Why are Republicans Wrong about Everything?


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Dr. F.

Ice climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 6, 2012 - 10:32pm PT
The Forgotten Millions


Published: December 6, 2012

Let’s get one thing straight: America is not facing a fiscal crisis. It is, however, still very much experiencing a job crisis.

It’s easy to get confused about the fiscal thing, since everyone’s talking about the “fiscal cliff.” Indeed, one recent poll suggests that a large plurality of the public believes that the budget deficit will go up if we go off that cliff.

In fact, of course, it’s just the opposite: The danger is that the deficit will come down too much, too fast. And the reasons that might happen are purely political; we may be about to slash spending and raise taxes not because markets demand it, but because Republicans have been using blackmail as a bargaining strategy, and the president seems ready to call their bluff.

Moreover, despite years of warnings from the usual suspects about the dangers of deficits and debt, our government can borrow at incredibly low interest rates — interest rates on inflation-protected U.S. bonds are actually negative, so investors are paying our government to make use of their money. And don’t tell me that markets may suddenly turn on us. Remember, the U.S. government can’t run out of cash (it prints the stuff), so the worst that could happen would be a fall in the dollar, which wouldn’t be a terrible thing and might actually help the economy.

Yet there is a whole industry built around the promotion of deficit panic. Lavishly funded corporate groups keep hyping the danger of government debt and the urgency of deficit reduction now now now — except that these same groups are suddenly warning against too much deficit reduction. No wonder the public is confused.

Meanwhile, there is almost no organized pressure to deal with the terrible thing that is actually happening right now — namely, mass unemployment. Yes, we’ve made progress over the past year. But long-term unemployment remains at levels not seen since the Great Depression: as of October, 4.9 million Americans had been unemployed for more than six months, and 3.6 million had been out of work for more than a year.

When you see numbers like those, bear in mind that we’re looking at millions of human tragedies: at individuals and families whose lives are falling apart because they can’t find work, at savings consumed, homes lost and dreams destroyed. And the longer this goes on, the bigger the tragedy.

There are also huge dollars-and-cents costs to our unmet jobs crisis. When willing workers endure forced idleness society as a whole suffers from the waste of their efforts and talents. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that what we are actually producing falls short of what we could and should be producing by around 6 percent of G.D.P., or $900 billion a year.

Worse yet, there are good reasons to believe that high unemployment is undermining our future growth as well, as the long-term unemployed come to be considered unemployable, as investment falters in the face of inadequate sales.

So what can be done? The panic over the fiscal cliff has been revelatory. It shows that even the deficit scolds are closet Keynesians. That is, they believe that right now spending cuts and tax hikes would destroy jobs; it’s impossible to make that claim while denying that temporary spending increases and tax cuts would create jobs. Yes, our still-depressed economy needs more fiscal stimulus.

And, to his credit, President Obama did include a modest amount of stimulus in his initial budget offer; the White House, at least, hasn’t completely forgotten about the unemployed. Unfortunately, almost nobody expects those stimulus plans to be included in whatever deal is eventually reached.

So why aren’t we helping the unemployed? It’s not because we can’t afford it. Given those ultralow borrowing costs, plus the damage unemployment is doing to our economy and hence to the tax base, you can make a pretty good case that spending more to create jobs now would actually improve our long-run fiscal position.

Nor, I think, is it really ideology. Even Republicans, when opposing cuts in defense spending, immediately start talking about how such cuts would destroy jobs — and I’m sorry, but weaponized Keynesianism, the assertion that government spending creates jobs, but only if it goes to the military, doesn’t make sense.

No, in the end it’s hard to avoid concluding that it’s about class. Influential people in Washington aren’t worried about losing their jobs; by and large they don’t even know anyone who’s unemployed. The plight of the unemployed simply doesn’t loom large in their minds — and, of course, the unemployed don’t hire lobbyists or make big campaign contributions.

So the unemployment crisis goes on and on, even though we have both the knowledge and the means to solve it. It’s a vast tragedy — and it’s also an outrage.

The Desert Oven
Dec 6, 2012 - 10:38pm PT
Krugman is awesome. TFPU!

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Dec 6, 2012 - 10:42pm PT
I'm so angry...If Romney had won , none of this would have happened..Obama is going to tax the job creators and no jobs will be created...Serves the pheasants right....! ....Let the uninsured die...RJ
Bob D'A

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Dec 6, 2012 - 10:53pm PT
How freaking dumb is Mitch McConnell???

Filibusters his own bill.

Does it really get any more bizarre?


Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Dec 6, 2012 - 11:14pm PT
I am very impressed with this post by jdhedge:

Defense CEO's Want Their Taxes Raised, Military Spending Cut - Repub Economic Ideology Disintegrating Due To Inconvenient Factual Reality


WASHINGTON -- Congressional Republicans' opposition to any tax rate hike on the top two percent of earners shows few signs of letting up as the debate wears on. But the beneficiaries of that opposition, the nation's wealthiest executives, have themselves begun opening up to the possibility of a rate hike.

On Tuesday, FedEx Chairman and CEO Fred Smith, an adviser to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, said that the notion that tax hikes on the richest Americans would kill jobs was simply "mythology."

And on Monday, a gathering of the nation's top defense executives took a surprising turn when they endorsed tax rate increases on the wealthy and cuts of up to $150 billion to the Pentagon's budget. Top executives from Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney, TASC and RTI International Metals appeared at the National Press Club at an event organized by the Aerospace Industries Association, the top defense contractor lobbyist.

David Langstaff, CEO of TASC, said that the executives were speaking out because so far leaders of the defense industry were "talking a good game, but are still unwilling to park short-term self-interest." After the event, he told a defense reporter for Politico that tax rates need to go up.

“In the near term, [income tax rates] need to go up some,” Langstaff said. "This is a fairness issue -- there needs to be recognition that we’re not collecting enough revenue. In the last decade we’ve fought two wars without raising taxes. So I think it does need to go up.”

David Hess, head of Pratt & Whitney, said his parent company, United Technologies Corp, believed personal income tax rates should be on the table; Dawne Hickton, CEO of RTI, said he would back a rate hike if it led to a deal.

The CEOs join other high-profile executives who are willing to chip in more. Following a meeting with President Barack Obama last week at the White House, executives emerged to endorse higher rates. "There needs to be some revenue element to this, and [Obama] started with rates," said Joe Echeverria, CEO of Deloitte LLP. "And he started with rates on what we would define [as] the upper two percent … that we have to pay our fair share. And I think everybody was in agreement with that notion."

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, who was also at the meeting, said in a statement that a deal "will require a compromise involving an increase in both tax rates and revenue."

Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, meanwhile, told CNN after the meeting that "if we had to lift up the marginal rate, I would do that."
Dave Kos

Trad climber
Dec 6, 2012 - 11:23pm PT
The McConnell filibuster thing is sad and hilarious at the same time.

The Republican senators would look more serious if they started riding around in a clown car.

Gym climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 12:12am PT
Obama is going to tax the job creators and no jobs will be created...

I suppose it'd be news to you that the "job creators" are sitting on the largest sums of cash that they've ever had in history. Corporations are richer, more profitable than ever, and the CEOs are making more bank that ever.

Stop listening to your old and tired "news" sources and plug into something real.

The Republican senators would look more serious if they started riding around in a clown car.

The Warbler

the edge of America
Dec 7, 2012 - 12:35am PT
I saw Mitt Romney in Vons the other night, and almost asked the job creator if he had any work for me.

I like working with an ocean view

Dec 7, 2012 - 07:47am PT
One of my gripes about Obama last term is that he caved too easily, or even preemptively, in the case of the 2010 tax rebates. I am very happy to see Second Term Obama behaving differently.

Dec 7, 2012 - 07:52am PT
LOL...self-filibustering = masturbation.

Dec 7, 2012 - 08:55am PT

U.S. Economy Adds 146,000 Jobs As Unemployment Rate Drops To 7.7; Repub Predictions Proven Wrong Again



Somewhere out there
Dec 7, 2012 - 09:26am PT

Yet again... Maher wins the point
Dave Kos

Trad climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 09:34am PT
I am very happy to see Second Term Obama behaving differently.

I predict that his approach in his second term will be very different from the first.

There is tremendous power in the role of 2nd-term president.

During his first term, he knew the 2nd term election would be close. The nation is generally polarized, the economy had tanked, he was black (and Muslim!)

He knew all along that any 2nd term victory would never be a landslide - it all came down to a thin margin of swing voters.

So he kept a low profile on many issues, didn't create controversy when he could avoid it, and picked his battles carefully.

Obama is a chess player. He plays the long game well.

Fox News can get as hysterical as they like - he doesn't have to give a crap this time around. They can't touch him.

The Warbler

the edge of America
Dec 7, 2012 - 09:39am PT
Obama is a chess player. He plays the long game well.

My sentiments exactly, Mr Kos.


Somewhere out there
Dec 7, 2012 - 09:42am PT
How the right objects to their own style of favoritism...


Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Dec 7, 2012 - 10:35am PT

Obama is a chess player. He plays the long game well.

...he doesn't have to give a crap this time around. They can't touch him.

Absolutely. And it's amazing how many people mistake his lack of hysterics for some form of stupidity. The joke's on them.
Dr. F.

Ice climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 09:59pm PT
Credit: Dr. F.
Dr. F.

Ice climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 10:00pm PT
Credit: Dr. F.

Unemployment Drops to 7.7%: As Usual, Right-Wingers Can’t Believe Their Eyes!

By John Viall

It’s official. President Barack Obama is doing a better job of dealing with unemployment in his first term than Ronald Reagan. Sarah Palin might not believe it — the Alaska Banshee showed up on Fox News last week to warn again that Obama was leading the nation down the road to communism — but there are facts — cold, hard, adamantine facts — to consider.

For all Americans able to read actual graphs, the numbers and the overall trend are quite clear. On February 1, 2009, at the start of Mr. Obama’s first full month in office, unemployment in the United States stood at 8.3%. Today, on its Facebook feed, even Fox News had to admit the rate had fallen to 7.7%.

No doubt right-wingers will go into “damage control” and endeavor to put the worst possible spin on the numbers. In the end, though, their efforts will only be sad. We all know what happened 31 days ago. The polls indicated Barack Obama was going to win. Yet, real numbers could not convince the right that they were being delusional any more than real birth certificates could convince them President Obama had every right to sit in a comfy chair in the White House. Those first five days of November 2012. Those were happy times for the right. Everyone from Dick Morris to Karl Rove to Rush Limbaugh and Anne Romney was predicting that our 45th president was going to be 100% more Mormon and noticeably more white.

Now the right must either crack their skulls on another set of facts or continue to insist facts don’t exist. Unemployment surged during Mr. Obama’s first eight months in office, peaking at 10% in October 2009. From the start of his term to today, however, he has cut the rate six tenths of one percent.

That means the policies of his administration are working.

Thirty years ago, then-President Ronald Reagan had the same kind of difficulty turning an ailing economy around. On February 1, 1981, when he picked up the newspaper to read the funnies, unemployment stood at 7.4%. Job losses soared for sixteen months while he was in office. They soared higher, too, peaking at 10.8% in November 1982. It took Reagan, a man who never saw a tax cut for wealthy Americans he didn’t like, his entire first term to cut into unemployment, so that by January 1985, the rate had fallen to 7.3%, a drop of one tenth of one percent.

Job numbers fluctuate from month to month, of course, and Hurricane Sandy scrambled this month’s data. So the Wall Street Journal warns today against excess optimism (also known as giving President Obama any credit), explaining: “Friday’s release for November will be the least important look at the labor market in about five years.”

Those who rely exclusively on Fox News for information won’t believe it; but that doesn’t mean the unemployment numbers aren’t the lowest since December 2008. The report for this month, the overall trend since October 2009, and evidence from Reagan’s first term all indicate that this is good news for the country.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 10:07pm PT
Any of you guys heard of this guy?


An Economist who apparently registered to run for Prez but not having Ralph Naders branding didn't get far. Anyway I listened to it this morning and it looks like Cliff or not, you're Fukt.

Hit Listen then Go to the 3 minute mark
Dr. F.

Ice climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 10:34pm PT
Credit: Dr. F.

Senate Rejection of Disabilities Treaty Shows GOP Descent Into Irrationality

by Amitabh Pal
Published on Friday, December 7, 2012 by The Progressive

The Republican Party is fast losing touch with reality.Former Republican presidential candidate and Senator Bob Dole on the Senate floor ahead of the vote.

When on December 3, I read a New York Times editorial urging Senators to vote for the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, I thought the piece to be a waste of time, since no one in his right mind would be against such a measure.
Boy, was I wrong. The next day, I was shocked to find out via Twitter that a significant portion of Republicans are indeed delusional. Not even the presence of Bob Dole in a wheelchair compelled enough Senators to break ranks. (And kudos to the eight who did, including John McCain, Richard Lugar, and the two Senators from Maine.)

“The Senate's rejection of the disability treaty is disgraceful,” tweeted Joe Cirincione, an arms control expert and an observer of the D.C. scene for a long time. “Whipped by the worst of the conspiracy fanatics. They should be ashamed.”

The treaty was blocked by a gaggle of hyperventilating characters who dictated Republican policy from the sidelines.

“The vote was a triumph for Glenn Beck, Rick Santorum and others on the hard-right loon fringe, who have been feverishly denouncing the treaty as a United Nations world-government conspiracy to kill disabled children (you can look it up),” blogged New York Times editorialist Lawrence Downes.

These cranks have hijacked the party. They have a paranoia about the United Nations that they’ve made GOP policy. A prime obsession of this group is Agenda 21, a U.N. blueprint for ecologically sound development. The John Birch reincarnates see this as a plan to take over the United States. They’ve gotten a road project cancelled in Maine after claiming to the governor that it was part of a U.N. conspiracy. They’ve strong-armed the GOP to officially adopt a resolution against the agenda. And now they have a friend in the Senate who fully agrees with their obsession: Senator-elect Ted Cruz from Texas.

“ ‘Stop Agenda 21,’ cried Cruz in an alert posted prominently on his campaign website,” Jim Hightower reported in the October issue of The Progressive. “Agenda 21 is a twenty-year-old, innocuous nonbinding U.N. resolution (agreed to by then-President George Bush the First). It encourages governments to develop plans for sustainable development of ‘open spaces’—and that’s what rubs Ted raw.”

It is this crowd that has helped make the “Left Behind” series a best-seller—where the villain is the suave U.N. Secretary-General Nicolae Carpathia, who uses his post to lead as the Antichrist a one-world government.

The opposition to the disabilities treaty fits in well into this worldview—except that it isn’t clear what the opponents of the treaty achieved by scuttling such a worthy initiative.

“Praised Be the Glorious Sovereignists Who Protect the U.S.A. from.... from.... wait, what?” asked the headline of a commentary by Professor Daniel Drezner at the Foreign Policy website.

Instead, a motley crowd of U.N. haters, pro-lifers, and anti-abortion freaks stoked the worst sort of fears in their base, compelling them to coerce their frightened GOP senators into embarrassing themselves.

Shame on all of them.
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