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April 24, 2006

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Foo Bar

I never said anything about if the Bush tax cuts were rolled back the result would be Islamic extremism. My point was that one of the reasons spending is up is because we are fighting a war.

OK, well, we may have been talking past each other a bit. If you review my comments in this thread from the beginning, you'll see that my goal was to question whether it was right to fund the war efforts through deficit spending, rather than paying for it now.

Squiggler

Foobar ... right or wrong, we are at war and the wrong thing is to leave our brave guys and gals hanging out there, so we have to fund this through to completion. To do less or to try to politicize the point is foolish.

Squiggler

How will, or how could, the McCarthy firing and subsequent DOJ referral for leaking and her connections to all the Plame/Wilson players affect the Libby case?

More wishful thinking.

Semanticleo ... are you reading challenged?

I ASKED a DIRECT question. I did not make a statement or state a conclusion. So, how could I be guilty of wishful thinking?

Foo Bar

so we have to fund this through to completion

I agree, so maybe we should actually fund it, by paying the money out of our own pockets right now, instead of borrowing the money largely from the Chinese and Japanese and relying on future generations to pay back the loan we took out.

JM Hanes

Semanticleo

"simple qustion remains;END JUSTIFIES MEANS?"

Gee, I remember back when the left used to accuse the right of black & white thinking, and now here you are complaining about nuance.

My own unequivocal answer is that it depends on the ends, and it depends on the means. In my experience folks who insist that an ends-justifying-means based argument is morally suspect inevitably end up claiming that obvious everyday examples -- like "Would you run a red light to get a bleeding man to the emergency room?" -- don't really count. So much for the intellectual rigor they purport to seek.

Did you actually give up an unadorned yes or no answer to this question yourself? Or the revised version of the original question? Or the revised, revised wording? Not exactly looking good as an example of simplicity itself.

Squiggler

Well, I'm all for that through increasing production, increasing sales, and growing the economy, certainly not by receission-causing tax cuts.

clarice

Squiggler, I have no idea whether anyone on the Libby team knew this was coming. Certainly Libby was aware that the agency was leaking badly--that is , according to Miller, what they mostly discussed at their June 23 luncheon.

It seems to me that hostility was evident in the CIA investigators who provided the information to Fitz. If Fitz is smart, he will begin a careful review of what those folks reported, because it is largely crap.(Of course, if he were smart he'd never have brought this idiotic case.)

I think if McCarthy was in the IG's office when the referral was made, Libby has added to his argument that he is entitled to see the referral letter which I have always said had to be based on a pack of lies.

Squiggler

recession-causing tax increases not the present tax cuts.

PeterUK

Good idea Foo Bar,does the Pentagon take PayPal?

Squiggler

Thanks Clarice.

Is anyone else having problems. Typepad is cutting off the end of my responses and half the responses you all are making.

JM Hanes

Clarice

I thought McCarthy returned to the CIA to take a position in the IG's office in 2004.

Squiggler

OT-DUKE == Wow turns out there were at least 2 cab rides, one around 12:24 to the ATM and a 2nd one after 1 am to the fast food and then back to the dorm. Sounds like he made a money run to get the money to pay the dancer. Blows the defense timeline if this is correct.

MayBee

JMH- The date she took the IG job seems to be one of the great unknowables.

Syl

Foobar

The crap about future generations paying is just that--crap.

Our kids can simply leave it to their kids, who leave it to their kids. There's NO generation that is going to have to pay back the deficit more than in part. Some will pay back, some will borrow more. That's the way it works.

Foo Bar

recession-causing tax increases

Squiggler,

In light of the fact that leading Republicans predicted that Clinton's '93 tax hike would cause a recession when in fact the economy thrived afterwards, can you at least understand why some reasonable people might not be as confident as you are that a tax increase would lead to a recession? Can you at least understand why some people might regard today's Republicans' claims that a tax increase would cause a recession with a bit of skepticism?

Syl

Good idea Foo Bar,does the Pentagon take PayPal?

LOL!

Syl

Foo Bar

A little tiny thing called a technology bubble distorted the true face of the economy then. That can fool a lot of people.

Foo Bar

Our kids can simply leave it to their kids, who leave it to their kids. There's NO generation that is going to have to pay back the deficit more than in part. Some will pay back, some will borrow more. That's the way it works.

Sure, but paying interest on exisiting debt is always a significant ongoing part of the overall budget, and if you leave future generations a bigger debt as a share of the economy then you started with, the interest payments will constitute a bigger burden for them than for us.

Clinton had to pay an average of about 3% of GDP towards debt service through the first 6 years of his presidency. Because he left GWB with a smaller debt as a share of GDP than he started with (and also because interest rates are lower now), GWB has only had to spend about 1.6% of GDP on debt service. Think 1.4% of GDP is small potatoes? That's more than the annual cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

cathyf
Is anyone else having problems. Typepad is cutting off the end of my responses and half the responses you all are making.
I sometimes have that problem (except in my case it's usually about the first 5 characters of each line). I find that if I go back to the main page, hit refresh, and then click on a different link, I can eventually cure it. (By a different link, I mean that each thread has the link to the top of the thread, the link to the top of the comments, and usually a couple of links to recent comments.)

cathy :-)

Hit The Bid

Thank you foo bar...Its rare a level voice spits reason on this site...especially about economics, they are all helplessly uneducated and inculcated in the ways of....bullshit? (that is for the folks who lamely criticize profanity as a way to express points).

Oh and McCarthy is innocent of 3/4 of the present charges by the CIA.

Squiggler

Cathyf ... I've been reloading the page and it corrects the problem for awhile. It is probably just the amount of traffic or maybe my own wireless connection.

Specter

Fooo


Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah

Hit The Bid

All these Bush tax cuts are is a future tax increase waiting to happen...what does any conservative actually think, in this day and age--with all the data and economic studies that exist--that we can grow our way out of a structural deficit? Thats like saying I am going to grow my way out of baldness.

Specter

Go back to your buds HTB. You have a degree in economics or something? Put down the pipe and look at the economic news. Sure the debt has grown - gee there is a war, and TWO major hurricanes that we are all paying for. Get a grip.

Specter

But I know - the left blames Bush for Katrina too. If only he had the Comey-Fitzgerald mind rays working for him before all that....

Hit The Bid

Spector you are unhinged as usual...you make Howard Dean look like a Buddhist Monk.

Yes I do have a degree...wanna get into a little chat about economics? And nice try with the "dismiss the correct guy with a drug smear"...its very Bush white house.

Hit The Bid

Oh and can I just say 32% Did I mention that?

Hit The Bid

Isn't that where water freezes?

topsecretk9

Yes I do have a degree...wanna get into a little chat about economics?

No go start a blog and then you can have all the nice little chats about what YOU want there. Or wait for TM to put up an economic post. Otherwise quite badgering to get off topic because the topic is too uncomfortable for you.

Specter

LOL....thanks TS. I have degrees too...lots of them. But you see I didn't call HTB uneducated.

Specter

You mean of course the Democratic National Committee Chairman - representative of the brain trust of the democrats:

Howard "AAAAIIIIIIYEEEEEEEEEE" Dean

Specter

%=degrees? I guess you got a good education. LOL

Lew Clark

The Wizard reaching into his bag and pulling out a degree did not give HTB a brain. That long and dangerous trip to Oz for nothing!

topsecretk9

LOL....thanks TS.

You bet.

Patton

Foo bar says:
"""In light of the fact that leading Republicans predicted that Clinton's '93 tax hike would cause a recession when in fact the economy thrived afterwards,""

Go look at the economic data Foo...in reality the economy DID slow down after Clintons tax increase...the economy sped up tremendously not due to Clintons tax policy, but due to his LOSING the Congress.

When the Republicans took over Congress, and business knew they would no longer be under assault from the left, they went out and took risks and the economy grew termendously.
THE ONLY CREDIT CLINTON SHOULD GET FOR THE ECONOMIC GROWTH IS THAT HE LOST THE CONGRESS TO THE REPUBLICANS.

Patton

Hit the Bid: """Oh and can I just say 32% Did I mention that?""""

I think that is wonderful...when was the last time the press mentioned FDRs poll numbers..or JFKs poll numbers.

You may think they are a big deal, but history doesn't.

The polls that matter are on election day, not the lamestream media manufactured polls.

You can curl up at night and stroke your 32% poll while we enjoy a Republican House, a Republican Senate, a Republican President and a slow but steady movement of the Judiciary back to the Constitution.

I hope your poll makes you very happy, but polls don't vote, they don't win elections, they don't write legislation and they don't govern.

Patton

Ask Al Gore and John Kerry how important media polls are to their Presidencies.

Ha Ha ha h ah ah ha ha

Hit The Bid

You guys are truly delusional and petty to boot. Why start my own blog when I can shame all of you on a regular basis? Seems inefficient to me.

I love yourrational on CLinton's deficit reduction package having nothing to do with economic prosperity in the 1990s. Restoring faith in the govts ability to control its deficit situation provided for drop in yields on the back end of the yield curve that created cheaper capital for investment in what became the information revolution.

I think it is lie that you are all "enjoying" your control of the house senate and judiciary...it shows--and hopefully once and for all--tha the GOP is good at winning elections and terrible at governing.

Please remember that these low poll numbers reflect the fact that ALL, EVERY ONE of your policy ideas have been a total flop. Iraq, the war on terror, economic policy, energy policy, privatizing social security immigration.

Why can't you admit it you guys are in political trouble because your leadership sucks and your policies have been rejected wholesale by the American people--as they should have been!

Larry,Your Ass is Grass Johnson

"Restoring faith in the govts ability to control its deficit situation provided for drop in yields on the back end of the yield curve that created cheaper capital for investment in what became the information revolution."

That, in English,means the Dot.Com bubble where billions were poured down the drain,or rather into the scam where preferential buyers could get stock early and offload it onto small investors when all the profit had been milked out of them.

JM Hanes

Hit

"Why can't you admit it you guys are in political trouble because your leadership sucks and your policies have been rejected wholesale by the American people--as they should have been!"

Where's the fun in that? When the Dem's come up with a platform anyone takes seriously, we'll talk.

boris

leadership sucks

Let's see,

Afghanistan ... check
Iraq .......... check
Economy ....... check

MSM ........... Lame
Democrats ..... Yellow

topsecretk9

You guys are truly delusional and petty to boot. Why start my own blog when I can shame all of you on a regular basis? Seems inefficient to me.

Sheesh. Why don't you just buy a mirror to gaze at yourself...you'll spare us the shame and increase efficiency to boot.

cathyf
I love yourrational on CLinton's deficit reduction package having nothing to do with economic prosperity in the 1990s. Restoring faith in the govts ability to control its deficit situation provided for drop in yields on the back end of the yield curve that created cheaper capital for investment in what became the information revolution.
Clinton's deficit-reduction package was funded by gutting defense spending, and especially intelligence funding. At the beginning of the 90's, when we were all feeling rich with the "peace dividend" this was a pretty reasonable position to take. If you completely ignored the rise of islamofascism (for example Clinton only mentioned the first WTC bombing once, on a Saturday radio broadcast) then it seemed reasonable for much longer.

It turned out that lots of that cheap capital went to fund stupid ideas (turns out there are only so many good ideas...) and while the Treasury got their cut as long as it lasted, it didn't last very long. (Nasdaq was already crashing in April, 2000.) And on about Sept, 2001, it became clear that it would have been better to spend that "capital" on keeping some of those experienced CIA agents who got laid off to "balance the budget" -- as opposed to using it to fund companies selling pet food on the internet.

If you count all of the money we have had to spend fighting the Islamofascists as the natural consequence of fleeing Mogadishu, it looks like the Clinton deficit is the biggest deficit of all...

cathy :-)

Gary Maxwell

I got a minor in Economics what do what to talk about? Bring it on.

Semanticleo

Anyone for Republican Pogroms?

I estimate there are at least six here
who are classic enablers of BUSHCO, that
would excuse anything they do. Black
Choppers included.

http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/newsday/access/739821421.html?dids=739821421:739821421&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Nov+21%2C+2004&author=&pub=Newsday&edition=Combined+editions&startpage=A.66&desc=CIA+shake-up+too+much+like+a+political+purge
Newsday from Nov 2004

"The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President George W. Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources. "The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

Cecil Turner

. . . said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House.

Sounds like a Larryism to me. (And hey, WordLion, embed them long links, dude.)

Semanticleo

Is Larry prescient?

And, Beany, the link is a courtesy. You seem
capable of plumbing Newsday archives. Maybe
you can pull a quote out of context.

Lesley

Think I shall procede cautiously with this story. Mary O. McCarthy *may* have been dismissed for meeting with reporters without permission/disclosure. Serial rules violations vs leaking.

Barney Frank

HTB,

You are partially correct in your assertions and mostly wrong in your conclusions. Clinton did in fact do a much better job of controlling non defense discretionary spending than Bush. However the Republican Congress was much more intent on controlling spending then as well, so also deserves a good deal of the credit. However at the time the Rep congress proposed balancing the budget Clinton's own projections were for "$200 billion deficits as far as the eye could see." The fact of the matter is despite what Foo Bar said, through a little fiscal restraint, some of which is presently unavailable due to 9/11, along with the essential continuation of Reagan's tax policies (Clinton only raised the top marginal rate 3 or 4 percent) and the capital gains tax cut from 28% to 20% we most certainly did grow our way out of a 'structural' deficit, which by the way is pretty much a meaningless phrase.
However the real problem is government spending not the false choice between debt or taxes. Since neither party is serious about cutting spending the only choice we have is between saddling our descendants with debt or high taxes. Of the two, debt is far less harmful to the economy and much less resistant to political manipulation. Just as important debt serves as a fiscal restraint as well.
BTW more people might listen to your arguments if you weren't such a sarcastic butthead.

JM Hanes

Hey Leo

Did you ever answer your own question(s) about ends vs. means?

cathyf
Mary O. McCarthy *may* have been dismissed for meeting with reporters without permission/disclosure.
Yeah, it's certainly a possibility, but then there is the whole question of how McCarthy is lawyered up. Or more like LAWYERED UP in this case. A $750/hr attorney just for spin control is mighty rich. Coming on top of the $10,000 in donations to the DNC and Democrat candidates.

It's what Deep Throat said 3 decades ago to Woodward and Bernstein: "Follow the money." (Unfortunately, we have no reporters today like Woodward or Bernstein. Including Woodward or Bernstein!)

cathy :-)

maryrose

Are the Clinton hangers -on at the CIA doing their jobs? Or are they like Mary spending tax payer money on 3 hour lunches confirming facts for Priest so she can write her retention stories and win a Pulitzer? You make the call!

Cecil Turner

And, Beany, the link is a courtesy.

Oh, thanks then. But if it runs for four lines of your comment, it's more a distraction than a courtesy. Besides, if your point was that we're BUSHCO enablers, why not link to where we discussed that article back when it was current?

PeterUK

"Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

What is unreasonable about that? The CIA employees are civil servants,nobody elected them,it is their job to carry out instructions.

Semanticleo

Cecil;

Do not count you among the Craven Six

Semanticleo

peter;

I believe the context has to do with the
dismissal of Mary McCarthy and what motivated
that, and presumably, subsequent dismissals.

Unless you approve of pogroms. Do you?

JM Hanes

Looks like I should have posted this exceprt from Melissa Mahle (who is hardly in the Bush camp) over here:

The CIA senior leaders today are those who came of age as managers during the 1990s and many unfortunately bring with them the mind-set of caution and political correctness. The culture of the Agency, particularly that of the Directorate of Operations, places a premium on organizational loyalty. The "old boy" network sticks together and resists changes that might alter its collective power and influence. The upheaval at Langley is a direct result of DCI Goss challenging the status quo, breaking some china and hitting the cultural brick wall.

Cecil Turner

Do not count you among the Craven Six

Bummer. You sure know how to take the fun out of a conspiracy theory.

topsecretk9

"Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

now why is the firing of the career US Attorney's coming to mind...short memories.

PeterUK

"I believe the context has to do with the
dismissal of Mary McCarthy and what motivated
that, and presumably, subsequent dismissals.

Unless you approve of pogroms. Do you?"

For a semantician you are incredibly ignorant Cement,firing those who break their service contracts is not a pogrom,the KGB used to throw them into the furnace at the Lubyanka,line them up and shoot them in the back of the head,send them to Siberia...that is a pogrom.What McCarthy is getting is early retirement.
Develop a sense of proportion kid.

maryrose

Why refer to the " Six" as craven?

Semanticleo

Develop a sense of proportion kid.

Moral relativism. We don't torture as much, or as long therefore we hold the high ground.

Don't call me kid, junior.

boris

We don't torture as much

Had Gore been prez on 911 don't think torture would be an issue, but not because there would have been less.

Republicans might grumble about Dem foreign policy, but they don't sabotage it.

boris

Don't kid yourself junior.

PeterUK

"Moral relativism. We don't torture as much, or as long therefore we hold the high ground."

The subject was "pogroms" little girl/little boy/little hermaphrodite,(delete as appropriate,or not as the case may be)
Stick to the subject and if you want to be treated like an adult,use joined up thinking.

Semanticleo

boris, or is it Larwyn? (Natasha?)

more moral relativism is your answer?

boris

moral relativism is your answer?

No, moral cowardice.

They all went along after 911 when the country was mad. Cowardice. Then change back when the going gets tough. Cowardice. Then having voted, cowardlike, for the policy they now reneg, they lie, cowardlike, about what they knew when they voted and falsly blame somebody else for lying to them. Cowardice. When that didn't work they undermine the war effort they initially pretended to support (like cowards) and sabotage any way possible it's success in perception and execution. Craven lying cowards.

maryrose

Conditions better at Guantanamo. 15 parolees from there are looking for a country to live in but no one wants them. Can't send back to their own country because they will be tortured so we in the US have to find a soft landing for them possibly Germany or here.
Semanticleo: we are doing this because we Bush-enablers are so mean and heartless!

flenser

The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

Then maybe the WH is smarter then I've given them credit for. Maybe they CAN see their nose in front of their face after all.

Barney Frank

Peter,
You remind me of the older guardian kid on the playground who spends his time hunting down the little smart ass pests who pop up all over the place bugging the normal kids.
Guess who Cement is.

PeterUK

Barney,
Well it has itself down as Dana Gilbert Ward,some kind of hermaphrodite or siamese twin,vaguely reminiscent of old DoubleStandard,but do tell.

larwyn

So many threads going and I have collected many nuggets, but not sure if I've posted this at JOM.
It's very cold (furnace kicked)raining - so having a bad day.

But it is something to think about when you read the quote that Taranto posted.

TigerHawk
Tigerhawk speculates "What is Saddam and OBL were CIA assets?

.....So - most analysts across the political spectrum ought to be able to agree -- the CIA FAILED IN ITS MISSION WITH RESPECT TO AL QAEDA AND IRAQ. This bit is not speculation, merely opinion. The next bit is pure speculation.

What if Bin Laden and Saddam were both CIA "assets"? Creations developed by the US intelligence community to fight another war? It's not really a huge leap to draw this conclusion. Is there such as thing as a "former asset?" Or just a dead one? Osama certainly played his part helping to undermine the USSR in Afghanistan. The US certainly armed the jihadists in Pakistan and Afghanistan of which Osama became a key leader. Similarly, Saddam was aided by the US in his war with Iran. He was supported overtly by France during the height of the Cold War, to the extent that his run for the nuclear roses was humorously called O-chirac (rather than Osirak).

That might help further explain a certain bureaucratic tenacity against the current administration. I mean, let's face it. The CIA owns the 9/11 failure. Nobody has really rubbed their noses in it, but they should. You could argue that the administration, the press and other government bureaucracies might have been well served to drag the CIA through the mud on it. They didn't, and as a consequence the owners of this failure lived to wage a bureaucratic jihad against the administration, aided and abetted by (of all things) the liberal press. Think about it, every one of these so-called experts -- Scheuer, Clarke, Wilson, Plame, McCarthy -- these are the clowns on the watch as Osama grew in power, grew his network, and ultimately wreaked havoc on the US. They are losers, failures, jokers -- each one. But further -- did they have an allegiance, a stake in preserving the status quo in Iraq, in the Middle East more broadly, in keeping alive the Islamic jihad? If so, why? Can Porter Goss clean this mess up, or will the bureaucratic losers try to consume him in the same way the military bureaucrats are going after Rumsfeld? And with the MSM's help to boot.

Not at all an illogical speculation, actually more logical than people risking their
jobs due to BDS. They are trying to protect their jobs and reputations that would
be at very high risk if this is true.

OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today
This also ties into the except from the Taranto email today:

"Reader Scott Wright points out this intriguing passage in the Washington Post's Saturday story about Mary McCarthy, the CIA officer fired over alleged press leaks:"

A former intelligence official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, said he knew of CIA officials who had refused to attend meetings related to the rendition--or capture and transfer--of suspected terrorists, because of opposition or anxiety about the legality of the practice. "****They believe that if one chamber of Congress goes to the other party, there will be investigations, and those involved could be impoverished by legal fees***."

HERE'S TARANTO:

"This suggests that the interests of Bush foes within the CIA might have diverged, at least for this election cycle, from those of Democrats more broadly. The former, of course, would have loved to see John Kerry* in the White House, for his policies would have been similar to those of the reactionary CIA officers.

But do the CIA reactionaries want a Democratic Congress for the last two years of the administration? Do they want their own agency to become the focus of an Iran-contra-style fight between scandal-hungry, subpoena-wielding Dems and an administration that will be out in less than two years anyway?".....Taranto

****What if that is just "CIA Smoke and Mirrors" and they are really worried
about jobs/legal fees based on Tigerhawks speculation?

windansea

Well it has itself down as Dana Gilbert Ward,some kind of hermaphrodite or siamese twin,vaguely reminiscent of old DoubleStandard,but do tell.

heh...spidey sez female & hyphenated

clarice

In, I think, All the Trouble in the World, P.J. O'Rourke, predicted that the Taliban freaks we were helping to get the USSR out of Afghanistan would attack us as soon as that battle was won.

Foo Bar

Alright, I don't even know why I'm bothering, since hardly anyone is reading at this point, but nonetheless:

Patton:

Go look at the economic data Foo...in reality the economy DID slow down after Clintons tax increase...the economy sped up tremendously not due to Clintons tax policy, but due to his LOSING the Congress.

I have followed your orders, General Patton, and here is what I have learned:

Clinton's deficit reduction package was passed in August 1993. Here are the annualized real GDP growth rates for late '93, '94, and early '95:

Q3 '93: 2.1%
Q4 '93: 5.5%
Q1 '94: 4.1%
Q2 '94: 5.3%
Q3 '94: 2.3%
Q4 '94: 4.8%
(Republicans take control of Congress)
Q1 '95: 1.1%
Q2 '95: 0.7%

Note also that the unemployment rate was 7.4% in November '92 and 5.6% in November '94.

Syl:

Foo Bar

A little tiny thing called a technology bubble distorted the true face of the economy then. That can fool a lot of people.

Clinton predicted correctly that his package would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, in '96. This is what Gingrich and John Kasich were referring to when saying that it wouldn't work and it would cause a recession. Was the stock market overinflated by a tech bubble in 1996? The S&P500">http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=%5EGSPC&a=00&b=3&c=1995&d=03&e=26&f=2004&g=m&z=66&y=66">S&P500 at its absolute lowest point this decade (in '02 and early '03) was still 10% higher than it was at the end of fiscal 1996. Hardly any dotcoms had even gone public by 1996.

Cathyf:

Clinton's deficit-reduction package was funded by gutting defense spending

So GWB fixed the problem right away by ramping up defense spending upon taking office, right? He wouldn't have waited unti 9/11 to get serious, would he? Strange, then, that defense spending in '01 was the same percentage of GDP (3.0%) in '01 as in '00.

Sue

What is the unemployment rate today?

Sue

Foo Bar,

You can post numbers and data till the cows come home, no pun intended, but we starved to death during the Clinton presidency. Do a search on the number of family farms that went under during the 90s. Drive around our town on a Saturday night in late 1990. Notice the number of doors nailed shut, signs hanging, flapping in the wind, proclaiming Out of Business. They went out of business because we, the small farmer, the mainstay of our town, the local economy, went out of business. Drive through our town today. Businesses are booming, new stores, new theaters, new restaurants. We didn't recover the family farms, but we did recover. But not until Clinton left office. You see, we weren't dot commers. We were the entrepeneurs that Bush talked about. The ones Clinton didn't give a rat's ass about. So post your numbers, feed off the data, but stay out of fly over country. We lived the Clinton economic legacy.

Sue

1990 should have been 1990s.

Foo Bar

Sue,

Is this an illustration of how GWB looks out for farmers more than Clinton?

The unemployment rate last I checked was something like 4.7%, low by historical standards but still substantially higher than it was when Clinton left office.

Sue

FooBar,

The only farmers left are corporations and foreigners. You want Bush to help them?

Foo Bar

The only farmers left are corporations and foreigners

This would come as news to many people on family farms, since the USDA tells us that most of the nation's farms are still small family farms. I think you're exaggerrating a bit. The USDA says

The number of small family farm operators who reported farming as their primary occupation has declined. In 1993, these farms accounted for 37 percent of all farms and 32 percent of the value of production. By 2003, their shares had fallen to 27 percent of all farms and 20 percent of production.

So yes, not as many people make their primarily living off of family farms as before, but there are still many that do.

In any case, farm subsidies certainly don't help the foreign farms (they would hurt them).

I actually applaud Bush's attempt to reduce farm subsidies, for what it's worth. I'm just not so sure why you think Bush is more of a friend of farmers than Clinton was. Family farms may have had a tough time in the 90s, but it's the nature of a dynamic free-market economy that not all sectors do equally well at the same time, and people and resources get reallocated sometimes. Most Republican economists would tell you that much.

boris

Foo,

The book of genesis is more credible on the science of biology than leftists are on economics.

JFK, Reagan and GWB delivered economic increases using tax cuts. BJ's tax increase managed to slow down the robust recovery occuring before they went into effect.

If you were making a coherent argument within that context it might rise to the level of a valid debate. As it is you're just wasting pixels.

Foo Bar

BJ's tax increase managed to slow down the robust recovery occuring before they went into effect.

First of all, Gingrich predicted a recession, not a recovery "slowdown" (not that one actually occurred). Do you concede that his prediction was wrong?

Maybe you could actually back up your claim that it slowed down the recovery with some data. Following the '90-'91 recession, the quarter with the highest annualized real GDP growth rate prior to Clinton's tax hike had a 4.5% growth rate. There were 12 quarters of Clinton's presidency following his tax hike in which the growth rate was higher than 4.5%. 5 of those quarters occurred before the capital gains cut.

If you're of the opinion that the numbers are irrelevant because no matter how well things went under Clinton, they would have gone better had he not raised taxes, then say so, because this is an unfalsifiable claim.

Sue

Google the number of Dutch who own farms in the US. I wasn't exaggerating about dairy farms.

boris

Gingrich predicted a recession ... Do you concede ...

WTF? Where did I write Gingrich was infallible?

this is an unfalsifiable claim

Any claim that the tax increase produced economic growth gets filed with the perpetual motion machine and the faster than light drive.


Barney Frank

Foo,
I doubt there is anyone here who wouldn't admit that the economy did very well overall in the nineties. To credit that to a relatively small tax increase is pretty weird though. The deficit shrank in the nineties because the economy was roaring along and Clinton and the Republicans were relatively parsimonious with our money. I have no problem giving Clinton credit for his part in it. Why do you seem to have such a hard time giving the Repubs or GWB similar credit for a good economy?

Sue

Barney,

And at the same time, Clinton couldn't do anything about his foreign policy because of the republican driven Lewinsky scandal. Clearly, domestic policy wasn't affected, though.

Foo Bar


To credit that to a relatively small tax increase is pretty weird though. The deficit shrank in the nineties because the economy was roaring along and Clinton and the Republicans were relatively parsimonious with our money. I have no problem giving Clinton credit for his part in it. Why do you seem to have such a hard time giving the Repubs or GWB similar credit for a good economy?

I don't mean to be arguing vigorously that the economy in the 90s did so well as a consequence of Clinton's tax increase. What I do think the 90s irrefutably showed is that it is possible to hike taxes and (not necessarily as a consequence) subsequently still have a very robust economy, and simultaneously do a favor to future generations by reducing the deficit from a huge level to nothing.

So when I hear Republicans claiming as if it's an established fact that if we were to support the troops out of our own pockets now by hiking taxes that this would surely kill the recovery (the same claim that Gingrich made in '93), it frankly pisses me off.

Why do I have a hard time crediting GWB for what is indeed, at the moment, a pretty good economy (5 straight years of increased poverty notwithstanding)? Because it seems to me it's a good bit easier to make things look good right now while you're running up the nation's credit card. I will grant you that the deficit came down in '05, but it was still larger, at 4.0% of GDP (excluding SS), than it has ever been under a Democrat president since WWII, with the exception of Clinton's 1st year, before his tax hike.

If by the end of GWB's second term he's brought the deficit back down to a low level (say, under 2% of GDP) without raising taxes (note that if the AMT remains unindexed it's a bit of a stealth tax increase) then I will have considerably more respect for the Republican approach to deficits. We shall see.

boris

the 90s irrefutably showed is that it is possible to hike taxes

Yeah and it's possible to improve one's health while smoking too.

Imagine it's possible to quantify tax increase vs spending restraint for effect on the deficit ... think about what that means.

Dollar for dollar ... let the people who earned it spend it ... or take it away and have the government spend it buying votes.

As far as deficits go if the government can't restrain it's spending ... let them BORROW THE FRAKKIN MONEY from me and help pad my nest egg rather than TAKE IT THE FRAK AWAY.

Cecil Turner

What I do think the 90s irrefutably showed is that it is possible to hike taxes and (not necessarily as a consequence) subsequently still have a very robust economy, and simultaneously do a favor to future generations by reducing the deficit from a huge level to nothing.

Tax rates under Clinton rose steadily from 17.5% of GDP in 1993 to 20.9% in 2000. A recession followed. I'm not sure what you think that showed, but I don't find your conclusions particularly persuasive.

Barney Frank

Foo,

You have a fundamentally flawed of economics. Clinton's tax increase did not balance the budget or even make any significant contribution to it. I told you earlier what eliminated the deficit, GDP growth and spending restraint.
Nor do we now have a good economy now because we are running a deficit. Deficits especially at this level are irrelevant to either growth or recession. Had Bush and the Republican congress merely kept non defense discretionary spending to Clintonian growth rates the deficit would already be half what it is. The rest is attributable to the recession of 2000, 2001 and defense related spending increases.
In this context economic growth and spending restraint are really the only things that matter and tax increases harm economic growth and usually discourage spending restraint. The Republicans and Bush are absolutely to blame for one over riding sin; overspending, but somehow I doubt that is what the left really dislikes about their economic policies.

Foo Bar

let them BORROW THE FRAKKIN MONEY from me

The govt isn't borrowing it from you. It's borrowing it largely from China and Japan, and whoever is of working age and paying taxes 20 or 30 years from now when those Treasury bonds mature will have to pay China and Japan back. That may or may not be you, depending on how old and healthy you are. But it will surely included a lot of younger taxpayers who did not have the opportunity to vote about the wisdom of this decision. Taxation w/o representation.

boris

The govt isn't borrowing it from you

Not all of it obviously. What a lame response. Elected officials are doing the deficit spending so "Taxation w/o representation" is also lame.

This is why you have no credibility.

Ross Perot pays something like 7% in taxes. How ??? He lets the government "use his money" and they give him a tax break on the interest for doing it. Since the gov and Ross are happy with the arrangement, you need to explain exactly how this is a bad deal for "the children".

Foo Bar

Tax rates under Clinton rose steadily from 17.5% of GDP in 1993 to 20.9% in 2000

No, tax rates did not steadily rise. The share of GDP collected by the government rose, which is a very different thing. If tax brackets remain constant, but people make more money, then a larger percentage of the income lands in higher brackets and as a consequence the percentage of GDP collected by the government is higher without the government making any actual fiscal policy changes.

So yes, 7 years after any significant active measures on the part of Clinton to increase the federal government's revenues, there was a recession. I apologize on Clinton's behalf for his failure to completely abolish the business cycle.

In any event, the share of GDP fell from '80 (blip in 87, then fell again for 4 years) until '91 and a recession ensued.

Clinton's tax hike was in '93. The only other significant tax policy change that I'm aware of during his two terms was a capital gains tax cut in 1997. Hey, maybe that caused the recession (no, I don't believe that, but your logic might suggest it).

Barney Frank

Well Foo,

Let's say people who believe as you do become a majority and instead of being taxed twenty years from now, our children inherit less from us because we have our wealth taxed out of us in the here and now. Paying for this level of government has to come from somewhere at sometime; at least with taxes low they will inherit an economy considerably larger and wealthier than one heavily taxed for several decades previously. Is it better to be poor with no debt or rich with some? I've been both; I'll take the latter.

Foo Bar

Clinton's tax increase did not balance the budget or even make any significant contribution to it. I told you earlier what eliminated the deficit, GDP growth and spending restraint.

Well, Barney, my apologies for not immediately accepting an assertion made by a stranger on the internet unsupported by any links, specific numbers, or detailed argumentation. At least Cecil supplied a link (misinterpret it though he did).

If you have a numerical breakdown available of how much of the deficit reduction can be attributed to Clinton's tax increase, I'd be happy to look at it. I happen to have one for you. And yes, it's from an economist who worked for Clinton, but I'm a bit more inclined to listen to an econ professor from Berkeley than someone I know nothing about who doesn't often provide links to support his assertions.

boris:

Elected officials are doing the deficit spending so "Taxation w/o representation" is also lame.

How many of the workers who will be less than 30 years old 30 years from now voted in the last election?

In any case, that's it for me for now (have to do some actual work). One thing about this thread is that certain posters make very specific claims that I refute (see e.g. Noah and Patton above) and then they disappear and others pop up and the specific thesis being debated slowly drifts. But so it goes. Fun and enlightening regardless. Have a good one, folks.

Cecil Turner

No, tax rates did not steadily rise. The share of GDP collected by the government rose, which is a very different thing.

Dude, my background is in mathematics, and I generally use standard scientific terminology (wherein a "rate" is "a measure of a part with respect to a whole"). Feel free to correct it to whatever jargon you use, but the bottom line is that, under Clinton, the proportion of GDP collected in taxes rose from 17.5% of GDP in 1993 to 20.9% in 2000 . . . a "rate" (in the scientific sense of percentage of receipts to total national GDP) equal to that collected in 1944, and greater than any other year. And a recession followed.

So yes, 7 years after any significant active measures on the part of Clinton to increase the federal government's revenues, there was a recession.

Are you seriously suggesting the pertinent measure of taxation is marginal tax rates? I didn't think so. If we're talking about effect on economy (or an attempt to balance receipts vs spending), the percentage of GDP collected would seem to be the only applicable measure. If you raise it significantly (through marginal tax increases, bracket creep into AMT, or any other mechanism), it appears to have an effect on the economy. It certainly does not prove you can raise taxes (as a proportion of GDP) and "subsequently still have a very robust economy."

boris

How many of the workers who will be less than 30 years old 30 years from now voted in the last election?

So ... are 26 year olds now cursing the memory of Reagan for winning the cold war and spurring the economy but increasing interest we now pay on the national debt in the process ?

Give me a credible number for the difference in economic gain vs interest payments.

Which is larger, the estimated GDP benefit of the Reagan expansion of the economy or the extra interest now paid for the debt difference during his term? Even if you could figure or find it, you don't want to know because then you would "get it".

Foo Bar

Dude, my background is in mathematics, and I generally use standard scientific terminology (wherein a "rate" is "a measure of a part with respect to a whole").

As it happens, so is mine, but when debating fiscal policy I try to use terminology as it is typically understood by the general populace when these discussions take place, and if the government is completely passive, i.e., keeps tax laws and tax brackets constant (aside from indexing for inflation) but happens to collect a larger share of GDP one year than the year before, this is simply not the layman's understanding of what it means to "raise tax rates".

If you insist that this is what it means to "raise tax rates", then I advise you to get out the message all over the right wing blogs that GWB "raised tax rates" substantially in '05. Look- he's betrayed his base supporters!

Clinton did nothing of significance proactively after '94 to attempt to collect more taxes, and even signed that capital gains cut bill, but if you want to argue that government should cut taxes if the share of GDP gets too high (e.g. above 20%), then yes, that's a respectable argument. Hard to say for sure if there's causation- we have a grand total of 1 post WWII data point there.

Note that the share in '03 and '04 was all the way down at around 16.5% (the lowest since the 50s) and even in '05 it was at 17.5%, the same as in '93, before Clinton raised taxes, after which we had 7 excellent years of growth, so that would suggest that GWB has a bit of room still to raise the share of GDP collected by the government before your theory of what causes a recession is likely to kick in, would it not? Or do you wholeheartily defend right wing politicians who speak as if it's a sure thing that the recovery would be killed if we took any active measures to collect more than the current 17.5% of GDP?


Barney:

our children inherit less from us because we have our wealth taxed out of us in the here and now.

Look, I'm not a far-left socialist. I think the top rate before Reagan was probably quite a bit too high. But it's far from obvious to me that tax brackets under Clinton precluded excellent growth, since there was excellent growth for virtually the entirety of his presidency. Now maybe as Cecil seems to be arguing if the economy roars to the point where the share of GDP collected gets very, very high by historical standards there might be a case to cut it down a little and keep it under say 19 or 19.5 %. Hard to say for sure. But I really didn't see the need to cut taxes to the extent that GWB did and pile up so much debt, and I don't see the need to make the cuts permanent. Like I said earlier, if he starts indexing the AMT and gets the deficit down pretty low by '08 with the tax policy otherwise as is, I will be forced to change my mind. We'll see.

Boris:


So ... are 26 year olds now cursing the memory of Reagan for winning the cold war and spurring the economy but increasing interest we now pay on the national debt in the process ?

OK, this is a much more respectable argument. I am certainly thrilled that my grandparents' generation issued a ton of war bonds in order to win WWII, even though national debt as a % of GDP was subsequently quite high through the 50s (so why am I not OK with ton of debt now? Please... we are not spending anywhere near the same proportion in the war on terror now). These things are tradeoffs, as you now seem to be acknowledging (note that you said my taxation w/o representation argument gave me no credibility, and then when I made it clearer to you you shift to a tradeoff argument, which implicitly acknowledges that what I'm saying is at least something to weigh against other considerations, but that's OK :)- I can take it).

Give me a credible number for the difference in economic gain vs interest payments.

Hard to say. Something that I'm pretty sure various highly respected economists would differ widely on. If you have a number, I'm happy to look at it. But note that it's a sure thing that paying less in taxes and getting the same in government services now is better for us now than paying our own way fully, while the tradeoff between the economy we leave our kids and the debt we leave our kids is unclear. So that makes me a bit uneasy.

Never mind the fact that there are very respectable arguments to be made that keeping deficits low helps future economic growth; if govt borrows less it may make it easier for private firms to borrow- I think I'm expecting too much if I hope anyone around here buys that at all.


Cecil Turner

Or do you wholeheartily defend right wing politicians who speak as if it's a sure thing that the recovery would be killed if we took any active measures to collect more than the current 17.5% of GDP?

As opposed to passive measures? Sorry Foo Bar, but that long diatribe on terminology and active vs. passive is just political obfuscation. Taxes rose to 20.9% of GDP and a recession followed. Hiking taxes did not result in a robust economy (as you claimed earlier), it led to recession.

I think a sensible working premise is that 20% is too high (even on a healthy economy). Might 18% be okay? Yeah, maybe so. But a cautious approach is indicated, because it's obviously better to maintain growth than to try to balance the budget in a recession. And if we subsequently find bracket creep or AMT or some other unforeseen circumstance is driving receipts up past 20% of GDP, I'd suggest active measures to bring it down makes more sense (whether proposed by a right winger or a left winger).

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