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QOTD

Filed at 7:30 am under by dcobranchi

Bob Herbert in the NYT:

It’s been clear for years that the G.O.P. is a party without a heart. But its pointless obstructionism, its overall lack of any serious response to what is a clear national economic emergency, seems to indicate it’s also a party without a brain…

The Republicans still don’t get it. Most act as if they don’t understand that in this radical economic downturn the demand for goods and services has fallen off a cliff, and that government spending is needed — and needed quickly — to replace a large portion of that lost demand.

The goal is twofold: to alleviate some of the enormous suffering (something that is easily understood if you have a heart), and to revive the battered economy (equally easy to understand by anyone with a brain).

39 Responses to “QOTD”


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 7th, 2009
at 12:59 pm

And the Cowardly Lion’s courage —


Comment by
Rob
February 9th, 2009
at 1:20 pm

I don’t believe the federal govt should automatically be in the enormous suffering alleviation business. I also believe that govt intervention has, and might, make it harder for the battered economy to revive.

Yes, we have a national economic emergency. But trying to stop the govt making it worse is hardly pointless.

As the adage goes, if you’re not a liberal by age 20 you have no heart, and if you’re not a conservative by age 30 you have no brain.


Comment by
dcobranchi
February 9th, 2009
at 1:44 pm

I have another aphorism for you: “It is better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Read any macroeconomics textbook. When monetary stimulus has failed (i.e., interest rates are as low as they can go), gov’t spending is the only alternative to a severe and prolonged recession/depression. That’s simple Keynesian economics.


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 9th, 2009
at 3:05 pm

I’m no economist but I’m trying! 🙂

Paul Danaher and Pam Sorooshian from the old NHEN forums are two homeschool parents I know who are.

Daryl, do you keep up with Krugman?

On the Edge

Bad Faith Economics

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Comment by
dcobranchi
February 9th, 2009
at 4:11 pm

You mean Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, who has written repeatedly that the stimulus needs to be much larger than it is going to be in order to stave off a disaster? No, what’s he been saying. 🙂


Comment by
Nance Confer
February 9th, 2009
at 4:34 pm

If not “automatically,” Rob, then how bad do things have to get for the federal government to get into the “enormous suffering alleviation business?”

Do I have to be underwater? Oops. . . that didn’t work as well as it could have but now some jobs might come of it with the rebuilding that still needs to be done in New Orleans.

Do I have to be in the process of a foreclosure or is the threat of foreclosure enough?

Does all of my family have to do without health care or just the adults?

Does every last contractor in my county have to be out of business or just the large percentage that we have noticed as jobs dry up?

Is 7.6% unemployment (official which indicates some percentage of the real rate) high enough or does unemployment have to reach 10%?

How about the federal government does what the people voted for it to do. Follow Obama’s agenda.

Nance


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 9th, 2009
at 6:48 pm

It also hurts folks who still have jobs and might think it won’t affect how they are educating and parenting. They are wrong! Take learning to sing and dance and play instruments with private providers, say, or public library hours and small specialty bookstores. Everyone here is strapped and cutting back class offerings, even closing studios, etc because so many of my kids’ friends’ parents CAN’T afford to pay what they were paying before. That’s what is happening everywhere, with everything, like falling into a black hole and getting compressed by its overwhelming undifferentiated gravity. This economy is a black hole sucking us all in.

(Or do Mormons congratulate themselves at a time like this for their own religion-run sociopolitical support system, and all that stored food of course, as proving they knew best all along and will triumph?)


Comment by
Rob
February 10th, 2009
at 10:20 am

“When monetary stimulus has failed (i.e., interest rates are as low as they can go), gov’t spending is the only alternative to a severe and prolonged recession/depression.”
Are you saying if you put 100 economists in a room, they’d all agree with your statement? Or are you just claiming 90%? Or a bare majority? I suppose if you or Obama get to pick the economists, that’d improve the agreement in the room.

Anyway, I’m not totally opposed to economic stimulus. I am very opposed to taking a bill full of big-govt spend which will have no stimulative impact whatsoever, and calling it a ‘stimulus bill’. If I can get a few more news stories like this cnn.co...x.html under my belt, I’ll feel much better.

“how bad do things have to get for the federal government to get into the “enormous suffering alleviation business?”
As you mentioned at the end of your post, it’s a moot point, as Obama won. All I’ve got is my point of view and my vote. I’ll try again in 2012. The short answer to your question is “I’d be happy if the federal govt shrank down to what it was before the Civil war.”

“Or do Mormons congratulate themselves at a time like this for their own religion-run sociopolitical support system, and all that stored food of course, as proving they knew best all along and will triumph?”
I am not the slightest bit happy to find a use for those cans of wheat I bought back in 1997. I have occasionally met the survivalist gun nut who gets very excited at the chance to mow down the food rioters, but those folks are a subset of religious belief – not really associated with anyone. I suppose I am grateful for that support system, and I advocate it’s foundation (you don’t eat unless you work) as a solution to a lot of our social woes.


Comment by
dcobranchi
February 10th, 2009
at 10:25 am

Yes, 100%. A Republican Senator attempted to recruit economists to back the GOP position. He found none.


Comment by
Rob
February 10th, 2009
at 12:31 pm

Fine – make me do my own dang research. Ok, so – all Keynsian economists agree, but not all economists are Keynsians? Is that what I’m reading here:

cato.o...us.pdf
“Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians and that we all support a big increase in the burden of
government, we the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance.
More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in
the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan’s “lost decade” in the 1990s. As such, it is a triumph of hope over
experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today. To improve the economy, policymakers should
focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the
burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.”

(signed by a big list of 300 economists, three of which are Nobel lauriates. That has to put a dent in Daryl’s 100% claim)


Comment by
dcobranchi
February 10th, 2009
at 12:43 pm

OK– 99% then.


Comment by
Rob
February 10th, 2009
at 1:14 pm

But Daryl! 3 Nobel Lauriates! Isn’t that about as annointed as they come in your book? Professors of Economics at Universities! People who have earned the title Scholar!

Didn’t they teach you anything in PhD school about confirmation bias or subjective validation? The case for govt spending ain’t as airtight as you want it to be.

In our ongoing war of witty phrases, I submit:
“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” – Leo Tolstoy

(Now, if you really want to come back with a stinger, you should mention that everyone is talking about the SECOND massive pile of govt spending.)


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 10th, 2009
at 5:45 pm

The President was in my state today, talking to homeless women and McDonald’s workers who can’t afford to go to college. Gallup just announced at the top of the Hardball hour that 67% of the public approve of how President Obama is handling this. It’s fine for Rob to not be in that majority but really, how much longer will that minority be allowed to just blow the majority off?


Comment by
dcobranchi
February 10th, 2009
at 5:53 pm

Why not any state in which both Senators vote no must forgo any and all stimulus spending? One Senator, lose half. I imagine Charlie Crist would not be happy.


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 10th, 2009
at 6:14 pm

And unionize. 🙂
There go the Carolinas!


Comment by
Rob
February 11th, 2009
at 12:20 am

“It’s fine for Rob to not be in that majority but really, how much longer will that minority be allowed to just blow the majority off?”

I’m not sure what you mean, JJ. What does blowing the majority off look like?


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 11th, 2009
at 8:31 am

It looks like the Republicans in Congress, Rob.


Comment by
Nance Confer
February 11th, 2009
at 8:58 am

JJ: Everyone here is strapped and cutting back class offerings, even closing studios, etc because so many of my kids’ friends’ parents CAN’T afford to pay what they were paying before.

********

The acting school my DD attends was very happy when I asked, embarrassed but with little choice, if I could make payments rather than pay one lump sum for DD’s lessons. They seemed relieved that I didn’t just walk away. I noticed their recital stage was barely filled last year but thought it was just me. Then the office lady told me they have had many parents pull their kids and many have switched to some sort of payment plan.

It may not seem like a necessity to everyone but it does to DD. 🙂

Nance


Comment by
Nance Confer
February 11th, 2009
at 9:04 am

Since most of the country doesn’t buy barrels of wheat but depends on being able to buy bread at the supermarket, and that isn’t likely to change, any opinions that don’t take that into consideration seem out of touch.

That would be you and the Rs, Rob. Just to be clear.

But we’ll see where things stand in 2012 — as Obama suggested. If this doesn’t work and someone has a better idea, they will win and he won’t.

Nance


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 11th, 2009
at 10:05 am

But Nance, I’m having trouble sustaining my nonpartisan confidence that better ideas win out and bad ones don’t. Given recent history! What I don’t understand is why the bad ideas steamroller right on over us and no justice or regulation or elections or deaths, seem to stop them. And the good ideas are lucky even to get a hearing but still a handful of determined dominionists can just block them. How come this only works backward, so that only terrible things can happen and good things are impossible?

Maybe I should stop listening to Morning Joe Scarborough but he’s ranting on every day for hours with the same destructive ideas that “broke the world.”


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 11th, 2009
at 10:21 am

And btw, in a world where Palin gets rich and famous with the most appalling stupidity and almost casual corruption of public office to private dealing, in a world where one senator gets appointed by a bad idea with bad hair and quickly seated, while another campaigns and gets elected the old-fashioned way and STILL can’t get seated by the same court crossover into politics that gave the 41st presidency away to the world-breaker . . .

Where are we to look, to find good ideas winning and bad ideas losing out?


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 11th, 2009
at 10:23 am

Sorry to rush -I meant the 43rd presidency.


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 11th, 2009
at 11:55 am

Doesn’t this just say it all?
“I would be inspired if I weren’t so scared.”


Comment by
Rob
February 11th, 2009
at 1:51 pm

“It’s fine for Rob to not be in that majority but really, how much longer will that minority be allowed to just blow the majority off?”
“I’m not sure what you mean, JJ. What does blowing the majority off look like?”
“It looks like the Republicans in Congress, Rob.”

Ok, so now I need to ask – what does “allowed” mean? You gonna silence dissent? How do you propose doing that?

So, folks – y’all were so borderline apoplectic about the majority decision in CA during prop 8, anyone else here wondering how long the ‘majority’ will ‘allow’ the ‘minority’ to do what they were elected to do?

I really would like some clarification on the term ‘allow’…


Comment by
Rob
February 11th, 2009
at 2:11 pm

“Since most of the country doesn’t buy barrels of wheat but depends on being able to buy bread at the supermarket, and that isn’t likely to change, any opinions that don’t take that into consideration seem out of touch.

That would be you and the Rs, Rob. Just to be clear.”

Yeah, I had forgotten that mormons and republicans wish to destory commerce. We are not the friends of corporations. We have no interest in companies who wish to do business by selling things to people. We’re only in it to make sure tha Dems don’t succeed – and if the economy collapses, good deal.

Do you honestly believe your claim?


Comment by
dcobranchi
February 11th, 2009
at 2:26 pm

Ever listen to the GOP leader’s talk show? thinkp...-fail/


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 11th, 2009
at 3:43 pm

Sigh.
You somehow get fascism from a weary longing — and now, a desperate need — for our constitutional democratic republic to actually solve some big problems through government in the interest of the citizenry? As opposed to disabling and dismantling it, I mean . . .

Maybe it’s a preemptive strike because the Rs have behaved so much like fascists laterly?


Comment by
Nance Confer
February 11th, 2009
at 4:26 pm

JJ, I stopped listening to Morning Joe about 2 weeks ago. DH and I used to enjoy the show. Felt we got a dose of R thinking but from a sane person. Lately, though, he has not been reasonable and has just repeated the R talking points. I now watch C-Span in the morning and at least get to disagree with regular Americans. 🙂

Nance


Comment by
Nance Confer
February 11th, 2009
at 4:34 pm

Rob, my “claim” was that normal everyday people shop at the supermarket and have to be able to do so.

I don’t see what is so unbelievable about that.

Nance


Comment by
Nance Confer
February 11th, 2009
at 4:35 pm

The wheels of justice turn pretty slowly sometimes, JJ. 🙂

It might do us all a lot of good to think about the upcoming midterm elections. . .

Nance


Comment by
dcobranchi
February 11th, 2009
at 4:44 pm

So, folks – y’all were so borderline apoplectic about the majority decision in CA during prop 8, anyone else here wondering how long the ‘majority’ will ‘allow’ the ‘minority’ to do what they were elected to do?

Remember what I wrote about removing all doubt? A word to the wise…

Are you really trying to equate stripping folks of a fundamental right with the Republicans playing politics with the economy? Would I invoke the “nuclear option” to completely fuck over the GOP? No. But they sure do deserve it.


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 11th, 2009
at 4:48 pm

Nance, whew, I thought it was just me! That’s funny we were having the same growing discomfort with Scarborough independently . . . CSPAN is a good thought, as long as it’s not the call-in part which used to make me crazy too. 🙂

And breaking news, hurray, some good ideas ARE prevailing today, even a few reasonable big-picture Rs got into the act, Rob (though only in the Senate so far, none in the House.)


Comment by
dcobranchi
February 11th, 2009
at 5:05 pm

And Specter will get himself primaried because of it. I hope he gets his ass kicked by the Club for Growth candidate.


Comment by
Nance Confer
February 11th, 2009
at 5:12 pm

ordina...re-686

An interesting post today from JJ’s new find.

Nance


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 11th, 2009
at 5:24 pm

Here’s a (long but) GOOD piece on President Obama as bringing back “American pragmatism” a la William James and Abraham Lincoln:

The Voice of American Pragmatism

Obama and Biden alike have emphasized that pragmatic leadership begins with a very different opening premise than the ideological word play of the Bush-era. Whereas Bush told us that the priority was the ideology, and then defended that ideology at all cost, Obama is telling us that the priority is usefulness and so we must expect constant re-evaluation and fine-tuning as we go forward.

In a pragmatic form of leadership, the executive never stops asking: “Has this action been useful?” Actions that have not been useful are revised or discarded, actions that have been useful are amplified and applied more broadly.

What a different country it will be, if Obama’s emphasis on American pragmatism goes forward. It will be a country of achievement, instead of ideological positioning.

In the meantime, individual Americans and the media must step up and do their part to reclaim the spirit of pragmatism maligned so relentlessly by two terms of George W. Bush as president. In a country where pragmatism is attacked in the name of ideology, little if anything gets done. Elected officials stuck in the Bush-era will remain forever spectators rather than actors. But in a country rallied again to pragmatism, our leaders become the driving agents of useful action.

We have waited long and hard for pragmatism to return. Now that it is here again, Americans everywhere should reclaim it with pride.


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 11th, 2009
at 5:57 pm

And speaking of pragmatism (and Charlie Crist). . .


Comment by
Rob
February 12th, 2009
at 12:16 am

“…a weary longing — and now, a desperate need…”

Fair enough. I still figure ‘allowed’ was an odd choice of wording, but thanks for explaining what you meant.


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 12th, 2009
at 10:27 am

Rob, speaking of Nobel Laureate economists, here’s one on the history of this crisis, important so we can understand not just how to get out of it but to stay out. It helped me in my continuing economic self-education. 🙂

Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, is a professor at Columbia University.

The Economic Crisis:
Capitalist Fools

Behind the debate over remaking U.S. financial policy will be a debate over who’s to blame. It’s crucial to get the history right, writes a Nobel-laureate economist, identifying five key mistakes—under Reagan, Clinton, and Bush II—and one national delusion.

No. 1: Firing the Chairman

No. 2: Tearing Down the Walls

No. 3: Applying the Leeches

No. 4: Faking the Numbers

No. 5: Letting It Bleed

“The truth is most of the individual mistakes boil down to just one: a belief that” — well, you can go read about the One Big Delusion that caused all the mistakes, for yourself. 🙂


Comment by
JJ Ross
February 12th, 2009
at 7:01 pm

Anybody still want to claim all Judd Gregg cares more about serving his president and country than himself (and manipulating the census?)

Pul-eeze.