Finally Seeing The Light

(Veteran polster Harry Doby seems the light and admits the right wing noise machine is right — we need to stop whining about getting people back to work and cut taxes for the super rich again.  I can only assume he’s serious;-) – promoted by Voyageur)

Reading for oh, maybe the 100th time, that Keynesian fiscal stimulus was a terrible mistake, and was powerless to offset the  economic collapse of 2008/2009, the arguments are finally making sense to me with their elegance and simplicity.

I’ve decided that economic models showing annual deficits in the $2 trillion range, and unemployment reaching high double-digits is just so much cynical fear-mongering meant to get Libs elected into office.

In a new paper, the economists argue that without the Wall Street bailout, the bank stress tests, the emergency lending and asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, and the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus program, the nation’s gross domestic product would be about 6.5 percent lower this year.

In addition, there would be about 8.5 million fewer jobs, on top of the more than 8 million already lost; and the economy would be experiencing deflation, instead of low inflation.

If the fiscal stimulus alone had been enacted, and not the financial measures, they concluded, real G.D.P. would have fallen 5 percent last year, with 12 million jobs lost. But if only the financial measures had been enacted, and not the stimulus, real G.D.P. would have fallen nearly 4 percent, with 10 million jobs lost.

The reality is that if we had instead adopted the Laissez-faire approach of doing nothing and letting the economy’s natural free-market forces take over, we’d be in much better shape.

Renowned Mississippi economist and free thinker, William F. Shughart II (after all he’s a jolly good fellow with the Independence Institute) prescribes the cure for our economic ills is to simply cut taxes and eliminate regulation.  Thus in one fell swoop, this frees up money for the top 1% on the economic ladder to spend more freely on things that matter – bigger homes (thus fueling a revival in the housing market), fancier jets (thus spurring the aerospace industry) and once and for all answering the question, is a 400-foot yacht big enough?

And by unshackling businesses from pesky regulations, such as forcing companies to fill out government forms  regarding how many people were injured on the job each year, how much land was contaminated by their industrial spills, or filling out environmental impact studies on why they want to develop pristine federal lands, we should just let companies decide where to best invest their windfall profits, spurring a new “Oklahoma Land Rush”, but in this case, all around the nation for all the currently wasted billions of acres of Federal lands – you know, empty deserts, national wildlife refuges and national parks – economic wastelands, all!

The other benefit of cutting taxes and eliminating regulations is that we wouldn’t need much government anymore.  And since the real decision-making and power would lie in the hands of just a few CEO’s, we wouldn’t need much more than a figurehead President, and Congress could practically disband, or at most, simply become an advisory “business roundtable” to help the Koch brothers determine where to focus their job creation activities.

Speaking of jobs, encouraging the wealthy to create high-paying non-union jobs is pretty smart.  We all know it’s better to take unemployment and welfare benefits from the government rather than pay income taxes.  So by cutting or eliminating taxes, people will finally decide to take all those $100k non-union jobs that currently go begging (or worse, get filled by illegal immigrant drug dealers) rather than pay $10k to $20k in taxes each year on that salary.

For the workers that don’t have the smarts or gumption for the top paying jobs, the ruling oligarchy would reach back to the ’50’s for inspiration.  Oh, not the 1950’s – I mean the 1850’s — when we had company towns where employees were provided housing, jobs, places to shop, etc. And instead of using expensive government currency, the companies printed their own, much more economically efficient scrip, redeemable only at company-owned stores, thus keeping the money exclusively with the company and the local economy.  This increases company profits and thus creates even more jobs.  Plus this had the added benefit of preventing “outside” influences on employees tempted to travel out of town to spend their money supporting potential rivals that might be employing cheap foreign labor.

And since farming was such a big factor of the economy back in the 1850’s, we would do well to emulate the model practiced mainly in the South back then.  Again, folks were well taken care of and didn’t have any economic worries because every possible need was taken care of by benevolent plantation owners.  Free healthcare, plenty of food, guaranteed lifetime employment, and you didn’t have to worry about managing your money or dealing with banks and loans and such because money wasn’t used at all.

Yessiree, today’s GOP and their economic advisers are right – we’d be much better off if we left the hard thinking and decision-making to the wealthy few, and we just focused on working really, really hard at whatever they tell us to do.

30 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

    • harrydoby says:

      As David Thi808 would say, this isn’t going to sway the undecideds.

      My English teacher in high school, Rhoda Radow had a saying:  “Those that sit on the fence deserve to fall off on both sides at the same time”

      • jpsandscl says:

        not snarky. sorry if it came off otherwise. I think you are right on the money.

        • harrydoby says:

          I understood immediately that you were being complementary.

          My reply was a commentary on the fact that this diary isn’t likely to change many minds.

          Few Republicans will read it to the end.  Even fewer will see anything in their actions or beliefs that would lead to the scenario painted by my story.

          Undecideds, bless their hearts, are confused, fearful, and ill-equipped to make a rational choice given the short shrift the TV and even print media give to most politicized issues bandied about in the news.  That, combined with ignorance and apathy get them through their days.

          Really, my hope is to further motivate “the choir”, as if they needed a reminder of why we work hard to try to make the world better, not just for ourselves, but our children, our neighbors, our community, the nation and our world. (cue violins, trumpets and brave families looking skyward)

          I know you and I differed on the question of who should be our Senator.  I respect Andrew, but not his campaign.  I respect Michael Bennet, and am aghast that both some Dems and most Republicans see him as dishonest, when in fact, he has given much deep thought to every issue before him and the decisions he has to make in the Senate.

          That the choice is between him, and Ken Buck, a man whose track record from a decade ago to as late as this past week is to say whatever imprudent thought crosses his mind, only to retract or contradict it when it becomes unpopular with his benefactors, is at all competitive says much about the inability of today’s voters to distinguish between sincerity and naked ambition.

          I leave it for the readers to decide which characteristic is attributed to Bennet and the other to Buck.

          • JO says:

            But there is this from today’s menu:

            BennetPols.com puts Bennet at 4:1 vs Buck at 5:1, whatever those numbers are meant to mean. Bennet appears (to me) to have virtually no skills in campaigning, no charisma as a candidate. Hell, he can’t even smile convincingly. Campaigning is, like it or not, part of the job, a part at which Bennet has no experience and precious little skill.

            In the normal course of events, would-be politicos get some practice at this by running for lesser offices, then learn how to be effective in office the same way–practice and experience. Bennet has none of that either. Therefore, we are told: vote for him because the wildly successful governor plucked him from nowhere, or because Obama endorsed him, and because he was given the official Democratic label to wear, the latest gift in a lifetime of gifts.

            At the same time though, Bennet starts out by pushing for a stimulus smaller than the one proposed by Obama, in the process sounding not entirely unlike a Republican in Democrat’s clothing. And thus we get back to the topic of this diary.

            Yeah, bygones, who wants Buck, and all that. No one is still stuck in July. We are in September, in the election campaign, B vs. B. Beating Romanoff has done bugger-all for Bennet as a campaigner, has done bugger-all to persuade me that he is promoting the Democratic agenda, and bugger-all to get me out from in front of this screen to try to persuade neighbors to be sure to vote for him.

            • dwyer says:

              He sees people as a factor in a problem to be solved.  He does not see them as being in charge.  Romanoff won big in Denver and Boulder counties, not because we are more “progressive,” but because we knew Bennet best.

              • JO says:

                Two years ago, lots of us were highly motivated to get out there and work for Obama. Partly it was the war in Iraq. Partly it was that notion of Hope, rarely, oh so rarely, ignited by a politician. Jack. Bobby. And then Obama.

                Something happened in the meantime, with the result that Obama’s coattails got a whole lot shorter. And while no one expects every Senate candidate to carry that charisma — my god, how many times a day could we tolerate our fuses blowing? — is it too much to expect a little bit? As I said, how about smiling in a way that seems like you mean it, just a teensy? After all, some part of electoral politics is about self-delusion, is it not?

                OK, nothing to be done about that now. Maybe we’ll hold our noses and pull the lever, or fill in the box, or whatever we do. Hold Your Nose and Vote for Mike!

                Is that enough to beat the Son of Mother Bucker in the Year of the Teahadists? TBD.

                • jpsandscl says:

                  I like and respect you a great deal. You’re diaries and comments are always (nearly) right on the money. But even a bad Democrat has to be viewed as a more positive result than the best Republican if you hold the views we both share. Unfortunately our political system does not give sufficient weight to the good or bad individual candidates. It gives nearly all power to the party structures which are determined by which party holds the majority.

                  So I will continue to press for a more liberal (there, I said it!) agenda, but I will do so by continuing to work to elect Democrats. It is our only chance. From there we can work to expand the good work we want to see done by pressing our agenda from within.

                  • JO says:

                    The main role of the junior senator from Colorado in 2011 (indeed, of both senators from Colorado) will be to vote for the next majority leader, and all that comes with that. AND, we’re stuck with whom we’re stuck, so nobody is going to Buck themselves by voting for the other guy. My only point is that for some of us, it takes a tad more than that to get on the phone, hour after hour, to strangers and pitch the pitch. I apologize for needing positive motivation from the candidate — and this from someone who claims to vote for ideas, not pretty faces — and maybe I’ll get over in the next few weeks… if only I were persuaded My Man Mike shared the ideas, too.

                  • harrydoby says:

                    JO makes a very good point about how expectations during the 2008 campaign were much greater than the reality of the last 2 years.

                    Some of that was unavoidable, some not.

                    I think the conscious strategy was to try to rack up “victories”, however compromised, in the belief that the details would soon be forgotten, while we could always point to the headlines proclaiming historic wins.

                    The final bill for Healthcare reform might have been nudged a little bit further to the better if (as have been pointed out by JO and others) the starting point was slightly more radical than a warmed-over GOP think-tank plan from the ’90’s.

                    But going down in glorious flames on that bill to get the last drop of progressive solutions packed into the final bill was not a smart option.

                    But should we make a strategic decision to take a hard stand on an issue that would sharply define the difference between a progressive vision for the future vs. a reactionary one touted by the GOP and TeaPartyers?  

                    Even if we strike out?  Perhaps.

                    Should we think about mothballing an aircraft carrier group or two and apply the savings to green energy investments to rebuild our manufacturing base, create jobs and provide for our strategic security better than another dozen aircraft carriers could?

                    Cowards die a thousand deaths, but the brave only die once.  Many times the brave don’t die at all.  Maybe we should try it some time.

                  • harrydoby says:

                    JO makes a very good point about how expectations during the 2008 campaign were much greater than the reality of the last 2 years.

                    Some of that was unavoidable, some not.

                    I think the conscious strategy was to try to rack up “victories”, however compromised, in the belief that the details would soon be forgotten, while we could always point to the headlines proclaiming historic wins.

                    The final bill for Healthcare reform might have been nudged a little bit further to the better if (as have been pointed out by JO and others) the starting point was slightly more radical than a warmed-over GOP think-tank plan from the ’90’s.

                    But going down in glorious flames on that bill to get the last drop of progressive solutions packed into the final bill was not a smart option.

                    But should we make a strategic decision to take a hard stand on an issue that would sharply define the difference between a progressive vision for the future vs. a reactionary one touted by the GOP and TeaPartyers?  

                    Even if we strike out?  Perhaps.

                    Should we think about mothballing an aircraft carrier group or two and apply the savings to green energy investments to rebuild our manufacturing base, create jobs and provide for our strategic security better than another dozen aircraft carriers could?

                    Cowards die a thousand deaths, but the brave only die once.  Many times the brave don’t die at all.  Maybe we should try it some time.

                    • harrydoby says:

                      But then maybe the server thought my last message bore repeating 😉

                    • jpsandscl says:

                      when talking about your post!

                      😀

                      But I think the larger challenge is to define the argument in terms that the larger electorate will perceive as being the best for them. It still amazes me how the right co-opts voters with socially divisive issues and then uses those issues to get people to vote absolutely against their own self interests.

                      I think we saw some effective counter to that with issues voting in 2006 and 2008 that brought our side to the polls in stronger numbers, whether to defeat extremist positions pushed by the right (a blastocyst is a human being) or our more progressive issues.

                      Lakoff is right. We need to stop reacting constantly to the divisiveness on the right and frame the issues from our perspectives and then get those frames out into the electorate until they become “of course…” ideas to the voters. Of course a fertilized egg is not a complete human being! How ridiculous! Of course every child deserves a good education! Of course we all deserve clean air to breathe and clean water to drink!

                      We had the high ground at a time long ago and we ceded it tot he right many decades ago and now they drive every conversation in the public sphere with their presumptive positions.

                  • JO says:

                    It’s a question with more than one right answer:

                    Whether ’tis nobler to win a majority with a compromised position, or to fight for the principle and go down swinging to fight another day.

                    (No one, and I mean no one, is talking about voting for a Republican here! Not just morally wrong; more like a venal sin with an express ticket to hell!)

                    I know how many on this site would answer my question. I also know that time was when Democrats included, and depended upon for their reliable Congressional majority, southern Dixiecrats who were “Democrats” for just one reason: it meant they weren’t voting for the party of Lincoln and Emancipation. When Nixon cleared away that problem in 1968… (and thanks in part to what happened in Grant Park in Chicago? Perhaps, but Daley was a Democrat too, as were most of the Chicago cops that year, I’d guess, and LBJ certainly was!), Strom & Co. came stormin’ right on into Tricky’s Lair.

                    The fact that Senate rules — no law passed by the House and signed by any President — facilitate this situation, indeed make it 10X worse by boosting the “majority” to 60% — is all the more outrageous. Why ever do we tolerate this? Oh yeah, keep forgetting: might benefit us some day, like some day next January.

                    It’s a great weakness of the two-party system, especially when neither choice is particularly pleasant. And, oddly, the system in turn presents its own two-choices: whether to compromise or to lose.

                    Rail, rail against the dying of the light, JO. That doesn’t mean Xcel listens to any sounds besides “pay to the order of,”  but we can curse the darkness all we want, O we pure of heart, heaven bound… (Careful! Don’t spill barbeque sauce on my white robes!)

              • MADCO says:

                AR barely won in Denver and Boulder. Not even 8points, the margin Bennet won by overall.

                And that AR won in these areas is not because you know Bennet best, but because you know and like AR best.  

  1. JO says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09

    The eventual “cure” to the Depression was WWII. I don’t have any confidence in Afghanistan this time around. Iran?

    Perhaps we need to be watching the anti-Islam hysteria a bit more closely, and from a different perspective.

    • harrydoby says:

      And it’s slightly sickening to realize that the big winners in the midterm elections are likely to be the very people who first got us into this mess, then did everything in their power to block action to get us out.

      • jpsandscl says:

        they block us at every turn (admittedly with Blue Dog support) and then claim we can’t be effective. So they win on both sides. It is still an amazingly Orwellian world we live in, isn’t it?

        • harrydoby says:

          Sadly, reason and calm debate never have been as effective as a scary message.

          The mushroom cloud ad LBJ ran against Goldwater was one of the better examples.

          Maybe we should be showing pictures of bread lines and Hoovervilles and bluntly explain that this is the fate the GOP tried and nearly succeeded in giving us.  

          And they are eager to try again and again until they succeed.

          • jpsandscl says:

            I agree. Politics is ugly, but winning and losing are important.

            There are real consequences to losing while try to keep our honor and dignity intact. Our opponents understand this in their bones.

        • JO says:

          Key phrase in your comment: with Blue Dog support.

          The teahadists have a story, ignorant though it may be, that even the simple-minded (in deed, especially the simple-minded) can grasp: “Cut taxes, shrink government, all will be well. Cut taxes, shrink government, all will be well. Cut taxes…”

          Fuggedabout facts. Fuggedabout history. Fuggedabout economics. “Cut taxes, shrink government, all will be well!”

          Do we hear a similarly clear story from the Democrats? “Put people to work, we know how. Put people to work; we know how. Put people to work….” No, we do not.

          Instead, per Krugman, we kept hearing: “It’s working, really it is. It’s working, really it is.” Only it wasn’t, and didn’t. So, if the Dems thought their undersized stimulus was the way to go, and it wasn’t, that opened the way to the likes of Buck, while at the same time effectively closing the way to “Whoops, gotta give it a bit more ummph, a whole lot more, ’til it works.” Bucked over because the Flue Dogs didn’t really believe their own ideology, thought it better to seem “moderate” for the sake of seeming moderate, maybe pass for Republicans at the country club admissions interview (wasn’t that the experience of the 90s, when we failed to get a majority of votes in two presidential elections in a row?), talk as if they were one-time investment bankers who studied at the feet of Philip Anshutz, et cetera ad nauseum.

          Now we stand to be hoisted by their own retards. God save us all.  

  2. dmindgo says:

    Does the tax rebate in the spring of 2008 count as Keynesian or a tax cut (of sorts).

    • JO says:

      …is a one-time shot, and not a terribly big one at that (what did you buy with yours?).

      “Keynesian,” as I understand your meaning, is rather more like WPA or CCC — an institution (or project) that provides ongoing work for the unemployed, not forever but long enough ’til something better is generated.

      I suppose both could be classified as Keynesian (“dead…pack of lies” according to Teathodoxy) insofar as both represent government pumping cash into the economy to stimulate demand.

      How much of this is enough? Enough to get the economic wheels rolling and keep rolling; more than we’ve had to date, regardless of how you classify what’s happened in the past. I suppose remodeling the Oval Office was Keynesian; but now we need to remodel my office…

      (Meantime, as requested,Tancredoites can continue working in the outhouse, replacing the undocumented immigrants. Scrub away boys; we’ve seen your papers, thanks…)

      • jpsandscl says:

        if it is stimulative in nature, meaning working on a deficit to pump more money into the economy than would otherwise have been there. Then the question might be to what degree is it stimulative. Krugman had in his recent column the fact that economists foretold the economy running ~$2.3 trillion below capacity for two years from 2008-2010 or 2009 to 2011 (don’t recall the exact years, it is up on http://www.nytimes.com ) while the stimulus was only ~$800 billion an dis already wearing off. Too little and not for a long enough duration.

        In Colorado, how do we stimulate without the ability to run deficits?

        • harrydoby says:

          When the state spends money to promote tourism, that’s stimulus.

          When we allocate scarce budget dollars to seed investments in green energy that draws matching funds from the Feds or private industry, and promotes a new growth industry, that’s stimulus.

          When we spend tax dollars on infrastructure that attract companies to move or expand in Colorado, that’s stimulus.

          Cutting taxes for the wealthy so they can save the money, send it overseas, etc. is not stimulus.

          • jpsandscl says:

            Bush’s tax cuts for the upper 1% of tax payers wasn’t stimulative. That is correct. But in order for spending to be stimulative in the macro economy, it needs to be as a deficit to revenues though.

            • harrydoby says:

              But both the long term and short term goal is to stimulate net economic growth.  If the investment needed to do that is borrowed money, then sure, it’s deficit spending, which on the scale of the federal government, it usually would be.

              But from the state’s vantage point with the balanced budget mandate, stimulative spending is from reprioritizing any savings or revenue sources that can be targeted to areas that will result in net economic growth.  The scale is of course much smaller than the federal government would attempt, and the results would unlikely be immediate except for the boost in consumer and/or business confidence in the state government’s ability to do the smart thing.

              Of course, passing a bond issue for an infrastructure project (DIA, Fastraks, high speed rail to the western slope, etc.) or to fund student loans, etc. is one way the state can stimulate the economy.

    • harrydoby says:

      Love the episode of the original Star Trek, where Kirk causes Nomad to self-destruct by pointing out the logical flaw in it’s prime directive:

      Kirk again confronts Nomad and questions its logic of destroying imperfect beings. Kirk tells Nomad that Nomad itself has made a mistake, something only an imperfect being can do. He tells Nomad that its creator is Jackson Roykirk, not himself, and that Nomad is in error. Kirk further notes that Nomad’s failure to discover its first error is a second error and further evidence of its imperfection.

      Finally, Kirk points out that Nomad’s delayed immediate-execution in light of these errors is a third error. Realizing the implications of Kirk’s reasoning, Nomad is caught in a logic loop, and begins to execute its primary function on itself. The machine begins self-destruction, shaking about in place instead of steadily hovering, its simulated voice rising in pitch.

      The ultra-logical Mr. Spock, who has been watching this confrontation, compliments Kirk, saying: “Your logic is impeccable, Captain. We are in grave danger.” At the last moment, Kirk has Nomad rushed to the transporter room and beamed into space. Seconds after transport an explosion is detected near the Enterprise and Nomad is no more.

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