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Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Friday, February 01, 2008

The Birth of Hobama, King/Queen of the Monsters

Gasp! I just witnessed the many a Conservative Republican's worst friggin' nightmare

It’s 6:26am Friday and as I drink my morning tea, I have to jot some notes about what I saw last night. What I may well have seen is the next 16 years of American politics. If you’re on the Left or the Middle, chances are good you’re doing a happy-dance. On the Right? Hang onto your Librium.

Hillary and Barack made up. They hugged. They whispered. He held out her chair, and she gazed at him the way a fond teacher looks at her favorite student. Or as if she wished she were twenty-five years younger and single. Wow.

I’ve never been to a political debate, but the star-studded event (Is that Rob Reiner? Is the Dave Chappel? Best line of the night: “Stevie Wonder’s over there, but he didn’t see me…”)was, by all accounts, like nothing anyone had ever seen.

Tananarive described it as a Declaration of War, the tribe coming together, laying aside their knives, and making it clear that NOTHING will keep them from bringing their A-Game this time. Comparing what I saw last night to the previous evening’s Republican debate, it was obvious who the adults were, and who the children were. When Wolf Blitzer asked the last question, about the fact that all over the country Democrats have been salivating for an Obama-Clinton or Clinton-Obama ticket, and neither of them ruled it out, the room friggin’ exploded. I’m not kidding. It was like being at a Superbowl where suddenly not only can both teams win, but they promise transformation of Life On Earth As We Know It (to the faithful).

Unreal. The CNN folks said they had been at the Republican debate, and the entire tenor was completely different. Angry. Frustrated. More to say later, but wanted to make some quick points so I can work out:
1) Hillary was more interesting, and I think authentic, than I’ve ever seen her. She FINALLY seemed like a woman to me: emotionally female as opposed to biologically female with male emotional wiring. For my version of the difference: Note Ripley and Vasquez in “Aliens.” When she delivered that dry, delicious “Reeallly?” in response to Blitzer’s comment about how she’d been lambasted, I thought she’s bring the house down.
2) Tony Robbins’ success formula is to clarify your goals, raise energy, find role models, take action, note your results, and maintain flexible behavior until you get what you want. Well, this goes along with human/animal behavior. Don’t like the results? DO SOMETHING ELSE. America doesn’t like where it is right now. The Republicans are offering the Same Old Thing. The Democrats are offering Something Else. Hillary is right: either one of them is change such as this country has never seen. She has things Obama doesn’t have. He has things she doesn’t have (he “bridges” groups better. Hillary would have to be an Hermaphrodite to bridge Male and Female the way he bridges Black and White. Or American/Non-American. Or Christian/Muslim.) As a team, they would be a walking, talking, breathing EXAMPLE of what I think the rest of the world wants to believe about the American Dream. Assuming they would make even an Average (B-?) Presidential team in other ways, they transform the game instantly. It’s a whole new world in some fascinating ways.
3) Obama-Clinton? Or Clinton-Obama? Different advantages and disadvantages. Either one slaughters the opposition. For the DNC, the best move is Clinton-Obama. He gets eight years of seasoning, and then possibly eight more years in the White House. Those who believe the Dems would do better with the critical issues of Health Care, Education, Global Warming, the War on Terror, the Economy, the Deficit, Racial and Gender equality..? The door just opened. SIXTEEN YEARS to get the stuff done before the Republicans get back in. That’s a very very real possibility.
4) I can think of no reason for either of them to fail to nominate the other as running partner, or fail to accept it…other than Ego. This is their chance to serve, to sit in the Captain’s chair, to make the history books. Right there. Amazing.
5) Afterwards, Tananarive got his autograph and I shook his hand. Yep, that was me on CNN.
6) At the After-Party, we hung out with Dave Chappel, who talked about media and politics and his own family background (an old, educated, powerful family. Helps to live in a town with streets named after you). His best line: being a rich, famous black man is like wearing a warm fuzzy sweater than REALLY itches. And in terms of the economy? He can’t be manipulated with bribes of 600 or 1200 dollars: “I walked away with fifty million dollars, bitch!” He was just great.

What an evening. If these folks have any sense at all, stick a fork in it: this election is done. America just took a turn. Hang on: it’s going to be a fascinating ride.
##
And the question of the day is: What do you think would happen with such a ticket?

63 comments:

Frank said...

So you're thinking Clinon/Obama and I'm thinking McCain/Guiliani.

I wonder where the Blue Dogs and Independents go.

And where does The Left go if Nader is serious?

Lynn said...

This is exciting, isn't it? But I'm a little afraid to get excited. I keep reminding myself, "They're politicians; of course they're going to screw it up."

Damon said...

As a young libertarian-conservative, Hillary/Obama scare the bejeezus out of me. There's no doubt Bush has been a rough ride, but he's also been rough for the Right Wing. The real problem for GOPers is that, secretly, they want to savage Bush. But they've invested all of this energy in defending him for 7 years, and loyalty makes it difficult to turn on the man in power.

The reason the GOP is frustrated is that none of the front runners actually appeal to the core philosophies of principled conservatives, and those beliefs are actually good for the country. Instead, you get these midlings who invoke Ronald Reagan constantly despite having very little in common with his principles or personal stature.

It is going to be a rough few years. Honestly though, Neither Hillary nor Obama, despite being more palatable than Bush, are actually touting anything that will work long term. Both are pushing expanded government.... but we can't even pay for what we have now. Even if we raised the income tax by about 20% across the board, we'd just barely be paying the interest on the current debt. The sad reality is: we spend way too much on everything.

Neither party wants to say it, and both are busy promising more programs that will just end up bankrupting us in the long run.

We have to make some touch decisions, and frankly, that's just not a popular line in presidential elections.

Mike Ralls said...

> I’ve never been to a political debate,<

Keep that in mind Steve, that's actually a key point. It's a completely different vibe to be somewhere experiencing something in person than it is to see something on TV. Virtually every politician is just a lot more _likable_ in person than on TV. I watched most of the debate last night and while I thought they were more civil than previously, I'm not sure I saw this huge shift that you're talking about. Perhaps your perception is overly colored by being there in person?

> the entire tenor was completely different. Angry. Frustrated. <

Despite my above comment, I'd agree with this but it's to be expected. The Republicans have been in the White House for seven years now, and so they've had to deal with the reality of an actual Republican president instead of dreaming about an idealized one.

Currently, my wife and I have started dreaming about buying a different house in a few years. Now our house is in a very nice neighborhood and is bigger than we need, but we have spent the last year fixing one thing after another and it still has some things wrong with it that we need to fix up - so we dream about how nice it would be to have another house.

But you know what? If we did get another house in 2009 that house would almost certainly have NEW problems that would aggravate us and require our attention, time, and effort. But because we are not currently living in that Platonic house we are free to dream that it would make everything better and right with our living situation.

Same-same with politicians. Grass is always greener, etc etc.

> America doesn’t like where it is right now. <

I actually don't think this is true and would bet that most Americans would be happy with the illusion of change rather than actual change itself.

> either one of them is change such as this country has never seen.<

Visually maybe, in actual fact, not a chance. Hoover to Roosevelt, Buchanan to Lincoln, were much bigger changes to how the country is run than either of them would be.

> 5) Afterwards, Tananarive got his autograph and I shook his hand. Yep, that was me on CNN.<

Hey, congratulations! That's very neat.

>this election is done.

It's really not. I know how jazzed a good live event can get you, but you still have to use your reasoning, and McCain beats them in the polls and chances are he would be a very hard candidate to beat. Possible, but they couldn't do it easily.

> What do you think would happen with such a ticket?

The biggest factor is the one that the candidates have the least control over: How is the economy doing in November? If it's bad then the Dems will win, pretty much no matter what. If it's OK or good, then McCain will have a good shot. Anyone other than McCain probably won't be electable though.

If they get into office then they will do some good things and some bad things but for the most part the country will keep on keeping on. The percentage of GDP spent by the government will not greatly change (possibly it will go up 1 or maybe even 2% if either of them can get a health care plan passed). The percentage of wealth owned by the top 10% will not be that different than it is now. The per capita income will go up some and some other statistics will improve (or decrease), but if you never read, saw, or talked about the news but just lived your everyday life in a vacuum, chances are you could not tell if a Republican or a Democrat was in charge by how your life was directly effected.

Also, many of the people who most fervently support them will be deeply disappoint with the reality of how they do. Remember how excited Democrats were about Clinton in '92? Then how did they feel about him in '00 (Gore tried to distance himself from Clinton in that election, remember)? And remember how Republicans felt about Bush in '00? Then how do they feel about him now?

*shrug* It's the nature of politics.

Steven Barnes said...

The polls favoring McCain make sense IF equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats go to the polls. But across the board, Democrats have been coming out at a much higher rate. I think the pols ain't telling the story at all.
##
You may be right about the "likability" in person. But I watched their body language shift over 90 minutes (from tilting away from each other to toward each other), watched Obama hold her seat, watched her return his gracious overtures. I think that something actually happened there.
##
It's not just cosmetic. A woman goes through different experiences than a man in reaching a particular position in life. A non-white goes through a different set of experiences and emotional reactions than a white. This may or may not make for a BETTER candidate, but it is definitely different. The differences only look cosmetic if you've never been in the skin.

Dan Moran said...

Nader did run in 2004 and got .38% of the vote. He won't do even that well this time around.

This is the fifth time he's run for President. If he ever wasn't a joke, he's one now.

Damon,

"It is going to be a rough few years. Honestly though, Neither Hillary nor Obama, despite being more palatable than Bush, are actually touting anything that will work long term."

Those budget surpluses at the end of Bill Clinton's eight years in office never happened?

"Both are pushing expanded government...."

You can't possibly think they could grow the government more than Bush did. Can you?

"but we can't even pay for what we have now."

Tax cuts for the rich coupled with huge increases in spending will do that to you. But at the risk of appearing combative, did I mention those budget surpluses Bill Clinton left this country with? Once upon a time, and not too long ago, there was a Democratic President in this country who did know how to pay the bills, and without indulging in the uniquely Republican solution of taxing our unborn children via deficit spending ...

For a party that's so desperately concerned with the rights of the unborn, the fact that they're taxing the unborn without representation doesn't appear to both them much.

Dan Moran said...

And by "both them much," I mean "bother them much."

damon said...

Hi Dan, answers bellow:

##Those budget surpluses at the end of Bill Clinton's eight years in office never happened?

They did happen, but you'd have to admit that had very little to do with Clinton. We were going through a major economic boom and most of the budget cuts were the work of the GOP. That's pretty much a matter of the congressional record. I give Clinton his due for triangulating and working along, but that's not a "Clinton Initiative" win. Clinton did well by not getting in the way of the economy.

##You can't possibly think they could grow the government more than Bush did. Can you?

If we socialize healthcare or even health insurance, then yes. It won't even be close, just do the math. But even outside of that: Of course they will expand it more; they won't reduce it. They may not increase it -by as much- as Bush did (unless the aforementioned healthcare initiatives kick in) but they will add to it, and frankly, we don't have the money to pay for what we have now. Read up on some of the comments of the General Accounting Office, which is incredibly non-partisan. We're running on credit at this point, and it would take a massive tax increase (not just repealing the Bush tax cuts, not just raising taxes on the rich, a huge tax increase above 20%) to even pay our coming dues for the next three decades. Yes, they will increase that burden, and so will most of the Republicans in the race. This is not good.

#without indulging in the uniquely Republican solution of taxing our unborn children via deficit spending ...

I'm sorry, but judging from your picture you are at least a few years older than me. How can you actually claim that deficit spending is uniquely Republican? It is the Democratic party that sailed along on Kenesian economics for 50 years. The fact that Republicans recently joined them doesn't make for "uniquely Republican." Again, the budgeting tactics of the 90s were nice, but they were a product of Democrat / Republican rivalry, both parties at each others throats in the Executive and Legislative process. If you look at Clinton's budgets before the GOP took congress, you'd not be able to argue that said administration was very interested in balance.

There's something to be said for having a bone to pick with Bush, a great many somethings actually, but let's not get all rose-colored-glasses on the Clinton administration, especially when the record is absolutely available to anyone who cares to peruse the congressional record and lexis-nexis new articles.

We have been running a debt for a very long time, and neither party seems particularly interested in addressing the issue. Debt is all well and good as long as our credit is strong, but as recent market fluctuations are revealing, that will not always be the case. Show the the Democrat who is going to actually cut spending, keep taxes low, and not make my economic panic attacks even worse, and they'll have my vote.

For the record, I'm currently pro-choice.

Mike Ralls said...

>A woman goes through different experiences than a man in reaching a particular position in life. A non-white goes through a different set of experiences and emotional reactions than a white. This may or may not make for a BETTER candidate, but it is definitely different.<

A man who was born and lived much of his life being poor goes through different experiences than a rich man in reaching a particular position in life. A man born before the Revolutionary War goes through different experiences and views the US fundamentally differently than a man born after the Revolutionary War. A man who has been in the military his whole life goes through a different set of experiences than a man who has never heard a shot fired in anger.

There have been plenty of fundamental differences in world view and life experiences in our Presidents and unless it is your position that Race and Gender result in more differences than anything else ever could, then I don't see how you can say that they are change unlike anything this country has ever seen. They both refused to promise that US troops would be out of Iraq by 2013 . . . that's some huge change that's bigger than what FDR or Lincoln did in comparison to their predecessors?

Frank said...

Damon said

They did happen, but you'd have to admit that had very little to do with Clinton. We were going through a major economic boom and most of the budget cuts were the work of the GOP.

By the same token, voters are looking for the wrong think when they judge potential candidates on the economy or the budget.

You want to keep the economy strong and robust? Keep a light touch on the markets

You want government spending under control? Elect budget hawks to Congress.

The President can veto spending bills, but only if at least 1/3 of the Congress agree with his or her priorities.

We need to evaluate Presidents for their Foreign Policy capacity.

Health care legislation will not be passed by the President.

Mar said...

You Rock Steve!

I didn't watch the debate, probably my bad, but I get so angry at the questions (usually puerile or leading to some cheap headline) that I gave them up years ago. This sounds like I missed badly. Will look on YouTube. I did see the first televised debate back in 1960. It was thrilling! Last night is thrilling!

I can feel your excitement in your words, and they give me the same thrill that I had last night when I watched an online headline change from the canned one about delivering brickbats at each other to cordiality. Seeing this change on the article, made me read it, and I realized that the AP headline writer wasn't supporting the Dems. The article cautiously made it sound like a love-in. Was it?

Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama, I am happy. I would like to see John Edwards there with them.

Where were you sitting? If you were near any "stars" your probably have your picture in one of the star-studded photo slide shows that the "newspapers" so love.

To Damon: There was no Reagan revolution. Americans did that on their own, aided by six to ten years of economic recharging after the near fatal economic burden of Vietnam.

The surge of economic health was caused by the computer industry revolution and the opening of China (a Nixon legacy). Companies like Xerox, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, SAS, WordPerfect, Boeing, voice mail companies with AT&T and the rest, McCaw Cellular, Lotus, and thousands more.

Phara companies, like Genetech, Immunex, Quinton, Squibb also lead the way, again with thousands more.

The old manufacturing areas were dubbed the "Rust Belt" and the steel industry moved off shore to China as China cherry picked whole factories to move home (buy rather than build for the first round of Chinese growth in the steel industry). The American steel industry, weaving industry, plastics industry, and many others were forcibly moved to China leaving tens of thousands of Americans out of work. Today's homeless situation started there.

Reagan snoozed through it all.

Meanwhile Ollie North set up the guns for drugs for money triangle that still operates today. At the time, I talked with many police officers who sneered at Nancy Reagan's "just say no" campaign as the height of hypocrisy (probably not hers, I think) when North's people were pushing drugs into the country in record amounts.

Both Bush administrations worked hard to empty of US coffers.

Bill Clinton allowed American industry to go where it would, and lots of liberals found that uncomfortable, but all in all he left office with a surplus in the bank. Clinton's economy made neo-cons extremely uncomfortable because the computer and information industries and those around them are filled with populists, libertarians, and folks who just go their own way. Clinton and Gore were actually allowing decentralization of government, which is contrary to Neo-con needs.

The Neo-cons are fascists who use the naiveté of the conservatives, especially religious conservatives and racist/sexist conservatives to suck huge amounts of personal wealth out of the government and surrounding industries. Companies that have profited the most are in the war industry and most of them share one canny investor, The Carlyle Group, set up by (primarily) Neo-cons from Reagan's first administration, and whose board has included Bush 41, John Major, members of Thatcher's family, and many many names you will recognize from US Dept of State, DOD, former members of congress. It's all there. The Way-Back Machine has the old websites and it is in plain view.

Damon, this is not an election about old time liberal and old time conservatives. They are as gone today as the Tories and the Whigs. Today's election is about Populist Progressives and Neo-cons. Read Dennis Hastert's tantrum or melt-down over McCain, reported 1-31-2008 on various sites on the web. Hastert basically told Republicans not to vote for McCain because he is a Populist. This is not loyalty to Bush, it is loyalty to the Neo-con agenda. If Leiberman is on a McCain ticket, the Neo-cons have won.

Damon, the neo-cons don't like you any better than they like Steve, Clinton, Obama, or me. If you really are a libertarian, you better back anybody whose a Dem until the Neo-cons have been isolated. Their Patriot Act has severely damaged our civil liberties. I am unhappy that Obama and Clinton have voted for it, but they didn't create it and can be swayed to repeal (not modify) it.

Moving this country to a populist base will be for the better.

Steven Barnes said...

Mike: I didn't say "bigger" differences. "Different" differences. Unique to what their race or gender position is. That may or may not make them "better" but it definitely makes them, to a degree, a quantity unknown. Women out there: how much difficulty have you had explaining to guys what the difference is? And black folks out there: how much difficulty have you had explaining the difference to white folks. That gap--the thing that you cannot see, because you haven't been there, is the difference.
again, I'm not saying "better." But certainly, and for the first time in America, a point of view that has been pointedly absent will be present. Those of us who believe that accurate maps are neccessary for safe travel believe that this can only be a good thing, all else being equal.
##
I remember pointing out to someone that a picture of the Senate chamber showed 100% white males. I suggested that this might be a disadvantage to non-whites, and that those non-whites might be better served by an admixture of genetics. My friend evidenced genuine surprise. "Why?"
My reply was, 'because people like you have to ask why."
Unless one believes that there are intrinsic differences in quality between groups X,Y,and Z, in governing a group composed of X,Y, and Z, that governance will be best if composed of members of all groups. There is simply no way in hell that a presidency that has represented white males 100% of the time could be better than one with diversity, unless the members of those other groups are sub-standard. Human perspectives are limited by experience and prejudice and self-interest. We've had one face on the white house for our entire history--to the point where it's easy to take it for granted. It is not America. It is most certainly not the world. And it looks like it ain't gonna be the 21st century. Thank God.

Frank said...

Mar

Moving this country to a populist base will be for the better.

That's what the House of Representatives is for. Let's keep it there.

Josh Jasper said...

Ffrank :
You want to keep the economy strong and robust? Keep a light touch on the markets


Yeah, deregulation and a light touch did such a good job preventing the S&L crash, Enron, and the sub prime market crash. Clearly, what we need is more of the same.

Frank said...

Josh Jasper

Yeah, deregulation and a light touch did such a good job preventing the S&L crash, Enron, and the sub prime market crash. Clearly, what we need is more of the same.

First, I said "light touch" not hands off.

But even so, is the solution a Nanny State? The Government is a Hammer and is reasonable for hammer solutions. But it must be recognized that it can not protect people from everything.

And it should not protect people from most things.

If you do stupid things: i.e. the sub-prime problem, you should expect to get burned.

If you do criminal things, i.e. Enron, you should be prosecuted and go to jail.

Enron was no different than your everyday con game writ large. Should the government try to protect everyone from being suckered by con-men?

What do you call someone who wires money to Kenya because of an email?

That's right: "Stupid".

Government should not be a stupid inoculator mostly because it can't be.

But such is Sarbanes-Oxley. And mostly what Sarbanes-Oxley is at doing is killing innovation. Here's just one example

With a quick software update from Apple, customers’ “g” machines would become “n.” Voila, a surprise instant upgrade that means happy customers and good karma for Apple. . . .

According to Apple, however, accounting rules have complicated matters. . . . On the one hand, if it had announced that its computers were shipping with n-capable cards that would be activated later, it would have had to wait to record some of the revenue garnered from each computer until it actually activated the feature. That would have been an accounting nightmare. On the other hand, not having acknowledged the feature when the machines first shipped, Apple can only count it as a valuable feature if it charges users for activation. That way, the original product was “complete,” and accounting rules let Apple count all of the revenue when the machines were sold — the intuitive, straightforward accounting approach that a reasonable observer would expect. . . .

Mike Ralls said...

> the thing that you cannot see, because you haven't been there<

No true. I lived for two years in a place where I was a racial minority and a very small minority at that. There was 1 white person per 10,000 people in my old stomping ground of Imari-shi, Saga-ken to be exact, and although I did eventually go back home to where I was no longer a minority I do think I know what it's like to be one better than most who have never experienced that.

>again, I'm not saying "better." But certainly, and for the first time in America, a point of view that has been pointedly absent will be present.<

Fair enough. I will point out however that when Clinton is talking about her experience and qualifications for POTUS she has mentioned numerous times her actions in the 1992 - 2000 period during which time she held no office and was the wife of the President. She is essentially saying that her point of view was present even if she was not officially in power.

Steven Barnes said...

By living as a minority, you definitely have insight into what that's like. But you still don't know the specific ways being black, or female, or disabled affects your life--for that, you need to talk to someone who has been through that. Yes, Hillary says that her influence was in the White House, because she lived there. But almost every home had a woman in it prior to women getting the vote and being able to make their voices heard. Being NEXT to the seat of power isn't the same as being in it, not at all.
##
White Males, being every bit as good as anyone else, but not better, simply cannot represent or understand a point of view as well as someone who has lived it. Nor can anyone. That's why it's good for power to rotate through groups, so that no one person or class begins to feel: "hey I'm wise and omniscient enough to do what's best for everyone!" Can't happen, no matter the best of intentions. Power needs to be shared, or those who hold it will begin to feel that it is most naturally theirs.

Mike said...

frank - you've said several times that you think populism belongs in the House of Reps, not in the White House. Expand and explain please? Possibly with your definition of populism, so I know where you're coming from?

For the record, I see a lot of good in what I think you described as Huey Long's "kleptocracy" - unless that was someone else, in which case, sorry. Also a lot of scary, but why shouldn't companies like Standard Oil pay taxes to fund school books and road building in a state which provides them a home and an income?

Anonymous said...

"By living as a minority, you definitely have insight into what that's like. But you still don't know the specific ways being black, or female, or disabled affects your life--for that, you need to talk to someone who has been through that."

Point well made. I too spent some time living as a minority and while I gained certain insight in to how it feels to BE a minority I still cannnot know, really know, what it is like to be THAT minority which I was living with.

So, I have a certain empathy which others may not have but I still lack the felt consequences of being in a minority that is a minority in large parts of the globe.

Ok, I'm female and I have felt that has been an issue but, quite frankly, from my perspective, women in this country have had an easier time of things than racial minorities for at least the last generation, perhaps longer.

Just my 2 cents.

Jenni

Anonymous said...

Mar,

"The Neo-cons are fascists who use the naiveté of the conservatives, especially religious conservatives and racist/sexist conservatives to suck huge amounts of personal wealth out of the government and surrounding industries."

The dreaded Neo-cons include at least one long-term Steve Barnes reader who frequents this site. I.e.: me.

Maybe I really am waking up every morning and cackling maniacally at the thought, "Soon, ze whole vorld shall be in my EVIL POWER!!!" -- but, if so, I seem to be unconscious of it.

And more's the pity. My daily conscious life is so much more humdrum. Dang, I want my full Sinister Neo-con Powers to get activated, right now!

Where are my millions of Halliburton dollars? Why can't I use a Darth Vader psychic neck-strangle on that bozo who keeps sending me brain-damaged e-mails about my latest scientific manuscript? Can't I at least learn Jedi mind tricks, like Lord Rove? What's up with this nonsense?

What a rip-off! Maybe I should vote for Hillary. I bet she doles out malign superpowers to her nefarious minions.


--Erich Schwarz

Marty S said...

All the candidates, Republican and Democrat depress me. This country is in sad shape and the future looks much worse to me. Our standard of living depends on sucking up a huge portion of the world’s resources. If the level of per capita energy usage in China and India rises to even half of what we use then China, India and the U.S. would use several times the world’s current oil production. We have sent all our industry out of the country and quickly export any technology we develop. We aren’t earning enough as a country to buy all we want, so like those who took out the sub-prime loans, we borrow to pay for what we can’t afford and we are selling our country to other countries.
Some people have compared Obama to J.F.K In my mind if he were another J.F.K he would be talking about making our country great again and how he was going to do this. His how would include a crash program, like the space program to develop technologies like hydrogen fusion to reduce our and the world’s dependence on oil. He would be talking about taking us away from a country run on fossil fuels for power to one that is nuclear based until the above research succeeds.
In order to accomplish the above we need to begin to focus our best and brightest on science and engineering and we need to focus on our best and brightest more. I don’t want a president, who just focuses on helping those who are behind, but one who focuses on getting the most we can from every student.
Our current education philosophy “no child left behind” is woefully lacking.
I have two grandsons five and nine. The five year old entered kindergarten two and a half years behind in his speech and with certain other problems. There was no problem obtaining all sorts of special training for him, which was wonderful and has helped him make great progress. This is wonderful and makes us in the family very happy. But, on the other hand my nine year old grandson is quite advanced. He entered kindergarten able to add three digit numbers in his head. While there was plenty of money for the programs to help the younger boy there was no money for a gifted program All attempts to at least get him special work assignments fell on deaf ears. He constantly came home from school complaining it was boring and asking why he had to go. The country cannot afford to waste either of these children and must realize and focus on the individual needs of all, not just on certain groups.
Oh and if you haven’t figured it out yet when it comes to people I believe the best education possible for everyone of our kids should be the number one priority.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

In re balancing the budget: How much would it save to shut down the war on drugs?

In re the subprime mess and regulation: I have no idea if regulation would necessarily have helped. At a minimus, it would depend on what the regulations were.

Sidetrack: It seems to me that most talk about regulation is about whether it's good or bad rather than about methods of figuring out whether a particular regulation is good or bad, and improving methods of getting rid of bad ones.

I would love to see some moves towards a more competent financial press. They're the people who be most obviously rewarded for noticing if the financial industry is doing something stupid.

I haven't even seen anything about why no one noticed that subprimes were such a bad idea.

Partly, I blame standard schooling -- there's no concept of teaching students how to live in this society. I bet most people who knew that adjustable rate mortgages are a bad idea didn't completely realize it on their own.

Frank said...

Mike

frank - you've said several times that you think populism belongs in the House of Reps, not in the White House. Expand and explain please? Possibly with your definition of populism, so I know where you're coming from?

Though populism is generally an ill-defined word, it generally refers to the issues that are generally on the minds of the people at a specific point in time.

The House of Representatives was specifically designed be more sensitive to "the street": two year terms and representatives that are elected by a (relatively) small number of voters. As a result, they bring to Congress the concerns of their little district. In the original Constitution, these were the only people who were elected to Congress by the direct vote of the people. Article I, Section 2, Clause 1 says The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, ... You will note that this is the only time that the Constitution refers to an election by citizens.

The Senate, on the other hand, was intended to be a filter for populism: a more deliberative body. First they had six year terms and originally, they weren't elected at all they were appointed by State Legislatures. The idea here was to put them "above" the consuming issues of the day so they may concentrate on what is good in the long term.

The Executive, the President, as I've pointed out a number of times, does not legislate at all. It is the job of the President to oversee the execution of the laws passed by Congress and to conduct Foreign Policy.

The President can advocate, cajole, and advise, but ultimately it is Congress that spends the money and authorizes programs.

I see a lot of good in what I think you described as Huey Long's "kleptocracy"

So did Huey Long. But his brand of Socialism came, as it often does, with near dictatorial control over the state government and the governed.

There is no doubt that he did a lot of good for the State of Louisiana. But there is also no doubt that he worked hard and long to concentrate all power into his own hands.

why shouldn't companies like Standard Oil pay taxes to fund school books and road building in a state which provides them a home and an income?

There is no problem with any company paying taxes, but no company should have different rules applied to it just because it is more profitable.

And Standard Oil provides jobs and services just by being in business. What would Louisiana have done if they just closed up shop and left town?

albatross said...

Nancy:

I don't understand all the details of the subprime meltdown, but I think one element was that a lot of mortgage brokers were getting rewarded for getting mortgages signed, and not so much for making sure the mortgages could actually be paid off by the people who got them. I think this was especially true for the balloon rate mortgages, where the defaults wouldn't be likely for many years.

Three years ago, I went to my credit union to see how much of a home loan we could qualify for. They were willing to give us a mortgage that we obviously could not pay--we would have been in default within months. The woman who set the paperwork up (the loan was approved if we wanted to take it) clearly didn't understand the financial side of what she was doing--she was using a pretty web interface with no comprehension of what was going on under the surface. I have to guess that stuff like this was happening a lot, and led to much of the meltdown.

People learn from failure. In a very hot housing market (in Montgomery County, MD, housing prices were going up faster than medical care prices for several years), you don't see many defaults--if you're in danger of defaulting, you can almost certainly sell your house. So, lots of people got screwed/screwed themselves with a mortgage they couldn't afford, but they mostly didn't default. Then the up market stopped, and suddenly, there was a lot of failure from which to learn.

Mike said...

Frank

Ok, I see where you're coming from. I would be inclined to agree with that interpretation of the Constitution, as it was originally written. It seems to me, however, that to attain the state of politics you advocate - populist House, filtering Senate, disinterested President - we would need to go back to Andrew Jackson (the first populist/popular president) and start over from there. And, really, if you look at politics between, oh, 1815 and 1829, there's not much going on, politically. It's the "era of good feelings", and it's typified by an un-engaged electorate of elites ruling over a crowd of "common folk". I'm not a fan of Jackson by any means, but at least he engaged voters and got them involved in politics.

Of course, you might argue that an un-engaged electorate ruled by elites is exactly what the Founders had in mind, but I don't think we can easily (or usefully) go back there.

Mike said...

As to the Standard Oil issue (sorry, got dragged off to stimulate the economy), I think the problem here is that, regardless of how we treat large corporations, they're going to be treated "specially". Either we're giving them tax breaks to attract them, or we're taxing them differently to profit from them. Does the benefit of employing people off-set the detriment of having a large drain on tax income? I'm not sure that it does.

CC-Tron said...

I don't believe Obama will accept a VP position under Hillary Clinton. First, Bill Clinton would be the true VP no matter who the running mate turns out to be (I hope Obama knows this.) Secondly, a VP positon may also hurt his chances becoming president in 2012. He'd be better off waiting 4 years and base his new campaign on cleaning up Hillary's (and Bill's) mess.

CC-Tron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mar said...

Erich Swartz said
"Maybe I really am waking up every morning and cackling maniacally at the thought, "Soon, ze whole vorld shall be in my EVIL POWER!!!" -- but, if so, I seem to be unconscious of it."

The Neo-cons with power and money wake up laughing at you.

Mar said...

RE: question of the day is: What do you think would happen with such a ticket?

As a woman, I would like to see a woman in the White House. But pragmatically, Obama/Clinton.

Obama-Clinton could win every big state, and a majority of the small ones.

As much as I like Bill Clinton, he had his day, and with Obama no co-presidency issues.

The "Red State" and conservative blogs are going ballistic this morning (2-2-2008). The idea of Clinton and Obama on the same ticket is making lots of folks go wild. (Interestingly, some anti-Bush conservatives like it a lot.) Add to that McCain leading Romney by about 30 percentage points, and the conclusion for some is that the end of Conservatism is being handed to the world on a platter by an unfair media. They are mad at FOX for not being harder on McCain.

Weird anti-McCain/anti-Fox conspiracy theory that is emerging: Fox is supporting McCain by (now get this) not reporting that he is (this is supposedly current not sometime in the past) trying to change parties (like the Dems would reject him -- NOT), and that he is currently trying to get John Kerry on as his VP. At first I thought this was an isolated idea, but it seems that it is gaining blogosphere force.

The whole Montel Williams/FOX issue is getting some traction on the conservative military sites, and more on the liberal military sites.

The election is Obama's to loose, and both the Clinton's had better get behind him. Hillary as VEEP would consolidate the ticket in a way that Edwards could never hope to do.

My take away re Conservative anti-Hillary sentiment: These guys need to get over their mother or third grade teacher. There are lots of reasons not to vote for Hillary, but not very many of them are used. Mostly, there are veiled fear of woman rants.

Anonymous said...

Mar,

"The Neo-cons with power and money wake up laughing at you."

Doubtless they do. In their Fortress of Solitude underneath the Antarctic icecap, I imagine.


--Erich Schwarz

Dan Moran said...

Patrick,

You have the numbers on a Clinton or Obama health care plan? I'd love it if you'd share 'em with me.

The reality is that, my whole life, the government has grown more under Republican administrations than under Democratic administrations. Republicans have an incredibly detailed and vigorous fantasy life centered around the idea of "conservatism," which involves self-sufficiency, small government, respect for the constitution, and fiscal responsibility .... none of which have anything to do with their actual conduct, which consists of corporate welfare (and government welfare for red states and red counties), big government, ignoring the Constitution as it suits them, and the most atrocious sort of deficit spending.

Of course they will expand it more; they won't reduce it.

By 1996, Bill Clinton had reduced the size of the federal workforce by 260,000 positions.

we don't have the money to pay for what we have now.

This is true. Huge tax cuts and hugely expanded spending will do that to you. And yet we did have the money to pay for what we had, back in 2000 -- we even had a 236 billion dollar surplus. All due to the various unforseen accidents that occurred on Bill Clinton's watch and for which he is due no credit, or so Republicans tell me....

Read up on some of the comments of the General Accounting Office, which is incredibly non-partisan. We're running on credit at this point, and it would take a massive tax increase (not just repealing the Bush tax cuts, not just raising taxes on the rich, a huge tax increase above 20%) to even pay our coming dues for the next three decades.

OK, so we raise taxes. Or cut spending. Or both. As opposed to Bush, who did the opposite, with predictable results. (And, of course, Reagan ... who did what Bush did. With predictable results.)

Look, this isn't rocket science. you don't get something for nothing.

How can you actually claim that deficit spending is uniquely Republican?

http://jec.senate.gov/Documents/Reports/09.12.07%20National%20Debt.pdf

Almost 3/4 of the current national debt was accumulated under the Reagan/Bush, Bush I, and Bush II administrations. That works for me.

The fact that Republicans recently joined them doesn't make for "uniquely Republican."

If you want to cite the Reagan administration as "recent," sure, but I don't think you're old enough to have that perspective. The Reagan Administration pretty much invented non-wartime deficit spending.

If you look at Clinton's budgets before the GOP took congress, you'd not be able to argue that said administration was very interested in balance.

Really? The 1993 budget probably cost Democrats control of Congress, but that budget (along with the tax increases Bush I signed, so some credit due there) are what pared the deficit and eventually put the budget into surplus -- the Republican warnings at the time were dire. But that budget both cut spending and raised taxes, and was directly responsible for the 90s boom -- all that money the government wasn't borrowing became available to invest in startups and such.

There's something to be said for having a bone to pick with Bush, a great many somethings actually, but let's not get all rose-colored-glasses on the Clinton administration, especially when the record is absolutely available to anyone who cares to peruse the congressional record and lexis-nexis new articles.

Yep. Cut in the size of federal government, reduction of deficit to the point where there were actual surpluses, and a huge economic boom that raised the average American's salary for the first time in decades.

We have been running a debt for a very long time, and neither party seems particularly interested in addressing the issue.

Well, exept for the Democratic Clinton administration, you mean.

Toward the end of the 90s boom they did a study of various states to see who'd raised spending the least. The answer was no surprise to me. It went:

1. States with Democratic governors and Republican legislatures
2. States with Republican governors and Democratic legislatures
3. States with Democratic govenors and Democratic legislators
4. States with Republican governors and Republican legislators

Dan Moran said...

Frank,

You want to keep the economy strong and robust? Keep a light touch on the markets

By which logic the most deregulated American states should outperform the more regulated (liberal) American states. Seems reasonable? Of course, anyone who's paid a lick of attention knows it's not the case; liberal states are rich. Conservative states are poor. Let's look at per capita personal income by state? Fair?

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3SUR/is_4_86/ai_n16419647

In order -- with who that state voted for in 2004 -- it goes:

Connecticut (Kerry)
Massachusetts (Kerry)
New Jersey (Kerry)
Maryland (Kerry)
New York (Kerry)
New Hampshire (Kerry)
Virginia (Bush)
Colorado (Bush)
Minnesota (Kerry)
Delaware (Kerry)
California (Kerry)
Wyoming (Bush)
Rhode Island (Kerry)
Illinois (Kerry)
Nevada (Bush)
Alaska (Bush)
Washington (Kerry)
Pennsylvania (Kerry)
Hawaii (Kerry)
Nebraska (Bush)
Wisconsin (Kerry)
Vermont (Kerry)
Florida (Bush)
Michigan (Kerry)
Kansas (Bush)
Ohio (Bush)
Texas (Bush)
Iowa (Bush)
Oregon (Kerry)
Missouri (Bush)
South Dakota (Bush)
North Dakota (Bush)
Indiana (Bush)
Maine (Kerry)
Georgia (Bush)
Tennessee (Bush)
North Carolina (Bush)
Arizona (Bush)
Montana (Bush)
Oklahoma (Bush)
Alabama (Bush)
Kentucky (Bush)
South Carolina (Bush)
Idaho (Bush)
Utah (Bush)
New Mexico (Bush)
West Virginia (Bush)
Arkansas (Bush)
Mississippi (Bush)
Louisiana (Bush)

Are you seeing what I'm seeing? The six richest states, and nine of the richest eleven, voted for Kerry.

The sixteen poorest voted for Bush.

That's nearly a linear connection between poverty ... and conservatism. If liberals are so rotten at supporting business, why are they so damn rich?

albatross said...

Dan: I don't think that says much about how those states got wealthy. It's largely about how urban the states are, and it wouldn't be a great surprise if more urban, industrialized places benefitted more from regulation than more rural places. Certainly, that's true at a local level--issues like zoning, gun control, leash laws, and rules about pollution from burning things or old septic systems look very different if you live out in the country in rural Missouri, or in the middle of St Louis.

Marty S said...

It is often said that those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it. Certain lessons were learned from the previous meltdown called the Great Depression. Various regulations were put during that period to prevent this from ever happening again. As the people who participated in the Great Depression have died off we have forgotten the lessons learned and failed to keep up the preventive measures. The sub-prime problem with people borrowing on the equity in their house to make the mortgage payments they couldn't afford in the first place is similar in nature to the excesses(huge margin buying of stock) that brought about the crash of 1928 and the Great Depression). Regulations are necessary and do much good. Like anything else in life a balance must be struck. We elect our representatives in the hope they choose correctly between good and bad, too much and too little. Unfortunately often they are not very good at this.
As an aside this is a very queer election year. We were out with some friend's of ours who are life long democrats and discussing the election. I said if the election was between Mccain and Hilary I would probably vote for Hilary and he said that he would probably vote for Mccain his first republican vote ever.
Second aside. Last night I was watching Fox news when a commercial came on for Luvs diapers. It featured a Black family. In my mind this says something about where this nation is at. Anybody else have thoughts on this?

Frank said...

Dan,

Are you seeing what I'm seeing? The six richest states, and nine of the richest eleven, voted for Kerry.

Dan, no offense, but that is the most superficial analysis I have ever seen

Let's take Connecticut for instance, what you have listed as the richest State. It has had a Republican Governor since 1995.

But that is superficial as well. How about if we reorganized your list by Gross State Product (GSP)?

California (Kerry)
Texas (Bush)
New York (Kerry)
Florida (Bush)
Illinois (Kerry)

Now the top five looks a bit different.

But still superficial.

If you wanted to make an statement about economics and politics, you would have to do an analysis of the implementation of "Liberal" and "Conservative" economic policies and compare them to a State's GSP and per capita income.

In lieu of such an intensive analysis, I would point out Michigan. They keep losing jobs. Now everyone knows that they have a highly-trained automotive workforce that remains largely unemployed. So when a company like Toyota announces they want to open a new plant in America, you'd think that Michigan would be a natural. But Toyota, and every other foreign car manufacturer avoids Michigan like the plague.

Why?

Maybe this gives us a clue

The state represents a rough approximation of ideal liberal economic policy. It is heavily unionized, taxed, and regulated in a failed attempt to close its eyes to the dynamic forces of the market and globalization all around it.

This stew has helped make Michigan the economic sick man of the Midwest. It is suffering from a one-state recession all its own, mostly because it has failed to foster the most profound economic force in the universe — opportunity. The state has been losing out to more business-friendly environs both overseas and in other states for decades, but has refused to adapt accordingly.

That’s why anyone moving to Michigan to enjoy the stifling taxes and burdensome unionization will be lonely. According to the free-market Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s analysis of United Van Lines data, Michigan is now the No. 1 state in the continental United States for outbound traffic. An estimated 65 percent of the moving company’s Michigan interstate traffic is families moving out of the state, headed to more economically open and vital destinations. As an official in Wyoming put it, “Michigan has been very good for us.”

...As Republicans often point out, Michigan was the only state in the country not hit by Hurricane Katrina to lose jobs between September 2004 and September 2005. The state unemployment rate just ticked up again to 7.1 percent, substantially above the nation’s rate of 4.7 percent. The rate of growth of its per capita gross state product is 49th in the nation; lowly Mississippi is 44th.

Michael LaFaive of the Mackinac Center calls Michigan “the France of North America.” Economically competitive states might have a personal income tax, or corporate income tax, or sales tax — Michigan has all three. It has long been the only state with a European-style, value-added tax — the Single Business Tax. A company can be in bankruptcy and still have a tax liability, making Michigan a bad state even to lose money in. In a 2002 filing for relief from the tax, General Motors explained that it would operate at a loss, but one of its projects would still create a $7 million-a-year tax liability....

Meanwhile, unions make the state an inhospitable place to do business. A company can be bankrupt in Michigan and still face threats of a strike, as Northwest Airlines and the auto-parts maker Delphi have learned. Michigan’s unionization rate of 21.8 percent is much higher than the national average of 13.5 percent. This accounts for it having the second-highest unit-labor cost in the nation, according to the Mackinac Center. States with right-to-work laws, and consequently less unionization, experience more growth and create more jobs, at the expense of troglodytes like Michigan.


You're going to have to delve a little more deeply to make your point.

Frank said...

Sorry I'm reading from the back up but I couldn't let this go by

Dan Moran says

The reality is that, my whole life, the government has grown more under Republican administrations than under Democratic administrations.

This is incorrect. As I keep attempting to stress, Government grows or shrinks at the command of Congress, not the President. And for the vast majority of your lifetime, Democrats have been Control of Congress. In fact, Democrats were in control of one or both House of Congress from the time you were born until now, except for the period from 1996 until 2006.

You are criticizing Democrats, for the most part, not Republicans.

Republicans have an incredibly detailed and vigorous fantasy life centered around the idea of "conservatism," which involves self-sufficiency, small government, respect for the constitution, and fiscal responsibility .... none of which have anything to do with their actual conduct, which consists of corporate welfare (and government welfare for red states and red counties), big government, ignoring the Constitution as it suits them, and the most atrocious sort of deficit spending.

There is truth to what you say here. However, Democrats are no better, and in fact, arguably worse.

By 1996, Bill Clinton had reduced the size of the federal workforce by 260,000 positions.

Yeah, and you know where this draw-down came from? The US Military

OK, so we raise taxes. Or cut spending. Or both. As opposed to Bush, who did the opposite, with predictable results. (And, of course, Reagan ... who did what Bush did. With predictable results.)

Well revenue has been growing as a result of Republican policies while they controlled Congress. And had they not passed the Prescription Drug Plan, championed by Bush and Ted Kennedy (and other Democrats), total government outlays would not be so high.

Or, if they had evaluated other government programs and cut the ineffective ones, perhaps that would have helped.

Or if the Democrats would have done what they said they would do and eliminated pork spending, perhaps that would have helped.

So which are the Democrats going to do? Cut spending or raise taxes?

They are advertising they will do both.

Oh, and the budget "surplus" Clinton supposedly had? It was while the Republicans controlled congress.

Remember, again, Congress is in control of allocating the money. The President can only spend what Congress gives him to spend.

If no one remembers anything else, please remember that when you evaluate a candidate for President, what they say about legislation such as health care and such, they do not have control of this.

If you want to cite the Reagan administration as "recent," sure, but I don't think you're old enough to have that perspective. The Reagan Administration pretty much invented non-wartime deficit spending.

Democrats controlled congress during the Bush Administration.

Do I have to say it again?

all that money the government wasn't borrowing became available to invest in startups and such.

And, of course, it was all bogus. Why? Because of those "IOU"s from the Social Security fund. Remember the "Lock Box"? They is, and never was a Social Security Lock Box. It was all part of the General Fund, but specially accounted for so that it would not appear on the Genral Fund balance sheet.

Thus, wahlah! a budget surplus: If you don't count the IOUs

We have been running a debt for a very long time, and neither party seems particularly interested in addressing the issue.

Well, exept for the Democratic Clinton administration, you mean.


With the Republican controlled Congress, remember....

Frank said...

Democrats controlled congress during the Bush Administration.

Check that. I meant to say Democrats controlled congress during the Reagan Administration.

Frank said...

Here is a good graph showing the relationship of cutting the size of the military during the 1990's to the "budget surplus" of the Clinton era.

It is clear now we will have to gear back up.

Frank said...

Here's that graph a little bigger

asha vere said...

The level of megalomania it takes to actually think you're good enough to be president of the United States means the eventual nominee probably should look someplace other than among his /her former competitors for a VP candidate.

If Hillary takes it and wants to neutralize some of the arguments about race, she probably should seriously consider someone like Harold Ford, who is from a southern state, also has been said to "transcend race" (whatever that means), has more national-level elected-office experience than Barack Obama and comes from a political family with a serious get-out-the-vote engine.

If it's Barack, he needs to find his own version of Dick Cheney -- a political dog with long years of experience who can give him some gravitas and fight the divisive battles so Obama won't have to get his own hands dirty.

That said, I really do think Bill Richardson is perfect for the VP job.

asha vere said...

And by "Harold Ford," I mean Jr., not his pops.

Dan Moran said...

C'mon, Frank, you know better than that. Presidents propose budgets and Presidents sign them. Or refuse to sign them if they don't get what they want.

This is from today.

http://weblogs.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/blog/2008/02/white_house_deficit_on_the_ris.html

"White House: Deficit on the rise again

by Mark Silva

The biggest news of the record $3-trillion-plus federal budget that President Bush plans to propose to Congress on Monday may be the potential deficit that comes with it.

After years of White House boasting that it is getting the deficit under control – cutting it by $250 billion during the past two years – the administration appears ready to concede that the deficit will rise to $400 billion or more in the coming year. That’s a near-return to the record $413-billion deficit reached in 2004."

Who proposed this budget? Bush. Who's going to sign or refuse to sign whatever budget congress produces? Bush.

Reagan started this off in the '80s -- the budgets that "tax-and-spend" Democratic Congress sent to him were roughly 25 billion dollars less than Reagan requested. Who's the tax and spender in that scenario? (OK, let's be fair: Republicans don't believe in tax and spend; they believe in borrow and spend. Which is vastly worse -- it is, as I said previously a tax without representation on unborn Americans.)

As to my simplistic observation that rich states vote liberal and poor states vote conservative -- sure. Yep. Also true, election cycle after election cycle, for generations on end. If conservatism is the root of wealth, why are conservative states so poor, and liberal states so rich? Bottom 16 for Bush, top 9 of 11 for Kerry ...

As to your attempt to use overall GDP versus per capita, I reject it. By this standard the Chinese are wealthy, and the truth is that the Chinese are poorer than any Americans -- they're substantially poorer than Mexicans, for that matter. Not exactly the standard of wealth I'd want to embrace...

Mike said...

Frank - well and good, but we're SUPPOSED to have a small military - in fact, we're not supposed to have a standing military at all. This lefty peacenik wonders if some of our current expensive military issues might have been solved diplomatically if our military had been kept at pre-WWII sizes. (which we almost got to under Clinton, according to your chart. I'm sure I could find figures for 1935, but I'm sick and I don't want to take the trouble.) Anyway, why is it that small governmenters want to trim everything except the military? Doesn't the military still represent the biggest expense in our budget right now? Well, second biggest - Social Security is 20%, the military is 19% (not including the wars)

Frank said...

Dan Moran

Who proposed this budget? Bush. Who's going to sign or refuse to sign whatever budget congress produces? Bush.

Dan. Please. This is absurd. There is nothing in the Constitution about the President proposing a budget to Congress. It is traditional for the Executive branch to do this.

However, Article 1 Section 7 requires that spending bills originate in the House and is then passed to the Senate.

So are you arguing that all those years Democrats ruled the Congress they were a slave to Presidential budgets?

Again. Absurd.

The Congress can receive the Presidents budget and in the next instant throw it in the trash and do whatever the hell they want.

Yes. Bush should have vetoed more spending bills while the Republicans were in the Congress. Yes, I am quite happy to see he has found his veto pen.

And you know what? I have noted before that I am actually quite pleased with how things have worked out since the Democrats took Congress.

As to your attempt to use overall GDP versus per capita, I reject it.

Except that wasn't my proposal. I proposed that you enumerate "conservative" economic principles and "liberal" economic principles, the examine each state for how much or little they employ each. Then, based on SDP and per capita income, try to determine if states tend to prosper if they emply more "conservative" or "liberal" principles.

Lotta work, I know.

So just look at the example I gave. Michigan. It should tell you everything you need to know.

Frank said...

Mike says

we're SUPPOSED to have a small military - in fact, we're not supposed to have a standing military at all.

Says who?

Anyway, why is it that small governmenters want to trim everything except the military?

Because

To raise and support Armies...
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;


Is one of the very few powers Constitutionally ascribed as a Power of Congress.

Dan Moran said...

"Dan. Please. This is absurd. There is nothing in the Constitution about the President proposing a budget to Congress. It is traditional for the Executive branch to do this."

OK. I'm following you -- Ronald Reagan had nothing to do with the economic performance of the United States during the 80s. It was all the Democrats.

Can't have it both ways.

Mike said...

"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. . . .Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins." - Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, VP of the United States 1813-1814, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789

Mike said...

And also:

"There are instruments so dangerous to the rights of the nation and which place them so totally at the mercy of their governors that those governors, whether legislative or executive, should be restrained from keeping such instruments on foot but in well-defined cases. Such an instrument is a standing army." --Thomas Jefferson to David Humphreys, 1789. ME 7:323

"I do not like [in the new Federal Constitution] the omission of a Bill of Rights providing clearly and without the aid of sophisms for... protection against standing armies." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. ME 6:387

"Nor is it conceived needful or safe that a standing army should be kept up in time of peace for [defense against invasion]." --Thomas Jefferson: 1st Annual Message, 1801. ME 3:334

"Standing armies [are] inconsistent with [a people's] freedom and subversive of their quiet." --Thomas Jefferson: Reply to Lord North's Proposition, 1775. Papers 1:231

"The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force." --Thomas Jefferson to Chandler Price, 1807. ME 11:160

"A distinction between the civil and military [is one] which it would be for the good of the whole to obliterate as soon as possible." --Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786. ME 17:90

"It is nonsense to talk of regulars. They are not to be had among a people so easy and happy at home as ours. We might as well rely on calling down an army of angels from heaven." --Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1814. ME 14:207

"There shall be no standing army but in time of actual war." --Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776. Papers 1:363

"The Greeks and Romans had no standing armies, yet they defended themselves. The Greeks by their laws, and the Romans by the spirit of their people, took care to put into the hands of their rulers no such engine of oppression as a standing army. Their system was to make every man a soldier and oblige him to repair to the standard of his country whenever that was reared. This made them invincible; and the same remedy will make us so." --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1814. ME 14:184

"Bonaparte... transferred the destinies of the republic from the civil to the military arm. Some will use this as a lesson against the practicability of republican government. I read it as a lesson against the danger of standing armies." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Adams, 1800. ME 10:154

Mike said...

Also: http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/FieldsAndHardy2.html

Which argues that the issue of the danger of a professional or standing army has a lengthy pedigree, back to English common law. Further, the Anti-Federalists (arguably, the forefathers of the modern Libertarian movement) were strongly opposed to an army of any significant size, or any standing army of any size during peace time. The Constitution places limits on how Congress can pay for armies - 2 years is the longest that military appropriations can be for (except in terms of paying royalties on military patents and the like). And the 3rd Amendment seems to indicate a certain antipathy to significant armies as well.

Josh Jasper said...

Frank:

First, I said "light touch" not hands off.

But even so, is the solution a Nanny State?


Put words in my mouth much? I didn't say nanny state. I said that deregulation is causing measurable economic damage. Regulation is causing theoretical damage. I'm sure that we'd probably save a pretty penny by letting toxic waste disposal go unregulated too. But eventually, it contaminates the environment we all live in. The same thing applies to economic pollution. If we let banks make bad loans in large amounts, then use them to prop up global hedge funds, everyone suffers.

If we don't learn from this mistake, it's going to be made again and again. In a democracy, the majority of voters are hurt, not helped by this. A small majority make of with the loot, and pay no real price for stupid market manipulation that causes global havoc.

Me, I'm hoping that people will wake up and realize that voting for regulation to prevent this from happening again will only really constrain the super rich from looting us on a regular basis.

Dan Moran said...

Oh, and this --

Except that wasn't my proposal. I proposed that you enumerate "conservative" economic principles and "liberal" economic principles, the examine each state for how much or little they employ each. Then, based on SDP and per capita income, try to determine if states tend to prosper if they emply more "conservative" or "liberal" principles.

Lotta work, I know.


Yeah, there is that. So I'm not going to do it. I'm going to go with the very simple correlation that liberal states are rich, and conservative states are poor, and stop there. If you'd like to explain it, I'd be fascinated to hear your theories.

Anonymous said...

"If conservatism is the root of wealth, why are conservative states so poor, and liberal states so rich?"

Because you have to be rich to afford the sorts of left-wing stupidities that California has been piggishly wallowing around in for decades?

I think left-wing ideology is like cocaine: it's God's way of telling you that you have too much money.


--Erich Schwarz

Frank said...

Dan Moran

OK. I'm following you -- Ronald Reagan had nothing to do with the economic performance of the United States during the 80s.

Precisely.

Not to obscure the point, but I would say Presidents have "little" to do with economic performance.

And my larger point is, don't evaluate Presidential candidates on economic issues for just this reason. Evaluate your Congressmen for how they would perform with regards to spending.

It was all the Democrats.

More generally, Congress.

At least with regards to spending, taxing, and regulation.

The Fed, with regards to monetary policy.

Bigger than all of these is the "economy" itself. The more free the market is, the more the economy is an animal unto itself and has it's own cycles and many and varied influences. So many that it is as unpredictable as the weather.

Can't have it both ways.

Right. Neither of us can.

Frank said...

Mike said

The Constitution places limits on how Congress can pay for armies - 2 years is the longest that military appropriations can be for (except in terms of paying royalties on military patents and the like).

Which is why there is a Defense Appropriations bill every year.

As for your quotes from the founders, I would point out that the founders were worried about a standing army being used to control the citizens.

Such protection is the reason for the Posse Comitatus Act 1878.

Marty S said...

Talking about no standing army and what the fore fathers had to say about it is beyond ridiculous. In 1776 preparing to defend yourself was grabbing the musket beside your bed and heading to the rally point. Do you really propose to start building fighters,bombers, submarines, smart missiles, ballistic missiles etc. and training people to use them when the next Adolph comes over the hill with the biggest army, air force and navy you ever saw. Do you think those missiles would ever have left Cuba if we had no military? Get your head on straight the only reason there are liberals around to be concerned about human rights and human welfare is because there is a strong military around to keep us free.

Frank said...

Regarding Liberal economics:

Germany is losing Finnish handset-maker Nokia to European countries further East, as the relatively higher costs of manufacturing push away companies keen to save money in a competitive environment.

Nokia said Tuesday that it would close or sell its sites in Bochum, Germany within the next six months. Approximately 2,300 jobs are set to be cut, with 1,800 of them in handset manufacturing. Non-production operations will be closed, and Nokia also plans to sell its automotive accessory business. The company is already in talks to sell its research and development unit to India's Sasken Technologies.

"Due to market changes and increasing requirements for cost-effectiveness, production of mobile devices in Germany is no longer feasible for Nokia," said executive vice-president Veli Sundback. The company plans to shift manufacturing to its more cost-friendly sites in Hungary, Bulgaria or Romania....

Germany and Finland are the only high-cost countries where Nokia has manufacturing operations. But the Finnish site is unlikely to be closed any time soon because it has been re-focused onto high-end production, and research and development, Schroder said.


Just sayin'

Dan Moran said...

Frank,

Not to obscure the point, but I would say Presidents have "little" to do with economic performance.

OK. So the Republicans conrolling Congress under Clinton were thrifty build-up-the surplus guys, and the Republicans controlling Congress unde Bush were spendthrift borrow-from-the-grandkids guys .... even though they were almost entirely the same guys.

Whatever works for you.

Dan Moran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Moran said...

Somehow my last post got scrambled --

Frank, as to your "Regarding Liberal Economics" ... shrug. You can come up with all the one-off examples you like. But until you can show me some sort of consistent metric whereby conservative economies outperform liberal economies, I'm just going to go blithely ahead and assert that liberal economies outperform conservative economies. Which they do.

Eric,

I think left-wing ideology is like cocaine: it's God's way of telling you that you have too much money.

As profound a defense of poverty as I've ever heard. If you educate people too muchk, they turn liberal. If societies get too rich, they turn liberal. Therefore, best keep everyone poor and dumb ....

Marty S said...

I think if you examine all the data in the previous posts you will probably find that the economy has done best when the white house and congress belong to opposite parties. In my conservative philosophy the congress the does the least does best for the economy.

Mike said...

The American contribution to the Allied victory in WWII is not a good argument for a standing army - the army we mobilized in 1942 didn't exist in 1938 - Marshall started a crash building program in 1939 which produced an army that was ready to go into the field 4 years later, when we were attacked. In fact, WWII might be a strong argument for a tiny army for defense in peace time; the national equivalent of the musket next to the bed. However, since 1950, the US has had a sizable standing army - the national equivalent of a howitzer next to the bed.

My contention is that the bigger the standing army, the larger the temptation to view all foreign policy problems as ones which can be solved with military force. I further contend that people opposed to large governments which provide the programs that lefties like me like (health care, welfare, etc) should be equally opposed to large governments which provide the programs that they like (military boondoggles, international adventures, etc)

Anonymous said...

mike: some good points but in the coming era of hyper-war. countries are gearing up to win wars in minutes or seconds. this makes infantry never mind a militia hopelessly out of date. we need a competent efficient military standing by. Although one that looks radically different than any our founding fathers could have foreseen. Our military is bloated and does need some serious overhauling, but the day of the militia is gone.