Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In the Bag

John Cole on today's Tea Party nonsense:

You know what really irritates me about the tea parties? The basic fact that if right now, it were President John McCain and not President Obama, and nothing else had changed, these tea parties wouldn’t exist. You know it, I know it, and even the teabaggers know it. It is just such transparent bullshit that it is offensive. The most these guys ever did during the last lost eight years was put a limp Porkbusters logo on their website, but now that we have President Malcom X George McGovern Shabazz, they are freaking out like there is no tomorrow. So absurd.

That's about right. This had nothing to do with taxes, or spending, or anything of the sort. It had to do with a Democrat in the White House, pure and simple.

A couple of other quotes I liked today. First, Steve Benen:

So, at some point in the future (we don't know when), some politicians (we don't know who) might find it necessary to raise taxes. Whose taxes would be raised? It's too soon to say. How much would taxes go up? No one knows.

But the mere prospect of a possible future tax increase has led untold thousands of activists, an entire cable news network, corporate lobbyists, conservative bloggers, conservative talk-radio hosts, and Republican officials to organize a series of national events. With extraordinary foresight, they've organized thousands of rallies to register their outrage, not at existing tax rates, but at tax policies that haven't been proposed, but might exist at some undermined point.

Got it.

And Andrew Sullivan:

But the substantive critique must remain the primary one. Protesting government spending is meaningless unless you say what you'd cut.

If you favor no bailouts, then say so. If you want to see the banking system collapse, then say so. If you think the recession demands no fiscal stimulus, then say so. If you favor big cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, social security and defense, then say so. I keep waiting for Reynolds to tell us what these protests are for; and he can only spin what they they are against.

All protests against spending that do not tell us how to reduce it are fatuous pieces of theater, not constructive acts of politics. And until the right is able to make a constructive and specific argument about how they intend to reduce spending and debt and borrowing, they deserve to be dismissed as performance artists in a desperate search for coherence in an age that has left them bewilderingly behind.

And by "specifying cuts", well, cutting earmarks and volcano monitoring just isn't going to work. Kevin Drum has the goods on that.

In short: the Tea Party people just aren't serious. They don't know what they're doing, they don't know what they're talking about, and they're in love with policies that didn't work the first time(s) they were tried. Other than that, though, they're fine patriots, each and every one!

(I had to watch some of this nonsense today while I was at the Y working out; I like to use the stationary bikes and the one I chose was unfortunately directly underneath the teevee that's tuned to FOX News. Now, most of the teevees at The Store are also tuned to FOX News, and every time I walked by one of them today, their footage was breathless Tea Party stuff. FOX isn't even trying to pretend to be "fair and balanced" anymore, are they? They're the Limbaugh-Coulter-Beck News Channel.

Anyway, there on the teevee at the Y was Glenn Beck, who strikes me as being your standard right-wing teevee pundit these days: loud and blitheringly stupid. At one point he had Jeanine Turner on so she could do the "OMG, I'm the only Republican in Hollywood!" schtick that Republicans in Hollywood like to do, and for a few minutes they blathered on about what a wonderful leader Sarah Palin is.

This Sarah Palin.



The Earl of Obvious said...

"That's about right. This had nothing to do with taxes, or spending, or anything of the sort. It had to do with a Democrat in the White House, pure and simple."

Sire, if I may beg your forgiveness and humbly interject my foolhardy opinion; Isn't this really about conservatives protesting? And as far as dismissing them as not being serious; I mean are we really to believe that non-conservative protesters DO know what they are talking about?

President Obama has just INCREASED the number of troops going to Afghanistan which contradicts the anti-war movement of previous years, unless I missed their pro-bombing cohort.

Again please have amnesty in your heart as you dismiss my audacious outburst of opinion. Do take mercy on my land and IP address.

Will Duquette said...

Fact is, Jaq, my family and I were at a TEA party protest today. And we weren't there because there's a Democrat in the White House. We were there because the Democrat in the White House signed a trillion dollar stimulus package. The Bush deficit doesn't begin to approach it.

Call me Paul said...

I'm always amazed at how post election rhetoric pretends that everything that happened before the election was irrelevant, or even imaginary. The trillion dollar stimulus bill that President Obama signed - bill that is designed to help mitigate the worst US fiscal crisis since 1919 - a fiscal crisis entirely created by irresponsible conservative fiscal practices over the last two plus decades - is almost exactly the same stimulus bill that was tabled by the government that preceded him prior to him taking office. If you are trying to tell us that John McCain would have done something different...please. Don't insult our intelligence.

Roger Owen Green said...

I beg to disagree slightly: Glenn Beck is not your standard TV pundit; he's a wack job. Look at the latter video here.

Kelly Sedinger said...

Will: Fine. I take it, then, that you believe that the current economic crisis could be averted without a massive amount of government spending. OK, then. Protest away. For myself, I prefer to not find out firsthand what a Great Depression feels like right now, and worry about the deficits later (and I'm not delusional enough to believe that we're not going to have to deal with them -- but rather that the current disastrous economy has made it necessary).

Earl: I don't ban or retaliate against people who disagree with me on stuff, so feel free to disagree. Just don't be obnoxious about it, is all. (I don't see that as being an issue with you.) On Obama increasing troops to Afghanistan, he said all along in the campaign that he would do that, and many who were against the Iraq War nevertheless believed that Afghanistan was an important place to be fighting, so it's not as if Obama was elected purely by an "against all wars" crowd.

The Earl of Obvious said...

Paul and the other knights present:

"Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist."

-John Maynard Keynes

Groupthink is a powerful force that can keep people thinking inside the box WAY too long. I wish the President would stop trying to save the economy and start rebuilding it.

Kerry said...

I'm still laughing about hearing the words "teabagging" and "Dick Armey" in the same sentence on TV yesterday. Ohhhh, it's too easy...

Anonymous said...

This is the best example I can think of for this disscussion. are you and individual wanting to go on with your life or would you rather organize the lives of others? Frankly I see the Democrats pursuing raw power over others lives below is Walter Lippman The Money shot is in the final paragraph.

Walter Lippmann on the warfare between the Roosevelt administration and the business community, and why attempts at peace always broke down, in the New York Herald Tribune, May 16, 1939:

The reason is that there are in fact two main tendencies inside the New Deal, and . . . the President is never able finally to make his choice for the one or the other. Between the conciliatory and irreconcilable New Dealers the crucial difference is . . . that the one group is interested primarily in social reform and the other is interested primarily in the control of the economic system.

Thus the reformers wish to provide relief, to practice conservation, to establish social security, and by law to impose social standards upon business and finance. But in order to do these things, they know that there must be money available, and so . . . they would like to promote recovery, not only for its own sake, but in order to finance the reforms. When they are convinced that a certain tax is "deterrent" to enterprise and investment, they would like to modify it.

The radicals, on the other hand, are . . . primarily interested in reducing the power of corporate business men, and the heart of their program is . . . precisely those deterrent taxes and those restrictive regulations which limit private initiative. . . . they would rather not have recovery if the revival of private initiative means a resumption of private control in the management of corporate business.

Among the radical New Dealers the essence of the New Deal is the reduction of private corporate control by collective bargaining and labor legislation, on the one side, and by restrictive, competitive and deterrent government action on the other side. Thus they cling to taxes which do not come anywhere near to yielding enough revenue to balance the budget because those particular taxes paralyze the financial power of the rich and well-to-do. . . .

This is the issue between the reformers and the radicals. Both believe in spending. . . . [But] [t]he reformers regard the spending as an instrument of recovery and a means for improving the condition of the people. The radicals regard the spending as a substitute for recovery and as a means of altering the balance of social policy.

Remember They dont want recovery they want DEPENDANCE.

Thats my 2 bits

DavidS (read Star-fire)

The Earl of Obvious said...

I wonder if our analogies are correct. There seems to be a tendency to compare this economy with that of the Great Depression and President Obama with FDR.

If we go with the Great Depression anaology, would it be more appropriate to compare the President with Herbert Hoover?

Hoover and his man Mellon desperately tried to thwart economic catastrophe using tactics of asset liquidation (a philosophy based on past evidence).

President Obama is doing the same using the philosophy of JM Keynes. What evidence do we have that Keynesianism works?

Anonymous said...

Shortly after class, an economics student approaches his economics professor and says, "I don't understand this stimulus bill. Can you explain it to me?" The professor replied, "I don't have any time to explain it at my office, but if you come over to my house on Saturday and help me with my weekend project, I'll be glad to explain it to you." The student agreed.

At the agreed-upon time, the student showed up at the professor's house. The professor stated that the weekend project involved his backyard pool. They both went out back to the pool, and the professor handed the student a bucket. Demonstrating with his own bucket, the professor said, "First, go over to the deep end, and fill your bucket with as much water as you can." The student did as he was instructed. The professor then continued, "Follow me over to the shallow end, and then dump all the water from your bucket into it." The student was naturally confused, but did as he was told. The professor then explained they were going to do this many more times, and began walking back to the deep end of the pool.

The confused student asked, "Excuse me, but why are we doing this?" The professor matter-of-factly stated that he was trying to make the shallow end much deeper. The student didn't think the economics professor was serious, but figured that he would find out the real story soon enough. However, after the 6th trip between the shallow end and the deep end, the student began to become worried that his economics professor had gone mad.

The student finally replied, "All we're doing is wasting valuable time and effort on unproductive pursuits. Even worse, when this process is all over, everything will be at the same level it was before, so all you'll really have accomplished is the destruction of what could have been truly productive action!" The professor put down his bucket and replied with a smile, "Congratulations. You now understand the stimulus bill."


Another 2 bits

DavidS (Read Star-Fire)

Anonymous said...

What evidence do we have that Keynesianism works?


Repeat 10 times


Write NONE and put on Post on Computer monitor

Google: Japan Economic History 1990-2000

More 2 bits

DavidS (Read Star-Fire)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kelly Sedinger said...

To whomever left the comment I've just deleted: Please do not cut-and-paste long articles into my comments space, and certainly don't do it without attribution. When I wish to hear what Dick Morris has to say about Barack Obama, I will go to Newsmax and see for myself. Thank you.