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February 23, 2010

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Clarice

I'm astonished to learn there were not D-B prevailing wages everywhere for caulkers and insulation installers.
I do love this story though. It highlights everything wrong with this Administration:Too many concessions to organized labor; no practical sense about how our economy, people or states function; and sly efforts to buy more votes that simply end in failure and pratfalls.

I can't say I'm astonished to learn that the states rid themselves of the port purveyors first--before laying off teachers and firemen and cops.Heck, don't they understand the concept of "essential workers"?

Clarice

**porK purveyors***

Rob Crawford

Hey, we're ahead of the Australians. They had a similar insulation program that resulted in four deaths and multiple house fires.

anduril

This is so pathetic, when I think of all the small contractors out there who could be doing this far far less, employing people, etc. It's so typical of this admin's view that they can change reality with words. Utterly out of touch.

This is so depressing I think I'll head out to my local port purveyor.

Extraneus

My mother had this free government weatherization done some years ago. After the sealing and caulking, they even gave her a new energy-efficient range and refrigerator. When she later complained that the refrigerator was too small (it was the same size as her old one), they came and replaced it with a bigger model. (She was not the type whose complaining could be easily withstood.)

Just one of the many manifestations of the global warming scam.

bunkerbuster

As an Obama supporter, I've got to admit this NY Times report shows rather dramatically why it's so hard for government to "create" jobs.
Kudos to the reporters and editors for that. The story also shows just how silly is the claim that NYT's "in the tank" for Obama.

Pofarmer

bunkie, this isn't an anti-Obama piece. This is a piece chastising the states for not doing their share for the team.

Pagar

Looks to me like one place the Obama Administration has been successful in creating job is in the Inspector Generals of the various agencies. I predict another opening will occur before too long.

If there is still an interest in the AGW/IPCC money trail, EUReferendum has a post showing steady flow for years, to the Indian Chair/his company.

There are some other posts there showing millions wasted every where in Europe on the Global Warming Fraud.

Ignatz

--pratfalls--

The perfect word to describe the last year of one damned thing after another.

bunkerbuster

Po: the lead says Obama's plan to create jobs has ``born little fruit.''

I don't see how you're not getting that as clearly a negative assessment of the president's plan and, even, his approach to ameliorating the Great Recession.
Sure, the states are more directly to blame for the failure to implement the program, but the Obama administration should have known that and the fact that they didn't offers a damning demonstration of the myriad ways government programs fail.

narciso

You try to reinvent the wheel, in spending programs ways that have never worked before, and impose extra burdens on those willing to even attempt the work, epic fail

Porchlight

but the Obama administration should have known that and the fact that they didn't offers a damning demonstration of the myriad ways government programs fail.

So then why pray tell are you a supporter of a person who never met a problem he didn't think a government program, preferably the bigger the better, couldn't solve?

And more to the point, how many other such programs have been created by Obama thus far? How many of them did you support at creation? How many of them do you support now, and why?

Ignatz

--this NY Times report shows rather dramatically why it's so hard for government to "create" jobs--

--a damning demonstration of the myriad ways government programs fail--

Your leftwing bona fides are looking a little suspect.

Melinda Romanoff

Rick-

O/T but read this before I forget. Pay attention to the embedded links in the comments, very good stuff on shadow banking and why things aren't even remotely fixed.

MikeS

...instituted hiring freezes that prevented state offices from processing additional work — even though the federal government would have paid the additional salaries

Oh yeah. Let's put these guys in charge of our health care!

Extraneus

Well, the NYT has had some union problems of their own.

Extraneus

Here's a site with Davis-Bacon prevailing wages by trade by state and county. Seems pretty simple, so it's a little suspicious that it could take so long to figure out.

anduril

Speaking of Big Government, Walter Russell Mead--a liberal and Yale professor--is optimistic about the Tea Party movement's potential and thinks it's making good progress: Do Soldiers Drink Tea?

First he ties the TPM into the American Tradition:

The Tea Party movement is the latest upsurge of an American populism that has sometimes sided with the left and sometimes with the right, but which over and over again has upended American elites, restructured our society and forced through the deep political, cultural and institutional changes that from time to time the country needs and which the ruling elites cannot or will not deliver.

Next he repeats his by now familiar list of what's wrong with America:

Today in the United States many of our core institutions are fundamentally out of sync with reality: they cost more than we can pay but they don’t do what we need. We have colleges our people cannot afford — and that often leave graduates without a basic grounding in either the history of our civilization or the practicalities of contemporary life. We have a health system that we cannot pay for and which fails to cover enough people. We have a public school system which has been failing too many of our children for far too long, costs unconscionably large amounts of money considering its poor performance — and vested interests block necessary reforms. Our federal, state and local governments are locked into an employment system and mode of organization that we cannot pay for — and that does not do the job. Our retirement system is a time bomb and all our political class can do is watch the fuse burn. We cannot regulate our financial industry effectively — and we cannot live without a financial system that remains innovative and dynamic. We are fighting a global conflict whose name we dare not speak against an enemy we do not know how to defeat and in a world that is more volatile and fluid than it has been since World War Two we are very far from any kind of national consensus (or even thoughtful conversation) about what our priorities and strategies should be.

Then he outlines the difference in approach by the elites and the TPM:


Elites and experts who know the system believe that this massive logjam demands carefully crafted, expert-led interventions. Wise policy wonks must rejigger the health care system; the scientists and the policy specialists must redesign the national energy structure to deal with global warming. They dream of intricate, finely crafted reforms whose beauty can only be appreciated by a few.

Populists hate this; they want big and simple ideas. “The end of welfare as we know it” is what they wanted, not a careful re-adjustment of caseloads and policies. They think that the experts and the ‘policy communities’ that grow up around various complex issues aren’t just dispassionate servants of the public good. They think that scientists and wonks also have agendas and ambitions. Furthermore they suspect on good evidence that whatever delicately balanced, intricately designed policy proposals go into the legislative process, something much cruder and more, well, porcine will inevitably come out at the other end.

Mead's take is that the TPM is in the middle of a "sorting out" phase, a sorting of issues and ideas and personalities:

The sorting out process seems to be happening fast, though. “Birthers” and “truthers” are being gently but firmly ushered to the door. For now at least, many Tea Partiers seem to want a populist coalition that focuses on economic and government reform while moving more slowly on social issues. Perhaps the movement is pulling itself together more quickly than past populist upsurges have done because the combination of higher education levels and better communications make today’s populists a little more ready for prime time than some of their predecessors. The ability to organize populist political movements quickly and effectively on a national scale may be one of the ways in which the United States has progressed in the last fifty years. The gap in education and skills between the ‘peasants’ and the elites is not as large as it used to be, and so when the ‘peasants’ are unhappy they can move much more quickly than they used to.

And he closes with these words on what's on everyone's mind--who will lead:

At this point no national political leader has emerged who seems capable of providing the leadership the new populists seek. Sarah Palin stirred their hearts, but her appeal does not seem to grow as her exposure increases. Certainly there is no one of Ronald Reagan’s stature on the horizon. More, since the public is not particularly happy at the moment with the results of electing sympathetic but untested young leaders (George W. Bush as well as the current President), experience and seasoning hold some appeal. That is a tough thing to find: a Washington-hating outsider who is also deeply knowledgeable about how government works. A military leader could fill the bill; generals aren’t career politicians but they know a thing or two about Washington life.

Does David Petraeus or Stanley McChrystal drink tea? Potentially, that could be the most important question in American politics.

And in between these selections there's lots of discussion.

bunkberbuster

Porchlight asks: ``So then why pray tell are you a supporter of a person who never met a problem he didn't think a government program, preferably the bigger the better, couldn't solve?''

Assuming you don't really mean what the triple negative says, I can answer that my support for Obama doesn't rest primarily on his economic policies. I don't believe presidents have all that much to do with economic growth, one way or the other, even if we do need to hold them accountable for it.

Beyond that, the only candidate in 2008 with a track record of opposing big government solutions was Ron Paul and I didn't support him primarily because I thought he lacked the political skills to make that work in a bigger office like the presidency.

Republicans just talk about opposing big government. The record shows they always expand the power and reach of government, given the opportunity to do so.

PaulL

I think the NYTimes should investigate those anti-union NYTimes owners, or, at the very least, write a scathing editorial about themselves.

narciso

Well first of all, the health care system, doesn't need to be rejiggered, maybe nudged
a little, we don't have a global warming problem, we have too little energy at too high a price. We have an educational system
that increasingly tells us the way we did
things, before has to be scrapped. So one begins there.

Neo
Seventy-one percent (71%) of all voters now view the federal government as a special interest group.
Breathtaking.
Pofarmer

Beyond that, the only candidate in 2008 with a track record of opposing big government solutions was Ron Paul

A Paulbot Obama supporter? Talk about yer contradictions. I'm sure Freud would have had a field day.

Neo

If this Obama economy turns into an official Depression...can we official name it the O'pression???

bgates

Republicans just talk about opposing big government. The record shows they always expand the power and reach of government, given the opportunity to do so.

They've had the opportunity to do so every minute since the last election and haven't taken it.

Does your support for Obama rest on an opposition to big government?

Jane

A Paulbot Obama supporter? Talk about yer contradictions. I'm sure Freud would have had a field day.

I knew a bunch of liberals who were Paul supporters in the primary and switched to Obama. The Paul support was for being against the war and trying to prove they were not uber liberals. When the racism stuff surfaced they reverted to form. Now they think war is just fine.

I swear, it's still all about hating George Bush.

Porchlight

bunkerbuster,

You were right about my triple negative, sorry about that.

You still didn't answer the questions. I want to know why a person who comprehends the "myriad ways government programs fail" supports the biggest government-program-lover we've seen in the WH in decades. Do you support inevitable failure? Or are you simply after the power that such programs can bring regardless of their success?

If you support him but not any of his government programs, what on earth is left? Foreign policy?

bunkberbuster

``Does your support for Obama rest on an opposition to big government?''

Exactly! The record shows Democrats are a little more effective than Republicans, in the long run, in diminishing the size and scope of government overall. (The Clinton administration, for example, is the only in our lifetime to actually shrink the size of government. And to preside over a balanced budget.)

More important, while I'm all for limiting the government's role in schools, health care, food safety and environmental protection, I'm more concerned about limiting its ability to use torture and other forms of coercion, censor the media, interfere with private sexual preferences and favor one religion over another.

On those specific points, the Democrats are way ahead of the Republicans in trimming and/or preventing the expansion of Big Government.

MikeS

I agree with buster about the budget under Clinton shrinking to about 18.5% of GDP.

I'm thinking Obama could probably do the same if we get Republican majorities in the Senate and in the House for him to work with.

That's my suggestion.

Jane

That's how Clinton did it Mike. I'm having a really hard time remembering how Bush interfered with the bedroom.

As for the media, Obama is the biggest threat to a free press this country has ever seen.

Pagar

"The Democrats are way ahead"

Link

If the Democrats are reducing any federal employee numbers, I would be really, really surprised.

bgates

The Clinton administration, for example

Did you know there was a Congress during the nineties?

I'm more concerned about limiting its ability to use torture and other forms of coercion

To be clear - you're concerned about the government's use of coercion during the interrogation of men who are planning on murdering thousands of Americans, not the government's use of coercion to take over vast swathes of the economy or take wealth from its political opponents to give its supporters.

censor the media

Like the "Fairness Doctrine", a Democrat ploy to harm their political opponents? Like the attempts to shut out Fox News? Obama has been much more hostile to the media than Bush was, despite the fact that the media has been little short of worshipful of the current administration.

interfere with private sexual preferences

Do you think a government that has forced its way into every school room, corporate board room, and doctor's waiting room in the country is going to let you keep the bedroom door closed if it becomes the least bit inconvenient for them?

and favor one religion over another.

I resent the implication that Bush's annual White House Eid observations or his continual expressions of support for "the Religion of Peace" amount to some kind of favoritism. He was appropriately respectful of other people's religious traditions, sort of like what Obama's attitude towards Christianity would be if Obama were more respectful.

RichatUF

However, the Clinton Administration only shrank the Defense and Intelligence budgets, and was able to weasel through various other spending programs that are now real line items in the budget: Americorp and S-CHIP come to mind. And in cutting Defense and Intelligence he left us grossly under defended to threats from abroad.

The Medicare cuts that were part of the 97 Budget Agreement always get patched over with a "doc fix" and Congress makes sure that not too many people get bitten by the AMT (another yearly patch to keep campaign funds flowing). And "ending welfare as we know it" helped, but in short order, activists at the state and federal level have been able to punch big holes in it. We are shoveling out more money now for housing and food stamp welfare programs now than we were in the 1990's.

bunkberbuster

``Republican majorities in the Senate and in the House for him to work with.''

The record shows this didn't help Bush at all. And remember, according to Bush and his supporters, the economy was "growing strongly" under his tenure.

What makes you think that the Republicans will suddenly morph into "small government" enforcers at a time like this, when the economy is mired in the deepest recession since the Great Depression?

It does, in fact, seem plausible at least that a GOP congress would act as a check on spending, since it would see its role as opposing the president's efforts to help the economy, rather, than helping him, as was the case with Bush.

Still, I don't like the GOP position on things like torture and freedom from religion. The business cycle is probably the most potent force for economic recovery, and decline, but when it comes to issues like free speech, civil liberties and foreign policy, the government's all we got, so checking it's power in that area is most important to me. And, again, on that score, the GOP is way behind the Democrats.

Love to here any examples of how Obama is threatening free speech...

RichatUF

bunkberbuster is still yearning to go back to the halcyon days of the holiday from history.

Pofarmer

"the president's efforts to help the economy"

Please, do go on.

but when it comes to issues like free speech, civil liberties and foreign policy, the government's all we got, so checking it's power in that area is most important to me. And, again, on that score, the GOP is way behind the Democrats.

Are you what? 13?

RichatUF

[email protected]

Getting into the pig pen with Rush Limbaugh.

I recall that one of his advisors proposed that administration activists flood message boards and blogs with comments favorable to the administration's agenda.

And his party-within-a-party Organizing for America which hasn't gotten the sort of scrunity that it should and is most likely illegally coordinating campaign activities among unions, public pressure groups, and elected and appointed officials.

Pofarmer

Is it worth fisking bunkie with inconvenient things like numbers, and graphs, and charts?

No, probably not.

Rick Ballard

Pofarmer,

Facts are irrelevant to what he's doing. He hasn't cited any numbers and his assertions are just standard baseless gibberish - just another Obot doing his master's bidding, as Rich notes.

Did you take a look at Mel's links on shadow banking and household investor sentiment? Pretty interesting stuff and the household investor piece reflects the uncertainty which the Obama Maladministration is generating from coast to coast. That's reflected in both retail sales and today's consumer confidence numbers (as well as the jump in mass layoffs).

I guess there's a limit as to how far the economy can go on rainbows and unicorn farts.

RichatUF

Jump in.

bgates

The business cycle is probably the most potent force for economic recovery, and decline

For recovery, maybe; for decline, it's not nearly as potent as the government you support.

What makes you think that the Republicans will suddenly morph into "small government" enforcers at a time like this, when the economy is mired in the deepest recession since the Great Depression?

Maybe the fact that the electorate is coming to realize that the lack of a committed small government party thrust the economy into the deepest recession since the last time Obama's economic policies were tried.

narciso

Mark Lloyd and his belief that 'freedom of speech' distracts from the work of community
organizing and developing power, Cass Sunstein
who has his own bugs about free speech

bunkberbuster

RichatUF writes: ``We are shoveling out more money now for housing and food stamp welfare programs now than we were in the 1990's.''

And remind me who ran all three branches for almost all of the 2000s? My point exactly.

Republicans talk about smaller government, but when in power, they do the opposite, because the reality is that their constituents love big government.

What GOP voters really want is to end government programs that benefit the urban poor and maintain or expand those that benefit the suburban middle class and wealthy. And it should come as no surprise that their representatives do a relatively effective job at delivering that, given the chance.

It's a bit like the situation in Los Angeles, where every suburban middle-class person I know favors funding rail transit, but none actually use it. They are thinking that if only an adequate mass transit system can be built, "other" people will use it, leaving the roads unclogged for cars like theirs. The result, of course, is a vastly underused mass transit system.

And then there's the "culture wars." To a liberal, that looks exactly like conservatives trying to make government cram their religion and way of life down everyone's throat. I realize there's more to it than that, but, still, hard to see how freakouts about gays, etc. isnt' a contradiction of the "small government" idea.

Rick Ballard

I wonder if this crap would read any better if I put on Feelings as background music? The Rats had the Senate from Jan-01 to Jan-03 and again from Jan-07 until today. I guess "almost all" = 50% in Obaworld.

Melinda Romanoff

Bunker seems a bit lost in the forest for the trees stuff, let me help. First, you are entitled to your opinion, not, as Daniel Moynihan said once, your own facts.

The balanced budgets of the Clinton years, as so touted, didn't actually exist, since Al Gore's famous "lock box" took the obligations of Social Security and Medicare "off the books". The Contract with America drove the next level of spending caps and clever little gimmicks like Pay-As-You-Go cropped up in the Senate to counter that push. The history of that time continues to be rewritten, mostly by, and for, the Clintonistas. After the success of "ending welfare as we know it" (Which was fully repealed under the stimulus bill last February, by the way.), the success of the Clinton Administration was limited to beating off a stupid parliamentarian gambit to try him for perjury. A risky bet that a cocky Congress lost, and took any sympathetic press with their efforts.

Here's some helpful tips, the Republican Party is just as monolithic as the Democratic Party. Snark aside, it's like herding cats on the conservative side, too many independent thinkers.

One conservative streak common to all, I believe, is the concious thought to understand others, and to do so respectfully. The shrillness of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party should give you pause. Where in it can you succeed? Or are you limited to their choices? Think, do you have a choice when your livelihood is determined by someone dishing out "favors"? That's what it's like living here for most of us in Chicago.

Make up your own mind, but learn first, and don't be satisfied with the fastest answer that you don't have to think about.

Get curious, you'll like it.

But don't lecture me on the accounting miracles of the 90's.

narciso

Nah, Rick you just can't fix stupid, you have to work around it. L.A. is just not a conservative redoubt, maybe Orange County

Porchlight

RichatUF writes: ``We are shoveling out more money now for housing and food stamp welfare programs now than we were in the 1990's.''

And remind me who ran all three branches for almost all of the 2000s? My point exactly.

The Obama stimulus explicitly provides funding for states to increase welfare rolls, in effect ending Clinton's 1996 welfare reform (where funding was capped regardless of caseloads).

The result, of course, is a vastly underused mass transit system.

No kidding. If you think it's *conservatives* who are the biggest supporters of the expansion of mass transit, light rail, etc., you're crazy.

To a liberal, that looks exactly like conservatives trying to make government cram their religion and way of life down everyone's throat. I realize there's more to it than that,

Okay then, you can stop right there.

Pofarmer

I wonder if this crap would read any better if I put on Feelings as background music?

Dunno, but Wild Turkey on ice mellows it out just a bit.

Still doesn't make a lick of sense, though.

because the reality is that their constituents love big government.

I think yer making a fairly big mistake here.

Melinda Romanoff

Okay, " I realize there's more to it than that, but, still, hard to see how freakouts about gays, etc. isnt' a contradiction of the "small government" idea."

So, you read A. Sullivan, but probably didn't see the tape, or read about what actually happened at CPAC.

Again, go for the facts, not hyperbole, Then dcide for yourself. They're easier to find, with a little digging. You'll know when you hit them, they just ring true.

Melinda Romanoff

I have a huge file dig day, tomorrow, so I leave you to educate the youngins.

G'night all.

Rick Ballard

Where's Rocco? Do we need to send out a search party?

Pofarmer

Good Lord.

It looks like AIG sold CDS to Greece.

I'm sure this will only sting a little.

RichatUF

I wonder if this crap would read any better if I put on Feelings as background music?

Probably not.

I'm not getting bb either.

Clarice

The reports are beginning that "moderate" Dems are "warming to reconciliation".

I still think it's a bluff.

RichatUF

Pofarmer-

It might bring the crisis forward some but the cds on Greek debt isn't the problem. I'm not sure that Greece is going to be able to solve its problems short of default. And I'm not sure how the crisis will spread through the Eurozone. If the EU works out a bailout a bear raid will just move on to the next target (and probably one of the ones too big to bail out:Spain, Ireland, or Italy) and if they do nothing French and German banks are at risk and will probably need a bailout. Interesting times. Should make the next couple of quarters in Europe look stellar.

Pofarmer

It might bring the crisis forward some but the cds on Greek debt isn't the problem.

Don't care about Greece, what's pissin me off is that AIG,and therefore, you and I, may well be on the hook for it.

RichatUF

clarice-

I still think it's a bluff.

I hope so, but then again, Obama's gotten them this close to the precipice, so why not just go over the cliff. Wile E. Coyote never seemed no worse for ware.

RichatUF

Pofarmer-

I had to look at it again. Same story here. Hummm...does every crook in the world turn to AIG for some portion of their financing or insurance needs? However based on the clip and London investment bank rumors, I'd have to be more motivated to dig into AIG's numbers to see what the risk might be. Not making light of it, but the ECB might come unglued like LTCM, which would make any sort of AIG exposure trivial.

Pofarmer

My understanding is that if the Greek Govt defualts, the Greek Banks blow up,and after that it's gonna be a duck shoot.

bunkberbuster

Mel: The nation's balance sheet improved dramatically under the Clinton administration and deteriorated dramatically under both the Bush II and Reagan administrations. That much is indisputable.

Of course congress and the business cycle play a role, which is why it's more meaningful to look at the longest possible stretch of data.

When we look at economic data under all presidents for the past 50 years, we find that Democrats outperform substantially in all categories. I'd never argue these data are definitive assessment of economic policies themselves, but they do destroy the argument that Democratic presidents have been bad for the economy, and they shift the burden of proof to anyone who asserts that Obama, by the very nature of his politics, will be bad for the economy.

% Per Annum Democrat Republican
GDP Growth 4.1% 2.2%
Employment 2.9% 1.2%
CPI 4.0% 5.0%
DJIA 8.1% 6.5%
Dollar +0.8% -3.6%


One reason I trust a Democrat more than a Republican to shrink government is that Democrats have been so much better at creating conditions for private sector growth that they are simply in a much better position to achieve the desired outcome, even if they are lest fervent and rhetorical about advocating for small government.


bunkberbuster

here's that data again in a cleaned up table:

% Per Annum Democrat Republican
GDP Growth 4.1% 2.2%
Employment 2.9% 1.2%
CPI 4.0% 5.0%
DJIA 8.1% 6.5%
Dollar +0.8% -3.6%

If the Democrats had outperformed Republicans so clearly, every conservative in the land would be screaming their head off demanding that the NY Times lead every story about the political economy with a recitation of that fact. Instead, I find the real numbers make conservatives go all quiet, every time...

Frau Vorsicht!

I wish I had clarice's confidence. If Hillary! had 900+ raw FBI files, I wonder what info Rahm and Axelgrease have at their fingertips. ???

RichatUF

I can't wait to go back to the heady days of that economic genius Carter.

Dave (in MA)

bunk, you swiped a http://currencythoughts.com/2008/08/19/how-the-us-economy-performed-under-democrat-and-republican-presidents>chart that made a specious argument about presidencies over 4 decades, claimed it applied to 5 decades, and didn't provide a citation.

glasater

Soros writes in ft:

The situation is aggravated by the market in credit default swaps, which is biased in favour of those who speculate on failure. Being long CDS, the risk automatically declines if they are wrong. This is the opposite of selling short stocks, where being wrong the risk automatically increases. Speculation in CDS may drive the risk premium higher.

My take from the article is--Soros would like to get in Germany's pocketbook.

And Soros has a stake in Citigroup--Citigroup Warns Customers It May Refuse To Allow Withdrawals

bunkberbuster

Dave, please explain how a chart can make a specious argument. Though I can see why you'd make a mistake like that.
As for it reflecting only 4 decades instead of 5, you may well be correct. I have my own data on 5 that show exactly the same trends (except inflation), which I'm sure won't surprise you, but will shut you up. As I said, a review of the economic data causes American conservatives to either go quiet, or change the subject, every time.

Dave (in MA)

Bunk, a chart can't make a specious argument, but a guy with a band-aid on his thumb can easily delete stuff with his laptop and not notice. If you can see why I'd make a mistake like that, perhaps I need to put a piece of tape over my webcam. What I meant to type was "chart from an article that made a specious argument". The article ignores other factors aside from the mere party affiliation of the President-such as the party controlling Congress, for one. You liberals are all about making people who don't agree with you shut up , aren't you?

bunkberbuster

Dave, You're still not there. Why does it matter what the accompanying article said? I didn't post it, I posted the data and discussed it. Did I make specious arguments about the data?

And, to the contrary, I'd love nothing more than to hear a conservative explain why Republican presidents have historically underperformed on every objective economic measure, from jobs to GDP and even on share prices. It's not that I don't want to hear from conservatives on that issue, it's that they don't want to talk about it.

Holly

"One reason I trust a Democrat more than a Republican to shrink government is that Democrats have been so much better at creating conditions for private sector growth that they are simply in a much better position to achieve the desired outcome, even if they are lest fervent and rhetorical about advocating for small government."

Bunky, it is obvious you have never owned a business.

Holly

Bunky, how about talking to people in the real world? People who own businesses know which pols are interested in private sector growth and it ain't the Dems.

bgates

Love to here any examples of how Obama is threatening free speech

We provided a dozen. Love to see any examples of Bush interfering with sex lives, or censoring the media, or torturing people.

I don't believe presidents have all that much to do with economic growth

Democrats have been so much better at creating conditions for private sector growth

Make up your mind.

There's more to the government than the President. You have the data, look at it by Congress instead of President - the best years of the 90s were after Republicans took control of Congress, and the worst years of the past decade were after Republicans lost control of Congress.

You weren't a supporter of Kennedy or Carter, though, you're not old enough. You're an Obama supporter. Care to offer a defense of his (or, if you like, Pelosi and Reid's) economic performance?

bunkberbuster

bgates: Obama's got nothing to do with the Fairness Doctrine, which is defunct anyway. And as for this from narco: ``Mark Lloyd and his belief that 'freedom of speech' distracts from the work of community organizing and developing power, Cass Sunstein who has his own bugs about free speech.'' Neither one of those people is Obama, nor has the president ever taken any action with regard to their views on free speech.
By those standards, I could make Bush responsible for what Pat Robertson says, but I don't need to do that. I'm happy to give examples of how Republican administrations from Reagan to Bush have acted directly to squelch free speech. Like these:

Bush goons force anti-Bush protestors to stay away from campaign appearance, while supporters are allowed to line streets:
http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/secret-service-ordered-local-police-restrict-anti-bush-protesters-rallies-aclu-charges-u

Then there's the Supreme Court case in which a student sued for his right to unfurl a banner at a football game declaring: Bong Hits 4 Jesus.
The Bush administration entered the case on the side of the principal and the Juneau School Board, against the student. The school board and principle were represented by Kenneth W. Starr, the former solicitor general and independent counsel. His law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, is handling the appeal without a fee. Mr. Starr and Edwin S. Kneedler, a deputy solicitor general presented the Bush administration's opposition to the student's free speech rights.

And again:

I don't believe presidents have all that much to do with economic growth. The Democrats have been much better at creating conditions, or setting the stage, for private sector growth.

The point here is that while presidents have limited influence, they can set a direction and, of course, veto egregious budgets, etc. The data seem to show Democratic presidents have done a better job of that, which includes, of course, working with congress and the business cycle.

As for a defense of the current administration's economic performance, I have none, nor require any. I don't consider myself a devotee, I'm simply a supporter and it's no sweat at all for me to acknowledge that the performance has been dismal so far. Here again, I think we have to point to the business cycle, not the president, as ruling the roost, but if, say, two or three years down the road, we're still mired in slow growth, I do think we can and must hold Obama accountable for the economy's performance.

None of that changes my point, which is that historically, Democratic presidents have done dramatically better at overseeing the economy.
There's been a lot of hinting that it's because of the great work of Republican congressmen, but I wonder why these congress aces keep failing to work their magic under Republican presidents?
Lastly, anyone want to wager that the argument shifts, and goes silent when I present the data comparing economic performance under GOP-run congresses versus Dem-run Houses? Wagers? Anyone home???

bunkberbuster

And Reagan's even easier. He started his political career by violently shutting down the Free Speech movement at Berkeley.

royf

Neither one of those people is Obama, nor has the president ever taken any action with regard to their views on free speech

Bush goons force anti-Bush protestors to stay away from campaign appearance, while supporters are allowed to line streets:


I see people which are directly appointed by Obama don't reflect his view point, but people appointed by the Justice Dept under Bush do reflect his view point. Is that your argument, seriously?


bgates

Neither one of those people is Obama

No, they're people Obama chose to appoint to office. Obama is responsible for their actions in office.

By those standards, I could make Bush responsible for what Pat Robertson says

The standard is that Presidents are responsible for the views of people they appoint to office. Pat Robertson has never been appointed to any office.

His law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, is handling the appeal without a fee.
Scandalous. Kirkland nor Ellis are Bush. Neither is Kenneth Starr. Nor are any of them Bush appointees. Why drag them into this?

If you want to attack Bush's handling of free speech, look to his support for "campaign finance reform". He supported a law which gave the federal government - so it claimed - the power to ban the publication of books if the books had any political content whatsoever.

Of course, the federal government didn't get around to making that claim during the Bush presidency. That claim came from an Obama administration Deputy Solicitor General - Presidents are responsible for those, right?

Following the decision, Obama announced his intention to somehow overturn the Court's ruling through legislation.

It's especially strange that he would feign opposition to corporate spending given his well-known violation of his pledge to take only government money for his campaign, and his campaign's serial violations of campaign finance law (he cashed a $2,000 check from Mickey Mouse of Orlando - not the Disney Corporation, somebody literally donated under the fake name Mickey Mouse).

anyone want to wager that the argument shifts, and goes silent when I present the data comparing economic performance under GOP-run congresses versus Dem-run Houses?

When will that be?

Reagan started his political career by violently shutting down the Free Speech movement at Berkeley

Congratulations, Ron Paul Supporter, you're literally to the left of Berkeley itself. He sent the National Guard to Berkeley at the request of the Berkeley mayor, in response to rioting that had already hospitalized at least 13 people.

I wonder why these congress aces keep failing to work their magic under Republican presidents?

Look at economic performance from 2001-2006 vs 2007 onward. Keep in mind that the early part of that decade the economy was suffering from Clinton's failure to stop bin Laden when he was offered up on a silver platter in the 90s. Things were working pretty well until the Democrats took Congress.

Still waiting on any facts to back up your sexual and religious paranoia.

Jane

Where's Rocco? Do we need to send out a search party?

He is currently cursing Scott Brown under his breath. I got an email from him last night.

Has anyone else noticed a sort of Obama-projectionism when it comes to Scott Brown? We were talking about it on the radio yesterday. I can't believe how many people on the right gave him a pass on the jobs bill.

I think we have to point to the business cycle, not the president, as ruling the roost, but if, say, two or three years down the road,

Bunker,

It's not the "business cycle" it's congress' policies starting with Fannie and Freddie that have gotten us here. You know the Congress that this president came from, that was warned repeatedly by President Bush that the housing bubble was about to burst and chose to ignore it.

Business would be doing just fine if Congress would get out of the way. And the real argument against this administration and the left in general is all they do is get in the way.

bunkerbuster

bgates writes: ``Obama is responsible for their actions in office.''

Yes, but you didn't refer to their actions in office. You referred to specific opinions they have had on free speech. If they've done anything to hinder free speech, I'd of course like to know about it. If they haven't, well, you might think about telling us why that was the best you could come up with.

I'm not aware of the Obama administration banning a book, nor of any Solicitor General threatening to ban any book at all. If you have an evidence of this happening, bring it on. If you don't, you might think about explaining why you have the time to waste ours with such weak word games.

I can guess -- since you offer no references and no specifics -- that you're referring to Obama's opposition to the Supreme Court's decision on corporate funding. If that's the case, then what's at stake is not the banning of any book, but the prohibition on company manager's use of shareholders' money for political purposes -- regardless of whether those political purposes are pursued by funding the publishing of books or any other materials.

There has always been an exception for enterprises in the publishing business and no one has threatened that.

And then...

bgates writes:
``Things were working pretty well until the Democrats took Congress.''

Where are you getting that things were going "pretty well" in the years you cite? My data shows the Bush presidency, even before the Democrats won Congress back in 2006, were the worst economically of any administration since Herbert Hoover. That's based on GDP, job creation and stock prices. Sure, the Bush years get even uglier in the final two years of his second term, but it's pretty hard sell that that's somehow the Democrats fault. American voters sure didn't buy that one, nor do I.
Pretty obvious you're just making it up, bgates, or maybe you actually believe what they tell you on Fox.
Again, it's important to hold presidents politically accountable for the economic situation, if only as a matter of political hygiene -- keeping them honest. But to attribute short term -- two and three year -- swings in growth to presidents is just not credible.
That's why it's important to look at the biggest pool of data available and compare performance. When you look over decades, swings even out, and you can see beyond dispute the Democrats substantially outperform Republicans.


jimmyk

The real issue with bunkie's table is that it ignores the fact that Republican presidents have frequently had to come in an clean up the Democrrats' messes. The deep recession in Reagan's early years was clearly the outgrowth of Carter's disastrous administration. Almost everyone who looks at the data recognizes that the recession that "officially" began in 2001 actually began in 2000 near the end of the Clinton administration.

Extraneus

Wasn't the stock market at around 14,000 before it became clear that Obama would win, at which point it promptly reacted to what did in fact occur?

bunkerbuster

and...bgates writes: ``Still waiting on any facts to back up your sexual and religious paranoia.''

The GOP has, for decades, opposed acknowledging gay rights. You can't seriously argue the record on that, it's far too well established and obvious. So is the political alliance with the Christian right, which makes no bones whatsoever about it's opposition to homosexuality and its belief that Christianity deserves preferential treatment by the government in schools and public places.

Pofarmer

I see Sylvia is back. bb in drag?

narciso

Man you can't untangle the stupidity with a chainsaw, is it paranoid, when we have a supporter of NAMBLA as safe school czar, an appointee to the interfaith panel who slurs
the Catholic Church, a president who is openly
contemptful of bitter clingers, a shorthand of the Marxist view of religion as opiate of
the masses.

bunkerbuster

royf asks: ``I see people which are directly appointed by Obama don't reflect his view point, but people appointed by the Justice Dept under Bush do reflect his view point. Is that your argument, seriously?''

No Roy, it isn't. If it was, you wouldn't have had to make it up. You could have just responded to what I actually said. The fact that you had to reformulate what I said before responding to it gives up your game. Sorry, you'll have to try again.

My claim is that the Republican party has been a bigger threat to free speech than the Democrats have.
When the secret service forces anti-Bush protestors to move out of camera range, behind a fence, during a political rally, while allowing Bush supporters (or those carrying supportive signs or nothing) to come in close, that's a clear violation of free speech.
When two Obama appointees make hypothetical statements questioning the absolute value of free speech, that is a far smaller threat, utterly insignificant in comparison.
It has nothing to do with who's "responsible" for whos views.
It's amazing how all the nonstop innuendo stream at Fox News/talkradio/Wall Street Journal edit page blurs some people's thinking on the concept of guilt by association...

bunkerbuster

jimmyk: You make a good point. Presumably, if we could adjust for that, you'd find the evidence in the table persausive, right? Luckily, we can. What do you think the data would show if we eliminated the "hangover" by moving it up a year for each president, so that Bush's "era" starts a year after he's taken office and the same for Clinton, Reagan, and so on.
We have the data and here's the news, jimmyk, it shows the same thing: Democrats outperform Republicans substantially.
Is anyone surprised that the conservatives here have no clue about what the economic data are, yet have firm conclusions about what it means?

royf

It is always amusing to read the leftist troll come in like they are really smart and have the critical information. Then they post the same old DNC/SRM talking points, like we've never seen them before.

Only in the lunar landscape is this information considered as anything but propaganda.

bunkerbuster

``openly contemptful of bitter clingers''

I can see I'm going to have learn narco's own language here.

Translation, please!

Rick Ballard

Team BOzo is trying to "fix" the problem created by LBJ and a Democrat Congress in the '60's. Democrats underfunded and were overly generous with benefits on Medicare from the beginning. They hid the true cost of Medicare just as they hid the true cost of Social Security when Roosevelt and a Democrat Congress instituted the greatest Ponzi scheme ever seen. By the way - the Democrats passed Social Security in an attempt to draw the publics attention from the miserable failure of FDR's economic policies during the Depression.

FDR watched the gathering storm in Europe while giving soothing fireside chats to an electorate which remained gulled by his schtick until the Nazis took him off the hook by invading Poland.

Truman and a Democrat Congress picked up the cudgel and belabored the economy by making health benefits deductible to businesses (but not individuals) in the late '40's, setting in motion increases in the use, abuse and costs of medical care which underpin (with Medicare) today's "crisis".

Carter and a Democrat Congress passed the CRA legislation in the late '70's. The fruit of that legislation is apparent in the fact that every American homeowner has seen the value of their home reduced by at least 20% over the past four years.

Democrats do a fantastic job of imposing hidden costs and then hiding the bills until the sheriff shows up to put them on the street. BOzo is just the last in a long line of public thieves and he's not going to be able to lie, cheat and steal his way out of the sheriff's grasp comer November.

bunkerbuster

Thanks royf! I'm always pleased to learn someone's taken the time to respond, even when they're sad.

Jane

Bunker,

That's an odd argument to make with BGates since I asked you yesterday to tell us what President Bush did to hinder what goes on in the bedroom, or make you adopt a religion, which were your prime reasons yesterday for prefering a democrat. Need I remind you of who passed DOMA and DOn't Ask DOn't Tell?

Only the imaginative invent words.

Which word don't you undestand? Is it 'contemptful'? Think about it for awhile and if you still don't understand, get back to me, and I'll try to make the meaning of the word and the sentence clear.
============================

boris

This graph shows actual dollar deficits, which is somewhat misleading. Deficits proportional to the economy were actually smaller in the Bush years than the Reagan years. So in proportion to a government that grew (under all admins) about double or triple, the Bush deficits were not unusual at all.

Graph of deficits as % of receipts

Obafa-One Big Ass Farce, America

Omigod Jane, you assume he's capable of understanding and appreciating history. His sort is doomed to repeat it, and as farce.
========================================

narciso

Don't forget Rick, that isolationism didn't really hit it's highpoint till after the publication of the Nye Committee report, which
included previous secret documentation, on US
actions during WW 1, One of the staffers on that panel was Alger Hiss, before his illustrious career with the State Department, but not before he was recruited by the GRU.
The embrace of Soviet Russia, as foolhardy
as the entreaties to Iran today, played an important part in the events of the 1930s.
The demonization of industry, although a
tacit embrace of wrongdoers in corporate
governance, (ie: Kennedy, Forrestal) does
that sound vaguely familiar

Pofarmer

So.

The U.S. budget will be overtaken by __________ spending by around 2030-50 . Most of this spending has been imposed by___________.

bunkerbuster

Rick: Every rich country in the world, except the U.S., has public health care and, guess what, they're all in trouble financially. Every one of them. And here's another clue: so are private insurance companies. It's spectacularly naive to pretend that Medicare is some kind of socialist disaster, when so many other attempts at health care provision are failing as well.

Turns out, health insurance is a very tough business given that people are so damn insistent on being kept healthy and alive well beyond their 80s... It's demographics, not Satanic Evil that's killing Medicare.

Pofarmer

Or, how about- The longest depression in American history was presided over by _________.

spellcheck is for bunkerbusters.

That's easy, Pof, 'deficient Democrats'.
=======================

Oh, yeah, the Republicans caused the worldwide financial mess.

bunkerbuster, sure healthcare is a tough business. Why do you think the margins on insurance company profits are so low?
====================================

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