes of Congressman Ryan.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 26, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

@actuator Dude..we appreciate that you are making an effort to be both rational and reasonable. But really...

"because there is no real intention in a liberal's mindset that the debt will ever be repaid."

Turn off Fox and give up your conservative shibboleths. That's just some bullhockey you guys keep spouting until you finally believe it. Alas there isn't a shred of truth to that statement...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms

At least as far as leadership goes..you know the guy in charge as in the President your statement couldn't be more incorrect.

Look at the chart actuator...
Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton...balanced budgets or surpluses

Reagan, BushI, Bush II HUGE freaking deficits.

Seriously actuator what do you think makes you believe such erroneous stuff...I'm not being snarky I'm truly amazed that you guys keep throwing off this kind of crap.
It just flies in the face of reality.
It's the Dem Presidents who have demonstrated leadership on the budget...not the R's..again how about the freaking FACTS?

Obama inherited the worst economic disaster since the depression. I don't care who you blame that too is a FACT!
We're not just talking a recession here...we were close to the brink..we almost lost General motors and God knows how many jobs...Obama inherited a disaster of HISTORIC proportions...a FACT.

Two years in the market has returned..my 401 K is almost back to pre Bush recession levels...G.M. is alive and in the black and 100's of thousands remain employed...
we are drawing down on two of the most incredibly stupid wars in our nation's history...and all the associated expense.

You all really amaze me. Again actuator read the article in the 3:49 post and learn something.

BTW viewed from abroad the Dems are considered the "responsible" fiscal party not the R's....Euros love to joke..
The Dems are the tax and spend party
The R's are the borrow and spend party.

And if you can open you mind and drop your preconceived conservative dogman..you'll see the Euro's are right. Look at the deficit chart I've just linked.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

@jnc4p I accept your points in your 5:21PM post. I agree with your observation about AIG and Goldman Sachs...perhaps you are talking "selective" failures...I'm always open for nuanced solutions and so I think I now get your point.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2 "but we are in deep trouble here and all we are doing is more borrowing, which really means, hoping to inflate another bubble."

And because the best way to end any thread is with an Onion quote, here's one from what is still my favorite Onion story:

"Recession-Plagued Nation Demands New Bubble To Invest In"

"WASHINGTON—A panel of top business leaders testified before Congress about the worsening recession Monday, demanding the government provide Americans with a new irresponsible and largely illusory economic bubble in which to invest.

"What America needs right now is not more talk and long-term strategy, but a concrete way to create more imaginary wealth in the very immediate future," said Thomas Jenkins, CFO of the Boston-area Jenkins Financial Group, a bubble-based investment firm. "We are in a crisis, and that crisis demands an unviable short-term solution."

The current economic woes, brought on by the collapse of the so-called "housing bubble," are considered the worst to hit investors since the equally untenable dot-com bubble burst in 2001. According to investment experts, now that the option of making millions of dollars in a short time with imaginary profits from bad real-estate deals has disappeared, the need for another spontaneous make-believe source of wealth has never been more urgent.

"Perhaps the new bubble could have something to do with watching movies on cell phones," said investment banker Greg Carlisle of the New York firm Carlisle, Shaloe & Graves. "Or, say, medicine, or shipping. Or clouds. The manner of bubble isn't important—just as long as it creates a hugely overvalued market based on nothing more than whimsical fantasy and saddled with the potential for a long-term accrual of debts that will never be paid back, thereby unleashing a ripple effect that will take nearly a decade to correct.""

http://www.theonion.com/articles/recessionplagued-nation-demands-new-bubble-to-inve,2486/

Posted by: jnc4p | January 26, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we should have a national contest to pick the new bubble for the economy. I suggest marijuana futures.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 26, 2011 5:37 PM | Report abuse

jnc4p @ January 26, 2011 3:07 PM posted "We have seen the future and it's California."

That is an interesting comment. California (which has Republican governors rather than Democratic ones, btw), suffers from the problem of plebiscites:

1. There have been a number that mandate conditions that increase spending (ie, mandatory sentences, etc);

2. To raise the revenue to pay for these increases requires plebiscites where a super-majority must vote to raise the revenue.

The result is that spending increases, but the revenue stagnates. The solution, believe it or not, is to eliminate both of those.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | January 27, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

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