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Obama Bets Big on Big Government

President-elect Barack Obama enunciated his vision for an activist -- and expansive -- government as the best way to address the economic crisis in a speech this morning, and in the process placed a major bet that the majority of Americans' attitude toward government has changed drastically in recent years.

"Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy -- where a lack of spending leads to lost jobs which leads to even less spending," said Obama during his economic address at George Mason University -- a stunning rejection of then President Bill Clinton's 1996 declaration in his State of the Union address that "the era of big government is over."

To be sure, Obama offered several caveats to his pledge to grow government (and government spending) to heal the economy. "We cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or long-term growth," Obama said.

Later, he sought to address concerns that more government spending to fix the economy amounted to throwing good money after bad.

"I understand that some might be skeptical of this plan," said Obama. "Our government has already spent a good deal of money but we haven't yet seen that translate into more jobs or higher incomes or renewed confidence in our economy."

Caveats aside, it's clear that Obama and his political team believe that the less-government-is-best mantra that, more than any other single idea, fueled Republicans' rise at the presidential level and congressional level over the last three decades has been debunked in the minds of voters.

Recent evidence supports that position -- the most notable example being the public outrage and blame game following years of Bush administratiion deregulation of the financial industry, which is now widely blamed for helping to foster the crisis in the housing industry and among banks and financial institutition.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), who chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, has long championed the idea that the era of shrinking government ushered in by President Ronald Reagan had ended, and pushed his candidates in 2006 and 2008 to make the case that government does have a role to play in their everyday lives.

The results -- a pickup of 13 or 14 seats (depending on the outcome of the Minnesota Senate election contest) over the past four years -- is a strong argument in favor of the position of Schumer and Obama.

At issue is how Republicans will react to this unabashed acknowledgment of the government's central role in the economic well-being of average Americans.

Many Republicans believe that their losses in 2006 midterm elections and particularly in the 2008 presidential election was their result of a departure from core principles -- one of the most fundamental of which is controlling (and limiting) the size of government.

Given that, do Republicans fight what will almost certainly be an $800 billion to $1 trillion stimulus package that will grow government drastically? Or do they line up behind the proposal -- believing it is generally the right thing to do from a policy and a political perspective?

Early comments out of GOP leaders suggested some ambivalence.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said that most conservative economists believed a stimulus plan was necessary to jumpstart the economy but added: "It ought not to be a trillion dollar spending bill."

Sen. John Ensign (Nev.), the immediate past chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called Obama's proposal a "promising start" but was quick to note that "extra caution to rein in wasteful and duplicative government spending needs to be one of our top priorities."

What's clear is that Obama is following through on his campaign promise to think big and, at times, fundamentally alter the political calculus in Washington. It's a high risk, high reward strategy befitting a politician who believes himself to be a historic man in historic times.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 8, 2009; 1:20 PM ET
Categories:  White House  
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Comments

Public opinion or too many Americans apparent weakening to Socialism’s seductive false promise aside.

It won’t take long before Obama and the two dolts Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi together with the feeble-mindedness of leftist thinking and their wrong polices bring this country to its knees both economically and on a national security front. Once that happens the Republicans will sweep back into power, and if they can get back to their roots of less government control over the economy and more of a truly free market. America will regain our economic strength our national security and our role as the world’s leader of free people and continue our role of being the hope of the world’s oppressed.

Socialism has failed every time its been tried. Something Liberals / Democrats / Leftists always seem to miss. Remember, one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Free Market Capitalism has done more to lift more people out of poverty and has improved more people’s lives, worldwide, than any other system yet developed, at least on this good earth. Unbridled freedom coupled with a moral ethic yields tremendous results.

Just study the history of the first 150 years of the great Nation, before leftist thinking started to pollute our Independent American Spirit and people started minimizing the importance of the individual and personal responsibility and started elevating the value of society and the state over the individual.

- - Libertarian_Thinker

"'All men are created equal' says the American Declaration of Independence. 'All men shall be kept equal' say the Socialists."

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

"If I were asked the difference between Socialism and Communism, I could only reply that the Socialist tries to lead us to disaster by foolish words and the Communist could try to drive us there by violent deeds."

- - Winston Churchill

Posted by: AlanD | January 9, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

"The people are the means of production and the government and a greatly increasing portion of the population are doing everything they can toward complete government control. When the people have no incentive to produce there will be no production. See Soviet Union.'

PLEASE cite an example of how that is going on. The government has been bending over backwards NOT to claim a stake in the companies it is bailing out. It is using secured loans, grants, and purchasing debt. This is neoKeynesian economics at its finest, not socialism in the least.

"I see some posters are using the bad example of socialism in Eastern Europe as a proof that increasing government spending that Obama proposes would be bad for the country."

I think you misread, they were trying to pass off the growth in Eastern Europe in the first half of the decade being due to flat taxes was the example for how we should grow the economy. they apparently didn't know that those economies ahve been some of the hardest hit, as a result of their lax fiscal policy.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | January 9, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

The quickest cure for the economy would be a federal and state hiring freeze for three years and a 5% across the board spending reduction for all departments. Since the rest of us are having to tighten our belts, the politicos and bureaucrats should trim up also. Yeah I know.... dream on!

Posted by: ZAMDOG13 | January 9, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

We should define what we mean by big government. I see some posters are using the bad example of socialism in Eastern Europe as a proof that increasing government spending that Obama proposes would be bad for the country. This is an invalid and, fnankly, dishonest comparison. Most of the money for, say, roads and bridges, will be spent by states that in turn bid the projects out to private companies. We are not hiring federal employees or creating a government bureaucracy that will be responsible for these projects. Virtually all of the money will be doled out to the private sector by the states or municipalities that are usually good at spending money wisely - especially if they have to contribute to the cost of the projects. That's how the US has done it in the past via various appropriations - and that is how other developed capitalist countries do things with regard to vital infrastructure. If we are so serious about being purely "capitalist", why did we subsidize gas prices and highway construction for dozens of years while providing virtually no money for inter-city, high-speed and local rail projects?

Posted by: LeoNYC | January 9, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

kruez baby-

"More nutty conservative rhetoric detached from reality. Socialism is when government controls the means of production, which absolutely no one is talking about. Maybe if you knew one thing about the subject of economics you could have a coherent debate rather than just spouting talking points and bad-mouthing others, good suggestion for the Republican party as a whole, too."

The people are the means of production and the government and a greatly increasing portion of the population are doing everything they can toward complete government control. When the people have no incentive to produce there will be no production. See Soviet Union.

Posted by: leapin | January 9, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

It hasn't been 'less government is better' for the past 8 years, it's been 'no government is best.'

That's really the mantra of the Right. And my question is, if that's what they really want, to eliminate government and profit from anarchy, then why do they keep seeking power in governments?


Posted by: drcalm | January 9, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

leapin asked yesterday evening:
"By the way where do you personnally draw the line of what percentage of your gross income would be too much to pay in taxes? Or are there personal reasons that you would like to be dependent on government?"

I don't have a hard-and-fast 'line' regarding what percentage of gross I want to send the gov't. Like most people, I think less is better. However, apparently unlike most people, I understand that it costs money to run the country - to keep the system going. The self-professed 'fiscal conservatives' have been deluding themselves in prostration before the altar of supply side economics, ignoring the astronomical growth of the national debt concurrent with the near-collapse of our financial system and overall economy. It is time for some rational adults to take over; anyone with a brain can see that part of the program will have to include a plan to not only eventually balance the budget, but also pay down the debt. Sadly, those objectives have to be put on hold because the greater short-term concern is the ongoing recession, which will require deficit spending by the Feds to prime the pump. Once the pump is producing again, we can turn our focus back to budget balancing and deficit reduction. So, to answer your question: I don't like it, but I realize that people like me who can afford to pay more taxes without taking a significant hit to our lifestyles will likely have to contribute more. For the record, I'm above median in income, but well below the top 10%. Right around the border of the 1st & 2nd quintiles, last time I checked.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 9, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Rank1 writes
"Many are researching how we can withold taxes, and I am certain that someone will find an answer."


Wow. Most freeloaders don't broadcast their deadbeatedness publicly. Rank1 is actually boasting about it.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 9, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"FDR's New Deal was a bum deal that needed WW2 to get us out of the soup. Now Boy Blunder (Barackalypse Now) is going to impose his New New Deal"

It's been written about quote a few times and you can see the chart for yourself. The New Deal was working, it stoopped the descent and had the economy growing again- up until 1937- Why? Because the deficit hawks began to take over then and spending was restricted.

See the graphic here:

http://www.econ.umn.edu/~tkehoe/U.S.GDP.gif

The decline starts in 1929, it bottoms out in 1933, it hiccups in 1937, but steady growth is seen from 1933 on until its peak in about 1942-1943.

BTW- what was WWII from an economic perspective if not an even bigger government spending program that incurred a fair amount of debt? Does the fact that it went to pay for a war make it an exception?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/05/opinion/05krugman.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

Posted by: kreuz_missile | January 9, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

The ultimate lesson: freer markets don't mean growth, they mean a more dynamic environment: when things are good, they are really good, when things are bad, they are really bad. Government is a stabilizing force, it can slow growth unnecessarily in good times, but it slows the decline in bad times. The key is finding the balance and being pragmatic, rather than dogmatic, about it.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | January 9, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

FDR's New Deal was a bum deal that needed WW2 to get us out of the soup. Now Boy Blunder (Barackalypse Now) is going to impose his New New Deal. Just as FDR prolonged the depression with his scorched earth policies, Boy Blunder is going to prolong this recession much longer than the usual 12 to 24 month cycle with his socialist agenda.His economic proposal risks driving us into a hyper-inflationary period. Of course when it all fails he and his cohorts will blame the republicans, that is what democrats to do best--pass the buck.

Posted by: pedalingparson | January 9, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: kreuz_missile | January 9, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

"Sure that may be illegal but what can the politicians do to the people that they need to pay the bills.... put us in jail?"

You don't believe the government has the power to seize your wages?

"I suggest that this country, and the likes of you socialists, is about to experience the biggest taxpayer revolt it has ever seen!"

More nutty conservative rhetoric detached from reality. Socialism is when government controls the means of production, which absolutely no one is talking about. Maybe if you knew one thing about the subject of economics you could have a coherent debate rather than just spouting talking points and bad-mouthing others, good suggestion for the Republican party as a whole, too.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | January 9, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"Former Communist Countries in Eastern Europe, in less than 20 years, have created the most friendly biz environments on earth. Flat taxes of 10% or less, 10% or less capital gains taxes, tax holidays on new investments (see Latvia, Macedonia and others)."

Business friendly, built on corruption, leading to rising criminal elenments, and a push over the past few years to increase a gradual income tax to stabilize their own economies in most of those countries ranged from 23 to 30% (not 10%), which would be a tax increase for most Americans:

"SIX months ago it all looked so different. The countries of eastern Europe were the poster-children of economic reform: having privatised, deregulated and stabilised after the collapse of communism, they seemed on a clear path leading to convergence with the richer half of the continent.

That picture was always a bit optimistic. Now it looks wildly out of date. A noxious cocktail of public foreign debt, heavy private borrowing in foreign currencies, big current-account deficits, lax public-spending controls and wobbly governments (different in each country but all potentially lethal in conditions of collapsing investor confidence) has sent policymakers scurrying to talk to the ultimate financial backstop: the International Monetary Fund."

http://www.economist.com/world/europe/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12498151

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

"Give private enterprise the tools to do the job (i.e., low or no capital gaisn taxes) and watch the economy grow"

Capital gains taxes are half of what they were in the 1990's genius. Cutting taxes will only stimulate the economy if the taxes are the drag on the economy. That's not what is going on here- lack of confidence in the markets is.

The market is in a downward spiral, leading to fears of investing, leading to further economic failures, leading to more apprehension over investing. This is why government spending is necessary. We're not talking about growing the economy right now, we first must stop the downward spiral. Tax cuts won't do that.

"This current recession is worse than post-Carter? lol"

It's been going on for at least a year now, the numers out today show the slowing of the economy accelerating (if not in full reverse), with the economy losing 524,000 jobs and unemployment jumping to 7.2%. Yes, that's not as high as it was in the early 80s, but remember, we've changed the way we calculate unemployment several times since then, and the rate of decline is often as key an indicator as the absolute rate (ie, it got worse, but it started much higher too).

Posted by: kreuz_missile | January 9, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Kreuz missle,

You fired your best shot, and it was another Democrat DUD! I suggest that this country, and the likes of you socialists, is about to experience the biggest taxpayer revolt it has ever seen! Many are researching how we can withold taxes, and I am certain that someone will find an answer. Sure that may be illegal but what can the politicians do to the people that they need to pay the bills.... put us in jail? Then you others may just have to get a job to pay for all those new jails!

Give up my citizenship? Not hardly! Too many have fought and gave their lives for our freedoms and way of life. You may have won an election... BUT the battle is certainly not over!

Posted by: Rank1 | January 9, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Kristin, All I can say is AMEN to your post!

If you did not like "trickle down economics," wait unit you experience "trickle up poverty." Americans grew tired of being thought dumb by the rest of the world, so in November they went to the polls and removed all doubt. If I knew how to resign as a taxpayer, I would. ... "


If bigger government is truly the answer we are in deep, deep, deep trouble!

Posted by: Rank1 | January 9, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

This current recession is worse than post-Carter? lol ...Obama said yesterday he would learn from previous Presidents "successes", not mistakes. So why is he not following Reagan's success by just lowering taxes and letting the economy business cycle have it's course.?

Obama's gloom and doom scenario and the setting of low expectations is simply an excuse to expand government spending and transfer of wealth. Sure, things are tough right now. Economies have cycles. Throwing money at it is not a solution.

Posted by: Sigmonde | January 9, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Big Government = Big problems.
Former Communist Countries in Eastern Europe, in less than 20 years, have created the most friendly biz environments on earth. Flat taxes of 10% or less, 10% or less capital gains taxes, tax holidays on new investments (see Latvia, Macedonia and others).
These nations realize its is private enterprise that grows the economy, not big government. Give private enterprise the tools to do the job (i.e., low or no capital gaisn taxes) and watch the economy grow. Government only gets in the way.

Posted by: mneceski | January 9, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Let's see. We've borrowed trillions of dollars that we can't repay, we're spending trillions that we don't have and the majority of the people are in debt up to their eyeballs. We have printed trillions of dollars over the past 40 years(the exact amount is unknown because the criminals at the Fed won't tell us), the morons in Congress have promised every "entitlement" under the Sun and Moon in exchange for votes and the Chinese are very close to cutting up our credit card. When they do that, we are done. The solution to all this? Borrow more and spend more. Well, the day of reckoning is upon us. We can accelerate the arrival with O's ideas but the piper is about to be paid. Good luck, all. I'm going to start planning my garden out here in the country and get my wood stove hooked up. And no, you city folk ain't welcome in these parts when the food riots start.

Posted by: fmcdermott1 | January 9, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Lots of folks over night who drank the government can do no good kool aid, I see. Keep it up, and march your party right into the political wilderness for 40 years. I think this one sums it all up:

"This is where we are now. Democrats planted the seeds of this disaster by allowing deregulation on Wall Street and bending lending rules. More government is not the answer"

Taking the government out of the equation got us where we are now, so more government is not the answer? WTF?!?!?!?!

"If I knew how to resign as a taxpayer, I would. ... "

It's called renouncing your citizenship and moving somewhere else. Feel free if that's your choice.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | January 9, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

the reason we are in trouble started with Carter and Clinton creating community reinvestment act. Suddenly people were extended credit they could not meet. Rayne increased it. Frank protected him with other democrats. Only 5% of mortgages are delinquent and 80% by defavorised communities saddly. Rayne should go to jail. mc Cain tried to rein in the program but it failed and Bush did not understand the gravity of the situation. Clinton with Summers also preached deregulation. This is where we are now. Democrats planted the seeds of this disaster by allowing deregulation on Wall Street and bending lending rules. More government is not the answer. RAYne from FNMAE should go to jail. Stircter Regulation should be modus operandi and entitlements should be cut except in extreme cases. We have to encourage the more productive agents in society and push less productive agents to become more productive. Extending unemployment to one year encourages laziness, unless you force these people to clean roads, streets and so on.

Posted by: terragord | January 9, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

I found this comment on another web site's article about Obama's speech. The commentor was a Kristin I. Allen. She hit the nail on the head, in my opinion.

" ... If you did not like "trickle down economics," wait unit you experience "trickle up poverty." Americans grew tired of being thought dumb by the rest of the world, so in November they went to the polls and removed all doubt. If I knew how to resign as a taxpayer, I would. ... "

Posted by: KatyfromdeepsouthTexas | January 9, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

The reason the Republicans got into trouble was partly the Iraq war, but that wasn't fatal. The BIG reason is that they started behaving like Big Government Democrats. Remember that government expanded under Bush at a level not seen since the days of LBJ. Now Obama and company want to spend another trillion dollars plus lay the groundwork for new entitlement programs, both of which this country can ill afford. We are in tough economic times, yes, but government spending has never been proven to make a difference in stimulating the economy - FDR actually prolonged the Great Depression because his programs sucked so much investment capital from the private sector. I fear we are about to make the same mistake.

Posted by: patrick1va | January 9, 2009 6:14 AM | Report abuse

You sell "institution" that way, not "institutition."

While you're spell checking, you might as well fact check that part as well, where you talk about Bush deregulation being the example of why less government doesn't work. Republicans were seeking to regulate Fannie, Freddie, and other GSEs, and the Democrats blocked them at every turn. I guess we finally found something Democrats don't want to regulate!

If the Democrats couldn't regulate us out of this mess when Republicans were seeking regulation as well, what makes you think they're going to regulate us out of the next one?

Posted by: Voight | January 9, 2009 5:45 AM | Report abuse

I'm really so sick and tired of the lawyers, politicians and cons who have hijacked our government and who are jaming this all down our throats.

They've nearly destroyed the American Dream.

Posted by: niceguy92045 | January 9, 2009 4:59 AM | Report abuse

Obama does not represent me.
This is a disaster.
Government is the cause. More government is not the solution.

Posted by: niceguy92045 | January 9, 2009 4:50 AM | Report abuse

Get off my back.
Communism is anti-American.

Posted by: niceguy92045 | January 9, 2009 4:47 AM | Report abuse

Trying to keep it rally simple I'd like to say the following: Government that is great big and even bigger has no possibility of ever meeting the needs of people. It only meets the needs and wants of itself. That makes big, big government the woorst kind of despot. It can only feed itself and either needs to turnn around and run toward thinking small or one morning there will be the people of revolution at the door. They will burn what is left. Know that none in power in that ay will escape that conflageration.
Obama and Congress can act responsible or they can act like the ravens coming in to fest on the corpse. If they do this none of them will escape. The Democrat Party will die before the Republican.
God, I feel so morbid .

Posted by: jackolantyrn356 | January 9, 2009 2:25 AM | Report abuse

The problem that I see with the economic stimulus plan is simple. Obama is making the same mistake that Hillary made in 1993 with the health care bill. At that time she had a bunch of guru's locked up in the White House writing this bill. Obama right now has a bunch of guru's locked up in a room in Chicago. In both cases they alienate the members of congress who do not like to be presented with a done deal especially since they have to vote for it and take that vote back to their constituencies and defend that vote. Obama should have been smarter and included members of congress in developing the plan. Now he is getting flack from both sides of the isle which will only delay the implementation of his plans.

Posted by: Opa2 | January 9, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse

If you thought 2008 was bad, as far as our economy was concerned, know this: Most pundits (and even President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden), agree, in 2009 things are going to get worse before they get better. The Bush recession is a full blown mess.


In 2009, our economic dystopia will become more real with every passing day, a trillion dollar middle class bailout following the inauguration of Barack Obama notwithstanding (those realities).


That's because our economy is like an express locomotive. It's going to take years to undo eight years of George Bush's laissez faire mismanagement (let alone 28 years of Reaganomics), and that's assuming we're successful at attaining that semi-tangible goal.


And, despite the rantings of many Republicans desperately looking for a theme--ANY THEME--to latch onto given their pathetic record on the economy for decades, I'm very much in favor of the proposed stimulus package now being discussed in detail by the incoming Obama administration.


But, if you think that fixing this mess is going to be either quick and/or easy, you're in for a very, very rude awakening.


The reason the BushCo Republicans weren't worried about the money being lent by China and the other East Asian nations was because they expected the specter of American military might to impress the nations of the East enough to dissuade them from trying to collect.


Well, no matter how loudly Bush and his Republican cohorts sing,- "We've got a win," - the reality on the ground is that the U.S. lost. Moreover, they lost to a bunch of rag-heads wearing sandals--a fitting end to people who grew up thinking that people with long hair and sandals were a joke. Oh ya, don't forget the love beads!


Posted by: DrainYou | January 9, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

I will never again underestimate the danger of STUPID PEOPLE in large numbers.

We should all thank the MTV crowd and the out of touch with reality Hollyweird gang for the coming economic disaster.

When will people learn. When you find yourself in an economic mess caused by overspending and underregulation (Thank you Barney Franks!)You CAN NOT spend your way out of that mess!!!

Posted by: carlisom | January 9, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

kreuze_missle

re: Jefferson

It seems to me you've conveniently forgotten the context of the 1785 Jefferson quote (hint: 4 years before the French Revolution), but surely you have not forgotten this one?

“I am for a government rigorously frugal and simple"

Posted by: jl0810 | January 8, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

jimwa9z cited that old chestnut, in the course of saying ""We're here from the government, and we're here to help" doesn't tickle my funny bone like it used to."

Jimmy my friend, "Let's get the government off our backs" doesn't tickle my funny bone like it did back in the day.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 8, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

We're here from the government, and we're here to help" doesn't tickle my funny bone like it used to.

Posted by: jimwa9z | January 8, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself' FDR 1933

The only thing I have to offer is fear itself' BHO 2009"

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

Wait a minute, hasn't the Republican electoral strategy since 2002 (to include KoZ's postings on this very thread) essentially boiled down to "vote for us or DIE"??

Posted by: kreuz_missile | January 8, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

The only thing that seems abundantly clear for the majority of posts I read here is that the majority of Americans are stupid. No wonder we are in the mess we're in.

Posted by: derWahrheit | January 8, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

kreuz_missile wrote, "Just under 23%, a good chunk of which will come back to me. Where in the Western world can you beat that[?]"

You can't. This is the wild, wild west, and there's a new sheriff in town.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 8, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

"A dollar in government hands turns into pennies through misguided programs, fraud, waste, and bureaucracy."

Because the markets have performed soooo much better, right? Tax cuts will go to debt reduction, which will have 0 impact on stimulating the economy. If the prate sector is unwilling to invest right now (which is the issue, willingness and not ability through capital), the government must, and once this happens then the private sector will move back in.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | January 8, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

"Let's try a little math exercise. Add up all taxes, fees (hidden taxes), sales taxes at every level of government. Remember everytime you turn on a light switch or pick up a phone you are paying a tax. Your 5% is a little low. Try 40% of your gross income."


7.5% for SS, couple more percent for Medicare, no state income tax, $3500 in property tax (another 5%), sales tax of 8.5% paid on about 5% of my income (but I'll say 10% to give you the benefit of the doubt, so another .85%), couple hundred dollars for vehicle fees, and most other fees being use fees so no I don't consider them taxes, more paying for services as I go.

So add it all up:
5% fed income
5% property
10% SS/Med
.85% sales tax
and let's just say another 2% in fees (phone service, cable, power, etc) to be generous

Just under 23%, a good chunk of which will come back to me. Where in the Western world can you beat that

Posted by: kreuz_missile | January 8, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse


"this is one of those "middle class Libs" who is clamoring for a tax cut. at least according to the NYTimes and elected Libs."

When have I ever clamored for a tax cut? I've specifically opposed them on this blog several times.

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

"Let's try to remember that the government creates NO wealth and you pay for the jobs by paying taxes."

It's not about creating wealth, it's about ending the bleeding, which only government spending can do. In good times, government is the safety net allowing for risk taking in the private sector, in bad times it borrows against future revenue from future growth period to stabilize the failing markets and to prime the economic pumps. It's fairly simple.

And you pay more for taxes than I make in a year?? Oh my, you surely must have just given up on work because you have absolutely no incentive to make any more money then, right? i bet you just turn down offers for raises and bonuses because they're just not worth it, right????

Posted by: kreuz_missile | January 8, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

"The Boston Tea Party revolt was over a tax estimated at 3%. I'll stick with the forefathers view of taxation."

It seems to me the issue was "taxation without representation," not just "taxation." But, let's look at the forefather's views of taxation:

"Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1785.

"The great mass of the articles on which impost is paid is foreign luxuries, purchased by those only who are rich enough to afford themselves the use of them. Their patriotism would certainly prefer its continuance and application to the great purposes of the public education, roads, rivers, canals, and such other objects of public improvement as it may be thought proper to add to the constitutional enumeration of federal powers." --Thomas Jefferson: 6th Annual Message, 1806

Damn class warriors wanting to just tax the rich.....

Posted by: kreuz_missile | January 8, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Check out a funny "Nobama" parody song at: www.myspace.com/rogerweber

Posted by: Roger9 | January 8, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

hdc77494 wrote, "Let's try to remember that the government creates NO wealth and you pay for the jobs by paying taxes."

Explain that to all the businesses that prospered and continue to prosper as a result of President Eisenhower's decision to build the interstate highway system.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 8, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Chris try not to drool when talking about big government love. Real objective.

Posted by: star_key2 | January 8, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to burst your bubble, but Obama's stimulus package costs more than the Iraqi war X 2

Posted by: star_key2 | January 8, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Fiscal liberalism in DC will eventually rebound in political conservatism which will again take the mantle of a reform movement by the grassroots (like perot) and get assimilated by the Republicans. Even people in Michigan will see that voting for other the Dems at least once in a while might be good. The epitaph of the Republican party has been written before. One party rule = bad government no matter what you believe.

Posted by: star_key2 | January 8, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to burst your bubble, but Obama's stimulus package costs more than the Iraqi war.

Posted by: hdc77494 | January 8, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Let's try to remember that the government creates NO wealth and you pay for the jobs by paying taxes. Until the private sector creates wealth and pays taxes, the government has no money, and no power. Now they want to borrow money from the banks using your credit card (so fewer dollars are available for you to borrow) raise your future taxes to pay for it all, and end up reducing your standard of living. Dumb idea. Especially with a tax plan that has half the people in the country paying no taxes and being supported by the other half.

Posted by: hdc77494 | January 8, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Chris wrote, in part:

""Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy -- where a lack of spending leads to lost jobs which leads to even less spending," said Obama during his economic address at George Mason University -- a stunning rejection of then President Bill Clinton's 1996 declaration in his State of the Union address that "the era of big government is over.""

That's exactly what everything's turning on right now. The stars have aligned to give Obama a chance to make a historic realignment in US politics. The chance itself is a rare thing - turning the chance into an actual realignment, even more unusual. Can Obama do it? It's a great story, not only from a journalistic perspective, but I'm convinced it will be a great story in the long hindsight of history, though I don't know how the story ends.

To those who say "point me to something government does better than the private sector", let me offer "law enforcement" and "national defense" (yall support that, right?). The Manhattan Project. The Apollo moon landings. Rural electrification (which doesn't mean electrocuting hayseeds, it refers to the difficulty of getting electricity to rural areas in the 1930's because the cost per customer of building out lines would have been ridiculous for a for-profit company). There are many more such examples.

Anyhow, that paragraph by Chris at the beginning of this comment really nails what's most interesting about this historical moment, from a domestic political point of view. Well done.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 8, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Examples of govt success =

Posted by: alisonhynes | January 8, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" FDR 1933

The only thing I have to offer is fear itself" BHO 2009

Posted by: CincinnatiRIck | January 8, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Fix the USA......FIRE 50% of all government employees. Close the senate, close the house, no nobama and let the working people fix the country by hard work.

Posted by: rcbeng | January 8, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

"More like had we the naked military and unprepared CIA and NSA along with the recession and pending attack of our enemies due to the Lib folly."

KoZ Is this the same military that defeated the Taliban and Saddam quickley? Rummy and Co did not have much time to build it up before they started using it.

Posted by: trep1 | January 8, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

"Had we still the magnificent budget surpluses and shrinking deficits that Clinton left us, there would be no need for the large stimulus package now a necessity. The last eight years have been a total disaster and that, dear friends, is what we are paying for."

Yes, "Nine Percent" Pelosi, Dangling Harry, Barney "Sub_Prime" Frank, "Countrywide" Chris and fellow crimals have created a disaster. What we needed are large tax cuts. A dollar in government hands turns into pennies through misguided programs, fraud, waste, and bureaucracy.

Posted by: leapin | January 8, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Had we still the magnificent budget surpluses and shrinking deficits that Clinton left us

>>>>>>>>>>>>>

More like had we the naked military and unprepared CIA and NSA along with the recession and pending attack of our enemies due to the Lib folly.

and BTW, it is congress that handles budgets, presidents that do foreign policy. you can verify this by the lousy economy that started the minute the Libs took over. you will be able to track the utter failure of hopey Mcchnge by the foreign policy surrender that begins next week. the "clinton" surplus was actually the gingrich surplus. the "Bush" recession was actually the pelosi recession.

It is always amazing how little Libs actually do know about anything.

the Iraq war was won by bush OVER the protests of the "freedom loving" Libs in congress who conveniently changed their mind when the press decided they should and an election neared. that is Lib warmaking for ya.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 8, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

my income tax bill this year was just over $3,000- less than 5%. For all I get for that, that's pretty darn good. You got a problem with bridges?

Posted by: kreuz_missile

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

this is one of those "middle class Libs" who is clamoring for a tax cut. at least according to the NYTimes and elected Libs.

I can't wait to see all the new jobs he creates when his thousand bucks arrives at the rate of 20 dollars a week.

Let's face it, the Libs are now interested in reestablishing the welfare state for all of its ignorant base voters. If ideas don't sell, handouts will.

In about a year, after Obomanomics takes hold of our windpipe, we will be looking back at the good old days of GW Bush when we all had money in the bank, jobs to go to and houses with equity. all gone thanks to Pelosi, Reid, Frank, dodd, Wrangle and the rest of the criminals in the Lib congress, now assuming the role of repairman.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 8, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Clinton was pretty much forced into his declaration that "the era of big government is over." However, let us not forget that Obama is also forced into his declaration that "a big stimulus is needed." Had we still the magnificent budget surpluses and shrinking deficits that Clinton left us, there would be no need for the large stimulus package now a necessity. The last eight years have been a total disaster and that, dear friends, is what we are paying for.

Posted by: Opa2 | January 8, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1 -

The Boston Tea Party revolt was over a tax estimated at 3%. I'll stick with the forefathers view of taxation. By the way where do you personnally draw the line of what percentage of your gross income would be too much to pay in taxes? Or are there personal reasons that you would like to be dependent on government?

Posted by: leapin | January 8, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

leapin writes
"Let's try a little math exercise. Add up all taxes, fees (hidden taxes), sales taxes at every level of government. Remember everytime you turn on a light switch or pick up a phone you are paying a tax. Your 5% is a little low. Try 40% of your gross income."


If you know a better place to live at a lower cost, move there.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 8, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey Borgen Project Posters –

Go to the Arab states. They have $30 billion in loose change under the seats in their limo. I’m sure the religion of peace will want to help in this effort.

Posted by: leapin | January 8, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

The biggest government growths since 1947 have always been:THE PROTECTION racket---that's War,,that's Pentagon,,that's Dick Cheney Republican. Except for Ike,,who lost the POST WAR BATTLE,,the Republicans haved profited on the WAR-BLOOD trade. Every time they are out a feeling of "COUNTRY" gets started,,then they come back with the same old "WAR",, "WAR",,"WAR"
It's good for business!
KILL CHENEY, SHRUB, NORQUIST, and our world will be better!

Posted by: mudbone | January 8, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

For all I get for that, that's pretty darn good.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I always knew you were a free-loader looking for more handouts. I paid more in taxes than you made. couldn't say it was worth it. now I am supposed to pay more.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 8, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

kreuz_missile

Let's try a little math exercise. Add up all taxes, fees (hidden taxes), sales taxes at every level of government. Remember everytime you turn on a light switch or pick up a phone you are paying a tax. Your 5% is a little low. Try 40% of your gross income.

Posted by: leapin | January 8, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

$775 billion: Expected cost of the economic stimulus plan.

$1.2 trillion: Projected federal deficit for 2009.

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.

Political priorities by the numbers. Read more about it on the Borgen Project website (borgenproject.org)

Posted by: alenka | January 8, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

Posted by: atsegga | January 8, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"However, if the benevolent government wasn’t currently confiscating a large portion of my earnings I WOULD have some money to spend and help out the economy. I hear that under his plan he will be RETURNING $1,000 to my family but this amount will not be spent"

Hmmm, I've got a family of four, earned about $70K last year, and my income tax bill this year was just over $3,000- less than 5%. For all I get for that, that's pretty darn good. You got a problem with bridges?

Posted by: kreuz_missile | January 8, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I believe industries associated with unions will be well rewarded by Obama. I’m sure the construction contractors and their employees will be happy and prosperous “building bridges”. However, if the benevolent government wasn’t currently confiscating a large portion of my earnings I WOULD have some money to spend and help out the economy. I hear that under his plan he will be RETURNING $1,000 to my family but this amount will not be spent. It will just be going on to the next governmental unit that is increasing fees, taxes, and imposing assessments.

Posted by: leapin | January 8, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

kenpasadena writes
"Since we're going back in that direction [ineffective gov't], it's probably not unreasonable to expect a new Reagan era will be needed to usher out the Obama."

Big government was the result of ineffective regulation in the 20s. After FDR it took 30-odd years of Dem control of Congress to put Reagan into office in 1980, then 10 more before the Gingrich takeover of Congress in the 90s. Since then, the Dems seemed to have learned a thing or two about which aspects of government work & are necessary, while the Repubs have not. Given that the Repubs can't, at the moment, figure out what they stand for other than "anything but whatever the Dems want," I seriously doubt they're going to rally the voters any time soon. If the Dems overreach sometime in the next 8 years, the Repubs might find an opening. At the moment, they're continuing to marginalize themselves. When they start focusing on solving problems rather than playing politics, perhaps they will achieve more electoral success.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 8, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I hope that the Democrats can come together in an effort for environmental reform. I think it is particularly important for us, as consumers, to support ‘green’ business. For example, http://www.simplestop.net stops your postal junk mail and benefits the environment. I hope our government will support the effort.

Posted by: gustavion | January 8, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Lib fascism - what else can you do when your ideas could never stand up to any scrutiny?

Pelosi's Power Grab: New Rules To Muzzle GOP House Speaker Nancy Pelosi overturned a century of political practice this week by pushing through new rules designed to muzzle the Republican opposition.

Pelosi wants a spending spree passed this week and she doesn't care what it has to say. Pay - go is now Pay to play. the culture of corruption is under new more powerful management - fidel style.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 8, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Now shut up, sit back and watch how smart people fix messes.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

A. spend other people's money like crazy

funny how all those "smart" Libs gave their money to that really "smart" Madeoff to take care of things. now Hopey McChange wants all of us to just trust him and his Madeoff offspring to repeat.

Let' s temporarily ignore the fact that dodd, Frank, PeLousy, Clinton, Obama, Wrangle et al got us into this and are expected to suddenly see the light.

all the outcry from Libs about deficits has suddenly vanished.

this ridiculous spending SPLURGE is set to cost more than every war we ever fought in combined. and this poltroon isn't even in office yet.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 8, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Schumer and Obama forget what created the Reagan Revolution in the first place: big, bureacratic ineffective government, too much regulation and high taxes. Since we're going back in that direction, it's probably not unreasonable to expect a new Reagan era will be needed to usher out the Obama era.

Posted by: kenpasadena | January 8, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

One level of debate is the size of the economic recovery plan. But a deeper division has to do with different ideas on the appropriate size for different components of our economy. A big source of our problems has been an excessively stimulated economy driven by unsustainable consumption and consumer deficit spending. The happy talkers who think our problem is lack of confidence that can be corrected by a stimulus to upper class spending are just trying to restore our problems. Our economy has been starved of government spending that can help lay the foundation for a more balanced and more sustainable future economy. While much of the recovery plan will be focused on short term goals, Obama has repeatedly made it clear that he wants to start dealing with the longer term problems right away as well.

Posted by: dnjake | January 8, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

If only we spend a ton more, let the crooks who did this figure a way out and let the newcomer who knows nothing do whatever he wants with no questions asked, we will get out of this in no time.

Posted by: king_of_zouk

*********************

Sounds like the last 8 years (except they left the democrats to find a way out)

Posted by: dinsdalep | January 8, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Look Zouk - your party is unequivocally to blame for destroying the economy and our global image. Now shut up, sit back and watch how smart people fix messes.

If your party knew anything about anything we wouldnt be here, so don't make it sound like republicans know what's good for the country, and dont think the majority of voting Americans care what you think.

Posted by: dinsdalep | January 8, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

2009 - That Was The Year That Was: Anorak’s diary for the upcoming 12 months…

JANUARY

Barack Obama makes history as the first African-American sworn in as President of the United States; Invoking legacy of Franklin Roosevelt, promises America “nine years of economic depression, four years of world war, eventual nuking of Japan”

Obama supporters left disappointed as oceans remain at static levels, planet fails to heal self, Dow drops below zero

JUNE

US currency printing presses unable to keep pace with bailout demands, Chinese green ink embargo; Obama encourages Americans to print off dollars on home computers; “We are the bailout we’ve been waiting for,” says Prez


AUGUST

In televised address Obama blames sluggish US economy on “too many Wall Street fat cats”; in kitchen sequence with new Cooking Czar Jamie Oliver, shows how surplus fat cats can be skinned, filleted, and fried in light olive oil

SEPTEMBER

Hollywood reports another disappointing box office summer despite dozens of new critically acclaimed anti-Bush movies; big winner is escapist teen fantasy “High School Musical III: Senior Class Survival”

Glacier attacks, subsumes Al Gore at International Conference to Stop He Who Must Not Be Named; “I’ll be back,” vows Nobelist slowly sinking into ice

OCTOBER

U.S. Government officially bankrupt after gambling $15 trillion on Chicago Cubs to win baseball World Series; “after 100 years it seemed like they were finally due,” shrugs Obama

Chinese foreclose, U.S. Government moves to strip mall in Glendale, Arizona; evicted after numerous complaints of noise, smell, blocking the entrance to Safeway


In response to national firewood and ignitable peat crisis, Obama offers American families 20 pounds of free paper recycled from government global warming studies; “please remember to wear your sweater if you haven’t already eaten it,” urges president


http://www.anorak.co.uk/media/199510.html

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 8, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Lib decision making simplified:

You have a problem, any problem. do you?

A. Spend more
B. surrender and retreat
C. all of the above

It really is that simple for Libs.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 8, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

everyone's finally seen that the other party possesses neither the intelligence nor the competence to run the federal government (or any other one).


Posted by: jdunph1


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

If only we spend a ton more, let the crooks who did this figure a way out and let the newcomer who knows nothing do whatever he wants with no questions asked, we will get out of this in no time.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 8, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Huh? Didn't the Republicans borrow over a trillion dollars for their War In Iraq? And aren't we still stuck there, spending millions every month? That sounds like some kinda Big Government to me, and apparently sounded like it to a majority of voters last November. Maybe the American people want a President who'll spend their hard-earned money on Americans for a change.

Posted by: gmcduluth | January 8, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

As VP-elect Joe Biden wrote in his most recent book, "it takes a lot less energy, intelligence, and competence to run against government than to try and make it work."
Thankfully, everyone's finally seen that the other party possesses neither the intelligence nor the competence to run the federal government (or any other one).

Posted by: jdunph1 | January 8, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Rakeshpol,
Excuse me but you are way out of line. Chris is asking the right question here: is the American public going to support Obama's huge stimulus package and accompanying expansion of government? Keep in mind that voters are worried we are entering an economic depression, and so are prepared to give the new President a fair amount of leeway--but a trillion dollars' worth? I don't think so. Plus, we are not talking about temporary programs here that will disappear when the economy rights itself--these are mostly open-ended expansion programs. As such they are hard to set up and even harder to shut down.

So it is absolutely on the money to ask whether the public supports setting off on this road, because it will be difficult to turn back, and we should have no illusions about that.

IMO, Republicans should do exactly what they are doing: tread cautiously, allow that some stimulus is clearly needed, but that we can't bankrupt the next two generations to save this one from the fruits of its own excess. And when the Dems start flinging taxpayer cash at wasteful projects (which they will do) the opposition will make political hay and sweep back in two years. It is like clockwork.

Keep up the good work, Chris.


Posted by: Clio1 | January 8, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy -
A quote from the above blog post as quoted by Obama
I would like to counter that the only way to break the vicious cycle is to free the american people from taxes and unnecessary spending so that they can keep their paychecks in their pockets thereby allowing them more money to spend in the economy.
It is so bad right now that I have to work 2 job JUST PAY BILLS AND BUY GROCERIES.
I should be lucky to have 1 job let alone 2 but there it is.
Any kind of stimulus check I MIGHT receive is only going to go to my bills.
I have no expendable income to spend on "things" I can't go shopping for anything unnecessary
BUT I know people who can - and those are the individuals labled "rich" and they won't be seeing any kind of stimulus

Posted by: dolfriend2003 | January 8, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chris, where have you being for the past 8 years, wow, now you're talking about a big government, that Obama dare to give tax cut to the working poeple, and spend money in Infrastructure, that for you is a big spending, and spending 800 billion dollars in Iraq was a good spending, What are you smoking Men?

Posted by: tqmek1 | January 8, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Given the ongoing generally high approval ratings for PE Obama, GOP leadership needs to tread carefully around this legislation. If they have concerns about how the money is being spent, they need to work with the Dems & incoming President to find solutions agreeable to a majority. If they instead try to merely block the legislation as unpalatable or typical liberal tax and spend, big government blah blah blah, they risk losing what little support they have now.

A large part of Obama's victory was the message about getting over hyperpartisanship. GOP leadership would do themselves well to get on that bandwagon & find constructive ways to disagree with Obama. They don't have to give up their ideology, but they should try to promote the ideology constructively rather than adversarially.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 8, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I am shocked, shocked to find that Snobama proposes vast spending sprees, oppressive regulation, surrender and defeat at CIA and cozy relations with corruption of all stripes.

Welcome to Lib land.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 8, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

Do you have any other solution?, if then present your solutions otherwise shut up.

Being a blogger don't just "opine" be a part of the solution not the problem.

Country is full of bloggers who merely report and criticize, how are you different ?

Posted by: rakeshpol | January 8, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Check up on the results of Japan's experiment with big government solutions to their recession. BHO=SOS.

Posted by: leapin | January 8, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

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