Friday, September 10, 2010

Spur-of-the-moment rant

I just read one of tomorrow's Associated Press stories, the latest in a regular series that seems less interested in informing as to get everyone behind the idea that people are turning away from Obama and the Democrats in droves. I can't link the story at the moment (and anyway, you've probably read its echoes a dozen times), but I feel the need to weigh in.

The story reminds me of one of those trend pieces that says, "A new craze is sweeping the nation. People everywhere are doing it! Here's why it's fun. Why don't you come aboard?" Increasingly typical, self-fulfilling groupthink that irritates me as much as it scares me.

Now, I understand that voters are disillusioned with what they view as a disappointing performance on the part of Obama and the Democrats. I feel that way at times. It's a legit sentiment. I'm also aware that midterm elections generally don't favor incumbents. I expect things I don't like to happen. I'm not naive.

But here's the rub: If the AP, and TV and the Internet in general, are to be believed, then what happens in November will be driven by a "fed-up" attitude from both conservatives and liberals. And, frankly, that's just dumb.

Why is it dumb? Because eight, and more likely 30, years of economic deregulation, evisceration of unions and workers' rights in general, endless warfare, economic ruin and institutional prejudice and whatever else is wrong with our country that's making our lives miserable is not going to be fixed in such a short time. And anyone who thought it would be is fooling themselves.

I've taken a lot of heat and more than a few pathetic head-shakes from people who think I'm delusional for still supporting President Obama and Congress. And yes, I agree that they should be doing more and perhaps cling to purer principles when appropriate. But I also realize that politics is a complex machine and our nation is far too large and diverse for anyone to get everything they want. In that respect, I think Obama's doing remarkably well, considering the forces that are out to stop him or make him bend.

And that's where I get annoyed by both the left and the right. 

I expect the right to be as belligerent and petulant as they are, because that's their job. Even the Republican leadership long ago gave up any pretense of real leadership and decided that government, especially this administration, is a monster that must be thwarted at any cost. That's why they're literally the Party of No, and why they'll bend into unfathomably bizarre positions to stay on message, however absurd that message may be. I have no respect for them, but I get why their parallel reality has no place for a successful, progressive, black president. Most of the GOP campaigns I've seen, especially from tea-party types, are reactionary ones designed to make you think less about the person running than the fact that they are not the one in the seat now. It's like that scene in Revenge of the Nerds where Booger tells Takashi during a poker game that he needs to replace his four old kings with fresh cards. You know, just because. Also, so Booger can win.

What really grates on me, though, are those people who voted Obama/Democrat and are ready to give up now. Really? So what are you going to do? I'm not trying to be snide; I really want to know. Because I can imagine only two options for those who don't stay home: 1) voting third-party or 2) voting Republican. And ultimately, both will lead to GOP victories. And wouldn't that defeat the purpose?

Again, I can see where the attitude comes from. And our politicians should know that they will be held accountable. But there has to be a better way to do it than to be as reactionary as conservatives - who, by the way, are ready to pounce on this discord. They certainly can't win on their merits.

Anyone disillusioned by our current situation needs to think rationally about the alternative. Who will give us what we want, as fast as we want it? The answer is, nobody. Because economic recovery takes time. Long, painful time, but time. And no matter how ideologically pure of a person we elect anywhere, they will have to work with others, compromise and inevitably take the same lumps the incumbents are taking now. And the process will still grind along.

On the other hand, voting for the opposition will not make it better. Remember, these are the people who bray about government's incompetence and have spent the last few decades proving it. They want nothing more than to reverse the gains and course so badly needed right now. And the prospect of good people losing hope and going down this road breaks my heart. And makes it palpitate.

But maybe there aren't as many of these people as I think. It could be a case of the media hyping it up for a story. Which itself is reprehensible.

Over time, things will get better. Encouraging news can be found every day, even if it's buried. I have a feeling that our current divisions will begin to heal once our prospects improve. In the meantime, don't lose hope. And definitely don't vote out of anger. Primary time is past. We've got to make the best of what we've got. But really, what we've got isn't bad, and I'd hate to see our (meaning our country's) gradual gains stopped because we gave up too soon.

Just something to think about.

74 comments:

NOLA Progressive said...

My wife and I were discussing the role of the press in all of this just today. The fact that positive economic indicators are emerging isn't a big seller. Bullshit, that's what moves papers and gets people to tune in.

I mean take for instance the Koran burning dipshit. I mean if the press would have ignored this tool, he would have never even got to the blustering phase. It is only the fact that signifcant press gave this chump a stage, that he was actually able to be a real controversy. This gets everyone all worked up and thusly is a bigger seller.

Tom Alday said...

Haha, and the desperation sets in.

I'm hoping your post-election blog post is as incredibly whiny and pathetic as your 2004 post-election post.

Hathor said...

Tom Alday,
Do you have some kind of Obama fetish? re:avatar

Robert Taylor said...

There hasn't been a trend toward deregulation. On the contrary, there is more regulation now than ever before.

The feeling of desperation is clear whether people attribute blame in the right place or not, Obama has raised the debt and spent more money than all presidents in US history combined. That's no easy task to repair, but the first step is to get him out of office quick before the damage becomes irreparable (which may already be the case)

NOLA Progressive said...

Robert, does if feel good to perpetuate that blather? Some sort of chicken-little the sky is falling type thing?

NOLA Progressive said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Taylor said...

@NOLA you, Ian, Rhonda et al always take the Earl "Clem" Bob position when I post comments. The words I use are "big" and meant to obfuscate (is that too big of a word too?). I don't consider myself particularly a high intellectual. I just read enough to be familiar with words that are common in newspapers etc.

NOLA Progressive said...

Rob. My comment had nothing to do with your verbage. Its not my place to critique another's prose. My opinion is that you choose wording that comes across as reaching but again my point had absolutely nothing to do with how you said anything.

It was relative to it being completely misleading and in some cases completely innaccurate. Also the chicken little comment pertained to you acting as though doomsday were upon us when positive indicators are present.

Robert Taylor said...

@NOLA you know, in a lot of my comments on this site I have referenced Economics as a major element missing in Ian's arguments.

Most of the responses I've received have tried to supersede or avoid Economics altogether.

And look, it is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a 'dismal science.' But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.

I can't possibly imagine what "positive" indicators you're talking about. Maybe you'd like to enlighten me?

Jester said...

You mean we can't just spend our way out of a spending mess? http://www.investors.com/EditorialCartoons/Cartoon.aspx?id=546996

Tom Alday said...

"positive indicators are present."

Hmm, yes...hence the need for another stimulus, this one for mere 50 billion.

positive indicators indeed.

NOLA Progressive said...

Positive indicators like market recovery, significant improvement on job loss, huge success in the restructuring of GM with payback, retail growth, infrastucture investment. These are positive things. They have a long way to go in some instances but positive nontheless. You can't expect 8 years of running the country like a frat house to fixed in 18 months.

The stimulus should have been larger to begin with. Many economists said as much, so I'm not surprised further money may be required. Spending is indeed the solution if done properly. Also we can sustain our debt as a percentage of GDP. We have before and pulled through following WWII.

Of course you do have a particular political group who says no to everything making it much more difficult to accomplish anything.

Jester said...

Oh! You must mean THESE positive indicators. And THIS frat house policy. Somebody please help me out here. Name any society in history which taxed itself into prosperity. And while you're at it, please explain to me how repeatedly attempting a system of government which has failed miserably every time it's been tried can be considered "Progress"?

Robert Taylor said...

@NOLA again you're just wandering aimlessly in a world of subjects you clearly no nothing about nor try to understand.

"Also we can sustain our debt as a percentage of GDP" This statement means absolutely nothing. Literally it is void of meaning. It's a sentence conjured up out of your delusional indifference to economic matters. GDP is a bogus term.

Your claim that "economists" wanted more spending is baseless as well. By "economists" you mean PhD clowns who serve as intellectual support for the state. Of course the state is always going to say spend spend spend!

Any true student of Economics would understand AT THE MOST BASIC LEVEL the Broken Window Fallacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_window_fallacy

Keynesian "economists" are the only ones who hold different, and it's no wonder considering Keynes never took one formal class in Economics.

Ian McGibboney said...

I don't think I've ever heard anyone argue that the Gross National Product is a bogus notion. I mean, I wouldn't even know where to start with that. I've literally never heard anyone say that before.

Credentials or not (Abraham Lincoln never went to law school), Keynes' theories are some of the most touted in economics. Even the right-wing economics professors I've had see merit in Keynesian theory. Not that you care, Robert, since you see university employees as mind slaves of the state. I don't really know what to say about that either, except that if you're going to align yourself with something, a democratic government seems better than a private for-profit corporation or general nihilism.

As for the rest of you hate-groupies, I'd love to hear your own ideas for how we should be handling what has ignited your sudden outrage over government spending. Just one idea that isn't some glib remark, over-simplistic t'row-da-bums-out platitude or is otherwise not grounded in any reality. Something that proves to me that your bearing of bad news isn't simply you getting off on perceived flaws by Obama.

In other words, go away. I see right through you.

Jester said...

Hate-groupies? Your name-calling wounds me :(

Sudden outrage? Over twenty years of frustration with government overspending is hardly sudden.

"I'd love to hear your own ideas" Sorry. Not till you answer ME first:

1: (again) Name any society in history which taxed itself into prosperity.

2: (again) Please explain to me how repeatedly attempting a system of government which has failed miserably every time it's been tried can be considered "Progress"?

P.S. Don't forget to back up your claims with credible sources like they taught you in school :)

Ian McGibboney said...

1) The United States of America, for one! The postwar wave of prosperity came when taxes were at their most progressive, with a top rate of 91 percent in the Eisenhower era. It's only been since the top tax brackets have been slashed so severely in the last 40 years that we've seen such an erosion of the middle class and of infrastructure. At the same time, military spending increased exponentially. So, Jester, if you're really looking for government spending to be angry about, you might want to look in the other direction. It's foolish to cut taxes, jack up spending on boondoggles and then whine that somehow the system got messed up.

2) Pull your wall eyes out of your Glenn Beck book and pick up a dictionary, look up Marxism and explain to me exactly how it applies today. Chances are, you'll answer your own question.

Tom Alday said...

"I'd love to hear your own ideas for how we should be handling what has ignited your sudden outrage over government spending."

Less spending.

or is that too glib?

Ian McGibboney said...

Tom, your response reminds me of a Family Guy episode where Lois is running for office. She's floundering until Brian explains to her that she needs to simplify her positions because "undecided voters are the dumbest people on the planet." So when she's asked what she'll do about crime, she says, "a lot." She gets a huge cheer, so she answers her next question with, "9/11." And that's all she says for the rest of the press conference. And her popularity soars.

Where would you cut spending, Tom? That's a serious question you don't seem to have contemplated. Even if the government stopped spending or borrowing right this minute, we'd still have staggering debt. And unfunded mandates. And you certainly wouldn't want to cut off the troops, hey? As it is, government spending is the only reason things are as GOOD as they are right now. And bray all you want about Obama's debt, but the fact is that much of that money goes toward two wars and ridiculous tax cuts enacted by his vile predecessor. But that's too inconvenient for your little bullshit narrative, apparently.

Government spending. Yeah, that's what keeps you awake at night.

Jester said...

1) Where's your proof for any of the claims (left-wing talking points) that you've made so far? Are there no credible sources for any of these? None? Hmm.... did you or did you not take English 101?

2) Wall eyes? Glenn Beck? Silly personal insults and assumptions? I thought you were better than that, Ian. I really did. I depended on you to be a journalist, and you've let me down twice.

Robert Taylor said...

@Ian your description of the Family Guy episode is analogous to NOLA and your usage of GDP. You have absolutely no concept of what the GDP is supposed to mean or why it is flawed but you use it in arguments in favor of your arbitrary positions. "9/11!! 9/11!! GDP!! GDP!!"

Ian McGibboney said...

Jester - If you're going to make ridiculous notions about Marxism easily traced to a certain uneducated lunatic, I will handle you appropriately. If you want to make your case that you aren't a Glenn Beck disciple and in fact get your ignorance elsewhere, then I will apologize and then tell you to get your head out of THEIR book. The point is, you're spewing terms with no clue about what they mean.

As for my claims, here's one source. That site admits being left of center, so here's a chart from the Heritage Foundation with identical information that, even though it cuts off in the late 1990s, still proves my point. And my point is, taxes on the rich were higher in periods of prosperity. When they're cut significantly, especially as seen in 1982, 1988 and 2001, recessions generally follow. It's kind of ridiculous to cry "Marxism" when Obama called for a return to the top tax rate we had as recently as 2000. Were we commies then? That would make Reagan Stalin. Think about what you say, J.

Robert - Your analogy makes no sense. NOLA made a point about the GDP (among many other points), and your response was to accuse him of delusion that such a thing exists. I mean, that's not exactly the stuff of enlightened exchange. You could perhaps address why he's wrong on that point, or make your own case for a lack of GDP. But to say I'm mindlessly braying about it, when I hadn't even mentioned it once? That's just stupid.

This place really feels like Bizarro World sometimes.

NOLA Progressive said...

Also, Robert dont' let the cornerstone of why I am so uninformed and innacurate be a wikipedia article. I mean seriously a wikipedia article?

Tom Alday said...

"Where would you cut spending, Tom? "

In fixing our unsustainable entitlement programs that look to eat up most of our budget by 2050.

"And bray all you want about Obama's debt, but the fact is that much of that money goes toward two wars and ridiculous tax cuts enacted by his vile predecessor."

All of which had bipartisan support to pass, unlike Obama's bullshit failed measures like the stimulus, cash for clunkers and his business killing health care takeover. Face it Ian, your boy sucks at pretty much everything he's tried and no amount of trying to blame Bush will change that. You liberals like to whine all about Bush tax cuts and wars and how bad Republicans are for them, yet always overlook the fact that your party voted for them to be passed as well.

Jester said...

So I'm not allowed to study and understand the dangers of your political philosophy just because you say so? Wow. Mr. Marx would be proud of you.

Look, I'm sorry for your hatred of Glenn Beck or anyone else. But I don't need them to remember how Communism was the plague of the 20th century, and how socialism has been problematic in Europe for decades.

For the sake of you, me, and every other American, I would hate to see the Left take over here the way it has in other places. When I see the administration leaning too far that way, it bothers me. Not only because of the documented failures that extreme collectivism has caused, even in early America, but because morally it's wrong to steal from hard working people just to throw their money away on worthless, bloated social programs. America is supposed to be about freedom, right?

Thank you for the sources, albeit one of them leftist, and the lack of personal attacks this time; I really do appreciate it. But the charts you referenced only show me that historically the more people prospered, the more the government took from them, and likewise the economy always crashed because of it. (Kind of like Al Gore's Hockey Stick. But that's another subject for another time.)

Ian McGibboney said...

What "entitlement programs" do you mean, Tom? The military is 50 percent of our budget. Social Security, 35-ish. All the favorite Republican bugaboos like welfare and food stamps barely add up to piss. And that's why it's hard to take your argument seriously. All the right ever crows about is "entitlements" and "government spending." If you and your buddies were honest in your drive to curb government spending, you'd be complaining about the Pentagon. Any idea how much money they're hemorrhaging? Never mind spending, simply wasting? It's staggering. Not a PEEP.

Anything like government assistance, health care reform, education, anything that actually isn't relatively expensive but might help a poor or minority person somewhere down the line? Yeah, that's where we went wrong! Glad we've spent the last 30 years demonizing those boogeymen. It's really restored our country to greatness.

Finally, Tom, you're going to have to decide whether Obama is destroying this country or if he's ineffective. Your hate is trying to have it both ways. Focus, grasshopper.

Ian McGibboney said...

Jester, I think you exist only to make Tom look sane by comparison. Now I see you have no grasp of cause and effect just like you have no perspective on political definitions. You are pointless.

Jester said...

Ian, you'd better sit down for this one:

I actually agree with you (WHOA!) about out of control military spending. I think the Pentagon should bring all our troops back home in order to defend OUR borders only. Such an action would greatly reduce military spending. But why won't the Commander in Chief do that?

Jester said...

I'm sorry you feel that way about me, Ian.

Your white flag is duly noted, so for your sake, I'll stop here.

But thank you for the forum and the lively debate! :)

Tom Alday said...

"What "entitlement programs" do you mean, Tom? The military is 50 percent of our budget. Social Security, 35-ish."

Your numbers are wrong, as usual. The 2010 proposed budget is 3.8 trillion, of that 782 billion (23%) goes to the DOD, while SS, Medicare and Medicade get about 1.35 trillion (39%) with it set to steadily increase year by year (as it's done since the 60's) until it totally swallows our entire budget. Something needs to be done about that, even a big government loving shitface like you should be able to see that.

"Finally, Tom, you're going to have to decide whether Obama is destroying this country or if he's ineffective."

Uh, he can destroy it by being ineffective, just look what he's done for the jobs sector. He's done nothing and it's quickly been destroyed under his watch with no relief in sight.

Robert Taylor said...

@Ian @NOLA look I can try to explain to you how GDP is bogus, but it may not make a lot of sense given the extreme ignorance shown on the subject of Economics.

To put it in laymens terms, GDP is a measure of consumption within an arbitrarily chosen area that measures the value of final goods and services produced during a particular time. The GDP framework, approaches the entire matter from a consumption stand point and gives the impression that it is not the activities of individuals that produce goods and services, but something else outside these activities called the “economy.” However, at no stage does the so-called “economy” have a life of its own independent of individuals. The so-called economy is a metaphor—it doesn’t exist.

The whole idea of GDP gives the impression that there is such a thing as the national output. In the real world, however, wealth is produced by someone and belongs to somebody. In other words, goods and services are not produced in totality and supervised by one supreme leader. It fails at measuring actual wealth production.

It also has the problem of adding apples and oranges. It finds the average price between something like the sale of a shoe for $20 with the sale of a yacht for $1million dollars. Of course you can't do that. The entire concept of GDP is devoid of any basis in reality. It is an empty concept.

NOLA Progressive said...

Tom how can you say he has done nothing for jobs? He took the shit sandwhich he was handed and steadily stopped the massive bleeding out of jobs that was taking place. Unemployment is high no doubt, but it could have been so much worse.

If he continues to build the middle class and avoid the gross polarization of wealth the unemployment rate will drop and people will be able to sustain our economy again. There is relatively no such thing as trickle down. The further we move away from that idea the better we will be.

Tom Alday said...

How did he "steadily stop" the loss of jobs? It's been at around 10% nationally for a year (for the record, it never got above 6% during those oh so horrible Bush years, btw). Even his new economic advisor says high unemployment is the new norm. He has no plan. His failed stimulus was supposed to stop the rate from going above 8% and his infamous chart has been the butt of internet jokes for months. His economic plan, if you could even call it that, is utter dog shit. That's why Democrats are going to get their pants beaten off this November, they showed their cards and they were holding nothing.

NOLA Progressive said...

Well we were losing around 700,000 jobs in teh last month of the Bush Presidency and that has declined to around 100,000 as recently as August according the the Bureau of Labor and statistics with months of gain. The ERA has arguably created around 3.5 million jobs with 749,000 directly reported by the individual gaining the employment. That's a far cry from dropping 700,000 or so.


The rate is still unnacceptable. I don't claim otherwise, but again 8 years of polarizing wealth in our country has taken its toll on the middle class. We simply can't afford to keep this economy going any longer. Until the middle becomes more robust all the tax breaks in the world won't help businesses because we won't be able to buy the shit they are selling.

He has had a plan since day one and successfully implemented it. I suppose who could allow another bubble economy to take shape and ride it for almost 8 years, but real reform can't take that shape. This is going to take time, and we are all going to feel it's effects for a while.

Jester said...

Whoa there, big fella. I'm not trying to be a referee here, but we spectators need a little context. Exactly where are all of your numbers and claims coming from?

Robert Taylor said...

@NOLA there you go again with bogus terms you regurgitate. THE TERM MIDDLE CLASS MEANS NOTHING, IT IS AN EMPTY TERM. In fact you're implying that other "classes" have to suffer in order for the "middle" to succeed.

You're completely ignorant about what society is: individuals working together so that everyone benefits. You advocate the opposite: political expropriation in order for one group to benefit over another. You are nothing but an elitist.

Again, you'll throw out unlettered opinions on subjects YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. Redistributing wealth does not wealth produce. Parasitism hurts everyone in a society.

NOLA Progressive said...

Job loss numbers come directly from the Bureau of Labor and statistics. I was banging that response out right before bed on my phone, so I got lazy with the citation for cut and paste reasons.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

You can also find a chart of the same info at whitehouse.gov, but I imagine that's too biased a site for you even though it references the BLS directly. I mean Rob here thinks Phd's equate to government lackeys perpetuating some sort of sinister economic plot.

Oh and Rob while I'm referencing you, I will respond one time and one time only to you. After this, unless you stop being a stuffy, big-headed prick I will simply ignore your comments.

When a system of economics over the course of fifty years or so shifts the concentration of wealth to the point that one half of one percent of wage earning households (which equates to about 13,000 households) control 11% of the nation's wealth something is wrong. (The reference for this was an article I read yesterday published in the Times; I am unable to access the article due to web restriction at work. As soon as I am able I will post the article which includes data sources) This doesn't even look at the bigger number which is the top 2% of wage earners. That'll really piss ya off (well not you because I suspect you may draw some sort of perverse pleasure from such things Rob).

So you are right, one class does have to suffer tremendously in order for another to succeed...us!

Also I reiterate, if you are simply going to be a tool who says what I am ignorant about ad nauseum, I can certainly just ignore you. I understand that you believe that you have the definitve understanding of how the economy and moreover society(yikes) works, but suffice it to say that there are highly intelligent people who don't see it the same way you do. In fact, your view of things would fall in the minority I suspect. Now I'm not claiming that you have to be wrong because of those facts, but your insistence on the ignorance of and non-existence of certain entitities is pompous and quite frankly prick- headed.

Ian McGibboney said...

Apparently it's the height of critical thinking to deny the existence of anything that potentially undermines one's absolute moral certainty. No matter how basic or obvious the concept in question is. Must be bliss. I'll have to try it.

Won't bode well for this conversation, though.

Ian McGibboney said...

NOLA, what happened to your last comment? I thought it was a good one. Seem to have been eaten. I can paste it if you want.

NOLA Progressive said...

Ian I thought perhaps you had removed it in the interest of cutting this thread short, which I would have understood. I guess the interwebs ate it. If you could paste it back it that would be fine as I am in the middle of a crazy day. Thanks.

Ian McGibboney said...

Wow. I'm having a real hard time posting it. Blogger is full of glitches today. Not pleased. Hold on...

Ian McGibboney said...

NOLA, I never do that sort of thing. And if I did, yours would not be the one I single out. So here it is:

NOLA Progressive said...

Job loss numbers come directly from the Bureau of Labor and statistics. I was banging that response out right before bed on my phone, so I got lazy with the citation for cut and paste reasons.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

You can also find a chart of the same info at whitehouse.gov, but I imagine that's too biased a site for you even though it references the BLS directly. I mean Rob here thinks Phd's equate to government lackeys perpetuating some sort of sinister economic plot.

Oh and Rob while I'm referencing you, I will respond one time and one time only to you. After this, unless you stop being a stuffy, big-headed prick I will simply ignore your comments.

When a system of economics over the course of fifty years or so shifts the concentration of wealth to the point that one half of one percent of wage earning households (which equates to about 13,000 households) control 11% of the nation's wealth something is wrong. (The reference for this was an article I read yesterday published in the Times; I am unable to access the article due to web restriction at work. As soon as I am able I will post the article which includes data sources) This doesn't even look at the bigger number which is the top 2% of wage earners. That'll really piss ya off (well not you because I suspect you may draw some sort of perverse pleasure from such things Rob).

So you are right, one class does have to suffer tremendously in order for another to succeed...us!

Also I reiterate, if you are simply going to be a tool who says what I am ignorant about ad nauseum, I can certainly just ignore you. I understand that you believe that you have the definitve understanding of how the economy and moreover society(yikes) works, but suffice it to say that there are highly intelligent people who don't see it the same way you do. In fact, your view of things would fall in the minority I suspect. Now I'm not claiming that you have to be wrong because of those facts, but your insistence on the ignorance of and non-existence of certain entitities is pompous and quite frankly prick- headed.

Robert Taylor said...

@NOLA here's the thing, without understanding Economics, just throwing statistics at me does not prove your point. You say there is a gap that continues to grow-- ok.

But is this because of lack of regulation, or because of regulation? Economics shows it's because of regulation. Because you're illiterate in Economics, your arguments are political in nature but unfortunately morally and ethically inconsistent.

I can't give you unlimited free lessons in Economics on this comment thread, but suffice it to say that because you lack knowledge in how wealth is produced, how markets work etc, you can't seem to grasp that what you advocate is aligned with Big Business, not against it. It's Big Business that wants the same kind of myriad of laws and regulations that you advocate to as to eliminate their competition.

It's hard arguing with you because you trying to speak in a language that you don't understand (or want to understand) but you think you can just throw out numbers and articles you read in newspapers and that you're then somehow justified in your position.

Ian McGibboney said...

Robert Taylor said...
@NOLA here's the thing, without understanding Economics, just throwing statistics at me does not prove your point. You say there is a gap that continues to grow-- ok.

But is this because of lack of regulation, or because of regulation? Economics shows it's because of regulation. Because you're illiterate in Economics, your arguments are political in nature but unfortunately morally and ethically inconsistent.

I can't give you unlimited free lessons in Economics on this comment thread, but suffice it to say that because you lack knowledge in how wealth is produced, how markets work etc, you can't seem to grasp that what you advocate is aligned with Big Business, not against it. It's Big Business that wants the same kind of myriad of laws and regulations that you advocate to as to eliminate their competition.

It's hard arguing with you because you trying to speak in a language that you don't understand (or want to understand) but you think you can just throw out numbers and articles you read in newspapers and that you're then somehow justified in your position.

Ian McGibboney said...

Apparently, Blogger is eating up comments. This is more annoying than moderation. Sheesh.

Anyway...

I don't pretend to be an expert in economics, though I have taken classes in it. But here's what I'm gathering out of this exchange:

NOLA is citing facts and figures, and what he thinks those opinions mean.

Robert is spending all his time touting himself as the lone economic expert here and one whose intellectual level cannot be matched, all the while refuting NOLA's assertions solely by telling him how stupid he is. All the while not citing any figures of his own, and making claims that go against everything I've ever heard from anyone (Businesses want regulations? Really?).

Robert, pomposity doesn't make you an expert. Huffing your own version of the truth doesn't make it true, nor does it make it us stupid for not grasping it. You are far too high on your imagined superiority for anyone to take you seriously.

Robert Taylor said...

@Ian Jesus Christ Ian I am not touting myself as an elite intellectual. I'm merely pointing out that you and NOLA don't understand simple economic concepts, yet you think you can talk about these subjects like you have a grasp on them.

I don't comment on your posts about the sports teams you like, do I? No because I can't speak intelligently about those subjects. YOU OPENLY ADMIT that you have only taken a few classes on Economics. That hasn't come across in your discussions about economic affairs.

Terms like GDP is another example. You guys throw it around. I briefly discussed how it is a bogus measurement. You didn't bother debating my points of course, you just attack my character. Ad hominem. It's all you can do, and that's how politics works. You're good at it Ian, because it's easy. Not because you're a bright star or anything.

I constantly try to keep you in check by pointing out your inconsistencies and faulty logic and you take it like a personal attack. OR sometimes you bombard me with that grammatically incorrect double negative crap where you end up agreeing with me but cover it up in rhetorical pompousness. It's you who act too high and mighty to admit that you shouldn't even have an opinion on things you know nothing about.

Ian McGibboney said...

Robert Taylor said:

@Ian Jesus Christ Ian I am not touting myself as an elite intellectual. I'm merely pointing out that you and NOLA don't understand simple economic concepts, yet you think you can talk about these subjects like you have a grasp on them.

I don't comment on your posts about the sports teams you like, do I? No because I can't speak intelligently about those subjects. YOU OPENLY ADMIT that you have only taken a few classes on Economics. That hasn't come across in your discussions about economic affairs.

Terms like GDP is another example. You guys throw it around. I briefly discussed how it is a bogus measurement. You didn't bother debating my points of course, you just attack my character. Ad hominem. It's all you can do, and that's how politics works. You're good at it Ian, because it's easy. Not because you're a bright star or anything.

I constantly try to keep you in check by pointing out your inconsistencies and faulty logic and you take it like a personal attack. OR sometimes you bombard me with that grammatically incorrect double negative crap where you end up agreeing with me but cover it up in rhetorical pompousness. It's you who act too high and mighty to admit that you shouldn't even have an opinion on things you know nothing about.

Ian McGibboney said...

I shouldn't need a degree in economics to talk about it, Robert. You seem to think that having one yourself gives you a license to say anything you want with no challenge. But as long as you state your views here, they will be challenged. If you wish to challenge back, use facts and figures or some philosophy grounded in reality or common sense. Repeatedly calling everyone who disagrees with you ignorant is the height of arrogance and pomposity.

As I've said before, you seem to think that anyone who doesn't conform to your unusual views just doesn't understand them. And I don't appreciate that and I doubt NOLA does either. If you're hoping to evangelize, as you seem to be, you're doing it wrong. No one ever got me to entertain their viewpoint by telling me I'm ignorant and unqualified. Just FYI.

Robert Taylor said...

Ok maybe I've been approaching you guys as if you're actually aware of what's going on in government. So to go back to my original first comment:

Regulation has increased...

Ian you live in Missouri, so I will give you some of the current regulatory agencies that exist there:

* Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
* Department of Labor and Industrial Relations: Unemployment Insurance Tax
* Department of Public Safety
* Department of Transportation
* Division of Tourism
* Missouri Research and
* Missouri State Census Data
* State Library
* Department of Higher Education
* Department of Conservation
* Department of Revenue
* Department of Social Services
* Department of Mental Health
* Department of Natural
* Office of Administration
* Department of Corrections
* Department of Elementary and
* Department of Health
* Department of Insurance
* Department of Agriculture
* Office of Information
* Emergency Management Agency
* Department of Economic
* State Parks and Historic Sites
* Great Hires

And Missouri is a pretty small state and small local government in comparison to where I live in NYC.


How about something bigger like the federal government. Under Obama the number of Czars has gone up. As of now there is: Afghanistan czar, AIDS czar, auto-recovery czar, border czar, California-water czar, car czar, central-region czar (Middle East, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and South Asia), climate czar, domestic-violence czar, drug czar, economic czar (Paul Volcker), energy and environment czar, faith-based czar, government-performance czar, Great Lakes czar, green-jobs czar, Guantanamo-closure czar, health czar, information czar, intelligence czar, science czar, stimulus-accountability czar, pay czar, regulatory czar, Sudan czar, TARP czar, Technology czar, terrorism czar, urban-affairs czar, weapons czar, WMD-policy czar, war czar, oil czar, manufacturing czar, cybersecurity czar, safe-school czar, Iran czar, Mideast-peace czar.

Ian McGibboney said...

1) When have you ever approached this with the notion that anybody other than you knows anything?

2) I'm fully aware of Missouri's bureaucracy. I deal with it all the time and I know people who work in it. I'm not appalled that these agencies exist. I may have quibbles with size and efficiency at times, but I believe in their missions overall. I mean, what is the alternative? Nothing? You'll have to sell me harder on that, Robert.

3) "Czar" is a meaningless media term applied to advisers who arrive at their posts through various means. Obama has eight more than Bush, and yet I don't recall anyone ever being apoplectic about past "czars."

Robert Taylor said...

1.) I approached this with a critical eye. I've let display that you don't know much in your own writing.

2.) I'm not making that argument today. I proved my point that regulation is on a constant increase, not a decrease as you and NOLA would have others think.

3.)A lot of terms in politics are meaningless. Like GDP. You love to use your knowledge or memory as justified proof that people have not been angry about government bureaucracy in the past, but you are JUST. PLAIN. WRONG. http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Jay_Nock

"I don't remember", "I've never heard", "when has anyone".....

Ian McGibboney said...

You're rebutting points I'm not even making. I didn't say deregulation is on the rise, not did I say no one has ever complained about bureaucracy. I'm saying that the "czar" thing in particular is one of many examples of people complaining about Obama over things that occurred under past presidents but was not a big deal then.

Honestly, I just think you have an obsession with proving people wrong and will distort everyone's comments to arrive at that end. If that's the case, then I'm through with you.

NOLA Progressive said...

Robert you have proven nothing. Also no one has made the argument that regulation has not begun to increase recently. The argument is over the last decade or so it had decreased and that the decrease opened the door for a polarization of wealth and the financial crisis that is upon us.

You see yourself as some type of authority on economics but you state opinion as if were fact and then act surprised to learn that others do not accept it as such. You subcribe to a screwball, fringe ideaology and act as though the rest of us have missed the bus.

I have broken the word of my previous statement by even continuing this conversation so I will end on this note. Your thoughts and expressions are pompous and worse; they are not cogent. Until that changes I will treat your comments like the country at large treats Libertarians. I will simply ignore you.

Robert Taylor said...

Let's move on to the next point at the beginning of the thread: NOLA said there were indicators of a positive turn in the economy:


-39 million Americans are on food stamps. Dep. of Agriculture forecasts 43 million by next year: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6465E220100507

-Bankruptcies are on the rise even though they made rules tighter in 05, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/02/business/economy/02bankruptcy.html

-Small banks are failing at an enourmous rate. The FDIC lists 829 on their problem list now and it keeps growing: http://mobile.salon.com/news/feature/2010/08/31/big_bank_profits_small_banks_suffer/index.html

Finally, let's assume for a second that GDP is a real measurement. Well your own advocators of "GDP" say that US Debt will reach 100% of GDP by 2015: http://www.moneynews.com/StreetTalk/imf-us-debt-gdp/2010/05/17/id/359219?s=al&promo_code=9E57-1

See, I can play your link game too.

Robert Taylor said...

Let's move on to the next point at the beginning of the thread: NOLA said there were indicators of a positive turn in the economy:


-39 million Americans are on food stamps. Dep. of Agriculture forecasts 43 million by next year: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6465E220100507

-Bankruptcies are on the rise even though they made rules tighter in 05, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/02/business/economy/02bankruptcy.html

-Small banks are failing at an enourmous rate. The FDIC lists 829 on their problem list now and it keeps growing: http://mobile.salon.com/news/feature/2010/08/31/big_bank_profits_small_banks_suffer/index.html

Finally, let's assume for a second that GDP is a real measurement. Well your own advocators of "GDP" say that US Debt will reach 100% of GDP by 2015: http://www.moneynews.com/StreetTalk/imf-us-debt-gdp/2010/05/17/id/359219?s=al&promo_code=9E57-1

See, I can play your link game too.

Robert Taylor said...

Oh by the way here's an interesting little bit of information :

Over 15% of Springfield Missourians are impoverished but a quick inquiry shows that your city manager's salary was just raised to $199,212 a year with a guaranteed pension after 5 years of around $100,000 for the rest of his life as stipulated in his contract.

NOLA Progressive said...

Ok if you actually want to discuss something tangible, I'm in.

1) The amount of people on foodstamps only proves my point that there is a polarization of wealth in our country. More and more individuals are falling into the poverty abyss.

2) Of course bankruptcy is on the rise following a huge real estate bubble economy. No one expects that to be much different than it is.

3) Has anyone said that small banks are not failing? This was the case at the beginning of the crisis. This doesn't negate that positive things can also be happening. I think this is a great argument for stringent regulation and the financial reform legislation that was recently passed. Nothing should be too big to fail.

4) The CBO reports that debt as a percentage of GDP may rise to as much as 90% by 2020. Also, this assumes that the ecnomoy does not grow one bit between now and then. Is that possible? Well yes I suppose it is possible, but I think it is highly unlikely. It also assumes that no other legislation or reform is passed to lessen spending/debt.

You have listed some generally bona-fide fiscal issues here. They are bad things. I am not arguing with that. My original statement was that the shrinking of monthly job losses over the last 18 months is a positive indicator. I didn't say that there weren't still problems. More to the point those problems need to be addressed, and a bunch of knuckleheads who simply say no to almost every piece of legislation that hits the Senate aren't doing much to help that along.

Ian McGibboney said...

Indeed, there seems to be this meme that because a lot of things are still terrible, that some indicators aren't getting better or at least aren't getting worse. The more pertinent thing would be to prove whether or not Obama's policies are slowing these trends, etc.

This bugs me because Republicans are spouting numbers and going, Hey, look how bad things are! You'd better put us back in office to reverse these claims! And this works with a lot of people, sadly.

Context is everything.

Robert Taylor said...

@NOLA I proved government is growing, and your only answer is to continue the trend of what got us here in the first place. Regulation caused a bubble and you want to fix its problems by....more regulation!

@Ian and around in a circle we go!

I've been trying to explain to you how the Obama policies don't work by proof of Economic science and you want me to play the links game. Now you want me to discuss the policies again. (oh by the way don't look now but yesterday you finally did your double negative thing again)

So: imagine Robert, Tom and NOLA all work in an economy. We all produce goods that we in turn exchange other goods to meet our needs.

Now imagine Ian enters the scene. Instead of Ian producing goods, he takes goods from all of us by force. Can Ian's demand give rise to more output, as Ian would have you believe? On the contrary, it will only impoverish Tom, Robert, and NOLA. They will be forced to part with their product in exchange for nothing, and this, in turn, will weaken the flow of production of final consumer goods.

Moreover, are we all in agreement that Monopoly/Monopsony is a bad thing here?

Ian McGibboney said...

My problem with your links is the same as I had with your earlier assertions: you just post as if it's self-evident. For example, it isn't self-evident to me that government expansion is only and/or main cause of our woes. Rather than repeatedly posting your own fringe opinion as universal fact, you might want to make a case. Something that can hold up without you accusing me of being a lazy communist.

Robert Taylor said...

@Ian ok Ian I will make a case, but to be clear on your position, I have to know whether you think Monopolies/Monopolies are a good or bad thing. Because if you think they are good, I will have to preempt my case by addressing that point first.

Ian McGibboney said...

Tell you what, Robert...why don't you just make your case without preemptively leaning on my responses to odd, loaded questions?

NOLA Progressive said...

Rob: Exactly where and how have you proven in any way/shape/form that regulation is the source of our economic woes? That is absurd.

You are making an argument about taxation in general. You are saying that it is the use of force to take productivity away from individuals and that it impoversishes those individuals. Specifically, they get nothing in return for it. This is a seriously flawed place to start because

a) Many wealthy idividuals who make there money in non-traditional methods, such as from capital gains, pay nominal marginal taxes. In some cases they pay an effective tax rate of 0. So the burden of these taxes is nowhere evenly distributed.

b) These companies do get something in return for those taxes. In fact, we all do. They receive federal interstate systems to transport their goods/services across the country. They receive airports and air traffic control which allows for even faster delivery of their goods/services. Further jobs can be created with these tax dollars or small business loans are made to help other small businessmen establish their livelihoods. There are inumerable examples of what they receive in return for their tax dollars.

The bottom line is your reasoning if flawed, and you present it as if it's the other way around.

Robert Taylor said...

@NOLA

1.) you just described a problem of loopholes, suggesting that the capital gains guy should be taxed just like the smaller guy. I say don't tax the smaller guy either. That way you're consistent in the principle of no coercion.

2.) You just pointed out that money is provided to small businesses. What is the difference between the selectiveness of only lending money to small business and not taxing some income (capital gains) with other income?

Moreover, how do you stop the moral hazard problem? How do you make sure that people that are just above the qualifying line for receiving a small business loan don't take measures to worsen their situation and productive output in order to receive the government support? Right there you have aggregate loss in the economy. You're ideas are counterproductive to your goals.

Robert Taylor said...

@Ian the case for government responsibility for the current crisis

The Federal Reserve which contains a monopoly on money creation as well as other government departments have pursued the policy of money and credit creation in order to encourage private banks to loan money to people who are not qualified. They attempt to cheat the system by protecting the banks in case their loans are never paid back. The bank takes a person’s deposit and then encourages the individual not to use real cash, but to pay with checks or credit cards, which in turn the banks don’t actually use real money for payment but newly created checking deposits backed by the Fed creating new virtual money that doesn’t actually exist. The bank isn’t actually lending currency, and thus they deposit the actual funds that the individuals gave to them, while the individuals don’t notice the problem because it is internal and their bills get paid. In recent years, the Federal Reserve has so encouraged this process, that checking deposits have been created equal to fifty times the actual cash reserves of the banks, a situation more than ripe for implosion.

All of this new and additional money entering the loan market is fundamentally fictitious capital, in that it does not represent new and additional capital goods in the economic system, but rather a mere transfer of parts of the existing supply of capital goods into different hands, for use in different, less efficient, and often flagrantly wasteful ways. The present housing crisis is perhaps the most glaring example of this in all of history.

It’s estimated that more than a trillion and half dollars were injected into the housing loan market as a result of this ficticious capital created by the artificial low interest rates manipulated by the money-printing monopoly, the Federal Reserve.

Over many years of course, many new homes are built that should never have been, and a bubble was created, all the while people through no fault of their own other than ignorance to the manipulation and lack of financial understanding used their homes as ATM machines. The bubble burst and boom we all suffer. Obvious. Caused by the government.

Ian McGibboney said...

Robert Taylor sayeth:

@Ian the case for government responsibility for the current crisis

The Federal Reserve which contains a monopoly on money creation as well as other government departments have pursued the policy of money and credit creation in order to encourage private banks to loan money to people who are not qualified. They attempt to cheat the system by protecting the banks in case their loans are never paid back. The bank takes a person’s deposit and then encourages the individual not to use real cash, but to pay with checks or credit cards, which in turn the banks don’t actually use real money for payment but newly created checking deposits backed by the Fed creating new virtual money that doesn’t actually exist. The bank isn’t actually lending currency, and thus they deposit the actual funds that the individuals gave to them, while the individuals don’t notice the problem because it is internal and their bills get paid. In recent years, the Federal Reserve has so encouraged this process, that checking deposits have been created equal to fifty times the actual cash reserves of the banks, a situation more than ripe for implosion.

All of this new and additional money entering the loan market is fundamentally fictitious capital, in that it does not represent new and additional capital goods in the economic system, but rather a mere transfer of parts of the existing supply of capital goods into different hands, for use in different, less efficient, and often flagrantly wasteful ways. The present housing crisis is perhaps the most glaring example of this in all of history.

It’s estimated that more than a trillion and half dollars were injected into the housing loan market as a result of this ficticious capital created by the artificial low interest rates manipulated by the money-printing monopoly, the Federal Reserve.

Over many years of course, many new homes are built that should never have been, and a bubble was created, all the while people through no fault of their own other than ignorance to the manipulation and lack of financial understanding used their homes as ATM machines. The bubble burst and boom we all suffer. Obvious. Caused by the government.

Ian McGibboney said...

1) Cutting taxes for everyone is a short-term feel-good sugar high with long-term damage. It's ignorant to pretend that so-called "coercive" taxes can ever be eliminated. We need tax revenues to maintain infrastructure and public services. And that being the case, it's stupid to continue milking hard-earned income and the middle class while leaving capital gains (gambling, essentially) and the richest segments of society with one of the least relative burdens.

2) I fail to see your case that regulation caused the economic meltdown. The Federal Reserve is a private bank, which libertarians usually stress the hell out of when complaining about it. And it's precisely rollbacks in government oversight, especially over the Clinton and Bush presidencies, that allowed such a broader clientele for predatory lenders.

But assuming what you're saying IS correct, what are you suggesting we do instead? Allow more than one entity to issue government currency? Return to the gold standard? Recall a large fraction of our currency and destroy it to ease inflation? End all financial regulations, period? What?

Robert Taylor said...
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Robert Taylor said...
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Robert Taylor said...

@Ian disregard previous two this is the right one lol

1.) Explain your sugar-high claim.

2.) It's not ignorant, it may be naive to believe taxes can be stopped. But you'd have to make an argument for that given that when taxes are raised there is always a strong opposition from the masses.

3.)We need taxes to maintain infrastructure. Given that the government institutions go broke all the time (like recently the Post Service is on the brink of failiure), it's clear that a private investment in infrastructure would not only lower prices of maintenance, it would allocate resources where demand exists and improve conditions because of the incentive to not go out of business.

4.) You also have to prove that rich folks haven't earned their money through "hard work" and then justify how some bureaucratic bubble-fueled pencil-pushing desk jobs where people like yourself spend more time facebooking and blogging are hard-earned.

5.) Again you don't know the position of Libertarians nor do you know anything about what the Federal Reserve is. You're talking about bullshit that paleoconservatives like Alex Jones complain about. While it emulates some private practices, it is a not-for-profit system that has GOVERNMENT APPOINTED bureaucrats making decisions for it. The private banks are taxed to help pay for the support of the Federal Reserve. If the private banks really “own” the Fed, then how can its officials be appointed by
the government, and the “owners” compelled to “own” the Federal Reserve Board by force of government statute? The Federal Reserve Banks should simply
be regarded as a governmental agency.

6.) It can't be rollbacks on governmental insight that led to this crisis precisely because we never had a crisis like this before we had a Federal Reserve. Government spending in the United States equals more than forty percent of national income, i.e., the sum of all wages and salaries and profits and interest earned in the country. This is without counting any of the massive off-budget spending such as that on account of the government enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Nor does it count any of the recent spending on assorted "bailouts." What this means is that substantially more than forty dollars of every one hundred dollars of output are appropriated by the government against the will of the individual citizens who produce that output.

7.) Going back to the gold standard would be a good start. But yes, you know my position, all the forces of the market to meet the balance of supply and demand and stop fucking with it because you're arguments and understanding of the system mimicks those of politicians which proves they can't possibly be making the right choices for their constituents. They can only make decisions for their personal interests.

NOLA Progressive said...

Really Rob...really? Ian is a pencil pusher desk job type who spends all his time facebooking? That's rich from a person who spends significant time looking for obscure idiosyncracies in his writing to perpetuate a cult/fringe political ethos.

We could debate about your Libertarian view for eons to no avail. Suffice it to say I find your ideaology just short of branch dividian. Or in other words whack jobs. You don't and that's what makes the world go round, but no use talking bout it anymore.

Robert Taylor said...

@NOLA ad hominems. Always. They'll never stop because you can't debate the facts. You can't debate the science.

You and Ian support monopolies of violence and money creation. Your support for these institutions in tantamount to religious thinking.

I've laid out immense amounts of support for my views through explanation of logic and facts. You and Ian have been arbitrary and contradictory. Just like religious bigots. I see your blog has theology in the title... I would say this is very telling except I'm not going to play the ad hominem game like you and instead let your responses speak for themselves.

NOLA Progressive said...

My comments seem to keep being eaten, but let me try this again.

I think it's funny that you begin an ad hominem attack only to tell me that you aren't going to ad hominems. My blog which is a patch, incomplete thing with little to no traffic, is merely a repository for my thoughts from time to time. Theology, politics, LSU football, Saints football, stuff that pisses me off, etc... That is the extent that Theology enters into the picture.

Further, I have discussed the meat and potatos of your comments with you both in this thread and previous threads. You would like to see the Fed audited and disbanded? Great go for it. You want a fantasy land with no taxes and private corporations running everything? Great let me know how that works out for you. You see my point? We aren't in the same universe of opinion forming here, and that isn't going to change regardless of how much Libertarian facts and figures you throw out there.

Libertarians are much like other fringe movements. They have
one or two good points or bones of contention and then pervert them into some excuse for a fringe absolutist resahping of the country. Much like the tea party, although they seem to have significantly larger numbers than Libertarians at the moment.

You have layed out pseudo sciene jaded by Libertarian agenda, and totally dismissed other economists viewpoints as conspiratorial and nonsense. You are the pot calling the kettle black here man. This is beginning to resemble arguing with a mental patient. There is no winning an argument with crazy. Not that I even really want to win. I just would like you to stop haunting threads with ridiculously out of context loopholes somehow aimed to derail conversation about pertinent issues.

I mean I almost prefer Tom's nonsense to yours. Not so much the mocking Ian for the sake of a personal vendetta, but the snide comments he makes that are at least based in political discussion. Even Tom is approaching the discussion from the same universe that I am.

Robert Taylor said...

@NOLA stop with the fringe talk. Christianity was a fringe cult until it grew into something bigger.

What you have to focus on is proving how a society could afford the things you want to force them to spend money on. I'm not talking politics. Let's assume for a second that you're right and it's morally correct to force someone like me to pay for schools and hospitals and baby-killing military etc.

How could you afford it?